Experience Is Key According To New Boys

This morning’s media continue their love-in with both Mancunian clubs. As City rampaged through the Napoli defence and United tore a strip out of Benfica…no, wait, hold on, they both drew 1 – 1, each as fortuitous as it was unlucky. In other words, they could have lost as equally as they could have won but in fact did neither. Rather like Arsenal. Which makes you wonder why the coverage was so different. It is not individual either; there is a collective will to the coverage.

Perhaps they are scared of Ferguson because he really put the fear up everyone with the rudeness displayed to King Kenny’s daughter last night. Maybe her father was the reason for the ill-manners in response to a stupid question…

Anyways, no point in worrying about such matters, paranoia is surely the only outcome and essentially, you are not going to change anything so entrenched is the view that Arsenal are this season’s club in crisis. Any silverware will be greeted with a plethora of articles questioning, “Are Arsenal the worst Premier League champions / Champions League, FA or Carling Cup winners” (delete as appropriate).

Ahead of last weekend’s victory over Swansea, Wenger spoke of his new signings, particularly effusive in his praise of Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun. As well as being technically proficient and experienced, they were intelligent players according to the manager. In Issue One of The Blizzard, there is an interview with Juanma Lillo, Pep Guadiola’s mentor. It is revealing in the similarities to Wenger’s philosophy about football and well worth reading, if not for that then certainly the interview with Dennis Bergkamp.

Both Arteta and Benayoun have played for big clubs before, the expectations not lost on the Spaniard,

With a club like Arsenal, you are going to be under pressure and you need to handle it and try your best. At every club I have been at, I have had pressure and this is not going to be different. But being under pressure is good because it means people expect something from you. The challenge here is to win trophies and at Everton I didn’t have the chance to do that. Hopefully we are going to have it here and we can make it.

It is this experience that will benefit the team. His medal haul may not be huge by comparison to some but Arteta knows how to handle pressure on the pitch, something which was sorely missing at the end of last season. Indeed, the duo and Per Mertesacker have some damage repair to do since the experienced pro’s were the ones who failed Arsenal so abysmally post-Wembley. Those now departed were amongst those who showed woeful leadership, not just in wearing an armband, but in providing younger players with an example of how to overcome disappointment.

Losing hurts, Wenger has been subjected to envious criticism by his peers, particularly Jose Mourinho who is utterly unable to comprehend how the Frenchman is still employed. Perhaps Lillo has the answer, “Someone who sells results, sells smoke” (the Spanish equivalent of being a charlatan – no, not a member of the outstanding popular beat combo, a, well you know what I meant). In other words, without the method of getting there, to merely be concerned of results is to use smoke and mirrors when talking of football.

Looking back would have given Wenger his needs in terms of character for the future. Both Arteta and Benayoun spoke of the quality in the squad,

I want to improve my understanding with the team because but I think there’s plenty of quality in this team so we’ll quickly understand each other and be better.

It is this which needs to happen but will take time. In the interim, Arsenal will be quite happy to grind out results. Returning players such as Gervinho and Song will bring about a settled look to the core of the side, aiding the understanding. When Wilshere and Vermaelen are truly recovered, the starting XI will take shape at its heart, the peripheries will underline the strength in depth which is there.

Until that happens, let’s sell more smoke…

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 15, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 210 Comments.

  1. nice “smoke” analogy

    Jose leaves destruction behind ay club..look at inter

  2. great write YW, pleasure to read. agree with you on the media stories. by and large i have stopped reading them. hell , who needs the aggravation. jose m. needs to shut his trap. anyone or their grandmother could have achived what he has ,with the resources at his disposal. but he won’t. just glad Arsenal have a true gentleman at the helm in Arsene. have a great day gooners.
    I SHARE YOUR OPTIMISM ON THE TEAM COHESION WHEN WE GET JACK, ABOU AND THE REST BACK. hope this team really develops a brotherhood. to work for on another. amen.
    UP THE GUNS!!!!
    bring on the rovers.

  3. Yogi,

    After watching the highlights of the Mancs fixtures, I intended to post here and make reference to recent eulogies and cries of defeat that have appeared over the past week or so (since the Mancs strung together a few good performances and wins) on this very blog. However, you have said it far better than I would have.

    When the team settles (recalling no preseason due to the last minute assembling of them and the current absences), I have great faith: maybe not so much in Benayoun (although I must accept that Arsene sees something in him that many years of opposition possibly still blind me to) but in all else!


  4. ben is a gunner now and just back from injury. his work rate was awsome and at times he was the only one pressuring the ball, causing them to make mistakes. i like him and i hope and know that he will get better with every game. what i cannot understand is the chamak substitution. should have brought in a fast terrier type to pressure their backs and midfilders.

  5. HI YW. Your Usual high standards. This time I agree on all counts.

    We can sell that we have competed up to our utmost but results comes most of the time with half a inch here and a yard there plus a large dose of luck.

    And the press once they have an angle they will take longer time to shift paradigm not unlike the Titanic.

    Dortmund was a very very good point which we can build on. Manures and Man$hitty struggle to get a point despite having full squad and spending a load of money. That should be the story and playing relatively poor oppositions.

    No Fear We Are The Arsenal !!!

  6. Sedetganw Degafi

    Good piece of writing as usual.
    I am convinced that the presence of Wilshere will add something which the team seems to lack right now-someone who wants the ball and possesses it to the advantage of the team. We are also too slow and disjointed in pressurizing opposing teams. Wilshere would not tolerate that and would inspire his teammates to stand for the cause. Van Persie was trying to do that against Dortmund.

    With the coming of Wilshere and Vermaleen, we will be fine.

  7. YW
    did you notice that young mario goetze put on the Arsenal shirt right on after exchanging with one of our players at the end of the game? that is clear good sign he is sending that he would love to join us soon. i for one would like to see him in our setup. maybe nxt summer.

  8. Mazing atmosphere in the ground. It was deafening at times.

    Dortmund were very good, and whilst we could not really get a foothold in the game we defended pretty well. Good to see Mertesacker being ver vocal at the back as well. Song, Metesacker, Kos, and Song all fought well and had good games. Gibbs and Theo (in particular) were awful.

  9. for me WOJO IS MOTM. he is is getting better with every game

  10. There can be no excuse for rudeness towards a lady, on or off television.
    Ferguson’s manners have deteriorated as his football success has prospered. He has developed into a bully with players and the media alike and it will be a happy day when the moron leaves football for good.

  11. Goonerkam

    All I would read into Goetze wearing an Arsenal shirt is that he is a good boy who listened to his mum when she told him to wrap up warm for September nights bring a chill to the air.


  12. *Fuck the media and the pundits*

  13. ferret face ferguson is beyond the laws of men. no reporter will take him on. a pitbull has a better personality. out of control this egomenic.
    YW, i think mario is dreaming of a move to london to learn from AW. and he does seem a good boy.
    lucky you andy. must have been a great game to watch live amongst dortmand fans…

  14. Great piece – the press are clearly ‘on message’ and any unscripted success will probably be viewed as a Damascine revival. Its ludicrous because it is insultingly facile.

    I cannot abide by the stupidity of pundits (collective noun) who before any game – especially in a competition such as the CL – write of the opposition chances. How many years do you have to be in and around football to know that a game which is frequently decided by one goal throws up numerous results that go against the odds.

    This being the case given the comparative strength of both teams (not a great deal to choose between therm in terms of odds) why set up a ridiculous pre-match narrative as though a team of Ubermensch was taking on the combined might of the Blind Kitten’s XI?

    With Arsenal written off from the start, we then had to listen to cringeworthy, condescending surprise from all and sundry including that gratingly, woeful commentator Alan fucking Mcinally – as the flimsy narrative began to unravel.

    You can scoff but on another day we could have beaten Man Utd, yes even with the team we put out.

    Football is like that – one of it’s great charms is that you can get thumped for an entire game by Porto and then score with your only shot on target. It’s nothing new.

    One has to wonder how the anti Arsenal agenda became so pronounced. It’s never been more transparent for me.

    Still Wenger was right, Europe is teetering on collapse – terrible news for everyone but great for Arsenal. Silver lining.

  15. Nicely written Post YW, I could almost here the mental cogs turning! 🙂

    A number of interesting points raised, but to home in on my least favourite manager Mourhino, I think he has an inferiority complex when it comes to Arsene.
    AW is not just physically more imposing, his mental acuity is unquestionably far greater. (Mourhino wins on sheer sneakiness tho’).

    The sneering remarks Maureenho makes about AW are pathetic. Some people in life are simply born lucky, and MouMou’s was to be gifted a managerial post with a Chelsea owner oozing money, followed with by Madrid also oozing money.

    If he had been our manager we would have been relegated years ago. Tosser!

  16. Jonny, Wow!! 🙂

    Sentiments that chime precisely with my own!

    Truth be told, many of the ‘pundits’ (so called experts) are cerebrally challenged and just do not have an original thought or phrase they can call their own.

    Ex-professional footballers, in the main, are just that, and are not equipped to comment or commentate on football tactics, strategy or ‘bigger picture’ issues and all too often allow their own allegiances and biased feelings to colour their language.

