Ramsey Out?

September 30, 2011

A lot of people have got it in for Aaron Ramsey right now.

Following our victory over Bolton I read several comments on AA and elsewhere to the effect that our young Welshie had a bad game and should be dropped to the stiffs.

Before the match someone even said he was turning into the new Denilson – always passing backwards and sideways as if, having grown up in a rugby-loving country, he was unaware that, with a round ball, you’re allowed to pass forwards.

His short outing in our Champions League win over Olympiacos also drew quite a bit of criticism in the blog world.

Critics have gone so far as to suggest that he needs a spell on loan somewhere, possibly in the Championship.

Opinions are free and everyone is entitled to their own. But the trouble with free things is that often the reason they’re free is that they have no value. And there is no value whatsoever in an opinion that writes off a promising youngster like Aaron Ramsey before his career has even started.

It may seem like AR16 has been with us for quite a while – and in terms of years and months he has, having joined us in the summer of 2008.

But in playing terms he is effectively in his first season, thanks to the bone-snapping attentions of Frankenpulis’s monster.

In his entire Arsenal career Aaron has started only 19 EPL games. He has only started 35 games in all competitions, including the Carling Cup.

Jack Wilshere, by contrast, has started 31 EPL games and 51 in total. He is almost twice as far ahead in his first team development as Aaron despite being a year younger.

None of us can guarantee that a young player will achieve their potential (my mate got himself a Glenn Helder shirt after watching his first game for the Gunners – oh how we laughed in the following weeks). But sometimes you can just see things in teenage prospects that convince you that they are special (in a good way, not in a Gary Neville windscreen-licking kind of way).

Most of us saw it in Wilshere and many of us now see it in Ramsey. Don’t forget that only a couple of weeks ago he was MoTM in the Wales-England international.

Ramsey has composure, drive and a good engine. He can also score goals with well-timed late runs into the danger area.

The prospect of him and Wilshere running our midfield in years to come is mouthwatering.

But he is still in the shallowest foothills of his career and he will make mistakes, will drift out of games and will sometimes have off days.

When he does, surely the right thing to say is “Ramsey had an off day” and not “Ramsey is rubbish,” as I have seen written about him recently.

In short, he is a talented young man who needs support from the Arsenal faithful at this early stage of his development, not people writing off his entire Arsenal career after one or two performances (which, by the way, have been pretty solid all season).

Mark my words, this boy is going to go from lying on the turf at the Britannia Stadium with half his leg missing to being an Arsenal hero of the highest order. From leg end to legend. Just watch, and stop doubting.



Work in progress – Arsenal go marching on

September 29, 2011

We won. Chelsea didn’t. Man City didn’t. Man United didn’t. We did, and that’s the important bit, especially bearing in mind that we had nine injured players and (with the North London Derby coming up) only five genuine first choice players were in the starting XI.

The performance wasn’t the best, but neither was it the worst.  In ignorance, many of us assumed that the champions of Greece would be cannon fodder but by half-time it was clear that our opponents were no mugs. Olympiacos were a well organised, fit and energetic side, with a few dangerous players. They were often the better team in the first half, but the difference between the two sides was the quality of our finishing in the first half and the development of solidity at the back and better ball retention for Arsenal by the second half. The game was very open in the first half, worryingly so at times, since Olympiacos were able to drive into space on the break. We gave plenty of openings to our opponents, whose energy was best exemplified by Mirallas, who made Sagna’s evening a very uncomfortable one.

Both our goals came against the run of play, but came when we transitioned the ball quickly to the front third. The genesis of the first was a bit strange: Oxlade-Chamberlain had possession over on the wing, and decided to sweep a long pass back to Song, who was on the halfway line. Song then looked for the options, and saw Oxlade-Chamberlain had cut inside the Olympiacos right-back and was on a run toward the penalty area. Song pinged the ball back to the Ox with a long aerial pass, the youngster took the ball in his stride confidently, worked it across the penalty area, and efficiently shot back across the goal and through Mellberg’s legs.

The second goal came shortly after, when Santos was put through by efficient combination play from Rosicky and Arshavin; Santos then tried to cross it to Chamakh, but the ball was intercepted. Had it been Clichy, he would have panicked on receiving the ball in that situation and the chance would have been frittered away. But Santos is no fool, he just cut in and took an early right-foot shot that caught the keeper out at the near post.

