No subs at half time……. I blame Hleb

Friday is traditionally a quiet day on the blogosphere so we have decided to reinstate Rant Friday. This is an opportunity for bloggers to submit a paragraph on anything that has been bugging them. It is not an excuse for an assault on the club or the manager, but a good way of encouraging new bloggers to write for Arsenal Arsenal.

Carlito11’s offering

Picking up on a comment by Jekyll yesterday, I want to question Arsene’s other ill (aside from scouting for keepers!)… the mollycoddling worry about damaging player’s confidence that causes him to never sub off a poorly performing player. Any other winning manager (from the specious one to old rednose to the centurion who is currently leading England to ruin) has been known to make big changes at halftime, but I cannot remember a time Wenger has done this except because of injuries.

The time has come for Wenger to treat these players like men, and shame some of them into better performances. We need anger from players not playing well enough- and a tougher mental attitude. Let’s hear a big more “play better or you’re off”. George Graham would have done it and the best part of our winning attitude during the Wenger era was forged by Graham and the players who remained from his era.

Rant over!



Rasp’s rant ….. Hleb’s a weaner

I first saw Alexander Hleb play for Arsenal in a pre-season friendly at Borehamwood back in 2005. I was immediately struck by his amazing ball retention and quick feet. Here was an exciting prospect for the team surely destined to be a pivotal player in the new team Arsène was building to continue the legacy of the Invincibles.

As the weeks/months passed and Hleb became a first team regular, I listened to supporters eulogizing over his intricate passing and clever link-up play, but growing inside me was an increasing frustration. I realised that here was a player who was more interested in exhibiting his technical brilliance than helping his team win games. I’d swear he got more pleasure from turning the same defender inside out 3 times than slamming the ball into the back of the net. His over-complicated play would slow down our attacks and allow the opposition time to get everyone behind the ball.This would lead to the all too familiar scenario of us playing brilliant possession football around our opponents box, but frustratingly, seldom piercing their defence.

I blame Hleb for being the forefather of clever possession at the cost of incisive attacking football. How many times would he wriggle his way into a perfect shooting position only to shun the chance and slot a clever sideways pass to  a teammate in a worse position and the opportunity would be lost?

Hleb’s a weaner. He lacks power. He could pass the ball 20ft very accurately but did you ever see him blast a diagonal pass across the pitch onto A.Cole’s chest or curl a shot into the top corner from outside the box. The way he behaved to engineer his way out of  Arsenal was despicable and his lame attempts to lure Cesc away as soon as he arrived at Barça show that he never had Arsenal in his heart.

The man who thought he was going to be the leading light at the Camp Nou is now a footballing outcast who will be representing Birmingham City (the club he dreamt of playing for as a young boy!) on saturday …. I don’t consider him even worth booing.


95 Responses to No subs at half time……. I blame Hleb

  1. damien says:

    Is it me or does Hleb look a lot like Willem Defoa?

  2. Big Raddy says:

    Written by BarumGooner ….

    “I hate myself for thinking it let alone writing it but before kickoff in the chelsea game I didnt give us a chance in hell of winning. They have a proper side with a proper football mentality. They are balanced as were we when AW inherited the side, I am not a Wenger hater and in no way write this as a slur on him and indeed I admire the man for what he has achieved but nor am I blinkered to the fact that most of his achievements came with GGs defensive base and Arsenes true skill was prolonging the life of that defence. When they departed we had a great team still but over the years it has been decimated, mostly due to financial constraint but also due to ignorance. With the attacking ability we have in the side we dont need for our defenders to be bombing forward neglecting their role and these lads have played as defenders all their careers yet now they are crap at it ? Is it really a coincidence that both Clichy and Sagna started off fantastically well and looked like inspired signings before gradually paling into fairly average full-backs. How long before Gibbs follows the same path ? Its not individual failings its tactical failings and AW has to hold his hands up and realise that balance makes a winning side. Dont get me wrong because I love Arsenal with all my heart and want us to win every game but we have better players yet perform worse. Why ? Organisation, tactics and variation. Sadly our manager has become so concerned with style and attacking flair that winning has been made a secondary concern and as such the mentality of the players has been one-dimensional and predictable. I dont want to see AW replaced but would love for him to stop believing the hype and start thinking about winning games. In Sagna Kos TV and Clichy with Song in front we have a better defensive line than the chavs and the mancs but only if they are allowed to do their job and let the others get on with the flair bit. Alrite rant over.”

