Albion Reflections: A Bridge Just Far Enough

West Bromwich Albion 2 – 3 Arsenal

0 – 1 Benayoun (4)
1 – 1 Long (11)
2 – 1 Dorrans (15)
2 – 2 Santos (30)
2 – 3 Koscielny (54)

A night of chilling simplicity

Brian Moore’s words prefacing kick-off at Anfield on 26th May 1989 echoed down the years; Arsenal had to win to be sure of Champions League football next season. That win achieved, there is no anxious wait on the outcome next Saturday in Bavaria; no looking at the TV schedules to work out which Thursday night series you will need to set to record. Third place and the attendant benefit had been achieved.

Other more recent memories echoed in this match; last Saturday for example. An early Yossi Benayoun goal cancelled out with opponents turning the scoreline around quickly. This time Arsenal responded, finding an equaliser before half-time, taking a decisive lead early in the second.

Achieving their aim the hard way is de rigeur for the modern Arsenal. Some things never change.

West Brom were in the mood for a party to celebrate Roy Hodgson’s departure; a rare thing for football supporters to be happy a manager is leaving without the subtext of “good riddance” anywhere to be seen. Arsenal punctured that atmosphere in the fourth minute. Possession appeared to be wasted once more with an aimless pass comfortably into the Albion defence; Fulop came to meet as defenders shephereded the ball into his path. Benayoun had other ideas, his predatory instincts coming to the fore as the goalkeeper dithered before the Israeli robbed him of possession and slotted home.

The perfect start required a period of calm, the sting taken from the game. Within ten minutes, the game had been turned on its head. Standards of officiating this season have been criticised to a level never before heard; yesterday’s matches did little to quell that noise. Chris Foy seemed to believe he was in 1950 when he allowed a shoulder charge on the Bolton goalkeeper whilst the offside rule obviously does not apply in the West Midlands; no time for these new-fangled footballing laws here. It beggared belief that an official level with play did not see that Long was two yards offside; that is not a small margin, that is six feet. Nearly a body length.

Five minutes later Albion had the lead as Dorrans fired home following a Morison pass again. Arsenal were on the backfoot when they needed to be controlling the game. If there is one thing that the squad possesses, it is determination. Too many deficits have been recovered or obstacles overcome  for this trait to be easily dismissed.

Arsenal gained their composure and set about retrieving the situation. A lot of possesssion with Rosicky pivotal but there was little end product until Santos let fly from the edge of the area, Fulop’s touch not strong enough to divert the ball to safety. Arsenal were level with an hour remaining.

The pendulum had swung once more towards Arsenal with tension building through Tottenham’s lead. Not that the players would have been aware in that moment, simply relieved to be level. The half peetered out with both sides creating little of note and ceding possession all too readily.

Ten minutes into the second half and Arsenal were in front. Just over a year ago, Laurent Koscielny bore the brunt of criticism for his part in the Arsenal downfall at Wembley. His strength of character has shone through this season and that may be a lesson Marton Fulop can learn. The Albion custodian’s nightmare became complete as he bundled into his own player and misguided his clearing punch from van Persie’s corner into the path of Koscielny who gratefully slammed the ball home. 3 – 2; destiny calling once more.

At which point Arsenal shut up shop and coasted through the final half an hour to secure their Champions League spot for the fifteenth consecutive season.

That’s what I’d like to write but it was not that simple. Albion pressed but created little. Andrews brought a good save from Szczesny before Kieran Gibbs produced an astonishing block as Jones seemed likely to score. Arsène betrayed the tension, clasping Pat Rice’s arm and convulsing in anguish; his Irish deputy was altogether more stoical and not a little bit uncomfortable in the emotional display.

The moment encapsulated the tension that bound the afternoon.

It was a match of highly charged emotions. The players displayed a genuine affection for Pat Rice post-match whilst the manager summed up the non-story of Robin van Persie’s celebration by confirming the words of his captain; they sit down with Ivan Gazidis this week to work it all out. That though is the story of another day; today is to unwind, relax and enjoy third place.

’til Tomorrow.

 

Posted on May 14, 2012, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 317 Comments.

  1. first?

  2. enjoying the day after St Totts. a well-deserved one =)

  3. Sensational Arsenal

    It may not be first, but it sure as hell feels good to be here (3rd)

  4. Now I can rest and celebrate,

    Joy

  5. Dear Arsene Wenger,

    It is with great humility that i bring myself before you Oh Great One. Please forgive my ignorance and low intellect. I promise i will never ever dare say anything to the detriment of your character, your ethos and your incredibly astute football philosophy. The manner in which you combine flair attacking football with financial logic and the results you deliver for the club is nothing less than genius and miraculous. Whenever you speak, i will sit down and listen. And if i ever doubt or question your knowledge, expertise and authority remember to slap me in the face.

    Yours Trully,
    The Sun
    The Daily Mail
    The Daily Mirror
    The Times
    The Guardian
    The Observer
    Martin Samuel
    Steven Howard
    Richard Williams
    Kevin Mccara
    Le Grove
    Arsenal Truth
    ……X…………. ( its me ‘arry)
    Sam Allerdyce
    Alex McLeish
    Martin Oneil
    Kevin Keegan
    John Winter
    Spuddie trolls

    …and the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on ….

  6. Great that we got the win, I wish they’d learn to do things a bit more easily though!

    Now that Champions League football is secured and the club have shown a bit of intent in the transfer market by signing Podolski, let’s hope Van Persie signs on again and we can have a nice relaxing Summer. I’d much rather concentrate on how the English national teams (football, rugby, cricket) are doing for a couple of months than any transfer shenanigans at Arsenal.

  7. Now that bit is out of the way, when does the transfer window open … I have another ulcer to work on.

  8. P.S yes Mr Wenger , we would also like to apologise.

    Rafael Van de Fart
    Emmanuel Aycuntscore
    Jerome Prince Bonehead
    Patrice Evra la music de finis
    Kaveman Dalglish
    Sky Sports
    Talk Sposrts
    A.rsenal S.ulking T.w@ts
    F.A

    ( am i forgetting anyone ? ) 🙂

  9. 3rd place in check. The transfer season….here we go again. But seriously i’ll enjoy every bit of it if rvp stays

  10. Well thank f**k we secured 3rd. I had a bad feeling all day that it would end badly for us but we stuck it out and got what we needed. That one game kind of summed up the season really – not quite there but plenty to work with and plenty needing work doing. Now lwts get our summer sales and purchases done as quickly as possible

  11. @13hunter13

    We’re only third mate. 19 points off winning the league.

  12. only third huh? what a terrible position….lol…. …but some muppets had us for finished not too long ago ….saying thrid or even fourth was a dream…….saying wenger is finsihed……saying tottneham was better …or the other muppets at liverpool ..or chelsea …. 😉

  13. The last 20mins was agony to watch yesterday.

    I will be amazed if we wrap the RvP scenario up before he leaves to go to the Euro’s. It is not the Arsenal way is it?

  14. We may not have won a trophy bt it’s still a good way to end ds season dt seems as if all was lost. I want to say a big thank u to YW and other regular bloggers on here. U are all wonderful people and the real fans.

    On another note. When I couldn’t get to sleep early last nite, I decided to go through some Arsenal blogs and I think I made d greatest mistake of the season by visiting Le grove. I’ve not visited the site ds season cos I decided neva to again after series of -ve comments. But I tot d mood will b beta yday in there. To my dismay, it was still d same even worse dn it used to be. Some of the comments were so appalling and unbelievable.

    I then realised I shouldn’t hv bn there in d 1st instance and dt there is enough sanity in here to enjoy. Once more thanks everybody!!

  15. That really was a bizzare season.

    Our best finish (position wise) for some time, yet it feels like we really screwed the season up in some respects. A real season of missed opportunity is my overriding feeling. We really threw away some soft points, and that tied in with our disasterous start to the season grates as we would have been in the mix to challenge if we had not been so wasteful.

    Rather than feeling like celebrating, I am just relieved. If we had finished outside of the CL this year there was a very real chance that the slide would have continued.

    At the moment we truely have a Jekell and Hyde team. We are capable of great incisive football, but equally as capable of being flakey and schoolboy like. Ah, the life of an Arsenal Supporter eh?

  16. There was an instance towards the end where we got a free kick just inside our own half. There was only seconds left. I though, “just keep the ball”. the worst thing we could have done was give the ball to their keeper for him to launch it deep into our half. So Gibbs just hoofed the free kick straight to him. I could not believe it.

    On the other hand, his block in the final minutes was jaw dropping and as match winning as any goal. Amazing stuff.

  17. You are dead right there andy we really do need the players to get clued in on some time wasting tactics to close out a game

  18. Hunter, great posts!

    Lankylorde, I appreciate your statements but please can you type in English. And seriously Le Groan is populated by inbred halfwit Sun readers with not an original thought or opposable thumb between them.I think just reading that will have de-evolved you about 50 years.

  19. YW – What a ride this season has been, ups and downs like never before under Wenger. Yes we may have only finished third but in the end, after all the strife and nonsense about being relegated we finished in a better position than last year. Thanks for the consistently high quality of your posts and lest hope May 14th 2013 we are all celebrating some silverware and looking forward to a CL final!!

  20. Seems like Nasri made the right decision to leave Arsenal. He has won a trophy like he said he would.

    Van Persie will probably follow suit now.

  21. GA – I was screaming for them to just keep the ball too. That said Gibbs grew into a monster in that last 5 or so minutes. He won everything that came near him.

    Plus WHERE THE FUCK DID THEY GET 5 MINUTES FROM??

  22. Good call on the block by Gibbs YW – that was heroic defending. He got a really hefty hit to the head for his troubles as he slid through – fearless and exemplary execution.

    One of the best challenges I have seen all season.

    @Andy – Arsenal know the window is small (to talk to RVP) and must have been preparing their offer fastidiously. It’s almost entirely down to the player – I think if we make a decent offer he will stay. I’m staying optimistic…until proven otherwise.

  23. Good to see Yossi getting MoTM on Arsenal.com in what is likely to be his last game. Personally I would like us to sign him, think he has been a model pro and he gives everything in every game he plays.

    If we sign him or not, he will have a fond place in many a Gooners heart I think.

  24. hunter, lol, that was really funny. But those guys have no one to answer to, their predictions never come to pass, they hardly get transfer stories right and they don’t even have an incline about tactics and running of a football club, yet they get paid for incompetence, tho one man stands out and thats gary neveille, best pundit i have ever seen.

    Lankylorde,
    those rotten swines at le grove will never change, their minds have become poisoned and the only cure will be decapitation, am just saying.

  25. Deise – “You are dead right there andy we really do need the players to get clued in on some time wasting tactics to close out a game

    We do. For my own health if nothing else.

    Unless we are 2 or 3 goals to the good I am a nervous wreck by the end of each game regardless of the opposition. We are the best side in the lge at retaining the ball, yet when the situation really calls for that we are often all over the place and can’t string 3 passes together. No wonder Arsene looked like he was about to cry into Pat’s lap yesterday!

  26. At the moment we truely have a Jekell and Hyde team. We are capable of great incisive football, but equally as capable of being flakey and schoolboy like. Ah, the life of an Arsenal Supporter eh?

    No…..” Ah, the natural reality of incosistent results because of having to rely on the inexperience of youth till we repay our stadium and they mature” …more like 🙂

    it has been a trememndous year for the development of the youngsters , playign wise and character wise ….next year chesny ramsey walcott gibbs, ox, wilshere even, coqlin jenkinson will be 25% better… and impo i would liek myachi and vela back too

    epl /cl team

    …………………………chesney…………………..
    –sagna——-per—————kons——santos
    ————————song———————-
    —————–art———–ros——————
    –walcott—————————–podolski
    ————————vanp————————-

    f.a/ l.c

    ———————fabi————————-
    –jenks——-verm——dju——gibbs
    ———————coq——————–
    ————–diab/wils—-ram————–
    –.oxlade———————–myachi—-
    ——————-vela————————

  27. Jonny – Yeah, I think he will stay as well. But I don’t expect us to sort it out with any speed.

  28. I loved that image of Arsene cuddling Pat Rice. A true show of emotion and one that, if nothing else that he really feels our pain!