Olympiacos’s goal came just a little bit later, and was outrageously simple; for two opponents to be able to bring the ball from a corner into the penalty area with barely a challenge made really is unforgivable. And then for Fuster to be able head the ball unchallenged from the penalty spot is very, very poor.  The decision has been taken to switch to zonal marking – fair enough, many pros say it is the better way to defend, and any change in system needs to bed down. But it needs to, and quickly.

In the second half, we exerted our control over proceedings far more effectively. The game became tighter and we became more efficient with and without the ball. We didn’t play with verve but the threat from Olympiacos ebbed away, and we were deserved victors by the end. The only exception to that was when Torosides had a great looping shot that beat Szczesny but clattered against the cross-bar. But that was Olympiacos’s only real chance in the second half, with the Arsenal defence finding itself during the course of the game.  By the end, it was clear that Mertesacker and Song were enjoying their partnership, and Santos showed a wizened way about him.  He knows how to use his body to best effect when contesting possession, and he understands how to anticipate what his opponent is going to do. There are no guarantees Santos will be a success story but those who wrote him off after his first game or two for us should hang their heads in shame.

My marks for the evening:

Szczesny: 7 Did nothing wrong, and made a lovely finger tip save in the first half.  He couldn’t do anything for the goal, when he was criminally exposed by his defence.

Sagna: 4 Constantly bullied, especially by Mirallas, and made several bad decisions while in possession.  Even accounting for the poor cover he got from Arshavin, Sagna’s performance was very disappointing. Perhaps my mark is a bit harsh, but I rate Sagna highly and expect much better from him than this.

Mertesacker: 7 Reads the game so well, he can intercept the ball or break up the play higher up the pitch than one might expect, and with someone like Song to mop up if anything does get through, it does work. The BFG is growing into his role with us, a pleasure to see that.

Song: 7 By the end, an excellent performance from Song, who showed he hasn’t forgotten how to play at CB. He also got an assist for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal.

Santos: 7 Lovely to see him score on his home debut, and it was a very mature goal, the result of a steady head. His defending was similarly mature, and the only time we were threatened on his flank was when Torosides swung a leg from distance and almost struck gold.

Frimpong: 5 Had his moments but was often caught out positionally, and for all his huff and puff, he had insufficient impact on Olympiacos.

Arteta: 5 Tried to keep the ball moving and he made some good passes, but Arteta was unable to impose himself on the game. He does offer better set piece delivery than we’ve become used to from Fabregas and van Persie. He also made a crucial goal-line clearance in the first half.

Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7 Slightly lucky for goal as it ricocheted off a defender back to him after a heavy touch, but he did brilliantly well to create the opening and finish it off. The boy has oodles of talent, and more than that, he plays without fear. He’s not intimidated by being crowded by opponents and he’s willing to take them on. The Ox was paid the ultimate compliment when Holebas took him out and was booked, and Holebas should have had a second yellow later on, when Ox killed him for pace, but the referee somehow managed not to see an obvious foul.

Rosicky: 4 Worked hard but to little effect. Had a chance of a shot when laid on by Arshavin but declined, and the opportunity was lost. He did however play a crucial part in the second goal.

Arshavin: 5 Not an athlete, never has been, but that deficiency is showing more now, and it’s not off-set by as many moments of brilliance. But Arshavin was wrongly called offside in first half when would have been through one-on-one. And he brilliantly carved open Olympiacos’s defence with a chipped through ball to Chamakh, who then dragged his shot wide. He also hit the bar with a cross that was wrongly adjudged to have gone out. But he still failed to offer anything consistent, and truth be told, we need more from him.

Chamakh: 5 He had a couple of good chances, and he should have done better with both. But he worked harder than usual (according to the Sky TV caption as he was subbed, Chamakh ran 8.7km as against the team average at 70 minutes of 7.8km). He also created a great chance for Oxlade-Chamberlain in the second half with a defence-splitting pass but AOC shot at the keeper. Chalamkh is rock-bottom in terms of confidence and he’s not streetwise, missing the chance to earn free-kicks when defenders are too tight to him. Crucially, he just doesn’t hunt down the chances to attack the ball in the box. That is his main job, for all of his running.