  3. Big Raddy says:

    I completely agree with both rants, though I have no idea what a “weaner” is. I thought it was a type of sausage available in Golders Green Road!!

  4. Rasp says:

    Morning Raddy, a weaner is what rockylives describes as a ‘noodledick’ 🙂

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Aha …. a pikhøved 🙂

  6. Big Raddy says:

    My rant ….

    Why can’t we buy a bloody Goalkeeper???

  7. Carlito11 says:

    I admit, I was one of those who initially eulogised Hleb- we called him “gluefoot” in our corner of the North Bank! Have to agree though- he was symptomatic of us making a meal of it but I think we’ve passed that phase now… although there is still a lack of 50 yard diagonal balls leading to fast breaks that were our stock in trade with TH14 and co.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Gluefoot 😀

    I have some sympathy with Hleb coming from the “love to nutmeg and shimmy” school of footballers (oh, so long ago…). He was in the wrong team at the wrong time. I fully expected him to flourish in Spain, but I guess a few million euros helps him with the pain of failure. Looking forward to seeing him tomorrow.

  9. Rasp says:

    Morning Carlitto,

    Thanks for your post – your name now features in the list of authors to the right.

    I had quite a few disagreements with paulinho (a well known blogger from elsewhere) about Hleb. It seems that opinions were divided as to whether Hleb of Flamini was the greater loss to the side. I think the criminal thing was that we let Gilberto go too – he still plays for Brazil! To sell 3 first choice midfielders at the same time with no incoming replacements was bizarre, yet somehow AW managed to keep us in the top four.

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The fairest crticism of Helb was always his lack of directness and goalscoring. Rosicky and Nasri any better?
    And morning all.

  11. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky,

    Yes, IMO Nasri (bought as Hleb’s replacement?) and Rosicky have a more positive effect on the team in terms of their contribution towards goalscoring. Rosicky is pretty good defensively too which could not be said of Hleb.

  12. Red Arse says:


    At first I thought you were suggesting that Hleb was a weaner, as in a piglet bought for fattening and slaughtering to provide ham for the table!

    But I think you were referring to the sausage, weiner, sold in good old NY, NY. 🙂

    He actually looks more like Wurzel Gummidge to me, so I agree we should blame him for everything, including scaring the birds away! 🙂

  13. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am not so sure. I have always been critical of our effectiveness and lack of goals from the wide forward positions. I have never been really sure where either Nasri or Rosicky’s ideal positions are. Recently, I am more convinced that Nasri suits a more central role.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Micky . I agree re: Nasri. But as good as he is,he is no Cesc and Cesc must take the central role, therefore with AA wanting to drift inside and with Nasri doing the same, we are left with no width. Same applies to TR.

    A tricky problem but one that is inevitable with the purchase of so many similar players

  15. Red Arse says:


    I don’t have any rants, really. I’d ruther watch and chat about Arsenal more than anything else, outside of personal relationships, for all my bitching over size, tactics, money, yada, yada! 🙂

  16. Radgoon says:

    Have to disagree with you when you say he was “more interested in exhibiting his technical brilliance than helping his team win games”

    Hleb ran his socks off for the team and is up there with Freddie and Parlour as a midfielder who constantly trascks back to help out his full back. Arshavin and Nasri could learn a lot from Hleb’s team ethic and work ethic. At the end of 90 minutes, he’d have his socks round his ankles as he’d trudge off the pitch.

    Agree though that he wasn’t as incisive as he should have been but i’d argue it’s no coincidence that our results suffered when he left us.

    You just know that tomorrow he is going to rasp one in from 20 yards just to p!ss us off!

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi Radgoon,

    Its all about opinions, I don’t remember Hleb being geat defensively but I do remember screaming SHOOOT at him on many occasions. Wengerball works but as with all other systems, it requires a killer instinct in front of goal to reap rewards.

  18. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The big width issue. Totally agree how we become too narrow. We simply do not have natural wingers although exponents of the much lauded 4-3-3 will say they are unnecessary. However, that does suppose you have great quality full backs, which we don’t. We have old styley 4-4-2 full backs.
    Not unaturally, I think I have a solution. Stick RVP back out wide. Chamakh gives us a new dimension up front, and RVP can move at pace with the ball.

