Arsenal’s Smaller Squad in 2011/12?

We always say we support any player who dons the prestigious Red & White shirt, but is this really true? In all honesty, what were your thoughts when Mr. Wenger took off Theo on Sunday to replace him with Eboue?  Come on – be honest!

I can tell you my reaction, it was dismay. Not purely as a response to AW’s frustrating habit of trying to defend a lead (more of that another time) but because I really thought I had seen the last of Mr. Eboue in an Arsenal shirt. Following his almost unbelievable gifting of two points to Liverpool and single-handedly derailing our PL chances (OK that is an exaggeration!), I firmly believed his AFC career was over. Clearly Mr Wenger disagrees.

This post is not specifically anti-Eboue, who has given sterling service to the club but sadly is out of his depth, rather it is a glance at why Mr Wenger persists with players who are  not good enough to win us the title.

We have players in the squad who are on huge wages and are clearly not value for money. You know who I mean; there are players on loan who will not make the grade, we have a mass of youngsters who will never earn the kind of wages they are being paid on their current Arsenal contracts and we have established stars who are not earning their daily bread.

Last week Arseblog highlighted the difficulties of selling players who earn wages that lesser clubs cannot match, thus we have to wait until their contracts expire and allow them to leave without a transfer fee – how does this help our situation? All Arsenal’s investment in time, coaching and wages goes to another club for nothing.

Yet this situation has been created by Mr Wenger’s Project Youth and his understandable fear that the quality players will move on if not bound by contract. The Flamini fiasco gave him clear evidence of player power when running down a contract.

Our squad is bottom heavy with too few real world class players and too many players with “potential.” Most AFC fans know the stats, we have one of the cheapest squads yet one of the highest paid. This has to change.

How will AW respond? Will he swallow the losses and sell players in the manner of Man City  i.e. we continue to pay a percentage of their wages. It would stick in the craw but at least they would not be available for selection.

So, will my hopes be dashed by seeing Eboue in our Anniversary shirt or will some kind (and blind) Coach sign him in summer? What has become clear is that AW will not win another PL title with players like Eboue and Denilson in the squad. We need some extensive pruning, and there will be many worried (but rich) players in summer.

Written by BigRaddy

122 Responses to Arsenal’s Smaller Squad in 2011/12?

  1. goonermichael says:


  2. goonermichael says:

    I like Eboue. Not so keen on Denilson though

  3. goonermichael says:

    Although Eboue gave away the penalty against the bindippers there was a collective responsibility to hold the ball for 90 seconds which the whole team failed to do. Clichy is penalty prone.

  4. goonermichael says:

    I’ll come back when you’ve all woken up

  5. Big Raddy says:

    GM. The post isn’t really about my dislike of EE as a player. It tries to point out the difficulties of reducing what to me is a flabby squad.

  6. Red Arse says:

    Hi Raddy, and all my lovely friends on AA. 🙂

    Well, that leaves Raddy then! 🙂

    I am one who believes that you should not ‘dis’ a player wearing the Red & White. By that I mean not making scabrous, personal attacks on them.

    However, I qualify that by saying; comments about a player’s short-comings or suitability (or not) to play for the Gunners are perfectly acceptable.

    Therefore, I can happily say, without fear of contradiction, that I agree with everything you wrote in your excellent Post, Raddy.

    It was well written, as per usual, and I would award you ‘dix points’! 🙂

  7. Evonne says:

    Raddy – I knew your post would be good, I was right again. Well done and thank you!

    There was a leaflet distributed yesterday with the players sporting the Anniversary shirt – no Eboue 🙂

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  9. Gooner in Exile says:

    Interesting post Raddy with much food for thought.

    One sad thought for you is that EE signed a new long term contract earlier this season.

    I will always question how we know our players earn so much, individual players wages are rarely announced by the club. We do know that players in the past have not been paid as much as elsewhere. We always had a wage structure….has that gone?

    To question the size of squad as being too big is interesting. Certainly there are players now not in the squad for a PL match that ate on big money, however those same players have also started games for us when we have been stretched.

    We were not affected by the 25 man squad rules last year and probably won’t be again next. So there is no requirement to reduce numbers.

    However if we are going to keep a sizeable squad we MUST use them in CC and probably FA Cup to make sure they get the required experience, and after the affect exits from both competitions have had on our season would we be bothered?

  10. goonermichael says:

    Raddy I was referring to your comment about Eboue coming on. My heart sank when JD went off and Sqillacci came on.

  11. Carlito11 says:

    BR- a fine article emphasising a point that often lurks just under my normal train of thought. It does seem that our starting salaries for youth players and reserves are too high (they must be given the overall wage bill) but I’ve never seen any figures to correlate this.
    I do have to take issue with this though: “What has become clear is that AW will not win another PL title with players like Eboue and Denilson in the squad.” I don’t think the problem is these two per se… after all we’ve had Grimandi and Wreh in winning teams before now. The problem is the culture that allows these players to feel that their contribution is good enough. I would love it if he stuck players in the reserves for a month or two when they let us down and shipped players out quickly and without fuss if it becomes a regular thing… bit more ruthlessness for the cause! They’ll get the message then 🙂

  12. Carlito11 says:

    Evone- that might just be good marketing rather than a sign of who’s in next season… not sure there are many shirts sold with number 27 on the back!