Ramsey: Didn’t impress during his time on the pitch, and with Wilshere now out for so long, we will need Ramsey to step up.

van Persie: Didn’t get a lot of service but also didn’t do much when he did get it.

Gibbs: Did pretty well during his short time on the pitch.

So, all in all, it was ok, but we remain a work in progress. Much of the midfield was huff and puff without end-product tonight, but they can and will do better. We’re on course in the Champions’ League, despite having been drawn in a tough group. Like all competitions this season, the CL is going to be a hard slog, but the second half defensive performance and Oxlade-Chamberlain made this a night that was net positive.

Written by 26may1989

A Taste of Honey.

September 28, 2011

A hot sunny Athens morning, greek yoghurt, fresh fruit, and some Greek honey. Lovely.

Olympiacos (we use a K, they use the C) come to town as Greek Champions , further than that I have little to tell you about them. They have over 80,000 members, the 9th highest in European football. They have a superb stadium, noisy, fanatical fans and a good home record. It is said they do not travel well, oh, and their Swedish player Olaf Mellberg scored the first PL goal at the Emirates (for AV)

The first round win by Marseilles  in Athens was a poor result for 4 reasons:

1. Marseilles are French.

2. Olympiacos are a tough proposition in Athens and thus Marseilles are well placed in the group,

3. Marseilles are French

4. Marseilles are French

With little insight into the Greek team I will concentrate upon the Mighty Arsenal. Needless to say we go into the game reduced by injuries. To add to the long term absentees we now have Gervinho, Walcott, Bennie, Miquel, Djourou and more importantly Koscielny injured.

Wenger appears to be forced into playing Song alongside the BFG (Mertesacker) but by doing so we lose our best midfielder.

I would like to see Santos get another game tonight, he must be raring to get his AFC career started and despite having played well recently Gibbs, as we all know, is made of glass.

Up front we have options for the first time in ages. Should we play 4-3-3 expect to see the Ox to get his first start and how exciting will that be? Arshavin or Ryo on the left? AA for me, we need to be on the front foot for this game.

My Team:

I have concerns about the number of games being played by Ramsey especially in light of the upcoming trip to WHL. Perhaps AW will give him a rest and play  Coquelin and Frimpong  in midfield, as it is I expect Frimpong to start.  This is a game made for our friend Abou Diaby, he is sorely missed (IMO).

The same could be said of Van Persie but he has become so important to the team that he must start, hopefully we will be a coasting on the hour and Chamakh can continue to get some pitch time.

Athens has been continuously inhabited for more than 7000 years (London has a measly 2000 year history). Athenians and ancient Greeks have gifted the world many wonders, among them – democracy, astrology, biology, mathematics, physics and the theatre, but for all their marvels they didn’t invent football, did they?

This is a tie we are expected to win and is probably our easiest fixture in the CL, anything less than 3 points will be costly,

Champions League campaigns may come and go but Arsenal are Forever and Ever 🙂


Big Raddy

Job Advertisement – Arsenal Football Club are looking for a new: MANAGER

September 27, 2011

Written by Total Arsenal

Due to a recent spell of bad results in the Premier League and the relentless complaining of our fans, we are now looking for a new Manager.

During the reign of Arsène Wenger, Arsenal won three League Championships, Four FA Cups, achieved the cult-status of the Invincibles for a 49-games spell of not getting beat, reached the CL final, played in the CL for 14 consecutive seasons, played a brand of football envied all over the world, and moved successfully to a brand new stadium, whilst keeping the club in a healthy financial position.

Arsenal have just sold their best player, captain and playmaker Cesc Fabregas, and shipped out another 9 players, but we also bought 11 players during the Transfer Window. The new squad is full of youthful talent, experienced players, with a number of national captains, and a top quality spine to the team.

However recent results have been disappointing and we feel our incumbent manager has been far too slow with the integration of the new players – after all he had 21 days since the last day of the TW (including an international break). Arsenal football club had to endure two woeful away games against Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers in the new season, and we have come to the conclusion that the most successful manager in our history is no longer capable of bringing our beloved Arsenal the successes that it is simply entitled to.

We are now looking for a manager who does not complain when his best players are sold, is able to integrate 11 new players into the team in just a few days time, and can bring us instant success (minimum requirement of PL or CL title this season).


