One Of Speaks – Boarding The Tanker At Midnight

People are talking to me like I don’t know the rule. Yeah man, I know the rule; I just chose to ignore it this time. I’ll tell you why later.

So, the rule says that to avoid disappointment you shouldn’t buy into transfer talk until you see the player in an Arsenal shirt on the website. It’s a good rule, but I think we can be more flexible than that – you could take interest a little earlier and still avoid jumping the gun most times. There’s usually a piece on the BBC site before the club announces something.

A little less reliable are the broadsheets, which employ some respected journalists who tend not to engage in idle chatter, but can miss the mark all the same. These guys report or speculate on the early stages of a transfer. They’ll get their information from agents or sources within clubs, who’ll stand to gain an advantage by making the news public, or occasionally they’ll have a direct line to the player.

I’m bringing this up because I’ve been a bit obsessed this week. From the moment Santi Cazorla’s possible move was mooted I’ve paid shamefully little attention to any other Arsenal story. Barely noticed the imperious Laurent Koscielny signing a new deal, and the friendly against Malaysia might as well not have happened. So you can tell that something’s not quite right.

I respect the rule, but then I can’t think of many potential Arsenal deals that have involved a player I admire as much as this one. When I was in Spain he was brilliant – compact, nimble, ambidextrous, nippy and technical. The play flowed through him even though he was out wide. I plucked his name from the babbling stream of Hispanic vowels and consonants thanks to its constant repetition by the commentators. I didn’t know who he was before 2007, but after I saw him the first time I’d occasionally make space on my heavy football platter for the odd Villareal game.

He got injured in 2009, and missed the matches against Arsenal. When he returned he was a slightly different player. He’s hardly slow now, but was a bit quicker in 2007; maybe a little more dynamic in the way he moved. No matter – over time he’s developed a sophisticated passing range and drifts inside more often. His control and understanding of the game has improved.

I remember him in an unjust defeat to Barcelona a couple of years ago. He was out on the left and deep, but brushed off pressing Barça midfielders and, with inch-perfect through-passes, created enough chances for Giuseppe Rossi to win the game for the team. He forced two wonder-saves from Valdés with long-range pile-drivers

The danger of writing a blog 16 hours before it’s published is that the paragraphs above could be redundant and not just a little poignant by Friday morning. I have no inside information, just lots of enthusiasm. Call it a balm for the wounds inflicted by RvP.

It might even be dead as I type this, or he could be an Arsenal player by next week. I don’t have a clue. So, I’ll recount what I’ve gleaned from this story, so at least I’ll know that my week of fixation amounted to something. Most of this is paraphrased from real journalists.

Wenger has always liked him, but the word is that his interest was piqued when Fernando Hierro walked away from his Technical Director post at Málaga in May. The man’s a local hero and wouldn’t take such a decision lightly – there were claims of unpaid wages, overdue tax-bills, reneged-on promises and transfer fees outstanding.

Normally I picture Arsenal as a big cat on the savanna, impassively surveying the herd for signs of weakness or naivety. Giroud had an enticingly low buy-out clause. Podolski was a big player at a small club on its way down. Everton needed to get Arteta off their books. André Santos’ former employers were caught up in a match-fixing scandal.

But only last summer Málaga announced their arrival as one of Europe’s moneyed colossi. Apparently we spotted a chink in their armour when Hierro walked out. It only follows that their star players should start to get restless.

Since then they’ve done no transfer business. It looks to many like nobody has been at the wheel for months. The owners have been quiet, apart from Abdullah Al Thani, president of the club, who took to twitter in the middle of this month to bemoan the unfair distribution of television money in Spanish football.

While most people who don’t support Real Madrid or Barcelona would agree with him, it all begs the question – why would someone whose family is known to enjoy almost unlimited wealth be so passionate about television cash after throwing money around so readily just a few months ago?

Does he want the club to sustain itself now it’s on the cusp of Champions League qualification, facilitating the sale of a big name to make ends meet in the short-term?

At the first hint of his name around two weeks ago, it seemed to me as an uninformed observer like something might be possible. And Wenger’s responses to questions since the weekend have only fanned the flames. Initially he joked that he didn’t know who Cazorla was; later he said the club was working on a deal, and then on Wednesday joined Arteta in praise for the player – all very out of the ordinary.

The consensus is that the player is unhappy at his club. It’s clear Arsenal want him. Respected journalist Sid Lowe claimed that he’s even agreed terms with us. But we all know what they say about best-laid plans, mice and men.

We’ve been dealing with the equivalent of an oil tanker overseen by a disparate gaggle communicating via Chinese whispers. Now Mr Shatat is at the wheel, they might weigh anchor and chug away over the horizon with a newly flush Cazorla on board. Knowing the financial punch the Al-Thani family can pack, the union of Wenger and Cazorla could remain hypothetical forever more. And given the trouble some technical players have dealing with Premier League clatternaccio, maybe the transfer is best admired as tantalising but unrealised potential.

Whatever happens from here – it looks like we’re on the prowl for an attacking midfielder this summer.

Posted on July 27, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 249 Comments.

  1. Good early post!

  2. As with any signing, I hear the gossip, then the promise, then wait for €iteh or Chav$ki to out bid us to seal the deal. Sigh. Things ain’t what they used to be.

  3. Nice one, But what about ‘Us’?

  4. Excellent background info – looks like you think there are grounds for guarded optimism!

    If Bob could please stand back from the Pasty Stone then I might just manage to avoid the embarrassment of first to comment.

    Exactly where is Big Brov these days?

  5. I told you – it’s over Dex. It was either George or me and you made your choice.

  6. Diaby??

  7. Dam! me and my terrible choices again

  8. Dick Swiveller

    Nice post, I haven’t seen much of Cazorla but whenever I saw him for Villareal he looked dangerous, also ‘clatternaccio’ is sheer genius, love it.

  9. I really appreciate the good thing that you revealed to us that nice to hear. Kudos man

  10. Haha, good observation Dex. For a sec, I thought what?? Then I saw ——— the Light!! 😉

  11. i think a done deal already.

  12. apparently pelegrini has come out to say he wont leave for as low as 20m euros. you guys really think we can get him? am skeptical cause am a huge fan. he’s what we ve been missing since cesc left. here’s hoping we get him. and hey great blog btw, keep it up.

  13. Innit, what the hell has happened to ‘Us’ FFS? 🙂

  14. I’ll like to see cazorla in an arsenal shirt

  15. One of Me??
    One of Them??
    One of She??
    One of He??
    One of Who??
    One of George?? 😉

  16. Four Four Fcuking Two


  17. Well OOU you were prescient at the time of writing this blog. Something is definitely cooking and as Dexter and company remaked on YW’s Thursday blog it may well depend on the state of the “pickled eggs on” July 31st. Cautious optimism is in order.

  18. Great post big Al

    Thanks for the info. I really hope we can get him. Sounds like a great fit

  19. I found this information quite interesting Birdkamp. I have to admit that I know precisely nothing about this player. You obviously hold him in high regard. It would indeed be nice to have a player on the team with his technical abilities as you suggest he has in abundance.

  20. Birdkamp, the other side of this most interesting piece you wrote is the other attacking midfield players that Arsenal may have a chance of signing given that this player does not materialize.

  21. For those of who searching for a link to watch the game tomorow, this link is always live and working, great quality as well

  22. is my comment in moderation?

  23. i tried to provide a stream for those of you looking to watch the game tomorow, it worked perfectly for me for the malaysia game.

    Anyway is that not allowed? if so, apologies.

  24. really good quality as well

  25. I am equally as excited by this one. Although I usually prefer to abide by “the rule”, I must admit I have been obsessively refreshing news streams and researching browsers, feeds & blogs for any trickle of positive development on this potential move.
    I love Cazorla, think he would be a perfect fit at Arsenal and into our style of play. Signing him would really strengthen our squad and see us seriously push for silverware.

    I just read that pellegrini stated he doesn’t like the idea of letting him go for €20 mill, let’s hope that the club owners don’t feel the same way…

  26. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings according to Yogi Berra and she ain’t sung yet…as the Yanks would say. AW always plays his cards close to the vest and you can bet he’s got the backing of the BoD on this one. The Spaniards always inflate their supposed demands once they know they are getting nibbles BUT the Arsenal bargain hard and realistically and Wenger has them over a barrel of sorts. The situation in Spain for the lesser Clubs is serious and only getting worse. Malaga are in a desperate situation and the sheik seems to want to bail on a bad investment. Will Cazorla finally make it over to sunny England’s green shores? My bet is that AW will keep the bait bobbing until Malaga fold their cards and surrender.

