Stone Cold Friday: No More Mr Nice Guy

And now, on with the soap opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor. Here’s Darius

This week, I wrote to Arsenal with a demand. I felt it was justified to ask the powers that be to force Arsène Wenger, the coaching staff, and all the players on that team sheet that travelled to Stoke City to forfeit their wages for the day. It can only be right that after such a criminal performance, the docked pay be given to Centrepoint, Arsenal’s charity of the season.

The Britannia Stadium seems to be that sort of place that took over from Sam Allardyce’s Reebok stadium as a place Arsenal players don’t fancy. You could almost picture the classic footage of Robert Pires’ funny but contemptuous demeanour as he got off the bus at Bradford City a few years ago.

His body language was more of “what the frigging hell am I doing in a place like this on a freezing day”, as opposed to “hey, there’s 3 points up for grabs here”.

Even though it was clear to tell that Bobby Pires would rather have been somewhere else, he was always a dependable lieutenant for us on the left side of the pitch. I think somehow, he would have found solutions to work something out at the Britannia.

You have to ask yourself though, what is it about a team that can comfortably put United, Chelsea and Barcelona to the sword at home; yet play like a League 1 side devoid of nous and guile when it matters most. This only a week after a tenacious and spirited performance against United.

Do we have a schizophrenic team that adopts different personalities?

As the season concludes, it becomes ever more painful to reflect back, especially at the 15 points we lost from leading positions this season. This isn’t even taking into account the home and return ties against West Brom, and the away games at Bolton and Stoke.

The least we expected, especially after the United game was a spirited end to the season with great performances against stoke, Villa and Fulham. Truth be told, I have no clue what to expect for the remaining games.

The only joy over the last couple of months seems to be that Tottenham are back in their rightful place firmly heading for mid-table mediocrity.

Patrick Vieira’s thoughts about knowing when to win ugly and balancing finesse with a selective mix of brawn, laced with a no-nonsense attitude should be framed and placed at strategic points in London Colney alongside the medical and fitness charts you find everywhere from dressing rooms to the toilets.

Wenger has some tough decisions to make to find the balance that is needed to move this team to the next level. It’s not enough that when we fix some things, we still have the knack of losing focus on other aspects of our game.

It doesn’t help of course that the silly season is in full effect. I even heard that we’re in the market for an experienced customer like David Weir who at 41 will give us the necessary experience without threatening the place of our up-coming charges.

It’s nonsense to suggest that the team needs massive surgery, but Wenger will have to pull his finger out and work with a mix of new faces and this talented squad of players who need to make that mental leap to the next level.

I’m actually excited about the possibilities and potential new faces coming in, but pray that they’re not signings for the sake of signings to appease the baying mob calling for Wenger to be issued with his P45, and some players be permanently shipped to Australia.

I would love to see a player like Chiek Tiote join our ranks and provide cover and rotation options for our midfield when Song is being rested or is not available. This to me makes much more sense than some of the options being touted out there.

If Pat Rice does retire, his replacement will probably be a more significant signing than we would anticipate. This also is another opportunity to reinvigorate the squad and to build on the stellar work that the Irishman has done in the decades he’s spent at Arsenal.

More importantly, the team that takes the pitch next season has to prove to the Arsenal faithful that they can walk the walk, whether they swagger or whether they walk ugly. I suspect most fans would take a “No more Mr. Nice guy” approach as a manifestation of the mental maturity needed to move us to the next level.

The team can do well by seeking a modicum of redemption with acceptable performances against Villa and Fulham. Silverware is out of our reach this season, but there’s still a hell of a lot of pride to fight for.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on May 13, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 118 Comments.

  1. Nice post Darius.

  2. Morning Darius did you get a reply from Arsenal FC..??

    This is more like what I’m wanting to hear. Massive surgery is not needed but to coin an oft banded around expression ” a few tweaks” are necessary.

  3. You certainly sum up my feelings, Darius.

    I am very much looking forward to seeing how this close season pans out. For me any additions need to be ‘first teamers’, able to compete for a starting place right away, not back ups or squad players.

    Roll on next season.

  4. Good post but I completely disagree with you about the team not needing major surgery. I believe it does. There are far too many very mediochre players pulling large salaries and simply not performing. We can no longer put up with players’ attitudes and performances as exemplified by Arsharvin, Denilson, Diaby, Squillaci, Bendtner, Almunia and even to an extent Rosciky and Fab himself. Many of these players are simply not good enough and we need to cut the deadwood, release their wages and get some steel in the team. The bustop boys from West London and the two mancs show us what the mid to late 20s, early 30s hard as nails attitude and experience can bring to a team.
    I’ve been a gooner for over 30 years but am at my wits end following this lot. To lose leads against the tiny totts (twice), Newcastle and Liverpool was scandalous. Do you really think the Vieiras, Boulds, Adams and Gilbertos of this world would have allowed that to happen.

