Strongest Squad Ever? My Arse(nal)

Arsene Wenger says this current Arsenal squad is the strongest he’s ever had.

As the dust settles on Saturday’s painful and embarrassing defeat, perhaps it’s time to examine that claim.

It seems important that Arsene referred to his strongest squad, not his strongest team (even he wouldn’t expect us to swallow that Saturday’s bottlers are the best team he’s ever had).

The implication must be that he feels he has more strength in depth than ever before.

Opinion is subjective, and there’s no scientific way of measuring it, but one way of examining strength in depth is to look at the best possible second team that the Arsenal could have put out at certain points during Wenger’s reign.

In 2010/11 I see our strongest second team (assuming everyone is fit) as being this:

Almunia

Eboue   Koscielny   Djourou   Gibbs

Diaby   Wilshere   Rosicky

Walcott   Bendtner   Chamakh

In the Invincibles season of 2003/4 it would have been this:

Taylor

Hoyte   Senderos   Keown   van Bronckhorst

Parlour   Edu   Flamini   Reyes

Kanu   Wiltord

In our Double Year of 2001/2:

Wright

Luzhny   Adams   Upson   van Bronckhorst

Parlour   Grimandi   Edu   Pennant

Kanu   Wiltord

And in our first Wenger Double Year of 1997/98:

Manninger

Grimandi   Upson   Keown   McGowan

Boa Morte   Platt   Garde    Hughes

Wright   Wreh

I believe the current ‘second eleven’ would probably lose to all the others listed. They might have a fighting chance against the 1998 brigade (anyone remember Gavin McGowan?) but I suspect even an ageing Ian Wright would rip Djourou and Koscielny to shreds.

The funny thing is that the current second string probably has more technical ability than any of its predecessors, but it doesn’t have the out-and-out winning mentality of the players from previous years (the likes of Ian Wright, Keown, Parlour, Adams and Edu).

I accept that there are other possible ways of measuring squad strength (for example, if we looked into the ‘leftovers’ – players who don’t even make it into the second elevens – there would probably be more in the 2010 crop with first team experience than in previous years – the likes of Vela, Traore, Eastmond, JET and Lansbury).

However, using my method it seems clear that this is most certainly NOT the best Arsenal squad of the Wenger era.

So why would he say it is?

To understand that you need to be able to decipher Wengerspeak. When we had teams conquering all before them, making opponents feel defeated before they even stepped onto the pitch, you seldom heard Arsene talking about how great his players were or how professional or focused they were.

Instead he has a pattern of making these kind of utterances when his team is not functioning properly. It’s as if he hopes that by saying it, it will become true.

Worst of all are his constant references to our mental strength during periods when, mentally, we have all the strength of Syd Little with ‘flu.

I think he says this stuff because, although he knows the players are not mentally strong, he feels it will act as a motivator if they believe that’s what he thinks.

Well, it’s not working. This current first team has perfected the art of collapsing with all the speed and finality of a cheap Caribbean beach shack in a hurricane.

Saturday’s effort harked back to Wigan away last year, the 4-4 against the Spuds at The Grove a couple of years ago and to our habitual inferiority-complex-ridden displays against Chelsea and Man Utd. At this rate I can see the Spuds joining the ‘big two’ as a team against whom we start feeling we can’t win.

Jermaine Jenas said that when the Bale goal went in the Spud players sensed they could win – and that the Arsenal players sensed they could lose. I’m sure most of us watching felt the same anxiety.

What’s to be done?

Frankly, I don’t have much idea. Arsene must know that he has a team of bottlers, a team incapable of stepping up when the pressure is really on, a team that needs a three goal cushion before it can remotely begin to feel secure. I’m sure he has attempted to tackle the psychological issues that are holding his squad back, but whatever he has done has failed.

Maybe it will take a trophy. The Carling Cup is by far the most realistic prospect for us this year, but if we reach the final I suspect there’s every chance we will choke on the big day, regardless of who we’re playing. It’s what this group of players has learnt to do.

For a mostly foreign team, they have a strangely British quality to them: gallant losers all.

I don’t want Wenger out, but I am slowly coming round to the view held by some that if this talented group of players is to ever make that final step up, we need to buy in two or three proven winners at the very top of their games: a new centre back, a new defensive midfielder and possibly even a world class striker. And in an ideal world they will all be players who bang heads together in the dressing room when their colleagues are not pulling their weight.

