The Boxer

Have you ever seen an ex-champion boxer? I have.

Ageing, outdated, short on his wits. He can’t dodge the punches or predict his opponents next move.

Weighed by expectation, jaded by the years.

Last Saturday I watched Arsène Wenger stand on the touchline at Villa Park, drenched and lifeless.

Is this the man I have come to know and begrudgingly admire? The Professor?

The sophisticated, urbane, mastermind. The man with the plan.

He looked a beaten man.

I have spent the last week thinking of the good times. Of the first double, of Bergkamp, Henry, of Vieira and the Invincibles. Of the fast football, a team playing off the cuff.

Arsène deserves respect and lots of it but not immunity.

We convince ourselves every time that the players leave for the money and I’m sure that’s true but they also leave for success.

If you deny that you are deluded.

In recent summers Wenger has failed to convince stars to stay with a salary budget that was big enough to keep them.

Meanwhile millions are wasted on the salaries of players that are not good enough for this club.

Are the Board really offering Wenger a budget of £50m for transfers?

In my opinion, No

Is Wenger told he has to break even in the transfer market?

Well the proof of the last 7 summers tells you that is the policy. We break even on transfers, that isn’t coincidence.

So let me ask this, if Arsène came out tomorrow and said “the board are withholding funds from me” who would you back?

I wouldn’t trust our board with a pound in a phone box. I would trust Arsène.

Would I trust them to pick a successor? No

I don’t like 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 and the use of it coincides with the start of our demise. It coincides with a loss of direction, a loss of nerve.

Play 4-4-2, and for god sake play Walcott up front before you lose yet another one you stubborn old fool.

If you had  told me 7 years ago that I would be watching a bunch of overpaid minatures playing 4-3-3 with thousands of empty seats and a club run by Americans I would have laughed. I’m not laughing now.

I don’t claim to understand tactics but I understand this.

If you lose your sharpness, if you lose your edge in any sport then your are finished.

Play your system, recover your style, have a go Arsène, have a go.

If this is it, if this is how you go out, then you’re not the man I thought you were.

“We could have made a 0-0.”

Really, Is that all you’ve got?

Is that where we are now?

We could have made a 0-0 with Swansea.

Get some pace, take “le handbrake” off, play your way and be true to your beliefs.

How many times, have we heard “we had the handbrake on”. It’s your car Arsène, your handbrake.

Are you going down with a whimper?

Have you lost your nerve?

Have you gone soft?

If this was a fight then this is the moment with the sponge in the corner. The trainer telling you to step up, throw some punches and move your feet. This would be that moment.

I’m not suggesting we have a team of champions but they are good enough to beat Sunderland, Norwich, Fulham and Swansea. We got 2 points.

Either they aren’t trying or they have lost faith in what you are saying.

Stop talking about the spirit of team. Stop telling us the world is against us. The whole club has a complex.

I still think you can win the last round but if you can’t dodge the punches Arsène, maybe it’s time to get out of the ring.

Written by Arsenalista

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272 Responses to The Boxer

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Arsenalista. That is a superb piece of writing. Thank you

  2. LB says:

    A very well crafted and passionate post Arsenalista.

    It’s funny, in the two previous games (Villa, Everton) Wenger brought on Coquelin close to the end to ensure we got an important point, (everyone and their cat moaned about it) on Saturday he didn’t………..

  3. Jung says:

    Mentally tired.
    Tired of losing.
    Tired of collecting 200k a month.
    Tired of playing for the club.
    Tired of pulling on the red and white shirt.
    Tired of moving into space to provide an option for the man on the ball.
    Tired of fighting.
    Tired of having no fresh ideas.
    Tired of negative fans.
    Tired of making journeymen footballers look good because they’re willing to put in a shift.
    Tired of doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.
    Tired of being stabbed in the back.
    Tired of hatred.
    Tired of football.

  4. chas says:

    Great post, Arsenalista.

    I would love to be around when (if) Wenger read it and then ask him for his immediate reaction.
    I’d love to see him fight back from the current situation rather than look a beaten man.

    By the way, who is Arsenalista?
    Is it a nom de plume, so that some unidentified person can vent?
    If so, what a great idea. I might try it myself. :)

  5. spanishgooner says:

    Excellent post . Says what I want to say but I never had a clue how to express it without being all bitter and twisted.
    I so much want Arsene to prove just how good we know he is.How on earth has it got to where it is?

  6. LB says:

    Very good question Chas.

    Who is Arsenalista?

  7. LB says:

    I like Jung’s comment, I am not quite sure what he/she means but it makes you think.

  8. Red Arse says:

    A well written, flowing piece of prose, Arsenalista, so why then does it fill me with sadness?

    It seems there are more and more Arsenalistas out there claiming to have begrudgingly admired a great man, yet with every twist of the verbal knife they seek to eviscerate the greatest manager Arsenal has ever had, and to strip him of the respect and gratitude he so richly deserves and instead to offer up a eulogy filled with faint praise and ill disguised venom.

    Your Post, and the many others like it currently surfeiting the blogs, puts me in mind of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in which Mark Anthony describes the treacherous Brutus using the ironic word ;honourable’ which in fact is intended to mean the very opposite.

    “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;
    The evil that men do lives after them,
    The good is oft interred with their bones,

    So let it be with Caesar … The noble Brutus
    Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Caesar answered it …

    Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
    (For Brutus is an ‘honourable’ man;
    So are they all; all honourable men)
    Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral …

    He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
    But Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And Brutus is an honourable man….

    He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
    Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
    Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
    When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
    Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
    Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And Brutus is an honourable man.

    You all did see that on the Lupercal
    I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
    Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?

    Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And, sure, he is an honourable man.
    I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
    But here I am to speak what I do know.

    You all did love him once, not without cause:
    What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?

    O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
    And I must pause till it come back to me.

    Sadness? Yes! That this incessant and unjustified opprobrium has engulfed Le Professeur

  9. kelsey says:

    I pick this part from your post Arsenalista.

    “So let me ask this, if Arsène came out tomorrow and said “the board are withholding funds from me” who would you back?

    I wouldn’t trust our board with a pound in a phone box. I would trust Arsène.”

    This is the 64000$ question as nobody really knows .

    THere are many clubs much lower down the league who would want a local chairman for their club as they believe they would have more soul for the club, but football has changed so much from the days when many teams had literally home grown players and by that i mean players living within walking distance from the ground, The sixties successful celtic team had that.

    My concern is kroenke he wants various new ways to generate more money into the club but though he rarely speaks i think he has got it in the wrong order and the preference should be to get more quality players into the club and write others off as bad debt, and therefore i draw to the conclusion that under his majority share holding he is not the man to bring us forward where it matters to the fans,that is on the pitch

  10. Arsenalista is Jamie – he used to blog as Jamie anyway. He’s the guy that’s writing the book. We’ve met him at the Tavern a couple of times.

  11. LB says:

    Ooooh, young Jamie, fair doos.

  12. kelsey – that’s an interesting point about Kroenke getting things in the wrong order. Do you think he really doesn’t understand about Arsenal being a football club? He just sees us as a business? That in the UK the point of a football club is to ‘be’ a football club for it’s supporters??????

    If we fail to expand worldwide because our football isn’t good enough would that affect his investment enough for him to stop and think about the football? We still own our ground …….

  13. chas says:

    Jamie, of course.

    I love the staccato style of your post, Jamie.
    Almost as if each sentence is a slap, wake up, wake up, fight back, fight back.
    Top stuff.

  14. chas says:

    Personally I think Kroenke is intelligent enough to realise that he’ll have less chance of getting more money into the club if the team is going down the gary glitter.

  15. Shard says:

    Whenever I say this, someone takes offense. But the reason Arsenal fans have been getting carried away with the lack of trophies, ticket prices, board ownership, and indeed demands for Wenger to go, is down to the media.

    Why someone is bound to take offense is because people feel insulted since I am effectively saying they are unable to think for themselves. That is not what I’m saying. I am saying that our thinking has been distorted by the media. As said on this blog before, our thoughts are all amalgamations of various sources of information. If the most common source of information is constantly telling you something, we tend to absorb it, internalise it, and make it our own.

    Why else would no trophies be such an issue, for the past 4 years? It wasn’t for Liverpool. A club of comparable size, and an even richer history. Why else would some half truths (lies?) like ‘highest ticket prices in the world’ become popular expressions as regards Arsenal? Why would ‘spend some f***ing money” become a catchphrase? Why would we be having people say they were lied to by the club when they said that the new stadium will carry us on to better things while they ignore what caused the delays in any such reward becoming apparent on the field? Because the media feed it down our throats.

    There is such a thing as self fulfilling prophecy. When 2 seasons ago, we were challenging on all 4 fronts for the title, even then you had people, our own fans, saying we won’t win. They gave up on the team before the team even had a chance. It doesn’t absolve the team of any culpability, but if we want success we have to earn it, including as fans.

    And as for Wenger. The reason for this outburst this year, performances notwithstanding, is because the idea of Wenger being ‘past it’, ‘looking defeated’, ‘being senile’, were all implanted in our collective consciousness by the media last season. If you want, I can look for and link to articles referring to Wenger’s ‘rictus grin’, and deserving to be ‘smacked between the eyes’. That sort of language was not even the exception.

    I’m not excusing the team, nor hiding it’s flaws. I just think the reason we as fans appear to be so exasperated, is because we have been goaded into it.

  16. kelsey says:

    “down the gary glitter.” chas lol

    peaches of coure he sees it as a business and delegates others to concentrate on the football side. That is not an unsusual practice.

    But to answer you both we need to show a vast improvement on the field to reap the benefits.

    Of course as everything is top secret at baordroom level if we have a successful season or our worst under Wenger there is absolutely nothing to stop him selling out .I just don’t see him as a long term solution but that’s just my opinion.

  17. kelsey says:

    Shard,

    give some of us some credit.we are not all sucked in by the media but you can’t deny that at present this side is disjointed,playing to a degree without much motivation and nothing like the team of even two seasons ago.One doesn’t have to be a genius to see that my friend.

  18. VCC says:

    What a fine Post Arsenalista, top, top drawer. Hats off to you mate.

    I’m not jumping on the band wagon, but I’ve said this recently also.

    Wenger looks a tired man. He looks devoid of any ideas lately. It’s sad to see him ageing so much as he has this season. He looks in need of help, and I,m not sure he is getting it.

    I think Gooners should get behind this once great manager and help him rise again.

    It’s been voiced on AA many times recently, “be careful of what you wish for”………..the grass is not always greener on the other side!

    COYG

  19. chas says:

    Shard,
    There is much truth in what you say.
    Did you see Tim Stillman’s column about confirmation bias and narrative fallacy?
    Some even see the team being 10th as justification for their decision to give up their season ticket in 2007-8.

  20. shard – I have never worried about the lack of trophies, I am deeply concerned that the team appear to not have the foggiest idea about what they are supposed to be doing. That has nothing to do with being fed negative vibes by the media or having been goaded into exasperation. I’ve watched the football, it isn’t the same.

    I agree that the media do enjoy whipping gooners up into a trophyless frenzy but not this gooner. I’m very sad that something is wrong, quite badly wrong with our team and I’m not sure that Arsene can fix it although believe me that I want him to with every bone in my body.