  27. May this transfer come to pass, is all I pray for!

  28. Muppet,

    Firstly Imperialism is far from dead. But I am not going to give a lecture on that. If you’re interested I can suggest a lot of books for you to read .Secondly, you don’t think I know how Chelsea and City have influenced the transfer markets? But you tend to forget that there have always been clubs who have paid a lot of money to buy the world class players. Go over the first phase of Galacticos if you want. Barcelona has been doing the same, so was Juventus and other clubs in Italy. United has spent huge amounts of money on some players much before the likes of Chelsea started pumping money into the game. I don’t see much difference between the top European clubs-they’re operating either through huge amounts of loans or through ‘sugar daddies’-that is how it’s been for a long time. The systematic bias exists in criticising one but not the other. While you want to restrict your analysis to Chelsea and City, I think most clubs have been complicit in the commodification of football. As for City, like I said, any club who have serious ambitions of challenging the league would have to pump a lot of money into the game. Which none of the commentators here for the last 2 days have been able to deny. That is football for you. It’s not got anything to do with me, my views, about right or wrong, what I favour, what my own ethical and moral issues are (I think most who know me know where I stand as far as the ‘ideal’ way would have been). I was merely arguing ‘objectively’ and providing an analysis of football not tainted by rose-tinted glasses nor ill informed opinions on the ills of dirty chelsea and City. Most clubs have proceeded in this way over the years, how much did Zidane cost? Lesser Ronaldo? Rooney and Ferdinand (before Chelsea and City) I don’t have to list them all. Far from justifying the likes of Chelsea or City, my point is much more radical than any of you-since I am drawing most European clubs under this banner of what you all call ‘the wrong way of managing the clubs’. Moreover some clubs operate in completely different scenarios such as the Spain ones and have different political economic dynamics that has allowed them to dominate European football for a long time (reflecting the already established club hierarchies in Europe for historical and political reasons). What City has done is the same as every other top European club-however they’re done it at a faster scale in order to win just like Chelsea did. Unlike you, I am not just seeing City or Chelsea as having fucked up things, but these processes were under way far before they even came.

    ‘ A lot of hard work by teams down the drain because of their financial power.’

    As for destroying the works of other clubs-I think we’ve done that as well while balancing our books. You want to argue that as long as we balance the book we can do whatever the hell we want with other clubs. I think it’s time we be honest with ourselves. There are a lot of players we’ve bought from smaller clubs-from different countries-and will continue to do so. Hence at that level we’re not too different. The whole world of football operates this way-what intrigues me is the sort of reactions I’ve received by pointing the blatantly obvious things. I am not saying it’s immoral or unethical-I am just pointing out that this is how football works and this is how our own club works. It’s not ‘my views’-rather how football has actually operated for the past 2 decades. The threshold you want to argue is that as long as you balance the books it’s al right. Well I think you’re mistaken about the general dynamics how clubs can operate under different circumstances. Some can spend on big stadiums others can’t. Most clubs can’t build huge stadiums and charge as much as we do-and that is not my view-but a reflection of reality. Uneven development between clubs have existed and will continue to exist.

    And no, I don’t have any solutions to these problems that I have highlighted. The solution for Arsenal leaking players that some including Yogi, have agreed with me, is that we need to change our wage structures to accommodate our world class players and hold on to them. This idea that they are greedy or whatever-misses the point that this is how the real world operates. We ourselves are not too different in our daily lives-why should we expect someone else to be so-especially when so much money is at stake. We will continue to lose players unless we start competing at the market rate for our ‘world class players’ which frankly we don’t have much. So this doom scenarios created by most about falling into administration is just their way of sticking to their ill informed opinions. I think we can still continue to balance our books if we pay Robin the right amount. The worst case hypothetical scenario would have been to make a loss for a year-with the chance of having him in our team-which I would risk without a second thought. We don’t even have to make a loss-there are enough players in our team that Arsene doesn’t trust-so ship them.

  29. Well, well, well!! It finally happened! More elusive than Bigfoot himself, Cbob caught on camera!

    I have to admit to being a tad disappointed, I thought it would be bigger!!

  30. OOU – Nice post as always mate 🙂 I am right there with you when you say you followed the Santi story more than anything else this past week. He has all the skills to fit right in with our style of play. I always did believe in Santi, and now he might even be playing for The Arsenal! 🙂

  31. OK, so there is nothing truly new in this piece but it is still heartening to see the media ( I know it’s the Star!!) starting to realise just what exactly AW, IG and The Board have been doing these last few years. The last paragraph, whilst being smothered in wishful thinking, brought a nice smile to my face and visions of a very nice future indeed.

  32. Don’t know Moe. It isn’t in moderation but if it had two links in it, it’ll be in spam which I’ll free shortly

  33. The following link is intended for our friend Ateeb. I have not been posting often of late but I have, as ever, read all of YW’s postings and (almost) all of the comments throughout. Interesting few days I have to admit. I agree with many things Ateeb says, and disagree with many more but at the end of the day he is an ACLF’er. Although if he keeps posting such long posts, I might just drop the ACL 🙂

    Just thought you might appreciate that there is also a good side to The Arsenal and all it’s Imperious glory 🙂

  34. Hahaha ••• clatternacio•• nice
    Which country is this family. From?? Bahrain??

  35. Keep to the rules!!

  36. RVP would be a freaking idiots to leave if we get this guy CASAROOLA and possibly M’VILLA.
    we could win every competition — nice summer this is–

  37. Clatternaccio.. Hahaha.. Perfect…

  38. OOU – Not happy with todays post. I was doing well in sticking to the rule until I read your post. Now I wants us to sign this little dwarf despite not seeing much of him in the way of playing. You have ruined my rule! 😉

  39. True goonerkam.. Dont think he will leave if we do sign him tho..
    There seems to be something fishy bout this whole RVP thing.

  40. Yes it’s stretching even my fantasy, which goes: Cazorla is the bait for RvP and the kick in the nuts for Vos.

    Ateeb has made two challenging points. What is the the difference between a rich Arab, Russian or American investor (ie none)? And is Arsenal any different, really, or it’s just part of the system?

    On the first, no there is no difference whatsoever. Dirty money, clean money, oil money, real estate money, arms trade money, drug money. It’s capital, all ill-begotten. It gets invested and sometimes laundered in football (in EPL eg Arkadi at Portsmouth), sooner or later.

    On the second there is a world of difference, OK at least a canyon. I think the point Ateeb doesn’t really appreciate or like is that there is such a phenomenom as ethical business practice within the rotten capitalist system. It’s weak, small and marginalised but it exists. Personally I see it as capitalism (which has always been innovative, until it reaches monopoly stage) trying to wriggle its way out of its predicament. An interesting case I heard recently was that companies with worker ownership and a higher degree of social engagement (CSR, community links) weathered the 2008 financial crisis far better, systematically, than companies without. The caveat is that this only applied to small-medium enterprises. Germany was well in the lead.

    Not to labour the issue, but simply: ethical business practice (good governance) underpins stability, and with innovation and planning are linked and seen (in modern management) in many businesses as critical to their actual survival. They are an intangible asset, that might be expressed in the football world in terms of loyalty, vision, reputation for honest dealings and other ‘cultural values’. This is not theory or textbook stuff. It is applied seriously because it has proven value, but as I said it tends towards small-medium enterprise.

    Within this are extremely strong anti-monopolist sentiments and trends, because monopolies represent threat.

    I have no doubt that Arsenal under Arsene Wenger is aware of all this, and applying it as a business method, because the language and referemces are instantly recognisable.

    Fishy is right
    Just as I suspected — all the song&dance. Is just smoke & mirror for the rival s
    We are at the gates of greatness — hell of a time to leave
    RVP will stay

  42. In other words ateeb old stick, don’t ignore the contradictions within a system in deep crisis. It’s referred to as theory of praxis. Hoffman is a reasonable start if still in print.

  43. Anyone putting the ARSENAL way and approach in the same footing as the scunbag sugadaddy teams or the bank raiding big spenders
    loses credibility right away
    There is a world of difference – without moral s and ethics’ there is no difference between us and the animals-

  44. Most things involving oodles of cash are corrupt and without morals in some guise. That is no shock really. But there are levels of morality, it is simply not black and white as all in/all out.

  45. Or course there is the possibility that single ownership by rich bloke is the way football will go in the long term. If that proves to be durable that we are simply being left behind and will have to jump on board at some point.

