More Platitudes Than Answers But The Show Goes On

A late one this morning due to time pressures. Yesterday’s Q & A session drives this morning’s headlines, Ivan Gazidis played forward defensive for the club. Minor own goals aside – really Ivan, utility bills increasing driving ticket prices up? I’ll pass your details to the umpteen callers each week who offer to save us money in this field.

Gazidis offered the expected defence of KSE, confirming that Danny Fiszman sold to Kroenke because he trusted him to do the right thing for Arsenal. Justified or misplaced? That remains to be seen. There is potential for mistrust to emerge, KSE have promised not to load debt on the club relating to the purchase; no such promise can be elicited regarding dividends. None have so far been taken from other sporting ‘franchises’, Red & White may yet get their wish.

On the subject of transfer activity this summer, Gazidis talked it up like everyone else. The media take this to be more signings and departures, no, wait they have already assumed that. For Sport this translates as the club being ready for Cesc’s departure, AS acknowledges that the recent words of the manager whilst also contemplating a high transfer fee because of the midfielders talent and the fee paid for Torres by Chelsea. The underlying message is still, We are Barcelona, You cannot hold out forever. Shame no-one has told Arsenal that but Wenger is having to draw on all of his experiences with Vieira and Henry to fight on.

A cheap accusation is to claim the manager is unsackable. To do so is to ignore his previous record; irrespective of recent seasons, Wenger has delivered more than the Board had asked. Doubles and silverware bought him goodwill, the changes to the playing side of the club even more so. He kept the club in the Champions League whilst the stadium was built and continues to do so.

The challenge now is to win trophies once more. KSE has a record of making changes after a season in charge but this is football, managerial loyalty is more entrenched, particularly at Arsenal. Fans did manage to bring about the departure of Terry Neill but David Dein was a prime mover in the subsequent departures of Howe, Graham and Rioch, the latter with the aid of player power.

Would the board listen to fans now? There is a healthy scepticism within the club, recognising that the loudest voices often do not represent the majority view. But complacency should not set in. Arsène should be accountable for the team’s overall performance. That does not mean adopting the hire and fire mentality of Chelsea. Ironically, making this information public would ease the pressure on the manager. It would increase on the board instead if the targets are deemed too soft, a reason why they would never take that course of action.

If the failures on the pitch continued, at what point would the board act is a question often asked. I am not sure they would get the chance. Wenger is a winner and was visibly affected by the collapse last season. A recurrence and he would more likely take the decision out of their hands, feeling that he has taken the club as far forward as he can.

There is a joint responsibility of players and management to return the club to winning ways, not just the manager. Gazidis and his team of well-paid executives should be making the deals to bring players in; no point in holding yourself up as a model club or hoping that the market fades with FFP regulations, if you are not winning trophies. At Arsenal’s level, that outcome means the model is wrong.

Recent comments from senior players have questioned the mentality prevailing at the club. In media terms, this is a crisis. The reality is different. It is not tangible evidence of the manager losing the dressing room, a questioning attitude is healthy provided it is used constructively, a tough call in the destructive atmosphere around the club. The hoped for tonic never arrived, platitudes were made about ongoing talks with transfer targets. Turning them into arrivals is Ivan’s job, best let the man get to work.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on June 14, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 180 Comments.

  1. Fiiirsstttttttt….Now for the read…..Thanx YW….

  2. He used utility costs as an example of increasing overheads

  3. …he also used players salaries, and there are probably many others

  4. Yogi,

    Thanks for your great post and for keeping the stream of AFC issue flowing even in this dry spell.

    I watched the AST meeting and,in the ‘general context’, thought it was all that could be expected. I think Ivan’s responses must be viewed in th light of at least three key points.

    Firstly, as Yogi points out with his reference to the “destructice atmosphere around the club” and that Ivan also referred to regarding the media, there were overt restraints at place in the depth of response that could reasonably be expected and delivered. This point relates to the other two.

    Secondly, in the limitations on detailed responses around transfer activity, therer is the obvious issue of market conditions and competition. If Ivan would say a precise figure that was available, this would undoubtedly influence the financial demands of would be seller and joiners. It would also alert our competitors of what they need to do in order to steal any player that we are said to be interested in. Present reports already suggest that this practise of poaching from and depending on the quality of our scouting network and manager’s judgement is already lightening the load of other clubs!! Here, incidentally, the immportance of the attractiveness of the way we play and our class should suggest their importance in attracting worthy players to us – maybe even more important with the likes of Citeh and Chelski’s emergence.

    Thirdly, Ivan deflected several questions to the issue of sustainability and economic policy (which is obviously drawn up at an executive level in AFC). I thought that this was an important issue for many who blame Arsene for limited spending and/or for not openly criticising the funds made available to him. Now, in the real world, one can look at the outcome of a manager openly criticising spending practise – say at Notts Forest – or we can reflect on our own position and the limitations that we operate under when representing our organisations at any commercial or public fora. Our careers would be curtailed by adopting the same postures that many demand Arsene to take.

    I still feel that he has said enough in these conditions to offer real grounds for optimism about the summer transformations and promise of next season.

  5. The Tea Lady asked for a rise as well, plus a years extension on her contract!

  6. There will be much movement both in and out this week. I can feel it in my bones. Or is it my bowels?

  7. YW – What did you and your readers expect? A big, bold statement of revolutionary intent? From a big corporate enterprise such as Arsenal FC? IMO, it is the heights of naivety to expect Gazidis to make grand promises which he is in no position to fulfill. The rank desire of many for a” big” signing (while ditching useful squad players at cut-rate prices) has led to unreal expectations. Maybe your primary intent is to keep pressure on the owner, Board and executives at the club to take the steps necessary to strengthen the squad. For that I applaud you. Otherwise, sniping at Gazidis is simply cheap politics and beneath you.

  8. Is this Gervinho rumour real or what… apparently we are now in talks.

  9. The arsenal fans cant handle it if they were given any specific information. Next they’ll be saying when it doesnt happen is that the club lied. Not that they tried and it didnt work.

    Great article on ‘arsenal arsenal’ today of the media propaganda and the gullible fans buying it hook, line and sinker.

  10. Good work Yogi, thanks.

    I saw SSN this morning and they were trying to spin a load of negativity around the general felings at the AST review. Unfortunately for them most of the comments by attendees werent very negative!