I know this is not Championship Manager; money isn’t the solution to everything; and who’s to say the right players are available anyway?

But somehow, from somewhere, we need a massive injection of the winning mentality into the club we love or last weekend’s heartbreak is going to become an all too familiar feeling.

RockyLives

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57 Responses to Strongest Squad Ever? My Arse(nal)

  1. kelsey says:

    RL, reality check time indeed. i see it like this, not far removed from your own thoughts.

    We can rant and rave as much as we like,but none of us have any influence as to what goes on at the club but I am beginning to realise that with the current policy we will win absolutely nothing in the near future unless we get the rub of the green in the cup competitions.Historically Wenger has been our best manager and appears to have total control, and the BoD have stated that to finish out of the top 4 would not be a disaster.Money has been made available and one could argue that in the last few seasons the only shining lights to emerge have been Nasri(arguably our best current player)Vermaelen and the younsters Wilshere and Ramsey and Gibbs for the future..Fabregas clearly has other things in his mind,Arshavin, though excellent hasn’t got the stamina,Bendtner has a poor first touch and Chamakh athough having a good strike rate ratio,has no shot.Rosicky,another who has lost the ability he had to shoot and one wonders if Wenger takes the natural instincts and talent of various players away, to adjust to this endless tippy tappy passing,which is no longer effective.I could go through the whole team and of course look at the lengthy injuries several players continuously seem to have,but AW persists with his policy and only because the results this season have been so unpredictable,we find ourselves in what many would say is a false position.

  2. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning R Lives, Kelsey – yes, I agree it does seem that Wenger says a lot of this stuff in the hope that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Wenger’s doublespeak reminds me of a scene in two and a half men when Charlie(serial womaniser) is caught in bed by his housekeeper with a woman he promised the housekeeper he’d get rid of(the same thing he said to the woman he was in flagrante with), so he says repeatedly(to both of them) “Darling, this is not what it looks like.”

    When both of them storm out he mutters to himself: “Keep saying it Charlie, maybe if you say it enough times someone will believe you.”

    The same applies whenever I hear Wenger say “Mental strength”, “self-belief” bla bla blah.

    While it may be said our team are gallant losers there is the whiff of “surrender monkeys” about them when you look at their repeated, recent capitulations from winning positions.

  3. Morning all

    All too true Rocky, they may be an extremely talented bunch but they don’t know how to win. To give away a 2 goal lead at home is shameful :(

  4. charybdis1966 says:

    Would it be bad form to stick up a poll asking if it is time for Wenger to go ?

  5. Chaf says:

    Morning all

    I firmly believe the players we have are good enough. It really looks like they never work on defending, or defensive tactics. Also I agree we have no natural leader out there. Maybe they all live in Wengers shadow.
    When he won the first double we had Adams and his gang, then we had Sol, who took control at the back, and sorted it. I think TV has the ability to take control, but will he get a chance. They look scared to think their own thoughts. Wengerball could be killing off their natural game.

  6. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Thanks for post Rocky, I was pondering writing something along the same lines but without the research and attention to detail :oops: I may save it for a Friday rant. If the post Invincible Wenger era has been characterised by anything, it is PR spin that at times insults the intelligence.

    chary,

    I don’t particularly want to add fuel to the ‘Wenger out campaign’. A win next week and other results going our way and we could be top of the league – hardly a premise for sacking the manager.

  7. kelsey says:

    The trend started in mid April.We won one of our last 5 PL matches,drew one and lost 3.Add that to our first 14 matches this season and it it is evident that we are not progressing.

  8. tommystout says:

    Good post Rocky, we’re all still hurting are we not?
    I’m not one that will call for Wengers head, but i do demand that he is on the case with this “easing off” scenario which has all too often materialised in our recent games.
    It is not a new problem, we know. But it has to be addressed. That first half of football was one of our best first periods in recent times.
    The second half though was a different matter, the urgency had gone and the belief that the game was already won had become the mindset.
    Do we need a 3.0 cushion to take it easy, not in my opinion. I dont think any premiership team can rest on its laurels even at 3.0, all it takes is a goal, an incedent to change the momentum of a game and if there is plenty of time left then the game will be turned on its head. We play in a league where anyone can beat anyone,taking it easy shouldnt be an option, sure you can make substitutuions to save players for the next game, but those 11 remaining on the pitch must continue as if they were playing the first ten minutes of the game.
    Is it impossible to concentrate for 90 mins? or sustain a tempo of urgency for the whole of a game. I dont know the answer to this problem, i am not the manager, but this “habit” of ours should be identified and addressed, i hope matters to do this are already in motion.
    Utd will put a team to the sword, the chavs too, do they ease off.

