International Rescue For Spain, Arsenal Brains Into Gear

Out with the old, in with the new. Spain’s deserved triumph over Italy in Kyiv last night signalled the completion of season 2011-12, pre-season training has begun for those outside of the Premier League and is a week or so away for those within the citadel. Even when facing a full complement of opponents, Spain were the better side. It felt like a step too far for the Italians but nothing should detract from their efforts in reaching the final.

They faced a Spanish side which had mastered the Italian technique of doing enough to qualify, doing enough to beat the opponent in front of them whilst occasionally riding their luck. Spain caressed the ball and I understand the criticism; it was not dynamic at times, chess on the football pitch emerged as they pulled opponents out of shape.

Arsène, whilst openly admiring the Spaniards, was critical of the manner of previous victories in this tournament, noting that they appeared more negative than before. He accused them of betraying their philosophy which is too much of a media-friendly attack. Spain have grown-up. 2008 saw them play with a refreshing naivety in winning the trophy; it was their first chance to show their style on the international stage. 2010 was a step further. Now, as the team to beat, they face more organised opponents, foes who will hassle and harry whilst trying to deprive them of the space in which they want to play. Possession must be retained in order to probe to find the gaps.

Further, it omits a crucial point. Vincent Del Bosque is being lauded for 4-6-0, in the media’s eye a tactical masterstroke. It was but only to the extent that his key striker was missing. David Villa understands better than most the philosophy of tiki-taka (or tiki-tika as mi suegra called it). He knows the movement required of the central striker in that formation. I am sure that Torres does as well but the only time he plays in that formation is with the national squad; it is not often enough. Equally Negredo and Llorente cannot have impressed Del Bosque otherwise they would have featured from the start last night. Necessity was the mother of invention.

Wenger believes in the style as well as the substance. He wants to win trophies beautifully and that is a critical stick with which he is beaten. It is, as usual, too simplistic. The failure on the pitch is a result of the financial constraints; they led the club to the path of youthful promotion but now the balance is being redressed with a squad of experienced young players mixing with older heads. That impatience for glory manifests in the criticism of style over substance is one that Matt touched on yesterday in his excellent post. Arsenal do play negatively when the situation requires it; they win ‘ugly’ which is why Arsène’s criticism of Spain sits uncomfortably. All Champions win when playing badly; they all do, even The Invincibles. All of Wenger’s titles have been won with sides that could turn on the style as well as grind out draws and wins. Last season saw signs of that returning, particularly in the second half of the campaign. This season will need it more often from the outset.

One of those experienced heads is Andre Santos whose interview with The Elastico was illuminating. One of Arsène’s so-called panic buys“, he has put that to bed. According to the player, contact was first made with his agent in March 2011. That being the case, it is ludicrous to say that he was a rushed signing. He was an identified target. His signing was at the last minute but from Santos’ own words, it is clear Arsenal had done a considerable amount of homework on the Brazilian before pursuing the transfer.

It is an interesting conversation, not least for the revelation that Pele kept the young Santos’ hopes up by favourably comparing him to Roberto Carlos. That comparison is not hard to understand (fnar-fnarTHWACK! That’s enough jokes about Pele’s commercial activities – Ed.) with previous coaches having noted that the Santos’ attacking instincts have brought on many premature (THWACK!) grey hairs. Curb your enthusiasm, indeed.

He is aware of his failings which is a good start but what I found refreshing is his desire to improve, to become a starter for Arsenal. There is a key battle between Santos and Gibbs for left back. The latter is a bright prospect whose career has thus far been blighted by injury. He has a lot of learning still to do but is a strong candidate for a long career at Arsenal in that position. That the left back area has not been the target of summer transfer speculation is a signal that we have good cover.

He views his first season in England positively, despite the injury which kept him out of the side for three months. In the great scheme of things that is not too long a spell, as Jack Wilshere will testify. However, it is not appreciated the problems it caused Santos having just arrived in England. Isolation as he notes, was a big problem but reading his comments, his age and family life counted in his favour being more settled than a youngster in the same position.

Elsewhere Theo Walcott is apparently a target for Chelsea whilst Roberto Mancini doesn’t think that Robin van Persie will be joining them. Either that or he has been told in no uncertain terms to be quiet on the matter. If I recall correctly, his bullishness over Samir Nasri was followed by a day of peace and quiet before the return to inelegant braying.  He got his man then; this time? Who knows. Hugo Lloris can be snapped up for £16m if Arsenal want him – which I don’t think they do – and in any case, is he genuinely better than Szczesny by a sufficient margin to warrant a sizeable fee. I know memories are selective but my overriding recollection of him is as a bit of a flibbertigibbet when it comes to crosses.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on July 2, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 277 Comments.

  1. spain are really turning onn the screws,after many year’s of under achievement…congrats to them, and a very good morning to you YW.thanks for the daily bread.

  2. Morning YW.
    I your opinion which player had the best tournament??

  3. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Spain = mission accomplished. Extraordinary.

    Fuck off to all the twats who say they’re dull, can’t score. Is four enough for you? 990 minutes of knock-out international tournament games without conceding a single goal? Sergio Ramos trying to back heel into the net from a Torres assist for what would have been the fifth? What is Spanish for “taking the piss”? Because that was the very definition of it. And as you rightly point out, Yogi, all without David fucking Villa. Jesus. What more do people want?

    Spain were asleep when they came out for the second half, but an early Italian chance disabused them of that. Then it got stodgy, possibly both sides were somewhat exhausted by then. Italy could have possibly clawed it backed had they scored at that point, but they didn’t. The stats that I saw towards the end had both teams pretty even: 50% possession, 11 shots each, same number each on target, same number of corners, but Spain were leading 2-0.

    Silva and then Cesc went off, to be replaced by attackers. And once Torres was involved, you could see he was in the zone, determined to score, and what a goal. Perhaps a younger, more agile Buffon would’ve saved it, but this one couldn’t. And then a master class in generosity to cap it all off, when Torres set up Mata for number four (also incidentally at the same time providing an object lesson for the selfish twat Pedro).

    Glad Spain won – victory for football and all that. (Still haven’t forgiven Italy for getting Zidane sent off in his final competitive game, so this was justice of sorts – some of my family is French.)

    So what are the odds now for Spain to retain their World Cup title in Brazil? Lots of good players coming through into the first team, including Martinez, Alba, Mata. Cesc and Silva and others will be in their prime, injuries permitting. And Iker will be a mere stripling of 33, given that Zoff captained Italy to glory in 1982 at the age of 40. It’s the only thing I wouldn’t put past him – to win two WCs on the bounce, because goals for sure never get by him. All hail San Iker, and a magnificent, magnificent team.

    And then Ramos was named player of tournament in the Castrol rankings, with Cron in 2nd place:

    Ramos was I believe Castrol’s best-ranked player in South Africa, and before that, he also tied with Xavi for top spot at Euro 2008. Boy got game doesn’t even begin to cover it.

  4. My picks would be Ozil, INYESTA, PIRLO , CESC AND MAYBE GOMEZ..
    Cesc was instrumental to spains success.
    Good post BTW.

  5. goonerkam

    Hmmm. Pirlo played well in a few games. Gomez did well, so did Bastian, Iniesta, Xavi but I think I’d probably give it to Fabregas.

  6. “flibbertigibbet”, ah, lovely.

  7. I concur. I think of all our players AA and Nickles and Theo had good showing. Maybe we should sell RVP and offer a big bonus to get NIK back as the best striker that ever lived. LOL. bites tongue.
    Who is this Matt fellow. A regular contributor??

  8. and a new word is born. I think it means he flapps at cross. Instead of punching them out. A bit like our and polkas number two.

  9. i think people are a bit harsh on italy. played 30 minutes with 10 men. it just wasnt going to be their night, was it? in that 60 minutes, it isnt as if italy had no chances…

  10. I wonder if SPAIN would still have come on top if the previous method of advancing was employed for teams in group stage. I would think probably so. And they are relatively young. This could go on for a while.
    I hope UEFA goes back to the old system and also reduce the number of teams. Three to a group. Four groups. One advances. Then a mini league .all for teams play each other on basis of points. OUTLAW PENALTY SHOOTOUTS.
    and TV REPLAY. NOW……..

  11. I think that some people have got it wrong. I listened to the bbc coverage where the jokers who commentated mocked those who dared to say that playing 100s of passes sideways and backwards was getting boring. What people are saysing is that AT TIMES during the euros spain played really negativly. The stats show that all the passes spain delivered the vast majority were sideways and or backward. Last night was not the case, instead they played with intent to get forward and score goals. But then spain have always played this type of football. I can go back to the 60s and remember the comments through that era, the 70s the 80s the 90s, and in the end they have managed to produce the players that can make their football work. But up until then the comments were always the same. They play good football but they dont win anything. So i look forward to seeing the rest of the prem trying to play like that without the quality. There has been a golden generation in spain, lets see how long it lasts. For me the best football is like the invinsibles , accurate but spread over the pitch (total football) I dont think any tactics will beat the spanish system until the likes of xavi, iniesta (2nd best player in the world) have hung up their boots. This type of football at its best van produce fantastic games, at its worst is like playing an old fashioned tennis computor game. Now bring on the new season

  12. KORI ,with all due respect the Italians were not very dominant in the the group stage . The only thing that they did which is noteworthy is eliminating the GERMANS. and that was primarily due to LOWS wrong tactics. But well done, nonetheless.

  13. Did anyone else notice MARIOS actions at the end of the game??
    I will be shocked if he ever played a game again for the Azzuri. A complete and utter disrespectful jackass.

  14. I agree with boomer

  15. Flibbertigibbet is a chatterbox

  16. Alonso was my player of the tournament

  17. boomer;

    Thta was a very gppd post man. What happened? 🙂

    I can understand people calling Spain boring, they DID play differently last night, perhaps they were conserving energy? But it could have back fired vs Portugal as there’s no way of knowing what might happen in a penalty shoot out.

    I don’t think it was a brilliant tournament though, too many dull games. As for player of the tourny? Xavi.

  18. Spain let in a goal against Italy in the group stages

  19. Nothing new about the word, goonerkam. It’s an old English word that means scatty, flighty (although as Frank points out, it is now referred to more as a chatterbox). And from what I’ve seen of Lloris, applies to his method of dealing with crosses.

  20. pedantic george

    I am confused.How could you not like the post?
    I hate Marmite though.

  21. Spain were good yesterday but overall I still find and found them boring. One game does not change MY opinion. Congrats to them all the same, they deserved to win.

    For ME, Germany is the worlds best team but they still have to mature a little more.