    I don’t believe that will be the case, but it is a possibility.

    *playing devils advocate*

  46. pedantic george

    Lets keep fingers crossed then.
    Ah football talk again.Lovely.

  47. Birds sleep at night, they don’t write posts. Btw, good write up, but no thanks for getting my hopes up. Good morning, @ all.

  48. Good morning ACLF.

    Carzola would be a truly positive signing for the Arsenal. What also excites me is that like Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny didn’t hesitate to sign a long term deal the moment it was placed in front of him. I really like Koscielny and think we have a very good defensive team and hope Bold will be able to bring out more in them.

    Does anyone know what time the game is today – GMT time that is?

  49. Grt post man. Really looking forward 2 dis transfer goin thru. A creative attacking midfielder is wat we’ve been lacking 4 a while nw, so we hope it happens. Exciting times on d horizon dats if d ”clatternacio” dnt sabotage us. COYG

  50. Darius – I think it is about 13:45.

    I may be wrong.

  51. Definitely hoping we seal the deal for Santi.
    “If Podolski plays central, it leaves Giroud in Chamakh land.” – Not necessarily as he could play behind Giroud in the 4-2-3-1 formation

  52. Deise – Yeah, that is true. It would mark a shift in AW’s tactics though. He has always played a midfielder in that role and never a forward (depsite have the likes of AA and RvP who could play there easily). I am not against it mind, I think it could definately work.

    If that is not what he is thinking, we definatelty need a player in the attacking midfielder mould. Be that Carzola or anyone else. We have a few players who suit that position, but all have big question marks over their fitness.

  53. Just a warning about posting links re streaming sites for matches. WordPress spam filter seems to think that these sites have dubious content and puts them straight into the spam bin. I guess there must be some dubious content on them, can’t think what though. If you post a link and it doesn’t show, let me know and I’ll see about freeing it.

  54. Zp,

    I think you’ve completed gone astray in replying to me. My idea of Arsenal being different, was related to Arsenal drawing players from smaller clubs like any other. I don’t see the difference there at all. Neither do I deny that Arsenal balance their books-which is intrinsically tied to the value of the club etc. As for finance capital, Arsenal has taken a lot of loans from the banks-albeit been smarter than the rest since they invested in infrastructure. It’s got less to do with ethical business practices but more to do with a different approach of generating revenues and enhancing the image of the club. It’s come at a cost-which is visible with the absence of trophies for now. I think we have a good foundation to take another leap forward by keeping hold of our best players and start winning as well.

    As for good governance-I think that’s also been a hallmark of neoliberal ideology-that such approaches are deemed the best way forward and also become the answer to the ills of countries in the South as well as the ‘troubled’ countries of Europe. I don’t think I need to engage you more, that the problem with countries has been ‘good governance’, but rather the political economy of the countries in a world market-with it’s various abstractions.

    Regardless of these facts, it’s interesting that other clubs have managed to do better than Arsenal financially as well as enhancing the global value of their club (Barca, Madrid United). I think the numbers are skewed as well in favour of Arsenal, because of the property values in London. Nevertheless, it’s a great achievement off the field-which cannot be denied and neither is my intention to do so. As for financials, Arsenal is balancing it’s books and still have debts. Some clubs don’t need to balance their books and are still stronger than Arsenal on and off the fields-for various different reasons.

    I don’t know much about worker ownership models, but I think you might be right in that case. But I don’t think Arsenal has that sort of model, given that ownership is concentrated in the hands of two owners. As for cultural capital-of course you’re right-part of the reason we invested in the stadium was to enhance the image of the club in that way.

    The problem of course arises when you start thinking how some mid level club can break into the hierarchy within football clubs in Europe. Within the logic that you’re using, it’s impossible to do so for these clubs, since they would always be prey to the bigger clubs stealing their talents as well as players also demanding these transfers. Then the notion of ethical business practice at times seems like an ideological tool for certain clubs to maintain their hegemony in football especially when they are threatened by clubs who undergo massive transformations through investment in squad.

  55. Or perhaps a new formation with Santi added? Eventually looking like this….





  56. Deise – In theory great. But AW has always played with wide men, so I can’t see it. I actually think Chamakh would have been a decent pairing with RvP in that formation last year.

  57. OOU – I am (boringly) predictably enough sticking firmly to the rules. Zero interest in any speculation about any non Arsenal player.
    However your piece was still articulate and beautifully crafted. I have come to realise that if people want to dream about footballers who don’t play for Arsenal as a means of whiling away the summer then what’s the harm?
    As long as, and this is so important, as long as they can cope with the disappointment when a deal that never existed doesn’t come off and as long as they don’t come here slagging off the board or manager for not stumping up enough cash to fund a deal that was never more than feverish close season speculation and bullshit.

  58. goonerandy – Always played with widemen…well hes played with men starting wide – Theo wants to be a striker and AA23 always wants to be central – but i get your point – just thinking out loud here after Wenger saying Poldi will play centrally

  59. OOU,

    “And given the trouble some technical players have dealing with Premier League clatternaccio, maybe the transfer is best admired as tantalising but unrealised potential.”

    Too true. Apart from issues about technical adaptation to the high speed kick-fest that is often the EPL, there are emotional issues about many Spanish players adapting to our culture (Reyes, Fabregas…). However, having only seen glimpses of him in action, my main concern is whether he is really better than our current options in filling some fundamental need?

    Your first rule stands firm for me: although, being the wanton footballing hussy that I am, I will gladly lay at his feet ‘if’ he materialises in an Arsenal shirt when the dust settles.

    Looking forward to the Citeh warm up today.


  60. Goonerkam Wenger was clear he wasnt in for M’villa, I know nothing of Carzola other than what people have posted from youtube and what OOU has written so I I cant commetn either way.Anyone who comes in to strengthen the team is welcome.

  61. arsenalandrew

    Irishgray @ 5.36 – intriguing picture (assuming the authorities haven’t already removed it).

    Does this confirm Devon as the UK’s equivalent of Area 51. Bob’s Air Force Base may hold more secrets than we first suspected …

  62. “As long as, and this is so important, as long as they can cope with the disappointment when a deal that never existed doesn’t come off and as long as they don’t come here slagging off the board or manager for not stumping up enough cash to fund a deal that was never more than feverish close season speculation and bullshit.”


    Darius mambo, umepotea sana, the game will be on at 3pm east African time. Already cooking up excuses in my head to get off but seeing as the Olympics kick off today most places I can get to on short notice will probably be showing that.

  63. Deise – Very true, our wide men have licence to roam. AW seems a real stickler though; in his whole time with us he has only really ever employed two formations.

  64. I always take the rumours of us being interested in, having agreed terms, or even bought players with a pinch of salt until the final confirmation on the Arsenal website even though Arsenal usually announces about half an hour after Sky and all the others have posted that the deal is done. The stories about Cazorla are really interesting though, if we have agreed terms won’t we have had to get permission from Malaga to speak to him? If they have granted permission it would suggest that they are willing to let him go and that the price is the only discussion point if Cazorla has already agreed terms (although I am still convinced the owner will sweep in a pay off all the debts before next Tuesday).
    I can’t remember AW coming out so vocally on a player who is of potential interest before, unless he thinks we are pretty much done as well.
    I thought Ramsey had a great little cameo performance last night. I love him playing in that deep role because he is a great passer and with a more experienced striker than Sordell he would have set up the match winner. Ramsey’s ticking into gear nicely for the start of the season and I think he and Arteta could well be vying for the same position. We have such strength in that role now, with even Rosicky being able to drop a little deeper and fill that position if needed.

  65. This quote applies to so many Arsenal fans

    “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be” – Marcel Pagnol.

  66. good morning FIRST LADY
    you are correct •AW did say he wasn’t in for m’ vila• could be due to his of the pitch behavior
    Or it might be AW is trying to put our rivals off the players scent
    A diversion to buy some time to negotiate
    my theory •• I like the COQ very much but I would like some reinforcement when ALEX LEAVES FOR THE. ANC–
    at least I hope so.

  67. Cazorla is a top drawer player, there can be no dispute there. I haven’t seen much of him @ Malaga but remember him from his days with Villareal.

    It would appear we are in for him but then we were very in for Mata last summer and we know what happened there. There is nothing to be gained from getting excited about potential moves until you see their carefully posed picture on the official website (or as increasingly the way these days on the player’s official website / twitter).

    Personally I am intrigued as to what his arrival would say in relation to the composition of the squad and where it leaves other players. Are injury concerns on certain players more serious than we know.

