Thoughts on Benfica and Another Bad Week

Benfica 2-1 Arsenal

Aimar 49,

Nolito 60 van Persie 33

It started well enough and we tried hard enough. That is the best I can say.

Gervinho looked good and went close twice before Arshavin played Gibbs in, who found van Persie for a cool finish. It is a goal Arsenal wouldn’t have scored with Clichy overlapping on the left.

In the second half Gibbs failed to clear and Squillaci went a wandering before Vermaelen got brushed aside by little Aimar. I am sure Alan Hansen would be sitting at home uttering his trademark phrase.

Shortly afterwards the lively Nolito cut in from the left and Squillaci got mugged again, 2-1.

The look Ramsey gave him and what he appeared to say was telling.

Benfica have played competitive games and that sharpness gave them the edge. The performance in itself isn’t that much of a worry but the last week has been.

I don’t care about pre season results, they don’t matter. What does matter is that you get to your first game with 90% of your first team fit and on form and we are not anywhere near that.

Arsenal were missing many players for various reasons and that does excuse the lack of craft in an under par second half performance but that in itself is an issue seven days away from the big kick off.

We haven’t had a good week since February.

Injuries to Gibbs, Vermaelen, Diaby, Wilshere, Van Persie, Walcott and no win in three this week.

Fabregas, Nasri, Bendtner and Eboue are sitting by the phone.

The fans are fighting amongst themselves.

In the space of a week I have seen two draws, one defeat and more importantly three fairly average performances from patchwork sides. Seen fans turn on each other watching friendlies and training sessions, met some heroes, lost a couple two.

I’ve seen our captain train, smile and give an imperious wave. Mad people could read all kind of things in to that.

Are we together? No.

Are we healthy? No.

Are we ready? No, we are not even close.

There is nothing wrong with being anti-Wenger. If you are, I think you are wrong but you are entitled to your opinions and we shouldn’t make out that it is a crime or that it means you are not a real fan.

It is ok to get angry.

It is ok to doubt.

It is ok to be frustrated that we haven’t spent a pound (net) in five years.

It is ok to question Wenger’s training methods when we are seeming to be starting a season with anywhere up to eight players suffering injuries of some kind.

It is ok to think that if someone had come to you in 1996 and told you that you would win 7 trophies in 15 years when Arsenal had won 6 trophies previous few years, you might have said we will gamble on someone else.

Again, I think you’re wrong but it’s your choice.

It is ok to hold that opinion and you shouldn’t have to say 10 “Hail Arsènes” every time you question the team sheet.

It is ok to be sick of “mental strength” performances and “super quality” players that never seem to materialize.

Question his methods, but don’t question his motives. Do you think he would still be here if he didn’t care? Do you not think there are easier jobs he could do?

You shouldn’t think that those of us pro-Wenger don’t see his flaws.

We see Wenger’s flaws but don’t boo the team, don’t insult your fellow fans, they pay good money too. It doesn’t help anyone.

We don’t sit there in some drug induced haze thinking that Squillaci is the future.

I’ve seen cheap comments from cheap hacks, stories and “inside” knowledge twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.

I have read Myles “Source” Palmer spreading poison among the masses. Do me a favour!

I wonder how many Arsenal fans regret buying that book.

Arsene Wenger has won three league titles, four FA cups, paid for Arsenal to build a training ground and a stadium by keeping a team in the top four with little money to spend and taking a skip full of flack while he has done it.

This is the man who brought you a season unbeaten and some of the best football you have ever seen.

This week I have seen someone refer to our Captain as Fabretwat, on this very site.

I saw a Gooner make comments about Arsène Wenger, the kind that are usually reserved for nights at the Lane. At the time the drunken slob was getting a free tour of the Stadium. His kids must be very proud of him.

It is ok to disagree, but stop the hate. It’s pathetic.

Arsene Wenger, any team he picks, and captain he chooses, deserve a little more respect.

Raise Yourselves!

The fans need to get on the same page, for the good of the team.

Wenger needs to do his bit and get a centre back, patch up the walking wounded and get three points.

The board need to tell Barcelona and Man City to do one.

We all have a part to play.

Don’t blow it or this might just start feeling like an ending.

Written by Jamie

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138 Responses to Thoughts on Benfica and Another Bad Week

  1. Morning all

    I feel like pretending yesterdays game didn’t happen – I’m going to perfect my ‘head in the sand’ stance and just spend the next six days looking forward to Newcastle away :lol:

    See how long I can keep it up ……………..

    Thanks Jamie for offering a match report and then actually writing a really good post for us. I wonder how many of us are in two minds about the coming season. I’m full of hope and expectation because I love going to football, but I’m also a bit fearful – I hope my heart doesn’t get broken :(

  2. dandan says:

    A1 Jamie, well said and well done…. Thanks a lot. just off out will catch up later.

  3. Have a lovely holiday dandan, best wishes to all your family xx

  4. dandan says:

    Thanks Peaches. But I was Joking not going further than Marks and Sparks. To get some food. :_)

  5. kelsey says:

    I am still here and stand by every word I said earlier on.If we all agreed it would be boring.I think some of us don’t realise what a mess we are in, but why what is behind it all.
    I say it again there is something fundamentally wrong at the club.nasri wants out,cesc wnts, i leave it to you to decide if they both stay they will be totally focused when others who are not in the limelight are performing like shite.

    dandan was talking about Almunia ;)

  6. Durrrrr, silly me ;)

    kelsey – I’m with you on the ‘something’s terribly wrong’ at our club.

    The saddest and most infuriating thing for me is that we’ll go into this season with a player like Almunia still on our books – a player that should have been sold 2/3 years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Gooner In Exile says:

    Jamie that sir is a heroic post. Whilst we batten down the hatches for the undoubted materialisation of those who made their mind up a long time ago.

    I totally agree that it’s time to unite.

    I would ask those who love scapegoating to ask themselves how much better our squad yesterday (and therefore our second half team) might have looked with the inclusion of three names.

    NikB, Eboue and Denilson…..yes even Denilson.

    I am not saying these three are world beaters but they offer us more experience than Jenks, Lansbury and Ryo. And so I would like to see them in the squad still. I’d also still prefer Clichy.

