Arsène Acknowledges The Problem, Now For The Solutions

Arsène showed a turn of phrase that Leonard Cohen would have been proud of when he spoke to ATVO about last season. Seen as a change in philosophy by the headline writers hinting a change in playing style, proof that interviews are not read,

…that doesn’t mean we have to change our philosophy or the way the club is run.

The reality is a long-acknowledged that Premier League experience will be high on his list of required qualities in new signings this summer.

We get it 95 per cent right, but we must gain that five per cent because it’s so frustrating to flirt with success like we have done.

Where to begin with Arsène’s comments? The first thing is to recognise is that had the squad not been in the position to throw it all away, the pain of the end of season collapse would have been nowhere near as intense. The burning desire for success felt by supporters, crushed by a lack of character in games when it mattered.

I don’t think that comparing 2003’s team is necessarily the right way to go about it. That said was experienced and to be honest, analogies with the past do a disservice to them and the present. For example, there were only two teams challenging for the title. The gap between the top and the rest was bigger than it is now. And such quotes are prone to be taken too literally.

Wenger acknowledged that and understood why supporters felt the disappointment so acutely,

For our fans the frustration was that we were so close to convincing everybody of how football can be great, but in the end not being able to deliver.

It is a big problem for the manager to solve. The nerves to which he referred in his interview are calmed with experience but this squad is relatively experienced despite the youthful years. Some, we know, want away to obtain more first team action.

But what was disappointing was that when we needed to push on, we could not show the nerves to deal well with some games.

Denilson was lambasted for expressing the same views as Wenger. Fábregas, in making similar observations as the manager, had made it clear he was looking south-westerly to Barcelona. Clichy? He’s off. What of Sagna and Wilshere, who both spoke in similar terms.

Collectively, the disappointment within the squad is tangible. With Wenger aware of the shortcomings, this summer is the time to put things right, on and off the pitch.

Identifying the defence once more as a weak link means nothing if you do not rectify the problem,

We conceded very few goals from open play, most of them were from set pieces in a way you don’t want to concede goals. It’s something that’s easy to correct. We need to improve the size of our squad. We need a bigger variety in the height of our players.

It’s not necessarily that simple. Peter Crouch is one of the tallest players ever but is useless in the air.

Arsenal’s fundamental problem is that being ineffective in attack from set-pieces, training to defend them is even harder. Delivery is wayward, attacking players do not pressure goalkeepers enough. Improving the attack might help them defend at set-pieces. Experienced former players could provide the necessary know-how. Keown in 2005-06 reaped dividends in Europe. There is no need for this to be permanent, the players need to be organised and overcome their naivety.

Key to it all?

People love what we do but they want us to be rewarded so that they can be convinced we do things the right way. They want proof that we do things the right way.

I’ve ended with that quote because it is the crux of the summer. ‘Convinced‘, ‘Proof‘; big words, emotive but that is football to its core. The transfer activity is all about the final changes needed to take the core of a good team to its next level.

Right, that is it. Bar telling you all to go and purchase a copy of Issue 1 of The Blizzard which contains an excellent interview with Dennis Bergkamp which tries to get inside of his head about the beautiful game and very descriptively he does, particularly about his goals at Newcastle and Leicester. As well as the one for Holland v Argentina. You can purchase it here.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on June 2, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 278 Comments.

  1. LimparAssist

    Yeah, dups (from overleaf) Absolutely! – My dream is to climb a tall tree on the perimeter of the Queens Park Oval and tie a hammock high in the branches overlooking the action. Transistor radio with TMS on World Service and a number of Red Stripe (or Carib) down below in an icebucket, tied with string to pull up to my vantage point when needed. Maybe a bit of smoke too. But must be mindful not to capsize though.

  2. Greg Timothy

    The problems have been there the last five years. Wenger tried it on a piecemeal basis.Campbell and Silvester. Imagine the red faced selling to one of his chief rivals. THE PLAYER MUST BE OVER THE HILL.
    Then the two FM who have been out of depth. Enough of excuses. At any other club,Wenger would have been booted out.

  3. YW – Nice post.

  4. LimparAssist

    I would like to see us take more short corners. If only to change the angle of the cross, make it less predictable to defend and drag the massed ranks away from the goal a bit. Or just recycle play and keep on working The Islington Shuffle.

    Does Chris Samba score goals from set-pieces or were his goals scored when Allardyce played him as a striker (pffffft!!)

  5. With TV5 back we will be slightly more of a threat at Set Pieces. He is one of our few players who actually attacks the ball and looks like he might score.

  6. I agree that this obsession with the height of our defenders is totally blown out of proportion. Djourou is a huge dude, but I’d say Vermaelen has a better leap, and overall Koscielny is the best at attacking an inbound long ball.

    To take it further afield, the amount of goals Tim Cahill scores with his head is unbelievable for a guy only 5’10”.

  7. All true, but logic says if you have a tall guy who also is good at attacking the ball (in the air) the chances favor him. Djourou is a big guy, but not particularly aggresive the in air. It is definately an area where we are lacking.

  8. I trust Arsene will be emphasising to Szcezney that the key to defending well against set pieces is that the keeper dominates the box.
    At times I have seen the boy hollering and bossing his defenders around and clumping opposition players out of the way. On other days though not so good, and his confidence can be fragile – which for a youngster is perhaps hardly a surprise.
    Nice piece Yogi

  9. Wenger is obviously not looking at the defence necessarily to be taller. It’s our midfield that is the problem

    Compare how many squad players under 5′ 10″ we have now in the midfield compared to previous squads:

    10/11 – Fabregas, Nasri, Denilson, Rosicky, Arshavin, Wilshire, Ramsay

    04/05 – Fabregas and Ljungberg

    We’re missing the height of players like Gilberto, Pires, Vieira and the like, not just centre halves, at set pieces.

    I struggle to see how we’ll improve our defending in the next few seasons without a complete overhaul. This is a problem that we have intentionally accumulated over the years. Wenger’s vision that smaller technically superior players would dominate world football has come true with Barcelona and the Spanish national side, but a side effect is an achilles heal for the basics of English football.

  10. When was this interview done? May 2008?,May 2010?

    Wenger is just repeating himself.While our opponents have got stronger we are standing still.Its 5 years since we finished in the top two so for him to say we are close is just deluding himself.When was the last time we were still in the title race come the final day?

  11. The battle for no.1 is going to be interesting this pre-season. I have a feeling Fabianski did enough in his time at the top to be edging it myself. 20 appearences, 22 goals against, 5 cleansheets, 45 saves. Improved his weaknesses. Undoubtedly has the best distribution of all our keepers. Equally Szceszney was pretty fantastic until he came unstuck at the bitter end – but so did those around him. Really grabbed his chance all told. This should be fun to watch.

    Mannone played out of his skin at Hull. I am very happy with those three in the first team. And with Emi Martinez getting an international call-up aged 18 we’ve certainly got a great pool of talent moving forward.

  12. I had forgotten about Fabianski and he did very little wrong before the injury – if I had to choose between them it would probably be the youngster who, it seems to me anyway, is a bit more of a presence in the box

  13. All AW needs to do is walk down the corridor and knock on Steve Bould’s door and ask “what would you do, mon ami?”
    I doubt SB has forgotten how to defend, even theoretically and why not supplement him with Keown? It worked before, he has the attitude, is articulate and he cares about the club. And more set piece practice please.The more you practice to score, the better your defenders become, any fool knows that.
    I don’t think it is so much about the players, but the preparation they have. Better preparation leads to improved confidence and concentration levels.
    And the occasional hoof would be quite welcome from time to time (Diaby et al).
    Cheers all.

  14. Martin

    >When was the last time we were still in the title race come the final day

    When was there a title race on the last day? Immediately I can only think of 2002, 1995, 1989.


  15. This ‘taller players’ malarkey is not the solution. How many times do you see Diaby lumbering outside the area whenever we’re taking corner? How clever is it for RvP to take corners while Wilshere and Arshavin wait in the box? How many goals we score are from rebounds in the box or worser still, from knock-ons? It’s all about wanting it more..getting your body in the line..Gallas/Campbell/Gilberto header anyone?

  16. I would go with Szchezny, he just gives me more confidence. Fabianski did really well until his injury, and went some way to restoring faith in him. He still makes me nervous though.

  17. Alex Ice Cream


    1999, not 2002. 2002 we beat ManU at OT to win it with a game to spare. 1999 Man U beat Sperz on the last day to pip us despite us beating Villa with a Kanu goal.

  18. Most of those players are 5″10 or 5″11 not ‘under 5″10’. And 5″10 is the average height of a footballer in this country. Or optimum, you could say.

    And you said it yourself, small technically superior players have already inherited the world. If we’re going to buy another centreback then no, he shouldn’t be 5″10 – but anyone else, if he’s good enough, he’s tall enough.

  19. Re: Keown, came on FAPL Tv’s Matchday Live programme recently (chelsea vs. newcastle, i think) ..the man is a genius on defending set-pieces, talking about ‘secondary defending’, ‘near-post marking’, ‘winning headers’..i was awed by his knowledge. It’s bollocks really that none of him, dixon or adams (over at azerbaijan ffs!) are allowed to work with the team

  20. The big red herring here is that despite being in the title race for longer this season, this was not realy due to our form, but due to the weakness of the other top 4 teams.
    Our defending has been suspect for a few seasons now, what is going to change if the coaching or management team does not change. I think the problem is largely down to organisation rather than personnel, so how is AW going to address this?
    I just hope he doesn’t spouting “this is th best squad I have ever had nonsense” again.

  21. AIC

    I stand corrected. That was when Ferdinand gave the Tiny Tots the lead, IIRC.


  22. Alex Ice Cream

    Why has it taken AW so long to work out that we need some taller players, need to be better at set pieces and to buy some experienced players. People have been saying this for years literally – on this blog for example. Its pathetically poor for a manager of AW’s calibre. Even the avergae blogger realised this before AW. Its not good enough.

    I am glad he has admitted this but then goes ontomto say that we are 95% there. I hope that he is not as dluded as he sounds. 2 wins in 11 is not 95% there. Wakey, wakey AW.

