One Of Us Speaks – He’s All Right, Jack

There are a few reasons why we haven’t been able to build much momentum from season to season recently. Apart from being forced to sell players to the league’s financial dopers and watching as rising stars get their legs broken, we’ve had a frustrating habit of losing key players to less dramatic injuries for ages, just as they’d become really, really important to us.

Vermaelen got injured in 2010, van Persie in 2009, and last year’s man was young Jack Wilshere. Maybe I’m biased, but Wilshere’s injury seemed especially cruel after only one full year of senior football.

It’s such a long time since he jogged off the pitch against New York Red Bulls that I figured now would be a good opportunity to try to remember what he can do.

I don’t want to jump the gun; I know he had knee surgery only a few weeks ago. But for the first time since last summer he’s had the chance to recover at his own pace, without everyone aching to find out when he’ll be off crutches/able to walk/run/kick football again. With pre-season approaching we’ll get to find out sooner or later.

I’ll make it clear now – I don’t have a clue if he’ll be back for the start of the season. And say he does come back soon; I’m not sure how long it will take him to pick up where he left off.

But positive thinking never did any harm, and in this post I’m going to assume that he’ll be part of the team and get back on the wagon, because I prefer that possibility to the alternative, even if we shouldn’t discount it.

His name also comes up because, though it hasn’t appeared on a team sheet for more than a year, it’s now a byword for England’s next, supposedly less shit generation. I could try to mock people who see him as England’s answer to the continent’s best playmakers, but I wouldn’t get any satisfaction from it.

Firstly because I rate him. But also because, after Jack, who is there for English football fans to cling to? We’re probably two years away from any of the current midfield prospects breaking into the England team, let alone exerting any influence on it.

As he’s an Englishman it was inevitable that, just by being good, his first real season in the league would be too well received. If we try to be objective about his one full year so far it would be safer to say that he was quietly impressive and showed potential.

What’s Jack all about then?

None of this will be news to you.

For all the promise, there were a few things that he didn’t do in 2011-12. He didn’t score more than a couple of goals, and, despite the subtlety in his passing he managed only three assists in the league, even though he started nearly every match.

There were mitigating factors – the most important being that, as a youngster, the responsibility to score goals and play final passes wasn’t on his shoulders. There were limitations imposed on him by the team’s hierarchy, with Fàbregas, Nasri and Arshavin the main creators in that group.

Whether on the ball or off it, he keeps his head up and always has a good look around before his first touch. Combining that appreciation with good control means he’s able to receive the ball in a crowded midfield and make snap decisions on how to avoid his markers and get into good positions to find teammates.

Also handy for finding space is the speed in his first few strides. Wilshere has got to be one of the slowest players in the squad across 30 metres or more, but he’s as fast as anyone from a standing start. And it affords him the ability to seem to glide past players in midfield. Physically speaking, he’s a bit stocky, with that low centre of gravity enabling him to turn quickly and keep his balance.

Inevitably for someone so young, there were weaknesses. He wasn’t much of a defender. That’s to say; he never demonstrated the kind of nous and ability to cover that Arteta showed last season. Still, Wilshere compensates with energy – snapping at heels rather than closing off angles.

He was strong for his age, but didn’t always pick battles he could hope to win, surrendering possession inordinately during his first few months. But that also improved of course.

Like so many other precocious young footballers, he’s also got an edge. He made a few ugly tackles in the first half of the season, and didn’t exactly endear himself to opposition fans. I’m not sure that’s anything for us to worry about.

At any rate, by the time the first leg against Barcelona came around, he was tackling safely and intelligently against a team that would have done all they could to get him sent off if he showed any sign of recklessness.

So how would he fit into this current team?

Well actually, that’s where things get tricky. Although there were subtle differences to the role, Arteta grabbed that spot in the Arsenal team last season. The Basque was a bit more disciplined, and as I mentioned, read the game better. Further forward, Rosicky was one of the stars during the last few months of the season.

As things stand I don’t believe he offers the team as much as Rosicky and Arteta do, but that shouldn’t stop Wenger from playing him. If he’s fit and not approaching the dreaded danger zone, he needs to play, because of what he could become in a short space of time. Squads have to be dynamic, with space made for players who are still learning, and rotation is vital if we’re going to stave off injury. Steve Bould will have a part to play as well, having overseen much of his career.

But despite setting out hoping to be reasonable, I’ve probably gone too far. First we’ll see if he’s ready to train with the squad. If he makes one of the tours then we can get our hopes up, ready to be dashed all over again.

Posted on June 29, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 311 Comments.

  1. Nice. Thoughtful.

  2. Goonerdownunder

    Great write up mate. Can’t wait for the season to begin. I reckon jack will be eased back and by Christmas he’ll be back to his best. Might find it hard to break into the midfield initially though.

  3. I think I’m less certain of jack’s likely development after reading that, Al.

    It’s become difficult, after watching him for a short time and then losing him for a year, to get a proper perspective on the man.

    Wait and see, I suppose. Treat him as a new boy as much as possible or the weigth of expectations, which will have grown in the mind and in the media, may come back and bite us- and him.

    He’s not the saviour of English football but a fine Arsenal prospect.

  4. Early start this morning, Cbob

  5. Cannons of Rhetoric

    Great post. As things stand Jack may not play every match next season but he’ll learn a hell of a lot just from being around Arteta and Rosicky. In the long run Arsenal, England and Jack himself will be better off for a slow reentry into the team.

  6. Yes, I should think all Arsenal fans want to see Jack continue his progress towards being one of the great midfielders. Alas, what is never far away after such a long break (for something that appeared that routine that he would be ‘back in 6 weeks’), is the Diaby type setbacks. I really do hope that the club take every precaution with him, which I think they will.

    The most promising thing about this forthcoming season is we have strengthened in most areas of weakness, which, if translated to the early matches, we will be able to put on subs when we are comfortably ahead so there will be no pressure on them when they make their appearances. That is a luxury that the likes of Gibbs, Ramsey, and Diaby never had?

  7. A bit too early really, Yogi.

    Spent the early evening working out how to heave a six foot square slab of slate over a 4ft wall with only two weedy blokes to help.

    Two car jacks and a heap of old bricks combined with two hours of arguments about Greek physics and a bloody great heave finally did the job

    The whole project teeterred between success and disaster and the adrenalin rush at the end was not altogether counteracted by the celebratory cider and the Germany match.

    Still buzzing, I think.

    Just been reading the comments about Spain last night. Quite glad not to have been sucked into that one! I think they are boring too, by the way.

  8. Only wish that Wishere had been able to brighten up England’s midfield in the Euros.
    Is it just a coincidence that the two teams reaching the final originate from the warm and sultry south of the EU.
    And does that fact aid the English “winter break” lobby?

  9. OOU -it is little surprise that YW attracts the best writers on the web to guest on his blog. Given his own impeccable high standards one ought to expect nothing less. This is a good thoughtful piece and I like the fact that you obviously can’t come to any definitive conclusion as to where JW’s career stands right now. You swing from realism to optimism to cautious pessimism and that is surely because none of us can know. As C’bob says we have to sit back and watch the Arsenal staff put a jack under him, balance him on a few wobbly bricks and then heave him over and into the first team – all in front of some pretty weedy support.

  10. Ah, steww, beautifully put.

    Enjoyed your radio programme, by the way.

  11. I would expect to see next season to be basically a season of ongoing recovery for JW and I say that assuming full fitness after pre-season.

    He has been out a year, so he has missed almost as much as his full playing career save for his spell @ Bolton. The difference in intensity between training and pre-season friendlies to then moving to Premiership & Champions League matches will be enormous as will be the physical toll. If he is ready to play in August then he will be ready to stop playing again in a matter of weeks, look at what happened last season to Ramsey who in my opinion was over played in the opening months of the season, perhaps through necessity.

    However the problem with Jack is that he will need to play in order to facilitate the recovery, not 5 or 10 minutes off the bench but starting games and coming off at a pre-arranged time. A careful balancing act for the club.

    Personally I would start him if fit, my rose tinted memory spectacles tell me he was that good. I am struggling to remember being as excited about a young player in 30 years, Rocastle perhaps. Though I remember thinking Stephen Hughes was going to be special!

    Ultimately I suspect he will be 1 of 3 looking to play weekly beside Arteta and Song. I’m glad I don’t have to pick the team.

    I don’t even factor Diaby into my thoughts. Or M’Vila.

  12. I hadn’t realised how the rain in spain falls mainly on the … oh well everywhere in england, until I watched the news last night. I now sit here and imagine a whole load of UK ACLFers dressed in flippers and snorkles, those little breathing things sticking up, tip-tapping away at laptops as the rising water rises, now feet, now waist, now neck.

    Is Jack a decent swimmer? It’s good for phsyical rehab. I believe he’ll ignite the EPL and the world with his talent, but not before Xmas. He’ll be at 80% by February, and finish the season roughly where we last remember him, the most exciting young player in England. Ramsey will match him, step for step in my opinion but it will not be as noticeable. Or rather let those with eyes to see … etc etc

  13. Morning everyone – the last line was just a bad joke. I think JW could play in that attacking midfield position, but probably not until he’s completely fit and in form. Not sure how long that will take. For all we know it could be by autumn (but maybe not). Not sure it makes a big difference, but it’s not like his leg was snapped in two.

    I had high hopes for Stephen Hughes as well, and he did have a good run in the team for a few years, and doesn’t need to look back at his Arsenal career as a failure.

    I didn’t bring up Diaby, but he has to be counted as well. If he gets through preseason unscathed.

  14. Changing your nom de plume is not big, not clever and as one person has just found out, leads to comments being binned.

  15. At present Arteta is ahead of Jack. After coming back from a season long layoff one has to be carefull about not overplaying otherwise the injury may reoccur. What i think is that Jack will be slowly eased back into the team. Arteta will start when the season begins and Jack will come as a substitute for ten to fifteen minutes when we are cruising through a game.
    Let’s not put too much pressure on the lad. It will take many weeks into the season for him to come back to full match fitness. Once he does then it will depend on form whether he starts or Arteta does.

  16. pedantic george

    Good Stuff OOU.
    When people give their preferred first eleven the vast majority include Jack in it.Yet when challenged,these same people grudgingly admit that he is behind someone else in every position on the field.
    Now I am going to tread carefully here ,because I am dodgy ground,but what can the reason for this be?
    He is not Wojciech that he is not an extrovert with a pleasing dynamic personality.
    He is not a Theo Walcott,that speaks well and politely.
    He is no Mikel Arteta ,pleasing on the eye and able to summarise a game with with the insight of an analyst.
    He is no more dogged than Thomas Rosicky,so it not that either.
    So what is it? Is it just the excitement of him being such a great prospect? Perhaps ,but Aaron Ramsey doesn’t seem to elicit such a fanatical following.
    So what is it?
    And before anyone starts throwing toys out of prams,I am talking more in general rather than the more “cultured” fans and interwebbers.
    Anyway.I suggest it is because he is English and more than that ,a Londoner.

