A Manager of Two Halves ……..

 

Arsène Wenger, OBE born 22 October 1949 in Strasbourg

Arsène Part I

Joined Arsenal on the 1st October 1996 having previously managed Monaco and Nagoya Grampus Eight.

1996/97 Season – 3rd in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League

1997/98 Season – won the Premier League and FA cup double making up an 8 point deficit on Man United. Qualified for the Champions League..

1998/99 Season – came second in the Premier League losing out by 1 point to Man Utd on the last game of the season. Qualified for the Champions League.

1999/2000 Season – came second in the Premier League, reached the UEFA Cup final losing to Galatasary on penalties and the FA cup final losing 2:1 to Liverpoool. Qualified for the Champions League.

2000/01 Season – came second in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.

2001/02 Season – won the League and FA cup double for a second time under his management. Qualified for the Champions League.

2002/03 Season – 2nd in the Premier League and won the FA cup. Qualified for the Champions League.

2003/04 Season – won the Premier League and made history going the whole season unbeaten. Qualified for the Champions League.

2004/05 – 2nd in the Premier League, won the FA cup beating United in the final on penalties. Qualified for the Champions League.

Significant signings: Vieira, Anelka, Petite, Ljunberg, Kanu, Overmars, Henry, Pires, Wiltord, Edu, Gilberto, Van Bronckhorst, Fàbregas, Touré, Campbell, Reyes, Van Persie, Flamini

Achievements off the pitch: sold Anelka for £23m and built a ‘state of the art’ training facility admired the world over.

Arsène Part II

February 2004 – construction work started on the construction of The Emirates Sadium

2005/06 Season – 4th in the Premier League, reached the final of the Champions league.  Qualified for the Champions League.

July 2006 – moved into The Emirates Stadium

2006/07 Season – 4th in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.

David Dein leaves Arsenal

2007/08 Season – 3rd in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.

2008/09 Season – 4th in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.

2009/10 Season – ????

Significant signings: Hleb, Eboue, Diaby, Adebayor, Walcott, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin, Vermaelen

Achievements off the pitch: presided over and had major influence on all aspects of the building of the magnificent Emirates Stadium.

So there you have it:

Part I –  9 seasons of scintillating football, winning the Premiership 3 times (the double twice) and the FA Cup 4 times.

Part II – 5 seasons (if you include the present one) in the footballing doldrums.

The only characteristic that both eras share is qualification for the Champions League every year.

I have included the building of the Emirates Stadium, David Dein’s departure and the new players signed in the timeline because they are often cited as factors in our change of fortunes.

Is it fair or even accurate to evaluate Arsène’s tenure in these terms?

Has HE changed or just reacted to changes in our financial position and the insane economics of world football?

Is he obsessed with a mission that appears to have failed and is losing support from even his most ardent admirers?

Is he stubborn or just willing to be a fall guy for the Board?

Has he lost the plot, or can he really be that brilliant that sometime soon it will all come together as he predicts and ‘project youth’ ultimately succeeds?

Or is he just a business man who has consistently produced a healthy profit for his employers?

 

Your answer to these questions will define what side you are on in the ever widening divide that separates Arsenal fans. It is undeniable that the ‘it’s time he went’ lobby is growing and as a result the ‘trust him, he knows what he’s doing’ believers are becoming marginalized and more aggressive in their defence of his actions.

I can’t bring myself to want Arsene gone, but I do feel he needs to prove his point by the end of this season or accept that there is another way and reinforce the squad significantly in the summer (hold on, didn’t I say that about the same time last year!)

I hate to hear our manager who was previously lauded for his footballing ethos and integrity being ridiculed in the press and on the radio. He has been mocked. Fans who support him are labeled as deluded. The team is viewed as ‘not serious competition’.

Today we play the dippers. Make no mistake, this IS a must win if we have any hope of winning the title. With Villa playing Manu and Everton playing Chelsea there are two possible scenarios. If all results go our way, we would be 6 points behind Chelsea and 4 behind Manu and 8 points clear of pool. If they don’t, we could be 12 points behind Chelsea, 10 behind Manu and have pool breathing down our necks only 2 points behind us.

Let’s match pool at their game and beat them with ours. If we defend well, we will win.