  23. Alzation

    Yeah, Robert Pires was a renowned header of the ball. Deadly from set-pieces, magnifique at defending them. Bolton and the like never knew how to handle us with Bobby in the side.


  24. Alex Ice Cream


    You do remember correctly. Then Ginola got taken off (injured apparently) by GG and Sperz rolled over and died. Only Ian Walker kept the scored down with some great saves.

  25. I think we all see the benefits of having a brain like Keown’s in the club.How many clean sheets was it in the 2005/6 CL campaign? I think it is the CL record.I maybe wrong.
    But whatever, what is needed is that kind of organisation.
    Who will replace Patrice ?? Lets hope its someone a bit clued up on stopping shite goals from going in.

  26. Szcezney, is the only good thing to come out of all the shit if you ask me. He will be better at commanding his box when he knows he has a commanding CB to back him up and that why we need somebody like Samba who will organise and attack the ball.

    I have seen kos, DJ and fail to clear the ball out the sky too many times for anybody to tell me different but, both Kos and DJ will benefit from playing alongside TV or a player like Samba.

    Samba is very aggressive and and knows how to channel it that is something that we don’t have.

  27. On the otherhand when he buys a tall, experienced player he gets scapegoated as the worst player of the season.

  28. LA

    Worst Arsenal player ever, surely? Which when the list complied by the critics includes Stepanovs and Cygan, that is some achievement.


  29. Given the success the defence managed in the CL run of 2006 it is ironic that Senderos got so much abuse in the seasons that followed. Brave, tall, and actually quite of good footballer but just not that mentally sharp to be a really top quality defender was big Phil – Pity

  30. He certainly looked it at the Villa game, YW. Shame because he got off to a decent start. Important cleansheets at Eastlands and Molineux had me convinced. Especially in his first season. Having said that he did start at home to West Brom and Spurs. Grrrr.

  31. Yogi,
    Another date for last time we were in the title race on the last day…….. 1971 at WHL, Ray Kennedy headed the winner…..

  32. 1971…. I’d gone to Leeds the week before, Leeds won 1-0 with a Jack Charlton goal and were top of the league, when we went to WHL we needed a 0-0 or a win to win the league……. what a fucking night! A week later at Wembley Charlie George did the bizzo against Liverpool…… it couldn’t have got better! Great memories and what a team.

  33. the BigM

    >The big red herring here is that despite being in the title race for longer this season, this was not realy due to our form, but due to the weakness of the other top 4 teams.

    No, the big red herring was your comment above. Even if the division is weaker – not something I’d entirely disagree with – you can only be in the title race if you have some modicum of talent and consistency. Arsenal had that, a conveniently ignored fact. Not an opinion, a fact.


  34. YW

    2008 Man Utd and Chelsea went into the final game level on points.Not that long ago now was it?

  35. Martin

    So we’ve established that in the last thirty years, about half-a-dozen occasions existed where the title could have gone to one of two or more clubs. Doesn’t exactly prove your earlier point does it??


  36. YW – Arsène is suggesting that because we stayed in the title race for longer we have had an improved season, but I’m not so sure this is the case. Even if you ignore the basic facts that we finished lower in the league, let in more goals, went out of the CL earlier, etc. than last season, apart from the away form, where was the improvement?

  37. the BigM

    The improvement came before March, the setback from then until the end of the season. It’s hard to separate the two. When Wenger talks of improvements, remember a couple of things.

    Firstly, he is not going to constantly criticise the squad in the press as that is the fastest way to demotivate them collectively. Second, he is guilty of looking for positives out of the wreckage. Thirdly, in the same way he is denying the failings when talking of improvements, those who say this season was not an improvement in any aspect are guilty of similar tunnel vision, from a different angle.

    There were improvements, there were failings. It is important not to dismiss either aspect of last season or you lose all perspective.


  38. Had Fabianski duplicated the goalkeeping mistake in the CC final, Arsenal fans would have roasted him like Eboue (giving away the penalty against Pool).

  39. He has already got only the missing 5 % to work on. Methinks it’s more to that.The gunners gks,with the greatest of respect,are crap.If you compare them to the top ones,they will probably be placed tenth out of twenty.
    Tactically the gunners one dimensional style is easy to counter.
    Wenger has alot on his plate.If next season ends in a collapse again in April,don’t be surprised he will be axed.Football ha no place for failures.

  40. If the Arsenal are so one dimensional and easy to counter perhaps you could enlighten me as to why the three best teams in the country, based upon the fact of league position, were comfortably beaten by us last season Greg ?

    As YW says try and keep a bit of perspective between the things we do right and can be proud of, and the things we do badly and need to work on

  41. And some people wanted a statement of intent. Like i said you cant handle it.

    Wakey, wakey?

  42. Miami Arsenal

    It is a mentality of winning we seem to miss… success breeds success and until we as a team manage to identify what it is in our collective psyche that is missing we won’t be improving fast. Players have to take responsibility for the lapses that cost us dear, but then Wenger need to likewise identify what it is about his players that leads to these mental lapses.

  43. Yup, we’re so one dimensional that we took apart the best defences in this league – the toughest league at that. Beat the best team in the world. Scored some of the best-worked goals of the season. Scored some of the most audacious goals of the season.

    How bloody predictable.

    People also forget that we were defending with grit and determination for most of the season, with more bite in the tackle than we’ve seen for a while. Hence the massive rise in yellow and red cards. The team have only been judged on the last couple of months. the set pieces need working on as the stats show, and the mentality of the players during the final push also needs work, but I think these are solutions that, with someone of Wenger’s calibre, are definitely achievable between now and August.

  44. Miami Arsenal

    Agreed Geo.

  45. @Geo

    Exactimondo correctolody!

  46. Borges Spinelli

    Greetings one and all.

    Another job well done, Yogi W! Happy to see you’ve picked up on the strength & height issue that outlined yesterday.

    From what I’ve read so far, most respondents to the topic are missing the point. No one (lest not I) is advocating signing tall players for the sake of it. To do so without clear objectives of how to best utilize those attributed with strength & height would be imbecility personified – likely to yield, yet, another painful campaign of futility.

    What I want to see added to the squad are: players suited to the rigors of the league; adaptable to Arsenal’s style of play; have a commanding presence ; good in the air; have a must-get-the-job-done mentality. Experience is also a desirable component, already highlighted by Wenger & players alike, as key.

    Moreover, continually citing examples of tall players who are ineffective in the air; have no technical pedigree is a stale argument that stifles healthy debate. It also bares no correlation whatsoever with my point of view; neither does it reflect a sensible rebuttal to a carefully thought out solution to the squad’s achilles heel and imbalance.

    Maybe those opposed to adding little more steel to the team, in the summer transfers, derive pleasure from watching Wilshere, Walcott & Nasri getting close-lined & flattened time and time again. I know, I don’t.

  47. My Pen is Huge

    Geo –

    Where did all that heroic defending and ‘audacious goals’ get us in the end???? Nowhere. We finished in a worse position than last season.

    – Beat the ‘best team in the world’ but couldnt hang on to a 98th minute lead. Couldn’t score 1 goal to beat blackburn, and lost to bolton, stoke, WBA etc etc

  48. @ the massive penis –

    Did you read my post? I didn’t say that the team were amazing throughout the whole year and won us trophies, as that would be something from a maticulously constructed fantasy world.

    I did however, say that the team have been judged only on the last couple of months, and that we are obviously not one dimensional – proved by our results against the best defences in the world. I also said that the set pieces need work on, as does the mentality during the final push. and what i was saying about defending, was that we were able to defend with the best until our collapse, suggesting that much of the problem lies in the afore-mentioned late-season mentality.

    I’m not deluded and understand that there are problems to address, and my previous comment also stated this, and that Wenger is more than capable of sorting the issues out come next season.

    And I’m not sure why you’ve put inverted comma’s around audacious goals… Did you miss them?

    Was my previous comment that hard to understand?

    Wow, that was a lot of effort…

  49. What is argument then? Are we saying that our current defence is top class and will improve greatly over the summer and be ready to roll come August?

    Oh yeah, August is still summer isn’t it.

  50. Can’t say we were one dimensional throughout the season but, we sure was in the last couple of months depending on ones version of one dimensional.

    If it’s trying the same tactic over and over again when it’s not been working for the last 20mins then yes we were but, you don’t beat Chels and Barca being one dimensional.

  51. goonerton, no I reckon they’ll stay shit, and with Wenger at the helm, we wont be able to defend a corner against the Hampstead blind school under 12s come August. Scary times indeed.

  52. we had moments of really good footbal last season. So much so that I for one was imagining the title, possibly champions leage. We could not and did not manage to contiue. In my opinion we were simply not good enough, obvious you might say, so i dont understand why there are so many reasons why we couldnt win the title. I hope we are good enough next season and there are reasons to believe that we will be. One year older smarter cleverer experienced mentaly more stable. Strenghtening the squad with the right players and in the right positions. keeping the right players and selling the others. Addressing certain tactics.turning the emirates into a intimidating stronghold (thats our job). Now i dont know the ins and outs of that, that is a job for aw and his team. We are still very young remember. Not an excuse, and lets be honest there were some older players who for one reason or another did not live up to their own expectations, or at least i hope they didnt. COYR

  53. One quesiton about this one dimensional thing… What’s Barcelona’s ‘plan B’?

  54. Borges Spinelli | June 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    From what I have seen of him your players wish list sounds like Samba could be included?

    I don’t understand why so many are ready to oppose this move if it were to happen.

    The argument that “how comes he plays for Blackburn” is so crap.

    That’s the same as saying Valencia, that left back for Newcastle are average players at best.

    As long as they fit the bill as per your wishlist I will be happy even if we don’t win anything next season. At least we could have a real go instead of giving the time to certain players who have done nothing to raise their game in 3 years.

  55. My Pen is Huge

    -Geo –

    The team should be judged over the last few months – thats when it actually matters!!!! whats the point performing at the start of the season and then when you’ve got yourself in a good position to then throw it all away???

    We are one dimensional – did you watch the games against bolton/stoke/liverpool etc etc when we kept trying and failing doing the same shit over and over and over when it obviously wasnt working. I suppose you just watched highlights on MOTD or read about it in the paper eh.

