2011-12: Aesthetes Unite, Demons Begone

2011-12: a season that many will want to forget. Quickly. A campaign of raw emotions, peaks accentuated by troughs. Crushing blows were harnessed by the players, characters forged in adversity recovered to third place. Hints of what might have been, what could be.

It was a season of inconsistencies riven with consistency. Moments of sheer beauty but lurking was a madness that would drive a saint to drink. Alex Song’s clipped pass into the path of a Robin van Persie’s volley, caressed into the back of the net, is an enduring memory. There was power in both but neither tried to remove the leather from the ball; both content that technique would provide the end product. Aesthetes unite, demons begone.

Push the self-destruct button! Rabidly poor defending would cost points throughout land: Blackburn, Swansea, West Brom, north London. We exported it, exit from the Champions League almost averted following the most hapless performance of the campaign in Milan. Clean sheets were not the norm, closing out games inevitably a nervy affair.

Premier League finances dictate that a top four finish is worth more than a cup, the bare minimum acceptable. The worst start to a league season in more than half a century consigned that as a pipe-dream, relegation was more of a concern to a vocal minority. The theme of discontent from the sidelines was an undercurrent throughout the season, useful and constructive criticism that makes for healthy debate was lost amid a welter of sniping that continues to this day. Too often negatives are found with no offer of a sensible solution yet these ‘critiques’ demand we give them serious thought.

During an interview segment on the 501 Goals DVD from some years ago, Dennis Bergkamp proclaimed how wonderfully supportive Arsenal fans were; would he say the same now? Ill-feeling over ticket prices sowed the seeds in other areas. Other clubs milked the commercial cash cows; Arsenal pointedly milked their supporters, hamstrung by deals that financed the stadium construction. Manchester United’s training kit deal with DHL underlined the gap in strategy and deliverables. 2014 seems a long way off.

Summer meanderings in the transfer market destroyed any feelgood factor, Juan Mata the latest top class player reportedly passing on Arsenal through wrangling over fees or wages. Even Thierry Henry’s re-signing was lost in a sodden mire of paperwork. Any delay is down to parsimony, it is all the fault of Arsenal. The volume of those In The Know is so significant that either someone at the club is extremely indiscreet or else there is an army of 5,204 people working on each deal which makes delays inevitable.

Something the club needed to work, no doubt, was the handling of transfers. They did with Lukas Podolski already on his way to the club for next season. Too often though rumours become fact with many willing to treat them as such. Unhappiness is the only outcome in those circumstances.

The slowness of replacing departures meant a weakened side were cast asunder at Old Trafford, the defeat Arsenal’s heaviest in decades. It came in the midst of a transfer typhoon with experience a central focus of the new signings to accompany the precocious talent of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Mertesacker’s arrival helped steady the defensive ship but it took time as injuries and suspensions began their insidious slither through the squad. Arteta and Benayoun’s experience were as invaluable as they were influential. Andre Santos’ samba defending took time to settle but he scored more goals in one season than Gael Clichy did in his entire Arsenal career; swings and roundabouts. Quite what Park Chu Young added is yet to be seen, perhaps it never will.

Even after these arrivals, inconsistency still manifested on the pitch. Wins over Swansea and Bolton punctured by defeats at Blackburn and Tottenham. The loss at White Hart Lane served as the spark; Arsenal embarked on a run five consecutive wins, seven in eight Premier League games; bad players cannot do that. They had clawed their way to fourth ahead of a visit to Eastlands. A single goal defeat offered signs of improvement.

And then the wheels came off. Spectacularly. No points in January, Arsenal slumped to seventh. Before the North London Derby, Spurs were 3rd with 53 points, Arsenal 5th with 43. A two-goal lead for Tottenham at The Emirates led Arsenal to a Dantesque future, peering over the edge of the cliffs atop the Circles of Hell. Five unanswered goals sent Tottenham into a tailspin from which they would not emerge until it was almost too late.

Belief coursed through Arsenal veins as they surged t0 nine wins out of ten. A wobble at QPR before the end came abruptly, unexpectedly at home to Wigan. Three consecutive draws as the nerves jolted, performances shuddered. A win at The Hawthorns. Third place achieved.

What to make of the 2011-12 season? Statistically, the list below just about covers the salient points:

  • We scored more goals than last season (74 v 72)
  • We conceded more (49 v 43)
  • We won more games (21 v 19)
  • We lost more too (10 v 8)
  • We gained more points (70 v 68)
  • We conceded the most goals since 1995/96
  • We finished 3rd with the lowest points total since 2000/01 when we finished 2nd
  • We finished 3rd v last season’s 4th
  • WE FINISHED 3RD

Choose which ones suit our arguments, all negative and positive at the same time. Whatever you quote, there is a viable alternative. Your disposition determines the arguments you use.

The season comes full circle. On the pitch, Robin van Persie took the plaudits and awards. Family members offered positive encouragement over his new contract. The deal, as I write, remains undiscussed, unsigned. Nor is the future of Theo Walcott secured. Losing both this summer is unthinkable, too familiar. Like many, I would be inclined to hold the Dutchman to his contract should he decide not to renew whilst in the same circumstances, I would sell Walcott who is young enough to command a sizeable fee with sell-on clauses. Not that I think either is going to come to that. My view is both will renew.

There are many lessons to be learned from this season, only history will judge if they have been. Never before has Arsène been subjected to such intense scrutiny. It is how it should be, football is a game of opinions whether you like it or not. Abuse plays no part in rationale debate, no matter how heated the discussion is.

The new season will bring us a new Assistant Manager. A clamour emerged for Pat Rice to be replaced with Steve Bould. More often than not, it was critics of the manager who did not have the courage to demand “Wenger Out!“; they chose the soft target instead and Pat Rice, having deferred his retirement last season, was not to be deterred this time. The disgraceful scapegoating of the genial Irishman even more sickening with the volte face in the hypocritical thanks the tormentors proffered. Defending requires improvement but it is not just about the back four, it is down to the whole team. It was not the fault of Pat Rice but there is a lot of work to do on the training pitch to instil that discipline. Improve on your faults, practice your strengths. Do that and we hope for a better season next time around. But for goodness sake, let’s get back to enjoying football.

Thanks to all the guest posters, particularly Big Al for his weekly column. Thanks to everyone who has read or commented – particularly the kind and supportive ones, they were much appreciated. It was good to meet some of you this season, we’ll try again next time around. Six years after starting, the blog is finally grown up and moving out. We’ll have a new home for the start of the season.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 15, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 295 Comments.

  1. Damien Hirst.

  2. Bananas

  3. “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 ourteam is not making progress”
    By poki on May 15, 2012

    Poki, so let me see – we finished 4th last season with 68points and 3rd this seasonwith 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 speedof light, aarrghh!

  4. pedantic george

    Eloquent.

  5. I’d jlike to thank Yogi’s Warrior and the others for producing a blog that shows a true love for the club and gives us, the tormented fans, a haven of rational and thoughtful critique. You help keep us sane and focussed on supporting the club we follow. Well done to you all.

  6. pedantic george

    If you can not assign blame when considering how we found ourselves 17th .then you can really take joy from finishing 3rd.
    I choose joy.

  7. Today’s post is nice, i enjoyed it.
    You stated so many issues yogi, i don’t know where to start. Okay lets see, after reading the statistics i can only come to the conclusion that we are almost there, in terms of winning the league with wenger (it is just out of our reach, so close), but something is always missing, i can’t put my hand on it but something is definately missing – better defending? Definately, concentration(lacking), attitude towards smaller teams(poor), mental strenghhf(in abundance) etceterra, so many minor issues yet when you add it all together it becomes 20points(literally) – anyways, its all good, really excited about this summer, rvp should just sign up, Now!

  8. Cannons of Rhetoric

    Great post Yogi! By the way, what ever became of that Robson Out petition?

  9. well this season has definitely been more improved on the previous attempts and the all too familiar spring collapses. okay we had an early summer collapse and we stuttered over the line huffing and puffing with a stitch but small steps , small steps on our road to recovery.

  10. pedantic george

    ,” but something is always missing, i can’t put my hand on it ”
    Let me help you out,A billion pounds in loose change.That is what has been missing since 2005

  11. Don’t you mean put your finger on it.

  12. Thanks Andrew!

  13. I can’t even find words to describe your post YW. You are a LEGEND in your own right. I hope I’ll meet you someday as it will be my pleasure seeing the man with this sort of brain and IQ. Thanks for your sane analysis of the season.

  14. Great Post. I very much enjoy reading your blog. Your one of the best doing it so keep it up. I am not a “Wenger OUT!” man myself but do hope that he makes quicker and better decisions then last year in the transfer window. I support the club win, lose or draw. And can’t wait to get next season started. Hopefully with a few new players.

    Gunners Forever!

  15. Fucking creep

  16. What a remarkable post YW. I understand all the drafts now! Stirring, thought provoking and excellently written.
    I echo the thanks of many and look forward to future developments.

  17. pedantic george

    Who is Andrew?

  18. A disciple

  19. Pedantic, i know man but i was talking about the seasons we came close to winning the league (eduardo year, birmingham gate year) you know, some issues held us back.

    Duke, potato/potota, you knew what i meant.

  20. Nicely put YW. As always a good balanced piece.

  21. Thank you, Yogi. Onward.

  22. Of Jesus

  23. pedantic george

    Yes but who is Duke’s Andrew?

  24. An arsenal fan.

  25. A disciple…

  26. Duke Andrew? We’ve got royalty here? Good grief!

  27. pedantic george

    Fuck it ,I don’t care anyway

  28. well, looking forward to see who will succumb to the cold turkey first! its always interesting to see people slowly start to decline as the weeks pass without seing the Arsenal play.

    i think george will be ok this summer as he can concentrate on how Hodgson gets on at the euro’s!

  29. Doomers are only one letter away from being a cult following.

  30. In a not surprising way my feelings about the season were encapsulated by the stats comparing it to last year’s. We scored more goals, we’re brilliant! We conceded more goals, we’re rubbiish! We won more, we lost more! If you want to re-experience the highs and lows of this season, just try and think through those stats again. In the end though I guess disposition does tell – and I can’t think we’ll close the gap till the defence lets in fewer goals. We should be surprised by the result at Norwich, not hanging on at West Brom. No, I have nothing sensible to suggest about this; I’m a fan not a manager! Reasonable targets for next year: halve the gap on the top two (serious challenge the year after) and a cup, a trophy, please, please, please.

  31. I see Nasri is trying a bit too hard to justify his triple your wages move north. What a sad and sorry example of a modern footballer he really is.

    I really cannot believe how utterly nauseating the whole set up is at city. Disgusting amounts of money spent for what? So some mega rich cunt can live vicariously through a bunch of over paid pampered wankers.

    If this continues and there are no real checks put in place to curb this shite, I can see a time when I dont even bother with football. 1 billion pounds to win the league title and of course they are maing the same noises that the original chavs did. “Oh we won’t be spending much now” Yeah fucking right. We’ll see about that.

    If Robin ends up there, that will be a real fucking shame.

    It was nice of the media to give us one day to celebrate the end of the season achievement! 🙂

  32. Are we expecting our first choice CB pairing to be Kos and Mert next season? Two years ago it’d be unthinkable that Vermaelen wouldn’t be one of the first names on the team sheet but unless Bould can drill some serious discipline into him during pre-season then it’s hard to see him starting.

  33. dukeg

    Now that the season has finished, I am quite looking forward to the Euros now. I see gary neville’s been given a job as a coach too based on his punditry and match analysis.

    I am so glad that odious hoofball merchant pearce aint taking charge of the team.

  34. Absorbing post YW.

  35. Great summary YW. After 65 seasons of being a gooner, this season one of the strangest. Talk about snakes and ladders. I agreed with my old dutch that my gravestone will read “He’s in his box 10 years too early. He was a gooner.”

  36. I can’t see Robin going to another English club. If we had to lose him then I’d rather see him alongside Cesc, Barca need a proper striker who can drop deep as opposed to literally starting with eight midfielders and no forwards. The general view of the internet is that they couldn’t afford him though.

