International Injuries For Arsenal & Government Interference

Club football returns to the fore, Arsenal awaiting the return of the players to assess injuries. The return to fitness of a large percentage of the club’s central defenders is partially offset by the news that Tomas Rosicky is already doubtful for the weekend’s clash with Sunderland thanks to a groin injury picked up on international duty.

Those who are fit return with renewed confidence if their nations will be participating in Euro2012 or an optimism that the play-offs still hold out hope that next Summer means eastern European climes rather than Sidmouth Bay. Those going to the latter are just relieved they were not in the squads that failed…

Against this backdrop, the British Government has set itself onto a collision path with the Premier League in its response to the DCMS Report into Football Governance.

In its response, there are many laudable aims that the coalition want football to embrace. Some the Football Association are already attempting to make headway in, for example prejudices of almost every kind. The lack of success in some areas is countered by success in others. Largely, success depends on whether they are tapping into a populist vein.

Nobody argues that the FA requires reform; even the FA agree. Previously there has been too much protectionism over personal fiefdoms for progress to be made but slowly, reform is edging through the organisation. There is a balance required between the professional and amateur games; the past is littered with frequent battles over whose whims are more important. The profile of the professionals lead them to believe they are kings whilst the rest pointedly tell them they would not exist without the Popular Front.

It is always amusing – and inevitably serious – when governments of any persuasion tells a business to get its house in order; “don’t do as we do, do as we say” the mantra from the morally bankrupt. The response contains the usual suspects, ranging from club licensing to the iniquitous behaviour of agents onwards to doping. Some of the suggestions are workable, implementable and ought to be in place already. Some won’t; football is just not going to embrace some key issues.

One aspect that the clubs will bridle against is supporter representation on the club’s Board of Directors. Personally I think this is the only way to go. As excellent an idea as Fanshare is, in the modern era the reality is that such schemes rely on the benevolence of major shareholders.

Arsenal prove the problems. KSE will not sell shares to the scheme whilst Usmanov is aggressively trying to buy shares. In this scenario, Fanshare loses out. Direct representation on the Board circumvents that issue. It allows a voice to be heard and there are many excellent people involved in supporters groups who can add value to the process. It also brings a focus to supporters groups, driving home the message of a unified front being presented, the real issues get addressed directly and opinions on the team remain outside the purview of the groups, remaining opinions not policies.

Some clubs may take this route but not many. It will be an interesting time to see whether the government has the balls to make this policy or platitudes.

More conflict between the two parties is inevitable. Plans to make it mandatory – in a voluntary way – for players to be released for national team duty at all age groups must surely fail. With senior teams, it is right and proper that in a properly managed fixture list the players should be allowed to represent their countries. Why not? It is a personal honour in a team sport.

Except that Uefa, their ilk and Fifa are patently ill-prepared to create such a fixture list. Friendlies before domestic seasons start? Friendlies within six weeks of a tournament finishing in the Summer? Not the actions of organisations which have one iota of care for players well-being despite their protestations to the contrary.

Not that clubs are blameless, endlessly changing tournament formats to create more games and consequently more revenue. England’s World Cup 2018 bid foundered on an inability to understand football politics, an unwillingness to practice dark arts, all of which is fine. An ill-fitting sanctimony, no matter how well suited to subsequent events it is – Ricardo Teixera the latest Fifa bad boy to be investigated for corruption – does not help.

Britain’s politicians would be better advised to assist the FA in persuading Uefa that a mandatory top flight of 18 teams without increasing international fixture dates, is a better route forward than braying from the sidelines, occupying a higher ledge in the gutter than football’s lawmakers.

Too frequently players are picking up strains through over-use. This is not just the sole domain of internationals, Arsenal have culpability in Jack Wilshere missing most of this season. Making appearances at junior levels mandatory though, shows scant regard for the physiological well-being of maturing youths. Those changes can bring on strains and muscular problems without the mismanagement of the football authorities.

And this is before we get into arguments over who picks up the cost through wages and investments. Indeed, you might not be wrong in thinking that such issues make it more likely that clubs will dismiss international football altogether in the none too distant future. However, the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, believes it will help England win the World Cup. I am not sure how making the clubs run themselves properly will improve the lack of technical ability in the native players…

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 13, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 91 Comments.