  21. chas – that’s just silly, how can anyone really believe that?? Although maybe it’s all my fault because I bought a season ticket :( :( :(

  22. chas says:

    Here’s a picture of Wenger taken on November 17th 2012

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27453474@N02/8192206915/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    If every photo you saw of him was at the end of a crushingly boring 0-0 draw with Villa, piss-wet through, then you would definitely see him as tired, broken and aged.

  23. I have to say that on Saturday there were some of the team that seemed to be on good terms with each other ……. Szczesny, Per and Vermaelen had no trouble finding each other, I wonder what their passing stats were like …….

    Ooops, mustn’t be sarcastic, I’ll get into trouble with Rasp :oops:

  24. Red Arse says:

    Chas,

    I have not read Tim Stillman (who he?) :-) but narrative fallacy is a potent factor in the distortions or faux logic that becomes accepted as ‘coin of the realm’ (i.e. true) on the web.

    My partner has sometimes told me that an ‘incident’ happened to a neighbour, and then tries, when the facts are not immediately available, to rationalise or explain what probably happened.

    When repeated elsewhere, this interpretation of the ‘incident’ simply becomes accepted as fact, and is difficult to unwind from what is usually the mundane reality. :-)

  25. chas says:

    peaches,
    I was making the point that once you make a decision one way or another then every little bit of info you receive afterwards will be used toward reinforcing one’s narrative fallacy via a confirmation bias.

    We were sat in the pub before the gig last Wednesday and when I saw Theo had scored in the first minute, I was convinced it was because I wasn’t watching. :)

  26. chas says:

    Here’s that article, RA.
    Tim Stillman writes for Arseblog.
    He’s often in the Tavern before a game.
    http://bit.ly/Twpuje

  27. Shard says:

    WordPress ate my comment to you Kelsey..

    I guess now I’ll make it a more general comment. I do not deny our current problems, and that they are worrying. I don’t deny Wenger’s part in it either. Nor do I say everyone is spouting the media line. I just think that the media coverage of Arsenal, over the past few years, has affected the general tone of discourse about the club. The media tends to define the parameters of debate, regardless of whether you agree with them or not, and usually, this happens subconsciously. I don’t exclude myself from that either.

  28. chas – I agree, during the 2007/2008 season I wore a necklace to the first game which we won. I don’t usually wear necklaces to football and felt it was the wearing of the necklace that was important and wouldn’t leave home without it for any future games. I so went along with the power of the necklace that whenever we needed to score I would ‘in a very girly way’ make sure I touched the necklace.

    It obviously had great power because as we ‘know’ we won the league in 2008 but they gave the trophy to the manks ;)

  29. Rasp says:

    Morning all, great post Arsenalista.

    You’ve thrown down the gauntlet on AA, I guess AW won’t be reading but we can only hope he has concluded that he has to either fight back or turn his back.

    Most of us have had moments in recent years when we’ve said to ourselves “I’ll give it until ‘X’ and if nothing changes I’ll have to rethink my support for the manager” and most of us have seen ‘X’ come and go and just set another mental deadline.

    Speaking personally, there wont be any more ‘X’s’ I desperately want to see us recover our form but for that to happen, AW will have to change his attitude towards the club’s finances, his tactics on the pitch, his openness to input from others, and to let go of the mission impossible that has brought us to this stage.

  30. chas says:

    peaches,
    Maybe Eduardo’s leg being so hideously broken also shattered the charm with which the necklace was imbued.

    p.s. how do you touch a necklace ‘in a very girly way’?

  31. Shard says:

    Red Arse,

    I never quite got to reading any Shakespeare. I want to, but the idea of it also intimidates me a bit. But if all, or most, of it is like that passage there, I think I might finally take out the time to get started on some of the bard’s writings.

  32. Good post Aresenalista

    Sorry to be off-topic but…
    What’s happened to Gunnersaurus?

  33. chas says:

    Rasp,
    Surely one will always support the incumbent manager?
    ( I realise you only said ‘rethink my support’)
    To me it doesn’t make sense to do anything else.

    If I decided I wanted Wenger out now, how do I still carry on attending matches for the rest of the season and enjoying any victories that might come our way?

    Good luck to him when he leaves but I’ll support the next manager in exactly the same way (even if it was Mourinho, Fat Sam or Phil Brown :) )

  34. Red Arse says:

    Shard,

    You will find it very rewarding reading the magic of Shakespeare, even 400 years after his death! :D

    What helped me while studying, as a boy, was having a ‘primer’ which helped to explain the meaning of some of the more abstruse prose. [I remember being delighted that some of it was so 'rude' :D ]

    If you substitute “Arsene Wenger” for “Julius Caesar” and use your imagination by substituting more modern words, where applicable, in the piece above, it is extraordinarily apt.

    Wish I could claim those words as my own!! :P

  35. Shard says:

    Chas,

    Yes. I read that article. I actually agree quite often with Tim Stillman’s articles on Arseblog, and think he’s one of the better Arsenal bloggers around.

  36. Rasp says:

    Hi chas, I said the other day that whilst he is our manager he will have my support but that doesn’t mean that I cannot reach the conclusion that he may no longer be the best man for the job ;)

    I’ll be the first to come on here and happily say I was wrong if he can pull things round – not just for the next two weeks but for the next two years.

  37. chas says:

    Big Al,
    Kroenke has bowed to fan pressure and sent the loveable dinosaur to the glue factory.
    The march on the 10th November before the Fulham game demanding the green head of the raptor was the final straw and Mr Syrup finally caved to public opinion.

  38. chas says:

    Rasp,
    What difference does it make if one thinks he may no longer be the best man for the job?
    I’ll tell you how much, not one iota.
    It just makes going and supporting 10 times harder.

  39. Hello all good post can’t comment much wordpress hates me

  40. goonerjake says:

    Can any of you truly identify what the problem is at the minute? Are not most of the players we have at the club good players? I believe this is the problem arsene can not identify the problem why we are not winning, its a mystery. I only hope he can work it out. Because its one fundamental problem and once its discovered and put right all else will be fine.

    The above may be just fanciful wishing, but hey I’m an optimist.

  41. kelsey says:

    John Cross John Cross ‏@johncrossmirror

    Wilshere not in. Seniors going to Athens: Jenkinson Arshavin Rosicky Vermaelen Ramsey Squillaci Chamakh Gervinho Ox Szczesny. Rest are kids

  42. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, it certainly doesn’t make a jot of difference to the way things turn out. Nothing I say, do or think is of any consequence to anyone accept me.

    Like most folks, if I identify a problem I look for solutions/reasons, then I like to discuss my ideas with friends to see what others think. As you know, I am always prepared to change my mind and admit it if I’m proved wrong.

  43. kelsey says:

    goonerjake, if we knew all the answers to your question we could apply for the post.I am not greedy i would do it for £3 million a year :)

  44. Shard says:

    RA,

    You can claim the woodpecker’s song you narrated to me your own. It also, is quite ‘rude’ :)

  45. Rasp says:

    I guess because of the way some may perceive my role on the blog I should keep my opinions to myself … but then I’d have to blog somewhere else anonymously as I find blogging a great outlet as well as entertaining and informative.

  46. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice post Arsenalista, but i am sorry i dont buy a word of it.

    Arsene Wenger was and is the right man to take the Club forward.

    The answer to the question about when it is time for him to go is simple. It will be answered by Arsene Wenger himself.

  47. chas says:

    Rasp,

    Your views are a crucial element of the blog.
    Please don’t take offence at some ridiculous opinion of mine.

    In actual fact, I was more talking to myself because the thoughts you’ve expressed have crossed my mind too. I rejected them though as I still like going to games.

  48. @ Chas

    A great shame. I liked him/her/it.

  49. chas says:

    Oh, and what you do is of great consequence to all those who like blogging on AA.

  50. JM says:

    In other words, Arsene Wenger has to be the leader (he has 1 1/2 yrs left in his current tenure before the summer of 2014), in reinventing himself and recapturing his spirit and fire, managing the footballing side of Arsenal football club and motivating it to winning ways again.

    Just as the coaching staff have to be leaders, in coming up with training programmes that will benefit the well-being of our players in the long run.

    and Just as the players themselves have to be leaders, in being professional in training, on the pitch battling the other team. (off the pitch as well if they can help it)

    and Just as Ivan Gazidis and his business ppl. have to be leaders, in building the club finances, administration and marketing potential to a higher level.

    and Just as everyone else supporting Arsenal FC. in anyway, anywhere, to be leaders in their part, shining the way for our club amidst the gloomy path to greater victories and glories ahead.

    …. The Beginning ….

    {Song by Jpn Alt.rock group, One Ok Rock or “one o’clock”}

  51. Rasp says:

    That’s OK chas, I’d never take offense at anything you say. We’re chums :)

    I wrote the about AA page that states “The character and standpoint of the site is created by you, the bloggers – there is no single site owner with a drum to bang” – I do worry that if I come on too strong people might not believe that.

    I still enjoy going to games as much as ever, the fact that I think we need change will not affect that and I’ll join in with a chorus of “One Arsene Wenger” when things are going well :P

  52. Several of the youngsters we were hoping to see won’t feature tomorrow night. Yennaris, Miquel and Gnabry are all injured and Eisfeld isn’t in the Champions Lge squad.

    Jorge Bird has put this team on his blog

    Possible team:

    Szczesny

    Jenkinson-Djourou-Vermaelen-Meade

    Coquelin-Ramsey

    Gervinho-Chamberlain-Arshavin

    Chamakh

    subs: Mannone, Hajrovic, Squillaci, Angha, Rosicky, Akpom, Ansah.

  53. chas says:

    Good stuff, Rasp.

    I haven’t really ever joined in with the “One Arsene Wenger” chants. They always sound a bit hypocritical to me.
    We’re winning so let’s all chant the name of the person we slag off when the result is going against us. That’s how it always sounds to me.

    “Cmon Arsenal, Cmon Arsenal, Cmon Arsenal” is another song which always sounds a little desperate to me. Almost as if the subtext is, yes we all know you’re playing sh*t, so please try a little harder.

  54. slime says:

    There is only one Arsene Wenger Rasp, but there is a squad of 25 Arsenal players who I believe need to have a good look at themselves and think about what they are doing.

    When we had a team full of youngsters who weren’t quite doing the job, I could understand Arsene being protective and taking the heat off the team. But now we have experienced internationals like Arteta, Mertersacker, Cazorla, Sagna, Vermaelen, Santos, Podolski, Giroud, Rosicky, Arshavin etc and its about time they started to figure it out for themselves a bit, a lot of these players have been captains during their careers for god sake!

  55. Rasp says:

    chas, actually if we’re honest, most of our songs are a bit crap. I’d love it if we had a ‘Swing Low’ or dare I say ‘walk Alone’

    The one I can’t be bothered with when I’m trying to watch a game is the old ‘Stand up if you hate totnum’ we might as well sing, ‘We’re a bit bored’

  56. LB says:

    Now has there really been a time when you have been allowed to come on too strong? lol.

  57. chas – the feelings behind the “one Arsene Wenger” weren’t always like that though :(

    I agree about the Cmon Arsenal though :)

    Also I hate it when we’re singing ‘by far the greatest team’ and then give away possession :lol:

  58. chas says:

    I’ve been on here far too much this morning. Anyone would think I haven’t got any work to do!

