Belgian Theme: Good, Bad and Ugly

Morning all, it is a bit like a mini international break following home games on Tuesday nights; nothing much happens until the press conference tomorrow when everyone gets all excited about a misinterpretation of what Arsène says. Not that there is anything new in this, Arsenal have been playing home games on a Tuesday night since before I was even a vague spot of light in Mum and Dad’s eyes.

It is a day of the week for introspection, review and what-have-you; if you feel like it of course. It is also thirty years to the day of one of the clubs most embarrassing and shameful defeats. Not that they lost on the night, oh no, a win was achieved but it ended with Arsenal exiting the Uefa Cup at the hands of SK Winterslag of Belgium.

Never heard of them since? No, if memory serves the amateur team is now defunct or been merged but losing 2-1 at Highbury was a high point in their existence for it meant they progressed on away goals rule having won the first leg 1-0. If you look at the team that night, it is not hard to see why they lost. McDermott, Vaessen, Meade, Whyte will not sit in the pantheon of Arsenal greats. OK, Paul Vaessen might for his goal in Turin but that is more likely to be in the pantheon of Arsenal great moments.

Next time Arsène fields a weakened team you’ll get the idea. Except at the time, 1981-82 was not a good vintage; this was almost a full strength side, only Alan Sunderland was missing. That’s how poor we were.

Still we can fast forward to another Belgian team, Standard Liege and remember a 7-0 win en route to winning the European Cup Winners Cup. Why? Because that game took place eighteen years ago tonight and let’s be honest, Eddie McGoldrick’s goal was one of the best ever Arsenal team goals.

It all ties in rather nicely with a distinctly Belgian theme. Thomas Vermaelen is at the forefront, his return to the starting line-up is being hailed in the media as a turning point for the club. I am not sure that it is in the sense that Koscielny and Mertesacker were doing rather nicely as they were. It does give Wenger options in the centre and at full back if injuries arise once more.

Both Koscielny and Vermaelen are capable of deputising in the short term, at the same time if necessary with Djourou filling the gap at the middle. That back four combination might be useful when facing Stoke City Rugby Football Club at The Britannia Stadium later in the season.

The pairing of Vermaelen and Mertesacker did look remarkably comfortable despite not many minutes on the pitch. That is a testament to their abilities and how quickly the German is adapting to the English game. Early days yet but they are a powerful combination with their strengths neatly counterbalancing the other’s weaknesses.

Elsewhere, Eden Hazard’s decision to leave Lille brought the usual links to Arsenal. Gervinho was keen to embellish them with a ‘come and join us’ type comment or two. Frankly I am not sure that Hazard is needed at the moment or to put it another way, a high priority. Of course he is talented and would strengthen the squad, it is just that we have other requirements as well, such as a replacement for Robin van Persie should he come back from the international break with some sort of knack.

Actually, may be that should be goalscoring replacement. Park and Chamakh can make up the numbers on the pitch but they are struggling for goals at the moment. It is a chicken and egg situation; you can’t expect a forward to just run on the pitch and score at will if they are not playing regularly. They won’t play regularly unless they score a lot of goals. And when RvP is scoring for fun, they are not going to play a lot anyway.

It is too soon to write Park off; many have done so but his adaptation process is / has taken longer than he or the club would have wanted. It is more evidence to back up Arsène’s observation some years ago that signing foreign players is best done in January to let them settle in, really ready to contribute in the following season.

Park is certainly a target for unjustified criticism at the moment, too many too quick to jump on the ‘anti’ bandwagon with seeing less than 180 minutes of him in action. OK, we might have been able to see John Hawley lacked ability in that time but Park’s goal against Bolton suggests the opposite.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 3, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 140 Comments.

  1. Yeah! First! Now to read the post.

  2. Morning YW good post as per ever..

  3. Morning Yogi.For a while there I thought it was C’bob doing the post this morning.What with all that going down memory lane.That was indeed a fantastic goal on the YouTube clip.What funny jerseys they had back then !
    I dare to say that Arsene now has a good problem in central defence.Kozzer is proving himself to be more than capable and TV5,excellent as he is should really not be an automatic first choice.I’m also a bit baffled that most people talk about which of the those two should partner Mertesacker.Are we choosing Mertesacker above the other two just because of the height advantage he brings to the backline? It will be interesting to know what the stats show on winning of aerial balls.Kozzer though not tall is quite dominant in the air.So a TV5 -kozzer partnership is not a bad idea.The other question that needs answering is whether we still need Cahill or Samba?
    Finally,I think we should take Eden only if he’s available on a bargain.I

  4. Thats why usually am glad its not these club fans making the decisions, but AW… Left to them we would have sold Song and RVP years back or even allowed them to leave from free!

  5. I actually haven’t noticed that much of Park being slagged off – his goal against Bolton illustrated what he is capable of and I think most of us recognise we have to be patient.

    That said, with Chamakh’s continuing poor form, we are clearly a decent striker light.