    Diaby (if fans got their way) would also be moving on.

    Pure madness to disassemble a squad that was so close last season.

    To strengthen it appears we have to sell or free up wages. I would have preferred to start this season with last seasons squad plus Gerv minus Cesc than the situation we currently find ourselves in. That is too much new blooding to be done, too many untried combinations.

    On the game we are still failing to press as high as we should collectively occasionally yesterday TR, AR and Gerv pressured and were successful, when they dont nick the ball it leads to it being harder for teams to play the ball over the top accurately. For this to happen RVP and AA must join in the pressure and Song must screen to pick up pieces.

    For some of his naievety I think Frimpong does the screening job very well seems a better tackler than Song and has a presence about him that says “don’t f*** with me…..#DEEEEENCH”.

    I think Song wants to be more attacking it is clear from his play, maybe it’s time to free him from his shackles and allow him to drive the team forward something he did very well at times last season (yes I’m thinking PV4 lite). And accompany Song with a more technical player Wilshere, Ramsay or Rosicky.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Rosicky working out wide or more advanced when AA23 is not available/tired.

    After what with seen so far how does everyone think we will line up against Toon?

  8. Arsenal were always able to offload players that hadn’t worked out but now they’ve had to show how error prone they are on so many occasions that nobody wants them.

    We should not be selling NIk we should be giving Chamakh away

  9. kelsey says:

    GIe,

    It’s a bit like the film Zulu.

    Whoever is still standing by next week.

  10. Morning GiE – agree with you about so many changes – reminds of the Wigan away game last season when the team we sent out looked like they’d never even trained together.

    What’s the news with Ryo – is there any?

  11. Pick a team now and we’ll see if they’re still available for selection on Friday ;)

    kelsey – just saw a comment about DD on another site – reports from his twitter – would he tweet? I’m not so sure …..

  12. kelsey says:

    According to yogi, Rio’s work permit has been turned down.Anyway nice to put you all in a good mood this morning I really am off to the beach now,battle can continue later if you wish.

  13. Gooner In Exile says:

    Also another question….we have never under Wenger done the overseas tour before.

    Whilst it was successful financially does anyone else have a concern (from what we’ve seen) that it has left the squad short of fitness, we have heard how many times before that Wenger is a stickler for fitness/diet regime. Any thoughts that the tour is why we are heavy legged now as AW and coaches try to play catch up on the training ground.

    By the way adoption of zonal marking would also suggest defensive coaching, interested yesterday to see how it faired with the short corner as that requires another phase of movement, thought it coped ok but has potential to be caught out by set piece specialists.

  14. goonermichael says:

    I don’t really care how our second string performs. It was a lot better then the mancs second string at West Ham last season. We are definitely short though.If Robin and Jack are out we’ll struggle against the toon. we are going to struggle against Udinese too. It’s a good thing the home game is first so we can get injuries and bans out of the way. I think traore is going to be my suprise player this season. we need a defender too.

  15. allezkev says:

    According to YoungGuns, a decision on Miyaichi’s work permit is going to be made around August 15th..?

  16. Morning gm – I’m thrilled with both Gibbs and Traore although they both love get forward don’t they and that becomes a problem when AA plays as sometimes he forgets to cover them. They both have a lot of pace and can drive the play forward – they must love having Gerv in front of them :)

  17. Agree the overseas pre-season could have an effect on our fitness, might explain why we often were out of the blocks quicker than the mancs and chavs who have had overseas tours for years.

  18. goonermichael says:

    I doubt very much that a work permit would be processed on a weekend. you would need inside knowledge from the home office to know that. I wouldn’t put any money on us for next season.

  19. goonermichael says:

    Morning Peaches. I wasn’t that bothered by the performance yesterday. I hope Robin’s not crocked. My heart sank when he walked off the pitch and sat down holing his knee.

  20. Scott says:

    People bag Wenger for spending no money. People state that even “average,low profile” clubs have spent more over the last 6 years. People suggest that we must spend money to have success. Read these comments again carefully,think about them,and you will realise why i have come to the following conclusion-people are stupid! To make it easier,spending money does not guarantee success,and Wenger has not sent the club into debt to the tune of hundreds of millions,so when other clubs are gone,we will still have a team to support. Get over yourselves,and NO side has a god given right to trophies!

  21. Red Arse says:

    Peaches,

    After having a somewhat glum feeling yesterday, the mental image you gave me, of standing with your head in the sand has cheered me up immensely.

    I know …… incorrigible! :-)

  22. hec says:

    Wenger 7 major trophies 15 years , Graham 6 major trophies 8 years so according to these stastistics GRAHAM would have won 11 major trophies if he was manager for the same amount of time as Wenger , so lets get it right when we talk about Arsenals most successful manager, ANYWAY its the mushroom treatment we the fans get from WENGER that is most irritating keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit ,its the lies and rubbish he comes out with the stories he makes up for his failure.

  23. Red Arse says:

    Hi Jamie, :-)

    I have liked your comments on the site, but that Post has won you a new fan.
    I am full of admiration for your well thought out, well structured article that was full of good down to earth commonsense and understanding.

    Well done!! :-)

  24. goonermichael says:

    hec. i like the mushroom comment.

  25. Rasp says:

    Great post Jamie that accurately balances the good and the bad, the positive and the negative.

    I did not see the ‘FabreTwat’ comment, I hope someone removed it from the site and the moron who wrote it.

  26. Jamie says:

    Hec – I agree, the PR and spin drives you up the wall.

    Peaches/Dandan/GIE – thanks for your kind posts. Was worried people might only read half and get the wrong impression.

    GM – I agree that I’m not fussed about second string at this stage or at least I wouldn’t be of we had more than half of our best 16 players fit. That’s what worries me.

    Final point, I don’t think the far east has helped because it has put the microscope on our pre season and usually Wenger gets them all aways from the press in Austria for a couple of weeks. I think that is better for the togetherness as opposed to most of the squad flying for a handshaking junket in Asia and fly back with the Daily Mirror on the same plane.

  27. Jamie says:

    Rasp – I think it was the day we had the whole cast of Arsenal Action on here.