    No, we do need surgery and it’s now imperative – at least 6 out if not more and only really 4 or 5 need in – but hard men, not teenage whiz kids!!

  5. Dream on mate. If the team’s problem starts with the manager. His inability to knock sense in to some players has obviously them with a lazy attitude. Make me wonder if Wenger has lost the respect of the players. They obviously don’t listen to him, play for him, lack the passion he demands of them. Wenger spent some much time protecting them, that he’s seen as a soft touch (and he pays them millions!!). Also Wenger has to look at his tactics. The goals have dried and the team has now become boring and predictable. Its gonna take more than a few new players to sort this mess out.

    ps don’t think Vermaelen is the answer. We let in as many goals (40+) when was playing! he’s a good player but defending is the teams responsibility.

  6. Agree with Darius and Consolsbob

  7. With only some thing like 6/8 weeks for Wenger to weed out the deadwood, select, buy and train new comers plus get a new number 2 he`s going to be a busy boy. I only hope we get results from the new guys not just different names who play the same way. Just as important as new experienced players we need to look hard at our coaching staff and training methods.
    We need to strike more often and more effectively which means a change in formation. As I said, six to eight weeks and a lot to get through.

  8. Andy,

    One thing this team is not is boring. Whether you think they are good or awful, boring is not one accusation that can be levied at them.

    I agree we need to change the formation, RVP behind Chamakh for the last 2 games please, and play 2 CM, not 3.

    My line-up for the next game

    Bac Kos TV Gael

    Walcott Song Jack/Fab AA23/Nasri


  9. Any truth about the Phil Parkinson report? reported that he is in line to be our assistant manager but they were the only site reporting it. And needless to say that they are not reputed to be a particularly authentic source.

  10. I presume that you ‘contribute to CentrePoint’ when you ‘appear’ not to be working hard enough, Darius? I also presume that you are aware of the way each of the players concerned dispose of their income and spend their spare time with regards to charity?

  11. In my experience when people lack confidence and feel tense about their work, they work harder. However the result is often poorer as they are wont to make mistakes. When several people are involved the effect is compounded. Demanding more ‘work’ is likely to have a detrimental effect.

  12. I think the main solution to our problems is not to buy players, but its to work on our motivation issues. Clearley there is a problem of motivation in the team, the current team can do much better than this. Wenger has to become the “no more mister nice guy”. I think the players are pamperd too much, wenger needs to learn to motivate them properly. No major signings are needed except we sell

  13. Here’s a look at the conversation that might take place b/w Fabregas and Wenger this summer(humour):
    Your comments will be appreciated.

  14. What a load of garbage you guys sprout on this website. A blind man could see that this side has reached an ebb where the only right decision to make is to get rid of Wenger. Not only should they get rid of him, but not let him near the club for 5 years. His influence is too great to put him in a senior position in this club. He has no excuses for the deplorable performances we’ve witnessed this year. It should have been a season where the title was won weeks ago. Instead we get to watch the weak and incipid efforts we experienced at Stoke. Time’s up, games’ up. Time to leave Arsene

  15. This season has turned out to be the longest car crash in history! Cant wait for it to be over and here’s to next season!

  16. Ah I see today is grizzle noticeboard day. Whine, grizzle and moan and shove it in everyone else’s face. Cunts!

  17. Usually agree with you Darius, and in this article I agree with a good many of your comments, but I cannot agree with your interpretation and recommendation in the wake of the Stoke City game.

    Firstly I think our players already do more than most to contribute to the needy and the community.

    Secondly I think we will all come to look at the Stoke City game as Arsene Wenger’s ‘Road to Damascus moment’. The time when he finally saw the light on so many aspects of our much-vaunted mental strength.

    With Birmingham and Barcelona, and so many other of this season’s disappointments, he could always point to a succession of unfortunate mistakes and mentally arthritic officials, but at Stoke there was nothing left to interpret and nowhere left to hide.

    I also believe that this ‘moment’ will prove to be significant; not just on the playing front, where greater attention to back-four and holding mid-field roles will receive some much-needed shoring-up and attention, but also in terms of a replacement for Pat Rice.

    With regard to how that pans out, and to extend the biblical analogy; I see none of the wholesale wailing and gnashing of teeth, touted by so many hysterical blogs, with those multiple underachievers being deposited into the fire and brimstone of some dour route-one squad in the north of England; more an evolution and strengthening of the team and management structure to accommodate the fundamentals and foundations that previously allowed us to thwart opposing forwards and then build from the back.

  18. Frank,
    Love your conspiracy theory on the previous blog thread. PV4 is apparently trying to undermine us by pointing out that the invincibles had more ‘mental strength’. He, after all, plays for City and they have the most to gain from us collapsing as a result of those utterly pernicious words…Right?

    Again, top marks for entertainment value, Frank. Don’t ever stop.

  19. Shame Diarra was such cunt and we had to let him go. He’s a much better version of Tiote imo, and nothing ever seems to faze him. He was one of the only few players in the RM/Barca 2nd leg CL semi-final to come out with some credibility. He never stopped trying, almost always wins the ball in 50:50 duels, and rarely gave it away.

