Robin van Persie: Stick Or Twist?

Winning the PFA Player of the Year Award was widely expected; when the media report other candidates such as Wayne Rooney noting that Robin van Persie will – not might – win, it is as much of a foregone conclusion as you get. Rooney would have noted that from dressing room gossip about whom players voted for. To be honest, I cannot think of anyone who would have seriously rivalled van Persie, perhaps Joe Hart but that is it. The rest were populist nominees, players whom the back pages have raved about but their inconsistencies over the course of the season would have rendered the award irrelevant had they won.

van Persie thoroughly deserves the recognition for his form since returning from injury in 2011; he ought to have been closer to winning the global award last year than he was. With the Football Writers Association recognising their equivalent in the near future and anything less than a Dutch double will mean that the media talk double Dutch. That cannot be taken for granted with Twitter recently granted the wisdom of one of their illustrious number opining that the misconception of a failure to shake hands is a cardinal sin for which he should not be forgiven. The Player of the Season is, we were told, an ambassadorial role, seemingly unswayed by the player’s form in a season. That scribe believed the best ambassador for English football was Wayne Rooney.

van Persie follows in venerated footsteps; previous Arsenal winners were Liam Brady, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. Curiously Brady was never honoured by the Sportswriters although they were more recognising of the achievements of Joe Mercer, Frank McLintock and Robert Pires. It seems strange that despite his lauded captaincy of the club, Tony Adams never received the same public accolades from peers or professional observers.

An undercurrent of recent weeks has been the current captain’s contract situation. As soon as van Persie put these on ice, it was inevitable that they would be a recurring theme throughout the season, a malevolent influence to be pushed to the forefront when negativity required emphasis. His talismanic status in the squad does not appear to have been diminished unlike his predecessor, an object lesson in professionalism with his effort and output unaffected by his future. Not that he has much to worry about for there will be no shortage of suitors should he decide to leave.

The presumption is that the Dutchman wants to wait and see who Arsenal sign to strengthen the squad. Arsenal regularly cull numbers during the summer although this tends to be with the fringe players. This time around a large number of those who seem set to leave are former first team regulars as well as those upon whom high hopes and false expectations were placed. In the parlance of the bar-room manager, they are the ‘deadwood’ of the squad.

According to Henry Winter, van Persieholds all the aces” in negotiations. It is hard to argue with Winter’s assertion that van Persie’s talent should have won more honours; had he been fit for longer periods in seasons, he might well have done. 2007-08 is the one season when he was truly missed, 7 goals in 15 Premier League matches gave hints of his capabilities; injuries dictated it would be several seasons before these were realised over a sustained period.

That van Persie is a key player is undisputed but the suggestion in other quarters that money is the root of the issue is wide of the mark. With maybe five years left in his playing career, van Persie will be keen to sign for a club where there is a reasonable chance of success. Arsenal can deliver that, the manager must convince him that this will be the case with his actions (signings) this summer. Arsène has set a window of four days in May to resolve the matter; that puts pressure on not just the negotiators but also himself as he will need to prove the incoming talents to his favoured lieutenant if this is the key. The club know – or have a good idea – of the financial structure of any deal. Surely?

Yet what if the deal cannot be brokered? Or should Arsenal take the money and run in any case? van Persie is 29 years old, an offer of £30m or more for a player of his age should surely be given hard consideration. If it goes to £40m, does it become a ‘no-brainer’? This idea might be enough to make some hyperventilate but it is not so far-fetched. The club is bigger than any player and in theory, a large transfer warchest would allow significant reinvestment, a restructuring of the wage structure toward meritocracy rather its’ current egalitarian phasing.

With a large turnover of fringe players likely, £30m or more might purchase three players of quality, two at least. Arsenal have moved away from reliance on one player to some extent, the summer expunging that when Fabregas left. Now it is more of a team structure in the squad, equal ability. With tweaking, few can argue that a significant foundation exists. Improve on that, in quality and mental approach, and there is a group of players that can challenge for honours.

The goals of van Persie have encouraged this challenge and that hurdle is the biggest obstacle to overcome. Yet there is no guarantee that the Dutchman will continue in this form either. We take such matters for granted, often at our peril. At times this season, goals have been hard to come by when the captain is not scoring. It is a wider issue that needs to be addressed in the transfer market and training pitches.

If the club keep Robin van Persie, that is true also with one less headache for the manager to contemplate. Yet were he to leave, it need not be the end of the world; it would be a seismic shift in the current era but football is nothing but fluid. Yesterday’s hero is tomorrow’s forgotten man.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 23, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 208 Comments.

  1. First, hell yah!

  2. Top blog YW.

  3. I think robin was nailed on..
    last time i checked robin has contributed more to the team that what henry did when he was here..
    weve been the only one man team in the top 4..
    he was a dead cert for it..

    the golden boot is not going to be so easy..
    he needs more goals and i hope he gets them because we need more wins…

    as far as his contract goes hes been talking to other clubs. hes definately spoke to city..
    i dont think hes wanting to leave though, its a case of him weighing up the offers and then him going back to AW and saying match it..
    or get as near to it as you can…

  4. Remember the 1980 Cup Winners Cup campaign? No, read and watch how Arsenal beat Juventus in Turin in the second leg of the semi-final at Arsenal On This Day.

    If you do remember it, relive one of the club’s greatest ever European nights.

  5. I won’t lie, the thought of selling van persie and getting a younger striker has crossed my mind but no one can replace our captain, he is mr arsenal himself, his passion, leadership and love for the club can never be replaced, every great team has a great leader as their captain, maradona for argentina, cafu for brazil, gerrard for liverpool, viera for the invincibles, these players are rare and cannot be bought, frankly v.persie must be given anything he wants, if he wants messi, get messi!, if he wants john terry’s head on a stick, make it happen!, if he wants us to sign players …

  6. what i have learnt from the past year is indeed to take nothing for granted.

    i want rvp to stay, simply because it will let us believe a little more that the romance, the values in football are still alive.

    i have always felt that whether he stays or not will not have a direct impact on next season. no one knows if he will continue in this form, no one knows if he will stay injury-free.

    but him staying will be a psychological boost, and sends out the right signal to the rest. but it doesnt automatically mean we will win the league.

  7. YW
    understand the point in the last paragraph..
    but its the knock on effect of robin leaving..
    if he leaves not only do we lose a player who has become more important than a prime henry but whats to say theo dont turn around and say fuckit, if hes off im off as well..
    then song??

    abit like what nasri did when the cesc shit was going down..

    the only reason we got over cesc so quick was because we had robin to knock 30 goals in as well as assists..

    if robins next out of the door we lose a world class playmaker as well as a goalscorer and its going to be hard to replace that..
    it will need major surgery and AW doesnt do surgery..

    he does plasters..

    robin needs to stay..
    everyones going to stop taking us seriously if we keep selling our captain every year..
    and seeing as though we are worth over a billion quid now it will make being a feeder club quite ridiculous…

  8. looking at the team of the year, i can conclude that man utd are as much a one man team as we are, since they have also only got one player in there- same as us.

  9. 30m for a 29 year old striker with 1 year left of his contract and a career continually marred by injuries? You’re dreaming.

    Come down by 10m as a starting point.

  10. Jon jon, you are on point, v.persie is not only a goalscorer, he is also a playmaker, i don’t think it is an exaggeration to say rvp has been the 3rd best player in the world for the last year and a half, you don’t sell a player of that quality.

  11. Very interesting post and a point likely to be debated all day and beyond.

    Inevitably, RvP has been a favourite player of mine ever since his early hot-headed days; his fitness is the only thing ever to have disappointed in subsequent years.

    But at 29, whilst not old, he’s no longer young, either and £40 million in AW’s hands is likely worth £100 million in the pockets of most others.

    I personally hope Robin stays but equally I’ve always longed for Arsene to be let loose with a big war chest; the damage he could wreak would without doubt eclipse the temporary collateral caused by a Dutch departure.

  12. exactley khalifa..
    the top teams dont sell these players..

    and if they do they go for near 100mil..

    even if he doesnt sign..i say we keep him to his contract..
    rather him walk away for free when hes 30 than panic and sell him for peanuts this summer..

  13. JonJon you write with such certainty e.g.,”as far as his contract goes hes been talking to other clubs. hes definately spoke to city..” Really, how are you so sure? I’m sorry I expect a higher quality of posting on ACLF….