    RA – Cheers RA

  28. Red Arse says:

    Rasp, :-)

    I was not too bothered by the Benfica game/result, because pre-season chopping and changing negates any sense of how the 1st team will go next season. (OK I was really disappointed – but you have to rationalize these things). :-)

    What did worry me was the impression I got of AW’s mental turmoil, during the game.
    He sat on the coach’s bench for most of the game scowling, shaking his head and looking totally deflated. I could understand it at the end of last season, but in the pre-season games? Oh, oh! :-(

    I read this morning that Spurs have made an offer for Subotic (allegedly £13m). If we are finding the £15/£20m price for Cahill/Jag/Samba too much, why isn’t Arsene looking at him?

    Then I read AW is looking at £5m Per Mertesacker (slow, cumbersome and had a disastrous season for Bremen) — could this still be about money? Oh, I hope not!

  29. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    Very good point, I thought the same thing. He was in that hugging himself posture with a furrowed brow and seemingly feeling the pressure – so maybe Arsène saw it as more than just a meaningless friendly.

  30. goonermichael says:

    Ther’s a good chance this will be his last season.

  31. Evonne says:

    Jamie – great post, thanks a lot. You are correct about everyone having a democratic right to their own opinion. But how come that those who critisese seem to have more rights and go much further, than the defending party? How come they are louder than the rest?

    I often feel lonely and isoleted defending AW and the Club, so your call for unity is very timely and well received.

    I am not sure about the ‘It is ok to be sick of “mental strength” performances and “super quality” players that never seem to materialize’; perhaps the word ‘never’ could be replaced with sometimes?

    Yep, we are treated like mushrooms, but not just by the Arsenal. The policians, doctors, economists, bankers, etc etc do the same. Sometimes it is necassary, but more often simply easier than explaining to the masses the intricacies of a business plan, as they would not understand. I for one don’t want to know, I want to watch footy and leave the rest in very capable hands of Le Boss.

  32. Jamie says:

    I think Arsene is worried by those definitely fit for Newcastle.

    At the moment Sir Chesney,

    Defence Sagna, Squillaci and Djourou, Traore as LK6 TV5 and Gibbs are suffering injuries – all could recover.

    Midfield – Song, Ramsey, Rosicky. Will Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere be ready?

    Attack – Arshavin, Shot shy Chamakh and Gervinho up front. Will RVP, Walcott and Bendtner come back in to the frame?

    As I said he needs to patch up the wounded especially at the back. If that back line go to Newcastle and home to udinese we might have problems

  33. Rob @ The Arsenal says:

    This is far and away the best Arsenal-related post in a VERY long time. Common sense should always prevail and work towards unifying all Arsenal fans. At the end of the day we all want exactly the same thing – an end to a barren spell that has become a recurrent nightmare. AW wants exactly what all Arsenal fans want, including TH14. Fans can only guarantee their loyal support, come what may. Real fans, that is. All good-weather fans obviously aren’t TRUE fans because a fan will support his team through thick and thin. Of course we all have a right to be disappointed and to express frustration. It becomes embarrassing when fellow Arsenal fans slate off each other and what is worse when they start slating off AW and any player that makes an error. I personally cannot tolerate NB52 (probably ’cause I inevitably end up comparing him to the great TH14). But as long as he’s got an Arsenal shirt on I’ll support him all the way (that doesn’t however forbid me from hoping someone will cough up sixpence and take him off our hands).

  34. Jamie says:

    Evonne- The protester always has the louder voice than the defender. That’s life I think, but I k ow what you mean.

    Super quality and mental strength, I should of said not lately I guess.

  35. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Evening all

    So it wasn’t a great result against Benfica from all accounts ;)

    But as as seasoned footy fan, it urks me going into a season as favourite. When has Arsenal won The Title as favourite.

    Hey people, this is just the calm before the storm. Come Gordie Town we will be 3 points and chomping @ the bit to get 3 more against the Poo.

  36. Hi gg9 – nice to see you :)

    How refreshing that those who are largely positive feel the negative ones have the loudest voices – when I’m feeling gloomy I always feel the opposite is true ie that no-one is listening to me :)

  37. goonermichael says:

    Very positive gnarly hope you are right. we should spank the toon really.

  38. DavidR says:

    Great great post. The infighting amongst the fans (and for many I use that term very loosely) has got to unimaginable hights of idiocy & downright abuse.
    These JonnyComeLately fans that really only started supporting AFC since Arsenes first years annoy the hell out of me. They know little or nothing of the years between 71 & 88. Sad trophyless years where if we were lucky we had a FACup run (78-80) to give us respite from the dross on display at THoF. Years where a top half of the division was seen as a good year.
    I don’t forget those years easily. George G gave us a winning mentality and trophies.
    Arsene carried that on and gave us wonderful football to watch too. His budget was as good as anyone’s in the first 5 years (prior to the Emirates move) bolstered by some genius moves and amazing luck in the transfer market.
    His hands have been tied financially for the past 5 years due to the clubs insistence on financial security, yet he has still managed to keep us in the Top4 and turn us into a serious Top10 European club, something not even Herbert Chapman, Terry Neil & George G ever did.
    I respect the mans intelligence, competence & general footballing knowledge.
    To all those who would wish him out, I ask you this “Who would you replace him with?” and please be realistic in your answer. Sven, JoseM, Pep G, etc would NOT come without exact proof that they would be given 100s of Millions to
    spend.
    Let’s all take a look with the perspective of adults, take a deep breath & consider where we have come from and are now.
    Unite against a press that dislikes us, moneybags Chelski & Citeh, ManUre and anyone else that badmouths us.
    Arsenal is bigger, stronger & better for having Arsene with us, and trust me …. You’ll miss him when he does finally go.

  39. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    peaches & gm

    I’m counting down the days now till my 1st red eye special of the season. Come Sunday morning Australian EST we could be top.

    COYRRR

    P.S Where is Big Raddy?

  40. mcconville365 says:

    Excellent post. Never before have I witnessed so much pessimism surrounding the team. AW and the board could reseolve this somewhat by making deals happen, it is evident more, experienced players are required in defence and midfield. Samba would be perfect, a committed and solid player who would make a huge difference to the team in one single swoop. I also fear our abilty to score almost every game could dry up without RVP, and history would suggest he won’t play 38 league games. As ever, I live in hope.

