The Shifting Sands On Which Hopes Are Built

Later post today, a morning where the crapometer hit maximum splatter. Yeah, the sigh I exhaled was as heavy as that sentence sounds.

It’s just as well that this week has been about hopes for the future. Hope from the win over Blackburn, Robin van Persie hopes Theo Walcott will be a twenty goal a season striker and Arsenal hope that employing Bubbles the Chimp and his unique insights into oxygen tents, will speed Jack Wilshere‘s recovery along. Who, I wonder, will tell Ivan that in the rush to hire the hirsute “advisor” that exogen was misread.

There is something fetid around the national team, the lingering stench of the Terry affair, miring the manager and his employers in it’s acrimony whilst his heir apparent still waits for the Foreman of the Jury calling its verdict, knowing his hopes for national salvation have been quashed by this case even if found innocent. His friends in the media may still spin that he is nation’s saviour but ultimately, the whiff of wrongdoing will be too much for the Football Association. Rightly so; basing it on purely footballing terms, I see no reason for the Messianic qualities attached to his career. It is distinctly ordinary; if he is the cream of the native crop, once more his paymaster’s eyes will be cast to foreign fields.

Closer to home perhaps or is there a groundswell building in his native land that will make it impossible for Arsène to turn down the FFF? You have to admire the cunning of Remi Garde, getting Arsène into a new role leaves a vacancy at Arsenal; perhaps he can prove that off the pitch abilities are directly linked to less distinguished careers on it?

It is a largely academic exercise since my own feeling is that unless he genuinely feels that he cannot motivate better performances from current staff – as well as buying improvements – Arsène will not be ending his managerial tenure at the club.

As for Wilshere, he may find his load shared. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s eyecatching performances have been met with praise from his colleagues and a level-headedness on his part, in equal measure. According to Theo Walcott 

He’s very direct and he likes to get at players, which is what any Arsenal fan likes to see. He has plenty of confidence and is young – he’s a player who nobody in the Premier League has faced before so he’s totally new to the game. He’s learning every day in training and you can see now that he is getting games, which is very important. I think with the way he is playing at the moment he will keep that position.

The anticipation and expectation on young Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shoulders is akin to that when a younger Theo Walcott arrived. Speaking of his ambitions to be a central striker, whilst being natural, has served to increase that; such aspirations require a consistent finishing ability if they are to be realised. If the player believes that the aim to be realistic, why should the supporter not follow suit?

When his captain opines that the player is capable of 20 goals per season, expectations do not seem out of place. With that, failure to achieve those targets is something which feeds criticism.

For my part, I find the finishing aspect of his game infuriating; he is capable of better and more consistency than he delivers. I’m sure he is annoyed with himself as well. Yet there is a wider contribution he makes and this is often glossed over by impolite detraction. His assists ratio for Robin van Persie shows a good understanding between the two; it’s not just with the Dutchman, others benefit also.

The improvement in the delivery of his final ball has taken time but is more often than not, better than he is given credit for. In fact he gets little credit for it most of the time. Perhaps if he talks more about it than being a central striker, the change in perception of his role in the side will come at the same rate as his continued improvement?

Elsewhere, taxi for Carlos Vela, or his Mr20% who is coming to Highbury House, perhaps holding the door open for Daniel Sturridge‘s agent as he leaves having negotiated a deal to move to Arsenal. Barcelona have suddenly discovered that there is DNA at La Maisa which belongs to Arsenal. There must be a lot of it if they are going to sell players to buy The Greatest Player There Has Ever Been. Things might turn Nastasic when they realise that there is still another four months until the transfer window opens again. A long wait as the tumbleweed crosses the Main Street of TransferWindow, a one-horse town.

Today over on Arsenal On This Day, a clash at the San Siro with next week’s EuroBigBucks League opponents.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 8, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 279 Comments.

  1. Big Brovar is my bitch.;-)

  2. Harry escapes – what a waste of time and money that was. Bah.

    Sad to see Vela go but for the best I imagine – he’s making those whiny Reyes type noises about not liking it here. That’s not likely to change much.

    I like the player – undoubted talent – but he never seemed to have any ‘fight’ to him.

  3. YW – thanks…….for a slow news day, there’s just enough enticement from your write up.

  4. Sorry I even tried to follow Harry’s case…….after reading his list of excuses.

  5. Maria is and will be heart-broken.

  6. Has that pillock Bendtner injured of late or is he out of favour with MON??
    I know he can’t play against us anyway, but it would be nice if he could start knocking some goals in. What with him behaving like a total wanker off-field and a ‘non-scoring striker’ on-field, he is (inadvertently I assume!) doing his best to sabotage any decent sale for Arsenal.
    It’s hard to imagine anyone looking at the walking ego, his salary and his goal contributions to date and thinking he looks worth a go.
    How long is left of his contract, anyone got a clue?

  7. Bendtner has been out injury, something I think to do with a facial injury.

  8. I suppose “injured” would have sounded better… need more coffee to open these eyes

  9. So, are they saying that he paid his taxes on that money?

    If not, then he must surely be guilty.

  10. I am not sure what the contract situation is with the players out on loan, but those we probably want to see the back of have not been lighting up their new teams. I know Vela scored over the weekend, like Jonny, I admire the player. I just cannot see a way back for Denilson, Lansbury, Bendtner and Vela.

  11. I also think once Bartley returns he’ll be the man behind our current CB’s with Squill on his Bike to new shores.

  12. Lansbury at a push, Miami, but it’s far from likely for me.

  13. I’d love to see Bartley come back – covers both DM and CB. Perfect on paper but he might grumble after getting so much playing time…tough job keeping the 4th CB happy.

  14. CB……don’t believe he paid his taxes…..maybe the prosecution should have prosecuted Harry’s dog.

  15. Jonny, you old dog! (12.58pm)

  16. YW, thank you for the post. Why don’t you think ‘arry will get the England job? With him having been cleared (a somewhat puzzling verdict), I would have thought that would have been enough for the FA, unless there are other skeletons in the cupboard.

  17. Apparently Barcelona are going to make Bale a priority. Some wag on Twitter has just suggested it was after seeing his dive against Liverpool.

  18. Out: Vela, Chamakh, Park and Bendtner

    In: Strurridge???

    Unlikely but personally I would like something along these lines to happen in the summer.

    Sturridge would be a great number two striker who could genuinely provide an option for RVP to be rested, act as an auxiliary forward alongside RVP or be used as a wide forward (despite his current protestations).

    Proven in the Premiership, young, English (don’t give a monkey’s about his nationality but his homegrown status would be beneficial) and rumor has it a Gooner – what’s there not to like – he says waiting with baited breath….

  19. Slow day yogi yet you come up with an interesting post. You da man.

    Sturridge would be an excellent addition. Unfortunately the fact that he would be such a great addition exponentially decreases the likelihood that he will end up playing for us. Sigh.

    Tough game this weekend. Sunderland is making a nice run up the table. 3points would be nice. 4 points from the next 2 games is the minimum, but we can’t start looking ahead to spurs just yet.

  20. As far as I can see it, his contract is expiring next year, so he shouldn’t come at too high a price. Definitely think that he has potential and if we finish above the Chavs I think it will send the right kind of message to him.

  21. @Bill
    According to your logic, signing Koscielny, Vermaelen or Chambo has been impossible, especially as the first two have been more than excellent. Wonder how we still got them! 😉

  22. Billy, the FA will not want any shame or spectre hanging over their new manager or in the recent past given the antics of Venables, Eriksson, Hoddle, Terry. Whomever they appoint will be not quite squeaky clean but definitely not in need of Persil to clean up their image.

  23. Miami, Jonny

    Unfortunately, history dictates that it’s not that difficult to keep our 4th choice Arsenal defender happy…chances are he’d get plenty of games one way or another!

    Also, would he’s return signal the end of Djourou? I know I’ve just eluded to the fact that 1 or more of our CB’s are invariably injured but would we really start the season with five experienced centre backs staking a claim for 2 starting positions?

  24. Really sad that vela didn’t work out for us. I really thought he would be a special player. I know its xenophillic but I wanted someone from north america to have a big impact on our team Thought he and JET were both absolute can’t miss prospects. Dreamed many times of a front line of JET vela and walcott ripping apart the PL Thought nb52 would also turn out to be a world class goal scorer. Oh well. Lot tougher to develop young players then we think I guess

  25. Evil,

    I hear ya but I also see what Bill means – the players that you’ve mentioned where hardly obvious (anyone really know much about TV5 and Kossa?) and OXO while much touted was someone who, despite the price tag and current form, was surely brought in for the seasons to come.