Successful Applicants should be able to demonstrate:

  • A track-record of success (titles, cups, accolades) that equals, or ideally betters that of the incumbent manager.
  • A track-record of prudent financial management/ ability to adhere to the principle of ‘Sustainability’ (in-depth knowledge of Financial Fair Play – FFP – is highly desirable).
  • A vision as well as a track-record of playing attractive, attacking football that is acknowledged all over the world i.e. have you developed a ‘world football brand’ during your spell(s) as a manager?
  • A track-record of integrating two new defenders, a number of midfielders and a new striker in less than 21 days.
  • An ability/track-record of spotting super-talented youth players and develop them into world class players (so we can sell them just before they reach their absolute peaked for loads of money).
  • An ability to recruit undetected quality players in their early twenties at cut prices, and develop them into world class players as well (we like to sell those players too… ).
  • A track-record of protecting the Board that employed/employs you in front of everyone and at whatever personal cost.
  • The ability to stay professional and positive even when your best players let you down, the press is in your face all the time (hoping you will crack at any minute), and your BoD are hiding behind their office chairs when the proverbial hits the fan.
  • Availability at short notice is a MUST.

If you believe, you have what it takes to be successful in this role then please get in touch with the major shareholder Stan Kroenke, by emailing him at: silentstanny@arsenalfornow.com

If this position is not for you, but you know of somebody who has got what it takes, please let us know the name of him/her and their contact details, including a summary of why you believe they would be excellent candidates.


At Last: A Real Captain for Arsenal

September 26, 2011

If there is one image that defines the revival that Arsenal are about to embark on, it’s this one:

There were many positives to take from our dispatching of Bolton Wanderers on Saturday but, for me, this was the one that really counted.

Robin van Persie, mobbed by a herd of Bolton spongiforms, didn’t give an inch. When they mooed in his face he bellowed back at them; when they jostled him he put out his arms as if to say: “Yeah? And what?” He stood his ground. He faced down the bullocks with a show of real bollocks.

If anyone doubted whether Robin was the man to lead this team, that moment should put their mind at ease.

For Alan Hansen to subsequently criticise him on Match of the Day for not ‘leading by example’ and not being captain material tells you a lot more about Hansen than about van Persie. And it also tells you that he probably watched no more of our game than the brief highlights that were shown on MoTD.

Devout Christians sometimes use the question “what would Jesus do?” as a method to guide their actions.

At Arsenal we used to have a Jesus. His name was Cesc Fabregas. And if you ask what Cesc/Jesus would have done in that scenario, I offer the following speculation:

1) The scenario would not have happened in the first place because Cesc/Jesus, seeing a Wanderers player poleaxed in the box, would have put the ball into touch.
2) But if it had happened, and Cesc/Jesus was mobbed by a thousand pounds of Bolton beef, he would have backed off and walked away.

I’m not saying that either course of action by Cesc/Jesus is wrong. But Robin’s actions were those of a warrior. And by heaven, we have needed a warrior of late.

It may mean that Cesc is a nicer and more sporting person, but it also means that Robin is more of a fighter, someone who would rather be the winning guy than the nice guy.

To continue the religious analogy, if Cesc was Jesus, Robin is the Archangel Michael – the field commander of God’s armies in the war against the devil, with the title “Prince of Angels”.

Prince Robin. That will do for me and that is how I will refer to him from now on.

You may think I’m reading too much into one brief incident, but sometimes fortunes in football hinge on such intangibles. We all talk about confidence, desire, mental strength, morale – well, they are influenced by moments like this.

Prince Robin acted the way a Keown or a Vieira would have done. He handled it probably even better than his compatriot Dennis would have (I suspect Dennis might have chinned one of the cow-faces and got himself red carded).

But Prince Robin kept his arms down and spread wide in a gesture that both ridiculed the ox-minded simpletons of Bolton and ensured that the ref could not accuse him of violent conduct (Gervinho and Diaby, please take note).

He refused to be intimidated.

It’s this kind of leadership that is essential to helping us regain our status as one of the top teams in the country, capable of competing in all competitions and making our opponents believe that we are no pushover.

Cesc was a brilliant player – one of the best midfielders I have ever seen. But he was not a captain. Nor was Gallas and nor was Thierry Henry for all his gifts.