  29. One doesn’t wish to look a gifthorse in the mouth (our 3 goals at WBA) but I found alarming the ease of their two goals. Both nearly identical. The first appeared offside but I read somewhere that Jenkinson played the scorer ON. The second saw a terrible gap on the left side of our defence.
    As I say, no nitpicking but we simply must expect an improvement in shape and discipline of our back four next term.

  30. I was doing exactly the same, expect with a pillow on my sofa.

  31. Nicky – You are right, it was bad defending for the 2nd. The first was definately offside though, and by quite a distance. I read that Jenkinson played him onside, but on watching the replay that is not the case.

    I have said for a long time now that we are no compact enough when we lose the ball, and this is still the case.

  32. What a season (!) and the game did mirror the season as a whole… But relief and a sense of satisfaction are my overwhelming emotions today.

    The tackle of Gibbs was effectively a season saver and credit is well due… The standout moment of the match for me.

  33. Guys, there is no need for us to try to justify our happiness at finishing third, it is a great achievement even if you are told otherwise – we have to move with the climate in football and in England particularly, the competition is so fierce and tough that 3rd position is as good as winning the carling cup or f.a cup(am sorry but its true), there is no greater buzz than winning a trophy but look at the facts: The carling cup winner gets 1million pounds, F.a cup winner 2 million pounds, 3rd place gets about 30million(thats right 30) – so this is an achievement, we want better but for now 3rd place will do. The End

  34. GA – The games when we have looked the most compact are ones when Song doesn’t play as a centre forward. But the loss of Arteta cannot be denied. He is always back harrying and working hard for the team, we need another player like that if Song is going to be roaming all over the place, I thought Song’s positioning was terrible all game yesterday, in fact the shape of the midfield was poor throughout.

    But fuck it we still won!

  35. One thing I am sure of; our starting defensive pairing is NOT going to be Kos-Verm next season.

  36. It’s perhaps indicative of the season as a whole that more than half of our games have been decided by the odd goal. Agonizing for those of us with a nervous disposition – but well worth it for yesterday’s pay-off.

  37. Notoverthehill

    Thank you Yogi, for all the seasonal good-will to The Arsenal. A real commonsensical site for the true supporter of The Gunners. With real contributors who have respect for Yogi’s wisdom, as it is the YW site! No advertising sponsorship to appease, such as Andrew Mangan having to accept the “unacceptable” in order to obtain the “hits”.

    Even XIIIHunterXIII has come good at the end of the season. Yogi has now house-trained Hunter?

  38. Wenger is such a kid, its so funny when he starts taking his anger out on his water bottle – first he opens the bottle, takes a sip then wham! Down goes the container, poor pat rice, 16 years of watching wenger throw a tantrum.

  39. Drew – All true.

  40. funny how the journalists told us we have no chance of a top 4, and when we finished third, they mocked us for celebrating as though we won a trophy…

  41. Last night was quite an end to the season, I cant even describe it with words, still buzzing.

  42. YW, as the season closes I want to say, as an occasional poster but everyday follower (blog and posts) thank you for providing this Arsenal sanctuary, away from sensationalism and impatience… Where it is ok to acknowledge the club’s shortfalls (they all have them) but where the paradigm iso clearly support, after all that is our job – to support.

    So many fans criticize the players for getting caught out of position and not playing the role they believe the team requires of them, yet that same person is not happy to play their role unless we are having an Invincibles season…

    We all hope that we make the right squad adjustments in the coming weeks but let’s look forward to next season and the promise of fresh opportunity it brings.

    I look forward to seeing you and your regular posters there…

  43. honestly i didnt even cared about what was happening in sunderland and manchester. only found out later.

    and still dont understand why the journos are creaming themselves over the great man city.

  44. Tounge in cheek, but a largely accurate summary of the season:

    http://www.football365.com/faves/7755733/Johnny-Nich

  45. Wenger really needs to reflect on our defensive side. He had been saying for ages that our defensive performance as a whole unit is not good enough and yet as each season goes by, our defenders get worse. We have shipped in 49 goals this season! I am not sure why he did not sign Arturo Vidal when he was available. At 12 million pounds, he was certainly within our price range. I think he is a better defensive midfielder than Yann M’Vila that we have been heavily linked with. It is no coincidence that Juventus went a whole season unbeaten to win the Serie A with him in the side.

  46. “….there is no need for us to try to justify our happiness at finishing third, it is a great achievement even if you are told otherwise…” – khalifha at 10:19 am.

    I never thought I would be quoting khalifa but he is absolutely right. Today is not one for for regrets (goonerandy) and or belittling this team’s achievements. Leave the bitterness and bad vibes to the journo, pundits and le grovers, none of whom gave us a chance at coming 3rd at the beginning of the season and, after Old Trafford and Blackburn, had us dead and buried in either midtable mediocrity or even worse a relegation scrap. Sure mistakes were made, just like every football team around us (ask Sir Alex about that Everton game,) but in sum this team has done brilliantly and every gooner should be absolutely proud. Fifth in wages spent and 3rd (Birdkamp). Simply unheard of.

  47. A very strange season. To be honest, although we achieved a champion’s league place and finished one place higher than last season, you can hardly say we have improved in any way. We did nothing in any of the cup competitions and were out of the running in the league before Christmas.
    I can’t decide whether we overachieved, considering the problems we had earlier in the season and the dreadful summer or whether we were just lucky that Spurs fell apart after the “Rednapp for England” saga and that Chelsea appointed the wrong manager.
    Perhaps taking the current squad to 3rd place is one of Wenger’s greatest achievements despite many poor results?
    A lot is made of champions league football though, it almost seems to be the raison d’être of Arsenal football club nowdays for mainly financial reasons. We do need to try and win domestic cups though as ultimately top players want to be at a club that wins things. Champions league football did not keep Clichy, Nasri and Cesc at the club, more ambition has to be shown by the club in developing the squad.

  48. Andy

    You really are a miserable sod man. You are beyond saving. If you cannot enjoy following the team you purport to support, then I would recomentd findin g another hobby mate.

  49. If I was an investigative journalist, I would be trying to find out how many bets were placed on an Arsenal win in Hungary 🙂

  50. Drew @ 10.21 – we already have another player like Arteta – he’s just been knacked all season.

    Khalifha – yes, you’re absolutely right, there is no need at all to justify our happiness at third place. Those who didn’t enjoy this season – I truly pity them and their inability to understand the landscape in which must operate.

    City managed to clinch the title yesterday by a ‘planck length’ after spending close to a billion pounds.

    Given the season’s starting disarray, in part caused by the poaching of one of our creative talents by the eventual winners, finishing where we have is a far greater achievement.

    As for it’s financial value to the club – I think £30M is actually a conservative estimate – Swiss Ramble concluded it was worth about £50M to Arsenal and that was a year ago.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/390575-what-is-the-champions-league-worth-to-arsenal

  51. nicky

    No, the opening WBA goal was not onside, but you wanted it to be so you can justify your whinging. Brilliant attitude there man. Is this the kinda shite we will have to out up with all summer? Really?

  52. Dex – Heh, I enjoy alright it mate. The strange thing is I am anything but miserable believe it or not. Very happy go lucky type of chap 🙂

    I am sure my posts don’t paint that type of picture though. I do tend to cast a critical eye over all things Arsenal, but that is simply because I know deep down that we are better than we often display. Tis a labour of love.

  53. Let’s not dis the Kos and TV after TWO matches. Thanks!

  54. Sorry if I am being chy, tad grouchy this morning but I am just mystified at the moaning already? Can we at least wait till we miss out on all our transfer targets and our best players leave?

  55. Ah John Nicholson….i forgot to add that tw@t in the list of apologists.. 🙂

  56. khalifha – “competition is so fierce and tough that 3rd position is as good as winning the carling cup or f.a cup(am sorry but its true)”

    Nonsense. In twenty years time, the record will show that Arsenal won nothing, while the FA cup win will be recorded in history. Third is not a bad finish considering we are up against two of the richest clubs in the world, but lets not kid ourselves that beating Spurs and Newcastle by a couple of points is a great achievement.
    The Carling cup is a tin pot trophy, but I would rather win the FA cup and finish 4th or even 5th than finish 3rd and win nothing. What real fan wouldn’t?

  57. theBigM – I sort of agree with your post, except the finishing 5th bit. CL football is a must for a club the stature of Arsenal.

  58. Andy

    I am sure you’re a right hoot in real life man! 🙂 But you Arsenal related posts definitely paint a different picture sometimes dude! I have had a right moan this season, especially during last summer and the beginning of the season, But now the dust has settled, I am really proud of what the team and manager have achieved.

    Dont let us be mislead by cleve after the fact hacks and pundits, finishing 3rd is a real achievement given what happened last summer, the injuries bad calls, time needed for new players to settle and the spending of many of our rivals.

    I truly think IF we keep hold of our best players, have better luck with injrueis and get the long term injured back, we will be in good shape to do something better again next season.

  59. If you cannot celebrate this, something is very wrong. No time to moan. The league is difficult and every club at the top missed opportunities.

  60. The Big Moaner

    Oh please do us all a favour anf kill yourself you whinging cunt.

  61. Dex – I do agree with you, especially your last paragraph. But that is no different to every season; I always think we will win the lge 🙂

    Our final position given our summer and start to the season is pretty amazing really. And if somebody had said before the season we would finish 3rd, it is still an improvement on previous seasons.

    The RvP situation is now huge in my mind. And not just because he is a top striker. If we are a top level club wih ambitions of challenging for the lge, we simply cannot afford to keep losing our top tier players season after season. Arsene said last season that top clubs don’t sell their best players, and then for varying reasons we did so. His statement is even more marked now.

  62. If we had won the FA cup and finished 5th chances are we would be looking at next season shorn of our bast plkayers and have little chance of singing quality replacements. As it stands we have a good chance of keeping those players and signing some real quality.

    This moaning already, so soon after the final whislte is baffling.

    Some cunts are never happy. I think they took a wrong turn when trying to find le grove.

  63. The FA cup is not more important than CL football. I would much rather CL football as a real supporter.

  64. well if chelsea loses the CL final, you can ask their fans if they can accept winning the FA cup and finishing 6th.

    wait, therewould be no more chelsea fans. they would have bleached their jerseys to the light blue of shitty for next season.

  65. Andy

    I know man, we simply cannot keep letting (I know the club dont just say seeya, but you get me) our best players go, we cannot build any momentum if that happens every close season.

    Fingers crossed Robin will sign up, likewise Theo and Song and any others that 2 years left on their deals do likewise.

  66. Why not say you would prefer us finish tenth and win the FA cup, since that is what really matters?

  67. We are a good 19 points behind the two Manchester teams. I think we need to overhaul the squad – at least add 6 new players that are better than the first team players to be able to challenge for the title next season. In our current squad, we do not have enough world class players – only Sagna and RVP. If you compare this squad with the invincible squad in 2004-2005 with players like Henry, Pires, Campbell, Vieira, Cole, Bergkamp, etc, you will realize how much we have regressed.

  68. Liverpool for me are the club to look to as the standard bearer for these whinging doomers.

    Spent a shit load of money, had no european football distractions and finished 8th with a piss poor cup to boot.

    Or we could have had Owen Coyle as our manager as many of these doomers demanded a season or so back.

    I truly dont get why these people are even bothering with following Arsenal. They dont get anything from the experience judging by their comments.

  69. Infuriated by all the media comment about how lucky we were (I know I should have learned to ignore it) – with Fulop’s poor performance. How lucky was it to have an offside equaliser ruled onside? And when it comes to goalkeepers we have had more than our fair share of performances of the season when playing against us (notably Ruddy, one of Norwich’s weakest links I would suggest, pulling off several outstanding saves to get Norwich a draw the other day).

