Down On His Luck, Brow-beaten But Arsène Is Not Broken. Jack Is…

When you are down on your luck, the footballing gods waste no time in putting their size 11s in as Arsène found this week. Jack Wilshere had adopted a talismanic status, the saviour of the season; it seems unlikely that he will be that. That the manager offered nothing more has been taken as a signal that the setback reported yesterday means his comeback will be in March/April/May/Euro2012/2012-13/Never (delete as appropriate depending on the reading of your own gloom-o-meter). Nobody knows, publicly at least, what the real scenario is or even dares to posit any theory which holds credibility; we have to wait and see.

It has intensified the despondency that hangs in the air following the recent run of defeats. By every measure, this has been the worst January during Arsène’s reign; never before has one of his Arsenal sides lost more games than it has won in this month or failed to take even a solitary league point. Quite simply it has been abysmal and as such, intensified the desire for new faces. Criticism now is now founded on an imponderable; Arsène’s failure to buy someone for £10m has cost the club £30m in Champions League money since that new face would have prevented the defeats at Fulham and Swansea whilst single-handedly beating Manchester United. No-one can prove it but like a great many criticisms of this season and those before, this has become an accepted fact without any substance behind it.

We simply will never know if a new signing would have made the difference in any or all of those three matches. As the window has passed without activity, deflated resignation is evident over the lack of business in the transfer market. Arsène observed yesterday that, at a push, he will have four left backs so does not need to sign one. The shifting sands upon which that theory is built are all too apparent. Santos is not fit and won’t be for another month or two, Gibbs returns to training on Monday but his injury record is such that for the moment at least, no-one can rely on him being available for more than a month whilst Bacary Sagna will soon be the only fit right back, Arsène’s relief barely disguised with that announcement. Which leaves Vermaelen.

Whilst I would agree that there is probably enough scope for the club to do without a left back now, it largely depends on Gibbs fitness. Miquel has promise but more centrally than as a full back. I understand the manager’s bluff; he is defending his squad, promoting the view that it is big enough and more to the point, good enough. The latter, through a succession of injuries and lack of confidence, is debatable. The players do not suddenly become bad overnight no matter what sage may opine that they do but personally, I have advocated two signings this winter; a left back and a good central option as back-up for Robin van Persie. I have already conceded the first but Marouane Chamakh is out of form, which is a fact. Why is almost irrelevant, simply that something needs to be done to cover the final months of the season.

The cost is already being felt. Not through goals but a lack of options on the bench. I am not going to revisit last Sunday’s reaction specifically but there is a definite sense that the trust in the manager’s judgement is waning. Yet it is still only a very vocal minority who want him replaced. Largely, it seems that a change of ideas is desired. A change of attitude. Less stubborness. A change of some sort. A change.

I contend that this is not going to happen. Arsène’s strength as a manager is also his weakness; stubborness and an unyielding public belief in his players. The latter is part of the PR game and that nuance is often overlooked by the stated desire for change. Quite simply, what is said on the training pitch and in the dressing room, stays there and does not find its way in any detail to the back pages. In that, you can see a relatively united squad. Malcontents are often the source of such leaks and there rarely is anything of the sort from the Arsenal dressing room. It does not mean that they are too nice, simply that they believe in, and respect, each other. A good sign surely.

And that is one that can be built on. The overwhelming negativity of that substitution has been taken as the general feeling within the stadium. That, we know, is not true. Largely The Emirates is supportive of the manager; dissension to one decision does not break the foundations. Arsène observed,

I always believe the fans’ reaction depends on us. It is the team that has to get the fans behind them, and the fans have to be proud of the team. The vibes have to come from us. Part of our job is to live with those emotional reactions. It is maybe becoming a bit more common in the modern world and you cannot ignore it, but you should not give it too much importance.

I will live forever for the values I think are right in football. One or two lost games or one or two bad reactions will not change that.

Football is a game of emotions which leads to an irrational logic taking hold at times, not just when things are bad either. Fragility of confidence on the pitch is reflected by those off it strikes me that is no different to how it was at Highbury. Collective groans there could be more damaging such was the proximity to the pitch. The manager sought to deflect away from the unsaid part of the bargain. The crowd lifting the players, something which must happen.

It is said that the players ought not to need lifting, they are playing for Arsenal. That confers the support we have for the club onto them. For the most part, they are not supporters. They play for the club, for each other, for professional and personal pride; to win. They will, when their time is up, for the most part want the club to do well, wanting the best. But right now, as much as we require a lift in our spirits from them, they need to know that the crowd is with them. A nice thought for tomorrow when we are at the ground.

My cup weekend starts today at The King Power Stadium. If you are not going anywhere, pop over to Arsenal On This Day for cup memories of a time when a Town had yet to become a City.

’til Tomorrow.



Posted on January 28, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 172 Comments.

  1. hi clf

  2. This has, traditionally, been one of the best days of the season. Granted Sky have diluted the plot but there is still much to enjoy and look forward to on 4th Round weekend.

    I still love to watch the lower league sides in thee Cup. So much aspiration and zest. Real ability and excitement as well.

    Go to a game if you can.

  3. Yogi a superb summary of the current situation as ever. My call for a reversion to our old formation is stronger than ever and seems to be echoed by many. Perhaps it si time for the likes of Keown, Bergkamp or particularly Bould to step up and replce Primorac and Rice and freshen coaching?

  4. Morocco out of ACN..Chamakh returns in 2 weeks…..should be in squad @ San Siro.

  5. For me the most interesting part of this week’s pre-match press conference was when someone asked AW about the UEFA report: ‘was it meant as a final warning’?

    AW: Pfff, ‘final warning’ yes, but everybody carries on as usual until they hit the wall. This is the funny thing about finance, that nobody heeds the warnings until they hit the wall.

    Or words to that effect. And how true. This man has studied his lessons in economic history. In modern football there are two competitions: one is football and the other is capitalism. You have your parvenue clubs like Mansour City, PSG, Malaga – spending like crazy to try to break into the big league, pursuing a high risk financial strategy in light of FFP. (FFP is the ‘wall’ by the way.)

    We have to see this issue as part of the manager’s strategy. Arsenal is as ready for the crash as any club (probably more ready). The only question is whether the regulator (UEFA in this case) will be prepared to enforce the rules once the inevitable happens. I don’t take a lot of confidence from the way the regulators have behaved post-GFC. On the other hand, there are a lot of little leagues outside of the top 5 who will want the regulations to work so that they too can get some of the TV money. The 2014-15 season will be extremely interesting.

    Man City could be the Lehmann Bros of English football!

    Although I’ll be a year older, which is not something I look forward to, I can hardly wait for the UEFA report on 2011 finances. If we can make 4th in a year of rebuilding the team, I’ll be doubly happy. In fact I’ll be ecstatic.

  6. ‘Yet it is still only a very vocal minority who want him replaced. Largely, it seems that a change of ideas is desired. A change of attitude. Less stubborness. A change of some sort. A change.’

    If you mugs only think it’s a minority then you maybe very suprised how the ‘minority’ have the power for force him out or the board crap themselves when Wenger’s ‘stubborness’,arrogance & lack of tactics costs the club millions.

    Many of the Arsene disciples would back him if we finished mid table for the next two seasons !

  7. Very apt article there Yogi.

    Without respect for limitations long term survival is barely a guarantee.
    That stubborn man values, above and beyond all things, longevity & a committed respect for the survival AFC. He just never shirks his responsibilities.

    Yes, one or 2 additions could have helped in January but reality says one cannot ride every wave in life successfully. U need to falter to improve your planning for the next day.

    So stay united we must.
    And in Arsene we’ve given our trust
    and by the way, just so its known..


  8. Red

    City won’t go under, it’s just wishful thinking. They have already driven a coach and horses through FFP which gives all of the other clubs you mention their “get of jail free” cards.

    It is time for people to get real about this. Uefa has created a set of rules that are so flexible, it is going to be hard to fail to meet the criteria. Arsenal need to get their commercial revenues in order to compete in the transfer market with clubs at their financial level – we can’t offer that which City, etc., do in salaries – so let these execs do their funky stuff to allow us to dominate our strata.

  9. mattgoonerknight

    Did Chamakh score in the tournament? I only caught half an hour of the Tunisia game – was playing well enough but nothing to suggest his apparent lack of confidence has in any way been restored.

    Great news about Arteta and Bac, can’t wait to see those two back.

  10. The damage was done before the Season started.Both Fabregas and Nasri should have been replaced with suitably talented players (Arteta plus one).At left back we really have no-one with any real defensive capability even when fit.No proper back-up to RVP and a Manager who has run out of ideas.If our “fringe” players were good enough they certainly would have proved the point by now-most of them have had enough opportunities.Those players who Wenger stood by, despite their poor performances, have proved so worthless that no-one has wanted to pay for them with a tabled transfer fee.The squad is full of “deawood”-how many other Premier League teams of any merit would play Djourou,Arshavin,Diabi,Rosicky,Chamackh in their sides.Of the “new signings” only Arteta because he is Premier League atuned has proven his worth.Mertesacker is too slow;Gervinho is the original headless chicken;Santos has no idea how to defend; Benayoun is simply a bench-warmer;I presume Park was just bought to sell shirts in Korea.Arsenal will not qualify for the Champions League next Season which means that they stand to lose 10s of millions of pounds.I could say that they will also then struggle to attract the right players but the clus’s transfer policies have become so derisory that this won’t have any great effect.Both Parker and Cahill should have bolstered our squad way before the Season began,and Alcatara should have come on loan from Barca as a part of the Fabregas deal.
    As things stand right now the club IS in crisis.All the good work following the predictably diasterous start has now been undone.The current run of form under most circumstances would be putting pressure on the Manager’s job.The last 7 years of excuses should have had him replaced.But because this club is so embroiled in the theory that AKB there is no degree of accountability.Therefore the fans will have to carry on watching dross and paying through their noses for the priviledge.

  11. Re “little leagues” in my above post. Also the Bundesliga. All the teams in the Bundesliga will make it past the wall by my calculation.

  12. YW, there are currently 13 club that don’t meet the criteria. 6 of them are currently in European competition. City must be top of that group.

  13. Wonderful post

    Need fresh ideas at the Arsenal, no?

  14. mattgoonerknight

    Mid table? hahahaha

    I had some banter by the coffee machine in the staff room yesterday with a Liverpool fan. He was questioning why ESPN would bother showing two mid-table teams battle it out in the FA cup.

    We both laughed, I retorted by saying something along the lines of “better to show us at mid table than you (Liverpool) hovering above the relegation zone”.

    Both our comments were way of the mark but it was meaningless, nonsensical banter.

    Mid table lol, that’s a good one!!

  15. Great post Yogi.

    As regards FFP –

    What will save us ultimately will be escaping the self-imposed and entirely necessary binding which handicaps our commercial revenue streams. The challenge between now and then is to stay competitive enough, to hold on to most of, if not all of our best players and to keep the stadium full.

    We must hope that no more billionaire sugar daddies land in the premiership in the meantime to further distort the playing field and amplify the wages and transfer fees to even more ludicrous, dizzying heights.

  16. great post YW. Hope we thump Villa too.

  17. RK – City have covered their ‘expenses’ pretty well via their cynical ‘sponsorship deal’. So far Platini have remained utterly mute on this.

    As YW says the rules are far from strict – there will be plenty more opportunity for wriggle room.

  18. Yes, it is a very important weekend. Not just our result, but results elsewhere might just throw up another player who is available in the final 2 days of the transfer window?

    For me, it is now too late to consider a fullback, left or right. Yennaris is proving an excellent cover at right back, so Sagna will not have play the full 90 minutes when he is available. On the left I have much more faith in Gibbs to make a strong comeback than most? His injuries have been different each time, the latest not even involving his legs! Not only that, we effectively lost another alternative left back in the excellent Coquelin. So when he returns we will have some cover until Santos is fit?

    Two signings would be nice, but I will settle for one … if it means the budget is strong enough for a serious summer bid or two? What I don’t want a quick fix now with not so great player(s) coming in to pacify the critics, and find the only way to strengthen the squad is by selling RVP to the highest bidder – if that doesn’t defeat the objective, I don’t know what does??

    One thing for certain, we should not be relying on 34 year old Thierry Henry to be our saviour … somebody has to step up and put us in a winning position. Then Henry can use his experience to make sure we end up the winning side. Nor should AOC have that burden alone. It is a team game, work as a team … players, maager, and FANS!

  19. Re FFP through which City have already allegedly driven a coach and horses. FFP began to kick in this season. So let’s wait to see what their losses are in 2011.

    The coach and horses may occur if enough clubs go outside the rules (and outside UEFA) to create a super league – currently being trialled by the FA with women. It will probably happen (and it will be boring – a permanent El Classico interspersed by a few 2nd rate matches), but until it does…

    Methinks we can afford one season out of the top 4 if at all. How much time will Stan give Arsène?

  20. Jonny,
    The sponsorship is £500 m. In 2010 they lost £300m plus. They might get away with it, though, I agree. As I said, I have little faith in regulators!

  21. it makes me laugh when people say in other circumstances the manager would be under pressure. so your basically saying if our manager hadnt won loads of trophies including doubles, gone the season unbeaten finacially restructured the club which helped build a new ground and a the best training ground in the world at the time of building, established a worldwide scouting network and delveloped a style of play everyone would watch after there own team ,qualifying for the champions league for so long that my teenage sons think were in that competition automatically and all this against a background of other clubs finacial doping from playboy owners then i agree under different circumstances our manger would be under pressure
    as george would say simples

  22. i dot think a super league will eve happen……what teams are likely to be there? City, Chelsea, Real, inter, malaga, PSG and maybe inter. plus the CL is such a huge brand that branching out and trying to make another brand opposite it is hard. i say UEFA calls their bluff

  23. How crazy would it be if we missed out on top 4 and won the FA Cup?

  24. mattgoonerknight

    Let’s knock out A.C and fingers crossed get a favourable CL QF draw; let’s have a good February and March and see where we are in the league then.

    Let’s beat Villa tomorrow and go on to win the F.A cup as well!

    Let’s be positive, let’s SUPPORT The Arsenal!!! If this our crisis, then let’s be happy bunnies.

    I wonder how the supporters of the other 87 or so clubs who occupy the league positions below us feel. Shit, I wonder how REAL supporters who turn out to watch their favourite local non-league teams play must feel!

    Arsenal are a fucking awesome team to support and I fucking love them. So could people please, please stop their fucking whining!!!


  25. Nice post Gerry – I’ve been saying the same about Gibbs but so far it seems to have fallen deaf ears. He might be injury prone but the injuries he has had so far are NOT indicative of this or conducive to an argument trying to prove it’s the case.

    I’m pretty certain the medical team don’t think he is a long term injury risk. Certainly the hernia, now fixed, should be of no further trouble nor his metatarsals.

    He’s been unlucky so far – there is little cause for optimism but no reason to assume the worst either best we can say is ‘we don’t know’ and to hope it’s plain sailing from here.

  26. mattgoonerknight


    At the moment, I’d be well happy with that.

    Not because I don’t think we can still qualify in the top for nor would I not be absolutely gutted if we didn’t make top 4 but it’s a possibility that we won’t.

    And if we don’t qualify, an F.A cup in the cabinet and big fuck you to the “haven’t won anything in 7 years” brigade would be most appreciated.

    Top 4 and the F.A cup would be preferable, of course.

  27. How many bones in the human body?

  28. AA,
    Three Italian teams are dependent on TV for over 60% of their revenue (Juve, Milan, Inter). Next in line are some French clubs (between 50 and 60%). Arsenal, among the 20 largest revenue raising clubs, is last (or almost) at 38%. The average across Europe is 35% (665 clubs).

    I pick Italian and French clubs to lead the charge for the super league. If enough make the break, others will have no choice but to scramble for a place.

  29. Go MGK Go! 😀

    The best thing about situations like where we are now is the added importance of everything. The anticipation is more keenly felt, the adrenalin rush of a goal, a tackle is more acute. Unjust decisions can cause vein bulging apoplexy. It’s ace.

    If you can’t follow the team through the thin bits you’re missing out on a quintessential part of the fan experience.

    I’ve never been through a relegation fight and I’m not hoping for one but my mate who is a West Ham fan has seen more of them than we have trophies (hyperbole) and the euphoria is higher and longer lasting because there is so much more to be lost.

    So enjoy these travails because a) it could be worse and b) if you care not for it then you do not truly care for or understand football in any meaningful sense.


  30. I knew it was about 200 but I had to google to get the exact number, 206.

    Given that you could have done this yourself it beggars the question, pourqoui?

  31. red kangaroo | January 28, 2012 at 9:52 am,

    There are very few teams that are against spending over means. plus a super league is a gamble, i think UEFA should call their bluff.

    Duty calls gotta go

  32. I knew there’d be a sad bugger out there who’d do want to answer the question Jonny.

    Nice post re experiencing the travails. Spot on. Nothing could be more boring for ALL football fans if one or two clubs win everything every year.

    It also builds an unreasonable expectation in the weaker minded. Such as we are expereincing now.

