Stone Cold Friday: Time To Gun Down The Fools Panel

As Otter said, “No, no, no, don’t think of it as work. The whole point is just to enjoy yourself.” Here’s Darius

You could argue that the respite provided by the last fortnight was a welcome breath of fresh air. Arsenal needed to regroup and arrest the indifferent performances that have made the club fair game for criticism and vitriol in equal measure.

Aside from the conspiracy to run Jack Wilshere into the ground, the international break has brought good news all round with our big guns getting the time to heal and quietly go about their fitness without much ado. We’ve really missed Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott and it has shown.

The destination of the Premier League title is still very much in our hands but it’s fair to say that we’ve run out of wiggle room. We can’t afford to depend on other teams dropping points for the simple reason that if we don’t win or get positive results in the key games, it matters not what points United or Chelsea drop.

The air waves, news and cyber columns are filled with proclamations of Arsenal’s alleged imminent collapse. Any little deficiency the team portrays will be grabbed upon and ruthlessly masticated and spat back at us. There is only one way around this and it’s for the team to get first past that finishing line.

It’s been unfortunate that some key injuries especially for Johan Djourou and both Wookash Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny in goal have come at a critical time. It’s inevitably been accompanied by the classic cliché of “Arsenal need a proper keeper and a real defender to compete”.

Even Frank Mclintock recently spouted the “Arsenal needs one or two key players to make it”. When challenged by Richard Keys and Andy Gray to name the so called one or two world class players he’s talking about, the former Arsenal captain was speechless and had no clue about who these mysterious players are.

Until we win the title, the talk will continue to be about Arsenal’s ‘deficiencies’. The fools’ panels that sit all weekend to pontificate over the game will continue to pour scorn at Arsenal.

At this point, talk is cheap and any attempt to do so from the team won’t cut the mustard. Results are what count, performances less so if an ugly display on the pitch bags the points.

Cesc was quick to show regret at his performance at the Nou Camp, claiming that it was the worst game of his career. He now has the opportunity in the next 9 games to redeem himself and to help carry his team to victory. A positive result will not only help him exorcise the demons of the Nou Camp, but it will set the tone for the rest of the team.

Robin Van Persie clearly has competition from his 4 year old son when it comes to scoring sublime goals and maybe Arsenal should cut to the chase and sign the little nipper right now. Presently though, the Dutch ace is paramount and must continue his sublime form and goal scoring ruthlessness since January.

Theo too has a massive role to play despite the two key injuries that have hampered his lethal streak this season. Everyone has been pleasantly surprised at how much he has improved while at the same time adding goals to his ‘Arsenal’. You sometimes forget how young Theo is, despite those who pass judgements on footballing brains with Walcott clearly having the last laugh.

My take is that the player we have missed most in the last few weeks has been Alex Song. In my view, he is Arsenal’s most improved player in the last two seasons and we’ve got to the stage where if he’s not available or if he’s having a bad day at the office, it really shows. It’s hard to imagine that we’re looking at the same player who was nearly lynched for a criminal performance at Craven Cottage 4 years ago.

The other key players for us this season – particularly Sagna, Nasri and Koscielny must carry on in the same spirit and they must do more alongside the squad players who now need to play a prominent role.

This past Monday I was quietly sat at the bar in one of my neighbourhood pubs, sipping away at my poison. My Arsenal shirt gave me away to a clearly nervous Gooner who approached me, pulled a stool and asked me what I thought of Almunia and Squillaci.

My answer to him is that I would have Almunia every day of the week and twice on Sunday if two of our best performing keepers were out injured. You really can’t legislate for that. As for Squillaci, again, I said I’d rather have him than Smalling, Evans or any of the other 3rd or 4th choice centre backs anywhere in the league.

“You have more faith than I do my friend! Was his conclusion – to which I muttered under the cover of a swig of my pint “grow a frigging spine and support your team”.

I did wonder whether he was one of the defensive pessimists on ACLF – and if so, what pseudo name he used up in here. I decided it was easier to get another drink.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on April 1, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 78 Comments.