137 Responses to A Manager of Two Halves ……..

  1. Morning all

    I still feel that AW’s achievements far outweigh the lack of siverware these past years. Of course I want it to be different but I suspect he does too. He’s (maybe) chosen players for their talent whereas some grit and determination might have helped too. In addition some players that hes pushed have turned out to be not good enough – or not good enough to play competetive games.

  2. Alfa says:

    Rasp, glad I can be the first to commend a classic post.

    Personally I still just come down on the side of Arsene the visionary. Frustrating as being second-, third- or fourth-best is, it would be unbearable to be in the same boat as Liverpool, Pompey or Leeds (in ascending order of calamity).

    And, we get to watch some of the best football in Europe in one of the best stadiums, week in and week out.

    But if we don’t strengthen the team this summer then I’ll start to lose faith in Arsene.

  3. Alfa says:

    Morning peaches – you beat me to the punch.

  4. Rasp – that must have been a difficult post to write, its not easy bringing criticisms to the surface of a person that you admire.

    What if its not this season – what if its next season?

    Arsene believes we can win the Champions Lge this season – maybe with some luck we can, but if the mancs and the chavs get knocked out early will it still feel like the same achievement?

  5. Morning alfa – only by a split second 🙂

  6. Just to let everyone know we are being picked up by Arsenal News – their badge is displayed in the side-bar. I’m working on getting us added to other Arsenal search engines and I’ll let you know as we get feed-back.

  7. Tommo says:

    I think what it really points out is how the wage and transfer structure had to change. Infact for me it even helps show that this currant form is not all down to wenger. It’s more to do with finance

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Great stuff Rasputin.

    So many question about the Great Man.

    We have been incredibly fortunate to live through the most successful period of Arsenal history ((30’s apart), and perhaps it is the slightly higher age level on this forum ( 😉 ) that allows us to give a more balanced view towards AW.

    What I am most grateful to AW for is the remarkable transition from being Boring Boring Arsenal into becoming The Entertainers we are now.

    BTW do the signings of TR, AA, TV, Eduardo, Sagna, and WG belie the assumption that AW only believes in Project Youth?

    This will be a whole day/season discussion. Well done on the Post

  9. Morning Tommo

    AW seems to have so much control these days – everything goes through him and that must be a huge burden. Instead of him worrying about how much money to spend/not spend he should identify who he wants and say to Gazidis – “Go get him”. Thats how it worked for the club when David Dein was here.

  10. Alfa says:

    Tommo, don’t you think that finance is a huge part of Wenger’s role, more so than other managers, especially since Dein left?

  11. alfa snap again 🙂

  12. Big Raddy says:

    Surely that was the very reason that Gazidis came, to take the burden of finances away from AW? Otherwise what does he do?

    My guess is that AW brought him in to re-create the work of DD. I feel that once Gazidis has got to grips with the complex negotiations in European football, he will obtain the targets set by AW. Just like DD did.

  13. Hmmmmnnnnnn – I’m sure you’re right Raddy and that was the plan – not been too fruitful though has it?

  14. Rasputin says:

    Morning all, welcome Tommo,

    Arsene fascinates me. The question I keep asking myself is ‘has he changed, or is it just that circumstances have changed?’

  15. As an aside – we’re also featured on another search engine called ‘Top of Blogs’ where we started the day at 221 and are now at 89. Its also in the side-bar.

  16. irishgunner says:

    Morning/evening all.

    I don’t think Wenger has changed – that may be the problem.

    He has always trusted youth, he has always wanted to play total football, he has also wanted to promote from within and the club and he has also sought to work within the budget.

    Nancy, Monaco, Grampus Eight, Arsenal – all the same.

    However, his stubbornness has let him down recently. Ferguson is continually at the top because he will adapt to whatever it is that is beating him and use it to his advantage.

    Wenger has his way or the high way.

    Its not a bad thing, in fact its great for football because it is football!!

    However, as an Arsenal fan we need to see some results to ensure we stay at the top.

    What annoys me is that we are still so close and Wenger could buy the 3 players we need for $40million or eve find them for less.

    Whatever way you look at it his has left the club better off than when he took over and that’s the main valuation of a manager.

