One Of Us Speaks: Formative Years

This boy is talking numbers. No, not the 0870 ones he tries to hide on the phone bills, the 0845s. Eh? That’s just me? Oh, Big Al’s on the 4-4-2s…

It’s Wednesday night, and with the next game three days away, and most of the squad not even back from international duty, I’m still negotiating football’s Interzone. I can’t believe there’s transfer news around already – it’s most unwelcome this early; a bit like Christmas decorations and music in shops before December. So I thought I’d like to have some fun with formations instead – who would go where if our squad were playing in different eras?

Not many people know this, but on the way back to London from the away game at Marseille in October, something strange happened to the squad; rerouted over CERN, the Arsenal jet disappeared from radar – radio contact was lost. Frantic air traffic control officials in France and England strove in vain to get a signal or response from the pilot for more than half an hour, only picking up the signal more than 1,000 miles off course, over Orkney.

Until now nobody has told the story of what happened during that flight, but today I can tell you that those thirty minutes of radio silence were like thirty days for the Arsenal staff. They embarked on a fantastic adventure through history, repeatedly inhabiting the bodies of various Arsenal teams and managers down the decades, solving their tactical and footballing dilemmas on the spot before moving on. In short, it bore no resemblance to that show, Quantum Leap.

For one night only, The Gunners were lost in time – this is their story:

16th September 1912

Arsenal blast into Plumstead on Monday afternoon. Back then this suburb was a grim, impoverished and crime-ridden corner of London, with a limited gene pool – nothing at all like today. As the modern team lands in its host bodies, manager George Morrell is putting the team through its pre-match warm-up – pints, fags and pork scratchings round the corner from the Manor Ground at the local public house, the aptly-named “Sportsman”. By the end of this season Arsenal would be in 20th place and relegated, only returning to the top league fair and square thanks to Sir Henry Norris’ totally legitimate business dealings after the First World War.

Going into the game Arsenal had been in dire form, and yet to win so far that season. Wenger realises something must be done, takes his first, and last, ever gulp of Courage bitter, and goes about assembling his 2-3-5 Pyramid.

He settles on this:

Jack Wilshere was playing in that crucial central halfback role, operating as the pivot between defence and attack. Having never witnessed passing football before, the opponents, Aston Villa believe they’re playing against music hall illusionists and in their wariness are easily defeated. Luckily Arsenal went back to their old selves after this freak result and got relegated in front of dwindling crowds. Otherwise the club might still be in Woolwich today.

7th January 1933

The modern day Arsenal squad suddenly materialises at a frozen Highbury on a bitter Saturday afternoon. Laurent Koscielny tries to conceal the 20 packs of Wild Woodbines he’d bought at Plumstead High Street’s general store.

London’s in the midst of the great depression and there’s a dysfunctional coalition in power. Somehow, the Arsenal players feel right at home. Herbert Chapman’s team are two down at half time to Sunderland, and forced to field a team shorn temporarily of all its stars. It’s up to Arsène Wenger and his players to adapt to the famous WM formation and save the day. What was needed was a rugged three-man defence, and a tough tackling, two-man defensive midfield. Ahead of those you’ve got two creative inside forwards and a three-pronged attack.

While his charges perform complicated calisthenics with medicine balls, Wenger goes to the mirror, dusts down the lapels on his pin-stripe jacket and flattens his thinning hair back with extra pomade. He concocts this line-up:

Arsenal goes on to win the league title they would have won anyway, only more comprehensively.

30th November 1993

The squad is propelled through time almost 60 years to George Graham’s penultimate year at Arsenal. The manager is about to make a mistake that would blight his career and haunt him for the rest of his life. No, forget the bungs; they already happened. Worse than that, he was about to play Eddie McGoldrick as a sweeper. 2011 Arsenal arrive in the dressing room just in time – Culture Beat’s classic hit, Mr Vain is pumping out of the dressing room’s AIWA hi-fi and betting slips are strewn across the floor. The host bodies are bleary eyed and severely hung-over after three consecutive nights on the town celebrating their pre-Xmas party get-together. Mertesacker, wearing the number six shirt, is clutching a bucket to his chest, while number ten Robin van Persie’s behaviour is particularly alarming; he’s got bloodshot eyes, talks at a hundred miles an hour and is endlessly sniffing.

The formation is 5-3-2, and Arsène’s job is to find a suitable candidate to play as the sweeper. In the end he settles for Aaron Ramsey, sitting just behind the back two and collecting the ball from his centre-backs to start attacks. In the three-man midfield we need two box-to-box players and one creator, while up front we need a classic target man accompanied by a speedster.

Babbling Robin won’t get out of anyone’s face so he’s going to sit this one out.

Arsenal see off Aston Villa in the fourth round of the Coca Cola Cup, and go on to retain the trophy they’d won in the season before.

People say Arsenal have been looking more unified and more mature in recent weeks. They don’t know what this team has been through together. Except Laurent Koscielny now has the lungs of a 70-year-old chimney sweep, RvP now won’t travel anywhere unless he can get to his GA, NA and AA meeting and Lukas Fabianski now has child old enough to teach him the Lambeth Walk.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 18, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 159 Comments.

  1. good stuff sir.

  2. This is a first, I am the 2nd.

    One of us you have got a very imaginative mind, I like what you have come up with today. A very welcome respite from the worst ever international break.

