A Night To Forget Very Quickly

Olimpiacos 3 – 1 Arsenal

1 – 0 Djebbour (16)
2 – 0 Fuster (36)
2 – 1 Benayoun (59)
3 – 1 Modesto (89)

In a land of myths and legends where giants support the world on their shoulders and mortals perform Herculean tasks, Arsenal crumbled like the vanquished foes of a forgotten generation. The result became irrelevant with events elsewhere, the wider implications of injuries may not be known for some time yet. Or Everton’s visit at the weekend, whichever is soonest.

Arsenal return to these shores with that which was deserved. There can be no complaints that the Greek side won and from the manager, there were none, as sure a sign as any that his team underperformed on the evening. His stinging rebuke summed it all up,

I am annoyed because we lost the game. It’s difficult to single out (individuals) – I feel offensively and defensively we were not convincing tonight. We lost many challenges.
You could feel there was more at stake for Olympiacos than us. I think that made us insecure defensively. We lost many balls in position where we are not used to

Few emerge with credit, many with diminished reputations, tarnished through poor performances. It was a night where the defence contributed significantly to the team’s downfall. Arsenal may not have been entirely a team of strangers but they certainly played like one.

Early chances were traded between the two sides, Modesto for Olimpiacos might have done better inside the opening minute whilst Arshavin should have done better soon after. Arsenal were not cowed by the attacking verve of their hosts as Frimpong came closest, pinging the ball into the side-netting.

The opening goal came as little surprise and the source of the defensive mix-up even less so. Djourou and Squillaci performed A Gentleman’s Excuse Me allowing a seemingly harmless pass to reach Djebbour who showed what happens when you give an in-form striker a clear chance. It also highlighted how low the French defender’s confidence is. Squillaci does not lack ability but his time in England has just been hapless; his confidence – or the utter absence of it – means that an Alumia- esque injury may be on the cards.

The jitters in the Arsenal defence were not in just one man, Fabianski’s torrid twenty minutes or so was a horrible return to the form that saw derision heaped on him. The contrast between his confidence and that of Szczesny was marked. His evening was summed up in two incidents. The first, shortly after the goal, saw a poor clearance returned with interest that had the Pole scurrying toward the goal, relieved as the ball drifted past the post.

The second saw his evening curtailed through injury, a cut knee that may keep him out of the team for some time according to the manager. His replacement, Vito Mannone, endured an evening that he will want to forget.

Despite the slapstick at the back, Arsenal could have drawn level. Oxlade-Chamberlain presented Benayoun with a tricky volley that the Israeli slashed wide.

It was a temporary respite. Mannone revived the ghost of Harold Lloyd with his contribution to the Greeks second. Nerves or lack of match practice? A combination of both? Who knows, I doubt the Italian could even explain it. Vito made a hash of a headed clearance, Fuster sent the ball goalwards. Inexplicably Mannone tried to hack the ball clear, unaware of his position in the area or just utterly befuddled, watching helplessly as he got that wrong and the ball lolloped into the net.

Two down and seemingly little chance of retrieving the situation. Arsenal were being hassled and pressured onto the back foot and sinking into a defensive quagmire of their own making. That the deficit was not greater owes more to Djebbour’s wayward header than any heroic defending.

The second half showed no early improvement. Mannone saved from Modesto whilst the resultant corner was met by Mellberg, the crossbar’s intervention aiding the reeling visitors. Santos’ injury allowed Miquel to earn some more experience on European fields, with the possibility of more this weekend at The Emirates.

Modesto and Mirallas continued to wreak havoc with Arsenal’s backline, the sidenetting saving Arsenal twice with Mannone and Squillaci utterly baffled by each other, instilling no confidence in either.

And then, against all of the odds, a lifeline for Arsenal. Chamakh set Benayoun with a chance, greedily rifled into the far corner of the net. Could Arsenal retrieve a two-goal deficit? The evidence of the night suggested otherwise but insecurities were apparent in the hosts. Rosicky and Benayoun conspired to create a half-chance but that was as good as the revival got.

At the other end, Vermaelen’s hand diverted the ball. Some referee’s may have been swayed by the evening, thankfully this one wasn’t. In the end that contention did not matter as with a minute left Mellberg struck the post and Modesto sealed the win with the rebound.

Arsenal’s European adventure is now on the backburner with domestic matters to the fore until Spring beckons from Winter’s gloom. We await the next round with greedy anticipation.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 7, 2011, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 372 Comments.

  1. I believe you’ve both answered your own questions.

  2. Yes, with a performance like that, it’s hard to believe, but we are first. Thank goodness that we had already qualified.

  3. How annoying were the performances from Arshavin and Chamakh last night eh Yogi? Can you please explain the lack of effort on their parts? Because i cant. Both are players who you would expect to be up for it to have a shot at a starting position, but both were shocking…

  4. Deise,

    At least they are consistent. And no, I can’t explain it. Nor I suspect can the manager.

  5. Even worse a performance than the match against ManU, where we at least kept up for a good sixty minutes and created as many chances as they did. Bar maybe Miquel (and Rosicky, to a lesser extent) all the players on the pitch should be ashamed of themselves. Of course, it’s a dead rubber game but you could at least turn up. Vermaelen had the worst match of his Arsenal career, spreading insecurity with every touch, putting the rest of the backline under unnecessary pressure, for example when he passed a ball short to Fabianski with a striker lurking at the edge of the box, forcing the latter to make a hurried clearance. Our midfield of Coquelin and Frimpong never really got going and I find it bemusing that the same midfield trio that dominated the likes of De Jong and Hargreaves failed to deal with Fuster and company. Benny, who always managed to impress in his cameos with his work ethic just seems to be lacking the spark you would expect from a play maker — maybe starting Rosicky would’ve been the better choice. Arshavin and Ox both had a night to forget while Chamakh did manage to create two chances in the first half and assisted our goal but compared to him even Heskey looks like a goal-scoring machine.
    All in all no one will have done themselves a favour and we are quickly approaching the territory where we found ourselves in last year, where we have a good enough first XI but the fringe players just do not inspire confidence, forcing the manager to overplay our best players.

  6. The result? Meh, whatever. But it was the (lack of) performance by the senior backups which was most disappointing. I would exclude Yossi from that, who was eager and willing all night, if largely starved of supply. But it was depressing to see Arshavin’s shoulders drop so quickly (why is he so reluctant to apply his considerable talent?) and Djourou’s lackadaisical approach to both positioning and passing (will he ever learn? I suspect not). Squillaci was horribly rusty, but let’s not forget he was good against City. And poor Chamakh tries his heart out, but it is like watching … I don’t know, something very depressing and utterly without hope.

    Flappy and Vito? Well, we already knew they weren’t long-term solutions. Flappy is never going to be more than a backup, and while we shouldn’t over-play Vito’s blunder, I remain utterly unconvinced by him. (And, yes, I have not forgotten his one good performance against Fulham. Even so, I think he lacks mobility and calmness at crucial moments.)

    It was a good experience for our three young midlfielders, against decent (though not great) opposition away from the comfortable atmosphere of the Emirates. It was a good illustration of the gap they need to bridge if they want to play more games like this on a regular basis – and what can happen when good senior pros don’t give 100%.

    Beat Everton on Saturday – no foregone conclusion – and all will be forgotten. But I hope Wenger has taken note about where he needs to strengthen the squad in January.


  7. IMO, Miquel has done enough to earn a start at left-back on Saturday if Santos doesn’t make it. Other than that, no-one put in an outstanding perofrmance last night, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Benayoun did OK in parts, nice goal from Benny, the rest of the team generally played poorly. Fair play to Olympiacos, they played with energy and passion, it must have been gutting for them when the news from the other game came through.

  8. I recorded the match as I was out and watched it late last night using the ff button. I basically ff’d until we had possession. The whole match took about ten minutes. Nuff said.

  9. We need to Put the result last night in perspective. My thoughts are:
    1. We put out a B team, we got a ‘B’ result.
    2.The Greeks needed that result and then went all out for it. Our boys played like there was nothing at stake ( and there was non really save our pride).
    3. Was this a reflection of the fact that we don’t have much strength in depth ? I don’t know.
    4. Too much attrition for a meaningless game; Santos out for how long? Fabianski also injured.
    5. What the heck is wrong with Arshavin?? Afterall he was played in his preferred role.

  10. Do we hype our playrs up too much?I think so

    Last night we saw 6 players not fit to wear the shirt.Flappy Mannone Squillaci Djourou Chamakh and Arshavin

    The two keepers along with Almunia could bring out their own goalkeeping cock ups DVD

    Djourou was shocking he was beaten so many times i thought he was marking Messi.Squillaci why Arsene why.An oak tree defends better than him and is quicker

    And then the two laziest players ever in our history Arshavin and Chamakh.Arshavin should have been fired for his lack of effort a long time ago and the reason why Chamakh cant do anything is he spends 3 hours before the game sorting out his hair.He has to be the worst centre forward since Lee Chapman

    Last summer we got rid of the deadwood but there is still a lot left

    And finally well done Wenger for playing our only fit LB!!!!!!

  11. I spent yesterday telling marseille supporters the team that outplayed City in Carling cup would do the job in Greece. That’s embarassing. Not as embarassing as our only proper fullback injured though.

  12. Gosh, looking through some comments today and last night people are very quick to whip out the rope and razor blades at the least provocation aren’t they?
    Calm down folks, we were out muscled and out played by the hungrier team. It happens, deal with it.

  13. Oh and stop with the pathetic childish name calling of our own players will you? This is an Arsenal supporters blog not a Spurs one.

  14. For me the most disappointing aspect of last night was losing our only established first team left back. While I understand the Vermonator probably needs match time, I still couldn’t understand why he started such a meaningless match and risk injury (God help us if he does get injured). As for playing Santos IMO that was plain stupid.

  15. Let’s look forward to the positives: Everton on the weekend. I guess we will see a back 4 of Djourou, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Vermaelen which will probably be the tallest back 4 in the history of Arsenal FC.
    I just hope that Santos is not going to be out for too long. Having him back against City would be crucial.

  16. frimpong and coq need matches like this, they still have a lot to learn, they were playing like strangers, not moving a lot to create space and make themselves available for a pass, they were harried by the quick tempo of the Greeks, hence their snap passes to the attacking ended up getting intercepted most times. A good lesson i say.

  17. Flappy the clown

    Yes Arshavin was poor yes he was lazy.But he has been for 2 years.You dont have to be Einstein to know that

    The queston that needs to be asked is why Wenger puts up with his non trying attitude.My heart sinks when i see him on the bench instead of the Ox.We can have a go at AA23 as much as we like but the managers keeps picking him

  18. I didn’t think Squilaci or Fabianski played too badly myself. I thought the first goal was one of those things which luckily fell just right for the striker, although the midfield and Arshavin (on losing the ball) could have done a little better.

    The sceond goal was pure comedy. Still makes me laugh just thinking about it. I feel for poor Vito but he won’t be making that mistake again!

    Personally, I thought DJ was out worst player last night. The boy needs to start attacking the ball like it’s a rabid dog on a child.

    Frimpong was pretty poor too. He needs to start looking around before receiving the ball, especially against teams who press as well as the Greeks did last night.

    Alex Ox improved in the 2nd, but in the first, he kept running himself into trouble. I appreciate he likes to take players on, but he needs to recognise when a pass would be the better option, but that’s something he’ll learn.

    Ashavin for me played better in the middle than he did out wide. If he hopes to provide Gervinho or Theo with competition, he needs to at least level the field and work on his defensive effort. I think he’s so shorn of confidence though, a loan spell would be good for him. Although I doubt it would happen for various reasons, I’d loan him to Sunderland to be with Bendy. They are the Ying to the others Yang and my memory suggests they work well with one another.

