No defence for no defence.

I know the ink is not dry on a contract or even if a contract is being compiled for the signing of Emir Spahić of Montpelier but I find this rather depressing. We’ve lost two world class defenders in Sol Campbell and William Gallas together with Senderos and Silvestre and have managed so far to buy Koscielny to add to our squad. We don’t have a 6’4″ lump in our junior squad waiting to step up so why aren’t we buying one?

What is it about our manager that means that he won’t fix this problem? He must see it, we can all see it, from past  players to current squad members, why would he want to undermine the spine of the team?

We are not going to sign a world class goalkeeper – or even a better one than we already have – and thats a pretty bad situation for a top club to be in. I can slightly understand the logic of not wanting a new keeper and a new centre-back pairing at the same time – the need for good comminication between those three is very important. What I don’t understand is that this situation hasn’t been sprung on Arsène. The failings of our keepers last season cost us the Premiership title so he’s had more than the closed season to be looking around for a new one.

We all say it in hushed voices “If Vermaelen gets injured we’re stuffed” well guess what?  We don’t have to be in this situation and we shouldn’t be. Whatever the reason for  not spending the money now that we have it, can’t possibly be a good enough one.

What is it about buying defenders that gives Arsène such a head-ache? If we can’t defend we get undone, results against Birmingham, Wigan and Blackburn last season show that. I’m all for living life on the edge but spending the last ten minutes of games chewing my fingers with my heart pounding in my chest because we’ve given a goal away and its now 2-1 are going to ruin my health.

Vermaelen is top class. Koscielny we don’t know. Djourou has returned from a year out injured and has so far failed to impress. Before his injury he was fourth choice – Senderos was a more proven centre-back than him.

We’ve spent £8.5m on Koscielny – he may be an excellent find, Spahić may also be an excellent find but this kind of business doesn’t inspire confidence. Arsène – you need some help here, you concentrate on the attack and let someone else help you sort out the defence.

This is an ongoing problem and a serious one and until our defending is brought up to scratch we’re not going to be challenging for the Premiership – it won’t matter how many great goals we score against the others, the ones that count are the ones we let in.

134 Responses to No defence for no defence.

  1. Morning all

    I needed to get that off my chest – I will of course be the happiest of gooners if the situation changes.

    Come on Arsene – make my day

  2. adam says:

    There are just so many things that don’t make sense about Arsenal these days and I find that the most worrying thing of all.

  3. g2 says:

    senderos didn’t play last year, nordveit replaces silvestre, koscielny replaces gallas, and spahic replaces campbell. + djourou is around.

    anyway, what’s world class? is the captain of bosnia world class?

  4. tommystout says:

    A good post peach, i think most of us would agree with you.
    Yesterday when this Bosnian rumour was gathering pace i had a look on Le Grove and couldn’t believe the amount of negetivety on that site as it is one that i do not usually visit. This morning i took alook at their new post again about Spahic, but this time they backed up their argument with facts and figures about weight and age comparrissons with centreback pairings across europes elite. It was quite interesting but not that surprising that our CB’s at present are lightweight. Surely Arsene has all of these statistics at his disposal it is obvious that we need a lump for some of (not all) the battles that are soon going to be upon us.
    Spahic is not a lump, though i have read plenty of good things from followers of french football.
    If djorou (our biggest) is not going to be a regular then i fear for the 5 minutes that we undoubtebly have to defend against the likes of Stoke, Birm & Blackburn.

  5. silent stan says:

    senderos-known as panic attack- has not played for 2 years, how on earth you can use him in your article is a joke, so too syvlia, another teeny weeny bit part. give djorou a chance, he has technique and is a swiss international. kozzer, we shall see, we will buy one no doubt.
    keeper is another situation all together, and it is truely absurd we do not have a world class keeper. i suspect the balance trying to be drawn is not pushing shez out the door and the expectation, rightly i think, that he will become one hell of a keeper

  6. tommystout says:

    Whats also interesting is that from all the videos i have seen on Spahic is that he favours the left side and would appear to be cover for TV.
    This adds even more credibility to this rumour.

  7. ej says:

    its good to want to learn how to write but man! its people like you who want to send doom all the time that i find depressing really.

  8. burn em says:

    marchetti and spahic will be the two. kon is 6’2 djourou is 6’3 or 6’4 verm and spahic is 6’0 two right siders and two left siders sounds good to me but then i know about ball, sum people talking about gersmans that r taller but r also slower, sum so called arsenal fans believe the hype, and get upset when nothing happens, if you a gunner then u know how we do it, no name brands but quality wise just as good. kon and verm the to starters the other two is back up, great backups, size and gameplay just like version two of the first two, if you know what i mean

  9. tommystout says:

    Its not a doom site ej, you should visit more often 🙂

  10. tommystout says:

    hope you are right about marchetti – burn

  11. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Brave post peaches – it was bound to ruffle the feathers of those who are too quick to pigeonhole others.

    silent stan,

    Silvestre was called upon to play in some important games in the latter part of last season including the CL.

    Of course players should be given a chance – by coming through the ranks, not by being thrown straight into the starting line-up when they are not prepared. If you let three defenders go, two of which were 2nd and 3rd choice, we need to bring in a ‘finished article’ defender who can go straight into the team, otherwise the ‘learning process’ is going to cost us points – and you know what points win!

  12. Mike E says:

    Alas I tend to agree with your opening remarks to the jury rather than the QC for the defence – feeble pun intended.

    I was hoping that a German giant might be signed even if he did cost £17m, but I should have known better.

    Judging by his personality in the technical area, I cannot imagine that Pat Rice tells AW what’s what, even in private.

    I used to be in pr and represented a who’s who of mega names – alas in the end they all stop listening!

