Unpredictable Or Lack Of Quality, Arsène?

The international break is upon us and normally we would be worried about the multitude of players away, whether they would come back injured. As I look at the list of absentees, I think the only ones I am worried about are Clichy and van Persie. Elsewhere, we have the cover to handle any enforced absences.

It is for once, a timely respite from the Premier League. The chance for the players to get out of the club and clear their heads should not be underestimated. The chance to get Fàbregas, Walcott and Song fit for the Blackburn game is a huge opportunity to boost the squad’s mood.

The attacks on the goalkeeping situation are of no surprise. The soft centre that the media talks about presumes that the two centre backs failed to mark Reid at The Hawthorns; they did not, he was tracked by Ramsey after a fashion at least. Arsenal do not do zonal marking at corners, if they did more goals would probably be conceded.

Otherwise, the back four was rarely caught out. Albion’s second goal was down to Almunia, Squillaci for all of the criticism he gets was not in a bad position to force Odimwingie wider of goal. The soft centre actually does not exist in that context.

Equally, Chelsea’s challenge for the title is not on at the moment. If they win at Old Trafford in May – other results being equal – they will be still be three points behind Manchester United and four to Arsenal. Obviously a collapse in the form of the top two would let them in, as it has allowed them to recover four points to Arsenal in the last two games. Even so, for them to win the title would highlight the paucity of talent in the Premier League.

The last statement is at odds with the perceived wisdom that others have improved, challenging the status quo at the top. That does not bear scrutiny. The Premier League table is propped up by Wigan Athletic on 30 points. Cast your eyes north and seventh placed Bolton are on 40 points. Not so much an improvement of standards, more an acceptance of the mediocrity which currently plagues the English game.

With double that gap to the top, the evidence of equalisation to the Champions League places is not there. The unpredictability that Arsène referred to recently is more down to the lack of consistency shown by the top six teams,

When anybody plays against anybody, you cannot predict the result. Individual games are unpredictable, so (the run-in) will be down to consistency and character.

It will indeed. The key factor is that Arsenal and Manchester United have the title in their own hands. All of the rest require points dropped by other teams. This season has seen Arsenal lose home games they would normally expect to win – Tottenham included – whilst away from home, Manchester United continue to struggle to win.

Why this has happened is unclear. A lot of the players of all nationalities have returned from South Africa’s World Cup beset by injuries and loss of form. Consistency has been hit. Look at the top scorers charts to see the evidence of this. Those who went to last Summer’s jamboree have not played a great deal of football, scoring less goals as a result. Too much football is hurting the Premier League but they will not admit it.

Anyhow, this fortnight presents an opportunity to reduce stress levels following an awful month in March, results-wise. Let’s hope the players return to the club and fitness ready for the final charge.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 21, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 189 Comments.

  1. We should be praising our teams fightback instead of blaming our fourth choice keeper and also fourth choice centre back.

    I think I never enjoyed International break as a break from PL. This is actually the fiirst time I am thinking “Thank god its international break.”

  2. Lets hope that they do

  3. need ches back too…
    mannys a disgrace should have been sold ages ago hes single handedly turned the gk position into a laughing stock when it used to be a strong one..
    cant believe hes still here and we are relying on him again in a title run in…

  4. It is suprising that nothing has been made of Bendtner’s handball for our 2nd goal.

  5. An awful month of March indeed, if we can get close to a fully fit squad for the run-in we have a chance.

  6. Anthony Timothy

    It is definetly a lack of quality.For the last fiev /six years Arsenal have been served by a below average gk,compared to the gks at the other top teams.Furthermore these teams know how to defend with the quality persoonel.
    Wenger has no one but himself to blame for not taking the necessary action.
    Had he done with regard on the gk,the gunners could be level or even ahead of MU by at least one point.
    At the end of the season ,irrespective of hether the gunners win the title or not,enger has some serious team building to do.If he carries in the same
    blue print,he could be a danger to the gunners imploding.

  7. we got lucky andy

  8. MG
    so you think Almunia is our 4th choice keeper.Well tell that to Wenger who for the first ten games of the season thought Almunia was our number 1!!!!!

  9. That’s because the ball came back off the post, goonerandy/JonJon.

  10. “MG
    so you think Almunia is our 4th choice keeper.Well tell that to Wenger who for the first ten games of the season thought Almunia was our number 1!!!!!”

    Squads are always fluid. First choice in September can easily become third/fourth choice by March. So I don’t see the problem there. Almunia had two strong years, looked a bit uncertain last term and was probably given a final opportunity to prove his worth at the start of this season. He was dropped at the first big mistake.

  11. Good and sensible writing as always, Yogi.

  12. It’s one of the best things about young squads. Players like Szczesny and Wilshere grew up in the space of two or three months this season.

  13. Limestonegunner

    Good post, YW. I agree the WC has had an effect, but for some reason has not afflicted Barcelona or Real Madrid’s players to the same extent, but in England the effect is clear.

    Chelsea may not have a very realistic chance but they have begun to play well and could come close enough to put real pressure on us, if we play as we did in the first half on Saturday.

    Your analysis bears out what several of us have suggested when everyone excuses home losses to lower table sides. The PL has a large number of mediocre teams. The top of the table just hasn’t been so strong or ruthless. The winners, hopefully us!, will have a comparatively low points total, it seems. The point is that the title is there for the taking if we play as we are capable of and with the determination required. A bit of rest and hopefully the squad will be strengthened and prepared to battle to the end.

  14. Good blog, I agree with your optimistic outlook too

  15. he shouldnt even be here to debate whether hes first or third choice he should have gone already

    wenger wanted rid of him in summer everyone knows we wanted schwarzer and reina so why did we start the season with him and why are we using him now..

    we cant anticipate losing two keepers but what we can anticipate is that manny has been nothing short of useless for the past few years and instead of giving someone else a go we are stuck with arsenals own mr calamity…again…
    3rd choice or not..
    not only is he a crap keeper but hes a crap keeper in decline so whats he still doing here when we spent the last two windows trying to get shut of him???

  16. One of Us
    When did Wilson Jennings Lukic Seaman and Lehmann ever drop down to being a 3rd/4th choice keeper.Get real
    When we bought Almunia he was 3rd choice at Celta Viga

  17. I think at this moment of time if Chesney, Fabianski, and Mannone were all fit Almunia wouldn’t have started. So yeah he is our fourth choice GK.

    Don’t get me wrong I was behind him last year and year before that, in fact I am behind all the Arsenal players when they are on the pitch. It’s just our other keepers got different qualities than him. Some better some not.

    But not so sure about Mannone being in front of Big Al. It was a bit overexaggeration.

  18. HTH – Heh, really? I suggest having another look.

    Not complaining mind, we have had plenty go against us this year. I just expected more to have been made of it in MotD and such like.

  19. yeah if the post is part of his arm.. lol

    teams win games on luck though so i dont think anyones complaining…it could have gone in off his arse for all i care it went in and thats the end of it..

  20. That has nothing to do with my point at all, Kelvin.

    Anyone who choose to criticise our GK recruitment on the back of this injury crisis is either a fucking idiot, or just looking for an excuse.

    Our whole squad is set up to allow young players to push through. It’s the way the club operates. Szczesny and Fabianski both staked a claim this season and Mannone had a great spell at Hull, but they’re all injured now, at the same time. If that’s not bad luck I don’t know what is.