  1. Morning y’all

  2. Yogi,

    I find it interesting that the lack of technical ability in our native players is generally acknowledged (at least following each failed performance/tournament). However, Arsene’s attempts to nurture such players and to champion technical football is met with purblind cries of “tippy-tappy” football with no “heart and aggression”. I suppose what I’m suggesting is that many of the problems at the heart of football are not merely political but are equally cultural.

    As those of us who can still appreciate the merits of the Wenger project will no doubt agree, the spite and resistance that this culture shows towards change demands real strength and consistency by its challengers if it is to be turned to its own advantage.

    Time will tell…

  3. Dgob,
    And so say all of us. It’s far easier to produce Shawcross’s than Wilshire’s. Unsurprising to see all the pundits purring over the Spain performance this week with barely a player over 6 feet in the side. Yet when it comes to England,this is all forgotten and it’s all about such nebulous concepts as “heart” and “passion”. Many of us would argue these are good things but the last 45 years of international level football history would seem to indicate that these are simply hygiene factors. If they are not supplemented with talent and intelligence, therresult is consistent failure mixed in with an unhealthy amount of non-qualification.
    Still, Stelling, Merson, Wright, Hansen and Savage must know more than me…..

  4. Dgob, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that Arsenal have needed a little more agression and steel while England have needed a little more technical ability in their repsective play. It’s about finding that happy medium.

  5. Block 4,
    ” England have needed a little more technical ability….”.
    And Greece need a little more money. Joint entrants for the understatement of the year competition…..

  6. ClockEndRider, on the list of things the English are known for, understatement has to be up there. Along with queueing I suppose. 🙂

  7. English term lack technical abilities nd arsenal need another fabrigas and a complete striker not aggressive football

  8. AQ,
    Every team needs another Fabregas. Except Barcelona….

  9. Clockender,

    Too true.

  10. Block4,

    The argument is not about “a little more agression and steel”, it is to suggest that this is the alternative to technique and a refined passing game.

    However, my point was not really about this truism. It was about the fact that the “more steel and aggression and heart” are cultural norms and a sort of coda for what might be termed “good old British” values. The criticisms of AFC under Arsene are more a case of these tried and failed values being opposed to the the thereby opposed fanci-dan continental values. It is here that we might be able to best detect the challenges of xenophobic jingoism and related cultural bias in the noted responses and calls for more of these British traits.

  11. There is no way he will regain the No1 spot, so I can see this happening.

  12. Wengers’ best teams have been strong and athletic. The current style we play requires technical exellence. We have been technically very good, but not excellent which is one of the reasons it has not really worked.

  13. Block4,

    The problem with this approach, as I said, is that English football does not move on and repeats the sins of the past. To go forward, the focus on Technique and a more refined passing game seem essential. Of course, the media and ‘popular’ consciousness would curse the required change in the EPL: despite this probably meaning less injuries to the more talented players and a higher ability to compete at an international level. And to state the obvious, greater technique and passing focus do not preclude competitiveness (as with Spain, Barcelona, Brazil etc). Yet to be a sole voice in a league where the cultural values that I noted are not only accepted but championed is to suffer physical disadvantage (consider the background to our injury record) and fall prey to the noted calls for more steel, heart, aggression and what have you.

    As usual, many of those who most desire progress hinder the probability of ever seeing it because they cannot accept the extent of required changes to their failed (footballing) culture.

  14. i have just one question, where the hell is Diaby?? has he begun light training??
    I miss Diaby so much *sad face*

  15. My last point before I get back to work. It relates to the question: how could we change the culture in football?

    Here I come back to Yogi’s post. At the highest levels of the game (but for us, most importantly, at the FA), the conditions need to be set for technique and refined passing to flourish. This would include far harsher (a la the continent) refereeing around dangerous or overly aggressive tackling. The responsibilities of referees etc would obviously have to be brought in line with this. I believe that within six uyears you could transofrm the EP:L and national fortunes. Until then, Spain, Brazil, Holland, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Italy, France etc will all remain far better teams than England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales, IMO.

