Whatever Happened to Abou Diaby?

Amidst all the fun of making up our fantasy teams for the new look Arsenal, one name has been conspicuous by its absence: Abou Diaby.

It’s understandable in a way: we have lots of shiny new names to play with in our hypothetical formations.

Do Artex and Benny Yoon displace Li’l Jack and Aaron when all are fit? If teams come to park the bus, do we bust out the Park to knock them down? Should we add height by playing Arshavin on Wilshere’s shoulders? And if we did, would they still be shorter than our new GG (Giant German)?

Such fun.

But no-one, as far as I can see, has been jumping up and down and frothing at the mouth about how we have to include Abou Diaby in our up-coming advance on four trophies.

Poor Abou has just disappeared from the Arsenal narrative.

Danny Baker, in his amusing Radio 5 show, would describe it as an example of “Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.”

For readers of a younger disposition, I should explain that this refers to an American 1970s sitcom called Happy Days, whose lead characters were Richie Cunningham and his super-cool friend The Fonz.

The show ran for 11 seasons (which, in US television, means well over 100 episodes).

In the first season Richie had an older brother, Chuck. In episode 10 he went upstairs, saying something like “OK, catch you later guys.” Then he was never seen nor heard from again. No mention. Nothing. Not even a name check in any of the remaining 90-plus episodes. Just written out of the show.

At the moment, Abou is our Chuck Cunningham.

The last mention of him from anyone connected with Arsenal was a comment from Arsene Wenger a month ago, when he revealed that the player had had surgery on his ankle over the summer and would miss the start of the new Premier League season. “Diaby is not back before the end of August or the beginning of September,” he said.

So Abou was last spotted hobbling into the operating theatre saying “OK, catch you later guys,” and has since vanished.

Despite the fact that he is theoretically on his way back from injury, no-one at the club has seen fit to give him even a passing mention when describing the range of options open to us this season.

He has been well and truly Chuck Cunninghamed.

I raise the point because it came up when I was playing my own game of Fantasy Arsenal (no, it bears no relation to Peaches’ version of the game, which involves Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky and a large tub of whipped cream).

I was just doing the regular “who would I play where” when it popped into my head that our own Disappeared One, Mr Abou Diaby, could have a very positive impact on our season.

He has undoubtedly been one of the most frustrating of Arsene’s crop of young players, but when he’s good he’s very very good. He can pass, tackle, dribble and score; he is big and athletic and, on his day, can provide excellent forward momentum.

Consistency has been his problem, but that is partly due to him never really having had a run of games in any one position – and certainly not in his favoured one of attacking central midfield. Often he has been played wide because more senior players (like Cesc and, er, Denilson) were occupying the central positions.

Obviously his regular injury problems have played a factor too. He has been so unlucky on that front that I now think of him as a sort-of cartoon character. If he’s not walking underneath a plummeting piano he’s falling down an open manhole cover; if he’s not slipping on a banana skin he’s left holding the big round bomb just as the fuse fizzles down to nothing.

His appearance stats of 108 games in five and a half seasons tells its own story (about 20 games a season, including appearances as a substitute, is not good enough, although it’s important to acknowledge the impact of Dan Smith’s horrific leg-breaking tackle on Abou’s record).

So I offer this thought as another sliver of optimism for us Arsenal supporters, following on from the encouragement most of us felt at the late rush of new signings:

If (and I know it’s a big IF) Abou can fully recover from his ankle operation and IF he can put his niggling injury record behind him and IF he can find his best form on a consistent basis, he may just be able to show us all the form that once had many in the France coaching set-up viewing him as being the best of a talented group of young French midfielders (including Na$ri).

We might then be able to look at midfield options that include Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Benayoun, Rosicky, Song, Frimpong and Diaby and feel we truly have the strength in depth to upset some apple carts this season.


235 Responses to Whatever Happened to Abou Diaby?

  1. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Beautifully written as always.