  21. motd didnt give a toss about nikkis arm..

    they were too busy laughing at our gk…

  22. We have been unlucky with keepers, of that there can be no doubt.

    During pre-season nobody was really sure who the No1 would be. We started with Almunia, who was then replaced by Fabianski. For all of his gaffes in previsou seasons he was doing well, and looking like he was laying down an intent to keep the No1 position. The he got injured and Szchezny stepped up. Despite his inexperience really does look to have something about him, and I fully expect him to be No1 for a long while. Harsh on Fabianski, but that is live at the top level I am afraid.

    Obvisouly he is now injured and we have gone full circle. Almunia is in nets for the forseeable future. Not ideal, but desperately unlucky for the club. Hopefully his rick at the weekend was the only one left in his locker for this season.

  23. Almunia is 4th choice, but only for another couple of weeks when he will become 5th choice behind Jens. Manuel will move on in the summer. Jens is being lined up to become a player coach at Arsenal next season so says a current member of the backroom staff and i have just heard this, now Ashley Young has moved to Hertfordshire, he is expected to sign for either Arsenal or Spurs, with Arsenal his first choice, so that he can mentor his brother. If he joins us you can forget about Hazard.

  24. ive got a feeling that will be mannys last game..
    AW will see where jens fitness levels are at in 2 week and he’ll come in until ches comes back
    mannys proved time and time again he cant be relied upon..
    the risk with jens is obvious but we know what we getting with manny so its the lesser of two evils..
    AW’s call…its a tough one…

  25. I think AW right stick by Almunia, and is probably right do so. Jens is 41 and not played for a year. He is here as emergency back up (mainly because we could not get anybody else).

  26. ashley young??
    thought he was being targetted by the mancs??

  27. Arshavin’s deep cross from the left hit the far post and fell to Abdoulaye Meite, who could not clear his lines and a Van Persie tackle saw the ball trickle over the line. – BBC Sport.

    And the Russian would have an massive influence in the equaliser eight minutes later. It was his raking cross that drew Carson to the far post and bounced back into the area off the upright. The ball got stuck under the feet of Abdoulaye Meite and the sliding Van Persie got the merest of touches to trickle the ball over the line. – Arsenal.com

    Marc-Antoine Fortune came on for Odemwingie but Arsenal began pouring forward and eight minutes after Arshavin’s strike they found a leveller, with the Russian again the catalyst. His looping cross hit the post and Meite was unable to deal with the rebound before Van Persie bundled it over the line. – premierleague.com

  28. Almunia had had his highlights this season too, despite his occasional concentration lapses.

    After having been treated so unfairly for so long he returned to the pitch and did his job just professionally. Whenever there is a penalty kick against him I feel confident that he would save. And most times he didn’t let me down.

  29. No andy, YOU go have another look. The ball never gets to Bendtner. Had it hit his arm, it would have just dropped to his feet. Instead it comes ricocheting back across the box. It’s basic physics.

    They didn’t bring it up, because even the wankers on MotD are fairer minded than you, who always wants to attribute our successes to luck, and our bad luck to moral failings.

  30. 19 in 19 in the league for RVP. Awesome.

  31. need him to stay fit limpar
    need theo back with him as well…

  32. Almunia’s problems have never been his shot-stopping ability (and you don’t get anywhere near being a top-level goalkeeper unless this is great) or his penalty stopping, which is very good. It’s always been his decision-making which was displayed again on Saturday. Wenger has stated in the past that he gets nervous when the pressure is on, let’s hope he can hold his game together for the next nine matches.

  33. Alex Ice Cream

    We’re stuck with Almunia for now but he must go at the end of the season along with some other players who are not good enough.

  34. BergkampIdoliser

    Almunia will only be dropped if Arsene believes that Jens has the sharpness and fitness levels to handle the PL. He needs a couple of reserve games organised for him otherwise it’ll be too risky. Although, some of you may think not as risky as having Al between the sticks! He needs to go in the summer and I don’t think any Arsenal player has ever been as lucky as he has in the opportunitues he’s been given, to continually mess up but yet be relied upon because there are no other options.

  35. Nola/HTH – It cleared the post, and was propelled back across goal without going anywhere near his head.

    Nola, what on earth is “not fair minded” about that. It is what happened. Jesus.

  36. Alex Ice Cream

    Limpar,

    Robin is awesome. He one of very few strikers in the Prem who is not an athlete but prospers as his technique is supreme. Had he stayed fit all these years then the likes of Bastin, Wright and Henry would have had a serious challenger to their goalscoring records for the club. Robins goals per mi utes on the pitch stats are amazing – as good as anyone’s if not better.

    If only he could stay fit….

  37. ….Goonerandy expresses full agreement with that fucking parasite AIC who writes a dastardly piece of negative shit just earlier.
    Why am I not surprised?
    Birds of a feather.

  38. Its easy to blame an individual for another draw but that misses the point. Everyone from Wenger down to the water boy deserve the credit. The whole team has been subpar and the mental mistakes that cost us the CC and the 2nd goal yesterday were shocking. I think we should come up with a new ACLF acronym for mental lapses. The glass half full group can call it CULS (chronic unlucky syndrome). Those our us who think the glass is half empty can call it HUBS (head up butt syndrome). We were an amazing team after Christmas on both ends of the pitch and hopefully the return of CF, TW and AS will give us some confidence. The past 3 seasons has seen our defense really struggle at the end of the season and my biggest concern is that our defending seems to have slipped back into its old habits. Counter attack goals conceded at Old Trafford and mental mistakes do not bode well if they can’t be fixed. No one coming back from injury to rescue the back 5. Hopefully the international break will give the squad a chance to regroup.

  39. Shotta – Lets pretend AIC didn’t post that (as seen as that seems to dictate your reponse most of the time). Which part of it is wrong?

  40. http://arsenalist.com/video/?id=xhpoyd

    Were you at the game, goonerandy? This is your last course.

  41. Alex Ice Cream

    shotta,

    If you think that scraping a 2-2 draw to relegation fodder when you are supposed to be challenging for the league is a positive, then you are a bigger mug that I though that you were.

  42. No, I watched it live though. I can’t see that vid at work unfortunately.

  43. I thnk RVP could stay fit if he could get a decent partner to take some of the knocks in a 4-1-3-2 formation. Chamakh or Bendtner, could do this ably. This would really suit us now, with no real wide players, Nasri would get one of the 3 midfield support roles with reliance on the full backs to be the wide men. Walcott and Arshavin would get opportunities to play down the middle, from the bench. This might not suit Sagna and Clichy, so is probably best to not try until next season.

  44. Let’s not forget that West Brom also managed to scrape a similar 2-2 draw with Utd.

  45. Utd were also recently turned over by relegation fodder Wolverhampton Wanderers.

  46. The move that they put together which went the full length of he pitch would have been one of the goals of he season if they had scored it.

  47. Unitied also turned us over Limpar.

  48. That’s not germane to the point he was making, GA! Fucking hell, Kelvin was up to the same shit earlier.

  49. The ball hit the post! The commentator taught it hit Nicky’s arm but thought nothing of it later. None of the WBA players who were 3 feet away from the ball protested.

  50. Afternoon all, cheers Yogi.

    We showed great spirit to come back into the game. Admittedly it shouldn’t have had to happen, but it did, and the lads responded well. In years gone, an error like that to put us 2-0 down would have seen a very shakey last quarter of the match, and more than likely a loss. Not the case this time, so definitely an improvement. Arsh is looking so much better now, and what a great touch and finish, just the kind of magic he was bought for.