  41. tomstoned says:

    c’mon Jamie..
    i do not understand why any Gooner should worry..we’re The Arsenal right…
    and if some havent got it yet..the New Arsenal Way is all about making money..
    1. wenger bought jenkinson well that should sort out our defence we all knew sagna was our weak spot and we’re into buying super quality jenkinson fits that bill superbly..
    2.selling jet-clichy-eboue gave us the opportunity to buy gervinh-jenkinson..
    3.waiting until the last second before this season kick off and then sell cesc-bendtner-nasri…well that would be shrude business..and pocket us a great deal of money..and not havin to reinvest them..
    4.im soo happy that we have had the opportunity to employ mr gazidis..what a great set of theeth that man have and a great smile too…we’re safe..he runs The Arsenal’ transfer dealings like a real pro..
    5.i would sincerly hope that we the Gooners could stay firm behind this New Arsenal…where the only ambition is making money..why dont we demand an increase int the ticket prices they are far too low..all considered…
    and yes gazidis Sir you where right it has been a super activy transfer window oh my..something seems to happer every second…and wenger..dont worry we all support you..nobody wants to win football games..who cares..eh ?
    and hilly woody you run a tight ship young man..well done

  42. westlondongoon says:

    Arsenal 125th anniversary season….backwards.

    CL qualifier without VP, Nasri, Vermaelen, Fabregas or Wilshere, channel 5 on Thursday nights could be looming.

    37 years I’ve supported the Arsenal, and I’ve never felt more disillusioned about a new season. I can see nothing but disappointment ahead until the manager is changed.

    Thanks for everything, but your time is up. You refuse to learn from your mistakes, and that is your biggest failing.

  43. NYGooner says:

    First let me stipulate the mandatory 10 “Hail Arsenes” before commenting. Fan unity is a worthy thing. However fans are unified in beginning to wonder whether it is time to start panicking. Arsene refuses to buy, the defense is pathetic, Fabregas +/- Nasri are on the way out, we have injuries as usual, the squad has very quality depth etc. Otherwise it is going great.

  44. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    Spurs after Subotic!!!! I’ve been banging on about him for way too long for that to happen. Have to say, that if we lash out £10m odd on Oxo-Chambers I will go loopy and take strong drugs.

  45. Red Arse says:

    And liverpuddle want him too Micky. :-(

  46. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    He’s a monster with a bad attitude. No striker ever gets the better of him because they never turn up on the day. That scary.
    Trying to watch the Charity Shield.

  47. G Man says:

    Well said Jamie

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Subotic, Jagielka (DM duties as well as CB cover) and Fernando as Cesc replacement then we’re in business. All funded by Cesc/Nasri bugger offerings.

  49. MickyDidIt89 says:

    City score. Lescott header.

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    2-0 Djeko.

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’m commentating to myself.
    Works for me.

  52. goonermichael says:

    I sgary neville on the sex offenders register?

  53. goonermichael says:

    he looks like a right nonce

  54. evonne says:

    Micky – you can rely on me, you know that! Great commentary, thank you! Can you explain to me what went wrong with Rooney’s hair? I thought he had a transplant?

    Gosh, they hate each other those Mancs :) Why wasn’t Evra red-carded??? Dzeko is a fantastic player, I watched him for a long time and love the boy, shame he’s not ours :( New Manure keeper is more nervous Fabianski

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha Ha GM.
    Utd need a Cesc!

  56. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    I suggest GM is the man to dicuss the Rooney hair. Is there a cure GM?

  57. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Smalling goal. There you are Evonne. I have my uses.

  58. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nani. Great goal.
    There will now be a fight and a red card.

  59. MickyDidIt89 says:

    My red card prediction has just taken a knock. Balotelli off.

  60. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    Apparently City are straining their sinews. If that helps.

  61. goonermichael says:

    the scum won after all. i missed the first 2 manc goals. No matter what shrek does with his hair he’ll still be an ugly POS.

  62. Red Arse says:

    Clichy hesitates, Kompany hesitates — Nani scores.

    Clichy – plus ca change; plus la meme chose! :-)

  63. RockyLives says:

    Apparently Clichy warmed the bench – is that right? He’d better get used to it.

  64. RockyLives says:

    Hi Redders
    Seems he got on then!

  65. RockyLives says:

    Jamie
    Wonderful post.
    There’s plenty to be concerned about, but the negativity in some quarters is completely disproportionate.

  66. goonermichael says:

    City don’t look that good. I worry about playing the mancs if we have any injuries.

  67. RockyLives says:

    Peaches
    Sorry I didn’t answer last night, but I hope to get over in September (although it may end up being October).
    Whenever it is, the work will definitely be arranged around the football calendar :)

  68. VCC says:

    So pleased Clichy came on in the second half, exactly what I have been saying about the guy, he should have gone for the ball and left Kompany free at the back, but NO he decided to let someone else take the responsibility and City got caught, BOY how many times have I seen him do that for Arsenal, soooooooo pleased we gat shot of him.
    Now Arsene, just address our problem and purchase another centre half, get shot of Nasri and Fabregas(they clearly don;t want to wear the red and white of Arsenal again) and spend HALF the money on another front\goal scorer( Benzema?) and lets move on.

  69. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    You probably gathered from my comment and VCC’s that Clichy came on late and did his usual cock up, by being indecisive.

    The ball was roughly equidistant between him and Nani, just over the halfway line, with Kompany futher back, he hesitated and left the challenge to Kompany on a one to one, Nani won the ball ran around him and altho’ Kompany chased back Nani easily rounded the ‘keeper and scored very well. {Clichy remained rooted to the spot}.

    Clichy is a good player, but is always liable to make a stupid mistake, especially where Utd are the opposition.