  13. Rasp says:

    Welcome Mike E,

    No-one seems to know whether Mertesacker is available or not. He’s an excellent defender and would add balance our back line. If the rumoured figures are correct, he would have cost a couple of million more than Koscielny. Mertesacker and Koscielny would have been the perfect 2 defensive signings in my opinion.

    We should not forget that with the players that have left, the wage bill for playing staff should be significantly reduced next season.

  14. forza forza says:

    as usual we will win nothing because of one man and his stubbornness….

  15. burn em says:

    Tommystout.. go to sky forget the arsenal link and go to Cagliari, look at the link that says fighting halts pre season traning, marchetti aint playing because hes tranfer listed, he wants to leave , we want him , and they looking to sale him, and on the cagliari web site they say marchetti’s agent is at the emirates cup , so i hope im right too, ps the sunnewspaper got kon right maybe they will get spahic and marchetti right if so then u know that paper is a gunner man paper and i wont b buying any ohter paper have a nice day

  16. dandan says:

    Morning peaches, well written post but why so desperate. If the papers were wrong about all those we were going to sign, that they now claim wont.
    Why should they be right about any of these so called signings today.
    There is still a month to go in the transfer market.
    Arsene will choose his time and it is usually late on. He waited a year for chamy.
    Since when was size the parameter above all for a CB, pace nowadays is surely more important.I can think of some big buggers from yesteryear who would be a disaster today.
    It is uncertainty and lack of confidence that is the key to our defending, a new GK who can instill that trust into his colleagues would transform this defence. just to know he was there would be worth an extra player, so buy any half decent CB as back up and a GK who can control his area and you have cracked it.
    I say again a month is long time in life, let alone a transfer window.

  17. emve says:

    mertesacker is not available and never was according to the manager of werder bremen…
    spahic looks indeed like a cover for tommy v, so I would not panic too much, aw might actually buy yet another cb…
    what is actually meant by ‘big lump’? would anyone be happy about getting titus bramble? playing a high defensive line requires fast centre backs, not big lumps – terry, for example, would be totally unsuitable for arsenal…
    and for le moan’s weight-age analysis this morning, never seen such a load of rubbish before – they state themselves that diawarra was the best french centre-back last season, but he’s actually 1 year older than spahic and about 3 kg lighter – so he must be rubbish…

  18. lexy says:

    I just don’t know why we Arsenal fan will not just leave Arsene alone to do his job. I do understand the fustrations but this guy love to do things secretly and quietly without disrespecting the other clubs. Arsene Wenger will never sign a player mere looking at him on YOUTUBE. He watches players for months and months before deciding on him. Emir Spahic is a FANTASTIC PLAYER believe me 100%. Everybody will be suprised when u watch this gay plays. He is UNBELIEVABLY FANTASTIC and the most underated player right now. He is the defender arsenal has being missing for years now. Forget about the height guys. Vidic is not that tall either for Manu and he is a very good defender. The German guy is tall but very very slow for the premier league guys. And again Bremen dont wanna sell full stop. So we shud not hang ourselves over him. Emir Spahic should patner Verman in the heart of our defence. He will give us the recklessness and steel we have been looking for. Forget about his age. He has the experience Koscienly does not have. Why don’t we just relax and see what the season has for us. Plsssssss leave Arsene alone and let him figure out what he wants for the club. THX.

  19. Rasp says:

    Hi emve,

    Thanks for the info. I take no responsibilty for what is written by others or on other sites. I said yesterday that we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes (at Board level) but I stick by my assertion that we do not sign quality players without it being flagged up for weeks in advance and therefore, any player we get in this last month will be:

    1. From a club eager to sell
    2. Not wanted by any other club of CL level
    3. Less than £5m

  20. Rasp says:

    Hi Lexy and welcome,

    Great comment – not everyone will agree, but very well argued.

    The only thing I would contest is the right of supporters to question. If ever anyone (in politics or football) is in a position where no-one can question, you are in very dangerous territory.

  21. dandan says:

    Rasp you must be standing in quicksands my friend as you sink deeper into the gloom and despondency.

    Worry not.

    Think how energised you will be when AW proves you soooooooooooooo wrong.

  22. Rasp says:

    Hi dandan,

    If you think my attitude is one of gloom and despondency (when actually it isn’t) that must be because you believe what I predict to be a ‘gloomy prospect’. I can therefore conclude that if my predictions turn out to be true, you will be the one who is unhappy with the situation.

  23. dandan says:

    Nah I am fortunate in that I an able to See the bright side of most things. I actually think we can make a fair fist of the league with what we have today as I have outlined before,
    Where I do agree with you is that Arsene probably has his eyes on a club eager to sell because they have to sell. Either because of debt or squad size and the new parameters laid down by the league.

  24. 26may1989 says:

    Got say peaches, I agree with dandan, G2 and others – we all know CB and GK are the weaknesses but I don’t see the current situation as being as disastrous as you imply. If the recruitment efforts we know are in hand are successful and we get the two recruits we need, we’ll be in a great position. A CB team of Vermaelen, Koscielny, Spahic/Mertesacker/Cahill/AN Other, Djourou and Nordtveit is definitely as good as what we ha last year, Gallas being the only real loss.

    By the way, anyone else been wondering whether a tail between his legs Gallas might become an option again? I’d prefer one of the rumoured connections instead but the lack of a contract in Greece, Italy or France for WG does make a return a possibility, albeit unlikely.

  25. Rasp says:

    Hi 26may,

    I must have suggested the possibilty of Gallas (or even Silvestre) coming back half a dozen times in the last week – great minds 😉

  26. DeiseGooner says:

    whats this guy Spahic actually like? he doesnt seem to play much does he? 165 club games and 35 internationals in 9 seasons – not much over that long a period is it? probably about 100 down on similar aged players right?