  14. georgaki..
    how do you know with such certainty he isnt?

    im sorry, i expect a much higher standard of debate on ACLF rather than people whos only standing point is insults..

    ive seen the photo of robin and his agent with that rep from city..he wasnt there for dinner, or he would have took mrs van persie and not the bloke who sorts the fine details of his career out..
    hes got his figure, now the balls in gazidis court..or dick laws..

    your turn…

  15. JonJon, if you consider my comment an insult then you have a very sensitive mental constitution. van Persie commented on similar allegations concerning Barcelona in the programme notes on Saturday. He wanted to dispel such ideas as agreeing a pre-contract. He was visiting his good buddy Ibrahim Affelay….that’s what he says and that’s what I believe until it is confirmed otherwise. The rest is speculation. We can all speculate to our heart’s content…..JonJon is a pseudonym for van Persie. He loves a good wind-up and posts here for fun……

  16. double his wages..
    give him and his agent a nice signing on fee..
    sign some players..

    robin will stay..

    it all depends on which way gazidis sees the 30..
    if he sees it as goals then the boat will be pushed out

    if he sees it as millions the captain will be pushed out..

    its been said before but we’ll know if lessons have been learned this summer..and if the club are serious about our on the pitch ambitions..
    either that or the club arent making the mistakes to learn from and its a strategic plan to sell anything or anyone thats worth a few quid and then try tell us we are successful because financial ambitions are being reached..

  17. JojJon

    yawn, yawn, yawn

  18. now your changing the goal posts..
    i never mentioned barca..and thats because i agree he wasnt there to talk contract
    im talking about city..and thats becuase he was there to talk contract..

    i kept it simple..and you still couldnt follow..

    and i dont care whether you insult me..i like it to be honest..
    i just made the point that it was a bit silly of you to downgrade and dismiss my comment with no solid foundation from your part..

    other than a sly little dig…

    if your going to come at me then at least have a decent point..

  19. This is a disgrace. How the hell didn’t Scott Parker or Bale of Nazareth win. How dare they vote for Robin van Persie. For fuck’s sake, even Kyle Walker had a better chance and has displayed more quality than Van persie.

    This is totally unacceptable.

  20. haha
    you cant help it can ya??

    i suppose if you like making a tool of yourself then go for it..

    the floors yours..

  21. JonJon

    Believe me you are out of your depth.

  22. A brave and thoughtful piece of writing there YW.

    I think Wenger will do what he can to retain him but it is up to the player, and his agent, to choose to stay. He can command more salary elsewhere – he will have to meet us financially and perhaps we will have to display ambition in return.

    Marquee signings are not Wenger’s hallmark, but I sense the illustrations of last summer were significant. As Wenger alluded himself, we cannot continue to shed our best players every summer.

    If the player wants to leave we can accept that (for the right price) but we should make that decision as difficult for him as we can.

    Good call on Joe Hart and Adams – but then defensive arts are under appreciated. Kompany has been magnificent but did not make the short list either.

    In cricket they often say it is a ‘batsmen’s game’ – it is similar in football, in that the flair of midfield and attack skew perspective. To win awards as a defender or goal keeper is worth almost double the weight.

  23. I hope we can improve the squaud during the summer but i it should not be at the expense of chamberlain and wilshere in the ist team.

  24. i suggest you re read the recent discussion and then re-phrase that..
    take out the ‘you are’ and ‘your’ and replace it with ‘i am’ and ‘my’..

    and then i’ll admit you have a great point..

  25. Sorry guys – I am responsible for today’s Jon-Jon. Couldn’t help myself when I remembered a similar certitude about Kozzer et al.

  26. It would be nice for us to have a top class player turn around and say “You know what this team can and will win things and I am staying to make it happen.” It would really send the best message to all the young players and potential new targets.

    However, if he was to leave we should not name a new captain. As soon as we name a new captain it seems they leave within two seasons. Simple answer, no captain. Or make someone shit captain!

  27. Tim krul has performed better than hart, i don’t know what all the fuss is about, and since we’re on about the awards how the fuck is scotty parker there, gareth bale? I will choose valencia everyday, allday, also am expecting kierian fuckin gibbs in that leftback spot ahead of baines next season, i tells ya.

  28. shotta

    to be honest you assumed and made up a story which aided your gloat about a player who EVERYONE has said has been world class this season..

    which i kindly corrected for you..

  29. YW – You certainly made up my mind about postponing any purchase of an RVP replica jersey. In my best Americanism, thanks buddy.

  30. he must sta but wenger will buy at least three key players one in defence like ventrighen,one in midfiled like hazard,gotze,m’villa and one in strike like lucas barios,mark reus or falcao

  31. So – after the worst summer ever that led to the worst Arsenal squad of all time (I struggle to keep up with the establishment benchmark of the day), it turns out that we actually did better than last season when we had our celebrity superstars who left for greener (or is it greedier) pastures.

    Not that I expect Van Persie to leave, but if he does, this team will most definitely rise to the challenge. As Thomas Vermaelen famously said (paraphrased of course) when signing a new 4 year deal with Arsenall: “I want to show the fans that I want to stay and work hard to win trophies here. When times are hard, you don’t leave and claim that you’re doing it to win trophies elsewhere. When things get tough, you knuckle down, work hard and win the trophies right here”.

  32. I’d agree with all that Yogi.

    I love RVP more than any other Arsenal player since Denis but…..

    Ideally, he stays and we bring in a couple more players.

  33. The Lumpologistas told us for years that the Arsenal needed a lump. Or Two. And look how well we’ve done this season at times with or without Per. It must make all the difference. Lest we forget for years we also needed a lump up front.
    Not only was RVP apparently a dwarf in the eyes of many, he was also made of glass, which might be worse then being carved out of deadwood, I don’t know. Driftwood can be beautiful, and us humans seem to find plenty of use for ‘deadwood’ but I digress.
    When RVP clipped in that 100th goal against Bolton and the chant that we didn’t hear much last season, OTBAG echoed around the ground, I thought to myself that after everything that had happened last summer that there was a good atmosphere around the arsenal for some reason. I don’t need a ginormous football brain to work out one plausible reason why RVP was playing more then the average fan might like at times: he’s been the captain of a squad that had a disastrous start, of a squad that hadn’t had a captain for over a year or so. Nope. It’s not that hard to figure out what he was doing. Leading his team through the tough times. Or something stupid like that. Isuppose it’s worth a moan now that old glass knees was actually playing. Well done RVP. A well deserved honour if ever.

    Last week some people were concerned about images of RVP meeting a Dutch colleague who’s had a crap time at FC Barcelona Tuesday. I thought at that moment of posting the images I have of RVP and TV5 having tea with someone’s mum as they sit on her sofa after yet another midweek physio workout. But then I thought of the beating I’d get from said lady for posting pictures of her in a track suit. I didn’t have the required gr*t I’m afraid. But, well, they all looked very happy and at home, you know what I mean. The Arsenal captain and vice captain.

  34. Stats for carlos vela, Played:31 Goals:11 , Assists:7, looks like its going carlitos way, he is their top goalscorer and leads in assists also, the boy is finally fufilling his potential, real sociedad must pay nothing less than 7million.

  35. I am with kori, after the Cesc disappointment I just need one of our major players to stay even when better contracts are on offer, to show me that football is not 100% about the money but merely 99,99999999999999%. If Robin leaves I will certainly be more saddened than I was after Cesc’s departure, but I hope that he will stay and sign. Him putting pen to paper on that new contract would certainly make my season more than our third place finish. I just want him to finish his career with us. We need a new proper legend..

  36. pedantic george

    drew10 | April 23, 2012 at 10:55 am
    It would be nice for us to have a top class player turn around and say “You know what this team can and will win things and I am staying to make it happen.” It would really send the best message to all the young players and potential new targets.

    Tommy V did exactly that Drew10 .Do keep up

  37. pedantic george

    My heart says keep him at any price.My head says take the money ,if right and buy 2 or 3 new quality players.
    The only thing I keep thinking is that he is almost 29.Now that,for a striker would indicate “sell”.But imagine if we had sold Dennis at 29 ,the year he won PFA and Writers Player?We would have miss 7 fabulous years.
    RVP is as near to Dennis as we will ever get,He can move slowly backwards through the team and be every bit as valuable .
    What I am saying is his age is not a factor like it was for Henry ,say.

    Jon Jon,Behave.
    There is no way RVP would be talking to City openly.So your definite statement that he has,is stupid. He may have,but it would have been done very covertly.

  38. i am always amazed by how JonJon seems to know all the goings-on at the club..

  39. Congratulations to RVP. Hopefully he will stay.
    Now if Diaby goes on to have a similar injury free season next year…

  40. van Persie has shown the kind of commitment to Arsenal that I haven’t seen in a while. I don’t think you can put a price on what he offers the club. Not right now anyway.

