One Of Us Speaks: It’s The Wide, Wide World Of Gervinho

“And if I just would like to achieve one thing today it is: trust us, this team has qualities, this team will fight. And if you help us to do that I think we will have a successful season” – Arsène Wenger at yesterday’s AGM.

Late in the game against Stoke, Gervinho carried the ball deep into their half on the right. 3-1 up with no need to hurry the play, he slowed to walking pace before stopping. Stoke had closed down this area all match. This time, one of the interchangeable members of Stoke’s backline – I don’t know or care which – kept his distance and loitered.

Anthropologists contend this is an overt display of submission in Stoke, one step before curling into a ball. Because by then those boys had learned their lesson; Gervinho had subjected them to abject humiliation all afternoon.

He’s done it quite a few times this season, finding room in impossibly tight positions on the byline; the crucial first goal away in Udinese, the numerous wasted opportunities against Blackburn and Newcastle. Here we have a player who shines when teams like Stoke usher us into those high, wide positions, where they think they want us.

Whereas Nasri would turn back or look for a pass inside, Gervinho takes people on and very often works himself free. If he can develop his relationship with his teammates, anticipate their movement in the box then the weakest aspect of our attacking game may emerge as one of the strongest.

He doesn’t appear to have a great deal of finesse but he’s more slippery than a brylcreemed eel. He’s not the kind of player we’re accustomed to but he’s just what the 4-3-3 needed. And you won’t know you’re in trouble until he gets you one-on-one at the outer limits of the pitch, dragging you into his crazy world.

His opener last weekend summed up the other way he’ll help the side. He makes razor-sharp runs off the ball, all the more dangerous thanks to his ferocious pace over the first few yards. Seconds into his first match in an Arsenal shirt he got on the end of a Wilshere through pass and clip it over FC Köln’s keeper. This is going to make our midfielders’ lives easier, as they in turn start to spot Gervinho’s runs. Ramsey and Song have already done so this season with self-belief regained.

After the game Pulis laid into his defence (without using his fists this time), admonishing them for letting us “in behind” for all three goals. We certainly didn’t manage it many times at home against them last season, creating little more than a set-piece goal but on Sunday Gervinho did it for fun, both on and off the ball.

Gervinho is someone who can create danger from apparently innocuous situations, something that can’t really be said for Theo Walcott. It’s often the way for our first-team – if you’re not at your best and there’s an exciting young English player vying for your position you best get ready for trouble.

Let’s look at that competition. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be a fixture in our first team. It might be this season but I don’t think he’s been given any more or fewer opportunities than his performances have warranted. What we’re talking about are good showings against giants such as Iceland, Azerbaijan and Israel U-21s and a blistering second half at home to Shrewsbury.

All being well, he should be shining in these games but they won’t tell us too much about how he’ll fare in the Premier League. Arsène Wenger thinks he isn’t quite ready and that’s good enough for me. All I can add to that is when I see him taking on League 2 players and junior internationals with his head down, I stroke my beard and think, “You wouldn’t get away with that in the Premiership, sunshine.” Don’t ask me why I say “sunshine”.

Theo looks like he needs something to go his way. My clumsy theory is that he’s a player who performs best when the team is purring. To me, his best talents are his supernatural pace over longer distances, finishing and the timing of his diagonal runs from wide. For these skills to pose a threat he’s pretty much dependent on the group which, though improving, hasn’t quite reached the highs of previous seasons. Sometimes you wonder what his teammates expect of him – I mean, what’s he supposed to do when he gets the ball to feet, double marked, by the touch-line?

But, at the very least, his presence in the team and the threat that he carries should he find room inside, affords space in other areas of the pitch and discourages his counterparts from getting forward. Specious reasoning perhaps but I doubt many left-sided players are instructed to overlap when Theo is in town. He’s also a more rugged customer than any of his competition at Arsenal, tracking back and tackling with ever-increasing diligence.

I think we all know why he tends to hug the touch-line – he’ll naturally take a couple of opposition players with him if he’s there, which is good news for a team that’s predisposed to playing through the middle. On an individual level, Theo might enjoy a little more success against packed defences by occasionally stepping infield, attempting central runs from a little deeper.

This might be a simplistic view but it could be that the very tactics employed against us to nullify Theo’s talents, are the ones that play into the hands of our Ivorian. If the defenders tuck in and force the play wide then they’re playing Gervinho’s game, baby. And who knows, when Premier League defences realise what they’re up against with him and take precautions, it might be Theo’s time to shine once more.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 28, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 226 Comments.

  1. Good post and 1st.

  2. yep… Gerv posing a great threat… good enough replacement for Nasri… dare i say looking better yet?

  3. In fact He has a little bit of Hleb thrown in. If there is a player i felt we missed for close control, it was hleb and even Reyes to a lesser degree… i still imagine what our team would have been with those two and Eduardo still in it.

  4. Nice one

  5. Reyes was not good in close control. Hleb was by far better. Gerv is good. Gerv’s first assist for Van Persie was from a tight angle which the defender may have thought is a safe place. Gerv used his pace and close control of the ball to assist for Van P.

  6. Great article. In other news I’ve just woken up, put SSN on and had to look at that horrible prick Tim Payton with his fucking rosette. It’s funny, I don’t remember voting for him to be my Arsenal Fan Representative to the media but I guess I must have done since there he is on the screen undermining the squad. Why the hell were pathetic little turds like him using the AGM as an opportunity to bang on about David Dein, a man who got rid of his shares and ran as soon as he saw the hard times were coming and whose son has played a big part in taking our best players out the team? Seriously, fuck anyone who’s not got the balls to say ‘well done Arsene, keep it up mate’.

  7. Great post, gervinho is an amazing talent, blessed wit pace, dribbling skills among others, he’s a great addition to the team atleast a better replacement for greedy nasri, i think he has better conversion rate, his achievement in ligue1 last season says it all, 15 goals and 10 assist to his name in the league, he’s the only player to reach double figured goal and assist in the ligue1…he’s adapting really well cos i remember it took nasri 3 years before he got to his best.(that lasted for six month). Arsenal my life.

  8. @ Vince.

    I agree 100% with you sir. Dein’s a coward who deserted this team when arsene needed him most. People accuse Kroenke and Usmanov of this and that but they conviniently forget that these are the very people who were brought in by Dein (their saviour).

    Slippery like a brylcreemed eel? (lol). I have always argued that we will miss Cesc but Nasri? No. A half a season wonder?

  9. Yeah, i also agree that those making Dein out to be the one to take over from PHW cant be serious. When the chips were down he sold out to the highest bidder. i guess he suddenly found that arsenal actually gave him his platform to being taken serious in the football world and not the reverse… now he wants to come back and is using those claiming to be arsenal fan reps in the media, saying the AGM showed fans discontent? did it? he should just ask nicely maybe he would actually be allowed back in.

  10. And more than anything, it is the attendant sign of danger that comes with gervinho’s runs that thrills me. Noone knows what will happen but there will be panic in the area. Good enough because that incessant panic leads opposition to eventual mistakes. I guess Van Pepper still wonders about gerv’s style!

  11. Great that Gervinho has added a bit of delivery to his game after his initial settling-in period. He appears to be forming a better understanding with his new team-mates which can only mean a more productive Arsenal in front of goal.

  12. Well said all round.

    The Theo dilemma has had my poor brain exercised as well. I can’t help feeling that he’s almost too fast – to really use his skills he would need football pitches to be a little bigger, or the rules a little different. I really like the lad and love seeing him in Arsenal colours, but maybe a move to Italy would unlock his game.

    To be honest, what we’ve seen so far of Theo and Gervinho on the pitch at the same time doesn’t fill me with confidence. Taking the Stoke game as an example – the first goal was Gervinho over the top from Ramsey, fine. But then we created very little for 60 mins until Theo came off and Arshavin came on, and then we scored twice.

