Arsenal Restore Pride & Maybe Some Self-Belief

Arsenal 1 – 0 Manchester United

1 – 0 Ramsey (56)

A reminder of what might have been as Arsenal won the match so long noted as a title decider. It may yet be but not for Arsenal. Instead their season received a late filip, bringing the poor results of the past eight Premier League matches into sharp focus.

Having failed to beat Manchester United in any competition since November 2008, this win is welcomed, putting to an end the recent bad run against ‘Big Four’ clubs. Champions League football for next season was sealed with this win, St Totteringham’s Day became a reality bar goal difference but more important than either of those was the restoration of pride in the team.

The win was thoroughly deserved. United were subdued by Arsenal’s passing and battling qualities. Too often the Arsenal midfield has been criticised for being cowed by their Mancunian peers. Yesterday, Aaron Ramsey was drafted in to replace the injured Cesc, partnering Alex Song as the deeper of the trio, allowing Jack Wilshere to roam further forward.

It worked well as the younger players displayed the combative qualities so often missed in these encounters. They enhanced this with a range of passing and clever use of the ball that belied their youth.

The advanced play by Wilshere almost paid early dividends. Walcott’s cross was not cleared properly, Wilshere with his sight of goal blocked, dragged his shot wide. It was to be a good afternoon for Walcott. His wide play was excellent and when the spaces were created in the middle, he filled them almost instinctively, marginally failing to break the deadlock in the first half when he got between Ferdinand and Vidic.

The early pressure had United rocking, Evra denied the waiting Walcott, turning Wilshere’s searching cross behind for a corner. The directness of Arsenal’s play was negating United’s attempts to flood the midfield, the hosts spraying passes to either flank for raiding wide men to wreak havoc with the full backs.

If the attack was on form, so was the defence. Fabio dithered as Sagna made a crucial intervention midway through the half whilst Koscielny and Djourou were confident in controlling Hernandez and Rooney.

Much was made beforehand of Chris Foy’s record in officiating Manchester United matches, his decision not to award a penalty to Arsenal emphasising the point. Walcott’s rapier break on the right produced a telling cross, Vidic flicking the ball away with his hand from the head of van Persie. The Arsenal captain was not amused, berating the linesman about his lack of a decision. Genuine disbelief engulfed the stadium.

Foy and his team were incompetent in an even -handed way though as Clichy’s stamp on the calf of Owen went unpunished in the second half as United frantically sought an equaliser. This does not excuse the continued underperformance of the referees employed by the PGMO.

Throughout the season genuine grievances have been raised by most clubs about poor decision-making. It is inconceivable in any other sphere that video technology would not be used, that provenly incompetent officials would be perceived as infallible by the lawmakers. But this is football and reality does not apply.

The first half ended goalless, Nasri’s hamstring tweaked allowing the introduction of Andrey Arshavin. It was not the only change. United were more interested in the second half and the potential of Wojicech Szczesny crystallised once more into a confident display, beating away Rooney’s freekick and recovering his position quickly enough to ensure that had Evra’s follow-up not found the sidenetting, it would have found the Pole’s frame instead.

It was a false dawn though. van Persie created space and time on the right and with Aaron Ramsey demanding the ball as if a precocious child, the Dutchman’s pass invited the finish it received. Credit too for Ramsey’s mental approach; under pressure of the tackle, it would have been understandable had he been reticent to attack the ball but there was no perceivable hestitation in the finish. Next week’s visit to Stoke will really put that attitude to the test.

With the deadlock broken United were required to push forward more forcefully yet the Arsenal players held their shape, kept their concentration and applied themselves to stifling the visitors. To a large extent they succeeded, the forlorn appeals for the Owen penalty highlighting the frustration Arsenal were heaping on the Champions-Elect.

Szczesny blocked Nani’s late effort on the counter whilst Vidic might have done better immediately after the goal, managing only a wayward header rather than the piercing equaliser. Yet Arsenal held firm, retained the ball and forced United into blind alleys. It was not the perfect home performance but compared to the past two months, it was a vast improvement.

‘ til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 2, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 188 Comments.

  1. First. Great article Yogi

  2. Everybody still out celebrating?

  3. OK I will have another go…Sacre bleu! It appears that Henry was an Arsenal fan. Well knock me down with a plume de ma tante!

  4. I don’t know what it is, but yesterday’s win was as refreshing as knowing that Tottenham are back to their mid table mediocrity for next season.

    It also occured to me when watching the highlights of the 2-1 win against United in Nov 2008 when Nasri bagged a brace; Both Vidic and Ferdinand got away with murder in that game and it was no surprise that Howard Webb was the ref. Manure have been getting away with it for a very long time on account of poor officiating, and in some cases, outright biased refereeing.

    Most pleasing though was to see Rambo grab such a game by the scruff of the neck, especially after such a horrific injury. the confidence this will give him as he’s about to face the neanderthals at Stoke cannot be under-estimated.

  5. still too much over elaborating in front of goal. Need English backs and a striker to compliment RVP

  6. That little bit of extra ‘huff & puff’ and a bit of urgency really makes a difference because we know we have quality players – arguably better man for man on this united team. Their season has hung together by being a better unit than us at times but yesterday it was our ‘in it together’ attitude that saw us through.

    Rambo – well done that kid.

  7. We have all the talent, we just need to add the application on a more consistent basis. If the team can get their attitude right, we should be winning things with little difficulty.

  8. Delia--Block 112

    I became quite emotional on an afternoon when “the kids” really did us proud. Wasn’t it terrific to see quick forward passing .The whole momentum of the game lifted spirits and gave the fans encouragement that this was not going to be another flat performance. Was this really AA23 tracking back and winning the ball in MUs half ? Yes the back 5 really did hold things together when the Mancs eventually gave it a go in the final quarter. Then there was LJW and Rambo , their energy and skill in the mid field was heart warming and showed us all that we can achieve great things even if we lose Cesc in the Summer.
    Should Rambo start at Stoke? I think it’s a difficult call , the occasion might inhibit him and we all know what the home fans are like at the Britannia. It’s amazing what a win can do to lift everyone’s spirits. Onwards and upwards fellow Gooners.
    As always COYRs

  9. One of the funniest moments of the game was when Pat Rice gave Arshavin a bollocking for not tracking back; and with an impish smile, Arshavin made Clichy look bad.

  10. Darius,
    Is this the same ‘yes-man’ Pat Rice that does fuck all during matches? What’s got into him?

  11. Conférencier

    apparently Arsenal still need a new centre-back??? to replace who? TV5, Kos6 or JD…these hacks are incredulous

  12. Woooooooooohooooooo!!

  13. Why do we get more hits on this site after a defeat? Nice victory yesterday BTW.

  14. I actually watched the match in a mostly United bar with my United-supporting brother-in-law. Fuck me what an eye opener. Bunch or self-entitled crying cunts. They were honestly treating the ref as if he was their 12th man. Big laugh for the Vidic hand-ball and screaming for a booking any time Song looked near a black shirt.

    I had fun. Pissed myself when I saw one supporter bless himself about 6 times in the last 5 minutes.

  15. Markus,
    Believe it or not, ManU fans genuinely believe that the FA and officials are out to ‘get’ them, and are favoring Chelsea instead. Can you imagine that? Its amazing how twisted fans view of events surrounding their team can be.

  16. We have now beaten the best team in the world Barcelona the best two in England Man Utd and Chelsea but we will win nothing because we couldnt beat WBA Newcastle and Sunderland.Theree teams in which we picked up 4 pts out of 18

    We need to buy quality in the summer because even though Man Utd and Chelsea have been poor this season we are not good enough.I just hope Wenger isnt blinded by yesterdays result

  17. george rodger

    Song had Rooney in his pocket.
    Arshavin was tremendous.

  18. Henristic…

    Yup! It’s that no good for nothing Pat Rice who’s dedicated most of his working life to Arsenal FC as a manager and a player. The one who doesn’t care and is Wenger’s “Yes Man!”.

  19. Henristic, I guess they have a right to be annoyed after Chelsea’s two ‘goals’ on Saturday night, but still. They are delusional if they believe any team gets better treatment than them.

  20. Jeff.

    When you say we now need to buy quality, who exactly fits this catoegory of “quality”.

  21. Manure fans are arrogant beyond belief, and it’s not just the ones in this country. The same arrogance is noticeable abroad.

