One Of Us Speaks – Phone a Fool

July 2012, and Annie Brosterhous is worried. It’s nine at night, and Arsène hasn’t emerged from his study since returning from pre-season training in the afternoon. Although football dominates her husband’s life, he’s always been able to set aside a few hours every evening to relax with his loved ones.

But not tonight – Wenger is lost in thought, reclining in his leather armchair, watching a summer storm unsettle the foliage in his garden. And for some reason he gives me a call to tell me his troubles and see if I can help:

It’s a problem that he never imagined could be a problem; Robin van Persie is still at Arsenal. Hardly something to fret about, but, after signing two attackers, what’s concerning Wenger on this rainy night is how to accommodate his newfound abundance of attacking talent.

With an injury-free squad for the first time in at least five seasons, there’s much for the manager to ponder. After getting used to bad luck over the last half-decade, Arsène has been cast into a quandary now fortune’s started smirking at him.

So what to do with all these forwards? Rotation obviously has its merits, but doesn’t apply to players like van Persie. As the captain and all-round best footballer, if there’s no danger of injury, he must play. And this is where the trouble lies.

In the current system there’s only room for one central striker. Not only that, but it’s a system designed specifically to get the best out of van Persie; he gets to decide when to make runs in behind or when to drop deep to get involved in the build up. Off the ball, it’s his movement that catches his teammates’ eyes.

Barring injury, rotation within the current system would mean that van Persie and Giroud get an equal share of games. All told, that wouldn’t be many for either an expensive new signing or the club’s captain. And as for the notion of keeping Giroud as backup on the off chance van Persie should be injured – well that was the plan for Chamakh who played little more than a full league match in the season before.

Podolski is now also at the club, and he doesn’t quite fit the profile of a wide player in this Arsenal front three. He’s rather more direct, apt to shoot on a whim and from ludicrously narrow angles, where most players would favour a cross or cut-back.

He’s capable of linking up, but perhaps one-twos and intricate through-balls are not part of his make-up. He could play on the left as he does for Germany, but most likely to put the finishing touches to moves started through the centre or down the right, not to conduct play from deep.

Of course, you might not agree with what I’ve assumed up to now. But what I’m going to suggest is that for all our attacking players to be included adequately, Wenger might choose to come up with a new formation.

At times last season we played a kind of 4-4-1-1, but that was only briefly, on the occasions in which we threw on Chamakh.

It was also used mostly as a last-ditch effort to try and save matches. As I’m proving here, I’m not all that clued up when it comes to football tactics, but I am aware that 4-4-2 isn’t necessarily ideal for our brand of football – for playing in triangles, between the lines and all that stuff.

At Arsenal there are plenty of good central midfielders – so many that a 4-4-2 would render a number of good options benched or out of the squad completely. With just two spaces between as many as seven candidates you’d risk creating a new headache in midfield before you work out which kind of system suits whom.

Since 2009 we’ve been generally stuck with two relatively deep midfielders – last season it was Song and Arteta – behind a slightly more advanced one. Ramsey had that role for much of last season, but Rosicky played there more often as the season wore on.

So how would you keep three men in midfield, but also free up spaces in attack? Well one option would be to try this hip 3-5-2 that everyone’s been talking about.

That’s two defenders inclined to tackle with aggression and win aerial battles (Vermaelen and Mertesacker), with one dropping a bit deeper and cleaning up (Koscielny). In front of them Arteta and Song pick up where they left off last season, and out wide, a little further forward than usual, André Santos takes up the position that might actually suit his skill-set best, and Sagna’s formidable stamina is put to use on the right flank.

Rosicky or Wilshere head the midfield three. And here’s where it really starts to fall apart – van Persie, Gervinho, Walcott, Giroud and Podolski all vie for two attacking roles. One holds position in the middle (van Persie, Giroud, Podolski), while another (van Persie again, Podolski again, Walcott, Gervinho) plays as a kind of inside forward with freedom to roam. Van Persie could also play behind the front two.

But rather than solve the problem, this further complicates things. For Arsenal fans it might conjure memories of George Graham running out of ideas in early-90s. Wenger has never used three at the back, well not at Arsenal. And we’d need to sign another footballing centre-half in the Koscielny ilk. What’s more, none of these players have played in that kind of formation, at least not recently.

In the end, Wenger regrets calling me up, makes a cup of tea for Annie, and solves the problem his own way.

All the same, what do you think he should do? Can we carry on with the same system and simply rotate, or do we need a new system?

Posted on June 15, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 303 Comments.

  1. OOU – So basically you are saying we are dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t!! Sounds like The Arsenal to me 🙂 Seriously if these are the problems that we end up with next season, I will gladly take them. Especially when we reach the busy part of the season where we are playing a game every 3 – 4 days. I agree on one thing entirely and that is that we will never see a 3-man back line under AW. It all sounds like a very nice headache to me, let’s hope that is exactly how it pans out.

  2. Thank God (or whoever/whatever) I had to work all day today and was not forced to watch THAT game. Appreciate the comments peeps but seriously we were always slated to finish last as we lack any imagination whatsoever. Trappitoni is an excellent manager but as usual with managers who are determined to play a certain way, he loses the ability to let his players just go out and play. He may prove me wrong against Italy but I really doubt it. I would love him to tell the Irish lads to just go out and attack, attack, attack! I mean why not right?

  3. Turd!!! 🙂

  4. Talking to yourself Irish?

  5. By the look of things, our players are taylor made for 3-5-2.

    Nice article, BA.

  6. And was enjoying the conversation too 🙂

    Any new recipes I should be worried about?

  7. tailor.. WTF!

  8. Who the hell is this Taylor fella?

  9. Apparently, Consolsbob in a vain search for some decent football got a little too close for comfort. He must be really missing The Arsenal!!

  10. I haven’t got a helicopter!

  11. ClockEndRider

    “It’s a problem that he never imagined could be a problem; Robin van Persie is still at Arsenal. ”
    personally I’m struggling with the concept, if he wanted to stay he could have said so at any point. And then we have the situation where both parties, the club and player, meet and agree to say nothing about the outcome. It just doesn’t point to the suggested outcome. Not that that’s necessarily a bad outcome in itself. The club will go on as it has done before……

  12. OOU – firstly another fine piece of prose, take a bow sir.
    Secondly I know that the very nature of the football spin cycle condemns us to Sisyphean repetition but I get an overwhelming sensation of deja vu when I think about this piece.
    Every year as the season starts I look at the abundant richness of our first team squad and marvel at Arsene’s task in accommodating them all. And every year the wicked injury witch casts her most vicious spells; all aimed at the Emirates.
    I couldn’t imagine how Rosicky, Wilshere, Diaby, Song, Ramsay, and Arteta would all get games in the middle when only three can play. It would be a miracle if we were actually allowed this headache for once, I mean wouldn’t it?

  13. is it the sign of the times that among the rumours today, Man City have got 4 strikers up for sale in order to sign RVP? It would solve the above question posed if he were to go, although there is a little matter of a couple of signatures on all important contracts, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, eh?
    In the event – a midfield 4 of Podolski- Song-Arteta-Walcott sounds okay to me, and RVP playing just behind he-who-is-yet-to-sign … don’t mess with the back 4!
    Problems anyone?

  14. Bananas……but you need to remember that for large parts of last season we only had two defenders so 2-5-3 may be an option or even 1-5-4 as a contingency

  15. I agree with Stewws syphiludean point

  16. When you put syphiludean into google the options are syphilis, phil dean and syphilids. Obviously two of those I’m very familiar with but Phil Dean?

  17. I just knew there would be an Arsenal connection. Frank you are a deep cove.

  18. I wouldn’t mind seeing us go back to the 4-4-1-1 with Van Persie in the hole, Giroud (should he be signed) as centre-forward and Podolski and Walcott on the flanks with Song and Arteta in the middle. That would be a good team to watch I think.

    On a more general point regarding rotation, should it not be beyond a manager as prestigious as Arsenen Wenger to explain to his squad that, barring injury, no-one will play more than about 40 games (meaning 45-50 with internationals thrown in) per season and rotation would be the norm. The players would be kept fresh and couldn’t complain of burnout, it might be more feasible to play the pressing game more often and it keeps everyone on their toes. The only downside I can see is some lack of continuity, but if you limited yourself to changing only one or two players between games then this could be mitigated too. If our squad is as good as we think it is then shouldn’t this kind of thing be the way to go?

  19. Some of my favourite places are deep coves

  20. If we’re doing favourite coves then Lulworth is right up there for me. Not sure how deep it is though.

  21. OOU – Nice wite up, and of course, very thought provoking. There is always the option of course that whilst RvP will remain our No1 striker, he could also play his fair share of games on the right of a 3 as he has done for Holland. That may slightly reduce his goal threat, but the teams overall goal threat would be increased. I would be surprised if Podolski does not cement his place on the left of the three.

    That would leave Gervinho and Theo to offer competition and depth to the front 3. AOC as well, although he seems (to me at least) destined for a more central midfield role.

  22. Steww – I lived in Lulworth Cove for 3 years. Great place.

  23. Upper Street Gooner

    Good right up.

    There are very few players in world football who can play every game. I’m utterly amazed that Ronaldo and Messi do what they do.

    There were clear signs this year that RVP needed a rest at times but couldnt get it due to lack of quality backups this hugely affected us particularly in the xmas period.

    No need for this to happen this year. So much of our game is born out of the energy levels of our attackers and midfielders both defending and attacking. We really dont want to be hearing much of the ”we played with the handbreak on” chat this year.