  13. Carlito11 says:

    GM- me too. Thankfully Squid put in a shift. There’s rumours on an italian website that Koscielny hasn’t made the grade at the Grove and we’ll be looking to cash in this summer! Can’t believe that, can you?

  14. WiganGooner says:

    Hi all,

    Good shout on the post Raddy!

    What we have at Arsenal is the absolute consequence of buying potential. You take a punt on a player thinking he looks good and then you have to wait for him to flourish.

    Whilst you wait you have to keep investing in potential when you see it because if it flourishes before you buy them then it will cost you much more.

    Therefore you get a squad bloated with talent, but not all of that talent blossoms or develops at the same rate or even at all.


  15. DeiseGooner says:

    The cult of eboue needs to end. He has talent no doubt but enough is enough. Eboue would do really well in Italy im sure, where his antics are expected.
    B52 would do well in Germany and i reckon we may see him move. Ditto Rosicky. Vela i reckon might be Spain bound. He just doesnt look interested at WBA when he gets the chance to shine, and shine he should, hes a talented baller. Denilson could probobly do a legger to Spain also. Again a slower and less physical league would see him carve out a decent career for himself, hes just not grown as a player at Arsenal after initial promise.

    Thats 5 first team squad members who havent really offered much this season and wouldnt really be missed.

    It leaves us looking for a right back as cover (needed anyway in my opinion even with Eboue on the books). A central midfielder of the defensive persuasion. A more shouty/physical centrehalf would be nice. And a centre forward would be the icing on the cake. Someone of a level with RVP and not someone who will be benched if RVP is fit (we have enough of those)

    I agree we need to thin out the hoards of loanees we have who look like they wont make it here.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Deise. Much as I would like to see a cull of some of the first team squad, I think it unlikely.

    Carlito. Just my opinion. We will not win the title with them in the team. Thankfully with the return of Ramsey, Denilson is expendable, though we need to sign a right back as cover for Sagna.

    GIE. That is bad news about EE ! Assuming we have a wage structure, the top earners must be Cesc, AA &, RvP. My concerns are about the number of wage earners who will never get into the first !! but are paid too much to be attractive to other clubs. This is of course presumption, but rumour of youth players getting over €10k a week upon signing their first contract persist

  17. goonerles88 says:

    Straight your back side lad. Eboue has bin solid n served us like a soldier whenever he’s been called upon. When last did he come on and let us down? You know as well as all of us that he was set up by a very tricky character for that penalty. It was not his fault. He put in a solid display that day and every other day he’s donned the red n white of the gunners in recent memory. You just looking for a scape goat for some dodge displays from the TEAM. Come on mate. You should know better. Rosicky on the other hand…

  18. Red Arse says:

    Whenever we discuss which players are ‘keepers’ or more to the point which should go, it does not take long to come up with a pretty long list, containing the usual suspects.

    Put that against Arsene’s long track record of ‘evolution, not revolution’ and the likelihood is that he will only release 1 or 2.

    To AW, wholesale pruning would be a palpable admission of failure of his earlier recruitment policy.

    AW is always very balanced, but leaning towards reactive rather than proactive in the transfer market, leaving aside money issues. He will respond by buying, primarily, if an existing team member wants to leave.

    So ………;
    if Clichy wants to leave he will buy a replacement left back.
    If he buys a CB, Squidgy could go, (along with Bartley);
    if he buys a DMF, Denilson might go;
    if Arshavin wants to leave, he might buy a winger.
    If Cesc wants to go he might stick with Jack and Aaron.
    If Chamakh or Bentner want to leave, he might buy a forward.

    Lots of ‘ifs’ there, and, if I am right, most of it comes down to current players’ aspirations about moving on. I suspect most will want to stay.

    Could be an interesting Summer. 🙂

  19. Philbet says:

    Your stating that our players are overpaid and dont pull there weight is merely a moan and grumble AFC pay the going premiership/European rate,Cesc is our highest earner and is currently the 27th highest paid footballer in the world, which is probably slightly underpaying him, Ronaldo, is the top earner in 12million euros a year,with Messi slightly behind him Torres is on 10mill euros with his new deal at Chelsea and Taya Toure earns the same at Man City,(slightly more than Tevez and Rooney) which is why the two of them were kicking and squealing aerlier this season.
    BTW Cesc earns around 5Milleuros with AA23,RvP,in the region of 4,500Mill Euros, Samir Nasri is hoping to join them on his new deal,Most of these players could earn more if leaving (Flamini did).Vierra is on 6mill now.
    We currently only have 3 of the top 100 football wage earners at the club.
    So dont bring the how much they ae paid argument into things because it is rubbish.If you want tallent on the football field you have to pay for it because if you dont someone else will.
    Anyone want to swop one Yaya Toure for two Cesc Fabregas’s ???

  20. Wonderman says:

    BR great post as usual. I must say I normally scratch my head when Walcott is subbed as most defenses are absolutely terrified of the threat he poses if they leave any space. But on sunday I think that Eboue was probably the only person who could have replaced him because of his trickery , pace and willingness to dribble at defences. As Goonermicheal said, I was more worried when JD went off and squillacci came on. On the whole I would like Eboue to a) stop falling over so easily b) play with a more determined attitude.

    I’ve said it before I think our fullbacks need proper competition next season and we need a proper winger preferably left sided.

