One Of Us Speaks: This Time It’s For Real

It’s Friday and I’m taking on the full breathtaking incompetence of the education system in the UK. Big Al’s got it worse, he’s taking on cynicism. And winning.

Oh, so you thought that was the best we could do? Nah, we were just limbering up.

Now it all makes sense – no wonder you were making such a fuss about us. Don’t worry; we aren’t going to be like that every week. I mean, 8-2? Come on. We were just seeing how well we could do without most of our first team players. That’s why we left everything so late on the transfer front.

And that dust up on the first day? Song and Gervinho were just showing the rest of the team how not to respond to Smiths fans. Manchester two weeks ago? Lulling them into a false sense of security. We can’t believe everyone’s fallen for it really.

Seriously though, we’re about to get started, but for real this time. Let’s have a look at the squad we’re taking into this campaign:

Goalkeeper is perhaps our most settled position – Szczesny, Fabianski and Mannone is a hierarchy that doesn’t look like changing much at the moment.

Moving on, this was AW just a few weeks ago on the left-back position:

I rate Gael very highly but I rate highly as well Kieran Gibbs, and he is now at an age where he has to play. And that’s the main reason behind that; to give Gibbs a chance.

Another niggling injury later, and it looks like Gibbs’ big chance amounted to a few preseason matches and around 100 minutes of competitive football. It’s probably safe to assume that André Santos, a player with more than 20 caps for Brazil is going to be ahead of him. And about 30 yards in front of the rest of our defenders and midfielders.

Gibbs’ injury problems might have influenced the decision to sign Santos but the paucity of backup was also a factor. In hindsight it seems likely that we’d been giving Traoré a chance to prove himself on his return from Juventus. I think he came through quite well, don’t you?

There is still a place on the bench for Kieran, perhaps a little harsh following AW’s firm vote of confidence in July. Behind him in this role will be Vermaelen, and then Sagna. But don’t worry – we’ll never suffer enough injuries to force our first-choice right-back to change sides. OK, yeah, but it was just that one time.

On the other flank, there’s no such threat to Sagna’s first-team status; he’s one of our heroes, and vital for continuity in a backline that has once again undergone all kinds of changes. Carl Jenkinson will offer backup, but given our recent signing at centre-half, it might be possible that Laurent Koscielny will deputise on crunch matches when more players are fit…

Per Mertesacker brings unprecedented physicality, tons of experience and affords us a degree of flexibility in selection. If indeed he is more comfortable in a deeper backline then I like the idea of him as an away specialist, when we can’t afford to be as aggressive. At home when we squeeze teams, Koscielny and Vermaelen still appear to be the ideal partnership. After a decent season Djourou is back to square one, and will have to be absolutely focussed when his next chance comes should he want any extended game time this year.

In holding midfield Alex Song is practically undroppable, Frimpong is the understudy who could certainly learn a thing or two about positioning from his teammate. Diaby has been known to play in the deepest midfield position, while Coquelin could also be an option if he stays with the squad – the scoreline against ManU wasn’t a fair reflection of his performance. Cameroon’s failure to qualify for the ACN means January shouldn’t bite as hard as feared. If Frimpong plays for Ghana, he could return a more valuable player for our run-in.

Say we stick with the same formation as last season, Wilshere, Ramsey, Diaby and Frimpong – maybe in that order – should be our main candidates for box-to-box role, with the bulk of the recent changes happening further forward. At the apex of our midfield we’ll most likely see Arteta, with occasional games here for Wilshere and Rosicky. Benayoun would be happiest in this position, and on Monday night Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looked very comfortable when he was shifted inside.

In truth, both players will get more minutes in wider areas, where they’ll compete with Walcott on the right and Arshavin on the left. Gervinho will probably make the most appearances of our wide forwards, and when he plays it looks like he’ll be popping up right across the frontline. Park Chu-Young may need time to adapt, but when ready will get game-time on the left and in the middle.

In the centre Robin van Persie is king. As captain there can be no pretenders to his throne, but Park, Afobe and Chamakh will have duties to fulfill down the line. The latter remains an interesting alternative, but surely needs to train his way back into Wenger’s plans.

Here’s a couple more thoughts I couldn’t cram in:

It’s great for us that Spain is the land of the attacking-midfielder right now. It means that one of our most important and potentially fragile players will get much-needed rests during international breaks throughout the season.

Meanwhile, Stuart Pearce is a prize twit – we know this. But he does tend to reserve the highest praise for players of real potential. It’s safe to say that Arsenal fans still don’t know too much about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but if England decide he’s too good for u21 level then he could become a regular for Arsenal much sooner than expected.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 9, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 201 Comments.

  1. Sedetganw Degafi

    Second, good post. I would not rush Met on Saturday. Play Ignel and Kos. Give time for Met to adjust and learn the arsenal way. Start with him on Tuesday in Germany.

  2. Nice post Yogi and an early one.Managed to clinch first today (I’m on a night shift anyway).I’ll prize this moment for the rest of me days!
    Gibbs has tons of potential and I know he’ll come good for Arsenal.A bit of ‘bulking up’ wouldn’t do him any harm.He also comes across as a very level headed kid and he’ll do the Arsenal brand a lot of good in being a good role model to many youngsters.
    On strikers,I’m hoping LeBoss gives Theo a central striking role.I think its overdue and on the face of recent performances,he’s earned it.
    He could play off RVP or they switch roles intermittently.
    Whichever way I’m looking forward to the game against Swansea and Tuesday in the CL.Have a great day.

  3. Great post as usual. Lets get the real football roll..

  4. Nice post but you never mentioned Ryo Miyaichi, I think he may be the surprise of the season for the Arsenal.

  5. Nice one Al. We have started fast and faded in recent years. I wonder if this time it’ll be the reverse?

  6. Well done OOU,

    I agree with irishgray that Ryo is going to play a major role this season. A lot will depend on how well Theo does in stepping up his game (wing or through the centre). If his impact does not become major ‘and’ consistent, I see the Ox and Ryo being given more time than they might currently expect. That could end up with a line up along the lines of:

    Sanga, PM4, TV5, Santos (or Gibbs)
    Song (or Frimpong, Diaby or Coquelin)
    Theo (Or Ox), Gervinho, Arshavin (or Ryo)
    RvP, Chamakh (or Park)

    The options to play Theo up with Robin and the Ox on the right is also there: as is the option to play Gervinho up there and have Theo coming through the centre in midfield. I think the speed that these options afford signals a major change in our current resources (compared to recent sides). Of course that’s all when the players are available again and no use this weekend.

  7. Oh yes,

    And it’s dependent on the FA giving us compensation to start with 12 players!!

  8. Let’s try again:

    Sanga, PM4, TV5, Santos
    Wilshere, Ramsey
    Theo, Gervinho


    Jenkinson, Kos, Djourou, Gibbs
    Benayoun, Rosicky
    Ox, Miyaichi

    Gosh, I’ve just realised that Arsene’s got some major thinking to do to decide a first eleven.

  9. Still can’t count (Ramsey sits this one out)!

  10. Good write up OOU. Summed the team up well I thought.

  11. DGob – Heh, you sure would make a sneaky manager. And I agree that that would be the 1st choice 11 if everybody is fit I think.

  12. I love to start the day with a good read … thanks.

    I think Gibbs will learn a lot this season, mostly because I see him developing as a left-sided midfielder. As long as Santos stays fit I would hope Gibbs will be used a sub just ahead of him, not replacing him.. Particularly away from home if were are protecting a lead late on. He may even stay fit, as he seems to only get injured when tackling??

    Others have mentioned Ryo Miyaichi, and I see times a bit further on in the season when he combines with AOC against a tiring defence that will really get the crowds on their feet.. I was impressed with the latter’s ability to have one quick glance to see who is in the box … and thenput the ball in the right place! Something that has been missing?

    RVP has been quoted as wanting ‘a free role up front’. Great idea if only we had someone in the middle to receive the ball? (Why does Bendtner come to mind … Nah! Playing him in the middle …??). It could be a big opportunity for Afobe to claim a spot? If the front 3 of Gervinho, RVP, Walcott are all going to wander, as seems to be one option, it should also leave space for Arteta to attack?

    I wonder about Diaby. By the time he is fit the midfield might have sorted itself out into a pecking order that leaves him few options? If Frimpong can get through 90 mins on Saturday without a card then he could become a serious contender. If he can get the balance right week in week out it will be a great season, despite the poor start.

    I read elsewhere that for Merteshacker to play well he needs the right partner, lacking in his last match apparently? Vermaelin would have been that ideal partner, but in his absence I hope Koscielny will work against Swansea ,,, No choice, he has to play.