    Injuries happen in football and there is nothing that you can do about it other than either respond positvely nor negatively about it as a collective. With the squad we are developing all these issues should be reduced significanlty next year. The ability to rotate has been missing for a few years now and it will be good to have it back

  24. I can’t be arsed playing tactical number games with 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, it is too simplistic and often suggests a playground grasp of the game.

    It is intelligence aligned with tactical formations that work, on occasions I question the basic intelligence of our players, the Norwich game for example. It is often excused on the basis of inexperience, at some stage inexperienced players must become experienced players, how many times can we read on a Monday that “lessons will be learned”.

    At the last home game I said to one of my mates that we had a problem in midfield, too many players believe it or not. Of course my statement was predicated by all those players being fit and able to play.

    I was roundly told to stop being a c**t as that scenario would never happen.

  25. GA

    So are you telling us you were living in a deep cove, a hermatic existence?

    “I’ve kept my vow for eighteen years. Not a single, recognisable articulate sound has passed my lips…”

  26. Not going to defend my knowledge of tactics, since there’s nothing to defend! I get too caught up in the fun of it all without noting who was where and did what (let alone question whether what they did was what they were asked to do) – apart from for a couple of players. Really, the thrust is – Giroud and van Persie will most likely have to play together next season – but how, and who would be sacrificed?

  27. Ha, excellent write up
    We are the Arsenal, we always have atleast 5 key injuries. Sigh. I wish we woudl have a selection headache but it waould hardly happen as lady luck doesn’t flirt with us, she is always (pardon my language) fuckin the Mancs and red nose especially.

    GA, I’m not sure Podolski would have start left bert yet. I think next season we would see a more determined and aggresive Gervinho who would be properly settled.

    3-5-2 ?? Never , 4-4-2 ?? Never, Arsene realised in 09 that football has changed and its needs 3 CM’s to control the tempo of the game like we like to. 4-4-2 is just to direct for our style, only to be used if we chasing a game in the closing minutes

  28. GA – we used to camp at the Durdle Door site and walk over the cliffs down to Lulworth. Sometimes the Castle sometimes the Lulworth Cove Inn would be the lucky beneficiaries of our custom. On the way back we’d retrieve bottles of cider we’d hidden in rabbit holes on the cliff top and sit and watch the moon on the sea getting stoned and drinking more than ought to be humanly possible.
    Happy days.

  29. Yogi until he screamed “Those are my fucking juniper berries”

  30. hmmm 3 at the back eh? The Italians do it well but they are Italians after all! With 2 left full backs our width on the left and Sagna doing less defending (what he is best at). I gotta say it might be an option in some games but i much prefer a back 4 and our wide players to be attackers first and covering defenders second. Also centre midfield is so important id rather have a midfielder in there than losing one to accomodate 3 at the back. I like the midfield and wide attackers interchanging the way ours do and when played properly the 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 is so fluid its only a starting point formation (or just a way to keep the team formation graphics guys in a job at SKY) 🙂

  31. YW – I was. I lived on a diet of lobster and cockles.

    Your quote could also be true regardless of my location 🙂

  32. I was actually meant to be going to Durdle Door tomorrow, Steww. Then we changed our plans because of the forecast, and now the forecast has changed.

  33. Can be really good when it’s stormy OOU but then it can be grey and horrible.

  34. Yeah, we found ourselves in on the coast last week during all the gales etc, and figured we wouldn’t make the mistake again, just to be sure!

  35. Steww – I know Durdle Door well. The wife and I used to go for walks up there at weekends as they are some great views. The Cove Inn was certainly nice for a drink and just opposite Lulworth Castler was the Weld Arms which did great food.

    Jeff – I have watched Podolski a number of times. I think he will suit that position perfectly in our side and will be much more of a goal threat than Gervinho.

  36. @ OOU
    Chance’d be a fine thing! I don’t think we can accomodate them all in the same team without dropping Tomas R. Great strength in depth, though. Fingers crossed etc etc that we do have all those players next season.

    And why not “Phone a Friend”? Don’t put yourself down, young feller-me-lad.

  37. Don’t you just love English place names?

  38. Upper Street Gooner

    It woudl be wonderful think that we developed a couple of formations to suit different situations

    Failing that i really do think that rotation is the order of the day. RVP could play as the AMC in easier home games on paper but in reality one needs an extremly large squad to be able to compete in 4 comps.

    There is no reason for us to look at the congested xmas period and feb through to march with fear if we have 2 players for every position, which it looks like we will.

  39. Phewww a tricky one indeed.

    A problem many have cried out for for many a season now too.

    I could sit and chat tactics, formations and line-ups all day, and do infact quite often. However that has no baring on my grasp of them. I like what you’re saying OOU loved reading your post after the issue was raised in twitter.

    I would say that the formation sounds similar to the old England christmas tree that venebles used to play. I think the seismic shifts to defence would probably cause more harm than good though. Yes we are frail there but last season did produce a vast improvement as far as set peice defending goes.

    Perhaps a tactic similar to that used by the invincibles could be used. Looking at the current personnel we have this could possibly fit in the most of our more talented players with a good bit of depth. They played a very loose 442 with players rotating and DB10 dropping back a bit to provide.

    Not sure about you but Wenger telling RvP he can be the new Bergkamp and fitting the team around him accordingly gives me a bit of a semi(final).

  40. Birdkamp @ 9:54

    My assumption is that if the Giroud story is true then Robin is leaving thus negating the issue you allude to.

  41. Yes and no. That depends on the situation. It also depends on the players and how well they play together. You can have a great system but without talent you’ll get killed. Just ask the Irish. Spain tore em up. Our problem has been finsibing and giving up late leads. Defense wins championships but you have to score. RVP is the leader. He saved our season so kept him and get parts that will work well with him.

  42. Fungunner – I’m going to drive out of Midsomer Norton through Farrington Gurney on my way to Nempnett Thrubwell later today.
    If that doesn’t make you Nempnetts Thrub nothing will


    Report says that Mark Gonnella has stated RvP likely to stay. There is of course a world of difference between him staying and signing a new contract.

  44. Upper Street Gooner


    AW has identified striker as position which we need to get more quality in so i dont think Giroud arrival means RVP will leave.

    Even if RVP did leave we would be forced into signing a replacement as our captain leaving and being replaced by giroud looks like a major step back although who knows what giroud could bring to the table.

    I keep hearing that RVP is leaving but i see noone providing plausible destinations for him. That is after all the key to this.

    I have no doubt that RVP loves Arsenal but i’m fully aware that he is 28 and has won nothing of note in 7 years with us. We appear to be demonstrating that we fully expect to be competing next year from a position of strength. It would take an exceptional offer for him to leave us.

    Realistically do you think he will have a turnaround and now go to chels or city in england after what his father said…..i certainly dont.

    Bayern, Utd, Barca, real, AC all dont need him.

    That leaves Anzhi, PSG, Juve, Inter and Malaga as clubs who can offer him a wage which would probably blow us out of the water. Anzhi arent in the cl so count them out.

    Malaga have very little chance of winning trophies and there is very little prestige factor around them, i imagine that would count them out.

    PSG have money to burn but would winning the french championship satisfy his buring desire to win things. The league isn’t of the same level as the german or italian leagues let alone the spanish or prem. As a club there stadium is empty and the fans who do turn up many of them are ultra like. Is this really what he wants at this stage of his career, and why do they have a much better chance of winning the cl than us.

    Both Italian teams are huge but both are on a less than solid financial footing. Inter have a tremendous amount of rebuilding to do and arent in the cl this year, thats hardly going to satisfy his need to compete at the top.

    This leaves us with Juve. Great club tremendous history but winning the italian league is one thing but competing for the cl is quite another. Especially considering the new tv deal with give prem clubs 30-40m more a year to spend the gap between the have and have nots will only increase. What matters more is that the league is nowhere attendances are aplalling and its ridden with corruption. Is this really enough to take away our adored talisman….im not so sure!!

  45. Steve

    I have no idea whats goin on with RvP, although I would imagne worst case scenario is he sees out his fainal year with us.

    But even so, Giroud signing in no way impacts on RvPs situation IMO. They can both play together, or be rotated.

    The fact that Wenger stated at the end of last season, which was quite telling, was he wanted to sign strikers plural. Given we are in the market to offload at least 3 forwards this summer, thats not surprising, is it?

    as for formations, I dont see what the problem is in discussing them, TBH. The idea that its simplistic yadda yadda, defeats the whole object of a football blog man.

    We are all simpletons on here after all! 🙂

    I think the 4-2-3-1 formation was designed for Cesc and now he is gone, I see no reason why it cannot be changed, or adapted to better suit the players. What that new formation is, is way too difficult a concept for my little brain though.

  46. I think there is alot of brinksmanship going on with regard RvP and his new AFC contract. His agent will be trying to get as much cash for him, as well as us seemingly signing enough quality players so we match his ego, erm, I mean ambition.

    I still think he will be in the red and white next season…. Playing for Hartlepool.

  47. I’m pretty sure Hartlepool play in blue and white Dex.

  48. those who argue that giroud coming means rvp is gone… i thought that was what they said when podolski was signed.

    real madrid have benzema and higuain. why cant we have rvp and giroud?

    and people were saying we have no quality backup strikers. now we try to sign one and it means rvp is gone?

    i give up…

    OOU great post btw. wenger would be silly to talk to any of us abt his problems tbh 😉

  49. Upper Street Gooner


    Completey agree and he has every right to do such things. Any contract he signs with arsenal will almost certainly be less than he could have got somewhere else so he has every right to get all he can out of us in the same way AW with his own contract negotiations.

