Djourou On Hope, Expectation & What Might Have Been

A season of promise has not delivered the silverware but several players have grabbed their opportunity to establish themselves firmly in the first team squad. Having spent a considerable amount of time injured during his time at the club – he is the longest serving player currently at Arsenal – Johan Djourou is one of those who can look back on this season with some satisfaction.

In an interview with The Guardian this morning, he has spoken of the disappointment and the reasons for failure to land any silverware. They are similar to those espoused by his manager, suggesting that the squad are fully aware of their limitations.

There is a problem with lack of delivery in English football, most notably the national team’s Golden Generation failed miserably to deliver. It has re-emphasised the impatience connected with the Premier League era of modern football. That is not lost on the Swiss international,

You can say that Arsenal have lacked a championship mentality because we haven’t got winners, who have won many cups, but that’s a thing you build. And in this group we definitely have the ability to become that.

It’s not far away, that’s the whole thing...People have to remember that it’s a foundation of work and not everything works as soon as they want.

Equally, Djourou offers a ray of light that this setback is not a permanent barrier to success in the future for those that remain beyond the summer.

The Invincibles team was a project that was not made in one year. It was piece by piece by piece.

We have to keep the faith in this project and we just want to win to show the world that the boss is right. It takes a lot of courage to keep going with your own way.

It would be easy to argue that Djourou is merely saying this as he is benefitting from Wenger’s belief in the youthful players. Whilst that is true, Djourou has offered enough this season to prove that he is worthy of his first team place.

The comparison with The Invincibles is one that is quickly dimissed. To do so is to miss Djourou’s point. He is not comparing the squad to those players at the peak of their powers but in the seasons leading up to it. The dreaded word is potential, a signal for disparagement from those who believe only in the here and now, irrespective of the cost.

The balance has to be struck. Wenger is almost living on a pendulum, seeing the perfect mix as he swings past, the extremes of youth and experience. If he could pluck one or two more to add experience to the squad, then potential would be realised as a whole, ceasing to be a curse.

This was acknowledged by the manager when commenting about Lehmann coming to the club recently. Re-signing the German and Sol Campbell has been beneficial is the mental aspect to a degree but both were too old to be considered anything other than temporary solutions. That Campbell played more often and Lehmann at all, shows how bad the injury situation has been at times.

Even so, signing experience is almost as risky as the other end of the spectrum. Fine defender as he is (and was), William Gallas showed a temperament that was suspect under pressure, his ego in the way of leadership.

The captaincy is poisoned chalice at Arsenal. Recent permanent holders of the position have been severely criticised for their leadership. Gallas, Fàbregas, Henry; individually fantastic players, questionable leadership. Or is it that simple with the Spaniard?

It has been an easy and almost lazy accusation to make this season, that he is distracted by the previous summer shenanigans. No evidence of this is offered nor can it be, simply a false presumption that has taken hold. Perhaps in Fàbregas’ case, it is nothing more than a player who leads by example being injured and pre-occupied by that?

The problem is that the romantic image of a captain at Arsenal is formed by the likes of McLintock and Adams. Boisterous characters, vocal to their colleagues. Typically British. This generation is different, needing less of the ‘They don’t like it up ’em‘ attitude to get them going, more of a firm and steadying character upon which to draw strength.

That does not need to be a captain though. A leader in the middle of the pitch, one to lift Fàbregas when he needs it, one to compliment the Spaniard’s captaincy. That is the experience Arsenal need this summer.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 30, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 170 Comments.

  1. Limestonegunner

    First

  2. Limestonegunner

    Boomshakalaka! Webber should leave. We lost the title because of him

  3. 4th place….sshhhhhhhhhsstttttt..oh well twice in a week ain’t bad..

  4. Wenger is almost living on a pendulum, seeing the perfect mix as he swings past.

    Yogi ,that is classic writing.

  5. Djourou, any team that cannot defend a 1, 2 or 3 goal lead on a regular basis are not credible enough to win a major tournament.

    Arsenal for the past five seasons have finished the first half of the season on top and fall apart towards the business end of each season. It’s like watching a long distance race and the person in the lead does not have a fast finish. The runners behind knows exactly when to make their move.

    Now a clever coach with that vital information knows how to prepare their team. Arsenal uses statistics, which is old data of results what happened the last time both teams met. It does not highlight players current fitness levels. That is the reason Fergie will be found sitting in the stadium watching the strengths and weaknesses of a team nearing the time of doing battle.

  6. Does Djourou take us all for a bunch of mugs.This team has won one game in 7 in the title run.His team mates and himself need to take a long look at themselves.We dont have mental strength that is obvious not just this season but in 2008 and 2010.We have a great first 30 games then we collapse once the heat is turned on.
    And YW Wenger doesnt pick a captain on leadership qualities.Cesc is the captain because he is our best player and because their is no other leader in the team.Wenger will have to find a new captain for next season anyway

  7. The problem is Wenger and his beautiful soccer.Arsenal take too many passes to score and therein lies the danger.Until he reduces the passing frenzy,the gunners will be easy meat for the red faced who plays fast attacking soccer. That was how he got the secondgoal against Chelsea in the cl while blues were relaxed.
    If the gunners aint careful they could be undone by a lightning strike after scoring.

  8. Great post Yogi. Really good read and with some very well made points… especially what you say about the comparison he makes with the Invincibles. For me Djourou’s interview goes beyond merely football and Arsenal, as important as both are to me and, one can safely presume, most of us who post and browse this site of yours.

