To Win the Title, Wenger Must Not Repeat Last January’s Mistake

This time last year we were on a long unbeaten run and were beginning to hint at the possibility of a serious title challenge.

There was one glaring problem – we did not have a lead striker.

Robin van Persie was out on one of his trademark lengthy injury lay-offs and Nicklas Bendtner was filling the berth next to him in the treatment room.

The result – Andrei Arshavin as centre forward.

I still have nightmares about some of those games where we played the Meerkat as our CF: his little legs scurrying around among the ranks of Jurassic defenders, those brave but pointless jumps to try and win headers against six-foot-plus titans. Sometimes his only viable tactic was to try and run through the defenders’ legs. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that Arshavin hasn’t been the same player since.

During the January window it was obvious that we needed to strengthen our injury-depleted attack and it was also clear whom Arsene had in mind for the job: Marouane Chamakh.

But the boss felt Bordeaux were asking too much money for the Moroccan international (who had only a few months left on his contract) and preferred, instead, to wait until summer to bring him in on a free.

The rights and wrongs of the Chamakh non-move last January have been much debated so I don’t want to go into them again here. But I do feel that, even if he thought it wasn’t right to bring in Chamakh at that point, Arsene should have looked for other quick fixes to the striking problem. Perhaps a loan deal, or a relatively low-money move for a veteran forward (like when ManUre snapped up Henrik Larsson in 2007 on their way to winning the title).

And so to this year’s January Transfer Window.

This time our problem is at centre back, not centre forward. Our best defender, Thomas Vermaelen, has been out for most of the season and there are real question marks about whether he’ll be back in the short to medium term.

Fortunately Johan Djourou has really stepped up to the plate and both Squillaci and Koscielny have made better starts to their EPL careers than they are often given credit for.

But what if one of those three got badly injured – particularly if it was big Johan? We would be seriously weakened at the back and you would have to doubt our ability to sustain a title challenge.

Yes, we could push Song back into a CB role, but he offers so much in the middle of the park (and has no obvious replacement for that role in the squad) that it would be equally damaging to move him.

So, as they say, it’s déjà vous all over again, only this time it’s a defender we need, not an attacker.

Chris Samba has been mentioned, as has Gary Cahill. Per Mertesacker is being linked with us (I like him a lot but Big Raddy makes the reasonable point that a mid-season arrival should ideally have EPL experience).

I really hope Arsene goes for one of them. I hope he realises that although his failure to acquire a striker last January can’t be said to be the only reason we failed to sustain our challenge, it at least played a part.

To see the same thing happen again would not only be deeply disappointing, it would also be a major faux pas on our manager’s part.

Come on boss. Make that move!

RockyLives

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124 Responses to To Win the Title, Wenger Must Not Repeat Last January’s Mistake

  1. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I like Samba. He could become a supremo under the tutorage of a martin Keown or Steve Bould, or Tony Adams or Sol Campbell or…….

    Is tutorage a word?

  2. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Big Samba, along with the thinking man’s defender Johan, plus TV. It spells Titles, plural :D

  3. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I really hope the the entire Arsenal community closes ranks around AA23. He is the type of bloke, I reckon who if given support by us, would down the track give us some big big moments. It pisses me off when a quality player like AA23 is used as a scapegoat by the fans.

  4. Rasp says:

    Hi gnarley, (it’s tutelage :) )

    I like Samba too – big strong bugger! Any of Cahill, Samba or Mertesacker would be a great boost to the squad.

    The good thing about Samba (apart from being French) is that he has said he wants to play for us specifically which I always like to hear.

  5. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Raspy

    I remember when the squid was signed & people said the photo on here of him looked scary. I had to disagree, but Samba looks bloody evil. I like the look of him. Big wirey looking thing with a stare that says don’t FLICK with me honky :D

  6. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I tell ya, with a bloke like Samba next to Johan, by May you will all be doing the Samba all the way to Islington Town Hall, chamoneeeeeeeeeeeeeee :lol:

  7. Rasp says:

    I’m going to defend AA (AW has done the same thing on Arse.com) The fact is that if the rest of the team are functioning, we can afford to carry him for his unproductive times on the pitch because he can produce moments of brilliance.