    Actually, letting him, Gilberto, and Flamini leave at the same time is one of Wenger’s biggest cock-ups to date, imo.

  20. Gooner Dave – wow thanks for opening my eyes. Now that you say it there isn only ONE solution to the problem. In fact I imagine there is only one solution to every problem. Hey! It’s probably the same solution for every problem!!

    Kill yourself.

  21. ‘IS’ not ‘isn’.

    Still GD, I’m serious, kill yourself.

    You can thank me later.


  22. Goonerandy

    With regards our previous conversation on the influence of an assistant manager, see the following quote from Dalglish:

    “So I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that the decisive factor was going to be anything other than results. The best way to get results is to get great people working with you and that’s what we did. You identify your faults and bring in someone that’s better than you at what you can’t do …. Stevie [Clarke] and Sammy [Lee] are much better at what they do than what I could do for them.

    You agree now that there was no way he was just being polite when he singled Clarke out for praise after their 5-2 hammering of Fulham?

  23. Keysersoze

    Phil Parkinson was approached by Arsenal to run their Northern England scouting operation some weeks ago, reportedly with the proviso that he could leave to take any managerial jobs which come up. That’s the source of the story.


  24. Thanks Yogi. In that case was just shooting darts in the dark as usual.

  25. Wrong, Henristic. His comments, which were out of context, were published because he plays for Citeh, who in turn have an interest in our results. Press stirring it up was the point.

  26. Arsenal hast he youngest squad in the Prem by miles. Despite this- they were the only team in for the quad last season with the possibility of doing it again next. Young players dip. They dip less as they get older. Even with the same squad they will be better next year- but perhaps many other teams will go even further into debt and be better too. All the moaning from Arsenal fans –at the bottom line—is really not about AW. The problem for them is the refusal of Arsenal (and AW) to go into debt to achieve that trophy idiots keep banging on about. My grandmother could manage and win trophies at Man City. And, give her threequarters of a billion, and I bet she could do what Man U have done. The question really is–with the age of the squad and a transfer positive— are Arsenal doing OK? The answer is a big YES. They are amazing and doing what no other club in the world is doing or can do. There is a further question however — and it gnaws at the heart of all gooners (even mine!) – ‘can they go on, without going transfer negative, and climb from near the top of the pile, to the very top?’ Well, that depends of course– but it is a possibility. Even so, they will have to overcome some very determined people who are controlling the refs at home and internationally and who are desperate to keep Man U and Barca on their debt-ridden perches. Are these ‘controllers’ bankers I wonder? Who else wants to see those two at the top all the time?

  27. Quite right Darius, we need one or two QUALITY signings with EXPERIENCE of winning. Why spend the same amount on several ‘maybe’s’?? Scott Parker has been mentioned, but can he remain fit for a second successive season? We need the kind of ruthless German mentality that Jens has….any suggestions?

  28. We need to win on Sunday purely to leave the stadium 60 percent full at the end of the match for the lap of appreciation which I’ll most definitely be there for. There are so many pricks at The Emirates on matchdays so I don’t expect much, but it was nice against Fulham last season and I hope for the same this time round.

  29. Donny, while you speak some sense I do not think spending some of the cash set aside in the transfer account is tantamount to putting us further into debt, it’s just investing wisely. Increased success brings in increased global revenues. As for the young players, some of them have more experience than many much older pro’s at other clubs. If it hasn’t happened after 3 or 4 seasons chances are it never will (looking at you Mr D.). Clubs always turn over players, it’s a natural evolution.

  30. Top Article Darius

    This Arsenal team has been give too much of an easy ride by those on ACLF.

    Do you think the manager and players were ashamed of that shocking performance at Stoke?No me neither. Too busy buying another Ferrari
    These underachievers are now in a fight for 3rd place.

  31. andy1886

    >we need one or two QUALITY signings with EXPERIENCE of winning. Why spend the same amount on several ‘maybe’s’?? Scott Parker has been mentioned

    Just out of interest, what has Scott Parker won? A First Division title with Charlton in 1999-2000. Well, he is just the sort of winner we need then…


  32. Frank,
    You saying his comments would not have been published if he was playing for a non-rival, right? Or even in another league.
    But haven’t we read comments on this team from other former arsenal players who aren’t playing for our competitors (and some who aren’t even playing at all)?

    What do you mean his comments were out of context? Was his meaning distorted in any way? Yogi posted the direct quote in yesterday’s blog and it was pretty clear what he was talking about…

  33. Don’t be obtuse, Henristic, there are all sorts of reasons to interview ex-Arsenal players but from a press perspective there is generally only purpose. As far as context is concerned it is better to hear the words spoken than to quote a press article. Surely you know that?