    I’m not sure if Chamakh’s style is suited to the way we play, but he tried. The kid’s got heart, but I’d prefer if he would refreain from drifting out to the left so much. In saying that, I think both Theo and Gervinho would take full advantage of that, so hoopefully AW will improve his rotation of players

  19. Ouch. That really hurt Yogi. But it is a factual report spiced with a few salty metaphors.

    Before we go overboard however, it is not only the usual suspects who failed to distinguish themselves but so did many of the current fan favorites. For example in my feed, Tony Gale, a master of cliched punditry, was singing the praises of Vermaelen as the best defender at Arsenal while he was just as shaky and nervy as Squillaci. The question is why did most of these very same players do so well against the Abhu Dhabi mercenaries of Oil City yet looked so poor against Olympiakos?

    The question answers itself. There is a lot of potential in the fringe players but not enough quality to perform on a consistent basis. The trick is for the manager to with the support of the fans to coax the best out of the squad as the campaign unfolds. Unfortunately this won’t be easy with the media waiting to sensationalize and destabilize whenever there is a wobble aided and abetted by many bloggers and immature, fickle supporters.

  20. steww

    Those poor mites have been starved of anything to moan about for the last couple of months. This is their time to be let out of the shadows and into the light. They’ll scurry off again soon enough.

    It is a warning though that the malcontents are still lurking below the surface lest anyone thought they had been expunged from the Arsenal world by recent wins.

  21. Very good point YW. You don’t see them at all after good performances. I wonder what their lives are like? Sad depressed, hollow, miserable creatures feeding on gloom and their own dank inability to grasp the meaning of perspective.

  22. Chamakh was worth every penny we paid for him.What we got him for free.As i said worth every penny.and he will take home more money this week than some of us will earn in 3 years.The scurge of modern football.Him and Arshavin should be docked their wages and give it to charity

  23. We played a b team with nothing to play for against the Greek champions who had to win to have any chance of progressing.Why the mass hysteria,this result was utterly predictable but we came top so who cares? AA and Chamak clearly want out whilst there were a few glimpses.Sat much more important.Be great to see both Manc teams out tonight!

  24. Why the hell was Santos playing? There were at least three people that I saw and myself on yesterday’s blog post saying it was far too risky to play our only recognised fit full-back in this match. We knew Olympiakos would be tough.

  25. I wonder if Big Al could do one of his literary spoofs on the Ebenezer supporter and his twisted misery. A Dickensian Friday would be festive and fun.

  26. we only have one keeper….. PERIOD!…

  27. Everybody wants to be a cat,
    because a cat’s the only cat
    who knows where it’s at.
    Everybody’s pickin’ up on that feline beat,
    ’cause everything else is obsolete.

    That song was really going through my head.

    What I find interesting is how the scapegoats d’jour are the ones in most peoples’ sights, especialy in light of how the entire team played.

    I thought the scurge of modern football was the mercenaries?

    My siddy-sense is tingling

  28. He could take them back to see the ghost of Arsenal past and maybe they’d learn to look up from their grovelling and snivelling and see how lucky they are.

  29. Now everybody should know why arsenal won f-all last season with FABIANSKI djeru sqillachi shamak it was an impssible task, get rid of them and get some proper back up then maybe winning something is back on the cards!!!!!!

  30. Who the fuck are all these doom posters? Your opinions are only valid when we lose. So, 9 times out of 10 you are talking complete shite. Or you are silent, as has joyously been the case up until today.

  31. Haven’t been able to see the game yet, sounds like I didn’t miss much… It’s a shame that the players didn’t put in the performances of players trying to play their way into the first team (from what I’ve heard). Also a shame that neither back up keeper showed Chezney why he needs to be at the top of his game.

    In reality, this means mot much more than a learning curve for our younger players. The comments from some of these supposed fans above show how little some people know about football. Many of the players who played last night are very, very good back up players. We can’t have a squad like Citeh’s, filled with players warming the bench that would be able to get into most teams – we just don’t have the money on offer to the bench warmers to soften that blow. So we have to make do with players that aren’t quite world class on the bench. Some may well become world class in years to come, and wont do so without experiencing these types of games.

    This is a blip on some players’ individual games, but it is nothing to get hysterical about. We are through, top of our group. We had the luxury of resting our best players, and now have a fresh team ready to face Everton.

    I do agree with those saying it was silly to risk Santos (and TV5). Hope he recovers soon.

  32. Markus, it seems a bit sadistic to me, to purport to be a supporter of a club, only to get enjoyment, or come out of the woodwork when their team loses. I’m surprised we haven’t seen AIC today. Maybe he is slightly more intelligent than the doomers that have commented today, and knows that this is no crisis… Or am i giving him too much credit?! More likely to be an IT issue at his end.

  33. What an embarrassing game to sit through, considering how well this team played during the curling cup exit it was quite atrocious last night to see nothing good from them.

    The defense reminded me so much of previous seasons, to say we were shambolic is an understatement. Vermaelen didn’t even look close to a world class player, thank God it wasn’t Koscielny or Mert playing or the criticism would have already hit an altogether high and people would be saying the only world class defender we have is him.

    We never stringed two passes together and when we tried Olympiakos were on our asses which led to more wayward passes and loss of possession. I am not even going to talk about Mannone because I couldn’t stop laughing like an idiot when that 2nd goal went in and it looked funnier on each replay. WTF was he thinking? He also got lucky with one other clearance which he parried away not 1metre away and our defense took forever to clear it out but thankfully Olympiakos didn’t get it in.

    Bill sometimes you say the damnest things “The one thing we have learned over the last 6 years is that young players are consistently inconsistent and good CC performances do not predict the future”
    How the fuck was that a young team? Only Chamberlain, Frimpers and Coqeilin were young and Miquel when he came on. These youngsters did a lot more than can be said of their senior counterparts.

    Johnny- Not to pick on you but that comment about Fabianski riled me up big time. Pretty sure even Chezzers would have looked bad behind that defense, not that the midfield or the attack were doing anything noteworthy come to think of it.

    Contrary to many beliefs I thought Benayoun was one of the senior players who put a shift in and obviously Rosicky was a delight when he came on.

    Anyway since it was a meaningless game no harm came of it (well except losing both Lukas and Santos to injury) but the whole team should bow their heads in shame for that showing. They should be thankful they didn’t get annihilated by Olympiakos because they looked worse than wigan on their worst of worst days.

    Long Rant over!!!

  34. To be honest, if people can’t even spell the names of the players properly, ignore them. I mean, who the fuck are “djeru”, “sqillachi” or “shamak”.

  35. Flint McCullough

    Well said Steww.

    A meaningless game in terms of result but a good harsh good lesson for the younger element, playing in a very hostile environment on what looked like a slightly dodgy pitch against reasonably good & highly motivated opponents.

    They pressed very high up the pitch not allowing even the ‘keepers time on the ball. Whilst our regular line up would have made this more difficult for them to achieve it paid off because our team didn’t have a natural balance to it & both our ‘keepers lacked composure on the night leading to a general nervousness.

    I seem to differ from many in thinking that Frimpong had a very good performance, lacking real support, whilst Chamack did reasonably well without much decent supply. Ox & Miquel did ok too.

    Arshavin looks totally lost now, his inabilty to keep to ball costs us dearly. It looks,I am afraid, that a move away would be best for him & us.

  36. Santos out for Everton. Most likely longer. The defense picks itself I suppose.

    Djourou – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Vermaelen

  37. Yoogi’s Worrier – sorry, is Chezney allowed? My posts normally get ignored anyway, so doesn’t really matter i suppose..!

  38. i am quite disappointed by the team last night. i mean, this was largely the same team that played city one week ago and did so well. i think arsene was disappointed as well by the manner of defeat. i really do think we were even better in that game against united than this. we ran around like headless chickens.

    i feel that miquel did well when he came on.i said after the city game that i won’t be afraid if he plays. seems like he might ahve to play on saturday. and thankfully he reaffirmed my confidence in him yesterday.

    i agree with Evil that Vermaelen’s had his worst match for arsenal. but i think he knows it and was trying to make up for it by making those forward runs, trying to get a goal. you can’t fault him for his effort.

    all in all, a night to forget. thankfully it was the only game of the season where the result absolutely does not matter. was in a very relaxed mode before the game. was disappointed after the game, but hey, it means nothing.

  39. I feel it’s the apparent lack of hunger and indifferent body language that singles out Arshavin and Chamakh for special condemnation. By and large, fans understand that players go through bad patches – where confidence is hard to come by – but you have to show that you care. Care about your personal performance, care about winning, care about the team, the club and the fans. Sadly, I haven’t seen much of that in either in those two players.

    One gets the feeling that they feel a bit hard done to and are of the kind who prefer a bit of a sulk and moan, and to let their heads drop, when things don’t go their way.

    Though derided in some quarters, the call from fans for a new striker in January is undoubtedly a credible one – we need some players to support Robin et al – I’m sad to say, I just cannot see these two as chipping in much for the cause when the going gets tough.

  40. Can’t get my head round the inclusion of Santos. Vermaelen I can understand, stick in our best CB and vice captian to keep the back line and team functioning, but Santos!!??!?

    Now we are moving around central defenders once again for the upcoming games. Back 4 options for Everton…

    1. Koscielny – – Mertsecker – – Djourou – – Vermaelen


    2. Koscielny – – Mertsecker – – Vermaelen – – Miguel

    I would take option 2.

  41. Vermaelen at left-back vs France.

  42. Markus, personally I’d go with Koscielny – Mertesacker – Vermaelen – Miquel.

  43. if it is between miquel at leftback and djourou at rightback for everton, i think i would prefer to go with miquel. keep kos on the right, ver and per in the middle

  44. Firstlady – I already apologised for it – why bring it up again?

    I totally see what you mean (the defence was awful) but so was Fab (as Yogi states in his article) and you do need strong leadership at the back. Anyway it was a poorly considered, stupid throwaway comment – mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    That said, I don’t think it even remotely excused the unpleasant responses it got from one poster and I think it’s sad you pointing me out today, whilst essentially excusing that. It’s not as though we need to encourage more of the same sad “aggressivity” is it?

    For the record I thought Frimpong, Oxlade & Miquel were of the few who came away with any real respect. Benayoun was good but only in patches. The less said about the rest the better.

  45. I tuned in last night to find out Arsenal had fielded Don Vito Mannone as a defender. How did Fabianski fail to spot what his defender Mannone was doing and grab the ball for the second goal. We can’t expect every defender to get the ball and the keeper is the last line, especially when we have an inexperienced defender like Mannone.

  46. One thing not being said enough is that Olympiakos played a decent game – that coupled with the atmosphere must have been a real test for the senses. They were hungrier, bigger and meaner than us. A good experience for some of the younger players – it should have taught them some useful lessons.

    One other minor point – the cheerleader for Olympiakos – does he have a bull-horn or is it coming over the tannoy – it shouldn’t be allowed regardless. Annoying nonsense.

  47. really glad he played that team cause for the umteenth time the usual suspects showed us all that there is a real lack of quality in the sqad, so i really hope the boss gets rid of either winter or summer. good performance by aoc again, he is set to be the new cesc in a midfield with jw and either frimpong or coqu ( sorry cant all be great spellers liek the author wsad man for the slag off ha ha) there is enough there to be positive for the coming seasons and i cant wait to get to the top again

  48. I think both Arshavin have always had that demeanor of indifference and projected image of lacking hunger, while Chamakh’s is more of an illusion.

    Chamakh has never really seemed to ostentatiously possess that (for want of a better word) snap, that drive, but I think this is merely camera trickery and me misinterpreting how he is. His running style and lack of pace don’t really make it seem he busting his arse on the pitch (misinterpretation) and I really didn’t realise how much off the ball movement he does until I went to the Udinese game and compare what I saw in person to what I saw on the TV (camera trickery). My sole criticism of Chamakh is that he’s not attacking the box enough for my personal liking. I appreciate he links up well, but I guess I’m used to the relentless goal machine that is RVP, and I want Chammy scoring more that creating!