    What you say about one creating room for the other makes sense in theory, but in practice I think we benefit more from having creative players like Arshavin around Gervinho who can feed him. Theo and Gervinho operate in parallel worlds and don’t link up well – I would mostly have one or the other on the bench.

    Arsh – RvP – Ger forward line looks the most dangerous at the moment. And sadly that puts Theo on the sidelines.

  13. …and Vince. Well said, my friend. Every last word.

  14. Gervinho a little more robust than Samir and can hold off the opposition with that strength – more of the striker about him accordingly

    Love the “slippery as a brylcreemed eel” 🙂

  15. ‘Whereas Nasri would turn
    back or look for a pass
    inside, Gervinho takes
    people on and very often
    works himself free.’
    Well said OOU.nasri at his unproductive tippy tappy best

  16. ‘Gervinho is someone who
    can create danger from
    apparently innocuous
    situations, something that
    can’t really be said for
    Theo Walcott.’ Read, watch and learn TW14.

  17. Been very impressed by Gervinho, ever since he put on the shirt. Even though he wasted with the ball a few times he still has the excuse that he has just turned up. That’s why I was digging Theo, because he’s been here a while now and seems to have forgotten what he’s game is all about.

    You stated that Nas would turn back and look to pass inside well Theo, has taken on this strange tactic and doesn’t look he believes in his pace any more. Apart from Bolt and Asafa Powell, there isn’t any body quicker on the planet than Theo. Oh yeah and that kid who broke Theo’s 100m school record a few months back.

    I say give the boy AOC a chance. He was thrown to wolves at utd so why not now?

  18. ‘On an
    individual level, Theo
    might enjoy a little more
    success against packed
    defences by occasionally
    stepping infield,
    attempting central runs
    from a little deeper.’ the question is,whats stopping him from doing this if hugging the touchline isn’t working for him?

  19. He who Made Theo look good is now in Spain

  20. Who is that gaya?

  21. Theo can be more useful only as a striker where thr balls are frequently passed.

  22. Well sad OOU,

    Except I worry about a trend of suggesting that Gervinho does not know what he’s doing (warmly made as these comments often are). Dribbling is 90% technique and 10% reading and reacting to what happens with the defenders in front of you. My point is that no dribbler (Messi and Maradona included) can preplan their moves. It’s largely down to swift response and well honed instinct.

    To promote (in humour or otherwise) that our potential legend is not intellectually in control seems counterproductive for his status and self confidence (at best) and potentially pandering to racially sensitive stereotypes (at worst). That is not to take anything away from your otherwise great write-up.

  23. It must be the ‘vinho talking, but Gerv… makes me chuckle.

    He is so creative with the ball it is joy.
    He has had an immediate impact on the team and during the last few weeks of Doom he has really given us hope.
    He is a better winger than Nasri and as such has enabled us to disprove the Exodus myth.

    Now we are out of that immediate trouble I am looking forward to watching the interesting Ivorian against some of the other European and EPL greats and lets hope he has a word with the Chav’orian, about coming to the emirates when they meet down in Durban for the Bafana game.

    Might try and go and watch that.

  24. Port Elizabeth evidently not Durban, pity…. although it is a nice enough stadium.

  25. now we the goonersfamily have seen that theo and gervinho dont work well..look at the game against soke city theo was completely out of the game making chamahk look very bad..but in all gervinho has brougth another play into arsenal team..he is good..he got the pace,the dribling skill,and stil have eye for where his team mate is..but i will like to see a combination like this gervinho…Rvp…chu y park up front trust me Rvp we be at his best..

  26. Great article Big Al.

    What I like about Gervinho best is his “in your face” directness and the “I’ll be damned if I’m not getting to that by-line” attitude.

    He is getting a great understanding particularly with Arshavin in working the ball through tight defences. I don’t think Wenger will play both Theo and Arshavin in a 4-3-3 system, and Gervinho is likely to be the constant in that mix.

    Vince – shame on you for making me read those thoughts while having breakfast….LOL!

    I too have questioned when it was exactly I asked Tim Payton to represent my views as an Arsenal fan. I don’t mind the AST and what they choose to do – but I’ve got a very big problem with them fashioning themselves as the rightful representative of the Arsenal’s fans worldwide.

    What’s even worse is that Tim Payton doesn’t correct the media narrative that he is the spokesperson and voice of all frstrated Arsenal fans who want Wenger out.

  27. Dgob @ 9:20 am

    Can’t agree with that. There may not be a fixed outcome that will be absolutely known, but in the players mind will be a set of possibilities, reactions and intended outcomes. These are highly skilled and rehearsed and the one chosen will depend on the split second decision making based on the movements of the defender.
    The defenders too have set patterns that they try to counter, the more a player practices and the greater his skill level the more he is in control of the ball and the outcome.
    One of the joys of the World Cup is watching how attacking players from all over the world develop different strategies to beat defences and how quickly the defence adapts.

  28. The Jenks is training today – might be in contention for RB on Saturday.

  29. Great write up OOU, and interesting thoughts on Gervcott. I think you may be onto something there…

    I agree with the comments about Dein, and Payton.

    And I agree with SA at 9.36, these skills are on show at the highest level through years of trying these things in similar areas, every day in training, working out which is the likeliest destination for the ball once the dribble has been completed, then deciding what to do next. All of this at split second speeds, always ready to anticipate the alternatives. I believe this is what separates players like Messi from the rest – that ability to make these decisions at with such quick reactions, and of course the technical ability to pull it off. Theo doesn’t quite have this, but Gervinho is definitely a player of that ilk (not saying he’s as good as Messi btw!).

    And the Gervinho/Nasri comparisons… Well, Gervinho is far more productive already, after a couple of months at the club. He can open a game up in seconds, even when backed into a corner. As OOU says, once he is more in tune with the rest of the team, he will get many assists and goals. An excellent purchase yet again.

  30. Darius @ 9:36 am

    Not only that, but Tim Paynton is wrong. He just gives more ammunition to gloating spuds and chavs than any critical look at Arsenal.

    But seriously there has been a real perception by outside fans that we are all so fed up that ‘the smell of French cuisine’ (I quote) will soon be leaving Ashburton Grove and they have to be getting there disinformation from somewhere.

    The rhetoric (whining) from Le Unconvincibles and pretend fans like TP is totally in line with the criticism from the outside and I think that this is what Wenger is referring to when he asks that we should be united (not the ManUre united, but the metaphysical one)

    Anyway this bleating is over; Le Grove is losing its appeal as Arsenal get back to their traditional place and the season progresses, Tim Paynton’s spots will inevitably begin to change to red and white as the realpolitik sets in and Suga has died of heamorage to his left frontal cortex.

    or in other words……fuck ’em.

  31. Gervinho’d if the do and Theo’d if they don’t. Damned either way. Nice dynamic and the more the team clicks the more we’ll see just how destructive our front three can be. Nice insights OOU.

    Just realised that bigbrovar wasn’t first today. bigbrovar = Yogi?

  32. Reference to the left frontal cortex…..

    I believe that is where our imagination comes from.

  33. Awesome fucking post. The reason why I love this blog is because of conversations like these.

    I think exactly the same as you do with regards to Gervino’s impact on the 4-3-3. Gervinho’s pace and the ability to get past defenders means that the opposition can’t just sit deep and cordon us off like they did when Nasri played in the same position. Now they have to deal with a dude who can get inside the penalty area and deliver a a pass for goal.

    I think Theo’s pace needs to be exploited more. If I were Arteta or Van Persie I’d be looking for Theo with a dink over the left back at least four or five times a game. Just to see what happens. If he can be put in behind the defenders a few times no team would attack us down our left. He’d also get a lot more chances.