    Things i learnt in the past two weeks is that women are bad at bickering but this break proved men are the worst at it. As Darius put it the other day “nyani haoni kundule” which loosely translates into “a monkey cant see its own ass” which basically means that some people never see their shortcomings and are quick to laugh at others for the same things they are prone to doing. the break also made me appreciate the scroll button after taking up passenal and fungunners advice.

    I had a nightmare the other day where we lost the curling cup game to mancity 2-1 and Balotteli scored from a cartwheel goal. you should have seen the smirk on his face. Thank God it was only a dream and that tomorrow I get to see my Arsenal play. The game cant get here faster enough, it being an early kickoff is also very welcome despite me not like those in the past.

  3. Bad news that Jenkinson will be out as the boy was starting to prove his many detractors wrong, also it looks like Gibbs had a set back and had to undergo surgery for a hernia so he will be out for much longer than first expected. How long before he gets to be called an injury prone player and the doomers start asking for us to offload him?

    Atleast on the positive both chamakh and Diaby are back in training and since wenger says he will rotate more in the coming few weeks this bodes very well for our team. Looking forward to tomorrow. Less than 30hrs to go!!!!come on gunners.

  4. Yes and the FIFA Presidents of the day would have come out and made a statement like:

    ‘The Arsenal Team has too many darkies in it. Next they will be playing queers and even worse ………women.’

    I can imagine the same faces involved, depressing that in some areas we just refuse to move on.

  5. OOU – Excellent stuff. Ironically if we were to play 532 we could put out a very good side. Koscienly would almost be a perfect sweeper, just sat behind TV5 and Mertesacker.

  6. I wonder who will play at right back tomorrow? Djourou, or maybe Koscienly.

  7. One of us, having looked closer to the lineups , i have realized if we were to play no. one on those lineups, be it in 1931 or 2056 losing 8-2 would look like a blessing.

    The first lineup would surely give Bill a heart coronary, I am not sure he’d recover to watch us try the second which is much improved leave alone the third one (if it were upto him I have a feeling we would always defend like this).

    Whatever happened to kitchensink? She used to put up some very good videos during breaks which would have been very welcome the past tow weeks.

  8. What, dropping RVP from the 1933 side?

    No wonder he’s off.

  9. Big Al – great walk through the time warp. Don’t you go knocking Plumstead common, that was the first ground we ever played any game you know.

    BTW – if anyone is in the Woolwich area, pop into the museum at Royal Arseenal which is the original home of Arsenal (the site where the munitions factory was) – hence why we’re the Gunners. You won’t miss the cannon outside Royal Arsenal.

    The museum (I think its still called Dial Square) has some interesting facts and history about the very first few years of Arsenal when we were called Dial Square. Most of the site is now apartments though.

    PS: @Consols and Big Al – Looking forward to the get together Saturday week for the Fulham game. My missus has given me a weekend visa to allow you folks to lead me up the garden path. My ticket for the game is on the upper tier of the Clock End.

  10. @Firstlady – LMAO – at least now that Diaby is back in training, the udaku can continue. I understand there was a moritorium on discussing him until he got back to work.

  11. Just curious – is Wenger crazy enough to sign Thierry Henry on loan during the closed MLS season? Could be interesting – maybe for him to have the sort of impact Larson had as an elderly statesman being brought in to do a job. I’m sure a 3 month stint will not harm the long term development of anyone, but it’ll be nice for him to provide releif for our strikers.

  12. Ha, Ha, Ha. I am not that familiar with English culture but I have played enough games with rum-drinking, cigarette-smoking so-called footballers to know that Laurent Koscielny with “20 packs of Wild Woodbines” would not make a very good sweeper. He couldn’t last one half. Good job Big Al.

    Excellent point First Lady about the general arrogance and lack of humility on these pages. Some of us are mere radical extremists or reactionaries (sic) all in one breath for objecting.

    Something in the past week which I was unable to react to was one particular post by j-j which wreaked of sexism, homophobia and general chauvinism in his general dismissal of Spain’s and Barcelona’s “tippy-tappy” football. I was too busy to comment but I was hoping that First Lady, Team Spirit, Fungunner or Passenal would take him on. J-J: please grow up. Football a uni sex sport and the era of Englishmen hacking away at the ankles of skilled players or simply bombing down the wing and pumping in wild crosses is well and truly over. Not even Pulis can defend that kind of game.

  13. Thanks for not slating the post – it stands as proof that the international break is bad for you. Anyway, the formations were designed in record time by: https://twitter.com/#!/WebbLDN

  14. Truth be told, this past international break has been bloody painful. It’s like not getting laid for I don’t even know how long.

  15. Thierry can still play at the highest level without a doubt. He will do better than Torres anyway. But a legend like him should not return. He is Mr Arsenal, We gave him the ovations the warm receptions and I would not want to see him come back miss a chance and only for the idiots to start slating him. I don’t think he would want to crowd other young players anyway. If it is a symbolic appearance while crusing 4 nil then why not.

    Right back situation is not getting any better It will have to be Djouorou or Koscielny. But I prefer Koslcieny.

  16. Hah! I’ve been had yet again….sitting here at home today whilst solar PV panels are being installed on my roof…I’m surfing the Arsenal newsnow feed and clicked on ‘Arsenal dealt a five year blow as Belgian target signs on’. No its not Eden Hazard…..its Marouane Fellaini…..oh dear….what do we do now?