  1. I could be first

  2. Yes , yes…but was there more than one shooter?

  3. Your faith in this team reflects your pure lack of insight or perhaps just bravado? Accepting facts and criticising your team is better than mindless loyalty. That is criminal, you see. It amounts to betrayal, if you trust Squillaci more than the better players you compared him with.

    Perhaps accepting that the current Arsenal squad isn’t good enough needs a spine too? That Wenger is a coach and book keeper combine? That the club management have no ambition? That the players know that?

    My friend, Arsenal will eitherlose or draw tomorrow, for the implosion started with the cup loss. Expect a battering from Rovers. Then, excuses from the French swindler.

  4. Kubla Khan – I am envious of your impeccable insight and modest lack of bravado shown there. If only we could all be like you. Unfortunately, some people prefer to get behind our team, not on their backs. Some people will watch their team with excitement and enjoy the beautiful football played, and look at the positives (of which there are many) in what is another battle for the title; rather than taking fools’ opinions, adding in some extra spite then pretending they’re your own… Some people appreciate what it is to be an Arsenal supporter, and respect the manager for all the great things he’s done.

    You need to take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of a Liverpool fan, a Man City fan, a fucking Villa fan, and then tell me who’s underachieving. If there were more people like you in the stadium, I doubt we’d hear any cheering, just tumbleweed until someone makes a mistake, then the huge groans before the eruption of abuse. Just what any young man needs to spur them on to win one of the toughest competitions in the world.

    Keep it up mate, we need more like you.

  5. Kubla Khan II

    Sorry about my fathers terrible post. He’s just a cranky non-optimistic old man. Battering from Rovers? Pah that’s just not going to happen. We win 5-1 ManU drop points that is all

  6. ClockEndRider

    Kubla Khan,
    Fuck off back to Xanadu , you tool.

  7. You cannot esacpe people like kubla. These are the so called fans and supporters who’s joy and feeling of belonging stems from everything that is negative. What will they have to talk about if Arsenal win the league?? You see, post a negative story about Wenger and suddenly you are being patted on the back by spurs fans. Chelsea fans are buying you drinks and they love it. It doesn’t matter how much sense you make, how much you believe in your team and how much you WANT them to succeed. For people like kubla, misery and failiur is what they crave most in their lives. They call it the right to critisize the team when they do badly. The right to slate the manager when he gets it wrong and yet these same people who claim that right NEVER EVER congratulate the manager when he gets it right. Because no one will be patting you on the back or buying you drinks. You must be such a sad individual kubla that you can’t even find a little optimism and belief in a team that was assembled by Arsenals most succesful manager in the history of this club!

  8. Did our ancestors really fear the Mongol horde?

    A couple of sprained ankles and a blown horse or two surely saw them scuttling back to the steppes muttering about the need for ‘some improved armour’ and a couple of ‘world class’ berserkers if Kubla is typical of their leadership.

  9. Nice one, Darius. I was at the Craven Cottage game and was utterly ashamed. Have to say though the boos for Alex came mainly from the Riverside rather than the Putney End, so most of the away support were innocent. Fabulous freekick from RvP in that game.

  10. I agree with Cb

  11. They should put all of our away supporters in the same area at the Emirates, they are always noisy and support the team no matter what, they may even be able to get a few of the silent majority to join in

  12. Kubla Kahn- bless. I hope life works out for you. you sound miserable. im sorry things are so sucky. It might help to appreciate what you have rather than what you dont have.
    Also its a bad idea to make arseanl the source of all your happiness. See, last season i thought we’d win, we didnt. Nothing changed in my life, life was still good. I promise.

  13. I agree with goonerwife.

    Waiting to see if I’ve got tickets for Manure match… Will be my first and long awaited trip to the Emirates! Haven’t seen Arsenal in the flesh for a long time… Please, please, please…!

  14. very nice post darius ,some fans have not taken the time to know the history of the club and choose to ignore what the clubs most successful manager has done.there are times when one feels le boss must call it aday but when someone played an april fools day joke on me this morning i was devastated and almost shed tears.lets keep the faith lads.