    If you compare AA to Bendy, you can say that we know how good AA can be when it works for him, I don’t look back on Bendtner’s past performances and think wow this guy is something special.

  8. London says:

    Good topical post Rocky.

    Samba: are we really allowed to dream that much. As a group of supporters it feels as though, when it comes to the transfer market, we have been kept in a dark pit for years feeding only on scraps that are thrown to us and now Samba, the great man mountain who would solve all our set piece frailties, is being dangled above us. I’m jumping trying to catch it but are they really going to lower it enough for us to enjoy.

  9. charybdis1966 says:

    Hello all, excellent points made by R Lives and one would think Wenger will look back at last January and not repeat the mistake of not buying an urgently needed Premier league experienced centre back.
    Raspers, you were right first time, I was the bass player, but only because no one else wanted to do that. We had a “singist”, guitarist, keyboard player and drummer plus we roped in a pair of female backing singers, one who could sing and another who was there for “visual appeal.”

  10. London says:

    “by May you will all be doing the Samba all the way to Islington Town Hall”

    That’s really good gnarley

  11. Rasp says:

    Morning London,

    Do you (or anyone) have an idea how much Samba would cost? I’d say he has to be worth in the region of £10-12m

  12. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Londons comments are sobering. We have been taunted with potential signings. If mon ami did sign Big Samba I might even be tempted to stop bigging up Johan. No only joking Johan, you da man still :P

  13. mickydidit89 says:

    Excellent and very relevant post Rasp.
    Good point about not moving Song backwards. I see the need for a CB, but I have also concerns over an injury to Alex. Maybe there is a one-fix-all solution. Can Toulalan play CB and DM?
    Or snap up a Samba/Mertesacker and get Kos practicing as a DM.

  14. London says:

    The other good thing about buying Samba would be that he gets the words Arsenal Pedigree stamped on his forehead meaning that we would be able to sell him for twice the price at the end of the season if other players recover or improve significantly, making him surplus to requirements.

  15. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    I can’t see on the gossip pages any mention of Samba to Arsenal :(

  16. mickydidit89 says:

    Rasp,
    Spot on about the shake up Punk performed. Don’t knock bassists. Some people took the bloody thing up as it was the easiest way into a band!!!
    .
    BR,
    You missed something with The Clash. No idea how many times I saw them. Think an angry Tony Adams on speed!

  17. London says:

    We should bite their hands off for 12 mil…..the man would solve all our problems, he is the one stop shop……

  18. charybdis1966 says:

    There have been suggestions we could re-sign Big Sol, sadly I think he would not be up to it as it seem she struggles to get a game for the bar codes and I saw one of his few (disasterous)appearances for them mercilessly dissected apart by the MOtD team.
    My vote would be for Samba as well, I wouldn’t be having palpitations if the oppo got a free kick less than 35 yards out if Big Chris was defending for us.

  19. Rasp says:

    Morning micky,

    Rocky seems to have a talent for writing about a hot issue just as its on everyone’s lips.

    Our problems are at the back and the front as far as I can see. The midfield should assist in both areas, but the need for size and strength at the back to defend set pieces can’t be denied. We’ve just sold Nordtveit who can play as CB or RB – and now we need cover for both areas. EE did not fill me with confidence in his ability to face Barca in yesterday’s performance

  20. London says:

    We are all getting excited because we all know that with Squilaci being injured and who out of us believes that Vermaelen is about to make an imminent reappearance, this makes a new signing inevitable. And when it comes to new signings of any description I still get the same feeling of anticipation as mum going into the sweet shop with the promise of a surprise…what’s it going to be? What’s it going to be…..I want a Samba, I want a Samba?

  21. charybdis1966 says:

    MdI89 – didn’t The Clash do a song about Tony Adams ?