  17. Djourou improved a great deal during the Chelsea game. He was very good… I’ve no fears if he plays at right back for us tomorrow….

  18. Genius. Bloody genius.

  19. The interlull has finally taken its toll and claims its first victim Big Al to the depths of despair and insanity, ironically the catalysts of this mind blowing post. Enjoyed every word. *tips hat*

  20. On a more exciting note (for me anyway) I have bought another guitar. I have got a Hagstrom D2F which is a semi hollow. Absolutely lovely piece of wood, but have to wait until Xmas to play it (wife’s orders).

  21. Looks like this back 4 line up is a possibility in November.

    Djourou,Per,Kos,TV.
    Cant see Santos managing every game.Unless he has been to Weight Watchers in the interlul

  22. GA – very nice mate 🙂 I’ve had a very subtle hint thrown my way that my dad may give me his Tanglewood for xmas… Not sure of the model but it’s a £400 + beauty. I was there when he bought it and was hoping this day would come! Good times. Gutted you have to wait til xmas though, don’t think i could cope!

    Fab post too OOU, glad you put the Quantum Leap disclaimer in there though, ziggy wouldn’t have been happy.

  23. lol George, nice bit of rotation coming up for sure. We’ve got the players at our disposal now, so no qualms there… Can’t wait for the match!

  24. Just started to learn this:

    Lovely tune.

  25. Geo – Can’t see that vid at work mate. Will check when I go home. My acoustic is a Tanglewood and it really is a superb guitar, yuo won’t go wrong if your Dad gives you that. I must admit I have neglected my acoustic playing since I started playing guitar. I just love electric if I am honest. No better feeling than plugging into you amp, turning it right up and chucking our “The rumble” by Link Wrey.

  26. Ah fair enough GA, I’ve never played around with an electric, still learning and thought it best to learn on the acoustic as it’s harder on the fingers, and need to toughen them up! Yeah his geetar is particularly sweet, and one of the nicest i’ve played. Can’t wait..!

    That’s a blues tune I heard on ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’ (not Man of Constant Sorrow). You might not be into that kind of thing, but the guitar licks are real nice.

  27. Yes OOU! Outstanding read. Was gutted when it finished, off for a re-read me thinks.

    Particulairly enjoyed Diabys exclusions from the 1993 side! 🙂

  28. Very good OOU.

    Ziggy says there’s a 99% chance we’ll see Djourou at right-back tomorrow. Rest of the team picks itself.

  29. Geo – I love the Blues. You are right of course, starting with an acoustic is the way to go as it is “harder” to play than an electric (specially on the fnigers as you say). I suppose it all despends on what you want to play really.

    I listen to a lot of Desert Rock music so electric is what is needed for me. I like to practice stuff like Queens of the Stone age and Led Zep. That said, one day hopefully I will be good enough to play slide and therefore, some proper Blues. “Death Letter” by Son House would be my ultimate.

  30. I’ve always appreciated Blues, but didn’t realise how much I’d grown to love the style until recently. Learning guitar really opens people up to other styles i think. Would love to get into slide too, but feel i need to learn other techniques before tackling that area.. As you say, that’s where the proper blues is at. Will check out ‘Death Letter’ later.

  31. Death Letter is a great song (White Stripes did a decent cover of it too). “Smokestack Lightning” by Howlin Wolf is another amazing song. I reckon if a song has slide guitar and a Harmonica in it, it cannot fail to be a good song.

    For a modern take on that theory check out a song called “Superfrown” by Fatso Jetson. Great song.

  32. I like love the sound of the electric harmonica – can’t work it out if that’s what’s on this one, but either way this track has so much “oomph” for the 50s.

  33. OOU – What/who is it? Can’t see at work.

  34. Ah, GA, it’s Papa Lightfoot – Wine, Women, Whiskey – the guy actually sounds like he’s had a lifetime of smokes and whiskey.

  35. OOU – Sounds interesting. I will have a listen when I get home. Cheers 🙂

  36. No problem – I’m not ashamed to say I only started listening to the blues thanks to Jon Spencer and the White Stripes. Don’t think there was any other way to get into it at the time.

  37. Most of Jack’s White’s stuff is based on Blues. He is an excellent guitarist. In the song “Cannon” he manages he squeeze 2 blues covers (John the Revelator & Evil) into one song alone. That song is one of the first riffs I learnt on Electric.

  38. The White Stripes song “I fought Piranahs” is a brilliant blues song. If you have not heard it, make sure you do.

  39. Interesting thoughts from Wenger on football learning from rugby, a clearly more gentlemanly game than football.

    I’ve always wondered whether for some offences that were non violent e.g. denying a goal scoring opportunity, rather than be sent off, players are sin binned for 10 or 15 minutes. It would definitely make the game more interesting, punish the team and the player, but not go overboard in making players miss matches wen their crimes don’t warrant a heavy punishment.

  40. I’d love to see Chamakh get 30 minutes tomorrow. Park has had International travels so I think Chamakh may get the nod from the bench.