  15. Limestonegooner

    I think smalling is better than squilly.

  16. trugunn – someone told you he’d left/been sacked?? Bastard!

  17. love that story trugunn. Faith is all we’ve got.

  18. Limestone, that an attempt at an April Fool?

    Squillaci has won back to back french league titles and has well over 10 years experince of top-flight football.

  19. Main worry for tomorrow: fans getting on Almunia’s back from the first minute. He’s clearly very fragile and needs our support.

  20. Good luck, Geo

  21. Limestone – you’ll have to do better than that.

    Squilly has form, experience and titles. Smalling was playing for Maidstone just the other day. The records speak for themselves.

    And let’s not forget the fact that squilly is actually our 4th choice CB.

    The same consideration can be made for Bendtner. Find me any 3rd choice striker in the EPL who’s had the impact Bendy has had over the last few seasons, considering his age. Van Persie had to bide his time for several years before Henry’s departure brought him out of the shadows.

  22. Cheers Frank. Sold out already, but waiting to hear if my mate got in there quick enough… I’ve crossed every dangly bit going, not comfortable.

  23. Well, that’s pissed on my bonfire. Definitely not got tickets. Gutted. Hopefully Villa match instead…

  24. Yeah that online box office is a f*cking bastard, Geo. Two matches in a row we’ve had tickets in the basket and it’s not let us buy the buggers. What a prick tease.

    I’ll be there tomorrow though! COYM!

  25. We’re sitting the REDaction tomorrow – anybody got experience of them? I have. They are absolute bollocks.

  26. So it seems Limpar. Oh well, hopefully get to go soon… Enjoy tomorrow! Should see a few goals me thinks.

  27. What kind of football are Blackburn playing these days? Last time I saw a game of theirs Kean had switched to a more ambitious 4-3-3 formation which seemed to work a treat for them.

    Hopefully they stick with it and we see an open game.

    In which we spank tham…

  28. Disapointed by your post today and comments section, which I normally like very much. Why? becuase of all this gooner bashing going on. We are all Arsenal fans and we all want to see the team do well, just becuase you don’t agree with some views doesn’t mean you should treat fellow gooners with contempt. Be the better person and debate if you believe in something. Remember our club moto ‘victory comes from harmony’!

  29. It seems a bit more ambitious than when fat boy was managing them, so yeah I think we’re going to spank them too…

  30. The problem with that is Cobbled C*nt above isn’t a gooner; in most of the posts I’ve read it doesn’t seem like he wants the team to do well at all.

  31. Gooner Sam – We try to debate with people who say that Wenger’s lost the plot, or the club has no ambition, or player x is shit and needs to be sold etc etc, but no-one ever comes back with legitimate arguments/debates/logic. They just spout some very negative opinion about Arsenal, then tend to stay quiet as soon as someone asks for clarification or challenges their observations. Most on here enjoy it very much when someone has a reasonable and well thought out issue to discuss, even if it goes against regular ACLF philosophy. People very rarely have anything to back up their vitriol, hence the harsher comments. If they had something to say that we haven’t already heard from Stan Collymore or Robbie Savage, and shows some kind of intelligence or reason, people would respond in a similar fashion…

    What annoys so many, is that people like Kubla, just don’t realise or appreciate how far this club has gone, and how much more progression is inevitable. Long term, this club is sorted. Short term, we’re so close, but patience seems very thin with this new generation of Arsenal fans. Wenger has made younger fans this way. I tell them to look back 30-40 years and then tell me what a barren spell looks like.

  32. Borges Spinelli

    One cannot guard against impostors, however irritating such people may be. There’s a scientific correlation between over-exposure to radioactive isotopes from Fukushima and Kubla Khan’s toxic inconstancy.

    One thinks sending Mr Khan to the purgatory to cleanse his cerebrum of defeatist thinking will be beneficial in restoring some fortitude. A whip round anyone?