    I thought Italy were decent but ran out of steam. The second goal killed them though but even with that, they had some good opportunities.

  22. Go get him George, go on go on go on go on!! He is there for the taking man. 🙂

  23. Bananas btw

  24. pedantic george

    It can be boring when one team is totally dominant.That does not mean that it is the dominant team that is boring.
    People’e dislike for the cheating,diving,tapper uppers(including me)is skewing their view.

  25. I agree with Paul-N

  26. No, I can actually think for myself. I like that about me.

  27. Thanks YW. first time I have ever seen that word. So he talks alot during the game or just in general has a mouth that wo t shut??

  28. Kam;

    I think Yogi meant he was a flapper-of-crosses man.


    You can think for yourself now? 🙂

  29. LOL . you stop Dexter.
    BTW ,your posts yesterday were very amusing man.

  30. Ha! Thanks Kam man.

  31. LOL . well he sure as heck didn’t mean he talks to all the crosses that come his way.

  32. goonerkam

    with all due respect, spain only really played well in 1 game, and that was yesterday.

    so what’s your point?

    i didn’t claim that italy were brilliant in this tournament. i just said that they weren’t that bad last night. and personally, i felt spain werent as outstanding as everyone has been saying. the scoreline was fantastic of course, but were they really that dominant? did italy have no chances at all?

  33. My problem with Spain is they were classless. This bullcrap when kicking an opponet when down will come back and haunt your butt. Thisbaloney has a way of evening out and the Spanish will get theirs Just ask Sir Alex and what City did to them at their house. Spain should have won, Bit what goes up must come down.

  34. pedantic george

    I agree with Yogi

  35. pedantic george

    korihikage.They where by far the better team At no point did it look like Italy could win.
    How dominant do you want?

  36. Spain fully deserved it.
    but in my mind they won 3-1.
    It was effectively over once the Azzuri where reduced to 10 men.

    revelation of the tournament: Jordi Alba.

    Balotelli HAD EVERY RIGHT to walk off at the end the way he did. He needed to vent in private, shed his tears. We all express pain differently please GET OFF his case!
    Afterwards he came back on to the pitch to be with his team mates before collecting his medal, which he did not take off like many twat players do these days.
    Please move your angst elsewhere and leave the 20 year old alone!

    Spain presently play the most sophisticated football on Earth.
    Though it can be boring sometimes it’s been highly successful & enlightening.
    I’m being about you?

  37. The Arse in The Gamb

    Szczesny is young, brash and brilliant. With 20 potential years at the top ahead of him, in all probability he will become one of Arsenal’s greatest players and leaders.

    Contrast him to another gifted youngster on show last night who was left with hardly a sniff of the ball or the game. Just his agent’s fees alone are now reportedly worth nearly twice what Arsenal received for Nasri, and the same we received for our best player, according to…… his agent.

    With those incentives you can easily see Balotelli’s career taking the same path as the young Nicolas Anelka, with people choosing to cash in early on the back of a few flashes of brilliance rather than nurturing him to take a stand and making a lasting mark on the game. It is sad to see how money becomes the only badge for these unconnected irregulars if there is no care in the endeavour and it is hugely gratifying to compare it with the glory achieved by the footballing brilliance and team spirit on display by the Spanish yesterday.

    You are only worth what people are willing (or able) to pay and in his case there is nowhere relevant left for Balotelli to go at those prices – so kill your career my friend or join your team.

  38. I expressed in an comment some days ago, the possible significance that both teams in the final came from the southern, generally warmer and more settled (weatherwise) regions of the EU.
    And wondered whether a winter break in the UK should be considered.

  39. pedantic george

    Imagine how good Spain would be if they had Andy Carroll to hoof the ball at.Vary their game ,get the ball off the floor for long spells in the game.

  40. nicky;

    I think a winter break would benefit the players, but that would mean something had to give. Either scrapping the league cup, or reducing the number of teams in the PL.

    Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with either, but then that is a slightly arrogant approach to take as my team is usually one of the struggling teams at the foot of the division. Now, if it meant a team like Wigan going down, I would be pretty unahhpy about that, as they play football the right way. But if we could somehow relegate Stoke (to the football Conference), then I am all for it.

  41. *usually NOT one of the…

  42. KORI, Italy picked the wrong tactics against Spain. They chose to play expansive football with them. Spain had more of impressive group stage showing and dealt with different teams the right way. Italy should have parked it last night and hit on the counter. Not play open football with the masters of space and tactical passing. They got shredded to pieces.
    Nevertheless, well done. I sure didn’t pick them to be in the final.

  43. spain were just too much for italy..
    and the thing is, as clerkwell gunner has pointed out, before torres came on the stats were even for both teams across the board..possession, shots, corners, all identical..
    spain, although playing 6 midfielders didnt actually control the game with possession..
    they controlled it by being clinical..

    it was spain at their best… quality of possession was what killed italy, then tiredness kicked in and torres finished it off..

    i enjoyed pretty much every game at this tournament, i found the quality of football better than that at the world cup overall..

    we made a cock out of ourselves a little bit against italy and i still think we should have gone after them with speed but hey ho…it was a nice little distraction while theres no arsenal…

  44. George at 10.33,

    Just be patient, the dislike will come…

  45. Dex / Nicky

    The worrying thing about mid-winter breaks is that the clubs will use them to play meaningless friendlies in sunnier climes, rather than actually resting the players.

    Getting rid of the League Cup? No need, just enter the reserves.

  46. george

    yes, they were the better team. the game was effectively over after 60 minutes. i just felt that in the first 60 minutes, it might have been closer than 2-0.

  47. No winter break. What would we do with ourselves?

  48. MORNING AMAN. Mario is a powder cage. An accident ready to happen. He pushed (no threw) his manager to one side and all he wanted to do was shake his hand. Please don’t defend the indefensible. The ox is young too. He does act like a prick. And he just about snapped ,songs left leg IN. Half. inexcusable. i don’t care how young or immature he is.

  49. arse or brain

    George @ 10:55
    i think tony pulis has nicked your keyboard

  50. I love that style of football, if its attacking. Like a lot football fans I’ve long had a bit of a soft spot for Barcelona, even during the Cesc transfer, simply because of the way they play…when they attack. Bilbao’s crazily attacking interpretation of it last season completely blew me away, until they got knackered.

    Wasn’t keen on Spain this summer, for largely the same reasons as Boomer. Said before that negative opponents play a big role, and everyone knew that that Spain’s best players were tired coming into the tournament. So they rested on the ball through a few matches.

    Doesn’t mean they weren’t spectacular at times last night.

    Here’s the scary part – Spain have guys like Thiago, Muniain and Isco (also Herrera and Koke), coming through, and those are already shining in La Liga. I know football moves in cycles, but there’s enough talent coming through to make seamless transitions when the current stars like Xavi retire. I mean, since 2008 Senna and Puyol have been replaced and they’ve only got stronger.

    It’s been said a billion times before, but England needs more indoor football, smaller pitches before mid-teens etcwith the intention of producing more footballers capable of passing and controlling a ball. You don’t want to ape the way Spain play, but in the end we’re not talking about styles – it’s simply a question of competence, or, for us, lack of it.

  51. Sorry Paul-N,
    Germany’s NOT the world’s best team
    They lack that extra bit of sophistication..awareness, patience, maturity.

    Low made key tactical errors….

    Ozil’s their best player..
    how best to deploy him along with Goetze & some of their fresh faces will be key to their future
    Scweinsteiger has regressed, wasn’t fit? maybe shouldn’t have played? might need to consider leaving Germany to improve?
    Boateng’s better @ CM…Per over Bachstuber vs Italy?

    Dortmund’s the best in the Bundesliga for a reason and though they were “easily” eliminated in the CL groupies, they play a style that with more guile & experience, points the way forward. Their league will keep improving.

    Their style will not succeed immediately but with the generation of players they currently possess,when it out!

    but they’re definitely not there yet

  52. a winter break is a must for our league i think..
    but not over xmas or new year…
    its tradition…the festive sporting calander is what makes the holidays the holidays..

    im all up for one in january…
    scrap a couple of freindlies and squeeze a few more games in at the start of the year like all the other leagues do..
    scrap the charity shield or play it a week earlier in sudan or wherever they want the 39th game thingy and start the PL when all the other leagues start
    we could squeeze januarys games in at the start of the season…

    moving the third round off the fa cup would be tricky but we could seed teams like they do in europe and all the very bestest teams could be given another round off and join the comp at round four..
    this would also help the little teams finanically as there is no value in the fa cup anymore for the top teams..whereas for the minnows in the lower leagues its a money spinner just to get a good draw so a fourth round start would benefit the lower leagues a little more financailly and it would benefit the PL with a break…

  53. Yogi;

    It’s easy to say just use the reserves, but it still opens up a real can of worms IF you are looking to win a 1st trophy in a while doesn’t it? It should be scrapped, really no need to have 2 domestic cups IMO.

    I know that a lot of teams would go on foreign jaunts, but they aren’t as high intensity as league fixtures and it would allow players to rest and reserves and youths to get games with the 1st team etc.

    But the PL would need to be reduced for it to happen. La Liga only manages the fixtures (loads better than the hapless and sky led PL) due to them playing copa del Rey games midweek.

  54. goonerkam,
    that was not his manager that he pushed aside.
    go review your “tapes” and stop being so cliche with your instant judgement!

  55. I didn’t get a chance to come on yesterday but just wanted to say thanks to YW for letting me post and thanks to all those who made such nice comments! Cheers!

  56. arse or brain

    one of the commentators said last night “spain had found a new way to be a sucess” who’d thought it would be passing the ball especially when they developed this as we were developing the charlie technique so loved by our press.Also on s.sports curbishley taking 15 minutes to explain the preferred sydtems of clubs in the prem and all over europe and then picking his team of the tourlament in a 4-4-2 what a dinosaur

  57. For me it’s to.eliminate this meaningless league cup. But that move in itself is not going to improve the national team. Fundamentals and good coaching. But the FA is directionless and lack nuts to make tough decisions. MORE ACADEMIES and more progressive coaches such as AW to revolutionize the game and bring it forward.
    I’m not holding my breath.

  58. I agree with everything u said @ 11:10 Big Al,

    British greed means executing a long term plan that’d revolutionize football over say 10 years is a no no.
    The brightest talents get overhyped, overused & destroyed before they acquire the skill-sets required for greatness.

    We are seeing it now with Rooney. Theo & Ox are next in line.
    When will they learn?

  59. pedantic george

    We player with 6 mid fielders for the first half of the season when Arshavin was Center forward.