  34. BigBrovar is Yogi’s nephew.

  35. Debislyv: “he’s adapting really well cos i remember it took nasri 3 years before he got to his best.(that lasted for six month). Arsenal my life.”

    Good point.

    Gaya, funny how Theo gets criticized for not having a footballing brain yet he communicates very well with one of the best midfielders on the planet, huh?

  36. livin in ireland

    I always think that Theo could make a bigger impact as a sub. Tired legs of the defenders. Put him through the middle with RVP playing the Bergkamp role. Towards the end of the game there is more space.

  37. Darius,

    That’s what I’ve been happy and amazed at with the Gerv. As soon as he get the ball to his feet it’s like he’s saying to himeself “hello Mr Defender I have come to skin you and I will do this and I will get to the byline and put a cross in”. No matter how many times it doesn’t come off he will keep trying it until it does. This is what I can’t understand with Theo right now.

    Gerv, plays with big grin on his face and like Park they just love being out there but, the same can’t be said for Theo who doesn’t even look happy.

    If Gerv, knows his game after just turning up I’m sure as hell Theo knows his as he has been facing said defenders for a few years now.

    If Theo, starts tomorrow then I think he will find his mojo and there ain’t no better place to find it at that fake arse shit hole called the bridge.

  38. You’re criticising Theo now for not grinning like an Eboue when going about his business? Scraping the barrel there goonerton. Any excuse eh?

  39. Might be digging a little deep now but I think Goonerton does have a point.
    Theo looks a little fried most of the time he;s on, and he seems to show a lot more frustration that any of the other players. If the ball didn’t come to you get on with it, don’t hold your hands up in the air despondently.

  40. arsene wenger said AOC is not quite ready. i watched the first 60 min of the carling cup game, and understood what arsene wenger meant when he said AOC needs to develop the sense of urgency when in possession. he was caught in possession once too often.

    a mate was saying AOC should be starting ahead of walcott. don’t get me wrong, i rate AOC very highly, but i know why AOC is not there yet. and wenger knows better than all of us here.

    walcott i feel should try to make more runs infield. go inside rather than just go straight ahead out wide. the problem is sometimes not his delivery.. i ahve seen quite a few great deliveries from him.. it is that no one arrives in the box to finish off the move. hopefully that will improve as the understanding improves.

  41. Why do you say sunshine?

  42. Great post. Always loved a spice player. Most spice players are elegant but slow. Gervinho has the advantage of also being fast. As for Walcott we are still waiting for the day he’s moved central. Not sure if he’s still expected to bulk up?

  43. AIC where are you

  44. AIC will remain in his darkened room, cursing the outside world for allowing Arsenal to put together a fine run of results. Until we lose again, I doubt we’ll see much of the ever-loved Alex Ice Cream. Alas…

  45. When Gervinho has earned his place as a goalscorer all well and good,
    But for now can only look up to Theo.
    Ace stop talking bollocks and the rest of you Walcott knockers

  46. Brilliant post OOU.

    Get your krunk on.

  47. Actually, Theo just needs to score, that’s all. His weakness is in the confidence department, not the basic skills department (in that he has effective skills, even if not the full orchestra). Theo is perfectly capable of stepping inside, one-twos, as well as the byline chases.

    Gerv’s runs into the box are effective for the same reason AA’s are, he’ll go for the byline 2 out 3 times, and has the speed to do so, but if a defender decides direction too early, he’ll step inside. He has the control. His dribbling technique looks constantly for little spaces and he has the confidence to make defenders panic. I see no reason why the two players are less effective playing together, and one match does not a season make. Or whatever.

    Every time the punditry and fans write Theo off as “that’s all he’s got, and it ain’t enough”, he has added something, so I believe he’s a hard worker. That current something is defensive work-rate and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a main concern of his at the moment.

  48. ‘a dink over the left back at least four or five times a game’.

    It’s take a special kind of ‘realist’ to disagree with that. Yet Theo will still get jip from the ping-pong ‘experts’. *sighs*.

    All these self-declared ‘realists’ screaming for AOC to play should remember that he’s been described as a future AM.
    Apparently he had a poor game against Bolton. He played OK. The lofted pass from AOC to Benayoun in the build up to Asrhavin’s goal was sweet, and appreciated by Arshavin at least.

  49. fully agreed, Zim Paul. we ought to be encouraging walcott instead.

  50. wenger was also right in talking about managing expectations. the problem in england is that you get declared as a messiah quickly, and get declared as a failure quickly as well.

  51. The big test is Chelsea who seem to have had a strong left-sided attack in recent seasons, powered by Malouda if he plays, but even without. Theo is certain starter; it will be part his job to pin them back and reinforce the RB.

  52. @Yogi
    ‘Gervinho is someone who can create danger from apparently innocuous situations, something that can’t really be said for Theo Walcott’.
    Well I’m saying it can be said for Theo.
    Unfortunately he is having to do a lot of defending lately

  53. The main quandary for the manager is about the defence. Who to play where?

    We could go for one of the most solid back fours possible with Kos at LB, Djourou at RB with Mart and TV5 in the middle… Very defensive indeed, but both fullbacks have the ability to get forward if needed.

    Or we could have Santos at LB, leaving the dilemma of Djourou or Kos at RB.

    Or we could have TV5 rested (personally i think he needs to play).

    A nice set of options for the boss to mull over…

    What do you think peeps?

  54. Spy – i think he was saying that Gervinho is more likely to fashion these situations single-handedly, through his own dribbling, and his ability to try the unexpected. Whereas Theo would rely more on the timing of a teammate’s pass and his run onto it. Theo still has the dribbling skills to do this, but is not as effective in this area as Gervinho, Hleb etc. His pace is obviously his main weapon, dribbling is Gervinho’s.

    It was OneOfUs who wrote the article btw, not Yogi.

  55. OOU, stated… “All I can add to that is when I see him taking on League 2 players and junior internationals with his head down, I stroke my beard and think, “You wouldn’t get away with that in the Premiership, sunshine.”

    Don’t you think that Gervinho is inclined to run at defenders with his head down many times? I realise that Gervinho has an interesting gait as he runs but often if you look his head is down and you can tell because you can see his hair line 🙂

  56. I’m all for the boss deciding who plays and who does not, but in fairness to AOC you can only play against the opposition you are put out against and to date we have yet to see him in the EPL for a true run out. As I understand it Arsene has concerns over his tracking back in defense rather than his running at players with his head down.

  57. Thanks for the reply Geo, if Gerv scores against Chelski all will be forgiven

  58. Getting around to watching Wenger’s speech. Thanks guys for mentioning it on the previous post.

    Concerning Gerv and Theo I am just glad they are both our players which means we have more options than most on the wings.

    I hate early kickoffs on saturday which tomorrow’s game is but looking forward to a good showing by our boys, anything other than a loss is most welcome but a win will really lift my alredy high spirits in our small steps to ascendancy.

  59. Very good post, OOU.

    It seems to me that Theo is facing more frequent double-teaming by defenders this season (a sign of respect). While Ronaldo and Messi can often overcome this, Theo is not quite at that level yet! 😉 As Gervinho progresses, he will help to draw more attention from the opposition’s defence. This should benefit all the attackers, as it makes it more difficult for the defence to double-up on anyone.

    It’s a bit like a one-footed player working on his weaker foot. He’ll get better on the weaker foot, and he’ll also get better on his stronger foot, as the defence can’t over-play him to go in one direction. With Gervinho wreaking havoc on one wing and RVP continuing his great form in the centre, with any luck, the defenders won’t be able to cover Walcott as effectively. I’ve been happy to see Gervinho and Walcott swapping wings – helps to keep the defenders guessing!

    @ korihikage | October 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Good points. I agree, we often don’t have men in the box in numbers.