  22. Without going overboard the perfermance proved there is life in Arsenal after all and that project youth will prevail. Scezcny played a blinder and Song was the fulcrum on which the game was won. Emotional and immense goal scoring return for ramsey. But calls on some blogs to sell cesc now because he is in the wrong headspace seem premature. The team needs variation in the type of players available to the team including the elusive battle hardened mentally strong experienced players we are often criticised of lacking in those games were things dont go our way and heads drop and panic sets in. At the moment we are waiting for someone in the team to stand up. The future is still bright.

    Also Who said that wenger isnt a tactician. Song harried and sheperded Rooney into mostly blind corners frustrating him all day. The rest of the team negating the influences of nani and hernandez. Trademark nerves at the end but generally a well rounded team performance. The emirates crowd was also immense. Dodgy refereeing but for now will just enjoy the look on those smug united fans faces yesterday when we beat them.priceless. COYG.

  23. Yeovil Gunner

    Where are the Doomers today? Probably praying we slip up at Stoke.It was a long trip from Yeovil but well worth it.You dont know how lucky you London guys are! Question? Why is a stall selling Arsenal merchandise selling T shirts saying “in Arsene we rust” right out side the ground? Do these idiots not understand the word support? Baffles me, just baffles me the “fans” encouraging people to be anti Wenger.

  24. Another inept refreeeing performance by another one of England,s finest
    Chris Foy almost cost Arsenal ,dearly,so how come the inept linesman closest
    to the handball from Vidic didn,t see it or the ref himsef,amazing how the red half of Manchester gets away with these dubious ref.decisions game after ga
    me season after season,a blatant handball ,denying van Persie a clear goal scoring chance ,last defender red card(straight)and penalty to Arsenal,simple
    facts of this match?

  25. Any word on Djourou? Official site just says he fell awkwardly.

  26. Great win and a nice write up YW.

    I haven’t been on as much as I should recently. Don’t think I could have stomached the negativity from some of the more support challanged fans. Nothing brings me out from under my rock like a win over ManUre though. Lovely 3 points wish we could have had this fixture 3 or 4 games back. I think we will get the remaining 9 points now.

    I would like to make a call for zero signings in central midfield. Thats partly my defiance coming out but also with Alex, Jack and Ramsey we have the greatest future in the team. They have it all with a good injury free season from these three next year I could perhaps see me being almost alright if cesc did go to barca. With Deni, Diaby and hopefully Lansbury, Frimpong, Coquelin added next season we would be well equiped.

    I have to admit that I am wanting something different in the squad nowadays. Not sure if this is the case at all and I am a proud member of the AKB brigade but perhaps more drive and a consistent winner could be added. This is not a call for a tough tackler or a £30m + signing. I just feel as though we need a player that is not used to losing and will not accept it. Our current team have more skill than any other team in the land. That can not be argued. It’s not the case that they are not determined or committed but something is amiss. Do we have the never say die attitude that rivals Henry, Parlour, Ljungberg, Vieira had a few years back. Like I say I’m not asking for brutes. And with a couple of trophies, the current squad will have this mentality I’m sure. I would though, if given the opportunity and the right deal for Wenger not be against making a signing of this nature.

    Main point is though, after this ramble, let’s not mess with what we have in the centre of midfield. It is going to be an absolute joy to support it, exactly as it is.


  27. Yeovil gunner.

    It shows you the class of Arsenal when we let the enemy within enjoy their right to free speech by voicing their opinion and making money out of it. Truth be told, those T-shirts probably didn’t sell, but the point here is that the vendor and those who want Arsene to rust with Arsenal left the stadium scratching their heads.

  28. still feeling very pleased with yesterdays result and performance..
    i caught glimpse of a manc website last night who highlighted the fact that song stopped rooney outside the laws of the game and the rest of our midfeild were guilty of infringments…

    i had to have a little its ok for fergie to tell fletcher and carrick to kick the living fuck out of everyone but when it happens to them they dont like it..

    utd got outbattled and outplayed…they dont like it up em.. 😉

  29. JonJon

    Fergie put out his work horses in the midfield ala Park and Anderson – too bad Fletch was out cold as he would have been in for Carrick.

    With Song having Rooney in his pocket – Valencia and Nani made to look like spent tools who couldn’t get an erection – and Little pea running around like a little chicken to no avail, surely you can understand their frustration.

    At one point, they had in attack – Rooney, Owen, Berbatov, Valencia and Nani. Bar Hernandez who was pretty much ineffective before his substitution, Fergie threw his kitchen sink at Arsenal and the back 5 together with Song were imperious

  30. Cyclops (but with 2 eyes)

    Props all around. Flicking through the rags in the supermarket and want to ask just the f is steve howard’s problem? C**t to a man.

  31. did united ‘choke’ yesterday – seems to me they might have sewn up the league yesterday

  32. thats just it darius
    fergie was always going to use the same tactics as he always does against us but this time we wouldnt let them in..they had no outlet, rooney was nullified..
    we did really well…
    we are allowed to bath in this glory but we must not get ahead of ourselves..3 more games to get 3 more performances and 9 points..

    oh yeah..owen was offside

  33. YeovilGunner

    You serious? I havent noticed that t-shirt stall. Where exactly is it? I think I will have a word at the Villa game mate.

  34. george rodger

    Scanning the blogs last night I cannot believe how many ,so called ,fans are disappointed we won.
    What is going on?
    I know a lot of them are but kids with the intelligence of a dead goldfish,but still !
    With Rambo back,Jack established ,and some kids coming through,and back from loan deals ,it may be necessary to trim the squad ,due to the 25 players rule.Bearing in mind that some regulars will no longer be exempt as they are now 21 years old.
    Any thoughts on who might go?

  35. JonJon – I know you have previously expressed your view that we didn’t have the confidence to see through the rest of the games.

    Firstly, bar Tottenham gaining a +30 goal difference in 3 games, and us losing all 3, Champions league is guaranteed for next season. What’s more important though is the symbolic triumph of beating Manure. It gives the players the much needed confidence to see things through. and they know the season isn’t over until the final whistle at Craven Cottage. Based on yesterday’s performance, I’m very positive about the remaining games.

  36. george rodger

    Dexter,some mouth punching could be the order of the day,dont you think?

  37. I would not expect anything else but a stirling report from YW..
    Ramsey took his goal very well yesterday,like YW I thought he might not have the conviction,nerve after the horror tackle..He took it well and it would appear he’s well on the road to recovery physically n mentally..And as Amband has stated “We still must not over elaborate in front of goal” ……I’m sure the atmosphere today @Colney is much brighter place…Any news on JD?

  38. I missed the first half, but what I witnessed from our play in the 2nd half was a desire I have not seen in years. We seemed to win EVERY 50/50 ball and even some 40/60 balls.

    Some spirit possessed Arshavin’s body.

    Definitely a season Arsenal won’t allow me to forget.

  39. I’d say that Berbatov was the one who was offside, and came back to interfere with play and shepherd Koscielny off the ball. Either way the ref should have blown.

  40. …for a fk to us, that is!

  41. until yesterday darious i was unsure il admit that..

    but after that very gritty display i think we are up for it and i have to agree with you im very positive about beating stoke, villa and fulham

  42. George

    Because o their age, mosdtly being under 21, we can have as many of them in the squad I think? I am hopeful that Lansbury, Coquelin and Bartley will be promoted to the 1st team squad next season. However, there’s normally one player who surprised everyone by making the step up too. Frimpong would have been in the squad this year if it wasnt for that bad injury and I think he will need a season, or half at least at a premier league team. Pedro is due back from Spain and he can play anywhere on the left and he is over 6ft, which could well be useful! And perhaps Ryo might win his work permit this summer, although I thinki he could well do with some loan time in this country.

    I have doubts that vela will be with us at the start of next season, which is a real shame as I thought he could be a good little player for us.

    I would love JET to be an Arsenal player and I think he could be loaned out to a top tier team, then come back. He could turn out to be a Baptista kind of player. No, not the Arsenal one we had, but when he was at Sevilla, scolring 20+ from midfield.

  43. The term marginal is being used (by broadcasters) to soften or rationalize officiating errors (bias).

    How can a player be marginally offsides? Or it was a marginal foul?
    Vidic’s hand deflecting the cross to vP – marginal handball?

