1-0 To The Arsenal: It’s Back To The Future

Arsenal 1 – 0 Queens Park Rangers

1-0 Robin van Persie (60)

Here’s Big Al’s take on events at The Emirates,

Although the victory was fair, QPR gave us a couple of scares. But on the rare occasions they got past Koscielny and Mertesacker, they were met by a nimble Pole, who was in no mood to concede. At the other end Arsenal was inventive but a little wasteful.

We didn’t settle quickly. QPR were organised and energetic, wringing a couple of early chances from our groggy defence. The most memorable came when Shaun Wright-Phillips scurried onto a through-pass but was thwarted at the near post by Szczesny. Our ‘keeper was vigilant for all 90 minutes, but wouldn’t be needed until after half time.

Slowly Arsenal began to wake up. Robin van Persie took us back to 2006 with his mogul routine, zig-zagging into the area from the right wing before prodding a shot that was gathered by Cerny.

It would be the first of a few opportunities for the Dutchman, and with every chance he tried something different. We got a medley of elegant misses. First the looping, softened header that floated just wide of the far post.

Then Djourou blew away the cobwebs, setting off on the maziest run since Jack in the Shining, galloping past a couple of challenges before firing it to van Persie again, who brought it under control, sashayed past a defender and this time tried to lift it over Cerny, only to send it wide under pressure.

With half an hour gone he missed what was probably his only clear opportunity. Thomas Vermaelen spotted his run and drifted a 30-yard pass into his path. The bounce wasn’t wicked – I’d call it naughty – but it went over Connelly’s head and van Persie met it with his right boot. He hit it too well, whatever that means, and watched it arc just over the bar and into the Clock End crowd, who now had impact injuries to add to their frustration.

The first half wasn’t without controversy either. With the game and much-craved attention starting to squirm from his pomaded grip, affected Argos hipster Joey Barton took out Arteta from behind. I can’t remember seeing him after that. Vermaelen was also booked in an incident I didn’t quite understand. It turns out Koscielny committed the foul, which bore no comparison to Barton’s, but Vermaelen took the rap. I didn’t get it at the time, but in my irritation at the way the match was going I was happy to join the chorus of “you don’t know what you’re going”.

Yep, we started to flag a bit as the half drew to a close – our play was getting squeezed and stifled in the airtight gap between QPR’s midfield and defence. I noticed the number of times Walcott looked ready to dart behind their relatively high backline, but something always delayed the pass. The players needed a breather and to hear Wenger’s plans for the next offensive.

At half time, as the floodlights took over from London’s half-hearted attempt at daylight, I watched the catalogue of first half chances once again. Arshavin didn’t appear in any. It didn’t look like he was having a great time. I’ll patronise him by saying he had the right ideas, but whether over-hitting passes or dribbling into masses of defenders, he was forcing it a bit.

We came out guns akimbo and blazing, but were fragile at the back again. After forty minutes of heel-kicking Szczesny was alert to two QPR attempts in quick succession, although the second was a bit scuffed.

Vermaelen went off, and headed down the tunnel. “That doesn’t look good” – to be replaced by Francis Coquelin. ‘That doesn’t look good at all”. But Coquelin was full of beans, bustling up the left-touchline and hardly missing a beat at the back (shut up, it was never a penalty).

Minutes later Arsenal should have taken the lead. Ramsey, who was clearly the better for his recent rest, flicked a pass through pass for Theo. The first touch was perfect, giving him a clear run at goal, but he lost composure at the key moment. To me it looked like the defender’s sudden arrival forced him to abandon the idea of caressing it into the bottom-right corner à la the on-looking Henry, and go for the bottom left – either way he muffed it up.

It didn’t matter though, because we had taken the lead within a couple of minutes. Ramsey’s endless closing down paid off, as he forced a sloppy pass into the path of Arshavin, who moved it on at speed for Robin van Persie. In the clear, one-on-one, at the Grove? Forget about it. He scored and he made it look easy.

The period between the goal and Arsenal’s latter substitutions was a little fraught. QPR brought on DJ Campbell and look rejuvenated. Szcesny saved an awkward swirling shot by Taarabt, and Connolly volleyed over. They also had a few scary-looking set-pieces, which were all repelled with comfort.

After Rosicky and Gervinho were introduced we settled down once more and set about putting the game to bed. Rosicky instantly added sophistication to our passing, while Gervinho unsettled QPR’s defence with Joe Pesci-in-Goodfellas-style unpredictability. He nutmegged a defender to work some space for a chance that was just blocked.

Then Song belted another pass at van Persie. Players love caning the ball at him don’t they? Anyway, he did his best to kill it, brushed Wright-Phillips aside and crossed for Gervinho in the six-yard box. No, too easy this one – Gervinho likes to round the goalkeeper, and how’s he supposed to do that from two yards? Seriously though, he missed. It wasn’t good, but it didn’t matter in the end.

Rushing to get to the station, past the scene of the ill-fated ACLF meet-up, I noticed that Arsenal were up to fourth, with exactly half the season gone. A nice way to draw a line under 2011 and a handy platform for the remaining four months or so of the season.

Have a happy New Year everyone – it’s off to a flyer.

Posted on January 1, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 314 Comments.

  1. First,,, happy new year folks

  2. I’m not first but Arsenal have clawed their way back up to 4th place.
    Happy new year.

  3. Ultimately a comfortable win, insofar that 1-0 can ever be comfortable. What a contrast between the timidity of Walcott’s finishing and the confidence of van Persie’s, even in the ones he missed.

    And well done to Coquelin, having to come in at full back again (and on the other flank to where he played against Villa) and slotting right in. He may have as big a role to play over the next few months as the Ox if we are to sustain our form through to the end of the season.

    And fourth place at the mid-point of the season – who’d have thought our recovery from the miserable start to the season would have been so quick? Now for the hard bit – consolidating and moving onwards and upwards. Bring on 2012!

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/van-persies-clinical-finish-in-striking-contrast-to-walcott/

  4. happy new year aclfers!!!

  5. Happy new year

  6. Big Al – thoroughly enjoy your perspective and the clarity.

    The grind out wins are now digestible.

    For 2012, I believe this Arsenal squad will be over achievers – they can finish above 4th.

  7. They av really made me to be a gunner am really proud of them.

  8. Good summary Big Al,
    We are 4th, we are 4th , looking down at ambitous liverpool and chelsea, about to overtake the media darlings spurs,
    The manchester teams? By end of January we would find out

  9. Have to say even though I’m not one of Arshavin’s biggest fans, more like an ex fan; that pass to RVP was at the right speed, right curve, right angle, right weight; everything about that pass was right . Thanks AA23

    Le Coq is our new utility player, played LB like he was a LB, well done

  10. Happy new year OOU. And Big Bro get a life.

  11. Good entry into the new year the progress should only be on the rise. However we need wilshere more than we would want ramsey in the starting team. Henry’s arrival will help curtail the wasteful chances squandered upfront also lift the extreme burden on robin.

  12. Nice write-up!

    Love the reference to Gervinho’s Joe Pesci like unpredictability 🙂

    I thought that Arshavin did OK yesterday, and certainly better than Walcott, but he wanders about the pitch so much that the only width he gives us is his waistline!

    Happy New Year

  13. Going or Doing?

  14. Once a guuner alwayz a gunner. happy for all arsenal fans out there. happy new year

  15. I just saw the highlights and saw how Theo got a bit panicky when Traore inched up behind him for that chance he missed. Before he took the ball he was looking around to see who was near him as well. Against another player Theo buries that chance. It seems like Traore and Theo know eachother’s game inside out and that’s why they had such a tight contest between themselves.

    Warnock is an absolute plonker. If Robin gets nailed because Warnock manages to put the idea in some ref’s mind that he cheats and therefore should be lenient to thugs who foul him, I would hope one of you will take care to kidnap that idiot and torture him.

    Manure got beat by Blackburn’s reserves. De Gea = De Howler. Hahahahahahahaha.

  16. offiong onoyom

    Great win for us I tnk we will stay fourth till end of season coyg.

  17. hny all gooners 19 league wins to start 2012 followed by a champions league and f.a. cup final wins should be enough to call our season a sucess

  18. When we were toiling in front of goal in the first half I was always confident we would eventually win it for some reason.Travelling through the night and lack of sleep probably. A great way to end the old year, a great way to start the new one would be three points at Craven Cottage.

    Happy new year one and all.

  19. oh i love you Arsenal…… who can resist you?? 😀

  20. It was Arshavin’s first time ball to Rambo that created the time and space for Theo’s clear through chance.
    His perfect through ball for the goal.
    His job is to make chances.Not keep the ball.Lets get Denilson back if that is what we want.

  21. What an elegant and witty piece of writing Big Al. Loved it.

    I’ll let you buy the first pint at the next ACLF meet up.

  22. Thanks, CB, definitely look forward to that!

    HI PG, I think I was pretty fair about AA – I was talking about his first half, which wasn’t great at all, but I didn’t slate him. And we are a team that does need to keep the ball – he was trying to find shortcuts where there was just traffic.

    Great pass for the second though, and the Theo chance. I wanted to say he redeemed himself, but time and word count were against me.

    And it is “doing”.

  23. Are you goping to the Blackburn game Al?

    How about you George? Tickets on sale in a couple of days.

  24. Good win, especially with the other results. We never make it enjoyable to watch though, I’m going grey and noring my nails to nothing within the closing minutes of Arsenal these days! Isn’t it about time we thumped someone 4 or 5 nil, just so we can enjoy and relax the last third, but I guess that just wouldn’t be Arsenal of late!

    Worried about the first part of 2012 though, TV now injured, still no sign of any full backs returning, Gervinho off to Africa, waiting on Wilshire, and Pier will soon be found out to be an average defender when we come up against the big boys.

    Either Arsene has his most masterful transfer window, or the current crop continue to raise the bar week on week, because the competition isn’t going to get any easier…

  25. Try gnawing Guru. It works better than ‘noring’, I suspect.

    And A Happy New Year to you too.

  26. There have been a couple of big wins here or there, but I don’t think any team’s breezing through games consistently at the moment. For one thing, the schedule doesn’t really allow it.

    Yeah, I should be, CB. Blackburn’s one we should all be relaxed for! OK, they won yesterday, but still…

  27. ” A nice way to draw a line under 2011 and a handy platform for the remaining four months or so of the season”.

    Yes indeed, Top quality as usual Big Al
    The belief level in goonerworld is right where it needs to be for a new year.
    Can’t be any more prouder.

    “for to the brave…”

  28. Voted Man of the match vs QPR: Andrei Arshavin
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/man-of-the-match-against-qpr-van-persie

    what a quality assist can win u.
    naysayers, hope u get it!

  29. In my time zone, we watched the first half in 2011 and the second half in 2012! And boom! what a way to start the New Year!

    We’re fourth! We’re fourth! Who would have thought that from the start of the season the Arsenal was just sitting above relegation and now they are in fourth place!