    Sturridge is well known, fits the bill and ready to go….which all arguably adds to the “unlikely” factor.

  26. @matt
    I was just riffing on Bill’s choice of words, with him saying he would be a “great addition and therefore unlikely”. I know that chances are that we won’t get him, but if his contract expires next year and he is not signing an extension .. everything is possible.

    On the other hand I do wonder what the managers plans are for Joel Campbell.

  27. Evil.

    I had never heard of kos, tv5. I should have included the disclaimer (that I have ever heard of) in the post. I give the boss all the credit in the world for finding some of the players he has especially the kos. That one was brilliant. However, goal scorers don’t fly under the radar the way defenders can so the fact that he is English and plays first team football in the PL and is known to most people means the chance of us signing him are slim. We rarely break protocol.

  28. When Van Persie said about Walcott being a 20 goal a season man, he is including assists. Van Persie considers an assist to be a goal. Walcott is of no use up front, especially as a lone striker.

    I can see Chamberlain being a regular starter with Gervinho cultivated into an out and out striker or at least a deep playing centre-forward/midfielder playing through the middle … the position we expected Walcott to have.

    Walcott is mothing more than an Ashley Young without the diving. If Gervinho has to play on the wing then stick Chamberlain on the right (his favoured side). Chamberlain is already the player we expected Walcott to be by now.

    If Walcott was half the player, he would be all out to prove he’s better than Chamberlain, but he isn’t doing it. He’s been assured his place is safe and his biggest mistake is believing it. Sign him up on a new contract and then sell him, that’s what I think is planned for him. He’ll even want to leave when Chamberlain nicks his place in the team.

  29. Oh dear oh dear oh dear

  30. Bill

    Had you heard of Squillaci or Chamakh?

  31. Does that post by arsenal1again push Walcott up in the scapegoat rankings, Muppet?

  32. I can’t see AW going to the FFF.
    He likes working with the players too much.
    IMO he’s much more likely to take over a youth football project (or national youth football academy) when he’s had enough of 1st class football managment.

  33. It’s interesting pondering the EPL points table. It’s getting exciting. Little is set in stone except the main trends. Clearly the two Mans have accelerated, OK, with Totts gasping to keep up, in sight, but only just.

    A ways back, although Chelsea an enticing 6 points from Totts, just 5 points seperates the chasing pack of four teams, us at # 6, 3 points adrift of Chelsea at # 4. Nothing really, one game. This can change fast, and will, week by week.

    Just 7 points seperates position 8 (Sunderland) down to 15 (WBA). Just about anything can happen there too.

    And just 5 points seperates the bottom 5.

    I do love it when any team is capable – in its cluster or range – of survival, champions league place, disaster, Europa, and the trophy far from decided; and there are still the other competitions for us. It means every game is highly competitive, and nothing for granted.

    It means from here Arsenal could have what would arguably be regarded as one of the most successful seasons in some years, moreso given our lousy start, falling over right at the start line, and then falling over again, in a terrible jumble of arms and legs at OT, when we tried to get up. How they laughed. We had to get up and run, man.

    3 months to go, buckle up and brace for impact. Cowards and VIs may disembark. Arsenal.

  34. Evil – (sigh) – need to adjust my spreadsheet

  35. Limestonegunner

    Evil, according to YW’s linked article, Sturridge has 2.5 years left on his contract and is seeking to renegotiate, which means the transfer price would be higher with time left on the contract. Makes it even less likely.

  36. Limestonegunner

    It sounds like a ploy to get a higher wage, though he might genuinely want to play through the middle. Does he think coming to Arsenal would allow that? We are as likely to play him on either side of the striker as well, unless he is a replacement for RvP (god forbid!)

  37. Limestonegunner

    ZP, truly it is all to play for. If we made 4th or by some twist even 3rd it would be terrific. If we were to go further in the CL–quarters or semis– it would be more successful than last year or the year before. If we got the FA cup, it would be our most successful season in 6 years!

    You’d have to admit though that the field in the league is more competitive given our position than it has been over the last 4 or 5 years as well. So the chances look slimmer and would be all the more exciting if we prevail over Liverpool, Chelsea, and Newcastle or overhaul Spuds.

  38. Limestonegunner

    This gave v. Sunderland is a surprisingly big game now. Not only because we need the points but also because Sunderland has surged like we did from the depths of the table to a respectable position. Their recent form has been great, whereas over the last couple of months ours has faltered but is hopefully back on the upswing. We’ll find out a lot from this fixture. I’d love it if we punctured this O’Neill bubble.

  39. Evil

    Joel Campbell? He’s going to take Park’s place on the bench….

  40. I think Hazzard would be a great signing but I can’t see it happening because we will be out muscled on the fees. However I think our priority is to start negotions with VP now and offer him a load of cash to stay, then make sure the team pushes hard for 4th spot. I do think with the emergence of The Ox on the left and the returns of Gervinho and even Chamakh will help push for the last part of the season. I am also impressed with Coquelin’s versatility, he has done well at left back.
    I still think we need to sign a player like MVila, a decent centre forward to replace one of Park/Chamakh ( hopefully not VP) and another centre back. It would be great to sign a talented midfielder like Mata,silva or Hazzard but with Wiltshire, Diaby back next season and Ramsey doing a decent job (until recently), Wenger will prob stick with these options. I do hope we sell Arshavin because it just goes to show how much better we play with the Ox in his position. Lets be optimistic, i think we can do well in the Fa Cup, maybe champs L and still get 4th place.

    The next difficult game against O’Neil s Sunderland will see if the recent demolition of Blackburn is the start of some much needed form.

  41. Limestonegunner

    YW, or Chamakh’s?

  42. I believe neither RvP nor Wenger nor anybody credible has said anything to give credence to the idea RvP might fly into the night. And why would they? And why would we? There are far too may pressing issues with two competitions and the CL places to fight for. When RvP indicates he has not had inclination to even think about it he is simply stating the obvious. It is, in so many ways, highly unlikely. Yes, stranger things have happened, and the cow jumped over the moon, it’s just not for now, is it? It sums up the saying the only thing to fear is fear itself. Simply, unlike Cesc, or Nasri, even Henry, RvP has little to gain from competing for the strikers role at 6 or 7 other clubs and very much to gain from staying to mop up every accolade at Arsenal. He knows it. Fear not, and even if he goes, or gets injured, what is the point of worrying. It’s a non-issue. Much more interssting to think what Ox might achieve when learns a bit, what Ramsey might do in his Arsenal career, or Wilshere or Chewie.

  43. I think a crucial difference for Sturridge may be that he may accept playing as a wide forward with RVP as the main man. Anyone who is shunted out wide to make way for Torres at the moment is justified to have a grievance about it. Not the same with RVP.

    Also at Chelsea, he may think that he will never get a fair crack as the main striker as their owner will prefer to add another 30 million trinket if and when Torres decides to leave or is moved on. This would not be the situation at Arsenal if he can prove himself good enough to replace RVP one day.

  44. Limestonegunner

    Keyser, that sounds reasonable–good points. Still doesn’t seem especially likely, but the grass might seem greener at Arsenal unless their is a big disparity between Chelsea and Arsenal wages.

  45. I don’t really see why we would need a CB. We have Per/Kos/TV, with Djourou as a good back up. Squillaci is also still at the club, with Miquel showing a lot of promise and Bartley impressing at Rangers.

  46. I agree with Zimpaul.

  47. No doesn’t seem likely to me either, for what it’s worth I think this is just agent talk to negotiate better wages. Also he seems to be a bit of a “me me me” player who may not work in our system.

    Just pointing out a potential flaw in the argument he would not want to be second choice behind RVP because he doesn’t want to be second (third?) choice at Chelsea.

  48. I wouldn’t like Sturridge to play for us. I find that he’s a very limited player and not better than what we already have. I think that Joel Campbell is better than him. You guys should see the goal he scored in the Costa Rica v Spain friendly in November. He beat Casillas on his far post with a diagonal shot from just outside right of the penalty area. A truly beautiful goal from a very gifted player.

    Carlos Vela not wanting to come back is dissapointing, but it’s not like he’s setting the world alight with Real Sociedad. I will miss his incredible finishing.

    Niklas Bendtner is going bang insane at the moment. His personal life is a shambles. I wouldn’t want him to be a bad influence on Jackie, Ox and Theo. We should sell him as soon as possible.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Denilson back. We’re going to need options in the middle and he’s a player who was brought up playing Wengerball.