  19. Carlito11 says:

    Cheers Rasp- an honour!

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Almost incredibly, I have a problem and no solution. So please help. If DB10 were fit and raring to go, where would he play in our present day line up? This causes me much hurt when I think of players like AA.

  21. Red Arse says:

    Agree with you 100% Mickey, in your confirmation of BR’s point about becoming too narrow.

    Although it’s no surprise agreeing with you two. 🙂

  22. Radgoon says:

    True Mickey, he was very frustrating in the final 3rd but he turned defence into attack very well and although he wasn’t at all a prolific asssister, he was a very direct player which helped us greatly. Too often nowadays we are too slow in our build-up, allowing opposing teams to re-organise and shut us out and that is where we then miss someone to get in behind like you are referring.

    If RvP is to play out wide, it has to be on the right where he can cut in and casue problems. He just isn’t a winger as he can;t take players on and can’t cross very well either and so is wasted out on the left.

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Red Arse,
    That’s because BR and myself are foodies, and you are what you eat. I am part lobster and part Dartmoor reared Belted Galaway.

  24. Rasp says:

    You’re welcome Carlito – I’ve even managed to spell your name correctly second time round 😳

  25. Red Arse says:


    Your reference to Belted Galloways at 11:54, reminded me that when I go to Rules in Covent Garden, they serve beef obtained exclusively from their herd in the highlands, of Scotland, where they originated.

    Not sure of the exact details but the meat is wonderful. There is a herd of “polo mints” as we call them, near where I live, too. (not Scotland).

  26. Davi says:

    The best part of the winning mentality came under wenger.
    Even with the players he inherited, vieira was the one who that attitude the most and he then built a second highly successful side that was nothing to do with george graham’s squad.

  27. rockylives says:

    I can’t agree with the level of criticism aimed at Hleb. He was an integral part of the young team that came so close to becoming champions in 2008 and, as well as remembering the times we yelled ‘shoot!’ how about also remembering all the wonderful team goals we scored that year (pundits and fans alike were drooling over our play).
    It’s true that Hleb never really lived up to his potential. Lack of goal scoring will particularly be the thing that stops him ever being considered a really good player, but for a while, for us, he was outstanding.

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Red Arse,
    There’s a herd of Galloway’s in London?!?!
    On a serious note, the old fashion breeds will always be better, although more expensive, as they grow far slower and have a smaller meat ratio. They were virtually bred out during the agricultural revolution, although they survive, as the new upstarts cannot survive the harsher environment of the Moors. Hence their existence in Scotland, Wales and higher Moorlands like Dartmoor.
    Where would DB10 play in today’s team?

  29. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Very much right time, right place in Hleb’s case. Bit like Perry Groves!

  30. Carlito11 says:

    Hi Davi- with respect to Viera’s prodigious abilities and winning mentality- wouldn’t you concede that the dressing room atmosphere he came into in 96 would have been a formative experience for him? I would posit the suggestion that having the likes of Seaman, Adams, Keown, Dixon, Winterburn and Wright with their no holds barred aggressive winners’ mentality, helped to shape the winning mentality of the new signings. I wish we could say the same today but we can’t, can we?

  31. Carlito11 says:

    Not forgetting the Romford Pele!

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Any news on RVP?
    And, where would DB10 play in our present team?

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I think DB10 should play in the same place that AA should play in!

  34. Carlito11 says:

    DB10 would necessitate a return to 442 IMO or maybe a 4-1-3-2 to suit our more progressive midfield. You couldn’t ask him to be the target man and what a waste on the wing… mind you the same is true with AA!

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah Ha, my point exactly, and that is what I think we should do. The 4-1-3-2 option, and I would put Verm in the “1” position to drop back and help Kos and Squil as Gibbs and Eboue really push forward to add the width.

  36. MickyDidIt89 says:

    In other words

    Ebou Kos Squil Gibbs
    …JW Cesc Nas
    ……AA Cham/RVP

  37. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooops, missed out Verm.

    Ebou Kos Squil Gibbs
    …JW Cesc Nas
    ……AA Cham/RVP

  38. Carlito11 says:

    Micky- I’m a Song fan and think he should be the “1” in this system with TV at CB. The problem with the system is it looks narrow and if Theo can recapture that early season blaze I’d keep him down the wing…

  39. kelsey says:

    Afternoon all.