  44. george..
    the squad definately needs triming before we add anybody to it..
    wenger needs to add a sprinkle of something here and there via the transfer market but we also have alot of young guns starting to make their claim..

    i think there could be more departures than ppl think and it wont be an exodus because they will be players that are one the fringes or dont get enough games..
    at least 4-5 from the first team….about the same from the reserves…

  45. It was brilliant to see Ramsey and Wilshere in the heart of our midfield, running things, ably assisted by the brilliant Song. It really bodes well for next season. That great performance is tin ged with huge disapointment at what might and should have been however. But thats football, you rarely get what you want! I hope Cesc stays and think we will get at least one more season from him in Arsenal colours and maybe he should cnsider giving the armband to van persie.

  46. Speaking of players on loan – does anyone know how Le Coq is doing in his loan spell? I would have thought that he and the Frimpster would give each other good competition for the defensive midfield role, though like Eastmond, Le Coq has been deployed at right back before.

    But what is pleasing overall is that both Li’l Jack Willy and Szczesny have grabbed their opportunity to cement their places in the first team with both hands. Maybe next season, Lansbury and the Frimpster can do the same and play key roles in the cup competitions.

  47. Yeovil Gunner

    Dexter (at 12.19) Excuse my ignorance i dont get to as many games as i like! As you come out of the ground turn left towards tube.Opposite side,pretty much first stall.Its a black t shirt.I agree Darius re the class, its just a shame that my day costs circa £300 quid and i have to look at that shit and listen to parents trying to explain to there kids what that phrase means.Piss poor.

  48. Kalou’s goal was marginally offside. Heh.
    The Blues also had one or two good shouts for pelantys refused in that game. Chris Waddle and all the other Scum supporters and sympathisers must have missed those.

    Did anyone else see JET’s cameo as a long throw specialist for Cardiff the other weekend?
    I’d recall him for the Stoke game, and have one of the other front three players resting on the bench. Wrapped up in towels. All of them. Even if it is not raining.

  49. @Dexter.

    If Cesc relinquishes the arm band, I think Vermaelen would make a better choice for captain than RVP. Both are very capable mind you, but I just think that RVP would be better off concentrating on playmaking and scoring goals than having to carry the additional responsibility of skipper.

    Also, it’s taken that a player in Vermaelen’s position (simply because of where he plays on the pitch), can always read the game better and have a better chance to influence the game.

  50. No probs YeovilGunner! I’ll hae a look for it!

    Darius I have only seen theodd report about Coquelin and usually they dont even mention what position he has been played in. Although he seems to have been deployed in midfield now. Earlier reports were suggesting he was doing really well.

  51. Darius

    Vermealen would make a great captain too. I think it is a responsibility tat cesc could do with out, so he can concentrate purely on his own game.

  52. Els

    I’d notice that not too many doomers are about today – maybe they are worried that the US Forces are now going to turn their attentions to them to keep the WalMart empire happy.


  53. george rodger

    Cesc. was captain last year and it did not seem like too much of a Millstone,But you could well be right Dexter.That is if it does not adversely effect Cesc.
    “in Arsene we rust”is used by some numb nuts who post on here.It is staggering when you think about what the man has done at this club,or when you watch him orchestrate a press conference in perfect English,one of his 5 fluent spoken languages,that he is disrespected by people who have a native tongue of “text talk”

  54. Great win yesterday. im so happy.

    I do hope that Vela stays. I still think he has something to offer and could really be wonderful for us. He could come back next season and surprise everyone. Its not like he doesnt have the talent. Maybe he hasnt applied himself properly. we’ll see.

  55. @Yogi, if the American forces are going to go after the doomers next, they best bury the fuckers at sea while at it.

  56. George I love cesc being el capitano, but if he would prefer not to have the armband, then thats cool too. I think Wenger has alluded to the responsibility weighing heavy on him and he hasnt had a stellar season, by his own high standards.

    Gooner Wife

    Yeah, I really hope Vela could be that surprise player for us. I do think we have missed having a skillful pacey winger in the side. Theo is the nly one we have really. Arshavin is pretty nippy too, but having someone with sheer pace scres the pants out of the oppositiopn and is a great out ball too.

  57. Vela is currently behind Arshavin and Nasri. If Miyiachi makes it into the first team next year Vela will probably be behind him too. Would make sense if he left, or at least went on loan for the season.

  58. LimparAssist

    A masterclass by two exceptional fullbacks yesterday. Athleticism, courage, skill… I’d go so far as to say Bacary and Gael won us the game with all the possession they brought us.

  59. Some Arsenal fans really do get carried away! Markus, Miyiachi made a good start at Feyenoord, probably because he was an unknown quantity. I think it would be expecting too much for him to turn up with the same impact in the much tougher PL. He is young, allow him time to develop before putting undue pressure on him.

    Also, I don’t think Vela is going anywhere. Arsene has described him as one of the best finishers in the squad and I believe he went out on loan so that he can play regularly and be ready for the first team when called upon. He has done well at WBA so I see no reason to sell him. The fact that he stayed in the PL when he had a chance to take the easy option and go to Spain, suggests he wants to make it at Arsenal.

  60. Same players to those who didn’t perform in some ‘easier’ matches in the last few weeks. One exception was the inclusion of Ramsey and the omision of cesc..

    I have to say I liked that midfield trio. Young, athletic, talented and, what we have been asking for, a never say die attitude.

    It’s tempting to say that the answer is in front of us.

    What are the players thinking right now about the title being let go after a performance like yesterday’s? I’d really like to know.

  61. A hard-working midfield trio and a willingness to move the ball quickly wide were both key yesterday. And, at last, a spot of good fortune at a key moment late on. Of course it doesn’t make up for two months of wretched performances, but it was a reminder of how good this team can be on its day. We just need these exceptional performances to become more habitual.

    We may only have papered over the cracks yesterday, but it was still a victory to raise the spirits. And well done Rambo on an outstanding performance.

  62. Did no one else see JET’s cameo as a long throw specialist for Cardiff?
    Totaal Hoofball.

    He won’t be let go to play for precious baubles at Celtic like A.Stokes.
    Considering that he is under twenty one years of age he’s not going anywhere just yet. Unless it’s a loan move.

  63. Gutted to miss out on being there in person yesterday, but watching on TV it was an excellent performance. We did stand off a bit too much after scoring as the manager has said, but it was great to get the win.

    We do have some great talent coming up behind the likes of Wilshere and Ramsey, but I would also like to see a real winner signed in the midfield area. Not so much in the attacking positions, but as cover and competition for Alex Song. He was back on his game yesterday which made a huge difference, when he’s not playing well or out through injury or suspension we have a massive hole in there.

  64. Arshavin and nasri can play across the midfeild as well as behind a main striker, so of course there’s room for vela in the squad and, as Passenal says, Ryo isn’t infront of Vela just yet markus mate!


    It is so frustrating to know the players have it in them, yet couldnt raise their game over the last few games. The effort was there, but they were seemingly lacking that spark. If they could play like they did yesteday consistently, we’d have won the league by February!

  65. I agree Dexter.

    That’s what needs addressing. How?

    Change still required somewhere but it’s so easy to believe that all would be well again after yesterday.

  66. @block 4 – like you, many people have mentioned that we need a “proven winner” or an “experienced DM” to add some depth and in particular as cover for Song.

    Who do you have in mind, taking into account the transfer fees, wages and expectation for such a player to start every game?

  67. Block 4

    Apparantly we are signing Rafael Nadal, now thats what I call a winner!

  68. CBob

    Perhaps a departure might be required as you alluded to earlier. Not sure myself why the team collectively went off the boil for so long, but then again the signs have been there all season. We havent really hit a rich vein of form, apart from that spell over the Christmas period. I know we were unbeaten for ages, but most of the results were draws!

    Perhaps we do need an old fashioned shouter and gee-er-up-per-er!

  69. Daruis

    Its simple, we sell Cesc for £35m AND Javier Mascherano. Or the Gritmeister himself; Scott E Parker.

  70. Nice start to our pre-season. Good to see Ramsay back.
    Read Jon Jon’s comments during the game if you need to know what is wrong with our support. And that is the only thing that is wrong with Arsenal.

  71. Cesc, be captain? I think it was hard for the team to look up to him as a leader when the going got rough because it can’t be easy looking up to a man who you know had to be talked into being here in the first place. Don’t why we try to cover it up. I use to be in denial about it too. Hopefully the door is still open for him at him childhood dream club. That way Aaron Ramsey can progress into the form he was showing before that terrible day.

    The players owed themselves and Wenger that win.

  72. Gainsbourg69

    I still think we can take the league. With nine points to play for and only being behind by six we are still in it mathematically. I wouldn’t be surprised if some good news comes about as we’re playing Fulham. In Arsene we thrust.

