Nik Bendtner. Should he stay or should he go?

Mr Bendtner is a man who creates waves, everyone has an opinion about Nik and for a man who has yet to play a consistent first team role in the Premiership, he attracts an enormous amount of publicity. Why? Perhaps it is his self-belief that rubs the humble Anglo – Saxon mentality up the wrong way or is it his happy swagger and the fact he finds football amusing?

This post is not designed to defend Nik (though in places it surely will), it is my perspective as to whether Arsenal should remain his employer.

I reside in Denmark where Nik is perceived with superstar status. Coming from a small country with a football mad population of just over 5 million, he is the shining star; the successor to the Laudrup brothers, Peter Schmeichel, Preben Elkjær and Johnny Jensen (OK, maybe not JJ)  he is lauded wherever he goes. Front cover of all the society mags, front cover of the tabloids, the face of  advertising campaigns, and the reason why every Arsenal game is shown on Danish TV.

Bendtner was still in Arsenal’s youth team when he received his first International cap, scoring on debut. He had already played in the U-21 World Cup at the age of 17, scoring regularly. He was voted Denmark’s Player of Year at both youth and senior level. He was poached by Mr Wenger at just 16 and made his first team debut at just 18.

Is it any wonder this lad has self-confidence?

The question is, where does he go from here? Has he a first team future at Arsenal, and if not should he be sold?

This season started badly for Nik who had a tough World Cup campaign, picking up a muscle injury before South Africa but considered so important that he played in all Denmark’s games and scored against Cameroon. He came back to Arsenal crocked, was unable to get any pre-season and consequently has had a stop-start season.

However his stats are very good. This season despite only starting 14 games (+ 12 subs), he has scored 9 and had 7 assists. In his Arsenal career he has started 79 games (+71 subs) and scored 45 with 22 assists. These are the returns of a top striker, especially one of a man who only recently turned 23 y.o.

Yet a percentage of Arsenal fans remain unconvinced. How many times do we read of his “dreadful first touch”, his lack of pace or his inability to turn a game? His self-confidence is seen as a negative (which to me seems a ridiculous argument) – he is too big for his boots etc etc.

My concerns lie more with where he fits into the current Arsenal squad.

We have yet to see where Bendtner’s natural position lies. He is neither fish nor fowl. As far as I can see he has the strength to lead the line and yet his passing ability is such that his talents are wasted as a target man. He has the vision to play as second striker but AW prefers to play him on the right when allied with RvP (I have yet to see the benefit of using NB as a winger). He is superb in the air (witness the brilliant header v Orient), yet doesn’t attack the 6 yard line when the ball comes in from the wings. He has fine dribbling skills yet continually tries to beat too many players and loses the ball.  His first touch is inconsistent – compare the first touch for his goal v Ipswich compared to the one in the dying minutes at Camp Nou.

My guess is that Mr Wenger views him with similar perplexity. Our first choice strikers must be RvP and Theo with Nasri or Arshavin completing the frontline. We have a choice of Vela, Chamakh or Bendtner for the bench and rotation, and I cannot understand the signing of Chamakh if he is to be 5th choice striker. As such Nik must be considered well down the pecking order for 2011/12. Will his ego/agent accept this?

How must Nik feel when having scored so many goals on the way to Wembley, that he didn’t get a starting role? Furious, I imagine. How does he feel about the signing of Chamakh when he has yet to be given a proper run at CF? How does a man who believes he is one of the World’s top strikers feel about being on the bench week after week?

In my opinion he has to seek pastures new, though I would be very sad to see him go. I just cannot see where he fits into Arsenal’s future. We need another striker but it is not NB, it is a proper left winger or a fox-in-the-box. RvP’s propensity for injury is the only reason I can see for keeping him,  and even in this case, I would prefer to see Walcott take a more central role. I cannot see NB being prepared to accept al ong-term role as second-string right winger, can you?

So, if it is true that Bundesliga clubs have Bendter as a summer target then I am afraid we should take the money and watch his career blossom elsewhere. My main problem with this being that Danish TV will start to show German soccer instead of my beloved Arsenal. On second thoughts, BENDTNER MUST STAY

Hot News – The Fun Run to raise funds for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint is this Saturday. There wil be kids and adult events running around the outside of the Emirates from 10.45.  If you’re coming to watch the game in Club level get down there early to be part of the fun. See you there. peachesgooner

Be a Gooner, Be a Giver – Saturday 19th March

One of our young gooners has signed up to do the Fun Run this Saturday for Arsenal’s chosen charity Centrepoint and it would be fantastic if any of you felt you wanted to support her and the charity by donating on her giving page.

The Fun Run will take place at the Emirates stadium this Saturday the 19th March 2011. Centrepoint do such good work for homeless young people in London and Arsenal are hoping to raise £500,000 this season to help fund the refurbishment of a facility in Soho.


130 Responses to Nik Bendtner. Should he stay or should he go?

  1. george graham says:

    Arsenal do not have a replacement for NB. He scores against teams where other asrenal players would fail. He is their plan B!

  2. Morning all

    Raddy – we wouldn’t want to stop the Danes being part of the Arsenal family would we 😉 I would hate Nik to leave Arsenal and go on to have a fanatstic career somewhere else. So lets put the cat amongst the pigeons here, if a striker like Nik doesn’t fit into our system than maybe there’s something wrong with our system.

    Maybe we should play Nik as part of a 4-4-2 Plan B because we know that while we have Cesc we’re only ever going to set up as 4-3-3 and squeezing Nik into Theo’s shorts on the right wing definitely doesn’t work.

