Can Arsenal Afford To Sell RvP & Pre-Season Clarity

Euro2012 draws to its soporific close with the first half promise of Portugal and Spain lumbering through the remaining seventy-five minutes as penalties drew nearer. The shootout itself finished with the inevitable winner from Cesc Fabregas, a little case of history repeating itself. Their final opponents will be decided tonight as the Germans take their perfect record in this tournament into battle with their nemesis, Italy. Of the pair, Germany are perhaps best equipped to beat the Spaniards and based on performances thus far, would be worthy winners.

The Spanish have been subjected to a lot of criticism for the manner of their play and I find it rather baffling. There is not much difference now to two or four years ago, save for Del Bosque deciding to dispense with the traditional centre-forward on occasion. It is telling that Negredo played last night and Spain were muted in the first forty-five minutes. That was not his fault but served to underline how much they miss David Villa. That and how well the Portuguese harried their opponents in possession.

Quite where Fernando Torres fits in is difficult to see. His spell at Chelsea has been damaging to his confidence but that appeared to be improving. Yet he still finds himself on the periphery of the national team. He is an object lesson on the pressures which come with a large transfer fee and the impact that the consequent expectations can have. Whilst he and Robin van Persie are different characters, it does offer a glimpse of what happens when the reality turns out differently.

Of course we know that Robin van Persie is now staying at Arsenal, even if he does not sign a new deal. He will play out his contract with all of the commitment he has previously shown and we would expect nothing less. We know this because David Ornstein of the BBC in London (or Salford, wherever he is based) tweeted and told us so. Ornstein is a credible source and is in no way related to the David Ornstein of the BBC in London who was torched with derision last year for proclaiming that the Arteta deal was dead and that the Spaniard would not be joining Arsenal under any circumstances. It must be confusing for the Corporation staff when emailing or phoning the Ornstein’s; how their inboxes must be full of misdirected messages. Nor can Arsenal fans be accused of picking and choosing when we want to believe the media, oh no Sir, not us.

Jonny raised a fair point in a recent comment. For those who missed it, he offered this view, which is edited for brevity and not wishing to speak for his opinion on football itself:

If RVP does go to City – I still don’t think this will happen – then I am no longer sure what the point is any more.

Football has been p*ssing in it’s own well for a while but, were this to happen, it would represent an outright act of vandalism upon our club. City have no need for RVP in order to win the premiership or any other trophy – frankly it would be represent a damning indictment of their or any decent manager’s capabilities to suggest otherwise.

If the Arsenal cannot hold true to their principles and actively compete, without being targeted and stripped of our best assets and effectively sabotaged then what is the point in developing new world class talent?

There is another aspect to this: can Arsenal afford to sell to Manchester City? The answer to that comes in two areas although one underpins both: financial and sporting.

In pure monetary terms, Arsenal would be faced with the choice of accepting £20m (a finger in the air figure, not an assessment of value) or passing over this sum. It is not inconsiderable and as we have seen this summer, it would substantially fund two good quality players this or next summer. Squad strengthening is a key aspect of each transfer window and unlike the Mancunians, we do not have an actively investing ‘Sugar Daddy’. Thus, the question is whether the opportunity cost is too much to bear for the club.

The self-financing business model suggests that the club sh0uld not pass up this opportunity; not only does it provide the mechanism to fund the future, there are salary savings to be accounted for as well. If you take a detached view of the scenario, there is nothing that suggests Arsenal should decline an offer of that much money for van Persie’s services.

However, there is a wider aspect to consider and as such, it is intangible: future revenues. What is the cost of selling van Persie in terms of commercial revenues? Shirt sales would undoubtedly decline compared to previous seasons although given this a new kit season, the shortfall might be covered by the purchases of the new designs. Even so, sales might fall compared to expectations.

Which is before you consider the impact on prize money. The loss of revenues is intangible; who knows it might be a gain if Arsenal finish higher which cannot be ruled out. Hindsight has to be used to judge this more than any other potential scenario above.

This is all predicated on the belief that Podolski and Giroud are deemed sufficient replacements. That is not unbelievable given the current squad composition and if anything, offers a potential return for Arshavin. I knew I could keep George happy with at least one line in today’s post.

Whilst the finances are important, they are not the key. As much as they drive sporting performance through investment and reward, it is the football results that dictate whether or not selling the player is beneficial to the club in the long-term. The club has strengthened the forward line this summer and this eventuality cannot be discounted. However, it is hard to see any scenario – injuries aside – where the sale of a player which strengthens a rival, is beneficial. It does not make sense from the sporting perspective.

Such an outcome has a deeper message as Jonny pointed out: how is the club going to be perceived from the outside? In essence the sale of van Persie would leave the impression of Arsenal being a nursery club for the richer members of Europe’s top table. Come to Arsenal, learn your trade, win trophies elsewhere when we sell you. It goes to the heart of what a football club exists for at this level; to win. Admitting that they are powerless to retain key players seems to suggest the white flag has already been hoisted before the season begins.

Elsewhere, Anderlecht replace Rangers in the tournament at Southampton, hardly surprising news given the Scottish clubs current woes, problems that seem to be getting worse with nine players now refusing to have their contracts passed to the new owners. Following that Arsenal will meet with Nigeria as part of their pre-season tour. Playing a national team is nothing new to the club, the list friendlies includes all manner of national XIs. In the main they have been select XI but it is a reminder of the 1980s when Australia and France were both put to the sword at Highbury.  The latter took place in February 1989, a Valentine treat for the ladies. I am not sure that my then girlfriend had a football match in mind when I suggested a night out in town.

Behind the scenes, the changes arising from Pat Rice’s retirement continue. Terry Burton has returned to the club to take over the reserve team according to The Independent. It is a role that he filled three decades ago and was responsible for nurturing Tony Adams amongst others, through to the first team. If Burton is able to continue the good work of Steve Bould in progressing youngsters through, he will do well. And those that don’t make it at Arsenal can generate income that keeps the Academy self-funding. That pesky self-financing business model gets everywhere.

Finally, Ian Castle has contacted me regarding a book he is writing about his experiences as an Arsenal supporter spanning five decades, Arsenal: The Agony And The Ecstasy. He has set up a website and a Facebook page for the project. Please ‘Like’ on Facebook as it shows interest in the book for prospective publishers.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on June 28, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 269 Comments.

  1. Morning YW

  2. We can, but we should not.

  3. morning guvnor…

  4. Morning Aman.

    This is getting Walton-esque.

  5. This Ornstein fucker should be strung up

  6. “However, it is hard to see any scenario – injuries aside – where the sale of a player which strengthens a rival, is beneficial. It does not make sense from the sporting perspective”.

    I fully concur and expect us not to. Our captain remains. Silverware return. The brand expands and “that pesky self-financing business model gets everywhere” faster.

    Very well said YW.

  7. Really enjoyed your analysis YW on why should not sell.

    Who is David Ornstein and where does he get such info from ??

  8. Jeff

    He’s a BBC Sports journo. His sources are protected.

  9. Getting too bloody matey on here. Jonny this, George that…

    Tell you what though, I’d be fair ‘mazed if the price of spuds doesn’t go through the roof if my crop of earlies is anything to go by. Very poor. Second earlies nowhere near ready.

    So tell me, are you paying more for your spuds than last year?

    Also worried about germination of my broad beans. The weather is really stopping the bees doing their work.

    My shallots have already bolted and the runners are way behind.

    As for apples, this is going to be an awful year after two previous bumper crops. I’ll be oin the scrounge for my cider.

  10. Sorry if this is old-hat.
    “What can we learn from a genius?”

  11. ..should be a bumper year for silverware though, Cbob

  12. sorry about your crops

  13. It’s the weather. Shocking.

    Never mind the doings of multi millionaires, raise a few bees.

  14. Howdy John Boy!

    As I and others said yesterday, selling RvP makes no sense and only strengthens a direct rival. Short term monetary gain could impact on long term success and the monies that would generate.

    Its a good job Arsene concurs, he must be as irrational as me. 🙂

    CBob, the only good spud is a mashed one man.

  15. Notoverthehill

    Consolsbob, Sir, your polytunnel no-use ?. All the water you need, why not a paddy field, Sir?

    Definitely a Gentleman Smallholder! Who else would invest in Ornamental Poultry? Rhode Island Reds for eggs!

  16. Notoverthehill

    Sorry, so sorry, Yogi! Good morning, your article and Johnny, depressing.

  17. One of our (IMO) brightest prosepcts has signed for Sevilla. Alban Bunjaku looked awesome every time I saw him. However his dodgy temperament saw him burn his bridges and now he is off to la liga. Think he could be a very exciting player if he sorts his head out. He’s an attacking midfielder and has bags of talent. I was pretty gutted when i heard he had left the club.

  18. Actually, the polytunnel is a bright spot, thank you very much.

    We are actually investing in a few utility birds to increase eggs, as you suggest. The ornamentals are very sweet but bloody useless, as you also suggest!

  19. Dex

    You probably could have used that exact post (minus the no sense part perhaps) 12 months ago and changed the name to Nasri, we both know how that worked out. If we are to believe the stories ultimately Arsene was over-ruled.