  34. I hope Arsene doesn’t sign Scott Parker, unless we’re getting him for free/cheap and on low wages (impossible, I know) Given our recent history with injuries, we should be extremely wary of injury prone players. We have enough of them already.

  35. Hiya Yogi – not wanting to be pedantic or anything, but SP was at Chelsea (cough!) during the 94-95 season when they won the league and the league cup. Now, I know he didn’t play much at all, but even being part of the setup is a big plus. In truth I was pointing more to his winning mentality that some of our player seem to lack, and finally as I said he has been mentioned – which does not mean that he would necessarily be my choice (although rather that than some French journeyman for 5-10 mil thankyou).

    Don’t think that is such a bad argument, do you?

  36. Ok, maybe my tone was a little bit off… sorry about that.

    Have you watched/heard his actual spoken words? How then do you know it was taken out of context? Surely you are not suggesting that ALL printed articles are falsely represented ?

  37. DonnyFan1, my sentiments entirely. Very few people are bothered to appreciate the context and that degrees of success are relative. Had we won the EPL this year, it would have signified a series of achievements far greater than ‘this is the best team’. However, there is a caveat. This is not solely about ‘youth’ and sensible economy, it is also about a football culture, it’s method and its place in English and world football. There is a lot at stake, footballistically and financially. For such a modern man, Wenger is old-fashioned, even romantic: football must entertain, it expresses culture and emotion in more ways than the joys of winning, it need not be slave to the money game and corporate culture of debt/profit. For Wenger to succeed in these goals, realistically, Arsenal has to win the EPL and every other trophy going, he has to prove his thesis as more effective. This is why the standard critique of Arsenal is “pretty stuff, but inneffective, no spine, 6 years no result (ie trophy)”. When this changes to “pretty stuff, produces results, it is a winning formula, what did it cost?” it is nothing short of a revolution in football in England, elsewhere, and a massive cultural leap. There are reasons why he is despised in some quarters, in UK and european football, media, and a section of Arsenal fans. His model is a threat.

    Wenger does not like to lose, his conundrum is of compromising long-term goals under pressure to produce short-term results. I’m fairly certain he will not do this, at least I hope so for Arsenal’s sake and for football. I’m fairly certain he knows well enough this should have worked, so what vital element is it that is missing? He has some problems to solve now, and insufficient time. Only so much can be achieved off-season. I have a suspicion we will buy one player, maybe two (defender and striker), and these will be players-of-character, and release three. It’s just a guess.

  38. @ Gooner Dave : Some of us may talk nonsense, but i do hope no-one here is sprouting it.. what a sinister idea.

  39. ‘footballistically’ a truly fantastic word

  40. Andy1886

    >Don’t think that is such a bad argument, do you?

    It is a bloody bad argument to make, he played a total of 7 times in those two competitions that season, 4 in the PL, 3 in the LC. Now in fairness to him, he did break his foot (I think) that season but was up against Makelele amongst others and found wanting at that time.

    Personally, I think he is a good player at a small club. Not Arsenal class and whilst his attitude this season has been fine, in the past it has been questionable.


  41. It would be a perfect shame if, for the purpose of appeasing a shrill section of fans, a shareholder, and a shameless and stupid media, we lost the war in order to win a battle. I would not support Wenger in this, even of we held some trophy aloft on a bus ride through North London. No, no, no. Wenger must engineer a complete victory and vanquish the negation of football; nothing short of unconditional and abject surrender of our detractors. Now that’s my Arsenal!

  42. Darius,

    “play like a League 1 side devoid of nous and guile “.

    I think your disappointment has coloured your perspective here. My own view is that we tried but I felt the psychological challenge of getting up for Stoke after the Manc encounter played its part here. However, please don’t mistake this view as my attempt to provide an excuse for the performance, which (although frustrating in the extreme) I still do not feel was as bad as you obviously do. If anything, it points out that PV4’s latest charge concerning the mental failings of our team is a major issue that need to be addressed before next season.

    Arsene can do this by bringing in more experienced or determined players. [This does point to an important failing in Arsene’s armoury and I feel that is his restricted use of intuition when it comes to keeping or letting players go. To let a player (Viera, Gilberto, Bergkamp, Pires etc) go solely due to physical deterioration seems to ignore two key factors. The first factor concerns the mental influence that such players can have on younger players as well as the significant (if ‘occassional’) on-field contributions – remember some of those just named are still plying their trade to good effect! The second factor here concerns the establishment of a club culture. Cultures are not made solely of structures but mainly by personalities and shared experiences. This is why (for all the admiration that I obviously have for him) I really feel uneasy with Arsene’s (30 years) age policy. The Mancs and Arbramovic’s Chelski obviously provide cases in point of how important these types of players can be. Excuse this lengthy aside but I’ve so much on my chest and am struggling to contain myself. Anyway to return to my point!]

