Selling Clubs, International Snubs – Club Football Is Nearly Back

We must position ourselves as a selling club. We must change our mentality

Had those words been spoken by Peter Hill-Wood, Ivan Gazidis, Arsène Wenger or any director / senior manager of Arsenal Football Club, the howls of derision would have been heard for years to come. ‘Selling club‘ is the derisory term of choice when a presumed-to-be promising youngster is sold whilst the pet hate – insert your choice of Denilson, Almunia or Diaby – remains at the club.

Yet the words came from Sandro Rosell. Barcelona need to change their mentality to see themselves as a “selling club“, an acknowledgment of the loss of promising youngsters cheaply at the same time their finances are nowhere near as strong as those of a club that big ought to be.  Indeed he admitted that it would take up to four years to improve them.

With that in mind, the PR started over this summer’s coming blockbuster, Cesc 2 – The Empire Strikes Back. Barcelona won’t pay more than £35m because as he gets closer to the end of his contract, the cheaper he becomes and, they cannot afford it.

Rosell also admitted that Barcelona’s relationship with Arsenal is not good. It seems that Jon Harper Toral leaving has upset the Catalans, a realisation that ‘Mes Que Un Club‘ means little or nothing to anyone outside of the Camp Nou. Loyalty is not what it used to be, eh Sandro?

But fear not, a solution is at hand as Afellay is surplus to requirements in a timescale that makes Clive Allen eligible for a long service award and is going to be a makeweight in the Cesc deal. Except he is not because Arsène does not want that to happen. That pesky Wenger is always foiling the deal.

A million transfer dreams were relaunched this weekend as the future of the Arsenal midfield clashed in Cardiff, several previously linked players have hinted that they might be interested in a move to the Premier League.

Per Mertesacker has apparently not been enjoying himself at Werder Bremen this season so last Summer’s pledges of loyalty to his employers are seeming a tad rash whilst a hollowness emerges with his view that he might enjoy playing in the Premier League. Legendary transfer tale, Eden Hazard, may not even be leaving Ligue 1 if Lyon get their way, a mighty and tempting offer to be lobbed in the Belgian’s direction to once more foil the player’s non-transfer to Arsenal.

After yesterday, no doubt we can add Neymar to this list as well.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Fabio Capello could have done Wilshere a favour by sending him home. It appears that the exit to Barcelona in the Champions League was more costly as this competition – and injury – are the only reasons for releasing players for tomorrow’s pointless friendly against Ghana.

Apparently it is going to be a cursory relief. The Italian is reportedly going to change the whole of the starting line-up which begs the question as to why he will not be releasing the whole of the squad. He could learn more about the strength in depth – or lack of it – that English football possesses by having no international experience on show.

But he didn’t so it is what it is. The growing concern is that the Football Association is now planning for a confrontation with Arsenal over the Under-21s tournament in Denmark. Pearce is going to be backed whatever he chooses, Capello has sidestepped the issue by claiming no responsibility for the junior side. Yet he should be asking what benefit does Wilshere get by playing at a lower level?

The experience of internationals? He is getting that with the senior team to the extent that he is the midfield fixture with Gerrard and Lampard fighting to get a spot alongside him. Tournament experience? He plays twice a week for his club so knows all about games coming quickly in succession. And as for it being at international level, well let’s not kid ourselves, Uefa might like to think it but the European Under-21 Championship is nowhere near as important or high profile as the senior tournaments.

Wilshere might be young and have the energy to play these fixtures but if he does, it sets Arsenal’s pre-season back. He will rejoin training a fortnight or more later than the rest of the squad. Which means he might miss the opening fixtures. Sorry but that and potential injury, outweighs any junior and insignificant international tournament.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 28, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 156 Comments.

  1. Hopefully this is just a ‘Ryan Giggs strain’ – http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11095_6837580,00.html

    And if it is – Wilshere should be told to pick one up just before he picks up the phone to that meddling cunt Stuart Pearce this summer.

  2. Limestonegunner

    JW needs to open his eyes and consider carefully who has his long term interests and career at heart: the outgoing England manager, the U21 manager or the longtime manager of his club who has nurtured his development since age 9? It was very foolish of him to make public comments about his desire to play in this useless tournament at this time.

    If he can’t see what happened to Theo, what the effect of playing constantly in summer international tournaments has had on Cesc, and appreciate that Rooney never played U21 matches after establishing himself in the senior Englamd team, then he should remember that getting injured next year in our crowded central midfield may just give Ramsey the opportunity to take back the spot he lost to Jack while getting injured for Arsenal and not because he prioritized international football over his club career.

  3. clockend@rider.com

    I’m afraid it’s still all about Pearce reviving his poor managerial career. If he gave a damn about the player or the country he’d admit what we all know which is that being a first team fixture at both club and country level mean that you’ll never gain experience or knowledge by attending a junior tournament. The English obsession with winning a tournament, at any level, to somehow make up for the fact that we’ve done bugger all at international first team level since 1966 with one notable exception in 1990 will continue to hamstring the development of world class footballers in this country. It’s all very well Pearce saying we should look at Spain who won mjunior tournaments prior to winning Euro and world cups at national level. Fact is, they didn’t do it by playing young men who were key first team regular at both club and international level as they understand that winning the junior tournament isn’t the important thing. Pearce is yet another brick in the wall. Yet another who is part of the problem as he doesn’t understand the solution. The man was , is and continues to be a joke.

  4. The German kids were ‘fast-tracked’ through the U-21’s, and playing in a WC when they were 20/21.

    Psycho & his trusty sidekick, Bruiser failed to pick up players like Albrighton (now 21) till this year, and have not picked the likes of Lansbury or even Wilshere that much in recent seasons, and so on.