  73. Darius,

    Simple, Gökhan Inler.
    Ball winner, very well timed in the tackle. Organiser. Wants to come to Arsenal.

  74. great win, great post, great comments!

    Seemed like Arsenal were playing very uninhibitedly yesterday. Thought it was important how quickly we started and how well Song played. I mentioned it yesterday, but Guardian Chalkboards had him 9/9 tackles made all in our defensive half. He also had 5 interceptions, all in our defensive half. Clichy’s number of interceptions, as well as the number of interceptions in the midfield was a credit to our hard defensive work and aggressiveness.

  75. Great post Yogi. Thanks again.

    Feels great to win again especially against the red Manc’s. Team played very well and restored some pride. We need to consolidate the gain by finishing the season strong. This game will mean very little if we stumble next weekend at Stoke or struggle with Villa at home. We all know that our lads can put together fantastic games but lets hope they figure out how to do it consistently. Our defense was excellent yesterday. Off days are inevitable in the attacking 1/2 of the pitch or we will run into a hot GK but defense needs to be solid every game. Clearly this year has seen improvements. I would never have been able to say this last year but at our best we certainly have a defense which is good enough to win the league, we just need to find our best nearly every game.

    Great stuff yesterday. Lets finish strong and hopefully bag 2nd place.

  76. goonerton, how do you know he wants to come to Arsenal?

  77. Gainsbourg69

    Cesc wasn’t talked into staying. His shit bag father/agent saw the reality of the situation, Cesc sitting on the bench for a long stretch, and he decided it was better if his son/client was playing regular football. I mean, you don’t very well earn endorsement money or flashy ad campaigns when you’re on the bench.

  78. goonerton,

    if I was a young Arsenal player I would have no problem looking up to him. He is THE Arsenal story for our current model. Put it in some hard work and make the best of your chances, listen to AW’s advice, you can become a world beater. Would it be great if we never had to deal with all that Barca bologna.. yes. Do I think his head was a bit off this year? Yes, combination of World Cup and confusion about his future. But let’s be honest, who do you think LJW and Rambo are trying to emulate? Cesc fucking Fabregas. Right now one could easily argue that they are following in his footsteps.

  79. Great performance by the team yesterday. I am so happy for Ramsey. What a match to make a statement in. I thought he was immense and fearless. Watching him score and play reminded me of why I love this team so much.
    What an interesting midfield that was yesterday. Song was clearly getting under the skin of manure; he does an excellent job of walking the line of a yellow card and it seemed to really piss Rooney, Nani, et al off!
    Great job by Skilly after Djourou was taken off. I didn’t even notice he was back there, that’s how seamlessly he fit in with Koscielny.
    Arshavin finally looked like the player he can be; tireless in pursuit when off the ball, tricky and inventive with the ball.
    Overall, a great performance. It really made me wonder where this display has been? Regardless, great to see a return to better play.

  80. @Dexter – Scottie Parker – really? I know he is of the ‘Chuck Norris blood and thunder never say die mould’ but the key difference between Alex Song and Scottie (and Mascherano for that matter) is that they’re spoilers and not as creative as Song who is not only a spoiler, but much better on the ball than both of them.

    I don’t see Scottie Parker playing Wengerball as a first choice DM – and if we pay what West Ham will be asking for him, then the expectation will be to play him more often than not. At the suggested price tag, he’ll be the most expensive player at Arsenal.

    If we’re going to spend that kind of money on a backup DM you might as well shop at Harrods and not Tesco Express. The issue seems to be that Song will do well with competition and to cover during his absence – so why not go for quality if you’re going to spend a few bob? I’d rather we even pitch for someone like Bastian Sweinsteiger – but chances of the Baverians selling him are slim to none unless they need to add to their coffers to meet Shalke’s demand for their keeper.

  81. Good game yesterday.Always refreshing to beat United.A rounded team performance,but I was especially pleased to see the youngsters Wilshere and Ramsry bossing the midfield

  82. ” I would never have been able to say this last year but at our best we certainly have a defense which is good enough to win the league, we just need to find our best nearly every game. ”

    Alright Bill!!! Someone should let Satan know of the chilly weather headed his way…

  83. @Steww 2:28 pm

    Bi-polar disorder?

  84. Gris Gris

    “Great job by Skilly after Djourou was taken off. I didn’t even notice he was back there, that’s how seamlessly he fit in with Koscielny.”

    Very well said. 2 minutes after the change I too had forgotten it had been made bc Squill was slotting in so well.

  85. i think Squill is fine as our last resort CB. He showed it yesterday. Experienced, cool head, as long as he chills out on the koscielny super jumping head butts. My god was that crazy.

  86. Lovely write-up, YW.

    Another satisfying aspect was that once again, as when Chelsea came to the Emirates, we showed a team who thought that they had figured us out that we could defeat them, playing OUR way.

    Well, we are due a run of spectacularly good luck to make up for the abysmal luck we have had so far, so I will not extinguish the little flicker of hope which still burns. We could still do it.

    @ els
    I understand your point about one player driving the rest on, but I feel that everyone has to find that drive within himself. Otherwise, what happens if the “driving” player is injured, or not selected? I’m not saying that there is no room for such a player but everybody has to do that for themselves, just like they have to motivate themselves in training. I think that is what AW means when he talks about several people being a “captain”.

    Like you, though, I also believe we are positively spoilt for talent, in the MF in particular.

    @ cbob
    We don’t need new personnel to get that attitude – we just need the team as a whole to grow up. If they can do it sometimes, they can do it all the time, is how I see it.

  87. @ NJGooner | May 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    Agree with that.

  88. I’m tempted to agree with you on the one thing wrong with Arsenal steww but I can’t.

    Our support is poor in parts due, I suspect, to the ongoing media disrepect for our great club. Certainly not enough pride in being an Arsenal supporter and little enough love for the club. Spoilt, stupid and ungrateful. That’s a disgrace and does cause us problems more than other clubs.

    However, listen to 606 any night to hear fans of every club ring in and say that their manager’s an idiot and that player A is not fit to wear the shirt and all they need is Mourinho and some money spending to make it all better. A Sunderland fan last night for heaven’s sake! Lots of spuds saying ‘arry’s lost it. Same sense of entitlement, same delusions.

    If our fans were all true then there would certainly be less pressure on this team to succeed. However, bottom line is, we should have won the title this year. This team at this time, had the talent to do it. They didn’t.

    I can’t blame AIC for that, well, not all of it.

  89. @GrisGris…

    Alex Song is slowly but surely perfecting his grasp of the ‘dark arts’. Any team needs the ability to sail very close to the wind but know when to step back a bit lest you’re blown overboard. What was even more cynical is that after Song was yellow carded, Wilshere took over the dark arts. You’ve got to love it.

  90. steww and darious
    i think you mean passion

  91. I’d like to think so Fun but they have failed consistently in that department. Too many mistakes, too various mistakes.

    There is a brittleness there that age will not necessarily make right. This wouldn’t be the first very talented squad that doesn’t deliver the title. Football is littered with such teams. Chelsea in the early 70’s springs to mind, although they did beat the ‘gritty’ side of their day in a memorable Cup Final Replay.

    It’s nearly there but it is not the finished article. A lot of baggage in the hold now as well.

  92. getting carried away again on aclf, i think most on here would hate it if we improved our team. steww is a retard new fan, jon jon i dont worry about cunnts like that.

  93. I’m with Gainsbourg69. If Chelsea beat United and we beat Stoke we’re only 3 points off the top with two games to go. And anything can happen in those two games.

  94. darious have you ever seen scot parker play??
    lol hes not a spoiler..
    he can play…

  95. “We don’t need new personnel to get that attitude – we just need the team as a whole to grow up. If they can do it sometimes, they can do it all the time, is how I see it.”

    Absolutely FG. Looking at the squad, the reserves and the players coming back from loans, Arsene has very little room for manoevre thanks to the stupid 25 player rule.

  96. i hope chelsea get flattened by utd i’d rather they won it then them chav tramps.

  97. arsene has loads of room to manoevre passenal

    most of our players are home grown and alot are under 21..
    the 25 man rule hardly affects us to be honest..theres room for signings

  98. JonJon – but for £20 m Plus.

    What you forget is that if Arsenal really wanted him, they would have got him by now – even before he went to Chelsea.

  99. how would parker cost 20mil??