  17. “high standards” wasn’t George guest starring his Russian loving self off recently?

  18. Oh, and very good article OOU.

  19. PG

    Could be because he is a genuine product of the much touted youth system.

    His London-ness would be of little interest to non-London based support.

  20. i keep seeing jacks stats for his breakthru season but he played the exact same position as cesc did when he had his breakthrough
    and cesc played the same amount of games almost and he didnt get as many goals and assists as what jack did..
    jack got 10 asists in all comps..

    crucially, jacks league stats are nothing in comparison to his CL stats…
    jack shone in all comps but in europe his stats were 2 goals and 3 assissts in 7 games.
    he was our best midfeilder and he was playing with nasri song and cesc regular..

    i know ppl like to think rosicky is ahead in terms of ability but rosickys stats are no better than jacks and he plays alot of games these days..
    and hes being played in an attacking role..and hes 10 years older..
    he doesnt do anything in europe either..

    jacks massive for us..
    one of our best players already…

    but its easy to see why ppl want to take it slow with him….

    being young, being injured for a year as well as being english seems to have made people forget he was better than a young fabregas..

    i would imagine that for the first few months of the season we will be using him gradually..but if everything goes well and he gets fit then i reckon after xmas he’d have nailed his place again..

  21. I know it became cool to say otherwise, PG, but JW was/is more of a prospect than Aaron Ramsey. He has the potential to be better than Rosicky or Arteta, who I think are both fantastic players. January to March last year, if I remember correctly, he was one of the best midfielders in the league.

    But wait, don’t take my word for it. Capello thought the world of him, and he’s worked with most of the best midfielders of the last 25 years. Wenger believed in him enough at 18-19 to play him just a little too much, starting him against Barcelona where he was impeccable in that first leg against a the best club team in the world that was also at the peak of its powers.

    And if you’re still not satisfied I’ll throw in this video from preseason completely free of charge:

    This was just preseason, but it’s hoe people will remember him – seeing that he was raring to go, and expecting him to continue to progress. The reason they think he’ll walk into the Arsenal team is because he never had to compete with Arteta or an in-form Rosicky.

  22. Jack’s kool and all, but i’m more concerned with how the best looking Frenchman to ever grace the red and white of Arsenal will fit in with our team, especially if Robin stays.

    A friend recently offered this soloution, Poldi – Giroud – Theo with RVP tucked in behind them offering the team that creatiive force in the middle we sorely lacked last year. But after transforming Robin into a great goal scorer will Arsene be willing to push him deeper?

    And thank you Arsene for only taking Carlitos away when you found a suitable replacement in Giroud.

  23. Diaby

    I hear he starts pre season with Vermealen and Santos next week. Heres to hoping he has a fully fit campaign. He is a beast in midfield, if we have a fit Diaby, we dont need to buy anymore, he can attack and defend with power and technique.

    Oh how i dream of a fully fit Diaby

  24. I don’t PG likes Wilshere too much

  25. pedantic george

    “I know it became cool to say otherwise, PG, but JW was/is more of a prospect than Aaron Ramsey.”
    Really.? You see I just saw them both as great prospects.Some saw one or the other as being better.Or so I remembered it .But you seem to have knowledge that Jack is/was better.

    This is typical of the Jack debate.
    “But wait, don’t take my word for it. Capello thought the world of him, and he’s worked with most of the best midfielders of the last 25 years. Wenger believed in him enough at 18-19 to play him just a little too much, starting him against Barcelona where he was impeccable in that first leg against a the best club team in the world that was also at the peak of its powers.”
    I could counter by saying Capello had little choice .Hardly a lot of competition for him.Or that due to injuries Arsene’s hand was forced.
    I like Jack .I think ,if he continues his development ,on the same path as pre injury,he will become one of the best mid fielders in the world.
    But as you would say OOU,if that’s not good enough for you ,I think he is first name on the team sheet and he out shone the best in the world when ,single handed, he battered Barcelona to submission.

  26. pedantic george

    Jeff,I do like Jack.A lot.
    My favorite players are
    1) Arshavin
    But because I don’t see him as being one of the best “yet” somehow that is me not liking him.

  27. OOU/George/Jonjon;

    Jack was being talked about from about age 15, he was hyped up from age 16, so this idea that he wasn’t considered a special talent is laughable.

    JJ; Those stats (if correct! 🙂 ) are very impressive, particualrly in the CL. If Jack is fully fit, with no niggles and carries on from where he left off, then it will difficult to keep him out of the team.

    My only concern is the clamour for him to be rushed back and also IF he struggles, as is extremely possible, the backlash, from fans and media alike could be nasty as well as counter-productive.

  28. i tell a lie
    rosicky scores or assists one every 4.1 games

    jack scores or assists one every 4.9

    but what happens if we ask jack to play where rosicky does?

    i think we are onto a winner 😉

  29. Dex

    “IF he struggles, as is extremely possible, the backlash, from fans and media alike could be nasty as well as counter-productive”

    See Ramsey. Some of the abuse he took last season was simply fucking disgusting.

  30. its because he has the potential to become the complete midfielder he has that extra second on the ball that the classy midfielders have. I honestly believe with luck this boy and cleverly from manure will be the backbone of the English midfield for years to come.

  31. pedantic george

    Yes Dexter I remember him turning 16 and the glee when he signed.
    But Aaron was not a youth team development,so could not have generated such hype.
    JJ,who does not think Jack is going to be great.He just isn’t yet
    Fuck me.

  32. JJ; I knew you were fibbing man!

    I think Jack COULD eventually be the answer to our AM position. I love Rosicky, but I feel at this stage in his career he is better suited to the ‘Arteta’ role.I don’t think he is as prolific in terms of goals or assists in the AM position.

    Surely we deserve one season where we do not suffer at the hands of cruel fate? I mean injuries of course, as I hold no hope of us getting a home penalty awarded to us! 🙂

  33. I fucking hate when people reference “assists”.

    In isolation it is a rather meaningless statistic and quite often fails in any way to tell the true story behind the creation of a goal or goal scoring opportunity.

    I see it as an Americanism forced into football.

  34. no matter what any of us think whether hes good enough or not at this stage, i think the one thing we can all agree on his that he is a wonderful talent and the future of this club..

  35. Ramsey is the perfect potential blue print that I hope doesn’t befall Jack. The bile young Aaron has had to endure from his own supporters really shocked me. Not least because he was so young, had such a terribly damaging injury (physically and psychologically) and because he aint foreign.

  36. You know something, i actually don’t think Dennilson is a bad player. A thought he was a real prospect, would not mind seeing him back. He probably just needs to “appear to work harder” and stop falling over and then the Arsenal fans would accept him back. He gives a good balance to the team like Arteta, i remember our game against Barca in the Emirates where we drew 2-2, he was pure class.

  37. JW is a star who will show everyone how average arteta is this season, we also have the ox who will play the front central midfield and mvilla who will show us what we have been missing, two years from now the first two will dominate the england team, as for jack not being a good tackler, please cast yopur mind back to the barca game where he won so much in midfield,hes a fantastic player who will not lose anything due to an ankle injurie, now thats positive, god your inconsistant

  38. Midfield set up for first half season could be: Song, Arteta and Rosicky first team with Coquelin (who can cover right back) and Diaby as substitutes for PL and main early CL games. Frimpong (with Yennaris to cover until Frimpong is fit), Witlshire and Ramsey for early Reserves, LC, CL lesser team and early FA cup games) with Yennaris, Henderson, Eisfield and Aneke as back up. Difficult to see Lansbury and Eastmond fitting in.

  39. dex

    ive often said i see rosicky as the paul scholes type..

    to be honest i wouldnt mind seeing a midfield of rosicky jack and arteta..

    on paper it looks easily bullied but the truth is otherwise..
    and they all keep the ball for fun…

  40. Steve; I see what you mean, but in terms of the AM position, assists are a fair judge of a player’s contribution to the cause. Unless we are talking about Hleb and the legendary “pre-assist” pass created just for him.

    Cesc’s assists were through the roof most seasons. Should we ignore them? I dont think we should. I realise an assist doesnt tell the whole story, but it does tell us enough to know if a creative player is being, erm, creative. Rosicky played superbly well for us most of last season, but he didnt create enough and given the paucity of goals from midfield last season, that is definitely an area with room for improvement.

    I have spoken, that will be a end to the debate.

  41. JJ;

    That midfield 3 would be soooo good in the CL especially man.

  42. how the fuck is arteta average..??

    cant we have one sensible conversation?

  43. The funny thing is that this is exactly what everyone’s saying JonJon.

    I want Denilson to come back, but if people can argue when they’re essentially saying the same thing about JW, then it’s probably a good idea to keep Denilson out of it.

    I think AW felt that Aaron Ramsey was on the cusp of becoming an established player for Arsenal last season. Even though he had a couple of really good performances I don’t think AR quite broke through – something was holding him back, probably because of personal stuff he went through, and I hope the fans had nothing to do with it. I must say I never heard anything at the games I attended. It was mostly idiots on twitter.

    Can’t speak for footballers, but I’d like to think they can shrug twitter hatred off pretty easily.

  44. boomer;

    I think in your haste to post your Jack eulogy, you left your brain at home! Arteta average? Per-lease dude!

  45. You will note I said “In isolation”. I did not dismiss them out of hand. They as with any statistic in football can really only be judged in conjunction with others.

    The new best player in world football Pirlo has been virtually controlling games in the past week. Assist count?

  46. Limestonegunner

    Agree with Cbob. Whatever Jack was before injury, we can’t assume he continues from that point. He’s had serious setbacks: 2 surgeries, slow healing and aggravations of his injury in his eagerness to come back, and 12 months away from football disrupting his development.

    I’ll be delighted if he is a regular contributor by January as occasional starter and substitute. Have to hope Rosicky and Arteta are healthy so JW can be eased back in, otherwise he might face what Ramsey did last year.

  47. Personally I rate Jack higher than Ramsey but not by too much and both are top top prospects. To my mind I see Ramsey in a deeper role to Jackie, whether Le Boss does is another thing. Both could play either deeper or further forward in rotation in the game. Ramsey to take Artetas role and Jack to take Rosicky’s role. And what a couple of players to learn from eh. Heres to both making it with us.

  48. I agree with Dexter on assists. They’re not perfect, but I think “fucking hating” them is a bit much!

  49. Great stuff, as per usual, OOU – was the last line of your 9.17 comment a bad joke as well?

  50. steve

    You seem to have a lot of anger management issue going on. Either that or you are just completely devoid of humour. Pirlo is playing the deeper lying midfield role that Arteta does and the one I would like Rosicky to be considered for.

  51. Fine post OOU, next season rotation will be key and best for all players involved.

    Jon Jon, excellent point re wilshere/champions league.