    Both have tremendous loyalty and love for the club but there comes a stage where you have to look after number one.

    I dont see how the signings of Giroud, Podioski and M’Vila dont make him think we cant compete next year.

    I’m much more confident about RVP staying than i was the 2 last summer primarily due to barcelona being the club chasing cesc and the moves we are making this summer, i dont see how we cant be very competative next year. Last year this clearly was not the case

  50. Block4

    You spoil sport!

    IF we sign all those players and a back up to Szcszesny, I think we would be title contenders, no doubt in my drug addled mind.

  51. USG

    It’s difficult to pick holes in your logic as it all makes sense, but then one could simply ask why he has not yet signed. If it is simply brinksmanship as Dexter has suggested then it would allude to the financial element being of huge importance to RvP and if this was the case then surely he would leave. Arsenal are known to make offers and then not budge, their offer is their offer. Could of course be balls.

    To say that “Bayern, Utd, Barca, real, AC all dont need him” may be correct but when has need been relevant at the very top level of football. Each of the aforementioned clubs would be improved by having a player like van Persie in their employment, that’s the fundamental issue facing a football manager, what can be done to improve their squad. Perhaps they don’t want him, easier to wait a year and sign him for free. We can’t allow that to happen.

    We discuss Arsenal as fans, a life-long addiction to the club, not sure why we assume players to be similar in this respect. Some are, most aren’t. Van Persie could very well be in the former category but I am quite sure he would like to win things in his career, quite often a player will simply decide that wish is better served at other clubs.


    All I said was that I personally can’t be arsed with discussing numeric based formations, not in any way saying others shouldn’t, each to their own. 4-3-3 is only that when you put the dots on the subbuteo board, one the game starts is can be one thing when in possession, should become another thing when the ball is lost etc. When we decide a forward is a forward and should always be in a line of 3 in advance of the midfield then we’re fucked.

  52. Upper Street Gooner


    I just think as seen with the Dutch squad its very very important to have a squad that is pulling in the right direction. Now i love rvp but its obvious allot of hard work has gone in to make him the pro he is with us today from a responsibility standpoint. I say those clubs dont need him because it would provide potential problems to something that appears to work very well.

    AC, would Ibra and RVP get along and can a club that is crippled financially afford to spend so much on 2 strikers of a similar age

    Bayern have possibly one of the best strikers in the world already. Its known that he suffers from confidence issues would bringing in RVP help him i doubt it and they’ve also just bought Pizarro who is a consistent domestic scorer

    Utd dont need rvp they have a plethora of strikers already and its rumoured the if they do get another ledendowski is their man.

    Barca have Messi and not to much cash

    Real have 3 strikers who are all capable of 30 goals already.

    I think he is genuinly looking to see what we do in the transfer market. Some on here have voiced there dislike to that but whether you like it or not rvp and cesc have been asking the club for 2-3 years to invest in the squad. I also think he understands that this is his last big contract probably and he would be foolish not to do all his research.

  53. Birdkamp – thanks for your take; certainly an intriguing issue at Arsenal.

    What I have observed in a handful of matches is that when Chamakh (and at Euro’s with Huntlaar ) was thrown into the match with RvP (upfront)……all of a sudden, opponent CB’s were distracted from RvP. RvP found more space and time with the ball and became a far greater attacking threat.

    What a goal against the Germans.

    As far as how Arsenal will line up in August, no one knows what chess pieces are left to work with.

    That said, I don’t see Arsene changing from a 4-3-3…..but an talent of evolving players who during matches transition into formations that fit the need of that moment.

  54. Far from meaning RVP leaving i reckon the signing of Giroud and Podolski would mean the moving on of Park, Chamakh, Vela and/or Bendtner and the continued loaning of Ryo and Campbell. We got practically no benefit out of those 5 players (with 2 just arrived and sent out on loan of course). RVP was proacically out on his feet at the end of the season because of this. So having 3 players for 2 positions (realistically all 3 could even play up front together) is much better than having 6 players unavailable for 3 positions due to them being out at other clubs….no?

  55. Clerkenwell Gooner

    What about the stellar intellect that is Niklas Bendtner? He does not get a mention here, although that is quite understandable given this headline:

    Nicklas Bendtner told to change underwear for Germany game

    What is going to become of him? A sure-fire starter in the Carling Cup? For all time?

  56. Deise

    I’m not convinced Campbell will get a Work Permit this summer. Not sure but I don’t think he meets all of the criteria; might be that he has to appeal or spend one more season on loan.

  57. Clerkenwell Gooner
    Thought he looked good against Portugal. reminded us all of his propensity for scoring important goals in big games. Always liked him never yet heard one word from him to justify the oft cited arrogant tag. Every interview I’ve heard he came across as a polite, pleasant and humble young man.

  58. Deise – Spot on. Last year we only had one realsitic option as a striker. For a club of our stature that is pretty poor. Now Arsene is adding quality strikers to the squad.

    If we already had 3 or 4 good strikers, then yes it may follow that we were preparing for RvP’s departure. But that is not the case, we are simply strengthening a position in which we don’t have much quality.

  59. I am not sure why people think Arsene is suddenly going to introduce rotation into the squad, not as if he has been a huge exponent of it in the past unless injury has dictated.

    Thierry was never rotated, Fabregas was never rotated. Being rested 1 game in 10 is not rotation. You do not rotate the top players in world football, for one thing their enormously over inflated egos would not allow this.

    Perhaps Giroud (as there appears to be a conscensus that he is signing) would be happy with such a situation as assuming Robin stays then Robin plays.

    Now I could be wrong but I have also assumed Podolski to be a starter so back to the original piece you have a number of players vying for the last place in the side.

  60. Steve – Maybe RvP will play more games one the right hand side of a main striker? Or even behind a main striker, although Arsene nearly always assigns a midfielder to that role.

    Of course Giroud could be a replacement for RvP, but I stil believe that RvP will stay. Or of course the Giroud rumours could be just that. Rumours.

  61. Birdkamp yet another well thought and thought provoking piece even though it will drive all of us mad!

    As far as formations go, I think sticking with the 433 is the what Arsenal have been created and that wont change. Now I do think a tweak could take place depending on if it is Giroud or M’villa and/or Giroud is signed. We could go to a 4-1-2-3 that would not only give us more flexibility but also allow for RVP to drop deeper ala Bergkamp. We could start with:

    –Song(M’villa if he signs)–

    But we would still have the flexibility for Giroud to come on for Mozart thus dropping RVP deeper. Yes it is more attacking but would also allow for the pressing game that Arsene seems to deploy.

    The signing of Giroud IMHO has absolutely no indication that RVP is leaving more to give RVP rest/rotation, not to mention RVP could be subbed out without having such a talent drop off(I like Chamakh alot but he never had the best touch and Giroud while massive does have a good touch and feet) thus allowing us to not have to change our approach, lastly when we do chase a game Arsene can bring on Giroud and take off a defender to where sometimes he would bring on Gervinho or the Ox.

  62. Upper Street Gooner


    I say this becuase there are 4 comps we shouldnt be making excuses for not making a good progress in all of them.

    I’m always amazed when people are so suprised by injuries. They happen every year to every club some deal with them better than others.

    Its a statistical fact that clubs suffer after midweek cl games particularly so if those games are away. There is no excuse not to freshen up the side.

    For once lets look to get stronger throughout the year and play our best football when it matters rather than collapsing or backing our way into a position.

    I’m not claiming to know how to juggle these players but its a wonderful position for the manager to be in and one he must take advantage of. We won nothing by running our star players into the ground.

  63. Steve

    I think its about adding goal threats to the team, more firepower and yes, if called upon, players who can come in in place of RvP if he is banned or (no way this will ever happen) injured. As has been stated Giroud, Podolski and RvP can all be accomodated at the same time if AW so desired. Who knows? Praps that is another sticking point in terms of the new deal; That RvP wants to play behind a main striker?

  64. Wonderful article today. Twin strikers was very effective offensively, moreso in EPL until fairly recently, when emphasis shifted to “control possession in the middle and control the game”. AW always talks control, we had control in this half, we lost control in that period. 4-3-3 is more a tactical mindset than a formation, giving a more fluid responsibility to the players as to how to position themselves in relation to each other, in attack, or in defence. This, in my view, is the real evolution of football and footballers underway. The best example is Alex Song. So is he a so-called DM or a proper midfielder or somehow an attack minded DM? The question no longer applies.

  65. I’m not sure it is about brinkmanship with RVP – I mean insofar as it is unlikely to be down to the agent holding out for massive money. RVP will already be aware he can earn more elsewhere and that we have a price ceiling. I’d guess it’s likely numbers have been spitballed and that RVP wanted more time to come to a decision but he must have a decent idea of the ballpark we are operating in.
    I think he wants to stay and I think he will but that there are issues that need ironing out and yes – perhaps he also wants to see evidence of ambition from the club.
    I’m not too excited about Giroud but I do think he would be a significant improvement on the current striker alternatives – although that is hardly saying much!

  66. Clerkenwell Gooner

    As ever, that was well funny mate! 🙂 Hope you’re OK and the balcony allotment is comin on a treat?

  67. YW;

    I think Campbell has a good shout of a Visa/work permit this time round. He seems a certain starter for C Rica.

  68. People are amazed by injuries because we have suffered a disproportionate and unparalleled amount of them in comparison to other clubs. In spite of changing personnel season after season we are at the top of the injury table and it’s been going on so long that we almost expect it now but that just make it even freakier.
    It’s hardly that surprising or indeed remotely difficult to understand why people are amazed.