    The wireless said that Benik Afobe had a good game for Huddersfield yesterday.

  5. They should allow wilshere develop properly. England are always in a search for a new hero because thier team is plain crap. However it is wilshere who is encouraging all this with wanting to play for U-21 and national team, im not afraid of what happend to walcott with jack, he is a tough lad and he is eager to show all.
    hope he doesnt suffer a burnout at the start of next season

  6. Jeff

    > im not afraid of what happend to walcott with jack, he is a tough lad and he is eager to show all. hope he doesnt suffer a burnout at the start of next season

    Burnout manifests itself as injuries…

    YW

  7. Borges Spinelli

    Greetings troopers,

    Ad nauseum reliance on Wilshere isn’t a good thing in the longterm for Team England. Besides the obvious weight of expectations on his young shoulders leading to a greater risk of him failing to deliver; equally deserving players, seeking inclusion into the national team will inevitably get overlooked. Thereby stagnating the english talent pool.

    Take for example Neymar, who is same age as Wilshere, if he were unable to represent Brasil for any reason, there are a multitude of equally gifted players that could quite easily replace him. In the senior team Pato, Nilmar, Fabiano, Robinho, Grafite et.al.

    Someone please tell me why a nation of 63-65 million can’t produce JUST 5-10 exciting prospects every season? Is that a mammoth task far beyond the capability of football’s founding nation of ‘grit’? Off the top of my head: France does, Nigeria also. So does Espanha, and Holanda (with barely a population of 20 million), Czech Republica & Serbia (roughly 10 million each) do too.

  8. I don’t suppose Wilshere had much choice but to answer the way he did when asked. I thought his answer was quite mature. He could hardly say no, that would have led to an unnecessary storm. If you read his Twitter profile he clearly sees himself as a senior international. It’s up to the managers to decide, but since Capello has no spine and Pearce has no brain or respect for Arsene, we all know what is going to happen. Sadly Jack and Arsenal will be the losers.

  9. Players like Afobe, even the embroyonic star of Chel$ki’s ‘academy’ (don’t laugh) McEachran, players who need the games, should be the stars of the U21’s. Not players who need a rest, as seen with many PL ‘star’ players in this post WC season, playing in the most intensive league there is.

    It would be charitable to describe the FA as useless.

    Arsenal have the better stadium, & the better players. Fuck ’em all.

  10. Borges Spinelli

    “The English obsession with winning a tournament, at any level, to somehow make up for the fact that we’ve done bugger all at international first team level since 1966 with one notable exception in 1990 will continue to hamstring the development of world class footballers in this country.”

  11. 52 million

  12. Might be interesting if Wiltshire plays the Cesc role. He needs to develop that part of his game.

    but agree he needs to used sparingly.

  13. There are definitely emough talented u21 players in England. The problem lies with the FA and the England management team. They have always been able to make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. The 4-3-3 formation is just a small case in point.

  14. Will Wales’ new Captain be called up for Euro U21?

  15. Borges Spinelli

    Lol..I can’t say I remember England ever winning a World Cup in 1990.

    In the US, Canada and Brasil coming 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and shit-th doesn’t count in any sphere of life.

    http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/news/newsid=1402567.html?cid=newsletter_en_20110324_interview

  16. I’d guess that youth development is still in disarray in this country, but the big clubs are bucking the trend by prioritising technique etc. Massive improvements have been made over the last ten years. And the upshot is that there are a bunch of players about to break through around the country who are quite unlike the kind of players we’ve become used to seeing. It pains me to say it, but Josh McEachran’s definitely one – I watched the Youth Cup match and he dominated in the way Wilshere did for us a couple of years ago. He’ll be in the England team in the next 18 months or so.

    Our own Aneke’s another; he’s got ridiculous technique and vision, but has been kept out of the limelight quite well and has had a few injuries this season. Meanwhile his Ravel Morrison guy is being talked up as ManU’s brightest prospect since Scholes, Beckham etc, but sounds like a bit of a nutter.

  17. I would be very surprised if in Canada and Brazil in particular winning an Olympic silver medal was not seen as a success….and both countries would be delighted with a series of 2nd or 3rd, podium finishes, in Formula One.

  18. LA

    Don’t think Wales qualified but conceivably, Ramsey may play for Team GB in the Olympics. More clarification from the Welsh at the weekend. Sepp Blatter has told them not to worry but apparently they don’t trust him so won’t take his word. I suppose that if it were put in writing that would do. Or maybe not…

    YW

  19. Yes I think that England is on the cusp of something special too, Big Al, Perhaps despite the FA and management team.

  20. Anyone daft enough to trust Sepp Blatter deserves all that is coming to them

  21. I prefer the bonuses and fines system of inducement. £6million if you win. Off with the bollies if you lose.

  22. if the lad goes then he wont start an Arsenal game until mid or late sept! wenger wouldnt really have much choice but to rest him and ease him back in to the first team THE REALITY IS JACK PLAY FOR THE U21’S YOU MISS ARSENAL’S FIRST 5 GAMES NEXT SEASON!!

  23. clockend@rider.com

    Borges Spinelli @11.54. I did
    n’t say we won it in 1990. I wrote “we’ve done bugger all… witht he exception of 1990”. At which we reached the semi and were within penalties of reaching the final. Please read what is written rather than what you would like to have read before criticising. It makes all the difference.

  24. Yes Frank, and as its the Premier League clubs either bringing these players through from the age of nine or perfecting them as teenagers, there’s got to be bit more respect.

  25. I can only say I fully expect Pearce to select Wilshire. It is appauling but expectable. The problem stems from the FA’s inability to combat the various issues which surround the national team. Some rules need to be installed.. for instance: reinstalling ex captains who have a record of cheating on fellow players’ wives. Terry is scum, was proven so, yet he represents the national team. What does that say to kids who look up to these players?