  27. Graeme Green says:

    It’s ridiculous that a club of our stature doesn’t have a world-class goalkeeper. Clubs like Stoke, Sunderland, Birmingham, Wigan all have better goalkeepers than we do! Obviously ther hierarchy ignore all the passionate pleas of life-long Arsenal fans. It’s sheer neglect, & Wenger is culpable. Look at the Fabregas situation. Maybe Torres sees green-shoots of potential growth & hope at Liverpool, for whatever reason, Arsenal aren’t showing Fabregas the same. Can’t agree with you about losing two world-class defenders in Campbell & Gallas. Six or seven years ago, yes Campbell was world-class, now he is too old! How many of our rivals tried to sign him? None of them. Gallas played better at left-back for Chelsea than he ever did for us at centre-back! Never once at Arsenal did he manage to subdue or out-wit Drogba or Rooney, so good riddance! Why can’t anyone ask Wenger outright what is going on? It’s like they’re untouchable & not accountable to anybody!

  28. SharkeySure says:

    Morning all

    I’m ok with the sigingof this guy. He sounds perfect.

    I’m truly lost with the obsession with ‘World Class’ players. Drogba is WC but hardly botherd to play for Scolari.

    Couple of seaons ago, Drogba absolutely batterd Lucio when Chelski played Bayern Munich, then last season Lucio and Samuel completely rag-dolled Drogba in return.

    I’m rambling, but my point is that no matter how great or poor we think a player is before he signs, its what he actually does in an Arsenal shirt that counts.

    Verm last season, Kozzer so far this one. Both completely written off by some before they’d even seen them play.

    Oh, and our need for a big lump..?? Would that stop us re-signing Gallas..??

  29. Chappers says:

    I´d love Arsenal to sign Emir Spahic if he AW deems him good enough.

    If you, like me, is increasingly disturbed by the continous negativity over the Arsenal blogsphere, visit Untold Arsenal for a different take on all things Arsenal:

    Why be depressed with potentially new signings? Isn´t that what you want? Very strange analogy I must say!

    And for your own good, give a player a chance before you criticise him. Remember Vermaelen, who I´m sure, you didn´t want this time last season!

  30. Morning Chappers – thanks for your comment

    I’m not depressed about potential new signings, I’m delighted that we should make new signings but surely the new signings should be as a replacement for those that have been sold unless those that have been sold were surplus to requirements.

    I don’t believe we were flush with defenders last season and now we’re in the position of having less than we started with and less experience and we still have a choice of shaky goal-keepers.

    I’m just being realistic – some people see it and others don’t.

    And I was happy with the signing of Vermaelen as he was slotting in alongside Gallas but unhappy that we were short of centre-back cover last year aswell. When Gallas and Vermaelen were injured we had no suitable cover.

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    It never fails to amaze me when I read all these thoughts ranging from doom and gloom to outright agreement and over what — nothing more than speculation in the newspapers. What we read on are the facts everything else is hyperbole created by circulation starved editors.

    So my bottom line not to believe or speculate on anything until it’s announced on

    I know stats can be misleading but here are some from the 1st 18 seasons of the EPL, you can draw your own conclusions.

    Best defense has won 8 out of 18 titles.
    Best offense has won 12 out of 18.
    Best goal difference has won 13 out of 18 and never been worse than 2nd.

    Arsenal have had the best defense on 5 occasions.
    In 1993/4 we finished 4th.
    In 1995/6 we finished 5th.
    In 1996/7 we finished 4th.
    In 1998/0 we finished 2nd.
    In 2003/4 we finished 1st.

  32. Rasp says:

    Hi Chappers and welcome,

    You don’t have to plug Untold Arsenal on here – we are well aware of the site and read all their articles good and indifferent!

    Let’s get one thing straight. If you’re a football supporter, you ARE passionate about your team. You have a right to express your feelings be them joy or despair and no-one is forced to read articles on blogs.

    We aim to offer a balanced range of opinion and a courteous discussion devoid of name-calling.

    To answer your question “why be depressed with potentially new signings?”, I am not aware of anyone who is depressed, however it is perfectly acceptable to air your concerns if someone thinks a potential signing will not solve the problem that AW has identified = the defence.

  33. dandan – remember how it felt when we were 2 up against Wigan and lost 3-2 or how about 2 up against West Ham and draw 2-2 or the equaliser that Birmingham scored in the last minute or the points that Almunia cost us with his flapping.

    We don’t defend well enough, more often than not we outscore the opposition and thats fantastic and I love it when we do. Football is not a difficult game, you have to score goals and defend and we have a fantastic manager who seems to think that defending isn’t an artform that it happens like magic.

  34. Morning GunnerN5 – I agree that nothing should be believed until unveiled on but I’m entitled to have my say on what I believe are the current shortcomings.

    Luck plays a huge part in whoever wins the title each year – except in 2003/04 when we were the best team on the planet – however some of what the manager has to do is give us the best chance to succeed without the need for luck don’t you think?

  35. Rasp says:

    Hi GunnerN5,

    Thanks for the stats. One interpretation of those figures is that our defensive record was better in the mid 90’s than in the mid to late 2000’s. As you say, stats are misleading.

    I am firmly of the belief that Almunia lost us upwards of 8 points last season and I mean in comparison to any of the keepers playing for the other top 4 clubs.

  36. dandan says:

    Just going to the gym Peaches so cant stop.But N5 stats are magic above and all the cases you state would have been cured by a confident commanding keeper, that’s our problem not defenders.
    see you when I get back.

  37. Graeme Green says:

    So what exactly is Pat Rice’s role? As an ex-defender he’s not really serving any purpose, is he?