    A lot of players from other team have scored ‘audacious goals’ – what the hell has that got to do with anything?? a goal is a goal.

    Is what I have posted above that hard to understand?… or do you want me to dumb it down for you?

  56. Jabba's delights

    Yogi’s Warrior | June 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    ”The improvement came before March, ”

    Yogi thats the whole point, there wasnt actually any improvement before March, it was just that Chels and Utd had dropped down to our level. We lost 5 prem games before January, we still won on average 63% of our games covering every competition only this time we finished 2nd in our cl group same as the year before.

    Whilst you can only compete with whats put against you, there was no pre carling cup travesty improvement in our fortunes, the opposition just got worse or the rest of the league played better against them.

  57. Geo

    Barca are arguably the greatest clulb side ever, blessed with three of the best players of a generation, play a brand of football not even remotely replicated globally, and win, consistently, the biggest tournaments of all.

    They dont need a plan B.

    Arsenal do. We play in a more competitive, more draining league, and too often teams came to the Emirates, shut up shop, and left with a point.

    The fact this happened for 3 home games on the bounce in a title run in would suggest we most definately do need another option.

    Of course you are right though, there have been some exceptional moments this season. Almost makes it harder to take when you see what the team have achieved in flashes.

  58. As Yogi says, you cant disregard some areas of improvements. Victories against United, Chelsea, City, Barca show a marked improvement in crunch games.

    However, these victories are nullified by defeats to Stoke, Bolton, Sunderland etc – games we would have steam rolled in previous years.

    Do they counter themselves? Potentially. Would that mean we have not improved, nor regressed?

    Standing still is a very dangerous thing is the league.

  59. Geo,

    I personally don’t think that Wenger will take the view that we don’t need any height. Seeing some comments regarding this matter makes me wonder what team some people were watching.

    Except for very early on in the season every time we were about to defend a corner it was gut wrenching.

    You can see players not marked up (normally their best attacker of the ball)or somebody like Wilshere marking a 6 footer but, far worse than that there is no communication or shouting to pick up.

    The later always scares me because on any level right down to primary stage you will see and hear kids shouting out to their team mates. This shouting isn’t about aggression it’s about making sure everybody is switched on and your team mate will always have a better view than you have.

    If I can see it then I’m sure Wenger can but, all he can do is get the players in and tell them about it he can’t do f-all when they cross that line. I’m quite certain that he knows what is required and he will do what’s needed.

    Totally understand your anger though and you have every right to vent it no matter what any yes man tries to say about it. I think we will all see a very ruthless Wenger in the next few weeks.

  60. Geo, I take your points about beating the best, Man Utd, Barcelona, Chelsea, Man City I guess your focussing on there. We also lost to three of those four and away at Man City they had a player sent off after five minutes or so and we had a pitiful draw against them at home (I am aware that’s what they came for). So against those teams I would say we break even.

    What is unforgiveable are poor home performances against the likes of Blackburn, West Brom, Villa and Newcastle, the capitulations against Spurs home and away after having two goal leads, squandering the four goal lead at Newcastle (however bad the referee was), the ridiculous performance away at West Brom. Those teams need to be beaten if we want to win the league and the attitude of the players in some of those games has been lamentable as Alex Song has admitted recently.

    Beating the best is laudable, but beating the rest in another hum-drum league game decides where the silverware goes.

  61. Great post block4.

  62. And there Luke is the puzzle – how can a side capable of playing such good football and getting to a position where our foot is on Ferguson’s jugular in early April throw it away ?

    I felt that in games we needed to WIN and particularly against the likes of SunLun and B’burn,to start with just one striker up front, and even when we could not break through in the games to persist with that formation was absurd. With ten minutes to go suddenly lucky Nic is thrust onto the wing and a bemused Chamakh comes on for a few final desperate moments. RvP is to knackered to contribute by that stage. Not only do we have no plan B even if we had a plan B I do not think we have enough strikers to execute it.

  63. Barca don’t need a Plan B. End of.

    Chels and Utd, had their positions handed to them by us on a nice big plate with all the dressings.

  64. They didn’t even say thanks.

  65. argh it’s like arguing (or watching people who are of the same opinion as you argue) with a brick wall!

    Before break-down we were doing well – had conceded only 2 goals fewer than united, had beaten some very good teams, had performed well apart from odd lapse = tactics were working.

    Mental collapse = static, unimaginative play, etc.

    Tactics remained the same throughout, personnel also, and so with same tactics and players were title challengers and also-rans, which indicates that there was a collective mental failure. this is not to say that this is acceptable, or that it does not need addressing as soon as possible, or that a few new faces aren’t welcome or that a few old faces dont need to be on their way. It is a big task this summer to make the adjustments needed to fix our mentality. it does not however mean that we need to overhaul the squad or overhaul our tactics. Just as you cannot label the season as a success based on 2/3 of it, you cannot label the entire season a failure based on 1/3. We weren’t good enough, no doubt – but what we were missing was a strong mentality throughout the squad, not a different formation or completely new players. i really dont understand what is so hard to get, or why some posters come on here every single day and just say the same things over and over again without trying to give considered responses.

    you hail ‘debate’ regularly, but debate requires a bit of back and forth – of convincing arguments and counter-arguments, not just the same old tiresome stream of badly-thought out arguments and selective use of statistics. i get that you like arguing and winding people up, but doesn’t it grow tiresome?

  66. Good post Block4.

    You most prob get hammered because it’s not really what some people want to read.

    Why not balance it up with a “yes man” or “nodding head” post that will sate how unlucky we were and the refs and the home crowd are to blame?

  67. Haha!! Yes please, mr penis, one syllable words only next time…

    So beating Man U (best defence in the league), nailing Citeh, nailing Chavs, beating Barca, was all done through the obvious one dimensional play that you speak of?

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t judge us on the business end of the season, but merely that people seem to have forgotten about the much improved defending and quality attacking that we were showing before Feb. People think that we were shit all season, and think a complete overhaul is needed to remedy our problems. This is obviously not the case, based on most of the season’s form. An addition or 2 are needed as we can all agree on, as well as the other areas i highlighted before.

    A route one goal is just a goal, picking passes through the best defences and scoring beautifully constructed goals are, in my eyes, audacious. Something to be proud of as an Arsenal supporter, no?

    Goonerton – I agree that we do need a big presence in there, and that set pieces definitely need to be improved. See if we notice an improvement next year i suppose…

    Luke – that’s fair enough, there is much less need for a plan b in that league. And they are a rare team, packed with quality. you’re right.

  68. Geo,

    Of course we played some electric football – and there are many games, where the post seriously denied us three points, City at home sticks out the most.

    Do you remember when United went to the World Club thing, came back, and were away to Stoke? Stoke defended excellently, United were not firing (similar to some of our games)

    Then via a decent corner, header won, and a scrambled finish from Tevez, they left with 3 points, thoroughly undeserved.

    When we win, we win, because we butcher teams. However, when it doesnt click (absence of Nasri/Fabregas conicide with these games), we struggle to score.

    Not saying I have the solution to the above, just highlighting something I’ve seen.

    Can anyone remember a game, when we have streamed out of The Emirates thinking, ‘sh*t, we were fortunate to get 3 points there?’

    Season before last, Bendtner saved us against Hull and Wolves, we just dont seem to have that ability to find anyway to score, no matter how ugly, when the chips are down.

  69. On the subject of Barcelona and Plan B it would be interesting to see them playing a few games without the best player on the planet. I doubt any side with Messi in requires Plan A let alone Plan B – just get the ball to him and something will happen – take the unique ingredient out though and the picture might be a bit different.

    I guarantee if Messi was an Arsenal player we would not be discussing our worries about set pieces or Chris Samba

  70. Well said jabberwocky. And sorry to the others for trying to see some positivity in all of this… my bad.

  71. Block4 – Nice post.

  72. annicol5 – “I guarantee if Messi was an Arsenal player we would not be discussing our worries about set pieces or Chris Samba”

    I don’t see him changing our desensive shortcomings unfortunately, so we probabley would.

  73. Height has nothing to do with being a great defender, it’s all about positional awareness. The same logic applies to speed.

    All the great defenders have it – positional awareness – it’s that “IT” factor. And until a defender learns to improve his positional awareness, he can never make the leap from good, very good to great defender.

    Vermaelen is a very good defender but his positional awareness is not great. A great defender is never beaten for pace because he is in the right place at the right time. A perfect example of this happened when Arsenal played Barcelona (2-2), Ibrahimovic’s second goal. TV5 left his defensive position to try and press the ball allowing Xavi to lob a pass to Ibrahimovic who scored. Perhaps Vermaelen was trying to do too much because whoever was closest to the ball was ball watching.

    We can purchase all the pacy and tallest defenders in football if none of them have the positional awareness, we will still concede from set-pieces. It’s up to the coaching squad to teach the players how to position themselves and be able to read the game better and we will reap the rewards.

    Wenger is right when he says these problems can be corrected, but is the coaching staff making the right corrections? Pique was a so-so defender at United but he’s become a better defender at Barca because of good coaching and playing alongside a defender who is positionally aware – Carles Puyol – thus they are almost impossible to beat.

  74. Geo – There were positives in this season (some great moments in fact), but the negatives ultimately must be acknowledged as well as they are the reasons the season ended a failure.

  75. The only defender at Arsenal who has positional awareness to me is Laurent Koscielny. This sort of thing can be worked on.

    1. stop playing a high offside line when the midfield isn’t pressuring the ball player.

    2. the stance of our defenders when they face attackers, most time they are always flat footed and so cannot turn and run.

    3. make sure to pick the runners and pass them off to other players so the free defender can press the ball.

  76. Our defenders are not bad players per se. They get very little protection from the rest of the side, and are isolated on aregular basis. That said, most of our goals come from set pieces. For whatever reason we simply are rubiish at defending them.

  77. Luke – that’s something that united seem to manage every year… Luck? Not sure. Better at set pieces, definitely. More desire on the 2nd ball? almost certainly.

    Block 4 – I haven’t said that they were acceptable performances, they weren’t. But the thing is, our tactics have been working, and apart from a tweak or 2, I am confident we can sustain that good form throughout a whole season.