    I suspect this has a way to go yet, annoyingly so. Let’s just hope it doesn’t drag into August.

    Now let’s see some people going through the out door in N5 (not Robin).

  20. BvM has left the building

  21. Maybe you should try fish, Cb

  22. One good thing about the torrential rain we had reducing the number of insects around is more peaceful sunbathing in the garden – less leg-slapping, jack-knifing and yelping.

  23. Having scored 15 goals less than Manyoo last season and 19 fewer than Citeh there are questions to be asked and answered about our capacity to score goals and whether the right way is through one man, talented though he undoubtedly is.

    If his sale led only to a straightforward replacement of him under the 451 regime by Giroud or Podolski then it would be a poor bit of business

    If it were part of a change on our approach and a move to more frequent use of 442 then it may be a very sound transaction

  24. I thought spuds were always very poor

  25. Steve;

    Its funny you posting that as I deleted one sentence from my post and it basically said what you just did. That AW didnt want Nasri to leave but was over ruled man. I didnt want nasri to go to City either, but I don’t view him as important to Arsenal. Not just in terms of his goals, assists etc. but in terms of what it would represent. nasri was never seen as a true Gunner, like van Persie is. Nasri was never a fan, unlike Robin.

  26. Being Irish I am afraid I must defend spuds. No meal should be served without them in one capacity or another.

  27. Olivier Giroud says he turned down Chelsea because he wasn’t sure Roberto di Matteo knew who he was. Which is very polite because we all know it’s because he couldn’t spend the duration of his contract working with a man who looks like a turtle who lost his shell at a service station somewhere.
    Nice work from arseblog!

  28. With the opening of the transfer window on the 1st of July and the mounting frenzy about the future of Van Persie, I thought it might help the blood pressure of Gooners everywhere if I set out a selection of opening sentences to be bewared, when reading about Arsenal’s Captain together with the Club’s future signings.
    Wenger is reportedly pondering……
    There is speculation……
    Arsenal is reported to be monitoring….
    Reports have emerged….
    Very anchored rumours are about…..(my favourite!)
    Reports are out..
    It has been revealed….
    Arsenal are being linked….
    ……… the subject of interest
    ………..has attracted interest
    Sources say……

    Gooners interested in becoming sportswriters on national dailies may use these free, gratis and for nothing, in order to further their careers.
    I have an additional 2248 (Yawn, Yawn) which I may publish later in book form. (you lucky people).

  29. Reakky Fun? Plenty of midges in this damp, cool weather here in Devon.

    Enough of the spud jokes! No, I don’t mean it.

  30. Good Morning Mister Yogi – truly excellent write up – almost certainly your best ever. 🙂

    In seriousness – there was another issue wrapped in my words which is the intangible disillusionment of the supporter. As fans, we buy into players – it’s a deeply unusual rather perverse relationship where they receive our adulation, love, worship and money and then, in return, they get to carry our hopes and dreams like an albatross round their neck.

    We buy into an emotional journey with them every season – when they fail, we all fail. When they win we go nuts and we carry their euphoria to plateaus only rock stars know of.

    RVP’s words after the magnificent Tottenham comeback seem a little like a great, big tease right now but allude to his (supposedly special) relationship with us, the fans –

    “During that period, our fans have been incredible. I really mean that – the atmosphere in the stadium has reached unbelievable levels and that makes me feel very proud. I sometimes hear people saying that Emirates Stadium can be quiet, but I’m completely certain that those people will adjust their opinions now.

    “Our bond with the supporters is special and has been there for a long time, but in the last few games I feel it’s reached a new level. As I’ve said before, it’s down to us to give them that energy, to show them that we are ready for the fight, and then they will respond.

    “That’s what has happened recently – the fans and the players have worked together and made a really good team!”.

    In no other walk of life do we form such an intense bond with someone who we scarcely know and who knows us not even remotely. And normally when we support someone emotionally and financially we do not expect they will leave us after their declarations of love just because they have become successful. Weren’t we part of that success goddammit?!

    And this is the thing – how can we form emotional attachments to our players if we know that once they become good they will leave us for Moneybags McTwat with his bottomless pockets and his ‘guaranteed success’? How do we as fans maintain the love if we become a mere talent-production mill for big clubs to pick through like carrion crows – a feeder club doomed to go through the same agony of loss season after season.

    What is the point of that? If this is the future it is not an Arsenal I wish to be part of – a cog in a fucking pointless machine where we churn out future stars who go on to bought success and obscene riches with clubs who have zero class and even less history.

    Football has never been fair but it used to be a lot more of a meritocracy than this.

  31. I want us to sign Yann M’Villa.

    I have no idea if he is any good, or what position he plays. But I demand we sign him.

    Then I get busy coming up with amusing chants about him, to the tune of Y.M.C.A.

    Hurry up Arsene FFS!

  32. Morning Yogi.

  33. Dex

    Huge difference is that even from our external view Nasri appeared to be rocking the boat, openly courting interest from Manchester even though he ultimately went to the wrong club.

    Robin is keeping his counsel which is the correct and respectful way to act.

    Very interesting to see how the board plays this (if he does not extend) as it will speak volumes about values as opposed to simple business.

  34. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Got to watch some of Spain vs Cron in the pub last night.

    I do not understand those who say Spain are dull, as at times it was like watching Arsenal on crack. The speed and precision is absolutely phenomenal, and they are under incredible pressure all the time, with usually two or three bodies descending immediately on whoever’s got the ball. Exhausting to watch it, let alone play it.

    (Also, Silva looked knackered in the line-up, what is up with him? His dodgy ankle gone again? Wonder what kind of season he’ll have next year?)

    A reprise of 2008 final would be highly interesting (although no means certain at this point). The Germans are on the rise, but this Spain team is so cool when the chips are down. Ramos – MOTM – asking to take a penalty an example, gonads of fucking steel. And not a bad pen from Cesc, either. (Apparently he talks to the ball, and tells it not to fail – talk about delegating responsibility!)

    Spain are on a mission – and what with Casillas now the first-ever player to clock 100 international WINS, who says they won’t do it?

  35. Look jonny, yogi used some of your cliche ridden syruppy smaltz today, dont push your luck man, he aint going to use any more! 🙂

  36. Looked at regarding terry burton. the link says he is set to become reserve team manager. you have that he is to become youth team manager.

  37. Steve;

    Yeah, agree with all that mate. Time will eventually tell. I reckon about 2 weeks max.

  38. Clerkenwell Gooner;

    Alright man? How you doing?

    I think it’s the ‘in thing’ to mock the spanish for being boring. BORING??? Talk about bitterness. Jealous springs to mind. They play like a top level club side and to do that at international level is hard as fuck and should be applauded, IMO. Thing is germany also play like a club side, a very different club side, but still.

  39. I feel your pain Bob. Potatoes are amongst my favourite things in the world – even the plants are brilliant – so vigorous and satisfying. I grow some on my balcony, just for kicks – normally get enough for a few meals out of it.

    Cooking wise they can’t be beaten – making a really decent mash, roasties, Dauphinoise or pommes Anna is still a deeply satisfying kitchen job.

    On the chicken front I have friends who keep Buff Orpingtons- they are absolute beauties. But I say, I said I say – the Leghorn is the egg-laying machine.

  40. This is a smart move by RVP. he is now auditioning for other clubs as well as Arsenal. If he does well RVP will be able to demand more money for his services. That stupid thing to do is sell him off before his contract expires. Maybe the guys will make some offer tto intice RVP to stay. If RVP has another year like he did last year the skies the limit.

  41. You can’t even spell ‘syrupy’ Dex. 😛

    Mmmm syrup.

  42. Keep it up Jonny.

    You have a thread there worthy of some more work and debate,


  43. Souds are a very satisfying crop, aren’t they.

    Orpingtons are lovely hens but I do need some more eggs. Utility breeds can give you up to 300 a year for a few years.

  44. Consolsbob. Garlic’s been tricky around these here parts. Had to dig ’em up early due to the “Rust”.

    Jonny’s sentiments echo mine (and I assume most) to the letter. The world’s gone mad. Still, I personally think RvP will be happy with his pay-rise and signing on fee and stay!
    See. I’m clinging on with my finger tips. And they’re being prised off one by one.

    Oh and Clerkenwell, I like the way you write.

  45. In keeping and first in on a Thursday –

  46. ..that spanish left back’s the real deal.
    i assume Barca’s in for him?

  47. Great post, YW – and Jonny. I said it would be a watershed moment for me, were RvP to go to City this summer. But though I’ve wavered a bit at times, I still think it won’t happen.

  48. nice nice jonny…i’m hoping for a bit more of this though:

  49. I’m with ya Mingus – fingertips all the way!


  50. ..” Oh give me what you can’t get back!”

  51. Clerkenwell Gooner

    @ cbob – did I mention a friend has started keeping chickens not a huge distance from the Holloway Road? Got two rescued hens from a battery farm – think they were either free, or very cheap – which are the standard orangey/brown model, plus two very fancy pale grey/blueish tinge ones, can’t remember what they’re called. Kept in separate pens, but allowed to roam freely during the day. Have to be kept an eye on because of urban foxes, but churning out the eggs on a regular basis.