    One last thought which has been going through my mind.
    Would Dennis play in the Santi role if we’d played 4-3-3 in the 1998-2004 era?

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Shard 10.54. Great stuff.We are all affected by the media whether we choose to believe it or not.

    RA. The Mark Anthony speech could not have been more apt. Like Shard I must read the plays as opposed to seeing them.

    Rasp. You are mistaken if you think your views should be watered down. They inspire healthy debate which is the point of the site.

    My problem is the connection to Arsenal is not something I can control – it is an unconditional love, and should we be playing Barnet in Div2 in a decade then I would still be an Arsenal fan, and my signed pic of TA6 would still be my prized possession.

  60. LB says:

    Hey Chas

    While you are around, (if I understood this correctly) you refered to the small island out side the Armoury as “Bear Island” why is it called that?

  61. Queen of Suburbia doing battle with Adrian Durham on twitter

  62. chas says:

    Haha,
    ‘Stand up if you hate Tottnumb’ is ridiculous. Goes without saying. JC hates it when people stand up in front of him, too.

    peaches,
    Do you join in with the ‘Olé’s? :lol:

  63. Rasp says:

    Hi slime, love your new nom de plume :P

    I take your point but as always there are several ways of looking at things! Yes we have experienced seasoned internationals and even with them we’re not producing. We could argue that some are on burnout (Arteta) but that in itself is not explanation enough.

    I can only think they do not understand/believe in the way they are being asked to play. Our over use of the centrebacks during the second phase of play is evidence that the midfield is often unable to find/create a forward pass. This is partly because every opposition team knows that pressing us high is very effective, but also because our play is static and we do not have the players who can beat a man operating in a way that exploits their ability.

  64. Red Arse says:

    Shard,

    Sadly, I cannot claim to be the author of the “Woodpecker Song”, :lol: and I cannot imagine how you might think it is ‘rude’! :-)

    Do you have woodpeckers in India? Probably not – but they are arboreal Aves (loosely speaking) and what they call ‘home’ is a hole in a tree.

    You must surely have misunderstood my pure ditty!! :P

  65. Bryan says:

    I have always been behind Wenger & have always thought it is the board that holds us back but I’m starting to think maybe its time for a change, sadly I think Wenger has gone stale.
    I think we have the worse team we have ever had under Wenger, if a player like Gervinho can start regurlary you know you have a problem.
    I’m ready to sell my season ticket for rest of season because I just get bored everytime I go & watch this poor team, don’t mind losing if we have had a go but so many times I just feel short changed with this team.
    What has it come to when we play at home to Swansea & next week to WBA & you don’t believe you are going to win the game

  66. RedMJ says:

    Really emotive post. Excellent read.

    Arsenal supporters of all opinions now have an opportunity to show their class. Whatever the rights and wrongs that may or maybe not be going on behind the scenes, the time is now to show our true colours and fight for our team and our club, and, I am not in the slightest bit embarrassed to say, for our manager who deserves our utmost respect and gratitude.

    The easy option is to bitch and moan and blame something or someone just because you can. The tough option is to stand up, get behind your team and say “f**k you, we are The Arsenal and we will prevail”.

  67. GunnerN5 says:

    Well I guess I’m the fly in the ointment.

    While the post was well written I find some of the content insulting, disturbing and ill informed. .

    ……………………………………………………………………………………….

    “The Boxer”

    While our boxers face has aged, maybe due to posts like this, his brain is sharp and intact.

    “Weighed by expectation, jaded by the years.”

    This is just insulting.

    “Last Saturday I watched Arsène Wenger stand on the touchline at Villa Park, drenched and lifeless.”

    Did you expect him to be dancing for joy?

    “He looked a beaten man”

    So he should have, his team were not meeting his expectations

    “I have spent the last week thinking of the good times. Of the first double, of Bergkamp, Henry, of Vieira and the Invincibles. Of the fast football, a team playing off the cuff.”

    Were you really around for the double in 71?
    I
    “In recent summers Wenger has failed to convince stars to stay with a salary budget that was big enough to keep them”.

    While the overall budget may have been big enough Arsenal have an individual salary budget that they will not exceed – AW has to respect that fact – Why blame him for club policy?

    “Meanwhile millions are wasted on the salaries of players that are not good enough for this club.”

    The blessing of hindsight allows one to know if players are not good enough, AW has to use foresight and most of the time he’s correct. If a player investment turns sour then it should be Gadavis’ responsibility to sell them.

    “I wouldn’t trust our board with a pound in a phone box. I would trust Arsène.”

    Our board has done little wrong in moving us from an antiquated facility to the best in England, they have always said that it would be a long term investment. Sir Jack moved us to Highbury in 1923 it took 7 seasons for us to win our first trophy in 1930.

    “Would I trust them to pick a successor? No”

    Well who would you trust?

    “If you had told me 7 years ago that I would be watching a bunch of overpaid minatures playing 4-3-3 with thousands of empty seats and a club run by Americans I would have laughed. I’m not laughing now”

    This means that there is nothing you like about our team, our manager or our board. What do you like?.

    “If this is it, if this is how you go out, then you’re not the man I thought you were.”

    Did you really expect us to be winning trophies in the past seven years. What gave you that expectation?

    “Get some pace, take “le handbrake” off, play your way and be true to your beliefs.
    How many times, have we heard “we had the handbrake on”. It’s your car Arsène, your handbrake.”

    It will be more infuriating to him that any of us, it’s the players job to play to the system that AW employs and for the past few games they have failed him. He has to find the winning formula
    for both tactics and team selection, so far it has evaded him.

    “Are you going down with a whimper?
    Have you lost your nerve?
    Have you gone soft?”

    These are just more insults, he will be beside himself with concern for what is happening on the field and even if he cannot turn it around then I still believe that he will honour his contract and leave us in a far better place than when he arrives.

    “Either they aren’t trying or they have lost faith in what you are saying.
    Stop talking about the spirit of team. Stop telling us the world is against us. The whole club has a complex.”

    The “complex” is with those that believe that we have a divine right to win trophies, and who believe that they know better.

    “I still think you can win the last round but if you can’t dodge the punches Arsène, maybe it’s time to get out of the ring.”

    Nothing you have said indicates that you have faith in him to succeed , so how do you draw the conclusion that he will? or are you just being patronising?

  68. chas says:

    LB,
    Because of this chap. I’ve heard it called that elsewhere and just copied.

  69. LB says:

    RedMJ

    I can pay your comment no higher complement than to refer to it as Churchillian.

  70. LB says:

    Chas

    Ahh, now I understand, I went on a coach to Villa with him and his mates some years back, I foolishly started reading the Financial Times, the apple cores came flying, fortunately I was with a few mates who explained my pedegree.

    Very sad, so young.

  71. chas says:

    Here’s another article, LB, about a plaque on that roundabout.

    http://richardosley.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/battle-for-the-bear/

  72. chas says:

    LB,
    FT :)

  73. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I knew Denton personaly. A good man to have by your side, if you know what i mean.

    LB = FT, class. hahaha

  74. LB says:

    TM

    Definitely, a man to have on your side.

  75. Now I’ve temporarily won my running battle with WordPresss I have to say that I agree also that I have my doubts Wenger is the right man to take us forward.

    Unless he radically changes his approach(I feel he is stuck in a mid noughties time warp and thinks we are still in 2004) I see little reason to think things will change as his tactics/training methods appear, IMVHO, to be getting stale.

    I know it’s sticking my head above the parapet on this one but I would not feel anxious if we had a new manager in the near future – I feel we have been stagnating for a while now and a change is needed.

  76. JM says:

    @peachesgooner 12:38 pm,

    At least that formation is a test for 4-2-(3)-1.

    Hopefully, the players starting the match should know their roles and duties, esp. the (3) interchanging “attacking midfielders/pseudo attacking midfielders” – switch among yourselves and not with the main forward, keep the opponents guessing who to cover/mark while feeding the main forward as well as having a go @goal when the opportunity arises.

    Also the 2 makeshift defensive pivot-centre midfielders in providing shielding for backline while keeping the engine room running.

    @chas 12:45 pm,

    DB played as part of the (3) in the 4-2-(3)-1, (which was widely seen as a 4-4-2 but for the wide midfielders to be playing closer to the CAM then the 2x D/CM) in the 1998-2004 era. (alongside Parlour, Overmars, Pires, Ljungberg, all attacking midfielders).

    He did played 2nd striker and RW during his time @Ajax in their 4-3-3 system, so could have easily fit in Cazorla’s role in the CAM of the 4-3-3 as well, although the slight difference is that as 2nd striker, he plays closer to the main forward and the 2 wingers/wide forwards while as CAM, he plays closer to the other 2 midfielders.

    Our club came about playing the 4-3-3 during the time when Cesc Fabregas emerged as our star playmaker and the start of Barcelona’s dominance.

  77. Fantastic JM – could you deliver the team talk so that they know their roles properly please ;)

  78. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks Arsenalista,
    You have provoked a good, and as to be expected here, polite and respectful debate.

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am very excited at the prospect of that line up to face Olympiakos.
    Ox in the am role is where he wants to be, and where I have always believed he would end up. A very good opportunity to give him playing time as am in Greece.
    Cannot wait for KO.

  80. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Still ROLFING at the image of LB with his FT on the away coach :-)

  81. slime says:

    Hi Rasp,

    There were no excuses as to the sheer lack of movement from our front 3 on Saturday. That cannot be put down to a lack of understanding of tactics. I refuse to believe that Wenger, a man who’s football ideal is above fast passing and movement, would tell Theo and Pod/Gerv to stay wide and not make out to in runs. Not once did I see that kind of run.

    However, having said that, i also think that we have too many ball players in midfield with Jack, Arteta and Santi. The roles of DM and AM are not clear, and this means that the forwards don’t quite know when to make the runs. We always knew that when Fabregas had the ball that the strikers would be off, or if Song had it RVP would be off. It’s now a case of too many cooks, and I think this confuses our play and players.

  82. LB says:

    Shouldn’t be any shortages of posts in the near furture, there must be people linning up to tell us how they have known for a while now that it is time for Wenger to move on.

  83. LB says:

    Slim

    That is the glaring problem, there is no link between the midfield and the attack, there is no Fabregas to make the passes that join the two.

    Cazorla is my favourite player at the club but he is simply not able to fill that void or at least he isn’t able to do it with Ramsey or Wilshere, it is worht remebering that for a while things were working well when we had Diaby fit.

    My hope now is that Rosicky might be able to help Cazorla.

  84. Wonderman says:

    Great debating post, but can I say all this talk of formation being at the root of our downfall is folly !!! Formations don’t win or lose you games, players do. On Saturday our players were uncharacteristically diving in all over the pitch therefore putting themselves out of the game.The first goal was forged by a simple one-two which allowed Michu in, the second goal was as worse a goal as you will see. Jenks rather than deliver a cross, turns back to his own goal, failing to protect the ball sufficiently under pressure and not realising that BOTH centre halfs were in the Swansea penalty area.The Ox moves towards Swansea’s goal rather than behind the ball , whilst Michu was moving towards our goal. The ball spilled, Rosicky sprints for 50/60 yards then slows down inexplicably before the shot is taken…result game set and match ….formation has nothing to do with our plight…the decisions that the players have been consistently making are our problem.