    If the assumption is that van Persie wants signings I’d love to be a fly on the wall when he lays out his opinions on exactly where we need to strengthen. I mean he is closer to the players than anyone, and from the outside it’s difficult for me to see where we need to improve assuming we hold onto our starting 11…

    It’s easy to say we could do with another proven striker as back-up for VP, but we have two who regularly make the bench and Wenger has shown that he has no intention of changing the shape of the team to incorporate either. They can’t even get a run out when we’re 3-0 up. Other than bringing in a versatile attacker like Podolski and replacing a few squad players who might leave I find it difficult to see where we fit in any more players given the restrictions on squad size.

    Many claim we need another centre back. I think that’s bollocks given the talent we now have in that position and the fact that our first choice back four have been racking up the clean sheets when they’ve played together. If anything I’d be more in favour of an experienced right-back as backup for Bac and to give Jenks a chance to develop.

    You could say that we need another central midfielder, but then you’re effectively saying that the likes of Jack, Diaby, Coquelin or Ramsey will not be getting a look in any time soon. A defensive midfielder? In one way that makes sense. Alex Song has shown that he can offer a lot further up the pitch so giving him some freedom from time to time would make sense. Again you’d be limiting the chances of Frimpong and Coquelin. It’s a fine balancing act and one that I don’t envy.

    I donlt even want to consider losing any of the starting 11. When I see that teams like Barca could be doing with some reinforcements in defence it makes me nervous.

  41. i agree with Markus that our squad is quite complete.

    all we need is players to stay free from injuries, then we can really see how far we can go.

    as for a RVP backup, i will be happy if we can get the old chamakh back. he was good enough for me.

  42. Andre Santos, Andrey Arshavin, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Maroune Chamakh, Abou Diaby, Johan Djourou, Lukasz Fabianski, Gervinho, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Vito Mannone, Per Mertesacker, Park Chu-young, Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna, Thierry Henry, Alex Song, Sebastien Squillaci, Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen, Theo Walcott.

    This is our current 25-man squad. Out of those Henry and Arshavin are already gone, Benayoun will be gone, while I guess we can speculate that Fabianski/Mannone/Squillaci and Chamakh might also be on their way out. In total that’s 7 places in the squad (with 3 more open that can only be filled with home-grown players … i.e. probably Ramsey when he turns 21, possibly Jenkinson as well). Either way, if we play some Footie Manager we can be quite certain that Podolski will come back and fill up a squad place, possibly a new back-up keeper (if both Fabianski and Mannone leave). Allows us still wriggle room for 5 new players. (Ryo and Joel will both be young enough so that we won’t have to worry about including them)

    On one hand I agree with kori and Markus that the squad looks quite good as it is, but on the other hand if we have 5 empty spaces and decide to leave them like that, wouldn’t that be quite risky with our tendency to get our major players injured and all that? It would surely leave us with one of the thinnest squads in the league. But at the same time I don’t know who or for what position we could buy as I really find it hard to imagine, for example, someone who is affordable and available who would be able to improve us in midfield, or in defence, or in attack.

  43. pedantic george

    If we buy a DM that frees Song ,but is Song a better AM than Jack Rosicky or Diaby?
    I don’t think so. he is fine where he is.

    Jon Jon contributes greatly to this blog.BTW.He might chat shit from time to time,but hey,who doesn’t?

  44. pedantic george dare you say Andrei has already gone?
    He is coming back,and bringing my Meerkat with him I hope.

  45. I agree Evil, if we have space then bring in players. And we really should have space when you consider who could be leaving. I’m not saying we shouldn’t buy, just that it is a lot trickier than armchair pundits would have you believe.

  46. I was talking about the situation at the moment in that half-sentence. I apologise! I do hope he returns and with the way he has been playing at Zenit and hopefully an influential showing at the Euros I think the boss will remember him when he does his transfer business

  47. @Markus
    Yes, it’s just so difficult to decide where to improve. We have two solid full backs on both sides, 3 very good centre backs and one who has potential and is quite underrated + Miquel, Bartley., Midfield looks well stocked on paper with 8 players for three positions (Song, Frimpong, Coquelin – Arteta, Ramsey – Rosicky, Wilshere, Diaby) and offensively Podolski is going to solve the back up striker problem while at the same time we probably have the fastest and strongest assortment of wingers in the whole league.

  48. The Real Stew Black

    Congrats to the Captain. Notice how he singled out Theo for particular praise when receiving the award?
    All this talk of new players is all well and good but really they’d want to be pretty special to be better than what we’ve already got. Who out there could better TR7, Alex song, Kosser and Tommy not to mention Lil Jack and the mighty Bacary Sagna. Just a few examples of the unbelievable quality that some seem to think can just be brushed aside for a name with a media price tag.
    As for those psychics who know what RVP things – they ain’t even worth responding to.

  49. Evil

    my stance is always the same: if we can find a player with the quality, then lets get him.

    the priority is to keep all the players we want to keep, and then see where we can add on..

  50. Jon Jon

    According to many people on twitter the photo you mentioned (with RVP +2) was RVP, Dein & an Arsenal ST holder not a Citeh rep. These guys say they know the person.

  51. pedantic george

    Stew,Great post.I would not swap those 6 plus Arteta and RVP for anyone .
    That is 8 plus Wojo =9 that are as good as it gets.

  52. For me, “IF” RvP won’t re-sign, I prefer (as a fan) NOT to go through a full season knowing the player did not see his future at the club. Who then would be captain? We need a roster of Arsenal committed players.

    Take the money and invest in another good striker: someone like Cavini at Napoli. Only 25: Tall – strong – pace – good skills…..(imo) an upgrade of Adebayor.

    As I’ve watched Robin hit this end of season dry patch, I attribute it to our wing play struggling. So many of his earlier goals this season coming from low balls across the goal mouth.

    Anyway, no sense in speculation about his future. Arsene will not go into July with roster question marks.

    1st order of business is Stoke.

  53. Stew, that’s assuming we hang onto Song, Koscielny and Sagna. Those three can only have a year or two left on their current deals.

  54. Yogi – excellent write-up.

  55. pedantic george

    Markus,Stop worrying.That will always be the case with about a quarter of the squad

  56. But I am worried George! I didn’t worry last year and it backfired as you well know.

    Mostly worried about Song cos he’s taken up with that Dein junior ballbag.

  57. Stew
    “Who out there could better TR7, Alex song, Kosser and Tommy not to mention Lil Jack and the mighty Bacary Sagna.”


    If we want to via for the league title and other silverware, then Arsenal need to raise the consistency from other positions.

    down the road…..
    love to see Arsenal maintain the mid-field of Arteta, Rosicky, Song then
    have Jack on the left wing and Ryo on the right.

    We need an attack that is a nightmare for opponents to set up against.

  58. Van Persie is not going anywhere and congratulation to him for Player of the year!!! Jon jon as Georgaki pointed out you cant really know was discussed in RVP’s dinner which makes it all speculation at this point.

    Re our game with Chelsea, we should have won that game as Chelsea were only there playing for a draw, quite a shame for such a rich club!cech was also quite a time waster.I would hate for such a team to win CL (in recent times the team that has beaten barca has gone on to win it so I hope they get humiliated tomorrow).

    Really disappointed that Song and my favourite player Kozzer didnt make team of the year, some of the names in there were quite shocking!!!

  59. Great write up Yogi and i agree with most of it about us the value of RVP but also that we have gone from being totally dependent on him to semi-dependent on him. I think that his true value as is with TV5 is in there presense and being Captain. I think unlike Cesc, the team and players feed off of his leadership and with that they follow him. They feed off of his energy and drive and that is what I think his true value holds for us, I mean I honestly believe that if/when he signs Theo and Song will immediately sign an extension because that is there Captain and they follow their Captain because like Viera RVP fights for his players and instills a tremedous amount of confidence.

    @pedantic george | April 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm
    Do i think Song is a better AM than Jack Diaby or Lil Mozart, NO but i do think that we could have a midfield of Jack, Diaby and Song all interchangeable all so well suited to play all 3 spots. They might start as Jack AM Diaby CM and Song DM but Jack has the ability as seen last year to break up play and we all have seen Diaby and Song do it time and time again at the highest of levels. Just as Jack can make that final pass and help lead the counter but so can Diaby and Song. We must not forget that Song started as a AM before we signed him he just looked out of place being so muscular and strong and as we have seen this year if given more freedom to attack he can pick out a pass with the best of them and we all know how talented Diaby is once healthy(hmmmmmm havent we heard that before, o wait the same thing was said about RVP).