  9. charybdis1966 says:

    No worries Raspers, it’s your call.
    I base my question not on a knee jerk reaction to one bad result but an accumulation of recent results where we seem to lack discipline and focus, something the manager’s should include.
    If you’d a asked this question a year or so ago I reckon it’d be a 95% No to ousting Wenger, today I’d guess it’s more like 75%.

  10. Red Arse says:

    Well argued food for thought Rocky.

    In trying to compare the strength in depth of the respective eras, you might also need to establish what is deemed to be the respective first elevens, or we may not be comparing like for like.

    For the 2010/11 teams, I think it would be interesting to compare your 2nd 11, above, with your proposed 1st 11.

    For myself, for example, I think, barring injury, Jack has become a first team regular; AW will persevere with Chamakh; whereas Diaby and Gibbs will become regulars in the second half of this season, and Chezzer has replaced Big Al, who I think will leave in January.

    If I am right, in the above, (I know, a big if) who drops out of the 1st team, who gets relegated to the stiffs? Without a comparison it is difficult to be clear.

    I am also sure that AW will buy in January, even if he only keeps buying cheap, not quite good enough players, but it is right to leave that aside, or we will never get a handle on the comparison.

    This is a spontaneous, off the cuff response to your article, and I might have to refine it, but see what you have started? :-)

  11. Rasp says:

    Hi chary,

    Funnily enough, it was one of the (few) decent spud bloggers who have come on recently that put it all in perspective for me regarding replacing Wenger. He may be the most hated manager in the Premiership but 90% of the other clubs would love to have him as their manager.

    Don’t get me wrong, he drives me crazy. It is the fact that he and the team never learn from their mistakes. Even the most ardent Arsène supporter cannot deny that mules worldwide must aspire to be as stubborn.

  12. Dave Highbury says:

    Ability wise…. best squad ever. Mental wise… still growing…

  13. charybdis1966 says:

    It’s this flexibility in the face of changing opposition’s that we need now Raspers and his stubborn inflexibility, together with an aversion to pragmatism, that I believe will soil Wenger’s legacy to the club.
    His pre 2006 stewardship was exemplary, after that he has refused to delegate and therefore lost focus.

  14. Red Arse says:

    The second comment I can make, is that clearly AW just has to make positive noises, especially when times are hard.

    Saying nothing, is not an option for AW in these circumstances, whereas saying “the team were crap, they have the mental competence of deranged badgers, and I should never have bought those total plonkers [fill in the name(s)]” etc.

    In the management of a “normal” business, words of encouragement; exhortations to work harder; to improve your areas of weakness; with the implied/explicit threat that failure to achieve will see you get the sack, are all said in private.

    Football culture/media dictates that even if this is also said in private, the public face has always got to be upbeat and positive, even though most fans will be cynical and doubt its veracity.

  15. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, the second para should have finished ” is not acceptable”. :-(

  16. Rasp says:

    chary,

    I’m going to get slaughtered for this, but I think it was the Dein/Wenger combo that was so good. In Dein, there was one figure who Arsene would listen to about footballing matters. I get the feeling that he cuts a lone figure and neither values or invites the opinions of others. I’d have loved to see someone like Martin Keown standing on the edge of the technical area screaming at the players when they became slack on saturday.

  17. arsenalvideo says:

    That’s it, players abilities cannot be held for responsible but mental strengh is sometime just too weak, saturday’s game look like we put together a team in hurry for the second half after seeing the most of the first team in first half, what’s wrong really?

  18. RockyLives says:

    Hello All.
    About to head off to airport for a plane to London (unfortunately for a work trip that, for once, does not coincide with any home games).

    My thoughts were swinging backwards and forwards after Saturday, but in the end this felt the most honest piece I could write. I’ll probably feel more optimistic soon, but there really does seem to be a mental frailty issue that has been there for some time and needs to be addressed.

    Redders – fair point. My assumed 2010/11 first eleven was:
    Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, RvP, Arshavin (clearly you could swap Den for JW or Diaby; or switch out Arsh for TR7 etc, but I think the comparison with other years would still stand).

    Rasp – the David Dein thing? I think you could have hit the nail right on the head.