  49. So just as Walcott has the best game of his season some eejit decides to take issue – nearly as good timing as the bin bag nonsense (worst timing evah)!

    Lets move on.

  50. Squillaci will surely be moved on in the summer. I don’t think Bartley has a future at the club, especially if Djourou has signed a new contract. Miquel will take the place of the fifth choice rookie as things stand now, which leaves no space for Bartley.

  51. Good morning folks!

  52. @Keyser
    Good points, but I still do not see exactly how with 4 established full internationals at the club and a very promising youngster there’s space for another CB.

  53. Evil

    You have pretty much summed up what I said it seems!

  54. Also history suggests that Bartley does not have a future at the club. He has not been part of Arsenal’s campaign at any point in the last two seasons. Normally players about to break into the first team spends the first half of the season with Arsenal and are loaned out for the second half. I think Arsene Wenger has gone with Miquel as the long term option when presented with a choice between him and Bartley.

  55. For people’s perusal, rumination and cogitation – Here is our head-to-head with Chelsea up until April.
    N.B. Prem matches scheduled for w/e 17March are subect to change depending on FA cup qualification.
    I’d forgotten the CL matches are 2 weeks apart at this stage.

    Arsenal
    Premier League Sunderland v Arsenal Sat 11 Feb 15:00
    Champions League AC Milan v Arsenal Wed 15 Feb 19:45
    FA Cup Sunderland v Arsenal Sat 18 Feb 17:15
    Premier League Arsenal v Tottenham Sun 26 Feb 13:30
    Premier League Liverpool v Arsenal Sat 3 Mar 12:45
    Champions League Arsenal v AC Milan Tue 6 Mar 19:45
    Premier League Arsenal v Newcastle Mon 12 Mar 20:00
    Premier League Everton v Arsenal Sat 17 Mar 15:00
    Premier League Arsenal v Aston Villa Sat 24 Mar 15:00
    Premier League QPR v Arsenal Sat 31 Mar 15:00

    Chelsea
    Premier League Everton v Chelsea Sat 11 Feb 15:00
    FA Cup Chelsea v Birmingham Sat 18 Feb 12:30
    Champions League Napoli v Chelsea Tue 21 Feb 19:45
    Premier League Chelsea v Bolton Sat 25 Feb 15:00
    Premier League West Brom v Chelsea Sat 3 Mar 15:00
    Premier League Chelsea v Stoke Sat 10 Mar 15:00
    Champions League Chelsea v Napoli Wed 14 Mar 19:45
    Premier League Man City v Chelsea Mon 19 Mar 20:00
    Premier League Chelsea v Tottenham Sat 24 Mar 12:45
    Premier League Aston Villa v Chelsea Sat 31 Mar 15.00

  56. Can sturridge play the Arsenal way? He may play well over there but who knows? unless he came to the club. Good player but I don’t think he would make a huge difference at Arsenal.

    I am with G69, Campbell is a beast. Little Costa Rica had Spain on the ropes and Campbell had a whole lot to do with it.

  57. I don’t know that Sturridge is the player for me either but I’d take him over any of Chamakh, Park & Bendtner.

    As for Campbell – I’ve scarcely seen him though I have seen that goal and 2 others from him. Looks promising – it’s hard to say more than that at the moment surely?

  58. Keysersoze, I believe Arsene has a different time table when it comes to defenders since they have longer career’s, I would not write off his Arsenal career, just yet. Bartley would not play now, since we have TV, Kos, Per, Djourou, Squillaci and Song as cover.

  59. Jonny, would hewant to play 2nd fiddle to RVP? I doubt it. He would have to play on the wing for the most part and I don’t think he is better than the players we currenly have.

  60. Jonny

    I half-looked at that last night and it struck me that we have a tougher set of matches than the teams around us. Didn’t look at the run-ins from April onwards though.

  61. @YW
    Hope it’s a good omen. Last couple of years we had by far the easiest run-in … and well, we all know what happened.

  62. I hope Ramsey, Arteta or Rosicky do this:

  63. Limestonegunner

    Jonny, that is a tough looking set of fixtures. Sunderland twice around Milan away. Spuds. Then Liverpool away and Newcastle with Milan at home. Difficult. Those are serious rivals for fourth at this point. Afterwards it looks a little more reasonable but we are heading into a tough period. We could use JW and Diaby for some midfield depth of quality. I think it could be the making of Coquelin, though. If he can step up to rotate with Song and Arteta and if Rosicky can spell Ramsey we may come through decisively. Of course, RvP needs to stay on form and healthy but Gervinho is coming back, Theo is playing well, and the Ox has been the fresh infusion of dynamism we have been needing.

  64. Lineup from that AC Milan match:

    —————Almunia
    Sagna – Senderos – Gallas – Clichy
    — Diaby — Fabregas — Flamini
    Eboue —– Adebayor ——- Hleb

  65. Yeah I didn’t look beyond either YW – too much info to take in! We have made this a lot harder by not taking advantage of the points against weaker opposition. I think a comfortable win against Sunderland would go a long way to getting belief instilled deeper into this team. If we stutter again this weekend its going encourage familiar doubts. We need to get winning momentum going. 2 wins in the next 2 games would do the job and I strongly believe we are capable. The Ox has added genuine goal threat and I feel that’s really picking the team up.
    Agreed Paul – I don’t think he is the answer either but the flip side to your point is that we need a decent back up to Robin (plus Campbell’s work permit) as a bare minimum. Surely no one wants to play no2? Are we resigned to hunt for ageing stop gaps? What’s the answer? Regardless I was just saying he is better than some of what we currently have as back up to RVP.
    I have now looked at all of Campbell’s goals – very, very tasty indeed.

  66. You would expect this time to be something like:

    ——————–Chezzer
    Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Vermaelen
    —- Arteta — Rosicky —- Song
    Walcott ———VP———- Gervinho

    Not too shabby.

  67. Take a look Jonny.

  68. Come on you Gunners!

  69. Limestonegunner

    Markus, did we play a 433? I think that season (2007-08) we had not shifted to this formation yet. But I don’t really remember how we lined up.

    That lineup does look pretty strong. Ox, Ramsey, Arsh/Benayoun, Coquelin, Chamakh, Fabianski bench?

  70. Apparently Hleb played in behind Adebayor mostly. Must have been more like a 4-4-1-1 then.

  71. Just reading through teh comments,

    Walcott plays his best game of the season and you oculd start to see his confidence coming back before then and then he gets bashed, are you serious, RVP clearly likes playing with Theo and thinks highly of him(going by comments made) so could they be pushing for Theo to sign because 1. the talent is there just inconsistent at times 2.AW sees how devasting unleashing the pace of Theo and Ox on the flanks with real LB/RB could be on teams and 3. most importantly as a way of showing RVP that they are investing in him and this team and feel they can be special.

    Honestly i would take Theo, Ox and Gervinho over Sturridge due to his constant grumbling over playing 3rd striker behind Drogba and Torres. Even with Drogba’s goal record and talent, if he is grumbling behind him then he sure would grumble over playing behind the even more talented RVP. While Sturridge is talented no doubt about that i feel he is more worried about “mine” then the team and thats not teh Arsenal way, hence why we have seen the last of Denilson, Bendtner(he’s off his rocker and there is no hope in sight which is sad for a talented player when he’s focused) but I can’t wait for the arrival of Campbell because he just oozes with talent. Hope he follows the path of greatness and would be a great apprentice for RVP and give us that instant goal presense off the bench which Chamakh and Park(for whatever reason only AW knows) has been able to give us

  72. that’s funny!

    Is Sturrigde that striker that can play once in a while and score? Can he play in the 4,3,3.

    I think we have decent back up strikers, they just don’t play enough.

  73. Campbell looks like a very useful player. Knows how to keep possession and get past his man and has obvious finishing ability. The way he went past Puyol, probably the best defender in the world, and forced him into a foul was top class.

  74. Limestonegunner

    I don’t think Puyol is the best defender in the world, but I do agree that Campbell is a handful–strong, athletic, with great finishing ability. He could fit in with the PL. Not sure how technical he is in close control–video didn’t really show that but he knows how to use his strength to hold the ball up.

    What I’d like to see is more about how he is doing at Lorient. I know he scored a couple goals this Fall and posted about it but haven’t kept up with his progress there. We can see how polished Coquelin is after a year of first team action with them. I think they play a good brand of attacking football, so if he has done’well there, it will be good preparation. Presuming he has continued to play for Costa Rica, he should be eligible for a work permit this summer.