Arsene Wenger thinks we Brits place too much emphasis on the role of captain, but he’s wrong. A real leader on the field can make the crucial difference at the margins between success and failure.

And I really believe that Prince Robin is a leader. His public utterances of late have carried the weight and maturity of someone who knows he is in charge. He supports his team mates but is not afraid to remind them about what’s expected of them. He does not try to say everything in the garden is rosy – but he also refuses to accept that it’s all manure.

Quite possibly it is only his appalling luck with injuries that has stopped van Persie from becoming captain much earlier in his Arsenal career.

Having a striker as captain is not necessarily ideal, but there have been some outstanding srtiker-captains in the past (Shearer, Rummenigge, Maradona to name but three). And our No 10 is really showing leadership on and off the field.

This new Arsenal team is beginning to take shape. There is much to improve on and I don’t expect to see our best until the second half of the season. But the pieces are beginning to fall into place.

And no piece is more important than our new captain.

Prince Robin, I’m your man.


What a Difference a Day Makes …………………….

September 25, 2011

Arsenal 3-0 Bolton

Written by Jamie

I can remember as a kid being on holiday. After two days of solid rain suddenly the morning gave way to a raft of sunshine. My Grandfather walked down to the steps to the swimming pool with a cool drink and Dinah Washington’s seminal hit “What a Difference a Day Makes” soothing the hot air.

As I was leaving the stadium yesterday the memory flooded my mind. On a sunny September Saturday afternoon Arsenal walked out of the storms and traumas of the last few months and into a fragile but hopeful light.

The first half was nervy, van Persie curled a shot close from outside the area. Gervinho showed all the composure of a thirteen year old boy with his father’s razor when clean through on goal he ran the ball to the keeper’s arms. With the half edging away van Persie had a shot blocked.

Arsenal were nervy but on top although our big pole between the poles was called in to action to make a great save early on.

Le Gaffer earned his money at half time as the team came out confident, eager and energised. They were rewarded almost immediately as referee Mark Battenberg waved play on and Ramsey fed van Persie who found room to fire inside the near post. Piece of cake.

Wheater was then sent off for pulling Walcott back when through on goal.

Van Persie went close with a header, and just wide with another shot.

Walcott then laid one on a plate for van Persie in the six yard box for his hundredth in an Arsenal shirt. My sister remarked that it was a “Smudger goal”. On reflection, I think she was right.

Walcott had a hat-trick of chances and fluffed the lot. However Walcott, Gervinho and van Persie were all dangerous and interchanged brilliantly in the second half, Bolton couldn’t cope.

Walcott suffered an injury in the dying moments as he felt a sharp pain in his knee as he was giving chase to a loose ball on the break.

We still defend too high up the pitch, we still don’t get enough pressure on the ball, we are still too open but we are getting better.

Three points, three goals, a good performance and 100 up for the skipper.

Enjoy Match of the Day, Enjoy the Sunday rags.

What a difference a day makes, hey?

Player ratings

Sir Chesney – 7 Great save, solid.

Sagna – 7 His usual self, made the third goal.

Gibbs – 7 Second good game in a few days, great to have a left back that can actually play in the opponents half for the first time in years.

Mertesacker – 7 Best game yet, calm and assured.

Koscielny – 6 Shaky start but did ok.

Song – 7 You know what you are getting, great goal too.

Arteta – 7 Never gives a bad pass but neither he or Ramsey dominates a game, they need too.

Ramsey – 6 Involved in two goals but actually on the outskirts of the game for long patches.

Walcott – 6 Some good, some bad, some ugly but always dangerous.

Gervinho – 7 Good ball skills and a lovely dribble on the by-line in front of the North Bank, Movement was great.

RvP – 9 Two goals, six meaningful attempts, lead the team. Outstanding.

The subs had about as much impact as a fortnight in Mallorca would have on David Dein’s orange glow. Bugger all.

Time for a change of fortune. Bolton preview

September 24, 2011

It is highly likely that the media focus on this game will centre upon Gary Cahill. No doubt he is a good player (though he was crap against MU) but the interest has little to do with his playing ability and more to do with the conflict between the clubs off pitch. Should we be surprised that Gartside decided to go public with the transfer negotiation and made a prat of himself? No, because this is a man who brought Fat Sam to Bolton. Perhaps Gartside thought he could entice a higher Spurs bid by highlighting how cheap their North London neighbours are. Unfortunately for Gartside his shenanigans are likely to cost Bolton a few million when Cahill moves for less money in January or for nothing in summer, ….. Good.