  69. Dxeter

    “That RvP wants to play behind a main striker?”

    May sound a bizarre thing to say given the season he has just had but a lot of people (me included) think that would be his perfect role. Probably not the same goal return but that’s where others come in and step up.

    Glad we got this sorted before my luncheon curry.

    Now, is Theo leaving?

  70. Jonny

    The brinksmanship could still be about money. But it could also be about; length of contract (Arsenal may not want to offer him, say; £150k a week over a 4 year deal, but 3 for instance. Plus there may be something about us signing players of quality to show intent. A bit like what Rooney did, but no where as obscene or distasteful. 🙂

  71. Steve; Haha! Yeah me too (although I am having a humble sandwich as we are out tonight for a Turkish feast! 🙂

    I have a feeling that maybe Theo or Song could well be off you know. Hope I am wrong.

  72. Perhaps the ‘how’ of Giroud/RvP is the wrong question OOU. I daresay if it goes that way we shall see them together in some games at some times. Giroud is a reputed ‘goal poacher’ right? At a wild guess he is also adept at keeping the ball. The thinking behind Chamakh (great in the air) had the same idea. Options, options for the various needs.

  73. Changing RvP’s position/role in the side may reduce his own goal tally (although it would still be substantial), but accomodating another main striker may increase the teams goal threat as a whole.

  74. Hell yeah a mention for the might of Hartlepool! and yes they play in white and blue.

  75. Upper Street Gooner

    The arsenal blogs were invited round the training ground this year and both Arseblog, Gunnerblog and le grove all reporting that O’Driscoll and Lewin both said its a fallicy that we are always top of the injury league (they were defending themselves against accusations that our players are always injured). We do suffer from a number of injuries as do other clubs. They stated that soem years are worse than others but on the whole we dont suffer from any more than our rivals.

    We have a large squad of players many of whom are younger and smaller. We also take significantly more risks in signing players with questionable injury histories because of the benefits in value.

  76. Not gonna get carried away with hypothesising (for a change) but playing RvP behind the main striker makes loadsa sense to me. We need a top notch AM, RvP can play that role to perfection, IMO and either Giroud or Podolski can play up top, with Theo, Oxo kid, Gervinho and Podolski out wide.


  77. Upper Street Gooner

    RVP can finish and create.

    Look at what he did vs denmark, dropping deep bringing defenders with him and then releasing on running players beautifuly.

    RVP dropping deep with Giroud occupying cb and then Theo and Podolski making runs in behind its frightening what we could do. Against sides with more of a threat we can push rosicky and Ramsey (who i think will have a great year) into that position and rvp back up top.

    It would be nice to go into some games this year where the opposition dont know exactly what sort of lineup we will playign with which formation.

  78. Theo and Song will stay end of discussion that’s why there is no discussion of it! I’m not having it, Arsene isn’t having it and neither is Ivan, ok maybe Ivan if the right price, but damnitt me and Arsene’s say outweigh Ivan’s, *puzzled look on my face* doesn’t it?!?!?!?!?

  79. Hahahaha! @ C

    OK mate, what ever you and AW say man. 🙂

  80. Upper Street Gooner

    I think Walcott stays if RVP stays.

    Once again its looking at the market for him.

    He is a life long Liverpool fan but they aint in the cl and certainly wont being pumping huge wages into a very good but nowhere near world class performer.

    City dont need him.

    Utd dont need him.

    Chels could be an option but he shows such delight in scoring against them that i could hardly see him playing for them.,

  81. And anyway, with 58 or so games to play, a few more if we progress further in the cups, injuries and suspensions, Xmas pressure and pile-up of games and tiredness, teams need every position effectively doubled. Arsenal were a little tired by April this year, not so?

  82. True ZP, plus Song and Gervinho will be missing for 2 months for the (utterly ridiculous) extra ACN.

  83. @Dexter

    I offered him the chance to play with 2 world class strikers in RVP and Podolski. I then told him if you stay you get to play with a living musical genius in Mozart. You get to play with a massive German in BFG. Finally Santos will teach you how to dance the Samba! *smiling while dancing samba in my office* Theo said he couldn’t resist staying and learning Samba!!!!

  84. Should be interesting today, Song bossed Ibra when they matched up and throughout the PL(jokingly saying that) Parker is said to be better than Song. With Ibra playing in the “hole” now lets see how good Parker really is because I have a feeling Ibra is going to boss the game.

  85. Ahh good ol Santos the smiling Sambarista! I knew the rhythm would get Theo, it always does.

  86. C

    This may come back and bite me on the arse, but I have never rated Ibra. He has qualities, but was always too lazy, selfish and disinterested most of the time. makes Berbatov look like he is on crystal meth in comparison.

  87. See it wasn’t that hard to get Theo to stay we all knew it only took the rhythm of Santos’ Samba to make it all right!

  88. @Dexter

    I rate him and yea sometimes he does look disinterested but I also think that he plays the game at his own speed. For such a massive man he has great touch and control not to mention a powerful shot and very impressive in the air. I watched the Milan vs. Barca CL group match and watching Pique and the lot try to outmuscle and dominate him was quite hilarious. There’s nobody that can make Berbatov look like that, even when he scores he looks likely to fall and say F*** this I’m gunna nap now.

  89. One thing Parker is better at than Song – desperately throwing himself in front of a shot, hes amazing at that! 🙂 Should be a good game though if both sides go for it, which i reckon they will. Sweden need to get off the mark and England will need 3 points to stay in touch with France, who i reckon will beat Ukraine

  90. I think England, somehow, will beat the swedes and france will draw again.

  91. @Deise

    Yea you are right about that! The one thing I did notice about Parker though is that his hair never seems to move HAHAHAHA. Parker good luck with that throwing your body thing, if that’s what makes him great then he can have at it! I think they will go for it but I’m not to certain of the France Ukraine because Shevchenko unlike most strikers in the tournament is lethaly efficient and it seems like he can get a goal out of nothing on his 1st touch.

  92. Upper Street Gooner


    He has scored over 20 goals a year for 7 seasons straight in 3 different leagues.

    I get that people dont rate him as he bar against us for Barca has always failed to deliver in the cl against english sides. His domestic record is outstanding though.

    His performance at milan this year against us was magical. He treated song, kosicellny and vermanlan like children which is no easy task. He has Carrol physique but has rvp footballing ability.

    That being said i think england will win tonight. Whilst disappointing fro AOC i think its a good move to bring in another striker, why milner keeps his place is another matter altogether

  93. Parker is a comitted player, of that there is no doubt. Nowhere near Song as a footballer though. If you could stick Parkers attitude to the game into Songs body you would have a near perfect midfielder.

  94. Yeah I recall hearing about that tour and what was said. We may not be at the very top every season but we are amongst the clubs with the most injuries – and it’s not even the number but the type and patterning of them.

    Even non-Arsenal fans are moved to comment by the misfortune we have suffered.

    I am not surprised our medical team wishes to downplay it – they would have good reason to.

    I also don’t think it is their fault but if you think we have not suffered atypical amounts of cruel misfortune over the last 7+ years you have been watching a different Arsenal than I have.

    This is not to say I don’t also think we could and should have had better depth in the squad at times.

  95. @USG

    I agree but lest we not forget that in the return leg Song then returned the favor and then some not only bossing Ibra but Robinho as well like they were children.

  96. Its a purely perosnal thing, like people never rated Kaba Diawara who I thought was a genius and world class. 🙂

    I think he could be considered one of the best, but won’t be and that’s just down to him and his lack of application. A bit like Adebayor, when he puts in a shift, he is immense, yet fails to about 85% of the time and that’s why he will only ever be viewed as a mercenary twat. Teves has based his entire game on work wthuc and that’s why he is loved, even by those nouveau riche northern monkeys.

  97. BTW – USG/Jabba – you perhaps did not read yesterday’s comments after you signed off but I did respond to your complaints about my ‘rudeness’ towards you.

  98. Jonny

    Bang on ther money there old fruit. You could also add the timing of certasin injuries too (Eduardo’s for instance).

    I think the rumours about one of the workmen on the Grove stadium site being a gypsy spud who put a curse on us, by leaving an old spud shirt in the foundations is true man.

  99. wthuc = ethic*

  100. Spot on Dex most people value and admire work ethic – I dislike Tevez’s histrionics off the pitch but on it he’s an absolute marvel. Incredible player.

    It’s why I can never connect with AA – his so called ‘genius’ becomes all the more irksome when I see him looking disinterested and he mopes around the pitch. imagine what he could achieve if he had Ray Parlour’s work ethic?

  101. @Jonny

    For me it isn’t necessarily the amount of overall injuries but more the amount of injuries to a certain position i.e FB last year. That for me is the issue because there will always be injuries but its when it decimates a whole position that it becomes an outrage to exponential levels.

  102. I must admit, I have never really been impressed with Ibrahemovic aside from the odd game. His stats do speak for themselves though. Kaka was simliar in that respect; obviously a good player, but aside from the odd moment I thought he was overhyped.

  103. GA; Ha! Thats funny because I really rate Kaka, always have done! Its all about opinions innit! 🙂

    Laters y’all, have a blast this weekend.

  104. Tevez has gone downhill ever since his West Ham days, never settled. Somehow he is better at being a driving force at a struggling club than a big-deal superstar. I like him. I’m sure Wenger could have RvP’d him. Re: Parker and Song, nope GAndy. It is because he is less skilled that he needs to make up for it by high work rate. It’s a common trait.