    Arsenal aren’t in a crisis or any of that rubbish that is being spouted but we are in a winless rut that we need to get out of.

  17. charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all; Raspers, I’m falling into the camp that want him gone as I feel last summer was his chance to repair the damage of the previous summer, but he didn’t do it. Whether he is an unwitting – or complicit – fall-guy for the board no one will ever know, but I do think his stubbornness regarding quality is reducing the good will he has built up in his first nine years here. I don’t like to see him getting lampooned by the hacks although he doesn’t help himself at times. Watching him take all that flak makes me feel uncomfortable – the bastard hacks wouldn’t try that with Fergie (a.k. a ole 65% proof nose) would they? Wenger should follow his tactics and just send someone else out to do press conferences.

  18. Rasputin says:

    Morning chary,

    You are not alone! There are many that have reluctantly come to the same conclusion. When I look back at those 9 years, it makes feel a mixture of pride, nostalgia and shame – the shame is borne of my growing loss of faith in Arsene.

    He will leave one day and the club will continue. He’s become a bit of a ‘Joan of Arc’ figure – not the best analogy but you know what I mean. I think Irish and Raddy are right, he should step back from some of the responsibilites and leave them to others. The Board are at fault for not managing Arsene. Look at the man’s face now – he looks incredibly burdoned.

  19. London says:

    Congratulations Rasp, that makes two thorny subjects intelligently framed in two consecutive days.

    I have been trying to write a reply but it was turning into War and Peace, that’s reference to the length rather than the divide amongst Arsenal supporters. Lol

  20. Rasputin says:

    Morning London, thanks,

    If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself disagreeing with your own opinion as you try to put your feelings into words on this one 🙂

  21. charybdis1966 says:

    Yes Rapsers, I too think he should take Neil Banford’s job and use his expertise in developing young talent.
    I had a Chav plumber come to my house yesterday and aside from the gloating I got off him he said something that made to think,; when we got onto the subject of Wenger’s successor he suggested Curbishley. It would be just like AFC to recruit someone who works within a budget. I was touting Hiddink or maybe Felix Magarth.

  22. Big Raddy says:

    True Rasp.

    I love that our club is associated with an intelligent, urbane articulate man. I have always believed AW is the man to lead our Club, that there really is no better alternative, but for the first time I look at other managers as AW’s successor.

    That said, I remain happy that he is the manager. It would shortsighted to sack him in the middle of his project.

    I have no doubt that should Wenger decide he cannot take Arsenal forward, he would fall on his sword. Such is the honour of this remarkable man.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    Chav Plumber …. how apt

  24. irishgunner says:

    Steve Bould will be our next manager.

  25. This is being quoted on lots of sites and in The Times – I can’t find who the actual interview was given to but clearly the unrest has been noticed and an explanation deemed necessary.

    “If you go on high transfers, you go on high wages – it is linked, but we cannot afford,” Wenger said. “We have gone for a policy and we need to be strong and patient and sometimes get knock-backs but still persist. Football lives in an artificial world at the moment.

    “People ask me ‘Why do you not buy a great striker?’ Tell me one who has moved from one club to another – not one. We tried to sign players, but it didn’t work.”

  26. So that explains the money………but not why he keeps playing Denilson and Almunia

  27. London says:

    Hiddink strikes me as still being very much an Abramovich man, It wouldn’t suprise me to find out that the Russian is paying for him to be on gardening leave.

  28. irishgunner says:

    I’m not too sure Hiddink will still be Russia’s manager for the Euro qualifiers – I hope not, they are in our group.

  29. I can accept the financial restraints – we’ve built a new stadium and have to service that debt, I can accept that we can’t afford to bid for David Villa or be held to ransome by big-names over their wages but why build a team that includes the sort of players you want to watch playing the type of football you love AND THEN NOT PLAY THEM

  30. Irish you made an interesting point about Fergie adapting to whats beating him – Arsene doesn’t do that does he, he waits until we beat a few lesser teams and that vindicates his decisions.

  31. London says:

    The fact that Wenger dropped Denilson on Sunday gave me great cause for hope; he cannot afford to do anything other than pick players on merit from now on in. I would also like Song to be reminded of his job. You are not an attacking midfielder, stay back and do the job of shielding the defence. Every since he has come back from ACoN he thinks he is Zidane, the kind of breaks we have recently been caught on would not have happened if Song was not in the opponents box.