    The mental toughness was not there at the end of the season, meaning less inspiration in our attacks (or one dimesnional as some say), and more second-guessing themselves which leads to poorer defensive decisions. How this is addressed I’m not sure. An addition or 2? Will that be enough to instil the confidence needed to push all the way? Not sure… Wenger will sort it out, I’m confident of that.

  78. Great posts colney.

  79. Jabba

    > Whilst you can only compete with whats put against you, there was no pre carling cup travesty improvement in our fortunes, the opposition just got worse or the rest of the league played better against them.

    See my comment at 12.21pm.

    A man were better be half blind than have both eyes out.


  80. Yogi:

    Good post. I have asked before but I would be interested to know what your real ideas are regarding what the club should do this summer. You have said a several times that the club needs to make some changes this summer yet whenever any player or any concept such as adding some height and strength to the squad is discussed you downplay on dismiss the idea such as your discussion of Peter Crouch. Some specific ideas would allow us to discussion and debate.

    In retrospect there have been many errors in how this team has been built and managed over the last 6 years. Its easy to criticize in retrospect however prospectively none were easy to see. IMO one of the biggest mistakes was to build a team based almost totally on technical skill forgeting how valuable strength and size might be in a league as physical as ours. The invincibles were a balance of technique, physical strength and size. The idea of a team that could win playing beautiful total attacking football still sounds great but quite clearly it does not work without adequate defending. Every year Barca concede fewer goals then almost any team in Europe, Spain conceded 2 goals in the world cup. Based on what he has said many times the boss apparantly thought that the defending would somehow magically take care of itself as long as we could play to our strengths. Unfortunately that has not worked. Hopefully he will be true to his words and bring some more physical balance to the squad. My biggest concern is that he has apparantly already ruled out adding someone like Keown so hopefully he and the current staff can change their own mindsets enough to add the defensive nous this team has been lacking. Add to that some flexibility in our attack and some type of legitimate plan B and I think we can finally reach the top.

  81. In a nutshell, I think Arsene has concentrated 100% on getting technically excellent players at the club. In this approach I think he has maybe neglected taking the players mentality/personality into considation. Once he gets that balance right, we will be back in business.

  82. Bill

    What exactly is Keown going to add to the the coaching staff at Arsenal? a great footballer does not always make a great coach. Maybe he can teach them a thing or two which would be beneficial but to suggest Keown would solve all our defensive problems is a bit premature, don’t you think.

    The onus falls on the players, they MUST learn to do the dirty work. You reap what you sow, if you don’t put in the hard work you will never succeed.

  83. I dont see Messi would alter any defensive weakness we have either Andy – rather than losing games 2-1 though we would win them 3-2 – problem solved

  84. I watched Barcelona’s games with interest this season; our game is faily similar to ours, and I was intestested to why there seem so much better than we do.

    The 2 main differences is that once in the final 3rd, they move the ball much quicker, which in turn creates more space for runs off the ball. The main difference though is their workrate off the ball. It is incredible, and I can honestly say that in all my years of watching football I have never seen anything like it. It is why they are such a special team.

  85. I don’t think having a technical squad is bad at all, for me it’s down to if the players want it badly. Look at the Barca team for example, there are no prima donnas, they play like a well oiled machine because if you don’t you will lose your place to a player who is willing to put in the hard work.

    When a ballon d’or winner like Messi can track back and defend for the team, it permeates through the squad. They can substitute other players into the squad and still function as a team.

  86. anicoll5 – Ah, I see. Sounds simple eh?

  87. colney – I wasn’t saying it is a bad thing. I wsa saying it is a bad thing, if the attitude is not there to match it. Just as you have quite rightly pointed out.

  88. GA –
    I totally agree with you.

  89. Jabberwocky – my thoughts entirely. Over & over, round & round till everyone is bored to death.

  90. I have never been a big fan of the current form of Wengeball mostly because of the pressure it seems to put on the defense. The other side of the coin is our table position for goals scored for the last 6 years has been 2, 3, tie 2, 2, 3, 3.

    We have been outscored by the red Manc’s 6 years in a row and we have only outscored Chelsea twice in the last 6 years. Despite having superior technical players who play with an attacking culture we have not been scoring enough goals especially when you look at our goals conceded. We all love beautiful goals but I think we need to significantly improve our ability to score ugly set piece goals and we need to figure out how to be more direct and score more on the counter attack even if it means not having 70% of ball possession.

  91. george rodger

    Well Luke and Jabba have convinced me with their well thought out summations and quick wit.
    In fact their seems only on answer



    Agh, no more tippy tappy spineless foreigners for me.
    A team built on pure Arab black gold.Super super{I stole that from JKB)signings and true grit will abound.
    Happy days
    Goodbye you sad loosers.
    6 years pffft we won the cup you know ,FA.And it cost a mere £400 million.
    I shall pop in from time to time (only when you lose mind)and remind you how shit you are.

    Shall I take Jabba and Luke with me?
    Show of hands please.
    Almost unanimous then,come on you two we are off……..
    Goodbye mugs 🙂

  92. Bill – Good point.

  93. Malaysiangunner

    Hi YW. Today I really get you.

    Some say height and size has nothing to do with heading. That is the biggest BS I have heard from people who has not played the game even at amateur level. Minimum and size height is needed presuming the player you are fighting with for the ball has the same good timing that you have and in defending he has the added advantage of knowing how the ball will be delivered so he will move faster than you in split seconds terms. AW know what he is talking about when he said the overall height and I may add size to our defensive proposition.

    But this has been raised for a good 3 to 4 seasons now , so how come now it is acknowledged.

    Jabber is right is saying that mental constitution and may I add correct attitude in playing especially against lower placed teams that leaves much to be desired. It is a management issue. There is not fire in the belly or the fear of God in some players because for some failure to perform has not be admonished or punished. Some players not all needs to be better man managed, some through cajoling and for some through compunction.

    We have good players that with the right attitude on their day had beaten Farca, Manure, Abu Dhabi City and Chel$Ki. It is the Stokes of the world that owned us this season.

    I still think the fault lies squarely on the coaching and management.

    No Fear We Are The ARSENAL!!!!

  94. Jabberwocky. Dupps @ 3:15:

    Both sides of whatever subjects we debate can legitimately make that same claim. I anxiously await your ideas on something new and more interesting to discuss.

  95. george rodger

    If Arsenal play at their best they will beat every other team in the league and almost every team in the world,no matter how well the opposition play IMO.
    So how bad does that make us?
    What needs to be addressed is why we dont play at our best more often.It cant be the playing personnel ,or else my first paragraph is rubbish.
    So ,age?experience?attitude? perhaps.
    But those who say the team is simply not good enough are ,as far as I am concerned ,simply wrong.

  96. George – I pretty much agree with that. And I think the answer to your question is attitude. But that in itself means that we are not good enough. Being good enough is not about about how good we are potentially; it is about how good we are week in week out on a consistant basis.

  97. Bill @2.47pm

    >have asked before but I would be interested to know what your real ideas are regarding what the club should do this summer. >You have said a several times that the club needs to make some changes this summer yet whenever any player or any >concept such as adding some height and strength to the squad is discussed you downplay on dismiss the idea such as your >discussion of Peter Crouch. Some specific ideas would allow us to discussion and debate.

    Sorry Bill but I leave the Football Manager speculation to others. I’ve made it clear what attributes players must have mentally but physically? I believe in quality not a stereotype. I will however, pass comment on players linked with the club or in the case of Crouch, thankfully never linked with the club.


  98. george rodger

    Andy.I agree with you.If we were good enough then we would be the champions
    Just pointing out that its not as bad as some people want to believe.
    Attitudes can change.People do grow up.Sometimes it takes only as small change to drastically alter the performances.
    Sometimes if the work force is not preforming all that is needed is for the boss to get rid of one underperformer,a ring leader perhaps,and the whole outlook of the workforce is altered.
    It does not always require a change of boss and to renew the entire workforce.

  99. The best team in Europe were beaten by us too.

  100. Colney is absolutely right about his remarks about our high line. If your opponent with the ball (at this level of play) is not pressured this particular tactic is exposed.

    Theo, Nasri, and Arshavin fail to exert enough pressure to win the ball back.

    As Arsenal fans we must accept the risk of starting so many 19-21 year olds in the line up at one time: Jack, Theo, and Szczesny. When their out of sync, Arsenal’s effectiveness offensively and defensively is impacted.

    At this age (19-21) the consistency of their game is a roller coaster …….they draw their inspiration and leadership from our larger group of 22-24 year olds. That’s a problem already expressed by Cesc and others – WHO HAVE NO ONE TO DRAW EXPERIENCE FROM.

    We all know there is a shortage of experience / on field leadership and this manifests itself during the season: a) when facing critical matches b) end of the season RUN; maturity, consistency only comes with TIME for this large group of talent. reaching 25-26 years of age…..

    We need an experienced attacking mid-fielder to play with Cesc and Song that can be a scoring threat ( a healthy Diaby). The club needs someone dangerous on the left wing; a 26 yr old Arshavin with a Wilshere work rate (lol).

    If Nasri’s finances aren’t worked out, it will be interesting to see how or if the manager reacts.

  101. George, I don’t think anyone would disagree we can beat anyone on our day, beating Barcelona, Man Utd and Chelsea this season proves that. Yes, attitude has been admitted to by Song as I said earlier. The players sometimes think they just have to turn up to win. A bit more size wouldn’t go amiss to address the concession of goals at set-pieces either as the manager has admitted in the last few days.

    So the problems have been laid out in public by the manager and players, the real question is, what is the manager going to do to address them?

    I think anyone he buys in will have to be technically adept as they wouldn’t fit in with our style of play otherwise. From his comments it seems he will be leaning in the direction of a good big ‘un being better than a good little ‘un though.

    The attitude thing has to come from the players themselves really, but if they aren’t showing the necessary application then they’ll have to be shown the door.

  102. george rodger

    Yogi ,were you not invited onto Arseblogs end of season, around the table,discuss all?
    After your previous contributions I hope you were and declined,rather than have been overlooked.