    In terms of overpaying young professionals it is still cheaper than paying £30m and £150k a week to some superstar who doesnt perform

  21. goonermichael says:

    I’m going to buy the new shirt with Ebous’e name on it and wear it when I meet you all. I saw someone wearing a shirt with Kiwomya on the back once. As wonderman said I’d like him to cut out the diving as he sometimes dives for a free kick when he could take the ball further.

  22. femi says:

    I disagree with your post on Ebue? If the penalty caused by Ebue is so terrible as to castigate him why can’t we score clean goal ourself? How would liverpool done to their player who gave out theirs.

    Is it because he is black? Is Diabi and Bendtner not worstav have u forgotten the mistakes of diabi how he unecessaily dribble and nod into the net? Bentner claimed good and we sold Bayo yet nothing. Where is Almunia and scolaci who constantly let it goals?

    Who is the versatile player that we have? When he score goal and assist you don’t praise him as such. Cilichi does grievious mistake and not mentioned

  23. goonerles88 says:

    Good point philbet. The sad truth is that every one is coming up with half baked theories for our lack of success in an error completely dominated by manchester united(admit it or not). Truth is,yes there are tweaks to be made to the team,there’s always room for improvement, but some of you bloggers seem to be in a chunder competition.

    Yes its frustrating to not win(tyson gay broke the world record too when usain bolt was crowned the fastest man alive) but we can’t constantly question ourselves like this. Barca,berrusia dorpmund…are all successful and are clear examples that persistence and continued belief in a project worth believing in gets you somewhere. we will topple them. But talking out our back sides doesn’t help.

  24. goonermichael says:

    Is it because he’s black? do me a favour.

  25. Wonderman says:

    Hi Femi

    ‘I disagree with your post on Ebue? If the penalty caused by Ebue is so terrible as to castigate him why can’t we score clean goal ourself? How would liverpool done to their player who gave out theirs. ‘

    fair enough

    ‘Is it because he is black? ‘

    way out of line !!!!!!!! this isnt that type of site

    you then go on to castigate the writer for NOT blaming Diaby for things ( who if you have’nt noticed is also black)

    you seem confused

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Femi. We all have our favourites and those we dislike. I will not hide my dislike of EE as a PLAYER. I think he lacks discipline and adds nothing either creatively or defensively.

    As to the black thing. Ridiculous.

    Goonerles88. How about discussing the post? It isn’t about why we didn’t win the title, It is about squad size. And instead of moaning at fellow Arsenal fans, how about YOU write a post, look above at Be Our Guest.

  27. goonerles88 says:

    Femi nids to eat a male reproductive organ. This is a football blog man and I,as a black oke, really don’t appreciate you bringing that rubbish here. I live in south africa and I hear enough of that. Bugger off please. We here to discuss our beloved gunners.

  28. Steve of Chiang Mai says:

    Eboue wasnt conned by Lucas….the referee was. When you see the vision from behind it is obvious the Liverpool player changed direction by moving 45 degrees to his right in front of Eboue and no where near the ball. He then stopped. It should have been a free kick to Arsenal. Up until that point Eboue had been one of Arsenal’s better players on the day. I think Eboue is a great cover player for Arsenal with the ability to play wide all up the right from front to back and even did a sterling job at left back when Clichy and Gibbs were both injured.

  29. MikeSA says:

    The premise that paying more for a footballer somehow makes him “better” has been shown to be false on more than one occasion.

    I also find it strange that people want the club to pay another club (in many cases, a rival club) more money rather than to pay the player the money instead.

    On a competitive level that’s just not very bright.

    Paying another club more money and your player less because you’ve already given more to the club he just left is not exactly going to endear him any more to your own club, is it?

    It is going to strengthen a possible rival though…………….

    Granted, high salaries often make a player difficult to move on, but we also need to bear in mind that arseblogger and amy lawrence (amongst others), had a full go at Song not so long ago, bemoaning that he was “not Arsenal quality” etc etc.

    Haven’t noticed too much of that recently……

    The fact is that we all base to much value on rumour and supposition, taking it as biblical if it supports our “theories”, while trashing anything, including statistics, if they don’t.

    I’d venture to suggest that in the case of players and their potential, Wenger actually DOES “know best”.

    That’s not to say he doesn’t make mistakes, he’s only human after all.

    If nothing else, considering that he sees the players nearly every day, while the rest of us do not, I’d confidently say that he definitely knows a bucket load more than any of us.

  30. abird says:

    “with players like Eboue and Denilson in the squad. We need some extensive pruning” – I read only your last sentence, and i think i don`t need to read the rest 🙂

    2 players out of 22 is what you call extensive pruning?

  31. Jenkinson says:

    You are all talking about clearing out fringe players – Almunia, Bendtner, Denilson, Eboue,Diaby.
    The problem these guys have is that they don’t get enough minutes on the pitch – they hardly ever start. Because they don’t play enough their touch is poor and they find it difficult to quickly adjust to the pace of the game.
    Bendtner in particular gets about 15 minutes at the end of a game and is played wide; when he got a run in the team when vP was injured he scored a lot of goals. Denilson is another who needs games.
    Both of these players will be snapped up if they are made available.
    Eboue is extremely talented but has a part of his brain missing. Even so we would get a good price for him.
    Almunia will definitely go, possibly on a free.
    Diaby will stay – if he stays clear of injury; he is very talented and a potential match-winner.

