Arsenal’s Biggest Surprise This Season?

Fellow arsophiles, I want to pose a simple question:

In a season of ups and downs, false dawns and unexpected revivals, which Arsenal player has turned out to be the biggest surprise package (in a positive way)?

I’m not talking about the likes of Vermaelen and van Persie, of whom we all expected great things. I want you to consider the players – whether already in the squad or newly signed – for whom you had NO high hopes, but who have gone on to confound your pessimism.

The grit that turned into pearls, as it were…

You can register your own choice in the Poll below, but let me offer my own shortlist for the contenders…

Tomas Rosicky

The Little Mozart – or Schnitzel, as I am assured is also his nickname – was high on the list of players most supporters wanted to see shipped out last summer. Unlike Fawlty Manuel and Sideways Den, footballing abilities were not the issue with the little Czech – it was just that he seemed as fragile as a Ming vase. And on the odd occasion when he was not too cracked to get a run out, he usually seemed a peripheral figure: the Ming on the wing. Fast forward to today, and we see a player showing just what he can do when he stays fit and gets a run of games in his preferred position. He’s now one of the first names on the team sheet, which makes a change from having his own engraved name plaque in the treatment room.

Kieran Gibbs

Like TR7, our young English left back has often given the impression of being made of glass and was on first name terms with all the medical staff, their wives and husbands, their cousins and neighbours, even their pets. But since he got back in the side our results have improved and he has begun to show why Arsene Wenger has persevered with him for so long. In recent games he has begun to really look the part.

Francis Coquelin

This cocky French cockerel was not on most fans’ radar at the start of the season and it was generally assumed that Frimpong was ahead of him in the midfield pecking order. But while Frimpong’s inexperience was exposed in some early season games, Coquelin took every opportunity that came his way, whether deputising at fullback or playing in his preferred midfield role. Undoubtedly the season of first team football at Lorient is what put him ahead of his young English rival, but he looks to have the quality to be a first team regular in the future. Sadly both he and Frimpong have been unlucky with injuries.

Theo Walcott

OK, I know this is a bit of a controversial one. But so many people were so down on him in the close season and at the start of this campaign that I feel it’s right to include him. Personally I have never understood the level of abuse he gets. Being a winger means you are always trying to do the pointy-ended bits of the game – beating defenders, putting in crosses, making goal assists, hitting the back of the net. Inevitably, things don’t always come off, but with eight goals and 11 assists his contribution should be recognised. If you doubt his importance, just look at how Robin van Persie values him.

Per Mertesacker

Quickly christened ‘The BFG’, our supersized German centre back was written off by some before he had even kicked a ball for us. He was too slow, not good enough in the air despite his height, he wouldn’t be up to the speed of the English game etc etc. Up until his injury, however, big Per showed us that he is, above all, a footballer of the highest quality. I know many supporters believe Koscielny and Vermaelen are our first choice CB pairing, but I really feel Mertesacker adds a level of composure to our transitional play from defence and is brilliant at reading the game and I would start him alongside either of the other two.

Carl Jenkinson

A young fullback, signed from Charlton Athletic with only a handful of first team games under his belt… what was Arsene thinking of? Well, our Carl is a Gooner through and through and when he has had opportunities to play he has shown great promise. His engine is fantastic and, for my money, he’s the best crosser at the club. He’ll be England’s right back in a few years time.

Andre Santos

A Brazilian we had never heard of, signed from the Turkish league. Surely this was another piece of craziness on our manager’s part. And when he turned up with what looked like 20lbs of hashish in his shorts the doubters were even more skeptical. But Santos quickly won people over with his adventurous style of play (it was his goal that got us back on track away at Chelsea) and his infectious enthusiasm.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Isn’t it funny that many of the same people who were furious when we signed Oxo (“we need proven quality, not another punt on some untried youngster for Chrissake”) were exactly the people booing when Alex was subbed off for Arshavin towards the end of the home game against Manchester United. We knew he was very highly regarded at Southampton, but many thought he would be “one for the future” or “Walcott mark two”. Instead he has already made himself a fan favourite and is another player who has everything it takes to be an Arsenal great.

OK, that’s it.

If you would like to suggest a different candidate please click on the “Other” option below and make your suggestion in the comments.

RockyLives

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280 Responses to Arsenal’s Biggest Surprise This Season?

  1. Evening. No footy so heres my offering. Check out the bass guitarist for Argent in an Arsenal shirt.

    Laurent Koscielny gets my vote.

  2. Morning all, thanks for the post The Rock which has been duly assimilated and the vote duly cast.

    I suppose I’m coming late to the F Muamba tradegy and I’d like to add my voice to those who already wished him the best.

    When I worked in Blackstock Road the young man camee into the office with his best mate Justin Hoyte and I was struck by how smiling and joyful the two yuongsters were.

    In the flesh he was not very physically imposing, as he hadn’t “filled” out yet so I could see “The new Vieira” tag was inappropriate.

    Once he leaves intensive care and starts the rehab process I would speculate the one thing that may mentally effect him is the question of “Why me?” in respect of having a heart problem at the so called peak of his physical powers.

    As someone who has diagnosed with a heart problem at a young(ish) age, I can see that as something that can effect the recovery process, although Fabrice is 15 years younger than I was when I had my cardiac episode.

    Finally, something that got my goat was comparing the reaction of the crowd on Saturday and that of the Brum Scum and the Stoke Orcs when 2 of our players were stretchered off with serious injuries,

    The abuse Rambo anbd Eduardo got was as diametrically opposite as the reaction of the spurs crowd.

    Stoke and Brum Scum – hang your heads in shame !

  3. robbinURpersie says:

    LAURENT KOSCIELNY!!

    this name will be sung and adored in our stadium and terraces for years and years to come..

    still prone to the odd mistake, but NO ONE can question his Drive and Determination to succeed not just for himself but for the greater cause..

    recently became a father means he will become settled and has made strong bonds with many at our club already..

    another wenger ‘diamond in the rough’ signing, he came up from the 3rd division of france to the best league and best club in the world in the space of 2yrs, and now looks like a world beater when compared to the usual suspects such as terry, king etc

    Hes so very adaptable and his game has Arsenal written all over it..Huge asset to our club and should we ever make a mistake in moving him on before his time, im convinced he will pay a huge chunk of our stadium off..lol

  4. allezkev says:

    Good post and analysis of the players.
    ‘Suprise’ is the key word in the question to me.
    Couldn’t see Rosicky earning a new contract back in August, let alone a 2 year deal.
    Think he’s been sensational and one of the mainstays of our recent winning run.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Fine idea for a post . Do another at end of season.

    I went for BFG. I think he adds a sense of calm to a back line which has a tendency to panic. A strong leader, superb reader of situations, good passer out of defence, his organizational skills have almost eradicated our susceptibility at set plays.

    I agree with you, the defence should be based around BFG. IMO the best of the summer signings.

    Long-term …… OC. What a player for the future he is, but is he a surprise package? Not really

  6. robbinURpersie says:

    ooh, Forgot to thank you Rocky for the post..

    i jumped straight into the comments when i saw Laurent wasnt there and lost myself when thinking about some of his performances..

    totally agree with you in regards to our BFG, nice little problem Arsene has with the centre back pairing..

    Bfg will win us the Champions league in the next few seasons, Bold prediction i know but his game is so organised and perfect for Europe..i see him as an old school sweeper, reads the game as well as anybody else playing today..

  7. kelsey says:

    RL
    ,
    I am hedging my bets for the moment.

    This team with 5 straight wins are unrecognisable from the team of a few months ago.
    Confidence is high, they seemed to have found a fifth gear and their stamina has improved, hense so many winning goals in the last few moments and for that reason I would give my vote to all of those players as having improved as a unit.
    Once again the manager generally knows better than the media, the pundits and us and I feel pretty positive that this is only the start of us having a great squad

  8. Gooner In Exile says:

    For me it’s a close run thing, I have to judge on level of surprise. So in that respect the contenders are imho Arteta, Rosicky, Santos, Gibbs and Jenkinson.

    You don’t get the caps the BFG does without being quality, Ox was highly sought afterby others, Kozzer showed in a number of games last year just how good he could be.

    Gibbs showed good early promise but injuries and confidence were affecting his game, in the last few games we have seen a player capable of driving forward which I think was the biggest thing he lost.

    Jenkinson I knew nothing about, but his guts and quick adaption to what is required in the PL have impressed me.

    Santos again I knew nothing about but again a player who’s confidence inthe ball gives us a perfect full back for Wengerball, he is also a much better defender than many give him credit for, stays on his feet and reads the game well.

    Rosicky showed us class in the past but injury kept him as a spare part, now we are seeing his early quality again.