    We say it a lot, but any team losing their captain, best defender, 3 goalies, our fastest player, most of which were lost at a similar time, would be absolutely fucked. We, however, are still up there challenging for our main priority, and no-one should forget how impressive that is. We have improved every year for the last few years, but that is so often ignored.

  51. I don’t buy this at all btw, Limestone gunner – “The PL has a large number of mediocre teams. The top of the table just hasn’t been so strong or ruthless.” I think the standard throughout the league is lot higher this year. Teams are set-up to have a go at anyone and everyone this year – reflected in so many goals being scored, and by the hairs breadth between midtable and a relegation scrap. Look at the quality in squads like West Ham, Villa, Fulham and Birmingham… none of them are safe – and each of those last three have taken points off the league leaders. Not to mention West Brom and Wolves… and Blackpool! This competition is intense…. nothing mediocre about it.

  52. I don’t get what’s wrong with these people, Geo. We’ve got great a chance here. If we win do any of you realise what a massive achievement it will be? In cuntspeak we’ll be pushing the envelope, defying preconceptions, smashing the mould.

  53. Seeing as though it is International week I thought I would make a little mention about our young and upcoming English star, Jack Wilshire. Without a doubt he has an amazing future ahead of him but I am starting to have little doubts about his personal character. This latest “spitting” incident, no matter how minor, is one of several incidents that have now arissen and involved the Police and he has already been arrested a couple of times. I just do not want to see him go down the path of the typical English player. He needs to be talked about because of his football talent and not other non related incidents.

  54. I agree with Limpar. The fact that we have *says with painfully gritted teeth* 3 English teams in the quarter finals of the Euro thing, says that the top teams haven’t lost too much quality, and the tighness of the league from mid-bottom, suggests the quality is much better in general this year. More balanced, yes, but to say that it’s just evened out through the top teams getting worse, is countered by our league’s european progress.

  55. YW: Has jon-jon or his rabble of doomers made a large charitable contribution to ACLF? Seems that he has now taken a full-time position of Resident Scholar in Doomerdom.
    What gets on my nerves is despite well-reasoned rebuttals to most of his negative tripe, he pretends some sort of agreement, and virtually within the hour repeats all the negative themes spouted by the media and the misery brigade in the blogsphere.
    The irony is at the beginning of the season they doomed this entire team, with a handful of exceptions, and declared they were hardly likely to come fourth much less challenge for the title. Yet, now that we are in with a serious chance of challenging for the title, they pretend this was always their wish and desire when in truth they wished the Arsenal and Arsene to be a complete failure because, as AIC recently posted, it was his certain conclusion that Arsene’s philosophy and project youth in particular had been a certain failure.
    Quite frankly, I don’t give a f*ck about their opinions during the homestretch especially that of j-j, the Resident Scholar in doomerdom.

  56. Its interesting how a new signing can really perk up a team. The mental lift Luiz has given Chelsea adds alot more then just his physical presence and skill. Suarez at Liverpool seems to have done the same. Both probably hugely overpriced by Wengerian economics. A mental lift like that might have made all the difference for our club. Torres on the other hand has been a bust so there is always risk. Nothing ventured nothing gained I guess.

    The away support yesterday was amazing. Surprised everyone is so down on the Arsenal fans and their support at the games. I am not there, but support at the Emirates on TV sounds every bit as good as Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford. Probably never match Pompey’s supporters but our fans seem to hold their own.

  57. LA

    Competition might be intense but the standard of the EPL is lower this season. Definitely.

    It is the inconsistency of the top four that as noticeable. Have any of the home defeats been caused by anything other than Arsenal’s slackness? United’s away form says more about their squad and the intimidation of referees at Old Trafford than any improved standards in the EPL.

    YW

  58. Howler from Almunia granted, he even inexplicably pushed Squillaci off balance ensuring he couldn’t make a challenge.

    In fairness on a decent pitch that ball would have travelled further and Almunia would maybe have been right to come out. Woy must have had the groundsmen do a number on the pitch all day Friday in preparation for us. It has worked for other teams (Aldardyce I’m looking at you) in the past and cost us points.

    It’s a huge gamble to play Lehmann I know, but Almunia’s confidence will be totally shot now unless the coaches can get his head right in the break.

  59. Limestonegunner

    It is obvious that it wasn’t a great result for us. At this point, however, we are still in the hunt. We’ve made it much harder for ourselves but the task at hand is not to drop more points. I wish we had been more consistent earlier in the season, but we had been playing very well in the league until this last month with draws away to Newcastle and the first halves of our Sunderland and WBA games. The problem now is we have 6 first team players injured and no margin for error. Three should be coming back after the break, which will be helpful, but none of our defenders and GK’s. That’s a worry but it shouldn’t be a crippling one. It’s a chance for the squad to show the depth we thought it had earlier in the season. The best recipe for success at this point is to support the team, keep our heads, and be as determined as we want the team to be. Surely we can hang on for 9 games and a chance to redeem this season’s pursuit of a title? I’ve had my suggestions and concerns, but the time for second-guessing is not now. Think of how meaningful it will be to win it and how much this will embolden the team for future success.

  60. Exactly OOU. It really will be a great achievement. Way above most people’s expectations at the start of the season. And that’s the optimists! I don’t understand the fickleness of some people. They were having a go at Arsene, saying to buy this player or that player if we were to have any chance of qualifying for Europe next year… Then when he doesn’t buy the players they wanted, they said we were doomed to failure. Then, fast forward to now, and they’re abusing and calling for his head because we, um, lost in a cup final, got knocked out of cups by Barca and United, and are 2nd in the league with 9 matches left…!!!???!!!? Imagine if we had done as badkly as they predicted! Would they now be happier as they could say ‘I told you so’. ‘Should have bought Cahill and Schwarzer’…? Or would they have finally been driven to suicide for such outrageous failures by ouw manager?

  61. If we return from the international break fully focused, and remain so during all of our games (regardless of the opposition) we will win the lge. We are a better team than United, they just play to their potenital more than us.

  62. The “big” teams have lost or Drawn against lower level teams this season. Obvioulsy we dont want to draw but it happened, we must move on.
    Actually, the teams we have beaten have blasted both United and Chelsea. I believe teams are actually playing better football overall, but thats me.

    We are down to a goalkeeper who has barely played and our 4 choice CB, we will have to trust they will get the job done. Unlike others, I dont believe they are bad players.

    Going down by 2 to WBA is not positive but fighting to get the draw is. It shows a fight that many still dont think we have (bill). To me this can do nothing but help the team regain there confidence.

    I believe our recent play has less to do with injuries and more to do with how we lost in the CL, that was crushing and confidence went way down. This is something that can happen to any team.

    Get it done Almunia and Squillachi, shut up the haters!

  63. Kelvin

    The ones you mentioned were all released before that happened. Lehmann, you will recall, was dropped to a sub following consecutive mistakes that cost goals. Equally, when you look at the reserve keepers of the times – Barnett, Wood, Shabaan – all were poor quality whereas Szczesny and Fabianski are better.

    People need to stop bleating about Almunia being number 1. He’s there because of injuries and nothing can be done about it. Unless of course a man who hasn’t played for over a year is going to do better. But can anyone guarantee that? Even Arsene said that Lehmann looked like he hadn’t played for a year.