    @ kenyan gunner | October 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Theo already has bulked up a fair amount. I think he did a lot of upper-body work following his shoulder problems. While he’ll never be mistaken for Micah Richards, he does seem more durable now compared to earlier in his career (I hope I’m not tempting fate by writing that!).

  60. Hey, Yogi I never imagined that you had a beard! But then again I’m not sure what I imagine you look like. Perhaps, an erudite academic with slender features and sensitive skin sitting in a cosy corner tapping away at the keyboard, like Marcus du Sautoy, the Oxford don mathematician and Gooner!

  61. Lovely post again OOU.
    Gerv’s movement is very hard to read. Plus the sheer joie de vivre with which he plays justifies on its own the Brazilian nickname he has been given. You mention AOC – do you think he could pose a similar sort of threat? I have a sneaky feeling that despite being a central midfielder originally, he could end up as a wide player, similar to a certain much-loved former player.

    @ G69
    I still don’t agree about TW being ready to play centrally in 4-3-3, but I wholly agree that his pace and runs could be utilised better. We do miss the Spanish bloke in that way, but only temporarily – Ramsey’s vision is coming into sharp focus and JW will exploit that avenue as well.

  62. Markus | October 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Hell no. I’m not asking him to wear a big shit grin for nothing but, in the office or when you play (if you do) people or team mates can normally tell if “your up for it” by the way you are. To me it just doesn’t look like if he’s sure or not?

    It looks like he’s doubting his own ability while new guy’s have come in and said to themselves that they know their ability and here’s what I can do.

    I prob get abused for it but, some of us have our club as a place to take it easy until you find your form over the next 2 seasons but, I can’t see it like that. There’s players who can play your position so if your out of form move over. Most teams follow this trend.

  63. And have you thought of doing a piece like this about the Jewish Iniesta? Unsung hero. Lovely technique, great passer, willing and indefatigable worker.

  64. I also wanted to point out a welcome improvement in Theo’s game recently: when he gets unfairly tackled/body-checked/man-handled, more frequently he is just getting on with it rather than stopping and throwing up his hands at the referee. He seems to win more free-kicks (and friends) with this approach. Let’s hope it continues.

  65. Here is Wenger’s speech at the AGM yesterday, if anybody cares

    The full speech by Wenger follows:

    Good afternoon – thank you for your welcome. I am happy to have the opportunity to speak to you. Usually I speak to you through the media and they do not always reflect what I say. I am happy as well to be part of the fact that the Club celebrates 125 years of existence. My dream is that one day a manager will stand in font of you and say one thousand years – don’t worry it will not be me! You may not be here as well…

    Personally, I have had the privilege of being in charge of this club for 15 years and I am very grateful that you have placed such high confidence in me for such a long time.

    I know that I am at a special club. If I have one merit, I think I have been loyal to this club and committed. I do not say I was always right. I knew always it was always a privilege to be at this club because I always had the support of people and the freedom to work the way I want.

    “I hope as well that in many years, people will look at this period and think that we have put the Club on the right track, defended the right values and think that together we were not too stupid.

    “I believe that the values we defend are highly defendable because we want to do things with class. We want of course to be very ambitious. We want to be very brave. I believe that this club has always been very brave in its decisions. The courage is a quality I admire because it is a highly-needed quality in the modern world.

    “I can see a lot of fear and discontent among you and I can understand that because we live in a world where we fight with people who have extremely high resources. The way we can compete is to try to be intelligent but as well to be united because it is very difficult to be consistent in football. We have been more consistent than anybody else in the world in the last 15 years.

    To stay at the top, top level, we have to be united. That doesn’t mean I am not to be criticised. I accept that is part of my job and that the board has been criticised but to the outside we have to show we are united because that is the only way to survive at the top. It is difficult enough if you are united. If you are not united, you have no chance.

    We defend values as well that at the time are questioned – the self-sufficient model. Do we want to change that or not? I believe, and I take full responsibility for this, that we can be competitive in the way we run the Club.

    The players that we bought – I heard we lost two world class, I agree with you and we lost even more – but do no judge the players we bought too quickly because I think they are top, top level. And I would remind that some world class players arrived in August and did not play before September or November. Some of them became world class players after that.

    We had a very difficult start and a very difficult environment at the start of the season and we were under tremendous pressure.

    I would just like to come back on last season.

    Because last season was the season I must tell you maybe the most difficult to accept with its end result.

    Somewhere somedays I thought maybe it was completely my fault because I convinced the players we can go for all the four competitions and that we can win every single trophy.

    I believe overall we had a very good season performance-wise, yet it finished very badly. We were competitive in all competitions.

    We lost unfortunately in the last minute of the Carling Cup Final, we went out of Europe in the last minute against Barcelona and I believe at home against Barcelona we played the best game that Arsenal Football Club has ever played against a team.

    We lost in the last minute of Liverpool for the [chance of the] championship. After, everything was judged in a negative way.

    “But the overall performance the team has put in last year was much better than the credit we got in the end. We had a problem to get over the line and in the end it was disappointment after disappointment – it was very difficult.

    We played 27 games in November, December and January. We paid for it in March and April, when we lacked a bit petrol to get over the line. Fabregas played I think 19 games in the championship, and van Persie 17.

    We were also not very lucky with the injuries we had. The overall performance was not as bad as it had been judged. We managed to get over the line and qualify again for the Champions League.

    We also had some positives like the emergence of world-class players like Wilshere who has shown at international level how good he is. We have a very good basic situation.

    I was under a lot of pressure to buy goalkeepers and we were faithful to the keepers we had – everybody would agree we have sorted the problems out.

    The basis of our team and its potential is right. If you take the young players we have and manage to come back and compete at the top level again, I am much more positive than people are.

    In the media, we do not get credit we deserve.

    The team is on the right way, it has a fantastic attitude and spirit. We are capable of competition and we will. Where we will finish at the end of the season? Frankly, I don’t know.

    I know just one thing that these players we have at the moment are ready for a fight, because I see them every day and they are ready to have a go. Not many people at the moment are behind us, but I believe we can be a positive surprise. Let’s stand behind this season.

    We started at the Emirates with a very difficult environment because people were very sceptical. But they understood two things – if they do not get behind the team we have no chance, and secondly people realise this team has the right attitude and spirit.

    Even during the difficult periods in the last few home games the fans have been absolutely fantastic behind the team – what we had not seen at the end of the season.

    It is time to realise that yes, times are more difficult, but yes we can still be successful under one condition – that we all stand behind the team, and are united.

    At the end of the season, we will see where we stand.

    Then if we give absolutely everything and do fight together for every single game in every single competition we can still look back at the end of the season and be proud of our attitude and what we have achieved.

    I am personally convinced that we have a chance to qualify again. I know as well that in the modern world the ticket pricing is a problem. We spoke about that a lot at the board before that decision has been made.

    But just to keep the players we have to put our wages up so high that the financial situation becomes more and more difficult for us. That’s why I can understand that you feel punished by that, but it is not a decision that we made for that, it is just a decision that gives us a chance to keep our players and unfortunately it is the real situation we face at the moment.

    I know I have been talking too much already. I would just like personally to turn round the scepticism that is surrounding this club at the moment. For me it is too high. And if I would just like to achieve one thing today it is ‘trust us, this team has qualities, this team will fight’.

    And if you help us to do that I think we will have a successful season.

  66. I like the fact that Wenger cites unity as an important pre requisite to success. I feel the media has divided arsenal fans opinions too much.

    All the booing needs to be stopped and the players encouraged by the fans instead.

  67. Almost whenever i’m watching an arsenal match in a bar, i end up hearing “arsenal” fans arguing with themselves, some insulting some of the players and coaches. its a damn shame.

    Arsenal fans need to unite, remember the clubs motto is “Victoria concordia cresit” which means victory through harmony

  68. Jeff, many Arsenal fans have been spoilt for a long period of time now so instead of looking at it reasonably they have continued to spit the dummy everytime they don’t what they want.