    And yes, something seems to be up with the veg. Not sure if it’s the winter/spring drought, followed by wettest June in 100yrs, or your theory that it’s because of slacking on the part of the bees – but in the supermarkets here in central London, produce is noticeably poor quality – weedy, thin carrots (I actually had a conversation last week in front of the carrot section with a random stranger about this!), same with celery, all still at premium prices, of course. The price of fruit is astronomical – 89p for a nectarine, ffs. I fear that massive food price inflation is coming later this year, as you point out.

    Since it’s Thursday, here’s someone singing about “the wheat growing thin”:

  52. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Hi Dex, yes I’m fine, you? I haven’t been around much because I’ve got a lot of stuff on, and this place, and football in general, can become a huge – if entertaining – distraction. But going cold turkey didn’t really work, as you can see ;-).

    (And mingus – nice of you to say so, thanks.)

  53. My Mum got a couple of chickens to rear in our back yard when I was a kid, why she would do that in London I have no idea, it must have been to remind her of where she comes from in Ireland. Anyway, the story goes that we had a male and a female and as they grew the cock started crowing in the morning. As this wasn’t very neighbourly in Cricklewood, she got my uncle to come round and ring the cock’s neck (my Dad obviously had no expertise in this kind of thing), but he somehow did in the hen, so he then had to kill the cock as well. I’m pretty sure all this was done when I was at school as I don’t remember it and I’m not even sure if this story is completely true, I just remember having to go to the pet shop to get feed for them (and once leaving it in a bumper car after going to the pet shop by accident) which was then gone when I went back. Who nicks bird feed?

  54. Londoners have been told not to keep bee hives – too many hives and not enough pollen producing plants in London. A pity I quite fancied myself as an urban apiarist.

    Spot on re food prices Clerkenwell – I guess this is the future – between ‘global weirding’ and upscaling, mercurial petrol prices we’ll get smaller carrots costing three time as much.

    Cbob has the right idea – ensconced in his self-sustaining bucolic idyll.

    Maybe we can all go and live in his poly tunnels when the system crashes!


  55. Block 4 – “I just remember having to go to the pet shop to get feed for them (and once leaving it in a bumper car after going to the pet shop by accident) which was then gone when I went back”

    I’m sorry- What??!

    I’ve read that four times, through lots of laughter, and I’m still not sure I understand!

  56. I love this accidental (and in a way, poetic) link between the self-sustainabliity / “grow-your-own” thread and Robin van Persie’s contract. Love it.

  57. This is why there hasn’t been as much trouble in the Ukraine this summer:

  58. CBob, you might consider an ostrich. Or a pair. One egg = 12-18 chicken eggs and an omelette fit for king and queen. I have heard they are now being successfully kept and bred in england. Ugly though. Stupid too.

    Frank’s fish suggestion is a good one. Fresh water tilapia are dead easy to farm, as are crabs, as long as the water is naturally oxygenated (ie flows). We just pump it back up the hill (when we have elecricity) and down into the pond.

    This side, winter barely started when it was over. I expect a vengeful cold spell (yes, we do have them) just when we think it really is over. The chillies crop is so abundant not even we can keep up. Tomatoes overflowing. Avocados sadly almost done now, we’ve gorged ourselves on 3 a day for the last month.

  59. Jonny

    “And this is the thing – how can we form emotional attachments to our players if we know that once they become good they will leave us for Moneybags McTwat with his bottomless pockets and his ‘guaranteed success’?”

    good point

    Maybe other English clubs and their fans have been enduring this scenario for some time?
    Everton – Aston Villa – West Ham – and others

  60. By the way, top write up Yogi.

  61. Block 4,you went to a pet shop by accident and left chicken feed on a bumper car!-can I come and have a wonder round your world please mate?(just 5 minutes, go on)

  62. All in war and love is fair, as Stevie Wonder sung; his best song ever as far as I am concerned. And since football traverses both in a way, football too. You make your choices, no one can truly say why one choice and not another, only that you had to decide. Robin will make his final choice at age 29, and it’s fine with me. I will not ask why.

  63. To clear up the confusion, which was probably caused by some bad writing there, I was sent to the pet shop to get feed for the chickens and on my way home I went to have a go on the bumper cars that were set up down the road. I was about 8 or so, these are the kind of things you do. I put the feed on the seat next to me while causing the requisite mayhem and when I got out I accidentally left it there. When I got home I was asked about the feed, so I had to go back to get it and it was gone! The definition of petty theft I think!

  64. My first ever Arsenal hero was Liam Brady, a player who left Arsenal ultimately to line his pockets on a salary 2-3 times more than he earned at Arsenal. I don’t in any way whatsoever think less of him for doing so, different times of course when players earned considerably less money though probably at the time still considerably more than the ordinary fan. I doubt any fan from the time would ever use the word mercenary to describe LB.

    I don’t have a problem with players who exercise their right to leave. On occasions the club will decide to prematurely (in terms of contract) sell players, the scenario works both ways.

    Players who leave for reasons only perceived by us as huge financial gain? Hard to criticise really as none of us know how we would act in the same scenario, turning down untold riches despite already being incredibly rich. Who knows.

    I think it is personally an age thing, also a factor of changes in personal circumstances and the realisation of what is truly important in life, but I don’t really have emotional attachment to any current players. They play, they leave, they are replaced. Doesn’t mean I don’t rate them as superb footballers, doesn’t mean I don’t have favourite players but even when they do leave (Pires, Vieira … ) no sleep is lost, their place is taken, new favourites emerge and the support – and crucially the emotional attachment to the CLUB – remains as solid as ever

  65. I did think of that Arsession – part of me just thinks we are The Arsenal!

    But also we have invested in a different path to other clubs: we have the best stadium in the country, world class facilities, a history (especially recently) of winning big trophies, a manager who is the best at the world at identifying talent and who invented the global scouting network.

    We are aiming for the stars and we have gotten this far through our own (the club’s & Arsene’s) ambitious vision and determination. To see this curtailed in such an iniquitous fashion by bullies with unearnt coin is, I think, a rather different experience than the humdrum struggles of the perennially average.

  66. chickens aside,

    For Arsenal to climb the ladder in league play and CL competition, the club must overcome its present reliance on an individual player. Leaders we need.

    For our attack to be more productive, we need diversity and contribution from every position. Santos is one example.

    Opponents must be faced with multiple threats when lining up against the Gunners. For me our wing play last season was not consistent enough.

    A player does not have to be a goal scorer to be a contributor in our attack and performance results. His presence can also be a disruptive force for the opponent to deal with. Chamakh was just that when he joined the club. No RvP, Arsenal still got results.

    Theo doesn’t need to score 15 – 20 goals a season, but I would enjoy his play (more) if he were a more reliable supply of dangerously crossed balls to teammates;

    ditto for Gervinho.

  67. Jonny

    certainly our vision sets us apart from the ambitions of others, but from their perspective their fan disappointment must be just as frustrating.

    didn’t West Ham have an academy that produced some excellent players ?

  68. As usual YW treats us as adults with a top quality post. How he manages it on a daily basis is simply amazing. (Most times after reading his blog I can’t string together a decent response and I don’t.)

    I am concerned however with the notion that we are the poor exploited defenseless club, asset-stripped, vandalized and sabotaged by the money bags. What would Cardiff and Southampton supporters have to say for us prizing away super-super talent like the Ox and Ramsey? Or the countless French clubs from whom we paid for the likes of Sagna, Koscielny (the Pocketeer is an excellent nickname but too long for us Americanized types), Diaby, Vierra, Henry et al. There are countless others but I hope you get my point. Our concerns about RVP going to must not decend into hypocrisy.

    In the final analysis I agree with the thrust of YW and johnny’s posts. If the League continues to be unregulated with external oil money distorting the market, allowing the likes of Shitty and Cheatski to hover up and hoarding the best players then the BPL will simply become another La Liga; an annual two-horse race. Most of us honest lovers of the game will simply pack our bags and find something better to do with our spare time.

  69. ZP. “Robin will make his final choice at age 29, and it’s fine with me. I will not ask why”
    You’ve just made me relax my finger tips on that precipice, just a little. Does that mean I’m more likely to fall away now, I aks myself?

    Anyway… seeing as you brought up great (and appropriate) Stevie songs, how about “Please Don’t Go”.

  70. Yes, of course they have – some of England’s best – but you’ve taken just one facet of the many points I made.

    It’s do with expectation – no one writes about the fact that West Ham do not challenge for The Prem because no one expects it. Fans of West Ham have had a great time in their own way over the last 14 years – one of my best mates is a Hammer and at times I have been envious – the ups and downs have been incredibly exciting – but it is precisely as Hammer fans what they expect. Their disappointment is of a very different kind indeed.

    I do get your point but I feel as though we running down a dead-end tributary – we may not be as big a club as the very biggest in the world but nor should we be compared to Everton, West Ham et al either.

  71. Arsesession | June 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    West Ham love to bang on about their academy. Did it not win England the World Cup in 66 after all.

    Recent truth is that they had a group of players about 10-15 years ago now (could be wrong on dates) with Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard among others. A decent crop you would have to admit. One by one they were taken away by bigger clubs with bigger finances and the old cliché about a better chance of success. Probably helped at the time by West Ham not having a pot to piss in.

    So the whole plundering of resources by financial muscle, not necessarily a new thing, not unique to us.

    Once or if we start winning things again we’ll have less of an issue in persuading players that we are the place to be.

  72. @Block4,
    My Father used to keep fowls at his Father’s tomato vinery. On a Sunday afternoon, I had to go there and collect eggs in a basket. On the way home I simply could not resist tossing the basket from one hand to the other to see whether I could do so without breaking any eggs. The trouble was I made things increasingly diifficult so that eventually eggs had to break. I ate a lot of omelettes and scrambled eggs that year.
    Sorry for the off-topic but you started it!

  73. We dont have a sugar daddy ??? oh yes we do hes called man city, but rvp will not go anywhere, Arsenal fans need to be a bit more arrogant this ytear, and stop trying to be correct and humble, fuck that, we have a great team which will improve with the signing of mvilla, he can pass quickly accuaratly and at the right time, he is disiplined, do we need anyone else, well for me a centre half cause mers isnt up to it is he, no hes not

  74. In many ways, I am more keen to know Diaby’s fitness progress. Jack seems back on course and in training. Sagna I assume is not back until October-ish. I know Diaby debate has been had a hundred times but assuming we are hanging on to him and he plays sometimes, he changes the outlook in significant ways, never mind any more arrivals. I vaguely assume he will compete with Jack, Ramsey, Rosicky and sometimes take over where Song leaves off, that is a very, very strong position to be in.

  75. pedantic george

    Two birds with one stone ,eh?

  76. Chips, Jonny, you forgot chips

  77. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Apparently “Hummel” in German means “bumblebee” – we need to get Mats over to sort out our pollination problems!|en|hummel

    God, I would love to see him in an Arsenal shirt. Now we’ve started buying German again, can we put him on our shopping list?

    That said, Herr Bumblebee may have a big say in stopping Spain “pollinating” their three-tourneys-on-the-hoof objective, should his team win tonight.

    Is VdB really going to go into a final without a recognised striker up front? Has it ever been done before? He surely would not risk going to penalties against Germans?

  78. Chips aren’t as much fun from a chef’s p.o.v. Frank! Gawd knows I have cooked enough of the bastards though.

    I had a chip butty for dinner last night at work!

  79. @boomer: “(M’Vila) is disciplined”.
    Maybe on the pitch, but it seems to be his lack of discipline off the pitch which is causing misgivings.
    Apropos of Nasri, his current off-pitch problems brought back the memory of stories about rucks between him and Willie Gallas when they were both at Arsenal. Added to Sagna’s polite version of Nasri’s character, it sounds like he’s a shit-stirring bastard.
    Amazing that no-one has bugged a dressing room yet …

  80. Lord how I hated the onset of a type of winter I wasn’t used to and didn’t have the boots for, the clawing chill from my feet upwards, my fingers numb, at the scrap metal yard in Tooting Bec with its open warehouse doors and 7am start, and then cheer myself up looking forward to a chip butty, followed by 3 roll-up cigarettes on the trot with a cup of tea to wrap my fingers around at tea-time. On Xmas eve morning our boss put a swig of cheap whisky into everyone’s tea. Happy Xmas 76.

  81. Maybe one for you, george!

  82. Heh heh. voted.

  83. Well, thank you for all your heartwarmimg, and in Zimpaul’s case, mouth burning stories of veg and chooks. I don’t know why more people don’t at least grow a few veg in their gardens, almost everyone did when I was a boy. A couple of chickens are also easy to keep and productive.

    Beats the crap out of shopping at Tesco’s.(spits)

    I went to an Ostrich famr in South Africa, apparently every pasrt of the bird is used for something so can be a good money maker. I doubt that thay are more stupid than chickens. I’ve seen them kept in Crete too.

    Exotica of choice around here seem to be alpacas but I’m convinmced it’s some kind of pyramid selling thing.

    Any football news, by the way?

  84. Jonny

    you’re right I only took one point to spotlight… issues with the others.


    “Once or if we start winning things again we’ll have less of an issue in persuading players that we are the place to be.”

    Thats how I feel. Arsenal must start gaining for more influence over our players besides the salary thing. I believe our squad depth is evolving.

    Also, paying down the stadium debt will give Arsene more player options. (?) (!)

  85. Bloody hell limpar, where have you been?

  86. I have no problem with a player wishing to leave. The time for player loyalty is long past. It is all about money. Who is he trying to kid?

    What gets my goat (domestic or otherwise) is the long drawn out saga that RVP is putting us through. If he is going, then go, if he is staying, then stay, but dragging this out for months is disrespectful to AW, the club, the other players and the supporters, who, after all, pay a large chunk of his wages.

    I think that he should no longer duck his responsibiliies and get on with it.

    Furthermore, if he does so then Theo and Song are likely to follow him like sheep and the team will then go like lambs to the slaughter when the season starts.

    Another summer of long drawn out transfer speculation is likely to result in another bad pre-season and another bad start to the next term.

    If the club do not sort this out soon the chickens will come home to roost.

    I do not think it right that the club have to cow-tow to any player.

    Anyone who suggest otherwise is talking a load of b..l.

  87. Clerkenwell Gooner

    @ Jonny – There’s a honey that’s made in Regent’s Park, probably made by her Maj herself, as it’s her gaff.

    And they’ll teach you how to make honey for a small fee:

    These people out near Epping train people in the ways of “sustainable” beekeeping:

    While this lot in Battersea have kept rooftop hives for 25 years:

    The special secret is to keep the hives out of sight:

    The Hives Rule of Thumb: Out of sight, Out of mind. If people can’t see the hives they will not complain. Most urban disputes come from the public worried that, bees in an area mean stings. UNTRUE. Again common sense management of the hive i.e. pick a good time to open and inspect your hive when there are likely to be few people around.

    Perhaps could you try camoflage – pretend it’s a dog kennel? – and only inspect them in the dead of night?

    They are actively encouraging beekeeping in the inner city, as we have more flowers per sq mile than the country, apparently:

    Sorry to spam you with links, but it’s more interesting to me right now than if RvP will or won’t sign. And he can buzz off if he don’t. 🙂 (No offence, YW, I love your blog!)

  88. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Agreed, jjgsol, the prospect of losing RvP, plus Theo and Alex, is the elephant in the room, whether the board admits it or not.

    But the modern player has, by and large, become snake-charmed by money.

    Can they change their spots, though? We’ll see.

    (Right, that’s enough work displacement activity for one day. The grindstone awaits. Till Sunday, left footers.)

  89. I’ve started growing herbs and a few salad leaves out back of my flat. Tried some broad beans too but a squirrel got up in my grill and busted them all up. Fair play. Also a cat/fox/fucker from next door smashed in my tomato plant. Total cunt. The salad leaves are tricky because at first I didn’t recognise they were fully grown – because they were smaller than supermarket Chenobyl style super specimens – and so I left them and it turns out they HAD grown and then they died. (maybe I bought dwarf salad leaves?) BUT – got the hang of that now: just have tiny salads.

    I’ve been around. Ducking and diving. Maintaining. Saw the Stone Roses in a Roman amphitheatre in Lyon last week, and Mick Jones’ Justice Band who pretty much played a whole set of Clash songs. Highlight of my year so far I’d say (actually – 5-2 vs Spurs might pip it). Off to Donegal for a week of Guiness tinged lash in a couple of weeks. Was hoping to take in that pre-season tournie in Southampton on the way back but ferries don’t go that way.

    You should do it, Cb – not far from your gaff is it – Southampton – in the grand scheme of things…

    I read your gardening update earlier – so feel I’m in the loop there. Good to hear. Good documentary about Spitalfields fruit and veg market on late last night. Might be worth an iPlayering.

  90. “The Spanish have been subjected to a lot of criticism for the manner of their play and I find it rather baffling.”

    Why so? They are tedious in the extreme, stifling the life out of the game – it’s more like watching a one-sided exhibition of passing rather than a contest between two opponents. However good at it they are, it gets boring after a while. Plus their diving and general cheating, which conveniently goes unnoticed by the match officials? There is nothing likeable about them and I hope whoever they face in the final can finally knock the arrogant gits off their pedestal.

  91. Passenal | June 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    It is a ‘one-sided exhibition of passing’ because they are so good at it and the opposition are either rendered redundant or sit back and allow them to retain possession at their will.

    There is a school of thought that allowing such a team to pass themselves to death in an area of the pitch where they cannot harm you is all well and good but that ignores the requirement of the defending team to be 100% switched on at all times else that one pass will be made which transforms mere possession into a goal scoring opportunity.

    I love watching Spain as I do Barcelona as I do Arsenal, any side technically able to pass the ball and retain possession.

    That’s not the same as saying I think there is only one way to play the game, each side should play to their own individual strengths.

    p.s. the diving & cheating, spot on.

  92. Thanks for the info and links, oh Clerk of the Well.

    Very interesting what you say about the flowers in the capital but this flies in the face of the recent advice from Angela Woods, secretary of the London Beekeeping Association.

    “There is simply not enough forage to go around.

    “A square kilometre of forage is enough to sustain five colonies. If you take a square kilometre around the Royal Festival Hall, there are now 156 registered colonies while there are likely to be many more which are unregistered.