  37. Great post as usual. Will hang around the blog like a leech even off season. My season belongs to RVP, obviously, Arteta for doing the necessary efficiently, and defence a cross between Vermaelen, who’s energy I love, and Koscielny, who I’ve come grudgingly admire. Not sure if my Denilson will return or if Lansbury will make the first team. Would also love Nzonzi to join – but doubt he’ll come if M’Villa is on the way.

  38. Vince

    I think Mertesacker and Koscielny are the best pairing at the moment. But things can change and the Bould effect may see the team set up slightly tweaked, or different training mehtods of just a fresh outlook. It’s going to be really interesting to see hiw he does. I am well looking forward to that, as much as any new signings we make.

  39. pedantic george

    Vince,they said the same about Cesc.

  40. City’s shameless tactic of weakening it’s main rivals is as blatant as it is nauseating. Robin won’t fall for it. He has too much integrity and (what’s the word?) self-belief. At his core, he has a strength and morality that will find all of City’s pulling power repugnant. And he knows he will become less of a man with it. Of course we should pay him as much as we can afford to keep him. And surely he will know that that is enough for anyone. Bouchra will agree with him too. There is no way he will leave.

    Like george, I was watching a re-run of the match on Arsenal player and could only stand ten minutes of Stewart Robson. What an absolute prick.

  41. @PG They couldn’t have afforded Cesc under normal circumstances! Ridiculous that he to take a pay cut and us a cut price transfer fee. At least Robin won’t fuck us over, whatever happens.

  42. ACLF – haven of sanity and the best port in a storm. Cheers!

  43. @Dexter, Nasri gives a bad name to all wankers, am glad we got shot of him, he has never been as good as he thinks, just overrated. This is what yw wrote about the lesbian before his move
    “Nasri was infuriatingly inconsistent, incapable of realising his potential, unable to move from being very good to having star quality. The missing ingredient for me, was not being able to lift the side, to carry them when times were tough. A £200k weekly wage will not hide those deficiencies. In his defence, age may allow for that responsibility to develop, being in his mid-20s he has time but the seasons pass quickly and I hesitate to say whether he will take the necessary steps” – we got 24million for him, am more than happy with that.

  44. very nice account of the season yogi , with its good and bad.

    However, i am sorry but i will have to disagree on the below sentence

    “Never before has Arsène been subjected to such intense scrutiny. It is how it should be, football is a game of opinions whether you like it or not.”

    It matters a lot who does this scrutinising. If its some football guru like capello lippi and cruyff, then yes those opinions will be given the attention they deserve. If the opinions and scrutiny comes from xenophobic little engladers ( journalists and rivals and pundits) and/or weak minded fans we dont need to pay any attention to that im afraid. And that is something the dumb gloryseeking public that watches football for “escpapism” should understand whether they like it or not. Football is not a game of opinions, Football is an industry of results vs money spent. The more succesful you are in that ratio the more chances you have of existing and winning titles. Every other way is artificial.

    And forgive me for saying this so colourfully…. any moron who has a problem with the way arsenal conducts itself in this industry is exactly that, a moron and his/her opinion has NO VALUE…..

    Do your thing Arsene …and we the fans we will protect you ! Thats how it should be ! We are there to offer a shield of protection to our manager and players and not join the rivals in belittling him or disrespecting what he has achieved for Arsenal. And those who dont agree with what i say can go check Arsenal;s history and see for themselves that the territories and levels Wenger has brought Arsenal into have been totally unfamiliar to this club previously.

  45. Rvp should not even think about leaving, surely he can’t be as daft as fabregas, he can’t!. But let me just say it now, if rvp leaves arsenal i will despise him for a very long time, very long time.

  46. ALL arsenal fans have to, no! MUST read this, its too funny(i wouldn’t lie to aclf bloggers) and lets just call it ammo against the cursed neighbours.
    http://www.sabotagetimes.com/football-sport/arsenal-face-it-spurs-you-were-never-kings-of-north-london/

  47. Happy with any two of Kozzer, TV and PerMert in central defence (Johan remains clear fourth choice I regret). Horses for courses in a way – TV and Kozzer when we expect to dominate possession (even more than usual) and recovery speed when the opposition break is prime concern. Put in PerMert when we expect to be under more consistent pressure for the extra height and Germanicity.

  48. Yogi, you’re still the most eloquent tho – i wouldn’t lie.

  49. 13hunter

    That post needs the dam busters theme playing behind it as people read it man!

  50. An ode to YW.
    To be a the best Arsenal blogger is not for the weak of heart, not for those whose ego must be stoked daily by cheap popularity, not for those whose judgments must never stray too far from the fickle emotional herd that make up most of our support. It is a labour of love for the club, the players, the coaches and the manager who sweat blood and tears to become the best they can be. To respect that none in the team is perfect but they deserve or respect for fighting against the odds; the callowness of youth, the temptation of petro-dollars, the bile of punditry, the bias of officials and the always lurking danger of hatchet men who intend to maim.
    For all these reasons I have come to elevate YW as the best as proven in no uncertain manner throughout the travails of this season.

  51. Yogi, I suggest that in this off season you give us a day to post our most memorable moments on aclf. Like mine was when someone posted the fact that his sister-in-law had bought his nephew a Chelsea t-shirt and not because she likes the team – he said she knows nothing about football – but because she loved the colour. And then another blogger advises: “Burn the shirt!”

  52. Great read Yogi,

    What a season this has been. Just like many previous seasons before it, we’ve got ourselves a good foundation for chasing the ultimate prizes. It remains to be seen whether we’ll be able to build on that foundation, instead of having to uproot and re-do the foundation like we’ve been doing for some years now.

    Unfortunately, the club doesn’t have all the cards, we need Theo, RvP and Song agreeing to extend their stay with the club. Some of them may have to take a paycut to do that (depending on offers received from other clubs), but its the least they can do imo, considering how much we’ve invested in them these past years.

  53. hunter

    You’re missing the weakness in your argument. If you don’t want people who you presume to be “xenophobic little engladers ( journalists and rivals and pundits) and/or weak minded fans” to comment, neither should those you agree with, n’est-ce pas? Which defeats the object of websites.

  54. kenyangunner

    I might do but that’s for when the football really is at an end – in July I should think.

  55. pedantic george

    And we don’t want any defeated objects around these parts,do we?

  56. Henristic, they better renew their contracts – i can’t believe that we are even having a discussion about contract renewals for song and walcott, am tempted to spew vile comments and insults towards them but i don’t know the full details about any contracts so i will keep it to myself, For now’.

  57. Love that, hunter! And I agree whole heartedly with that phrase…football is not about opinions. Because it’s not. Football is not about opinions. I hate it when Alan Brazil says “football is all about opinions” Or Hansen. No. Punditry is all about opinions. Blogging is all about opinions. Football is not.

  58. Can you guys believe this? Song and walcott not deciding yet on signing new contracts, its too funny to be true(i still got my pitchfork and knife out), lol – lets wait and see.

  59. pedantic george

    The problem with opinions is that there is no way of “weighting” them in favour of the better informed.

  60. thank you dexter 🙂

    and in my honest opinion , all the gunners that are still complaining are gutless p@#$%s who were crapped out a spud mother…….

    sorry for my language yogi … 🙂

  61. pedantic george

    Jeez What sort of a negotiator would you be if you committed to signing a new contract before negotiations were concluded.?

  62. mingus

    Football commentary started to go down hill, in my opinion when they introduced the co-commentator. Andy gray at Sky was probably one of the 1st (I think). Just listening to the likes of Mark lawrenson et al really sucks all the joy out of the experience. They are all soooo world weary and the underlying tone is snide, disparaging and ultimately negative.

    The hacks are no better, what happend tio reporting on matches? I guess with the internet and all they think they have to pontificate their clueless, hackneyed jaundiced bile as well.

  63. pedantic george

    Hunter,Do you think that type of post gives your argument more or less weight ?

  64. pedantic george

    And now we lose Gary Nevile.

  65. I imagine it has escaped Nasri that Arsenal improved on their finish last season, without him. While his ‘contribution’ to city’s title was negligible at best.

  66. Yogi,
    Recent history shows that hunter is never going to ‘get it’. Recall that you and a number of others have made all those points before. The man believes what he believes, and nothing will change it. I suppose what matters is that his heart is in the right place…

    Mingus,
    My opinion is that everything in a democratic society (including and especially sports) is ‘about opinions’. 🙂

  67. George

    I dont think Neville will stop doing his thang on Sky man.

  68. The problem with opinions is we all know pretty much nothing. Or certainly not the whole picture. And opinions are always said with absolute certainty. Because that’s all they are…opinions. They’re throw-away. They count for nothing. Love, on the other hand, unconditional love that is, for a club, a person, a sport, that’s all you need. That’s all the pundits need. Unconditional love for the game. Can you imagine?

    What (the f***) am I on about?!!

  69. pedantic george | May 15, 2012 at 11:43 am
    “The problem with opinions is that there is no way of “weighting” them in favour of the better informed.”

    There is actually, for the opinions that really count e.g. Arsene. the players, the board, etc

    For the rest of us, including pundits, journalists etc, what would be the point in trying to weight our opinions? Not as if we have control of anything? We’re all just entertaining ouselves.

  70. The thing is, most punters are a bit, well dense and they get their opinions from the talkin heads on the old goggle box. You just have to listen to the phone ins to hear 2nd/3rd hand opinions being passed off as original thought.

    The hacks came out with some utter shite this season, none more so than martin Samuels when he said that Stoke had a better squad than Arsenal.

  71. pedantic george

    Henristic.I suspect you say that because you think I would have you at the lower end of my weighting spectrum.
    I have not forgotten that you said I was “No Einstein”.
    You are in the black book fella.

  72. Yogi
    Another well thought out post.

    I’m taking this past season for what it was, another brick in the Arsenal fortress. Going into next season I feel much more optimism than a year ago.

    There is experience and depth to our back line;

    Goal keeping is still a concern (at least for me) but less than recent seasons.

    The experience to our starting midfield (Arteta and Rosicky) and their industrious performances are obvious, along with promising new youngsters in the wings (Chamberlin, Ryo, Campbell, etc)

    A new signing for the front line (Podolski) and Gervinho seemingly will work through the 1st year adjustment.

    Knowing the manager and club will learn from last summer and finalize a roster early.

    Momentum is with us.

    Our only responsibility is to cheer them on.

    I feel much more optimism than a year ago, the team is taking shape.

  73. On a blog like this, the opinions of the better informed finds its level naturally, and ditto for the idiots, depending of course on stuff like writing and communication skills.

    If the opinions or its delivery are rubbish enough (from pov of the majority),other opinions criticize them, or the blog owner bans them.

    In short, I don’t see a problem with opinions.

  74. pedantic george

    Lo Dexter,He actually said Stoke could take Arsenal’s CL spot.
    What an absolute fat ugly stupid twat he is.

  75. George

    The amount of rubbish soiuted by Samules and his ilk beggars belief, not least because they are paid handsomely for it and it helps form the opinions of 1000s of dimwitted fucknuts.

  76. pedantic george

    Henristic ,I agree.Without the opinion of idiots,an idiot like me would have no one to call a cunt.

  77. ha yogi … what weakness ? lol …all the negativity wenger and arsenal get is stemmed from those narrow – minded neanderthals who instruct their kids to “get stuck in” …. lol

    and i wasnt talking about the subject of websites , .. i was talking about the overall negative environment wenger and arsenal have to work with. I have yet to see any of them journalists and pundits who were digging wenger’s and arsenal;s grave in september come out and offer an apology ………

    if youre syaing that websites are designed so that people discuss and offer opinions like throwing pebbles at the sea then no problem…. 🙂

    and yogi, obviously those who dont complain and moan belong to the category of people who do understand how football works thats why they believe and trust wenger. not supporting wenger shows ignorance in football matters. only a hater or a clueless chap would ever object the methods and work of wenger. thus, the pro-wenger are the ones who are correct and the anti are the ones who are wrong…. there is no chance that an anti-wenger is right in what he says..his words are derived from hatred , from bias. while the comments of a pro-wenger are derived after wathcing with our very own eyes how much good this manager has done for the club the last 16 years.

    the way you adress me sometimes is as if my ultra pro-wenger attitude stems from a non understanding of the game. as if i support wenger because of his looks or whatever else ..you couldnt be more wrong im afraid. i support wenger cause i know what is good for my club. i know what the club was before and what it is now.