    Oh, Big Al, it was not just a defender that Gervinho nutmegged. It was Joey Barton!

    http://ling2xzigazaga.tumblr.com/post/15119492190/meeniemint-nutmegged-by-gervinho#notes

  30. Great find Monica!

    This is for you George, although you’ve probably already seen it!

    http://www.arshavin.eu/en/news.php?id=742

  31. Robin might not have gotten the record, but, in all honesty … I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet. I think if he stays with us, he will do it in 2012. He is just that good and he has still got something more to give.

  32. Afternoon all, Happy New Year to all. Thanks for the match report Big Al, the perfect start to the year can happen if City fail to win.

  33. This say’s it all about last year!

  34. Nice piece as usual Big Al,

    I agree with earlier comments concerning Arshavin`s pass (absolute perfection) , Warnocks comments (you can guarantee refs will be looking out for RVP now) & Theo`s miss.

    It seems a loanee left back is on the way following TV`s calf strain. I wonder who it could be ?

    Any more misses like that from Gervinho & I`ll be doing a Billy Batts to him.

  35. happy new year people!

    a great start to 2012..

    not the emphatic win, but hey- chelsea lost. spurs drew. utd lost. what more could we ask for? city to lose?

    more a win at fulham. if we keep plugging away, we are going to close the gap real quick.

    anyway, i thought coquelin made a difference to our attack when he came on. he pushed so high up and that gave qpr some food for thought. and after that, djourou started pushing up even more as well, and we threatened more.

  36. Thanks Passenal,here was my thought of you last night.You too may have already seen it.

    pedantic george | January 1, 2012 at 12:42 am
    Passenal is our protector of unsung hero’s.
    Someone who never climbs aboard a bandwagon.
    I like that.Class act.

  37. happy new year you lot…

    i think the fa’s news years resolution should be to improve the referee efficiency test cos its getting silly now..

    tv’s yellow card took the piss, theres 4 officials out there had they all been on the sherrys?? has it been corrected??
    and when does a hanball become a handball?? do they have to catch the thing? we had two perfectly good shouts and ball to hand is one thing but when a defender dives in blocking a shot doing a mexican wave it sort of makes him look like a gk…

    i really dont know where they are getting these guys from, yes they do need help. but the majority need sacking..

  38. “and when does a hanball become a handball?? do they have to catch the thing? ”

    No ,even then its not a handball ,as VDV proved when he “dropped a goal” against us at The Lane.

  39. Thanks George, and apologies for any occasional loss of patience and harsh words with you!

    “It seems a loanee left back is on the way following TV`s calf strain. I wonder who it could be ?”

    I’m much more concerned about this than our alleged ‘striking crisis’. The media are putting 2 + 2 together and coming up with Wayne Bridge, but I pray to God that there is a better option out there although it’s hard to think of one. Arsenal’s fabled scouting network better have some suitable names on that list!

  40. “and Pier will soon be found out to be an average defender when we come up against the big boys”

    Guru.Perhaps everyone else is a little groggy ,it being New Years Day and all.But I am not.
    What a thing to say on ACLF .That should be saved for a blog where people know as little as you.In short “its bollocks”.

  41. JonJon, Walter on Untold wrote an article about referees and there are a number who are over the FIFA age rule of 45. Their analysis also seems to show that these refs tend to start the games well and deteriorate badly in the second half. This could suggest that age and lack of fitness is causing them to lose concentration and ability to keep up as the game wears on. Players are fitter and games are faster, but the refs seem to be falling behind.

  42. Well, I sure hope that we have had our share of shit refs so that we can get someone decent for our next games. Is it already known who will ref our match with United?

  43. It’s a handball when it happens in our box and is committed by one of our players. On occasion it’s also a handball when it doesn’t matter one bit i.e. in the middle of the pitch. In all the other cases, it’s not a handball.

  44. I saw it too PG @12.41 pm, but chose not to rise to it! He is probably still lamenting that we didn’t buy Cahill in the summer! I’m just thanking our lucky stars that things worked out for the best in the end. I’m a long time believer that everything happens for a reason, which is probably what helps me to roll with the punches and not get worked up about things outside of my control and influence.

  45. £15 million in used fivers on Bill Kenwright’s desk and we solve 3 or 4 problems at once.
    1) leftback ready to play
    2)stop worrying about Gibbs fitness for a couple of years(loaned out)
    3)show the much fabled “intent” to RVP, Song and Theo.
    4)stop Bill and his ilk asking for some money to be spent(my personal favorite)

  46. there are other options than wayne bridge quality wise

    ac milan for example have about 4 left backs and one of them is taye tiawo…hes was a bit special when he played in france and milan signed him and dont play him..

    hes nigerian..but they didnt qualify for acn…

    if we can get him on loan it would be better than bridge i think..but with bridge being classed as homegrown does that mean it has no impact on the squad allocation??

  47. Nice fantasy George, but Wenger is not looking for a long-term solution and as desperate as Everton are for money, what makes you think they will readily give up their player or that we can afford to pay two first choice left backs and have a third on loan (a fourth if you include Botelho)?

  48. and then theres what george says..
    which happens to be my favorite option 😉

    passenal, fergie for all his horribleness said exactley that a few seasons ago and the fa roasted him for it but i reckon he was onto something and so is that walter bloke…

  49. Bob .
    I am in two mind now about the Blackburn game.
    The early start somewhat buggers thing up .
    Also Darius has been missing for about 4 weeks and he was going to do much of the “sorting out”

    Cant help but worry about Darius.David Livingstone was missing for less time .(last heard of on 5th December)

  50. It’s the homegrown thing why Bridge is being linked JonJon. Room would have to be made in the squad for Taiwo or any overseas player. Also, we would not be able to use him in the CL against AC Milan, so I’m not sure that’s an option. Arsene has a lot of connections in football, and would not be talking about a loan unless he has some irons in the fire. We will need an experienced player who is able to slot in quickly.

  51. Passenal,Also Baines would most likely not leave the North West.
    Still,no harm in asking.

  52. Such a shame we don’t have any strong left-back candidates in our reserves. We used to be strong there and now we need one, there’s none to be found.

  53. we’ll see what wenger does, but i expect it to be quick..
    theres no point waiting until deadline day on this one

  54. Robc @7:53
    I thought that Arshavin did OK
    yesterday, and certainly better than
    Walcott, but he wanders about the
    pitch so much that the only width he
    gives us is his waistline!’
    hahahaha…..

  55. Wishing a Happy New Year to fellow ACLFers.
    Le Coq is very confident with the ball – he did well as a left back. Will be interesting to see AW’s approach while dealing with the left back situation. Plenty of right backs in our reserve. A loan move for a genuine left back seems ideal – even if TV was not injured.

  56. Good to see Arshavin start a game a get a wonderful assist. I think he also had a couple of goal bound shots blocked.

  57. H N 2012 ACLFers,I’m sorry but I wish to know who RvP hugged on the bench after the GOAL

  58. i really hope MoN gets sunderland going..
    i dont think bendtner will ever be a top quality striker but he can certainly find his level at sunderland and he starts banging the goals in and gets himself double figures it could see a double figure transfer for us in the summer

  59. arshavin did himself the world of good yesterday..
    still wasnt really at the races but his contribution was valuable..

  60. It’s important that Arshavin finds his feet again. He will after all be expected to start a majority of games in Jan/Early Feb. I think we will also see Park more often now.

  61. Paulie Walnuts

    Interesting point on ref`s second half performances Passenal. There may well be something in it although when the games `open up` it probably becomes tougher for them to keep up physically.

    Jon Jon, I think the majority of fans accept that the contentious decisions can go either way , it`s the clear cut ones they get wrong which rankle. The Luke Young handball yesterday was volleyball – like & I can`t see a reason why it wasn`t given other than ineptitude from the officials.

    The left back conundrum really isn`t easy. The top clubs aren`t going to loan to us & would we want a player from one of the bottom clubs who presumably cannot get a game. That leaves a few current mid table teams & the English part thing will just complicate things. In other words I haven`t got a clue !

    Just as well Arsene knows

  62. We are fourth! We are fourth! After the press and the public had buried Arsenal in September. Relegation indeed. Okay all of you negative nannies can jump on the bandwagon now. There’s plenty of room. In Arsene we trust!

  63. Billy’s Boots

    Happy New Year to all! Let’s hope that 2012 is a good one.

    Nice write-up, Big Al. Your comment about Walcott’s miss was spot-on. It looked like he wanted to do an ‘Henry’ but was put off by the arriving defender (Traore? That would be a turn-up!).

    I’m looking forward to Henry’s arrival (and curious to see who will make way for him in the non-home-grown player list). It would be great if Chamakh could find his mojo at the ACN. Having him in form when he comes back, coupled with a possible permanent addition in the striker department, would set us up nicely for the latter part of the season.

    Good to see signs of life from Arshavin yesterday. I thought Arteta played particularly well – would like to see him shoot a bit more. Ramsey seems to be the only midfielder who shows any signs of ‘greediness’ in looking for goals.

  64. Aaron keeps doing a Nasri.He stops running forward ,turns and slows the game down.
    Cesc did it as well.
    Cant really blame him for trying to do a “Cesc” all the same.

  65. One of Us.
    ” And we are a team that does need to keep the ball ”

    Well are we?
    We were,but where did that lead us?
    I like players who try things.(rather stating the obvious ,I know.Hence my AA obsession 🙂 )

  66. Billy’s Boots

    Interesting observation, George. I’ve admired Ramsey’s growing comfort with the ball and his ability to weave out of tight situations (à la Cesc), but you are right, at times he sacrifices quick attacks (or counter-attacks) for the sake of possession. Generally, he does very well (eg the pass for Theo’s one-on-one). With time and experience, he will get better at consistently choosing the right option.

  67. what hjappened to miquel? he could slot in at leftback.

  68. Korihikage.he allowed City to score.And seems to have paid a heavy price.

  69. Limestonegunner

    Warnock exposes what a small minded petty manager he is with those post-match comments. He really went out of his way, with a snide comment about how quiet it was at the Emirates, implying that our goal wasn’t a good one, and twice really putting RvP down as a theatrical cheater. I don’t think anyone is going to be looking to get RvP–it really just makes Warnock look like silly. RvP had three excellent chances he didn’t take beside the goal he scored. QPR’s centre backs could not play with him. The occasion where he squared the ball for Gervinho was a great example of his strength to shoulder Wright-Phillips off the ball and still have the speed and skill to make the perfect pass from the by-line.

    He should be very thankful Taraabt wasn’t sent off. If we had played them with 10 men for a half, I think we would have scored several.

    I will say that RvP does look to have possibly controlled the ball twice with the top of his arm. That could be given by some refs, so hopefully he’ll be careful there.