    As for Arshavin, I truely think his projected image is more self dought and self-castigation more than not caring. In saying that, he is still guilty of not caring enough, afterall if your thought are diverted away, some aspects of the game will pass you by. If we don’t send him to Bendy, we should bring him Master Bergkamp. I’m sure there is more than a few things Little Andrei will learn from wise Dennis

  49. Yogi u just could resist, could you?:D
    “Squillaci does not lack ability but his time in England has just been hapless; his confidence – or the utter absence of it – means that an Alumia- esque injury may be on the cards.”

    Johnny I apologize for bringing it up today but in my defense I usually read late night comments the following day as I await the new post so I didnt see it when it was posted but when I read it this morning. Atleast you apologized so that counts for something.

    “That said, I don’t think it even remotely excused the unpleasant responses it got from one poster and I think it’s sad you pointing me out today, whilst essentially excusing that. It’s not as though we need to encourage more of the same sad “aggressivity” is it?”

    I didnt mention the above because am not into personal insults nor do I excuse them in any way. I never took sides with the person who insulted you.Note I am only defending a player who was poor but whose cause wasnt helped by the defense around him. I thought it unfair to lay the blame entirely on him!Anyway it is all water under the bridge now so lets all look forward to the everton game.

  50. Its refreshing to read posts from those that reflect patience and see past the moment.

    Miquel – will be a better defender than Vermaelen: technically and tactically. Same savvy type player as Song.

    The success of our play is centered around player chemistry. Too many adjustments in midfield and attack……and the result was so many errant passes.

    If you feel a need to find a scapegoat – start at the top.

  51. Yogi’s Warrior | December 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    That’s the defense I’d play too, Koscielny is a very solid RB and Miquel in the games he’s played at LB has done exceptionally well.

  52. I agree with the posters who would have Koscielny at right-back and Miquel at left-back on Saturday. Djourou has had a shocker almost every time he’s played at full-back, you need to be a bit more comfortable in possession and quicker of thought than he is in that position and he’s too easy to get in behind also. It’s not his fault, it’s not his position, but playing him there on Saturday would be asking for trouble.

  53. Yogi u just couldn’t resist, could you? 😀
    “Squillaci does not lack ability but his time in England has just been hapless; his confidence – or the utter absence of it – means that an Alumia- esque injury may be on the cards.”

    Arssession didnt the team last night play in the curling cup? surely they showed some chemistry then.

    Lately you sound pissed off at Wenger, care to explain why?

  54. Certain things to be forgotten about that match. It was crazy seeing for myself how poor are back up keepers are and how they spread total panic throughout the team with their crazy techniques. All the paper talk we had been hearing from them and they go on stage and perform like that!?

    It was a horror show from them. How the hell can a keeper on this level not know his area to the point where he his trying to volley a clearance when he could of easily caught it? Very worrying. I hope the le boss brings Almunia, back in because I think he’s done his punishment and you don’t lose what he had at one time over night. I couldn’t watch another episode of either of the current back up keepers again.

    Arshavin, well I truly thought this was the perfect stage for him to shut some beaks up but, then after seeing him throw his hands up in the air and moan after losing the ball I thought that’s that then. Brilliant for the young ones to see a senior player doing that in away from home and in such nice and pleasant surroundings. Chamakh…. well, I’m not even going down that road.

    Good to see Yossi out there and I like the way he does thing. He and Rosicky looked like they were really up for it.

    Oxlade, He has been on the losing team one too many times but, my word does the boy look the business.

    One thing is for sure is that if the keeper isn’t right it’s pure panic and silly mistakes from everybody near him. Shocking defensive display but, because all the hard work was done we can say the match didn’t really matter.

  55. squillachi. lmfao every time he makes a pig ear live on tele. It’s either that or slit your risk.

    He needs to go back to combat school. Preferably run by the same drill instructor who employed at that place where they made Full Metal Jacket. That would sort him out.

  56. Gadget | December 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Valid point and I truly believe that as I use to think the same about Gilberto, until I actually seen him play and was eating humble pie for weeks. The guy covered every blade of grass and really got stuck in without needing an invite. I

    f you say Chamakh, just looks deceiving and that he is a grater then I will take that. Although I know a lot of people who differ.

  57. Deco’s trap-and-chapeau thing is the best, with the outside of his boot as well.

  58. Kos-Mert-Verm-iMiquel….i agree with also.

    “Too many adjustments in midfield and attack……and the result was so many errant passes”……i agree with Arsesession.

    Le Coq was pretty decent. I was so scared he’d damaged something serious last night. Thank the Universe dem Oo-limp-iakos’ ruffnecks didn’t hurt the poor boy. Their style of play’s better suited for the Europas.

    AA looks quite depressed. Can’t someone get him a chess partner or somethin???
    Seriously, he reeks of frustration, the lil’ genius.
    Only TR7 & RvP possess similar passing IQs and he rarely gets to play with either of them anymore?? Arsene must know?

    Its not looking pretty for our Andrei.
    Reminds me sometimesof watching Alexander Hleb playing for Birmingham.

    ONE really fruitful game with TR7 & RvP should bring him out of this rut
    So unbecoming
    So not AA!

  59. CORR:

    Only TR7 & RvP possess similar passing IQs and he rarely gets to play with both of them in the 1st eleven anymore??

  60. bitterly dissapointing result last night…the performance was shocking..
    i dont think its anything to be too worried about at this stage, santos being the main negative i think but weve been ok without sagna and we thought we wouldnt be so lets see if the first teams fighting spirit can see us through…it has so far..BFG’s composure was a big miss…

    i get the feeling the arshavin doesnt give a toss anymore..his contracts running low hes not considered a first teamer and hes just given up..hes not bothered…his talent is there but his interest seems not to be…last season our downfall was not due to lack of talent but due to the amount of ‘rot’ that had set in and i thought the changes in summer had gone a long way to rectify that..but the performances of certain players this season is showing were still carrying a bit of the bad baggage and tweaks are still needed…

    lets not be fooled here..were a fucking good team with a lot of good players and promising youth…some performances were shocking last night and there were some by players you wouldnt expect to see play that way but when its one of those days it one of those days..however…theres certain players last night who play that way every time they stick on the shirt these days and its really not good enough..

    this may upset a few ppl but i think we need to rebuild our front line options in january..if we can get good offers for chamakh and arshavin i would take them and bring in a couple of players who are hungry and ready to fight for a first team place cos those two are failing every audition theyve had and have so for nearly a year and to be honest if we can sell cesc and nasri and be a better team for it we wont miss those two either…

  61. Chamakh may try harder than is perceived but is he actually what we need?

    Arshavin must know the things of which he is accused and yet he has not altered his demeanour and did not attempt to track back and win the ball back having carelessly lost it (leading directly to the first goal). Some will argue about whether that’s his job but what’s irrefutable is that stopping and strolling onwards, whilst looking utterly indifferent, does nothing to demonstrate that he gives a damn. He does himself no favours and is treading the same familiar furrows without success. To further his detractors ire, he yesterday degenerated into losing patience with others (teapot meet kettle). The last time I saw an Arsenal player do that was TH14 – not long before we sold him.

  62. Our experience at the end of last season and the very beginning of this seems to have numbed our analytic skills. One loss in unusual circumstances and some are already reaching for the panic button.

    So, how about . . . . . . . .
    1. It was our B team, playing away against a team who ought to have been (and were) stronger than us.
    2. Olympiakos did exactly the right thing in not allowing our young mid-field to settle.
    3. Our defence played incoherently, possibly because they have still not played together enough in serious competitive matches.
    4. What a difference a goal makes. If one of our early chances had gone in, it may have been an entirely different game.
    5. What a difference a goal makes. We gifted two soft goals, which compounded the problems.
    6. What a difference a goal makes. After we scored, we became more organised and less frenetic. Olympiakos began to fret. The game could have gone either way.
    7. In attempting to equalise (with nothing to lose) we gave away a late goal.
    8. Despite playing relatively badly, we might well (undeservedly) have drawn and possibly have won a match against a better team.

    The team performance was below par, but I’m not sure we should allow this to colour unduly our view of individual players. Some are currently playing below their potential, but we knew this already and it would be a little surprising if AW hadn’t noticed.

  63. Jon Jon. That was an excellent, well thought out and superbly presented post. Your point of view so succinctly and winningly expressed has me entirely convinced. I think you may be the finest mind and greatest supporter on this forum.

  64. Wenger has bought so incredibly well again this year. The fact that we can even debate who the back 4 will be for Everton while having all 4 of our full backs out really is something. He knew Jenks had the ability and workrate to step up, he knew TV5 can happily play at LB if needed, he knew Kos could happily play at RB if needed, he knew Mert would be able to adjust quite quickly, he knew Miquel was getting there and could be called upon across the back line, and of course we also have Song who can drop back there. That’s before even mentioning Djourou who can play RB if needed, and of course Squillachi who can perform well if in the right frame of mind.

    Great purchases, great fore-thought, great anticipation from the boss.

    Personally, I would play Kos – TV5 – Mert – Miquel.
    I would also be happy with Djourou – Kos – Mert – TV5.

    Both look very solid.

  65. 4 fuckin fullbacks injured – just as we are starting to get the defense a bit more stable and cohesive and also get a bit of choice and competition going we are now left with the only option of 4 centre halves across the back 4!!

  66. i love you too steww..

  67. BIG CONGRATS to The Telegraph for leaking the details of the statues prior to the unveiling.

    Hope everyone’s happy with themselves.


  68. Well said Merlot.

  69. Not a big fan of signing players on a whim but we really need a striker to cover for Rvp

  70. firstlady

    – playing in a friendly venue / no travel – are pluses

    – the pitch condition (last night) seemed half frozen……can’t remember seeing so many Arsenal players falling down – all night. If field conditions must factor in your play, its an unpredictable element for a player to adjust…….(Olympiacos either played with better foot-ware or just acclimated to their home field)

    – I don’t think Squill played as bad as some portray; but Vermaelen’s poor performance last night only magnified Squill’s errors.

    – I believe I posted that we could have played another 90 minutes (City match) and still never scored. NO chemistry between midfield and front line.

    – our lone goal v. Olympiacos…..Chamakh won the cross and played back to Benayoun.

    “Lately you sound pissed off at Wenger, care to explain why?”

    Every manager has his managerial strengths. For the first 10 years of Arsene’s career, successes with Arsenal were with squads built around experienced players. Ok, so he threw in the mix one or two youngsters on occasion……but they were exceptional youngsters, Cesc / RvP.

    New stadium, change in board, oil money, leveraged ownerships – our manager had the insight to move the club in a more fiscally responsible direction. From the ownership and supporter side, Arsenal are forever in debt.

    This new youth movement, Arsene is struggling to find the balance and fans are suffering.

    Last night brought back concerns about the squad – deja vu. Solid starting XI, but when injuries hit…..the back ups didn’t have the experience or playing time to maintain our expected play.

    As I stated yesterday – as did OTHERS, no purpose for Santos and Vermaelen to play last night.

    Benayoun is a quality player, technically and tactically a better option than Aaron or Jack, but its obvious he was brought in on loan only to play if Ramsey or Jack are unable.

    I still question the signings of Park and Ryo; not their talent.

    Then in the Wigan match……up 3 goals with 30 minutes left…..a chance to bring on Chamakh, Benayoun, or others and give them significant playing time (vs. coming on with 10 minutes) and mix in with starters; but he waits until the 79th minute…….then leaves on RvP.

    I don’t believe the club should be built around one player.

