One Of Us Speaks: Why is it so much harder now?

This blog isn’t meant to be especially negative or positive. Really it’s not entirely about Arsenal; it’s supposed to be about the way the Premier League scenery has changed in the last 15 years or so. I don’t expect to come up with anything comprehensive in the couple of hours I have to draft and type this, but with a bit of luck I might touch on something interesting. Also, I think there’s a kind of alchemy at work in successful teams, and there’s much more than meets the eye of the average punter like me.

When Wenger arrived at Arsenal he wasn’t so much a foreigner as some kind of time-traveller, jumping from football’s present on the European continent back a couple of decades to the Premier League. The league was newly flush with cash, but if you look at Blackburn and Manchester United’s Champions League performances after the ban was lifted, they cut an uncouth and primitive figure at Europe’s top table.

He brought with him dietary and exercise regimes – his strict but kindly influence extended into the players’ private lives, with rules on keeping in shape and what kind of foods to avoid. Players started stepping out on to the pitch with gloopy blotches down the front of their shirts – apparently some kind of decongestant – and there was talk, of course, of supplements.

This was all new then. Of course, it’s probably common practice at all clubs these days. At the time he was a breath of fresh air for a country that had gone stale in its enforced isolation and parochialism.

Arsenal looked stronger and fitter within months. It wouldn’t be fair to put it all down to diet and physical preparation. There was a marked technical improvement. You could see it most in players like Ray Parlour, Stephen Hughes and the full-backs – in the way they trapped and passed the ball, in the way they moved without it and harmonised with their teammates. I’m convinced that the manager’s ability to improve players hasn’t diminished, and obviously it’s something that can’t be aped by other teams.

What’s more, in the 90s Arsène was no doubt aware that France was about to produce their best generation since at least the early-80s, and had privileged, first-hand information about who was under the radar and knew which players hadn’t yet reached their full potential. Less than two years after he joined Arsenal France would win the World Cup. He was directly responsible for the way Emmanuel Petit blossomed in the year leading up to the tournament.

He had already signed Vieira, who was too young to have much impact on the ’98 World Cup, and Anelka who was still a teenager at the time. He also sensed what Henry and Pires could achieve and kept an eye on them.

Fair to say that no other English manager had this kind of access to another country’s players. You only need to look at the number of foreign stars in the league at the time. Now it’s clear that every side invests in pan-European scouting networks, spotting players at all stages of their development and in every arena.

Clogged though it is with competitors trying to snap up talent early, Wenger’s patch doesn’t seem to be quite as fertile these days. France’s performance in recent tournaments attests to that. France is the market that he knows. It’s just sensible that he should do much of his business there. And the Koscielny transfer suggests that he can still find some value in France, although I’d expect we signed him a year earlier than we might have done with a similar player in the past.

Recently I’ve wondered if we don’t appreciate just how good those players were. Do we expect that there’s an equivalent to Vieira or Pires just floating around undiscovered, waiting to be snapped up? I can’t think any club would be stupid enough to part ways with a young player like Vieira again. I haven’t seen anything like him, before or since – his touch, the way he brought the ball forward and passed it, but also his competitive spirit, the way he broke up play and covered so much ground so quickly despite his frame.

We’re told this is the poorest Premier League for a few years, but I’d say it’s a far harder place for a club like Arsenal to be successful than before.

I think it’s fair to say that every year the financial necessity to be at least moderately successful increases. It’s worth it for a club just to stay in the league now, without having any ambition to climb higher than mid-table. All of the back-room expertise and knowhow can be invested in defensive organisation and formulating strategies to get better results from technically limited footballers.

Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis are two who have made life tough for Arsenal in recent years. Their goal is to avoid addressing any unpredictability in the game, keep the ball out of play for as long as possible and reduce it to a series of short bursts of action. In these situations the manager can have more input, through strategies set out on the training ground and learned by rote – he won’t have to rely so much on the decision-making of his players. It might sound uninspiring, but it tends to work. It’s nothing to moan about – this is the reality of the situation and something to overcome.

Finally, we all know what’s happened at the top. Chelsea’s takeover was a monumental event. Practically on the eve of our move to the Emirates it forced us to rethink our plans. In that instant we were priced out of the best players, but Abramovich was also one of the catalysts for the subsequent spiralling wages, as the rest of the league was impelled to offer their players more competitive salaries and bonuses. The average Premier League wage bill has more than doubled in the last eight years – and I doubt we saw that coming in 2003.

Over at Arsenal On This Day, Yogi’s post is about League Cup semi-final joy.

Posted on February 24, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 324 Comments.

  1. salaries have doubled, but earnings have also gone up………there is somewhat a balance.

    As for playing staff, we have some players on some silly salaries when compared to performance. we also have had an opportunity to sign some players who ended up moving to other teams e.g. Modric is a player whose current salary is lower compared to what his actual contributions are. We are where we are because at some point in time we made some mistakes.

    The thing about mistakes however is that one needs to learn from them. As for the derby: We cannot afford to drop points, we are in fourth level on points with Chelsea lets get a victory and hope that the rest drop some points

  2. Just Another Luke

    Any update on the fitness of Gibbs?

  3. Just Another Luke | February 24, 2012 at 6:44 am

    he doesnt seem to be on the injury list, dont think it was that serious.

  4. Just Another Luke

    Acryllic Altair | February 24, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Thanks Acryllic Altair. Whether Gibss is available could shape our defense on Sunday. We need a big performance especially from the defense after Milan and Sunderland last week when we shipped 6 goals.

  5. Interesting post; one wonders, with the possible exception of the inception of the EPL, whether English football has EVER had to deal with the scale of change experienced in the last dozen years or so.

    A tricky time for those with long-term plans …

  6. Arteta our best midfielder? Get a clue. That would be Jack Wilshere, who’s out injured.

  7. You raise an interesting point, OOU. Interesting that you decided to leave the refs alone. Can anyone comment on the standard of officiating pre 2006?

  8. Very well put case OOU. Anyone who prefers to ignore the cataclysmic shift in power in the Prem and the reasons for it since our move to the Ems, and just whines that we used to have this and we used to have that, simply tells the world that they have another agenda.
    It’s like jumping in a pool of water and blaming Marks and Spencer because you used to have dry clothes.

  9. Yep, I’ll take all of that. Very sensible, should be apparent to more fans that it seems to be.

    Nicely put steww. Mind you, I mainly shop in Cornwall Farmers these days!

  10. Acrylic

    ‘salaries have doubled, but earnings have also gone up………there is somewhat a balance.’

    It is just such a naive statement which demolishes the truth, for your own silly points.

    Just take Nasri at Man-Sour, he is paid twice as much as at Arsenal to sit on the bench half the time – that is 4 times as much -he is effectively the equivalent of Djourou at Arsenal who also plays only 58% of the time and is paid less than a quarter of what Nasri gets. Tevez is paid twice as much as the highest player ever in Arsenal…… to sit in Argentina – that is infinitely more. Adebayor is subsidised by $hiite-y (the same amount that Arsenal paid him in total) to play for the Tottenhots – that is also incalculably more. The best regular Arsenal players are paid half as much as the best $hiite-y players.

    But the big mistake in your sums though is worse; Arsenal player’s salary may have doubled, but Man-Sour have increased anywhere from 4 times to infinity the amount they pay if you include the players who do nothing and are just paid. What is more that is above the old Arsenal figure not the old Cite-y one who did not pay as much.

    Earnings may have doubled, but they are dwarfed by the amount ‘harem teams’ have increased salaries. 1:10 at a guess.

    …..because you do not know how to structure a maths problem, or you may be just deceitful, you pretend there is a case to answer, if you did proper maths it would trash your argument and you would have to accept the real struggle that clubs and managers have against this level of wealth.

  11. Good piece OOU, the changes since the inception of the Premier League have indeed been seismic.

    Just to touch on one point regarding “situations the manager can have more input, through strategies set out on the training ground and learned by rote” (you nust have seen this coming), this seems to be an area where there is not enough done at Arsenal. There doesn’t seem to be any set-piece routines that are worked on and could be good for a few goals every year or unlock a game like last Saturday where the other team are determined to just defend.

    And before anyone comes out with “how do you know we don’t practise these things”,
    1. You can tell a well-rehearsed routine a mile away.
    2. If we do, they are failing miserably and we need to practice more.

  12. Loomer

    Officiating now is no better nor worse than pre-2006. The paranoia over refereeing conspiracies is far, far, far worse.

  13. I think you have summed up the history very well. We need to be competitive both on and off the field, at least for the next two years, when I believe the club will be in a strong position.
    However, it is not enough to have talented players on the field, you need to have them play to the best of their ability?
    One problem Arsenal have, and Dennis Bergkamp said it before the Milan game, we have too many similar players, and we are very predictable in the way we play?
    On the first point, perhaps having ALL players who are technically gifted they do not have that urgency to ‘win ugly’? Unfair to generalise I know, but I get the feeling behind DB’s point is that you do need a player or two who is straining every sinew to stay in the side because of his ‘limitations’ … No disrespect, but Scott Parker springs to mind?
    The second point is even more frustrating for supporters is the apparent lack of a Plan B when things look like they are going wrong? Is that AW being blinkered? Is it the players on the field not seeing the ‘bigger picture’ and getting together to make some adjustments?
    All to often you can hear the phrase ‘we will know the result after the first 15 minutes’ because it comes down to how quickly they pass the ball. Attitude! At Sunderland it looked promising with Coquelin in the side, but with his departure it went downhill quickly. Forward passes went sideways, errors crept in, but even the later substitutions made no change to the formation, or the result?
    That has to change.

  14. Aziz, KL-Malaysia

    Wenger out. Gazidis out. Kroenke out. We need change. Now.

  15. Really good post OOU, just a shame you didn’t have more than 2 hours to expound those thoughts further. It feels like you’ve a lot more to add, maybe a part 2?

  16. I’m glad you are not one for instant judgements Aziz.

  17. Referring to refereeing standards Untold Arsenal is the place to find out more. They are really looking into it this season and their findings very strongly refute the idea that there is no bias and it’s all crazed paranoid conspiracy theorists.

  18. Alex I assumed Aziz is in fact our very own Muppet doing one of his comedy fake posters. No sentient human would actually post that in any seriousness. It’s just too silly.

  19. I agree with SA Gooner

  20. I also agree with Steww

  21. …and blow me down I agree with Passenal too

  22. Gary – I’m not having a go I am genuinely interested. Why do you end so many statements with question marks?

  23. Thanks guys.

    Yeah, Block4. It’s clear we devote more time to open play, which sort of makes sense as we’re supposed to be a possession team. I don’t want to get into things I don’t know anything about, but I suppose we spend a little more time going through set-pieces when we’ve got an away game at Stoke coming up. Beyond that you wonder if more time spent going through set-plays would impinge on our ability to keep the ball. I dunno, it needs work as it is.

  24. The trouble is Steww that they are crazed paranoid conspiracy theorists.That does not mean that they are not right though.

    SA Gooner.Very good post.

    I wish that fucking Russian transfer window would hurry up an d close .I am at my wits’ end here.

  25. North London Derby 2012 – who’s side are you on?

  26. Steww ,I blame that American inflection thing that youngsters do these days.You know where everything they say end up sounding like a question because their voice speed up and goes up two or three tones ?????

  27. Top stuff as always OneOfUs… and steww!

  28. Can everyone see a Gary except me? This is outrageous, as I get older I have long suspected an increasing inability to sense people, seems to be happening by name. Can’t see Gary’s now. Haven’t seen a Harold in years, although apparently there are two living in our street..