  68. Firstladey – great quote.

    Wavey – you make a really good point. I’ve noticed that when those of, shall we say a nervous disposition, are worrying about our options in midfield Ramsay is either overlooked or removed from the equation with a dismissive air.
    If however you regard last season as an important milestone for him, a young player returning from an horrific injury and, positively, surviving a large number of games without relapse (unlike many others), then the stage is surely set for him to return in the coming season stronger, more confident, more experienced and ready to show the doubters what he can do.
    I have as much hope and expectation for him as any of the other young players in our squad. And yes I include the new messiah AOC and Saint Jack.

  69. le boss says “The intensity will be high again and hopefully we can last an hour [playing at a high pace] – that is the target.
    “We want to have a good battle with Manchester City. We played the young players in Malaysia, they will play again certainly – some a little part – on Friday night but for now, we are preparing for the season.
    “The players who play in the Premier League will play on Friday night.”

    So it will be a strong starting lineup with the youngsters coming on for those that fade after an hour. Lets just get everyone through it that bit fitter and not injured

  70. Great saying FIRST LADY
    good luck with getting off work early and as you said before
    Any player coming in to strengthen the team is WELCOME —

  71. Steww – I too like Ramsey. But not in the advanced midfield role. I prefer him deeper and see him more of an (early days) Gerrard type of player. His game is all about being dynamic, I don’t think he quite has the craft to be unlocking defences with clever passes. Not saying he does not have that in his locker, but it is not the main part of his game.

  72. Deise – So:


    Bartley (?)





  74. Hey Firstlady.

    I forgot about that small distraction called the Olympics. I suppose every TV showing any sport will be on the Olympics. Ah-well! It’s just me and the Arsenal Player on my Iphone.

    So where are we watching the opening game against Sunderland? I’ve got some new found Gooners who want to join the ACLF veterans. In fact I think one of them just lurks *Yes, I’m talking to you mister* and never comments. I’m glad I’ve totally discouraged him from reading any more bs and focussing on a serene ACLF.

  75. I ahte being sick and at work, having to watch videos and pictures of the not so attractive Carzola. Some seriosuly hard times.

  76. Hey Firstlady, how are you been? I hear your always on the look out for your favourite girl!

  77. Deise

    Those wacky wedding photographers, eh??

  78. Djourou is out there aint he? So





  79. An attacking mid fielder is good. But we need help on the back line. There is an old saying here in the states. Money talks and bullshit walks. so we will see

  80. Yes, love that quote, First Lady. You might want to double check times of our game and the Olympics – the opening ceremony is quite late here in the UK.

    Looking forward also to the announcement re the new Under 21’s League about to be unveiled at the Emirates; have always wondered why the clubs don’t make better use of their players and their stadiums. Great opportunity to showcase tomorrow’s up and coming.

    And pleased to see FIFA standing firm against that arch-malingerer Gary Bale who’s game playing miracle recovery was in no way conflicting with his Olympic obligations. In an awesome display of muscle-flexing, FIFA confirm he could be banned from playing matches for the duration of the Olympics.

    Doesn’t matter that there aren’t actually any games during the Olympics! They have nonetheless really laid down the law there.

    No one else seems to mind although I’m quietly confident of a media meltdown had it been an Arsenal player disgracing himself in similar circumstances …

  81. Yogi’s Warrior | July 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

  82. re. Moes’ link and Yogi’s comment thereon.
    I have Malwarebytes running on my PC and it also blocked full access to the linked site.
    Sorry Moe, but I prefer to trust Malwarebytes. I see the the site has links to download iLivid which has caused me problems on a couple of occasions – get a load of other shite into the bargain. Don’t like links that say “download me” and then start trying to put trojans on my PC.

  83. Darius that is great, we can never have enough good fans, seeing as how easily some move to the dark side, tell that lurker to identify himself, you haven’t by any chance converted the emperor to the ways of beautiful and sexy football, have you? About that first game we will need to discuss it with Kenyan gunner, seeing how badly I almost screwed up last time I will go with what you guys decide this time.

    Maria, he is definitely no Carlos Vela, how are you recovering from losing him? sorry to hear you are sick , get better soon girl.In other news Giroud is quite something else and if he can play as tastefully as he looks we will be fine irrespective of what the traitor does and we also have other good news in Poldoski, Koscielny extending and Diaby back. Bring on the new season I say.

    Andrew what time is the opening ceremony in your time, we are two hrs ahead so I may get to watch my boys in red and white(tinged with blue) today yet if I can get the small matter of getting off work out of the way.

  84. Point taken Ateeb, but I would still argue that Arsenal represents the most interesting football business example (better word than ‘model’ hey) in a frightening ‘brave new world’.

    To be honest, I can barely muster interest in the money-go-round in football, but even for ignorant me ManUnited’s financial bubble is starting to fluster. Simple fact: no one wants their shares on the open market therefore they can’t go public on NYSE. They owe 423m pounds. They thought it possible to meet this debt by selling some share capital (diluting Glazer’s, and he obviously is not going to invest).
    What does it all mean? I’m speculating, but there is no enthusiasm anywhere (NY, Sigapore, Hong Kong) to buy into the richest sporting brand in the world! Something very fishy here. So we ask why?

    I think YW answered on Madrid and Barca. Exploits on the field, yes, no doubt there. But Madridelona has been a Spanish monopoly, absolutely skewed, manipulated. It might change a little, but not really, too many “interests” at stake. So, not a relevant example for me.

    Chelsea and City are touted as examples, and you argued convincingly that Russian/Arab capital is no worse/no different than US or european. Fair enough. But not all “capital” is identical is it. This is typical speculative capital buying into football (not dissimilar to real estate speculation which appreciates value on the value of capital, not the trading profit), that’s not unique either. I find it dangerous for that, not it’s origins. Not surprisingly it has re-written a few rules, especially what to pay players and its purpose is clearly to increase share value as fast as possible by these means. It has upset the market. Wenger’s point for me however remains entirely valid and cautionary. This is not in my interests, or the interests of all football clubs, the entire structure. He returns to a theme of “good governance” time and again. Apply some rules he says to avoid a situation where access to this type of capital becomes the engine of results on the field. I think he’s talking as a guy who loves football; if he is being naive I like it all the more. The danger is clear enough, and the battle lines are being drawn.

    And so Arsenal. Yes, in one way it is just another feeding in the food chain, pretty high up. It preys on smaller “feeder” clubs too, it buys the best, sells at a profit, does its business. It is rich, it has power. But the issue of sustainability is the critical one and it takes tremendous discipline, part of which is the discipline to pay players well but not above the going rate because wage inflation gives leverage to speculative capital. I think you discount it because it doesn’t suit your argument. It is essentially an anti-monopolistic position that is in favour of lesser clubs; and I also think this why German football (eg Dortmund) is healthier. I think it represents the way in which, realistically, a well-run Newcastle might win the the EPL, might.

  85. GoonerAndy. It was his devastating invention at the pointy end of our midfield that first caught my eye when he started in CC games soon after signing for us. So actually, unreal as this sounds, I don’t agree.

  86. Yeah, those early appearances in the CC and the ones for Wales u21 showed that he has awareness to play people in, and I don’t think an injury will have done anything to affect it – most of that kind skill is in the mind.

    Obviously the level was a little lower, but that wouldn’t make a difference when it comes to spotting movement and finding the player. I think it’s just one of those things where we have to be patient and wait for the talent to shine through. AW clearly thinks it’s there.

  87. First Lady – (using London time throughout) BBC coverage of the opening ceremony commences at 9pm (thru to 12.35 am). There’s a ‘countdown’ broadcast from 7pm but I imagine that’s for the UK. The Arsenal game is on ESPN at 1pm so you have a good few hours to get nicely positioned!

    Good luck and …


  88. There IS a difference between Chelsea/City and the the previous ‘spend to the limit’ clubs – there was a chance (a small one admittedly) they could overreach and there was also a chance smaller clubs could compete.

    With unlimited funds and no chance of failure that allows them to act with impunity and utter contempt.

    It is abhorrent and I want no part of it. Not at my club. I would rather we were relegated than we sacrificed our ideals in pursuit of hollow victories.

    Our model may not be perfect and I think most agree it needs fresh thinking but that does not mean it is broken. Just that the game is ever changing and we have to adapt to survive.

    Football us about more than just winning.

    Sometimes when you win you lose yourself in the process.

