The Arsenal Defence: To Bouldly Go…

Soap, soup and salvation
Tired hearts sing in jubilation
Restoration at the rescue mission

Steve Bould and Neil Banfield took up their new roles at the club yesterday with the former being far from the ill-fated sort who slept in doorways and in alleyways. He is however being hailed as the saviour, the panacea to all of the ills which beset the Arsenal defence last season.

An uncompromising centre back as a player, the theory goes that Bould will instil that discipline and defensive fervour into the current generation of defenders at the club. That theory may be proved to be right; it also may be wrong and I wonder in those circumstances, just how much goodwill does his elevation to Assistant Manager carry? Will those who demanded his ascension to the seat to the right of the throne be as unforgiving and quick to blame Bould as they were Pat Rice? Or would their ire and wrath turn on the manager himself?

We shall see and none of the above should diminish Bould’s career in coaching or his abilities but there is a huge burden of expectation being put on his shoulders and you wonder if he is aware of it. I am sure he is, although whether he knows the depth of feeling is open to debate. And what yardstick will be used, what realistic improvement can be expected in the space of one season?

Arsenal tally of goals conceded has been steadily increasing since 2003-04. Nothing extraordinary in a particular season but incrementally. This season is high but part of that can be put down to Old Trafford but even if you halve that scoreline, the total increases again over the previous campaign. Using 45 against as a benchmark, is it a realistic expectation to believe that ten goals less be achieved in 2012-13?

I think so but not through stopping the high scoring matches; the improvement has to come through an increase on the thirteen clean sheets. From 5th November to 31st December 2011, Arsenal conceded five goals in nine matches, never more than one in each game. It was perhaps the least effective goalscoring phase of the season as well, with only fifteen scored but yielded six wins, two draws and a solitary defeat at Eastlands.

Move on two months and the nine match spell beginning with the draw at Bolton swapped a draw to the win column, ending in defeat at Loftus Road. The run saw eight goals conceded but twenty three scored. Half of the season in total, the games saw just thirteen goals shifted. It indicates that contrary to popular belief, the basis is there for defensive solidity without necessarily impacting on the attacking displays. The second run saw three clean sheets gained. That’s seven in total out of nineteen games. When you are winning that is not too much of an issue; when you are not, there is a huge problem.

Looking at the remaining nineteen games, only two were lost by a margin of more than one goal – Liverpool at home, United away. One less goal conceded in matches not won would have yielded ten more points. No improvement in league position but third would have been more comfortable and the gap to the top just nine points. Probably a fair reflection of the squad.

It is a simple calculation and theory; one that is difficult to implement as it requires – to a certain extent – a change in mentality. That is the size of the task, can it be used as a yardstick to measure his performance against?

Observations by those around the club portray him as a man of strong beliefs, something quickly picked up on as a strength. It is and the relationship he and Arsène have will be interesting to see. The manager has strong viewpoints, you do not get to be at the top of your profession without being true to your beliefs. However, the great leaders have the strength of character to take on board other perspectives and adjust blueprints accordingly. The underling needs a thick skin as well; not every idea is going to be used, believed to be the correct path to follow.

Wenger will have known what Bould’s philosophy about coaching was, what his views were or if he was not certain, he would have a very good idea. Appointing a contrary No.2 for the sake of it is not conducive to progress; both of them would be aware that improvements can be made, weaknesses nullified. It seems strange to me that there is that air of expectation, that Bould will be a radical progressionist overwhelming the Luddite Wenger. Simply, it is not going to happen – everything about the manager’s reign has been evolutionary once the initial revolution had occurred upon his appointment.

Elsewhere, the smell around the Eden Hazard story yesterday became stronger with an apparent denial issued whilst Marouane Chamakh’s time at the club looks to be ending with the Moroccan as makeweight in a deal for Olivier Giroud. Who might be Robin van Persie’s replacement as well. Or not, depending on who you ask because frankly no-one has a clue, publicly at least, what the Dutchman has decided with as many people who claim to be In The Know contradicting themselves, as those of us Not In The Know – or normal as I like to think of it.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on May 25, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 267 Comments.

  1. First lol

  2. Amy Lawrence gets on my tits. More so than most other media types, i don’t know why, she just disgusts me more.

  3. Get it off your chest, Maria. What’s she done now?

  4. I don’t think Bould will come in and immediately make an impact (which is what many expect), we’ll see what he does to the squad season by season. You could tell the difference in set pieces and while we wern’t always perfect we were 10x better than last season, and that’s down to Rice and Szczesny. He never got enough credit when he was here.

  5. Nothing major but I just remember how unreasonable she was in our darkest hours this season, so cowardly when speaking about the Arsenal in the gutter press. Yogi let’s just say it was enough to make you want to fly kick her in the chest. Now she wants to come across as little miss Amyknows. No, screw you Amy.

  6. “Arsenal have been scouting Swansea City goalkeeper Michael Vorm and will also definitely lose Manuel Almunia this summer.” YES PLEASE!!!

  7. Silver Gunner

    I’m hoping Bould can be the defensive answer to our woes no doubting his talents as a defender it was always his composure and positioning that made him the great defender he was. Not blessed with pace but his reading of the game was exemplary.

    On Hazard we should forget him if we were ever really interested and join the race for Kagawa. My view but this kid IS more productive than Hazard at a fraction of the price.

  8. I was wondering when we would be pouncing on Montpellier players. Giroud, and a few others look excellent. Is he Montpellier?

    Amy Lawrence is trying to be original Maria, a female journo in a liberal male domain attempting to be tough and independent and out pops a kind of fence-sitting, pro-Wenger (well, “progressive football”) doomer Spudite, or is that Spudette.

  9. Bould is an excellent move. I take it in context. Goals conceded nws, we have been consistently taking decisions to strengthen defence for 3 years, and its gathering steam.

  10. i still dont understand why some people feel the inclusion of bould would mean a better defensive display from arsenal. it is not as if our u18 were overly defensive under him. i think the reasoning of those celebrating his appointment is because he was a defender in his playing days. but so were wenger and pat rice. even guadiola was a defensive mid in his playing days.
    isn’t it ironic that most defensive minded manager today were mostly attackers in their days. hughes and mancini for instance.

  11. We need Thierry Henry as coach/player, surely Wenger noticed how much better we were with him in the squad.

  12. Upper Street Gooner

    Its a tough one for Bould as the defensive weakness in the main isn’t really a defensive problem.

    We are a naturally a very attacking team so will be exposed more on the defensive side of our game than most. Whether we are good enough going forward to warrant all those attacking players is another matter altogether.

    We are far to inconsistent when trying to win the ball back. With our high line, putting pressure on the ball from forward and midfield areas is as fundamental as having a goalkeeper. At times our forwards and midfielders are incredibly lazy when trying to win the ball back.

    Watch the Norwich game again and look how easy they found it to slice through our lines and this was with playing le coq and Song. This starts with RVP at times say what you will about Rooney but he makes Utd a much stronger team defensively because of his work rate, RVP does very little in this regard on a consistent basis.

    Until the manager or the senior players instill a work ethic and a commitment amongst our players to do this we will forever be poor at defending.

    Watch Barca and Dortmund players work when they lose the ball and then watch ours. To be successful you must be consistent. Our best football both with and without the ball comes when our midfielders and forwards are prepared to put a major shift in.

    next year will be our 4th year with this system many of our youth players have been playing it as well. This is the advantage continuity and stability at a club can give you, the players must start buying into the system more and there is only so much Bould can do about that

  13. “There’s obviously little thoughts that we all have … but I won’t reveal them just yet… The defending side I’m hoping I can have some input on … if we can get it how it used to be all the better.”
    That’s for Bill!

    Oh and Laysite

    No, the main reason (form me anyway) to celebrate Bould’s promotion is because he’s an Arsenal ledge, like Keown and its great to see them given important roles at the club, just like Brady too. I’d also love Henry and Bergkamp back with us.

  14. Upper Street;

    You mean the WBA game, not the Norwich game dontcha? Coquwlin played RB the home game.

  15. True, USG.

  16. Upper Street Gooner


    yes you are correct, my poor mind is just warming up.

    Norwich game also though we major problems holding them.

  17. does that mean if arsenal buys mvilla for instance and our defence grealy inproves next season, some people will give the credit to bould?
    we all know our weakness. we have too many attack minded players. i think only mart, kos, arteta and sagna in that order realy like to stay back. no amount of coaching will change verm or song. they know what they are doing, they are no kids. you either replace them or complement them with defensive players. see what arteta has done to improve song. mvilla can do that.

  18. The Norwich game was a weird one too. Had a real end of season feel to it, even though there was still a lot riding on the outcome.

    I think we will never have a solid enough defense for some Gooners and that’s as you say, because we are a team set up on the front foot, to attack. However, there’s definitely room for improvement and I think we will be better next year, without input from Bould as Szczesny will be a year wiser and more confident which will impact on the way he organises and communicates with his defenders. Hopefully too, we will have a much more settled back 5.

  19. Layksite

    Not sure you can have seen much of Song if you think he cannot put in a disciplined defensive shift man?

  20. Upper Street Gooner


    Look at Barca how many defensive minded players have they got?

    I think it would be fair to say Dortmund and Barcelona have been highly successful proponents of our game plan the last 2 years. Both are littered with attacking players and are built to keep the ball in the oppositions part of the pitch and if needs be win it back there.

    The past 2 years Barca have conceded 50 goals in total and Dortmund 47 in total.

    Both teams first line of defense is keeping the ball just like us. Its when we don’t have the ball which is when these 2 sides are light years ahead of us and consequently by excelling in winning the ball back earlier it actually presents there forwards better attacking opportunities.

    There is no excuse for Messi to work harder than RVP or Walcott without the ball if anything our 2 best attackers should be working harder as they will be less involved in the game than messi. We can gloss over it all we want but our players quiet often are accused of potentially having complacency by their own manager. If we cant appreciate that unless we work like dogs to win the ball back much of our game wont come together. Its no coincidence that our best football this year has been played when we have had tempo about our forward defensive game.

    Our adaption to a excellent 433 outfit is taking a long time and im not sure why this is.

  21. Limestonegunner

    Giroud seems a bit fragile confidence-wise.

  22. ZP,

    I know and it’s what bugs me must about her i think. She’s a pitbull in a skirt.

  23. arsenalandrew

    I’m always puzzled when people say things like ‘the problem AFC has is we have too many attack-minded players’.

    We are an attack-minded team!!!

    The problems seem to occur when player ‘x’ bursts through and player ‘y’ is slow to cover.

    To try to dissect AFC by splitting the team into thirds (defence, midfield, attack) usually fails to tell the whole story as so many roles are inter-changeable due to our propensity to attack.

    It’s why I struggle with persistent criticism of players like Song and Vermaelen; the criticism simply betrays a fundamental failure to understand the way our teams are set up.

    Bizarre, really, ‘cos its not a recent development!

    Interesting post today re: Steve Bould.

    Always one of my favourite players (admittedly in a squad choc-full of favourites); this appointment has the fragrance of succession planning emanating from it. From such appointments come great dynasties as the longevity of a club’s playing philosophy and its all-round approach to the game is secured for the future.

    Here’s to Bouldie; he’s the future, Jim, and exactly as we know it! (well, time will tell – here’s hoping!!).

  24. One mention of a skirt and i’m in moderation.

    Sexist or what!

  25. dexter i also want to see legends at the club. infact i only want to see legends but not those legends who have been slating the club all this while or those who call themselves legend but have been working against our club taking our best players away to other clubs. legends who have supported us through tick ang thing. keown, henry, bergkamp, lehmann etc but i will never take vieira or petit back. btw i love bouldie!
    i’m off

  26. No, Maria, you added major to your name. Skirts will never be moderate(d) here.

  27. Giroud will deffo be a upgrade on Cham in the looks department, he reminds me of a young Arsene Wenger…lol

  28. Petit has never been a legend down our manor and Vieira’s doing his best to go the same route too, unfortunately.

  29. Upper Street Gooner


    I agree i just think its about making some small tweaks here and there.

    I also think that by becoming more dangerous in an attacking sense will also have its benefits defensively.

    Keeping the ball better and having lethal finishers and providors all over our attack reduces the oppositions ability and mindset to attack us.

    I think most crucially though the coaching staff need to install a couple of different game plans that can be applied at different stages of games.

    Its as if sometimes that unless we are completly incontrol of the ball we are up against it. Sometimes our players need to realize that a game situation might call for us to be defending deeper and in more numbers. Milan away is a prime example of this. Dont get me wrong great strike from Boateng but it reflects incredibly badly on our senuior players and coaching staff that our team went to the san siro and played so open in the first 15min.

    Footballing intelligence was required and for a team that puts such a premium on it when recruiting players we showed none.

  30. Bit on an unfair attack on Amy Lawrence I think. I know mates of mine who have met her ‘off-duty’ and she is as Arsenal as they come.

    In her professional role she is a journalist and surely a journalist in the better class of media should try and write objectively, giving credit where due but also not being afraid to highlights issues and shortcomings – both of which we had in bucketfulls at the beginning of this season.

    If she was to write nothing but pro-Arsenal and sycophantic articles about us I would imagine her editor would have a sharp word, that is what blogs and the official website are for.