    Its these players and the FA’s inability that have lead me to not even giving a shite about the national team.

  26. Borges Spinelli

    Buddy, I weren’t criticizing, merely poking fun/musing at how semi-final placing is seen as an achievement by the creators of football.

    @Frank we don’t celebrate whenever Felipe Massa comes 2nd in Grand Prix.

  27. I don’t believe you, Borges

  28. Depending upon the circumstances of the race, most Formula One fans find a podium finish cause for celebration.

  29. It would be a good thing for England if Jack Wilshere went for the under 21s. At least some of those players are going to join him later in the national team and it would be a good thing if they started playing together earliest possible. Many great players have had the benefit of playing for their junior sides and its benefited them a great deal. Rooney didn’t and England hasn’t won anything anyway. But so much for the long term benefits to England. It benefits Arsenal nothing. And since I’ve never supported the English team I’d care less. As Kenyan Manutd supporters say: “Who cares what Rooney does for England?”

  30. Brazil at the Grove almost makes up for the lack of Premiership action. Not the first time this ground has seen a battle-hardened defence torn appart by an 8-stone teenager.

    Apparently Neymar’s buy-out clause is something rediculous like 50 million. Be a few years at least before we see him in Europe, if at all. And even then I’d bet on Spain as the likely destination.

  31. Borges Spinelli

    Oh and y’all stole Lennox Lewis after he won Olympics gold for Canada. In athletics, a Nigerian-American who was former junior World Champion has also been tapped to represent England/GB. Hmmm, I s’ppose Denilson and Almunia are now eligible to represent Team England in future tournaments.

    Before, all call for my head on a platter. Remember that I’m jesting. I’m just injecting a little humor to an otherwise quiet period for us ACLF regulars.

  32. Borges @ 11:32, I’m quoting here, but as Eamon Dunphy (I think) said: “You need dictatorships and oppression to produce the best footballers”. And as legendary Nigerian running trainer Dr. (can’t remember his name) said: “Too much democracy spoils athletes”.

  33. Can somebody tell this guy that he will soon be burnt out like many england players! eeh!

  34. Borges, Almunia actually is eligible for England. The fact that he wasn’t even considered was a big blow to his confidence a few years back IMO.

  35. Limestonegunner

    Wilshere needn’t have said anything other than that summer was a long way off and he was concentrating first on the England Euro qualifier and the title run-in for his club Arsenal, all the while saying that it was an honor to play at all levels for his country. Simple. No need to express interest in the specific tournament at issue and undermine any of his coaches/managers. He has made it very hard for Arsenal to make the case, since now the FA and the media and Pierce will say, “But the lad wants to play!”. The real failure is Capello’s, failing to take responsibility for his first team and say that he needs him fit for England’s Euro campaign and that he doesn’t fancy his first team players playing at lower levels once they are established in the senior squad.

  36. Borges Spinelli

    Surely, Almunia has gotta be better than Robert Green and grandpa David James. As long as I live, I shall never forget Green’s howler. Were he a Colombian, he’d be long dead putanheiro.

  37. I would rather JW be involved in an international tournament and all the discipline that goes with it, than him stay at home, having brawls outside nightclubs and spitting at taxi-drivers, even scum ones. In fact we should do a deal with Pearce, he can take Wilshere as long as he lines up like this
    Shea,
    Eastmond, Hoyte, Bartley, Gibbs,
    Lansbury, Frimpong, Wilshere
    Emmanuel-Thomas, Afobe, Watt
    Subs: Cruise, Randall, Aneke, Murphy, Freeman, Deacon, Yennaris

  38. Borges Spinelli

    I used to admire Capello. Not anymore. The man is fast losing credibility as one capable of making sound judgments IMO.

  39. I agree with bc

  40. I think that you re a pompous, witless idiot, Borges, with poor comic timing. Of course you know I am only joking. Maybe.

  41. Borges Spinelli – 63-65 million population, so thats what its all about is it? so why havent China won the world cup? or USA? or India? Anyhow do some research, of that 60 odd million, how many are women?, children? immigrants? over 35’s? The facts are that England are one of the most successful countries ever to play in the world cup for a start they have actually won it, something only 8 countries have achieved with only 5 countries having had more success than England. Sure England are generally dissappointing at the finals, but that is borne more out of expectation being so high.

  42. ….52 million

  43. Brilliant writing as usual, Yogi.

    “But fear not, a solution is at hand as Afellay is surplus to requirements in a timescale that makes Clive Allen eligible for a long service award and is going to be a makeweight in the Cesc deal. Except he is not because Arsène does not want that to happen. That pesky Wenger is always foiling the deal.”

    That part made me laugh out loud and earned me a couple of curious and bewildered looks in the office.

  44. bc | Marh 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    Brilliant.

  45. http://yfrog.com/h03z8gaj

    Quiz for all: How many goals had RVP scored with his right foot?

    Not really a quiz as I don’t know the answer. I’d guess about 10.

  46. http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/82141.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

    Barry wants wilshere to play for U-21s.
    Of course you want him to play for U-21s Barry. Scared that he’s going to replace you by any chance? He’s already done that, fool.

  47. Borges Spinelli

    @Frank

    Pompous I may be, and with good reasons too. An uptight, name-calling, tedious clown slash cyber tough guy with issues. I’m clearly not. Does the cap fit, Sir?

    @bc
    The countries you’ve listed never invented football. ENGLAND did! Thus more thought should have been weaved into the art of developing technically assured players, before exporting the sport to territories afar.
    Neither did I suggest, that a greater population was a contributory factor to success.
    England’s footballing prowess is a myth. Based upon long expired previous success (1966, yippee). FIFA ranking means NOTHING. Last World Cup performance clearly suggests it’s an undeserved tokenism, from corrupt FIFA officials designed to massage sore national egos and placate your infamous hooligans. You dig?

