June 20th Is A Massive Day For Arsenal

June 20, 2011

As Arsenal supporters we have many great anniversaries to celebrate.

There was May 26th 1989 – Micky Thomas scoring in the closing seconds to clinch an improbable title away at Anfield. The sight of 40,000 thieving Scousers whining about being robbed was karma on a cosmic scale.

Or how about May 3rd, 1971, when a Ray Kennedy header made us champions of England – an achievement made all the sweeter by the location of our triumph: that’s right, that large public convenience in N17. Where better to take the piss?

Or Christmas Day 1886, when the Royal Arsenal football team was formed in the Royal Oak pub in Woolwich. Bells rang across South London that day and angels in choirs sang songs of praise. Some people thought they were celebrating the birth of a baby who would save mankind from sin. In fact they were celebrating the birth of an almighty team that would save mankind from T*ttenham. Same thing, really.

But I want to propose June 20th as the most significant day in the modern history of Arsenal?

Why? Because that is the date in 1995 when Dennis Bergkamp joined Arsenal FC.

I’m tempted to say he descended among us in a cloud from on high, but in fact I think he arrived on a ferry at Harwich.

That audacious signing (we snaffled the Dutch maestro away from Inter) came under the stewardship of Bruce Rioch, although David Dein is generally credited as being the mastermind behind the deal.

And, to my mind, it started a chain of events that has led Arsenal to its current position as one of the most successful clubs in Europe.

My theory is that without Dennis there would probably have been no Arsene Wenger. Imagine how much easier it must have been for Dein to lure Arsene to our club with Dennis Bergkamp already on the roster.

Even if Arsene had arrived and we did not have Dennis,  he may well have struggled in his first couple of seasons and his tenure may not have lasted.

And without Arsene we would almost certainly now be a struggling mid table side or a permanent wannabe like the Spuds.

So for me, June 20th represents the birth of Arsenal as a major player in the new Europeanised world of top football.

To you all I say: “Happy St Dennis’s Day.”

RockyLives 


Revolving Doors at the Emirates…………??

June 19, 2011

Written by Harry

Well, as the summer transfer window widens and the pace hots up with Arsenal supposedly just about hanging on the tailcoats of the rest as they build super squads that we cannot hope to compete with….. What will Wenger do?

Both Arsene and Ivan Gazidis have more than hinted that there will be a good turnover of players: At the recent Q&A with the Arsenal Fans Forum, Big Ivan said:

“It is very clear we had some shortcomings and in this close season we are going to see some turnover of players. Some new signings will be coming in and some of our existing squad will be going out. As Arsène has said, it will be a busy close season for the Club.”

 

In the article I waffled through last week, I ran the rule over the squad and came up with my list of goners, these players have been identified by me {IMHO} as on their way, most agreed, some wanted others to join the list…….

“Almunia, Clichy, Squillaci, Denilson, Bendtner, Eastmond and sadly Fabregas”

But we have to be pragmatic and realise that a greater turnover of players, more than say 7 / 8 would cause too much disruption…….And of the 7 above, only 2 are first team starters…..So for me that would be enough……..

The biggest issue we have currently is the Nasri-Fabregas situations, as I have said before we have to be careful that we don’t lose both of these world class players. Should we concentrate on one? And the let the other leave?

Even though Fabregas said he won’t ask to leave and that it’s all down to the boss, he might as well have said and spoke the truth, reading in between the lines, his inner desire is to play for his boyhood team, which we all can understand. All I want is a committed player; will he be if he stays? Ok injuries affected him last season, but was he totally focused?

For me he is off…….I’d be stunned if he stays…

So in that case, lets give Samir a new contract (long term) and bring some new players in to compliment what we have……..

So what do we need?

Goalkeepers:

Personally for me I would start with Wojciech as Number 1 with Lukasz pushing him all the way. With Almunia off, Vito Mannone would come back in as number 3.  So we don’t need a new one……..Maybe a big call, but truly what’s out there at the moment? Reina is now committed to Liverpool, so lets go with our young poles, competition between them will be good for them and us……..

Defenders:

The priority for me is replacing Clichy, I would bust a gut to get hold of Leighton Baines from Everton. Positionally sound, has pace, can cross, solid tackler and fighter. Cracking free kicks and penalties as well….

The rumour this week has been that Wenger wants Samba and Cahill, that would be a massive surprise, Squillaci must move on, so there is only one place, unless Wenger sees either Koscielny or Vermaelen moving positions, both are capable of holding the midfield anchor slot, so Cahill would add real depth, just cannot see both coming in…..