  19. charybdis1966 says:

    Raspers, I don’t see how any rational gooner can take exception with your opinion there. We are crying out for a number 2 for Wenger to bounce ideas off…or maybe we are going back to that running gag I haven’t quite figured out about everything being Pat Rice’s fault.

  20. Ash says:

    I think you have made some GLARING mistakes in your article. I do agree with some of what you have said and I certainly think that this Arsenal side have a mental barrier that stops them from winning in the big, BIG games but that can only be overcome by winning trophies which if we do by hook or by crook will give us that winning mentality you are talking about. But let us be clear, our SQUAD today is far beter than any other year. Don’t dare tell me that neither Djorou or Koscielny aren’t beter than that error prone idiot Senderos. He had half a good season and then Drogba tore him apart and he was never the same. In 2004 Keown was not the great player he was and was making plenty of mistakes. Eboue is better than Hoyte and van Bronkhorst was on loan to Barcelona that year! Clichy was our 2nd choice. Also, Flamini didn’t join us till later in the season and didn’t play till the following season so you can’t count him! You have players playing out of position too! Don’t think Parlour ever played right wing in his latter years…he always played central and don’t remember Hughes playing left wing in 98!!! Keown was never a squad player in 98,he was our first choice so can’t count him either! Also, I seem to remember in 2003 a very EXPERIENCED side ‘bottled’ it by letting a two goal lead slip to Bolton within 10 mins to cost us the title! So before going down memory lane let us not forget that our previous teams have also had massive problems but as fans we should just support the team, no matter what because if you have a better manager out there who would come to the Arsenal and do a better job pleease let me know. the major thing that was wrong about Sunday is that Wenger should have changed Nasri, Chamakh and Arshavin at half time as they were all clearly tired and so new players may have allowed us to keep the pace of the game up and continue to rip those scummy twats apart like we did in the 1st half when I’m sure every gooner and his dog was thinking how amazing the team is and how great our manager is.

  21. gunner1 says:

    Arsenal under Wenger DOESNT KNOW HOW TO DEFEND. Period.

  22. Rasp says:

    Welcome Ash,

    Unfortunately the author of the article is in mid air over the Atlantic at the moment and so can’t respond to your points. I agree the world was a wonderful place at half time, but I and many others still knew that the game was not in the bag because we have shown a tendency to implode.

    Whether we care to admit it or not, this totnum side have a touch of the pool about them. To score 3 goals in the second half when down to 10 men against milan showed belief and fighting spirit and they replicated that performance against us.

  23. Smith14 says:

    Ash,

    I agree with your points whole heartedly. I think this squad is as good as any we’ve had for years and is actually better than any other in the league.

    We all know that our problems are mental. It’s similar to the fact that that was Tottenhams first away win over the “big four” in 68 games. Despite having been in good positions, it’s not until you finally do it, by hook or by crook, that the mentality changes. Tottenham’s mentality will have changed after Saturday and they will now believe they can win against anyone.

    I disagree that money would be the answer. We’ve done this sort of thing for years now and despiter adding several new defenders, we still do it. What we need is to get a string of results behind us wherby we win from tough positions, even surrendering another lead but then getting back into it might help the lads believe a bit more. It’s a question of experience and so far, our experience is that we are good at throwing away leads.

    I also think we need to be very careful about jumping to conclusions. Last week we all agreed we’d bounced back from adversity and we’d showen mental toughness. This week, it’s all gone again. Things were perhaps never that good and are now not that bad.

  24. Jordan G says:

    Look…we lost because we do what we always do….we switch off…the old clicy happend, halftime came at the wrong time!

    You look at Chamack who had in my opinion TWO 1 v 1’s that he should of finished and dragged it back both times and got tackled…RVP Bendtner and even vela would of put their foot through that and at least forced a save…KOSCIELNY IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH…i have said it all year he doesnt look it…i think their is potential so i would say loan him to another PL side and buy a new CB in Jan…A fully fit Arsenal that can win the title/CL…