  33. Borges Spinelli

    Make no mistake, doomers: Arsenal WILL win tomorrow. The month of March, harrowing as it was, was a glitch necessary to revive our warriors’ focus on the vital task at hand. I have FAITH, confidence and unyielding SUPPORT for my team to triumph. Maktub!

  34. Geo – Glad you have come back to me and I agree that patience seems to be lost on a lot of people but this can be done with reason, if they don’t have an answer for it your probably right. I agree with you on Stan (I’m a wife beating dogger) and Savage ( Robbie, I’m laughing at you not with you) I just dislike the rift in the Arsenal supporters intensly. As with most people neither AKB’s or D&G’s are 100% right it is somwhere in the middle but healthy debate is really important for our club not to tear itself to pieces from the inside out.

    Personally I have perspective and can see the leaps and bounds that the club has made but I also think that something needs to change. Not necessarily dramatic but something. Now what that is is the real debate?

  35. More specifically the posterior parietal cortex of Mr Khan is fucked, Borges

  36. Fair enough Gooner Sam. And I agree, there shouldn’t be a rift between fans. Unfortunately, not everyone is as reasonable as others, and this will always happen. People get very defensive of the club they love, and when people unreasonably slate the team, those who love Arsenal will stick up for the club no matter what, albeit sometimes harshly and abusive. This will continue in all clubs, not just ours.

    I think one thing that could help us win more games, and eventually the title, is to go all out guns blazing for the first half an hour (and i mean really go guns blazing) until we’ve scared them into submission and have gone a goal or 2 up. Then we can ease off for more of the game, controlling the ball and looking for the extra goals at our own pace – if needed. This would also result in fewer injuries by my logic, due to the fact that the team aren’t having to really push in the final quarter of the match to find that winning/equalising goal… I’m no manager, and could be completely wrong, but logically, this makes sense to me… Maybe a signing would spark the team up a bit, but not necessarily. That is a debate for the summer though…

  37. Borges Spinelli

    The last time we faced Blackburn away, in August (3rd game of the season), we lined up with: Almunia; Sagna, Glichy, Vermaelen, Koscielny; Song, Diaby (unfit), Fabregas; Walcott , Arshavin, Van Persie (substituted after 20-something mins, due to injury). We won 1-2

    This time around, with a fit Nasri, an in-form Wilshere and a goal-happy van Persie. The sky is the limit to what we can achieve on home turf.

  38. Or perhaps we should think of Kubla Khan as the dark chasm as in Coleridge’s poem, a malignant tumour in the heart of the Arsenal support.

  39. Agreed Geo and I understand the defence mechanism, its not always easy to be objecttive, I’m guilty myself of that on occassion.

    Yes starting at a quick pace would be good but I guess this comes with confidence, something that the team are lacking presently. I just want to see 100% from all the players and Cesc to lead in this aspect. He has it in him, I’ve seen it before.

    As you say in the summer a signing might freshen up the squad a little…

    Fingers crossed we will be champions by then!

  40. If you step back from the day to day blog / media opinions, there are abundant signs that the team and players are progressing.

    Arsenal stayed in 4 competitions the longest of any of our major competitors.

    At early April – we’re in 2nd place with control of our destiny.

    Look at the evolution of Djourou and Wilshere as 1st team options. Fabianski and Szczesny revealing performances to support the manager’s faith. Kos – the makings of a 1st choice CB. Song – delivering an attacking aspect of his game that adds to his importance. A healthy vP – a goal scoring machine. Nasri showing attacking prowess to match his pre-Arsenal hype.

    To date, Cesc’s season has been below standard.
    Arshavin – too inconsistent. Can both find their mojo? Both are capable of carrying the team down the stretch.
    Bendtner – Diaby – Theo – Vermaelen INJURY ISSUES that have hampered any regular contribution. Recent injuries to Djourou, Song, Cesc, vP, keepers, and Theo – certainly affecting our recent exits.

    With almost 24% of the season remaining, there is ample opportunity for the team to manufacture to stamp out a statement.