Out of the two, I really want Samba, has real grit and strength, a powerful dominant beast of a defender, who puts his body on the line, this would be his big chance and I feel he would give his all, would really be a leader when needed…….

And we have brought in already young Carl Jenkinson from Charlton, Wenger sees him as a very good player who is making big strides, so I see him as an understudy to Sagna, with cup games surely  his aim for this season.

Baines would be perfect at Left Back……..

Midfield:

Well hopefully, Gervinho is finally signed this week, like most of us, don’t really know alot about him, but the highlights and reports I have seen lately look promising, he seems to be a typical Arsène signing. Importantly he has an eye for goal, with incisive movement, tends to cut in from the right, and has strength to hold players off, pace with ability to hold onto the ball……

Matuidi has been mentioned again as previous seasons, as has Willian from Donetsk. Both would be interesting signings, but just don’t see that we need them that much, surely we have enough in Midfield, as long as we only lose one of Fabregas or Nasri.

I really want Lansbury to break into the squad this season, the other one would be Ryo, but he still has issues with the permits, so will have wait. Ramsey has a big season ahead of him, really looking forward to him getting back to his best…..

Oxlade-Chamberlain supposedly was close to signing in the mid-season TW, but Southampton refused to let him go. He seems to want to come and his Dad is in favour. I would like to see him come in and would be disappointed if we lost out just by a few pounds……

Attack:

I would give Chamakh another season and let the Danish Pele with his pink boots move on, he might turn into a star at some stage, but I just feel he has run out of chances at the Emirates, although he has been played out of position a lot……

So for me we need a goal scorer, Defoe has been muted this week, unlikely to happen, would be interesting if on form and consistent, but generally he is not.

I would love to see a true superstar to come in, like Falcao from Porto or Vucinic from Roma as more of a statement of intent in a way, but would also be happy if we managed to nab hold of Connor Wickham from Ipswich, he was such a handful in the Carling Cup Semi last season, powerful pacy and a good energy about him, he would be an excellent signing and RVP remains my main man so would a true superstar be too much?

So to sum up the players who should come in:

Baines, Samba, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wickham. If Wenger did surprise us and pick up Cahill as well happy days, but that lot would be seen as some cracking business if all tied up…..would it not?

My starting 11:

Wojciech

Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Baines

Song

Wilshere Nasri

Walcott         Arshavin

RVP

Bench: Gervinho, Ramsey, O-C, Wickham, Djourou, Samba and Fabianski…….

I would be well happy with that……………….

And just think of the players I haven’t mentioned yet still in the squad……….Chamakh, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Lansbury, Diaby, Eboue, Gibbs, Miquel, Bartley, amongst many others…

Would that keep Nasri and the rest of the Gooner’s out there happy?

Written by Harry


DESERT ISLAND ARSENAL.

June 18, 2011

Written by MickyDidIt89

The moment has arrived. Its gloomy, it is Saturday, and the transfer news is slow. What to do? I popped out for a thoughtful cigarette, and I believe, came up with a brilliant idea.

Most of us will know of Desert Island Discs. For those who don’t, it is a radio show where guests are invited to take one or two things to keep them company on said desert island. The idea is to focus the mind.

So, I give you my version: Desert Island Arsenal.

1.      Which ten minutes of your Arsenal existence would you most like to relive?

2.      You can have ANY one piece of Arsenal memorabilia. What would that be?

3.      An hour with anyone from any era associated with Arsenal. Who and Why?

Well then, to get the ball rolling, here are my three:

1.       Here we have a straight fight between my first game with my Dad. Arsenal Leeds, evening game, August 1973, and the moment the majestic arena unfolded before my eyes two minutes before Kick Off. The full house, the emerald green surface and the rest you know. In the other corner is the Mickey Thomas goal. The Long Ball Forward, and again you all know the rest. This is very tough, but I will opt for ’73.

2.      It would be The Marble Halls. Yip, the whole thing. What would I do with it? My dream is to one day build my own classic English Garden. Big style. I like trees, water and follies, so we are talking Stourhead. My folly, Palladian Style, would be set high on a hill overlooking my work and within it would be The Marble Halls, where I could contemplate the Great Arsenal Moments, The Meaning of Life and other stuff.