    It has almost got out of control in London. It has become fashionable to have bees, partly I think because of the recession. People are going back to nature and there is a celebrity aspect to it as well.”

    There are thought to be 3,200 apiaries within the Greater London area, though only about 75 per cent of beekeepers register their hives.

    Campaigns to halt the decline in bees and celebrity enthusiasts such as TV presenters Kate Humble and Bill Turnbull have recently boosted interest.

    Ms Woods says there is also concern about a growing trend for businesses to site hives on high rooftops. She said ideally hives should not be higher than a two-storey house, otherwise bees spend too much energy flying up and down to the hives.

    Ms Woods did not name any companies but a number of well-known London businesses and corporations have installed rooftop hives, including Fortnum & Mason, the London Stock Exchange and the Royal Lancaster Hotel next to Hyde Park.

    She added that the association did not want to discourage people from keeping bees but urged Londoners and the city’s parks to grow more bee-friendly food.

    The lack of forage — nectar and pollen from flowering plants — has resulted in low honey yields. Experts say the annual yield for a hive should be a minimum of 35lb of honey, which allows keepers to take some and leave the rest for the bees. Now a typical yield for London hives is only 31lb.

    Ms Woods said: “Beekeeping is a fantastically rewarding hobby but we are getting really worried about the future. People do not realise that the more bees they introduce to London the more they are contributing to their own demise. There are a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon without realising the risks.”

    The link you provide regarding there never being a better times is a shop – so I’m disinclined to trust their claim that there has never been a better time to be an apiarist in London.

    The last thing I want to do is bee part of the problem honey.

  93. Spain’s passing, incredibly admirable though it is, is becoming a sort of all-consuming monster; sacrificing a striker for ANOTHER world class playmaker, while the hellbent obsession to keep the ball makes them scared to risk lower percentage passes. It eats them up. So hopefully it’ll prove their fatal flaw – and they’ll disappear up their own tikki-taka arseholes and implode. We can only hope.

    I do so hate the arrogance and the ‘buying of fouls’. *spits*

  94. pedantic george

    Anyone got any Arsenal stuff to discuss?

  95. pedantic george

    Saying Spain are anything other than brilliant is just sour grapes.
    Diving and cheating apart the football is beautiful.
    And it wins things.Lot of things.More than England has in its entire history in a mere 4 years.

  96. Passenal

    But why criticise a team for being excellent in their passing and ball retention? Surely that is what Arsenal try to do.

    Diving? I’ve become a bit ‘meh’ about it – unless Arsenal are on the receiving end, of course. Everyone does it, we do as well.

  97. LA

    >I’ve started growing herbs

    Why am I not surprised by that? Just the one or many varieties…

  98. I think the exciting, awe inspiring bit of what Barcelona and to a lesser extent Spain is what they do when they haven’t got the ball.

    The first half against Barca in Camp Nou was the most incredible exercise in collective pressing and ‘time robbery’ I have ever seen.

    It can be a bit dull watching the tika-taka at times but I still find it fascinating nonetheless.

  99. From the Arsenal website:

    Arsenal announce partnership with Airtel

    Arsenal Football Club and African mobile network operator Airtel have today signed a three-year partnership agreement.

    The deal provides Airtel with the opportunity to utilise the Club’s merchandising, hospitality and content rights in five markets: Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda.


  100. I currently have 8 chilli plants on the windowsill (4 different types), a mint plant (thriving), dill, rosemary and lost of money plants. Potatoes on the upstairs balcony.

    Glad I did not try for toms this year.

    Here is some Arsenal stuff PG,

    So far we’ve spoken to Stewart Robson (cue delight)-

    “I’ve been a little bit disappointed with Lukas Podolski in this tournament.

    “He’s not a player that when he’s out wide left he’s going to go past people and get crosses in but he does come in at the far post well.

    “He does the basic things quite well. He’ll pass it into the front players. He’ll get crosses in and he’ll get in at the far post and score goals, so he’s a decent signing for Arsenal.”

    The Gunners other signing so far this summer is last season’s Ligue 1 top scorer Olivier Giroud.

    The 6 ft 3 striker completed his move to the club after weeks of speculation on Tuesday, following France’s elimination from this summer’s tournament.

    The big man, who joined for roughly £12m, scored 21 goals as Montpellier went on to claim the title last campaign, and Giroud is a man who excites Robson.

    “I think it’s a good signing,” said Robson.

    “I’ve seen Giroud play for France and Montpellier and he’s an all-round striker.

    “He’s not got pace but he’s got enough athleticism to get in behind people. He’s very good in the air and his link-up play is good.”

  101. I do a fine, giggly strain of sativa.

    …Not really. Sage, mint (can’t stop the fucker – like wildfire), thyme, rosemary, basil, and parsley.

    Chillis are a great shout, Jonny.

  102. Mojitos are probably the best way to stem the tide of mint…

  103. No point trying to convince me otherwise, I personally find them (barca/spain) and all the arse licking from the pundits tedious. There is no excitement for me in watching a machine going through the motions. The novelty has worn off.

  104. Apologies for advertising a rival, YW, but WordPress has a blog, if anybody would like to start an Arsenal thread there.

  105. Chilis are ace but because I am growing indoors and because of the lack of honeybees you have to pollinate the flowers with a small paintbrush otherwise they don’t grow into peppers.

    Mojitos are GREAT use of mint – did you know mojito just means something wet? Anywho I like my ‘wet somethings’ with fresh ginger for a little added bite.

    I tried growing ginger recently – it’s a quite attractive lilly – but no joy with it yet.

  106. A nice little ditty to make our German players feel at home.

  107. Great work, YW!

    I am with Passenal on Spain. Sour grapes may bit a part of it, but with all the greatness they score 1 goal per match for the most part. They bore me to tears. I actually think it is a lot of hype and not just play. You can see teams play like they are scared of them! The only teams that have actually taken it to Spain recently are Portugal, Mexico and Costa Rica and Spain did not beat any of them in open play.

    The last truly great team I have seen is the French world cup winners. That was a team of teams. Germany is close to being something very special, I think.

  108. And here’s a lovely song to help make our german players and any Nazi loving Gooners feel at home too.

  109. I agree with Passenal

  110. pedantic george

    Spain set up to keep possession and probe for openings.Their opposition know they will see little of the ball and set up to defend.
    This is a recipe for low scoring games.
    I hear someone say that Spain had not conceded a tournament knockout stage goal for some 8 years.
    Some teams decide the answer is to set about them and press high,as they do.But they don’t have to play that type of high pressure game very often,because the opponent rarely has the ball. Whereas the opponents have to be running and pressing most of the time.Very tiring.No team has managed it ,that I have seen ,for 90 minutes.
    What is not to like.Possession, artistry,technique.
    Oh I see ,some prefer hoofball and blood and thunder.
    Yes ,lets also bring back mud pitches and Casey footballs.

  111. ..oh and I am growing some dandelions. Apparently they make you wee. Not small..I mean you know….piddle

  112. George

    Us creative types will naturally be drawn to the artisans of Espana. No point trying to persuade these hoofball loving merchants like Passenal and PaulN

    Maybe we should sack Wenger and het Pulis in as manager? Well, we have signed the frnech version of Peter Crouch.

  113. This one’s for all the muthas out there.

  114. pedantic george

    I could not have put it better myself .Dexter.

  115. pedantic george

    Philistinism,is all it is.

  116. Like your wet somethings with fresh ginger for a little added bite? Well I never. Whatever next. Certainly don’t try that with the chillies.

    Erroll Flynn used to rub paprika on his, don’t you know… similar sensation, but more of a ZANG sort of… tickly vibe… if you know what I mean.

  117. Speaking of Elvis

  118. So if one has a differing opinion on Spain, one automatically loves hoofball etc? I am surprised you went there George, really.

    lol @ Dex.

  119. If teams stopped parking the bus against spain it would make for a more entertaining match, it takes two to tango you know.

  120. I used to date a girl called Phyllis Stein. Great shag, but completely uncultured, hated the opera she did.

  121. Khali;

    I think the only team that’s tried to get at Spain has been Italy and pretty successful they were at it too. IF the italianos get past zee germans, they could well win it.

    I posted a thing on here before the Euros started about how each time Italy has suffered a crisis, they have generally gone onto win the football thingy.

  122. Another RvP song:

  123. pedantic george

    I am thinking about it Paul.

  124. Its an Arsenal news desert today man. probably a good thing too. We have been spoilt of late. What with signing the french Peter Crouch and the german Chris “Diamond Lights” Waddle.

  125. George

    Dont even bother mate. Let Paul and his ilk revel in their antiquated rugger-esque soccerball. Heathens the lot of em.

  126. pedantic george

    Yes ,If someone does not like the artistry of Spain,then Hoofball should suit them just fine.

  127. So I had a lil chat with DB 10 and…

  128. pedantic george

    I know Dexter.They will be advocating ploughing furrows in the middle of the pitch next time we play Barca.

  129. Big tune…

  130. Dexter, yea thats true, i also remember that italy comment, although i didn’t know what you were talking about.

    Let me ask, Was Spain/Italy an entertaining match? Thats right, see what happens when two teams decide to play football.