  105. @ steww | June 15, 2012 at 10:55 am
    ha ha

  106. Kaka was amazing pre-Madrid days. Had a knee injury did he not – don’t know if he fully recovered

  107. Dex @12.43

    Trouble is that it is based on the last 2/3 years that he has to have played 75% of their internationals. I presume that there is some allowance made if his debut falls in that period, e.g. recalculating what the percentage of internationals is since that point.

  108. Zim – Not disagreeing with that (ref Parker). Just saying he is committed.

  109. Upper Street Gooner


    Just gone back an read it.

    My opinions are constant unless the facts on the ground change. If you look back throughout my history on aclf the vast majority of my posts are in a positive nature and then one gets in a debate most often about the manager not doign well in enough in the transfer market or sorting out the defence and then it spirals into shitty argument where i dont back down. When was the last serious argument about arsenal ive had on here maybe a week ago in all of the next days i’ve regularly posted with not one comment of disaproval regarding football matters. Taking the 20% of what you dont like and sayign ti about the other 80% is annoying. Anyhow it goes nowhere so will stop one only needs to see the disdain the great writer like Bill is treated when he brings up the topic of defence to know that a poor writer like me wont get far. So you wont here me talking about defence until next season comes around. With regards to the transfer market wenger appears to have learnt from his mistakes so there is no need to talk about such things anymore. Hopefully this means you wont need to sound your disapproval for me for a while.

    With regards to injuries your right we do suffer from allot of injuries but like in mnay instances on this blog we dont look at our rivlas. They to suffer some horrible injuries but it doesnt have the same effect. We also gloss over the attitude the squad has through our manager. AW complains about things to much he gives the players excuses. I look back at succesful sides who have had bad luck during the course of their project like all blacks, england cricket, chelsea, utd, patriots, green bay, all of these sides have been decimated by injuies or bad luck in their succesful seasons but all of them never ever used it as an excuse. You need a next man up attitude in sports and i dont think we have it.

  110. I have a feeling there is allowance made for that YW.

    Just realised pre-season training starts for the lads in just 3 weeks time. It’s no bad thing at all that Holland are crashing out – gives RVP some respite and time to sort his contract.

    Which he will.

    Oh yes indeed.

  111. Limestonegunner

    I would love to see what happens during a season in which we don’t have numerous long term injuries. As that hasn’t happened in recent memory, it is a wonderful summer exercise for us when there isn’t much Arsenal news. We also haven’t yet signed Giroud so this is even more hypothetical. We are at quite a level of contingency and theory here.

    But why not? I’d say we play 4231. With M’Vila and Song (if you can include Giroud, why not add the central midfielder and make it really complicated!) as the two we could afford to play RvP on occasion as the centre of the three further forward as a creative hub along with Walcott/Gervinho/Ox on the right and Podolski/Gervinho/Ox on the left with Giroud/Podolski up top.

    When RvP plays as the one, we would have Song/M’Vila/Coquelin and Arteta/Wilshere/Ramsey as the two with Rosicky the centre of the three.

    We start in four competitions and with the ACN taking Gervinho and probably Song. Rotation keeps us fresh for our league challenge in March-May and hopefully we go deep in each of the other competitions.

    AW gets the big buck and the plaudits as a genius manager when he has to decide who plays in the FA cup and CL final in our historic triple based on form and the best combinations developed over the course of rotation during the season.

  112. None of which explains this creepy reincarnation under a new pseudonym!

    I will admit USG seems more reasonable than the old Jabba but yes it was only a week ago where you got in a tizzy and YW neatly dissected and skewered your argument for the contradictory shambles it was.

    I don’t mind you reinventing yourself but it would have been polite to announce yourself up front rather than keeping quiet about your identity.


  113. Upper Street Gooner

    ZimPaul | June 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I agree parker is massively less skilled than Song. We have the most skilled squad in the prem in my eyes, you need some of those other ingredients though.

    When some gooners said they wanted parker, it wasent becuase he could be brilliant in a tight space or pass the ball 50 yards.

    It was becuase of his no stop effort and heart which would galvinise the rest of the team. You would never have parker taking the opposition for granted and nor would he allow his teammates to.

    We have lacked this kind of leader for years. People speak of Cesc in bad terms on here for the way he conducted himself in his final season, well the opposite of that is parker. Tough away fa cup game in a cold ugly part of the country on a shitty pitch against opposition very much up for it….i would take parker everytime

  114. Upper Street Gooner


    Yogi suggested i do it. And i 100% won that argument last week so much so that Spurs sacked Redknapp this week!!

  115. Jonny

    Agree with contract situation. It’s got to be resolved before pre-season one way or the other.

  116. Why on earth are people comparing Parker with Song, two completely different footballers. They’re not even similar enough to share one letter between their two surnames.

    The closest comparison with Parker in recent years has been Flamini in the season before he walked away, a player whose primary role was to disrupt opposition play and to then play the ball simply to a much more talented colleague. Parker does it to Modric while Flamini did it to Cesc and/or Hleb.

  117. Frimpong is that fighting character but because he is young he also has the possibiliy of adding to his game – a 31-yr-old is not going to change that much. AW said, when he brought Frimpong into the team, that his emergence obviated the need to buy a midfielder.

    It’s true of course that AW doesn’t really rotate, but I wonder if he will try the “two teams” approach in FAC and CC matches again? The backup players are more experienced and ready-to-go than they were a couple of seasons ago.

  118. Which is what I meant when I said if you could Parkers attitude into Songs body you would have the (near) perfect midfielder.

  119. ” Every year as the season starts I look at the abundant richness of our first team squad and marvel at Arsene’s task in accommodating them all. And every year the wicked injury witch casts her most vicious spells; all aimed at the Emirates.
    I couldn’t imagine how Rosicky, Wilshere, Diaby, Song, Ramsay, and Arteta would all get games in the middle when only three can play. ”

    Actually I feel the same way EVERY time someone here lists their starting XI. I feel like mentioning that the exercise is pointless because you can expect 3 to be injured, 1 or 2 to be in a tournament in Africa ect. But that just gets you called a doomer. But that’s why I never list my starting XI and declare them unplayable. Truth is they are unplayable in the sense they’ll never all be fit for Wenger to play’em all.

  120. Upper Street Gooner

    End of the day i have no doubt that we are doing or have done everythign in our power to keep RVP. If he leaves there will be nothing we can do about it. The key is learning from last summer and making sure it happens on our terms with regards to timing.


    Flamini was a huge loss. He was the type of guy you would liek next to you in the trenches, non stop effort and aggression. The opposition always knew that even if arsenal fluid passing game wasent working they werent goign to have an easy time in possesion themselsves.

    The tone it set for the rest of the team is incredible also. Its embarrsing for lazy players to see a guy usually far less gifted workign 3 times as hard and seeing the love the fans give him for it.

    Like i’ve said many times before, there is absolutly no reason why Pedro and Messi are so much betetr defensivly than our forward players which they are other than laziness

  121. Upper Street Gooner

    FunGunner | June 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Frimpong is coming off 2 acl ruptures. The lad needs to be given time to get back to fitness and then sent on loan to anaother club for the rest of the season.

  122. I’m not sure Parker, or players like him could fit into Arsenal’s style, which is now a huge part of it’s identity. I’m sure he could apply himself, but not too much more. I kind of like Parker in the same I liked Flamini or whats-his-name at Everton, the South African. But seriously folks, globally Arsenal is often compared to Barca, for good reason. Would Parker grace the Barca team? Can’t we aim higher?

  123. “On a more general point regarding rotation, should it not be beyond a manager as prestigious as Arsenen Wenger to explain to his squad that, barring injury, no-one will play more than about 40 games (meaning 45-50 with internationals thrown in) per season and rotation would be the norm. The players would be kept fresh and couldn’t complain of burnout,”

    I agree fullheartedly with this. I find this is where Sir Purpleface at ManUre has an advantage over Wenger. He manages to rotate his squad better. He manages to get the most out of Giggs and Scholes without burning them out and bit players like that hack Fletcher and Park seem to play tirelessly when called upon. I think our overly thin squad’s players were overplayed and that’s why we traditionally faded in February when our pretty passing game became inneffective on cold hard pitches and players were too tired to grind out a result.

  124. Zim – But to play Devils advocate (which is all I am doing in this instance), our recent style has not worked has it? Maybe someone like a Flamini or a Parker would have improved the team dynamic. A good team is not always about the best players, but more often the best mix of players.

    Just a thought.

  125. Wilshere has some Parker-like qualities, but is also gifted on the ball. Even Diaby fully fit is quite dogged, but also magical going forward. Ramsey has some Parker work-ethic qualities when fresh, but still a little young/lightweight. Arteta is a tough nut on the whole. Players these days at Arsenal’s level need much more than “in the trenches” mentality. Frimpong could be a massive talent in a few years, and part of his game will be attack. Flamini, I think, was ‘work-in-progress’ for AW but had potential; covered a lot of ground, hounded and harried, also useful going forward, but not good enough there.

  126. @ USG
    I am well aware that Frimpong is recuperating. What I said was that he is the type of character that was being talked about. So we already have that sort of player in the squad.

  127. I have no been able to read all the posty, but one point was said early one that I would like to comment on.

    Yes, RVP can complain that he has been with us for 7 years and has no trophy. However, there are 2 parts to that statement that need examination.

    He has been with us for 7 years, during which time he has been injured every season, except last , for a major part of the season, frequently being injured playing for Holland.

    Could it not be said that, had he been fit during those seasons, our chances (as well as his) of picking up a trophy or 2 would have been increased considerably.

    So, there is a strong argument to say that his lack of trophies, is, to some extent, a result of his own injuries, not what the club may or may not have done, and who the club may or may not have bought.