    Of the others, Benayoun and Park may get on as subs, depending on recovery from international travelling. Competition on the subs bench, even with our ever present injury list, is going to be strong. Apart from the above pair you have; Fabianski, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Coquelin, Miquel, AOC, Chamakh, and Afobe as a minimum. Even more when Vermaelin, Wilshere, Song, and Gervinho are all available. It should put an end to any repeat of the likes of Denilsen getting played through lack of alternatives … No excuses this time around?

  13. DGob – good try(tries).
    But is there any reason why Arshavin should leave the team and not become a competitor? (And I expect to hear many reasons 🙂 )

  14. This will be an impkrtant season for AA I think. I really like him, but he is a luxery player. For the first time since he arrived he has some serious competition for his place now, and all it takes is somebody like AOC/Park/Ryo to seize any chance they are given and he may really find himself on the outisde looking in. He needs to perform in the games that he participtaes in now more than ever.

  15. Dgob

    We’ll probably have to start with 12 if we’re ever going to finish with 11.

  16. Gah, early morning keyboard hands.

    luxery = luxury.

  17. Anyway, on to the important stuff for tomorrow:





    Sub: Fabianski/Gibbs/Djourou/Chamakh/AOC/Park/Le Coq(?)

    Wenger has said that Rosicky may be missing, and that Santos is a bit short (in which case Gibbs to start).

  18. Here we go again, the usual over-hyping of young players has started. Unless we have a spate of injuries and/or suspensions, I think the likes of Miyaichi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Frimpong and Coquelin won’t be seen much outside the domestic cups. Having added Benayoun and Arteta to the squad it pushes all of those players down the pecking order for this season, especially once Diaby gets fit as Wenger likes to play him in the Song role when Song isn’t available. I can’t fathom it myself, but that’s the way it works.

    And as for not playing Mertesacker tomorrow when our best defender is injured, pffft and pffft again.

  19. Block4 – I agree about Ryo and Coquelin, and I do agree abuot the regular over hyping of young players. I do think Frimpong and AOC will get some regular bench time though.

  20. I rather think that Arsenal will not be on television over here because their status as a team of consequence is now diminished. Ha Ha that will soon change. I will need to watch a stream if someone would kindly provide the link tomorrow morning. Regards to all.

  21. Being enthused over a player like ryo is not over hyping.he has shown what he can do with for arshavin,his days are numbered.right now,he is not even a 1st 11 player if everybody is fit.

  22. ches/fab





    that looks pretty strong overall compared to last season..even with injuries we can still field a good team..

    we look solid at gk and we havent said that going into a new season in a long while and our defence looks alot better, more depth..uptop we have more width with park more suited to the wide role than bendtner and if gervinho sets himself a target of 8 goals and 8 assists he eclipses nasris effort last season..i think he’ll get at least that little bitch wont be missed..
    with the signing of arteta and the emmergence of frimpong it ends the denilson and diaby combo in midfield ( which had a win percentage of less than 50%) enabling us to push diaby up and pack denilsons bags..we look more solid as a result..more natural..
    the cesc position is the only one that will probably have cause for concern with most ppl as he provided so many assists but it dosent worry me..with rambo and diaby slogging it out as well as arteta, jack, arshavin all being able to play there i think we are covered..
    the position that worries me is what we do if rvp is injured cos chamakh seems t have forgotten how to play football altogether, but we’ll know more as the season unfolds..

    when the majority are fit we can pick a very strong team as well as a strong bench…and when injuries kick in our strong bench will come into play and keep momentum…something we havent had in a while.. it just all needs to gel…

    im a betting put money on us retaining to four..i still think we are crying out for another wide player like hazard but weve got january to do that
    bring on swansea..lets see this team quite excited..

  23. Jon jon – Yup, that pretty much sums up the squad at the moment I think.

  24. Great post. The majority are my thoughts on the squad exactly. One thing of note is that you don’t seem to have Rosicky down for much action. Perhaps that’s true, but in my eyes that would be an awful shame. He’s looking better and better to me. Well apart from that one game, but as you say… that was just one time.

    Also side note but things have really cooled for Eastmond. Two seasons ago I thought he would be where Frimpong is now. Shame. He looked promising but obviously he is not doing something as well or right.

  25. Where are you two owls? Shame if that’s true. But don’t worry, it will all change by the new year i’m sure.

    Great stuff OOU. Thanks again.

    I don’t think the young players have been too overhyped. I really think Ryo, Frimp and Ox have the quality to play/train their way into getting more football this year. There’s no harm in believing in these young players who Wenger bought with this season in mind (as well as the future obviously). He said himself that they will have a part to play in our season this year. Anyway, it’s not as if anyone has said that they are going to single-handedly win us the league, just that they would be tricky opposition for any weary defenders in the last 20 mins of matches. Who would want 2 players, twice as fast as you, coming on at that time? No one in all honesty. As long as they aren’t being thrust in front of the world by the media, exclaiming that they are the next Ronaldo or whatever, I see no harm in building up their confidence with optimistic comments. 2 of our best young players were exposed to hype of the highest degree – Wilshere handled the hype and Cesc certainly did… No-one’s going anywhere near as overboard about these new youngsters as they did with Jack and Cesc, so don’t see what the fuss is about. Give them a chance and have some confidence in our exciting new recruits.

  26. Merlot,

    LOL. Hopefully the cards were all just part of our enthusiasm and desire to make it clear that the ‘soft’ Arsenal were no more!

  27. Andy,

    I hope Arsene agrees with your selection for tomorrow. It’s what I’d go for – niggles, fatigue and such not withstanding. Fingers crossed, we put our first marker of the season (Udinese excepted) down with a real thumping.

  28. in regards to oxo and ryo
    i think wengers brought them in early as rosicky and AA wont be here much longer
    cant see rosickys contract being renewed to be honest and i can see AA being sold to the russians before his contract is up..much like we did with nasri..
    ryo and oxo will naturally come in..but i still think hazard completes the jigsaw..
    the more wingforwards you have in a 433 the better..

  29. Gooneraside,

    I think Arshavin’s role is not really clear for us. The English game is so quick that he seems to lose possession quite often when playing in the centre and (as he said himself) he doesn’t really have a trick to beat players on the wing. If he were to play the role that he’d probably prefer (through the middle), he’d have to be able to do both of those things better than, say, Arteta or Wilshere.

    I’m just not certain really.

  30. Rosicky is being seriously underrated here. He’s had one poor game this season, baring that he has pushed and chipped away at teams like a terrier.

    90 minutes makes a hell of a lot of difference to peoples opinions. Remember when he came on against Udinese and destroyed them? Well he is that same player still. I’d chance my arm at saying that right now he has more to offer than Ramsey, Frimpong or Wilshire.

  31. Here is my team for away trips to the top teams


    Kos,….Mertesacker…..Djourou…….Tommy V




    See how they like breaking that down.

    Just kidding of coarse

  32. I think Gibbs may start since he is fit instead of Santos who apparently hasnt played much since copa America.
    Our mid/forward berths we have alot of options, everyone will surely get game ( even the so called “overhyped kids” Block4).That was sure a very long two weeks thank God real football returns tomorrow.

    Fungunner, 😀 we do have a thing for defenders dont we? I have room for the handsome Per (wink) despite me loving the other two. Speaking of which I havent seen Maria in a long time, she must be devastated that we let Vela go on loan again.

  33. Will people not start asking for the little Russian to be sold.
    If everyone is on form he is our second best player , IMO that is.

  34. els,

    I’m a big fan and oft time supporter of Thomas. As I said, it’s difficult deciding on a starting eleven but I’d see his main competitors (for a starting place) as being Arteta and Wilshere. Since his injury, I think that he has sacrificed or lost a yard and so is not the same attacking/creative player as he was when he first came in. He now (particularly against Udinese) plays more of the Song/Frimpong role. I don’t think Arsene would select him above either set of those players for the distinct tasks and so I’ve tried to consider the team that is most likely to bring us success – in my suggestions.

  35. Would help if I started by spelling his name correctly I suppose: Tomas!!

  36. Els – To be fair, that was Rosicky’s best game for a long long while. I like him, but his productivity is limited.

  37. George – “If everyone is on form he is our second best player”

    There lies his problem. His form is so inconsistant. And another factor to consider is what does he offer when not playing well? In AA’s case it is very little. If somebody like Wilshere is having a bad game he still offers a high workrate.

  38. Tomás Rosicky and Andrey Arshavin are Arsenal’s elderly statesmen. They need to stay in the team for Their experience.

    Great post PbigAl.

  39. Els & dgob – Rosicky is still an excellent player indeed. If he has lost that yard of pace, he is making up for it with effort, tackling back and technique. I agree with els to some extent in that he has more to offer at this point than Ramsey imo, in the more attacking role, but I do feel Jack needs to to start whenever fit, so would pick him ahead of Tomas when possible.