  31. Let’s be honest there are legends you love on the field but could do without off it. I never loved Patrick the same way i did Titi to be honest. Always found him to be boring and bland off the pitch. No connection to Patrick as a person, but just the player we were one.

    Adams, O’Leary players that were greats on the pitch off it not so much.

  32. @ Yogi – Respect the Major.

  33. barcelona have the ball most of the time so you cant say thay defend better than us. macherano was a mid in liverpool but today he is their best defender! they never manage clean sheet against strong opposition, any time an opposing team mount a sustain preasure, they always cave in. chalsea has only 3 chances against them and score 3 goals. barca dont defend but they are good in ball control throw one ramsey in their team u will see what i mean. how many did we score against durtmond?

  34. Question what do you guys feel is the difference of Barca last season and this? It can’t all be due down to the Cesc curse can it? I feel that they suffered from the same inconsistent and lack of urgency that we do when we’re at are worse, allot of the season.

    Great footballing minds please let me know what you think.

  35. Obscure song reference. Check. My Friday Youtube journey begins here.

    arsenalandrew, I always look for your posts mate, you talk a lot of sense. Our philosophy of attack being the best form of defence comes to mind. Indeed it’s ironic that we tend to look shaky defensively when we actually focus on defending. Although this season I’ve seen a big improvement with us able to close out games. Even the last game of the season comes to mind here.

    One of two things will happen in Bould’s first year. The first, and I would hope most likely, is that we don’t have as many injuries in defence as last season. Our first choice back 4 play many more games together without as many interruptions and our goals conceeded goes down accordingly. Bould’s first season is deemed a huge success.

    Then again we could be just as unlucky with injuries and our record continues to slide, in which case I would sincerely hope the fans don’t look at the staff for another scapegoat.

  36. Why does Amy lawrence have to be objective? None of her ilk are man! They wear their team badges clearly for all to see.

    Henry Winter for example, has had his nose stuck up Abramavich’s arse since he bought the chavs! 🙂

  37. Dexter

    Vieria is and always should be a legend among the support as first and foremost he is/was a footballer and should be remembered as that. A truly fucking brilliant one also.

    Okay he says the odd silly thing now but he works for City, his comments in the past few weeks about van Persie weren’t really that bad and were just mirroring the thoughts of a lot of people.

    The events of the last 12 months has seen lots of ex-players queuing up to have their say on our perceived demise, many top players who worked under Wenger such as Winterburn, Wright and Merson – even Keown has been critical and he has been back to work with us since retiring. Others have kept their counsel as they have stepped back from the limelight of the media.

  38. Merson is the definition of a wasteman.

  39. USG

    I think it’s pretty fair to say that when our attacking threat is diminished, either by loss of form, confidence or injury we do lose defensive stability. Having even more offensively gifted players in the team works for me man!

    Yogi mentioned Hazard in today’s piece and I just want to say I really don’t care where he ends up, or how good he is. He is yet another uber-selfish greedy footballer a la Nasri.

    Fuck him.

  40. i’m still baffled with people comparing us wit barca! they have never beaten us with our best players available inspite of obvious referee bias!
    we played 2-2 against and also beat tham once at the grove when we produced a fantastic defensive display! the other two times they beat us, we were very short. if arsenal play in the german league, we wil convinently lift the trophy!
    i’m running late! bye this time!

  41. Dexter @ 10.25 where is the evidence that he actually said that? As far as I know the only interview he has given so far is to and he certainly did not say it there.

  42. Vieira’s comments didnt mirror any thought I have. He was just trying to undermine the situation as his club want to sign him, his opinions were bollocks. Great footballer, pretty lousy person, just like Wrighty and merson.

    Martin Keown on the other hand is always very considered in his opinions, positive or negative.

    I would suggest if you think Vieira’s comments are well founded, that is because they concur with you won viewpoint. I found it pretty odd that some Gooners wanted to believe those comments were simply his honest opinions and not at all agenda driven.

  43. Markus

    Nothing obscure about a bit of Lone Justice, to my mind at least!

  44. Have you watched/listened to the full interview on Arse Player Passenal? You’ll have to take it uop with the dude from Marble halls dot com if you aint happy! 🙂

  45. Upper Street Gooner


    Lest just say we forget the 4 barca games over the last 3 years where we have been completely and utterly dominated in 3 of them. No shame there happens to allot of teams. Seeing as we like talking about money to sort our own arguments against City, compare Dortmund wage bill to ours.

    Lets get away from individual results and look at consistency. Dortmund and Barca play our game better than we do more consistently. We are an attackign team as are they we concede double the amount of goals they do.

    Lets not look to make excuses about why that is. We need to ask cold hard questions about our teams collective pressuring game and see why it doesnt work, Without out that we wont challenge


  46. Good points there USG & arsenalandrew,
    seeing as this past season started so hazardously the whole team(CM especially) was on red alert for the bulk of the season. With all the injuries, negativity & new-player incorporation going on, the likes of Song, RvP, Rambo & Theo had to swiftly keep the ship afloat.

    Over time with able Arteta providing veteran anchorship our CM became less lateral & more direct with Gerv impressively flashing his jigginess in-line with what an AW-designed team should smell like going forward. Even with our defence blending better, we still needed to keep scoring and Robin stepped it up.

    By December Robin was still killing it. His form leaving Messrs. Chamakh & Park in a state of shock & awe. By this continuing all season, it kept the whole squad in constant awareness of the standards expected and eventually saved our season.

    After such a long difficult season most of our guys were absolutely knackered!
    To expect Robin to have done more defensively is asking him to be banned for taking performance enhancements. Our captain did his absolute best given the circumstances.

    So did Rambo, Song, Arteta, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Sczesney, Sagna, Mozart, Per, le Coq, etc + AW, Rice, our backroom staff and all unwavering gooners & RASERS (big ups to the away fans).

    To finish 3rd after all that??

    We should not be so quick to forget.
    We should still be very proud.
    I am more than proud.

    That said.
    New season beckons. Adjustments will be made player-wise & tactically.
    I hope Bould, Banfield, Podolski & whoever else we add breathe new life & positive energy to the Arsenal so we can wipe the grin off Chelsea, Shitty, Barca & all others that envy & hate on the Arse and AW’s operating model by winning a few silver things.

    Its the least one can ask for…really.

  47. to Maria on Barca:

    Too many games, injuries & aging defence, greed, holyer-than thou attitude

  48. Maria

    I think Barca couldnt maintain their high pressing game for the length of time required and they were probably knackered, mentally and physically even in the 2 team La liga! That and the fact they might have missed an out and out striker (Yeah, I know Messi scored 378 goals last season, but still) 🙂

  49. USG why keep comparing us to Barca & Dortmund? We play in a much tougher league and just went thru the most difficult season ever.
    Why not a comparison with the only 2 teams that were better than us in the PL?

  50. Dexter @ 11:30

    There you go again making assumpions about my opinion on things which isn’t relevant here, the discussion was about the rights and wrongs of what Vieira said.

    Now if the issue is simply that you don’t think employees of other clubs should speak so openly about Arsenal players then fair enough, they shouldn’t. Here it is complicated by him working for City who allegedly are a suitor for van Persie.

    The actual nuts and bolts of what he said were not that contentious all the same.

    Sadly it is how things work these days. Yesterday’s discussion was around Hazard and included very open quotes from Wenger on the player.

  51. It’s pretty logical Steve. We all do it. We think someone’s comments are fine because they tally with our own views on things. Happens with politics, sport, you name it. It was hardly an attack, so no need to get all defensive.

    You would have to be rather naive to think Vieira was simply offering up his honest and earnest views on things that do not concern him without agenda man.

    Just as sky and other media outlets actively seek out ex-players with something negative to say, makes for better selatious reading/viewing.

  52. Yogi, very detailed analysis and breakdown of our best periods in the season(defensively) – In the first phase of 9matches we conceded few goals but had a lower number of goal return, now this can be attributed to a number of reasons; the team still gelling together, presence of metersacker, or lack of a specialist right back at the tail end of that run.
    In the 2nd phase of 9matches, we kept a lower number of clean sheets but scored more goals, this can also be attributed to a number of reasons; more dynamic and cavalier players in the team, presence of specialist fullbacks and absence of metersacker. So i guess what am trying to say is VERMAELEAN OR METERSACKER – more goals and suitability to high defensive line resulting in better attacking play or calm, less cavalier defending resulting in reduced attacking play.

  53. Dortmund’s pressing game worked a treat as they got knocked out he CL with a helping hand from the arse.
    Their loon of a manager was particularly impressed by Robin’s movement.
    *RVP usually covers the most ground per ninety minutes. Or thereabouts whether playing for club or country.
    Careful. It could be good ole Myles in a cunning disguise. Well it sounds like it is.

  54. USG is right, according to stats we have conceded 14 goals due to individual errors, the most among top clubs in europe. My major problem is that teams hardly work hard to score against us, usually one of our players is caught napping or we concede from a counter, it is sometimes too easy.

  55. If we could combine the strengths of metersacker and vermaelean i think we would be talking about the second coming of beckanbaur.

  56. Over at Arsenal On This Day, you can read about preparations for a big day.

  57. USG,
    in my view (barring any major injuries @ the Euros), to “challenge” Shitty & Utd we need to:

    1. re-sign Robin, Theo & Song +/- Yossi
    2a. sell all fringe players (Park, Squilly, Chamakh, Bendtner, Vela, Denilson, Lansbury, etc)
    2b. buy M’Villa, Vertonghen + a 3rd striker/winger and Campbel’s work permit.
    3. move AA to CM, let Gerv, Theo, Ryo & Ox play the wings.
    4. have Jack, Arteta, Per & Abou fit +/- Frimp.
    5a. have a quality pre-season
    5b. further finalize squad reserves (i like Yennaris

    7. Tactical assignments are executed better when players are played in their best positions.
    I do not see any real need for major adjustments in our style of play if we have all 25 players contributing when called upon.

    8. AW must further improve player-time management as some players tend to play too many minutes. Buy the right player for the right position and there’ll be easier rotation & improvement all over the field.

    9.Improve attacking free kicks & corners. Let someone else take RS-corners not RvP. Diversify the approach on free kicks. Give more responsibility & set up more “plays” for Theo, Gerv, AA, Ox, TR & Rambo.

    10. Let M’Villa boss DM like Gilberto used to do. Rotate the CMs (Arteta, Song, Rambo, TR, Jack, Abou, AA)

    11. Greater tactical flexibility. More 4-4-2

    12. Tell Sczesny its alright to hoof the ball away sometimes!

    IF WE GET M’VILLA & VERTONGHEN and with a relatively FIT squad WE WILL WIN THE PL & CL!

  58. Upper Street gooner


    You might be right you might not I don’t bie into this whole league thing. Spain wiped the floor with the prem this year. I watched valencia there third place team make a mockery of stoke home and away on a cold thursday night no less. I thought that’s exactly the type of game spanish teams hate.

    I saw the 7th or 8th spanish team smash man utd this year and then get smashed themselves in a major european final by another spanish team. We might have tones more money than their league but do our clubs use it that well.

    I compare dortmund and barca to us as they are 2 teams who are run with very similar values to us in terms of nurturing there won talent and playing a particular brand of football. The fact that both of them have to compete against sides with vastly bigger budgets to them matters neither here nor there to me.

    Both of them are much better exponents of the pressing game than us, both concede about half as many goals a year as us despite having the same hugely attacking tendancies.

    We can either be objectively crytical of our performance and try to find solutions or we can make up excuses about referees, injuries and luck.

  59. I think the biggest influence that Bould could have as a former centerback is in communication when Kos and Verm and Song play together. He can work more with them but as was previously mentioned, our U18 was never a defensive minded team so there ya go.

    I see we are being compared to Dortmund and Barca again. While we do play a very similar style of play mainly ball retention with 1-2 touch passing our defending styles I have noticed seem to be different. They tend to press high and hard when they do lose the ball while Arsenal seem to prefer more of a keep your man infront of you defending. Let me explain, when we lose the ball, many times you dont see our strikers pressing hard, many times you will immediately see Theo and Gervinho/Benayoun immediately get behind the ball but not press more wait until they make a bad pass and/or tangle their feet while dribbling and then go for a tackle, but then you have players like Mozart and Song who were brought up pressing so they press while all others seem to wait and see. The issue with this is that we seem to get pressed back and then require our back 4 to step up and make tackles but normally it seems to be to late. So essentially we are starting our pressing and defending to late and not higher up the pitch. Hence why I wouldn’t mind seeing us play Song or Arteta higher up the pitch but tell them to press along with RVP even more. We have the pace all over the field to press and recover but dont.

    @Major Maria | May 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I think a massive part of the reason why Barca was screwy this season is down the Inesta missing alot of time and Cesc messing up their natural rhythem. Inesta is the heartbeat of teh team both for club and country and when he is not their they aren’t as balanced and not as creative. His ability to pick a pass, penetrate, shoot and everything is really what drives their team. Yea I know Messi scores like running water but Inesta is what makes this team go and if you watch him for both club and country many times they follow what he does. He presses hard and high they follow, he controls the tempo along with Xavi and when their not there they struggle. Cesc messes up the natural rhythm because he tries to be the center of that team and many times holds up play and actually is a hinderance to their team. He basically tries to fill in the same gaps as Inesta, Messi and Sanchez but those players were already there 2 steps ahead of him. They like to play 1-2 touch futbol and Cesc likes to play even when he was at Arsenal 3-4-5 touch which naturally messes up everything that they do and how they play. Its funny because so many Barca fans and Spanish media say he played like shit at the end of the season and I just laugh because now they know how we felt HAHAHAHAHA.