  89. OOU – well put.

  90. I agree with Jonnyneale

  91. Yeah well said Jonny.

  92. Me too.

    And thanks Steww – the circus is moving away from Cazorla and onto the next candidate. Back to the rule again I spose.

  93. goonerandy,

    don’t think giroud is in chamakh land, unless chamakh reproduces his early form.

    4-4-2 would be interesting. personally i don’t believe in 4-4-2 anymore. it worked in the early 2000s but i think football has gone past that stage of development now.

    but sometimes an idea works because people have forgotten how to deal with it 😉

    if we were to try and recreate our 4-4-2, i think arteta would be playing on the flank, sort of reprising his playmaker role for everton in the sense that he would be more advanced rather than sit deep

  94. Is it just me, or is the business money side of it all an aching bore sometimes. I done my shift.

  95. Nice one OOU. You didn’t happen to glean how much the lad might be on at Malaga? I mean I’d imagine they aren’t paying nutjob salaries but anything over 100K might put us out of the running.

  96. I’m a daily reader if this blog and must commend YW and all his deputies in maintaining such a great blog.
    I too like santi but we have an abundance in that area. I fear that we have too many to accommodate another.
    I feel we should focus all our attention on keeping RVP, with him we have 3 genuinely good center fowards without him we have to be in the market for another I think.

  97. birdkamp

    As always, purely enjoyable to read your posts.

  98. 4-4-2 is finito. It’s 2 CBs. 2 flanking fullbacks, one of which is continuously opening up the wings. A triangle of midfielders, moving in tandem, releasing the ball to 2 wide players (plus their full back comrades) whosse jon it really is to unlock the defence by speed and passing, and a striker who’s job is often receiving to shield and continue a move. Fluid. The trick is to create the extra play/player, a la Santos. Barca are exceptional at this because their fullbacks work like that. Another version is TV and sometimes Kos hairing up the middle, and notice how the opposing midfield will often help part the herd, opening space, because their mindset is on where the pass is going (the free player), not this extra man on the ball.

  99. Yes indeed – another highly admirable and enjoyable submission, Al.

    I love the line admitting “Normally I picture Arsenal as a big cat on the savanna”. That made me lol. You think that’s NORMAL?! 🙂

    And baaaaaaack to the song –


  100. Thanks Andrew it meansI am getting off in afew mins to go watch my Arsenal.

  101. @Jonny – 11:27 am: Great points. It’s not worth losing our soul because others choose to sell their mothers down the river for the sake of silverware.

    @Firstlady. Are you kidding? The Emperor would rather walk the streets of town naked than switch allegiance from the Manure to the Arsenal. The punk is still as arrogant and boastful as ever about his beloved Manure, even after the smash and grab that left him deflated that day. I think we really messed up by not filming the events of the last few minutes with the fucker dancing all over celebrating Manure’s ghost win only for Kenyan to point out to him the score between QPR and City to be 3-2. The events that followed were priceless.

    As for messing up the venue last time, I think it actually worked out very well. I wasn’t going to dance salsa, but I don’t think we would have found that pub showing the Arsenal game in I don’t know how many of all its screens. Clearly, the owner of that pub is a Gooner.

    There’s a place near my office calling itself a sports bar. I’ll check it out and give you guys some feedback. That might be a good place to try for the opening game and I’ll try whip up a few more Gooners for us to create a scene. Of course I’ll force the Emperor and his Manure punks to join us so that we can continue mocking them.

    PS: I’m going for the Gor Mahia v AFC match this weekend at Kasarani. I’m told it’s a colourful game that requires I carry my tin helmet and aluminium neck brace. What I really want to find out is that even with the Al-shabaab standard security checks before you enter the stadium, how the hell do supporters get stones to throw at each other? Are the stones transported into the stadium the previous night? These guys make a bad blooded match between Arsenal and the Hottentots seem like a walk in the park. I dare Kenyan to put on his Gor Jersey and come join me in throwing the Stones. I had bought a replica Gor shirt with Gatuso’s name only to find out that the little fucker had been kicked out of Gor for indiscipline.

    Off to a quiet place where I can be alone with my Arsenal player, a good game and a cold beer.

  102. Nuri Sahin on loan from Real seems to be in the offing!!

  103. ZP
    agree that 4-4-2 is passe……too predictable for opponents.

    I believe our manager is sold on the concept of total football, as discussed many times. Formations are something for the fans to sink their thoughts around.

    Once the ball is in play, our players are given the license to create what is given. All of our players are selected for the versatility of their skills and reading of the situation.

    4-3-3; 4-2-3-1; 4-1-4-1; 4-5-1; 4-4-1…………..
    every match we witness Arsenal morph through these variations, contributing to our fashionable style of play and making it confusing for opponents to set up.

  104. This is amazing. The match is live on ESPN here in India.

  105. Damn.. Its the Malaysia match. Pricks.

  106. @goonerandy

    What about the possibility of us returning to a 442 and Arsene yinkering with it Koln?!?!?!?! With a Podolski/RvP/Giroud combination manning the front 2 spots with a midfield of Theo/Song/Arteta/Ox or Gervinho now that Lil Mozart is out.

    watching Patk play yesterday I found myself rooting widely because like many of you know I think he is a real quality striker. He looked very good holding up play making run and if it wasnt for a pitch that wouldnt allow ANYBODY to get traction he would have scored atleast a brace.

  107. Nice civil debate today. The system has never been fair to smaller teams but that never bothered me because it favored us. If we really wanted things to be fair then there should be revenue sharing among all the clubs. All the money earned from football operations placed in a big pool and divided equally. Fulham should have as much chance to purchase cazorla or he next Leo Messi as we do or Man City does. The revenue pool should be divided with the players getting a specific % and owners getting the rest. Unfortunately that would take away our advantage. TBH, most of us, myself include, seem to favor a system that takes away the advantage of the “super rich” clubs above us but maintains our advantage over the smaller clubs below us. Makes perfect sense to me.

  108. A loan deal for an attacking mid seemks the ideal solution. That would give Diaby and Wilshere time to get back to fitness without blocking their long term path.

  109. Our starting 11 has a front 3 of Theo Gervihno and Santos/Gibbs. Strange. I wonder who is playing through the middle? Theo or gervihno?

  110. Sensational Arsenal

    anybody have links for the match?

    espn says they are showing the match live but they are showing the repeat of the malasyia game.

  111. i don’t believe this talk of Sahin

  112. Just got home and it’s on the box here for us in SA.

    Is that the scumbag coward web reffing this?

    Noticed several typical EPL calls just in this short space of time, pro citeh anti Arsenal

    Sooooo close by Santos!

  113. The despicable Robson is already complaining that Bould doesn’t seem to have changed things defensively. No deferring to the fact that all elite teams now play with a high line.

  114. I see our players have their names and the sponsor in Chinese on their shirts, would be awesome collectors items!

    Poor defense nearly cost us against Aguero there

  115. Close up of web, yes, I was correct, that chrome dome is pretty unique.

    Luckily over here Shotta we have a local commentator who is doing pretty well.

  116. @goonerandy

    Maybe Theo through the middle helps him sign a contract extension. This is Arsene saying “hey Theo I truly do value you as a striker and you see how I mentored RvP through a winger then central striker so stay and I will make you a legend and world class winger/striker.”

    Mr.Arsenr you sly devil you, watch Theo sign early next week.

  117. For those without access –

    Arsenal team: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Bartley, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Song, Arteta, Diaby, Santos, Walcott, Gervinho.

    Arsenal substitutes: Szczesny, Mannone, Miquel, Djourou, Yennaris, Coquelin, Eastmond, Aneke, Eisfeld, Ryo, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Afobe.

    Man City team: Pantilimon, Savic, Kompany, Kolo Toure, Kolarov, Zabalata, Biton, Yaya Toure, Razak, Aguero, Tevez.

    Live commentary here –,19764,11065_3521126,00.html?reloaded

  118. Mike: Robson is a neanderthal. Playing with a highline is a skill which cannot be adopted overnight with a constantly changing back four. Anybody can play deep and whack away at the ball or at opposing forwards if they choose to play hoof ball.

  119. walcott looks serious, like he did in the 2012 season.

  120. So close by young Jenkinson again.

    We certainly have had the better chances so far from the part of the game I’ve seen so far

  121. Shotta, Robson is detritus that should have both his arms ripped off and be flogged to death with the wet ends

  122. Andre, the Great. What a sweet left foot!

  123. Lord i despise Robson.

  124. haha we are killing city, looks like we’ve been practising the long shots

    Only thing that worries me is the defence but it is a pre-season and our first team is missing.

    oh and the commentators on espn are cunts.