  29. Our league is full of unbent (my word) referees just like our incorruptible police force.
    Only Johnny Foreigner is susceptible to the malaise of the bung (George excepted) and if anyone dare suggest anything to the opposite or they’ll be sent to the Tower for treason.
    Rule Brittania, Queen and Country and the integrity of the British nation!!

    On another blogs I’m reading about RBS, Andy Coulson’s exploit’s, the Cardiff Three, and MP’s expenses.

    Now if anyone tries to convince me that someone coming from a culture of baksheesh and with ooodlums of petro-cash doesn’t attempt the practice here I’ll look forward to their reasoned debate.

  30. Mr Lennon,

    You may be on to a point.

    We are teeming with short skilful creators in the midfield.

    Henri is a different player and made an impact this time around immediately.

    Chamakh made a difference early as a different kind of player, now for him it is confidence issue.

    The Ox is quick and strong with a trick or two, he really is one to watch.

    Bendtner was a different player, but was a bit clumsy, we lacked the real skill when he was supposed to be the target man.

    Song is a different player, tough rugged and dependable, reads the game.

    Santos. A totally different player from a different planet and what an impact he has had.

    Jenks. A bit like that also, but in his own way.

    Diaby, different …..but out

    Gerv and Walcott, different players, long legged, skilful and quick, but they need to work on their final balls to really capitalize on their impact.

    Speed, skill and anticipation is never missed anywhere. Maybe the problem is that Arteta, AA, Yossi, Rambo, Rosicki, Wilshere, may all be lacking one of those qualities. Cesc lacked speed, but made up with it with anticipation, skill and work.

  31. Why is it so much harder now? Priapism?

  32. I dont agree with my last paragraph

  33. I find UA’s refereeing analysis a little too biased. It is, after all, an Arsenal fanatic (and ref) reviewing the decisions. It’s not without value and it certainly highlights that football refereeing is on the whole poor. However it does lean towards the truism that if you look for a conspiracy you’ll probably find one.

    I’m with YW – refereeing has always been poor (in places, the rules are almost designed to ensure it) it’s just the game has progressed and the technology too.

    You hear people moan about decisions that were proven to be wrong in super slow-mo from a 4th camera angle. In those instances it’s fucking stupid to think the ref did it deliberately or to bother to moan about the injustice.

  34. fuck off Jonny.
    (how many browsers do I need to read one of your posts?)

  35. Yes Jonny but when a Lino is looking straight at Vidic when he pulls of a world class save and tips the ball over the bar,then does nothing,questions should be being asked.
    And when over 3 games against United we commit 45 fouls to their 49 and yet get 17 yellows to their 6 from those fouls ?

  36. Block 4 – I got slayed for saying the same thing a good while back! I’m with you on this – I’d actually be more worried if we are practicing these things. I can’t imagine there are many teams with a worse corner conversion ratio than us. I suppose the flip side is we probably score the most from open play.
    Do wish they’d bring back the old front post flick on, GG had that so drilled that even though they knew we what we were doing they still couldn’t defend the damn thing.
    Mertesacker with the flick and TV and Song following in?

  37. nice one, Big Al.
    (waiting on the sequel to this as well)

    SA, Gerry Lennon & Block4…good points

    Its really a question of when the bubble bursts.
    This fantasy can’t last for too much longer

    Chelsea won everything domestic but not the CL & they look weaker than ever in their transition. AVB’s close to being vamoosed

    Shitty might win the league & Europa and continue in the top 3 for the next 4 years but their time will pass sooner than later.

    The world likes Wengerball at its best
    But clearly AW needs help
    From the board & backrom staff but
    Mostly from those he’s placed his utmost trust in..the players
    Time for each player to step things up.

    We fans need to rally & support like never before
    We have 13 games to salvage our season so we can take part in all 4 competitions as usual next season.

    The financial fantasy will break down sooner than later.
    Keep the faith

  38. And when over 3 games against United we commit 45 fouls to their 49 and yet get 17 yellows to their 6 from those fouls ?

    but havent you heard ? …these incidents even themselves out over the course of a season ….. 🙂

    refs favouring manchester united ? oh please …there is no such thing…… why protect and promote epl;s most popular export ? whats there to win ? 😉

  39. Clogged though it is with competitors trying to snap up talent early, Wenger’s patch doesn’t seem to be quite as fertile these days. France’s performance in recent tournaments attests to that. France is the market that he knows. It’s just sensible that he should do much of his business there.
    Time to bring a Spanish or Dutch coach, their patches look fertile. I am sure there must a few available.

  40. Hunter ,you are right it can all be explained away with United’s “winning mentality.”
    Silly me to forget.

  41. Q: “Is there bias against Arsenal & for Man Utd?”

    A: hmm, it depends….do monkeys have pubic hair?

  42. Dhruv,Dennis as assistant it is then.Simples.

  43. Aman,No do you not listen to the media .
    United have “winners” and we have “not fit to wear shirters”

  44. “Whether it’s blind support of the manager or furious contempt, it’s pathetic. The members of each of these silly cults proffer their chosen point of view as hills from which they stand. But really they’re caves in which they hide.”

    From Tom Stillman’s column . . . perfectly sums up how I feel.

  45. Shitty might win the league & Europa and continue in the top 3 for the next 4 years but their time will pass sooner than later.


    its like playing poker at a table with bill gates, branson, mital etc etc …you cant go head to head against those guys, they can bet /risk more than you and they dont care..theyve got plenty at the back…you though you have to keep your stack and grind it out and wait for your opportunity.

    people cant expect arsenal to take these players on in terms of spending equal amounts ot them, some players go and bet their houses and risk everything, we are smarter than that. we dont want to go to our homes and tell the wife and kids to pack up, or worse…..

    how long can these fuckers keep spending what they spend ? …..dont lose faith!

  46. PG, r u saying, Utd have “big wieners” & we have “nudists” ?

    “”Just over a year ago I was asked to give a talk about leadership to the troops in Afghanistan,” he said. ”On the trip over there I thought ‘How do I approach this? What key element do I believe would be fundamental in a leader?’

    ”The one word I could come up with was unselfish. Your team-mates have to know you’re in this for their greater good, rather than your own. I will attempt to pick a captain who I believe has that sort of respect in the other players’ eyes – someone for whom the team mattered a hell of a lot.

    ”I see that in the James Milners of this world – they are team players. That’s the one fundamental that all leaders have.”


  47. JD Gooner | February 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

    oh well if supporting one of the greatest managers in world football..the manager who revolutionised english and consequently european and world football then i think ill stick in my cave and let the neanderthals take over the hill


  48. JD ,Just out of interest can you name me one person I might know who has ” blind support of the manager” ?

    I think I could name a few from the other camp.

    It seems to me that the more you understand about football,the more you understand about finance and the more you understand about Arsenal.The more you support the manager.Now I understand that idea might upset a few people .But I am not bothered what stupid people think.

  49. JD

    Who the fuck is Stillman. Maybe he plays darts, or has a nice round of golf every now and then.

    Maybe I have missed the point, but it sounds like – as far as football is concerned – he misses the point of it entirely, so what is the point in answering the insult, he can just go watch cows shit in a field for all we care.

    If that is how you feel, there are always board games, or chess – I quite like Jenga.

  50. truth be told,
    with the sheer amount of change going on in the “new world” order’s reorganization of reality as we know it, its probably best to wait things out in one’s cage till the illusions of grandeur & billioniarism pass on.

    mind you, a cave’s not a cave without hi-tech toys, gadgets & lightning fast internet!

  51. Very eloquently put SA.

  52. pedantic george @ 10:06 am – made me laugh. It’s three by the way. Three browser windows. Cambridge dictionary, wikipedia and ACLF 🙂

  53. SA

    You missed the point entirely. It’s exactly what I’ve been saying about Hunter13 and his bete noir, Jabba.



  54. cage = cave = smartly designed hi-tech abode filled with lo-tech knowledge

  55. corr:

    cage = cave = smartly designed hi-tech abode filled with all-tech knowledge!

  56. Markus ,I am glad it amused you.Jonny however seems less entertained and has slung his hook again.

  57. @OneOfUs | February 24, 2012 at 9:42 am, Unless I am mistaken, you are talking about defensive drilling on the training ground when playing the likes of Stoke to combat their particular attacking tactics of corners and long throws? That does show a measure of hat-tipping to the opposition on Mr. Wenger’s part, something which he is often criticised (including myself here) for not doing. There’s no reason why we can’t work on the attacking set-pieces also.

    @Jonny | February 24, 2012 at 10:13 am, I’d have van Persie rather than Song following in with Vermaelen, but yes, something akin to a plan would be nice. I seem to remember we actually scored form a near-post flick on this season (TV to RvP iirc), so it can be done. As you say, when executed well it’s very hard to defend.

    There’s no reason why we can’t play our quick-passing game from open play and add a few set-piece routines to the mix.

  58. Thanks Hunter, proved my point exactly. There you go George, you needed a name.

  59. Yogi ,why are my initials in your 10:45 post ?
    Are you saying I am blind?

  60. But that is not blind .His eyes are wide open and he sees clearly.
    On top of that he has often highlighted areas where he feels Arsene could have done better on the footballing side.

    (I have just put my left arm around him ,patted his bonce and said”there is a good boy”)

  61. and what point is that then jd ? lol

    i dont get it ….

    the doomers are wrong

    the believers are right

    should we let the idiots win then ?

    there is no 50-50 here..its not about free speech or democracy or letting the idiot have his opinion because its his contitutional right

    we need to be absolute and we need to isolate the doomers, we cant have cretins with no understanding of the game and finances trashing our manager our players and creating an atmosphere of hostility to our OWN team ffs….

  62. Yogi ,I get it now.
    That was the name I asked for .You beat JD to the punch.
    Oh well.

  63. Block4 and Jonny, there is a case for the set-piece argument, but why should we practice set-pieces as the Stokes of the league do? I mean, if our game is based on possession and scoring from open play why not just take short corners and free kicks. Retain possession. Fuck me, it’d be better than what we currently do. I don’t even get my hopes up any more when we win a free-kick 30 yards out. Unless maybe Vermaelen is standing over it.

  64. (Arm round again and says”calm down lad,easy now,easy”)

  65. (Arm round again and says”calm down lad,easy now,easy”)


  66. Thanks once again Hunter

  67. ” Fuck me, it’d be better than what we currently do. I don’t even get my hopes up any more”

    Hardy hardy har.

  68. should we let idiots win then?

    truth is idiots NEVER win.
    they’re usually backed by powerful SMART people with selfish agendas.
    the list of “world leaders” in the pot of idiots is increasing by the day

    Is democracy an illusion then?
    no, but only when practiced in ideal conditions.

    ideal conditions?
    in an environment familiar to the natives. One where they are invested in on many levels and have agreed to alter/improve along familiar understandings their own way.

    Q: has this football club always had a doomer brigade?

  69. See what you did there…

    Genuinely though, is there a reason we don’t just retain possession from set-pieces. Or from goal-kicks for that matter.

  70. @Markus | February 24, 2012 at 10:59 am “…if our game is based on possession and scoring from open play why not just take short corners and free kicks. Retain possession…”

    That would at least be a plan. Near-post corner routine, always go short and retain possession, whatever, I don’t really mind, but at least have an idea of what you’re going to do. Our set-pieces, when not taking direct shots at goal, appear to be hit and hope.