    I am a bit concerned that there is no one at the club who can take responsibility for the transfers other than Wenger. Surely he has enough to do? I also think he is a bit, erm, over zealous in his wanting VFM! As we saw last summer when we refused to meet Fulham’s valuation of Shwarzer for examople.

    I see Yogi is getting a bit of stick from some old hands on here, how times change. I dont think Yogi has been anything but a model supporter and it appears that the lunatics are trying to run the asylum! Finding phantom disingenuous comments where none exist.

  11. ChrisGoona

    Apparantly we’re having a cosy chat with Lille about signing the mega foreheaded dude.

  12. It’s the silly season, lets just sit back and enjoy…. if we sell anyone, if we buy anyone…… leave it to the Gods, they know best!

  13. Dexter the Fulham ‘Keeper story was less about valuation and everything to do with the change of manager, a summer of limbo down by the river and the eventual arrival (and departure, I bet MS was pissed at that!) of the Oooze.

    That Norris lad had his own ragpaper back in the day. Not sure if I’d be thrilled to see an Arsenal version of Marca about, but anything, anything, would be better then the Metro.

    Would have been nice to see Phil Jagielka in the R&W last season. Pepe Reina? Not that Barcahole.
    Nope, no thank you.

  14. I agree with vona. And the ‘Arsenal Arsenal’ article was excellent

  15. That was a bit creepy, dexter

  16. In what way Frank? You still got the hump with Yogi then.

  17. Jabba's delights

    I think yesterday actually went quite well.

    Glazidis is as bright as button, and im proud he represents the clubs front office. I dont know what some people expected him to say but i thought he went as far as he could go with some pretty difficult questions at times. The fact that he even does the q & a should be applauded.

    With regards to what was said i heard everything i wanted to here bar change on the defensive coaching front

    I wanted him to see that another season like last couldnt be tolerated, his answers came across like he fully understood that that alot of the fanbase is very upset.

    I wanted him to say that this summer wouldnt be like others and that there would be a decent amount of turnover both in and out of the club……he did.

    Im quietly confident about the summer now as long as we keep cesc and nasri. Slighlty worried that the 2 players we appear to be after most are both africans and will be away for a month

  18. Finsbury

    I thought that at the time; that it was more down to Mark Hughes taking over, but then it did seem like we just refgused to up our bid £500k

  19. Gervinho, Samba … definately both my cuppa, for different reasons. The thing with Gervinho, with his multiple personalities, is that he performs on the wings (both as I recall), as well as centrally. I think this is crucial, especially left sided, so when Arsh is knackered, Nasri can play right and someone left.

    Samba, being 8 and a half foot tall, not only leans menacingly over Crouch but is double his width, and is nearly double the size of Arshavin. I think I could see him dusting his boots, and his knuckle dusters, for a few games, why not, in the cold climes of northern england industrial wasteland around mid-January-ish. We wouldn’t lose a single line-out, would we?

  20. From what I’ve seen so far I think IG did very well.

    I think Value For Money is really important for us, Dexter. In view of the spending power of our rivals. Whenever you hear someone say “just splash the extra £X million, Arsene! Getcha chequebook out!” like our transfer budget is a heap of poker chips to be tossed in the middle… run a mile. Those extra million bob here and there matter to a club building for long-term success rather than a 5 year Chelsea style binge. I like our efficient spend. We negotiate on our own terms and everyone knows we won’t be held to ransom like the mugs up at Liverpool.

  21. I iamgine the fat Uzbek gangster must be pretty gutted this morning as the meeting wasnt the hostile shouting match he had hoped, especially after his well timed piece in the sunday rag.

  22. Limpar

    I appreciate all that, but I am talijg about the VFM from a signing like Silvestre and dare i say; Squillaci, when for a bit extra we could have signed Kompany (£6m). Not chav style gazillions mate.

    I think there should be another person who does that. i think Wenger would probably appreciate someone taking that particular aspect of the job on.

  23. Definately about time to stop dwelling on the last season, which is so last season as the Americans would say, and think of the fun to be had in the coming one. Who goes, who stays, who twitters, who gets injured making a ham sandwich this off season, all is of little consequence in the great cosmos of the football gods.

  24. Jabba's delights

    Limpar

    I agree as if you pay over the odds for one signing it can set you off on a donward spiral when you do business in future.

    I notice on another blog today people are very upset about the gervinho rumor and cant understand why we are looking in the french league again.

    I think value for money is precisly why we look there. Whilst its not the prem standard there are still some decent teams who dont get huge exposure. There are a tremendous amoutn of good players there for a good price, and i have no issue with doing busines there.

    Gervinho fits an obvious need. He has pace and power can play up front or on the wing and is direct. Losing him for the ANC wont be such a huge blow as we have 3 other good wingers currently with the club who offer something slightly different.

  25. Zimpaul

    You are right mate, we should be all giddy as kippers with excitement at all the new signings, the youth players who will be promioted to the 1st team squad and the upcoming new season. The new fixtures are out this Friday!

  26. LOL Dex.Is creepy.I think so as well Frank 🙂

    “Incidentally, the immportance of the attractiveness of the way we play and our class should suggest their importance in attracting worthy players to us – maybe even more important with the likes of Citeh and Chelski’s emergence.”
    Dgob,That is a huge point .
    We can not compete whith Chelsea,City and Man.U on either wages or transfer fees.Anyone who thinks we can are kidding themselves.Despite our profits and Stadium.However they do not compete with us with regards to playing style and general class and stability(although United could argue the last point).So we must maintain advantages in these matters in order to balance our attractiveness against their money.

  27. Jabba

    That other blog’s innitals would nt be LG now would they? 😀

    As for gervinho, would there be less angst about his potential signing if he had moved to Real Madrid, then joined us?

  28. Dexter,

    MS gave an interview. In it he was quite clear. He said his transfer situation was not down to ca$h.
    I can’t be Arsed to dig up a reference, but you can find it if you want to.

    Onto next season ,and the pre-season contest between our two very good ‘keepers.

  29. Bradys right foot

    I may be in a minority but i’m incredibly disappointed with last nights AST meeting. The main item that is hamstringing the club and resulted directly in the rise in ticket prices was ignored by seemingly everyone. Our piss poor commercial deals, while other clubs cancel and renegotiate deals we honour them at the same time as recruiting a number of high profile people to maximise that income. Liverpool have missed out on CL football for the last two years but have cancelled and renegotiated deals in the meantime including signing the best shirt deal in the world. The Arsenal board have simply no excuse in continuing to undervalue the club. In the next two/three Stan along with John Henry and the Glazers will oversee the biggest shakeup in the game since the PL started when they will dismantle the collective Premier League TV deal. Its the sole reason why there here. I hope our commercial team pick up its game before that particular mexican standoff or we go shortchanged again against the competition.