  75. Limestonegunner

    Evil, I love that goal, that moment. In fact that is the last really great knockout victory we’ve had in the CL over a major European power (of course the Barca game was tremendous but it was only halftime of the tie and thanks to Busacca our chance for an even more glorious victory was taken from us).

    I think the Ox is most likely to score one like that since he does have a vicious shot and likes to unleash it, but with Gervinho coming back, I don’t know if I would expect him to be starting.

  76. @LG
    Lorient is really a blessing for us. Not only did we get Koscielny from them, but they just love taking our players on loan and educating them. Thankfully they play proper football, so if we send a player to them we can be sure that he will come back capable of doing a job for us. I am really tempted to start watching their games, they could become a second team for me.

  77. With Gervinho coming back, the question then becomes who starts outwide in the biggest matches like Milan, Tottenham, Liverpool. Do we start Theo and Ox, Ox and Gervinho or Theo and Gervinho? Personally I love Ox and Theo outwide with Gervinho coming in with his incredible pace and teh defenders having tired legs and running by them.

  78. Well done Harry!

  79. On Theo Walcott

    “I can only speak from experience but he [Walcott] was one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against,” said Messi. “Barcelona players are not scared easily but I can tell you that when we played Arsenal last season he truly worried us.” 14 Feb 2011

    “I must say that at the time I thought it was a bad decision to leave Theo Walcott at home, and I think that has been proved right,” he [Messi] said in the Star. “I can only speak from experience but he was one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against.”
    On Walcott’s omission from the England World Cup Squad

    “Everything he [Guardiola] does is for a reason, he never says things for the sake of it,” Xavi Hernández says. This time is no different: “Theo Walcott,” Guardiola tells his players, “runs 100 metres in 10.37 seconds.” 6th April 2010

    “I love him, I honestly love him,” said Van Persie. “I don’t understand the criticism. On Saturday he gave three very clear assists, two for me and one for Alex.” 6th Feb 2012

    Not everybody thinks he is bad!

  80. C said,,,, While Sturridge is talented no doubt about that i feel he is more worried about “mine” then the team and thats not teh Arsenal way,

    I live part time in Costa Rica, actually here at the moment. I have been following Cambel very closely and talk about him alot with my Costa Rican friends. The one thing they all mention when talking about him is he is very selfish and has a bit of a ego on him.
    He is a great player but i think we are going to have trouble with him.

  81. Went to Costa Rica for my honeymoon. The most beautiful place I have ever seen.

    GJ, what about his lone spell, is he having problems there? That would let us know whether he was going to be trouble or not.

  82. I think Wenger will go with the more seasoned players in the CL. I see it being 3G’s and Walcott.

  83. Theo is a great player and I’ve noticed of late his upped the dribble rate,
    Could be the ‘Ox Factor’.

  84. Paul,,,, Its truly beautiful over here. Its the dry season now so not at its most lusciously green and beautiful. But its the best time for the surf and thats why Im here.
    From what I gather he is doing well there Paul, havent heard anything negative. Im going bye what I hear down here in Costa Rica,, they rate him extremely highly but many have commented in him being very selfish, often preferring to hold onto the ball and squeez of impossible shots instead of passing to a team mate better placed. Ive seen it a few time on his you tube clips but they only show you when he scores so you dont see all the times he does not and his team mates are flapping their arms in despair.
    Dont get me wrong Im a big admirer and hope he is the next Henry. Just commenting on C s post about Sturridge being a me player and not a team player.

  85. And Im sure Wenger will coach that out of him. Im not worried about that. Ego on the other hand is a harder one.Just look at Bendner.

  86. dupsffokcuf | February 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm
    “write not right”
    *****
    Freudian slip there, Dups

  87. Did anyone notice that van Persie-esque flying left footed volley in the box from Campbell on the compilation video? That suggests he has good technique as well as the confidence and ability to try something different.

  88. @Paul-N

    IMO either way will work out because with teh pace of Theo, Ox, and Gervinho coming on as a sub around 60mins on, the defenders are already going to start and have tired legs and then we bring on one of the aforementioned with fresh legs and great pace to run at them, could and should bring great results for us.

    @Gunnerjones
    do you think from talking to people in Costa Rica that he would be more of a problem than an asset?

  89. C ,, no not at all. He is young and has alot to learn still. He is a great talent. Just passing on the opinion for down here. Its not mine.

    Id like to see the OX keep his place because on merit he deserves it. When he gets tired or has a bad game give him a rest. He brings what Gervinio has to the table but has goal in him and that is what we have been lacking of late. ( Last game aside )

  90. @paul-n, i agree with your post 4:44

  91. *@gunnerjones not @ paul-n

  92. We certainly don’t need another CB. DM and the arteta position is well covered with song/le coq/JW/Ramsey/Arteta. If diaby can play it would be a bonus but I dont expect any significant contribution from him Wouldn’t mind seeing a LB come in given the Gibbs uncertainty but I doubt that will happen. RB is good.

    We could really use a backup striker who could also be effective as a wide player and a creative/goalscoring forward midfielder I think Sturridge would be a good addition since he could play anywhere across the front but I think the chance of Chelsea selling him to us is small even if he is in the last year of his contract. My guess is that chamakh, arshavin, squill, park, and yossi will go. RVP is a big unknown. TR7 also unknown although i really hope he stays The boss tends to buy 1 player in the $10 – 13M range per year and fill in the rest with existing players or inexpensive purchases and i doubt he will break from that tradition Hopefully he can find a good attacking player in his price range. If RVP does go I hope adds 2 attacking players in the $10-15M range. I have officially surrendered on my hope of big name signings.

  93. Thanks for the info GJ. I was just wondering.

    I didn’t get to the beach when I was there but I have it my mind to go back and do that. I stayed by the Arenal Volcano.

  94. @gunnerjones, i truly do appreciate what you have heard from the locals down in Costa Rica because so many of us dont know to much about him peronality wise just what we see on youtube. I would personally love to see Chamakh sold and Campbell sitting on the bench. Our attack could have the likes of RVP, Campbell, Ox, Theo, Gervinho which could give us class, pace, impactful players who could score adn assist

  95. come on mali

  96. Arenal is stunning Paul… And its cool because it kind of sounds like Arsenal.

  97. I think that for the first leg (unless Gerv is not ready yet after the ACN) we will see Gervinho and Theo start. I don’t think Wenger will want to risk too much by playing Chamberlain. He has markedly improved over the last three games and has shown at times to be able to help out his defender, but I still think that Gervinho does more defensively and that Wenger will be conservative, considering that it’s an away game. However, should we find us facing a deficit I think Oxo might be in for a starting berth in the next game because I feel that he has probably more goals in him as Gervinho (unless Gervinho has enrolled in a course at the Thierry Henry University for Lethal Finishing when you are 1 on 1)

  98. C @ 4:58

    Add Rio Miachi to your list and it does not get any better than that.. Unless you has Messi..

  99. lol @ GJ!

    Maybe It was a subconscious choice!

    I wore my Arsenal jersey and a couple of the guys that worked in the hotel went crazy.

    I had a great time!

  100. I get your point about starting The OX, C. The CL is a different vibe though, as City found out.

  101. mattgoonerknight

    Re. Sturridge – doesn’t Chelsea pretty much play 4-3-3?

    As I mentioned earlier, I think he has shown this season that he would be a better option than Chamakh, Park, Bendtner and Vela, and yes, “shown” is the operative word in that statement. Campbell I can’t comment as I honestly haven’t seen him in action, although I hope one wonder goal isn’t the acting as the basis of people arguments that he should be are preferred striking backup for RVP.

    The suggestion that Strurridge wouldn’t wan’t to be 2nd choice to RVP because of his current perceived mumblings at being behind Drogba and Torres do not quite measure up for me.

    For one, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that someone is vocal about wanting an opportunity – as long as they perform well when it is presented to them. Take Le Coq for example. It was only a few weeks ago that he went public in saying he was becoming frustrated with the lack of game time. Fast forward a few weeks, a few injuries and a dench player sent out on loan later and now we’re all raving about him with not a mention of the past grumblings.

    Secondly, competing with and supporting one of the most talented, in form forwards in the world is arguably an exciting and positive proposition ; playing third fiddle behind the respective 2011/12 versions of Torres and Drogba is, well, you get the picture.