    One thing I do not understand is why Wenger is so reluctant to give our strikers 15-20 minutes at the end of a game in the premiership.

    In this age of 3 substitutions it’s a mystery why we don;t allocate one of them to giving either Chamakh, Park or Afobe (not that he’s been fit admittedly) even an occasional run out.

    Chamakh is unlikely to rediscover his confidence on the bench or the training pitch.

  6. We don’t need Cahill or Samba… it doesn’t require rocket science to answer that. i doubt we ever did since it seems Per was always on the card

  7. bigbrovar – nothing against you but in the style of Nelson Muntz –


  8. 3 centrebacks like per, TV and Kos and 3 in reserve JD, Squill, and Miquel..with one more away on loan..I certainly do not think we need anymore and I think we are the strongest in that department in the EPL..maybe even in europe..

  9. Oh and top ten 😀

  10. Jonny

    You’ve overlooked Einstein’s Fourth Law of Relativity, which states: “All time is relative to the time at which Bigbrovar posts.”

  11. SK Winterslag… well as being a Belgian Gooner I can tell you that Winterslag doesn’t exist anymore. With my local team we fought a few battles against Winterslag in Belgium and some highly remarkable games. Being 3-0 down at their ground at half time and winning 3-5 at the end of the game. I missed that one sadly. Winterslag was a coal mine club and it merged with another coal mine club Waterschei. Both named after the coal mine they were situated.

    But the merge between Waterschei and Winterslag had as a result that the new team played in the old stadium of Waterschei (the Winterslag stadium was a dump) and since then they play under the name of RC Genk. For those of you who follow football in general they will have noticed that RC Genk won the league in Belgium last season and is in the CL group together with Chelsea.

    Winterslag…. oh my God…;memories…. not just (bad in this case) Arsenal memories but personal memories…

  12. merlot

    haha..yea the first 3 comments were actually the last 3 comments on yesterdays post 🙂

  13. Anirudh & Merlot – maybe so but he looks as though he isn’t first whilst proclaiming first! and that’s more than good enough for me.

  14. Walter – Thanks for bringing us up to date on that one. Remembered reading that Winterslag had merged but didn’t realise that it had gone that far!

  15. Winterslag – we huffed, we puffed, the crowd howled , Terry Neill howled – but we came up short 😦

    Not entirely unlike a recent home game against a Blackburn Rovers side that made Winterslag 81 look highly talented in my recollection

    To business however and surely as it happened last season RvP will stop scoring goals, or pick up an injury, or both – we know this as it happens every season and no striker scores and scores and scores week after week

    I think we need to play Park, and try Chamakh and Park as a 442 against weaker opposition i if the PLAN is for Theo to play centrally then fine – bloody get on with it – and if there is no Theo PLAN sign another striker in January to give us proper cover

    I do not want another farce with Arshavin playing as our central striker with everyone else injured, out of favour or at the ACN

  16. @walter. are the ref analyst on untold? great job! one day the authorities will give u and dogface the acknowledgements due you!

  17. Despite what the headlines suggest, I haven’t actually seen a quote from Gervinho calling for Hazard to join Arsenal. I’m not actually sure he is what we need as we have a number of players who can fill the wide forward role in the team. I think we need more central midfield creativity, but someone who will be able to support defensively as well as contribute a few goals and assists.

  18. Walter
    good historical input. Thanks.

    agree with your points about the team.

    Will we (as fans) see key players (Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Theo, RvP, Gervinho) all overplayed and thus unavailable or their pitch performances sub-par?

    A fresh Ramsey against Marseille – we are more likely to have taken 3 points.

    What was the point in signing Park, Benayoun, Ox, Ryo? or even Chamakh. If you expect them to contribute they need to see playing time – not find themselves in the category of ‘rare sightings’.

    Jenkinson is proving to be a worthy presence on the pitch.

  19. Yeah Walter – are you that ref guy on Untold?

  20. It’s a shame that a very talented Belgium squad won’t be at Euro 2012.

    My London based friends from Belgium were in awe of the CB pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Vermaelan for Ajax. The national manager has chosen to avoid that combination. Probably as a result of Vermaelan not being available! You’d hope.

    Appy ‘Arry’s ‘scouts’ reported that Vermaelan played as a LB. I’ve checked the Gospel of Wiki, and it proclaims there that Vermaelan played in partnerships with Heitinga and then Vertonghen for Ajax.

    As an Arsenal fan, I’ll be glad that TV5 will be getting a rest next summer.

    Koscielny has hardly had a rest and played more games last season then he ever has. Against West Brom’s forward line we could see Koscielny and Vermaelan getting the starts.

  21. The poor start has meant the every game has become a must win.So the chance for experimenting has not materialised.

  22. Yup.

    The Ox-lad and Ryo will play more towards the turn of the year, for what must be obvious reasons. I’d disagree with Ateeb on this one, I think that Ryo must be ahead of Alex. But then, I don’t know very much.
    Unless Ateeb meant that because Ryo was returning from loan that he wasn’t really a signing, and therefore isn’t a candidate for the best signing of this past summer.