    Anyway, this manager deserves more; I want to see him smiling on the sidelines more. frequently…but he seems to be digging a new hole in the same spot.

  71. Deise – at least it’ll help the defenders grow and adapt as players, making them more versatile overall. No harm there, unless they have shockers that lose us games of course. We may not be as good going forward with CBs at FB, but defensively we should be fairly strong still. As someone said earlier, that’s got to be one of Arsenal’s tallest defenses ever!

  72. Block4 : “Djourou has had a shocker almost every time he’s played at full-back.”

    Only when he’s played there in the B team. Whe he played right-back with our starting 11 he had a great match. I think he’ll get the nod at right-back again at the weekend.

  73. Markus, I agree. He looked pretty damned solid against Fulham, and can’t remember who it was in the game before that, but looked good then too. I’ve said before, that his one problem when playing at RB is that he floats a bit too close to the CBs for my liking, something that he’ll move away from the more he plays there. But i have no qualms with him playing there at all.

  74. I agree with most of what you said there Merlot with just a couple of issues.

    “What a difference a goal makes. If one of our early chances had gone in, it may have been an entirely different game.” – True alright BUT Chamakh is our second choice striker right now and he was so poor last night (and has been for over a year now) i think we would still be waiting for a goal from him even now! If he was 3rd or 4th in the pecking order i wouldnt worry but hes RVPs backup! And what does it say about Park than as badly as Chamakh has been he cant even get a lookin!!

    “In attempting to equalise (with nothing to lose) we gave away a late goal” – This wasnt the case at all. We were ‘defending’ a free kick at the time. We had everyone back. Our defense practically gifted Melberg a free header, then proceeded to turn their back on play AND no one thought to follow up on the initial ball leaving 2 players free to tap in. This was us getting caught while pushing for a goal, this was us totally switching off from even the basics of defending – shocking attitude.

    Sure it was a dead rubber game an all but i thought we had eradicated this attitude (we have from our regular starters). It seems there are still a few shirkers in the squad.

  75. Deise – “Our defense practically gifted Melberg a free header, then proceeded to turn their back on play AND no one thought to follow up on the initial ball leaving 2 players free to tap in.”

    I haven’t seen the game yet, but that sounds pretty awful. May have been different with Chezzer barking out instructions? From the comments today it seems that there was a lack of communication throughout..

  76. Sure Geo, they can play there and do a good job, im ok with that. Im just sick of the luck we are now having with fullbacks. What kinda fucked up luck is it to have 4 fullbacks, 2 from each side of the defense ALL out injured at the same time….insane!

  77. Yup Deise, even when it seems to be going well at arsenal, we are still so unlucky with injuries, it’s like a voodoo curse has been put on us.. It’s always players in the same positions that get injured at the same time, but this time, at least we have players who have played in those positions (albeit some more than others) as back up.

  78. Check it out Geo – only 3 greeks in the box (they didnt want to get caught on the break, they were bricking it and wasting time by then) and all our players back, one one is picking up an opposing player and following runners – truly a shocker


  79. oops i meant ‘no one is picking up an opposing player’

  80. Anyways heres to the first team (most of em anyway) putting that performance out of mind and getting 3 points against the toffees. And also to some personal reflection from some of the older heads out there last night that didnt do themselves justice.

  81. A good part of Dj’s performance was impacted by a one dimensional Ox. Left his defensive efforts back in London.

  82. Wow, that was a shocker. Thanks (I think!) Deise for that. They should all be charging back to clear that after the first header, but it looked almost as if they were trying to step out for an offside trap! Weird. And not good weird. Oh well, as you say, time to pick ourselves up and bounce back with a storming victory at the Emirates.

  83. Yep, Djourou behind Theo is a different prospect altogether.

  84. @Arsesession
    Full agreement and that’s the reason why the Ox is still a year or two away from being ready for a starting place — at least. In all games I’ve seen of him he has been constantly neglecting his defensive duties. For all that he offers going forward, defensively he is even shakier than Arshavin who at least can put in a shift once in a good while.

  85. Meh, no big deal really. Disapointing our back up’s did not perform well enough and take their chance to give the manager a headache problem, but it is little more than that.

    Also at the end I saw a stat saying our player who had covered the most ground was AA. Strange.

  86. GA, if that stat was right, at least he’s trying to work his way back into form. I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that stat from the comments I’ve seen here today…

  87. Can’t argue with the second point Jonny, a flawless argument you’ve laid down.

    On the first, I think the B team needs a replica RVP, but in the first team, I think Chamakh will do ok. As I mentioned earlier, I think both Gervinho and Walcott will drive into the space vacated by Chamakh’s movement.

    This leads me into my support of Arsesession’s contention. Love Arsene as I do my own kin, but his flaw for the past season has been awful rotation. Chamakh was pretty decent when he had an extended run in the side, then RVP came back and he hardly played.

    I guess some players can play at their peak without kicking a competative ball in weeks, some can naturally sync with their team, but what of those who cannot? Is it that he seeing something in training which causes him to shrink at the thought of choosing some players?

    Of course it’s pure specualtion, poor guessing at that, and bears no consideration, but the futile question of why remains. However, with the poor rotation, is it not arguable that AW is perhaps killing the experienced? And should one who kills elders lament about the worry of killing youngsters?

    Should I ever meet AW, after I’ve worshipped and regained composure, one can only hope he’d have the time and the pateince to reveal the answers to a simple fool such as I!

    Goonerton, I had the same experience. Having similar thoughts about Gilberto as a youth and my uncle soundly put me to right by taking me to a game the week after such thoughts were uttered. Never has a lesson been so profoundly remembered

  88. I would have guess that stat from watching last night neither! Not to doubt GA, but can anyone contact OptaJoe or someone and verify that stat?

  89. I checked and, in fact, it’s true. He covered almost 11km (second in distance covered is Chamakh).

  90. @ GA

    Thanks for the stat mate..

    That was not strange..I know I am a huge fan of his, but I feel the amount of stick he gets is way way off..Yesterday I can point out a substantial number of times he slipped past 3 players with no options after that..Everyone talks about the passing but yesterday it was more the “movement” which was shocking..People forget that “move” is an integral part of a pass and move game..AA and Chamakh really tried hard yesterday, but of course its the easy way out to blame them..

    I have not had the look at the distance covered stat but Im sure Chamakh is quite high up there too (top 3 I would wager)..

    its never easy playing away at Athens, it does get better playing with a weakened side, it certainly does not help when the hosts have absolutely everything to play for, and when there is a lack of understanding due to lack of games it gets quite close to impossible..

    But of course lets blame AA, Chamakh, and Squillaci eh..by all means..does not require thinking, analysis nothing..easy peasy lemon squeezy

    BTW GA – rant not directed at you

  91. Gadget – I was suprised as well. I watched the game on the German equivelent of Sky is some smokey pub. They quite often show those type of stats. It was something like 10.85KM.

  92. @ Evil

    Your stat about Chamak being second just proves that my rant was accurate 😀

    Thanks mate

  93. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he had a very good game. But good to see him putting some effort in at least.

  94. @ GA

    The only way AA could have had a “very good game” yesterday in the context of the rest of the team was by going past every single olympiakos player every time he got the ball

  95. We must bury these ‘stats’. Never let the facts or truth interfere with the herd as they all decide that a player doesn’t try or care. if the truth gets out that AA worked harder than the rest of the team then the campaign might be in trouble.

  96. However, I find it interesting to see how little ground our midfield covered. I checked the stats for the match against Dortmund and in that match Ramsey covered 12km, Arteta 11km, Song 10km. Yesterday evening Frimpong and Benny both covered 10km and if you extrapolate Coquelin’s numbers (as he just played 67 minutes) he also just barely reaches 10km.

  97. Evil – possibly because they spent most of the match on the edge of our area?

  98. “consolsbob | December 7, 2011 at 9:14 am
    Sad night for this blog. Some ridiculous name calling. Ego getting in the way of debate and common sense. Ateeb summed it up pretty well and ponyboy’s views on the performance was accurate, at least in my view.”

    Bob ,can you point me in the direction of ponyboy’s views on the performance please as I cant see them.Or are you just trying to provoke me(not for the first time either I might add)

    “Also at the end I saw a stat saying our player who had covered the most ground was AA. Strange.”
    Strange indeed Andy that the most lazy ,disinterested (not fit to wear the shirt)player should accidentally run further than the others. Whilst also showing for the ball in all areas of the pitch.

  99. There is a party at le-grove today because we lost.

  100. Anirudh – Not taken that way mate 🙂

  101. I’d say if anything its something to be worried about that AA ‘worked harder’ than the rest of the team. It shows how ineffectual his work off the ball must have been (even if that may not have been entirely his fault). It still does not excuse his attitude when losing possession or his reaction towards misplaced passes by his younger team mates.

    Regardless, it’s a smokescreen – he has not produced the goods for the Arsenal team for a very long time – we all know it – including Andrei and Wenger. He’s not been as bad as some have asserted (by any stretch) but he’s a big ticket signing and he’s not produced a big performance of any note for as long as I can recall.

  102. arshavin can cover as much ground as wants..all the stats suggest is that hes running round in circles all game without the ball…doesnt take the fact away for the past 6 months hes been usless with it and when the time comes for gervinho to dissapear for 6 weeks i wouldnt trust arshavin to do a job…apart from running around in circles getting his ground covering stats up…unless those goals and assists stats look good i couldnt care less where hes running..cos at the minute its not at goal is it??

  103. There is little doubt that AA is not performing. It is even more frustrating when he is not performing and also not putting much effort in. At least last night he put in a shift. I like AA but he is becoming less and less relevent to the squad as the days go by. He needs to pull himself out of this slump.

    Even then, if the stats were broken down further it may tell a different story. If all of his runnnig was done making runs for the ball, but very little on the defensive side you would still have to have conerns in that respect. Stats never tell the full picture and can be subjective.

  104. Jonny ,have a look at the Sunderland game last year when he was the best player on the pitch and showed more fight than the rest of the team put together.
    So He try’s to beat an opponent by pushing the ball 10 yards past him.Opponent sticks our a foot and blocks the ball.Now instead of the ball being 10 yards in the direction he is going ,its 10 yards behind him in the opposite direction.Where two Arsenal players are already.And you think he should turn and chase the ball like a demented Jack Russell?So that it fits your idea of how an “interested” player should behave!
    Did the play poorly?Yes.But if the rest of the team had only been as poor as him I doubt we would have lost.

  105. Pedantic George, the problem with AA was not that he didnt make forward runs – and he also showed some good touches – but almost every time he lost the ball he stood still and watched as Olimpiakos launched an attack.

    Markus has already defended Djourou on my behalf – he has had a couple of good games recently – but was poor last night (I dont see how you can blame him for the first goal though as Squillaci kicked the ball against him without giving him a chance). His inconsistency is infuriating as he undoubtedly has talent (but is certainly better suited to CB – as is Miquel)

    Yossi was the main (only) positive last night.

    As for reserve goalies – bring back Almunia…

  106. Jon Jon ,you can chat as much as you want.All it tells us is that you can chat a lot without saying anything that makes any sense.(do you see what I did there 🙂 )

  107. PG – That (last night) is not really the issue though. The problem is that he not performed for a number of months now. Hence him not being an automatic starter anymore.

  108. Well done Jon Jon, we must keep it up. Bury these ‘stats’ don’t let people cotton on to the truth. You are doing excellent work here today

  109. i do see what you did there george 🙂 but i also see what wengers doing…theres a reason hes sat on the bench and getting the dead rubber games and theo and gervinho are being trusted with the important ones..
    i cant remember the last time an attacking players main asset was to be a long distance runner..might as well see what mo farrahs doing for the next 6 months…sign him up wenger he covers the ground he’ll be ace…

  110. George – I really want him to do well and, whilst I get your point, I am loathe to get into an argument with you about this as your perspective is the least ‘neutral’ when it come to this subject. By your own admission! :0)

    I think you would agree, however, that Andrei didn’t come here to be second fiddle – he, like us, yearns for MOTM performances. He’s used to being the big fish and has admitted that he has never played to his potential during his time in this country.