  70. Billy’s Boots

    Djourou is showing a Jekyll-and-Hyde tendency in his play at the moment. At times, he seems almost afraid to make a forward pass. At others, he’ll step out of defence with the ball and glide past opposition players as though he was Eboue in his (all-too-brief) prime, eg his run and pass for RVP in the first half. There is a good player in there somewhere. Let’s hope he finds a way to show his good side more consistently. One would think that the run he’s getting in the side would help.

  71. “get in their faces” and “up for it” should warrant an immediate kick in the balls for any pundit uttering either.

  72. Limestonegunner

    PG, Cesc sometimes did that but he could also see a pass from deep midfield and connect to a streaking RvP or Theo with an incredibly accurate ball over the top or through the defense. That is one thing I miss from our midfield these days. Song’s ball over the top (Everton) and cross to RvP (Dortmund) are reminiscent of such accuracy. But we’d see that a couple of times every game from Cesc.

    Ramsey benefited from the rest. It is good to have Arshavin on with possession players because he will seize the advantage and keep us from playing too slowly or carefully around the box. Gervinho is terrific for this as well. Cuts through any defense.

    I would also like to see Arteta getting forward, playing through balls and taking shots as well. Song could have a pop too. With our fullbacks out and CB’s less able to overlap and provide width, we need to present greater danger from distance centrally to open up space for attack. Arshavin and Gervinho both like to cut inside, so Ramsey, Arteta and Song could do well to provide more threat from distance.

    I wonder if someone else could start taking corners on the right side. It seems like we could use RvP’s heading ability in the box or play it short to him more. I liked when we played the corner to Vermaelen beyond the box for his goal strike. So far I haven’t seen us winning too many corners for headed goals.

  73. Limestonegunner

    I wonder what team we’ll see for Fulham. Gervinho will start, Theo probably will. Can we rest RvP and have him come on from the bench? Maybe Arteta deserves a rest with Coquelin and Song playing behind Ramsey.

    Here’s what I suggest:
    Chezzer
    Djourou-Merts-Kos-Miquel
    Song-Coquelin
    Theo/Arshavin-Ramsey-Gervinho
    Park/Chamakh/Theo

  74. Happy New Year! Oww my head hurts.

    Nice piece there OOU, thanks man.

    LG

    Dont think we will see that many changes mate.

    And as for thsat twit slating Per? Do me a favour!

  75. LG

    I think we might see the same team that finished the game yesterday and then Wenger an rest most of them for Leeds next week.

  76. Excellent report, OOU. Fourth place mission accomplished. Our next mission, should we choose to accept it (and we do) is to overhaul Spurs and then put pressure on the top two. This team will NOT self-destruct in five minutes.

    Warnock is abit of a weasel. He has had a regular column for the Independent for many years now and has used it to take swipes at the club on many occasions. This has continued despite having been a guest at the club once or twice and having been treated (according to his own report) with impeccable courtesy and kindness.

  77. George

    WE could have gone in for Baines last summer but didnt, so can’t really see that happening now. TBH I prefer Santos, which makes his injury all the more frustrating.

  78. I really hope we dont go in for Bridge.

  79. Bendtner misses a sitter. Now, why isn’t that strange?

  80. Limestonegunner

    Dex, certainly Miquel comes in. Probably RvP starts, but do you think Gerv stays on the bench? I don’t. So I think only Arteta and RvP sitting, of my changes, are iffy. If we had any real confidence in the backup strikers or in Theo centrally, that would happen because RvP has played every game in the Xmas period so far. Villa, Wolves, QPR and now Fulham is just two days after. That is a real stress. Arteta has played every game besides the CC/CL dead rubber for us.

    I am concerned about the Vermaelen injury. I don’t know how he got it but playing out of position where there is a lot more running for the last several games on top of one another is a possible contributing factor. We have seen Djourou get a groin strain and Vermelen a calf strain–both CB’s playing wide. You can do it for a couple games here and there but if they play there for a few weeks in training and a string of games, I could see these muscle problems not being unlucky but related to the situation. Vermaelen has played there for Ajax and Belgium, so I’d expect him to be more capable and used to the position physically and mentally. Maybe it has nothing to do with where he was playing at all.

    But, hopefully we can bring in someone on loan and get Gibbs fit. Going into the Manchester game and CL v. Milan, I’d like us to have more depth at CB and real overlapping play from our fullbacks–at least on one side–without risking getting injuries playing out there.

  81. “PG, Cesc sometimes did that but he could also see a pass from deep midfield and connect to a streaking RvP or Theo with an incredibly accurate ball over the top or through the defense.”

    Well we were always going to miss the best creative midfielder in the world.No matter what we now think of his antics.

  82. Nice write up big Al. Great to be in 4th place. Never would have believed it was possible 2 months ago. Could not have asked for a better set of results yesterday. Our team defense has fantastic. After we scored yesterday I never had any doubt that we could hold the lead. Addition of Per and the maturation of Wojo has been the huge along with the amazing Kos. Arteta has improved our defensive IQ and the team is so much more organized. In past years our defense has melted down during the last 1/3 of the season but I have no concern about that happening this season. I have criticized Arsene and his staff in the past, I have to give him just as much credit now. Great stuff. Consistent defensive solidarity bodes well for our future.

    Fulham is always tough at home. Hopefully we can get 3 points and keep inching closer to Spurs. Still concerned that we need to score some more goals. Hopefully TH will have an impact in the next couple of months. We will really miss Gervinho. Even though he has missed a lot of chances he is consistently our 2nd best threat. Losing TV5 takes away our biggest threat on set pieces so someone needs to step up.

    Happy New Year to everyone. Its been a difficult year for our team and hopefully 2012 will be better.

  83. Limestonegunner

    FG, what’s his problem then? I haven’t seen his column, so thanks for the context there, but it did seem to me that there was more than the usual hostility. Does he resent us from his time with Sheffield United? It was remarkably mean-spirited.

  84. Bill.4th by Xmas.
    Its the half way point,is what I should have said.
    I am a soothsayer,no question now!

  85. Yes george, I agree on the early start issue. Causes a few problems for us out of towners.

    Don’t know wether to stick with my original plans to stay in town on saturday, allowing for an evening pint or two, or change to Friday night for a pre match drink. Or say bollocks to the idea!

    Any thoughts from potential meet uppers? Yogi wil have to coordinate!

    Darius has gone missing. Like so many others before him. Let’s hope for a speedy return.

  86. @ LG
    I really couldn’t tell you what his problem is. When he first started writing, he was pleasant and complimentary, and often made a point of mentioning us, but some years ago his attitude switched completely. Perhaps he was thwarted over a loan deal or something? In any event, the turnaround was quite abrupt.

  87. Limestonegunner

    Bill, we really need Theo to get into a clinical mood again. His overall game has been improving and he has been playing well. His goals have dried up a bit but he still is making chances and getting into good spaces. Traore was able to track him though–seldom does one see Theo being caught by anyone when he gets the ball ahead.

    Arshavin will also start playing more and I think will do the job–not the defensive job or the possession work. But he will help us split defences with intelligent and creative passes and the odd strike. I hope he takes more shots, because he has been close recently and could really add some goals if he gets confidence and form back through opportunities.

    I am not sure where Thierry will play–just as a reserve or out left as well? He isn’t going to be tracking back defensively either so the loss of Vermaelen is actually a very big one. If you put Miquel back there, he will need more support. At least with Vermaelen there weren’t worries about defending that side.

    But, like you I think we should be active in the window and make every attempt within our budgets to strengthen. We are looking good in 4th but I expect there are still twists ahead and our margin over Chelsea and Liverpool is quite narrow. Also, it would be spiritually unhealthy not to target Spuds ahead of us very seriously. St. Totteringham’s day has become a regular holiday–it would not do to let it lapse in our 125th year celebratory season. And we should try to go to the semis at least of the CL and/or chase the FA cup. Still so much to play for apart from consolidating 4th position.

  88. Limestonegunner

    I sense a Blind Pig/ LG-Irish level of calamitous hilarity on the horizon!

  89. Bob,Darius has gone missing,full stop.
    Not from ACLF,just gone.
    Joking apart ,I am fretting.
    If I come to the Blackburn game ,I will stay the night in London .But I don’t want to be sat on my Jack Jones.So I am of a mind to “say bollocks to the idea” ab you so well put it.

  90. Limestonegunner

    Thanks, FG. After what he has done, I am not rooting for QPR to stay up. Between him and Barton, now, the club has a negative feeling for me. Still keen on the other two promoted sides, but I’ll be glad if QPR joins Bolton and Blackburn in relegation, though it is a tough call between them and Wolves for me. Now that Frimps, alas, is going there, I hope they stay up and he gets playing time. Unfortunately, McLeish’s Villa and Pulis’ Stoke look safe this year.

  91. George:

    I have to give you credit. I thought you had gotten some bad drugs when you first said 4th by Christmas but New Years is close enough. You also said that this squad might keep the most clean sheets in the PL this season. I thought that was even more ridiculous but you may be right about that one too. Tip of the hat to you.

    Limestone:

    We have the best striker in the world in 2011 bar none, yet we still have only scored more then 1 goal at home in 4 of our last 16 games. Basically we need to keep a clean sheet in every game to get 3 points. Getting our fullbacks healthy will help but our problems predated their injury issues. Hopefully someone will step up. The problem has become more then can be explained by a short run of poor shooting from everyone not named RVP. Hopefully someone will step up.

  92. Traore is as fast as Theo, its his main attribute. Pity he couldnt develop into a decent LB or he’d still be at the club.

    LG

    The tram that finished the game will probably start vs Fulham I think. So thats Coquelin at LB, Gervinho, THeo and RvP up top. Some players really need a break but it will have to wait until Leeds

  93. “You also said that this squad might keep the most clean sheets in the PL this season.”

    I had forgotten about that.Even more soothsaying.

  94. tram? team

  95. “Basically we need to keep a clean sheet in every game to get 3 points.”
    Not really Bill.
    Perhaps it means that once we have a goal lead we sit on it.Like when Arsene subbed AA yesterday and put on a ball retainer TV7.
    We also can come again if we are pulled back.More so than teams of the recent past.

  96. George.

    I did not forget.

  97. Spin it however you want George. Just like our issues with defending in past seasons, the numbers don’t lie.

  98. @LG
    Where do you think we need to strengthen? I know that you want us to sign a striker but I think that has been ruled out (unless an exceptional opprtunity presents itself) and that is why Henry has been brought in on loan. Any other areas you feel we are weak in? Not just in the short term, I mean.

  99. Paulie

    indeed..if a players arms are down by his side and the balls heading to nowhere, abit like what happened with richards against city…you can understand the calls not going our way..
    but when defenders are resembling goalkeepers in their attempt to block a shot/save a shot at goal its a bit different..its alot different

    young may not have known anything about it..but its potentially stopping a goal..it was a shot after all…theres no other decision that can be made..