    Almunia/Fabianski

    Sagna Squallci Vermalen Clichy
    Song

    Nasri Fabregas Diaby

    RVP Bendtner/Chamack

  25. RockyLives says:

    Actually still at the airport Rasp.
    Hello Ash – I constructed the teams from squad lists for the seasons in question and from memory. I’m not going to quibble with all your points as I’m sure some are right (although I don’t think they affect the principle of what I’m saying). But for the record Senderos had far more than a good half season with us and Drogba has torn most PL CBs apart. Keown, Adams and Bould were all regular first teamers in ’98 but Adams and Bould played more games than MK, hence his inclusion here (we didn’t play with three CBs, as far as I can recall). Parlour played a mixture of central and right MF during his final period with us. As for Hughes playing out of position, he was a left sided MF player and not every team plays with out-and-out wingers, so his position is reasonable. Was Gio on loan that year? Fair enough- my mistake, although he was listed in the squad.
    The team that surrendered a 2-0 lead at Bolton didn’t bottle it – they were kicked off the park by a bunch of thugs after Fat Sam, with help from Sir Alex Funguscum, primed the ref to believe that Arsenal were a team of cheats, divers and whingers (the ref failed to punish the home side for some of the most brutal co-ordinated assaults I have ever seen in a game of footy). Not quite the same as rolling over and having our tummy tickled by Spuds at home.
    You’re right that we should get behind the team, but it’s also right that we should be looking to fix what is now a serious and repeated problem.
    Sorry – I think I did more quibbling than I intended.

  26. RockyLives says:

    Smith 14: “What we need is to get a string of results behind us wherby we win from tough positions…”
    Isn’t that exactly what we did last season? We came back from the dead a couple of times, ground out some hard results but still, at the most crucial times, we fell apart.
    Last year I really thought, after we went on to win the game in which Ramsey’s leg was broken, that we had turned a corner as regards mental toughness. Wigan away, Spuds away and other games proved that to be wrong. I know we had injuries, but losing to Wigan wasn’t about injuries, it was about attitude.
    You’re right about jumping to conclusions, but isn’t that the point?: one week we feel we can win the league, the next week we’re on the floor – that’s the sign of a terribly inconsistent team.

  27. GoonerC says:

    Manninger

    Grimandi Upson Keown McGowan

    Boa Morte Platt Garde Hughes

    Wright Wreh

    Please explain how this team would beat our current second XI? Wreh was absolutely dreadful. He scored a total of 3 league goals for us. Boa Morte scored 3 less than him! Hughes was average at best and slipped down the divisions very quickly after leaving us, Platt was way past his best when he joined (but did okay and will always be a legend for that goal against United, Grimandi, as much as he is a cult hero, was a shockingly bad defender, Upson was poor for us (and is still very average), McGowan played 6 games for us.

    This whole article is absolute total dross. You put Flamini in our second team for 03/04 but he didnt even join until 04/05, Van Bronckhorst left at the start of that season too. At least do some research before you write your rubbish.

    Believe me, no one was as pissed off as me as I left the stadium on Saturday but there’s no need for this kind of reactionary rubbish. We’re still 2 points off the top. obviously we need to stop making elementary mistakes a grow a backbone, but we’ve managed to almost get away with it so far. We should be out of the race but we aren’t so stick with the team!

  28. Smith14 says:

    Rocky, you’re right, we do jump to conclusions too easily and maybe that’s part of the issue. Stoke last year was heralded as a turning point and it proved to be incorrect. Wolves and Everton this season were the same but they’ve proved to be false dawns too.

    Perhaps it’s in the rhetoric that comes from the club and the fans. When we win a couple of games we talk about being title contenders. When we lose a game it’s the end of the world. Personally I think it’s right to publically protect the players confidence after a defeat but after a couple of wins we should be pressing home the point that it counts for nothing if it doesn’t become 8 or 10 games unbeaten rather than saying we’ve turned a corner. We set ourtselves up for the inevitable fall.

    We do have the payers and I think we have shown we have the spirit too, thats why its so mystifying that we seem to forget all our good work from time to time.

  29. RockyLives says:

    GoonerC – thanks for pointing out the errors. I was relying on memory and data from certain websites which seemed to have a historical record. But as I said earlier, the principle still applies.
    Btw, Grimandi was a better player than you give him credit for and Upson was a young pro at that time with a lot of promise (which, depending on your point of view) he has gone on to realise. Likewise Boa Morte has had a long and productive PL career.
    Funny thing is I still think that team would beat the current second 11 precisely because they have some out-and-out winners. Obviously they’re not as good on paper as the current lot but, as they say, you don’t win anything ‘on paper’.

  30. Sir Alex says:

    “This Arsenal team can go close to winning the league but it seems the group suffers from complacency — it is like a disease. They get to a certain level, everyone says nice things and then they let it slip.” Martin Keown 22/11/10.