  22. Red Arse says:

    Really good write up Rocky! :-)

    I would be happy to lend my support to the idea of Samba dancing into our lives at CB, BUT the warning shots are already there from Arsene.

    He is making cow eyes at Sol Campbell, again. Campbell cannot get into the Toon team and will probably be released on a free. (AW’s eyes lightup).

    For me that is not on. Sol is about 90, he is a total mercenary, with no loyalty to anyone and plays like a very slow version of Johan D.

    I expect AW will announce his “great” signing imminently to stop us dreaming of Big, Gnarley, ( :-) ), Quality CB’s like Bamber Samba or Cahill.

  23. London says:

    We can only pray that this enforced mini run that Eboue has been presented with will improve him ahead of Barcelona.

  24. Rasp says:

    I know what you mean London. I like the idea of kozzer playing as a DM when needed, do you know if he can/has ever played RB?

  25. London says:

    There is always one that wants to pour cold water over our excitement……..boooooooooooooo.

    Morning RA

    I am only kidding.

  26. king gooner says:

    slightly off topic guys but an interesting stat has come to light whic i’m sure will be no surorise to many.howard “i hate arsenal but loVe MANURE” webb has just given his 4th penalty to manure in his sixth game at ot.the new mike riley anyone…

  27. London says:

    I cannot see Kozzer ever playing midfield but right back? Perhaps, but I don’t know if he has ever played there before to answer your question.

  28. Red Arse says:

    London,

    You couple TV with “impenitent return”.

    I’m not sure he has anything, especially his return, to be remorseful or ashamed of, does he?

  29. London says:

    Morning King Gooner

    So that makes Howard Webb a c…. You are preaching to the converted over here.

  30. London says:

    Typo RA

    I meant imminent

  31. mickydidit89 says:

    Rocky, my apolgies. Thanks for post.
    Rasp, your turn to have wires crossed. My comment abot Kos at DM, not London!

  32. mickydidit89 says:

    Chary,
    A Clash song about TA? White Man in Hammersmith Palais? Only joking. Doubt it though.

  33. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    That’s a bit harsh. I think London would make a fine DM! :-)

    Sorry London, did not mean to be a “smart arse” re impediment, I genuinely thought you had a particular insight, as you often do. :-)

  34. Red Arse says:

    Not wanting to be the one to pour cold water over the dreams of many, can I suggest an uplifting idea that would also please AW because it is cost effective.

    How about bringing young Bartley back from loan at Shef Utd. He has been doing very well, is 6’4″, left footed, and like an English cheddar he is maturing nicely.

  35. Rasp says:

    Apologies micky.

    If AW were to buy a top CB (and I don’t think it will happen) then the problem is, what do we do with Koscielny? We know TV is a top CB who can also play DM and that Djourou can become one of the best CB’s in the world. So trying Kozzer as RB makes some sense. He has the ball skills and the pace. I don’t know if he can cross a ball. AW has a history of adapting players to new positions but is also loath to give up on a player who he has recently bought.

  36. charybdis1966 says:

    MdI89 on looking around it was actually by Joe Strummers post-Clash band, the Mescaleroes:

    http://youmix.co.uk/track/213375

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    That is icey cold water you are pouring!!
    We need a full on 6’5″ German International like Mertesacker. Someone to slot in next to JD, while Verm covers for the injured Song. I WIIL advance one of our CB’s!!

  38. London says:

    Slightly off subject there is a short but very interesting observation on Avram Grant by Martin Samuel, worth a read but you will need to scroll down to find it.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-1345583/Kenny-Dalglish-win-lose-hand-Liverpool-crisis-Martin-Samuel.html

  39. Red Arse says:

    Going back to the abuse hurled at AA on Saturday, it is possible that this did not register with those of you at the game, again because of the size of the stadium stifling sound perhaps.

    On TV, the camera shots frequently cut to the crowd whenever AA miscontrolled the ball or was slow to anticipate a pass.

    The scenes shown were very ugly and it was easy to lip read the foul abuse and round mouthed posture of those boo-ing.