  100. Bill ,I am not trying to spin anything.
    I remember the old team attacking because it was our best defence.I just don’t think that is the case anymore.
    Mainly due to (as you rightly kept telling us)the defence needed to be stronger.Well now it is.So………………

  101. Fungunner

    I know you were asking Limestonegunner but I am going to give my thoughts to your question, if that’s OK?

    I think we really ought to sign a striker, a creative midfielder and only due to injuries a defender now. The last one on loan if possible. Getting all those in january will be really tricky, but the first 2 are positions I felt needed strengthening back in the summer.

  102. Nasri subbed. Not going quite to plan for the money grabber.

  103. Warnock’s comment was beyond petty. I’ve never seen a manager go on like that about an opposing player. With Barton in his team and this display of jealousy, I wouldn’t mind them getting relegated.

  104. @ Dexter
    I’ll start with the easy one – I agree about needing a defender on short-term loan.

    The midfielder I don’t think we need – numerically we are overstocked in midfield and all of Song, Ramsey, Arteta, Rosicky, Benayoun, AOC are creative. That’s not even taking into account JW and Diaby, probably the best of the lot from that point of view. If we weren’t creating chances, that would be a different story. but we are creating lots and lots of chances. Finishing them off is the problem, which brings me to the striker.

    ..And I’m going to disagree with you again! Given that AW is keeping faith with Park, we are looking for a temporary solution, and that means Henry is perfect – an experienced, quality player who can finish, who knows the PL, who can play anywhere across the front three, who will give us workrate and fight, and (here I disagree with LG) will track back if playing out wide. And he is prepared to just be cover.

    We tried to get Jovetic in the summer, that I know, but as I said yesterday, what we are doing is not in fact “shopping”, it’s negotiating and persuading other people that what is in our interest is in their interest as well – so it’s not surprising that it doesn’t always work out.

  105. Looks like Nasri left Arsenal a couple of years early. Hleb mc2. And I loved Hleb.

  106. dexter i share those thoughts..
    i think we need a creative force in midfield, preferably someone who can play wide as well..
    also a striker…preferably someone who again can play wide..

    a lb would be nice short term as well although i wouldnt mind signing one and sending gibbs on loan for as bit to see if he can stay fit,,,

  107. Gains

    I missed Warnock’s comments. He is a bit of a rascal.

  108. FG

    We lost 2 top midfielders in the summer (no shit! 🙂 ) therefore I think we needed to get a player of similar quality (in Cesc’s case almost impossible I know) I think Arteta is a brilliant signing and benayoun on loan really astute and add depth to our squad which was needed. But that doesnt mean we dont need a top cewative midfielder.

    If we had decent striker cover then RvP wouldnt be getting overplayed like he is. How confident would you be vs Fulham if Robin wasnt playing?

    Park isnt getting a sniff and even if he does get games, I can see him playing out wide anyway.

    I think mentioning Diaby is a bit of a stretch at present, the poor bloke can’t get a break can he?

  109. @ FunGunner

    Yes, Warock’s attitude towards AFC is puzzling. In his column yesterday, he mentioned how grateful he was that the club let QPR use their private plane for their recent trip to Swansea. Warnock said that it enabled, irony of ironies, Joey Barton to return to London in time for the birth of his child. Maybe that was why Barton was (marginally) less annoying than usual yesterday. As for Warnock, his comments about RVP on MOTD came across as very mean-spirited.

  110. Limestonegunner

    FG, here are my thoughts for discussion.

    I think a striker/attacker is warranted. I don’t think it has been ruled out necessarily just because TH is with us on a short term loan. In fact, I think it could be the right way to explore a longer term attacking/striking option (either in midfield or one of the forward positions) without being under pressure because Chamakh is away at the ACN. AW has long said the ideal way is to bring someone in is to give them some time to get used to the PL. The long term goal is strengthening forward options, which AW loves and has a history of doing in January even on big money and especially when top 4 is at risk as it still is. We should remember that Arshavin, Rosicky, Chamakh, Theo and RvP could all leave this summer for reasons of age, contracts, form/fit, desire for first team football and a big contract and so on. I don’t know if Bendtner is proving to be the talent or character that Arsenal want; Vela has not made a case for a return yet either, and Joel Campbell and Ryo are both very young. The Ox is coming along, but Park is not even getting the chances to show he is ready and isn’t a long term solution anyway as next season could be his last with the club.

    So for this season and for the future there are reasons to consider someone of quality in the attacking area. If the right player is available at a fee we can afford and wages that are within our limits, I think the club will be and should be looking to strengthen.

    In midfield, I think we are in good shape. The one concern here is that relying on creativity for a whole season on Ramsey, young and coming back from a serious injury (he needs to be rested some as well), and Wilshere (who is coming back from a long injury and hasn’t played his first team Arsenal football in that position) is a bit risky. JW is proven where Arteta plays but Arteta hasn’t yet shown that he is ready to take over creative forward attacking play the way Ramsey does. So we are short of experience there besides Rosicky, who I expect to play more now that he is injury free. But since he might be leaving this summer, this is another area that’s related to attack where if some good opportunity arose for a player AW really likes, maybe something could happen and I’d be happy to see us taking the initiative now. It isn’t as high on the priority list, I would think, but more a matter of taking an opportunity if available.

    I don’t think the club finished it’s work this summer. We were stymied by the delays in resolving Cesc and Nasri situations and some of our initial bigger targets weren’t available. AW did a great job bringing some veteran players who have helped us tremendously. But, if there is a chance to grab a younger quality player (21-25) that AW has had his eye on, he might do it.

    LB is a short term issue but a real one and has been for a while with Gibbs’ injuries and the blow of losing Santos. Vermaelen can do the job but it is costing us in attack a bit and perhaps contributing to injuries and erosion of depth in central defense. Given how wonderful being more solid there has been for our team, that’s not something we want to risk or sacrifice if we can get some help.

    Those are the opportunities I see. I don’t know who is coming through or how quickly or what the thinking will be about some of the older players with under two years on their contracts will be. There are several ways to address them however and one opportunity is the January window, which hopefully can be used effectively for the appropriate mix of short-term and long-term options for the club. Pardon the length of my post.

  111. Rascal

    Rascal | Define
    /ˈræs kəl/ Show Spelled[ras-kuh l] Show IPA. noun. 1. a base, dishonest, or unscrupulous person. 2. a mischievous person or animal: That manager is a real ugly cunt …

  112. have to disagree fun..
    wengers not keeping faith with park…hes still very much against the idea of using him still…
    hes brought henry in cos hes losing chamakh and gervinho and they come back as henry leaves..
    wengers got no intention of using park…if he was he wouldnt have got henry and park would have played by now..

    all it shows is hes relying on robin to stay fit and chamakh to find form after the acn…and henrys come into help in the meantime so he doesnt have to use park…

  113. Agree with FunGunner…..
    plenty of versatility in midfield……

    as far as attackers…….we only need our existing players to play more consistently…
    Gervinho and Theo in particular…

    Henry could possibly be a stimulus for our attack……just the added confidence of his presence on the pitch and the tactical problems he creates for our opponents.

    Arsenal definitely need to sign a loaner at LB……Coq is Song’s back up. When Gibbs, Santos, Vermaelen will actually return is unpredictable.

  114. Haha! That as well George.

  115. Sunderland doing a good job of frustrating Moneybags so far.

  116. @ Dexter
    Why do we need a new Cesc if we are creatign scoring chances? What are we missing? We’ve adapted our game to our personnel. Instead of Cesc creating most of our chances, others are chipping in.

    As for overplaying Robin, isn’t that covered by getting Henry in? If AW really had no faith in park or Chamakh (when he returns), we’d be looking at a longer-term loan at the least, wouldn’t we?

  117. Henry covers Chamakh and Gervinho’s absence FG.

    Are we creating loads of chances though? We are more solid, more efficient and play differently to when Cesc was our hub and I am happy with that. Doesnt mean we can’t add a creative player in midfield though.

  118. Limestonegunner

    Sorry, took so long drafting such a verbose post that I missed some of the good points already raised between you and Dex.

    Midfield is stocked but I don’t think Benayoun really plays the creative attacking role–he seems better as a wide forward. But I can accept that in a pinch we have cover for Ramsey in Rosicky.

    I’ve watched a bit of TH in the MLS and I think it would be a misuse of him to expect him to run on the wings for 70 minutes, so I don’t see him starting there unless we accept that like Arshavin his defensive work is mostly (not all) going to be pressing at the front and then coming back when he can. His effectiveness is going to be his intelligence, savvy, and deadly skill up front. As a sub, I am sure he can cover the wing the way Arshavin does when he comes on. It was not a slight on Henry. It just isn’t his game right now and doesn’t work to the advantages he brings. It is just a suggestion of what his role might be when he comes on. He is versatile across the front, certainly. But I hope no one expects him to play like Theo or Gervinho up and down those wings.

    I am not sure what “keeping faith” in Park really means. One quarter of his time at Arsenal is already over. If he isn’t on the bench/ playing at Fulham, didn’t play at home v. QPR or Wolves and Henry is being signed, I think it suggests that he has some more work to do to be ready. Eventually that could happen but in no way is Park a long-term solution. My suggestion is that there are big advantages to looking for a long-term solution this January, if possible. If the options aren’t great, so be it, but “keeping faith” in Park doesn’t have to mean that you don’t look or shouldn’t want to look for better long-term opportunities when you have a chance to do so.

  119. Considering who we tried to sign in the summer kind of shows Wenger is looking to add a creative midfielder too.

    And I would be chuffed if we signed Jovetic too.

  120. exactley dex
    we lost two quality mids who made us dangerous in the final third..

    the players we brought in have made us more solid and more battle hardened, more up for the fight, but weve lost the creative edge.

    and as for the strikers well you can never have too many top forwards…these last few years are the first time in the whole of wengers reign that weve been really short of quality strikers..ive never known to be so weak..

    weve got one…whereas until a couple of years ago we always had 2-3..when we went invincible we had 4..

    it needs strengthening…

  121. I’ll challenge you on that, JJ. With Gerv and MC away I confidentely predict that we will see Park playing in the league several times in the next two months. He won’t start, but he will come on as a sub.

  122. Maybe we signed Henry to play left back!

  123. What a finish by Sunderland!

  124. Hahahaha! Sunderland score!

    That Sessignon’s a good player man

  125. henry, bergkamp, wiltord, kanu.. top quality strikeforce

    rvp. ade, dudu.. quality strikeforce

    rvp, chamakh, park… ..doesnt fill you with confidence unless robin plays 90mins of every game..

  126. Bloody jammy O’Neil, the goal was offside.

  127. The New Years’ gifts keep on coming!!!!!!!!

  128. get in sunderland
    offside by a mile but who gives a shit

  129. Hahahahahaha….

    Perfect start to 2012…….last gasp offside goal…Jiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  130. Even better that Samir “ambition” Nasri always seems to get substituted at the earliest possible opportunity……

  131. Sunderland played so fucking poorly, sure they defended like an away team, but as an attacking threat? Nothing, yet up pops the Korean dude who I thought was going to fall over instead of scoring.