    YW

  64. WBA shouldve beaten United too. Neville shouldve been sent off along with a penalty given and the dude who scored the 2nd against missed a penalty. HowUnited got away with that is a mystery.

  65. Shotta is 100% correct, most of the people who are talking negatively now are the same ones who thought we wouldnt be close to winning the PL this season. I read many times “The FA Cup is our best chance at silverware”. Many believed this team couldnt hack it unless we bought a host of “World class” players. With the Spurs and City spending big, it was all over too.

    AIC, never in a million years thought we would be 2nd in the PL at this point so why agree with him?

    Our defense is better than last season, our goalkeeping is better than last season. Yes they took some knocks but the important thing is to get behind the players NOW, even Almunia, Squillachi, Denilson and Diaby – the usual scapegoats.

    Get with it already!

  66. “Nola/HTH – It cleared the post, and was propelled back across goal without going anywhere near his head.Nola, what on earth is “not fair minded” about that. It is what happened. Jesus.”

    The replays are crystal clear. It hits the post. As I said, only the post or his head could have caused the ball to come back that hard.

    I think most sports fans are biased toward their team, and tend to see positive things that aren’t there. I think it’s insightful that you and Jonjon are dead set on seeing negative things that aren’t there. I makes me wonder whether you are actually Arsenal fans.

  67. Managed to turn a doomer’s view around on here t’other day, cant remember their name… But it wont be so easy for the entrenched fundamentalist pessimists, keep trying though Paul N! Your work is valued!

  68. Likewise Geo!

    Its not easy but we cant give up. Getting one to turn out of 20 is a job well done in my view and makes the fight worth it. Other than the joy and bliss of supporting our beloved team obviously!

  69. I really want England to get severely spanked by whoever we come up against in the near future. I have lost so much passion for the national team these days. Since Euro 96 probably. We have no flair, pace or creativity, and it seems that we are only ever going to employ defensive managers, who look to grind out a result. Something needs to change, not overly fussed, but it is nice to actually care about your national team – which for a while now, I haven’t. Pfff. International football.

  70. You know I have heard so many people say how bad our defense is and i m trying my best to find out how well United defend as no one question theirs. If they do they are so sympathetic to their loss of Ferdinand and Vidic, but no mention really of TV for us.

    This should be enough to prove how the media can persaude you! But even with the fact that we have a better defensive record than them (playing one less game) and only 2 goals worse than City (they have played 1 more game), many Arsenal supporters still come out with moronic statements about our defending being poor!

  71. Geo, the whole world up was a bit of a drag to be truthful. International football just doesnt offer much style.

    The only teams I really remember are Germany and Ghana. The fact that Spain won by scoring like 1 goal per game, shows how sad it was.

    As far as England, well thats a whole other level of crap!

  72. Disappointed…we could have taken a firm grip on things by now.
    Silly mix-ups at the back are gifting the opposition goals. Hard to win like that.

  73. We need to really pull things together for the run in. I don’t know what more Wenger can do to get attitude adjustments, if they are needed, or what else can be done.
    All the talent that we have (injuries or not) shouldn’t have so many problems with this much mediocrity in the league, if that is the case.

  74. Paul – I think the notion comes from not the amount of goals we give away, but in the fashion we do so. Many of the goals we conceed are of our own making in one form or other.

  75. Limestonegunner

    LA, I looked at the final tables for the last few seasons and do think that the minimum for safety will be several points higher than in the past few years without Derby County, Burnley, and so on–absolutely terrible teams. But the point is that there are instead a great many teams bunched together at the low end. That is at least what I mean by mediocrity, not very good but not awful. Intensity isn’t the issue. The relegation scrap is going to be more intense when there are 10 teams fighting to stay up rather than 5. That certainly can make it harder to win the odd game against these sides, but it does not really address the overall quality issue.

    On the other hand, look at the top of the table and the points there and we see the effect of inconsistency. The winner will have a comparatively low total compared to the last several seasons, I think. ManU grinding out away draws and doing the minimum to stay at the top, Chelsea’s aging team imploding and only now starting to recover, Liverpool down to 6th after a tumultuous and continuing transition, ManCity a collection of mercenaries searching for a team spirit and relying on the most conservative of strategies for a top 4 spot, and the Spuds suffering the strain of their first CL campaign.

    I believed at the start of last season and this that these were excellent chances to win the league before ManCity puts together a balanced team with more ambition, before Chelsea spends massively (as they have just started to do again after two years of “restraint”), and so on. We’ll see how the remaining teams do in the CL. Spuds have been matched against an Inter only now recovering form since Mourinho’s departure and a very unbalanced AC Milan to go through 1-0 on aggregate. To my mind not very impressive. Neither ManU or Chelsea face Real or Barca until a possible final, so I don’t think the CL results so far have really flattered English teams who in past years seemed to have two or three who looked like they could really win the competition. They may yet manage it but last year was a down year and this year could be as well if Inter defeats the Chelsea/ManU winner and Spuds go out to RM.

    And we’ll see if these teams will spend this summer, with the fair play rules looming. Whatever way we look at it though, the top of the PL is more even and has been very inconsistent. It is a great chance for our team to break through and demonstrably establish itself as the best team in the league, which is what most of us believe faithfully that they are. We have improved overall with many players having stronger seasons and have greater depth; Wenger’s signings have been real gems–Koscielny, Chamakh in particular; and most impressively two youngsters in Jack and Wojech have developed incredibly well. However, we also have been very inconsistent, haven’t taken full advantage of these openings, have suffered a rash of injuries and bad results that have taken its toll on confidence, and haven’t seen the rest of the squad gel and seize their opportunities as decisively as we would hope in the absence of Cesc (who isn’t having a vintage year by his high standards) and so on. Nevertheless, the main prize is still in our grasp despite all this, which is wonderful! Two seasons ago we would have been, as we were, fighting to stay in CL position trailing the leaders by a large gap.

    Our campaign is not undermined by acknowledging both our improvement and the growing weakness of the other squads. Excessive debt on transfer spending, the fair play rules, the problems in the global economy–all these factors are the kind of thing Wenger’s model was built to weather better than other teams through youth development and judicious signings. What is wrong with believing that other teams haven’t been able to sustain their unsustainable development which has provided the planned for opportunities for Arsenal? The question now is can we fulfill our promise. I think we still can even though we haven’t been as good at times as we might have been. It will be glorious to win the title in a hard fought campaign. I think it will be the making of this team.

  76. Busch – not sure if it is just a mentality thing. I was talking to someone the other day, and looked at Barca’s style vs ours… Barca go out all guns blazing for the first half and hour, and normally score one or 2 by that time. They can then spend the rest of the match, passing it around, getting Xavi and Iniesta’s passing stats to look amazing, while tiring out the other team. We tend to start very brightly, but then ease off a bit, allowing teams back into the game. I think, if we kept up that constant pace of passing and movement for longer periods in the early stages of games, we can kill a game off early. We can then rely on our fitness and passing to keep the ball and have a final push for more at the end of the game… Don’t know as I’m not a tactical genius, but makes sense to me. What you think?

  77. I can get that GA, but the stats dont lie, so we have to balanced in our judgement.

    If we have the most howlers defensively but still end up conceding less that the rest, I would take it.

    People even say we need a new keeper. Just plain brainwashed and its sad.