3.      Again, mighty tough this one. I have always wanted to ask John Lukic what the bloody hell he was playing at when,  a minute into extra time at Anfield, he thought it would be a good idea to roll the ball out to Dixon rather than “hoof” the thing. However, this would not take an hour, so for me, I would opt for an hour with whoever came up with the idea of binning our Club Crest, a length of rope and a blunt knife!

Frankly, change the questions, and we could play this game every time some tool fails to deliver on a quality postage!


Arsenal were Top of the Premier League Post last Season

June 17, 2011

Written by 26may1989

A few days ago, someone called JRS put up a link to a Twitter page operated by Opta, the collectors of statistics for all matters football. See http://twitpic.com/4t9shh.  I hadn’t seen it when it was published, but it had a table showing what the Premier League table would have looked like on 1st May had all shots that hit posts and crossbars actually resulted in goals.  And the impact was incredible.

The top six places on 1st May were transformed from this:

P

W

D

L

GS

GA

GD

Pts

1 Man Utd

35

21

10

4

71

33

38

73

2 Chelsea

35

21

7

7

66

28

38

70

3 Arsenal

35

19

10

6

68

36

32

67

4 Man City

34

18

8

8

53

31

22

62

5 Liverpool

35

16

7

12

54

39

15

55

6 Tottenham

34

14

13

7

50

43

7

55

…. to this:

P

W

D

L

GS

GA

GD

Pts

1 Arsenal

35

27

5

3

89

38

51

86

2 Chelsea

35

22

8

5

86

38

48

74

3 Man Utd

35

22

7

6

82

43

39

73

4 Liverpool

35

19

2

14

64

44

20

59

5 Man City

34

15

11

8

66

43

23

56









6 Tottenham

34

14

14

6

64

54

10

56

Of course, looking at the staggering 19 additional points we would have got in this Alice-in-Wonderland scenario of shots hitting the net instead of hitting woodwork, my first thoughts were “If only”.  After all, that magnificent victory over United on 1st May would have seen us crowned champions with three games to go.  But thinking that way, of course, is pointless; this is a completely artificial analysis and United deserved to win the title because, in the real world, they did better than us, and better than anyone else.

However, there is still something interesting about the OptaJoe table, it still says something.  Specifically, it illustrates the significance of luck in football.  Of course, skill accounts for some of the difference between shots that hit woodwork and shots that hit the back of the net.  But the sheer scale of Arsenal’s 21 hits (and Chelsea’s 20) as compared with United’s ten hits take it beyond a question of skill.  The point is only underlined when one looks at the number of goals that would have been conceded (something that must be even less controllable, since it is a question of the opponent’s accuracy): United and Chelsea would have conceded ten more goals each, but Arsenal would have conceded only two more.  Less accurate shooting is one factor but, with these margins of difference, luck must also be an ingredient in the mix.

It’s not sour grapes to talk about luck; anyone who succeeds in sport depends, to some degree or other, on luck.  Last season, United were lucky and we were unlucky, but in the years when we succeeded (remember those?!), I’m sure we got the benefit of plenty of luck as well.  And who can argue that our epic league win back in 1989 was anything other than the pinnacle of good luck?  Beautiful, dramatic, fantastic: yes.  But also very lucky.

Quite simply, there are too many variables that cannot be controlled by individuals for luck not to play a significant part in sporting success.  It is an ingredient in sport, always has been, always will be.  In cricket, there are the dropped catches or even the occasions when a ball hits the stumps without dislodging the bails.  In horse-racing, there are the horses that collapse or trip while clear in the home strait.  The hope is that luck is not the dominant factor in deciding the big issues in sporting competition.  But in the words of that titan of philosophy, Larry King: “Those who have succeeded at anything and don’t mention luck are kidding themselves.”

Many factors contributed to our abject failure in last season’s run-in: personnel, tactics, refereeing decisions and player psychology, all played a part, of course.  But what the OptaJoe table underlines is the importance of luck.  The existence, nature and sources of luck (good and bad) have been the subject of philosophical and religious debate for millennia.  Buddhists, for example, dismiss the idea of luck, saying that there is a cause behind every event, even if that cause is moral in nature (karma).  But for my money, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the US and a five-star general in the US Army, was closer to understanding the capricious nature of luck when he said “I would rather have a lucky general than a smart general. … They win battles, and they make me lucky.”

Perhaps Eisenhower would have shown Wenger the door for being so unlucky last season.  But I’m glad that’s one American who can’t influence our club.  We need the 2011-12 season to be different in a number of ways.  Here’s hoping one of the differences is that we’re luckier.