    I would personally hope that he continues his approach and goes for quality first but steely determination a close second for any players that he does bring in. I would not wish to assume to suggest where or who he should get but I do feel we now need some new blood. [This can have an immediate psychological impact for the existing players if it’s a big-name signing and help strenghten areas in which we are currently not dynamic enough] This is more so given my view that another key reason why we lost this and similar encounters, is that ‘our midfield is far more effective than our defence or attack.’ A glance at the Stoke game or season only confirms that the last third at both ends of the field is where our domination of the ball and flowing football goes to waste.

    If the year’s experience, returning player (TV5, JET, Frimpong, a Cesc with a full preseason under his belt) and some real soul searching (supliomented with very limited buying) lead to the toughening up that I feel we need, then there is no real need for purchases. This is what I would love to see but I know that if our current approach was adopted and we failed to win something next season, the backlash from media and critics might be too great to survive.

    It’s not easy

  43. Arsenal have been like an ugly sister this season. You still love her but she’s in need of a severe face lift!

  44. Very interesting interview on Arseblog today..French Journalist Philipe Auclair who has dealings with Wenger,tell is straight…Surgery is needed whatever protestations or reserves some may have..

  45. Scott Parkers career has been curtailed a lot by injury has it not? I mean hes got about 6 or 7 years on Cesc/Nasri/Song but has only about 100 more games played. Now while 100 might seem a large number of games, over a 6-7 season period that equates to about half a season missed per season through injury. Now while i like Parkers attitude and ability we really dont need someone likely to miss that many games. Granted he’s played a whole lot more this season (30 league games i believe) but hes playing with pain injections – thats not good really is it? So while a player of his attitude and ability would be welcome, a player with his injury record comes with a note of extreme caution

  46. YW & DG – Fair enough, as I said I wasn’t necessarily suggesting SP, but we need someone with a similar attitude and never say die spirit, because that is exactly what we are missing.

  47. Its funny how everbody is talking about signings while we all know wenger won’t spend big on players that are needed. so it’s reallly better if we get rid of wenger right know. And I am running out of patience with the club, wenger and even the players. so we all knnow nothing will happen if we don’t get rid of wenger..

  48. Is there anyone in the world called dave who is not a cunt? Seriously, what is it about twats called dave?

  49. gunner2

    When your patiecne has finally run out, what will you do? Stop watching Arsenal games on a stream? Stop attyending home games, moaning and whinging about our own players? Stop going on blog sites showing yourself up for the spoilt cunt you are?

    Tellme, I need to know.

  50. Saying that Scott Parker might just be worth a punt though 🙂

  51. Having manged to get fairly agressively caned at a black tie do at the Dorchester last night, I got an email this morning congratulating on buying the most expensive shot round ever, I might well be a tad jaded in my comments this morning, so I apologise in advance. Our lord and master has put together an incredible first 11 who can beat any team on the planet, unfortunately our first 11 are very rarely able to play together and the squad players who support them is very average. Changing one or two players in the mix is fine and we are usually able to cope, but we are normally four or five players away from our best 11 with very little quality in depth in the rest of the squad. Mourinho used to say that it was important to have 2 players in every position, considering the number of competitions we now play in that seems to be the bare minimum.
    With two games to go we badly need a leader on the pitch to ensure we don’t make any more stupid mistakes, we are not playing for pride we are playing we 3rd place FFS.

  52. Dave known as Wavey. I am a cunt.

  53. And who dares impugn Gooner2’s decree?

    The mofo knows football like Hleb knows gelato – he’s a hero round these parts. When he speaks you listen (if you can understand what he’s saying).

  54. Big Al ~~ I don’t think even gooner2 knows what he is saying.

  55. Dexter
    I have’nt been on arsenal blogs for quite a while. so I don’t really care about what you or anyone here thinks of my opinions. But to be Honest I have run out of patience with this club. And I woud love to ask you if you have’nt yet?

  56. Isn’t our esteemed Prime Minister called Dave………???

  57. duppsffokcuf
    What The Fuck Do You Do For A living?

  58. Henristic – My point (I suppose) about the assistant managers role, is that because Wenger has not mentioned Pat Rice has no bearing on his input.

    As an aside, I don’t think Paddy’s quotes were taken out of context. There is no real debate as to what he said anyway, it seems pretty streight forward to me. And he is right.

  59. Hey everybody duppsffokcuf washes my car for a living. So Would you all do me a strong favor and laugh at this prick.

  60. longblackcloud

    As we apparently need to sign experienced “winners” how about Lucio, fits all the criteria?
    any thoughts from any one?
    tough one on the non cunt Dave front – Rocastle, but sadly no longer with us.

  61. gooner2 ~~ it is my calling in life to annoy idiots like you.

  62. longblackcloud, I think he is a little old now.

  63. It is your calling in life to be nothing but a wanker. so don’t call me an idiot because I am highly intellegent to even have a conversation with a low life person like you.