    With limited playing time and some youngsters snapping on his heels his time is running out to convince Wenger and the majority of fans that he has a future.

    With his age and his ‘big name status’ his sell-on value is simply too much for Wenger to ignore.

  111. steww
    what are chamakhs and arshavins attacking ‘stats’ for the season???

  112. Andy.I know he is not preforming to anything like his best.
    Remember last year us all laughing at Rooney because Eboue had scored as many in the season? Calling him fat and disinterested.?Wondering if he had lost”it” for good?
    Well “form it temporary ,class is permanent”
    Except for Andrei of course.He is now a NGTWTS player.

  113. Steww – have you been working for the ‘ministry of sarcasm’?! 😀

  114. JJ,I am not saying he should be starting or even that he has not failed to deliver of late .That is fair enough.I said as much yesterday.
    But people calling him lazy and disinterested is just idiotic shit spewed out by morons .And I don’t give a flying fuck who those morons are or how well respected they are on this or any other blog.

  115. Markus | December 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm Block4 : “Djourou has had a shocker almost every time he’s played at full-back.”

    Only when he’s played there in the B team. Whe he played right-back with our starting 11 he had a great match. I think he’ll get the nod at right-back again at the weekend.

    Utter rubbish Markus, he had an absolute shocker against Chelsea. Obviously winning the game in spite of that has erased this performance from your memory. Like I said, I don’t blame the guy as he’s like a fish out of water there.

  116. Jonny ,you at least state that it is his persona perhaps rather than his real attitude(if I interpret you correctly).That I can also accept.

  117. IMO, djourou isn’t bad as a cb but is rubbish as a rb, would prefer kos-mert-djourou-vermaelen for everton.
    As for chamakh, I think he really does try but doesn’t fit into the team well enough, rvp plays deep as a striker helping to make chances. but chamakh isn’t really good at that, he’s more of a target man whose main objective is just to score goals.

  118. Chris – I agree. Djourou has used his size and body strength well at times against big centre forwards, but against pacy wide men isnt nimble enough (and he is more skillful on the ball than for example PerMert) – Miquel is similar. TV and Kozzer are more compact, better turning circle and better able to fill in at LB/RB

  119. @JonJon

    Show me those stats but also in comparison to the minutes played…

    How productive is anyone on their first day back after holidays??? to put things in perspective..

  120. Djourou’s problem is that he rarely has a “normal” game. He is either very good, or an acident waiting to happen. Not a good trait in a defender.

  121. Anirudh – Is lack of game time a decent excuse for a poor performance? Before last night AOC/Frimpong/Le Coq all had virtually no game time but were playing really well when they got the chance to show what they could do.

  122. Yogi,

    I think you’ve captured the comedy of errors that was last night. Even now I’m betwixt and between with a smile riding the slight dis-ease that follows a defeat.

    On your suggested back four, that would make it the tallest back four to ever play under Arsene. Should be interesting.

    Any one have any idea when Kieran is set to return?

  123. hes not lazy. its part of his make up as a player to get about abit..always has done..hes a fit little sod hes never injured he likes to run about so the distance covered is no shock..not to me anyway..ive watched arshavin for years hes a robust dynamo type player..

    but hes definately not interested now..if he was he would be doing the biz..when oxo took the fullback out and crossed a peach arshavin just stood there and let benny miscue it…then told benny it was ok…thats been arshavin all over the last few months…
    nah..years gone by arshavin would have wanted that ball, it was his to ping, he’d have owned it and benny would have been told to fucking move…

    hes a good player but the hungers dying and its obvious more and more he plays..that first team spot is up for grabs hes a better player than gervinho and theo put together i said this the other day but he doesnt want it anymore..

    we need players who want it…and if this is going to be him for the next 6 months i say we just replace him now..chamakh can go with him as well cos i dont know what his excuse is…hes never been that good anyway…when he got games he complained he was exhausted so wenger rested him and hes been on a permanant holiday ever since..

    shape up or fuck off..that simple aint it..

  124. GA

    I again make the point that AA did not have a bad game, just watch the game and see the number of times he gets past players only to be bereft of any decent passing option..

    the back after holidays example was for the team as a whole which was why on most occasions there was no pass to make not only for AA but also for Yossi, AOC et.al

    Secondly using the CC as a barometer and extrapolating expectations to CL ties especially away from home is a bit naive..its an entirely different kettle of fish..Just ask Roberto Mancini and Man city

    Which was why Wenger said that it was a “great learning experience” for the youngsters..By youngsters he meant Frimpong and Coquelin in particular..In most games it is players in those positions who dictate passing patterns in midfield, and they were not particularly great (and its wrong to expect them to be either), hence our entire midfield suffered..

    Having said that I still maintain that AA and Yossi for that matter could not have done much more than they did last night with the pattern of play which existed

  125. Jonjon

    How you made out that Arshavin did not call for the ball when Yossi struck it is beyond me..

    If you are going by the handshake after the event, rather than a rant, its because Arshavin is not a ranting sort of player, in fact I have never seen him have a go at anyone..ever..

  126. As for Arshavin, he only seems to turn up for big matches ie. Barca. But when on form he’s as good as anyone. I don’t think he would be a good choice on the bench, when the team is losing he seems extremely disinterested an unable to make a difference. I don’t see a long term future for him at the club, i would think that wilshere will be ahead of him when fit. On the wings, there’s the ox and perhaps benayoun who seem more interested and consistent. But let’s wait till gervinho goes for ACN to see if Arshavin can play well every match instead of playing well once in a while.

  127. anirudh, lack of ‘playing time’ is a poor excuse mate

    i couldnt tell you off the top of my head the ratios but when you consider that arshavin has started 10 games this season made 9 subs and scored twice and chamakh has started 6 and made 6 as a sub and scored once and then you take someone like oxo whos started 5 been used as a sub once and scored 2 and scared to death any fb hes faced, its pretty much obvious that all the talent and experince in the world cant beat abit of hunger and desire..

    if your a kid and you need 50 games to get good i can understand it but when your an experience international in your mid 20’s + then you shouldnt be needing 50 games…your either not bothered or your not good enough…

  128. Shame we risked and lost Santos.

    I appreciate as someone said that Squillaci was ‘rusty’ but that doesn’t excuse having no communication or command as a senior ‘experienced’ player. Djourou was chronic and beaten so many times, I don’t know if that is a concentration issue or inexperience at RB, part of me things it’s not helped by playing next to Squillaci who gets so out of position and square on.

    I thought Chamahk was poor, poor pace, poor instinct and movement, and whilst AA was poor, I think had he been central and had better movement and pace ahead of him to feed he may have at least got an assist despite the lacklustre. For me Park should have come on for Chamahk not Ros.

    As for the keepers…well.

  129. maybe thats his problem then..
    i remember when chamakh made little effort to get his head on that cross against city in the dying minutes and robin did his fucking nut on the touchline..
    maybe a bit of passion and determination wouldnt go a miss from some of them…

  130. Very poor performance from the boys yesterday. I sat down with an Arsenal fan that kept insulting Wenger for everything. He was condemning starting TV and Santos and i was backing Wenger saying he wanted some mature faces there to lead the team and avoid embarrassment. While i was talking Santos got injured and i was made to feel stupid. Worst moment of yesterday that an Armchair manager beat me in an Arsenal argument

  131. JJ, as I explained to GA the office after holidays reference was for the entire team yesterday not AA

    But yes this season has been slow I guess by his high standards, 2 goals and 2 assists, If I am not wrong, I would guess around 8 starts

    Still not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, and I am sure his stats for 2011 on the whole makes quite decent reading

    Enough for me to say that he has been disproportionately criticized

  132. I was thinking, what would our starting 11 be if they were all fully fit?

    Mine would be:

    Sagna TV5 Kos Santos
    Song Arteta
    Theo RvP Gervinho

    The debate for me would be in midfield. Ramsey or Arteta? Wilshere or Ramsey? Wilshere or Arteta? Only Song is guaranteed in his spot there I think. A fully fit Gibbs would struggle to displace Santos now imo. And I would say that Kos is as good as TV5 now, quickly becoming one of my favourite players… All just my opinion anyway, feel free to rubbish it!

  133. “i remember when chamakh made little effort to get his head on that cross against city in the dying minutes and robin did his fucking nut on the touchline..
    maybe a bit of passion and determination wouldnt go a miss from some of them…”

    Well you memory is bad JJ and you interpretation of Robin’s reaction is so wrong it laughable.

    He missed the ball by a few inches because it took a slight deflection.And Robin’s expression and body language was one of “how unlucky was that”
    Try not give your interpretation of events as fact my old mucker

  134. George – that’s how i took RvP’s reaction too.

  135. JJ, as far as your numbers.

    How many games did they start consecutively? and how many have been with the first team? How much time did they have when they were subbed? and how many times were they even subbed on consecutively.

    Is it important, to get to know your team mates, how they play? until it become 2nd nature to you?

    Maybe I am not so smart but I think most Players get into the groove by playing consecutive matches, not some odd cup game?

    Overall, for me the worst set of comments I have read on this blog apart from Suga, AIC and Jabba were around.

    Anyway, it has been said that we would respect players who play hard, but that isnt true either. Especially if they “look” lazy.

  136. depends what hes getting criticized for..
    if its not for being as effective as the others over a period of time, given a player of his calibre then i think its a valid critisism…

    its not like im calling him a lazy greedy russian shit cunt is it??

    i just expect someone like arshavin to be hitting first team standards and hes not and if hes not getting the ‘game time’ then the manager cant think he is either…

    so no matter what way we try spin it with useless facts about how tall he is or how many blades of grass he stands on or how many more games he needs (which he wont get if hes playing poorly) he hasnt been doing it, hes not doing it and the chances are he wont do it if he dont sort his head out..

  137. Great post as always Yogi:

    A poor performance which is certainly partly explained by the fact that we had nothing to play. Nonetheless, it does point the fallacy of claiming the status or world beaters to the B team or the individuals based on one good performance in the CC game. That Man City team probably played with the intensity of a preseason game. The last 6 years have shown that CC performances have not been a prelude to good performances in the PL, CL or FA cup. Nothing wrong with getting excited about a player after a good game unless we use that single performance to influence personnel decisions during the Jan window.

    Yesterday again showed that clearly we have some holes. We need at least 1 new player and hopefully 2 up front. Chamakh no longer inspires confidence and there is no way Park can be considered adequate back up at this point. Ox will be a great player but like all under 20’s he is going to be consistently inconsistent. Bringing in a player or 2 will not kill him and will give him time to learn his game away from the pressure cooker of a PL campaign. Hopefully Le Coq will be adequate but I would not be unhappy if M’villa came. Frimpong needs to go on loan. Miquel could use a loan also but depending on Gibbs and Santos we may need him.

    Really gutted about Santos’ injury. No clue why he was risked. Hopefully he will be back soon.

  138. goerge thats bollox mate he stood there with his arms wide open gobsmacked as if to say wtf…

    sometimes i think ppl just see want they want to see and not what they are actually seeing…

    paul..let me ask you this…how long did it take for rvp to get back into the groove?? given the fact that alot of ppl were saying that he was going to find it tough now we have chamakh?
    and TV?? how long did it take him to cement his place..given the fact JD and koz did well last year and we signed BFG and certain ppl were saying Tv aint a defo starter..??

    ‘Is it important, to get to know your team mates, how they play? until it become 2nd nature to you?’

    yeah paul coz theyve only been here since summer and need time to settle in dont they??