Arsène makes greatest signing of the transfer window – Guess who?

June 16, 2011

Written by Wigan Gooner

I’ll not muck about – it’s Pat Rice.

My reasoning for this statement is as follows, Arsène is facing a summer of upheaval like he has never known at Arsenal. There could be more player movement at Arsenal that I have ever seen in all of my years. Add that to even more expectation, pressure and a new pre-season routine and it is a very different Arsenal for 2011-2012.

The biggest signing was to retain the services of Pat Rice for another year because even if he is known (in some quarters, not my own) as a yes man he has vast experience as No 2 at Arsenal and he has the respect of the squad.

If I can build on that for a second, Arsène is a hands-on coach. He likes to tweak, push and work with his player’s every single day. Every day working to iron out their imperfections on the training pitch and working like that with a squad of 30-odd first-team squad player’s is a massive drain on resource and he would be unable to complete a single training session like that.

Pat Rice and Boro Primorac let him do it because whilst he is working and talking with the player’s they are running the drills and setting up the practice matches. Arsène is their Father, with Pat Rice and Boro Primorac the coaches.

Whilst we can all see the potential improvement a shake-up in the backroom staff might bring, can we afford the upheaval? Haven’t we got enough going on? The settling in period and changes of routine when we are already shaking the Arsenal Castle to the very core foundations? When star players are considering leaving for a few thousand pounds?

He will be buying in fresh players and these players need a steady stable ship to join. Stability aids adaption and London Colney is certainly different to most clubs. Pat Rice is one massive, all-important cog in the Colney machine and without him, I think Arsène would be in more trouble than he’d care to admit.

WG


Is Arsène Wenger too much of a Romantic?

June 15, 2011

‘Ars-zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’

‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’, by Robert M. Pirsig is one of my favourite books. It is a complicated and challenging story about the concept of and quest for ultimate ‘quality’, and it is full of insights I have been able to use in my personal and working life, ever since I finished reading the book a few decades ago.

The most important lesson from the book for me was Pirsig’s view that most people are either ‘Romantics’ or ‘Classics’. He explains this by pointing out the different ways in which owners of motorcycles view their beloved machines. The Romantics love what the machine can do for them: the exhilarating speed, the freedom to travel wherever you like, the feeling of fresh air in your face; the ability to ‘sense the journey’. The Classics however, love to take the motorcycle apart, and want understand how the machine exactly works; including each compartment, component and subcomponent. They simply love looking after their motorcycles by understanding their machine to the finest detail.

Pirsig believes that Romantics often hate to look after the maintenance side of things, and vice versa, that the Classics don’t really know how to enjoy and experience something to the full (like riding a motorbike). Pirsig points out in his book that happiness as well as the ability to do a job really well (produce real quality), is best suited by combining the Classic and Romantic paradigms.

I have often wondered whether Arsène Wenger tends towards being a Classic or a Romantic:

A few years ago Johan Cruijff was asked by a Dutch journalist to describe Arsène Wenger (prior to a CL game between PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal in Holland). Cruijff said something down the lines of :

‘Wenger always sticks to a system of attacking football with high ball possession/circulation and pressure on the opponent all over the pitch; he will not adjust his system to counteract/benefit any perceived strengths/weaknesses of opponents. He believes in his system and that’s it.’

To me this sounded like Cruijff was indirectly describing Arsene as overly romantic: not much need to painstakingly analyse the opponent and adjust tactics and team-talk, just believe in our way of playing football and we will win. Last summer, Cesc Fabregas is believed to have said something similar to this in an interview he gave to a Spanish journalist.

Furthermore, on Friday 10 June, Red Arse pointed us towards an article in the Mirror, in which Tony Adams was being quoted saying:

‘ No disrespect to Arsene, but George’s [Graham]  coaching ability, defensive structure and technical ability, for me, is far better.

“No injustice to Arsene, but it’s his strength, and that was George’s particular strength. They say coaches are the best thieves and I think he stole it off Terry Venables.

“I think Arsene Wenger is a magnificent physiologist and psychologist. Those are the areas where he excels. He’s a lovely man and he has the respect of all the players he’s ever worked with.’

So once again, I wonder whether TA is indirectly describing our manager as too much of a romantic i.e. is Arsène not spending enough time on the ‘maintenance’, the essence, of our defensive (coaching, defensive structure, technical ability, buying the right quality and type of players)?