    For once I will take note of Alan Hansen describing Arsenal’s recovery from a disastrous start to the season as “brilliant”.

    Although I did note his (particularly given he was playing) and others’ memory loss regarding the unparalleled 1989 climax to season,as they hailed this as the greatest ever climax to the season

  70. John

    Le grove is thatway man>>>>>>>>>>

  71. pedantic george

    “theBigM | May 14, 2012 at 11:01 am
    khalifha – “competition is so fierce and tough that 3rd position is as good as winning the carling cup or f.a cup(am sorry but its true)”

    The Carling cup is a tin pot trophy, but I would rather win the FA cup and finish 4th or even 5th than finish 3rd and win nothing. What real fan wouldn’t?”

    That is because you are a stupid twat.
    Now fuck off we are having a party here today.

  72. Once the relief and elation from yesterday subsides the season can be looked back on as one of the toughest Wenger has had to endure.

    I wouldn’t personally stretch it to say one of his finest as him being who he is he cannot be happy deep down at the levels of inconsistencies we have seen since August. A season of lots of positives and negatives, same as every other club in the League, even City.

    The recovery from the issues of Aug/September last year has been brilliant but to a degree the club itself was responsible for the position we found ourselves in. Hopefully lessons haven been learned and this summer will be different.

    Thing now is silly season. Fucking hate it. Robin leaving one day, staying next, the distinct possibility of two months of tabloid bollocks. Club has done the first and maybe easy bit in hoping to get him to stay, easy as it was entirely within our control, the rest now is unknown. Wages, contract duration, new signings etc. None of us have a clue what exactly it is that will make him stay.

  73. Shotta, i have my moments 🙂

    Johnny, woah 50mill, thats a lot of zero’s, a lot more than my earlier estimate which just goes to show what wenger and his boys have done for our club. But on another note, can you imagine spud fans giving me stick cause we havn’t won a trophy in a while, where have they been these last 50years, probably in our shadows.

  74. It’s great to play in the CL, but is it all a bit overhyped now? I mean, it may attract players to the club, but playing in the CL has not enabled us to keep our best players and, considering the strength of the PL it is often not a major achievement getting through the group stage.
    Would it matter if we missed the CL for one season if we went and won the Europa league, which now has some good teams in it.

  75. Oh for crying out loud!

    We lost 4 of our first 7 matches, that’s 12 out of your damn 19 points. Think about it!

  76. I’d say third is pretty damn heroic given that we lost four of last year’s first eleven (Clichy, Nasri, Fabregas & Wilshere) in the Summer. That kind of turnover would cause any team massive headaches.

  77. Szczesny Sagna Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs Song Arteta Theo Wilshere Podolski Van Persie

    Thats the 11 as we stand right now for next season and it looks fucking good to me. Factor in a couple of new signings (3 at the most I’d reckon) plus one or 2 from the yutes and we are in great shape.
    Sorry to be so dam positive about Arsenal.

  78. Dex – Yo are absolutely right about these “big” moaners. It is as if they wanted to be proven right for dogging this team all season. Not good enough for a top four team as they mimic the plundits and the numbnuts elsewhere. Seems we should be like Liverpool to follow their logic. £100 million spening on players under King Kenny and all they can show is the Carling Cup and mid table mediocrity.
    Give me Aw and Arsenal any day and twice on Sunday.

  79. pedantic george

    Close but no cigar Dexter. Santos and TR7 for Gibbs and Jack.

  80. No more responding to these comments. Its a celebration up in here!

  81. people who cant enjoy the achievement at least till the transfer window reopens, are really sad.

    when you consider where we were, where we have come from, it is a massive achievement. we have a reason to celebrate. ask the utd fans if they have anything to celebrate? they just lost the league title to their ‘poorer neighbours’

    we are still ahead of our neighbours.

    the journos putting a dampener on our achievement are doing so only to evade the humble pie they ought to be eating.

  82. What a great day and what a great blog. Let me start by thanking Yogi for being here. Through ACLF I met Firstlady and Darius yesterday. Anyone who hasn’t met Darius hasn’t met what an inspirational fellow the man is. Firstlady can vouch for me! So Darius comes along with his Manchester United supporting brother, let’s call him the Emperor. And a lady who isn’t your normal computer geek, who happens to support Liverpool. Let’s call her Ms. H. So Firstlady asks us to meet in a pub where, well, there are salsa classes going on. So we move to another joint. With like six screens but all showing the Arsenal match only. Talk of a joint with open bias! We go up, and then two down, and Darius says: “Relax your bodies, we’ll win.” And we go three two up and the Emperor begins dancing. Darius and I agree with him that Manu has taken the league. The match ends and Darius proposes a toast to St. Tottering day. And then the channels are switched and the Emperor can’t believe his eyes. He goes numb. Unable to speak. And suddenly Firstlady is dancing! We don’t like mancity but all Kenyan gooners hate manu more. What a lovely day for football.

  83. George – What sort of cretin celebrates a third-place finish 19 points behind the winners (and second place). Is is that desperate for you. Give me an FA cup any day.

  84. Wilshere (if all is well) is a 100% starter. He’s an un-naturally talented player for his age.

    If he keeps his head screwed on we will be very very fortunate to have him at our club.

  85. Steve

    I know we havent seen eye to eye on things previously, but I agree with you mate. To claw ourselves back into the top 3 after the calamatous events last summer is amazing, the reasons behind though are not as clear cut as we would like, or the media would have us believe though. We can pontificate and blame the club, board, manager and/or players but we havent got a clue what really happened. The only thing i am certain of, is we were in a shambles and looked dead and bury. The elation at that prospect shown by our rivals, media and some so called Gooners was plain to see.

    Now we have redeemed ourselves, they are not happy and thats why we are seeing all these snide articles and posts.

    Now we have to build on this and go on to win something next season.

    I think we can.

  86. BigMentalist – put the opium pipe down and have a kip.

    Europa..? You have got to be fucking kidding me.

    What makes you think it would be a cinch to win it anyway?

    Fucking hell we’ve had a few stupid comments on here in our time but it’s good to see your obsession with trophies extends to you striving to win the dumbest comment ever.

    As should be apparent – not every trophy is worth winning.

  87. Dexter

    exactly.

  88. Paul-N, my nephew’s getting married next month to a lovely lady from Ghana. Just occurs to me that we may soon be related, even if only 25,000,000 people removed!

  89. pedantic george

    It is time for a quick mention of the real ACLF stars this season

    Frank,Dups,Paul N,and Shotta.
    Never even a hint of a backward step.
    Passenal,Firstlady and Goonerwife.also.

    Some others like me ,wavered in stressful moments.
    Well done those soldiers.

    Dgob …… oh and anyone I missed….. Muppet.Limps….
    Well you get the caliber of poster I mean

  90. it was a tension game, bt third place worth celebrating.

  91. PaulN

    Exactly bro! Its a time for celebrating man, we have come through the mother of all seasons, no doubt Wengers toughest. To finish where we did is awesome. Of course U want us to win things, but jesus, some people really need to get laid or something.

  92. jonnyNeale – so the Europa League and the FA cup are not worth winning, but a third place finish 19 points behind the winners and runners up is a reason to have a party?

  93. an excerpt of something i wrote last night:

    i have waited a whole season to say this. forgive me for gloating, but i have had to put up with the abuse and insults over the past months. today doesn’t belong to Man City. today belongs to Arsenal Football Club.

    ‘Today shows that Arsenal is alive more than anybody thought before the game’ were wenger’s words after the NLD.

    today shows that Arsenal are more alive than ever. we finished higher than last year, with 2 more points, despite losing 2 key players. everyone had already written our orbituary, and some even dared published it. to those, i dare say today: f*ck off you all. Arsenal Football Club deserves more respect than you ever will.

  94. at least add 6 new players

    yeah…we start with buffon, then schweisteiger, then goetze, then pique and iniesta..and we use the change for falcao !!!

    If you compare this squad with the invincible squad in 2004-2005..

    Now why would anyone do that ? Do you also compare the Ajax of 95 with the Ajax of 2012? Or the Milan of the 89-90 with the Milan of today ? …Each club has its peak momments and its momments were it regroups so that they build something for another peak momment…Why cant you accept it? Thats the way things are…and thank god we have the individuals who can do it correctly without jeopardising the club or putting it in danger. Why compare a finsihed article with a work in progress?…It shows ignorance. That team had players who were 27+ at the peak of their game and power, trully world class. Now we have young talent that has the potential to equal or even better the previous peak and with a bigger sense of continuity than before. Perhaps not invinsible but with more solidity. I find your comment immature and not well thought out. Silly really… How can you realistically expect a club like arsenal (with its limited funds wenger/highbury era) to build a stadium of 450million and keep hold off or purchase the elite of footballers so that they also win titles? If you understood the above it wouldnt shock you that the quality of the players would undoubtedly regress. And to be fair its not the quality that is that much at fault rather than the fear of the youth to seize their chance. What they need is encouragement. And as supporters we will give it instead of moaning about things which are out of our control authority and knowledge. You may think of yourself as someone capable enough to tell Arsene Wenger how to run his first team affairs and maybe you think yourself capable enough of squaring up to all the other people behind Arsene Wenger, all the directors, ciefs, sharehoolders, investors etc and tell them all theyve got it wrong. I dont. 🙂

  95. Oh FFS, we got ourselves another rain man. 19! 19! 19!

    Like the start to the season wasnt a freakish event? WE start next season with 4 wins instead if 4 losses and we have already clawed back 12 points.

    But you dont want to hear any positve shit do you Big Moany bollocks?

  96. Dexter

    We didn’t see eye to eye on the basis of a few comments I made which were mis-interpreted, nothing more, nothing personal. Soon forgotten.

    Thing is I wouldn’t want to be involved in a message site where everybody agreed that the world was rosy, people will disagree. We probably do both agree however that now the dust has settled somewhat we do need to improve. That’s not a negative comment in any way but a reality. CL qualification should allow that and the club has made in my opinion a fantastic start by the early signing of Podolski.

    I think it is going to be a busy summer for the club but more in terms of exiting players who no longer contribute but still represent a cost. Finding buyers could actually be a problem with some of them. I would be surprised if more than 1 new first team player (starter) came in. Hopefully long before Aug 31.

  97. @M
    Under the circumstances, yes. After losing Cesc and being written off everywhere, after our torrid start to the season, after being without Wilshere for the whole season, without fullbacks for a big part of it, still managing to finish third and win some tough matches like against Chelsea or Man City (as well as the NLD), I just can’t help myself thinking of this finish as an achievement. I think you’ve already been asked the question, but if Chelsea lose the CL final, would you want to switch with them?

  98. Korihikage True man.

    Jonny;

    The Europa is such a cinch to win both Manc clubs got knocked out of it at the first time of asking.

    You are bang on, I’ve read some bullshit on here (fuck, I’ve typed some A grade bollcks myself man!) but that comment you refer to is scary in its retardedness!

  99. anyway, i am appealing to all of you guys not to back chelsea for the CL final. if they lose, they are only in europa league next season. lets see who they can sign then.

    what about the spuds, you ask.

    well they still ahve to get through the playoffs. as we know, it isnt as straightforward.

    the best case scenario is: chelsea and spuds both lose, so there are only 3 english teams in the CL next season.

  100. Anyway, a quick works trip to the UK for me. See you mob on Wednesday.

  101. Obviously some people can only view success in one term; trophies. Thats fair enough, but its a rather too simplistic view to take in this day and age I am afraid.

    Players want to win shit, but they also demand CL football. Its a huge carrot, an enormous vegetable!

    And I dont mean you George.

  102. “When we were 1-0 up we were nervous. When we were 2-1 down we got back to our game again and in the end we just hung on. We defended crosses with resilience but as long as we did not manage a fourth goal [I was nervous]. I am still thinking of suing the referee for the five minutes of added time because my heart suffered immensely! ”

    The boss being funny and proving we are not the only ones who get nervous during games

  103. No – BigM – winning the prize of being the most stupid poster in history is not worth winning.

    You seem to think if we missed out on CL we would automatically win the Europa – patently nonsense.