  78. Limestonegunner

    Paul N, many people have pointed out how our defense has compared well this season, particularly since we had Dj partnering with either Kos or Squil and Fabianski/Sczcesny in goal. This is particularly impressive since this wasn’t a PL experienced CB/GK combination with Vermaelen out, Dj a young player returning from injury and two non-PL CB’s replacing PL veterans Gallas, Campbell, Senderos, and Silvestre. Over the course of the season some stability was established from November on and new/young players improved.

    The question now though is whether Almunia/Lehmann and Kos/Squil/Miquel is a crew that can form the partnerships, play with confidence, and perform at the level needed. Right now our defense looks understandably weak. So I don’t think it is unreasonable that some are anxious about it even if it was foolish to repeat the cliche a couple months ago. But nothing can be done at the moment, so harping on it is really counter-productive. These players need the support to give their best, which may just be enough to carry Arsenal through to a fantastic league title.

  79. Wenger:
    “The team has character,” said Wenger afterwards. “If you are 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go and you have no character then you don’t come back on a pitch like that. That is for sure.”

    “The team has solidarity, unity and a desire to do well. I don’t question that at all.”

    “Of course we were a bit nervous at the start of the game. We had four targets and now we have only one, so the pressure increases on that one. But the players are highly focused to do it and it was important not to lose on Saturday.”

    Wenger admitted that his side had been hit by that defeat to Barcelona 11 days earlier but had now recovered and were ready to kick-on.

    “You can not go out of the Champions League like we did and have no doubt,” he said. “For a few days the players were disappointed but you could see in the last two days that the players were highly focused again.”

    “This team wants to do well and I am so desperate to help them to get what they deserve. From the first day of the season, their attitude has been absolutely spot on. That’s why they deserve to be rewarded and I am confident they will.”

  80. Very interesting post Yogi… well balanced and thought through IMHO. Having said that I have say that I’m not too sure about the so-called decline in quality in EPL this season myself. For me I think the quality is actually higher and gap between the top and bottom in terms of technique and tactical knowledge has closed.

    In terms of the actual football being played by the various sides I’d say that City, Tottenham and ourselves have improved from last season. United have more or less stood still and Chelsea are bit difficult to judge because they went off the rails for a bit but are now back on track. So of the top 5 I’d say that 3 have definitely improved and 1 has stood still or maybe regressed. the funny thing is that United are actually top of the league.

    I think that the league overall is stronger than it was with most teams now possessing some extremely good players… from Odemwingie at West Brom to Gyan at Sunderland to Hitzlsperberger at West ham and on and on, the quality players are now wide spread amongst all the teams … even a player like Clint Dempsey at Fulham who doesn’t get the headlines is a very good player. The bigger teams are losing to lower ranked sides now not necessarily because of any lack of quality but because the smaller teams now have the ability and know-how to get at the bigger teams consistently.

    I know some of the moaners like to use the West Brom loss to beat the team over the head but West Brom were outstanding that day. Yes Almunia’s fumbles didn’t help but let’s not forget that they missed a penalty. And Wolves deserved their win against ManU as did Sunderland deserve their win against Chelsea as the went at Chelsea with two strikers that day. I know that a lot of people think that the quality is lower this year but I just don’t see how that can be said to be the case… not when talent like Van der Vaart , Yaya Toure, David Silva, etc have been added to the league without any significant loss of talent to other leagues.

    The other way of judging overall quality is how our teams do in Europe… at the moment we’ve got 3 teams still in the ECL and we were very unlucky to lose like we did… The Europa league though doesn’t paint such a good picture although one could say that some teams don’t take it all that seriously. So all in all I really don’t think that the league is in worse shape… we don’t have a single very dominant team but I’m not sure that that is necessarily proof of lower quality. All I know is that there have been far more watchable matches this season than in any other I can recall…

  81. Paul – I am with you on that. I suppose the frustration comes (speaking for myself) from that as other teams often struggle to score past us (as the stats prove), the fact that we contribute to our own goalfall sticks in the throat. If we could cut out the silly mistakes, and slackness we would have a much better record that the other teams and no doubt have won some stuff by now.

    If a teams cores against you of their own making, then fair enough, you just have to hold your hands up. But we regulalrly contribute to goals conceeded ourselves, Saturday being a prime example on both goals. We make things so hard for ourselves.

  82. Limstone, concern is understandable but people have been saying that overall our defending and goalkeeping isnt good. Which is plain dumb.

    You rightly say, nothing can be done now so we have to support who we have.

  83. I think it has more to do with the 3 promoted clubs being better equipped to stay up than they have been in a long time. Blackpool’s swashbuckling start made a lot of teams sit up and notice. West Brom and Newcastle had a go too and profited. When one or two smash and grab upsets turned into a sustained string of good results, home and away for Blackpool – teams who had been treading water in the whole of the bottom half had to change their gameplan. Playing for a draw every weekend with spoiling tactics and waiting for the promoted teams to self-destruct was no longer an option. You had to win games and go for broke regardless of opposition.

    I’m not saying Chelsea and Utd haven’t fallen off a bit… we all thought they would. But their failings have been highlighted by being tested against opposition who play to win each week.

  84. Thats fair GA. Goals like Saturday’s, especially the 2nd are very very annoying. There was absolutely no reason for it.

    It really goes to prove how great of a defensive team we can become. Against Barca we proved that we have it in us. The players are young, can you imagine our CB’s in 3 years time?

  85. Shotta…

    Well said.

    I find it hilarious that the folks who expected us to struggle to make even a Champions league place are on here having kittens because we aren’t going to win the quadruple! They never gave the team any chance of winning in the first place…. and now they’re on here lamenting second place. These are folks who told us that City would finish ahead of us given what they’d spent, that we were infinitely worse that Chelsea and ManU and that ‘arry and the Spuds would show us a thing or two because they showed more ambition in spending money and signing the likes of Van der Vaart. And they said all that without factoring in any of the current injuries to our side!!!

    Hypocrites.

  86. Geo,

    yeah. I agree we seem to have some bad lulls in matches. What surprises me is that they can come even when we get ahead or are struggling/unlucky in not getting a goal or 2.
    The lulls can look like complacency and like having our heads down.
    Its mighty frustrating.
    I liked the fight back this weekend, even if I ma frustrated/upset with the result.
    This is seriously going to be one of those seasons where win or lose it, Im going to have less hair than when I started it.

  87. Busch – That’s why I was so pleased with the way they came back on Sat. They could have easily thought (after dominating and then conceding the 2nd goal), ‘ok, well this isn’t our day’ and capitulated, or started trying the impossible in a desperate attempt to win, but they upped the tempo and played patiently and professionally, and got something out of the game. But I’d love to see them go hell-for-leather in the first half and go in a couple of goals up, then ease off and control the game. We have done it, and know we can.

  88. Complete off-topic (and quite rude since I’ve not posted for a few days), but I was wondering what do you guy make of the whole Libya thing? I’m quite uneasy with the whole thing, and I think it has tremendous scope to backfire. Also, the way the media have so gleefully been covering it has been a particularly irksome to me – Sky News is everybit as foul as Sky Sports

  89. Its frightening Gadget! strange happenings, very strange.

    Not trying to be deep but all I can think about is the bible saying in the last days there will be wars and rumours of wars.

  90. Gagdet – I agree. Humanetarian aid is fine, but at what point do we overstep the mark? It really is like Team America – World Police.

    This is the opportunity the west has been waiting for to affect regime change over there. They won’t miss this chance mark my words.