  103. Yogi:


    Sports fans have been playing fantasy manager for as long as there have been professional sports so I am not sure why anyone thinks its a bad thing. Completely useless since what we say makes no difference to what actually happens however, it is entertaining and what else do we have to talk about for the summer?

  104. What a fucking star you are, Robin

  105. Rodger – I agree, I am definot suggesting a change of boss or a mass change around of playing staff.

    Frank – We also lost to a turd European team in the qualifying stage, so it is swings and roundabouts eh? That is our problem.

  106. @ George and B4
    “The players sometimes think they just have to turn up to win.”

    This is just as much a manager’s short coming as player’s attitude.

    If you’re ineffective in motivating your players for big matches, then a new face is needed to supplement the staff…….but it will need to be someone the players can relate to and admire.

    Denis Bergkamp.

  107. Borges Spinelli

    Great debate, all round, folks.

    In time we will all become wise to Wenger’s intentions, RE summer signings. Just wished we had a name or two announced to excite us.

    Two weeks since the season’s closure, and i’m already bored with no weekly match to look forward to. Tennis doesn’t inspire the same emotions that soccer does for me.

  108. george rodger

    Block 4.Any player that the manager thinks does not show the right attitude,will be shown the door.
    Do you seriously think he will tolerate a bad attitude.
    The problem is that some fans think certain players have a bad attitude and the manager clearly thinks otherwise.
    I would trust his judgement ,rather than some know nothing moaning scrotum with the patience of an angry rattle snake.

  109. george rodger

    Yes Yes an million times yes too Dennis Bergkamp,In any capacity.

  110. Jabba's delights


    Your 1st post is just utter rubbish, how you can fail to see that all we want is for our club to use all the resources available to them to eradicate some long standing weakneses, to make us more competative… more no less.

    Your 2nd post i actually find quite interesting

    ”What needs to be addressed is why we dont play at our best more often.It cant be the playing personnel ,or else my first paragraph is rubbish.
    So ,age?experience?attitude? perhaps.”

    Why cant it be playing personel and a culmination of all the other variables listed above with one key cherry on top, Arsene has made a couple of mistakes in his analysis of the squad in the last few years. Consistancy is everything when trying to win the prem

  111. Well George, this is the salient quote:

    “Given the quality of football, consistent top-four finishes in the Premier League and the club’s achievements under manager Arsene Wenger, it is difficult to lay the blame with the Frenchman. But some Gunners fans are unhappy. So where does the buck stop if it does not with the boss?

    “I think it’s not him, it’s us. Maybe because when we go on the pitch, we are too confident that we’ll win the game. I don’t know. Next season we have to change this.

    “When we play against Bolton we just need to be ready – like we were against Manchester United. Maybe we need more concentration. Maybe we should think about how we can play in those games like we do against United or against Chelsea. We need to be more consistent.””

    He’s basically admitting that they take it too easy against the “smaller” teams in the league and don’t play to the level they do against the big guns. Now while I don’t epxect them to play brilliant every game, a bit more of the Chelsea at home and a bit less of the West Brom away performance would see us win plenty of trophies.

    It’s not me who’s saying this, just repeating what one of our first-choice midfield has said.

  112. I hope we don’t lose Nasri but i understand why Wenger made the issue public. If Nasri leaves the blame will lie with Nasri and not Wenger because it’s been documented that the player wants more money. The club has a wage schedule it has to protect.

  113. George, notice how your arrival signals the start of the name calling, and drastically lowering the tone/standard of a decent discussion?

    Regarding Wenger’s assessment of those with poor attitudes, would you suggest that the ease on which he is letting Denilson & Bendtner leave has anything to do with thier attitude?

  114. george rodger

    I know what you are saying Block 4.After all I am not Jabba or Luke, I can grasp realities.
    I am simply pointing out that Arsene will show players the door if he does not like their attitude .And does not need you to tell him as much.You are stating the obvious ,are you not?
    And for the record I did not mean you when I referred to impatient snakes.

  115. Block4, another fine post.

  116. Jabba's delights


    Well found.

    Its not completely ridiculous to suggest its bad management if the team are going out there against weaker opposition expecting to win.

    Take your gooner tinted specs off. If members of the england football, rugby, cricket team came out with the same quote you would be livid with them and the management.

    The consider that in club football you get to pick the makeup of your squad and team. There attitude reflects badly on arsene………….he must address this in the summer

  117. george rodger

    “George, notice how your arrival signals the start of the name calling, and drastically lowering the tone/standard of a decent discussion?”


    Who have I called names?

    You are obtuse.

  118. Why do you try pick a fight George, in every post?

    Is it so you get a response allowing you to level your favoured, repetitive abuse at Jabba and I?

    Why dont you try stop being an internet warrior for the next 24 hours.

  119. Oh George, I’m not sure if I should expect you to understand the hypocrisy of that post.

    George, I’ll ask you a question Ateeb was unable to answer last night, and it is very simple.

    When you go to the Arsenal, what do you and your mates talk about down the pub? What is your reaction to the noise of 100’s of “Champ Man” pros discussing the team, our style, who they like, who they dont like?

    PLEASE do answer the above.

  120. george rodger

    yesterdays post of the day Luke.
    Seems like it not just me.
    Anyone else agree with these sentiments fell free to jump in.

    Bernard | June 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm
    I think that Luke and Jabbas delights are the same person. Whatever. Either he’s a c*nt or they’re both c*nts. That’s my reasoned argument. They spoil a good blog.


  121. Jabba, I would agree that it is somewhat down to the manager. Ultimately though, the only ones who can force the players to do that bit extra are the players themselves. The manager can do all he can to motivate theplayers, but the players have to take that on board.

    George, I’m sure the manager will show the necessary ruthlessness if he thinks players aren’t pulling their weight. And I’m sure he doesn’t need me to tell him anything about managing a football team, but I’m not too sure he reads anything of what I write anyway!

  122. George, Yogi could very easily confirm if we are the same person, I assure you, we are not.

  123. george rodger

    Luke ,Its a simple life and an even simpler answer for me.And hear it is………………

    If anybody in my company suggests they know more about Arsenal or football than Arsene Wenger ………….I tell them……….wait for it………..They are a stupid cunt.

  124. george rodger


    “George, Yogi could very easily confirm if we are the same person, I assure you, we are not.”

    So you both are then?

  125. Does pay schedule mean we expect players to take substantially less money than they can get elsewhere out of some sense of loyalty to the club?

    I don’t like players who bicker over 2-3k a week, and leave, but these guys are making a living… and even if it seems like ego, or mercenary tactics, knowing you can make 25% more (or greater) elsewhere tends to lessen my bad feelings for that player if they decide it is better for them to leave.

    Obviously, if we are going to have a self-imposed wage cap for even the best players we have (and possibly considered competitive with the other best players in the world), is it surprising that we won’t be able to hold onto players that we start with at 18-20 all the way until their prime in their mid to late 20s (especially if they become world-class)?

  126. George, tell me where I have said I know more than Wenger??

    I offer an opinion, give reasons. You disagree, and call me a c**t.

    Still unable to answer that question I see?

  127. can you guys be mature and civil.

  128. George,

    They aren’t the same person unless they are using proxy IPs which I don’t think is the case. That thread of argument is therefore ended.


  129. Colney

    Based on previous experience, I doubt it.


  130. Jabba's delights


    Its funny, as this blog was going perfectly well until you joined in today. Some good interesting debates and oppinions being written as usual… this an arsenal forum?

    Our difference lies in that you think Arsene can do no wrong whilst we think our great manager is indeed human at times. You would walk off a cliff for him we choose to listen to snippets of pundits and other managers comments and not assume there is some huge CIA conspiracy against the club we both love.

    You choose to be rude and offensive to anyone who isnt a yes man, we choose to be honest but never rude about certain individuals in our club.

    You are a sad old man, i will get over it.

  131. george rodger

    Luke ,I think you will find that I have said neither .

  132. OK, this is all getting incredibly tiresome. Take your bickering offline. If you can’t, get your crayons out, draw a picture of what you think each other looks like, pin it to a dartboard and throw darts at it.

  133. george rodger

    I am going to adopt the tactics of G69 and ignore all future posts of these two scoundrels.

  134. Most teams including the Mancs do not have the capability to beat Barcelona. We do.

  135. You choose to be offensive not honest, Jibber

  136. Busch,

    Players make a lot these days and you can’t really blame the player for trying to get the most money available. But at what point does it become absurd and greedy. Of course the club is not at fault either, they hold the players contract and can sell him to whatever club they wish. I just wish they come to an amicable agreement.

    with that being said no player is bigger than the club and no player should hold the club to ransom. The club has a wage cap it has to protect. I don’t know if this rumor is true or not but i did read on another blog that Samir wants to renegotiate his whole contract as if he were signing as a new player which means a big fat sign on fee, while the club is trying to extend his contract with the usual trimmings.

  137. Seriously guys like Yogi said take your bickering offline, you’re taking away from good debate!

  138. Smearing rumours around is not ‘good debate’. It is unnecessarily derogatory.

  139. george rodger

    Colney.Nasri has been with us for 3 years and has preformed on the level of our best paid for 6 months of that period.I think he has a cheek to ask for paraty and should indeed take the blame or the current situation.

  140. colney,

    I agree with that. I don’t think a player should hold a team to ransom,
    (I view that as use a position of power by holding out knowing the team will get caught with a player that will run out a contract if they don’t come to terms so are ‘forced’ to sell, possibly not having time to get a proper replacement)
    and the whole greed thing is a much larger discussion, however if, to use Nasri as an example, *if* he knows he can get say 150k a week at Inter or United and he is trying to get 120k at Arsenal, but Arsenal are trying to keep a scale and offer 100k (yes.. I know this is all hypothetical) I don’t think it is unreasonable that he decides to leave or that he is a “greedy c__t” that other players have been called.

    To the average person those are sums that one doesn’t earn in a couple years, so it looks massively greedy. But they are looking to get paid what they think their value is worth, in a job that has a very short window compared to most people, not including career ending injuries.

    And to get to my original point, I know we have a wage structure that prohibits very high salaries. I don’t disapprove of that.
    However, it seems that some don’t view that fact and how it negatively affects long term team building if we grow world class players and on their second or third contract realize they can earn a whole lot more money elsewhere while we expect them to stay just out of loyalty or to see the final project through.