    The other related point is that the club stood by him, and developed him into what he is during a 7 year period, during 6 years of which he was injury prone and frequently injured.

    That is a long time for a club to show loyalty to player, in an age when loyalty generally means nothing.

    Is the possibility of a medal or 2 on his mantelpiece worth more to him than repaying the loyalty that he received from AW and the club?

    If it is, then let us get the most we can for him and say a friendly goodbye.

  128. @ ZimPaul | June 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    “Wilshere has some Parker-like qualities, but is also gifted on the ball.”

    Yup. That was what he showed us when he came back from Bolton and had his break-out year.

  129. apolgies if this is a double post, but it seems to have disappeared!

    @ ZimPaul | June 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Wilshere has some Parker-like qualities, but is also gifted on the ball.

    Yes. That spirit was evident in his break-out season.

  130. Zim – Don’t really agree. It seems a bit arrogant of us to say that those types of players are not really good enough for us. Fletcher has done that role at Manure for years and they don’t seem to have done too badly. De Jong at M City this year.

    I am not saying that Parker would have improved the team (although he may of), but a player of that ilk may well have improved the dynamic of the side without being as technically gifted as other around him.

    The last time we had a player of that type in he side (Flamini) was the closest we got to winning the lge and also did pretty well in the CL if I remeber rightly.

  131. Also, as Fun has just pointed out, Frimpong is exactly “that type of player”. That is one reason so many were so excited by his emergence; he was the type of player the side has been missing.

  132. jjgsol

    i agree that rvp’s injuries contributed to us not winning a trophy. of course we will never know. but if he were to ask wenger: why didnt we win any trophies?

    wenger would have replied: because you weren’t on the pitch.

  133. I think “hasn’t worked” is highly debatable GAndy. 15 years in top 4 and CL is a massive achievement, just not one with a gong. Global fan-base, built mainly on a style of play is bigger by far than any trophy. I think it’s something else entirely, which as a military guy (as I once was by the way) you might appreciate. Arsenal has been fighting on two or even three fronts, knowingly of course, and not much choice. It has had to maintain, as the priority, its status at the cutting edges of modern passing football, with players at that level (and of course try to win titles doing it). It used a youth development system in part as a medium-long-term method of achieving this, as mature players at the level required are expensive and rare. It needed to build its financial security and pay for a stadium and Colney training. 2 and 3 are secure in the system by now, or close, and Arsenal may well be reverting to the first front with renewed gusto.

  134. Upper Street Gooner


    Yo are right Frimpong posses many of those attributes and he looks like a great prospect. That is what he is though a prospect at this time.

    As has been pointed out on here many times before we have some serious quality at the back and yet a poor defence.

    Seeing as Pat Rice taking over set piece training had an excellent affect on the side i think our issues come squarely down to our ability to put pressure on the opposition on the ball. At times last year when we clicked best (spurs, milan, city) games last year much was due to our harrsing of them on the ball. If we can translate this weaker opposition as well we wont suffer the same struggles aginst them.

    You can always lose to Utd, spuds, citeh, chels or liv in those one off games. The key is making sure we drop only around 5-7 points at home next year and very rarely drop points to significantly inferior opposition. If we out work teams they stand next to no chance against us.

  135. Zim – I agree with much of that, but I suppose my point is that a player of that ilk may have made us even better (maybe not of course, but I do think it is a valid debate). We have achieved plenty as you quite rightly state, but that does not mean that we could not have achieved more.

    And for a club of our stature, winning silverware is always the main focus.

    Anyway, I am off. Have a good weekend all 🙂

  136. 3 at the back? Ok that might fly in Italy where shirt pulling is de rigueur….(if Steww is going to use Sisyphus , I’ll throw in de rigueur)

  137. @ Goonerandy
    To clarify what I said about Frimpong – I was talking about his character. He can add, and will be expected to add, to his game. That’s why I think his youth is in his favour, in contrast to someone like Scott Parker.

  138. As so often comes out in these discussions, it is about objectives. My feeling throughout has been that Arsenal has objectives bigger than most imagine. Or put another way, although wonderful, I would imagine a winning a trophy is a limited objective in the big picture. Coming back to Parker/Flamini/Frimpong etc OK Flamini did a job, and Parker would have done so too, Flamini was 24, eveloping, Parker 31, Frimpong 19/20 and a big future. Which of the three responds to the bigger objective? (Since after all, one must make priorities and choices).

  139. When Wenger took over at Arsenal he inherited a 3-5-2 from Rioch and announced that he would keep it until the end of the season at which point he would switch to 4-4-2. In fact he introduced 4-2-3-1 and the rest is history. When defenses began to play deeper to cut out the space into which Henry would run we bought Adebayor to offer a more obvious aerial threat close to goal (Bendtner was also used to achieve this) the aim being to bring the defences out again to provide Walcott with that space. A 4-3-3 was then employed to bring a central midfielder closer to the striker – usually that was Fabregas.
    Actually the fashionable formation these days is 3-4-3 with one very attacking full back used as a wing back and a more orthodox winger used on the other side of midfield.
    Re rotation – Chamakh was only used sparingly because he’s not good enough to displace RVP who, the older he gets, the more rest between games he’s going to need. On that basis Giroud should get a fair bit of game time and might represent a major upgrade to the domestic cup line up.
    The interesting thing is that all three (RVP, Giroud and Podolski) are left footed indicating that we would play an orthodox right winger (think how Theo and RVP combined so well last season) or that RVP is definitely going.. With Arshavin going (?) and Rosicky likely to be within a couple of years of also finishing at Arsenal the holes to fill are going to become increasingly obvious. Maybe the first one in from outside could Ryo or, of course, the other left footer Joel Campbell.

  140. I’d love to see Frimster come through. It seems some Gunners have taken agin him for being juvenile and running his mouth at that toad Piers. Some idiots have called him an embarrassment and cringeworthy. They can foxtrot overcoat.

    Me – I just love having a ‘heart on sleeve’ Gooner playing for the team – and one with such exuberance too. Hope his knee troubles are a thing of the past.

  141. ” RVP is the leader. He saved our season so kept him and get parts that will work well with him. ”

    Sounds like a great idea but what do the beancounters, Chief Financial Officer and risk management types at Arsenal Holdings plc think? They may be staringsquareat the just under 100 million pound debt figures trying to arrange interest payments. For all we know, instead of paying Robin the extra wage he deserves they may have to earmark more money for window repairs or a roof repair contingency fund for Highbury Square.

  142. interesting points insideright, u just might be onto something…
    ALL our wingers are right-footed…
    RvP naturally slides more to his left to receive the ball, so does Poldi….
    Chamakh was so RIGHT-footed he always seemed to kill momentum when he was passed to in an attacking surge…
    Keeping the flow & tempo is very crucial to the way AW teams play…
    Lets hope Campbell’s good enough to swing to the wings with ease like RvP & Poldi…

  143. I threw up over a Jack Russel near Durdle Door. I had been nursing a champagne and whisky hangover after being best man at a wedding in Corfe the day before. Wandered around Lulworth Cove whimpering with a headache to make Leon Trotsky jealous. Passed an old couple walking their dog and well….

  144. Limestonegunner

    John Henry is calling into question the value of building a new stadium or re-developing Anfield. Obviously it has some genuine value but he is claiming priority for Liverpool’s growth needs to be on global commercial revenue expansion and based on a team challenging and winning. Now much of this has to be directly a result of the frustrations in funding and planning the two stadium options in a less robust environment like Liverpool for corporate hospitality. But, he is articulating an alternate path as a possibility. Given their squad, it is going to take a while!

    But from an Arsenal perspective, it is an interesting hypothetical. The pillar for our club’s strategy has been the new stadium. This was supposed to allow us to compete with ManU and advance in our European ambitions, but Chelsea and now City have appeared in the PL distorting the financial picture while other big clubs in Europe have spent big and Barca have also had Messi and several other great players. The extra revenue after our loan payments on it (now that the Highbury project is over) are about 30 million until it is paid off in a decade and have involved big ticket price increases. We are a globally recognized club and are doing more now to cater to that with the summer tours and so on. But, what if we had taken a different path and developed the commercial revenues more aggressively early on rather than building the stadium? What would it have led to?

    After the Invincibles season, if we had negotiated short but lucrative sponsorships and had neither the stadium nor the Highbury debts, would we have had a slower transition and been more successful 2006-2009? Would we have been able to capitalize on more commercial income without being tied to the long-term Emirates deals? Would we have begun the summer tours earlier to capitalize on Henry, Pires, Vieira’s global recognition? What would that scenario have looked like.

    It might be an interesting “what if”, choose your own adventure, alternative history exercise/experiment. (not that I want to endorse any of Niall Ferguson’s work!)

    My gut sense is that the stadium is/was the best option, but it has had its opportunity costs certainly. The one issue is whether it might have been easier to build the stadium without the Highbury project that put us under extreme financial pressure for a few years during the real estate bubble bursting. So in reality there are two “what if” scenarios that could be explored.

    In any case, Liverpool might have no choice but to try the commercial route and cash in on their receding history globally, but unless Rodgers is a miracle worker like AW, it will be a while before that team can challenge regularly for the CL places, I think.

    And since we are indulging in highly theoretical and hypothetical future scenarios, like Arsenal signing all these players and not having any serious or long-term injuries, it might be worth a “virtual historical” post for someone good with the financials from that period to explore. It’s summer after all.

    Or we could just re-watch some games from last season, like Steww did yesterday. I think I’ll watch the Chelsea one. Two comebacks for the price of one in that one plus JT falling over!