  91. Paul – The bible is just a made up book mate, I would not pay too much attention to it. 😉

  92. Its the allied forces though is it not? not just the US.

  93. Gadget – I was looking into it all yesterday after not really being up to speed on the whole thing. I have serious concerns about how this is going to pan out. Again, us and USA have gotten involved and have started some serious bombardment. Gadaffi said something along the lines of ‘expect a long fought war with no limits’. Scary stuff. I have avoided all Sky news about this luckily, only BBC, which is slightly better than most. I would not be surprised if this kicks off globally to be honest. Other countries in similar situations are likely to follow suit too… Let’s hope it doesn’t get too out of hand (it obviously has already, but you know what I mean).

  94. Paul – Yeah it is, I just mean in general.

  95. Yup allied forces, not just US and UK. And I agree with goonerandy, our governments have blatantly been waiting for an excuse. So predictable. Most of the ‘terrorist’ attacks are a reason to go to war if you ask me. War is the biggest money making force in the world, always has been.

  96. GA, I dont want to go there but prophetically the bible is on point, if you dare you research it. It stands up very well against thoughts such as yours.

    On the contrary I need to pay more and closer attention to it. Its pages contain life eternal!

  97. Worse things have gone on in Africa. You don’t see us charging over there to “help” do you?

  98. Anywhere there is oil and a tryrant the Allied forces will want to get them out of power.

  99. I mean let’s be honest, if there wasn’t oil involved and petrol wasn’t £15m a gallon, the allies wouldn’t really give a shit.

  100. Paul – You are right. I really don’t want to get into that debate as well. It is worse than the doomer/AKB argument, and much the same nobody is going to change their opinion.

    Bullet dodged 🙂

  101. Not as much oil there though eh GA?

  102. Paul/YW – My thoughts also.

  103. a bit slow there… and yeah, best not to get into that one GA & PN!

  104. Geo – Exactly. I lie actually, we do sent training teams over there. Normally a couple of hundred strong. Not quite the same comitmment though eh?

  105. Anyone seen the Zeitgeist films? Not up everyone’s street, but interesting stuff, just depends how much you want to believe.

  106. Agreed GA, plus we will all know one day so there is no need to debate it.

    Good man!

  107. Quite sad that they go into these lands due to oil but you have had people suffering in other parts of the world, being killed like dogs and nothing! What a travesty.

  108. GA – No, what are they playing at? May as well rinse them out for their diamonds while we’re at it, slacking off as usual, come on Mr Cameron, missing a trick there…

    If you needed telling, that was a joke btw. A poor one I know. Sorry.

  109. Money makes the world go round.

  110. Geo – Heh, I got it. I am suprised they have not taken that avenue seriously though.

  111. Limestonegunner

    LA, I agree with you that the real difference, and why there are so many teams battling it out in the lower half of the table to avoid relegation, is that the three promoted teams not only were better prepared for the PL but also came to play. All three of them have a decent chance to survive–by no means have they been as bad as previous promoted teams, at least one of which was sure from early on to go back down.

    Joshua, you raise some very good points there, but I don’t think the performance in Europe yet justifies comparisons with past strength in Europe. It may still prove a very successful year for English teams, compared to last year for example, but the problem is that Inter wasn’t the same Inter and Werder Bremen has been hopeless which allowed a weak Spud team to go top of the group and meet an unbalanced and weak AC Milan. Chelsea had a very easy group and played Copenhagen. ManU had a pretty easy group and defeated a fairly mediocre Marseille side. I don’t think the Spanish teams below RM and Barca were good this year, Bayern is the only decent German team in it but is weaker than last year, and the Italian teams have been declining the last few seasons (hence the loss of the 4th CL spot to Germany next season). So we’ll see how well the remaining English teams do in Europe.

    The Spuds are better than last year but their energies are divided. ManCity is better but is too cautious and only now playing as a team. There is no question that Chelsea was weaker as was ManU. The inconsistency is evident.

    Domestically, there aren’t really awful teams but I don’t see a strong group behind Liverpool in 6th that are really pushing for European places. There is just a really big group of fair and mediocre teams that have a few good players but are not able to be consistent enough to challenge for a European place. So there is a big gap between the top3/4 teams and the bottom 8-10; not as wide as it has been in recent seasons but weakness and inconsistency at the top bears some responsibility for that as well.

  112. Limestonegunner

    Paul N,
    There are more examples of the West supporting tyrants in oil rich countries than the opposite. The record isn’t good.

  113. Limestonegunner

    I think neighboring Egypt could have helped the people of Libya get rid of their tyrant without this spinning into another intervention by the “Allies”, but I presume preventing that way of spreading political revolution was at the heart of Secretary Clinton showing up with a 2billion dollar aid package to Egypt last week. US/Europe’s leaders and business interests are somewhat frightened at the possibility of people’s revolts against Western supported tyrants spreading. Hence allowing Saudi forces to bolster Bahrain’s rulers without making much of a fuss. The puzzle for the politicos and international relations intelligentsia is why Syria is relatively quiet but all these US/Europe allies, particularly Arab republics, like Algeria, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia are undergoing this turmoil. Even Libya had become a US ally since 2002-3–so for a decade, though obviously not so valued a one given Gaddafi’s past history.

  114. Limestone, they’ll support them, and work with them, until there’s a chance to ‘legitimately’ come and ‘save the day’. This pattern has been followed by us and USA for decades, if not centuries.

  115. Actually momentum makes the world go round. The initial rotation was probably due to different densities in the originating cloud of gas speeding through space combined with the build up of gravitational forces as the gases cooled. It started turning then and has not stopped since. The idea that money makes it go round is complete bollocks.

  116. Yeah, the professed motivations while noble are way too shallow. The past has shown us human rights violations and civilians dying has rarely been a compelling reason for other nations to intervene. Granted this could be a new trend, but I severely doubt it given the embarassingly huge list of countries which remain untouched. The chance for nation building and infrastucture contracts perhaps, but there’s definately some financial gain to be had

    It seems to me that Libya’s a country in civil war, a period when neighbours fight one another based upon ideologies. There are going to be some who are against Gaddafi, but there will be some loyal to Gaddafi. No one voice should be given credence to the other. While I totally appreciate the No fly zone levels the field to a great extent, I think the bombings are a step too far. And it all smacks of something sinister when one considers we were selling weaponry to Libya not so long ago. We knew who we were in bed with which is another reason why the humanitarian angle rings so hollow.

    But what happens if Gaddafi actually conquers the rebels? We’re gonna be left with one pissed tyrannical former trade partner who may or may not be adverse to sponsoring terrorism. They might as well just put the troops on the ground and ensure the whole thing gets done already.

    Politics is truely a mug game

    Good bullet dodging there on the religious thing! I’m an agnostic, but at the back of my mind the “what if” lingers – but that comes with the territory really

  117. Ah, my mistake then.

  118. Ah, I see… I always questioned the physics behind that one. Thanks for clearing it up Frank.

  119. Gadget – Fair one. Athiest myself, no what if’s for me.

  120. Well said Gadget.

  121. Best be off, have a good one all. Peace.

  122. Frank did you know that in 10 billion years, if the sun permits it, the Earth will become tide locked to the moon. That means thean Earth day will slow down sufficiently to last roughly 4 weeks!

  123. Looking forward to it, Gadget

  124. Here the joke GA, I’m an agnostic in principle, but I the reality is were God to come to me, there nothing he/she could do to convince me he/she is actually God.