    Boooom! Thank you baby!

  132. Makes up for the perfectly good goal we had ruled out for offside against them! Maybe things do even themselves out after all!

  133. Wonder if we’ll get a few Nasri interviews where he bemoans his decision to leave a la Hleb

  134. man cite down arsenal up up up up up

  135. Fuck yeah, Ji does Oil City. Their second loss of the season and a perfect start to 2012. Are the wheels finally coming off? Mancini needs to spend! Let us not bury all title hopes just yet. 9 points aren’t the world.

  136. We have to do what is necessary to get the 3 points at Fulham. It will not be easy, but God will not keep giving us these gifts so we must take full advantage of every opportunity.

  137. So, ManCity drop points again. The award ceremony has been postponed. Collapse anyone?

    The only sad thing is that ManU are the most likely to capitalise. Sometimes it baffles me how lucky Ferguson is. I mean, after that defeat they are still joint top?

  138. City…..LOLZ

  139. Evil too right man!

    Passenal

    Yeah, we have to be at our best and that means RvP will start again. Arshavin too I reckon. In fact I’d play AA behind RvP with Gervinho and Theo out wide. But that never happens so it’s all pie in the sky.

  140. what a start to the new year for us without even kicking a ball! Sunderland, u guys are the best. LOL

    The value of the 1-0 to the arsenal of yesterday just increased as Man city lost!

  141. Happy New Year One and all… Big Al. Thanks for a fine report… continuing the excellent ACLF standard!

  142. After witnessing the arrogance and nastiness of man city fans first hand after the game the other week, I would rather united won the title than them. Obviously we are going to win it anyways! 🙂

  143. It depends on how he has recovered from yesterday Dexter. I thought he looked tired towards the end of the game. But the Fulham game will be tight as they are defensively solid. We will not get many clear-cut chances so we need someone clinical to take advantage of the scraps. RVP will not play in the FA cup so he would get a rest for that match.

  144. Dexter | January 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I agree. I know it’s petty, but I really don’t want Mr Ambition aka Na$ri to win anything!

  145. The oily billionaire bastards lost 1-0 to Sunderland. And a jammy off-side goal as well. Tells you money can’t buy love nor luck.

    I hope this is a humbling lesson to all those fans who joined the media in crowning Oil City EPL champions from the start of the season. Though I doubt it.

    What a start to 2012.

  146. Passenal

    Thats what I think; van Persie can be rested for the Leeds game, along with most of the 1st teamers.

  147. @Dexter
    I would prefer both of them to lose.

    For me ManU are the ultimate bad boys of football. I mean, after Ramsey’s injury what does Ferguson do? He calls Shawcross and supports him. What a classless man.

  148. SV

    Obviously in an ideal world neither would win anything ever again!

  149. Goes without saying SV, but if we can’t win it, manure are marginally the lesser of two evils.

  150. Utd lost, Citeh lost, the Chavs lost and the Spuds drew. There IS a Santa Claus!!!!!! 🙂

    Happy New Year everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  151. Hargrieves, Bebe, De Gea… In the ideal world they would pay a heavy price for those expensive misjudgements. But somehow they get away with it. Establishment club? The favourites of the press? It all helps them I suppose.

  152. For those of u who were unable to watch the game.

    Then there is full games videos of almost every match to watch online or download at this website. You will be able to watch the whole game.

    Enjoy
    http://arsenalvid.com/

  153. Arsenal games that is

  154. Also ManU business model is based on success on the pitch. No other club is as much vulnerable to a trophy drought as them. Surely it will catch them at some point?

  155. we are going for it. 9 pts suddenly not so far off!

    man U gets so many breaks. Imagine that wigan red card that has since been rescinded, yet, man u has already made use of the advantage by scoring 5 goals!

  156. me, i never give up a title race until it is over!

  157. Limestonegunner

    Sunderland are doing the world of football a favor. Glad we got to play them first time around under Bruce as O’Neill seems to have reinvigorated the side. Mancini was probably looking ahead to the Liverpool game, since he has been whining about the schedule.

    I agree with those hoping we take advantage with a win at Fulham; it is vital. We didn’t seize the chance v. Wolves but this season has been generous. Now if Spuds would drop some more points to West Brom who are a dangerous side, as we have seen! Maybe Wolves can grab a point from Chelsea as they did to us. Will Frimps be with them? I’d love to see him tackling with abandon!

  158. That was nice. That left sided midfielder of Sunderland’s looks to be a great little player. And what a freaking debut for him, huh? Good on him and, although I never thought I’d say this, good on O’neill for believing in his youth.

    Cattermole seems to have knocked out his childishness and seems to have developed into a fine player.

    Next three fixtures for us, Manure and City.

    Arsenal: Fulham away, Swansea away and Manure at home.

    Manure: Newcastle away, Bolton at home and Arsenal away.

    City: Liverpool at home, Wigan away and Spurs at home.

    I think Manure and City will drop at least four points in this stretch of games. If we take all nine points we’ll reduce the gap at the top to five or less points.

  159. City were robbed and Sunderland deserved fuck all.However……………..

  160. the trophies arent handed out until may but i seem to think theres too many teams to catch..

    i think if we concentrate on catching spurs and creating daylight between us and 5th we’ll kill two birds with one stone and cement cl and finish nearer to the top than ppl expected but talk of the title should be shelved at the minute..

    weve only just got back in the top 4..

  161. In the spirit of the New Year and to help avoid any future failures in the ‘Let’s meet up and have a beer and watch the game’ department, I have decided to change my image to one of the actual me! Now there are no excuses, no matter how much cwider C’bob or Jonny or Limestonegunner drink.

  162. Bloody hell – Man City lose to Sunderland!! There is a reason why Santa wears red-and-white – he is clearly a Gunner.

    ****

    @ Limestonegunner

    I think the decision has been taken to stick with the striking options we have, and as a consequence, the loan option has been preferred. Park and Chamakh haven’t featured much yet, but AW is obviously prepared to give them at least until the end of the season. That’s what I meant by “keeping faith”. If he didn’t think they had what it takes, he would be looking for a long-term signing right now.

    There is a gap behind Robin, but it seemed to me that AW was very disappointed not to get the work permit for Campbell, which could mean that he is one of the possibilities for the long-term replacement/backup. As is Walcott. In the worst case scenario, RvP, AA, Rosicky, Theo and Chamakh all leave/are let go. But that leaves us with AOC, Ryo, Diaby, Wilshere, Coquelin etc. And it is the worst case scenario – it might not come to pass. I understand that you are thinking of the long term, but I assume there is a plan – there always is, and just because I don’t know what it is, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    Yes, I also prefer Benayoun as a wide forward, but Dexter was talking about creative players, and YB is one.

    We are doing well with the players we have fit. Of course it’s always possible to strengthen, in the sense that even Man City do not have the strongest squad it is possible for a club to have, but that does not mean that our squad is not strong enough to take us at least a couple of places higher. If someone amazing becomes available, I’m sure we’ll go for him, but that situation is not guaranteed to occur.

    You’ve seen him play recently and I haven’t, so I accept what you say about what Henry will bring. But surely the ability to finish, and the other strengths you highlight are what we need most of all, given that so many chances go begging?

    I’ve already agreed about needing an emergency defender and without Santos, I’d agree there was a case that there is a long-term issue if Gibbs can’t stay fit. But TV has shown he is genuine cover for that position as well.

    @ Dexter
    Doesn’t matter who Henry’s covering for – the point is that he’s a goalscorer and goalmaker.

  163. We’ve been given the biggest lifeline, we HAVE to take this opportunity tomorow.

    I want the players to look at the table and say

    Impossible is nothing

  164. @ pedantic george | January 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    “City were robbed and Sunderland deserved fuck all.”

    Good! ha ha!

  165. I would prefer if City won the title instead of Manure. As much as I hate City and Nasri, I hate Manure twice as much. City fans may be crass upstarts, but the Manure fans’ arrogance knows no bounds. I would love nothing better than for them to do a Liverpool.

  166. Every game’s a must win, pretty much. And I agree with team spirit – don’t concede the title until it’s mathematically impossible. Half a season to go, we’re the form team. Anythign can happen.

  167. And if Man City win, they’ve bought it.

  168. FG

    You said signing Henry was proof we werent going for a striker. I was just pointing out it was more likely to cover absences during the ACN.

  169. City fans are as arrogant as United ones simply because of the money, they haven’t won the league, yet act like complete twats already.

  170. FunGunner – I think Henry will surprise a lot of people as he is no where near as slow as people are being led to believe. He still has a fantastic burst of pace over the first couple of yards which is all a player of his calibre needs. I do not see him charging the length of the pitch and scoring like he did at the Spuds but he will be one of the best loans ever. Having read your earlier postings, may I just add that Rosicky should play more as he is an outstanding player who is amazing going forward when he feels the defense is solid. When he does not feel that way he is more likely to hang back in midfield and try and play more of a defensive role. I like this seasons Rosicky, he is fully focused on attacking when we have the ball, his confidence is directly related to the amount of faith he has in the defense, which this season is a lot. On a slightly different tack, Frimpong is going to Wolves for the rest of the season and as much as he needed that, who do you see covering Song in DM now?

  171. Fun, that ball from Vermaelen to Van Persie, where he hit it over the bar with his right, was absolutely beautiful. I don’t know too many CBs who can deliver a pass like that. Vermaelen is an absolute gem.

  172. Right,

    It’s been proposed to meet up for the Blackburn on 4th February. There are a number of people coming from out of town and need to decide on which is the best night for a hotel stay (not together, before any spouses pop in with a choice comment or ten) so a quick heads up on numbers would be appreciated. Those who are interested, make yourselves known.

  173. Moe

    Thanks for that link earlier man. Nice one.

    Irish

    Coquelin is Song’s cover dude.

    I also think Rosicky is an outstanding player, always have done.

  174. Irish, Franny Coquelin was kept in the team for a reason. With him and Diaby coming back from injury soon, Song will be well covered. And if all our options don’t work out I’d stick Verma in the middle. Hell’ I’d stick Verma upfront as a lone striker, in the hole behind Van Persie or at goalkeeper. The dude is an incredible footballer.

  175. Nah, Dex. Man City win a title and it’s the third in their history. If they win it you can always point out to them the fact that they were shit until they bought the league. If Manure win their 20th their fans will be unbearable. Further, I wouldn’t want Ferguson to retire with that legacy. It’s bad for football and bad for morality.

  176. Yogi
    pedantic george | January 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    If I come to the Blackburn game ,I will stay the night in London .But I don’t want to be sat on my Jack Jones.So I am of a mind to “say bollocks to the idea” as you so well put it.

    I think this one is becoming less viable.

  177. Wenger

    “I am expecting a tough game,” he said. “You can see that everybody finds a good motivation against Arsenal.