  32. Rasputin says:

    Vieira looked very good last night and his inch perfect pass to Ade shows he has lost none of his class. Ade’s finish was superb 👿 and perfectly demonstrated what a big target man up front can do for a team’s attacking edge. I hope Nik was watching and inspired!

    ‘Jack the Lad’ was feisty and industrious, but didn’t get much service as most of their attacking was down the right flank. He does like the physical stuff and a good ruck, I’m told he used to collect his fair share of reds in his early teens. He certainly has the battling mentality Irish referred to yesterday.

  33. charybdis1966 says:

    Well Maire, at least we will have a manager how doesn’t suffer narcolepsy at the mere mention of “defending”
    Radders, of course Wenger does present an intelligent front for our team, I’d rather have him represent our team than 95% of the other dullard managers around, but I suspect there is an “end of an era” feeling around Ashburton Grove nowadays.
    Peaches – I’d even class what old Twitchy boy has done in signing Gudjohnsen as a striker signing, I’d rather we did that than pay JET to buy a McClaremn-Merc or give low life like Zak Ansah £5k a week to celebrate Rooney’s goals against us and swear at Arsenal supporters who disapproved of his actions.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    AW sounds beleagured.

    Van Basten would do me or Martin Jol. Both men brought up in the Ajax tradition of building attractive teams through the Youth policy.

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. It was a wonderful goal. Ade has learned the offside rule …..

  36. Exactly chary – there must have have been a striker sitting on a bench somewhere who could come on loan for the rest of the season – we lost a big lump in the summer and then our favourite chocolate legged prince got crocked for the rest of the season 😦

  37. Rasputin says:

    I’m gonna get shot for saying this (tongue in cheek) …… what the hell 😕 … we could employ George Graham as a defensive coach .. his back 4 and GK and everyone else is Arsene’s 😆

  38. It was a wonderful pass ………

  39. irishgunner says:

    Peaches – Ferguson has stayed at the top because he has reacted and adapted to every challenge thrown at him.

    Wenger has a plan, a vision and sticks to it.

    Rasp – good to see Jack get a game at least. Hopefully they’ll give him a few more, could be a good move for him.

  40. Rasputin says:

    I think Huntelaar was up for grabs on loan. He’s a battering ram of a striker. At the very least he’d p*** off defenders. I don’t think we have any players who ‘niggle’ defenders in a Tevez/Bellamy sort of a way, let alone batter them like Drogba.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Irish. Any luck finding work?

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I have been saying that for a year. It is criminal not to use his knowledge, I am astonished he hasn’t found a gig somewhere…. maybe GG doesn’t want the hassle

  43. irishgunner says:

    Laurent Blanc is doing a good job in France.

    Anyway Wenger will go when he’s good and ready, he won’t be sacked because the board are ever so happy with what he is doing. Once David Dein left, the board stop caring about results.

    Dein pushed Wenger and he needed that, who pushes him now? The Yanks??

  44. Rasputin says:

    Cesc’s our best ‘niggler’ …..

  45. irishgunner says:

    Couple of shops around here looking for temporary people and I’ve my name in so fingers crossed BR.

    Be delighted if I could stay here cos I’ve only to worry about paying for food.

  46. irishgunner says:

    ” I don’t think we have any players who ‘niggle’ defenders in a Tevez/Bellamy sort of a way,” – Shockingly, its Eboue that does this most.

  47. Rasputin says:

    True Irish, shame he doesn’t have the end product of Tevez and Bellamy 😦

  48. irishgunner says:

    Eboue could be a very good player had he a bit more cop in the noggin and a radar

  49. Rasputin says:

    😆 Irish, translation? – are you suggesting he’s a prawn short of a seafood salad?

  50. irishgunner says:

    Oh sorry 😆 thought ye would use that phrase.

    Basically yes, he’s a prawn short of a full seafood salad 😆

  51. My mum is here reading the blog and she says no-one pushes AW anymore – and shes willing, shall we give her a mandate?

  52. charybdis1966 says:

    Can she heads the ball Peaches? If so stick here up front, it’ll be better than playing with no striker as we will tonight.