  41. Some interesting statistics from the BBC Sport website’s preview of tomorrow’s match:

    One goal for Robin van Persie would see him become only the
    fifth player in Premier League history to score 30 in a calendar year
    after Alan Shearer (twice), Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Les
    Ferdinand.
    The Gunners are unbeaten in all 24 Premier League games in which
    the Dutchman has opened the scoring.
    Arsenal are on a run of four straight Premier League wins – the
    first time they have achieved that since Feb-March 2010.
    They have failed to win the last four games in which referee
    Phil Dowd has officiated – including last season’s 4-4 draw with
    Newcastle which saw them surrender a four-goal lead.
    Victory would be Arsene Wenger’s 200th away win with the Gunners
    in all competitions.

  42. Love Wenger’s idea of a ten minute sin bin.

  43. I wonder if Diaby will make the bench at the weekend?

  44. Dont think it was Wenger’s idea Kenyan/

  45. Andy he is still a few weeks away.

  46. We don’t want to rash him back do we?
    He might break down.

  47. PG, read it on arsenal.com so assumed it was Wenger. Still a bloody good idea!

  48. Interesting post OOU. Happy the international break is over. We need to recapture the momentum tomorrow. Agree with George regarding Santos. Can’t see him playing every game. Will be an interesting line up tomorrow. I hope we put the Kos at RB and play Per and TV in the middle.

  49. Diaby and Li’l Jack are best left to slowly slide into rhythm. We’ll need them most in the second half of the year.

    But I think it won’t harm the team if Henry is signed for a few technical appearances in Jan and Feb – I think it will give the team a great boost and he doesn’t have to play every game – just having him around will provide a good vibe in the squad.

  50. Diaby is surely around 6 weeks away from match fitness? – he needs to have a preseason basically. He may get the token run around against City etc but I cant see him being in serious contention untill the New Year. Here is hoping he wont have another set back as when the domestic cups/Champs League knockout get up and running, he will be a very useful squad player to have available.

  51. Darius, 100% agree re: Henry.

    The value he would bring off the pitch would make any token loan signing worth it.

  52. Nice try Luke.
    He will be a starter,squad player my arse.Pffft

  53. Agreed about Henry being around the place. It would be great for some of the younger players to train with him every day as well. Santos should be nice and fresh after the recent international break. I don’t see why he should not be able to play plenty of games back to back. Rotation has its part to play, but I have never been a fan of rotating your defenders. Continuity is keys with the defence.

  54. Darius 100% disagree re: Henry.
    He is so far past his sell by date it would do nothing but harm.

  55. Diaby was at the same fitness levels TV was at when he got his strain 3 weeks ago .So 2 to 3 weeks should be right.

  56. OOU – Sheer genius from someone that I now firmly believe should be committed. Keep it up mate!! God only knows what you have in store for us next week?! 🙂

    Billy’s Boots – Surely Ronaldo scored more than 30 goals in a calendar year?

  57. The stats relate to the premiership IG..

    Interesting stats btw Billy’s Boots. That bloody Dowd stat wont go away will it?

    I think having Henry around would be nothing but good. It’s not like he’ll be expected to win us games or even play to be honest (bar maybe a CC game or 2), but he can at least pass on some knowledge and advice to the less experienced players. He can give a few tips on winning, beating his man and finishing, that’s for sure.

  58. George, we need to be having legends. winners in around the club. The respect he would command, his professionalism, his experience means he would be the perfect figure to pass on pearls of wisdom, moments of leadership to this learning side. Plus, he is still a better striker than everyone at the club bar RVP. Do you not think Park would develop having our greatest ever goalscorer in training? Will Theo not become more accomplished? Have a think before you eagerly disagree with everything I say.

    The Diaby chat is just hilarious now. You strut around shouting he is a guarenteed starter like your god as told you himself. Untill he is fit, stays fit, and holds down a first team place, he will always – as he has been bar one season 3 years ago – a squad player.

    Wilshere has just come off crutches correct? I bet you £20 that Wilshere starts 5 games on the bounce before Diaby this season. I will happily send a cheque to Yogi, or figure a way how to pay it

  59. Thanks for the song suggestions guys, will check em all out after work…

    This Thursday tune day suggested by Jonny should happen. Let’s make it. For those who don’t like us talking music/films/politics etc, you only have to skip our comments (if you don’t already!).

    You don’t mind do ya Yogi?!

  60. Darius – I can’t believe AW would consider bringing back TH as anything other than an inspiration on the training pitch. At the moment TH is untouchable and he should keep it that way. I know it has only been a couple of years since he left but even teams like QPR and Swansea would show him up as having lost that extra yard. The MLS is improving year after year but it is still a halfway house for players such as TH before they officially retire. It would also be very unfair on the likes of Park Who has been very patient in waiting for his chance, especially now that AW says he is ready.

  61. Geo – That’s fair enough then, I must have read it wrong 🙂

  62. I agree 100% with Luke. Even about the Diaby thing, i hate to say… Now, he must prove that he can last a few games on the trot before we even considering him being an automatic starter. Shame, as I love Diaby when in full flow. No other player quite like him.

  63. Shotta, those are rather serious allegations – I do not know to which post you are referring of JonJons – what did he actually write?

  64. Henry wouldnt be signed to be a matchwinner in Cat A games, but to think he wouldnt and still doesnt posses the ability to outfox defences from newly promoted, lower league teams is just hugely insulting on the mans talent. He wasnt just a pace merchant.