  141. Frank,

    It was particularly refreshing to see Fergie look dumbfounded when United could not figure out how to deal with Barcelona. His hairdryer treatment on the sideline could not save him or his team, they were simply outclassed.

    The victory against Barca at the Emirates becomes impressive by the day.

  142. Even though Nasri has been inconsistent in his 3 years, I would pay him what he demands.

    The cost of losing him and bleeding in another player would surpass whatever demands he is making.

    His form is tied to his position. When he plays centrally, he is electric.

  143. But you have no idea how much Samir earns or is asking for, or if he is asking for anything. And yet you think nothing of assuming that you do for the purposes of ‘debate’.

  144. I agree Colney

  145. george rodger

    Busch,How do you see the answer then?
    I dont know what to think.But we will never be able compete with City and Chelsea.So really,what to do?

  146. Frank,

    Nice way to focus on something that is peripheral to the point I was making. I know you can’t stand any criticism, so read criticism into everything.

    The numbers don’t matter, the name doesn’t matter, the year doesn’t matter.

    Does that satisfy you?

    I doubt it because you don’t want to even acknowledge the point I was making, whether that point is erroneous or not.

    Keeping to a wage scale is detrimental to long term team building in a an age where there are teams that pay huge sums to attract the top players in the world.

  147. Whatever the issue is i hope it’s solved as soon as possible. It makes no sense to nurture these players only to lose them to the highest bidder.

  148. Who is going to replace Patrice?????
    Who do we want to see???

  149. George,

    Either try to get the marketing money world wide that helps sustain a team like United (and Bayern) to help us compete in that area (wages) or accept that as we build with a large portion of youth, moderate transfers (getting hidden gems for cheap) that we stay competitive, win in spurts when it all comes together with a youngish team, and know that often we will lose some of our top players to the bigger (money) teams.

    I prefer the former over the latter. But I’m not a marketing man, so have no clue how that is achieved other than winning.

  150. Busch, I agree.

    It would be devastating to have another Flamini situation.

    We need a summer where our most important players stay, and are supplemented with players of thier calibre. A act of intent.

    We all know that City, Chelsea, United, Spurs, Liverpool will all spend agressively this summer.

    With them in the market – how will we not pay top dollar for any potential Nasri replacement?

    Also, what would losing Nasri do for Fabregas’ desire to stay?

  151. Block 4:

    This squad seems to have a strange mixture of overconfidence and complacency alternating with episodes of self doubt and nervous performances which is very difficult combination to understand. The boss has complete control over the make up of the roster, who plays, who sits on the bench, who is sold and bought, the training methods and training schedules, who gets bollocked or gets put on the bench for a complacent performance, the make up of the coaching staff etc etc etc.

    When a team does not perform to the level its talent would suggest then fair or not the blame falls on the manager. Even more so in this case because of the level of control Arsene has. Arseblog has pointd out many times that these mental issues are not a new problem and this year they have gotten worse. Hopefully its darkest before the dawn. In any case the boss needs to take responsibility for and fix the problems. How he will do it at this point, I don’t know.

  152. george rodger

    Busch.You are right .It is detrimental to team building ,Flamini and Hleb being good examples of the devastation caused,but perhaps we must accept certain financial realities.Maybe that is just the way it is and there is no answer.

  153. Borges Spinelli

    According to this catalan site, Barcelona are hoping to tempt Arsenal with 2/3 of their players (one of which is Mazinho’s son, Thiago Alcântara), in the hopes of luring Fàbregas’ away from us. ‘Operacion Cesc’, they call it. What a nerve!

  154. Jabba's delights


    Firstly Frank act your age and chill out with your little digs

    Arsene said the issue is a financial one with Nasri. Once can assume without being called a cunt or worse that Samir agent is looking for more than 80-90 we pay Arshavin considering he starts ahead of him.

    We have a very rigid pay scale that encompases certain bands, and whilst nobody knows exactly what they are, you can have an educated guess on an arsenal forum!

    One would assume he is looking to be paid like a key performer such as RVP or Gas.

    The debate amongst gooners is whether they think he is worth that kind of outlay based on 6 months oustanding work

    Personally i think not, but i think we shoudl pay him as the opportunity cost of losing him is far greater.

  155. george rodger

    Busch,You are right again.I too opt for the first scenario.
    But that is long term,And Nasri is todays problem.
    My opinion ,bite the bullet,if he goes he goes.After all he is not Dennis Bergkamp is he?

  156. Yogi

    I know the Youth Team have a seperate budget, is there any indication of what this may be, or whether if first team demands require, it can be double dipped?

  157. He ain’t DB10 but he is comparatively young and will (should) improve in technique and consistency. I am not surprised he faded this season, he had a broken leg last term so still hasn’t got the whole season stamina up. Would prefer him to stay and balance the books by offloading Rosicky.
    Nas is a definite match winner IMHO.

  158. george rodger

    Spanner,The problem is that the book cant be balanced once you break the wage structure.Its not as simple as selling someone else to pay him.Would that it was.

  159. Borges Spinelli

    I would pay Nasri whatever he wants, within reason. For the reasons:

    a) He is a key member of the squad – playmaker, even.
    b) Without his valuable contributions between the month of August-February, we would surely have been at a much lower position in the league and exited cup competitions at the earliest stage.
    c) We haven’t a credible replacement to take his place in the starting 11.

  160. Yeah george,

    It’s up to Wenger and the club to decide if he is, literally, worth it.

    I think it might have other affects on the squad and team overall due to the current atmosphere (media/fans/whatever the players are really feeling/thinking) to lose someone like him, but I don’t know if they should be factored in.

    I’d like to keep him because, as others have said, with the way the market is now, it would be hard to replace him with someone of his quality without the same wage issues and how much the transfer fee might be.

  161. george rodger

    Someone should point out to me that comparing him to Dennis is stupidity as It could apply to any player not just Samir.
    I miss Dennis.
    Nothing is the same without him 😦

  162. Would Fabregas stay if we let Nasri go?

  163. george rodger

    ” We haven’t a credible replacement to take his place in the starting 11.”
    IMO a sparingly used Arshavin is better than Nasri.Not that he is not excellent.

  164. george rodger

    Will Nasri go if Fabregas stays?

  165. George, we don’t know what he wants. It surely won’t be more than Cesc and RVP but soon he will be up there and so will Wilshere one day.
    Getting shot of the lightweights and keeping together the best is the way you build a team of winners.
    On this subject, what band is Rosicky in?? Is it justified considering his effectivenes? Can he take a pay cut or drop down a band or two ?

  166. Closed door meeting with Wenger, Nasri and Cesc it is, then.
    We can all hold our breath awaiting the outcome.

  167. Act my age? How old do you think I am, Jabba’s Delight? Your lack of self-awareness is quite astonishing.

  168. Spanner,

    That would be my opted strategy, if indeed I was the decision maker.

    Squad adjustments. Rosicky was a senior player 2/3 years ago, so it wouldnt be unreasonable to assume he is on a relatively high wage.

    Surely there must be a way Nasri can recieve the necessary pay rise, and the total wage bill stay the same?

  169. Borges Spinelli


    Arshavin hasn’t shown much this season to enhance his reptutation – besides his assist against Barcelona.

  170. Blimey Borges. I thought Arshavin scored

  171. Thought he scored against Barcelona?

  172. LimparAssist

    Can someone explain to me the virtue of ‘a act of intent’ or a statement of intent in the transfer market, please? Honest question.

    Is it a statement to the fans? Or the squad? Or is it a statement to the media? Other teams perhaps – other selling teams, or our league rivals?

    I don’t get the point – other than that you have a squad of players, if you think player x might improve the squad then you try and buy him. I don’t get how statements of intent come into it.

    I always think business should be about getting things done, not making statements.

    When people say, “We should buy Kun Aguero – at any cost. It’ll make the football world sit up and take notice” – it always strikes me as a bit silly. Nice idea (great finisher!), but a bit silly to think that people sitting up and taking notice actually matters in football.

    The football world surely sat up and took notice when Chelsea paid £50 million for Fernando Torres, for example, only for their fickle attention soon to be diverted elsewhere.

  173. george rodger

    BS.I hear you .But he was the most used player and he is built for about 30 games per season .I think so anyway.

    Spanner,no,break the structure and that is that.

    The trouble is that Nasri is a spikey chap(foot stamping and Barton tripping sort of thing)He takes no shit of anyone ,Galas included.
    Ergo,he is just what we need more of.
    Honestly ,I am glad I dont have to make such decisions.
    There really is a lot of things to be taken into consideration.

  174. It is surely better business to buy young,cheap and develop them until they are on good wages than to go chucking the notes around and still finish the season potless like the chavs.
    The point is to keep them ’til they are truly mature and supplement them with the up and coming young stars.
    Let’s not lose the better players.
    I think a statement of intent is really saying,
    “look at the size of my wad!”

  175. Borges Spinelli

    Rosicky – great player – past his best – injury robbed him of this.

    PROS: Has valuable experience, on his day, can be a handful. A joy to watch. Fantastic player.

    CONS: Youth is no longer on his side. Contributions are limited to cup games and against minor teams. Inhibiting Lansbury’s inclusion to the 1st team

    DECISION: Thanks for your lengthy service. Stay loyal to us, where you go. Come back whenever you want a management role. Wish you the best. Tchau.

  176. george rodger

    LA .A statement of intent is saying “look I am desperate and will allow you to rip me off in order to keep some fans happy”

  177. george rodger

    I doubt Lansbury will ever be as good as Thomas.
    It would be nice though.

  178. Borges Spinelli

    To answer you question, Limpar Assist. Please allow me to pose this question back to you.

    Nasri & Cesc, two of our five best players. Should they be allowed to leave due to an error of judgment/failure to act favorably to them.

    Tell me: “Is it a statement of intent to the fans? Or the squad? Or is it a statement to the media? Other teams perhaps – other selling teams, or our league rivals?”

  179. Borges Spinelli


  180. george rodger

    30 years old is not past it in todays football.
    Dennis played until 36.
    There I go again .Dennis this ,Dennis that,sorry .