    And finally my choice….Arteta.

    The reason being that I had always thought of our impeccably presented Spaniard to be a bit of a luxury player, how wrong could I be, works just as hard to break up play as he does when in possession, and also his responsibility in doing what is necessary for the team. More of a team player than I ever thought he was….a top quality signing.

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We love an interactive thing Rocky. Thanks.
    Koscielny hands down the most improved player for me, but the question is surprise and that honour goes to Rosicky. I think I said pre season (if I didn’t then I certainly thought it) that if TR was anywhere near the first team then we were in big trouble!
    During the season I have banged on about how I see the team with the current formation only working with TR in the AM position.
    I think I massively underrated the loss of Cesc to the system, and completely overlooked the possibility that TR would be the man to fill the Cesc booties.

  10. evonnethegunner says:

    Hi Rocky, thank you for the fine post. I voted for the Ox, but am still thinking. speak later

  11. RedMJ says:

    BFG for me. I felt that he bought an air of calm and confidence to our defending at a time when all around was crumbling. Kozzer a close second though.

  12. goonermichael says:

    Thanks for the post. As I’ve said before I love voting. If I ever do a post it will be one where everyione has to vote. Kelsey I watched that game last night. What a screamer! I voted for Rosicky but there are so many really.

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m so sad about what happened to Fabrice Muamba today. Played with him for a couple of years. What a great guy. Always a smile on his face. Please Fabrice bring that smile back. My thoughts are with you and your lovely family!” Arsenal captain Robin van Persie

  14. goonermichael says:

    Has anyone else read about Park finding out he didn’t have to go to the army til 2022 the day before he signed? His pr people say they kept it quiet until now becausr his transfer terms weren’t finalised until last week! Maybe that’s why he hasn’t played.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky, great post – just what we needed today :)

    I cannot decide who has surprised me most this season. The seven contenders of: ‘wow, I did not think he would be that good!’ for me are: Miquel, Le Coq, Gervinho, The Ox, Santos, Ozyakop and Jenkinson. I am going to go for Jenkinson as I had never-ever heard of him before and he hit the ground running from his first game with such tenacity and eagerness, combined with real quality. The Finglishman really made me forget Sagna at times this season, and that for a lad who moved from Charlton with hardly any senior games under his belt. I rate Sagna very, very highly and we are lucky to have found such a brilliant nr2 in The Jenk. He gets my vote.

  16. Zigzag says:

    Laurent Kosciely, no doubt. He is our best defender and it’s not just my opinion. Martin Keown amongst others thinks so. His energy, speed and tackling are just amazing . Beats hands down other “best” defenders in the Premiership. All those who berated Wenger foe buying another “unproven” lower league french player instead of big name signing should feel very silly now. Koscielny is a real gem.

  17. robbinURpersie says:

    “the FINGLISHman” :-)

    i love it..

  18. Dandan says:

    Interesting post rocky. It will undoutedly get us chattering gooners at it; BA. It would seem that I am one of the few that finds the BFG is often caught out of position. perhaps it is the fact that he reminds me of the magnificent? Ian Ure of days past that makes me favour Kos and TV as our number one pairing. no doubt BFG can do a job for us but he appears to have the turning circle of a super tanker and no leap to speak of, but as Rocky says 90 plus caps for his country must say something.about him.
    Walcott will hopefully stay, if not he will return with the chavs or the pool to haunt us, The return of Sagna has IMHO given Theo the freedom to show the player he is capable of becoming.

    Finally the little Mozart shows just what the persevering with AA has cost the team, a run in that position earlier in the season even though on his way back from injury by Tomas would have secured enough extra points to have made CL a formality

  19. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Thanks for a fun post for a Monday morning and an uplifting challenge after recent events.

    Koscielny was not on the list because his quality should come as no surprise – he just keeps getting better and better.

    Kozzer, Arteta and RvP would all be contenders for my player of the season.

    I voted for Rosicky simply because he has performed better than I thought possible and at his age that is a great achievement. The sadness has to be for the length of time we were deprived of such a great player.

  20. dandan says:

    Rasp interesting I typed my comment on my I pad and didnt get Geordie to appear, my PC has no such problem

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    AHHH, am confused now! I also agree with rURp, The Mickster and Zigzag re Koscielny and then there is GiE’s passionate case for Arteta-A-Treat- who has also become one of my favourites!?!?!?

    Need to give it some more thought!

  22. Rasp says:

    Oooh get you dandan – using your ipad :lol:

    I can’t fathom why WordPress made these unnecessary changes. There have been hundreds of complaints on the forum. We suspect there is a hidden agenda that may be linked to getting some money out of us – but if that’s the case, so be it, just give us the option I say.

  23. dandan says:

    Total be careful do not upset the little master we need him

  24. 26may1989 says:

    Am just passing through, as a bonkers day of work beckons.

    Rocky, well done, a vote in these unfootball days is very welcome, especially with the understandable feeling of negativity and mortality after Muamba’s collapse.

    On the options that were posted, I went for Rosicky, a player I had written off ages ago but who has turned in some sublime and inspirational performances. Here’s hoping that continues.

    I agree that AOC is also a surprise; I assumed it would take him a couple of years to show what he’s about, but boy oh boy the lad has shown his quality and compsure early. Jenkinson likewise has impressed. But with Kyle Walker showing real quality, I reckon Jenks may stick to playing for Finland rather than England. Whatever, as long he plays his real footy for us, I don’t really care.

    My suggestion for a couple of potential additional surprises:

    1. Song the Assist Master – 11 of his 18 career assists for us have come this season. The man found his radar once Cesc got out of the way.

    2. RvP – He’s stayed fit, need I say more?

    PS: Re BFG, I completely agree that we have three CBs we’d be happy to play in any circumstances, which must make the rumours of signing Vertonghen a bit iffy, non?

    Catch you lot later.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Dandan, are you referring to Tomas R? :)

    If so, then I will agree with you, and many others, he has played surprisingly well in the last few games. But, a) I knew he can play like that and b) the whole team is set up in such a way that the advanced/attacking MF position is provided with a brilliant platform to shine. I think TR does well in that position, but does he take my breath away like Cesc or Wilshere did/can do? Not really, but he is a great squad player to have and he performed above expectations in the last few games.

  26. robbinURpersie says:

    hey Rasp,

    i dont understand in regards to your comment on koscielny..

    why wouldnt the same count for Rosicky? We all knew about Rosickys potential and class, he had shown it previously and even before he came to the THOF..the displays he has mastered for us recently should be no suprise as he has consistently produced internationally as well..maybe it is a case of Rosicky only coming into his own recently as prior to this his injuries were a hurdle and Wengers tinkering with the likes of Rambo and AA23..

    Koscielny has improved immensely but i doubt anyone expected him to come this good in one season..It is fair to say that after his mix up in the carling cup he could very well have easily crumbled yet he buckled down stuck to his guns and is even starting to add in with some goals..his call up to international duty recently was totally unexpected when you consider some of the so called big names that France have had/got..

    From where he was, to where he is now is trully a big suprise and shock for the short amount of time that he has given himself to rise to the top..

    Can anyone really say that he doesnt deserve a starting spot in the first eleven? it is trully Shocking when you have the likes of Bfg and Vermaelen (2 full internationals) fighting for the two positions

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    I think, what Rocky is cleverly doing to us, is to show us/let us find out how ripe, juicy and low-hanging the fruits are of this transitional year!

  28. Rasp says:

    Hi RurP,

    I can’t speak for the author, but since the heading was “Arsenal’s Biggest Surprise This Season?”, I discounted Kozzer because he was great in the 2nd half of last season and so it comes as no surprise to me that he’s continued that development.

    Tomas on the other hand didn’t seem as though he had it in him. He was pretty poor at times last year, but latterly this season he has been one of the main reasons we’ve clawed our way back into CL contention.

  29. Rasp says:

    RurP, I think you can see it as a compliment to kozzer that he’s not on the list. We now know that AW was 100% correct and those ‘supporters’ who dubbed Koscielny as too short, too lightweight, not good enough for the 2nd division of French football etc etc, got it completely wrong. The guy is just as Arsène described him – a warrior.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, I think rURp has a strong point re Koz. To have moved to first choice CB, in less than a season, for many Arsenal fans is quite a feat. He could have easily been included as ‘surprise’.

  31. collinsolayinka says:

    i vot Thomas Rocsiky Gibbs Santos Alax oxlad

  32. oz gunner says:

    great idea for a post Rocky.

    Like micky and RuVP (seem to be agreeing with you a lot lately, must be something in the water down here haha) have said Kozzer for me. He has become a dominant player, and can play on the nippy of giant strikers. He could become one of arsenes greatest gems (and theres a few!)