  53. irishgunner says:

    Nah I say put her in goals

  54. charybdis1966 says:

    LOL Maire, she’ll keep out more shots than our halpless Fawlty Manuel does.

  55. irishgunner says:

    Wouldn’t be hard ha ha

    Least Torres isn’t playing.

  56. Sorry – shes only 5’2″…….

    Chary are you going tonight?

  57. charybdis1966 says:

    She towers over my mum Peaches. I’m not going tonight; it’s a category A match so it’s out of my range however as a special treat I may go for the Porto game. I take it you’ll be there?
    I’ll be at the Sunderland game though – I’ll be doing my report for that septic site as long as I pay attention and don’t overdo the Peroni’s at the Arsenal Tavern beforehand.

  58. London says:

    The only end of an era feeling that is going around is emanating from Le Grove not Ashburton Grove.

  59. charybdis1966 says:

    Maybe London, it may account for my desultory mood about things Arsenal nowadays – however a win tonight and that would go; but the fact we last won a game was on the 20th of January and against a bottom 3 side means there’s been precious little to cheer lately.

  60. London says:

    That’s better

    And what’s more we will win tonight.

    Good to chat to you again Chary. I had just written a 600 word reply to Rasp’s post when my girl friend said can I just use your computer for a moment, being the nice person that I am I said yes and when I returned my 600 words were gone…..this may also account for my mood.

  61. charybdis1966 says:

    Surely we can’t come up empty again tonight London? I saw signs in the 2nd half at the Chavs that there was a bit of fight back in the team – plus the dippers are without Torres so that’s all good. Shocker about losing your post, now that’s annoying.

    And Maire – I couldn;t have said it better myself !

  62. I remember going to the game against Liverpool on a Good Friday the year that we went out of the FA Cup and the Champs Lge in one week – the support was amazing that day even though the doom and gloom was palpable – when the team emerged the sound was the loudest I’d heard for while and (being a girl) it made me cry.

    I hope there will be enough of those supporters at the ground tonight – we need to give our team a lift.

    We beat them 4-2 that day – Henry scored an amazing hat-trick even though he was carrying an injury and we were 2-1 down at half-time.

  63. Oh London thats heartbreaking about your response 😦

  64. London says:

    Chary

    Yes, I agree, that is a good point to focus on, there was more fight in the team on Sunday than the previous week, I expect more of that tonight and a bit defensive intelligence would not go a miss as well.

  65. irishgunner says:

    I’ll be there is spirit and spirit alone – might be better don’t think we’ve lost when I haven’t watched 😆

  66. I took a young Liverpool supporter to that game and I know hes going to be there tonight sitting in the away end – in fact we’ve never lost when hes been in the ground.

    Clutching straws 😦

  67. London are you happy to write something for a post tomorrow?

    kelsey – where are you?

  68. irishgunner says:

    Anyone following the Pompey hearing?

    They get wound up today and we lose 6 points.

  69. charybdis1966 says:

    Huh Maire, why do we lose 6 points? Is that all points gained against them are scrubbed from the records?

  70. irishgunner says:

    Chary – if Pompey are wound up then all records against them this season would be wiped as technically they wouldn’t be a club anymore.

    They would be gone from a league as of today, so future fixtures wouldn’t happen and since they would no longer be a premier league club, points and goals scored against them would be wiped as would goals that they scored. It would be like they were never here.

    The court have turned down their offer of money:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/p/portsmouth/8505321.stm

    We should hear more shortly.

  71. London says:

    Peaches

    Yes, I will do what I can subject as always to work coming up.

  72. Hopefully the Pompey hearing will be adjourned.

    Thankyou London – by the way I’m holding a promo copy of my daughters bands album in my hand – album to be released 6th April 🙂

  73. London says:

    I wish your daughter good luck.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. That is great…. you must be very proud.

    Pompey …….. Typical bloody VAT swines. They get an offer and turn it down. Over the years I have had many a run-in with Customs & Excise and never met a human being, just pre-programmed Jobsworth’s. If Pompey had said “Sorry, we are broke & can’t give a penny”, I could understand it, but for them to offer to pay over 50% inside a month, then be turned down is totally illogical.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Anyone see the Avram Grant interview on the BBC website. He seems one of the good guys.