  64. “highly intellegent” (sic) HAHAHAHAHAHA

  65. Necking in the parlor…. love it.

    Is it my imagination or is it getting crowded in here? *wiggles brow*

  66. You Have Prove My Point. So Just Do me a Strong favor and get out of my Sight.

  67. ANY HOPE?

    So our season has ended on a rather predictable note again. I guess the problems and analysis have been done to death so I wont get into it. I dont like to come to forums during end of seasons like these because there is just too much dirt flying around, but its refreshing to see both manager and fans at least acknowledge that changes are needed.

    For me, watching the season it is obvious that the problems go far deeper than just the personnel. I think the parkinson link is a positive one, but I would personally love martin back at the club. With all our problems, its a shame that he is on a pundit’s sofa. I think he has always spoken positively for the club. And of course he is an arsenal man through and through.

    Maybe I am dreaming, but if he could come back as a no. 2, it would be a massive step forward I believe. I think he was very much responsible for our run in europe 2006 and would certainly do something about the general lethargy and lack of fortitude that afflicts our current squad.

    I think with him we could even do without new signings (dare I say!) coz all I want as a supporter is the players of our club give their everything when they put on the red and white. I think ol monkeyhead will bring that in for us.

    ah…. to wish upon a star…

  68. Can you see me then gooner2? You must have very good eyesight.

  69. I cannot see you. But I would appreciate if you stop wasting your time and more importanly my time.

  70. Looks like your mum just wrote that for you.

  71. Fine article Darius.

    No need whatsoever for mass changes and no spending for the sake of it. I hope that David Weir thing is total shit. Because that would be as strange Wenger’s over 30 policy that saw Gilberto, go then along came big face Silvestre. I say this as I am still trying to work out why Vieira wasn’t welcomed back as for me he would of been just what we needed at just the right time and to let certain players know what it means to be playing for shirt.

    A couple of players in to freshen up and some new tactics to complement what’s already there. Even bring in one of them mentor people into get into the players mental box and make them have more self belief.

  72. LimparAssist

    I think the squad could do with just a leedle snoop here…

  73. gooner2

    I really thought the title was ours this season. I have been to most of the games, spent a shit load of money in the process. And yes, i have been angry, pissed off and frustrated at the way the season has unfolded.

    However, I am an Arsenal fan, always have been and always will be. I won’t ever run out of patiecne with the club. I might want a player or 2 to fuck off if i feel they aint up to it, or trying their utmost, but thats about it.

    What i have run out of patience is with our shite support, really totally fucked off with them!

  74. naga gunner | May 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    It worries me deeply as to why people like Marin Keown, Tony Adams, to name a few are not sat beside Wenger on the bench. Who makes these choices?

    For any establishment in our position it makes perfect sense to have people on board who shed blood and guts in the past for the cause as this will ensure nobody on the pitch drops below that level. I seen too many of our players go below this level and they know when they are doing.

    For us to get it back to anywhere near what it use to be we need to have people within who know.

  75. @gooner2 – what does running out of patience actually mean to you? That you stop supporting Arsenal and support another team ? Personally I don’t believe it’s possible, assuming you are a genuine fan. So what is it that you want ?

  76. ponyboy,

    The tern “fans running out of patience” is mostly used on sky when they are referring to so called Arsenal fans.

  77. PV’s comments lead me to reflect back on the 2005 Cup Final and my sadness at the time that the only way we could beat ManU then was by hanging on desperately and hoping for some luck in the penalty shoot-out.

    I suppose in retrospect it was obvious that the days when we could expect to beat every club we played were over – and many of us worried how we could possibly stay competitive in the EPL and CL without Henri, Bergkamp, Pires and Ljungberg in their pomp. (Our back four, by the way, was Lauren, Toure, Senderos and Cole – no more or less likely to inspire confidence than the present four.)

    Thanks to AW’s brilliance, we have stayed competitive. But, quite remarkably, we haven’t won a trophy. And, from what I have read, no one really has the faintest idea why.

    Any fool can observe that this season we have lost (or drawn) from winning positions (just as we have won or drawn from losing positions). But to claim that we lack some sort of mystical ectoplasm which surrounds “winning players” or “winning teams” is pure cant.

    If our brilliant young players (who, despite everyone’s predictions of disaster, have kept us near the top of the tree for the past six years) continue to improve and become more consistent we will improve our chances – though we still might not win a trophy.

    It’s also blindingly obvious that if we buy some players who are better than those we have, we will improve our chances. But we do now have every position double-covered. So if we are buying, let’s be sure that those we buy are indeed better. I’m sure AW won’t countenance buying anyone simply on the basis that they can bring some sort of occult muse to the team.

    And let’s also be sure that we continue to spot some of those who are better – the Cescs and the Robins and the Theos and the Aarons and the Jacks and the Ryos – while they are still young enough to provide for our future.

  78. shit support?
    Do you Mean The Akb’s Section?

