Arsène and Arsenal’s biggest mistake.

Our season went up in smoke on January 4th when Theo Walcott was stretchered off during our 2-0 Cup win over That Lot.

Regular readers of the site will know that I am no fan of that continental Total Football nonsense. For me, it’s an outdated throw back to the dope smoking hippy days, and has its home in the Coffee Bars of Holland.

What I mean is this. I get interchangeability and flexibility, but I firmly believe in specialists.

As far as I’m concerned, the moment Theo went off, there was only one course of action. Oxlade becomes his immediate and permanent replacement for every game, with Serge as his back up.

However, what happened was that Arsène did use Ox out wide, but not always. On occasion, he was to be found playing a more central role.

Early yesterday morning, both Arnie and Goonerkam made the excellent point about how different roles for players is part of their development and education. I do agree, and have always said that I believe Ox will ultimately end up more centrally, however, needs must, and the Team should come first.

The loss of Theo left a massive tactical void, that ONLY The Ox could fill. This was not the time for Arsène to muck about. Ox’s development was actually hampered this term in my book, as he did not have the consistent runs in any one position to develop key understandings, as much of our beautiful football is played in small triangles, and telepathic understanding only comes with continuity. Thus, Ox was less effective than he should have been.

Ox played central, so it came as no surprise to me that when shunted back out right, he became unsure, or perhaps simply unused to, his role. He drifted central leaving us lacking the vital pressure release valve.

Thus, to my mind, the biggest loss to our season was not the loss of Aaron, or even Theo, but rather not playing The Ox there as first choice every available game following the tragedy of January 4th.

Written by MickyDidIt89

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191 Responses to Arsène and Arsenal’s biggest mistake.

  1. Shard says:

    I don’t disagree with the idea that Ox was the only replacement for Theo (Barring Gnabry maybe, but he’s more raw a talent than even the Ox) although I will say that I don’t think Ox would provide as much of a goalscoring threat from out wide because he doesn’t make the same runs that Theo does.

    However, I think Ox was also the only player who could effectively cover for Ramsey’s absence, at least in the attacking sense, and especially while Wilshere was out. Wenger could only cover for one of the two key positions at a time, although he’s been used in both.

    He’s been influential in our cup run, he was a bright spark against Bayern, scored against Crystal Palace (twice I think?), the latter definitely playing through the middle. Like I said, I think Wilshere’s injury had a lot to do with Ox playing through the middle rather than on the flank. He’s done well wherever he’s played and it can only stand him, and us, in good stead.

  2. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Agree with all of that Shard, it’s just that when Ox was covering for Aaron, we were left without the speed outlet.

    I think Arsene could have covered the Ramsey loss by simply playing the Arteta/Flamini duet, with a combination of two from Mesut, Pod, Santi but always The Ox wide wide right.

  3. arnie says:

    Great stuff, Micky. :) Somewhat counterintuitively, I would like to agree with you. Somewhat hesitantly, yes, but agree.

    Why is there so much agreement in this space? Not a healthy option, IMO! :razz:

    OK, disaster 1. The loss of Theo. The loss of Rambo was also important, but back to that later.

    Disaster 2. Leaving a void at right flank by not playing the Ox consistently there.

    In your view, 2 was more of a disaster than 1. I dont know. But, thank you for putting a shiny gloss on what has been 2 disasters one after the other. :) Thinking in these strategy terms somehow makes it easier to deal with. Injuries can happen again. If there are lessons to be learnt, it is in how one should deal with them.

    OK, but there was disaster 3 as well. The loss of Rambo. The option of Jack did not work. For various reasons, but that is for another day. I think the idea of trying to play the Ox centrally was partly because of this reason. And this is apart from the player development issue that you have already talked about.

    So, rather reluctantly, I have to agree somewhat. Not using the flanks was costly, ex post. However, what would Arsene have done if Rambo was available. Surely, if The Ox played, it would have been right wing.

    Clear as mud? :)

  4. Noobpro says:

    Was wondering why we can’t produce super players (powerful, fast and direct) like Bale and Ronaldo when your article came up. Nice read.

  5. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Confession time.

    I’ve just a ticket for the Final, and am feeling a tad guilty when die hards like Peaches and LB missed out.

    Still, there’s a moral. When Arsenal are away, go support your little local Club, in my case Bideford FC. There’s usually only a handful of supporters, so you get to know people. In my case, an 80 yr old chum who’s also on The Board of the Devon FA.

    Down side, he’s says he’s going to need many “wee breaks” :-)

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Noobpro

    We have. We call him The Ox :-)

  7. arnie says:

    Shard, Micky: I suppose we are all saying approximately the same thing, with emphasis on different bits. :) I have sympathy with Micky’s view that the right flank should not have been effectively shut off. Even apart from the runs, there are obvious advantages to spreading the game wide. It creates more gaps in the middle.

  8. arnie says:

    Micky: Well done you. :) There is the other downside as well. You do not get the opportunity to enjoy the telecast in teh company of Peaches, LB, GiE, Arnie, et al. :razz:

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie

    Give me a minute, and I’ll think of something to strongly disagree with you over :-)

  10. stevepalmer1 says:

    Nice one Micky,You have certainly done it :)
    I don’t like saying it but i think i agree with most of that. :)
    Yes we have had our problems with injury, but as has been said we should be able to overcome this, as it happens every year.

    Now speaking from a personal view, i feel we have some very good players, we have young Serge and the Ox, and Theo who has been around now for some time but i still feel he is a kid, We have Gibbs. In all fairness to all these youngsters i can only say that what has let them all down is fitness.

    Now maybe its me, but when we were kids, we all fell over and scraped our knees we all got knocks and some of us even broke bones, we got Measles Chicken pox but the worst thing most of us got was the TB jab. My arm hurt for what seemed a lifetime and every time someone touched it you could have killed, but just how many of you still played football.