    Campbell had a profound impact on his return, stories of Lehman injecting some passion into the side were great to hear, Vieria had a massive impact at City in a cameo role – how much do you think Cleverly benefits at United with Scholes on the training ground every day? Same with Owen/hernandez? Look at the playing role Giggs has now. Limited. But presence and impact will still be huge.

    If Park couldnt learn, listen and develop with the assistance of one of the moderns games finest ever players, then it is he with the issue.

    Henry is a huge asset to bring on board.

  65. Henry training with the squad ,yes.Plating on loan?No way.
    Well we will see if Arsene agrees with me or you lot soon enough.
    Luke if we sign Titi on loan I will send you a cheque.

    “Now, he must prove that he can last a few games on the trot before we even considering him being an automatic starter.”

    Yes Geo that is true.But I am saying that if he does prove his fitness he is a shoe in.He always has been when fit.He will be again.And at the expense of anyone bar Song.IMO of course.

  66. George, will you take my bet?

  67. Blah blah blah.Henry,Paddy,Martin,Tony.blah blah blah.

    Lets see what Le Boss does.

  68. No.
    Only because Diaby will be rotated and will not be used ever 5 games in a row.Fit or not if there is a fullish squad.Dont think Jack will either for that matter.

  69. PG – I hope we get to see where he stands after coming back to full fitness. I am fairly certain that Song and Wilshere would be on the team sheet before him, but Arteta and Rambo might struggle to get in the team ahead of an in-form Diaby. But we haven’t seen an in-form (fully fit) Diaby in so long, that we haven’t been able to compare him to post-shawcrossed Ramsey. Or Arteta in our slightly new system. That’s why it’s so much more uncertain these days. Diaby storming through the midfield seems like a distant memory now!

    I do hope Wenger agrees with you, and that we get to see him playing at a higher level than Rambo/Arteta are playing now*… That would make our midfield very very strong indeed.

    *Not slating Rambo or Arteta btw, but saying that if they can be improved upon without needing to buy, that shows our excellent midfield strength*

  70. A fully fit Diaby would be out of our price range

  71. George, stop slipping out of it. Even you dont have any faith that Diaby can stay fit for 5 games. If he is an absolute guareented starter (your words), then surely he would start consistently no? Or is he not physically capable or is he not good enough?

    Ok, heres another bet. When Wilshere returns from injury – determined by the first game he starts, I bet he starts the following 5 games.

    Exceptions:

    – Unforeseen impact injury renders the bet void (reoccurence etc doesnt)
    – Carling / FA Cup games where reserves are played

  72. PG – “A fully fit Diaby would be out of our price range

    Just as well we have the broken model then eh? 😉

  73. A fully fit Diaby would be out of our price range

    ———–

    Hilarious mate, you have dug yourself such a hole in this obsessive support for him that you sprout gems like the above.

    Unless you mean his wages, in which case, I 100% agree with you.

  74. also, I wont take the Titi bet mate, because I dont think it will happen, I just wish it did.

  75. I believe a fully consistant Arshavin would be out of our price range as well.

    Or, if Song scored 15+ goals a season, he would be out of our price range as well.

    Or, if Szchezny only let in no more than 20 goals per season. Out of our price range.

    etc, etc

  76. hopefully, RvP scoring 30 goals in a calendar year will still be within our price range…

  77. Luke its not a bet offer I will just give you the money.That’s how fanciful you idea is.

    And Jack is now libel to be behind Arteta so I cant see how you have him starting every game.

    Diaby is not one of my favorite players ,by the way.I just think he is “that” good.I think Arsene and Laurent Blanc do also.
    Still.what do they fucking know,egh?

  78. Off home.

    Laters.

  79. Andy .don’t be even more of a dick than you already are.

    You were saying the same about RVP last year

  80. Shotta

    I’ve looked at JJ’s post and you’ve utterly misinterpreted the point made, along with the manner in which the point was conveyed. No chance that this was clouded by your personal view of JJ…

    YW

  81. “goonerandy | November 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm
    I believe a fully consistant Arshavin would be out of our price range as well.

    Or, if Song scored 15+ goals a season, he would be out of our price range as well.

    Or, if Szchezny only let in no more than 20 goals per season. Out of our price range.

    etc, etc”

    Just like Cesc is out of our price range now.What is your point?
    One only has to stay fit .The others have to become a lot better as players.
    Or don’t you see the difference?

  82. Bloody hell Yogi .That is a bit “Big Brotherish”.

  83. Does anyone know how long Joel Campbell needs to be loaned out for before being eligible?

  84. Read the Post with a mounting sense of excitement. These were important facts and it was written so well I just wanted to know more, especially the reasons why they were hidden for so long.

    Then I read the comments and it seems that maybe you were not being totally serious. Please say you were!

    And I do not want to know that Santa is not real either — I just would not – could not believe that!!

    Well done buddy, really enjoyable — both the Post and the comments. 🙂

  85. And Jack is now libel to be behind Arteta so I cant see how you have him starting every game.

    ———-

    Yet you see Diaby as a guareented starter because Le Boss has persisted with him for many a year.

    Wilshere, nailed on starter IMO. If you dont think so, and your so sure Im wrong, take the bet, its free money.

  86. YW – To what post is Shotta referring? I have never known JonJon to spout anything like Shotta described. At worst he has stated opinions that we/I disagree with but who hasnt? Not even Pulis could defend such allegations.