  79. Agree with Dexter.
    Off topic, but why are there so many Arsenal blogs ?? There is only one Manure one that anyone reads (Republik of Mancunia), as far as i know, but there look to be about 100 links from here; this is causing friction and people taking sides etc., so we have the black scarf thing, the idiotic Wenger Out bunch (but almost no serious suggestions as to who could or should replace him), and a whole array of disgruntlement of some sort or another. “These are stirring times, tea-stirring times” as Mr. Norris used to say.

  80. i dont think we need anyone except a left and right back for support, frimpong will give song some competition, get rid of some yea, arsh, rosicky, chamacvk and bentner, denilson, but keep the rest and continue with bringing in the youth, we will get there and yes it will take a season or two more cause we are not good enough yet, thats been proven, but wwe will im sure of that much as long as we keep the majority of genuine class players

  81. Darius,

    Good shout on Chiek Tiote. I Thought he would look good in our team when I first saw him.

  82. Patience is a virtue.

  83. ponyboy
    for me I find it extremely hard to support other team than arsenal. so what I actually mean by running of patience is that I am sick of waking up everyday of my life knowing arsenal are in serious trouble of collapsing as a team. This should change however it could.

  84. LimparAssist

    I always enjoy your posts, merlot, and that last one in particular.

  85. It’s completely true about the ‘Daves’, on blogsites, those that call themselves ‘Dave’. The equivalent, but worse is the ‘gooner’ with the number. Or is it worse? No, just a tad more stupid and less sinister.

  86. I’ve found recent criticism of the Arsenal’s tactics this season a little excessive myself.

    Is it fair to state that opposing teams tactics have changed tactics over the last two seasons? I think so.

    The team that had Eduardo and Adebayor played against defenders who were not almost always camped in their own pelanty box.
    I enjoy games like the one against West Ham (Home) this season, or even Liverpool last season, plus the Mancs this season. All 1-0. I enjoyed those goals. The late goals in the first two, and Ramsey’s strike, ‘running into the box’ as the ginormous football brains would say. Maybe the team has been hesitant at times with their passing, but that is not tactical issue. They don’t always try to pass through the middle:

    Rosicky crosses for Diaby. Goal.
    Song to Clichy, crosses for Song.
    All goals from midfield.

    I enjoy most games where teams actually play Football, even if they are beng D-fensive.

  87. Darius:

    Great post. You describe perfectly some of the frustration that many of us have been feeling for a while now. Certainly not the first time the things you talk about in your post have been discussed. My concern is that as the summer starts the the rationalizations that have been used for the last few years will return. We all know the drill. I agree that the squad does not need major surgery but I suspect that any experienced players who might make a difference will be overpriced and we will end the transfer window with about the same amount of money in the bank as we start. I agree that the team and its management need to adapt a take no prisoners attitude but this team has been built and nutured with a completely different philosophy. History tells us for a team to make the sort of change in personality you describe rarely happens without significant changes to personnel or management and realistically neither will happen. Should be an interesting although I suspect in the end a frustrating summer.

  88. Shit support; Those that whine, whinge moan and complain, yet fail to get behind the team, either at the ground, or elsewhere. And, as for those sad deluded fuckwits who ring up radio phoneins? the less said about those social inadequates the better.

    AKBs you say gooner2. Thats about your level mate. A bland inane meaningless acronym soundbite.

  89. LimparAssist

    Haven’t you had enough frustrating summers yet, Bill?

  90. Dexter
    I am in no mood in having a pointless argument with you. So move aside because I don’t really have any sort of interest in arguing with you. But I would tell that I am person who says nothing but the truth.

  91. Copied and pasted a comment from one of our long term ACLFers G4E from yesterdays comments.

    “There is a thin line between the feeling “Me against the world” and feeling “Victimized”. I think PV4 was referring to the former, and I think the current team is doing the latter.

    It is the responsibility of every one now (including me) to stop whining about referees, excessive physical approaches, injuries, etc. We know all these things are there, they are real, but harping on them gives the team the excuse and the sense of victimization, plus it actually increases the abuse towards the team.

    It’s not about Denilson or Diaby, it’s about the mentality of the whole team. We are strong when things are going our way, but then we fold when they’re not. They need to learn to do it both ways.”

    I could not get on the blog yesterday but a virtual standing ovation for that comment. The culture of excuse making that starts from the manager and has grown up in this squad and some of its fans is poison. No doubt that the persecution complex is a huge part of reason why we seemed resigned to our fate at the end of every year. In 07/08 before the Birmingham game I remember most of the world (pundits included) really loved our football and the spirit of our young team and many wanted us to win. How things have changed.

  92. There are no high’s without the lows.

    I await the next high. It can’t be that far away.

  93. gooner2

    Move aside for who? And for what? You are hardly filling this blog with anything of interest. But yeah, lets move aside so you can carry on into the sunset; Jog on

  94. I meant to say that I am a person who says nothing but the truth.

  95. Can you please start unleashing these truthful pearls of wisdom then and stop with the fannying about and general bollocks you have been spouting up till now please?

    Tell me, what players you think we need to get rid of, who should replace Wenger, who our new number 2 should be and who you want us to sign?