  60. @Arsesession | April 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I think that a more potent lineup would be Song Diaby and Jack in the middle while Theo and Ox or Ryo on the left(going from current Arsenal players).

  61. would be funny if spuds miss out on top4.. and they have 3 players in the team of the year..

  62. pedantic george

    All in all the more we talk ,the better shape I think we are in.

  63. pedantic george

    Spurs have missed the top 4..

  64. george,

    i am waiting to have a good laugh. but i am still waiting. will only do it at the end.

    i have learnt enough from the past year not to take anything for granted…

    so i will be patient.

  65. pedantic george

    Me too with regard to where we finish.But they are history I feel.Talk about wheels falling off.

  66. @ c
    that’s why we’re fans, varying takes on players, manager, and club dealings.

    I place a high priority in consistency. Theo, Ox, and Gervinho: inconsistent.

    I’m happy to pencil in Diaby, once he’s able to exhibit a run of matches where his run of play raises the teams performance. Excited that he’s back and for the final 3 matches hope to see him filling in at the Arteta slot.

    If I’m trying to place my 10 best consistent field players on the pitch at one time.

    Next season, maybe # 10 will be from Diaby, Ryo, Podolski, or even Theo.

  67. Great post Yogi:

    I think RVP wants to stay but being realistic it will depend on the offer we give him. Your statement that RVP might wait to see if the manager signs any new players is also a consideration but I suspect a smaller consideration then he wage package. I don’t know if JJ really knows about RVP meeting with Man city reps but TBH, RVP would be foolish not to meet with them and Barca and Real etc etc. Clearly putting off his negotiations for a new contract indicates that he is going to look at his options and Man City is certainly one of the better options in the world right now. RVP should sack his agent if he is not meeting with them.

    If he does leave then I hope we get a good transfer fee and most importantly we use that money to bring in new players. Obviously none of us know the true state of the teams finances but it certainly looks like we are putting most of the money we get from the large transfer fees in the bank rather then using it to improve the squad. I hope that does not happen again but I am not holding my breath.

  68. @Korihikage and PG

    Yea i will wait but the funnies part is that Arry is blaming injuries and a thin squad

  69. pedantic george

    RVP and his agent are breaking the law if they are meeting with other clubs.

  70. pedantic george

    Is it just me or do other think Ade would hand Harry his arse in a fisticuffs?

  71. Bill
    I’m in accord with your 1:53 pm comments.

    PG – didn’t City do this with Nasri (maybe his agent wasn’t present) but Arsenal, instead of raising a stink; just jacked up the transfer price?

  72. Why would RVP sack his agent for not talking to a club that he has singled out as being a club that he would never join? Cry yourself a river over RVPs proposed move to ‘bigger club’ * if you must but please: Try to be credible.

    *There are two that you could waste your time considering when there are still three games left to enjoy of the season, but I’d advise you to narrow it down to one

  73. Every year we go thru these same discussions and it lines up the hard core “good fans” vs. the fence sitters. Every year the former say the players we have are good enough and the latter say we are thin in spots and should bring in some new players. Every year the former say we have all these young players and we don’t want to take away from their chance to play and every year the latter say that if we bring in some new players then the really good youth will still make it and the idea of killing a young player is ridiculous. The former tell us how difficult it is to make transfers happen and the latter tell us that we have a very talented braintrust who could be doing better.

    Lets be honest, we have a lot of really good players and on paper we should have a realistic chance to challenge. However, when you look at the table it tells you something else. We are 18 points behind the leaders. Come up with all the excuses in the world but that is a huge gap and its not all down to a bad start. We have tons of questions on the squad. RVP status. Gervinho? Will Theo finally be consistent? Will TR7 be able to handle playing more often in a crowded schedule? Will Aaron regain form? how good will Jack be? Will Ox take the next step or struggle with inconsistency? Will Diaby be able to play? Will we ever be able to play consistent defense? We are 9th in the table in goals conceded. Joel Campbell has stuggled, will he help? How about Ryo? How many injuries will we have?

    If most of these questions are answered in a positive manner then we could realistically stay close to the Manc clubs, but when was the last time that most of those questions were answered positively? Our table position for the last several years tells the truth. Lets keep RVP and strengthen the squad early and not wait until the last day. Lets surprise a everyone with our aggresiveness in the transfer market this summer, it would be a huge mental boost for next season. .

  74. I can’t see anyone abpve writing what Bill has just described above. No one has said they don’t want any players.

    Just to be clear, you know. In case anyone starts to accidently mis-quote others as they trudge down into the mire. Call it a pre-emptive strike.

  75. Finsbury @ 2:11:

    I don’t know if RVP will move, I hope not, but he would not have put off the contract negotiations until the summer if he was not going to explore his options. It would make no business sense for him not to talk to all of the other big teams. If for no other reason then to get offers and have more negotiating leverage with Arsenal. If you don’t like Man City then substitute Real or Barca or Juventus etc etc etc.

  76. I did see the following sentence from Arsession, and I quote:

    “@ c
    that’s why we’re fans, varying takes on players, manager, and club dealing..”

    Now isn’t that nice.
    But let’s be clear. RVP doesn not need to talk to $iteh in order to get more moolah. Everyone knows how good he is (unless they are experts on Arsenal and glass knees).

  77. Bill, it’s RVP who said he doesn’t like City. Not me. Calm down lad. You can substitute in another club if you like, seeing as you are so keen. It was your comment after all.

  78. @Arsession

    I do agree thats why were different people. The thing that i’m finding intersting about your post is you place Ryo in your attack adn say he’s more consistent than Theo even though Ryo is just not getting his “feet wet in the EPL”. While yes Theo does have his off games he is 2nd on teh team in goals and when both him and Sagna are healthy and playing down the right flank they are damn near impossible to deal with. I do feel that Theo has earned his place and while I do think it is good to have competition for his spot, I also like teh way that Theo and RVP seem to know what each other is thinking. For me it has to be a balance between chemistry, talent, consistency and production which for me is:


    but to each his own

  79. Scott Parker in team of the year again! Artete been miles beter than him in almos every department across the season!! Joke! Of course Garett bale got his obligate place.. What is it 10 goals an 12 assists! A certain Theo Walcott has that!

  80. Finsbury:

    No one ever says “we don’t want to get new players”. However as soon as any players name comes up then we start with, “he is not good value”, “we already have enough players for that position”, ” we are already good enough”. In truth whats the difference. I know thats a bit of an over generalization but that whats happens most of the time. Its part of what makes the blog interesting.

  81. Bill.
    Mark Schwarzer is a fascinating topic. Hold on. I’m just off to get my reading glasses.

  82. Did I forget to mention the stamp on RVPs face being a consideration when it comes to the credibility of the $ity connection. Oh, why do I do it? Why do I support this uselless selling club. Fuck it. I might as well go and support Tottenham.

  83. Good morning all!

  84. We talk about Walcott being inconsistent but he consistently has found RVP all season? what he lacked was scoring and that has come along also, his numbers are not too bad are they. You see many people like to use stats to prove a point against Arsenal but when one favors Arsenal we overlook them, Arsenal supporters that is.
    My question is that if an inconsistent player is consistent then what the backside are we talking about? Do we think that a player will play lights out every game? So if Walcott doesnt skin his defender every game, score and have an assist he is sooooo inconsistent?

    To make a long story short, to down my boy due to inconsistency is a blow wow joke! Sure he can learn and grow but give me a break already!

  85. Thanks Yogi!

    Congrats to RVP!

    The team of year is no refelection if the truth. Sagna is the best RB in the world, there is no doubt in my mind.

  86. Paul, It annoys me when Theo gets labelled inconsistent. I wonder if whoever plays in his place for the rest of the season will get the same crap.

  87. Markus, annoying is the word.

    Here we have RVP single him out and commend him on numerous occasions but the more knowledgable of us refuse to cut it out.

    There are very few, if any Wingers I would take over Walcott and he is a kid!

  88. Can’t have all foreigners in the team of the season…

  89. @Paul-N and Markus

    I completely agree with you adn have stated many times that Theo is not inconsistent but does have off games as i even stated above. the problem is that he has had unrealistic expectations put on his 22 year old shoulders as the savior of English football that people fail to realize that if you add his assists(which obviously lead to goals) and goal output he is one of the most dangerous players. Whats even more interesting is that while he may have an off game, when the spotlight comes on in a big game you can count on him to play extremely well both offensively and defensively. Like i said Sagna and Walcott are so dangerous down the right flank.