  38. Rasp says:

    Hi Graeme Green,

    I feel I have to defend Pat Rice here. He is doing exactly what Arsène and the club want him to do. He is not an assistant manager in the traditional sense. I believe his input into tactics, team selection and signings is marginal as AW does not invite his opinion. He is a very professional and a great servant of the club.

    Incidentally….. my opinion is based on personal discussions with PR.

  39. Kipmonster says:

    I propose that Arsenal fans World wide post letters once a week for the next four weeks to UEFA & FIFA complaining about Barcelona FC’s ‘tapping up’ of Cesc Fabregas. Also post a letter just once to Arsenal FC requesting that they formally complain to UEFA & FIFA. I have drawn up 3 template letters that I will email to willing participants. All you need to do is type in your own Name & Address before printing off & posting. Momentum will be boosted by you forwarding the email to every one of your Arsenal FC fan family & friends, encouraging them to participate.
    Please see ….
    The aim of repetitive letters is to create an Admin headache for UEFA & FIFA with thousands of letters received from all over the world & display the strength of feeling from Arsenal FC fans. The purpose of the single letter to Arsenal FC is again to display the strength of feeling from us fans.
    My email address for this campaign from where I will email you the letter templates is ……..

  40. Graeme Green says:

    Point taken Rasp, so after 40-odd years at the club, he is reduced to being Wenger’s ‘yes’ man. We also have Steve Bould on the coaching staff, and we can’t defend!!! Something somewhere doesn’t add up!

  41. Sam says:

    The Spahic link has been officially denied by Montpellier. More bullshit from the internet if you ask me.

  42. The defenders get the blame for poor defending by the team and are excused because there’s a fragile keeper between the sticks.

    Somewhere, there has to be a sense of responsibilty for this situation and a way for it to be addressed or shall we just shrug our shoulders and leave it to luck.

    We have one of the greatest football managers of all time – his vision of how he wants Arsenal to play football is divine and yet we’re in this pickle.

  43. Rasp says:

    I agree Grahame,

    I read the quote from Nordveit saying how much he’d learned from Steve Bould. Of course SB is associated with the youth teams not the first team. I have asked recently if anyone can name a specialist defensive coach who works with the first team squad, I don’t know the answer.

  44. SharkeySure says:

    In 2006 that SDC was Keown.

  45. Gunner38 says:

    Arsenal always meant ‘big club’ and respected (even if hated) and was a by-word for integrity and style. I have supported them for 40 years, so know all about lean times and heartache. I don’t get so emotional these days but still love Arsenal to the core. That is why the link with players like Spahic fills me with dread. I have seen his video and believe me if he is ‘super, super quality’ then I give up! FFS AW, we are meant to be a big player in world football, so please show it by using some of the undoubted cash reserves you have. After all, we charge the most expensive prices, have posted record profits and make appx £3m every home game. Stop conning the one thing that makes any club. THE FANS.

  46. Rasp says:

    Hi Sharkey – is Keown currently a defensive coach for the first team?

  47. Hi Gunner38 – can’t disagree with anything you say – it seems to be a dirty word at the moment but Spahić feels a little ‘unambitious’ to me – just a thought.

  48. I don’t think he is Rasp ………….

  49. tommystout says:

    if we sign the bosnian we will be ok in numbers, the defenders are not the problem, it is the defense and how the team as a whole go about defending. A new work ethic must be implemented to make sure that we have the ball 90% of the time, and when we don’t have it the whole team defends and hounds and harries until we get the ball back.
    This ethic must include a new system for how we deal with the bullying teams at set pieces and long ball systems.
    A new keeper would go some way to steadying the boat in these scenarios.
    If there is going to be no new keeper then philosophies needs to change to better protect the keeper (as we cannot rely on the referees to do the right thing).

  50. tommystout says:

    keown left a long while ago, i thought his way wasnt wengers way so got asked to leave or something like that

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp: How many points do you think our offense cost us by wasting golden opportunities, Bendtner in particular.
    It’s so , so easy to pick out single mistakes by a goalkeeper but if had a higher goal’s to shots ratio then we would never be talking about the odd goalkeeping

  52. SharkeySure says:

    Rasp. No he’s not, as far as I’m aware.

    I think its a change in mentality that will improve our defending, not just new players. I read a comment about Spahic screaming at his wingbacks to do their defensive work – and thats one of the reasons why I like the sound of him.

    We are generally unorganised as a defensive unit in both open play and at set pieces. Defensive leaders are what we lack.

    John Terry – pretty good defender but not great, but has to be one of the absolutley best around at ‘leading’ a defence.

    If I picked a team to play for my life …he’d be its captain, no doubt about that. Thats regardless of what an all round scumbag he is

  53. truegooner says:

    A lot of our defensive frailties stem from the fullbacks getting caught upfield which in turn leads to the CH being pulled across to cover , there was an example against Celtic where Kos tried to slide into Samaras, I read criticism of him for missing the tackle but in fact it was Gibbs who had been caught out, same against Barca we need cover when the fullbacks advance

  54. Graeme Green says:

    Having a ‘vision’ is great if you have the tactical nous to implement it, but Wenger hasn’t. How many times do we have to be thrashed before the penny drops? Man Utd, CL 2009, or 2007 FA Cup at OT, or earlier this year at The Emirates; Chelsea, Man City last season, Messi CL QF-he hasn’t done that against anyone else (barely got a kick against 10-man Inter Milan!). This problem has been festering far too long. I bet Mertesacker would’ve walked to England had Man Utd or Chelsea bid for him. Why can’t one of the world’s so-called biggest clubs attract a world-class goalkeeper? Why does our captain want to leave? How many of our players would get into the Chelsea or Man Utd starting XI? Wenger’s vision isn’t attracting the class of player we need to take us to the next level.