    I have no time for Hleb, who didn’t like the Big city lights and now finds himself at the croosroads of motorways in England at the place called Birmingham.At least he will have a vast choice of curries.

    My rant is about the astronomical wages the players earn plus all the various sponsorship deals and that a so called top flight footballer in the PL has no loyalty nowadays, and can stay in the top tier for 2 years and then in theory never have to work again.Even rooney,crouch,terry and whoever can’t spend all that whoring.

    The fan is becoming more and more distant from the club, but that is the world today, especially if like us you follow a top team.

  40. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am a Song fan too. I would, however, love to see Verm in there. But both can switch around as well as into the CB positions. Theo, I would like to see him down the middle of the 4-1-3-2 with any of Chamakh, Bendy, RvP or AA, subject to form and availability.

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am going into a period of the day where I can no longer multi task. I need to be reasonably good at my work for while. Later, hopefully.

  42. Carlito11 says:

    How about us doing a cheeky 3-5-2 like the Barcelona of Koeman and Romario? With TV in the Koeman role? 😉

  43. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Deal. Lets shake on that!
    I actually prefer your 4-1-3-2. Its the same thing, only more specific.
    Really off now. We have solved everything. Just do it Arsene, you know we are right.

  44. Carlito11 says:

    *hands shaking* 😉

  45. Rasp says:


    I have never questioned Hleb’s ability, but feel that his talent almost got in the way. Had he been less gifted he may have taken the simple option once in a while. Once Hleb left, Fabregas really emerged as a world class palyer. For me, Flamini and Gilberto were a greater loss to the side.

  46. rockylives says:

    Hi Rasp. I thought that Flamini-Cesc-Hleb-Rosicky worked brilliantly for us in 07/08 and, barring the Eduardo injury and subsequent fallout, might have been good enough to win us the title.
    Yes, we did have a tendency to try to walk the ball into the net, but the fact is we actually managed to do it quite a lot of the time. We scored 74 goals that season compared with 63 the year before and 68 the year after.

  47. SharkeySure says:

    Afternoon All

    Mickey – Bergkamp and Cesc in the same team..? Wow!

    In the current set up, Cesc would take the box to box role MF role, Song/Diaby the DM role and DB10 the AM role. BUt we’ve three moreforwards on the pitch ant RF, CF and LF that would prob leave us a bit too open without the ball.

    We don’t really have a RF in the Parlour mould who’d put in a good def shift and keep us solid. Gibbs could be an optin at LF though.

    Having said all of that DB10 operated fantsatically delivering killer passes into space tgat other teams simply do not give us anymore. Right time right place for DB10..??

    It certainly was for Freddie Ljungberg playing iwth DB10. There’s hardly a player ever existed in world football that could have made Freddie look as good as DB10 made him look. I love Freddie but he really owes DB10 a lot.

  48. Rasp says:

    Thanks rocky,

    I think other factors affected those stats and of course the year after we lost the whole midfield. I would given Hleb more credit if he had a lot of assists – but he didn’t. Some people would say that OK, he didn’t have an assist, but he made the pass 2 before that, which I think is ridiculous. I’m sure TH would not have liked to see Hleb receiving the ball when going on a a well timed run. Cesc is the master of the through ball, Hleb seemed to shun the opportunity.

  49. SharkeySure says:

    I’m gonna start typing my posts in Outlook then paste them on here…my typos are just getting ridiculous now !

  50. rockylives says:

    Rasp, I don’t want to go overboard defending Helb, but he managed five goals and eight assists in 2007/8. He was certainly no Pires or Ljungberg but made a contribution and also helped us dominate teams by denying them the ball.

  51. Rasp says:

    I see your point rocky. I wonder who Hleb will have to interact with in the brum midfield, in many ways it was a strange move for them. I think some clubs value ex Arsenal players because they foolishly believe that one player can make them play a bit like us.

  52. rockylives says:

    I just hope we don’t turn out with the same attitude we did against WBA or Hleb really will have a field day.
    Do you think he’ll get booed? I hope not (even though I agree with you that the way he tried to wangle an exit from the club was pretty shabby). I would rather save the booing for real villains like Cashley, Barndoor and Shawcross.