  60. Maria et al, regarding Barca’s less than stellar season; someone on here (who watches a lot more Spanish footy than me) was convinced that they were getting less favourable decisions in the season past. Maybe because Mourinho’s whining finally hit home with some of the powers that be. Anyway I’d be interested in seeing some statistics to back that theory up.

  61. @Khalifha

    I’ll take Mert and the calm he brings with a side of Song and M’villa/Arteta playing infront of them with a:


  62. USg,
    Barca’s budget kills ours but I do agree that they do play a similar brand.
    I’d venture to say Dortmund, Barca, Valencia & Bilbao would have it harder in the PL with all its peculiarities.

    These to me are not excuses.
    Given our specific reality, the state of things in the world, football and economics, we are doing very well AND I believe we will improve if the bulk of the points in my 12:31 post are executed.

    it really isn’t rocket science
    just honesty, hard work, love & happiness

  63. @Aman

    I agree with most of your points mate except that Vertonghen is dman near and wants to be a Spud not a Gunner.

  64. USG
    The only reason valencia defeated stoke is because of the european style refs. If stoke city was playing their rugbe football with knee high challengees do you think valencia would have won? From what i saw in that match players like fuller, kenwyn jones, delap and shawcross were forced to play FOOTBALL.

  65. Here is an interesting perspective to look at our defensive problems.

    “Arteta spent six and a half years at Everton, a team that are used to playing without the ball. It taught him the kind of lesson that Arsenal midfielders can’t learn because we spend the majority of the season with the ball. It’s probably for this reason we couldn’t groom a promising young player like Denilson into a defensive midfielder. It may go some way to accounting for the fact that Alex Song has perfected the lofted through ball but still hasn’t learned to consistently provide a foil for defensive colleagues that have committed to attack. For that reason, Arsenal are a club that probably has to buy its defensive midfielders off the shelf”

  66. C,
    i like your points on pressing
    but I believe with 2011/12 under their belts, this team will without doubt be better next season. Greater familiarity alone will make a difference.

    USg, same point. Greater familiarity between players at Dortmund & Barca was the main difference. A refusal to defer to this reality cost AVB his job while accepting it just made RDM the greatest Chelski manager ever!

  67. Khalifha

    Whoever said that, I disagree with em man.

  68. C, lets wait and C, 3rd place might just land us Vertonghen

    ” Arsenal are a club that probably has to buy its defensive midfielders off the shelf”
    …interesting (re:Gilberto, Petit, Vieira…hmm)

  69. Frimpong has the capabilities to be a very good DM, yet has been criticised for not possessing the technique required, while Coquelin I think, can also be a great DM, or right back for that matter.

  70. The new season should be interesting. Whether Bould instils the necessary “discipline and defensive fervour”, remains to be seen, but ultimately it all comes down to the players.

    And what-ever happened to the Martinez “Pre-contract” deal?? Or did I miss something??

    Did any of you read “The Marble Halls” take on the Bould thingy. It’s a nice write up.


    “But I like Steve Bould. I like him because I fear him. On the surface he seems a pretty avuncular chap but I wouldn’t want to cross him. He’s got that hardened, steely look in his eyes. I’m sure Pat Rice had a temper on him but if I was David Hillier, say, and I felt like having a little bit of old school dressing room fun by stealing somebody’s socks I would probably target Pat Rice. He’d see the funny side I’m sure. I wouldn’t do it to Steve Bould. I think he’d find the socks. I think he’d find the socks and then he’d make me eat the socks and then because he’d no longer have any socks I think he’d make me knit him some new ones.”…

  71. @Aman

    I agree about the more familiartiy with make the difference. Look at how dominant Arteta and Song were as the season rolled on.

  72. @Aman

    I’m finding it hard to think he will come because the Spuds can offer him something we can’t guaranteed 1st team futbol. He would have to fight it out with Mert, Kos, Verm and I don’t rate him higher than any of them and they say he can play RB and Sagna’s there and they say he can play DM but I rate Song higher than him not to mention if we do sign M’villa I rate M’villa higher than him as well.

  73. khalifha / Dexter, I’ve heard that Arteta argument a few times. I reckon there is some truth in it. The guy spent years at teams who don’t attack maybe as much as we do, so some of the defensive responsibilities will be instinct. It’s also interesting that when we bought him we moved him deeper that he played for Everton. Similar to how Barca did with Mascherano.

    We moved an attacking mid to central mid, so maybe if we’re recruiting a defensive midfielder we should be looking at experienced players who play as central midfielders at other PL clubs.

  74. To where if he went to Spuds, I do rate him higher than Dawson, Parker, and now King

  75. arsenalandrew

    Cheers Markus, very kind.

    I think a lot of people (aside from YW) write a lot of sense on this blog – its probably why we keep coming back. I especially appreciate the humour as well as the insight; the level of debate is consistently high. That so many contributors follow the club from so far away never fails to impress.

    I sometimes think we over-think things (include myself in that) but the range of perspectives and the variety of the considered points of view is always fascinating.

    Long may it continue!

  76. Markus

    I think Arteta is a very intelligent player and can play offensively and defensively as required. His knack for a goal is pretty spot on too. He may have played without the ball alot at Everton, but wasn’t he a DM for Sociadad too? Not sure.

    My disagreement with the quote was more along the lines of the bit about Arsenal not being able to develop their own DMs man.

    Oh and I noticed you stuck in your bit about wanting experienced players again in favour of that novice M’Villa! 🙂

  77. @Markus

    I agree about the move for Arteta but I also think that was to get somebody who can still pick a pass deeper without compromising our defense to much. Yea sorry I’ll take M’villa or a steel driven DM.

  78. @Dexter

    No Xabi Alonso played DM for them and Arteta played CM or more of the attacking midfield

  79. Ah, so he developed the defensive side at everton then?

  80. U might be right C.
    If he opts for Spuds so be it. But given our injury record across the back 4, our track record & consistency in the CL he probably would get to play more, earn more and learn more with the Arse. He wouldn’t even have to change the decoration colours in his house.

    M’Villa though we need.
    Arteta, Jack, Abou, Coq, TR, Rambo & Frimp are all coming off (fingers crossed) lingering injuries.
    Yann M’V’s a stud!

  81. Thanks C

  82. Henry Norris Dial Square

    Post 13 – Upper Street Gooner. At last a supporter who knows what they are talking about!

    I couldn’t agree with you more. This squad, the coaching staff and Mr Wenger all have the wrong ethos. Steve Bould is not going to make a difference unless he went to the school of coaching run by Marcelo Bielsa, Jorge Sampaoli, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. The work ethic is not there with Arsenal. We need to employ a system like the aforementioned managers use. When their teams do not have the ball, they do not wait in the vain hope that the two holding midfielders or the defence will win the ball back. e.g. watch Chile in the last world cup! Arsene keeps talking about attacking triangles but he seems to know nothing about defensive triangles or how to play when you do not have the ball. It’s not good enough in modern football to have one person chase the ball down. If you watch Barcelona, Atheltico Bilbao, Borussia Dortmund or Universidad de Chile play football, they close the ball in triangles when they do not have possession.

    The nearest player to the ball (i.e. striker, midfielder or defender), closes the ball. The nearest player to his left looks to close the space for the pass to the left and the nearest player to the right closes the space to the right. A 3 pronged defensive unit, running and harrying in unison. In essence the attacking player should be harried into making a mistake and either plays a loose pass to the left or right of him that should be picked up by the opposing closing players to the left/right or he losses the ball to the on rushing player who is closing the ball or he is forced to pass the ball back. This should happen at all times depending on the position of play at that moment in time. There will be times where the striker, winger and midfielder are closing the ball in the opposition half and there will be times where a midfielder and two defenders are closing the ball. The trick is to do it as a unit. And not just defensive minded players, but the whole team! It would seem that we have too many players who think this is above them or are just plain lazy! That is why Rooney is such a great player for United and he alone has carried United since Ronaldo left. And that is why we won’t start to win anything until this mind set has changed throughout the club. It’s not just about pretty football. You have to have the work ethic to succeed.

    On to whom we should buy, as this is important if we want to compete with Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea in the up and coming season. We will get on to the subject of who should get rid of in a moment. If you look at any good team they have a spine through the team. Chelsea have it with Cech, Terry, Lampard and the soon to depart Drogba. Man City have it with Hart, Kompany, Silva and Aguero. Barcelona have it with Valdes, Pique, Iniesta and Messi.

    I believe we already have the keeper in Szczesny. So to add to this spine I would bring in the following: (defence) Montpellier’s – Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, (Midfield) Borussia Dortmund – Shinji Kagawa and (attack) Montpellier’s – Olivier Giroud. The transfer of these three players is all the business we need to do this summer to improve on the squad that we have. With these 3 additions we can compete and maybe achieve the dream goal of the champion’s league. We also have the budget for these three players so we should do whatever it takes to prize them away from the likes of Tottenham or Manchester Utd and ensure they sign for Arsenal. I guarantee these players are absolute quality and will bring us glory!

    Right who we need to let go. Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Nicklas Bendtner, Andrey Arshavin, Carlos Vela, Johan Djourou. We should also sell Robin Van Persie for big money now, while we can get it. Abroad! Enough said!

    Your thoughts please!?

  83. Upper Street Gooner

    khalifha 12.59

    Come on mate i here people say for years ” lets see how a spanish team would do against Stoke away mid week in shit weather”, then when one of them demolishes Stoke we say its only becuase the european ref allowed them to do it.

    Well why have allot of other european teams struggled at stoke.

    Lets stop making these ridiculous excuses about refs. We wallow in our own self pity as a fanbase and as football club.

    We are par for the course when getting between 68-75 points makes no doubts about it. we need to become more ruthless with ourselves if we are to get over that final hurdle and beomce a team that can challenge.

    Huge disappointments may teams go in 2 ways it can spur you on or you can wallow in it. I’ve read countless times arsenal fans talking about goign down to 10 men last year against barca. The fact is that we werent good enough to even attempt to ride that game out by defending with guts and organization. Chelsea did and they didnt even have a first choice cb on the pitch.

    Winners win no matter the odds and we need to start developing this type of attitude to add to plethora of brilliant things which we currently have at our club. This needs to come from the manager

  84. @Aman

    YeaI agree with you on him that he would be a welcomed addition don’t get me wrong(Verm is notorious for missing large parts of the season injured and Mert is coming off a major injury). I 100% agree with you on M’villa. I just hope that we sign him before he goes into the shop window and shows dominant he really is and can be.

    Dear Arsene
    Please go run quickly and start speaking French with the lad and get him to sign before their 1st match. We all think that he is a needed signing and want to see him in the red and white and me personally, I would love to see him just shoot a cannon to the Spuds!

    Arsenal forever,

  85. Limestonegunner

    Very good list, Aman. It is also a very long list that includes some expensive provisions and some difficult transfer wheeling and dealing in and out.

    Which are the highest priorities and which are the most likely to be achieved. I’d live to see your whole list executed, but it is a tall order.

    One point I think our club’s strategist might need to keep in mind is fitness records and the consequences for returnees from long term injuries. RvP had an amazing year and an injury free one. Arteta remained remarkably healthy for a 30 yr old in a physically demanding position. Rosicky had a good, fit second half but his first half was more spotty. All these guys are a year older. Jack may be fit for the start of the season but will have to come in slowly. I’ll be delighted if he plays in half our matches at 80% of where he was pre-injury this season. No one has been talking about Sagna– two breaks in the same place is serious. The plate seems to have created its own problem. He is going to need time to get back, may lose some of his ruggedness, and could have more niggles. We saw how important a top RB was for our reaults and Theo’s form. Diaby is another conundrum. Frimpong after two straight long term knee injuries is a long way from first team action. Song will likely be out for the ACN, as will Gervinho. We were actually quite lucky Cameroon didn’t qualify before. Players coming back from Euros will need extra rest. We should be as conservative in our squad projections as we are with financing.

    My conclusion is that we should prepare a squad both for rotation, as Aman suggests, and for injury/absence. The positions in midfield look thin despite the number of players from this perspective, particularly in the specialist roles. I think unless we get a good offer, Denilson might be a decent squad member to learn from Arteta if he can deal with being on the bench and have a proper, professional attitude.

  86. Dexter | May 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm Ah, so he developed the defensive side at everton then?

    Don’t forget Arteta played under Alex McLeish at Rangers. Look no further if you’re wondering where he learned the defensive side of the midfield game.

  87. Limestonegunner

    If Vertonghen is worried about first team football, we should show him our CB injury record for the last 3-4 years! On second thought…!

  88. Limestone G

    I think we will see players struggling next season simply because there is a tournament for them to play in. I would be amazed if RvP wasn’t rested at some points next season, hence the need for a new striker. Likewise, Mertesacker, Kosicelny etc.