  76. Big Raddy says:

    Anyone fancy a stab at tonight’s team?

  77. Big Raddy says:

    AM ? Hope not

    Eboue WG TV Clichy

    Song CF Diaby

    TW NB TR

    Why not? AA hasn’t exactly been prolific as a CF.

  78. Big Raddy says:

    Hey…. I’ve gone Blue. Thanks Peaches.

  79. charybdis1966 says:

    I see Maire, being the old git I am the memories of our last points deduction sprang to mind.

  80. irishgunner says:

    I’m off guys.

    Gooooooooo Gooooooooooooooners.

    Catch ye some time tomorrow, won’t be around game time.

  81. Well done Raddy – be back in a while – just off to kidnap Almunia 😉

  82. Oooooooh contraversial Raddy – no AA in your starting line-up…….

  83. charybdis1966 says:

    My preferred(& more controversial) starting line up(Left to right)
    Vito; Sagna, Gallas, Campbell, Verminator; Song, Cesc, Diaby; Meerkat, Bendy & Rosicky.
    What I suspect Wenger will start with:
    Tapas Waiter, Sagna,Gallas, Verminator, Clichy; Denilson, Cesc, Song; Arshavin, Eduardo, Walcott.

  84. charybdis1966 says:

    Oops, Wenger won’t play Eduardo(injured) so substitute Rosicky in there.

  85. London says:

    Chary

    Is Eduardo in the squad?

  86. London says:

    I’ll take that as a no

  87. charybdis1966 says:

    Just rememberd Eduardo is out for another week London.

    I reckon Wenger will bring Bendy on after 70 minutes an dplay him onthe right wing again. The Meerkat will be CF again.

  88. London says:

    ——–Almunia
    Eboue,Gallas,Vermaelen,Clichy
    –Denilson,Fab,Song
    Walcott,Arshavin,Diaby

    Wenger’s team obviously

  89. charybdis1966 says:

    ..and your preferred line up London ?

  90. Rasputin says:

    Chary – did I read earlier that you write a match report for the ‘septics’ – do you mind me asking if you run an Arsenal website for the americans?

  91. charybdis1966 says:

    No, I don’t run the site Raspers – it was just one report (on the Bolton match) that I wrote. I’ll probably do another for the Mackems game also as I’m going to that, I tried to write about the match day/crowd experience, what you can’t get from a straight match report written from an armchair view.

  92. Rasputin says:

    Oh I see chary, I’m sure I would be speaking for us all when I say you’d be welcome to write a post on here sometime if you have a mind? 😉

  93. Rasputin says:

    Arshavin has to play tonight. He is their bogey player and scored the winner at Anfield. Anything that creates uncertainty in the mind of the opposition is good.

    Shame he isn’t going to start with Nik – it frees AA to do his stuff. I wouldn’t start with Theo but would play Tomas just in preference for his defensive ability. One nil to the Arsenal is all that is required.

  94. charybdis1966 says:

    Yeah I’ll see how it goes Raspers, but as an example of what this is the Bolton piece : http://www.7amkickoff.com/2010/%e2%80%9cwe-are-arsenal-we-do-it-the-hard-way%e2%80%9d-7amkickoffs-man-at-the-match-report/

    For tonight you’re right the Meerkat must start tonight and I’d put him in the position he deserves – SS cutting in from the left.

  95. Rasputin says:

    That’s a very evocative and entertaining piece chary – are you sure the septics will understand? 😆

    Sadly, I think if Nik is not starting, AA will be played centrally again. I fear that if he doesn’t score or have scoring opportunities in the first half hour or so, he will begin to lose ambition.

  96. charybdis1966 says:

    Thanks Raspers, I tried to pick out as much detail on the atmosphere as I could although I forgot to mention the beach ball the Bolton supporters were chucking around, hoping to do a Sunderland against the ‘dippers.
    I really hope Bendy starts as I think, if we are only going to get a limited time out of a player, we should star tour best 11 from the start rather than send on our best players to retrieve a losing situation. I appreciate Bendy is not the most skilful, but his height and aerial presence should give Carra’ & Skirtel something to think about. This will also help the meerkat maximise his use to us –we should be doing that, not pissing him off by playing him as a lone striker.