    Now i am not a believer in perpetual injury, that comes later in life apart from those poor buggers who had something really wrong with them. As kids we all had our problems but health was not really one of them.

    Today i see youngsters come on the big stage, huge transfer fee’s and big wages, some thing most of us would have died for, only for these super fit incredibly talented kids to go out injured. Now many players get kicked its the older players way of keeping them inline but really they should be able to shrug those off.

    Arsenal do not spend fortunes on players we rely on a manager who has bundles of experience to acquire players that can compete in premier football. But something is wrong at Arsenal, even Wenger himself has started to question it.

    How can so many players, super fit and healthy never last 50 games a season. Now Wenger is monitoring the situation and we can only hope he finds the solution before next season starts, personally i feel cutting sick pay may help but what do i know.

  11. Shard says:

    arnie

    We sort of are, but is the Ox disciplined enough to stay out wide for the duration of the game, and still affect the game positively from there? I’m not so sure.

  12. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie,

    There are bigger downsides than that. One guess as to what my Son thinks that I’ve only got the one ticket. Oh, and my Gooner Surf Mate who wants to organize a bbq and all Gunner get together.

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Fine work Micky.

    I can only say “In Arsene we Trust”. He must have considered your scenario and concluded Ox was needed elsewhere. Plus, Ox was injured for much of the past 4 months.

    Noobpro. Theo is a speedster isn’t he?

  14. Shard says:

    steve

    I think that’s an unfair comparison. The fact that these players nowadays are at such peak performance levels is why injuries are more commonplace. Think of how a Formula 1 car is more likely to break down than a road car. simply because it is running at the edge of its capabilities. And while a road car can run for many miles even with some mechanical problems, formula 1 cars cannot, and even if they can, are of no use on the racetrack.

    Also, injuries are paid more attention to because the players are more expensive investments for the clubs. It doesn’t make sense to just run them into the ground and shorten their careers.

  15. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Steve

    Today’s elite young footballers are weak.

    I wrote a comment about it, saying that from a young age, two long runs a week cross country would strengthen their other bits.

    I sent my thoughts to Arsene. Weekly buses to the Brecons have been arranged.

  16. arnie says:

    Fantastic comment, Steve. :)

    Shard: discipline is part of a player’s development. If Wenger wants The Ox to stay on the right flank, a one line whip should be enough. And yes, one can relax it and give him a little bit of freedom to play with.

  17. Big Raddy says:

    Congrats on the ticket. At least one of the 30,000+ bell ends who get given tickets by the FA which should go to fans will be a Gooner.

    Not that I am calling you or your friend a bell end ….

  18. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    Arsene was wrong. I am right. Fact :-)

  19. Shard says:

    arnie

    Unfortunately, a player’s instinct takes time to develop into a role. Theo didn’t always make those runs earlier in his career. He’s learned. SO while the Ox would be very eager to learn, it won’t happen overnight. He’ll stay out wide if told to, but will he be able to play as well when his instincts are all wrong? In my opinion, no.

    And as Raddy says, Wenger knows all this, knows the players better, and he concluded the Ox was better utilised elsewhere.

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually Raddy

    First thing he did when he contacted me, was say how ridiculous he thought it was about ticket allocation. He himself feels guilty, but he is a proper footballing man through and through. He has done an awful lot for grass roots football.

    Saw him this morning, as he went to the Devon FA meeting last night. Said they receieved about 100 tickets, and he reckons 90% of those are going to proper Gooners.

    Every time I board a train to go to a match, there must be at least 100 Gooners (mostly ST Holders) coming up from Devon and Cornwall.

    I think we’re right next to the Hull end though.

  21. arnie says:

    After we win ( :razz: ) perhaps we can meet up somewhere to celebrate? It can be a wild night. If you are travelling all the way from the wild north, it better be worthwhile! :)

  22. Rasp says:

    Thanks Micky, a fine post about playing the Ox out wide from the head campaigner for him to be given the central (false 9) role :lol:

    I got pretty boring a few weeks back by repeatedly stating that we require pace and power – exactly as demonstrated by Yaya last night. Players like Yaya and PV don’t come around that often, and we couldn’t compete in the market if such a player was available, but I think we have seen glimpses from Kalstrom what a strong presence in midfield can bring to a side. Pace and power in your new signings Arsene please :)

  23. arnie says:

    Rasp: Micky has left his favourite wet suit home. :razz:

    Shard: not much to disagree with. :razz: it is all about different shades of greay. and of course, about the benefits of hindsight. :razz:

  24. charlie says:

    Theo only has himself to blame for his injury. Just after receiving treatment from the physio he sprinted half the length of the pitch , chasing after Danny Rose. We were 2-0 up at the time , so unnecessary.

  25. Rasp says:

    I never had a hope of getting a cup final ticket :(

  26. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning Shard and of course Arnie. :)
    Shard i understand what you are saying and in part agree with specially the race cars. But good drivers can nurse their cars around a track for 60 odd laps and drivers like Vettles can win race after race,Get out first stay in front and put your metal to the peddle and stay out of trouble.

    Theo has improved over the years, all credit to him but he will never be the winger i had hopped for because he lacks something every top footballer has and thats guts.

    I don’t knock the lad as he can be exciting to watch, but if you want to see him take on a defender and tackle passed him forget it, if you want to see him battle in a 50 50 forget it.

    Now those are things i believe makes a talented footballer, now Theo can stand in front of the camera and he speaks real nice he say’s the things we all want to hear but he doesn’t do it on the field.

    Theo can run like the wind, he has scored goals where i have jumped up and kissed old ladies but for me when his speed goes he will be a let down.

    The Ox is different he will battle he will throw his body in the deep end he will fight till he can’t walk which i have seen this year he will go in places Theo only talks about.