    I don’t feel there is a great deal to fix, we have a comparable defensive record believe it or not but are not scoring enough goals …well that is to be expected isn’t it when you sell both your top scorer and assist maker at the same time and buy new players who will take time to really perform consistently

  85. I don’t understand why it is so wrong to question Arsene’s ability to help the team. This has been a slow decline and if he could fix it by his tactics and his wise words or his magic hat then why hasn’t he done it already.

    I’ve been wanting him to fix it for a long time :( :( :(

  86. There’ll be no such post from me London.

    However if Peachy wants a match report for tomorrow’s game I can cobble a few words together as it’s on terrestrial TV.

  87. Rasp says:

    I hope not LB, not unless there are a significant number of readers who don’t comment waiting to get on the bandwagon.

    I can see no point in carping on about something in an I told you so way. We have struggled for posts recently paticularly after a poor performance but Rocky and others have put a positive spin on things and you could interpret today’s post in the same way.

  88. Shard says:

    Haha RA. Sure.. I must have misunderstood.. By the way. Have you recently been reading the CIA’s manual on plausible deniability? :)

    There are woodpeckers in India. We don’t write songs about putting our fingers in their holes though :)

  89. LB says:

    Any one still want to tell me that Wilshere is going to be a goal scoring number 10 or is it now accepted that he is a defensive midfielder as I have been saying all along.

    Yes, I know he is still not back to full fitness, do you think he wil be a different player after Christmas.

  90. chas says:

    I’ll accept your kind offer on peaches’ behalf, chary. :)

  91. LB – I agree with you. But I do also think that his boldness and confidence will see him on the scoresheet quite often ….. like Arteta last season.

  92. Rasp says:

    Hi LB, I can’t remember who you were doing battle with over JW’s natural role – it wasn’t me.

    I agree he will nottbe a prolific goalscorer but I think I’d define him more as a midfield playmaker rather than a DM or AM, I’d be surprised if he scored more than 5 goals a season when fully fit. Ramsey definitely has more attacking intent but unfortunately his vision is not as good as Jack’s.

  93. chas says:

    LB,
    How could anyone ever be under the preposterous illusion that they understood more about football than you? Utterly absurd.

    I saw an article in the FT the other day about Jack’s hidden desire to become the new Messi…………………….

  94. LB says:

    No Rasp

    I know it wasn’t you, I think it was TA, it was just meant as a conversation starter.

  95. chas :)

    Yes please chary, that would be marvelous ……. no nagging from me tomorrow :)

  96. LB says:

    Exactly Chas

    It is utterly absurd, more people should realise this. lol

  97. Rasp says:

    Thanks LB, I have high hopes for Eisfeld as a future AM. His emergence could spell the end of Ramsey’s time at the Arsenal.

  98. OK Peachy/Chas – it won’t be all that long as I’ve work the following morning but I’m happy to give it a whack.

  99. GunnerN5 says:

    From Arsenal.com

    ……………………………………………………………………………….

    Akpom, Ansah and Monteiro in Arsenal squad

    Arsène Wenger has named his 18-man squad for the Champions League game against Olympiacos.

    The Arsenal manager has rested a number of first-team regulars and has included a number of young players, including five who could make their first-team debuts – Zak Ansah, Sead Hajrovic, Elton Monteiro, Chuba Akpom and James Shea.

    “Some players needed a rest because they were a bit on the fringe of injury, and some players are injured,” explained Wenger before travelling to Greece.

    “When I count the injured players I speak about Podolski and Walcott. We needed to rest Wilshere, 100 per cent, and Cazorla, Arteta and Mertesacker played many games recently. They have been rested.

    “It is [to avoid fatigue], and we have one luxury, that we can do it. But we have as well one necessity, to win the game tomorrow night. I tried to find the right balance between resting some players and as well having a competitive team tomorrow night.”

    Arsenal squad:
    1 Wojciech Szczesny
    5 Thomas Vermaelen
    7 Tomas Rosicky
    15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    16 Aaron Ramsey
    18 Sebastien Squillaci
    22 Francis Coquelin
    23 Andrey Arshavin
    25 Carl Jenkinson
    27 Gervinho
    29 Marouane Chamakh
    38 Martin Angha
    39 Zak Ansah
    48 Sead Hajrovic
    53 Jernade Meade
    55 Elton Monteiro
    60 James Shea

  100. chas says:

    I think we should have this as our new tune for the players to come out to.

  101. ArsenalForever says:

    Afternoon all! Excellent Article, and lot’s of great posts! I think AA has become the most rational, balanced site for all arsenal-related debate. I get the impression that every one here wants to see AW get up from the floor and deliver a knockout blow to his critics, but the last few years have been a media-initiated countdown: 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8… Each second, of course, representing a trophy-less season. The longer the count goes on, the more the critics grow.

    Despite the current predicament, I think that 4th place is still very much achievable if we can hang on to the coat-tails of the CL pace-setters this month and make some wise purchases in January, and I also think the league cup is a very good opportunity for us to get the monkey off our back and win some silverware this year. Maybe that could be the springboard from which the team builds stronger foundations for next season. But this all hinges on what we do in January IMO.

    Finally, I would have to agree with the point someone made earlier, that even if AW left, would the current Board have enough football nous to pick a suitable successor? I personally don’t think they do, and that for me is the biggest worry.

  102. chas says:

    Ooooops, wrong version. :)

  103. jnyc says:

    Very well done, Arsenalista!

  104. chas says:

    My apologies, ArsenalForever, for your excellent comment being squeezed between my idiocy. :)

  105. jnyc says:

    SHARD, RED ARSE, heres my secret to enjoying Shakespeare and appreciating the beauty. Put in any kenneth Branagh Shakespeare dvd. And watch with the English subtitles ON. This way you will keep up when it seems overwhelming. Henry V is a good one to start with. Trust me – if you didnt get it before, you will see the brilliance.

  106. LB says:

    Henry V with Kenneth Branagh is superb.

  107. How important is the game tomorrow night?

    If we’re giving some young players their debut then obviously we want a good result for them. Meade must be starting at LB.

    It would be good if we won the group but that’s not entirely in our hands.

    I feel AW is saying he has no choice but to rest players but we all know that he would have rested some first teamers for this tie anyway.

    Last season we were drawn against AC Mlian whilst finishing top of our group. We could obviously get one of the big teams if we finish second this season.

    Any injury tomorrow night to a regular first team starter would lead to outrage that they didn’t need to be played as we’d already qualified.

  108. dandan says:

    Jose is leaving Real Madrid at season end the media say. imagine if he came in to replace Arsene perhaps some smiles might show on here.
    Me I say careful what you want someone may give it to you. Well done Terry and Gn5 for standing up to be counted.
    amazing how many people hide their depressive nature under the guise of frustration.

    Frustrated at what AW’s refusal to do what they tell him? we’ll excuse me don’t the board pay his wages, as they will his successor. some of you run businesses,don’t your employees do as you tell them? Would you stand for anything less, Do you demand loyalty why should Arsenal be any different?

    Funny old world football, Panic and crisis hides behind a bad day or two at the office at some clubs, whilst others appreciate that success is cyclical as are the hard times. Perhaps the present furore Just underlines how spoilt we are, and how far fetched our expectations.Hope is one thing, reality quite another another.

  109. GoonerB says:

    I have had a busy weekend so haven’t posted since Saturday, but I have read the majority of comments from all you fine AA’ers. I agree with Peaches that if certain fans want to question what Arsene is doing currently, as long as it is constructive and polite, then that should be their right. I don’t feel they should be shot down in flames for this. I am actually in the same ball park as Rasp and I am worried that AW has lost his way to some degree, and I am questioning whether he can still turn it around for us. None of my opinions on this are drawn from any pundit or media outlet but are based on my own observations recently. We may of course be wrong and those with the complete faith may turn out to be correct.

    If there is one type of fan I don’t like it is the agressive and dismissive ones that shout for A,B and C to happen without any rationalisation or justification. You all know the ones I mean. I have the greatest deal of respect and time for the likes of Terry Mancini with his unquestionable faith. I feel it is very important to have people like Terry posting the positive comments on here. When Terry posts I read his comments with a great deal of shame at not being able to feel exactly the same way. I have said it many times that while I am questioning Arsene it doesn’t mean I want him to fail. If you were to ask me who I would want to lead us to glory over the next few years my answer would be Wenger, and I bet if you asked Rasp he would say the same. I desperately want him to secure his legacy and my hope that it is AW that takes us back to the top but that wish will not stop me from analysing what I feel may be going wrong. When someone asks what is the problem with Arsenal I always feel it is not something you can answer by pinning the problem onto one particular area. I have one area that concerns me more than any other, which again is probably very similar to Rasp and Micky, but I don’t think it will only be that in isolation.

    Maybe Arsene is currently feeling deflated, and who can blame him because he has been trying to build something special and he has lost many quality players that he himself identified and nurtured. If you poured your heart into building your dream home and it blew down 3-4 times you would likely feel downtrodden when you have to rebuild for the 4th time. He didn’t want to lose these players and I don’t pin this problem that has inflicted our club recently on him. He has constantly had to reinvent the team over the last 3 years and that brings its own problems with continuity.

    It is this that constant reinvention, for me, that has lead to the current problem that worries me. In having to dip into the market in key areas of the team to replace the quality of players like Fabregas and RVP sometimes the balance and quality in the players coming in is different. Players like RVP and Fabregas don’t grow on trees and it is difficult to find like for like replacements. If you can’t get like for like replacements then it could be that the system and style of play you were favouring is no longer as effective. That leaves 2 choices. Firstly you could spend your way out of it by buying in the players that have the quality to bring the balance to the system you prefer. Secondly you adapt the system to bring out the best in the players you have available. It is this that I feel we are not doing well enough on. The forthcoming transfer window may see us take option 1 and it may all come good but I would still like to see us get more out of the current players. In other words, be more pragmatic now with what you have, but look to change it to what you would prefer when you get the opportunity to do so.

    This is why I can semi-agree with wondermans comment earlier that it is not all about formations and is more about quality of player. However, if you don’t have said quality of player then you can change the strengths and weaknesses of the same group of players by adapting formations. I have also read a lot of JM’s comments with interest about the 4-3-3 not working and that switching to a 4-2-3-1 would be better, but i will have to come back to you later JM with my opinions on that area.

  110. chas says:

    dandan,
    To play devil’s advocate, do you seriously think the Arsenal players are doing what AW is telling them to do?
    If they are, then Dennis help us.
    If they aren’t, then why is he standing for it?

  111. VCC says:

    chas 2:36 + 2:36. You have far too much time on your hands. lol

  112. chas says:

    You’re right, VCC.
    I’m in one of these sort of moods today…..
    http://bit.ly/11r16Wn

  113. RockyLives says:

    Jamie
    Really well-written Post.
    If Wenger is a boxer on the ropes, I hope he is Muhammed Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle.

    The only quibble I have is that the evidence of a break-even policy over the last seven years is no great surprise: we always knew there would be a period of austerity caused by the stadium move. This then became a triple whammy with the crash of 2008 and the arrival into the EPL of billionaire sugar daddies.