  30. There is nothing better i could have read after the AST meeting yesterday. Thanks for making my day, Yogi.

  31. George,

    You’re not wrong: the long term stability of the Mancs is not something on which I’d like to build my hopes (were I sad enough to support that enterprise).

  32. True, Dex. I like Kompany, but at the same time he is on £120,000 a week – which we’re haggling over paying to one of our star midfield maestros – let alone our 4th choice centreback.

  33. Bradys right foot – if you mean canceling sponsor deals, well legally you can’t. its a contract and you have to abide by it till it ends. The sponsor deals have gone through the roofs these days the emirates deal was excellent at the time with 100 millions cash upfront to bulld the stadium. Liverpool upped their prices too and with the this finacial means rules clubs will have to follow Arsenal and up their tickets to balance the books. I don’t agree withy it at all but that is the reality of it specially when the club has about 40.000 on the waiting list.

  34. Bradys right foot,
    Now that you mention it, that was indeed a missed opportunity to know more about why we can’t renegotiate our deals. Ivan would probably have evaded the question though.

  35. True Limpar, but I am sure we could have haggled him down to £70k a week no probs!

  36. There is no point in re-hashing yesterday, as you only are wasting the moment.

  37. The club is in the process of re-structuring its foundation – not short term but long term.

    new stadium
    new administrative director in Gazidis
    new majority owner
    emphasis to grow global fan base – matches in Asia / internet website improvements
    importance of academy development over transfer market
    attention to growing outside revenues (outside of tv and ticket sales)

    This is an arduous process, like raising a child. As fans we need to appreciate what is
    slowly evolving and accept that results won’t happen quickly.

  38. Miami Arsenal

    @ Brady

    Im reasonably sure that Arsenal’s decision at the time concerning sponsorship was made with a conversative approach annual income but a longer terms to ensure the transition of the club from Hughbury to the Grove. I seem to recall huge sums being touted for naming rights, whereas the actual finalised deal fell some way short. The deals in place are conservative in comparison to some teams around the league but we sure when they are up for renewal the figures will rise substantially even in a depressed commerical market.

    If we are honest with ourselves, we should know that the transition to the new stadium and the debt associated withit was going to be a yoke heavy enough to burden us. As each year passes (any trophyless) we are nearing a place where the figures become more and more in our favour without any unnecessary financial speculation.

  39. Dexter | June 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    “As for gervinho, would there be less angst about his potential signing if he had moved to Real Madrid, then joined us?”

    Probably not. I think people are underwhelmed because he just isn’t that good and probably not that much better than what we have.

  40. I am glad the Swartzer deal did not go through. He had a terribly poor start at Fulham –
    our fans would have shown no mercy.

    Our future is with Fabianski and Szczesny.

    Other clubs realize our manager has ‘the eye’ to finding talent. It is critical for Arsenal prospecting
    and negotiations to be invisible to our competitors (in the PL and Europe).

    For your birthday, do you want to know in advance what your gifts are? Or is there something special in the build up of anxiousness and the moment of surprise.

  41. Henristic

    How do you know he isnt very good? because Real or barca arent in for him?

    If it was benzema, who was linked then that would be a whole different ball game, wouldnt it? He haasnt exaclt ripped it in Spain though has he.

  42. Arsesession

    I am glad too, but Wenger wanted him, didnt get him. But then he didnt go for another option and left us with Almunia as number one, not Fabianski or Szczesney.

    Oh, stop making discus the past mate! I am looking forwards! 😀

  43. And henristic, I bet those same dudes on LG would be more than happy if it was Hazard we were linked to. Yet most have no knowledge of his talents, but just the hype to go on. I have no idea about weither of them TBH.

  44. 1lc and others,
    If the contracts are not renegotiable, then why, like the Swiss Rambler asked, did we have to hire these expensive execs at the time we did? Wouldn’t it be better to have waited until when they are actually needed?
    Their salaries probably cost as much as the utility bill 🙂

  45. Dexter,
    I know because I’ve watched him play. He’s not better than Odemwingie imo, and I’ll prefer the latter for his premiership experience and work ethic.

    I’m sure the LG crowd would go crazy for Benzema, and to be honest so would many on here. Yes he is a bit of a risk, and is known for having attitude issues but given a choice between him and Gervinho who would you go for?

  46. george rodger

    Henristic | June 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm
    Dexter | June 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    “As for gervinho, would there be less angst about his potential signing if he had moved to Real Madrid, then joined us?”

    Probably not. I think people are underwhelmed because he just isn’t that good and probably not that much better than what we have

    That would be Arshavin,Nasri and Theo.Yes?
    Well if you are expecting us to sign player” that much better than them” ,you are in for a disappointment .There really are none available
    Or do you know of some?.

  47. Jabba's delights

    Henristic

    Firstly i agree with dexter how do you not know he is good?

    I think supporter frustration come with the fact that he is from France and we have been burnt in some of their eyes recently from these types of player.

    With regards to being of similar quality to what we have got, i say excellent. I have never had a problem with the quality of Nasri, Walcott or Arshavin i’ve just thought we need something to compliment them who can bring something different to the table. He is fast, direct, brave and work hard his close quarter dribbling is excellent and he can play up front centrally as well.

    I would be happy with this signing as i would Samba or Cahill

  48. Dexter,

    You’re right about Hazard though, the hype on that guy is almost extreme. I’m sure its got as much to do with his name as it has to do with any ability he’s got.
    I know you said you don’t know much about either player, but let me pose the question to you again, out of the little info you have, who would you go for if price wasn’t an issue.

  49. Arsesession @ 1:10pm,

    Spot on. Contextualising things is important, even though it often reduces our exposure to melodrama and associated adrenalin surges.

  50. George,

    I thought my views on signings are well known. My dream signing is a defensive coach.
    While I don’t think the current team is perfect, I believe they can perform much better and more consistently than we have seen. I think we can get way more value for money my improving the coaching, which I feel lets the boys down sometimes (doesn’t mean I absolve them of responsibility though).

    You can go ahead and laugh at me.