    And Dgob – about Arsh, I agree that he loses possession a lot, but that’s because he tries the audacious flicks and first time passes, turns, shots etc which are more high risk than most of our players’ tendencies. His stats show that, as much as his style can be frustrating and seem ineffective, when it works, it’s devastating and, in fact, very effective. He should definitely not be sold, and he should play as much as possible – especially with the new added incentive of keeping his place in the team.

    I’m so excited! It feels like the season is only just kicking off this weekend… Man-who?

  40. arshavin is important to this team..
    very good fitness, 35+games last year PL.. he always plays and was our second best assister..
    think him and cesc both in the top 5 in the league..
    and he scores..

    id play him centrally all day long with gervinho and hazard 🙂 or theo around him
    he has always been a wingforward but the age is kicking in so id move him inside and give the width to the leggy players who love to shuttle run..
    he’d contribute massively if we just told him to attack..probably more than cesc..

  41. goonerandy – Arsh’s workrate has improved a lot since his form dipped. Shame he can’t tackle, but he is trying much more than many give him credit for.

  42. Nice one Yogi (only joking, I know it’s OOU – the big ass title gives it away). Agree with most of this.

    Both left-backs can play a more advanced role, so I see plenty of opportunities for both of them.

    My feeling on our midfield (if we stick to 4-3-3) is that we have three positions that can be filled by a number of players and a few players who could play anywhere in midfield. 1. A ‘holding’ midfielder. 2. A box-to-box midfielder who covers when our holding mid gets forward and gets forward when he doesn’t. 3. The advanced midfielder who joins the attack on a regular basis, pulls the strings and defends from the front.



    Song is mainly a number 1. But with the emergence of Frimpong he can be a number 2 more. Frimpong, for now, is very much a number 1. Wilshere has been a number 2 until now, but the time is right for him to move to 3 from time to time. Arteta, Ramsey and Rosicky are in a similar 2/3 bracket, but the pecking order of our number 3 slot for me would be Arteta followed very closely by Wilshere. Ramsey and Rosicky for me are also great crossers so they could play the advanced wide positions too on occassion. Benayoun would be a wide man too. He can also play 3 but not sure if he’ll get the opportunity with us.

    Diaby can be any number he puts his mind to, so get back soon and stay back please!

    All in all a healthy looking midfield. We could maybe do with another number 1 (M’Vila), but we aren’t going to be held to ransom when we have the options above available, so I’ll be happy for Coquelin to be given his chances.

  43. Jonjon, he played a lot as a second forward in Russia, just behind the main striker. Free role, so did often end up out wide to be fair.. Him in behind RvP up front would be nice, but he is less of a playmaker than other in the squad so not sure how it would work for us…

  44. Dgob, In Theo we have the option to switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 instantly. Nice.

  45. I’d agree with all of that Markus.

  46. rosicky is a backup..
    hes not a creative force anymore but if we drop him deeper hes still tenacious to adapt his game and play as the czech version of scott parker..
    he’ll get games this season but i dont know if he’ll survive the revolving door philosophy when his contracts up..

    his experience will be good for the kids but as far as ability goes some of those kids are alot better..

  47. Dgob I think that TR7 would be above Frimpong at least. Using OOU’s breakdown of the 3 central midfielders I would class Rosicky as a box to box player. I completely agree that he has changed from the more attacking force he was. However that said he has always been a terrier and likes to get his foot. This often goes unnoticed as it doesn’t fit with the mold.

    I think he is still in contention for one of those 3 slots. Which just goes to show the depth we DO have there.

    Andy, well you can only judge a player on recent from. Also it wasn’t his best game for a while. He has looked good in preseason. He seems to be coming into a good run of form.
    His productivity is up. I feel like I’m in a HR meeting.

  48. Darius – Just looked at your piece on yesterdays debate on here. An interesting read.

    It would be interesting to know stats on how many “non white” people have:
    a. Applied for managerial posts.
    b. Have been unsuccesful in gaining an interview.
    c. Have attended an interview but not being given the post.

    The above numbers may shed some more light on the subject. I do accept that yesterday I looked at the situation from a very idealistic point of view. It is a subject that is close to my heart though. Racists sicken me, and I do like to thnik that despite a small minority we are beyond that type of behaviour.

  49. His productivity is up. I feel like I’m in a HR meeting.

    lol Els! As long as he’s meeting his targets, I’m happy with whatever processes he chooses to achieve those goals.

  50. I think if Hazard comes next January then I would think that He would probably bench players who aren’t really committed to Arsenal. Those players that I have mentioned before are arsharvin, rosicky and walcot. let’s face it if walnut did’nt have pace then we would’nt really need him.

  51. Its official then ,Andy thinks I am stupid.
    Otherwise he would not fell the need to tell me the blindingly obvious. 🙂
    Arshavin looks more inconsistent because he loses the ball more than others because he is being more daring and direct,
    If anyone is nasty about Andrei I will seek them out like as would deranged Ninja,

  52. we’re tweaking the system arshavin could easily play inside..
    its a 433 we play but its set up as a 4231..
    or it was last year anyway..
    but it tends to easily get moulded into a 451 by other teams when they play us and we struggle when that happens..

    it looks like we tweaking it by making it less compact and stretch it to a 4213 which is basically an interchanging 442 or a 424..which is more penetrative

    our system weve devloped ( or the system we devloped with cesc) is that it requires our ’10’ to take up a midfield position when really you’d like to think he was playing up with van persie most of the match..

    cescs gone so the system we use now could be more pivotal than anything
    this season..
    it would suit AA..and another player it would suit is diaby..

  53. I agree with Irish, Ryo could well turn out to be the surprise player of our season.

  54. Good piece on your site Darius, and yesterday. I thought Andy got a lot of undue criticism in yesterdays debate. I actually mostly agreed with your initial post on the subject of affirmative action andy.

    As I posted on Darius’ site:

    My understanding of affirmative action is that, all other things being equal, the minority will be given the job. That in itself is a form of racism. As South Park so insightfully put it, when you treat a minority differently, even if it is favourable treatment, that further enforces the idea that we are different and should be treated as such.

    For me all other things being equal, lets flip a coin.

  55. I don’t think we will ever see a back line of Jenk Djourou Miquel Traore again. So another embarassing defeat should not occur. They are good players, It is just unfortunate for them to have their chance against United. playing alongside inexperienced players like them. Ideally you would want to see them come on for 10 minutes when we have our strong team and crusing in a game . but circumstances forced the selection, the challenge for these young players to recover from any damage if there is any and come back stronger to help the team over the season.

    Lately I’ve been reading Bendtner never want to play for Arsenal again and has a point to prove its sad to hear that because I thought he could make it at Arsenal . I don’t understand why they rather prove a point playing for a crap team than prove a point when they get their chance in a top team. He had chance after chance at Arsenal why didn’t he prove a point then ? and they don’t come bigger than against Barcelona in the 89th minutes when the chance was handed to him on a plate to score. I have no doubt had he scored and put us through he would have become a hero and cemented his place in the team, he knows that was his moment of glory but blew it. However I hope he does well. Denilson is the same maybe I’m one of the very few who rate him but I thoght he should not have gone out on loan , he knew that there was chance that Fabregas and Nasri might go, he could’ve stayed this season, we are short of players and this was a great opportunity to prove he can do the business, one thing young player don’t have is patience.

    pedantic- Arshavin was amazing for Russia playing as captian he played in the middle I think. he can play the creative role really well, he thrives on confidence, I hope he has a great season we need players in his ability and experience to make the difference .With no fab and Nasri this might be his chance to shine.

  56. OkHere Markus if we are copying and pasting from Darius’s gaff,Here is mine,I tried to keep out yesterday but hay ho.

    What people do not accept ,or even give a thought too,is that millions of years of evolution has made us all racist.
    Being racist is not a state of mind, it is an instinct.
    When we say we are not racist,as indeed I do,it is because we have developed the ability to override this instinct.Or we have had it taught out of us perhaps.
    Society now works better if no one is racist,but thousands of years ago and for perhaps 3 million years before ,not being racist would most likely end up with you being dead.

  57. Pedantic George,

    You are confusing science with sociology.

  58. Markus – Cheers. That Southpark quote is basically what I was trying (obviously badly) to say yesterday.

  59. Arsene Baggins,How so?
    What do you disagree with?
    Is evolution a science?I don’t know.
    I am confused though ,you got that right .

  60. Gor Tomorrow:

    Walcott-Van Persie-Arshavin

    Bench: Fabianski, Santos, Djourou, Benayoun, Chamakh, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Rosicky if he’s fit), Park.