  78. Jeez George,
    You such an elephant. Never heard of the phrase ‘forgive and forget’?

    How about if I tell you that I’ve come to appreciate your intelligence since making those comments. I now believe that you’re smarter than Einstein, and will soon be blessing the world with the solution to the unified field theory?

  79. pedantic george | May 15, 2012 at 11:47 am

    hey george whats up ? which one are you referring to ?

  80. pedantic george

    Well Henristic now you are being sarcastic and patronising .in equal measure.
    No,you remain in the black book.

  81. pedantic george

    Hunter
    “and in my honest opinion , all the gunners that are still complaining are gutless p@#$%s who were crapped out a spud mother……”
    that one

  82. Momentum and Intensity has been the theme for me this season. Whether dropping out of the CL when we did was beneficial or not for our Premier League campaign. Whether playing weekends and mid-week too, would have kept things going better than merely once a week. What with all the loss of focus all that entails. Clearly our energy levels fell away towards the end of the season. And more games would most likely have seen us do a Chelsea. But the loss of intensity might have been a contributory factor too, as it seemed to drag us down to a lower level without it. A slightly deeper squad is clearly one answer.

  83. Looking ahead and assuming all the players sign their new deals! I think in terms of squad improvements, we only need to add 2 or 3 players this transfer window. I imagine that will still seem like a lot to some. Here goes;

    Goalkeepers; If, as predicted Almunia and Fabianski both leave and possibly Mannone too, then I think we need an experienced back up to Szczesny. The young Pole looked a bit dodgy towards the end of the season, but who didnt really? Some one like Jussi from Bolton would be a really good signing IMO.

    Fullbacks; WE are set there, with 2 players for each position.

    CBs; This all depends on whether Bartley stays, or leaves on laon again. WE have 4 quality centre halves, so the need isn’t urgent, but if we could get a quality player like Vertonghen for a pretty cheap price then all good, but it isn’t vital IMO.

    Midfield; We really missed Jack and Diaby this season, not to mention that fella who went to Spain for his jollies. WE havent even tried to sign a replacement, but I think we should do. Arteta has been a great signing and Rosicky had a brilliant season, but I think there is a need for a top class addition there.

    Forwards; I can’t see park still being at the club while Chalakh could also depart. We’ve signed Podolski which is a great signing and hopefully, he will compliment, not replace our captain. With Bendtner and vela also looking likely to depart, I think another striker may be on the cards. I know we have Campbell to come back, but he may be loaned out to a PL side.

    But that’s just my opinion. 🙂

  84. The man believes what he believes, and nothing will change it.

    haha no my freind…i believe in the work i see with my very eyes…i believe in a manager who took a team that was playing in 38k seater and took them to 60k seater with constant participation in champions league …i believe in a manager who gets 3rd and 4th against teams that sepnd 200m per summer while he has to spend maximum 15 the past 7 years…i believe in song walcott vanpersie and all our players who give their all for arsenal and the fans and are made to feel like criminals who owe something to us..his name could have been smith for all i care ./.but it so happens to be wenger so thats who ill support and whose opinion ill consider as most valuable. and of course the opinions of the people who understand all the above. those who dont understand the above shouldnt even voice one….

  85. pedantic george | May 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    yeah whats wrong with it ?…there i offer my opinion, my personal one too.. but when talking about arsenal i dont offer opinion …i record events as they have happenned and as they should be interpreted instead of the misrepresentation that rivals and haters/trolls offer….

  86. or to word it better…since every person (with knowledge or not) feels he has the right to an opinion then i also reserve my right to retaliate…especially when these “opinions’ are nothing else but an attack on our club manager and players…… eff the doomers and all the scum that has issues with our greatest ever manager i say !! viva arsenal! viva arsene viv la difference …oh yes ! .. 🙂

  87. “I want to become their best player and be the sort of player who can carry them in games,” Miyaichi told reporters after landing in Tokyo.
    —————
    Thats the spirit Ryo!

  88. Yogi yet another eloquently written piece and a great way to start my morning(here in the states its 7:22). It was true joy to watch us battle back to the top after being left for dead but the likes of Na$ri, Cesc, and Clichy. I do think Song, Theo, RVP all will resign and honestly i think were going to break the bank to keep RVP and Song and Theo will get paid hansomly. I do feel that we are a better team than last year for many reasons:
    1. We have a true Captain whose heart is fully committed and not split.
    2. We replaced premodonna’s with players who talent is still world class but also have a great work rate.
    3. Alex Song was given more freedom and became the best DM bar none in the PL and arguably in the world.
    4. RVP was healthy and him and Theo blossomed.
    5. Theo became arguably the best winger in the PL and his talent blossomed.
    6. Kos, Mert, Verm are the best CB pairing in the PL and arguably all of world football.
    7. We had players that bought whole heartidly into Arsenal and fought for it.

    I do think Na$ri is a talent there’s no denying that but i think all that talk in France about him carrying the torch got to his head and he thought he was a whole hell of alot better than he really is. Do I think he is a cunt, FUCK YEA!

    The funny thing about Man$hiteh is that they spent 1 billion on players but still almost lost the title. They say were not going to buy anymore but are rumored to have already bought Hazard. These cunts spend money but I dont think RVP would go there because he has a soul and a heart adn it can’t be swayed only by money ecspecially since he wouldn’t be the main man there.

  89. pedantic george

    Well Hunter,when you put it like that how can I disagree?

  90. I know talkshite is a load of bollocks, but I still can’t get over the poll they had on their site yesterday. It was which final league winning game was the best. Arsenal 1989 or Cuty’s???

    There is absolutely no comparison. Thats not even a blinkered Gooner’s view, all you have to do is look at the situations;

    Arsenal had to go to the most dominant team in English football’s backyard and win by 2 clear goals, a feat no one outside of Highbury (and probably a few inside it too) though possible. While city had to beat QPR at home and had a man advantage.

    What utter nonsense and yes, I souldnt even have reacted to it. My bad!

  91. @13hunter13

    Mate, there’s no denying your passion, love, joy for Arsenal but you got to turn it down a little. Yea we all defend Arsene and everything Arsenal but sometimes mate i wonder about you because you speak like somebody in a drunkin rage. Just tone it down a little, you make valid points most of the time.

  92. Agree with most of what you say C, and I too don’t think van Persie will go. But not for the reason you say, Cos I feel that “being the main man” is not something he’s particularly bothered about.

  93. lol c appreciate your comment but to be honest my rage is towards the haters and all the bashers , not the people who defend and support wenger…. my rage is towards the mentalities that see eduardo;s ankle hanging from the fibre of his sock and call him a diver and a cheat or that taylor “aint that type of player” … my rage is towrads those who refuse to give some lenience to a club that has to repay its stadium through its own means……my rage is towards all those nenaderthals who call wenger a paedo and then the refs giving hima red for kicking a bottle…….you have misunderstood me…i show you the way to treat the scum that doubt our manager, who mock our players and who attack everything we do …whether they are in house trolls or just rivals pulling your legs it makes no difference to me …and it aint about passion its about showing respect.

  94. @hunter

    I don’t midunderstand you trust I don’t. I agree with your points no doubt about it and have voiced my opinion time and again on it but something I was taught a while back was inorder to get respect we have to give it. No we have all called people cunts hell i called Na$ri a cunt and stand by it but one thing even Arsene does it instead of raging against them just speak in so that while you still insult them your still earning your respect. I’ll be the first to say that media and the likes bag on everything Arsenal and they can all go fuck themselves but its how you say it. but either way passion and love for everything Arsenal is something we all ahve in common and we all have speak differently to defend it.

  95. henristic, george never forgives or forgets, he still calls me ‘theo basher’ when am not here, fuckin arsehole, but top man.
    P.s – i still hate your guts.

  96. 1) Pat Rice’s replacement is announced and is a top signing. CHECK
    2) We beat WBA and/or finish 3rd.CHECK
    3) RvP signs a new deal AT ARSENAL!
    4) Song and Theo follow suit.
    5) We sign some quality players.
    6) Jack returns from injury with no ill effects.
    7) One or 2 youth players make the step up to the 1st team.
    8) Arshavin returns to AFC
    9) A few who need to move on, are moved on/sold.
    10) Diaby has an injury free season

  97. George has never forgiven me for taking the piss out of his over sized man boobs.

  98. i will give you an example c

    many people have been honouring lately the moneyball experiment …it helps when brad pitt leads the way (pmsl) ….as a result of that we have had tottneham fans , liverpool fans with their levys and comollis giving us shit about how good they are for following billie beans principles ……..

    and then the real billie bean ( not brad) confesses that his hero and mentor and idol is arsene wenger ….pmsl…

    another thing, although united has indeed a tradition at developing youngsters..the last 10 years nearly all their youth has been purchased from outside…..hmmmm you could say ferguson is doing a wenger only he can do it with 17m andersons and nanis while wenger can do it with 1.3m songs and 2 m diabbys. the idea is the same though…its the targets that change. lately even chelsea got in the same game……

    so all the things wenger has been pillored for the past few years have become the working methods of other clubs too …….clubs that sit higher than us financially all this time….

  99. pedantic george

    Yes Dexter ,you and your scalawag mate Irish.

  100. great post, Yogi. great summary of the season.

    which i think is an achievement. success isnt just measured by trophies.

  101. Ahh, so you DO still remember! Ha! 🙂

  102. if chelsea loses on saturday, they will be playing in the europa league. not quite sure that many players will be desperate to join them. don’t forget that they clearly need new players to rejuvenate their squad.

  103. Well, at least the Invincibles get the credit their achievemnt deserves

  104. they hate us cos they aint us.

  105. korihikage

    I’d much rather the chavs lose out on Saturday man. Then the spuds can get knocked out of the qualifying CL round too!

  106. pedantic george

    Yes but that doesn’t explain why we hate them

  107. pedantic george

    Who ever “them” might be

  108. Dexter

    that’s exactly my point

    George
    must i do all the work? 😉

  109. to get respect we have to give it.

    i agree 100% but here we are facing a scenario where wenger and arsenal get no respect for what they offer to english football, in fcat they get their kicks by attacking mcking and abusing us….

  110. The chavs losing on saturday will hugely impact on their ability to attract not only neew players, but a nre manager too. It could seriously dent their chances of doing anything next season IMO.

    I pray for a Bayern victory. 🙂

  111. pedantic george

    Yes I hope the frog march all over them

  112. Oh and well done to Randy ‘fast’ Lerner for getting shot of mcleish and his inimitable brand of anti-football. I might be able to start liking Villa again, well, that’s if their fans stop singing that disgusting Eduardo song.

  113. Yogi.

    Fantastic read. Thanks for a great year. This is the best sports blog in the world. Your writing is impeccable and your opinions and ideas balanced and well thought out. It’s going to be a long summer without football and you help bridge the gap. Thanks also to all the regular posters who never fail to entertain and inform. It’s been a tough but interesting year for our club on the pitch and off and I hope for a bit less drama next season but no matter what happens ACLF will make it more fun. Thanks again.

  114. George,
    Whats wrong with a little sarcasm/patronising? You use the same tools from time to time don’t you?

    Ok, can you tell me how toget out of this black book? Feels bloody uncomfortable…

  115. @hunter

    I’m not disagreeing with the points your trying to make dont misunderstand me Mate. Imitation is the highest form of respect.

  116. pedantic george

    Yes good point Henristic.I do indeed use those tools.And as I don’t want to be a hypocrite.I will tear out the page with you name on it.

  117. khalifha | May 15, 2012 at 11:37 am
    “Henristic, they better renew their contracts – i can’t believe that we are even having a discussion about contract renewals for song and walcott, am tempted to spew vile comments and insults towards them but i don’t know the full details about any contracts so i will keep it to myself, For now’.”