  32. Wonderman says:

    Hi Jenkinson,

    Whilst I agree ( with the exception of Almunia) that the players you mentioned dont get enough playing time it is for differing reasons

    Almunia- He is not playing because put simply we have someone who has attributes that he does not have and does not make the defence appear to feel nervous

    Bendtner – I have sympathy for Nikki B as he is played out of position, however your assertion that his touch is poor because he is not getting game time is just ….well wrong. Match fitness, decision making,timing, sharpness needs games. You either have a good touch or you don’t and Nikki B’s first touch is very erratic for someone who plays at Arsenal
    Denilson – doesnt play because there are others who are more productive and bring more to the table
    Eboue – is a utility player and a very good one
    Diaby- has an awful injury record

    I cant see Eboue, or Diaby going. Nikki B might but I think Denilson and Almunia almost certainly along with Rosicky

  33. RockyLives says:

    I read only your entire comment and do not need to read any more to know that you are missing the point in a big way. Quite apart from the idea that you can infer the thrust of an entire post (which you haven’t bothered to read) from the final sentence, you have failed to even understand that one sentence.

    Go back, read the whole post, then join in a sensible debate (if you feel you’re up to it).

  34. Geoff Strong says:

    If, as has been suggested here, some of the players who joined us at a very young age are to leave this summer, rather than highlight their perceived shortcomings, I would like to thank them for being part of a squad that has kept us in the top echelon of European football during times of financial restraint.

    With regard to the wages paid to younger players, any business that does not invest sufficient funds in Research and Development is doomed to failure, a high percentage of such investment will not produce a return but the one or two gems unearthed will more than offset the cost.

  35. RockyLives says:

    Nice post and a good debate-starter.
    Some people seem not to have read it as closely as they should (I know it’s not an anti-Eboue post, even thought you dealt him a glancing blow in passing).

    My take is that our squad size won’t change much. I’m expecting a couple out and a couple in. However, I do wonder what’s going to happen with some of the loanees (Lansbury, Vela, Mannone, Miyachi, Bartley, Traore etc). We can’t accommodate them all and I’m sure, in some cases, AW would quite like to get an offer for them from the loan club.

    Take Lansbury – he’s been part of Norwich’s promotion team (so he should be able to add some winning mentality to the squad!). But he is not a regular starter for Norwich – so how can he be considered even possibly ready for our team? Likewise Vela. His stint at WBA could have been his ‘Wilshire’ moment where he steps up a level and shows everyone what he’s made of. He has bagged a few goals when coming on late as a sub, but it hardly feels like he’s done enough to merit a return to THOF.

    So many things for Le Boss to ponder…

  36. RockyLives says:

    “If, as has been suggested here, some of the players who joined us at a very young age are to leave this summer, rather than highlight their perceived shortcomings, I would like to thank them for being part of a squad that has kept us in the top echelon of European football during times of financial restraint.”

    What a truly excellent comment!

    Sometimes we have to step back to see the big picture.

    In fact, that thought merits a post in itself. You haven’t written one for a while Geoff – how about it?

  37. dandan says:

    Well Done BR you have certainly cast a wide net today with an interesting post.

    It will be interesting to see over the coming months until the new season starts just how many players we will see named on here as on the way out or in. I wonder will it be possible for a regular to keep score or a list of those named.

    The rumour mill will IMHO go nuts with the money floating around, Chelsea, Arab City, Liverpool the Manc’s and hopefully ourselves

  38. Red Arse says:

    What I find utterly baffling is the correlation between the people who come on here spouting their outrage and indignation, and the fact they either have not read the Post, or have read only one sentence.

    I would love to sell them some magic beans (from Heinz) that will let them climb up to the giant’s house (cloud Cuckoo Land) and find the treasure.

    These guys will happily read only the last 3 words of the above, and pay me big bucks for the baked beanus flatulensis. Err, sorry, magic beans …. of course. 🙂

  39. RockyLives says:

    Although I know yours wasn’t primarily an anti-Eboue piece, I do feel he has been harshly judged for the pen against Liverpool. Lucas conned the ref, the lino and Eboue. Yes, some wilier players may not have fallen for it, but I think many would have done. Eboue wasn’t trying to tackle Lucas – he was shepherding him away from goal until Lucas ignored the ball and slammed on the brakes.

  40. California Gooner says:

    I like Denilson and particularly like Eboue, who can be an extremely clever in unlocking defenses in a way that Sagna almost never is… but both players will benefit from moving on from Arsenal. They are simply too talented to spend their careers not playing, but have failed to convince when they have played for us. So it would be win-win to move them along and get players who, while perhaps no more talented, have some fresh drive to actually make it in the squad. Nikki B might also be in that category, although I’m not sure. I would love to see a quicker striker brought in, a ‘runner’ who could break behind defenses… or see Theo moved over to become play centrally more often.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Hi CG. Hope all is well in CGWorld.

    I agree that certain players are at the wrong club. I am sure Denilson will have a fine future in Spain or Brazil. You know my feelings about EE!

    I mention these two in the post because they instantly come to mind, but I would say that 25+% of the reserve and loan players could well be sold without having an effect on the strength of the squad.

  42. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy,

    Thanks for another thought provoking post. We vowed that we wouldn’t dwell on who should go and who should stay before the season is over …. but…. it may surprise many to hear that apart from Almunia (for compassionate reasons) Chamakh would be my choice.