    You give zero credence to the context of this season’s achievement which makes everything you say pretty much irrelevant. You don’t even seem to understand that winning a domestic cup at the expense of CL qualification could cost us significantly in terms of players we can attract and hold on to – not to mention the £50M shortfall in income.

    Liverpool’s victory in the league cup I am sure was celebrated mutedly as they have watched their once might side slip further away from the table’s summit. Some of them will feel they have bragging rights for their day in the sun but they finished beneath Everton and have had a wretched season – I spent yesterday afternoon with a Liverpool fan and trust me he looked wretched about their season.

    I know it is not a trophy but I would rather we remained a big club and dined at the top table. But then I actually enjoy the game whilst you’re solely interested in winning – whatever the cost to the club.

    A juvenile mindset for the selfish and the stupid.

  104. My there are some poor, sad, miserable sods out there.

    Do you get the impression that some are actually dissapointed that we finished in the top three?

    I don’t mean dissapointed that we didn’t win the thing but that we didn’t fail to qualify for the CL.

    Imagine living with one of these people.

  105. ask liverpool fans hows winning the carling cup like when you just finished 8th, behind your poorer neighbours.

    winning the europa league is fantastic… if you are a team between 5th and 8th.

    winning the fa cup is great if you finish at least 3rd.

    but CL is where every player wants to be playing. without CL, you can win the FA Cup for 5 seasons straight, and no one will take you seriously.

    sure, things shouldnt be like this. but this is the reality.

  106. I havn’t seen any articles taking a swipe at arsenal yet(i must be doing something right) – also, why do we have to bring the pitch forks and knives out today? Big m stop being a moaning scum, damn you for spoiling the mood, we celebrating here, get used to it. *george why are you allowing bigmoaner to kill da mood*

  107. consolsbob, who’s that in your Avatar? Reminds me of Paul Kruger, the last President of South African Republic!

  108. Pedantic George 11:31

    Dont undersell your own performance – you lost your key player to Zenit halfway through the season, but battled back to make a real contribute to the triumphant finale!

  109. Have we signed anyone yet FFS!?

  110. Talking of Arshavin, I really hope he can return to Arsenal next season after playing a blinder for his country. I think he would make a valuable asset, whether he starts every game , or is used more sparingly. I think this because he won’t have the Euros to worry about, so playing less frequently should not be an issue and TBH, it should mean we see the best of him.

  111. Jenkinson and Coquelin came in and played the full 90 minutes of a must-win away match. Well done lads, massive boost for both of them.

  112. pedantic george

    For The Big Moan

  113. Locking up third, I’m happiest for Arsene, Pat, and the team. With third achieved, Arsenal can take an upbeat aura into the summer and setting a positive tone for the start of next season.

    Overcoming the psychological loss of Nasri and Cesc, was an impressive achievement. A long tedious battle, but the goal was achieved and all must feel a sense of accomplishment.

    With the exception of a few players and a handful of matches, this is a season I prefer to forget – far too many frustrating performances and far too much reliance on RvP.

    Arsene and Gazidis need to deal RvP their best offer, re-sign the player, and then expediently finalize other transfers that the manager deems necessary.

    Benayoun given a run of matches has produced in every big match and proven his value to the club.

    COYG

  114. Well, well, well

  115. Well,well,well

  116. Dex, you are cracking me up bro!

    So after 7 games City and United were only 7 points better than us? Taking into account that our team did it gel for way past those at he’s and all of our full backs being injured, what a great, great comeback!
    Sure we could have made it easier but if it was so easy, United wouldn’t have been in the picture for the title as City were cruising, and then They lose it when it looked like they had it sown up!

  117. I think others stepped up towards the end of the season with goals, no?
    We are definately moving in the right direction.

  118. Good morning Mates! Absolutely fantastic match and glad to see Santos and Benayoun bag a goal apiece. If in fact which is more than likely it was Benayoun’s swan song he went out with a BANG and helped us secure 3rd and CL. To the “Israeli Messi” as he is known, I thank you my friend and hope we sign you but if we don’t your spirit, fight, loyalty, determination and ofcourse you CLASS will surely be remembered for all you have done.

    3rd place when everybody was writing us off and we were in relegation zone with injuries and people leaving at the beginning of the season is damn good. For all you cuntish DOOMERS out there think about this:
    1. Newcastle started the season fantastically was top 3 most of the season when we were eating sh$t are now below us.
    2. Spuds started the season flying and were challenging for the title(fuck them) until they ran into Arsenal and now are below us and hoping that Chavs dont win the CL.
    3. Chavs spent all that money on coaches and players and sh$t and finished below us in the table and are hoping Bayern doesn’t come out and destroy them otherwise they’ll be watching us in the CL next season.
    3.Mansh$t poached one of our best players at near the end of the transfer window helping to fuck up the beginning of our season and if we win even 4 of the 1st matches thats 12 points made up and confidence is in a different place for matches we drew and they spent billions(exaggerating but FFS you get my point).
    4.We are in 3rd placeand had to deal with NO PROPER FB’S for long periods at a time plus the loss of players like DIaby, Jack, Verm and we finished 3rd.
    5. We lost Cesc who with RVP this whole team was built around and formation was played for his strengths right as the season started thus fuking us over (I hate Barca) and we are now 3rd.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this season and am proud to be an Arsenal fan because when shit was hitting the fan we had a Manager and a Captain who decided to carry this team and players ilke Theo, Song, Arteta, Mert, Kos, Ver stepped up and played like the champions they are with pure class determination and RVP. I feel good going into the summer maybe later i’ll talk transfers but for now just want to enjoy this season and this group of players!

  119. RVP says he wants to talk and hopefully hash out a contract this week!

  120. pedantic george

    “And to be fair its not the quality that is that much at fault rather than the fear of the youth to seize their chance. What they need is encouragement. And as supporters we will give it instead of moaning about things which are out of our control authority and knowledge.”

    For people who moan about Hunter 13(and it is understandable from time to time) remember he also says stuff like that.

  121. Facts help in understanding a season. The most startling fact is that of improving on the last season (on most if not all indicators) having lost the services of Fabregas and Nasri, plus Wilshere and Diaby from injury, as well as, less chaotically Frimpong, and all the departees, Clichy, Eboue, Bendtner, Vela, Denilson, Almunia and one or two others. In other words Arsenal managed something decent, rebuilding while managing a team transition and achieving a better placing. Third is very respectable. Ask Totts, Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle. Well done!

    The squad looked thin towards the last lap or two without Arteta, Wilshere and Diaby; without Arshavin and Per also.

  122. C @ 12-35.
    Where did you read that??

  123. @JD

    It could just be rubish but here’s the link. He speaks about talking this week and going from there. I’m also reading between the lines from comments made earlier:
    http://www.premiershipnews.net/news.php?id=teams/arsenal/9263858/Robin-van-Persie-I-will-hold-contract-talks-with-Arsenal-manager-Arsene-Wenger-this-week.
    One of my friends sent me the link(even though my friend isn’t a Arsenal fan he does think RVP should stay)

  124. Yogi, thanks for your great posts over the season. Great day yesterday. Lets hope Arsene does the business during the summer and does something about our goals against (49 . . . far too many) Watched the game live yesterday and I thought Trevor Francis made a valid point when he said Arsenal concede alot of goals “from midfield”. Something to think about?
    Thanks once again COYG!!!!!!

  125. I got to realise dt some ppl can never ever be happy!! Those who suggest winning the FA cup bt finishing outside the CL position is better than what we achieved this season are clearly retarded and they need to be taken care of by a psychiatrist. I’m quite sure if we had won the FA cup and finished 5th, it would have been a case of CL qualification is more important for them. Maybe u should just try to read 13Hunter13 comment @ 11:37 and get on with supporting the team or f**k off n support Looserpool with their tiny pot.

  126. @ great comments hunter, korihikage, C, consolsbob, Dexter, pedantic george

    For all those turning up their noses at third, can I point out that it is one place higher than we have finished for a few seasons? We have for the first time in quite a while finished the season on a high note.

    We wobbled now and again but we came good. You gain confidence and self-belief from battling successfully against adversity. We’ve laid the foundations. That and the positivity could be most important legacy of this campaign.

  127. All in all, I suppose we lost or drew 3 or 4 games we ought to have won and I would have liked to see us about 8/9 points ahead of where we landed; which would have reflected relative strengths this season. As I said, we looked and were a little thin in the last month. That said, the EPL itself is changing and improving in fairly dramatic ways, one of the most fascinating seasons for some time. In many ways Wigan’s late surge is the story of the season alongside Newcastle’s unexpected staying power, and both Swansea and Norwich’s unexpected quality. Or to put it another way, Liverpool fielded a fairly decent and high profile side this season and look where they landed. Tottenham had an excellent, and for them long spell of form, and look where they landed. Chelsea remain a high-powered unit, and look where they landed.

  128. And thanks YW and OOU/Big Bird/Kamp Al for keeping a high standard of posts throughout the season.

  129. word of advice: thrive on positivity, not negativity.

    negativity is for example the people who say third is nothing to celebrate about. they say this because having been slapped in their pathetic faces by us, they are feeling like idiots and angry at us for making them look like the idiots they are. hence their pettiness.

    if you have nothing nice to say, sometimes it is better not to say anything.

  130. Enough about the Doomers, let all the true Arsenal fans enjoy this season and more importantly the players that fought all season long! Just as important I want to say thank you Pat Rice for all your years of service and a win and securing 3rd after this season was spot on! Arsene again you have proved to be a genius not only with your stabilizing transfers in teh time of adversity(Arteta, Santos, Gervinho, Mert, Benayou) but also with your ability to bring out the best in Song, Theo and RVP!

  131. Congratulation to the players and staff of AFC on a good season.

    Good luck to all the players who will participate in the European championships. My wish is that your countries perform well and that you are benched most of the time. The occasional “pre-season” warm up game , under the guise of representing your respective countries, to benefit AFC will be sufficient.

  132. hear, hear, C | May 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

  133. @FunGunner

    I just echo the sentiments of posters like you, Jonny, PG, korihikage and others even the one they call 13hunter13

  134. Cant people just celebrate? we made third for heaven’s sake,nothing arsenal does is good enough for some, I am pretty sure even when we win something some will still find something to complain about.

    Kenyan gunner good thing I messed up otherwise we wouldnt have found out that new joint, thanks for taking us there. It was quite a pleasure meeting you guys and hopefully we can watch more games together in the future.

  135. That’s a secret known only to a very few Kenyan!

    But it’s not Kruger.

  136. Phew, what an end to a rollercoaster season for the faithful at ACLF. Thank goodness we were sustained by Yogi’s blog! From the dark days at the start, through a top of the table run of results, to a stuttering finish Wenger steered his often depleted squad through to finish a superb 3rd place, in Europe again and the run-of-the-mill finish above Spurs. What other teams could have achieved this with four full backs out a the same time, as just one example?
    OK, I admit some of that success was due to an infectious lack of inconsistency in our rivals, but I am waiting for Hansen and Co. to blast the poor performances at Spurs and his beloved Liverpool.
    And what if Fulop was the Hungarian equivalent of that Polish keeper that Brian Clough called a clown? We were due that after so many opposing keepers played out of their skin against us this year.
    I don’t care who we sign or don’t in the summer, my one wish is to sort out some of the silly goals that we have conceded this season, whether that be due to defence/midfield or tactics.
    And I hear that Suga3 is currently on a suicide watch…

  137. Well done. With that said Mr wenger our squad needs strengthening, too many sub par players like ramsey bendtner vela denilson and we need to get help for alex song

  138. Well done. With that said Mr wenger our squad needs strengthening, too many sub par players like ramsey bendtner vela denilson and we need to get help for alex song

  139. Well reflections then … I suspect Gervinho will become an Arsenal star, despite some ups and downs, a solid first season when many times first seasons are regarded as ‘settling in’. Same goes for Per. Santos, my what a player! What an Arsenal player! Ox, outstanding, pushed in a little earlier than desired. Arteta, fabulous, underestimated. Song and RvP, the 2 first on any team sheet, and for Song yet another season of excellent improvement. Chewie, wonderful all-round debut season as first choice. Coq, looking good. TV and Kos, I rate particularly as the best pairing in the EPL. Sagna, absolute class. Theo, improved again and his stats look good; everyone forgets how young he still is. Jenks continues to impress. And oh, Ramsey, such an impressive return and work load in top flight football after the injury, well done lad! Ben proved an inspired loanee. Disappointments are few, Arshavin’s loss of form, Djourou’s odd lapse, Chamakh and Park’s inability to get time, Diaby’s failure to overcome injuries. Next season is one to whet any appetite, into an already strong template arrive Podolski, Wilshere, Ryo surely to give him some first team try outs, probably Diaby, maybe Bartley and Frim. Plus Wenger’s “other signing”. I think we can fairly expect Ox to make a bigger all-round impact.