  87. Jon Jon is a chap.

    Honest, passionate, knows his football. Would never be provocative like he was accused.

  88. Ok ,No problem.
    So when he starts his first game he must start the next 4?Is that right Bar CC or dead rubbers?

  89. I think you 2 should meet somewhere between Blackburn and wherever Luke lives and settle this once and for all with a best of 3 round of thumb wars. Winner takes all.

  90. And isn’t on the recieving end of some impact injury.

    Done.

  91. I’d much rather rock paper scissors. I’m the bollocks at RPS.

    George, you going to the Fulham game?

  92. Cheap Shotta.

  93. Luke .I wish I could go to any home game.
    I only get to the the games in the North West when I get Away tickets from my Arsenal pals.

  94. In other news, there is a great Test match happening – cracking Australian collapse, from 169-0 to 296 all out, Tahir took two excellent googly wickets.

  95. Geo.Strange as it might seem .I like Luke .Turns out I was wrong about him in the first place.
    Which goes to show.

  96. George at 2:33 “Henry training with the squad ,yes. Playing on loan? No way.”

    Agree with George 100% on that.

    As for the other arguments. Diaby and Jack will rotate with Ramsey when they come back. On recent form the Arteta and Song partership should not be broken up save for injury/exhaustion.

    Lots of music talk today. My favourite song of all time is… Alex!

  97. Markus
    “As for the other arguments. Diaby and Jack will rotate with Ramsey when they come back. On recent form the Arteta and Song partership should not be broken up save for injury/exhaustion.”
    I agree.I just think Daiby will edge it in the big games.

  98. Fair enough George, from your constant arguments it seems like there isn’t much love for each other… So it’s healthy debate, rather than dislike then? That’s cool, I’ll stay out of it…! All i wanted was a good old thumb war. Oh well.

    Markus, who do you think would be automatic starters if all were fit and there was no rotation going on/necessary? Very tricky decisions indeed.

    But i suppose there doesn’t even need to be a decision. Rather than looking at it in a tiered system, the boss probably looks at it with a vague preference, but with the view to changing it depending on the opposition. Now our squad can accommodate this, for the first time in a while..

  99. true dat george, true dat. we all love the fecking boys, so by default we are pratically brothers.

    enjoy your weekends lads – looking forward to another c/sheet and VP brace.

    3-0 to the good guys.

    peace

  100. Luke – are you going for the Fulham game and the drink up?

  101. Off too, have a good one all..

    Up the Arse.

  102. BOOBS!!!!!!!!!

  103. If all our midfielders were fit, I think Wenger would rotate based on the opponent. My sense is that Song, Diaby and Li’l Jack will be a probable trio for the agricultural teams where more brawn needs mixing with a bit of finesse.

    But then again, who’s to say Arteta hasn’t got a nasty streak of “fuck you too” in him. He played for 2 managers in McLeash and Moyes who love their players to get stuck in.

  104. Don’t forget Rosicky, when it comes to seeing games out in the last 20 minutes or so he is a perfect sub to bring on.

    Later peeps:)

  105. As The Bloodhound Gang would say Hooray for Boobies.

    😀

  106. As Raymonds mother Marie would say, she didn’t breast feed Raymond and Robbie so that they don’t get addicted to titties.

  107. Koscienly and Mert look really friendly from the training pics on the site.
    Really happy to see Diaby back in training.

    i think tommorow line up would be
    Tech 9
    Kos Mert TV santos
    Song Arteta Ramsey
    3Gs RVP theo

    because they are all wearing white on the training pics

  108. Darius.I don’t remember Marie saying any such thing.

  109. oh jonny, here is the review of that album i was telling you to check out yesterday: http://drownedinsound.com/releases/16661/reviews/4144057

    i for one am looking forward to us actually having a fully fit midfield so that we can get definitive answers to all of these hypothetical debates…has been so long since one person could say player a is better than player b, or would be starting more games, and could then be proved right or wrong. all these ‘what ifs’ just highlight how much great football we have missed out on.

  110. I would hate to have to pick our midfield if everyone is fit, but yes I was going to say it depends on the opposition and how much possession we’re likely to have. It’s also who is on form and looking sharp in training I suppose.

    The only other midfielder I think we have who can play in the roles that Arteta and Song are playing right now is Rosicky. All our midfielders have an attacking tendency but those three seem to have that extra bit of maturity and understanding in when to do it and when not to. Which is why I think Wilshere, Ramsey and Diaby will be given a little extra freedom going forward.

  111. Thanks Jabber – will definitely check it out. :0)

  112. George, of course Marie confessed to Raymond and Robbie and forced Deborah to contemplate getting a boob job.

    Speaking of naughty thoughts, Szczesney seems to have got himself in a spot of bother and has had his mobile number unmasked on Twitter. Maybe someone should pull him aside and remind him that he’s too high profile to try get into a girls panties by posting her his number on Twitter.

  113. Jeff, I like that, I like it a lot…

  114. Darius or Yogi:

    If either of you have any influence would you please see if we can get Ole and Maria back and may be even Poliziano, especially Ole. Although I have never shared Limpar’s taste in music I miss him too.

    A brief moment of silence from everyone would be appropriate today. I think poor Shotta has finally lost it. Fighting doomers and other mythical beasts all day takes its toll I guess. Poor guy.