  181. LimparAssist

    Well I think we should keep hold of our best players by signing them up to long-term contracts whenever they come up for renewal. Not as a statement of intent to any of those parties, but rather because we have a better chance of winning when they are on the pitch.

    Incidentally I don’t think either of the players you mention are going anywhere this summer.

  182. Agreed George, Nasri has the right attitude. He is on the up though, and was surely the most effective player in the first half of the season, RVP in the second.
    I’ve even seen him clear of the line from a corner or something.
    He must stay.
    Rosicky I loved before his injury but he still has football intelligence so yes, might make a fine coach.

  183. Alzation @ 10:28am,

    Well put. I think the challenge of playing world class technical football (a la Barca) is more suited to shorter, flexible players. Success in the EPL is not.

    This brings me to the oft noted question of how well Barca would do in the EPL and I have little doubt that (including the latitude allowed for “manly” challenges, the lack of a winter break, the physical demands of each encounter, etc) the answer is ‘not so well’.

    How well we will do revolves around this dilemma: ECL or EPL; Beauty or Dominance; technique or physicality? To resolve this is a larger dilemma than I have seen generally discussed but (and I have not yet read past your post) would make for a great future blog by Yogi.

  184. With very few changes to the squad we stand a great chance in both EPL and ECL next season. A good pre-season is essential.

  185. Hi everyone. Yogi thanks you for making this vlog (sorry the letter ” ” is roken on this key oard”

    Dgob (okay it only works when it wants to) You raise a good point. Trying to win more than one trophy was clearly detrimental to our squad. It is up to Arsene to decide if we are capa”le of fighting for more than one title while not suffering a “reakdown like we witnessed this campaign.

  186. I suspect that if we had won the first trophy the others would have followed. Referees willing of course.

  187. William, try a 6 for lower case and 8 for caps

  188. Borges Spinelli

    Perfct answer, Limpar.

    A statement of intent as i understand it, is retaining one’s best players, moving not-so-good ones on and replacing them with those whose presence improve ‘chances of winning when they are on the pitch’.

    Improved chances of winning = Titles (hopefully) signify to the above stakeholders a SERIOUS intent to remain at the forefront.

    Failure to do this, achieves the opposite.

  189. Geo @ 1:14pm,

    Precisely. I couldn’t havbe put it better myself.

    On the other hand, I have not heard one criticism in this thread that did not appear earlier in a tabloid or from the lips of an agrieved pundit. But why, given the trends of the past few seasons, should we expect anything more?

  190. The most important issue this week was the behaviour of FIFA. The English FA took a stand and not surprisingly stood almost alone. Happened before and it will happen again. The really interesting fact which appeared to escape the hacks and media girlie boys is that 17 associations agreed with the Engliush FA. We know of course that that great footballing nation Fiji sided with Blatter. Haiti too. Argentina truly are a footballing nation and we know who taught them how to be, but it is not surprising that they were vocal in their lack of support for England. But who were the 17. One was Scotland, surprising in itself. We can probably guess at least two others. Australia are very likely to be a fourth.

    The 17 worry Blatter. They will destroy him. Very interesting to see how this pans out.

    Anyway, sorry, back to the ‘debate; about how much Samir Nasri earns.

  191. Borges, you used the magic word “presence”.There is not enough of it on a regular basis in this team.

  192. My Pen is Huge (My mouth is large but my brain is not),

    Give it some thought!

  193. Certainly isn’t in the stands, spanner

  194. LimparAssist

    Thanks, Borges. At the risk of getting into semantics, retaining, moving and replacing are all actions, not statements – but I think I am getting there now. So we do that – win – and that signifies SERIOUS intent to the aforementioned parties. So that presumably buys us more klout to successfully retain, move and replace some more. That all adds up.

    I just think ‘statement of intent’ is one of those things people say, especially in a football context, that doesn’t really mean anything.

    In real terms isn’t it just a strongly worded letter? Maybe we should write a strongly worded open letter to our fans, Sir Alex, Cesc, Reuters, the LMA and its European equivalents about who we plan to bid for in the current transfer window. Shit ’em right up.

  195. that is also something that affects the team Frank. At home to Barca, gret atmo and look at the result….

    Dgob with regard to Geo @1.14.. good point but I judge the team not on the last 2 months although it was significant, but by the hopeless performances v. the spuds, wba and the ‘toon at home. 3 shockers. plus the 4-4 collapse and spuds away. Just count those points. 2 from 15. That is from just switching off and presuming you have the game in the bag.
    The title is not won playing in that way.
    Dinnertime at last. Goodnight

  196. Someone around here needs to get out more!

  197. The point is not how much Nasri earns, but rather if both parties can meet in the middle. The manager is on record as saying there is a financial disagreement. So one can assume that the player wants more than the club is offering.

  198. Seems to me that Samir is a very decent cove and has offered to take less next season. Arsenal being a very decent club simply can’t countenance such generosity. Being highly principled neither party will budge.

  199. LimparAssist

    His agent is just negotiating. There’ll be some cat and mouse, and then he’ll sign. Standard. The agent might not get as much out of AFC as he thinks he should, because we know, the club knows, Nasri knows – that Sam is an Arsenal man and very much wants to stay. If you saw him play on with concussion against Blackburn you’d know that, and the way he lights up when we sing his name. He is here for the long haul.

  200. jabberwocky | June 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    POTD, but the mass debating on here today suggests that it has fallen on deaf ears!

  201. Fantastic. What a gal!

  202. LimparAssist

    I should get out more. I have bruised my ribs playing cricket though, so am stuck inside arguing the toss with Borges.

  203. Ah cricket. I have heard of that.

  204. Frank @5.10

    The presumption that monetary issues separate Nasri and a new contract comes from recent comments made by Arsene. Whilst no-one here knows his salary, to intimate that money is not a problem is wrong.


  205. I was intimating that money is boring, YW. Keep up, son.

  206. Luke @5.35pm

    No idea what the budget is, whether it is exclusive or not. Try J over at Young Guns, he may well have the answer. My guess is that is not available for anything other than youth team.


  207. LimparAssist

    Hi Frank,

    Heard this and thought of you… How about this for a quote about Arsenal fans… “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders” G.K. Chesterton.

  208. Limpar:

    Jaime Carragher said this season that players love it when the management brings in new players just as much as fans do. Based on the quotes we see intermittantly, our players focus on our transfer policy as one of the major reasons we have not finished above 3rd just as much as the fans do. You can dissect the term “statement of intent” all you want but bringing in new players that the current players and fans can get excited about will certainly help take the focus away from what has happened in the past and get the players to believe that next year really will be different.

    Any positive effect would be transient if we start the season poorly. However, this team needs to get off to a strong start and a “statement of intent” this summer will help to get the players and the fans re-energized. The kicker is that we can bring some good players into the squad and improve our overall squad quality.

  209. Grandad,

    Boring to it might be, Frank, but to others it is not.


  210. Excellent,LA, excellent. ‘Lorem pereuntem mirum non haberet mirabilia’ our new thingy. Courtesy of G.K Chesterton via LimparAssist.

  211. Clearly, YW, young fellow.

  212. nasri needs to point losing our best players all the time we need to keep the best ones together and add to them
    id rather sell a player whos not much cop and use the profit on keeping nasri here for a good 5 years..

    give him and his agent a slice of the cash and tell him to do as hes told..

  213. Frank

    Essentially flog Denilson and give his wages to Nasri.

    Keep up Gramps.


  214. LimparAssist

    Giving Denilson’s wages to Nasri is one thing. Flogging the poor bugger seems excessive.

  215. I would rather tell his agent to eff off! Let our man Nasri decide for himself.

  216. “Anyway, sorry, back to the ‘debate’ (fixed for you) about how much Samir Nasri earns.”

    Well, I never saw a legitimate debate about how much Mr. Nasri earns in monetary terms.
    Interesting attempt to divert from what we were really discussing… or, at the least, attempt to divert so you can be smug about a topic you feel you have a real handle on… that no one knows the real salaries of the players.

    Well played.

  217. LimparAssist

    Hello, Bill.

    I agree that ‘good players’ improve a squad. I just don’t get on with the term ‘statement of intent.’ I think it’s wanky and meaningless. Trying to improve the squad is business as usual.

    If fans want to get re-energized about it then that is wonderful of course.

    Maybe they can contemplate our new signings when their Ryan Giggs’ Pilates DVD is worn out.

  218. You could simultaneously flog Denilson, and force him to watch as his wages, in increments of 100’s, are given to Nasri and his Agent.

  219. LA

    Back in the day, they used to hang, draw and quarter them as well. I’m a bit young so don’t remember them but Frank was there so he’ll be able to give us a first hand report.


  220. I want to keep Denilson and Samir

  221. guys that support Wenger good posts. You will most likley get hammerd cos some people hate what you say.(like Luke)
    They dont want to see Arsenal as a good team and anyone that does are booed out and ridiculed, told that they are plane stupid to even suggest Arsenal is a good team. Take no notice of them, they wont change anyway. Never.

  222. wonder if my post is mindless enough to get reactions from stroppy teenagers? 🙂

  223. oh and regarding Nasri. Is that a Wayne Rooney situation? where the club has to bend down and take it to keep him?

  224. Me too Frank. I enjoyed watching Denilson play. He knew his part. Receive the ball, find the open man, and deliver a perfectly weighted inch perfect pass to his feet.

  225. I dont want to see any “statement of intent” I want Wenger to do what is necessary, same with the players.

    I want the team to go into next season well prepared to fight the whole way in every match and not tire in the last furlong.

    I totally agree with Jabberwocky’s comment. If the team was good for 2/3 or 3/4 of the season then the problem is not necessarily that they cannot do what is asked of them but that they dont know how to continue through the rough times. The problem is mostly in the mind.

    I have been watching the NBA playoffs and have seen a similar thing with some of the younger teams, they just dont seem to know what it takes to win at the end but with time they most probably will.

    The first cup we win will be the first of many. Lets do it next season!

    Keep The Faith!

  226. Paul do you happen to be talking about my chicago bulls? we sweep the heat in the regular season, then our team forgets how to shoot a 3-pointer and I have to watch Lebron flopping like Stevie G. damn that series pissed me off! how does this man fall asleep at night knowning he cheats like he does!?