  16. Dgob, I think that the call for more technique and less overt agression in the league is laudable. However, the realities of playing in the English league is that you need a bit of the latter to go with the former. And one of the selling points of the Premier League abroad is also the speed and excitement generated by players going at full throttle all the time, the clubs will be loathe to lose one of it’s selling points. It may be to the detriment of the national side, but as we know, the clubs couldn’t care less about that.

    I do think there are players coming through, albeit slowly, who have the necessary fusion of the two, you only need to look at Wilshere who’s touch is immaculate, but has the competitive streak in him as well. The likes of Rodwell at Everton, McEachran at Chelsea, Albrighton at Villa etc have all shown up well in recent seasons.

  17. There are bits of fluff that know more about football than Merson.

  18. Pains me to say that – he was, by a country mile, my favourite player in the 90’s. Hell of a talent but as a pundit he is banal, annoying and a champion of the aforementioned nebulous concepts.

    Never meet your heroes…

  19. *early* 90’s

  20. Excellent review of the football governance report and the major issues in recommendations for reform, YW. I strongly support the notion of greater fan involvement through representation on the board. Fanshare was a great idea but timed wrong–wish it had started a decade ago before foreign owners came in; now a different solution is required and representation on boards is a good step.

  21. Merson was a quality player. 100% one footed, but a great player. I quite like watching him as a pundit. He does not say anything ground breaking, but is simply like a fan who has landed a pundits job. A fan with no great insight into the game at that though.

  22. Jonny,

    He is a deeply miserable person (possibly the result of lifestyle choices) and I think that that misery reflects in his anger with AFC and Arsene. That his condition is not really changed is made evident by his recent car crash and failed drink test.

    Ignoring his every utterance has become a sad necessity for me.

  23. And now I really have to avoid unemployment.

  24. Block4,

    I think you confirm my points at 11:02am.

    Until later

  25. jeff, Diaby and Vermaelen a few weeks away was the last I heard. A few weeks after the international break I think the official site said. mertesacker and Koscielny for the weekend I reckon.

  26. i dont get ur msg in dis articu

  27. I quite like Merson as a pundit. He’s right most of the time.

  28. Flint McCullough

    ‘supporter representation on the club’s Board of Directors. Personally I think this is the only way to go’

    Not so sure myself given the recent turmoil within the support (or lack of).

    It is a nice concept but not practical. For example the AST speak for some but certainly not for me, so how would would the supporter representation be selected?

  29. Sid – are you mad? He spends most off his time slagging the club off.

    Anyone can be right most of the time by stating the obvious – I have never heard him say anything of any insight.

    I agree he is quite miserable – he is also just not very bright. Any man who tediously and repeatedly refers to wanking as ‘waxing the dolphin’ because he thinks it is funny is always going to prove to be pretty tedious.

  30. His most entertaining trait is that he can’t pronounce any word over 6 letters.

  31. 6 letters? He’s getting better then. Must be taking Engerlish lessons.


    Interesting thoughts from the manager now ackowledging that experience is important. I thought this was a telling comment though:

    “In every position you always have number one, two and three, knowing there is not a lot between them.”

    Given that we have no adequate cover for the now injured Sagna.

  33. Not nitpicking, GA, but Koscielny’s pretty experienced at right-back. I’d be surprised if he’s not playing there by the end of the month.

  34. When we lost Silvinho back in the day all we had for backup was a recently converted 19-year-old left-winger. AW just doesn’t seem to get away with things like this anymore. Really not sure why.

  35. OOU – Is he? I didn’t know he had played there before.

    To be fair when Cole came into the side, he was coming into a very strong side with plenty of experience, and one that protected the defence very well. Coming into the current side is a million miles away from that.

  36. Yeah, it was his position until about three years ago. If Vermaelen’s around then I think it’s the most obvious move, but then he might see something in CJ. I don’t think he’s been as bad as some say, but like Cashley could probably do with playing in a confident side.