  115. I’d love to see Ramsey drop deep behind Pers and Dave, after we run away with the league, that is. And I’d agree with George’s valuation of a fully fit Diaby.

  116. “Dale Roberts ‘hanged himself after fiancee’s affair with John Terry’s brother”

    Lordy Lord – a drug dealing father, a shop lifting mother, a dodgy brother – what next from the funny farm?

  117. Darius:

    I thought you Brits loved that sort of stuff. Your tabloids must be flying off the news kiosks.

  118. Bill the gutter press toxic gossip sewerage is one of the few things I despise about this nation. There are plenty of right minded Brits who feel the same.

  119. Jonny:

    Just poking fun. I don’t think our tabloid industry is quite as well developed as yours but we still get plenty of sewage. I was casting stones from the middle of my glass house.

  120. Ha! No prob Bill – it’s the unpleasantness of the industry that gets me riled – not your comment!

  121. Are you in the US Bill?

    I am slowly getting a handle on the geographic breakdown of the ACLF.

    We should have a show and tell I think!

  122. Yogi’s Warrior | November 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm:
    Y.W. – the nonsense written by certain posters on a daily basis are trivial when compared by the following piece of vitriol by j-j on November 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm:

    “i cant stand the spanish team..reminds me of barcelona..
    full of tippy tappy diving girls with greasy hair and feminine tattoos..
    if i like watching anyone its the dutch..they the team i like to see do well..

    “im not too fond of the english national team either but only cos ive had to sit and pretend i support terry, rio, gerrard, rooney etc for the passed god knows how long..

    “well done england last night..those spanish ponces got contained..had to tippy tappy about like virgin teenagers, fumbling about trying to take their first girlfriends bra off trying to find a way through and then got beat by a set piece.”

    It is indefensible. Could I recommend this piece of prose to my adult daughters who know of my love for Arsenal FC? Apart from the sexism, the homophobia and chauvinism are barely hidden. But then too many on this blog are caught up in seeing the mote in the eye of their brother and not the beam blinding their own vile prejudices and intolerance.

  123. Jonny:

    Yes. More and more Yanks follow English football. Starting to get coverage in the mainstream sports media as the TV coverage has expanded in the last few years.

  124. Jonny. I will show you my package and tell you funny story how does that sound???

    here is some more music for yall. kicking it back to the 90’s with some grunge.

  125. You really need to get a life Shotta,

    I am also really enjoying the music chat, very interesting to see other peoples tastes. I did 3 years at Uni studding Jazz guitar and piano, played in a couple bands back in the 90s , but my passion is def blues. I got a old fender telecaster that I love to plug in and thrash on every now and then. Mainly Led Zep and pink floyd, just finished learning the guitar solo for Hotel California, what a fun little piece to play once you master it.
    Yea Bill what part of the US are you in Mate?

  126. Wow William fell on black days, I used to love that track, thanx for reminding me it exists.

  127. Shotta – for me, the only bit of that post that is remotely indefensible is the us of the word ponce but I do not agree with the assertion that this in itself means that JonJon is homophobic.

    Perhaps you are one of the rarest of people who has never used phrases like ‘get up ya big girl’. I most certainly am not able to claim as such, but then neither am I remotely sexist.

    We do have a duty of care with what words we use – but JonJon has admitted he is emotional and passionate – I regret the severity with which you have approached this and that he has yet to have his say.

  128. GunerJones @ 7:05:

    Fort Worth Texas. How about you?

  129. South Florida Bill, North Lauderdale, but we have a house in Houston Texas that we go to for at least a few days every month. Im personally not a fan of Houston but I love Austin. Now that place has a great live music scene. So Im guessing you a cowboys fan. Or perhaps the Texans then ?

  130. I am not really an American football fan and don’t follow it closely. Only so much time in the day and I choose to ignore it as much as possible around here. I did grow up a Dallas Cowboy hater and i must admit I enjoy seeing my local mates going crazy whenever the Cowboys lose. The media over-reaction about everything cowboys and Tony Romo bashing is priceless.

  131. PG – Ease up mate, I was only having a laugh. Sorry if you thought I was having a dig, maybe I should have used a smiley 🙂

    Shotta – Stop being such a drama queen (again).

  132. Yea I hear you Bill, I have been here nearly 10 years and still cant find even a ounce of appreciation for American football, it just seems to be a very much dumbed down version of rugby. Ill never get it.

  133. Anytime Gunnerjones. I’m fairly certain that I was offensive towards you on here before. I send my apologies.

    American football is pretty effin boring. I rarely watch except for my hometown team (Bear down muther truckers).

    I usually get aggravated watching US sports because I realize that these uber athletes could do really well on a football pitch. Shame that our culture has nicknamed football (proper football) players “grass fairies.”

  134. Water off a ducks back mate,, I can take the offense. They should have called it chuck Ball, not foot ball, only one person gets to use their feet and thats the kicker.
    Any way each to their own.

  135. I lived in Tampa for 6 months. Great place.

  136. Fuck off Bill. Shotta may have went a bit overboard but to say he’s lost it is fucking nonsense. And these mythical beasts. If I remember correctly I believe you made a living fighting and terrorizing mythical beasts in the Armed Forces so I guess you’d know all about that sort of stuff.