    Theo and Oxo kid will only have to play 3 games maximum though, so should be OK!

  89. USg,
    “we need to become more ruthless with ourselves if we are to get over that final hurdle and beomce a team that can challenge”.

    i think the word you’re looking for is “beyonce”, my friend

    i concur vit your point.

  90. Dexter, there is a lot of sense in that comment, we have almost 60% of possesion every match, so when a team starts to attack us we sometimes look confused. This is what went through song and vermaelean’s mind during the norwich game, true story 😉

    Song: ah yes, who’s open? *van persie starts to make a run*, finally some movement, this calls for a chip.
    *norwich player intercepts the pass*

    Song: ah shit! Boss is gonna fuck me up real good, oh no! Why is this player running towards me, leave me alone, i want to be left alone.

    Vermaelean: wtf is gervinho doing? I have to take matters into my own hands, they don’t call me verminator for nothing

    *gibbs passes the ball to verm*

    Vermaelean: finally, get the fcuk out of my way ramsey, i got this.

    Song: now where the hell is thomas going now, somebody better cover for him cause i aint doing shit.

    Vermaelean: oh shit, am out of position, where the hell is song?, ah who cares, holt can’t score even in a brothel, hahaha

    Song: la la la la la, its all verms fault.

    Vermaelean: la la la la, why are they all looking at me, its all song’s fault, Right?

  91. They all should have been wearing flip flops and sombreros for the norwich game man

  92. Great read as usual and I do agree with YW. To get the right picture on our defence you have to disect the season into bits of “Who were there and who were missing because of injuries” segments.
    The periods where we struggled the most was the periods without our regular FB’s and the periods without Arteta. No team can cover for all of their regular FB’s out and not expect some sort of liability and for that there is noone to blame. In my opinion its a bit different when Arteta has been injured, because then we really didnt have anyone to take up his way of covering for Song when he felt the erge to go forward. Now this isnt a critic of Song at all, but more a hole in the team I think we need to adress. whether it can be done with Coq or Frimpong I dont know but it certainly has to be adressed somehow.

    On Bouldy, I do beleave he will be an asset to the team. In his tenoure of running the youth academi most ( well allmost every player to crack into the first team squad) has been defensive minded players. Now that can be because of 2 things. 1 is because the defensive minded youth players has had more talent in his years or 2 He is excellent at schooling in exact the defensive part of game. The proof of the ladder is names like Miguel, Coquelin, Frimpong and even Yennaris

  93. u always further-educate me senor Limestone, your eloquence… panache…salut!
    I agree

    Dear Arsene,
    pls read C @1:52 to be sure that we, ACLF RASERS, want what you want too.
    pls sign Yann M’V.

  94. Limestone,
    i think we just expect Sagna to come back, fit doing his thing. Without him but with Jenks, Coq & Yennaris I think we’d be fine, especially if we add M’V.

    I still say we sign Vertonghen as well.

  95. Limestonegunner

    One other thing I would add to the list of actions to improve Arsenal’s chances next season is for supporters to progress as well. We were as inconsistent as the team and as disorganized, confused as our defense was on occasion.

    However, we also seem to have built some foundations for success, making the Emirates a louder and more intimidating place in February, March and April.

    What do we need to do to build on this and do better next season? We need an Aman type list as supporters. I suggest two areas of priority: combatting negative images of Arsenal in the media and intimidation of referees. When we push back and provide alternative perspectives, we might moderate mainstream media views and take some pressure off the manager and players in that sphere. How we didn’t get a home penalty is a travesty. We need to make the Emirates a more intimidating place to play and, above all, officiate. Chants to target poor decisions and attention from the outset when the tone of the match is set. Our own style of showing displeasure at referee mistakes or indulgence of time- wasting could be developed.

    Hunter had appoint yesterday about this.

  96. Also Limestone,
    I’d jettison Denilson because of his lack of pace.
    I actually like him but with the emergence of Coq & Frimp, he’s done.
    Those two can play multiple positions as well and once they start scoring, Denilson’ll be erased from our memories.

    Rambo also has to up his workrate over an entire season and not end up like that chicken Samri the fluke!

  97. Limestonegunner

    Cheers, Aman. It is a thorough list. We should look at it again in August and see how we did! Hopefully we get a positive report card!

  98. @Henry

    I do agree with you about the spine of a team but I think we have a very good spine and the players you speak of only M’villa would be 1st choice in my opinion. I’m basing it off of futbol knowledge not Arsenal loyalty. Mert and Kos will be back 100% and both are better players than the aformentioned Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. I do feel and have been on record many times saying M’villa would be a great signing thus allowing us to move Song up to for me his more natural CM role. Giroud for me would be a great striker but not as a replacement for RVP but only to allow RVP to drop into the AM role or coming on as a super sub off the bench scoring goals in bunches. My point is that our spine now is quite phenominal and thus that was not the issue. I’m being a realist. We had Szcny-Kos(who along with Kompany were the best CB’s in the PL this season)-Song-RVP. We need additions and your additions would be fantastic but not as replacements I say again.

    I agree with you about Sagna’s injury with his leg that is a major concern but the good thing is that he will have all summer to rest and not have to be forced backk but get proper rest due to not playing in the Euro’s and having Jenks, Le Coq and Yennaris will be good not to mention Kos for a couple of matches. You make an extremely good point about the Euro’s. the good thing is that England will probably get knocked out rather quickly thus allowing for Ox and Theo to get proper rest and as we saw against Milan and a couple other matches, Ox can play centrally if need be a a couple of matches while the likes of Mozart get rest. Another thing to think about is that Arteta wont be going to Euro’s and by the time the ACN does come around Le Coq will be more experienced and maybe we could even play Djourou(plays there quite effectively for the Swiss and would be great defensively and wouldn’t really push foward at all) in Song’s place(if M’villa isn’t signed) along with Le Coq. I wouldn’t mind seeing Denilson back or Vela. Think about it people before you brush off Vela; RVP, Podolski will probably log alot of mins at teh Euro’s and Vela would be able to lead the attack for a couple of matches and we can slowly work them in coming off the bench or have them start and bring Vela in to finish off matches so their not coming off of Euros and then playing 90 mins against weaker teams.

  99. Limestonegunner

    Aman, the Denilson point was a bit gratuitous, I’ll admit. I love Coquelin, so that might be covered. Where we are lacking is reliable creativity and another big and powerful player like Song, perhaps one who likes to sit back, hence the M’Vila and Capue interest.

    The main thing though is don’t let’s assume everyone is back, fit and in form, progresses, and will return at the same level immediately.

  100. I LIKE…c/o Limestone (& Hunter)…(edited)

    For supporters to progress as well, TWO areas of priority:

    1. Combating negative images of Arsenal in the media
    2. Intimidation of referees.

    When we push back and provide alternative perspectives, we might moderate mainstream media views and take some pressure off the manager and players in that sphere.
    e.g. How we didn’t get a home penalty is a travesty.

    We need to make the Emirates a more intimidating place to play and, above all, officiate.

    Chants to target poor decisions and attention from the outset when the tone of the match is set.

    Our own style of showing displeasure at referee mistakes or indulgence of time- wasting could be developed”

    PLEASE fill free to contribute

  101. Limestonegunner

    I think Paul-B deserves a bit of a shout out for trying to break down the season into periods to analyze our defending. Great post, btw, YW. Subtle analysis as usual.

  102. Limestonegunner

    Paul-N, obviously, not B!

  103. Great post Yogi:


    Those are the numbers of goals conceded starting with the invincibles and ending this season. 4 seasons ago when we conceded 37 Arsene said that our defense was the reason we failed to with the PL and vowed to fix the problem. Yeah right!! We conceded 10 more then United that season. This season we conceded 20 more then City. A couple years ago I promised myself to not take this stuff quite so seriously but if that does not make you want to throw your coffee cup at the computer moniter, then I don’t what would.

    How will Bould make a change in our defense? He has been with the club thru all this. If he had the ability to help the team then why would he have not done it before? That does not mean he is a bad coach or that I disrespect the man. I have absolutely no clue how anyone can conclude that the team does not need some new ideas or new coaching philosophies regarding defending. I am disappointed but not in the least surprised that we will basically maintain the coaching status quo. Yogi, you always say we need to make changes and freshen the squad, why is the same not true for our coaching staff?

    My favorite line from todays post was:

    “It indicates that contrary to popular belief, the basis is there for defensive solidity without necessarily impacting on the attacking displays.”

    The idea that we are an attacking team and therefore we will by necessity not have defensive solidarity is utter and complete rubbish. Championship teams attack and defend at a high level and you can’t win without doing both. Despite our defensive struggles we are routinely outscored by the teams ahead of us, so we are getting out attacked and out defended.

    Enough of a rant. I missed Big Al today. Hopefully he will still be posting this summer. Thanks again for the post.

  104. Review date set for August then Limestone. Hope we’ll be smiling

  105. @LG

    I agree with you about making the Emirates a force. I for one noticed a major difference after the 5-2 Spuds match. I live in the states and thus dont get to attend matches(have been to a couple thanks to my loving wife) but you can definetly tell the difference and hear the sheer volume at which you all sing and cheer. It makes a massive difference. It seems to lift the spirits of the players while you can watch teh opponent become a little more rattled and not as smooth. Perfect example was against Milan to where normally the talents of Ibra, Robinho and others was excellent, they seemed rattled and unsure of themselves. Keeping the spirits high and not to mention the louder yall sing the more engaging and more us not at the Emirates sing and then the more pissed my wife gets because I’m singing along just as loud with a drink n my hand(thinking I’m helping rattle the opponent and inspire Arsenal) running wild in my house and when we score going sliding on my knees and stomach on the carpet or kitchen floor(neither are a good idea by the way).

  106. Limestonegunner

    C, many good points and observations there. On Vela, does he want to come back? What I’ve heard from reports on his remarks, the answer really is no. Plus he doesn’t play centrally in our current system–not a back to goal player–you can’t chip over the keeper facing that way as easily, you know!

    Anyway, the issue with him, Nikkie, and Denilson is attitude. Bringing back players who are unhappy, uncommitted, or poor in attitude will sap the strong team spirit. So if that is a concern it is better to promote hungry young gunners and seasoned pros happy to join Arsenal.

  107. One other bit of my rant.

    We started using the 433 3 seasons ago. Look back at the top of my previous post and see what has happened to our goals conceded.

  108. Bill,
    scoring’s generally gone up in the EPL. Everyone’s shipping ’em.

    Bould was not part of the 1st team setup.

    Only Djourou & RvP remain from the year after the invincibles. Djourou was a youth & Robin a bit-part sub.

    Calm down man, Big Al’ll be back soon

  109. Limestonegunner

    Bill, the 433 shift and defensive record seems odd. Through the middle, you have more midfielders–no number 10 but a midfield attacker. The issue may be on the wings, where the wide forwards need to track back like midfield wingers would. Or the issue is that the fullback overlap too much and we don’t have strong and quick enough CM’s with the discipline to stay back?

    I don’t know, because technically the extra midfielder means it is a 451 when defending, so some see 442 as more attacking. The key must be that our wide forwards are really not behaving like wingers and the fullbacks get forward.

    Maybe there is a correlation rather than a causation.

  110. Aman:

    The difference between the number we have conceded and the league winners has also generally gone up so while everyone has been conceding a few more we are getting worse by comparison. This year the gap was 20.

    Take deep clensing breaths and silently chant to your self, its only football, its only football, its only football.

  111. @LG

    I do agree Vela isn’t a back to goal player but neither really is RVP. The thing I find most interesting about Vela is he has great movement and is clinical finisher. I agree with you though that its about attitude with them. I for 1 do hope that Arene can talk Vela but if not that Campbell is ready to start a couple of matches given RVP and Podolski some kind of rest. If not then it to to farfetched if we didn’t get Giroud to start Chamakh. Theo’s crossing is becoming more and more spot on and Gervinho seems to be able to put the ball right were it needs to be. Starting Chamakh early might give him the necessary confidence and let us all not forget that when given a run of starts he was excellent. Starting him and then working RVP and Podolski back as world class subs the 1st say 4-5 matches would be idea

  112. Why do people think Vertonghen would come here? He isn’t guaranteed first team football. Sure he knows Verm but he might not play much. We have defenders, we just need to teach’em better. Furthermore the Board won’t fork out another £15 million for a part time player. Although the stadium is built and the condos are sold the mortgage still needs to be paid off. The club is still paying interest. The wage bill is still too high and the debt is still just shy of £100 million.
    No doubt he’d improve the team but by how much? Enough to get us to 2nd? Would that get us a return on the £15 million? I suspect the board of the Arsenal property/stadium/condo incporporated will adjudge that £15 million is better off being paid towards the debt.

  113. We’ve had to live within our financial limitations Bill.
    With a 5-10 year plan based on youth development, many tactical & personnel changes have had to be made to keep your Arse competitive.
    Fan & player treachery has not made the journey easy
    we are still standing…
    still in the CL….
    still playing fantastic football…
    and with much more room to grow financially & to house silverware than ANY OTHER team presently on Earth!!

    why be so grim Bill?
    Do u need a hug?
    a Big Al special’s being reserved for u as we speak bro…
    Love the Arse
    Just love the Arse
    U’ll feel better

  114. Leave Carlitos out of this. His special, just like Arshavin on this blog.

  115. Limestone @ 2:51:

    Perhaps you are correct about correlation rather then causation, who knows. I have never liked the 433 so my bias leads me to believe the latter. When arsene explained his reason for changing to the 433 there was a quote from Arsene which I will paraphrase since I don’t have the exact quote.