    Just not up for it.

  31. gunnern5 says:

    A typical reaction to such a disappointing result is an overreaction, and to be fair this site is less reactionary than most others.

    However I’m not a proponent of going to the extreme of creating “what if” scenario’s and then getting into circular dialogue on hypothetical responses?

    In all of my years of supporting this is without a doubt the most gifted squad and certainly has the most depth – albeit a tad out of balance with so many midfielders.

    To my mind it’s still as simple as needing a commanding, nay, demanding center back cut from the Adams Keown mold and a top class goalkeeper. Maybe Vermaelen is the 2nd CB but we are still missing the General and although Fabianski has improved he is still not the finished product in goal.

    But most of all we need someone who puts the bloody ball into the back of the net on a consistent basis.

    To me it still gets back to our home form comparing the last 83 home games at Highbury to the 1st 83 at the Emirates we are scoring .3 goals a game less and get .241 less points per game. On the surface that may not seem that bad but .30 x19 games = 6 goals worse and .241 = 5 points worse.

    When Spurs made it 2-1 the crowd went into it’s typical comatose condition and did not give the team the vocal boost they needed by positive support – again moans and groans and silence equal implied criticism.

    The silence is deafening and debilitating to the players.

  32. Red Arse says:

    GoonerC,

    You are obviously a knowledgeable and committed fan, and your points are well made and valid.

    Can I suggest that you drop the unfortunate acerbic tone? Rocky too is a dedicated and committed fan of long standing and to describe his article as “total rubbish” and “absolute total dross” is unnecessarily offensive.

    I am only a blogger on this site, but I am sure you would be welcome to write a Post for AA, and you maybe surprised to find an appreciative an uncritical reception, albeit, as you did, we would question any points of contention.

    No one likes sarcastic clever clogs, do they?

  33. Lee_7 says:

    Almunia

    Eboue Koscielny Djourou Gibbs

    Diaby Wilshere Rosicky

    Walcott Bendtner Chamakh

    WOW! that’s actually a really impressive 2nd 11, esp. walcott, wilshere, gibbs n chamakh who has only been with us for 5 minutes and adapted so quickly!!!

    Maybe our so called 2nd 11 (who seem to have played quite a lot of 1st team football) are the reason we are just 2 points of the summit of the prem!!!

    Thanks Rocky I feel more positive now! c’mon THE ARSENAL!!!

  34. Carlito11 says:

    I really don’t feel I have anything constructive to offer at this stage except to say that any calls for Wenger to leave are ridiculously premature and that the table still gives us hope for the season. Infighting amongst ourselves is exactly what the spuds would like to see happen and some of the scenes at the stadium- (where one fan leaving early offered me out because I asked where he was going)- and in pubs afterwards where the “debate” threatened to turn nasty would have delighted our rivals. Unfortunately- keeping schtum doesn’t work in blogworld but this blog http://www.arsenalnews.co.uk/its-time-for-wenger-to-do-the-right-thing-and-walk-away/link/58413/ is calling for Wenger’s head and the only contribution I feel I can make is in telling them they’re mad!

  35. Red Arse says:

    Having given a bit more thought to the comparison between the current team and previous teams, I have come to the conclusion that it is frankly pointless.

    Why? Well as Rocky said, it is all so subjective you can get lost in the morass of — who is or isn’t a good player now versus who was or wasn’t a good player then, or is the opposition now as good or better than the opposition in the past, and so on.

    A common denominator is; have either the current or the past teams won the CL? We do know the answer to that and it is in the negative.

    The past teams have had their chance and, of course, will never be able to win. This current crop are suited to European football and have every chance of winning. Tomorrow night might prove that conclusively.

    Come on you Gunners! :-)

  36. Red Arse says:

    You are right Carlito.

    I cannot even be bothered to read rubbish like that.

    As CharyB said earlier, in the immediate aftermath of what should have been a glorious win that somehow turned into a debilitating defeat, people can say or think the worst.

    But to still have such thoughts about AW two days later is really difficult to comprehend.

  37. Rasp says:

    Hi Red Arse, Carlito,

    There is no doubt in my mind that the ‘missing ingredients’ are:

    …..The belief and winning mentality that Arsene claims, but in reality we lack.

    ……A clinical finisher up front to make all the beautiful build-up worthwhile.