  90. I also liked what I saw from Ramsey in the 2nd half of the Chelsea match. You could see that he just let his footballing instincts take over.
    I would also like us to go back to the Chelsea game. The kid (Ramsey)was straight fire. Some of his passes were tops, he actually made tghe pass to split open Chelsea for our first goal.
    Having another injury lay off, hampered him again this season but he will be world class, make no mistake about that.

    I appreciate that young man!

  91. pedantic george

    Theo’s goal against Chelsea,when he fell over his own feet,got up and left 3 of them looking at each other,before blasting it in ,was the highlight of the season.
    It was as funny as JT falling over.

  92. I already mentioned it but for a winger, Theo’s stats are excellent. Bale, Nani — they all post the same numbers as Theo does. But the difference is that two out of three of those are constantly labelled as world class, while the other one is “inconsistent” and “not good enough”. Theo has made a massive leap forward in the past two seasons (getting into double figures in goals scored and having 9 and 13 assists) compared to what he did for us previously and it’s still not good enough. He’s 23 and most players don’t reach their potential until their late 20’s so who’s to say that Theo won’t improve even more? We’ve seen him get better with his finishing, we’ve seen him get better with his final ball, we’ve seen him get better defensively but people still feel the need to write him off.

  93. C, another things is that even when Walcott has an off game, he will still create scoring opportunities.
    As far as his improved defending. As many have said in the past (but it seems to be overlooked), is it possible that he has been doing more on that end, so getting forward was hampered a bit?

  94. George, what made that goal even sweeter is Robson having to swollow his words instantly. Clown!

  95. @Paul
    Exactly!! For all his inconsistencies, you can depend on Theo to create one or two fantastic chances every single game. It’s down to the strikers to put those away. For example his free kick against Chelsea. That was as good a delivery as it gets, but unfortunately RObin was unlucky. Nevertheless, on any other day that would’ve been an assists and people would be talking about Theo’s ability to cross it from a dead ball situation

  96. @Paul-N | April 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I completely agree, there isn’t 1 i could think of. Hence why he is my 2nd favorite player on the team with Song coming a close 3rd.

  97. ManU really layed an egg yesterday. They were 8 points ahead just a couple of games ago. If they end up losing it will have to go down as one of the bigger collapses in a long long time. Much as I hate City it would almost be worth it for them to win just to hear red Manc fans go ballistic. Should be an interesting derby game next weekend.

    I think Chelsea are going to lose 3 – 0 tomorrow and end up missing the CL this season and hopefully Newcastle can take 4th. What a strange season.

  98. That was an excellent example Evil. That was a great free kick, that deserved a goal. Now that I think about it Chelsea were lucky to get a point on Saturday.

    One more point about my boy. Now, I don’t like Barcelona but when you have them worried that says something. When you have Messi saying that he was surpised that Walcott wasnt selected for the world cup squad, you had better take note.

  99. Limestonegunner

    Paul, one of my favorite moments–Robson given a prompt, What’s Theo going to do here? “trip himself on the ball by the looks of it”–slagging Theo off rather snidely. Immediately had to reverse himself!

    Plenty of time to talk about summer business.

    Let’s enjoy RvP’s richly deserved award, commend him for his gracious team remarks, and crush Stoke! As soon as the season ends, he’ll sit down with club officials for tea and hopefully work something out.

    In the meantime, I hope the scouts are working overtime to identify any talent that can improve Arsenal for early moves. Plenty of time in May to heat up the summer business talk.

  100. Limestonegunner

    Right now RvP’s biggest concern has to be how to help us win. Can he get back to his deadly finishing? Can he create chances for others line Ramsey, Gervinho, the Ox, Benayoun? Theo and Arteta have been among our best goal threats this season. It would be a good time for Gervais and Ramsey to catch fire.

  101. Limestonegunner

    Thei’s been pretty consistent especially with Sagna behind him. He can improve but he’s had one of his best seasons despite a series of right backs behind him: Sagna, Jenkinson, Djourou, Koscielny, Coquelin, Squillaci and Yennaris! Am I forgetting anyone? I count seven different players only two of whom really play the position and one of those two was a League 1 bench player in his late teens!

    All told quite a creditable season for Theo, although we’d like to see him become even more deadly with his crossing and shooting.

  102. Limestonegunner

    Sorry for all the iPhone errors above!

  103. @Paul-N

    Yes at times you can see that his defense work rate which for me is always world class for a winger does hamper him only because the amount of ground he must then cover to get in on the counter. But even that part of his game has developed because it seems he now understands when to pass out and when to clear it. Take for instance the Spuds game, he is in on the tackle defensively and then makes a lung-busting run to join the counter and gets the goal. For me his all around game is better than that of Nani and Bale because he gives the same offensive output but puts in more work defensively than the both

  104. c

    Not enough time to give you a detailed reply.

    We may watch the same match but team, player, and manager expectations are all over the place.

  105. I believe RvP will stay.

    His situation is rather different from Cesc who had the reasonable excuse of wanting to go back to his home town club. The pull of Barca for Cesc is plausibly more than the pull for cash and/or trophies*. Add all three factors together and few if any footballers will take a decision different from Cesc last summer.

    RvP, on the other hand, only has the cash and trophies* excuse. He strike’s me as someone aware of his legacy, and he knows he’s on the cusp of becoming an Arsenal legend already. Why ruin that if he doesn’t have to?
    He could go on to become a legend elsewhere but the chances are rather slim, considering his age, injury record, and the talents most big clubs already have. There are not many big teams he could go at this stage in his career where he could have the sort of ‘legend-making’ impact Bergkamp had on us.

    The only thing that might him overlook the loyalty thing is if AFC doesnt meet the wages he thinks he is worth. He knows we’ve broken the wage ceiling before for Henry, and even though he’s had much less of an impact that Theirry, he may still well feel, justifiably imo, that his performance this last year deserves a substantial pay rise.
    I honestly see no reason why Arsenal won’t meet his valuation (if reasonable). We have precedence in paying premium wages to our stand out star players (Nasri, Flamini, Adebayor etc were never in that class, and Cesc didn’t leave for money).

    In summary? I believe RvP will stay.

    The really worrying cases are Song and Walcott. We probably won’t break the wage structure for more that one player, and there are teams who would pay these guys way, way more. They are young enough to not have to think in term of legacies yet, so the loyatly pull won’t be as strong as for RvP. I’m really not very sure about either of those 2.

  106. Evil @ 3:22:

    Good points. Despite the numbers, he did struggle in much of the first 1/2 of this season. 2nd half season has been much better. Season before he was good in the first half and struggled in the 2nd half. The optimist would say Theo’s first half struggles this year were because Sagna missed many of those games and with Sagna back he will show the good form consistently. The pessimist would say that he should have been able to adjust better to not having Sagna and difference was down to inconsistency and like the season before he played well when the team did. We still don’t know what we will get next season. Hopefully his play in the 2nd half of this season will become the norm. Really unfortunate that he did his hamstring.


    After we resign RVP, I hope the next move we make this summer is to bring in Mark Schwarzer as a back up GK. He could be a season saver if Wojo has any injury problems. GK is the highest leverage position on the pitch can lose a game easier then any other single player. It makes sense to have a really good back up for that position.

  107. Theo has consistent stats, but not consistent performances. I suppose its one of football’s quirks that a forward’s stats are way more important than his actually performances. One would think stats should be directly linked to performances but alas, not always so for forwards. For instance, some strikers are famous for contributing little to team play except finish chances.

    The link between stats and performance is much stronger for midfielders and defenders. Its hard to have good stats if you don’t perform consistently. Am I making any sense? Probably not….

  108. @Arsession

    honestly at the end of teh day we both want the same thing:beautiful soccer, winnging and Arsenal no matter what players playing well and dominating!!!

  109. The Real Stew Black

    Bill, I’ve never read anyone else say it but I for one will go on record as being absolutely delighted if we buy no one. If Arsene feels different I’m equally delighted to trust his superior judgement.
    The season when we made just one signing (Germany’s second choice keeper I believe) we went on to win the league without losing a match. So big money big name signings are not a prerequisite of success.
    As to your idea that ACLF is divided between good fans and fence sitters that’s easily solved. I’d love it if all Arsenal blogs were populated only with good fans. But that’s such an obvious desire who wouldn’t want it?
    My personal problem with coveting players who play for other clubs is just that. I don’t like other clubs or their players. But football is one of those illogical obsessions which allows me to instantly change when they become Arsenal players. I just have zero interest until they sign for us.