  23. Good point George – we also havn’t been out of sight with 25 minutes left, so risk levels are low.

    Fully expect us to batter WBA this weekend – the players must be so up for this game after the humiliation we suffered last year. Motivating the the troops for this one is easy as pie.

    Agree the more mobile Kols/TV is more suited to WBA threats.

  24. Seems to me George a bit of bullet biting might not come amiss – starting this Saturday with Park and Chamakh paired up front and RvP told to go and play golf.

    Home advantange, decent break since Tuesday and international break to follow, no new injury worries, defence in solid form, and the Baggies are hardly a footballing colossus

    And yet we will probably start with RvP on his tod up front

    Surely this is the opportunity to see what Park and Chamakh can do ?

  25. anicol15, let’s just wait and see what the manager who sees the players close up on a daily basis decides to do. If he makes changes and we don’t win, he’s the one who gets it in the neck. And by the way Chamakh has a knee injury so may not be fit to play.

  26. For those asking, as Walter has yet to answer, I can confirm that he is ‘the referee from Untold’. And a great job he does too.

    Anicoll that would mean breaking from 4-3-3 – something Wenger seems very reluctant to do. It’s a pity as I would like to see us develop an alternative style, which plays to the strengths of Park and Chamakh in particular.

    With Jenkinson’s remarkable crossing ability it should prove extremely threatening and give teams something else to worry about.

    As you say a bit of bullet biting would be good – give RVP a needed rest (ready to come on as necessary) and give Chamakh & Park some much needed playing time.

  27. Holland have qualified so RVP should play on Saturday and mysteriously pick up a niggle to prevent him going away.(god forbid not a real ninggle though)

  28. Goals … RvP has scored something like 28 of 56 this year.

    It’s months early to properly assess Park, we have little idea of his potential in Arsenal and EPL context. Players, more than planks of wood left outdoors, change in not so subtle ways. In the “old days”, 2 or 3 seasons back, many a knowledgeable commenator would talk of a season to adapt, and then see. I suppose that has all changed with the City way of instant gratifiction and results, fuelled by very large wages.

    I’m not convinced that Chamakh’s form as such is a terrible problem. I thought I saw a few touches and ideas in his last outing that spoke of a player ready to resume hostilities. Whether he’s good enough at Arsenal is the issue. I feel he’s a bit intimated by the level around him, which in itself is not a good sign. Like Theo before the weekend, he needs to score and free himself of that bogey, then we see.

    Goals need to come from every direction, and the bigger problem (than needing other effective strikers besides the best striker in the world this year) is that good old Arsenal assembly line of goals from here, there and everywhere, raining cats, dogs and goals. Belgianically, there was a season when TV5 was our top scorer into October. More like it. Ramsey is doing it; Santos shows willingness, Theo and 3Gs must do more, AA has barely started, Arteta has not started, and Song is goal-sluggish by his standards, but I suppose he has to keep looking to see where Santos might be. I won’t mention Rosicky, but bets are on whether Chewie scores before him (OK, that’s harsh). And the CBs, where are your goals?

  29. Waterschei and Winterslag, neither team exists any more as when they merged they became Waterslag…..CF, probably. Anyone check?

    Chamakh needs playing time. The back 3 can rotate, plenty of important games coming up.

    Nice to have a Tommy Gun in the Arsenal again.

  30. As I understand it the “slight effusion” on his knee that Wenger described as ruling out Chamakh on Tuesday was a minor knock – the cynic in me wonders whether that bit of swelling on the Moroccan’s knee might not resolve if Wenger told the player he was starting at 3pm on Saturday – I am sure the Boss will bring us up to date in the PC

  31. Great post – as usual from Yogi Bear – sorry – Yogi Warrior.
    As for Thomas Vermaelen I’d say he should always start when fit and when he doesn’t need a rest. It’s not just that he’s a great talent. Firstly because he’s a leader. Not surprising that he played well with Mertesacker then. Of course given that the Dutch and German are intelligible is an added advantage. But the leader bit set the tone. Certainly raised Merte’s game. And those around him. A football leader doesn’t have to talk. It oozes from his personality! And second, the guy gives more than 110%. TV and Jack Wilshere play like each game is the last game they’ll ever play. Those two guys give commitment to the limit.

  32. Nice one, YW. “… until the press conference tomorrow when everyone gets all excited about a misinterpretation of what Arsène says.” LOL!

  33. Here’s one for you, George, from the Sky Sports site about our genius-in-waiting, Arshavin:

    The Russia international playmaker has admitted his impact has been uninspiring in an honest assessment of his personal performance.

    “Speaking honestly, I think my performances for Arsenal have been average,” he told The Telegraph.

    “I’ve done some good things, but I don’t assess my game on goals or assists. I look at the whole picture.

    “Normally when I’m on the pitch I take control of the game but I haven’t really done that here.