    Gibbs has surprised me, i felt he would never come of age, cole Clichey 2 great LB and he has shown that he can cover that position he goes forward and he scores the odd goal he crosses he gets back but the sad thing about him is his fitness.

    Gnabry, looks talented looks like he likes to get stuck in and also goes forward and looks like he means it, sadly with Serge is that we don’t see enough of him whether he is unfit or drained out i don’t know but if we don’t see him much perhaps he will move on, that would be a shame.

  27. arnie says:

    Heavy away defeats cost us title, says Arsene Wenger. (Source: Beebs). With due respect, dont agree. Sadly, it was lack of wins at home. Yes, heavy away defeats might have led to excess caution at home, but this is a roundabout way of arguing. :sad:

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp

    I have many “Head Campaigner” hats, including Theo central, but to be clear, I did call for Ox to centre top, but never “false” anything, as I have no idea what that is :-)

    We could afford a powerful Yaya Toure type.

    His name is Lars Bender. He’s enormous, fast, powerful, young, good passer, good tackler, good interceptor, skilful, German (doesn’t break) and very gettable :-)

  29. 26may1989 says:

    Micky, your Wembley ticket requires buddying up to an elderly regional FA suit, who has regular need of spending a penny but who has a lifetime of giving to the game. Mine required buddying up to a rapacious capitalist who claims some Chelsea allegiance and who is connected to the current owners of Rangers. I think we know which one of us has done more of a deal with the devil.

    But hey-ho, needs must……

    Kelsey, were you at the West Brom game? I ask because from a distance I saw someone walking down the road wearing a home shirt with “Kelsey” on the back and wondered of that might’ve been you.

  30. REJOICE says:

    Steve, ditched HH? Good to see you here.

  31. arnie says:

    OK, chums, lovely discussion but have to rush. down south again. back laters, hopefully. intermittent over the next few days. :sad: such is life!

  32. Shard says:

    steve

    i don’t think I disagree with you that Walcott has his weaknesses. At this moment in time however, Walcott is definitely more effective down the wing than Ox is. Ox might not even end up playing on the wing, as Wenger has repeatedly stated he feels he’ll play centre.

    As for injuries. I agree that something is not quite right. What that is though, I have no idea. Maybe we’ll get some idea as time goes on. If you look at Le Grove (I do from time to time, it’s amusing) he seems to know exactly what causes it. Or so he claims anyway. (Like I said, amusing)

    I disagree about Vettel though :P The credit for that should go to Red Bull and Newey. Vettel is very good at making a great car go around quickly. But nursing a car around.. Not too sure about that. All the same, you are correct in using it as an analogy for how our injury record can be better.

  33. arnie says:

    this time, it is not work. best man at a friend’s wedding tomorrow. in London. :)

  34. Rasp says:

    OK thanks Micky, Lars in, Lars in, Lars in

    Definition of a false No.9 from fifahub …..

    The False 9: A player who plays in the traditional base position of a number 9, but doesn’t have the qualities of a number 9. This player will excel in ball retention and passing. Instead of driving towards goal, they drop deep into midfield. The false 9 system can only be used in a formation with a lone striker, otherwise he is just playing off the main striker as a number 10. The first example of a false 9 would probably be Totti at Roma. Fabregas played this role for Spain in Euro 2012, but the best example of a false 9 would be Lionel Messi for Barcelona.

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:

    26

    A “suit” is quite funny if you’d ever met me mate Ron.

    I see him often in our village shop or as President of Bideford FC, and he looks like he’s been through a hedge backwards :-)

    Will definately not own a suit.

  36. Shard says:

    Micky

    Bender seems to have ruled out a move this summer. Maybe it is just a way to get his name in the papers, but it would be strange to see him move now.

  37. stevepalmer1 says:

    Hiya Rejoice, You know me mate i’m a nomad with no mates :)

  38. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That learned me then Rasp :-)

  39. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Shard
    I ignore bad news like that and file it under “damn lies” :-)

  40. crystals says:

    I can’t agree with anyone,not even myself :)

    Theo will never make striker or box in the fox IMO.

    26th,no it wasn’t me,my hair is a giveaway :)

  41. Shard says:

    Haha Micky.. You are very wise :)

  42. stevepalmer1 says:

    Shard, i don’t think we are disagreeing on much to be quite honest. I dont see the Ox as a winger, and thats one of the reasons we don’t see that much of him in my mind. Lets face it we have midfielders coming out of our arse, Santi Mesut Rambo Jack Rosiski Arteta Flamster Diaby Poldi have i missed anybody, but who do we leave out to play Ox

    Now i see Ox running through defences i see a young lad battling i see it means something to him., But the lad is young he needs a little time to develop and while that is happening the others will play in his place, personally i like his energy and commitment and i would play him but as i said previously i feel Wenger is treating him with Kid gloves. Thats alright until he gets hungry, and i am starting to think he will very soon.

  43. crystals says:

    I see micky now has his own banner. MICKY OUT

  44. crystals says:

    I don’t see Ox as a winger nor do I see Theo in a more central role and why does Ozil invariably hug the flanks.

    I agree that AW likes his “attackers” to play in a mutitude of positions” but that doesn’t always work , especially if through injuries the team changes.

    Tippy tappy has been taken over by pass and move,and we have been limited this season in seeing the fluidity in general as opposed to other recent seasons. why ?

  45. RC78 says:

    I am a bit more cautious about Ox.

    I really like him and for me, he should have played more games and definitely starte more games on the right wing as he was the best option to replace Theo.

    Yet, if he did not play as much as we would have liked it, it seems that AW must have a reason and I think it has to deal with the physical shape of Ox. He must not have been 100%.

    The good thing is that if we manage to keep our current crop of young players (unlike the Clichy, Fab, Song, Nasri drama), we can have the hope for some bright days:

    Szecesny – Gibbs – Ramsey, Wilshere, Ox, Gnabry, Ozil, Walcott are all young so it is quite nice to know that some of the core of our first squad can work together also on the longer term ( if we manage to keem them!)