  61. Gor Tomorrow??? “For Tomorrow” I meant.

  62. id go with that midfield block 4

    but id start with santos, jenks, and benagoon/park..
    give theo, gibbs and sagna abit more time to recover if they need rush..if they need another week weve got the players to come in and give them it.

  63. @ OOU
    Nice one – season starts here!

    @ Geo | September 9, 2011 at 9:41 am
    I agree. Those players are intended to be part of the challenge NOW.
    Also agree with JonJon about the strength of the squad specifically. Fatigue, physical and mental, is what got to us last year. We stayed in four competitions for a long time last season but had to use many of the players too much. With the additions we now have a squad which is bigger in absolute terms than last season, and we will have, crucially, the balance in the squad to support a challenge on four fronts.

    By the way, Mertesacker is used to playing a high line – both Germany and Werder Bremen play a high line. No worries there.
    On Gibbs, AW said in his interview that he got Santos because Traore left so it wasn’t fair to rely only on Gibbs – so I’m not assuming that Gibbs is now the back-up. I think they will fight it out or rotate. Gibbs will play tomorrow, anyway.
    Coquelin has been told he is sticking around until January at least, so that probably means he is cover for Song if Frimpers goes to the ACN.

    @ irishgray | September 9, 2011 at 6:44 am

    “Nice post but you never mentioned Ryo Miyaichi, I think he may be the surprise of the season for the Arsenal.”

    Yes – agree with that. And AOC. And I have a sneaky feeling about Benayoun as well – he’s just got over his injury problems, is coming into form and has so much motivation to do well.

    @ G69
    You’ll be pleased to hear that AW was especially complimentary about Park’s ability and versatility – no hint of any non-football ulterior motive, Bendtner was leaving so Wenger grabbed his chance to get Park.

    @ firstlady
    ha ha! Was thinking the same.
    “Speaking of which I havent seen Maria in a long time, she must be devastated that we let Vela go on loan again.”
    She’s probably going on a black scarf protest of her own !

  64. Nice one Big Al,

    Personally I hope AA23 & TR7 retire as Arsenal players.
    Fans who underrate them because of yesterday’s disappointments do so @ their own peril.

    AA was made to play a fixed position for the “first time” in his career because we had Cesc & Nasri. TR7’s injury was a 2+year setback that he’s really just gotten over.
    Truth is they both do things on the pitch that nobody else does anywhere near as good.

    As good as Jack is he’s still learning. Ramsey definitely doesn’t see the field or do angles like TR7. Both of them are still perfecting the art of playing at multiple speeds (Jack better than Rambo).

    Arteta & Yossi’s presence now means TR7 @ 31 can get more time to recoup btw games without loss of that quality only experience brings. Also, with Ox, Ryo,Gerv, Santos & Park, AA gets to freelance a lot more with less repercussion.

    Diaby without any doubt will also benefit from Arteta & Yossis’ presence and so will RvP.
    With constant rotation the squad & especially the “injury-prone” will be better off.

    Add Ox & Ryo to compensating for Theo, AA, Gerv & Park it leaves only Morocco’s vice captain, who could score 10-12 goals this season once service is properly restored to his head and boy, WE COULD HAVE SOME TEAM HERE!

    AW has not had it this good in a long time & if it all plays out with the best possible luck, we just might be CHAMPIONS of one or two things this season.

    Based on AW’s words this morning.
    I expect Santos starts on the bench & Rosicky’s reserved for Tuesday meaning:

    vs SWANSEA (H) 10/09/11
    01 Szczesny
    02 Sagna
    03 Gibbs
    04 Koscielny
    05 Mertesacker
    06 Frimpong
    07 Walcott
    08 Ramsey
    09 RvP
    10 Arteta
    11 Arshavin

    SUBS: Fabianski, Santos, Djourou, Chamberlain, Benayoun, Chamakh, Park, Miyaichi.


  65. @ Markus | September 9, 2011 at 10:26 am
    Great post.
    And I think Rosicky’s best position is 2.

    @ Markus | September 9, 2011 at 10:56 am
    Not a great post. Missing the point, just like GA did.

  66. CORR:
    “Add Ox & Ryo to compensate for Theo, AA, Gerv & Park. Morocco’s vice captain could score 10-12 goals this season once service is properly restored to his head!….

  67. While AOC and moreso Ryo will not be “rushed” in, AW has made it clear they are first team players, and he expects them to compete for and earn places and even accolades this season. At last that is my reading. He will not flinch from starting them at any time, and for any game, if he decides they are up to it. The same will obviously apply to “Chu”, who we may see sooner than we think.

  68. @ 1lc
    “Lately I’ve been reading Bendtner never want to play for Arsenal again and has a point to prove its sad to hear that because I thought he could make it at Arsenal . I don’t understand why they rather prove a point playing for a crap team than prove a point when they get their chance in a top team. He had chance after chance at Arsenal why didn’t he prove a point then ? and they don’t come bigger than against Barcelona in the 89th minutes when the chance was handed to him on a plate to score. I have no doubt had he scored and put us through he would have become a hero and cemented his place in the team, he knows that was his moment of glory but blew it.”

    So true.

  69. Pedantic Geroge,

    Simples. You are placing sociological analysis (human behaviour) upon the shoulders of scientific fact (e.g. evolution).

    Racism is most definatley not an ‘instinct’ or programmed into us at birth.

  70. AA is paid well, contract aside, because he performs superbly. People notice his “mistakes”, including some sloppy passing at times, and forget how frequently that first goal was his assist.

  71. @JonJon | September 9, 2011 at 11:34 am ,

    I just think Wenger will go with the most experienced squad he can, fitness permitting, which is why I have Santos on the bench as I understand he hasn’t played a competitive match in a coupleof months. I really can’t see Sagna being rested and isn’t Jenkinson suspended after being sent off at Man Yoo anyway?

  72. Block4,

    Jenks IS suspended. He should have punched the fella. 😉

  73. Fun, I don’t think we are missing the point. The original article which sparked the debate references the Rooney Rule, which in itself is the very definition of quota filling. It stipulates that a candidate from a minority background MUST be interviewed for any coaching position that becomes available. How is this relaistic if there are no minority candidates? Do you go out and find a random minority and ask them to apply for the job?

    Forcing quotas like this is no way to tackle racism, and my point is that it further enforces the divide.

  74. It’s attempting to eliminate skin colour by making a rule about skin colour and is self defeating and to be honest fucking stupid. Apologies for the language.

  75. please let the racist debate is back.lets stick to football.pls

  76. @ Markus
    In deference to others’ wishes I’m not going to carry this on beyond this point, but this is why you and GA are missing the point:
    From yesterday’s post
    finsbury | September 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm
    FunGunner | September 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm
    FunGunner | September 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm

  77. Sorry, forgot this one:
    Paul-N | September 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm

  78. good call george
    missed that one..
    sagna it is then..

  79. I doubt that modern day racism is derived from some sort evolutionary process; and while I have zero background in the field, I am certain that kind of theory (somewhat associated with nazism) has been debunked by scientists. Racism is most certainly on the other hand, in large measure, a product of economic systems, driven in fuedal systems and beyond by slavery, and in the capitalist era by colonial plunder and other forms of violent conquest, so-called primitive accumulation of capital, ie looting, theft and genocide.

    My evidence is anecdotal, but historically accurate and provocative too. For example, why, I wonder, would the King of Portugal in or around 1430, offer his only daughter as bride to heir to the throne of the Empire of Angola. Indigenous Angolans are very dark-skinned. It is perhaps because his emmissaries reported a 30-mile long double row of Angolan warriors, creating a “path” along which the emmissaries were carried; and the riches and gold products they saw, and some of which they took home as gifts caused awe and excitement in Lisbon. A few visits later the deal was struck, it was a treaty of equals.

    There are many such examples in Africa. Arab scholars discovering ancient Timbuctu in the 1300s wrote of a “university city” with more books and libaries than any they had witnessed in any city in “known world”. When the Portuguese eventually arrived on the African East Coast in they 1500s, and entered the old port of Kilwa, they described it as “the busiest port in the world, busier than any in Europe”. Almost everywhere in the Americas, and much of Africa, European explorers were treated with extreme courtesy and unbelievable generosity (without which they would not have survived), and not hacked to death, as they should have been had indigenous peoples known what would follow, genocide. Despite gaps in African and native American historiography, all this is well documented in first hand accounts.

    Racism, and the attitudes associated, especially of the type seen in modern times, is historically a relatively new social phenomenon. It is evil, pervasive, and often hidden beneath layers of “who me?” denial.

  80. My apologies. Back to football.

  81. Yep, Fun, I’ve read most of the comments from yesterday and I’m pretty sure there are more than a few different subjects being discussed. Finsbury’s point was that the best person doesn’t always get the job due to prejudice. Not at all what I’m discussing.