    Poor Nik is a square peg being asked to play as a round one 😦

  3. Evonne says:

    Excellent post, thank you. I am a big admirer of Bendtner; most of his goals are fantastic to watch. He misses sitters, but as you rightly pointed out, he is only 23 and he will improve, I have no doubt about it. His confidence is impressive; I’d much rather see him smiling (and chewing), then Arshavin looking at his boots.
    Since Fabianski and Szczesny most Arsenal games are shown on Polish TV, and on Russian too because of Andrei – I am spoiled 🙂

  4. Wonderman says:

    Good Morning Big Raddy, I could have written that post almost word for word . I agree with everything you say. As I coach myself, I am always looking at off the ball movement of the players in all three units ( defence midfield and attack) Bendtner’s movement when he plays his favoured striker’s role is very poor and almost gives us no focal point to our attack. It often looks as though defenders like playing against him as other than aerialy, he poses little threat. Compare him to Van P who is always on the move and gives as good as he gets , and Cham who again is always on the move, Niks mobility is poor. Your point on his erratic 1st touch again spot on.

    But you cant ignore his scoring record, I have come to the the conclusion that he flourishes in a 4-4 2 ( remember him and Lupoli ?) and therefore I suspect he will move on in the summer

  5. Wonderman says:

    Has anyone else noticed that anytime Bendtner scores only a couple of his team mates celebrate with him ?

  6. george graham – exactly, I was writing my comment while you’d already written yours.

  7. Man-Samuel says:

    I think Mr. Wenger should off load quiet a no. of players such as Bendtner, Chamakha, Alumnia, Diaby, Rosicky, Denilson, Clichy,Fabregas, Arsharvin. Arsenal needs clinical passers, finishers, tacklers and stoppers. we have not won a single without song. Arsenal fans need trophies why should they continue paying the money without any joy.

  8. Gooner in Exile says:

    Very interesting Raddy. It is certainly difficult to argue against the stats. How does RvP and Theo compare I wonder?

    Personally I fear we may be seeing RvPs last days at Arsenal. With that in mind do we accept that in the summer the more likely exits are Cesc, RvP, AA23, and Diaby?

    If that is the case perhaps NikB has got a future, alongside Cham and Theo up front. The midfield would then be three from Song, Jack, Nasri, Ramsay, Frimpong, JET, Lansbury.

    Probably it will all depend on the way this season plays out. But personally I don’t want to see NikB go, it wasn’t so long ago some fans had written off Song and Djourou

  9. Man-Samuel – thats a bit of a cull!!!!!

    I love Wengerball, I love the way when it works it’s so stunning to watch but it is reliant on key players being at the top of their game and the problem we have is that when any of them are missing their replacements are just a little off the pace.

    We need to be a little more flexible – thats all 😀

  10. Karim Benzema says:

    Nik can score goals but he has an appalling first touch which he hasn’t improved. Sometimes you only get one chance, for example against Barcelona in the second leg, a sure first touch and a toe poke and an Arsenal are through. His instincts in tight games are questionable, he never seems desperate to score (think Ian Wright always trying something new) He would do much better at Juventus… bye bye nik

  11. Irishgunner says:

    I’ve never hid the fact that I think Nikki B had the making of a fine player, he just needs far, far, far more consistency.

    That’s me for the day 😆 Off to the pub – I love Paddy’s Day 😀

  12. Gooner In Exile says:

    Hehe Irish, enjoy the day.

    Personally I think Nik just needs a run of games. But last year when he had a chance he too was injured and AA23 filled in up front.

  13. Red Arse says:

    Raddy, a nicely written and cleverly crafted post. 🙂

    Knowing you have a soft spot for Bendy, I was intrigued at how you highlighted his strong points but did not shirk from mentioning his weaker areas.

    When I first saw him in the youth teams and then at Birmingham, I thought we had a great prospect for the future. Since then my enthusiasm has been coloured by both disappointment and joy.

    He disappoints by lacking control and anticipation, as mentioned by Wonderman. He seems always to be on the back foot and waiting for the ball, rather than being proactive.

    He gives joy, because he can come out of nowhere and score valuable goals. His goal scoring technique is as good as anyone’s.

    Disappointment rating = 6.5; Joy rating = 3.5

    Can he reverse those ratings? Maybe, with good coaching, but the jury is still out.

    Come on Bendy, show us your true worth!! 🙂

  14. arsenal4ever says:

    BEndtner out Benzema in!! Simple!!!

  15. Rasp says:

    Morning all, fine post Raddy.

    Aaah Nik B, I used to be in two minds but now I’m just ambivalent 🙄

    How much will Nik improve at 23? He has the touch of a brick wall most of the time. He’s not blessed with a great turning circle or the acceleration of a whippet but somehow I always feel bouyed and optimistic when he comes on the pitch. I like his indomitable spirit and his stats cannot be ignored.

    He would not be top of my list to offload in the summer, but I guess that will be his decision not Arsenal’s.

  16. kharadonha says:

    Good day Gooners,

    pleas I want each and everyone of you to agree or disagree with me. As a manager, you’ll never produce best strikers in the world as it is a difficult task to do. but Wenger prefers the easiest way to preserve a lot of money for Arsenal off which he’ll soon be shown the exit door. managers always go for ready made strikers, take a look at Mourinho, Sir Ferguson and now King Kenny Dalglish they all opt to go for top strikers with superb movement on the box.

    My advice to Wenger, is to ask Bergkamp to help you in that department.

    I wish each and every Arsenal supporter all the best as we also want to smile. Arsenal should realise that Arsenal is a big team and ranked no 5 in the World richest clubs. what does that tell you?

    that’s your assignment for this weekend.