    I think this sort of nonsense is hateful, does nothing for the player, who has already admitted he is not happy with his game at the moment, destabilizes the team and deserves our total contempt.

  40. charybdis1966 says:

    RA – I noticed that too, the camera men must have been tipped off that there was a growing undercurrent of antagonism towards AA and were all too happy to highlight dissension amongst the Gooner ranks.
    I’ve written a post not too long ago which shows just how self defeating undermining your own players is; it’s sad that the only noise some of our so-called support wants to make is booing your own, although it was hard to be sure if it was not just groaning on Saturday.

  41. chas says:

    I didn’t hear any booing in the stadium, just the normal moaning and groaning a misplaced pass always brings.

  42. London says:

    RA

    The clue to where the truth can be found is, I suspect, in the devious way that the cameras cut to the crowd when AA got the ball. The reality of being there was that there was frustration but it certainly did not manifest itself into collective vocal dissatisfaction.

  43. chas says:

    Mind you, I was sat about four seats from the Leeds supporters, so didn’t really hear much apart from them!

  44. London says:

    Chas has put it far more succinctly than I could.

  45. Red Arse says:

    Chas,

    I hope you are right. However, it does not change my view of the perpetrators of this type of personal abuse.

    As you will know, the cameras can and do pick up images not evident to those in the ground.

    What appeared very clear to me and others watching, was that AA was aware of what was being said/shouted, and the ugly expressions on the faces of those involved.

    London, you are far to modest, surely no one can out succinct you!

  46. Morning all

    Brilliant point made by London about Samba having the Arsenal pedigree that would increase his sell-on value if we find we don’t need him next season. We probably are only talking short-term here and it would make such good sense financially whatever Samba costs.

    This time last year the thought of Sol Campbell swoooooooooon pulling on the red and white was enough to make me go weak at the knees as many of you know but enough is enough now ….. I’m jumping on the Samba bandwagon, a fact that will make my ex-husband laugh as he said Samba should play for us as long ago as 5 years!!!!!

  47. chas says:

    RA, I watched the whole game again on tape, so know exactly what you mean.

    However, if you had a camera on some of the idiots that sit near me every game, you would get the same impression.

  48. Rasp says:

    Can anyone tell me if Ipswich fielded a weakened side against the chavs? I would expect their manager (don’t know who it is now) would prioritise our game. It would make sense as they would know that they had no chance in that game whereas we will put out a second string side and they have a home leg with the possibility of getting to Wembley.

  49. Red Arse says:

    Well said Chas.

    Unfortunately there are some fans who can embarrass the rest of us! Not on this site tho’. :-)

  50. London says:

    If we cannot beat Ipswich regardless of the team they put out, regardless of whatever team we put out for that matter, we should seriously think about taking up knitting.

  51. Rasp says:

    The scenario of sitting next to waxworks dummies, serial moaners, negative supporters and corporate prawns, coupled with the general view that the Emirates crowd does not support the team strongly enough begs the question of what can we do about it? – not the club.

    If the majority of supporters are fervent and positive then the masses should prevail, but if the majority are of the other persuasion, then I’m afraid the problem will persist.

  52. Red Arse says:

    Knit one, pearl one, then! :-)

    It seems Paul Jewel has been named as their new manager.

  53. Rasp says:

    London,

    Of course you are correct, but we shouldn’t forget that although at opposite ends, Leeds and Ipswich are in the same league and I would suspect that we will play a weaker team away to Ipswich than we did at home to Leeds. If I was AW, protecting the most important players (Song, Cesc) and getting 3 points against wham would be my top priority.

  54. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasp,

    The answer seems self-evident to me, but like all simple solutions there are always “jolly good” reasons to reject them.

    Reserve 10% of one end of the ground for Arsenal fans at specially reduced (say 50% of market value) prices. Watch them electrify the singing, chanting support.

    Come on Arsenal, you can afford it, and it will reap huge dividends for the club in the long run! :-)

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    Here’s a plan. You say half price tickets and “watch them electrify the singing”. I say free tickets, and electrify the seats!