On pitch Bolton are a different team to the one we detested under the Walrus. With Owen Coyle at the head they have found a way to play attractive football. Bolton still have two of the dirtiest players in the PL, players who are very different from each other apart from their disciplinary record. Kevin Davies is the pantomine villain, a proper English Centre Forward and the last of his breed – I really like the man, however Bolton also include the repulsive Paul Robinson, all I need to tell you is that he was signed by Gary Megson!  At 32 y.o and definitely slowing his only hope against Theo is to do what he does best – kick two colours out of him.

The news of Wilshere’s surgery is a hard blow but the return of Ramsey and Rosicky is good news as is the knowledge that Sagna has recovered from his knock, he is such an important player in this team.

My team:



As a sentimentalist I would like to see Oxlade Chamberlain get at least 15 minutes as a reward for his fine performance midweek. We well know that our defence has been porous, in fact by far the worst in the PL which could (in part) be due to our move to zonal marking at set pieces. Thankfully, Bolton have problems upfront, I hope to see us keep a clean sheet.

Two interesting inventors were born in Bolton. John Harwood who invented the self-winding wristwatch, one of which I wear today, and  Robert Whitehead. Whitehead has a special place in history, he invented the self-propelling torpedo but more significantly he was grandfather to the Von Trapps, without whom the hills would not be alive.

Much is being made of the “crisis” at Arsenal; apart from the destruction of the reserves at OT we have suffered from indiscipline and bad luck. Today I will be going down to the crossroads to see if I can make a deal which will change our fortunes. Wish me a successful negotiation.

Relegation 6 pointer – don’t be silly


Best manager ever – Herbert Chapman

September 23, 2011

Written by Herb’sArmy

For most of us on AA, it is impossible to separate our emotions from our club, the two are intrinsically linked. It’s probably fair to say that whilst both games caused a lot of pain, the Blackburn game probably wounded us deeper than the one at OT, if only because of the expectation. And apart from one or two predictable ‘Wenger Out’ bloggers, most of us kept a lid on our seething rage.

One comment that stood out for me was RA’s, categorically proclaiming AW is the greatest manager the club has ever had.

Sorry RA, I don’t agree, and here’s why.

Collectively I think we can all acknowledge and celebrate in the wonderful things Arsene Wenger has brought to our club, and there is no doubt that he has raised our profile across the globe. Beautiful football, titles, the Invincibles, Champions League every year without fail (thus far), and a world-class all-seated stadium are the obvious stand-out achievements, along with the plethora of gifted footballers he has given us. Enough certainly to satisfy any Arsenal fan anywhere, me included. But it’s a big call to call him the greatest.

For me it is Herbert Chapman.

He truly revolutionised Arsenal, and laid all the foundations for what we are today.

We had been in existence for 44 years before Chapman won us our first trophy in 1930 (which puts this current ‘drought’ into real perspective!). He built the Huddersfield side that won three successive titles (they’ve never won it since), and then made Arsenal the most famous club in the world. He built a side that achieved something no Arsenal side has done since, dominating our domestic league with five titles and three FA Cups between 1930-39. Tragically he died January 6th 1934 with Arsenal on the way to the second of their three successive titles, and of course George Allison took over, but it was Chapman’s team, formation and tactics.

And though he only had nine years at the club, he died with his team top of the table, and with trophies still waiting to be won.

He didn’t change the club crest or over-see a massive stadium move (he didn’t have to, Highbury was a world-class stadium in it’s hey-day), but what he did do was re-define who and what Arsenal Football Club stood for. He revolutionised the whole football culture with his visionary W-M tactics, and showed the world how football should be played, with stand-out legends such as Eddie Hapgood, Wilf Copping, Alex James, Cliff Bastin, David Jack and Ted Drake.

He was the first manager to advocate floodlights, the use of shirt-numbers, and quite literally put Arsenal on the map by getting Islington Borough Council to change Gillespie Road tube station to Arsenal tube station.

Chapman’s vision all those years ago is exactly why we are in a position to appoint the likes of Arsene Wenger today.

Arsene Wenger has undoubtedly earned his legendary status at our club, but the accolade as the club’s greatest manager, for me personally, has to go to Herbert Chapman..

What’s your breaking point?

September 22, 2011

Written by FatGingerGooner

So the dust has settled on a couple of dreadful Arsenal away results, and equally dreadful defensive displays. Obviously, I’m talking about the 8-2 and 4-3 defeats. There have been a lot of people coming out of the woodwork in recent days, using these results as ammunition to have a pop at the manager and also to give their opinion on the direction this club needs to go. Now I would admit that I am an avid Wenger supporter, as most of you know, and I do get frustrated when others feel the only way forward is to get rid of him, but, even I have to admit that recent results have left my support for Arsene a little bit stretched.

So, my question to you is this:-

At what point does the recent decline in Arsenal fortunes have to get to before you say enough is enough?


For me, I am yet to reach that point, and I am hoping that Arsene has the fight left in him to turn this situation around. We are probably at the lowest I have witnessed since Arsene took over 15 years ago, the fans are divided, the team is unfamiliar, and the performances are poor. Who is to blame for this recent downturn in fortunes, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that Arsene cannot and should not take all the flak.

Is it his fault that Chelsea, Man City and Man United have been able to find Billionaire sugar daddies and thus price us out of the market? NO.

Is it his fault that his best players have decided to chase the dollar rather than try to build another legacy with Arsenal? NOT REALLY.

Is it his fault that so many of the clubs key players get injured during important parts of the season? I DOUBT IT

So would it be right of the club to get rid of a man who has done so much for them?

We have all witnessed the amazing sides that Arsene has brought us whilst manager, from the Double winners of Overmars and co, to the Invincibles led by Henry and Vieira. We have all seen the transition we have made from 1-0 specialists to easy on the eye pass masters. We have all celebrated as we have won Leagues and FA Cups, and we have all had chances (apart from myself!) to visit a brand new, state of the art 60,000 seater stadium known as the Emirates. Arsene has overseen this club through some, if not most, of its greatest ever achievements.

Personally, I believe the achievements made by this man gives him the right to leave the club on his own terms. He is the greatest manager this club has ever seen, and should be given the respect he deserves. I have seen people writing comments on blogs such as ‘this man is a disgrace to Arsenal’ and ‘Arsene is ruining this club’, well, i’m sorry, but what a crock of shit!!!

If it wasn’t for this man that you hate so much, we would probably still be at Highbury, sat in midtable, playing boring, long ball football. We would never have seen the likes of Pires, Vieira, Campbell, Overmars, Ljungberg, Lehmann, Fabregas, Van Persie and Henry. We may never have reached a Champions League or Uefa Cup final. We would never have seen the Invincibles.

What some of you fans seem to forget is that Arsene loves this club just as much as you and me. He is not here for the money, or to enhance his career, after all, he could walk into any job in world football getting paid twice as much as he gets now. He is here because he wants this club to be the best in the world. He is a fan, just like you and me.

Now, I am not so blinkered that I don’t  realise that things aren’t going well at the moment, and if things do continue on this downward spiral, then there has to be a time when the manager must be changed. But, given what Arsene has done for this club, I believe it should be his choice. He is smart enough to know when he can take this club no further, and I trust that he will make the step into the boardroom when the time is right. Until then, please can we show this man some respect.

Ox-tale super

September 21, 2011

Having missed the opportunity to ensnare London or 26may to write a match report I’m shamelessly using their comments from after the game and adding a few of my own.

Like many I was looking forward to seeing Oxlade-Chamberlain, Park and Ryo in addition to other well-known young guns show off their silky skills. Micky had been banging on about giving Mert and Kos some more playing time together which I also felt was a good idea but clearly Arsène didn’t as he started with Miguel and Djourou – as captain – as the centre-back pairing.

The joy of Carling Cup teams in the past has partly been the surprise at how well a team of youngsters were able to perform in front of an Emirates crowd. I was there the night Nik and Carlos set the pitch alight with their fabulous link up play that put Sheffield United to the sword in the same round in 2008 but I quickly realised that most of this team hadn’t had very much playing time together and so the frailties of the first team were also in evidence.