    I have always liked Abou and remain confident he has a role at the club. However, it seems as though his problems are not just physical, he suffers from what is known in football as “plankdom” (3 short planks syndrome)

  2. harry says:

    Morning Rocky, nice one mate……..

    I have often stuck up for Diaby, always remember the CC final against Chelsea when he run the show, until he booted John Terry in the head.

    The magic word is consistency with Abou, but is not also a player that has continually been played out of his preferred position?

    He has power, deceptive pace, an eye for goal and a powerful strike, he holds players off and can slice through a team, just needs to understand when to release the ball…….

    I hope he comes back and fulfils his promise I really do, but alas, I fear he will never be consistent enough…….

  3. Fatgingergooner says:

    Very funny Rocky, great stuff!

    I’m a big fan of Abou, I honestly believe he has the natural ability to be World Class, the goal against Aston Villa away was proof of that ability. The only issue I have with him is one that I also have with Theo, they don’t appear to have the self belief and confidence needed at this level. Too often they are scared to try something a bit different, instead opting for the simple pass. Arshavin annoys me a lot, but at least he will try the killer ball!

    IF, and it’s a big if, Abou can get himself a run in the team, then he could be the box to box midfielder we need.

  4. TH14 says:

    He is still thinking about playing for the Spuds!

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Rocky, great, warm and witty post. Thanks for de-cunninghaming Abou Diaby. I somehow feel that The Fonz has had some impact on the person you are today: could there be any truth in that? 😛

    IF all your IFS are answered positively we will get back a great player and our midfield will indeed have even more options. I wrote a post a few months ago about Diaby ‘Dopey Diaby – Destroyer Diaby’ in which I stated that the fans would need to get behind him, as he is the sort of player who needs it more than others. That would be the ‘IF’ I would to add to yours in this post.

  6. goonster says:

    Vasiriki diaby is my idol. He ll be back stronger,better and more determined. Don’t forget next year’s the EURO. He needs to get into the french national set up again. There’s a new kid on the block with the name “mvilla”. Diaby needs to step up his game or he ll be left out!

  7. the fontc says:

    diaby is a class act when he wants the trouble is he can not stay fit another problem is some of the home fans get on his back if you look at his away stats there much better than when at home get behind this boy there is a 50/50 chance he could be a world beater

  8. Rasp says:

    Super witty and entertaining post for a Monday morning Rocky.

    At his best, Diaby can destroy teams. Ignoring his injury record which is not of his making, I think the main problem lied between his ears.

    He is a hugely gifted natural talent who performs best when he plays instictively, its when he has time to think that he sometimes has a problem.

    He was compared to Vieira in his early days and his immense strength and ability to hold off players is remiscent of the great man. I do not see him as a box to box midfielder, more of an attacking midfielder, in fact he has all the attributes to be an Adebayor like striker. He can lose defender in a deft turn and as others have said, he has a powerful shot in him.

  9. Alexkamau says:

    He is in jail

  10. fan says:

    Diaby is a very very good player, I am so happy that one of us gunners share my belief in this guy. When he gets back you will see a very big change. To me he is even better than Nasri because he posseses all the attributes of a great midfielder, power in tackles, dribbles, assists and goals. Thanks mate

  11. boyo says:

    It is true that there is a silver lining = He is Injured. He has never impressed me and some of his comments I find offensive and I don’t think squad players should go around admitting they would consider playing for the spuds and also highlighting there desire to one day play for Barca

  12. kelsey says:

    When you see the name RL on a pst one knows it’s going to be good one.
    I think the first time i heard the word enigma about an arsenal player it was Diaby .We all love him and the early comparison to viera was ridiculous.The trouble is that he is yet another player that Wenger plays out of position to an extent.His natural instinct is to attack not defend and it remarkable to think at the age of 26 he is now in his seventh season at Arsenal.
    now for the downside. 108 total league starts with a return of 14 goals and only 16 appearances last year..
    he could be such a huge player for us but he seems to be forever injured..Ok i will be positive. let’s hope he gets over his current injury, has a storming season and bags a hatful of goals.