  70. VCC says:

    Red Arse = my point is that Clichy always does this, if you look at the situation if he had gone/challenged for the ball and lost possession, that would have left Kompany to clear up, but when leaving it and going wide for Kompany to head towards him it leaves no error in judgement, when surely as a defender ( and especially in that latter third of the pitch) you challenge the onward attacker and leave a spare man (Kompany) to deal with any mishaps!!!!!! That is/was Clichy’s trade mark, he would NEVER take responsibility, hence Arsenal lost many points because of his decision making. I am so pleased he has been off loaded and we have more than adequate replacement in Gibbs and Traore. It amazes me when I read/hear people go on about what a loss Clichy is ??????????? My sunday park left back understands the essence of defending. Just hope THE MIGHTY ARSENAL capitalise on this when we play Citeh.

  71. RockyLives says:

    Redders, VCC
    As you both make clear, Clichy’s coq-ups are becoming a cliche.

    Having said that, I wonder if he’ll get better defensive coaching from a defence-minded Italian manager?

  72. VCC says:

    Rocky.
    Sorry to miss you when I was in Canada. :-( .
    Spot on. Wenger is so enthralled with offensive play that he dismisses defensive qualities in our team. We should get a proper defending coach to emphasis the fact that conceding a goal (as a defender) is as important as scoring a goal, ALA George Graham. It has always been my impression of Wenger that we will be OK cos we will score more that the opposition. We have fallen fowl of this philosophy on numerous occasions.
    I know I will get shot down here but I would love Arsenal to employ Ray Wilkins as Pat Rice’s replacement. Just look at Chelsea’s dismay since he left.

  73. RockyLives says:

    Hello VCC
    Likewise :(
    There has been talk of a different approach to defending this season (zonal marking for set pieces) so there must be some coaching going on. I wonder who’s doing it?
    I don’t mind the idea of Butch Wilkins – and Chelsea did stumble for a while after he went. I’m pretty sure Patrice will go at the end of this season so a new first team coach may be on the cards (and who knows, maybe a new manager too!).

  74. kelsey says:

    I still maintain that we need to be anxious for the coming season.
    Strange how often we let a lead slip yet united do the complete opposite.They were mighty impressive today.

    I have another of my theories.
    David dein gave an interview this morning to Radio 5 Live where he stated that the fans should continue to back the manager and he would not be surprised to see 2 or 3 signings this month.
    Now dein isn’t interviewd much lately, in fact I can’t remember the last time he spoke directly about Arsenal.Anyway the barca delegation were in london on thursday/friday and as we know Dein’s son is Fabregas’s agent, so I think the negotiations have broken down at least for this season and that is why dein accepted the interview. Any thoughts.

  75. London says:

    Good post Jamie

    I commend you for focusing on the first half, the business half, the half that actually had some meaning rather than whining about a second half which would have been so much easier. I thought we played some really good football in the first half; we tamed Benfica who are I would say better than 17 of the 20 teams in the EPL they are certainly better than Newcastle which should be a stroll in the park compared to yesterday.

    The second half, by contrast, was used for no more than to introduce certain players to European football: Jenkinson, Frimpong, spring to mind; improve fitness of others: the list is long for this category and reassure a few that they are still wanted by the club before going out on loan: Ryo, Lansbury, maybe one or two others.

    I have noticed Arsenal fans have been perfectly divided today: those that focused on the first half and those who focused on the second.

  76. London says:

    To some the grass will always be redder in Manchester.

  77. RockyLives says:

    Hi Kelsey
    I can’t recall DD speaking about Arsenal in recent years. Question is, what to read into it?
    You could interpret the ‘not surprised to see two or three signings this month’ as meaning quite the opposite of your interpretation (ie, that DD knows that Cesc IS going, and also knows that we have plans in place to spend the money before the window closes).

    If talks have broken down for this year, I’ll have mixed feelings about Cesc playing for us this season. The stats show that we win more games when he plays than when we don’t, but how can you have a captain whom everyone knows wants out?

  78. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evening all have been out celebrating the parents 40th Wedding Anniversary. Ruby so there was red everywhere :)

    Anyway been interesting reading the comnents today and of Clichy’s misdemeanours.

    Good to see Dein senior come out in defence of Arsene but there has to be a part of you that feels he is still angling somewhere.

    On Wilkins I have heard him talk about his role at Chelsea on many occasions:

    “Carlo likes to take all the coaching sessions it’s the way most foreign coaches work. My job was to make sure the players are ready to be coached”

    If this is the case I’m not sure I’d put any defensive coaching down to him, if you want to know the Chelsea coach we should have taken it’s very simple Steve Clarke, but Dalgleish secured his services and look at the difference it made to them. I believe Mourinho was much closer to an British manager relying on coaches whilst he gave the motivation and belief to a set of expensively assembled players, much the same as Ferguson has done for the last ten years or so.

  79. kelsey says:

    Hi RL,

    it is a catch 22 situation, i was just intrigued that Dein has suddenly spoken.Having thought about it you maybe right,as my gut feeling yesterday was that Cesc was gone.
    We really don’t need all this and the nasri situation so close to kick off.

  80. London says:

    Rocky

    Did you have a chance to see any of the game? It must be difficult over there even with Fox soccer, actually do you get Fox soccer in Canada?

  81. Gooner In Exile says:

    The Nasri situation is one all of the medias and other clubs managers and players making. They have tested our resolve and we have said No he is our player and he is staying. He may well want a pay rise and Wenger and Gazidis may have said earn it.

    But they also know he will at least have to play out of his skin for six months to earn a great deal from a prospective new club. So we could get a great season from him if he shows the right attitude.

    On the other hand we have Cesc who may want away. The fact that even last season when his heart wasn’t apparently in it we still had a better win percentage with him than without him.

    With (20 games) – W65% D20% L15%
    Without (18 games) – W33% D29% L38%

    Stats can be misleading tho
    Eboue
    With (6) – W67% D33% L0%
    Without (32) – W47% D28% L25%

    RvP
    With (18) – W44% D39% L17%
    Without (20) – W55% D25% L20%

    Djourou
    With (19)- W63% D26% L11%
    Without (19)- W37% D32% L32%

    This is for starting and playing at least 60minutes

  82. Hi all

    I’m back from the war zone that is north and east London. Left my car in Enfield town which is now in lockdown and riot police have secured the high street. Scary or what!!!!!! The word on the street is that there’ll be more trouble tonight possibly in Old St.

    Why on earth there are rioters in Enfield Town I do not know.

    gg9 – Big Raddy is in Italy still, I think he’s back after the toon game.

  83. We need posts for this week – volunteers please :)

  84. VCC says:

    GIE = Take your point about Steve Clarke, face value a good coach, but if i’m not mistaken he learn’t his trade from a certain Mr. R.Wilkins. I know he was known as Mr.Side ways/walk, but just listen to him on tv = talks mountains of sense, and is passionate about football. Surely we need someone post to Pat Rice that can contribute and NOT be a yes man to Arsene.

    Rocky = On Arsene maybe leaving at the end of the season….the guy is GOD in my house for what he has done, but all I want is a quiet chat one-to-one down my local just to ask WHY he has not purchased a TOP class CB, thats all I want, not a lot to ask as a lifetime fanatical Arsenal supporter, “T” Shirt wearer, tattoo wavering fan. Then after our chat I will happily put my head on the pillow and sleep all night peacefully, but until then I still remain confused/annoyed/angry/non-plussed to how on paper I look at the ManUre team sheet and ours and I still say WHY OH WHY are they winning things and we keep(6years) failing?
    Look at todays game…….ManUre v Citeh = ManUre players were comfortable on the ball. control, and has some “spunk” in them. When I see our guys lately they lack some sort of confidence and backbone. I run a Sunday side and its one of the things I try and instil in our play to be forceful and NOT be mugged off and at least do your best and have some balls!!!!! WHERE are the “Cohonas” of Arsenal

  85. evonne says:

    Talking about Clichy – if AW and the Board are incapable of conducting business swiftly and efficiently, then how come Clichy was out to City like a lightning? There must be a reason for certain delays.

  86. Irishgunner says:

    Fantasy football has been set up again. Anyone that played last year should be automatically rejoined, anyone new interested the code is 1144006-264632

  87. Well done Irish, thanks for doing that. Is Lady Gaga fielding a team again?

  88. Peaches look after yourself, anyone touches our Warrior Princess tonight me and Harry are coming down…..

    And Peaches I have a post in mind, when do you need it by? don’t say tomorrow……

  89. Where Irish? I mentioned it the other week but there were no responses…

  90. Irish – have you changed the code in the widget? When I looked last week it was still set on last year. Sorry my phone has dies if you’re texting me ;)

  91. VCC says:

    evonne = simples, because he is a crap defender and a soon as Arsene Wenger got wind that some half whit wanted him he acted promptly, trust me, we will not miss him……FACT.
    JUST spend the money on another CENTRE HALF ffs.

  92. GiE – I’m hoping that Rocky will slip one in for tomorrow so you’ve got time, thanks xx

    There’s a widget down the side that links straight through to the Fantasy Football, let me just have a look and I’ll be back.

  93. VCC it was already spent on Gervinho surely?

    Spoke to my Dad today he is less worried about the defence and more worried about where goals may come from…..its easy to see where he is coming from, we have looked far from convincing in the chances created area, altho thank goodness we have RvP to finish the service that does come his way.

  94. Irishgunner says:

    Lady Gaga Hats are back and fighting this season :)

    I didn’t change the widget and not sure how too, I just set it back up a few minutes ago. Can anyone here change it?

    We have a local league here and are playing for money :-/ Only €10 each, but still, serious biz O_O

    GIE – go here http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ and enter a team and then join the league by entering the code

  95. Irishgunner says:

    Off topic – speaking of Gaga, have you seen my tattoo of her?? Its bigger than my Arsenal one, but of course Arsenal are imprinted on my heart :)

  96. All set up GiE. Click on the link and enter your details then the code that Irish has left above.

  97. Thanks all set up, you can tell how little i log in here on a full screen browser didn’t know it was there…:D

    All set up but someone else had nicked my oh so often heard pun of Norfolk N Chance, so I have had to think up another name.

  98. dandan says:

    August 3 2011 12:01AM From Todays Times
    Football has reached something of a logical end-point. The sport once expressed community spirit, with clubs populated by players from the local area, financed by businessmen from the city and supported by fans who, more often than not, lived within a stone’s throw of the ground. Perhaps it is unsurprising that football was once described as the “community game”.

    Capitalism, as we know, changed all that. The logic of hard cash created a disconnect between the players and their home cities as early as the turn of the last century with top stars moving farther and farther afield to capitalise on higher wages and superior opportunities. Even back then there were fears that fans would find it hard to support a group of 11 men who did not share their local identity, even if they were wearing the club strip.

    The sceptics needn’t have worried. Football has not merely survived but burgeoned as the sport has become fully globalised. It is not just players who are footloose mercenaries travelling the planet in search of the fattest pay cheque, but the clubs themselves that have become baubles of global capital, financed by obliging debt markets and owned by wealthy individuals or sultanates not as conventional businesses but as trophy assets.

    This arrangement has always exerted a powerful indignity upon supporters, who are aware at some deep level of consciousness that their football club is not merely about Saturday afternoon entertainment, but more akin to a facet of personal identity. Fans would never jump ship if the prices at the neighbouring club were cheaper or the meat pies tastier: their passion speaks to something deeper and more substantial.

    But every Saturday they have to reconcile themselves to their passion not being reciprocated. Where once the club was represented by players and owners who were also fans, it is now a cog in the machine of capitalism. The players and owners do not care in any meaningful sense about the club, or the community it represents, beyond what it can be squeezed to produce: wages and profits. Worse still, the profits are, to a large extent, parasitic on the fans whose irrational devotion can be milked at will.

    As the Glazer family gleefully put it in a prospectus to market a new bond issue last year: “We have been able to consistently increase match-day ticket prices for both general admission and seasonal hospitality seats at levels above the rate of inflation.” Translation: “these Manchester United fans are suckers!”

    There is a whole literature deconstructing the angst associated with fandom, perhaps most powerfully exemplified by Nick Hornby’s book, Fever Pitch. “I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it,” Hornby writes. “The natural state of the football fan is bitter disappointment.”

    But not even Hornby anticipated what must rate as the final indignity endured by fans. Not satisfied with insulting their intelligence with deceitful protestations of loyalty, not content with the transfer sagas fuelled by spin and subterfuge, not sated by the masquerade of badge-kissing, the players are now openly insulting the cities they notionally represent.

    This has become a familiar feature of football over the past couple of years, but has accelerated this summer with both Carlos Tévez and Mario Balotelli taking fire not at Manchester City but at the city of Manchester.

    Notwithstanding that the city is, to most observers, a thriving metropolis, the players have seen fit to put the boot in, despite the huge pay cheques that enable them to live in luxury.

    “I am not happy in Manchester,” was the way Balotelli expressed his sentiments to an Italian newspaper on Monday, echoing comments from Tévez. “I do not like the city. With my team-mates and my manager, everything is fine, but the city is not to my tastes.” Many have been struck by the crassness of the comment, the willingness to take a swipe at the place that thousands of the men and women who support him at the Etihad Stadium call home. But perhaps the more revelatory point is that nobody is surprised. We all perceive this as a logical consequence of the journey football has taken. Once a sport that fostered community, it is now a sport that takes a razor blade to community.

    There is nothing wrong with disliking the location of your place of work, of course. But for a footballer to openly criticise the city he represents is to show that he does not recognise, still less understand, that geography is about more than mere location. It is about meaning and history and all sorts of other complex things that no club can do without. That so many players are oblivious to this is revealing in itself.

    Of course, many clubs — particularly Premier League clubs — have fans from all over the world, many of whom care little about the communities in which they are situated. But that does not alter the fact that location is of profound importance. Clubs, unlike players and owners, are nfootloose in any ordinary sense. Relocat

    Manchester United to London and it is not just those living within a five-mile radius of Old Trafford who would cease to identify with the club; the entire mythology, the driving ethos that connects the club with fans around the world, would be shattered.

    That many City fans based in Manchester claim to be unconcerned by Balotelli’s comments (although, to judge by the fan forums, they are in a minority) merely reveals the schism that now exists between players and the communities they represent. Fans have become inured to the indifference of their heroes, whether to the club, the fans or the city. To put it another way, fans are able to encompass the paradox of cheering players who are hostile to the things they — the fans — hold dear.

    Capitalism has done great things for football, particularly English football. The free market has created staggering wealth that, when not inflating players’ wages, has enabled clubs to upgrade facilities, vastly improve television coverage and bestow many other blessings. Besides, to restrict the workings of capitalism would be to open the door to other dangers. But capitalism has not only subverted the meaning of the game as it was once watched and played, it has introduced a species of contradiction.

    And, at the centre of this maelstrom is the fan: the beneficiary as well as the victim of the industry football has become

  99. I saw that GiE :)

    15 teams already!!!!!!!

  100. Irishgunner says:

    Anyone that entered last season are automatically rejoined when they log in

  101. Carlito11 says:

    The problem with not having time to pop on here regularly is that by the time I’ve caught up I’ve no more time to comment! Will definitely join the fantasy football league though.
    Great post Jamie- the final call to arms is one I hope the fans heed for our first home match against the ‘dippers. Something tells me that the tale of our season may be written in that match…

  102. Is anyone interested or able to attend this ………………………

    A Question & Answer session with Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, is being held at The Enirates Stadium on Monday 8th August 2011, commencing 6.30 pm. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available from 6.00pm.

    The event is for paid-up AISA members ONLY. If you wish to attend the meeting and are a lapsed member, or wish to join for the first time, you can do so at http://www.aisa.org/join-aisa/join-online (cut-off time for this meeting is 4pm on Monday).

    As well as the Q&A the meeting will also feature

    * Launch of AISA Arsenal History booklet, Dial Square to Woolwich Arsenal
    * Arsenal ticketing policies
    * Ownership of Arsenal
    * AISA Aims and Values document
    * Presentation to Centrepoint

    For further information please contact paul.matz@aisa.org or call 07706 885078.

  103. Gooner In Exile says:

    26 Peaches is after you!!!

  104. I think it’s £10 to be an AISA member

  105. VCC says:

    peachesgooner = Just wish I could make it, lots to do before my first day back at work after a fantastic holiday.
    Please ask Mr.Gazidis why Arsenal have NOT re-inforced our defence over the summer, simple as. Not too much to ask for, I will be interested to hear his reply, I love you for this small favour.

  106. VCC says:

    peachesgooner I love you more, lol

  107. It’s nice to be appreciated, thank you VCC – both of you ;), I’ll see what I can do. Maybe I can get Rasp to go ………..

  108. RockyLives says:

    Sorry for no responding to questions – I’ve been “slipping one in” for Peaches :)

    London
    I only saw the Benfica goals and key moments on Arsenalist – partly because I’m moving house and haven’t got TV at the moment. But when the season kicks off I’ll get to see almost all our games on a range of channels – Fox, ESPN, Setanta (and some Canadian channels too).
    It’s not like being there, of course, but at least I’m watching them all live. My boss is a Gooner too, so we always sneak out of work mid afternoon and go to the pub for the midweek games.

  109. Shawn says:

    Good Article Jamie.

    But just like Arsenal you started well and ended in disaster.

    Its really hilarious.

    Even the Wenger apologists are now dithering in their rhetoric.

    Didnt you really have a point to make about the team?

    Or are you just having a pop at those who like to have a pop?

  110. Shawn says:

    London says:
    August 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I have noticed Arsenal fans have been perfectly divided today: those that focused on the first half and those who focused on the second.

    ————————–

    Seems youre getting into something there. Are Arsenal fans also divided into last 7 years of 15 or the first 8 years of the 15?

    Only a lunatic will look at this game as half glass full.

    Injuries will set in. And when they do. Will those second half players be good enough?

    Dont worry. Im a wife beater.

  111. kelsey says:

    I understand that a bid will go in tomorrow for Scott Dann at 10 million.

  112. HateTheMancs says:

    Shawn – Jamie’s were post match analysis, what point did you have in mind?? It was a preseason friendly ffs

    Also, Arsenal started extremely well and finished ok, no disaster mate

  113. Shawn says:

    Doesnt seem there was alot of post match analysis to me.

    Its great in that it has something in there for everyone.

    Both anti-Wenger and the pro-Wenger parties.

    But talk about something substantial as regards to how this summer has been a miserable failure in all aspects versus nitty picking at comments from certain sections of the fan base.