    I agree also with GiE, arteta changed my idea of him a lot.

  33. Rasp says:

    OK TA, I’m outvoted. Maybe its just me, but I expected great things from Kozzer from the start of the season and I haven’t been disappointed. Rosicky’s resurgence was a far greater surprise, he must come under the heading of ‘unliikely hero’.

  34. robbinURpersie says:

    Rasp,

    every time Kozzer performs the way he does, im suprised!..
    the latter half of last season he was still producing inconsistent performances, and when we signed the BFG it was widely anticipated that it would be him that starts with TV5..

    the injury to TV5 early on gave Kozzer his chance and he jumped at it with both hands..

    Lets not forget that with all four full backs out Kozzer not only remained consistent but continued to improve and on many occassions was deserving of a man of the match award..

    If you can truly say that at the start of the season, you expected Kozzer to be a permanent fixture in our starting 11 and to gel so well with whoever he was paired up with, wether it was djourou, bfg or verm and even to stand out than i sir, take my hat off to you ;-)

  35. robbinURpersie says:

    Agree to disagree? :-)

  36. Rasp says:

    I can and I do rURp :P

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Definitely a unlikely hero Rasp and what a joy to behold!

  38. robbinURpersie says:

    such a well balanced bloke you are Raspers, your Gravatar says it all

  39. Rasp says:

    Thanks rURp, I get plenty wrong too!

    This is my emergency gravatar on account of Arsh’s return to Russia. I am surprised to hear reports that he wants to return and prove himself at Arsenal. One thing I got wrong was lambasting the club for sending him out on loan, and yet our results since he left have been fantastic. I’m not convinced that the two are related but it does show that thus far we haven’t needed him

    My next Gravatar may have to be Santos as I do like the flair players and he does some outrageous stuff that hardly gets noticed.

  40. kelsey says:

    When in a year you play for Charlton….Eastbourne and then for Arsenal with a 60000 crowd watching your every move and improve to a standard of a top4 team

    and also play for Brentford and then Arsenal under the same conditions

    jenkinson and Sczscney have to both get my vote. :)

  41. 26may1989 says:

    I’m with Rasp, Kozzer’s progress last season was staggering, especially given that he’d only played one season at Ligue 1 level, the rest of his career having been in lower divisions. He showed enough quality, desire and intelligence to suggest that he would continue to get better this season. And he’s delivered (own goal vs Pool notwithstanding). Fantastic that he’s done it but (ahem) I sort of expected that one.

    Rosicky on the other hand I really didn’t see delivering on any sort of level, so I’m with those that got that one completely wrong.

  42. robbinURpersie says:

    You see Rasp,

    i totally agree with you on AA23 from the start to the time when the wheels came off, i think i even commented on the club making a mistake in sending him out but hey, you win some and you lose some..as long as the Arsenal keep steam rolling as they have been i dont mind..

    i for one love AA23’s trademark celebration, its very typical of our team.. the finger on the lips is an injection of sorts to the doubters and non believers..

    Theyve been doubting him upon his return to Russia, saying basically what most of our fans were saying, that he is lazy and fat etc. But, the stats dont lie!! He is still assisting and scoring and i expect big things at the Euros.Arsene Wenger has always believed in statistics (a reason why he signed arteta) but in recent times i believe wenger has gone soft due to pressure from fans..After all its all about ‘Bums on seats’..

    ok enough of the rant

  43. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for playing, everyone.

    Rasp has it on the money as far as my view of Kozzer is concerned. I thought he was showing fantastic ability and determination last season so I’m not surprised by his continued progress this year.

    However, clearly a lot of people have a different view of him, so with hindsight he probably should have been among the voting options. Sorry.

    Similarly, I left out Szczesny because people on AA were already calling him ‘World’s No 1″ last season. And Arteta because I thought he was a player with proven EPL quality.

    I voted for Gibbs. Not just because it’s surprising to see him get a run of games without injury, but also because I’ve never been that impressed with him as a player when he has played in the past. But recently he’s shown the potential to be a cracking LB. That genuinely surprised me. He still makes some positional mistakes (only to be expected) but I suddenly feel very secure with our LB options.

  44. 26may1989 says:

    “the stats dont lie” – hmmm, there’s a whole day’s debate in that one! As one who’s backed the little Russian more than most, I have to say I think his stats are a little economical with the veracity.

    Continue the rant!

  45. Rasp says:

    rURp,

    I agree. Arsène seems to have changed his way of thinking in a couple of areas recently. In particular, the idea of only offering short term contracts (1 year) to players over 30. Arteta and Rosicky are (correct me if I’m wrong) both under contract until the age of 33.

  46. robbinURpersie says:

    kinda makes you think back to bobby pires…..WHY??

  47. Rasp says:

    Pires and DB, we had Sol back after a year away.

  48. robbinURpersie says:

    back to the lil’ ruski, i think he played himself out of the starting 11, but i still believe he has something to offer as squad player..

    No one can deny his little spurts of magic that are capable of turning a game around in one move (as hes proven so many times before)..intelligent players are hard to come by these days, unfortunately we as fans have turned on any player who shows to lack that grit and fight as was the case with cesc as well, still you cant deny the talent these sorts of players possess..

    i have a feeling im gonna get smashed in my support for AA23

  49. kelsey says:

    I just heard that mrs. dandan has been quickly taken back to A & E and hopefully I will get some more news later, which I hope is good.

  50. robbinURpersie says:

    i can see mad Jens coming back as well…again! even if its more a coaching role,(what is he, 40 something now)..still it might be a positive move with almunia and fabianski expected to depart, i think the experience/advice for szcezny, martinez and shea will be very handy

  51. Rasp says:

    Thanks kelsey,

    My best wishes to Mrs dandan, I hope its nothing serious and you’re back to full health in no time.

  52. Gooner In Exile says:

    Lets just clarify, normally Arsene would not give players over 30 any more than a one year extension to their contract, it didn’t mean players under 30 did not get contracted past 31.

    What it meant was that the club and the player could assess the position every year, and we would not renew a contract for three years at the age of 31, see signs of slowing down at 32, and be stuck for another two years with a wasting asset. Arteta was 29 when he signed, however TR7 is a bigger surprise as that is a 2 year contract for a player over thirty….but just to go back in time:

    Henry’s last contract was signed in 2006 at the age of 28/29 and would have presumably if we hadn’t sold him kept him at the club into his 30’s.

    Pires was 32/33 when he came out of contract after that 2006 final.

    Gilberto left in 2008 at the age of 32 and we got money so he had at least one year to go on his contract.

    Lauren left at age of 30 still with time left on contract as we sold him for a fee.

    Sol Campbell was 32 when his contract expired in 2006.

    Bergkamps one more year saga started in 2003 at the age of 34, he then earned three more one season contracts.

    This thing about no contracts taking players into their thirties is a bit of a myth. And it is annoying to me.

  53. Rasp says:

    OK GiE, but Rosicky just got a 2 year extension at the age of 31 didn’t he?

  54. robbinURpersie says:

    IMO i believe Pires was still at his peak in 2006..he wanted a 2yr extension and Wenger was only prepared to give him the 1 yr rolling contract..

    Reports say that Rosicky was given the 2yr extension a couple of weeks before his sensational turn in form which i find baffling..but hey, they were only reports

  55. Rasp says:

    Alert alert alert!!!!

    We are desperate for a post for tomorrow. If anyone feels like putting fingers to keyboard we’d be mightily grateful.

  56. 26may1989 says:

    Re age of players and length of contracts, surely the hardline position of AFC from 2004 until recently was a function of financing the stadium. Older players have no sell-on value (or not much) so from a commercial standpoint they are purely cost items. Usually, that needs to be managed carefully, so that you don’t get too many older players, but at a time with very little money to spend, that was even more of a problem. To balance the books, AFC prioritised investing in young players. That pressure has passed, meaning the club has more scope to offer longer and better contracts to older players. I’m sure the likes of Pires would today get better contract offers, despite his failing pace, as would Gilberto, Lehmann etc.

    That’s my assumption anyway. Wenger has always liked to find raw talent and develop it but he’s also got a track record of signing or keeping older players.

  57. Rasp says:

    Thanks 26m – so that does herald a change in our approach to contracts for the over 30’s, but for reasons I hadn’t fully understood :roll:

  58. goonermichael says:

    Arteta basically has a 2 yuear contract spread over 4 years. He is being paid less than he was at Everton but onlong contract. I hope dandan’s wife is ok.