  51. Jabba,
    see my 1.32 post

  52. @ Dexter
    Agree, Wenger wanted an experienced keeper that wouldn’t be seen by our younger crop of keepers as a long term threat. Could have been Friedal.

  53. @ 1:53
    Should have been Friedal.

  54. @Henristic at 1.39pm

    Re: Hazard or Gervinho/Benzema

    “who would you go for if the price wasn’t an issue”

    Henristic, a pointless and irrellevent question…. we can all dream but is it of any value to put a dream on here?

  55. In the session with AST there was letter read out purporting to be from a 70 year old supporter who claims that in all his years of supporting the club, this season was the first time that he had seen players not give a 100% in games. He went on to suggest that in all the previous seasons even if the players were not as good as we have now they always gave their best in every game for the Arsenal. Bollocks.

    You see this has become received wisdom.

    Never before have we had such poor support. Never before has Arsenal Football Club had supporters who would rather believe the press and media than their own club. Not one of the so-called supporters clubs associated with the club sees itself as having any responsibility whatsoever for rallying support, only for standing up for supporters rights.

    In the session last night IG made several very important points. The first was that any divisions between us, and he was referring to the club and its supporters, can only be bad for us. The next was in reference to season ticket holders who do not occupy their seats from one week to the next in a point about number of seats sold vs number of seats occupied. ‘Every empty seat is a minor crisis’. He was right and he will do his best to address it. Our supporters won’t though. Not one AST member asked last night what we as supporters can do to help. Not one.

  56. @ Dgob
    Most on this sight do provide merited perspective, even if you fancy another position – we ALL are Arsenal supporters that care about the club.

    I would love the see the club win silverware (sooner than later); but as disappointing as we finished the past season(s), there are many positives that give us hope for getting to that next plateau.

  57. Dexter,

    I don’t care about last season, but if the club does bid for players, it’s not very helpful if people say that the club did not. That is relevant to whatever might be happening at AFC at this moment, over the Summer.

    So,
    What we know: Last summer AFC bid for

    a) Reina +£15M bid. Thanks to the saucy Bob Wilson.
    b) MS. Not released as they couldn’t find a player to cover, Given deal fell through late, and that left MS stuck at Fulham. According to MS himself.

    c) Like many I’m happy with The Two Poles after this past season. Friedal? Dunno, but the Scum would probably be better off with Cudicini.

    HTH.

  58. “Never before has Arsenal Football Club had supporters who would rather believe the press and media than their own club.”

    e.g. the reaction to the MS and Reina transfer bids above.

  59. An ‘us and them’ mentality has grown between the club and its supporters these past few seasons. BOTH ‘sides’ have to change that. The enemy are the press and media. The enemy are other clubs and their supporters. The enemy are the football establishment. Sure the Board need to manage better, sure the players need to win more, but equally our supporters need to support more instead of fucking whinging.

  60. Jesus what do you expect a 70 year old supporter to say. I am surrounded by 70 year old people and they moan about fucking everything. The even older ones would have you believe that it was all so much better in the war.

  61. Bradys right foot

    Anyone who doesn’t rate Clichy think again, excellant article by the way.

    http://www.anfieldindex.com/2685/liverpool-fc-transfer-scouting-stats-left-backs.html

  62. Firstly I would like to say “fuck you very much sky utd news” and all companies that are affiliated with you.

    They must of interviewed about 30 so called Arsenal fans outside afterwards. They then edit it down to the few who have been sucking on their cock flavoured negative lolly pop so they can sit back and laugh at how gullible some Arsenal fans can be.

    I have to say that I didn’t like how Ivan Gazidis, conducted the whole thing and he left a sour feeling with me regarding Wenger. They sort of leave the whole world thinking that the entire club us run by Wenger and they take their orders from him which isn’t nowhere near the case.

    And they know that Wenger is too much of a Gentleman to say “This is their fault why this and that happened” or “I’m not taking all the flak for this lot any more while they sit up aloft counting sterling”.

    Ivan’s, statements have now been translated as “Wenger: the fans will decide your future”. Feeding more bullshit and handing out more lolly’s for whoever is prepared to suck em.

    I have never like any board or big table where people sit down count £s, judge and then come out every now and again like it’s them who has been doing all the hard work.

    Just looked like they enjoyed their 5 mins of fame on TV to me and knowing that Wenger is too much of a gent and won’t say anything they are taking the piss.

  63. A few stout-hearted jolly people is what we need now. Otherwise we will all come unstuck and that’s a fact.

  64. Arsesession,

    “Most on this sight do provide merited perspective, even if you fancy another position – we ALL are Arsenal supporters that care about the club.”

    I’m not certain where this comes from or how it relates to any of my comments. Any clarification appreciated.

  65. What sort of fucking shit for brains supporter would allow himself to be interviewed by the press after an event like that?

  66. I will add one thing,

    Who the fuck cares whether Arsenal announce the attendance as bums on seats or tickets sold? I cannot believe anyone is so anal that this perplexes them. I cannot believe that, with the opportunity to ask a pertinent question of the CEO, all they could come with was a question about how the club calculates the attendance.

    I wish that this was the most pressing issue facing the club.

    YW

  67. Frank | June 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    The media are dam good at what they do and they had me wrapped up for years but, when one does wake up to what is going on you firstly feel very stupid and secondly you ask yourself “why didn’t I see this before?”.

    Fans have been split for a few years now which is very sad.

  68. Yogi,

    Absolutely. My jaw fell open when that character asked his prolonged question – worse still, when he sited that as an indication if the clubs ‘dishinesty’!

    Sheesh

  69. ‘Dishonesty’ not ‘dishinesty’ (unless he was drunk)

  70. They all clapped like performing seals when the fellow asked that question.

  71. Arsesession | June 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Too right. Fully agree.

    There’s going to be a breakaway “Athletic Arsenal FC” or some shit if this keeps up.

    Fuck sky.

  72. Great post Yogi:

    You are right when you say that if you are not winning trophies at Arsenal’s level then the model is not successful.

    Henristic:

    I agree with completely with your point about adding a defensive coach. Our defensive organization has been terrible for several years. However, when our best players don’t we can compete without adding “a number of new players” its hard to argue. Cesc has also talked about adding players. At the least these sentiments become a self fullfilling prophecy if they are not addressed. Making some significant additions to the squad this summer could do wonders for the mood of the players and the fans. Its become obvious that the players focus on new signings or the lack of them as much as the fans.