  110. Bill

    Unfortunately you seem to have not understood what was written at at 2.11 above.
    My apologies. To clarify: I do not have a crystal football. Therefore I cannot assist you with your predictions of where and what Robin Van Persie will be doing in one or two years time.
    But I can tell you that he will not be playing for City. It’s unlikely. HTH.
    As for goalkeepers. Considering he lost his place through injury Fabianski has to be considered as an acceptable back up, when he’s fit. I’d imagine the same people who recruited the two poles will want to have two keepers in their team next season. Call me crazy but in this instance I am happy to speculate that Szczesny will not be the only goalkeeper at Arsenal Football Club next season.

  111. I feel certain, without knowing the lad, that Robin would have a little guffaw at today’s conversations, along the lines of “Everyone has a secret committee taking decisions about their life which they have not yet decided or thought much about because they have other priorities”.

    I hear we already have 2 excellent players coming by the way, another youngster called Jack Wilshere and a Frenchman called Abou Diaby, both midfielders I believe. Well, we shall see. Spend the money Wenger.

  112. PaulN – The beating down of Theo started yesterday led by a new name, Khalifa (sp). Much of what he wrote looked and sounded like the brown stuff we flush down the sewer. Sounds a lot like former trolls Ace and James. It gets on my nerves wading through the crap and thinking of a valid, factual response.

  113. Limestonegunner

    RvP’s leadership and charisma is very valuable to us. I can’t say enough about how impressive a captain he has been after a run of lacklustre holders of this position. This season started in turmoil. An unsettled squad, departure dramas, late arrivals, silly suspensions, injury and a series of terrible and in some cases disheartening results. Nevertheless, despite incredible pressure from every side, the team recovered, integrated new players, forged a strong team solidarity and determined fighting spirit. It clawed its way back into contention for an automatic champions league place and is in the best position right now with three games left to finish 3rd.

    Some credit for this must certainly goes to our captain. We’ve been lacking some leadership in recent seasons, but now with RvP, Vermaelen, Arteta (along with young players with those traits in JW and Sczcesny)–we have qualities up and down the spine. No one new coming into the team can provide that in their first year. For the progress of the side, I think we need to keep RvP with us for next year and hopefully on a long term contract.

  114. If we look at the facts, we don’t have be take sides of being an optimist or a pessimist.

    Jenks being a new and young left back must require more cover. Its really that simple.

    It was also quite easy to see, and our Manager agrees, that losing all of our fullbacks unsettled the balance of the team, the results and play proved it. No need to label or single out Walcott at all.

  115. If Chelsea lose to Barca, oddly it takes pressure off Arsenal, since there is no chance of Chelsea taking 4th spot in the CL by winning it.

  116. Shotta, I did read some of it. It got old fast.

    I am with Steww, I think this team, as is, has what it takes. If our recent run is any indication.

    In the last month, United have one more point than we do. If we consider some of the pens they should not have had and some that we should of.

    Not one penalty for Arsenal at home? hmm

    The refs better get going ifthis thing is to even itself out. Isn’t it ironic that a man can dive and get a pen but a player can get bowled over and the ref does not see it?

  117. Again with the Theo bashing?

    I am speechless. This inconsistent label proves one thing. If the media twats like hansen say it enough, gullible fools will swallow it hook line and sinker.

  118. Paul-N | April 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm
    “It was also quite easy to see, and our Manager agrees, that losing all of our fullbacks unsettled the balance of the team, the results and play proved it. No need to label or single out Walcott at all.”

    Only from hindsight perhaps. Before the poor form that followed the full back injuries (sometimes during January transfer window), Arsene was reported to have said something like “it would be silly for us to lose points because of injuries to full back”, or words to that effect.

  119. It’s a real shame Arsenal didn’t face this barca side as we’d have beaten them. They look a pale shadow of the side that swept all before them (with ref assistance obvs!)

  120. Finsbury:

    I like Fabianski and before this season I thought he should be the starter, but I can’t doubt he will be with us next year because he will want to find a place to play regularly. If Fabianski is willing to stay then I would be very happy with him as back up. Schwarzer is probably a non starter no matter what happens because I doubt he will move here to be a back up, but it would sure be nice.


    We all have different things we like about blogging.

  121. Somehow I think Chelsea will get a draw and beat Barca but Bayern will win the whole thing.

    Barca are being found out. Their pressing game is good but it always leaves them exposed to the counter, big time. Chelsea have some pacey players and a Drogba who is hard to defend, especially with the smaller players that Barca have. They will park the bus and get a few really good chances.

  122. @Paul-N

    the most interesting part for me is while we were missing all of our FB’s, Walcott was being bashed for not doing more offensively but he was still providing assists but if you watch many of the games he was covering for the likes of JD and Le Coq and others and his defensive workrate was superb

  123. Henristic

    That’s news to me, I seem to recall him saying it was precisely due to that horrendous full back injury lkist that cost us and he went on to say our upturn in form coincided with the return of the likes of Sagna and Gibbs.

  124. Bill

    Don’t think Shwarzer would settle for a bench job man, how about Jussi from Bolton. He’s younger and would be on a FREE!

  125. Henristic, I would have said the same thing. He has to show faith in his players. The reality is that it did have an effect.

  126. Notoverthehill

    Yogi, once again a light shines brightly on all things The Arsenal. *****

    Jon Jon you are being or were being very, very ,very foolhardy. RVP is NOT and NEVER WILL BE a certain sillly, billy A Cole.

    READ the EPL Rule and Hand books. Your scenario is ILLEGAL.

    PG, Mr Arshavin was Man of the Match for ФС Зенит supporters when I checked that site and sports papers. Mr Arshavin is looking far happier and certainly far fitter than he has looked over the last 12 months! I suspect it was all the hand-shaking, elbow squeezing, baby kissing in order for Russia to gain the 2018 jamboree. OH, not forgetting his near (?) election to the Russian Parliament?

  127. JonJon | April 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

    how do you know with such certainty he isnt?

    im sorry, i expect a much higher standard of debate on ACLF rather than people whos only standing point is insults..

    ive seen the photo of robin and his agent with that rep from city..he wasnt there for dinner, or he would have took mrs van persie and not the bloke who sorts the fine details of his career out..
    hes got his figure, now the balls in gazidis court..or dick laws..

    your turn…

    Thats really embarrassing JJ. You bought into that City rep thing from Arsenal A*tion of all blogs????

    Oh dear, you have let me down, you’ve let this blog down, you’ve let your family down, but most of all, you’ve let yourself down big time dude. 🙂

  128. Dex:

    Theo is a regular on our team and will be a no brainer first team starter next season and hopefully for the rest of this decade. His overall numbers for the last 2 seasons are pretty good but just watching the games it felt like he was not at his best for long stretches in the both seasons. We are thin on goal scorers after RVP and Theo needs to be our second best scorer. I have not looked at the actual numbers and perhaps they will prove me wrong, but it felt like he really struggled to score in almost the entire calender year 2011. He was excellent the first 1/2 of last season and he has done well since mid January which have helped his numbers. Hopefully the good form will continue throughout next season.

  129. Bill;

    Shows how good he is, that even when supposedly underperforming, he matches all the supposed best wingers in the league.

  130. pedantic george

    Jon Jon is having a bad time of it today.

  131. Talking back-up keepers, if we do end up needing one due to departures my shout would be Craig Gordon. Contract up in the summer and he is just getting over the injury that has kept him out for so long. He was an amazing keeper before his injury problems.

  132. Paulie Walnuts

    RVP simply HAS to stay. He`s a great player in his prime & no club of any ambition in the world can afford to lose quality like that.

    Despite ageist theories that players approaching & past 30 are on their way out , it`s not the case for the best ofs. RVP has never been blessed with great pace & his body has taken time to adjust to the rigours demanded at the highest level. He`s got at least 4 years left & they should be spent banging them in at The Emirates.

    So often you see players & think `jam tomorrow` but RVP is jam TODAY. On a Devon Cream Tea. Probably after a pasty & with a pint of real ale. Sign please Robin FFS.

    Thanks also to YW for todays link to that great day in 1980. Graham Rix sure could cross a football

  133. The good news is that: “DARIUS IS COMING TO KENYA!”

  134. BTW 7am kick off blog’s post today is hilarious! Sorry for bigging up another blog Yogi, you know you;re number one big guy!!

  135. pedantic george

    Dexter and all Theo lovers.
    He is effective because of his pace.If he ran as fast as say Cesc,he would never see the first team.
    Now,as he runs very very fast,he is a threat because he can get behind with pure pace .But he is a limited player with the ball at his feet.
    I like the lad ,I like him in the team.But lets also acknowledge his limitations.