  55. Rasp says:

    Hi GunnerN5,

    I’m not sure what your point is … are you saying that Almunia was up to the required standard? – he didn’t push the lob from Phillips into the back of the net or fall backwards at the ferocity of Rose’s shot? If he’d just stood still it would have hit him in the face. He is a scared keeper, he falls apart under pressure. The problem is his mental attitude.

  56. truegooner says:

    Rasp can you name a keeper who hasnt made mistakes? Almunia kept us in the game against Barca with some fantastic saves, he wasnt too shabby against Celtic either

  57. Gunner38 says:

    Yes Peaches, wholly unambitious. Okay for Blackpool but not for Arsenal, surely?

  58. Rasp says:

    Hi truegooner,

    Do you really believe he is a keeper of the standard required by a top 4 club? – because I don’t.

  59. truegooner says:

    Gunner38 you are judging a player from a youtube video?Anyone cant edit one of those things together to make a player look good or bad, its usually more appropriate to actually watch a player in your teams colours before forming an opinion

  60. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp; My point is simply that it’s far to easy to blame everything on goalkeeping errors.

    How many games have we watched, wringing our hands, biting our nails and burning acid when we are a goal up with 20 minutes left – after missing multiple chances to put the game away. Then the opposition get their tails up and bombard our goal and; oh yea our goalkeeper blows it!

    Do we count how many times the forwards don’t track back, do we count how many times they mistime their runs, do we count how many times they scuff their shots, do we count how many times they are offside??
    anyone of those could be the reason we lose games but after the game all we talk about is the goalkeeping error that cost us points.

    To answer your question, no I do not think Almunia is top drawer but neither do I think he is the main issue to be discussed.

  61. tommy – your points about the overall problems with defending are valid

    GunnerN5 – your point (I think its what you’re saying) about the team not taking their chances is also valid

    But, chances will always be missed – thats part of the charm of the game – the science of defending should not be down to chance. It should be down to hard work like tommy says – always attacking the ball, never letting possesion go without a fight.

    Thats what we miss, we could have a rubbish pair of centre-backs and a 5′ keeper if the rest of the team kept the ball away from them it wouldn’t matter.

  62. 5′ keeper – a little tongue in cheek 😉

  63. truegooner says:

    Rasp I trust the manager to do whats best for the team, its not that long ago that the fans were calling for Jens to be dropped and be replaced with Almunia, there isnt a keeper out there that doesnt make mistakes and maybe not all is totally down to the keeper, the goal by Milan at the cup was just down to a quality ball in, for me the keepers are easy targets as their errors are more noticable , I am really optimistic for this season we will compete on all levels

  64. truegooner says:

    There were games last year that we dominated and lost, two against the manchester teams spring to mind, we need to be more clinical and then we wont have to worry about conceeding , the way we play will always leave us open to a counter attack

  65. A flaky keeper is going to make the CB’s worried.

    Worried CB’s are going to make the LB and RB and HM worried.

    A worried mid-field is not going to connect with the forwards efficiently and attack because they’re worried about what’s happening behind them.

    I vote for a solid keeper – he spreads good karma throughout the team.

  66. Why did George Grahams teams win 1-0?

    Why do we still sing 1-0 to the Arsenal?

    Boring maybe, but 3 points is three points anyway its not going to happen with this team because they’re creative but with better defending they would be awesome and have the three points. Simples.

  67. truegooner says:

    peaches which solid keepers are even available?

  68. Even with all our creative players and all our creative play we still miss chances – missing chances is always going to happen ……. but good defending will also gain us points no?

  69. truegooner – its not my job to know which solid keepers are available just to be delighted when I see them walk out in our shirt.

  70. GunnerN5 says:

    Peaches: It sounds like you pine for the GG days 1-0 to the Arsenal – what a bore that was and I for one never wish to live through it again.

    My earlier stats show that in the 5 seasons when our defense was at it’s best we still could only manage one title.

    Heres another stat that may surprise a lot of you. Our goals against for GG and AW are identical at .90 per game.
    The big difference is that GG did this for his 364 game career whereas AW has achieved it for 524 games – (I’m talking only league games.) And folks want to believe that AW knows nothing about defense – how ridiculous is that!!

    And whose brand of defense would you prefer??

  71. Rasp says:

    truegooner & GunnerN5,

    I’m not sure we are in disagreement here. My point is that the keeper and the defending (that means the whole team’s defending) are not good enough. Arsène himself identified the defence as the problem – or are you saying he is wrong 😉

    I’m off for a while, catch up later.

  72. Rasp says:

    One last point,

    Could any of you see Almunia holding down a first team place with Chelsea, united, pool or city?

    Right, I’m gone now..

  73. GunnerN5 – theres a good reason why those stats are the same – Wengers teams are more creative and therefore we’ve won more games because we’ve scored more goals surely.

    If its a problem that we’re not taking our chances then we need to make sure we’re not conceding either. Last season it looked at one point like we were going to score 100 goals – depending on which games we would have scored them in we still might not have won the title as we conceded too many in too many games. 2-0 or 5-0 its still the same 3 points.

  74. truegooner says:

    Peaches the point is there arent that many solid keepers who are available at the moment

  75. Gunner38 says:

    Truegooner, do you honestly, hand-on-heart believe that a player who is largely unheard of (apart from in Bosnia/Montpellier) at nearly 30, is worth £8/10m? If he is so good then why haven’t any other big teams gone in for him? Fuck me, even the yids haven’t jumped on this limp bandwagon and they copy everything we do. We should be shopping at Harrods with our money, not Primark!