    “I’m an extra tool in the team rather than the main one, so it’s been difficult.”

    [Apparently, he later clarified that he wasn’t referring to Bendtner. ;)]

  34. Sorry, forgot to end the italics!

  35. “I’m an extra tool in the team rather than the main one, so it’s been difficult.”

    So make him the main man.Simples

  36. Shouldn’t that designation be earned, rather than given?

  37. It’s AFC george and the A stands for Arsenal not Arshavin!

  38. Thats for the history lesson. Always enjoy that type of post.

    We do need another striker. May be Chamakh will regain his form and may be Park will adapt quickly but waiting for either of those to happen is certainly a big risk since neither is a given. There are lots of 100 pound notes gathering dust in our bank vaults. Nothing we can do until January except keep fingers crossed that RVP stays fit.

    Hopefully we can use this run of games coming up to move up the table and be in striking position for 3rd or 4th place by Christmas. Need to regain momentum this weekend.

  39. Sorry first sentence should say, Thanks for the history lesson.

  40. I am not listening.
    I would like the chance to see a team revolve around him as we saw an ultimately unsuccessful team revolve around Fabregas.
    Sorry for having an opinion Passenal.I will try to toe the line from here on in.

  41. Zimpaul – the lack of goal scoring support from the rest of the team is extremely notable and, whilst I might not necessarily agree, it is easy to see why we are dismissed as a one man team in the press: In all competitions we have scored 32 goals, but over a third of those came from one player’s boots.

    Everyone has been guilty but, for me, Gervinho in particular has been wasteful – he should be on 7 or 8 by now. In fact I am amazed it is only 2 – in my head he has a few more than that!

    I hope Walcott is about to go on a scoring run akin to the start of last season – the signs are there – he is ‘trying’ things.

    Rosicky has never been a prolific goal scorer but I do wish he would find the happy knack of the long-range screamer once again. He managed 7 goals in his first season with us – playing as well as he is at the moment I’d say he should be aiming for similar.

    Benayoun is the kind of player who gets braces and hatricks – hopefully we will see some soon.

    I could go on but basically there isn’t a player in the team who couldn’t do better (RVP excepted).

    van Persie 12
    Walcott 4
    Andre Santos 2
    Arshavin 2
    Gervinho 2
    Oxlade-Chamberlain 2
    Ramsey 2
    Arteta 1
    Benayoun 1
    Chamakh 1
    Gibbs 1
    Park 1
    Song 1

  42. Finsbury,

    Given how much chances Chamberlain, has had in the first team, it seems that he’s ahead of Ryo, at least in the eyes of the manager. I don’t doubt Ryo’s potential, I mean he’s had a much bigger leap then Kos, when only a few years back he was playing for a school team. But it’s just astounding that Arsene spent 12m on an 18 year old kid in Oxlade. The last time that happened was Theo. So he sees a big talent in him. I for one, have been amazed whenever he has played. He’s a really intelligent player.

    Ryo can be judged when he gets some playing time. I am sure he’s a ‘top top’ player as well. But for now, at least, I doubt any one of them is ready to replace, either Theo or Gervinhio on the wings. Those two are deadly at the moment. Even Arshavin will find it difficult to replace any one of them.

    And let’s not rule out Gervinhio for the best signing as well. He’s settled in so quick and has actually delivered quite well. Technically speaking, we haven’t missed Nasri at all. I for one, am glad that Nasri fucked off sooner rather than later. One can easily see the directness and ability to dribble past opponents on a regular basis that we get from Gervinhio rather than Nasri. And he’s got a good final ball as well.

    With Wilshere in the team, we could have had a very different start to the campaign then we did. Maybe draws instead of the losses. But anyways, judging from Ramsey’s performances I think Wilshere will have to fight for his place when he gets back. Ramsey has been brilliant last 2 games. Even against Marseilles, yes he missed a few chances, but what counts more perhaps is that he was that his movement was really good to get to the end of those chances. He will start to convert them hopefully, which we know he can.

  43. ‘i’m an extra tool in the team rather than the main one, so it’s been difficult’

    Too harsh on himself the little man. He had enough assists and goals last season to justify his worth to the team. Though, of course, he’s had it difficult to be the ‘main’ one. But this isn’t the Russian team, this is Arsenal, you’ve got great players all around, and as a team it’s really difficult for one to outshine the rest. Unless you’re Robin, but Robin’s taken a long time, to get to this point. Let’s hope he stays fit now.

  44. Well, Andrei, I suggest you take your next game by the scruff of the neck and twist. We know you can. You weren’t called “The Assassin” for muttering “oh, it’s difficult”.

  45. There is no doubt Ramsey has been the unwitting beneficiary of an extended run in the team. It’s been extremely gratifying to watch his progress and, if the trajectory continues, he will be one of the best midfield players in the country. He makes very few mistakes and has an eye for the through ball – there is much to admire. Maybe more goals is all he needs to add – though he has already identified as much himself.