  125. Tell you what, I don’t know what Robson has seen, but apart from one lapse, I’ve seen some pretty good defending from our lads

  126. Bugger!

  127. Bloody Hell, Al jinxes Cazorla, MikeSA the defence. Anyone else like to have a go at something.

  128. Billy's Boots

    Man City look like shoo-ins to win everything this year.

  129. Nasri banned for three matches by France for his conduct at Euro 2012.

  130. They’ll never score again before half time…. Oh!

  131. think jenkinson got caught out for both goals.

  132. Billy's Boots

    Nice post today, OO(U) – and recent ones by YW and other guests. Have been reading but not commenting (non-ACLF life getting in the way). Looking forward to the Olympics to provide a great diversion until the season begins…

  133. Nice one Jonny.

    That midfield could well be our strongest this season. Anyone still think we don’t need another experienced back-up right back?

  134. Whats the score and how does Diaby look?

  135. Positive news is diaby playing in 2 games in a row.

    Yogi @ 1:43:

    Wish we could explain our defense with something as simple and easily corrected as a jinx.

  136. 0 – 2. How he looks? I’ll leave that to the ladies.

  137. Have we created any decent chances or just half chances?

  138. Interesting game this. Nigel Winterburn has some interesting thoughts on the inexperience of Jenkinson and Bartley and specifically about them knowing when to stay with the man, when to hold back, when to jockey but not go for the ball, and how to make sure they don’t get pulled out of position.

  139. I wonder if there is any truth in this report about Nurin joining Arsenal on loan 🙂

  140. @Yogi
    Thanks mate! Lol hows he playing? From what I’m reading Jenkinson needs a loan spell perhps or maybe Le coq or a back 4 to start of: Kos/Verm/BFG/Santos to start until Sagna is fit.

  141. I hope Nurin joins the Arsenal. True quality and lest we not forget that he was the ring leader of Dortmunds resurgence and would immediately fit perfectly into our AM role!!!!!!!!!!

  142. Or a new right back…

  143. What a shot by the Ox. Incredible bad luck hitting both posts

  144. boyata on, city going defesive

    we are killing them at this moment in time.

    Too bad about the two goals, we are the better side this half.

    attack versus defence right now

  145. grrr… he/we could have done with a touch of luck on that shot… looked better so far this half 🙂

  146. New right back, already.

  147. City have sat back, for the most part.

  148. I really don’t understand Chamakh, I would have thought he would be really up for these pre-season games… after all it is an opportunity to stick your hand up and be counted.

  149. It’s absolutely pissing it down in China isn’t it!

  150. Samira banned for three mach by the French F.A – good for them. Should have been more though, a life ban would be perfect.

  151. Aneke is a big kid. I hope he does well


    I think chamakh is doing the best he can. He is working hard when city has the ball

  152. Been impressed with the City keeper

  153. They have had a couple of breakaways on the counter attack that they probably would have put away during the season. Song has been our most creative player this half and made a couple of great passes that gave us opportunities. However, i think him being that far forward costs us more then it gives us over the course of a season.

  154. Aneke and Afobe are a shoo in for me for the squad, there both so good

  155. Been watching the last 10 mins and while we are knocking it around in midfield we lack a cutting edge at the top of the field for obvious reasons. In contrast Aguero and Tevez are quite a handful even if they are at 80-90% fitness.

  156. I agree Moe, both also have the desirable size

  157. well theres nothing wrong with our attack, looks better than last seasons sometimes pedestrian movement

    much better runs and movement and players releasing the ball much quicker

  158. Who’s number 33? That wasn’t Eastmond with that effort was it?

  159. weird that Man City are not using more of their subs

  160. Time to get all the “regulars” off the pitch. Slippery surface a recipe for injury.

  161. City look sharper because they are playing on the counter and Arsenal are going for it. Apart from when Tevez brushed off Le Coq, Arsenal have been by far the better team in the 2nd half.

  162. nice work by Chamakh there, can’t seem to buy a goal 😦

  163. I thought Afobe was of a darker complexion!

  164. by the way, not an excuse but city have 4 (90 min) matches while arsenal have had 2

  165. Paul – City is sharper because they are further into pre-season than us. This is their 3rd 90 minute game compared to our second. Their front two plus Ya-Ya is real quality. They often broke our defense in the 1st and deserved their two goals.

  166. Right. Here’s my next effort.

    Ahem, ahem……..

    Our strikers can’t score for toffee………

    (no go ahead and prove me wrong…………….please?)

  167. Moe, I was looking at our fixture list with regards to the preseason, and I am a little concerned we may be a touch under done.

  168. Correction: Moe is right, 4th 90 minute game.

  169. still a lot to be pleased about and with more senior players yet to come in to the fold I think we are doing okay 🙂

  170. well well, chamberlain is ripping up the shots, he looks head and shoulders above all the youngsters here.

  171. our 2nd half display deserves a goal

  172. Shotta, I was talking about the 2nd half still. But, yes those players are good but I believe we are onto something here. With our first choice back 4, it will be a different situation, i think.

  173. Is Sagna in training? or still laid up?

  174. i thought chamakh did well. holding up the ball, little touches to create space, like that chance for eastmond(?)

  175. In the first half, i thought we did well up until the first goal. TV did fail miserably at trying to play City offside though.

  176. Miami Arsenal

    still laid up im afraid, wont be back for the start of season, maybe middle of september

  177. chamberlain is a beast, nuff said

  178. nvm, september expected as a return

  179. Pretty good I thought. No point worrying about mistakes like those at this stage. Their reserve keeper is ridiculous. Surely he’ll be wanting to start games somewhere.

  180. i think the Ox really manned up, stood up to take responsibility. you feel a sense of expectation every time he touches the ball. i think this coming season will be a really big season for him. very, very impressed by him.

    hope jack wilshere comes back soon and plays at his old level (or better). would be fantastic to see the Ox and wilshere making things tick.

  181. i think our starting front trio of theo, gervinho, andre santos was really interesting.

    i always felt that it’s possible to play without strikers- if you play with wing forwards. i never thought we would play with 3 of them. and that was refreshing. they interchanged quite a bit. i would like to see more of that, because i think we can surprise people with their pace and fluidity and directness.

  182. Looked like TV5 took as many shots as anyone on the team except Ox and he spent as much time in the attacking penalty box as chamakh. I realize we were behind and with all the young players TV may have felt he needed to do something, but that’s the way he plays all the time. It does look great when he scores. Results didn’t matter today and I had hoped Steve Bould would have wanted to use the game to work on our defense. I guess his attacking runs are part of arsene’s long term plan.

  183. Miami Arsenal

    its quite alright 🙂


    I agree, the front three looked really good, i always belived that at arsenal we play better with fast mobile attackers, a front three of walcott chamberlain and podolski would murder most teams 😀

    I think, and this is a theory i’ve had for a while, when the big players such as van persie or fabregas or even song, when they are not in the team, it pushes players to man up, to develop faster and take more responsibilty.

    For example, walcott today for me really manned up as well, the thing with him is that with creative players in the team already, i always reckoned he held back and did the job he was told. Kind of like in a bubble. He looked great today, a few long range shots, passes and creatiivity.

    Chamberlain the same with him.

    The thing that humstrung us alot of the time is BIG star players almost impose their stardom on the rest of the team, and there is almost an obligation for everything to go through them, the other players are happy to be in their comfort zone , their safety zone.

    So for me, to develop a player requires the manager to put into a situation that they HAVE to show what they’re made of, to give them a chance to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

    In my honest opinion, it is almost a breath of fresh air that some BIG star players leave, their status in the media and the team sometimes hinders us.

  184. Darius the last two Gor games I attended I(there was the super 8 game with Ulinzi earlier and the Premier league derby with Ingwe) I ended up eating tear gas literally so out of principle I swore never to attend their matches- ever again. Several pals have enticed me so far but I am not barging. What I have come to learn is it doesnt matter if they check people at the entrance if gor is losing and their fans arent happy it will rain stones, god know where they get them.

    Very disappointed by the loss as I had to get off work to go to a pub to watch it (seeing as pubs open after 5 on weekdays I had to bribe someone to get in) and for my troubles I am alittle bit tipsy back in the office.

    Until mancity scored, I thought we were the better team,even though we lost I think we played very well and I was mightily impressed by Gervihno, he is one player I will be watching very closely in the coming season.

    ooh and today I met a mancity fan (apparently since last season) who thought until we do a marquee signing we wont be winning anything, easy for him to say since they have suggar daddies with bottomless pockets!!!