    PG, i don’t buy the idea that 18 year old Wilshere played 50 matches or so for one of the biggest clubs in England because of lack of options, Wenger(yes!) himself said that once a player gives a performance consistently it becomes hard to drop him and in this case he was refering to Jack – This same scenario happened with Rosicky last season, his performances made it impossible for Ramsey to get back in the team.

    Also can we stop comparing Wilshere’s potential to Ramsey, rambo is 2 years older than Jack so blah blah blah.

  52. OOU ‘ 9.45 – perfectly put. That’s my stance to a tee.

  53. Knee imjuries can be tricky. Was it an ACl or MCL. Knee surgery a few weeks he won’t be ready. Players are breaking down due to the massive amounts of futebol they are playing. This has to stop. The players need to form a union and stop this insanity now! Do you know how the surgery went? How is the rehab going?

  54. Arteta is a very good dead ball player. He regularly takes corners, free kicks and is very good at it. He also hits the occasional 20-30 yard screamers. At present we have only two players that are good at dead balls Rvp and Arteta. One should consider this whenever they put Arteta out of their playing eleven.
    Last season at home against Aston Villa Arteta scored a beautiful free kick from a long distance. No one in our squad can do that except for Rvp.

  55. I have no anger management issues at all mate, I am Irish, I swear a lot.

    Now in relation to Pirlo he is a central midfielder and the main creative hub for the Italian side.

    They look to play everything through him, the playmaker or ‘conductor of the orchestra’ to quote Liam Brady last night. He does of course drop deep as is their way but equally he will then be the player looking to pick the hole 30 yards from goal.

    ACLF appears to have a need to pigeon hole players as AM this and DM that, we see this on an almost daily basis (not in your post before you yourself get angry). Not sure why as watching us play you would appreciate as I am sure you do that we don’t force such constraints on players.

  56. Khali;

    I dont the issue has ever been (well for me anyways) who is/was the better prospect, but who (before Sh*wcross) was ahead in the pecking order. But we have done this one to DEATH already innit.

    I am with Deise, I hope they are BOTH part of the first 11 together.

  57. “As things stand I don’t believe he offers the team as much as Rosicky and Arteta do”

    I agree that Arteta is a better prospect in his role (and provides more balance alongside Song), but if you look at Rosicky’s stats playing more advanced they weren’t exactly that much better than you would have expected to see from Jack in the same position.

    2 goals and 6 assists from 38 appearances. Granted he played sometimes in a deeper role, especially early in the season.

    Not saying Jack should be in ahead of Rosicky, but for me they are comparable players. Certainly more comparable than Jack and Arteta. As it stands Rosicky just shades it because of his experience, so until Jack is fully fit and shining again my midfield would continue to be Arteta and Song, with Rosicky slightly more advanced and capable of providing cover.

  58. pedantic george

    There is a new measure people keep taking about.Its “creating goal scoring opportunities” Just who and what decides it I am not sure ,but apparently Ramsey was second only to RVP last season.

  59. pedantic george

    khalifha.he is one year and 6 days older.Since when has a year been 6 days?
    So now player were not injured.Brilliant.

  60. Morning Yogi. Nice one Big Al.
    Expectation is inevitable. If a player is as good as Jack is at this age, then it’s natural to think he will carry on improving exponentially. But maybe it’s “written in the stars” already that he has reached the best he can be and will continue to be as good as he is now for many years to come. If that’s the case, I think most people would be happy enough with that. It’s when those expectations get ahead of themselves (which also seems a natural trait) that’s when some people get frustrated. (See case study A. Ramsay) Joe Cole was always meant to be a “great”. He ended up being merely pretty good. Theo may have peaked…but if he has, even that level is pretty effing good. Of course we want stellar talent consistently and everywhere. But that aint gonna happen. Consistently good is what Jack should aim for. Anything more will be a bonus. And I think that’s what his game looks like to me. Consistently good.

    Now Diaby……! I couldn’t agree more with what Jeff said earlier. Can you imagine?

  61. Steve, my good natured, sweary humourous friend! 🙂

    I think we can tend to pigeon hole players because of the obsession with finding the right blend for the current formation we play. Pirlo has played as a more defensive mided, deep lying midfielder, but is Italy’s main man, their Quarter back if you like. I wouldnt like to say he is a DM, or an AM tbh.

    But in terms of Arsenal, whatever you want to call them, the most forward midfield position has to carry a significant responsibility for creating chances, we didnt have that last season and we only really had it from one flank as well and that also needs to improve.

  62. pedantic george

    mingus | June 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

    excellent post.

  63. Yay! I got an “excellent post”. That’s a first, I think.

  64. I’ll go along with that.

    No anger, no swearing.

  65. This talk of the knee surgery seems overstated – it was a minor operation to a problem that existed long before his ankle injury. He was capable of playing with it before which tells us it was not especially problematic but something they were monitoring – if I recall it flared up during his rehab and I suspect they simply decided to tackle it during his lay-off & rehab period to head off future problems.
    As I understand it it did not delay his rehab from the real source of his problems which were stress fractures to his heel following ankle surgery.
    I think he is further ahead with recovery than people are worrying – though I do entirely understand the assume-the-worst mindset.

  66. mingus;

    Great post man.

  67. Dexter, Italy also know to cover Pirlo when he does venture forward. It’s almost a false position he plays in. Laying deep and then pouncing when the time is right. But yeah, pretty impressive. If we could offer Song the same cover it’d be epic.

  68. That youngster ‘Arshavin’ peaked four years ago. 😉

  69. Jonny

    If all goes well, I think jack will feature rather soon. It’s just the set backs and little niggly injuries that tend to follow a long lay off that will hold him back I think.

  70. Hand raised, acknowledging the crowd. Nods. Smiles.

  71. pedantic george

    Swivel Jonny

  72. All i want right now is Jack wilshere fit, i don’t care if he starts or asked to play the next gen series for under 18s. But i doubt youngest player in our history to play in the league would remain on the bench if fit and on FORM. Now i know we have to be cautious in not expecting to much from a young player but the thing JW has achieved at this age shows how good he can be, so fuckit am excited.

    First time i saw JW play was the Emirates cup, he made Soldado, then of Real madrid look like a fool, ah good times(i think he was 15 then). 2nd time i saw a 16 year old teenager outshine the whole arsenal team when he played rangers, i think him or Arshavin won the man of the match award(this was 2008), i think he is going to end up as an AM.

    Last trip down memory lane, anyone remember the match against Man utd the season before last @ the emirates? On that day Wilshere and Ramsey dominated the midfield, i think they compliment each other very well so ze future maybe.

    PG, excuse me for thinking 1992 and 1990 meant a difference of 2 years, jeez.

    Dexter, you’re right, a deep lying playmaker is just that, deep lying ‘playmaker’, their job is to orchestrate the play from deep a la Arterta, Modric, Pirlo.
    But an AM lives by assists just as a Striker is judged on goals scored.

  73. I really should start proof reading, this is becoming embarassing.

  74. pedantic george

    “PG, excuse me for thinking 1992 and 1990 meant a difference of 2 years, jeez.”

    The devil is in the detail,one year and 6 days is not 2 years no matter how lazy you research has been.khalifha

  75. No PG, i always thought there was a 2 year difference in the dates they were born but apparantly Ramsey is only older by 1 year, 6 days, 22 minutes and 38.5seconds, right?

  76. Limestonegunner


  77. A bit off topic but this is what Gallas had to say on Nasri’s recent outburst.

    “People have really learned for themselves who Samir Nasri truly is. And I wasn’t in Ukraine or Poland!” he told France Football.
    “He never stopped believing that I was the worst person, and has dirtied my name. You know, I took an earful.
    “It was always my name in the press or elsewhere, fingers were always being pointed at me, while many of the people in the world of football were not aware of Nasri’s character.
    “There was a match with Arsenal in Rome, and a serious discussion in the changing room at the end of the match. He lost a ball, I showed my disappointment, and he called me a ‘son of a witch’.”
    However, the 34-year-old, who missed out on a place in Laurent Blanc’s squad this summer, believes others are also to blame for Nasri’s attitude.
    “I don’t want to make excuses for the young players who have big heads, but they’re not the only ones to blame,” he added.
    “When a youngster has talent and is coveted by big teams, his club does everything to keep him, and accepts his every whim.
    “They [the players] don’t have the circumspect, or enough maturity to take a step back. Everything happens too fast for them, and they no longer control the situation”

  78. pedantic george

    khalifha.You seem to have a problem admitting when you are wrong.
    That’s a weakness you know.
    I mean I have admitted I was wrong about Jack ,and he is in fact the greatest player the world has ever seen.

  79. PG, nice try but if you wanted to piss me off you should have said that Arshavin is not a lazy, half hearted player.

  80. Quality post Big Al as evidenced by the lively discussion. I think Cbob and PG have done an excellent job in urging caution about Jack’s future and to not get caught in the hype machine. The big elephant in the room is the English media who already have Jack tagged as the “messiah”. With or without the media, some on ACLF are already clamoring for a midfield without Song simply to accommodate Jack. I deliberately refrained from naming names but IMO it is plain nonsense. As matters now, stand when everybody is fit, regardless of the opposition, there are only four guaranteed starters on the team sheet: Scezhney, Sagna, Koscielny, Arteta, RVP and Song. Let the fun begin.

  81. That’s six.

  82. Agree with that six though.

  83. shotta;

    You will insist on posting an incendary post then fucking off man.

    The midfield three that JONJON posted is potentially a gorgeous thing of silky beauty. I didnt see it as a diss on Song. To be hinest, I also think a midfield of Song, Ramsey and Diaby looks fucking phenomenal too.

    You dont always have to have a pop you know dude! Get off your horse cowboy! 🙂

  84. khalifha at 11:39 am –
    Nice post there about Willie Gallas. I always thought the media and the “weedy” Arsenal fans gave him a bad rap. Yes he had an ego (which successful footballer doesn’t) but he was being asked to lead a group that included several adolescents who although prodigiously talented were by virtue of age callow and immature. He made some bad PR gaffes, but in the long run the likes of Nasri and Cescdid enough to prove that he was not the main problem in the dressing room.

  85. I would add Theo to that list, but that’s just me, as I do not see anyone close to challenging for that right flank as yet. Maybe AOC, but I dont see him doing as well there as other positions; left wing and AM (there, I said it again! AM, AM, AM! )

    Perhaps Jack will play there?

  86. Dex at 12:10 pm – Yes I kinda like being a little guerrilla, if you don’t mind.As for being on a high-horse, I have a lot of company. Cheers, smiley faces and all that.

  87. Ha! I didnt mean you were on a high horse there shotta! Just had a mental image of you moseying into the ACLF town, six shooters a-blazin’, then galloping off into the sunset pardner! 🙂

    There’s your smiley face for ya.