    Anyway, I’ll limit my comments to Darius’ blog today as that’s where the discussion is ongoing.


  82. Thanks ZimPaul, very very informative agreed with

  83. Amen to that zimpaul. buts lets not make people uncomfortable. footabll.

  84. I didn’t mean to make people uncomfortable. Sorry. I get emotional about the subject. I feel a bit bad. Frankly, one reason I frequent ACLF is an atmosphere and a group of people so free of racism.

  85. Hang on, I didn’t make that point Markus!

    I just pointed you all in the direction of the hack who had brought this ‘story’ to the surface.
    I don’t understand what the big problem is.
    As far as I could tell from listening to the interview, the net effect of these suggestions was that ‘minority’ candidates were no longer interviewed over the phone to fulfill a quota (which they had) but would at least be invited to partake in the proper process. What exactly is the problem here?
    As Paul Davies said, if you spend ten years getting your badges, it’s nice to know there is process in place to help you at the least apply for a position. These things exist in other industries for all sorts of reasons. The obvious one being what is vaguely known as common sense.There is no debate. Meh.

    I agree with Aman. Football please!

  86. Clever write up Big Al……thanks for shifting gears and setting a different tone.

    Agree with Markus and his midfield analysis…….and Aman’s summary. I admit to being a Rosicky fan……so I see him ahead of Ramsey.

    I don’t see Wilshere in the #3 role (at the moment). He is too valuable winning balls and allowing Arsenal control midfield…….and he hasn’t shown his ability to finish.

    We should never write off any player – especially Arshavin. His work rate has definitely improved and with added competition for a starting XI…..he will find a way to keep himself integral to the starting lineup.

    It’s refreshing to be past the quagmire of goal keeper and CB discussions and roster depth.

  87. Nice to see Fun asert her option as fact (as per normal).

    I am going to leave that subject there; too many comments can be mis-interperated over the internet.

  88. Sorry finsbury! It was Fun at 7:56 pm who made that point. Apologies. I read those two comments one after the other as Fun has posted above.

  89. Arsesession: “I don’t see Wilshere in the #3 role (at the moment). He is too valuable winning balls and allowing Arsenal control midfield.”

    I’m imagining him winning those balls further forward, catching the defence with their pants down and the amount of goals we’ll get from that!

  90. @ ZimPaul
    Very well said. There is evidence in European art as well. The racism about dark skin is a retrospective justification for slavery.

    @ Markus
    Nah. I’m tempted but I won’t bite.

  91. Interesting points from presser re selection – the standout for me is that Park is not available. He’s not around. Ryo is still injured but expected to start training on Monday.

    September 9: Wenger pre-Swansea

    ** Wilshere, Diaby out. Gervinho, Song, Jenkinson suspended. Rosicky picked up a minor knee injury over international break.

    •• Transfers linked with known out-goings, not a reaction to Manchester United defeat.

    •• Club not close to signing others, five transfers in four days proved to be extremely busy.

    •• Boss will respect any decision Emmanuel Frimpong makes with his international future.

    •• Wenger disagrees with claims the team are too lightweight – “Our game is based on movement.”

    •• Wenger says team will not change their style of play because of Manchester United match.

    •• Andre Santos is not quite match fit.

    •• Chu Young Park is currently in Paris, and has not yet been able to link up with Wenger’s first team squad.

    •• Ryo is just returning from a calf injury, but will resume training on Monday or Tuesday to push for a first team place.

  92. I’m getting rather optimistic and excited about our squad……It’s much harder to do this than be pessimistic…….If we win tomorrow (I think we will)…..then, boy will this season be very, very interesting.

    I’m there tomorrow, rare opportunity for me,as I live in Chesterfield!

    If any of you cvivilsed and cerebral Gooners are near Area 115 Upper Tier, Row 15, Seat 680 or 681, say hello!

  93. Oh, didn’t realise Park was not around. Shame, I was quite looking forward to seeing what he had to offer.

  94. Dont like to get involved in racism debates via typing. Can be easily misinterpreted. But Zimpaul’s post @12.39pm was excellent, and very true.

    Anyway……. FOOTBALL!!

    “I’m imagining him winning those balls further forward, catching the defence with their pants down and the amount of goals we’ll get from that!”

    I’m imagining that right now Markus. It is a very exciting prospect. I also think that he has all the qualities to score many goals from midfield. I just think that once the first couple have gone in, he will re-develop the confidence in scoring that he had as a junior player. It will come, as it did with Cesc.

  95. Thanks for that snapshot Fun. Much appreciated as i can’t really trawl other sites while at work… Well i could, but when there are massive Arsenal logos all over the screen that match my work mug, it’s pretty obvious what i’m doing, even to complete football Luddites!

  96. Arsene Baggins

    The most basic human behavior is instinctive.Instinct has its roots in evolution.

  97. Get back to work, Geo. lol

    Thanks for the heads up, FunGunner (all this while, i thought you were a ‘he’.)

  98. With Rosicky, Park, Gervinho out, and Arshavin likely knackered from his international exploits I’d love to start both Santos and Gibbs on the left. But the boss reckons Santos isn’t fit, so it’ll maybe be Ramsey on the left?

  99. Fun – just looking through your posts yesertda as you recomended earlier;

    “Obviously they *should* but they *don’t* – that is the point. And they don’t because of prejudice.”

    Right you are if true. You have an example of this to back up your fact I presume? (I am talking about managerial positions here as seen as that is the subject)

  100. Benayoun could always start in one of the wide berths should AA be not fit enough to start.

  101. am I the only one who prefers Diaby to Ramsey? I also think we need to give Djourou another chance, the whole team was bad against united but he seems to have gotten most of the stick. I will like to think he is going through a bad spell and will be back. I guess all these center backs is good for us and competition in the squad, we do play a lot of games. up the Arsenal!

  102. I dont care who plays as long as we win.And win well .Very well.Lots of repir work needs doing

  103. piken79, Diaby is an automatic starter for me when fit. Right now he isn’t.

    Nice summary Fun. Not trying to get you to bite either. There was a lot of misunderstanding on yesterday’s discussion. Understandable given such a touchy subject. I was just making the point that most of the criticism aimed at andy was unfounded. I’m done with it now.

  104. Nice post OOU.

    I hope we don’t have to count on a lot of minutes from Ryo, Ox, Frimpong, Miquel, Jenkinson, Le Coq etc etc. We do have a tendency to overhype and expect far too much from our young players. What in the world did we bring in Arteta and Benayoun if we are not going to use them. I think the results of the last few years have shown the problem with the “throw them out and let them sink or swim” approach to youth development. Ideally they should all be loaned out and play full time in championship or PL sides. I think the last couple of years has proven how valuable that can be for young players. Jack Wilsheres do not come around very often and even he probably would not be where he is without his loan spell.

    Sorry to hear that Santos is short, was looking forward to seeing him. Also very interested to see Park although it does not sound like he will play either. If Benayoun can stay fit he will can be an important player for us this season.

    I think we will have a comfortable win tomorrow and kick start our season. I agree with Aman’s lineup in his post at 11:42.

  105. My revised starting lineup




    ——-Walcott——-van Persie——–Benayoun——


    Fabianski, André Santos,Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh

  106. I hope Park is included in the squad for Tue against Dortmund. It would great to see all of our new signings in the flesh.

  107. Borges – That looks about right I thnik.

  108. Im not sure why we persisting with the idea that Theo is a wide player, yes, the occasional good game but in truth he runs himself in to channels with no hope of either nutmegging the opponent or delivering a cross. I think it is time to try him in the role Wenger said he would fulfil earlier in his Arsenal career and that is as a forward. Theo above all else possess great pace and we all know that it worries defenders more than any other attribute.

    With the inclusion of Gervinho, Ryo and Ox we have 3 players all capable of playing wider roles, and I hope more successfully than Theo. I am not dissing the lad just point out that hi pace can create many issues for a defense and he can score goals.

    I don’t want us going in to the game against Swansea with the idea we have already won it because to date we have not shown that anything is a given and the team with new signings needs to gel more along with gaining confidence.

  109. Borges, I would dropped Chamakh in favour of Ryo.

  110. Bill – as i said earlier, no-one is expecting them to win us titles. We aren’t going to have to ‘count on them’, barring a massive injury crisis. But from what I’ve seen, they are all capable of having an impact when selected. The sheer pace of the Ox & Ryo is enough to warrant playing them from time to time, let alone the technical skills they bring to the party. I think Jenkinson has already shown that he can mix it with the best, Frimpong likewise (temperament to be controlled!), and Ryo made players with vast experience in the dutch league look like his high school opponents from 2 years ago. Ox looks very dangerous and adaptable too from his England performances. I would be very happy if they were given more football than we expected when they joined. They will only get better, the more competitive football they play at the highest level.