    The battle for the middle of the park, next to Song, will be intense once Wilshere is back to full health.

    I feel sad for Rosicky as I feel it’s his strongest position also – but I suppose it is good to have strength in depth.

  46. Does anyone else think that Arshavin might be a useful player to supply the goals if god forbid anything untoward happens to van Persie? If he were played in his preferred position behind the striker, I think it’s quite possible that he’ll be among the goals before long!

  47. Ateeb,

    Gervais’ stats so far:

    11 games, 2 goals, 6 assists.

    Considering the disruption caused by that 3 game suspension after he had just arrived, that is an impressive start. An inspiring performance against the lost tribe of Stoke City.
    They must have been confused by the chap who was running about with the round football at his feet. The lofted, spinning pass from Koscielny to Gervinho against Sunderland, the run ghosting past the FB and the shot: Pure Wengerball. I could not understand why Sexy Svenn refused to start him in the last World Cup. Maybe he knows something we don’t. Maybe not!

    I’m guessing we’ll see a little more of both the Alex and Ryo in the fixture pile up around new year. And when Gervais heads off to the Cup of Nations.

    There are hints of differences in Ryo’s and Alex’s games, it’s going to be fun to see how both players develop. The beautiful pass from Alex to Yossi in the build up to Arshavin’s goal last week was for me a real treat. Almost more exciting then the goals, watching a young player unveil their repertoire.

  48. Shishir if we reverted to a 442 then yes, I could imagine that being interesting.

  49. Ramsey is already one of the best midfielders playing in England this season. I think this lad is destined for bigger things than that. What intrigues me already is the role of Wilshere down the road. I cannot see Wilshere competing for a place with Ramsey, but more likely Arteta, or a rotating amongst the three. I know the perceived wisdom is that Wilshere is naturally attacking, like Ramsey, but I say … so what?

    But let’s not talk of RvP injuries, it sends shudders down my spine. As long as he’s not over-played, and given some decent recovery time when needed, he’s going to finish the season as he started, rip-roaring fit.

  50. “Sorry for having an opinion Passenal.I will try to toe the line from here on in.”

    You can have all the opinions you want, but your one-eyed obsession with Arshavin gets tiresome at times. I know you think he walks on water, but give it a rest for goodness sake. If he wants to play more, he needs to earn his place same as everyone else.

  51. Zimpaul

    Agree entirely..lets not turn something so positive i.e. RVP’s almost divine form, into something gloomy by assuming he is going to be injured. I know that his previous injury record is not great but no reason to assume he is not over that. To be fair to him, more than a fair share of his injuries were impact-injuries down to bad tackling, bad luck if his luck has turned, this season (actually our luck as a team seems to be turning in the last few games at least *touching wood rapidly*)..there is absolutely no reason why he cant score close to 40-50 goals and lead us to silverware in the end *looking for maximum contact with wood*

  52. It wouldn’t surprise me if Arshavin, after those comments, exploded into life and form. They strike me as an announcement to himself.

  53. Whereas you have a “one eyed obsession”for the entire team Passenal.Which is also tiresome .

  54. How do Gervais’ stats stack up against, say,
    Chel$ea’$ $tar $igning?

    10 games 3 goals (-1 if you don’t mind) 4 assists

    Hang on. How does Mata’s return compare to Ramsey’s?

    13 games 2 goals 5 assists

  55. What matas (matters – sky sports style, sorry) is..

    How much did Ramsey cost us viz a viz Mata …spend some f***ing money my arse…

  56. Morning/afternoon all!

    lets not fight.

  57. PG – If he wasn’t so average, he’d be in the team. Simples.

  58. Yogi ,He would be a less than average goal keeper .,or CB,
    Why would he be at his best as a winger?(inside forward,call it what you want)
    We have not seen him in his favoured position and yet he is our record signing and allegedly highest wage earner.
    I would at very least like to see him given the opportunity.
    And if he was “average” in our team we would be laughing.

  59. @ PASSENAL… leave George and His obsession with AA alone! You only encourage it to come on stringer! LOL

  60. stringer = stronger

  61. yogi:

    How do you do it??? Do you have an endless supply of Arsenal trivia such as the history in today’s post that you can call on whenever there is little else to talk about? Or do you get over your key board and just wing it? Do you ever get writers block? Mrs. Yogi must be a saint of a human being to let you take this much time away from “regular life”. My wife truly is a saint and will be carried up to heaven in a chariot someday, however even she would run out of patience if I would consider doing what you do.

    Anyway, great stuff, I hope you never burn out.

  62. I thought you meant stringer as in “Stringer Bell” of the wire.And to insult Andrei would result in a “hit” being commissioned.Because it might you know.

  63. What’s wrong with Arshavin? He gets to play when the manager think he’s good to play, just like any other player in the squad. No one has a given right to play.

  64. ZimPaul at 3:01 pm – I would love to agree but Arshavin has been singing that tune for some time now.

    Not to worry though, I’m sure our favourite pedant, George, will agree enough for everyone.