    In that context AW performed miracles keeping us (mostly) competitive throughout that period.

    The worrying thing is that just as the austerity period is (allegedly) coming to an end and we can finally afford to spend, we are facing a season (2013/14) outside the CL places.

  114. chas says:

    I blame it on Arsenalista’s post.

  115. Rasp says:

    GoonerB, unsurprisingly I agree with all of that.

    I do hope dandan doesn’t include bloggers of your integrity in his condemnation.

  116. Dandan – I think for some the outcry does smell of ‘I want it now, why can’t I have it’ but for most of us that are now saying what we’ve thought for a long time it is unreasonable for you to question how we have come to this conclusion.

    The ‘business’ of Arsenal has been going from strength to strength and that is not because we don’t buy ‘world-class’ £35m players. It is because the club is managed as a business.

    Has managing the club as a business got in the way of Arsene Wenger managing the football side of our club? I believe it has. I think he has lost his fight to instill the fighting spirit into his team. I hope I’m wrong and that he does turn this team around.

    The fighting spirit of the team should have nothing to do with how money they earn and everything to do with the pride they feel when they put the shirt on or is that not important either?

    My feelings have nothing to do with winning trophies but have everything to do with the sadness of the decline of Arsenes Arsenal.

  117. Dan Dan, are you saying it’s a straight choice of Wenger or Mourinho ?

    I get the impression that the implication is length of support determines the validity of an opinion.

    Because you have seeen worse times in the club only that way can you properly evaluate whether our recent form is something to worry about or not.

    If you question and speculate about what can be done to arrest the malaise you are not a proper supporter ?

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    dandan hi,
    Please understand that as far as I am aware, only Rasp and Raddy have ever uttered the word Maurinho on here, and since I took them both outside, removed their trousers and raddished them both, not another work has been said on the matter.

  119. Thats a fabulous post Sir.

  120. GunnerN5 says:

    Peaches,

    I, for one, do not doubt the loyalty you show for Arsene or your love for our club as they are unequivocal. You are a reasoned, calm, and consistent voice in a very noisy room.

    I’ve tried, maybe unsuccessfully, to be calm and collected in my posts and comments, but my inner feelings constantly boil over with many of the posts or individual comments.

    Based on many of the comments one would think that the club was formed in 1996 and the seasons of 1997/8 and 2001/2 thru 2004/5 are the standards by which all else should be measured. But what people fail to understand is the fact that period was the very best in our entire history.

    AW is being lambasted simply because he was so good in his early days and people refuse to take into consideration the circumstances that have aligned up against him since that wonderful period.

    If I had written my inner feelings about today’s author and his post the words would have been explosive and unprintable.

    Our recent performances leave me very sad and melancholy but what makes me even sadder/madder is the rantings and ravings of folks who compare AW only to his glory years.

  121. Chelsea had no class or history when Jose went there, they may have a smidgen of history now but they sure don’t have any class :)

    Don’t you think Jose would love to be part of our classy history? We don’t have enough money for him obviously but I bet he would love to manage Arsenal.

  122. VCC says:

    so would I Peaches. ;-)

  123. ArsenalForever says:

    @Chas – hahaha… No worries mate :-)

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Outside right now Peaches

  125. JM says:

    @GoonerB 3:03 pm,

    No surprises that Barcelona is the only consistent team in recent years that have mastered the 4-3-(3), (The forwards/wingers – Messi, Iniesta & Pedro graduated from their academy; D.Villa is an intelligent forward that adapted to the system; A.Sanchez is re-learning his role as a interchanging forward; Fabregas can play the false 9 adequately from experiences)

    Previously, Barca had Eto’o, Ronaldinho, Henry, Giuly who are all intelligent enough to play among the front 3.
    Ibrahimovic did not too badly either (he was also trained in the Ajax system) although he is better suited as the (1) in a 4-2-3-(1), where he is now playing for PSG.
    And most of them have been among the world-elite group of players as well.

    Arsenal tried to emulate them during CF4’s time of prominence with us but the supporting cast were found lacking.

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mourinho is the most classless, egotistical, self-absorbed, obnoxious git in football.
    I would be ashamed to have him anywhere near our club.

  127. Big Raddy says:

    Micky Best raddishing I ever had. Special One — pah.

    Chary. I don’t understand – where did DD say any of that?

    Interesting team going over to Greece. Wonder if any of the new boys will get pitch time

  128. Rasp says:

    Just for the record, I didn’t call for Maureen as manager, I just debated Raddy’s suggestion :roll:

  129. Red Arse says:

    Here, here Micky!! :-)

    Bollix to Mooneeo.

    Damn I knew I should have brought my coat – even my screen is starting to snow!!

  130. Big Randy, I wasn’t sure if that was what he meant regarding the Mourinho-Wenger two way choice, hence the clarification I requested.

    The other questions were just run on ones as I wanted to know if he thoguht that recent supporters will struggle to put this bad spell into context if they had only known good times.

    The point about not being a proper supporter was a general one, not related to DD; perhaps I should have made that a separate comment ?

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well, apologies for the raddishing then Rasp
    As for you Raddy, I suspected you enjoyed it. I’ll be better armed next time.

  132. Thank you GN5, I do my best.

    Micky/Raddy/Rasp – What’s wrong with Jose, tell me again ;)

  133. Rasp – did you do the snow?

  134. I can’t figure out what author is trying to say. He wants to say so much in a small time frame. The result is a very incoherent article.

    Arsene is like an old boxer erm..but may be board is at fault…erm….4-3-3 is not good..erm..but i don’t know much about tactics either…erm…if manager is given fund he will switch to 4-2-2..no wait that doesn’t make sense? Does it?erm..that’s not the point either..erm..hmm..arsene should develop a backbone real steel…yup that’s right. Oh and arsene shouldn’t state the obvious facts that he at that point of time in the game had 2nd thoughts about a 0-0 draw. He needs to look angry..like hulk and smash something and state, i don’t know, just shut up if he can’t say positive.

    Tactics is not matter of fact obvious thing. Different manager sees it differently. Arsene wenger is naive not because he uses same tactics throughout the season with some tweaks of course but because he hasn’t mastered the art of transition between structural stability and fluid flexibility. Some times teams need to be in proper structure while the other times it needs to let go of that structure(at the peak of the confidence) to create havoc in opposition defense.

    Author just picks up the general vibe from fans and writes it figuratively using boxer reference. And the writing is incoherent.

    People in comment section were calling it ‘amazing’. What exactly was amazing?

    The fact that he aptly shows, arsenal fans frustration, through live example of this article- we are frustrated but we don’t know how to put it in exact words. Is it the board or arsene or owner or sheiks or xyz, is the only thing that makes this article amazing.

    P.S- nothing against u dude, it takes balls to even write an article. Don’t take it too hardly and up the quality.

  135. Red Arse says:

    GN5, DD, :-)

    We used different words but if you consider my 10:24 you will see that we are as one on the major issue.

    That said, I have no problem with anyone politely questioning the what/why/wherefores of what they see as a worrying trend during the current season to date and indeed over the previous couple too.

    That is not giving me bum splinters as I do not think the two viewpoints are mutually exclusive.

    What does concern me tho’ is the law of unintended consequences, in that the aggressive and frankly disgraceful remarks regarding AW’s salary/bonus/ability/commitment go way beyond acceptable norms, and may well provoke a response that will see Arsene walk away, only to be replaced by Stuart Pearce or someone of that ilk!

    I cannot believe any of these loud mouthed critics could conceivably want to wish that upon the club, but if they are correct that the BoD are incompetents and could not select a quality replacement, in the event that AW felt forced to quit, that may well be the consequence indeed.

    [For clarity - I am expanding your point {and mine} to include the blogging world in general, and not AA]

  136. Rasp says:

    Snow que? No snow here – yet. Is it snowing with you peaches?

  137. chas says:

    “And the writing is incoherent.” :lol:

  138. chas says:

    “don’t take it too hardly”, Jamie.

  139. Rasp says:

    critic @ 4:10 – thanks for living up to your billing :P

    Seriously though, you have put on some good comments recently, how about submitting a headline post for us to critique :lol:

  140. Rasp – it’s snowing at the top of my page but sometimes wordpress give it to you at the beginning of December, I wondered if you had added it ;)

  141. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    My screen has been showing some gentle flakes of ‘snow’, which seem to have melted in the warmth of your comment to Critic. :D

  142. Sheep Hagger says:

    If we were man spew or man shitty or Liverfool or chelski they would have sacked the manager if they had gone 7 years without a trophy.
    So why should we be happy with Wenger,we keep backing him WHY.

  143. Rasp says:

    Oh yes peaches, now I see :roll:

  144. kelsey says:

    Nothing wrong in TMHT always being optimistic , but yesterday he said words to the effect wait in 10 years we will rule the league.
    my concern has to be
    a) that many players aren’t performing consistently therefore as a unit we look ragged
    b)Wenger now has to try and either sort out another two of our regular players contracts in Sagna and Walcott and if unsuccessful will just have to keep buying not only to replace them (I know we have jenkinson) and add to the squad
    One can only sell so many of one’s good players and then expect to improve.it doesn’t work like that
    in the last three sesons there have been PL players available at a cost we could afford,but AW doesn’t like that route.
    i am sure it is eating him up but I honestly think we will just have to grin and bear it this season.

  145. Rasp says:

    Hi Sh’Agger! In fairness I don’t think even SAF has done as much for manu as AW has for Arsenal. He conceived, designed and built the ship – some are just questioning his steering these days

  146. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches,
    I’ve tracked down gently from the top of the page, and it stops snowing at around 10:54

  147. Phew, I thought I was going to get snowed in ;)

  148. GoonerB says:

    Agreed JM. It was the quality and type of player that allowed Barca to make the 4-3-3 so effective. If Arsene still had fabregas and RVP at his disposal we may be able to play the 4-3-3. I feel we have some players that would be suitable to a 4-3-3 but we don’t have quite the right ones in every department to make it work and so consequently we end up with this feeling that we are playing players out of position.

    JM, I did a post a while back where I stated that if you start with a back 4 then, in reality you are playing one system, but that system can change during the game as it becomes fluid to any number of formations dependant upon various factors. I stated, rightly or wrongly is for others to decide, that it is only when you switch to a back 3 that the system changes. The chief factor for me when you start with a back 4 as to how it eventually looks is the type of player you have in a certain position of the pitch, i.e that players individual style, and strengths and weaknesses will dictate how they play their role in the area of the pitch they are generally in.

    I used the example of Santi Vs Bergkamp. Santi is an attacking midfielder in our 4-3-3 while Bergkamp is a number 10 / in the hole striker in our old 4-4-2. Bergkamps instincts are to come deeper to get on the ball at times but to primarily play higher behind the number 9, while Santi’s instincts are to play more regularly deeper but sometimes push on in behind the number 9. Similarly Pires was an attacking wide player who could cut in and carried a goal-threat while I feel Podolski is more a goal-scorer that can play wide if needed, but is not a natural wide player. The problem is that Podolski is not so adept at beating a man and running with the ball. He is most effective when he pops up near the number 9 in more central areas. I think, at the moment, this keeps him defending more on the flank rather than keeping the full-back worried and the deeper and wider he ends up the less effective he becomes. Gervinho can run at players more effectively but IMO, despite a couple of goals, generally has a powder puff shot and is not nor will be a top level striker. Walcott has a bit of both of Podolski and gervinho going on. Arshavin can run at defenders and carries a goal threat but is not so good defensively. We have barely seen him recently and I am not sure why, because he can change a game in our favour, in an attacking sense. The Ox may become prolific in this type of role but is a work in progress.

    JM If I was the manager and said to Jack and Arteta you 2 stay as a 2 man deeper DM pair, and Santi I want you further forward closer to Giroud, while I want you podolski and you Walcott to get alongside santi either side of him you now have your 4-2-3-1. It is the same line up that is said to be our 4-3-3. Similarly if Santi alone pushes up and Walcott and Podolski stay deeper in alignment with Arteta and Jack then it is a 4-4-2. The problem with all and any of these is that the players will not stay in the formation that is written down at the beginning once the game unfolds. Individually I like Podolski, Walcott and Santi but collectively they don’t seem to balance each other out at the present time. If you did try a back 3 you can still get a 5 man midfield with the wing backs. This still allows Santi to play ahead of the DM’s in an attacking role but allows you to play a number 10 and number 9 ahead of him, someone he can link up with. That could be Podolski or Walcott playing the central role they would like or AA who is probably a number 10 in reality anyway. I would suggest to get an effective 4-2-3-1 formation and have it remain that way during the game we would need to have some different players to make it work. I am not sure who, but it may require more physical but still technical DM’s in the mould of Vieira and Petit / Gilberto to completely free up those players ahead of them.

  149. Shard says:

    Actually critic does make a good point about structural stability vs flexibility. Being able to reconcile both in perfect balance is how art is formed. A Mourinho (since he’s been mentioned on this site right now :) ) could never hope to build an artistic side. Someone can drill the defense and probably the offense to be more efficient, and at this point, we’d probably take that. But a coach who relies on that, even at the apex of his achievement could only turn it into a science. Not art.

    Wenger strives to win while creating art. His priorities aren’t towards art. But like critic said. He hasn’t found the balance yet. And it is hard to achieve that with an ever changing side. His failing, if you want to call it that, is that he can never let go of his artistic temperament. To expect him to forego that is to expect him to cheat himself. He won’t do it. I respect that. And without that quality of his, we’d never have had the Invincibles. If the price of having that team as a part of our history is the subsequent 7 or 8 trophyless years that have followed, I’m actually happy to take that bargain. It just depends if people think we need to look past the artistic now in favour of a more pragmatic, immediate, perhaps more urgently efficient system/manager. Short term, probably. Long term, I still wouldn’t want it.

  150. Red Arse says:

    Sheep Shagger,

    Chelski have had about 30 managers in the last 10 years – the only reason they have managed to be moderately successful is because they have thrown bucketsful of money at buying new players regardless of who is the manager.

    Arsene has managed to keep us in the CL qualifying spot for about 100 years, kept us close to the top in the EPL and all this during the building of a wonderful stadium, regardless of having no money.

    See what I did there? :D

    That’s why! :-)

  151. Jamie says:

    I would like to clarify a few points.

    I am not an Arsene hater, certainly not.

    I’m not an “Arsene Knows Best” either.

    Someone, described me as “Doing a Marc Anthony” in my post. That is very funny and worthy observation, but it’s not fair.

    Maybe my words twist the knife but Marc Anthony’s words were contrived to rouse a rabble.

    My words are those of a frustrated and passionate fan who wants his manager rouse le boss. In a footballing sense.

    Have I ever sung, “there’s only one Arsenal Wenger?” Of Course

    Would I do so again? Gladly

    Wenger is an exceptional manager and from the way he has acted since his arrival a good man.

    I think he has lost his way, I think managers do that sometimes.

    I think the club feeds the fans little information and treats them with contempt.

    They charge too much for everything from Hot Dogs to tickets. Although, “The Cannon” hot dog might actually be worth the money.

    My fear is that if other clubs find out about “The Cannon” then we might sell it on for a tidy profit.

    I’m not an Arsene hater, I’ll be at the WBA game. I’ll cheer them on.

    I’m not marching the streets or drinking black coffee in protest.

    I’m a fan, who’s head still cranes to catch a glimpse of the Emirates from the 43 bus on my way home each night.

    I just think with the manager, players, stadium and resources we have, that we are looking more average than we have any right to be.

  152. VCC says:

    Mickdidit 3:51 You don’t go a lot on him then? :-)

  153. GunnerN5 says:

    RA;

    I never doubted that we were in sync on the subject of Arsene.

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I really like your “artistic” slant to the debate Shard.
    This is where I have always been happy trophyless in 4th. I like beauty.
    The 4th thing just happens to fit in with the way I see the business model. If CL qualification was 6th, I’d be ok with that, so long as my nine hour round trip was rewarded with watching football as it should be played.

  155. GunnerN5 says:

    Jamie,

    Your post at 4:31 is both logical and rational.

    Your article is both illogical and irrational and very insulting to the best manager in our history and the 2nd best the PL has ever seen..

  156. Rasp says:

    Hi Jamie, your post has been well received and prompted some healthy debate well done.

    My interpretation of it was as a cattle prod to Arsene to fight back and a clarion call for the rest of us to give our support.

  157. Well done RA, excellent answer :)

  158. Rasp says:

    Haha, GN5’s response contrasted with mine demonstrates that dichotomy can exist even between kindred spirits :P

  159. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp

    “Generally” well received!

  160. chas says:

    Wow, thanks for the translation Shard.
    Apologies to critic for highlighting a couple of typos.

    Structural stability versus fluid flexibility. About sums up the season really.

  161. Rasp says:

    :) GN5, my definition of generally is ermmmmmm … generally, what’s yours?

  162. chas says:

    GN5,
    I thought you swore you’d never read an Arsene-related post?

  163. Rasp says:

    = not exclusively

  164. Red Arse says:

    Jamie,

    ‘Twas I who likened your well written article to the Mark Anthony speech because I thought it was worthy of such a response.

    I understand what you are saying @4:31 and accept you are as passionate and committed a fan as anyone else.

    When writing a Post you must also understand that there is bound to be a reaction – for and against – but for the main part, there is no personal animosity intended, certainly not from me.

    On the contrary, I rarely unsheathe my Shakespeare claws, so perhaps you will accept it as both a rebuttal to your contention and aa a compliment! :P

  165. MickyDidIt89 says:

    VCC,
    The Man is a snake.
    Arrives at a very carefully chosen Club. Demands a massive transfer budget. Grabs the Glory, and on every occasion makes the Club thoathed by the press and media.
    He is, and always will be, very short termist.

  166. Jamie – your post is romantic as was your comment at 4.31, I see no difference in the content of either.

  167. Rasp says:

    Any way, as we’ve repeatedly said over the years, a contentious post gives the perfect opportunity for those who disagree to promote the opposing view – as has been the case today.

  168. Oh no, you’re still talking about him!!!!!!!! :P :D :lol:

  169. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas:

    “Structural stability versus fluid flexibility.”

    Does that equate to a male organ?

  170. RockyLives says:

    Jamie
    For what it’s worth, I agree with Rasp. I also read your Post as a call to arms aimed at urging Arsene to redouble his efforts and show us all that he’s still got it.

  171. MickyDidIt89 says:

    loathed

  172. Sheep Hagger says:

    Red arse

    I can see ur point but surely, no money amazing
    We’re has the van Persie money gone and were the cash for king cese .
    He sells our best and then buys second rated players .

  173. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    With your blogging name and your penchant for the Bard, perhaps we should start calling you Bottom.

    Or maybe not…

  174. Shard says:

    oh and jnyc..Thank’s for your recommendation regarding Shakespeare. I’ll check it out.

  175. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas,

    You are correct I did say that, and I regret not keeping my word.

  176. Shard says:

    Micky,
    9 hour round trip? Wow.. How often do you go to the stadium? And I agree completely with your assessment of Mourinho.

  177. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rocky :-)

  178. chas says:

    Haha, you should have said you generally don’t read posts about Arsene.

  179. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Shard,
    Nine hours sounds heroic, until you know I only make about six games a season :-(

  180. Rasp says:

    :lol: chas, wish I’d thought of that

  181. GunnerN5 says:

    Jamie,

    My comments are not intended to be personal – you must understand that I am an Arsene loyalist and will do everything in my power to protect his good name.

    You have a right to your opinion and I have the right of rebuttal.

  182. ArsenalForever says:

    @GN5 – I think your comment at 4:40 is harsh. Like Rasp says in the subsequent post, the article is just a prod to Arsene to pick himself up again using the boxing metaphor, and to not let his legacy be tarnished. Like the article says, Wenger deserves respect but he is not immune to criticism.

    I would recommend reading today’s article on arseblog.com. He makes a great point about the hand’s off approach that Arsene adopted with the invincibles, and how it worked because they were already self-motivated to win. He argues that the same approach does not work with the current under-performing players and the standards need to be raised. Ultimately Arsene is responsible for meeting the standards set, and by his own admission we are not achieving them.

    For me personally, the club comes before any player or manager. I have total respect for what Arsene has done, and I would never want to see him get fired.But I feel he has lost his way and I go along with Shard’s point that the artistic style is ingrained in his DNA so I would not expect him to take a more pragmatic approach to winning trophies. If Arsene is to bounce back, I feel it will be his way.

  183. Rasp says:

    Micky, I must be your lucky mascot! when I sit next to you we win/draw, when I sit next to GiE we lose :(

  184. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas,

    I wish I could keep my thoughts to myself but generally I can’t……….

  185. Red Arse says:

    Rocket,

    I would be flattered to be so described and known! :-) Bottom — yes it has a nice ring to it!! :P

    (I am not being rude, Shard — it is all in your mind!) :lol:

    Actually, Rocker, the way I am feeling at the mo’ Sir Toby Belch might be more fitting! :-(

  186. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal Forever,

    Like the man said we all have opinions, I will stand by mine.

  187. chas says:

    Next mission:Buy Downing. :)
    http://on.fb.me/TDxOQC

  188. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ArsenalForever,
    Give todays Arsenes’ Arsenal a TH and DB, and you’d see the old Arsenes’ Arsenal.

  189. ArsenalForever says:

    GN5,

    Point taken mate, and I agree you are totally entitled to your opinion. If you disagree with an article, that’s fine, but I didn’t think it was fair to describe it as “illogical and irrational”, that was why I said it was harsh

  190. Thats excellent chas :lol:

  191. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    Grab a pew next to GiE’s parents and its win/win

  192. ArsenalForever says:

    MickyD,

    I agree, top4 would be a dead cert, but I still think we just be short for the title ;-)

  193. Shard says:

    ArsenalForever,

    An artist can be pragmatic too. A writer can write something he’s not proud of to be able to pay the bills. A painter can paint something which isn’t artistically stimulating because it might sell. A musician can record tracks written by someone else. An Arsene can win the 2005 FA Cup by playing defense. :)

    I think you are misunderstanding my point. Artistic temperament doesn’t have to come in the way of pragmatism. It’s not the same as being reckless or being blind to the need of the hour. I just meant it’s different to what people expect (since there are few artists in comparison to the non-artistic in the world) Basically it involves not playing safe too often. Wenger will do that at times,when he feels the need for it, but it won’t become his philosophy.

  194. Red Arse says:

    Sheep Hagger,

    @ 4:51, There is something of a conundrum with regard to the monies AW is alleged to have at his disposal.

    It has long been held that one of two possible scenarios (a word beloved of TV football pundits :-) ) applies to Arsene and his transfer activities.

    On the one hand, we were led to believe that ‘mean old’ Arsene was offered oodles of dosh by the BoD and refused to invest it in any but ‘cheap’ and lesser quality players, [add any of the usual suffixes] — to boost his bonus; would rather depend on ‘project yoof”; or just because … or :-

    The BoD did not give him the money, but, out of loyalty, AW fronted up and took all the flak!

    Either way AW took a verbal kicking.

    Just recently the professional pundits have been switching to the latter conclusion (I do not know what the evidence is for this, but journalists often have their own personal contacts with the club) – don’t tell Leveson – and in truth this ties in, if true, with my own long held view that that is the case.

    This would explain the continual dribbling away of our most succulent money producing players to wealthier clubs, and their replacement with worthy but less influential players, and the gentle slide down the pecking order from ‘top 2′ to ‘top 3′ and recently to a fortunate ‘top 4′.

    [Warning: this is all speculation!!]

    That being the case, it shows AW’s loyalty to the club as personified by Kroenke, the owner of the club; the hammering his own reputation has taken latterly; and the apparent deterioration of the team as evidenced in our current 10th position as a direct result of our recent poor performances, as well as the team containing certain players who are not of a high enough calibre.

    So not a ‘stingy’ old Wenger, after all. The pressure on Arsene must be immense, especially as he knows it to be unfair, but cannot defend himself without putting his masters in the public wringer!

    Sorry you asked now, I bet! :lol:

  195. ArsenalForever says:

    Shard,

    Looks like we misunderstood each other! :-) You mentioned that “Wenger tries to create art whilst winning… but he hadn’t got the balance right”. I was not implying that Wenger couldn’t be pragmatic. My point was that I felt he has lost his way due to the fact that we are still playing with a similar “artistic” style to the invincibles with the current (inferior) team. It was ok back then when the invincibles could swat aside most opposition at a canter, but that is not the case now. We still tend to have the same approach to each game regardless of opposition, and I feel that we need to change the tactics for different opposition to exploit their weaknesses more. I thought that had changed when we went to Stoke earlier in the season, but now it looks like we’ve reverted to type. I should have probably made this clearer in my previous post.

  196. GunnerN5 says:

    This is from Arsenal.com and it’s a great example of artificial media reporting and how they create negativity surrounding Arsenal and Arsene.

    …………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Wenger on Bould and Henry latest

    Arsène Wenger faced the media on Monday before flying out to Greece for the Champions League clash with Olympiacos.

    Here’s a round-up of some of the manager’s quotes:

    on Steve Bould reports…
    That’s not true at all. There’s nothing more irritating than superficial information nowadays. It would be better if people are a bit responsible for what they write. I take my responsibilities, but I think to inform people in the wrong way is bad as well. It’s time for some people to realise that.

    on Thierry Henry…
    There is no development at all. I just didn’t want to say no because if I say no when I’m asked the question, I can never do it. At the moment, that’s not envisaged at all.

  197. Shard says:

    Haha. AF,
    maybe I did misunderstand you. But I also think that the Invincibles would never have happened if Wenger thought like that about them. He saw something in them which most people didn’t. Remember we didn’t win for a few years after the double in 98. There were still a few doubts then, and also cries about being left behind in 2001, as well as in 2003. No one saw Kolo Toure as any sort of solution to a CB problem (and yes, it was considered a problem) If Wenger sees something in today’s team that convinces him that he doesn’t have to change his tactics to suit them, then I wouldn’t argue with it. At some point however, the results have to pick up. That much is a given. But how to bring about those results, I’d still leave to Wenger.

  198. Red Arse says:

    ArsenalForever,

    It might just be me, but you and Shard appear to be travelling down parallel paths.

    I say this because you agree (I think) with Shard’s inference that the Invincibles were ‘artistic’ while subsequently referring to them as ‘swatting’ aside the opposition in a very un-artistic manner.

    A contradiction, if ever I heard one!! :-)

  199. Oh Red Arse ….. when the Invicibles swatted they did it with such style and panache …….. all very artistic. Now bulldozing, that’s not at all artistic :lol:

  200. Shard says:

    The Invincibles made swatting into an art form :)

  201. Red Arse says:

    Touche! Both of you!!! :P

  202. MickyDidIt89 says:

    When I swatt flies, I wear a tutu. Now what’s that if not art?

  203. Yes Micky, that qualifies too :)

  204. Red Arse says:

    I am sure that some of the AA devotees must have noticed that I occasionally deliberately drop a poorly concealed, provocative comment, and yet I usually escape unscathed.

    So there is, after all, a benefit in writing in my stilted English – no one understands what the fook I am on about. :lol:

    [makes note to himself - pick on Rocky, he will never notice!] :P

  205. Red Arse says:

    There have been rumours about you and Arch-Bishop Desmond before now Micky.

    How ungallant of you to oust him at this juncture!! :P

  206. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Its a men in skirts thing, RA. No big deal.

  207. Red Arse says:

    I am, as I have frequently told you guys, a woman’s man, and here are some examples of my style.

    50 shades of Puce:

    We tried various positions – round the back, on the side, up against a wall…
    but in the end we came to the conclusion the bottom of the garden was the only place for a good shed.

    She stood before me, trembling in my shed.
    “I’m yours for the night,” she gasped, “You can do whatever you want with me.”
    So I took her to a darts match.

    She knelt before me on the shed floor and tugged gently at first, then harder until finally it came.
    I moaned with pleasure. Now for the other boot.

    See – I have not wasted my team on AA!! :D

  208. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    If AA regulars were Shakespeare characters, who would they be?

    I’ll start the ball rolling:

    Rasp = Prospero (Raspero?), the magician.
    Peaches = Ariel, the sprite who is Raspero’s “eyes and ears”.
    GiE = Falstaff
    Glic & Terry = Gravedigger 1 and Gravedigger 2

  209. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    You British! Just a skirt thing, I see. :)

  210. Shard says:

    Hah..I’d like to see a scotsman wear a tutu with the same pride they wear their kilts.. The highland games will evince new interest from the masses.

    And to answer your question Micky, in a word..disturbing :)

    Though I suppose it could become an Andy Warholesque print.

  211. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey Lads,
    Here’s something funny. Just been reading about how upset Abramovich has been just recently. Apparently, he’s been visiting the Training Ground. Yikes.
    Talk of him bringing in Avram Grant, as he believes the Benitez appointment has been something of a cock up.
    What makes me really Rolf, is he thinks Pep is the man for the job.
    Now, let’s think, the same man who left Barca because of stress. The most talented squad ever assembled.
    Mmmm, Chelsea must appear a really attractive option :-)

  212. RockyLives says:

    Micky
    Maybe we can persuade Bennytez to offload Oscar to us…. :)

  213. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Disturbing eh Shard?
    Crikey, you should have met my Uncle Earnest DidIt. Now, that was disturbing!

  214. Shard says:

    Seems like certain AA regulars might have known your uncle..They seem to have fled the scene at the mention of his name :)

  215. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rocky,
    Oscar was so obviously designed and built to be an Arsenal player.

  216. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    I see Terry as Malvolio (12th Night) it’s those cross hatched socks he wears that clinches it!!

    The others are too dangerous — offence would definitely ensue!

  217. Big Raddy says:

    Oscar is lightweight, prone to injury, wonderful on the ball, imaginative, and will be brilliant Aug -Nov, Apr – May.

    As you say, Arsenal material

  218. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    He could slip into a mac and wellies Dec-Feb, and still outplay the opposition.

  219. slime says:

    Speaking of Benitez,

    The end of his time at Liverpool reminds me very much of Arsenal right now. His team had similar players to previously successful seasons, but he just wasn’t get the best out of them. Rather than sticking with him, Liverpool did what 99% of clubs do these days and got rid. Did it improve the team? Hmmmm. Also, why would Benitez not be good enough to turn things around, but be good enough to manage last seasons CL winners?

    If Wenger left, every club in the world would want him because he is one of the top 5 managers in football.

  220. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahem Slime,
    Doesn’t look like he is good enough to manage the Chavs, which may not help the point you are trying to make, but is nevertheless very funny :-)

  221. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, work over.
    Machine off.
    Nite all.

  222. Arsenalista says:

    GN5 – your 5:45 does show how the media make the problem worse.

    It’s a fair point and a few have said similar stuff today.

    As Rasp indicated the post wasn’t supposed to demonstrate disrespect. (Maybe when I called him a stubborn old fool). He is not a fool.

    I stand by that I think he has lost his way and that he will only find is if he is bold again.

    My uncle just pointed out that you are only three wins from a completely different season.

    He is from a more patient branch of the family.

    Loving the Shakespeare stuff.

    Maybe one for le gaffer.

    “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”.

    I always liked iago in Othello.

  223. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evening all, a riveting read Jamie, like you I want to see Arsene respond, the question is can he and can the players.

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the fact that Bould allegedly tore the team a new one in the dressing room post match. It’s in the Mail and has no source, but we’ve all heard the stories of Wenger silencing Pat Rice when he was about to do similar to a team containing TH14, TA6, PV4 and friends. So if true it can only have been done with Wengers blessing. But that doesn’t fit the theory they are poles apart in opinion.

    Finally do what I’ve just done, search Arsene Wenger quotes find a 1 on 1 interview with Arsene. And enjoy some of the other stuff to.

  224. Sheep Hagger says:

    Good documentary about Jose Marino on itv4 @ ten pm tonight.
    I like him The special one .

  225. Gooner In Exile says:

    Sorry for being a losing curse Rasp…. Micky my parents were there as they were for Spuds but unfortunately I was too much of a jonah.

    Here is a tweet from a friend when I revealed I was travelling to the Ems.

    “@MascotROCKS: @Richard_TBS Might put some money on the other team (whoever they are). Smokeyjinx is in da hizzooooouse..!”

    (They call me Smokey).

  226. “Dont take it too hard”
    “And writing was still incoherent”

    I said what i observed in the best way possible. I didn’t expect some1 to argue over grammar and writing style. That was a low blow presumably by a person below 18 years. At least mentally. *take that* :p

  227. Sheep Hagger says:

    Hers the latest odds on arsenal manager as of thesackrace.com
    Pep 7/2
    Paul lambert 16/1
    Jose marino16/1
    DavidMoyes 16/1

    Ps I was bored she was watching east Enders

  228. kelsey says:

    Huntelaar looks like he will be with us in January.has a point to prove to RVP

  229. Rasp says:

    Hi critic, I hope you realise the responses to your comment were good natured ribbing – no malice intended, and the invitation to write for the site was sincere

  230. Rasp says:

    Hi kelsey, is that inside information or educated deduction?

  231. RockyLives says:

    GiE
    I think AW already rubbished the Bould-bollocks-the-players story.

    (Mind you, the cynical will say “well he would, wouldn’t he?”)

  232. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I specialise in ‘outside information’ and ‘uneducated deduction’ :)

  233. RockyLives says:

    I’ve been a bit busy lately, so I may have missed the explanation, but why was BR’s prematch titled “Home Kit”?

  234. Rasp says:

    :lol: Rocky, I would be surprised if Huntelaar joined at the age of 29, especially because Giroud is improving all the time. Where would Huntelaar fit in with Giro, Pod, he’s not a replacement for Theo?

  235. Rasp says:

    I meant to comment on Raddy’s title the other day. It received 3 times more hits than the average pre-match. Bloggers must have clicked on it expecting to see the kit and yet we didn’t receive a single abusive comment.

    I assume the title was a reference to the colourful tunic in the picture but maybe Raddy will explain for himself

  236. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all

    Just back home in Ireland and the weather is the pits. Enjoyed meeting ye all on Saturday even though I spent most of the game watching it through my fingers … no effort, no communication, nothing.

    Anyway, look, I’m here to tell ye it could be worse. As ye may know I’m also a fan of my local club Limerick FC – First Division Champions and heading to the heady heights of Irish Premier League football next season. Our manager, Pat Scully, got the sack in what was said to be a very Venky’s/Chelsea/Newcastle type way and it was Peaches who informed me on Saturday that Peter Taylor might get the job – well, he was interviewed and is a contender but today it emerged we had a new favourite for the job – PHIL BROWN! Yes, the tango man, THAT Phil Brown …. I knew our chairman was a comedian but not in that way O_O so yeah, Wenger ain’t so bad ;-)

  237. Sheep Hagger says:

    Spew castle 2 up more bad news for us ARsenal fans

  238. GunnerN5 says:

    Good for AW………

    …………………………………………………………………………..

    Wenger: I wouldn’t swap with City

    December 3, 2012
    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would not trade places with Manchester City even though the Gunners find themselves languishing in tenth place in the Premier League with Roberto Mancini’s men second in the table.

    Wenger, who has taken a youthful looking squad to Greece to play Olympiakos in the final group game of the Champions League, said that City’s elimination from the competition before Christmas means the current Premier League champions are not in such an enviable position.

    Asked if he would swap places with Manchester City, the Arsenal manager said: “No, for one simple reason, we have played 15 games, so we have 23 games to come back on them, but once you are out of a cup competition, you cannot come back in again.

    “We can make up the distance in the league, but in the Champions League, you are either in or out.”

    He also played down reports that defensive coach Steve Bould had lost his cool with the squad in the dressing room after Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Swansea.

    “You should look a little bit at the statistics and not only read the newspapers,” Wenger said. “I only have one pressure and that is to win the next football game and to play the football I love. All the rest, I don’t think that affects me at all. You would be surprised.

    “Nothing really happened after the game. But the players were not happy. You want them to dance? This group of players is very strong, very highly motivated, has a very good spirit and they want to win. If they don’t win, of course they are upset.

    “I am more worried if I see players who laugh in the shower after a game that we lost. We are in a job where the next game is the only important thing, that is how you can show how good you are.

    “The situation is at the moment we are behind in the Championship, we want to make ground back, we are qualified for 13 consecutive years in the Champions League, we are qualified in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup and we have our chances in the FA Cup like everyone else. We have many challenges and that is what we want to focus on.”

    Wojciech Szczesny was also at a loss to explain the Gunners’ poor form.

    “It’s good for us we have a Champions League game three days after [the Swansea defeat] and we have something to focus on,” said the Polish goalkeeper. “We were obviously frustrated and disappointed after the game but now it’s about Olympiakos and we will do our best to move on.

    “The players give 100% in training and on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t say the players didn’t want it enough. I’m definitely surprised by our position in the league. When you look at the quality of our players we should be fighting for the league.

    “We have one of the best teams in the league, but it’s our responsibility to put things right. What’s gone wrong? That’s not for me to say.”

    Arsenal were linked with a move for Chelsea’s Frank Lampard in the January transfer window, and while he would not comment on that specific rumour he did suggest new faces could arrive.

    “We are today at December 3. Until January 1 we have many big games,” he said. “What happens in January we’ll see. At the moment our focus is on a period of competition. If we need to do something in January we’ll do it.

    “We have many challenges before then and when the transfer market opens we’ll see what we do – if we do anything. We are in the country of Socrates. He said: ‘I know that I know nothing’, and that is a bit like football.”

    Wenger also claimed the club are ‘in fantastic shape’, despite a riding a tide of protest against his faltering team, and believes the protests of the Arsenal fans are not affecting his players.

    “It’s not affecting the players,” he told the club’s official website. “I believe intelligence in life is to focus on what’s important, and what is important is the way we play football. The rest, you deal with it.

    “Let’s not forget that when people have to say something, it’s important that they can do it and we are very open to that. But as well, they do not always necessarily represent the majority. This club is in fantastic shape. We have a good team, we have a strong structure of the club that we have built over the years, we are in a strong financial situation and we are mentally strong.

    “I can understand that not everybody is pleased about that, but that is a fact. That’s why we have to continue to behave like we do.”

  239. chas says:

    critic,
    I’ve already apologised at 4:44pm.

    Certainly below a mental age of 18 – you’re right, bang on the money.
    For evidence, see all of my comments for the day (especially the two at 2:36pm).
    Long may it continue.

    Irish,
    I mentioned Phil Brown at 11:50 this morning, saying I would support whoever was manager of The Arsenal……….but you may have a point. :)

  240. Gooner In Exile says:

    I want Sam Allardyce, or Tony Pulis.

  241. Sheep Hagger says:

    Mark spews gonner lol

  242. goonermichael says:

    I read the post this morning but only just got time to say how good I think it is. Welcome back Irish too. I just watched the latest episode of walking dead, best thing on TV for ages. Wenger’s letter to members today is really honest.

  243. ces1ne says:

    Isn’t it a shame how much we think about & discuss the behind the scenes stuff like the board, finances, etc…instead of players/teams on the pitch. Call me crazy but i find things like tactics far more interesting, but I understand its a necessary evil with the current climate of football at the moment, MONEY. The internet obviously doesnt help either. Dont mind me though…just venting.

  244. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ces1ne
    Definately agree on that, although when you’re a sado like me that wants to gas away on the side while working all day, you actually run out of things to say about the football itself. :-)

  245. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Re Tonight.
    If Schalke lose and we get a point (ie end on same points), is it down to goal difference?
    I have a feeling Montpellier will want to go out on a high, as it could be their last home CL game for a few years.

  246. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning Micky it’ll be on results between us and Schalke (so we would finish 2nd).

  247. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    Ok, thanks.
    So we need to win while they draw or lose to end top.
    Can’t see a problem.

  248. chas says:

    From tonight’s groups, who would you prefer?
    Either a choice of
    Porto, Milan, Madrid or
    PSG, Malaga, Dortmund

  249. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    That’s a trick question, but does highlight the luck of the draw, so either could be good, or bad.
    Love to knock out Madrid the most though :-)

  250. kelsey says:

    Malaga no brainer :)

    The huntelaar news is not from a source, just something i heard but we are definitely looking for a striker

  251. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, :-)

    Chas I have often found in the past that when I wished for x club, in the FA Cup or CL, I regretted it when the buggers I hoped for went and beat us!!

    Now I prefer to take things as they comes — but maybe Milan ( who seem to be wobbling), might do! DOH!!

  252. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I is off

  253. kelsey says:

    Do you think we might beat Bradford away, and good morning

  254. chas says:

    Tomorrow night it’s
    Either
    Shakhtar/Juve, Bayern, Barca
    or
    Shakhtar/Juve/no-one, Valencia, Benfica/Celtic, Galatasary.

    A bit easier.

    kelsey,
    Would you go if we played in Malaga?

  255. Red Arse says:

    Rumours have a habit of being recycled ad nauseam once they see the light of Sky, but ‘it is reported’ that Arsenal are preparing bids for Huntelaar, Zaha, Reina, Strootman …………………. oh and Michu and ……………………..

    It’s all bollix – as if AW has called a press briefing and revealed confidential transfer doings! [Like that word - 'doings' - in England it can be substituted for almost any other verb.] :-)

  256. kelsey says:

    That wouldn’t be possible but I may be able to meet some of you guys if you come over

  257. kelsey says:

    Morning mr bollix :)
    Not always the case. John Cross is pretty accurate when he says we are after someone but my news came from here.

  258. chas says:

    RA,
    100% agreed.
    Topping the group could be a poisoned chalice.
    As kelsey implies, if our form doesn’t pick up by February, who we get is irrelevant.

  259. chas says:

    Confidential transfer doings narrative fallacy.

  260. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey,

    There you are lapping it up in sunny Espagne while my partner is off to Estonia tomorrow, where it is -9C during the day and -16C at night — every day, and every night — with deep snow, too! :-)

    I don’t know about the life of Riley, more like the life of Kelsey!! :-)

  261. Max says:

    Nice post… Actually there are players who leave for money but not all now for instance take RVP.. Manutd wanted him why the hell he will stay in team where der is no good world class players lets face it we didnt spend enough we boute podolski,cazrola and giourd…. Giourd still didn adjusted properly,podloski is ok only santi is best buy.. Wenger plays strikers in wing they are good finisher but not good crosser unlike MAnutd they have nani valencia and young… We didn buy DM after song went hoping diaby is fit and see wat is the result now… No player will stay in a team wer der is no good player… Truth is arsenal dream now is just to finish in top4.. If our transfer policy wont change we will never win league.. We never have backup for any player… Gibbs got injured we didn had proper backup.. IF arsene has money why he is not spending.. We dont have quality squad…

  262. Max says:

    Still i dont understand arsene Theo wanna play in middle then he plays gervinho in middle gervinho is very pathetic to watch he always play like only he is in the team he beats defender and loose position no passing or crossing…. HE is not a team player and very pathetic finisher 4-4-2 is the best foramtion wid theo and poldi in front but no1 can convience sutborn wenger… I wish arsenal dont qualify for championship league dis time as if we dont qualify fans will get furious and hopefully board will realize and will change the policy

  263. Raddy – are you about, it says you’re still in the post, are you finished?

  264. GoonerB says:

    Morning all.
    I have been impressed by AW’s recent comments about arsenal and our future, if they were said as reported. While admitting that the team are currently facing problems he sounded very positive and said he knows how to fix it. That is the Arsene i want to hear. Pick yourself up, raise the banners and sound the battle cry. There were none of the statements that tend to grate me slightly, about fatigue and lacking sharpness e.t.c, just a bold admission that things are not right but that he will put it right.

    By the way did anyone see Joel Campbell’s recent goal (I think for Betis). Most footage I see of him seems to have him playing from the right as a left footer. Maybe some food for thought with say Walcott, Podolski and the Ox. Podolski has played attacking right before he joined us and I have often wondered why we don’t try Walcott more from the left. Both these 2 have good shots on them and it may encourage them to cut in more regularly onto their favoured foot which could result in Giroud looking like he is getting more regular support. Maybe playing a left footer on the left and vice-versa a right footer to the right keeps them wider which could result in us looking more a defensive 4-5-1 rather than an attacking 4-3-3.

  265. New Post ……………

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