    You worry when your team is not creating goal scoring chances and that is the critical issue, difficulties with defending are much easier to correct.

    History has certainly proven that correcting defensive issues is not easy at least for us using this system. Again my bias but that attitude among our coaching staff is the root cause of our defensive issues.

  116. @LG and Bill

    You speak of a calming CB presense who can organize everything in the back while still allowing us to play the 433 that is discplined and would stay back correct? Interstingly enough let me reintroduce you to BFG or better known to the world as Per Mertesacker, 80 caps and Vice-Captain for Germany at the tender age of 26, calming never seem to get rattled with a phenominal futboling IQ, not the paciest of players but his positional play is 2nd to none, strong on the tackle but rarely ever gets carded. Is this the type of player that would help? Even more interesting is that he already dons a Arsenal shirt.

  117. Limestonegunner

    HaHa, C! Sounds familiar–my son and I dance around wildly chanting. He loved it when Henry scored the winner at Sunderland and I held him up while jumping up and down for several minutes singing “Thierry Henry! Thierry Henry!” He’s four yrs old and I use him as license to act like a rabid fool when watching Arsenal at home. I answer my wife’s quizzical and vaguely disapproving looks by saying–look he’s really excited and wants me to jump around with him! She knows, though, that I’ve started it all and been indoctrinating him since he was 18months old when he could recognize and name all our top players. (Honestly, among his first 200 words and earliest polysyllabic ones were Henry, Bergkamp, van Persie, Nasri and Fabregas –argh!!–and Arshavin!)

    He starts his first formal football education on Monday for Kingston United FC’s U4 program. He’s very excited and convinced he can play like RvP! I’m assistant coach and we’re going to have some fun. If only he could attend matches regularly, he’d raise the decibel levels himself, he loves singing and chanting and knows the “by far the greatest team the world has ever seen” song, his favourite.

  118. Limestonegunner

    C, I can safely say that both Bill and I are big fans of Mertesacker. He’ll be even better next year, just like Kos and might be the starting partner with him. We’ll see how he comes through the Euros. He’s had a problems with that ankle before, so something to watch and hope he has rehabbed well.

  119. Aman @ 2:57:

    For heavens sake man, you know as well as I that the issues with our team defending have very little to do with the players we have and the fact that we have spent less money. Defending is about organization, concentration and committment and much less about technical skill and unlike finding great goal scorers or goal creators you don’t have to throw huge amounts of money at the problem, just change some attitudes. Arsene himself said it should be relatively easy to fix the problem so why doesn’t he do it?? Its all very frustrating.

  120. Jokes aside Bill,
    our young players especially Theo, Rambo, Gibbs are just really getting comfortable in their positions. Don’t forget AW built around the talent of Cesc, added Hleb, bought Adebayor, lost Flamini, lost Hleb, added Nasri, lost Toure, Adebayor, Gallas, lost Cesc, lost Nasri, Eboue.
    Reyes, Denilson, Bendtner, Vela, lost their nerve, want out or are just not good enough.
    Pls don’t trivialize these changes.

    For us to still be where we are w/o billionaire bail outs is a friggin’ miracle called AW!

    The 4 teams we’ve competed with have ONLY done so because they can afford to be in the red.

    We can’t.

  121. Henry Norris Dial Square

    C @ 2:25

    Are you really suggesting that Mert and Kos are better players than Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa!? I wonder how many Montpellier games you caught this season? This guy’s defensive positioning, ability in the air and pace make Mert and Kos look ordinary. He’s a defender that wants nothing more than to defend! As for Shingi, did you not see what happened to us when Arteta got injured!? Shinji is like Paul Scholes without the bad tackling. He’s the asian Iniesta. I can’t think of a better pass master to play in the middle and he scores goals. To suggest that a DM is the answer to all our problems, suggest you didn’t read my post correctly. One player chasing down the ball isn’t going to win you anything. We must learn to play without the ball. Giroud can easily replace RVP. One season of RVP staying fit and banging in the goals doesn’t suddenly make him the answer to our prayers. Although admittedly we would have been sunk without him this season. Do the maths, £25+ million is good business for a player who is 28 and likely to get injured more often than not in the up and coming season, especially after a summer tournament, plus it would help finance moves for Yanga-Mbiwa, Kagawa and Giroud.

    Limestonegunner @ 2:19

    At last another supporter who knows what they are talking about. They don’t call it the library for nothing and it certainly wasn’t like this at Highbury. I put this down to the amount of people who can know get tickets. I was in my usual spot screaming, cursing, chanting and berating. There’s a woman sat next to me with her kids, who I’ve never seen before handing out ice creams to her kids and scowling at me like I’m crazy or something. Too many fair weather supporters. When opposing fans come to our stadium, they should not be able to out sing us! If these so called fans were passionate about Arsenal, they wouldn’t have a voice by the end of the match day. I know because it always takes me a couple of days before my voice comes back after a match.

  122. @LG

    HAHA, thats great! Yea I to recieve the looks from my wife but I dont have a son to help with my arguement. I rooting for your son to do big things and hopefully 1 day he will don the Arsenal red and white. I’ve slowly started my wife though and she will watch matches with me(if there not to early after a night of drinking) but she doesn’t sing or run around but she has been known to threaten refs and players while sitting on our couch. Hoep your son does well though.

  123. @LG and BIll

    I hope he does partner Kos. I know he is on the German roster but I really hope they dont force him back and give him proper rest or let him train but work him back slowly through the group stages with the odd 20-30 mins here or there.

  124. Limestonegunner

    Our problem is our league. Two financial dopers and a colossus of world football. A big club on hard times but spending to get back there, NL rivals who have progressed despite limited stadium and wage bills, team up north copying our methods to make a challenge for 4th, and so many teams in unproductive debt despite massive tv money to pay escalating transfers and wages to stay on the gravy train of the PL. International tv rights, which are about to dwarf domestic UK tv money are shared absolutely equally, not even on a ranked formula encouraging finishing higher up the table!

    In Spain, lower table teams don’t have nearly the same incentive to do everything to stay up as the tv money is not shared. It’s a more technical and less physical league and despite the successes in Europe, unless it is in the CL, I am not sure that English teams really fare poorer because seldom do they prioritize the Europa league the way Spanish teams do who have no chance at the league and don’t get lots of money for staying in it. Look at the way Spuds treated it. Were ManCity and ManU troubled about going out of the Europa league? The last team that really really gave it a proper go was Fulham.

    We still have to find a way. Frankly, it might be easier to get further in the CL–we’ve faced Barca two years and then had an absolute mare at San Siro. If we had played Basel, Benfica, Appoel Nicosia and so on, I think we would have progressed another round at least. Though it is worrisome that the last time we played a major team and progressed was 2008 v. Milan. We’ve beaten the Villareals, Romas, and Valencias but not Barca, Milan, ManU types when we’ve met them since 2008 in the knockouts.

  125. “Anyway, the issue with him, Nikkie, and Denilson is attitude. Bringing back players who are unhappy, uncommitted, or poor in attitude will sap the strong team spirit. So if that is a concern it is better to promote hungry young gunners and seasoned pros happy to join Arsenal.”

    I concur 100%. Some of these guys were signed to big wages because the team wanted to keep the project together and wait for them to mature together. An unintended consequence was that some of them obtained a sense of entitlement and self-importance. In their minds, that they are not playing was Wenger or the team’s fault rather than their own performance and desire/work ethic. Vela and Denilson looked happy to idle on the sub’s bench during the match. These guys aren’t happy here – not sure if it is the cig city distraction, the ego creating big wage or if it is the climate/food/culture. Their presence is not beneficial if they are not committed. Nothing any of them says indicates they miss or desire to be back. It’s a team sport. Sell them to pay off the bankers. I think they should sell Arshavin as well. If we can sell 7 surplus loaned players and buy 2 good committed ones we’ll be better. And the board won’t mind as it doesn’t increase the debt.
    Problem is finding teams to take them at those ridiculous wages. This summer the team needs to clear the deck of deadwood and buy 2 committed players.

  126. Upper Street Gooner


    I think thats spot on its not the personel its the coaching and the mindset.

    Someone made a good point earlier about how Clichy looked like a completely different player under pressure than what he did for us.

    The best example of this was Traore, Jenkinson and Djouou performances against Utd home and away this year. There is no way any of those guys were told beforehand to play with extra caution and if they were then they should never play for the club again as they went completely against their manager in a massive game

    If we cant adapt our tactics in such extreme circumstances its hard to see us changing game plans on other occasions.

    Its here where we really need to make changes to go that next step and i’m afraid to point it out to Hunter this comes from the manager and people are perfectly correct to ask questions

  127. @Henry

    I haven’t watched many matches but from what I have seen and even what I wrote earlier he woudl be a welcomed addition. Mert and Kos both are defenders that are all about defending, when they did partner there wasn’t many times when they would go maurading foward. Again I just said I rate them higher but would welcome him. I made no mention of Kagawa because I completely agree with you on his value. He has the talent to be truly world class and would seemlessly insert into our team I didn’t say he wouldn’t. You misread my post. I only disagreed with you on saying we need to work on our spine. With RVP the problem with selling him is I think he is just not entering his prime and since he is a player that was never going to out pace you and has brillant movement and quick with a left foot only rivaled by a few(1 which is Podolski) but on top of all that it is the leadership and what he bring as the Captain that we have been so sorely missing since Viera that is his true value. So adding Giroud I agree with as I stated in my post(I’m starting to think you didn’t read my post past the Mert and Kos part) would be a great buy. He would allow RVP to drop into an AM role ala like he did with Chamakh that was so effective and be devasting with a front 4 of:


  128. But we improved on set-play-goals conceded last year, Bill…
    We had all 4 wing-backs out for 3 months….
    Verm was out, our new BFG was out, Kos was too…

    Did u not notice Man U too shipped some lame goals without Vidic
    or Shitty when Kompany was suspended?
    Barca without Pique or Abidal or Puyol?
    It happens to all top teams

    You have to spend big for the best defenders also or be super-creative. And even then there’s a settling-in period thats more demanding than that of an attacker.

    Per Mertesacker was a dream buy the way he settled in. Slow but positionally astute, he calmed our defence down but then got injured.

    Yes we need to consolidate on D thats why we’re clamouring for M’V and hopefully Vertonghen.

    Djourou is inconsistent but ok as back-up
    Bartley needs to show & prove
    Miquel is definitely worthy but might need a season away on-loan to beast up

    Crikey..we might need a veteran keeper ’cause Fabianski wants to play.

    But with a season under their belts, we should we will be better next season Bill!
    I say this bouldly!

  129. I really think we should buy Kagawa. He’s the real deal and though he seems ‘expensive’ for an Arsenal buy one should also see the big picture. One area where United are better than Arsenal is in marketing. They’ve probably made their investment in Park back in shirt sales. If we go for Kagawa I am sure the transfer fee could be recouped partially in future shirt sales, especially if Ryo becomes a starter. We;d own the japan market especially with Wenger’s Japan links. There’s a lot of money to be made by doing that. Kagawa is a great player and shirt sales by owing the Japanese market could subsidize his transfer fee.
    I’ve seen the plethora of United shirts in Asia. We have an oportunity to claim Japan which is a rich market….and the kid can play too! he is one expensive target that in the long run might not be all that expensive.

  130. USG, where in my comment on the stoke/valencia match did i make any excuse for arsenal? Its seems to me that you had that type of comeback on your mind and could not wait to use it. If chelsea,arsenal,man utd, city, spuds and liverpool all struggle to cope with stoke rugbe tactics in the league at stoke’s stadium, i doubt the olympic diving team at valencia would fare much better, it is so obvious that english refs are more lenient and ‘allow the game to flow’ i.e broken limbs, 40yard throw ins and two footed tackles than card happy european refs, so don’t tell me i was making an excuse for arsenal because that had nothing to do with it.

  131. Aman @ 3:33:

    “But with a season under their belts, we should we will be better next season Bill!”

    That idea sounds really familiar but I can’t quite remember where I have heard it before. 😉

  132. Upper Street Gooner


    There are 2 footed tackles in every league. Broken limbs happen in every league

    If anything our league is starting to beomce softer than before and the europeans are starting to get stronger. Its not turned full circle yet but i notice britsh teams being allot more sly these days. Chels at home to Barca sticks out to me this year as an incredible example of this being the case.

    This is how cycles happen. Teams start to dominate and then the opposition have to learn how to nullify these advantages. Europe had to adapt to our power and pace.