    The same is true of many journalists, who are fans of their own childhood clubs first and professional journalists a distant second!

  17. Red Arse, Maureen is a tosser – and no mistake but you’d have to be wilfully myopic or criminally daft to think he is a bad manager.

    His work with Porto was not done on a great budget for a start…

  18. Thanks RA, the thing is, I get the fact that they’re simple and so can only cope with a simple story but when, why and how did it become the case that they seem to collectively, volubly ‘want’ us to fail?

    From UEFA, FIFA, the FA through the assorted media and the people in the game – even a good portion of ex-Arsenal right down to some Arsenal employees and so called fans/supporters. It’s madness gone mad.

    The question this would lead me to ask above all else is –

    Have Arsenal really become pariah’s in football simply for trying to win without ploughing stratospherically stupid amounts of money into the team..?

    If the answer is yes – that leads to ugly questions about why and who benefits from having the status quo unchallenged.

  19. Jonny,

    You are correct. Moonio is a good and fox cunning manager. (my words, admittedly) 🙂

    My comparison really was between him and AW, who he often wilfully disrespects without giving due thought (or care) to the handicap Arsene has had placed on him for many years with the building of the Emirates etc.etc.

    To go thru that period and still have a competitive team (top 4) was masterfull in its own right. I simply don’t think Maureen has ever had that burden put upon him!

    Anyway — enough of THAT a’hole!

  20. “Have Arsenal really become pariah’s in football simply for trying to win without ploughing stratospherically stupid amounts of money into the team..?

    If the answer is yes – that leads to ugly questions about why and who benefits from having the status quo unchallenged.”

    Jonny check out this post from Untold Arsenal for a possible answer to your question


  21. that is what they pay you back with if you don’t tow the line and start swimming against the currents of today football world. the rest is sheep following other sheep. sheepshaggers.

  22. There is an element of jealousy directed at Arsenal, perhaps because they have always (?) been held up to be a club with high standards.

    It is human nature that we often seem to want the most successful people to trip and fall flat on their faces.
    Maybe that is what is happening to us with the journalists, who as I have mentioned earlier, often have their own clubs interests at heart, or just want to delight in Johnny Foreigner’s (Arsene Wenger) demise.

    When you look at the clique of managers, led by Ferguson and including Pulis, Fat Sam etc, who in recent years have bad mouthed Wenger because he is not a member of their fraternity, the bile they spout must cause ripples in unexpected quarters.

  23. Listening to the comments yesterday on the Dortmund game you would think we had been beaten out of sight. Now I suffer like Nick Hornby when watching Arsenal but I was relatively calm and quiet so we couldn’t have been that bad. There is undoubtedly a large portion of the media that wants AW to fail and to rub his nose in it. Well this is giving us supporters the Blitz effect. All we need is a bit of “we will fight them..” from AW and I’m getting out my gas mask.

  24. Tuesday nights game proved that our defence can now soak up the pressure, needs some tweaks regarding players awareness and marking (see Dortmund goal) but generally, the back four plus Song did a commendable job.
    I’d like to see Wenger become more creative now with his starting XI against Blackburn:



    Bench: Fabi, Gibbs, Djourou, Pong, Yossi, Walcott or Ryo, Chamakh or Oxo

    Walcott needs to be rested, definately not on form at the moment

    *Fuck the car dealer from Totteringham, hope he gets it up the arse in Greece tonight*

  25. It maybe unpopular to say so, but I think that Sven was the best manager England has had for a long long time, but by the time he went nobody could say anything good about him. We had forgot the thrashing of Germany, the euphoria of trouncing Argentina, throwing all our bogey teams into the drink and finishing respectably in all tournaments. etc etc. The negativity surrounding him just took over.

    I fear this for Wenger, sometimes as fans we just persuade ourselves that the grass is greener and if the story sticks, the offending ‘item’ just can do nothing right and has to go. As we have seen with England, it has not been greener with Fabio and it was positively blanched with Mclaren. We must remember that if Jose or sir Alex criticize you, you must be on the radar, if you are on the radar, you must be doing something right. Even if that is just keeping up with the Chavs and the Chav-even-mores.

    The real question is who could have delivered more? Jose did not talk about the 15 PL teams that finish under 5th. When the answer to that question is Jose or Sir Alex you know that you had better keep what you have……. unless the point of their comments is to come knocking……

  26. Just Another Luke

    Fighting back against the media seems like an unrewarding exercise. We’re better off insulating ourselves from biased writings against AFC, indulge in a fair amount of pro-AFC writings, and accept some critical, but objective writings about our beloved Arsenal. How about that for balance?

  27. Just Another Luke

    On the other hand, bashing the media can get a bit boring and tiresome too.

  28. Just Another Luke

    Northbank1969 | September 15, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Have we recruited a new goalkeeper named “Condom”? I suppose one can associate the name with safe (sex)?

  29. injuries aside anyone else think Gibbs already gives us more than Clichy?

  30. “We will fight them on the beaches,
    We will fight them on the landing grounds,
    We will fight them in the fields and in the streets,
    We will fight them in the hills…………
    We will never surrender”
    ———————————–Winston Churchill

    *Fuck ’em all*

  31. Gibbs can be a little hit or miss at the moment, byt he has not played that often for us, either being injured or understudying Clichy.

    He is only going to get better, and with our new guy Santos there is going to be healthy competition, so i for one do not miss Clichy.

  32. the tots game doesn’t interest me. i want to see Braga ripe Birmingham a second one.

  33. Northbank, I’m not picking on you specifically, but comments like your “Walcott needs to be rested, definately not on form at the moment” have been bandied about on this forum plenty in recent days. As far as I can see, Walcott laid the goal on a plate for Van Persie on Tuesday with a perfectly weighted pass. He also scored home and away against Udinese and one against Man Utd. While he may be frustrating to watch sometimes, four goals scored or made by him in our seven games so far this season isn’t a bad return.

    The reason I bring this up is that I want to contrast it with the debate about Arshavin. When he is lambasted for being lazy and/or giving away the ball there is a long line of people ready to defend him by pointing out the number of goals scored and made by him. So the obvious question is, if Walcott is prodcing goals, why has everyone taken on this impression that he is off form? Surely if the stats are good enough to defend Arshavin, then the same stats should be good enough to defend Walcott?

    To me, Gervinho was in even poorer form on Tuesday, two one on ones with the keeper and failing to score and giving the ball away just as much, if not more often, as Theo.

    Just a thought while the debate about the herd mentality of the media is going on, the same thing can be found closer to home.

  34. As they are going to..

  35. Wonderful post Yogi. That smoke metaphor is spot on. The commercial media has always thrived on emotionalism, stoking the hot buttons (fear, hate, envy, xenophobia, nationalism, racism etc) to generate revenue. The paradox is they have become increasingly irrelevant as evident by the precipitous decline in newspaper readership on both sides of the Atlantic. As a result even those organs who use to cultivate an aura of respectability now stoop to gutter reporting (following the presumed success of the Murdoch media empire) to generate viewership/readership. For example, the New York Times has now taken to reporting on football, especially the PL (American media usually follow the money) and both their headlines and general reporting makes the Sun and Daily Mail seem respectable.

    BTW: Speaking of the media, did anyone see the story in the Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/ where Benayoun was absolutely defiant that his loan was not a panic buy? Wouldn’t be surprised if that was missed as the Independent and its cohorts spent a lot of column inches to overwhelm the gullible public with the message of a “last minute trolley dash.”

    (Expecting my personal stalker to rant against this socio-political, leftist commentary.)

  36. I’d not really seen much of Hazard TBH. Boy! He really looks something else.

    When the French banks collapse (and man o’ man do they look fucked or what) maybe we can pick him up for a fiver. :0)

  37. God, why do these fuckers put all those filters and effects on the videos. They add fuck all.

  38. @Block4
    I know you’re not picking on me personally 🙂

    And I’m not neccessarily picking on Walcott, just saying he looks a bit off form. I’m aware of the stats and it was quality through ball to RVP on tuesday, but would like to see the little russian get a full game because he looks to be getting back to his best.
    Gervinho had some brilliant runs during the game but took it too far, he’ll start to pass more but I think at the moment he is trying too hard to be ‘our saviour’. He needs time to gel into our front line.

    *Fuck the brummies as well*
    It wouldn’t be a bad thing to give Theo a rest

  39. Sorry, I’ve tried to watch a couple of football comps on Youtube this week and had to give up.

    Great post, YW!

    Good comment SA Gooner – that’s exactly how I felt about Sven’s final couple of years, and I think something similar’s happening with AW as well. I said this before, but the papers scent blood and are sending their chief writers to all our games. I think Arsenal fans have closed ranks a bit, and I do think things have died down a little for the time being. We’ll see I suppose.

  40. *and definately Fuck the French banks*
    they are thieving cunts, I live in France and bank with a French bank, I would be over the moon if they collapsed. If that meant we got either Hazard or Martin on the cheap, even better.

  41. You are smokin today YW. Well, smoke metaphors anyway.

    A great piece, actually.