  97. London says:

    My prefered team hhhmmmmm but I suppose that I would like to see how this works. By the law of averages the enormous collective talent of Fab,AA,Nasri and Rosicky must surely come good at some point.

    ——-Almunia
    Eboue,Gallas,Campbell,Clichy
    –Diaby,Fabregas,Vermealen
    -Nasri,Arshavin,Rosicky.

  98. Rasputin says:

    I like the idea of playing TV in front of Clichy. I’m wondering if Sol was unfit for the chav game as he wasn’t even on the bench?

  99. charybdis1966 says:

    That’s an interesting combination London – I’d almost forgotten Nasri, although to be fair his appearances so far this season have been forgettable IMO. I feel Clichy could do with being dropped, his form lately has been lamentable.
    Anyhoo – I’m off.
    C’mon you reds – let’s turn over the ‘dippers!

  100. London says:

    Now that is what I call a quality match report. I particularly liked:

    “A hush, not so different to the minutes silence in respect of Haiti’s earthquake victims before kick off, descended and we thought the unthinkable – loss to the second bottom team!”

    Are you going tonight Chary?

  101. charybdis1966 says:

    No London, I’ll be at the Sunderland game though; I’m off to make dinner actually after picking the motor up from the garage.

  102. Rasputin says:

    Hi 1Song,

    Sorry your 3:25 comment went into moderation – I have absolutely no idea why?

    I’m off to have a look at your link now ….

  103. Rasputin says:

    Aha, its the Chesney goalkeeping clip, thanks for taking the time – would you mind forwarding it to Arsene 😉

  104. Sometime towards the end of march is when I predict we’ll see Arsene trying Vermaelen in front of the back four…….need to get that ITYS button up and running.

    He wouldn’t want it to be just a good idea it would have to be an idea born out of desperation – although he probably thought of it ages ago.

  105. rasp – have I unchecked links? I’m going to put up a random something and see if works.

  106. Actually thats not a true test because anything I put on will come on – we need someone else to try, Chary or 1Song – if you’re watching 1Song – can you try and put another link up please

  107. kelsey says:

    Hi Folks,

    just a quick prediction. We will get only our second penalty of the season tonight,carragher the most likely to oblige.

    An Arsenal win,though keeping a clean sheet is something else 😉

    Sorry not about much at the moment, love to you all. 🙂

  108. Oh lucky me its snowing a blizzard in the winch – repeat the mantra –

    I love going to football in the winter
    I love going to football in the winter
    I love going to football in the winter

    Hi kelsey 🙂

  109. Got my serious thermals on and off to catch the train. Enjoy the game everyone 😉

  110. SUGA3 says:

    Bendtner has to start with AA and TR on each side interchaning to get anything out of it…

    Carragher and whoever plays with him (Skrtel?) in CB will have it easy against the shortest player in our squad…

  111. Rasputin says:

    Hi SUGA,

    It doesn’t look like he’s going to start with Nik unfortunately. I think it is likely that several payers will take to the field with minor injuries – Clichy, TV, Gallas and AA are all reported to be playing whilst not 100%. I don’t understand why Nik is spared because he’s not totally fit? Clichy has lost a lot of his pace – not form, pace. Injury/lack of match fitness can be the only explanation.

  112. SUGA3 says:

    actually, he is said to be starting 😀

    both Clichy and Denilson have back injuries and these don’t just heal…

  113. Rasputin says:

    Good news SUGA, that means we can get the best out of Lofty too – the scourge of the scousers…..

  114. Rasputin says:

    Just seen the team – fantastic selection..

    Al
    Eboue, Gallas, TV, Clichy
    Fabregas, Song, Diaby
    Nasri, Bendtner, Arshavin

  115. SUGA3 says:

    Nasri should not have started, he is clearly not fit…

  116. Rasputin says:

    I’m sure Rosicky will come on for him sooner or later.

  117. Rasputin says:

    Well done to all those who braved the weather to support our boys. We’re back on track……

    The slo-mo showed that Cesc’s heel was on the line and therefore it could have been a penalty and a sending off for 2 yellows. At last we get some luck when playing the dippers.