  48. Yogi:

    Interesting to start transfer talk already. Not sure what the boss should do about Cesc at this point. Clearly he wanted to go last year. We can’t keep him forever under those circumstances. Perhaps we should get as much as possible for him as long as we do something with the money. His recurrent hamstring problems mean we need to become better at playing without him in the line up anyway. When we become overly dependent on his passing we seem to struggle when he is gone or not in top form. I would like to see us move away from the “standard Wengerball” since it seems to need Cesc to function properly. More and more we see that 65 – 70% of ball possession and lots of passes does not equal 3 points. We had 30% of the ball against Barca in the first leg and we were still the better team. I would like to see more counter attacking and more direct attacking even if it means less ball possession. The red Manc’s have less talent and technical ability then us yet they have scored more goals then us in each of the last 6 years. Chelsea also outscores us most years. The high defensive line makes it tougher for our defenders and GK so we end up playing a system that is ultra high risk, yet we still get outscored by the teams we are competing with for the trophies. Hopefully with the return of Theo and Cesc we will win the last 9 games and my ideas can be rightfully trashed.

    Your point about Jack missing preseason is a good one. Depending on the results of the business end of this season hopefully the boss will do some significant business this summer. He seems to enjoy waiting until the end of the window to bring in some players such as Squillers. May be it saves a few quid but I wonder if Squillers season might have gone better if he had been able to go thru preseason with the team.

  49. Further to my post @ 12:42 pm, if anyone is interested the actual quote is from Dr. Woldemeskel Kostre, the inspirational coach behind some of Ethiopia’s most successful long-distance runners:

    “Athletes and soldiers need discipline and respect. Respect for their fellow man, for the coach, for the country and respect for the government. Too much democracy only spoils the athletes. Democracy begets idleness”

  50. The cap does indeed fit, young man. It has been designed that way. But you take yourself a little too seriously. Don’t you thinkl?

  51. Thinkl being short for thinklsplot

  52. Bill, great post!

  53. Why do u guys like to take the piss out of borges? I thought he spoke some sense. Arsenal are trying to be like brazil (class of 71) right? That is the aim? To have a brazillian gooner is brilliant i say. No need to be up tight when we all know that england is shite in football. Its reality. England is the blackburns….the sunderlands….the wolves of world football….oh yeah not to mention stoke… Totally all grit and rubbish with cunts like terry and lampard playing for them.

  54. Liar? Troll? Or idiot?

    Squillaci came in at the end because he was not the first D-fencer the club had bid for in the off-season. That does not include Koscielny.

  55. Wenger is trying to emulate that great brazillian team of ’71…. By god let him try……that team was made in heaven…..

  56. No. Arsenal are not trying to emulate Brazil of ’71, Max Gunner. Nor are they trying to emulate Spain of ’10.

  57. All three, Finsbury. And an utter fucking wind-up cunt to boot.

  58. Borges Spinelli

    For the record, Frank. I actually like you, just not your overzealous actinium. We are, afterall, football fans with The Mighty ARSENAL in common. Which crosses over cultural boundaries.

    @Max G
    Salutes you.

  59. Who the hell would want to play as Spain in the WC? They were pathetic, toothless, boring. Had incredible luck against Paraguay.

    Chile on the other hand were fantastic, dominated Spain and lost due to a keeper fluke. Then were unlucky to face Brazil so early, as they have a mental block when playing us.

  60. Old I may be, but 89 I am not.

  61. Spain @ the WC has been just smoke and mirrors. Supposedly the greatest attacking team in national team football, they barely managed to score more than one goal in their games. Compared to the European Championship, where they dominated and won deservedly, Spain 2010 has been a rather lucky team.

    And if someone wants to know why? Not starting Cesc. 🙂 Whenever he came on, he changed the game for them. I think that the WC 2010 more than anything went on to prove that Cesc is better than Xavi. Defences that Xavi’s passes could not unlock … well, Cesc did that with ease. And that is again the reason why Barca are so desperate to get Cesc. They do not want to buy him so he can sit on the bench, they want to buy him because he is the best central midfielder in the world and Xavi’s old age is starting to show.

  62. The best football at that tournament was played by Germany. But as we as Arsenal fans all know, playing the best football is not a guarantee that you will win anything at all.

  63. Uruguay is a fucking boring team to watch but not spain. I know they have those barca idiots but they are pleasing to the eye.

    Frank…..4-3-3? The only team that plays that way is brazil’71…… the team that bastardize the 4-3-3 is italy…. Making it a catenaccio 4-5-1. Fucking italian bastards.

  64. Yes I was referring to the fact that everyone for some time has spotted that the best English midfield players play in a 4-3-3 for their clubs, but Capello insisted on playing them in a 4-4-2 until the last game. Pundits are just as bad, wittering on about fucking diamond formations for the last two centuries.

  65. A forward line of wellington- rvp- walcott? Or wellington- walcott- neymar? I can dream can’t i? Eh?

  66. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/timvickery/2011/03/centre_forwards_in_focus_for_b.html

    Interesting article on the subtle differences between Brazil and Argentina’s 4-3-3 formations. Well, Brazil are more 4-2-3-1 but you get the idea. He equates Argentina’s formation to that of Barcelona with Messi a ‘false’ number 9. I can’t help but feel that Brazil, who use the traditional centre-forward/ target man up top are more like Arsenal this season.

    Watching Brazil try to break down a dogged defence at the Emirates was eerily familiar. Wonder if the similar style of play influenced the location of the Scotland friendly on Sunday. Their coach claimed they needed to be less reliant on counter-attacks and learn to break defensive teams down. Where better to practice?