  185. kori

    There’s no chance we will see 3 wide players and no central striker in a really meaningful game.

    We were crying out for a confident striker to take up central positions finish some of our good work, 2 (or 3) of which we have training hard in London Colney.

    Gervinho did really well today but a centre forward he ‘aint.

    Interesting, perhaps, but we’re not Spain, who themselves looked as if they needed a confident centre forward of their own for much of the Euro’s.

    I’m looking forward to the game against Cologne, then we will finally see something that resembles the team that will run out against Sunderland, with a genuine striker leading the line.

    Another 45 minutes for Diaby is brilliant news!

  186. I have never seen a field that soaked in my life, at some point it was like the ball couldnt roll at all. Why was Webb the referee, we rarely win games that he officiates so I am blaming him for today’s loss.

  187. Well everything went well in that game except the result. Most of the squad got game time again. No one got injured. The youngsters on the fringe of the first team squad all did themselves proud. Roll on next game on Sunday.

    Thank the baby jesus Setanta also had the game live as i had to turn off that mug Robson on ESPN. Nothing, and i mean NOTHING Arsenal do is right for this joker.

  188. A decent performance with a nice rhythm to our movement and passing, a slightly disappointing result. Small steps

  189. What am i saying? After this result we are DOOMED!

  190. Deise @ 3:45 pm,

    Spot on. What a walking expletive! Too many examples of his anti-AFC bias and complete self-contradiction during his comments today to go into here.

    We did well and, as anicoll5 points out above, it was a good performance.

  191. fantastic play, not the finishing. Glad with the performance from everyone.

    Mancini not making subs until late in a pre season game was somewhat odd, not to mention them parking the bus.

  192. Acryllic Altair – Man City are building towards the charity shield and are a good week or so further along in their preparations so it was always gonna be their starting 11 for as long as possible, where as Wenger wanted a good hour from most of our starting 11 after which the youngsters will see the game out. It will most likely be the same on Sunday. Then its a hard 2 weeks training with the full squad towards the Koln game. Then a week to prepare for official kickoff at the Grove

  193. As far as i can see almost EVERY match report on the game from various online media outlets have copied and pasted the EXACT SAME REPORT, whomever wrote it must be makin a mint….

  194. Sorry, I have to say something about Robson,

    Now most ACLFers and (most) gooners are aware that Boldy has been drilling the defence. In fact, there has been quite a bit of electronic conversation about the impact he is said to be having and his focus on positional awareness of our defence. Ironically, it was Jenkinson’s lack of such awareness that might be said to have led to both Citeh goals.
    Yet it is early days and one has to expect some teething problems as the players become familiar with and adjust to the new defensive approach.

    Well, wasn’t it strange to hear old Robbo arguing that (Arsene) Wenger is at fault for what he viewed as ‘the same old defensive weaknesses.” Also claiming that nothing was being done about addressing his suggested ‘same old problems’. This from a man that should at least be aware that major steps have already been taken to prepare a squad during this PRE-SEASON.

    Then on the point of Jenkinson there was (and I mention this only because it is so atypical of his general AFC commentary) no criticism directed at him. All Robbo could do was to note how good and hardworking Jenkers is. No reference to the quality of performance shown by Miquel when he came on. None!

    I think this points out a level of xen0phobia that I believe underscores that man’s general stupidity. FFS

  195. I watched the game on the Arsenal website. I had to watch it on the small screen, as it went into slow motion on the enlarged one.

    I thought the younger players did very well in the second half, against a team that sat back, and parked the bus.

    In my view their 2nd goal was offside. Whilst the ball may have gone in without Toure’s touch, he was still in an offside position and beyond the final man and did touch the ball.

    However, like we saw so often last seasoin, we conceded a goal, that started when we lost the ball close to their area.

    The problem with trying to thread the ball through the eye of a needle, is that most times it does not work, even for CF, and the ball is lost and we are exposed at the back to a qucik counter-attach, a la Invincibles.

    Jenkinson looked good, especially gong forward and made at least one fine stop.

    Santos’ shooting was good and it was encouraging to see our players shooting from the edge of the box, rather than always trying to pass the ball trhough.

    The loss was unfortunate, but I am sure that AW was pleased with the perfomances of most of the payers, especially the younger ones.

  196. Dgob:

    It’s easy to blame jenkinson for the goals but different players have been making the exact same sort of mistakes and we have been conceding the same sort of goals no matter who the defenders are for 6 years now. We have gone thru several different sets of defenders during this time and the only thing that has been constant through has been the coaching staff.

    Do you think anyone has talked to TV5 about his constant forward runs and being out of position and the team losing its organization? If the coaches have tried to get him to be more conscious of his defensive responsibilities, then why doesn’t he listen? Watch what happened the last few games last season. The only logical conclusion is that this is the way the coaches want the team to play.

    Robson’s a prick, but it easy to understand how anyone could conclude that the coaching staff should take most of the blame for our defensive issues. No?

  197. I don’t think Robson should be pointing the finger of blame at anyone. This is a meaningless pre-season runout FFS.

  198. I wouldn’t be counting on Cazorla. Malaga Qatari owners have woken up to the state of their toy and reps have flown in to Malaga probably with a few suitcases of money to fix the problem. If the owners inexplicably don’t pay off the club debts then I am sure they’ll start a bidding war and some other less fiscally responsible team will pick him up.

  199. Jonny:

    Its already been established that the man is a prick. He has been making the same point for a few years now so what do you expect? He always goes over the top with his criticism but I am having a tough time faulting his conclusion on this issue. Pundits are all going to beat us up and make a talking point of our defense until we show that we have improved, preseason or not.

  200. “He has been making the same point for a few years now so what do you expect? He always goes over the top with his criticism.”

    Are you talking about Robson or about yourself, Bill? ;P

  201. Well, it is a pre season game with some youngsters in the defence. When we had a set defence we did pretty well last season…very well actually. I have faith that if we can stay healthy our goals against will go down.
    Jenks made a nice tackle what it seemed that Aguero was through.

  202. sad to see that the ye press have failed to see any of the positives from the Arsenal performance. In a game where Arsenal played a number of youth players (that in turn did very well), all they are concerned about was the meaningless result. According to these mugs in the media we were played off the park.

  203. Miami, not even Robson said that, he actually admitted that Arsenal were the better team in the 2nd half. The team looked good.


    looks like Mr Wenger is getting fed with the whole van persie business, he rightly snapped at four journalists askign the same questions about van persie.

  205. I’m starting to think we should make RvP play his final year, I know we lose money but it would be good to allow Podolski and Grioud time to adapt.

  206. Evil @ 5:28:

    No secret what I think. When the same thing happens year after year doesnt it make sense to suspect that the things that have been constant during that time are probably the major cause of the problem? Do you have a better explanation?

  207. shotta.

    regarding the high line you were discussing earlier..
    you nailed it fella..

    thats why steve and tony were the best cb pairing the PL has ever seen..
    even before then, they made the ‘arsenal trap’ famous..

    bouldie coming in is an excellent choice and indeed it will take time to implement a few tweaks but i think he’ll nail it as well..

  208. Notoverthehill

    OO(U)? and Yogi, I have no wish to start “you know who” on the turntable!

    CF Malaga is to be run on a self-sustaining model. I quote “que el Málaga sea una empresa capaz de autofinanciarse”. The Arsenal model once again!

    My reading of the Fernando Ruiz Hierro escapade, in order to identify the correct “Hierro” , was I suspect, due to over-ambitious plans. In order to compete in the Champions League requires a much larger squad and above all, top players. That means money and the money was not being generated through the turnstiles? Thus the complaint re television monies. Real Madrid and Barcelona have the fan base, CF Málaga (to go Spanish) do not.

    Blackburn with a lesser millionaire, made it and lost it. Result of relying upon one owner? It used to work, but not any longer, Gretna in Scotland is an obvious example.

    Back to The Arsenal and I DO NOT LIKE control being “over the pond” west or east, south or north..

  209. Bradys right foot

    Robson is a wonderful example of a plank.

  210. beautiful piece there Big Al.
    its brought out many vintage ACLFers.

    i haven’t even read up to noon and my insides are warm already.

  211. Can’t read much into the game. It was a pre season game with our most effective forwards all sat at home. Good run out.