  227. Another day just gone by and we didn’t buy anything?

    Wenger MUST GO….

  228. Anyone know what will happen to Carlos Vela?? Will he stay loaned? is he coming back?? or are we going to sell him??

  229. LimparAssist

    I know all about that, YW. I played Thomas Percy in a small historical reenactment of The Gunpowder Plot at primary school. I think I was probably 11. Anoraks for cloaks, football socks for ruffs, pencil shavings for gunpowder… that sort of thing. As you can imagine, it being written, choreographed and acted out by 11 year old boys – ‘that’ scene was a protracted, graphic affair – not unlike a Sam Peckinpath movie.

    Agree with Frank about Denilson and Samir.

  230. Some great goals too William!

  231. Oklahoma too William! Both series were almost identical the way how both team couldnt close the games out.

  232. I will never forget this game and oh how I wish he played in the 2nd leg this year. What a performance from the young man!

  233. Limpar:

    Fair enough. The squad and the fans could probably use a mental “pick me up” after this year. Even though some would not admit it, I suspect the fans and all the players would be very happy if we brought in Benzema, Hazard, Fellaini (?sp) and a new CB this summer. No gaurantee of success but it would certainly improve our chances more then if the money sits in a nebulous bank acct somewhere.

  234. I don’t want Benzema, Hazard, Fellaini or a new CB, I must admit.

  235. Arsenalista –

    According to Youngguns, Arsenal refused to release Vela for the Copa America, so he can stay in London and have a proper pre-season. His agent is quoted as saying Arsenal have said nothing about selling the player.

  236. Wellington Silva v. Zaragoza

  237. FranK:

    To each their own. I guess it would feel better if we did it the right way and not take short cuts. Side benefit is you could rightfully tell all the doomers “I told you so”. If we do it the easy way then not only do they get to celebrate, but the wankers will claim that they were the ones who were right all along.

  238. We shouldn’t make any changes to the squad until 2022. That will show ’em.

  239. The young man didnt look out of his depth at all Colney. He has potential thats for sure.

  240. For 2011/12 this squad will be the best in the EPL and quite possibly the best in Europe. You don’t have to get rid of or bring in players to succeed. As for the supporters, I think many of the so-called home supporters have forfeited their right to be taken seriously. As have a lot of the bloggers, tweeters and ratty little phone-in callers. Couldn’t give a fuck what they think, say or do.

  241. The fact that 190 so-called football nations (what a fucking joke) support Blatter is all the evidence you need that football at its highest level is just a cess-pit. The English FA need to engineer a strategic withdrawal. The whole fucking edifice has a rotten smell about it.

  242. What really amuses me is the number of so-called Arsenal fans who would call me a conspiracy theorist for making that last remark. You call yourselves realists? Fools!

  243. Paul N –

    He doesn’t look fat and slow either, looks comfortable on the ball and has a good shot. So i don’t know who started those rumors about him being fat and out of shape just munching on pizza.

  244. My maths (or math for the Americans) is poor…207 ‘footballing’ nations. Quite right, we say maths over here and we use it in the singular. Why? Because we just fucking do is why? Who is asking? Couldn’t give a damn? Because we don’t care!

  245. If we are being serious:

    1) I agree that FIFA and footballs governing bodies at the highest levels are corrupt as hell. There are even pictures of envelopes with money in them to prove it now.

    2) As far as our squad goes. I agree that our starting XI through a few subs are at the highest level in Europe, let alone the PL.
    The poor performances by the squads we put out in the group stages where we thought we could coast, the ‘lesser’ Cup matches, and some of our league matches where we looked less than impressive versus teams that shouldn’t match up with our (hate to use the term) ‘B team’ make me think there can be some shake up, unless there is another way to get them to get up for those matches.

  246. We you know you English people are crazy Frank, no need to explain anything 🙂

    P.S. We are just as crazy if not more.

    The simple logic for Maths instead of Math is that the actual word is “Mathematics” not “Mathematic”

  247. Frank @10.16

    You seriously think that the FA is clean? The only reason they have thrown a hissy fit is because they did not win the 2018 World Cup. If they had won it, do you seriously think the FA would have kicked off? Like fuck.


  248. If corruption is at the top there can be no telling how far down it goes.

  249. If the FA want FIFA to change they should clean house first.

  250. Blatter won’t last the mandated 4 years, in 2years he will hand over to Michel Platini. This whole things is just part of the show they put on for the public. They know they will get away with it because the smaller nations are scared they will lose funding for grass roots projects, and the bigger nations are playing hot potato with each other, no-one wants to take responsibility.

  251. The recent FIFA ridiculous elections is probably so familiar to 3rd world countries. A president with no one to run against and the result is an astonishing %99.99 wants the same guy ruling for another 4 years on top of the previous 30 or so.

    As if there is no one in this world who can run FIFA but Mr. Sepp Blatter.

    It’s dictatorship, cronyism, and corruption…why because there is lots of money & power involved.

    FA is not any better, if not plagued by thieves and cronies like FIFA, it’s plagued by favoritism.

  252. I certainly do not think that the English FA is clean. But if I have to wait for them to be so before we have a challenge on FIFA, then I will die before we see change.

  253. These things do not have to happen serially. If the English FA take on FIFA it just might be the catalyst to reform within England too. Win, win. Of course if we have to go all Eurovision Song Contest about this then fuck you all. We will go it alone, as usual.

  254. george rodger

    Money is the root of all evil.
    The more money any particular person/organisation injects into a system(from which people involved are making a living)the more favors that person/organisation will get back.Its tit for tat or you scratch my back….in all walks of life.Why would football be any different?
    Man.U. have injected by far the most into this particular system.And so they also get more back from said system.
    For evidence google numbers of goals awarded against the home team at Old Trafford since the inception of the Premier League.
    And no matter how Arsenal bias I am ,and I fucking am,the facts are indisputable.

  255. G4E

    Sepp Blatter would do very well as a president of an African country circa 1980 but i don’t think that is the case anymore with most African countries, well except Zimbabwe, where Mugabe won’t leave.

  256. george rodger

    I know its not FIFA but I cant help myself.

  257. Interestingly the African FAs are very unsupportive of the position the English FA has taken. Looking forward to playing in the exceptionally tolerant and supportive Russia and Qatar I would imagine.

  258. The African FAs are unsupportive because they all follow Issa Hayatou, another dictator who won’t go away. They don’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. They know if they back Hayatou and Blatter they will continue to get money for their “grassroots projects.”

    Do you know how many times the Ghanaian national team has had disputes with the Ghana FA because of unpaid bonuses? Money that should be used for good, is being pocketed by unscrupulous people. People won’t challenge Hayatou because to some people he managed to get Africa 5 spots in the world cup.

    They all follow Hayatou and Hayatou is in bed with Blatter, so unless Blatter goes or Hayatou is replaced by someone who will fight corruption i’m afraid this will still go on.

  259. Well said, Colney. The whole fucking edifice is rotten. And the English FA are more guilty than most. Journalists going for this amazing story? Almost none. Why?

  260. Interesting that ADIDAS, the company virtually created on the back of FIFA, might be one of the companies to bring the tottering tower of crap down. Wheels within wheels. Still no journalists sniffing around though. What a scoop? Naaaah, even old fatty Bose the imbecile has waddled up to the story now.

  261. FIFA needs to be broken up and started from scratch. It’s institutionally corrupt. The complicity and awareness of dirty dealing runs right through that organisation. If the FA is not fit for purpose, FIFA is much much worse and a blight upon the beautiful game. The major nations – England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy in particular – need to leave. I’m pretty sure that is the only thing that would precipitate the necessary change.

  262. Ultimately it could come down to FIFA’s sponsors, Coca-Cola, Heineken, ADIDAS etc. If they smell a rat and start pulling out, the whole “house of cards” could come tumbling down, all they need is just a little push.

  263. That is why the 17 are important, Bob. Who are they? That is the real story.

  264. I didn’t think of it that way Frank, you’re right.

  265. Martin

    >When was the last time we were still in the title race come the final day

    When was there a title race on the last day? Immediately I can only think of 2002, 1995, 1989.


    Well 2002 didn’t go down to the last day but 1999 certainly did…

  266. That’s right Colney…that’s why FIFA or Football needs a revolution.

  267. For 2011/12 this squad will be the best in the EPL and quite possibly the best in Europe.


  268. some great contributions from JamesM

  269. James

    Keep up, that was answered some time ago.


  270. William @ 6:22pm,

    I think we can win more than one title: the EPL, Carling Cup and FA Cup all provide similar challenges and would make three domestic cups/titles achievable. The Champions League demands more technical skills and could arguably be seen to better suit our present squad. To breach the gap between these two sets of demands I do see the sense in Arsene’s identifying a need for greater physical attributes (although I might not just limit that need to the back four/five!).

    This transfer window and staffing and training developments next season are likely to be the result of a thorough assessment and advancement in order to realise the full potential of our players. This is one small step for…

  271. Spanner @ 7:05pm,

    I do agree that our problems were largely mental. The need to focus throughout the 90 minutes and the steely determination to win even when the fatigue of a demanding season are at their worst seems inescapable.

    Although the club needs to address this internally, I feel the ‘support’ (particularly at home) needs to improve more drastically. My lack of faith in this latter change partly explains why my son and I have now relinquished our season tickets!

  272. Frank @ 6:23pm,

    I think a good preseason is going to be essential (although I’m not certain how the Asian tour will impact). In fact, I am surprised that many of the nay sayers failed to notice the role that participation in the final of the World Cup and consequently missing preseason had on Cesc this season. So, as you say, a good preseason should make a huge overall difference in the coming season.

    As for the “few changes”, I also think this is potentially correct, IF we address tactics in that preseason. Barca’s pressing game is undoubtedly the key difference between our teams (along with Messi at present). I do not think there defence (back 5) is any better than ours, as Shrek’s goal in the final should suggest. However, collective defended is so systematically practiced that the demands on the back 5 are negligable and any defensive weaknesses therefore do not become the stuff of obsession: unlike with us!

    Exciting times ahead!

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