    “Everybody organises well, stops us from playing and that will happen again at Fulham.

    “Of course we have three points and will be very focused to get the win there.

    “For us it is always a difficult game at Fulham.”

    Wenger just summed up exactly what teams tend to do against us

  178. @ Dexter
    We may be talking at cross purposes here – Henry is short-term cover for two strikers who are going to the ACN. I think if AW felt we had a striker “problem” he would be looking for a permanent deal or at least a half-season loan, is what I am saying.

    @ IrishGray
    *jumps up and down clapping hands*
    I hope you’re right about Henry. Apparently he has been wowing everyone in training, so…!

    Rosicky to my mind is actually better than Ramsey but doesn’t have Ramsey’s engine and is more shot-shy. Ramsey did look very good yesterday. Just needs to aim to release the ball early every time and achieve more precision.

    And I would say Coquelin is Song’s backup without question. If we hadn’t had him, Frimpong wouldn’t have gone on loan.

    @ G69
    Yes – TV is something else.

  179. I know Coq is in the team for that reason but I do not think he is quite ready yet. He does not have the same presence that Song has. In as much as I would like to see TV in that role, I think Kos would be better suited as he likes to make those runs out with the ball rather than make a 30 yard pass. Plus I feel way more confident when TV is in the defense.

  180. Gains

    Ha, we aint gonna agree on this one man! I hate united but City represent all that is wrong with the game for me, they are killing it; obscene wages, openly unsettling players. Even ManU had to cave into Rooney’s wage demands as he knew how much he could get at City.

    As for Diaby, I think Arteta’s a more likely option to cover Song.

    It would be fucking awesome to have Diaby fit and playing again, shit imagine a fully fit squad? Now that is just too far fetched innit.

  181. Irishgray

    Mate, I think you do Coquelin a disservice. He is ready now and fucking quality! Course he might not have Song’s presence, but few do zand he is more a Makelelelelelelelele type of DM, Song is more like, well, Song!

  182. FG;

    I can’t even remember what the orignal discussion was now! I think I just said I’d like us to sign a striker in jan really. Maybe Yakubu! 🙂

  183. @moe… thanks… excellent site. obviously, i do not plan to re watch mancity vs arsenal… leave that to the coaches that need to review moves. enjoys the JG question session though.

  184. @ Irishgray
    I totally agree that Kos could play there (more so than TV, I would say) but I genuinely think Le Coq could hold down that position. He doesn’t have quite the physical attributes of either Song or Frimpers and is more of an all-round midfielder than a defensive specialist, but remember he played as first-choice DM for L’Orient for almost all of last season. He’s not Song, but he’s definitely able to deputise, I think.

  185. @ Dexter | January 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm
    ha ha! Good choice of Yakubu. He was bloody good against us, damn him.

  186. team spirit and Dexter

    My pleasure, i use in case i missed a match or just feel like gloating Like the Chelsea game

  187. Dex, Chelsea did the same thing as far as unsettling players (Cashley Cole), but look where they are now. The good thing about big money clubs is that they can’t sustain that level of quality for ever. Real Madrid has been doing the Galactico thing for more than a decade and all they have to show for it is one CL and two or three titles in a two team league. Chelsea for all their spending have won three league titles at most and no CL. The egos of those splashing the cash is so big that they’ll no doubt involve themselves with a managerial merry-go round. It has happened at Real Madrid (8 managers in a decade) it happened to Chelsea (6 managers in a decade) and it will eventually happen at City, since Mancini is not a top manager and is living on the reputation he built at Inter during the time the Serie A was mired by the match fixing scandal. If anything is certain with these clubs is that stability and continuity doesn’t matter much to them, since the nouveau riche owners of these clubs have an absurd corporate outlook that makes them this way. Therefore I wouldn’t mind City winning a few titles and falling off only to live up to the mediocre history of theirs.

  188. G69, Dexter

    You may argue which of the 2 mancky clubs you’d hate to win the title but I bet you both agree the bookies 3rd choice would be even worse.

  189. Gains

    The way I see it, United will drop right off when Fergie leaves so their time at the top is numbered. If City fail to win any titles or CL, chop and change managers and players, then their owners won’t be happy after the amounts they’ve spent and could well fuck off and make it less appealing for future sugar daddies in the process.

    Football needs to be rid of these super rich owners artificially pumping up clubs. If a club isnt run as a business then it shouldnt be allowed to run at all.

    Its this that is killing the game for me and is making me lose a bit of the love I have for football.

  190. True Dupsff, but that won’t happen! 🙂

  191. I think Le Coq is ready. Thus far we’ve only seen him play at CM alongside Frimpong so we haven’t seen what he can do when playing with the likes of Arteta and Ramsey. But if the 8-2 is anything to go by, then I think the boy is a monster. His marking of Rooney in that game was the only bright spot I can remember from that horrible day. Personally, I think he’s Flaminiesque in his determination while being much better at passing and finding his teammates on the pitch. Like I said the other day, I think Franny Le Coq is one of the best CM prospects in Europe. I’m confident that he’ll make Ramires, Romeu and Jones look sub-standard players in the near future.

  192. “After witnessing the arrogance and nastiness of man city fans first hand after the game the other week, I would rather united won the title than them. ”

    DEXTER take that back. I’d rather the devil himself won the cup than manure again!that is how much i loathe that team.

    Our Christmas gifts were delayed by santa but what a perfect way to end the year. Of the big teams we are the only winners and we make it to the top four. who would have thunk it after the horrid start we had?

    George you must be delighted that your boy AA has done well in the last two games. Here is to hoping he continues on the same track because there will be alot of pie to feed the masses that had lost the faith.

    I see one poor game from Theo and the bullies come out in droves, ffs the boy was just returning from illness and Traore didnt do too badly either covering him.

    I was very impressed by Lecoq on LB. no offence to Vermaelen but we looked to gain teeth in our attack when the former was introduced.

    Paul N (from previous post) I have also noticed in the last couple of games Song has been off colour. Hope he gets back to his usual monster self soon.

    Happy new year to you all again!

  193. Fuck the bookies. If internet gambling were legal in the states, I’d put a significant amount of money on the Spuds finishing below us.

    Dex, the Sugar Daddies are a passing phenomenon brought about by the current state of our society. We live in a materialistic age now, but that will go out the window just like the hippies went out a few decades ago. I predict that in the next five years the climate in England and the rest of the world is going to change to the extent that normal people are going to be turned off by such obscene displays of wealth. If you think people hate Chelsea and Man City for wasting so much money now, I doubt things are going to be nicer for them in five years time.

  194. I think the absence of Chamakh would be a great time to bring Aneke and Afobe into the fold. They both know Wengerball inside out and are home grown. Instead of taking a punt on someone who would take time to settle I’d rather see either of these boys given a chance against the lesser teams.

  195. Limestonegunner

    I agree with Gains on Coquelin and on the title. Chelsea pioneered this already–ManCity is nothing new. The old enemy is and has been ManU. Spuds winning is unthinkably bad. If it isn’t us, let it be bought for now.

  196. the only thing that city winning the title achieves is that cheaters win..these types of teams have been around for years blackburn started it in the 90’s…so its not exactley a phase they’ll always be about but we need to not let these teams dominate so a lack of silverware goes towards helping with that..

    its funny how spunking money is a massive gamble and doesnt solve anything but everyteam thats spunked money wins the fucking title…that theory needs to be disproved this year

    us or utd for the title, fuck city and chelsea and fuck spurs..

  197. Sorry firstlady, but I’d rather the red mancs for reasons given before and similar to what JJ said.

    Gains

    I think Aneke’s out on loan. As for Afobe? I don’t know what’s in store for him, maybe a loan as well. He was injured earlier in the season though. However, I don’t think either are quite ready to step up to the first team yet.

  198. Limestonegunner

    Gains, Vermaelen picked out Afobe in an interview on the Player as a reserve to watch–he said very directly that he is a really good player. Is he injured?

  199. JJ

    I remember when Serie A was on channel 4, I used to love watching it back then. Nedved was my favourite player. Lazio when on a massive spending spree when Sven was the manager I think, spent over £100m in the close season or something crazy like that. Can’t remember if they actually won the title? I think they did! Like you say, it’s not a new thing, hopefully city fucking up will make other Oligarchs and Oil Sheikhs think twice about funneling their ill gotten into football clubs.

  200. Limestonegunner

    Maybe Ji Dong-won’s goal will inspire his countryman, Captain Park Chu-Young. I’d like to see him play v. Fulham, at least coming off the bench.

  201. Win tomorrow and we will be 6 points behind the leaders

  202. For what it’s worth, I personally think Arsenal overall are in a far better state than a) most of our rivals and b) most observers of the game seem to appreciate.

    Putting aside the financials/sustainability argument – let’s just assume our long-term superiority here is in fact a given – the squad overall, when fully fit, is the most robust, gritty and tough as it’s been in many years. More than that, without fail, we look like a team. A tough, gritty, creative, exciting team, one that never gives up and one that never knows when it is beaten.

    Whilst most commentators are fixating on what happens ‘when’ RvP gets injured – well, the same can be said of most top sides – Messi @ Barca, Ronnie @ Real Mad, Looney at Manure; historically, the best of the best have all had an outstanding talisman and ours just happens to be RvP, right here, right now. There’s nothing unusual in that other than in RvP’s case, he had a prolonged period of intermittent injury going back several years.

    But he’s fine now, isn’t he?

    But that’s not a way I’d describe Man’s Yoo or Citeh or the Chavs.

    Manure have been flattering to deceive for some time (and Looney’s still skating on thin ice with Ferguson), Citeh are untested when the chips are down and even when the chips are up they don’t look anything other than a collection of hugely talented individuals. You can look but there’s little in the way of a ‘team’ in there, even less by way of team spirit. And Chelski are enduring the superb irony of an inexperienced manager buggering up an over-experienced (i.e., old) team.

    So I still maintain we are very much in contention for the league title and will get much closer to it than most people currently anticipate. If nothing else, the last two days alone have said points – and lots of them – are there for the taking against any of the top sides.

    And though it pains me to say it, I suspect the Spuds will be there in the mix at the end of the season – mainly due to their having little else to battle for, admittedly. But they are looking more of a team than Citeh, more threatening than Manure and evidently far more youthful and useful than the geriatrics in blue.

    A draw against Fulham won’t surprise me although it would be a disappointment – but I think the Wolves and QPR efforts will take their toll. Hopefully they’ll be as knackered as we will be ….

    But regardless of the result, we’ll still go far this season, of that I’m certain. And should Arsene sign a big name to join RvP, people will rapidly start to come round to that way of thinking.

    COYGs!

  203. dex i was a big fan of that show..used to love italian footy before it turned to shite..
    lazio were a nothing team, alot like city and chelsea, then they were smashing transfer records left right and centre and cleaned up when sven came..they won pretty much the lot..