  131. George, you have it all figured out. More power to you mi bredrin.

  132. ‘Artistry of Spain’….actually I thought Portugal were more artistic at times. More expansive. Used the whole pitch. More interesting angles. Less short passes.

  133. pedantic george

    Yes Frank that is why Portugal are World and European champions and in the final again.
    How could I have missed that?

  134. Spain and Barcelona are more Rolf Harris than Picasso. Irritates the hell out of me.

  135. Oh..when you said ‘artistry’, you meant successful. Oh well there you go no arguing with that. Its just well, you know

  136. It was a game that went to panalties. We would not say that Chelsea’s artistry beat Bayerm Munich in the CL Finals.

  137. penalties, even.

  138. The Tony Hart-istry of Spain then.

  139. All these fussy little dots painstakingly and cleverly. Oh yes I won’t deny cleverly. Put together to form a picture. But me? I want broad stokes, I want pallet knife scratches. Dollops of colour. I want vision and meaning. I want my dreams fulfilled. Barcelona or Spain don’t do that for me. Nope, not at all.

  140. On the topic of artistry it is a disgwace that poor old Leon Britton didn’t get a call up to the national squad, when others did.

    I thought midfielders were meant to pass the damn football? I know that jibber & the jiblets *(all of him) would correct me there but I blame a lifetime of watching football for such delusions.

  141. pedantic george

    That Roger Federer,He is another .
    All style and no substance.He needs to volley more.Win or lose quicker.Fucking about all the time.

  142. Slow news day, Zzzz.

    PG, you watching ze wimbledon grandslam?

  143. What a shame. @SpursOfficial have removed their Facebook poll. Probably because Sol was gonna be 1 of their top CBs. Excellent work, Gooners

  144. pedantic george

    Oh Paul,Get a grip.
    They had more everything.Possession ,Attacks ,Attempts.
    For the last 40 playing minutes they were the only team trying to score.So if any team was Chelsea’esque it was Portugal.

  145. pedantic george

    To Compare Chelsea to Spain is beyond stupid.

  146. I have to admit, this ‘false no 9’ shindig spain got going on is complete bullshit.

    If Pep was still the coach of barca we would be seeing things like false center back or false left back or even false goalkeeper, maybe victor valdes can join in attack once in a while with David villa covering for him between the posts, that would teach mere mortals like us a lesson in football.

  147. George, the point I was making is that Spain’s Artistry did not win them the game. It does not matter if they possessed the ball 99% of the time and had 100 shots on goal to 1. That is my whole point for all of their artistry that has you going, they hardly score. I believe that artistic teams should score. If they play defensive ball and wait to catch teams on the counter then I understand less goals but not when they dominate the ball every single game.

    Its boring to me, not sure why that makes you vex but so it is.

  148. But George, I did not compare Chelsea to Spain as far as play, but how they both won their matches.

    Again, I am confused as to why you are so uptight about it.

  149. Cesc has impressed me though. I think they should make room for him in the mid and drop Busquets.

  150. D**Med for writing ‘Jibber’?

  151. Death by a thousand midfield players…that is what it is like watching Spain.

  152. “Maybe we should sack Wenger and het Pulis in as manager? Well, we have signed the frnech version of Peter Crouch.”

    I don’t see what my dislike for the current version of spain has to do with Arsenal? It’s apples and oranges. Arsenal may be good at passing the ball and keeping possession, but there is more variety, excitement and incisiveness to their game. I know I’m supposed to think spain is the be all and end all, since that is what everyone tells me, but forgive me for having a mind of my own and choosing not to jump on that particular bandwagon. I don’t tell anyone else not to like them or deride their opinions.

  153. bang on..

    i would like to imagine with the club earning more profits on property, as well as the upcoming tours and huge sponsers up for renewal very soon, that we are in a strong enough financial position to tell any club who wants him to shove their bid where the sun dont shine..

    there is a massive arguement that we could earn more revenue by keeping robin to his contract for all the reasons mentioned..

    not for sale..

  154. If I could jump I would not jump on that bandwagon either. There are many ways to play beautiful football.

  155. pedantic george

    “pedantic george | June 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm
    Spain set up to keep possession and probe for openings.Their opposition know they will see little of the ball and set up to defend.
    This is a recipe for low scoring games.”
    It is a game plan.It has brought about unparalleled success.
    It is what we aspire towards.
    But what do I know.

  156. pedantic george

    “I don’t see what my dislike for the current version of spain has to do with Arsenal? It’s apples and oranges. Arsenal may be good at passing the ball and keeping possession, but there is more variety, excitement and incisiveness to their game”

    Ha ha,We wish.
    Dear me

  157. Well, I like the gameplan that the Brazil teams of old adopted. That brought unparalleled success. I want more of that. I guess two methods and styles can be unparalleled. Is that allowed? Anybody know?

  158. “Its boring to me, not sure why that makes you vex but so it is.”

    Because you dare to question the received wisdom

    And George, your Federer analogy is completely spurious. I love Federer and think he is a fabulous player who wins more than he loses because he is good at what he does and has a variety of shots at his disposal, with which to hurt his opponent. I understand a number of people don’t like him, doesn’t bother me. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to persuade them that he is better than their favourite. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

  159. I agree Frank, I used to love those Brazilian teams back in the day. They had some great players and although they swept all before them, at least they were entertaining and tried to win the game by playing exciting attacking football and scoring goals, not just when they were up against cannon fodder like Ireland.

  160. Sensei George,
    I think that game up in Blackburn left a bad impression upon you. Just kidding, kind of. They were much much, much better by the time $iteh were happy to lose 1-0.

  161. frank your bang on as well..

    it does look pretty to watch..playing as a unit requires 11 midfielders…
    its easy to see why people think its the beautiful game when they watch the ultra tippy tap..
    but when your a team that has 100% possession and the game ends 0-0 most of the time it gets as boring as watching two gks hoofing it to eachother 90mins..

    ive seen much better teams play much better football…

  162. pedantic george

    received wisdom?
    Oh come on,They keep winning.
    If you like up and at em ,fine .If hoofball is your bag ,fine.
    But if you cant see the skill and artistry in Spain’s play.I suggest you have missed a lot.

  163. What I mean is that a Germany Spain final would be an interesting game.
    Their last encounter was decided by one of those famous Puyol headers from a corner (not Per’s fault, if you were wondering).

  164. Anyway, on a different subject – here’s something for PG

  165. pedantic george

    JJ,What a load of bollocks.
    Games ending 0-0???? Mostly????
    Fuck me.

  166. being a bit one dimensional are you not, George…sir

  167. George, If they are as superior as you are saying, I think it is quite fair to expect at least 2 goals from them on their way to winning these titles, no? If teams parks the bus, an ultra great team such as Spain should be able to break them down, but they don’t.

    The media have bigged them up way too much and have the other teams shaking in their boots before they even play. I can see no reason why Germany got cold feet when they played Spain, it was a totally different team to the one that killed England and Argentina. Michael Ballack said that he thought teams respect Spain too much, after they beat France, I agree with him.

  168. Can’t imagine his wife is too happy about being called, Mrs Slutsky, Passenal. Probably leads to no end of fights.

  169. pedantic george

    Paul,I hope Germany do beat them.
    But to dismiss them as a media invention is a bit rich.
    I believe they have won something like 51 games out of 59 under this manager.
    But that is not enough? They need to win by bigger margins in order to be considered a great team?

  170. Funnily I think you’ve all got a point on this one – it’s impressive and it can be interesting to see the oiled machine and skill that it takes to make it work but it isn’t exciting and it can be thoroughly defensively minded.

    Each to their own.

  171. pedantic george

    If a team totally dominates possession in all areas of the pitch,I say it is because they are better organised and most likely better skilled individual players.
    Teams don’t “allow” opponents to dominate possession,they do it because they can neither get the ball or keep it.

  172. George, they do what they do really well but I think they are over hyped. People actually putting them in sentences with the great Brazil teams. Talk about rich.

  173. george
    i’ll kick you in the nuts..

    maybe 100% and 0-0 got your juices flowing, but the only time spain have looked good this tournament is when they played ireland and they used torres..

    when they forgot to put their strikers in theyve looked beatable and boring and theyve nearly lost every game theyve played in..

    apart from ireland

    when they used a striker..

  174. pedantic george

    Yes Jonny .
    But to simply dismiss it is ridiculous.

  175. pedantic george

    Paul ,I believe they are better than those old Brazilians ,And by a good margin.
    The game has changed,

  176. pedantic george

    JJ ,I am not talking about just this tournament though am I?

  177. Tend to agree with Passenal on Spain. It’s probably doesn’t help that they were tired coming into the tournament; they’ve using possession to rest, which kind of explains why they’ve been passing up opportunities to attack. Also the opposition play a big part by being so timid.

    Really the most disappointing thing is that Italy attacked them, and set a blueprint that nobody’s followed, apart from maybe Portugal last night – that’s the way to play them. Pique has just had a really iffy season, and would have been vulnerable if anyone had the guts to test him.

    That said, I can’t get behind Spain while there’s so little pace in the team. They’re so much more fun once they bring on Navas or Pedro. And I’ve idea what Llorente’s done wrong – I’ve seen Negredo quite a lot over the last couple of years, and he’s never looked more than half decent. He just has the advantage of being quite tall and strong in a league that isn’t all that physical.