  60. It was PRANDELLI his coach. And it was SONGS leg he assulted. And it was parkers face he stumped on. Wake up and smell the coffee.
    He is talented but super destructive to team moral and as such won’t make the team if I’m managing. I hope he lets off fireworks in shitties locker room during half time of a game next year. LMFAO.

  61. juventus have made an offer for robin?

    i think someones made that up and if they havent then those italians are a little punchy after last night i reckon..

    8 fucking milliion..

    i know wenger likes to keep the sun and moon in alignment regarding the worlds finances but asking him to sell his main man for 8mil??

    haha..they could offer 80mil now and id keep him just on prinicple….

  62. at least now that the euros are over, we can focus on the real agenda.

  63. JJ

    maybe that’s all they have got left in their bank account…

  64. The sad truth is that only this year, a few weeks ago in fact, the FA voted to CONSIDER scrapping full size pitches for 8 year olds FFS! And some of the people at the FA were not happy about this either, apparantly.

    Kids shouldnt even be playing competitive matches till they have had a few years of just working with that annoying and objectionable round thing full of air (And I don’t mean George, this time).

  65. george we might as well have played a 1-8-1 last season..

    fuck knows what the formation was when we had no wingbacks as well..

  66. The Arse in The Gamb

    If reports are to be given any credibility then the Blue Manchester cash saga will be interesting to watch this transfer season. Lots of talk, but little action is my prediction as the bloated salaries they have been paying finally bite back.
    It would be nice to believe that Adeboyor’s sale to Tottenham was a prerequisite of their ‘purchase’ of vP as it will not happen. Even if they give him away with some free bags of special potato fertiliser he will never accept the drop in salary until his contract ends.
    Similarly the insistence on 80 million for David Silva is hardly the main stumbling block, they may or may not want him to stay, but the salary will be the things that ensures he will remain blue.

  67. Dex

    My youngest has never played on a full sized pitch so the FA are behind what their own leagues are even using for under-10s!

  68. LOL. 8 mil will get you NB. NOT RVP. No respect at all. Why would ROBIN become teammates with the guy who crippled him for a year and half. In a friendly no less. Ffs.

  69. Kam;

    Juve have got more chance of signing Bendtner than RvP. I am confident that they were never in with the remotest chance of signing him. Just as with cesc and Milan last summer, it is all Italian media led propganda to try and big up serie A.

  70. Luckily you are NOT managing goonerkam…and 2ndly Balotelli plays for Shitty.
    I could care less

  71. Spain were the best team at the Euros and deserved to win. And yet they could so easily have lost! Iker Casillas made some very important saves. Must have been very frustrating for Cassano and Di Natale. And that’s where football can be unfair. A team half as good as the other can win at times. Had Casillas had a bad day Italy may just have won. And for me Italy were the second best team of the sixteen. My third best? Netherlands! And they didn’t even get a point. For me there was more enterprise than their dull world cup team. I hate winning at any cost. Never liked the German teams. For me they seem to run in straight lines. Hard working but no flair. Turkish flair from Khedira and Ozil wasn’t enough to change their character. And why should anyone hate tiki taka – or tik tik? Unless you love Jose Mourinho. The King of ugly football!

  72. Yogi;

    Yes, thankfully not all U10s play on full size pitches, but it is a shocking and damnin indictment of today’s society that, oops, wrong rant… In 2012 some kids still have to pkay full size latches. The FA are a geriatric dinosaur. God knows what calibre of coaches some of these kids have to get taught by too. A bunch of Howard Wilkinsons no doubt.

  73. Most of my friends who didn’t want Spain to win give the reason that when one team – even when good – wins too much is just too much. What drivel. The best team should always win so that the losers up their game!

  74. I agree DEX. and he is not going to shitty per his own declaration. PSG is an option but he won’t want to play for a lesser league. That rules out china and Russia. The only slimbags to worry about are chelski and the don’t need another striker. Therefore, IMHO he is out of options and will do as his family wishes. I think it is already decided. When he signs THEO will follow suit man. If he knows what’s good for him.

  75. Kam;

    Yeah, hope you are right! As for Theo needing to know what RvP does. I am not sure why that is an issue TBH. Seems to have been started somewhere and now it has become a fact. Let’s wait and see.

  76. AMAN. I have coached before and was a general manager at high school level. As you say though, he is not our freaking problem. Let shitty worry about him and ADE AND TEVEZ. wow. I see problems in that locker-room in the very near. Future. No wonder EDAN wants out. And TOURE yahyah.

  77. I was reluctant to throw my hat in the ring during the debate last week about “boring” Spain. It is not an easy subject to tackle. One cannot help but admire their technical competency, the skill, the technique and the sheer bloody-mindedness to stick to the way they play despite the critics. How many times have we at Arsenal been criticized for the very same qualities? However as many have observed, with most teams content to sit back with 8 or 9 players behind the ball, simply parking a double-decker bus waiting opportunistically for a chance to counter, tiki-taka then becomes a a series of metronomic passes sideways and backways as Spain seeks not only for the opening but also to deny any opportunity for the ball over the top or behind an out of positioned defender and the “flukey” one-opportunity, one-goal routine that we at Arsenal often suffer.

    The problem I have with the above is the hypocrisy of those who are now praising Spain to high heavens. They are the most vehement critics of Wenger for his emphasis on technical players and Arsenal’s “tippy-tappy” football. But once Spain and even Italy (after they embarrassed England) kept on winning they were the loudest voices on the bandwagon. Most of us who have no choice but Fox Soccer Channel (US based) have to had to put up nightly with ex-Geordie, Warren Barton, who is the epitome of this hypocrisy. One night is boring Spain, the next is they are the greatest team ever. Next month I am sure it is Arsenal can’t win anything without an Andy Carroll or a John Terry type player.

    The point of my ramblings is, football is becoming more technical and possession-oriented, a la Spain, but as AW observed, albeit prematurely, the philosophy must attacking football, not possession merely as a means of defending. If we choose the latter, as was Spain oftentimes during the tournament, it is simply going to bore the casual fan to death and eventually destroy the game as a spectacle.

  78. Agreed again DEX. need THEO to stay too. With or without RVP. he is becoming better and better . We have a lot invested in that young man.
    My nephew is ten and I watch him play on full size pitch here in the states. They are completely drained by halftime. Its all wrong. At that age they should play smaller. Sized pitches . Seven a side and develop their techniques. Learn how to play with and without the ball.

  79. the problem that city have is that manchesters a shit hole and the only reason why fergie kept a winning team happy is because half his squad for the last 20 years have been from the manchester area..
    scholes and giggs dont care manchesters a shit hole..
    but ronaldo did..
    the likes of yaya and aguero wont be there what they have to do, earn some coin, win some stuff and fuck off back to the sun..

    citys full of mercs..2-3 years tops and they’ll start to wither again, unless they replace superstar with superstar with another 500mil spunkage but hopefully they’ll be some half decent rules that stop this kinda shit..

    people complain about our deadwood but citys deadwood could pay off some nations debts..

    i fail to see how the powers that be dont recognise how wrong that is…

    people are having to stick their hands down the cracks of the sofa to find the cash to put food on the table these days and theres footballers getting paid millions for doing fuck all..

  80. I think Italy were naive (never thought I would utter that line) last night, perhaps bouyed by their success and subsequent hype? They played a really high line from the start, played a really slow CB at LB and paid for that folly, the coach made some poor decisions as well in terms of substitutions, as I didnt feel Montolivo needed an early bath and they were also unlucky with a few chances going begging and Motta getting injured.

    Yes Spain played extremely well, but I feel Italy played a significant part in their own down fall last night.

  81. A long post for you these days shotta.

    Some good points there. The Pardew story above made me smile. Lauds the style of play on show and then picks a 442 team.


  82. JJ;

    Its morally, ethically and sportingly (is that a real word?) wrong man. But it’s been going on for years, ably assisted by Sky, agents, FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League, the FA and us mug punters.

  83. i didnt want Spain to win, not because i found them boring whatsoever. if you can keep the ball away from the opponents forever, then fair enough.

    i didn’t want them to win, because i can’t stand the barcelona bastards.

  84. the hypocrisy and double standards of journalists and pundits alike are well-known.

  85. “For me they seem to run in straight lines. Hard working but no flair”.

    well said kenyanG

  86. pedantic george

    Nice post Shotta.
    When we play Stoke,after 3 or so passes the Stoke fans start chanting “boring,boring ,boring “untill possession is lost.
    They do that because they are a bunch of ill-educated neanderthals with zero understanding of the game.
    People should remember that when calling Spain boring.It may not be the way you like to see the game played ,or the way you want Arsenal to play .But to describe it as “boring” smacks of ignorance.

  87. Dexter

    ja they were naive, the defence was always one step slower, the midfield wasn’t getting goal-side of the Spaniards. 2 players came off injured. half an hour with 10 men. no chance.

    i thought prandelli had to make that midfield change, because it just wasn’t working. chiellini playing at LB backfired in more ways than one.

    luck just wasn’t on their side. if they had put away one of their chances, who knows what would have happened? i don’t claim that italy would have won it. i just feel that they were dealt a very harsh blow, perhaps of their own making.

  88. Off topic – apart from the very tail of his career, Liam Brady was well before my time, so apart from the famous goals, I’ve been looking for some footage. There’s some stuff in here I’ve not seen before:

  89. c/o the latest gossip,
    do we really need Lloris?

    No. we’ve got Szczesny.

  90. Jonjon @1210
    spot on as chelski have discovered and shitty will too. The only way to sustain their business model is pour more and more money into it. Maybe this year the ARAB SPRING will bring down the governments of the gulf states . Shitty will be up the creek without a paddle. Priceless.

  91. i thought shay given would have been a good backup keeper. particularly 2 years ago or so, before the emergence of szczesny. but he rotted far too long in that shithole. seems to have gained quite a few pounds as well.

  92. pedantic george

    Given did not want to be back up at City on mega money.Why would he want to be back up anywhere else?

  93. i thought he stayed there for a while before moving on?

  94. OOU, a great video and someone should show this to RVP. this is how juventes treated the most cultured of all left feet. Take heed.

  95. spain are the only club who can play that way..
    and barca..
    its a culture thing, cruyff gets alot of credit for what he achieved at barca but cruyff was a dribbler..cruyff still wanted to keep the side of the game where you take your man on, by yourself, and you beat him and then play the space and score some goals
    spain have evolved it one further where you no longer need to beat your man, you pass it around him..

    any other team who tries to copy it cant do it becuase they dont have the personal that spain do..

    spain play with 100 midfielders becuase they have 100 world class midfielders..

    how many other teams can say that??

    it does get boring..and its ignorance on the spanish part that they can keep the ball for 75mins but not bother to shoot sometimes…its not a training takes the piss and they know they are doing it…

    but when they put the peddle to the metal…you could watch it all day….