  17. Rasp says:

    P.S. Anyone who has not read Arseblog today should have a look – hilarious, I’m an honorary Irishman for the day 🙂

  18. tommystout says:

    morning all.
    fab article BRaddy, this guy certainly is a bit of an enigma, i am always in 2 minds about him and am still not sure of the answer.
    I like him, i think he will probably be a world beater anywhere else, but at 23 is he really going to improve that much more. I love his confidence, i really felt for him when he missed a case full of sitters (forget who against), was applauded off and bagged a hatrick next game. Quality.
    I’d like to see wenger experiment with a 4.4.2 system then i think nik would be accommodated more readily. Until then i think he is always going to be a misfit.
    BRaddy asks for a left sided attacker, i keep my eyes pealed for any new Ryo Myaichi vids whilst hes at Feyenoord, he looks like he’s going to be it and fill AA’s boots sooner rather than later.

    hmm how do you embed it, someone may help me. 🙂

  19. tommystout says:

    i did it woopee 🙂

  20. lted says:

    sorry but I cant stick for him. Sadly he thinks of himself as a world beater but puts an effort of a 10 year old spoiled kid. I see him in the news often for the wrong reasons which tells the whole story – he is just not focused on his football. Never saw Henry or Bergkamp’s pictures going to a nightclub after a defeat that ment so much for the fans. He just doesnt put effort and soul for the club. Nothing wrong in being cocky but not for the wrong reasons. He had his chances he failed epicly so time to ship him as a dead wood and move forward.

  21. HCAA says:

    Morning all at AA.

    Bendtner is definitely an enigma, & like his manager, divides fans opinions. Capable of brilliance & the dire in equal measure, as we saw last season against Burnley in the PL, then a few days later against Porto in CL. I agree with you Peaches, Bendtner does struggle as a lone-striker & he’s definitely not a winger. I read the article that compared Wenger to the legendary Shanks, & agreed with certain things, but Shankly brought Liverpool up from the old 2nd Div. & stuck rigidly to his tactical philosophy. Plus he didn’t have ‘Johnny-come-lately’ billionaires buying rival clubs to contend with. And though Shanks went 7 years without silver-ware, football was so much different. The fans that filled the terraces were working-class people, a fact not lost on Shankly. He understood the importance of entertaining people who had worked in their factories all week & parted with their hard-earned money to support his team. I’m not sure Wenger has that same mentality. Wenger has deviated from that which made him successful. When we played 4-4-2 with real wingers we were devestating, and quite often we’d have games won by half-time. The 4-3-3 is flexible & can be 4-5-1, but it lacks a certain fluidity, & negates a lot of the attacking threat. Where would a Dennis Bergkamp fit into this system? I think Bendtner could have worked up front along-side Eduardo, & even van Persie, but we have no natural wingers anymore, which is why we often look impotent in the final third. I would love to see us return to 4-4-2, that’s when our beautiful really worked, 4-3-3, (4-5-1) is far too negative, and as you rightly point out in your post, might be the end of Bendtner’s career with us. The big difference between Shanks & Wenger is that Shankly didn’t tinker with his tactical approach, he always played with two up front, as did Bob Paisley. If Wenger is to be successful again, he needs to do that too. Maybe then Bendtner would flourish & become a club legend.

  22. shiv ramnoruth says:

    Great guy, just need to be more consistent. He should not go anywhere. I think next year would be excellent for him. He has the capacity and confidence needed, just some time will make him perfect. He, Chamakh and Van Persie are too good for Arsenal. Dreaming of a 4-3-3 where these three would be playing front. It will a great crazy day with lots of goals. Stay Nick, don’t go.

  23. Morning all, a good presentation of the puzzle Bendy sets to our playing system Radders.
    The trouble with Bendy is that he has moments of pure skill interspersed with poor first touches – yet we forget to see that his positioning is very good and he makes himself available for goal scoring opportunities – who can forget that in the winning goal against Barca he pulled Abidal out of position to allow Arshavin to place his goal?
    As for the disproportionate wailing/gnashing of teeth about his “over confidence” – I don’t have a problem with self confidence, you need that in a striker as he has to be selfish and self centred to do his job –score goals.
    Due to his size he’s not going to have the mesmerising dribbling skills/ball control wizardry of a Messi but I think to say he is no better than Heskey(as some fans around me on match days claim) is to engage in hyperbole to justify an untenable position.
    As to whether he should leave – a squad shake up is needed in the summer and Wenger has t address whether we continue to rely upon a 15-20 games a season first choice striker or we modulate our striking options.
    I don’t see Vela as an out and out striker, more like a creative winger, so at present our strikers are just Bendy, Robin and Chamakh with Theo being used as a winger also, although I think we should play him more in the Michael Owen type of role.
    If we keep Robin Bendy will get plenty of games due to injuries and rotation so I don’t see the problem, on the assumption Vela has no future here or is kept as a winger only.

  24. gnarleygeorge9 says:


  25. Gosportgooner says:


    Big Nic brings something to our game and we need a big centre forward. Trouble is, a winger he aint, so why play him there. Nic needs a decent run of games to settle in. Look at Song. Nobody thought much of him 2 yrs ago, now hes one of the firtst names on the sheet. Because he plays every week, his workrate and consistency have gone up.

  26. goonermichael says:

    I just saw the most disgusting incident involing a cyclist. They are generally scum in central London.

  27. Daniel Marino says:

    I could not understand as a former footballer, that this question is asked now and again.

    Bendetner is not good at all. A striker who can be pushed easily and who loses a ball from his feet and do not know where the goal post is not a striker. I call such player a lucky player.

    Bendetner could not be even half ability to that of Arshavin. Why do you want him to be there. I do not get it. Villa is on Loan a skill full player and a good striker and a good winger.

    Please send him to Germany. He is not a striker simply not good for Arsenal.


  28. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you for the kind comments.

    I think it is important to state that NB does not court the publicity he receives. He doesn’t have an image consultant or the backroom squad of Beckham.

    As to going out in the evening – why not? DB10 was happily married with children when he was at AFC, TH!4 is a saint and tee-total, but I bet he sowed his oats ;-).

    As Rasp says, I think NB will decide whether he stays. If AW can persuade him that Nik is a central cog in his squad he will stay, but if he is to be a peripheral figure, he will leave.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Nice avatar.

    As a committed cyclist, I am pleased to see you use the word “generally” !

