Trivial Pursuits Whilst Rosicky Offers A Lesson In Form And Fitness

Arsenal head into an enforced leave of absence from football this weekend, the FA Cup exit at Sunderland gives them ten days rest, rehabilitation and general skive time until next Wednesday’s match at Goodison Park. It is a stark contrast to the Arsène’s complaint in Milan about fixture scheduling; no worries about a crowded fixture list any more.

In most senses, that cannot be a bad thing. The players will have time to recuperate and shake off any niggles, leaving the manager with a strong squad to choose from. Add into that players returning from injury – Andre Santos completed an hour for the reserves last night – and the picture is looking positive.

It is still a tall order for Arsenal to finish third, relying on their good form to continue combined with the unabating fall from grace of Tottenham. The final league positions are in their hands even though they have seen a ten point gap disappear in a week or so, thirteen since Arsenal’s wretched January. All the Arsenal players can do is keep on winning; be as relentless in their pursuit of third as they were of a winner on Monday night.

That said, Danny Baker summed it all up rather nicely,

Teams in grey resemble ghosts, spirits, phantoms. Those doomed to haunt the field remembering a past vibrant life. No hang on, that’s Spurs.

Chelsea’s progress makes life more interesting. Their ageing squad needs to balance their pursuit of domestic and european cup glory with a Champions League spot. That and the ban that Uefa ought to be handing out to Didier Drogba for his peek-a-boo theatrics. The Alanis Morrisette irony of him wearing a clearly visible “Respect” badge on his sleeve whilst conning his way through the ninety minutes is probably lost on the gnomes of Nyon. As long as Chelsea remain in the competition, Arsenal must pursue third place with gusto to rule out the possibility of finishing fourth and having to play Europa League football. It only takes favourable draws and a fluke for that to happen.

One man who has rediscovered his verve is Tomas Rosicky. Brian Glanville in this month’s World Soccer described his performance against Spurs as “ubiquitous”. I liked that; it captured the energy of his play perfectly. The Czech noted that he had far more money on offer from Chinese and Russian clubs; “tell me that you want those kind of things that money just can’t buy” indeed.

More importantly, Rosicky offered the reason as he understands it, as to his improvement in form,

I am healthy, I play in the centre of the field and have rhythm from regular games. That is all together very important.

When you play once a fortnight, it is difficult. I know I cannot handle all the games of the season, but the rhythm, being involved at least once a week is very important.

History substantiates this school of though; fit and regular football in a position in which he is comfortable has allowed him to flourish at a key time for Arsenal. Assigned to the wings, Rosicky is never happy and rarely effective. Right-footed, he will always drift infield from the left flank causing a narrowness in Arsenal’s play. Now, centrally, he is rolling back the years and ironically – not in an Alanis Morrisette way – having been injured for so long, he is taking advantage of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey being injured to play in his favoured position, having seen youngsters gain from his own woes.

Were Wilshere fit, it would give the manager an interesting problem. Where to fit the players in. Most likely, I would venture he would play Jack wider on the left to allow him to develop his game. That is based on performances now; as with fitness, form can be fickle. A poor half or bad twist will undo all the good work previously done; all we can hope is that like the rest of the squad, he remains fit and in fine form for the remainder of the season.

It will make squad choices interesting next season, especially if a rumoured midfield target actually signs this Summer. On paper, there would a surfeit of attacking options for the manager to choose from. Injuries will no doubt see to that and render the usual 25 man squad insufficient. But I’m not going to worry about that now, just enjoy the moment.

’til Tomorrow.

 

Posted on March 15, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 129 Comments.

  1. OK

    There seems to be a problem with the use of Gravatars that WordPress is looking at as we speak. Until then, you may need to use an alternative email address to comment. All except those of you who have written articles in the past and are set as authors or if you have a wordpress account. Or don’t use Gravatars.

  2. finally i beat bb?

  3. And those shenanigans mean that I’m first. WOO-HOO!

  4. Rosicky in the centre = great
    Rosicky on the wing = ‘i wish i was in the centre but hey ill give this a go’ and does alright

    Everton are after the FA cup – they rested quite a few players for the derby game. I hope they go through (Moyes deserves a trophy) and then rest a few more for when we play them 😉

    And i will ask again – Why is Martin Keown in the pics for the announcement of the friendly in Hong Kong?

  5. apparently jens lehmann will be working with the reserves in some coaching capacity?

    the germans are coming!

  6. Yeah korihikage, seems we are helping him get his coaching badges because the german FA think hes a nutter and dont what him training up a new generation of crazies 😉

  7. I heard that the coaching courses over here offer more time out on the field rather than in the classroom as in Germany and Jens fancied that. I also heard he’s had a minor fall-out with the German FA over it, but Jens wouldn’t be Jens if he’s not falling out with someone!

    Good that Rosicky is fit and enjoying his football. His displays over the past few games have been excellent, long may it continue. I do think that Wilshire would be suited to the Arteta role though YW, I would say he is the one most under pressure when Jack is fit again.

  8. the team really look good, fingers crossed we wont suffer many injuries next season….. it would be interesting and nobody leaves

  9. ok YW you beat me to it,great write up as always too.the momentum right now is with the Arsenal,hopefully we will end the season on a high(3rd)then push on next season.apart from jabba and his doomer ilk,we always knew the lil mozart is a classy player and he is proving it once again.this is hoping he keeps the good form for as long as possible.

  10. we have to go for third, cos it is automatic qualification, regardless of what chelsea does in the CL right?

  11. I admire TR7 even more by snubbing big money offer from far-flung places. Truly, he epitomizes, “Form is temporary. Class is permanent.” I saw his Twitter takeover video, he seems to be a nice bloke, and a cool head as well.

    As for the Chelsea game, I honestly want Napoli to win. But I just realized, with them (Chelsea) still in contention for the FA Cup, CL and in the premiership, I think they’ll have a fixture pile up. Between the 3 contenders for the final 2 CL spots for next season (Arsenal, Sp*ds, and them), the Chavs have more difficult and tricky fixtures of the 3. And considering most Chav players are old, well, you know what I mean.

    I am looking forward to see the Gunners in HK. It’s just a 3 hour flight from my island!

    I followed the reserves game via Twitter. It was good to have our fringe first team players and returning injured players. Just give some of this players a run-in in some games at home against Norwich or Wigan. I don’t want to underestimate those mentionet squads, but a run-in for the likes of Park Ju-Young, JD, Jenko will boast their confidence. And a time for the likes of RvP to take a rest.

    Continue posting more “positive” Arsenal blog entries, Yogi!

    PS: JT calling the shots on the sidelines, instead of Di Mateo, is a sign that he could be the one that calling the shots for their managers sacking. Appalling!

  12. Meetkat's Ghost

    “When you play once a fortnight, it is difficult. I know I cannot handle all the games of the season, but the rhythm, being involved at least once a week is very important.”

    Well you say that Thomas,but many internet experts expect players like Arshavin and Chamahk to pay for 20 minutes once a month AND produce their best form.And if they don’t they are branded “deadwood” and “not fit for purpose” and need to be sold and replaced with mythical players who can.David Fairclough could do it ,why cant our useless shower?

  13. jack on the wide left?
    the Ashavin/gervinho position?

    i thought at the start of the season that wenger had rambo lined up to replace cesc and jack was to replace nasri..but it went tits up due to form and fitness..

    i think jack can play anywhere in the midfield and in the attack apart from lead striker..
    so he’ll get games when hes fit and most importantly we’ll have options..

  14. In the words of Rosicky:
    Arsenal let me get to the point where I had just half a year on my contract and could talk to anyone I wanted.

    In both cases it was financially huge numbers, so that somehow you had to entertain it, it’s not easy. Some days I thought about it, but money is not everything, I’m glad I’ll be able to continue at Arsenal.

    Yet, less than two months ago, many on this blog were spouting drivel about cutting the deadwood. Truth is posters on ACLF were mild compared to the moronic drivel from le grove, jabba, suga and their ilk.

    Unlike the mercenary managers and owners who treat injured players like cattle, cutting and culling at will, AW treats his players with respect. Loyalty begets loyalty. No wonder we have a superplayer like Rosicky choosing our club over much bigger money.

  15. I’ve always loved Rosicky, and the last few weeks have only begun to highlight why. Such a class act on and off the pitch. Just so frustrated for him that he lost his “best” years to injury.

  16. YW, Liked Brian Glanville’s description of Rosicky in the Newcastle game. What a transformation of the guy over thec past few weeks. Whatever is in his tea should be bottled, patented and sold to all Clubs in the EPL….but NOT in Europe.
    Only hope that if AA returns, a similar change will be seen. 😆

  17. I would definitely continue to start Rosicky. How could you leave him out? Ramsey could play out wide to accommodate both of them. I always felt Ramsey had the trickery and crossing ability to do a job out there.

    When he was short of form last year I said Rosicky should be played out wide. More than willing to agree that I was talking bollocks. His all round midfield game is a joy.

  18. Meetkat's Ghost

    Markus.We all talk bollocks.But you less than most .

  19. Khorikage,

    i heart you the Germans are really coming.

    Arsene is always a step ahead of every other manager.After getting all the best talents from the french league over the past 15 years or so he has now switched to the bundesliga as he knows that were is now producing interesting talents.

    Mert, Eisfield, Gnarby and the supposedly arrival of podolski and pursuit of Gotze, it shows what he thinks of the German league. i think the same, what a genius Arsene Wenger has been, always a step ahead.

  20. Jeff

    i think it is also about the timing because previously the germans tended to stay and go to bayern. but now they are really looking beyond germany and are hence available. of course in recent years, there has been an explosion in talents, as seen in their national team’s performance.

    but france for me remains a very interesting shopping place. i said back in 2010 that france will be back in business by 2014. and their league will reflect that.

  21. Aw Yogi, you’re always first!

    Deise – The German FA think he’s crazy? They’re fucking right!

    But they’re crazier – I have little doubt that there is a player who has a tonne to offer younger minds.

    He was never the greatest keeper in the world but I think he is one of those players who applied himself assiduously and totally understood the mental aspect of the role, which as a keeper is SO important.

    I suspect he wrung dry every morsel of his ability and I feel players like that make better coaches – they certainly make better examples.

  22. *i hear you

    not i heart you

  23. When i first know Jack, he was playing out wide. Always thought he was going to be a winger but he can play anywhere. Real talent that

  24. Hey hey ACLFers anyone see the sky from where they are? We’ve been locked in mist for three days in Somerset.
    Great write up YW. Anyone featuring one of mt favourite ever players gets a thumbs up from me.
    I heart TR7 #mancrush

  25. Notoverthehill

    Yogi, you are real class, comparable to the “great” Brian Glanville. Mr Glanville is a football journalist, in the class of Neville Cardus. In the Manchester Guardian, and I DO mean the Manchester Guardian – “facts are sacred” – opinions – piffle!

    In another paragraph and to a far lower form of football reporter, certain bloggers such as Arseblogger act as a “snout” for such as Henry Winter, John Cross, Amy Lawrence et al.

    Thanks to the St Petersburg local press, I can go back to the year 2003 for Mr Andrey Arshavin with his exploits and with his “disagreement” with certain people. Why did AA23 required 3 lawyers for his move to ФК Эенит Санкт-Петербург? Still looking!

  26. Stew, it’s the same in Wiltshire!

  27. football. is the most unfair sport …EVER! ..i want to throw up at the praise the media are giving to that plastic rotten club in fulham…

  28. dosenna you tosser….

  29. Great post Yogi:

    TR7 has been awesome the last few games. Hope he is able to continue in this run of form for the rest of the season. I doubt he can play every game of our usual crowded fixture list but thats not an issue the rest of this season. I must admit to complaining about our fixture congestion in the past but I really miss is when its not here. Waiting 10 games for the next games seems an eternity. Hope it doesn’t sap our momentum.

  30. My first comment about your wonderful post went into moderation. I will not repeat it since it will probably show up later. Some really interesting comments yesterday. Our endless obsession with the media is fascinating and sort of strange at the same time. I guess I am glad I couldn’t comment because it just would have made alot of people mad. I had more important things to do yesterday. Shovel horse manure in stalls and 18 holes of golf. Not that anyone cares but my golf swing has really deserted me. My wife trounced me again and thats getting to be a bad habit. Worst part is that she is out driving me on some of the holes where the women’s tees are further forward then usual and thats totally emasculating. Oh well the more she enjoys it the more we get to play so there a bright side to everything.

  31. what does the expression “snout” mean ?

  32. Hunter:

    How in the world can you waste your time and energy hating on a team like Fulham? Other then a Fulham fan who cares about them?

  33. Depends Hunter.

    Snout is a nose, for example, or in prison parlance it is a cigarette / tobacco. Keeping on the right side of the law, you may be called a snout for informing for Her Majesty’s constabulary although that is more commonly referred to as a snitch.

  34. Oh dear. Is it nine whole days?

    On the other hand or one way or another it is going to be an absolute pleasure.

    Yes win matches, but we are going to draw a few or lose a couple, we only need to win one more than the Spuddies and two less than the Chavies.

    Niether of whom look like they have the fight.

    This is not the team of yesterday.

  35. Fulham are ace – In many ways the best ground in London and playing decent football under Jol too.

    The owners a douche but then that’s hardly singles them out as unique.

  36. Wasn’t hunter talking about Chelsea, or are you being fecetious bill?

  37. Meetkat's Ghost

    He did not mean Fulham.

  38. Further to Bill’s thoughts about yesterday’s comments to anyone who didn’t read Darius excellent 8.51 post I thought it was a cracker. I’m not quite buying into the same level of conspiracy but it’s got many a ring of truth to it and is a very worthy read IMO.


    That survey is very interesting and says more about the establishment than anything else.

    If anything, additional evidence to my arguement that there is an on-going conspiracy against Arsenal by the English footballing establishment. Some of it is very deliberate, and some follows on from the unintelligent indulgence of the media and punditocracy fuelling the fire that has been ignited by a combination of xenophobia and self preservation madness.

    Two specific incidents seem to be the genesis of this anti-Arsenalism and both conscious and sub-conscious hate for all things Arsenal and Arséne Wenger.

    The first was a press conference before a game against Crystal Palace years ago where for the first time in the Premier league, Wenger fielded a team without any English players. I think its fair to say the press wanted blood and were livid. According to them, Wenger’s response wasn’t at all helpful and he was head strong in saying that he doesn’t look at a player’s passport when selecting players.

    He also admitted under relentless questioning that the reason he doesn’t actively buy English players is because they’re over priced and over-rated. You don’t get value for money. He suggested that if he can’t get the quality English players he needs, then he’ll develop them himself.

    10 years later, step forward Li’l Jack, Kieran Gibbs, Emmanuel Frimpong, Kyle Bartley, Chuks and Afobe – not to mention adopted sons like Walcott, The Jenks and the Ox. In time, the England team will have a solid cohort of Arsenal born and bred quality players who aren’t proponents of ‘kick and rush’ football, but can play the best of Wengerball.

    The second incident that I think fuels a lot of the reaction from media and pundits is when in 2002, Wenger dared suggest his team can win the Premier league unbeaten. Boy did they laugh him out of TV and radio studios and riducule him in the papers and on the internet. According to them, clearly, this old French bastard was just a fool who had no clue about anything.

    Granted, no one was invincible in the 2002-03 season, but Wenger’s team surely bitch-slapped the hell out of the media and punditocracy by going unbeaten the whole 2003-04 season and winning the Premier legue for good measure. Take a look at the footage of Wenger walking on the Highbury turf alone after the final game that season against Leicester and you can see how it pisses off everyone who ever doubted him that he was soaking in the impact of such an achievement that was thought imposssible only a few months earlier.

    But then these two incidents that fule the anti-Arsenalism don’t fully explain the crux of the issue for me when it comes to the conspiracy against Arsenal. Simply put, If Arsenal and Wenger succeed in winning trophies and playing scintilating and mind-blowing football, all the while growing the team organically and supplementing the squad with a sprinkling of experience – and of course doing this while not bankrupting the club and running the club within its means, then this very act alone threatens the whole fabric of the football establishment and raises fundamental questions about how football is run in this country on and off the pitch.

    Unfortunately for Arsenal, if you threaten the very core of an establishment, a tin hat and aluminium neck brace won’t suffice for the vitriol and venom that will come your way as the establishment defaults to self preservation mode to protect the only way of life it knows.

    Think of it this way – since Arsenal last won the Premier legue, the clubs that have since won it, as well as Man City who are the only outsiders who have shown they have the ability to win it have spent north of £2.5 billion pounds just to stay at the top. That obscene amount of money to sustain trophies is more than the GDP of at least 20 of the least developing countries in the world.

    And there’s folks out here who want us to get Alisher Usmanov to throw his snake oil money to add to that madness.

  39. Ah righto – I only saw Bill’s comment and responded. My bad.

    My comments about Fulham still stand though. 🙂

  40. Markus:

    I wasn’t being facetious. Is Stamford Bridge located in the Fulham section of London? Learn something new everyday.

    Hunter, I still think your crazy and need to get a life but hating on Chelsea is good. 🙂

  41. Rosicky’s form has improved since he switched to the center. I imagine Arshavin’s form would also have had he been played there. This highlights a failure of Wnger over the last few years: find decent players happy and capable on the wings. Arsenal have too many midfielders who are only comfortable in the center. Arsene needs to find/buy/develop some that are comfortable on the wings. That is one reason why SAF and ManU manage to be successful. They buy good wingmen. Valencia and Young are happy to play there. Giggs was excellent on the wings. Arshavin, Walcot and Rosicky aren’t. Hleb was our last decent midfielder that was happy on the wings.

  42. Yogi’s Warrior | March 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    thank you very much. in that case …well said bill!!!

    and yes i was referring ot the club with the geriatric thuggs and ballerinas who resort to busqets tactics even when they are 34 year old grown men who wight 100 kilos and are two meters tall…disgusting.

    and as for darius post of last night …i have hanged it on my wall !!! fuckin well said there darius!!! i am 100% on the same page only i dont feel i should word it as nice …i have too much anger for the way the establishment treates arsenal…

  43. also darius what i remember is that when wenger was accused of not winning fairly he offered a rematch…………….

    the gentlemen and the lords ..how many rematches have they offered for the theft of 66 ?

    i insist ..wenger is too good to be appreciated by those who praise terries and keannes

  44. But then these two incidents that fule the anti-Arsenalism don’t fully explain the crux of the issue for me when it comes to the conspiracy against Arsenal. Simply put, If Arsenal and Wenger succeed in winning trophies and playing scintilating and mind-blowing football, all the while growing the team organically and supplementing the squad with a sprinkling of experience – and of course doing this while not bankrupting the club and running the club within its means, then this very act alone threatens the whole fabric of the football establishment and raises fundamental questions about how football is run in this country on and off the pitch.

    take a bow …not even zeitgeist himself could have put it so perfectly. epic paragraph.

  45. You’re so right Philmar. Theo has looked awful on the wings. That’s why he has absolutely no assists and RVP absolutely hates playing with him.

  46. Meerkat's Ghost

    testing 1,2,3,

  47. hunter – beware of anger, I speak as one who knows, it all too often turns inwards and hurts us more than our foes.

  48. No PG, it’s still not working – WordPress haven’t even announced what the problem is and a number of bloggers have raised the issue with them which suggests the problem is rather serious. Or they just don’t know. Or both.

  49. Yogi’s Warrior | March 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    haha the “anonymous” have crashed the servers

    remember remember the 6th of november …V….

  50. Cyberspace Gremlin Bastards.

    They’re everywhere.

  51. Hunter, I still think your crazy and need to get a life

    hehehe i know what you mean …but watching the injustices our team and manager have to face in this league..i have accpeted that my life is on hold till wenger and arsenal reap the benefits of their fine work. nothing else matters ..i have abandoned careers because of arsenal. i cant work in an office with other people who will taunt arsenal , i will go mad and attack them. plus ill get fired cause all ill be doing all day is getting on the internet to read about arsenal …heroin is less of an addiction. i cant go to the stadium, if i hear someone booing i will end up in prison. yes …a bit crazy …i would gladly work as a janitor and mop the seats at emirates rather than working in an office with a bunch of chelsea and tottenham cunts ….clueless people who talk as if they know anything about football….wenger what have you done to me ? i have also promised that i wont take my personal work seriously until my mind is emptied from arsenal. can you believe it that i yell at people on the phone when they interrupt me from reading arsenal news ………. hahah madness indeed..

  52. Jonny @ 2:07:

    Darius obviously spends a lot of time thinking about that stuff. The idea of a conspiracy seems strange to me. The idea that a bunch of competing media groups or pundits could somehow organize themselves to have a conspiracy is a bit over the top to me. At various time over the last several years we have insulted just about every other team and manager in the league by calling them thugs, long ball teams, accusing them of playing defensive football (as if thats a bad thing when it works). Perhaps worse, we never give the other team credit when they beat us and instead blaming refs, bad pitches etc etc. What would you have thought if Barca would have blamed the refs or the pitch after we beat them 2 -1 last year instead of giving us credit for playing a good game? That sort of stuff annoys fans of any team. Is it any wonder that the rest of the league dislikes us? The media just play that up because they know that most other fans love it when we struggle and writing about that sells advertising.

  53. The media just play that up because they know that most other fans love it when we struggle

    those who love it when they see arsenal “struggling” ( i.e treated unfairly) deserve to d…..i wont say it ..yogi will ban me….but you know what i mean.

    😉

  54. Stew sounds like Yoda at 2:39 pm.

    Fear -> Anger -> Hatred -> Darkside!

  55. only one correction marcus

    Realisation -> Anger -> Fight

  56. Bill’s alter ego: But why would Barca blame the pitch? Milan and Sunderland – but especially Milan gave us very good grounds for complaint. You sound horribly like you wan to perpetuate one of the media’s dreadful stereotypes of us. They slated us for complaining when EDS got attacked the same when Ramsay got attacked.
    It’s not us has the ptoblem it’s them.

  57. Markus – not sure who yoda is but he or she sounds like a very succinct person.

  58. Why isn’t ACLF featured as one of the alternatives on the Gooner/Arsenal news yearly poll?

  59. Meerkat's Ghost

    Almost every Manager ,pundit,and sports journalist looks at Arsene Wenger and thinks ” you clever bastard”
    Jealousy is a powerful emotion that almost no one will admit to having.

  60. OK, if you try to comment and you see this message,

    “You must be logged in to comment with that email address”

    It means that you have a WordPress account. Therefore you have to log in to your WordPress account and then comment on the blog. According to WordPress, they have updated their comments system. My own view is that, on the face of it, they have updated it by making it more of a nuisance to comment. If that turns out to be true, the blog’s move to its own home will be speeded up.

    If anyone does not have a WordPress account and sees that message, let me know.

  61. Steww @ 3:11:

    “It’s not us has the ptoblem it’s them.”

    That is true in many cases but the rest of the world doesn’t believe that anymore then we do when someone criticizes us. The media loves nothing better then dog piling on the easiest target. Advertising dollars are dwindling and unfortunately truth does not sell as well as sensationalism.

  62. George @ 3;19:

    Thats probably true also. I think its human nature that drives the media, not a conspiracy.

  63. yw, when I just visited a window opened up and I was asked to participate in a poll on my favourite blog of the ones featured on arsenal news. there were a bunch of ready alternatives. had to type out aclf.

  64. Would you believe that I’ve been in a village in darkest Cornwall since Monday morning with no TV, phone coverage or newspaper.. What’s more , although I had wifi, my iPod was flat. In short, I didn’t learn the Arsenal result until 10 minutes ago.

    You nearly cocked it up without me.

  65. …plus you’v all obviously ballsed up the gravatar and posting thing.

  66. Meerkat's Ghost

    Well that is all very well Yogi ,but where is my fucking Meerkat?It will be dark soon and if I don’t find him ,I fear the worst.

  67. pedantic george

    testing 1.2.3

  68. pedantic george

    Ok ,fine I can post with my usual Email .But who has my Meerkat?

  69. pedantic george

    Its quiet

  70. The Russian’s George.

    The KGB done gone nicked him innit.

  71. Its like 28 days latter.Are you all dead?

  72. Jonny,I am worried for the little fellow

  73. Not all players have wengers loyalty that’s just the nature of the modern footballer.

  74. George:

    May be your dog ate the meerkat. Meerkats are tasty little morsels for everything higher on the food chain. As long as you keep your dog safe all is well.

  75. Its going to be a long 10 days until the next game.

  76. Bit late in the day but great post Yogi! 🙂

  77. Bill, he is out looking for my Meerkat,as we speak

  78. YW, must have clicked on the ‘Latest poll’ link by mistake. Went back and noticed that it said “our end of the year poll” at the end. Still think ACLF should’ve been offered as one of the alternatives… I wonder if my vote still counts, retroactively.

  79. George:

    Even if he finds the meerkat I would stick with the dog avatar. Meerkat is cute but the dog is you. What’s his name?

  80. ironic?

  81. I love Rusty, but you should have named him Arsene. 🙂

  82. beckham once said that the mancs wanted to go the season unbeaten and no on ever said a word

  83. llorente you legend ..

    ferdinand blaming de gea hahaha..if the defender dont deal with 30 meters crosses of ball at edge of the area who will …? hahah

    evra ..so inspirational…hoofing it for park as if park is bendtner high….and cleverly diving..haha

  84. 1,2,3 shake your body down

    1,2,3 shake your body down

    Shake it on down.

    Just killing time.

    Nine days hey?

    Do we at least get to watch the Spuds or the Chav nots lose?

  85. PG I’ve got the meerkat, he’s fine. Sitting in the corner preening, and doing the neck thing, a bit suspicious. But what the hell does it eat? I’ve tried a decent chicken curry leftover with no luck at all.

    Bill’s Alter Ego et al. I know YW doesn’t go in for conspiracy theory stuff. Still, what is misunderstood here is only the wording used.

    A “conspiracy”, as in 2 or more people who “conspire” to undertake an action or some sort implies evil-doing, probably illegal, in some covert form or other. In another way, it implies “powerful people”, perhaps “establishment or corporate interests” who secretly conspire to subvert something or other in their interests, or when their interest are threatened. Now, this latter form of conspiracy is as common as muck in corporate boardrooms, and ubiquitous in banking and defence industries. It is also the way all governments function without a second thought. It is second nature to the most powerful media interests, and google itself is justifiably accused of conspiring to subvert virtually all authors rights (music, written works etc).

    It is not far-fetched at all to imagine this form of conspiracy, often by monopolies and cartels, being applied in the football world, which turned inside-out is only medium-large corporates at play. Do you not think the owner of Chelsea, the russian oligarch is capable of this? Or that Barcelona and Real Madrid operate, in strictly business terms, as a “cartel” of interests in Spain, and manipulate in their favour?

    So, why not the EPL, the richest and most powerful football interests in the world? It would strike me as insanely naive to imagine, with billions at stake, that EPL “syndicates” of various loosely formed interests do not exist, and that the business end is not subject to some forms of manipulation by club owners, agents and A/V media.

    The sole point of contention is whether and how Arsenal in general, and Wenger is particular might be seen as a threat to certain interests, or syndicates, or cartels in the business. I think Darius is heading in the right direction. Arsenal represents the threat of a good example, if only because it systematically undermines player purchase prices by refusal to inflate purchase prices. But we know it is more.

    Wenger represents, culturally and footballistically, an alternative football method that smacks in the face of tired old cliches of “english spine” and “hard man football”. There are those even within Arsenal fans who literally detest Wenger for turning Arsenal into a club they don’t recognise, amongst the conventions of ManU and Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. They openly celebrate Arsenal defeats, drooling over “Wenger’s failures”. Now, if this attitude is taking place within Arsenal, it is obviously more prevalent outside Arsenal. Does it exist to the extent that a loose form of “conspiracy” (to use the word broadly) may arise amongst a group of managers, pundits and media?

    You would be naive to think otherwise, but nor should it be exaggerated. If Wenger succeeds, a lot of rather stupid attitudes and football methods will be brought into question, perhaps ridiculed.

  86. Wenger represents, culturally and footballistically, an alternative football method that smacks in the face of tired old cliches of “english spine” and “hard man football”. There are those even within Arsenal fans who literally detest Wenger for turning Arsenal into a club they don’t recognise, amongst the conventions of ManU and Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea. They openly celebrate Arsenal defeats, drooling over “Wenger’s failures”. Now, if this attitude is taking place within Arsenal, it is obviously more prevalent outside Arsenal. Does it exist to the extent that a loose form of “conspiracy” (to use the word broadly) may arise amongst a group of managers, pundits and media?

    You would be naive to think otherwise, but nor should it be exaggerated. If Wenger succeeds, a lot of rather stupid attitudes and football methods will be brought into question, perhaps ridiculed.

    so nice..another one to frame

    in other words ..

    had wenger won titles with eboues and almunias while repaying the stadium then the rest should go home and grow tomatoes as old pete would say

    🙂 🙂

  87. hello?

  88. gritless finsbury

    phew!

    Javi Martínez was the outstanding player at last years U21 tournament.
    And Biesla’s beasts beat the Mancs. Maybe the FA should…nah, they’ve probably never heard of him.

    The atmosphere in Bilbao almost sounds as lively as TNHOF has been in recent times.

  89. Zimpaul:

    A conspiracy with google or a bank only requires the board members and a few trusted employees all of whom have exactly the same goals and all of whom will get a large financial gain for their participation. A football conspiracy such as you theorize would take the owners of several big clubs, the FA, most of the refs and multiple members of the media all involved and all cooperating. Very few of these groups have similar interests and there is no real financial gain from keeping Arsenal down. It would by necessity involve lots of “lower wage” people who have almost nothing to gain by keeping it quiet. How did these groups get organized and how do you keep everyone in line?

    I can believe that Abramovich of the Oil shakes at Man City might buy off a couple of referees or someone in the FA to help his own club, but neither has any real financial gain from keeping Arsenal down so why spend the money and take the risk of exposure. Both would have been much better served by paying of everyone in sight to hurt Man U. Do you really think Abramovich cares about English football culture and would pay lots of money to stop Arsene from bringing ridicule to English football culture?

    I could easily see Barca or Real buying off a few refs but only to help themselves. Why target Arsenal, I doubt they see us as their biggest threat in England.

    I understand why the FA might want to see ManU stay on top but organizing most of the refs and everyone needed to cooperate would be impossible to keep quiet and who would pay for it. The Glazers certainly don’t have the sort of cash to make those type of payments. Why target Arsenal when the bigger threat to ManU has come from Chelsea in the last 7 years.

    The media have no financial gain from keeping Arsenal down so why would they be involved. Do you really see the Sun and the other rags cooperating with each other on anything, much less something without any real financial gain?

    There are plenty of other explanations that don’t involve conspiracies. There is no significant financial gain for anyone and you don’t get that many different groups with no common goals to cooperate in something like that just because they think Arsene insults the tradional view of English football.

  90. Reading some of the above you’d never guess that certain events in almost every other league have happened. You heard it here first: ‘It could never happen here’.

  91. ZimPaul | March 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Excellent post

  92. wah gwan mi people!

    Blessings!

  93. So United are out of the Euro thingy?

  94. Bill – read Zimpaul’s post and read your ‘answer’ seriously does anything strike you as odd? Like maybe you could’ve written all of that without having read ZP’s articulate and rather irrefutable logic. You don’t seem willing to see the evidence placed before you. Very odd.

  95. Finsbury:

    When in the past have multiple different clubs and the FA and several other non-affiliated entities come together to keep a specific team down when there is no common goal and no real common financial gain? Things like that don’t happen just because everyone wants to stop Arsene from bringing ridicule to the tradional view of English football.

  96. Steww:

    Its easy to say that it could happen but having all of those groups come together and organize and be financed and keep everyone pointed in the same direction when none of the different groups really have the same goals is stretching belief. The devil is in the details are far as how it would happen. How is Arsene a threat to anyone other then a few people who feel incredibly strongly about the tradional idea of English football. Thats a very weak motivating factor to bring together all these groups that have no common interest.

  97. Bradys right foot

    Watching a fantastic Athletic Bilbao humiliate Man Utd was wonderful entertainment, the sheer gulf in class between the two sides however shows just how incredibly overrated English players are.

    It also shows the moral bankrupcy of the premiership. Few teams have a go at Utd thanks to the sychophantic cadre of managers all too happy to be patronised by Fergie and the . employment of zero sum hoofball. Id rather watch a riot in Chisinau than watch Stoke play football, ultimately Stoke lack the style and grace of the Moldovan riot police.

    3-0 Sporting lmao, time for bit part player extroadinaire, Samir “here to win trophies” Nasri the well recompenced bench warmer to earn his mega corn.

  98. City look like a billion pounds worth of shit

  99. Epic post ,zimpaul.
    Well put.

  100. There is no question that Arsenal are liked. Why the negative press? how comes other managers can moan by they don’t always whinge like Wenger? Why the negative press, when the likes of Liverpool seem to get by without too much pressure from the press.

    To upset an establishment and an ideaology is no small thing. Especially when you are proven to be right.

  101. ‘Take a look at the footage of Wenger walking on the Highbury turf alone after the final game that season against Leicester’

    anyone has said footage? would love to see that again. and again. and again.

  102. Paul

    I have no doubt that arsenal are disliked by a lot of people for a variety of reasons. What I think is beyond belief is that the dislike is organized and somehow this organization could be kept hidden and it can somehow affect our results.

  103. Very calm around here.

  104. Personally, I think it’s time Wenger got the cheque book out. If only we had bought some of the players that Man City bought and paid competitive wages then ………….
    Oh.

  105. Javier Martinez stood out at the U21 tournament, I thought. A great win for Biesla’s beasts. The atmosphere in the San Mamés stadium was almost as good as The (new) Arsenal stadium the other night.

  106. goonerkam @ 10:02 pm

    its the ‘gravatar effect’

  107. Or the solar storms flaring. Something.
    I can’t believe chelski pulled it off. I could have bet Napoli was going to stuff them. And Apoel nicosi being through is just. Mind-boggling. Hats off to the Cypriots. Good show.

  108. If I don’t get my fucking Meerkat back I wont be held responsible for my actions

  109. PG – you’re Meerkat is back, in all it’s suave sophistication. Well, it is for me behind the scenes but everyone else will have to wait…

    I believe the American military terms this a clusterfuck.

  110. The tackle at 3:10ish got a standing ovation.

  111. Relax PG, meerkats disappear two three days at a time. Then you see them back in full glory with a huge smile on their face. Don’t go off the deep end. He will be back. 🙂

  112. clusterwhat. YW to moderation. Is that even possible? Hehe

  113. Things like that don’t happen just because everyone wants to stop Arsene from bringing ridicule to the tradional view of English football.

    i disagree…of course they will but not in the movie type conspiracy youre describing..it comes out natural for in their minds they are simply upholding the traditions of their game and become hostile to any idea of change in their ways. from managers to journalists to the public

    chelsea was smart ..got kenyon.

  114. Tst txt txt. cooking pastries in the nude again.? There’s an image I could have done. Without…
    Did the meerkat come back yet George??
    And did it come back smiling???

  115. testing,testing. ..testing. Earth to aclf,London. 1,2,3…

  116. Yogi's Warrior

    Naked is as naked does MD.

  117. A wee test to see if this works.

  118. So now we know anonymous comments go for moderation.

  119. thank you bilbao.. thank you for showing them up for the useless tw@ts they are ..

    if bilbao was in england …would they not get kicked around?..wouldnt the refs allow th eunited players to get overphysical so as to gain the psychological edge ?

    bravo bielsa!

  120. Paul-N | March 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    There is no question that Arsenal are liked. Why the negative press? how comes other managers can moan by they don’t always whinge like Wenger? Why the negative press, when the likes of Liverpool seem to get by without too much pressure from the press.

    How would you know liverpool fans aren’t feeling the pressure of bad press? I know a Liverpool fan who ALWAYS moans that the media are also out to get them, and that the Mancs/Fergie are the real establishment. Oh, and he thinks the media gives Wenger too much respect. Imagine that!

    To upset an establishment and an ideaology is no small thing. Especially when you are proven to be right.

    If upsetting an idealogy is such a big deal, why didn’t they crucify Wenger when he first got here? He clearly changed things them more then than he’s doing now, with how he stopped drinking culture and improved training regimes.
    I don’t see how he is significantly upsetting any traditional idealogy these days. Keep in mind that many other clubs and sport organisations are, like Arsenal, now after ‘value’ and ‘youth’. In fact, that approach has always been the only viable option for clubs who can’t afford to spend their way to the top and/or staying there.

    I agree with Bill on this, if you are not hurting the pocket of different and very powerful people, its extremely difficult to get a conspiracy like Darius is talking about going. I recognise there may be bias in the English establishment against The Arsenal, but don’t agree its due to any sort of grand conspiracy. Like Bill says, there are other more plausible explanations.

  121. Henristic, the didn’t view AW as a threat. In the beginning. Not until his third or fourth year did they realize he was gona revolutionize the game and the league. That is when the stumbling blocks placed in his way and the clubs.
    And with all due respect these things are done in the shadows and behind closed doors so don’t treat it as a court of law type of a deal and expect to see proof of this nasty around every corner. You just feel it in your bones or you don’t. Me? After watching so many campaigns and games where we got the short end of the stick, there is no doubt in my mind. none at all.

  122. Zim

    You make a case about why the EPL could be laced with corruption which does not sit well with the English belief that, even with its ‘unbalanced’ administrators, they are above that kind of hanky panky.

    It could indeed be corrupt, but the biggest problem with the theory is that conspiracy level fraud is about hegemony which safeguards money, individual fraud is just about money.

    I don’t think the destruction of the beautiful game in itself is sufficient to justify either.

    Look also at other evidence such as the amount of goals now scored in the EPL. A different form of football is being played than the old style. I think it is less about hard men and more about attacking, more passing and that is Wenger’s legacy. Even the beloved 4,4,2 is in less demand from manager’s who want to win.

    Wenger has also started going English with his players and to a great degree, his ‘demise’ in the press has coincided with that – maybe they are all also supposed to look as ugly as Bale, who is a Welsh pony anyway! It is the time of Shrek not Beckham.

    The press like money, big fee transfers, they like scalps and they ‘like’ England. At the same time that they talk of the demise of AW at Arsenal they link him to the England job. That is schizophrenic, but maybe a little understandable when his honesty and integrity represent the ‘English’ values that they pretend to have.

    AW’s troubles have coincided with his stand against huge transfers, his investment in youth and salary caps, easy for morons to make a connection, and easy to see how he looks ‘old fashioned’ in the ‘modern’ game. Ha ha. It also might describe why he is not liked by those who are happy with ‘the excitement’ generated by Man-Sour and the Chav-nots ( nobody can invent quality, but the press can create hype – see Torres). Nobody wants to be called a Philistine, least of all the press, but Wenger’s success and position on subjects shoves up their noses the fact that most of them are – we all now know what beat their morals ‘phone’ tap too.

    I suppose if you wanted to prove a conspiracy therefore you could point to the desire of the game to be awashed with cash and cashed owners: look at the need of some to force us into the arms of Mr Blobbynov; look at the cash toilet Thifa has become; look at the lack of honesty from the top downwards which aligns with that natural press bias described above.

    ‘Everyone’ loves this new ‘owner’s appendage-size’ struggle of titanic proportions, and they don’t want to feel the stream of piss from Wenger’s ‘old Europe’ values trickling down their thighs and putting out their ‘bonfire of the vanities’.

    Thifa just loves the hype and the money it generates. We even have to sit in 55 degree belting heat in a country that has four soccer fans because of it. Now there is an unholy alignment of interests.

    I think I should have started with that statement.

  123. hunter13,

    I remember Barca being kicked around by Madrid in the CL last year. The refs didn’t do much then either.

    I’ve never subscribed to the argument that passing teams will do poorly in the EPL because of the physicality here. My bet is that they’ll do just fine, if they’re able to master the other important areas required for winning.

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