  140. Wenger is quite an emotional man! Above all, he deserves much praise for strength of character. Pat Rice, what a legendary figure.

  141. pedantic george

    “d | May 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm
    Well done. With that said Mr wenger our squad needs strengthening, too many sub par players like ramsey bendtner vela denilson and we need to get help for alex song”

    d,it might have escaped you keen eye for detail,but 3 of those 4 were not at the club this year,The other will go on to be a club legend.

    There are too many sub par posters on here today,Yogi needs to strengthen his entry criteria.

  142. Yogi.

    Great post and thanks for a great season. I couldn’t watch the game yesterday and it took all my strength to finally check the score. Elation at seeing the final score is an understatement. We rode our luck against a very poor gk and the spuds collapse in the last couple of months but cwho cares its the results that matter in the end Happy that man city won but only because it stopped the red mancs.

    Lots and lots and lots of work to do this summer. Hopefully no serious injuries at the euro’s and adding podolski a good start. Hopefully m’vila more then just a rumour and a adding couple of other top players along with keeping the ones we already have.

  143. Great comments there C my man.

    d; Never mind getting some help for Alex Song, I think you need some man. Ramsey a sub par player? Give the lad a break mate.

  144. Jonny; That was rather good, I enjoyed that, thank you.

  145. @Zimpaul

    Fair reflections and I truly enjoyed our new signings. Gervinho’s direct style is that many fullbacks can’t deal with due to his trickery as well as pace adn picking the right ball to play. Mert and Arteta to me were the best signings, both calming influences while still possesing class techinically. When we were in disarray they along with RVP helped bring about a calmness. Santos my Samba dancing LB, a player unorthodox in style at times but massively talented offensively but always strong defensively. Let us not forget Lil Mozart, a player so maligned and casted aside as deadwood due to energy, only to be rejuvenated show that class is always permanent. Lest us not forget that at the center of many of our attacks was our Lil Mozart playing defenders like keys on a piano and playing so beautifully in his passing and skill that many now can’t concieve him being not 1st choice. Then there is Alex Song the best DM in the EPL but was given freedom to show his natural creativity(he was a AM when we signed him but was so big and strong Arsene turned him into a DM) and gave us 15 assists, some so beautiful that it was like a movie watching them play out, the assist to RVP against Everton, the through ball to Theo against the Spuds. Simply put, if he was to play as a CM he would be the best in the EPL. Theo my beloved Theo, when the lights shine the brightest so does he, running up and down the right flank defending while still be so feared that many times defences rotate over to shut him down. I’ve heard all season about his inconsistencies but you all who doubt him think about his: for as much as we rely on RVP, our over reliance on the right flank is astonishing and guest who roams that flank and time and time again beats his defender or tracks back to cover and still gets in on the attack(remember his lung busting run from the inside our own 18 and finishing off with a goal inside the Spuds penalty box leaving Parker in his wake).

  146. I wish I had copy and pasted that list of 10 things I posted the other day, coz I can check at least one more thing off!

    2. Finish 3rd. CHECK.

    Next up; tie RvP, Theo and Song to new deals.

    I am really looking forward to next season already! I think Bould will be just like a new signing! 🙂

  147. @Jonny

    That was fantastic!

  148. Not like AFC to do it the easy way and give us poor supporter’s a nice stress free day is it?

    A very strange season indeed, definately the most stressful I can remember it some time, with some definite low’s (8-2, 4-0 loss to AC), but certainly with more than a fair share of highs – the 5-3 win at the bridge, 5-2 against the Spud’s and Thierry returning and scoring on his debut.

    And how sweet it is to finish above the Spud’s after a whole season of nonsence not only from supposed expert’s in the field of football journalism but from the Spur’s fan’s themselves – who you would of thought would of learnt over the years not to gloat until the season is over but couldn’t help themselves with all of the ‘mind the gap’ bollocks.

    Yes, it may only be 3rd place, but it sure does feel sweet today doesn’t it?

    A 10th place finish for me in the ACLF Fantasy League too – not too shabby, although a bit of a collapse after challenging OneOfUs for top spot in March – Not sure who won YW?

    And now the season has finished I would just like to say thanks to YM and OOU for a season’s worth of top quality post’s – without doubt, head and shoulders the best AFC Blog on the net – Good work chaps.

  149. I hope Gervinho shows us more of his real self next season. I think his form dipped loads after the ACN. Having him, Theo, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin, Podolski and (maybe) Ryo as our wide forwards will be awesome dudes! Perhaps Joel Campbell might get a look in, although I think he might get a loan to a PL side to acclimatise.

    I am going to make a prediction; Connor Henderson will be a big player for us, hopefully, next season. I think that once again injury has robbed us of a potentially good young player. He was going to be part of the 1st team set up last season before he got a bad injury during a pre-season game. He looked really impressive to me.

    Here’s to him (and hopefully one or 2 others) stepping up next season.

  150. Everton are going to soon get their own version of St Totts..but hey Liverpool won the Carling, thats worth more than anything else in the world eh??? And they still have the miracle men..Daglish and Caroll…

    My god I cannot believe the negativity in some of the posts here…Thank fuck we won yesterday…I shudder to think how these “fans” would have reacted otherwise…

  151. Dex

    Maybe thats who Kenny thought he was signing when he spend the 20 million 😀

  152. Kori @ 1:08

    Spot on…100%

  153. Anirudh

    I shudder to think too man. I honestly think that if we ever do manage to win a trophy they would still find cause for complaint. Some people are just never happy.

  154. My own feeling about the stars of Next season

    Joel Campbell

    Ryo and Bellerin in the Carling cup..

  155. I do hope we can make another “Yossi” signing for next season. An experienced pro who can be relied upon when it’s necessary to chip in with goals or assists at vital moments but who at the same time accepts that he is not going to be a guaranteed starter. In a total of 12 starts and 10 sub appearances (Prem and CL) Yossi has contributed 5 goals as well as one assist which is a very good return in my opinion.

    Though I’d be very glad to have Yossi back, if that’s possible and Chelsea don’t hold him ransom.

  156. @Anirudh | May 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

  157. Dex

    I suspect these are the sort of people who criticized the invincibles for their european and cup performances

  158. Another year without a trophy. Sack Pat Rice. What does he do anyway.

    I see the Big M is having his usual whine. I blame the government for taking away his medicine.

  159. pedantic george

    Its funny that some of the happiest people today,were some of the most miserable bastards in September.
    I am looking at you Dexter.

  160. The only real regret I have this season is the 4-0 loss to Milan.
    I don’t think we could do much about the 8-2 because at that moment in time we were lacking crucial players due to injury. Maybe things would’ve been different if RVP had buried the penalty to equalise early but then again without Song, TV, Sagna etc. if was always going to be an uphill battle.
    But on the other hand in the match against AC Milan, even despite them being dirty cheating bastards we should’ve managed to at least score one or two. I really feel we could’ve gone further in the CL (and I would’ve loved to see the current team face Barca. Really curious to see what they’d make of Arteta and the fancy new trick Song has learned with their high defensive line)

  161. George

    Fuck off you doomer Theo hating twat! 🙂

  162. pedantic george

    In his interview with Arsenal Player after the match, Arsene mentioned challenging for trophies .He regards 3rd as a trophy,and sad he wants to win the League and the CL.He clearly discounts (at least to a degree )the FA and CC,
    And rightly so.
    They are like a nice belt to hold up your trousers,but it is the trousers that are really important.

  163. George

    Back in september we were a shambles man. Never mid what happened with cesc and Nasri. I remember being at the 1st home game vs Liverpool and I could not believe how poor we were. We never looked like scoring and the best player on the pitch by a mile was young Frimpong. Things looked bleak and that was before the OT mauling and the loss up at Ewood park.

    I dont apologise for being miserable then. Thats all part of the journey for me. Ups and downs.

    Thats why I can fully appreciate this fantastic achievement by the team.

  164. What about the underpants George? Or does Arsene go commando too?

  165. “They are like a nice belt to hold up your trousers,but it is the trousers that are really important”

    A Socrates in our midst 🙂

  166. @Evil

    I would have loved to have seen Arteta playing against his old mates both at club level and internationally. Its crazy that for all of Arteta’s talents and winning and even being Captain of the Spain U-21 team that had the likes of Xabi Alonso that he doesn’t have a single senior Cap for Spain.

  167. I think khalifha might get his wish next season. Gibbs could well be 1st choice material. I wonder if Roy will pick him after that tackle yesterday?

    I think the loss of Arteta at such a crucial period has been pretty understated in the main. Not on here, but inj general. He really holds things togather and is such an intelligent player. He has become integral to the way the team performs IMO. Having him and Jack back next season could be key to any success we get.

  168. Anirudh

    Don’t encourage the old tart!

  169. C;

    England are crying out for a player like Arteta man.

  170. It has cost Money City close to a billion quid to win the Premier league. That is insane. This fair play thing cannot come in soon enough for me and I do hope it has teeth and aint just a load of hot air.

  171. @Dexter

    It will be a great to watch Santos and Gibbs fight for the LB spot. Gibbs doesn’t make that block they score but Santos doesn’t put it in the back of the net we might not be having this conversation. For me Santos is still 1st choice but thats a different debate for a different day!

  172. @Dexter

    Yea your right they dont have anybody but I could see Gerrard and Jack forming a nice pairing in the middle of Englands midfield because Jack excelled at the CM role last season.

  173. C;

    Santos IS 1st choice for me too man, at the moment. I was just making another prediction. Things can change over the course of pre-season.

    And at RB, Jenkinson will get a good run out at the start of next season while Bacart recovers from another bad injury.

  174. @Dexter

    Yea you never know how pre-season works out. At RB i just don’t know because its tough with Le Coq their as well. What of Yennaris?

  175. @ C

    Slightly disagree with you there…he was brilliant for his first season and was amazing at transitioning defence to attack eg: the winning goal against Barca at home last season..but we were also nowhere near as compact as were/are with Arteta in the side (especially in the period between Feb-April)

    Having said that Arteta is also way more experienced so I am 99.99999% sure that he will add that to his game and go on to become one of the best midfielders of this generation

  176. pedantic george

    I have just tried to watch the game on Arsenal player ,but that cunt Robson is doing the commentary.I have had to turn it off

  177. Dex

    Strictly tongue in cheek mate..

  178. @Anirudh

    I agree with you I was just saying for England(since Arteta will NEVER be able to play for England since he participated at every international level outside the senior level) that him and Gerrard are the option midfield wise. I do think Jack is a excellent CM because he doesn’t mind a good tackle not to mention all teh natural offensive talent that is obvious.

  179. pedantic george

    Look people
    Understand this .Jack will not be first choice next year. Whether or we buy or not.

  180. Aah okay..sorry misunderstood it then…

  181. pedantic george

    Anirudh,take no notice of Dexter ,he is a bitter old Queen.