    But, we are in a stronger position than many may think. Since we have been written off, and made a frightful start to the EPL campaign, expectations are relatively low. Since ManU have made such a flying start, with such hyperbole (is that the right word, Rooney the new Pele no less), and Man Citeh have also impressed but with spending similar to a not so small country, on a few footballers over 3 years, and since Liverpool, Chelsea and to less degree Tottenham are the alternative darlings, expectations, in terms of public perceptions, are all implausibly high.

    Of the five, 2 or 3 will fail to live up to the expectations set by the media, and there is likely to be one dismal failure. Arsenal insiders however know very well that the reverse is true for us. For once, the reverse psychology works in our favour. Anything we achieve is higher than the media has speculated for us, since we are in disarray, and barely hanging on as a club, so they have told the world with relish.

    Now, apart from the bigger signings, and big returnings, I can’t wait for the ‘lesser known’ names to give an account of themselves; Ox, Park, and a little down the line, possibly into next season, Ryo.

    My reading of what Wenger has said, is that these are special talents, his little gems, and since Wenger has a track record in that department (little gems), and if their progression is similar to Wilshere, Ramsey, Frimpong and Chewie for example, and if Park surprises us in the way 3Gs has, we may find ourselves with more strength in depth than many thought possible. It is speculative I know. But let’s see.

  42. And then there is Santos, a little “short” so we are told. Not much spoken about, little seen, almost anonymous against Dortmund for 8 minutes, but the Brazil left back, 22 caps is it, 2-3 years. One way or the other, he must be good enough for Brazil. Interesting.

  43. Last night I said this when Dup’s mentioned King Kenny is to get a 1 ON 1 with Mike Riley
    “And the fact that the media was not belittling him is even more evidence of the anti Arsene going’s on.
    I say anti Arsene as I believe it is personal against the Boss rather than against the club.
    I just think people are jealous of his superior intellect and all round class.They prefer a foul mouthed lout like SAF”
    Maureen’s reputation id built on his succes in winning the CL with Porto.Something that only happened because a ref. incorrectly rule out a Scholes goal with minutes remaining at OT.
    Aesene has risked his legacy and reputation by staying at Arsenal through the lean times .Jose would have been off like a shot with on funds on offer.Cunt of a man he is.
    Yogi ,your writing goes from strength to strength.
    Oh yes, and Gibbs will have to buck up because at the moment he is the weakest link.

  44. @ZimPaul

    Smoking good, Media bad.

    I agree with you, last season the expectation put on Arsenal was too much. I’d rather be the underdog and this season no one is talking about a quadruple or even a onedruple!!!!! so what ever we achieve will be a bonus.
    It’s like when I make a painting, I don’t do it with a view to selling it, it’s for my own pleasure, but if I do
    sell it, it’s a bonus.
    So if the press are writing us off, they’ll have to eat humble pie at the end of the season. Though history tells us they will find another stick to hit Wenger with no matter what happens. If thats the way they want to sell papers, so be it………. we don’t have to read them.

  45. I like the: ‘build a wall and a moat and tell the press all to go swing’ attitude of Not Another..

    When the spuds et al are bankrupt and nobody wants to play for Shiite-y because they have not achieved and they have ruined so many players – by fanning their egos, bulging their wallets and keeping them on the bench – you can drop below the presses’ facile, big money obsessed radar and build a proper team.

    You never know, when there is no other story of success left they will come begging to have the drawbridge lowered, and then it is on your terms.

  46. Myles Palmer is sad bitter little old man.


    Good day to you

  47. So the Catalan’s started with a draw at home … I can already foresee it. They will finish 2nd, we will finish 1st … and the draw will see us meet again in the 2nd round.

  48. @Evil

    Yes indeed, and this time we will beat them over two games.


    Thanks for the link. I bank with one of the big French banks, and the fuckers are using the charges they
    make on my account to pay off their debts.

  49. Great post, YW.
    Circumstances forced some of these squad changes on AW, but it could all turn out for the best.

    @ SA Gooner and pedantic george
    Agree – that is my big worry. That is why we have to close ranks.

    Moaninho resents Arsene because a) Moany was sacked from Chelsea because Abramovich wanted the team to play more like Arsenal b) he was second choice (minimum) at Real Madrid because they really wanted Arsene and c) he doesn’t really like football, only winning, so he cannot understand why so many people love our style of play.

    @ Evil | September 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

    “So the Catalan’s started with a draw at home … I can already foresee it. They will finish 2nd, we will finish 1st … and the draw will see us meet again in the 2nd round.”

    ha ha! I thought the exact same thing – oh how ironic that would be.

  50. Pedantic,

    Your 11:26 = 🙂

  51. Yeah Yogi, While we wait for the new team to gel, lets ‘sell some smoke’ by all means.

    If we can learn to make ourselves hard to beat now, we’ll be a much better team when the attack does click. Its been too easy for teams to grab points against us in the past few years, even when our attack was on fire.

  52. Jonny

    Mourinho managed the biggest club in Porto who has the most league titles. You would imagine they had much greater finances than any other club no? So in comparison to competition, he could have easily snapped up the players he needed to be successful and produce a lucky champions league run.

    I am not questioning his managerial ability, but there have been others before him who haven’t been as lucky in buying success. Spurs? I think its 1 Carling Cup trophy, 1 champions league season and how much spent…

    Good manager, not a great in my books. Only a billionaire would employ him.

  53. Chris,He is a prick whichever way you look at it.

  54. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve – not by the desire to beat others……

    A real problem for the media, pundits, and some fans to get their arms around.

  55. Dexter,

    Why is Myles a sad and bitter liitle old man?

    That is a genuine question. I come across similar sentiments on blog sites and do not know what you are all referring to.

    Can you or someone elucidate?

  56. @ Passenal and Jonny

    I saw that Untold Arsenal article a few days ago and I have to say I didn’t entirely buy the theory. Firstly, it seems to me that broadly speaking, the hate comes from football journalism and the love comes from financial journalism – but I admit that wouldn’t preclude banks being behind the slanted football coverage.
    Moreover, yes, with fractional reserve banking banks make their money from lending more than they hold, but any lender loves borrowers like us, who borrow large amounts and can be relied on to actually pay back what we owe. Whereas with other clubs, while there are bigger paper gains because the amounts lent and re-lent are massive, there is always the risk that they will have to write off huge debts and make massive losses, hitting their own share price as well. So while the attraction of servicing high-turnover clubs borrowing huge amounts is obvious – while they have high turnovers – I think borrowers like us are very attractive as well. But again, I admit that winning trophies without over-borrowing or over-spending would be a bad message as far as they were concerned. However, you have to ask, why would they target us specifically? What about all the clubs in, say, Germany, which are properly run – do they get the treatment? If not, why not, because you would expect it if this theory is correct.

    So I’m sticking with xenophobia-and-related-themes theory for now because it explains more. And I will add to those themes – a version of the resentment felt by people with no morals towards people with morals. Our reputation for doing things “the right way” gets up people’s noses. They see it as sanctimoniousness or hypocrisy.

    I have a horrible feeling AW is right about the imminence of financial storm. The measures taken a few years ago just delayed the inevitable reckoning.

  57. There is only one reason for anyone to keep potshotting at a rival. Jealousy.
    Well OK there might be others but I am choosing to ignore them for the sake of winning my argument 🙂

  58. “And I will add to those themes – a version of the resentment felt by people with no morals towards people with morals.”

    It is so annoying when someone else says something you wish you had said ,but ar not smart enough to think of
    Grrrrrrr @Fungunner 😦

  59. YW – found your points insightful, as usual.

    posted by Thom Gibbs of the Telegraph today…
    “Samir Nasri
    Nasri was back to his more familiar recent form: vague expansive passes to no-one in particular and not doing much else. His dawdling when in possession just inside Napoli’s half led to a swift break that cost City a goal.
    500 lines Samir: I no longer play for Arsenal.”

    Sorry to those that prefer not dog paddling in the past.

    The play on negativeness and fear are themes that sell (in the media) to an uninformed mainstream public……who are too lazy and/or uneducated to better themselves on current events.

  60. “The play on negativeness and fear are themes that sell (in the media) to an uninformed mainstream public……who are too lazy and/or uneducated to better themselves on current events.”

    Now everybody is at it 😦

  61. Fergie’s rudeness is a standard by which he likes to measure himself, after all he has been elevated to the heights of god like by all media.

    The most interesting thing for me was how poor United were with 7 changes to the side, now what would injuries and suspensions do to them not unlike Arsenal’s start to the season. The only difference being that the media would find excuses fit for a King were it to happen and how it is unfair that the sky was falling on United. We don’t live in a world of fair and just, change and adapt and harden the old skin… we’ll be fine 🙂

    Blackburn away this weekend and I have my fingers crossed we can pull off a nice result, with the lads being able to gel a little more with each game under the belt. It’ll help that Song and Gerv are fianlly back.