  67. England playing an attacking 4-3-3? Not with players like lampard, gerrard and fat shrek ! England would be torn to shreds by the likes of germany, spain and brazil mate…. Shawcross as dm anyone?

    That christmas tree formation nearly worked in ’96. I really thought football was coming home that summer…sigh…. Fucking gazza nearly won it all by himself. Maybe another christmas tree frank?

  68. Markus, i thought the argies loved their 4-4-2? With 2 dms sitting?

  69. Ryo-Walcott-Wellington

    =

    Pace!

    Fastest Arsenal team of all time:

    Jens( Quick temper)

    Sagna – Koscielny – Vermaelan (?) – Clichy

    Wiltord* – Nasri – Reyes (had to pick him)

    Walcott – Henry – Overmars

    * He played as a not very orthodox right ole winger for that squad that won the league at OT. Sorry about that Trolls. Maybe this year, the sorry mancs can lose the league at the Arsenal Stadium. Interesting that the mancs are hoping to import an army of Brazillians via Portugal to help improve their squad. Yes, they must obviously have ‘great technique’ at the club already. And lots of contact with South American ‘agents’. *sniff sniff*.

  70. If cesc were to bugger off in the summer, will diego be a good replacement? I mean diego is more suitable playing in the bergkamp role than cesc…. Cesc is more like mattias sammer of germany?

  71. The ginormous Football Brain will realise that I forgot to nominate a notional D**Mer above. Ah well, take your pick.

  72. Borges Spinelli

    The spaniard team of 2010 would have lost, had we faced ’em. But for Felipe Melo’s lunacy.

  73. Wenger loves felipe melo, borges. I can see why. This arsenal team actually needs a complete nutter like that. We missed jens, wrighty, paddy v…..

  74. Finsbury, what a lineup. Nasri could be that dm.

  75. D**Mnation, Nasri it is.

  76. Finsbury mate… Dunno about sylvain in that box to box cm role mate….but he is fast though. Thats what we are missing in this team of ’10/11… Pure pace….we have only walcott now whereas in ’98 we have overmars, anelka, wright.

  77. Some friends have compared this current Arsenal team (when fit) with Brasil ’58. Not sure why, don’t know if I care, but it’s a good excuse to watch some old footage:

  78. I say we drop Kos and TV, Finsbury. Bac and Gael can deal with all that D-Fence rubbish. We do play an ‘ultra high-risk’ brand of football after all, and let’s not forget it! (Though really we’ve conceded less goals than precious Man Utd have but shhhhhh! Whisper it!) So let’s drop the centrebacks and have wingbacks on top of wingbacks in there instead… Vela and Traore IN.

    Maybe Gibbs over Reyes for some rapid emergency protection.

  79. Max Gunner,

    Yes, you’re probably right there. That’s why I like the Brasil ’58 reference.
    Apparently, they played a 4-2-4 type of formation thingy.
    I guess that’d require another midfielder in for Reyes or Wiltord above.

    Gibbs for Reyes! Perfect. Thanks Limpar.

  80. Limestonegunner

    Evil, good point about Spain earlier. I think they looked far more dangerous, direct, and penetrative of defenses when Cesc came in to the lineup. He should have been starting. This is why when some folks say, why would he go to Barca and sit on the bench behind Xavi and Iniesta, my response is that there is a false presumption he would sit. He’s got the best of both worlds–talent and skill plus the ability to play directly and quickly. He hasn’t been at his best this season because of the WC and his nagging hamstrings, but the fact is Rosell keeps talking about him for a reason. Let’s hope we win the league and keep Cesc for several more wonderfully successful years. He’s on a long term contract, so I am not so worried about this summer. At that point, Nasri, JW, Ramsey and others can take over central creative duties.

    I am more concerned right now, actually, that Nasri hasn’t signed his extension. Hopefully, he will.

  81. Limestonegunner

    What did Rosell mean about needing to be “a selling club”? It would be helpful to have access to the whole story or more of the interview to know what he means. Maybe he didn’t mean what we understand when we hear that phrase, though some dimension of fiscal adjustment is obviously implied–perhaps he means that they will have to try to make good sales of players to afford purchases instead of piling up huge debt. What we think of as a “selling club” is of a club that can’t hang onto its best players and really uses the transfers away to keep the club afloat. Arsenal proved last summer that it wasn’t a “selling club” at all. We may not be big purchasers at the top end either but that’s because we don’t fit into the usual categories–we are a different kind of big club.

  82. Not sure about dropping Koscielny.
    He’s too fast to be be dropped from Arsenal’s fastest ever team.

  83. Borges Spinelli

    If Fábregas were to leave, I’d like Wenger to put a bid in for Renato Augusto. That dude is Mozart with the ball. Monster of a player.

    Heck, I’d go as far as to bring his Leverkusen teammate, Arturo Vidal, as well. Both combine perfectly in the Bundesliga. Renato I know more about, ‘cos I’ve watched him play several times, when he was at Fluzão.

    He’s also likely to be cheaper than Hazard Eden. And already is accustomed to the demands of a physical league, where he currently thrives at.

  84. Borges Spinelli

    Para dizer a verdade, já temos duas equipes genuinamente brasileiras, 1970 e 1982.

  85. Course he will, Limestone. That’s something you do in the summer holidays… phoning in your wage demands from the hot banks of the river Lot as it winds up through the mountains and… “Hold on, Arsene… there’s a bite on one of these lines…” Samir reaching down now to the fishing wire looped around his big toe, trailing off into the shady water and reeds downstream… he pulls it up toward him but it’s no fish biting here… rather a chilled bottle of Sancere cleverly planted earlier. “I’ll have to call you back tomorrow, Arsene. The reception up here is rubbish” – winks at Tatiana here, whispering “Pass us that loaf of bread, Tat – and get the other cheese from the napsack. I’ll cork this, shan’t be long.”

    We all know he’s staying.

  86. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I agree with Frank, LimparAssist and finsbury. There’s something foul about this Borges. He’s already proved he’s a hypocrite, but now he’s starting to lean towards xenophobe with these latest comments. As for Bill the bridge dweller, everyone already knows hes a fucking plastic and doesn’t have the spine. The fucking dirty Manc rat.

  87. Cesc is staying too, incidentally. FYI.

  88. Limestonegunner

    Passenal, looking back over the quotes more carefully, I think you are right and I was unfair to JW. JW did give a suitable response that doesn’t overly tie Arsenal’s hands, not that the club can really do anything about it. He didn’t specifically talk about the U21’s as far as I can tell. The real problem, though, I still believe is that Capello isn’t asserting the importance and priority of duty in the full senior England team over the U21’s. He also is bending to ManU and Chelsea with the excuse of the CL. But, as 7amkickoff, points out. If that is the principle involved in sending players home ahead of the Ghana friendly, why are none of Tottenham’s players being released. So, Capello is playing unfair. Obviously, at the FA there is much pressure on behalf of ManU and Chelsea’s interests but not the same for Arsenal or other clubs.

  89. Você que mate?

    Por exemplo,
    Garrincha.

  90. Quoted from The Sun:

    “THE man vying for Sepp Blatter’s job as FIFA chief has told his rival:
    Clear off — nobody likes you.”

    Amen to that…

  91. Foda-se. Wjat uma dor na bunda todo este material é Português!

  92. Parece inacreditável que o único rival, Joseph Blatter, para a presidência é do Qatar!

  93. Borges Spinelli

    Xenophobe would imply that I were afraid of foreigners. And the hypocrite and foul tag, well, well. Those again, would be incorrect slurs, Nasir.
    Moving on…

  94. Sorry. I mean…It seems unbelievable that the only rival Sepp Blatter has for the presidency is Qatari!

  95. Oh…And fuck you Barca

  96. Whilst phobia has come to mean fear in the case of xenophobia it means contempt, resistant , dislike or even hate

  97. Ya Frank, that Qatari probably didn’t kick a ball in his life either, but still I will take him over Sepp Blatter the Barca ass licker….Your next too Platini

  98. Limestonegunner

    I think the Qatari Bin Hammam has been a major and popular figure in international football for a long time and president of the Asian federation. I heard on some podcast during the bid controversies that many national federations (outside of Europe and North America) were unhappy with aspects of Blatter’s presidency and wanted reforms, and that anti-Blatter support from all quarters had gathered around Bin Hammam as a reformist option at the last election but he ended up not challenging that time. In the intervening time, it certainly doesn’t look great that Qatar gets a WC, but if the idea that was suggested was that Bin Hammam’s challenge was neutralized by giving the Qatari bid a boost, it doesn’t seem to have worked.

    Interesting situation but I wonder what is meaningfully different in the platform of Bin Hammam and what his record really has been through the 90’s and last decade when he was becoming a major figure in Asian and world football administrative circles.

  99. In German they say Fremdenfeindlichkeit (sort of animosity for for foreigners), which always seemed so much stronger than Xenophobia.

    Hang on – deja vu – haven’t we done this before?

  100. Limestonegunner

    LA, I am glad you feel confident about Nasri signing from his poolside vacationing this summer. I had asked you last week, or so, about what you thought of his “now or never” comments. I believe it was dredged up from January and just indicated his real determination and focus on the great chances we had (and still have) this season. Regarding his summer contract negotiations, you can’t fault a player for wanting to wait until his value and bargaining power is at its height, certainly, or to wanting to delay anything that might be a distraction during the season.

  101. A major figure in Asian Football? A major figure in world football? Bit dissociated from reality, don’t you think? Major figure bullshit that is just FIFA and media spin. It seems odd that the only two candidates for the presidency are a bloke who confesses that he never played the game and another from a country with one football pitch.

  102. Not a single candidate from the huge footballing nations of Europe or South South America. Nor USA nor Russia. Nor Africa. But he is from Qatar and represents…Asia? And no-one else is interested. Is someone trying to pull my whatsit?

  103. Borges Spinelli

    “It seems odd that the only two candidates for the presidency are a bloke who confesses that he never played the game and another from a country with one football pitch.”

    Marvelous! The depths which modern football has plunged to is just marvelous.

  104. Limestonegunner

    Frank is right about the phobia definition, I think. It has a range of connotation–we mistake the common use in medical/psychological definitions for various paralyzing fears as the dominant meaning. But disgust or aversion are very possible too, and perhaps the term suggests that there are some relationships between all these feelings and emotional responses.

    Still, I don’t see any reason for such hostility toward Borges. And I do believe him when he says they don’t really celebrate coming in 2nd in Formula 1 all that hard. Semis in a WC though is a bigger accomplishment by far! Maybe not for Brazil or Germany, but everyone else deserves to feel pretty proud.

    I know the Turks were wild about getting to the semis in the Korea/Japan WC 2002. That was a really fun and exciting team–my favourite player was Hasan Sas; bald head, big eyebrows and impudently confident on the ball in the center of their midfield and attack. Ilhan Mansiz’s golden goal against Senegal in the quarters was probably the highlight. Turkish football was at something of a zenith with that generation of players from the late 90’s doing well in Europe (at our expense one year–aargh!) and coming into European club football’s top leagues during those years. It is a large population with an incredible passion for football and a growing economy, so we might see them attain similar heights in the future, but that was a fantastic achievement.