  145. There’s no doubt the club want Giroud, Mvila and a backup keeper and that they would do so IF they could generate the funds by offloading expensive dead weight. They’ll need to offload Vela, Bendtner,Squillaci, Park, Chamakh and Arshavin and somehow get some funds for them. THAT’S the difficult part. Who can afford their salaries and pay a decent transfer fee (and want them)?

  146. Agreed with most ’bout the Frimp. Hope he recovers well. I expect an improved suaveness to his game over time. He’s definitely one for the long term.

    Big Al,
    Rotation’s the order of the day..we’re slowly cleaning house and doing the 1-in for 2-out in my view. Bendtner’s showcasing it all @ the Euros. If he scores against the Portugese some lucky team’s gonna want some of him f’sure.

    The better teams run a perpetually fluid game, 4-3-3 to 3-5-1 to 4-2-4 to 4-2-3-1 etc. The objective’s pretty simple at the end of the day.

    hope to see M’Villa today.
    No work permit for Campbell might make for a tighter rotation & could keep AA @ the Arse!
    JC’s got all the time to prove his worth…
    a final year with AA could be what the silverware ordered!

    ww & ww..

  147. People need to be more patient. Sometimes really good stuff takes a long time.

  148. That was you frank? took weeks to get the smell off the dog blanket.

  149. Tell that to the Spuds & Scousers Frank

  150. I see that the totally impartial Lancashire born PFA man, Gordon Taylor, thinks that RvP will join Man City. What planet do these people live on or more to the point what planet do they think we live on. Cunts

  151. “Yogi suggested I do it”

    WTF? The single most worrying sentence I have ever read on ACLF.
    My old Dad used to say to me “George ,you will speak to anyone” He was not being kind,by the way.

  152. If that dog was yours, Steww, I have still got your wife’s teeth marks on my left thigh. What a day…

  153. Philmar ,If you think “offloading” Arshavin is going to be difficult.then you are even more stupid than I thought.

  154. pedantic george

    Bloody wordpress

  155. I had to have her put down after she bit you.

  156. Strange times indeed George – maybe it was meant to be part of his rehabilitation and reintegration into impolite society?

  157. pedantic george

    Its disappointing is what it is Jonny

  158. Clichy starts in place of Evra

  159. oboy, its raining meerkats & steww-dogs in Ukraine..

  160. A wise decision I think, Evra was very poor in the last game.

    Plus he’s a total douche.

  161. game suspended…thunder & lightning all over the stadium

  162. where do England play their game again?

  163. ” I think the rumours about one of the workmen on the Grove stadium site being a gypsy spud who put a curse on us, by leaving an old spud shirt in the foundations is true man. ”

    Yup, they are as true as the rumours of a Gooner gypsy who once shat in a batch of lasagna at Three Point Lane.

  164. While there is no football on the telly or anywhere else can I ask for a bit of help. Tech geek computer help. Using XP sp3, Firefox. When I right click the word ‘Emplane’ comes up in the little box of options. Never seen this before google offers nothing anywhere, Suspect something bad has happened. Selecting ‘Emplane’ does nothing (apparently) which suggests it’s doing something I don’t want it to. The word is in the top of every right click box for every function including spell check.

  165. OK I just closed everything down started again and it’s gone. WTF? Weird.

  166. ” Philmar ,If you think “offloading” Arshavin is going to be difficult.then you are even more stupid than I thought. ‘
    You didn’t capture the gist of my comment, rude jerk. Offloading him AND getting a decent transfer fee to help fund the current spending spree. DO tell us who’ll take him, for how much and will that be enough to buy Mvila?

  167. Steww – it sounds like a variant of the Meplane trojan/virus.

    Nah, just joking.

  168. pedantic george

    Is “Jerk” good?
    It was when I was younger .I remember that well.

  169. Something wrong in my contextual menu. Apparently.

  170. The thinking England fan’s must have apparel –

  171. Steww, I imagine people have been trying to tell you that for years. 😉

  172. And more Jonny.

  173. Yes george, for you ‘jerk’ would always be complimentary 😉

  174. Great Post Big Al. Your best yet and that is saying alot.

    I love the idea of the team being more tactically and formationally flexible. We play the exact formation and use the exact same tactics throughout our entire organization from the youngest levels on up. That sounds great but I think it limits our ability to adapt to different situations. If your team is sooooo good that you can impose your style of play on everyone else then there is no need for flexibility. However, even most top teams (other then Barca) seem to adapt their formations and style of play depending on the opponent. Big teams in our league do not play the same way against us as they would against bottom table team and we need to be more able to adjust I think. Arsene used to use a less aggressive 451 formation for CL games during year we made the run to the final. As you point out, hopefully the new signings will signal a more open mind from our club regarding tactics and formations going into next season.

  175. Arsene Wenger went all coy when asked on French TV about the signing of Olivier Giroud.

    “I won’t say anything to you,” Wenger told TF1. “Even under torture!”

  176. Under torture? Are TF1 forcing him to watch the England game?!?!?
    Sounds to me like they are close to purchasing giroud. I suspect Le Boss would have denied the rumours if they were not true.

  177. @ steww and Frank
    ha ha

    @ Aman
    Got your wish – M’Vila on. And Giroud coming on….?

  178. Where’s Kos, that’s what I want to know!

  179. Philmar @ 7:04:

    “Sounds to me like they are close to purchasing giroud. I suspect Le Boss would have denied the rumours if they were not true.”

    Fingers crossed!!!

  180. AOC sacrificed to move Young back and allow Carroll in…

  181. No Theo, no AOC. Gah.

  182. But they are rested and won’t be injured – good from an Arse POV

  183. France won.
    M’V & Giroud played but…oh my Carroll scoreth!

  184. Fuck me – what a header!

  185. That was a towering thundering header…WOW!

  186. Have to say Milner has been pretty decent this evening.

    He is certainly not deserving of the level of criticism he has had on here from several.

  187. …Giroud showed nothing. Didn’t have time to do anything.
    …really like the way M’V spreads the passes to the wings. Don’t expect any goals from him based on the way he’s angled when he plays.
    …Ukrainians lost their poise too easily and the french grew in confidence.
    They deserved the win

  188. Swedes must be doing something wrong to make Milner look good;)

  189. I’ve always rather liked Milner, since his Newcastle days.
    A hard worker, disciplined, team player who really grew @ Villa.
    Playing @ too big a club can be detrimental to some players’ development (re: SWP, Parker, Pennant, Sturridge) for various reasons but methinks Milner versatility will see him keep his place @ SHitty.

  190. Lawrenson is such a penis.

  191. corr: ..but methinks Milner’s versatility & professionalism will see him keep his place @ SHitty for a long time.

  192. in a dick, phallus or right cock, Jonny?

  193. Exactly Aman – he’s unexciting and uncomplicated but his all round game is predictably decent. He puts a reliable shift in. Sometimes that’s what is required first and foremost.

  194. Is it in the cameraman handbook to only see beautiful people in the crowd….oh along with the colourful characters?

  195. Milner. Not Lawrenson.

  196. Got me thinking Ukrainians are pretty good looking people.

  197. Cameraman part time job – ‘hunt for hotties’.

  198. I hope Giroud gets adequate minutes vs Sweden.
    So far I’d still rather have Rodallega!

  199. pedantic george

    If you like that type of mundane shit Jonny.
    Do you ?
    Me ? I like flare,flare and workmanship flare.

  200. well thank u I say to all cameramen…guess voyeurism comes with the job description

  201. Did you like Ray Parlour, George?

  202. pedantic george

    As a man yes ,as a player ,not so much.

  203. pedantic george

    Martin O’neil and John McGovern type of players just annoy me.
    I don’t see the need for average players, no matter how much they run about ,or want to win.

  204. If you want an Arshavin in your team you need some workmen to cover the slack and the luxury. We have had plenty of such players over the years.
    Gems shine brightest with monkeys to polish them.

  205. pedantic george

    I know you are right Jonny ,but I prefer my monkeys to look like Arteta

  206. 1-1 sweden score, cue the angry england fans saying how rubbish England is. Retards. One minute their average and the next their shit, fickle.

  207. Prefer my gems to look like DB10.

  208. finally, theo!
    Commentators bitching about him already.

    @ Mole
    Ukraine fans doing the same earlier. Fans are the same the world over.

    @ pg

    You don’t have to choose between fight and flair. the top players should have both.

  209. Theoooooooo.

    Frankly I’d be unfussed if we lost tonight.

  210. I’d love it if Theo saved England’s bacon.

  211. Why is it so much fun watching England implode? Probably because I just saw Alan Hansen smugly telling us about how shit the Swedes are.

  212. And as I said it…..!!!!

  213. pedantic george

    FG,I agree. But all fight and no flare < all flare

  214. THEOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

  215. “He’s been living off his performane in Croatia” indeed! Twunts.

  216. Limestonegunner

    Walcott for Milner. Genius shot from Theo. Should have brought him on earlier to counterattack at the start of the half.

  217. Walcott fucking beauty, i love him (no homo)

  218. Fun – if that’s true, where do you stand on AA?

    Also does that mean so called ‘luxury players’ are a dying breed – no matter how good they are ?


  219. flair, pg, flair.

  220. I can’t believe some people are suggesting we should get rid of Theo – that was a quality goal!

  221. FFS Moe – no one cares for the clarification/distinction.

  222. Well deserved Theo.

  223. pedantic george

    yes flair,like my old trousers. (google crome auto change)

  224. Carroll, stop being egoistic. Theo was making such a good run ~_~

  225. pedantic george

    Walcott fucking beauty, i love him (only homo for Andrei)

  226. I’m really pleased for Theo as in all the hype over AOC he was being labelled a flop by comparison. He has obviously been learning from his illustrious club team mate, because that was an RVP-like finish!