  30. Wonderman says:

    Wenger has just confirmed Lehman will sign untiul the end of the season

  31. Judith Le'Strange says:

    Bendtner can be a good player but sometimes he appears to try too hard and perhaps needs more regular football. If he went who would Wenger buy some so called goal machine from abroad and then does absolutely nothing when they come to Arsenal, just like Chamakh who was great when he first arrived but has fizzled out and what’s happened to Nasri another one who seems to have declined in recent matches, is this because he’s being linked to Real and would like to move on? We need players who will actually stay loyal to the club when bought.

  32. Big Raddy says:

    Judith. Why should Nasri be loyal? He has no natural affiliation with AFC, he is a mercenary as are almost all the players. He will play for whoever pays him the most, and I don’t blame him for wanting to maximise his earning potential.

    Plus we have to accept that most foreign players dream of playing for Barca or Real. Sadly, that is just how it is.

    It is only us fans who are loyal (and Mr. Wenger)

  33. goonermichael says:

    Raddy there are exceptions :). Nice post but I’m not a big fan of Bendy.

  34. Gooner In Exile says:

    Good point re Nasri Raddy, altho I would add without Wenger we probably wouldn’t have signed Nasri or Cham or managed to keep Cesc as long as we have, or RvP for that matter.

    Interesting how rarely RvP is linked to other clubs, whereas some of our fans see him as indispensable for Arsenal.

    I take issue with criticisms of NikBs off field antics, they are built up by the media because in the main so few negative stories come from our squad off field.

    Jens has signed according to press reports.

  35. goonermichael says:

    Nicky can do what he wants in his own time as far as I’m concerned. Within reason of course. The presa are “generally” scum.

  36. Gooner In Exile says:

    You don’t need to add “generally” there GM 😀

  37. So(as Wenger said in his West Brom presser), no Fab or Theo for Saturday, the verminator out for the season and Johan “for at least 6 weeks” – hmmm, so why did he say “What am I going to do with 6 centre backs?” when we pleaded for another centre back to come in during January?
    I’m worried by the prospect of the squid and Kozzer being first choice till at least May..gulp.

  38. goonermichael says:

    TV is definitely out for the season. Most fans were saying this ages ago. I know that the backroom staff probably didn’t know but they should have bought another defender. Migel looks good but he has no experience in the prem.

  39. goonermichael says:

    GiE I like Patrick Barclay he’s a gooner.

  40. GM, I watched Miquel in a reserve game earlier this season, one in which we led 1 nil, then went down 4-1(I did a match report for AA on this) and to be fair then he didn’t look that great to me, a bit ponderous and prone to switching off.
    Of course he must have progressed since then, but enough to help us win our last 10 games?

  41. HCAA says:

    Does anyone agree that 4-3-3 (4-5-1) has hampered our progress & stifled a lot of our attacking instincts? Does anyone know why 4-4-2 has been completely abandoned?

  42. HCAA – it seems to me it is to accommodate Cesc. As he flourishes in the middle 3 of a 4-3-3 (or 4-5-1 when defending)than part of a 4 man midfield.
    It does seem to work better with Cesc. Jack and Song behind Theo, Robin and Nasri.
    It might be worth trying it with Arsh/Nasri playing on the left wing and him and Theo running forward to assist Robin.
    I’m undecided on that one.

  43. I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the manager but does this quote about Vermaelen ““In fairness he has not played since September, I never expected him to be fit before the end of the season” make you wonder why he didn’t buy in January ?

  44. HCAA says:


    I just think we were far more ruthless & incisive with 4-4-2, and carried a very genuine threat. Overmars & after him Pires used to destroy the opposition, whoever they were.How would Dennis Bergkamp or Thierry Henry fit into our system? Good as he is, Fabregas is no world-beater & doesn’t dictate the outcome of games in the same way that Pires, Bergkamp or Henry used to.

  45. RockyLives says:

    That’s an excellent laying-out of the pros and cons of Bendy.
    Like many I’m quite conflicted. He does some great things, does some woeful things, but seldom gets to play in his preferred position.
    On balance I think he just lacks that bit of class required to be a world class striker of the sort Arsenal need.
    Following on from Wright, Bergkamp, Anelka and Henry, is Bendy really the man to lead the line for Arsenal?
    Is he in the same class as Torres or Drogba?
    Sadly, to both questions, the answer is no. So on that basis, if he’s not prepared to stay with us as back-up and impact sub, he probably needs to go, because he can have a very decent career at one of the second tier teams (ie, outside the European big boys of Barca, Real M, Inter, AC, Bayern, ManU, Chavs and us.

  46. HCAA – that raises the old age dilemmas of do we make our players adopt our preferred system or do we adapt our system to make best use of our players?
    I’ll have to cop out there as I don’t really know what’s the best option, except to say truly great players, like those you list, would have shone in whatever system they played in.

  47. HCAA says:


    Shanks always played 4-4-2, Chelsea line-up mostly with 4-4-2, as does Ferguson. Even our ‘Invincibles’ were set up 4-4-2. Only Mourinho has successfully deployed the 4-4-3 over here, but he had the resources to buy players to fit that system, unfortunately we don’t.

  48. Red Arse says:


    As it is quiet on here today, I have a non footie question as a result of your 2:58.

    Your ‘old age dilemma’ has put me on the horns of a ‘dilemna’. 🙂

    I don’t know why, but my reaction to the spelling of dilemma/dilemna was one of total uncertainty.

    Is it dilemma (the way it sounds) or is it dilemna with a silent ‘n’? Other words with a silent ‘n’ are column, solemn, condemn and so on.

    Why should it matter, well it doesn’t, except having caught my eye it bugs me not to know!

    Do you have an OED? I have checked the other online dictionaries which go with ‘mm’ but they acknowledge many people, even teachers, go with ‘mn’, so I am non the wiser. (or should that be ‘none’, as in nonetheless?)