  33. tomorrow..maybe:

    01 Szczesny
    02 Sagna
    03 Vermaelen
    04 Mertesacker
    05 Koscielny
    06 Song
    07 Walcott
    08 Rosicky
    09 RvP
    10 Arshavin
    11 AOC

    subs: Almunia, Yennaris, Coquelin, Arteta, Ramsey, Benayoun, Park/ Henry

  34. Jonny,
    Was that reference to 206 a reply to moi? Or was it somebody who’s coming in on loan with a new shirt?

    If the former, I don’t know. I remember reading that it was over 300 (could be one of my increasingly frequent ‘senior moments’). Is it pounds or euro? But wtf. 200-300 makes no diff. They’ve got to get under an average of 45m euro per year by 2013-14. That means not more than 135 over 3 years. After that, they’re supposed to manage on E90m for the next 3. By 2018 they have to be under 5m. Could be why Mancini is reportedly not getting money to buy more at the moment?

  35. Cricket’s building up nicely.

  36. Sorry RK number of bones in the human body – Consolsbob went fishing for suckers and landed a whopper. 😉

    Squeaky bum time in the cricket. This could be as tight as a nun’s nasties.

    Overdue time for KP to show some class.

  37. mattgoonerknight

    Well Jonny, amidst all the trolls and harbingers of doom that are baying from blood I think it’s important that we remain Über positive.

    I’m definitely one for having an opinion that differs from those of the ACLF chief whips but I also understand that if you don’t toe the line to some degree then you may as well fuck off to another party (blog and club).

    I’ve noticed people are refraining from feeding them today which is good.

    My comments about mid table were a response but I stopped short of direct confrontation – better to starve a fever than feed the sniffling and whining man flu suffers.

  38. I’m completely of the same mind MGK, been way more bullish than usual in the face of unrelenting negativity.

    It would be best for all if they were completely ignored but the someone always bites after which it becomes moot so I figure fuck em, strap the razor blades onto my feet and start wading.

    More than happy to have a moratorium, if everyone else can stick to it just maybe they’ll get bored and jog on.

  39. matt

    i am looking at top 4, champs league and fa cup.

  40. mattgoonerknight


    If only mate, if only : )

    To be honest, as it stands today, if you offered me just one of those three I’d snap your arm off – but who knows, if we have a few good weeks…..:)

  41. what i felt in september after that kind of start was: let’s wait till christmas. then we will see how good we really are.

    and i think we saw that we were not bad. or at least not as bad as august september suggested.

    and now i look at our injuries, at the potential of having some key players coming back soon. i am thinking: let’s wait till the end of february. then we will see how far we can go with this team, when we can finally play a first 11 that is close to our first 11.

    the next few weeks will be crucial. lots of big games. a true test of how far we have really come.

  42. In some ways the fairytale would be to fall out of the FA Cup and top 4 and then win the CL.

    It’s not what I’m hoping for but just imagine the euphoria.


  43. mattgoonerknight

    Fingers crossed no more injuries then Kori – it must be our turn for some luck!!!

    No injuries and we can be really strong – worried about Jack, though.

    It’s not that I thought he’d be our saviour, or that we’re inadequate in the middle without him, it’s just that he’s a fucking good player which, well, we could do with!

  44. RK – the reporting periods aren’t finished so it’s guesswork who will fail. City might fail now – ditto Chelsea – but once the regs really kick in, you watch them pass with flying colours. And if they don’t, the bigger question is whether Uefa have the balls to ban clubs. They don’t. Which is why there is a rule that says that clubs will get a licence if they can show losses are reducing as part of a long-term plan to self-sustaining finances.

  45. mattgoonerknight


    Almost how 2006 panned out, ai!

    I’d definitely take that (we’d have to win this time, though)

  46. MGK,

    yeah, it is a massive blow to be honest. and we do look a bit short in midfield. at the moment, we have only song, le coq, ramsey, arteta and rosicky for 3 places.

  47. Consols,
    Yogi’s Warrior is much better than Stuart Stratford, isn’t it?
    – From someone who is simply Shotta.

  48. mattgoonerknight


    Agreed, but for me this is getting dangerously close to transfer talk which I’ve banned myself from until deadline day, so I won’t comment any further.

    Off out, so see ya’ll later

  49. Indeed Cbob (10.07), it’s a good read as a whole – I’d recommend everyone grabs a copy. Written by fans for the most part.

  50. A reminder, if anyone wants to put a question to Lee Dixon, put it here and I’ll forward it on.

  51. Pogba anyone? We need a midfielder…

  52. AA.
    In 2010 only 50% of PL teams made losses. Not including Arsenal.

  53. “tomorrow..maybe:

    01 Szczesny
    02 Sagna
    03 Vermaelen
    04 Mertesacker
    05 Koscielny
    06 Song
    07 Walcott
    08 Rosicky
    09 RvP
    10 Arshavin
    11 AOC

    subs: Almunia, Yennaris, Coquelin, Arteta, Ramsey, Benayoun, Park/ Henry”

    Wouldn’t expect to see either Sagna or Arteta in the squad. Would say that Yennaris should start at RB, like he should’ve in the 3 or 4 previous games.

    Doubt he’ll play The Ox, Walcott and Arshavin in the same team. Actually, what I meant to say was that given Villa’s counter-attacking game and the pace of Albrighton and Agbonlahor, he shouldn’t play 3 players who don’t protect the defence. Doesn’t mean he won’t…

  54. i think it’s song rosicky ramsey in midfield.

  55. YW 11.18. We shall see I guess. I agree about UEFA’s balls – didn’t I say that I have little faith in the regulator? From a football perspective, it’s a great idea though.

  56. COQUELIN back? BACARY SAGNA back?

    Could it be…

    The twilight of… The Centrebacks As Fullbacks Era…. It draws near!!

    Stand easy, Johan – go take a week away from the front. Take cold shower. Faaaarkin hell what a horrible curse to be rid of. Praise be.

    Great news to wake up to on a birthday.

    And Laurent Koscielny getting some well overdue recognition…. best centreback (currently playing at centreback) in the Premier League. The other one is currently a Flemish False Leftback.

  57. Not sure I like these Rooney/Ox comparisons but I sort of see what he means… *spits on the floor*

  58. Maybe we should cut Lansbury’s loan short. We need more hardmen in the midfield. If he doesn’t cut it by seasons end ……

  59. Cricket is looking bleak. Good bowling and bad batting not a good combination.

  60. cricket unbelieveble one of those times when you think you ” i can do better than that “

  61. What’s happening at cricket? We wrapped up Indians good.. What else matters :)?

  62. I hope we win the FA cup or if we don’t then champions league should be ours come May

  63. I think for many clubs FFP will stand for False F…..g Promises. Anyone who puts their faith in it is deluded. We all know EUFA, just like FIFA, is a corrupt organization. Where is the empirical evidence to show this will change?

  64. ‘Of course I’ve got lawyers. They are like nuclear weapons, I’ve got em ’cause everyone else has. But as soon as you use them they screw everything up.’
    D. DeVito

    Well you can guarantee that where Man-Sour is concerned theirs will be lined up along the Thifa/Uefa-mistic border, having been well primed. Which fat-cat wants that fight?

    But actually lets note the sort of squandering that has gone on at Man-Sour of which Tevez is the very visible tip at 100% of salary and minus 75% and falling of investment value, add half of the Ade-beens (50% paid by the Tots et al) add half of the regular’s salary like YaYa or Dzeko’s (that is the price to play in Manc without a red shirt) add 3 quarters of the partial-playing players salary like the Nasri-prostitute (he is paid double of what he would get anywhere else and he sits on the bench half the time)

    Then minus the difference in season ticket prices which is about a third of Arsenal’s. We are shite at marketing so kit sales are probably about equal as Man-Sour is boosted by their appeal in the private school playgrounds across the country which has lifted their status from Gorton to Go-tons.

    Finally, and this is not really controversial: add the cost of the recent massive input from the Mansour empire and specifically Etihad for marketing. You can’t rob from Peter to pay Paul, corporate or nay (meh), you are still poorer.

    There is your real comparison…There is your express train crash laid bare….you come close to the real losses that the team is haemorrhaging in comparison to a barely profitable club like Arsenal.

    Shouldn’t the test be, would you invest in this?

    It won’t be for Uefa-mism. They will be too busy purring and licking the milk from their paws.

  65. Nice to see Australia showing some signs of recovery RK – still I can’t see Ponting, Hussey, Hilfenhaus and Siddell as the future. Transitional period ahead.

    By the time England play Australia in a series next, I expect they will again be too strong for the Aussies. If anything, I think the gap might get wider.

  66. no point waiting for the FFP..
    i think the financial bubble over football will burst eventually…but it the FFP thing wont be the obstacle that stops it..

    shitty news about jack…fucking really shitty…diaby not being around either makes it difficult to rotate the attack..

    we just need to beat villa and start another little run and hope we get some players back quicker than what we lose them..


    we can beat villa at home with that team if thats who we have to choose from…

  67. I bet we haven’t considered it, but why not play The Ox in Rambo’s position?

    He has played in the centre before – I think he could cause havoc in the middle.


  68. Liverpool first blood. De Gea is the lge’s new Fabianski.

  69. He’s kept only one clean sheet in his last seven appearances…

  70. Regarding Man City and FFP, if anyone is interested, Swiss Ramble did a blog post on Man City and how they might not fall foul of FFP regulations. And that was even before the new sponsorship deal was announced. If anyone thinks that the FFP regulations are worth the paper they’re written on they’re in dreamland.

    I believe that a lot of the bad feeling towards the manager is being brought about by his own comments which are being used as sticks to beat him with. The most striking examples are:

    “Imagine the worst situation—we lose Fabregas and Nasri—you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. And even if you lose Nasri, to find the same quality player, you have to spend again the same amount of money. Because you cannot say, you lose the player and you do not replace him.” – Last August.

    “”Gibbs is three weeks away but it would be stupid to lose points because we don’t have a left-back.” – Early January (and four weeks and counting ago by the way).

    It would be much easier for him to just stop talking to people, the one word smartarse answers you get from Dalglish would be ideal, basically give and answer, but actually say nothing of any substance. If he’s going to say things like that he then needs to back them up or sections of the support will be on his back.

  71. Block4 – Yeah very true, also the “super super quality” comments days before we signed Park. Arsene is usually excellent with the media, but he did make some blunders in the summer.

  72. Good afternoon ACLF. I leave fore 6 weeks and the pooch gets a good old’ fashioned screwing? Optimism has surely kept my sanity in check.
    Missed you all though.

  73. Hello just ‘shotta’, long time no read.

    Bloody England. Take the grandsons out for a couple of hours and come back to that result. Poor. Wouldn’t beat India with that batting.

    Happy Birthday Limpar? Old enough to go in pubs now?

    I’ll give that book a go Yogi.

  74. Great post yogi:

    Troubling times for the club. I agree with you that a majority of the fans (myself included) recognize the great things the boss has done and don’t want to see him leave, but they do want him to make some changes. Its quite clear that things have been going to the wrong way for some time now. The entire year in 2011 was basically a slow motion train wreck and 2012 has started off even worse. Some of the things that management is doing are difficult to understand or explain. I want to believe that this is all part of some great plan that I don’t understand and not just about being stubborn. The club has done a terrible job of PR but in truth its difficult to shine dog turds and between ticket price hikes and dropping performance on the pitch it would be difficult for any PR department.

    The only thing you can ask of management is to use the resources they have available to give the players the best chance to succeed on the pitch. Its getting harder to believe that is happening given what we have seen in the last 3 – 4 years. All that said, I think Arsene is solely responsible for keeping us competitive and in the CL thru the financial transition. He is a brilliant and incredibly charismatic man. I still think his achievements and the good things that he has done outweigh any of the negative stuff. I also think he will be with the club for as long as he wants. He deserves that much. I just hope that he can figure out some way to get things back on the upswing.

  75. JJ if you pick that team you can be the new manager.
    Matt,am I a ACLF chief whip? I do hope so.

    I a poll 16% of those polled wanted Arsene to go.You would think.(internet wise )it was more than that.

    Yogi ,your work is always good .Today it is exceptionally so.
    ACLF is head and shoulders the best Arsenal blog,by a country mile as Frank would say.The presence of some resident dullards and the tolerance of Yogi toward the winging brigade is what gives it life.Most of us would like to see the back of them ,but that would detract a lot from the blog.Also his tolerance for some of us”whips” 🙂 is also to be commended I am sure it takes a good bit of self control to not consign the likes of me to the bin from time to time.
    In case there is any doubt,I love this place, and appreciate the opportunity Yogi gives us to meet and interact with some truly good and knowledgeable fans.An that twat Dexter .

  76. Watching pool and utd. Wonder if I’d bother with the EPL if there was no Arsenal. A lot of energy and straight running.

  77. I have found that if I sneak in early (4 o’clock start today) and stay til late (lock-in on the cards) then I can be happily mistaken for a very drunk part of the furniture – and thus go unchallenged.

    (I say old, born the year after the Orwellian one – so not as old as all that. But old enough.)

  78. Persnickety Jorge, good day to you.

    Meaning to ask – how did you start supporting the Arsenal? Not a boring fan credential quiz… just everyone has a story and you’re in Blackburn so… might be an interesting one…

  79. Nice to have you back Darius.

  80. KG we must be watching a different game.

  81. mattgoonerknight

    Yes, you are you conceited whip 😉

  82. PG, maybe you love a lot of energy and straight running. I love a lot of passing and dribbling!

  83. Welcome back Darius. george was very worried about you. I told him you were tough enough to look after yourself.

  84. Swansea are rivalling Newcastle in the battle for Watford defender Adrian Mariappa, 24.

    Here is a good option to replace one of our two ailing ‘Central Defenders’ Djourou and Sqillaci

  85. Hoooray – I was worried as well, Darius. Where have you been old bean?

  86. Limps ,I have told the story many times.But
    When growing up ,in Wigan ,I was a rubby league fan .Wigan were not the league (any league as I recall).So although I always laved football I never really was a fan of a particular team .I just liked good football.
    So when Arsenal signed Dennis ,I was interested to see if he was equal to the hype.Of course he was ,and much more .So I always watched Arsenal to watch Him .Then when Arsene joined the football became something I loved and had to watch.And that was it ,Hook,line and sinker.
    So I suppose that makes me a real life Johnny come lately.

  87. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Arteta has to start behind vP because since he has not been there we have been losing.

    It looks on some of these team layouts that we are squeezing positions to make space for AA

    Play and if you contribute, you play again, if you continue to fade you must sit for longer and longer.

  88. Darius,no internet connection in Jail? WTF?

  89. Any guesses on what went wrong with Andy Carrol? Or maybe Daglish doesn’t know how to use him!

  90. You’ve been quiet until this afternoon Ateeb, my brother.

    A bit worried were you? I must say I thought we were going to win this one.

  91. Does anyone think that the Ox laddy should not start?

    As long as he does not move our AA? Then we must move Arteta?

    But now aren’t you just playing 4:4:2. Number 15 pretending to be a continental 10 but actually sneaking in as an English 10.

    non non non non

  92. Kenyan – He has only ever played one season in the top tier, and in that season he did pretty well for half of it. Maybe it was just a purple patch for an otherwise average player?

  93. The formation in proposed was just a straight swap between Ox and Rambo – Arteta’s role/position would remain the same.

    The interesting thing about such a surprise formation is that it would immediately put the opposition’s preparations on the back foot.

    It’ll never happen of course, but I see no reason why such an experiment would be a risk (he’s played the position before and offers significant goal threat) and it would allow us to rest Rambo whilst retaining the experienced Theo and AA.

  94. De Gea. What a flop!

    How do they get away with it without imploding?

  95. I suspect what will actually happen is AA on the bench and the Ox in his stead.

  96. Twenty or so years ago The Economist suggested the introduction of a green card for fouls which referees don’t penalise. I often feel it was a good idea.

  97. Ha ha. I was sleeping, just woke up to find the magic number. Utterly shocking. Though I must admit I haven’t seen the match at all, did not get time to watch it. I can only afford to watch Arsenal whenever they play these days.

  98. George looks like you might have competition for the meerkat’s affection.

  99. Kuyt goal. I don’t want Liverpool to win but I certainly want united to lose!

  100. Wanted a draw.

  101. No domestic doubles in Manchester this season. How nice:-)

  102. Jonny,

    I think that is a given unless AW wants to avoid a repeat of the 70th minute dilemma of the last match. In which case he may just start AA and replace him.

    Alternatively the Ox Laddy takes that spot and is not replaced. Niet niet

  103. Happy birthday Limpar. we share a birthday.

    Darius good to have you back, Jonny, Andrewarsenal, George and Consolsbob,Keyser, Evil and Paul have been doing a good job of keeping this place upbeat despite the usual suspects making their appearances after our losses.

    It is good that manure are out, i always love it when they lose, now lets beat villa tomorrow and it will be a very welcome belated bd present.

  104. Happy birthday to you both then.Two of the very best IMO

  105. Happy birthday FL and Limpar – my birthday weekend was mildly jarred by the loss to the scum – I’m confident however that better things await you both tomorrow.

    Have an excellent day/evening however you choose to celebrate.

  106. Jonny,Arsene and I will settle the Meerkat thing with dueling pistols at dawn

  107. @ Yogi, I have had a think and I have few questions for Lee Dixon


    1. How connected does he feel to the club? How often does he return?

    2. Has he been surprised by how big and popular Aresenal FC have become globally?

    3. Does he think management in the premiership has changed over the past 20 years? If so how & why?

    4. Why did he choose to be a commentator over direct involvement in the game like Steve Bould or Tony Adams?

    5. What was his best win for Arsenal as a spectator?

    6. Best win for Arsenal as a player?

    7. The player he hated playing against the most and why?

  108. Yes, Happy Birthday firstlady. Always enjoy your positivity.

  109. Questions for Lee Dixon


    1. Arsene Wenger has overseen a massive transition at the club and brought the club unbelieveable success in recent years. But he doesn’t seem to have many fans in the press pack or with former players of the club. Why is their such a lack of respect towards him or why does he attract such criticism compared to other managers?

    2. Does he think the criticism of Arsene Wenger is fair considering Arsenal’s trophy drought?

    3. The career of a football player can be very short so is it unrealistic for fans to expect players to play for one club their whole career like Tony Adams and not try to maximise their fortunes like Nasri?

    4. As a boyhood Man City fan and as a pro player, would he of loved to be apart of the revolution taking place at the moment? What are his thoughts about what Man C are doing on the pitch under the guidance of Mancini and off the pitch in terms of the transfer market?

    5. Arsene Wenger’s teams for a number of years have been criticised from the outset of the season as not strong enough. Looking at the team that was assembled by Man City at the start of the season, did he think they would win the quadruple? This time last year, Arsenal were still in all 4 competitions, despite their supposed poor squad, tough playing schedule and extreme weather conditions. So in the very least is he suprised that Man C were unable to make it out of the group stages of the Champions League and are out of the CC and FA cup’s already? Is he critical of the owner Mansour, manager Mancini, individual players or as a team?

    6. As a paid observer, he watches and analyses a lot of games, so if he could give some advice to an Arsenal player he thinks is struggling at the moment, who and what would it be?

    7. Dixon’s widely known for his Arsenal career, but he often places more emphasis on his England international status. So I would like to know if he thinks playing for England has lost some of it’s prestige amongst players with the advent of the mysterious injuries and illnesses that appear just prior to the international week and clear up almost immeadiately after? If he does agree that some players now prefer to choose club over country, who does he think is at fault? Players, managers, media, FA?

    8. When he was still playing, the back pass was outlawed which affected tactics and the way the game was played. What does he think of the changes made to the rules of the game since and their administration by referee’s? As a defender, what does he think of the art of tackling and off side rule in it’s present form?

    Of course all of these can and hopefully will be rephrased more eloquently by some one with better command of the english language.

  110. happy birthday Limpar
    happy birthday FirstLady
    ..(hmm) Aquarians eh?

  111. Looks like I might eventually get my wish for the Ox, just not tomorrow.

    AW – “He can play centrally as well but he has grown up as a winger. And now I think as well he can play central midfield because he can produce a long pass, he can dribble. At that age, you know, you start first on the wing”.

  112. He should start tomorrow either way. At the moment he is only only wide man in any sort of form.

  113. Form?
    One half is form? In fact one half of one half,as it goes.

  114. OK, I will phrase it another way. For the first time in quite a while I have seen potential that one of our wide men could change/impact on a game. And I don’t mean one moment in a match which Theo and AA have both produced recently, I mean throughout a game.

  115. Ok Andy .Just saying,he did little in the first half and only played half of the second half.Yet you call that “throughout a game.”
    I am also looking forward to him in the future,but I am not getting carried away.He is still a fringe player for me.

  116. PG – *defensive mode engaged* 😉


    I’ll firmly disagree with Wenger on this one. He’s the best in the league, there can be no doubt about it.

  118. I agree Evil,and I suspect Arsene does as well.He does not want to upset TV though

  119. Agree with you, Evil!

    Have to agree with Arsene on this one, though, filthy dirty and sick though it makes me feel.

    And nice to see the Pathetic Sharks have gone out of the FA Cup. Shame it was Pool that dumped them out of it, but hey.
    *hurriedly writes and posts copy of letter to karma sent before Leeds game substituting “ManUre” and “Aston Villa” for “Man City” and “Leeds” respectively*

  120. Pathetic Sharks?

  121. WE have the best back 5 in the league, potentially, once they are all fit of course. That is something that the lazy hacks, clueless pundits and certain so-called Gooners will find hard to handle! But its true man, fucking brilliant! Yet every time we concede a goal and yes, we have let ourselves down a few times, the old shite about our defense being poor comes back. No other team suffers that shit. Look at ManU FFS! Piss poor keeper and defensive frialities for all to see. Will they get tarred with that brush? Will they fuck!

    Its so fucking annoying that we have so many injuries and even though I’ve bored everyone, except George who thinks I am a footbballing collossus, with my moaning about new signings, we do have the makings of a great team.

    Come on Arsenal, lets smash McFergie Jr’s cloggers tomorow and who knows, maybe actually, possibly, you never know, erm win a fucking trophy! 🙂

  122. Can’t believe its taken Wenger so long to realise how good Koscielny is! 🙂

  123. I agree with George. Oxo kid is potential at the moment, would be horrible for him to dsuffer the same shite as Theo and others. All the pressure, expecting him to change games, work wonders. Let him come through naturally. He is in a win/win situation at present. That would soon change if we started to rely on him.

  124. Well done the Seagulls!

  125. Avedh the footballing superlect has arrived.All will be well now

  126. Avast yee me hearties!

  127. I must be pissed Goerge, I agreed with something you said man.

  128. You know I am always right Dexter.
    I have yet to admit to being wrong.
    Is that the same?

  129. If you say it is, then yeah.

  130. are the man Dexter.