  182. C;

    I am hoping Coquelin plays in midfield man. While I can see Yennaris going out on loan again, this time to a PL side hopefully. He can also operate in midfield.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to Kyle bartley and Henri lansbury. I have always liked them and was really hopeful of them carving out a career with us, but I always think that about the yute dem.

  183. C;

    Arteta can play for England mate. If he chose to represent them.

    Heorge;

    Ooh ark at her! I’ll scracth yer eyes out biatch!

  184. pedantic george

    Dexter ,do you still think Henri has a chance with us?
    I cant see it myself.
    He is what?21? 22? Just a tad short for me

  185. @PG
    Nobody knows who is going to do what just speculation. Either way I just want whoever to do the job and help us win and thats most important.

    @Dexter
    I would hope Le Coq does operate primarily in midfield but wouldn’t mind him playing RB from time to time. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bartley and Lansbury have a go in the pre-season and fight for a spot.

  186. pedantic george

    “Arteta can play for England mate. If he chose to represent them.!

    Really? that would be a good thing for England

  187. Jack will need alot of time and patience while he is eased back into the team. Adter such a long injury lay off, it could take him a dew months before he is anywhere near his best. It would be outstanding to have him, Arteta, Rosicky, Song, Diaby and Coquelin fit and raring to go next season.

    I thought when Cesc left, we needed to sign a central midfielder and we did try and sign a fair few apparantly, such as Gourcuff.

    I would love us to sign someone of his ilk. Now we have the CL spot, things may start to happen.

  188. George

    Yeah Arteta could play for England as he has been here long enough and not played for the Spanish senior side (I think).

    As for lansbury. I’ve always liked him mate. His spirit, tenacity reminded me (and Arsene too) of Parlour. We can always use players like that in the squad IMO. I’ve followed his career since before Jack was making a name for himself in the youth teams. It will be difficult, but you never know. Gibbs went on loan to Burnley and looked well ropey and he’s part of the 1st team.

  189. pedantic george

    When you say “Nobody knows who is going to do what just speculation.” You are of course right.
    But as a Rule,it takes a player who is fully finished developing ,the same amount of time to “get back” as he has been out for.Jack is still developing and is likely to take longer .Just like Aaron is.
    So,as Arteta has been better this year ,than Jack was last year(IMO of course) It is unlikely he will be first choice.
    Or do you see it differently?

  190. I knew I’d missed someone off my list of mids there. Sorry Aaron!

  191. pedantic george

    Dexter .That was before TR7 remembered he was world class.
    Do we still need a Gourcuff.?
    He is not as good as Thomas and Jack will be better .Not sure we need him .Unless it is to keep Chamahk happy at is.

  192. Limestonegunner

    ZimPaul | May 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Very well said. This was a big transition (and it isn’t complete) managed during the early part of the season. Quite commendable.

    I think everyone realizes we aren’t where we want to be and that there is a gap to traverse. But it is churlish not to give credit to the team and manager, not to celebrate a hard fought improvement over last season.

    Let’s hope we have and keep foundations for building further success next season. CL may not have guaranteed keeping players every season in the past but I imagine it would be much more difficult without it and likewise our recruitment. Let’s be happy that the main task of this season has been secured.

  193. George

    Rosicky has been excellent this season and I am glad for him and the club. He can also play a similar role to Arteta as he is very clever, has a great engine and can tackle and break things up. What I think we have missed (unsurprisingly really) is a creative spark in midfield, who can make those killer passes as well as score 10+ goals too. We need our wide players to be chipping in with more goals too. Theo’s done his bit for us, more than his bit IMO, so the left flank needs to come up with the goods. Maybe that’s where Podolski comes in?

  194. @Dexter
    The player is not eligible for England because FIFA Statutes stipulate that the player needs to have held a British passport at the time when he represented Spain at the U16 European Championships and in addition he would have required five years of education in Britain before turning 18.

    @PG

    I am fully aware of that mate just saying Jack could be ready to go or Arsene could do something and change formations as to where he signs a player and plays a 4-1-2-3 we just dont know. I do think that it will take some time for Jack to come back and I for 1 am not saying he is going to start from day 1 but again you never know how a player will respond until its that time. I think Arteta was the signing of the season with all the attributes he brings to the table as i stated earlier but you never know. I honestly dont think we need another AM with LIl Mozart, Jack, OX but what the hell do I know

  195. pedantic george

    Where is Yogi anyway?
    I come round to see him every day and he very rarely greets me with a kind word and a cup of tea.

  196. Just Another Luke

    Well said, by East Lower

    “And I’m pleased for Wenger. He has polarised fans like never before, but for battling on despite a dismal summer and season’s start, and for being as dignified as ever despite the brickbats, I think he deserves credit. It can’t have been easy.”

  197. C; I am pretty sure he could represent England mate. I am right dammit! Get over it! 🙂

  198. pedantic george

    “I honestly dont think we need another AM with LIl Mozart, Jack, OX but what the hell do I know”

    Well it is clear to me that you know more than most.

  199. pedantic george

    Dexter ,Is that you way of saying that Thomas “IS NOT” a playmaker?

  200. pedantic george

    Well said Just Another Luke for saying Well said, by East Lower.It was indeed well said.

  201. am so greatful to al arsenal playerz especialy d king himself ROBIN VAN PERSIE.scorin 30goals a season s nt an easy job.if it s wer r d lyks of,kum aguero,wayne rooney,suarez,drogba,torrez.i love my club arsenal til death do us part.i great d one and only economical prof ARSEN WENGER.den my greatings to al my playerz.walcott,oxlade alex chamberlain,koscielny,d best keeper in england,santoz,sagna,vermaelen,agbe song bilong,rosicky,gibbs,arteta,gervinho,benayoun.and my fellow fanz i great u.welcum to championz league next season.

  202. @Dexter

    Calm down mate lets get back to celebrating a scintilating year that saw us go from relegation zone to CL football.

    @PG
    I just state the facts as we all see them.

  203. Limestonegunner

    Evil | May 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I agree with you fully there. It was following a very poor January so it felt worse. With an away goal or two we would have been okay, or limiting the damage. I took the Sunderland loss in the FA cup pretty hard as well but it wasn’t nearly as important. I too would very much have liked to match up with Barcelona for the third year running–had almost started to take on the feel of a “European derby” in that we have had some history with them and have not yet turned a tie fully to our advantage. We should have gone further in Europe despite the tough set of fixtures arrayed on our path.

    Overall the rest of the season had some high moments and we did fairly well in the top 6 mini league: split with Spuds, City; win and draw v. Chelski and Newcastle; only fell down v. ManU. Pretty decent all told. Plus we enjoyed seeing Thierry Henry score game winning goals in league and FA cup. Joyous.

  204. Great post Yogi. Thanks for a great job this season. A Cultured Left Foot is the first website I go to every morning here in Delaware, USA.

    I don’t know about other Gooners, but I am emotionally drained from this most exciting of seasons. Unlike other years, I am ready for a bit of a break from watching Arsenal. The season ended on a positive note and the future looks very bright for Arsenal, and that makes me very happy. Let’s hope that RVP signs early and no one gets seriously injured playing for their country this summer.

  205. pedantic george

    Does anyone know if Thomas was injured yesterday that he got subbed?

  206. @George
    I’ve seen reports suggest that he felt his hamstring and so they subbed him as a precaution.

  207. Well Well Well

    @Kenyan Gunner and Firstlady – it was great to meet you all. One of the best evenings I’ve spent on account of Arsenal. A pub with 6 screens shamelessly showing only the Arsenal game, an Emperor who is still recovering from the shock of having to return the cork into a champagne and great company all round.

    As for the football, fuck everyone who is moaning. Arsenal till I die. Bring on the next season.

  208. Limestonegunner

    I asked that question straight away as it happened yesterday. It didn’t seem tactical (at least to me at the time!). Maybe Evil is right about a hamstring tweak and precautionary change.

    Our midfield was really being overrun but I thought TR7 showed some spark as he has for us.

  209. PG

    Tea always goes cold and well, when I do something for you, like I don’t know, put a thumping great picture on the site that you would like, what happens? You have to be told on another media site to come here.

    Sniff.

    And I have been writing tomorrow’s post. Which is on it’s 8th draft already with at least one more to come. As well as some posts for Arsenal On This Day

  210. pedantic george

    LG,I think Thomas was our best player in the first half.

  211. Limestonegunner

    Cheers, Darius. Wonderful that you had a great ACLF meet up in Kenya and could enjoy the win, 3rd, St. Totteringham’s Day in one good go!

    Wish you a safe return.

  212. Limestonegunner

    PG, so did I which is why I thought injury right away. He’s been a gem. Let’s hope he stays healthy through the Euros and isn’t too knackered. Unless we reinforce in his position, we will be needing him to play twice a week during our group stage games. I’m okay with having Ramsey and JW learn the attacking midfield position, but that is for the domestic cups in my book unless TR7 is injured or out of form. As he was at the start of this season.

  213. To be honest I wouldn’t mind for Lil Mozarts hamstring because that would almost guarantee he would rest all summer(I know wishful thinking) and be injury free and ready to go next season. What can i say I’m 1 hoping all players that we already know are going to the Euros make only sub appearances like the last min of matches to help kill time off but thus would never be our luck since we have world class talent like RVP leading the Dutch, Verm and Kos and Theo not to mention Mozart the Russian and others. Fuck the Euro’s!

  214. PG @4.09

    Tomas has been our best player for the past three months.

  215. I’m miserable now (any signings, any signings, any old signings?).
    But yesterday I managed to find a plundit free stream. Just the crowds on the audio feed.

    Not only did I celebrate St. Tott’s day today by having lunch in the Lillywhites Sandwich Bar (Sssshhhhh. They don’t know that I come from the right side of the tracks), but Mcleish just got sacked!
    The day just got better.

  216. pedantic george

    YW @ 4.09 yes he has

    I think I am in the attendance register more than anyone else this year.In fact I could be one of those new fangled “teaching assistants” You know ,someone who helps the teacher out ,but actually knows very little themselves.

  217. PG

    My experience of teaching assistants is that they tend to know more than those who have the qualifications.

  218. TR7 started the season as he ended it. With a sensational performance in the second 45 away to Udinese. It sure did hurt the groaners to see a football club helping an athlete recover, as well as possible, their full fitness. Worth every penny.
    I mean, it’s not like the club has ever benefitted from having players like, I dunno, Edu in a squad before. Is it?

  219. Yogi:

    In the past you have had some guests write posts for you in the summer. Perhaps George can write one this year??? May be?? hopefully??. Limestone and Jonny should write one also.

  220. Yogi

    Word press is annoying. It screws up my name all the time now. Oh Well. Thanks again for a great season. On to the silly season!!.

  221. I just flicked on the Arsenal Player to watch a couple of bits and in the Coming Soon section is shows a Robin Van Persie Exclusive scheduled for 11PM?

    Can I dream an hope this is announcing a new contract? 🙂

  222. @Matt

    Please dont toy with my emotions with something of that nature. Even though I read that his wife said he was and will continue to reject any offers not from Arsenal so could it be. Could Arsenal be getting their business done early and not waiting until after the Euros, I mean Podolski, rumors of another major signing all before the end of the season and now our Captain of Captains?

  223. Limestonegunner

    Matt, now that would be some happy follow up news. How different it would be from last season when the summer dragged on with awful sagas about our best players leaving. Now you’ve got my hopes up!

    Probably just a season ending message from the captain. But I will certainly look to watch it!

  224. pedantic george

    We can all dream until 11 pm now Matt

  225. I know, thanks Matt what a pal!

  226. 11pm? That’s 12am for me. I guess I’ll have to go to bed late tonight! But really, if we sign him up, that’ll be as good as finishing 3rd.
    Unfortunately I just expect it to be some kind of “What did you think of your best ever season?” kind of interview which I’d appreciate any other day but not when I am desperate for any positive news on his contract.