  133. Limestonegunner

    Henry Norris et. al., there ought to be a few sections for safe standing on the lower level where the Red Action types can organize for some extremely vociferous chanting–maybe at the North Bank and Clock Ends behind the goals. The away section has to be relocated to the upper tier–its madness that they are so close to the pitch! Plus, the stadium is practically empty until 5 minutes before kickoff. How can we get some more supporters to come early and join some singing and chanting as the players warm up? The stadium screens play some inspiring images and a short clip of AW before the game but after that it is just loud music, probably because it is silent without that–how about dedicating some of the build up to fostering supporter atmosphere? Let Red Action or whomever have the PA for 10 minutes to get things going, bring out some drums, the old brass band as a retro cool/kitsch attraction–something, anything! I don’t like “You’ll Never Walk Alone”–pretty mournful dirge– or “Blue Moon” or (vomit) “When the Saints come Marching in” but I wonder why there isn’t a genuinely popular Arsenal associated song that supporters would sing together before the match to get into the mood–is there one I’ve just missed?

    I went to the Aston Villa home match and I was hoarse for three or four days afterwards! I was surrounded by folks who just wouldn’t sing or heckle the refs despite my attempts to start things for most of the match. I had a conference up in Cambridge later that week for which I had come to the UK and was worried I’d really overdone it! Imagine having to explain to academics and scholars that I couldn’t deliver my paper properly because I had scratched my vocal cords to shreds chanting at a football match!! Luckily lots of tea and Strepsils over four or five days and I managed. In fact, I really had only agreed to attend and present so that I could see the Arsenal. If it had been scheduled in June, I would have declined the invitation!

    When does the schedule come out? I’m hoping there will be an opportunity to come in August, February, December or late April/early May but it costs nearly that of a season ticket to come for one or two matches for us distant fans. What I’d really like is to experience an away match in the Arsenal section. That seems more lively. What a privilege to join the boys in enemy territory!

  134. @Philmar and Henry

    I like Kagawa and like i explained yesterday would prefer him over Hazard because both are talented but Kagawa doesn’t seem to have the massive ego. I could see him starting in the AM role. The only issue with that is, is Arsene already reserved to the fact that Jack will be the AM of the future or could be we see Jack in the CM role. His return is excellent in all competitions this season: 42 matches played, 17 goals, 13 assists.

  135. When are we going to learn? Arsenal fans included. Girouds qualities are hold up play, strenth and HEADING ability! We are talking about a left footed dzeko, arsenal don’t play long balls, we don’t cross the ball bar set pieces and we don’t play to giroud’s strength or have we suddenly forgotten the rise and fall of chamakh? If we want a giroud type player remember one was sent out on loan(bendther) and the other is on the bench he is sitting on the bench(chamakh)

  136. Kagawa’s super but buying him would mean the end for AA, Rambo, less TR, Jack & Diaby.
    Not an absolute need for 2012/13 after all with both he & Goetze we still twacked Dortmund.

    Shirt sale revenue loss?
    Oh well, we’ve got Ryo.

    If we do very well in 2013,
    a Goetze/Reuss/Sahin/Canales/Gourcuff-type might just need a place to display his skills in 2013/14.

    AW knows

  137. Or is Giroud a different sort of player?

  138. lol Bill.

    khalifa, Giroud’s tabloid titilation man. Happens every summer. This time next month we’ll be linked with at least 2 more new-found gloryboys

    Philmar, seal the D with a quality DM. Grab Vertonghen if he’s available. Bring in a 3rd striker cum winger, heal the sick and we’ll kick arse next season.

    retire or bench “the vets” AA & TR then go buy the most super-creative-world beater-boy-genius

    AW knows

  139. Aman, all i want is m’villa, every other player will be a bonus.

  140. Limestonegunner

    Khalifah makes some good points about Giroud. I am not convinced, but I haven’t really watched much Montpellier. One thing I have questioned above is whether he is a tough-minded and confident player. He missed a penalty and then the next week wouldn’t take one in a critical game. Belhanda criticized him publicly before apologizing and Giroud complained about the media portrayal of the team. Well, just imagine how concerned he will be if he comes to Arsenal! You have to be hugely thick-skinned to play for us given our media environment (and hence, one of my targets for supporter action). You would never ever imagine that RvP would miss a big penalty and the next week balk at taking it. He’d be eager, desperate, to take the next one. That’s the mentality and confidence we want.

    We’ve seen Chamakh struggle with confidence as well. It is tough sitting behind a great player and it would be tough to assume the burden if RvP leaves. Either way, I wonder about Giroud. It’s a big step up to a club like Arsenal in the PL from Montpellier in Ligue 1 where nothing was expected of them. Near the end when there was genuine pressure, some cracks started to appear. We’ve had our own issues with late season form. I’d rather get a hungry closer itching to prove himself. Who might fit that sort of type?

  141. Silver Gunner

    I would live us to go back to a compact high line. with emphasis on attacking with real intent through players like theo who lets face it is our modern day overmars when we have possession as oppose to our often laboured attacks especially against teams set up to defend.

  142. @Khalifha

    I have watch Giroud play for Frnace and a couple times for club and he is more Benzema than Bendtner and Chamakh. Very good feet, good techinical ability but also very strong and a clinical finisher infront of goal. Yes his strength is hold up and strong in the air but he has a larger skillset than both Bendtner and Chamakh.

  143. But that is the 1 knock on him is his confidence is easily shaken!

  144. Got two names for you Limestone, both EPL vets:

  145. Bill,

    Those figures at 2.33pm. although they look bleak they are not what they seem really. if we take out the freak results this season before our squad was put in place we can deduct 13 goals from the man utd and blackburn games and lets say we add a more realistic 2/3 goals that would make it 38/39 goals which would be an improvement on the last two seasons.

  146. Honestly if we get Giroud I think Arsene would be able to work on his confidence but if not I’m still happy with Chamakh, because for me when he does go out and plays he is a very good player. Stong in the hold up strong in the air but also good at linking up with the wingers and RVP(when played together), think of the couple of flicks he had that led to RVP getting free in the box. If Arsene does decide to get a striker I would imagine it would only be short term maybe 1-2 years tops with Campbell(barring work permit) to be ready in a season or 2.

  147. the climax is interesting to the which team will Eden Hazard pick.. i think its on channel 5 after the belgium game.

  148. 3rd choice striker’s got to be a veteran.
    Knows the ropes, hits the ground running. Makes the younger ones up their game, their work rate.
    Won’t be a long term buy.
    Is flexible but really wants to finally prove himself to the world.

    Yossi, Arteta, Mert, Santos all validated this last time out.

    these are my 2 picks.
    anyone got other names?

  149. All these rumors and transfer speculations and comin’s and goin’s really makes me just want the season to start. Lets put pen to paper so we know facts and then lets get the cannons out and light the fuse and blow something up leaving only a cloud of smoke and rubble from teh likes of Manure, Manshitty, Spuds, Chavs and the rest! I miss the Arsenal!


  151. Duke:

    despite the numbers I have said all season and still believe that we were better this year but still inconsistent and just like death and taxes when squeaky bum time hit we conceded 5 in the last 2 games and were frustratingly inconsistent after the 7 game win streak. The season was giving some hope for improvement but then we see TV5 bombing down the field again and again and the team getting caught out of position and losing our organization and concentration. WTF are they thinking and who is bollocking them after those games???

  152. It wrote above ‘a supporter who knows what it is talking about’.
    Myles or Myles’ disciple as been talking/writing to himself again. Ah well. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.

  153. lol C,
    why don’t we just go coax van Nistelrooy out of retirement?

  154. C, that sounds like chamakh bar shooting ability , but seriously i have not seen chamakh take a shot on goal in 9months now, does confidence have anything to do with that, i mean just shooting the ball.

  155. Interesting development for all that want Vertonghen, he says:

    “I’ve said repeatedly that Tottenham are my first choice, but the talks haven’t progressed. They have shown me around, I have met all their key people and their chairman came to meet me on Monday,” ESPN quoted Vertonghen as saying.

    “But Arsenal want me too. They remain a possibility if my Spurs move falls through, as Ajax are asking €15mn (£12mn) for me. That is a lot of money for someone with just a year left on his contract. I’m sure Spurs won’t be able to pay that much after they missed out on the Champions League. Ajax want to get as much as they can for me, while Spurs want to pay as little as possible,” the player added.

    Interesting we are coming in as a backup to the Spuds, yea really dont like that feeling, but I guess in the end we always end up on top. Just go ask a Spuds fan as they watch us get put into our group for CL. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  156. I don’t know who we should buy but I hope we buy lots of them and they cost a lot of money and are all big names. That would be fun just for once. 🙂

  157. Aman, you know i would always choose odemwingie, he does something special that most striker are erm supposed to do, i think its called scoring goals, so no to hugo(i won’t mind him playing for us tho)

  158. @khalifha

    He took a shot against Norwich I think a header that just went wide. Yea I would like to see him shoot more but I think it really was confidence in him. Thats why I say let him start a couple of matches early in the season as to give RVP andd Podolski some rest to help build his confidence because when he is confident we have seen what he can do.


    lol, if he can come off the bench put some tape on and go score as a 3rd striker, I’ll take it lol.

  159. I think the time has past for guesswork on players. No point taking chances on maybes.
    No weak-minded player should be seen in red & white next season or anytime soon till we win the EPL & CL back to back. Our loans are almost paid.

    forget Giroud, we need fortitude, i.e, a man, a stud…a beast, or at the very least a laterally- agile EPL-certified veteran gunslinger vit za chip on hiz shoulder!

  160. Aman
    appreciate your positive thoughts, and wish you had time for more ‘regular’ contributions –

    We need more RASERS!

  161. thats fair….”ACLFers, in our veteran striker search ‘n’ deploy sweepstakes”.

    RASER khalifa selects from WBA @ a cost of ?: PETER ODEMWINGIE

    RASER-Aman selects, on a free transfer, from Colombia: HUGO RODALLEGA

    who’s selecting next?..C?

  162. @Aman

    Demba Ba for 7million on a 2 year contract

  163. oops, sorry to re-post:

    thats fair….”ACLFers, in our veteran striker search ‘n’ deploy sweepstakes”.

    RASER khalifa selects from WBA @ a cost of ?: PETER ODEMWINGIE

    RASER-Aman selects, on a free transfer, from Colombia: HUGO RODALLEGA

    who’s selecting next?..C? Arsesession*? Bill? Limestone?

    *thnx for your 4:30 comment

  164. “RASER-C selects from the Barcodes @7m: DEMBA BA”

  165. President blatter is back again and this time with a vengence, now he wants penalty shootouts to be stopped because it is unfair, someone should just put him in a tank or something.

  166. >someone should just put him in a tank or something.

    Preferably a disused one abandoned on a firing range where the army test out their shelling.

  167. c’mon a vet striker.
    This is not Switzerland!

  168. Podoski RvP Theo


    M’vila Song

    Unbeleivable front 6 with mvila holding!

  169. Lol Yogi, i like the way you think, or maybe to decide the winner blatter could stand in front of the post and the players fire blank bullets at him, most shots on target wins.

  170. Thanks Paul N and Yogi for dissecting our season.
    Interesting stats to fuel opinions.

    Excellent posts today, and in fact all this week.

    I watch a majority of the City matches, curious to see how Clichy and Nasri have fit in. An astute point mentioned earlier, Clichy is a much better player for City this season. Better, I mean his defending play seems to have matured.

    I thought he was the best left back in the epl. Not a topic to debate just my own observations.

    As for Arsenal matters:

    #1 priority is to get this RvP issue behind us, either way. Anything to avoid a recurrence of last summer.

    Personally, if a player’s head has been turned and he wants to leave, there is no sense in holding him to the contract. The negative effects far outweigh any positives/ imo.

    Sagna is a major concern for me. I’m not sure the summer is sufficient time to resolve his breaks.

    Believing that Jenks, Coq, or Yennaris can fill in, without affecting our performances (for me) is wishful. All three have seen limited time this past season. If I had to start one of them it would be Jenks and if he has an injury…….we’re back to patching up the defense.

    Then there is the recurring subject of:
    we still have no reliable back up for Song. Saying there is Coq or Frim is wearing rose tinted glasses. Neither saw many playing minutes this season at dm. What I saw from Frim at Wolves was much better than any Coq performance; but both lack the experience AND maturity Arsenal need at that position.

    With all this discussion about new players to strengthen the squad, wtf do we do about the 25 man rule?

    1st team roster; 35 – that includes Benny and does not include Podolski.

    We had a difficult time moving players last season and this summer is not likely to be easier.

  171. “Welcome to da select-a-3rd-choice striker sweepstakes,
    Please name your player:

    USg? Limestone? Dexter? Bill? Finsbury? ZimPaul? Maria (sorry no Vela)? Yogi?

    (i know if hunter was here he’d have a name for me..sigh…oh well)

  172. Limestonegunner

    Fins, glad you liked my historical fiction. I understood your point about some posters and their more authentic than thou stories, just thought I take a riff on your Anglo-Saxon reference. Do you know Caedmon’s hymn–surely taught in English schools? One of the earliest examples of Anglo-Saxon verse–the context of an illiterate cowherd/monk receiving it in a dream because he was sad he didn’t know how to sing and create verse like the others is delightful.