What do you think: is Wenger too much of a Romantic, and if so what should be done about it?

TotalArsenal


Arsenal Fans Are Being Misled

June 14, 2011

Here are some facts:

  • Arsène Wenger is dithering in the transfer market.
  • He is paralysed by indecision because so many top players are threatening to leave.
  • Arsenal’s main rivals, by contrast, are acting decisively and boldly.
  • Highly rated players will not join Arsenal because we have not won a trophy for six years.
  • Arsenal will never spend ‘big’ money on a new signing.

I know that these are facts because I have read them in the newspapers. The Mail, the Express, the Sunday Times and of course the down market tabloids. They have all published variations on all of the above statements.

The journalists responsible are professional reporters. They’ll have done their journalism training at Darlington, Cardiff or Westminster (the most established journo training centres) or at one of the in-house schemes run by some newspaper groups.

They’ll have started out with great dreams and ideals of being a top sports writer. They’ll have worked their way up, for the most part, through local papers and news agencies, covering non-league games on rainy, windswept pitches in front of tiny crowds before moving on to the lower divisions and finally getting their big break in Fleet Street, writing about the EPL.

And now they produce these ‘facts’.

For crying out loud, they should be ashamed of themselves.

If these are facts, they’re the sort that would do Joseph Goebbels proud.

Goebbels, for those who don’t know their World War Two history, was the chief propagandist for the Third Reich. Up until 1939 his main narrative was that Germany’s intentions were entirely peaceful. And we know how that turned out.

That’s what propagandists do. They develop a narrative and stick to it. Every event, every outcome, every statement is re-positioned so that it fits the narrative, even when it patently doesn’t, until the narrative has served its purpose.

Arsenal may not exactly be facing the forces of Nazism, but we are facing a propaganda onslaught orchestrated by Fleet Street and other media outlets like TalkSport.

At the start of last season the embryonic idea took form that Arsenal were headed for continuing failure under Arsene Wenger (not least because he allegedly hates to spend money on quality players). As the season wore on this form solidified and became accepted wisdom.

The fact that Arsenal’s transfer activity was severely curtailed for five years because of the cost of the new stadium (and that the manager miraculously kept us competitive in that time while making a net profit on transfers) was gradually written out of the story.

Instead the ‘facts’ became that Arsene was a skinflint; that he was scared of buying established stars in case he couldn’t control them; that he persisted with bringing through young players not because of financial constraints but because he was ‘obsessed’ with ‘project youth’.

There may even have been grains of truth in some elements of this (certainly Arsene has seemed attracted to the idea of creating a squad of young players who grow up together playing a particular brand of football). But essentially a position that was easily explained by the circumstances (lack of money due to building a new stadium) was reframed as being about something else – namely the supposed character flaws of the manager.

The team’s implosion in last season’s run-in added further fuel to this narrative, which is why we have arrived at the point today where our summer transfer activity has been written off by the press before it has even begun.

Barely a week into the transfer window (and with more than two and a half months still to run), the Fleet Street concensus is that we’ve blown it. They tell us that because we haven’t gone out and hurled 15, 17, 20 million quid at whichever over-rated English player the journalists have decided is this week’s great big hope, we are dead in the water.

Let’s not bother turning up next season because these professional reporters have already decided that we’re heading for mid table.

Here’s just one small example of the reporting. I don’t mean to single out Rob Draper from the Mail, but it happens to be the most recent one I’ve read:

“Equally, should Fabregas eventually move, Wenger’s tactics in the transfer market will again come under the microscope. While Manchester United and Liverpool were swiftly into their squad-strengthening stride and Chelsea are poised to pick up the pace, Wenger risks being left standing in the stalls again as the big names head elsewhere.”

The bit that makes me laugh the most is “…and Chelsea are poised to pick up the pace…

This illustrates exactly the issue of fitting the facts to suit your preconceived narrative. Despite Chelsea winning nothing and despite their manager having been sacked and despite them spending 50 million pounds in January on a striker who can’t score and despite the fact that they have done less than us in the market so far this summer, there is no suggestion that they risk “being left standing in the stalls again.” Oh no. They are “poised to pick up the pace.”

Make the facts fit the narrative. There is no anti-Chelsea narrative at the moment so their transfer inactivity can be overlooked.

Frankly it’s just lazy. As was all the triumphalism over Man Utd beating us to Phil Jones’s signature and supposedly proving that promising young players would rather go to Old Trafford than the Emirates… oh, wait a minute… that deal is not even done. Top quality reporting there, lads.