  88. BTW Dex – Honestly I wanted to avoided any personal attacks on JJ specifically. I have grown to appreciate his contribution to ACLF. Many can attest that was not always the case. There was one thread on here earlier this week when IMO he was the only one chatting any sense. Last “molotov cocktail” for the day, I hope.

  89. I feel that Jack is being set up for a fall. He is very young with only one season in the first team. His development may have been impeded after 1 year out of the game, so he may have to go backwards before he can go forwards. There will also be the inevitable minor setbacks after not playing for so long as his body re-adjusts to the demands of top level football. I don’t think it’s fair to put those expectations on his shoulders at this point. Let’s wait and see how he recovers, give him time to settle back into the group and if he earns it, Arsene will give him the opportunities to play. I would hate to see him get the Ramsey treatment, although being English he may escape the worst of it. And before I get accused of something, I do think Jack is a great prospect, but I am with those urging caution and a lowering of expectation based on too many examples from recent history.

  90. pedantic george

    “he was the only one chatting any sense.2

    I definitely missed that one

  91. Dex you insist on posting incendiary posts but then never fuck off. 🙂

  92. “I kinda like being a little guerrilla”

    It’s normally at this point Frank would pop up with ‘bananas’.

  93. Jonny;

    Haha! That’s the difference, if shotta hung around like the annoying twat I am, I would not have even said anything!


    I also definitely missed that oh too brief moment of clarity from my dear ol mukka JJ! 🙂

  94. Talking of Frank, (and taking the word Cultured from YW’s blog title a bit too literally)…. you know Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem? Well, does our Frank bring to mind the main character, Jonny “Rooster” Byron?

  95. Another fantastic post OOU

    I agree with those who urge caution with regard to jack. My concern is that he may take a step backward. The so called “sophomore jinx” happens to lots of players who have a great first season even without missing a full year due to injury. Hopefully he can be worked into the side slowly. In an ideal world he will first 11 regular by feb or march.

  96. Great post as usual,3 assists and a couple of goals?,I didn’t realise his stats were that ordinary and I’m certainly one of those who was guilty of banging on about him being our midfield general, right now all I want him to be is a lucky general in a injury free season where tr7 and arteta show him the ropes and a certain little Russian hangs around.

  97. pedantic george

    boomer | June 29, 2012 at 10:24 am
    JW is a star who will show everyone how average arteta is this season

    Cock? I think so.

  98. Just watching the ODI against Australia – cricketers really do put footballers to shame.

    Bopara just wore 90MPH bouncer on the side/back of his head just underneath the rim of the helmet. The ball hit him so fully it dropped straight down to his feet. Bopara stood there unmoved. It was like someone had thrown a peanut at a block of marble.

    Then he gave a really broad smile, strolled down the pitch looking for all the world as though he might light up a pipe and shared a casual joke with the bowler about how it ‘nipped back a bit on him’.

    Imagine if that had been Danny Alves – mind he’d probably have shat himself before he reached the middle.

  99. In a perfect world, Jack will come back as good as before, with no injury or form issues, while Arshavin will be super fit and motivated.

    That way Jack (and Aaron) can learn from Rosicky. Arteta and Arshavin while the seniors can also do a job for the team on the pitch too.

    This won’t happen, but I would love to see Arshavin start the new season in the AM role, with Arteta and Song behind him, with Jack coming on for the little meerkat after 60 mins or so. That would suit both; Arshavin would not be too cream crackered and jack would be eased in.

  100. Shotta, thanks, Nasri did well to hide his cuntish ways while he was at arsenal.

    Mel, Modric – 4 goals, 4 assists in 38 matches. Iniesta – 2 goals 7 assists in 27 matches, Wilshere was not even playing as an AM so no worries there.

  101. pedantic george

    What about this “goal scoring opportunities” thing /measure/malarkey?

  102. Dexter, ‘super fit’? Lose some pounds right? Gatcha.

  103. pedantic george

    khalifha.What ,are you now putting Jack with Iniesta?
    It gets worse.

  104. PG, last season? less than Cesc but more than Song, i think.

  105. pedantic george

    george rodger ‏@Blackburngeorge
    Arshavin played better than any of these pillocks,So don’t give me any of that “deadwood” shit

    Is what I said after the Spain,Portugal game. have seen his BMI figures .Perhaps he left them lying around with the wage slip you also saw?

  106. pedantic george

    PG, last season? less than Cesc but more than Song, i think.

    ???? What is that an answer to?

  107. Ah,the old arshavin as the attacking midfielder option comes up again!, your right Dexter it won’t happen but he could play in rvp’s position?(awaits pelters)

  108. Learn what from Arshavin?

  109. How to stand on the pitch, hands on hips, all ruddy faced, blowing like an asyhmatic baboon?

  110. PG, calm the fuck down. Those stats show that a player playing a deep lying role might not have eye popping numbers in terms of stats(Modric) and a creative player playing in a team with other creative outlets can contribute to the team without ze high goals and assists(Iniesta), you’re always bringing up the number of goals and assists of Wilshere’s FIRST full season.

  111. The art of ambling.

  112. pedantic george

    Nothing Steve.
    He regularly bangs in 4 goals at Anfield and scores the winner against Barcelona.Eh?

  113. Mel; I did say a super fit and super motivated Arshavin man! The one who joined us. If he knew he was going to play, but not be over used (as he was 2/3 seasons ago) I think he would do a great job there. But it’s only my opinion and as AW hasn’t really given him a go there it is a remote possibility, to say the least.

    Steve; Again, I said a super fit and MOTIVATED Arshavin, of course a young player could learn a few things from him.

    Like where the best kebab shops are.

  114. pedantic george

    khalifha.I don’t work at Bletchley Park.What the fuck are you on about.?

  115. pedantic george

    swivel Jonny.

  116. WTF happened to my genius post there?

  117. Khali;

    You have a big crush on the weasley faced spud, you are always banging (steady!) on about him. Any excuse to mention his name. 🙂

  118. Julio Baptista once scored 4 at Anfield also.

    Must send the two boys off to Malaga for a while to learn from him also.

  119. Baptista looked a monster when he was at Sevilla. Scored a shed load of goals from central midfield even tho he was supposedly a DM. He was meant to be PV’s replacement, but never happened. he went to Real and became one of the biggest stars ever on the world stage, winning numerous individual and team honours and, …. oh wait.

  120. pedantic george

    Steve ,
    You are a bit of an arse,
    Was that a first team league match?

    So you don’t think Jack can learn off someone who captains his country and was once voted the sixth best player in the world?
    Or is it that you just don’t think at all?

  121. Mel & steve;

    I said a super fit and motivated Arshavin man! Course any young player could benefit from him being in the squad.

  122. No need to be rude.

    You still haven’t explained what exactly you expect either player to learn from AA, a player blessed with unbounded natural talent of course but in the eyes of some a questionable work ethic.

    The natural talent thing cannot be taught and anyway I would assume both players are well covered there anyway given their age and career progress to date.

    Now after Everton away last season perhaps you see a career for Aaron on the left so that’s your thinking.

    Do please share with us.

    As for being voted “the sixth best player in the world” are you deliberately trying to sound stupid?

  123. Chances created is totally different from assists. I remember posting chances created stats from 2 seasons ago. Cesc was top of the list but rather surprisingly (given his lack of assists) Wilshere was behind him.

    Found it.


    1 Fabregas – 72 from 1887 minutes
    2 Wilshere – 60 from 2650
    3 Nasri – 58 from 2391
    4 Arshavin – 55 from 2194
    5 Van Persie – 44 from 1768
    6 Chamakh – 40 from 1845
    7 Song – 32 from 2594
    8 Rosicky – 27 from 927
    9 Sagna – 24 from 2969
    10 Walcott – 23 from 1696

  124. Lets be honest AA has been on a slow slide since a brilliant start at the club. He has admitted that he has never been happy with the levels he has reached at The Arsenal. Those blaming the fact he has been played out of position need to think if that is really a good enough excuse. Also how come he played there just fine at first? I just think if he is as great as is regularly stated he would have made it work better than he has and that the out of position argument was an excuse as his form suffered. it also feels a bit like blaming Wenger for AA’s inability to turn things around.
    The fact that he has not been coveted by any big clubs tells it’s own story – given that he is a bona fide genius – there doesn’t seem to be much of a queue for his services. Why?
    I think there is/was an amazing player in there somewhere but for a long time he has not provided the goals and assists that he used to and without those he offers very little else.
    I’m not meaning to rag on him but there needs to be a little perspective – frankly I don’t think the Arshavin we saw last season is productive enough (goals assists) to play the AM role and without that he is a passenger in the heart of the pitch.

  125. I understand people’s frustrations with arshavin but he is our most intelligent player, he could(if wenger works his magic on him again) be a title winning player. A very simple statement, not very ACLF I know but true nonetheless. Sometimes you have to ignore the baying mob at the grove and open your eyes.

  126. pedantic george

    No ,if I wanted to sound stupid I would ape you.

    He was voted that by his peers .You don’t think they have a good idea of what a good player is?I suppose you know better than those professionals who voted ,Steve?

  127. pedantic george

    So Markus ,Am I right thinking Rosicky would be the best in terms of chances per minute?All bar Cesc of course .He was different gravy.

  128. pedantic george

    Jonny I like Mel

  129. Of course not, I just don’t think I have ever in my life heard a more meaningless accolade given to a footballer.

    I admire your stoic defence of the player all the same.

  130. Eh Dexter, only when PG is here.

    By the way, wtf Pg? You had a nibble at one of my comments and asked if i was comparing Iniesta to Wilshere @1:56, @2:06 i explained what i meant but @2:10 you acted like a cunt, there you go.

    And people think Jack bauer is good, pfft.

  131. Heres to seeing The Giroud shuffle next season. He does a kinda running man dance at the corner flag when he scores 🙂

  132. I’ll bet you do PG.

    I’ll bet you do. 🙂

  133. I note you are ignoring my comment/questions – not biting? 😀

  134. Steve

    At times there are things we wished hadn’t said. We all do it but this is yours I’m afraid:

    >As for being voted “the sixth best player in the world” are you deliberately trying to sound stupid?

    2008 Ballon d’Or. 6th place'Or_2008

    Higher ranked than Kaka.

  135. Mel, fantastic stats.

    Those stats show that an 18 year old Wilshere was among our top 3 players in terms of chances created and he played more minutes than Nasri or Song, Wow.

  136. Jonny

    Nah, he’s got his teeth in Steve!

  137. Shit I missed my cue, I was slumped over the keyboard dozing…….bananas

  138. pedantic george

    Steve, if someone come sixth when footballers vote in this vote
    “The FIFA Ballon d’Or is an association football award given annually to the player who is considered to have performed the best in the previous season. It is awarded based on votes by coaches and captains of international teams, as well as journalists from around the world.”

    Why would that be a bad accolade?