  173. Limestone @ 5:05:

    Show off!! 😉

  174. We had a difficult time moving players last season and this summer is not likely to be easier.

    I expect it to be easier this summer Arsesession.
    The economic reality’s had another year to sink into players & agents alike.
    Come late July we should see a flurry of activity.
    Our players are good quality and we are a reasonable seller

    “sweepstakes open at 5 pm and close at 6pm GMT every Friday thru summer 2012”
    ..each gooner/RASER can make ONE selection per month step right up and select your 3rd striker for the month of May

    (bear with me YW…for sh*ts ‘n’ giggles)

  175. Limestonegunner

    Aman, it is tough because I have stopped watching as much continental football, but in terms of PL backup strikers–I don’t have a problem with Rodallega and Odemwingie. The real issue is are we shopping for RvP replacements or a backup to Podolski? If so, I’d be looking for a different class of player than these Chamakh/Park players. And honestly, I think Chamakh can do a job for us as 3rd striker coming on late when we play more of a 424. He’s been somewhat effective then.

    If we add quality elsewhere, I think he could get more time as we rest RvP and Podolski settles in.

  176. @ Arsesession

    I agree with you about the Sagna leg break. I think Le Coq though would be a better fit with Theo as they seem to have a pretty good relationship on that right flank. That is why we need M’villa so bad as to back up Song. Frimpong had to major knee injuries that are going to have to heel physically but its also a mental thing like can my knees hold up which will take even longer on the pitch.


    RASER khalifa selects from WBA @ a cost of ?: PETER ODEMWINGIE

    RASER-Aman selects, on a free transfer, from Colombia: HUGO RODALLEGA

    “RASER-C selects from the Barcodes @7m: DEMBA BA”

    what say ye ACLFers?

  178. Limestonegunner

    Vertonghen’s going to have some ‘splainin to do if he comes here–wise if he says he was worried about playing time at a great club like Arsenal but is eager to fight for his position and can play all around at the back.

    Bill, only if the audience is impressed! It’s risky dropping medieval references on a football blog, even as erudite a group as ACLF’s, but Fins dropped a nice Aethelred the Unready reference to open the door to a history enthusiast!

  179. Limestone,
    seeing as we might be offloading Bendtner, Vela, Chamakh & Park, Campbell’s barely nubile, Podolski’s new to the EPL & he and RvP will be recovering from their Euro exertions (devoid of injury-touch wood) a 3rd option seems vital for our intro to 2012/13.

    shall I just put you down for Chamakh then?
    pls send an AYE or NAY to validate

  180. YW should I stop adding the links so I’m exorcised from moderation?

  181. Blatter wants pens scrapped now that an english club beat ze germans in a final..i fukin knew i wanted chelsea to win and this just sums it up the anti english fat cunt and his croonies must have chocked on their mussels once ze germans lost. f£ck off.

  182. Limestone @ 5:25:

    Not risky at all, you get to know people a little more when they drop references like that so its a part of what makes blogging more fun. Drop away. You are the “poster child” but many on this blog prove that erudition (is that a word?) does not preclude enjoying sports.

  183. Limestonegunner

    Well, he is one of our players, so aren’t we supposed to be supportive? Put me down for aye on Chamakh as 3rd, provided the two ahead are RvP and Podolski.

    What’s the unofficial tally so far?!

  184. Limestonegunner

    Arsesesson, Agree with Sagna issue, which is why I raised it above as a genuine concern for next season. Not sure we should just assume his availability at the same level and he may have more niggles or, god forbid, problems if the plate is weakening that spot on the bone. 2 breaks in the same area is a real issue. Fingers crossed for him. He is a real, if quiet, leader. His goal against Spuds was no nonsense fighting for Arsenal and helped turn around our season. We might be out of the CL without that goal.

  185. Chamakh is a quality player , i rate him highly, he scored 11 goals in his first 22 games , now thats impressing, something has happened to him but it can be sorted. for me he needs to stay, if rvp ..ahem cough …gets injured then chamkh and poleski up front is a good strikeforce.


    RASER-khalifa selects from WBA @ a cost of ?: PETER ODEMWINGIE

    RASER-Aman selects, on a free transfer, from Colombia: HUGO RODALLEGA

    “RASER-C selects from the Barcodes @7m: DEMBA BA”

    RASER-Limestone elects to retain: MAROUANE CHAMAKH

    less than 10 mintes to go before we close for the week,
    what say ye ACLFers?

    ..really just a likkle fun YW..c’mon join in…

  187. dukegoonem, so your 3rd striker choice is…?

  188. Limestonegunner

    Where are the support improvement ideas, folks? Club culture is also about supporter culture. Especially you regular attendees, London and England residents–what plans for your pre-season preparation? How can we progress as Arsenal support?

    We are the most internet connected group of all the clubs–more blogs, more forums, more podcasts, more social media connections. This should facilitate supporter culture. Although we enjoy our discussion about on pitch and club affairs, surely 5% of our engagement could be about creative ways to enhance supporter culture in various spheres.

    I think intimidation of referees is huge. For all the talk about bias against us and castigation of “bad fans”, I have yet to see anyone seriously discuss how we can combat this by bringing genuine pressure to bear. Last year I pointed out that an article that was linked from Sports Illustrated found that home advantage was principally in terms of referee influence and not player performance. So it is a real way to improve your team’s results. What influences and intimidates the referees at a home stadium–loud noise, whistles and catcalls after decisions against the home team, the whole atmosphere. When we turn on players or get frustrated with them, we are taking energy away unproductively. We need to turn it into defiance and on the referees. No one has taken this up.

    We have a couple of months of football idleness other than watching the Euros and praying our players have confidence and form boosting performances, don’t get injured, and don’t get played into the ground. Beyond that, we have time to reflect a little amid transfers on these issues around our support.

  189. I do rate Chamakh and hope that he does stay but in the event. I wouldn’t mind him staying just to prove everybody wrong and because above all he has stated his deisre to stay and fight for any and all playing time he gets. Now if he can just translate dat fight onto the pitch like he did the past couple of matches he played then teh Chamakh of old will re-emerge and our strike force will be even better.

  190. Walcott!!

  191. Duke:

    Assuming that the good patch for someone like Chamakh is the reality and the rest is just bad form or some other easily correctable cause of underperformance is risky since the optimistic assumption is more often wrong then not at least if you use past history as the guide. If RVP is injured of otherwise absent then we need to assume the worst and cover our bases rather then hope for a return to those first 6 months by Chamakh, No?

  192. well yes and no bill. it was in rvp’s absence that chamakh was good for us. lets cling on to optimisim.

  193. wow..a late stunner to close proceedings for the month of May..

    RASER-dukegoonem elects to use as 3rd striker: THEO JAMES WALCOTT!
    Thats all folks.

    wow…nice left-field zinger there dukegoonem.
    So no striker buy-in for you?

    (u can breathe easy now Yogi, playtime’s over).

  194. Limestonegunner

    How thick is this Suarez character? Hasn’t someone told him that he needs to just keep his mouth shut and head down? This comes after the PFA wants to make racial abuse a sacking offence!? I knew he was a diving cheat biter, but I had had some time for the idea that he might not have understood how the Spanish words would be taken in the English context and the fact that Evra’s story changed but for some reason his testimony was valued more. But there is no excuse to rekindle this now. Dalglish–your angry faced champion–is sacked. Just shows how rudderless Liverpool are. Martinez, think before you jump into this mess–could be career suicide for a manager without a big pedigree. You aren’t Roy Hodgson with a career of success behind you.

  195. @LG

    I dont know how British law goes as far as tailgating and all but here in the states we tailgate to no end before pretty much all sporting events. I went to a match USA played against Mexico and people were out infront of the stadium singing dancing and drinking. This is the normal, is stuff like that allowed in in England? I know I for 1 tailgate when teh Arsenal is playing(breakfast) at home. The good thing about tailgating is that you have supporters both regular’s at the Emirates and those that come in just for a game or so getting together making up song’s and what not atleast an hour before the match is played.

    I agree about ref-intimidation, but its also about jeering the refs on the way to the pitch and then off the pitch and it makes them think ok next time they do an Arsenal match I can’t be biased or whatever the case maybe. Its about being loud and getting on them collectively when need to be also applaud them if they get it right. IMO the same way that players react to fans is the same way refs will react. they will get nervous and feel the pressure of the home team adn crowd.

  196. Limestonegunner

    Good points, C. The thing with tailgating is that it is more common in stadiums with parking lots. The equivalent in N. London is going to pubs in the area. Unfortunately, little of that is carried over into the stadium. Even walking to the stadium with hundreds of fans around, were weren’t singing–though there was some singing in groups on the streets after–it was a nice 3-0 victory and everyone was happy.

    Check out this nice video:

  197. nah we dont need anymore strikers..unless rvp chases the oil laden dangling carrott in front of him. need a midfielder who prioritises stopping the opposition first though.

  198. @LG

    You make a great ponit. It does need to carry over from the pubs but it has to be collective ya know. I might have to move to London so I can lead the charge!

  199. Duke:

    Always think best to assume the worst and cover your bases in situations like this. If you don’t then you are in trouble if the less optimistic assumption proves correct and you end up without quality back up. If the optimistic assumption is correct and you did cover your bases then you have is a selection headache and some extra depth. Of the 2 problems I would much rather have the latter, we have been thru the former far too many times in the past. Back up striker is a high leverage squad position and failed risks at that position are potentially very damaging.

  200. Bill,

    I suppose it’s a shame wenger isn’t a pessimist then!!

  201. @LG

    The biggest question that I have inregards to this whole sacking offense is are they going to make an example out of Suarez but do nothing to Terry as his trial is still pending. You talk about anti-foreignism, that’s it at its finest. I’m also not convinced Liverpool will sack Suarez as so many times here in the states and ecspecially in Boston(where the owners reside) racism runs rampant and in Boston its almost a way of life that happens you deal with the punishment say sorry and then everything is fine.

  202. Bill

    I’m almost inclined to think that we are covered atleast until the ACN. Think about it, say RVP(knock on all the wood in the world) we will then move Podolski to lead man and put Gervinho or Ox on the left. Then either 1 of them will then be able to come on as a sub not to mention we will still have Chamakh and either Ryo or Campbell. Chamakh please prove me right!!

  203. Duke @ 6:25:

    I have been waiting by my phone for 4 years now and he has never called to ask my advice. Bummer!!


    Ba/Odemwingie in that order


    Forgot about ACN, even more reason to be aggressive this summer to add depth to that position.

  204. @Bill

    just sign Benayoun and were good. A true Gooner!!!

  205. If RVP leaves then a new back up stiker becomes a must have this summer IMO. If he stays we are covered.

    I agree with Duke and Yogi that DM may be our single highest priority.

  206. C:

    I hope resign Yossi. The ideal squad player.

  207. C

    much as i respect Yossi a lot, a model professional, i think if it is between keeping him and signing a really good player, i might go for the latter (bear in mind the 25men squad rule. we are not playing Football Manager, as i think some posters, sorry was just browisn through quickly and didnt take note, think we are. it is not that easy to sell and buy players on such a wide scale as is demanded)

    in that case, hopefully wherever Yossi ends up, he will score goals for us against the spuds, united, shitty, chavs. i think he respects liverpool (for what, i don’T know..)

  208. @Bill

    DM isn’t maybe but is the top priority. Le Coq is great cover but I think he will be needed at RB. As much as we are talking about Sagna’s leg break twice, we must not forget that Frimpong’s knee was major injury 2X.

  209. i think ramsey, jenkinso and le coq, having had a full season under their belts, will help to provide some depth as well.

  210. Limestonegunner

    Is there an owner who loves media attention more than Wigan’s Dave Whelan? This guy blabs about Liverpool contacting Martinez, about him meeting with them in Miami, about the state of negotiations, about Ferguson’s health and plans to retire after next year, and on and on. The man has no sense of discretion. I’m sure Liverpool really appreciate all this chatter given that it really isn’t clear that Martinez is the only or leading candidate they are considering. Sounds like Whelan actually wants him to go and to collect two or three million and hire some cheaper up and comer from league one or championship–Gus Poyet of Bristol?

  211. @Bill

    So do I, extremely good footballer and the perfect squad player. You call his number he goes and performs to his class level and when his number isn’t called he cheers his mates on.

    @ korihikage

    Honestly though the issue with signing a player as you have stated is the 25 man rule but also I would take a 1 year loan deal or 1 year with Benayoun because the fact that we have players like Le Coq and Ryo coming through and showing good in the EPL not to mention Jack, Diaby and all. So I say keep Yossi for a year or 2 because we know what were getting from him: a tireless work rate, extremely good touch, great vision to pick a pass, a true professional, goal threat, abillity to play outwide or through the middle, Israeli-Mess, most importantly to us a Gunner who will give everything and fight for the club.

  212. it is Ba for Bill then.

    I like Whelan Limestone. He’s old school, loyal & has got follow-through. He has to look out for his business too you know. Nothing like a good old timer to make light of life and spill the beans. Who needs discretion with Murdoch tapping your phones?

  213. Limestonegunner

    Haha, Aman! Good point–discretion is a fanciful value of a former age at this point, I guess.

    Well maybe it works in our favour as Whelan spilling the beans causes Liverpool more problems settling their management and football structure. But otherwise, I don’t really like him or Wigan–no supporters, no history. Sort of taking up a place in the PL though they have been good at identifying talent from South America and playing a decent style of football. Their pitch however is an absolute disgrace and unprofessional–could cause injuries–and that is Whelan’s responsibility.