    Not sure about that, GA – defensively we weren’t that good from around late-99 to 2001. We had all sorts of problems, but were lucky that there weren’t any sides pushing us too hard. Really was just a top two then.

    I’m not talking about people’s attitude to what he did, more that these kinds of experiments just don’t seem to pay off as often anymore. As you say it could be as simple as having a few old hands around to help youngsters through. So how Cashley career would have panned out if he’d been drafted into a side like our current one?

  37. Order was a bit mixed up there!

  38. OOU – Ah, cheers for the Kos info, I really didn’t know that. I would be pretty happy wih him there I think.

    We were not that good then I agree, but we were way better than now. Interesting thoughts on how Cashly would have progressed in this current side. It stands to reason that there is a good chance we would have not have reached the standard that he has. That side had Paddy and Petit providing cover and hte likes of Keown guiding him through games. He also had exceptional movement off the ball ahead of him.

  39. Truth is, there’s been a crazy amount of disruption as well, which never bodes well for a defence. Say CJ finds himself in something resembling a first choice team – something he hasn’t experienced to date – he might have a better chance of showing what he can do.

  40. OOU – That is very true of course.

  41. Yeah, I wonder how much of an impact the first team environment might have on a young player’s development.

  42. Well, it is certainly true that when you play with better players you become a better player yourself.

  43. Limestonegunner

    As far as that statement about having 2 or 3 players of nearly similar strength in your squad at every position, this sounds very theoretical and almost fantastical. Judging from the context of the article, it looks to me like a response to all the Arsenal are out of the league stories that have exaggerated what AW said in his press conference to a direct question. He is really saying that we have filled the squad numbers back up and have experienced players who can hopefully carry us back into contention. I genuinely don’t see that we have two or three players at every position who are of similar quality. In some cases we do but it isn’t very high quality–e.g. midfield or LB–Santos and Gibbs are pretty good and probably fairly close but neither is a terrific defender though both are very good passers and crossers who provide some attacking threat. More typical is the situation at RB–Sagna is probably the PL’s best and our back ups are Jenks and Kos–that is a huge dropoff unless Kos is actually very very good in the position despite not playing there for three years or ever in the PL as a RB and moves there when Vermaelen gets back. What about striker? Is Chamakh, who I think is pretty decent and will play reasonably well when given chances (who knows about Park–we’ve seen 70 minutes in a CC match), really close to RvP’s level? No way. Is any midfielder close to Song’s level defensively over the last two seasons? Coquelin and Frimpong are developing quickly but there is still a major gap between Song and those two. It is true that Arteta, Benayoun, Ramsey, Rosicky are close in quality it seems, but I am not sure this is very encouraging in the formation we are playing as no one seems capable of providing consistent playmaking. The positions where I see genuine depth are GK, unless Fabianski decides to push for a move which is starting to look likely, and either side of RvP with Gervinho, Walcott, Arshavin, Benayoun, Rosicky (adding the Ox and Ryo as deep cover). To my mind there are very few positions where the depth AW talks about having in a squad actually exists Does it seem like we are two or three deep at each of the central defender positions? If Djourou had showed last season’s form before his injury at any point since, I would say we had four of similar quality for two positions, but I don’t think we can say that right now. Perhaps he judges the backups as much closer, but I don’t see how that can be. I am puzzled why he is mentioning that we have the squad depth to compete in all four competitions as compared to last year. Does anyone think really that the squad this year is deeper or of higher quality than last year’s? I can only see this as an attempt to get confidence up and redress the way the media seems to have spun negatively his comments about needing realistic interim targets into a concession of the league title.

    Things could still come good for us this season but it will depend, I think, on a solid pairing in defense with good, organized midfield and flank protection of the defense, improved play in both defending and attacking set pieces, and some solution to the problem of making chances and getting goals through creative play in our midfield and supporting RvP better or making better use of his skills (i.e. in some cases playing Theo or Chamakh in the center with RvP just behind). If he is injured, God forbid!, we need a genuine alternative plan–not just having Chamakh play up top, but creating a different sort of attack to use his heading ability and providing a threat through the centre (like having Arshavin play behind Chamakh). It is hard to make these adjustments when new players are still adapting to one another and learning to play our basic 433 system. Hopefully a good run this month accomplishes that and we can build on it to get the most from this team heading into the January break. At that point, I think the club needs to go aggressively after some of the players they couldn’t acquire in the summer for a big push in the second half when Wilshere and Sagna returning will also be helpful.