  136. George

    It’s true man, I hope JJ is OK.

  137. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Agreed, Limestone. RVP has been a big part of turning round a pig of season, and with little attacking support alongside him. (Chamakh – what on earth happened?)

    I think RVP will stay at Arsenal for family reasons. His two little kids have grown up here, and it’s likely more difficult for players who are parents to uproot. Also, he’s got the deputy he needs in Vermaelen, who has already resigned while making it clear how committed to the project of winning trophies he is.

    I imagine the players feel this team is getting close now, as they have huge scalps under their belts this season (Chel$ski away, Mansour City, Totts, Serie A winners at home). What is lacking is consistency, but with a more stable first team next year (can we possibly go through a repeat of the defensive injuries we’ve had this term?), and particularly the return of LJW and Diaby to the midfield, we’ll crack on. Why would RVP leave a team on the up, with so much potential?

    I too am troubled by Song’s coming in to conjunction with Dein the lesser, however, even though Song himself has previously expressed great feeling for Wenger, who has acted as a sort of surrogate dad for him. Personally, I’d love to continue to see Song’s Lenny Kravitz impersonations in the Arsenal squad’s Twitter pics for much, much longer. Please don’t go, Songhinho.

    Strangely, the one person I can see moving on for financial reasons is Theo. He never seems that close to the other players (Clichy was a big mate, and he says his nearest friend on the team now is Mannone), and with the arrival of the Ox, he might feel his number is up. He also seems to be given to the axis of conspicuous consumption in a way some of our other players are not.

  138. That Khalifa person is not here today is he? What’s with the Theo anti-bashing?

  139. pedantic

    Anything new to say about Theo other than stating the obvious?



    Pace is an attribute just as vision is just as shooting is. You say he is limited with the ball at his feet but how many crosses has he put into perfect position for RVP to simply tap it in. Or how about the many runs that he’s had with the ball at his feet. While he is not overly talented with the ball at his feet YET you must also not forget that he is just 23 years old which means he is still learning and developing. You say he has great pace and take his pace away and he would never see the 1st team, but thats like saying take away (in your example) Cesc’s vision/touch do you think he would see the first team because he doesn’t have the pace. For our current players look at Lil Mozart, you take away his vision/touch and he would have a hard time. The thing is that players have strengths and the world class players play to those strengths and maximize them while working and fine tuning the other skills.

  141. @PG

    Pace is an attribute just as vision is just as shooting is. You say he is limited with the ball at his feet but how many crosses has he put into perfect position for RVP to simply tap it in. Or how about the many runs that he’s had with the ball at his feet. While he is not overly talented with the ball at his feet YET you must also not forget that he is just 23 years old which means he is still learning and developing. You say he has great pace and take his pace away and he would never see the 1st team, but thats like saying take away (in your example) Cesc’s vision/touch do you think he would see the first team because he doesn’t have the pace. For our current players look at Lil Mozart, you take away his vision/touch and he would have a hard time. The thing is that players have strengths and the world class players play to those strengths and maximize them while working and fine tuning the other skills.

  142. George

    I love it! You…. YOU! Giving it larfge with the footy analysis chit chat! Walcott aint a dribbler, his pace is a weapon no doubt, but his game has improved a shit load since he joined and why wouldnt it? His final ball is excellent, his finishing can be sublime. Which is proibably why Theo and Wenger think he could play centrally. basically Theo plays like a wide striker, not a winger. its kinda sweet that it needs speeling out yet again. In an ideal set up, Theo would be on one side and more trickier type player on the other wing, The Oxo kid praps.

    But no Theo aint goin to dribble around the whole team like Messi, but nor will Bale, nani, Young do that. I fail to see what the flaming feck you are chatting abo….

    Oh I get it, you are just being a twat. Silly me, thinking you made a serious football related comment.

  143. Markus.

    Totally forgotten about Craig Gordon. He’s had one of them blinders against us.

    I think Bolton and Blackburn will join Wolves – though its feasible to see Villa falling into the relegation trap door. In which case, I figure a few keepers would be happy to sit on a premiership bench

  144. Limestonegunner

    PG, what are you planning for the Fans’ Forum? Anything special to delight your devoted following?

  145. Dex @ 5:35:

    “Don’t think Shwarzer would settle for a bench job man, how about Jussi from Bolton. He’s younger and would be on a FREE!”

    I know you are right but I have always had this strange fascination with Schwarzer.

  146. pedantic george

    Lol,LG I think I will not mention Theo.

    Dexter,go fuck a duck.

    What part of this are you annalists struggling with
    “Now,as he runs very very fast,he is a threat because he can get behind with pure pace .But he is a limited player with the ball at his feet.
    I like the lad ,I like him in the team.”
    And how the fuck is that me not acknowledging that “pace” is an asset?

  147. pedantic george

    I expect to hear shortly that Messi thinks he is the best player in our team

  148. pedantic george

    “Dexter | April 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm
    His final ball is excellent, his finishing can be sublime”

    Ha !
    . His final ball is hit and miss, his finishing can be sublime and atrocious in equal measure”

    Jeez Dex.Who appointed you his bodyguard?

  149. Our second best goal scorer other then RVP in league games has 8. Jack will probably be back in midfield next year and he had a total of 1 goal the season before. I suspect he will score more next season but we have not seen many goals from any of our incumbent central midfielders for a couple of years. Goes without saying that our wide forwards are going to have to score alot more goals next season if we really want to be competitive. Podolski should help if he can play with RVP,

    A goal scoring central mid would be a welcome addition this summer.

  150. Ah, ”the theo walcott syndrome”.

  151. George the doomer;

    Great job you are doing in jibber’s absence. For shame, you have turned into a jaundiced old hack. Booo!

  152. I like Craig Gordon better then Jussi but I suspect Gordon will not be as happy on the bench as Jussi would. Both would be decent options if we are aggressive and can get either one.

    GO IVAN!!!!

  153. I posted some of carlos vela’s stats earlier today, here they are : Played 31, Goals 11, Assist: 7, he real sociadad top goal scorer and leader in assists, what do we do with him? But if he gets sold, we must not accept any bid less than 7 million, afterall he is still 23.

  154. pedantic george

    That right Dexter ,You just read my posts to mean what you want them too.Fuck what I actually said.
    There really are some touchy bitches knocking about these days.

  155. George, the point is that Walcott is not some inconsistent player as some want to make out, thats it. His limitations, whether they are perceived or not was never an argument.

  156. pedantic george

    No Paul,That is the point you want to make .Not “the” point.
    And I agree btw.
    I was making a point of my own .It appears that is now no longer tolerated on ACLF.

  157. Bill. In reference to Gordon and Jussi, I’m bemusing myself with the “if we’re agrressive” stance you’ve taken to their potential acquisition.

    I’m just picturing Gazidis sotrming the Bolton and Sunderland offices, Wenger and Rowley standing outside with ski masks and MP5 machine guns keeping watch in the corridor and Ivan Scream at the powers to be at the Reebok and Stadium of Laight “Give us the fucking players you cunts”.

  158. “My personal problem with coveting players who play for other clubs is just that. I don’t like other clubs or their players. But football is one of those illogical obsessions which allows me to instantly change when they become Arsenal players. I just have zero interest until they sign for us.”

    You can come over the top with me Steww – like I said the other day, this is war and I have no interest in the enemy until they join the good guys in red and white!

    Interesting discussions about Theo, but clearly RVP and Wenger value his contribution – when fit, he will play. It also looks like AW is preparing him for that position in the middle as it was noticeable how he often ran into the striker position when we were attacking, much to the disgust of the Theo haters around me who were yelling at him to get out to the wing! Of course it didn’t cross their tiny minds that he might be working to the manager’s instruction.

  159. Lol, this is too fucking funny, George defending himself because of comments about walcott, hmmm, how do like them apples george.
    Here i was thinking am the anti christ of aclf because i “insulted” theo

  160. every player has his limitations whether it be they lack the vision of some or the pace of others or the final touch of some and so on and so on but if that player plays to his strength and grows his game then he can turn his weakness into a strength(except for physical gifts like extreme pace).

    @khalifha | April 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I agree Vela is a tremendous talent i always thought he was even in playing for Mexico he has a tremendous eye for goal but the problem that he ran into is that Arsene had more trust in Chamakh then he did Vela and understood that Vela would flourish in LaLiga. The question now is would he be ok being a backup striker to RVP coming from being the focal point of Real Sociedad, the answer is HELL NO!!! Vela has openly said it in papers in Mexico in the USA and any and everywere that asks him so he will sell for 7mill because he is a talent.