  56. RockyLives says:

    micky :)
    And an extra 10,000 volts for the away supporters seats when we play the Spuds.

  57. Rasp says:

    RA,

    I’d thought about offering a financial incentive to encourage positive support but that is a non starter for the obvious reasons.

    But what about a seat exchange system? Maybe supporters should be allowed to swap seats to another area so that those who want to sing can be amongst kindred spirits and vice verse.

  58. RockyLives says:

    I really, really hope that AW’s solution to our defensive problems doesn’t turn out to be bringing back Big Sol for one last hurrah.
    Last season was a nice cameo (and his passion was a joy to behold). But let’s not forget that, passion or no passion, he started in all three of those late-season debacles last year (the losses to Balckburn, Wigan and Spuds).

  59. Rasp says:

    I like the scarf twirling for Nasri. I think the ‘get noisy campaign’ is gaining momentum. Let’s embarrass those who sit in silence rather than the converse.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    Rocky :-)
    Thanks to Chary, we know there is electrical current running under our dugout, so we know there are sockets. Come on Arsenal, you know it makes sense. I will provide the extension lead.

  61. Rasp says:

    I agree Rocky, and the other suggestion of bringing back Silvestre would have me hiding under a rock for the rest of the season.

  62. chas says:

    I’d take a guess that 95% of the away boys sing.

    Of the home support, I’d say a maximum of 20% to 30% want to sing. Apart from Red Action corner, the remaining singers are dispersed and so their effect is diffused.

    I like the suggestion that the seats are taken out in the lower tier behind the North Bank goal. Standing makes you want to sing, sitting doesn’t. I only saw a few Leeds fans seated and they were right at the front. Away at St Andrews we only sat at half time.

    Electrified seats. Hahaha.

  63. RockyLives says:

    Rasp, Redders
    I thought I read somewhere that clubs are allowed to have ‘standing’ sections if they want these days (presumably with strict design safeguards). A standing section behind each goal (lower ticket prices but more people per square foot!) would surely make all the difference…

  64. RockyLives says:

    Chas – you beat me to it. Standing is the answer – but is it really legal, or did I imagine that? Anyone know?

  65. Rasp says:

    Rocky, chas,

    My mate was behind the goal at the clock end (adjacent to the away supporters) at the city game and they stood throughout without being told to sit down by the gestapo … sorry stewards

  66. Gooner in Exile says:

    RA another solution is the no seat allocation have been banging on about.

    Altho what I forgot to consider is that the Club do not want fans in seats early, they want them outside in the armoury and in the food stalls pumping more money into the coffers.

    I’ll take Samba I’d also take any number of 28-32 year old defenders with big club experience. In the past we have signed the older players too late in the day (Silvestre and Campbell) what would we give for Billy Gallas to still be around the camp right now? Or Kolo Toure for that matter.

    I’m also confused over JET, I seem to remembering him playing CB for the FA Youth Cup winningside but whenever used by AW it has been up front or in midfield, he is also a big unit sp you would think he could cone in alongside JD if its only temporary cover for Kos or Squilly.

    The big worry is if JD gets injured then we really need to have signed an experienced PL defender, the likes of Cahill are perhaps still too naive.

    Samba is a) solid and b) useful for a few goals from set pieces.

    Anyone for Shawcross? (joke)

  67. Gooner in Exile says:

    And c) wants away from Blackburn and in spite of new found wealth I don’t think they want him wasting away in reserve football if he throws a strop because they refuse to accept a lower offer.

  68. chas says:

    This article implies standing is still banned in the top two divisions. The accompanying photo is very disturbing and doesn’t seem to fit the tone of the piece.

    http://footballawaydays.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/the-safe-standing-debate/

  69. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    Sensible comment! :-) I’m concerned about the treatment of JET. I bet he is too!

    This singing/standing/support issue underlines a serious issue for me.

    The prices are so high the demographic of the fanbase has changed to a much higher percentage of older, middle class, touristy and corporate fans.

    With a designated area (possibly standing) reserved for under 21 year old fans at a heavily subsidised ticket price, this would have a dramatic effect on crowd behaviour (singing/chanting etc) and would ensure access to fans that find the current price regime prohibitive.

  70. Franchise says:

    Peaches it is your long lost friend. I miss you :)

  71. charybdis1966 says:

    Talking of making things awkward for away support – did anyone see the dippers come a cropper at Old toilet? For the away team to get to their bench they have to walk alongside about 7 rows of mank support and did anyone see the turbaned mank swearing at Torres when he got subbed? I’m sure old whisky nose sanctioned that piece of stadium arrangement. The same goes for the players tunnel, the oppo has to run the gauntlet of walking alongside one half of the stand at Old Toilet(with no protection from stewards, natch) instead of walking straight onto the pitch as at our place.
    That same scenario meant that when Wenger got sent to the stands last season he had to sit amongst a seething pit of mank retardation, .ie. a rabble of plastic mank glory hunters.
    We should do that at Ashburton Grove – place the away dug out 6 rows into the North Bank – see how they like it!

  72. charybdis1966 says:

    I have a go at Fungusscum and a mank appears !

    Only kidding, welcome back Fran.

  73. Franchise says:

    hi charyits my debut on arsenal squared this season i believe.

    Im less of a blogger or emirates attendee this year

  74. charybdis1966 says:

    I can understand why – the previous season was enough to drain a lot of gooners enthusiasm in following the team.
    I went into a long sulk after the spuds league game.

  75. Franchise says:

    for my health and love of arsenal i just decided to back off a bit

    i used to take the it all too serious

  76. RockyLives says:

    Franchise
    Nice to meet you. Your comment about ‘for my health I decided to back off a bit” got me thinking. I have no doubt that Arsenal affects my mood… and I have a feeling that it can affect my health (if you’re mildly depressed you’re more likely to pick up infections etc).
    But despite knowing all this, I can’t resist the next fix. Are we all just addicts?

  77. Franchise – I miss you toooooooo, where have you been buddy :)

  78. Come to a game with me Fran, I love going to football with you ;) I’ll teach you how to sing the Nasri song promise ………

  79. Standing is definitely the answer, watching the Leeds supporters get behind their team on Saturday made me feel quite jealous.

  80. Rasp says:

    Hi Franchise,

    Happy New Year. You’ll start going to games more again when the title is within touching distance :)

  81. I’ve emailed you and texted you and you’ve just ignored me :(

    And now it’ll look like I’m ignoring you cos I have to do something for a while away from the pc – text me please xxxx

  82. Franchise says:

    we are all addicts rocky.. the thing that really irritated me was that i felt we were being too organic with our squad building for no obvious reason

    i cant force wenger’s hands in the transfer market so why should i bother in excess when things fall apart like they have done in the last few years

    arsenal and arsene have re-enacted the parable of the 10 virgins over and over again unfortunately we have been one of the 5 foolish virgins

    let’s see what this year holds for us

  83. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I wasn’t suggesting people standing in the seated areas – I meant proper standing-only terraces behind the goals – but the link that Chas put up seems to show that it’s ruled out in the top two divisions.

  84. Franchise says:

    peaches let me know when next you have a spare i’ll come down

  85. charybdis1966 says:

    R Lives – I am grumpier in the wake of a humiliating defeat( for example the aforementioned Spuds game, Shag-a-donkey away, West Brom at home) so a lot of times I disappear to deal with my “grief”.

  86. ryandanielwood says:

    Afternoon all,

    I enjoyed the post Rocky, and I am also willing Wenger to sign a CB, and most definitely one with EPL experience. In all honesty I expected him to sort out the CF issue last year, talk of a pretty much confirmed summer move for Chamakh back then, when we were struggling at the time was just excruciating.

    So I plead that AW for-sees ahead of the obstacles that await us in the next 5 months and makes that purchase.

    In relation to the camera shots that broadcast angry support, it was only noticeable to me when Theo had his number of chances at the end of the game. Did anyone else see this? Possibly I was absent when AA was getting berated/mildly groaned at.

    What point was this in the game?

  87. charybdis1966 says:

    I’m toying with the idea of writing a satirical post for tomorrow(if you need one), what do you think Raspers ? Only a little, amusing/slightly windy-up type one mind, not one of my epics.

  88. ryandanielwood says:

    TH14 is training with us today, :)

  89. dandan says:

    Afternoon all, Nice post Rocky.

    Rasp I am one who hates booing or Riding your own players, which unfortunately has been a characteristic of Arsenal Fans going right back in my memory to Jon Sammels and our Fairs cup Win.
    Even so I must admit, AA is driving me to distraction, with his casual waste of the ball in midfield and his insistence at the end of those driving runs of his into the area, of always trying to beat the GK on his near post.
    He needs a rest preferably a long one.

    As far as the CH goes, trying to second guess AW is like pushing a car uphill with a rope. Apart from ability and price, there is always as Mr Gallas proved the problem of making sure any new addition fits into the team dynamic, thus it may be with the mix of youngsters coming through that AW doesn’t want another Frenchman in the group. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

    Finally I was one of those, who after many years of standing in the North Bank, West Stand and Clock End was delighted that all seater stadia arrived and would hate to see it change.

  90. goonermichael says:

    Hi Everyone
    Nice to see you blogging again Franchise. I’ve not been yet as I was staging a boycott but I’ve succumbed to a £10 ticket for the Ipswich game. We have a great chance this season. The mancs are top and could only beat 10 man liverpool with a dodgy penalty.

  91. Rasp says:

    chary,

    That’s sounds like a great idea – be as satirical as you like :)

    dandan,

    Yes, I witnessed the Hillsborough tragedy and the Bradford fire (live on TV) and I wouldn’t be in favour of taking risks with the welfare of fans, but if a way could be found of safely giving some fans the choice to stand that would be good.

  92. Franchise says:

    Rasp how are you doing?

  93. Rasp says:

    Not bad thanks Franchise,

    I’m glad you’ve returned to the fold. I do understand your comment about supporting Arsenal affecting your health. I was sick as a parrot for 2 weeks after the totnum game.

  94. charybdis1966 says:

    Ok Raspers, I’ll stick in drafts tonight; unless my Season 1 Blakes 7 DVD turns up today in which case it;ll be later this week. :)

  95. Franchise says:

    it hurts me to the bone marrow when i tell very non-footballing women that i support arsenal and they respond with stuff like ‘you guys are not really good are you? i watched bla bla beat you the other day’ lol
    :D

  96. Franchise – what are you doing trying to talk to ‘very non-footballing women’ :roll:

    chary – I’ve asked your wife to hide the Blakes 7 DVD as I’m looking forward to the satire ;)

  97. Franchise says:

    peaches i wonder. all that marrow pain could have been avoided

  98. Franchise says:

    oh i remember now they were the ones trying to chat me up

    the question normally stems from ‘what are your hobbies?’

  99. charybdis1966 says:

    Yeah, I suppose the allure of Jenna Stannis can wait another night Peachy. ;)

  100. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    It surely can’t be beyond the ingenuity of modern stadium designers to have safe standing areas.
    For example no-one wanted wood in their new stadium builds for a long time following Bradford, but now fire resistant wood is a feature of many new state-of-the-art stadiums.

  101. Rasp says:

    Rocky,

    You’d think so, but it is definitely against the rules. Say you had a small area designated for standing with all the necessary safety features and that was available to a defined number of fans – would it attract the wrong sort?

    Whenever we play away in the CL, the majority of the home fans seem to be standing – and setting off flares etc. I guess it’s yet another case of us obeying the rules and others having a flagrant disregard and getting away with it where we would be heavily penalised.

  102. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    Don’t get me started on flagrant abuses of EU regulations that are followed to the letter in the UK!

  103. chas says:

    I’d be tempted to sneak in if we had a standing area. They would have to have stricter stewarding at the entrance.

    It was the fences that did for Hillsborough.