    I don’t think we are that far away but the squad needs more of a balance between the technical skill which we have bags off and the physical strength, organization and determination which we sorely lack. The club is giving lip service to the need to make some changes and I hope they follow thru. Keeping Nasri will be expensive and keeping Cesc difficult but I think its critical to squad mental health as is adding 3 -4 new players who can compete or slot into the first team.

  73. Northbank,
    Isn’t everything we do here pointless and irrelevant? Hasn’t stopped you posting has it?

  74. Henristic

    Given the choice between those 3 players, i still havent got a clue! But seeing as how gervinho can operate on either flank as well as upfront, he sems the most versatile.

  75. Bill,
    I don’t disagree that a few marquee signing can also help to address some of our problems, and lift the mood of everone. It will certainly lift my mood for sure. I’m just more concerned about what I believe to be underlying issues. Might be wrong of course.

  76. Dexter,

    “seeing as how gervinho can operate on either flank as well as upfront” that might explain his three personalities to which Yogi refers.

  77. Thats a fair point Dexter, although I’d personally go for quality over versatality and choose Benzema, not that you asked.

    I think we have quite a number of versatile players already.

  78. Dgob

    Haha! That must be it! 😀

  79. It was the wrong question but it did prompt IG to give us an update on the planned improvements to the Ticket Exchange. That’s something I was very glad AFC would be putting some resources toward when they mentioned it this time last year. The update is that these things take a long time because we’re waiting for the technology to develop, and that they’re still looking into it. Bit disappointed there isn’t some sort of plan in place yet but I understand it’s a complex problem to solve and I’m satisfied that it’s a real concern of AFC. ‘Each empty seat is a mini tragedy’, as Frank says. I’m sure some initiatives will be in the pipeline soon to ease those tickets into the right hands come matchday.

  80. Goonerton @2.04pm

    Let ’em. Nobody will miss them if they go and play at being a football club.

    YW

  81. Henristic;

    We could do with some cover/competition upfront and out wide. Thats either 2 new signings, or 1 versatile player. We dont know how good Gervinho, or Hazard are, especially in the Prem, wj#hile benzema (who i rate) hasnt done anything of note for several seasons and can only really play upfront, well, to my knowledge anyway.

  82. I thought he did a good job on circling the wagons – fuck the bullshitting media trying to break us in two, and fuck you if you fall in with their bullshit because that makes you even worse.

  83. Finsbury:

    No matter why the whole Schwarzer deal fell apart it was a huge mistake to start last season with Almunia as our #1 keeper. The boss clearly did not trust him. No matter how well you think our Polish keepers ended up playing the fact that we started the season completely unsettled in the position that can lose games more quickly then any other on the pitch certainly could not have been lost on the players. That situation should never have festered all thru the summer and then ended with nothing being done. I admit that bringing a GK last summer would have cost money and probably would have been a short term solution but club needs to start making some allowances for the importance of the short term.

  84. Yes mini tragedy, LA. Nice take on that. I am sure it will work out eventually. His comments about the press and media ‘spin’ media were very pointed. Unbelievable that AST members would then go and get themselves interviewed.

  85. spin media spin media spin. I can do this I know I can.

  86. Henristic @ 2:39:

    Unfortunately all the signings in the world will not make fix the problems without a change in the underlying issues. Both sides of the equation need work. Hoping for some additions to the coaching probably not realistic. Plenty of brainpower on the current staff just need to make some philosophical compromises and actually pay more then lip service to addressing the real issues.

  87. What the fuck does that mean , Bill?

  88. I am surprised to say that I agree, almost entirely, with Jabba’s delights at 12.14.

    I was sat next to the guy from Cornwall who asked the first question. He didn’t get the answer that he wanted, that is that Arsene and Clichy are shit, and spent the rest of the meeting writing copious notes and muttering aggressively. If, as he claims, he attends all home matches and most away matches, he can’t do much for the players’ morale. Also, he might not last another season.

    I thought one of the more interesting comments by IG was that almost all season tickets had been renewed and that the lack of turnover of season tickets was something that worried them. It seems to me that many of the ageing fans don’t sing or cheer the team and mutter or groan when their disliked players are involved. What is even worse, many of them seem to bring their grandchildren and expect them to behave the same way.

    It’s clear that the Board want to expand the number of people attending games but season tickets and the membership schemes limit this.

  89. Brady’s Right Foot: Thankyou for the article on Clichy. He certainly is worth all of the dosh that we currently pay him and likely more. There is no way that Clichy should be leaving Arsenal! He is one of the few older salts that is in the team and that the younger players need never mind his tireless work as a defender.

  90. In my experience there is no particular age profile for those who sing or don’t sing. I have seen and heard all ages getting stuck in. Same goes for booing.

  91. george rodger

    mmmm? Clichy egh?
    Now someone scoffed when I suggested that there was an argument to be had ,that he was the best left back in the league.
    Can anyone help me remember who scoffed?
    Not that I want to gloat or any such thing.

  92. People who scoff are beneath contempt. Oh bugger.

  93. Excellent stats, btw, BRF. Well spotted.

  94. Jabba's delights

    George

    You didnt suggest their was an argument to be had, you were rude to anyone who suggested Baines might be a better option , i think ”thick” was the word you kept using. That being said even though most wouldnt say Clichy is the best lb in the league i think you will find nearly everyone saying he is a great servent to the club. I absolutley hated that bloke last night calling out his name like that. Anyway the argument is done to death and we have been arguing almost the same points today which one could call a truce of sorts!!

    Frank

    I completely agree with regards to there being no age profile as to who sings or who boo’s. I also feel that improvements to the exchange is hugely important to the club. There is a massive fanbase out there desperate to go to games and who would be hugely excited on any matchday. Unlocking the gate to get those fans in could be a great way of bettering the atmosphere. The u18 game vs utd 3 years ago along with carling cup games in recent years prove this.

    If we keep Nasri, Clichy and Cesc can anyone see us signing anythign other than a cb and attacker? Or might those to big signingns just be supplemented with some youngsters.

    In a lot more positive mood about the summer due to IG same was true last summer after this meeting but i think its different this time.

  95. If Samir, Cesc and Gael stay it will be fantastic. I think they will. As for signings, I will leave that to those who know.