    I do not see the transformation from the early season striker who attacked the ball in the air to the ineffectual presence he has been since Christmas as a matter of ‘form’ more of attitude. He came on a free and is occupying the space of one of our strikers without offering any goal threat when he comes on the pitch. We should sell him and invest in a player with bigger balls.

  43. Wonderman says:

    Hi Rasp, I have to agree with you when you say ‘I do not see the transformation from the early season striker who attacked the ball in the air to the ineffectual presence he has been since Christmas as a matter of ‘form’ ‘ but I believe there is more to it than meets the eye. I have never seen a player collapse so spectatularly.

    And we do need a player with bigger balls. I think we need a frontman with scary pace

  44. Rasp says:

    Hi Wonderman,

    I wasn’t going to conjecture over the rumoured injunction, but it may be somethimg that is affecting him. He plays with his back to goal but never tries to turn a defender, he generally gives the ball back to whoever he receives a pass from and then runs into a different position as if that’s being constructive.

    We need an out and out, goal hungry striker as you say. I don’t want to see us investing another couple of years in a player just in the hope they come good. Chamakh is nearing his peak age as a player, he should be able to handle the pressure and deliver.

  45. Rasp says:

    I’d take Drogba in a flash for a couple of years. I’ve hated playing against him, but he is just what we need up front if he can stay fit.

  46. dandan says:

    Rasp I have seen press reports the QPR want him for what that is worth.

  47. dandan says:

    Chamakh that is not Drogba. 🙂

  48. Rasp says:

    Thanks dandan, I’m surprised QPR could afford his wages. I get the feeling he’d like to go back abroad.

  49. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasper, and Dandan, 🙂

    Rasp, QPR have more billionaires than you can shake a stick at. If they wanted Chamack, his wages would not be a problem.

    Of course, mine would be! 🙂

  50. Rasp says:

    I know they’re stinking rich RA, but thus far, they haven’t ploughed fortunes into QPR a la man city.

  51. Red Arse says:

    Hi Wonderman, 🙂

    Dandan said earlier that we need a statistician to keep tabs on all the speculative stories about who we are going to buy.

    High on the list is Falcao, Benzema and my aunt Lucy.
    So maybe you and Rasp will get your wish for someone with big balls, you naughty boys, tho’ not my aunt Lucy, of course! 🙂

  52. Evonne says:

    We have not seen enough of Chamakh to dispose of him yet. I think he has potential and could deliver if played regularly.

  53. Evonne says:

    Peaches – the boys are looking for someone with big balls. Shall we suggest Ralphy 🙂

  54. Rasp says:

    Hi Evonne,

    I disagree, but that’s ok 😛 He’s not a kid. You can see that Torres is desperately trying to score goals, I see Chamakh as running shy of the responsibilty of scoring. He is occupying the berth of one of our strikers and yet does not appear to try to score goals?

  55. Evonne says:

    Hello Rasp – how much was Chamakh? I know, I know, it should be irrelevant that Torres was 50mil. Ok, so we agree that he is capable but not trying. The question then is why is he not trying? there are those rumours about his personal (ie sex) life problems, but who knows?

  56. Irishgunner says:

    “I do have to take issue with this though: “What has become clear is that AW will not win another PL title with players like Eboue and Denilson in the squad.” I don’t think the problem is these two per se… after all we’ve had Grimandi and Wreh in winning teams before now. The problem is the culture that allows these players to feel that their contribution is good enough. I would love it if he stuck players in the reserves for a month or two when they let us down and shipped players out quickly and without fuss if it becomes a regular thing… bit more ruthlessness for the cause! ”

    I like this comment the best because I am of that school of thought, no squad is made up of 22 world class players. Barcelona have a lot of (in my opinion) shite, but their TEAM play is what makes them so great (all the diving and fool acting aside).

    The same can be said of Mancs, Carrick, Gibson etc., are terribly average players but Ferguson will drop them without thought if they aren’t cutting it, it is against Wenger’s nurturing nature to do that.

    As for the wage structure, it is accepted that we pay young players above average to get them at the club, if it works out a la Cesc then great, but for everyone Cesc’s there are probably 20 Aliadiere’s (although we got a transfer fee for him didn’t we?)

  57. Evonne says:

    Hello Irish, very good point about good teams with just about average players. However, there is a difference between an average player and a passenger the team has to carry. I think that especially this season we have had a bus full of those passangers, who are simply not trying hard enough – like Chamakh

  58. Irishgunner says:

    Hi Evonne,

    I thought Chamakh was great when he signed, running the channels, getting stuck in, scoring goals, then Wenger told him he was tired and not ready for a full EPL season and Chamakh believed it…

  59. Evonne says:

    Irish – yep, good in the air too. I had high hopes for him, well still have. I hope that Rasp and co were wrong and he will not be sold this summer

  60. Irishgunner says:

    I doubt he will be sold, unless we get a really good offer for him that would be madness to turn down.

  61. Gooner in Exile says:

    I join in the consternation that so many readers of this post seem to have taken few lines as upsetting and failed to understand the post as a whole.

    It is very true that Arsenal have one of the highest wage bills in the Premier League, 66 players at the end of 2009/10 and 42 coaches. That is going to bloat anyones payroll. But if these wages mean that we have the chance of creating a player like Wilshere rather than risking £20million on someone who might do the job I am all for it.