  105. jeez that nasri-jones-nasri was pretty harsh on bill. pop quiz-why would a dirty manc Rat Regularly Read an arsenal blog? my answer-he probably doesn’t unless he has some crazy disease where you love team A then read a blog about team B. Borges i think you sound like a nice fellow.

  106. Nasir @ 4:44:

    Another fine post. I suggest you make a hot key for each different variation of the F word so you can type each one with only 1 key stroke. Save you a lot of time.

  107. Brazilians loved it when Massa came second in 2008. Believe me. Absolutely fucking loved it.

  108. Borges Spinelli

    How comes more high profile ex-footballers aren’t encouraged to get involve with FIFA? One would think, at least they were best placed to understand the challenges of modern day football. Relics from the past ought to give way to the likes of Zidane, Bergkamp, Ginola, George Weah etc.

  109. To the tune of 6 million ways to die, choose one (DJ Hype Zinc mix):

    Where have all the young trolls gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the young trolls gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the young trolls gone?
    Gone to Troll every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

  110. Limestonegunner

    Frank, Blatter has run unopposed at least once (perhaps twice?) before. Now there is someone challenging and just because you seem not to have heard of him doesn’t mean he isn’t a major figure administratively (which is what I meant, since we are talking about the leadership of FIFA, the body that administers football globally). As Asia is the largest confederation by population and where the game is now growing fastest (who is out of touch?), if a reformist challenge is to come against Blatter (a Swiss European, let’s remember), why wouldn’t it come from areas like Asia or Africa which haven’t been represented in the past and where football is establishing itself more recently. Is FIFA only now a corrupt or out of touch organization? Hasn’t it been a blight on the game since at least Rouse and his pro-Apartheid views, under Havellange (sp?), and continued under Blatter? Since the Euro/North American/South American confederations haven’t done anything about Blatter and the decaying credibility of FIFA in the last several decades, why mock the president of the Asian confederation for coming forward?

    While I am skeptical about whether Bin Hammam’s candidacy represents some reformist alternative, as I don’t know more than the barest of info about his accomplishments for the Asian confederation–like the establishing of a champions league type competition and Australia’s joining–it isn’t automatically something to deride because of where he is from. Maybe it would make sense to pillory the man if we had some genuine information about why he is worse than the Devil Blatter or no better. If it is just a matter of denigrating Asia as unimportant, well, enough said. I fully respect the claim that anyone emerging from this corrupted system is unlikely to offer a genuine change. In fact, I think that is probably what I believe.

    More relevant then is the politics of this candidacy, and that is where my original comment was mostly directed. Why him, why now, and what does it say about what is happening in FIFA. Blatter had managed to squash challenges before. What’s different now? If there are cracks in the system, this might be an indication of it. And any crack in such a corrupt system is both potentially good news and worthy of analysis.

  111. Borges Spinelli

    When Massa lost out to Hamilton in Sao Paulo, in front of his home crownd in his home city. TRUST ME when I say that it was huge national blow. Un catastrophe as Wenger, I imagine would have barled.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence William & Limestone G.

  112. Limestonegunner

    I am happy to concede that Brazilians loved Massa coming 2nd in Formula 1 on your say so, Frank. Since I don’t follow the sport, I rely on your good judgment and information. A Brazilian who follows racing might know better, but perhaps not necessarily.

  113. The problem is that I don’t TRUST YOU. You have given me no reason to.

  114. Felipe Massa was not expecting to win the Championship in that race. He ended up in a winning position just before the end because of the misfortunes of Hamilton in the race. Hamilton then pulled it back in the dying seconds.

    The point that was being made though is that in Formula 1 races, fans are usually very happy in each race if their drivers and/or teams gain a podium position. First is great but not essential. Points are essential.

    The other example was that Brazilians and Canadians are generally happy to get a silver in an Olympic event. But it depends on the context, if before the race they are favourites for a gold then silver is a disappointment. If they are hoping for a Bronze because there are better competitors in the race then they are happy with silver. Much the same in most other countries.

  115. Not comfortable with this nationalist talk, but I back Borges up on his Massa comments (I’m BR FYI). I don’t follow F1 but it was a blow for most people.

    Barrichelo also became a laughing stock during his time in Ferrari, for always being second to Schumacher, especially for that famous race he let the German win.

    People want another Senna, that’s all (and that’s ridiculous). Once you’re on top you won’t accept 2nd place.

  116. Is everyone at the FA a complete moron. If Wilshere plays in the Euro U21’s in the summer he will spend portions of next season injured, possibly not available for important International qualifying matches or so burnt out by the time the Euro’s come round he won’t be fit to play.

    Or he can have a rest like the rest of the Senior England squad.
    Is it me or is it a simple choice?

  117. Some interesting drivel on here today from the same idiots as always. Of course frank knows better, he is the same one who keeps saying year in and year out that Arsenal will win the league by a country mile!
    He must know something. O wait a minute.

  118. Yup. Pure unrefined drivel. Straight into the bucket.
    This must all help explain why ManIOU have dropped more points from a ‘winning position’ in games this season then Arsenal as well. Both have won 9 points from losing positions (props to desigunner).


    A new article linked from Dogface:
    http://numbersgameblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/quantifying-impact-of-bias-of-arsenals.html

    Ref for game against Blackburn Battery: Phil Dowd.

  119. I think you are confusing facts with predictions, Jo. You see the different don’t you, sunshine? I hope so because if you don’t then there is little point in responding to you. Well once again I have to explain…since this is the best squad I have ever seen at Arsenal and it just keeps improving year on year, I predict great things. They have almost done it in past seasons, but for bad luck. They will surely get there. I love watching them. Simple isn’t it?