  44. Limestonegunner

    AW has just said that Koscielny was educated as a right back and that “he was always a right back” so he has emphasized that he is experienced in the position. I would go ahead and start Jenkinson against Sunderland, I suppose, but be prepared to bring in Kos as a defensive replacement if it looks necessary. I have never seen Kos play there so I have no idea what he is like as a crosser or in support of the attack on the wing. He obviously is a pretty decent passer and is aggressive at attacking the ball, but perhaps Jenkinson is more prepared for the overlapping role and crossing. I wasn’t all that impressed with his crossing vs. Shrewsbury though, so I hope if AW has seen Kos in the role and believes he can do it well that he would have no hesitation starting him or bringing him on as necessary.

  45. Really love this post. Thanks Yogi.

  46. Flint

    That’s why Supporter Organisations should stick to “off the pitch” issues, such as ticketing. The minute that they get into “Spend £50m” or “That Jenkinson lad is…”, they lose me. When it comes to playing matters, you get opinions that do not lend themselves to consensus.

    It is a problem for the Supporter Movement generally since the two are incredibly hard to separate. Once that line gets crossed, the brush comes out to tarnish people. And it only takes one ill-formed phrase to do a lot of damage.


  47. Nice post YW as always. English team and international football as a whole are really not interesting outside of world cup years. Shame that it has to short circuit real football in midseason.

    Never will understand why we went away from the model that was so successful during the early part of the Wenger era. Those teams especially the invincibles were a perfect mixture of technical skill, size and strength. For some reason we broke that mold and tried to move toward a squad built totally on technical skill. It seemed like we forgot the importance of defending and lost site for the need of the nebulous “grit” factor in Enlgish football. I understand the emotional appeal of beautiful football. Perhaps I am wrong since I don’t know the man but I really believe Arsene felt that what he was trying had a higher purpose,reviving “total football” and winning with a balanced budget. I also think he overestimated his abilities as a manager. Very few could have won with a line up as lacking in experience. His goals were/are noble and we came fairly close, damn shame that it hasn’t worked out (at least so far). It might have worked if we could have figured out how to play better defense the last 6 years.

  48. Bill, I cant understand why we stopped playing with old leather balls.
    Although it might be because times change and nothing stays the same.

  49. Limestonegunner

    True, ill-considered statements or remarks coming from the board level can do a great deal of damage. Take for example PHW’s, “we don’t want his sort” re: Kroenke who appears on the board a year later, or his “Fabregas wouldn’t even get into Barca’s starting team” remark that certainly didn’t aid efforts to keep him loyal to our club, or the disparaging remarks made about supporters like the AST who were upset about last year’s collapse after ticket prices were raised. If there is supporter representation on the board, it will need to be clear what the purview of their concerns should best be, like all members of the board, and of the responsibilities involved. I am quit optimistic though that supporters would play a positive role in that venue and feel charged to represent the broad perspective and concerns of the supporter base rather than treat it as an opportunity to interfere in the management of the team. In other cases where there is lots of supporter involvement that I have heard or read about, supporters have been very responsible and good for the club. But there will be conflicting interests. The major foreign shareholders are in it for one reason and one reason only: because they believe there is money to be made, one way or the other. Supporters have a different (if potentially overlapping) set of interests: to see their club prosper on the pitch at the highest level possible, to have a good experience at matches, and to insure the club is stable and well-run off the pitch.