  214. well..lets see our competition for next season:

    Shitty:champs, let Hargreaves go? Kompany, Dzeko & Argentine trio will be ready & reloaded. Very strong spine retained. Maybe even stronger with newbies. , itching for the CL. I suspect Hazard’s not going there as he’d get more time at Utd or Chelski. The stiffest competition for sure.
    EU-bound (10): Hart, Clichy, Lescott, Barry, Milner, Johnson, De Jong, Silva, Balotelli, Nasri.

    Man U: to add a creative midfielder, evict Berbatov, Owen, Bebe, Pogba..still rely on Giggs+Scholes. a well-rested Vidic should return alongside Rio. Might be ol’ red nosed final year & a 20th title’d be a fine way to exit. CL-bound. Serious competition
    EU-bound (9): De Gea, Evra, Jones, Young, Rooney, Carrick, Welbeck, Nani, Lindegaard.

    Chelski: no Drogba, Kalou & Bosingwa + after winning the CL+ an ageing Terry, Cole, Malouda & fat Frank will be unofficially rebuilding. Less competition regardless of who they bring in bar Messi, maybe Modric or Hazard. Less competition
    EU-bound (9): Cech, Terry, Cole, Lampard, Torres, Mata, Malouda, Ferreira, Cahill.

    Spuds: might lose Modric +/-Bale, Assou-Ekotto, Gomes, dos Santos. Shaky back four further weakened if we sign Vertonghen. Adebayor wants to remain. No CL. Lesser competition
    EU-bound (4): Parker, Defoe, van der Vaart, Kranjcar.

    Liverpool: rudderless,, same spine. Less competition
    (EU-bound: Reina, Johnson, Kuyt, Henderson, Gerrard, Downing, Carroll, Agger)

    Newcastle: spine remains, have to prove it all again, might lose Ba. Less competition
    EU-bound (3): Krul, Cabaye, Ben Arfa

    Arsenal: same spine remains?, many good players to sell, money to strengthen (need DM, keeper+1), AA back?, CL footer. Uncertainty surrounds RvP, Theo, Song, AA.
    We have AW!!!!!
    EU-bound (11+): Szcesny, Fabianski, Per, Kos, Theo, Ox, TR, RvP, AA, Podolski, Bendtner

    Should be interesting the next 6 weeks
    No player info on Olympic soccer participants.

  215. Wigan’s pitch was upgraded last season Limestone. And one must admit, pound for pound they played the best footer the last month of the season. Remarkable & it all begins with the owner.

    Any man that can take such a leap of faith deserves all respect.
    I respect Mr. Whelan.

  216. Spud error :

    EU-bound (7): Parker, Defoe, Modric, van der Vaart, Kranjcar, Corluka.

  217. counting Spud error :

    EU-bound (6): Parker, Defoe, Modric, van der Vaart, Kranjcar, Corluka.

  218. Very detailed aman, but the uncertainty surrounding song,walcott and v.persie doesnt look good.

  219. What did our summer signings: jenkinson,santos,arterta,metersacker, all have in common? They all got injured for 2 or more months, i hope Podolski knows what he is getting himself into – We’re cursed i tells ya.

  220. elsewhere, i expect Barca to win tonight. Pep’s going away present.

  221. khalifa, I’d gladly take a 2-month curse on Podolski, a re-signed RvP, Theo & Song, M’V in r&w + our 3rd striker scoring freely from August to October thank u!

  222. Lol Aman, thats the stuff of dreams. Am going for a bilbao win, anyone but barca is my motto, o and fabregas to score 2 own goals and miss in the penalty shootout, ah surely it doesn’t get better than that.

  223. LOL…no it doesn’t not unless he sprains both pinkies and misses the Euros.
    (such hateration)

  224. btw khalifa, who do u think AW’ll bring in to deputize for Szcesny if Fabianski leaves?
    moi: Jaaskeleinen or Gordon

  225. Aman, yes! Great minds think alike, now where did i keep my cesc voodoo doll? Hmmm

  226. Aman, thats a no brainer for me, Gordon definately.

  227. Gordon eh..hmm. About we go pilfer Hennessey from Wolves?

  228. Since we’re on the barca theme Aman, i was just thinking how lucky are they to have messi, we are talking about a player from their academy, that is just amazing. Also, apart from grass root training is it safe to say that spani,italy and germany just produce better football players?, just as kenya and ethiopia produce the best marathon runners – take for example arsenal, we general produce one world class academy player every 10-15 years or so, but a team like bayern have about 5 german players in their team gotten from the academy.

  229. No, please no, infact hell no to henessey, he is alumunia 2.0 – too many errors.

  230. it takes the whole village to raise a child, not to mention genius.
    The UK knows it lags behind and have made quite a number of adjustments starting with a central academy.
    AW & Arsenal helped kick start the revolution and in a few years England will have some bad asses to boast of. The soccer’s changing just look at Jack, Bale, Ox, Cleverly, Walker, McEachran, Sturridge…slowly but surely more technically-gifted players will emerge. They just need to be patiently guided

    where they’re still lacking is in the “don’t-let-it-get-to-their-heads” department. Too-much-too-soon’s such a talent killer. Many have fallen. With agents & greed rife its still tough.

    but its a soccer-crazy island is it not?

  231. No Hennessey then Mr Khalifa…some rum instead? …lol
    Gordon needs his mojo back big time.
    He could be a great.
    We’ll see what AW does.

    Its been fantastic here today
    Thanks YW, thanks khalifa.
    Gotto go
    Tomorrow awaits

  232. Well what do you know, fabregas has been left out of barca’s starting eleven, the start of a decline maybe :-D, hopefully we buy him for 15million.

  233. Later aman.

  234. Limestonegunner

    Apparently ManU want Kagawa for 17-18million Euros. That’s not a lot for a creative attacking midfielder who has won two Bundesliga titles and the German cup. I thought he looked tidy versus us, but I wasn’t astounded. If AW rates him, we could gazump ManU at those rates.

  235. Evening all. Afternoon LSG.

    Kagawa is a ubiquitous name on the giant transfer wheel. MUFC’s name is always quoted.

    Great to see ‘Major Maria’ on earlier – are we all getting rank and file titles?

    If so I nab ‘Gunnery Sergeant’! 😛

  236. pedantic george

    If someone posts something that I agree with and I say “At last a fan who knows what they are talking about” You should all turn on me like a pack of rabid hyenas.And tell me I am a ……..Well you know

  237. Buddhist asks for a hotdog from a NY street vendor: “Make me one with everything.” he says.

  238. those jan vertonghen quotes are interesting..
    hes basically saying hes agreed to join spurs but ajax are holding out for more, weve asked to be filled in on the situation and spurs cant afford to match the price set, no doubt due to failure of CL qualification

    ha ha ha fucking ha..

    id say if jan vertonghen wanted to achieve big things he’d come to a club like ours and compete for a place with other top CB’s..

    hes walking into the spurs team and thats his aim, fair play to him hes not exactley moving for the dosh, sounds like a pro to me aiming to play in the PL but willing to start at the bottom.. but if he had ambition and thought he was any good he wouldnt join spurs over us…

    george was right, TV is the better of the two and maybe vertonghen is scared of the competition he will have with him..
    kozzer is numero uno anyway..
    so its a 4 way shoot out for the other spot and if JV goes to spurs then whatever but it will be piss funny if we knicked him off them..

  239. Albert | May 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    “And what-ever happened to the Martinez “Pre-contract” deal?? Or did I miss something??”

    FFS.. WTF??? Anybody??

  240. Limestonegunner

    George, you know you’d lap it up if it ever were to happen!! I’ll even arrange to do it for you once and for all sometime.

    Cheers, Jonny–a good evening to you!

  241. The Buddhist gives the vendor a $50 note for the hot dog, and the vendor offers the Buddhist his change. The Buddhist smiles, declines and says

    “change must come from within.”

  242. These boys are going to be rather big I suspect. (Electro)

    Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs –

  243. I feel bad for the barca players :-(, none of them got picked for the olympics, i mean all those breast stroke and back stroke swimming/diving lessons gone to waste, how sad.

    Guardiola is also a very funny guy , he says he couldn’t deal with the ”stress” of coaching xavi, iniesta, sanchez,fabregas and messi *cough* 2000goals *cough*, i wonder how tony pulis must feel when the only tactics his players understand are hit em hard and long, get stuck in, shawcross stay on your man you bastard, make em cry.

  244. Johnny @10:34, nice one.

  245. I have heard a few people take the piss out of Guardiola.

    The stress of that job is inestimable – he gave every ounce of himself to it.

    He deserves time away to recover – this is not an example of a man walking away because of defeat. He was near physical and mental breakdown.

  246. Lol johnny, are you kidding me, stress of what job? You mean coaching a player that will score 50goals a season, or coaching players that were rated 1,2,3 players in the world(messi,xavi,iniesta) and been able to spend 170 million on 4 players (ibrahimovic,masherano,fabregas,sanchez,alves), what type of stress is that supposed to be i ask again – the first sign of competition he saw in real madrid and poof he’s gone. Stress my ass.

  247. Correction – 5 players
    Ibrahimovic-69 mill
    Sanchez-35milli =187million(notice how i left out henry)
    With a conveyor belt of world class players from the academy and an attacker that scored 73goals this season – if he has been going through stress i wonder why wenger and ferguson have not commited suicide yet.

  248. Khalifha – I don’t want to argue about this but if you knew more about the difficulties of the role and the pressure he put himself under within in that you would not have said what you just said. I am tired and cannot elucidate properly but if you even watched ‘Revista’ regularly or read Spanish column in The Guardian – I think you would better understand the stress of this role.
    It is to do with 360 degree management and many other poisonous factors comparatively alien to most Prem managers.
    I can explain better but I am too tired.

  249. pedantic george

    That khalifha has a point,don’t you know

  250. too tired…or too pissed!!!

    but i agree with george who agrees with wiz….as soon as pepe loses he is off, well it does certainly look like that.

  251. Johnny, let me put it to you in a question, do you consider coaching messi, xavi and iniesta stressful … Joking, we already know the answer to that.
    Seriously now, the question is; do you consider the barca job more stressful than city,utd,chelsea or arsenal managerial post. Personally i think the only reason he resigned is because he has won everything possible there and feels the players are not giving him 100% anymore(e.g reduced pressing of opposition), not that ‘stress’ bullshit.

  252. He nearly left after the winning season having had ultimatums from his wife who was deeply concerned about his health. Would you say the same then?

    I’m not pissed enough Duke! But I think it daft people are prepared to make such derogatory judgement calls without better knowledge. Plenty of people get told off for similar guesswork on here.

    It’s not surprising – there is much to hate about Barcelona – it’s predictable that would spill in such a way.

  253. Del Piero

  254. Yeah actually jonny did’nt he have to go to the hospital for a brain scare or something, totally forgot about that, maybe george was wrong then.

  255. pedantic george

    Jonny ,I have not spoken badly of the guy .But jeez,I am fucked if I will feel sorry for him.

  256. Would be nice to see the same level of sympathy afforded to AW. I also see people clamouring for Pep to succeed him but I can’t see that he has what it takes to achieve sustained success on a shoestring in a league where you are not managing one of the darlings of the establishment and where it is open season for the thugs to maim your players

  257. surely if a mans health is in question passenal.

  258. Well excuse me for thinking stress did not involve sitting back and watching messi score 70goals while you spend 200million in 4 years with iniesta and xavi causing me pain every match, o God why do you hate me so?, i wish i had it tough like guardiola.
    As for ”But I think it daft people are prepared to make such derogatory judgement calls without better knowledge”, i will restrain myself and not comment on this, i don’t want to get banned you know.

  259. How come this health problem is not public knowledge?, if it is i doubt chelsea would be flashing their panties at him or liverpool adding him to their manegerial shortlist, same as every other big club without a manager. so this ‘knowledge’ you speak of must be non existent among clubs too, right johnny? The all knowing sensai, can you show me your masterful ways of gaining this ‘knowledge’ you speak of o wise one.

  260. Limestonegunner

    There’s only one del Piero; are you voting for him to be our third striker Passenal?! I would go for that, surely…

  261. Well in fairness to Guardiola, he was off last summer until persuaded otherwise by the board.

  262. khalifha @12.32 and before

    His health was public knowledge, he’s never made any secret of it but at the same time, never trumpeted. Managing them is different to City, United, Arsenal; as Passenal rightly points out, they are the darlings of the establishment but also more highly political – proper politics, not club – than most others.

    And no you wouldn’t get banned for that. Got to be much worse than that.

  263. I haven’t seen any sympathy for Guardiola and furthermore I don’t recall anyone, least of all him, asking for any.

    However, I have seen a lot of sniping and people pointing out how easy his job is. In spite of the fact that those who follow Spanish football regularly describe it as one of the most stressful roles anyone could wish to undertake.

    Given that the two reasons he cited for leaving were stress and exhaustion, I find these comments poorly judged – are we to conclude he is a liar, or that he just made an ‘easy job’ very difficult?

  264. Just Another Luke


    I seem to recall reading a Paul N’s review of the season where he split the season into 9 games bloc similar to parts of your excellent article today. Mere coincidence or is some credit possibly owed to Paul N?

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