  96. i am really looking forward to the start of the season so we can stop gushing about spain. but then if we aren’t winning every game 5-0, the doomers will be back here again.

    sigh.. the sad life of korihikage

  97. as for us copying it?
    we cant.. and we aint trying to..
    how can you play total tika taka with theo in the team?

  98. JJ

    why do we want to play tiki taka. we play the Arsenal way.

  99. Yeah, GK. I know the league’s not what it was, but, just for the sake of it, say he does leave, I’d understand if RvP went to Juventus. They’re a massive club with a huge history and a fantastic stadium that gets sold out every other week.

    i get the feeling I’d be able to take it a little better.

  100. exactley kori..

  101. pedantic george

    Wonderful find OOU,
    Jack has the potential to be that good.But this bloody injury is a worry.I am going to have to stop fretting about it ,It is doing me no good at all.
    I also thing Brady is second only to Dennis as far as greats go.And he left at age 24 I think.So maybe on day we can forgive Fabregas and let him sit on the bench marked “Greats”

  102. There’s more if anyone’s bothered, in Italian though –

  103. Start at 21-minute mark. Layam Breddy!

  104. Oh, come on george.

    It’s a matter of taste, not a sign of ignorance if you find a style of play boring.

    JJ nails it at 12.40.

    Stoke fans were just winding us up, or trying too. Some are undoubtedly ignorant, we don’t play like Spain, but we can be guilty of fannying around sometimes and opposing fans will point this out.

  105. Limestonegunner

    Interesting, George. I said basically the same last night as Shotta did, agreeing with AW, but you were in a cantankerous mood, I think.

    Spain played its best attacking game last night and part of that had to do with Italy being courageous/foolish enough to attack. Made for an exciting end to end game until Prandelli made some poor substitutions and also went down to 10 men for thirty minutes.

    Nice post, Dex at 12:11. Italy did make mistakes. As Kori and others pointed out, at 2-0 they had had good chances and equal possession but just weren’t as technical.

    That’s not to say Spain weren’t the better team–they were, thanks mostly I think to Fabregas’ influence. He was the standout player of the first half. Maybe in Brazil 2014 they’ll actually start him and allow him to finish games. I also think Alonso is a great player who had a very fine tournament.

  106. pedantic george

    No ,sorry Bob,I am not having it.
    To describe such skill and artistry as boring is showing a complete lack of understanding of what modern technical football is all about.
    Luddites and Ignoramuses could ,I concede,describe it as boring.

  107. pedantic george

    LG ,I too agreed ,and said I agreed with Arsene.
    I also ask to be shown where Arsene had suggested Spain might be “boring”.You,and anyone else ,failed to do so.

  108. Limestonegunner

    George, you mistake me for someone who has ever cared about the boring or not boring debate, I think, since that is a matter of taste and not a tactical analysis of football.

  109. Limestonegunner

    Interesting the Juventus issue. Unbeaten league season, strong and united team ethic, new stadium, resurrection from the Calciopoli scandal and relegation to Serie B with a title and return to standing as Italy’s biggest and most successful team.

    AW made some rather sharp comments about how Serie A doesn’t stack up to the PL and with the scandals is a big risk for any top player going there.

  110. George, as far as Cesc and Liam go the difference is probably context. When Brady came along he was like a flash of gold in a pretty grim desert of grime. Cesc was part of an ongoing project of beautiful football, more of a gilded cog in a golden machine so never quite attained the same status.

  111. the thought of an alonso cesc arteta midfield used to get me giddy..

  112. Oh ffs can people just not accept that someone is allowed to find something boring when they do not? I think The Wire is one of the best shows ever made for television my wife couldn’t sit through one single episode. I never once felt the need to berate her for being ‘wrong’ about it.
    The simple fact is in football you support one side over the other. A side you don’t like having the ball is by definition boring. It doesn’t mean you are suddenly unaware of the skill and artistry or want them to switch to hoofball it means you want them not to have the fucking ball at all and then get soundly beaten.
    Man U and Spurs may have played some wonderful stuff this season but it wouldn’t be wonderful to me because I despise them and want them all to fail.

  113. I was wondering, were those “caramello” quotes verified, LG? They seemed very unlike him. After the latest scandal, I figured there would be no way an ambitious footballer would want to play in Serie A. But then Juventus seem to have kept clear this time, even though Conte’s being questioned about his spell at another club.

  114. Didnt Juventus move to a new and much SMALLER stadium as they never filled their old (Lady) one?

  115. Italy, like Spain itself, did ‘enough’ to see them through to the finals, including matching a very good German team and riding their luck on that one and being the team with the most attempted shots up to the finals; until they actually met Spain again and were undone.

    Italy were inferior to Spain in many respects. They looked worn, made tactical errors, were not 100% crisp in passing, and lacked much of the one-touch charisma and confidence that saw them get the chances to overcome Germany. Prandelli has done a fine job developing an attacking strategy and keeping Italian catholic defence habits intact. Very impressive, just not good enough, and well done indeed Spain for such a historic record and the consistency quite amazing, unprecedented.

    There is absolutely no doubt this will accelerate the current trend towards a possession game.

    The debate for me now switches to something interesting for the future of Arsenal. Simply: so how do you beat Spain (Barca/RM)? I felt the Portuguese had a few answers to that, and had Italy faced them in the semis and with fresher legs, maybe a few more answers there. My start point is hypothetical, how would Spain play Spain? What tactics would a coach/manager employ? There-in lies the future of football.

    Arsenal have been on the most ruthless receiving end of Barca, and also matched them, outplayed them for significant parts of a game and as the game went on, scared them; we still lost and some dubious decisions, never mind. Spain, like Barca are beatable and that is going lift football to new heights. Most people are awed by their possession, but it is their defence strategy, how they get the ball back, that counts. I feel there is only one way to up the stakes: a high tempo one-touch passing game to put players into space, speed on the ball and the pass, make counter-attack possession count, push them back relentlessly.

  116. PG

    >I also ask to be shown where Arsene had suggested Spain might be “boring”.

    He didn’t say boring but he did, I pointed out, indicate his view that they had betrayed their philosophy. His use of words such as ‘conservative’ and ‘negative’ suggest he is unimpressed with the way that tiki-taka has developed on the international stage. Whilst he may not have used that word, it is fair to say he seems unimpressed.

    Can we leave it at that, rather than argue about semantics?

  117. JJ;

    I am going to suggest that Theo could have been used by Spain as the striker they didnt bother to have.

    This argument that it’s a cultural thing is a red herring IMO, man. It’s a technical and coaching thing. Jack could play in their midfield (in a year or so) as well as any naturally gifted and well schooled player.

  118. Dex

    Yes but the capacity is about 40,000 and more compact which arguably serves the team better. Delli Alpi had a slightly bigger capacity than The Emirates, from memory.

  119. Yeah, Dexter, the one with the running track – as far as I’m aware, the fans hated it and never bothered going. It was more a protest against the location or something. But they built a new one and they’ve come flocking back.

    I’m not touting Juventus or anything, but I’ve been on a bit of a Football Italia trip these past couple of weeks, and when if it comes down to a choice between them and City…well, you can guess the rest.

  120. Interesting question just posed on Twitter, needs to be answered with location where you are and team:

    Which rival of Arsenal’s do you dislike the most?

    I’ll start: England, Tottenham

  121. pedantic george

    Well your definition is wrong then Stew.I suggest annoying and boring are not the same thing.
    Also my wife could not take to the Wire,But it was because she could not understand it,she did not suggest it was boring.That would have made her an idiot.And she is not.
    But as your use of language is better than mine ,I will now describe things I take a dislike to as boring.And every team that plays against Arsenal will also be labeled boring.
    Have I got the meaning right?

  122. London, Tottenham

    Although, I must add that during the late-90s and early noughties I was pretty ambivalent towards Tottenham. They were more of a figure of fun. If you’d asked me then, I’d have said ManU. One of my brother’s nine years older. If you’d asked him in the late-80s, early-90s, he’d have definitely said it was Liverpool. He still harbours a dislike for them that I don;t quite share.

  123. I used to hate Juventus with a passion, probably because they were the dominant team at the time as well as them taking Brady from us (although that was handed down to me!) and it would be churlish and arrogant to think that because Serie A is not viewed as the grand fromages de Europe any more, than they couldn’t reclaim that title once again.

    Watching Italian football on C4 used to be a highlight when I was a kid. So many wonderful players, it looked so much more glamourous and exciting than watching english football. It probably was! 🙂

  124. how do you beat spain/barcelona?

    well like matches against all very good teams, you have to play a really good game, or hope they have a really off-day. organised, coordinated pressing would go a long way. but that is easier said than done, of course.

    i think you have to defend the space. when pressing, it is not about tackling the player in possession. it is about blocking him, giving him something to think about, making him pass the ball. and that is when you try to intercept the ball.

    that is what i feel. like i said, it is easier said than done. you need to press, but not overcommit. i am reminded of how one of the defenders in capello’s great milan side described their different forms of pressing. one was the so-called ‘fake pressing’ whose main aim is to buy time for the rest of the team to get back into position.

    capello famously told van basten that he and his attackers could never beat his organised defenders in a 5v5 (can’t remember what was the number anymore) and van basten and co couldnt, and thus was convinced by capello’s ideas.

    i wonder if capello would have dared to tell iniesta and co that today.

  125. Rngland; man City, Chavs, spuds, manU in that order.

  126. The Wire is a brilliant TV series, one of the bes evert, with outstanding characters, plot twists and dialogue to marvel at, but it could get rather boring at times. 🙂

  127. Haha, the dialogue’s amazing, the plot’s riveting, and the characters are so well formed. But you know, sometimes I just want to watch a gunfight or car chase. Does that make me a philistine?

  128. used to be man united, then chelsea, and now shitty.

    i have always seen the spuds as a figure of derision. never taken them seriously.

    never liked liverpool as well, because of the way they drone on and on about their history, and the CL in 2008. how they got a pen and we didnt.

  129. India, Manu followed by Spurs, City and Chelsea.

  130. Great post yogi. Thanks again for letting Matt post yesterday. You are the best but it’s always nice to get other points of view occasionally and I suspect you enjoy the break.

    Lots of talk about the Spanish style of play, their elegant passing and movement, tika taka, etc etc etc. hardly a mention of the real reason they won. It can be summed up in one word DEEEEEEEEEEEEFENSE.