  120. Excuse the typos but my eyes as well as my ears and most particularly my legs fail me.

  121. Limestonegunner

    Marc, that’s a good point. I was trying to get at that in my remarks about Capello–he should be worried about the Euros and having the best players fit for that. Burning them out on U21’s would be pretty stupid.

  122. Well we have certainly discovered a vein of Brazilian nationalism. Or is it just plain anti-English?

  123. One of the great things about F1 has always been its internationalism. The real story is an engineering one. The skills of the drivers are the icing on the cake. The nationalities of the drivers are irrelevant to me. I even loved Jim Clark and he was fucking Scot. Sorry I mean ‘and I regaled in his Scottishness’. I have always thought that F1 has huge potential for doing some good in the world after all that cigarette advertising. It would be great if all of those brains and all of that money could be applied to creating safer fuels….and I think that that is the direction set for F1 already.

  124. Limestonegunner

    Finsbury, thanks much for the link to the post from “A Beautiful Numbers Game.”

  125. Reminiscing about Football Italia and remembered this guy:

  126. So everyone wants a piece of Jack it seems, and now the FA and Stuart Pearce are hellbent on running him into the ground. After all these years it seems England are still unsure of what to do with technically gifted players.

  127. found this fantastic ‘down but not out’ arsenal video on you tube. inspirational stuff.

  128. Borges Spinelli

    @Frank @Mentalist
    I’m neither a nationalist nor an F1 enthusiast. But know plenty who are and enjoy torturing me with details of the latter. Although i was fortunate enough to attend the AD grand prix, last fall on Yas Island. The highlight for me, was 3 mega nights of concert featuring Limp Bizkit, Kanye West & Prince.

    My main interests are football and mulheres.

    @Mentalist
    Vc e brazuka? What do you think about Renato Augusto for Arsenal? Renato eh realmente mtooooo talentoso para mim. Um jogador realmente bom… mto sucesso lah no Leverkusen.

    Fellow Gooners, I’ll respond back in a few hours. (Assuming anyone cares)

  129. Thanks for that Goonerwife – inspirational stuff!

    Another reason to be proud of the club
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/community-news/arsenal-in-the-community-aim-for-the-charts

  130. Thanks for that Passenal.
    Black Twang!
    Met them once, briefly. They come from south of the river, but still, they seemed a nice group. If my memory is not too hazy, they are massive Arsenal fans.

    http://www.mixcloud.com/track/black-twang/the-arsenal/

    Track 13 – The Arsenal.

  131. That previous link is to a free station, here is their (other) Arsenal song:

  132. Not met a woman yet who doesn’t fancy Al Pacino. Having said that it did have me bal…bawling at one point, Goonerwife. Excellent.

  133. Pearce is a selfish cunt who only wants jack to play so he has a better chance of winning the fukin thing thus giving him some kudos and a chance to get a proper managerial job, selfish cunt, fuck off and go get bullied by postman pat you cunt.

  134. even if they win it which they wont what the fuck will it mean to him…fuckall, he isnt going to be parading that silly medal around.

  135. Wow, Passenal. I prefer Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen myself, but I can’t help being in awe of our cultural heritage. What a nation Arsenal truly is! Hurrah.

  136. 1 loose cannon

    What has happeed to Mr Aliadiere ? Talented player with no club. He must be the only french player with an English accent. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/free-video-aliadiere-my-hunt-for-a-club

  137. frank 6.35. you talking about your kids there?

  138. I have no idea what you are talking about, DukeGoonem. No idea at all.

  139. Frank, despite my advanced years, I’m not averse to a bit of hip hop and I thought the Arsenal in the Community guys did a good job on that record so it was worth bringing to the attention of people who might not have seen it on Arsenal.com.

  140. Marvellous…always marvellous

  141. 1 loose cannon

    Frank you need one those extraterrestrial machines to listen to Kenny Ball . Good music

  142. Farkin hell. Midnight in Moscow. Reminds me of my first wife. Fantastic, Ilc

  143. Hip hop to Kenny Ball. Wonderful evening.

  144. Bloody hell, not seen one of those old reel to reel things for years.

  145. Anyone miss the TH14 interview on SSN? Part 1 is here.

  146. Borges, I don’t think England is a league for creative Brazilian players. Can you imagine any Brazilain playing against Stoke with the way the referees allow our players to get kicked off the pitch?

  147. Bradys right foot

    This kid from Japan could be the best thing in an Arsenal jersey since TH14, if he gets a special exemption hell be in the first team next year.

  148. Borges Spinelli

    Ok, so I’m late to the party; allow me to ingratiate myself musically with my gooners$

    DJ Patife
    http://youtube.com/v=x7g8YMW2nYY

  149. Borges Spinelli

    I know what you mean. It takes a special sort of player to get used to the EPL. Gilberto Silva & Sylvinho adapted well. I reckon as soon as we go back to winning trophies, referees will have no choice but to protect our players like they do to Chelsea & Man Utd.

  150. Borges Spinelli

    Margarida Perfumada

  151. Rafael Van der Fart says that Redknapp uses “similar” tactics to Mourinho. I’m assuming he means they both suck at life and destroy the soul of football.

  152. Limestonegunner

    Brady’s, he does look a special talent. He cuts a dashing young figure exuberantly swashbuckling down the left wing or cutting inside–always looks dangerous and scares the bejeezus out of defenders. The Feyenoord crowd just loves how he bows to the stands before leaving the pitch. I think that is pure class! Cult phenom–all those videos of him already have hundreds of thousands of views. Time for Japan to call him up so we can welcome him to Arsenal!

  153. Georgie Thompson can interview me any day of the week! 😀

  154. i love that Thierry loves NY. My fav place on earth, my fav footballer ever.

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