  76. truegooner says:

    Gunner38 you shouldnt believe everything in the papers, how do you know if we have bid for him and how much,his club have denied any talks at all!! By the way how do you even know how much free cash there is to spend?

  77. Gunner38 says:

    Truegooner, I don’t know the exact figures, but I’m sure that with the amount of money ‘reported’ to be floating around the club, and the figures which are available from our current financial year, there is indeed a healthy budget available. The problem is that as much as I admire your up-beat attitude, I too have been down that road. Alas, after the last four seasons, two of which we should have won the league, were it not for a bit of activity in the transfer market, I find it galling to believe that we have waited until now to buy a so-called top player who was not at the world cup – so why wait til now to buy. He can’t be a serious target.

  78. truegooner says:

    Gunner38 I have not seen any reports from the club about how much money we have to spend, you obviously believe what you read as in the Bosnians transfer, all the indications are that there is not as much money as some fans think.I dont know so will reserve judgement as one based on tabloid facts is not reliable

  79. SharkeySure says:

    G38 Where would you say Joleon Lescott was bought from for £24m – Harrods or Primark..??

  80. SharkeySure says:

    G38 Why wait you say. So if targets 1, and 2 were unattainable (eg Mertesacker) are you saying that we should not go for target no.3.

    Or should we go for our targets in reverse order…?

  81. truegooner says:

    Sharkeysure Lescott was for sale in Harrods but was from Primark because someone swapped the labels!

  82. kelsey says:

    I have to say that as much as most of us know the need for a new keeper and CB is paramount, there is no guarantee either will happen,but perhaps a change of tactics when attacking could sometimes be applied.

    How often we read goal attempts 16 goals scored 1.

    It’s that extra pass that infuriates me as much as anything,when there are several occasions when I sit there screaming at the player to shoot, and of course he doesn’t,and tries an intracate pass which is also often the wrong option.

  83. SharkeySure says:

    TrueG….well thats exactly what I was hinting at. Some Arsenal fans really kill me.

    “Why doesn’t Arsene just spend to get what he needs”. Then its “Why on earth is he paying £xyz for abc thats way too much”

    My two faves are “Why let players leave for free..??”, followed by ‘Why keep giving players new contracts..?”.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  84. SharkeySure says:

    Here here Kelsey. I wrote earlier about a need for a ‘change in mentality’

  85. tommystout says:

    good point kelsey

  86. GunnerN5 says:

    I really have no disagreement on the need to try and improve our goalkeeping but to me getting an outstanding commanding/defensive center back is way more important.

    I would dread us going back to the 1-0 to the Arsenal days – what a bloody bore that was and even when for 4 seasons, in the 90’s, we had the best defense we still did not win the league – bored to death for what!!!

    There’s a huge difference in having a .9 goals against average with both GG and AW – GG drove me crazy and AW delights me every week regardless of trophies I would prefer to watch AW teams vs GG teams.

    You see even though I agonize over losses and missing out on trophies, as much as the next person, I prefer agonizing while watching AW football vs GG’s dour double decker defenses. (How about that- GG’s DDDD”s)

    Although I agree that it would be good to improve our defense I maintain that our offensive deficiencies (goals/shots ratio) are our biggest liability.

    With lead footed players the likes of Bendtner we will never fulfill our hopes and dreams we need and deserve better. Just how many games could we have won if this clod hopper knew how to score goals??? He misses them by the bucket load whereas our keepers blow one cross and they are forever the goat.

    I just have to disagree with those of you who put trophies ahead of all else, of course I want us to win, that goes without saying, but I also want to be entertained and for us to financially successful.

  87. Red Arse says:


    A good well argued post.

    Many of GG teams did bore the arses of people with their defensive play. 1:0 to the Gunners and all that.

    You will find tho’ that many fans would rather that than playing beautiful football and losing.

    Trophies do matter, as much if not more to the players, as the fans. They want to retire having been winners and able to tell their kids/grandkids that they were in the team which won the PL/CL, rather than winning nothing.

    That, I suspect, is part of the reason Cesc wants to leave.

    But I do have a sympathy with your comments.

  88. Hello Red Arse – nice of you to comment

    I stopped short of saying in the post that I thought one of the reasons for Cesc wanting to leave has something to do with the struggle we seem to have at the moment.

    As you say, playing the beautiful football and losing is not what it should be about.

  89. SharkeySure says:

    No offence Red Arse, but I’m not sure its sympathy G5 was after !!

    I agree wholeheartedly with G5’s sentiments and have often said so myself….oh how they laughed on LeGrove when I claimed to prefer our 2006 Final over our 2005 one.

    If you compare those two games, then you have to see that it can’t just be about trophies.

    Holland didn’t win the WC final, but still returned to a heroes welcome

  90. Rasp says:

    Welcome Red Arse,

    I think the frustration is borne because many feel that we are really so close – just a couple more pieces in the jigsaw and we will be winning trophies as well as playing beautiful football – the two are not mutually exclusive.

  91. GunnerN5 says:

    redarse: Under AW we have won 11 different trophies under GG we won 6.

    GG lost 89 games out of 364 played AW has lost only 84 in 524 games.

    If we want a winning team and a winning mentality vs a let’s not lose mentality then I vote for AW.

  92. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys,

    There is absolutely no doubt that Wenger is a genius, despite all the dreadful insults that are hurled at him. I find them distasteful and have often said on other sites.

    I liked GG, but he was never in Arsense’s class, and unfortunately he was abit naughty.

    Sharkey, you misunderstood what I wrote. I was expressing sympathy with the views expressed, and not with N5 himself. He does not need my sympathy, I am sure.

  93. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, hi Peaches and Rasp, I was forgetting my manners.