    Don’t you just love English? 🙂

  49. I do generally favour the 4-4-2 myself HCAA, but I suspect Wenger has tried the 4-3-3/4-5-1 to counter the 4-5-1’s (or 4-6-0 in some cases) we play against more so nowadays as most teams think the best way to play us is to flood the midfield and hit us on the counter and/or via set pieces.

  50. RedA – I always thought it was with an “mm”, but now you bring it up you can see enough instances where the “mn” version would make more sense.

    As a slight off topic non sequiter it reminds me of what Jade(Goody’s) muum said on Celebrity Big Broither(yes, I know I shouldn’t watch that tabloid TV excreta but I had my reasons) when Big Brother said: “You have a dilemma”, she said “What’s a dimellar?”
    That has me chuckling to this day.

  51. Red Arse says:


    Tactics are way beyond my paygrade or brain.

    A logical way to look at it, and I have never managed, coached or played at anything other than schoolboy/pub level, and logic is the only yardstick I have, is to approach it like this.

    Tactics is another word for organizing your team to defend against or beat the other team.

    Therefore, tactics must encompass both a proactive and a reactive element. If the opposition have a shit hot winger, and you have an inexperienced fullback, your tactics would inevitably have a reactionary (defensive) cast.

    If, on the other hand, your team had the ace winger and the oppo had an inexperienced fullback, your tactical position would be proactive in that you would set up your team to make the most of this advantage.

    Football is akin to all team games and even chess in that respect. You have to react to your opponents perceived strengths and weaknesses.

    Logic dictates therefore that it is not strictly relevant for a manager to exclusively favour 4-3-3, or 4-2-2 or any other system set up, without first having recourse to the attributes of the other team/opponent.

    I am sure Sun Tsu stated that rather better, in the 6th Century, than I have just done in 2011 🙂

  52. Red Arse says:

    4-2-2; because we just had two men sent off and had to react to the new situation! 🙂

  53. RedA – what you are saying boils down to the degree which you are basing your strategy on your strengths and your opponents weaknesses. .
    It would make sense for whichever of the two considerations are greater to be the defining/limiting factor to decide whether you just ”play your own game”(Which Wenger tends to favour most of the time) or you address a specific, identifiable threat the opposition possess, like Messi for example.
    An ideal manger has just the right blend of pragmatism and idealism to allow his team to prevail, there are very few of these around as getting the balance “just so” confounds esteemed mangers whose knowledge far exceeds that of an armchair/part time match goer like me.
    Now, I know Lao Tzu would have said it better than me, again from the 6th century also.

    Did we have Dowd refereeing when we had to go 4-2-2 ? 🙂

  54. Big Raddy says:

    It’s Dilemna, unless you accept the Americanisation of the English language (I think 😉 )

  55. RockyLives says:

    Sorry BR
    It’s dilemma and the ‘n’ version is just a mis-spelling.
    The word comes from Late Latin and it’s root is “lemma” – meaning an assumption, so the “mm” version makes etymological sense. Adding di- at the front makes it literally “two assumptions” hence a dilemma.
    (I looked this up, by the way. I do carry round a lot of useless information in my head, but there are limits…)

  56. goonermichael says:

    For Thomas Vermaelen the season is over,”

    “In fairness he has not played since September, I never expected him to be fit before the end of the season. He is not out on the field yet and it is impossible [for him to play] after six months without competition. I am confident he will have a full recovery but for this season we cannot rely on him.”

    That really is disgracefull if it’s a direct quote from Wenger.

    We should have bought someone. What if we have 2 more short term injuries? It’s very possible.

  57. Red Arse says:


    I did not quite understand your point to be honest, but I think you were agreeing with my logical approach.

    If not, that is probably down to my own limitation. So, if you were disagreeing with me, that is OK, because as I said, I was only applying logic to the question and not knowledge. I am therefore in no position to argue. 🙂

    Perhaps where there may be a degree of confusion is that, in your response, you used the term strategy and not tactics, which obviously I was not addressing.

    Policy, strategy and tactics are different phases of an overall objective, and can be applied to football management as much as any other.

    In the case of Arsenal;
    ** Policy might be the setting of overall goals to be achieved, (Win the EPL/CL, while remaining commercially viable, say).
    ** Strategy is the plan of action calculated to achieve the policy goals, (developing your own players/not buying in expensive players, say).
    ** Tactics is how you would achieve those strategic aims, (mixing youth with experience, opting for a Barca type team, and not a Stoke type team).

    On a macro level Arsene would have applied this same logic, I suppose, in setting his policy, strategy and tactics.

    Tactics therefore would be governed by the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and not just on ‘idealism’ or ‘do your own thing’.
    Tactically, 4-3-3, 4-5-1 etc would depend on the team we were facing; injuries to our players; whether or not the game was at home and a myriad of other factors.

    I repeat, I know sod all about football management, but I am applying logical business management techniques which I suspect would work for Arsene. Who knows? 🙂

  58. Red Arse says:


    That sounds very Germanic!

    “For you Tommy, the season is over!!” 🙂

  59. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky,

    Thanks for the research, but it puts me in a dilemna. 🙂

    It seems that 99% of the usage is ‘dilemma’ but the incorrect usage (?) of dilemna goes so far back no one knows how it started or why.

    I think I am going to change and go with dilemma in the future. American or not, BR! 🙂

  60. Big Raddy says:

    Fairplay RL. Clearly my English Lecturer was under-qualified!

    GM. Why is that disgraceful? AW hoped TV would return as did the man himself, but that is different to an expectation. I do not believe AW was relying on TV’s return when he decided not to add to the squad. Bearing in mind that he allowed Bartley to go on -loan, he obviously thought we had adequate cover, and we still have 2 decent CB’s.