  69. Everyone banging on about Theo’s pace is 100% spot on.

    Point I was making yesterday – he absolutley has to start on Saturday. Walcott is at his destructive best in away games against a high line.

    Put him in a scenario where he cant obliterate someone in a foot race, and he will deliver.

    Also, as Zim said, Chelsea have a huge threat traditionally down the left, and start so much play from thier full backs, Walcott and Gervinho lurking on either flank will make Ivanovic/Cole think twice about kicking forward to create a two on one.

    Massive day. Can’t wait. Have the strongest feeling that we will win.

  70. I’m guessing Park shall get the nod ahead of Chamakh for the game against Chelsea, cannot see two strikers on the bench and Arsene has suggested Park is ready for the EPL. To tell the truth, watching that sublime finish against Bolton… so do I 🙂

  71. Absolutely spot on about Gervinho, good write up Big Al.

    Is it to early to make a song for him?

    i have this picture of a arsenal fan wearing a Nasri replica shirt with the name scratched off and Gervinho’s name written with a black marker just under. Brilliant. i wish there was a way i could show you all the picture

  72. Outstanding stuff OOU.

  73. Song for Gervinho??? Already exists Jeff!

    To the tune of Kas bar:

    Gerv-inho doesn’t like them
    F**k the yidos
    F**k the yidos

  74. Its been made out to be like its just Chelski, Man utd and Man City are the only tittle contenders and Spurs, pool, Arsenal, newcastle and co. fight for the other spots.

    I do however have a question, if we win tomorrow, would it go back to being Arsenal, chelsea, city and utd for titlle or just city and utd with chelsea joining arsenal, pool and co for other spots??

  75. jeff

    I know that some genius will attack me for being nothing but honest. Also it is pretty much the board and wengers fault for having us in this situation again. And now I hearing this bullshit about us being united!

  76. Great stuff Big Al!

  77. No, we actually shouldnt be united, what a stupid idea! We should keep finding fault, continue to place blame and pull eachother down like crabs in a barrel. That would be far better, lets gets that going!

  78. “and pull each other down like crabs in a barrel” lol to funny

  79. gooner 2,
    i wont be the one to attack you, i have no time for that, ill let other do that job. your probably at the wrong blog mate

  80. I have’nt meantioned anything about us not being united.The only thing that I said was that the board and wenger put us through this bad sitution. And there are trying to force guys like me to get excited about a team which is heading backwards.

  81. jeff | October 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm You dont know how many times I have been in situations like this trying to convince these so called fans that what they read from goal.com and sun (most fans in Kenya think these are the beacons of truth, which is made worse by the local dailies who copy/paste the same stuff) is not what we arsenal are all about.

  82. jeff

    I don’t really give a fuck about them. If they do attack me then so be it.

  83. gooner2, no disrespect but you are behaving like a spoilt child.

    Fact is, we are where we are. What is done is done and it cannot be changed. Lessons can be learned for the future but as of now, the only thing to do is stay/get United. You can pout if you feel like but that is to your own detriment.

    For me this has been the best summer ever, we got rid of some players who were terrible influences as far as I can see. Sometimes you have to go back to go forward.

  84. backwards is tough gooner2, and believe me, I have not earnt any friends on here through my positive and endearing views………… however I wouldn’t say we have gone backwards.

    I would say its more like climbing a steep cliff face only to see other compeitors supplemented with newer equipment and more men ascend faster then we – but we are taking a shorter, steeper more dangerous route.

    We climb well – dig in the for night, check supplies and pitch camp – only for us to forget to bring enough cord (despite having loads at base camp), the camp top is swept away, and we dive to rescue it, causing us to lose a key footing, and slip back down the slope, getting battered on the way down.

    Many thought we were at our end, but we have found enough strength in our hand to hang on, swinging our legs to the nearest ledge, forcing a strong foothold, finding a new grip, and slowly starting to pull our battered body up the slope again.

    We are encouraged – new supplies on the cliff face we have found, what we needed before the fall, but alas we are alive, and climbing – the others are nearly out of site, we must climb well and quickly. Another slip, another fall like last time, and the end result could be devastating..

  85. @ Paul-N | October 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    “No, we actually shouldnt be united, what a stupid idea! We should keep finding fault, continue to place blame and pull eachother down like crabs in a barrel. That would be far better, lets gets that going!”

    Ha ha ha!

  86. Some Theo love from the Captain:

    http://news.arseblog.com/2011/10/robin-theo-connection-so-important/?utm_source=feedburner.com%2Farseblognews&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arseblognews+%28Arseblog+News+-+the+one+stop+Arsenal+news+site%29

    Robin van Persie notched his 100th Arsenal goal recently and the creator of it, Theo Walcott, has provided more assists to the Dutchman than any other player.

    He’s made 15 goals for the captain and van Persie says the connection they have is borne out of quality and friendship. Speaking to this month’s Arsenal Magazine, he said, “I know what he’s going to do and that’s so important. Sometimes you miss that with players. With some good players, the opposition don’t know what he is going to do next, but if his team mates don’t know either than can make it hard.

    “With Theo I have a feeling that most of the time I know what he will do next. So I can adjust my movements around that. His final ball has been so good lately, I think he’s really stepped up a level. He’s scoring goals, making goals, he’s a top player.

    “It’s vital for me as a striker to have a player like that around me. He knows how I think. Besides that we’re friends too and I think it helps when you get on off the pitch too”.

  87. You shouldn’t need to be forced to get behind your team, I think that may be the main point as to why people think you are a gutless, whining, sorry excuse for a so called ‘supporter’.

  88. RvP is loving both Theo and Gervais at the mo. Lovely stuff. Great use of the media from our captain too, boosting the confidence of the players around him, which he manages to do so well, on and off the pitch.

  89. Luke

    Gervinho don’t like it
    Bloody big forehead
    Bloody big forehead

  90. I agree with Matt.

  91. Its incredibel that six years we have’nt won a damn trophy. And someone said here before that finising fourth is an achievement. And everything including winning a trophy is a big bonus. If you read into that then you can see that is’nt surely right.

  92. @ Yogi’s Warrior | October 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm
    ha ha ha!

    ***
    @ Geo
    Tomorrow my guess is that he will use JD/Jenks, Mert, Kos and Santos across the back. It may or may not be our best back four in theory, but they have played together. If Jenks is fit, I think he will start, if not, then JD. Kos is not keen to play at RB.

  93. I struggle to read into any of the drivel that comes out of your mouth.

  94. I hope I am not tempting fate, but I have a good feeling about tomorrow.

    Would like to see Kos at RB and TV in the middle if fit.

    i didn’t see much from the midweek CC games, but did many of Chelsea’s first teamers play 120 mins?

  95. You don’t know me so don’t call me gutless. I think you know exacly what I mean so I would’nt sweat.

  96. Go on then gooner2 ,I will oblige you.
    Listen to Arsene’s speech, .engage your brain cell and try to understand that circumstances brought us here.Not negligence or whatever pathetic idea you are harbouring .
    Then fuck off you divy tit.

    It is strange how ugly your ex looks when on someone else’s arm.I never thought Nasri was one of our best players.But come on lads, lets not pretend he was not very good.

  97. matt

    its just simple keyboard mistakes. So if I am not being clear enough to you then sorry.

  98. I know enough about you from your comments that suggests you are, so I am not sweating at all.

    Unfortunately your attitude towards supporting a team is fairly common these days.

  99. @ Matt | October 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm
    and Matt | October 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Agree. Sadly he is not the only one who thinks that supporting a team means jumping on the bandwagon when they are doing well and leaping off it when they are not.

    Mind you, at least some of them can actually tell whether we are moving forwards or backwards.