On reflection, AW missed a good opportunity to bed Mertesacker and Koscielny as a partnership before the coming fixtures. I was disappointed that Djourou was leaden footed for the Shrewsbury goal, he didn’t even jump and needs more time to get his head back together before getting in the first team. I’m willing to listen to other’s thoughts of what Chamakh brought to the team last night, he looked out of his depth to me and if he’s our answer to when van Persie next gets an injury we’re in trouble.

London’s post match comment

Ladies and gentleman

Be in no doubt, we have another star in the wings, Oxo was excitement personified. Not ready for a starting place in the first team but will be making more and more cameo performances as the season progresses. Theo can learn a lot from this young man, yes that is right. The Ox’s ability to operate in tight corners and create chances for others is second to no one in the UK that I can think of right now, there is an Argentinean dwarf overseas but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Other thoughts: Park is nowhere near ready for first team duty neither is Ryo but we probably all knew that one already.

Chamakh got better as the game went on but he was pants to begin with; nevertheless, I still say he has a role to play at the end of a game when we need to change to 4.4.2 in order to add more aerial threat in an attempt to get a winner or such like.

Benayoun: will someone give that man a decent meal, his mother’s chicken soup is just not doing the trick, feed the poor boy. Still, he did just fine tonight, I like the way he puts serious pressure on Ramsey for a first team place.

Gibbs was good, Jenkinson is getting better although just how far he can go, I am not so sure. Frimpong was calmer which I liked.

Djourou arrived on a horse wearing a ten gallon hat and proceeded to give a cowboy performance at defending.

By contrast Miguel was as slick as a cat on Vaseline.

Oh well, that was the best £20 I have spent in a while, naturally I joined in whole heartedly in singing:

One Arsene Wenger, there’s only one Arsene Wenger.

Trolls be gone lol

Post match comments from 26may1989

On the train home, I was thinking about what I take from this evening’s game. The fact that London has already covered many of the points I wanted to make in his 10:47pm post (darn you, London), isn’t going to get in my way.

What I learnt:

1. A 40,000 crowd at the Emeratess isn’t so bad after all, especially when so few of the whiners from the regulars aren’t there. The atmosphere was surprisingly supportive – no-one was impressed when Djourou gifted a goal to a side three divisions below us, but there wasn’t any panic and the fans remained pretty supportive.

2. Oxlade-Chamberlain is tops; both in terms of quality and appetite. Shooting, dribbling, crossing and passing, all were on display tonight. If anyone can’t see the potential in this player, their comments don’t deserve to be taken seriously. He oozes class, and £12m already looks like a bargain price to me, even before he’s faced top level opposition.

3. Coquelin’s distribution was a bit wayward at points but he grew into the game and was fantastic by the second half.

4. Miquel was tremendous.

5. Djourou is still very much in the doldrums with zero confidence.  Sorry, but he needs to be kept away from the first team.

6. Gibbs had a  good and very mature game – he was willing to take on leadership in a very young side.

7. Park was worryingly nervous for much of the fist half but with one Henry-esque cut-in and shot he found himself and did much better after that.

8. Ozyakup was a slick sub – his passing game was very nice.

9. Wenger is determined not to be shaken by the current crisis – he could have played a senior side tonight, but he stuck to his (young) guns instead.

10. The team out tonight, like the first team at Ewood Park, began the game not knowing each other very well. We’re in pre-season and the Wenger Out brigade would do well to bear that in mind. Sack in haste, repent at leisure.

11. Shrewsbury were dangerous for much of the first half, and could (should?) have scored another goal. They may not be a fashionable side, but there’s quality there, especially the two CBs. But they used up so much of their energy that they began to tire before half-time. Their keeper did help us though.

All in all, this evening was more positive than it was negative. Before the game, I would have said the same as Sharkey, that conceding even one goal and not absolutely slaughtering such lowly opposition would mean the evening would be a failure. But the youngsters out there this evening played the second half with a refreshing level of enjoyment and desire – it might have only finished 3-1 but it was still a pretty good performance from the kids and their minders.

It was a lovely prematch this evening, meeting up with Peaches, Evonne and Micky was great. Bit disconcerting being at The Tavern for prematch drinks and being able to get served at the bar immediately.