    The contract situation is the reality of modern sports life man. Why the temptation to abuse? Is that your online personality talking, or do really spew vile insults at people who do something you don’t like in normal life?

  118. I think Bayern will go all out attack and get goals early and often. Chavs are missing Terry with Cahill and Luiz fighting fitness and if they do play wont be 100% but also missing Ramires and Ivanovich against all that Germ talent through the middle with Robben and Ribery could spell disaster for them.

  119. Football. Fucking football. Imagine not being into it. Those poor, poor half-alive bastards.

    Danny Baker on Twitter

  120. Big Al Can’t believe I forgot to mention You Your always positive point of view sometimes was not in step with my feelings but your weekly posts were wonderfully well written and I always looked forward to Fridays. Thanks again. Hopefully you will keep writing this summer and next season

  121. That might just be the new strapline.

  122. Yeah, if Luiz doesnt make it either that will be 4 CBs missing for the chavs. Not looking too good for them. Such a shame! The only potential filip would be if Bayern crumble under the weight of expectation in their own back yard.

  123. Phew, that was easier than I thought, George. 😉

    But its refreshing that you’ll recognize hypocrisy and back away from it. The world would be a better place if there was more people like that, seriously.

  124. Your best season’s blogging I think Yogi.

    Not ben an easy one in which to maintain a steady perspective without veering too much from joy to disbelief and hope to near despair. As many positives and negatives as a crate of batteries.

    You steered a true course. Excellent.

    All in all, I enjoyed the season. Fascinating to muse on where we go from here.

    I enjoyed meeting some ACLFer’s and hope to meet a few more next season.

  125. I liked listening to Danny Baker on t’wireless, always funny. I remember one saturday morning he started goin off at a tangent on his football show and was talking about 1970’s American porn stars. It was hilarious. I think he got canned soon after that!

  126. consolsbob

    Yep, this season has truly been a trying one, from the end of last season, to the summer trials and tribulations to the many early season defeats and debacles.

    It’s great to be able to look back on a season with a sense of pride and new found hope.

  127. I’ll go with that Dex.

  128. bayern are missing quite a couple of players themselves.

    to be honest, this has got to be the most underwhelming final. lots of players suspended, between a team that finished 6th in its league, and a team that has clearly been 2nd best in germany, and that just got hammered 5-2 in a final

  129. http://www.internettreehouse.co.uk/trans5.htm

    Long post warning: This is a transcript of a phone call on his show. Brilliant, just brilliant

    Hi Ya Danny

    Who is this?

    I’ve got football memorabilia and I’ve got a footballer in a supermarket..

    Okay go on

    The football memorabilia is when I was about nine, I’m now about fifty odd so it’s going back a bit…

    Yeah

    I asked my Dad if he’d make me a bow-tie

    Hang On, Hang On, Hang On, No Hang On! Just say that again

    I asked my Dad if he’d make me a bow-tie

    Danny Kelly – The first time ever on Radio Five Live the sentence, I asked my Dad to make me a bow-tie

    This is already my favourite call ever……Kids you asked your Dad to make you a train, a ship, a boat, some kind of railway station. You asked your Father……..

    Well it made a difference from a scarf right. I wanted something with my teams’ name on it.

    Danny Kelly – What team is that?

    Dundee United

    Okay cool it’s great, go on.

    But they’re just called United. So he made it and it was wee black triangles, you know at the pointy bit and it was white across the middle and it had Utd. written across the middle….

    – LAUGHTER –

    A bow-tie!

    ….but it was made of plywood!

    – MAD LAUGHTER –

    This is too good. We’ll have to play an advert. We’re going to have to play an advert.

    Danny Kelly -We’re going commercial…they’ll be an advert for the next twenty minutes.

    I’m sorry Gordon, as you know we usually plough on, but you’re wearing a plywood bow-tie with Dundee Utd on it?

    ………and it was two feet wide!

    – MORE MAD LAUGHTER –

    …….and it was tied round my neck with a big leather strap.

    – MORE MAD LAUGHTER –

    …and by half time I was Quasimodo.

    ..and what did you say when he handed you this thing?

    – HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER –

    Danny Kelly – Here you go son, here’s your bow-tie.

    – LAUGHTER –

    Danny Kelly – Clank, Clank, Clank and here’s the big leather strap to tie it to your neck.

    Oh my God!

    It weighed about a stone and a half………

    Danny Kelly – You must have ended up with curvature of the spine?

    ……..but he saw the error of his ways……..

    Oh Man!

    So next week…..

    There’s more?

    He produced a big pole….

    – MAD LAUGHTER –

    …and I went away to the match like a Roman Centurion you know?

    Danny Kelly – What was the Pole for sorry?

    The bow-tie was strapped to the pole…

    – MAD LAUGHTER –

    ……Like a Roman standard?

    Bang, Bang, Bang! (Danny thumps the table with his fist in hysterics)

    Danny Kelly – Like a Roman Standard?…you’re making it worse, don’t keep doing that.

    Gordon, this is my favourite ever and I’ve been doing this a while…..Sorry I’ve gone

    ………..and another quick thing is…………

    No, No, hang on just a minute, you don’t have to fill the space; sometimes it’s good to have dead air. Just going back, why did you want a bow-tie?

    Why does anybody want anything?

    No, No, No seriously, a rattle yes, a banner yes, a scarf as you say, a hat………..

    I already had a rattle…

    Ooooh!

    Aah I’m afraid Gordon we’re going to have to keep your number and have you tell that…..I may have to ring you up when I’m at parties and I can’t quite remember all the details……….Good Old Gordon!

    Danny Kelly – Wherever tards and retards meet…

    A two foot wide bow-tie

    Danny Kelly – And one with a big leather strap the first week and on the second week, carried into the ground like a Roman Centurion.

    The thing to do is stick it on a pole. Well don’t feel intimidated by Gordon’s call. It may be the best, but please 0345 909 693.

    Danny Kelly – you only have to do better than that and you’re on the air!

  130. I just reread Na$ri’s comments and he’s one of the biggest cunts there are. Its funny because if Na$ri was so great and so dominate then why does Shitty fill the need to replace him with Hazard lol. Just an observation.

  131. korihikage | May 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    It may make for an entertaining final with lots of goals. For me, it’s all that matters in a ‘neutral’ football match.

  132. @ Dexter | May 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    yea that would be distarious for the Chavs ecspecially with Gomez who is a big strong Striker who thrives on balls played into the box.

    korihikage | May 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Yea they are missing but there missing a CM and a CB but while not as talented as our 3CB’s they have 3 quality CB’s so they should be ok. For the midfield they can bring on Thomas Muller who is a world class talent(just think back to last world cup and look at his stats for Bayern). I’m actually excited to see teh final only because I want to see Bayern take apart the Chavs. My friend the other day said he wouldn’t be suprised if the Chavs parked the bus and played on the counter, the only problem with that is when Robben and Ribery cross it in the box, unlike Barca, Bayern has a big, strong physical striker who thrives off those balls in Gomez and Muller has a very good goal scoring record.

  133. WE FINISHED 3RD.
    AW Knows

    Kudos to you YW…what a season!
    Kudos to all the faithful gooners on ACLF.
    WE FINISHED 3RD.

    WE FINISHED 3RD!

  134. Aman to that!

    Sorry couldn’t resist

  135. Aman

    be careful.. i was trading tweets with this journo neil ashton, cos he was being sarcastic and all, wondering if medals are being given out for 3rd.

    but what does he know? that’s why he is stuck writing articles on football when other people are contributing to the real world.

  136. C

    well not quite sure about bayern’s defence to be honest. they were quite horrible against dortmund. too bad alaba is suspended. a really decent leftback he is.

    a mate of mine thinks chelsea will either nick it, or bayern will win really big. all or nothing.

    and i agree that chelsea are definitely going there to park the bus.

  137. Nasri prefers to be a wing man not a leader. Fabregas is the same in a way.
    AW was trying to groom them to become leaders on & off the field but alas it was a bit too much for their playstationesque outlooks on life.

    “Kudos to u Samir Nasri for winning the PL. Now prove your worth going forward. Show the world what you’re made of…..twat!”

  138. Ah Christ, a link to that phone call Yogi:

    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C1FPmpxPlM]

  139. korihikage,
    pls point out to Master Neil Ashton that the medal for 3rd place is called the BRONZE and it comes with a nice fat paycheck called CL participation & EPL 3rd position prize money!

    His dumbass should be asking that question of 4th place!
    Wilshere won his bet and it sure wasn’t on goal difference!

  140. OK so finishing 3rd after last summers transfer shenanigans, the first 7 games and that god awful January was indeed a fine achievement. But i will add that we finished 19 points off the top and never looked like challenging. I hope next season we can challenge for the league (and a cup or 2). I can handle finishing 3rd after we have challenged for the title right up to the last. I dont feel it when there has been no challenge for the league. The challenges we faced this season were all about dragging our asses through mostly bad situations. I sincerely hope next season its challenges of the good sort. And the preperation needs to start now (Podolski, Bould and Banfield is a good start at the shakeup)

  141. Bayern beat Chelsea = Spuds IN
    Chelsea beat Bayern = Spuds OUT……………….hmm, wonder what the Universe thinks?

  142. Aman

    spuds still have to play in the playoff if they are in. so it isnt a given 😉

    they might well get knocked out there.

  143. to be honest, i hope our players dont get too involved in the euros.

  144. @korihikage

    Yea Alaba is a good left back and Bayern’s defence should be ok since they will be parking the bus. Dortmund has been killing everybody since the CL. Kagawa is a real talent but I still think Bayern are going to win. The thing with the Chavs is that they park the bus but Bayern shoots from range and has a big striker. I think the biggest lost for the Chavs will be Ramires because when they do play on the break he is their only real pace on teh break unless Sturridge starts which i dont seen happening.

  145. Excellent post, really good stuff. Yogi is completely right of course, Football IS all about opinions, which depend on your standpoint.
    Some might see this season as a success, we came third, behind two teams we can’t compete financially with and scored more goals, and despite our disaterous start, we clawed our way back to the all important champions league, so guaranteeing the income and attracting new players.
    Others might think that finishing 19 points behind first and second place, failing to challenge for the title, getting nowhere in any of the cups and winning nothing again for the seventh season is succession as not acceptible for a club that views itself as a “big club” so would not view this season as a success at all.
    It’s all about where you are coming from and your expectations I guess…

  146. Aman, the universe thinks it will be

    Bayern beat Chelsea = Spuds IN, until they go OUT in the qualifier

  147. i think udinese finished 3rd, and if i am not wrong, 3rd in italy means qualifiers? so maybe they will knock out the spuds.

  148. While 3rd was a good outcome in the end, our ‘failure’ was all our own making and not really the cause of not being able to compete on financial terms with the top 2. We were happy enough to take Citys money for Clichy and Nasri. Where we let ourselves down was by taking too long to sell in the first place and then not recruiting replacements quickly enough to start the season more settled.

  149. hear hear Deise, I do believe 2011/12 was an ULTIMATUM TRANSITION season.
    We pulled it off.
    We’ve learnt quite a huge range of lessons since we moved to the Grove.
    What a season…
    Things were so tight we resurrected TH, cast him in BRONZE for pilgrimage & offered the world a fit RVP for a season!
    Result…..BRONZE baby!

    Bould + Podolski + others will see us challenge next season.
    I fully believe we will once the summer paperwork’s done.

  150. @korihikage

    I agree with you unfortunely for us Lil Mozart is Captain, Arshavin is Captain, RVP is the Dutch main striker, Theo and Jack are off for England probably(wont complain if they aren’t), Kos is more than likely going to be picked for France not to mention Podolski and Mert have already been picked for Germany. the good thing is that Song, Sagna and Arteta wont be apart of it. This will give ecspecially Song time to rest and recover since he played in damn near every match and at a high level and will allow for Sagna and Arteta to rest properly. Hopefully Arsene pulls a Fergie(Fergie said since Chris Smallings hamstring is messing up, Fergie declared he’s not going to the Euros’s) and does the same with Jack and declare him not fit for Euros.