    The purpose of having supporters as well as the major shareholders represented together on the board is to work to finding the best way to insure that these different interests are met. I may not ultimately care an iota whether Kroenke or Usmanov make a penny of profit from the millions they have spent purchasing their shares, but the best way to achieve their goal, I would argue if I were on the board as a supporter representative, is to insure that the club is administered efficiently, uses its resources fully and wisely, expands those resources, keeps its supporters engaged and having good experiences watching Arsenal matches at the stadium and via its media platforms not as “customers” but as supporters connected to the club, and especially by achieving success on the pitch. If that happens, those shares will go up. But I would argue, taking any money out, by dividend or profits (whether by creating separate media companies for selling Arsenal content) or financing schemes will siphon away resources and prevent the club from achieving its full potential on the pitch, from which the most sustainable growth in the clubs value sustainably derives now that major investment in stadium and other infrastructure (training ground and facilities etc…) have already been accomplished.

  50. George:

    I agree that you have to adapt. I think we over-corrected towards the technical side. I understand why and it happened it did give us some great football. However, I am “trophy slut” so I am disappointed by how its all worked out so far. Thats just me and you seem to value some of the other stuff. No right or wrong way to be a fan.

  51. I like PHW,he is funny is a bumbling old fuddy duddy way.Quite quaint.

  52. Bill ,you are right again.

  53. Bill…..
    ” I think we over-corrected towards the technical side.”

    regards to new transfers and recent player selections, I think he’s adjusted to that physical need.

    Kos, Coquelin, Frimpong, Wilshere, Ramsey, (in some ways) Mertesacker

  54. ‘Trophy slut’. I like it. Excellent words.

  55. George – did you ever have to head one of those old leather footballs (with the laces on the outside)?
    That might account for my infrequent memory loss – who am I talking to?

  56. Arsession @ 4:16:

    Agreed, Very happy to see that happening. Better late then never I guess.

  57. Bill ,the pre Birmingham team of 08 was the best football that the EPL has seen.We did not need the fight and brawn types.
    And now some smart arse will point out that we won nothing .So in anticipation.Fuck off!!!! 🙂

  58. George,

    Flamini was in that side was he not ?

    He was very influential despite not being a `total footballer`

  59. He was Paulie.but he was more “all action”rather than a “physical specimen” or has my memory failed me?
    Bill said”Those teams especially the invincibles were a perfect mixture of technical skill, size and strength.” Would Flamini meet any of those specifications?

  60. George:

    I agree with you regarding pre-Birmingham in 08. However, pre Birmingham we were conceding 0.65 goals/game. Starting with Birmingham we conceded 1.25 goals/game. Everyone points to the Eduardo incident as the reason we lost but the real reason was defensive melt down. Why did that happen? Just my opinion but I think that constantly fighting against bigger stronger teams wears us down and that is probably one of the reasons we seem to consistently struggle in the business end of most recent seasons.

  61. No George, Flamini wasn`t a physical specimen as such & certainly wouldn`t have made the first choice XI in the Invincibles year.

    I read your comment at 6:48 in isolation – lesson learnt !

  62. Bill.I disagree.
    Injuries and some awful disintegration of team spirit .Had we kept the ball and attacked as before, the defense would have had no problems.

  63. George @ 7:27:

    I do agree about the disintegration of team spirit part. Injuries happen to everyone. If we really do get significantly more impact injuries then that problem might also be related to a relative lack of overall team strength. Other teams think they can successfully bully us into submission.

    My version that team spirit wears down partly because of our lack of physical strength compared with the rest of the league fits with my view of things and your view fits with your ideas. Since there is no way to prove who is right, I guess we will have to respectfully disagree.

  64. beg to differ
    the 08 team was a mixture of pace, strength, power, and the tippy tap..

    sagna, kolo and gallas big hard fuckers..
    flamini..mad as a hatter..would tackle anything that moved and never stopped running
    ade up front was the ultimate carthorse..had everything..used to drive a massive hole into any parked bus that the tippy tappers would exploit

    the only tippy tappers were cesc, tomas and hleb..

    ultimately it was a balanced team which complimented eachother..more physical than techincal but when you have a top form cesc, rosicky and hleb you got all the technique you need..

  65. Bill,had that pride Ade passed B52 the ball all might have been different.
    At least we can respectfully disagree.

  66. JJ. I think you have a point but “sagna, kolo and gallas big hard fuckers.”. if those 3 are hard I am Rocky Balboa.
    And Ade is hardly Drogba now is he.?

