Wilshere & Szczesny: Out Of Our Hands But Not Out Of Our Minds

Tomorrow’s North London derby defines Arsenal’s Premier League campaign. Anything less than a win might be construed as the moment of surrender for this season. Tottenham need the win to fend off a late Liverpool challenge for fifth place whilst keeping the pressure on Manchester City.

Arsenal, looking for points to keep their pursuit of the other Mancunians, also seek to hold off Chelsea for second. One step closer to the title or oblivion depending on which viewpoint you take. The failure to beat Liverpool is held by the latter, and not insubstantial, band of followers as proof that the season is over. The former are sustained by the inability of Manchester United to breach their City neighbours defence as evidence of fallibility.

The Arsenal players all into the latter camp. Fresh from winning the PFAs Young Player of the Year award at the weekend, Jack Wilshere took his youthful exuberance to the remainder of the season,

We are confident United will drop points. We suffered after we lost to Barca in the Champions League. It was a hard two weeks for us and now the same can happen to United.

They lost at Wembley and then have a big Champions League semi-final coming up. Maybe that can put them off. The other thing is, they still have to come to the Emirates. If we beat them, then maybe we can put them on a bad run.

Is that all? There is a slight flaw in Jack’s plan; games are running out.

Defeating United at The Emirates is required but it still leaves Arsenal short of space to rectify their failings of recent times. Quite simply, it is a race against time. In October, some days are better than others, the team has time to recover. Now they are running to stand still.

Wilshere knows this though according to The Sun,

Of course, we have to start winning games. It’s six cup finals left. That’s what makes the game against Spurs [Tottenham Hotspur] so big. It’s massive.

It is clear that he and Wojciech Szczesny realise this game is more than just about pride, about local rivalry. Their reaction is that which so many demand, delivered with passion, as different as night and day compared to the delivery of some of their colleagues. Youthful exuberance is a possible reason, Wilshere’s magnificent performances sometimes make you forget that he is boy still.

It is this which also explains his comments about playing every game possible, senior and junior internationals for his country and at the Olympics as well. The concern with Wilshere is that he is in danger of burning out. Those who argue that he is young and should be able to cope with such demands miss the point.

His desire to play for his country is apparent but it would mean his summer break this year is the last meaningful rest until 2013. When there will probably be another international tournament for him to be eligible so make it 2015, assuming England qualify for the 2014 World Cup wherever that may take place.

Finally, reading the Master of Pomposity, Henry Winter, you would believe that London Colney is the UK’s answer to the Playboy Mansion. Winter, like his ‘peers’, believe that this is the time to declare open season on the manager.

In Henry’s eyes, Wenger is guilty of pampering his charges, of dancing barefoot through the fields of the training ground whilst his coaching staff do a disappearing act when strong voices are concerned.

Winter is lazy. Having copied copiously the comments of a few to the extent that they will be contacting him for not properly crediting their words, he openly contradicts himself by praising Ferguson for not publicly criticising his players whilst condemning Wenger for the same.

Winter is wrong as well in his assertion that the players do not accept responsibility for the results. Johan Djourou recently observed that there was nowhere else to look but in the mirror if results mean that the Premier League title goes elsewhere.

Criticism of Wenger and the whole piece reflects rather too closely the words of Sam Allardyce yesterday, a man whose neolithic tactics ensure that he remains a concern to the local benefits office such are his poor prospects of employment. It is as if the media would prefer Wenger to self-destruct in front of their eyes. Not for one minute should we believe the opposite.

The manager has flaws, we all do as human beings. He is far from fallible om football as well but as Nigel Winterburn pointed out yesterday, he is currently the best man for the job.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 19, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 265 Comments.

  1. Nice post YW.

  2. Sam Allardyce could manage Real Madrid though, could he not?

  3. Allardyce can not even manage his diet properly, nover mind a football club.

  4. I don’t think we’d be anywhere near the top if players were never confronted about mistakes. It’s just that it all happens in private. What’s odd about that Winter article is that he’s certain that Slur Alex does this, but not AW.

    We’ve seen a bunch of players dropped this season after not so great performances. I’d imagine the public explanation (tiredness, niggling injury) is at odds with the reality.

    But AW will never let on. I remember before the CC Final, one of the journalists wanted AW to name the various characters in the dressing room – joker, hardest trainer, most outspoken – and he declined; his answer was something like, “at least let me keep some things secret.”

    I think we’ll win with style tomorrow night, away from the frustrated groans.

  5. OOU – Agreed. I think he is more ruthless than most believe.

  6. What I admire most about Wenger is his character strength..others would have kow-towed to media wishes while he doesn’t even acknowledge them..the sad cases are the Seamans, Perry Groves’, Dixons and Ian Wrights who endlessly pile pressure on him, surely they should know to do better….good to see Winterburn and Wilson back him up though

  7. To be fair, I think Dixon is a good pundit.

  8. Malaysiangunner

    YW good post.

    I will leave the final analysis until the end of the season or until we are mathematically out of contention of the EPL title. But boys and the manager need to own up to their mistakes and at the end of the day. Learn from it and move on. It is no ones fault but ours as a club and fans if we fail to win this time. We can not cope out and blame luck, the referee and the opponent.
    Liverpool had 3 under 18s playing yet it is us who panicked when we are 1 nil up.
    That is not mental strength that we so famously talked about.

    That will come later. There is still 6 more ‘cup finals’ and we can not allow Spuds to end our title hope prematurely

    COYGs

  9. Just read the Winter article; whilst he is of the mark in area’s, the articly does have elements of truth in there. Not quite the complete load of tosh that YW has painted it.

  10. http://www.football365.com/referee365/0,17033,8747_6882379,00.html

    Pretty much clears up the issue of the extra time allocated on Sunday.

  11. Excellent. Thanks, LA

  12. The Rob McNichol article just demonstrates that there is no such thing as an unbiased football observer. His aim is to deflect criticism of Marriner towards AW. He contradicts himself several times. But the logical conclusion to be drawn from his proposition is that the length of the game was short by approximately 20-30 minutes.

  13. Man, the british press dont half lay on their bullying tactics. they print lies and personal thoughts as truths. Its pretty unbelievable.

    Adding their racism , bias and straight up mean to the table and our fans follow. Henry Winter is irrelevant. Trying to tell Wenger how to do his job. What the fuck does he know, seriously.

    And then we have arsenal fans jumping on the bandwagon. I have had too much life and lived around the world long enough not to be dragged into this brand of stupid.

  14. Or,

    Rob McNichol could just be right (perish the thought). I don’t really see any flaws in his adding up of the time.

  15. What Frank said. If he’s going to add on time for free kick and penalty delays, he should add on time for every single free kick, goal kick, and throw-in in the game. We’d have half an hour injury time in every game according to that.

  16. Well, the only thing McNichols’ article identifies is the inconsistency of Mariner.

  17. Quite right Frank. as I said yesterday the Newcastle 4-4 would have lasted into the following day…..

  18. Inconsistent maybe, but not wrong.

    Plus, we can’t complain about time wasting, and then complain when it is added on but does not suit us.

  19. That is hardly the point, goonerandy. The point is that his time management was selective.

  20. Goonerandy

    Please tell me the elements of truth. It looked like he was giving Fergie a BJ whilst he typed it.

    YW

  21. To be honest I reckon he was ready to blow up after the free kick was taken. The ball hit the wall and went towards Lucas so quickly. If Lucas had the ball and was heading towards the coner flag (which he has) the whilstle would have been blow. The Eboue incident happened so quickly after the free kick.

    Makes no odds now though I suppose. By tomorrow eveving we will have a much clearer view of where the title is going. If Manure cock up tonight, and we beat the Spuds tomorrow it is game back on. If the reverse happens I fear will be have given ourselves too much to claw back. Huge 48 hours.

  22. YW – The bit he mentioned about player responsibility is somthing I have thought for a while. To be fair to Arsene though, this is something which I would actually prefer to see from players on the pitch.

    Jens coming back has emphasised this well.

  23. Andy

    You had RvP and Cesc pulling Diaby up for his booking at Blackpool. Szczesny, Djourou and Wilshere are not reticent in being critical of team performances.

    Winter’s unsaid point was that the United players are prepared to slag their teammates off in the press, Arsenal are not. That makes them poor from a copy point of view.

    YW

  24. YW – Yup, the RvP example is a good one. Maybe it is something which is starting to happen, but has been lacking for a while now and I think we have suffered from it.

    His point about slagging in the press (by manager or players) is way off though. That achives nothing but ill feeling.

  25. Oh! yes bale v nasri wich one is best we can see tmorrow & then the london derby arsenal have lead 11 years spurs only 3 games win assum that we are the gunners

  26. Wilshire & Szczesny, future Arsenal Captain/ Vice Captains.

    Our defence is not the issue. Djourou especially has no need to be looking at himself to level blame. Our defence is the best it has been for a decade. Our forward-thinking players are struggling for form right now.

    If Song is fit, I want to see a 4-1-3-2 formation at WHL, with VanPersie and Chamakh up front. And whoever is looking like they give a fuck in training playing in the advanced midfiled trio.

  27. I don’t think Lucas ever ‘had’ the ball it was never under his control and a metre or so away from him. Essentially, by slowing his run, what he was doing could have been argued as obstruction.

    Regardless it was clever and Eboue – never the sharpest tool – should have been smarter than that.

  28. I don’t much care for the thoughts of journalists who are merely earning the attention and revenue for their media outlets.

    I despair at the lack of support in some sections of our fanbase. Football365’s mailbox headline yesterday was “the embarassment of being an arsenal fan.” and is full of the ramblings of so called Arsenal supporters reacting to the last minute penalty that we conceded against Liverpool. If you ask me, the real embarassment is the attitude of some of our fans, their utter cowardice and their lack of balls. These fans are the ones losing their nerve in the edge of seat march towards the end of season slug fest. I suppose every team has their share of such fans but I get the impression that it is a growing phenomenon amongst Arsenal fans as they grow increasingly frustrated with the lack of silverware. It’s fair to say that we haven’t had the rub of the green but it is unfair to say that our players are ‘thick’ or ‘mentally weak.’ It takes a lok to be a professional football player and the strengths of our team more than outnumber the weaknesses of our team. With an average of 23, there is a lot more improvement to be gleamed the careers of these players.