  59. Rasp says:

    Convoluted logic gm – but as someone said recently – you’re a one-off :lol:

  60. 26may1989 says:

    I think so Rasp – but perhaps I’m wrong – it happens, according to Mrs 26 anyway.

    But looking at the number of experienced players turning out for the team this year, for whatever reason it does look there’s a different approach at the club now compared with a few years ago.

    On the subject of experienced players, with another ACN next year (they’re switching it to odd years so it doesn’t clash with World Cups), what chance another cameo from the prodigcal son that is Thierry Henry?

  61. RockyLives says:

    Dandan
    Best wishes to your wife. Hope it’s nothing too serious.

  62. 26may1989 says:

    Dandan, ditto from me, hope all ok.

  63. RockyLives says:

    Thanks 26
    That’s a really sensible explanation of why we became reluctant to make long contract extensions to older players.

    Gotta love this site. So many clever people!

  64. goonermichael says:

    It’s actually true Rasp. It’s not my theory :)

  65. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Where are you?
    Come out to play!
    At the very least, can you remonstrate with me for leaving someone important off the Poll options above?

  66. RockyLives says:

    For those who may be interested, TR7 is way out in front (over 44%) with Oxo second (31%) but everyone has managed some votes, including over 4% for “other”, which I am taking to mean Laurent Koscielny, based on the comments so far.

  67. goonermichael says:

    He’s probably pissed off about yesterday Rocky

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi 26, I watched TH play on ESPN against Dallas last week Sunday. I only saw the last 30 minutes and he was playing very deep in an attempt to keep the game going – Dallas were leading 2-0 – and at one point he produced a beautiful ball over the top – very Fabregas-like – that was nicely put away by a Dallas player.

    Just to see TH working his socks off in deepest, sunniest Dallas, in a game that was not even at the level of our Championship League made me a bit sad though. What a waste! :(

  69. Rasp says:

    I’ve emailed Redders. We can’t force him back on, but I’ve made sure he knows he is missed.

  70. Rasp says:

    TA,

    Sincere apologies for not participating in your excellent post on Friday. I have been very busy but in truth I was a bit deflated after recent events and needed some time away. The dreadful news of Muamba restored my perspective – I promise to gush all over your next post :?

  71. goonermichael says:

    Are Terry and glic gone forever? I missed what all the fuss was about.

  72. 26may1989 says:

    Hi TA. I watched about 20 mins of the Red Bulls’ defeat to Real Salt Lake yesterday, and TH14/12 was playing very deep then too, almost like a sweeper sometimes. The MLS is better than I thought it would be, with plenty of genuine fans and some decent players, but a player like Henry does seem to have to work hard to compensate for the limited quality of colleagues, at least in terms of touch and vision.

  73. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    “Alert alert alert!!!” :D

    I love the different approaches of you and Peaches when it comes to drumming up Posts.

    Peaches hints at the sinister mishaps that may befall us if we don’t come up with the goods, and each of us regular writers assumes the comment is aimed directly at us.

    Your approach is a collective appeal: “Quick, the ship is sinking! All hands to the pumps.” :)

    Both are funny. Only you will know which one is more effective :)

  74. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Who knows?

    I hope all our bloggers return. We have a lovely community on here.

    In blogworld it helps to take whatever is written with a pinch of salt. Who knows the writer can be the worse for drink or just a bit antsy.

  75. Rasp says:

    gm, TMHT and glic are welcome to comment on the site any time they choose.

  76. ..our in your case, Radders, a bit “Randy” :)

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, I understand. You and Peaches are doing an amazing job, combining your work and family lives with running a one-quality-post-per-day blog totally for free and with no admin support. Keeping all bloggers happy and working together must be a difficult challenge at times and I can imagine you need to take a bit of distance sometimes. Good to see you back today, and in fine form! :)

  78. Rasp says:

    Haha Rocky,

    peaches’ more subtle approach carries far more weight than my attempt to panic a response. They don’t call her the Raven Haired Warrior Princess for nothing – copyright chary?

    Thanks TA, I’ll probably get the sack now :oops:

  79. TotalA – it’s young and vibrant posters like yourself who help AA progress – once tired, washed out old has beens like mslef have run out of ideas I feel humbled to pass on the writing baton to the likes of you, The rock, GiE etc..

    I think RHWP is a Harry invention Rapsers, I call her simply “Peachy”.

  80. Rasp says:

    You smoothie chary…….

  81. RockyLives says:

    “Young and vibrant” haha

    Some really comments from Corporal Jenkinson about RvP and the BFG:

    “With Robin being the skipper, if you have any problems or just need some advice then he is one of the first people I would go to,” Jenkinson told he club’s official website.

    “He is the perfect captain. He is approachable – which is very important – and he is open to opinions. He also leads by example on the pitch.

    “If you are the captain of a club, you need to lead the way and show the way forward to everyone to follow. He definitely does that.

    Jenkinson also revealed that he is enjoying learning the game off more experience players in his position, especially Per Mertesacker who he believes has been a great influence in the dressing room since arriving last August.

    He added: “I am also quite close with Per [Mertesacker] – he is a defender and has been around the game a long time and has a lot of experience, so he often gives me little tips here and there.

    “I know I can always go to him if I need to talk about something.”

  82. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp, I did say it was a bigger surprise about TR7 Rasp. Let’s be honest players lasting late into their 30s is still a relatively rare occurrence. But maybe we should look at miles under the bonnet. DB10 and Dixon like Giggs and Scholes now are rare. Especially as they had relatively injury free careers.

    Will RvP and TR7 benefit I later years as they have less game’s played?

  83. RockyLives says:

    If we secure a CL spot this season, I think RvP’s captaincy will have to be seen as one of the principal factors in our recovery from such a disastrous start.

    Quite apart from his goals, he appears to have single-handedly turned our dressing room into a totally united, mutually supportive entity that is going from strength to strength.

  84. robbinURpersie says:

    26M @ 1.20pm,

    thats just top shelf..very intelligent.
    the sort of moment when one would say ‘Why didnt i think of that”?, which is exactly what i said to myself :-)

  85. Gooner In Exile says:

    Another post required? Damn these long breaks between games as there are limited things to write about.

    This site needs many to author posts otherwise the post cupboard runs bare for us all and the content has an increased chance of becoming repetitive. I’m pretty sure Gus was going to write one, and where did the steward go (forgotten his name :oops: ) as I’d really like to have a blow by blow account of match day from him, and also whether there has been a step down of “sit down” policy over recent games.

    It would be great to pull RA back from self enforced post writing embargo, but it looks like we’re going to have to start with just getting him back on the site. :(

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Chary, thanks. I reckon we have a similar age though :) (me 44, just Sharkespeare)

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    (me 44, just LIKE Sharkespeare)

  88. RockyLives says:

    TA
    From where I’m standing (sitting, actually), 44 is definitely young and vibrant!

  89. Yup TotalA – a year younger than me ! That’s vibrant enough I reckon.

    GiE – wasn’t the steward “El Tel” ?

  90. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks rURp, very kind words.

    I was about to provoke everyone into a fit of indignant rage by chucking the name “Berbatov” into the hat marked “potential summer signings”, when I read an article in The Guardian about Villarreal being in trouble. I’ve always liked another ex-United player, Giuseppe Rossi, who apparently may have to be sold in the summer. 25 year old striker with a pedigree and a more than respectable collection of caps for Italy. Plus he speaks English (well sort of, he’s from New Jersey). Sound interesting?

    Here’s something on another Italian-American from New Jersey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Soprano.

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky,

    Tout est relatif! You are not far away from 44, right? You have the vibrancy of a gazelle! (nothing compared to Red Arse though :) )

    Chary, so the 1966 in your blogname is a direct reference to your year of birth?!

  92. Yes TotalA – I gave myself 3 seconds to choose an anonymous blog name on wordpress then I found out “Charybdis” had been taken – so on goes the year of birth, I know what you’re thinking, not a very original idea.

  93. SharkeySure says:

    With my most sincere apologies to Gus, cracking post RockyElvis.

    “I thought he was showing fantastic ability and determination last season so I’m not surprised by his continued progress this year.” – Agreed.

    I fell in love with Koz on his debut at Anfield last season. I pretty much saw all that I needed to see that day. I never flinched at his occasional mistakes, just accepted them as part of his osmosis into PL life.

    I’m in no way surprised at how well he has done, simply overjoyed. If I was a manager we’d end up playing three at the back, cos it just wouldn’t look right seeing any of our 3 main CB’s on the bench.

    Tommy V – another Warrior.

    BFG – pure unaldulterated class and composure (other than THAT moment at Sunderland!)