  102. I have been inpressed with Sturridge but I just dont like him, kind of like Adebayor. But if he wants to come here and does Ill happily support him. He will improve on we we have. And he is young and will improve too.. Probably more so at Arsenal than anywhere else.

  103. So Matt, what you are saying is that he is not grumbling about playing time but playing behind Torres and Drogba, moreso? If Torres was killing it, he would have no problem with not playing? I think the kid simply want’s to play, it seems he does not want to ride the bench. Had Hleb new he would not play at Barca, he would have stayed put. I dare say the same for Chamakh and Park.

  104. Hope I have not misunderstood your point.

    I also see no problem with a player saying they want to play but he has played quite a few games.

  105. I think its the fact that he feels he is stuck behind two players who are not delivering and when given the opportunity he has. On form he should be starting every game for them. But the fact that Chelsea spunked $50 M on Torres they are forced to play him.

  106. mattgoonerknight

    Paul-N

    The crux of my point is that the grumbling is not necessarily as bad/ as big as a problem as people are making and that while he probably just wants to play, he is also becoming disillusioned at being considered behind two strikers whom he has scored the same number of goals as combined.

    If Torres was killing it, then we’d have to assess his frustrations differently and the Van persie comparison could be made – as it stands, it can not.

    You say that the boy just want’s to play, that he doesn’t want to ride the bench but he has played also played a lot?

    Struridge has played comparably more the Chamakh, Park and Hleb (at Barca) put together, so I feel his voice of dissent is of a very different nature to those aforementioned. Also, if Strurridge scored as he did for Bolton and has this season for Chelski, he would get game time – imagine Sturridge being able to moan at his game time having scored half as many goals as one leading striker…..

  107. Maybe so GJ, but he still get’s a lot of playing time. Doubt he would get as much playing behind RVP.

  108. mattgoonerknight

    “imagine Sturridge being able to moan at his game time having scored half as many goals as one leading striker…..”

    What I mean by this is wouldn’t it be great if our second striker was moaning having scored half as many as RVP. It would mean that RVP had been rested sufficiently to ensure that he wasn’t run into the ground and that the back up knew where the goal was and quite prolific to boot – I’d take the moaning!!!

    As it stands for Sturridge, he has scored more or equal (depending on league, cup etc) than Torres and Drogba combined yet he is considered after them due to their respective previous achievements; kudos and status within the club, price tag, oligarchs wounded pride etc

  109. Well Matt, whatever side of the fence you sit on, we are all speculating. What we know for sure is that he want’s to play.

    Chamakh scored a lot for us when he first came and he was on the bench as soon as RVP was healthy. That was were it all went wrong for him. There are no gaurantee’s when you have a player like RVP in front of you. That’s just how it is.

  110. My friend Mattgoonerknight (I recognise that street sign!) wrote earlier: “Sturridge is well known, fits the bill and ready to go”.

    Sturridge was on loan towards the end of Bolton last season.
    A bit like the younger Ryo. *sniffs*

    *sobs*

  111. It is unfortunate for him that Torres has to play though. There in lies the folly of some of these big money players. The manager is all but stuck.

  112. mattgoonerknight

    GJ

    I agree.

    I also need to take a tip from you on how to be succinct – with pretty much said the same thing give or take 200 words ; )

  113. *wails*

    Why? Why Weng? Why?

    Why keep Arshavin? (Sorry PG).
    Why bring in Henry? (Sorry everybody).

    Why???? !!!!

  114. I see where you are coming from though.

  115. Whats the problem finsbury?

  116. Maybe Wenger will prefer Arshavin for the Milan game?
    Nothing wrong with Vela wanting to stay back at RS – maybe he realizes that he will not be able to contribute here – sometimes you need to step down to find your touch – hopefully he finds it at RS
    Hope Ramsey starts scoring some goals to boost his confidence. He seems to be trying really hard this season.

  117. LOL Mattgooner,,, Im married to a Latin woman ( Venezuela) Between her and my mother in law Im lucky if I get two words in. So I have to make them count..

  118. mattgoonerknight

    Finsbury

    I have a mate who lives in Highbury park and another on Gillespie road.

    It was the morning of the Villa F.A. cup clash and I left his house early one morning having completely forgotten where and of what part of London we’d crashed at. Once outside the door, all the old boy’s were setting up the match day stalls ready for the game in the afternoon – really gave me the buzz even though I was just going home to Cambridge to watch it on ESPN : (

    Yeah, realise Sturridge was at Bolton last year. If Ryo comes back as Sturridge and Jack have we’ll be laughing…so dry those tears : )

  119. If Vela would focus he would make it. Not many players have the kind of skill that he has. One of my favorite players.

  120. mattgoonerknight

    Fins

    🙂

  121. mattgoonerknight

    GJ

    and I always get moaned at by my better half for not listening and talking too much about myself….where she gets these crazy ideas from I’ll never know! 😉

  122. If everyone plays to their potential ,Arshavin starts ahead of AOC,G’s & Theo.

  123. But George,,, its fair to say neither Ox nor Theo, even 3gs are playing to their potential.

  124. Ok if everyone plays as well as the ever have.
    Is that better?

  125. Yes !

  126. But arguing about it would have been more fun ,( Smiley face)

  127. GJ ,you and I don’t have tiff’s anymore

  128. Limestonegunner | February 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    thats the year we played seville in the champions league group huh? 3-0? with cesc wondergoal. actually back then i think we had the best squad and even played 442….
    —hleb—–cesc—flam—-rosi
    ———-vanp—ade———–

  129. you seen the pics of arsenal training today? its a pic of Andre Santos(in shorts mind you!) in the snow walking around! surly that is good news 🙂

  130. i agree with peacefrog.
    Oxo for Sunderland and Arsharvin for MIlan. Arsh seems to love those big matches, its europe and different from playing PL. Besides he seems to do well in europe. Who can forget his goal against barcelona. it ruined all the backpages the day after… I think he would do better against Milan than against Sunderland….

  131. @mattgoonerknight why would you think RvP would be happy being rested? Hes the captain of the team, hes the talisman. He would not be happy if he had to sit out matches when he felt ok. I dont think we would have rested RvP any more this year if Chamakh was playing relly well.

    I think the phrase “we need a new striker so we can rest RvP ” is hugley simplified. its more complex than that…

  132. Capello has resigned as England manager
    He must have been waiting for Twitchy to be found not guilty

  133. Limestonegunner

    Hunter, I don’t quite understand your comment, but if you mean that Sevilla compares with AC Milan, I don’t think that’s the case. Defeating Milan at the San Siro, the first English club to do so, and knocking out the reigning champions was a big, big win. Much bigger than defeating Sevilla, or in subsequent years Roma and Villareal.

    Hopefully we’ll do it again vs. Milan and progress further in the competition.

  134. Oh how stupid will Capello look when Terry is found guilty. Resigned to support (not) a racist and someone who should’ve never gotten the captain’s armband back.

  135. Limestonegunner

    What a crazy move!? Capello must be ultra sensitive about his authority or he was looking for a good excuse to resign. Must have known the England team looked set to crash out again in dismal and embarrassing fashion.

  136. Capello has resigned on a matter of principle.How can that earn him anything but credit?
    Or what LG said.
    On reflection ,what LG said

  137. Paul-N @ 5:55 pm

    ‘Whats the problem finsbury?’ Nothing!

    I was hoping to see Ryo break into the first team this season at some point along with AOC. One wondering wide forward in the Nasri./Arshavin-esque mould (AOC), and one even more direct speed demon to cover for Theo. From having one ridiculously fast wide forward at the beginning of summer (Na$$a was always leaving) Arsenal found themselves with four after Arsene brought in the shimmering Gervinho. Then Arsene signs Henry, and there wasn’t much opportunity left in the squad for poor Ryo to get his minutes in.

    I’ll try and get over it (thanks mattgoonerknight). I suppose I could try and watch some Bolton games.

  138. Our blessed ‘Arry who is from heaven, looks set for the jobby. Have to say, he lloks just the part in those reading goggles.

    Fook me.
    Keep AOC away from that circus. Somehow? Please!

  139. Gervinho just scored a good goal for Ivory Coast

  140. Or looks, even, as ooposed to llok. Lllok was the name of the account in Gibralter.

  141. great solo goal by gervinho just now.

  142. ‘appy arry for president of the English Team, now that he was cleared of f*cking the kingdom.

  143. mattgoonerknight

    Poodle,

    It doesn’t matter if RVP “would be happy being rested”, top players at top teams are rested – fact.

    RVP has featured in so many games more than any of our number one strikers have previously(himself included) – he’s played in F.A Cup games, home games against bottom three clubs etc etc.

    Do you remember the 2-2 away draw with Wigan last season? EIGHT players were rested for that game, an away League match – RVP was one of them!

    If our reserve strikers filled Arsene with confidence then he would have been rested more. However, they clearly do not, so Robin has had to play as a virtual ever present. The few times he has been rested he’s invariably been dragged on to try and save the day – the home win against Stoke being a case in point.

    If Chamakh had banged in a couple putting us in the lead / taking us to victory, I have feeling this may have persuaded AW of his merits to cover for another league game – instead RVP comes on after 66 minutes with the scores tied and wins us the game.

    “I think the phrase “we need a new striker so we can rest RvP ” is hugley simplified. its more complex than that…”

    Could you explain the complexities? Other than protecting and providing our number one prized asset with time to rest and recuperate, thus staving off potential breakdown and giving him renewed vigour for the next, more difficult / important encounter, the complexities are?

  144. did anyone see gervinhos goal??

  145. mattgoonerknight

    Great goal by Gervinho,!

    Ran from just inside his own the half into the area and curled it passed the keeper with some aplomb.

    Some of that on your return please Mr Kouassi!!

  146. dups the commentators on euro sport were saying it was a soft goal to give away but i thought it was a good goal..

  147. It was a good goal JJ. Nutmegged the Mali player then ran half the pitch and scored.

  148. i cant see there being anything in the sturridge thing..he wont play centrally here either

    velas probably one of those out of the club in the summer to go towards to 15-20 million we need to make so im not too fussed if he dont want to come back..

  149. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/feb/08/chelsea-accounts-villas-boas-ancelotti

    They honestly paid 64 million over 4 years just to change their managers? That’s probably more than what we have spent during the same timeframe on incoming players.

  150. So if ‘onest Arry gets the England job will life be all Rosie for the England fans?

  151. good finish as well..
    opened up his body and a decent little curler..

  152. Ahhh.. brilliant ! Thanks Jonny.

  153. Seydou Keita waving the imaginary card after a little pull in midfield with space around him pretty crowded. Not really surprising though, he is a Barca player after all.

  154. ahh, got it, finsbury. I was also looking forward to seeing young Ryo play.

    Wi ‘ave some blow wow speed inna di team now!

  155. Henryesque run and finish.

  156. Gyan loves missing penalties on big stages, innit?

  157. Limestonegunner | February 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    nonono lol ……i did not see that th starting point of your discussion with marcus was the formation for ac milan fixtures in 08….i only read yours at 3:56 where i simply saw the words: formation/4-3-3/2007-2008 and my mind went to group stages where we played with seville and thats the last time i remembered us playing 442…sorry for confusion.

  158. gazelhio

  159. @mattgoonerknigh our number one striker is not a machnine. Hes a humanbeing with a free will and with opinions?

    He wont just accept being rested, and why should he? he is the captain in the form of his life!
    “cos its the right thing to do” you may say, or “cos the manager sais so” or “cos its for the best for the team”. But why says RvP agrees?

    That is what i do mean with complexities. You dont just “rest” a player like Robin.. Simple as.
    And i dont think he would accept being rested right now neither.. And that would cause unneccesariy tension. Our captian not happy.

    Even with Benzema as a very unhappy backupstriker, or Sturridge or any other very unhappy star striker we may sing(as non in the entire world could replace RvP atm) you just dont rest a player like RvP…
    Just like you dont just rest Messie or Ronaldo. They are simply to good…
    A striker like RvP dont “share” a spot. he owns a spot.

    Think what you like mattgoonerknight, but we are dealing with humanbeings here, human emotions, human vanity.
    Things are never easy when those are involved….

    For the record i do agree with you, we could do well with a second striker of quality that would be happy playing around 10 games a season.. And a RvP that was okay with sitting on the bench every 5th game.. But i dont think either is very likley…

  160. A lot of play acting in this game now.

  161. Thanks for that Jonny – clearly WAS a soft goal; you have to run at least 3/4 of the pitch for it to qualify as sufficiently hard not to be sniped at.

    Can’t get over the scale of the coincidence of ‘Arry’s jail break and Capello’s resignation; all we need now is for Maureen to join in and we’ll have the complete set. Whilst I don’t think ‘Arry would let Levy down by walking out on the Spuds, if there was a half-decent manager available to take over, he might consider it. Maureen would surely fit the bill (if Levy is feeling rich enough).

    I don’t think the case WILL affect the FA’s attitude towards Rednapp; they are currently smarting from the criticism that Terry’s been effectively pre-judged by them despite having not had his day in court. They were damned whatever they did with Terry so the last thing they need is to go against ‘popular’ opinion and blacklist ‘Arry.

    Great goal for Sunderland (Colback) – ominous …

  162. I dont get why Parker should be England captain tbh. Except from the fact hes old, he has absolutley no experience on the highest level. No CL, does he even have europenan league?

    Surly Captain Dive must be the new England captain…

  163. Really disgraceful from the Cote D’ivore number 6. Goes down clutching his knee, then immediately jumps back up when the call doesn’t go his way, pretends when the ref comes over to him that he is still injured and sits back down, just to jump up when the opposition player throws the ball in his direction.

  164. Maureen would surely fit the bill (if Levy is feeling rich enough).

    666

  165. Spurs have not got anywhere enough money for Maureen to be the manager.
    It will be City for him.

  166. mattgoonerknight

    poodle | February 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    “For the record i do agree with you, we could do well with a second striker of quality that would be happy playing around 10 games a season.. And a RvP that was okay with sitting on the bench every 5th game..

    To be honest Poodle, are way of expressing our thoughts seem diametrically opposed, so I won’t fine comb your post for area’s which I either disagree with or find bemusing and / amusing.

    For the record, I pretty much agree with your last paragraph, albeit if you include Carling Cup, F.A. Cup and Champions / Europa League (worst case scenario) in addition to occasional league starts and frequent substitute appearances, our hypothetical second choice striker of quality will be getting far in excess of 10 games.

    Take B52 for example

    His all competition appearance stats are as follows:

    07-08: 40
    08-09: 50
    09-10: 31
    10-11: 32

    Now obviously many of these are sub, cup etc appearances but the figures speak for themselves. Never a first choice (out of choice) but look at the number of games.

    Moreover, perhaps the most important point to consider is (and how this hasn’t been mentioned yet is thankfully indicative of his current run) who comes in if, or more realistically when RVP is out through injury. An injury might be a slight strain or God forbid a season wrecker, but he will not be fit always and forever.

    “But i dont think either is very likley…”

    I think it is important that next season a second striker of quality that players more than ten games is very likely.

  167. Sunderland in a tough match v ‘borough (1-1 at the mo) – with any luck this will go all the way to extra time and penalties!

  168. @ Dupsffokcuf,
    You recently published the 😆 formula and changed the lives of all Gooner comment makers. Now tell us how the reproduce the little rascal in emails! 😆

  169. And how go we do rolleyes?

  170. Careful Dups, think about what you are potentially unleashing here …!

  171. I have forgotten how to do it 😆

  172. The ancient ways of t’internet, handed down from generation to generation …

    Sunderland still battling away, 12 mins to go to extra time.

  173. mattgoonerknight

    🙄

  174. So the jowl-faced criminal escapes all charges, the furry-browed Italian walks away from the England job and River Cottage burns down – crazy news day.

    Most importantly though Middlesbrough might be on the cusp of taking Sunderland into an unwanted 30mins of extra time. That’d be ideal.

  175. Capello resigns; Who would have thought of it
    An Italian abandoning a sinking ship.

  176. Jonny

    The day Capello resigns, Droopy McTwitch gets off scot free AND you think we dont do dodgy in this country man? 🙂

    Same applies with J Terry’s trial, conveniently erm convened for AFTER dem EUROs!

  177. Ha – Capello grounded on the rock of Terry.

    5 mins to extra time …

  178. It aint Capello’s fault English players aint good enough, yet the FA and hacks started stickin the knife in months ago. What a bunch of wankers, we definitely do get the england team and manager we deserve thanks to those twonks!

  179. Spy, you made my wife laugh.

  180. Nicky

    Not all email clients accept emoticons. If you use gmail (google mail client) you can insert emotes from the menu bar.

  181. Extra time looms, fingers crossed.

  182. Stew/ thanks you must be in her good books now ha

  183. Careful ‘Boro don’t fucking win it now.

  184. A local urchin has invaded the pitch; he thinks it’s all over.

    How thick is he?