  100. They just can’t stop talking about us?!

    Yesterday’s AGM was headline news on utdsports all day long and today it’s headline news what Wenger said. Do you ever hear when jizhotspur have a AGM or even utd for that matter?

    chelseas suga daddy got heckled and booed off yesterday after he tried to make some sort of proposal about buying the pitch but, that small cheese compared to our meetings.

    Daily mail printed yesterday that 3 players (can’t remember names but, they wasn’t black) were going to give evidence confirming that terry did say what he’s being accused of but, by 10am QPR released a statement on their website that they no nothing about it and none of their players do either.

    That’s why Yogi should build his own empire like rupert and show them you don’t have to chat and print shit everyday.

  101. Don’t waste your time Matt.

  102. Limestonegunner

    Gooner2, they shouldn’t have to “force” us (how actually can they do this anyway?) to support our team. It is Arsenal and that is our club, isn’t it? I didn’t see AW asking us to be excited–he did lower expectations a bit by saying he believed we could get top 4 (as opposed to talking about challenging for the league or CL)–rather he asked us to keep our criticisms more in house and fight together with him and the players. He acknowledged that the support at the Emirates has been really good, but that the skepticism and its public airing through the media was too high. Is he wrong?

    The kind of criticism we are getting is really out of proportion with reality, especially now that the team has come together and started to gain positive results.

    Just compare our situation to Chelsea fans’. The shareholders of Stamford Bridge voted down a proposal to sell out in an angry and passionate meeting. The Guardian article didn’t even go into the anger and complaints that have been surfacing over ticket price increases for the Champions League and it didn’t go into the attendance figures in various competitions or the failure of that club to expand its season ticket base. After all Abramovitch has spent in taking a medium size club that a few years earlier had faced major financial troubles into a perennial power in the league and in Europe and the club has only grown by a couple thousand season ticket holders! And now they complain about paying more for CL tickets and reject a needed move to put the club on a more sustainable basis in light of FFP considerations.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/oct/27/chelsea-defeated-stamford-bridge-freehold

    People on here like to criticize Arsenal supporters–it is a favored pasttime for some–but we are nowhere near as self-entitled as these jokers. Arsenal supporters have made the new stadium possible despite low commercial revenues and no sugar daddies or investment from outside the club’s self-generated resources of any kind whatsoever. I am proud of our manager, players, and supporters. If we can keep up our strong support in the ground and be a bit more united (no more “representatives” running to the mainstream media and slagging off the club as if this is what a majority thinks, but this goes for those who just love to criticize other supporters for voicing their views or concerns–apart from vulgar abuse we ought to be able to discuss football and our club on our own forums) we can get back to the top 4 in a calmer atmosphere that lets the manager and players build up confidence and results. If we are to do more than that, I think we’ll have to reinforce in January and keep building up the squad. I think we will and agree with AW that we might surprise some people.

    Improving our away record domestically and showing how far we’ve come since the tumultuous start is the opportunity tomorrow at Stamford Bridge. It is a good time to meet them after a shaky loss, Drogba and Bosingwa out, and with us putting a string of wins together including a toughly fought away win in the CL. I would love some chants that make fun of Chelsea fans pathetic complaints and weak base of support.

  103. Good point Dups….

    I am really looking forward to tomorrow, and the rest of the season, I have a real feeling we are only going to get better and better, and prove a lot of doubters wrong.

  104. Good afternoon Luke.
    See Luke you and I have sparred and worse ,but the thing about you is when you say your piece ,that is it ,You are prepared to accept things,support and move on.No doubt we will fall out again but it wont be because you are thick ,because you clearly are not,it will be because we have differing opinions.Opinions that will have been reached with as much information digested as possible,As it should be,
    Others just come on and talk shit from an uninformed position and and then wonder why people call them names.That’s right gooner2 and goonerton,is it not?

  105. Much cleaner Yogi!!

    Matt – agreed, I have a burning feeling about tomorrow….

    We couldn’t? Could we…….

  106. Or Yogi…

    The doctor couldnt believe it
    What a forehead!
    What a forehead!

  107. matt

    Its just that I have a different way of thinking about Arsenal these days. We used to be really good. But the last 6 years has been terrible for us. I think your forcing your way to know me but no you don’t.

  108. Agreed, George. We are all passionate about the same cause.

    Who’d have thought that we would have turned things around if you rewind 5 months!!!

  109. Limestonegunner

    As far as tomorrow, I think Djourou will be playing right back as he was rested in the CC specifically for this. Kos could play there but he hasn’t done that for us ever so it would be a bit of a gamble unless he has been practicing there. So I see the backline as:
    Dj-Merts-Kos-Santos with Vermaelen on the bench. I’d play Song, Arteta and Ramsey and ahead Theo, RvP and Gervinho.

    On the bench:
    Vermaelen, Frimpong, Park, Arshavin, Rosicky, Fabianski

  110. dupps

    I don’t really care anymore about what you think about me. You are just a lonely old fella trying to get recognition.

  111. http://www.givemefootball.com/premier-league/exclusive-rvp-voted-pl-best

    Shitty site, but people are finally seeing how good an injury-free RvP can be!

  112. Limestonegunner

    Early start time means big audiences in Asia. How about Park coming on in the 75th minute and getting a late winner?! That would be lovely.

  113. That would be lovely Limestone… Great post at 3.43pm by the way.

  114. Dups.Are you an oldie like me?

  115. The last 6 years have been shit? really?

    Fucking hell – some people really are glass half empty aren’t they….

    We have played some of the best football I have ever seen in those 6 years..

    I was at Paris, and yes, the defeat hurt, but what an effort the boys made, and what an occasion – a European Cup Final – our first and only.

    Standing in the drizzle after that match was heartbreaking, seeing the effort our boys had put in and to come so close, but what would you do?

    Boo at them for not winning?

    We may not of won a trophy in those 6 years, but we have come mighty close on a number of occasions, and played some amazing matches along the way.

    Some people really don’t know how lucky they are… There are about 90 other clubs in this country alone that would kill to change places with us, and thousands more abroad….

    See – that is why you are gutless. You let a few setbacks along the way draw you into a pool of negativity.

  116. Again, I agree with Matt. I got halfway through writing something similar, but couldn’t be arsed in the end. Nice one!

  117. limestonegunner

    That was passionate well written post mate. But you know some people just hate you for no reason. I think your failure is a great achivement for them. I really don’t like people like that. But your post did’nt get me pissed off at all. So well done mate your really one of the good guys;)

  118. You stroke your beard? You old sage.

  119. gooner2 is rude, cries and is mostly wrong.

    Can I please get a bit of moderation!

  120. Dups,

    Cats out of the bag.

    Meow, meow, meow

  121. I think the past six years have been brilliant – the full gamut of emotion, from stratospheric exhilaration to bottomless despair, beautiful football, brilliant results, and the shockers ….oh the shockers, easily as good as the preceding six years, and the six years before that, and the six years before that to the crack of doom

    Just what supporting a football club is all about

  122. George

    I may be getting on in years but I still have all my faculties (unlike some others).

    SA Gooner

    Removing the word ‘mostly’ would correct your sentence at 4.11.

  123. Babel Fish indeed. lol.

  124. Luke,

    Yes we can.

  125. @ Limestonegunner

    “self-entitled” is very good description of some of our disgruntled supporters.

    Why do you distinguish between the mainstream media and internet forums? Both are public forums and they cross-pollinate.

    Also, it really depends what you mean by “discuss”, doesn’t it? Does ace discuss Theo or attack him?

    And furthermore, some of these delicate flowers who lay into the manager or the players appear to feel that being confronted with a robust counter-argument, or even being asked to justify their view, is the equivalent to being bludgeoned with a baseball bat or being imprisoned without charge.