    Play nice guys, :0)

  65. @finsbury | November 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t really get your point regarding Mata?

    He has one more goal than Gervinho while being a much less of an out and out attacker and he’s only one assist behind Ramsey (who he would be much more comparable to in terms of the type of player) while being a goal ahead of him also.

    He’s a good player, if we had got him I would have been very pleased and his presence in the Chelsea team only makes them stronger. And surely he needs time to settle in which means he should get a lot better as the season progresses?

  66. Block4

    Don’t worry. It doesn’t matter.

    (That goal ahead of Ramsey does not count!)

  67. Black 4 .
    You don’t seem to get.Let me explain.
    If a player goes to another club rather than coming to us he immediately becomes crap.
    If a player leaves to play for another club ,he immediately becomes crap.
    If a player comes to us he immediately becomes world class.

    I think that’s how it works.

  68. YOu know what though Block4

    It’s great to see you showing such patience towards the Chelsea player.
    I expect Gervais to kick on too. Shame about the ACN, but we can rotate!

    Yes, Ateeb is right. Gervais is the signing of the season so far. Factoring in cost etc. all the variables that, er, matter when considering which player has been the, um, you know, the best $igning.


  69. black4? was that a Freudian slip?

  70. No George. That is not how it works. Gervais cost approximately half of the other player that matters (f*ck it) in this thread that is discussing which is the better signing. Player X for £a, or Player Y for (£a x2).

  71. I may be wrong but I think the point is the amount of money spent in relation to the stats.

    Our players are on par with some of the percieved best.

  72. @GEORGE… for all your strength and willlingness to fight to defend AA’s honour and all… you wouldn’t hit a lady?I?I

  73. I think its about or players being higher value for money cos he perform on par and yet cost vastly less more often than not!

    see RVP and Torress

  74. who said Mata was crap? I didn’t read that.

  75. @pedantic george | November 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I get it. Rather pathetic though.

    @finsbury | November 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    It’s nothing to do with Chelsea players, he’s just a good player who your stats make look pretty good compared to two of ours. Wasn’t he about twice the fee of Gervinho? Hmm, let me see, one of the better players in Spain and part of a World Cup winning squad to boot against a player who had one good season in France. Weighing all that up I’d say the transfer fees are about right.

    It’s much too early to say who has been the best signing.

  76. Gervs should be on more goals though. He has missed some really easy chances. He needs to be cool like Eduardo.

  77. I dont think the size of the signing on fee is that relevent.
    Lets say Gervinho is a great signing for us and a great player.
    If you want to sign a player 10% better than him you might have to pay 3 times as much as you did to buy him.You would not just pay an extra 10% .Would you?

  78. @ George. AW would do just that! I for one think the prices of players are overratted but many times this is the way things are because of the need to say i spent more than the next club!

  79. team spirit | November 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm
    I think its about or players being higher value for money cos he perform on par and yet cost vastly less more often than not!

    see RVP and Torress

    Sorry but that argument annoys me .Because it is always with hindsight that you can make it.
    Its 2004,We can have either RVP(2 mill) or Reyes (15 mill)
    Today we know the answer .Then ,I suggest,every single one of us would have yelled “REYES FFS ITS A NO BRAINER”

  80. @Team spirt.No he would not do that.Because that extra 10% is what makes the difference and its what pulls players and teams into the next level.There never has been a player 3 times as good as Gervinho.Ever.

  81. What is the big deal if we big up the fact that we didnt pay as much but our players are on par?

    That is a good thing and it matters that we find players that pan out to be better than some of the bigger money players.

  82. Paul ,you are right, it does matter.

  83. For those who asked: yes I am Walter from Untold.
    Thanks for the nice comments btw.

    I don’t comment much (but read a lot) on here but do find it a great blog most of the time. But couldn’t resist the Winterslag memory…

  84. Comparing the amount of money we spend for a player vs. what other teams spend makes some of us feel better but does little else of value. If a player costs twice as much and is only 10% better, but that extra 10% significantly increases your chance of winning then the less expensive player was not a good buy. Gervinho is a very good player and time only time will tell if he turns out to be a great buy.

  85. Bill,thats what I was saying I think.
    Gervinho is a great buy.But he would have been a great buy at twice the money.Because its about quality, not cost.
    Otherwise you end up with a bargain like Silvestre

  86. @George, I thot we had both Reyes and RVP in our ranks? was there ever an either or about them? I miss Reyes, but did not rate him higher than RVP even back them, each brought something to the team. The very point being made is that it is not the cost of the player that determines the value he brings. although many think so. even as at the time Torres was being bought for than price, RVP had been with us for some time and had shown flashes of what he could do but for injuries, but some would have still rated Torress higher than him because of price and nothing much else

  87. If I was articulate as Paul I would have said:

    ‘It matters (bada bing, ba da boom) that we find players that pan out to be better (or on a par!) with some of the bigger money players.’