  139. pedantic george

    They are not stats ,They are someones opinion of what a chance is .BTW

  140. YW / PG

    I wouldn’t give credence to any such awards myself, I am genuinely surprised two intelligent people like you would.

    Did you accept Gareth Bale as the best player in the Premiership the season before last or pehaps you only use such evidence when it suits the argument you are trying to make.

  141. Again Mel, fantastic link, those stats have really opened my eyes.

    CREATED 2010-11
    1 Malouda – 117 from 2810 mins
    2 Fabregas – 72 from 1887
    3 Giggs – 59 from 1678
    4 Hitzlsperger – 34 from 990
    5 Van der Vaart – 67 from 2239
    6 Nani – 78 from 2668
    7 Obinna – 45 from 1571
    8 Brunt – 86 from 3015
    9 S Davies – 63 from 2210
    10 Silva – 73 from 2564

    PG, now do you see why Wilshere is rated so highly? He played more minutes than Song of all people and was only behind Sagna in terms of minutes played but unfortunately that led to his injury.

    Those stats also showed that barca have made cesc USELESS. He created so many chances, undoubtedly the best attacking midfielder in the world, but now he is striker, a ‘false no 9’, if only he didn’t behave so stupid we probably would have gotten in excess of 35M for him.

  142. PG – you may wish to avert your eyes from this – of course stats don’t tell the whole story but they do paint a picture of a player who (for whatever reason) is on a downward spiral.

    Read from right to left we can see a massive drop in almost all of the important areas (his assists in 10/11 are a positive anomaly).
    From 6 goals in 12, to 6 in 37, to 1 in 18.
    Shooting accuracy of 31% last season – give him ten chances and only 3 will even go target. For me that’s indefensible.
    Conversion rate is also downward trend – which given the shooting accuracy can hardly be surprising.
    I think perhaps the most extraordinary stat is minutes per tackle – it may not be what he is there to do but to drop by 50% is pretty amazing. A tackle a game.

    The Decline of Arshavin
    Arshavin in Prem League—–11/12——10/11——09/10——08/09
    Minutes Played——————–719——-2194——2265——-998
    Goals Scored———————-1———-6———–10———-6
    Minutes per Goal——————719——366——–227——–166
    Minutes per Shot——————45——–39———40———-31
    Shooting Accuracy %————-31.3—–45.6——-51.8——–53.1
    Conversion Rate %—————6.3——-10.5——-17.9——–18.8
    Assists —————————2———11———-1————5
    Mins per Chance Created——-42——–40———-58———-30
    Pass Accuracy———————74.41—-75.02——73.61——76.68
    Minutes per Tackle—————-80——–39———-65———-45

    *lights blue touch paper and retreats*

  143. PG, you got to be kidding me, how can you argue with those stats.

  144. Reposting without the bold to see if the columns line up better….

    PG – you may wish to avert your eyes from this – of course stats don’t tell the whole story but they do paint a picture of a player who (for whatever reason) is on a downward spiral.

    Read from right to left we can see a massive drop in almost all of the important areas (his assists in 10/11 are a positive anomaly).
    From 6 goals in 12, to 6 in 37, to 1 in 18.
    Shooting accuracy of 31% last season – give him ten chances and only 3 will even go target. For me that’s indefensible.
    Conversion rate is also downward trend – which given the shooting accuracy can hardly be surprising.
    I think perhaps the most extraordinary stat is minutes per tackle – it may not be what he is there to do but to drop by 50% is pretty amazing. A tackle a game.

    The Decline of Arshavin
    Arshavin in Prem League—–11/12——10/11——09/10——08/09
    Minutes Played——————–719——-2194——2265——-998
    Goals Scored———————-1———-6———–10———-6
    Minutes per Goal——————719——366——–227——–166
    Minutes per Shot——————45——–39———40———-31
    Shooting Accuracy %————-31.3—–45.6——-51.8——–53.1
    Conversion Rate %—————6.3——-10.5——-17.9——–18.8
    Assists —————————2———11———-1————5
    Mins per Chance Created——-42——–40———-58———-30
    Pass Accuracy———————74.41—-75.02——73.61——76.68
    Minutes per Tackle—————-80——–39———-65———-45

    *lights blue touch paper and retreats*

  145. pedantic george

    I think it depends on who is doing the voting .Steve
    But even so Bale was an anomaly

    2002–03 Thierry Henry Arsenal FWA, FPY [21]
    2003–04 Thierry Henry Arsenal FWA, FPY [22]
    2004–05 John Terry Chelsea
    2005–06 Steven Gerrard Liverpool
    2006–07 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United FWA, FPY, YPY [23]
    2007–08 Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United FWA, FPY [24]
    2008–09 Ryan Giggs Manchester United [25]
    2009–10 Wayne Rooney Manchester United FWA, FPY [10]
    2010–11 Gareth Bale Tottenham Hotspur [26]
    2011–12 Robin van Persie Arsenal FWA, FPY [27]

    Most of them look fair enough .Or at least not unreasonable.
    But you,to prove your point ,picked the exception .

  146. Balls lines up perfect before I post it. Fucking formatting.

  147. pedantic george

    The last full season Arshavin player was acceptable.
    I think his days out wide are over.

  148. I was merely trying to illustrate a point mate, not prove anything. You choose to believe or give weight to the results of these things. In my opinion polls mean nothing.

    Interestingly (or not) the season that AA was the 6th best in the world was one where he had just come from a major international tournament in which he had played well, starred in two games. Such things hugely influence these type of meaningless events.

    I would imagine Pirlo will figure well this year, perhaps even Balotelli if he bangs another one in on Sunday night.

  149. pedantic george

    Steve .
    For an example of cherry picking.What if I said

    “Did you not accept Dennis Bergkamp was the best player in the Premiership the season in 98 or pehaps you only use such evidence when it suits the argument you are trying to make.”

  150. pedantic george

    And whilst you poke fun at Arshavin ,I am most certainly not your “mate” ,pal.

  151. You do appear to be an argumentative little man.

    I haven’t actually poked fun at Arshavin have I? I have questioned the validity of a poll in which AA was voted 6th best player in the world.

    Not 7th remember, 6th.

  152. Steve, the reason Pirlo is going to be considered for any individual award such as ballon d’or is because he was a very integral part of juventus winning the league in Italy, you also seem to forget his performance and assist against Spain and the freekick he scored against Croatia during the group stages.

    I would like to imagine that most footballers strive to be the best in order to achieve such awards, i don’t see the big deal there.

  153. pedantic george

    Really Steve .well what did you mean when you posted this
    “Steve | June 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    Learn what from Arshavin?”

    That was not a snide remark?
    Yes it fucking was.

    And calling someone a “little man” is rather argumentative in itself I feel.
    I will refrain from saying what I am thinking.Lessons hard learned ,and all that.

  154. ” So you don’t think Jack can learn off someone who captains his country and was once voted the sixth best player in the world?
    Or is it that you just don’t think at all? ”

    So he was good in 2008. No doubt Jack could learn something from him but I don’t think I want Jack to learn “How to massively erode one’s effectiveness in 4 quick years”

    Where is Arshavin on that list now, in 2012? I suspect that’s more important.

  155. pedantic george

    Oh that’s all I need .

  156. Wasn’t meant to be snide, honestly. If you see it as so I am afraid there’s nothing I can do there.

    Apologies for the little man bit, possibly uncalled for.


    My point on Pirlo was merely that performance in these summer tournaments, on a global stage, will undoubtedly influence such meaningless polls. Our own Robin has just had a season beyond compare, won no silverware, had a poor Euro. Let’s see where he ends up come December.

  157. “But even so Bale was an anomaly ”
    Agree. As was Giggs in 08/09. I was dumfounded when he won that year. He wasn’t the best player in the EPL that year by a long stretch. He’d had much better years and never won.

  158. “My point on Pirlo was merely that performance in these summer tournaments, on a global stage, will undoubtedly influence such meaningless polls. ”

    true. It might even have caused a certain Milan Baros to look like he was valued.

  159. Khalifha, I made one comment about jacks stats and you’ve gone off on one!,for the record I love jack just as much as you do and as I said I hope he becomes our midfield general for the next 15 years,your preaching to the converted I’m afraid. Jonny, if the professor manages AA correctly (and if anyone can he can) could andrei not repeat those early stars and win you back!

  160. Personally Jack proved his quality over the season, and proved his maturity against Barca he was playing against the best and he out frought, tackled and played them. As a person mehhh

  161. Wtf my bad. Mel there was a slight mixup, apparently it was certain arse that posted those stats on wilshere(chances created), NOT YOU.

  162. Frankly the early stats are good – they are not amazing.

    Secondly AW has been managing AA correctly – I am sure he has been looked after and encouraged.

    What can you do when someone gets into position to shoot but is incapable of even hitting the target 3 in 10? That’s a confidence issue.

    I’m not saying it could not happen – it would be brilliant to see AA reverse the downward spiral – but, given that this is pretty unlikely, I’d advocate his wages and any fee we gain would be better used bringing in fresh talent.

    I’d say that was the pragmatic move – part of Wenger’s job is not to be sentimental about such decisions.

  163. Jack is an all out action midfielder, i agree with most on here who say he is yet to be the finished article or yet to stake a claim to the starting line up. I mean the guy only had one full year so far, the problem with jack is that at the begining he was a rough around the edges but through match experience and Arsene wenger’s belief and coaching he became insanely good, so much so that he stayed in the starting line up. The problem here is, when a player has an injury, does the development he made before the injury dissapear? Then that would mean he starts over again which will mean he will need another year to rediscover his form and ability. But i’ve always wandered this, does a player developing have much more to do with his mental accumulation of the skills and traits he has learnt because the physical nature can be taight very easily. I believe that once a player learns something or has experience of it, his mind retains it but their body forgets how to execute many of these things. So going on this train of thought, i belive Jack will be back earler than people believe,

    I mean look at Sagna, he went staright back in and it seemed he had never left (well not really cos we suffered when he was absent). But, Sagna is older and so the skills and the way he plays football is easily picked up again by his body which has been used to it much longer. Which leads me to think experience is all about the mind, consistency comes with experience because your mind knows what to do and how to execute it better due to the fact it has done so many times. It’s not true for some players but the majority of the time it is.

    So my final thoughts is that it will take a month or two for Jack to be back, he already had consistency at a young age and im sure he’ll pick it up easier again.

    As to Jack ability as a player, i think he is truly class but to become the required level to play in the starting line up he needs consistency, consistency is the key to success rather than having all the ability in the world. I think this is what kept Jack in the Arsenal lineup before, he had ability but much more than that, he had consistency which is the corner stone to success.

    And this is the reason why Ramsey was slated by many, he could be brilliant but he had much more off days than he had good ones. Same for Theo (who i think is much more consistent now).