  227. @Evil

    I agree an interview like that while great becasue i could see highlights , I want to hear or read “Robin Van Persie has put pen to paper and signed a contract extension with Arsenal.” Then the following day here “Alex Song and Theo Walcott have followed in the footsteps of their tailsmanic Captain and put pen to paper on long term contract extensions.”

  228. Besides, the all-knowing media is reporting that talks are scheduled for Wednesday. But really, I don’t know what to expect. GA scared me yesterday by his doomish end of the world interpretation of Robin’s post-match interview and today I am reading how Robin’s wife talks like she’d rather hack her foot off than leave London. The wait until there is an announcement is as bad as some of the close matches we played this year.

  229. pedantic george

    Robin is not due to talk with the club until tomorrow ,I think!

  230. Limestonegunner

    You do have to say that her comments are quite positive. We await the final decision, but it is nice to know that there is some appreciation by BvP for the club sticking with RvP during tougher times as a young hothead and through injuries. They’ve become the people they are and independent adults, and clearly very fine folks, during their time in London at Arsenal. Positive feelings that hopefully will make a difference.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/340806/20120514/robin-van-persie-arsenal-bouchra.htm

    We wait and see. But I can say, I really like RvP and his family for the class they’ve shown; Bouchra seems to have a good head on her shoulders and values that go deeper than the typical teaspoon level of footballers and their wags. If they decide to move on, as long as it isn’t to another English club, my respect for them will be intact in ways it hasn’t been for some others. He’s given us a truly fine season as a footballer and inspirational captain.

  231. “Probably just a season ending message from the captain. But I will certainly look to watch it!”

    This is all very odd.

    IF it is it’d be the most thoughtless end of season message – the club MUST be aware that the fans are collectively on tenterhooks – surely the PR department can’t be this unaware/insensitive/downright stupid..?

    Also the timing of it is unusual – 11PM..?

  232. Saying that re-signing RVP will be critical is obviously ridiculous understatement. He didn’t give much return during a couple of injury filled years but he has played his heart out for 2 years and he could have asked for a new contract or a move since he market value is sky high and I suspect he has played with one of the lowest weekly wages of any world class goalscorer in all of football for the last couple of years. Loyalty cuts both ways and I hope the club will not try to play hardball with him.

  233. Limestonegunner

    Even the mom is getting in the act, if the quotes are to be believed; you have to like especially the little mention there about Arsenal’s finances–she approves of our self-sustaining model as well!:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/robin-van-persies-wife-bouchra-830189

    Even Van Persie’s mother, Jose, has joined the clamour for him to stay.

    She said: “Arsenal is a ­beautiful club. They have no debts and Robin is being worshipped there.

    “I honestly feel that the fans and the people at the club really love him. That is worth so much, too.

    “When we go to Arsenal and we walk into the stadium with him, it is electrifying.

    “As a mum, that fills me with pride. It is really fantastic. When Robin’s granddad, my dad, was over at the Emirates for his (91st) birthday and we were taking pictures inside, I heard grown-up people behind me say: ‘We love Robin’. As a mum, I could not wish for a nicer thing.”

    Van Persie, speaking to lifestyle Magazine ‘Heroes’ in Holland, ­admits his mum is right.

    “I have got to know everyone at the club. The kit man, the laundryman, everyone really. I know ­everyone by name. I love all that.’’

    Wife Bouchra added: “When it was his grandad’s birthday, Robin took the entire family to the
    dressing room.

    “His grandad went to sit in ­Robin’s seat in the dressing room and walked through every room of the home team. He loved it.’’

    Van Persie added: “My grandad also wanted to walk on the pitch. But as we all know, the grass is almost sacrosanct and nobody can walk on it after a game. Not even your family.

    “But when our groundsman saw grandad standing on the ­touchline, he said, ‘Robin, YOUR
    grandad can step onto the pitch’. Well, you see, that’s Arsenal.”

    Van Persie says he will let his family choose after his career is over if they want to live in England or head home to Holland.

    He ended: “While I am playing, I realise that it will be mainly me who decides where we live.

    “If my kids want to go back to ­Holland, we will do. But that won’t be for another 10 years, I think.

    “My kids speak better English than Dutch at this moment. They attend a real English school, not an international school.’’

  234. Limestonegunner

    Agreed, Bill. Hopefully goodwill on both sides is shown and the deal can be done to the satisfaction of both parties quickly. RvP deserves to be paid very well and acknowledged for the top player he is. We’ll never be able to match some offers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make sure he feels very appreciated by the club’s offer.

  235. pedantic george

    LG ,he is not free to talk to other clubs though.
    So how will he know?

  236. pedantic george

    11pm eh?
    After the papers have gone to press.
    Not libel to be something good then?

  237. Darius apologize to the emperor on our behalf,he must have hated us when we went all crazy on him after we found out city had snatched the win from the jaws of defeat.

  238. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/340634/20120514/arsenal-transfer-news-van-persie-new-contract.htm

    interesting read ecspecially Kos sounding pretty definitive that he’s going to sign.

  239. Limestonegunner

    PG, ? Please elaborate.

  240. mattgoonerknight

    korihikage | May 14, 2012 at 11:46 am

    “anyway, i am appealing to all of you guys not to back chelsea for the CL final. if they lose, they are only in europa league next season. lets see who they can sign then.
    what about the spuds, you ask.
    well they still ahve to get through the playoffs. as we know, it isnt as straightforward.
    the best case scenario is: chelsea and spuds both lose, so there are only 3 english teams in the CL next season.”

    I had exactly the same thought earlier today – the spuds could even draw Udinese!

    To be honest, I don’t care too much as I feel I’ve now had my fill – allowing myself to care too much about the possible CL permutations is perhaps being a bit greedy!

    Would still love a Bayern home win, though : )

  241. George:

    Obviously the agents do talk to other clubs and players move around while they are still under contract all the time and rarely is there any official complaints lodged by the selling club. Its an accepted part of the way the system works. Adebyor, Cesc, Nasri, lesser Ronaldo etc etc all knew what the buying club was willing to offer. I don’t understand how the system works either.

  242. Limestonegunner

    Matt, agreed. No London team before Arsenal. Let the Spuds sweat it out in the qualifier. Last year they almost blew their qualifier v. Young Boys. I hope they play Udinese and let’s see how well they do against the team Arsenal got past–3rd in Serie A.

    Don’t worry about being greedy. When it comes to bitter rivals, we can always ask for their misfortune as a natural law!

  243. mattgoonerknight

    Also, really surprised by the abject negativity of some.

    What really stumps me, is that such negativity has reared its pig ugly face at a time which should be a joyous. If you contribute to ACLF day in, day out, and still feel like being a bit of a party pooper, well that’s pretty shit but at least you’ve been around. But to show up out of the blue, just to piss on everyone’s parade, is just plain odd: why would you want to?

    OTOTBOTBAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  244. mattgoonerknight

    LG

    I hear ya, I’m just not going to lose any sleep over it either. Whatever the result on Saturday, we’ve done our job, which although is one we have come accustomed to (spoilt), is still a MASSIVE achievement nonetheless!!

  245. Great ending to a strange and injury ridden season.

    Season started out really bad with some unfortunate defeats and a match that still roam in my mind. Why did Wenger not put out the strongest team possible against Manure?. I had the feeling back then that it was a message to the board about what was in hand for the remainder of the season did we not sign anyone.
    Well we did and at least 3 of those have been very important for our season as a whole namely Arteta, Mert and Santos. After they arrived things sorta fell into a winning weekly thing and we made a big push up inj the tables.

    Alas a season is never a season without some injuries, but I have rarely seen our beloved team so hard hit than this season. Loosing all 4 FB’s to injuries made us have a really diffcult Jan, Fab and partly March, but as soon as they started comming back we started winning regularly again.

    The last few weeks have seen us struggle abit again because of injuries to a few key players, but we overcame those troubles also. The result is a 3rd place and to me its like winning the league. Back in late august I never ever thought we would end up there, but cudos to the manager and the players; they overcame all that was thrown at them and made this great result.

    Lastly to all doomers. Go doom somewhere else if you really cant recognize how great this team has done this season.

    COYG

  246. George and Evil
    re: Tomas

    In watching a replay of the match…..in the 43rd minute; Arsenal had just cleared the ball from their PA……RvP had controlled the clearance but then was immediately taken down by Olson (again)……when they panned in closer to RvP complaining to the official, you could see Tomas walking by grimacing, as if he had pulled his hammy.

    For the balance of the half, it looks as if he geared down his work rate.

    ————————
    I second George’s comment above about Tomas starting. Tomas is one of the unsung hero’s for the team taking 3rd.

    Arsene will be cautious about Jack’s return, guarding his playing time.

    Rosicky and Arteta will buy Arsenal time for Ramsey and Wilshere to grow their games.

  247. RvP…….
    reporting that the 1st meeting is Wednesday. Arsenal nation will be holding their breath.

    http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2012/05/14/3102442/van-persie-sets-date-for-crunch-arsenal-contract-talks

  248. Question I pose to my mates on here. Everybody seems to have come to the conclusion that Rosicky and Arteta are 1st choice at the moment which i agree with. The part I’m not convinced about is that the time being bought is for Jack and Ramsey. What if its for Jack and Ox where Jack is learning from Arteta and Ox is learning from Lil Mozart. I was thinking about that here at work(you see how much work I’m really doing) what if its Ox and Jack with Song as the future of Arsenal midfield?

  249. “JOEY BARTON is facing two FA charges of violent conduct”

    For fuck’ sake, get him out of the game. The only other reasons I have for the FA to keep a criminal player like him around are:

    1. The FA keeps him around to flex their weak muscles every once in awhile and give him the lame 3 match ban.

    2. Keep him around to create drama making the Premier League more controversial and excitable but for the wrong reasons.

    The man is sick and needs psych help, preferably a mental hospital room with padded walls. (Or maybe no pads is a better options?)

  250. This line is from the article that Arsesession just posted.

    “Because of his age, Arsenal regard Van Persie as a £20million asset and believe it is worth risking him running down his contract and selling him for nothing in a year’s time.”

    I was just looking at a nice pair of Clarks (Desert Boot’s). I wish there was a place that “sold them for nothing”.

  251. pedantic george

    Goal.com is as shit as it comes

  252. Limestonegunner

    Paul-N, haha! Absurdity. Clearly no such thing as an editor on these sites. Hacks all of them.

  253. Limestonegunner

    C–interesting suggestion. I think, however, that the Ox is a year away from being even the understudy in the middle. He’ll do a lot of damage out wide and Ramsey is probably the first option behind Rosicky at the moment. Long term, why not? But let’s not write off Wilshere in the AM position–we just haven’t seen it at the PL level yet thanks to the injury.

    I agree entirely with PG. If we have the luxury to bring him into the side slowly, I don’t think AW will immediately and automatically start Jack unless he is 100% fit and in form. Arteta is the more experienced player and AW will be careful with JW on a return from a year off. He isn’t fully developed yet so we’ll have to see how he does after losing a whole year to injury. It’s not an automatic switch back to the same level. And competition in that position is greater than it was last year. He isn’t competing with Denilson, he’s up against a quality PL professional who had a wonderful season.

  254. Unbelievable Limestone!

  255. RVP’s turds are worse than 20 Mil right now.

  256. Let me just say this, i have not seen as much bias/incompetent refering towards arsenal in a while but the guy that ref’d the match against westbrom was woeful, together with his incompetent linesmen – we kept getting fouled by west brom players, most especially by their captain olsson on rvp yet the referee kept playing on, i mean it was so obvious that it smacked me in the face (over and over and over and over again). That offside goal was quite dubios also(surely that can’t be incompetence, surely?), i might have been wearing my dark red tinted glasses when watching the match but that ref was one stupid son of a pulis.

  257. @ ASH | May 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm
    Why did Wenger not put out the strongest team possible against Manure?.