    There’s a big difference between relying on these players and expecting them to be as good as a young Cesc or Jack, and just being excited to watch the youngsters progress in an Arsenal shirt and show the world what they can do. Personally, I’m very very excited about the next few years at our club, mainly because of this new bunch of extremely talented young players.

  111. Miami – I think there are 2 reason why he is not played there. The first being hte obvisous one of RvP. As long as we persist with this formation he will (rightly) be the No1 striker.

    Secondly, whilst Theo is excellent when getting onto balls played behind the defence, I really don’t believe the rest of his game is up to playing the lone striker. His first touch and hold up play is pretty weak, and if we played a side that simply dropped deep he would have no impact on hte game whatsoever. At least when he plays wide, quite often his runs are from deeper making him marker to pick up.

    If we played with 2 strikers, I think he could work as a front man. But as long as we stick to just the one, I don’t see it. All that said, our front 3 appear to be fairly interchangable anyway.

  112. @ goonerandy
    As I said earlier, I’m not going to carry on last night’s discussion. My remark was actually about the difference between a factual and a moral statement. I also recommended you read David Hume on that subject, if you read the whole comment.

    @ Markus
    OK. You made that point, I disagreed. Nothing to be gained by talking about it further.

    @ Borges Spinelli
    “Thanks for the heads up, FunGunner (all this while, i thought you were a ‘he’.)”
    I don’t blame you – even I had to be informed of my ladyhood by els the other day (only kidding, els!)

    Agree with your line-up except just to be a bit more conservative, I am going to go with Djourou and Kos in the middle – tried and tested, one fewer newbie. I know Dortmund is ahead but Mert has only just trained with the team and he is familiar with Dortmund anyway.

  113. Lateron in the season, we might see Theo playing in the middle. Possibly alongside Ju-Young in a 4-4-2 formation if RvP is injured. Chamakh would benefit most in a 4-4-2 formation, holding the ball up for either Gervinho/Walcott/Park to finish off.

  114. Geo – Out of all the young players who do you think will making the greates impact in the short term? I know luck and injuries to others could play a big part in that as it will no doubt affort one of them the opportunity.

    Personally Frimpong or AOC look the most promising. Frimpong looks like the type of midfielder we have needed for a long time, whilst AOC looks years ahead of his actual age. Both very exciting.

  115. Fair point Ryo ain’t available 🙂

  116. Goonerandy and co, this might just be the season that our barren spell ends. I can feel it in my bones.

  117. Randy, I know exactly what you mean but if I might suggest removing RvP to the floating striker role behind the front man. I for one am not saying I am right by any means but RvP is our most gifted player and using more as a pivot might be useful

  118. @ Geo | September 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm
    Exactly. And if it should turn out that they excel when given their chance, then “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough”. Barring major crises, we won’t be relying on them – but daft not to use them where we can. Plenty of experience available to take over or step in if necessary.

  119. @Miami Arsenal

    LOL…right about now, i, too would drop Chamakh from the bench for the Pope. At least the Pontif knows a prayer or two of deliverance.

  120. @ Borges Spinelli | September 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    “this might just be the season that our barren spell ends. I can feel it in my bones.”

    And wouldn’t it be extra sweet to do it after such a start and after being written off universally?
    I’ll be happy with any kind of win tomorrow. But I would love to see signs of our team clicking in the forward and midfield areas.

  121. The good thing about the squad now, is that should a couple of youngsters have to play due to injuries, there will be plenty of experience in the dressing room and on the pitch to help them through games.

  122. @Geo | September 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm, I’m not being down on the boy, but Jenkinson has shown what he is, a young League 1 player who has a lot to learn. He works hard and will hopefully turn into a first teamer yet, but the comment “I think Jenkinson has already shown that he can mix it with the best” is way wide of the mark IMHO. This is what I meant earlier about over-hyping players. I can see how people get excited when players emerge from the academy or are signed from outside, but the truth is that if one of Jenkinson or Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain or Miyaichi are playing regularly for us in five years time then I’ll be more than happy.

  123. I am going to stay out of the racism discussion but would just like to point out that in as much as several of you have somewhat differing viewpoints as to it’s origins and/or the best way to deal with it, I think for the most part it has been a very honest, lively but very respectful discussion. As it has taken place on a football blog I find it very impressive as it was not too long ago that some of the worst racism was to be found on the very terraces we hold so dear. I personally find it to be the most disgusting of human traits and have never had any qualms in calling people on it. Living in NYC has been the greatest experience in my life and I will never live any where else, it is a true melting pot and I am all the better for knowing people of all ethnicities and religions and sexual persuasions. For me education is the key to defeating racism, and in time will succeed.

    FunGunner – On an entirely different topic. Our friend Sian over at “Fom A Girl Who Loves The Gunners” has decided due to a hectic party lifestyle (or was it University obligations kicking her butt?) has decided to have some guest bloggers help her out. Obviously considering the name of the site she is only looking for A Few Good Ladies to step up so to speak. I took the liberty of volunteering yourself 🙂 I mean let’s face it, the amount of time you spend on here does seem to suggest you have nothing better to do!! Just kidding of course but she seemed to like the idea and has asked me to let you know she is interested and wants you to get in touch. I would imagine she meant via e-mail. Anyways best of luck if you choose to do so 🙂

  124. Block4 – From the players yuo have mentioned I think that AOC is the brightest prospect.

  125. Irish – “Obviously considering the name of the site she is only looking for A Few Good Ladies to step up so to speak.”

    Have you thought about asking George?

    Only joking 🙂

  126. GA – LOL – I gave it a fleeting thought but she did say ” Good” so I figured I would let it slide this time. 🙂

  127. FunGunner,

    Any win will do. Although, a more comanding scoreline will help alleviate the pressure that the team are under.

  128. Irish,fuck you (said with a New York accent,so as to make you feel threatened)

  129. Heh, only joking mate 😉

  130. GA – I agree, Ox & Frimp look like the ones most likely to be able to have an instant impact.

    Block4 – Sorry, I didn’t mean he’s up there with the best full backs, I meant that he has been able to hold it together and not look out of his depth even against some tough opposition. Should have worded that better.. But I do actually think he’s a superb player in the making, and would get game time for most top division clubs (maybe bottom half teams but still). And I’m confident that all of those players will be tearing the prem apart in 5 years. The beauty of that is, they wont have even reached their peak by then!

    And the point is, they haven’t got too much expectation placed on their shoulders, now that we have older heads to take on that pressure. If we’d only bought these youngsters, then yes, completely share the concern that they would be relied upon in our title push, but with the other more experienced players around them, I’m very pleased that they aren’t going on loan, and will have a chance to play against some of the best players in the world.

    arsenal produce and nurture the most experienced 20-25 year olds in all of football!

  131. Markus | September 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm
    Geo | September 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    From what I’ve seen of Wilshere’s play, he has the same physically imposing strength on the ball / quickness / passing acumen / barracuda determination as MESSI.

    The only difference in their playing ability is Messi’s dribbling artistry… beat almost anyone or two or three with the dribble.

    Since his promotion to 1st team…..Wilshere’s not exhibited his finishing abilities, and maybe this season, as supporters, HOPEFULLY we’ll witness the evolution for this side of his game.

  132. I have faith in what Borges Spinelli feels in his bones.

    Given the dearth of available players, I guess AW will adopt a cautious approach. The questions would be Djourou/Mertz (should we, shouldn’t we, with one eye on Tuesday) and Arteta/Rosicky (Mozart has a knee knack, so someone said, and is needed on Tuesday, so Arteta surely).

    Mertz getting a run out tomorrow makes sense to me.

    The rest of the starting 11 picks itself, yes?
    Sagna Dj/Per Kos Gibbs
    Frimps Ramsey
    Theo Arteta AA

  133. @ Irish Gray
    “I mean let’s face it, the amount of time you spend on here does seem to suggest you have nothing better to do!!”

    ha ha! I think I’ve said before, if I wasn’t self-employed I’d have been sacked by now because of Arsenal…
    Thank you for recommending me – the idea is daunting, given the standard Sian sets, but I will think about it.

  134. GA, AOC; maybe, I’ll reserve judgement until I have actually seen the kid play. I would imagine his first full game for us will be against Shrewsbury.

    Geo, I sincerely hope you’re right about Jenkinson.

  135. Arsesession, I’ll be interested to see how many have a go at you there saying “wtf? you’re saying he’s as good as Messi?!!” but i know what you’re saying, particularly his body shape when running with the ball. He showed in previous years, when playing in a more attacking role that he was capable of scoring some sublime goals. His problem in this area last year was that he was reluctant to shoot in the first place. This is purely a confidence issue. A striker/goalscorer must be extremely confident in their finishing ability (even more so at arsenal considering our style of play) and it is always easier to lay it off for RvP etc to have a smash (some might call this passing the buck), but with a bit more confidence in front of goal, I’m sure we’ll see him racking up a fair few goals for us… We’ll see, but i think that makes sense!?