  67. PS I would back TV and Kos in fisticuffs against Gallas and Kolo 🙂

  68. Whats up folks!

    The turning point was too the Eduardo situation, then losing the match how we did, with a bogus pen and Gallas having a melt down (I understood). It doesnt matter where the failures where but it was like something died in the team after that day.

  69. I am not sure about Gallas but Toure is one tough hombre!

  70. George @ 7:58:

    Good one, I agree with you on this.

    JJ: I think that team was more physical then the ones that have followed. However, calling them big and hard is probably a bit of a stretch. Flamini was hard and played alot bigger then his actual size. I absolutely refuse to say anything good about Willy Gallas. He is the only Arsenal player that I ever really disliked.

  71. totally agree george..
    ade isnt a patch on drogba..but he could have been if he would have been motivated by football and not money and not fucked waste of talent that boy was..

    kolo was hard…gallas maybe not looked hard but he was..never seen gallas get bullied really..just his crybaby rep lets him down but he was tough..
    and sagnas fucking crazy..remember that three match ban last year?? headbut if i got it right..hes a bad boy he just lets his footy do the talking more often than not..

  72. losing rosicky for so long was also a key component paul..
    that was rosicky at his best..the rosicky at dortmund..never seen that rosicky since and probably never will now but if he stays fit that season it dont matter what happens at brum that day in my opnion we would have still won the league..

  73. Hope Wenger lets his hair down and plays the ox on sunday!!!

  74. talking of ard. we have a fukin brutal soldier in our midst in park, dont fuck with him or he will shoot your ass.

  75. Possibly we wouldve won JJ, with Rosicky.

    That was an exciting team to say the least. Not only is Ade a waste or talent but Flamini and Hleb along with him.

  76. Gerry Francis must be the only c*nt who thinks the mullett is still cool.

  77. I can’t ever recall Flamoney shrugging off multiple opponents as he would turn, with a flick of his Arse. In almost every game.*
    Like one Alexander Song Billong.

    *As opposed to just a six-to eight month career peak. No doubt the Flamster was a good, developing player before he was allowed a chance to play in midfield after the likes of Gilberto, Edu and Viera had and moved on, but his time at the athletes summit was brief and his journey has been downhill ever since he left.)

  78. “@Flint McCullough | October 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm”

    I agree with everything you say here.

    YW @ 3.06 pm, which is exactly why your proposed solution would not work. We have seen enough recent examples to know that ‘spokes persons’ soon get ahead of themselves and start forgetting their original purpose when furthering their own personal profile in the media becomes paramount.

  79. agreed duke
    id start with oxo
    or park..

    need the confident players right now. maybe risky going with both but defo one..
    either or will do me..

  80. Coquelin at right back then?

  81. Boss says no Coquelin @ right back. Santos, Djouru or Kos ..

  82. This comment stood out to me, since many were touting him instead of Jenks.

    “Coquelin has never been at ease as a right back,”

  83. Limestonegunner

    AW says Coquelin isn’t very confident playing there. So I don’t think it will or should happen. It is Jenks with Kos maybe getting some games there when Vermaelen gets back, assuming no further injuries to the central defenders. He mentioned Djourou as a possibility too, but we all got a quick look at that and it wasn’t pretty. Djourou, however, thinks he did pretty well there judging from his post-Blackburn interview…

  84. “He(Coquelin)is not somebody who likes to play at right back and his confidence is not high there.”

  85. We could have a line up of


    Kos ,Per,Dourou,TV


    In the near future.That would be fairly defensively sound .What about that Bill?
    And just let the front 4 swap positions and reek havoc.

  86. George, I think you have to have TV in the middle.

    I would leave him with Per and have Gibbs or Santos.

  87. So would I Paul.I was just making mischief.

  88. Thanks for that link. Arsession. I’ve always respected him and the way he’s kept the A’s semi competitive over the years with practically no war chest. You never can have enough stats.

  89. @ Loomer
    Maybe sports will be trending to this type of player analysis/valuation…….our manager is ahead of the curve for almost every aspect of the game.

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