  151. i think roy hodgson and arsene wenger are on good terms and have a mutual respect. so i think hodgson won’t pick wilshere. besides hodgson has struck me as someone with some brains unlike stuart pearce. so i doubt wilshere is going to the euros.

  152. To the players going to the Euros (WS13, LF21, LK6, RVP10, TW14, TR7, AA23):
    win something if u can & hope u don’t come back injured.

    To those not going: get a lot of rest & get ready for the season of your lives!

    With what looks like the older players bar MA8 going, we definitely need Jack,Diaby, Rambo, LeCoq, Frimp, AOC, Ryo fit & raring to go come August.

    Summer camp should be very interesting with AW’s final word on the likes of Bartley, Vela, Denilson, Bendtner, Lansbury, Eastmond, Henderson, Watt, Almunia, etc pending.

    Theo, Song & Robin are re-signed before the close of the Euros.

    In Arsene I Trust

  153. FFP kicks in like a bitch next season
    Somethings got to give @ the moneybags’

  154. Aman

    Of course it won’t. FFP was specifically designed to ensure that big clubs don’t fail it.

  155. @Aman

    Lest us not forget about the Olympics for our young players which many of them will surely be apart of. Ryo and Ramsey are likely no brainers with probably the Ox off as well. You forget about Miquel who i think if we don’t sign another CB will be our 4th until Mert is fully recovered and 5th when he does due to his versatility to play both CB and LB(anybody who doubts Miquel at LB only need look at the 1st Man$hiteh match were he played his ass off).

  156. i have been thinking. i think CL football is really more important than you think. once you drop out of it, it is difficult to come back. just look at liverpool.

    looking forward to chelsea dropping out of it. i think it is all the way down for them the moment they get out of it.

    football needs chelsea out of the champs league

  157. They won’t fail but they’ll have to improve fiscal discipline….or
    Do u see books being cooked Yogi?

  158. Aman

    they dont even need to cook the books. just look at man city. they just pump in more money

  159. FFP wont make a blind bit of difference because the institution overseeing it are an utter joke when it comes to enforcing anything that may improve the game

  160. You’re right C..London 2012’s here (what countries made the cut?)
    ….I really rate Miquel but I suspect a season loan-out.

    As much as I’m ok with Djourou as 3rd choice & curious to see Bartley in action I can’t help how much I dig Vertonghen. He is the real deal.

    M’Villa floats my boat quite resurectively also.

    AW’s got some chunky decisions to make. Swiftly is the hope

  161. korihikage,
    @ some point I expect the Mansour’s will rebuild the Manchester City Centre in the image of Dubai!

  162. Who else is in george’s black book? i hope i’m not in there for “sideing” with khalifhia the other week.

  163. btw I agree with Dexter @ 12:27

  164. george has a black book?
    …must be full of wankers

  165. @Deise
    Just on that bit about us taking too long. Amy Lawrence suggested in her latest piece for the Grauniad that it wasn’t really on our end but rather that we were very willing sellers and City made us wait a long time for their offer.

  166. “Others might think that finishing 19 points behind first and second place, failing to challenge for the title, getting nowhere in any of the cups and winning nothing again for the seventh season is succession as not acceptible for a club that views itself as a “big club” so would not view this season as a success at all.”

    The thing is though , that those who hold the above opinion are more wrong than those who are of the first opinion.

    the ones who hold the opinion that “19 points behind blah blah” is not acceptable should FIRST go check what the term “big club” means in a global international sense and then they should check arsenal;s history before making such comments or offering such opinions. As for those who think that any club becomes big 7 years after building a stadium with only one appearance ever in europe;s top competition then they should recosnider their views on football club development and finance. Or they simply fail to acknowledge that different targets and priorities are held for arsenal and totally different for say city or chelsea.

    Big clubs are known worldwide because of their international success…thats what makes them big… ajax , liverpool, realmadrid, milan etc etc …..we have nothing on them…we may look like a big club now ..but thats purely because of wenger …not because of arsenal being some sleeping giant that wenger brought back to the surface like in the case of united and ferguson……. arsenal was way below the surface of anything coming close to the term “big club” on an international worldwide level before the alsatian;s know-how on european and world football was introduced …..

    Many might see the above as an attack on our clubs times prior to wenger. It is not. It is as close and realistic and accurate a description of arsenal;s status as a football club that i can give, prior to wenger;s arrival. I just deliver it with emphatic statements and painful reminders cause im tired of listening to those who have the opinion that arsenal was like ac milan before wenger and that wenger just brought us back the past lost glamour of being “big” …no…he changed EVERYTHING. He made us big in the international sense, i repeat. He has taken us from a level of 5 and brought us to a level of 9,5! i dont say ten yet cause we miss the titles but we;ll get them soon.

    The best example i suppose is the fact dein bought his shares for the price of a packet of crisps and sold them for 75 million….this would have never happened without wenger’s work… this stratospheric rise in club value. The price of a share i think stands somewhere between 12 and 13k ….lol…….and the cliche….he took a qiosk and turned it into a megamall.

    Its like me being hired as project manager for a not so big company, say “lotto” or “diadora” (who are very succesful in italy by the way – domestically ) and putting them as numero uno sponsor of the world cup. Which means that i have entered the salloons of adidas, nike, puma, umbro reebok etc …..massive players in the existing market in front of whom i am very small to even think about competing with let alone stealing from them the pie called “world cup”….but im there …and so is arsenal !

  167. mattgoonerknight

    LG, fellow signatories

    I emailed the Stewart Robson Petition today with the 356 signatures attached; here’s the response:

    ________________________

    Dear Matt,

    Thank you for your e-mail. First of all, please let me say that we take your concerns very seriously.

    Obviously we have full editorial control over our contributors’ work for Arsenal Media. However, by the nature of being freelance, they also work for other organisations where the agenda is different.

    That said, Stewart and I have discussed the issue you have raised and we’ll be discussing it further at our usual summer meeting to review content.

    Rest assured, the Club’s reputation is of huge importance to us and your comments have been taken on board.

    Thanks once again for your interest in Arsenal.com.

    Regards,

    Richard Clarke
    Managing Editor
    Arsenal Media Group

    _______________________________

    What do you all think?

  168. Olympic Soccer:

    Great Britain: Rambo? Jack? Gibbs? Lansbury? Bartley?
    Spain: Miquel?
    Switzerland: Djourou?
    Belarus
    Brazil: Santos?
    Uruguay
    Mexico: Vela?
    Honduras
    Japan: Ryo?
    South Korea: Park?
    United Arab Emirates
    New Zealand
    Egypt
    Morocco
    Gabon
    Senegal

  169. @Aman

    Not sure which countries exactly i just know Japan(Ryo) and UK(Ramsey and probably Ox) did.

    I would actually like to see Miquel play in CC Cups and FA Cup matches again next season as he develops. I’m not quite sure what to make of Bartley but have seen Miquel in the heat of the action and he has done very well.

    I do hope we sign M’villa. Arsene if you wouldn’t mind and you just happen to take a read!

  170. I think WE made our point mattgoonerknight.
    That twat will be tanked.
    Like Nicklas “i’m da bestest” Bendtner.

  171. Fuck sake Deise!

    I had you down as having more balls than that man? Bit of a whingefest that post mate. Dont go all negative on me like the Big Moaner dude.

  172. Yes C, Yann M’Villa’s a beast. And at 22?………….i drool

  173. That’s your problem in a nutshell BigM – your “expectations”.

    Our problem is that we have to put up with your whining, because they haven’t been met!

  174. Speculating whether our first choice CBs next year should be Merts & Kosc or Verm & Kosc or Verm and Kosc is pointless. For about 30% of the games one of the 3 will be cracked thus the pairing will be already be determined. For about 10% of the games 2 of the 3 will be laid up. All 3 are very good players but offer different dimensions (Merts good in the air, kosc very fast/mobile and Verm is more ambitious going forward). I believe they should be selected based on who the opponent is. merts obviously needs to be included when the opponent provides a more aerial challenge (i.e. Stoke) and Kosc should start when the opponent uses speed and guile (i’e. either of the Manc teams) and Verm is great when the opponent parks the bus and nnot much good on the counter attack (i.e. any McLeish team).
    Horses for courses.

  175. MGK

    Very interesting man, hopefully they have a long think about retaining his services.

    Yogi

    That was literally laugh out loud funny! I had to pretend i was having a coughing fit! People were offering to do the Heimlick manouveoure on me and everything! 🙂

  176. Philmar

    I have seen many posts wghere people have similar things; that the CB pairings should be determined by who we are playing. However, thats a bit FIFA12/Fantasy manager stuff man.

    The CBs usually play together quite a bit thus forming a good understanding. Chopping and changing is something that the manager would rather avoid, IMO.

  177. My picks for the summer:

    IN: M’Villa (12m), Vertonghen (9m), Rodallega (free), Benayoun (2m) & blue hoops

    OUT: Squilly, Almunia, Bendtner, Park, Chamakh, Vela, Denilson, Mannone, Lansbury, Watt, Eastmond, Hoyte…

  178. Dex @ 3:30.

    What in the world is wrong with saying what you think? You do it all the time. Isn’t that the main purpose of a blog?

  179. Aman @3.05pm

    Ask yourself this. Would the clubs have agreed to FFP if they were going to fail?

    Tucked away in the small print is a clause that allows Uefa to licence a club that fails on whatever whim they like. Clubs can also continue to be loss-making if they can substantiate that there is a longer-term plan to sustained profitability in place.

    FFP is an utter farce.

  180. MGK – sounds like a reasonable first response. My hope is that he will have had a jolly good speaking to, and that we will see a noticeable change in his attitude next season.

    It’s as much as we could have hoped for to start with.

    If there is no change well we ramp things up and go again at least we now have a name and contact who is alive to it and will know to what we are referring if we have to return to the issue.

    Well done to both you and LSG for taking this on.

    There has been quite a lot of proactive work from the supporters on ACLF – well done to all of you who joined me in writing into the Beeb too. It may be spitballs off a battleship but it’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.

  181. Evil – if that was the case then we should have told them to pay up or leave it altogether, because pandering to their whims played right into their hands by destabalising us when we would most need to be secure in our preparations.

    What whingy post was that Dex?

  182. Bill

    I just did say what I thought. Thanks for noticing. You doomer c*nt! (There, i did it again) 🙂

  183. @Aman

    Santos has already been declared not to be apart of the prelimenary squad but has no chance of going to the Olympics with only 3 available he is not going to be one. Vela I could see going and probably Park.

  184. Deise

    The obsession with the 19 points man. Had enough of that with ol Rain Man himself Big Moaner yesterday!

    What say we finish 8 points off the top next season, in 10th place. Thats progress right?

  185. Aman – Even as a free I can’t see what Rodallega adds?

    Also, as a priority, we do rather need a quality back-up keeper.

  186. I think the only way FFP will work is if the other big clubs in Europe gang up and make UEFA stick to it in order to fend off man city from nicking all the best players by offering obscene wages.

  187. Dex

    Touché.

    You certainly have a bit of a hypocritical streak but you are almost always entertaining. 🙂

  188. Limestonegunner

    Lyrical season review, YW–thought provoking as well as pleasurable to read.

    I said a week or so ago that it felt like two or three seasons worth of drama took place in this exhausting year since last summer.

    I think analytically I would say we had two seasons and two major turning points in the league and another concurrent set of matches in Europe that deserve their own analysis and had a different arc entirely.

    The first the season was of a delayed pre-season and integration of new players while coping with difficult and fraught departures of core talent. We hauled ourselves from chaotic relegation depths to get back to challenging for European places, sitting just outside the CL top 4. The key game was Chelsea. It announced that we were back in contention for real and that we had forged a new team with strong spirit and solidarity despite everything internal and external to the club against Arsenal success.

    The second season was injury plagues to fullbacks and adapting to a different style of play while trying to make up ground. We had a brilliant and joyful return of a legend but mostly held fire in the transfer window expecting returns from injury to reinforce us in the run-in. Then we took a big burst forward when the fullbacks started to come back in sparked by the NLD and a turn from a poor period to believing again that we could get 4th and even overhaul Spuds, which delightfully we have.