    Djourou’s story shows what human kindness and human selfless can do. It illustrates quite vividly the power of human altruism. For me it shows that there’s more than the selfish biological imperative to love your own child or, even worse, to punish a child for being a result an illicit liaison between one’s partner or husband/ wife and someone else; and make no mistake the biological and selfish urge to look out for oneself is a massively powerful one. It shows me that in a world where figures like the members of French FA apparently chose the low road that there are examples of what the courage to do the right thing can do… if you read Djourou’s story and do not feel both uplifted and humbled by it, you have a serious problem IMHO.

    Compare and contrast Djourou’s gratitude and his good common sense with the attitude of those who demand trophies and subsequently lash out when the trophies fail to materialise. Place Djourou’s coherent and well reasoned argument next to the dim witted-ness of the fools who imagine that there’s simple and quick way to get a club like ours that is fighting with a handicap in terms of resources to land the trophies that matter. Compare and contrast the depth and intelligence of his comments to the shallow puerile stupidity of the moaners. Compare it and weep…

    Make no mistake this has been a deeply disappointing season. There no qualitative reason, in playing terms, why we shouldn’t be discussing the winning of at least 2 trophies this season, we had the players, our injury situation was and has been quite good going into the run- in and we had enough time to rest. But it was not be… for me the key in the season may well have been the injury to Fabianski which deprived us of his solidity and good sense and promoted Szczseny before he had the maturity to become Arsenal’s No.1. There’s no escaping the fact that the loss to Birmingham in the CC final was the most obvious turning point in our season (although the way we lost at the Camp Nou wasn’t exactly a great help either) and there’s also no massaging the fact that Szczseny’s mistake that day led directly to the loss, not that I’m blaming him per se, but it does, nevertheless, need to be said especially given the way some of our fans refuse to ever point out the shortcomings in some players whilst simultaneously thrashing the efforts of other players deemed to be worthy scape goats.

    Also we have been quite unlucky, I re-watched the Sunderland game recently and I have to say that I still cannot explain how we didn’t win that one… and if you consider that van Persie’s ruled goal against Spurs was less offside than Hernandez’s goal for ManU against Everton you begin to appreciate the fine margins between winning and losing. Our results in the run-in could and should have been better but it is a nonsense to trot out the lazy talk of collapseing as if that was all there was to it. Yes the players should have done better but we also had very little good fortune and there should no shame in admitting that.

    I agree with Djourou… this team is not far away at all. We will need to tinker and we do need to move some players on but the idea that we need mature top class players to join the squad is a bit of cloud cuckoo land to me… the really top class players we cannot simply afford. The mature-ish good pro with a solid track record and good technique is more likely… someone like Gorkhan Inler or Felipe Melo but each would arrive with their own issues and neither would be cheap.. so I see no easy solutions. I think that Wenger will have to do something but whatever it is I don’t expect it to be dramatic.

    Finally I’d like to say that from Djourou’s interview he appears to me to be a lad with not just a good head on his shoulders and rather ‘uncommon’ common sense but for a 23 year old it is almost correct to describe him as ‘wise’. And that bodes well for Arsenal.

  9. Yogi:

    Great writing. Dont know how you do it everyday. I don’t know what is in this for you. I don’t know if you get any sort of benefit from the number of hits you get etc etc. Don’t know if you get any sort of monetary gain or just satisfaction from it. If you don’t get paid one hell of a lot of money then somethings not right. I don’t always agree with everything you say but your writing is always the best in the blogosphere.

    Anyway great work and I hope you never get burned out. I also hope somehow all this effort is adding to your children’s college funds or buying you a really nice car or a great golf trip somewhere that has no internet.

  10. Joshua:

    Good call on Inler. He certainly looked good in the world cup. Not sure if he wants to move out of Italy but worth a try.

  11. Not sure what to do to avoid this years fate next year and in subsequent years. I am sure there is no simplistic solution. We all throw out ideas most involve buying experienced players but its certainly no guarantee of success. Hopefully the boss will consult a sports psychologist although I am not sure how much help something like that really is. Muppet said yesterday at 7:16 that the boss and all of us may have overestimated the abilities of the players. I am sure there is some truth to that statement and few of us want to admit. Hopefully we can add a couple of quality players this summer and make a run next season. I expect next years Manc’s will get off to another sputtering start and we need a really strong start. Having a cushion when we hit the last 12 games of the season will give us more confidence. This summer the boss needs to do his business early so we can have the squad settled and ready for training camp and the final Cesc thing needs to get settled either way quickly.

  12. I would like to say to Joshua, none of the top teams in the Premier League are standing still. They are making progress which includes, off loading players and bringing in match winners. They are growing stronger with the pruning process. In what areas Arsenal has been slipping up repeatidly this season? What has been done to address those weak areas?

    Now many of the players are demoralized and have started voicing their opinions.

  13. What match winners would they be then?

  14. Yogi so do you plan to reveal your true self to us after Bill’s inquiries?:)

  15. The Bearman…

    With all due respect what would you do? Spend money like the so-called top teams, money we don’t have? Chelsea, City and ManU have resources we do not possess and we have absolutely no chance of competing by spending like they do. Manchester United have a wage bill that is 21m a year ahead of our sand yet it still represents a lower proportion of their turnover, do you know that?

    We are making progress too… last season we lost to ManU, Chelsea and Mancity, this season we’ve beaten Chelsea and city soundly. ManU we have yet to beat but the gap between us and them is nothing like it was, why? Because good young players get better on the whole, they become more mature, more savvy, more street wise and physically stronger. We cannot compete by splurging on big names not unless you want Usmanov to take control of the club or sell ourselves to some Arab Sheik who would pour money into the club till a revolution in their country takes them away from the source of their wealth.

    I see no viable alternative to the Wenger way… there are tweaks we can make but there’s no viable alternative that can see us do anything dramatically different and yet allow us to remain recognisable as Arsenal football club. If you disagree spell the alternative out for us; that what is great about this forum… YOU CAN ALWAYS ARGUE YOUR CASE. It’s not enough to belly ache and moan about not keeping up with the other clubs… what would you do differently? How would you generate the 100s of millions needed to compete in the transfer market with these club you talk about?

    What makes me laugh when people talk about ManU and a player like Hernandez is that they completely forget that Fergie also spent 7m on a player like Bebe who has done nothing for them all season. if Wenger had the kind of money to take punts at those prices what do you imagine would happen? So Bear man… what would you do??

  16. Joshua,

    Lolz. You’ve got some patience and stamina to keep going on and on. I salute your determination to bring enlightenment to the blog sphere.

  17. Watching Fulham play Sunderland. Schwarzer has had another very good year in goal. Fulham tied with us for 5th place in goals allowed this year. I know it is all retrospective now but Schwarzer would have probably have made a big difference this year, perhaps the CC would have gone differently and that is what many think was our turning point. I agree with Joshua’s assessment of the GK situation in his post at 1:30.

    The boss clearly did not trust Almunia from the start and only put him in goal because is was his only viable option coming out of Austria. Fabianski struggled in pre-season. Fabianski did well for most of the time he played but he has always show a past propensity for some clangers and another year or two of understudy would have been an asset for both Fabianski and Chezzer. Fabianski is still young as GK goes. Not trying to start a big argument but only to point out that if the boss thinks he needs to get a player we should probably not let an extra 1 – 2M stop us even if it does put that player in the over priced category.

  18. Joshua:

    “What makes me laugh when people talk about ManU and a player like Hernandez is that they completely forget that Fergie also spent 7m on a player like Bebe who has done nothing for them all season.”

    Bebe is still quite young and not yet a bust. We have plenty of players purchased for potential. No doubt if you buy players you will make the occasional mistake but that can not be a reason to avoid using transfers. We all praise our scouting staff and the bosses accumen with player evaluation so in theory we should make fewer mistakes then other teams. No one says we can spend like Abramovich but after results this season I don’t think we should leave money sitting in the bank

  19. Joshua’s posts are like a blog within a blog. Fantastic work rate on display.

    Djourou has always been a favorite of mine. Good to see him have a solid run this year and no further problems with the knee that I’m aware of. Let’s hope he can build on this season and become a stalwart in central defense for us over the next 7-8 seasons. I also see his partnership with Koscielny becoming one of the best in the EPL. Is anyone else intrigued by the notion of moving TV to a defensive mid role? I’m not sure about his stamina, but he’s a solid tackler, anticipates play well and has the skills to push upfield.

  20. im normally in the ‘actions speak louder than words’ crowd..
    prefer our players to let their football do the talking..jd has had an impressive season though so its unfair to critisise…

    anyone supporting spurs later?? .. 😉

  21. Do you think Arsene saying Cesc is under to much pressure as captain is a sign that it will be someone else next year?

  22. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Lol @ Bill sticking up for his fellow Mancs Fergie and Bebe. If Bebe were Arsenal he’d have been considered a bust a long time ago and we’d have a list of five veteran defensive players who should replace him “without breaking the bank.” Fucking Manc cunt.

  23. it could be george..
    i would have no problem with that though…
    cesc could have even spoke about it with the boss and told him the pressure is affecting his game..
    or he could be leaving
    but it wouldnt suprise me if we had a new captain next year

  24. There must be some Mancs who are not cunts.

  25. Rvp for me,TV vice?

  26. I just cant see a way for Cesc to leave

  27. Finsbury:

    OK. So it may be it would have taken a little more money plus Vela and Chezzer on loan. No way to prove it but I suspect it could have been done. If not we should have been looking somewhere else for an experienced GK and waiting until the bitter end of the transfer window with something as critical as this turned out to be hanging over the squad was a mistake. We started the season with a GK the boss did not trust in goal. His back up had a terrible previous season and a poor pre-season and the 3rd choice was age 20. Fabianski did well enough when he was in there but he is not an experienced keeper and probably not the best to organize a new inexperienced central defense that had not played together. Hopefully a lesson learned going forward.

  28. Borussia Dortmund ist Deutscher Meister. Well done.

  29. yeah rvp and/or tv
    ppl say that george but if cesc bangs in a transfer request and does a torres then how do we keep him??
    we can hold out for as much as we want but the longer we keep him against his will the more negative affect he’ll have on the club and its not like hes going to sign an extention so the longer we keep him the less he is worth..

  30. well done dortmund..
    now give us hummels 😉

  31. I know what you are saying ,but hes not stupid.
    He must know we cant allow him to go for £25million and Barca will not pay what he is worth.He will not want a move to any other team so?
    Barca can wait 4 years and get him free,so why pay ?They dont exactly need him for the foreseeable do they?

  32. if he wants to go it will be of no benefit to the club to keep him..especially for another 4 years and especially at 120k per week or whatever when hes unhappy..

    seeing as though there will be no bidding war either, we will get stung with the fee whether he goes now or for nothing later…

    might as well get what we can now..

    if we show some ambition in the transfer market i think he will stay and be focused but if its the same old same old and we refuse to sell him we will have a severely pissed off player on our hands for next season..

  33. Roger it’s coz old Cescy is gunner be off. he held off last year to win something….so thats it..he is done with this club. fuck it put Nasri in the center,so long as he doesnt decide to bugger off aswell that is. maybe Wenger can tempt him to stay with the tried and trusted old trick of…giving him the captaincy.

  34. £35 mill for Carroll ,How can you sell Cesc for £25?
    I get what you are saying ,but fuck that. If he bangs in a request,sell him to City or Madrid and fuck him.
    I dont think he will go .

  35. Duke ,I cant see it

  36. sorry thats George! who the fuck is Roger?

  37. George. I’d be very suprised if Cesc hangs about for another piece of this. he has looked at the carling cup and thought ..fukin el if we cant win from that position then when will we, as did a few other players i reckon, the reason we are in this mess. we are on the canvas, the players dont trust each other now after that cc disaster. Wenger has to ring the changes, we are in a rut. get rid of Cesc the great and get others in who will play for the shirt.

  38. Cesc did not stay to win things .He stayed because Arsene has put us in a position that we well able to tell Barca to fuck right off.We did just that .and Wenger told Cesc he was contracted and going nowhere.

  39. forget the Carrol fee, Barca are the only club in for him, they have us over a barrell. Take the £35m and run.

  40. Come on George, Cesc even came out and said he needs to be winning things.

  41. Duke you just keep digging
    Everything you say about what Cesc is thinking is pure speculation.How the fuck do you know what he is thinking?
    What if he is thinking”I love this team and my team mates and manager and I will stay here until the cows come home,despite what Duke on ACLF thinks”
    Do you see,its just stupid to think you know what anyone thinks.
    And to think that a new signing will play for the shirt more than that boy is quite ridiculous,and insulting.

  42. If Bale is the player of the year I am a Spud

  43. come on spurs… hang in there!

  44. Jesus if one of our keepers did that the media would be calling for Wengers head. Will anyone expect Redknapp to resign in the morning?

  45. we wish!

  46. His comments over the last couple o years mean it is more probable that he would be off rather then stay coz he loves the team and players George.

  47. gomes is always good for a laugh..
    lol..
    but at least we know how everyone else has felt when theyve been laughing at almunia..

  48. Chelsea champions? I mean, now that the linesman started scoring for them they are unstoppable.

  49. george i will send you the photo of Cesc wearing the Barca shirt

  50. Team Spirit – I don’t actually want Redknapp to leave the Spud’s. He’s a massively overrated manager who gets a free ride from the press.

    All this talk about taking the Spud’s from the bottom of the table to the CL is a joke. That squad had had millions spent on it, any half wit should have had them top 6. If he’s so good why aren’t they going to make the CL this year?

  51. Can’t decide which was more hilarious, Gomes bust or Redknapp almost beating Sandro for going too much foward.

  52. It’s a bad day when Glenn Hoddle is making sense.

  53. Can’t watch the game but the according the game cast Chelsea’s goal did not actually cross the line. How big could that be for Chelsea, Spurs and potentially United. Unbelievable that no video replays or goal line technology.

  54. officials are shit..

  55. Jon Jon:

    Kyle Bartley has not been in the squad for the last several games. Is he hurt?

  56. bartleys done for season mate
    did his ligaments playing for rangers about 3 week ago..

  57. JJ:

    “officials are shit.”

    Agree about the refs being inconsistent and your word fits more often then it should.

    Call like that in real time is impossible unless you are exactly the right spot. The ball was 25 yards from goal and the lines man needed to be ready to call off side so he can’t camp on the goal line. Absolutely impossible call to get right.

  58. bill
    thats all well and good
    but if you dont know dont guess…
    if you get it wrong and its a goal then at least you can say your 100miles away so you couldnt call it
    if you guess youve got no excuse..

  59. The outdated argument by ‘Blatter’ that the same rules and officiating must be the same at all levels (prem and Hackney marshes) is seriously flawed,
    Come on look at the old farts in Cricket and Rugby, they changed for the better bring in goal line tech now.

  60. Spy,you are a cock

  61. JJ:

    Only thing you can do is give it the best guess possible. Would have been just as bad if it was a goal and they didn’t give it. When your up the pitch away from the goal line the angle is going to make it look like it went in so very easy to understand what happened.

  62. Draw would be the best result for Arsenal. Takes any real pressure off United to get a result tomorrow so hopefully they will not go full bore. Takes away any real chance of Spurs chasing us down. Gives us a chance to get back ahead of Chelsea for 2nd.

  63. you shouldnt guess at all
    if your not sure dont give it..
    if you dont see it you cant call it..
    if the linesman dont give it and hes wrong then he can say he wasnt sure cos hes wasnt in a position to judge…fair enough….
    but if your in a position not to judge and you guess it and get it wrong your open to the vultures..

  64. I’ll take that as a compliment George!

  65. Now now George lets not resort to petty name calling , im sure you have more intelligence then that.

  66. Huh, another goal stolen. Not even the Spurs deserve that.

  67. Why do we never get blatant good fortune like that?

  68. I might have Duke ,but lowest common denominator and all that.Spy clearly does not.

  69. They just said on the game cast that Kalou was off side when the shot went in that he got the rebound and scored. It never ends.

  70. looks like everyones love afair with arry still doesnt stop them from having dodgy goals allowed against him

  71. Commenter says “CHELSEA PROVE THEY HAVE THE CREDENTIALS”
    What two illegal goals. Some credentials.
    If we got the help of refs ,instead of the opposite,we would win the league no matter how hard we tried to lose it

  72. Was not that long ago when we would never have known that either of the goals was bad. Multiangle super slow mo replays have changed that. Still not sure if the refs are that much worse then before or now we just know how many mistakes they really make. Probably some of both but I still think the latter is the bigger part of the reason.

  73. we got the help of the ref in the CC final and we still lost it..

    and the only game weve won in recent months is where we got help from the ref against blackpool..

    we do get the calls as much as we dont we need to focus on ourselves rather than blame everyone else..

  74. the games too quick for the refs now..
    so many rules have changed over the years so theyve got more to think about and add to that youve got referees of 40+ years of age trying to keep up with a bunch of 20 something atheletes..
    they need help..

  75. No im not having a go at you george, this just proves my point about having goal line tech and i would go further and have replay tech(only takes seconds) to clear up blatant wrong offside decisions.

  76. Me too Spy

  77. good point JJ , the ref also helped us agaisnt Blackburn but we couldnt capatilise. evens itself out is a true saying. we simply have not been good enough. blaming the refs eases the pain.

  78. Duke,I am not blaming the refs.
    But fuck me,dont tell me we get the help the other two,especially the Mancs,get.
    We are short somewhere ,that is clear.The debate can only be about “how” short,and how to fix it.Whilst appreciating our potential and over achievement.

  79. Duke:

    No way to know if it completely evens out. One can only hope. The problem with the system as it sits is that everyone think they are getting the shaft. Fergie probably boiling about Chelsea getting all the breaks after his game at the Bridge and this game tonight.

  80. Bill @1.51pm

    No, there is no monetary gain for me from the site. I understand that WordPress put text links into the posts but I get nothing from them. Why do it? Getting things off my chest. Fortunately, I’ve found likeminded people (on the whole) who have found not a safe haven but somewhere to share, exchange or argue views.

    Every comment is read, frequently in reverse since my employer obliges me to work occasionally. And no, its nothing to do with writing.

    Do I get rewards? Yep, books reviewed are kept by me and I received a ticket to the Carling Cup Final as a result of the site, thanks to various sponsors of competitions here.

    Thanks to all for reading & participating.

    YW

  81. of course it does duke..
    everyone does it..but it just papers over the cracks..
    we all like to think its someone elses fault but for all utds ‘bias’ ppl forget that fergie got a 5 match ban for having a dig at refs….
    everyone gets shit calls..

    there was a topic on here the other day about how many pens we get for and against and a few ppl were banging on about conspiracys and the refs are against us when the truth is we get so many pens for cos we play tippy tappy in the box so fouls are common and we get so many pens against cos we dont have many natural defenders who know how to tackle properly and we play with a high line so we are left scrambling and panic defending, where fouls are common..as well as the odd dumb mistakes

  82. your welcome yogi 😉

  83. thanks for writing 😉

  84. Yogi:

    Now I feel sheepish. It was none of my business and I did not expect an answer. The statements were not meant to be a question or a search for info. For the first time in the 2 years I think I can actually speak for everyone and say how much we appreciate what you do. Don’t ever burn out.

  85. Yogi,Whatever you get its no where near enough.
    Honestly,if not for ACLF my life would be less fulfilling,maybe only a little ,but less all the same.
    So thank you.

  86. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Evens itself out? Do me a favor. A favorable call against Blackpool does not take away the pain of being dumped out the fucking CL like we did. We’ve been fucked by the refs more than we’ve been helped by them no doubt about it. Some here just conveniently choose to ignore it as it allows you to slag players and fits your splash the cash agenda.

  87. we get some good calls too
    some on here convieniently ignore them cos it allows you to cry and moan and fits your head in the sand agenda

  88. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    “we get so many pens against cos we dont have many natural defenders who know how to tackle properly”

    Utterly ridiculous. You talk a lot of rubbish, JJ. Stats show LK6 was the best tackler in the France. Djourou has been a monster, too.

  89. what about the rest of the players??
    2 players when we have a team of eleven just backs my point up fella
    thanks…

  90. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Head in the sand? Far from it. I simply choose to form my own opinions instead of parroting the opinions of newspaper hacks and pundits that hate Arsenal.

  91. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    You’re a fucking top class dunce, JJ. You said NATURAL DEFENDERS. You didn’t say a team of eleven. Try and keep up with your own posts, dummy.

  92. me too mate..
    ive dont listen to talksport and i dont buy newspapers..
    ive got my own opinions on our strengths and weaknesses formed with my own eyes and mind on watching us play for the past god knows how long..

    i mean come on..shit..ive blogged on here ages and hardly anyone agrees with me yet i stand by what i say frequently…so yeah your right im very easily swayed aint i???

    seriously, the media manipulation things a fucking weak arguement….

  93. nasir jones
    in a team of 11 you expect half of them to be able to defend…
    4 at least…
    you meantioned TWO….
    TWO…
    keep with the insults fella…that hole in the sands getting deeper…

  94. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Again, JJ. You were talking about natural defenders originally. You’ve gone off track mate. You weren’t talking about our starting 11, you were talking about our defending and our knack for giving up pens cuz we supposedly lack natural defenders who don’t know how to tackle which is rubbish. Stop changing the story and address your original post. As for our whole squad Wilshire, Song, Denilson, Diaby, Nasri would all be considered good tacklers, too. Sagna and Clichy are good tacklers, too. In fact, Sagna is probably the best RB in the league defensively.

  95. JJ, I dont know how you do it mate but somehow,sometimes,you come across as being much more negative than you really are.
    You get into spats with people and I cant see it coming,
    I think you are reasonable yet hopeful of changes that will push the team forward.But somehow you manage to come over as a doomer.I know you are not.
    It appears that you get annoyed if you believe others are refusing to see what you feel is obvious.
    Sometimes I agree with you and other times I think you are being purposely annoying.
    In this instance,because you are disagreeing with me, you are annoying(if I had a smiley face thing it would be here)

  96. All this talk about getting breaks or not with ref decisions, i think we are missing the point lets get back to playing the game with the right attitude, i would love to see our players take the lead and accept the officials calls without rancour, show those Mancs and the rest how to play the game.

  97. its not that george
    i just dont like it when ppl talk rubbish…(see njn above)

    im not a doomer, but im not an hardcore akb either…
    i can see whats right and i can see whats wrong and il debate it with anyone its not my fault ppl are sensitive and resort to insults..

  98. i havent gone off track anywhere mate…
    you called me a dunce and a dummy for saying we didnt have enough natural defenders when you could only mention two..

    doesnt matter what you say now you lost all credibility

  99. the new home shirt looks really good.

  100. The Refs thing is a bit silly ,yet………………………
    I feel the terrible refereeing at Newcastle was the turning point of the season.
    That was more than just an odd bit of bad luck.It was fucking criminal
    Us being to weak to recover is also fucking criminal.

  101. Kiss and make up chaps,I like you both.

  102. JJ

    So we just need Wenger to speak o you as you can see whats right and whats wrong.

    In fact, there’s no need of this or any other blog as you just need to post one universal one, once an thats all we will ever need!

    Brilliant stuff. And, yep, I can see how you get yourself into these spats too mate!

    Thanks, seeya

  103. Borges Spinelli

    Yes, we do get some good calls from the ref. But on the whole, those are few and far between. This season, I’ve seen countless, malicious fouls committed against us, go unpunished. Take the case of Sagna v that racist thug from Birmingham. Dude could and should have been sent off on at least 4 separate occasions. Bizarrely, no card came forth for persistent fouls on Walcott & Sagna, until after his 12th, and even that was a joke. A mere yellow for a two-footed attempt to eviscerate Sagna’s leg from his knee – without any attempt made to get the ball. Contrast that with the many soft yellow cards Song, Squillaci and Koscielny have received all season.

  104. You are right there Goerge, we never fully recovered from that result, add the CC final and i think most teams would suffer.

  105. MLS just handed out a 10 game suspension for a leg breaking tackle. Should have been 50 but at least it shows some cajones and is a small move in the right direction. MLS ahead of the EPL, who would have guessed. May be next MLS will get goal line technology.

  106. george yeah the newcastle thing was a debarcle..
    but if we beat brum maybe we dont collapse and maybe they call the decision not to get a pen and a red card in first 3 minutes a debacle too
    maybe if blackpool get that nailed on pen they get it back to 2-2 and it doesnt finish 3-1 and holloway doesnt kick off…

    come on dex..weve been here before just cos i think its right and wrong doenst mean im right does it..but thats why we blog isnt it..its my opinion..
    if wenger listened to half the people talk on here we wouldnt win anything for 6 years… ooopppps wait… 😉

    the thing with the spats is ppl just dont like it cos i dont agree…so out comes the mug, idiot, moron, cunt, dunce, dummy, fool etc etc etc…

    and youve had your fair of spats on here as well recently

    your welcome..laters

  107. Borges Spinelli

    MY PREDICTIONS FOR 2011/12 SEASON:

    (i) Gibbs will be sent out on-loan to a lower-to-mid table,
    Premiership team, next season.

    (ii)Vermaelen, if fully recovered will see plenty of action,
    alternating between Central Defense, Left Back & Defensive Midfield
    positions.

    (iii) Pedro Botelho will provide additional cover in the Left Back &
    Left Midfield positions.

    (iv) Ryo Myaichi will get a chance to showcase his talent in the EPL,
    after qualifying for work visa, courtesy of his summer exploits.

    (v) Eastmond will be moved on either in the summer or during the
    January transfer window to maximize revenue.

    (vi) Frimpong will be sent out on a loan spell ranging between 1-3 months.

    (vii) Bartley & Lansbury will gain first team squad promotion.

    (viii) 5/6 current first team members will move on – 2 of ’em will be
    a shock to most. Excluding Traore

    (ix)To the dismay of some, Squillaci won’t be one of the departed.

    (x)Jay Emmanuel-Thomas & Carlos Vela – one these two won’t remain in
    Arsenal’s colors. I’m leaning towards the Jay.

    (xi) 7 reserve team players will be released from their contracts

    (xii) Lastly 3 new players will join our great club. 2 will be
    absolutely top quality, heavy hitters. The rest will be business as
    usual.

    *Disclaimer*
    Don’t shoot the messenger. Change is inevitable and a natural part of
    evolution. In short, if you’re riled by the above predictions, take it
    up with Arsène Wenger for wielding the axe.

  108. JJ you know very well the mitigating circumstances for the 6 years and counting shit.So just by bringing up that particular sound bite you annoy many people and make yourself look like someone who just rehashes the usual crap.
    I know this is not the case but you dont help yourself.
    After all its ACLF not Le Shite ,what do you expect?

  109. george
    i just think its time we stopped the blame game…weve used it too long its time we looked into the mirror and admitted its not them but us..

    its time we adressed our blind spots and got them sorted once and for all..

  110. Borges:

    My hero:

    Kos as DM instead of TV5? Kos better passer and TV5 a stronger.

    TV5 on the left a great shout. Adds some bulk to the side and help with set pieces. He loves to get forward, has enough pace and probably can cross as well as Clichy.

  111. theres some bold predictions there mr spinelli..

    1, 2, 4, 7, 12 catch my eye..

  112. ive been saying tv on the left for ages..
    clichy cant defend..and gibbs aint ready..

  113. Jon Jon:

    I asked earlier but Kyle has not been in the squad for Rangers for the last few games. He was pretty regular for a while. Is he hurt or did he lose his spot?

  114. You know our blind spots JJ :- World class goalkeeper, WC C defender, and a striker who can bag 20 plus goals a season.

  115. @spy. Rvp Bagged 19 so far THIS SEASON. 15 in the PL. If he “bags” 3 more or even 2 more he is a 20 plus goal a season striker. you are such a nuubblet when it comes to stats man….

  116. JJ

    Haha! Yep, I have had my fair share of spats mate, thats why I found your latest one funny dude! Been there, done that, couldnt resist mate!

    Seeya here’s to a win tomorrow.

  117. Bill

    JJ answered that 1, Bartley got injured and is out for a few months

  118. haha dex i know you too well by now.. 😉

    bill, i think i replied mate..kyles injured for rest of season…

  119. TV is a far far better CB than a LB. Him and Djourou could be an amazing pairing, world class even!

  120. Yeah Poodle dont throw stats at me i know what RVP has scored, as far as im concerned he is the best striker in europe, that said imagine how great we would be with another 20 plus scorer in the side. get it

  121. Borges Spinelli

    @Bill
    I also prefer Koscielny in DM to TV. But i suspect Wenger might prefer our current CD partnership to remain. Either way, both players appear to have what it takes to thrive in the 2 positions. Which could be useful.

    @Mr J.J
    I felt compelled to share my gut feelings with the rest of my ACLF family. Ofcourse i may be wrong in one or two of my aspersions, chances are that 75% will come to pass.

  122. spy i dont totally agree
    i think ches has done enough…
    i also think we could get away with not buying a defender..i think its a training ground thing…although if my dream of tv at lb comes true we will need another cb…
    i do think we need a hotshot striker but if we revert to 442 we could get 20 out of rvp and theo..
    a solid midfielder is needed and so is a winger most definately

  123. If you look back on the games this season, I think you could say we showed signs of the fallability of the team whe we lost those 3 home games in pretty quick succession. To lose one of them was normal, as crazy hit happens, but 3? That was fucked up and the Toon game was just too fucking bonkers to get my head round. That journey home, on a train full of neanderthal geordies was too too much to take after losing a 4 goal lead. Anything after shouldnt have been a surprise I guess.

    Wenger knows now who he can and cannot rely on, so changes will be coming in the summer. Not massive changes like the tabloids love to suggest “Exodus” style, but significant nonetheless.

    I havent cleared that with JoJon, so I might not have all the correct information there!!!

  124. JJ ur right about Theo there’s so much more to come from him, as for ches, he is a great goalie but i think under a WC established keeper he could learn so much, RVP definitely needs a hand, i leave the formation to your superior knoledge.

  125. what a pen by Leighton Paul Weller Baines

  126. Statto of the day….Poodle!

  127. Apologists are not needed when you support a football team. Fuck all this ‘get on with the ref’ bollox. How can a player respect a ref when he gets sent off for kicking the ball 1 second after the whistle has been blown (never happened before or since). Or when when a refs ignore blatant dirty tackles you are supposed to say, what, “well done ref”.

    Being a supporter means you are biased towards the team you support. Always has been and always will. Except it seems for some Arsenal fans.

  128. lol dexter

    wenger makes changes every summer…this exodus thing is bullshit..
    last year wenger replaced an entire CB personell..
    so the media wont have asked for anything new..
    silvestre, gallas, senderos, campbell…bye bye..
    hes done it before, this is a man who got rid of the invincibles in 2 years remember
    he’ll sell this year but we just need the right players to come in..

  129. Yeah poodles gone quiet

  130. Dupsff

    Anyone who says they are being objective when describing anything to do with the team they say they support, well, they dont really support them do they!

  131. Fuck me, everyone and their dog is beating Sunderland and Bolton these days, well everyone except for…

  132. no respect for refs duke
    they are all crap…
    but we cant keep saying we fell apart in the league cos this ref did this in a game back then and he cost us the lot….its all his fault theres a mass conspiracy..
    there isnt..they are just shit

  133. Dont get bitter Dex you know they raise there game to beat the Arsenal, or is it we cant raise………..

  134. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Borges Spinelli putting on an arm chair managing masterclass. Hilarious.

  135. Not bitter spy, just making a hilarious comment is all!

  136. Im there Dex!

  137. How about this for a theory Dumpkuf, when you respect the ref you might get some back, leading to a trouble free game eh.

  138. JJ. I did say we were criminal as well.
    I think you idea of what is needed is very close,a winger and dm.
    But how can people think Arsene does not know where weakness are?

  139. Arsene does know where the weaknesses are, and to be fair has tried to redress, ie:- Shay Given when they would not let him go, but he is still stubborn in certain area’s

  140. Borges Spinelli

    @NJN
    I’m thrilled you’re deriving some sort of amusement from my predictions. As this is a public forum, you have the right to deduce from it what you may, as i do, too, reserve the right to opine.

    Have a good evening.

  141. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    “Clichy can’t defend”

    Lol. The 2nd choice (not sure if Evra has been completely dropped. Anyone?) France international LB Gael Clichy can’t defend. Those French know fuck all about football huh, JJ. Funny stuff.

  142. george rodger

    Well is he stubborn or just more knowledgeable than the people who think they know all the answers?

  143. george rodger

    I would bet my life that Arsene known more about football than any poster on here.

  144. Borges, I think a lot of what you stated will come true, keep going man there is nothing wrong with a prediction or two, and you have got some backs up well done.

  145. george rodger

    To be fair Clichy is targeted a lot.He is therefore perceived,by premiership managers,to be at least a weak link.

  146. Borges Spinelli

    JJ, i get the feeling you might like this…

  147. george rodger

    I dont think JET will make it at AFC

  148. george rodger

    JJ might but it makes my ears bleed

  149. Borges Spinelli

    Ok, George. I got you too! Perhaps this might appeal to you.

  150. I know one thing, we play the best football in the Premier, i would not pay to watch any other team in this league, and i know we will win something very soon.

  151. “How about this for a theory Dumpkuf, when you respect the ref you might get some back, leading to a trouble free game eh.”

    When you start living in the real world I will take note of your posts until then I will just treat them as the nonsense that they are,

  152. Well Dumpkuf i do live in the real world,unlike you who never played the game and have no knowledge of how you have to get on with the ref in actually playing the game

  153. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    It was well amusing, BS. For the sheer arrogance alone. Your use of the English language is quite funny, too. You have quite the vocabulary. Easily one of the most articulate armchair manager posts yet.

  154. Djouru, my friend. We are talking about basic mistakes that cost us dearly and the ability not to organised yourselves on most set plays. The fade away culture that we seem to now have. Fix it up and get us win v utd and keep out the papers, they hate your gut’s.

  155. Spy – you sound remarkably like our old friend James. He was an idiot to.

  156. Well Dumpkuf im glad im in James company, Its not often i can debate with one as intelligent as you

  157. Borges Spinelli

    Yup, my mastery of the English language is on par with any eruditious, native speaker. Thanks for the bank-handed compliment, NJN.

  158. Borges Spinelli

    NJN,

    This is the 2nd time in a month, you have attempted to get at me with derisory comments of sorts. The first, i let slide in order not to reduce the atmosphere of this gentile blog to that of a nuthouse – out of respect to our good authors and fellow participants. Still I’m not sure how it profits you, in your artful pursuit of beefin’ with me. It’s tedious and picayune. Maybe you have a complex or crave the adoration of other respondents (whoopy doo, perdido, they’re all laughing now), or quite possibly you just might be an unhappy, nasty individual. In any case this blog won’t provide the anecdote to your problems. You may want to try a therapist’ couch for a more effective solution.

    Flattered, as i am, by your interest in my posts, your opinion of my views, linguistic prowess and whatnot are inconsequential to me. So let’s keep it moving, homie.

    RIP!

  159. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Lol. None of the above, BS. Your living in a fantasy land. I think I’ve said your name twice in two months. How that equates to an artful pursuit of beef is beyond me.

  160. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Stupid iphone. *You’re*

  161. Picayune? Nice one Borges, hehehehe

  162. Good post: refreshing to see someone thinking hard and trying to get below the superficial and the throwaway. For what it’s worth, I always thought that it was a mistake to sell Gilberto — a much under-rated player and captain. The current team would have benefited enormously from his quiet authority and long experience.

  163. BS,

    take a bow, son!

    NJN, you’ve been owned 😆

  164. Joshua I have never recommended or bought into the Man U, Chelsea or even Man C, models for success – but always said Arsenal needed to and still must prune and add to the current squad. The Arsenal Wenger system, i love, but he does not have the right balance in the squad to make it work. Our lads will always put on a good show in periods, but are they able to maintain that for an entire season. History has answered that question for us. (5 previous seasons we suffer burn off at the same stage) No! We could only speculate now, what the addition of Chris Samba might have contributed to our backline when the going was tough. I could not see Alex Song playing the way he does getting through an entire season without picking up an injury, getting sent off even become worn-out.
    Koscielny I like but I still say he is playing out of position. Because he reads the game so well, alongside Song might prove his better position. Also because of his height and build, he has to work dubbly hard in defense where it is most tough. Arsenal midfield creates more goal scoring opportunities than most teams in Europe, but we lack a natural goal scorer.

    Having squandered the January transfer window, my suggestion was that Mr. Wenger do the next best thing. Bring in reinforcement from the Reserve squad and some of those sent out on loan. Such as Kyle Bartley, Lansbury, the JeT, Coquelin, Aneke and Afobe. Get them training with the first team and bring them in when needed. The Bear was crying out for this immediately the January transfer window closed and Arsene did not take advantage of that opportunity. Why? I could see Denilson is having a terrible season, Rosciky after running ten minutes is wacked. Diaby up and down, Squallaci you never know what to expect. Fabergas & Walcott was injured and Song was showing signs of wear and tear. Other option would have been to take a few players on loan.

    Kenny Daglish it was that gave Mr. Wenger a little lesson recently by playing young reserves.

    I will conclude by saying this what have we learned from past mistakes: History has shown that history have taught us NOTHING!

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