    ……A true leader on the pitch.

    ……A couple of monsters who can play wengerball, whilst making Drogba wet himself.

  38. GoonerC says:

    RedArse, I’ve re-read my post a couple of times now – can’t see anything sarcastic about it at all. Infact, I’d say I was straight to the point with everything I said.

    I don’t doubt that the guy is a fan but I think he should have researched the article a little better and provided justifications for his claims.

  39. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    You are my hero, and I could not have expressed it better! :-) No surprise there then!! :-)

  40. Red Arse says:

    GoonerC,

    Rocky is my friend, and he responded to you and did not seem to take any exception to your comment.

    No one would object to you, or anyone else, disagreeing or correcting a factual inaccuracy in a Post. We are all fallible after all.

    If you were commenting on any article I wrote, I would accept it if I had made a mistake, or you disagreed. I would not be happy being told my article was total dross or total rubbish, when I at least had made the effort to write, especially in the aftermath of that result.

    If you don’t understand that your comments could clearly be hurtful and unnecessary, there is no point in discussing it further.

  41. kelsey says:

    No one agreed with me earlier or they were to polite to respond.
    I don’t acccept that we have a stronger squad than for many a year,when we haven’t got a proven keeper to the extent that for a top club it is laughable the inter change between 3 average keepers.No presence on the pitch of leadership and I am afraid to say that Kos is of preet poor PL standard.
    On top of that so often we have players who are just clones of one another or is that the system.
    A striker should be exactly that.our players in general can’t cross a ball and because of the all out attacking focus so often applied we get caught on the back foot oh so often,and the biggest culprit is Clichy.
    I am fed up being polite about it, we never learn from our mistakes.
    When we can compete man for man against Chelsea and unitd in particular and resoundingly win,we may well turn the corner.
    these three home defeats without exception were a near humiliation,but are the players that bothered.

  42. charybdis1966 says:

    Sorry Kelsy, I thought I had acknowledged your point earlier, but you’re right whoever we buy in just seems to morph into a generic Arsenal player, one capable of brilliance but also of mediocrity and repeatedly being averse to shooting or passing forward(if they are a forward/AM) or dwelling on the ball when a clearance is needed(if they are defenders) and showing a serene indifference to the fan’s pain of beaten by the Spuds on our own turf.

  43. kelsey says:

    No problem, chary. i am (as you can see ) getting more than a little frustrated at the way we literally throw away games ;)

  44. charybdis1966 says:

    Does anyone know when arse.com will be publishing the tweets in response to their question “What did you think of the game on Saturday?”
    I think they’ll struggle to get many genuine positive ones.

  45. chas says:

    “A selection”, my arse.

  46. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas,

    They’ll be running out of staff in the PR department to write those comments soon :(

    Incidentally, numerous comments from pathetic half witted totnum fans have gone straight into spam today.

    They clearly don’t have the brains to realise:-

    1. That we can install a filter that excludes everyone with an IQ less than an amoeba

    and 2. That it’s a long season and they will be choking on their words come May.

  47. charybdis1966 says:

    Raspers, you just stuck Peachy into the spam – that’s harsh ! :)
    I also guessed arse.com would not put up any representative comments about Saturday.

  48. RockyLives says:

    In England. Hooray! (Although it was easier to avoid Spud fans in Canada).

    Redders – thanks mate. Nice to know your friends have got your back.

  49. duke says:

    Rocky, nice post. It sad but that is jus the true. This present players are bunch of technically gift footballers. When u look @ d pre and the invincible era, u will found warriors and champions all over d pitch. Those players are fierce in battle. They werent afraid 2 make tackles any where, and want 2 win irrespective of playing well or not. It is sad that what we have now are guys who juz want 2 enjoy pretty football and nothing more.

  50. RockyLives says:

    I completely agree Duke. But what I can’t fathom is whether the ‘fierce in battle’ players are born or made.
    Could some of our present squad develop the same kind of spirit that Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Dennis Bergkamp had?
    Or is it something you’re born with?
    I hope it’s the first one, because then I can still believe that our players will acquire the winning mentality.
    Unfortunately, my gut feeling (based on life experience as well as football experience) is that you’re either born with it or you’re not. And I think we have too few players who were born with it.

  51. Morning all

    There’s a NEW POST

  52. Ketch says:

    Rosicky and Ramsey?

  53. […] Strongest Squad Ever? My Arse(nal) […]

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