    I will have to be more careful with my phraseology when playing devil’s advocate. Gooner fans are becoming frustrated and picking on each other’s vocab and grammar. Never mind. 🙂

    Can I say, I was impressed with the post, Peaches, it was not at all doomy, but simply put up a position for debate/discussion. You are corect, people can agree/disagree there is no “right” or “wrong”, it is simply a matter of opinion.

  94. SharkeySure says:

    No worries Red Arse, perhaps its the way I read it. Mentally I’ve substituted ’empathy/ise’ for sympathy.

    Anyway, I’ll leave that there.

    I hear ya re the dreadful insults. Generally I attribute most of them to a ‘low forehead’ mentality. I once asked some blog loudmouth, so if you met Arsene thats all you’d say to him for transforming your club and raising your expectations. He quickly back tracked.

    Arsene’s been here before remember – what was the quote about caviar and hamburgers. When would that have been….2000??

  95. Rasp says:

    No problem Red Arse, its good to have you on here.

    I am in agreement with you. Everyone is just a bit ‘picky’ today and I can only see the tension mounting as we get closer to the end of the month.

    ‘Some sites’ will go ballistic if we lose to pool courtesy of a defensive cock-up. It is imperative we get off to a good start in that game to build confidence.

  96. Chippy says:

    Red Arse,
    You following me mate !!
    Sharkey Peaches Rasp Kelsey & anyone I’ve missed Afternoon all.
    Seems you stirred up the hornets nest today 😉

    The rumours doing the rounds are that Wenger has swerved today’s intended press conference as Cesc has thrown his toys out the pram how true that is I have no idea,Me I’m hoping it’s to tie up some deals lol Can we not just have one pleasant summer where we sign what we need and no ones trying to leave!!!

  97. Red Arse says:

    Well, as it has gone quiet for a while, I am going to advance a point of view that seems not to be “flavour of the day”. 🙂

    Many blogs castigate both Denilson and Diaby and would run them out of town tarred and feathered. Quite separately, they also want to hang draw and quarter Flappy and Al Munia.

    Then there is a great cry for an improvement in our CB’s.

    From many years of watching football, and Arsenal in particular, it is plainly obvious to me that there is an inextricable link between all of them.

    A rubbish midfield usually destabilises the CB’s, and then the destabilised CB’s inevitably undermine the GK. This also works in reverse.

    To pick on Almunia, in isolation, or Denilson and or Diaby or the CB’s is just not logical Mr Spock. They need to be viewed holistically as a whole.

    Some tiny adjustment can make or break the whole system and I believe that a huge improvement can happen just by having a summer break and coming back refreshed! 🙂

    I predict we will shock every one of the doubters and have a thrilling and hopefully winning 2010/11 season, playing our wonderful football.

    Remember, you heard it here first! 🙂

  98. SharkeySure says:

    Alright Chippy.

    I simply cannot believe that Cesc is unaware of his own transfer market value, and that there is no way on earth that Barca can afford to pay even close to it.

    Every new comment from Sandro Rossell about Barca’s finances must be like a real kick in the knackers for him.

  99. irishgunner says:

    Wenger has cancelled the conference to tie up the deal with our new CB????

  100. Rasp says:

    Hi Chippy,

    The plot thickens re: Cesc. I had expected him to make a concilliatory statement before now so I’m beginning to think that either he is intent on leaving or the PR dept are asking him to hold fire until they can see the whites of the sceptics eyes 😛

    Funnily, losing Cesc has become less of an issue for me than the reinforcement of the defense.

  101. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, sorry for not picking up on your Gallas refs, am away on hols, so am not exactly being assiduous in keeping up. In fact, what the hell am I doing being on here now……? Would still be interesting if Gallas does appear on our radar screens again. Though I’d prefer us to get a proper recruit in.

  102. Rasp says:

    Haha Red Arse – good on ya mate 😆

  103. Rasp says:

    Hi 26may,

    No need for an apology, hope you’re having a relaxing holiday.

  104. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chippy mate 🙂

    I read Peaches’ post and the comments and thought I had gone deaf! 🙂 No swear words, or vile insults, so I just had to contribute!

    I had not heard the rumours but much though I want and, until recently, believed Cesc would/should stay, I now want an end to this Barca nonsense.

    A solution would be for Barca to pay the £35m offered now and a second installment of £30m next year. (fiddle the figures as you wish, I don’t really give amonkeys 🙂 )

    We could then go out and buy a top class replacement before it is too late. No one should be bigger than our wonderful Club, and that includes Cesc.

  105. SharkeySure says:

    RedArse – ‘gone deaf’…lol. I kinda know where you’ve come here from, so I can fully understand why you would say that.

    26May – I was in the same boat last week, read most posts and a fair few comments myself as well. Its hard not to.

  106. We’re a very nice polite blog site Red Arse although that young irishgunner knows a few choice words 😉

    We believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion and are happy to include all points for debate.

    All incendary rants welcome 😉

  107. Red Arse says:

    Peaches, Rasp,

    I’ve got to go, but before doing so I feel I owe you an apology.

    You can probably tell I am a wordy git and full of theories. 🙂 Sorry!

    In mitigation, I can tell you I have written a number of posts for a v.nice site called Avenell Road. In one I wrote at some length about the history of Catalunya and the impact that would have had on Cesc and his family. And guess what? I have only mentioned Cesc in passing. 🙂

    As a little extra, I have not ruined your site today with my appalling humour, but if you let me on again, I cannot promise that state of affairs will continue! 😉

  108. Rasp says:

    Nice one Red Arse …. you’re already one of us! 😉

  109. Red Arse we’ve seen you about and know that you’re a good guy – you’re welcome to return whenever you like.

    We like a bit of humour on here – do we seem stuffy?