    The man is not a clairvoyant

  61. Red Arse says:


    Are you around to answer a question? 🙂

  62. goonermichael says:

    We have 2 decent cbs and not much on the bench. He says he never expected him to be fit. I’m sure that’s not what he was saying at the time but I’ll have to check it. If squid and kozzer get injured. Which is a real possibility then we’ll have migel and song (if he’s fit). He should have bought someone if he thought he was never going to make it. I think it’s a disgraceful gamble.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    GM. I understand what you are saying but he could only really have taken someone on loan and there aren’t too many top quality CB’s around who will sign for just 5 months. With 4 top CB’s in the squad and Bartley to come, it would have been crazy to buy another CB IMO. The same goes for the GK situation.

    We have a squad and we will have to win using the whole of the squad. If that means playing Song at CB and Denilson/Ramsey as DM so be it

  64. Big Raddy says:

    BTW. I like to have a small fluter on the horses at Cheltenham. Invariably I choose horses by their names and invariably I lose my money. But yesterday I had a Fiver on Carlito’s Brigante and it romped home at 16-1, netting me a tidy €80 (which is sure to be lost tomorrow!).

    So a big thank you to Carlito.

  65. Red Arse – I’ve emailed you

  66. Well done to you Raddy 🙂

  67. RockyLives says:

    Nothing wrong with picking horses based on their name. I’ve had as much luck doing it that way as studying “form”. (Not much luck in either case, but there you go).

    A final point on the dilemna dilemma. Although the dictionaries claim the ‘mm’ version is the only correct one, it appears that the other spelling is in something like common usage with a minority of people. If you accept usage as being a valid way of deciding whether spelling or grammar is acceptable, then both would be deemed OK. After all, Shakespeare spelt his own name about six different ways…

  68. Gooner In Exile says:

    Dilemma is indeed with two m’s a recent film title was criticised by R5 Live Mayo and Kermode for being spelt wrong. Wher was the n they remembered, I thought it was mn too but English Professors emailed in to uphold Rockys account above. I learned something new that day. Double m still looks wrong to me tho.

    As for our 4-3-3 or to be honest I think it is not to accommodate Cesc, I think it was a response to so many teams crowding the midfield against us, denying our two CMs time to pick a pass to the flanks, all that has happened is teams have shifted their focus to crowd the 18 yd line instead.

    Also in days of old I believe we were more 4-1-3-1-1 with Silva being the linchpin at the back of midfield and Denis being the creative cog, this actually provided us with quick options to progress up the pitch with short forward passes.

    I personally would consider 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 obviously we would need 3 centre backs but I think Sagna could fulfil the role. It would mean we could still flood the midfield with passing options but also have two options up top, and we wouldn’t (hopefully) be left so open in the middle of defence on counter attacks, presently Clichy and Sagna have pressed on and we are left 2 on 2 at the back.

  69. Carlito11 says:

    Evening all! Great balanced view on NB52. I’ve been on both sides of the fence this season. Initially annoyed with his comments in the media as he struggled to get back in the team. Then seeing him back in full flow I backed him for a hat-trick against Leyton at home- alas as part of a 4-0 scoreline!
    People talk about class and what it takes to play for Arsenal but he must be as good as Alan Smith isn’t he? However- to be no.1 in a 4-3-3 in a premier league and champions league winning team just isn’t going to happen. No amount of ambition will cover up that first touch. So if he’s not willing to be no2 or no3 and not be an automatic starter then he’ll probably have to go. I’ll be sad about it but I’m sadder about Vela being out on loan to be honest!

  70. Carlito11 says:

    I meant a team with ambitions to win the premier league and champions league! 😉

  71. London says:

    I do like a BR post; there is always a very healthy underlying sense of how things should be done.

    Let’s be clear about something, Arsenal would love Bendtner to stay he is top quality back up, that is not to say we cannot do better but the post is about the Great Dane and with Wenger’s blessing Arsenal will continue paying him for as long as he wants to stay.
    This raises the obvious question, why does he want to stay? If the man, as is reported, really does have an ego the size of Texas how does he allow himself suffer the indignity of spending as much time as he does on the bench? So why when, if ever there was a player who we expected to march into Wenger’s office and demand a transfer, is he still at Arsenal?
    There is a very simple answer to this and it has got nothing to do with his agent but everything to do with the person who speaks on Nick’s behalf whenever there is a crisis and who is this person who wields such power………the answer is very simple……..his Dad.
    For all the seemingly silly spats Nick gets himself into his Dad is always there to sort things out. Bendtner senior knows a good tutor when he sees one and he knows a good tutor in Arsene Wenger and for that reason it has been made clear to Bendtner junior that he will put up with the arrival of the likes of Chamakh, he will put up with any amount of time on the bench and he will not make a fuss about it, which as many have suggested, he really is a prime candidate to do so. As I have said above Arsenal will happily keep him for as long as he wants to stay and right now Bendtner senior is happy for him to continue learning his trade, he could easily be as good as Ibrahimovic. The time to be concerned is when he nears that grade.

  72. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Camel Shaggers crash out! What a waste of money 😎


  73. 26may1989 says:

    Greetings from Istanbul AA friends.

    I’m with Raddy on this one (well done for the write up by the way). I couldn’t care less what Bendtner says or does off the pitch, I just judge what he does on the pitch. It isn’t perfect but he does a lot more than many accept, as borne out by his goal and assist ratio.

    But it may well be best for him if he moves some time in the next two years, he needs to be first choice and he won’t be with us.

    As for our best formation, sorry to be awkward, but I see it as 4-2-3-1, the front four being required to interchange position constantly. The philosophy is about movement. Whether it works consistently, or could ever reach Barça standards, isn’t clear. But I like the idea. Not that it should stop us playing other formations from time to time.

    And GM, as a regular cyclist in central London, we’re not all that bad! More often it’s us that end up on the rough end of things (I’ve got the broken bones and scars to prove it).

    PS: We’re going to win the league, I’m sure of it!

  74. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Win the League? I’ll 2nd that 26may 🙂

  75. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Cyclist in London. Cough! Splutter! Splutter! Cough! lung cancer!

    You’d have to wear a gas mask wouldn’t you fellas?