  62. I don’t fucking believe it, more allegations against Wenger, and UEFA to investigate:


  63. On my personal, all time, football shitlist, Manchester City has overtaken even Chelsea (now # 2, fuelled by Mourinho with help from Ballack, Terry and Lampard), and ManU, once champions in this dept has dropped to a humble fourth. I never minded Liverpool much, but they have leapt up the ladder to sixth by extolling the old fashioned virtues of being bigheads, spending stupidly and becoming arrogant again. Stoke remains fifth. The bastard who almost ruined Ramsey’s career is firmly third, twinned with the other bastards who did likewise(to Eduardo, Diaby), and all the bastards. Totteringham is mid-table, not worth bothering about. Nasri has done incredibly well and in stunning form, from nowhere to seventh, over-taking Le Grove (8th), so credit where its due; and that’s just for what he said post-departure.

    Poor old Arsenal remain firmly entrenched right at the bottom behind the lowest team of the lowest league of the lowest division, with Arsene Wenger just above, and this very forum one position higher.

  64. So on point FunG,
    “he (Mourinho) doesn’t really like football, only winning, so he cannot understand why so many people love our style of play”.

    I like the realism Arteta & Yossi bring along with their bags of experience. Can do nothing but aid the development of our younger players. A very necessary ingredient in the pursuit of being-all-u-can-be.

    Gibbs is intelligent enough. He will get better. In fact he impressed me with the level of restraint he played with in Germany. I’d love for him to become a real scoring threat as that’d actually help his confidence and defence.

    Goetze’s a joy to watch. Very audacious, plays @ multi-speed, deceptively strong & so confident @ 19???…wow! Sky’s the limit for that young man. If he ever became a gunner, AW would fine-tune him to being one of the best ever.

    My latest fantasy is that we sign both Hazard & Goetze next summer. I’d gladly pay 60million for them two……Cesc who????

    Hope Park plays on Saturday.
    Agree with resting Theo for like an hour.
    Without Hoillett, i can’t wait to see how Mert & Kos deal with Jason Roberts & Yakubu.


  65. It’s interesting to like the teams you are playing against. I liked Dortmund, very impressed with their young team. I liked Udinese. I quite like Swansea too. Newcastle leaves me without an opinion.

  66. Diaby should be back in training by now.He better not make me look like a mug and take forever to recover.I have staked my reputation on him. And we all know what that is worth. 🙂

  67. NB69
    the article is so off the wall……….. a eye blinking ( code ) from the stands. It obvious the accuser is head of Dortmund security ……. only those in security could show signs of neurosis.

    How is your eye sight?
    While playing in an up tempo match…….do you have time to pick out your manager in the stand from 50 – 150 mtrs and see if he’s blinking his eyes?

    You can’t even make up this stuff……..

  68. @ZimPaul

    Where is that cunt Barton on your list? I know where he’d be on mine.
    I was actually hoping QPR would do well this season, that was until Barton joined them, now I’d be glad to see them relegated. And the worst thing, he played against us at the beginning of the season and now plays against us another two times. Hope Gervinho runs rings around him and Diaby is back in the team.

  69. You can’t even make up this stuff……..

    Lol,I think someone just did

  70. Block4
    Agree about the contributions from Theo…….he does some amazing stuff.

    Speaking only for myself, I’d prefer to have a player that can contribute to our attack more consistently over 90 minutes. (I accept Theo is young…..started the sport late) That doesn’t mean only scoring……but more effective in linking play, when to take on someone and be successful, do a better job of movement without the ball, and when we lose possession, show desire to win the ball back. These are all areas of the game that Theo is a work in progress.

    In a calculated way, I’m anxious to see the impact of Park and Ox and their competition for playing time, to force Theo to work harder at these other areas.

  71. I’m glad we drew Dortmund not Napoli in our group. They looked awesome against Man Shityy!

  72. Theo was absolutley awful aganst Dortmund. And here lies the interesting question. He made a goal with a good pass to RvP. On the other hand he consistantly lost the ball (often when he full back was beyond him) and plenty of our stuff broke down because of him. As far as I saw, he went hiding and touched the ball way less than any of our other players.

    When him and Gibbs lined up on the same wing it was a positively trouser soiling experience when Dortmund attacked down that side.

    Is his output worth it? Or more importantly, could somebody else have the same output, but offer more to the team as a whole?

  73. goonerandy – know what you mean but Arshavin frequently has games where he provides very little, other than losing possession, and walking about once he’s lost it. Against Newcastle he was truly atrocious and looked as though he was trying to get sent off.

    Nonetheless his numbers speak for themselves – if we afford Arshavin the luxury of being a luxury player should we not also extend this to Theo when he plays like piss but provides the games crucial assist?

    Theo is not in great form but I still think he’ll click in time – just needs a better run and people to stop judging him unfairly (not you, generally I mean). He’s still only 22 and never had a season free of injury.

  74. Nani was 24 when he started playing consistently…

  75. Andy,I give you Andrei Arshavin,
    He gives you more than Theo ,even on a bad day .
    The thing with Theo is teams dare not push up with him in the side,So I believe his major contribution is his perceived threat rather his actual threat.
    He is still not a bad player though.Dont get me wrong

  76. Jonny – I agree on the AA comparison. I fluctuate daily on the subject to be honest. As long as he produces an end result, his bumbings around the pitch can be forgiven.

  77. Jonny – Yeah, but both AA and Nani can control a football 😉

    George – That is also very true.

  78. George – Dortmund pushed very high up the pitch.

  79. Henristic @ 12:16:..

    “If we can learn to make ourselves hard to beat now, we’ll be a much better team when the attack does click. Its been too easy for teams to grab points against us in the past few years, even when our attack was on fire.”

    Post of the day.

    I know I am one to talk about being repetitious but hasn’t this whole poor us, and how can the world hate us so much stuff gotten a bit stale by now? Its difficult to imagine any one in the media giving us much credit after the way we lifted up our skirts and bent over last season and after we have underperformed for several years now based on the amount of talent we have when you look at the team on paper. What do you expect them to think? It will take a while but if we start actually start playing up to the level that you would expect based on the quality we see in the names on the team sheet then we will probably start to get the credit we deserve or at least the negative stuff will mostly go away.

    Sorry for the rant.

    Blackburn is actually a team that does seem to be in crisis. Hopefully we can get our attack kicked in gear this weekend.

  80. Theo is 22 and we know what he can do when hes on his game. Its his inconsistency that frustrates. Ashley Young was similar up until the last season or so, which has earned him his move to Man Utd. Young is now 26 but has same caps and goals for England as Theo. Nani was as frustrating but is now showing more consistency. And if im not wrong his stats for Man Utd are similar to Theos for us. These 2 players have 2 and 4 years on Theo.

  81. NB, Barton is in the group “other bastards”. Third.

    Theo is very good, don’t give up on the lad. When the midfield is not
    fully effective going forward, Theo looks and is worse, and vice versa. He is dependent on a highly effective midfield. He is not yet a fully rounded player, and does not, unlike Arsh, 3Gs, RvP etc contribute much to the midfield creative process. This will develop, and shows all the right signs of doing do, witness his assist.

    The basic, but not simple skills, of beating a player one on one with a shimmy-shammy and playing an effective one-two are still work in progress for our Theo. But his shooting, running into the middle from thr right, passing into the box, and sometimes his crossing, has all improved considerably in a fairly short time (last season).

    He’s young and I think he could become a very great player.

  82. goonerandy | September 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm
    “George – Dortmund pushed very high up the pitch.”

    I didn’t watch the Dortmund game, but noticed against Swansea that they also pushed up at times, and we still couldn’t use Theo as an outlet to punish them, as often as we potentially could. Me thinks this is more to do with our currently unsettled midfield not being able to play those through balls he loves to run on to. We also still lack a playmaker.

  83. @Deise thanks that’s exactly my point, succinctly put. I honestly don’t understand why he is judged with a ‘different set of eyes’ to other players – the distorting lens of ‘expectation’ I guess.

  84. I expect Walcott to be playing on Saturday, once he has made the goal against Dortmund his confidence should be ont he way up. He scored up there last year too.

  85. I think the frustrating thing when watching Theo, is that he never seems to be in full control of the football. He often just runs it out of play, or worse still sets of running leaving the ball behind him.

  86. To be honest Theo has been our major contributor this season so far. I find this criticism at this point in time highly unfair because he has done his part. Could he have done better? Absolutely, but that is something that could be said about half of the team this season so far. RVP has not been firing on all cylinders, Gervinho was highly ineffectual against Dortmund, not only wasting two glorious opportunities but also often just running at players to lose the ball, etc. The whole team still needs to gel and even in these times where we have suffered from highly disjointed performances Theo has been one of the players to produce. When the team gets a few more games under their belt with our first 11 it is to be expected that Theo’s form will improve as well. To be honest though we still haven’t made the most of his abilities yet, our midfield have not been playing to his strengths. With familiarity that will hopefully change and we will be able to unleash the weapon that Theo Walcott is with more efficiency.

  87. Right, I’ve had enough of ‘working’ today, just had lunch and now off to the bar for a cool glass of wine with a good book. Shame not to make the most of this glorious sunshine.
    Hoping also to hear about my Marseille ticket. 🙂
    May look in later to see how debates are going.

  88. But I do agree that Theo’s lack of technique and dribbling ability limits his performance as a wide forward for us. He should be skinning his markers way more often than we currently see.
    We all know he wants to play as a striker, but does he have the predatory instincts of a Wrighty, or even Owen and Hernandez? Being a striker isn’t all about pace and finishing.

    I know his contract is coming up soon, but he’d do well to put his head down and continue to learn his trade under Wenger. Not many other managers will be as patient with him.

  89. Henristic – I really can’t see him benig used as a striker ni this current formation, can you?

  90. Theo would certainly profit if we would switch to 4 – 4 – 2. I can see him and VP striking up a partnership similar to what we had with Henry/Bergkamp. But in this current formation, I think he could still do well as a lone forward but I do not think that Wenger is going to utilise him in that position … not yet.

  91. When in France, Northbank. Salut!

  92. Jonny @ 2:26:

    Theo is only 22 and me still improve. He is judged with a different set of eyes because 5 years ago he was put in the first team of a squad that is annually challenging for league titles. If we is not not matured enough to be judged that way then we should not have been put him in that position. There are a very limited number of players who should be in the first team as teenagers. You live with the label of great potential but suffer thru years of inconsistency and we really still don’t know for sure how good he is going to be.

  93. Ha-ha.


    This is not a battle they can win either way – the fans lapped up the success and ignored the expenditure. Now the club starts pointing out the reality and they start to complain.

    They want the moon on a stick.

  94. I haven’t had the chance to comment on Tuesday’s game yet.

    My men of the match were Koscielny and Alex Song. Tanacious, determined and just absolute monsters.

    It was a very enjoyable game, and I really like Mario Goetze. It’s the first time I’ve seen him play, and that boy is good.

    All in all, a very good point away from home.

  95. Props to Deise and others above, but you forgot to mention Aaron Lennon!
    Surely he could be that player who could “have the same output, but offer more to the team as a whole”?

    I remember the kind of gr*t written about RVP when he came to Arsenal.
    (21/22ish at the time)

    Basically, he was…’not good enough!’

    Now, I would’t compare two different players, but here are some intersting stats for the glass man who was not good enough:

    234 Apps.
    98 Goals
    54 Assists.

    Holy fwuck! That is quite good.
    If you happen to be there when he gets that hundreth goal, please give a warm cheer for me in case I’m not there.

  96. Morning/Afternoon all!

    kinda hard to pick on one player with the whole team regaining confidence, no? that is quite unfair.

    Theo was on fire last season before his injury. Give the young man time, its not like the team is scoring at will and passing brilliantly and then the ball gets to Walcott and he just messes up. We are not playing well going forward for the most part but when something has come off, Theo has almost always had something to do with it as Block4 stated.

    I too would love to see Theo up front, but I trust Wenger and believe he knows what Theo needs right now to become a better player. After all, even if he plays striker he will still need to be able to beat players 1 on 1 consistently.

    God Bless!

    Im out!

  97. @Jonny | September 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I heard them saying something on the radio about the ticket prices at Chelsea this morning and thought exactly the same thing. They’d be the first ones to complain if they weren’t buying the Torres and Matas in every transfer window.

  98. Our Captain ROBIN VAN PERSIE is tha Shiiiiznniiiittttsss!!!!!!
    2 more goals to 100!!!!!!!!!
    Captain FANTASTIC
    Lets get both goals @ Blackburn!

  99. Rvp and Theo are 100% polar opposites when it comes to control of a football.

  100. To be honest Theo’s first touch is not half bad (say, compared to Bendtner’s first touch), it’s just that he does not know what to do with the ball at his feet besides run with it.

  101. Then that must help to explain why Theo & RVP must have one of the highest goals & assist ratios for players at any of the ‘big’ clubs in 2011.

    * To each other & the overall total of goals and assists for the two.

    Can this gr*tty thread end now, please, and move on to a topic not deposited by a DIC?

  102. I’m really looking Forward to that first CC game.

    A team:

    Jenks Djourou Iggy A LB?
    TR7/A youngling? Whovever didn’t play at the weekend.
    AOC Ryo

  103. I would like to see Coquelin play in the League Cup. He looks like he could break through this season along with Frimpong as Little Big Jack did last year.

  104. Not too surprised that City and Manure were given breaks by the media after their uninspired displays. According to the media, City’s draw against Napoli was because of nerves, despite the fact that half their squad has CL experience and Mancini is not a CL debutant. Manure, on the other hand, was supposedly lacklustre because they weren’t playing their first team. But upon closer inspection one sees Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Valencia, Park, Evra, Nani, Hernandez and Rafael in their team sheet. All these players played the final of the CL last season. So what gives? Are Young and Anderson such important players for them now that they can’t win without them?

    By the way, had any of our defenders been at fault for the goal either MU or MC conceded, they and Arsenal would’ve been crucified. Calls for English grit and Arsene has lost the plot ringing out from every corner. Thus far I haven’t read anything about Evans and Smalling being at fault for allowing Cardozo to score. I Imagine they didn’t make mistakes, youthful exhuberance was the real culprit. Ditto for that goal Cavanni scored against City. Lescott and Kompany must have been scared shitless at the sight of Cavanni running at them. Poor babies. How they soldiered on despite all that fear was remarkable.

    The narrative is, and will be for the whole season, that Arsenal went on a panick buying spree because of the loss against MU. Case in point, Per Mertesacker. To the pundits he is shit and will continue to be so until he packs his bags and leaves London. Hummells, according to the plundits, is keeping Merty out of the German NT, don’t you know. The only foreign defender who is okay in their books is David Luiz, eventhough he was at fault for the two goals United scored against them ending their title run.

  105. As for Theo and his statistics etc, perceptions of how well players play in a game are very objective and can also differ if one is watching on television compared to in the ground. Stats are important and a good indicator, but even they do not tell the whole story, because a player could play poorly all game and score a goal in the last minute. My personal opinion on Theo is that expectation levels of him are too high (my own included) mainly due to the media and his involvement with England. He is doing just fine for Arsenal at the moment and we all know that when he is on the top of his game, he is virtually unplayable.

  106. Why is everybody so touchy about Theo?
    Its an opinion on a football blog.I have not seen one person say he is a bad player or not good enough ,yet everyone is preparing their handbags for his defence.
    If people think that running towards the bye line and waiting to be surrounded by the opposition or crossing the ball into row Z it the way forward ,all well and good ,but I don’t,

    Just kidding ,but you see what I mean.There is lots of room for improvement

  107. Andy, the very same thing you’re saying about Theo happened to Cristiano Ronaldo last night against Dinamo Zagreb. The Croats were very good at dropping back and getting two or three players around him at all times. If you saw that game you will have noticed that C. Ronaldo’s most used trick was passing the ball back to either Marcelo or Ramos. Let’s face it, Dortmund got their scouting right. Put a few players on Theo and make sure that service to him, by way of Benayoun, is cut out. Against Swansea, the ref let their left back foul Theo at least eight times before he was yellow carded. Teams know how dangerous he is and dedicate most of their energy to stop him. With Gervinho on the pitch, garnering as much attention as he does, I think you’ll see Theo start playing better and better.

  108. Our “ex-favourite” son speaks:

    “”I want to be in a club that is able to win the big titles year after year and I don’t see that kind of future for Arsenal”.

    Let the lambasting begin:

    Catalan pussy-clat!
    Faithless weakling.

    ……”u shall eat thy words bitches”

  109. Despite Theo’s struggles, he has been scoring and we certainly need that. I think he may get rested this weekend but after RVP he is the most likely person in our line up to score. Hard to leave him out of the line up when we need goals. I would love to see us start with RVP, Gervinho and Theo upfront with AA being the most advanced mid fielder. I think this would be an ideal weekend to try that set up. Arteta and Song could lie deeper and protect the back 4. That front 4 could raise some real havoc if they play well.

  110. Gains – I don’t think that is a great comparrison to be honest. Ronaldo has had that type of attention for years but still manages 35+ goals per season.

    It sounds like I am being down on Theo, but I am not (maybe I am, who knows?, not me). I just find him increadibly frustrating to watch. Never before at this level have I seen a player who can look so bad when trying to run with the ball. He can also be increadibly naive is his play. That said, he is still only young.

    But as we have alread discussed, his output stands up to scrutiny.

  111. Henristic, I think that Theo playing on the shoulder of the last defender, with his speed alone, would give most teams massive headaches. Him running into the space between the half way line and the penalty area will force teams to sacrifice either a fullback or a central midfielder, which would give our midfield a lot more space. Also, with him not having to track back he’d be fresher and our counter attacks would improve dramatically. As far as his killer instincts, if that goal from Gervinho’s cross against Udinese is anything to go by, then I think our Theo is not too inept at putting the ball in from a tight angle.

  112. Aman, the fact is he is as entitled to his opinion as any of us here on this blog. I do believe that Arsenal are in a difficult situation at the moment, that being the financial circumstances. It remains to be seen whether FFP well actually have teeth, but the either way the financial landscape has moved to such an extent that we are not competing for the best available on the menu during each transfer window.

    We all know that Arsene made a bid for M Gotze, due to the failure to land him he is an obvious target for the financial 3 and again we’ll not be able to match wages or transfer values. I am not complaining because I think football like housing will reach a watershed and many of these non-business like clubs shall fall to the wayside.

    Actually, add Cahill to that Gotze statement because I’ll give you a $50 bet he is headed for Man City in January.

  113. I’m not comparing Theo to Ronaldo man for man, Andy. I’m just saying that even a player as good as C. Ronaldo struggles when he’s double or triple marked.

  114. Winning is only response to Arsenal criticism says Arsene Wenger

    By Jim van Wijk, PA

    Arsene Wenger has a simple solution to stop the critics rounding on Arsenal – win games.

    Wenger, though, firmly believes the time for positive rhetoric is over as he prepares for Saturday’s trip to bottom club Blackburn.

    “We must win. We live in an environment that questions us when we don’t win. We do not criticise that and have to live with that,” the Arsenal manager said.

    “We have to show performances, consistency and attitude quality, that makes us respected. It is as simple as that.

    “That is why it is as important that we do not talk too much and play as well as we can.”

    I copied and pasted the above quotes that Arsene said to some journalist. Arsene knows best.

  115. I think if Hernandez or Torres were played on the wing they’d struggle as well, Andy. Theo’s bag of tricks is comparable to theirs, no?

  116. I agree with George the pedantic.

    I don’t think anyone on here today has been trying to put Theo down, but have been trying to analyse how he plays and coming to different conclusions.
    He is an asset for the team and can only get better.
    Some people get so cranky about a small criticism about our players and don’t want it to continue, fair enough, but trying to stifle reasoned debate and positive criticism just seems childlike.

  117. But Gains.he is not double and triple marked he allows them to surround him .He has glaring deficiencies in his technique that can not be ignored.That is not to say he does not add value to the team or that he is not worth his place.But he does does look like a square peg in a round hole in a team of technically excellent players.

  118. ““I don’t know if it’s realistic that I would return one day. But maybe I said the same when I left Barca, so you never know. If that was the final thing Arsenal needed to agree on to let me go, then I’m satisfied.”

    “I felt the love from the fans and media when I came on the pitch for my presentation, and I really appreciate it. This is where my heart belongs. I have known that for a long time but I never knew if it would ever be possible to return to Barca”.

    Lil’ Cesc just doesn’t get it. He really never realized how large of a part he (our captain) played in our failure to win silverware…especially the last 2 years.

    For the very first time I blame AW
    For making this kid who’s heart was always in Barcelona
    Our captain.
    Really huge mistake.

    Long “live” Robin van Persie
    May his contract extension validate this.

    (thats it for me.. Fab4’s erased from all hard drives)

  119. Barca have lost Sanchez and Iniesta for at least the next few matches. If they drop more points and Real Madrid capitalizes, then they might not win the league. And if they continue to ship stupid goals like they did against Milan, I don’t see them doing too well in the CL either. The Busquets, Mascherano defensive partnership seems to have stopped being the miracle everyone once thought. Cesc, should mind his words a bit better and tell the truth. He went to Barcelona because he has an ongoing romance with Pique.

  120. George, why would Theo wait for defenders to sorround him, so he could impress us all with his magnificent skill? It’s no accident that when Theo gets the ball there are at least two players waiting for him there. Your comment is a bit odd to me.

  121. Hi Aman,

    I just saw the alleged Cesc statement. If he made it, on the one hand, it could just be his way of showing his new masters that he has broken with the past and therefore working his way into Pep’s affections and, thereby, the first eleven!

    On the other hand, what a little shit! Talk about going over to the dark-side!? And there was me trying to dismiss his uncanny resemblance to Sylar from ‘Heroes’!

    One more twat to prove wrong (if true!).


  122. Cesc Fabregas now has a duty to keep Barcelona fans happy,his obligation to us has ended.As has ours to him.

  123. Gains – I actually think his best position for us is where he is currently playing. Playing there is our best chance to engineer situations where he can run behind from deep onto through balls. The only downside to that is his actual “wing play” if you like.

    Whilst he arrived with the burden of being the next Henry, he is actually more like Freddie without maybe without the tenacity and worth ethic. Obvisouly he is much speedier than Freddie although he was no slouch himself.

    A wide player he is not that good “one the ball”, but makes very clever runs off it. Also a good finisher. That could be Freddie or Theo no?

  124. Miami,
    the ease with which respect/love for Arsenal’s gone from private to public reeks of insincere allegiance. His silence was just fear of transfer to Barca falling through.
    For being so “honest” in public so soon, Cesc Fabregas gets a F**K OFF from me!

    Talk about stepping on a team while they’re down.

    He just ain’t Captain material…no balls…a needy non-leader…a disloyalist

  125. Most fans are clamoring for some silverware; others want to see more consistency from match to match, and certainly more competitive results against our major rivals.

    Can the club afford one or two players, on the pitch at the same time, to be inconsistent or missing in action for most of the match?

    The additions of Park, Ryo, Ox……. players who appear to work hard on the pitch and possess the right skill sets that will force some of our current starters out of their complacent habits OR jockeying for seats on the bench.

  126. Odd ? 🙂
    I am odd,what do you expect?

    Ok ,he runs in straight lines in a very predictable fashion ,which gives the opposition the chance to surround him.He has little variety in his play and is dependent on other players vision and passing as he does not have much of his own.

  127. I don’t think Goetze will end up at City. In fact, I doubt he’ll leave Germany in the next few seasons. Germans don’t leave Germany too often. Loook at Bastian Schweinsteiger. He’s perhaps the best central midfielder in Europe and could walk on to any top team without a problem, yet he’s still at Bayern. If Goetze moves it will be for footballing reasons, not money or a trophy obsession like the mercenaries who play at City. German clubs pay their players well and their league provides them a good environment to play in.

  128. Lets hope RVP signs the extension else its yet another player given the armband only to fuck off to pastures new……….

    Cesc is no longer Arsenal therefore his comments no longer affect us. Let the Barca fans read them.

  129. Gains you may be right but then again money talks… I don’t see Gotze staying in Germany long term at all.

  130. Gains is right. Many of the top Germany players simply end up at Munich.

  131. Goetze will most likely move to Bayern Munchen in a season or 2

  132. Arséne Wenger, an itellectual with a post grad degree in economics says that in a very short while, football will be brought to its knees because of the state of the European economy. Clubs can cheat fFP rules, but they can’t cheat the economy.

    And today, only after Craig Johnstone repeats what Wenger was saying – for the record I don’t have a clue who the fuck this chap is save for the fact that he retired from Liverpool in 1987 – then the football media start thinking that it might be a big issue that we need to take note.


    Greece is already bankrupt, lets see how the big money football will survive in Spain and Italy.

    Oh wait, there’s a rich middle eastern oil baron waiting to buy them out, just like their last yacht. Only they won’t have an ocean to sail it on.

  133. Deise @ 5:05:

    “Lets hope RVP signs the extension ”

    At his age this is the last chance for a big pay day and for big silverware. The former the most important consideration, I suspect. Will be interesting how it plays out.

  134. @Gainsbourg and others interested in the media debate and the anti-Arsenal love going around, my thoughts and a debate are over at Stone Cold Towers – http://wp.me/pInoW-fg

    Some people clearly think we shouldn’t even bother with Arsenal as we’re useless.

  135. Craig Johnstone was the last footballer in England to possess a bubble perm and invented the Adidas Predator…!

  136. I don’t think Theo’s best position is out wide. I hate the fact that he has to track back and I also hate it that he often runs himself into cul de sacs because he lacks a winger’s instincts. Personally, I think he could be used like Hernandez is used. Playing off a striker who dictates play with his passing further up the pitch. A front four of Gervs, Arsha, Van Persie and Theo is something I pray to see this season.

  137. @Supercod – clearly, all the attributes right there to prophesize the future of football finance.

  138. Neither ITV or BBC had and of tuesdays champions league games playing live or in highlight format. Has Tuesday coverage been scrapped by both? Will the same happen when Man Utd or City play on tuesday?

  139. DeiseGooner well it can for all I care

  140. not that i want to watch that lot george, just making an observation about current media darlings…

  141. so according to le Boss, Verms should be back for sunderland at home on 16th oct

  142. @DeiseGooner.

    Sly Sports have the broadcast rights for Tuesday Champions league games, and ITV has Wednesday’s. Sky will show other non-English games on Wednesday but not the UK games.

  143. Darius:

    If you have the time and energy and want a model of what might happen to the economics of European football you might study what happened in American sports. The whole thing started to spiral out of control in 1975 when a baseball player named Andy Messersmith challenged baseballs reserve clause. Before that players were completely tied to their team and even when their contracts ran out they could not sign with another team. Soon after the reserve clause was struck down by the courts the wages started to escalate in an uncontrolled fashion and continue to do so today and all the major sports over here. The players obviously love it and are not willing to give up what they feel is rightfully theirs and trying to stop the inflation is near impossible.

    I don’t think the wage insanity has gotten as bad in Europe just yet but certainly its getting that way. Somehow all of the American sports have survived although this years NBA season is in true jeopardy. The world wide economic crisis is something the American sports did not have to deal with thru the last couple of decades so that throws another variable into the equation. In the long term people love sport and there is still money to be made, so I don’t think football will die and I doubt that the players will willingly let salary caps etc happen without a fight. I think it will all slog on for quite some time with little real change to the status quo. A lot more small teams will probably go belly up but unfortunately no one except their fans will cry about that. The rich will probably continue to get richer since that what always seems to happen.

  144. Wait a second.

    No one wrote above that Theo Walcott can’t improve.

    Just that this thread has been done and dusted a few times over. Already.

  145. With a fair few players waiting to start in this positions, who cares?
    At the end of the day the management will make their decisions based on form and fitness.
    Considering Arsena;’s luck with the latter, I think we’ll see some kind of ‘rotation’ in those positions over the course of the season. Everyone’s a winner. Enjoy.


  146. Park could be an interesting player. Overall, Arsneal have much more variety going Forward this season then compared to last. When everyone is settled and bedded in.

    Want to see a poorer Arsenal attack then the one we have at the moment?
    Watch most games last season when Theo wasn’t playing.
    (save for the Chamack inspired spell in the Autumn).

  147. So the pro Theo posters see room for improvement and the anti Theo’s see room for improvement.I suggest a coalition is the way forward.
    My, but there are some touchy buggers on here

  148. Bill.

    I think that football as a whole can learn from how various sports businesses have evolved in the commercialized American market. i don’t think football will die after the economy corrects the financial profligacy that is going unchecked. What is more likely to happen is that the financial infrastructure will stop existing in its current form where clubs have to spend money that they mostly don’t have to compete in what is an artificially inflated market.

    There are parallels to be drawn between the way clubs are handling the chase for money in football with the US and UK sub-prime housing markets that caused the 2007-08 credit crunch – where mortgages were offered to those who couldn’t pay them back on the foundation that real estate will never be at risk of depreciating, let alone the fact that they were being told things are looking rosy in the future and you will be in a good position to pay back what you recklessly borrow since you’ll always have equity in your property.

    The fundamentals for such judgements were spectacularly flawed and the inability of greedy lenders to manage what is a clear risk just accelerated the inevitable, and the market was always going to correct that nonsense.

    With football, everyone is acting as if football as a sport makes enough money to sustain itself. Some clubs are successful with organic revenue from match days, sponsorships, TV rights, commercial revenue like merchandizing, etc. But this isn’t true for every team and every sport. the disparity between the financial positions of clubs even in the same league is shocking. Take Everton and Arsenal for example – Everton are in dire straits and to be honest, they really haven’t done anything drastic or risky to get into the position they’re in.

    the Bundesliga is a fascinating league to follow when it comes to how they’ve modelled their clubs financially. They work a bit differently in terms of ownership and they seem to blend things well. English and Spanish football are just way out there on the third rail – with obscene spending in terms of player transfer fees and wages mostly financed through unsustainable debt and sugar daddies.

    Most of these teams are banking on the promise that they will be successful if they spend this money and therefore make it back. An example is Manure who bank on success on the pitch to sell their brand around the world, or Real Madrid who justified spending £80 mio on Ronaldo with crazy wages because they felt they could gain financially off the pitch with his brand.

    The assumption here as with the case of the housing market that collapsed is that success will always equate to making money off the pitch. In the housing market, the assumption that real estate will always appreciate in an economy that was unstable in the first place was proved to be spectacularly wrong. The risks taken with sub-prime mortgages are akin to the risks being taken in football to finance this adventure with unsustainable debt.

  149. Gains,
    Well, I’d like to see him play in the middle too but wenger clearly doesn’t believe in doing that so far. I do wonder why that is sometimes, given how many times the player has come out to declare his preference for being a striker.

    Wenger’s reticence on this matter is partly why I think Theo doesn’t have the poaching skills of Hernandez, Owen and co. despite the occasional goals he has scored that may suggest otherwise.

  150. Bill, wages in American sports are through the roof. Football will never get to those levels. They can afford to pay those huge salaries because they don’t have to pay transfer fees and, by having the NCAA as an academy, they don’t have to invest funds training or developing players. Can you imagine how much more football players would be making if clubs didn’t have to deal with transfer fees or player development? Also, since this country is so large the TV and sponsorship deals are humungous.

  151. The Theo conundrum – just where is his best position & how do we make the most of that blistering pace ?

    Ideally I`d let him go where the hell he likes in the top third of the pitch (same with Arshavin) but we`d need to be a lot more defensively disciplined to allow that.

    He IS frustrating but when he gets it right he`s simply unplayable, although he`s obviously taking his time improving his consistency. I expect to see the best of Theo in 3 or4 more seasons.

    Whilst Walcott was poor on Tuesday it was Gibbs` performance that concerned me more. I`ve always been a big fan of his but I thought he was dreadful positionally & poor in possession. He`ll need to improve greatly to make the full back spot his own.

  152. Darius and G69:

    All good points.

    When you look at the system as is, there is clearly a bubble and common sense says it will have to burst. However, experts have been predicting an implosion for American baseball for the last 30 years. Don’t really have any idea how it will all turn out but people are not willing to give up football and the players and owners don’t want to kill a golden goose so the sport will survive. Trying to make significant changes in the way a system is financed is a huge undertaking and nearly impossible to get all parties to agree on. Inertia will rule the day. Just my opinion but I suspect that the system will stutter on without significant changes for the forseeable future

  153. Henristic, I think Theo will eventually make it into the middle. Arsene had Henry since he was thirteen and only started using him more centrally when he came here at twenty two. That’s nine years of being played out of position for Henry. Wenger has only had Theo for four and a half years. It’s kind of funny how Henry faced almost the same type of criticism Theo is now facing. As far as style, however, Henry had trickery to go with his pace. Theo is more like a locomotive. Once he gets the ball in open space he only has one thought on his mind. To Run as fast as he can and try to score.

  154. Darius,
    I’m not sure how well your comparison between the sub prime mortgage problem and the football/sport spending ‘bubble’ holds up to scrutiny.
    For one, the level of moral transgressions involved in both issues are widely divergent, not to mention the relative consequences of the actions of the various stakeholders.
    The risks involved in these two issues are basically very different.

    A better comparison for the current situation in sports is the tech bubble of the early 2000s. Thankfully, unlike other real economic bubbles, the consequences of the football bubble bursting is comparatively small. Most people employed in the sport will simply just have to get adjusted to the new realities. Sport is the sort of thing that people are happy to do without crazy wages, so any potential fall in wages won’t necessarily lead to a reduction in global talent levels and what not. It might even lead a better levelling of the field.

  155. Good point about Henry, although Wenger will likely no longer have that luxury of time, even if we accept its was somehow part of his master plan for Henry, to leave to Juvi, only to join him at Arsenal.
    Besides, I doubt that Henry mouthed off as much about how he’d prefer to be played in a different position.

  156. Gains:

    Do you really think Theo will make it to the middle with our current formation? I seriously doubt he would be put in RVP’s position.

    I am 100% for a change in formation but I think there is a lot of inertia since everyone in our system from top to bottom has trained using this system and tactics for several years. Do you think we will see something different in the next couple of years?

    Myself I see no reason why Theo can’t make runs into space from the defenders shoulder starting on the right wing. He could be just as effective making diagonal runs cutting in from the side rather then starting in the middle. If he became a huge threat from the middle the defenders would just play a little deeper and take away his advantage.

  157. Paulie, the defensive thing is a give and take, in my opinion. If you put Theo upfront the opposition would be less adventurous going forward. This, in and of itself, would give us less to do defensively. He would also help with pressing, which would make teams that aren’t too good at getting out of defense give up possession easier.

  158. And how would he hold the ball up?
    Henry could hold it up with his strength and trickery,Theo has little of either.
    RVP and Theo will never come close to Henry and Dennis,sadly 😦

  159. Henristic, good point about the sub-prime mortgage market. The worst thing that can happen to football is that the lesser teams go back to pre-Abrahamovic spending levels and the mini-league becomes even more entrenched.

    I think Theo is mouthing off because he’s a senior player on our team. Crazy, I know, but he’s one of the longest serving players in the squad despite the fact that he’s twenty two.

    Bill, I think our formation would work best with Van Persie and Theo on the pitch together. Seriously, all I see when thinking about Theo playing upfront is Jack or Van Persie finding him with a neat pass and him blowing past his defender to be one on one with the keeper.

  160. Did Henry hold the ball up, Geroge? As I recall we hardly ever hoofed it up field when he and Bergkamp were around.

  161. No ,he did have the ability to though when required.
    Are you being obtuse? 🙂

  162. No. 🙂

  163. Gains:

    I just don’t see the importance of Theo being in “the middle”. Theo and RVP are on the pitch together right now and I don’t see how having him in the middle will make it any easier for him to run into space. Right now he can cut into the middle almost any time he wants. Having both players in the middle would mean a complete change in the formation we play now and I am not sure we will see that any time soon. May be I am wrong but I don’t see Theo being effective up front by himself the way that RVP operates now.