  110. irishgunner says:

    ” We’re a very nice polite blog site Red Arse although that young irishgunner knows a few choice words” Depending on my humour 😉

  111. Before you go I put a similar theory up at 2.12 – a tad more simplistic than your 5.30 but in the same vein.

    If only it was all down to us eh 😆

  112. SharkeySure says:

    You’re alright with me n’all RedArse, and your ‘gone deaf’ comment was classic !

    Thats me about done for today as well folks

    Nite all

  113. irishgunner says:

    Manky Utd are playing for the “football” opening of the Aviva Stadium (formerly Lansdowne Road) tonight – they are meant to be putting out a strong team, will report if anything is to be reported on – like Rooney talking a wee on the side of the pitch 😕

  114. Red Arse says:

    Thanks guys for your welcome,

    No you are not at all stuffy, I was just warning you I can be sadly flippant when everything becomes a bit too intense. 🙂

    Finally, you have a good reputation, and you were recommended to me by young Rico, who you may know as a co-author for AR. You guys share a similar ethic.

    Night for now. 😉

  115. irishgunner says:

    Peaches why are you blushing?? I didn’t even mention Rosicky ………. yet 😆

  116. Chippy says:

    Agree, Big mouth small pocket syndrome !

    Red Arse, Personally I think Barcas finances will look even worse this time next year as the Spanish recession has yet to really bite, Maybe we could buy him back for a tenner 😉

    Rasp, Mate you know my feelings on that department lol Piss up brewery couldn’t always spring to mind 🙂

    Irish, Fingers and toes crossed on that outcome

    I’m iPhone chippy at the mo so soz for any bad grammar and spelling lol

  117. Celtic are playing tonight too, are they on sky? The Celtic supporters added such a lot to the atmosphere at the Emirates on Sunday – I meant to include that in my post – just remembered 😳

  118. irishgunner says:

    They play CL tonight or tomorrow night – think they are like 3-0 down and McGeady is set to sign for Spartak.

    When do we get to laugh at the spuds playing “Champions League” football?

  119. I can’t wait for that irish – they must be in the draw after this lot of games – Friday? They’ll play their first game 17th or 18th August

  120. irishgunner says:

    I think they can get some really tough draws – ahhhhhh poor spuds 😥

  121. Rasp says:

    I appreciate it is probably an unsubstantiated rumour, but our reported interest in Joe Hart is the best news I’ve heard all summer 🙂

  122. Benwell says:

    Lets get a top keeper please, all the rest we can deal with or give Cezne a go!!

  123. London says:

    Great post and some great comments today…….best site by some distance.

  124. GunnerN5 says:

    London: I agree about the site; (but I have to convert Peaches)- Peaches – before you go for my jugular I’m just joking.

    It’s a funny old life I was born in London (Avenell Road, Highbury) and after living in various places and countries I now live in London again- but this time around it’s London, Ontario, Canada.

    What is even stranger is that my son also lives in London, Ontario – but he also lives om Highbury Hill.

    I guess what goes around comes around???

  125. London says:

    Hi Gunner N5

    Your son lives on Highbury Hill, London, Ontario……….absolutely amazing. I am on holiday in Delaware so we are on the same time zone, I have enjoyed reading your comments.

  126. kelsey says:

    Hi London,

    Did you know that a famous product of Delaware is peaches.I put a link up about it a few days ago.

    What is all this about Wenger cancelling a press conference yesterday.Can somebody expand on this.

    If it is about cesc, he is in a no win situation.If he goes now,everyone at the club will be blamed and if he stays for one more season but a deal has been arranged, as with Ronaldo,then the fans will be split as to his loyalty.
    Even accepting that there are probably a lot of behind the scenes activity,Wenger must know.he spent at least 2 weeks with david dein in S.Africa and of course darren dein is Cesc’s agent.

    What I really don’t like is the way it all comes across as if the player has had his head turned or is holding the club to ransom.
    I don’t know the full facts,but I am beginning to have less and less respect for Fabregas, let alone Barcelona.

    Barca don’t have ready cash at the moment, and as I pointed out several weeks ago,we are still owed 14.8 million on staged payments for Hleb and henry.

    I wish we would act as a big club, which of course we are, but not continually referred to as a feeder club for others.

    This whole episode must be interfering with any other transfers that the boss is trying to negotiate, and I don’t like it one bit with the seasn 10 days away.Any thoughts.

  127. dandan says:

    Well you guys who want a big money defender brought in. Montpelier are supposedly asking 28 million Euro for Emir Spahic who many thought lightweight yesterday and valued him @ 5 mil. Does that make him a better player or does it show why Wenger hasn’t rushed into buying anybody. Because the market is a nonsense and he knows it will stabilise by the months end.

  128. kelsey says:

    A letter from the club to season ticket holders.

    Dear Gold member,
    Thank you for renewing your Gold membership for the 2010/11 season. As a Gold member, you can now take advantage of an exclusive opportunity to make your mark at Emirates Stadium with a personalised seat plaque. Each plaque costs £40 per seat, with no seasonal charge.
    Your plaque can be personalised with a bespoke message created by you. Whether you choose to have a message for yourself, a loved one or even the team, seat plaques offer up to 28 characters of text over two lines, with a maximum of 14 characters per line.

    I just know someone with his own site will love to respond to this 🙂

    Morning dandan.

  129. SharkeySure says:

    Kelsey – so true, it’ll be the headline of his post, even if we’ve also just signed Kaka Mertesacker and Pepe Reina

  130. tommystout says:

    morning all…..
    looking forward to the news from members day today, seems like charey was going to attend so hopefully he may have some news for us later on

  131. kelsey says:


    We were right 🙂

  132. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

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