  164. Ballon d’Or has I think, only been decided on by journalists. Arshavin came sixth in 2008. On the other hand in, The 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year vote he came eleventh. which is voted on by mostly national mangers and captains. FIFA took over the Ballon d’Or award a couple of seasons ago. Not sure, how they decide the winner now.

  165. “What can you do when someone gets into position to shoot but is incapable of even hitting the target 3 in 10? That’s a confidence issue.”

    I believe it’s more than just confidence, it’s attitude. He hasn’t had any significant injuries over the last year and a half (to my knowledge)and he can’t even be arsed to get in to match fitness.

    “I’d advocate his wages and any fee we gain would be better used bringing in fresh talent.” Even if the freeing up of his wages helps pay for RvP’s new contract I’d be happy.

    If Wenger keeps him i hope it isn’t to play out on the left any more. I’m not sure if Andrei has the physical strengthor stamina to play full time in the middle in the EPL. He might be able to do so part time if Wenger decides to start rotating his squad more often.

  166. I’m with Dex @1:46

  167. Didn’t any follow Juventes success this past season? Pirlo is certainly continuing his form and no surprise to Italians.

    Certainly deserving of any accolades.

    Jack Wilshere, I love him. Why?

    In recent seasons we have been lacking a ruthless midfielder! Too much finesse. Who cares if he scores or assists, he plays like its his f*cking ball.

  168. Turn my back for a few hours and khalifha is calling me an arse.

  169. jonny,
    “I’d say that was the pragmatic move – part of Wenger’s job is not to be sentimental about such decisions.”

    Luckily for some of us , Wenger does get a wee bit sentimental about great players.

    Hasn’t AA’s performance @ the Euros shown u anything?

  170. “In recent seasons we have been lacking a ruthless midfielder! Too much finesse. Who cares if he scores or assists, he plays like its his f*cking ball.”
    In his case it is true that the stats don’t tell the whole story. He’s a ball winner and retainer. He’s a relentless terrier. I doubt too many midfielders relish lining up opposite him. I hope his body can withstand the rigours of his game. Please Arsene, bring him back slowly.

  171. damn i miss jack…

  172. Why oh why do people insist on criticising Arshavin when george is about?

    You know he won’t like it.

    Steve gets a free pass (this time) but Jonny, you really ought to know better man! 🙂

  173. Interesting piece, his play was always insightful and seemed to add rather than take away from the team even if he did not produce a lot in goals or assists. My gut feeling is that with the age and injury history of rosicky and arteta it won’t matter if he is first choice or not to start the season. He will get plenty of playing time and opportunities to earn his way back into the first team

  174. JW’s the truth!
    so much effort, skill, poise for one so young.
    hope he returns renewed.

    btw: so glad all* our players came back uninjured

    * LF21 wants to he’s in itallics, TR had “recovered”.

  175. On past performance Jack is the heir apparent to Arteta, but equally at home complimenting Arteta because he can forcefully move the ball through the middle and distribute left and right so effectively. His low centre of gravity and left foot gives him an advantage. At some point Song/Arteta/Jack might be the most potent midfield in EPL, but quite how one leaves out (a fit) Diaby is tricky. I suspect Rosicky and Aaron will be more active in the early part of the season, and less active or coming in from the bench as games go on – that is if Jack’s recovery is complete and Diaby is fit. At some point in time, hypothetically, Song, Jack and Diaby may become the superior midfield option. Of course Diaby may also deputise to some extent for Song. And then don’t write off Ramsey. What if starts to fulfill his potential this coming season? He’s rested and has a full season under his belt.

    How then, assuming all fit, is this group rotated? That will be the most interesting. You need games to get form.

  176. Jonny

    Re; those stats man. I think the season before last, his goals/assists are pretty decent, more than decent even and you can see how much he was played. He was probably over played in fact.

    Yet that season he was slated from all sides; fans and media alike, yet his stats were comparable with golden monkey boy Bale.

    BTW, I completely understand why some think we do not need him, however, i would counter that by saying we could have used him last season after his loan. And feel he could play a significant part for us this upcoming campaign. possible as more of an impact player. He doesnt need game time to get into the swing of things.

    Could be good.

  177. ZP;

    Man, I do love the way you write! Big up! 🙂

    I think when all are fit, we have some seriously good combinations. Its such a dam shame that we have been so unlucky with injuries.


  178. I seriously hope the spuds do not go for AVB. I think he will do a top job, if given enough time and freedom. He won’t have the massive egos to deal with he had at the chavs.

    I’d much rather they went for some flavour of the month type, like Blanc.

  179. an AA playing in CM for 30-60 mins a game is all “we” ask, haters!
    ..not some 90 mins of Parkeresque hustle.

    AA to Mozart to Robin is art…tres magnifique…..pure Wengerball…class Arse!

  180. doesn’t matter who they go for Dex, Spuds are serial f**k-ups!
    they much rather cash in than win long term.

    I imagine many relatives of the affiliates are agents whose “well-being” precedes football matters

  181. pedantic george

    Amen Aman.

  182. …any club that can sign Gio Dos Santos AND keep him on the bench for THREE YEARS without winning their league and/or the CL is not a serious club!

  183. and for anyone that cares for specifics…I really rate GIO DOS SANTOS*.
    Wouldn’t have minded seeing what AW could do with him.

    *…sorry Maria, still feel he’s a better prospect than Carlito V.

    oh, I also like Josh McEachran. Someone should take him off Chelski and allow the boy breathe!

    add him to your English midfield of the future, along with some of what Swansea offered us last season and u just might be on to something.

  184. “Money cannot buy you happiness and what I have found from the people in China is love, happiness, sincerity and warmth and I can’t wait to get started here” – Yakubu, 29, explains his motivation for agreeing a three-year deal estimated to be worth $9m with Chinese side Guangzhou Fuli.

  185. Oh, Oh…. and for those that don’t know:


  186. “Money cannot buy you happiness and what I have found from the people in China is £love, €happiness, $sincerity and £warmth and I can’t wait to get started here”

  187. Arshavin is by far (and some won’t agree) the most creative player we have at the club at the moment. Maybe he is missing consistency, maybe he isn’t being played at the right position but i honestly believe that not even Robin is more creative than him. His passes and touches are seriously up there with the best, sometimes he’s team mates aren’t on the same wave-length as him but we didnt appreciate him for the Class he bought to arsenal. That sheer magic and touch of glory that only great players can sometimes have.

    Remember this goal 😀

    i dont know how to embed videos so this might not work

  188. oh..ooh, oh…and another ooh,
    the only person that ever moved like Jack moves, with thicker thighs, is a certain Diego Armando…u know Kun’s baby momma’s poppa!

    re: Big Al’s 9:45am video-post:

    ..too much!

  189. I’m one with Moe’s 5:35…and all-Jacked out for the day…pheww

  190. ” an AA playing in CM for 30-60 mins a game is all “we” ask, haters!
    ..not some 90 mins of Parkeresque hustle. ”

    Haters? We aren’t haters, just doubters. Even Arsene won’t play him there. Is Arsene a hater?

  191. ..i’ll take doubters then, Phil mar
    say are you related to Johnny by any chance?

  192. ..u know, the great guitarist?

  193. Moe | June 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    And who gave him that ball? Couldn’t have been Denilson since he only passes sideways and backwards!

  194. Actually it doesn’t matter who. There’s no johnnys in my family – no.

  195. OK Mr. Marr I presume

  196. I didn’t shake the hand of Mr. Marr back in the 90’s. And I did once pee on the pant leg of another famous Johnny, Mr, Lydon. I was very drunk at the time but not too drunk to apologise and avoid a fight with him. He wasn’t too pleased.

  197. Sorry, I DID shake Marr’s hand.

  198. Steve

    You questioned the claim that Arshavin was the 6th best in the world. That’s been substantiated, irrespective of whether you agree with it or not. It’s a fact that he came 6th in the Ballon d’Or in 2008; you are now arguing over opinion, which is fine and nobody should have any issue with that.

    However, having mocked PG for his claim which was subsequently proven, a big man would have acknowledged the original error,

  199. TYPO – sorry, I DID shake Mr. Marr’s hand.

  200. pedantic george

    Dewunmi .come again?

    I saw it and thought it was spam so I deleted it. Oops, my bad – YW

  201. I have never rated Andrew Marr. BBC girlieboy imo

  202. Johnny marr’s a great guitarist and Johnny Rotten’s a great Git! nah, not really, I love Lydon and thought PIL were/are amazing.

    That is a top claim to fame philmar, good on you man.

  203. ‘ I just don’t think I have ever in my life heard a more meaningless accolade given to a footballer.’

    Where to begin with his gem from the jiblet?
    I don’t know how about any description of Robbie Savage as a footballer. There’s a start.

  204. Passenal

    Ahh Denilson, there is comfirmation now from the Sao Paolo people that the arsenal scouts sent to keep an eye on him have been very impressed with his loan and the staff at Arsenal want him back. This is not made up, from the horses mouth as to speak.

    Speaking to Globo Esporte, Sao Paulo vice-president Joao Paulo de Jesus Lopes said: “Arsenal’s staff want him to return but we are waiting for [director of football] Adalberto Baptista to have talks with them.

    “Maybe we will manage to extend the loan for six more months or even another year. They [Arsenal] liked his performances, they liked Denilson’s development. That’s why they want him to return.”

    So it seems likely he will return.

    I have been watching videos of Denilson on youtube of his recent matches for Sao Paolo and i will be honest im not going to lie and say i was he’s biggest fan. No, i was sceptical but it’s funny when you see him play for another team other than yours, you realise his value at keeping posession and keeping the midfield ticking. What i noticed during his time there is that the midfield doesnt stall, he does much the same job that Arteta does except in a more calm and cultured way. I myself used to belive that he wasn’t all that, but to be honest having watched the videos i can see what he brings, the metronomic smooth transitions in midfield.

    I can truly see his value now. Watching a player at another club makes you see his true value and you can analyse him without bias.

  205. Only other rock star that I pissed on was Simon leBon. He was drunker than I was and didn’t notice.

  206. peed on JRotten? good on u, Philmar.. and drunk too..

  207. Moe, i love the smooth and sexy way Arterta looks while he plugs holes in the midfield while stopping the opposition from scorings goals.

    Interesting quote from Balotelli – ” I don’t celebrate goals- do you see a postman celebrating delivering letters?”

  208. In moderation again? for pee’ing on Mr. Lydon? He was in PIL at the time. 1986 or probably 1982. Yeah, ’82 election year in the States. That was when he grew his hair very long and he was parading around the after hour bar like he was king. There was an ontourage of worshippers that walked 2 steps behing him. With his glowing red locks and ontourage he looked like the bloated selfimportant rock star he once professed to loathe. And because I couldn’t afford tickets to his show that night I was doubly pissed…and then there was the alcohol.

  209. You won;’t have seen his finest hour I take it philmar?

    Advertising butter on TV commercials.

    Anarchy in the Dairy!