    How can it not be obvious. It’s the same as the world cup. Spain have the most technically talented group of players in the world, but even with that they struggle to score in a significant number of games. They turned on the style and scored 4 yesterday. Does anyone think they wouldn’t want to do that every game?? Does anyone really believe they went out and tried to play negative possession football and dont try to score in all those games they win 1-0?? The problem is that even with all of their talent they can’t score 4 goals in most games. No matter how brilliant your attacking football or tehnically talented your players, you can’t win anything without excellent defense. That barely gets a mention and I sincerely hope someone in our coaching staff took some notes and a lightbulb will turn on in someones head.

  131. “Allowing Giroud a €12m (£9.6m) buyout clause was bloody silly. In future, there’ll be no more buyout clauses”

  132. steww’s meaning was pretty clear, george, you just choose not to understand him and pick up on semantics.

    When I did the same with some stats the other night, i was, apparently, ‘taking a cheap shot’.

    I don’t care how technically excellent Spain are, they were excellent last night but in previous ropunds, I did find them boring -and irritating-to watch.

    The fact that I dislike them is another point altogether.

    England, Tottenham, Stoke, Millwall, Chelsea, Burnley. Man. City.

  133. There is a kind of brown rice quality that links Spain and the Wire. Music-wise it would be some kind of really difficult IDM or musique concrete. Literature, Proust.

  134. Bill;

    It doesnt get a mention because it isnt the case! Spain were more direct last night, more energetic, probably because they had been conserving energy before the final? They smashed Ireland when they basically changed the team, so had fresher legs and players eager to impress.

    They also had players prepared to press and harry opponents all over the park. That isnt something a club team could do over a 38 game season. Not in the PL anyway. I think it also had a negative energy sapping effect ultimately on Barca too.

  135. Chavs, Liverpool, City, Man Utd, Stoke.

    Mostly I just feel abject pity for the Spuds.

  136. From N. London : life-time dislike of Liverpool and all their “history” and their sense of being a club everyone should be in awe of and their “boot-room” and their “Kop” and their Houliier and their “returning greatness is just round the next corner” and their European “pedigree”> Bollocks! I don’t mind The Tiny’s, as it happens.

  137. agree dex…theo could play stiker in that team..

    and yeah its a coaching thing, but i think it will take 30 years to develop the spanish way and even then we still wouldnt have their culture..

    and its not just us, i dont think international teams like brazil are going to be doing what spain are doing anytime soon..although theres things to be learned i think its an each to their own kinda thing..

    nobody really copied what the brazillian and dutch teams of the 70’s did and same can be said for the great french side..
    and i dont think anyones really going to be able to play like this spain team for a while, judging by all the records being smashed..

    i think as a nation we’d be better off trying to play like the germans do at the minute and as a gooner i like our current style, with a bit more firepower, which weve added…
    no worries about the way we keep the ball we are techincal as fuck and one of the best to watch, my issue is what we do when we dont have possession..

  138. YW@ 1.38


  139. JJ;

    That’s just it, it WILL take us that long thanks to the lazy blinkered dinosaurs at the FA. Arsenal and a few othr clubsd have players of exceptional technique and hopefully they will make the grade, we also have players like AOC too, who we can’t take credit for, although he will develop nicely under AW. I like Welbeck too and think he should have stayed on and Rooney be subbed.

    And I do not want us to try and emulate Spain, per se, but feel we HAVE yo coach the yutes as they do in Spain, Holaand, brazil, even macedonia FFS! To caress the ball, be its friend/lover/tea lady! 🙂

    And then we can stamp our own style on the game.

  140. pedantic george

    England .Stoke

  141. I guessing that the Stoke thing is a recent development, Cbob? Not irrational like my own which is based on Terry Conroy’s bloody hair which made his red/white top look grey/red to me.

    Burnley always seemed so inoffensive to me.

  142. Dex:

    ”It doesnt get a mention because it isnt the case!”

    How can you look at the numbers and say that it isn’t true? Look at what happened in the world cup and the scores of those games. No team can score 3 -4 every game, but you can defend well and avoid conceding in nearly every game if that is a priority for your team. We all love attacking football and want to see teams win with elegant passing and possession but even with their talent and ability to turn on the style Spain would never have won either of the last 2 Euro’s or the World Cup without having the worlds best defense and saying anything else is crazy.

  143. I think you can add any Sam Alladyce managed team as well to the list. Be interesting to see how West Ham set up next term.

  144. Definitely recent, Yogi. I never minded Conroy, always liked wingers.

    Burnley fans I have experienced many times at Argyle, always found them particularly racist and nasty.

  145. That’s a very simolistic way of looking at things Bill (what a surprise! 🙂 )

    I would say there are better defences, in terms of personnel in the back 4 (or 3). In fact Arbeloa is pretty avergae IMO and Alba is good going forward, but defensively suspect, again, just my opinion.

    Spain have a fucking magnificent goal keeper in Casillas, possibly my all time fave keeper TBH. Now if you had said it was down to him AND the WHOLE team’s defensive work ethic, we could have agreed on something, for once! 🙂

  146. Saw a programme at the weekend which would make your blood boil, I think Mr Chairman. In Butte, Montana, they have the traditional pasty – something to do with historical migration from your neck of the woods for the tin mines – and it seemed to be true to the ‘meal in pastry’ with ingredients not dissimilar to the accepted norm. But then – here’s the bit you won’t like – they cover it in chilli sauce and cheese…

  147. Germany, Tottenham, ManU, Barcelona, Stoke

    I do hate Chelsea but at the same time I feel that hating them would give them too much credit. Same with Manchester City. I am just quietly hoping that they will eventually disappear down the drains.

  148. Dex:

    Simplistic??? Whats wrong with that. We could argue all day about why they are able to do it, but the reason Spain wins things is they concede fewer goals then any other team in the world. They prove conclusively that you can play possession football, use a high line and attacking full backs and still defend well if you stay organized. They also prove that elegant attacking, technical football and great defense are not mutually exclusive. Iker is a great keeper and that certainly helps, but the best GK in the world can not save you if your not organized and don’t prioritize team defense.

  149. Bill;

    You said they have the best defence, I don’t agree. Now you are changing things? Hmmm, this is very familiar to me! Would you say Spain play a high line? I wouldn’t.

  150. pedantic george

    Dexter,Bill has you in a head lock.
    I think he has the beating of you

  151. pedantic george

    Bill,he is on the ropes .Keeps slugging and he will fold

  152. Pique was sent to England to get an education in defending. And we all know where their best player of the tournament went to big-boy school.

  153. Aman, no need to apologise for you view on Germany. My opinion stands on that.

  154. George;

    Have you given up already with your silly little cat fight? Whats wrong with you man? No stomach for an embarrassing bout of hand bags? Are you going to let them lord it over you again?

    Bill knows I could take him down with one flick of my pinky finger. 🙂

  155. pedantic george

    I have thrown the towel in Dexter.

  156. pedantic george

    Its boring

  157. Never mind, I am sure something else will crop up soon enough.

    How about how over hyped Jack Wilshere is?

  158. Bill may be notoriously defensive when defending defence but he has a strong case with regards the miserly Spaniards – ten of the 16 shots on target Spain conceded at Euro 2012 were against Italy, they conceded just one goal – fewer than any winner since 1980.

    The case for the defence rests.

  159. Sorry for the late reply George, had to start work.
    Nope. She was bored. Rigid. As I would be if you sat me in front of Man United’s best display of the last twenty years.
    I could happily spend days, literally days, watching for signs of the peregrines flying from Yat Rock in the Wye valley and never be bored in fact be on a kind of permanent high, but I totally accept that somebody else might be bored out of their minds in twenty minutes. It doesn’t make them wrong and me right.

  160. Only Ramsey from Arsenal in the team GB squad. No Gibbs, that’s fine by me. In actual fact, the squad looks abysmally poor.

  161. Jonny;

    Again, that is a very simplistic view. It was the whole team that stifled the opposition. How many blocked shots a la Terry did these brilliant defenders make? My point (yet again Zzzz) was that it came down to the whole team’s defensive work ethic, not the personnel in the back 4 which was Bill’s original point, before he had to change it (basically because I tore him a new one 🙂 )

    I can see why george gets so cross with some of the Phylis Stein’s on here.

  162. In fact, I would say the midfield was more a factor in the goals conceded column.

  163. A comment from an article in the Times today on RVP and City:

    “it is believed that the club have agreed a deal with the Arsenal striker, who has entered the final year of his contract.”

    But he isn’t allowed to speak to other clubs until January without express pernmission from Arsenal, is he? So if he has agreed a deal he has been tapped up, or the story is bollox.

    I think I’m going with the latter.

  164. Ah – I only read the last few posts. Mea culpa.

    Yup their defence is a team ethic that is built around position, possession and pressing.

    Zzzz indeed.

  165. George @ 2:46

    Always 😉

  166. Haha! I knew there had to be a reason behind that comment before Jonny! 🙂

  167. So who is our number two goalie for the coming season? If Fabianski isn’t able to oust Szczesny as number one at Arsenal (which seems unlikely), he has no hope of ousting him for Poland. Flappy wasn’t the man they went to when Szczesny was sent off in the Euros.

  168. Italy had their fare number of chances in the game. Spain were clinical, Italy were not. Italy were not totally ouplayed as far as I could see.

  169. Wavey;

    This kind iof transfer speculation (AKA made up bullshit) was forst pioneered in Spain. There were countless stories of how barca/Real (dependent on which propoganda tabloid churned it out) had agreed everything with the player in question and ONLY needed to speak to the player’s club and sort out the small matter of a transfer fee.

    Our hacks have caught on to this trick now, although I aint so daft as to think tapping up doesnt occur. Just not the way these simpletons would have us believe.

  170. Wasn’t Fabianski (please desist from using that derogatory term man) injured?

  171. steww @3.05pm

    >It doesn’t make them wrong and me right.

    If listen, you can hear the sound of a nail being hit, squarely and very hard, on the head

  172. pedantic george

    Wavey ,He is injured

  173. Indeed Dex but never let the truth get in the way of a good insult. Or a poor one, for that matter.

  174. Hard to select him given how little competitive football Fabi has played – I don’t think it is a slight against his quality. Tytoń is first choice for PSV.

    And stop calling him Flappy – juvenile Le Grove bull-shit.

  175. Stuart Pearce has no place in football, never mind coaching at any level, never mind the U21s and Plympics teams.

    He is an idiot, a self serving, myopic twit. It’s scary he has been given this chance to potentially fuck up or undermine the development of young players.