  104. mickydidit89 says:

    I really really hate transfer windows. It is nothing more than a massive tease. Remember the Oooo’s when we signed Charlie and DB10?

  105. London says:

    Micky

    We expected signings of that calibre back then, took them for granted maybe but now after so long of being fed on scraps I’m jumping in the air at the idea of signing a Blackburn player…….

  106. London says:

    There is one thing that no one has noticed and that is the reaction of Sanchez Watt when he came off; this happened right below me and bless his cotton socks as he walked towards the dug outs I swear he started going to the Arsenal side before, to a man, the whole of the Leeds staff jumped up, put their arm around him and steered him towards their bench……..there was no doubting the message they wanted to send was that they would like to keep him.

  107. charybdis1966 says:

    Raspers/Peachy I’ve put my gag in drafts – feel free to add any caveats necessary in order for you not to be sued for misrepresentation !
    Now, off to watch Roj Blake and the gang.

  108. charybdis1966 says:

    PS -sorry if you don’t think it’s funny – it made me grin anyway !

  109. Thanks chary – enjoy your evening :)

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Evening . Some fine banter today.

    Franchise. Good to see your gravatar. One of the problems of blogging is when a blogger disappears (are you reading Kelsey) and we don’t know if they have been hit by misfortune, got pee’d off with the site or been struck down by Spursitis

  111. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all – just popped in to say hi.

    If I don’t see ye tomorrow, I’ll definitely be on game time on Wednesday.

  112. California Gooner says:

    I’m a bit late here, but I can’t see any big signing be made on Defense. Wenger has to be happy with Vermaelen, Koscielny and Djourou as the future of the defense… my guess is a veteran stop gap; either Sol Campbell or someone else.

  113. London says:

    Cal

    The excitement is based on Vermaelen and Squillaci both being injured. One injury to the CBs on Wednesday and we are up the swanni. If I had to take a cynical guess, events will unfold in either one of two ways: the club anounce that Vermaelen is out for the season and then we sign someone; or, we sign someone and then they anounce that Vermaelen is out for the season.

  114. RockyLives says:

    Spot on London.
    Or should I say: Capital, London!

  115. London says:

    Hi rocky

    Actually, I hope I am totally wrong and the club anounce that Vermaelen will be back playing in two weeks time.

  116. RockyLives says:

    I actually hope that’s right about Verm, but I think he’s some way off.
    I have a funny feeling we’ll sign a real CB (ie, not just get Sol back in).

  117. California Gooner says:

    London, I get that. But needing cover doesn’t lead to a 15 million quid outlay for Cahill or the like. more likely, it leads to a veteran who can hold the fort until the others get healthy. That is why I’m not that excited. If we do sign a big name I will be quite surprised; I think that would only happen if the opportunity was quite simply too good to refuse.

  118. mickydidit89 says:

    My feelings are that if the club know we potentially have a RvP type crock on our hands in Vermy, then we may see a serious defender come in, however, if only a month or two away, I can see a multi functional player coming in like Toulalon/Vertonghen (sp???). I would love that, some DM cover.
    Off now.

  119. London says:

    Morning all

    Looks like the reserves had a bad day at the office

    Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 10

  120. Gooner in Exile says:

    Aaaaaaargh City Fans!!!!!!!

    One has just shown me an article saying us Arsenal fans have short memories and we should remember the teams of GGs years and the fact we (the fans) revelled in it and started singing “1-0 to the arsenal”. I explained that that song came from our last trophy under GG (’94 ECWC semi and final) but he accused me of re writing history books to justify our current stance. They will try anything to deflect criticism! So annoying.

  121. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Good try …. but we all know the truth!!

    Major difference being that GG was working with no budget and a handful of quality players, whereas Mancini has the wealth of Croesus behind him and a squad packed with top quality Internationals. But if GG football is their aim …….

  122. Morning all

    There’s a New Post

  123. Rasp says:

    Morning,

    I am not liking the term ‘emergency signing’ that AW is being quoted as having said. Last time we made an emergency signing, we ended up with Silvestre. It certainly does not suggest a player of quality.

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