  96. George it was probably one of those “objective analyst, I view things realistically types.” I’m sure many of us new the importance of Clichy and much he brings to the team. I for one am willing to look past Gael fucking up once or twice and focus on how much he kicks arse. Gael should be valued around at least 15 mil.

  97. I’m off on my travels now. Interested to see how the close season pans out. Wish I was going to see some of the games on the Asia tour. Just Europe for me.

    Robin van Persie….clickclickclick….Robin van Persie….clickclickclick

    Waaaan Arsene Wenger…theres only waaan Arsene Wenger…Waaan Arsene Weeeennnnggggeeerrrr….there’s only waaann Arsene Wenger

    ……..Arsenal……

  98. @ Dgob 1:42
    was agreeing with your observation for this sight…….

  99. Borges Spinelli

    Nothing of significance has occured since my self-imposed hiatus. Apart from the recurring name of un Ivoirien player. According to the rumor mill, deal is as good as done.

    Hmm…

    If i\’m honest, i\’m not elated at the increasing possibility of this Little Gervi dude signing for us. Surely, the Arsenal can attract much better talent, than he offers, to its team roster.

  100. george rodger

    William how did you like the Bergkamp video?

  101. Arsesession,

    Thanks for clarifying my confusion.

  102. Watching Dennis lob the ball over goalies from all over the 18 yd box is breathtaking. That guy was truly an artist performing on a football pitch. Kinda like Arshavin, RVP, Fabregas, Rosicky and the whole lot of em.

  103. Jabba's delights

    Borges Spinelli

    I’m sure we can get bigger names, but that doesnt mean necassarily they are better suited to the role that they are needed for

    It must be said my knowledge of him is quite youtube based but he looks exciting and one of the main areas that i wanted us to improve was in attack with someone who was more direct and wasnt always looking to come short to receive the ball but would try and get behind the opposition and keep his width.

    He is different to the attackers we currently have. He is quick has brilliant dribbling ability can play on either wing and up front and would probably come at the right price and right wages.

  104. Jabba— quick with brilliant dribbling ability, plays either wing or upfront. Enter Andrey Arshavin.

  105. Jabba's delights

    William

    I dont think our Andrei is that quick or strong though. I think Arshavin is more of a creator who has to play on the wing. I lost count of the amount of times in the last year or 2 that Andrei has struggled to beat his man or has dropped short to receive the ball rather than try and get behind the opposition. I love the little fella but he is a hole player being played outwide as is Samir. This guy 1st port of call is on the wing. Would give us great options in attack

  106. Spot on Jabba.
    Lets get a player that actually plays in the position we need , not another conversion. We have 3 players that want to play in the hole. Lets get one that wants to play out wide( or is at least happy there)

  107. I watched Gervinho mostly in the WC and I must say he looked a dangerous player thats for sure.

  108. Borges……. Adebayor looked like a lanky dude too and then scored 25 goals, it’s how Arsene turns his ON switch.

  109. To be honest I have not seen any of him but if Wenger thinks he is mustard the I will be happy with his signing. I would have really liked Alvarez but that seems to have been just a media roumour.

  110. george rodger

    How fucking daft is Pearse?
    He thinks that Spain scoring first gave them an advantage.
    Lol,no shit Sherlock.

  111. If you actually just read the headlines on News Now, you would think no one will come out alive of this transfer window.

  112. Bon voyage, Frank. Go forth and give ’em hell. Send us an e-postcard if you happen across a bit of wi-fi on some shady piazza.

    2,000 extra tickets per home game for Red Members next season. So the ticketing lot are doing something right.

  113. yeh George, scoring goals has a funny way of giving a team an advantage.

  114. I don’t mind if Gervinho is signed, but what happens when he and Chamakh leave in january for the ACN – a month long tournament.

  115. Someone please kill the c*nts responsible for that Arsenal A*tion blog? It wouldn’t surprise me if its a bunch of chavs or spuds on a massive wind up.

  116. “We have a very low… extremely low…. non-renewal rate. One, frankly, that may even be unhealthily low.”

    What’s he saying here? Out with the old codgers, in with the new blood? Bunch of old grouches clogging up the stands with their pissing and moaning? I think he is you know….

    Up with the Red Members!

    Seriously though, those scare-mongers (a good few on here in the last weeks of the season) bollocking on about emptying stands and shrinking waiting lists were, predictably, talking a load of panicky old tripe. Don’t believe the The Miserablists – ever.

    Forward!

  117. I’m almost certain it’s exactly that, Dexter.

  118. LA,

    You can blame legrove for that nonsense, i finally got to see one of the writers yesterday and true to form he’s tried to twist what Gazidis said to get a sensational story out of it.

  119. “I don’t mind if Gervinho is signed, but what happens when he and Chamakh leave in january for the ACN – a month long tournament.”

    RVP and Carlos Vela?

  120. Could possibly play Walcott too Ateeb.

  121. Saw the England U-21 game against Spain just now. England conceding from a set piece, against arguably the shortest team in the competition, was rather funny. It seems that height doesn’t ensure air-tight defending from set pieces.

  122. A lot of arseholes asking questions at this AST. Not all, but a lot.

    Fucking hell…. speaking of arseholes at the AST…. “Pete from Le Grove.co.uk” (nasty looking cunt. All twitching nostrils and eyes that won’t keep still. Shifty fucker.) “Who is Arsene Wenger accountable to?” He’s accountable to Arsenal Football Club and all the many millions across the globe who sail with her. More accountability than you will ever know or even comprehend. Don’t like it, fuck off.

  123. Clichy has done his time, however, the last two seasons he has gradually fallen short of the desired requirement needed for left back. We have Gibbs ready to come through and I believe he will be enormous.

    @Henristic………….. sorry I didn’t get back to your last post, but my suggestion was, why fantasize about players at silly prices! Wenger is astute in the transfer market and he doesn’t want other teams knowing who he is targeting. I wasn’t trying to be #george word# obtuse or insulting;

    @Frank
    Bon vacance mate, enjoy yourself at the ‘Isle of Wight’ retirement home for two week holidays. The social workers will look after you, empty your catheta, wipe your bum, spoon feed you, all on the national health. Can’t be bad mate;

  124. Borges Spinelli | June 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    If it does happen I can’t wait to see Gervinho, shine and remind us of a particular legend called Henry.

    Then I can’t wait to see the joyful post you hypocrites will be putting up here about said Gervinho.
    Have you seen any clips of his play and goals or you just one that likes to follow and nod your head to the beat?