    My big worry is that (except Wilshere) none of these players are actually from our Youth Academy. We really need to figure out why our Youth Academy is not producing top talent anymore. At the moment, I do not see any youth players that can really break into the first team. Geladiem might be the one but to be honest, we are not producing Bales, Ronaldos, Sturridges, Suarezes, Barkleys…

  46. RC78 says:

    We are just very short at RB (Jenkinson would really benefit from a loan to a squad like Stoke or Sunderland) and CB position (Miquel, Bellerin do not seem to make the cut yet) and of course at the DM position.

    Up front, we have some hope for Campbell and Sanogo. By the way, what happened to that Brazilian kid (Wellington?)

  47. 26may1989 says:

    Interseting comments from Le Prof in the context of looking at the near certainty that City will be champions:

    “Congratulations to them. They won a marathon and they turned up in the last 100 yards. But they turned up when it mattered. To be completely honest as well, a team like City scored 100 goals, so you have to say that their offensive potential has been absolutely brutal and fantastic. We have scored 66 at the moment and that’s certainly where we have room for improvement.”

  48. 26may1989 says:

    Kelsey, I hadn’t realised you and crystals are one and the same – what is it with you lot, can’t you just choose one name and stick to it?? I blame LB……

  49. stevepalmer1 says:

    When i have watched our young players playing, i have to be honest and say that i haven’t seen a great deal to feel excited about. Now being fair to these youngsters i haven’t seen a lot of them but Akpon i have seen a few times. Could i see him in the Premier league, and my answer to that is not from what i have seen. What little i have seen of Eisfield mainly playing for us, is that he did show a bit of talent, but i haven’t heard his name mentioned for some time, have we moved him on.

    Sanogo was a strange addition, Wenger must believe this lad has what it takes, and from clips of him before he kicked a ball for us in anger, seemed to make sense. Having seen this lad when he has filled in, has been a bit of an eye opener, as Wenger did field him against some tough opponents.

    This lad needs to get on the score sheet soon so we can see if he has it or not, as often the case is that first goal may start the ball rolling. I feel we need a CF with trickery and pace, he needs to be able to stand up against some of the toughest defenders around and so far he has surprised me.

    I do feel he puts it about but i also feel that he needs to command the ball more and to push himself forward, at times he seems like a headless chicken, but should he score he may just surprise us all.

  50. Well done on your ticket Micky :)

    I think the point is that The Ox should have been given the chance to try out Theo’s boots and disappointingly he wasn’t.

    Could be that we see Theo’s role as crucial for getting more goals and Arsene doesn’t/didn’t. Maybe he’s still stuck in ‘build the team around Cesc’ mode and only wants to attack through the middle.

    Maybe he sees Theo as plan B and so although he knew we’d miss goals he thought they’d come from elsewhere?

  51. Vinay says:

    A winger was needed for sure but then i still believe ox would not solved the problem. Ox i also concur with the boss will be a central midfielder than a winger. His positional sense needs to be sorted in his mind as he wants to be in all places barring where he is needed the most. The chelsea game is a fair reflection of why he needs to work on it immediately.

    Even though the away losses were painful, what hurt was the home draws. If we had won even 3 of the 5 games we drew, we would have been 6 points better off than now, which is 82 points. The irony is even with all the injuries, we still could have finished winning the league or worst case 2nd.

  52. steve
    I watched the Everton away game and thought Sanogo’s goal was onside. I may be wrong as I didn’t see a replay. I think that would have given him some confidence. I think he’ll be a good player.

  53. stevepalmer1 says:

    Afternoon GoonerM, Yes i agree with that, i felt it was a good goal. I replayed it several times, enough to convince me, but you know the ref’s :)

  54. stevepalmer1 says:

    I know we all go over the season and say, what could have been. We can see where we could and should have saved points, Many of us felt that injuries were what cost us, and many feel that Wenger’s choices may have been wrong for some teams. Some may feel that Wenger’s tactics could have been better.

    I feel that there is one thing we did wrong, and not only the once, several times in fact, was that we didn’t turn up on the day. I have watched the same players that were fielded play some wonderful football, But too many times a lack lustre performance was our undoing.

    Who we put down to blame, who knows, but that’s where our season’s points went, no mistake.

  55. sean potter says:

    i agree with the ox being played on the wing in theo’s absence.The Kid Has The Pace And Directnes Thus Could Have Offered Us The Width.His Runs Would Have Opened Spaces In The Middle For Ozil(when Fit) And Co. To Exploit.Am Also Surprisd Gnabry Wasnt Used Much.

  56. sean potter says:

    Sp1,i Feel That Our Season Was Undone By Droping Points We Shouldnt Have Dropped,the Draw To Westbrom,draw To Swansea,draw To Sou’ton.If We Had Won Those Matches Even With The Heavy Defeats We Could Be At The Top Rght Now.

  57. crystals says:

    26th you can blame Micky for the name change ;)

    Going back to Wenger’s comment ” We have scored 66 at the moment and that’s certainly where we have room for improvement.”

    What does he mean. Is he really after another striker or surely not to expect the novice Sanogo to immediately fill that void.

    No doubt our defensive record has improved bar those three humiliating results so defensively as well as offensively we have to improve against the better teams.

    Yet as the season ends we were most probably only 3 or 4 results away from winning the title if draws and losses against the other top teams in 50% of those games had been wins.

  58. RC78 says:

    In the end, we did not deserve to be champions…As AW says, the EPL is the most important and valuable trophy because it recognizes your consistance at a highlevel over the year…We were not as consistant as City, Liverpool and maybe Chelsea.