  114. RockyLives says:

    I hear there was rioting in Tottenham – but afterwards nobody could tell the difference.

  115. Gooner In Exile says:

    Could Spurs first home game be postponed 20,000 fans plus rioters….dangerous

  116. 26may1989 says:

    Hi there – following Exile’s parents’ lead, I’ve been busy celebrating my 13th wedding anniversary today (lace, it turns out).

    I’ve now caught up on the match last night. And I have to say, good a post as Jamie’s is (and it is very well written), London’s 6:58pm comment provides the most accurate summary of the game. I don’t see why the game is viewed as being such a downer. The real team carved apart a decent opponent time and again in the first half. Yes, the team in the second half wasn’t great, but then it was a side dominated by newbies, with just two first choice players in: Gervinho, who’s done more than enough to convince; and Vermaelen, who had a dog of a game but who we know is quality. The rest were either back-up, or back-up to the back-up. I don’t see why we should read utter doom into our entire season because of that second half.

    But don’t get me wrong: as I’ve said a number of times, I’m pretty hacked off at the failure to get transfers sorted early in the summer, and we (meaning at least the fans, and possibly the players too) should be in better psychological shape than we are. And I’m certainly happy (once again) to acknowledge Squillaci’s poor quality and that Chamakh ain’t looking good. But the worst piece of play was Vermaelen’s, when his pre-emptive tackling style gave Benfica the opening for the equaliser; one bad game does not make Vermaelen a bad player, far from it.

    So it’s not that I don’t see criticisms that need to be made, it’s just the looking at the big picture, I don’t see cause for unqualified pessimism.

    The best thing that can happen now is for the real season to get going. Bag three points at St James’s next weekend and things will start to look different. And from watching the goals from the Charity Shield today, looks like our rivals have some pretty shaky defenders and keepers going into the new season.

    In short, you can find reasons for pessimism if you want to find them. But equally, you can find reasons for optimism too.

    I won’t be able to join in tomorrow, so enjoy your Monday and catch up soon.

  117. 26may1989 says:

    And peaches, I’d love to go to the AISA event, honestly, but will be out and about, sorry.

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,
    London,
    As one of those that “whined! about the second half, here’s why. Like it or not, that was our 1st XI out there first half (we will always have absentees), and those were first reserves second half. I am not speaking on behalf of other “whiners” but for me it highlights the lack in depth of our squad. I know I sound very doomy with regard to this transfer window, but I firmly believe that if we have a bad run at the beginning of the season, Arsene will be forced out by the vocal anti brigade and I do not want that. Only a fool would believe Gazidis and Co would find a suitable eplacement just for starters. If we do not strengthen, I can see things going very badly wrong. I am not a whiner, but someone who cares and I don’t give a stuff about trophies (well, Old Big Ears aside. Its an age thing).

  119. I wonder where all this negativity comes from.United lost 8-2 I guess.Losing to Benfica is a friendly means we are a bad team?I don’t think so.If we fail to perform at St. James Park next week, then give this argument.Not now.Please.
    http://delhigunner.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/is-this-the-time-to-criticize/

  120. I, like Micky, feel disappointed that the reserves aren’t good enough. I want us to be the best, to play our fabulous football without fear. Fear spreads when certain players come onto the pitch like when Cygan used to come on and we were 1-0 up that quickly became 1-1 :(

    Our quality players shouldn’t have to worry about who might come off the bench in the last 15 minutes. Obviously we don’t buy players to sit on the bench but unfortunately we’re carrying players that don’t add anything to a game when they do come on.

    I’m hoping Rosicky can be better this season and Arshavin has the kind of quality that can change a game and I expect both of those to be on the bench

  121. Hi shub – where’ve you been?

  122. London says:

    Oh dear…breaths sigh.

    “Like it or not they were our reserves out there second half.”

    Wilshere, Walcott, Diaby, Koscielny oh why not, Nasri, Fabregas, I have started so I will continue, Bendtner, Eboue

    They were not our second string out there second half they were our third and in some cases our forth.

    Sometimes it feels like I’m pushing water up Highbury Hill.

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Shubhamgoel hi again,
    Now is an excellent time to have a moan. Once the season gets under way then for me its all hands on deck and I get right behind the team. Last season I had concerns over the squad, buttoned it and bit my lip and many other parts of my anatomy until the close season. For good behaviour I have earned the right to moan!

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh sigh indeed. What happens when we have long term injuries to RvP, Song or Verm?
    Honestly, its like….

  125. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Clue:
    Chamakh, JD/Squidg and Frimpong. Kinda same problems as last term don’t you think?

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Lets get one thing straight. I revert to the complete optimist once the season gets going and as I’ve said so many times I believe we are very close. Two more good signings would do it for me. I live in hope.

  127. Red Arse says:

    Hi Micky, :-)

    Are you being patronized on a Monday morning? It’ll be my turn next!

    Pushing water up a hill sounds as useful as good old King Canute’s favourite pastime. :-)

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    Secretly, I agree with much of what London says, but for Christ’s sake don’t let him know that. Why don’t you ask him if we have suitable cover for Song?

  129. dandan says:

    London am pushing with you mate. Business will be done this week, remember we have put Rasp house on it.

  130. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Or that Eboue or CJ are ready for a long-termer for Sagna. Or Chamakh (Arsene’s choice not mine) for RvP, or that Verm and Kos will go the distance?

  131. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    No thanks!

    I don’t like to say anything too positive about Manure, but Chris Smalling who we missed out on in January 2010 was man of the match for me.
    Of course there are some who say he is rubbish. (sighs in mock exasperation!) :-)

  132. dandan says:

    Very interestingly all the times journo’s say top four again this year

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    Ha Ha. Right, much work to do. Farewell.

  134. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    New post……

    My tuppence worth on this morning’s chatter – we already have injuries to 3/4 key players. It is a squad game and our squad is threadbare and the second string aren’t good enough.

  135. Rasp says:

    Morning RA, Smalling was excellent in the CS – he is exactly the sort of player we need but will not spend the monery on. The idea of buying Scott Dan is a complete joke, he was a defender for a side that got relegated.

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