    Indeed he has a astronomical forehead but, please tell me and everybody else what the flying fuck that has to do with his quality that he may provide that may more than ease the burden on Van Persie?

  125. Paul,

    Oh yes, and Theo has got a point to prove there too.

  126. I imagine his heading ability is 2nd to none Goonerton.

  127. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Glad to see you’re back in posting form, shotta.

    I see Bill is still boring as ever. Philosophical changes and a full transformation into a Chelski or Man United or bust it seems with him.

    I’ve seen Gervinho play a handful or so times club and country and I think he’d do well with us. Just my useless opinion. I’m sure Wenger has it sorted, though.

  128. Rvp’s injury record isn’t the greatest (knock on wood) and Vela hasn’t taken his chances when offered them, so at this point its a bit premature to count on Vela and Van Persie staying fit for a whole campaign.

  129. IF we signed Gervinho and its still an IF, he is there to compliment and improve the squad. If he went off to the ACN with Chamakh, then barring injuries, the players that would be left to fill in would be RvP, Theo, Arshavin and possibly Vela. WE may also sign a striker as well.

  130. Northbank1969 | June 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    “Clichy has done his time, how however, the last two seasons he has gradually fallen short of the desired requirement needed for left back. We have Gibbs ready to come through and I believe he will be enormous”.

    Dam good point and you got the time of his lazy marking tactics right on the button. I think it’s down to not having anybody pushing him for his place. When he got injured a couple of season back and Gibbs came in and was on a decent run even when Clichy, returned to fitness until he himself got injured again and hasn’t really been the same since.

    Clichy, is one of the best Left Backs in the Prem but, he switches off too regular of late and got targeted a lot during the last 3 months of last season. I don’t fancy him at one on ones like I use to.

  131. If Gervinho signs we’ll officially be the club with players that have funky hairstyles – Sagna, Song, Chamakh, Djourou…LOL.

  132. Colney, I dont think Vela has gotten that much of a chance really, the guy needs a good run of games and I believe he would produce.

  133. Randy Lerner’s been a pretty good owner up till now, but his ambition to sign McLeish is strange as hell? Itslike our board going for twitchy! Ewwwwwwwww! Puke

  134. I agree with Paul. Vela hasn’t got his chances, for whatever reasons. What if he pulls a theo next season? 12 goals from him would be an amazing start.

  135. Bit harsh on Vela. Thinking about it, we can’t really say he’s not up to it or anything because he hasn’t been given the chance and when he did get a go he was nervous with every touch because he’s worrying too much.

    Anybody who was there to witness or can remember his first full game v shef utd can’t say they wasn’t excited at Wenger finding a player like that. His chip and all round play that night was world class.

    You don’t lose that overnight.

  136. Ateeb | June 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    That’s what I’m thinking.

  137. colney | June 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Song’s, hairstyle isn’t funky it’s shit and looks like he done it himself and fucked it up proper.
    Hate seeing it.

  138. For he’s a good Vela

  139. Dexter

    He should be busting the fucking net with headers but, they say

  140. Jones and Smalling were atrocious with ball at feet. If they can’t handle the pressing from a mediocre Spain under 21, how will they do in the league? Hoofball is on the menu at Manure if Vidic or Ferdinand get injured for any amount of time, I’m afraid.

    Henderson looked quite a few notches below par even while playing against his contemporaries. He looked nowhere near as good as Spain’s number four by a sizeable margin. Nice buy Liverpool.

  141. (continued)

    in France heading isn’t his strong point.

  142. There’s even transfer talk of us on CNN.
    fuck me.

  143. Despite the evidence shown to the contrary, some still think Clichy is past it? Unbelievable.

  144. “He wants to go and has developed contacts with Arsenal” – Frederic Paquet on Gervinho.

    Guess that means they are chatting at least. Now onto looking at some CBs.

  145. @G4E

    I think you mean, “for he’s a jolly good Vela” LOL

  146. Vela, that is one player I would like to see succeed at arsenal. I never tire of watching his goal celebrations when he scores one of those delightful chips.

    I bet he would have broken some sort of goals-by-chipping record by now if he was a regular starter for us.

  147. Gainsbourg69 | June 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    No way near past it as he still has much more in his locker to offer but, I just think he’s one of them players who play to a higher level when he knows there’s somebody on the bench or squad who can take his place if he starts slipping.

  148. Northbank,

    Thanks for your 7.21 post. You’re right in that sense that there’s no point fantasizing about these things. One can’t always help it though. Its the nature of fans I guess….

  149. @Gainsboirg69 and @Goonerton

    Clichy is finished at the Arsenal. The last two seasons he has really gone downhill! He’s been at the club for how long, 6/7 seasons, long serving, loyal, and in the beginning a good left back. But in those years he hasn’t won a trophey, imagine how he feels. When he joined arsenal it was on the back of the ‘invincibles’, they’d practically won everything possible apart from the CL…. came into the team and since then, one CL final and one CC final, both lost, how do you think he feels, I have a lot of sympathy for him wanting to leave, let Livers buy him for a good price, bring in Gibbs and a new buy at left back.

  150. PS: we’ve also just bought Jenkinson, whose ambition is to emulate tony adams……….. that’s good enough for me, adams was his role model, who elso in the team do we have who wants to do a tony… no one. And, he can play right across the back four, likes to attack, and doesn’t have a bad cross on him.

  151. Fingers crossed on Vela i really hope he does well, he’s a very good finisher.

  152. Uhoh – I don’t know much about how transfers work, but I can’t imagine Sagna’s doing any Arsenal any favours by apparently telling the world that Cesc wants to leave. Someone should talk to him:

  153. @henristic at 8.08pm

    of course, we all fantasize, a few years back I really wanted Zidane in the side… but it was only a dream. Nasri could still be the new Zidane but he needs to discover loyalty. Perhps he has and is just demanding that Wenger brings in some new, experienced players. I would prefer that to just a wage demand!

  154. Northbank1969, thanks 🙂 that’s what I meant. Although just good Vela works too.

  155. Anyone know much about this Alex Miosevic chappie weve been linked with?

  156. new arsenal song for if Vela makes the first team.

    ‘For he’s a jolly good Vela’
    ‘For he’s a jolly good Vela’
    For he’s a jolly good Veeeelllaaaaaaaa!’
    AND SO SAY ALL OF US……………………… ARSENAL

  157. OOU – I will wait for Sagna’s denial on Arsenal.com

  158. george rodger

    colney.were you not sitting near enough to le grover to punch him?
    Opportunity missed me thinks.