  71. Markus,In case there is any doubt ,I agree 100%.I too have given up hope.

  72. George you didn’t laugh at my joke either!

    Though I do love the fact that my verbosity has you scrabbling for the dictionary, I assure you I just have a love of language.

  73. The reason other teams get as many lucky goals and deflections against us is they do just hit and hope.
    We might be better served just lashing at a few instead of …………..well you know ,what we try.

  74. Agree with both of you on corners. There must be people at the club working out the stats – surely we’d be more dangerous with a bit of room and time to work the ball from the corner than just lumping it in there.

  75. So, Hunter 13, there are no idiots in the AKB camp then? FFS, just read some of the inane posts in support of AW. No, I’m afraid there are both idiotic and intelligent bloggers in both camps. Simply suggesting that anyone who doesn’t agree with you must be stupid is not a reasonable argument.

  76. and lol jd ..tim stillman is complaining to a club about standing still, in a period where the board is locked for 12 months … lol ..who are these stillmans ?

    and the eternal question about re-investing money in the squad ….lol

    yeah sure …the hillwoods and co will jeopardise their legacy and fame by splashing out the profits theyve made for the club the last 7 years just 12 months before theyre out? are you serious?

    what do you think they want their epiloge to be ?

    ” during our tenor we built the new stadium and have repaid quite significant amounts ”


    ” ehmmm sorry ..we are the idiots who splashed it all for world class players just cause the fans were crying and now the club is fucked “.

    If i were the president and knew i was out in 12 months…would i risk spending all the clubs money on players to strengthen the first squad? no of course…ill let the next one take the risks…i leave behind me a 70% paid of stadium plus money in the bank from players sales for the next guy to do whatever he wants with it and he takes the blame should it get fucked, not me


  77. So, Hunter 13, there are no idiots in the AKB camp then?

    the idiot is the one who cannot see the forrest behind the tree or appreciate wenger …..

    and whats this akb thing ? what does it mean ?

  78. Billyboy
    The trouble is ,you being an idiot,well you would say that, wouldn’t you?

  79. This is becoming embarrassing.

  80. Simply suggesting that anyone who doesn’t agree with you must be stupid is not a reasonable argument.

    well mate if the person doesnt agree because he thinks he is some football guru that knows better than arsene then of course ill call him stupid .

    its not about agreeing with me mate …lol ..its about having respect and patience and realising that the step we all want arsenal to make …has already been made …we just need the trophies for confirmation purposes and to shut them fucking mugs up who like to taunt arsenal.

    the idiots want to destroy it all, sack wenger, get rid of our players and frankly speaking…they aint got a clue what theyre talking about… 😉

  81. Johnny: ref refs. No it isn’t one Arsenal fanatic they have several refs working with Walter.

  82. One of my least favourite tactics is when BOTH CBs join the attack for corners ?
    I just don’t see why…what our success stat on this?

    whats the “goals-against-due-to-counterattack-from-corners stat while we are at it?

    Why does RVP takes corners at all?
    There’s got to be other options to keep our BEST goalscorer in the box in ready-to-pounce mode?

    Or why AA’s been unused for so long…why?

  83. Jonny @ 11:16am, I personally like the fact that I can learn about more than just football on ACLF. Keep it up!

  84. Hunter

    You are right and the poker analysis is correct when we play one of these teams. But the game they play with each other is best described as a ‘big dick contest’………which one of these owners can buy success.

    We were worried about the Chavs and now they are the Chav-nots. (see Rashley’s exit comments ha ha) The owner blames the managers and they are fired, the best manager was not good enough for Abromovich and he thinks that it does not matter, his money can do better. It can’t and the Chavs have never done as well since.

    The small penis complex outs eventually as the owner ties knots in it.

    Mansour is a different fish and has taken spending to a level that even Abramovich has found emasculating. He is recession proof and he will go on long enough to show the world how large his penis is, or until he gets bored. He does sack managers so he may fall into that trap although he has not yet sacked the best in the world, so $hiite-y so far have just got better and better.

    His financial position is worrying and is not dependent on anything except oil supplies, their is nothing sustainable about the model, $hiite-y are basically bankrupt. Mansour is however deeply deeply wealthy and pumps his money out of the ground with little effort.

    Arguments in camp abound, but there are no choices for the players that leave there (PSG, Stalingrad ArrrggH ?). Tevez has shown that even c@nts have to find there way back to the trough eventually as the money is so great no one else can match it.

    The rest of the EPL including the Tottenhots could go the same way as Rangers. If the big poo hits it will be a close run thing and even for well run Arsenal who may struggle in the future, just when we think we have to pay more, if we do it might kill us.

    I look forward to the Great Turd polisher Mancini getting his cumumpence, but that could spell an even better manager coming in and their spending does not look like it is diminishing.

    We have to beat them like Clough did, like AW has done, a whole new level. It is hard and there are few out there that can do it.

  85. Some people don’t want to accept the role some bent/corrupt refs play in the destination of the epl title.while the standard of play and players improved since wenger,the refs have remained static or perhaps worst. The culprits are known, including a bald fella who delights in gambling and red-carding black players and a rather fat dude who never blows a foul on arshavin,just to mention a few. The refs,the senior ones, are still stuck in the old days.

  86. good post

    The standard of defending in PL has improved massively, with many team now having PhDs in bus-parking.

    Watch highlights from 10 years ago – the number of soft goals we were gifted was to die for…..

    and just saw highlights of 5-4 from 2004 (?) v Spurs – hope they are as sloppy as that on Sudnay (and that we arent)

  87. pedantic george @ 11:13am – I haven’t given up hope. I just don’t get excited by free-kicks and corners any more.

    Aman, getting both centre-backs up is sound logic if you take normal corners. Best headers of the ball and strong. In theory.

  88. Q: O why are all our players not world class?
    Why is AW not perfect?…o where’s the special one?

    A: why bother eating cake when u can have porridge.

  89. OOU – Good post as always.

    One thing that has struck about set pieces, or more directly our weakness at them. People complain that we cannot be practicing defending them in training, but it struck me that who would we practcice defending against? We are not very good at atacking set pieces; therefore in training it can’t be that benifical training against players who are not very good at attcking set pieces.

    It is quite the paradox.

  90. SA Gooner

    Mansour has not yet sacked the best manager in the world ,nor has Roman ,because he happens to be in the employ of Arsenal.And they cant.

    Maureen is not the best.Stop trying to slide that shit into you posts unnoticed.

  91. Markus:
    “Aman, getting both centre-backs up is sound logic if you take normal corners. Best headers of the ball and strong. In theory.”

    Q1: what exactly is sound logic?
    Q2: what’s a normal corner and why don’t we take ’em?
    Q3: isn’t a striker generally better at directing the ball towards the net than the strong CB?

  92. GA funny how it struck you after it was discussed on this very forum at length.
    That happens to me a lot as well

  93. SA Gooner | February 24, 2012 at 11:34 am

    hehehe “big dick contest”

    well said…

    and im surprised thata few classless fans want arsenal want to go down that path …

  94. Q3+: who’s better suited to score when the ball falls to ground in & around the18 from a corner kick?

  95. “Q1: what exactly is sound logic?”
    anything you arge with
    “Q2: what’s a normal corner and why don’t we take ‘em?”
    we do
    “Q3: isn’t a striker generally better at directing the ball towards the net than the strong CB?”
    No ,not when attacking the ball in a crowded box.

  96. Aman – “Q3: isn’t a striker generally better at directing the ball towards the net than the strong CB?

    You would rather lil Theo outjumping his marker and powering the ball into the top corner from a set piece? Nah, me neither. Perhaps we should try TV5 😉

  97. The less you understand about any problems with anything,the simpler the answers appear to be.(generally)

  98. George – Ha, maybe it was. I remember discussing it ages ago but could not remember where or who with. It stands to reason though eh?

    Maybe we should hire some big burley pub team to come doen the training ground and use them to attack set pieces in out training sessions?

  99. “You would rather lil Theo outjumping his marker and powering the ball into the top corner from a set piece? Nah, me neither. Perhaps we should try TV5 ”

    No Andy, I’d rather “lil’ Theo” takes the corner seeking RvP’s trusted body parts to do whats best & leaving all those who have no business in the box out of the box.

  100. Markus, Ha! For a moment there I thought ‘keep it up’ was a clever joke to my reference of priapism.

    Steww – fair play, I didn’t realise, I don’t frequent there much these days. When I wrote a few articles for them, back in the day, it was just Tony & Walter.

  101. Yes George but the simple solutions are also the best. What a quandary.

  102. This Stillman is a fundamentalist fence sitter, a fanatical middle of the roadist. Far too dogmatic for my taste. I hate extremists.

  103. Aman – You don’t think that when we play a ball “into the mixer” at a corner it is advantagous to be strong, fairly tall, and good at heading the ball? Really?

    Thats why teams tend to let full backs stay back. They are genrally quick and not the tallest. Helps them stop counter attacks (in theory).

  104. Priapism is a phallusy, unless it is caused by a black widow bite, which is not bloody funny I can tell you. I am of course referring to the spider not..well you know.

  105. from Twitter

    “#AFC remain bottom of the Decisions Table with 12 big incorrect decisions against them so far this season.”

    Just as I suspected.
    Must go offline now, those people watching and listening to me are closing in.

  106. Was trying to make the point that on any given day there’s always something to nitpick, question and complain about.

    thats life

  107. steww

    But being an Arsenal site, they are looking for anything that can be perceived as bias. The fundamental problem is that nobody has yet come up with an irrefutable process of defining and quantifying bias, including the human element of it. For example, you might see United have had 20 penalties at home, Arsenal 8. There is, it seems, a clear bias towards United getting decisions. But what if those 20 were correct? There is no bias, just some pretty bloody poor defending. Any claim for bias is therefore, a conspiracy theory.

    And here’s the bugger. Who is to say that those sitting in judgement are viewing the decisions correctly?

  108. A great friend of mine once said to me
    “Goerge,never argue with anyone,Keep quiet or knock them out”

    Life was simple before the internet spoiled things Jonny.

  109. Billboy is actually correct. Hunter13 makes his case for him.

  110. George – “Facts” like that are subjective though. Firstly, who decided if it was a wrong call or not? Often even after numerous replays people are still devided on events. Secondly what constitutes a “big decision”?

    Those types of tables are far too subjective to really prove anything either way. In my humble opinion of course.

  111. is that so yogi ? lol

    and what case does he make then ?

    lets hear it ……..

    so the intelligent people who doubt wenger are sooooooooooo intelligent that they havent realised what arsenal embarked on 6 – 7 years ago ?

    are these the same intelligent people who cry about trophyless years too ? … 😉

  112. Yogi,behave.

    Some times when there is a huge disparity bias is by far the most likely reason.
    “beyond reasonably doubt” might be hard but “balance of probability”? I think so.

  113. stating the obvious there Andy@12:09
    pls see Block4’s 8:43 post and my 12:13 to tie in the fuzz of my logic

  114. Hunter ,back in the box lad.
    Thin ice lies down this path

  115. It is precisely because of the difficulties you describe, YW, that it is unlikely that bias does not exist in football.