  139. George, JJ, and Geo

    And for me it was more for the chance at the back post, i.e. if someone had gambled on a run, I think it was Squillaci if memory serves me correctly..not exactly Pipo Inzaghi at the far post its fair to say 😀

  140. Here is it, we have a strong front 3 – Gervs, RVP and Walcott are a lock. Due to the fact that they are excellent together and have a good understanding, other are not getting time.

    As Arsession, stated and I agree with him. Wenger could take players off a little earlier when we have the game won, to give players more time with the first team. We were crap at rotating and subbing last season.

    I also agree that we could give a game to Chamakh or Park upfront with Gervs and Walcott against “lesser” oponents. The wholesale changes is what messes things up. It doesnt matter how mature or talented they are. You must have cohesion.

    Like others, as much as Love Wenger, he has a way of relying on certain players at bit too much. BUT we have to trust the whole team. If not we will suffer end of the season struggles again.

  141. oxo aint having no trouble performing with his ‘consecutive matches’

    ironic aint it that a new player, a teenager, who needs time to get to know his team mates and is only playing here and there…is more dangerous than players much much older, who have been here ages and are playing more games…

    anyway, the whole point of it is that nothing has changed since yesterday, the day before, the day before that or the months since the summer..we are short of attacking options…and as the months roll i dont mind if we sell arshavin and chamakh to raise the funds,,

  142. JJ, RVP took time to get back to himself, he started brightly in his first match but still needed time. What RVP had going for him is that his place was sealed as the starter so he could find his way back.

    Cesc, who we regarded as the best Arsenal player needed time after injuries, no?

    Question, when Chamakh was starting every match, how did he play?

    Question: why is it that the team is playing better overall?

    However, RVP is a better player than Chamakh and may not need as much time to get going. That doesnt invalidate what I have said at all.

  143. My word, Dobie Gray RIP! Well done Yogie. That beautiful song takes me down memory lane. It takes me back to when I was a 14 year old school boy working on Saturdays in greengrocer’s in Crouch End!

  144. On a serious note i think Chamack and Asrhavin have reached the Eduardo face where they need to move on to get back to thier best

  145. Sorry to bust your bubble but OX has been ordinary more than once. Arshavin and Park has a great outing in one CC match also didnt they?

    In order to be consistently good, you must play consistently. Great players may need a little less time but that is sports over and over.

  146. Jeff, Eduardo’s injury is what did him in. If not that for that he would still be with the team, I think.

  147. others arent getting the games cos they aint performing..
    we do need the whole squad but if wenger rotates willy nilly he aint gonna get the same results..its gonna be like last year where we had to field our best 11 for the cups and everything cos outside the first 11, everyone else wasnt bothered, fuck we even had some in the 11 who wasnt bothered..hence the reason we had a mass clear out

    the squads much deeper this year but were still short upfront and everytime wenger uses them they dont do it and thats why were having to go with theo, rvp and gerv most games…its not that wenger doesnt want to rotate more its that he cant, they havent been performing for him for ages… weve got a load of injuries in defence and midfeild anyway so hes not rotating as much in those positions it more a case of needs must but when he does were getting performances and once players like jack and sagna comes back it will make it easier to rotate more… but he cant rotate up front, weve got no injuries and there are players available but theres only a handful whos doing it for him and he still wont rotate..it tells its own story..

    why would you go with chamakh when hes scored 2 goals in a year??? why would you go with arshavin when hes not doing much better than chamakh??

    not rocket science…

  148. An extremely morose discussion about a team which won its group with one game to spare!!

    Lets enjoy that, sit back, relax and watch the mancs get knocked out today

    Come on Basel, Come on Napoli !!

  149. I see you didn’t answer my questions? nice.

    It is not rocket science but not as simple as you are making it. Your comments lack any reasoning apart from the stats you pull up. As far as I see.

    As with Walcott, I can only hope that certian players prove many wrong. Afterall, the OX should be in his place, innit.

  150. cesc needed no time after injuries..dont remember him ever being sat on the bench for long spells when he was fit..he was back in the team as soon as..

    when chamakh first arrived he had a honey moon period then said he was knackered after 2months..he did ok but he wasnt brilliant…

    the team is playing better overall cos the players who arent in form arent playing..

  151. So yogi warrior you can spell but you khnow fuck all about you pratt

  152. Cesc, like our front 3 are players that always start. All teams have a main spine, you know that.

    JJ said – “the team is playing better overall cos the players who arent in form arent playing..”

    Funny all of these better players said they needed time to gel, but it is convenient to forget about that.

    I am not going into any Archives, but I wonder if you were so confident that we would come good when these better players were struggling?

    Chamakh was excellent, no rocket science needed for that either.

  153. billy gunn – that’s as maybe but you can’t spell or even use grammar. In fact, given that you singularly failed to organise your feeble, childlike thoughts into a cohesive sentence and then addressed it to the wrong name, you have made yourself sound like a retarded brain-fart.

    It’s okay though cos me and everyone else on here finks you’ve got a really cool name innit.

  154. Jonny,have a heart.
    He now has to Google “cohesive ” in order to make any sense of your singularly organised sentence.

  155. George, you are oversensitive. I can categorically state that I have never tried to provoke you. You do look for fights, I don’t.

    Pb made his views on the team, and some individuals performance, pretty clear at 9.46 last night. I think they are fair enough.

    I make no comment on the personal nature of your argument except “Sad night for this blog. Some ridiculous name calling. Ego getting in the way of debate and
    common sense.”

    I’ve been talking to Pb on here for several years now. Pithy man yes, but pretty good record in the comments department.

  156. Jonny, what’s your obsession with people picking sides? I told you, not anyone else, what I thought with regards to your idiotic comment about Fabianski. If someone happens to agree that yours was an incredibly stupid comment it doesn’t mean that they’re taking sides with me. It means that your comment was stupid on it’s own. You sound like a fourteen year old girl worried whether people think you’re mean. If you’re going to utter stupid shit like you did yesterday be prepared to receive some abuse.

  157. I really feel like the only thing we learned in this truly meaningless game was that Santos should definitely been nowhere near the pitch with no other left backs available, and that we truly have no cover for the Chezzer in goal.

    Other than that, I am not worried about the rest of the performance. Olympiacos were pressing like their lives depended on it, and we had nothing to play for. Not that worried that this will affect us in the long run. I just really wish Santos would have been spared…I don’t even know what to say about the goalkeeping performance…just bizarre.

  158. Jonny: “billy gunn – that’s as maybe but you can’t spell or even use grammar. In fact, given that you singularly failed to organise your feeble, childlike thoughts into a cohesive sentence and then addressed it to the wrong name, you have made yourself sound like a retarded brain-fart.”

    You should really learn to cut to the chase. A simple “cunt” would’ve sufficed, you meany.

  159. I still maintain that our keepers didn’t do a bad job yesterday. The goal they scored on Fabianski was not his fault. It was a bad ball played back to him that he had to get rid of. The goal they scored on Mannone was a horrible give away right in the middle. The last goal was a case of the defenders being in la-la land.

    By the way, Fabianski has a crocked knee and may be out for the season, in case anyone was wondering.

  160. Gains – we’ve moved on, perhaps you could find the decency to do the same?

  161. Santos out for 3 weeks. Step forward Mr. Miquel

  162. How useful is a backup if it takes him 6 – 7 games to get their form back and then they have to play regularly to keep any sort of form going? The back up players are never going to get that sort of playing time. Wenger does not rotate more for a reason. We need to have a couple back up players up front that the boss feels comfortable rotating into the first team for important games. Right now there is no one that he feels comfortable rotating into the side in PL or important CL games.

  163. busy crimbo period without a left back as well as a right back – ba humbug

  164. Gains, Mannone himself would probably tell you it was his fault if you asked him, he was supposed to catch the ball not attempt to kick it.

    Sometimes its good to call a spade a spade

  165. Will be interesting if the boss plays TV out left or uses Miquel. Guess he will experiment and see what works the best.

  166. Gainsbourg69 you ignorant cunt how dare you attack the ethnic minority fart brain sect, your knowledge of football is about high as a teutonic brass you toothless wanker

  167. i was advocating for Arshavin to be played in the center behind the striker and Wenger did just that and the midfield battle was lost badly.

    I know you have special love Arshavin, what do you reckon would make him get firing again??

  168. Can’t we have a decent argument without all these insulting comments??

    Yogi, i thought you said that all abusive comments end in moderation??

  169. @Bill “Right now there is no one that he feels comfortable rotating into the side in PL or important CL games.” that’s certainly true. One can only speculate as to why Park is not yet regularly making the bench – no doubt Wenger has his reasons.

    Chamakh has made the bench numerous times this season only to sit there twiddling his thumbs whilst RVP ticks off yet another 90. Even at 4-0 up against Wigan, Chamakh was considered surplus to requirements, as Wenger opted for bringing on Andrei Arshavin, Francis Coquelin and Yossi Benayoun instead.

    It’s staggering to think RVP was not withdrawn when we went 3-0 up – had he been injured in the remaining 30 minutes we would be left scratching our heads as to why he was still on the pitch.

  170. “Leave A Comment. All Abusive Comments End In Moderation. Sorry, Can’t Do Anything Proactive About Idiocy”

  171. Jeff- Exactly the point. No name calling fellas’ Everyone gets to have their argument and their opinion on the game. It is really sad for a quality blog like this with the best comments sections end up in cat fights just because of a hugely pointless game. Chill out people!

  172. Jonny:

    Wengers rotation policy speaks for itself. We need to have at least one player up front that we can rotate into the side on a somewhat regular basis. AA should be that person but he is not and we cant wait forever for him or chamakh to somehow magically regain their form. The rest of the squad deserves better then that. We have a ton of money in the bank and we could certainly go out and get someone who we could slot into those positions. Past history indicates that Wenger is reluctant to that when we are fighting for the league title. May be this year when our CL spot is teetering in the balance he will be more agressive, I hope so anyway.

  173. Jeff,
    from yesterday
    “I fear we have seen the gradual decline of Andrei mainly due to team being built and rotating around Cesc.He is the most direct player we have (and i venture the most frustrating)but his instinctive and quick play does not compliment possession football.His style is to play in bursts and again that does not suit possession type play.
    Is it worth changing the shape of the team in the hope that he will once again shine? Probably not.
    He is now cover for Gervinho.Important due to the ACN ,then I think “free Andrei Arshavin” will take a whole new meaning.Sadly .Very sadly,very very sadly, very ………………….(sobs inconsolably)”

    So in short.I don’t know the answer

  174. Is that you categorically not provoking me,Bob?

    Today I have had discussions with several people and cant think that I have picked a fight with anyone.

  175. Consolsbob- Thank you. I really do mean it, that I find this the best gunner’s blog around because two years back, I was running around reading every link I could find on a spooling server. Pretty much ended up reading crappy stuff at times. But from then, till now, Yogi’s writing and the comments section has been excellent. Though I haven’t been active in comments department except for a short while now I have been reading stuff and to see the quality just deteriorate for a meaningless match is just very disappointing.

  176. There is another point I should have made last night. You can’t expect the second string to perform so well at the go. The carling cup performance was great, we should have won. And last night was a completely different performance. If you all remember how bad we were at the start of the season, that had to do with people getting accustomed to playing with each other which takes time on the pitch (apparently just training isn’t enough I suppose). So one can come to a different conclusion that it really takes time to get used to each other’s game, as Arsene commented on the match after Wigan about combinations working now. And one can generally get a good idea about players who will perform immediately when drafted into the first team.

    And I agree with Bill, Arsene has a very bad policy when it comes to rotating players. Last season Chamakh, didn’t deserve to be sidelined like that. The same goes for Wilshere being used in every game, as well as, Cesc over the years. Without rotation you get injuries, burnouts and the backups losing form and interest.