  164. I remember once Thierry passing the ball to himself. No kidding, a 25 yard pass from midfield into no man’s land down the left, past the poor opposition player trying to defend, that extraordinary acceleration, and he was first to the ball down the left wing.

    Then he scored. Henry special. Drifted in, almost lazily it seemed, skipped a few yards, two defenders mesmerised like rabbits in headlights, looked up once, and with not much more than a hard pass really, straight into the side of the net, past the keeper, from just outside the box, and not another Arsenal player in sight.

    Will there ever be any such again?

  165. Good point about the pressing Theo could do up front Gains. It`s all the rage these days.

    Comparisons to TH14 are very unfair but kind of expected after all that hugging b*llocks when Theo first joined and then him taking the number when the great man left.

    Kind of brought it on himself in a way.

  166. Paul @ 8:16.

    Wow that was really awesome. Thanks for finding it. Bobby Pires was always my favorite player and I still think the DB10 is the greatest player ever to lace up the boots, but TH14 was the greatest goal scorer I have ever watched play. How could any single team be blessed with that much impudence and style.

  167. Another great one. Thanks Paul. I don’t know why I like Bobby so much even though he was the 3rd best player on that team. Just liked his style. He had an usual gait when he ran which I thought sometimes reminded me of my middle son. He did not like to go to the bathroom when he was 5 or 6 years old so he would hold it until the little brown turtle head started to poke out and then he would scurry off to the bathroom as fast as he could running with his legs together. The way Pires ran sometimes made me think of that and always gave me a smile.

  168. All three of those videos were great. Thanks again. Cheeky impudence at its best.

  169. Thanks for the vids Paul.

    Not a tippy tappy in site. 🙂

  170. Ok ,he runs in straight lines in a very predictable fashion ,which gives the opposition the chance to surround him.He has little variety in his play and is dependent on other players vision and passing as he does not have much of his own.

    I thought you liked the little Russian?

  171. Proper Arsenal Legends, not like some others who shall not be named.

  172. Man city are the new tippy tappers.

  173. seriously whats all this theo must improve shit. utter tripe, he has scored three goals and one assist so far this season, is that not the best return out of our squad?

  174. A good comment on twitter

    “find it strange when i see these pricks who left #Arsenal run their dirty mouths as if they were not part of the team that didn’t do well.”

  175. Duke, Have a word with yourself.
    Arshavin has an eye for a pass ,can be totally unpredictable and most certainly does have a trick.
    You are being obtuse?Are you unhappy with our peace pact?

  176. Just taking zee piss george. obviously arsahvin is quality aswell but just pissed off with all the fukin theo bashing fukin el, kid cant get a break. they are both quality players and i could’ nt call who is better.

    I dont think theo can do anything now to stop the critizising. fukin got us into the cl but a couple of mediocre games and he is a cunt again.

  177. by the way george i’d say the same for theo, as i stated before he isnt a natural winger but he puts other wingers (lemon,drowning) to shame. and unlike monkey boy teams can try and stop him but he does still get past players. to have messi worried about you is some fukin accolade aswell lets not forget that one shall we.

  178. Duke no one has bashed Theo today,
    He is a good player But Arshavin is extra special

  179. cesc4official Cesc Fàbregas Soler
    by MuppetGooner
    I want Arsenal to be succesfull as much as every single fan. Thats not why i left, it was never in my mind. AFC made me who i am today.
    3 minutes ago

    cesc4official Cesc Fàbregas Soler
    by MuppetGooner
    Id never speak 1 bad work abt AFC, here there’s once more prove that so many people put in newspaper wtv they want and its not professional.

    OOOPS.Hands up anyone who feels guilty.Or is it “fuck him anyway” ?

  180. I think Theo is playing in the best position for him and us, given our formation and his strengths. He isn’t being asked to play as an orthodox winger, he is a wide forward – so he is at liberty, indeed expected, to rotate positions with the other forwards. And we need him to get into the box when RvP drops back to receive. No reason why he should be exempt from tracking back, is there? We are supposed to defend from the front.
    I can totally understand why he wants to play centrally because every striker wants to play in the middle. But everything which he struggles with on the wing, he would have to cope with if he played in the middle. Playing where he does, he is lethal, a matchwinner who regularly scores or creates crucial goals.

    He is obviously working on his game, so maybe in time it will happen for him – that is AW’s plan, anyway. His pass to Robin on Tuesday was Cesc- or Rosicky-like. On a couple of occasions over the last year or so he has done extraordinarily well with his back to goal, but that is still a weakness at the mo and the main reason why I don’t think he can play centrally just yet.
    Henry was a different case – Theo doesn’t have his physique or technical ability, so I wouldn’t expect them to have similar development trajectory.

  181. @ pedantic george

    ha ha from earlier.

  182. FunGunner @ 10:29:

    Spot on. Could not agree more

    The oracle has now spoken and all questions are answered.

  183. I have laughed myself into tears reading the new allegations on Arsene.

  184. @ firstlady | September 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    “I have laughed myself into tears reading the new allegations on Arsene.”

    Me, too. Very good satire, only a slight exaggeration of the real situation.

  185. It was funny ,but what was funnier was people taking it seriously.

  186. pedantic george, it is barely less believable than reality!

  187. A compliment to the writer, I suppose. Like Muppet’s parodies – always fooled the unwary.

  188. Totally off topic, but this is a fascinating clip I found on Goonerholic, about incentives and performance. A lot of it intuitively rings true, but this shows it is backed by research.

  189. Bill, Theo can’t get in the middle any time he wants to because when he’s not running at defenders he’s usually tracking back to cover. By giving him a role upfront, without any defensive responsibilities other than pressing, he can cut from the right, the left or the middle.

  190. Fun: “I think Theo is playing in the best position for him and us, given our formation and his strengths. He isn’t being asked to play as an orthodox winger, he is a wide forward – so he is at liberty, indeed expected, to rotate positions with the other forwards. And we need him to get into the box when RvP drops back to receive. No reason why he should be exempt from tracking back, is there? We are supposed to defend from the front.”

    Tracking back is not exactly defending from the front, is it? When Theo drops back this leaves Van Persie with whomever is furthest forward to counter attack and we don’t profit from Theo’s speed. This is probably why we don’t counter attack like we used to and why teams get back, giving us plenty of room to play tippy-tappy infront of their penalty area.

    Now imagine Theo upfront, not wasting his energy defending, running full steam at two, often cumbersome, central defenders. This would cause all sorts of problems for teams defensively. Theo’s speed would occupy at least the two central defenders and one of the full backs or a midfielder would have to drop back in order to help. This would create space for our winger or whomever is playing in the whole.

    As for Theo coming up against similar circumstances when playing out wide as he would in the middle, that’s just not possible. When Theo’s playing out wide he’s up against speedy fullbacks. That he very seldomly beats them is because a) he lacks the trickery of an Arshavin or a Gervinho and b) the fbs match him for pace, turn him to his less powerful side and is so close to the touchline that he csn be easily pinned.

  191. Good article Yogi,
    Has anyone ever heard about Seydou Doumbia?
    Dribbling, cool as a cucumber in-front of goal, Heading, Strength, Speed, Positioning, Creative, reads the play really well.
    Slightly greedy, but what great striker isn’t?
    Eto and Drogba in one!!!!
    13Goals in 21 Games for CSKA Moscow


  192. I was looking at Hazard when I found this guy, I will be looking forward to watching Doumbia play!

  193. Bill – just too much information

  194. Hands up,

    I was one who vented about Cesc (albeit with the qualification that my words only relate to his alleged statement. I applied that cavaet because my experience with the British and Spanish press demanded it). In the man’s own words:

    “I’d never speak one bad word about AFC,” he wrote. “That’s not why I left, it was never in my mind. AFC made me who I am today. I never gave any interview away since my press conference at my presentation.

    “People can hate me for leaving or remember that I gave my all for the club. But me talking one bad word or saying something against AFC will not [be] seen.”


    [Yogi, sent email on comments page but still typing blind with same problems]

  195. Guys look at walcotts stats this year and look at our matches. Without him we would have lost several of them. He may not be preatty to watch of have sublime technique or even a football brain. But he assists and scores and that is more than can be said about say lill jack. Walcott has scores mlr already than jack did all last year. He’s assisted more already than nasri all last year.

  196. true poodle. There are some who will argue that stats don’t paint the whole picture, though.

    I would have to agree that Theo looks out of sorts when dribbling. He is getting better, but it just seems like he gets really fidgety or something. Having 3 defenders running at you having a go at your ankles doesn’t help the shakes either.

    Compare how Theo and Gervinho dribble at players to how Nasri would or someone else with a delicate touch. Watching Nasri dribble, the ball practically sticks to his feet. Theo and Ricky Gervais on the other hand knock the ball left and right in seemingly random patterns. Hey whatever works though. Big ups to Theo. He will score 20+ goals in all comps this year.

  197. Dgob | September 16, 2011 at 5:26 am

    He may not have said it that time, but he did say a lot of negative things in an interview during last season. They probably took the quotes out of context from that interview. And it’s not like we don’t know why he has gone to BBB (“guaranteed trophies” in his own words). Had his home town club been Real Betis for example, he would have been a lot less home sick.

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