  41. Perhaps Mr.Khan has been getting high on his own supply?

  42. Here is the fastest ever Arsenal XI, second draft:

    A ‘keeper
    Sagna Koscielny Vermaelan (?) Clichy
    Nasri Rocastle/Gibbs
    Wiltord Walcott Henry Overmars


    Glen Helder.

  43. Anyone following the Neymar banana story?

    How in the hell did that young German lad get away with lobbing a banana without getting the absolute shit kicked out of him by the Brazil supporters around him?

  44. longblackcloud

    Markus – How the hell did anyone believe it was Scotsman with access to piece of fruit?





  46. Markus,

    You act like racism doesn’t exist in Brazil. Watched a documentary ahile back and it’s disgusting over there. The treatment of Black people over there is shocking especially the young.

  47. Good read DS!

    If our main players stay healthy we will win. Almunia and Squillachi are good players and will help us get to the finish line in 1st place.

    Please, atleast try to see sensible if you are going to be negative. Kublah’s posts seems like they are written by a 5 year old, or maybe that is being unfair…to 5 years olds that is.

    Get out of here with that nonsense!

  48. try to be…

  49. Yes Maria, it feels good to know that we can watch some proper football by our beloved Team!

  50. I think Wilshere should listen to Wenger and not play U21 again. Take note from what happened to Walcott.

  51. G4E, it seems Cesc has warned him also. He needs to listen. Somehow he believes he will not get tired.

  52. longblackcloud, LOL. Luckily Eboue P.I was on the case and with witness testimony from Gunnersaurus, the scots have been cleared.

    Maria, You mean racism in Brazil is worse than in Germany, Spain and Italy? Those countries have token blacks in their national team (1 each for Germany/Spain, not sure Italy even have any black players). Brazil have token whites in theirs!

  53. Paul,
    Ya I know, he’s young and probably think he’s invincible…but I hope he listens to Wenger because the fuckers in charge of the National team wouldn’t care one bit to run him to the ground then flunk him when it suits them.

  54. Mongolian Gooner

    Poetry in motion… Arsenal at their best…-arsenal-at-their-best

    Nice video. Makes me feel ready. Ready for a battle. Confident in victory.

  55. Nice post Darius. Completely agree with everything. The only way to stop all the negativity and shut up the pundits that drive some of us crazy is to win. I agree that the team has really missed Song. Denilson has been a valuable player for us but has struggled recently. I still think the bigger problem lies between the players ears but hopefully having Song and Cesc back will improve our outlook as well as improving what we can do with our feet. Its been clear this year that the boss and the whole team is feeling the weight of the “best team to remain trophy-free” monkey off its back. The only way to do that is to win. Does not matter if it is beautiful or ugly or more likely somewhere in between. Just need to win. Comfortable 3 – 1 win tomorrow my prediction.

  56. I look forward to seeing Arsenal play football against Blackburn. I will see the game at nine AM our time which is reasonable for once. Make sure to enjoy the game everyone. It will indeed be especially entertaining with many of the lads back in harness.

    I wonder if Kubla whatsit were to pull up a comfortable chair in front of the telly tomorrow with a good pint of Moosehead if that would help the poor lads perspective on Arsenal. It must be uncomfortable holding his breath in that manner.

  57. Mongolian Gooner

    Have you guys seen this one? Amazing. Really wanna understand what he talked afterwards. Probably some humble words.

  58. On the wilshire u21 situation I don’t know how you all feel but I’ve really lost my respect for Pearce. I used to like him and thought he was a real football man but after what happened with Walcott I feel like he is only interested in himself now. Anyone disagree?

  59. Selfish is the word Gooner Sam. It is unreasonable to have Wilshere playing for 2 national teams. Not only will it run him into the ground, making injury more probable but what about the other player? why wait for another year to get another youth some much needed experience?

    Really stupid!

  60. I have always liked Pearce and I think it has been his enthusiam for the game that has sparked my interest in the man. There is something inside of me that whispers Pearce has good sense in addition to his love of the game. If I were in the position of Mr. Pearce I blantantly admit that there is nothing this side of the Moon that would prevent me from selecting Jack from playing for my side! Jack is such an exciting player to watch and he plays for The Arsenal.