  210. lol Philmar…”doubly pissed!”

  211. Pardon me, this is the full quote.

    He was asked why he doesn’t celebrate goals, his reply was ” I don’t celebrate goals because am just doing my job – do you see a postman celebrating delivering letters?”

  212. khalifha

    Is that man love i sense there? 😀

    And Balotelli is and will always be a very strange player, sometimes it seems he does it for attention but other times he seems genuinely strange.

  213. ‘You need games to get form.’
    This all reminds me of little Jack’s debut season with the Gunners first team. Those of a realistic persuasion were urging caution not optimism at the prospect of Liam’s ‘English Messi’ taking to the field in arms. We were told that Arsenal were a club that couldn’t afford to carry a rookie for a few months as wring layer got their game on. Well, unfortunately the club has developed players before, and will do so happen again. What is different this time? Well, even the grittiest of arses would have to accept that the super squad is on the way. Poor old Yogi changes his favourite CB pairing twice or thrice within a season (er, I could, I said I could be wrong there). And as for all these forwards. Well. There are a lot of them. Some will go. Most will stay. More and more midfielders challenging for the first team.
    Fuck. Here’s a thought: This could all be part of a plan? Crazy, eh?

  214. Advertising butter on TV commercials. Oh my!! Well I won’t cast stones maybe it’s better than being an office drone. I imagine even HE has a mortgage to pay. I doubt he’s squating in Brixton.

  215. probably got pissed on by a bovine, Dex

  216. *ahem* < …a rookie for a few months as they got their game on.

  217. A few of my posts were getting lost. I tried earlier but was unable to state that I made a typo earlier. I DID shake the hand of Johhny Marr.

  218. Do any remember the guy in the UK that claimed bovine urine was a cure for his baldness.

  219. Not surprised to hear that Denilson has done well for Sao Paulo. When he was established in the Arsenal team, and not getting a few minutes here and there, he was quietly efficient.

    People suggested moving to Sao Paulo was a step down from Europe, but that team has Jadson and Luis Fabiano, who have proved themselves for big European teams. Plus none of the top Brazilian talents are leaving anymore – in fact the traffic seems to be moving the other way, with Vagner Love also going home back in January. It’s a strong league now.

    His last season at Arsenal wasn’t great, but then he didn’t get much of a run in the team and was fed up. If Arsenal want him, and he really wants to be at Arsenal, then it can only be a good thing.

  220. Or was it saliva?

  221. Khali;

    I like that Balotelli quote. Regardless of any feelings you might have for him. 🙂

  222. more like man-goo, moe…damn khali, didn’t know u had it in like that?
    Mucho Artetamore..

  223. Ffs ‘Scorings goals’? – i give up, good nignt.

  224. Plus on his days off he can go to places like Ubatuba and Ilhabela – I’m sure he’s hating it there right now!!

  225. With the Brazilian economy emerging less players are coming to Europe. They still aren’t earning the same but the cost if living is less in Brasil and the lifestyle is more pleasing (if you have money). And the weather is more pleasant. No proverbial cold Wed. nights in Stoke.
    And the ladies….Not that they’d be starved for ladies in Europe. They might be in North America!!
    Well let’s also give a shout out to the great beef buffets in Brasil as well.

  226. I take it that Jonny has gone to work now but having beena fence sitter on Arshavin since he left but a sincere admirer of his ability, I think Jonny nailed him down today with his stats.

    A shame, unfulfilled potential as an Arsenal star. His goal against Barca is seared in my memoryt but that’s all she wrote.

  227. Balotelli stands for much that is wrong in football Dex.

    An absolute twat.

  228. where do u go on your days off khalifha?

  229. I must say that there is a great deal of satisfaction in monitoring the progress of the football club this year in relation to their pursuit of players. With regard to RvP, there is a realist in me that suggests that he is pursuing other interests, as much as that is difficult to contemplate. Of course, I have no inside information other than life experiences. Nevertheless, we will all manage should his desires be other than Arsenal. But, I absolutely detest this side of football. It does seem that everytime Arsenal has an extraordinary talent; that the world comes knocking on our doors! In fact, this might be the case for other teams, but, it does seem that Arsenal has more than their share of unwanted suitors.

  230. “…it does seem that Arsenal has more than their share of unwanted suitors.”

    It might have somewthing to do with the quality of our players contrary to popular belief amongst the anti-support.

  231. don’t close the book on AA yet Cbob,
    AW might have something up his sleeve!

  232. Notoverthehill

    OOU and Yogi, a very good write-up on JW! Well done, kind Sirs!

    Johnny, your lac of research is revealing! You are a nitpicker, only half, less than half the story:

    Career highlights

    2000 – Intertoto Cup Finalist
    2001 – bronze medalist Russia, a finalist of the Cup of Russia, the second in the list of 33 best players in the Russian Championship
    2002 – Second in the list of 33 best players in the Russian Championship
    2003 – silver medalist Russia
    2004 – Second in the list of 33 best players in the Russian Championship
    2005 – the first in the list of 33 best players in the Russian Championship
    2006 – the first in the list of 33 best players in the Russian championship, the best scorer of the “Zenith”, the best player on the Russian version of the newspaper “Sport-Express”, the best footballer of the year version of the weekly “Football”, winner of the prize “Leader of the national team”
    2007 – Champion of Russia, the first in the list of 33 best players in the championship of Russia, winner of the prize “the best footballer in the CIS and Baltic States” (“Star”), according to the newspaper “Sport Express”
    2008 – winner of the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, the first in the list of 33 best players in the championship of Russia, bronze medalist of European Championship, the best player of the final match of the UEFA Cup, a member of a symbolic national team European Championship UEFA version, the holder of the prize “the best player of the CIS and Baltic States” (“Star”), according to the newspaper “Sport Express”
    2009 – the best player of the month in the “Arsenal” (March, April), the player of the month in the English Premier League (April), a member of the Club Net Igor, a member of the club scoring 100 Russian, Grigory Fedotov Club member
    2010 – bronze medalist England
    2011 – FA Cup finalist
    2011/2012 – Champion of Russia

    Career total
    Appearances 344
    Goals 79
    Assists 104
    Appearances 44
    Goals 9
    Assists 20
    European Comps
    Appearances 61
    Goals 20
    Assists 25
    Other games
    Appearances 2
    Goals 1
    Assists 1
    Appearances 451
    Goals 108
    Assists 148

    I would point out that these figures are from the Russian Wikipaedia and I HAVE NOT checked the discrepancies in the summary totals!

    As for Johnny, how selective to choose the English Premier League, alone.

    I refuse to dignify such shallow tinkering, as research!

    Tackles BTW show a distinct lack of “mental pabulum”. Interceptions are the crux and NOT tackles.

    Sorry, editor. I could not allow such an attack on AA23 or AA29, go unchecked.

    PG is smarter than the average Johnny-come-lately.

  233. Sorry Noth, sorry Aman, It’s his Premiership career that matters to us.

    No one doubts that he has been, and can be, a fabulous talent.

    He really hasn’t done it for us though. I’d love to be proved wrong but something has held him back at Arsenal, and I think it’s him.

    Were we FA Cup Finalists in 2011? I missed that,

  234. CBob;

    Forgive me sir, but do not hold Balotelli up as one of the heinous breed of modern footballer. Sure his behaviour can at times be less than savoury (Mmmm savoury), but he should not be classed amongst the true scum that earn vast sums.

    And here’s why;

    He is a Looked After Child (LAC) and if you knew the stats (where’s khali when you need him?) for children who were orphanded, adopted, fostered etc, then you would cut him some serious slack.

    LAC are amongst the most vulnerable in society and more often than not, end up homeless, jobless, on hard drugs and feel worthless.

  235. pedantic george

    Anyone who is on loan will have poor stats for Arsenal .
    Mainly because they are not at the club.
    Just the other day people were complaining how Spain were boring and did not have enough swashbuckling players .And today some of the very same people are bemoaning our most swashbuckler for his game.
    He loses possession and he it shit .Others keep possession ,but don’t pass forward ,so they are shit.A team never loses the ball and they too are shit,
    I conclude people are just miserable fuckers who like to moan.

  236. pedantic george

    CC,finalist .But hey ,that voids the entire post .Right?

  237. wow Dex…thats a very serious reality there. A really rough life.
    saw him kiss some lady, I assumed was his mum, in the crowd
    quite touching.

  238. George;

    Miserable moaning hoofball loving feckers the lot of em.

  239. Aman;

    I know man, sorry if it was a bit OTT for a football blog. But I have worked with LAC before and it could be heart breaking man. Just because Balotelli has more money than he can spend shouldnt detract from his unfortunate beginnings.

    He has done some wacky stuff though! He went to my girlfriends Unic=versity a couple of months ago, went to the Uni library and offered to pay off every students library fines!

    The miserable fuckers at the library refused. I bet they like hoofball too. 🙂

  240. Is that Ballotelli story about the Library true Dex? He is definitely a strange young man! I knew that Mario was adopted and I too have worked with LAC. You are right that the outcome for many is not as rosey as Mario’s. Let’s hope he can keep his strangeness in check long enough to make the best of the advantages he has gained.

  241. pedantic george

    Well Yes Dexter.
    Is what they are.Philistines.

  242. Passenal; Yeah as far as I know it’s 100% a genuine story. He has made similar gestures around manchester apparantly too.

    He also drove into the playground of a local secondary school and asked to use the toilet! I think we might be waiting a while before he rains in his quiriness.

  243. *quirkiness.

  244. The harsher realities are never OTT for the always evolving mind, Dex.
    we learn every day…gracias

    may AW not let us down per AA.
    Naysayers need be re-orientated.
    I’d just love him to retire with the Arse, avec Mozart.

  245. corr: always evolving mind = open minded

  246. Sorry Dex, nothing new there historically for footballers, although they may not have been labelled as such in earlier generations. He has my sympathy but his behaviour is appalling and the effect of that is, well, probably not very good for the great game..

    George, you seem determined to be rude to anyone who doesn’t share your opinion. Research is good or bad and is usually judged by those, in this case me, who have no way of checking all the ‘facts’.

    It’s like journailism. I learnt many years ago that when jounalists write bollocks about something one knows about, and therefore one knows they are, they are likely to be talking bollocks about things one doesn’t know about.

  247. Nice one Aman, thanks man.

    Looks like it’s just you, George and myself who hold out any hope for the pesky Ruskie then. Nothing wrong in being a dreamer, I’m just glad I’m not the only one. Ahem.

  248. ..btw, where did Khalifa go?..he never answered my “when off duty” question..

  249. Bob;

    Compared to say, Rooney, Teves, Barton, Terry, Gerrard, I’d say Mario’s behaviour is but a meer skirmish sir.

  250. pedantic george

    Bob,If you think I am being rude because people don’t share my opinion then you are much less wise than I had you down for.
    I am rude to people who are snide and change their minds more often than they change their knickers.