    Europe went the opposite way–we showed strength early on and qualified vs. a tough Udinese team, drew away at Dortmund and won away at Marseille to build momentum and take control of and top the group which we did with a game to spare. Then in the second half a a poor pitch, lack of team balance, and a remarkably tepid performance led to a disastrous away match at San Siro. At that point, realistic thoughts of progressing in Europe were ended but we went out with dramatic flourish that helped us recover confidence for the remainder of our league season.

    Truly two or three seasons worth of injuries, dramatic turning point games, and stories. The most eventful season we’ve had in years.

    Progress will be determined by whether we build on what has been achieved this season: recovering from disaster and improving modestly on last year while undergoing a major transition from the Cesc era to (hopefully) the RvP era.

    Keep RvP and strengthen the squad and we have a real chance to build a winning team. Lots to look forward to in what might also be an eventful summer though hopefully spared of drama!

  189. Thanks for bursting my bubble YW.
    All I have now is the hope that Greece is voted out of the EU setting the viral precedence we need to take back our world from bankers & “the market”.

    Oh well, we are the Arsenal
    We have AW

  190. jonny

    Agree on both those points man. Rodallega looked a half decent striker a few years back, but not for some time now, IMO.

  191. ” if chelsea loses on saturday, they will be playing in the europa league. not quite sure that many players will be desperate to join them. don’t forget that they clearly need new players to rejuvenate their squad. ”

    Chelski can still offer astronomical wages. Shedloads of money still seems to serve as incentive to some people. Eh, Samir?
    Not being in the CL means the players will have to play/work less. That appeals to to some unambitious people as well. Maybe Winston Bogarde will come out of retirement a la Henry and Scholes.

  192. Bill

    How do you do the accent above the e? Nice touch.

  193. …and there are still many many players on crap teams that would still see Europa league as a promotion (guys like Cahill or Samba – even a Dempsey)

  194. @Aman

    I know i was watching a recent match of Rennes(where there aren’t many decent players at all) and he was an absolute beast. Not only does he break up play with steel but his passing was 1-2 touch not many going sideways and he seems a very smart player. I found myself day dreaming of M’villa Song and Arteta or Rosicky running circles around midfields, not only passing around them like shadows but breaking up play with steel and stiffer tackles.

  195. Dex,

    Character Maps in windows start menu, somewhere in system tools or accessories. Or there will be some smartarse shortcut like ALT+0266

  196. johnny & dex,
    hugo’s a real talent. He was injury-plagued all season.

    For me he’d be a more than adequate 3rd striker/winger especially if we don’t re-sign Yossi, are denied another Campbell work permit, let go of Chamakh & Park and unthinkably denounce AA23.

    Hugo = Gervinho’s older S.American brother.
    Much swagger

  197. Limestonegunner

    MGK, that’s a great response to our petition. We might dream of something more decisive, but with 356 signatories it shows a concern rather than mass outrage after all–though I do think there is substantial feeling among the support in favour of our position and surely there have been other complaints made by individuals. At least the club is taking it seriously enough to have an initial conversation about it and sounds like it will review the matter more fully with Robson and others over the summer. If it means he is a bit more supportive on the Arsenal Player matches, that’s at least something.

    Thanks so much for creating the online petition and managing it, building on my initial letter. I appreciate how you’ve facilitated and we’ve consulted together and with our ACLF community on it–that’s Arsenal quality teamwork! Next time we do something, hopefully, we’ll do an even better job of spreading the word.

    Keep us updated if there is any future correspondence and if we don’t hear anything, perhaps we can inquire later in the summer about any measures they have taken.

    Terrific work!

  198. Cheers Yogi.

    Aman;

    Oh OK then mate.

  199. I have a question for all those gooners that go to the Emirates.
    I live in Canada and do not get to hear any of the chants that are sung at matches. I’d love to be ablle to watch a match without commentary and just hear the chants. I forever hear mention of vile chants direscted against us. Are gooner fans saints? Don’t we also have a few nasty chants?

  200. Aman

    Rodallega’s stats aint that good man; 2 league goals in 23 appearances. Albeint 12 as a sub.

  201. Philmar

    Most of the chants get sung at away games man. There’s one about Cashley Cole and a mobile phone for instance. Or the one about Arry’s mum.

  202. Dex @3:52

    My IPad did it on its own. I would never have taken the time.

    Jonny.

    Sorting out the back up GK may be the next most critical thing we can do. If fabianski is willing to stay then fine but if not lets make a run at schwarzer. If not him jussi or Craig Gordon.

    Aman.

    Love your list @ 3:39. M’vila would be awesome and might make a real difference i would also love vertonghen. Clearly improving the number of goals we concede is again the most critical off season adjustment that we need to make. However I am just not sure that it’s a matter of getting different defensive players at this point. Other then adding m’vila I think the rest of the players are good enough, just need to play better and stay organized and that’s a coaching issue.

  203. Lest we forget

    TR7, AA23, MA8 (+/- YB30) are all over 30. The first 2 will be captaining at the Euros
    Their playing time needs to be well-regulated for max efficiency

    Jack & Vassiriki will be returning from season-long injury. Like Rambo last season they won’t be overplayed.

    Ox’s young chassis is still growing and his time must also be regulated. Ditto Campbell if.

    We do need a 3rd striker. PL-savvy, in his prime, hungry to prove himself.
    Hugo is 2-footed, speedy, great header, great leap, laterally-technical and 27 in July.
    I’d cop a free here
    I’m hoping AW would too

    If so, I expect doubters to eat their words..u especially YW

  204. I really hope this RvP contract issue doesnt drag on all summer as Andy was suggesting. That would be fucking awful and really take the piss after last season’s bullshite.

  205. Aman

    I’d rather go for Berbatov or Drogba TBH. If we are just talking freebies. Oh and Hoillett, although there would be some compensation to Blackburn.

  206. Dex, forget stats. It was a frustrating season.
    Watch the player happy.
    His workrate, ball movement, assists, ball retention, heading capability, stamina, passion, creativity, strength, discipline, responsibility level, defensive capability, drive…………forget it, he’s the real deal.

    ask intelligent Wigan fans what they think of Rodallega. Their all-time PL goal scorer.

    RvP, Podolski, AA, TR have all had mediocre seasons at some point in their careers.
    Why hate?

  207. A really good post. Unfortunately, one can foresee the same thing being written at the end of the next season. Unless the FFP rules really have teeth (don’t hold your breath), City and Chelsea will continue to invest heavily. Even Man U may falter. My argument with the club is not born out of a blinkered outlook; it is of the fact that the current team is staffed with so many mediocre players and cannot defend properly. This is down to Wenger and nobody else. How could any reputable manager have continued with Almunia as our first choice goalkeeper for so many years? Utterly incomprehensible, and as a supporter of over 50 years, I have seen some real duffers wear the goalie’s jersey.They were almost without exception moved on. What did Wenger do! He made him captain. Eddie Hapgood and Jo Mercer must have looked on in disgust. My father and his father before him were Arsenal supporters. My son is another true Gooner. The family has therefore around 100 years of history supporting the club. Having lived through the bad times of the late 50s and throughout the barren 60s, I have remained true to a great club with a marvellous grandeur that Utd and Liverpool can never aspire to reach, regardless of their achievements. At the moment , I feel that I have been yanked back to 1958, with very little hope of seeing success secured for a long time. For Wenger to say that we are close to winning something is crass beyond belief. The only thing this team will win is a set of fairground mugs.

  208. Drog or Berba?? Dream on Dex…they’ll be off to China, Anzi or Qatar in a flash. Hoillet’s good but not Hugo-good. We’ve got the Ox, don’t see a need for Junior.

  209. Jeeez hate? Bit harsh dude! Just don’t rate, not hate, erm, mate!

  210. sorry dex…me likes Hugo thats all. To each his own

  211. Anyway, well done ARSENAL.
    Later guys.

  212. For anyone who doesn’t see this season as a success or doesn’t think Arsenal fought hard for 3rd place only need look at Villareal aka the Yellow Submarine in La Liga. They have managed to go from CL and Europa League the past couple of seasons to dealing with a season ending injury to two of their best players at the beginning of the season (Nemar and Rossi) to now being relegated.

  213. Limestonegunner

    Good point C. The other side is Juventus–built new stadium and have won Serie A undefeated after rebuilding from Calciopoli scandal and a season in Serie B several years ago.

    We did great to achieve what we have. It’s a good opportunity to build on it next season. It’s amazing we’ve managed to be where we have been historically the last several seasons more or less despite the departures and pressures. But it won’t mean as much if we can’t manage to consolidate this team and take a step up in achievement by challenging for the title, going deeper in the CL, or grabbing a domestic cup on top of maintaining this level. That would be more definite progress.

    We have lots of good indications and lots of question marks as well. So I am enjoying the moment and keeping hopes up for the future because I think we really can bridge the gap despite how big it looks without abandoning our principles, style and approach.

  214. Limestonegunner

    And I should say that when we do achieve something like recapturing the title or getting to a CL final (and maybe winning it all!), it will be especially glorious and meaningful to us for the way it was achieved. How sweet it will be!

  215. Jonny neale – “That’s your problem in a nutshell BigM – your “expectations”.
    You miss the point, I’m more in the first camp. I am making a general point about fan’s opinions, not mine.
    Try reading the post properly

  216. @LG

    Juventus is a great example to. They didn’t do it by splashing cash here and there and every were. They did it with youth and their core of Buffon and Del Piero(sad to see he has played his last game for Juventus). I mean the one major change was the signed Pirlo which is the equivalent of us signing Podolski(as far as a major need and weakness that was filled). A good run of health and there’s no doubt in my mind(biased or not) that we can not only challenge for the title but for all cups and CL glory next season.

  217. Limestonegunner

    Philmar, interesting point. As I also watch from afar in Canada, it can sometimes feel distanced from the matchday supporter experience. One thing you can do, which I did this year is to make the pilgrimage to the Emirates. I wasn’t able to get to an away match, alas, but that would be tremendous.

    In the meantime, I wonder if Arsenal Player could do more around matchday with supporters and perhaps even get someone in the Red Action section or something like that that and do features on home and away games–get on the bus, be in the section where there is a culture of chanting–and post 15 minute pieces that we could watch postmatch. Especially for key points in the game.

    I’d probably watch them sometimes when I look at highlights or re-watch sections of the match.

    Do you subscribe to Arsenal Player? It’s free with your red membership, which isn’t too expensive. Best way to stay connected and follow the club with player interviews, press conferences and match replays/highlights, the Fans’ Forum, and other features. I sound like a club marketing representative, so I’ll stop now.

  218. What a wonderful summation YW, and I doubt we’ll read better anywhere. I particularly enjoyed 2011/12. The only thing missing is the two vital items of context, but that comes with the more in depth reflection. One is the circumstances in which we began 2011/12. No sooner had players arrived, than they were thrown into the fray, and within days injuries and sendings off dislocated the squad. Was it a dream or did Miquel, at CB(?), score a terribly unlucky own goal against Liverpool? And so on. Was it really young Frimpong thrown into the business against Dortmund or ManU or both (or neither)? Am I right in remembering we had no left or right backs for a month?

    The other is that each of the teams positioned 3 to 9 has a similar story to tell of terrible inconsistencies, unbelievable moments, and losses, and loss of form. That tells me one thing, 2011/12 has been something of a watershed in EPL in terms of the ability of lesser teams, on their day, to beat the big boys.

  219. YW – Would like to thank you for consistently posting such quality day in, day out. It cannot be easy and at times I would imagine it to be quite painful. Hats off to ya mate, and to Big Al and all others who contributed. Looking forward to next season and have already told The Girlfriend that I will be making a trip over at some point next season, and look forward to putting faces with the various names.

  220. Let’s hope that Bendtner has the tournament of all tournaments and singlehandedly carries the Danes to glory. Here’s hoping Vela has all of Mexico doing the wave with a hero’s performance at the Olympics. Then maybe we can sell them at an inflated price.