    I don’t think it matters in the end because I can write one thing and someone can read something completely different because they read what they want to. For example, because Mata has one more illeagle goal to his stats and a substitue appearence in a World Cup, he’s better $igh-ning. Mata was good, but was not even Spain’s best player at the U21 tournament. Maybe Spain are just that far ahead? What value can we give the technical coaching of young players? Eh?

    The ‘point’ above, that was fairly obvious and not so blunt given that the three sets of stats given above are almost identical at this early stage of the season, was that they are all good players. If some feel the need to argue about notional concepts of a 10% measure of ability (ignoring the fact that they are athletes, and vulnerable to vague concepts such as form and fitness), they can! $imples

    Tis a funny old game.

  88. George.

    Behave. It pains me to admit it, but Henrik Larsson was a great signing.
    Fortunately the Bebe’s (a very $melly purcha$e if you ask me. Maybe $ir $lurgus sent one of his hor$e$ to $cout that one?) and all the rest in the log book up there more then cancel out that one signing.

  89. @ George, i hope u have been serious all along and not just playing as being pragmatic? LOL I think being pandemic suits you better

  90. @finsbury | November 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I didn’t say Mata is a better signing, just that the fees were about right considering what the respective players had done in the game to that point. And I very blatantly said that it’s much too early to say who’s the better signing. You’ll need to wait until at least next May to have any chance of making that judgement.

  91. I think I understand your logic Block4.

    Gervais has just won a title, whilst leading the combined assists and goals tally in the French league, a full international. Who has played more then one game in a WC.

    Cool. Glad we got that sorted.

  92. I don’t know what my argument is now I seem to have confused myself with my own brilliance.
    Better stick to waxing lyrical about Andrei.

  93. Only just read the post YW – thanks for reminding me of that Winterslag night !

    It`s a sobering thought of how things were , particularly when people (& I`m as guilty as most) whinge at some of the players we have these days.

  94. George,

    I think I’ll stick to eulogising upon the virtues of Pace in the modern game (see below).
    This can get too confusing. For example: In one comment Block4 wrote:

    ‘he’s just a good player who your stats make look pretty good compared to two of ours’

    Erm. Ok then. Well. We’ve covered that one. ( -1 goal extra!)

    And then, lo, behold!

    ‘I didn’t say Mata is a better signing’.

  95. Check out Per at 3:30. As discussed with Limpar after Arsenal signed him, he’s not Slow!

    After many games playing against the likes of Sinclair, who nearly burned Sagna, I can only recall one really moment where Per was caught for pace away to Marseille. Jenkinson covered well in that instance. Above, Per returns the favour.

  96. Finsbury:

    Nothing wrong with comparing the price tags and stats of players and Gervinho may turn out to be the best signing of the year. However, sometimes it feels like getting the best value for the money becomes the single most important part of our transactions, overriding how much the player might improve the team. I know this is a philosophical discussion that has been beaten to death many times in the past but no trophies awarded for the best value shoppers.

  97. As far as price tags, it matters because thats how we are building our team. We cannot afford to splash the cash like other teams can, so it is a imperative that we can find players for lesser money that can be as good as the big money signings. That is a source of pride for me.

    What City and Chelsea have done is nothing in comparison to what Arsenal have done. Actually, what they have done is no big deal at all.

  98. finsbury @ 5:13 pm

    thats funny bro!

  99. As far as Arshavin, I agree with George, It would be good to have Arshavin in his best position. That doesn’t seem to be an option because of our formation, but he did look much better against Bolton, didnt he? The guy looked very comfortable.

  100. i wonder when are we going to end this arshavin obsession, he scored 4 goals against liverpool longtime ago and now he’s our most under performer.
    i hope one russian team come in for him in january and close this chapter. arsenal fc will be better off without him. at least tireless ryo miyaichi will start getting some games.

  101. Sam,You know much about football?
    “and now he’s our most under performer.”

    Apart from telling us you cant construct a decent sentence.What are you saying?
    But before you answer here is my reply
    fuck off

  102. Perhaps the value-for-money argument works better the other way round.

    The quality of a player is clearly more important than his cost. But the media seem to believe that cost is the measure of quality. (Gerv’s signing got scant coverage during the summer Arsenal-bashing fest, while Mata’s move to Chelsea attracted a blaze of publicity.)

    If quality really does depend on cost, we have no chance of success at the highest level. However, the comparison between Gerv and Mata and the comparison between RvP and Torres may be amongst the many examples which show that it doesn’t.

  103. Merlot.
    Clear thinking there.I agree.Yes that is it.

  104. good stuff Merlot!

  105. This kid is going to be training with Arsenal for a month as a guest.

    Nice goal!

  106. finsbury | November 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I think I’ll stick to eulogising upon the virtues of Pace in the modern game (see below).
    This can get too confusing. For example: In one comment Block4 wrote:

    ‘he’s just a good player who your stats make look pretty good compared to two of ours’

    Erm. Ok then. Well. We’ve covered that one. ( -1 goal extra!)

    And then, lo, behold!