  53. Rasp says:

    I think he is likely to be greeted with a murmured jeer rather than full blooded boos. I don’t think many supporters or even his teammates warmed to him. Still at least he has left that noisy London for the peaceful and sleepy environs of birmingham 😉

  54. rockylives says:

    The George Best of Belarus heading off to the Brummies was about the strangest transfer of the summer. Well, it made me laugh, anyway…

  55. shakinswedens says:

    I don’t reckon he’ll get booed although I kind of hope he does because that’ll mean the crowd are up for it which they patently weren’t against WBA.

  56. shakinswedens says:

    Changed my profile name to my usual handle on other sites because Carlito11 was already taken on Gravatar- this whole blogging business is quite a minefield! 😀

  57. Big Raddy says:

    Very confusing Carlito/Shakin. The gravatar business is a veritable minefield.

    I have thought to change my name & gravatar but somehow I been become attached to BR.

    Must get writing the pre-Brum post …….

  58. Red Arse says:

    Just got back, and am a bit surprised there is quite a bit of ill feeling towards Hleb, apparently.

    I can only comment on him as a player, not as to his character or motives, but he had only one good season for us, which was absolutely fabulous, unfortunately it was his last. 😦

    I was sorry to see him go.

    It seems I am in the minority again. 🙂

  59. Big Raddy says:


    Seems so. It was great to see him on the ball but I felt he rarely contributed to the team effort.

    One good season doesn’t make a career but it sure makes one hell of a lot of money!!

  60. Red Arse says:


    I agree his contribution to the overall team effort left something to be desired, but on a more objective level, his personal skill, in his last season, had me purring with delight.

    This may sound like sophistry (God, I hope Kelsey is not reading this 🙂 ) coming from an Arsenal man, thru and thru, but I am quite genuine in my appreciation of his exquisite footballing skills. 🙂

  61. rockylives says:

    Not a minority of one Redders – I’ve been sticking up for the Hlebster too.

  62. Red Arse says:

    Excellent Rocky! 🙂

    Knew I could rely on you. It’s all subjective opinion, I admit, so there is no right or wrong, but I just felt he deserved some support.

    BR agreed about his skills too, but was not impressed with his contribution to the team, which I understand. 🙂

  63. rockylives says:

    True enough Reds – all subjective, apart from FIL, in which case it’s allowable looniness.
    It’s funny how some players divide opinion more than most (Hleb being a prime example).

  64. Red Arse says:

    That’s true Rocky.

    But at least on here different opinions are acceptable. On other sites, to voice a dissenting opinion is tantamount to declaring war! 🙂

    Anyway, it’s O.K. for you guys in Canada, with half the day in front of you, I am forced, forced I tell you, to go and quaff my share of a bottle of Pinot Noir tonight! 🙂 Eclectic taste in wines. 🙂

    Nite, Rocky, good to talk to you! 🙂

  65. Rasp says:

    Don’t forget the ice cream incident with Hleb; or the deliberate card he earned so he didn’t play the last games of the season; or the stupid excuse that he found London too noisy; or the lack of respect he showed when at Barca when he actively campaigned to lure Cesc away; or how he whined a couple of seasons later when he couldn’t even get on their bench and admitted that he may have made a mistake in wanting to leave Arsenal. You can admire his skill as much as you like, but he’s still a little weasel of a man.

  66. rockylives says:

    Redders: Nite – my wine-drinking starts in about three hours time!

    Rasp: all fair points – he did behave like a total twonk.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    OK. Let us bow to the mercurial skills of the Hlebster and hope he has a stinker tomorrow.

    This evening I am in the kitchen where a fresh salmon is about to be lovingly spiced and fried with a wild rice and fresh peas accompaniment. All washed down by a delicious Chilean Sauvignon Blanc – can’t afford the NZ 😦

  68. rockylives says:

    BR – sounds excellent. Fresh or farmed?

  69. 26may1989 says:

    Evening all, am calling in from Kazakhstan – yup, am in Borat Land, awaiting a plane home and the match tomorrow. 

    I have to take issue with the comments of Carlitto and Barum romanticising George Graham’s legacy. He had an epic first few years as our manager but was pants after our great 1991 title win. I think we finished 2nd or perhaps 3rd in 1992 but the four seasons after that tell the truth about the second half of Graham’s tenure: we finished 10th, 4th, 12th and 5th in those years, playing revolting football along the way. Winning mentality? Give me a break. And yes, I know we won some cups in those years but they barely register when our potency in the league was frittered away. 