  159. Looks like it was a radio interview, Colney, so that could make a denial quite tricky…You’d think Sagna might have better things to do on his holiday.

  160. George Rodger – I don’t advocate violence, and i don’t live in the UK so even if i had the chance to punch him i would not have taken it. I watched the the exchange on Arsenal.com, i paid particular attention to him because i wanted to see what he looked like and also because he was making a lot of noise on twitter during the Q&A about everyone applauding him, but when i watched the video it wasn’t the case.

    He claims when he asked his question about who Arsene is accountable to people jeered the manager’s name but i can tell you from the video it more like laughter not jeering.

  161. george rodger

    colney,just kidding about punching him,
    Although he definitely would deserve it

  162. Why is that Arsenal players are linked to all of these comments?

  163. OOU, the part of his comments that is not getting much publicity is “At the moment, however, he is still Arsenal’s captain.” The rest, the world and his wife knows, but until BBB pay us what he’s worth, Arsene has made it clear that he’s going nowhere.

  164. Media wants to keep us fighting amongst ourselves. If they succeed in tearing apart the club and we have a poor campaign next time around, King Daglish’s mad spending will be vindicated, Spurs will still be Spurs.

  165. G69:

    I was hoping the NBA finals would go 7 games but I’m glad Dallas won. Miami probably has lots of championships in years to come. Lebron taking a lot of grief from the media but I suspect he will come back stronger.

  166. Bill I don’t understand how you can feel compassion for that wank Lebron James. He said “tomorro i wake up and still get to be Lebron James, and all you have to get up and go to work blah blah blah.” Fuck him, honestly.
    It was a great series though, each match went deep into the 4th quarter before a team pulled away.

  167. Look at Arsenal A^tion writer’s initials they stand for: Bull Shit Talk

  168. Interesting quote from Arseblog’s report of the AST Review;

    In 2001, my season ticket rose by 23.5%. But hang on? Wasn’t David Dein our vice-Chairman then? Surely the great philanthropist of N5 did not but fart perfume?

  169. george rodger

    good morning creepy 🙂

  170. Borges Spinelli

    Sorry, i missed all of the above comments.

    The first i saw of Gervinho was at the last World Cup. He started against Portugal and gave Ferreira & Carvalho a torrid time. Didn’t start against Brasil; came on as sub in his nation’s final game against North Korea. By the time he came on, pretty much any half-decent player would have had similar impact against a pallid opposition.

    Comparisons with Thierry Henry is over stepping the mark. They’re opposites in style of play, skill level, temperament and as well physically. While Henry is tall, Gervinho, as his alias suggests, isn’t so. Only similarites i can deduce from the pair are:

    Both are francophiles, black and have an ability to run at speed at defenders with the ball.

    {Shakes head}
    Is this all it takes to play for Arsenal? Could Little Gervi be the missing link in the dressing room? Não!!!!!!!!!

    Givanildo Vieira de Souza , better known as Hulk, can do what Gervinho does better and scores more goals, too.

  171. AFC:

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

    Win something for g… sake!

    Enough of all the bs!

  172. Borges Spinelli

    Jerk off, why don’t you go and gaze at the stars for the answers to your future

    @Copernicus

  173. ahahah good one Borges.

  174. Yes, Sagna did well at the end there, Passenal. Still, if the Catalan sports press get their way then Cesc won’t need Arsenal teammates to tell us he wants to go to Barcelona; he’ll be doing it himself at one of many launches and other public appearances in Spain this week.

  175. Anyone seen this from guardian.co.uk?

    ” If Usmanov’s offer takes his stake beyond 30%, he will under Premier League rules have the same access to management accounts as any director. And that will mean seeing the wages paid to Cesc Fábregas, Robin van Persie and every other Arsenal player.

    When the Premier League rules were written it is unlikely that an intended consequence was to open such access to accounts to minority shareholders whose relationship with their club’s owner might be described as strained at best.

    However, it is clear that Usmanov will be able to use the rules to gain more insight into the workings of the club than any other fan. The rules state that anyone with a stake of more than 30% is considered to exercise “control” over a club’s policies, affairs or management. This confers the right to have access to “brief particulars of each material transaction sufficient to identify its date, its amount and nature”. These “material transactions” include all transfer fees, player remuneration and payments to agents and other third parties.
    Usmanov is said to believe that by taking his stake above 30% he can “make sure things are done properly”.

  176. On Vela,

    Although I admire and have no doubts about his technical skills, I’m not certain if he’ll make it. Why?

    Because to not have been able to cement his place in WBA’s starting eleven must be viewed as a problem. I’m also worried about his physical strength: he seems too easily dislodged from the ball by sheer physical pressure and that, in the EPL, is a major problem.

    Whether Arsene would choose to keep him and play him in a kind of inverted DB10 role (meaning only/predominantly playing him in the European fixtures where his abilities would be most effective) I cannot say. Although his lack of recent exposure might mean that selling him at present would be difficult or unprofitable.

    I’d hope to be wrong and see him turn things around this season but there you are.

  177. A little late of me, but great post Yogi!

  178. I now don’t believe Clichy will in fact leave this great club, but he might still. Liverpool’s offer was ridiculous, nor will we sell to a top EPL contender. Anyway, I hear we are looking at left backs, but I believe Gibbs will make it (although he too had a dodgy season). Look I’m drooling by what I see unfolding. With Vermaelen back, and hopefully Samba in, we start to look exceptional at the back. Samba and Djourou are our back-ups. Carl and Skilacci are our back-back ups. Then there is Miguel and Bartley. Between Chewie and Fab, plus Almunia if he stays, I think we have the best keeper department in the EPL 2011-12.

    Nasri ain’t going nowhere, and neither is Cesc; not yet anyways. The midfield is strong, and Ramsey’s return is the key here. There are six absolutely top players here, and Rosicky is probably the weakest. Plus Nasri. Plus the fallback DMs.

    Gervinho I hope is coming in, and it looks so by comments. He is a straight replacement for Bendtner and crucially plays down the sides. And up top we begin to see RvP, Arsh, Theo, Nasri, Chamakh, Gervinho, Vela.

  179. Henristic @9.03am

    Indeed I have and its covered in today’s post!

    YW

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