  136. FunGunner – “ha ha! I think I’ve said before, if I wasn’t self-employed I’d have been sacked by now because of Arsenal…
    Thank you for recommending me – the idea is daunting, given the standard Sian sets, but I will think about it.”

    I am self-employed too so I have to agree with you!! I would be fired right now in fact as I am still lying in bed 🙂 On the subject of the guest blog, Deb from Brazil posted hers today and did a very good job but I do agree as I would also find it pretty daunting. But that is not to say I wouldnt jump at the chance, ahem….wink wink……where was I? Oh right, anyways yea I think you should consider it, sounds like fun to be honest.

  137. George- Such language from a Lady!!!!

  138. Fun – No need to be daunted. Your writing style is very good and you would have no problems coming up with somthing that is well worth a read IMO.

    Irish – Heh.

  139. Geo
    Jack is certainly not Messi…..and I was aware of possibly opening a can of worms.

    “His problem in this area last year was that he was reluctant to shoot in the first place. This is purely a confidence issue.” AND typical of a 19 year old trying to set up (please) the established players (RvP, Cesc, Nasri).

    But I stick with my comparisons.

    I do see Ramsey as never fearing to take a crack at goal and is a proven goal scorer……and blessed with great decision making in the final third. In Markus’s analysis…..for me, Ramsey is a more of a #3 player.

    Diaby is a wild card.

  140. haha, yup, i agree with all that Arsesession 🙂

    If Jack had Ramsey’s shooting instincts… mmm delicious.

  141. GoonerAndy – Well said mate with regards to FG. OK everyone, jump on board and let’s pile the pressure, I mean let’s encourage FG to write a guest blog!! As GA pointed out she, yes SHE for those of you who do not pay attention, has a very good writing style and would indeed make a good guest blogger.

  142. Naaah, she’d be shit. Don’t bother Fun, you’ll only embarrass yourself. 😉

  143. Joking of course! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!

    All together now…

  144. haha, just seen Darius stealing Zim’s racism post from earlier and pasted it into his comments section..! Cheeky! He said he’s sure you wouldn’t mind Zim, even if you did (which i’m sure you dont), there’s not much you can do about it now 🙂 lol.

  145. It is pretty controversial to compare Jackie to Messi. I wouldn’t go that route. Messi is something like Maradona all those years ago, a rare ball controller, dribbling wizard and superb goal scorer of the most supreme talent. Jackie is not like that, and even saying that, he may end up being regarded as a “best player” in the world when he reaches his prime. For one thing Jackie’s left foot makes him different, his direct dribbling approach, midfield tenacity and the defensive side of his game give him a role in the heart of the midfield engine. Messi is more frequently on edges of those battles, for good reason, he’s deadly effective in space with his speed and control, you want him in spaces where he can finish. There is no player like Messi in the game today, but then I can’t think of one I would compare quickly with Wilshere either.

  146. How dare he is steal my post? No, I don’t mind.

  147. Yes FunGun to write an article, brilliant writer. She paints such a clear picture with her words. Always well thought out.

  148. I have a question for Yogi, or anyone else who may be able to answer.
    Joel Cambell has been refused a work permit in the UK, but remains a Arsenal player despite being on loan to Lorient in France. My question, if Arsenal are still paying some of his wages (which can be conservatively be about £20,000 per week, does he pay tax in UK or France?

    If he pays tax in UK, then surely he should be given a work permit??? just thinking

  149. Geo,

    I take your point and the stat’s really do support your (and Arsene’s) view on AA’s effectiveness. I suppose he’s just not shown anywhere near the number of man-of-the-match performances that we might expect but I’m not one of those calling for his departure. That he can be deadly in the last third is undoubted (by me) but it’s his performance in the other two thirds that frustrates me at times. Again, I think it’s probably down to the alloted roles and competition for other spots in the team, maybe.

    I’m also excited and hopeful about Swansea.

  150. That’s fair enough Dgob. He hasn’t been successful with as many of his risky moves as he was when he first joined, but I think he is lacking in a bit of confidence, so maybe we will start to see some more MOTM performances once we get back into a run of form as a team… Surely the competition for places will spur him on, but i just hope he sticks to his style and doesn’t think too much about playing it simple just so he ‘gets it right’. We need more players like him, willing to try the ridiculous. Sometimes it comes off and is sublime, often it doesn’t making it look ridiculous. That type of player will always cause a division of opinion…

  151. I don’t know about everyone else on here, but I can’t wait to see the Carling Cup side play this year. I would love to see this squad out there for the cup:


    Should be some exciting combinations in there. I don’t think Arsene is going to go for the CC this year like he did last year. I hope this is what we see. We can go for the FA cup, league and Champs league, and leave this one to the kids…fun times ahead.

  152. Arshavin is definitely a frustrating player. Everyone knows what he is capable of, but he seems so hot or cold. He either takees over and is totally on his game, or completely non-existent with none of his flicks, tricks, or shots coming off. There doesn’t seem to be much in-between for him. I wish he could find a happy medium and add that consistency to his game. We will see Gervinho and Arshavin swapped in and out throughout the season to keep both fresh. I like our options there…Arshavin is still a special player on his day.

  153. @ viceologist
    Me, too! I love it when the kids take over and that is my fantasy Arsenal CC team as well, except that I’d swap Le Coq and Frimpers around.

    Thanks for the encouragement about Sian’s blog, but it really depends on whether I can think of a good subject – or a new take on a familiar subject. Which is not exactly easy, as I’m sure YW and OOU and Darius and all the fine guest posters on ACLF know. Not to mention doing the required research.

    Anyhoo, see you later. I will be at the Emirates tomorrow, very excited about it. We won’t get to sing Park’s song, it would seem. Up the Arsenal! Any win will do. Swansea will not be a pushover.

  154. What: women posting on a football blog??

    They’ll be playing the game themselves and voting next, I tells ya!

  155. Totally agree viceologist. I really missed watching the youngsters have a go at the cups last year!

  156. NB1969

    Nolt quite that simple. There is a withholding tax on athletes and entertainers earnings in the UK if they are not resident here, that is deducted from their overseas tax bill. It all depends where he is domiciled for tax purposes. And tax has nothing to do with Work Permits, simply ensuring that it is paid somewhere.


  157. Many were trying to point out last year that AW hadn’t really changed his policy in the early stages of the CC, it was just that our “kids” were quite experienced. Now we have new kids (the Ox, Ryo, Jenks) since Denilson, Bendtner, Vela, Lansbury are out on loan and JET is gone. I expect we’ll see the same mix of 1st team squad players and one or two promising reserve/youth players like last year.

    Fabianski/Mannone (note, last year we weren’t sure for the first several months who really was first, second, and third choice until Fabianski took over from Almunia and then subsequently lost his position to injury)

    Jenks, Djourou, Miquel, Santos/Gibbs (depending on who needs a rest and so on)
    Coquelin/Frimpong, Rosicky, Ramsey/Benayoun
    Ox, Park/Chamakh/Afobe, Ryo

    Squad players who need to keep in form will still play with Miquel and Afobe coming up from reserves and Ox/Ryo getting their chances. If last year wasn’t really and aberration, neither will this on be a supposed return to a previous policy. All that has changes is that there has been some decisions made about squad players who have been with us since 17/18 yrs and a new set of young players have been brought in.

  158. Gracias Fungunner@1:32.
    Squad adjustments thus:

    vs SWANSEA (H) 10/09/11
    01 Szczesny
    02 Sagna
    03 Gibbs
    04 Koscielny
    05 Mertesacker
    06 Frimpong
    07 Walcott
    08 Ramsey
    09 RvP
    10 Arteta
    11 Arshavin

    SUBS: Fabianski, Santos, Djourou, Chamberlain, Benayoun, Chamakh, Miquel/ Coquelin.


  159. Thanks everyone for the friendly comments this week and last!

    Sorry, I do think Rosicky’s going to get a fair few games this season, and I reckon Miyaichi’s likely to get his first match in the CC. We’ll see what happens from there.

    Also sorry for lack of responses, been away this past week.

    Go for it, FG!

    Block4, you’re going to have to point out where I overhyped any youngster. Whatever happens, we’re still going to be giving young players a chance this season despite the cynicism of certain fans. Best be positive about them – without going overboard.

    Time was when fans actually looked forward to seeing young player break through. Crazy, huh?