    Graham did leave a fantastically talented defensive unit after hebwas sacked but as the likes of Dixon, Winterburn and Parlour have all said, Wenger revitalised them and got them playing to the peak of their talents for an Indian summer in their careers. But without the amazing signings of Petit, Vieira, Overmars and Anelka, there’s no way we would have won the title in 1998. The winning mentality we displayed was a blend of the steel of the defence (including Petit and Vieira) and the dynamism of the attack. 

    Oh and by the way, having gone to a lot of reserve team games in the early 1990s, I can confirm that the young players Graham left Wenger (via Bruce Rioch) were shockingly bad. I remember for example seeing Southend’s reserves comfortably beat ours. And bear in mind, Graham inherited an excellent generation: Rocky, Thomas, Adams, Keown, Merson, Parlour, plus some great older players like O’Leary and Charlie Nicholas. What he left by comparison was embarrassingly bad. 

    Graham did some great stuff, and it is fair to say the current side need to toughen up. But we can’t gloss over the damage Graham did to Arsenal after 1991 (while taking bungs for signing rubbish players).

    Ok, I think that counts as a rant. Look forward to checking in with you lot on Sunday. Have fun tomorrow. 

  70. barumgooner says:

    Evening all. Thanks for posting my rant.

    26may. That was my point. I’m not saying that GGs reign was altogether brilliant but he had the defensive unit in place. Wenger did brilliantly well in prolonging those careers whilst mixing it with flair going forward making imo the perfect side. Not the invincibles but the defence of Seaman, dixon adams bould keown and winterburn and added to that the attacking players who could perform safe in the knowledge that the defence was set behind them. My rant wasn’t so much that AW is a lesser manager than GG but that Somewhere along the way AW seems to have lost the plot with having that balance and having read Rasps rant he is correct. I blame Hleb aswell !
    Nasri is no Hleb though, the boy has it all and Rosicky just needs to get his confidence back imo.

  71. Wolfe says:

    I don’t think we should boo him.

    Instead, every time he touches the ball, everyone in the stands should point and laugh hysterically.

  72. 26may1989 says:

    I don’t think we are agreeing though Barum, to me 90% of the overall package (players, tactics, psychology) Graham left was rubbish and 90% of what was achieved from 1997 onwards was down to Wenger. Graham left some (but only some) great players but by the end had destroyed even their ability to do anything genuinely good, and we were certainly a million miles from having the winning mentality Wenger brought.

  73. barumgooner says:

    Haha 26may. U do seem to be trying very hard to disagree with me. Can we pretend GG was never mentioned. My point was and is that the team of the early Wenger years had the balance of an excellent if somewhat boring defensive side blended brilliantly with the flair and freedom allowed by Arsenes philosophy. Good defenders were added to the squad and the balance was maintained however the last few years have seen him move away from this balance to all out attack and this imo is the failing in the current squad. I do still however believe that we have a great squad capable of winning but they have to play the whole game of football, not just attacking football.

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Farmed Rocky.

    I too spent thousands of pounds watching crap football week after week following the GG teams, but I can forgive him anything after 26/5/89 and my first night in Copenhagen.

    1-0 to the Arsenal is still my favourite song and is one of my Desert Island Discs

    Barum I agree with your last comment, I would prefer us to be better organised and focussed on defensive play. We have to get back to keeping clean sheets, and build from there.

  75. rockylives says:

    Interesting comparison with GG and AW. They both had brilliant starts, presided over memorable teams and then entered fallow periods (although GG did manage to keep the Cups coming for a while even when we were playing sh*te).
    Not many managers remain consistently successful at one club. Rednose is the obvious exception.

    BR: I got told years ago by an angler to only ever buy wild (not fresh as I said earlier) salmon, which I duly took to heart. Problem is it’s a darn sight more expensive and I do sometimes wonder if it’s one of those silly things that you do without really analysing it. Anywho, how did yours go down? I assume the sauvignon helped…

  76. rockylives says:

    Well, as it’s late in Blighty, I’ll set the ball rolling with my preferred team for tomorrow, given our injury situation:

    Eboue Song Squillaci Clichy
    Nasri Diaby
    Walcott Arshavin

  77. Hi rocky

    We’re going to have to find you a couple of Yanks to converse with late in the day 😉

  78. rockylives says:

    Don’t worry Peaches, I often talk to myself. Even have arguments with myself!