  178. Last para – “I’ve no idea”

  179. Spain could be better than every other team but they are not effective enough. Every other great offensive team has scored goals, why should Spain get a pass? They were not special in the world cup and they are not now.

  180. pedantic george

    But the point is people were not talking about this tournament ,It was the dismissal of the style of play that I picked up on.

    Where is Yogi when you need a man in black?

  181. pedantic george

    They were good enough to beat all comers.
    How many goals do you have to win by to qualify as great?

  182. Well it’s not often we disagree George but as I have no emotional investment in Spain all I am left with is admiring their passing ability and despising almost all their players for one reason or another.
    So I’m coming out. I don’t enjoy watching them. There I said it. I really love watching Germany and have enjoyed Italy’s performances too so I will be supporting the other team in the final.
    Doesn’t mean I will be going down on Tony Pulis any time soon.

  183. It was a similar approach in the last WC as well, George. They were a bit more entertaining in ’08, but someone made the point that that was because people didn’t fear them as much back then, and didn’t try to contain.

    I’m a bit of a philistine, me – I like a bit of individuality – dribbles, low percentage passes and goals and the such. I don’t like this Spain team, even though they’ve got the best players.

  184. I love watching Spain play. So comfortable on the ball in all areas. Everyone wants the ball and everyone is able to see a pass due to the movement of the players. That being said i prefer the German style of play as its of a higher tempo while equally technical. Spain played better when Navas and Pedro were out wide, allowing Xavi and Iniesta to get their double act going in the middle of the park.

  185. I mean, it’s scary hoe good their squad is. Guys like Santi Cazorla, Javi Martinez and Llorente would be stars for every other team at the Euros, but we’ve barely seen any of them get on the pitch in this tournament.

  186. PG – Great is Brazil 70, Holland 74. Neat, tidy, skilful, is absolutely fine but I like my buckles swashed once in a while.

  187. pedantic george

    Jeez,I want Spain to lose.I detest most of them.
    But I can still see the artistry of their game.
    You don’t have to like something to appreciate its value.

  188. just to clear this up george,
    i am talking about this tournament..

    i was just agreeing with franks observation, i didnt realise i was jumping in the middle of something so me and thee have no beef

    spain have been shit at this tournament but they have been very good before..

    but at this tournament theyve kinda tried to revolutionise the game a little further and play with no strikers and its looked shit..
    i know ppl have had conversations before about future formations being 4-6-0 but spain have gone for it and its not the best ive seen..

    theres a better team at this tournament..and they use three strikers and if spain win this comp theyve been lucky..

  189. If they played more like Athletic Bilbao did in the UEFA Cup last season I’d love them. But I don’t think they have enough left in the tank to play that way. They press the same, but don’t risk as much on the ball. So it’s nowhere near as fun to watch. Sorry to ramble.

  190. pedantic george

    Stew ,So do I FFS.
    More than most here.
    I give you Arshavin as my mitigation.

  191. Agree with Steww.

  192. George, if you are the greatest team ever you should score goals.

  193. OK George misread you sorry. I thought you were saying if we dared not to like Spain we were automatically saying we like Stoke. Of course we can all appreciate the incredible calm as they play six passes out of their own area. Of course we can. Just tried and failed to like them as pure entertainment is all.

  194. pedantic george

    Steww ,That is exactly it.

  195. I think my post needed a few smiley faces so that Passenal doesnt think it was a serious comment. 🙂

    Spain are a fantastic team, no question and it isnt ‘received wisdom’. If anything the received wisdom is to denigrate this spanish team and call them boring.

    Saying all that, I’d love Germany to win the whole darn ting.

  196. pedantic george

    Paul ,Who said they were the greatest team ever?
    Dont be doing a Jibber on me and making up stuff.
    They are a great team .Their record proves it .
    They are not City .They have earned it no bought it .
    PS I know you cant buy player internationally ,thank you very much.

  197. pedantic george

    Paul ,Who said they were the greatest team ever?
    Dont be doing a “he who can not be named” on me and making up stuff.
    They are a great team .Their record proves it .
    They are not City .They have earned it no bought it .
    PS I know you cant buy player internationally ,thank you very much.

  198. The simple maths I use in any tournament like this is the Arsenal test. How many Arsenal players in their side? In games where the teams are tied I just go with the Arsenal player I like best.
    Oh and even if Portugal had three Arsenal players they would have lost so many points for ronaldo and ninny that I still wouldn’t support them.

  199. spain are a fantastic team
    when they score more than one in 30 shots..

    when they can get boring..

    evening dex… 🙂

  200. George not wishing to be pedantic and I know Paul can fight his own battles but you said
    “,I believe they are better than those old Brazilians ,And by a good margin.” If you’re saying they are better than the Brazil team of 1970 even by a teeny weeny margin never mind a good one then you are indeed claiming they are the greatest.

  201. steww

    IMHO Germany play a better style of football than Spain. A lot to be admired with the Spaniards and if you have the ball, your opponents can’t score.

  202. Get out the kleenex, splash some baby oil on your palms and watch this

  203. One thing that I’m sure everyone will agree upon:
    This current Spain team, without Villa is much better with an injection of Pace. 🙂 Even with Villa. Pedro the Spanish Theo has been an important player at times including the WC. He must have had injuries and niggles during the last CL SF.

  204. Interesting review and videos of our newest striker

  205. George, that is what they being touted as, atleast one of. To me they are not even the best team now.

  206. Poldi starts!

  207. 100 degrees here in MD, too hot to grow or raise anything, though an Indian guy came round with his grandkids the other day as their five young hens had escaped into my garden. I was hoping to add chicken pasties to the pasty daily specials

  208. steww | June 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for the memories steww, that is what you call a talented line up. That was my first world cup, which I remember watching and it got me hooked on the beautiful game.

    I’m loving the crowd control as well! These modern footballer don’t know they’re born – the Brazil players being stripped to their undies and having to fight to hold onto the trophy. Those would be appearing on Ebay in no time flat today 🙂

  209. Prince Poldi looking good, de rossi simulating like a cunt and hummels is rock solid. Entertaining game so far.

  210. What.a.match! It was love at first sight with Podolski, the plays like a machine instructed to get the job done? And ozil is just oozing class.

    And erm, Italy score.

  211. Typos? Who cares! I haven’t watched good football for the past 2 weeks.

  212. my 2 cents:

    Barca was more fun to watch when they had Ronaldinho & E’to. Not as efficient but way more entertaining.

    Spain’s dismal record in the past created an insecurity complex thats led to the way they play, the way of the loser, the Catalans. Kudos to them, its a style custom-built for the prevalent physical frame of their people. The focus is on endurance, technical skill, acceleration & pessimism.

    It has worked but its novelty’s definitely worn off. Like Barca’s.
    I love the way Arsenal play.

  213. corr: the way of the loser = the way of the ones that lost the war

  214. Plenty of goods points from both sides of ze arguement but FUCKIT, BALOTELLI 2 GOALS!

    O My Gawd! … Ze maanshafft

  215. terrible defending but a great strike.

  216. And they say arsenal can’t defend, pfft.

  217. I think what people are getting at is that Spain lack adventure. Their skill is amazing, but it brings to mind billiards (bet you didn’t see that coming!) of many, many years ago – the players became so good, they effectively killed the sport as entertainment. (I’m not suggesting Spain are doing that, but the match against Portugal was quite boring.) I think Spain were much better (less fearful?) in previous tournaments.

  218. Paul, the problem right now is Low decided to bring in an extra midfielder in kroos, probably to stop Pirlo doing what he does best.

    To those that are not watching, let me give a detailed analysis of the game so far …… Germany have played like shit.

  219. By playing kroos they have lost their shape, i really don’t know what Ozil is doing on the right.

  220. This is why Arsenal play their own game and do not change their style to fit the opponent.

  221. Khlalifha, the commentators are saying the same thing.

  222. I don’t get that. over managing.

  223. Passenel, you’re right, if they defend properly Pirlo won’t do shit, why change tactics for a player that is not Messi?

    Paul, its really obvious.

    2nd half, Gomez and Podolski off, Germany can still make it happen.

  224. Here’s my take:

    Spain are a very good, perhaps even great team, but not very entertaining anymore. I agree their novelty has worn off and there’s very little unpredictability in their play. Barca is still much better in that context primarily because they’ve got Messi and a couple other ‘sparkly’ players.

  225. Really surprised Loew chose to take Podolski off and keep Kroos on? Doesnt make sense to me. What do I know though?

  226. Taking Podolski off was a mistake, he was one of their better players along with Khedira and Ozil.

    The Germans are now playing with 4 center midfielders, Khedira, Kroos, Sweingsterger and Ozil.

    P.s i think the German coach is smoking some good stuff.

  227. Taking Podolski off was a mistake, he was one of their better players along with Khedira and Ozil.

    The Germans are now playing with 4 center midfielders, Khedira, Kroos, Sweingsterger and Ozil.

    P.s i think the German coach is smoking some good stuff.

  228. Germany can’t seem to go past the semis since 2006. Very close to being a psychological barrier for them, especially cobsidering they’re a relatively young team.