    Also, again – the heavy defeats did penalize mathematically but also mentally. We cannot quantify this but usually after the heavy defeats, we played a cautious game trying not to concede and we drew games that we SHOULD have won…Cause and Effect…

    Anyways – we are not too far from the top of the league. Next year will be a lot tougher with a stronger City, Liverpool, Chelsea and possibly Utd. Everton and Totty will also be dangerous so let us make sure that we strengthen in key areas this summer and that we keep our top players and that they keep fit throughout the season.

  59. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sean, we can argue all day about certain games and we can probably come up with a reason why and what we could have done. That wont change the results.

    40 league games in a season 3points up for grabs in every game. If you dont turn up focussed then you risk losing the game, no points.

    We started our season off with a loss in my mind we turned up feeling it was an easy game and we got clobbered, now that was our first game and i would have thought that all the players would have been up for it.

    I have watched all our games this season and i have been downright ashamed at some of our performances. Players earning high wages that can’t pass a ball to someone next to them is not something i expect see. I have seen some bad Goalkeeping, Mistakes you see in local football not the best football league in the country.

    Many’s the time i have witnessed all our team play appallingly and i am not surprised we dropped points. Being a professional footballer should mean that you can do the normal everyday things like passing quite easily, but when a team are not interested as that was the feeling i got we lose.

  60. sean potter says:

    sp,watching that villa game was really embarasing,our midfield that particular lookd pedestrian.cant even remember who was our midfield four,after that i feared the worst bt thngs improvd considercly there after.wenger has seen how thngs can wrng in a flash,so he will knw what to do in the summer i hope.

  61. jnyc says:

    I dont get why Arsene stopped using Gnabry almost completely. I liked what I was seeing from him. Dribbling in the box earned a penalty, he made defenders nervous with that skill and his speed, and I was surprised by some nice passes he showed.

    It was at a time that I thought we werent rotating enough as usual, and one more in the mix would have helped.
    Also I thought jenks should have played a bit more, so we would have a better idea of what we have in him. A big team would let jenks play on loan, rather than force him to sit all season, fhis is the advantage teams like chelsea have.

    Also, Charlie, who blames theo for his injury, — everyone is entitled to an opinion, — mine is this–
    You are an idiot.

  62. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sean, I have hopped for many years that Wenger would address certain things, Maybe money has hampered him, maybe buying players is not as easy as buying a loaf of bread, but that is the business he is in.

    I have lots of time for Wenger and what he has achieved but there comes a time that what is needed is addressed, and that time is now.

    I have given him breathing space as i know he has had restrictions, that being the case he has had time.

    Seventeen years in champions league must have helped our finances, and now sponsorship money coming in by the bucket load i am now expecting good players coming in.

    Some good players leaving for no money should not be reason not to buy, and we need some. I expect Wenger to have deals in place as he has had enough time to plan our future.

  63. njstone9 says:

    What we need is a pacy LEFT winger. When Theo plays the opposition cam double up on him but if we had options on the other flank we’d be more balanced and the opposition would find it much harder to stop us.

    I’m hoping at least two out of our possible three want away players stay so that we can buy at least two high quality players this summer: striker and winger/central mid to cover the gradual retirements of Arteta and Rosicky.

    I think we’re in a good position. Man U have no European football at all and no managerial stability right now. City and Chelsea will surely only have what we have to spend, or even less, due to FFP. Liverpool would have fallen foul of FFP this season cos they’re £100m in the red so they’ll have to be careful this summer too.

    I get that we have rivals but surely we are now on a more even footing and won’t have to wait humbly and quietly at the back of the line for everyone else to do their spending before slinking in and making do with whatever is left.

  64. 26may1989 says:

    Steve @ 1.41pm is bang on: too often this season, “we didn’t turn up on the day”. The example that comes to mind is the home match against Swansea. I was seething in anger at the players’ display that day – a real competitor’s reaction to a humiliation like being caned 6-0 a few days before would be to take the next chance to shove it down everyone’s throats and show what they can do. But against Swansea, for 85 minutes we were utterly pathetic.

    Sure, Wenger, Bould et al have responsibility for some of that, but the players have got to take plenty of it too – with experienced players like Sagna, Mertesacker, Arteta, Cazorla, Podolski, Rosicky and Flamini around, it’s not too much to expect some real grit to be shown.

  65. stevepalmer1 says:

    26, In all honesty we are where we are through fault of our own making. Yes we should be better and we should have been fighting right to the last minute.

    Our players may have been thinned out by injury but that only gives others a chance to show what they can do. Wenger does not rant and rage before a game he seems to like the more educated approach, he uses the old psycho trick but it just doesn’t work.

    Players need psyching but they also need a bollocking as well a good shout and hollering before heading down the tunnel, all that shouting and hollering should still be ringing in their ears when kick of starts.

  66. sean potter says:

    steve,your 2:35 is spot on,he’s had enough time to plan our future.

  67. 26may1989 says:

    Steve, from my seat (very close to the players’ tunnel) believe me, they heard my voice that day!

  68. stevepalmer1 says:

    I well believe it 26 ha ha

  69. RA says:

    Hiya,

    An interesting Post, Micky, and certainly reflects the comments you have consistently made.

    I feel a bit awkward say this, as I may be wrong, no I don’t really think that at all but I am perforce going to say it anyhoo. ;-)

    The truth is I agree with almost nothing you have said, and that also reflects my long-term comments too.

    slopes off whistling Dixie and hoping no one notices

  70. Aftotnoon all.

    Thanks for the post which borders on tactical bollix Mr MDi89 and yes it did seem odd that given the pace of The Ox he was not used as a Theo sub more often although i the latter half of the season he’s almost had a Diaby like injury spell(I don’t think he’ll play again this season, what’s left of it).

    Now onto my main point, how on earth did an armchair fan like MDi89 blag an FA Cup final ticket when more regular attenders didn’t ?

    There’s no justice, I tell you. :(

  71. crystals says:

    I am really interested in your long term view RA so please expand on your view.

  72. 26may1989 says:

    Has anyone noticed that micky’s chat, for all his claims to the contrary, has become more and more tactical bollix?

    Where’s Rocky, by the way?

    And how does bloody RA do that crossing out thing????

  73. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA
    “I feel a bit awkward say this, as I may be wrong”
    Yes, you are :-)

    Chary
    The only reason I have a ticket and a casual supporter like yourself does not, is because I don’t make Youtube Video Nasties :-)

  74. MickyDidIt89 says:

    How dare you 26

  75. chas says:

    Tactical Bollix

  76. chas says:

    Tactical Bollix

  77. chas says:

    Micky
    I see you don’t need me any more for tickets now you have a ‘suit’ at your beck and call. :)

  78. 26may1989 says:

    A small numbers observation, probably of interest to no-one but me: for the top eight and the bottom three in the PL, goal difference is now a really tidy confirming factor of performance.

    In the top eight, everyone is now in the “correct” order, save that Spurs have overachieved (GD of +1 but in 6th place, not 8th) and United have underachieved (GD of +21, 7th instead of 5th). In the bottom three, there are now the three worst GDs in the division and in order.

    Told you that you wouldn’t be interested.

  79. That was just the one video nasty, best watched on betamax Mdi89. :)

    At least I got to the semi , I went to see Arsenal at Wember-lee, in the merry, merry month of…er, April (?), a day I’ll never forget.

  80. chas says:

    26
    Isn’t it always?

  81. 26may1989 says:

    I know Yaya Toure is a great player, but once he stops playing, he does have the look of someone who’s going to be a bit of a porker. An African Steve Bruce.

  82. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    You are still my best friend, and don’t you bloody well forget it.

    Unlike casual supporters like Chary, I’m hoping to go to all CL away games next term.

    My chum down here can’t even get me into Bideford FC for free, but he has certainly come up trumps this time. (I do feel guilty because of the likes of Peaches and LB, but not Chary)

    Shitballs school run

  83. Not going to the Grove anymore then MDi89 ?

    I’ve been to about a third of all the home games this season, doesn’t sound very casual to me.

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Micky is just playing Jack the Peanut with his tactics and FAC Final ticket.

    I am going to the Eurovision Song Contest Final. Beat that.

  85. 26may1989 says:

    Chas, no, it’s been all over the place this season and in final tables in previous years, it’s been messier too.

  86. chas says:

    Does anyone think Pellegrini, Rodgers or Mourinho shout and holler at their teams before they go out on to the pitch?

    Mind you, I’d imagine Allardyce, Pulis, Bruce and Hughes do.

    Also, doesn’t ‘not turning up’ for games happen to all of the top teams?
    The top four have all lost and drawn similar amounts.

  87. RA says:

    Well, I am glad you asked, Crystals.

    I cannot believe another manager would talk about the magic of football and not seek to harness some of that magic by approaching the right people.

    The other day I saw two pixies fighting about which one should take a penalty and they quickly resorted to blows. “Take that you effer, said the one wearing a wet suit inside out, “No, you little green leprechaun wassock” said the hairy one, “I have carefully examined my remaining ball, and it is destined to be me who scores.”

    At that, the first fairy kicked the second one in the ghoulie and simultaneous waved his hand and there was the ball in the back of the net.

    Later, a diminutive elf called Eoht, whizzed down the wing, sold himself a dummy, and crossed for Eeh Haw to head home.

    So there you have it — I think it is a lamentable and disgraceful lack of appreciation from the Chief Wizard Mr Wenger to be so short sighted as to not give the fey fellows a go on the wing!

    This is not a rant, it’s just the way I see it — as someone else Kelsey is always saying!

  88. The Euthanasia Song Contest more like it !. If you survive that, you will have cockroach air of survival invincibility !. hahaha

  89. Big Raddy says:

    Days at top of the table

    Arsenal – 128 (current league position – 4th)
    Chelsea – 64 (3rd)
    Liverpool – 59 (2nd)
    Man City – 11 (1st)

  90. LB says:

    There should be a trophy for that.

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    Didn’t realize you qualified for a ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest Final

    Still, each to their own :-)

  92. sean potter says:

    i admit we failed on the title bt there’s improvement surely.our defence has been very good this term bar those 3 spanking,i’d say we’ve had a good season defensively.wenger should sort out koscielny contract asap before the likes of bayern come calling.

  93. crystals says:

    Thanks for the explanation RA ;)

    I think you belong to the fairies.I will show you around.

  94. crystals says:

    Anyone want to amend my post match preview.”Let’s be having you”

  95. crystals says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27328674

    Well if this is true I died years ago.

  96. The Eurovision song final is mental by all accounts.

  97. Big Raddy says:

    crystals. Bloody hell.

  98. chas says:

    Derby v Brighton
    Wigan v QPR

    I’d quite like it to be Derby or Wigan joining Leicester and Burnley in the Prem next season. 3 more possible away venues where we might stand a chance of a ticket.

    Put your money on a Brighton v QPR playoff final, then. :)

  99. Big Raddy says:

    I would like to see the Seagulls come up. Good club, great supporters and tidy ground.

  100. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks Micky

    I dont think Theo could be replaced by Ox. Anyway, not to a high enough standard.

    Theos intellegence and speed of movement off the ball are second to none. It has to be, hes not very good at much else. A bit shit really.

    I beleive Theo would make a great criminal. No one would suspect the boy next door. Well mannered with a pretty wife and young family.

    I pity any ugly loner type who lives near by. Womens underwear goes missing from the clothes line and as Theo admires himself whilst wearing frilly knickers in the mirror, the old bill pay a visit on the ugly loner demanding he removes his trousers.

    Though no evidence is found, apart from confirmation that the ugly loner wears Y Fronts, Theo tells the cops he once saw the ugly loner rubbing himself against the lingerie counter at Marks and Spencers.

    Combined with the Ugly Loners propensity to growl at children and that he wears a shabby raincoat during the summer, he gets five years.

    This leaves Theo free to score 20 goals a season, all done whilst wearing lovely silk beneath his shorts

  101. chas says:

    Autobiographical?

  102. chas says:

    Nice goal for Brighton.

  103. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, of course chas

  104. chas says:

    1-1 Penalty given away by Matty Upson.

  105. chas says:

    Not seen this before.

  106. chas says:

    2-1 Derby

  107. One for the old punks. I was there and I think chas and didit were too

  108. chas says:

    Not me unfortunately, GM

  109. chas says:
  110. chas says:

    hahaha

  111. chas says:

    One for Micky

  112. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yip, probably in the pic. About 7 row right :-)

    Met The Clash for the first time straight afterwards in the tube.

    Love Polly too.

    Not here, working :-(

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, meant to say HI GM
    Hope you’re well and happy out there
    Catch you in the morning Chas. Best Mate.
    Nite all.

  114. chas says:

    No point trying to get round me now that you’ve got another incontinent friend.

  115. chas says:

    We’ll probably go to JJ Moons on Wembley High Road and then on to the Green Man.

    If you’re planning on going to the Green Man, you’ll need a ticket.

    Though I imagine you’ll have a posh meal lined up with the Devon FA man. :)

  116. chas says:
  117. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha Chas

    He is so unposh, and I’d imagine the kind of man who hates foreign posh food :-)

    Actually, he’s a bleedin’ cockney. Spud. Moved to Devon 50+ yrs ago, and now how has a farm/cockney accent.

    Stopped going to Spurs when he moved, as he can’t afford the travel, so became a die hard Bideford supporter. Is now honorary Chairman for a lifetime of service. Ditto, the Devon FA.

    As for meeting. Love to, but must plot my route as I’ll be driving there and back same day. I’ll get onto it today.

    Can I assume JJ Moons is some filthy foreign poncey muck?

    Is JC coming?

  118. chas says:
  119. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey, this is good.

    Touch on your block, and you get the view from the seat.

    We’re right up next to the Northerners. 520. Bloody hope they don’t start crapping on about steam trains and mining

    http://www.wembleystadium.com/TheStadium/ViewFromYourSeat.aspx

  120. chas says:

    JC has decided it’s too much for him.
    It’ll be a long day with a lot of walking around.

    JJ Moons is a Wetherspoons who tend to serve real ales rather than just lager, ‘bow and john smith’s.

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Fantastic indeed.

    Our best player by miles :-)

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Do you want company at Moons?

    We’d give Green Man a miss.

  123. chas says:

    I’d imagine we’ll be early at Moons for a few swifties, then out in the sunshine at the Green Man a bit later.
    Would be good to see you but I’m not sure if your timings will allow.

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cosmic

    3 rows from the top, and next to some northern git.

    Oh, of course, you’ll be on the ‘bow for breakfast :-)

  125. Look at you two ……. shamelessly chatting about your plans :) :P :lol:

    Morning :)

  126. chas says:

    Didn’t think anyone else was listening, peaches. :)

  127. chas says:

    Is it another Blast from the Past today?
    Presumably GN5 is ok and just taking a little break from blogging?

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yeah, hope GN5 is ok

  129. chas says:
  130. chas says:

    This was the Wetherspoons in Derby.
    Definitely thinking of going to a few antique fairs. :)

  131. chas says:

    Thinking of a small tree and shrubs in a central, circular border.
    What do you think, garden designer? Any suggestions :)

  132. LB says:

    Haha, like Arsene’s comment, class act.

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Or a goal with some white lines and a penalty spot

  134. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Women shouldn’t be allowed prominent positions in society. It’s plain ridiculous.

    Where’s Evonne these days? :-)

  135. Raspberries to you Mr DidIt ………………..

  136. chas says:
  137. Small tree? How small? Amelanchier grandiflora ‘Ballerina’ is a very useful small tree. White flowers appear before the foliage, good autumn colour, pretty soft leaves, black berries through the winter.

    Pictures here

    http://www.chewvalleytrees.co.uk/index.php/products/detail/amelanchier-grandiflora-ballerina

  138. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Crikey, Peaches, didn’t know you were still around :-(

    Was rather hoping to flush Evonne out

    Ooo, and Chas.

    Then once the goal is in place, you could get rid of all those plants down the side, and knock up Highbury East and West Stand murals. Final touch, outside sound system with atmospheric North Bank chants.

    I promise, your neighbours would love it

  139. chas says:

    Looks about perfect, peaches.
    Flowers, berries and plenty of leaf colour.
    I need to get more birds in the garden (no rude comments, DidIt).

  140. chas says:

    Micky
    Sounds superb but best you stick to acorns and mulberry donuts and leave the garden design to the experts. :)

  141. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “I need to get more birds in the garden ”

    Planning on a “shoot” are we?

  142. If you’re sheltered and sunny, a Mimosa is very beautiful but doesn’t like the cold.

    I’ve used small varieties of Sorbus quite a lot – cashmeriana is lovely.

    There are some neat Prunus varieties available for small gardens.

  143. However ……….. island beds are so seventies!!!!!!!

    What’s the border like on the other side? Could you bring it more into the garden and create some interest that way?

  144. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    What is this “Gardeners Question Time?

    Love the camel pic.

  145. chas says:

    Shooting birds is for you country folk.

    Too much choice, peaches. I’m sold on the ballerina. :)

  146. chas says:

    Talking of the 70s

  147. More birds for the cat???????????????????????

  148. Big Raddy says:

    What’s wrong with the *70’s apart from the Osmonds and David Soul and the Rollers?

  149. chas says:

    peaches, what’s the best thing to do when your trailing petunias get a touch of frost?

  150. chas says:

    peaches
    How about an circular island bed but raised and painted white to match the side border.
    Then I’ll have something to practice my wall passes against. :)

  151. White Bear says:

    flares to Wembley? I had a better nightmare featuring Chas wearing a red bikini on the day

  152. chas says:

    The other side of the garden is an eyesore. Next door neighbour’s concrete shed and a slabbed area.

    The cats (I have two, sisters aged 18) are passed bird-catching.

  153. chas says:

    “an circular island” – change your indefinite articles if you add an adjective.

  154. chas says:

    Where’s Micky?
    The duck shoot’s on, mate.

  155. Much too early for petunias to be outside!!!!!!!!!! Just snip off the limp bits and keep them sheltered for another couple of weeks, they should be fine.

    How about an circular island bed but raised and painted white to match the side border. No

  156. chas says:

    I’ve already snipped off the limp bits. :lol:

  157. chas says:

    I haven’t really got petunias outside.

  158. Wouldn’t you rather screen the eyesore? First job of a garden designer ………….. :)

  159. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    Just done school run.

    Funny you say that, I was thinking of the same thing.

    Dig a hole. Fill with water. Stick a decoy duck on it. Come dusk, you and yer mates head off to the hide at the bottom of the garden. Tweeds and plus 4’s only. Armed to the teeth with your 12 and 20 bores. Hip flasks. Then as the sun goes down, and the evening flight arrives. BANG BANG BANG.

    Again, I promise your neighbours would love it.

    They can proudly tell their friends they live next to a posh country estate.

  160. chas says:

    It’s behind my wooden shed so I don’t really see it that much. Doesn’t get any sun either.
    Perhaps the East Stand mural would work nicely!

  161. chas says:

    Haha. I was talking about evonne appearing!

  162. MickyDidIt89 says:

    How about a Rock Festival venue?

    Stage at the bottom. Camping area in the foreground. Food stalls down one side, and hippy meditation Buddhist shit gong bath stalls down the other.

    Again, I promise, your neighbours would love it, as they wouldn’t even have to pay to enjoy the sounds. Everyone’s a winner.

  163. chas says:

    Now you’re just taking the piss.

  164. Big Raddy says:

    Gardens are an expensive waste of a good profit opportunity.

    Looks big enough for a small multi-storey carpark

  165. Big Raddy says:

    Love a shit gong bath stall especially if they sell ginseng and chai rice patties

  166. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Exactly Raddy :-)

    I give up. Go for your fake tree and a flower :-)

  167. White Bear says:

    far too complicated Micky. The easiest way to piss off the neighbours is to have a composting bin with either nettle or comfrey in water and placed near their garden. The stink and mosquitoes would drive anyone mad. Failing these a couple of bee colonies and a few black dogs work very well too

  168. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    chas, I recommend a nuclear bomb shelter, that’s what I done with mine.

    Very useful for when Putin attacks or if were invaded by Zombies. Good escape from bailiffs to.

    Bit pissed off with my Albanian builder though. The lamented flooring looks shit.

  169. chas says:

    I don’t need ginseng yet.

  170. chas says:

    Ex-landlady has a koi carp pond built into the old Anderson shelter. The Nessie could be in there for all I know.

    Lamented flooring makes me sad.

  171. Big Raddy says:

    :-D :-D

    I like Terry’s suggestion – much better than a silly tree. Let’s face it, there are bloody millions of trees but very few zombie shelters.

  172. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    She could have branched out into selling Scuba Harpooning Adventure Holidays.

    And all from the comfort of her home.

  173. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Ive also got a pool table in there chas, so when the time comes I might invite Steve Davis to join me

    The rest of my life playing pool with Steve Davis and staring at lamented flooring. What more can a man ask for?

  174. MickyDidIt89 says:

    This is so much better than discussing football :-)

  175. Big Raddy says:

    This garden design lark is piss easy. Look what we have come up with in just a few minutes!

  176. White Bear says:

    ha ha ha Raddy :) piss easy he says :)

    And we all missed out on the obvious – a football pitch with us the AAers practising there in full kits on Sunday mornings

  177. chas says:

    Hippy meditation Buddhist shit gong bath stalls it is, then.

  178. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    What have Flowers ever done for me?

    I accept there good for old aged pensioners and are useful in calming down angry Psychopaths, but I have no need.

  179. Ok, last words from me ……… you’re much too young and handsome to have those twee raised beds so I’d get rid of them straight away, they’re just going to hamper your planting requirements.

    Does the shed have to be in that position? Complete waste of planting space near the house ………… move it to the bottom of the garden and screen it.

    Borders should be a minimum of 1.5 metres deep to get plenty of interest into them ie large and small shrubs, perennials and ground cover.

    ………… and you all thought I was bossy before :lol:

  180. White Bear says:

  181. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas

    I read a brilliant article by one of The Slits the other day.

    They never realized, until Mick from The Clash pointed it out, that shouting 1-2-3 before a number was setting the tempo. They thought it was like Ready Steady GO

  182. Tune in next week for AA’s gardeners question time …..

    We have a New Post ………………

  183. Ha ha brilliant Micky :)

  184. GOONERKAM says:

    MICKYdidit89
    you make so very good points and I have no answer. The team achieving presently vs long term development of a young player with exceptional prospects. The teams interests must come first but possibly AW felt that it wasn’t the right time to expect the OX to try to fill in for THEO. and to take the long term view that OX s development must go on per plan.
    We missed alot when THEO went out but what we lost in terms of pace on that side we got a player with TOMAS s get technical ability and stewardship.
    But do you agree with my other point that ALEX s strongest and most natural position is left mid forward or wing. ? He looks very comfortable there as opposed on the right or center..

  185. GOONERKAM says:

    CHAS
    I must complement you mate. You provide the most amusing and entertaining posts. I wonder if Ashley young’s girlfriend knew the dress was see-through or maybe not. (0(

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