  221. Limestonegunner

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/van-persie-fans-have-been-different-class

    Classy as ever from the captain. I do think judging from afar that the home atmosphere seems to have been better in recent months. Overall, perhaps this season has created a more vociferous atmosphere, a tenuously balanced one though because it hasn’t taken much for some toxic times as well. The low moment, which I found terribly disgraceful, was the booing of the Ox/Arsh substitute in the ManU home match. But overall, and perhaps paradoxically, it seems the atmosphere has been much better, much louder. That comes through the games broadcast on TV or watched via Arsenal Player.

    What do regular attendees think?

  222. I think Bendtner is going to be a problem trying to offload because he keeps fucking up. I mean how do you miss the team bus for the last match of the season unless you really are just a complete idiot.

  223. pedantic george

    theBigM,we remember your other posts .you are definitely a poster “b”

    “DeiseGooner | May 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm
    While 3rd was a good outcome in the end, our ‘failure’ was all our own making and not really the cause of not being able to compete on financial terms with the top 2. We were happy enough to take Citys money for Clichy and Nasri. Where we let ourselves down was by taking too long to sell in the first place and then not recruiting replacements quickly enough to start the season more settled.”

    I don’t want to cover old ground again ,but fuck me Deise,that is such a simpletons post it does you no credit what so ever.

  224. Overall, the difference between ourselves and the top two is simple. They were the more consistent with the deeper squads coupled with a degree of pro-ManU bias (whatever small degree that might be). Man City could go on to achieve world-wide status from here. Our battle has been to fight the power of this money and the players it buys with lesser resources than several teams below and above us. The fact of achieving third is no mean feat, seriously. The test is so simple. Under Wenger we know by now surely he will refuse to break the financial template; therefore buying our way to ultimate success is not an option.

  225. @Zimpaul

    I agree with you except Manshiteh just happen to get lucky injury wise as well. I mean if we had our starting XI that includes Jack and his progress from last year and Diaby then i guaratee we are fighting until the last day for the title. But thus is the injury curse of Arsenal.

    On another note, are German assasin is saying all the right things so far:
    In Cologne, I played as a centre forward and also as a playmaker. In the national team I play wide on the left, I honestly don’t mind where I play, as long as it’s in a forward position. But it’s always the coach who decides where you play and I will do my best wherever I play,”

    Arsenal are a great club, here in Europe and all over the world. At the time the transfer negotiations started between the two clubs, the decision was made really quickly. I’m now 26, and nearly 27, so this step in my career might just be the right time to do it. I’m now looking forward to the challenge at my new club and cannot wait to start after Euro 2012,”

    While Podolski has been impressed by Arsenal’s reputation, the striker admitted the presence of manager Arsene Wenger was also a crucial factor behind his decision to move to London.

    “This also played an important part. Arsene Wenger has been a very successful coach. He speaks several languages, and German in particular, which is very helpful. We have spoken to each other on the telephone a few times, which was very good and also which made my decision even easier,”

  226. If you’re Arsenal you can complain “not good enough”. If you’re not Arsenal you want to be “like Arsenal”. And that goes round and round. The sole exception is ManU, who have a strong record.

  227. pedantic george

    Paul.I don’t think even Roman believes he can buy success in the face of City’s wealth.

    I also think if Chelsea do win the CL he could easily wind down his interest and justify it by claiming to have achieved his goals.

  228. good read again yogi i agree i also think RVP and theo will stay

  229. The thing about coaching deeper squads is that you can throw an experienced player into a short spell, to cover a missing player, knowing you won’t need them for longer and they will play their hearts out to gain a foothold. It really changes the equation. Wenger’s approach is almost diametrically opposite. Win by a strong team ethos.

  230. Yep, Chelsea’s brief glory days are, as so many times before, numbered. It’s actually in their DNA.

  231. @Aman

    RVP, Podolski, Campbell & Afobe – I’m pretty happy with that.

    Even moreso if we hold onto either Chamakh or Park.

    Can see the argument for ANother but it it is not the priority (we effectively doubled our strikeforce signing LPod) and if it was I’m not sure Rodallega is the answer for me.

    I am sure we could do better – even though the pricetag is tempting.

  232. Jack won his bet with St. Totts Day falling late this year! And the whole story of that bet from beginning, when we were 13th or something ridiculous to its end on the last day of the season is in Arsenal’s DNA. It’s called belief. I do not lie.

  233. I hope we keep Park and he proves good. I think he has goals in him even if he plays primarily in teh CC and FA cup matches. I actually think he is a good player and is the type of striker we want and play with but we must remember, most of the year there was ever really 1 foward position that was in doubt or didn’t play the full 90 and that was the left side because RVP NEVER got rested and Theo rarely did.

  234. @theBigM | May 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I haven’t missed the point at all – you’ve done nothing but moan since we clinched third place.

    The vast majority of people on this blog have been celebrating a marvellous finish to the season and you have been a harbinger of doom about the 19 point gap.

    You fit squarely into the “Great Expectations” brigade.

  235. Wahey! Drinks on Irish next season.

    Excellent first response I think Matt. Good work by you and Limestone.

    Proactive. I like it.

  236. “ARSENAL’S ‘Invincibles’ team have been voted the greatest Premier League side in history.”

    Funny, I was just watching the unbeaten season last night!

  237. Holt was called for 89 fouls and got just 6 yellow cards. That’s fewer yellow cards than each of Song (10), van Persie (8), Koscielny (9), and Vermaelen (7). In fact, if you add up all the fouls committed by RvP (30), Koz (33), and Vermaelen (33), (96) and all the cards they got for those fouls (24) and then look at Grant Holt’s numbers (89 and 6) you see that it’s
    clearly better to be a center forward, who is English, and whose name doesn’t rhyme with “under the sea”.
    ———————–
    From the brilliant 7am KO. Those stats are staggering. of course they dont tell the whole story but wow! How easy do we get yellow cards man?

    George;

    Glad it wasnt just me who thought that about the post mate.

  238. @theBigM

    Here’s something to think about. If we are 19 points behind with an unbelievable amount of injuries then what do you make about the rest of them like Spuds, Pool, Newcastle, Chavs. All teams that did have as many injuries as us but just had a poor run which we had as well. If you want to be a doomer think about the stats that Yogi put in his original post, we were a better team that got off to a shitty start and still managed to finish 3rd. It doesn’t matter whether we lost the title by 1 point or 19 points because we didn’t win the title but we fought back from the dead without spending a billion and selling our souls to the devil.

  239. C

    You are wasting your time. The big moaner doesnt want to have his (simple) mindset changed. he just wants to repeat the same boring over simplistic doomer shite day after day.

    Let the miserable fucker be.

  240. Progress was achieved; Last season we finished 4th, this season 3rd. Next season we should be looking at finishing higher again and (hopefully, with more luck) a good cup run. If the chavs can get to the CL final, this Arsenal squad definitely can.

    One massive bonus this season was the losses barca and real suffered. They were apparantly unbeatable and a shoe in for the CL final. Fantastic.

  241. @ theBigM
    You said: “Others might think that finishing 19 points behind first and second place, failing to challenge for the title, getting nowhere in any of the cups and winning nothing again for the seventh season is succession as not acceptible for a club that views itself as a “big club” so would not view this season as a success at all.
    It’s all about where you are coming from and your expectations I guess…”

    Chesney said
    “It is massive,” he told Arsenal Player. “I said before that I don’t think people believed we could finish third. Although I wouldn’t have taken it before the season, given the circumstance and the start of the season I think we will take it and we are very pleased.”

    @ DeiseGooner | May 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    While 3rd was a good outcome in the end, our ‘failure’ was all our own making and not really the cause of not being able to compete on financial terms with the top 2.

    Of course finances had a bearing on what happened last summer. We lost out on Mata due to money. We lost Nasri essentially due to money (whatever he says). Wage bill is the most reliable indicator of league form. We have fifth highest wage bill and could expect to come fifth. We overachieve on that basis.
    I agree – with hindsight – that we should have let Nasri and Cesc go a lot earlier for squad morale reasons. But AW held onto them because the difficulty of replacing them is self-evident and he may have been hoping that he could change their minds. And he would have been criticised for letting them go early in the window because that would have meant a lower fee. When clubs have you over a barrel (as Barca and to an extent City did, because the players made their desire to move so public) it is in their interest to drag out the negotiations.

  242. I think someone ought to check on joey barton’s bank accounts this week. Might have increased a fair bit since Sunday.

  243. @Dexter

    Its amazing how certain people pop up in times of celebration yet disappear when there’s a rough patch. I think there Spuds fans who just envy Arsenal for many reasons not to mention the fact our Manager can piece a complete sentence together.

  244. @ mgk

    I think that’s a good response.

    Please note, BBC – that’s how you respond to a complaint. Although I did notice that Lineker and co were noticeably more respectful about our club and manager last Sunday.

  245. @ Jonny

    ‘RVP, Podolski, Campbell & Afobe – I’m pretty happy with that.’

    Couldn’t agree with you more, 2 World class forwards coupled with 2 of the most promising – what better environment could Benik and Joel ask for to learn in that that?

  246. C

    There were plenty of reasons to be down last summer, things looked bleak, yet now after all that hapopened, if you cannot find positives in our finish, then following football isnt what they should be doing.

  247. I think both Afobe and Campbell will be loaned out next season. Just a hunch, its a small hunch and I am getting it removed soon, honest.

  248. @ Dexter
    “I think both Afobe and Campbell will be loaned out next season. Just a hunch, its a small hunch and I am getting it removed soon, honest.”

    I tend to agree. Campbell to a PL team to get used to English football, and Afobe the same or go go to a Championship side to make up for the time he missed while injured.

  249. Or maybe just one of Park/Campbell/Afobe will stay with us?

  250. Third place is probably a fair representation for our team and a very good accomplishment for a team that was clearly in a transition year. Looking at table and the goal differentitial the manc clubs were a long way above the rest of the league this season. If last summer had gone better and we avoided the horror start we would have been closer to the top and outdistanced the rest of the 3 -6 pack by some ways. Given the fiinancial advantages its going to be tough to completely make up the gap to the Manc clubs in the near future Defining moment for manU will be what happens when fergie retires and the hopefully all the mercenaries in the blue Mancs will implode or somehow FFP will even the playing field.

  251. FG;

    Chamakh could well stay I think. Can’t see park hanging around though.

  252. Bill

    I think with that squad he had fergie did an amazing job to get them so close to the blue half of mankyland. Any other manager would have struggled to get them up to 6th. When he goes they will struggle.

    Forget about this season, I think next season will be alot more interesting. I think we will play a much more significant part in the title race. As long as things go according to our plans, not other teams! 🙂

  253. @ Dexter
    True. Ok, one of Park, Chamakh, Campbell or Afobe, then!

  254. Matt – if we played two ‘strikers’, I would be more concerned at the lack of experience behind the front two but as there is no front two I am happy with our understudies.

    Should RVP miss games next season, it is pretty much a certainty that his automatic replacement will be LPod.

  255. Here we go again, same ol shit. The season just ended last week, and everybody in ACLF stick there heads into the sand and pretend we just had the best season ever.

    delusion.

  256. @Dexter

    I agree he shouldn’t be following football but since he is he should go do it somewhere else if he wouldn’t mind.

    but I do think Chamakh is gone and Park will stay

  257. @BOOZY

    You obviously haven’t read people’s post. Its not that anybody by any stretch of the imigination is celebrating having the best season in the world, I mean honestly yes we are back in the CL but we are trophiless and 19 points behind the Mancs but were also very rational and realist to the fact that at teh beginning of this season we were without half our squad we just lost 2 of our better players and our starting LB not to mention none of the new players had arrived so we lost a shit load of points and matches and for all that we finished 3rd. We speak of needs to strengthen the team, we speak of reality nobody has their head in teh sand my friend.

  258. Clerkenwell Gooner

    If this continues and there are no real checks put in place to curb this shite, I can see a time when I dont even bother with football.

    Dexter – reluctantly, I agree.

    I’m going to give it another season, am renewing now, mainly because I’d like to see Jack and Diaby playing in our midfield again, and also Ryo, I’d love to see him come on in a few games, have only seen him once in the flesh so far as a substitute. (He’s very tall.)