  96. Dexter
    Mate I have nothing againts you. so just calm down and take your time to enjoy the view.

  97. Dexter
    sorry mate but I am not the manager. And I have’nt got any time to answer your questions.

  98. You bring up something quite interesting, FP, I think. Ten years ago most sides tried to play a high line against us, and to sit deep was almost universally acknowledged as suicidal. Now nearly all of them sit back, but in quite a smart way; they wait until we get about 30 yards from goal before the backline pushes up and the midfielders press like mad. We’ve not really been dealing with it very well when we’re trying to take the initiative, and then suddenly look vulnerable as soon as we lose the ball.

    Could be down to the post CC confidence slide, or something tactical and so more difficult to rectify. I dunno.

    Still, with Slur Alex’s little gang swapping notes it’s been no surprise to see Manure, Brum, Stoke and Sunderland all using the same system and getting joy.

    I’m tactically illiterate, but I think the way around this is could be to get the full-backs into more dangerous positions – and make sure they have the imagination, sense of timing and skill to be more of a threat going forward. Opposing defenders, mindful of their threat, would track them, maybe opening up gaps for our midfielders and forwards.

    Do we carry enough of a threat from deep and wide? Not really, considering how often our full-backs get forward, even though they do great work elsewhere on the pitch.

    To confirm my lack of tactical nous, I’d go with a 3-5-2 and play Theo at RWB, putting Sagna on the right side of CB. Theo times forward runs as well as anyone we’ve got. Nobody would have a clue what to do with him.

  99. We rely on gaps appearing to play balls through. Our issue is that if we do not play at a high enough tempo, the oppositions defensive line is not stretched enough for gaps to appear. If we play at a slow tempo we are an embarrassingly easy side to play against.

  100. OOU – But Theo is also clueless when it comes to defending. I would like to see us try 2 strikers again, maybe with a player sat just behind in a 4312 formation. It suits our players.

    I know it does not give us much width, but we are not exactly a team that cross the ball much anyway. Plus our fulls backs usually operate high up the pitch anyway.

  101. Yeah, I think low confidence generally means low tempo for us. It happens to every side – when players start thinking too much about what they’re doing or maybe lose a bit of faith in their teammates’ abilities. But the best ones find a way through.

  102. ‘Theo is clueless when it comes to defending’?

    Heh. Yes indeedy.
    And Lennon is a much better Whinger.
    Line up line up.
    Get ur gr*t ‘ere:

  103. I gave you way too much credit dude. You have absolutely nothing to say and how can you not have enough time? How long does it take to flip a burger these days?

  104. One swallow a summer does not make.

  105. Ohhhhhh.
    The last word game.
    How exciting.

    Jonathan Wilson, what does he know, eh?

    “Occupy the fullback…and the whole flank can be disrupted.”

    These developments in athletes, they just occur overnight. Like miracles.
    It’s true.

  106. Heh, righty oh then.

    Off home. Laters.

  107. Haha, I missed all that – I work at intervals.

    Anyway, I wasn’t really serious in putting 3-5-2 forward – not sure AW has ever used it in his career…although FP has a point about Theo’s defensive work, and the role hard-working wide players have in limiting the attacking threat of the other side.

    Listening to the press conference today it sounds like AW’s going to try to find a plan against negative teams (he did mention 4-4-2) and stick to 4-3-3 against everyone else.

  108. Donnyfan1 | May 13, 2011 at 10:32 am |

    well said there!

    So Chamakh has been here all of one season, was vital at the beginning of the season and Boomer is saying he should leave.

    The most important thing this season is to work on taking and defending set plays and do whatever it takes to get the team to learn not to make bad results make their confidence drop too much. If this team can stay confident they will be the best. I trust Wenger to get it done.

  109. merlot at 1:40pm. Top, top post. Thank you! I mean it!

  110. Dexter. gooner2’s real name is Dave. Ignore him and he might go away.

  111. OOU,
    I knew you were joking!

    I don’t know much but the following thought has occured to me:
    The Liverpool team of the mid-eighties were famous for switching styles when playing in Europe. Different era, different game.
    The Invincibles were invincible, except when playing in Europe. Unlucky at times.
    This current team have been playing a reasonably consistent ‘style’ in both competitions? During an era where Revie and Taylor inspired hoofball has made a mini-renaisance. If it ever went away. I don’t know.
    Chamack and RVP are different players, but the team has done well till late with both.

    Anyway, here’s Graham Taylor.
    Recognise the similarities with ‘Appy ‘Arry?

    I like to believe he was joking, as it was against San Marino.
    Merson is a little unsure.

  112. great post..

  113. jet starts tonight

  114. Really?

    Dave Jones screws him around all season and now starts him in their biggest match so far.

  115. I don’t think I ever saw JET stuffed out on the left at Arsenal – he hasn’t looked comfortable, but has had some good touches in the last couple of minutes.

  116. i was thinking just that..
    hes had a good few minutes

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