    I think we are the best team on the planet. We have sought success without financial ruin. We have a board who chose to sell their shares at a lower price to ensure they got the right man to run the club. We have a manager who is total in his dedication to the club and to our success. We have a good bunch of players who a likeable as they are talented. We have a future and with a bit of luck and modification we can win everything we put our mind to. We are 2nd in the league for god sake!

    It’s time for ALL the fans to get behind this team and to roar with pride. We are the Arsenal. In times like these, we should be giving our fullest and heartfelt support to the team and the manager. Leave the autopsy for the summer months where idleness overtakes us.

    Come on Arsenal!!! Lets get the 6 wins we need.

  29. Arsene Baggins, you are a star

  30. Great interview with Mr Arsenal on ATVO

  31. Phoenix Gunner

    Wilshere, not Wilshire… if it’s going in the headline it should probably be right

  32. That’s a bloody good point Phoenix. Well spotted, Sir. Or Ma’am.

  33. Baggins, made my day man.

  34. Is this another one of them “must wins” that we have been failing to win lately.

  35. Duke, are you pessimisticly optimistic or are you just a pessimist?

  36. Mathematically, Arsenal can still win the title. But first, they must win tomorrow when they visit Spurs and this is going to be a really tough trip. I hope they win and keep the title battle alive.

  37. Long time reader..just havent posted..So im due a long post 😛

    Keep up the good work guys..may the force be with you..

    I think the Arsenal situation is very similar to the Australian Cricket team. A break up of a legendary team which won 3 world cups and now they are struggling..struggling but still for most people they are the team to beat and they always offer a fight.. I know cos it was heart in mouth time for me till India finally beat them in the QF..

    Re-structuring is an effort and a great art..Wenger knew all this and still never once took the safe option and said publically that a title charge was not possible..we are still the team to beat for a lot of sides..and all that is a Credit to Wenger..he is kind of now a victim of his own greatness thanks to some (hopefully few) Arsenal fans who dont deserve him..

    Wenger critics prove their intelligence with the *in arsene we rust* statement..truly shakespearean..heres my retort *morons*

  38. Season over my arse. 6 games left. In less than 6 games Chelsea went from being written off in the title hunt and in danger of not qualifying for the CL to being 2 points behind us with as much chance to win the title.

    Last year we were twice written off for the title and at one point closed a 12 point gap between us and the top.

    We also had the joint-longest winning run of last season. How many games was that… oh, yeah it was 6.

  39. @ Baggins- love it!

  40. if fair to say the stick we receive from other fan about the stadium be a library is well deserve.
    between the guy who leave 5-10 mn before half-time fo getting a freaking drink/coffee and comeback 5mn late,then decide to to leave 5 mn before the end and the usual tossa seatting around me who has no sing once but decide to abuse our player when something going against us is nightmare stuff happening in our beautifull stadium.add the that the guy who buy a precious ticket and decide not to turn up all together
    our away fan are some of the best in country (maybe the best) and our away result are the best in the country.in our suppose to be home match our result look less like champion.
    i blame most on this result on our own fan ,how can a player perform on their top if the stadium they should call home feel like hell.hell should be the feeling of the away team not ours

    “singing when you are winning” is the motto for most of our fan ,PHW is right some our “fan” are idiot

  41. 1 loose cannon

    Markus people base their opinions on past seasons where results were set in stone but this season is either the top teams are piss poor or the basement boys have improved very inpredictable. People assume Manure will walk into Saint James park and get the 3 points, in reality that what should happen but you never know so there is hope, If we bit the Spuds it will be a double boost in terms of points and above all confidence to hopefully finish on a high.

  42. I’m an away fan on Sunday. Easter Sunday in Bolton…. fucking ell.

  43. Far too early to start thinking about transfers – but if we are going to buy anybody in the summer, it should be the new President of Nigeria – Goodluck Jonathan.

    We already have skill in abundance – and a determination to win which is playing both for us and against us at the moment. While the Gods are not smiling on us, it’s hard to keep remembering how phenomenally talented this team is.

    So, perhaps best to forget the frustration and heartbreak, revel in what we have, enjoy each game on its own merits and let the Championship take care of itself.

    And when we start bandying around transfer targets, my vote goes to Goodluck. With good luck comes confidence – and with a charge of confidence we would be on top of the world

  44. …I mean talk about emerging from a cave to prove your doubters wrong.

  45. Sorry, but even if by some bizarre confluence of events we win the league this year, I would have an extremely hard time celebrating it. The players clearly do not believe they have what it takes to win the title, as Sunday showed yet again. We are half a team at best, in fact we are really only one-third of a team – the midfield. We are still in the race because of the glaring decline of the other contenders compared to previous seasons. The optimists continue to remind me of a cult that insists that salvation is close at hand, spinning out the anticipation year upon year. Where is our dominance? Where is our cutting edge? Where is our resilience? Hand on heart, do you honestly believe we deserve to win the title? I really do not. United have shown far more tenacity and ruthlessness than we have in coming back from their early season woes. We are not snapping at their heels, we are clinging weakly onto their coattails.
    Is the true definition of being an Arsenal supporter ignoring what your eyes can see and cheering anyway? I am a supporter of Arsenal Football Club. I am struggling to support this Arsenal football team at times. There is a world of difference. I will always support AFC, but the AFT left me cold some months back.
    The only thing I would be glad about if we won the title is that the players might get a taste of success and want more. The problem would be whether they believe that a repeat of this season’s fluctuating and brittle form will be enough to achieve it again, because it won’t be.
    Anyway, all the best with your successful and popular blog.

  46. Ballton Roarvers

  47. Naw..unarted

  48. Naw..citeh

  49. Worisitnar?

  50. @Crescit
    But if we went, spent 100 million in the summer, adopted Mourinho tactics and somehow won the league, you would be able to celebrate it properly?

  51. Heh, there is no chance of us spending that sort of cash. And nor should we to be honest.

  52. Very good post Yogi. A very good read as well. Thanks.

    Arsene and Arsenal’s problem is basically twofold in my opinion. The first part of the problem has to do with perception. To most fans of other clubs, some of the more idiotic fans of our club… and especially to most journos like Mr. Winter, Arsenal are not an over-performing, over-achieving and infinitely better run Liverpool, Villa or Spurs… No Sir! We are an underachieving Barcelona, ManU or Real Madrid! In a way this perception is a compliment to Wenger and Arsenal… after all no one really expects Liverpool to challenge for the league anytime soon despite what they’ve spent…. And ‘arry, for all the praise the press lavish on him, is not expected to win the league either. He can go out and have a go at inter Milan and Spurs fans and the media are cock-a-hoop. We can beat Barca at home, get shafted by a dim ref away from home and it’s the end of the world as we know it such are the expectations for each team… why?. Because we are better run and therefore have more potential but we are better run mostly because of the philosophy of our manager… without him there’d probabaly no stadium… or we’d have one but be struggling mid table or worse. Fact.
    The second problem is more complicated… Wenger’s genius has taken us so close to actually winning that the frustration we all feel as fans is justified IMHO… despite the relatively paltry layout in terms of transfer spending in particular. The fact that this team is the best in the country in terms of quality, ability and talent.. and in a normal season with normal refereeing we would be in lead now despite our own many mistakes. I will not begin to pretend that all our problems are down to the referees… a lot is and that lot is too much in my opinion but the team is also in some ways not as hardened or cynical as they ought to be …. But that is understandable given the average age of our team. So we are good enough to win and should be winning but we are also a team that is punching above its weight due, and only due, to genius of our manager, If you doubt me look at our overall spend, including wages and transfers and tell anyone else in world football who can even begin to approach what we’ve done…. So frustration leads some of Arsenal supporting idiots to post all manner of crap on the net…. Which makes the idiocy even more idiotic if that is possible! How foolish do you have to be to wilfully wreck a once–in-a- generation opportunity because of frustration and pique? Wenger is doing the work of a Shankly, a Cruyff and a Ferguson all at once. Building a club, branding a club and laying a youthful foundation… ALL AT ONCE! Just look at the abuse he gets?…And people want to castigate PHW for calling some of our fans idiots? Really?

    In truth, the fact that our own fans have no real idea of what is going on at their own club is one of the most tragic things about this whole stupid kerfuffle surrounding Arsenal. It would be really amusing if it wasn’t so bleeding tragic… Instead they take their cue from tabloids and pompous twats like Mr. Winter. Stupidity is part of the human condition but I have to say that the stupidity of some Arsenal fans simply takes the biscuit.

    Wenger and the board should carry on with the good work and ignore the bufoons… when victory comes you can bet that they’d celebrate loudest. C’est la vie mesa mi.

  53. Borges Spinelli

    An excellent rallying post, Yogi Warrior.

    “Allardyce can not even manage his diet properly, nover mind a football club” ~ goonerandy

    I nearly choked on my coffee when I read this. #classic

    Malaysiangunner at 8:40 am

    I agree! COME ON YOU GUNNERS!

  54. Borges Spinelli

    “how can a player perform on their top if the stadium they should call home feel like hell.hell should be the feeling of the away team not ours” ~ lordgunner

    Exactly.

    Frank, last night, I happen to recall you said, “Suarez is turning out to be one of the biggest cheats in the game.” Have you forgotten his role at the last World Cup?

  55. Borges Spinelli

    Markus,

    I also would like to see such formation with Song playing almost as a sweeper/enforcer. Playing with 2 central strikers against Tottenham would/should give us a greater thrust than is presently the case; so long as Chamakh remembers he is a Striker/finisher (clue in the title) and not a player who passes the ball out of danger.

  56. Wun-druz?

    …to be honest, if I lived in Ballton, I’d fucking wander.

  57. Great post Yogi!

    Arse Baggins, brilliant also!

    I am glad that Wilshere came out and told the truth about the team post the Barca thievery. Confidence is something else, when you have it difficult things seem easy and when you dont easy things seem difficult. Life.

    I am hoping so much that the team can get back on track for their own sakes. They have played hard and deserve to see some reward for their work. I would love for these young men to be compensated, trophy wise, for the enjoyment they have given me.

    I just love this team. There is something right and special about what is going on.

    What a team!!

    God bless!

  58. @ Anirudh

    well said, please keep posting!

  59. Decent post Joshua. Have to say I agree totally with your first point. Because of the expectations of our club it does mean that we don’t get as sympathetic a press as the Spuds, Villas, Liverpools etc. However I do believe in your second point you failed to mention the stubborness of Wenger which has been sorely evident over the past few seasons. That’s of course not to say he’s a brilliant manager and indeed the man to lead us forward. I just wish at times he would leave the “experiment” behind and purchase a few “hardened’ experienced players to help balance up the team.

  60. When you say hardened what do you mean JD?

  61. and who would you bring in that fits that bill

  62. It’s an excellent point Joshua. Hopefully if Chelsea fail to regain the title some of the media bashing we get will transfer to them. I mean, we’re performing better than the reigning champions, better than giants like Liverpool, *cough* Spurs, and Man City but we still get the shitty press. It’s not cool at all.

  63. Nice post Yogi:

    Just read the article by Henry Winter. I agree with your contention that he has no real way to know if some of the stuff he says is accurate. Unfortunately some of it does ring true. You can argue that JD may have accepted responsibility, however, by far the largest volume of rhetoric that comes from the club is passing the buck rather then accepting responsibility. Unfortunately as results go against us it starts to feel more and more like excuse making. If we heard Appy Arry say some of these things coming out of London Colney we would have a good laugh.

    We had a discussion about management styles on the blog a couple of weeks ago and most were more then happy to applaud Arsene’s benevolence and nurturing and how much his players loved him and now we are trying to say he is ruthless and has a hard side. Obviously none of us really know what happens behind closed doors but whatever the boss is doing has not brought this group of players the results the match their talent, at least so far. Wheather its true or not I think most would say that Arsene has gone out of his way to protect the players and build their confidence rather then take them to task for making mistakes. Hind sight is 20/20 and may be in retrospect a firmer hand and more structure and more of a task master style would have been better for this group. No way to know. However you can not change who you are and Arsene’s style worked very well with the much more experienced group of players he managed during the first half of his tenure and he had no reason to think it would not work as well with this group.

    No one really knows why this group of players seems to be chronically performing below their level. In truth it is probably has many reasons. All of this criticism and soul searching will sound silly if the team wins the title this year. All we can do is finish strong and hope.

  64. @Evil – No, I think that is a terrible idea of yours. What I would like is for our players to stop being mollycoddled and for them to man up, knuckle down, and show some tenacity. Too many mistakes and not enough regret. I would like to see a defensive unit that takes real pleasure and pride in keeping a clean sheet and will die trying to achieve that.
    We have had that before, it is what the modern day success of this club was built on, it is what Arsene’s trophies were built on. We have only won in the last 15 years when we have had undisputed quality at the back and in goal, that was either already here at the club or that was brought in ready-made. Either you coach that winning and ruthless mentality, or you bring it in. You can’t continually do neither and expect to succeed.

  65. “You can argue that JD may have accepted responsibility, however, by far the largest volume of rhetoric that comes from the club is passing the buck rather then accepting responsibility. ”

    How so Bill? Can you show that Arsenal usually pass the buck rather than take responsibility?

  66. “No one really knows why this group of players seems to be chronically performing below their level.”

    Bill fucking wake up and take a look around you. The team are performing way above any level expected of them at the start of the campaign. Most pundits claimed they’d have trouble finishing in the top 4 with the emergence of Man City and Spurs as “big forces”. They may have been wankers, but their arguments were based in facts. The fact that we have the youngest set of players in the top flight and the fact that we spent less than any other big 4 contender in transfers.

    We are very much overperforming.

  67. Crescit, but as has been said you dont know what goes on behind closed doors however we have seen players get dropped.

    All you are doing is speculating on what is being done however Arsene has won trophies before. When we had the invincibles they were mostly player that he brought to Arsenal, no?

    We have excellent keepers and a very good defense and we are not suffering at the back at the moment, we are not scoring so I dont see why any focus should be there. I know Its a surprise but only 1 team has a better defensive record.

    The team isnt playing well at present but a lack of being ruthless has nothing to do with it to me, its a lack of confidence.

  68. Markus, the truth is many or even most Arsenal supporters didnt believe we would be anywhere close without a host of these “hardened” and “experienced” players.

  69. Assit, LA, Wun-droz and dornt forgeh to av a paryer, speshulleh a portairtor paryer, speshulteh lark. Me duck.

  70. “I just wish at times he would leave the “experiment” behind and purchase a few “hardened’ experienced players to help balance up the team.”
    JD… thanks for the kind words. I have to say that this accusation of stubbornness is one that I find baffling in this case. What is he to buy the few hardened experienced players with… sand? There is absolutely no use in buying an experienced and hardened clogger for Arsenal football club… such a player won’t play because he won’t be good enough. So we are talking about an experienced and hardened top notch player… who has to be available and affordable. Otherwise you are merely asking for another Squillaci are you not? Experienced, yes, Squilly ticks that box. Hardened, he ticks that box too as he’s played in both Spain and France and has French caps… and yet Kosceilny is better.
    Part of the problem is that some folk think that management is easy… “buy a few experienced and hardened players” is a lot easier to say than do. I don’t see the point of signing an experienced clogger who can’t play the Arsenal way whilst we loan out Jack Wilshere or even Aaron Ramsey… what’s the point?

  71. Apparently Suarez handball agaiust Ghana was ‘instinctive’, Borges. So thats OK then. Cheating has become so ingrained that it is instinctive, a reflex. What a prick.

  72. Joshua, words of wisdom – “prophetic”

    Amid all the doom and gloom we have to read from “fans”, I had actually forgotten that we beat Barca!

  73. We were 2 wins and a draw behind Man U.
    Now we are 2 wins behind them.
    If you look at it from that perspective, nothing has changed. Even if we had won we would still need 2 wins to overtake them.
    As long as they slip up that is.
    We may have played our last joker but it is not over. We can win this. Come on Arsenal!!!

  74. @Crescit
    So you say that Eboue is not regretting what happened on Sunday? That the player who hugged Cesc after the penalty was won and even before it was converted in sheer happiness about it, who had an excellent first half which lead to L’Pool putting Meireles and Suarez both on his side to shackle him and who still managed to do rather well defensively, who on total would’ve probably been talked about as one of our better players that night will not regret that he lost his nerve and that his desperation to win lead him to make such a stupid mistake and get conned by Lucas? I bet he will regret that night for a long time, especially because Eboue is one of the players that can be called a true Gunner.

  75. (To the sound of a generic old Destiny’s Child beat… ‘Crescit’ enters stage right crow-barred into a frayed old sequin leotard)
    “Man up!”
    “Knuckle down!”
    “You better show some tenacity!”
    (CHORUS) “Too many mistakes and not enough regret!” “Ohhlalalala!”
    (With enough finger-wagging, stubbly chin-pointing and hip flourishes to have many a punter fall forward off his stool, speculatively lobbing quids toward Crescit’s grubby pint mug perched between the footlights)

  76. Almost said ‘bottom flourishes’ there… *snigger*

  77. Eboue was a victim of some dubious, sneaky and low-down-dirty tactics from a desperate man. It’ll be a challenge for him to get over it mentally, but he’s gotten over worse.

  78. Limestonegunner

    Joshua, still comparing us to Spurs, Villa, Liverpool (add Everton if you like). We aren’t in their league anymore, thanks to Wenger and being the best London club when the PL/CL era and massive revenues transformed the landscape. Our wages dwarf those clubs other than Liverpool, who are paying 10-15 million less than us. Let’s just have bit more balance. I agree with most of what you have said but don’t make us out to be the little club that could.

  79. Christ LA, now you’ve done it. Quite the mental image I’ve got now.

  80. Sam Allardyce and Alex Ferguson conduct themselves as true gentlemen, upholding the great sporting traditions within this country. Wenger is a nasty frenchman who has a lot of learn. People should teach him about morals and ethics. At the newspaper offices we discuss this every day. We drink tea out of china cups and have elevenses. Wenger is a continental. He eschews such things. We find this disturbing. When I attend a Wenger press conference I know I am being lied to by a man who cannot tell right from wrong. Allardyce and Ferguson set the moral standard. They have won the respect of their fellow managers. They both drink wine post match, a reflection of their high standards of etiquette and sophistication. Wenger never drinks wine. He is an aloof french man who will not do this because he does not fit into their company. Wenger must aspire to the heights of Allardyce and Ferguson. We will admire him if he does. Wenger needs leaders. Vidic is a leader. Cesc is not a leader. But Wilshere is a leader. Wenger needs to clone more Wilshere’s. Because he is responsible. He has a child to prove it. Responsibility will come fast. Wenger needs an assistant who will tell him the truth. Just like Ferguson’s assistant. Whose name escapes me at the moment. If Wenger can read all this, all will be well, all the money in the world spent by City, Chelsea or Barcelona won’t matter, because Wenger will be an honest man at the press conferences, and that’s all that matters.

  81. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Nice post, Arsene Baggins. Look no further than Goonerandy and his ilk. That Winter article was rubbish, as was that fraudulent piece of crap Goonerandy posted above. There are some delusional fucking idiots on the web claiming to support Arsenal that are ready to parrot whatever they read in the papers or see on TV. I fucking hate the Internet sometimes, it’s
    spawned a whole generation of faceless fucking know it alls who have this immense knowledge of all things Arsenal when in reality they’re merely two bit fucking dunces hiding behind a keyboard. The QPR fan confirmed this some weeks back, too. Too many ungrateful whiners not enough supporters.

  82. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    And of course we would laugh at Harry, Bill. His squad is fifth with no chance of winning the league. Ours is second and within a sniff of the league. If you haven’t noticed we still have a shot to win the league, and if it weren’t for dodgy refs we’d have had the league in the bag.

  83. It’s true what he says about that Thiago kid. He’s Mazinho’s (remember him?) son, and, although any kind of praise for Barcelona is anathema, he’s sh*t hot – his breakthrough this season might just cool some of the speculation about Cesc’s future this summer. And explains Guardiola’s comments about having Wilsheres in his ranks.

  84. Jabba's delights

    Nasir Jones Nasri

    Im sorry but listen to yourself. You now talk about any fan of whom recent results have been HUGELY frustrating as a disgrace.

    Say Utd win tonight and we get turned over tomorrow what will you say then. Yes god forbid it and i certainly still have HOPE of winning the league, but if you cant see that something is lacking you may well have a problem.

    The press get destroyed on her and rightly so in some cases but why is it that their predictions come right quite often. How were the goals scored in the carling cup final our failure to deal with a cross and a defensive calamity. How have we struggled in certain games this year. No leadership, defensive calamities and no plan B. The press have said this for years. Our points total may not better last years is that excellent progress for you.

    Despite your thoughts we arent a small club. We are in fact the 3rd richest in the world including property who had 40-50m extra to spend in the sumemr due to our own off field brilliance.

    Were we to good to spend it? Quite evidently not as we are 6 behind Utd when we could have been in front of them had we more quality.

    99% of gooners dont want us to spend 100m as we hate chels and citeehh for living outside of their means. We want to spend what we earn as quite clearly this team isnt the finished article yet and could have done MUCH better with 2-3 more players of genuine quality.

  85. Limestone….

    I don’t think that we are a small club or even a medium sized one. We were never that small anyway even before Wenger; My point is that we are not a superclub in the league of a Barca or Real…. YET, but writers and a whole load of our fans act and criticise as if we are already a Super club instead of work-in-progress.. what these buffoons expect us to do, as a matter of course, is to take on and beat clubs whose transfer budget is up to 10times ours and whose wage bills exceed ours too! And our fans buy into this crap….That is the only reason that a dumbass journo like Henry Winter can come up with his garbage and not expect to be laughed out of court.

    And it is neither unfair nor disingenuous to compare Arsenal to either Liverpool or Spurs. If you add Spurs transfer spending to their wage bill they come out far ahead of us in spending… the same is even truer of Liverpool. What all that shows is that people calling for Wenger to spend haven’t a clue… spending is one of those ideas that appears to make sense but on close examination falls apart completely. There are only two ways to get the highest quality in football.
    1. Scout it, nurture it and be patient…
    2. or spend big. … Spending 18m here, 15m there on middling -talent but mature players only lands you in the state of Spurs Villa and Liverpool. And let’s not kid ourselves those guys have SPENT!

    I have to also add that the issue of the wage bill is exceptionally misleading. We can afford our wage bill because we play the transfer market very well and we discover genuine, world beating talent. If we paid what Tottenham has paid in the transfer market our wage bill will be unaffordable for us as we currently are… and that is a fact. If we go out and splash 30m + wages on a single player can we still afford Nasri’s wages? If start spending 20m on the likes of Defoe and 15m on the likes of Palacious we won’t afford our wage bill either IMHO.
    Our wage bill is the true measure of our competitiveness, that is undeniable, but it is affordable only because of what our manager is capable of doing in the transfer market. So contrary to what you say we are not all that far away from Liverpool or Spurs as things currently stand… we are marching away from them both with massive strides each year but to continue the march away from them and more significantly, towards the Barcas and Reals of this world, we have to maintain our prudence and have a clear understanding of our actual and real standing in the world of football. That’s what I think. Furthermore even our wage bill is only 4th highest in league… and we are 2nd

  86. Evening YW. Good read as standard.

    Henry Winter and his band of merry wankers love to talk shit on a sunday morning and slate a man who can’t answer back about the slating so anything they write up is worth shit to me. Ask him to check a Utd CL match where the utd assistant had to bear hug fergie to prevent him coming onto the pitch to give it to one of his own players.

    I can’t remember who they were playing but, it was in the current CL campaign. He was f-ing up the place and calling the young player a c**t plain as day for all to see and lip read because he lost the ball just outside their area.

    Eboue, had a big game up until his lack of concentration exploded on him and he got to close to the canny Lucas. C’mon people, if VP or Theo does something similar tomorrow we will all be happy as.

    Anybody who thinks Eboue, didn’t feel that is mugging themselves off cos you only had to look at the guy’s face when he got made scapegoat and was disgracefully booed by his own. Any other player in the world would of left but, the guy is still here and I’m sure he will be looking to make up for that tomorrow and the remaining games.

    Last night the broadband went down in mid reply to a post from Jabba Ds.

    All I can say is that it will be a very sad time for all us Gooners if Wenger has enough and decides to pack his bags and go home. Maybe we wouldn’t see it straight away but, we will.

    Try to remember that the man wasn’t born or grown here and ask yourselves if you were in another country working your arse off would put up with shit not just from the racist elements in the media there but, from your own people who are supposed to be following you and supporting you because you made there their wildest dreams possible within a year of showing up? Like fuck would you still be here.

    Too many factors contribute to our recent so say downfall (still 2nd) to lay the blame at Wenger’s door. Players who he has trusted are not producing their best for whatever reasons. Yes he has made some fuckups but, which manager hasn’t? I think he will change his policy and be less stubborn during the close season whatever the outcome of this season. By that I’m hoping to get rid of deadwood and bring in new faces with experience to compliment what we already have.

    I do believe also that we do need a clogger to do just that no matter that he has no outstanding skills cos with the games where we lost points outstanding skills didn’t so fuckall.

    I totally understand some of our current players are blatantly not Arsenal pedigree.

    Now this Arsenal pedigree type player standard some like to refer to was a standard set by Wenger. Correct me if I am wrong, we had some fine players down the years during the GG era and the Brucie brought us the living legend Dennis B.

    But if we are talking about this era it was Wenger that brought in not only several of the best players ever to play at our club but, some of the best players in Europe and got them playing some of the best football in Europe and most prob would have been crowned the best if we never went a man down in the CL Final.

    Premiership & FA Cup Double in 1998
    Premiership & FA Cup Double in 2002
    The FA Cup in 2003
    Premiership (Invincible) in 2004
    FA Cup 2005

    Bollocks to wanker winter. Wenger will change certain things but, I hope he doesn’t ever surf around and read some of the shit going around. I’m early 30s and recall us finishing 10th and shit like that so this is out of order.

  87. Excellent post Muppet!

  88. OOU
    can you please translate, i don’t speak spanish 🙂

  89. Jabba's delights

    Joshua

    I completely agree that many fans discount the affect of wages when signing players. However we spend 110m on our wages and if you tell me that we arent MASSIVELY overpaying some of our squad then we cant really have a debate.

    Denilson, Diaby (5 years of being injury prone), Rosicky, Bendtner these guys are on great money and yet contribute very very very little. Its the manager who offers the extensions to these underachivers.

  90. Jabba’s delight…while you speak of defensive calamities please be reminded that we have considered less goals than Man Utd this season…

    You claim we lack leadership on what basis? that we have no vocal captain or team member? Your definition of leadership is streamlined and dare I say old-fashioned….please do not hoist it as the only acceptable measure of leadership..it is almost certainly based on your cultural orientation…I don’t think the French or Spanish share your views

    No plan B? what was Chamakh bought for?

    Any fool can come up with reasons for arsenals “failure”..some say the reason for our failure is because we lack a fox in the box, others say our lack of “Steely-british” defenders, others say lack of a winning mentality….almost any conjecture is accepted these days…

    The same press keep predicting we would struggle for 4th…I daresay Arsene has proved them wrong..or are they right in that regard too?

  91. I don’t either, Colney! Although I can just about read it if I know the context. Best use google translate or babelfish – you’ll get the gist, but may lose idioms etc.

  92. good read yogi
    i was reading through winters comments and at one bit i actually thought he had a few fair points but then like you i realised he was giving the likes of fergie a blow job with what he was saying and the biased nature of the read made it lose all its credibility..
    wenger does make a mug of himself sometimes by refusing to accept the factsand looking to blame anyone but ourselves and it does create a distance between us and everyone else… but to say he needs to be more like the man whos just been banned for 5 games by the fa for his comments in interviews is a bit rich i thought…

    joshua we aint the same status as real and barca thats true but i dont think many fans expect us to be, bearing in mind they dont play in the PL and are no threat to us in that sense..
    but we are asuperclub when you compare us to other teams around europe baring those two..and in terms of the PL we are very much a super club…
    its fair to say when we lived at highbury we did punch above our weight but now we are at the emirates we are expected to reach the same levels and the fact is for 6 years we have not…

  93. Jabba's delights

    Goonerton#

    I completely agree with your post, but you must understand that for many of us, Wenger MUST admit these faults this summer. This isnt a sob story he is paid 7mill a year to run a hugley succesful business. We are doing ok this year and are win within a samll chance of winning the league. We could have done better though, and the fanbase is restless, theer isnt just one opinion there are many differing ones that cover the whole spectrum of differing degrees of unhappiness.

    The carling cup final was a killer to many, getting outplayed in the FA cup by utd reserves hurt people, and the recent speight of draws more still. We want to see that hurt in some of the players other than the usual.

    If we saw blood, sweat and toil from alot of this squad you wouldnt see anywhere near the dissent in fan reaction.

    I love Arsene but the last few weeks have made me see the squad in a differeent light and im tired of hearing the same things from arsene about them. I want to see a reaction, i want to see that they are pissed off with how things have gone recently.

    What a place to start tomorrow.

  94. Jabba's delights

    Conferencier

    Correct we have conceded less than utd but the goals we have conceded have cost us more points and cups
    WBA (home)Newcastle (Home), Liv (Home), Sunderland (away) , Wigan (away), WBA (AWAY) , Newcastle (away) , Spurs (Home)

    19 points due to poor defending. 17 of our 31 goals conceded have cost us 19 points.

    Correct there are many ways to captain but Cesc struggles. It was he whobackheeled the ball final seconds fist half against barca . What example does that set. It was he who didnt fancy it vs blackburn when declared fit but fancied it vs barca when not fit. Where was our leadership against Spurs, Liv and the toon. those points right there and we would be top, its tiny margnins in this league.

    plan b. we have lost to utd and chels and drawn to a host of teams at home due to this. We have chamck and dont use him. maybe 9-12 points have come from us not scoring when a team parks the bus we are 6 behind???

  95. the wage thing is a big debate topic
    yes we have a massive bill and yes its not as big as others but the fact is that its going to be big and up their with the others..it has to be..we are a big club with a big sqaud and a big name manager..a world class manager with some world class players…
    so the wages are going to be high but there is an issue with what we pay some of them…
    some of them deserve it, although never winning anything they have proved they can mix it with the best in the world, the likes of cesc rvp nasri etc…they deserve what they get..not a problem
    but others in the squad have done naff all to deserve their wages and have been rewarded for either being injured or being average and thats where the issue lies..
    wenger seems to like paying some his players on the basis of the potential they will reach and not what they have actually acheived, but not all of them deliver…so its more of a comfort zone mentality than an incentive mentality…

  96. has anyone seen cescs comments this afternoon…??
    and theres rumours he has put his house in england up for sale…

    could be something, could be nothing

    dont know dont care anymore..let him go if he wants arsenal are bigger than any player

  97. Jabba Ds,

    True that some players haven’t produced and very true that he has extended contracts of said players but, I seriously think that he wield the axe on a number of players whatever happens this season.

    Hopefully on some of the players who as you said just don’t look like they been in a battle during/after games. They really do piss me off but, I believe if we get somebody in to properly marshal and keep people switched on we be ok as all of the errors I have seen is more down to lack of concentration not want of trying.

    I don’t want to get into the wages thing cos I also think that’s part of the problem we suffer from now and that’s the business side of things.

  98. jonjon

    The Guardian and the Telegraph versions are quite differently arranged and give a different impression, although they have the same quotes. Decide for yourself

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/8461723/Arsenals-Cesc-Fabregas-the-invincibles-the-injuries-and-why-he-is-happy-to-stay-at-the-Emirates…-for-now.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/apr/19/arsenal-cesc-fabregas-arsene-wenger

  99. Why have I gone into moderation?

  100. Cesc didn’t just burn the bridge, he set off dynamite charges, then nuked the surrounding countryside for good measure.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/apr/19/arsenal-cesc-fabregas-arsene-wenger

    Wow.

    I think I’ll just sit back with a bag of popcorn and read the responses from the true believers.

  101. Read the original.

  102. we defend well as a whole..
    the defence collectively has improved and we can defend..
    our problem is when the other team gains momentum and the defence is under constant pressure and we panic and make very basic, very silly, very schoolboy individual errors and its making the whole defence look bad in certain games when its actually as a whole its not as bad as people think…
    the cb and gk thing is bollox..we have good cbs and ches is a good gk but the majority of our downfalls come from individual errors from other players..im not saying ches jd and koz have been perfect but they have been solid and they have been let down more by the fb’s or whos in midield…

    the only reason we would actually need a new cb or a new gk is if the injuries kick in and we look for like for like, but we dont need a cb or a gk to replace what we have, they are good enough, if anything those positions need reinforcing and not replacing as the media keep making out…

  103. Jabba’s delight..nobody denies we could have been better in those games….but the number we’ve conceded does not mean we have to revamp the defence..I believe the occasional comic errors are not chronic and can be cut out…

    Are you equating conceding winning positions to lack of leadership? Are you also claiming it is the captain’s responsibility to prevent this as opposed to the whole team? You seem to believe that a captain who shouts at his team mates and “forces” them to up their game would have prevented these losses…back to my earlier point ur “concept” of leadership is what you are promoting..there is no contemporary logic behind this (it may have worked in the pre-war years)

    Are you judging Cesc’s three seasons’ worth of captaincy on three to five matches? how logical..Is he suddenly supposed to be error-free?

    We draw because teams defend so tightly against us alone…these small teams have a go at the Bridge and Old trafford…yes we should find a way around it but it is not as easy..even Barcelona have had recent 1-goal margin wins due to this…

    We also beat Chelsea and ManCity unlike the pundits predicted

  104. Goonablazin
    Hmm interesting translation by the Guardian.

  105. On what he said about dropping into the invincibles side and improving quickly as a player being surrounded by such big names – it should be pointed out that Cesc, van Persie, Clichy and Sagna are all experienced big name players with international pedigrees. He probably doesn’t realise, but he has helped bring other players through.

    And he shouldn’t speak about the responsibility on his shoulders like it’s a negative thing – the man has 50+ international caps, European Championship and World Cup medals; of course his teammates are going to look up to him.

  106. Well. I haven’t yet forgiven Cesc for last Summer and have always assumed that he will be off at the end of this season, nothing he has said or done since has convinced me otherwise. I am no fan of the Spanish clique. RvP is the captain in my eyes. Has been since he recovered.

  107. agree with frank
    cesc fucked it last summer and hasnt had a great season
    rvp is my captain also..said this a while back that rvp will be the one who leads us to glory and so far hes doing his bit..cant fault rvp conrtribution so far…
    cesc however has been nowhere to be seen for a long while..

  108. Limestonegunner

    Joshua, I think Liverpool is a different case and can be compared to us. In that comparison, we look smarter; John Henry and co. will however imitate Arsenal, I think. But you routinely compare us to Spurs and Villa as well and here I think you are wrong. The figures I have seen put Spurs’ transfer spending over the last 5 years (since 2006) at about 19million per season, 3rd in overall spending. They have spent a lot as you mention. However, last year’s wages were estimated at 40+million less that ours. So their total spending is 20+million less since our net transfer is +5 million or so in income. Villa are very similar to Spuds. Everton is further away.

    When you say we are a better run version of Spurs or Villa, you are diminishing the status of Arsenal. We have millions of supporters more than those clubs globally. We are 5th or 6th in total revenues in the money league of clubs worldwide. Our revenue is listed in the Forbes revenue rankings 2010 as 369 million US dollars (the top four are all above 400). Do you know where Tottenham is?: $186 million (in 13th, nearly 200 million behind–this year it will be much higher with the CL campaign but not that close). I agree we need to be prudent–I am not arguing that–but lets not create false comparisons. There is a big gap between us and Real, Barca, and ManU but also between us and Spurs/Villa/Everton. That’s all I am saying.

  109. Here in lies the problem with saying that some havent produced, people are looking at the scapegoats while recently it has been our best players that are not doing the business.
    Why talk about Diaby, Denilson (who hasnt play in a while), Rosicky and NB while no mention of RVP who is not firing at present? I would say he has missed some chances recently that a striker of his standard shouldve burried but we are talking about the players who are mostly riding the bench.

    Talk all you want but right now we are suffering from our best players not getting it done, so we can lay off of the likes of Denilson and come with something new.

  110. I am afraid I have to disagree with you, Paul N. Not in principle, but in the particular. RvP is pulling us through on his own. We do have a problem in midfield though. Jaded? Loss of pace and creativity perhaps? AND no goals from them. Samir has lost his mojo a bit and Theo is in a bit of a groove. Cesc is not the same player since he had his head turned. Interestingly Jack and Abou stand out and Emmanuel in the last game. Andre is Andre and just keeps plugging away, bless him.

  111. Agreed RVP should be captain! he loves the club for sure!

  112. Hate to say it but I think that Cesc should go, in the same way that I thought that TH stayed for a season too long. The player becomes a distraction on and off the pitch. On the pitch everything goes through Cesc which is sometimes great and sometimes predictable. Great player, all heart and vision. But his heart is not at Arsenal and he is gazing wistfully at his old club. His remarks to the press and media these days make uncomfortable reading/ watching/ listening.

  113. rvp….

  114. Limestonegunner

    Frank hit the nail on the head a couple days ago–fewer goals from midfield. The question is what can be done for the remaining matches.

    RvP is a great choice for captain, though I usually prefer a midfielder or defender.

  115. Looking beyond the headlines, as I’m sure you all do anyway, were his comments really all that bad? To me it sounds like he’s in it for the long run, but wants to see some experience added to the team. I don’t think he’s been the same since he got back from his latest injury, but the same could be said for Theo, Nasri for sure, while Sagna and Song have lost their way a little bit as well.

    Clichy is always good for the odd mistake, but I think he’s had a great second half to the season.

  116. Frank, I understand that RVP is our best player (at present) but I do believe he has missed some chances that he would have scored a few games back, even on Sunday.

    I am not saying he is playing poorly though, I just want these people to look at who is on the field and stop with the scapegoating.

    Cannot argue with our lack of goals from the mid, I hope it is not due to being Jaded and all tha because we have a deep enough squad. The players are creative, maybe the confidence has never returned after the barca match?

    I would agree that Cesc though a great player hasnt been the same player overall but I hope that is down to his injury but it is very likely that him wanting to be a barcelona player has something to do with it.

  117. frank i make you right..

    i think the problem with cesc is that although a fantastic player, hes becoming a bit of a hinderance to us..
    the constant frenzy around him and barca is getting on my tits and its nothing but a distraction every window…a negative distraction..
    not only that, but it appears at times that our whole game plan is built around him and if he doesnt play or if he doesnt play well we dont tick…

    which like you say, was apparent in the final years of henry..

  118. For me it is not really about recent headlines, Big Al, however it is hardly the time to start throwing curved balls in his own club’s direction. Not as a captain and not as a long term player.

  119. Interesting that the club website has a frank and open discussion with RvP (watch it if you possibly can), and Cesc provides his view through the press.

  120. Afternoon all,

    A few weeks ago I posted about how I was set to beginning my coaching career with the Junior Varsity girls team at the highschool I work at. Some of you were really supportive, so I thought I’d share this update with you. I figure we could use a distraction! Hope you enjoy!

    “Since my first update, we’ve had 3 games including our first win, 4-0 over Waukesha North. Wow, what a day that was. All week in practice after our first game we worked on our positional play and defensive formation and wow did it pay off. Seeing my defensive line and midfield players rotate and shift over the field to neutralize threats from the North Stars (awesome name to go with purple and white jerseys) was honestly one of the most beautiful things that these eyes have ever seen. I was just so enthused to see what we worked on so intensely in practice, after being unsure if it would totally sink in, play out so well in the game. It was a feeling I had never had before, I was so overwhelmed with pride it was all I could do to keep the shit eating grin off my face when I shook hands with the other coach. It was honestly a legitimate challenge not to start dancing and doing kart-wheels up and down the sidelines as the game wound down. I kept saying to my players who were on the bench just before the final whistle “alright everyone just remain calm, be professional.” They all laughed at me and said “Uhhh Mr Smith….its probably you who should follow that advice”. After the game I had my first real opportunity to meet and greet with parents. For some reason, it was in those moments shaking hands with parents, receiving congratulations on the win, that the reality of being a jv girls soccer coach truly sunk in.

    Since that Saturday afternoon in Waukesha, our other two games have been draws. 1-1 and 0-0 respectively.

    The 1-1 game was an intense test of my coaching inexperience. That game was against Brookfield East our home opener, a hated rival. They dominated us in the first half, but our defense stood relatively strong, bending, but not breaking, the scoreline locked at 0-0. My half time talk was intense, I encouraged my players to continue working hard, to try and really take the game to them, and above all else, that when they came off the field after the 80 minutes that they would have no regrets, nothing left to give. “Leave it out there” was the cry heard for the rest of the second half. Something clicked and we began having the better run of play, totally overturning the momentum for the first half. About 15 minutes in we were rewarded, a beautifully taken goal from just inside the 18 put us up 1 – 0. Not sure I’ve ever jumped so high, before quickly landing to bark out defensive instructions. The game dragged on for what seemed an enternity for me. We continued to be the better team, but they were creating chances here and there. Finally, the hammer came down. Girls games last 80 minutes, and in about the 73rd, a Brook Easter went down inside the penalty box from what I saw as very minimal contact and the ref blew for a penalty kick in their favor. Now at this point, somehow, I managed to get it into my head that, at all costs, I needed to avoid getting a yellow card for freaking out over my first experience with refereeing injustice. So I remained restrained, proudly I must say, talking in a controlled volume with the referee a few moments later. Their best player stepped up and buried the kick. The game ended that way at 1-1 and afterwards, I gave a rousing talk to my team, praising them for their hard work, for not giving up another goal after the bs penalty, for “leaving it out there” as I had aked. It really was a great moment for me, I made sure every player left our little pow-wow with a smile and I was proud of another one of my coaching “firsts”.

    The 0-0 game wasn’t too spectacular. It was FREEZING. 36 degrees with a 15-20 mph wind. ALL GAME. Naturally, we started to accumulate some injuries during this game, and another set of coaching firsts was had, trying to cheer up one of my particularly competitive players as she limped off choking back tears. “

  121. the headlines aside,
    cesc looks to be speaking out..it looks like hes abit sick of it all and hes looking for assurances this summer that changes will be made
    or hes off…
    wengers long remained firm on his philosophies but cesc is basically what his philosophy is about..
    if we lose cesc it throws a massive spanner in wengers theorys about young players and developing them
    whats the point in putting years of hard work and patience into a player only for him to piss off before hes peaked or won anything???

    maybe wenger will listen to cesc??

  122. Limestonegunner

    Congrats, NJ! It looks like the Neil Warnock video helped!

  123. Keyser

    2 links in one post.

    YW

  124. Ah now you have gone and spoiled it, JonJon. That was rubbish.

  125. Great stuff. Leave for Barcelona Athletic, but fuck the manager who nurtured you first. What a cunt.

  126. Comments such as Cesc’ should be for the manager not the Arsenal hating press. He kept his feelings about wanting to leave between them both didnt he?

    I also have a problem (if he said these things) with the comments because it seems as if he doesnt want to take the leadership role. If he doesnt want the pressure give up the Captaincy to a more “experienced” player.

    So, If these recent comments are really from Cesc then maybe he should hit the bricks.

    The club has winners, maybe not in the PL but most have won the leagues that there were in prior to coming to the PL and he himself is a Euro Cup and WC winner. Translate that winners “mentaility” to the PL unless everytime you go to a new League you needs to get a new winning mentatility?

    Terrible timing, on top of all of that (If he said it, that is)

  127. suppose it was frank
    hes our captain theres no point in speaking out now it shows a defeatest attitude and not the attitude of someone who wants to lead us over the line..
    but i still think cesc is the prime example of wengers philosophy
    and for him to go would put a massive dent in it..

  128. anyway fuck it..weve had enough negativity from the weekend to deal with..
    thanks for the memories cescy boy..but fuck ya..i lost interest in your circus last year…
    come on newcastle..

  129. how the fuck has usmanov bought more shares??
    bloomberg are saying hes bought 6 more and now has a say in the finances??
    can someone explain??
    yogi??
    frank??
    whats going on??

  130. I find these comments attributed to Fabregas very disappointing, even if I’m no longer wholly surprised by them. I know tabloids love to cherry pick a quote or two out of context and I usually take it all with a pinch of salt, however he should really know better by now. Why’s he coming out with this shit now? bad bad timing. It’s counterproductive to the cause (to the say the least) and it’s just feeding bad vibes the media love to cultivate. I don’t think his heart is in it and this just confirms my suspicions he’ll be history soon enough. It’s ironic that Jamie Carragher of all people has been quoted praising Arsenal and yet our captain’s words are seemingly thinly veiled criticism. Unforgivable. Maybe I’m over-reacting but it leaves a very unpleasant taste. Sorry. I really hope he proves me wrong…

  131. Newcastle running all over the Red Manc’s in the first 15 minutes of the game. Why don’t the Manc’s play like that against us?

    I agree with Frank. Not sure how much of Cesc’s sub par season is related to Barca on the Brain vs. World cup hangover and recurring hamstrings, but either way it may be time to go.

    Not sure that is really what Cesc really said but I suspect he and every player on the squad has similar ideas to those attributed to him in the story.

  132. Thanks limestone. yea it did.. at least 3 words I could interpret outside of the f bomb did..

  133. Bill, I think most of the players believe “they” need to up their game and that all the public should hear.

  134. Limestonegunner

    JJ, I don’t think anything has actually changed with his purchase of the 6 shares. The article just points out that there are certain changes/decisions that require 75% and others above 90% to make, which requires Usmanov to agree since he has ~28%.

  135. Nice NJ, very proud of you and your team sir!

    This really made me laugh though

    “Girls games last 80 minutes, and in about the 73rd, a Brook Easter went down inside the penalty box from what I saw as very minimal contact and the ref blew for a penalty kick in their favor”

  136. Thanks Paul N.

    Brook East was the team we were playing that night if unclear.

    Thought I’d share with my internet football family.

  137. My pleasure NJ and thanks to you for the great read.

    Not sure if you know but the Arsenal match is on espn3 tomorrow.

  138. Newcastle looking good so far.

  139. thanks limestone…
    if usmanov doesnt budge it will be interesting to see what kreonke does in the long run
    stan could be in it for the long haul,
    but then again with usmanov still hanging round theres a chance stan could spend the next few years raising his share price and then selling the lot to usmanov for a tidy profit..

  140. Limestonegunner

    JJ, that is exactly what Paddy Barclay suspects he will do! We’ll see.

  141. So we’re turning on Fabregas now are we? Just because he states the bleeding obvious.

  142. Limestonegunner

    0-0 at halftime. Well, two draws would be better than one defeat. Here’s hoping at least one of those two options occur and that ManU experience a hangover from the FA cup loss. Perhaps Everton can get a draw at OT next week too.

  143. You have turned on the whole team so big deal.

  144. Sounds like me and Cesc are more in tune than you are Paul N. You know more about the team than him?

  145. I think Fabregas is venturing into dangerous waters…subliminally calling the manager out on his policy should never be done publicly…it only undermine’s the manager’s postion

  146. Block4, I never said he shouldnt have said anyting but to do it in the press is not the way. Read my comment, I said these types of discussions is for him and the manager.

    However I dont rate what he says over the manager.

    Anyway, as far as winning, he was one who hurt us big time on the biggest stage in world football. He is experienced enough to know you dont backheel like that and dont play injured.

    He needs to pick his game up and lead, if thats too big hand over the captiancy. Is that not true?

  147. what has cesc said. the brutal honest truth b ut we all know it but it isnt about trophies so who cares anyway.

  148. Paul N, your comment was “You have turned on the whole team so big deal.”

    I’m off to watch the Mancs hopefully lose to The Toon now.

  149. He is looking for excuses also and what he says is not true about the team lacking winners. What is a winner, isnt it someone who has won? If that is not true, then it is not important for a “winner” to have won anything. If you get my point.

  150. Just wanted you to get off of your high horse.

  151. Limestonegunner

    Paul N, not that debate again!

  152. Paulie Walnuts

    I agree with most of the comments concerning Cesc.

    Our change to 4-3-3 a couple of seasons ago was mainly to get the best out of him – to free him from some defensive responsibility & allow him to get forward as much as possible & use his creativity. Therefore, when he`s off his game we`re probably off our game.

    I`m expecting a derisory summer bid from Barca & all the usual tabloid hullaballoo – but this time I think he`ll be off.

  153. Nobody is “turning on Fabgregas”. Merely expressing disappointment in comments attributed to him, and, more importantly, the timing of said comments. We are very close to winning the league, for our captain to be questioning the manager, players or philosophy of the club at any time is rotten PR, but at this moment, and after a difficult period, it’s just rotten. Full stop. You may agree with him. I question both his motives and his timing.

  154. Limestone… if only all posters marshalled their arguments with same care that you do. It is a pleasure to have an argument with you sir.

    I actually agree with everything you are saying but where differ is in this regard… let me put it this way; if an Arsene Wenger type figure turned up at Spurs today and met a board as savvy and on-the-ball as our has been, for the most part, do you think that they have the potential to do what we have? I’d ask the same question of Villa too. My answer to my own questions would be an emphatic yes… because Spurs have the potential… they too have a waiting list for season ticket holders for instance and they’ve only played once in the ECL!

    Let’s remember that the main basis for our rise in the rank of the clubs in the world is the income that our new stadium generates… before we moved to the Grove our financial potential was more or less on a par with Spurs. What we have done as a club is within the potential of a club like Spurs or Villa and that is the point I am really making… As for Liverpool, I’d say that with their 5 European Cups and 18 league titles as well as a 44,000 stadium even now, a Wenger- like figure for them would have an easier time in some respects ( a worse time given that their fans are probably the only ones with a greater sense of entitlement than ours)

    So that’s my point in a nutshell. we have stepped farther away from Spurs in the last six years or so… and before that we were in the ECL and they weren’t so we made more money and spent what we made better but all-in-all the greatest break has been due to the stadium. The guys above us on the other hand (especially Barca) have decades on us in developmental terms. Remember that it wasn’t that long ago that we were selling Andy Cole to Bristol at a time when Cryuff had already put in place most of the foundations that carry the modern day Barcelona. And therein lies my second point… that we are closer to Spurs than we are too Barca… at least in terms of development as clubs.

    So in conclusion… I’m not saying that we are not better than Spurs and Villa and even Liverpool because we are… I’m saying that the media should look down as well as up when grading our achievements, especially since we have far more in common with those below us than we do with almost all those above us… for me that is a fairer and saner way to judge our club.

  155. I am through Limestone!

  156. What Harry Flower said

  157. Oh, awesome, Newcastle denied a clear penalty.

  158. Paul N,

    Ok awesome! Thanks for letting me know, I was gonna check how i was going to watch later tonight! I’ve got my own match to coach tomorrow so wont be able to watch till long after.. so hopefully I’ll be celebrating 2 wins!!!

  159. Congrats NJ! I enjoyed reading your account. Will you grace us with more of your managerial exploits?

    May you be bless with many an opportunity to reveal your coprophagous grin!

  160. From Cesc’s twitter: “Incredible that people try and twist everything to make headlines. Arsene Wenger has had a huge impact on me and my career. Great man.”

    I’ve not read the article that’s caused this hubbaballoo so I’ve no idea how that impacts the discuss at present.

  161. Never mind the cesc comments, what is more damaging is the constant moaning, bitching and venom filled articles on supposedly Arsenal related blogs and publications. The Gooner for one has sunk to never heard of depths of late. Cannot blieve they are meant to be Gooners?

    At least we can expect it of other media outlets.

  162. As for Sunday? Oh fuc me, I didnt know there was a 112 minute mark at a football match!??! Only we could draw that game after scoring the 1st goal after 98 mins!

  163. Bradys right foot

    Shock as Newcastle denied stonewall pen against Man Utd.

  164. Shock? No, as expected. I sometimes really wonder if it’s the rose-tinted glasses or if everything is REALLY going ManU’s way? I can easily see how Newcastle fans would’ve enough reasons to be unsatisfied with the ref …

  165. Jabba…

    With all due respect I strongly disagree with you. We don’t over pay our players… if anything the opposite is probably the case. If you want to pay Bendtner less than the 60k he is reportedly on you’d have to tell me of a better player than Bendtner on less money. Is Defoe earning less, or Crouch, Or Bent? Bendtner is on a similar wage to young Sturridge at Chelsea and you want to bleat? The only striker at a top club earning less than Bendtner is probably little pea at United and I’d bet anything that he gets an improved contract once the season ends.

    We are second and we have 4th highest wage bill in the EPL and one of biggest squads… the truth is that our wage bill is what you’d expect of a club of our size with players of the quality we possess… Fans really crack me up. Our players are always shit till they go elsewhere and play against us… then eyes suddenly open wide… I remember all the abuse Ade took for beiong rubbish, not for being an obnoxious human being which is a different matter, but being a rubbish footballer, you got to laugh. We are not perfect but the Arsenal wage bill is entirely in line with what modern day footballers at a club of our size expect to earn to pay less we only get you worse players. That’s it.

  166. Evil, I have even ran into United supporters who agree that they usually get some crazy calls.
    The terrible part is that Arsenal supporters believe that we are looking for excuses but if the ref gives one team more breaks than others it going to be difficult for the rest.

  167. Lets see how much Fergie time now!

  168. Okay, maybe not that biased. But honestly, THAT was as obvious a dive as I have seen in years.

  169. what a blow wow dive by Chico

  170. So I guess the ref has made up for not giving Newcastle the pen.

  171. utd denied a stonewall penalty..

  172. Joking, JJ?

  173. There you have it, one loss and a little lack of confidence.

  174. Newcastle was denied a stonewall penalty also

  175. Nil nil then, so they get a point. We can still do this!!! Hahahahaha! How crackers is that? And beating the spuds into the bargain? Priceless!

  176. So what do we make of this? United just can’t break down an organised defense. They are predictable, lacking creativity, a lot of pass pass pass cross and no end product. Basically: every cliche I’ve seen applied to Arsenal the past few days can be applied to that United performance as well. The difference: we struggle at home, they struggle away.
    Anyway, we win our next 6 games, they lose or draw against Chelsea, we win the league?

  177. Even more so by the looks of things. The hand to ball or handball is never easy when the ball is blasted but it couldve been called.

  178. Ha ha Jon Jon’s precious Man U can’t score or win at St James. Not so fucking full of your anti Arsenal hatred now are you, prick?

  179. I think Newcastle was the better team actually, so it seemed to me anyway.

  180. Of course it could’ve been called, but to me it looked like it hit the shoulder? Even if Tiote would’ve had the arms by his side the ball would’ve hit him. Might need a different camera angle to clarify, though.

  181. Oh and in good ol England we had to suffer Sam Alladyce as a co-commentator again. How utterly disgusting is that? What a cunt he is. he had the nerve to say Wenger was too self important apparantly. Ha! That fat never won a fucking thig logger who is so full of himself he talks in the 3rd person and suggested he should be managin Real and Barca calls anyone else self importnat??? You cannot make this shit up.

  182. We are back to where we were before we played Liverpool. What a difference a few days makes!

  183. nope
    it was a pen..if hernandez dont fly like a dipstick thru the air and tries to win an oscar he gets it…it was more of a penalty than newcastles shout which i dont think was one at all…

  184. Jabba's Delights

    i think cesc’s quotes are great. He is calling out the team. If your’e arshavin, nasri, chamack, song, clichy, sagna imagine your captain and best player saying you all lean to much on rvp. I think its a fantastic motivating tool and its exactly what ive wanted to see from him in ages. In the same way i highlkighted earlier where i thought his cpataincy has been poor i think this the day before the north london derby is briliant.

    Its a message to all the players are ”you a developing boy” or are you a worldclass player who is ready to take responsibiliy.

    proof is in the pudding, but finally a quote to the press from someone at the club that is putting pressure internally on people in the club.

    If im nasri tonight im annoyed and want to go do something about it tomorrow

  185. It looked like a penalty I have to say. Who cares. F*ck ’em. Points dropped!

  186. what makes you say that steww..
    why are they my precious manu??? when have i compared us to manutd at all…
    a prick loves to fuck a pussy…

  187. oh no its up to us again!!!

  188. How was Newcastle’s penalty not one? The player, forgot who it was, got his leg pulled from underneath him — penalty every day of the week. In fact, the penalty we got against Liverpool was about the same.

    On the other hand Diverito leaps even before there is any contact made. Maybe he tried to avoid the contact and didn’t actually “dive” to con the ref? Doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day it’s not a penalty any way you look at it.

  189. mj,Merson is as thick as say ……………Jimbo

  190. well well well

  191. one more draw for them and we stuff the fuckers

  192. RVP will lead us to glory. All remember how he played last year in the same fixture? If Gomes hadn’t had the best game of his life, RVP would’ve scored a hattrick. He will make up for it tomorrow. He is after all the best centre forward in the world. At least a brace for RVP, mark my words.

  193. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Jon Jon thought Chicharitos dive was a stone wall pen! Hilarious. Newcastle had the only penalty shout all game and of course didn’t get it.

  194. I love the headline – ” United frustrated by Toon”

  195. i didnt think it was..he dug his foot in the ground and lost balance first then fell thru a load of legs…if its not a pen then its a dive and he gets booked like hernandez…
    but apparently there was two newcastle shouts and i didnt see the other one so we may be talking about different incidents…
    just my opinion
    would have liked newcastle to get it mind..
    but if he books hernandez he should have booked the others
    inconsistency going against utd that time…
    just saying

  196. I#ve got Paul Merson’s book it was a present. havent started it yet, but I bet its funny as hell. He is pretty good valuse on sky sports. Not r any football insight, but unintentional comedy moments. The bloks running low on brain cells after what he’s put his body throug over the years. And he has to be bi-polar judging by the stuff he comes out with.

    Basically he is harmless, mainly because no one takes him seriously, including himelf! Not like sad ex-players like Petit and sad to say Wrighty.

    But merson was always my favourite Arsenal player, I’ve got a soft spot for the simpleton.

  197. Newcastle shouldve had a pen, thats for sure, the United one is more debatable.

  198. A little harsh on Merse, don’t you think, George?

  199. At least on that we can agree. If the ref says it’s a dive and doesn’t give a penalty, he should give a yellow card. But really, consistency and football referees? Those two don’t match.

  200. I believe Chel$ki have one last ho-rah in th them at them and will beat at old theater

  201. gotta luv that manc winning mentality..despite how shit they play week in and out, at least they show other teams how to grind out results..

  202. Mj. He is a top plank.top,top,plank,top plank……….as he would say.

  203. the refs are consistent
    they are consistently shit…

  204. we need to beat spurs
    no fucking about no panic defending no tippy tappy bullshit waiting until the 89th minute for the opening..
    go to shite fart lane and WIN….

  205. “nope
    it was a pen..if hernandez dont fly like a dipstick thru the air and tries to win an oscar he gets it…it was more of a penalty than newcastles shout which i dont think was one at all…”

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh man!!

  206. Yes, we need a win JJ. 4 points off the top, get our confidence back and get United’s nerves going.
    Yo, this season is the best in years, nuff excitement!

  207. I didnt even read what JJ said! I thought he was talking about the handball in the penalty area call or non call.

    JJ, you sure you are not a closet red devil?

    That is no penalty regardless from what I saw.

  208. Hernandez you cheat! we can still do this cmon you gunners!

  209. JJ is not an Arsenal fan. Simples.

  210. The referee had the best view for both so called penalties. The Newscastle claim was stronger. The Man United one should be a debate about whether the Little Piss dived or not.

  211. how can a gooner call Merson a plank. he is a fukin legend. and i cant wait to read his book, will be a good’n.

  212. You can borrow it adfter me duke… Its the pop up version!

  213. Bradys right foot

    We have to beat the spuds I’m actually more confident of a win because we are playing away from the Grave. If we can get a result I think Everton is going to be a tough game for Utd, there will be a few twists and turns before the season ends.

  214. Ha ha so the great united choke under pressure as well. There is a god. Game f@ckin on. All those who called the team spineless what have you got to say now. Over to you boys. COYG………..we are going to bring white hart lane down to its knees.

  215. 3-1 to the Arsenal tomorrow night….. Come on you Gunners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  216. I have witnessed JJ standing tall against some real doomers on another site .So people should put everything into perspective.At least he argues his corner without resorting to cheap insults.

  217. Dexter, I thought it was a colouring book.

  218. @ paul N thanks…all part of a resolution to be less lazy 😛

    If this had been us the refs would have dusted the old rule book, dug up an obscure ancient rule made by Fergus the ancient wizard, and awarded a double penalty and made newcastle go 2-0 up….