  227. they should let Theo take the next FK.

  228. One goal, one assist – Theooooooooooooooooo!

    Okay from Wellbeck.

  230. Theo saves England?

  231. Limestonegunner

    Theo’s cross excellent and pace crucial. He’s saved England’s bacon indeed. He’s changed the game. Hero Theo!

  232. @ passenal
    It adds extra spice to see him shove the words of his critics right back where they came from.

  233. walcott please don’t turn me gay, YOU FUCKING BEAUTY , YOU BEAUTIFUL MAN.

  234. Lawrenson backtracking…
    Just accept it, guys – he’s a good player. He’s not the most technical but he’s effective.

  235. At least Wellbeck had the decency to point to the source. Great finish anyway. Good tournament.

  236. Oh hell, theo’s injured.

  237. Limestonegunner

    Walcott down, looks like he has hurt himself, off for the Ox. Maybe a hamstring?

  238. Crap. Alex for a limping theo.
    Arsenal save England?

  239. Limestonegunner

    Uh oh, theo’s continuing. Hope he doesn’t aggravate anything.

  240. See george, I just KNEW you had a sublimated manlove for Theo. Now that isn’t homophobic cuz i’m happy for you.

  241. It’s never been in doubt for most of us – and perfectly put FG.

    Effective yes. And frightening to even the best (ask Barcelona).

    Ah! And unfortunate!

  242. False alarm. Theo is back on.

  243. My boy Theo, getting it done.


  244. Moe – really?

  245. Oh well, so much for hoping Theo not starting would mean he is rested and uninjured….

  246. AOC on. Don’t break hims as well, please, Woy.

  247. According to the Swedish lady sitting next to me, this is all Sven’s fault (that sweden might go out) He should never have taken Theo to that WC.

  248. Stevie G, that was supposed to be an all Arsenal goal. Useless!

  249. Crazy tournament.

  250. My thoughts exactly, Evil.

  251. Jeez guys. Theo’s not THAT handsome. Glad I wasn’t around here 10 years ago. Can’t iamgine how much you must have fawned over knickermodel Freddy Ljunberg and pirate-goatee sporting Bobby Pires when our midfield really knew how to bang’em in.

  252. I know this sounds like hindsight, but honestly when I saw the lineup I thought you are not going to win without either of TW or AOC.

  253. Maybe Theo will finally start getting some respect from people? I won’t hold my breath though!

  254. I have not really liked an England side in a while but I am backing this team and I rate Hodgson. Well done!

  255. ‘we love you Freddie,
    Because you’ve got red hair…’

  256. Chuffed for Theo. For all the abuse he has taken from the media and the disappointment of being left at home in 2010, this was exactly what was needed: Theo saving England. Can’t put it any other way.

  257. He’s grown up so much. Hope he isn’t off – it always hurts so much more to lose the ones whom you’ve reared from a puppy.

  258. @FG
    Same here. I hope he won’t give us that disappointment.

  259. I was just hoping that England loose this snooze-fest…until Theo came one…Really happy for Walcott…

  260. I apologise for my earlier over-enthusiasm , i was…………..under the influence. 😀

  261. Some of those who claim to be ‘in the know’ on Twitter are saying that Arsenal are looking to offload him. I don’t see how that can be the case as the right side of the team was the most effective attacking threat last season – WS to BS to TW to RVP to goal! Why would you break that up unless you had to? Theo is also a big game player – ask chelski and the spuds.

  262. FG – can I say I am sorry? Will it count for owt even if it’s genuine?

  263. Fungunner at 9.54
    I can well believe it a lot of us thought the same. If only Gerrard had let the Ox finish at the end then it would have been the perfect Arsenal rescue job.

  264. Sorry? About what?

  265. pedantic george

    Passenal ITK my arse.

  266. Raised since he was a puppy? Surely he was toilet trained by the time we bought him from Southampton.

  267. @ Steww
    Guess that’s why we call him Stevie Me.

  268. Philmar no we still had to put newspaper down at night.

  269. pedantic george

    Steww,some people eh?
    They suck the life out of me.

  270. Well since Andrei doesn’t want it, maybe Theo will have to accept the role of killer sub in the event RvP stays, Giroud is bought and all 3 play upfront alongside podolski.

  271. george,

    push play on my tune?? go on.

  272. Sorry about whatever it is that causes you to carry a grudge and that you ignore attempts at reparations or even genuine attempts to just interact. I have never encountered an ongoing mood like it and I would rather make peace.
    Surely it would be better to have dialogue?

  273. @ Philmar
    Toilet trained is still a puppy. And there was definitely the odd “accident”.

  274. pedantic george

    I heard it tonight on the Drive Time show on radio 2 Duke!
    How are you?

  275. pedantic george

    Jonny,who are you trying to smoke a peace pipe with?

  276. pedantic george

    Oh FG,I remember now.

  277. I can’t see 3 left-footed forwards playing at the same time. Theo’s speed is a great outlet for us and he has a good understanding with RVP. If he is fit, he always starts so why would he be relegated to the bench?

    Some people are like kids at Christmas, only too quick to throw out the old toy as soon as a shiny new one is waiting to be unwrapped. But we haven’t even unwrapped it yet and for all we know, it might not work in the way we hope, then we’ll be glad we kept hold of the old and perfectly serviceable one!

  278. Strange reports from a match in the Blue Square division of the Euro Championships in Kiev tonight. Apparently some alien being from a planet whose inhabitants are without football brains was beamed down and won the match. The cundits in the studio were left speechless.

  279. Philmar

    Haha, under the influence of being passionate lol, i was abit exuberant.

    As much as theo has made his case this game, he will play against Ukraine but not against tougher teams where hodgson will prefer the more defensive Milner.

  280. george, i’m made up for theo mate…could’nt happen to a better player tonight.

  281. pedantic george

    He did you proud tonight Duke.

  282. pissed off the hacks at the sun no doubt george. they cant wait for woy to fuck up.


  283. woy knows.

  284. rooney stay on the bench please.

  285. Steven Gerrard you are an utterly selfish wanker, sir. Complete pillock.That ball had Oxo written all over it.

  286. dukegoonem

    Yes dear? 😉

  287. Be fair to the noble captain, Frank. If the game had ended with a goal and two assists to Theo and an all-Arsenal goal, the poor unfortunates in the studio may never have recovered. Somebody had to intervene.

  288. cracking goal by welbeck, he is some player.

  289. You’re right, duke. Any chance he might be looking for a club that can provide the assists he needs?

  290. Jonny

    Piers Morgan is a cunt. frimpong is right to have a go at him.

  291. ‘I can’t see 3 left-footed forwards playing at the same time.’ Why not? How often to 3 right footed forwards play at the same time? Why is leftfootidness seen as some sort of handicap if there is more that 1 of em about the place 🙂

  292. Hahaha, just saw the scores. Well done engerland. Well done Theo. & Woy. Will watch the game later. A tie will get them through to next round, I think. But can they top the group??? Ukraine will be fighting for survival. Swedes gone. Holland gone. Witch other big team next?? Italy??

  293. hahaha. be witched.

  294. pedantic george

    Hey Kam,Scotts gaff has disappeared.

  295. Just to add to the earlier comments re how good Parker is.


    Lose possession 3 times more than you get it back – kind of opposite what you would think of Parker (according to the media) and opposite of what you want from a centre midfielder – No?

  296. goonerkam

    Holland not quite out of it yet. Portugal & Denmark only have 3 points each.

  297. So it has George. So it has. I hope I had no had in it. I wonder what happened.
    DUPS, HOLLAND where one of my picks for the finals . They have truly been disappointing. Too much internal politics inside their camp and I wonder if they played too many friendlies before the tournament started. The coach seems too weak to make some tough decisions such as benching some of their most selfish stars. And they have the audacity to blame RVP for their shortcomings . It will be very embarrassing for them not to get past the first hurdle.
    I watched the highlights of the England game. That Walcott is some player. Less than ten minutes in and he changed the face of the game. I hope he isn’t hurt too badly and people finally give him the credit he is due. He and his club coach.
    By the way, where in hell was the defance on Sweden’s second goal. Terry and lescott better get their shit together. And what a stupid thing to do for Gerard taking the goal bound canon right off Alex’s boot. What a cross by Theoooo…. have a good weekend everyone.

  298. we dont need rooney..we are capable of goals from all over the pitch..

    that was some game…for the first time in the best part of 10 years i was emotionally charged for an england game..

    when carrols goal went in i let slip a little fist clench whilest quietly whispering ‘come on’
    when the swedes got their double i didnt know how i was feeling but i know i wasnt happy but when theo scored i let out the biggest scream i have for a while and then i spent the rest of the game singing super theo walcott 😉

    roy of the england rovers have me hooked again..
    hes a good man and a good manager and he deserved this start..a containing draw against a good french team unbeaten in over 20 games (should have won it as well) and a good win against a team we havent beaten in almost half a decade..

    well done lads..well done..

    john terry was the worst player on the pitch..him and young..
    young was ineffective as they come and terry allowed mellberg to score two and ibrahimavic made him look like he was running in treacle a few times..
    parker looks like hes carrying an injury..subbed v the french and not really as all action as what he has been in the league..
    but he has to play..its parker or henderson..
    a no brainer really, even with fitness issues

    if only we had scholes, jack and hargreaves still..

  299. @JonJon
    Jack TheoX is the player England need.

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