Momentum, Park Life & More

Good news yesterday of Fabrice Muamba’s small steps to recovery; long may that process continue. Steve Bould, Arsène and Liam Brady all showed the depth of feeling for Muamba at the club. Kevin Davies rightly laments on the BBC website how it has taken this event to bring about some sort of unity in the game.

Against this backdrop, football returns for Arsenal with the trip to Everton firmly on the horizon. It begins a key four day spell that I touched on yesterday with all sorts of permutations that could see the final corrosion of Tottenham’s thirteen point lead or the wheels fall off Arsenal’s trolley entirely.

The concern for Arsène must be the loss of momentum that Arsenal had gained. The nine days since the victory over Newcastle is a long time in footballing terms; a mini-international break without the fretting over which players will pick up niggles and knocks, praying that the Dutch use van Persie sparingly in a meaningless match.

Training is good for working on fitness, technique and understanding but a sort of boredom must set in knowing that you have a week and a half between games. Confidence will not be an issue with the recent winning run in the Premier League as well as being able to retrieve victory from deficits. It does give time to work on ironing out the silly mistakes that have allowed opponents to take the lead in the first place but does such a gap mean that the drive, energy, excitement of playing is diminished? Do those previous results feel distant due to the time lag between fixtures? Like Soap, all will be clearer.

Elsewhere, the Park Mystery has grown over recent times. It was widely believed that he would be leaving Arsenal at the end of next season to fulfil his obligation for national service in South Korea. His lawyer has since determined that in 2009, he had received an “an unprecedented 10-year residence permit in recognition of his outstanding activities there“. Which makes this whole affair a little tangled and some of the criticism of the player unwarranted; if he wanted to avoid National Service, he could have finalised that two years ago.

Arsenal now have to pay a total fee of £6m (€6.5m); echoes of Francis Jeffers to my mind. For a club whose transfer funds are so cautiously spent, his inability to force his way into the first team is baffling. Even the most homesick of signings have performed; Jose Antonio Reyes managed some decent games for the club. Before him, chronic homesickness cause Vladimir Petrovic to leave the club within a season but he still turned in performances that made his signing all too understandable. That last word is something that is, at the moment, unlikely to be used when talking of Park’s transfer.

The Arsenal scouts have been busy trying to redeem themselves, killing two birds with one stone by watching Yann M’vila and Aymen Corner Abdennour during Toulouse’s single goal victory over Rennes. All that it probably shows is that The Sun employs writers with a better imagination than those at Daily Express HQ. As for the signing of Lukas Podolski, yesterday’s rumoured announcement never came which is of no surprise. Can you shake the niggling doubt that this is the footballing equivalent of The Hitler Diaries. Conspiracy theorists, do your worst!

Finally a reminder that this quarter’s required reading is on sale, the current issue of The Blizzard includes an editorial in which Jonathan Wilson deepens the feeling of the lost soul of the Premier League.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 20, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 140 Comments.

  1. Morning YW…Il est ou? Notre Grand Frere – Big Brova….

  2. Ras

    He probably thought he had time to nip off and make a cuppa before the blog post appeared.

  3. Sorry Yogi, but I need to respond to hunter’s comments to me from yesterday…

    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? If someone insults Wenger, your logical response is to insult his whole race/culture?

    Yogi is right, this guy is 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”. That is just wrong….

  4. Henristic

    It’s not an issue, he’s gone. He’d been moderated for around a fortnight and was showing signs of understanding the blog rules until the weekend when he lapsed. And I no longer have the patience to continue with moderation.

  5. @Yogi’s Warrior You so know the way of it :p

  6. That’s an interesting looking read Yogi.

    Anybody out there able to suggest the best download format for my iPod? pdf, epub or mobi are on offer.

  7. Henristic yesterday @ 9.27 – well said.

    YW – have you heard that Park is actually homesick? I find it odd this would be more of a problem here than France. Polyglot London is way more suited to a homesick South-Korean than Monaco.

    Re comments on Vela – yes he is certainly a good player and a natural finisher but Wenger – as is 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.

    At the time, 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 either of our striker 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. Not only that but the very act of resting RVP a little reduces the chance of losing himn through injury/fatigue/damage from being overplayed.

    I realise the formation we deploy makes it difficult but if we cannot haul off RVP for the last 15 minutes of some games 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 it is clear Vela is much happier where he is and I doubt he’ll be in any hurry to return or that he’d get much football if he did.

    Let me close by saying recent games have been FAR too tight to have the luxury of removing RVP but Wenger DID say we would see a lot of Park in the second half of the season and it is only natural to wonder why this has not materialised.

  8. You’ve been very patient Yogi. He had some points worth making but for me Henristic nailed it this morning. Too sweeping. Too one dimensional.

  9. Just watched some of the football highlights from the weekend – Newcastle really do have a fine collection of first team players. Cisse looks a fine signing – Guttierez, Ba, Cabaya, Tiote, Krull are better than most of what Liverpool (for example) put out on the pitch.

  10. The curious case of J.Y.Park,

    I really don’t understand what is going on with him. I’m inclined to believe that he was the ONLY panic buy this season knowing that Chamack would go to the Nations cup and Campbell not gaining a work permit.

    However, i get the feeling that he probably hasn’t been impressive during training sessions. He looked promising against Bolton in the CC and has an impressive tally for his national team but looked totally lost against Marseille.

    I just don’t get it

    Looks like Arsene doesn’t rate him that much. I have heard whispers that he was bought just for the Asian Market, however i don’t believe that was the sole reason for his purchase. We have too much class to buy him for such reasons alone besides in few years time i bet Ryo would be bringing the Japanese fan base with him.