  204. barca dont really rely on messi though..hes scores aload of goals cos hes shit hot and one of the best theres ever been in any era but if he spent a few months out im sure the still could still cope with the likes of everyone else in the squad being nothing short of world class as well…

    barca are the type of team who when someone as good as david villa gets a broken leg they dont shit themselves cos someone like david villa cant even get in their first team anyway

    same with madrid..if ronaldo gets crocked its not the end of the world, theyve got kaka benzema and higuian

    as for utd..theyve still got berbatov and hernandez who can bang in the goals rooney wasnt even their top scorer last year…

    weve got nobody else but robin..so little infact that our highest scoring player in the league after robin is a CB…. bottom libe is no we aint a one man team cos as a team we fight like warriors but take robin out and we are fucked…basically

    all the top sides have more than one striker whos a goalscorer..apart from us..

  205. JJ, Manure have always spunked money. They broke club records when they signed Ferdinand and plopped down huge amounts for Rooney, Carrick, Berbatov and their new recruits. And that was after they bought big before hand. Let’s not forget that Jap Staam was the most expensive defender ever at the time and Van Nistelrooy’s £19m, which was a fortune back in 01, came at the same time that Juan Sebastian Veron’s £28m transfer went through. Manure is just as guilty of buying titles as anyone else. It’s not like they went into such high debt because they remained a humble, fiscally responsible club. They’ve just managed to avoid getting blamed for the orgy of spending while placing the onus squarely on City and Chelsea.

  206. Limestonegunner

    Manure have always been big spenders, as Gains says. All those record signings. Their net transfer spend looks better because they sold Ronaldo for such a record sum, which I don’t think will be repeated for a while. The difference between them and City/Chelsea is that they could afford it. They have massive revenues. Their debt really doesn’t have anything to do with their spending. It has only to do with the leveraged purchase of the club by the Glazers who laid that debt on the club. The way they operate is actually quite fiscally responsible. It is just that their resources are much bigger than ours. For example, their net wages to turnover ratio is under 50% whereas ours is over. Commercially they far outstrip us and their matchday income is as good as ours. Fergie can afford to make bad mistakes on Berbatov, Carrick and so on without it costing them. All this sky is falling and the Glazers aren’t giving Fergie money is a bit rich since they spend like mad. The problem is that the takeover debt and Glazer ownership is costing them some.

  207. Nice one, Big Al.

    Im loving the results this weekend! If only the Spuds lost. Oh well.

    Happy New Year ACLF, Im hopin for some Best of 2011 music posts from some of you soon.

    Im looking at you Big Al, YW, Limpar, Steww, Vince, Last of the Country Genlemen, Jonny, Jabberwocky and whoever else I forgot thats into music.

  208. Oh and nice post arsenalandrew. Well said.

  209. Heard the stats somewhere that ManU had broken 15 transfer records in 13 years. ManU moaning about Chelsea and City spending big is a bit rich.

  210. Arsenal for the EPL…nuff said!

    what a strong second half of the season we will have! Since this year is the reverse and we started put porrly

  211. Dex, the Serie A went broke soon after that. I remember Sven buying Gaizka Mendieta for a ridiculous amount. That was the death of the Serie A. Food for thought for the Prem if you ask me.

  212. Gains/LG

    Don’t get me wrong, united have consistently spent massive amounts to win things, the season after the 98 double Fergie bought Yorke, Stam and Blomkvist for big big bucks. Fergie taps up players (as Stamm admitted in his biography) and regualrly gazump other clubs by offering more cash and blowing them out of the water.

    BUT I just fucking hate city and their chav mark 2 model more!

  213. Yep, definitely Gains.

  214. yeah gains utd spunked money as well but they cant be bracketted they same as city and chelsea.. it was utds money
    utd manipulted the business model first,,, they built on the brand that they made when georgie best was in the side and the busby babes and shit like that..
    OT was gradually upgraded through the years so theyve been raking in the pennies since the 70’s
    fergie didnt inherit a 75000 seater stadium it was only a 45-50 when he first came and thats been expanded and expanded and theyve had huge commercial success..they rake in millions and have done for years, when bechkam was there he was practically paying for every transfer and all the wages with the endorsements they were getting for golden bollox..

    utd get the piss taken out of them but every penny theyve made from the club has gone back into team under fergie and with the spending has come success and with the success has come more money for spending…

    when it comes to us though every penny we make goes into the bank and the success hasnt come and neither has the sponsers..

    weve got a board thats not prepared to spend the profits since dein left…. fergies had a board that always supported him (until the glaziers came to rob them) and thats the only difference between the two clubs..

  215. JJ, have you seen Barca play without Messi? They still pass the ball around, but they’re a shadow of themselves and that’s with Xavi in the side.

    If Ronaldo gets crocked, which hasn’t happened yet, they’re up shit creek. The only player who can give them anywhere near as much forward impetus is Di Maria. As it is, Di Maria profits from Ronaldo’s movement and doesn’t guarantee anything special by himself. He proved that in last summer’s Copa America with Argentina.

    Higuain and Benzema, although good, would be nothing if Ronaldo didn’t suck up as much defensive attention as he does. Otherwise they’d be amazing for Argentina and France, which they’re not. And not because they’re bad, but because they don’t have someone like Ronlado opening space for them. In a way Real Madrid would be much like when Rooney and Ronaldo played together at United. Rooney kept defenders busy and Ronaldo swooped in behind him. However, when Rooney was out of the side he wasn’t as effective. Real Madrid relies very heavily on Ronaldo. If he were out or Ronaldo is contained they look as average as they did against Barcelona the other day.

  216. JJ, whether it is with their money or not, they still influenced the craziness of the transfer market by buying big before there was any Abrhamovic or Mansour around. And if their brand was so golden back then why are they relying on floating shares in Singapore for revenue now? They bought their titles, have seen their club’s debt sky rocket and can’t afford to compete with the likes of Chelsea or City as Ferguson intended. That’s not prudent stewardship of the club when you consider how fucked they may be when Ferguson retires and they fall off like Liverpool did. No matter how much you comend them for being champions, their model is not substainable and it will come back to haunt them for prefering to win things now to the detriment of their long term future.

  217. As far as every penny being made by them being invested back into the team, I think the blokes with the green and gold scarfs may disagree with you. That may have been true before the Glazers and the group that sold out to the Glazers, but not now. Not by a long shot. They’ve accumulated massive debt and have to spend big in order to win titles. They’re on a vicious cycle that they can’t abandon even if they tried as they’ve forgone academy development for purchasing big in the transfer market.

  218. lol the utd model was perfectly sustainable they had less league titles than us before fergie came…and theyve got richer and richer..it was working just fine
    and stop putting words into my mouth i cant stand utd and i aint commending anything but i aint gonna sit here and agree with comments that i dont actually agree with…if your wanting city to win the league instead does that mean i can use the arguement that you commend city?? of course not cos that would be stupid seeing as though you hate the free spending sugar daddy model..
    the glaziers fucked utd up..why you think the glaziers chose utd to plough a billion of debt into…cos utd were the only team that could afford to pay for it… and we’ll see what stan does to us wont we…
    those in the green and gold..cos of the glaziers
    stocks in singapore..glaziers..
    utds debt..glaziers..

  219. Enough about the fucking wanky mancy c*nts!

  220. exactley..
    going totally off topic..we all want us to win..if not then some of us would rather utd won, some of us would rather city won..
    and nodoby in their right mind would want spurs to win..

  221. If not for local rivalry Spurs would be the obvious choice.

  222. Dexter has had enough Xmas spirit ,it would seem.

  223. Saw Bendy’s one on one. If only he were half as skillful as he is self confident. Who will agree to buy him? Don’t think he’ll be back.

  224. And before United Liverpool bought titles with Littlewoods Pools money(or was it Vernons?)

  225. The United model was perfectly substainable until one Arsene Wenger came in and broke up their hegemony on the league. As soon as he saw the threat that Wenger would pose Ferguson started breaking the bank in order to buy titles.

    How am I putting words in your mouth? Aren’t you the one who is saying how great the Mancs are for having won so many trophies?

    I don’t commend City. I simply said that I’d rather them win the title than let the original money spunkers have a 20th.

    No, JJ, United sold to the Glazers because the other owners weren’t stupid. Why do you think that all but a handful of chairmen in England are foreign and none of the top four are owned by English nationals? It’s because investments in sports are not lucrative and they are only seen as good investments by billionaires looking to improve their profiles abroad. And the Glazers didn’t plow a billion into United. They borrowed on the promise that United would be the best team in the world for the immediate future and put the club up as collateral to guarantee those loans. The Glazers spent zero of their own money on the United transaction. What they essntially did was make a leveraged buy out of United, but, unlike other corporate raiders, have stuck around to skim off the top until the gravy train keeps on chugging along. The group that sold out to them knew what would happen if they did what the Glazers did and fucked off scott free.

  226. I am full of spirit George, hence the massive fucking hangover today!

  227. Absolutely ANYONE but Man Ure for me.

    Even the Parkhurst murderers XI

  228. @SV
    While I am usually not one to turn on one of our players I really feel that Bendter’s time with us is over … and deservedly so. For all his promise and his self-confidence his end product has been sorely lacking. The miss against Barca, the one against City today, they just show that he might have the confidence, but not the ability required.
    However what really irks me with him is his behaviour off the pitch. It was tolerable for a certain amount of time, but it looks like there is no end to it. And that is one thing I just can not stand in a player. Maybe it’s just me, but Arsenal is a classy club that represents something and I feel that players that behave like Bendtner are putting a stain on it. So for that reason I really wouldn’t mind seeing him go.

  229. Evil

    Bendtner’s an ex-player in all but name man. He’s said as much. I never really thought he suited our way of playing to be honest.

    As for his behaviour. I think there’s a few more worse characters out there. Most of the England squad for a start.

  230. @Evil
    Bendy admitted that he would never come back to Arsenal, so all the bridges are burnt I think. There was a personal outburst between him and Wenger after the CC cup when he was dropped.
    Is he on loan because we were not able to sell him? I would think so. So may be we’ll just cut the losses with him.
    I agree that the worst in him is his attitude. As a second choice striker he would be ok-ish.

  231. saying Chelsea to offer £30 for Theo.

  232. @Dexter
    I fully agree that he is harmless in comparison to the properly scandalous players but I still feel that him being one of “ours” while he goes around dropping his pants, smashing cars etc. is not really what I want my club to be associated with.
    I just find it hard going around criticising John Terry, Suarez, John Terry, Bibotelli, John Terry and John Terry and then having to turn a blind eye on Bendtner because he is one of ours.

  233. last word on the matter
    fergie did indeed shit himself when wenger burst on the scene and was revelutionising the game with a a mixture of grit and flair..but fergies always spent money he was throwing it around in the 80s and when wenger was breaking record fees for teenagers like john hartson from luton and dein was helping him spend 30mil in one window without the sales of key players first nobody was complaining back then…

    no im not saying how great utd are im just saying why i dont want teams like city and chelsea to win the league..

    and i know what the glaziers did..i never said they ploughed a billion into utd..i said they plughed a billion of debt into them..