    Unreasonable, continual criticism, specious argument, unquestioning acceptance of negative messages or statistics, instinctive rejection of positive messages or statistics – this is the stock in trade of anti-arsenal Arsenal fans. If it is true that we all support the club anyway, combatting all these will not hurt the club in any way.

    As someone who attends the Emirates semi-regularly, my theory as to why the atmosphere and support is so much better is that the moaners have carried out their threats to vote with their feet, and stayed away.

  126. I like a bit of a Silverware-less period.,,…It shows us how the spuds live……… along with the rest of the ordinary teams in the EPL.

    In fact if a fan never has these periods you end up looking like these poor aimless young ManUre supporters who are currently wandering around not knowing which end to fart out of ‘coz a minute a go they thought they were unimpeachable.

    If turning your Tupperware to Silver was dependent on the amount of whining done we would be very successful. Fortunately winning trophies is a lot harder than that and out of reach for many, we though, are lucky enough to have a club and a coach that knows how to challenge for them.

  127. Dups

    ‘Removing the word ‘mostly’ would correct your sentence at 4.11.’

    ……and it may finally lead to some moderation at last!

    But we don’t want to pick on the children.

  128. SA Gooner @ 4.39 pm

    Your final paragraph uncovers a deep philosophical truth. You can be on the winning side or you can be on the whining side – but you can’t be on both.

  129. FunGun @ 4:35 pm

    SA Gooner @ 4.39 pm

    Great stuff!

  130. FunGunner | October 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Very well said!

  131. Gervinho has certainly surprised a lot of Prem league defenders so far this season.

    I mean , seriously, what`s going on with his Barnet ?

  132. Surprised them Paulie? He blinds them. Sun bouncing off his forehead.

    I don’t think we should risk Vermaelen at the weekend. CC was a big enough gamble. Let him get some more training sessions under his belt.

    Djourou – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Santos

    Santos over Gibbs in this match purely for his strength.

  133. Divy tit is a combination of words I’ve never heard before, but I feel as if it discribes gooner 2 and his ilk perfectly.

    Hey, you divy tit, we’ve got to play Chelsea tomorrow. Do you think it is the right time to re-hash this crap about not winning anything for six years?

  134. As a bald American I ask you to be sensitive about Gervinho’s head cleft. I’m going to grow out the hair on the sides of my head in solidarity.

  135. Ace….why do you always come on ere bangin on about how shit theo is. your worse then the spuds i know. give it a fukin george best man and appreiciate that he is a good weapon in our arsenal.

  136. Limestonegunner

    George, it is fan forum time! What is your message for the Arsenal speaking world?

  137. What I want to know is – Where the hell is Diaby.

    I can’t wait to see how a midfield of Song, Diaby and Wilshere will do.

  138. LG lets see who the guest is first

  139. i cant wait for the Song, Ramsey .Wilshere. middle.

  140. DS,

    Apparently they are still waiting for some parts for Diaby.

  141. Limestonegunner

    If it is John Cross, do you have something special in mind?!

  142. Can you really describe John Cross as a guest?

  143. Trouble is LG John Cross is a pal of mine.So its a bit difficult to get into his ribs these days

  144. Limestonegunner

    You mean he is sort of a pest, a squatter?! A guy who has been hanging around for days, weeks sponging parasitically off the household without making a helpful contribution… Perhaps guest isn’t the right word for him. lol!

  145. Darius,or indeed a pal 🙂

  146. @ Matt | October 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    @ FunGunner | October 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Good post. I agree in particular with your last paragraph. I much prefer to see a few empty seats than to have them occupied by moaners berating the team.

    @ Paulie Walnuts | October 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Some have speculated that the purchase of Gervinho was part of a cunning plan to assemble a Bad Hair XI. Already on the team-sheet are Chamakh (c), Song and Sagna. Koscielny is trying to break into the side.

  147. Limestonegunner

    Oops, sorry, PG. But I think this is what Darius was getting at.

  148. LOL – the name dropping my dear George.

    Of course you do wonder whether him being a pal of yours is a good thing. That sort of association could get you killed in the trenches.

  149. Limestonegunner

    I used to like when Julian Laurens or Philippe Auclair came on, but it will be interesting to see if the topic of AW’s comments at the AGM about the media distorting his views comes up!

  150. LOL Limestone – bang on the money.

  151. so George not only do you like Tony Blair but your pally pally with John Cross. tut tut tut. what other skeletons in your closet a???

  152. I do wonder though if Watt can ask those really difficult questions. The next thing you know is that they’ll have Tim Payton on talking about how I voted for him to represent my views as an Arsenal fan (NOT!)

  153. And after he FF#’ed you.Tut tut,That’s gratitude for you 🙂

  154. I am rather fond of you Duke,does that count?

  155. the bolt that holds Diabys knee in place is out of stock. 2 week delivery. damn.

  156. @ jeff

    Thank you for posting AW’s speech from the AGM.

    He does have a lovely turn of phrase: “I hope as well that in many years, people will look at this period and think… that together we were not too stupid.”

  157. Limestonegunner

    Darius, perhaps a caller or emailer can raise those difficult questions. Maybe I should write in with one.

  158. LOL George – that audit trail of my twitter activity is crazier than what my anally retentive accountant does to my books.

    John’s a big boy – he can defend himself.

  159. I will ask any question you want LG,Just name it.

  160. Limestonegunner

    Well, the question of what the journalist might think about AW’s comments on the media distorting his message is less relevant to Auclair. But a caller from Singapore is also already basically asking it.

  161. Limestonegunner

    But thanks, George, for offering.

  162. If I get on I will have a go at that Tim Payton Twat

  163. can you asks one from me george?????

    how about why are you journalists such a bunch of miserable doom mongering cunts.

    Or

    would you really shit on your nan for a good story???

  164. Limestonegunner

    George is on, folks.

  165. on where LG??

  166. Limestonegunner

    Excellent point, George and what I was saying yesterday. Don’t leave it up to the boss to explain the season ticket price hike. Failure of leadership from the others.

    They didn’t let you really get into the Payton point, alas. I think the point there is why doesn’t he acknowledge that there are lots of different views instead of presenting himself as voicing the view of the Arsenal support as a whole.

  167. Limestonegunner

    Fans forum on Arsenal Player

  168. do you get that free if your a red member then???

  169. Limestonegunner

    Away support should be all over Terry over these allegations of making racist remarks last weekend. It clearly is something he is very worried about being known as so it is a psychological vulnerability to exploit. Any chants, songs that could be sung to get under his skin?

  170. Limestonegunner

    Yes, Duke. if you are a red member you get it free and can log in with your membership # and a password after activating your account. You get all the press conferences, lots of player interviews, and games and highlight packages. Plus on Friday you can watch the Fan Forum with Tom Watt.

  171. Friday you can watch the Fan Forum with Tom Watt.and George 🙂

  172. Watching the Arshavin goal against Bolton. The goal is great but seeing him talking to the OX after he scored is heart warming. That was really kool!

  173. Limestonegunner

    Indeed! I always look forward to your call, George!

  174. Paul N have I ever mentioned Arshavin is a favorite of mine and I think he should be set free in the middle.?

  175. Limestonegunner

    Paul-N, I noticed Arshavin talking with the other players, especially the younger ones in the CC game and noticed him doing this more than once earlier in the season. I think it shows that the view of Arshavin as a lazy malcontent who can’t be bothered is way off base. In fact, it is clear he is something of a quiet leader. If he can play more centrally and have more influence on games, he could be an important figure not only for goals and assists but as someone whose knowledge and experience translates into the rest of the team playing and functioning better. I think he feels more empowered to do that when he is in the middle of the park and more responsible and involved. Free Arshavin!