  177. George- No one knows what’s wrong with the Russian. I am sure he is quite an enigma for Wenger as well.

    Djourou and Squillaci looked very good in the Carling Cup, wonder why, they did so badly. Was it because the centre backs were a new pairing, Verm and Squil?

  178. Jeff, you’d have hoped so, but to some civility is a 4 letter word. 😀

  179. Jonny,move on ,as a wise man recently said 🙂

  180. What is quite astonishing is that essentially sensible posters are the ones throwing abusive names around with any form of care for the ears (or rather eyes) of the gentler ones in your midst!

    Whats all this about… u guys need a spanking or what? O, you guys are missing the doomers so much that you cannot resist such a golden opportunity as a loss, no matter how little the ramification except for the injuries?

    Common guys act your respective ages which i dare to safely guess are above 12!?
    Which of you had to boldness to refer to 14 yr old girls, i dare to say none will stoop to this level of gross misbehaviour…

    Gains and Jonny in particular and not taking sides or otherwise n general should take note!

  181. the last sentence should actually read

    Gains and Jonny in particular and those taking sides or otherwise in general should take note

  182. Sriram, new to posting you may be but you talk sense.

    Yes it was George. Definitely.

    I have no beef with you at all. I am a long time ‘friend’ of Ponyboy, who I spent a Christmas eve with on here -and AIC strangely enough.

  183. Jonny- Just chill out, don’t give them a reason to fight.

  184. If Miquel had started perhaps, Park would have had a chance to make an appearance?

  185. This is handbags. You should have been around when we fought for the soul of ACLF. I’ll never forget the sight of Frank standing on the barricade holding aloft a huge red flag as we gasped for breath, improvised bandages and prepared to repel the hordes once again. This is a spat compared with the Arse wars of a couple of seasons ago.
    Happy days.

  186. The bottom line is that this game and the CC game have the same amount of meaning. All the grandiose predictions of greatness after playing a CC game against an opponent who did not really care very much about the outcome and all the teeth gnashing after yesterday are both over reactions. Yesterday was disappointing in that some of the senior players who should be supremely motivated play well and to get time in the regular line up did not really do them selves any favors. Perhaps we can write off the performances of TV5 due to disinterest and the younger players can be excused because no one can reasonably expect them to be consistent anyway.

  187. I have just seen the goal with Mannone’s cock up (missed it in the pub as I got there late). I really am speechless. Amazing stuff.

  188. OH and I agree with Gainsy69.

  189. Yes but we had proper twats to fight then steww, not just a few posers.

  190. Goonerandy- Yes! I was laughed at for that goal. Utterly shameful.

  191. ‘I have no beef with you at all. I am a long time ‘friend’ of Ponyboy, who I spent a Christmas eve with on here -and AIC strangely enough’.

    Never knew this dark side of your past. My condolences. Hope you’ve recovered.

  192. Why is Frank such a revered presence on here? Genuine question.

    I don’t really get it. He is a decent poster most of the time, but still?

  193. Christmas with AIC, Bob? That’s a strange yuletide and no mistake.

  194. “Why is Frank such a revered presence on here? Genuine question.”

    I suggest you ask Bob,he seems to have all the answers.
    Not much point asking mere posers.Go to the top.

  195. i used to read the posts and i never really went on but i used to love the battles between Frank and Alex Ice Cream. For me, and I think Frank, it wasnt about the quality of the post it was more of a competition. They were kind of a double act to me. Frank, the hard working class lad v AIC the student doctor (no disrescect intended to either) Frank always seemed to win even when it seemed he had lost. There was some good humour and at the end of the day they are both very much Arsenal fans.
    Really felt for the keeper last night. Have to admit I laughed a bit at the ridiculousness of it. Not that worried.

  196. George you on for the Blackburn game in Feb then?

  197. ‘I have just seen the goal with Mannone’s cock up (missed it in the pub as I got there late). I really am speechless. Amazing stuff.’ gains!

    Well if u r going to keep goal with a stiffy on its hardly a surprise you’ll cock up!

  198. The trouble is that many posters are rather cryptic.And you don’t know whether they are kidding or not.
    On top of that an open post can be misinterpreted and someone can assume it was directed at them.
    Only last week Geo and I were falling out about a misunderstanding.He thought one of my posts were directed at him ,and it was not .I reacted to his reaction and on it went.
    I suppose there is always room for misunderstanding if you cant see if someone is talking to you or not .Or even if there is a glint in their eye.

  199. For santos out for three weeks read 6 and hold u r breath. Really annoying to loose a legend in the making for such a pointless game!

  200. Well, not looking for a fight George? Too sensitive. Poser? You? Only if you think so.

    One sad Christamas eve, Ateeb, about four years ago, consolslel was sick in bed and i faced the prospect of a solitary Christmas Eve.

    Strangley only Pb, AIC and myself were around on ACLF- all other selfish bastards out having a good time I suppose. Pb couldn’t go out in those days for reasons long time posters will remember, I have no idea why AIC wasn’t out with his friends and family.

    So we chatted bollocks all evening.

    I’ve told AIC many times since and before to f***k off but always remember that he is an Arsenal fan and human as well.

  201. Bloody keyboard playing up.

  202. Yes Jonny, if I can get a ticket and book a room near by.As I have never been to a big city,someone will have to look after me.And act as my bodyguard.

  203. AIC was very nice to me when my beloved cat died.Seriously.

  204. Happy to help look after you, George, but as a martial artist I’d assume you’re actually pretty handy.

  205. The key difference is that wobbles by the second team this season do not necessarily translate to the first team ( bar the Blackburn game). The main reason for me is simple-Arteta! He has a brought a balance to the team that we sorely lacked. He complements Song perfectly and can switch easily from shielding the back four to attack. Most importantly his experience grafting under Moyes is something none of our players bar Song are capable of. With Cesc nasri and wilshire we were too attacking and always caught up the pitch (a trait chavs n mancs perfected against us). Arteta is also a gritty northerner, not afraid of the harsh winter cold, is it a surprise we have had the best November in honks with him anchoring the midfield!

  206. YAY Basel!

  207. Dont want to be sat on my own after the match though Jonny.
    Need to make a day of it.Long way to come if it all stops at 4.45 pm.
    I would be coming for the meeting rather than the game

  208. To paraphrase jj, don’t give me the facts, lets go with the lemmings. His own quote:

    “anyway, the whole point of it is that nothing has changed since yesterday, the day before, the day before that or the months since the summer..we are short of attacking options…and as the months roll i dont mind if we sell arshavin and chamakh to raise the funds”

    Mind you Gervinho goes to the ACN in January. Chamakh happens to be the only Plan B type striker we have on staff (headers, back to the goal, hold-up-the-ball type striker).

    AA is not above criticism but to crucify him for failing to rotate because a grand total of two first teamers played yesterday (while the others did not even make the trip) smacks of desperately seeking a scapegoat.

  209. Vidic just forearm smashed his own team mate (Smalling) right in the face to open things up for the first goal. Ouch.

  210. ‘ I have no idea why AIC wasn’t out with his friends and family.’

    What friend and family?

    ‘I’ve told AIC many times since and before to f***k off but always remember that he is an Arsenal fan and human as well’.

    You’re being too generous. Perhaps growing soft as years pass by you so quickly.

  211. Apparently we have six Premier League matches in 24 days starting on Saturday. This is going be a pretty big ask with no recognised fullbacks…

  212. I didn’t expect you to miss the irony Ateeb.

    Perhaps you still lack experience and wisdom.

  213. I fear both Mancs are going to go through

  214. Manure are not faring well so far. I hope both go out.

  215. as it stands, city through?

  216. Andy .they are all over the Swiss.Its just a matter of time.

  217. De Gea really is shit.

  218. PG – You are probably right. Hopefully Napoli will do the business though so at least City would go out.

  219. City are 1-0 up, it’s a battering that should have yielded a lot more.

    There is always hope that Napoli can get a result at Villareal…

  220. You are to kind to just give City and United the winnings George, lets see.

  221. I am a pedantic pessimist ,Paul.

  222. All my eggs are in Napoli’s basket

  223. That Basel pitch is a disgrace, i hope we don’t get to play there

  224. In fairness Jeff they had torrential rain the last 12 hours…

  225. Ajax had 2 legitimate goals ruled for offside in the first half. shame

  226. @Consols..yes, those were good ACLF days.. If memory serves, which is not often, we had trolls crawling out of the woodwork day after day.. pre-Le G. probably.. Basel doing well.. alas, the lesser mancs are now 2 up. Christmas eve – that was a good time! PG – apologies again for being a prick; sometimes I forget we’re all on the same side here..

  227. So, Napoli must win for City to get the boot?

  228. INLER!!!!!!!!!!

  229. Napoli in front. Excellent.

  230. Napoli scored!!!!!!

  231. I foresee a Manchester derby on a Thursday (Europa League)

  232. Paul – Yup. If they do is not not matter what City do.

  233. It was a good evening Pb.

    You are probably right, pre LG. Trolls! Theres’s a term we don’t hear anymore.

    Trust all well with you.

  234. Napoli 2 up.

  235. yipeee Blue Moon has been hit by a comet.

  236. They are out then innit, GA?

  237. United look terrified but Basil need to hold the ball and quit the silly crosses and hero shots at goal.

  238. The City players look winded!

  239. yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  240. Ha, Manure are on the edge. 2-0 down now

  241. 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  242. Pessimist you are George.

    Bot manchester teams though? Or none?

  243. Paul N ,I will never question you again .You are the man.

  244. Bob – Looking like none.

  245. Cling on Basel!!!

  246. So there will be games on thursdays for them followed by more on weekends?

  247. Both Scumchester teams out – YOU F*CKING BEAUTY.

  248. Well what a good evening this turned out to be.

  249. The disappointment in the commentators voice at the exit of money bags city and Man USA’s roasting in Basel in the first round is palpable.Oooh the joy of the Europa league. Whilst In North London the laughs in the Wenger household can be heard in France…..Mwahhhhhhhahahhaaaaa. Choke on that pie sunday suppliment, stan collymore, ian wright,.Arsenal champions league royalty…read it and weep doomers. Football definitely doesnt live in Manchester…

  250. Excellent night of football.

  251. Can’t stop laughing. No comments needed. This is just fucking hilarious!!

  252. Yeah Consols; things are pretty good. Am back in the UK for some ‘interviews’ ~ but great to see Basel push out Man U, and Napoli the blue ones.. Europa league..jejeje!!

  253. lol @ George!

    what happened last night again?

  254. Very good night indeed.

    Thursday football in Uzbeckistan and Finland for Utd and City.!

  255. Both Manc clubs out. Certainly puts yesterdays game for us into perspective. Abso-frigging-lately amazing.

  256. One feels like chicken tonight chicken tonight chicken tonight! RIP Fergie! As for Mancini he’s got a lump the size of ciabatta in his throat! Bring Basel in the second round!

  257. I hope Clichy and Nasri enjoy the Europa league, the bastards! What a glorious evening

  258. Jonny- Didn’t our wish come true atleast partly. Only Chelsea survived our curse!!!!

  259. No chance you’ll be here in February for the next ACLF ‘meet up’ Pb?

  260. “Choke on that pie sunday suppliment, stan collymore, ian wright,.Arsenal champions league royalty…read it and weep doomers. Football definitely doesnt live in Manchester…”

    I so wish I had written that

  261. Mr Paul! How are you?

  262. George- not only you!

  263. Btw, Wherever you are Mj_Gunner, I am from the south, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.

  264. Mr Bob! I am well, and you my friend?

  265. Oh what a night…early December back in 2011…..
    What a very special time for me….
    As I remember what a night….