    I wrote a short story (unreleased and unpublished – cause I’m cowardly like that) called the Galactus Paradox a few years back which deals with my reasoning for the above in a fun and I think pretty charming and earnest way. But you’ll all have to take my word for it, cause I’m cowardly like that!

  125. Indeed Frank, I wonder if future generations of slackers will still complain about there not being enough hours in the day? It’s my favourite excuse that’s for sure

  126. (not counting what happened a few thousand years ago in Greece)

    Whether it is inevitable or will eventually stall, what intrigues me is how those that have already dealt with the transition to Democracy are surprised that it is often a violent, bloody, and altogether unpleasant one with many failings/internal fights and sometimes worse results from the power vacuums that occur.

    Wars of the breaking of the power of the Church.
    England, their Civil War, eventual lessening of power of monarch.
    American Revolution, Civil War.
    French Revolution, Napolean.
    World War I and fall of Western monarchies.
    Russian Revolution.
    World War II and fascism.
    Rise of Communism and the Cold War.
    etc (probably missed a few top ones).

    The point is, most of those (and the bloodiest) are from the “civilized” West in the last 100 years. Expecting a transition for the rest of the world, let alone for it to be simple or easy, is one of the problems for those already living under this form of rule. It’s a helluva debate/discussion thought, and we are right in the middle of it.

  127. heh… sorry for the late post about a subject from a bit ago, was dealing with an issue here at work and never sent post.

  128. Really Gadget? 4 weeks? That’ll play havoc with pub opening hours.

  129. “Really Gadget? 4 weeks? That’ll play havoc with pub opening hours.”

    Not to mention one’s daily ablutions.

  130. Going to be tricky fitting in 84 meal breaks too, and staying asleep for 224 hours each is going to be a right fucker. Have to get up for a bout 30 pisses. Probably die of dehydration on the first night.

  131. based on busch’s post, I’ve missed some history debate! I’ll have to go investigate..

  132. The way the U.S. Handles its foreign policy makes me embarassed to live here…disgusting….

  133. Rumpy pumpy twice a night becomes entirely possible. Not that it isn’t now of course.

  134. man religion and politics all in one day! man! Not to mention interstellar physics!

    WOW!

    Give us an international break and we’ll give you rousing intellectual debate!

  135. ‘Not tonight, dear’ two nights on the trot will be grounds for divorce.

  136. The average human being will die before they are 3 years of age.

  137. Lets face it people are going to have to make changes and no messing.

  138. How much do you guys think media coverage/reaction has played into the Allies decision to intervene? As you all have rightly pointed out, why an intervention in Libya but not in Darfur?

    In my opinion, I think a lot of the decision comes from pressure put on various governments from the mental images stirred up upon hearing about Gaddaffi having fighter jets and helicopters firing on his own people, rebel or civilian. Why using advanced machines of war on your own citizens is more actionable than using rape and genital mutation, remains to be seen.

  139. glad you are giving that concept its due analysis Frank. So many awesomely ridiculous situations to ponder, so little time!

  140. cmon Vice,

    During the Dubya days, I was right there with you. I’d say foreign policy, outside of properly addressing Pakistan, is one of the areas I have been most satisfied with the Obama administration.

  141. Limestonegunner

    7amkickoff takes a counter view to YW’s and my suggestions that the league is weaker, especially at the top, with today’s post and some comparative statistics. It isn’t a comprehensive analysis but also has some good points that bolster Joshua’s view. Worth a read.

  142. Limestonegunner

    And LA’s view, too!

  143. Arsenal needs a complete makeover next year.
    This year we lost our attractive style of football yet could not get a silverware (so far)..
    Most of the players are ideal as a backup players but not as first team squad. Djouro and Koc. have shown a good performance but TV and another big tough experienced CB should be our first choice. Same applies to Goalkeeping department as the young Pole is very good and promising but we need our first choice to be an experienced GK. Up front, we should be looking for quick strong and big striker who can pass players and challenge in the air.. someone who can play as winger.. Drogba style striker. In my opinion, 9 players should be out and I am sure if we do that, most of those will hardly make it to any EPL team..
    Out:
    1- Almunia
    2- Fabianeski
    3-Squilaci
    4- Ebue
    5- Dinelson
    6-Diaby
    7-Rosicky
    8-Chammakh
    9- Fabregas (if we have to)

    In:
    1- Eduardo or Llorise as Goalee
    2- Metsakar or Gary Cahil as CB
    3- Alo Diara or Mvila as a defensive Midfield
    4- Schweinsteiger or Di Rossi as central Midfield
    5- Cavani or Alvaro Negredo as a striker
    6- Schneider or Gourcuff (If Cesc is leaving).

    In fact, the best transfer deal next summer can be Arsene Wenger OUT if we do not win the title this year..

  144. ‘Just off the to match, light of my life, lunchtime kickoff.’
    ‘Alright, my love, when will you be back?’
    ‘Not late.Sometime this evening, I would think’
    ‘Ok. Enjoy.’
    Thats a fortnight

  145. All EPL players are much, much fitter and that makes a massive difference.

  146. Interesting stat

    “Arsenal haven’t lost a single Premier League game this season when Denilson has been brought on as a substitute, winning 9 out of 10 games.”

  147. Seems Jo Gunner has been spending time on Fifa 11 or CM

  148. Thats a great bit of comedy from Jo Gun there!

  149. Or looking at the stat another way, we have a great record in games which Denilson doesn’t start 😉

  150. Fantastic… all these Championship manager type fans with their 9 – in, 10 – out lists. you’ve got to laugh.
    Jo, here’s some advice… next time read the other contributions on the forum before posting… it might just stop you making a total ass of yourself. Raise your game or stick to Le Grave.

  151. dfb – we have won 17 PL games and Denilson has been involved in 10 (9 wins). Blows your stat away doesn’t it.

  152. Jo Gunner,

    I assume that you are expressing your husband’s views on AFC?

  153. Is Ashley Young out of contract or something? Since someone mentioned he would be on his way to Emirates?

  154. @Jo Gooner
    3-Squilaci
    4- Ebue
    5- Dinelson
    I think you would have trouble selling these guys mate, they dont exist in todays Arsenal team. We got no players named Ebue, Dinelson or Squilaci.

    And you being a bit daft too. who would Schweinsteier play instead of? Fabregas? Song? Ramsey? Walcott? Nasri? Wilshere? Or should he just sit and wait for his turn on the bench ? Do you know what kind of role he plays? what kind of player he is?
    You even seen Cavani play? Do you know what kind of player he is?
    Please tell me, tell me how these two spesific players can make arsenal stronger. How they will interact with the other players*on the pitch) and how their influence and stregthts will make us win more games. Please. please enlighten me. Cos you obviousley have watched them so much you know what and how they play and you must also know how they will fit into the arsenal system. right mate? I am intersted im Mvila to. what qualities does he have that Song dont have? How can he be incorporated in the team? What kind of player is he?
    If you cannot answear these questions i guess you are just one of em wannabees with noe clue at all. You must be able to tell me their strenghts and their contribution to the team and the setup for anyone to take you serious. Like will Cavani be good as a lone striker? Will Mvilla and Schweinsteiger be a gould pairing? What do we do with Wilshere and Cesc and Song? And Ramsey? Three of them warming the bench i pressume? And Landbury? We sell him i guess? together with frimpong and coqueline?
    Can you answear these questions?