  79. rockylives says:

    I once punched me.

  80. rockylives says:

    No you didn’t.

  81. rockylives says:

    Yes you did.

  82. rockylives says:

    See what I mean?

  83. rockylives says:

    Barum – where are you when I need you?

  84. Sorry, I was checking emails, I’ve had a manic day and only just sat down to find that MickyDidIt89 and Carlito11 have both sent in posts!!!!!!!!

    Barum should check in quite soon rocky – I’ll email ArseChicago he may want to chat/fight or the aussies often check in now too

  85. Oooooh Song in the back four!!!!!! Controversial, never gonna happen though IMO – it’ll be Djourou I’m afraid

  86. rockylives says:

    I have no doubt you’re right about Djourou Peaches and I’m not against the lad, it’s just that our regular RB is out, our only other CB has only been with us for a few weeks and it’s even possible that Gibbs will start. With all those changes I would rather play a chap who’s had a lot of game time this season. Song has, JD hasn’t.
    Mind you, I do like JD’s height and if he gets a run in the team he could become a stalwart. It’s incredible how some people are writing him off.

  87. gnarleygeorge9 says:


    Don’t forget me. Me, myself, I constitute a nightshift, as long as I don’t have to put up with deluded indians(that doesn’t include you chary, I have the utmost respect for you, & mayank, sorry old fella you got caught in the cross fire, I apologise).

    With The Ashes coming up, there may be a few poms who want to give it to me which I will handle. I must coz we are shite, I have to admit. But the old Oz v MMC summer is the pinacle of cricket. I’m/we’re looking forward to this

    I’d prefer to keep it all things Arsenal. Speaking of which here is my all time favourite Arsenal mix.

    …….& it was for a Georgie Graham triumph as well 🙂

  88. barumgooner says:

    Like it GG, great mix. Your boys always raise their game for the ashes so it’l be a different story then i’m sure. (same outcome though hopefully).
    Rocky, sorry early night for me last night. Very funny though sir you are indeed quite mad. By the way whats wrong with Kos ? and when is TV due back ?

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dobraha ranku,
    That’ll be a Belarusian “Good Morning”. Cunning eh. As for you Mr Hleb…your loss buddy, and I hope you have found it more to your liking in Birmingham!
    Missed out on a couple of good chats last night. Oh, the misery of The North Bank in the eighties, well until we know when! Some talk of GG putting that defence together, and a great one it was, but lets not forget the home grown heart of that team. Mr Arsenal’s everywhere and something we desparately miss today.
    At some point, could someone fill me in on the injuries. Very lost.
    Theo, Verm, Bendy, RVP, Cesc.
    Its hard for a chap to select a team.
    I think it could be a bumpy ride, so I’ll go for the 1-0, which is based on me assuming that none of the above are available.

  90. barumgooner says:

    I saw on SSN last night that Nic and Theo available

  91. Big Raddy says:

    I am very excited about the prospect of Theo and Nik returning. At last we have attacking alternatives. It will be fascinating to see how AW mixes and matches.

    I expect one of them to get 20 minutes today and possibly a start on Tues/Weds

  92. Big Raddy says:

    I have just read that Gerald Houllier has said Heskey is as good a player as Drogba, the only difference is confidence.

    He gets paid millions a year for his football knowledge. Is there something I am missing?

  93. 26may1989 says:

    Ok, my last word (on this thread) re Wenger vs Graham. As my handle suggests, I wallow in 1989 and 1991, I just hate what GG did after that. But to say AW and GG have similar records of early success and later fallow periods does a huge injustice to Wenger. There have been no pots for five years but with zero funds and while the club has gone through a massive and risky transition, he’s kept us at the top table. To me, that’s an achievement that ranks alongside winning trophies. Graham by comparison had no such limitation but managed to take a successful and energetic team and drive it down to failure, mediocrity and negativity.

    But I’ll say one thing in GG’s favour, employing him as a defensive coach, and keeping him well away from the cheque book and petty cash, would be great.

    My predicted team for today:
    Eboué Squillaci Djourou Clichy
    Song Wilshere
    Nasri Rosicky Arshavin

    And Gnarly George, sorry mate, but I loved watching the second India v Aus test last week – our lot can go into The Ashes with confidence. Looking forward to it!

  94. Rasp says:

    New post……..

  95. […] No Subs at Half Time……. I Blame Hleb […]

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