  76. Carlito11 says:

    Eastmond twitter update!
    @craigleastmond Need food but idunno need help tweeps plz ?
    Mind boggling!

  77. Carlito11 says:

    London- Never considered NB’s Dad’s role- got me thinking about all sorts of sports and people’s parents getting involved in a spectrum of ways- Tennis has a good few and Hamilton in F1’s another. Be a good sports mag feature I reckon…

  78. 26may1989 says:

    Let me know next time you’re in London Gnarley, and I’ll lend you my bike: more fun cycling in London than you might think. Bit dangerous, mind.

  79. goonermichael says:

    Wenger has been banned for swearing at the match official. Good on you Wenger. Next time knock him out.

  80. London says:

    Lumping all cyclists together is like lumping all football supporters together……..there are clear differences.

    As far as I can see, there are leisure cyclists, commuting cyclists, messenger cyclists and sports cyclists (the ones that wear lycra) I am one of those, a MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra) I ride 200km a week and I can tell you politeness is my middle name……..well, except for taxis……and lorries…..and people who walk in front of me……ahhhhh why can’t we have the road to ourselves lol

  81. goonermichael says:

    The uefa ban is much stricter than the one fergiescum has got. Wenger can’t stroll in to the dressing room at half time like his drunkenness can.

  82. goonermichael says:

    This morning I saw a messenger cyclist ride straight into a pedestrian. It was the pedestrian’s fault but the cyclist couldn’t have been looking as he hit him at full speed without trying to avoid him. What really annoyed me was the cyclist standing over him swaering and calling all sorts of names because his bike may have been damaged while the pedestrian was semi conscious with blood all over him. I won’t tell you what i realy think of the scumbag as it’s not that kind of blog. But it would come across as really nasty.

    Anyway I’m off home now have a pleasant evening all.

  83. 26may1989 says:

    London, it’s those buggers who walk out in front of you that get to me most. Mind you, being mown down by taxi drivers and van drivers is a tinsy bit irritating as well.

  84. London says:


    Which city did you see that happen….it sounds like London……messenger cyclists are the spud supporters of the two wheeled world. I am going to get myself in trouble here.

  85. London says:

    Hi 26m

    Are you a MAMIL by any chance?

  86. 26may1989 says:

    GM, there are plenty of dickhead cyclists around, no doubt, but however badly he was behaving (and it does sound bad), I doubt that cyclist was really only thinking about the damage to his bike. It’s a shocking thing when a pedestrian comes out of nowhere, and when people are shocked, they don’t always behave as they should.

  87. Evonne says:

    I am a cyclist in London and I can confirm that it is a scary business. Not just cars and lorries trying to drive you off the road, but also the pedestrians stepping right in front of you, not to mention the fact that our precious few cycle lanes are used for parking, walking dogs, pushing prams. And if you ask them to move off the cycle lane you get abuse – you don’t pay roadtax, insurance, etc… Which I do, but don’t drive much because of my health problems
    Red Arse – I am all ears 🙂

  88. 26may1989 says:

    London, hate to admit it, but yes. Fluorescent lycra at that. Ouch.

  89. London says:

    I was in Regents Park two days ago when a passenger in a taxi decided to open the door without looking…….bang…..the cyclist passing at speed was flattend.

  90. London says:

    Flourecent…hmmm, you will have to get yourself some red and white Rapha……I love being a MAMIL.

  91. Evonne says:

    26may – are middle aged though? I was sure you are a young man, in which case Peaches would probably find your lycras yummy

  92. London says:

    Hello Evonne

    The other big cyclist on here is BR although he hasn’t outed himself by admitting to wearing lycra

  93. Evonne says:

    London – I know, but BR cycles in Copenhagen, city that is very friendly towards cyclists. And they wear normal clothes for cycling, I think that lycra is very English:) I am middle aged but not wearing lycra, jeez perish the thought…. occassionally I dare an Arsenal shirt, but that’s the bravest thing I would do 🙂

  94. London says:


    Cycling is the new golf, there are people all over the word taking to wearing lycra….I am starting to laugh, I bet BR wears lycra….it should be interesting what he says….I am off for a while. Later

  95. Rasp says:

    I’m a cyclist too. The only difference is that I cycle up hill and down dale – my hazards are avoiding rabbits, badgers, pheasants and partridge. I have unfortunately written two cars off in the last 5 years by hitting deer (unavoidably) though 😦

  96. gnarleygeorge9 says:



  97. Rasp says:

    I hate the posers who wear lycra, they charge down our lanes in swarms like herds of supercharged smurfs. I can’t even wear a helmet – because it makes me look like a helmet 😕

  98. 26may1989 says:

    Oh yes Evonne, I’m definitely middle aged. Plus Peaches has seen me in the flesh (no, not that way, you mucky buggers), so knows the limitations of that particular experience.

    Like London, I quite enjoy the MAMIL thang (not that I’d heard that term before…) – there’s something enjoyable about sporting something so obviously wrong!

  99. 26may1989 says:

    Didn’t realise you were so image conscious Rasp!

  100. Evonne says:

    26m – 🙂 I am off to bed, I have something to think about….. good night all x

  101. Rasp says:

    Haha 26m, I can’t wear a helmet as I like to feel the wind in my hair – hold on, that’s not right 😦

    Mine is a mountain bike so I can also take to the Bridleways, RUPPs and BOATs, but the idiots with trials bikes and weekend w**kers with their 4 x 4’s tear up the paths and turn them into impassable mud tracks.

  102. 26may1989 says:

    OK, I know what you mean about not wearing a helmet, much better. Just don’t like doing it in town.

    Evening all.

  103. Big Raddy says:

    Too bloody cold for lycra – it is snowing here this evening!! No, I wear a down jacket and goretex trousers!

    Evonne is right about Copenhagen. It always wins the award for most cycle friendly city in the world. There is even a cycling rush hour and some roads have been narrowed to make wider cycle paths – never happen in London.