  61. Because the name of the game in England is win at all costs.

  62. So jack becomes another player put up on the peddlestall of saviour of English football until he gets injured because he plays too many matches. When will they learn. As for Pearce it’s all about enhancing his cv to take the senior job in future. Stuart from what I’ve seen so far you’re not good enough

  63. what a shot by Dennis! also i like the celebration, he just stands there like nothing special happened. It seems like all he needs is a few inches of space between the keepers hands and the cross bar. magic.

  64. Gentleman, it is so easy to allow a scenerio to play out in ones mind that the international coaches for England will run the horses into the ground. In my mind, Pearce and his counterparts have achieved that level of coaching by using their intelligence not blind stupidity.

  65. Two Owls, no level of achievement means that one cannot do something stupid.

    If you too were the England under 21 manager you would have your best interest at heart and not the players. Playing too many games will make you tired, plain facts that.

  66. Fitness is a big worry, but Walcott also lost a lot of confidence at that tournament a couple of years ago. He went down a level and you could sense that he realised he’d be expected to carry the team. I bet it’s not that easy to perform when you’re used to playing alongside top class players and are suddenly with a less gifted group after a long season. Nothing worked out and we lost one of our best players for a long time.

    It’s looking inevitable that Wilshere will go unless he picks up an injury (heaven forbid). It might not be so bad if Capello really means what he said about wanting England to attack like Arsenal, because Pearce will have to change his tactics as well, which means no more hoofball. At least that way the ball won’t be soaring over JW’s head while everyone wonders why he doesn’t make more of an impact. It could work out OK if he’s in a technical side, but I’d much rather he didn’t go at all.

  67. Borges you cannot discount the malign influence of a corrupt or incompetent official such as Phil Dowd who unfortunately takes ‘charge’ of our fate tomorrow. I will try to stay positive though.

  68. @Two Owl

    Pearce’s job is to bring through the youth players so that they can be assessed as to their ability to step up to the next level. As Jack has already proved his ability he should not be taken back down to play at a lower level.

  69. agree with you dups. I certainly don’t understand why someone who has made the First XI for the England Senior team should play for the youth team. there are many analogies that can be made to that situation, all of them prove the point of how stupid and pointless it is. It just does not make any sense to me. As many have said before, i guess it goes to show how much England care about winning, even at the U-21 level.

  70. Ya Two Owl…Pearce could give shit about players and no doubt Arsenal ones. In fact it’s a matter of opposing Wenger’s view just for the sake of it, nothing to do with any technical ability of the English coach who’s AKA “Psycho” bu the way.

    Passenal, I think the real problem with Dowd is that not only he’s incompetent but that he does it with absolute arrogance not matched by any other referee.

    To be fair though, I think referees generally don’t go against a specific club in particular, but rather a specific result is what they’re after. The overall result of their collective actions (widely referred to as human mistakes) directs the trophies where the powers to be want them to go.

  71. @geo-yes the bastard told me that wenger had resigned,even told me to watch sky at that moment,the expression of not knowing what you have till its gone made sense.once again to those who think we are better off without wenger think again,if not support spurs!!@ gonnerwife,it was for real not just a story.

  72. Tennessee Arsenal

    Mongolian Gooner: Thank You!!!

  73. Borges Spinelli

    Passenal at 7:47 pm:

    OmG, I forgot about that dirtbag of a referee officiating tomorrow. Only way to counteract his corrupt/incompetent influence is to hit Blackburn good and hard, without taking the foot off the gas. Our players must concentrate for the entirety of match, and not hand the weasel another opportunity to tip the balance against us, with a series of questionable calls. Also, the 12th man (our fans) have to play a
    MAJOR part in keeping him on his toes, by reminding him of their vigilant presence, constantly.

    I see a 3-1 or 2-0 victory on the horizon.

  74. Borges Spinelli

    Frank at 1:56 pm:

    Fascinating link, that was. A lot of truths can be deduced from said article on many levels. I particularly liked its conclusion.

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