Unlike many Gooners, I don’t believe that most of the sports hacks have an agenda against Arsenal (although some surely have). It’s just that the media move like a school of anchovies. When they change direction they do so as one and it happens in an instant. Pack mentality, if you like (apologies for the mixed metaphor).

But the result is the same: we, the supporters, are being misled by what these journalists write.

So what conclusions can we draw? Well, for me it’s a simple one: let’s not swallow this slapdash, thoughtless reporting and regurgitate it in our own forums. Even when it’s incorrect it can still cause damage and there is a real danger of the narrative becoming real if it’s hammered home hard enough and if enough people fall for it. That is the aim of propaganda.

And finally, I would ask those reporters who find themselves in the privileged position of being able to write about our national sport for a living to remember the ideals with which they entered their profession.

Don’t give in to the laziness; don’t just follow the pack.

Stand up and say: “I am not an anchovy.”

RockyLives


Arsenal…….Gooners or Goner’s…….?

June 13, 2011

Written by Harry

In the midst of one of the biggest summers that I can remember since 97, many questions need answering, Where did it all go wrong? Whose fault is it? Is Wenger the right Man for the job? Which players actually play for the shirt? What are our weaknesses, the list is endless……..

Endless reviews of the seasons have highlighted the moments that the season went wrong. All along and also seasons gone past, there have been moments where our inner belief has floundered, this season for me it eroded alarmingly at St James Park, after which the team then seemed to always believe they had a mistake in them and this hampered them continually………

Rather than drag out the pain that still manifests within all of us gooners and do a full review of the actual games, as we all know that we surely threw away a very easy title win.

There is no arrogance in that statement, its clear to all that we did, but fair play to old red face, Shrek and his team mates, they managed to play with a steel and belief that we clearly lack, they played as if they knew they never get caught albeit with huge portions of luck thrown in, shame for Giggsy he didn’t have the same luck in his private life in not getting caught……

Anyway according to the hordes of mass press ranks, we will be fighting mid table mediocrity and be lucky to stay out of the relegation zone, mighty Arsenal are in crisis, players are leaving in their droves…….

So lets look at all the players who have played for us this season and whether they should stay as a Gooner or whether they should be a Goner………….

Keepers:

Sczcesny: A legend in the making, got his chance due to Fabianski’s injuries and Almunia’s propensity for clangers. A youngster with supreme confidence, should be a firm fixture in the squad for years to come, he will have competition for the No1 spot. Needs to sort out his distribution which is a major weakness. GOONER

Fabianski: Old flappy was just starting to win the crowd over when he had a setback with his shoulder and he was out for the season. A very capable keeper, great shot stopper and will push Chez all the way, rated by the their mutual polish coach as the better keeper.  GOONER

Almunia: Horrendous season, needs to leave for himself and Arsenal, he is a good keeper who has lost his way, he couldn’t make the step up and needs to rediscover himself at a lower level. GONER

Mannone: On loan at Hull and injured, has potential. GOONER

Lehmann: Came in, in an emergency situation. Proved he can play at this level and seems tempted to come out of retirement permanently. Has a winning mentality and his experience would be invaluable for the young poles, although would be surprised if he stays. GONER

Defenders:

 

Sagna:  Solid player who had a good season overall, played with niggling injuries, a Trojan without doubt. Needs to improve his crossing. GOONER

Clichy: Athletic and devastating at full flight on the attack, poor crossing lets him down. But his defending is naïve at best, positionally inept and has a fragility about his confidence, can panic at the slightest sign of pressure. Wenger has tried, but maybe it is time to let him go. Won’t sign contract, am I bothered? Not really, sell. GONER

 

Vermaelen: The biggest miss this season by a country mile, scores goals, defends like a warrior and has steel about him. GOONER

NB: TV6 highlights the need to improve our medical facilities and personnel.