  155. Limestonegunner

    Hilarious response, Joshua!

  156. So, the world turns thanks to a combination of ,

    i) Cosmic gas
    ii) Natural (methane) gas
    &
    iii) Political (methane) gas
    ?

  157. “Jo Gunner,

    I assume that you are expressing your husband’s views on AFC?”

    Now, now Dgob, no sexist remarks please!

  158. I am trying to figure out who gave me the biggest joke out of Jo Gun and Spectrum?

  159. NJ Gooner,

    If you think our foreign policy is any different than it was when W. was in office you are seriously being misled by the media coverage (or lack thereof) of our current war mongering…

    *Troops are still in Iraq regardless if they are considered non-combat…we are still there and have a huge military presence which fuels resentment of the US throughout the Middle East.

    * Still fighting a meaningless war in Afghanistan with thousands upon thousands of troops there.

    * Intiating military action in Libya now…this story is still being written

    And all of this is contributing to close to 1 Trillion dollars in military expenditure per year in a country that is on the brink of bankruptcy.

    I would say Bush and Obama are definitely playing from the same playbook. One just has a smoother voice and better stage presence. Our leaders are appalling…and the policies are definitely no different.

  160. Sorry for the political post…just had to get that off of my chest…now back to all things Arsenal.

  161. I think the idea of total squad overhaul is ridiculous but if things don’t go our way the rest of this year I really hope we do break from tradition and make some changes. Adding a couple new players can freshen up the squad and perhaps help with confidence and mentality. I am going to say this real quietly so Shotta does not hear but may be even add a “big name or 2” even if we have to pay a little more then we would like. New faces that everyone recognizes might help the players we have to raise their games. We are overflowing with diamonds in the rough. New players especially someone the fans and players are excited about signing might help the rest of the players up thier game. Never know but the buzz and excitement created might do the squad some good.

  162. Interesting that a very difficult month has coincided with Walcott’s absence. This season I’ve felt he has been a major factor in us breaking down defenses, not to mention keeping them nervous. His decision making has improved so much too. And he and Van Persie have been awesome for each other. Hope he comes back sharp.

    Ashley Young doesn’t have his speed or consistency so let united have him.

  163. Gaddafi’s first order of business when he took over Libya was to kick out the oil companies. The oil companies are back. Simple. The UN and the Americans are just taking advantage of Gadafi’s overreach in order to get what they think is rightfully theirs. If they were serious about wanting democracy in the Arab world they’d do something about Yemen and would have told Saudi Arabia to back away from Bahrain.

  164. Tennessee Arsenal

    Viceologist, What you don’t seem to understand is that in order to maintain peace, the US must go to war. And that the only quantifiable measure of freedom is the freedom of markets. Peace, freedom? Are you seriously against those things?

    That was my best political Muppet. I know I should avoid politics with strangers, but I’m glad to hear that someone, such as yourself Viceologist, is willing to look a truth in the face and talk about it.

    Thanks to those who cleared up the appearance of handball on the goal; I could only watch internet replays (the game wasn’t on here for me) and though I wouldn’t have cared too terribly much if we got refereeing break for once, I’m glad to know that the cross came off the post and not off Bendtner’s arm.

    Since my last post, we’ve had tornadoes, lots of damage, loss of power, here in Tennessee. It should have taught me a little perspective, but I can’t seem to get off the roller coaster ride of supporting Arsenal. As exasperating as the team can be, I still pity those who follow any other club in the world.

  165. Get rid of clichy and we will get rid of all our bad luck. He is tye source of all our bad luck. Remember brum 08?

  166. Worse things have gone on in Africa. You don’t see us charging over there to “help” do you?

    Sorry, thought Libya was in Africa….

  167. So why didn’t it all end after WW1 or WW11, lots of wars and rumors then

  168. When we go on “moon time” how long will a coutry mile be?

  169. * or even country mile

  170. My words of wisdom to almunia… If u want to fuck up, go play a sport like tennis or golf so that if u fuck u don’t make the whole team look shit

  171. Limestonegunner

    It is encouraging to see that the same critical faculties that defy the mainstream football media’s conventional wisdom are likewise on display in analyzing international politics. Enlightened ACLF commenters showing their acumen. Good stuff all around.

  172. our problem is we overlook “the easy games” and are not mentally prepared for looking too far ahead to the bigger games in terms of the PL title. At any stage of the season if you are not ready any team on any day will surprise you. That is evident this season for many teams. Through the best part of the season, playing and beating the big four is what gives the lower teams more impetus. At the business end the lower teams are scrapping for survival. There are no easy games. If there were, this would not be the Premier League!

    Arsenal are still in the race, so get realistic and support the team. We are where we are in terms of injuries, bad luck, poor referee decisions, and available team sheet selections. We are not the only team suffering from this. AW does need to address issues in the Summer, but as always it will be minor tweaks as wholesale changes are not in line with club policy and more than anything it would be admitting his “model” does not work. Something I think he is too deep into and too proud to admit and change.

  173. Top post G69

  174. Oil has been a curse for all the African countries, it has brought the people nothing but death, despair and poverty. Angola, Nigeria, Libya and most recently Ghana. Although in Ghana’s case a commission has been set up to make sure the same mistakes that befell the likes of Angola and Nigeria don’t happen in Ghana. but we all know it’s a matter of time till the special interest groups take over.

    In fact they tried under the previous government, when Exxon-Mobil tried to purchase a stake in one of the oil fields but was told to join the rest of the bidders, a mysterious article was suddenly published in the reputable financial magazine that labeled Ghana as the worst country in terms of rule of law.

  175. Passenal,

    “Now, now Dgob, no sexist remarks please!”

    I do not follow your comment!

  176. Dgob whatPassenal means is we are women and can perfectly think for ourselves and why do u assume Jo- whoever is a woman?

  177. Or even that’s Jo’s off the wall thoughts are their own Firstlady!

  178. Lge games won in which Song has not started – 0%

    That is a telling stat.

  179. Just been on Le moan site, first time in a long time, now I know why!!! Why do those guys get up in the morning????

  180. GA,
    I saw that too, but I wonder how telling the stat really is. Is Song really that important to us winning or is it that we’ve not won the games he missed because a) he is usually only dropped/rested for games where many of our other 1st teamers also don’t feature b) his injury coincided with our recent bad run of form, which is in turn connected to injuries to some of our other key players, and our tendency to play below par in ‘crunch’ games.

  181. Good point andy. Song and Walcott both. So important this season.

  182. Henristic, yes he is. 100%. Best defensive-minded midfielder in the league.

  183. Quote of the day:
    “I would say Bush and Obama are definitely playing from the same playbook. One just has a smoother voice and better stage presence. Our leaders are appalling…and the policies are definitely no different.”
    – viceologist | March 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

    PS: I am currently reading Chalmers Johnson’s trilogy on the American Empire of military bases and totally supports Viceologist’s post. He used to be a CIA consultant so let us not have the usual nonsense about left and right.

  184. Passenal,

    I totally concur and my suggestion was that her comments were (shall we say) acquired without personal reflection? As for the assumption about gender, that was based on the spelling of Jo’s name and the fact that most of my acquantances who spell/abbreviate their name in that manner are women.

    Firstlady, as far as women being able to think for themselves is concerned I really don’t know why you would feel the need to make so obvious a statement! We obviously don’t know each other but I am a little surprised by that interpretation of my original comment.

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