    I will put a little tribute to the you all up on the site and can’t wait to read London’s eulogy in the morning.

  118. Big Raddy says:

    What a great night for the Arse. Even the Spuds went down !!

    We played well tonight, not brilliant but 3 very welcome points.

    COYRRG.

  119. Rasputin says:

    Absolutely Raddy, have a look at the top of the page….

  120. 😆 Well done Rasputin – that looks fantastic 😆

  121. Rasputin says:

    Ta peaches – we’re all going to have a good day tomorrow 😛 ….. and thanks to you for all the hard work behind the scenes getting us links and contacts

  122. Ooooooooh I haven’t watched MOTD for weeks – looking forward to that 😛

    Must’ve been some fairy dust sprinkled around today or I’ve been a very good girl 😀

  123. And thankyou for all your hard work on the pics and graphics 😛

  124. Rasputin says:

    This is getting sickening!! 🙄

    Irish will be pleased with Tomas’ contribution to the goal….

    Night all …….

  125. Big Raddy says:

    Brilliant graphic Ras.

  126. You started it 😛

  127. Big Raddy says:

    Other blogs getting as silly with their optimism are they were with their pessimism!

    If we win the EPL it will be AW’s finest achievement, and it will require a huge slice of luck.

    One swallow does not make a summer !

  128. Morning Raddy

    What else do you expect we’re a bit of a bi-polar bunch aren’t we ……..

  129. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    Let’s put last night into perspective.Regardless of what AW said beforehand,we were shell shocked by the loss to United and Chelsea and the amount of passes that went astray,especially in the first half was nearly embarrassing.(Pool weren’t much better).
    The need for a decent winger becomes more and more apparent.I gave Song,Diaby,Gallas and Vermaelen their due,as they are fighters.
    In the second half I thought AA was just beginning to get into the game and then he got subbed.Rosicky was being smoothered in midfield as was Cesac, and then low and behold Tomas delivers the sweetest ball in, and Diaby showed how to score from a header.

    Was it wise to take bedntner off for the final 10 minutes.he looked a lot sharper but class he isn’t.

    Then poor old Theo, he goes from bad to worse.
    The ref gave 80% of fouls against us, but we hung on against an average Liverpool side,but it shows me the gulf between the top two and us is there for all to see.
    Anyway,3 points,vital points,otherwise we would have more pressure in a fight for possible 4th,the delight of scoring was felt all round by the players,and perhaps we can regain confidence and who knows.

  130. chaf says:

    Good morning AAers.

    I’m totally confused now, if we win the league it will be on other teams, i.e. Manure and Chelski’s mistakes, or their inconsistency. Everyone says the most consistent team wins the league, which is correct, we are consistent, we beat everyone [nearly] except those two.

    There was a time when we fared better against good footballing teams, esp in Europe, and got turned over by Bolton and other dross. Now we beat them and suffer elsewhere.

    Does this mean Manure and Chelski have stepped up a gear, or have we, against shite teams, or have they got worse.

    Or maybe our team is better and the top two out tactic us, which is nearer the mark.

    This all gives me a headache.

    Agree with Kelsey about Theo. I think he is only good away from home when we are under pressure, he can’t play football, he can just like like mad with the ball

  131. chaf says:

    “Run like mad” run being the important word!

  132. Rasputin says:

    Morning all 😉

    The prediction for the best case scenario was only one point (Manu) off being correct so it was a very good night for the Arsenal. Obviously winning the prem is still out of our hands, we’re just in a slighly better position than we were on tuesday.

    I said last night a scrappy 1 nil would do – and that’s what we got. No need for hysteria, just hard work and concentration on the pitch ….. and Arsene … play our strongest team for every game please, irrespective of having a CL game coming up!!!

  133. London says:

    New Post

  134. Morning kelsey and chaf

    I was at the game and there were a lot of disgruntled supporters around me – certainly during the first half which wasn’t particularly entertaining – but the team did appear more aggressive at the start of the second half and slowly the support began to sing up – suddenly it was really noisy and when we scored every one went crazy.

    It was a strange decision to sub Nikki unless he was injured, I would have like to see Diaby going up top instead Theo showed not for the first time that his footballing skills haven’t improved.

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