  161. Darius:

    As I understand it, both are out of contract and their clubs are irrelevant. If we make good offers to their agents then we have a good chance to get either player I would think.

    However if your method works then I am all for it. We need to make sure Arsene does not get caught. Since the boss makes does everything himself and I don’t really know what Ivan does he can take one for the team and throw himself under the bus. 🙂

  162. “There really are some touchy bitches knocking about these days.”
    Hahahahaha! That is too funny for words! You’re on fire PG! 🙂

    Oh and duck is currently smokin a post coital cigarette

  163. If George says RVP is going nowhere then i beleive him, after all he said Cesc was going nowhere aswell!!

    who let wiz khalifa back in…i havnt read all your posts as im too pimmed up form me lunch early evening pimms o ‘clock session but i hope you have not been Theo bashing again.

  164. Gordon or Jussi would be excellent back ups to Chesney. Free agents too, all good in my book.

    Vela doing well for Sociedad is good news for us in terms of the fee we can expect for him. he doesn’t want to play for us any more, and Spain definitely suits him better.

  165. @C, true that, vela might not be able to cut it in the premier league but i have a feeling this might end up like rossi and man utd, we may regret selling him.

  166. I honestly like Vela and think he could be tremendous as a supersub ala Chicharito but he would have to buy into that role and i doubt he would

  167. Bill

    Considerations with transfers also have to take account of the uprooting of players and, more importantly, their families. I don’t know if either player has a family/children/pet ferret or whatever, but if they do, then even if we offered them good money and guaranteed games, that still might not be enough to get them to sign. Same applied with jagielka, who didnt want to move his kids out of school or the northwest.

  168. C

    I am gutted vela isn’t going to be part of the playing staff for us. Always thought he’d make it with us and yep, he could well do that job you refer to, shame really.

  169. pedantic george

    Dexter, 🙂

  170. Here’s something to cheer us up, some tottenh*m fans on walker winning the premier.

    *I’m sorry to say, but the reason why he was suprised is because he dosen’t deserve it.
    He is good, but so many times this season his defending has been woeful and lead us to concede goals.

    *All round corluka was a better right back. Kyle is fast but that’s about it. His defence game needs picking up. He can’t cross, shoot, he gets caught out of position way too much and his pace saveshim. Listen I’m not into bashing our players and he has the potenial but no where near finished yet.
    Aguero should of got young player of the year!

    *Runs quite fast but that’s it – a good squad player.
    Corluka wipes the floor with him in terms of nous and his throughballs to Lennon (ask him) who can now make a telling pass or cross even.
    Overrated doesn’t begin to describe those fucking spu*s players i tells ya.

  171. So George, you just wanted us to know that Walcott has some weak areas?

    I agree, not to the extent than you do but most players do.

  172. Walker was this season’s Bale.

  173. Dex @ 7:52:

    That will be one of the biggest points in our favor with RVP this summer.

  174. Must dash old bean, me gwan smoke some erb, innit.

  175. Correction. Spuds reaction on walker winning young player of the year

  176. @Dexter

    I really do like Vela and think he is the goal scoring option we have all wanted off da bench but it takes a player putting his pride away and understanding that every game he will get 20-25 mins to score goals. I think he would have done well ecspecially with our style of passing and moving because he seems to make intelligent runs and just watching him and Chicharito along with Dos Santos for Mexico shred the US all the time, he always seems to find himself in the right spot for easy tap ins and goal scoring chances.

  177. Bill;

    I think it will be a massive consideration man. His wife and kids are well settled in London. he loves it here too. Major positives, IMO. he is staying, I know it. Yes, I said the same about spazri and Cesc, but I mean it this time. 🙂

  178. I hope RVP stays, he just seems to fit Arsenal perfectly. He also doesnt seem greedy or miss mummy too much. Thats all I have to say on that matter.

    I would love Vela back at Arsenal. The kid can play.

  179. I guess it’s a Manchester United title. Howard Webb is the referee for the Manchester derby.

    Looks like Fergie paid his regular contribution to the Referees Benevolent Society whose Chairman is Mike Riley and this time round, compensated for the missed payment this past weekend.

  180. Darius:

    Earlier Sky reported that the ref was Andre Mariner. I guess they changed to Howard. Sounds fishy to me. Fergie probably faxed in a picture of himself looking angry and it scared the dung out of Mike Riley and he had to make the switch.

  181. The fact that the likes of parker and Walker are in the team of the year simply shows that footballers are as susceptible to media hype as the rest of us. In fact they probably spend more time than most of us watching SSN and reading the hacks.

    Song, Arteta or Cabeye were more deserving recipients of being in the PFA team of the year, but Parker consistently gets all the positive coverage despite him not being anywhere near as good as the others mentioned.

    The obsessive need to think England have good players is palpable.

  182. I thought it was Marriner too.

  183. @dexter, i honestly don’t see any difference between parker and cattermole of sunderland, shit is just crazy.

  184. Parker does a job and has some talent, he’d be decent back up for us….. For Song, Coquelin and Frimpong.

  185. pedantic george

    Yes Paul ,That was about the strength of it.Is the permitted?
    Some people though are talking about him like he is the lesser Ronaldo.

  186. George you have not been joing the lame brain mob in bashing Theo have ya.

  187. George, no need to ask me that.

  188. See Robin you can win things at this club…this should be enough to make him stay…i hope.

  189. did theo help carry robins trophy what with him helping him score most of his goals n all…

  190. He scores when he wants, he scores when he wants, lukas podolski, he scores when he wants. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think.

  191. Van Persie has had a fantastic season and there is no debating that but personally I think he has been a terrible captain with the way he has acted especially in recent weeks with his antics against Newcastle, he was looking for an arguement all game and he got one with Krul (not defending Krul there they were both in the wrong, Krul for retaliating and RVP telling the ref he has to hurry up and kick the ball when it was actually in play and not a goal/free kick) and against Wigan where he was clearly refusing to shake Caldwell’s hand and then when he did he didn’t look bothered and didn’t understand Caldwell’s anger. A captain should be someone who all players look upto and sadly he has not been a model professional

  192. Utter bollocks.

  193. Limestonegunner

    most idiotic post on ACLF, I have ever seen.

  194. Patto1992, my screen turned brown while reading your post cause it was no different from shit, pure undilluted shit, get stir people up somewhere else fcuktard. P.s your post was s.h.i.t 🙂

  195. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Krul is Dutch.

    RVP is contractually obliged to get in a row with him.

  196. pedantic george

    Well I suspect Patto1992 is an old friend.
    As Dups would tell us

  197. soon as i go to work you all come out to play and give me a pasting..
    fair enough.. 🙂

    theres a few ppl who i’d like to respond to but i cant be arsed…we’ll be here all week and im to fucking drained with all the ‘great conspiracy debate’ that we had recently..

    i’ll shut the fuck up on this one..the majority has spoken..

    and if its worth anything then i think he will stay in the end..

  198. Ah, the old am sorry that i was an ignorant prick routine :-), am looking at you jon jon.

  199. pedantic george

    Wow feck me
    JJ,the only thing you have gotten wrong was the “non” meet with City.
    How are you buddy?

  200. m not sorry..i never said i was sorry, i stand by my points made..
    i simply conceded ground due to numerical reasons….
    theres a difference

    im not old
    im not sorry
    im not ignorant
    theres no routine..

    i guess that just leaves prick….. 🙂

    but i can accept that..

  201. pedantic george

    Never said you were any of those things bud

  202. knackered
    and glad patto posted cos it took a bit of heat off me..

    george forget it mate..i didnt mean i think hes going there..i know what i mean and i guess its coming out wrong so id rather agree on a point you made about how hes a bit like a fine wine..

    this lads got potential to be up there with dennis..
    returning to his older deeper role as he gets older..

  203. pedantic george

    lol ,it was a bit of a feeding frenzy.
    I got similar later on.

  204. hes hit 15 assisst as well this season..

    those stats will probably go up with age as the goals go down..

    and on the theo topic, i think hes coming along nicely with his contribution to the team and robin is vital to theo at this stage..the partnership they’ve developed is pretty good..

    chalk and cheese..but deadly..

    two key players…

    the place up for grabs is on the left..
    everyones had auditions this year and nobody has really sealed the spot..

    maybe thats where podolski comes in??

  205. Yogi where’s my daily dose of aclf post, i need my high 🙂

  206. A gratuitous plug for Stew and his radio show that can be heard from 8pm tonight at:

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