    I

  94. RockyLives says:

    TA
    I’m 52.
    My head still feels 21, but my hair and my waistline are showing their age :)

  95. SharkeySure says:

    Fringlish :-)

  96. robbinURpersie says:

    ahh ‘the Sopranos’..i was addicted to that show

  97. 26may1989 says:

    52??! You’re not 52! I refuse to believe it. Funny how this interweb thing works, you get an image of someone that turns out to be completely wrong.

  98. SharkeySure says:

    Graet shout on the Sopranos 2*13. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

    Anyone remember Boys from the Blackstuff..??

    Back later….

  99. 26may1989 says:

    The Sopranos is second only to The Wire. I brook no discussion on this topic, it’s a fact, simple as that. :)

  100. Rasp says:

    I’m addicted to the Sopranos, keep watching it over and over. Unlke many, I thought the final scene was brilliant

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky, I had you at 46-48, so there’s a surprise (sorry Gus) :)

  102. RockyLives says:

    26
    I can only infer that you thought I was much older :)

    TA
    What’s happened to Gus? I hope we didn’t scare him off – he made some great comments.

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    I think he said he would work on a post, so here is hoping Gus will return wih a fine one soon :)

    Great btw the TR7 is winning comprehensively – hope he gets to see your post somehow!

  104. GunnerN5 says:

    On a more sober note I’ve read several times that it took close to two hours to resuscitate Fabrice. That seems to be an extraordinary amount of time as most attempts are curtailed after around 30 minutes, according to my nephew who has been an RN in emergency for 15 years.

    If it did take that length of time then the article below is very concerning in relation to Fabrices ongoing health.
    …………………………………………………………………………………………

    The human body needs oxygen to sustain itself. The decrease of oxygen to at least one body part is known as hypoxia. The total lack of oxygen is known as anoxia. Brain cells are destroyed after 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen. When the flow of oxygen to the brain is completely cut off, a person will lose consciousness within 10 seconds. Extended hypoxia leads to brain damage and ultimately death.

  105. robbinURpersie says:

    every week, early tuesday morning “Arsenal TV” is shown on a relatively new free to air channel..it usually shows a replay of the most recent game played (which should be v Newcastle) followed by player talk, interviews etc

    for some reason they have abandoned the norm of showing the last game and have instead opted to show a match from the archives which in this case will be Arsenal v Celtic..

    i remember the anxiety i felt going into that game and the importance of Champions league football..always nice to go back and relive the experience..happy dayze :-)

  106. RockyLives says:

    It is troubling Gn5, but I believe they were keeping his heart beating artificially for most of the two hours – and after two hours it started to beat naturally again.

    Even an artificially induced heartbeat will maintain the flow of oxygen to the brain.

    Not that I’m any kind of expert…

  107. goonermichael says:

    There has been some news about Muamba. His heart is beating without drugs and signs of movement in his fingers according to journalists on twitter.

  108. RockyLives says:

    RurP
    That’ll be the game that led to Eduardo being more or less hounded out of English football then…

  109. goonermichael says:
  110. RockyLives says:

    GM
    Sounds hopeful.

  111. goonermichael says:

    He may possibly have some permanent damage but his son would have a father. It’s looking better now.

  112. goonermichael says:
  113. robbinURpersie says:

    sorry GN5, forgot to refresh the page before i posted..in hindsight i probably wouldnt have either..not to be rude, ive been trying to keep my mind off certain things for just a little bit..too close to home

  114. robbinURpersie says:

    RL,

    unfortunately yes..lets hound out bale next please ;-)

  115. goonermichael says:

    http://www.bwfc.co.uk/page/General/0,,1004~2673101,00.html

    Official Bolton statement

  116. robbinURpersie says:

    Thats really positive news on Fabrice..’Keep the Faith’

  117. RockyLives says:

    Going back to the Poll, young Coquelin is also doing well for votes – in third place with 12%.

  118. robbinURpersie says:

    RL,

    how do we know that Rasp didnt put in 140 odd votes for Rosicky to prove his point?….. ;-) nah im jus being cheeky

  119. robbinURpersie says:

    mozart has this one in the bag, me thinks

  120. Red Arse says:

    Hi lovely Fellow AAers, :-)

    I feared the worst, over the last couple of days, for poor Fabrice, but the latest info is making me feel cautiously optimistic.

    Did I tell you I watched him some years ago in our junior teams?
    I was gutted when we let him go permanently to Brum, altho loanees, more frequently than not, tend to be shown the door when they go on extended loans. {Bartley? Lansbury?}

    Fab looked a promising if rough hewn diamond to me, as a kid, and I really was convinced he would be in the first team at some time in the future, but in the event I was to be disappointed.

    Come on Fab — we are all praying for you and your family!!

  121. robbinURpersie says:

    good to see you back Redders..

  122. Rasp says:

    I like the cut of Coquelins jib :? I think I mentioned before, but he has 2 good feet and a fantastic range of passing – in particular the diagonal cross field pass to rapidly move our attack between the wings. I expect him to be a first team regular in 2 years.

  123. RockyLives says:

    RurP
    I think that if you try to vote twice, you get a virtual slap on the wrist. Although I suppose Rasper could have created 140 different email identities and pulled it off that way… :)

    Redders
    He seems to have been a well regarded player at both the Brummies and at Bolton. Perhaps if he was coming through the ranks now he would have had a better chance of making our first team.

  124. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    Agreed about young Cocky. The fact that he has not once looked out of his depth when he has had opportunities this season (even when not in his natural position) also indicates he has a very good temperament.

  125. Red Arse says:

    I have voted for Rosy, not really out of surprise, but more out of delight that a class player has found his form and his mojo!! :-)

    Interestingly, all the players named by the Rock, in his usual excellent Post, have had injury ravaged seasons, except for Theo, even Tomas has been benched, more often than not, until recently when his old skills came flooding back.

    In a more modest way, I was both surprised and delighted with the way Miquel conducted himself when he was given the opportunity to show his skills when playing out of position at left back.
    That lad has a great future too, hope it is with us! :-)

  126. RockyLives says:

    Hmmm… perhaps Miquel should have been among the voting options as well. He has impressed me every time I’ve seen him have a run out.

  127. Red Arse says:

    Hi RurP, :-)

    Just back, a little while ago, from seeing my consultant, and could not get onto the net.

    I enjoyed the Grand Prix from Melbourne and the TV coverage was brilliant and showed off some stunning shots of the city.
    I have never made it to Melbourne, but if I can, I am going to try and do so before I kick the bucket!! :-)

  128. Red Arse says:

    Ohhh, you are just saying that about Miquel, Rocky, to get on my good side, after showing off with yet another top quality Post! :-)

    We lesser mortals can only express our supplication by bending the knee and bowing the head! :-)

  129. Red Arse says:

    Glic,

    When I used the word “lesser” I meant it as an adjective meaning lower in quality, not as in “a grab of luscious lessers inhabiting Glic’s Cornish harem”. :-)

    You are called to return, with MerryTerry to the Cuckoo Club — immediately, I am missing you!!!!! :-)

  130. Big Raddy says:

    Agreed about Miquel. He has a fine future at AFC.

    Should he go out on loan next season?

    Do you think there is any truth in the Vertoghen rumors? Surely, with 5 CB’s on contract we don’t need another

  131. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Haha… you’re very kind but this was a bit of a bog standard effort if you ask me. It was partly inspired by the recent “questionnaire” Posts by Kelsey and TA. It’s always nice to have a bit of interaction!

  132. Red Arse says:

    OK, bloggus farticus — and warn out!! :-) Arrivederci.

  133. kelsey says:

    The Red Arse is back having just been to see his lawyer, sorry i mean consultant ;)

    Suprising how low the vote is for Theo.

    I wish Edu would have stayed longer and I hear merida perhaps made the wrong choice in going back to Spain.

    I think there is going to be a huge chane in policy at the club come Summer. The over 30 rule will be less water tight, several players will be freed regardless of the transfer fee and we won’t get done by the likes of City.

  134. Big Raddy says:

    RL. It is strange how people respond to the posts. I have written posts which I thought were at best average and yet they have been well received. Others I have thought were excellent get scant praise.

    I am a lousy judge of my own work.

  135. kelsey says:

    The schnitzel is on fire in the poll.

    I don’t know of another Arsenal blog that picked up on this other nickname.

  136. Red Arse says:

    Rocky, as always you are too modest, as is Raddy Pre-Match. :-)

    Raddy, I am no longer as convinced as I was that I can spot talent, so I am not the most qualified to answer your questions. BUT; :-)

    I think Miquel should go out on loan to a Championship or lower Premier League club, for all the obvious reasons.

    If you had asked about the prospects of Vertongen joining us this time last year, I would have desperately hoped the rumours (and you know how I feel about them) were true. But, with perming any two from the excellent Kozzer, TV and the Jolly Green Giant, as well as having Djourou, Miquel and Bartley available, it just seems as unlikely as all the Podolski rumours. [I see the Pod's agent is now denying everything and claiming he knows nozzing!] :-)

  137. robbinURpersie says:

    Hmmmm, i wonder who Irish is gonna vote for when she gets on?

    i guess thats another vote for ‘schnitzel’

  138. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey, you naughty boy — I never spoke to 26!! :-)

  139. Big Raddy says:

    The Podolski transfer is very strange. IAW has always denied it but I think there is no smoke….

  140. RockyLives says:

    Kelsey
    Maybe the Theo vote is low because (a) he has had an in-and-out season and (b) we already have a good idea of what he can do when he’s at his best, hence – not a surprise.

  141. kelsey says:

    All the girls love Carlos Vela and irish likes anything Italian, escalope milanese for her then :)

  142. GunnerN5 says:

    BR:

    You are way to modest about your posts – if there was a poll for the best author you would most certainly get my vote.

    I always look forward to your pre-games they are factual, topical, informative, well researched and show courage in your team selection.

    And this comes from one of the most pragmatic and least “fluffy” posters on AA.

  143. Rasp says:

    Still no post for tomorrow :roll:

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ll do you one Rasp, although I see myself better suited to “blog death weekends”!
    Anything to keep the wheels on until we can get our teeth into a Big Raddy pre match on weds. The wait is nearly over.

  145. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What has emerged from Rocky’s poll is that there appear so many names being thrown into the pot, which promises so well for the future.

  146. RockyLives says:

    Amen to that Gn5.
    It is no exaggeration to say that waking up on the day of a game, my first thought is “Yes! It’s game day.” My second thought is “Yes! It’s time for a BR pre-match!”

  147. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Check the loading bay.!

  148. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Jeepers Rocky,
    As soon as I have the first pint of coffee in my hand, its laptop on and AA straight up on the side. Every Day!!!!
    I have a problem. Indeed, another problem.

  149. Big Raddy says:

    Too kind gentlemen. Too kind

  150. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Mé too.

  151. RockyLives says:

    Me three.
    Funny, isn’t it?
    It has become such a big part of my routine. I don’t feel happy unless I’ve ready every single Post and comment…

  152. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    Is that Danish for: “there’s a post for tomorrow”?
    Am I off the hook?
    We get two Raddy pre matchers on consequetive days?
    Sounding very good to me :-)

  153. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rocky, you have a post as well?
    Fight fight fight

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp calls for a post.
    Three offers immediately.
    There’s something very “I’m Spartacus” in the air.

  155. RockyLives says:

    No Micky – sorry!

    I thought BR’s “me too” was referring to your “get coffee, go on AA” comment…

  156. Big Raddy says:

    I have witten a post but I (and I suspect RL) are saying we go to AA straight after making coffee

  157. Big Raddy says:

    Writing ón an iPad is pants……..

  158. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Write a post. Mine Can wait for another day

  159. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    In conjunction with your pages comment the other day, I think you are about to have a falling out with Apple. I’ll be welcoming you back to the Dark Side soon.

  160. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cripes,
    I’ve just been scanning the remaining fixtures, and its dawned on me that I’ll be out of cyber contact for both City and Wolves games. This is really very bad.
    That’s it, I’m coming on saturday.
    I hope I have a happier time on the Exchange.

  161. Arsenalista says:

    Biggest surprise of the Season – for me it’s is Koscielny. I think he has gone from being a decent player to being one of the very best.

    I do hope we get Vertonghen in the summer because he is a great player in the making.

    But to me Koscielny and Vermealen are fantastic and if push came to shove I wouldn’t swap them for anyone.

    We knew he was a decent player but now he is fast, reads the game well, he is more aggressive and streetwise. He is great on the ball.

    Gibbs and Roiscky have had a great month but LK6 has been immense and whilst we might have liked him before, I don’t think any of us expected that.

  162. 26may1989 says:

    Before heading off to take in the delights of Spiritualized at the Hackney Empire (www.spiritualized.com), a quick little word.

    I agree with Mr Arse and Mr Raddy, good as Vertonghen looks, adding him to our list of CBs looks greedy. Unless we’d sell Djourou as well as (presumably) Squillaci – very unlikely.

    It’s great to hear some positive news re Fabrice Muamba. I wonder if football fans other than those at his current and former clubs, and those at Spurs who feel an understandable connection, feel as sensitively about this as we do – I think the answer is yes, it’s such a rare and shocking thing for a top level athlete to suffer in this way, the fact of connection with one’s club is probably a mere detail. It’s just quite striking that the Goonersphere feels affected by tragedy striking a young man who had such a fleeting connection with our first team. That said, his was a name we were all familiar with over a long-ish period, so the fact he only played a couple of times for our first team doesn’t tell the whole story. Anyway, whatever the reason for the feelings, let’s hope the reported good signs suggest a full recovery.

    Over and out.

  163. RockyLives says:

    Hi Arsenalista
    RobinurPersie else made the same point earlier in the comments.
    I didn’t include Laurent because I thought he looked really good last year and his progress is pretty much what i was expecting from him.

  164. Big Raddy says:

    26. Judging by the reaction of the Real Madrid players, the answer is Yes.

  165. Big Raddy says:

    RL- Can you write one about our most disappointing player? :-)

  166. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not sure about this, but doesn’t Vertonghen play DM as well?

  167. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Don’t be cheeky!
    I’m staying in resolutely positive mood at the moment :)

  168. kelsey says:

    Just an update.

    I spoke with dandan about 7 hours ago and there is no answer at his home, having just called. I hope his wife has not had a relapse.

  169. Gooner In Exile says:

    Good news on Muamba.

    Add me to the list of people who puts AA in my daily routine.

    Wake up coffee cigarette iPhone refresh comment.

    But it’s also part of my going to bed routine

    Switch off tv cigarette IPhone refresh comment bed

  170. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the update Kelsey
    If you manage to contact DD please pass on our best wishes.

  171. RockyLives says:

    Er… talk about letting your ego run away with you: This is the final sentence from a certain other Arsenal blog today:

    “There comes a time when someone in the club needs to point out a few obvious things and as no one dares to stand up to the manager, I have to and until he changes things or his ruinous policies, then I most certainly will.”

    Get over yourself mate.

  172. Gooner In Exile says:

    Indeed best wishes to DD and his family.

  173. TotalArsenal says:

    Rocky, it is not ‘Arsenal Truth’, or is it?

  174. RockyLives says:

    TA
    No. It’s an anagram of Leg Over (which would at least please GLiC and Terry).

    I feel the author has a bit of a Don Quixote psychosis going on.

    He is not “one man standing up for the truth in a sea of denial”. He is just one boring voice in an extremely large (but boring) chorus of anti-Arsene whingers.

  175. RockyLives says:

    According to the Daily Telegraph, Muamba has started saying a few words (as reported by a friend who visited him).

    Another encouraging sign, hopefully.

  176. Gooner In Exile says:

    “He is just one boring voice in an extremely large (but boring) chorus of anti-Arsene whingers.”

    Perfect :D

  177. lemi61 says:

    MickyDidit89 6:01 = “I’ll be welcoming you back to the Dark Side soon”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv5iEK-IEzw

  178. Reddawn says:

    RL, sorry I can’t agree with your summary of Carl Dimkinson. Yes, I know his name is Jenkinson, but speed of thought is not his forte. An honest player who can cross a ball, big deal, but absolutely no flair. Please feel free to castigate me for my offence!

  179. RockyLives says:

    Hi Reddawn
    No castigation here (sounds painful, anyway).
    All opinions are welcome, provided they are expressed without abuse.
    I was going to say you were being a bit hard on Jenks given how young he is and how few games he’s had.
    But I suppose the flip side of that coin is that I am being a bit premature in seeing him as a future England FB for exactly the same reason.
    Perhaps we all just need to wait and see.
    All I can say is that he’s looked a decent prospect to me – and hopefully his understanding of the FB role will improve through the coaching he’ll get at Arsenal and through watching players like Sagna.

  180. chas says:

    I enjoyed the post, Rocky, ta.
    I voted for Other, but only because I wanted to vote for them all, even though I knew it was a cop-out.

    I like the boring voice comment.
    Mr Sharkespeare justifiably rattled the bear’s cage the other day after another sickening comment.

    Blogging is part of my daily ritual, too. Somehow I’ve lost the flavour for the past couple of days. Those that think their opinion is more important than basic civility and decency make me feel physically sick. Anyway, back in the saddle now hoping Mr. Muamba’s recovery continues apace. Here’s hoping that Mrs. Dandan is ok, too.

  181. Gooner In Exile says:

    Reddawn do we want our full backs to have flair?

    Anyway what little we have seen of Jenks I think you’re being a bit harsh on the lad. In some of his early games he may have looked off the mark, but Ashe went on I think he started to show a lot, good touch simple passes and a willing runner.

    I also think he is already well liked in the squad (judging by the younger players reactions to him) and a truer Gooner we won’t see on the pitch…that quote during the 125 year celebrations from Jenkinson Snr was great.

  182. Gooner In Exile says:

    Welcome back Chas

  183. RockyLives says:

    Cheers Chas
    There’s too many good people on here to turn away for long.

  184. chas says:

    Tommy’s goal from a different perspective.

  185. chas says:

    Cheers boys.

  186. RockyLives says:

    Chas
    Good vid.
    Was that bloke speaking Geordie, or was he foreign…?

  187. chas says:

    upplifun á Emirates :)

  188. Gooner In Exile says:

    I wondered why the site was loading quicker on my iPhone ;)

  189. Red Arse says:

    RedDawn,

    Rocky is right — no castigation, no constipation nor conflagration here! :-)

    But; “RL, sorry I can’t agree with your summary of Carl Dimkinson. Yes, I know his name is Jenkinson, but speed of thought is not his forte.”, can you, just to quench my curiosity, explain exactly what criteria you used to judge young Carl by to enable you to arrive at that viewpoint?

    As an afterthought, even if you can justify your view, does it matter?
    After all I don’t think Rooney is exactly the sharpest tool, (in the box :-) ) but even an Arsenal fan, like me, cannot objectively deny he is a good player.

  190. Gooner In Exile says:

    I have tickets for what will probably be my last home game of the season, Wigan home, me and Mrs Exile will be in attendance.

    I’m glad they moved the game back a day as I am picking the Mother in Law up from Heathrow on Tuesday morning, so I have been able to cleverly link in a visit to the Emirates and a night in a hotel near Cockfosters :D

    But I have also promised Mrs Exile that there is a decent Turkish joint that the great MickyDidIt swears by for a fine pre match meal….so I’m going to need directions.

  191. chas says:

    Soz mate.

  192. Gooner In Exile says:

    It doesn’t seem right for RA to have that green flying saucer as an avatar. The red doyle was much more fitting :D

  193. RockyLives says:

    Haha Redders
    We’ve had some real planks play for us over the years – great on the pitch, but they would never be troubling Mensa…

  194. goonermichael says:

    Muamba condition ‘improving’
    Fabrice Muamba can recognise family and breathe independently, his hospital and his club Bolton confirm in a joint statement.

    That’s from the BBC. Sounds encouraging. Let’s hope it’s good news from dandan next.

  195. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just kidding Chas, it actually doesn’t slow it down as much as you’d think as its just embed link anyway.

    Rocky did you just say Merson ;)

  196. Gooner In Exile says:

    Second that GM

  197. goonermichael says:

    Why is that Eastern European in the geordie end?

  198. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just read the article and even though I don’t like Steve Kean have to commend him for offering to postpone the game on Saturday.

  199. arsenalista says:

    **Appeal for Ticket – Villa Home**

    Wasn’t going to go but my Uncle is coming to the match and don’t get a chance for a beer with him too often.

    Will sit anywhere.

    Rocky – After Koscielny i would pick the Ox, because i thought it would take longer than this.

  200. RockyLives says:

    GiE
    That’s so funny – The Merse was the very first player I thought of…

  201. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    I heard Steve Kean on the radio this p.m. and was pretty impressed by his evident sincerity in offering to do whatever Owen Coyle wanted to do, vis a viz the Blackburn/Bolton fixture.

    I’m bugged by the green thingy avatar too! :-) Damn, WordPress!
    More worryingly, TA thought it represented a caricature of me!

  202. dandan says:

    Evening all, I have just arrived home from hospital minus my poorly lady; she has had scans, x-rays, and more blood tests than Draculas mother today.
    No certain prognosis has been given, although test’s for Pneumonia, TB and God forbid Legionnaires disease are being carried out. Thank you Kelsey for your support and a very special thank you to all you gooners, who know me only as an antique Gooner, who peddles his opinions across cyberspace after finding a second home on AA. Your good wishes and greetings from across the footballing world are a constant encouragement and believe me my Lady wife is well aware of and appreciates your collective kindness.

  203. goonermichael says:

    Has anything been anounced about Podolski?

  204. goonermichael says:

    I hope it all goes well dandan.

  205. Red Arse says:

    GIE, Rocky, you are both very wicked — poor old Merse.

    What criteria did you………………….forget it — you are right!! :-)

    There was a documentary shown some years ago on Horizon (?) where they tried to work out what made a ‘good’ footballer.

    The Merse was one of the subjects, and using technology they were able to ascertain that apparently he subconsciously visually ‘scanned’ a wide arc of his immediate playing area every millisecond, which enabled him to ‘know’ where tackles would come from and where team-mates were so he could pass with instant accuracy.

    Needless to say, Merse had no clue that he did this because it was intuitive and instinctive — not calculated — just as well! :-)

  206. chas says:

    GM, that Eastern European is at the front of club level.
    Full of tourists, it is.

  207. Red Arse says:

    My sympathies Dandan!

    Most of us only know Mrs D thru you, but she seems a special lady, I hope she is home, again, soon. :-)

  208. chas says:

    Fingers crossed, dandan.

  209. chas says:

    Bring back the doilies!

  210. TotalArsenal says:

    Big Pamper Green
    Gravity in Motion
    Ruler of Space

  211. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Dandan, Ime sorry to hear about your good lady. God Bless.

    Rocky’s right. to many good people on hear to stay off long.

  212. Red Arse says:

    Total friend
    Drives one round the bend
    The end

  213. chas says:

    Ey up, Terry, you’ve been missed.

  214. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Dandan, sorry to hear your wife had a bit of a set-back and I hope her health will improve soon again. Fingers crossed.

  215. Red Arse says:

    Yaaaay, MerryTerry!!! :-)

    ‘Course if you are telescopeless you will have to clear off again!

    It’s the call of the Cuckoo Club — now all we need is the Glicster!

  216. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Greetings Redders, Cornwalls a bit tied up at the moment hahahaha, but he will return.

  217. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Terry, welcome back! And I like your gravatar: a cheeky monkey hanging down – how very appropriate hahaha :)

  218. TotalArsenal says:

    RA :) It takes a lot to drive you round the bend!

  219. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I would prefer it hanging up TA, hahahahaha

  220. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    If you are right about Terry’s cheeky monkey avatar, he looks like he has dropped his b*lls! :-)

    Glic, cannot resist me, Terry, especially now I have worked out what Lessers are — took me a while tho’! :-)

  221. Rasp says:

    Hi dandan,

    So sorry your wife is poorly again. Keep us informed of progress, we’re all rooting for you.

  222. Red Arse says:

    Sadly, guys, I have to go, again, been a long and tiring day.

    Rocky, Raddy and I bet the rest of you too — count me in for requiring my daily ‘fix’ of AA and the company of all you dudes.

    On the morrow!! :-)

  223. RockyLives says:

    Nite Redders

    Welcome back Terry, who was always the most optimistic of us, even in the darkest days (er, January) :)

  224. TotalArsenal says:

    See you tomorrow RA!

  225. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great post Rocky. What strikes me about your list is the lovely mixture of youth and experience of it. This bodes well for the rest of the season and more importantly the future. Bring it on.

  226. goonermichael says:

    Welcome back Terry. You were missed.

  227. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks GM and Chas “Video King”. When i saw Dandans post i had to come on and wish him and his good lady well.

    I never realised how addictive this posting lark was, i reckon crack addicts have an easier time of it….not that i would know of course.

  228. SharkeySure says:

    Rocky 6.44. That guy on Leg Over really is out there on his own in terms of his own self importance. Here’s another of his pearls:

    “Next up Everton, tough game but Liverpool beat them, and we beat Liverpool”

    I wonder if he has mapped out the finishing places for this season based on his ‘magic formula’…??

    Note his little ‘3rd place trophy’ pic. Wot a tosser. Spends two months saying we’ll miss out on top four, then when its looking likely, the goal posts move to ‘3rd’ being the target. Once 3rd is the target he starts to denigrate it as an achievement, even before its been achieved.

    But just when I thought he could stoop no lower I read a comment of his and simply had to respond:

    SharkeySureMarch 17, 2012 22:46:03
    “Channel 4 say he’s Ok, I always liked him and believed he would have made a top holding midfielder, Wenger only gave him one game though”He is/was at deaths door and you still manage to form anti Arsene propaganda out if it. Why…??

    SharkeySureMarch 17, 2012 22:47:57
    Please Geoff, today of all days, just give it a rest on the anti Arsene stuff, but most of all don’t use Muamba’s name to do it.

    AA23March 17, 2012 22:54:13
    sharkeysure
    you don’t need to say it.

    SharkeySureMarch 17, 2012 22:56:27
    I don’t..??

    With apologies to Rasp, Peaches and Peaches Mum. I’m banning myself til tomorrow morning

    Night

  229. Gooner In Exile says:

    GM I think the last word of your 10:09 should start with a p :D

    Thanks for the heads up on the kebab place Chas.

  230. Gooner In Exile says:

    Sharkey I actually had a look over there on Saturday to see the mood, saw your comment and shook my head in disbelief…someone later accused you of putting words in his mouth…..that someone clearly didn’t know how to look at the previous page of comments.

    Must admit it did seem a lot more restrained on there than it normally does.

  231. Gooner In Exile says:

    In fear of doing a blog fart my last post on certain elements of our media:

    The BBC headline : Spurs offer ‘support’ to players after Fabrice Muamba collapse

    The ESPN headline : Spurs players demand heart checks

    Which one is funded by advertising I wonder.

  232. Gooner In Exile says:

    Can someone explain to me how the club have anything to do with the Podolski rumours?

    I saw at the time of the press rumouring that some fans said it was to sell season tickets. Now there has been no confirmation of the deal the club are being accused further by some ITYS’s but apart from Wenger answering a couple of press questions with wordy no comments why are the club criticised. According to some the clubs PR dept is inept so how do they imagine they could pull the wool over eyes of German and UK press?

    Wenger has said all along that when any deal is done he would tell us.

    So like I said can anyone explain how any of this is the clubs doing?

  233. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. As far as I can tell the club has made no statement of intent.

    This whole story appears to be based upon Podolski’s desire to come to us and BFG’s tweet telling him how great it is at Arsenal.

    Now we are told the transfer fee, that Podolski has been in London for a medical and the deal is done.

    No facts, no source evidence and nothing from AFC, Podolski or his agents.

    That said, being a “no smoke without fire” person, I bet Kelsey’s Bowls Cup he arrives in summer.

  234. MickyDidIt89 says:

    dandan,
    best wishes for Mrs dandan.

  235. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Raddy,
    According to excellent “sources” we have had far closer links with players than Podolski that then never happened.
    I only believe the one’s I really like the sound of :-)

  236. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    BR bowls in our case is a team game so I can’t take all the credit.

    Glad to see harmony restored on the site.We are a community of all different ages,sizes and opinions, and spread across the globe, with one goal in common a support for the Arsenal.

    By the way does anyone know what happened to Carlitto after his parachute jump.

  237. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey,
    Carlito drpped in to join Peaches, Rasp and myself for eats before Newcastle. Jump went really well, and he expressed gratitude towards AA’ers for their support. The Charity is doing well, and he was on great form,and very busy.

  238. kelsey says:

    Dropped in Micky, hahaha.nice one :)

  239. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    Loved your appeal for directions to The Turkish. Let me help you. Its complicated.
    You are outside The Tavern. Finish pints. Keep fag going. Head in a northerly direction for ten normal person paces (in your case one and a half). Extinguish fag. Enter on your right.

  240. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes Kelsey. Well spotted :-)

  241. Gooner In Exile says:

    Apparently Chuks Aneke and Benik Afobe were a bit bored in their hotel last night!

    Away trip to Liverpool

    http://twitvid.com/L1UON

  242. Gooner In Exile says:

    Haha Micky should find it then.

  243. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Slowly building up patience, fortitude and grit readying myself to attempt the Arsenal Exchange for the Villa game. Give me strength. One more coffee.

  244. chas says:

    Did Evonnethegunner really post yesterday morning and then not come back or was I imagining it?
    Are you sufferring from jet-lag, Evonne?

  245. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    She surfaced from the basement for air!
    Hopefully appearing with Oscar on saturday. Should I bring a rucksack.
    Anyone know whether you need to turn anti virus or firewalls off to operate the exchange? Won’t allow me into pay basket section?

  246. MickyDidIt89 says:

    If anyone can help, please leave a message here and I’ll be back to read in 40 mins or so. Thanks.

  247. Rob Lucci says:

    This stats is unbelievable. If it is true, even ‘magician’ is not the right superlative for Arsene. Please do read this one..

    http://footballisfixed.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-incredible-fluke-xii_18.html

    http://footballisfixed.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-incredible-fluke-vii.html

  248. chas says:

    Micky,
    There are two carrier bags of stuff. The backpack idea was just for ease of carrying. See picture for an idea. CD is for scale.

    http://twitpic.com/8ytoyo

    Are you getting a message as you go into pay basket section?

    Basement, haha.

  249. evonne says:

    Chas and Micky – I am back in body, but not in mind.
    I went to see a play in Warsaw that was written to celebrate 100th year of Polonia Warsaw FC. Not a bad play; made me sad that there isn’t one for Arsenal

  250. Gooner In Exile says:

    Write a play Evonne, just don’t put Delap in it :D

  251. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    Brilliant, thanks. Rucksack it is.
    I can get into the exchange, tick seats, then as soon as I click basket I get referred back to tickets. Phoned box office before Toon game with same problem and they say there’s nothing they ca do as its an online service. The bloke did have a go for me with one of my red cards and had no problem. He thought it was a firewall type of issue in the secure payment area.
    I’ll see if I can turn something off.

  252. Gooner In Exile says:

    Micky do you have any net nanny type stuff enabled? Or anti virus.

    Do you get to the card details entry screen?

  253. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    Saddle up and come to the game on saturday. That’ll get your mind back into a good place :-)

  254. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    I have anti virus. Norton I think. I don’t get as far as the card details.

  255. Gooner In Exile says:

    Micky just did a test and had no bother getting through so it does sound like some kind of block your end, my guess is privacy settings in anti virus blocking the purchasing bit. There may be an option to reset warnings in your antivirus as it may be that someone clicked “block” and left the option to “always do this” ticked.

    Or your better half has set up a crafty DNS app that prevents you buying from Arsenal.com one of my friends uses DynDNS which he can block traffic to Internet devices in his house based on who uses them, if he and his wife fall out all fashion shopping sites are blocked

  256. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    Weird thing is I’ve used my red membership cards on the exchange before with no problems. I am using a new laptop but cannot make it work on the old one either.

  257. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    That’s funny about your friend. Sadly neither myself or my wife are remotely capable of such skulguggery.
    Off to push buttons.

  258. chas says:

    Could it be a block pop-ups problem?

  259. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    Whats that? and what do I do?

  260. chas says:

    Tools, then Internet Options, then click on Privacy tab, then uncheck ‘Turn on pop up blocker’ radio button.

  261. evonne says:

    Chas – great vids, but they are not a stage play.

    What happened to Nigella? Is it a sofa?

  262. evonne says:

    GiE – if I was to write a play, you would definitely be in it, walking to the stadium and singing the Tottenham you-know-what :)

    Micky – not well enough for Saturday.

  263. chas says:

    Evonne,
    Wordpress changed something so you have to log in to WordPress to comment. I can’t bear being forced to do anything, so I won’t do it. Nigella’s history.

  264. Rasp says:

    Morning all…..

    ….. New post……

  265. evonne says:

    Chas – I know about wordpress, I had to log in.
    Nigella’s history :) I am glad, hate women that are so beautiful, happy, rich and can cook, except for Peaches of course

  266. chas says:

    Happy’s the important one, Evonne. Any fool can cook.

  267. Reddawn says:

    Oops, I’ve rattled a few cages. To Red Arse; In answer to your `what criteria did I use to assess Carl Jenkinson.’ The main one is comparison. If you expect the best from any player in a team, you have to compare him with what has gone before or what exists in other teams at the time. Also, as far as Rooney is concerned, don’t confuse looks to swift of thought. Rooney has proved his credentials. This leads me onto the other question from Gooner In Exile, `Why do we need flair in a fullback.’ My answer is Barcelona. The difference between good teams and great teams is flair. Barcelona possesses it in abundance, which also includes their fullbacks. It is possible that Carl Jenkinson will make a good team player one day, but I honestly do not see the natural flair and ability that will make him the outstanding player that Arsenal deserves.

  268. azem bunjaku says:

    I was hopping tomas rosicky to leave after this season, but he proved us that he is a real gunner, and I love the way he works in defense. Didn’t expect that from him.

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