    I just don’t get it, really i don’t.

  11. Good points Jonny. Perhaps your last paragraph gives some insight into the situation.

    When, apart from the Blackburn game and Wigan in early December, have we held a comfortable position when you might normally change your lead striker and of course, for Blackburn, Henry was here?

  12. I agree Jonny,

    Newcastle has a better team than Liverpool IMO. The Fulham first team is almost on the par with the Liverpool squad. Poor team Kenny has assembled there.

  13. To add to your points Johnny, Thierry was only here six weeks and probably still managed to get more game time than either of those two.

  14. If Arsene trusted Park or Chamack, Henry would have never come back on loan.

  15. I suspect you might be right, Jeff.

  16. *Jonny. Sorry!

  17. Park may well be a panic buy, but surely we had to have been monitoring him for a while at least, to ensure he meets the basic required standard? Otherwise why fork out what may turn out to be 6M euros? Given the foregoing, I wouldn’t write him off just yet. He may just be going through an unusually long acclimatization and could very well still turn out to be worth his fee plus wages.

    I hoped he would be our version of Manure’s own korean, but he doesn’t seem to have that other Park’s industry. On the other hand his international record suggests he can finish, although no where near Eduardo levels.

  18. Jonny @9.45

    AW mentioned several times over a sustained period that the player was struggling to adjust to England. Whether that was a tactical way of saying, “Whoops, I’ve dropped a bollock with this one” remains to be seen

  19. Dunno Cbob, I’m old-fashioned and read the paper version. You get the downloads with it just in case.

  20. How many minutes has PARK put in for the Arsenal first team, you are one of many people who suprise me expecting him to turn in a good shift from the bench, I wish you could rewind to Alex Song’s early days

  21. Not worried about the Momentum issue. I think they’ll be bang up for it. (Maybe in a bit of a “feeling each other out” for the first ten minutes, kind of way) After Robin had a short holiday in the sun, earlier during the season, he came back refreshed (obviously) but with just as much desire as before. Whether what happened to Fabrice Muamba will effect the team, or individuals, remains to be seen. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that was more the case, than the current boredom between matches. Certainly with an intelligent and thoughtful team like ours! (It didn’t affect MU against Wolves though. Which kind of proves my point!) (smiley face)
    For those of you with a spare 13 minutes, watch this. It kind of draws you in.

  22. Sorry to infect this blog with a pic of Dalglish right there. (But in this new era of the “one great big footballing family”, it feels somewhat inappropriate to slag off the man some call The King!)

  23. If that’s a king, I’m a republican

  24. Yep! And me.

  25. Wee Kenny has to jump to touch This is Anfield.

    Interesting thoughts regarding the Park situation. As some of you have pointed out, Henry has shown that there is plenty of opportunity for a forward to get 20/30 minutes off the bench regularly. The fact that Chamakh and Park haven’t managed this AT ALL is utterly puzzling to me. More so for Chamakh (because we have seen that he can do a job for us) but both players have shown at other clubs and at international level that they have real skill.

  26. Please be careful don’t get yourselves confused by others as ‘party Republicans’ as opposed to republicans! Yuck.

    I’d rather be an anarchist than a Republican.

    If any of that offends any Republicans well, frankly, GOOD. 🙂

    @YW – I did not see/hear those utterances from AW.

    Was that SINCE he said we would see much more of him in the second half of the season? If so I guess that explains a lot.

    I do get the feeling though that many managers (rightly or wrongly) would have thrown on their struggling strikers (on occasion) just to give them a boost/a chance.

    Even just because they are more of an unknown quantity.

    I just worry that being untrusted, glued to the bench, and limited to reserve outings is a bit of a Catch-22 confidence wise.

  27. i think henry played so much during his spell here because wenger wanted to maximise whatever we might have paid new york red bulls 😉

    we MIGHT see more of park.. 10 out of 19 games is still quite abit of the second half of the season..

    wenger did say 2012 is the year of the Ox, and now the Ox is starting regularly.

    but i think at the moment, the team pretty much picks itself.. i see park playing more on the flank, and at the moment, we already have gerv, ox and walcott clamouring for 2 places.

  28. benayoun played for the reserves, did well, and started against the spuds.

    i think playing one or two games in the reserves can help a senior player regain confidence and fitness..

    hope that park and chamakh would get some time soon.. but not cos we are desperate, more cos we are cruising and can take off rvp et al.

  29. Well maybe Park just needs more time – I’m trying to be patient!

    To be clear though and these are genuine questions –

    Is it still the case that Park is only a 2 year contract (so basically only one season left as it stands) BUT now he does not have to do his military service until he is 37? What I mean is there was no clause extending the existing contract if this eventuality came to pass?

    If he is only on a 2 year contract, are we in fact now approaching a summer where we are paying an extra €3M just for the right to offer him a NEW contract (in spite of the fact he will probably scarcely have played for the first team)? Otherwise we risk losing him for nothing or next to nothing.

    AND if that is the case does that mean if we decide he is not acclimatising well enough and too big a risk we will have paid c€6.5M for a player whom we never used and are now looking to offload?! In this instance just how much might we recoup? Half that?

    I don’t mean this as an attack on Wenger, his overall record in the market is beyond question, but if the above is other people’s understanding also – then it must be a strong candidate for the strangest transfer of Wenger’s tenure!

    Other candidates – Alberto Mendez perhaps!?

  30. I am really not sure what to make of Park. I did watch him before he came to us after being thoroughly impressed by him in the World Cup 2002 and I was believing that he has the technical ability to play a role in our team. But on the other hand I never saw him as a lone striker, back in MOnaco he was playing as a second striker if I remember correctly, and playing the RVP role is obviously no easy feat. It definitely ranks as the weirdest piece of transfer business Wenger has ever made and I am really curious what the story behind it is going to be. Did we really just decide to take a gamble? Saw he could go cheaply, had a decent record and decided to buy him? Or is it more a case of a very talented player failing to acclimatise?

  31. Could an appearance clause in the transfer be limiting Park’s chances?

    jonny, we definitely look set to lose money on him anyway. Unless he shows something we won’t want to keep him and other clubs won’t have seen enough to be interested in taking him. Very strange. From the outside it appears to be a textbook panic buy. But then we don’t have all the details.

  32. meerkats ghost

    So Hunter13 is no more.
    I liked his spirit,but he became as repetative as Jabba.

    BTW ,they ARE out to get us

  33. meerkats ghost

    See you Thursday .Hopefully we will all be happy

  34. Yogi:

    Interesting post. Everton tomorrow will be a tough game but I think we can win if we play the way we have the last 4 games. Its really fun to have this sort of momentum.

    I think Park was just a brain fart. It happens. He is our version of Bebe. The fact that a club who takes as much pride in getting value would throw around 6.5M without much of a thought would argue that our finances are not really an issue. Yeah but, Nigel Winterburn says we are skint and Arsene says he has to make a big profit each year, Yeah but they have been telling us for last few years that we have plenty of money for any transfer (short of insane money) and Ivan threw out a figure of 50M available for transfers before we sold Cesc and Nasri. Interesting times these are. Trying to figure out what is really going on is a full time job these days.

  35. As many know I actually like Park and fancy him as our 2nd striker because of his technical abilities. He is an interesting situation though because he is more suited to the RVP role of free movement great touch and a true eye for goal(just not up to RVP’s level). His goal scoring record for country is something to behold, honestly everytime i hear about him playing for country he is always bagging atleast a goal if not a brace. I hear many say well play in reserve match but when he does play in reserve matches from what I’ve heard and read on he does extremely well and seems to find the back of the net. I wonder if he is a player that is a gamer and produces in games and isn’t always spectacular in training.

    From the matches that he’s played I did notice he does have very good movement and finds space and is defintely not afraid to shoot and was on target from what i’ve seen. I also know he doesnt have extremely great pace but he seems very quick and seems to have a good footballing IQ.

    Truly puzzling because i honestly rate him higher than Chamakh ecspecially in teh system that we play.

  36. Very hopeful news about Fabrice Muamba. If he is really able to talk and recognize people then his chance of a reasonable recovery are good. That is truly a miracle. The statistics for someone to survive a cardiac arrest like that are quite dismal. Obviously a fantastic job by everyone involved at WHL.

  37. Is Meerkat’s ghost PG??

  38. Yogi, I’ve seen your phone, it’s nearly as old as mine so i wasn’t particularly seeking technical advice from you.

    No, I just thought that one of these young people out there night have some knowledge. Probably not. I’ll have to wait for the postman to deliver.

  39. Who cares if Park’s a panic buy? AFC should be allowed one every few years or so.
    It is not Park’s fault that Chamack has been shrinking.

    And anyway, if he’s Capitanino ahead of two good players who play up in the North East he can’t be that shite, can he? Hang on. We all know how K-razy those K-oreans are. So that’s it. Park must be a crap panic buy becasue people from S.Korea are mad and don’t know their football?

    The above is not a declaration stating that he’s the best buy ever. How do you calibrate that measure anyway? Where does RVP rank at £2.75m + a few years of coaching, growing up, settling down, etc.?
    I don’t know, I don’t care. He can play football, I know that much.

  40. Jeff

    Yep, he mentioned yesterday that he was off North of the Border until Thursday and not sure if he was going to be allowed internet access.

  41. Cbob

    My phone does exactly what it says on the box; it allows you to talk whilst you are mobile. Nowt wrong with that. Darius managed to get hold of me on it so to be fair it did it’s job!

  42. Finsbury,

    Chamack has been shrinking?

  43. Captain Bobcat,

    format to download what to Ipod exactly? Is it an ipod touch and you are trying to choose an app as a ‘reader’?

  44. I think we’ll do well against an Everton side who had to bust a gut just to stay level with Sunderland at the weekend. Given the number of games recently in which we had to come back from an early goal (or two), the accidental mid-season break we’ve just had couldn’t have come at a better time. Suspect we will end up having our strongest run-in for some years once push comes to shove …

    No idea about Park – yet another part of the mysterious tapestry of Arsenal imponderables and there seems little point in speculating too much. But sometimes, as with Hunter13, the face just doesn’t fit, no matter how hard that face might try.

  45. Anyone wanting to watch Arsenal Reserve game? It’s like on Liverpool TV on Sky.

  46. That’s it Jonny. It’s that magazine that Yogi pointed us at this morning, it gives me a choice of 3 formats.

    Well, yes, Darius found you as he found me. No one else did though, did they?

  47. Anyway, I’ve got a polytunnel to erect.

  48. Captain Bobcat – the word on the street from my army of geektastic techno-monkeys is that ‘Stanza’ is the red-hot go.

    I believe it’s free but furthermore it reads just about every format going.

    Good luck with erecting your tunnel! 😉

    What will you be growing in there this season? Tomatoes and peppers?

    My chili plants have just flowered – which is thrillingly early, I overwintered them on the windowsill.


  49. is it true Diaby might is playing in the reserve match?

  50. Thanks Jonny but it doesn’t allow that option.

    Toms in the greenhouse. Peppers, chillies, aubergines, melons, sweet potato, cucumber specifically in the polytunnel plus early and late roots and misc. salad.

    Just printed off another section of instructions, back to work!

    Diaby is playing in the reserve match. It’s on now. Good heads up dups.

  51. Ey up Andrew – not heard your enthusiastic tones for while – been busy keeping the devil from the door?

    I’d never count Park, or any other purchase, as ‘panic’ under AW’s reign.

    No doubt about it: backs were against the wall and time was the enemy but equally – knowing what little we do about Wenger’s scouts, scouting system and his own methods – Park would have been on our radar a long time before. He was a ‘known unknown’ – we saw an opportunity on the back of Campbell’s work permit refusal and went for it.

    Not our finest decision (thus far) but I think it’s wrong to compare to the ‘Bebe’ situation, who SAF gambled on, having never even seen, on the say so of others, for fear of missing out. Stay in the game long enough and even the best managers will drop a bollock as YW so delightfully paints it.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow – I think the rest will have done us a power of good. i know momentum is important but we only have one thing to focus on and refreshed limbs and focused minds will be the order of the day.

  52. Bob, I think the point I am making is that if you have Stanza then it doesn’t matter what format you choose.

    PDF is certainly supported.

  53. @consolsbob

    how does he look as i am at work in the states and unfortunaley they block access to alot of things on our computers.

    Also interesting options for the wingers tomorrow, does Arsene stick with Walcott and Ox or does he play Walcott adn Gervinho. Also who starts at LB the Samba Santos(whenever fit my 1st choice) or the Galloping Gibbs. Would Arsene even think about taking Lil Mozart out in favor of the running Ramsey(I hope not but wever seen stranger)?

  54. Diaby scores and stays down … but thankfully he is up and running again. Come on, Abou, just stay fit for a season and show the doubters that you are top class!

  55. I’m surprised the prison up northare letting George have some internet access.

    Yogi, don’t you worry, its not illegal to have an old school phone. The damn thing works and that’s the minimum legal requirement.

    @Consols – just curious, do you sell most of the fruit and veg you grow? I’m looking forward to one day sitting down with you and enjoying your home made cider.

  56. In my opinion the only extra function a phone needs is the ability to display the time.

  57. Diaby off for Ebecilio (61).

  58. @Evil | March 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for the update and i totally agree with you because he is class. You pretty much just summed up his Arsenal career with your post. A moment showing his class when fit and then he goes down and we all hope he gets back up(thank god he did this time).

  59. finsbury | March 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Well said.

    Bill, to suggest that the club just made up their minds to “throw some money around without a thought” is ridiculous. There are many players with better CV’s than Park’s that have not worked out.

    Are you a banker or stock broker?

    yu love chat bout money, eee?

  60. Evil I used to think the same, until I noticed that I was being charged not much less for having a basic phone versus the fixed cost of a smart phone on contract.

    Since then the ability to look things up – maps, pubs, ACLF, e-mail has become second nature.

    Once you cross there ain’t no going back!

    Please stay fit Abou!

  61. @Jonny
    It was kind of tongue in cheek. I’ve been an early adopter of smart phones — reading ACLF on the bus to university or work is a luxury I don’t want to miss. But in the end, I still find myself using it very often just to look up the time!

  62. Ey-up Jonnyneale – yes, in the middle of setting up a new business whilst running down the old one; a lot of weekend and evening work at the mo. Even had to miss the Newcastle game – first home game I’ve missed this season – due to commitments down Southampton way. Ho Hum.

    A few changes around here – I see the gravatars have gone the way of Hunter13 or is that just my new computer not displaying them? And Jonny is now Jonnyneale!!

    What great news to hear about Diaby fighting his way back. Love that guy, an immense talent and another ‘returner’ who will feel like a new signing when he finally hits the first team.

  63. Noticeably Wenger doesn’t do chop and change. Rotation isn’t week by week, but longish periods. If a player is on form and performing, he gets on the field for a stretch in most cases. What is Park to do? RvP is performing, and heaven forbid we would take him off, and on the left where Park would be preferred Gervinho has looked very good, and Ox looks now very good, and on a few occasions it was Arshavin who has the pedigree and once or twice it was Rosicky or Ben etc … I doubt it was a panic buy, or a major problem. More a problem of finding his feet and Wenger allowing this leeway for a time, and with little opportunity, so wait and see. Or he will go, and it was one of Wenger’s “I took a chance” (there have been a few). Either way, it doesn’t seem terrible.

    In truth … go on, say it … “we don’t know”. My wife has taught this to me; it’s rather liberating the “I don’t know”. Bill? Anybody?

  64. Question: When Henry played during his loan, what position did he play?

  65. Oh I live my entire life by “we don’t know” ZimPaul!!

    I’m also a big believer in chaos theory over and above anything too ‘deterministic’; more often than not things seem to go wrong not by ‘design’ but through cock-up and random adversity!

    It’s a philosophy (if you can call it that) that really comes into its own when considering the antics of some of our less competent referees …

  66. And what was wrong with borrowing Thierry for a spell anyway? It doesn’t mean Park is a “waste of money”, or Chamakh has lost trust, or anything yet. It means Wenger saw a useful short term strategy, which worked. Every team, upper and lower tiers, has players “on the brink” or “off the boil” that the manager hangs on to because it makes sense, for now. Or how about this … Wenger hasn’t made up his mind yet, and is keeping a few options open. Or perhaps, shock, the horror of it, Park, a good enough player, simply has not quite fitted in the team.

  67. @Paul-N

    Roamer lets be honest

  68. I ask the question about Henry because people have used that to say that Park could have played more but from what I remember, Henry never came on for RVP, maybe RVP was rested once. Am I wrong in this?

  69. Well C, you could say that our front 3 roam quite a lot, especially our wingers.

  70. Chaos theory works supremely in Zimbabwe Andrew. Random adversity is all we know. Still the big rocks seem to stick around (the country is full of granite hills, very beautiful).

  71. Yogi, where have all the gravatars gone?

  72. @Paul-N

    thats the point i was trying to make. when Henry came on he came on for our wide players and even in the 8-1 thrashing we gave RVP stayed on even though Park was on the bench. I think Arsene does it because the lads play for each other and our Captain is the unqestioned leader thus staying on the pitch as much as possible.

  73. Nasri has spoken to Canal+ and insisted that he played “too often” at Arsenal and is far happy with his low amount of City game time

    Played to often? May have been on the pitch a lot but hardly ever put in a shift. W@nker

  74. Muamba’s incident is a gentle (for us) reminder of some of life’s more important things isn’t it. Solidarity for a footballer, and in that sense for all footballers. Well, there are exceptions; they prove the rule.

  75. Blessings everyone. Keep it real. I think Everton, who I have come to highly respect and look how they are consolidating once again up the table, truly deserve an exquisite Arsenal thrashing, not so?

  76. @dupsffokcuf

    He likes sittin on teh Manshiteh bench because he gets to collect a paycheck for doing absolutely nothing. I like his as a player when he was actually focused on the game. I will apologize now but Yogi Nasri to me is teh definition of a past, present and future C**T

  77. It’s hard for Nasri to say anything else with his bum in the butter (ie feather soft, well paid, spoiled, shallow, City “bench” player).

  78. JD and others – the gravatars are were lost when wordpress had a cosmic meltdown t’other day.

    George is to be found roaming the super-highways late at night, calling out fearfully for his long-lost meerkat. It’s a heartbreaking sight.

    I didn’t mean to throw my surname in there but I had a wordpress account and when the gremlins struck it made me log in to post t’other day – and whoopsy-diddle there ya go.

    Next up I’ll post my bank details and date of birth….

  79. One of the great joys of this blog is one moment you are typing something into a computer, then next you suddenly realise a ‘reply’ has come in from Africa! Of course, a BIG clue in the name, ZimPaul so I’m feeling slightly foolish as I write this …

    I’ve personally known a good number of really decent people from Zimbabwe; good to hear the big rocks are still constants!

  80. Nasri is a joker. You cannot take him seriously.

    He is such a boring player now. Unless City are tearing a team up, he does nothing. I had high hopes for that young man.

  81. Thanks Andrew. Truly Zimbabwe is full of really decent people, and a few wicked crooks and thugs, aka “the authorities” not many though but a few too many in a uniform of some sort. It’s also full of Arsenal fans. It is a rare day I don’t see an Arsenal shirt around and about.

  82. Honestly i found Nasri to be quite a decent player and i did rate him highly as a player but then he left for the money and now is rotting on the Manshiteh bench and when he plays for the French he doesn’t look even half the player he was when he was playing regularyly for us. Such a sad lost C**T. shows the true character of the man though adn glad he’s gone be his type of class looks better in Manshiteh blue

  83. @Jonny – I have a wordpress account but decided to use the Twitter login instead. Works the same, albeit it links to my twitter profile.

    I haven’t had any problem logging in before and after the WordPress howler with the identity theft.

  84. Nasri was decent but I never held any affection for him – not even really as a player.

    I don’t hold any grudge against him. His biggest crime was to not be honest enough to admit why he went in the first place.

    I think he genuinely still holds Arsenal (the club) with affection and is dumb enough not to realise that the football world does not work that way – that he will always be held with contempt by most fans.

    I wonder how fans might have reacted if he had admitted the money was a primary factor in his decision to leave?

    Not many people would say no to an extra £20M over 4 years.

  85. Bob – I download The Blizzard in Epub format – and then read it via iBooks on my iPhone – so assume that would work on the iPad too.

    It is very good – some really good pieces in the first few issues.

  86. Hmm – am I in moderation – or has WordPress gone up the creek?

  87. I’m back – I will try again!

    Bob – I download The Blizzard in Epub format, and read it via iBooks on my iPhone – so that should work.

    It is very good – some very good pieces in the previous 3 issues so well worth a subscription.

  88. @jonny

    Honestly i would have rather him being truthful and honest about why he left saying i took the money. while i do value loyalty ecspecially to people and teams i do feel as though either way it would have left a bitter taste in my mouth but atleast i would have been able to respect the man. Its funny because he says he left to win trophies but Manshiteh got knocked out of 2 European Tournaments which isn’t something to be proud of because that means you didnt manke it out of the CL group stage but isnt that part of the reason he originally said he left. O well he’s not an Arsenal player thus at this time i will as always concentrate on Arsenal matters like thrashing Everton(who i respect) and taking 3rd from Spuds tomorrow!!!!

  89. I forgot about Nasri. It’s rare that he’s on the pitch for City anyway, a distant footnote on the bench. I’m sure his wallet provides an ample cushion against the splinters his arse would get by sitting on the bench.

    I really want United to win the league so that we see what those who went elsewhere “to win trophies” say for themselves.

    As for Arsenal, the fact that we have a chance to improve our league position from last year with a team that was never given a chance after the departures of the prodigal son and the mercenary is testament to the spirit and strengh of character of this team.

    With the so called superstars, we faded out like a limp tool without conviction. Without them, we have the chance of improving in spite of the obscene and grotesque amount of money spent by City just to make it.

    Even if we are 4th, its still an achievement from last year as this squad was never given a chance.

  90. Nasri will just fade and fade as he gets less and less game time.

    His loss, really.

    Me, like the rest of us here, I’m just looking forward to my team’s next game.

    Unlike the wandering Sammi, one suspects.

  91. Right, knocking off time. Structure’s up, well, first fix anyway. Didn’t see the game apart from the start C. Who won?

    Sorry I couldn’t reply earlier Darius but we grow all the food for ourselves, although the polytunnel is potentially a game changer for surpluses in some produce and we do sell some eggs. We grow about 90% of our fruit and veg consumed now. We may sell a few chillies and step up our bottled produce, pickles and jams and so on now.

    Still drinking the cider from September 2010 at the moment. It is beautiful, alcoholic apples. It changes from month to month, always interesting to see where it goes in flavour over time.

    Matt, thanks, I’ll do that.

  92. Sounds a great life to me Mr. Bob. I think I was born to live in the country but I have only lived in big cities!

  93. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself in a City now Paul. I grew up in one and lived in London for several years but now, if Arsenal didn’t play there I would never go there again.

    My days are absolutely full of things to do, can’t keep up. Never been happier.

    Don’t I remember that you grow a few vegetables yourself?

  94. These kits just get worse, don’t they?

  95. Paul:

    “Bill, to suggest that the club just made up their minds to “throw some money around without a thought” is ridiculous. There are many players with better CV’s than Park’s that have not worked out.”

    Obviously none of us really have any idea what the club was thinking with Park. He has turned out to be an expensive mistake at least so far, but that sort of thing happens to everyone. The only way to avoid it is to completely ignore the transfer market, and one of my biggest complaints has always been that we are overly conservative so I don’t have any problem taking a gamble now and then. I am sure that our brain trust thought this was a good risk and it just hasn’t worked out. In the grand scheme of things who cares. Shame on me but I have to admit that every once in a while the urge to wind you guys up just a little overwhelms me and a bit of hyperbole sneaks into a post like that. I think we all take this stuff a bit too seriously sometimes, myself included.

  96. COYG!

    “10 games left, emptying all closets, things are too tight to be civilized!”

  97. Stuck in work myself so did not see the reserve game, did Diaby score? If so good for him and The Arsenal!!

    C’bob – Always enjoy hearing about your produce, particularly the apple cider(smacking my lips as I write this) look forward to having a pint or two of it with you someday 🙂

    Jonny – I see you will be posting your bank account and address next. Looking for donations are we? As C’bob would say “Get a job!” 🙂

  98. I agree with Jonny @ 4:54:

    No footballer is going to admit that he left for more money but how could it have been anything else. I wish he had stayed but how can you begrudge anyone trying to maximize their income especially when their earning potential ends in their early 30’s. The difference in the wages between the 2 clubs comes to a huge amount over the length of the contract. I certainly don’t want our players to leave but most of us would have done the same thing I suspect. For the most part the clubs treat their dealings with the players as business trying to get the best value for their money and to expect the players to treat their dealings with the clubs in any other way is not realistic.

  99. C’bob – Have to admit I prefer next seasons away jersey to this seasons. And no I am not just being ornery!! Personally I have always lived in cities but do love the countryside, just cannot ever see myself living there. On Friday myself and The Girlfriend are off on our annual roadtrip. This years destination is New Orleans, neither of us have ever been. Taking two weeks off in total. Will be hitting Baltimore, DC, Savannah, Richmond, Charlestown, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Biloxi to visit my cousin and finally meet her two kids 🙂 , Fort Myers and Hillsboro, North Carolina for some home made BBQ and moonshine by my old friend Robbie. Can’t wait to get away for a bit, recharge the batteries so to speak.

  100. On the Nasri thing, yes he left for the money but who cares what the reason was? He is gone end of. It is worth remembering though that Ian Wrightnever looked at his contract, he simply walked in and signed it and walked out. His faith in The Arsenal was absolute. Bit of a wanker now though but I still like the guy and would love if we could sign someone like him again.

  101. @Darius

    I agree with you, i want Manure to win the league so Clichy and Nasri can wallow and come out with a statement like “well we were closer then them”.

  102. Back to the grindstone for me, not all of us can live the life of Jonnyneale!! Lathers peeps 🙂

  103. Are all display pics invisible suddenly or is it a problem with my browser settings?

  104. Few are even remotely capable Irish – even if they think they want to.

    That jersey is an abomination.

    Hmmm, blue or yellow this season?

    Those should be the only decisions open for consideration colour-wise.

  105. I agree Jonny. Mind you, Irish talks a lot of sense in most ways.

    That sounds a great trip Irish, I could be quite jealous. Always fancied driving across the US. Consolslel’s sister lives in Boston, Has done for 30 years! Never been over. Silly really,

    Anytime for the cider Irish. Anytime.

  106. By the way, what’s the point of a red away strip?

  107. Hey Irish – what a great road trip. Did one with the wife and friends few years ago now from DC to Atlanta via VA and NC.

    Hey Irish – what a great road trip. Did one with the wife and friends few years ago now from DC to Atlanta via Va, detours in North and South Carolina.