  176. Yogi/Jonny; Indeed.

  177. Jonny @ 3:13

    “Yup their defence is a team ethic”

    IMO that is the key phrase and where do you think that their team ethic comes from? It has to be a team priority and start with the manager and the coaching staff. Not?

  178. Lisicki just knocked Shoutypova out in straight sets.

  179. pedantic george

    It would be different if there hobby was also looking for peregrines.You might reasonably expect them to understand why it takes a while.

  180. Err – yeah sure.

  181. pedantic george

    It appears I took the lure

  182. Jack Butland

    Ryan Bertrand – Micah Richards – James Tomkins – Neil Taylor

    Scott Sinclair – Joe Allen – Tom Cleverley – Ryan Giggs

    Craig Bellamy – Daniel Sturridge

    That is the best line up I can come up with for team GB. I have left out ranmsey as I can see Pearce doing the same, petty vindictive little man that he is.

  183. Clerkenwell Gooner

    OOU – Spain as the footballing equivalent of Proust, lol. A la recherche du balon perdu, perhaps? (No idea what IDM or concrete music are.)

    Jonny – Thanks for the heads-up about the urban bees the other day, I stand corrected. (Although would it not be preferable for urban food-growing to be encouraged to support them, rather than people who are keen being told “don’t keep them”?)

    And I agree with those who’ve said that Spain’s defenders are key to their success. (They certainly do not play the Arsenal way.) Since the midfield is superlative, it seems the merely fantastic lumbering about behind them get short shrift.

    But they held down a fired-up Cristiano for 120 minutes, no mean feat, while Balotelli, so deadly against Germany, in the final barely got a kick.

    Playing a reasonably untested combination – Pique and Ramos in the absence of Puyol – and with Alba newly anointed, they maintained their ludicrous parsimony – in the knock-out games people just do not score against them.

    All of the back four were in the Castrol index top 10 – including the unfairly maligned IMO Arbeloa – whilst Casillas was 16th. Also in the top 10 were Alonso, Iniesta, and the loathsome Busquets.

    On this showing, I suspect RM will be the team to beat in the CL next year, as Barça are likely to be in a post-Pep transition. Famous last &c.

  184. Bill;

    Again, you have changed tact. You stated Spain’s miserly goals conceded was due to their back 4. Now it’s the manager? Don’t get me wrong, I think Del Bosque is a genius, he showed that at Real. Of course he sets his team out to press and harry etc. The players dont just decide to turn up and do it themselves man.

    You;re getting as bad as George for flogging dead horses and refusing to let things lie. 🙂

  185. England, ManU, if it really means “rivals” (for which Totts rarely have the wherewithall to qualify).

    If it means teams we play regularly against, then Stoke, still not forgiven for what they did to Aaron (who may, incidentally, be due to have an outstanding season in 12-13).

  186. Oh FFS Clerkenwell Gooner! Your timing sucks! 🙂

  187. Jesu wept Yogi. It’s true that there are many descendants of Cornish and Devonian miners all over the globe due to mass emigration when the mines gave out. It’s actually why where I live is a ‘World heritage Site, whatever that means, but so are the Pyramids.

    Perhaps MD’s marketing hasn’t spread out a tendril from the Ozarks. Was the meat in them dogfood?

  188. Surprisingly not. The actually filling looked like it was made with top quality ingredients and the pastry looked OK – usual proviso about looks being deceptive on TV, etc. But when they put the sauce over, I just thought it was a perfectly good meal ruined.

  189. Ha! All good CG – it was a welcome distraction in the the dearth of anything happening in The Arsenal world. And yes I totally agree – the more food the better for bees – I suppose it just the difficulty of finding sites for growing the right kind of plants in our ‘space is at a premium’ cityscapes.

    The better news in the bee world is that it sounds as though they are making significant strides to understanding CCD, with pesticides now appearing the key culprit. Good news for bees (once they start banning them) but massively important for us dumb humans too.

  190. pedantic george

    “You stated Spain’s miserly goals conceded was due to their back 4.”

    Did he Dexter? Did he? Can you post that,I cant find it.And if he did I can poke fun at him .Of course if he didn’t I can poke fun at you .So its win win for me

  191. I see nothing wrong with the addition of chili and cheese – two things that go very well with beef and pastry – the purists can still have theirs plain whilst enjoying the time-honoured additional pleasure of moaning about ‘so-called progress’ and the trampling of tradition!


  192. Ok, Fabianski was injured for Euros (sorry Fabianski). That doesn’t change the fact that our current number one and number two goalkeepers play for the same country and it seems unlikely Fabianski will be able to displace Szczesny at country level if he isn’t playing very much at club level (and I don’t mean just the Capital One and FA Cups). I thought Fabianski had already indicated that he was considering his future as he wants to play more, does that not leave us a little light on (experienced) options between the sticks?

  193. I think most people are under the impression Fab is off this summer – once we have secured a replacement. Is he not entering his last season under contract or did I dream that?

  194. George; I am not hungry man. 🙂

    Wavey; I think we are in the markey for an experienced GK as back up, can’t see Fabianskibeing happy sitting on the bench.

  195. That’s what I thought., haven’t we tried that before (dear old Mart Poom)?

  196. >I see nothing wrong with the addition of chili and cheese

    If you listen hard, you can hear the sound of thudding as Cbob bangs his head continuously against the wall.

  197. Wavey;

    Yes and what the heck was so wrong with dear old Poomy? 🙂

  198. Seems Joel Campbell has not received a work permit (unsurprising) and is likely to be playing for Real Betis next season.

  199. I want a right back. Nothing more. If Koscielny ends up playing there I’ll be annoyed.

  200. Bah.

  201. We already have two right backs and the ultra-versatile Coquelin. I don’t see a RB as a necessity let alone a priority.

  202. Coquelin will be more than adequate at RB and Jenkinson is no slouch there either. The last position that needs strengthening is at fullback, IMO.

  203. Yogi;

    Where did you hear that? I don’t think a move to another country makes sense IF that story is true either.

  204. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Sorry, Dex, wouldn’t like to get in the way of a good handbagging.

    Error in my earlier eulogy to Ramos: Xavi topped Castrol index at Euro 2008, not him. Sergio was tied equal in next place, with Iniesta.

    But that is the level of company he keeps, when the stats are down.

  205. Positions that need strengthening –

    1. New back-up GK
    2. Defensive midfielder

    I’m not really sure we have want for anything else.

    I think some would be happy if only position 1 was resolved.

  206. Right back!

  207. Chili, yes naturally. Cheese no, sounds like a Mexi-pasty, something worng at every level there. Not that I know about pasties but still, they were invented I presume to keep cold, hungry English folks warm, nourished and full of carbs, all washed down with a decent bitter.

    Anyways, Zimbabwe: City, Chelsea (most detestable) and wherever Ryan Shawcross plays, ever.

    Well, my question – how do you beat Spain/Barca/RM – was not really answered. I think there are answers. Like all milestones, Spain’s technical mastery will be overtaken by a superior method and players to execute. I think Arsenal has them. I think Wenger is correct too. Perhaps he is thinking to himself, Spain/Barca/RM are vulnerable.

  208. YW

    I think we got to this point with Campbell last season, He is playing regularly for his national side, but they only rank 65th in the World standings so a work permit is not a shoe-in.

  209. But why Markus?

  210. Dexter

    Nothing wrong with old Poomy, but not sure he’d be able to let go of his zimmer frame long enough to do us a turn in goal now. Hopefully we go for somebody slightly younger (than Poom was) as our back -up to our (new) number one.

  211. Notoverthehill

    Yogi, once again pointing out the bleeding obvious to those who know so little.

    I find that UEFA 2012 statistics show a certain Arsenal player is “top of the pops”, with 3 assists and with fewer competitions played, excels Stephen Gerrard and a prime exponent of the despised (some are purblind) “Spanish” football. I will not detail the Arsenal player’s name “persona non grata”, it would seem?

  212. Denilson played for Sao Paulo on Saturday. Was that his last game for them under the loan arrangement?

  213. The Arse in The Gamb

    There is nothing like an equal game (for the neutral) where balls are lost and won and the the play is interspersed with moments of brilliance. If brilliance is displayed throughout the match and throughout the team and one side hardly gets a touch you may lose your appreciation of what it is to be brilliant.
    I remember when the same ‘boring’ was thrown at Michael Schumacher’s domination of formula one, as if it was better to see something less than the very best at work.
    Games can be more exciting, they can often be a lot more dull too, but I suggest we don’t lose site of what we are witnessing, which is very, very special.

  214. Limestonegunner

    OoU, good question, and like you, when I read them they did seen a bit jarring as he seldom expressed himself like that, but since they were translated from a different language, I thought, I didn’t feel capable of judging them suspicious.

    Worth tracking down.

  215. Dex.

    I don’t think I have ever changed my tact regarding the whole issue of team defense since I first started posting several years ago. Ask anyone else. Your tactic of using a subtle or sometimes not very subtle insult to try to change the tact when you get yourself involved with a debate that you are clearly losing is a good strategy. 😉 It actually works sometimes.

    Never did quite understand why the topic of team defense would be sooooooo boring when it’s the single biggest issue that we can actually control that has negatively affected our performances for many years Yet no one gets bored when we bang on about the negative media or some other topic that we can do nothing about and should have no real affect on our results on the pitch. I scratch my head and wonde about that just about every time that whole debate and several other conversations get started. Oh well, I guess too each their own.

  216. Hi Wavey – yes, but it looks like he wants to stay there, and Sao Paulo want to keep him, either by extending the loan or signing him permanently. Can’t blame him, as the fans seem to love him, and he’s in a good team – not a patch on Arsenal, but definitely talented.

  217. Bill;

    For the last time and the love of god, buddha, allah… You said Spain’s success was because of their defence, their back 4. I have (several times now, give me strength) maintained it was down to the whole team’s work ethic and the midfields ability to hold onto the ball. And let’s not forget the fantastic casillas too.

    Snide little digs aside, your point was done and dusted hours ago. Then again, as you say, you only have ONE point ever to make, over and over again.

    The fact you keep banging on about this is tirespme, you havent said anything new (in about 3 months now)
    Have we signed Hangeland and Shwarzer yet?

  218. No luck with those quotes, LG. Problem is he’s been talking so much these past three weeks, in so many different languages, that’s it’s almost impossible to keep track!

  219. Jonny, because I have bad memories from last season when Sagna was out. It seemed our dodgy periods all had that in common. I know we have players who can do a job there but they shouldn’t have to. I’d be happy enough if it was only a Benayoun-style loan deal. An experienced right back who isn’t getting any playing time at his own club. Give Jenks another year to develop.

  220. Dex.

    I am sure this topic will resurface at someoint in the future. You can make one more comment after this and I promise I will not say anything else and you can officially have the last word on the subject.

  221. pedantic george

    Bill ask him to copy and paste where you said it was down to the back 4,You have him .Press home the advantage,I can almost smell his blood.

  222. When I was in Sri Lanka, oh, so many moons ago, I came across a bakery. Unlike India, Sri Lanka still had lots of hangovers from British rule, bakers, tea shops, beef sandwiches and bitter in draught.

    I bought two of said pasties which looked the part for my girlfiend and myself and we happilly munched them until the last mouthful which contained a bloody great chilli.

    I like chillies and put them in many things but in pasties they are just wrong. I occasionally put a bit of my brown sauce on pasties but I know that my mother will be turning in her grave every time.

    I knew Yogi and ZP would understand. Of course, he’s not a chef. Unlike some.

  223. Bill; haha! We can do this every day if you like man!

    I will leave it (for now at least) by saying I agree that a solid defence is obviously an important thing as is being hard to beat. But where we differ is that you don’t feel we have the makings of a solid dfence and I do.

    I am happy with the players we currently have and don’t feel we need to add anyone to the DEEEEEEFENSE! 🙂

    But as I have said many times before and as Jonny has earlier, a DM would be an astute signing and I am sure you’d love that too!

  224. George; Are you STILL smarting from the bashing you have taken on here over the last few days? And that’s been from people who are generally friendly to you. Can you imagine how battered you’d be if the likes of jibber were on here?

    You’d be a bigger mess than you are now man.

  225. George; Are you STILL smarting from the bashing you have taken on here over the last few days? And that’s been from people who are generally friendly to you. Can you imagine how battered you’d be if the likes of j*bber were on here?

    You’d be a bigger mess than you are now man.

  226. CBob;

    Mmmmm Pasty and brown sauce…. Yeah man!

  227. It does work, Dex. Just whisper it quietly.

  228. pedantic george

    Dexter ,I am grateful for the blogs general tolerance of me.,I am ,really I am.

  229. George;

    You are my 3rd favourite person on here,…

    called George. 🙂

  230. Billy's Boots

    Good post, YW. Nice to see Spain finally take the handbrake off! How come there is no match between the losing semi-finalists? I would have quite liked to have seen Portugal v Germany.

    On the ‘how do you stop them?’ question, ultimately it is easier to destroy than create. So, in this case, I think Bill has the answer: the key is great defence, allied to a clinical attack. That doesn’t necessarily mean ‘park the bus’, but that is one variation of the approach. Arguably, the type of football the Invincibles played was another.

  231. pedantic george

    Billy,Or they could tell the Referees that less talented teams are allowed to kick fuck out of them .That is at least a tried and tested answer.

  232. Billy's Boots

    🙂 Ha! I hadn’t thought of that! Yes, to put it kindly, I guess the ‘destructive’ approach has a pretty wide variety.

  233. Billy's Boots

    Re which of Arsenal’s rivals do I dislike the most, that’s a tough one. If the scope is all the teams we play, I would say any team coached by Mark Hughes. If we limit it to true rivals, I would have to say Liverpool. They have a fantastic history, but they do often seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Maybe that will start to change now that King Kenny has gone.

  234. Personally, i don’t think Spain is boring, like i said before it takes 2 to tango, if one team is willing to attack while the other team has set out to defend, then in most cases the match would end up ‘boring’. With that being said, it didn’t stop the Germans from playing attacking and ‘entertaining’ football against the Chelsea wannabe Greece, no offence, now in the champions league final Chelsea brought a 23 seater bus and parked it in defence but sometimes when i watch Spain it feels like they brought a bus and parked it in midfield, 4-6!-0.

    Clerkenwell, don’t let those stats fool you, Ramos is a violent little shit, that Joey barton wannabe makes Rooney look like Gandhi, he has already accumulated 14 red cards at the age of 25!. I watched a bit of la liga last season and him alongside Pepe are 2 of the dirtiest players you can see, some of the things they do are not even legal in some countries (okay, slight exaggeration), am talking about elbows, stamping, knee to the throat! Gawd i could go on and on but luckily rant over.

    Zimpaul, very good question man. After about 10 failed attempts RM and mourinho have slowly started to find ways of beating Barca which culminated in their 2-1 win at the Nou camp last season. Mourinho tried every trick in the book, he tried to play an open game in his first match at the camp of cunts(they got beaten 5-0), next he tried an ultra defensive system( they got beaten home and away in la liga and champions league semi final), next he tried to bully the barca players and Ronaldo as the center forward( pepe and ramos both received red cards during this period, ha! But they won the copa del rey with ronaldo scoring). Finally they played a counter attacking system with a 4231 formation, with some good tactics applied to it, it worked perfectly. They nullified messi, played a fairly high line and were able to stop Barcelona’s intricate passing game. I must add, the reason it worked perfectly was the personel they had at their disposal, so if a coach as good as Mourinho needed more than 10 attempts to beat Barca don’t expect them or spain losing too many matches anytime soon, lets just hope they get older and disband/retire a là the invinsibles.

  235. Which teams do i dislike the most? Stoke, Chelsea – They play the worst type of football, i hate their fans and honestly they are so hard to beat, i don’t enjoy seeing them on our fixture list.

  236. Earth: BARCELONA!

    ..oh how I’d love to smack them with both teams at full strength with neutral refs over 2 legs.

    ARSENAL is the best team on Earth, bar none…whenever the GODs allow the planets align and grant us a healthy squad.

  237. Nostrathymus just said,

    “if i woke up from a coma and someone told me a club has:

    a van Persie, Podolski, Arshavin, Song;
    a Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta ‘n’ Szczesny;
    a Walcott, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain & Ramsey;
    a Santos, Gervinho, Giroud, and also a Diaby;
    J.Wishere, Mertesacker, Coquelin & a twin Gibbs,
    plus Frimpong, Jenkinson, Miquel and that Bartley
    … with a Nico Yennaris waiting in the wings?????
    i’d ask…….where can i get a 5 year-season ticket?”


  238. Serge ‘Peekaboo’ Busquets and Xabi Alonso had absolutely nuffink, de nada, to do with the Spanish success .
    The 1st Marquis Del Bosque’s double d**m was not to everyone’s taste, not necessary in every game perhaps. Yet the double pivot was the most consistant selection in that team along with the ‘keeper during the whole tournament. Even when they resembled the Arsenal Reserves vs. Leed (before Henry came on the pitch, whilst Chamack was perfecting his Cesc F-Word impersonation) Why was that?

  239. Alba.
    He was quick. And now the Barcaholes finally have a LB. So, the next time Arsenal FC are beating FC BBB in Barcelona with 35/40 minutes left in the tie, it’ll be a little bit harder to see the win through, I reckon. Referee, what referee?

  240. Theo vs Alba would be great to watch Fins

  241. Apparently my old man had a cabbie this morning who said, “Spain learnt their style off Wenger. Spain just have better players to choose from.”

    He also “Questioned anti-Wenger gooners parentage.” (!!) “My kind of fan,” said my old man.

    I thought maybe he’s an ACLFer.

  242. London, Stoke

    But I want us to beat Tottenham more badly than anyone else because I know so many of fucking arseholes.

  243. JJ

    Didn’t get the comment about Theo not getting in the Spanish/Barca team, but I enjoyed the rest. Confused? Watch Pedro’s game last night.

  244. & who’s your closest ACLFer in character to that great cabbie Limpar?

  245. Aman,


  246. That was to Aman @ 8.10

  247. Limpar,
    for me: ex ACLFers… G69 or Hunter13.

  248. If i had my way the First team would look like this:

    The Defence: Szescney, Sagna , Koscielny , Metersacker , Vermaelean, Santos , Gibbs,

    With a midfield of: Wilshere , Song , Arterta , Rosicky , Ramsey, Coquelain,

    And in Attack: Walcott , Chamberlain , Van persie , Podolski , Giroud , Gervinho.

    Firstoff, the ref would find out there are more than 11 players on the pitch, secondly, on paper those are our best players and they look mouthwatering in every department

  249. Two years.. thats a lot of days.. I saw way up a comment that Spain are the team to beat re -World Cup ..

    Pffft.. in Brazil?? against Brazil??? Har de har..

    Stats?? Anyone- Khalifa – you’re the stats guy right??

    Spain – Brazil.. Head to Head.. Whats the Stats??.. Let’s see how tiki- tika are up against the Samba..

    Yea.. yea.. flame me all ya want.. I’m drunk//

  250. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Khalifa, if you are comparing Ramos to Joey Barton, I think you need your eyes tested – the skill set is somewhat different.

    Some of Ramos’s tackling is out of this world, and I’d compare his, er, commitment to the physical side of the game more to that of a hard-nut like our own Patrick Vieira.

    I am not aware of the general state of refereeing standards in Spain, but given the standard here in the PL, cards are often undeserved, and can be dished out simply because a player has a bit of rep – and I suspect that’s what was happening with Ramos at one point – while some of the red cards given to our own players last term – Gervinho vs Barton, funnily enough – were plainly ridiculous IMO, and cost us dearly.

    Plus how many players have we seen escape cards, who had thoroughly earned them?
    At times, you can put your studs all over Arsenal players, it seems, and never receive a rebuke (especially if the Arsenal player concerned is Abou Diaby).

    The standard of refereeing here is often so low that the official disciplinary stats at the end of a game can be laughable. Perhaps this is the case in Spain, too?

    In addition, the conundrum Ramos faces currently in trying to improve his own disciplinary performance is that he now has Mourinho as his boss, which is to say the least, unfortunate, given Maureen’s long-term commitment to horrible, negative, regressive shit.

    Ramos is maturing, I don’t think there’s any argument about that – he got only the one yellow at Euro 2012 – and the only bones he’s ever broken on the pitch have been his own. He’s too skilled to be a thug, he is just tough.

    (As for Barton, my view is that he should have been barred from the game a long while back – in 2007, for committing ABH on one of his own teammates during training.)

  251. Agree with OOU about small pitches. I was well good on a small pitch, but shit on a big pitch.

    My favourite thing about football is that you get guys who would otherwise be a musician, or an architect, or a poet – an artist – who plays football. You don’t get them with so much frequency in any other sport IMO. It’s about that ability to do exactly what you want in terms of expression, on a football pitch – it’s totally free (as long as you don’t touch the ball!) and there’s an infinite scope to how you can manipulate the ball, make it do what you like, and an infinite number of passing patterns for a team to improvise and create. It’s the closest sport to art in that respect. There’s the art of defending of course, and an art to the perfect tackle – but I’m more talking about going forward to be honest. Players like Rosicky, Pirlo, Bergkamp, Limpar, Iniesta, Baggio, Arteta etc etc etc – these guys could just as easily have been expressing themselves in another form of art as they are in football.