  185. Sunderland v Boro extra time

  186. EXCELLENT!

    Our chances just went up by 20% on Saturday, I reckon. It’ll take until lunchtime that day to thaw them out.

    Sunderland looked jaded already after that very creditable away win at Stoke last weekend; the LAST thing they wanted was extra time …

  187. Spy – you’re doing better than me

  188. @mattgoonerknight well nothing is better than if you are right and i am wrong…
    That would be great for the club…

  189. mattgoonerknight

    :mrgreen:

  190. Great goal Gervinho. That was class finishing.

    Paul, Campbell looks even more impressive in that extended clip of him playing against Spain. The boy abused Sergio Ramos.

    Pass, I didn’t want to say it, but Campbell does look a bit like RVP in some instances. Just imagine what he’ll do when Wenger indoctrinates him.

    Sturridge doesn’t cut in from the right with as much ability as some lefties do and he’s not good enough to lead the line by himself. He’s a good player, but he just doesn’t impress me.

  191. @mattgoonerknight but if NB52 thought he was to good to sit on the bench, then i think its hard to find a good enough striker that will be happy to do so. After all NB52 aint all that good…
    No new striker can ever be guaranteed playtime except the odd game and when RvP is injured basically…

    But again, hope you are right and that we in the summer can buy a challenger that is almost as good as RvP, willing to sit on the bench and take his chanve when RvP is either out or need his rest…

  192. @Gainsbourg69 thats great news, yong and will be willing to learn and sit on bench for a season or two 🙂

  193. Yes Dex you’re right, silly me the jury were bribed to let Redknapp off, by The FA, who then forced the existing manager, Capello, into a position where he felt compelled to resign thereby achieving their stated aim of getting rid of the manager with the highest win rate in England’s football history (Capello) so that they can install a manager with no international management experience and who is unavailable until just a few weeks prior to the second largest competition in international football.

    It all makes sense to me now! 😉

  194. With Capello’s resignation England can end its experiment with foreign managers. Now if only you could find the next Bobby Robson you’d be in business.

  195. and with Redkapp going for England Tottenham can sink back to their usual misery again too :p

  196. Is it me or do Sunderland look knackered?

  197. Dexter I’m afraid that this country is fast losing it’s reputation for fair play. That a jury could be talked into acquitting someone of tax evasion on the basis that he is not very bright, is a disgrace. I thought ignorance of the law was not a defence? No one likes paying tax, but why should an already rich man be allowed to get away with something that most of us have no choice but to pay because it is taken at source from our earnings? And then to install him as England manager (which we know is going to happen) just adds insult to injury? And let’s not even mention the subsidy from the tax payer so that spurs can build a new stadium on the pretext of regeneration!

  198. I wouldn’t worry too much about Joel Campbell’s temper. We had another bad boy who came here with a bad reputation and Wenger sorted him out. In fact, he has become one of the best strikers in the world.

  199. Steww

    I hope they are not saving energy for Saurday

  200. Shiiiiiiiiiit Jonny, there was me thinking you had a sense of humour. My bad. Wont happen again. Even with the smiley face, you still took it seriously??? 🙄 :mrgreen:

    Anyhoo, I reckon the FA should go full pelt to get martin ONeill, he isnt doing anything at the moment.

  201. Arry used the stupid defence? He’s as slippery as an eel that one.

  202. Gains;

    You talkin bout Fabian Cabalello?

  203. G69

    RVP was also a very selfish striker when he came. Now a real team player

  204. Shows what you can get away with IF you spend enough on solicitors Passenal.

  205. Oh FFS! How am I meant to convey sarcasm other than with a winking face Dex?!

    I was laughing (orobably too much) whilst in wrote it. Sheeet!

  206. dups – surely not…

  207. Sheeeeeeeeeee-hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! 😆

  208. Sunderland look very tired to me – second to too many 50:50s, unusually for them; I’m sure the Stoke game took a lot out of ’em.

    Agree Passenal; one rule for slippery eels …

  209. I didn’t watch this from the start are their many Sunderland first-teamers out there tonight?

  210. Sunderland have a few injuries (not including Bendy) but it’s pretty much their first team I’d say.

    Of greater significance is Middlesborough’s poor recent form …

  211. I think Sunderland are goin to nick this.

    That Colback’s a decent player man.

  212. Shrek calling for ‘Arry as England Manager …

  213. mattgoonerknight

    Poodle

    Good point but you’re forgetting B52 is an egotistical moron who suffers from delusions of grandeur i.e. he’s a bit of a twat ; ).

    Arsenal are far too good for Bendtner, then and now.

    There’s plenty of good teams who have 2nd choice strikers of real quality. However, I think the key and arguably our biggest obstacle will be the respective player’s success criterion.

    For example, Berbatov is Man United’s 3rd choice, but he’s on good wages and wins things as part of their squad – the same for Citeh’s strikers, so they’re happy enough despite not being top, or in some cases even second dog. Whether they are respected and doing their long term career any favours is another question.

    With us, we’re not paying mega bucks and can’t guarantee trophies but we can offer a solid wage (in football terms, of course) and the chance to play in Europe (hopefully CL) and at least compete for trophies, playing in beautiful stadium in front 60,000 every week or so. There are quality forwards who’d like a piece of this, even if it meant not being the main man.

  214. Harry can’t manage England in Europe! He doesn’t even know what Europe is, no idea at all.

    Imagine the press conference –

    “Spain? Nope. Never heard of it. No. No, idea at all. What am I doing here? Who am I? Tika whata? Fuck off. I never accepted any thing on tic. Fucking disgraceful allegations”.

  215. Sessignon looking injured…

  216. No such thing as a bad victory but that was a hugely ‘inefficient’ win for the Black Cats.

    V good Jonny – the only thing the trial lacked was the immortal: “You’ll neva take me alive, coppa!”

  217. Decent night for us. Sunderland will feel the effects of 120 minutes of mid week action and the uncertainty surrounding the england job should at least cast a shadow over the spuds run in.

  218. Yeah when he takes over and England fuck up yet again, he can say, well, what did you expect, I am as thick as that rolled up bundle of used £50 notes in me sky rocket!

  219. So, thats 2 away games vs Sunderland. I will take a win saturday and a draw in the cup. Nice

  220. I am so happy to be let off as I am an innocent man, always was, innit ?! I would like to thank all me mates who got day release from prison for the trial and me lawyer for his great work. My son, who was in court as well deserves a mention, cos he’s a great lad, no bullshit. I am now going to consider the england job which will be great innit ?! But the really hard task will be writing my resignation letter as I told the court that I was a bit of dimwit and couldn’t read or write. Ha ha ha … they all believed me. Well me old sons, it’s a difficult one, as I ain’t got a cheque book handy and can’t bankrupt the FA.. as much as will try.. ha ha ha ha.. The wheelin and dealin will be hard to let go of, innit ?!, as I’m looking forward to a dodgy number being done for Addeyoffside. Mebbe get Bale and Modric an english passport from one of me mates in the east end.

  221. Martin O’Neil plugging ‘Arry for England – pressure’s mounting …

    Currently 1-3 favourite with the bookies.

  222. mattgoonerknight,

    “For example, Berbatov is Man United’s 3rd choice, but he’s on good wages and wins things as part of their squad – the same for Citeh’s strikers, so they’re happy enough despite not being top, or in some cases even second dog. Whether they are respected and doing their long term career any favours is another question.”

    No way bro. If Coquelan can say that he wants to play, what about these seasoned players who are star’s in their own right. They are not happy in the least, they want to play.

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/1019031/dimitar-berbatov-wants-more-playing-time-at-man-united?cc=5901

  223. Nice one ONeill, biggin up Twichy McBung for the job!

  224. That and a clean jury Andrew ;-).

    Props to Middlesbrough with their crazy collection of bright-eyed, local 15y’olds. Looked like a decent bunch of lads – need feeding up though.

    I’d consider starting Theo on the bench see if we can truly terrorise tired legs in the second half.

  225. MGK

    YOu are wasting your time trying to convince a few on here about the need for top striker dude! 🙂

    Give it up mate! I have!!!

    MUppet

    Case closed!! After Arry’s taken his cut….

  226. Yes, much as I’d happily start with Theo and the Ox any day of the week, the thought of them coming on after 60 minutes this Saturday is just too tempting for words …

  227. PaulN

    (I lied) Its about the rotation bro. Something we have not been able to do. There are 60+ games a season, plenty for everyone. Sure Coquelin says he wants to play, he is young, so he should, its all part of his development. The squad now needs to be stronger due to the 25 man rules dude. With a few yutes eager to come in now and again.

    WE have Coquelin who can come in to compete with Song now and we know he can do a job, if asked. However, with strikers, you need top notch players, as well as a raw yute too. Just me opinion spar. 🙂

  228. IF we dont start with Theo and Oxo, who does? Arshavin & Benayoun?

  229. Thought that was Poodle for a minute Dups!

  230. Well that would make George’s month complete, Dex.

  231. I would be happy enough, as long as we can keep it tight, quieten the crowd and all that cliche ridden chat, then bring em on. Although I would be tempted to start with Oxo, given his confidence, form and youthful exuberance.

  232. That is reasonable Dex. I have no issue with a top striker coming on board and I agree that we could do with better squad rotation, and not just up front. With that, you don’t rotate players like RVP too often, that would be madness. As has been mentioned, Messi and Ronaldo play, there is no one rotating fwith them on a regular basis.

    Ah so it go mi bredrin.

  233. PaulN

    True, but with a player of the class of RvP, he could play with AND without the new dude bro!

  234. mattgoonerknight

    Paul N

    So finally Berbatov want’s out…how long has this taken? Has he just been nailed to the bench all this time, not notice Fergie starting little shit in front of him or his he just really slow.
    PSG in the summer by any chance?

    O.K. you’ve got me on the 3rd choice thing, I’ve overplayed the hyperbole card in that regard. But as I said earlier, I feel players are more concerned with who is playing in front of them and their ranking within the club rather than the number of games they play.

    Again, as I mentioned earlier, Le Coq was moaning as he wasn’t getting a sniff until injuries and loans opened up things for him, now he’s in and around the first team, he know’s he can play at this level and that the boss trusts him – hence the signing of a new contract in January!! Now he’s in the first team squad playing CL football and potentially challenging for trophies do you think he’ll want out? To go to who? If he does he can fuck off and join the other suffers of grandiose delusion.

    I suspect for Berbatov, it is being placed behind Hernandes that has really signalled to him that he’s better off somewhere else.That and the fact he is 31 and he would like a big cash move while he is still considered a marque signing.

    Have I mentioned PSG? Maybe Malaga? Anzhi? China?

    If all players “just wanted to play” the league and respective quality of the teams would be a lot more evenly spread as top players would ensure that they were at a club were they would be a nailed on starter or else, move on.

  235. I agree with MGK.

  236. I agree with Passenal

  237. mattgoonerknight

    Dex

    Sorry bro, just seen your message.

    Never give up – just say the same shit in different ways ; )

    I didn’t even mean to start today – I just commented that I’d ship out our exiting back up centre forward options for Sturridge any day of the week, and then….

    I like to discuss / debate/ disagree / argue about things, so this bone of contention should keep us chewing the fat until the summer transfer window has finished!

  238. Could we have a truce on these twitchy things please! Epilepsy and all.

  239. mattgoonerknight

    I agree with Jonny ; )

  240. It’s very sad for those of us who are English to have to admit it, but don’t the England team and Redknapp deserve each other?

  241. When it says “Easy Open Tab” it should just be that

  242. True FRank, not very sensitive of us is it.

    MGK

    I do like Sturridge and have done since he was at City TBH. Think he could be a very good player, especially under AW’s tuteledge. Much much much prefer this rumour than the Kalou one anways!

  243. And, to make matters worse, he’ll be deflected from the primary task of bankrupting his present club.

  244. mattgoonerknight

    Jonny

    That’s fucking cool.

    It’s weird, I’m fine scrolling smaller and smaller but going the other way makes me anxious – my head can’t handle the magnitude of it all.

    With my mind now fixed on the incomprehensible, I bid you all good night

  245. @Jonny
    I wanted to kindly inform you that I have uni exams in two weeks. if I end up flunking them, there might be a big chance it will be down to you posting that link. And now please let me see just how small things can get!

  246. Okay, I just noticed that at the right end of the spectrum, they clearly forgot Bendtner’s ego. Clearly someone didn’t do his research!

  247. According to the latest theories the universe is smaller than 1st thought. All to do with gravitational lensing making distant objects appear in more than one place.

    With that I’m off to bed.

  248. Or at the other end Spur’s trophy haul.

    BOOM!

  249. Hardy haahaa! 🙂

  250. The Brazilian club Corinthians are keeping their striker Adriano “detained” inside the team’s hotel in an effort to force him to lose weight.

    The club said Adriano, who has been fined several times for missing training, would be put on a strict diet inside the hotel at the team’s headquarters, eating only what doctors give him and training three times a day.

    The Corinthians fitness trainer Fabio Mahseredjian said the team chose to detain the former Internazionale striker because he has failed to improve his physical condition. He has played rarely since recovering from surgery on his achilles tendon last year and is in danger of not being included in the squad for the Copa Libertadores.

    Mahseredjian said: “In the hotel we have more control over him … He knows we’re trying to do the best for him. All of us are dedicated, but it depends on him. Weight loss comes only through diet: you cannot lose weight through physical activity alone.”
    —————————————————-

    Now here IS a top striker who would love to sit on the comfy Arsenal bench.

  251. Bradys right foot

    Ahh I was wondering where that Quantum foam had got too.

  252. So someone created all this in seven days?

  253. No. Sp*rs worked 50 years to create their league haul of absolutely nothing in recent times.

  254. MD – 6 Days was it not? I thought he had the Sunday off. Just think, if he had put in that extra days work he might not have made so many mistakes as he did rushing everything in 6 days 😉

  255. GA

    And he hasn’t worked since then.

  256. It is ok not to believe in creation but the little digs about God are not cool G.A. I have noticed you like doing that everytime religion comes up!!

  257. Dups – Heh, quite.

    Firstlady – Why is it such a big deal? Nobody would be bothered if I were having digs at any other ficticious character.

  258. was in the pub and watched valencia desperately try to give barca goals on the platter last night, but thats not the point.

    the point is that much as i hate them, their fans can offer us a lesson in support.

    obviously pinto has the same status as say almunia and to a lesser extent fabianski has in most of our hearts. i could feel their trepidation whenever the ball goes near pinto. and yet whenever he does well(or at least doesnt screw up), the fans shouted his name ‘pinto pinto!’

    that is something i think we can learn.

  259. I disagree with Matt.

    I hope you get to read this. When a player goes to a big club, they don’t go with the intent of riding the bench. They go to play and if it does not work out, thats life, they have to deal with it. Getting big money and a few trophies,eases the pain, I am sure. However, I do remember Hleb saying he felt like a hangers on at Barca.

    Though all players want to play, It will never even out because the prestige and money will always pull the best players (it is what it is), but still the first intent of the player is to play, if not, it will not go well for them.

    I never mentioned anything about being a nailed on starter.

  260. Paul-N | February 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I disagree with Matt.

    “I hope you get to read this….Though all players want to play, It will never even out because the prestige and money will always pull the best players (it is what it is), but still the first intent of the player is to play, if not, it will not go well for them.

    I never mentioned anything about being a nailed on starter”

    Paul,

    What convoluted point are you trying to make in order to disagree with me?

    The fact that the league will never even out because of the lure prestige and money is exactly the point I am making!!

    Of course players would like to be first choice at the greatest clubs in Europe but only 11 players are on the pitch for each team at a time; only seven are named on the bench and only 25 (let’s put aside the intricacies of the home-grown rule) are in a first team squad.

    Most players would prefer to win things, or at least compete at the highest level (Champions League etc) and play a contributing role in a successful team than being a first choice at a mid / bottom of the table team.

    The problems arise when the players in question are either usurped by new arrivals (whether promotion within the club or transfers in) or are starved of any action at all, thus effectively freezing a career.

    Park for example, as it stands, would not not feel he has contributed to anything (not his fault) so his desire to leave in order to get game time would be perfectly justified. My original post however (way back early yesterday), was regarding Daniel Sturridge and how he would be a great number two to RVP and that we could accommodate his ambitions to play and achieve while still remaining behind RVP in the pecking order.

    Sturridge in my mind has two choices at this stage of his development: stay where he is or move to club of a relatively similar standing and remain a first team player but not the main man up front or; go back further down the prestige / league ladder and and be top dog there.

    Maybe he’ll go back to Bolton in the summer so he can play every week and be the main man? Yeah, sounds unlikely doesn’t it.

    Capiche?

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