    I think Jack needs a little break at WHL its his first full season and he deserves one..
    midfield trio of cesc diaby and nasri..ive been waiting to see nasri and cesc through the middle..

  219. 1 loose cannon

    That was a good result but only if we win all of our games starting at the Spuds anything else will not be enough. We need to spank someone hard and c lose the gap opn goal margins. Manure are 6 goals ahead of us. It could come down to that

  220. becuase i remain objective on ref decisions against ANY team means im not an arsenal fan?? and because i thought utd were a victim of inconsistent referreeing tonight means im a utd fan???

    ok…

    the ref gave no pens..even though there were 3 shouts..yet he booked utds player for diving yet he doesnt book the newcastle players, even though he deems it as no pen..
    inconsistent i say…they should all get yellows..
    sometimes a little objectivity never hurt anyone but it seems that if someone does fall in line with the manutd penalty conspiracy theory they aint a proper gooner
    bullshit…
    weve had 15 pens this season ourselves and not all of them were clear cut…so if theres a conspiracy for pens then we must be in on it as well
    unless the answer lies in all the refs in the league being shit at their job in general and not just against anyone who plays against manutd…
    just saying…

  221. How can you listen to Merson and not call him a plank?

  222. I aint going to the game tomorrow and I dont think I can stand to watch it on TV… Time to creosote the back fence again then.

  223. mersons a loveable plank
    legend

  224. 1 loose cannon

    Anirudh – You said if that had been us Newcastle would get 2 penalties. No ifs. it has happend already this season with that 4_4 with Newcastle

  225. @ 1 loose cannon..I meant for the same offence 🙂

    unbelievably that still hasnt happened..maybe the refs are waiting for united at the emirates to pull that particular rabbit out of the hat…

  226. JJ, I dont think anyone disagrees that the refs should be consistent, you are 100% correct but to call that a pen is quite funny. I watched it over and over and it was the dive that gave him any chance of getting a pen. It was a joke!

  227. Dont say that Anirudh, one of these crooked refs may read that and try it out for real.

    Good to know you are defending the team elsewhere JJ, thats kool!

  228. The handball was closer to being a pen than that ‘tackle’. Even accidental, his arm was up and away from his body.
    Maybe if Hernandez had better acting lessons, he could have drawn one for that, but his attempt was pitifully awful.

  229. Good result from Toon land. Our boys have to be so up for this now and bin the memories of the last few months. Destroy em.

  230. I wonder what state the away dressing room will be in tonight.

  231. I’ve seen it again. No penalty. The leetle sheet dived. Somehow I would have felt happier if they’d been denied a blatant stonewall penalty though. Just ‘cos it’s, y’know, them. Petty? just call me Tom.

  232. Unfortunately I am one of those gooners not lucky enough to watch a match at the grove yet…

    At least on TV however the groans are clearly audible and the silence is deafening at times…and I can clearly make out the difference in an away game when are fans are heard above the home support..I agree entirely its our own support that needs to man up and start showing belief..its truly disgraceful our home support is the away teams proverbial “twelfth man”..I seriously believe that the team prefers to play away and that is pathetic..as pathetic as some of the Arsenal blogs…

    Awesome away support = best away team in the league…Its quite simple to learn even for the thick headed moaners and groaners…

  233. Big Ups to Wilshere for his award, well deserved!

  234. agreed Anirudh,

    My question for the past few days is why are we so good away from home? If home is supposed to be your fortress it doesnt make sense for us to struggle as much when we have the same players and manager.

    Only two things are different – the quality of the support and the field.

  235. @ paul N totally agree…

    I mean is it that difficult to just for 90 minutes, forget every thing, make some noise and back the team…but this is not something new..even highbury was called “the library”..I think the difference was the pitch at highbury offered us an advantage to offset this, and thats not there anymore at the emirates..

  236. Well, while I do not think that support is to blame entirely, I do wonder if some players might just think “Why should I try something risky and get to hear a couple of thousand moans in return? I’ll just play it safe” …a nd if most of our team think like that, it’s obvious that no one is trying something that might break open two banks of four.
    Add to that that Cesc is a man changed. Remember the guy after the Ramsey incident? Who would talk to refs all the time whenever a decision does not go our way to the point you would think he might get a yellow card? During this time, he was a leader, a true captain. And that changed during the Barcelona return leg and every game after that … I can’t remember Cesc going to the ref even once to complain. He stopped acting like a captain and I think that’s shameful. So that might play a part as well.
    Without anyone trying anything and Cesc not taking responsibility, what’s left is a team that does the basics very well, but whenever it’s asked to do something special, we just fail.

  237. Title on again?

    I hope the Russian plays instead of Nasri. I think he’s had enough rest, and the latter needs a break. I don’t usually play championship manager, but just have a feeling we would do better with Arshavin on the flanks. Go all out attack. Forget what Bale can do. We can deal much more damage if we play our game (not the one we’ve been playing for a month now). Sagna should be back.

  238. The Mancs will drop more points.
    They were always going to ‘drop points’ as the saying goes.
    Three at the Arsenal Stadium, and one or more against Chelsea and others.

    COYG.

  239. @Ateeb
    Bale can do nothing against Sagna. In the fixture at the Ems, ‘appy ‘arry had to shift him to the centre because he just could not get past Sagna for a full 45 minutes. I am not afraid of Bale nor any other Sp*d player. We are, man for man, on every position, the better team.

  240. Nasri could do with a rest perhaps.
    If so, then Little Jack too? I have no idea.
    Against teams that load the left side, like Chelsea, Walcott did well.
    It might be the same front three for this game, at least.

    I do enjoy watching Arshavin, especially when he hasn’t been asked to fly around the planet for most of the previous week.

  241. did < has done

  242. Finsbury,

    Sure. Rest Wilshere as well. Bring in Rosicky. What’s the point of having the Czech Republic captain, if you’re not going to play him. I wouldn’t rest Wilshere though, Diaby would be a better bet. I don’t know, just want Arshavin to start tomorrow, and add Rosicky in the mix. That could turn out to be interesting. And Rosicky plays well defensively. The regular starting eleven has been lacking creativity. We need to mix it up I guess.

    Evil,

    Technically we are the best team in the EPL. But it’s those freakish bizarre moments that worries me. But then again, we can’t have two freakish incidents in 3 days, can we?

  243. Bradys right foot

    Dexter | April 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm |

    I aint going to the game tomorrow and I dont think I can stand to watch it on TV… Time to creosote the back fence again then.

    lol i know what you mean m8, I don’t know if its this team or as im getting older but i’m an absolute nervous wreck watching the team.

  244. We only have 2 players on the treatment table 😀

  245. Now you’ve jinxed it Colney. Good going!!

  246. @Anirudh – Good to finally see someone from here in India, posting some sensible stuff..

    Cheers!

  247. Hi Ateeb,
    Wilshere and Walcott both missed the first derby game (in the league), they’ll both be hopeful of playing in this game.
    If Diaby gets a rest, then most probably Song will start? Rosicky could’ve played a little more. Though, as Shotta keeps highlighting for all the the ginormous football brains out there, Diaby wins his fair share of the aerial stuff. Very obvious on Sunday.

    I wonder what the Sp*ds will do? Will ‘Arry mimic his aborted masterplan that was reserved for Real Madrid? To lump it up to Crouchy.

  248. Ateeb
    knock on wood!

  249. We might be knackered but Spurs just got done getting danced around over two legs by Real Madrid. What we need id for our best players to get us an early goal and get them to start them chasing us. If we can do that we will win easily. If this doesn’t happen, then I’d make a double substitution. Arsha for Nasri and Chamakh for Van Persie at about the sixty fifth.

    I expect United to be as dry against Everton as they were tonight. Everton’s a much better counter attacking side than the bar coded bastards. They also have better midfield mobility. They should watch Tiote’s performance and learn how to shut down Nani.

  250. Cesc is playing the “lost in translation card” on twitter.

  251. Cesc and rvp should knw better…although the comments attributed to them in the press should be taken with a pinch of salr. Cesc cannot question Arsenals development of young players when he is a by product of that and as the captain he should be saying all that he says in the press to the team on the pitch and showing them how its done. I do not doubt his commitment and contribution over the years he nas given his all and then some but he should take some of the blame before dishing it out….handball against spurs…back pass againsr barca. He needs to spur the team to victory and create his own history. Is he saying being captain is too much responsibilty?Then the armband should be given to Djorou or Vermaelen. Denilson already alluded to worries about Cesc leadership at times.

  252. RvP’s comments are fine, they are on video on the Arsenal website. As for the other fellow. Et tu, Cesc.

  253. RvP is the captain after Cesc, G4L

  254. Gainsbourg69,

    I think Tiote is a magnificent midfielder: reminds me of PV4! However, I’m not certain if Everton will be the team to take those added (and vital) extra points of the Mancs. What I am more certain of is that they (ManUre) can drop points anywhere and that Jack and Wooshac (sic) are correct that we can still win this thing.

    Tonight and ‘Arry & the Spuds is just what the doctor ordered. They got unbelievably lucky at our place and deserve what I am certain they will receive tonight. If you’ve got a house or substantial savings, you can put them on our victory tonight. What will that say about all those who have championed ‘Arry as the saviour of modern football or who have self promoted (stand up again Twitcher) on the odd achievement – which consists of being 5th in the EPL at present and knocked out of all other tournaments?

    Can’t wait ofr today’s post and a closer focus on all things Spuds.

    COYG

  255. Manure have left the door ajar. Hopefully tonight we will kick it wide open.

  256. http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/86281.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

    Heh, RvP would be labeled a doomer if he posted that on here. Probably told to “get behind his team” as well.

  257. Except that when you watch his conversation on video on the Arsenal website it doesn’t come out like that, goonerandy. You selected the source that suited you. ESPN ffs, shame on you.

  258. Dgob – Agree about Tiote, he does look like a very good player.

  259. Goonerandy, you need to go to the source. the actual interview on atvo. it was pretty good. cant believe you are falling for the espn take on things.

  260. The bit where he talks about it being criminal giving away silly goal is not really about interpretation though is it?

    I don’t why people are being so defensive about it. What he said is a good thing. It is 100% true and shows that the team are aware of this issue that they have and are not pinning the blame anywhere else but their own front door. It is not even critisising the team, the comments are positive.

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