  229. Isn’t that the point Henristic? They are young, they will learn. Spain waited a long time and were the ‘nearly’ team for years before they finally won.

  230. Khali;

    I think Loew messed up big time chaning the system, bringing in Kroos and leaving out Muller or Reus. Then when it went tits up, he was too stubborn to admit the mistake and took off Gomez and Podolski.

    They have looked pretty toothless after an early onslaught.


    Yeah, you could be right about the psychological barrier. Plus they havent beaten Italy in a competitive match too. There’s another mental block to have to hurdle.

  231. I have been researching and doing vast amounts of analysis and statistical compilation and I have nanaged to draw conclusions that make predicting the winner of the 2012 Euros.

    The team with the most beardy men in it will win.

  232. For those that don’t know Kroos, the only player i can think of in Arsenal that he is similar to is Arterta. Now imagine we’re down 2 nil in a semi final clash and Arterta is put on the left for the first 25 minutes of the 2nd half, that is what Low did.

    The question is no longer ‘has Low been smoking’, it should be ‘what has Low been smoking’.

    Ha! This match reminds me of the Arsenal/Norwich game that finished 3-3, shocking defending.
    Even hummels looks like a shit defender without protection from the midfield.

  233. Haha! Dexter @9:29, love it.

  234. I want what Yogi Loew’s been smoking too.

    The Germans couldnt get another one surely???

  235. Dex, you’re 100% right, Low let his ego get in the way of making the right decision, 2nd half.

    Shit! This ref is a fucking coward, nothing but a coward. If that was a penalty kick then i am the original Easter bunny.

  236. I think both german CBs have looked really poor Khali. I am sure they are much better than this performance suggests though.

  237. Quite exciting finish – but did anybody seriously expect Germany to win without Mertesacker and Podolski?!?

  238. What is it about Italy – they seem to do best in International comps when they are coming off the back of some scandal at home!

  239. Dex, definately, hummels is top class. This match has shown me that even the best center backs can look like shit without protection.

    Let me just say Pirlo is World Class, what a player. Big up to Ceasar Prandelli also, he played 2 strikers and showed how football should be played.

    Now enough of that, lets talk about the cunts, take a bow Joachim Low, you have outdone yourself today.

    *Schiewsteger finished 2nd in the bundesliga, lost the champions league final, cup final and semi final of the euros with his club and country this season, somebody is having a bad YEAR.

  240. Passenal;

    I posted that stat before the Euros started, when Italy were about 20-1 to win the thing! Wish I had got on it now!

  241. Slight mistake, i meant to say Buffon is world class @9:48.

  242. A new tennis star is born – Lukas Rosel was just amazing and he has outplayed Nadal with a stunning performance. And it wasn’t that Nadal was having an off day.

  243. Dexter | June 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Imagine if you had only followed that hunch! I foolishly thought England might win it. I’m glad I didn’t put money on it!

  244. Passenal – yes, amazing performance by Rosol. Reminds me of when a young Federer beat Sampras in the latter’s pomp.

    Also surprising is seeing that Beckham was left out of the GB Olympic football squad. Surprising, but a good decision.

  245. Well IF Nadal is out then surely Murray will win this time. 🙂

    Passenal; I have zero luck with bets. If I had put that bet on, there’s no way Italy would win.

  246. Passenal, you saw that? Nadal always had a weakness on grass. Now if only Djokovic could lose his next match Federer would be on his way to equalling Pete Sampras’s record at wimbledon, 7 grand slams!

  247. Passenal – it was an amazing game and I was lucky enough to be there to see it. I was thinking during it that Murray could beat Nadal but I’m not certain he’d beat Rosol!

  248. Dexter, am sorry man but Murray is the tottenh*m of tennis, only milkcups for now, wrong era for him.

  249. But Murray has to win Wimbledon! He is our only hope, even though he’s scottish for 50 weeks of the year. 🙂

    It’s quite pathetic that after all this time and with the amount of money at its disposal, England still cannot produce good players. Ones good enough to actually win shit. But we could be saying this about football couldnt we.

  250. You are so lucky Andrew – I saw Nadal win the first set then thought, that’s that then and only got back for the last set. Some of Rosel’s shots were just breathtaking. I could barely believe my eyes! The only worry is that he is on such a high right now, he might find it hard to maintain that level of performance to get past his next opponent. But if he could sustain that, I can’t see who would beat him, although I am supporting Gooner Andy (Murray) this time. And poor old Gooner James Ward went out in 5 sets today.

  251. Is Murray a Gooner? Oh that changes everything. I hope he smashes it this year.

  252. Yes, v fortunate Passenal; my first time on Centre Court as well! Also the hottest day of the year down here although I gather the rest of the UK is under 9 foot of water! Have to confess to not being aware of Rosel before today (my bad, clearly!) but I never thought I’d see Nadal beaten like that, ever.

    Is Murray an actual Gooner? I didn’t know that – he did really well v Karlovic who is 6′ 10″ and serving from not far off TEN foot from the ground; Murray’s ability to even see his serves – some of which were coming in at 135+ mph – let alone return them (especially given the height he was having to hit the ball by the time it was reaching him) was just remarkable.

    Shame about Ward – but at least he took it to 5 sets (didn’t see any of that one tho).

  253. Yes he is Dexter – I’ve seen a couple of interviews with him in the Arsenal matchday programme.

  254. I started watching Ward’s match, then BBC switched to Murray’s game for a while. Ward did well, but I think he was a bit nervous and didn’t really have the game to trouble Fish, although this would have been a good opportunity for him to get into the next round. Funny how I wasn’t really interested in Murray until I found out he’s a Gooner!

  255. Passenal,

    Murray is a gooner?

    Regarding Germany; I think teams made up of mainly young players growing together have to win pretty early in their development otherwise there is a strong tendency for them to be develop psychological barriers.

    Theoretically they should be learning from the experience, but they are also more likely to feel helpless against what may seem like fate, compared to experienced winners.

    I think this has been part of our problem in Arsenal.

  256. Interesting Henristic, but they’re not all young – Lahm and Podolski are pretty experienced and maybe the manager missed a trick by not using the experience of Mertesacker to bring some calm to the back line.

  257. Henristic, these competitions are not even yearly. They will grow a lot in 2 years, so I dont see any barriers hindering them. It is for the manager to stick with what works.

  258. Re: Per.

    I was thinking that when I saw the 2nd goal, Passenal. That was big time confusion.

  259. That was germany’s ultimate undoing obviously; not enough Arsenal involvement. Loew blow.

  260. Limestonegunner

    Passenal, I think that is absolutely true about lacking Merts’ leadership and experience in the back line. It has been shaky, even against Greece and was part of their undoing tonight.

    Henristic has a point though–it may prey upon the mind in tough pressure filled circumstances if you have the experience together of falling at the last hurdle.

    Glad we have a better mix of players now. If we keep the team together, we are looking quite potent as challengers next season.

    It would be a big risk to rely on two new strikers also new to the PL; I think it is vital to have RvP’s experience next year as Podolski and Giroud adapt to Arsenal and the PL. Hopefully we go into next season with the full complement of attacking players.

  261. LSG;

    Obviously, the uncertainty over the futures of the players means any aspirational wishes and hopes I have are tempered somewhat.

    But fuck that! Yeah man, we are serious title challengers next season! 🙂

    We need good luck with injuries and the majority of the players to have excellent seasons. Something that hasnt happened for a while now. There are a fair few IFs too;


    Giroud and Podolski settle in quickly they could be devastating.
    Wilshere comes back as good as we remember him and has no niggles.
    Gervinho’s second season sees an improvement in end product.
    Mertesacker is fully acclimatised to the PL.

    Then I think we could do good things next term.

  262. Yogi.

    Fantastic post. I think you have convinced me. We should keep RVP even if he does not sign the contract. With the new players and RVP we will certainly be a better team next season. We still have a giant mountain to climb with a goal differential of 40 but the only chance we have is to put the best possible team on the pitch and hope for some good luck. Still a huge question mark about our defense but I think we have a better chance to improve our defending then at any time in recent memory. We finished on a down note defensively at the end of last season so I hope that someone is watching Spain and trying to figure out they do it. Their system is similar to ours but I don’t see pique or Ramos bombing forward so someone needs to tell our CBs to hold their ground. If we can concede 18 – 20 fewer goals I think we can really compete. I am confident we will score more next year if we keep all of our players but it won’t matter in the least if we concede anywhere close to the number of the last few years One or both of the Manc clubs might slip up and we have to be ready.

  263. Hello. YW..
    there is a problem with OOU’s. Latest post. A nice post at that but readers can’t comment.
    Anyways, speaking of mysterious injuries,don’t forget TR was out for god knows how long and we missed out on his talents for a bit.
    I see JACK playing more forward than ARTETA. he is clearly talented and I see him more in the AM position. We have Cesc to thank for losing JACK all this year. If he hasn’t played games with AW and hadn’t saved himself for Barka, JACK would not have played as many games as he did and would mot have been injured. His future is very bright and I hope not too much weight is placed on his shoulders and he is brought along slowly. I don’t want what happened to DENNY and DIABY to befall him.
    UP. THE. GUNS!!!!!

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