    ‘I didn’t say Mata is a better signing’.”

    And not once did I say he’s a better signing. If you can find it, quote it.

  107. Ruban Kazan 1-0 Tottenham 🙂 this week just keeps getting better and better!!

  108. i think hazard is exactley what we need right now..
    you can never have too many wing forwards when you play a 433 and i think he and gervinho will make a great first choice pairing with robin central

  109. I have been considering Pedantic George’s belief that we play AA in the hole. I would actually like tom see him play in the centre alongside Arteta or Rosicky, with Song in the holding role. G3, RVP and Theo up front. What do you guys think?

  110. Irish I think you would need 2 holding

  111. “I have been considering Pedantic George’s belief that we play AA in the hole”

    Write those words on a totally different forum and that sentence could well result in the police visiting your house.

  112. dont really need ‘holding’ players
    just need a couple of box to box players who can cover the ground..the basics of a good engine room is stamina and workrate..the technical side takes care of the rest.

    its esentially a 442..two strikers and two wingers
    one of your strikers drop deep and it becomes a 4411 or a 4231..arshavin fits all these perfectly centrally if he plays as one of the does diaby..

    as long as the two central midfeiders do all the running it gives AA the freedom of the pitch..they dont need to ‘hold’ it would defeat the object of pressing..they just need to run..which means he wouldnt have to..

  113. That’s the catch twenty-two. Theres the rub. If you don’t play you don’t have the rhythm. That’s all part of being a back up. You never play with the first team. Still playing in these matches give the coaches a chance to see how a player reacts in game time situations. That’s my two cents for what it’s worth. Great history lesson. Thanks

  114. Jonny – It is for that very reason that I refuse to go on twitter or Facebook or myspace or any social media site like them. Still uld like to see AA let loose in the middle, the position he is most familiar with and the one in which he has a bigger impact on the game.

  115. i concur also that AA would have had more impact for Arsenal if he was played in his natural position. as it is, he he doing his best to adapt to the 433. he doesn’t have the stamina to do a lotof running as he is approaching 30 years old. he would be perfect as s come of the bench type impact player with not to much emphasis on defensive duties. then he would be able to go at defenses and work his artistry. I’m happy with his goals and assist right now and wouldn’t be too disappointed if AW played him in the current system. i felt the same regarding Nick. i was do odd seeing him on the wing last year and our short russian in the box fighting with tall defenders for a header.

    ss far as the away goal rule, never liked it never will. and neither are penalty shoot outs the fairest way to decide the out come of a match. extra time is the fairest way and then only if the score at the end of first fifteen could decide the game why go to the second fifteen. no need.
    UP THE GUNS!!!!
    also agree with paul regarding our achievements compared to that of mercenary teams like manure,chelski, shitty and Real …..etc. they havemy done anything special as compared to the monies invested. it is much more desirable when a team achieves its goals without the help of bloodsucking banks, russian mob and/or oil money. much much more.

  116. Congrats to the Arsenal Ladies who got a valuable away goal in their 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano in Madrid. Scotland midfielder Kim Little put us ahead after 3 minutes but Rayo equalized through Sanchon on the half hour mark. The first half ended with us creating chances but being denied by their GK. The second half was all Arsenal but again and again their GK kept us out. Sound familiar? With luck and maybe more clinical finishing they should win the return leg. Well done Ladies 🙂

  117. well done indeed..
    this after domination in all competitions last year.


  118. irish ,i don’t care if you live in Manhattan and me in losangeles. I’m taking the redbulls to win this game. henry looks still a great player.hope its not freezing there. lol

  119. Goonerkam – I think you are right, can’t see the Galaxy winning this one. Henry to score the winner, now that would be awesome!! 🙂

  120. nice script..
    maybe rain here tomorrow.
    gooner kamran feeling his knee again. shit penalty for la. 2-1

  121. Dam it all to hell!! Landon Donovan scores a penalty to make it 2-1 to the Galaxy, 3-1 on aggregate. Possibly the stupidest defending I have ever seen, def PK.

  122. I see they are taking Becks off, defensive move that?

  123. he was injured earlier. back problem. free kick. to new york bend it like henry. no almost.

  124. not much urgency from the bulls.

  125. Galaxy deserved the win I hate to admit.

  126. shit .bulls OUT

  127. right u are.
    did u c my story from last night.?

  128. What story?

  129. last nights comments. towards the end. true story in the news. lol

  130. The two Iranians? LOL Too funny that but nothing that country does ever surprises me to be honest.

  131. Yah ,i know. warped world that. even in football they are trying to take all the fun out for some guys…. HAHAHA

  132. LOL Bed time for me mate, have a good one Kam!! Will be online for the match this weekend, will catch up with you then COYG!!!!

  133. have a peaceful night friend. later. COYR. UP THE GUNS!!!


    Peaceful night? Ya doirty stop out! All this whilst a post was being carefully crafted. Just as well someone’s dedicated. But it wasn’t me…

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