  116. Aman – Right you are.

  117. well yogi , the intelligent person who

    a) understands how self sustainable football clubs work,
    b)how business works in general, decission making, policy making hierarchy etc,
    c)how pr works,
    d)how managers may reply diplomatically at times,
    e)how managers have to think about the future when taking their decissions
    f)how the competition has changed,
    g)how a great commitment the stadium is,
    h)what building for the future means, and how production lines work
    i)and how obviously our standard on the pitch will drop when we field inexperienced 17 yearolds …….

    does not complain, neither argues , nor searches for pros and cons …either he agrees or he doesnt…he either gets it and accepts the sacrifice and the inevitable drop or he doesnt and complains like a muppet trying to disguise it as some arguement due to free opinion.

    what you are saying is that since we are free to have opinions, that we can critisise like some superior judge the operations of a business as complictaed as arsenal’s.

    yes ?..ok sorry that i cant agree with such logic …. 😉

  118. Well said YW.

    I looked at some of the incidents in question when they started doing this on UA and I simply didn’t agree with some of them. Now he is a ref and undoubtedly knows more than I, but even so I sensed there was clear sway. It would be surprising if there wasn’t but the degrees of it are important.

    We often see it in the studio, where three pundits cannot come to an agreement on a decision. What chance the ref?

    Thankless job complete with awful abuse – hard to imagine why anyone wants to do it. It does seem to attract some intensely dislikeable characters though.

  119. Yea hunter, I’m with PG, got to save the fight for when the demons (i mean doomers) show face.

    we’re all here with waiting…glad u’re down

    don’t want to lose another good man…like….like…

  120. Some of your views on things are strange. This “fan battle” thing baffles me. I really don’t see any sides.

    I see some decent discussions and also some mind numbing ones. I see decent posters with good points, and points that they can articulate. I also see a fair amount of idiots.

  121. It baffles me that you are baffled by this, goonerandy. Fairly obvious how it has come about.

  122. hunter:
    “what you are saying is that since we are free to have opinions, that we can criticise like some superior judge the operations of a business as complicated as Arsenal’s.

    yes ?..ok sorry that i cant agree with such logic …. ”

    Neither do many of us here but you must learn to be more efficient with your attacks.
    Save it for the doomers.

    Is probably what YW’s trying to address

  123. Frank – I suppose. I generally think it is the idiots that I mentioned that engage in it though.

  124. Thin ice lies down this path

    havent done anything wrong 🙂

  125. plain and simple pearce is a fool.
    Anyone who doesn’t think reffing standards should have increased is simply deluded. We now have more officials than ever before but for me the standards have stayed the same.

    Really want to see us play an attacking team.against the spuds sick the three center mids we have been playing love to see us go back to the 442 we used to play with AA of rvp, alas this is just my pipe dream

  126. PG your complaint is that I should write ‘best manager available’ rather than ‘best manager’ I take the point, wrist slapped, I will try not to pedal shit in the future.

    My second self correction of the day, in the spirit of a ‘moderation’ free environment…….and I feel like a ‘better’ fan as a result.

  127. Spurs are not going to be a push over, they have more collective belief than Arsenal at the moment and in many cases the better player man for man. I really hope the boys come out and show Arsene what they are made of because I think failure to do so may just final seal the fates of a few.

    To many people love to lay all the blame at Arsene’s feet but in reality players have on many occasions flat out let the manager down.

  128. “So if things don’t go well at the Emirates on Sunday, Arsenal fans should remember that without Wenger they would not even be playing in that stadium.

    He’s a revolutionary who deserves respect, support and backing.”

    the one and only time i agree with cross … finally mr cross….you talk sense

    also the things he said on walcott are correct…what a u-turn mr cross …..

  129. Good post, Big Al. People can quibble with whether we have overpaid player X or player Y (or both), but any savings we might have made by getting every salary or buying decision 100% correct (which, in the real world, will never happen) still would not change the fact that Chelsea and City, among others, can outspend the Arsenal whenever they choose to. It might improve our chances on the pitch incrementally, but it wouldn’t tangibly change the competitive landscape.

  130. I think you might find Fizmann was the driving force behind the move to the new stadium. Arsene had his input, but to suggest it was all his doing and we would not be there without him is stretching things I think.

  131. I think you might find Fizmann was the driving force behind the move to the new stadium. Arsene had his input, but to suggest it was all his doing and we would not be there without him is stretching things I think.

    well maybe its fizman with the idea…still its wenger who made it possible…with his unparallel ability and foresight when it comes to players potential and re-sale value.

    had his input?

    lol..he decided on what angle the seats should be placed and at what temperature the gardeners should water the grass

    only a serious freak for perfection would get into such detail.

    fizman;s “cousins” couldnt even lay the grass properly at wembley ….lol i aint gonna listen to them …

  132. Anyway. I am off for a few friday beers.


  133. On the corner paradox, I would expect that the more the players practice something, the better they would get – that would seem to apply to both defending and attacking. Having said that, it is rather mystifying how frequently our corners do not even clear the first defender.

  134. Aziz, KL-Malaysia | February 24, 2012 at 9:09 am
    Wenger out. Gazidis out. Kroenke out. We need change. Now.

    I think you have already been dealt with, but I want my turn anyway.

    Outlined above are some fairly impressive arguments and reasoning about how the EPL is a much tougher environment and has changed and how Arsenal stands as club that pays its own way and defines its own path in its efforts to haul the leaders back in.

    I could countenance a look at this, I want to debate how we can improve, I love to contemplate what we can do to win on our terms, but surely you understand that in calling for everything to change you are asking for a different culture and, dare I say it, a different club.

    For this I cordially invite you to please feel free to fall off your blinkered perch and find another club that suits you…….may I suggest Man-Sour, the possibilities their are endless, until the oily git gets his nob caught in his fly.

  135. OOU – wonderful read and support the idea to see a part 2.

    George – I believe the Russian transfer window closed at midnight last night.

    Andrew – long term plans are always reviewed and re-evaluated short term; so Arsene would have realized the impact that Chelsea and City ownership would have on wages and transfer fees…….unfortunately the Emirates move likely handcuffed any type of effective response. (imo)

    Jack’s fighting spirit in midfield is definitely missed this season. Arteta has it ……Song most of the time just goes about his business in a very passive way. Ramsey is still that work in progress.

  136. To pick up your theme, OOU, it seems the challenge we are grappling with is how to reestablish competitive advantage. As you point out, the advantages that were created when AW arrived have largely been eroded by other teams copying his innovations. I think AW’s recognition that that would happen was likely to have been a big factor in the push for the new stadium. As United have shown, it is not easy for other teams to duplicate the benefits that come from having a huge stadium filled for every match.

  137. Hunter13,

    Why do you post here? By your own logic (see you’re 12.37pm post, you’re a muppet and you know what short shrift they get. Because if you “get it”, you wouldn’t post here. In which case, if you’re calling yourself a muppet, why shouldn’t anyone else?

  138. Frank @12.26

    But my problem with that theory is that nobody can prove bias exists because it means quantifying the human element of the decision making process. And that is not something you can do. Therefore to claim bias without being able to prove it is (a) subjective and (b) a conspiracy theory. And this is before we factor in the obvious bias of people looking for bias in a situation they perceive to be biased.

  139. Didn’t Benayoun and AA look superb against the norwich reserves the other night. I pray AA starts playing in the Dennis Bergkamp role and we tell song and area to just sit in front of the defense. I dunno why I keep dreaming cause it will surely be rambo at the fulcrum of that midfield again.

  140. Damn predictive text area = arteta

  141. Why do you post here? By your own logic (see you’re 12.37pm post, you’re a muppet and you know what short shrift they get. Because if you “get it”, you wouldn’t post here. In which case, if you’re calling yourself a muppet, why shouldn’t anyone else?

    because out of most places re: arsenal its the most logical.

    look mate were on the same side …..

    i just object when i see idiots voicing opinions on matters they have no knowledge or espertise about and i prefer to trust the pro who is there the last 16 years and knows the club inside out, than risk a catastrophe just because some idiots think they can tell him what to do.

    you are under the impression that what i type is an attack to you and to the good arsenal fans ? aint

    i will restrengthen though the notion that wenger is beyond criticism ..something people dont get.

    if you think that you can exercise critique on pros like wenger just because youre free to have an opinion then i equally have the right to mock the idea that you think of yourself as capable of offering an opinion on such matters . (the “you” is not for you per se…its for anyone who wishes to offer his judgement on wenger;s work in a negative way)

    you cant criticise the person who took us from the caves (as some were saying in the morning) and put us in vip rooms … else can i say it ? …. lol….

    you want to allow those with “opinions” to air them….and then we all wonder why the club is on the defence having to take the idiots in the stands seriously with their complaints….

    ok they can air them…and i will laugh at them….and make them appear “too little” in front of wenger to even say anything , and im right, so what is the big deal ?

    are they free to be negative while im not free to mock them ? 😉 dismiss them? belittle them?

    oh i they can do it to wenger, but we cant do it to them can we? or else we;ll be viewed as fanatics ? lol ….right…….

    anyway happy friday …lets fuck the spuds and lets hope than in ten years when arsenal is on its way to a manure style dominance maybe you realise how silly the fans were…..

    goodnight …

  142. OOU:

    Another well written post. Thanks, always look forward to Friday.

    No one is arguing that Arsene had a fantastic run when he first came. He was an unique and his methods were fresh and new. As you point out his knowledge of French football gave him a huge competitive advantage over the rest of the PL in recruiting our great players of the invincible era. His ability to keep us competitive for CL spots in the last 7 years is also legendary. No one doubts how great he is.

    Unfortunately the landscape of the PL changed and for the last several years things have not gone well for the team especially the end of last season and this season. If Arsene gets credit for all the good things that have happened he also has to take the blame for the bad. The change in the financial landscape is obvious and out of our control but there are many things that have changed that we could have dealt with. The rise of teams like Stoke and the set piece issue have nothing to do with finances. The quality of team defense in the league is much higher and we have not adjusted to that. The enigma that is our team defense has been going on for 5 – 6 years. As DB10 said our reliance on small technical players and our complete lack of ability to adapt when our ball possession game does not work or the other team parks the bus is hard to understand. The inability to win “ugly” is well documented and in truth its impossible to succeed in the PL without that ability. The hallmark of a great manager is his ability to adapt to a changing landscape and we have not been able to do that. Some will say they don’t want us to adapt and playing a specific style of football is more important then results. If thats your view then more power to you but then you will have to accept that there will be criticism for the manager since the majority of fans also value results.

  143. Yes. Like cigarettes and lung disease. Obvious but where is your proof. With the cigarettes issue there was a real public interest in examining the problem, but it still took decades. There is no such public interest in football so we will never know will we? Except it is obvious.

  144. In society bias is the steady state. You have to try very, very hard to overcome it. Nobody tries at all in football.

  145. Jonny:

    I agree completely with you take on the referee situation. Officiating a football game is by far the most difficult job of any officials in any major sport. The rules are nebulous and things happen so quickly that getting the decision correct is a complete crapshoot. Even with ultra slow motion replays with 6 different camera angles there is still controversy regarding about the specific call. Close offsides decisions are 50/50 at best. In that sort of environment its completely impossible to make anyone happy. Untold Arsenal’s goal when they started their project was to prove that there is referee bias and may be worse conspiracy. In the case of referees decisions it is incredibly easy to make the evidence fit the conclusion. Even if Walter and the people he worked with were trying their absolute best to be impartial it would be impossible for them to do that. Unfortunately it makes their research useless in the real world.

  146. I doubt there is specific prejudice against Arsenal by most refs, so much as a subconscious slab of bias towards English style hard-man football, which is a cultural not a technical thing. Minute degrees of bias matter hugely however; but are impossible to prove. The incident involving Barton and Gervinho is an example. Was the ref at fault? No. Was the ref at fault? Yes. Both answers are right. There’s no time to solve it, too many matches, and the circus must play on. There are a couple of dozen half-arguable decisions a week in EPL.

    Wenger’s sides are fair-play orientated, and something we can take pride in. I’m sure it has cost us matches and points aplenty.

    The problem for Arsenal is that it needs to be neutralised by messing its passing and technical qualities, everybody knows that, so let’s not pretend. The way is to badger the midfield and players on the ball, and most English sides are adept at that. A degree more ref protection offers advantages to Arsenal, and disadvantages certain opposition. The refs would probably say “we apply similar standards in every match”. Indeed, yes, they do, and it works to Arsenal’s disadvantage overall because it attempts to play a different way.

    Others will say a player like Song is good at the borderline foul tackle. So, we should not complain. But it is the rarest of sights to see an Arsenal player go in so hard as to injure an opposition player, and yet it happens quite frequently to Arsenal players. But the player did go for the ball, will be seen to have touched it and the injury to the Arsenal player was not intentional. English football is good at this. Just ask Diaby. He knows what goes on.

  147. Frank @ 2:26

    It may seem obvious to you but your view is biased. You start with the conclusion that there is bias/conspiracy and you search for evidence to fit your conclusion and ignore any evidence that goes against your conclusion. It would be impossible for any of us to not do that.

  148. Playing the beautiful game is not easy when no one else really wants to play.

  149. Don’t be silly, Bill. The human condition starts with bias. Read a little Jared Diamond. It is not conspiracy it is just that we are programmed to start with family and work outwards. Bias and prejudice is inbuilt, gives those we care most about or need most an advantage and thus gives us (ourselves) an advantage.

  150. There are of course a thousand other reasons to be biased.

  151. SAF’s teams seem to have always had two ways to deal with the problem overall. One is, after a heavy tackle received, to openly weep, wail, genuflect, and do the “astonished disbelief” look that the player was not booked, sent off, or admonished; followed by a false and an almost believable show of anger. Later Roon will be seen to say a few words to the ref and run off. What’s he saying?

    The other is the “Fletcher” of the team, who’s job it is really to “make amends”.

  152. Btw bias can exist without conspiracies and usually does. Don’t confuse the two.

  153. I would go ever so slightly further than ZimPaul and say that once you admit the obvious susceptibility of referees to decision-changing thinking such as; the game is “too important” to send someone off or award a penalty – as well as the very clear effects of a hostile home crowd on decision-making – then it’s pretty clear that other ideas can trickle into the process.

    Such as preconceived ideas like, I don’t know: Arsenal are soft – pick yerself up lad, Arsenal players dive, I remember the Pires and Eduardo witchhunts – no penalty, pick yerself up lad… you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that happening in every fucking single game we play. It’s not bias as in Howard Webb has matching Man Utd curtains and duvet covers – it’s just that, being human, he is swayable in the heat of the moment by any number of million-gazillion bits of information his bald cranium’s managed to soak up over the months and years – some of which will be from Match of the Day and the Daily Mail – just like every other fucker.

  154. Zimpaul @ 2:42

    What you are describing is probably the most frustrating thing about the last few years. The bullies trying to disrupt our passing game and the bad pitches are a part of the PL and there is nothing we can do about it. The fact that we seem to be no better at dealing with that then we were 5 years ago i;ears to the accusation that we are stubborn. We can’t just throw up our hands and complain about it yet do nothing tactically or play personnel wise to fix the problem. The lack of tactical flexibility that we seem to have and lack of ability to adapt is hard to understand given the brain power we have on our coaching staff.

  155. Frank

    There are even more reasons to be prejudiced, I would suggest our decision making prowess is based on bias. It is why we are better than computers at chess without calculating the odds of a single move.

    Computers are hard wired to number crunch – we are hard wired to be prejudiced.

  156. To be honest Zimp a few dire performances excepted, we have played the beautiful game pretty easily against almost all comers. What we haven’t done is solve our team wide profligacy. If we converted our chances with a more respectable ratio to shots, we’d be laughing.
    I know it’s an old discussion and it has no solution – I am sure they practice but the collective confidence in front of the onion bag is enough to reduce a man to tears.
    When’s Diaby back – is it still 3 weeks away?

  157. Do cover up, Frank. Rather alarming.

  158. Yes I agree with that, SA Gooner

  159. I do usually wear clothes, LA. I was in a bit of a hurry.

  160. Frank

    Bias is part of the human condition. What I disagree with is your conclusion that it obviously materially effects our results in a negative way.

  161. Clearly!

  162. Thanks, YW. It’s probably just the weed. It seems like it’s gotten a hell of a lot stronger in recent years.

  163. “In the case of referees decisions it is incredibly easy to make the evidence fit the conclusion. Even if Walter and the people he worked with were trying their best to be impartial it would be impossible”.

    I disagree, and applaud them for their efforts. It is not definitive findings that will conclude matters, but that someone is looking into it and puts a reasoably serious document into the public domain that will influence matters. Secondly, I have little doubt that the findings will emerge conclusively enough if done over enough matches and seasons to “ask the right questions”. And that, after all, is all anyone asks for, an appraisal.

  164. I find it pretty unlikely that we are exempt in the UK from the cases of corruption and match fixing that have come to light elsewhere. It’s just too daft to suggest it doesn’t go on.
    It may or may not come to light but I suppose I’ll go with what evidence there is and let others say their gut feeling is there is no bias against us.
    Not one I’ll fall out with anyone over, just as I say, have a look at all the evidence being gathered at Untold. It’s an eye opener.

  165. To make a judgement we bunch stuff together that we have a ‘feel’ for in order to get a flavour and we are able make very quick decisions as a result.

    Our problem comes when, among other things, we draw wrong causal inferences from events. One actual problem is probability, we tend to ask “what are the chances of that” when we don’t have all the facts.

    Coincidences are much more common in ‘nature’ than our logic allows.

    Then we look at ourselves and say, I’m biased so he definitely is.

  166. ZP

    Not wishing to detract from their efforts but to expect their findings to influence matters is pushing a point. The vested interests who are ordering the bias will no doubt ensure that it is dismissed as the work of amateurs, kooks and kranks. Or Radio 5Live listeners, which is roughly the same thing.

  167. Look its as simple as this .
    If the laws of the game are were applied fairly and equally ,as they are meant to be ,Arsenal would gain more than any other team.
    Why anyone who understands the Premiership would want to argue this premise is beyond me.But then again there are some very obtuse people.

  168. ‘…your conclusion that it obviously materially effects our results in a negative way’….did I say that? Really? You sure you did not just make that up? Even unconsciously? Perhaps you just proved my point? Might be…

  169. Tend to agree with jon @ 9:58am. It’s naive to think money doesn’t influence the game off the pitch as well as on it. Money talks and we’ve been relatively quiet compared to others, going about our business and doing it the harder way. Some players and fans just don’t have the stomach for it, but we’re better off without them.

    Besides, if you want to see the calibre of players that big money attracts and what happens to their “winning mentality” when things start to go wrong take a look at the whiney little bitches AVB finds himself stuck with at Chelsea.

    “Playing hard, taking positive risks and being adventurous to win a match? Screw that, bring back Jose!”.

    Or, shit, just take a look at Tevez.

    Maybe Arsene’s transfer policy is based on some sort of logic that is beyond most people’s comprehension. Including mine, so I’m off!

  170. Think you got a bit tangled up there, SA

  171. I agree with Jonny, who made the right point. Why-oh-why did we go home empty handed after dominating? We have a respectable scoring record, but if we put chances away at a higher rate, kapow.

  172. I’m going to be in London for the Aston Villa home match. Does anyone have any suggestions for where in the lower tier has good atmosphere and is enjoyable for watching the match?

    I’ve only been in the upper tier and while the view is excellent, it would be fun to be closer to the pitch where there is more cheering and singing happening.

  173. Oh dear, George is going to be unhappy. Very very unhappy.

  174. Bias and conspiracy and corruption conversation = big yawn. Some good contributions though my thinking leans towards YWs and Bill, not that anyone cares I imagine!;0)

    So apparently there is a big game of football this weekend – WL or D I just want to see spirit, guts and determination from first to last. We looked tentative and nervy on the San Siro quagmire but we have our garden bowls lawn and home field advantage – we’ve got be chomping at the bit from before the whistle.


  175. From @JamesOlley (Chief Football Correspondent for the London Evening Standard) on Twitter

    Decision made. #Arsenal agree to loan out Arshavin until the end of the season. Zenit to pay wages & £1m fee. Race on now to sort paperwork.

    What a monstrously stupid decision (if true). Why loan a player out when you can’t bring anyone else in? I know Arshavin hasn’t contributed much this season but still.

    It can only mean one of two things:

    1. The Manager has completely lost fate in him
    2. The player was worried about his place at Euro 2012 and really agitated for a move

  176. For atmosphere Clock End without a shadow of a doubt, LA. Views are better at the sides and a lot of the Red Action people are in the North. But CE give the opposition some real stick.

  177. From gilbertosilver (@Gunnerblog)

    Agent Phil Smith attempting to negotiate Arshavin deal against the clock. Zenit want him back to replace injured playmaker Danny

    Must be true if Gunnerblog is reporting it.

  178. Its mental.

    The guy is not in form, but to weaken the squad at this stage is amazing.

  179. The £1m isn’t worth the risk so why do it?

  180. That’s the politest way I’ve ever been called obtuse…

  181. Seems all right to me. Its the way i read ’em. (Bless you the other Frank Carson – I remember Tiswas)

    Or must I publicly correct myself for the third time today, what a ‘poes’ I am.

  182. If the AA story is true it seems strange that we bring in Benayoun on loan and then let AA go out.

  183. Suicide watch in Blackburn tonight…

  184. A.A R.I.P
    P.G SO.RY

  185. Its never too late to be obtuse.

  186. Frank, that’s helpful. Away section is nearby the Clock End, isn’t it. To me that is one negative. I’m not looking to trade insults with the Brummies but to enjoy being with Arsenal supporters–maybe the North Bank is the place for me? Is the Clock End loud in response to the away fans?

    I’d like it if we relocated the away section to one of the corner sections in the upper tier. But those are more expensive seats.

  187. Everything starts somewhere YW, (a journey, a single step bla bla); even against vested interests. You just have to keep going sometimes.

    To change the subject, the media have done doing flip-flops to devise a story that Greece is (a) a bit lazy (b) a bit corrupted (c) a bit irresponsible; its population must now pay for its sins. Then one academic shows simply that 350 billion euros, cash, left Greece in 4 years; three times the amount it is getting from EU lenders. Oh dear, that bit wasn’t supposed to get out. Banks, speculators and companies took it out as profit rates fell. The country went wildly into debt.

  188. Hopefully this AA story is not true. He helped us win at Sunderland away and frankly could play more centrally. Is Theo’s contract situation having an effect here?

    The solution is play AA more through the middle! Behind RvP.

    AA is probably worried about being prepared for the Euros. The Russians expect to do well in their backyard and AA hasn’t been playing much. I don’t like the sound of this.

  189. While I can understand AA wanting more game time because of Euro 2012 I hope Wenger is not weakening the squad for one players ambition.

  190. What nobody has explained to me Zim is how the ‘banking’ crisis has hit the countries that used to receive the most EEC funding the hardest.

    Like a plate of jellied eels ‘rand at Aunt ‘Arrys……more than just a little fishy.

  191. I am sure will be able to tie in this decision to the new stadium in some bizarre way.

  192. I meant Hunter.

  193. Millionaires fighting billionaires SA Gooner, each protecting their ill-gotten gains. It’s the new way.

  194. If Arshavin has gone I I I I I will …………………………….grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Bye bye little fellow.You deserve better and going home might do the trick .

  195. I wouldn’t speculate much Arshavin. (a) it might not be true at all (b) we don’t know the background (the real logic) if it is (c) it may have clauses we are unaware of (d) with Gervinho back, Ox in flow, Ben and Rosicky capable, Walcott in the mix, Diaby ‘close’ and Arshavin getting a million plus to play in Reserves until May, maybe Wenger knows something we doesn’t.

  196. If the move was even considered then he was for the off anyway.So he may as well be away from the ungrateful shite that boo his name .Fuck them all I say.

  197. One of the strange things about this mooted move is that if it doesn’t for any reason go well it could damage the transfer. Of course it could go the other way too but…

    I dunno it’s hard to see upside of this.

    I think Wenger may be thinking of the player’s needs…

  198. AA to Zenit?,……….Unconfirmed.
    I believe when I see it on the
    ANd if I do
    I will CRY!

  199. Nobody on this team can do what AA does.
    AW knows this.
    He’s in no danger of losing his place on his national team..
    WHY loan him out?

  200. I agree, Aman. He should be able to hold onto that place–they wouldn’t drop him. Maybe he himself is eager to leave and to play. It shouldn’t end this way. It should be happening under better circumstances and because it is the right time for everyone concerned. I think he still has much to contribute to Arsenal. He is a genius with the ball, delivers beautiful passes few others can. The main difference is that he will try the difficult ball. He is a courageous player that way and we have been lacking in just that sort of daring inventiveness with the pass. We have a couple of players like Gervinho and the Ox who will take a defender on and dribble past them but no one else with the craft for such passes, certainly no one with the quality of Arshavin, I think.

  201. If the news about the AA23 move is true, I hope the “boo-ers” recognise that they are partly responsible. The irony is that, rather than feeling any remorse, they will probably feel happy and vindicated. AA23 leaving would be a sad ending to a story that started so brightly (I sincerely hope I don’t have to write that about anyone else in the coming months).

  202. “Maybe he himself is eager to leave and to play. It shouldn’t end this way. It should be happening under better circumstances and because it is the right time for everyone concerned. I think he still has much to contribute to Arsenal. He is a genius with the ball, delivers beautiful passes few others can. The main difference is that he will try the difficult ball. He is a courageous player that way and we have been lacking in just that sort of daring inventiveness with the pass.”


  203. SA:
    What nobody has explained to me Zim is how the ‘banking’ crisis has hit the countries that used to receive the most EEC funding the hardest.

    Like a plate of jellied eels ‘rand at Aunt ‘Arrys……more than just a little fishy.

    With perpetually flexible interest rates*, how won’t anyone & everyone ultimately become debtors?
    Straight criminals dem banks

    (*tied somehow to “the markets”).
    Evil…bankers are worse than Nazis.
    They slowly break you, enslave you, defile you
    Steal from pensioners, war vets & the unborn

    They feel free to bail themselves out with taxpayer money
    while they desecrate everything the taxpayer ever worked for and believed in.

    Take over countries, use their armies as policy enforcers
    while most of us look on
    debating whether or not this new reality’s just another conspiracy theory…acting civilized?

    YW in your heart of hearts you know hunter 13’s for the most part right?
    The d&g in the air reflects the growing dissatisfaction many people have with life in 2012.

    Whats the unemployment rate in the UK? Spain? France? Germany?
    The greedy have gotten so cocky with it they now label Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain…PIGS!


    Free G69 Yogi, radicals are needed more now than ever.
    Even Tevez is back @ Shitty.

  204. seriously, where is Diaby?

  205. please come back Abou. We miss you.

  206. The quotes that I have seen from Arsene suggest that AA was approached directly by Zenit and if he is going it would be him forcing it as Arsene wanted to keep him until the summer. But since so many were calling for him to leave even to the extent of booing his name he is probably better off out of it.

    hunter13 | February 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm – your style might ‘irritate’ some people, but I think you are actually one of the most insightful posters on here.

    Steww, Untold have now broadened their reviews to look at more than just Arsenal games. Also recently their lowest scoring ref, has also been the one relegated from the PL by the PGMO, so their results look like they are in line with the official review of referee performance. The problem with PL referees is that there are too few of them, and the more they referee the same teams that ‘over familiarity’ or ‘animosity’ that they build up with certain teams, players or managers comes out in their decision making.

  207. Pass:
    “The quotes that I have seen from Arsene suggest that AA was approached directly by Zenit and if he is going it would be him forcing it as Arsene wanted to keep him until the summer. But since so many were calling for him to leave even to the extent of booing his name he is probably better off out of it”.

    and my eyes are welling up…just say no AW!
    just say NOOOOOOOOOO!

  208. According to the Russian football correspondent on the radio, Arshavin has been told he will not be going to the euros unless he plays more 1st team football.He has made 8 starts this season.Under Hiddinck he was guaranteed a place regardless,but not under Advocaat.This will be his last major tournament ,so you can understand why he wants to go back to Zenith if Wenger cannot guarantee him a 1st team place.However as he is one of the only creative players we have,whether this is a good move from Arsenals point of view remains to be seen.

  209. I love that little man
    don’t do it AA!
    do not leave us!

    YW if we lose AA my radical side takes over.
    The grenades, innermost hunter.
    …i shudder to think

    boo-hoo….where are u PG?
    they’re giving up on our lil’ russian w/o giving him a fair chance to redeem himself

  210. Limestonegunner | February 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I lay a lot of this at the feet of the ‘fair-weather fans’. Ryo has mentioned how ‘tense’ things are at Arsenal and I think the lack of faith and support has stifled the creativity in the team and they are just so afraid of failure the players end up underperforming. I’ve seen it so many times, someone will take a risk, lose the ball and the groans start. Where is the encouragement for them to try something different? If you want to be a winner you have to take a risk. Arsene is a risk taker and sometimes it backfires spectacularly, but when it comes off it’s a joy to behold. But the modern ‘fan’ wants guarantees and is not willing to give unconditional support when things are not going so well. We need less ‘fans’ and more supporters.

  211. IMO this goes back to the loyalty quality that AW shows and even though none of us really want him to leave this also shows AW class. Many have criticised AA23 for lack of form and so forth but those are the same people that will miss his genius and miss his brillance. I have read many times that Advocaat only wants players that are playing regular 1st team football. If AA23 has been told this directly and AW understands then AW will do whats best for the player and show his loyalty to that player. Class can’t be taught it just is.

  212. TR7:
    ““The outside world will try to separate you, they smell blood, so we have to stick together and for the rest of the season fight for fourth place,” Rosicky told Arsenal Player.

    AA must stay, AA should play!
    AA must stay, AA should play!
    AA must stay, AA should play!

  213. While i will miss the lil Russian Genius and all his spectacular(i must admit i have spoke ill when he has underperformed but i have of many a players but still support and many times have included him in my 1st XI that i want to see) i will still cheer for him and if by chance he is available for Sunday against the Spuds and he comes on as a sub or starts, I would love to see his genius at work 1 last time against the fucking Spuds and show and go out the way a world class talent should, playing brillantly.

  214. C, the problem is that the doomers want it all ways. They were lining up to drive AA to the airport, but you know if he goes it will be another stick with which to beat Arsene. There are 13 games left barring a miracle in the CL. If Diaby and Jack are close to a return and with Afobe available, I can see why Arsene would not force someone to sit on the bench when he can get games elsewhere. I would have liked to see him stay and contribute, but I understand at his age with probably his last chance at the Euro’s in the summer, practically on his doorstep, like you suggest, Arsene probably is doing the honourable thing for the player’s sake.

  215. need some comfort here PG…holla?

  216. Well why would anyone wnt to play for arsenal with the moaning fans we got? its no fun playing for a team where the fans never go behind you i would imagin. AA probably had enough. In Zenith he will be loved and get same amount of money. Easy choice i would imagin…

  217. @Passenal

    Its a sad situation ecspecially because those same doomers were probably the same 1’s that were yelling for us to drop RVP and you see how that turned on them. The doomers were probably the same 1’s that were saying get rid of Eboue and then domming even louder when we sold him and then lost all of our LB/RB for long periods of the season. They are probably the same 1’s that agree with the likes of Piers Morgan and the same 1’s who questioned the signing of Mert, the Ox, Arteta and Santos. The doomers are the same 1’s who say Walcott is shit but is 2nd on the team in goals and has provided a pleathora of assits to RVP throughout the year. So i say fuck the doomers(sorry Yogi about the angry post) and AA23 will be missed and i will be the 1st to say thank you allowing us to witness you genius and for wearing teh Arsenal shirt with pride and joy.

  218. Aman ,I am here now .
    I have been on twitter saying sorry to everyone that I have lost it with since I got the rug pulled from under me.
    Every one of those booing fans should have their genital areas infested by the flees of a thousand camels.
    I am beyond distraught.
    I honestly believe he was our second best player.

  219. I hate to say it, but I think the AA ship sailed a little while ago. Like I have said in previous posts, I fully expected the little Russian to be a professional and do his job when called upon, but I also fully expected that he and Arsene had an agreement that he would be let go given the right situation.

    At this time I think Arsene has his wide men in Gervinho, Ox, and Theo and AA is no longer in the plans beyond a few substitute appearances. If he goes it will probably be best for all parties. It is just a shame that we did not get to see him fulfill the promise that his first six months with the club suggested he had.

  220. Some good quotes from AW

    “We live in a world where everybody is positive when it goes well, but life is not only ups, it is ups and downs. Successful lives are about how people respond when you are down.”

    “No matter what we say at the moment it will be printed in a negative way. So it is up to us to transform that in a positive way.”

    And one from Rosicky

    “The outside world will try to separate you, they smell blood, so we have to stick together”

    And a Japanese proverb I saw today

    Vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare”

  221. ” its no fun playing for a team where the fans never go behind you i would imagin”

    I would beg to differ. In the away matches especially, I can here the thousand odd gooners screaming through the telly. AT home the atmosphere seems a little more toxic, and the moaners do seem to play a part. But, there are about tens of thousands of gooners who scream their lungs out. At some point they players need to stop paying attention to the moaners, or use their moaning as motivation.

  222. Passenal too fucking true re the doomers – rank hypocrisy abounds and you get the feeling Wenger just cannot win. Get the feeling because it’s true. They conveniently forget every player they have slagged who is now brilliant (Song, Koscielny etc) so he doesn’t even get the praise he deserves for his outstanding work in the transfer market.

    That said I suppose they would argue that the difference is letting him go now we have no possibility of securing a replacement…whatever…I think letting AA go would be a mistake – even off his game he can still be a game changer.

  223. We can’t allow ourselves feel sorry for ourselves, poodle.

    If AA leaves I am on a war path with all doomers & fence straddlers.

    new motto:
    “13 games left, things are too tight to be civilized!”

    countdown begins now…

  224. Am I the only one who thinks we can not only get a result against the spuds, but will hammer Mialn and force extra time???

    I hope the sky sources are their usual bullshit best and Arshavin doesnt go. What a waste that will be.

    Fucking sick of reading the opinions of ex-pros who played 5 minutes for the club. Yes Petit, I am talking to you man. How dare he pass judgment on our current crop of playing staff when he not only fucked off to barca, but stopped putting in 100% as soon as he knew he was off to Espana.


    Up the Arse!


  225. Ah, welcome back comrade PG.
    I honestly believe he is our second best player too.

    I hate to say it, I believe you are talking out of your arse!

    ” It is just a shame that we did not get to see him fulfill the promise that his first six months with the club suggested he had.”

    ..his first 6 months????
    how dare you?

  226. I think this will only go to add extra motivation to our beloved Arsenal against the Spuds and we will play inspired beautiful gritty football and take all our rage out on Arry and the Spuds.

  227. Excellent. Would you like a ride on a motorbike, Passenal?

  228. Viceologist,
    Letting AA go undermines unity like crazy (re: my last post to u)

    Do u think RvP, TR7 & the other experienced heads in the team will take this as a good move?

    AW’s shooting himself in the gonads here.
    He’s feeling sorry for himself here by not being flexible enough to maximize AA’s gifts in his better position.

    back to Zenit for 1mill with 13 games left and some say he’s looking out for the player??????????????
    AW should look out for ARSENAL first!

    Worst case scenario:
    what if RvP gets injured & is out for the season?
    Who picks up the xtra-creative slack?
    Who presents the audacious?
    Don’t you remember the last Euros? AA tore Holland apart!
    They had Schneider, RvP, Kuyt, VdV…the whole lot
    Arshavin single-handedly destroyed the Nethrlands!

    U cannot teach CLASS
    Andrey Arshavin is class!!!!!!!

    Do u think the Ox or Gerv can handle the pressure thats definitely coming?
    Rosicky’s alluded to it..the enemy smells blood
    The refs are ready
    4th is up for grabs..Chelsea’s got the payola if need be

  229. Top article, OOU. And you MUST do a part 2.
    I often think that much of the complaining could be summarised as “You know the Invincibles/double winners? Why can’t we just do that again?” The landscape has changed utterly in the last 5 or 6 years. Arsenal doesn’t exist in a bubble of its own – outside forces largely dictate what we can do.

    @ Passenal
    You are smokin’ hot, girl! Top comments today especially about the doomers. It’s a bit like when they moan about the club’s PR not doing enough to combat negativity – the same negativity they are doing their best to spread.

    On referees, I find it fascinating that only Arsenal-supporting referees are incapable of overcoming their natural bias. Referees with other affiliations are apparently capable of total objectivity.

    It doesn’t help, either, that the way they are allocated games is not transparent.

    @ Frank, great points

    @ hunter 13 – I agree wholeheartedly with what Passenal said about your comments.

    @ Dexter

  230. I don’t want Andrei to go either. I really do hope that his time out has not been caused by the boo boys. I’m going to throttle one of those fuckers one day.

  231. ..and he does it all with that happy mischievious face
    pixie genius

    his signing was the high point of the past 3 years for me.
    I was rock-rigid for a week!

    I pray it ain’t so

    AA must stay, AA should play!
    AA must stay, AA should play!
    AA must stay, AA should play!

  232. I love Aman like a brother

  233. Just to refresh u:

    Andrey arrived at Emirates Stadium in one of the 2008/09 season’s most protracted transfer sagas. He was definitely worth the wait.

    The Russian playmaker proved almost instantly that he is a world-class talent who can make a big difference to this Arsenal side.

    He scored an awesome foursome at Anfield during his debut season and showed his love for the big stage with an unforgettable winner against Barcelona in the Champions League last term.

    Andrey’s vision, technical ability and eye for goal give Arsenal an extra dimension and his versatility is another big plus. He played on flank last season but can also play through the centre, as he does when captaining his country.

  234. Love you too comrade PG

  235. Frank ,you point the fuckers out.I will do them in.

  236. @Aman

    I understand that Arsene needs to look out for Aresnal 1st and he has done that by playing Ox, Gervinho, Theo outwide. Unfortunately AW didnt use Arshavin in his preferred central position were he has when given the opportunity to play there shined and boss the game. I truly believe that while Wenger wanted him to stay he just fell out of his plans(it does hurt to say that). Arsene wants to play Rosicky and Ramsey(although clearly out of position) in the advanced midfield role instead of Rosicky and Arshavin and out wide like i mentioned before Arsene plays and seems to be extremely satisfied with Theo, Ox, and Gervinho.

    While you can’t teach his class and his talent, as a Arsenal fan we must remember the good times and realize that we have a massive match on Sunday. Don’t think about the what if somebody else gets injured and the added pressure being place on Gervinho and Ox(even though i dont see it) but cheer your heart out and enjoy the genius that was adn is Arshavin but dont damn Arsenal by speaking ill.

  237. Last time they booed I had a word with a bloke a couple of rows back. I said that what he was doing lacked class. Get behind the players. Support your team. Have a bit of decorum. He called me a fackin cant an what the cantin fackin cantin fack was I doin talkin to im. He would boo if he liked an no cant was goin to tell him uvverwise. I apologised to him of course. I had no idea about his learning disability.

  238. @ OOU
    In part two, I’d like you (as well as expanding on the areas you’ve covered) to think about what could give us an edge again. Please. Ta.

  239. lol the moan choire has started alrready. “shocking management of AW to let him leav”. Same people that wanted rid of “deadwood Arsharvin” yesterday..

    Im just waiting four the house moaners to come and slagg of AW for this…

  240. need to go find his website or blog
    tell him how much we love him

    We need to keep the little nipper

    AA must stay, AA should play!
    AA must stay, AA should play!
    AA must stay, AA should play!

  241. and surly tottenham must feel equal preassure, this is a must win for them if they wanna keep up with the teams above. Two losses in a row for them and two wins for us and suddenly they are only 3 points ahead.
    Its a must win for both teams. Not because we are bitter enemys but because we both need the win to achive what we want to this year.

  242. C,
    on this issue I’d say AW needs a breather.
    Say 4 hrs away from anything Arsenal
    All phones off. Incommunicado

    Arsene knows C
    Arsene knows
    But Arsene’s under too much pressure right now.

    Loaning AA out at this juncture is not the answer.
    It definitely hands some fear back to the Spuds
    Others will be smirking, licking their lips, waiting eagerly for their turn @ the Arse

    No way is it a good move.
    We all just saw what Henry on the bench did for confidence.
    U can’t buy class
    AA’s unpredictable
    A confident AA scares the shit out of most defenders
    Why waste such a weapon??

    Most intelligent fans never really took seriously the idea that he’d be shipped out anytime soon.
    This is a shock.
    So please don’t underestimate what this means
    Don’t downplay or downgrade this to amber

    THIS IS A CODE RED!!!!!!!!!!!

  243. just posted on

    Please forgive the past few months
    F’give AW, he’s under too much pressure.
    He will have to play u more in CM.

    You CANNOT leave Arsenal Andrey.
    Not now!
    If I had my way not would retire a gooner!

    What u bring to our team is unquestionable class
    A very unique quality thats impossible to come by easily.

    Please stay and prove all your doubters wrong man.
    Russia loves you, Africa loves you
    The majority of Arsenal fans worldwide love you
    AW does too but again too much pressure.
    RvP & Tomas need you

    The intelligent fan believes in you like u can’t imagine…
    Please stay & prove us right.
    Please stay with Arsenal.
    Advocaat cannot keep u off the team.
    You are Russia’s captain & leader

    Please stay.
    We start the revival vs Tottenham on Sunday.
    Please be there!


  244. As much as I am gutted about the little fellow going .I am happy for him.
    He goes back where he is worshiped instead of booed.
    Sometimes if you love someone you have got to let them go

  245. i AM NOT PLAYING!

    “13 games left, things are too tight to be civilized!”

  246. Dexter @6:53

    You are most definitely not alone. You see I’ve been saying for a while, I can’t see as far as the second half or extra time but I had a vision of RVP leading the team in at half time having just scored from a free kick to put us 2 – 0 up. What a buzz will be running round the ground and how wobbly need will the Milan defence be at the prospect of defending against the pace of an Arsenal attack with something to prove and the end in sight.
    We none of us can actually see the future but I tell you this, I’m having a better fortnight enjoying my vision than anyone who only sees the game as already lost.
    It’s a choice. I’m no more right than they are but I’ve chosen to be happy.

  247. Andrey Arshavin ‏ @AndrArshavin23
    It’s done.

    Fucking bollocks.

  248. Passenal shoots, she scores!

    I agree with Passenal.
    There are too few referees. A structure designed for failure. It has failed.

    It’s also possible to spot a biased official. Without the need for any empircal data.
    There are plenty of examples. The cricket umpire Darrell Hair was either biased or the victim of nefarious asian mafia. He likes to say the latter, most think the former. Oh, no one disputes that the mafia exist in the aport of cricket and beyond. It’s just that Hair was and is an idiot.
    It is also possible to spot a bent player. Confused? I’ll prove it: Salman Butt, now in jail. Before he became captain of his team, he was most famous for giving George W.Bush a cricket lesson. Good contacts I suppose. Anyway, Younis Khan, who has just played one of the better innings of the recent series was deposed (by who? by some conspiracy? no, just his national cricket board who have a spotless reputation) from his job for one Salman Butt, shortly after captaining his team to a T20 world cup victory. Odd. Younis Khan is a player who was lauded by Bob Woolmer (a great cricket coach) & was brought to play at Yorkshire CCC who don’t pick their oversea’s players without some fuss. So, yes, it was very easy to pick out that particular ‘bent’ or possibly biased (biased towards his mates, not his team!) indivdual, Salman Butt. According to reports from the recent trial, Butt’s handler had some links to English football. Just sayin’.

  249. < to clarify, Butt was barely in the team before he deposed the previus Captain, Khan. Could be wrong abou this last bit, but the point is, he was not a very good player.

    & thanks to OOU.

  250. PG – I feel for you mate. A favourite player going with their potential unfulfilled and so much to offer us is heartbreaking. You could see in the reserve game he wasn’t celebrating goals. He looked so unhappy, we can only hope this move brings him what he needs.

  251. This reminds me of Ade’s departure. Whatever has gone on, you won’t find many fans of other clubs so keen to boo and see the back of what are good players. Tis odd.

  252. I saw Ade play. I never thought he was a poor player. That seemed to be the conviction of many.

  253. whats done PG?
    NO wAY???

  254. And a revised opinion at that Fins.

  255. shiiiiiiiitttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Andrey Arshavin:

    I’ve moved to “Zenit”. On loan, will play under number 29.

    All the details tomorrow, when you wake up. 🙂

    …the dark side beckons..
    goodnite RASERS….peace PG

  256. From twitter

    Wenger on #Arshavin, Jan 21st: “On top of our injuries, we cannot lose players of that quality. It is too difficult.” #afc

  257. His official website has announced the loan to Zenit. This is terrible. I wish we had played him more. I just bought a ticket for Aston Villa at home (in the Clock End right behind the goal–thanks for the advice Frank!) and was hoping to see AA at least on the bench.

  258. Well we all know what happens next don’t we.

  259. letting Arshavin go at this point where there is a 4th place trophy to be won is fucking shocking management…

  260. Fabregas — Nasri — Arshavin — Goal

    All gone now

  261. I just can’t get my head around this. Without AA we drop two points in the league to Sunderland. Without AA it was two points dropped at home v. Swansea–he gave us our only goal from a Swansea mistake and an amazing finish, creating a win from nothing. Could anyone have fed RvP the ball with the perfect weight through the defence to get a win as he did last month? Over the next 13 games, I believe he would have come up with the magic at least once or twice, which could mean two to four more points for Arsenal.