Djourou: Mixed bag this season, always liked and rated him, he is solid and dependable player perhaps who has been hampered by injuries, but he does also have a fragility and a tendency to make mistakes under pressure. Next season is massive for him anymore errors of note and he will struggle to make it at Arsenal. GOONER

Squillaci: I believe at times unfairly blamed, but he didn’t inspire confidence when at the heart of our defence and with belief been key, perhaps he isn’t a risk worth continuing with. GONER

Koscienly: For me, forget the CC mistake, he had a great season and has shown immense promise, he had a messi pocket when Barca came to town. Brilliant man marker and reads the game well, pushes on and supports attacks well. A great back up DM as well. GOONER

Eboue: I have put him as a defender (arsenal.com have him as a midfielder), although he covers  midfield as well. Has a tendency to play the fool once too often, but he is versatile and is a good cover for Sagna. I would keep him: GOONER

Miquel: Only played a couple of times, shown great promise. GOONER

Gibbs: Massively hampered by injuries, Great hope for him and we all hope he will make the step up and claim the left back slot, is he ready for the level of consistency needed? Not sure about that, but he is a great back up and cup player for me, its up to him now. GOONER

Traore: Been away at Juve on loan, if clichy goes, perhaps he could fight with Gibbs for a spot? I would keep if no one else came in, such as Baines….GOONER (Maybe out on loan)

Midfield:

Song: Overall he has come along way since his dark days at Fulham, and he has become a rock.  But if we are all honest he had an inconsistent season. Seemed to drop his head when things went wrong. GOONER.

Wilshere: Stunning season from the little maestro, Young Player of the season, has bite and determination to go with his talent. Stood toe to toe with Xavi and didn’t look out of place. Wenger was right to disagree with his U21 involvement this summer. The big question now is will he maintain his levels, up his levels further and handle the expectations that go with it? GOONER

Ramsey: Only played at the back end of the season due to the horrific injury sustained at the UFC in Stoke. Has shown already in a handful of matches he looks like he will return and fulfil his promise, unlike sadly Eduardo who didn’t. GOONER

Diaby: Enigmatic player who divides the faithful more so than most. On his day he can destroy and dominate opponents, but powerful displays are as common as powderpuff ones, where he has a tendency to throw away possession. We cannot make wholesale changes in one go, for me has one season left to prove himself worthwhile. GOONER.

Denilson: What can I say? Has a over sized opinion of himself, had so much promise and might still make a name for himself, just not at ours, won’t be missed bye bye. GONER

Frimpong: Injured at the start of last season and missed the campaign, will compete with Song, has immense potentialm, should play a lot of cup matches. GOONER.

Eastmond: Doesn’t and has never impressed me one bit, weak at best. Go on loan, toughen up or move on preferably. GONER

Lansbury: Had an impressive loan stay at Norwich, but strangely had to come off the bench a lot. Had started the season with us and scored at the spuds in the CC. Much expected, behind the curve due to long term injury in previous seasons. Big season, should be in the squad. GOONER

JET: Too versatile for his own good, has a suspect attitude, but has an abundance of talent. Should stay at ours and play in the Cup matches and have his attitude curbed by Wenger. GOONER

Arshavin: So disappointing, has the talent to destroy defences. Yes he has more assists than others and does score the odd goal, but he is playing at 70%, more to give (proven in 2nd half against United). Would prefer a more central role. Worth keeping, just if he truly wants to prove himself the great player he can be, if Nasri and Fab do leave, he can play the central creative role. GOONER.

Rosicky: Finally has overcome his long term absence to play a fair number of games, expectations are high and failed to really grasp his chance. A favourite of mine, squad player now, would keep around for experience or allow to leave if he wants: GOONER

Nasri: A dazzling first half of the season curtailed by injury, came back but couldn’t see us over the line. Wants more money and is flirting with United via Evra. It is imperative we keep him, this reminds me of the Flamini / Diarra situation where we lost both. Pay him the 110k if necessary. Must stay at all costs. GOONER

Fabregas: Thanks for the memories, never reached his top level this season, maybe in 2 or 3 games at best. His heart is somewhere else and to be honest I understand, just disappointed that he wasn’t true to himself on the pitch this season. If he did stay I would be only happy, but only if he truly wants to stay, which he clearly doesn’t. GONER

Attackers:

Van Persie: Without doubt our most prized possession, more influential than Fabregas, fights and gives his all for his team. Outstanding scoring run at the end of the season, only down side is the injury prone situation. For me is absolutely world class. GOONER

Bendtner: The self proclaimed Danish Pele, has talent but seems to over complicate situations for me, has been played out of position which doesn’t help, works harder than credited for, but waste easy chances at times. If he does move on I see him been a success, so should we persevere? Either he goes or Chamakh? Had too many chances for me. GONER

Chamakh: Great start to the season, had confidence dented by RVP return, never challenged him by making most of chances when he came on, seemed scared to shoot at times. Worth hanging onto just, 2nd season improvement beckons……. GOONER

Walcott: A better season than many would give him credit for, injuries again have hampered him, but when he plays he can be devastating if played to his strengths. Would prefer a more central role. No longer a kid or just potential, needs to dominate games. GOONER

Vela: The Mexican wonder boy has faltered and taken a step back when he should be dazzling us with his undoubted skills. Went on loan to WBA and they played him from the bench, although he scored a couple. Bring back and give one more chance. GOONER

There are many other youth players I could have added to the list, but I have used the squad list on Arsenal.com. Some long term contracts have been signed by Afobe, Aneke, Henderson amongst others…………..