    I am not however a fan of the procedure of waiting for players to come on a free and paying them the transfer fee over their contract, whilst it may have worked with Sol, others appear to lay off the football when they have the wage they think they deserve and then stop being worth the salary. Also players who come in on this method are unlikely to sign a contract extension when their initial contract expires as they will have to take a massive wage cut, rather walk off to another club on a free again and get the same deal.

    Do I think Wenger wants the loanees sold? Well a couple maybe, but I think Afobe and Lansbury have been sent to learn, both having been sent to footballing sides, Watt, Eastmond, and Emmanuel-Thomas are probably on make or break as is Randall. Unfortunately for some of these players I fear the worse, behaving like they’re superstars and not making it in to the starting elevens of these lower league clubs does not reflect well on them.

    Lansbury is much mentioned as not being in the Norwich first team at the moment, but he has made 8 starts and 7 sub appearances this season having joined in November on emergency loan as Norwich were without several regulars. He is being kept out the side by a very good Hoolahan who at 28 is probably at his peak. From those limited appearances he has managed 4 goals and 4 assists and everyone I talk to up here tells me what a fantastic player he is, great engine and good on the ball. They would dearly love to keep him for another season but I think they know he will be Emirates bound come June.

    This is all kind of long and sporadic so i’ll stop typing at this point and allow you to pick the bones out of it.

  62. mickydidit89 says:

    Bonsoir Grand Radford et Merci,
    Highlights a big problem for me, in that historically, whenever I say to myself “right that’s it, lets flog him he will never make the grade”, he then makes the grade. I am therefore in favour of a slight cull, maybe five, and bringing in three. Just don’t ask me who to release.

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh alright then. Mushrooms and garlic on giant door stop toast spread with white truffle paste.
    Thinks…that’ll bring em out!

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Schalke are going to be mighty unimpressed with Utd’s arrogance. Here’s hoping. Enjoy the fish all you clever sorts.

  65. RockyLives says:

    I’m heading round to yours… keep some of that toast!

    I predict a 3-1 win for Schalke, followed by Fergie’s nose exploding from sheer outrage.

  66. Big Raddy says:

    Mmmmm Micky, sounds absolutely delicious.

    Could be breakfast tomorrow, sans the white truffle paste

    GIE. I don’t mind if some people don’t get the thrust of the post. Those that I care about take the trouble to read it, the others can take want they want and leave the rest.

    You make good points about the JW and contract extensions.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Now that I would like to see 🙂 Trouble is Schalke are absolute pants.

  68. London says:

    Good comment there GIE, I have been busy today but I am glad someone pointed out the obvious about Wilshere’s value and how it came about. I think Randal is one of those players running down his contract but at sixteen could anyone really have known that Randal would fail and Wilshere would make it and anyone who says yes is telling porkies. Both those players were exceptional talents and that is the reason why Arsenal commits so much early on to young players wages and length of contract: Randal was just as likely to have been as successful as Wilshere is now.

  69. Carlito11 says:

    I’m not sure who I would like to exit as I have a hard time disliking any arsenal player despite occasionally wanting to blame one or other of them. I was often Denilson or Diaby but I remind myself that I also blamed Cesc against Barca and had angry thoughts for the last 20 minutes of our last game against ManYoo so I am glad it is our manager and not I that has to make the choice.
    I think I have hit on the three signings required to give us power, poise and pace. I suggest that we blow all of our cash reserves on securing Lucio, Schweinsteiger and Ribery and blaze a trail across the league that will be etched on our retinas until we go to our graves!

  70. Carlito11 says:

    …un poco demasiado vino rojo! Me desculpen senors y senoras…

  71. RockyLives says:

    Drunk or sober you’re still on fine form:

    “…and blaze a trail across the league that will be etched on our retinas until we go to our graves!”

  72. Carlito11 says:

    aw shucks RL! What about that tho eh? Lucio sprang to mind this morning when I was trying to pinpoint a winner who might inspire the troops. I reckon one or two would happily leave inter this summer- Sneijder and Eto’o would also be popular signings eh?

  73. Hi all

    Sorry to have been absent, I’m in the process of buying a long awaited house and things keep taking me away from my computer.

    I believe that there will be a smattering of players leaving for pastures new in the summer but I expect AW already has their under 16 replacements lined up either within the youth squad or in some far flung football team.

    I would like him to consider that had we fulfilled the Wengerball promise of scoring many more than the opposition we would almost certainly be on the brink of another title and so a ‘fox in the box’ would be my addition.

    I was surprised when Theo was taken off on Sunday but didn’t feel Eboue on the wing was too terrible, its Eboue at right-back that really worries me.

    My main problem with players that I feel are not quite up to scratch is that nobody else does either. Why have we still got Almunia? Because no-one wanted to buy him 😦 This is not the Arsenal way, whether we like being a selling club or not we usually have other teams sniffing around our players (not just Cesc).

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    Ah ha Carlito,
    Schweinstieger and Ribery eh? Two of my three.
    Ah ha Peaches,
    A fox in the box eh? I am unsure on this one. I am in two minds, and one mind has pencilled in Theo to play central alongside RvP. The other mind speaks Greek, and keeps saying things like Eto.

  75. Carlito11 says:

    Hi Peaches! I think with a bit more effort to get in the box and quicker release on the attack we’d have scored more goals… we have the players there to score em! We just seem to need to commit 7-8 players to attack yet only have one if any in the box when the ball is delivered… and then when it breaks down we’re exposed… I think that’s what happens anyway!

  76. Carlito11 says:

    Is Eto’o your third Micky? If Theo plays there instead, who else would be your third?

  77. Micky – love that, mushrooms and garlic on a doorstop with white truffle paste yummmmmy 🙂

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Ashley Young.
    No house should be without White Truffle Oil. About £3 something from Waitrose. Ditto White Truffle Paste. Never buy the slightly cheaper Black Truffle versions.

  79. Theo in the middle would suit me but AW only lets him switch around that role with Robin, Nasri or Arshavin and the rest have only just learnt to play the ball in front of Theo so that he run onto it and leave for dead whoever is in front of him.

    I agree Carlito that if they’d stuck to the game plan at the start of the season when they were banging them in for fun then things would have been different. Instead of which it all went a bit stale culminating in the recent bore – title damaging – draws 😦

  80. Carlito11 says:

    Young AND Ribery! Christ that’s almost erotic! Wenger’s wingers! yes yes yes

  81. Clearly I’m a good house-wife as I do have truffle oil in my cupboard but oh no its black 😦 😦 😦

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    You may think I am ignoring the defence, but I cannot believe we will be so unlucky with injuries, and with the Big German, we always have Song to drop back in an emergency. I think JD, TV and Chezzer will command our defence for years to come.

  83. Young and Ribery …… yes please, that would be fantastic 😀

  84. Carlito11 says:

    Plugging Waitrose again Micky? I had a fantastic pie from there recently- chicken and ham- delicious!

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    Its that time of night when I start talking dirty!

  86. I wouldn’t waste any money on defenders, we don’t need any more just need them to stay fit 😆

  87. Carlito – you definitely need a pink background for late night chatting with us

  88. mickydidit89 says:

    Honestly, the black stuff is aromaless compared to the white.

  89. Carlito11 says:

    I “only” have white truffle honey in the fridge- marvellous with a bit of pecorino as an antipasto 😀
    I agree with you both that we have the personnel technically at the back- I’m thinking about that winning never say die attitude that Lucio displayed for Inter in their CL run. Proper inspiring!

  90. I’ll take your word for it and shall be searching the shelves in Waitrose tomorrow.

  91. mickydidit89 says:

    The Pie 🙂
    I never plug!

  92. Carlito11 says:

    Peaches- it’s called “The ultimate” and it’s well-named! I ate it all in one night- think it’s meant to feed 4 at a picnic or something 😉

  93. mickydidit89 says:

    Enough now.
    Back to footie.
    Carlito behave.

  94. mickydidit89 says:

    Calling it a day now.
    Its great that its out in the open, and none of us what defenders. Attack attack!
    Nite all.

  95. Carlito11 says:

    Too much Malbec to behave! Off to cause some bother on Twitter!

  96. Night guys, catch you tomorrow

  97. Carlito11 says:

    Nytol (night all)

  98. Gooner in Exile says:

    So does anyone know how season ticket resales are going, should i put my name on waiting list?

    This rise seems to have seriously pissed off a few people, but I see the club is providing finance for the ticket and also for some of the cheapest tickets we are talking £60 allegedly, as one fan pointed out on twitter, don’t buy the match day programme, watery beer, hot dog and chips, club kit etc etc and you’ll save your money back.

  99. Harry says:

    Your all probably tucked up in bed now so will leave my thoughts……

    Raddy, interesting post, the substance of which I agree ie quality v quantity, apart from Eboue, I would like him to stay as a squad player…..

    I will not list who I would let take the next bus out of Islington, until the season ends….


    How did Schalke get to the semis? Our youths could have beat them………

    How did Barca and Real Madrid not get reprimanded for their first leg and blantant cheating? 2nd leg not much better, it left a bitter taste….

    What possessed that ref last night to disallow that first RM goal, one of the worst reffing decisions I have ever witnessed….?

    Barca are the best team ever according to all experts and pundits and unbeatable, did we not beat them at the Emirates? and were we not a touch of an elephant away from a goal at the Camp Nou to knock them out?

    Who to support at Wembley? I hate United and hold barca in complete contempt…….

  100. Evonne says:

    Harry – Barca, Stoke and Chelsea

  101. Arselicked says:

    I’m new on this blog and already what i read is what i don’t like. It seems to concentrate on baseless complaints.

    – Whats wrong with eboue deputising for Sagna? can we get a better player who willing to earn less than what Eboue is earning?

    – Do we really have a better player out on loan who can replace him? would Tom cruise, Gavin Hoyte, etc do any better?

    I seem to remember the excitement over Carlos Vela coming in, hasn’t he disappointed this season? We were complaining that Bendtner should be given more games, that Adebayor should be sold, can we say we were right?

    We complain about Denilson, our nineth(9) midfielder after Cesc, Wilshire, Song, Nasri, Rosicky, Ramsey, Diaby, Asharvin. Can we really get somebody better who will be pleased with being our nineth?

    Maybe i’m confused as to the objective of your post, maybe it is nothing but to pass time. Which is why we manufacture and spread rumours.

    In short sir, i’m not impressed. Write about Jack, he would have played more than 120 games by Euro 2012 if Pierce selects him for games at the U21. He will also miss part of our season. He is following right on the footsteps of Theo Walcott.

  102. Gooner in Exile says:

    Arselicked….the beauty of this blog is that you can write that post (one about Jack) and the guys who run this place will be only too pleased to publish it.