    BTW, Paris has become a great city to cycle in and their rental bike system is outstanding. Quality bikes and plenty ofthem at a very reasonable daily price.

    I have done some tours around France and am considering doing a cycle tour along the Southern French canals. Anyone have any experience or ideas where I can find info?

  104. Rasp says:

    Raddy, BTW, your musical reference wasn’t lost on me – unfortunately I haven’t been able to get The Clash out of my head all day as a consequence ….

  105. Rasp says:

    youtube have stopped you being able to get direct links to tracks any more, but I guarantee if you click on my link above, you will have it going through your mind for hours after.

  106. Big Raddy says:

    Don’t start me with trails bikes using walking paths. It infuriates me. My summer house is in a National Park in the Alps, a place of outstanding natural beauty, yet every summer the mountains echo to the sound of total dickheads taking their trails bikes over centuries old paths and destroying them (these miscreants are almost always Germans).

  107. Big Raddy says:

    You wouldn’t think it possible! Bartley is limping off the pitch following Rangers loss. Another AFC CB crocked

  108. RockyLives says:

    I can’t ride a bike 😦

  109. 26may1989 says:

    BR, my folks have done some of the French canals – will check for tips and let you know if I get anything useful.

    Denmark, Holland and rural France are cycling heaven. Not so keen on pedalling in Paris though.

  110. Rasp says:

    Rocky, you can ride a bike – everyone can. You just have to trust your stabilising muscles (those that work without your conscious instruction) to keep you upright instead of thinking that it is inevitable that you will not be able to keep your balance..

  111. London says:

    Herds of supercharged smurfs lol I should have known….a mountain biker…rolls eyes to heaven.

  112. RockyLives says:

    Actually Rasp I can get on a bike and go, but I’m very un-confident because of not having ridden as a kid. I had an over-protective mum who was convinced I’d get knocked down…
    After I slipped the apron strings I learned to ski, scuba dive, drive speedboats etc etc… but somehow the cycling never happened. I have no doubt that if I tried to cycle in central London I’d be dead in minutes.

  113. Gooner In Exile says:

    I have been challenged to a 50 mile round Norwich/Norfolk bike ride.

    It’s in June and I haven’t trained for years, I also need to get my bike out of my Dads garage before I even think about it.

    I’m sure back in the saddle I’ll be fine, but there are two routes one is 30 miles and one 50miles obviously the bloke who challenged me is a PT and wants to do the big one, but that goes all the way to the coast and up some big hills (yes Norfolk does have some!) and cliff tops. I’m worried!

  114. Gooner In Exile says:

    From NikB to cycling via some formation suggestions got to love AA!

  115. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. If you imagine you can get on a bike and ride 50 miles without any training you are mistaken. Even 30 miles is a very long way to someone who hasn’t been on a bike for sometime – unused parts of the body need toughening up, and your friend is certain to push it

    This is a must. Buy those stupid looking bike shorts with the padding or you will pay a hefty penalty for your day out, it will be €20 well spent 🙂

  116. Gooner In Exile says:

    Cheers for the silly shorts tip Raddy..

    I will be training now sun is shining more regularly I will start soon.

  117. London says:

    I must admit those shorts look and feel a bit daft when you first put them on but they make oh so much sense when you start cycling and while I am here I would just like to say that, although, I might wear lycra bib shorts that make me look like a Bulgarian weight lifter, I draw the line at shaving my legs lol

  118. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning BR, London, GiE,
    My views on cycling wear are more straight forward.
    Tour de France…Lycra
    London…Full Armour
    Countryside….Full Tweeds
    As for the London pedestrian/cyclist incident, I take these things on a case by case basis. If the protagonists are a stinking attitude hoody and a gorgeous female, then I will always side with the latter irrespective of the circumstances.

  119. mickydidit89 says:

    Back in the saddle tomorrow.
    10 wins from 10. Champions.

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Too true Micky. I have noticed that whenever I have an accident whether it is in a car, on the bike or just walking into someone, it is invariably the other person’s fault. Strange.

    London. 200 kms a week is serious training, those mountains will be a breeze.

  121. mickydidit89 says:

    Cycling up mountains? Nuts and ouch. I was walking in the Pyrenees, and watched these fruitcases getting to the high passes. Yikes.

  122. Evonne says:

    Rocky – I bought my FIRST ever bike last year, started on the pavements and few cycle lanes in North London, with helmet, big gloves and padded knees. I was sooooo very scared, but managed to persevere. One year on and I can cycle ok, no longer scared out of my mind and enjoying it much, much more than driving. AND you often get beeped at by Arsenal players in their fancy cars, when they see the Gunners logo 🙂

  123. goonermichael says:

    You shouldn’t be on the pavements Evonne 🙂

  124. Evonne says:

    Michael – I am not 🙂 not anymore 🙂 Also, I am not driving a car which is a bonus to all road users, trust me

  125. Evonne says:

    ALL – why didn’t Wenger buy Schwarzer? There is a rumour that he refused to pay extra mil

  126. goonermichael says:

    An American client of mine told me that Arsenal have already announced dates for a tour over there in the Summer. At the rapids etc

  127. Evonne says:

    Not is Austria or Switzerland? Blimey, we are aiming big at long last

  128. mickydidit89 says:

    You missed my earlier point about the “rights” of certain cyclists over pedestrians. Evonne is a Gooner, and as such, is entitled to run over pedestrians as she sees fit.

  129. Morning all

    There’s a New Post

  130. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne – at the start of the season Wenger had enough keepers, to bring in Schwarzer would have meant Almunia leaving Szczesney and Fab being held back, Mannone still on loan.

    Is your question raised because you don’t think Manuel is good enough or because we are so short on bodies to need to sign Jens. To me the emergence of Szczesney justifies his decision not to buy, but who could legislate for three keepers (incl Mannone) being injured?

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