    The problem with English football culture and the old big-strong-boys for big-wide-pitch mentality, is that it squeezes out the artists right at the beginning – with it’s massive bias toward physical attributes.

    That’s as much to do with big pitches as it is to do with our antiquated class-based talent pools for certain sports. I’ve no idea if anything’s being done to fix that (or really where you’d start), but it would be to the benefit of our rugby, cricket and football teams if it were somehow evened out. ‘Football clever’, in my experience, quite often went hand in hand with other ‘sorts of clever’. But you get less opportunity to see that born out in English football, than in, say, Spain. Partly because 98% of professional footballers come from the working classes, and won’t be educated very rigorously or creatively alongside their football.

  252. Call me The Rambler… rambling on

  253. Lots of wise old fuckers on here, Aman. I could think of a few that fit the profile..

  254. That’s what happens when you go away for a bit. End up storing up a bloody essay.

  255. Albert, yea am a fan of stats and i do know a few myself but am definately no stats guru, when you’re sober ask google, i think he knows that kinda thing.

    Clerkenwell, i see you’re a fan of Ramos but ffs he is a thug, a piece of shit. Most of the red cards he receives are because of elbows to the face, a wannabe hardman, you know the type that always act tough. Keane was an aggresive player but that doesn’t mean he is not a despicable arsehole. Now viera was an angel, not! He was an arsenal player that gave his all for us so i have no problem with him. But as for Ramos, i would like someone to slide tackle his face! Am telling you Ramos, Pepe and Barton would form an unholy trinity of cunts.

    As for the refereeing standards, a lot of fouls are given in Spain(although players dive a lot) while English refs ‘allow the game(fouls) to flow’.
    P.s i was not comparing ramos/ barton’s abilities but their behaviour on the pitch and yea he is a quality ‘footballer’, sigh.

  256. I’m sober now.. Khalif.. heh.. google up tomorrow..

    You forgot to add Busquets {spelling?}.. and yes.. Ramos is a thug.. my mom said so.. 😉

  257. billturner90

    Albert- I believe the proper spelling is “Biscuits”

  258. Bill – emphasizing DEFENSE. What a surprise? Sarcasm aside, I respect Bill’s point about the importance of not conceding. But AW’s point was that giving preeminence to defending is a negative approach. He felt that a philosophy which gave emphasis to attacking and scoring goals would truly set Spain aside as one of the truly great footballing nations. Is Bill in disagreement.

    Caribbean: I hate Stoke. Dislike Chelsea, City and United but we must beat the bloody Spuds.

  259. South Africa, Manure.
    Can’t stand Fergie and his teams.

  260. I think taking all the proper leg-breaking thugs ala Shawcross and Smith aside, Biscuits must be the player I hate the most. I’d pay good money to see him play against Stoke with Webb officiating.

  261. Dex is having a go at the straw man again? Some things never change…..;)

    Bill was clearly referring to defence in general, ie all aspects of it, including defenders, coaches, pressing, high line, tactics, etc. You should know that by now as he’s been saying it for years!!

  262. Shotta@ 10:05

    Spain won and they have won the last 3 major international tournaments. Why would arsene or anyone want them to do anything different. Had they tried to play differently they might have won all their games 4-0 but they might have lost. They played great football and scored 4 goals against Italy but in reality I am sure that their goal was to play every game just like that. The problem is that no one can score 4 goals every game or even the majority of games no matter how you play and if your goal is to win then you have to take care of the defense. This has been my problem with arsene’s philosophy for all these years. He seems to value the idea of playing expansive attacking football as his first priority. I dont know how the man really thinks but i suspect he never once thought how great a defensive team Spain is and how that contributed to their success

  263. Any team can play in whatever style or with whatever tactics they like or find effective. I do not have to like it. Spain are a great side who have will go down in history for their unique achievement. Until the final, I did not find them that entertaining to watch. My emotions were not engaged. I also do not find Rafa Nadal terribly exciting. I never like Pete Sampras, either. Sue me.

    @ Bill
    Spain HAVE played differently this tournament (except for the final) to the way they played in Euro 2008 and at the last World Cup. They played a suffocating game. But in the final, they were more like the Spain we are used to – the possession statistics show that. The reason they played more negatively in earlier rounds is irrelevant – the fact is, I and many others did not find it as exciting or thrilling as some other teams or indeed the Spain of previous tournaments.

  264. Today’s comments have reminded me that the black and white of opinion that can fall within very small parameters and the (semi) intelligent gibbons who purport to share a common love. I agree with lots of you.

    I have genuine affection for most of the posters (excluding Dex) and I think the friction is good – it is where the humour lies, as well as the antagonism.

    We all know less than we think we do and have a lot in common.

    Apart from Dex. 🙂

    PS I’m not drunk- just tired after a 12 hour shift.

  265. @ Bill
    I haven’t trawled through most of the comments, but based on what I did read, I have to say this: there seems to be quite a lot of creative misremembering about the nature of the arguments on defence which have played out here. I remember them well because I had the same arguments with you almost every day for about 18 months to two years.

    You were obsessed with the personnel. Your argument was that we didn’t defend well because we had the “wrong type” of defenders – players who were too attack-minded and went forward to join in the attack – or defenders who were not good enough. You were unable to see any distinction between the quality of defenders and the team defending. Your prescription for improving our defence/defending (the same thing to you) was to get rid of players who liked to go forward and buy players who never or rarely ventured forward – this included full-backs as well as centre-backs.
    I and others argued that the defenders we had – at least the first choice players – were good enough but there was not enough organisation and also the team as a whole was not doing enough. We agreed that we didn’t have he balance right but rejected the *specific* cures which you prescribed. For example, CBs staying deep while the rest of the team went forward would just play attackers onside. We saw the result of FBs who do not go forward to support the attack when we had to play without any last season – we were both less potent in attack and more vulnerable defensively. You have interpreted rejection of your ideas as not wanting to become more solid – you were insistent that there were no other solutions apart from what you called for. We insisted that there had to be a way to remain an entertaining, attacking team, but defend better, for example by improving organisation and awareness through coaching or using our possession. (AW said Spain had taken this too far). This was interpreted by you as meaning that as an attacking side, we couldn’t possibly defend.

    You also argued that the fact that we had only the fourth best defence in the league meant that AW was not attempting to, or was “obviously” unable to “coach defence”.

    Another separate argument was about the relative importance of scoring and not conceding in a league-winning side. You were adamant that “defence wins you championships” and the league was won by the side which concedes fewest goals. The figures you supplied didn’t back that up.

    Over the last year, you seem to have gradually absorbed some of the views you previously argued against, but without acknowledging that your position has moved.

  266. Bloody hell, is that the time?

  267. Fun

    Interesting post, don’t have time to think about it or answer in detail tonight. Some of what u say is accurate and some does not match what I remember. I will think about it and perhaps respond at some other time. Problem is that I doubt anyone else really cares about what we have to say regarding our several years of history on the blog so may be I can post something later in the evening when most of the days debate has ended. I do agree that my position has drifted somewhat over the years which has more to do with my confusion over the issue of why we continually struggle to defend well. Although the details have changed some. My position that our teams lack of prioritizing defending is the root cause of the problem

  268. Love to join the debate – you both have valid points. But I am prevented as one of you stopped talking to me a long time ago for a grudge that also lasts a long time and which I do not understand.
    I disagree with some of what you say Bill, but I think you’re a great contributor and agree with a lot too.
    Ditto most posters – as you say a shift over the years, especially towards the ‘left’, should be forgot – even if not entirely forgiven. Though forgiven seems more sensible.
    Broadly speaking ‘on defence’ – I think you have a strong point. But then I have a short memory and don’t recall your past comments in detail. Probably too negative for the true believers.
    I do remember Jon Jon was WAY more right wing than now – I don’t mean to point a finger but…well….said it already. I’m glad he has joined the tone of the site even if he is still far less evangelic than some.
    Perspective can shift and it’s welcome that strong voices for good move people in a better direction.

  269. I never understand this right/left business. OK, in politics there is a left and a right but it’s often used these days to mean/progressive/reactionary, which is clearly just confused thinking.

    I still see a ‘right wing’ Arsenal fan as thog with a swastika tattoo, not Bill argueing for a stronger defence.

  270. India. Dislikes: Stoke, Spuds, Liverpool, old Chelsea, New chelsea (shitty), Manure & Barca

  271. I’m with FUN GUNNER. one way to think about it is the best defance is sometimes a good offence.
    More fun to watch too.
    As far as they daily pole question. Which team is most hated??
    First and for most MAN.URE and. FFF
    forgive and forget weasels. Ha. BULLSHEVIK.

    LIMPAR AT 832.
    my sentiments exactly.

  272. As one discovers, some of a more left wing political ideology can also be quite conservative or “traditional” footballistically. It is subtly deceptive, as it should be. On the other hand few right wing and racist types are going to sing praises to this Arsenal under Wenger.

    CBob, maybe you can’t put a decent chilli in a pasty, seems a pity, but I seem to remember pepper, as in a pepper steak pasty (or is that a simple pie?). Scrumptious, my favourite if I had one. I was intrigued to learn about small but vicious wars fought for control of this pepper trade from the East in the days of the fast sail boat clippers, once Europe discovered it’s delights and it’s pound for pound value.

  273. Bill is correct to single out defence as a key element of Arsenal success, but factually incorrect to say Arsenal do not “defend well”. Not the best in the land granted, but 4th is 4th (I seem to remember defence statistics for Arsenal, which is about right). The fact is the development of Chewie, Gibbs, Song and now Le Coq, plus purchases of TV5, Kos and Per, Santos and Jenks, plus the excellent youngsters (Miguel, Yennaris) and Sagna in there represent systematic stengthening of basic defence from the back. Theo has improved, Lukas is clearly strong in defence, 3Gs is no slouch, RvP does his bit, Rosicky moreso.

    I offer the alternative that Wenger is exactly where Bill would want him to be on this issue, and some patience is also required.

  274. Lots of ground black pepper ZP. Absolutely essential.

    Ah, the pepper wars, the Dutch were heavily involved I think. I don’t doubt that we were as well.

  275. Left and right turns? Further obfuscation.

%d bloggers like this: