Invincibles versus VanPersibles: How Many of Today’s Team Would Get in the 2004 Vintage?

First off, I accept that this is a pretty unfair comparison.

To rank any Arsenal team from any era against the most feted group of Gunners ever to have worn the sacred cannon is clearly destined to be a mismatch.

It’s a bit like comparing Dan Brown with Charles Dickens, or Boyzone with the Beatles.

But I have noticed a few comments recently (including yesterday from Chary) alleging that, for several years now, we have been replacing good players with new players of slightly lower quality, and then replacing those ones with slightly lower quality again and so on. A kind of downward inflation.

We may not now be in the worst of times, but it made me wonder how far we have fallen since the greatest of times. How close would any of the current first team get to starting in the Arsenal eleven of 2003/4?

I am taking as our current First XI (with everyone fit):

.

Our first choice first team from 2003/4 was:

So let’s do the Head-to-Head.

Szczesny or Lehmann

No contest. Mad he may have been, but Jens Lehmann was the best ‘keeper in the Premiership that season. Szczesny will turn into a great player, but he is still learning his trade and, inevitably, makes costly mistakes. Lehmann.

Sagna or Lauren

Tough call this one. Sagna has been one of our most consistent players of recent years. Ralph was equally consistent during the unbeaten season.  They are both no-nonsense, uncomplicated defenders capable of focusing fully for the whole game. I’m going to shade this one Sagna’s way because he is a bit more dynamic getting forward. Sagna.

Koscielny or Toure

If Koscielny keeps progressing it may not be too long before he can eclipse Kolo Toure. But for now, Kolo’s athleticism, speed and strength win the day. Toure.

Vermaelen or Campbell

Again very close, but Campbell was the rock upon which our Invincibles defence was built. A double wardrobe with a Ferrari engine, Campbell must have been a nightmare to play against. Campbell.

Santos or Cole

Santos may become an Arsenal great, but right now this is a no-contest. The greedy Chav wins hands down. Cole.

Song or Gilberto

Alex Song is a more gifted all-round footballer, but for protecting the defence against all comers it has to be the Invincible Invisible Wall. He wasn’t spectacular, but, boy, did he know his job. Gilberto.

Vieira or Wilshere

Bad luck Jack. Against most midfielders who have played for Arsenal you might have won this one, but I’m afraid no-one can displace the unmatchable Paddy V. Vieira.

Arteta or Pires

OK, OK… this is where the exercise breaks down a bit because a 4-3-3 is different from a 4-4-2. Let’s just say that, good though Arteta is (and his absence on Sunday helped reinforce his importance), it has to be Le Bob. Pires.

Walcott or Ljungberg

Freddie was never the most gifted of players, but his intelligence made him one of the most effective wide men in the business, always arriving in the box at the right moment and choosing the right option. Sadly, when it comes to footballing intelligence and taking the right option, Theo does not rate so highly. Ljungberg.

Van Persie or Bergkamp

Two Dutch Masters. Bergkamp played ‘in the hole’ – a position in which Robin would also possibly thrive. But even after his goal scoring exploits of the last year, RvP cannot displace the greatest player ever to have pulled on the famous red and white. Bergkamp.

Gervinho or Henry

Close call, this one. OK, just kidding. Henry.

So there we have it. From our current first team only Sagna, by my reckoning, would have a chance of being a starter in our Invincible eleven (and even that is a close call).

What does this tell us?

That the years of being a bit boracic because of the stadium build have led to us downgrading the quality of our players, as Chary and others suggest?

That we are currently an unambitious club unwilling to spend on world class players the like of which we had in 2003/4?

That football has changed so much since 2004 (when it was really a toss up between us and Manchester Utd for the title each year) that we will never again be able to achieve such dominance because of the arrival of the sugar daddy clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City?

Or that, back in 2004, we were just incredibly, freakishly lucky to have several of the best players in the world all playing together, supported by ruthlessly professional team mates and a winning ethic that enabled us to steamroller all opposition?

Have we fallen so far because of self-inflicted mistakes, or is it just the swings and roundabouts of football, in which success is difficult to achieve and sometimes difficult to understand, while failure is an ever-present possibility (just look at Liverpool and the Spuds) for which everyone claims to know the reason and whom to blame?

What do you think?

RockyLives

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353 Responses to Invincibles versus VanPersibles: How Many of Today’s Team Would Get in the 2004 Vintage?

  1. Rasp says:

    Great but disturbing post Rocky, Sagna is the only current player capable of getting into the Invincibles – sad but very true.

    So what went wrong? The financial constraints imposed by building the stadium is major factor.

    A second factor has to be the increasing isolation of the manager. As much as I’d love the Invincibles back, I’d like the old Arsène to come back and replace the tortured soul who sat on his own on the bench against Swansea and by his body language radiated tension that must have been picked up by his players.

  2. VCC says:

    Great Great post Rocky. What else from you.

    It’s a game I think every passionate supporter plays at some stage of their lives, and as you say it’s very difficult to play “Like for like”

    My take is only Vermaelen would make the bench along with Sagna, Wilshere and Van Persie.

    Ralph was a monster and I so liked his no nonsence attitude, NO one messed with him, boy how we could do with him in the trenches right now.

    At that time Toure was one of my favourites ( I even had a shirt with his name on it, how sad am I, other grown men would oggle at Amanda Lamb or some other well developed woman)

    I have to say if Wenger does not get his finger out pretty soon we will fall even further adrift, and we all now once you hit that slippery slope how hard it is to get back to the top.

    Glad your back btw.

  3. Double98 says:

    I think Arteta does a similar job to Gilberto but is less invisible when he has the ball.
    Song would be up against Vieira.Combatitive skirmishers. No comparison

    So on that basis i would give Arteta a few games and know i have a reliable wall to call on.

    Lauren that season was immense and i certainly wouldn’t be the one to drop him.
    He a stone cold killa, baby.
    Seriously he did look like he could snap u like a twig.

  4. VCC says:

    oooops “know”

  5. Rasp says:

    The dynamic of the transfer market is now totally different to 2003. As Rocky points out, procuring players that are of sufficient quality and yet not on the radar of the big spenders has made the task of assembling a quality squad much harder.

  6. VCC says:

    I seriously think some times wingers did not go near ralph in fear of him. I would lay it on a plate for him and piss off to the right wing.

  7. Morning all and glad to have helped spark this debate in some smal way, although my double mention in the headline post could get me a degree of notoriety. However good thought provoking post there the Rock.

    Still I stick by what I say, for whatever reason we have consistently replaced outgoing players woith those of lesser quality or with players who are earlier in their developmental process and not ready.

    Think I may have to get my tin hat on. :(

  8. fatgingergooner says:

    For me

    Lehmann
    Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Cole
    Ljungberg Vieira Gilberto Pires
    Bergkamp Henry

    I think you could argue a case for Wilshire instead of Gilberto but only based on talent. Wilshire only had 1 season so difficult to give him that spot.

    Great post, though it does make you aware of how far backwards we have travelled.

    What I would say though is that if we had that 2004 team now, they would not be unbeaten. This league is much tougher than in was in 2004.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    RL. An apposite reminder not so much of our fall from grace but more of how utterly fantastic the Invincibles were, and how privileged we are to have a manager who could create such an ensemble.

    But …. it is a sad but understandable indictment of today’s squad. I think there may come a time when JW would fit into such august company.

    I would also have Sagna ahead of Lauren. Both super players but Sagna shades it.

  10. Rasp says:

    Another question we should ask ourselves is, have we or should we have adapted our style of play since 2003/4.

    We made a big mistake when we let Hleb, Flamini and Diarra all go in the same summer and didn’t bring in any replacements. I think that decision is one of the reasons why Song suffered so much criticism, his then raw talent had to be developed in front of our eyes and he had little experience around him for guidance.

  11. Richard says:

    The biggest thing for me about the Invincibles is that they didn’t rely on world-class players but instead created a system that made good players look world-class.

    Its no coincidence that a large number of our goals looked exactly the same – i.e. lightening quick break-aways or Pires and Ljungberg taking up inside forward positions and cutting in behind the fullback.

    The system was so ingrained in the players that it made the goals look simple and walking it into the net really was the order of the day.

    However, ultimately it was the failure of the players to accept that the system was the reason for their success that I believe led to the team failing to recapture their success.

    Very few of those players were world beaters so the second they tried to do more than the system was built for, flaws became evident and the speed at which the passing occurred naturally slowed down.

    The decline continued as we failed to find players that performed as well in the system as those who came before and eventually Wenger made the decision to change the system entirely to one based on possession rather than pace. As it stands, that system isn’t working but then a lot of people were saying that about the system used in 2001 and it eventually led to the Invincibles.

  12. Rasp says:

    Hi Richard and welcome,

    Great comment, I completely agree about the speed of passing. The ball can travel faster than a man can run and some of those Invincvibles goals were like watching a pinball machine, we’d mug the opposition when they didn’t even know they were in danger.

  13. say what say what say what say what say what say what say what says says:

    Great stuff Rocky,
    Three thing`s hit me straight away. 1) I want to go back in Terry`s time machine and have a “Ground Hog “season till I die. 2) We played 4 4 2 then. 3) If we didn`t have them 6 players missing, we`d have a decent team .
    I actually think 4 of the current team are, or will be as good. 1) Szczesny. Wilshere, will be as good and maybe better. 2) Kos and Verm, as good. Which imo means, like I`ve been saying for a while, we`ve got some great young talent here and are just a few “super quality ” signing`s away from challenging next year. again I have to repeat myself and say, Arsene get the cheque book out before it`s too late !. We seem to dilly dally whilst overs nip in and get the man ,We`ve known for at least 2 years now that Hazard is going to be some player (arsene was saying it 2 years ago ), he would have been a lot cheaper then !.

  14. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    oops :)

  15. patr1ck84 says:

    Good post but I think apart from city you could do this compaison with all the top clubs eg compare utds first choice that won the treble how many would get in Schmeichal,Irwin Pallister,Stam, Neville, Beckham, Keane, Scholes Giggs Cole Yorke….. Our side at the time was Seaman Dixon Adams Keown, Winterburn,Overmars Petit, Vieira, Parlour, Bergkamp, anelka 2 very strong sides that most of trhe players out next sunday can only dream of getting near. Premiership is just not as strong .

  16. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Absoloutly briliant post Rocky that has sent my brain into overdrive.

    With out doing any stats on the 2 teams a couple of things stand out for me. Firstly the amount of transfer money and the nature of the transfer policy between the 2004 and 2012 teams is very similar. Players like Henry, Viera and Freddie were prurchased for there potential at young ages, in fact the only proven premier league player was Sol and he came on a free. the current side has players like Theo, Kos and Gerv who were all purchased for potential.

    This brings me to my second point. If you compare, the 2004 team look like guys that at there peak i.e. not to many young players yet to reach the summit in that team. in reality that 2004 team was perhaps slightly to old to build on for the future. Now, if you look at the 2012 team there is plenty of players yet to reach there peaks or who are having there first very good season.

    This is the best post i have ever seen on AA because it confirms that the reason we are now lagging behind is not because of transfers or mismanagement but rather on the fact that firstly in the current climate we are finding it difficult to hold on to players, and secondly the envoiremnet is much feircer with the arrival of Abramovich and the Sheiks.

    It also confirms my belief that if we manage to keep this current crop together (and the envoirement is shifting in our favour) we will go on to have the best team in the very near future. People should get off Arsene and the Boards back and support them in what they are trying to do. All the evidence is there that the club will go on to acheive great things and i wish supporters could see the reality rather than gripe and moan about the manager, board, players, tea lady etc.

    Believe me people, very soon we will have a team that will eclipse the 2004 team, and that day is coming sooner than many think.

  17. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    If we had kept, Cesc, Na$ri Clichy and still have brought in the new signing`s, I think we would have been in the Mix !. Anyone else agree or not ?.

  18. kelsey says:

    RL

    agree with your selection but things have moved on in those 7/8 years that it is hard to compare against money that is now available.

    TMHT,

    let me ask you what do you think kroenke’s intention are, if you say to make Arsenal a force to be reckoned with, or for him to make a profit, how is he going to do it ?

    Our heritage is slowly going down the pan.I will not keep repeating my thoughts but it’s so blatantly obvious that the whole structure on the playing side is wrong.
    I don’t care where we finish but a lot more commitment and fluidity wouldn’t go amiss .Wenger needs help financially and on the training ground IMO

  19. Double98 says:

    TMHT – That day might be coming – it requires Wenger to be the constant gardener – he needs to be savage in his pruning.

    last summer was a good start in seperating the wheat from the chaff but we still have too many weeds – some are pretty to look at and imitate prise blooms while others are quite obvious.

    For whats in 2015, i would say that of our current crop of players

    Chesney

    Kos
    Vermaelan

    Wilshere
    Ramsay
    Coq
    Frimpong

    Ox

    Would trouble the invincible starting line up

    Gibbs too, if he can stop breaking down.

  20. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Hey Son of Zeus and Alcmene, have you got your Villa cup tickets yet ?

  21. Ozgunner says:

    great post Rocky, love the thought provokers. and also great comment TMHT.

    Like others i’d only be able to fit sagna in.

    What a bench we could have though:

    szcz, verm, koz, jack, rvp, gerv, ramsey.

    A time machine is definently needed. limited seats available, ive got one, those mentioned, GLIC i suppose theres a ticket there for you too

  22. gunnergetya says:

    our problem now is that we pass backwards if you study the invincibles season viera gilberto, pires and jlungberg never felt the need to pass the ball backwards arsenals way was to make space and fowards only, the midfield would gather, spin trick n pick passes out wide or too henry n bergs who would drop deep n link the mid to the forwards in my view this is what we miss fab did this link up well for the past few yrs but as of this yr ramsey has not been able to find a balance of when to link n when to get back n hold possesion, dont get me wrong im a big admirer of the welsh ram but looking back he just doesnt fill the boots of those who wore them before him

  23. Double98 says:

    Ozgunner – there is no way you could leave Edu off the bench, or clichy :)

  24. ogban says:

    But the stadium build was supposed to make us stronger. How come it has become a limiting factor to improving this Club?

  25. Wonderman says:

    Great post Rocky, but one I find difficult to contribute to as the two teams played two completely different systems therefore asking different skillsets of the players. For instance Ljungberg was never given as many balls to feet as Walcott is, but was the master of the blindside run from the weak side ( the side that is opposite to the ball )

    @Richard Absoulutel agree, I also believe that it is no coincidence that our new slowed down style of playing has resulted in often looking comfortable in the champs league in comparison to the invincibles who often struggled to get out of the group stages.

  26. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Kelsey,

    I understand your concerns about Kronke, after all he is someone who has only had control for a short period of time. i like to judge some one on the evidence, and that indicates that he invests for the long term and does not see a return on his investments other than by capital growth Time will tell, but if he leaves the management to get on with there jobs and does not extract short term income from the club i will be satisfied.

    D98, bY 2015 we will add to that great crop you listed, all teams evolve and we are no different, we are going in the right direction but there are some rocky roads ahead.

    Cornwall, aint got them yet but definataly will. hope to meet you and any others going in the tavern for a few to many beers.

  27. James says:

    Agree with all the head-to-heads, but Vermaelen would get in the Invincibles Team ahead of Kolo Toure.

    Lehmann

    Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Cole

    Ljungberg Vieira Gilberto Pires

    Bergkamp Henry

    Could cry seeing that Invincibles Team with 6 world class players (Cole, Campbell, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry) and most of the others arguable, compared to now with 1 definite world class player and a couple disputable (Sagna & Vermaelen). Sad thing is, i’ve lost hope of it changing anytime soon.

  28. Reddawn says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post Rocky.

    Looking back to 2004 I don’t remember us having to start a game using centre backs instead of full backs. It is pretty obvious without our two best defensive players this present team is very much out of balance. It also negates our attacking options. Again, I haven’t seen the stats for 2004 but, did they have to deal with so many long term injuries, unlike the present team.

  29. Ozgunner says:

    @ 98

    you are right, the clichy of old was a stellar player, the back injury coupled with a shot confidence ruined him. Edu was another class act, however my biggest problem was choosing between RVP and aliadiere

    in regards to 2015, the optimist in me says your forgetting afobe, jenkinson, aneke, and miquel

  30. Morning all, interesting post Rocky and a reminder of just how lucky we were for that crop of players to come together at Arsenal for those years.

    There is always luck in football.

    As others have said Uniteds current side couldn’t hold a candle to the Treble side. Nor could Liverpools current side consider themselves better than the CL winning team and they were really shite!

    Only Chelsea and City really have the money to buy quality in every position (and two of). We, United and Liverpool have to suffice with one or two players of “Exceptional talent” and hope we can fill the spots around them with players that can contribute. Spurs have built a good side this year but an interesting question is forget that they are wearing that Lilywhite rubbish for a second and see if any of those would fit in the Invincibles team.

    In fact do that exercise with any of the top 6 and seriosuly ask yourself in any of the players on show would get in to our Invincibles side.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    RL, great, well-timed post :)

    For me, of all the 22 players, Vieira, Bergkamp, RvP, Wilshere, Henry and Pires would have a guaranteed start. The rest would have to battle it out between them imo.

  32. tonydgooner says:

    Question, when someone you really believe in keeps telling you to trust them, even though you see different,your natural instinct is to go with them.When they do not deliver on there promise,you then start to have doubts, because you now feel they are not so sure…To love or hate for me has never been the issue,but i think the special key Arsene Wenger had to our hearts (and to some non AFC supporters) has been lost ,and i dont think he will find it……I am truly and honestly behind my great club (one of the biggest in the world). credit to the new players,who i believe really try…but i can see them having a much harder task than the previous AFC squads ,when clearly this should not have been the case.We have gone from second best in europe 5 years ago to a team who scares nobody anymore…………………….?

  33. On another note Rasp you mentioned Arsene’s isolation from the bench on Sunday.

    Considering both Rosicky and Mertesacker had been ill, is there a chance Arsene was also under the weather so keeping distance from his subs? My guess comes from the fact that Arsene was in tracksuit (and dodgy plimsols) for a match which is pretty much unheard of.

    Either that or when they cut to the picture of him on the bench Pat Rice was up bellowing and Lewin was treating someone. They didn’t have a camera on that bench all game so I have no idea whether he was a isolated as that cut away suggested.

  34. afcwils says:

    The evidence is there plain to see. we’ve lost ambition. Man United have never been let to fade away like we have because A. Fergie would never have allowed it and their board know it. B. They have kept that desire to be at the top and winners for the last 20 odd years. Our board (and manager it seems) deem champions league qualification as success rather than being champions.
    Chary is right. We have gradually bought lesser worthy players and sold for profit rather than reinvestment. This all leads us to our current predicament.

  35. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Oz,
    Thanks for letting me be aboard the time machine, but if you go back in time, you`ll see it was my idea ! :)
    So i will be sitting next to Terry as he`s the Driver and F**k know`s where we will end up without my TackleNav with him driving, probably a “groundhog last minute” of last years CC Final !. You can be the ticket collector , but first you`ll have to join the Cuckoo Club. you will also have to change from being a Republican and vow allegience to Queen evonne the 1st .

  36. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    afcwils,

    if you look at the 2 teams put out by Rocky you will see that this is not true. Failure to keep players approaching there peak has been the reason for our decline, not mismanagemt or greedy owners. the good news is that the climate is beggining to change to our advantage and we have a great crop of young players which will push us on to unprecedented heights.

  37. Arsedave says:

    What a great post today Rocky Lives, a lot of research time and effort has gone into it and an interesting read.

    However the team today and how good they are is only relative to our competitors. Now I would have done comparisons with Chelsea and Man City but the answer is simple for them 2 teams, they are far stronger now.

    With the Liverpool and Man Utd line ups the following assessment can be made

    Man Utd

    Howard-Lindergaar HOWARD
    G Neville – Smalling NEVILLE
    Ferdinand-Ferdinand –
    Brown – Jones – EQUAL
    Silvestre – Evra EVRA
    Giggs – Valencia GIGGS
    Fletcher – Anderson EQUAL
    Scholes – Carrick SCHOLES
    Richardson – Nani NANI
    Saha – Rooney ROONEY
    Ronaldo – Wellbeck EQUAL

    Liverpool

    Dudek – Reina REINA
    Finnan – Johnson JOHNSON
    Hyppia – Srktel HYPPIA
    Carragher – Agger EQUAL
    Riise – Enrique ENRIQUE
    Gerrard – Gerrard
    Murphy – Lucas/Spearing EQUAL
    Hamman – Adam HAMMAN
    Kewell – Downing KEWELL
    Heskey – Carroll HESKEY
    Owen – Suarez OWEN

    As you see the above is very subjective but I don’t think there is much in it, I believe Man Utd and Liverpool have stood still as well since 2004. (Don’t forget the 2004 Ronaldo was only finding his feet then) Maybe Evra, Nani and Rooney make Utd’s team a little stronger but I would say with the exception of Reina, Johnson and Enrique Liverpool are marginally weaker which does show in their League position.

    So to sum up my point, yes man for man we are weaker but our competitors from 2004 haven’t really improved either.
    But the big difference is that we have been joined by much stronger teams from $ity, Chelski and Spuds.

  38. gunnerpete says:

    Our usual introspective journey into why and how good are we! Unlike everone else its seems I would always have Lauren ahead of Sagna . because apart from consistancy I see Sagna as the worst crosser we have had for 20 years which nulifies all the good athletic running he does in supporting the lazy Walcott. Lauren had the lot which included the final ball. As for the rest…well you cannot compare Wilshire (too young at the present) or Chesney as like for like. Come back in 5 years.

    My real feeling are not for print. But I will say that I think that with ALL our squad available (yeah right) wh would be up there within a few points. Sadly Arsene has changed character in the past 7 years from a Shankly (who always bought a new star to add to a successful team and never sold the top players) to a Bertie Mee ( a man lucky enough to inherit a great squad on the up and added a few stars then year in year out gradually lost the plot) .

  39. Arsedave says:

    Breaking news, RVP just misses out on a place in UEFAs team of the year.

    Cassillas
    Alves
    Pique
    Silva – AC Milan
    Marcelo
    Robben
    Xavi
    Iniesta
    Bale
    Messi
    Ronaldo

  40. chas says:

    Haha, Rocky, only one winner in the battle of the Invincibles versus the Unconvincingables.

    Just imagine if Wenger had got rid of all the deadwood from the Invincibles squad how much better they could have been!

    Stuart Taylor
    Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
    Pascal Cygan
    Philippe Senderos
    Jermaine Pennant
    Rami Shaaban
    Igors Stepanovs
    Stathis Tavlaridis
    Jeremie Aliadiere
    David Bentley
    Sylvain Wiltord

  41. Double98 says:

    Bale? He’s not even the best spud – there will be a dvd out on there website for this…
    maybe even a statue of the banana munching, faecal matter throwing, two games a season wonder outside the why tart lane

  42. Ozgunner says:

    bale that is ridiculous!play one good game against inter and the world thinks your the bees knees! I don’t know what RVP has to do to get a mention in these teams.

    @ GLIC

    haha while your sitting there with TMHT lost in the renaissance, applying for a job as a court jester to make ends meet, i’ll be collecting all of historys greatest minds to perfect cloning. Developing the arsenal school of clones…there will be a bergkamp, adams, keown, pires and more for every arsenal generation. Then i’ll come back for TMHT, and maybe Evonne if she agrees to pay back all those outstanding presents.

  43. J@J.com says:

    Sorry but Lauren over Sagna any day. Not being rose tinted but he scored penalties and he was fucking hard as nails.

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    good to see Wenger has slated the team for their last 2 performances.

    “It is a massive opportunity because you feel we have given six points away in the last two games in a way that is unbelievable,” Wenger told the official Arsenal website.

    “That’s now twice – at Swansea and at Fulham – where we have given the game away.”
    “It is time for us to wake up and be focused – we have a good opportunity to do that against Manchester United.”

    And Wenger says his team will need to show a big improvement if they are to overcome Manchester United, who currently lie second in the League table.

    “That’s now twice – at Swansea and at Fulham – where we have given the game away,” added Wenger.

    “At our level that is frustrating and not good enough.

    “It is down to a lack of composure and the right decision-making. It is alarming because at Fulham we were 1-0 up and we lost the game.

    “[Against Swansea] we came back to 2-2 and straight away we gave the third goal away. It is really a concern.”

  45. Ozgunner says:

    according to arseblog henry limped off the training track with what appears to be a calf problem. Also AA is linked with Nazio for 6 million.

    @ GiE

    your theory on the arsene sitting alone thing is a really good idea, makes alot of sense.

  46. gunnern5 says:

    Based on our year to date averages, after 21 games, this is how our final stats for 2011/12 would look.

    GF 69. GA 56, W 20, D 5, L 13, Pts 65.

    The average points for the top four places in the 19 seasons of the EPL have been.,

    1st 86. 2nd 79, 3rd 74, 4th 68

    So that would put us between 5th and 8th place this season.

    All hypothetical – but who knows?

  47. evonne says:

    Hiya Rocky – only you could come up with such idea 3 days after the defeat! Come, that’s not fair, why not do the comparison when we kick the Mancs back where they come from?

    I’ve done some comparisons of the above paired players and not surprisingly only 3 players are older in current team than his counterpart back in 2003 and they are Sagna, Koscielny, Santos vs Lauren, Toure, Cole.

    The Wikipedia are on strike now so I cannot compare years at Arsenal at the beginning of 2003 and 2011 of each player, but my guess is that the Invincibles had considerably longer service in the first team.

    The point I am making is, that this is a young team, and becasue of various problems still evolving, still long way to go

  48. Gooner In Exile says:

    FGG. Now look here young man you can’t go putting stuff like that on a blog….it just doesn’t fit with the general consensus that Arsrne blames every defeat on the ref.

    I personally think the quotes you have given are taken out of context and must have missed the “because Iof the ref”, “because of TV”, “because of injuries” excuses that he lives to whinge about. ;)

    Chas that wasn’t dead wood it was unused wood (thankfully) :)

  49. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. Nice piece of relevant research.

  50. Gooner In Exile says:

    Shhhh GN5 we are rebuilding belief….I’m not telling you what my Like for Likes are showing!

    Altho I have come up with a new way to implement the data and only look at like for like games (ie where us and others have played Wolves Home etc). On that basis we are only 4 points behind Spuds :) still not great but better than looking at the current table.

  51. Big Raddy says:

    On a different tack.

    I am appalled that the FA are allowing Darlington to go to the wall. And this for the same as a week of Ya Ya’s wages.

    What is the point of talking about grass roots development and the drip feed of monies from the PL, if they allow one of the world’s oldest teams to die?

    If any of the billionaires loved football they would give a days interest to Darlo and save them.

    Theo etc etc….. instead of buying another Ferrari, do something for the game you love.

  52. Gooner In Exile says:

    Well said Raddy, but come on now no place for sentiment.

    The Darlo fans will be much happier when they’ve switched allegiances to a team that will win things.

  53. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Well said Big Raddy, It makes me sick that them Sheiks have ploughed , soon to be a £Billion in Man City and the change in Mansours pocket would save that club !.
    On a lighter note, I`ve got my Tickets for the Villa game and I`m “up the North Bank, up the North Bank, up the North Bank…….Emirates……,Doesn`t have quite the same ring to it !. :)

  54. RockyLives says:

    Hello All and thanks for comments.

    The comparison between today’s team and the Invincibles is spurious for all sorts of reasons (most of which have been pointed out in the comments).

    At that time we were lucky enough to have had a nucleus of world class players at the peak of their game, many of whom had learned their trade in the win-at-all-costs mentality of the Adams-Keown-Vieira-Bergy teams of ’98 and 2002.

    But it’s worth remembering that none of them was bought as a “superstar”. Most of those Arsenal greats were players on whom AW took a gamble for one reason or another.

  55. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Well said.

    It was just good fortune that I was born with AFC as my nearest team – a few miles further North and I could be a Spud!

    I have huge respect for the fans of clubs like Sheff Weds and Leeds who turn up in such numbers.

  56. As an aside just got an extra 2 tickets for the Blackburn game – so I’ll be there with my 2 boys.

    Hope Tel has recovered from his inuury by then and is in fine form as they’d like to see the maestro one more time.

  57. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Big Raddy,
    That was lucky, you could have been a miserable bastard for the last 50 years (depending how old you are ) ! :)

  58. Gooner In Exile says:

    It was my good fortune that despite being raised in Spud Central in an era when they won the FA Cups had Ossie, Hoddle, Villa….my Dad stood firm and made us support the team he grew up next to.

  59. RockyLives says:

    BR
    You are clearly a man of refinement, intelligence and taste. I think that even if you had been born in the centre circle at Shite Hart Lane you would not have ended up supporting the Forces of Darkness.

  60. Nick says:

    Very interesting article, especially considering how important RVP is now, but wouldn’t beat out Bergkamp. In truth we only have, as some have stated, 3-4 players now that would have even come off the bench for the Invincibles (once they had the game totally in hand mind you!).

    But looking at other Arsenal greats vs @ the time, it’s also very interesting. Example… would you rather have Lehmann in goal or David Seaman?

    I can’t honestly believe Bale made that list! What has the world come to? He’s a very good player but really? And Robben is injured as much as Diaby is, how’d he get on that list? As usual it’s a list dominated by Real Madrid (3) and Barcelona (5).

    How many Arsenal players during the Invincibles season were on the 11?

  61. RockyLives says:

    Good comment Nick
    The problem with comparing anyone with the 2004 team is that that team achieved something that no other team (never mind no other Arsenal team) has ever managed.

    The likes of RvP, Vermaelen, Sagna and Wilshere would probably have been first choices in many other Arsenal teams throughout the years.

    To answer your goalie question – I would have Seaman ahead of Jens, even though Jens was amazing in 2004.

    Can’t believe the Bale thing – it just shows you how much the media hype plays a part.

    For what it’s worth, I think Robin’s achievements in scoring so many goals in a struggling team eclipse even Messi’s scoring achievements (as the latter is in a team that creates dozens of chances every game)

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    Didn’t Robin score 50 goals last year for club and country? Much better than Bales return I would say!

    As for the discussion about Arsenal declining but Man U not, did United move stadiums in that time!? Surely that must have had some sort of detrimental effect on the quality of our squad?

  63. Arsedave says:

    FGG
    Don’t forget, the Emirates Stadium was bought on a Business Mortgage agreement and doesn’t impact on our transfer money.

    To be fair to ManUre, they went from a refurbished 40,000 all seater to a 67,000 all seater then filled the corners in to a 76,000 stadium over the same sort of period.

    Also don’t forget we have a treasure chest of around £60-100 million, ManUre have a bank loan supporting their club of around £550 million. (used to be £850 million until they paid off a large amount last year) ManUre could most probably buy one £25 million player this window and that would be it.

  64. RockyLives says:

    Arsedave
    It does seem that to guarantee success these days you have to be prepared to accept a very high level of debt (an approach which has never appealed to Arsenal throughout our history).

    Man Utd, Man City and the Chavs are all operating on a debt basis.

  65. Nick says:

    True. Look at what Barcelona have achieved in the past 6 years and how much the media and everyone loves their “youth development” system (being sponsored by Unicef and going and raiding 2nd and 3rd world countries for their talented 10 year olds). But then look at how much debt they are in, to the point they couldn’t even pay their players over the summer last year and still they wouldn’t shut up about signing Cesc, then spent money on Sanchez and Afellay. You’d think they wouldn’t be able to do this and surely from a financial standpoint that they shouldn’t do it, but they do it anyway. It takes money to make money, i.e. win trophies and the football world these days is completely different from 2003-2004 in every respect.

    Arsenals mortgage on the Emirates hasn’t got anything to do with the money we have and don’t have to spend in a practical sense, but Wenger and his degree still use it as an excuse to not spend. The debt crisis in world football and mainly in European football is being predicted to hugely crash down in 2012-2013 on teams. But then all they have to do is have some rich oil Sheikh or Russian gangester come in and save them. It’s a sad state of affairs.

    Back to happier subjects, as Rocky pointed out, I’d have Seaman over Lehman any day, but in the context of the 04 squad, Jehns was the terminator!

  66. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Sorry lads, Chelsea and City are not in debt. As far as ime aware debt has been converted to equity. Utd are in debt, but its only paper debt. if the Glazers default then the banks will sell it on to someone who make hugh profits. Barcelonas turnover is obscene and there debts are more than managable.

  67. Hi all

    Great thought provoking post Rocky, The Invincibles were just that, Invincible, and as such, their ‘we’re gonna steamroller you’ ethic is all that’s really needed in this 2012 team. Even a tiny part of it would help, I have no doubt.

    Need a post for tomorrow please, anyone??????

  68. You see what happens is this, we get a great new blogger like robbinURpersie and he offers a suggestion for a post which Rasp and Rocky and peaches all say ‘Yes please, what a great idea’ and then he disappears off the face of the earth …….. :( :( :(

  69. Jamie says:

    Actualy, controversial but i think that there are a few of this side that would get in that team.

    I think our current Keeper is better than the Lehmann. I think Koscielny is better than Toure ever was.

    I could have played alongside Sol Campbell that year, he was imense.

    I rate Sagna as among the best right backs i have ever seen.

    I also think Song,as a pure holding man has more than Gilberto did and the sooner we get him playing that role instead of his current one the better.

    The problem is that Arteta isn’t Patrick Vieira, He is an Edu maybe, but nowhere near a Vieira, We are desperate for a Bergkamp or Fabregas, it certainly isn’t Aaron Ramsey. Hopefully Wilshere will play there when he gets back.

    Walcott and Ljungberg?
    Gervinho and Pires?

    Not in the same league right now.

    And whislt RVP is an exceptional player, comparing him to Henry is like comparing Alan Smith to Henry.

    A prolific goalscorer against a once in a generation player.

    It is to top half where we are lacking. If we get our defenders fit, we are a very good side. We lack creativity. We used to make many more chances than we do now.

    Smashing post though Rocky, always good fun!

  70. Idaho Kid says:

    Hey,

    Kinda like the new ideas I am learning here bout financing.

    Nick, you reckon the Emirates mortgage don’t count when y’all consider debt? Say what, go ahead and buy players cause it makes no durn difference no how? That right?

    Say now, I got me a home loan on my little piece of real estate, and it eats a hunk of my take home pay every month, but to hell with that, I’m gonna get me that big, shiny SUV, now I know the payments don’t count. They’s separate, right?

    Now all I need is you to tell me again buddy, how do I swing that past my bank manager? Ain’t just a British deal, right?

  71. Idaho Kid says:

    Dang, ’tweren’t Nick at all, ’twas Arse Dave.

    Over to you Dave buddy.

  72. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Have we bought anyone yet ?

  73. Rasp says:

    No glic, we haven’t bought anyone yet :roll:

    My concern is that we may just be daft enough to sell Arshavin in January and not buy another wide midfielder – we’ve done such things before and having Gervinho away at the ACN would be the perfect time to shoot ourselves in the foot.

  74. evonne says:

    Nick – wrong. They are not being sponsored by Unicef, it’s the other way round

  75. evonne says:

    I’ve done all the calculations now and in a nutshell – they confirm what I suspected all alone – the average age of Invincibles was 27, whereas now it is 24, less if we don’t take latest singnings.
    Also, the average lenght of service at the Arsenal was 3.5 years compared with 2.4
    So, experience, consistency and continuity is what we need. As Peaches said and these are my sentiments too – Hleb and Flamini stubbed us in the back, otherwise the trophies at the Ems would be many

  76. Nick says:

    Nice one! I’m not sure who Arse Dave is or why such a sarcastic deconstruction of my comments was warranted. You stay classy Idaho!

  77. Nick says:

    @ Evonne: Very true, I missed the mark on what I was saying, I meant that since they were using Unicef on their Kit in terms of a charitable act vs. now where they had to for first time take on a T-shirt sponsor in the Qatar foundation to help pay for their huge debt. I should’ve re-read what I wrote before posting. Thanks for the correction.

  78. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Rocky, good post, but a reminder of how far we’ve allowed standards to fall.
    What a legend Peter Hill-Wood is!
    His statement makes me think that Arsenal pay Arsene Wenger such a huge salary because first and foremost he is an excellent accountant, and to buy his silence. If that’s true, what a big slap in the face to Arsenal supporters.

  79. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Rasp,
    If we were daft (personally , I dont think It`s daft , I think we`d be daft not to get rid of a few more , just like me after a “nuclear” curry, we need a massive clearout !) enough to get rid of Arshavin In Jan`, do you think we would be daft enough to play the Ox there instead ? :)

  80. Arsedave says:

    I don’t feel I’ve deconstructed any comments on this site.

    Idaho
    When the board decided to move to a new stadium they looked at the cost over a large number of years and built it into the business plan. Such factors would have included revenue from the sale of Highbury, season and match ticket sales, hospitality revenue, building for the future, sustained Champions league football etc. the list could go on. Like anyone with a house they would pay back say £15million over 60 years. This is then built in to the budget of the club. It doesn’t mean we have to pay back the cost of the stadium at once. This then frees up money for transfers etc. Enjoy you shiny SUV.

  81. Rasp says:

    Hi glic,

    I just know the way AW works and he only sees the Ox as a sub not a starter at this stage. We are short of wide midfielders. My point is, by all means sell AA, but on the condition that we bring someone in (maybe on loan)

    I have decided to change my terminology regarding my wishlist of players…. we need a finisher, a midfield enforcer and wingers who can cross …. and we’re definitely not getting anything of the sort!

  82. Idaho Kid says:

    Thanx Dave, I see where you are coming from.

    I’ll have to hold fire on that SUV!

  83. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Rasp
    I feel as though Arshavin is a ( cant think of the word ) “inside out / upside down ” sub, where as they normally bring a sub on with 20 minutes to go ,Arshavin comes on for the start, dies after 20 minutes and doesn`t get subbed until 70 minutes, might as well use the Ox from the start, we might get more than 20 minutes as he`s eager to shine!. Agree with your last bit, we`re get nothing of the sort !

  84. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Idaho Kid,
    Are you Redders in disguise, are youuu Red ders in dis quise ?. I da no, Idaho. :)

  85. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Thats the one peaches :)

  86. RockyLives says:

    GLIC
    I hope it is Redders, otherwise it means we’ve attracted yet another accountant to the site :)

  87. evonne – i’m calling you, where are you?

  88. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all,

    Any news? Anything?

    Thought I’d be without my football fix and then remembered El Clasico is on tonight HALA MADRID

  89. He’s incorrigible ;)

  90. Nick says:

    Well said Arsedave.

    Interesting read here since there’s been a lot of Emirates vs debt talk
    (if you’re not supposed to link other blogs here I’ll apologize in advance and feel free to remove the link)

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/10230

  91. Hi Irish – absolutely no news except Thierry limped out of training today apparently :(

  92. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Rocky,
    At least their honest ( cant believe I`m saying that ) accountant`s, supporting a well run self-sustainable football business, not like them dodgy one`s who support City and Chavs ! :)

  93. Hi Nick – no problem linking the article, most of the good blogs are listed in our blog roll anyway.

  94. TERRY MANCINI NO CRISIS HERE says:

    Instead of atracting more delights,so i can master my cyber flirting, like Peaches,Evonne and Irish, we attract another bloody Accountant. Typical.

    No offence Idaho, coz i know its you Redders. hahaha.

  95. evonne says:

    Peaches – at home, can’t be arsed to answer the phone :) try again

  96. Irishgunner says:

    Nothing like bad news eh Peaches?! Sure he’ll be fine for the weekend.

    Vermaelen and Arteta are meant to be on track for the weekend which is good.

  97. evonne says:

    Rasp – if only we could have all our wishes granted…I have a friend who has 1 wish only and even that remains just a wish :(

  98. RockyLives says:

    Good link – thanks Nick

    When I referred earlier to Chavs, Mancs and Oilies all being run by debt, I meant being run on a deficit basis in relation to operating costs.

    Obviously if a billionaire sheikh gives you a billion quid, you’re not technically in debt, but you are operating outside of normal business parameters.

  99. Irishgunner says:

    Terry – Your cyber flirting could not get any better if you tried ;)

  100. kelsey says:

    Nick,

    we are already linked to that blog as Untold Arsenal, but thanks anyway.

  101. Irishgunner says:

    “SkySporksNews Sky Sporks News
    BREAKING; Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets injures ligament in pre-match diving warm-up.”
    :lol: :lol:

  102. Idaho Kid says:

    Howdy, GLIC

    Don’t know why you are confusing me with that Redders guy.

    He is a no hope Yankees supporting bum and real dopey to boot. Sure would like to give him the boot, but I heerd he has ridden off into the sunset. Forgotten his hoss tho!

    He likes to entertain you folks, but I may be no accountant but I’m smarter than him. Everyone is smarter than him.

    Here goes for you and your good friend TMHT, bet you see thru this right off!! No cheatin!

    To all you good folk in the UK- specially GLIC & TMHT:

    (I only set this for my smart friends.) OK, I got my own puzzle wrong – Damnation!

    See if you can figure out what these seven words all have in common?

    1. Banana
    2. Dresser
    3. Grammar
    4. Potato
    5. Revive
    6. Uneven
    7. Assess

    In case you give up and peeked at the answer, I will post it later. :-)

    Can’t figger it out? Give it another try…. go on.
    Look at each word carefully. You’ll kick yourself when you discover the answer. This is so cool…..

    No, it is not that they all have at least 2 double letters….
    Let me know if you found the answer – I didn’t!
    Answer to follow!

  103. TERRY MANCINI NO CRISIS HERE says:

    hahahahaha Redders.

  104. Gooner In Exile says:

    The points on stadium debt have been aired before our business plan was pre global recession and bank funding crisis.

    To avoid high interest costs we have paid and converted much of the debt which was as a result of property prices falling below what was originally forecast and therefore made less to cover stadium cost.

    Which also explains the cash up front low revenue sponsorship deals.

    As for others more critical of our slide down from then to now to give me 11 players in the rest of the top 6 to match that side. If you can seriously come up with 6 from one team I’ll buy you a pint when I see you next at the Tavern. Actually I’ll make it easier and say come up with ten players as no ones gonna take DB10s shirt.

  105. kelsey says:

    They are all in English.

    Banana=skin means a loss
    Dresser= Chamakh
    Grammar= goonermichael
    Potato=GLIC
    Revive=Arshavin after 20 minutes on the field
    Uneven= swansea’s pitch
    Assess=Walcott

  106. Idaho Kid says:

    That’s a durn good guess, Kelsey, and better than my answer.

    GLIC, TMHT too late.

    Ok: Answer:

    In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same word. e.g. Banana = anana = ananaB = spells banana backwards.

    Did you figure it out? :-)

  107. RockyLives says:

    Darn it Red- sorry – I mean Idaho
    I just figured it out and then you posted the answer!

    Kelsey :)

  108. Nick says:

    @ Irishgunner: Sky sports hadn’t gotten the whole story yet. Busquets was being shown how to dive by Pedro and both were doing fine until they were distracted by Alves who was rolling around on the ground. Suddenly all the Barcelona players were huddled around a referee telling how Alves had just been shot in the face, but conclusive video evidence showed that Messi had just walked by Alves and sneezed into his elbow and no snot ever came anywhere near Alves.

  109. Idaho Kid says:

    Great Post, Rocky, way out.

    Catch you later, bro! :-)

  110. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Hey Idaho, your nearly as clever as that Redders guy, maybe you can sit in for him, while he “spends some time on the Rock ” :)
    And hey, I did figure it out, but you put the answer in before i could reply, I`m not half as daft and stupid as i look ( or sound, because obviously you cant see me ) :)

  111. RockyLives says:

    Ah, I Do Kid
    Laters homey :)

  112. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Terry,
    I`m in area 101, at the back of the North Bank, I may need your telescope, obviously cleaned of the stickyness ! :)

  113. RockyLives says:

    Nick
    Don’t be alarmed – it often gets a bit strange on here late in the day…

  114. Irishgunner says:

    Ah Nick – glad to have the full story :lol:

  115. RockyLives says:

    what time does the El Classico Diving Contesto kick off?

  116. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Nick,
    I read that stuff on other site, and this potato is mashed, I kept my fingers in a socket to keep me awake, after all that , they didn`t say how much we`ve got to spend this window.
    So much can we spend ? :shock:

  117. TERRY MANCINI NO CRISIS HERE says:

    Cornwall, have you ever been upper tier at the back before? Hope you dont suffer from vertigo, its bloody high up there.

  118. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    how, between so and much !

  119. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Terry .
    Which colour ants will we be ? ?

  120. Irishgunner says:

    RL – 2100h GMT

  121. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    I`m off to give Mrs glic some attention, well I thought she said “detention ” when i locked her in the cellar, there`s no satisfying some people, I thought she could give her mum some company, she ain`t seen her since Boxing day, I look forward to them punishing workouts !

  122. Irishgunner says:

    Very welcome very Irish name man ;)

  123. kelsey says:

    When asked about the Gunners Champions League hopes, Hill-Wood told the Daily Star: “We are hanging on in there, no more.”

    Manchester United visit the Emirates this Sunday, with defeat meaning Arsenal could potentially find themselves in seventh spot by the end of the weekend’s fixtures.

    Although the chairman concedes Champions League revenue is a big boost to the side’s finances, he insists the club are in a secure enough position to deal with not qualifying.

    “From a financial point of view, not qualifying for the Champions League is quite a blow,” he added.

    “We have been planning for not qualifying every year, so it’s not a disaster, but it would be nice if we could.”

    from today’s Daily Star .Wow what an incentive, looks like we have given up.

  124. RockyLives says:

    kelsey
    Maybe, but wouldn’t it be just as alarming if he said “Ohmigod, if we don’t qualify for the CL we’re doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Doooooooooomed.”

  125. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Kelsey,
    it doesn’t help that many Arsenal fans are too polite to get angry, or raise any sort of formal protest.

  126. kelsey says:

    Oh and Mr. Hill Wood added that we don’t forsee next season’s season ticket prices going up by more than 10% :)

  127. kelsey says:

    How dare they let this man speak on behalf of the club.Great motivation for players and fans alike.

  128. goonermichael says:

    Hiil Wood is a plonker. Hope real smash these wankers. Great post. I was also going to make the point about the manc side now and one of thier older title winning sides. Even though I don’t rate the mans I think we’ll be lucky with a point on Sunday.

  129. goonermichael says:

    “Champions league would be nice”? Wanker. We’ll be Everton soon if we’re not careful.

  130. Irishgunner says:

    Anyone else watching EL Divo?

  131. goonermichael says:

    have that cesc you tosser

  132. goonermichael says:

    I’m with you Irish :)

  133. goonermichael says:

    I’d like to see busquets get a proper injury

  134. I’m watching it too

  135. The goalie should have done better though, no?

  136. Big Raddy says:

    I really dont like Mourinho.

  137. Big Raddy says:

    Crap keeping. Let’s hope Szczeny isn’t on their agenda

  138. He’s so handsome though :oops:

  139. Irishgunner says:

    Busquets trying out for the Olympics again

  140. Big Raddy says:

    Both of these teams are detestable. Diving cheats. (apart from a few of the Barca players (Xavi, Messi, Cesc and Iniesta)

  141. Irishgunner says:

    With you all the way GM :)

    Fuck Fabregas and fuck Barcelona, cheating tossers. Madrid cheat as much as them but picking my battles tonight :lol:

  142. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. He is eating too much paella. Nothing uglier than a fat, small man

  143. goonermichael says:

    messi is a cheat Raddy.

  144. goonermichael says:

    Who’s handsome Peaches? Mourenho

  145. goonermichael says:

    Who’s the campest out of ronaldo and cesc?

  146. evonne says:

    GM – no, Rory Delap :)
    Brilliant goal, come on Real

  147. goonermichael says:

    Is he your favourite evonne?

  148. Big Raddy says:

    GM. He is a cheat I would love to see in an AFC shirt.

    As you know I disagree with your negativity regarding Cesc. He has never dissed the club – quite the opposite.

  149. goonermichael says:

    we’re all allowed our opinions Raddy. I feel used and abused by him :) Would love to have messi playing for Arsenal

  150. Yes gm ……… Jose. I don’t like him though ……

  151. RockyLives says:

    watching on a dodgy stream

    they’re both a shower of diving cheats

    But I’m impressed with the way they track back, cover and press the opposition when they lose possession. If we had even 30% of that we would have beaten Swansea (and Fulham).

  152. goonermichael says:

    Nasri hasn’t dissed the club as far as I’m aware Raddy

  153. chas says:

    Cescy warming up for playing for the Catalan Diving team.
    Puyol showing the results of being a small man with too much paella in his belly.

  154. Big Raddy says:

    For sake of discussion I am supporting Barca.

    RM are a horrible bunch

  155. chas says:

    Cesc dissed the club and the fans by leaving.

  156. evonne says:

    Nasri cost us last season’s collapse, I will never forgive him for that. Nasri is probably the only ex player I hate, except for Cashley of course.

    Raddy – I still love Cesc, always will. He’d done us a great service

    Messi without Barca would be half a player he is.
    RvP would do brilliantly at Barca too

  157. For the sake of discussion I’m supporting Real Madrid (although before they stole Cesc back I definitely would be supporting Barca) fickle moi ;)

  158. Big Raddy says:

    Didn’t Nasri say he was going to a place with passionate supporters unlike AFC?

    I feel nothing for the little fat frenchman.

  159. Herb'sArmy says:

    Raddy,
    Fabregas hasn’t dissed the club? He refused to attend the last game of last season, and refused to play for us this season prior to his move to Barcelona.
    That’s as good as dissing the club. Actions speak louder than words.

  160. goonermichael says:

    I am extremely fickle.

  161. evonne – go wash your mouth out quick, before someone hears you :lol:

    Ronaldo would be a fine addition to our team …… he’d certainly wind up the rest of our players!!!!!!

  162. Irishgunner says:

    Oh my heart is torn between my two loves, I want so much to play for both (but I’m going to pretend to be sick/injured/emotionally unable so I’m not selected for Arsenal for last few weeks) teams (but please come and get me Barcelona) and I love my home town club so much and I want desperately to play for my DNA (although if they were Real Sociedad my DNA would be less troublesome) …..

    I <3 you too DNA … ya lying wanker.

    "Barcelona are winning trophies piss easy and I may win fuck all at Arsenal" – he knows, we know it, Arsene knows it, drop a fucking pair and say it like a man Fabregas.

    /endrant

  163. goonermichael says:

    That’s fair enough Raddy. He did say that. That was after being called a c**t hundreds of times on twitter. I feel the same about him as I do about cesc

  164. chas says:

    Brilliant and diamond-drill accurate, Irish. :)

  165. RockyLives says:

    I’ve got time for Cesc

    The only time I’ve got for Na$ri would be hard time in Belmarsh

    Still want RM to win though. I can’t forgive Barcelona for buying the ref in our game last year.

  166. I haven’t noticed a single player not chasing after a ball, it may be exhausting but it works if you want the possession.

    Raddy – I apologise, Jose looks really fat, where did those chins come from???????

  167. chas says:

    Dolphin head still looks weird.

  168. RockyLives says:

    Peaches
    I noticed that too.
    These would be among the most coveted and expensive players in the world, yet they don’t balk at putting in a real shift when not in possession.

    Why can’t we get our lot to do the same????

  169. Irishgunner says:

    Chas – It’s how I’ve always felt. I’m no fan of Nasri’s at all, but at the very least he played against Liverpool and tried even though he knew he was leaving and had been called a C U Next Thursday by Arsenal fans. Meanwhile a coward was somewhere at the Spanish Grand Prix while he was still a supposed Arsenal player “the club he loves so much.”

  170. evonne says:

    Chas is back :)

    Herb – Cesc has never refused to play or attend any games, that is so untrue.Where did you hear that??

  171. Irishgunner says:

    Ronaldo has been really impressive tonight – if only Arshavin did that …

  172. Irishgunner says:

    Evonne – Cesc was at a grand prix while we were playing a game…funnily enough in Barcelona

  173. Still need a post for tomorrow …………………………..

  174. goonermichael says:

    evonne
    he was at the spanish grand prix because he had an imaginary injury. he was (supposed) to be our captain.

  175. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Evonne,
    he was at the Spanish Grand Prix while we were playing our final league game at Fulham. Our club captain at that time.
    And he was playing for Barcelona three days after leaving us.
    Did you miss that?

  176. chas says:

    I’m back because it’s Barca and Real, Evonne.
    Supposedly non-Arsenal related, hahahahaha.

  177. RockyLives says:

    evonne
    It’s sad but true – Cesc (although injured) chose to go to the Spanish Grand Prix rather than attend our final home home of the season, even though 4th spot in the league was not guaranteed for us (and even though he was club captain).

    I thought that was pretty appalling, even though everyone knew he was leaving in the summer.

  178. RockyLives says:

    chas
    why had you gone?
    are you on sabbatical with Redders?
    does sabbatical mean you’re not around on saturdays?

  179. goonermichael says:

    if barca were shit would cesc be desperate to go home?

    we got much better value selling nasri than cesc. cesc should have been binned a year earlier.

  180. Big Raddy says:

    chas/Irish. I respect your points of view but disagree entirely,

    Fabregas remains for me the best AFC player post Henry. I would love him back at AFC and he has said himself that if he ever leaves Barca it will be return to THOF.

    Cracking game. Theo should watch Ronaldo to see how a winger should play. Don’t like the fellow but he is a fantastic footballer

  181. chas says:

    I hadn’t really gone, Rocky.
    I’m just fed up with talking about Arsenal at the moment.

  182. Herb'sArmy says:

    Am I not allowed to address you, Raddy?

  183. Big Raddy says:

    Herb. How do you square that with RvP who is our Captain going on holiday over New Year when we played 2 games?

    Both Cesc and RvP’s actions were sanctioned by AW. What is the difference?

  184. chas says:

    BR, I think you meant to text that last message to your dealer.

  185. Oh Raddy – theres a huge difference. Everyone knew that Robin was going to be given a rest for the FA cup game and a well deserved few days away from the uk.

    Whether AW sanctioned Cesc’s trip to the Grand Prix or not it was ill advised IMHO. He was our captain and should have been at the last game of the season.

  186. Irishgunner says:

    BR – I will never ever argue otherwise that he is a fantastic player, but having fantastic skill doesn’t mean he will be dear to me after leaving. Maybe if he was honest in living, and do I think he’ll only ever sign for Arsenal if he leaves Barcelona? Not on your life.

  187. Herb'sArmy says:

    The only way I can seperate one from the other, Raddy, is that Fabregas’ was the season finale, and a perfect opportunity for him to say goodbye to the fans, and show his appreciation for all the loyal support he got during his time with us. It’s not like he was exactly over-worked last season.

  188. Irishgunner says:

    *leaving

  189. Big Raddy says:

    Come on Peaches. Nothing was decided when Cesc went to the GP. And as I said AW said he could go.

    I cannot understand the ire.

    chas. :-D

    Nice header from Puyol

  190. goonermichael says:

    oh well

  191. chas says:

    Besides Wenger would have done anything to keep Cesc at that stage.

    Bette Midler scores.

  192. goonermichael says:

    I wouln’t want him back. He’d only come back to us as a has been.

  193. evonne says:

    I know that he went to the Spanish Grand Prix, but that does not mean and is not the same as REFUSING to attend the game. He was injured and did not have to attend.

    I thought it was the media that were manipulating information about Arsenal, not the supporters

  194. goonermichael says:

    this is a bit like watching 2 tottnums playing. hate both of them.

  195. Big Raddy says:

    Anyway. He is gone and is now a Barca hero ….. Hope he scores tonight.

    Jose looks unhappy :-) For me he is just a slightly more talented Phil Brown

  196. TERRY MANCINI NO CRISIS HERE says:

    Funny thing love and hate.

    Love George Graham. Double hero, resurected the club as manager, 2 nil at Anfield and all that.

    Hate George Graham. Took bungs, and went on to manage that mob down the road.

    Just realized, George Graham is just like my ex wife.

  197. RockyLives says:

    BR
    You may not like Maureen, but he has been pretty successful (unlike Tango).

  198. goonermichael says:

    evonne
    he was the captain. it was the last game.

  199. Big Raddy says:

    RL No arguing with that….

  200. Herb'sArmy says:

    He could have played against Newcastle, Liverpool or Man Utd, Evonne, and still kept himself free for CL registration.
    Did he ever thank the fans, or say goodbye at The Emirates?

  201. Irishgunner says:

    Just because Fabregas happened to be a better player for us over a longer period of time than Nasri makes him no less of a wanker in my eyes. I don’t understand all this fawning over him – we gave him a chance as a young player, made him the player he is, and then he fucks off – sorry for not crying buckets.

  202. Have to agree to differ on that one Raddy :)

  203. goonermichael says:

    Irish
    I feel exactly like you.

  204. Irishgunner says:

    I’m really just sick of hearing about him GM – he sulked away from the club like a coward, I keep thinking I’m missing something seen as I seem (nice to see one or two more aboard) to be on a ship sailing against the tide.

  205. goonermichael says:

    terrible theatrics

  206. evonne says:

    I am clearly in minority here, so be it, I won’t back off

    To me Cesc was and always will be very special. Over the years he has served us very well and I wish him all the best. Na$ri is a c**t as GM would say, his leaving left a bad aftertaste and a lot of stink.

  207. chas says:

    I don’t really like any ex-players.
    Once they’re gone, my loyalty goes out of the door, too.

    Exceptions…
    Bergkamp because he didn’t play for anyone else.
    Brady, Bould, George, Rice and anyone else that’s still at the club.

  208. goonermichael says:

    That was deliberate. I’d love to see one of our players do that to rooney.

  209. goonermichael says:

    evonne
    leave aside what each player did for the club (we did so much for cesc). When they left what was the difference?

  210. Did Gallas go straight from us to the spuds?

  211. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. I am with you on Cesc.

    Pepe is a disgrace. Detest both him and Busquets

  212. Irishgunner says:

    Pepe is such a dirty prick of a player

  213. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne 10:12pm glad someone pointed out that we only ever travel to away games with the available squad ergo not in the team not at the match….

    And I think Cesc did attend the Emirates members day had his pics taken with a lot of kids (even Harry’s son from memory), and altho distant still turned up when asked.

    Did he want to leave ….. yes…..do I blame him….no.

  214. TERRY MANCINI NO CRISIS HERE says:

    Yes GM, but on his balls. No more granny shaging for him.

  215. If that was Arshavin he’d have been offside

  216. Herb'sArmy says:

    ‘Travel’ to Fulham, GiE, a couple of miles across London? Does it not mean anything, being the last day of the season?

  217. Irishgunner says:

    photo/1

    Messi goes from looking like Messi to an old Chinese man in a second :lol:

  218. evonne says:

    Pepe is Marinho’s deciple, just like Drogba was, remember his theatrics when Jose was in charge? Filth

    GM – big difference how they left, in fact no comparison

  219. Herb – you’re on a hiding to nothing. I’m with you but they see it differently and clearly so did AW

  220. TERRY MANCINI NO CRISIS HERE says:

    Irish, hahahahaha

  221. goonermichael says:

    isn’t it funny how they get all pissed off about imaginary card waving but it’s ok to kick the shit out of Arsenal players.

    Is anyone else uncomfortable about the amount of advertising and sponsorship of gamblimg companies? it destoys lives and families.

  222. Look at all those Barca shirts defending :(

  223. chas says:

    Drogba. Diving. Don’t be ridiculous.

  224. goonermichael says:

    Do you blame nasri GiE? Why is nasri hated so much?

  225. goonermichael says:

    is this a 2 leg game?

  226. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Peaches,
    I think some people just enjoy defending the indefensible.
    It’s not like he captained a winning side.

  227. goonermichael says:

    Goonerholic @TheGoonerholic 4m
    Reply RetweetedRetweet
    Delete
    FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details Every time I watch Spanish football I am reminded of the BBC having to pull the plug on Eldorado as a result of diabolical acting.

  228. Irishgunner says:

    GM – yes 2nd leg next week.

    And on the gambling thing – Kanoute (wasn’t he a Spud at one stage?) played for Seville for some time and they were sponsored by some gambling company “Bwin” or the like, and he only agreed to wear the shirt if the company donated money to help build a mosque or some such deal seen as he was Muslim and he was raised to believe gambling is wrong. Morals do exist in football – just not enough.

    Look at Tevez – fucking pillock. He wants to move nearer to his kids so is trying to type up a deal in Paris :roll:

  229. evonne says:

    GM – I will write what I know about Na$ri’s departure tomorrow, too tired tonight

    Great game, shame such poor sportsmanship has spoilt it.

  230. Messi is a bit of a big baby, do they get extra training in dramatic diving or is it in the Barcelona DNA

  231. Herb'sArmy says:

    It’s a shame that those who so passionately defend Fabregas, don’t have the same passion for the direction our club is taking.

  232. chas says:

    Give it a rest.

  233. Irishgunner says:

    *tie

  234. Big Raddy says:

    Herb. Your last comment is total bollocks and highly offensive.

    You have pissed off good bloggers before and you have just pissed off another one.

    Good Night.

  235. goonermichael says:

    Night Raddy

  236. goonermichael says:

    what’s going on with joey bartons twitter picture? he even dresses like a c**t

  237. Irishgunner says:

    Apologies for the crude language but:

    retnuhdoTmoT Tom.
    I feel for Sergio Busquets’ mother. It must be hard having two cunts.
    11 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply
    Retweeted by Cfreddie8Gooner
    :lol:

  238. Herb'sArmy says:

    I’m sorry if expressing my feelings for our club has upset you Raddy.
    Goodnight to you too.

  239. goonermichael says:

    jedwards mum has 3

  240. goonermichael says:

    I think it’s the fact that you are slagging the fabregas non haters is a round about way

  241. goonermichael says:

    is=in

  242. RockyLives says:

    GM
    That Jedward line just made me spray tea all over the keyboard :)

  243. Irishgunner says:

    :lol: GM – I don’t find Jedward that annoying, they are putting on an act and making some serious dough – good luck to them. Not harming anyone, except our ears.

  244. RockyLives says:

    Herb
    To be fair, everyone on here is passionate about wanting the best for Arsenal. But different people have different views of how to achieve it.

  245. RockyLives says:

    GM
    What would you do with Jedward’s hair?

  246. goonermichael says:

    I’ve only ever seen jedward (try to) sing once (on the most annoying people of 2010 show) one of them had injured himself and carried on trying to sing and dance. Identical twins are meant to be telepathic but they can’t even stay in time. i don’t begrudge it though good luck to them. people don’t have to watch shit tv shows and read shit magazines.

  247. goonermichael says:

    Probably set it on fire Rocky

  248. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi GM,
    obviously it’s a sore subject, and it’s club politics.
    But this hasn’t just sprung up from nowhere. There’s a lot of anger amongst Arsenal fans, and it has been gathering momentum for a long time.
    Do we pretend it doesn’t exist? The Emirates could be an ugly place on Sunday if the result goes the wrong way. Or am I imagining all this?

  249. TotalArsenal says:

    HAHAHAHA Maureen: 2-1 to football.

  250. goonermichael says:

    I’m actually not talking about that Herb. But you are directly questioning the bloggers on here. They don’t share that view and you are making it sound like a shortcoming.

    I know there is a lot of anger. I’m not exactly over the moon myself I have no idea where it will end.

  251. Irishgunner says:

    I personally think if Wenger had the money (without putting the club into massive debt/relying on a oil tycoon) he’d spend it. I don’t think he’s a martyr for the cause, he’d rather success and he could still do it “the right way” a la the Invincibles.

    On that note, its my bed time. Night guys.

  252. goonermichael says:

    Night Irish

  253. TotalArsenal says:

    BR, for what it is worth, except for the Ronaldo-Walcott comparison, I agree with everything you wrote tonight :)

  254. goonermichael says:

    I’ve got my nvq assessment tomorrow. I’m actually excited. 53 and I’ll be getting my firstever qualification.

  255. Herb'sArmy says:

    Maybe it would be the polite thing to do by ignoring the club’s plight then GM.
    Whether they share the view or not, we are slipping down the table, relying on ex-players, again, and telling everyone we don’t need CL football.
    We’re the fifth richest club in the world, where’s the ambition to be the world’s best?

  256. TotalArsenal says:

    And Evonne, well done for sticking up for Fabregas tonight. Hatred should be aimed at Maureen – the total tosser – at RM who spend as much as City to buy trophies, at Pepe who is an utter disgrace, and at diving in general, but not at Fabregas. Disapointment: yes, hatred: no.

  257. Ozgunner says:

    bugger i missed the fabregas hate-on spear headed by GM and Irish!

    I hate the bloke, yes he wanted to go home and all that jazz but we made him and he left us just before his prime! The way he left was class-less and dispicable, and i’ll never forgive him. As for him being injury prone, i swear that was a part of the ploy set by him and barca to drive his transfer price down. It’s magic how he was so injury prone for us yet now at barca he is fine. As GM said he’s struggling for fitness then all of a sudden he’s playing for Barca 3 days later.

    I don’t know what went on behind the scenes with him an arsene in terms of him staying for another year, but i bet it was agreed that he would only play a set number of games that season (most likely to speed up wisheres progression as his replacement and to work on a post-cesc team). You do not miss the amount of weeks he did continually with strains and a pulled hamstring, depending on the severity of course but it seems a little to convienient.

    Did i mention i hate him? just to make it clear!

  258. goonermichael says:

    They don’t share your view Herb. They don’t tell you what you should be doing though and that is the point I am making. They don’t make remarks about your support. .

    I dislike Cesc TA. hatred is reserved for cashley and shrek etc.

  259. goonermichael says:

    actually I do hate him. I have the same regard for him as nasri. Acctually I’m happier with nasri

  260. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, good luck with your NVQ- assessment tomorrow. By the sounds of it, you are a man who made it to the top without much formal education, but I can see why you are excited about the assessment tomorrow.

  261. RockyLives says:

    Good luck GM

  262. Ozgunner says:

    goodluck GM

    @ TA

    sorry i couldn’t respond/ comment on your posts, was away on holiday. tried to keep up as best as i could though. That includes waiting 20mins to post a response on FGG’s post while i was travelling on a train and dropping signal everyone few seconds.

  263. Herb'sArmy says:

    I get it GM, and I’m not deliberately criticising people and their support, we all see things differently. The only person who can dispel any doubt regarding the club’s future is Stan Kroenke. I bet many feel let down after Gazidis’ promises at the AST meeting.

  264. goonermichael says:

    Thanks Rocky. It’s actually pretty easy. (apart from the percentages I had to get helped on here)

  265. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Oz, Barca at least part-made him and we kidnapped him. We got good money for him, although it could/should have been more. When he played for us, he always gave his all and he has been our best players for a number of seasons. As BR said, Fabregas will have had permission from AW to do what he did at the end of last season. It was not perfect, but as I said many times before, people who are in their twenties make many mistakes. To hate him for that is, quite frankly, uncalled for.

  266. goonermichael says:

    I wonder where it’s going Herb. I think we’ll end up with usmanov. I’d hate that.

  267. Gooner In Exile says:

    GM I don’t blame Nasri really if someone offered me that money to change job I’d take it. Especially if all my customers were calling me a c*nt in public. In Cescs case if I had the chance to take my dream job i’d take it.

    I don’t really feel any hatred towards any ex Arsenal player. Just indifference ie not really on my radar anymore. Nasri features more because he still plays in PL. but I don’t really care what becomes of their careers.

    As for Cesc not making an appearance should he have been on the bench….oops not allowed by PL rules. Should he have sat cosied up with directors or in with all the Arsenal fans…..or should he not being involved just not be there.

    Herb questioning an opinion is one thing but calling me impassionate about the club direction is out of order and if you said it to my face I’d chin you. And as others will testify I’m really not that kind of guy. As I said last night what gives you the right to demand anything? I didn’t get an answer then I won’t get an answer now. All we can do as supporters is hope and support.

    I’m a music fan I’m a comedy fan I’m a film fan, I’m a football supporter, there’s a huge difference.

    What do I think will happen if we lose to United, well those fans that want to organise a protest can fuck off. The club needs support…..we are being attacked from every quarter and there are fans like you intent on keeping the negative vibe going. I don’t want those people anywhere near my club.

  268. goonermichael says:

    GiE are you going to the Villa game?

  269. goonermichael says:

    TA
    I’m good at hate. It seems to come naturally to me. I hate most people who aren’t me

  270. TotalArsenal says:

    No worries Oz, where did you go for your holiday?

  271. goonermichael says:

    I like moaning too

  272. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, I always like your raw directness. You call a spade a spade and speak from the heart, but you love Arsenal and are always fair to fellow bloggers.

  273. Gooner In Exile says:

    And just to clarify you write this:

    On Jan 10 2012
    “I think TH can be a great role-model for the younger players, especially Walcott and the Ox. He’s clearly lost none of his appetite, and the confidence he exudes can only be good for the club.”

    Then today this
    “Whether they share the view or not, we are slipping down the table, relying on ex-players, again, and telling everyone we don’t need CL football.”

    Which is it

  274. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, when I first came to the Uk in the early nineties, I was amazed how easy British people say they hate something. In Western European countries people use the word hate for less frequently. it is reserved for things that are really bad (cancer, nazies, Spuds, etc) :)

  275. Gooner In Exile says:

    GM not sure about the Villa game, depends on family budget might make Blackburn game tho.

    Now off to look at Box Office for Vilka as it seems there will be a gathering of AAers.

  276. Ozgunner says:

    just to the other side of oz for a wedding.

    That all makes perfect sense but i’m afraid loyalty is a trait i think of highly, therefore when a player doesnt act how i think he should it pisses me off. Yes it rarely happens in todays football, but there are things he could of done to make the parting better, after all he was our captain and should of done things differently! he needed to step up and be a man, yes he’s still young but he should have known what was right and what was wrong!

  277. TotalArsenal says:

    for = far (less frequently).

  278. goonermichael says:

    I try to be TA. I can’t always put my veiws accross as well as I’d like to though. My son is doing a philosophy A level at the moment and wipes the floor with me on any subject. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. One of the (many) great things about this site is the lack of name calling. we also don’t have the petty (and very childish) one-upmanship that some other blogs have.

  279. Herb'sArmy says:

    Thanks for that GiE, but I don’t remember singling out anyone individually. And just because you refuse to acknowledge our down-grade, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
    I did respond to your question if you read back.
    I said Arsenal should satisfy their millions of fans because they’re a big, world-famous club, and that if they acted as such occasionally, we’d all be a lot happier.
    I’m not negative in my love for Arsenal, you have said yourself Wenger needs to remember what made him successful. Personally I think that time has passed, and I think it is detrimental to the club, which is why I said I would like to see Paul Lambert in the job.

  280. goonermichael says:

    actually TA I’m going to try Philosophy. Hate is only a word. Maybe we use it to describe a different feeling to other people. It sounds a bit corny but it’s what’s inside that counts. I find it really funny when people say the “British” as if we are a race or something. I’m as English as Irish is Irish.

  281. TotalArsenal says:

    HAHA GM, your next NVQ should be in philosophy then, or you could try the easy to read books of Alain de Botton books.

  282. Herb'sArmy says:

    Regarding your 12:02, GiE, is there a reason both statements can’t be true? He can be a good role-model for younger players, but we shouldn’t be relying on ex-players for the third year in succession to dig us out of the mire.

  283. Herb'sArmy says:

    Good luck with the NVQ, GM.

  284. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, fair point re ‘British’ – in Europe, people often refer to the Anglo-Saxons…. :lol:

  285. goonermichael says:

    Thanks Herb. So you think it is Wenger then?