So moving on, in my humble opinion, should be Almunia, Clichy, Squillaci, Denilson, Bendtner, Eastmond and sadly Fabregas, which should suit their desires as most of them have actually stated that they want to move on. So that’s 7 minimum out of the doors……..

In Wenger, we must continue to hold faith and back him to make the necessary changes and manage this situation with the player’s unrest; in already we have Jenkinson and some more Barca products, is that sensible?

In my next waffle I will analyse what we need and what there is available out there…..?

Harry KB……


Arsenal and Pak Choi.

June 12, 2011

Written by MickyDidIt89

Today I am prostituting myself and as the title would suggest, I am appealing to the Asian Market for my “Hits”.  Now that I am a record breaking AA Poster, I would like to move swiftly on to today’s topic. Total Football and The Wenger Way. At this point, I am about to drop a bomb on some heads, and would therefore urge the likes of TA to “Tin Hat Up”.

I do not believe we play Total Football, in fact I do not believe such a thing exists. I do know a thing or two about this because I have looked it up (born in Hungary, moved to Holland. You see, homework done!), but to add some personal meat to my theory here goes. A Total Goalkeeper? No, thought not. You can already see where I am going with this and it concerns Positional Specialists. Now I realise that David Platt once played in goal as I was there. I was also at WHL when O’Leary came on as a striker, but you know what…nah.

There has been much talk recently of us reverting to the 4-4-2 and until the Champions League Final I found myself sniffing around in this area as well, but no longer. Watching Barca so happily dispatching United made me realise how close we are. Imagine last season had  Szczesny begun between the sticks and TV been fit throughout. We would have come mighty close.

Having said all this, I do like much elasticity and fluidity between my front three. They should be allowed, encouraged, and able, to move hither, slither thither and as far as I’m concerned stop for a fag break somewhere in between. You see, I like to keep an informal trench as far as my attack is concerned. I remember being young and impressionable, standing on the North Bank for an evening game against City and being mesmerized by their wingers (Peter Barnes and ?) who kept switching flanks and running exited little circles around our confused full backs. At that point, I had a dream.

Thing is, I still have dreams. Henry, Eto and C.Ronaldo , and No I am not suggesting for one minute. However, each of them have speed, power, goals and the ability to play anywhere across the front.

So, to conclude, for me it can only be Total Three, and that my Merry Fellows, is your lot.


Arsenal, poor men sitting at a rich man’s table?

June 11, 2011

Such is the vacuum in good news about Arsenal at the moment that our site which is graced by a plethora of great writers (and many not shy of giving their opinion) cannot generate a post for today ….. except this modest offering.

Everything is currently just speculation in the transfer market, but the pattern of hierarchy in the movement in players is much as most of us would have suspected.

The idea that manu would not spend has been blown out of the water and they look prepared to spend plenty more, the chavs and city will snap up any top player who is swayed more by money than fooball ethics (= most of them). Similarly Liverpool have signalled their intent to buy quality to give them a chance of success imminently rather than for the future. It is likely that totnum will receive good money for one or two of their players and you have to admit that ‘arry has a good track record in the transfer market.

So that leaves the Arsenal, clinging on to the hope that Cesc, or Nasri or both will stay. Apparently Nasri wants 110K a week, should we give him the money (we wouldn’t give Cashley an extra 5K) Will that cause a mutiny in the dressing room amongst lesser paid players – should we care?.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, we are the poor men at the top table. It’s no secret. We may have to settle for scraps again. Would you rather Benzema for £20m of Gervinho for £12m? the former has a better goalscoring record and that is what we need, a proper No.9, but will the extra £8m mean more to the Board?

These are just thoughts to leave with you as I’m off to play cricket and to clear my mind of the rather depressing scenario that is currently developing. Have a good day and remember we are all fellow supporters who share a love for Arsenal and should respect the way others express their views.