    Had a mad time stopping at every Irish or English pub we found whatever time it was, crashing at friends diggs along the way, debating between driving on and a decent night cap at Howjos, tempting fate with red neck troopers on the interstate between the Carolinas and just having a blast.

    If you get a chance, check out the Mc Donalds drive through in Richmond – the one that’s most accessible to the main road. I kid you not, the glass was bullet proof. That’s when I knew America was crazy. How do you get to a stage where you carry out an armed robbery on a drive through? I mean, for them to install bullet resistant glass, a cashier must have been shot for a dodgy order or something.

    We also met this elderly couple just as we entered Columbia in SC and stopped to get some drinks and ice cream. The lovely couple had never left the Carolinas, let alone America. We started talking about the world, Europe, Africa and the fact that there’s life outside South Carolina…

    I didn’t think it was ever possible to meet folks that oblivious about the rest of the world, sitting with them and chatting was such an experience for all of us. Lovely couple though, but they needed to literally get out more often.

    When we get some money, we’re planning to do a West coast road trip with the same bunch of friends – though I don’t fancy anything near the mojave desert lest we run out of cold beer.

    Once again, does a “wantaway” player talk like that? To me Robin sounds comitted. If we finish strongly, he’ll sing for sure.

  109. Consols. It’s really great that you grow your own domestic produce. I’e always fancied that but the best we can do now is the farmers market every Friday.

    That cider really sounds like a plot one of these fine days

  110. Irish:

    Drive safely.


    No doubt he really wants to stay. Be great if it all works out for both sides. I hope the club does not try to low ball him and I hope Robin has a realistic goal for what he wants from the club.

  111. Well, in fact I am not sure if Robin is going to “sing” if we do well in the end, but I sure hope he’ll at least sign.

  112. “In truth … go on, say it … “we don’t know”. My wife has taught this to me; it’s rather liberating the “I don’t know”. Bill? Anybody?”

    Thank you ZimPaul for the only sensible comment of the day. I just do not get the obsession with JY Park. The manager gets paid to manage and make decisions about who plays and who doesn’t play. You have the best striker in the world in the form of his life and a team (thanks to a poor start) with little room for error. What would you do? Just give it a rest since you don’t know and may never know. And if I see another racist comment about him being bought to sell shirts in Asia, I will scream and you’ll hear me through the internet!

  113. Lionel Messi just scored.

    He has 232 (Two Hundred and Thirty Two) goals for Barcelona, level with César as the all-time top goalscorer at the club.

    Lionel Messi is 24 (Twenty Four).

    The conversation as to who the greatest of all time may be a pointless one but, if he stays fit and keeps going till early thirties or beyond, what the hell will his stats actually look like?

    I suppose what he actually needs to do is win a World Cup or two, then it would be beyond doubt but in the meantime lets just try to keep our jaws off the floor.

  114. Jonny, on that very question of who the greatest is in the world, Pele was once asked that question. Is it him, Maradona or MessI?

    To which Pele answered: “Those Argentines can’t even decide who’s better amongst themselves. Call me when one of them scores over 1000 goals”.

    When Maradona was next interviewed in one of his many colourful press conferences, Pele’s comments were put to him, to which Maradona replied: “They should put him back in the museum”.

    Priceless. 2 of the best 3 players that ever lived and they turn out to be comedians.

  115. Of course the one thing that Messi hasn’t done that Pele and Maradona did was that they single handedly won the world cup for their respective countries.

    For Messi to become absolutely football royalty like Pele and Maradona, I think he has to lift the world cup. The better for him if he drags Argentina by the scruff of the neck to become the next world champions right under the noses of the Brazilians in Rio 2 years from now.

  116. @Darius

    Pele’s 1000 goals are a myth for a start – one which he was all to happy to start and spread.

    Maradona did ‘carry’ his national team to victory in 86 but Pele’s three world cups are a very different tale.

    Pele was 17 in 58 and didn’t contribute all that much in 62 & 66 due to injury.

    In 1970 he was amazing but then that was arguably the best International team ever Rivelino, Gerson, Tostao and the incredible Jairzinho – most people think they would have won without him.

    All of which proves nothing – they are both as big legends in their heads as they were on the pitch.

    Messi’s most refreshing quality is that he is humble and that he annoys the fuck out Ronaldo.

    Personally I have strange affection for the lazy and talented Ronaldinho, Le Tissier.

    Amazing to think Cruyff has what is now one of the most basic football tricks credited to him – a moment in some ways akin to the Frosby Flop.

    Ronaldinho must have come up with at 4 or 5 of his own – the buck-toothed genius.

  117. Maradona is the best ever for me, at least. Messi is performing in the equivalent of the SPL. He is an awesome player, dont get me wrong, an absolute phenomenon, but Maradona had to play in an era of butchers that would make the likes of Shawcross cry all the way home to Mama.

    Talking of Phenomenons, the real Ronaldo was an amazing player in his pomp, pity he was fucked by injuries.

    BTW, I’ve just returned from South Korea. You can’t move for Park Arsenal shirts. Great move by the PR Dept to sign the Korean captain.

  118. Dex I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment – the though the SPL comparison is a ‘little’ harsh. Look at Athletic Bilbao t’other day – there is plenty of skill in that league.
    plus he has done it in Europe against some of the best. Even scored with a header in a final. That’s just taking the piss! 🙂
    But yes, it’s a deeply distorted league, and Messi sits in a team of truly brilliant players.
    BTW he just broke the record with an outrageous lob over the keeper.