    He did. TV, Sagna, Song, Frimpong, Wilshere, diaby, Gervinho, Gibbs, rosicky were all injured or suspended. Fabregas and Nasri had left and Arteta, Mertesacker, Benayoun and Santos had not arrived yet

    ****
    My player of the season is Koscielny, even ahead of RvP. Ever present, more consistent than anyone despite having so many different partners. Has had the odd bad five minutes, but never a bad run of form. 100% commitment 100% of the time. What do people think?

  258. 13hunter13 | May 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Underneath it all you make some really good points hunter. This was one of your best.

    I love your new avatar Paul-N – two real cutie pies there!

    I feel sorry for those negative nellies who just can’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Personally, I’m still smiling.

  259. @LG
    I’m interested to see how it works out next season because as we’ve seen time and time again the Ox can do a shift on the pitch. The question is, is Arsene going to stick with the CM role playing deeper thus freeing the AM from mostly all defensive responsibilities or does he play him more advanced. I think if he was to play something similar to how we played with Cesc to were Jack was playing a little more advanced but still covered defensively then i could see Jack there and the Ox in the AM role. I honestly think Jack, Ox, and Ramsey are atleast a half season away from manning the AM role 1st choice but i do think that all 3 can do the job but they offer 3 different styles. I think Jack is the type of 1-2 touch midfield that Arsene really likes that can play that touch and move and then play the killer pass(but can still beat a defender 1-on-1. To where i think Ramsey is a more classic CM/AM to were he likes the ball and and likes to dribble to create space and boss the ball. I think Ox is more of a player that excels in the “hole”, this was exemplified when Arsenal played Milan at the Emirates to where him and Mozart were controlling that area of the pitch but that was when he was at his best for me. Honestly all 3 will work but like i said i think all 3 are atleast a half season away. But again what the hell do i know.

  260. Dubious, on the face, so many mistakes, its all arry’s fault.

  261. Bradys right foot

    Belated St Totts left footers. What a mother of a season, no 1974-75 granted, a bit like 2004-05 without the champions league heartbreak. All guns pointing at 12-13, get the RVP situation sorted quickly and decisively and lets get fully prepared for the new season. After the first seven games we were close to both the Mancs in terms of points return despite the crazy injuries for the rest of the season. I’m pretty confident we can challenge for the new campaign, but we can’t have a summer of indescision and to be fair I don’t think RVP will take the piss either way.

    One guy who deserves champions league football next year with Arsenal is Arteta a brillant signing. I’d love to keep Yossi but would understand if he went for a first team place at another club.

    On a side note I’ve just seen the Stoke goal from yesterday, Wow! what was Foy thinking. Bolton are completely and utterly fecked over £100 million in debt, I think they’ll be the big financial story of next season, how big a descision might that be for that football club. Gambling on the prem, mortgaing your future not a good idea.

  262. “My player of the season is Koscielny, even ahead of RvP. Ever present, more consistent than anyone despite having so many different partners. Has had the odd bad five minutes, but never a bad run of form. 100% commitment 100% of the time. What do people think?”

    Hard to disagree FG, but I think he is just behind RVP for me and it’s not because of RVP’s goalscoring. For me it was what he brought to the captain’s role and the way he inspired his team mates that just (only just!) edges it.

  263. Limestonegunner

    George having a go at the media, the pundits, and fans who doubted on Fans’ Forum. He’s really enjoying this!

    AW should be regarded as a god for bringing us up from 17 in 31 games. Watt says, true, but AW has to take some responsibility for us being in 17 and what led up to it. Circumstances, others’ decisions, but also some were his too. But Watt loves him. Adrien Clarke, coming into, lauding the players for coming together as a group post ManU 8-2, and manager didn’t panic or change his system.

  264. Limestonegunner

    Been an admirer of your avatar, Paul-N, for a couple of years–this one is delightful, to echo Passenal. Beautiful children–you are blessed!

  265. Limestonegunner

    Tom Watt just loves Everton (or Moyes?). Last week he said he wanted Fellaini and Baines. This week extolls Arteta’s defensive nous as something learned from Everton.

    Made a good point about Benayoun. I have to hold my own hand up there. I was a bit dubious. But he’s been very good, patient, and professional. He’s got a tremendous work rate and does his defensive work, quite apart from starting in big games, matching up well in them, and getting some key big goals for us. There’s a squad place for him in my book, as long as he doesn’t want to play every game.

  266. @ Passenal
    I should have given more weight to the captain’s influence, true. They can be joint top then. RvP has had the plaudits to keep him going all season but only Arsenal fans (some) gave LK credit.

  267. Well…the team I support at the cricket in the IPL are doing an Arsenal too…A six of the last ball to earn a vital win to keep us in 4th with our playoff qualification future still in our own hands…cannot be good for the heart..

  268. Limestonegunner

    Favourite moment this season? Tough–there actually were some fantastic moments. It was a very eventful season. My nominations: Ramsey goal in CL away to Marseille, Theo goal to go ahead at Stamford Bridge, RvP scoring on JT’s “slip”, TH12 debuts with a winning goal v. Leeds, first half v. Milan at home, RvP winner v. Everton at home on 125th anniversary with legends in the house, Sagna’s defiant header to crumble Spuds…

    Any other nominations?

  269. Limestonegunner

    Let me add to my list, RvP leading over teammates to away supporters end after Chelsea victory.

  270. Nicking the win up at Anfield LG or Song’s assist for Robin against Dortmund at home

  271. Passenal and Limestone, thank you both very much. They really are blessing.

  272. @LG

    Rosicky’s goal against Spuds, Verm’s winner against Newcastle, Theo’s play resulting in his lung busting run from box to box against Spuds, Arteta’s winner against Manshiteh

  273. Limestonegunner

    Excellent Passenal and C. Worthy nominees. Quite a list, no?

  274. Sagna’s header against the spuds was pivotal. It turned their season right around 🙂

  275. Sagna’s header at Spurs for me – the player and the way he took the goal epitomised the spirit of this side.

  276. Limestonegunner

    Song’s assist might have been the best bit of work with the ball apart from RvP and Gervinho the whole season.

  277. I think the Rosicky goal against the spuds could be it C.
    For some reason, I love Santos’ goal against Chelsea, that was wicked!

  278. Limestone @ 7:12:

    I agree with George also. I don’t think Jack is a starter next year at least in the early part of the season. Perhaps he can work his way back into the first 11 but Arteta/Song/Rosicky are clearly the starting mid field in my mind.

    btw. Just between you and me be careful what you say about Denilson. 🙂

  279. We did fucking well to finish 3rd, Very happy with the team, showed spirit and commitment and ‘mental strength’ to get to third place and Champions League. Van Persie will stay, he loves the Arsenal and I can’t see him going to Shitty. But what a superb finish to the season, I was in a bar with one arsenal supporter, an Everton supporter and 3 Man U supporters, they were celebrating till the 5 minutes injury time and 2 goals.Gutted that Nasri won a trophey and Fabregas got nothing……….. mais c’est la vie.

  280. As far as the PL, i think we had two defining matches…Chelsea and then Spurs. Both of those matches saw us put together some nice unbeaten runs when most though we were dead.

    Oh, Arteta’s goal against City was sweet also.

  281. Well for me RVP versus Everton…125th Anniversary celebrations…legends at the ground…and RVP produced that finish!!!!

  282. Limestonegunner

    🙂 Bill, I’m just saying Arteta is a more formidable competitor given his experience and the season he just had! I’ve defended Denilson as a useful squad player for us. But let’s make sure we don’t end up with another interminable and predictable discussion on that!

  283. pedantic george

    yeh Northbank 1969 is here,yipee

  284. Limestonegunner

    Good words on the FF, PG. They should have let you have a follow up.

  285. Limestonegunner

    I like having Adrien Clarke on rather than the journos, myself.

  286. Limestonegunner

    Watt makes a very good point. Great goal from Sagna and then the interview was terrific after the match where he only referred to Spuds as “the Enemy”! Top marks!

  287. pedantic george

    I think he is a cock LG
    talks shit for me.

  288. pedantic george

    Well I would have told Tom he was wrong

  289. Limestonegunner

    At least he is enthusiastic about the club. Not sure what he said to annoy you, but the journos are so often completely blase or providing an outsider perspective that I don’t care about because I can read their columns or hear them elsewhere. Where else can I hear former players who are fans talk about the club?

    What was Tom wrong about?

  290. pedantic george

    Adrian Clarke your are the weakest link.Fuck off

  291. Limestonegunner

    Ok, he’s saying negative things about Arshavin. Deal off, I take it back. Hit the street, Clarkie!

  292. Limestone:

    Will be interesting to see what happens to all the current players on loan.

    Really wonder about Kyle Bartley. Seems like a big strong boy which we could really use in the back but last season only played at DM in the SPL, wonder how he did this season and where he played? We really need to improve our goals conceded stat and I doubt that someone his age without much experience at CB other then the reserves will get playing time next season. I hope he gets loaned to a PL side that plays him at CB next season so we can get a decent idea of how good he will be.

  293. pedantic george

    LG ,he spouts the usual crap about 3 world class players yaddy dah
    Now the cunt is calling Andrei a slacker

    Tom was blaming Arsene too much for the Cesc and Nasri debacle.

  294. Limestonegunner

    PG, everyone always says we need some new good players in–have you heard a single commentator ever not say that? So why go after Clarke? He’s not been especially egregious to my mind until he slagged off Arshavin which was after you expressed your disgust with him. At least he’s accepted some correction from the following caller. And he’s a much more enjoyable co-commentator on the Arsenal Player than Robson, that’s for sure.

  295. Limestonegunner

    You could easier just say you hate all who talk about Arsenal. Maybe Winterburn excepted–not sure. Certainly can’t imagine you prefer John Cross!?!

  296. Actually I posted the RvP article only for the fact that talks would start on Wednesday……as there were earlier questions on this site, on how soon Arsenal would begin talks.

    As far as the balance of the article, I discounted it completely.

  297. pedantic george

    LG he just churns out the usual crap and bollocks.
    Personally I think he is a bit of a dimwit .
    I like it when they have that French Journalist on.
    I did prefer it when it was a fan like Shovel.

  298. Limestonegunner

    Me too, PG. Shovell, iyare…

    Bill, I don’t know much about Bartley, buy with Rangers’ difficulties he must be coming back this season. Is he your prototypical big lump?

  299. @ Matt

    I think you/they must have meant Podolski, not RvP?

  300. Limestonegunner

    Julien Laurens or Philippe Auclair, I think. But, tbh, they both still say we need a couple players and so on like others. They are just better and smarter about their views on it and other matters. Certainly are better than any of the English journos they bring on typically.

  301. what has appened to Viera?? fukin glory hunter.

  302. I always thought Petit was the better one anyway.

  303. Some Arsenal Season Stats For The Past 5 Seasons…
    League Position
    3rd
    4th
    3rd
    4th
    3rd
    Points gap between us and the top team
    4
    18
    11
    12
    19
    Goals conceded
    31
    37
    41
    43
    49
    This is wat real fans care about and not pleasing lord wenger but i know y’all brainwashed twats can’t comprehend the fact that our team is not making progress

  304. He stays when he wants, RVP, he stays when he wants

  305. I’m not sure Poki’s going to like today’s post much…

  306. pedantic george

    Good,because I don’t like him much

  307. Sounds like a Goonshow sketch.

    “Pokey, pokey, pokey…”

    Just before he ‘got deaded’.

  308. y3kisreal@yahoo.com

    Gibb’s season saving tackle

  309. Poki, cheers pal i forgot how may 3rd places we had, i thought it was more 4th places.

  310. Poki, so let me see – we finished 4th last season with 68points and 3rd this season with 70points – am not einstein but that looks like progress, then again i might be wrong and you are the love child of genetically mutated hybrid monkeys with an i.q equal to the speed of light, aarrghh!

  311. Matthew desmond.

    I belive in arsenal and with a couple of sigining in the mildfield i believe we are going to end the trough drought up arsenal,van perse.Wenger.

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