  286. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Herb, as a fan/supporter you can say ‘I like to see Paul Lambert’, but if you were a shareholder/director it would make little or no sense. Just imagine having to do a presentation to the Arsenal board in which you have to sell them that Lambert should replace Wenger? Emmmmmm, it is more of a gut-feeling really…

  287. Herb'sArmy says:

    What was the whole ethos for leaving Highbury and moving to The Emirates, GiE? Wasn’t it so we could compete with the world’s best? Does it look to you like we’re competing with the world’s best?
    Please don’t use Man City and Chelsea as excuses, that just makes us sound cheap, and we all know we have money to spend.

  288. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz, you are always consistent on the value you give to loyalty, so fair enough. I respect you for that.

    Just out of interest, where do Aussies mostly go on holiday?

  289. Herb'sArmy says:

    GM,
    it’s a difficult one to fathom. Wenger used to play a brand of football with footballers that were the envy of the world, now he doesn’t, and hasn’t done for a long time. Can a manager really become that forgetful?
    He embarked on a bold, brave path, a whole new tactical approach, but it’s fair to say it hasn’t worked. One set of tactics worked, the other hasn’t. It could be because Kroenke has tied his hands with financial restraints, but Wenger has made some shocking errors in the transfer-market too. As I’ve said before, he arrived at the club with Dennis Bergkamp already in place, a god-send for any manager. All he had to do in his early years was build a side to compliment Bergkamp. Fabregas was definitely no Bergkamp.
    Hi TA – you are aware of Paul Lambert’s record at Norwich, right?

  290. Gooner In Exile says:

    In reality Herb it doesn’t answer the question so i will leave it there.

    But in finality of our little discussions here is a link to the 2010/11 financial results and i will highlight a few things for you:

    http://www.arsenal.com/assets/_files/documents/oct_11/gun__1318409853_Arsenal_Holdings_plc_-_Annual_.pdf

    Pg 37 The Balance Sheet. Net Assets £267m.

    But here’s the rub £155m of that is Fixed Aseet less Debt (i.e. we can’t spend it).

    Then £33m is Property for Development (which i assume is going to be realised but maybe not this financial year).

    Then £55m is the value of Player Registrations (which would have included Nasri and Cesc at that time).

    We can add back the Provisions though to be fair which are £38m

    So our Liquid Reserves at the start of 2011/12 £62m.

    So even though we have £160m in the bank at the end of 2010/11 we could not spend every penny as we would have had a shortfall when it came to paying out the money we owed to clubs for transfers, tax etc.

    Profit in 2010/11 was £14.7m before tax, and £12m of that was from property. So repeating profit is only £2.7m.

    Right so that Liquid Reserves figure is going to grow by £2.7m a year if we don’t do anything with players.

    But of course we can get rid of all the dead wood….

    Well assuming we can sell them we could save on the wages of the following (lets assume for now even those on loan we are paying wages of, lets also assume average wage of £50k per week per player:

    Squillacci
    Bendtner
    Denilson
    Diaby
    Vela
    Rosicky
    Almunia
    Chamakh
    Djourou
    Mannone
    Fabianski

    Okay we’ve saved £28.6m

    Now we’v got to keep Nasri, he wants £200k per week to stay. Done deal.

    Now we want to get RvP signed up Long Term, £150k per week would have done it but now Nasris’s on £200k we need to pay RvP at least the same £210k per week. Thats cost us a pretty penny then, RvP was on £80k and Samir was on £60k. £14.4m a year.

    Oh shit Theo’s knocking on the door he wants £100k per week, sorry Theo you’re out the door join the rest of the deadwood in the corner. Great another £2.6m saved.

    Ok so now we have a dramatically reduced squad but its ok because we are going to buy some big name players.

    Right Goetze, Schneider (no sorry don’t need him we kept Nasri), ok so Goetze, and one or two others. They’re gonna cost £30m each but f*ck it we’ve got the money. And obviously we’re big wage payers now so we should offer them at least what Nasri gets.

    Right so we’ve now increased our wage bill by another £31.2m

    Oh F*ck me look what happened we sold 12 players kept two and bought three now we have more debt and interest we’re making a loss of £14m a year from football, but its all ok because now we are guaranteed to win things and we’ve bought super human players who never suffer injuries and will win loads, get more fans and sell more shirts.

    Oh and our squad if you hadn’t realised is 8 players light, but thats ok cos we have a youth policy and we’ll promote from within.

    You know what, I think our club is being run pretty soundly after all.

  291. goonermichael says:

    It may be that the board are holding him back. Kelsey says he’ll go at the and of the season. Wouldn’t suprise me. If he went I’d give Lambert a go. I’ve heard on more than one occasion that Wenger told Dein to get Bergkamp. Don’t know if there’s any truth in it.

  292. goonermichael says:

    GiE
    I bet you don’t have an NVQ in leadership though :)

  293. Gooner In Exile says:

    GM its good being your own boss and only employing yourself :D I only have to lead me

  294. goonermichael says:

    Keith @KeithTheGooner 8m
    Reply RetweetedRetweet
    Delete
    FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details Gervinho don’t like them Fuck the Tottnum!! Fuck the Tottnum!!

  295. Gooner In Exile says:

    I love Keith the Gooner

  296. goonermichael says:

    I don’t understand all that stuff. Actually I understand what you just posted. I couldn’t read through the accounts though.

  297. Ozgunner says:

    @ GiE

    jesus thats a response and a half.

    @ TA

    in West Oz it’s mainly Bali/phuket because of the cheap flights and good exchange rate (plus everyone loves going on holiday in tropical conditions). Plus if your going anywhere you have to either fly to singapore or sydney and then to your destination so it’s a bit of a pain in the arse. As for the east coast i think people mostly go to New zealand.

  298. Gooner In Exile says:

    Herb stop using we were sold we’re moving from Highbury to play at the big table. Yes we were, BUT the property sales at the time were budgeted to make a hell of a lot more than they ended up doing because of a tiny thing you might have noticed called a global recession. Its a bugger but it happened.

    This forced us to take on a greater cost of the stadium build ourselves. The club did not want to be saddled with the higher interest rates and the banks were not falling over themselves to lend the money, so we struck commercial deals ramped with cash up front elements to get the move done. However that also meant that the commercial deals we are currently receiving are low in comparison to others (for a year or two more yet too).

    If these steps had not been taken we would have been saddled with more expensive debt for longer and ticket rises at the Emirates would have happened a lot sooner.

    So please stop using that particular stick to beat the club with its hollow and a bit floppy.

    However if the club really wanted to do something to impress me they would join Villa in proposing a safe standing area or two (one in Clock End one in North Bank) at the next Premier League Meeting they could double the attendance in these areas at a lesser cost to the supporter. They would also I’m sure see a return to a more vocal crowd.

  299. Ozgunner says:

    @ GiE

    then i suppose the youth being brought in then equates to them demanding more money. So before frimpong,coq,miquel,campbell, and ox are on say 30k a week, now because they are in the squad reguarly ask for 50k a week. Therefore we are adding another 4.16 million to the wage bill each year.

  300. Gooner In Exile says:

    Oz i may be a little wound up :D

    GM accounts are easy to read for headline figures like the cash is £160m…..i mainly scroll right past the directors report as they normally just say what wonderful company they are, then get into the numbers and judge from them. I don’t actually do much of it for a living and the little rant above was put together in about five to ten minutes, there are other accountants on here more qualified in corporate stuff than me to probably make more of it or tear my above little summary apart. But the main theory holds. Spend more money than you earn and you are buggered.

    Dickens character Mr Micawber summed it up:

    “if a man earns twenty pounds a year, and spends nineteen pounds and nineteen shillings, the result is happiness. But if he spends twenty pounds and one shilling,the result is misery”

  301. Ozgunner says:

    * bugger, thats 5.2 million sorry

  302. goonermichael says:

    Apparently if you factor in interest and inflation the up front deals aren’t as bad as people like to think. (a Tottenham fan told me that)

    I have a client who worked on the financing of the move from Highbury to the Emirates. I’ve never asked him for any info. He told me that west ham were a mess as they did that one too.

  303. Herb'sArmy says:

    Who is responsible for paying big wages to crappy players on long contracts, GiE? Arshavin £80k a week for what? Two moments of magic a season? Bendtner, Almunia, Diaby, Denilson, to name but a few? That’s the equivalent of throwing money away. Wasn’t Henry on £200k a week during his last season, in 2006/07, which contradicts our strict wage-structure?
    The way you put it across GiE, makes it sound like it’s more important to have money than win football matches. We’re not a Bank or a Building Society, we’re supposed to be a competitor in a competitive sport, and nothing makes more money than being successful on the pitch.
    Or has winning old-fashioned now?

  304. goonermichael says:

    One of our clients brought Gazidis in too. Sounds like a rougues gallery to some fans I suppose.

  305. TotalArsenal says:

    Herb, a few months ago we defeated the current German number two and last year’s German champions, the current Italian number three, and a strong side of Marseille. MU and MC did not make it to the next round of the CL. If we had not had such a bad start, we would be in the PL top-4 now, despite all the injuries we had recently. We ARE competing with the world’s best, but it does not mean we are entitled to success more than others. We have a very good basis for success at Arsenal, but there are plenty of other clubs with a good basis, and competion will only get stronger (especially in Europe).

    This new team has all the potential to win things in the next few years, maybe even this year. But a key part will be for the fans to support it and its manager. What you and so many other supporters do is killing this team at this period in the season. All this discontent because we lost two games in a row, however disappointing it is, is so harmful to the current crop of players.

    Your glass is always empty as soon as we lose a game. Rather than looking at the potential in this team, and understand that any team that suffers a disproportionate number of injuries in key positions will suffer badly, and judge Gazidis’ statement re ‘it not being a disaster if we do not finish fourth’ as nothing more than a way of releasing the tension on the players a bit, or understanding a bit that rebuidling a new top-team without Fabregas and Wilshere available is a tall order, you prefer to constantly, insistantly sum up the same old negatives about the BOD’s perceived ambition, Wenger’s perceived shortcomings, and shoot down underperforming players like they are the sc*m of the earth.

    Of course you are entitled to do so, but I cannot see any value to it whatsoever, in fact, I believe it isonly doing harm to the club you love at this stage in the season. I guess it makes you feel better though, but I just cannot see why you keep doing it and what you want to achieve with it. Unless it is replacing Wenger with the likes of Paul Lambert. Well good luck with that. If that is your vision of greatness for our club then I rest my case.

  306. Gooner In Exile says:

    They probably aren’t GM but they are definitely hampering us because we’ve had the majority of the cash, and therefore from a cash-flow sense they are contributing next to nothing even though the income is spread over the financial years ahead.

    Too much work talk for a football blog.

    Off to bed, night all.

  307. Gooner In Exile says:

    Herb I just got rid of most of the deadwood, i forgot Arshavin, he’ll save us another £4m….woop whoop.

    Sorry did you read any of that or do you just want to continue denying anything contrary to your opinion and keep blaming it all on Wenger,,,,because he is not as good as Herbert Chapman, or apparently Paul Lambert. Yes he has a fantastic record at Norwich, lets repeat that Norwich. So did Mike Walker.

  308. Ozgunner says:

    and checkmate, well said TA

  309. goonermichael says:

    Night Gie. It’s going to be interesting to watch the spuds having to build a new toilet/stadium

  310. Ozgunner says:

    nite GiE, cheers for the explanation

  311. goonermichael says:

    I’m off too. Night all

  312. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz, it is the middle of (a mild) winter and hearing you describe all those holiday destinations is making me a wee bit jealous! :(

  313. TotalArsenal says:

    I am off as well. Night all :)

  314. Herb'sArmy says:

    If only what you said was true TA, and we hadn’t been watching the same pattern for the past four years. I mean, people have been using the same excuses over that time too. It’s almost as if lessons are never learned, no matter how many times they’re repeated. New players, old players, the football hasn’t changed. We always get one-off fantastic results against some quality side, then it’s forgotten, and we return to type. You must have spotted that by now, it’s a recurring theme.

  315. Herb'sArmy says:

    Goodnight everyone. Who knows, the CL is still up for grabs!

  316. Puri says:

    Great Post. For the review of the season thus far:

    http://flyfootball.wordpress.com/

    Cheers.

  317. dy says:

    The loss against Fulham and Swansea should clear up any Arsenal fans mind what the team lacks isn’t about footballing skill, intelligence etc.etc. A dozen Messi or Goetze won’t ‘save’ Arsenal from any further slide below 5th, unless somehow all the players realize that winning isn’t just about scoring a goal or two, it’s about team work, each is covering for each other, to ‘die’ in the field for the team. That mentality is prerequisite to any other attributes you add to a great side.

  318. tomstoned says:

    First of all i would like to give my best to all You Gooners who do put in your thoughts and honest opinions on this to me great blog :)Thank You for givin me the trust on Gooners .

    Today its bitter cold outside it has been snowing all night,im up early on my way to work soon,its stormy weather outside much like i feel its at The Arsenal these days..lets all get behind Our Beloved Arsenal..lets be like a rock i know we are ..no time for getting weak..we must be strong Goonermichael,TotalArsenal,Herb’s Army,Gooner in exilee,Rocky,Peaches,Irish,Big Raddy this is my call…lets stand firm,lets prove that we can be bigger,lets get behind Our Love The Arsenal,lets forgive lets fight..let us be untied..
    im not in love with kroenke..but i do love Arsenal,up here in the cold north i have three loves in my life..my wife first of course..my little girl Anna,and The Arsenal..i have doubts and im hurt…the worst thing about Arsenal is the fact that i dont get my morning kiss,telling my it will be allright..like my misses always do when im down and out..Dear Wenger i do trust You..make it all right Please..i beg you,make Us The Proud Gooners smile again…then We will follow you to the end of the world,no hesitation,no doubts,we will just be there for You and The Arsenal.Always..
    The wind is devestaing outside..cold and dangerous,today is a day to die or stand firm..we will get over it..we WILL live we will win again..we WILL be Gooners forever…The Arsenal is the best team in the World,,,ill give my last breath loving my club…
    Charlie Goerge do you hear me,where are you my dear fellah Adams,bergkamp please give us a goal,Petit knock em down show em the way,Frimpong get older ure our hope,Sagna we need you,Wermy my friend be as cold and hard as only you can,Song get a grip..ure the feckin master of midfiel..c’mon show Us the way..take pride if the V2*s didnt kill us…we wont ever die..we will be better We’ll be proud We’ll stand firm We’ll love You always You are Our pride You are Our team..please c’mon show us your heart..and we will forgive any result ever..
    giving my misses a soft kiss leaving for work wishing today will be the day we turn it all aorund..snow is falling..maybe i should put the kettle on..i think i*ll do,ill even make breakfast…why ? because i just love my wife my girl and The Arsenal,dont ever doubt my love its stronger than life..
    Ramsey…go on lad You will be an awesome Arsenal Player…you know that right,Wilshere we need You…Arteta you have done one hell of a job..
    dont let us down Wenger…lets not let it be like Adele sings..someone like you..be there,stand firm you will find that the Gooners are one hell of a bunch and we’re there right behind You,every step of the way..Always…
    im off…out the door..chilling cold…is this the day ill freeze to death or is this the day we will turn it all around…we’re the next Brazil..only better…c’mon the Gunners…do you hear me…get in !!!

  319. dy says:

    I can feel the cold, it’s -4 when I went outside to shuffle the snow during the day, Its -10 now. But the ‘chill’ I want to feel is that moment when Fab made that long pass to the right, Nasri chased, carried the ball all the way to the touch, checked and holded till Arshavin came rushing into the box, timed his body to meet the pass from Nasri and calmly slotted the ball in, all in perfect harmony, but no,the real ‘chill’ is on that day Arsenal fought as a team, all for one, one for all. That’s how you win, never mind the score. It never is.

  320. kelsey says:

    What a pty I missed the debate last night.

    Cesc great great player, but one of the worst captains of our great club.In a recent documentary on Sky he said he wasn’t motivated in his last season quite clearly,and as i have said before to me his actions were deporable towards the end of the season injured or not, even walking out at half time in one of our last home games.Arsenal captains don’t do that.

    Now PHW is preparing us in case we falter this season.

    With regards to the property portfolio the club could have sold the land with some arrangements on sales.

    Something is wrong at arsenal and as I said before there is a feeling i get that some players are just going through the motions.
    An astute club like ours must have a strategy and it obviously is affecting our performances and IMO it needs sorting out now otherwise every top player we have will also become less motivated and probably look for a club where they can win trophies.

    I blame the BoD entirely..Look at the back stabbing with Lady nina as an example. wenger has his faults but he is being asked to do the impossible on many things.

  321. Herb'sArmy says:

    I know you’re up early, GiE, I’m not an accountant, so football wins over money for me.
    Referring to your statement regarding the move to The Emirates coinciding with a global recession, did you hear Frank McLintock the other day? He’s a lot closer to the club than you or I, and even he said we’d moved to compete with the Barcelona’s & Madrid’s. No mention of any global recession, or has he lost the plot and doesn’t know what he’s talking about?
    John Cross of the Daily Mirror makes a valid point too. We might not have the same money to spend as City or Chelsea, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that, but we don’t need to penny-pinch either.
    I am not anti-Wenger, I am confused after watching the same failings, as to why they haven’t been addressed. Would an intelligent manager continue with flawed tactics that haven’t worked for four years with the old and the new players? Would an intelligent manager persist with under-performing players season after season?
    I don’t get the stubborn logic of it all. I remember you praising Barcelona’s work-rate off the ball, and lamenting about how poor we are in that department. So the fans can see it, but the coaching and management staff at Arsenal can’t? And if they can, again it’s confusing as to why it hasn’t been fixed.You seem to have an explanation for most things concerning Arsenal, so if you can explain that to me I will be happy to forgive those mistakes, without the need to keep looking back and going over old ground. Much appreciated.
    Yes, Mike Walker did a decent job at Norwich, but he didn’t get them back to back promotions, nor were they in the state they were in when Lambert took over. This is only Lambert’s 2nd management job, so he’s clearly destined for bigger and better things. You live in Norwich, did you think they’d be sitting in the top half of the PL two and a half years ago when they lost 7-1 at Lambert’s Colchester in League One? Ferguson started at East Fife, and if someone had suggested back then that he would go on to manage Man Utd they’d have called for the men in white coats.

  322. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Kelsey,
    I’ve always believed that the most important component of any football club are its supporters. If you don’t have an audience to perform to, it negates the whole project.

  323. Herb'sArmy says:

    Apoligies to you Raddy, it wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular, and I realise it was an inappropiate choice of words. I tend to be a bit of a worrier, especially where Arsenal are concerned, so I’m sorry if I appeared to question yours, or anybody else’s depth or passion for Arsenal. It will certainly never happen again.

  324. kelsey says:

    Herb,

    it would be extremely boring if we all agreed with one another. I agree with a lot that you say but not entirely with your thoughts on AW. Maybe he can’t focus or concentrate as well as he did and that maybe because his hands are tied but he is a loyal passionate manager but he obviously needs some backing and I don’t think he is getting it from several directions.others may say he should be sacked as we haven’t won a trophy for 7 years but I think the whole club is run in a unique situation that can’t be compared to any other PL club.

    I think this Summer will be make or break point for him and/or some of the players .

  325. Big Raddy says:

    Herb. Apology accepted.

    You can question my sexuality, my musical taste, my political opinion but no-one can question my love and passion for Arsenal.

    Cyber handshake?

  326. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. I think you are being premature in your assessment. Who is to say we will not go on a good run again this season especially when JW and the FB’s return?

    And how can the season be judged when it has been so ruined by injury? I think the club will accept this has been a “what if” season.

    Furthermore, it is not so long ago that people were saying AW had too much power within the club. Jump forward a couple of years and people say the opposite – that his hands are tied.

    I do not accept either viewpoint. In a multi-million pound business like AFC there are checks and balances throughout the organization with everyone wishing the best for the club and his/her investment.

  327. evonne says:

    GM – good luck with you NVQ! If you pass or not, you already are a legend, and far far wiser, funnier and sharp that you make it out to be.

    GiE – you are wasting your time, but at least some get a lot out of your comments :)

  328. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Herb, you have not answered my question from last night: why are you constantly putting our team, the manager and the BoD down: what is it you want to achieved at THIS STAGE IN THE SEASON? Please be specific and don’t answer with more questions.

  329. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    I have read through all the great stuff posted last night and dismiss it all out of hand :lol:

    Just to be boring I shall repeat, my problem is not that we aren’t spending millions on new players but we don’t make the most of the resources at our disposal and fail to learn the lessons of our mistakes – and the manager is repsonsible for a lot of that as well as being responsible for keeping us in the CL for the last decade.

  330. Morning all – great rallying call and an impassioned plea from TomS@4.57am.

    Sir, I salute you, our northernmost gooner of all.

  331. evonne says:

    Herb – look, Irish and GM, and now Oz too stated how much they ‘dislike’ Cesc. I love and miss Cesc and made it known to others.

    Different opinions? Yeah, you can say that And yet GM and Irish, Oz and I have not fallen out last night, nobody got offended or upset because others have a different view.

    Then you come in, put the spanner in the works, lunch a personnal attack on some, me including and then keep questioning your right to having an opinion. You can have an opinion on anything you like, but your opinion about me, please keep to yourself.

  332. TotalArsenal says:

    Tom@4.57 super comment :)

    I loved reading it from start to finish. Really nice the way you describe your love for Arsenal and your family against a background of a proper winter in deepest, darkest Norway (I lived in Scotland for a while and loved those hard winters, but I am sure it is nothing compared to where you are).

  333. And for the record re. the debate on the homesick spaniard – gifted midfield craftsman but appalling captain and when push came to shove for our beloved Arsenal he showed himself up to be a spineless coward.

  334. Red Arse says:

    Hi CharyB,

    I used to feed a hedgegog who passed thru my garden for several months. One night another hedgehog showed up and ‘my’ hedgehog ran away. Talk about a spiny coward! :-)

    Of course, ‘he’ could have been a ‘she’ and did not fancy being hogged.

  335. Redders, I know what it’s like when you’re not sure about gender – most of my co workers are butch dykes who are adrogynous at best. :)

  336. Morning all

    Time for a bit of fun

    New Post ………………………….

  337. pat says:

    Hey guys just read the posts – wow despite the differing opinions its obvious that we are all hard core gunners and want the best for the club.

    Its hard not to be upset about the manner of Cescs departure – but if he didn’t want to be here not much point having the guy around, especially as skipper. I agree with Chary – great player but not a captain. I was more upset in the way it was handled and the constant “will he / wont he go” dramas

    A great post by TomS certainly is uplifting – a big game this weekend and all hands to the pump required – payback time!

  338. kelsey says:

    Obviously chary being an accountant carries more weight on here than I do, as he repeated exactly what I said about cesc ;)

  339. Puri says:

    Good one.

  340. Patrick says:

    Maybe 4 me it is not right 4 us to be looking in the past we must focus now anyway u are right but the current team is ok but not hungry enough n we need a very experience midfielder who won trophy n able to captain the team(like tony adam) just let rvp focus on his shooting ok n lastly pls buy or loan full back buying gotez wont solve the problem ok we need experience

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  342. FabreKas says:

    I think last years team came the closest to the invincibles if we had managed to keep our players away from the paws of City and Barca. Lets take a look back at the team:

    Szczesny- Would probably be better than Lehmann in a few years.
    Sagna- Round about on the same level as Lauren anyway.
    Koscielny- Great 2nd season maybe could have won the league with him part of the solid defence and Cesc and Nasi in attack.
    Vermaelen- Won’t be as good as Campbell but better than Toure.
    Gibbs- Reminiscence of a young Ashley Cole.
    Wilshere- Different player completely from Veira, will be better soon.
    Song- Again different to Gilberto but just as good all around.
    Nasri- Nowhere near Pires’ class, still special in his own way.
    Walcott- A lethal weapon just as ljungberg was, not the same footballing brain though.
    Cesc- (playing in the attacking hole) would be something different to Bergkamp, both world class.
    RVP- Of course no one will ever reach The King’s heights but Robin is a legend and goals this season have proved that.

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