  100. No there is not Jon Jon – take a look at the first team squad on, which I did before making my comment.

  101. Darius @ 2:38:

    I like the Gokhan Inler idea. He looked great in the WC although I certainly do not follow Serie A. I know the boss likes him. I agree completely that this year we should buy a couple or 3 players from Harrods.

    The best Arsenal team on both ends of the pitch in the last 6 years was the first 26 games in 07/08. Flamini was the ultimate Chuck Norris type and our attack flourished even though Flamini did not have a single creative brain cell. The headless chicken routine really added energy and balance to to the squad that often seems to missing especially in our bad patches. He gave the players around him more freedom to be creative. A system that requires everyone to be creative is always going to struggele with consistency since not everyone can play well every game.

  102. and theres a lot of players arsene should have signed, but he didnt, because he had faith in who he had and some of them let him down

    we could have signed given, but wenger thought almunia was the man, even the kids have over taken him now..

    we could have signed parker, but wenger thought denilson and diaby were the men, now the kids have over taken them too…

    just cos we didnt sign someone isnt proof we didnt need them is it..

  103. Alex Ice Cream

    Any win over ManU should be savoured. Great to see Rambo back and provide a glimpse of the future of the midfield with Jack, especially if Cesc leaves.

    Ramsey, Jack and Szczesny are just amazing, especially considering their ages.

  104. @ cbob
    I suppose “consistently” is the word I would argue with.
    But if you think the brittleness goes through most of the squad and will not be curred by age, then we’re looking at replacing virtually all the players! Pointless replacing only a few.

  105. So Bob, who would you get rid of from the first 11, because they are the ones who failed to win in these recent games.

  106. passenal we can have as many players as we want that are under 21

    next year we dont even need to register the likes of ches, jack, rambo, etc and we can still use them..

    the 25 man rule means shit to us we could have 35 players if we wanted and still use them all…

  107. i wouldnt get rid of any of the first 11

    id get shut of the ones who are getting splinters sat on the bench or wasting wages being in the physio room all the time and replace them with players who can actually challenge to get in the first team..

  108. @Darius,

    My preference would be for Jeremy Toulalan from Lyon. He ticks all the boxes, has won plenty of titles with Lyon, has played several seasons in the Champions League, is an experienced international. We know their president holds out for top dollar for his players, but the general consensus seems to be that we only need one or two so paying good money for this type of player shouldn’t be beyond us. We play about 60 games per season, I’m sure that if he and Song played 35-45 games each (allowing for both playing together in some games and sub appearances) then it would benefit them both by keeping them fresh. Also, he will be around when African Cup of Nations time comes around and Song’s not and he’s 27 or 28, so in five years or so time he should be making way for the Frimpongs or Coquelins to come through into the first team full-time, I would envisage them making a few appearances in domestic cups and to cover for injuries before then.

  109. Paragraph 1, line 3, second word should read ‘fillip’.

  110. LimparAssist

    Hey, Cbob, hope you’re well and enjoying the sunshine…

    Here’s my cod-psychological take on it…

    Our world class performances this season have come in the big games. The challenge for us is to summon up that intensity so vital to how we play, in the ‘easier games’. It’s a difficult, complex challenge (have you been to Bolton?)

    So much of our game depends on passing or making a run without 2nd thought or hesitation, it’s about complete freedom of expression and spontaneity. That’s what carves out space and stretches defences… one-touch, two-touch… unpredictable runs and passes… that’s when we’re unstoppable.

    Somehow we achieve that state in bigger games and struggle to reproduce it sometimes (artificially?) against lesser teams. I say ‘somehow’ but it’s not hard to see ‘why’. The blood is up in the big games for a million reasons. Harder to pinpoint exactly what it is that can be done to recreate that; almost impossible to ‘bottle’ that reaction – you know? – to manufacture it and spray it with an atomiser in the dressing room before we play MOR guff like Sunderland.

    It’s all very well for some to say, “Well, why not shout at the little darlings like Al Pacino…” but that sort of shtick, I imagine, has a pretty short half-life when you wheel it out 30 times a season.

    It’s up to the players to draw it up within themselves. I’m starting to lose my thread here but I think it’s responsibility and professionalism that help you raise yourself to a challenge you think you may be above, and guard against cockiness and complacency – and these are qualities we see improve with each campaign in these players. Dealing with pressure, dealing with setbacks – you can’t teach that, but when it happens it sticks.

    Spoiling tactics play a big part too of course, and playing through TBOF centrebacks is easier said than done. The whole thing is easier said than done but that’s the challenge that’s ahead of us and it’s helluva fucking spectacle watching us try to win the league playing the right way, wouldn’tcha say? I think what we’re doing is fucking beautiful and when it happens it’ll be one of greatest ever achievements in football.

  111. FunGunner @ 3:01:

    We don’t necessarily need new personnel to get that attitude but it would be daft to think that it wouldn’t help. Why not give them all the help we can so they have a better chance to “grow up”. Players and fans all get excited about new faces coming into the squad, that excitement can only help to speed along development of the new attitude. I don’t think Cbob or anyone is calling for complete overhaul but adding a few new players could really jumpstart the team and the fans. Why not use whatever means we have to give us an edge?

  112. Szczesny is 21 already, Wilshere and Frimpong are the only definites who are currently named in the first team squad. Ramsey and Lansbury will not be eligible by the season after next. Botelho and Vela are also 21. Decent ‘experienced’ players will not come for less than a 3 year contract, so there is a big risk of being stuck with players surplus to requirements within a year whom it’s difficult to move on. It’s not as easy as it seems and you need to consider more than just the season immediately in front of you.

  113. LimparAssist

    Oh god, verbosity on a Bank Holiday monday. Who’da thunk it?

    Basically, I agree with FG, I think.

    There’ll be one or two ins and outs of course but with the perspective of the summer I think that ‘baggage’ is easily turned into an advantage in the mind of a team of young footballers.

    And I’d say this way around is much healthier for a young side than vice versa where they freeze in big games – what do I know… but it seems an ‘easier fix’ this way.

    I’ll pipe down now I think.

  114. “My preference would be for Jeremy Toulalan from Lyon. He ticks all the boxes, has won plenty of titles with Lyon, has played several seasons in the Champions League, is an experienced international.”

    Sounds a lot like Squillachi whom many have slated unfairly given that it’s his first season in a new country and with a new style of playing. I’m sure any other player that comes into the team will be given the same time to adapt?

  115. LimparAssist

    There will be one or two new players, there always are, but it’s not up to them to raise the level of consistancy of our current players. Who are we going to sign, a cheerleader like Gauttuso? It’s up to the current players themselves.

  116. Hasn’t Chesney filled out, by the way? At the start of the season he looked like a length of rope with knots in it – now he has a real physical presence.

    @ Limpar
    I agree with your points about the maturity. But I have to disagree with the analysis that we are up for big games and not for lesser games. The frustrating thing about our mishaps, it seems to me, is that there doesn’t seem to be a pattern. Sometimes we are up for big team confrontations and sometimes we are not. Sometimes we have dispatched lesser teams ruthlessly and at other times we haven’t. Sometimes we have looked disorganised and leaky, sometimes we have been a well-oiled machine. Sometimes we have dealt superbly with high balls into the box (eg Stoke at home) and at other times… Well, you get my drift, I’m sure!

  117. LimparAssist

    Right, that’s it now. Schtum…

  118. @Block 4

    Toulalan seems an interesting option. I’ve only watched him a few times and can’t make a decent assessment of him though. But as you say, Lyon usually demand top dollar for their top players.

    Next year, cover for Song will be more critical as he goes to the ACN, but it also won’t hurt if Song is rotated to reduce fatigue.

  119. Limpar @ 3:44:

    We all agree with your idea but its pretty clear that new players do help a teams attitude at least for a while and that might be all we need. The Chav’s looked completely dead and buried before the transfer window. Same with Liverpool. We are not going to spend 50M or 35M but we can afford to bring in a couple players who could help us. Certainly can’t hurt

  120. passenal i get that but if you start considering the season after and the season after that then theres still room cos the natural revovling door suggests rosicky almunia and AA wont be here in a few seasons..
    yes the squad needs trimming but only for wasted wages reasons not for 25 man rule reasons..

    guys the whole ‘covering’ debate is abit loose to be honest, it shouldnt be about ‘cover’ its all about ‘competition’ for places…

    pecking orders are unhealthy and create abit of a comfort zone mentality..there needs to be competition for places…and when the injuries kick in weve got like for like replacements but make them fight for their place..

    take TV for eg…hes a superb player but koz and jd have been great this season…make him fight for his place back he shouldnt just be able to walk straight back into the team….keep them on their toes..

  121. LimparAssist

    Well, that’s true FG. Sometimes we’ve gone right for the jugular (as against Blackburn) and it just hasn’t happened. Maybe I’m just grasping at patterns, in truth, as you say, no two missed opportunites to win have been for the same reasons. One thing I have seen too many times though is a slow start against lesser opposition (obv that’s an easy trend to spot if most teams you play are ‘lesser’ I guess!) Too often we seem to want the first ten minutes to warm into a game and get comfortable popping off passes to eachother without great purpose. We rarely see that in the big games. Maybe what I’m asking isn’t realistic – a team can’t play at 100% for every minute of every game, of course, doesn’t work like that – but I think a stronger start is something we’ll see addressed for next season.

  122. “I think what we’re doing is fucking beautiful and when it happens it’ll be one of greatest ever achievements in football.”

    Absolutely Limpar. Couldn’t agree more. Believe it or not, here in Devon, we have had cloud for the last three days. Had to take 6 o’clock drinks in the greenhouse.

    It’s tough being challenged on here by my old soulmates!

    However, my out is that I know nothing about football, at least nowhere near as much as Arsene and so leave all my football thinking to him!

    Players out Passenal? I won’t play that game until the season’s over.

    I agree with you that it’s largely the senior players who have been inconsistent this year. I am more than a little tired of cesc for example. and loved Ramsey’s comittment to the cause yesterday. I do wonder if the failure of some of the lesser lights to perform like hungry beasts when given the chance led to complacency in the ‘first teamers’ and also perhaps they were sometimes tired and not always 100% fit. Arsene didn’t seem to trust the squad much and there was very clearly a first 11.

    There for, I suspect that it’s there that a few might move on from. New senior players might push a couple of younger first teamers down from a regular starting spot but we need to rotate better anyway.

    Fun, I meant consistently as a team but that’s not to say that all players didn’t show up. It’s hard to carry team mates how matter how hard you work. RVP has done little wrong for example but sometimes I wanted somebody up there with him shouldering some of the expectation. It sounds a bit simple but a good shouter might make a difference to some when things aren’t going according to plan and when Davies shanks one in the 80th minute.

    Arsene will know.

  123. Gainsbourg69

    I’d much rather Ramsey get playing time than to buy an old, used up number like Scotty P. He hasn’t been good since he was at Charlton playing under Curbishley.

    Bill, the exclusively defensive midfielder/ destroyer is not what passing football calls for. Otherwise you end up like Mascherano and Flamini. Both good defensive players who are riding the bench because they can’t make a ten yard pass. Further, Maradona deployed Mascherano as their fifth defender and they still had Messi having to drop back to receive the ball because they didn’t possess enough creativity to help him out.

    Football has changed drastically in four years. DMs, in addition to defending well, are required to keep the ball, pass and create scoring chances, like any other midfielder, or the team risks losing offensive output. Just watch Stoke, Sunderland or any other team that plays with an anchor in midfield and you’d see how poor their scoring records are.

    Oh! And Flamini, although a very good defensive player, didn’t give the team its freedom. It was the wizardry of Cesc, Rosicky and Hleb that kept that team scoring loads of goals.

  124. Gainsbourg69


    “We all agree with your idea but its pretty clear that new players do help a teams attitude at least for a while and that might be all we need. The Chav’s looked completely dead and buried before the transfer window. Same with Liverpool. We are not going to spend 50M or 35M but we can afford to bring in a couple players who could help us. Certainly can’t hurt.”

    Is it clear, Bill? How come you don’t mention Man City? They shell out for new players every season and the best they’ve ever done is Europa league. Some say that the instability which comes from waiting for new players to gel with their teammates is at fault. With Liverpool it was Dalglish that shook things up and the addition of hungry youngsters in their ranks that have made the difference. The addition of Spearing has done wonders for their midfield. And Chelsea is dead and buried. If it wasn’t for us going off the rails and them getting a few points from favorable refs, they’d be fighting it out for fourth with Man City and Spurs. In fact, Torres has been a very expensive flop thus far and looks to have been a toy that Abrahamovic could purchase instead of what the squad needed. Sideshow Bob is just a decent but very expensive defender. So no, this theory of yours doesn’t hold water.

  125. george rodger

    Darius,what sort of figure is being out on Parker?
    He is not a first teamer for me but I wonder how much he might cost as back up.
    Saying that would he come as a back up ?
    He has already bench warmed Chelsea and at this stage of his career he will want to play ,him being the player of the year and all!

  126. We’re in a good position with regards cover for Song. I’d be confident of at least two of our four centre-backs being able to play there, no problem. Koscielny and Vermaelen already like to venture forward at times and can pick a pass.

  127. @ Limpar
    “One thing I have seen too many times though is a slow start against lesser opposition (obv that’s an easy trend to spot if most teams you play are ‘lesser’ I guess!) ”

    Fair point about the effect of our slow starts. I liken us to sharks – superb predators, but we have to keep moving forward. (I realise that may be a myth about sharks, but you get my point.) Going forward and going forward quickly is the key for us. But WHY it doesn’t always happen like that is the mystery that Arsene has to solve.

    @ cbob
    Let’s leave it there, then.
    “However, my out is that I know nothing about football, at least nowhere near as much as Arsene and so leave all my football thinking to him!”
    Ha ha! If only others showed your (or indeed Arsene’s) humility…

    Anyway, see you guys next Sunday. I am re-watching the match with great enjoyment (doesn’t Song shield the ball superbly?).

  128. ooh ooh to be a Gooner!

  129. Nowai would Parker come and be happy beint a squad player. Like joe cole he is “too good” for that. But his age is good as a transition player until our young midfielders have grown. A bit.

  130. G69:

    Man City is not comparable to us. They had a much higher mountain to climb so they used a scattergun approach. . The whole attitude of the players and fans is different then the old group which was happy with mid table. . Next year they will be champions league and who knows where they will go from there.

    Chelsea players have all said in the media that show Bob has been a huge lift for them. Its hard to argue that their season did not turn around after he came in. Probably not the only reason but certainly a big part of whats happened. If they win the title then Luiz will have been a huge bargain especially given his long term potential. Someone like that can lift the squad a lot more then you would expect for any one player. Same with Suarez. Torres and Carroll are “busts” so far, but fear of a failure is no excuse. If we do have a bust its not the end of the world. Carroll and Torres have not hurt their teams results. Besides we have the best scouts and talent evaluators in the world so the number of busts should be minimal.

    The point about Flamini was that not everybody in the squad needs to be creative for the team to succeed. I hope anyway. Our attack should not be blunted by one player who brought energy and intensity even if he is not a great passer. If it is then we need to modify our system.

  131. “it shouldnt be about ‘cover’ its all about ‘competition’ for places…”

    It shouldn’t be, but it is. Haven’t we lost players before for this very reason? Gilberto lost his place because Flamini was playing well and promising to sign a new contract, meanwhile Diarra was getting his knickers in a bunch because he was not playing enough. All three ended up leaving added to which we lost Rosicky to injury. We then had 2 years of transition while we found a new midfield balance. In the real world, good players do not wait around. Good enough, but not quite top drawer, older players on their way down or youngsters on their way up might do, but it is a delicate balancing act.

  132. I will take time to comment this morning about what I percieved as a dominating performance by our midfield, particularly in the first half. Wilshere and Ramsfield were running the show with Song backing them up. I truly think that we did not miss …whats his name… you know, the Barcelona chap.

  133. Darius;

    Sorry mate, I was joking! I thought the “£35m and Masherano for Cesc” bit might have given you the clue I wasn’t being serious! Although I see no problem with us having a DM who isnt particularly creative. In fact I woulddemand that!

  134. I don’t think we started slow against the “lesser” teams. We just tried too hard during the first few minutes in the last few games after which mental fatigue set in. We were in danger of letting that happen against ManU as well.

    Ramsey was great yesterday . His passes were well placed and directed at the feet of players moving forward rather than behind them. Walcott has really improved and put in many dangerous crosses – an aspect of his gave which has improved. DJ, Kos, Sagna and Clichy defended well. Squill who has been unfairly treated also put in a good shift. Sagna needs to look to find players while crossing. Same can be said of players in the middle who should learn to read Sagna’s crosses.

  135. ‘It shouldn’t be, but it is. ‘

    well isnt that just the problem with the arsenal at the minute…???
    if nobody wants to fight for their place then how do we expect them to keep the consistency of performances and fight for the title??

    if players know their position isnt under threat then whats to help motivate them to keep the high standards??

    if players are happy just to be sat on the bench then whats to motivate them to play well when called upon??

    comfort zone mentailty…a mentality that doesnt make you fight..a mentality that doesnt help you in search for silverware and a mentality that leads to low level flat performances becuase theres nobody who can come into the team or come off the bench and make a difference when asked to

  136. george rodger

    JJ,Who do you want to sit on the bench?

  137. With the 25 squad rule it basically means 2 players per position..if you want to have competition for everyone, considering our track record with injuries think this amount of cover is wafer there will be one or two postions with less or more cover..for example strikers, GKs etc will have more cover…which implies less in one or two postions…

  138. I think because of the amount of games, we can afford to sign players as competition or cover. Song doesnt have a natural deputy and suggesting Koscielny or vermealen can do that job is missing one vital point; Wenger has never played them there, or even suggestedhe might. Djourou is th only CB I can evr remember playing in midfied. So, I would sign a DM if it were down to me ad then we could afford the luxury of resting Song.

    Perry Groves thinks we should sign a commanding CB.

  139. Forgot to tell about this:

    Live Blog’s back Tonight with Yogis_Warrior and The Real Social Dad talking about all things Arsenal 8pm BST


  140. LimparAssist

    6 o’clock drinks in the greenhouse? Reminds me of a scene from The Big Sleep. Good to hear from you, Cb.

  141. I cannot see how the new signings helped Chelsea apart from playing because you had one who wasnt doing a blasted thing. Fact is they started playing better while United and Arsenal dropped points.

    I dont think we should put it down to some form of hype that in fact didnt work out as expected.

    Thats no justification for buying players to lift the team seeing we did buy players and the team still needed to be lifted.

    From that we can conclude that if we buy players and they dont pan out they will somehow lift the team.

    Joe Cole shouldve then lifted Pool!

  142. LimparAssist

    I fancy one of these new shirts. Laurel leaves one side, oak leaves the other? Bit classy for Nike alone I reckon. AFC have had a hand in this…

    Koscielny No.6 I think…

  143. A lot of “lift’s” in my comment!

    oh well

  144. Great still in the Times of Clichy challenge on Owen showing that if there was any contact, it was outside the box!

  145. The point is that we had a new goal keeper and centre back pairing as well as a new forward in Chamakh. These players needed time to settle in. So after a transitional season, what is the point of changing them and getting new players who will need settling in time? Unless Benzema becomes available, I think Arsene may look for a midfielder who can play defense if needed, but I cannot see what else he could realistically change by use of ‘new’ players. I think the changes needed are more tactical and things that can be changed by work on the training pitches.

  146. Bill, | May 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    Re: I like the Gokhan Inler idea.

    Nice to know somebody else can see it. Although it’s nice on it’s day I don’t believe we need to have a team where every single player bar the Keeper has exceptional quality and ball technique. In some of the games where we chucked away points we could of done with that Flamini type player who just chased, liked it rough and put crunchers in.


    Haven’t got any bang to right truths but, I seen an interview with him and when he was told about the rumours last year he said how flattered he was linked with a club like ours etc, and looked like he meant it which I seen as a try for me and see but, because I really want him here to further our teams cause I may just have read top much into that. He’s good mates and country man with Djourou, so hopefully he’s also told him how good it is here.

    I would like to take this opportunity to big up the man like Squillachi, and congratulate him on a job well done yesterday. I had him down as really surprised and not ready for the EPL but, I didn’t even notice his shift so he must of done well and got his positioning on point which is good.

  147. Agree with that Passenal.

    Looking at how the team performed lately and its easy to come to the conclusion that we need players, that also in to what I believe.

    I agree with what FunGun that with more maturity these same players are good enough to get it done. I dont think anything is “missing” but knowing how to put bad situations behind them. We need to learn to not get so down so we dont lose our confidence.

    I have always said I am not agianst buying players but there must be a reason as far as what he will bring to the club. I dont buy this players needed to be lifted talk, they must lift themselves and keep playing to their potential.

    Again, if we buy a player to encourage the team and that player is a bust, then what? It is though quite possibly that a player will produce and that is what would lift the team, not just the buying of a player.

    RVP was a great captian yesterday!

  148. LimparAssist

    Afobe scored two and made one for Huddersfield on Saturday. 7 goals and 9 assists this season. That’s in just 17 starts and 14 off the bench. 4 MotM awards in his last four appearances. I think he’ll be a star in the Championship next season, and who knows what after that. Could go all the way.

  149. The game is giving credence that Fabregas is the one is restricting the team.
    In a 4-4-2, he lacks the physical presence to play in central midfield in the EPL.
    In a 4-3-3 we do not have the personnel to make the better use of his ability. Fabregas works in a team as a quadrista where he can fire precise long balls in space for a willing runner. Unfortunately Fabregas and Walcott have seldom played together this year and against Arsenal most teams defend very deep. As Van Persie rarely spin and run into space that long ball is never used by Arsenal anymore, which one thing that Adebayor was doing very well. I must admit that I have seen more of that in the last couple of games, however Van Persie had not been able to score from any of those good position.
    In my view Ramsey is giving the team more balance, because by distributing the ball to the wing, he forces Van Persie to stay in the penalty box instead of trying to drop deep. In Song and Ramsey, we now have two players in the middle of the park that can genuinely physically impose themselves on a game.
    The same way that against Spurs with Song and Diaby we had more stability. Unfortunately Diaby is made of balsa and is constantly injured.
    Also with Ramsey and Wilshere the team has more bite, more urgency.

  150. goonerton, players always say they are flattered by their names being linked with top teams, but it doesn’t really mean much. Let’s wait and see what happens. I mean, no one expected Koscielny (just like no one expects the Spanish inquisition!) until Arsenal made a move.

    LA, I have noticed how well he is doing, a championship and PL loan for the next couple of seasons could see him really make a mark in the future.

  151. Valentin, I think you are reading an awful lot into one game! The thing with young players is that they can play the game of their life in one game, but cannot do that consistently until they mature. Ramsey and Wilshere could be utter crap as a pairing next time out, so I think it would be unreasonable to expect them to maintain that level on a regular basis at this point in their careers. We also have to bear in mind that manure played in Germany in midweek, while we had all week to prepare for this game.

  152. LA

    I’d like to see him go to a team at the top of the table, perhaps one that’s just been relegated and with a good chance of going straight back up.


  153. If, as expected Almunia leaves, then do we need to sign a keeper? I mean, Chesney looks like mhe is the number 1 and I can’t see tht changing. Having Fabianski at the club isgreat for competition and keeping the younger Pole on his toes, as wehave been discussing today. BUT, Fabianski is too old and too young to be happy about being a stand in keeper. I can’t see him standing for that. Thesame goes for Szczesney.

  154. Cesc had an immense season last year, this year not so hot. That doesnt mean he doesnt fit into our formation or that he should go. He is a top top player, the only way he is going will be when Barca finally come up with a sensible offer for him, or Cesc sees out the remaining 4 years of his contract.

  155. Gainsbourg69

    Bill: “G69:

    Man City is not comparable to us. They had a much higher mountain to climb so they used a scattergun approach. . The whole attitude of the players and fans is different then the old group which was happy with mid table. . Next year they will be champions league and who knows where they will go from there.”

    There you go moving the goal posts again, Bill. How is City different? They have all the money in the world and they have been improving their side for four years now. Continuity is where it’s at. Just look at your favorite clubs. Manure has had the same core for about five years now. Chelsea, bar a few players, has almost the same squad Mourinho put together.

    “If we do have a bust its not the end of the world.”

    Easy for you to say since you aren’t the one doing the buying. I bet that if it was your money you’d want the best and cheapest players available. But since it’s not, you don’t care that a twenty million plus rated player is a flop. Typical of FIFA 2011 players who think they can do Arsene Wenger’s job for him.

    “The point about Flamini was that not everybody in the squad needs to be creative for the team to succeed. I hope anyway. Our attack should not be blunted by one player who brought energy and intensity even if he is not a great passer. If it is then we need to modify our system.”

    Screw that. You can have Flamini, Gattusso, Mascherano or any destroyer you want. I’ll take Song’s passing and creativity, as well as his superb defending, any day of the week.

  156. Passenal,

    I agree tactical changes are required as we need to know when it’s time to shut up shop, although evidence of this was seen in patches towards the end of yesterdays win. I would love to see more organisation before and during set plays. Also the player I mentioned earlier will bring what you require regarding Defensive Midfield ability.

  157. Gainsbourg69

    Goonerton: “Nice to know somebody else can see it. Although it’s nice on it’s day I don’t believe we need to have a team where every single player bar the Keeper has exceptional quality and ball technique. In some of the games where we chucked away points we could of done with that Flamini type player who just chased, liked it rough and put crunchers in.”

    You and your muppet cohort Bill should really consider joining the ranks of Stoke or Birmingham city fans. There you’ll get plenty of opportunities to watch Flamini types who like it rough and can put a cruncher in.

  158. Dexter, I disagree. I see Fabianski taking the number 1 spot back from Szczesny when fit as he is more experienced, makes better decisions (when he has had a run in the team) and his sweeping and distribution is superior as well. I think people have forgotten the quality he was showing before Szczesny knobbled him and they are still focussed on some of his earlier high profile errors. The fact is that Szczesny has also made some less obvious blunders, but he has the goodwill of fans so has been allowed a free pass. His kicking is poor and often puts the team under uneccessary pressure. His time will come, but I don’t think he’s ready to be Arsenal’s number 1 on a regular basis yet.

    I do agree with you re Cesc though. As long as his head and heart are still with Arsenal, he is too good a player to throw away. He has been affected by the World Cup, the abortive move to BBB and the recurrent hamstring issue. He needs to relax about the captaincy and his desire to win trophies and it will come. It reminds me very much of my first supervisory role many moons ago, when I got myself into a right state until I realised that as well as doing my own job, I was trying to do everybody else’s as well! Once I realised what was going on and changed my approach, life got a lot better for everyone concerned!

  159. speaking of afobe i think we should let him go to bolton next year

  160. Nice analogy Passenal!

    I do think regarding the keepers thouh, that Wenger has a potential headache on his hands. The short comings of Szczesney can be worked on and improved, in pre-season. He has made mistakes, he was a nervous wreck for the CC final! BUT he is the man with he gloves and I don’t hink that is ging tom change. I am a fan of Fabianski and even when he made those high profile gaffes, I still felt he would come good and he did, to great effect. Szczesney won’tsit on the bench and I can’t imagine he will be happy being asked to o out on loan. Yep, it’s a decision I am glad i don’t have to make!

  161. Bit of a jump don’t you think though JJ? League 1 to Premier lague in one go?

  162. why not dexter..
    a goalscorers a goalscorer at any level…
    theres no point keeping him in the reserves or sending out to lower clubs all the time
    send him to bolton, coyle will use him..lets see what hes got at a high level..
    what have we got to lose? if he comes up short then hes still young enough to send out on loan again to lower division..if he succedes?? then we have another wonderkid on our hands

  163. As long as he gets regulr games and Afobe has been used a lot as a sub for a League 1 team lets remember! I think a decent Championship side is fine for his development. At least till january.

  164. Dexter, wasn’t someone talking about competion earlier? If Fabianski beats him to the top spot that will be fair and square.

    JJ, I think that would be a mistake – he is 17. Throwing him into a PL club too soon could also knock his confidence if he fails and set him back. I’ll leave it to Arsene to know what is best for him.

  165. Passenal; Yep, I said it would be grea for the team/club to have both keepers fighting for the number 1 spot. I just can’t see either being happy about it. I bet you 20p Szczesney is our 1st choice keeper next season though!

    Is Afobe only 17? Wow, thats way too young I think for the Prem, Bolton will probably end up signing Sturridge again anyways, possibly even on a permanent basis

  166. Valentin: I confess to never hearing of that term-quadrista-in the past. What exactly does it mean.

    I like your analysis of the midfield and I share some of your thoughts about the effectiveness of Ramsey and Wilshere and particularly the urgency they bring to our game.

  167. Afobe's dad.

    My son is 18 and will be 19 next february. One year and one month younger than Jackie boy

  168. “I bet you 20p Szczesney is our 1st choice keeper next season though!”

    You’re on Dexter!

  169. george rodger

    I suspect its a quarterback.

  170. its a player or a group of players who can play in all the attacking positions…..midfeild and upfront..i suppose you could class cesc as he plays such an advanced role behind robin and not actually in midfield but imo hes just an advanced playmaker and its more of a term used to describe rvp/nasri/aa but i see where valentino is coming from regarding the balance of the team..

  171. Ramsey and Wilshere have only started one match together so can we read too much into one game? Well thought out comment from Valentino but premature in my opinion.

  172. george rodger

    JJ ,how did you know that?
    Are you in a quiz team?

  173. lol george you could say that..

  174. george rodger

    No internet for me for a week so dont be getting into spats JJ while I am away

  175. Thanks Afobe’s Dad. I still don’t think he is quite ready for top tire football yet. But the signs are good for him.

  176. “Stuart Pearce will name Jack Wilshere in his provisional 40-man squad for the European Under-21 Championship in June, much to the dismay of the midfielder’s club manager,”

    Fuck off Pearce you c*nt

  177. It’s about Pearce’s ego, he thinks he will be regarded as a great coach if he can manage to win an U21 Tournament. That’s why he wants Jack, even though he will be knackering himout. I completely understand Jack saying he wants to play. He is young and wants to play all the time and to represent his country too.

  178. i’ll be good just for you george..

  179. JonJon, | May 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

  180. JonJon,

    guys the whole ‘covering’ debate is abit loose to be honest, it shouldnt be about ‘cover’ its all about ‘competition’ for places”

    Too true mate and hence the reason why Clichy, has that surprised look on his face every time the ball goes over his head and lands at the feet of the attacker. He is living proof of what happens to a player who has no competition. Good but, very slack and risky and that’s why he get’s targeted
    by pacey wingers like that shit Michael Jackson.

    Need some quality cover for a couple of positions but not more than that as Eboue, is a decent utility man.

  181. MJ = nani…??
    lmfao mate…

  182. Gainsbury69,

    “You and your muppet cohort Bill should really consider joining the ranks of Stoke or Birmingham city fans. There you’ll get plenty of opportunities to watch Flamini types who like it rough and can put a cruncher in”.

    To my mind I haven’t seen any player at stoke who reminds me or plays like Flamini use to as he has a bit more to his game than that but, if your outstanding football observation has told you that then you need to get it checked. I was simply saying that we could do with a player who put the boot in and chases good causes as Flamini did. I can’t do anything else but, better the team.

    ps. Sorry mate too many years of pleasure and pain being a Gooner to switch sides now so it’s best you take yourself to Birmingham or stoke as their ignorance seems to be right up your alley.

  183. Magnificent….

    Bacary Sagna, the defender, said that he would understand it if Fábregas wanted to win trophies with another club, after nearly six seasons without one at Arsenal, but Szczesny disagreed. “I wouldn’t understand leaving Arsenal,” he said, “because I believe being at this club is the best thing in the world. So, no, I wouldn’t understand leaving.”

    As for Wenger being pressed upstairs into an administrative role, or out of the club, Szczesny was derisive. “It’s ridiculous,” the Pole added. “He’s the best manager in the world so I don’t understand why anyone would want him to leave. Let’s be patient and show next year we are good enough to win the league.”

  184. Well said that man,

    What a glorious afternoon and proof that things are not as bad as some would have us believe!

    Cometh next season, cometh the men

  185. Coquelin’s coming back from Lorient (6th in Ligue 1) this summer after getting a fair bit of game time. He’s as tenacious as they come and will quite likely be in the squad next season. Continuity’s the way to go, but if certain players want to leave, I don’t want us to try to keep them this time.

    It still feels too early to talk about it – if we beat Stoke and Chelsea beat Manure, the difference will be three points at the top with two games to go. As unlikely as a title might be, that margin would be too small to ignore.

  186. Lagooner,

    I admire Szczesny’s bluster too, but you have to consider that he is just starting his career whereas Bacary and Cesc have been around a while, and therefore have fewers years left to play in the top flight.
    Its hard for me to imagine that Szczesny will feel the same way if, God forbid, he hasn’t won anything after 5-6 years with us. Which is why RvP’s support of Wenger’s philosophy and approach is so commendable.

  187. The club have already printed up all of next seasons Szczęsny No1 jerseys, Almunia has already handed it back.

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