  137. …always “looming” aren’t you!!! :}

  138. @ Irishgray on November 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Yes, I think Ronaldo had one prolific season, but it may be a statistical oddity that he didn’t reach the 30 mark in a calendar year.

    @ Geo on November 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Too right. The other stats are pretty encouraging. That one leaves me with a bad feeling.

  139. You know it, William.

    Nice to see the music chats are making a come back. It’s about time for those best of 2011 lists folks so Im expecting at least a top ten from the music fans in the next few weeks. I’ve pretty much got mine but I’ll save it for next Thursday.

  140. @ Irishgray on November 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Yes, I think Ronaldo had one prolific season, but it may be a statistical oddity that he didn’t reach the 30 mark in a calendar year.

    @ Geo on November Geo on November 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Too right. The other stats are pretty encouraging. That one leaves me with a bad feeling.

  141. Sorry for the double-post. Tunnels!

  142. It says a lot when the usual suspects cry over-reaction to my characterization of j-j’s post as sexist, chauvinistic and arguably homophobic. But then didn’t Blatter say we can deal with racism on the field by having a handshake after a game. Much like we can have a handshake with j-j for characterizing Spain and Barcelona’s footballers as
    “full of tippy tappy diving girls with greasy hair and feminine tattoos..”
    OR
    “those spanish ponces got contained..had to tippy tappy about like virgin teenagers, fumbling about trying to take their first girlfriends bra off trying to find a way through and then got beat by a set piece.”

  143. Shotta

    There was nothing that you implied in the post. You have little understanding of the local usage of those terms and even less tolerance of others.

    YW

  144. I have always said, in years to come Wenger will be appreciated by many including the idiots who demand instant success regardless of the financial situation. City today anounced a loss of 195 million in one year (Shocking) a record loss in the history of English football, it is more likely to triple by the time the Fifa fair play rule is implemented poroperly, if ever. I don’t care how rich you are, no one would want to lose 200 million every year. The spending spree will end one day and that when Arsenal have the last laugh.

    Someone thinks so anyway. It makes sense.
    http://sport.uk.msn.com/football/arsenal-will-be-the-top-team-in-the-premier-league

  145. Yogi great reading these past few days – helped me cope with the Interlull.

    Been a voyeur on the site for the past few months without feeling the need to comment, but, without knowing the history between certain subscribers on here I find it rather perplexing that almost all seem to be jumping all over Shotta for what I feel are perfectly reasonable comments. If JJ really did write those things I can see how someone could take offense…mind you on another blog it was I who was playing the devil’s advocate so maybe I amjust being overly empathetic…

    Love the banter between Geo, GunnerAndy & George: Funny and a little piss-taking but that’s what I miss not being able to go to live games now that I am living in Jamaica (for you Jonny)..anyhoo keep up the good work..

    Up the Arse…

    P.S. Yogi how about a “like” button?

  146. Wenger on Cahill

    “Cahill is good enough to play Champions League, but he is not someone I would be interested in,” said Wenger.

    “I have got five central defenders – [Laurent] Koscielny, [Sebastien] Squillaci, Mertesacker, [Thomas] Vermaelen and [Johan] Djourou. Of this five, four are international players.

    “We were in the market in the summer, but at that time they [Bolton] were greedy.”

    The last line made me laugh.

  147. Dups,he is a very funny man

  148. Yo Irishgray! Am I going to see you at the Blind Pig for the Norwich game? Looking forward to it. COYG!!! No international break hangovers, please!

  149. LSG – I will be there mate. I might have a slight hangover as I just got in from a party 🙂 but hey, the best cure for a hangover is more beer right? Or is the entirety of Irish history wrong on that fact? Pffft! Fuck it! Only one way to find out, see you at The Blind Pig!!

  150. in the mood for some canary fahitas. come on ARSENAL..!!!!

  151. Local usage, Yogi? Seriously?

    Sounds to me like Suarez defending himself by saying ‘negrito’ is a term of endearment in Uruguay.

  152. Slim

    Wind-up merchants are normally tolerated. You won’t be – posting under multiple IDs is not being tolerated.

    YW

  153. Uhn?! Wind-up merchant?! Multiple I’d, Yogi?! I am a regular reader not a regular poster. Can only ever remember using a different ID apart from Slim, but even then it was in reference to the body of my post.

    Stop fighting dirty, Yogi. 😉

  154. Slim, I’m a bit omnipotent. I can see everything from this side of the blog. Don’t have to be a regular poster to be found out. In fact, they are often easier to spot. Matter over. Stay Slim, stay healthy on this blog at least.

  155. I dunno about sexism, but JJ’s remarks are plain silly for a friendly. Spain was toying with England, made 8 changes, had a little laugh, a run about. England used the chance to put a few newbies out and everyone used the chance not to get a stupid injury. It was a little exhibition match, that’s all. Let’s face it, anyone who doesn’t think Spain and Barcelona are exceptional, and arguably by now “historic” football sides are at odds with the facts. Some dislike them for various “Arsenal” reasons, but that’s another thing altogether.

    Nor are spain noticeably physically weak; although shorter and slimmer than their english counterparts, they are just smarter on the ball.

  156. Today’s post is here:

    http://wp.me/p1aPg-1WQ

    And is not the opportunity to continue with yesterday’s discussions.

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