    Speaking of lobs. Here’s a teaser for tomorrow –

  119. Jonny

    I was being a tad fecetious man, but I still think Maradona is the king. he doesnt get the props in the UK because of THAT goal. messi is awesome, but La Liga is a very different league compared to when i first started watching it about 10 years ago; alot more competitive and not the cake walk it is for the top 2. Teams will always be able to give good one off perfomances though, however, its evident how big a shock it is when either Real or barca lose or draw a game.

    I hope the other clubs get together and jetison the 2 greedy bastards! 🙂

  120. Dex just saw your comment on Park! I’m awaiting Passenal’s cyberspace scream.

    I’ve already turned my computer to mute.

  121. (( 😀 ))

  122. Dex as I said from the start “The conversation as to who the greatest of all time may be a pointless one”.

    I can now remove the word ‘may’ from that sentence.


    I think Maradona is the king too – if I’m pushed.

  123. True dat Jonny. Its one that will run and run.

  124. On the subject of Messi, if he scores in any away leg for Barcelona in the quarter or semi-finals of the Champions League this season, he will break Thierry Henry’s record for scoring goals in away matches in one season which currently stands at 7. Henry shares the record with a couple of others but all of Henry’s goals in that season’s competition came away from home.

  125. Glad to see Fat head Alladyce’s Hammers dropped more points tonight. Really dont want them going up while he’s in charge. Hope Southampton and Reading do it. Reading have been amazing last few weeks, while Southampton have played some excellent football all season.

    Pompey thrashing Brum was also a great result considering all the shite they have got to deal with, thanks in no small part to dodgy past wannabe England manager and corrupt owners and chief exces (allegedly!)

    Oh and good old Leeds, managed by that lovely chap Warnock getting hammered 7-3 at home to Forest! Beautiful.

  126. YW – it’s the seemingly impossible idea that he can get better.

    Even if it’s only a little, it’s an increment that will seem interstellar.

    We look at Theo, Ramsey, The Ox and salivate but there is a temptation to think Messi’s talent arc must have peaked sooner and may or even must surely fade. What if the best is yet to come?

    There are some sports where the best ever is almost indisputable – Bradman – batsman, Warne – spin-bowler (yes over Murali), Sobers – All rounder, Taylor – darts, Jordan – NBA, Sanders – NFL running back…. This is usually based on achievements allied with talent and longevity.

    In football even in specialised positions the debate is usually less clear-cut (Schmeichel – keeper?) but one wonders if Messi might go on to change that through sheer numbers alone.

  127. Darius – The Girlfriend and I will be doing a West Coast roadtrip next year, starting at San Francisco and ending in Seattle. Once we hit Seattle we will then drive back cross country, even going into Canada every now and then, through Montana (we have a frind there who owns a ranch) where we will do some trail-riding and camping out, then head on back to New York. The funny thing is because of California’s weather cars hold there value better. A lot better in fact. The plan is to buy a decent enough car in California, do an awesome roadtrip and then sell it when we get back to New York. Simples 🙂

    C’bob – In as much as I never liked Boston, I have been there many times, I think you should treat yourself and Consolslel to a trip Stateside. In as much as I give Americans sthit for not travelling abroad, I think the same goes for anyone who has never visited the States. It is in fact several different countries all rolled into one and is a truly incredible, if somewhat bewildering, country to travel around.

    Darius – That couple you met who had never left the Carolina’s are not, sad to say, all that rare. So many Americans are so paranoid about “Foreingers” that they would rather die having never gone anywhere than take a chance. Last year I went to Disney World in Florida (truly awful creepy place) with The Girlfriend and her family. One of the theme parks there is called Apcot, basically it is an area that contains replicas of foreign countries such as:

    1) England – complete with tacky faux English pub and really bad fish and chips
    2) Japan – complete with sushi restaurant and horrible ‘Japanese’ merchandise
    3) Morocco – I’m sorry I just can’t bring myself to describe the Disney version of Morocco

    Anyways, believe it or not, for a lot of Americans this is their only exposure to a foreign culture. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

  128. Bradys right foot

    Samir lmao, I almost feel sorry him.Turns out Mancini has found his favourite position the bench.

  129. If you thought Nasri sold out, check out Neville Southhall or Fatboy as he should be called from now on. Seriously, how can professional athletes end up looking like this?

  130. If you thought Nasri sold out, check out Neville Southhall or Fatboy as he should be called from now on. Seriously, how can professional athletes end up looking like this?

  131. theonlyredsteve

    Irish – give us a wave as you journey around the DC Beltway. We live about 200 yards inside the monster.
    Love to drive long distance in the US? Boring, especially on that nighmare of a road I-95. I hate it more than the A12 in Essex. And that takes some doing.
    And I don’t know why they bother to pretend to have driving tests here….

  132. theonlyredsteve

    I used to grow a lot of vegetables. Then realized I didn’t really like most of them. Well my wife says that potatoes and peas don’t count as vegetables.
    Not much point growing them in MD anyway. What the deer/squirrels/bugs don’t eat get shrivelled up by the sun.
    Never tried growing those new-fangled peppers and chillies though.

  133. theonlyredsteve

    Ha ha, not so much Darling Buds of May. More like The Good Life.

  134. theonlyredsteve – Trust me, we try and stay off the I-95 as much as we can. The only real time we use it is when we want to make up some time and get somewhere before it is too late.

    On a seperate note, I knew Barca were sneaky but I never thought they were this bad!!

  135. If Kenny is King, then Arsene is God

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