  176. hope you dont mind me joining in but think the same all the time, i remember when he first arrived thinking that he was only a temp winger and would move across, im hoping he gets another chance to play behind rvp

  177. Yes Arsh looks the real deal now.
    Oh come on everyone let’s have a love in with LG and George

  178. ive dropped the pill and im ready to go

  179. I have really enjoyed the blog of late. There has been some good discussions void of the unnecessary poison about the manager and players (for the most part). We have not agreed on everything but for the most part it has been with respect. Some folks were making this site depressing.

  180. If I had a dollar for everytime you said it, I would be a rich man George. I am with you though! FREE ARSHAVIN!

  181. Steady on Spy.What are you suggesting?

  182. Cheers LG. i didnt even know that. so i can go hear George putting people in their place aswell what a bonus..

  183. I am with LG and George?- let me check on it first and I’ll be back in a while.

  184. Wonderful article OOU.

    Super match for the weekend. Will be interesting to watch how Arsenal line up. Verminator, though he claims to be ready should be rested and the back 4 who are performing so admirably should stay. We can’t have such a crucial change affect us in such a big game. I am expecting the boys to win it, the momentum is with them and if we do win, that will put us on a season’s high in terms of confidence and it will put behind the 8-2 debacle well out of sight.

    Mata and Torres will carry their biggest threats against us. I am confident we can cope with the pressure.

    Expecting big performances from Gerv, Ramsey and Arteta. Of course, RVP will be the hot rod for us. If we can get him into dangerous positions, we can have a result in our hands.

    On a side note, I am wishing Theo to rip Cashley a new one tomoro! COYG!

  185. oh is it a love in tonight on aclf. goody gumdrops.

    i’ll start….Isn’t Ramsey great(great pass for gervinho goal), and we have the best keeper in the world.

    whos next……

  186. I want to see Diaby and his powerful midfield dribbles.

  187. I agree with all you said there Limestone!

  188. I love you Duke XXX

    Oh yeah and Andrei Arshavin,I love him as well.And as a bonus he is a good player.

  189. “I want to see Diaby and his powerful midfield dribbles.”

    I want to see Diaby kick John Terry in the head, AGAIN..

  190. Duke You can catch up with the fans forum.There is a podcast free.Go on Arsenal.com.click on “news” and its a option

  191. Limestonegunner

    dups, that was a special moment. Who could do it for us tomorrow? Frimpong, coming on after Park scores the late winner to hold for the last 7-8 minutes plus injury time? That would do it for me!

  192. Dups

    Classic! Song could do it, but it would be even better if the ref doesn’t see it.

  193. Paul- Arshavin is for free 😉 Freeing Arshavin might affect the defensive balance of our side. Did you spare a thought for that?

  194. I really don’t care if we lose tomorrow.the important thing is to play well and show the world we are not a team in crisis or whatever tag suits ‘them’. We are the ARSENAL! And we are title contenders!

  195. I really can’t wait for this game. I have a feeling we are going to go into the bridge and take all 3 points. I expect our front three to give em hell!

  196. RVP to score another brilliant free kick to keep the momentum going!

  197. Ace- I am pretty sure we will show them! The only crisis is their difficulty in selling newspapers which doesn’t talk about crises

  198. RVP’s thunderous volley to break Terry’s tooth and end up in to the net! 😀

  199. Lineup for tomorrow?

    —————–Chezzer——————
    Djourou—-Mert——-Kos——-Santos
    ————Song———Arteta———–
    —————–Ramsey——————–
    Walcott———-RVP———–Gervinho

    I can’t see Wenger going with any other lineup. The only other possibility for me is Arshavin for Walcott and moving Gervinho to the right. We shall see…

  200. Andrei can play on the right.He is a little genius.Have I ever mentioned th……………………………………………………………………………………………..

  201. Hey Sriram, It is possible but is much different than to when he plays on the right? It is down to the players to defend well as a unit regardless. If we press and fight from the front, I dont think it would matter that much. What do you think George?

  202. is it much different…

  203. Well Paul I am of a mind that if he defends at the front he need not track back.So yes, as long as the team presses rather than tracks he would be perfect.(But some say I am a bit bias towards him.Can for the life of me think why)

  204. Team will do for me Vice

  205. Yeah Paul, agree about that, but centrally, we would lose, some defensive power, he doesn’t track back like Ramsey or Arteta. We can do that, if we can ensure, a two midfield pivot, with a restricted attack role and then we can give Andrei a free roam role, he would be devastating no doubt. But, even then, playing that would be risky, if we can’t get a winger to defend deep.

  206. Why George? The argument involved me as well!

  207. So PG, what have you been up to?

  208. YW,

    PG loves Duke XXX!

  209. You know I am no fan of the Djour, so here is my go for the Chavs

    Kozzer …….Meat Sack….Tommy Gun……..Simon Templer
    ………………………..Sing Song
    Theopedo……………..AA/Ros…………………Vinho
    ………………………Arts/The Ram
    ……………………………..vP

    I nicked Kozzer for that one, but it suits me!

  210. If Arshavin is played in the center, two midfielders would have to sit behind him like Sriram said, restricting their attacking role.

    however playing that would be to risky as most of the attacking play would fall into this hands to deliver but if he isn’t o form that day, then we are screwed. so i think thats not a good idea.

    I remember a march against west brom 2 seasons ago, he played behind bendtner as a second striker in a 4-4-2 formation, he was devastating and brought the best out of bendtner. I think we can play him in some matches behind Chamack to try and get the best out of Chamack when we are resting RVP.

  211. Is this less contentious?

    Kozzer ………Meat Sack….Tommy Gun……..Simon Templer
    ………………………..Sing Song
    Theopedo……..Arts/The Ram…AA/Ros……………Vinho
    ………………………
    ……………………………..vP

  212. I would play

    Djuorou Kozzer Mert Vermaealen
    Ramsey song Arteta
    3Gs RVP Theo

    that would be a pretty mean defense

  213. Are we are bit extra with our thinking of Arshavin being a defensive liability? I think so.

    If Arshavin is better offensively and makes things happen in the middle then there is no problem if someone has to sit back a little or you can play him on the wing where he is less effective offensively and orchestra the offense as well.
    “6 of one and half a dozen of the other”

  214. Limestonegunner

    You know Arshavin isn’t so bad pressing at the front and middle of the park. He does a fair job of it. You just don’t expect him to patrol the lines up and down the pitch. Cesc would come a bit deeper but he wasn’t a defensive stalwart either. We would be fine with Song and Arteta behind him. (Again, I agree with George.)

  215. Limestonegunner

    I wouldn’t necessarily start this way tomorrow. But I do think that AA can come on later and if so he should play more centrally. Against other opponents, I’d be willing to start him in a 4231 or 4-1-1 behind RvP.

  216. is this for real or really just a joke?

    OptaJokes OptaJokes
    @
    32 – Shawcross has sent 32 players to the injury ward, clattering them as clean as a whistle. Mental

  217. It was a joke, responding to a tweet that I sent to Optajoe. He’d said something like Shawcross making most tackles or something like that. I pondered how many he clattered through et voila

  218. Pedantic george, as much as you might think Arshavin walks on water, he doesn’t actually, so I can’t see Arsene playing him in the middle in an away game against chelski. If we were playing at home against bus parkers, it would be a different story.

  219. Passenal, I can’t even see him starting.

  220. I cant see it either Yogi ,but I would like too

  221. “Pedantic george, as much as you might think Arshavin walks on water, he doesn’t actually,”
    Passenal ,Its more I feel he skips across it .In an Impish fashion.

  222. SA Gooneer,

    Apologies for the delay but travels prevail.

    Just to say, from your statement, I do not detect where you disagree with my comment: ignorance of my key points not withstanding!

    Still, he seemed intelligent enough a few moments ago as we put the Chavs to the sword!!!

    COYG

  223. http://wp.me/p1aPg-1U8

    Bloody Hell, MJ, give me a chance. It’s Monday fer crissakes!

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