  131. Correct again!

  132. Yogi;

    Question for Lee Dixon, if it aint too late?

    “Are the pundits directed/advised what they should discuss, or not discuss? ie; Does some director type tell them what clips they will be punditing? Ta

  133. JamesM

    Your comments are full of spite mate. You need to check your head, as well as your supporter credentials man.

  134. So, going out Friday/Saturday and then staying in Sat night means I’m billy no mates then does it? Sweet.

  135. Dexter.where has said those nasty jibes?

  136. George I was just skimming through today’s stuff and saw a post earlier today man. If I can be arsed, I will locate it for ya man.

  137. Wouldn’t expect to see either Sagna or Arteta in the squad. Would say that Yennaris should start at RB, like he should’ve in the 3 or 4 previous games.

    Doubt he’ll play The Ox, Walcott and Arshavin in the same team. Actually, what I meant to say was that given Villa’s counter-attacking game and the pace of Albrighton and Agbonlahor, he shouldn’t play 3 players who don’t protect the defence. Doesn’t mean he won’t…

    Am I being over sensitive PG?

  138. Dexter dont read
    pedantic george | January 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I was kidding 🙂

  139. Say what? But you never joke. Well, not as far as I can tell anyway.

  140. Too late George! 🙂

  141. Oh fuck, Ive just agreed to go out again, laters PG! 🙂

  142. YW seems overly depressed these days – I think he has made too many appearances this season. Next he’ll be arranging pre-match meet ups with Suga, Jabba, AIC and AA (the plastic one, not the Russian genius).

  143. Acryllic (sic) = plastic
    Altair = character from Assassin’s Creed

    Therefore Acryllic Altair = plastic character.

    MY opinion differs only regarding the backup to RVP. I really believe Theo,marauane, 3gs and our midfilders will come good and start producing goals, if RVP IS given some games off and these guys and the mids develope some Chem. Amongst themselves. As it is, everyone is passing up chances just that RVP ,THE HOT HAND, gets to finish. He is ,in all their minds, the final stop. All roads end with him and everyone is looking for him. They won’t start producing by coming off the bench for five or ten minutes. Players don’t become bad overnight.

    If anyone was coming in, I wish it to be an SPECIALIZED. FULLBACK. the guys we are playing in these positions right now are doing an admirable job, but it’s not the same as our regular fullbacks. And our game is suffering because of it. They can’t do what our regulars were doing and. AW will not change formation to make it possible for them to do so, WITHOUT GETTING INJURED. I believe the massive amount. Of injuries we are seeing in the back now are do to playing these stopgaps in place of our regulars and expecting them to do the same job. CANT ASK A FERRARI TO DO THE JOB OF A TRUCK AND VICE VERSA.
    We are thin both at RB AND LB. PERFERABLY the fullbacks coming in would know how to fill in for song also as his cover is becoming thinner by the day. With frimpong on lone and injured. Le coq. Also injured. Very very disappointed regarding WILSHIRE’S news . Both for him and the crew.

    I had no idea you also liked lesciter city and followed them.


    This is funny in so many ways. Maybe we should ask if we can straight swap Carroll for Chamakh? But in all honesty I think that might actually make us worse as opposed to better.

  146. I would not swap a used condom for Carroll.
    He is dire.
    £35 million.You really do have to laugh.

  147. @ YW
    plz ask mr. Dixon which of the managers he played were tops in his book and. Why…
    Tnx a million……. 🙂

  148. or better yet.
    If he had a son with potential which manager in the epl ,past or present, would be his choice. For his son to play for, that is….

  149. Dexter – “WE have the best back 5 in the league, potentially, once they are all fit of course

    An interesting thought. I would not go as far as five as Santos is good, but by no means the left back in the lge.

    We may well have 4 of the best in their positions in the lge, but that stats would tell a different story. I think some our of our players individually may be the best in their positions, but they are not as a unit. Are there lies the problem.

  150. Fucking hell Andy,how do you know that?
    They have never ,ever played together.
    So they may make a marvelous unit.

    Shakes head in amazement.

  151. We have no evidence for he pat number of years that we would have the best defensive unit in the lge. Most of them have played together at varying points (but not consistently), but I just don;t think our team is set up to deliver the best defence in the lge. Just my opinion George.

    That said, the likes of Manure and Chelsea are rarely able to field a regular back 5, so we are not that different in that sense.

  152. But several times under Arsene we have had the best unit.Short memory my old pal.

  153. George, but not in recent years (which is what we are talking about). My short memory serves me well in discussion abut the short term.

  154. I think we could well have the best defensive players in the league. Kos is going to be one of the top 5 in the world in the next couple of years and someone we can build around. Chezzer also potential to be in the top 10 of world GK. They need to be more consistent. We have scored 4 goals in the last 3 games which should have given us at least 5 points. Hopefully they will get back to their best soon.

  155. George, ha just got back from a crazy funky German rock bar. Excellent night. Thought I would have a nightcap and see what is going on in the world before going to bed.

  156. night Andy and Bill .Let hope for a good result and performance tomorrow.

  157. After a night in a (loud) rock bar my ears just keep ringing. No chance of sleep.

  158. I’ll drink to that George

  159. Dups -You and me both mate. Playing guitar for a few hours tomorrow as well, so good prep I suppose.

  160. I thought that was my phone. Duh!

  161. Unbelievable. Just had a quick look at Arsenal Newsnow. The range of headlines is ridiculous and appalling.

    Any number of knobs to read saying dire things about our club and arene.

    The world needs a wake up.

  162. 3-0 to the Arsenal. It is written. Sagna, arteta henry on the bench. Happy days

  163. Fuck sake. Nobody tracking Dunne. The game needed.a wake up.COYG

  164. why always us???

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