  212. massive props to the dudes on here that got him the sack..

    robsons a tit..

    listening to him talk about football is arguabley a cure for insomia..after all, his coaching credentials are unrivalled..

    i mean come on, after spells at wimbledon, southend and rushden and diamonds, he must know his stuff….

  213. JonJon @ 6:30 pm
    “i mean come on, after spells at wimbledon, southend and rushden and diamonds, he must know his stuff….”

    Tee, Hee, Hee. Excellent point.

  214. Shotta:

    Robson is a class A dickhead but i admit it’s more then just a bit disingenuous for me to criticize him for being annoying and whining on and on and on and on about our defense. I just can’t help it. It drives me crazy. I don’t know what his excuse is.

  215. I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes at night after dreaming about William gallas standing in the ManU penalty box with his hands on his hips and Wayne Rooney is down at the other end of the pitch scoring on a counter attack. To make it worse Denilson still has not caught up with the referee who is trailing the play. I have sought professional help and tried medications but nothing works.

  216. pedantic george

    Is it safe?

  217. *gollum gollum*

  218. OOU.
    Perhaps you could answer the question I asked the other day. I think it was ignored because there was no mention of ***:
    Where did Carzola play in the Spanish national team when he was more of a regular?

  219. Robson’s jingotastic bile was encapsulated in his rant after he was sacked. “English players overlooked in favour of foreign pansies. Arsene never listens to his reserve coaches, he always ignores the acadamy kids and buys in foreigners” Is the sum of what he said.

    How he squared that one with the promotion of Stevie B and friends, your guess is as good as mine. It is refreshing to see an attempted D-Fence for the racist twat, but I agree with JJ: Big props to those who helped rid the club of this tool. Thank you.

  220. Moe

    i think you might be right regarding the star player syndrome. henry, towards the end of his first spell with us was the focus of every attack. everyone jsut wanted to pass the ball to him because they are so overawed by his status. and then fabregas came along, and everything went through him..i think we see abit of that last season with van persie.

    i think ultimately, you need the right balance. everyone must be prepared to step up and take the responsibility. of course you would want to have star players who opponents fear as well 😉


    well that’s why we bough giroud and podolski 😉

    but maybe theo will get the chance he so craves in the middle position…

    but i think it is interesting.. if we are chasing a game.. we can have the 3 of them and a centre forward on the pitch. i think that might be more interesting than having 3 centre forwards on the pitch…

  221. I’ve managed to answer my own question:

    Not the best quality

  222. I like jenkinsons spirit but fuck about he couldn’t position himself in a game of twister.

  223. & we must notf orget this dude. Going by his wise & useful comments I believe that our good friend Robson had:

  224. just to clarify:

    i think city played quite a few unknowns as well. aside from kompany, yaya toure, aguero, zabaleta and tevez, the rest were unknowns, or at least not their first-teamers.

  225. pedantic george

    “he couldn’t position himself in a game of twister.”

    How dare you attack a serving member of the team in such a despicable way.The lad is a star.

    Funny line though Duke .I wish I had said it.

  226. thank fuck the olympic opening ceremony is finaly upon us!! i have been waiting ages.

    i’ve fukin had enough to last a lifetime of that bloody olympic torch relay.

  227. @Bill
    An explanation? Have you tried to apply Occam’s Razor and look at the things that haven’t been constant to find the reason? Like, for example, a constantly changing back 5 or a lack of full-backs.
    Because to me it seems that you already have the solution — playing more defensively, maybe a 5 – 4 – 1 formation with two defensive midfielders sitting in front of the back 5 and never moving past the half-way line — and you are now trying to find a raison d’être for it.

    Which is not to say we don’t have a problem and that we aren’t conceding more goals than we should. Shipping more than 40 goals a season is always critical — especially when you don’t have the scoring record to back it up. But you seem to be dismissing different, far simpler explanations, out of hand.

    Oh and isn’t it funny how dreams can sometimes distort reality?. Because Denilson wasn’t overtaken by the referee for that goal!

  228. Kori, I think City have 2 or 3 first teams.

    Miguel was tops today.

  229. fukin el…i must say…

  230. 7 first teamers Paul…tevez, company, johnson, zabaleta, augero and the toure twits.

  231. Zimpaul,

    ‘And so Arsenal. Yes, in one way it is just another feeding in the food chain, pretty high up. It preys on smaller “feeder” clubs too, it buys the best, sells at a profit, does its business. It is rich, it has power. But the issue of sustainability is the critical one and it takes tremendous discipline, part of which is the discipline to pay players well but not above the going rate because wage inflation gives leverage to speculative capital’

    I think you give all away at that point. You’re justifying Arsenal preying on smaller feeder club because it’s balancing it’s books. In other words, you think it’s alright that Arsenal can exploit talent from other clubs-just as at some point the Empire goes into different regions across the world to extract some form of surplus value-of course this one is a non-violent process.

    Apart from that you’re also missing that while preying on smaller clubs-it itself is hunted by larger capital in the form of City and Barcelona. So it’s a chain, as you rightly pointed out. But the implications are different than you thought. You miss the exploitive part in favour of profits (which in other words means self sustenability or at least balancing the books). Apart from that you also miss that speculative capital is already involved in Arsenal through investments in the stadium as well as the real estate property-which took time to get rid off. Now you think that is a good way for a Club to invest-others however choose to invest in the players in order to win some titles and announce their arrival-as well as fight it out at the big European stage. Arsenal is taking a different way to that while balancing it’s books and all-but let’s not forget that it’s involved in all other ‘business and investment making activities just as any other club’-which also means as you said ‘feeding on smaller clubs’.

  232. Duke – Talking of those seven 1st teamers, is it me or did you get the impression, particularly in the 1st half, that they were determined to win? After the 1st two goals they didn’t seem arsed enough in front of goal.

  233. sir tim berners lee…so its you who ruined then art or conversation….you or steve jobs.

  234. uzbekastan….

    no ones ever fukin erd a stan…

  235. Evil:

    When I first started talking about this I thought it was about the players we had but the more I have seen I think its our system. The ultra high line and the aggressive way that players like Gallas and now TV5 go flying forward and our aggressive full backs and a DM all contribute to our lack of organization and solidarity at the back. If the coaches wanted TV5 to stay at home more often or Song to avoid getting caught on the wrong side of the ball on counter attacks they could fix that, but it goes against their vision of attacking “total football”. Just my opinion but I think thats the root cause of our defensive problems. Every year we come up with a different excuse for why we conceded so many goals the season before. Its sort of like someone who is chronically getting in trouble in school. You can explain each individual incident but after there is a pattern that you can’t ignore. Hope that makes sense. In the end, I think the problem is a coaching issue and the coaching staff could fix it if they were willing to make some compromises. That does not mean turning into an ultra defensive team, Lots of teams score more goals then we do but still concede a lot fewer.

    With regard to that play and Denilson outrunning the ref, I guess that all the mistakes the Willie Gallas and Denilson made sort of run together in my mind. 🙂

  236. Bill,

    Would I be correct in assuming that you share Robbo’s views on AFC defensively? I don’t and I think that a team that is still known as the “Invincibles” following an unbeaten season must surely have predated Arsene and the coaching staff to whom you (a la media) accord blame for not being able to organise a defence. Then we have the fact that you seem to have ignored my original point and that of many others that Boldy is now in and at it!

    Or is it me?

  237. Apologies for the late responses but I’ve been caught up cringing as we watched the opening ceremony. What must the rest of the world think of these merry shores: apart from the ready availabilty of narcotics!?

  238. Paul-N | July 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Kori, I think City have 2 or 3 first teams.

    that’s true. but i really didnt recognise some of the names on their team.

    don’t get me wrong, i don’t give a shit about them. but i just want to point out that we lost because we made two mistakes at the back and gifted them two goals. nothing to do with whoever fielding a stronger team or not.

  239. Don’t be such a grouse Dgob, it was fab

  240. Dgob

    i missed the opening ceremony. wished i caught it though. because i think for some of the athletes, it really means alot for them.

    football, with its obscene amount of money, has made us forgotten what honour it means to represent your country in the olympic games. it has even made it irrelevant.

    maybe the opening ceremony is lame. but i think it is a good opportunity to recognise the athletes realising their dreams of representing their countries. i honestly think they deserve a little bit more respect.

  241. Passenal,

    I know it was fun but obviously designed with the aid of LSD!

  242. korihikage,

    Don’t get me wrong, I hugely admire the event and competitors – most of whose training would frighten the life out of the now generously paid professional footballer.

    There was much that was truly inspired in the opening ceremony but so much more!!

%d bloggers like this: