Key Week In Premier League & Transfer Tattle

This week’s fixtures have the potential to shape the finish of the season; Tottenham host Stoke and travel to Stamford Bridge whilst Chelsea prepare for that clash with a trip to Eastlands. Arsenal’s matches are not routine wins but two wins allied to favourable results elsewhere would see Chelsea five points adrift in fifth with Tottenham overhauled, trailing in fourth by two points. That I would suggest is just about the most realistic ‘best case’ scenario.

Of course, all three sides can drop points; there are permutations that could see Chelsea eight points away from fourth which at this stage of the season would be a chasm to make up. It is impossible to predict what will happen; this season has shown that all sides are capable of woeful performances without notice.

The summer transfer rumours leave you giddy on the long days without competitive football and they have started more than a little early. According to media reports, Arsenal will today announce the transfer of Lukas Podolski, despite rumoured interest from Lazio. Jan Vertonghen doesn’t seem to have much confidence in his agent so he is looking to sell himself. Actually that looks wrong written but he’s in Amsterdam so what the Hell. The Belgian international said,

Arsenal are a magnificent club. I have instructed my agent carefully. He knows which clubs I want to join and Arsenal are one of them.

Why bother instructing an agent all when your desires are that strong?

More interestingly is the question of Arsenal’s reported interest in Jack Butland of Birmingham City, currently on loan at Cheltenham and performing well according to my sources who watch League Two regularly.

Young goalkeepers seem ten-a-plenty at Arsenal yet at the senior level it could be quite a turbulent summer. Wojciech Szczesny has performed well since gaining the top spot. Like all young players he can improve – his kicking in particular – but he seems to have the basic technique and belief that world-class custodians have. Thankfully he is not reticent about leaving his goalline, trying to dominate his area.

Behind him is a veritable queue of talent yet that cupboard may be bare come the summer. The main contender is Lukasz Fabianski. The older of the two Poles is more experienced and arguably more technically capable at the moment. He had recovered his confidence before the injury last season that gave Szczesny his chance. In doing so, confidence in him was gradually being built. He still suffered the barbs, never able to shake the derogatory nickname slung in his direction thanks to the bile of the media.

Understandably he is not content to be at Arsenal and wait for his chance; he has been doing that for many years already. With international aspirations, he spoke recently of wanting a loan move at the very least and it is not beyond the realms of belief that he might find a permanent move away from London. He will of course, be coveted by his detractors in years to come when his form improves and something happens that leaves Arsenal needing a consistent performer in goal.

I am not convinced that Vito Mannone will fill that gap. He played well against Fulham but did not inspire confidence in spell in the first team. In fairness, the callowness of youth will leave and be replaced by experience that may make him a solid deputy. Will he be happy with that having had first team action on a regular basis with Hull?

Which means that Arsenal will probably be looking for an experienced back up for Szczesny. A goalkeeper of experience who can come in when needed but is happy to sit on the bench. Like any other position, lack of match action leads to rustiness with mistakes likely in the early stages; problematically goalkeepers have less tolerance from others when mistakes happen since it invariably ends in a goal. Curiously, Wenger has such a candidate already in Manuel Almunia but with his contract expiring this summer, it seems unlikely his services would retained. Or is it? Stranger things have happened in football…

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 19, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 168 Comments.

  1. Bloody hell, still another two days to wait.

    You do realise Yogi, that with the moving of the Wigan game, I now have to go and watch ‘Mad Dog, that night. I thought I had the perfect excuse.

    Not that it’s your fault. I just need someone to blame.

  2. Cbob

    I’ve been married for more than a decade. Getting blamed for something that isn’t my fault is water off a duck’s back.

  3. Another thing that seems pretty obvious is that Hazard wont be joining the Gunners. He is fluttering his eyes at every team that makes a admiring glance in his direction at the moment. Like some kind of cheerleader around the jocks dressing-room.

    Vertonghen is a great player but for him to arrive I would imagine Squilachi, Bartley, And Djourou (recently signed a new contract) would all need to leave. I can’t see Vertonghen being content to sit on the bench, but then will Per, Kos or TV5? I must say to have 4 Excellent CB’s like them would certainly improve our squad. I’m not convinced it will happen though.

  4. And here I was thinking I was the only one used as a blame sponge. The other day, I was blamed for deleting a recording on the TV notwithstanding the fact that it wasn’t recorded in the first place.

    Regarding goal keepers, Arsenal couldn’t do worse than keeping Almunia as a backup keeper to Tech 9. But that of course depends on whether Manuel has the stomach to stay as the No. 2 after all he’s been through in the last couple of years.

  5. Temporarily in Italy (so nice not to have to wake up at 2 am for games!). Italian papers are full of Podolski’s interest in Lazio. I don’t believe it for a minute.

  6. Well, I can empathise with you and Darius on that point Yogi.

    Mind you, after my gaffe with Irish’s jokes recently, I’m an easy target.

  7. Apparently, Bolton are considering withdrawing from the FA cup – understandably so. Just curious, I don’t think there’s a precedent to this (there may well be), but what happens in the case that Bolton withdraws?

    Do Spurs get a ‘by’ to the next round, or does the club that Bolton defeated in round 5 get some redemption and are allowed to play Spurs in round 6?

  8. drew10

    Not sure all have to leave but certainly Squillaci, to make space in the squad if nothing else! Hazard? If fitting Vertonghen is a problem, he is even worse in that sense. Arshavin returning, Podolski potentially joining, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ryo? A tad crowded. That and a £33m price tag floated this morning.

  9. Yogi, agreed. Although he is pretty good but I think the Ox will be easily on a par as well as Ryo. Both could prove to be as valuable as Hazard.

  10. The pricing of footballers must be one of the most subjective processes in the open market. I mean, how do you decide a player is £33 million, as opposed to say £32, 457, 913 or £27, 480, 507.

    It’s even made more ludicrous when hacks and pundits pull pie in the sky figures out of their arses when they’re on air. Some of these guys can’t even understand the tarriff on their gas bill and in a fart can compute the relative transfer value of a player.

  11. No doubt this will be rejected by the usual suspects as “bias rubbish”
    But the weight of fact based evidence is growing.

  12. C’mon George – how dare you imply the ‘C’ word. Goonerandy, Henristic, Bill and the “there’s no fucking conspiracy” brigade will be pissed.

    I mean, how is it possible for referees and their managing authorities to sit together and come up with a conspiracy with shaft Arsenal. That can never happen, it’ll never be allowed to happen.

    Even despite the evidence, however circumstancial that is, the question they’ll raise is “Why”.

    I think the most telling thing is the systematic bias since the Invincibles won the title. I tell you, they’ll be damned if that ever happened again.

    I think one of the aspects of this bias that irks me the most is the systematic selective amnesia applied by referees when rotational fouling and in your face tactics that are blatant fouls are allowed on the basis that “Arsenal are soft and they need hardening”. That’s not to say that we can’t throw in a tackle or two. We must do so because that is part and parcel of the game. But then there’s just outright thuggery and gamesmanship.

  13. I still rate Almunia. I can’t forget the saves he pulled off before it all went bad for him but, it seems like the guy lost confidence a bit then never quite regained it. Fabby, is more technical than all our keepers but, seems to concentration issues which pop up out of nowhere then it’s pure panic throughout the team.

    Hazzard, as I said before seems like he has a very similar shit attitude like Nasri. I don’t want to see him anywhere near our club. Everyday I wake up and think of Arsenal I think of seeing Ryo, Ox, Jenks, Wiltshire, Theo, Frimpong, Coquelin, Campbell all doing their thing.

  14. Is Jerry Bullivant a gooner?

  15. Darius

    The only precedent is United not participating a decade ago. In this instance, (a) I suspect the FA would give Spurs a bye but (b) I don’t think Bolton pulling out is necessarily the right course of action. I don’t know if they said this but it seems a bit knee-jerk, a decision made in shock and distress. I understand that they might not be in the best frame of mind right now but I would guess in ten days time when the match would be replayed, they will hopefully be cheerier if Muamba recovers. Then they would regret pulling out of the competition. It isn’t disrespectful or anything like that to play.

  16. PG

    >But the weight of fact based evidence is growing.

    It wasn’t ‘bias rubbish’, it was an opinion. And there is no weight of fact based evidence that is growing but there is a lot of opinion. Refereeing decisions involve human interpretation of an event and rules which will lead to a difference of opinions. But they aren’t facts.

  17. Darius.
    When you put forward you reasons for the bias .These are dismissed with statements like”well if we put away our chances,it would not matter” Somewhat missing the point

    As the author said .in 15 years no team has ever managed to win their league with an “index” like Arsenal’s.
    I am sick of repeating the same reasons for bias.But if people cant see what is staring them in the face ?

  18. @Consols – don’t worry, like you, I’ve developed the art of ‘putting my foot’ in it. The most recent is pleading my silence on mother’s day because I consider my wife and it wasn’t “wife’s day”. The arguement thus goes that you should have got your 6 year old son to do the whole mother’s day thing, and if you don’t want to do it for me as a mother, you should at least do it for your mothre.

    Notwithstanding that my mum lives stateside and Americans have different dates for everything. Besides, last time I visited my mother on mothers day, I was accused of just taking my washing to be done.

  19. Yogi .
    Stats are facts.No?

    If team “A” commits 45 fouls ,against team “B” who commit 49 fouls .And team “B” get 6 yellow cards ,yet team “A” get 17.Those are facts which suggest bias.

  20. Yogi – I thought the request oa meeting with the FA by Bolton was made in haste, but you can also understand why they did that. The distress from Saturday cannot be under-estimated for all those concerned. Fabrice is still in a critical state and until more is known Bolton are likely to consider a withdrawal.

    Perhaps an offer to replay the game on a neutral ground – the Emirates even, can offer a bit of distance for the Bolton players and supporters, but let the compeitition continue in honour of Muamba.

  21. No George, it depends on the nature of the foul and the player perpetrating the foul. You can be done for persistent fouling, but the team cannot be done for rotatinal fouling. Lies, damn lies and statistics an all that.

  22. I shall be posting from North of the border for the next few days .If the library assistant lets me. So good luck to us on Wednesday.

  23. George,

    it depends on the nature of the foul and who is perpetrating them as to whether a yellow card is issued. Also, there is no sanction for “rotational” fouling, that’s just a sly way of circumventing the laws. Lies, damn lies and statistics and all that.

  24. DS,
    Let me be the first to oblige you, its a slow day…

    Even despite the evidence…

    What evidence?

    ..however circumstancial that is, the question they’ll raise is “Why”.

    And you don’t think its unreasonable to ask questions? You believe evidence, “however circumstancial” should not be questioned at all? Really?
    So if something “looks” a certain way, it must be believed without question as long as it confirms your predilections, right? But no doubt you’d be the first to be sceptical if other equally circumstantial “evidence” turns up that contradicts your beliefs.

    You know what? It really is ok. I’m a live and let live kind of person who doesn’t generally ridicule people who want to believe in God, reincarnation, the illuminati, man-never-landed-on-the-moon, UFOs, and a host of other (as yet) unprovable things supported by some kind of circumstantial evidence or the other.
    I do tend to be agnostic about such things, because as unlikely as they may sound, there is a slim chance any one of them may be true. It’s just that I wouldn’t bet on it, or live my life based on it.

  25. Here’s thanking you YW for dedicting a piece to Muamba. It’s an awful thing to happen, and football people have acted admirably. Thanks to them all.

    On the ongoing “c” debate, I place my faith in Sherlock Holmes method. When all other possible suspects have been eliminated, the truth is the one that remains, no matter how unlikely or shocking to some. I remain with the ‘old boys club’ theory, a call, a word in an ear, a little chat here and there, things can be made to happen in any big village.

  26. PG

    Not in the case you outline. Not all fouls are punished with yellow cards. You have to compare like-for-like fouls before you can compare the number of bookings. Team B might have committed 49 fouls, all by innocuous seeming trips. Team A’s might have all resulted in serious injury.

    What if they are done on a rotational basis. More fouls are by more players therefore less likely to result in bookings.

  27. Darius

    Playing on a neutral ground punishes Tottenham who have done nothing wrong; that just doesn’t work. The condition of Muamba is a good reason for a decision not to be made. They can always pull out next week but to do so now would, in my view, be entirely wrong.

  28. pedantic george | March 19, 2012 at 11:18 am
    “If team “A” commits 45 fouls ,against team “B” who commit 49 fouls .And team “B” get 6 yellow cards ,yet team “A” get 17.Those are facts which suggest bias.”

    They could also suggest a number of equally, if not more, plausible things. C’mon man, put on your thinking cap. I’m sure you can imagine a few other scenarios that can explain those stats.

    Anyway, I thought we agreed that presence of bias isn’t really the argument. The real issue is whether the bias is a result of a diabolical grand plan by the powers that be, or whether its a result of something less sinister, e.g. the way we play and our attitude to fouling, compared to the rest of the league. It would seem more and more that you believe the former. As I stated in my previous post to Darius, its not a big deal one way or the other. I would only be worried if Wenger were to feel that way.

  29. ZP

    Sherlock Holmes would drive a coach and horses through the conspiracy arguments as presented. All that is happening is a ream of statistics have been produced around the place which intimate that Arsenal players get booked for fouls more frequently than others. No analysis has been made of the type of foul or whether it can be deemed to be retaliatory (which no matter how innocuous the offence is likely to get the sinner booked), for example.

    The biggest killer to this argument though is how Arsenal players get booked for dissent. And in some seasons, that is quite high which skews the figures.

  30. goodmorning

  31. Really Henristic. Where’s your sense of humour. Can’t even pick up on me being facecious and cynical. Perhaps I should have put a smiley or a health warning.

    For the record, this is a topic that will always generate debate, claims and counter claims. I don’t have a problem with others having a different view in the same way I expect that they’ll respect my views and right to argue a case – and occasionally take the miki.

    Personally, I think Mike Riley should not have his job of overseeing the referees for the simple reason that his credentials as an impartial referee are dodgy if not criminally negligent. So, no, I have no faith that they come in goodwill when it comes to Arsenal. But that’s just one of the issues at hand, let alone the fact that people still think there’s no way referees would be as biased as Mike Dean openly celebrating goals against Arsenal while he’s refereeing that very game. And its happened several times – once is an eye-brow raiser, more than that is just bang out of order.

  32. YW and ZP – when you mention Sherlock Holmes, I have this visual of Robert Peston, a die hard Gooner standing outside the Emirates with all the BBC cameras reeling in his report of the investigation that left the culprits standing.

    We’d probably be out there the whole afternoon knowing how ‘engaging’ our old Mr Peston is.

  33. I love the reference to Yogi’s scouting network, paints pictures of Giles Grimandi rubbing shoulders with some inscrutable looking fellow in a gaberdine coat and trilby, taking notes and texting YW on how utterly dreadful all of Bristol City’s players are.
    I’m with Darius and George on the other issue. It’s blindingly obvious to me and so therefore appears that others are choosing not to see it. However I am old enough and ugly enough to understand that they may actually not see it.
    We’ll all know in the fullness of time.

  34. i see this Polanski fellow may not be going to Lazio after all…

    makes sense, Fellini country really.

  35. DS,
    Gah. I think I also should have put a smiley thingy at the end of my post. It sounds more serious that I actually intended it.

    Regarding refs, there are very few games I watch were there hasn’t been at least one questionable call which could easily have turned a game. An example is the Newcastle v Norwich game on the weekend, where a clear foul in the box by Newcastle was missed by the ref. Such cock-ups will necessarily favour one team or the other, as it’s almost impossible to balance out your cock-ups and attempts to do that only increases the sense that the official in question is incompetent.
    Some form of assisting technology is inevitable I believe, and I do find it odd that FIFA’s been resisting it so much. It smells of a conspiracy …. 🙂

  36. Great post today and very honorable of you Yogi with your post yesterday, a true gentlemen for sure! I truly hope Bolton don’t quit the FA cup but would be in total understanding, they could look at it from both sides with them honoring him by playing on or honoring him and the situation by stopping. Either way extremely tough situation and my prayers go out to everybody involved!

    I’m interested to see if the transfer of Podolski is really going to be announced as true undefiable fact. I honestly don’t see Arshavin coming back with the likes of Ryo, Podolski, Gervinho, Theo on the flanks along with Ox playing both centrally and as a winger. If we were to sign Jan Vertonghen I do think that it would be interesting with Mert out for the forseeable future Vertonghen would be similar to Le Coq in the fact that he can cover for Song while still playing CB if we needed him to. If we do sign him Frimpong is for sure going out on loan because that would give us Le Coq(who i feel is actually far ahead of Frimpong on that front), Song and Jan Vertonghen as 1st choice options.

    As far as goalkeepers, I would be inclined to keep Alumina for the simple fact that he does seem comfortable as being a back up and playing in CC and FA cup ties and allow him to build his confidence back giving up a viable option off the pine.

  37. YW

    Surely we can make way for Vertognonnononnon since we lose when our ‘normal’ defensive players are not in the team. By that I mean, Sag, jenk, Mert, Kos Verm Gibbs and Santos.

    Despite everyone’s love of the alternatives I know what makes sense if I was doing the strengthening.

    Yes, we lose when we have to rely on the others and I don’t mean the young ones.

  38. Anyway, I thought we agreed that presence of bias isn’t really the argument. The real issue is whether the bias is a result of a diabolical grand plan by the powers that be, or whether its a result of something less sinister, e.g. the way we play and our attitude to fouling, compared to the rest of the league.

    the way we play ? we as in we (arsenal) or we as in we (english) ..peewee …lol..

    i think the bias exists because of the hatred the english establishment might have over wenger football ideology. together with the tolerance of physical play in english football this combination is enough for the natives to treat wenger and arsenal with disdain arrogance and dismiss.

    if the way we ( arsenal) play is too good and too much for the natives to cope with then it is them with the deficiency and it is them who need to update their game approach etc. ( without kicking …if they can…)

    if the way we (england) play is with neck high tackles and pushing and landing with two studs on opponents ankles so that his presense is felt …you know..the “get stuck in” mentality then maybe we (england) should reconsider how we approach the game of football…and if violence is our only answer then lets admit that we are shit at this sport called football and not release our frustrations on a french manager and his team who do play proper football and have actually opened our eyes in how to be professional and how to play attractive football without thuggs running on the pitch in amok bashing eachother.

    i refuse the argumenet that since arsenal plays in england then we should get acclimatised to the brutality of english football. it is the brutality of this league that needs to be questioned and sorted out ..not arsenal.

    arsenal is fine. academies, stadium, youngsters, flair football, honest football, clever club, very clever.

    is this league fine? i dont think so ….

    why should the good follow the bad ..instead of the bad following the good ?

  39. Vertonghen seems a sensible buy if the idea is to strenghten several positions – Songs, Mertesacker and a quality utility defensive minded player. If we’re going to challenge on all fronts, that’s at least 60 games in the season and with injury and suspensions, we need all the bodies we can manage. I’m sure there wouldn’t be a masssive hue and cry if Squilacci was let go and Vertonghen joins.

    I do like the way he insists he “instructed” his agent. Conjurs up immages of a finger wagging player demanding “get on with it you miserable fuck” as the agent quickly exiting the room, mobile phone in hand.

    Speaking of referees btw, it was intresting to watch the Scottish League Cup final with Celtic being desperate for an equalizer. They had the game and could have scored at least 4 goals in the first 20 minutes, but they under-estimated their opponent. But the ref was really brave and should have been commended for booking Anthony Stokes for a blatant dive to try and win a last minute penalty. He had no hesitation in pulling out a yellow card for the dive, and holding his cool when confronted by Stokes and other Celtic players, even being shoved around in protest at one point. But he was strong enough not to give in under so much pressure.

  40. @Darius

    To bad that ref couldn’t have done 2 of our matches, i dont know say against the flailing Spuds and the diving Daglish’s

  41. Hey – where was I? Fernando Torres scored a brace. He’s finally justified his £50 million transfer fee. How dare Leicester succumb to the pressure and let him score twice. You should hear Chelsea supporters claiming that he’s back.

  42. @Darius

    Its funny you mention that because i work with a Chavs fan and he is telling me that Torres’s brace gave him all his confidence back that he Drogba and Mata are going to lead Chelsea to CL glory this year. I laughed at him and said just wait for the next 75 hr drought it should be starting right about now. Then i went on to congratulate him for Torres scoring a brace and asked for his congratulations with RVP scoring any and everytime he wants.

    Still waiting for him…

  43. goonerandy and henristic things are very simple ..

    wengers football is superior to anything that has previously existed in this island …only they wont let him get the confirmations (titles)

    too bitter a pill to swallow to acknoweldge that the best thing in terms of football to have ever come out of england is made in france ….

    thats the truth and we all know it and see it every saturday and sunday whenever our boys come out to play and win for arsenal.

    you will never agree with this view …thats fine…maybe its too difficult to notice from the inside. but for us who are on the outside…i wish i had two screens and show you simultaneously a united game and an arsenal game and we can both together note the calls from the refs

    how united is allowed to stage comebacks and how our opponents are allowed to stage comebacks against us.

    one examp-le ..blackpool united ..2-0 they were losing ..gary neville makes penalty and red..nothing ….united wins 3-2 …same season united is losing from west ham 2-0 ..vidic should be out with 3 reds …but no he is on the pitch result 2-3 ..6 points … how much did they win the title by last year then ?

    compare with arsenal ..4-0 at newcastle ..and dowd discovers two penalties a red and an offensive foul on rvp in one against two scenario (lol) result ..4-4 … funny how everyone enjoyed ripping into arsenal huh …even some of our fans … having none of that i know what i see.

    i see a terrific club being held back by the football command centres of this league. because as darius said perfectly ..the possibility of wenger and arsenal dominating with their set-up will question or even ridicule the traditional approaches that have existed here.

  44. Well, considering that Torres has only scored 5 goals in his Chelsea career and he cost £50 million in transfer fees and has a 6 figure wage per week, the mind boggles when you consider what Robin Van Persie has achieved in goals and assists in the same period.

    Torres should even be ashamed of putting on that No. 9 jersey and turning up for work.

  45. I have…to be…honest…the biggest…obstacle to me…believing…a…conspiracy against Arsenal…exists…is that…I might…conceivably end up…typing …like Hunter13…were it to be true.

  46. Yogi

    Great post again. I doubt the boss will bring in vertonghen. For the first time in years we seem fairly solid in the back for and gk. Podolski would be a great addition but I don’t see much more then that


    There is no reasonable circumstantial evidence to suggest a conspiracy against arsenal and any suggestions that there is comes from a segment of fans who really want to believe in a conspiracy. As we both know from being married for years and all of our other life experiences, it is much easier and often more satisfying to make the evidence fit the conclusion rather then the converse. We become “blame sponges” at home because we are guilty until we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it really wasn’t our fault. 🙂 Same analogy works with the conspiracy theories, with the inconsistent level of officiating if you want to see a conspiracy it’s very easy to make the evidence fit the conclusion. We see with our heart and not with our head.

  47. Bill my friend, like I said the other day, I doubt you’ll ever be satisfied unless the establishment was caught, trousers (pants if speaking American) and underwear around the ankles, proverbial dick being stroked in hand right in front of a nursery or day care centre for toddlers before any acknowledgement of conscious or sub-conscious wrong doing is forthcoming.

  48. Here’s my take on the whole conspiracy(which i do not think exists but at the same time think that the British are having a hard time grasping because they invented the game and thus are superior footballing minds):

    Arsenal was build just like every other British team, kick and run and get and kick and repeat. Then AW came along with his French accent and deemed he would be undefeated and play beautiful free flowing football. When it came to actually be a reality(British newspapers and FA ripped Wenger for his proclamation) they were then left stunned and more importantly were out done by a French manager and a team that only contained 1 meaningful British talent of use. So this led to the Arsene and Arsenal bashing that we recieve now because of the influx of foreign talent that was brought in by a French manager. Again no conspiracy and I am a firm believer that we play the most beautiful football outside of Barca adn that if we showed more a lil more composure infront of goal that the refs would have a fuck all time trying to screw us over(teh refs in the PL are all god awful piles of shit if you ask me but hell I get to watch MLS refs to and their even worse). So while there clearly is resentment shown towards Arsenal and Arsene i do not believe this conspiracy. The same facts that i presented I’m sure Hunter will say thus proves his conspiracy but for fuck sakes mate the PL refs are all shit all the time.

  49. Yogi’s Warrior | March 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    lol …but its nothing to do with conspiracy the way you term it, like in the movies.

    i see three or four you banging on the subject of conspiracy as if we are talking about 9/11…lol….which frankly speaking dont need any evidence when you have the contracts of hulliburton rebuilding iraq…..or do you ? lol …

    circumstantial evidence ? ahahahaha ..

    do we need to catch some f.a delegate red handed telling rest epl managers ” oi that lot ..arsenal..kick the sh*t out of them yes? dont let them win ..dont worry we will protect you”

    would you like to see a transcript of that with a stamp and signature too ?


  50. And even then Bill, Squilacci and Almunia will be blamed for any incident of that nature outside the day care. And I really need to figure out how to work this smiley whatsmijigmiface.

  51. @Darius

    do you believe in bigfoot

  52. and ..i have never used the term consipiracy …i agree to it though ..just not the way some of you term it.

    it is wenger;s sophisticated mentality on football VS the natives neanderthal mentality on football.

    and since wenger aint got control of the decission and command centres he will get screwed over till his players form a new ithaca and decide to raise the middle finger like vieira and the rest did. hopefully this time its with germans so the pill is even bitter to swallow.

  53. which i do not think exists but at the same time think that the British are having a hard time grasping because they invented the game and thus are superior footballing minds

    aha ! so this it then …..

    because they invented it they think noone can tell them anything about it

    and when wenger ridicules them …they will twist it so as the victim is wenger instead of swallowing their pride ,admit theyve got it wrong and kneel in front of the mans superiority.

  54. darius ..dont fall for it .. 🙂

    they are just playing devil;s advocate 😉

    i can not believe they dont see how arenal gets effed in the a by the english media refs and establishment in general.

    they are liars if they deny it. 🙂

  55. @C – Big foot? I suppose you’re next going to ask me if I believe Santa Claus and the tooth fairy exist, or whether the Americans actually went to the moon and why they havent been back since.

  56. Ok h@nter,
    I’m sure that in your mind, you’ve put fort irrefutable arguments as to why there is a conspiracy against Arsenal.

    You’re not the most open minded person so won’t bother trying to convince you otherwise. It’s a free world, believe what you must.

  57. hunter13

    Stamp and signature? You’re kidding; I want the king and queen of Norway to verify it.

  58. Darius

    > whether the Americans actually went to the moon and why they havent been back since.

    Easy, no oil there.

  59. LQTM at Hunter’s relentless pursuit of justice.

  60. @Darius

    No but all this conspiracy talk is getting out of hand. I think its more resentment of Arsene an Arsenal and what we are building and even the fact that in a a year or so a major part of the core of Inglands national team will be Arsenal players (Ox, Jack, Frimpong(can’t see the FA allowing that but could damn well be), Theo, Gibbs). But the refs in teh PL are complete shit if you ask me and they are only worsened by MLS which I tend to view. I watched the Manure game this past weeken and their were calls that were clearly missed both ways. Its just the refs being so shit. Now dont get me wrong i have voiced my displeasure at the way our boys get pushed around but then when the likes of Song, Kos, Verm get to being physical their are repercussions but I also point to the fact that while we do play beautiful free flowing football we aren’t divers and many times you see Ox, Theo and RVP not falling when normal players would thus putting the refs in a bind. I find it similar to the Shaq(basketball) fouling that went on for years, just because he’s better than everybody else and doesn’t fall like everybody else that doesn’t mean he’s not getting fouled just that instead of crying about whats not being called he plays on and punishes all comers kind of like were doing now.

  61. @YW – I suppose the Caspian Sea basin trumps the moon on all counts. Henry Kissinger must be really proud of his advice to all them administrations to follow the gas because “the Merkins” can’t drive anywhere using lunar rocks.

  62. Darius

    One man’s pursuit of justice is another’s…paranoia

  63. DS,

    When you make a statement like this…

    “Bill my friend, like I said the other day, I doubt you’ll ever be satisfied unless the establishment was caught, trousers (pants if speaking American) and underwear around the ankles, proverbial dick being stroked in hand right in front of a nursery or day care centre for toddlers before any acknowledgement of conscious or sub-conscious wrong doing is forthcoming.”

    Do you realize it is very similar to someone arguing like so:
    “Of course the illuminati exists. I doubt you’ll ever be satisfied unless the illuminati members was caught, trousers (pants if speaking American) and underwear around the ankles, proverbial dick being stroked in hand right in front of a nursery or day care centre for toddlers before any acknowledgement of conscious or sub-conscious wrong doing is forthcoming.”

  64. @C – maybe we’re just splitting hairs on the definition of what a conspiracy is and whether it has to be a conscious act for it to satisfy the collusion.

    This debate reminds me of a discussion several years ago we had asking whether fathers-in-law who have made the pursuit of bride price for their daughters a cottage industry just good parents, or whether they’re just pimps.

    The bottom line is both sell their girls for sex, though one is more honourable, is sanctioned by the church and you probably get a hell of a lot more with the package – but the main commodity is the same.

    So you do ass – what is a conspiracy? or who qualifies as a pimp? Does it matter what we call it if it creates a handicap for Arsenal or whether in the latter case, someone is benefiting for selling their ‘girls’ to other folks?

  65. …so you do ask I meant….

    @Henristic – I suppose that’s a valid argument for the illuminati too. Maybe some of the Premier league referees are members of the illuminati – hell, perhaps even Fergie and Murdoch, who knows…(smiley face is supposed to go here)

  66. @Darius

    We maybe be splitting hairs but i also know a couple of things that honestly conspiracy or not are undeniable and will help us dominate the PL and the British and FA will have to thank Arsene himself:

    1. We have 3 of Englands brightest talents that will only get better in Theo, Ox, and Jack.
    2. We have the best striker, DM, CB triplets(Mert, Ver, Kos) in the PL.
    3. We have wingers that are terrorizing the PL and will only get better.
    4. RVP is the best striker in the PL.
    5. Everybody rips Theo(1 of my favorite players in the whole of the PL) for his inconsistency but the kid has 8 goals(2nd on the team) and 11+ assists which means he has accounted for atleast 19 goals if not more.
    6. Gibbs while often injured will be teh starting LB for Ingland and will all be because of Arsene and his belief.
    7. We are currently about to take 3rd from the Spuds and havent had Jack all season, a reliable goalscorer off the bench all season, NO FB’s for half the season not to mention all the other injuries that we have had and yet we are still 3rd.
    8. The Ox, Gervinho, Santos, Mert, Arteta will only get better in year 2 of Arsenal life and getting accustomed to playing the PL(sans Arteta).

    So you can continue with you conspiracy talk and what not I’m going to enjoy watching us thrash Everton and take 3rd and then really enjoy next season when the likes of Diaby Jack and the bunch are back healthy.

  67. Darius.

    I honestly do believe that the media dislikes arsenal. In the last 5 years we have called every team from ManU on down longballers, bus parkers, defensive teams or thugs and we have made excuses when we lose instead of giving the other team credit. That annoys the rest of the world and gives us a reputation as being self righteous, which makes us a very easy target, sort of like the rich kid at school who thinks he is better then everyone else. There are probably lots of other reasons also. Arsene’s charisma has certainly begun to cut both ways. You either love him or you think he has lost it and that also makes him an easy target for any pundit who wants to get hits and sell advertising.

    With regards to the conspiracy theories, i have seen nothing to make me believe there is one and i see no logical reason that anyone would spend the money or take the risks needed to piece together a conspiracy to keep arsenal down. Everything we see is much more easily explained by other more realistic scenarios. Why would you anyone want to believe that we are not in control our own destiny?

    I can buy the possibility of some degree of subconcious dislike of arsenal in the referees because of the reasons I described in the first paragraph, but i dont think it has much of an effect on how our games are called. I also think that would go away or at least we could overcome whatever small impediment it brings if we take responsibility for our own results and fix whatever has caused us to underperform. The more you blame uncontrollable outside influences for your results the harder it becomes to develop whatever mentality is needed to play well consistently and to get good results even when you do not play well.

  68. henristic sorry mate …i got lost in the way and didnt realise i had entered her majesty;s tribunals …please allow me the time to collect the dossier for the case against arsenal


    please dont talk about open-mindness …please …with lots of sugar 😉

    i can see how open minded english football is to arsenal ….”sit down you peadophile” ..


  69. Maybe they are. I’m glad you’re phlegmatic enough to see how indefensible this whole conspiracy thing can be.

    I can relate to the gut feeling foundation of the idea. It is after all a nice romantic story. Wenger battling those forces of evil who are trying to kill his ideology, and so on. I even concede that it may well be true (just like the Illuminatti may actually exist). But we should be careful in trying to make out that the notion is based on ‘facts’, or ‘evidence’, because it isn’t.

  70. my only wish is that we get at least 3rd, and keep our team together. see how far we can go with this team, when everyone is fit and committed.

  71. I agree Korihikage

  72. “i can see how open minded english football is to arsenal ….”sit down you peadophile” .. ”

    Your lordship, I hereby rest my case.

  73. H@nter,
    You’re open minded enough to think that some cunts calling Wenger a paedophile is in ANY way symptomatic of English football?
    In which country do you think the football culture is so advanced that NONE of their supporters call people despicable names?

    I’m not English, and am certainly not particularly fond them as a nation, but the way you often go on about them does leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  74. Henristic. Let’s not go that far as to consider my views aligned with yours on this one.

  75. “You’re open minded enough to think that some cunts calling Wenger a paedophile is in ANY way symptomatic of English football?”

    LOL if only the irony of the name calling could make pots and kettles any blacker than they already were.

  76. Bah!

    Can’t people at least try to type ‘Arsenal’ correctly?

    I’m fed up of seeing it spelt with a small ‘a’.

    I usually opt for ‘The Arsenal’ – it just sounds classier and cooler.

    Regardless it’s always a capital A. Everyone make occasional mistakes but some posters consistently spell with a small ‘a’ and dammit! That’s just not right.


    captain grumpy bollocks.

  77. @Yogi

    When is this announcement for Podolski suppose to be happening?

  78. C

    When they are ready! Dunno, it was media reports that suggest it was to be announced today. According to different media sources the deal is done.

  79. Henristic

    And people wonder why I put Hunter into moderation? Just as well I deleted both of his comments yesterday before they posted…

  80. I can relate to the gut feeling foundation of the idea. It is after all a nice romantic story. Wenger battling those forces of evil who are trying to kill his ideology, and so on.

    no no no you see here is the catch

    wenger is the one destroying with his sophistication the old traditions and beliefs of how football should be approached/setted up/played in england.

    he is putting to shame the ideology that clubs can only survive through the pockets of a sole benefactor, he has also put to shame the ideology that to win titles in england you need spine of english players

    and the natives are defending their “invention” and their ways …sometimes even with hostile means (perpetuating an aggressive mindset for teams facing arsenal)

    the question is …who is correct and who is wrong.

    wenger is correct and there is no doubt about it.

    the ones who are wrong have their noses a bit too high up to admit it , face it, and do something about it. its easier to destroy tarnish offend and mock than to accept, embrace and change

    just like its easier for mou to set 11 players to come out kicking like animals instead of devising systems to create attack. whatever mous team create is the creation of the massive players he can get through the budgets…not his own….like arsene’s ..


  81. Media bias? Hell, yes.
    Biased referees? Absolutely.
    Old boys club type of thing? You bet.
    Corruption? Quite possibly.
    Conspiracy above and beyond this? Not until Harald and Sonja say so.

  82. Henristic | March 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    sorry mate i aint the one trying to shove down arsenal fans throats that we need a world class this and a world class that all the time, or urging wenger how to spend the clubs money ….lol.

    and i aint the one trying to shove down arsenal fans throats that cahill is the answer

    ok …. 😉 …thank you

    damn right they leave a bad taste attacking our manager and players like that ….

    yogi what did i say again ? lol…. do we have to love john terry and rooney to support arsenal and defend wenger? what is this ?

  83. quite interesting. i do think there is an agenda against us…because were up our own arses? hmmmmmaybe. i can see that. but i’ve also seen the broken legs, the absurd calls on a regular basis usually at critical times. why?…my money would go on…

    – the arsenal way goes against the very nature of the society were in. for it to be successful could be the downfall of a system that has always favoured the wealthy.

    – maybe we dont mind the east taking over financially (hence currant marketing strategies) and actually want putin in power unlike roman and usmonov as they would undoubtably be puppets of the west in the struggle to out do the emerging economies.

    saying all that tho. to my knowledge, in positions of power have been handed to high ranking masons. and im sure our logo in the past has contained masonic imagery. and i vaguely remember a rockefeller walking around the emirates.

    all i know is…. next year were gonna be the shit. its just a shame its taken so long to get a unit that wants to be here. and it funny how ppl talk of another striker to back the van up.
    i still get misty eyed about eduardo.

  84. Bob – I’ll get one when you stop making it your job to tell me to go and get one. 😉

  85. @Yogi

    I thought your all knowing was going to give me a ruff estimate as i am waiting but its all good.

  86. We need to have a match asap all this talk of conspiracy and other bullocks is driving me to drink even more then normal. I just want to see something that goes a little like this:

    “Kos breaks up the Everton attack, quickly plays a ball to Alex Song who shields well and finds Arteta whose 1 touh pass goes to the feet of Rosicky. Rosicky then plays a beautiful through ball for Theo to run onto to, Walcott gets there then plays a mouth-watering pass right infront of goal that leaves Tim Howard spralling and whose their to put it in the back of the net but Robin Van Persie our Captain of Captain.”

    Is that to much to ask for. We win Gervinho puts in 1 Theo gets 1 and RVP gets 1 as i have described above and we are in 3rd!!!!!

  87. Just a spot of friendly advice Jonny.

    I’ve got about 100 yards of fencing to put up. Minimum wage of course.

  88. Bill, so the reason for the media bias against Arsenal is all Arsenal’s doing?

    When you say “world”, as far as people being upset with Arsenal, do you mean the rest of the PL teams and supporters, or the English?

  89. I can buy the possibility of some degree of subconcious dislike of arsenal in the referees because of the reasons I described in the first paragraph, but i dont think it has much of an effect on how our games are called

    hmmm interesting…

    so …a person is already negatively predisposed about arsenal but he wont talk about us unfairly or act against our favour ?

    ref dowd in last years game with newcastle demonstrated how a ref with a subconscious dislike of arsenal can effect our game.

  90. For what it’s worth (I promise to only do this once)…

    Assuming Theo and VP stay – I don’t see any buys beyond Podolski, possibly a backup keeper). that is it.

    Outside forwards – Ryo, Ox, Wolcott, Ghervino
    Striker – VP, Podolski, ?
    Midfield Top – Wilshire, Rosicky
    Midfield Mid – Ramsey, Arteta, Coq, Diaby
    Midfield back – Song, Frimpong
    Left Back – Gibbs, Santos
    Right Back – Sagna, Jenkinson
    Center backs – Kos, Verm, Per, Djourou
    Keeper – Szes, ?

    That’s your team….

    On the bubble or being sold – Vela, Miquel, Arshavi, Bendtner, Cambell, Chamach, Park, Lansbury, Yennaris, Bartley, Norveit, Eastmond, Wellington plus that kid who plays up top who got hurt early on…

    Frankly, I don’t see any other buys unless:

    1. Djourou is dumped AND Micquel and Bartley and Norveigt are not deemed ready to be a #4 center back.

    2. Diaby is viewed as not healthy AND Coq and Frimpong deemed not ready to play. This could happen. In which case M’villa seems the most likely of the media linked players to move.

    3. Chamach and vela and Park and Bentner, and Cambell and that new kid that got hurt can not be a #3 striker – in which case all of them (except cambell and the hurt kid) should be sold if possible I imagine….

    just my 2 cents, never to be mentioned again….

  91. we all do c. and i apologise if i offend but thats the kind of attitude that has got society to the point it is at.

    drink, as well as the rest of the drugs, not to mention religion which includes football only serve to……..bloody hell your right. bring footie back.

    forgive me escapism. i didnt mean it.

  92. @ak47

    Yea just drinking for me but think about it like this, Arsenal is going to help save my liver by playing games thus causing me not to drink as much(I hope). So they say Arsenal is bad, i beg to differ i think its fantastic.

    I doubt we sell Park but wouldn’t surprise me if we did since he is actually our #3 striker now. I also dont see Miquel being sold, possibly loan spell but not sold as he has shown considerable promise at both CB and LB and with our injury history there i tend to want to keep him.

    I also see Frimpong going out on loan next season and keeping Le Coq(for me his natural position) and Diaby as back up DM. Lets not also forget that Podolski would probably be playing on the left thus allowing for Ox to play centrally as well but it will be an interestingly GREAT problem to have!!!! Still with what you have there i would go with our 1st choice XI as:


    Subs: Ox, Gervinho, Gibbs, Rosicky, Le Coq, Mert, whatever goalkeeper we have hopefully Alumina

  93. good post today..
    the GK situation wasnt something i thought as a priority this summer but i find myself thinking it may well be after reading your thoughts..

    a striker?? most definately..
    hazard? i dunno..i prefer gotze, always have but hazards got some mad skills and hes going to be a huge star..i would like to think wengers got the pulling power but its very unlikely we will match the price…for either player..
    vertonghen? i dunno..ppl seem to have the idea he can play LB but hes as much as a left back as what TV is..hes not a wingback, hes a central defender..a very good one, but we have plenty of very good ones..I dont see a CB as a position we are desperately in need of additions..

    well said yesterday about muamba..Its been a time of reflection and untiy from everyone and i do hope the young man recovers…even if he cant play football again he has a young family..thats all he needs..and hes all they need….nothing else matters, just get better son…

    and hunter talks shit…

  94. I confess, I really can’t wait to see a midfield of Song, Li’l Jack and Diaby with a sstretch of games to give the trio some rhythm and chemistry.

  95. As an addendum,

    For those who argue that it is silly to keep the same team, given the results this year, I would say the following:

    – Wilshire, Ryo, Podolski, and even OX are all new players next year compared to the first half of this season – that’s a significant amount of our offense that is added.

    – Our entire team, except Arteta, Rosicky, Sagna, and Santos and VP is under 26 and should be better this year than next. of the “older” players, only Arteta and Rosicky will be over 30. So we would be better even without adding. And Rosicky has definately refound a gear.

    – We started very poor – Since then our results have been better than almost any other team. And that start was before integrating the new purchases into the lineup.

    – Our team makeup has changed – a lot – we are now going to be a team based on raw speed on the outside (ryo, ox, wolcott, Ghervino), a proven finisher in the middle (cp and podolski), a destabilizing pivot in the center of the field (Wilshire, Rosicky), plus the back 6. No longer are we playing a ball control game centered on Fabregas, with two more ball control guys n the outside (like Nasri and Rosicky).

    We are a team built to run now. Through down the middle or the sides. That doesn’t mean longballs and chase – it means angled balls all day long….

  96. @Nando… You ask for through balls down the middle and sides?

    try this on for size (courtesy of C)

    “Kos breaks up the Everton attack, quickly plays a ball to Alex Song who shields well and finds Arteta whose 1 touh pass goes to the feet of Rosicky. Rosicky then plays a beautiful through ball for Theo to run onto to, Walcott gets there then plays a mouth-watering pass right infront of goal that leaves Tim Howard spralling and whose their to put it in the back of the net but Robin Van Persie our Captain of Captain.”

    Rosicky to Walcott, Walcott to RVP…like clockwork it is. Come on “The Arsenal”

  97. Paulie Walnuts

    Jon Jon,

    Hazard had to come last summer. He could go anywhere in an auction but thankfully we don`t conduct ourselves that way. Gotze ? Maybe , but we`ve got to secure CL next season first I would say. Even then he`ll cost a packet.

    Vertonghen would seem more like our usual purchases. His versatility would be helpful but you can`t have too many quality centre backs & if Mert`s injury keeps him out for longer than expected then Vert would be a decent addition. Plus the chance of Mert playing alongside Vert has to be worth £10M.

    Totally agree with your last 2 paras as well.

  98. @Jonjon
    I agree that Vertonghen is not a LB but he can definetly give us protection behind Song if Arsene goes that way. the only problem I have with that is that Le Coq has shown he’s got class and while i think Frimpong will go out on loan, he is just the type of DM that is a destroyer 1st and what we need.

    When those 3 finally do get a run of games they will be the most dominant midfield in the PL bar none. They are all versatile able to cover for each other and not only play the free flowing 1-2 touch beautiful football that we have come to know and love but also powerful runs and they can all make that decisive pass.

    The only thing i disagree with is that we are no long a ball control team, we are still ball control but not just centered around 1 player(which i refuse to use his name). We are a team that every player can control the ball and make 1-2 touch passing and free flowing. We have also adapted to our Captain and have taken on his firey fierce demeanor.
    I do think that we are built for speed and Jack, Song, Rosicky, Arteta and Diaby are the perfect midfield players for the team that we have because they dont take take 4-8 touches and then make the pass. But pace and IQ.

  99. @will the thrill

    I can’t wait to watch them come Wednesday!!! Cannons raised, Aim, Fire!!!!BOOM!!! destroying another team on our way to finishing strong!!!

  100. will the thrill

    Here here Mr. C that’s the spirit!

    I am going to take a shot at describing next year’s squad.

    “watching this Arsenal side is like watching an orgy of pace.”

    PO…pace orgy.

  101. Nando, Campbell sold? why?

  102. will the thrill

    imagine something like this…never going to happen as it requires a back 3… but maybe at the end of a game when we need a late goal???

    Gerv theo
    Ryo Ox

    Jack / Song

    TV – Mert – Sagna

  103. @will the thrill
    Thats an interesting take but so true!! not only that but we could very well have multiple players who are the best at their position in the PL playing at a high level.

  104. Vela doing well for Real Socieded.

    2nd in scoring and 1st in assists.

  105. @will

    I like that and have stated before i would be interested in seeing us maybe play 3 in the back.


    or something with the likes of Santos as a wingback(his mroe natural positition) and Ryo coming off the bench

  106. will the thrill

    That is good news about Vela. The thing is, i do not see where he fits into the 4-3-3 system. What do you think Paul?

  107. I always liked Vela and get to see him play for Mexico alot with Chicharito and Dos Santos, they are always exciting to watch and truly do enjoy watching them carve up the US. Always like Vela though

  108. will the thrill

    Ugg. Watching Mexico vs US is brutal. Very similar to watching The Arsenal play against obviously inferior opposition….minutes of controlled possession, followed by a killer pass and strike at goal.

    If Vela has a good enough touch, he could very well play as a backup to RVP. Granted, NOBODY can toy with defenders in the manner that RVP does, but Carlos could be effective there. Vela has the pace to keep up with Walcott.

    Rosicky to Walcott, Walcott to Vela….mhmmm

  109. hunter13 @5.12

    Not LOL by a long stretch. You’re on a yellow card; another repeat of yesterday and its red.

  110. Good posts over the last few days (as ever), YW.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the conspiracy question (long-post warning bells are ringing):

    Arsenal and AW irked a lot of people by winning. It wasn’t so much the winning, but it was how it was achieved. Bringing many innovations to the British game, going undefeated for a whole season, avoiding break-the-bank signings, and, let’s not forget, incurring a relatively high number of red cards (usually deserved) – in short, plenty of reasons for people to be anti-Arsenal. Add to that, attractive, thrilling football, self-sufficiency and a move to a fantastic stadium – well, that’s enough to create a Wembley-size collection of grudges.

    During the “new stadium phase”, as the number of trophy-less years has increased, there has been a trend towards kicking the club while it’s, well, not down, but not on top. I don’t see this as a conspiracy, I think it’s more subtle.
    Imagine seeing a group of boys getting picked on in the street. Imagine that the group being picked on have until recently been “top dogs” in their area but they are also envied for their success and disliked by those who feel inferior in their presence or who have somehow been shown up by the group’s success. You notice that, for whatever reason, the group is not as strong as they have been in the past. Imagine that a crowd gathers and they see that nothing bad is happening to the people who are doing the “picking”.

    Not only is nothing bad happening to the aggressors but, in many cases, they are actually becoming more popular and successful themselves. You see that some of the onlookers are joining in themselves and the more they pick on the former top dogs, the more popular and successful they become. In this situation, is it really so hard to imagine other people joining in and emulating this behaviour?

    If the person getting picked on would fight back and, at least occasionally, win a battle or give someone a black eye, then the observers would be less inclined to join in. As it stands, the person getting picked on is seen as a soft target.

    There is no need for an organised conspiracy. Human nature being what it is, the people who see what is happening and have grudges or who want to be more successful or popular are likely to join in and take advantage.
    As soon as the Arsenal win something, the collective anti-Arsenal sentiment will diminish. When the club starts to win things regularly, especially if it is with a contingent of strong English players, the pendulum will swing the other way. Other “soft targets” will be found. There will be a groundswell of pro-Arsenal feeling and people will rush to jump on the bandwagon (see also, Manchester United). It may seem far-fetched, but it could happen sooner than you think…

  111. It’ll be great if Vela comes back. Like Eduardo, he was one of the most clinical finishers in our squad and it was unfortunate he didn’t get more pitch time, perhaps because of competition, perhaps because of his attitude.

    I think he would still be a valuable player in the squad, but its hard to see how he can be guaranteed first team play especially with the suggested purchase of Podolski plus our youngsters like Ryo and the Ox.

  112. Paul – Cambell would not be sold..sorry if I was not clear.

    Vela might indeed be a third striker, fifth wide man option. He just needed to strengthen up. Ad I’m sure either Bendtner or Chamach will remain – for variety in attack if nothing else.

    and C – Not every team with speed on the outside need be a long ball team. the ball can still go through the midfield – it will just go to the wings much faster, and once out there, the wide man will be expected to break down his defender. Manure has been playing this way for a long time….

  113. will the thrill


    He is definitely valuable, and his pace fits in with the way the squad is shaping up. Trouble is, he would probably have to be content with being an understudy….. It never hurts to have too many options of the bench though

  114. PW and C

    i wouldnt argue with any of that..

    If we could get JV for the 10mil thats been rumoured and he wants to come to us then i would say aye to his signing..
    hes a good player, versatility will be useful..

    i just think in terms of priorities maybe striker, gk, midfielder and dfender is the order..

    with jack being a ‘new player’ and le coq and le ox set to make the step next season im not entirely sure we need anymore than the first two on the list..

    one things for sure..we need to sell a whole load of players first..

  115. Will, you answered your own question and I agree.

    If Vela puts his shoulder to the wheel I believe he could play in any system, he has skill in abundance.

    It annoys me that he is not seen as world class right now.

  116. I would like to see Vela given another chance with us. I like that kid.

  117. I think Alex Song is long overdue a goal

    The kind of option AW has with a fully fit squad is unbelievable. Injury has really robbed us of some absolute world class combos especially in midfield.

    Upfront is especially where we need to reinforce. Podolski’s potential transfer is a welcome development.

    Sadly, I think Vela’s time with us is up. So much potential, but our system doesn’t suit him combined with the intensity of the league.

  118. tateezee, why wouldn’t our system suit Vela again?

  119. Jan Vertonghen? Blimey. I suppose it all depends on what happens over the next few months. Or maybe it doesn’t. My brain starts to overheat just thinking about it, I think I’d be better off focusing on the Everton game.

    There’s a whole programme on the demise of Rangers FC on the bleeb because they spent some farking money.
    Was that a criminal act, a conspiracy between more then one individual? Or just gross mismanagement? If it’s mismanagement, why are HMRC involved? On the programme they’re discussing whether it was tax avoidance or evasion. Uh -oh. I think I might have mentioned vat. By association. I did not conspire to do so.

  120. i think vela suits the system and hes a good player but his chance got wasted when wenger wouldnt drop bendtner when he was playing like a pub player and vela was putting hatricks in..

    i think AW gambled with bendtner and vela got pushed out..i suppose he could come back but he’d be in the same position as before..

    he wouldnt get in the team..its tip top his form is good but i feel it would be better for us and him to cash in….

  121. Says here that Fabrice Muabma “has been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately” which is encouraging news.

  122. Billy’s Boots

    probably the best explanation for the anti-Arsenal sentiment. well done.

  123. vela can definitely fit in – and play both wide and up front in the middle. but let’s be honest about to things – the man needed to toughen up, strengthen. He needed to track back when playing outside.

    It may be that Vela is just not suited to the English game – that’s possible. Or English weather…that’s even more possible.

    He can fill a role for us…but he also may be 5-8 million pounds that can be invested elsewhere….

  124. it is interesting how the sentiment is swinging.

    only a month ago, i would bet that every pundit would have been saying before our games that they don’t see us as favourites. now i think given our recent run, even if they WANT us to drop points, they wouldnt dare to say out right that they don’t see us as favourites to win the game, simply because they realise there is a big chance we would, and they would end up looking like idiots (actually they already are.)

    i think right now, the media is preparing a what we call ‘cover your ass’ operation. slowly pretending all the stuff that has been said from august till november never happened.

    that’s why suddenly we are favourites for third.

    and if we don’t do it, you can be sure that they will revert quickly back to their ‘i told you so’

  125. Vela’s said a couple of weeks ago that he was never really settled at Arsenal.

    A player of Vela’s abilities would be a good player for our formation as he can play across the front line and posses good finishing, technique and pace.

    Its a shame that it looks likely that he would have no future with us

  126. Apropos of nothing again, I noticed today that there is a joutnalist at the Law Society Gazette whose name is Eduardo Reyes.

  127. sorry, journalist.

  128. will the thrill


    it really irks me that the media folk can say what they say. In a span of months, we went from crisis to 3rd place….Not that myself, and a majority of you readers, ever doubted our quality. But, the media people just spout so much sh*t, and manage to get away with it time and time again. Gosh it really pisses me off

  129. always found vela a pity. i do think he is physically not able to cope with the english game..somehow he didnt get many chances at west brom as well last time out, did he?

    i think he could have fulfilled the role wenger saw for park this season (always thought they are quite similar players, of course vela has better technique, but i think park is a more intelligent, all-round player. their profiles though, are similar)

    the problem is that vela wouldnt have played much. would have been mostly substitute roles.

    so the big question is: is he still a part of wenger’s future plans? if he is, then going on loan is a good move, because he gets game time, and he needs it. if that’s the case, then i see park really as a stop-gap signing. to cover for both bendtner and vela

    if vela doesnt see himself as part of arsenal’s future, or if arsene doesnt see him as part of the future, then going out on loan is also good. he can move on at the end.

    so however you see it, vela going on loan was right..

  130. Lest we forget, Vela played in the CC and killed some tough PL teams.

    There is something else to this story other than toughness if you ask me.

  131. will the thrill

    unfortunately, most football journalists are quite sad people really.. what they do is actually no different from what many of us do anyway. but they get paid for it..

    so maybe they cant contribute much to society otherwise. let’s just see it as social benefits 🙂

  132. Paul-N @ 7:57

    I don’t think Vela is suited to the one CF role like RvP. He doesn’t have the strength to play there especially with his back against goal most times. Though he’s a classy finisher, the role requires much more than goalscoring. He might be able to do a job on the wings, but I doubt if he’ll be content as a 3rd or 4th choice winger.

    I believe Eduardo suffered the same fate. Dudu flourished alongside Adebayor in the 4-4-2 system, but struggled when he returned from injury with the new system. In fact, I remember he was played out wide and didn’t really do well there.

  133. will the thrill

    Korikihage, you are very right. The only difference is, I use my brain to help society out, and then i comment on football for pleasure. Those people have made a living out of critiquing!

    I guess i believe that there is a fundamental flaw with being a professional critic.

  134. tateezee, I see your point. Its hard to make a case about Eduardo though as he was never the same player again. Vela and Eduardo are different players though, Vela is more of an all rounder, Eduardo is/was a killer.

  135. will the thrill

    theory of comparative advantage 😉

    to be honest, with the qualit of blogs such as Yogi’s, i wonder if there is even a need for us to read what the media write..

  136. will the thrill

    I don’t there is. You get a variety of opinions on here, and the talk isn’t just limited to footy.

  137. This is a decent analysis of the potential summer situation – plenty of room for differing opinions in there but it largely rings true.

  138. Cbob – I’d use up my wages just getting to you!

  139. will the thrill

    i only go read the media when we win. otherwise i don’t bother. i rely on Yogi and twitter to keep me updated

  140. hunter13 @5.12

    Not LOL by a long stretch. You’re on a yellow card; another repeat of yesterday and its red.

    a repeat of what ? do you mind explaining please cause im pretty bored with two or three of you throwing digs all the time and me being unable to reply in the manner that befits such digs …

    i mean what is the priority here talk and defend arsenal or nickpick eachothers words like schoolgirls …… “oh you said that” …”no you said this” …”oh where is the evidence” ..” i cant read posts with dots”…

  141. There are really encouraging signs about Fabrice, thankfully.

    Signing Vertonghen makes lots of sense, as does the signing of an experienced keeper. I suggested Jussi at Bolton the other week, always rated him.

    Vela never looked like doing it fo Arsenal, i really dont know what jon jon was on about? As if vela was pushed out, or not given a chnce? Utter revisionist bollocks I’m afriad dude. He has never shown any kind of consistency and unfortunately (as I have always hoped he’d make it with us) his time looks up.

    I think we needed a top class creative midfielder this season, so signing one for next still makes sense to me, Gotze would be an unbelievable signing, so that means it won’t happen.

    As for the conspiracy theory? There is no doubt as far as I am concerned that we have suffered from some very odd referee decisions in the past, none more so than at the hands of Mike Riley. That game was littered with bad bad decisions that were very much in favour of the opposition. The fact he is the chief of refs is not good, at the very least he should not be anywhere near a position of influence because he was consistently shite!

    Anyway, there are far more pressing things, like our game on Wednesday. I’ll be there, hopefully to see another vital win. Arteta scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory.

  142. Interesting article there Jonny. I tend to agree with his departures list. Although I’d suggest it looks like plenty that people have posted written on here previously. Anyway, the writer thinks we need to sign Podolski AND another centre forward. Thats an interesting one, although we do keep being linked with Odemwinguie. Then again, Rodellega is on a free come the summer. That might be a tempting propsect for Arsene!

    The poster also says Fabianski is out of contract this summer? is there any evidence for this? Its news to me.

  143. Billy’s Boots

    @ korihikage

    Thank you.

    I think you’re right about the journalists and their CYA approach. By saying Arsenal are favourites for third place, they create a win-win situation – for themselves. If the club finishes third, they can point out that they “called it”. If the club doesn’t, they can revel in another Arsenal “failure”.

    Re the blogosphere as an alternative to mainstream media, it’s mostly a blessing (chapeau, YW), but also a little bit a curse (not this blog, of course) in that mainstream media has responded to the online threat by becoming (in general) more reactive and sensationalist. Last summer was a real lesson in how the media works, and this blog was (and is) a wonderful refuge of more thoughtful commentary. Long live ACLF!

  144. Hunter13 @9.34

    You spoke entirely out of your arse about situations you knew from Twitter or a TV screen. You have not one shred of insight or knowledge about the care or actions of anyone involved in the care of Fabrice Muamba so for you to criticise those involved was utterly contemptuous hence the instant deletion of your comment.

    If you do not like the rules of this blog, find somewhere else to play. When – if – you learn to abide by the rules, you will be released from moderation. But not before I am ready to do so.

  145. Dex I recall hearing Fab’s contract was up this summer a number of times before – I believe it to be true.

  146. come off it dex

    vela was one of the best finishers to come out of the academy..
    you make it sound like he was shit but he was a good little player who didnt get the extra gametime after impressing in the CC and reserves and maybe he should have done..

    agree with you on jussi though….good call

    and on a creative mid..i think hazard and gotze are both in our sights but unfortunately we wont enter the bidding war..

    i think theres a good chance it could be gourcuff, more than likely..but thats only if wenger thinks jack and diaby are not like new players..

  147. JJ

    Mate, this vela was the most clinical finisher is like a mantra people use, regardless of any consistent evidence man. He played well for how many games? I’d say a handful, his playing level was poor, when looked at over the course of his career, IMO. He just didnt like it over here and in my humble, that isnt a surprise as he was in Spain for 4 years (I think?) before he eventually joined us.

    That for me, is one major flaw in signing players who are then farmed to clubs in other European countries in order to gain Visas. I think its a massive risk and should be avoided, as the player will have a really hard time, not only aclimatising to the premier league and England, but also having any kind of affinity with Arsenal.

  148. Jonny

    OK buddy, its quite conceivable that I am in the dark as regards to the old Pole’s contract sitch!


    Gourcouff, although not as sexy a signing as Gotze would still be a very decent transfer IMO. Although IF the reported valuation of Gotze is correct; £20m, then I think Arsene will go for it big stylee. The fact we already have 2 Germans, with the possible addition of Podolski too, may give us an edge in signing him, that only Real madrid could match (plus we dont have an utter c*nt as our manager!)

  149. @ESPNuk

    More good news concerning Fabrice Muamba, Michael Essien has been to visit him and claims to have had a conversation with the Bolton man.

  150. heres the thing though..

    velas inconsistency in the league was once argued to be a result of him travelling miles and miles representing mexico every two minutes and he was always knackered..hes got 30 + caps already..he was mostly used as a sub as well so he rarely started..

    as far as him looking tidy..there was a period of one season, i think it was the 09 one, and he was given his starts in the domestic cups and he had something like 5 goals and 5 assists..

    but he couldnt get a start in the league..i dont know why, although to be fair it was bendtners breakthrough season and he hit 15 but vela was the better finisher..bendtner although at times was frustrating, was given the gametime….more starts and subs..maybe vela should have started more, especially around the period he was practically passing the ball into the net for fun in the cups and bendtner was toe poking the ball out for throw ins from 6 yards out in the league more often than not..

    he seems to be doing a decent little job over in spain..and out of all the players regarded as ‘wastage’ hes the one i dont think we’ll have problems finding a club for..

    your too harsh..i concede there could be a element of him not being suited to england and i think a country like spain will benefit him on and off the pitch..

    hes a good player..

    he will leave the club, his chance has gone and maybe it will be the emmergence of joel campbell as the new striker sensation..being from costa rica i think theres a chance he could go the same way as vela but i think hes getting games in france rather than spain so his transition to england via europe could be more fruitful than when vela came back from spain..

  151. weve got pedro botelho and wellington out on loan as well come to think of it..

    i dont really see a future for either to be honest..

  152. if gourcuff signs, chamakh may stay

  153. Who will stay? Who will be jettisoned? Who will be brought in?

    I don’t have a clue and frankly that’s Arsene’s hat to wear.

    I do know that I’m unable to evaluate a player like Vela……as he was so low on the manager’s pecking order; I NEVER saw him start two matches consecutively, so how can other fans give an accurate evaluation of this kid’s talent.

    During his time at Arsenal, wasn’t he in the 19 – 21 year age bracket?

    Nasri gone; Cesc gone; Jack and Aaron injured and “given a run of matches”, up steps Tomas, who most fans wrote off as dead weight season’s ago.

    I’m sure if Chamakh saw 4-5 starts consecutively, many would have to reshape their commentary.

    The season has turned from winter grey to bright springtime and I’m not conceding anything as far as our league finish is concerned.

  154. WOW! Some weird postings today, in fairness most of them were YW one liners but I gues it is his blog….

    Anyways I would just like to say that:
    1 – Any fallout from repeating a joke that I have posted for sheer entertainment purposes will not be blamed on me. Yes C’bob I am talking deirectly to you!
    2 – Jonny really should get a job.
    3 – There is no cuntspiracy, there is only The Arsenal. Everything else is shit!!
    4 – I still have not heard how Paul N got shot 4 times! My money is on Dexter. He strikes me as the type who would shoot you several times but be so bad at it as to let you live to tell the tale.
    5 – I have no idea what drugs Hunter is on but dammit I want some 🙂

    Jonny – That fence is not going to build itself now is it mate?

  155. yw , you left out matinez who looks cracking to me

  156. aob

    But he isn’t ready for the first team; needs a couple of years to me.

  157. irish

    re #5 – The drugs he is on are not the ones he should be on; a strong sedative would probably suit better.

  158. Wonderful news to hear Fabrice has been downgraded from critical – that’s a big step and means for start – he must at last be breathing by himself.

    Plus he’s recognising people and talking to them and has limb-function – all great signs.

  159. Irish

    It could have been me who shot Paul N times without harming him.

    Apparantly I fire blanks.

    Have a top day Gooners!

  160. Oh and arse or brain

    Its easy to have the impression vela isnt good enough; he obviously didnt have the confidence of the manager. He kinda knows this shizzle man. I have never seen park play, but its becoming clear he is going down the same route. Whereas Chamakh HAS shown he can do a job for us.

    Pretty simple really.

  161. No, I won’t say it. I’m thinking it though.

  162. A dandy highwayman told me to stand and deliver, your blog post or your life.

  163. h@nter 13 | March 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm
    “sorry mate i aint the one trying to shove down arsenal fans throats that we need a world class this and a world class that all the time, or urging wenger how to spend the clubs money ….lol.
    and i aint the one trying to shove down arsenal fans throats that cahill is the answer
    ok …. 😉 …thank you
    damn right they leave a bad taste attacking our manager and players like that ….
    yogi what did i say again ? lol…. do we have to love john terry and rooney to support arsenal and defend wenger? what is this ?

    Let me get this right, not insulting the whole English race is in your opinion the same as loving Rooney or John Terry?
    For someone who believes his logic is infallible, you do make some incredibly daft arguments. So in your warped mind, its ok to malign a whole country to teach a few of its wayward citizens a lesson?

    Yogi is right, you are no better than Jabba, or even Howard.

    I’ve pointed this out before, but it really is bemusing how some ACLF regulars will turn a blind eye to the most despicable behaviour from some posters, as long as he/she professes support for Arsene and the team. The attitude of some seem to be…”yeah, he is a bigot, but he is OUR bigot”

  164. Yeah, yeah – I hear ya Bob. 😀

    Vela is a good player but Wenger – as is often his way – is not one for throwing players on for 20 minutes. Vela, like Chamakh and Park this season, was left to look on from the bench game after game after game. Surely the most horrible/frustrating feeling for a footballer.

    For whatever reasons Wenger had more faith in Bendtner who in spite of being largely disappointing was given a multitude of opportunities. It didn’t seem fair or right to many but that’s Wenger’s call to make.

    And no, I don’t buy into this whole RVP has played SO well and that’s the only reason we have seen nothing of Park/Chamakh. Had wither of the back ups convinced Wenger in training that they were worthy then they would have played at least some time on the pitch.

    If for no other reason that if RVP were to get injured we would have a back-up with at least some first team action under their belt. I realise the formation makes it difficult but if we cannot haul off RVP for the last 15 minutes and put trust in any of our other strikers to cause problems then it can be of no surprise when people say we are Robin Reliant.

    I think Vela is happy where he is and I doubt he’ll be in any hurry to return or that he’d get much football if he did.

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