    Ah well, at least Man City can offer to buy the entire Napoli team and transplant them…Or even the Bayern Munich team….I mean they can buy them all,,,,,

  266. I can’t bear to watch ManU. Oh how I wish I had tonight.

  267. “Apparently we have six Premier League matches in 24 days starting on Saturday. This is going be a pretty big ask with no recognised fullbacks…”

    Oops, big big ask. Let’s just hope that Miquel or Vermaelen can do a job there and we don’t have any defensive injuries to deal with.

  268. I knew that United were running on a confidence thing early on in the season. All of those players who many were going crazy over are back to normal! Ashley Young?

    I have a feeling that this will knock some of the confidence out of City also.

    This is too sweet!

  269. Sriram – I’d have taken that beforehand my friend. Oh yes indeedy.

    Wenger must be feeling pretty smug right about now.

  270. BBC-

    “For clarity, then, Benfica and FC Basel win through to the last 16 of the Champions League as the top two in Group C ahead of Man Utd, while Bayern Munich and Napoli beat Man City to qualification from Group A.”

    “I’m still struggling to get my head round it.”

    Why is it tough? They played like sh*t in their matches, what more can be expected?

  271. Reality check for doomers, you can spend billions buying the big names but the beauty of football is that it is not beholden to those billions. What price for Shaqiri and xhridan tonight?

  272. If eyes could defend crosses smalling wouldve blocked that cross.

  273. On Radio 5 Live they’ve had two man u supporters phone in so far. Both are doubtful that they will qualify for next year’s Champions League and one was calling for Ferguson to go. Poor Mancs. Happy Thursdays.

  274. A asked Santa for Nasri in the Europa league. I was a good boy, and Santa gave me NAsri and Nani in the Europa league. Thank you, Santa.

    CL is more achievable than ever this year.

  275. Jonny- It’s been a long long time, since I gave back some stick to those glory hunters. What a chance?! Play on thursday nights, you c*cksuckers!

    What I would further want is them to go out in to the Europa League, face Porto and exit in the first round 😛

  276. Bernard.Really? How funny is that?

  277. Bernard-

    Ferguson has to go?! Hahahahahaha!

  278. Also interesting how the PL calendar will be changed for ManU and ManCity to play on Thursdays. Exciting times.

  279. Kompany–> “We got 10 points but it wasn’t enough. Fair play to Napoli they have a good team and it would be a big mistake by anyone to underestimate them. The season is not over for us and maybe the Europa League is a realistic goal for us. There is no shame in losing at Napoli and Munich but the draw at home to Napoli was what did us.”

    To be fair, they played very badly against Villareal at Eastlands as well, luckily they won with a controversial goal from Aguero, right at the death, which was confirmed as offside.

  280. My Thursday nights just got more interesting

    I think Stoke are favorites for the cup. 😀

  281. Hhahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha………………


  282. in the words of the four seasons……..oh what a night….

    can i just say i thought this was a civilised place where one could come and relax with a glass of pimms and an avacado sandwich but no its full of thugs..

  283. Anirudh- Exactly! Hahaha!

  284. Very well Paul, very well.

    Life is good.

    Coimbatore, Sriram. I was there in 1979 and again in 1992.

  285. Sweet and well deserved Schadenfreude…

    How would you like your large slice of humble pie Mr Football pundit???

  286. Glad to hear Mr. Bob! how are the grandchildren?

  287. Guffawing loudly down in the salt pit (still at work). So both tbe blue and red Mancs are headed for Thursday night at…..the Europa. Does have a nice ring to it.

  288. No…seriously…this is way too funny!

  289. Consolsbob- Wow! I never thought someone on here could recognize my city, apart from those who live in India. I assure you, you wouldn’t recognize even a single place from 1992, when you visit here now, it is that changed.

  290. Which of the manchester managers will receive the most shouts of ‘OUT’ ha ha ha

  291. Btw, Cbob, that leads me to ask, on what duty did you visit here?

  292. BBC taking a dig at Fergie!

    2205: Of course, it was only a couple of weeks ago that Sir Alex Ferguson was offering BBC Sport’s Matt Slater a withering laugh at his suggestion that Man Utd were struggling in Europe. I can’t imagine anyone wants to be reminded of that. Oops.

    Its all happening around us.

  293. Anyway, Have a good night guys, see you tomoro morning! I’ll sleep peacefully now!

  294. Mr. Ferguson & Mr. Mancini, welcome to Channel 5.

  295. how the fuck are man utd above us in the league?? Young will do bugger all in europe also, useless.

  296. Are you fucking kidding me? ManCity not going through was predictable but ManYoo not doing it? Seriously? Red nose is going to be one mad fella. Haha.

  297. Twice in 6 years the red mancs have exited the CL on my brothers birthday. What a good reason to have a little drink.

  298. Just visiting Sriram. On my way to Madurai, which I loved to visit. One of my favourite places in the world.

    Grandchildren grwing quickly paul. As they do! You’ll find out.

  299. we know one city player who doesnt give a shit about getting knocked out tonight.

  300. What did I tell you asbout Shaqiri in the summer time, mofos. That boy can play. He dribbled half the manshisters tonight.

    If Jabba were here I´d love to ask him how Young, Jones and De Gea are improvements.

  301. It’s another 13 days to my birthday but hell, the presents are coming in early. I really didn’t expect ManU to bottle it like that. Proper chokers that lot, eh? No leadership in the team, no fight, no spirit. Hope they enjoy their trips to Eastern European countries on a cold Thursday. Hell, maybe hey’ll even get a tasty semi-final with Stoke or something.

  302. Gains, Jabba is in Switzerland..

  303. yeah dupsffokcuf otherwise you wouldnt have a drink with that brother of yours .. ha ha 😉

  304. Remember all the defensive tracking back and all that, that Jabba used to tell us about United?

    Basel put 5 goals past that solid defence. No team, in our more difficult group, put more than one past us until yesterday’s meaningless match. Go figure!

  305. yeah gainsbourg69 , the boy shaqiri looked like a fit slim Arshavin 😉

  306. Duke ,Jabba is a delusional United fan.He has his head buried in the sand.
    They strengthened because they did their business early Gains,Buying world class players like Jones and Young.Now do you remember?

  307. The last time Man U got eliminated at the group stage, it was also on Weds 7th December. Arsenal progressed to the final that season!

  308. i cant help laughing at united and City. im so watching Nasri “i left arsenal to play at a higher level” on channel 5

  309. Did Nasri actually say that?

  310. yes yes yes just what i needed to hear as I fly back to london from newark tonight. all smiles people.

  311. who we playing now at LB?? and do we meet shitty with no full backs?

  312. Yeah Nasri and Clichy left because we couldnt match their ambition ….

  313. Moe,I heard today that young Mr. Nasri is unsure that he has a future at City.

  314. Nasri wanted to play at the higher level and now he is, instead of being on Sky Sports 1 or 2 or 3 or 4, he is now at the lofty perch of Channel 5.

    Fair play to him

  315. DukeG

    Miquel I am guessin man, hope Gibbs can get himself fit, Im serious.

  316. I got the email sayin I had tickets for the City game today…. Nice!

  317. pedantic george

    Ah well, just wave a couple more millions in his nostrils, hes got a good scent

    he’ll follow 😀

  318. Yeah,Dexter is here.
    I will forgive you for your rudeness the other night.(only because I have forgotten what you said)

  319. george what have you done to piss off ol ponyboy?? and don’t say you av pissed off dex again…

  320. I like this new breakaway league Manchester have formed. They should definitely consider making this permanent.

  321. Don’t worry Duke – George is causing scarcely any trouble in comparison to me. :0)

  322. Duke, he does not like my pathetic attempts at humour.Apparently.
    What can I say?

  323. Desie i told a Mau utd friend of mine that same thing

    Me: The last time Man utd left the group stages, we went to the final in 05
    Mau utd Fan: Don’t get happy, Real Madrid would knock you out
    Me:Ironically Real Madrid was supposed to beat as that year and looked what happned?, we beat them at Bernabau

    He was speechless

  324. DukeG

    I have no idea what Georgey is on about man?


    What you on about me ol china?

  325. Yes even my best pals are turning on me Duke.
    I only have you left as a confidant,

  326. its that northern humour george.

  327. I’m just gonna leave this here

  328. “Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Manchester Friday Saturday” Lol.

  329. Ah its that ascerbic Northern wit I’ve heard so much about. Bernard Manning eat your heart out, George is here! 😀

  330. Ha! Jonny

    From the city that gave you Happy Mondays, proudly presents; Miserable Thursdays


  331. A new fragrance out for Xmas for the Manyoo or man citeh fan. It’s called chanel no. 5

  332. Come on Duke, I was expecting better jokes from you. Dig some out, it’s a night to remember, despite today’s post’s title.

  333. What about a cheeky bid for this Clichy fella if Santos and Gibbs are out for longer? I bet he would relish the chance to play in the Champions League.

  334. hahahahahahaha

  335. What the f*ck happened there.

  336. Sixtay, that video made me laugh really hard especially as i imagines Red nose doing it..

  337. “Tomorrow is exactly the same situation. It is another big game. But we have a strong squad and that squad will see us through without question.”

    Without question, huh?

  338. As the 4 seasons say – Oh What a fucking night.

    So Jonny, George, Consols, Yogi, Maria, Matt, Muppet, Sly – are we going for Feb 4th as the get together before and after the Blackburn game?

    Spurs is the only other home game in Feb, and it will be harder to get tickets for the Spurs game. Feb 4th will do though, and looking forward to the next shingdig.

    Ateeb, sort out your fucking flue and make sure you’re there this time.

  339. @george

  340. I’ll be there, as long as Duke comes too. No fun without our oldest clever moaner!

    But seriously, I’ll be there anyways. I understand many people would’t want to be seen with Duke.

  341. The Blackburn game certainly suits me Darius – did you get my suggestion regarding a better (easier) pub in which to meet.

  342. Darius How do I get a home ticket?

  343. I meet up and then go in with the away fans .Then meet up again afterwards .I suppose.

  344. seems i also have pissed someone off!! but Ateeb has a long fukin memory a matey. better then mine anyway.

  345. I don’t know George. You shouldn’t buy a ticket, till you find out if Ponyboy is coming or not. Things can get uglier in real life.

  346. Who have you pissed off Dukey? Not me surely. Are we heading towards a George sort of misunderstanding, follows by pointless fight? No. I was serious about you coming!

  347. Ateeb – very good. If you bottle out of the cider, there’s 2 Mc Donald’s on Holloway Road, we’ll just send off for a milkshake or something.

    Jonny, I’ve been to the Junction a few times and H&I side isn’t bad as long as we leave early enough for the trot to the stadium. The Bailey can be a bit loud for “let’s get to know each other” sessions that neeed a less intimidating environment. I think though, a few people will complain that the Jezebel’s behind the bar at the Bailey are worth a punt – but Junction would do.

    George – tickets can be hit and miss, but Blackburn tickets would be more available in the 38 to 70 pound range either on general sale, or from ticket exchange or from folks who can’t make it and want a few bob to rent our their season ticket or match day ticket.

    I can try get a few tickets in a block when they become available and try sell them to folks coming. Hotels in London can be a bastard – but good planning can yield a really good 3 star level or something for about £80 a night – but it can be even cheaper if you plan early and book early. You won’t be the only person coming from out of town and there’s going to be a lot of interest in partying on after the game. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, it might be better if out of towners actually stay in the same hotel.

  348. I will bring a sleeping bag.How far is Kings Cross?

  349. Darius, yes to 4th for me.

  350. HAHAHA,, i would pay to see NASRIS face of late…
    just like i said.
    enjoy thursday night and the new manure and shitty cologne.

    Chanel NO. 5
    Mancini out….
    ferret face ferguson out……

    nice holidays this year ,. 😉

  351. I wonder where Jabba is today? He can’t help but reflect on his praise for the invincible Mancs.

    you just can’t make this stuff up!

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