  234. yeah stand corrected on hartson cheers dups…
    i had jeffers in my head and applied it to hartsons signing for some reason..

    as for bendtner his career was over a long time ago with us..but he needs to succeed at sunderland or we might not be able to get rid…

  235. Wenger signed Upson as a teenager from Luton I think JJ.

    Thirty quid for Theo George? Bloody cheek of it!

  236. 30 mln for Theo? I like the player, but it would be good business. Get rid, unleash the Ox and buy a … nobody

  237. And I was beginning to forget your previous negative BS SV as well.

    Tut fucking tut man.

    Theo is integral to this team.

  238. @Dexter
    I agree he is integral. I meant it more sarcastic.

    However, I think Ox may become a better all around player.

  239. the only reason i can see us accepting 30mil for theo is if hes not putting pen to paper..

  240. SV I hope the Oxo kid does turn into a great player too. Glad you’ were being sarky! 🙂

  241. It is a concern that we have several players nearing one year remaining on their contracts. That shit needs to be sorted sooner.

  242. i would take £30 million and say “thanks very much old chap’s”

  243. @ LG/Dexter
    Off to bed, but I just wanted to to put some of what I’ve said today and yesterday in another way – I think that of course there must be strikers out there who AW would love to employ, but this doesn’t mean any of them are available to buy in this window. We have to accept that a player isn’t for sale just because we would like to buy him. I also believe that AW thinks Park and Chamakh can cut it in the PL. No point buying anyone who isn’t better than those two just because that person is available. But having said that, if a great opportunity comes up, I’m sure he will grab it, because he is always looking to strengthen. There may well be a striker on the way for next summer, but for now, a player like Thierry, who can do a job is a great option.

  244. If it was reinvested of course

  245. @ dups
    It’s a very uplifting article as well – thanks.

    Anyway, good night all.

  246. this is the thing though dex..
    last year we were saying we’d given 17 new contracts out and cementing our investments in our current players..
    but barring in mind clichy, nasri, song, theo, robin and even tommy v until this year werent even in the 17 it makes you think whats the hold up…surely our key players are the priority..

  247. Goodnight FG

    If park doesnt feature tomorrow, he aint ever! Night! 🙂

    George

    Wash your mouth out with that kind of talk. Bastard.

  248. There must be people who can run as fast somewhere?

  249. You’re showing your lack of football knowledge again George. You could get a show on Talkshite if you keep it up.

  250. kinda pulls on the strings that one dups.

    or tickles your bolllox…

    whichever phrase one likes to use..

  251. Dexter.First of the year to take my bait.
    I never thought it would be you matey

  252. I hope Theo isn`t the next one listening to his agent or being tapped up by his mates in the England camp.

    He should take a hard look at Samir Nasri & see just how green the grass is on the other side. We must inject our players with an `ordinary drug` when they leave.

    Anyway, I don`t believe a word of it. Theo`s a nice lad , speaks well (never drops an `H`), comes from a lovely family & has a scrumptious girlfriend. He wouldn`t do the dirty on Arsenal. Would he ?

  253. Jeeez George, there I was thinking you were being serious.

  254. Paulie

    It’s the agents man, they want a bumper pay day from Arsenal, so leak this transfer bullshit to their hack mates.

  255. Oh well you say that now

  256. to be honest i think 30mil for theo would be hard to turn down..
    not for me but for the board

    but personally although 30mil would soften the blow, and we could use it to get hazard 🙂 id be pissed off to invest all that time and patience and throwing stuff at the telly to see theo leave at 22 years old

  257. Only if its the same agent Modric has ,Dex.

  258. JJ, Arsene broke the club’s transfer record with Arshavin who came for £13m. Further, we financed the stadium in large part by selling players Arsene picked up for cheap and made a huge profit off of later on. How you came to involve David Dein and Jeffers in your story just to prove some type of equivalency with the Red Wanks is beyond me.

    All I’m saying is that if you hate money spunkers, then you might as well hate the originals. And it so happpens that the originals are also a club most of us loathe for reasons beyond this matter. That’s why I don’t mind seeing City lift the trophy at the end of the season. In fact, City winning the title brings with it the added bonus of humiliating Manure so it’s okay with me for that reason as well.

    Good night, boys. I’m off to watch some basketball.

  259. Ha! George. You jump on anyone who has the temerity to criticise Arshavin, so I know you wouldnt intentionally slag off off Theo.

    I mean, Arshavin’s been fucking useless and you still refuse to slate him.

  260. Throwing stuff at the tellly?
    Nice one JJ
    £39 is almost Goatieboy money

  261. Dexter,I don’t like your bait,I am not even circling.

  262. Apparantly Goatz is off to Bayern Munchen.

  263. `id be pissed off to invest all that time and patience and throwing stuff at the telly`

    Ha , nice one JJ !!

  264. Its a great piece Dupsff, thanks.

  265. for twitter users

    @14thierry_henry

  266. fair enough gains
    i hate the fucking lot of em

    we can agree on that

  267. City winning the title will blow the myth that you cant buy the title.
    We know you can ,Maureen did it and King Kenny of Cunts before him .
    But the media would not,and do not ,accept it.
    Well ,if ,or when ,City win it that will surly prove it.

  268. thats what the rumours are dex..

    the munich players have turned their noses up at reus…seb schweinsteiger basically told him we dont fucking want you..dunno whats hes done to upset them but they want gotze instead and dortmund want reus…

    probably all bollox..cant see dortmund selling to bayern..

  269. JJ

    Bayern seem to be able to get any player from another German team though. Although Dortmund selling to them?

  270. the pictures of henry on arse.com give it all away…the deals gone thru even though its not been confirmed yet..

    until last week he was wearing something like 43..
    hes been wearing 12 for about 4-5 days…

    thats how everyone knew he’d signed 🙂

  271. What are you saying JJ? Have we signed Henry?
    Fuck me that’s huge
    Wait until the press get hold of that snippet.

  272. Well that one slipped right under the radar. Not seen or heard anything about this signing.

  273. Who’s Henry?

  274. Yeh Dex but what a fucking signing .
    He could get Theo running even faster.Beep beep meeewwwwgh

  275. hahahaha..

  276. Run Theo, run….

    And if he can put a rocket up Arshavin’s fat arse we might be able to get more than a bag of sand for him when we finally offload the oxygen thief.

  277. I think PG just bit 🙂

  278. Here’s my team for today’s game;

    Seaman
    JD Koz Per Winterburn
    Song Vieira
    Overmars Rosicky Henry
    RvP

  279. Oops, got a bit carried away there.

    Here’s my proper one;

    Szczesny
    JD Koz Per Coq
    Song Rosicky
    Theo Arshavin Gervinho
    RvP

  280. no park or chamakh dex??

    but the others have played so many games some of them will be knackerd surely we have the squad to rotate in games like these?? 🙂

    i agree..
    thats my team as well…

  281. I would love to see that team take the field Dexter.
    I think the young Spanish lad will be LB,his knuckles have been rapped enough.

  282. I like Miquel George, but Coquelin did well vs QPR, so I think he’ll get the nod.

    JJ

    Yep the players will tire I reckon. Ramsey can have a rest though and Benayoun may also get a start too, but I think Theo and gervinho will come in handy for this game, while we just have to play RvP! 🙂

  283. heres a team to think about

    ——————-spunky
    –dicko—bouldy——tone—–winters
    ——————-flamini
    ——-rosicky—-cesc——hleb
    ————wrighty—–le sulk

  284. So Dex is Coquelin this years Flamini ?

  285. thing is this we get a break after this game..

    dont count leeds, we can play henry by himself and stuff those fuckers..theyve lost 5 on the trot and are conceeding goals at 3-4 a game..

    we just need to get passed fulham.,,the lads will be dead on their feet but one final push and its bubble bath and slipper time for two week..

  286. No George young Coquelin is a very good prospect and hopefully will develop into a fine player for us.

  287. haha george you dont like that team??

    i was going for the none invincible look..every arsenal 11 i see is littered with them

    i was thinking, old guard defence, creative wengerball at its best midfield and assasins up top..
    that team would win a few things..more than a top4 trophy and a mental strength trophy to go with the best business trophy… 🙂

  288. I am sure he will Dex.
    I mean like Flamini filled in at LB in the CL run

  289. Oh yeah george, he is a bit of a utility player alright. Does a good job wherever he is asked to play.

    JJ

    I was wondering what that weird choice of players was for man!

  290. but it is time for bed..
    catch yall in the morrow

  291. If that is not the team tomorrow Dexter,I will be disappointed now.
    Goodnight lads.

  292. Nite fellas.

  293. Le Coq is better than Flamini. Wenger made a deal for him with Lorient under the condition that he be played out wide. The same place Banfield and Bould were instructed to play him at until he went on loan.

    Weneger likes his central players to be able to dribble themselves out of trouble. That’s why he made Henry play wide right from his Monaco days, during his spell at Juventus all the way until he came to Arsenal and Wenger put him on the left. . Henry played out wide because Wenger told everyone to play him out wide on the right. made everyone think that was his best positiojn

    Le Coq and Frimper are FA youth cup winners along with Jack. All our youths are going to be hard core. Ramsey will be huge as well. So will Theo.

  294. Another game tonight!

    Szczesny
    JD Kos Monstersacker Miquel
    Song Le Coq Rosicky
    Theo Chamack Benayoun

  295. Happy New Year to all.

    Great review – love the style.

  296. 3 points between Arsenal and Totts (even with their game in hand with Everton) is open-ended now with 19 games and 57 points to play for. A result against them at home is crucial. We are close Jack. Anyone predicting this turnaround back in September was ridiculed. Remember? 9 points to the top is a lot of ground however, not impossible but a dream for now through. The second half of the season is often dominated by growing injuries, tight games, more draws and 1-0 results and squad depth and experience is truly tested. It’ll be a gritty affair. Totts still hold advantage, and no european diversions either, and Chelsea will fight all the way. United have some difficulties in depth in my view. They will now miss Fletcher, and Evra is not the force of last season. City have the edge in depth, but not in spirit, and with much of their early form built on Yaya, they may start to drop heads.

    For Arsenal I see advantages, and I just hope we use them. A little luck helps.

    Our main advantage should now be depth with returning players and growing form and confidence of Coq and Ox, as the erosion of players will take an inevitable toll and lots of little 2-week strains. By late February and into March, we hope Gibbs, Jack, Diaby and Sagna will make contributions in important ways, starting or off the bench. Henry might too, in January and February, it’s not easy to assess his impact, as it will be difficult for him to start. Santos may well make a late season impact too, although unlikely. Mainly however, we need Arshavin to find his touch. He could set the EPL alight. It wouldn’t surprise me.

  297. Just Another Luke

    Arshavin to start. I’m reading Arsene’s mind.

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