    I understand it was a dilemma, but my answer would be to play him more! I guess with Gervinho back, the Ox rising, Benayoun sitting on the bench, and Theo in contract negotiations, AA saw no way to get on the pitch and AW felt there was no way to assure him that he would pick him in our remaining league matches. How he as dropped down like this is just a huge mystery. He really is our second best player, to my mind. Sad, sad, sad.

    Dups, you just beat me to it. I was going to post that video again.

    Yeah, right on time, Suga. I don’t remember you saying Arshavin could contribute this season and was a valuable player to us.

  262. Dups, plus Bendtner to JW also out of the picture this season.

  263. well, you will not find me saying that he was useless and should be sold either…

  264. True LG.

    I worry now (with our normal luck injury wise) how long our wide players will stay fit.

  265. Humans are incapable of being happy so dooming will always happen, I think we will hammer the spuds on sunday!!!

  266. Still that’s another million pound + AA’s wages that will go in the bank.

  267. Someone mentioned earlier on the blog that we need fewer fans and more supporters. This referred to the comments of support being drowned out by the noise of upset by fans. The result, the writer goes on to suggest, is that the players soak this negativity up and their play becomes paralyzed with an inability to try something new. It has been well known for some time that behaviours that are postively reinforced are most likely to continue in that vain. So, there is a degree of truth in what the previous writer had mentioned.

    I am an Arsenal supporter. However, when Arsenal’s play lacks ingenuity and most of all effort, I will turn the game off. I stop watching what I usually enjoy and I notice about myself that there is an anger relating to what I perceive is lackadaisical play. I find difficulty in not cussing under my breath. The world becomes even for just a short while, a less enjoyable place to inhabit. I have read that women are more prone to be abused in the UK after football games that have gone in the wrong direction. Fortunately, I have not ever resorted to abusing my wife but I am sure she has tired of the occasional bouts of cussing which I admit is another form of abuse.

    I don’t wish to be an ugly person but the fact remains that I will ‘ugly up’ during a game that goes in the wrong direction. The groans begin and the vitriol flows freely. Pehaps my need is for psychotherapy. More likely, I need to invest less of myself in football and more into something that has no possibility of dissapointing me. This whole thing may have something to do with my own experiences with failure. In that regard, I know for certain that I have a poor tolerance for something that I do not do well. I come close to punishing myself. There it is then, a Football Fan or Supporter. I love Arsenal and I love Wenger and I am a poor loser.

  268. you will see guys Le Grove will write an article of how shocking management it was to let AA go. The same guy they labled “deadwood” and” lazy ” a couple of weeks ago…

  269. Dups, that is very small compensation indeed! I’m not that worried about our bank balance right now. We have a league campaign to fight!

  270. i guess AAs wage will go straight into the RvP renewal contract…

  271. That’s my point LG. Not getting 4th place would cost us a lot more than what this loan brings in.

    To me it smacks of AA wanting game time because of Euro 2012. It seems as if Arsene has put that before the club as he did with Fabregas leaving.

  272. The timings wierd..
    Why now?

  273. Two Owls, Passenal made a good point about players losing the confidence to try riskier moves as a result of the tense atmosphere at the stadium. I would suggest that those who can’t keep up cheering and singing to inspire the players should turn their negative energies toward aggressive intimidation of the referees. This makes a big difference on the outcomes, it has been shown. If you have ugliness inevitably emerging, direct it onto a useful target!

    Btw, we should be keeping AA because he still tries the difficult and riskier pass. Fabregas used to do the same. We seem to be lacking this quality right now. Against AC Milan we were so timid and unable to break their pressing through attack and only could go sideways, backwards and boot it forward. We need to play with courage again.

    Hopefully, with the kind of atmosphere a derby creates at home, against Spuds we’ll find that elan and courage in our play.

    I like the fact that RvP relishes the derby after two bad losses as the perfect way to get back on track. He has that valourous spirit that we need!

  274. Official

    “The Russia captain returns to his home city and former club, managed by Luciano Spalletti, in order to maximise his opportunities for regular first-team football ahead of Euro 2012 in June.”

    “maximise his opportunities for regular first-team football ahead of Euro 2012”. Just for his own good not the clubs.

  275. dups,

    now, tell me if it is right to put a player who you have taking up a non homegrown squad space ahead of the club, which will be royally fucked if we don’t make the 4th?

  276. Dups, I understand–missed the sarcasm!– and like you am not happy about it. It is true that the fans who booed AA’s subbing on for the Ox behaved inexcusably and disgustingly, as far as I am concerned, but blaming some poor support for his departure seems to exaggerate that aspect of it. Clearly, AA wants to play. Unfortunately, he hasn’t found a way to break back into the squad. It’s the manager’s decision, as is the decision to let him go on loan. I hope we don’t regret this.

    But I do feel that we only have one good choice right now, which is to try to help the team stick together by staying strongly in support of the team for the remaining games. Rosicky said it well and we probably will need to adopt the same attitude.

  277. We could have done this in january and replaced him..
    We could have done this in the summer and replaced him..

    Theyve known hes wanted to leave for a while, this smacks of having no intention of replacing doing it now they immediately give themselves an excuse for not investing into the squad..

    If he goes in january then the club will be battered for not spending some money..if he goes in february theres nothing we can do and the next thing wenger will moan about is the russian window and how its killing the game..

    im shocked..i pretty much knew he was leaving but we are playing with fire allowing it to happen now..

    what the fucks going on..??

    Rant over..

  278. and now hes gone.. confirmed on the arsenal page. how weird never again to cheere for AA…

  279. Very puzzling decision and timing from Arsenal FC point of view…

  280. AA – I shall miss him on the Arseblog.

    One reason other reason why it may happen is, if he plays well then his price for a summer sale will go up.

    I agree, he should have had a go behind RVP. If tracking back was the problem, leave him on the half-way line as a good outlet from defence?

    I have enjoyed the discussion tonight … it took me so long to get through it all I am too late to post anything.
    Dogs … Walkies!
    Oh yes, Anybody who remembers Tiswas must be from the Midlands?

  281. Set aside our personal feelings, class is permanent and Arshavin by every standard just that.

    If the move is benefits him, that is how we need to shape our emotions.

  282. one out.few more to go

  283. To change the subject this was posted on twitter.

  284. One question I have is when is his contract up? He arrived on January 31, 2009 (officially–actually a couple days later!). A 4 year contract would mean he only has a year left. Over the summer he would have 6 months left and would be able to negotiate a contract for February 1, 2013. Will we be able to sell him at that point?

    The main thing for his value will not be playing for Zenit. If he doesn’t do well it will only hurt his value. The main thing is if he plays well at the Euros.

    This just doesn’t seem a good idea and must just be what AA wants for preparation for the Euros. Frankly, the Russian team has always ranked high in his priorities. When they didn’t qualify for the World Cup he was pretty disconsolate and didn’t play well for us for a few months. He got further depressed by playing centre forward in our 4-3-3/4-5-1.

    We just haven’t got the best out of this extremely talented player, alas.

  285. LG – well said.

    I’m uncomfortable with the exiting of experienced and talented players regardless of the reason, it does not bode well for our image.

  286. Well it’s a relief to know that AA’s loan was all the doomers doing and not another shocking judgement call by Wenger…..

  287. @Richard its a relife Wenger finally listens to the fans no? surly that would make for a lot of happy fans?

  288. Especially since we are told time and time again that most fans are just fed up and want “deadwood” out…

  289. Apparently Samba is also headed to Russia – to Anzhi Makhachkala. His bank manager must be over the moon.

  290. According to the BBC: “The team’s players live and train in Moscow due to security problems in Makhachkala and travel nearly 1,250 miles for home matches.” Unbelievable!

  291. As Mrs Merton might have said, “Christopher Samba, what first attracted you to multi-billionaire Suleiman Kerimov’s football club?”

  292. I’ve just seen confirmation of Andrey’s departure on George, if you need any counselling, I can help.

  293. Couldn’t find a clear picture that just had AA’s goals–second and fourth were just belters–delightful! Unfortunately, have to see Liverpool’s goals too–some really soft ones. But remember the glory that was AA’s bursting onto the PL scene!

  294. This is my other favourite…

  295. Unintentionally poignant commentary at the end of that clip, “That’s how you finish!”

  296. Seriously, it is sad to see him leave like this. Good luck Andrey and thanks for the memories. None of us know what really happened behind the scenes, but I believe that this decision would not have been taken lightly. We can either expect the worst or hope for the best. I know which I choose.

  297. I’ll second that, Passenal.

  298. I knew there was a reason I learned some DTP programs

  299. Andrie’s gone… what a pile of shite that is… A truly world class player and yes, I realise he hadnt reached the levels expected, but with a thourough bred, you take what you are given…. uttwerly shocked he is going and it tells me we are fucking skint, or at thew very least, looking after the expenditure.

  300. I truly think we have had some of the most talented players we have ever had, yet for whatever reason, they never reproduced the perfornacnes required of them. Its fucking annoying as fuck I tell ya. Never mind the bollocking injuries.

  301. Billys boots

    Yeah thats what I heard man, makes a mockery of Arrys commute to the slums of 7 bints from bournmouth dont it…

  302. Can I just say, again, loaning Arshavin only makes sense if we are fucking skint!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  303. Billy, that was a tremendous goal as well. Sublime and cheeky. That’s AA! I suppose he did finish with a bang. Nearly his last touch was that unerring cross for Henry’s winner at Sunderland.

    I’ll be rooting for him at the Euros this summer.

  304. Yogi

    I have just noticed (bear with me, I drunk) Your new ( I am hoping/guessing) strapline! Indeed, we should deffo be more optimistic after a defeat man.

    This should be the itinery (you will not like this btw)
    Discuss match day before game, day of game and day after match and thats it!
    Only because of the fucking internet do we chat shit about the team, all day every day. That means that the sensationalists and doom mongerers win out as it is physically impossible to be effin positive about your team for that length of time, even if they are winning shit

  305. @ Dexter, re the commute from Moscow, I understand ‘arry is planning the same thing for Spu#s. They will be based in Majorca and will fly 1250 miles to London for home matches to avoid “security problems” in Tottenham.

  306. LSG, nice one, I forgot about that cross at Sunderland. I will be rooting for him this summer as well. I remember thinking, when he first did so well at the Euros a few years ago, “He should play for the Arsenal.” Needless to say, I was delighted when he (finally) joined. I seem to recall that he flew to London just so he could be available for a medical if the transfer terms were agreed.

    Say it with a thick Russian accent: “Now I am Gooner!” Fantastic.

  307. “bear with me, I drunk”

    Dexter, I think that should be your new catchphrase!

  308. AW didn’t want to lose him. It’s probably the player’s decision and it probably is all about euro 2012. He wants to play, he’s had “the chat” and doesn’t think he’ll be a starter for us. It could even be that he was dissuaded from leaving outright in the window.
    Best of luck, Andrei. You weren’t my favourite but sometimes you were a genius.

  309. This is all fucked up. Andrei leaving was not in the script. Not like this anyway. i fucking hate Arsenal supporters. Always have.

  310. Clothes on….and back where I belong. Lady Neena is really the love of my life.

  311. blogging while drunk–good to know you think of us/Arsenal at all times, Dex!!!

  312. Didn’t mean that to sound like “goodbye”. Could be “au revoir”.

  313. Nice horse, Frank. And nice fedora too!

  314. She is lovely, isn’t she, Limestone?

  315. just got in,pissed as fuck and so sad.
    Life is a bitch and then you realise andrei has gone.
    But not forgotten,not by a long way


  317. Live like Frank. What a legend.

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