    I think in truth you will find a lot of sympathy for your views here, most of us (including the author of this one – Big Raddy) are not knee jerk reactionaries who think that everything has gone to hell on the other hand we are open to suggestions that there should be some change, some believe more than others.

    I agree with your view on the likes of Denilson, Rosicky and others, they are not first choice but some fans measure them against our first choice or against our heroes of old. As Carlito says we shouldn’t compare Deni to Petit instead we should be comparing against Garde or Grimandi.

    The concern is the size of the payroll with the number of these players who are not first teamers or even squad players. When they were 21/22 you can carry them, when they reach 25/26 they must offer something when they play if they can’t then they should probably move on.

    Anyway like I said your Jack post is solid material so write it up and have a look at the Be Our Guest section at the top and get it sent in.

    Also if you like a pre match beer stick around as a lot of us meet regularly on home games.

  103. chas says:

    Morning peeps
    Nice vid

  104. Rasp says:

    Welcome Arselicked,

    If you are new on this site I suggest you read back through the archives. You are too quick to be judgemental. We invite as many as possible to write for us and to express their take on Arsenal whatever their viewpoint, the only proviso is that it is well written and free of abuse. When someone writes a piece that can be construed as critical, it gives others the opportunity to give an oppposing view.

    The vast majority of our articles are unashamedly pro Arsenal. We did not need your suggestion of an article on Jack as that is already in the pipeline and will be published this morning.

  105. chas says:

    Would be interesting to see up-to-date figures.

  106. Big Raddy says:

    Arselicked. Welcome to the site. Saddened that you don’t like the post but it is intended to provoke discussion and as such has been successful.

    It is purely my opinion and if you disagree that is your prerogative, just as it is mine to disagree with you!

    Why don’t you write a post about JW? See Be Our Guest above.

  107. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All.

    Very enjoyable video. Thanks Chas

  108. chas says:

    Cheers BR.
    Did you notice Foy on 3″10′ cementing his place in manyoo’s 4-5-2 formation? 🙂

  109. Morning all – well isn’t it funny how everyone was howling out for Neuer in the close season to solve our goalkeeping problems and he lets in 4(at least 2 of which were blunders) goals for which “our Manuel” would get a pasting for(and rightly so)?

    Re. The ticket increases – I think our club has shot itself in the foot there – what “better” way for Kroenke’s tenure to start than with price increases in the middle of a recession ?

  110. Gooner in Exile says:

    Was thinking that myself chary, very amusing. To be fair the commentators on radio when the second one went in said that if that had been Gomes or Almunia he would be vilified.

    But as only last week all the media hounds were extolling his virtues they instead call it a result of his head dropping with the performance in front of him and in someway acceptable?

    Also Huntelaar came off the bench, I seem to remember at one time he was the next big thing yet he is kept out of the team by an ageing Raul.

  111. chas says:

    I’d still prefer Neuer to Almunia, though. 🙂

  112. GiE – the plonkers on ITV were too busy creaming themselves off about the Old Toilet mob to point out such pertinent facts.

    I thought Raul barely got a sniff last night.

    I read somewhere that the price increases will only increase overall revenue by 2% – so is it worth it for all the bad press and fan dissatisfaction that arises ?

  113. Gooner in Exile says:

    To be fair Chary I think the ticket price increase is negligible at best, it is being reported as 6.5% but it is really 4% chosen by the club and 2% (effectively) added by the VAT man.

    Considering its the first rise in 3 years I am not sure the club can be too heavily criticised, in fact the only criticism they have left themselves open to is why they haven’t just added 1.25% a year for the last 3 years, then 4% wouldn’t sound such a leap.

    Its probably in line with inflation. Gazidis is also promising a full review come 2012-13 (i guess when new commercial deals have been struck).

    Man Utd have announced there £1 increase per game and thats annoying supporters up there, despite a top price season ticket at OT being only £950, there is some deception in this though as it includes only 19 Premier League games, and the season ticket holders are FORCED to buy tickets for every home European and FA Cup match whether they attend or not. If compared to AFC season tickets (which include first 7 home Euro and FA Cup matches) there top price ticket actually costs £1,300. Still considerably less than our top price tickets but more than enough are sold at Emirates for around that price and less for us not to be too pissed off.

    I just wish they would start planning to increase the size of the Emirates already, there are more than enough fans who would fill the ground if the capacity went up to 75,000 and the prices could then be lower but creating more income. Would we complain if they could install marginally smaller seats in the cheaper areas? I’m sure they could fit another 5,000 seats in just by that alone.

  114. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just waiting Ramsay vid, my wife came down the aisle to that tune…..emotional

  115. My grouse with this(in keeping with the culinary theme established last night) is that not only is the timing poor but I think the highly paid/expensive marketing team brought in by Gazidis hasn’t really thought outside the box(sorry, awful cliché there) to increase club income.

    In short – all those brains and all they can think of is to raise the ticket prices?

    When other nteams have a change in ownership supporters are usually given something by way of a fillip as a sign of intent; if it’s going to be further price increases than how popular wil Stan be?

    Incidentally, some more cheaper, lower tier seats could be freed up if the away support was put in the upper tier and not the lower, something the protest group WHOAG have raised as one of their concerns.

  116. Morning all

    There’s a New Post ………

  117. chas says:

    Thought I’d post this here in case it stops the new post comments from loading quickly.
    Matchday experience, some nice shots, sound from inside the stadium on Sunday.

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