    But the whole thing is getting beyond a joke now, and I say this with great sadness, having followed football practically my whole life. Maybe the recession and batshit crazy economic austerity will clarify matters for the clubs – that fans will just not be able to support this ongoing madness financially, let alone morally.

    Aman – Miquel vs Blue Mancs, agreed. Iggy played a blinder. Amazing prospect.

    As for next season, it’s going to be interesting. Is the EPL evolving into La Liga, two at the top, and a huge gap then to the chasing pack? I can see it being us vs Blue Mancs, going head to head, knocking lumps out of each other all year long. Because what is happening Red Mancs? Are they seriously going to continue to deploy Scholes and Giggs, who footballistically speaking, are geriatrics? The Chavs and Liverpool currently out of CL – though Chavs may sneak back in – and their respective renovation projects are going to take some time, while ours is already far advanced (Ramsey, Sir Chesney, Gibbs, Theo, Ryo, Le Coq, Le Ox, you know the drill – all of them are still incredibly young, but they have been clocking up games and experience like crazy.)

  259. ” We do need a 3rd striker. PL-savvy, in his prime, hungry to prove himself.
    Hugo is 2-footed, speedy, great header, great leap, laterally-technical and 27 in July.
    I’d cop a free here ”

    But is he hungry? That is where AW needs to get his scouts to get the inside info. lso he needs to be able to play the Arsenal way – one touch short passing. AW seems to be leery of Foxes in the Bos since Jeffers. He prefers strikers like Eduardo and Chamakh who integrate well in to a 10 man squad of mobile passers/receivers of the ball.

  260. Eduardo was not hungry when he dumped Terry and pals out of the qualifiers? Er. Eh?
    Fuck. How could I have got it all so wrong (me and all the other Arsenal fans who used to sing about Arsenal’s No.9)?

    Hang on. I think I got decieved by the change in IP there. My bad. Sorry. As you all were.

  261. Cbob – I was actually hoping you would bring some of your now.world-famous cider. But if you can’t then first round is definitely on me. Second, third and fourth can be on Jonny! Have to put those winnings to good use after all 🙂

  262. @Philmar

    But how does he prefer strikers like Chamakh and Eduardo, wait isn’t this the same manager that bout Henry and RVP and now Podolski. Last season wasn’t Chamakh brillant in his play when RVP was hurt? Its not like he’s buying strikers that aren’t hungry. Eduardo was fantastic until he got mauled, Chamakh was fantastic until this crazy lefty with all the world class talent decided I’m going to stay healthy and Captain this team and score when I want.

  263. ClerkenwellG

    Yeah man, I will be going to the games again next season too no doubt. But this feeling I have is getting stringer and stronger. The way football is going, the media hype, with absolutely no negativity allowed to blunt the sky sponsored ‘product’ is disturbing.

    Throw in the obscene transfer fees, wages, conniving players, agents, crooks and oligarchs and the health of the game looks increaingly precarious to me. I can see a big club going to the wall a la Rangers up in Scotland.

    But on the other hand 🙂 things look pretty good for us next year!

  264. Paulie Walnuts

    Thank you Yogi for a superb effort up front this term

    It`s certainly been a roller coaster season – & not one of those slick theme park rides either – more like a rickety built in the 30`s job that has you thankful when you get to the end intact.

    All things considered third place has been a considerable achievement. Whilst there is certainly much room for improvement I believe we`ve made some big strides this season.

    Following the summer departures there appears to be less of a football snobbery about the squad. This side want to get the job done first & foremost. Team spirit is worth far more than people believe & squad 11/12 look like a genuinely happy bunch who are growing together. They pretty much always gave 100% & as a supporter that`s all you can ask from them.

    As for individuals I expect there will be more than a handful of departures with the likes of Chamakh, Denilson, Vela, Bendtner, Squilaci , Almunia, Fabianski, Lansbury & Arshavin leaving if suitable offers are made.

    The spine of our team has been strong this year with RVP, Song, Arteta, Koscielny & Szczesny being our most consistent performers. There is no better all round right back than Sagna either & Rosicky has been arguably our best player since Christmas.

    Some still have work to do after indifferent, inconsistent seasons. Ramsey , Gibbs, D’jourou & Gervinho are amongst them.

    Of the younger players Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Jenkinson & Miquel all acquitted themselves well when called upon & can push on next season.

    Walcott & Santos are both one-offs that can`t be categorised. I`m glad they play for us.

    It leaves us with incomings. A couple more Podolski type signings will do. High quality but not flashy. True Arsenal.

  265. I wouldn’t mind Del Piero on a free transfer for a season until Afobe and Campbell finish a loan spell in the PL. He is great coming off the bench like he did for the majority of this year for Juventus and scoring goals for him is as easy as us walking down the street.

  266. Paulie

    I’d go along with most of that, altrhough for me, Gibbs was better than inconsistent and I hope Arshavin stays on board.

  267. Dex @ 6:32:

    Don’t agree with the first paragraph,the Manc clubs scored 89 points which would have won the league in most seasons. (The invincibles scored 90 for comparison). Without the end of the year meltdown the Reds would have had close to 95 points which is the best in the PL era. The strange thing was how poor both did in Europe. Who knows why?

    We will be much closer to the top next year and unless the Chav’s reload we should be way ahead of the chasing pack. You never know what could happen. Perhaps the Blue Mancs will implode and the Reds will have issues. All we can do is put the best team we possibly can together and hope. Law of averages says we deserve a year with mostly good luck so who knows what could happen.

  268. ” I mean how do you miss the team bus for the last match of the season unless you really are just a complete idiot. ”

    Think tall, slim and blonde. An I’m not talking about Niclas. This alludes to a post I made a few days ago. The kid is a talent, physically blessed. Life came too easily for him and he feels he has made it. Failure to perform isn’t ‘his’ fault because up to now he has always succeeeded. He is succumbing to all the temptations that a young virile healthy and rich person is subjected to. Hopefully he won’t go Pennant or Bentley before we cash in on him. Like I wrote earlier – pray he has a big Euro.

  269. Bill

    Maybe a slight exageration, but I maintain the squad is mowhere near as good as fergie’s best. The fact they attained the points they did is down to his powers of motivation, coupled with assistance from friendly officials. At least 6 points towards the end of the season.

    But you knew that already man. 🙂

  270. And they hardly had a melt down did they? Thats like saying we’d be 12 points closer if we’d had a better start to the season man.

  271. Dex:

    No sure where but I think I had heard something about the refs favoring the red mancs from someone on the blog before but thanks for reminding me, I almost forgot about that. Fergie must be really angry that he came so close but those stupid refs couldn’t drag him over the line. I guess the Blue Mancs must have outbid him this season. :).

  272. And the ever so friendly and obliging refs left it till the very last game of the season before giving wayne “eff off ref!” Rooney his only yellow card of the season! Unbelievable innit!

  273. Yogi, this is excellent!

    Thank you too!

  274. Tomorrow will no doubt see the media goin into overdrive with stories about Robin’s future. I hope those talks go swimmingly and are positive for Arsenal!

  275. Na nana na nana na na na… Lukas Podolski…. Podolski… Lukas Podolskiiiiii!!!

    Koscielny, oh oh ooh oooh…. Kos… ciel… ny oh oh ooh ooh…
    He came from L’Orient, he made Messi look a c*nt

  276. Limestonegunner

    Not too sad we’ll be leaving wordpress, YW. Been some problems lately, so might be a good move for ACLF.

  277. I know I am late to the party but…

    It seems that some have lost the ability to enjoy the game of football. If is were all perfect easy, no team would ever win and no team would ever lose. All teams have ups and downs, even the “great” ones. You deal with it.

    As far as Arsenal, yes there was some hard times, we did defend poorly in the last couple of matches but we also came back after losing 4 games early on. What we have accomplished is remarkable and it bodes well for the future.

    Since the team is settled we will not have the early season chaos.
    The new players will have one season under their belt’s and a full pre season. Certain injured players (come onDiaby) will be back.
    I am sure that some players (on loan etc) will be ready to step up to another level.
    We have signed Podolski and I believe another big time player is on the way.
    Our defence has improved (I believe the players were a bit too anxious and tired at the end), with more sqaud rotation next season, we should be a little more fresh towards the end of the season.

    The beginning of last season cannot be taken as a norm, I believe there were circumstances that made things very difficult. That has never happened before and no reason to believe that it will happen again. I think Nasri and Cesc was all about money. Wenger alluded to the buying teams trying to string Arsenal along to get the players for less money and it messing up the start of the season.

    All in all, lets enjoy the accomplishments and forget this 19 point bull crap. Again, we lost 12 points early, that makes these teams that have spent obscene amounts of money, only 7 points better than Arsenal (unsettled and injury riddled for much of the season). And that is without us getting a single penalty at home.

    I love what I am seeing!

    ARSENAL!!

  278. Paulie Walnuts

    Dexter,

    Yes, let`s hope Robin signs up early so speculation can move onto someone else.

    There`s going to be free`s & cheapos galore if anyone fancies a punt or two.

    Joey Barton starting his season in mid October may be one for the Spuds, I fancy.

    Apologies for misspelling punt.

  279. Boozy

    Next time you comment do me the courtesy of reading the post before you waste my time.

  280. 🙂
    Yogi, That Danny Baker transcript just brought tears to my eyes and girly muffled laughter that eventually erupted and woke my daughters up! Just brilliant. I love Danny Baker. Have you read their book btw?

    I haven’t read it, although after seeing them sell it in that clip it seems to kind of go along with my Football Is Not All About Opinions schtick. So I’ll check it out.

    You’re doing an effing great job running tings, by the way. Not sure where I’d be without this blog, to be honest. (Getting things done, probably!)

    thanks

  281. @ Paul_N
    Post of the Day for me – great stuff.

  282. pedantic george

    Paul ,I am with you on most point but some of the dropped points early season .might have been dropped with a full team.
    We don’t often win at United for instance.

  283. Be kind. The miserablists need the 19 points as a comfort blanket. It’s just about all they hve left.

  284. Early rumours that the oxo kid is to be in the England squad. Not sure whether I like it or not.

  285. Forgive me aclf bloggers for i have sinned, i watch a couple of m’villa matches and fell in love with his game, wenger please give the people what they want, just m’villa – honestly, watching him was like watching a youtube compilation of his best moments in one full 90min match, he tackled, passed crisply(forgive me), strong, beautiful through balls, the whole lot, now if that was just wetting my appetite then i won’t go hungry again.

    Now, There are 3 groups of arsenal fans, they include
    *The Doomer cunt e.g boozy
    *The literate fans, and
    *Hunter! – i swear hunter is a group on his own, imagine if he was captain of afc, just crazy.

  286. Thanks YW! Another great year on this blog. Looking forward to the summer and the next season. Thanks so much for your work.

    Just hoping for some good news today. RVP must know that to sign early will delight the fans so much and help with attracting others. RVP, Podolski, Gervinho + Walcott + the Ox… just looks great.

  287. Ha Khalifha – M’Vila does look tasty doesn’t he?

    I still think we’re interested but Wenger will have a price in mind.

  288. Brilliantly written article and perspective. Love some of the cynicism and the finer critical observations about some of the negativity and persistent attempts to undermine the team and the club by supposed ‘fans’, I couldn’t bring myself to refer to these people as Gooners.

    As a Gooner who now has to live Oop North I only make circa 5-6 Home 2-3 away games a season. I was there when we destroyed Wigan in the freezing hail and sleet and RvP carried Theo across to the screaming and demented Arsenal fans to celebrate his contribution.

    I’ll remember that with fondness and try and forget the braying crowd jeering Theo at other games I attended.

    Forwards now seems very apt in hindsight. The Club is adapting, it is improvising and it is developing whilst all around appear to be scrambling in the dark, things will not be so great for Man United next season, Liverpool are well of the mark, Spurs got lucky this season with the loan of Adebayour and relatively few significant injuries.

    There is a changing of the guard, and the last 6-7yrs have been Arsenal’s days of change, we are not there yet but if we can keep RvP, Theo and regain the brilliance of Jack combined with the creativity coming through, the experience across the squad we are primed for a revival.

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