  251. “i can see Mario captaining Italy someday”, said the genie Nostrathymus….

  252. “Compared to say, Rooney, Teves, Barton, Terry, Gerrard, I’d say Mario’s behaviour is but a meer skirmish sir.”

    Well yes, but? Charlton, McLintock, Pele, and inumerable others form earlier generations managed to light beacons for others to follow.

    I might be missing something George, I’ve been up since 5 this morning, but you are dogmatic on this issue and dismissive of alternative views.

    “CC,finalist .But hey ,that voids the entire post .Right?” Well, maybe, that was my point.

  253. Isnt it about time we signed another player? Its been several days now. I a, bored of the ones we have bought this summer. need new ones, the shinier the better.

  254. Dexter | June 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Blimey, I find myself agreeing with you again! But like the usual suspects you named, he will not reign in the unacceptable behaviour without proper guidance and/or admonishment. He has had a tough start in life, but he has also been given opportunities others can only dream about. He needs to make the right choices before he ends up a sad specimen with no redeeming features like Barton

  255. Bob’

    All I mean is that given Balotelli’s circumstances; being a LAC and the abysmal, horrible outcomes that befall almost every LAC, I can forgive the young man for some waywardness.

    He hasnt physically or sexually assaulted anyone as yet, as far as I know, or expolited vulnerable ladies of the night, taken drugs (not to be sniffed at BTW!).

    I have no reason to defend any obscenely paid modern footballer, but I will make small concessions for someone whom has had a rough ride in life.

  256. we signed some ultra shiny newbies Dex,

    I repeat
    the next wave conscripted…

  257. Passenal; haha! It had tro happen some day you know!

    There are many examples of young footballers, courted and pampered, with every whim sated by accolytes and agents alike and lots of them went ofdf the rails. Arsenal have seen a few do that; bentley, Bothroyd for example. Not sure if either had such a tough start in life.

    Yet it took Bothroyd till he was 27-28 to admit he was an idiot! 🙂

  258. pedantic george

    Bob,perhaps you should have thought how your sarcastic”Were we FA Cup Finalists in 2011? I missed that,” might be taken .It was a simple error ,which by you highlighting it did nothing but undermine the post.I suspect that was your intention.

  259. Aman;
    Ha! Yes, I saw that earlier and I actually also had a sneaky peek at some of the older ones who are yet to break through.

    I must admit I had another little dream dream about seeing Connor henderson and Kyle Ebicilio making serious headway this coming season.

    Connor is yet another one who had been destined for big things only to be beset with serious injury. So, that’s Wilshere. Ramsey. Frimpong, Jenkinson and Henderson. Too much

  260. Dexter | June 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I know you are saying this in jest, but I seriously believe that there are many who really think this without being consciously aware of it! I really cannot wait to see how AFC 12/13 pans out. The new signings, plus hopefully keeping our existing talent is potentially really promising in terms of our ability to challenge for trophies and that is the most you can hope for, since there are no guarantees in life.

  261. I agree (heavens above!). I havent been this excited about a new season for a ages. Obviously there are one or three outstanding issues to be resolved, but still. It could be an amazingly entertaining and ultimately successful year for us.


  262. Dex,
    “the future is ultra mega bright @ the Arse”, says the genie Nostrathymus….

  263. “He loses possession and he it shit .Others keep possession ,but don’t pass forward ,so they are shit.A team never loses the ball and they too are shit”
    My agrieved meerkat, I don’t think a single person has called Arshavin shit. Unanimously declared to be mercurial, technically gifted, exciting and creative this assessment is then followed by a ‘but’.

    However, never is he dismissed as shit.

  264. The level of optimism alone should be worth a few points. I think AFC has been swimming against a tide of negativity for a long time, which I could never understand, since we were always near the top and doing well given our resources. Now that those with the need for new shiny objects have had some of their needs met, perhaps they can get behind the team and give them that last little push they need to get over the line.

  265. ciao guys, till the next day.

  266. pedantic george

    No matter how well we do .It will never be good enough for some.
    People seem to get less pleasure our of the game .Results .transfers,always wanting bigger and more.
    Some of the players that have given the most entertainment in the past would be castigated because the can’t win a half marathon ,whilst never losing possession but making two assists per game on top of the hat trick they always get.

  267. That’s a fair point Dex.

    George, you just love a fight.

    As for undermining the post, I made my point concerning ‘research’ fairly plain I thought.

    I repeat, ‘ “CC,finalist .But hey ,that voids the entire post .Right?” Well, maybe, that was my point.’

  268. Best get me shades on then Aman, I mean Nostrathymus.

  269. If Arshavin leaves his parting gifts will include the assist and pre assist for two of Henry’s goals. Not a bad way to go. Even though he is not the fittest footballer on the planet I’d like to think there’s room for him in the squad but my guess is that this might be the forward line next season:

  270. pedantic george

    Bob,I think you took a cheep shot at his post.
    But I could be wrong,It would not be the first time.
    As for loving a fight? I don’t mind one way or the other.I just call things as i see them.And although I would rather be friends with people,the opposite holds no fear for me.

  271. Great post today OOU. Another in a long line this close season on ACLF. You really are spoiling us Yogi.

    Dexter – Passenal – another legend of Balotelli is of the young boy at the training ground during school hours. Balotelli asks the boy why he isn’t at school and the boy admits to being bullied. Balotelli then returns the boy to his school in his nine-speed sports car and confronts the bully with the boy. Lessons are learned, and Balotelli exits a hero, smiling and signing autographs and possibly dishing out a bit of cash to the local urchinry.

    The teenager who recounted this tale to me, was also regrettably impressed with the notion that Balotelli was crazy enough to have set off fireworks in his own bathroom.

  272. “He loses possession and he it shit .Others keep possession ,but don’t pass forward ,so they are shit.A team never loses the ball and they too are shit,”

    I have heard Arshavin universaly described as talented, creative and it is sometimes followed by a large ‘but…’
    However I’ve never heard him described as shit.

  273. Notoverthehill

    Cbob, urbanites think chickens lay eggs, when WE know it is hens! Geese lay eggs, ganders do not. A goose egg is a meal in itself! Ostriches matures in 12 months, a bullock needs 18 months at least! Ostriches are classified as dangerous and need a licence and fencing.

    In other words I could soon flush you out, if you are not a true Devonian! Born and bred!

    Why should a foreigner distinguish between a FA Cup and a League Cup? Both are run by the FA, are they not?

  274. pedantic george

    You are right Philmar.It is usually “fat and lazy” ,or another pathetic cliche like “uninterested”or even “useless drain on resources” Or have you not heard any of them either?

  275. Limestonegunner

    Come on Roger, close this out.

  276. I don’t get your point, Noth.

    Are you suggesting that I am not a Devonian, born and bred?

    As George says, “I don’t mind one way or the other.I just call things as i see them.And although I would rather be friends with people,the opposite holds no fear for me.”

  277. I’ve heard and said “lazy” and “uninterested” but never seen ‘fat’. But I don’t frequesnt as often. I’ve never seen “useless drain on resources” though I have said that the resources spent on him could be better spent on new blood which isn’t quite the same.

  278. pedantic george

    Trust me .They are all well used.

  279. “Come on Roger, close this out.”

    What a come back from the king of the tennis court! I thought he was going to follow Nadal out of the Championship. I’m glad he didn’t!

  280. Arshavin is portly and bone idle.

  281. Arshavin is corpulent and torpid.

  282. Duke

    Only because he’s not feeling the love from you

  283. pedantic george

    This is my very last day on Arshavin.
    I have bitten for the last time.
    You can all fuck off.

  284. laugh out loud!

  285. I like Arshavin – he’s a sublime genius, albeit with stamina and confidence issues. He’s also cold and other-worldly like a proper Soviet should be.

  286. I also like arshavin…a night out with him would be a blast.

  287. Limestonegunner

    Passenal, close call wasn’t it!? Thankfully he continues, but I am worried about the Djoker–horribly soulless, I feel–who has been so dominant on grass, hard court.

    Federer epitomizes class–would be such a delight to see him win his 7th, but I’d also be pleased for Gooner Murray to get to the final and win.

    Btw, Dex et al, how can you omit me from the crew!? Still love the little Russian.

  288. Limestonegunner

    Nice remarks, Dex, as well, on Balotelli and the general issue of children with a rough start to lift. Some “human values”– which is part of what Arsenal is now known for, just ask Giroud.

  289. Limestonegunner

    Rough start to life

  290. Limestone; Sorry for leaving you off the list man.

    And when you posted “Come on Roger, close this one out” I thought you were telling george to hurry up and finish his squabbling! 🙂


  291. Limestonegunner

    Lols! 🙂

  292. I see George is claiming he is done with the Arshavin issue. Any takers on him biting at the first opportunity?

  293. As I did not read all of todays comments, I am not sure if some one posted this already or not but I doubt it. Just a little Arsenal quiz to see how much you all really know as opposed to what you think you know. I have to admit to getting ?’s 2 and 3 wrong.

  294. A little video tease of what we can hopefully expect from Giroud 🙂

  295. What is really interesting is his technique, it is eerily similar to that of RVP. Fingers crossed we have both but if we do not, he is an excellent replacement (on paper).

  296. What about Okyazup? He is listed on Besiktas’ website but no official announcement on the Arsenal website.

  297. @ Peacefrog – Considering Yossi Benayoun is still listed as a first team player on, I am not too surprised really. The Arsenal are notoriously slow at updating the home website.

  298. Ok…but I would expect to see it in the list that was published yesterday:

  299. Peacefrog

    He left at the start of this month IIRC for about £500k.

  300. Did someone just say Andy Murray is a Gooner? Shit, if true I have to support him and then will be faced with yet another bloody massive sporting disappointment.

  301. Oh no it’s OK. In a typically bird brained anti Arsenal Daily Mirror headline there was a claim that Andy Murray ‘confesses’ he’s an Arsenal fan. Not ‘confesses’. As if supporting the best club in the world is akin to stealing or bestiality or scrumping apples whilst cheating on your wife with your brother’s girlfriend. What a weekend that was. Anyway the point is even in their own artiocle the best quote they had was this

    And the Scot admitted: “I’m a Hibs fan but Arsenal are the team I like watching most.

    So note again ‘admitted’. Supporting Arsenal and criminality activity linked again. But he clearly states he’s a Hibs fan.
    Phew, don’t need to support him now but can admire his views on who plays the best football.

  302. Yes steww, it’s true. Passenal says he has been on The Arsenal magazine a number of times.

  303. Hmm, interesting debates all round.

    Dexter, you did well gee, at least more people will be able to understand why Balotelli is not as sane as the average joe.

    Aman, i saw that *wipes smile off face*, whenever am with the phone i try to pop in either to tease pg or talk football if am free.

    Nothing more needs to be said on Federer, he is simply the best.

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