  160. OOU well written as per usual.

    am glad the team can bounce back from this game… hope the fans can back them all the way and we do not have last seasons situation where we lost more points at home than away

  161. Markus, you talk as a person who thinks the people who hire, admit students into universities and provide housing are not racists. A lot of them aren’t, but a whole shit load of them are. That is still going on today. It is reflected in the fact that blacks are dead last in every economic and living standard statistic that exists. Let me give you an example of what black mkids have to face coming out of the gates:

    Our public schools are funded by property taxes. Since black people are dead last in home ownership they pay fewer taxes and usually get shittier schools. Schools where students are more likely to drop out and turn to crime. On that alone they already have a disadvantage from the kids from middle and upper middle class areas. When black kids get into the system it is hard as hell for them to get out. If it’s tough to get employment just for being black, imagine what it’s like to be black and have a record. Also our prisons are privatte now. So there is an insentive for black kids to be warehoused. Judges get kick backs from corrections companies, correction companies buy the congressmen and judges. These craft laws that are designed to sweep up poor people and put them in jail, where they get payed about $100k per anum for every prisoner.

    There’s a lot wrong in our system. Affirmative action gives poor and minority people a bit of a level playing ground, that’s all. Think about it, it has been around for more than three decades and it hasn’t changed much. Can you imagine what it would be like if we didn’t have it? So no, affirmative action is not reverse racism.

  162. less than 24hours to the game time cant move fast enough

  163. First Lady – I know it can’t come quick enough for me either!!

    Two Owls – I seem to remember you are in the States no? If you are then you should be able to watch the game on Fox Soccer Channel, they are showing it at 10am EST.

  164. What is the problem with our sporting press? I had missed the final outcome of the ODI against India today so I thought I’d check it out on the BBC website. Let me just remind everyone that we won today, continuing to beat a team recently regarded as the best in the world. Apparently our performance today was worrying, according to BBC. WTF? WE WON TODAY AGAINST A TEAM REGARDED AS THE BEST IN THE WORLD UNTIL WE BEAT THEM SOUNDLY.
    This may seem like a bizarre site to go on about cricket, but the point is that Arsenal suffer from this insane mentality which slags off any team not winning everything in site. The English always looks for a scapegoat, a team to kick, and we now appear to be that target. I say let’s tell them to shove it up their arses, spanking Swansea tomorrow is just the start.

  165. *The English press

  166. sorry chaps had a few beers so the flow doesn’t always work

  167. Tomorrow needs to be about supporting the team on the pitch. I don’t mean countless calls of “stand up if you hate Tottenham”. That may send a message, but its one I think they already know. I’d much rather send a message to the guys on the pitch that we are right behind them.

  168. Hey, doesn’t anyone want to say hello to George from Chesterfield? I’ll be at the game tomorrow with my son, Demetri in the Upper Tier 115, row 15 Seats 680 & 681. I’m hoping for some cultured left footers around me!

    Had a quick peruse of Le Grove…..very different brand of gooner on there…..very primitive….pessimistic…..aggressive…….

  169. I hope the new players are welcomed very strongly. Arteta took a pay cut to play with Arsenal and this is clearly an opportunity he is really relishing as a step up in footballing terms. How about he get the sense that it is a step up in terms of support in a great stadium! Mertesacker has had a fondness for and attachment to Arsenal since he was a boy and has looked forward to the possibility of coming here to play. He has achieved that and will be really enthusiastic to make his debut in front of the home support should he start. The sooner he feels comfortable the better as he is a potential leader and can be very important in our first CL match away to Dortmund as someone familiar with them.

    We lost two players whose hearts and minds were elsewhere and have replaced them in the team with two who look to me to be very committed to the club and despite their experience and quality have personal motivations to prove themselves at Arsenal. That is good for the team spirit, I think.

  170. Holla back George!!

  171. Hey Irishgray. Will you be close by?

  172. Sadly no as I will be watching it from the comfort of my living room here in New York City 🙂 I do hope both you and your son have a fantastic time and can witness a great Arsenal victory!!

  173. Hiya George–seems quiet here. Watched the Wenger presser and he seemed confident again. Haven’t listened to the Fan Forum yet–did you call in?

  174. Great description of Le Grove by the way

  175. Georgaki, have a great time and be sure to sing loud for the new boys and give us a boost. Everything starts fresh again, let’s make a good (re-)start!

  176. Yes I did Limestone.Usual stuff 🙂

  177. Yeah, I did watch the Fans Forum. It’s a great end to my working week! I didn’t call in this week. Tom Watt is great. He’s usually optimistic. Not so much lately though. He doesn’t think we can win the title this season though. I cannot give up hope yet!

  178. New York hey Irishgray? Is it really wet?

  179. Getting close to bed time. Have a 2 1/2 hour drive to London tomorrow! WE ARE GOING TO WIN TOMORROW LADS!!!!!!


    Just linked two german articles about Merte, they probably give a better picture of our new man.
    If the articles are accurate his personality and his style of play will fit us perfect. Interestingly the German football federation highlight these characteristics.

    “The native of Hanover doesn’t only impress with his strong tackling, his rapidity and his intelligent positional play, but also with his fairness.”

    Having Meter in our team if he is seen as a good guy worth listening to among his peers in the german teams, may unlock the german market for us. Players that before maybe were sceptical towards Arsenal will speak to Meter and see that we are a good option.
    Mete will be the first real german star to play in PL right? Is there any others atm at all?

  181. hope not all the moderators have gone to sleep cos i just linked some really nice pages about Metzy…

  182. OMG

    so now goalkeepers get protection? well its a first for everything i guess…

  183. Looking forward to listening. Tom Watt is terrific but some of the journalists are drips. I like Julien Laurens, I think it is and Philippe Auclair, though even Auclaire has turned a bit negative and skeptical about the Boss. I don’t mind criticism of some decisions and so in if they can be defended by logic and evidence, but I sense a growing disrespect towards Wenger, which I find painful. Even Paddy Barclay doesn’t defend Wenger or Arsenal’s approach the same way. Why do they have to have one of the hacks on the Fan Forum, anyway? Why not have bloggers, podcasters from the fan base, instead?

    Can we please get rid of Robson? He is starting to go way too far–listen to the game podcast from the times this last week.

  184. They could have me limestone
    Where did you see Paddy recently?

  185. Yogi,
    Thanks for your response, makes it clearer.

  186. He was also on the game podcast and didn’t really contradict any of the bile Robson was spewing; he also thinks it is a toss up between us and Spuds in terms of our teams’ quality.

    Loss of Cesc in particular has really dropped confidence in us among the pundits, it seems.

  187. Well you can understand the pundits.
    When I say “understand”I mean they are all as useless as each other and tend to spew the same crap.
    They don’t see past the fact that Cesc was better than any single new signing.And to be fair ,a lot of our fans don’t either.

  188. It is really funny watching and listening to idiots like Robson and then comparing him and his ilk to their counterparts in American sports. Robson and co seem to go to great lengths to put down Arsenal (for whatever reason) and seem to trip over themselves when it comes to licking SAF’s arsehole. Where as American commentators are much more amenable in their descriptions and criticisms of the various teams, be it baseball, football or basketball. I know the debate has raged for several as to whether there is a media bias against the Arsenal and while I do not think there is, I do believe that there is a very conscious awareness that slamming Arsenal (Hansen here’s looking at you prick!!) can be done with absolute impunity. Can you imagine Robson talking about any other team the way he does Arsenal? Everton have done shit in years and their manager is hailed as being one of the best. Why? His club is slowly heading towards bankruptcy, he can’t even replace the players he sells!! Yet Arsenal, with no sugar-daddy mind you, have built a brand new 60,000+ stadium, are in the CL EVERY year and have EPL trophies and FA cups under AW but get almost no credit?! We sell 2 players who had no desire to stay, buy in 5 more and are still ridiculed, it beggars belief. And all the while the same idiots are sat there saying: “Poor ‘Arry Redknapp at Spurs, it can’t be his fault, just unlucky to have played both Manchester teams.” So fucking what? We played Man Utd and a Liverpool team that these same pundits claim is a real challenger this season, plus 2 CL games (both of which we won) and we did so with a lot of injuries and self-inflicted suspensions, we get slammed whereas Ol’ ‘Arry gets nothing but sympathy!!

  189. I don’t know if you guys watched this, but it definitely brings smile to my face.

    Our young goalkeepers is going to become a monster for us.

  190. Mongolian Gooner – In as much as I had seen it, it was well worth seeing again as he was brilliant!! Thanks mate 🙂

  191. Eh, was wondering. Considering Swansea is a Welsh team (not that there is anything wrong with that!!) when they register their players, are Welsh players considered “homegrown” or foreign. Are English players “foreign” or WTF? Just curious 🙂


    Today’s post with a touch of T Rextascy.

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