  13. zaragooner says:

    i really hope the operation will do a magic to his career..

  14. kelsey says:

    are you talking about almunia ?

  15. 26may1989 says:

    Excellent post, Rocky – love the new verb, to be Chuck Cunninghamed. Despite always having hated Happy Days, I’ll use that one as soon as I can.

    Trouble is I feel this is an article/post that’s been written so many times before. Never as well as Rocky’s version of course, but just how many times have we asked the Abou question?

    Buckets of talent, yes, but Diaby’s addiction to the treatment table puts him out of the reckoning for me. Injuries are part of the game, but there comes a point when a player’s injury record trumps everything else. I also think his temperament and football intelligence are major defects. E.g., a player of his years shouldn’t get drawn into obvious traps like the one that Nolan and Barton set for him last season.

    I’d love him to blossom into the player he could be, but I think Diaby would have to play in another league for that to happen.

  16. Flex says:

    Diaby can be a massive player for us.

    However, there are strong rumours he is one of the players implicated in the Dispatches report on drug taking footballers and club cover ups tonight. This may explain the vanishing act Abou has done.


  17. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Abu dhabi, the Capital of the United Arab Emirates isn`t it !
    Great new investors. 🙂

  18. Baggy Pants says:


    Let’s wait and see. If you are wrong — that is a serious accusation!

  19. GOONERNW5 says:

    Arsenal need to get rid of the sick notes at the club! I have no doubt the following players ( Diaby, Walcott, Gibbs, Djourou, Rosicky, Arsharvin, Van Persie, Vermalen) are all quality, but it is no good if they do not play enough! Diaby has the potential to be really good but how long do you wait for that undoubted ability to materialise! Arsenal can never win the league if half the squad is constantly on the treatment table! Arsenals injury problems seem to have coincided with the poaching of Lewin by England, and the medical staff left at the club are not good enough. Does Arsene take in to account a players injury record before singing them?

  20. Flex says:

    I’m not accusing by a long shot. I guess a sense of paranoia exists in the run up to tonight’s programme but those rumours are out there. I’d b surprised if they were anything but rumours though.

  21. Baggy Pants says:

    Excellent Post.

    Diaby has been very unfortunate with his injury record since almost being kicked out of the game in his first season against Sunderland.

    To make comments about his or anyone’s mental acuity is really unfair and bordering on patronizing, and in any event is purely subjective.

    If the luck swings back in his favour he could well be the top, top midfielder we have been looking for to replace Csssk and Nsssk.

  22. evonne says:

    Flex and Baggy – the programme is on channel 4 tonight, but I don’t think any of the Arsenal players are implicated

  23. evonne says:

    Baggy @11:06 – very well said!!

  24. Baggy Pants says:


    Just watch who you are calling Baggy. it’s Mr Pants to you, until we are formally introduced! 🙂

  25. evonne says:

    Rocky – how do you manage to come up with such interesting ideas?? Like you said, Diaby has almost been forgotten. I am so pleased that you remembered him and reminded the rest of us about this brave young man.

    I have always liked Diaby, when he walks in his long strides he looks like a wild cat, beautiful. The broken leg has almost finished him, not surprising. But he is back, he is working hard (from what I have heard) and he will shine yet, definitely.

  26. evonne says:

    I am sorry Mr Pants 😦

  27. 26may1989 says:


    “Arsenals injury problems seem to have coincided with the poaching of Lewin by England, and the medical staff left at the club are not good enough” Really? I remember plenty of protracted injury situations while Gary Lewin was an Arsenal employee: Edu, Reyes, van Persie, Djourou, Senderos, and the first half of the Rosicky saga, all happened under his watch.

    It’s true that over the last five years, we’ve acquired a real knack for extensive injuries, but let’s not pretend we know the reasons why. Who knows how good Gary Lewin is, or whether Colin Lewin is as good as his dad, or whether Gary O’Driscoll, the team doctor, and his team are any good?

    And are you suggesteing we get rid of van Persie, Vermalen, Walcott, and Gibbs? Not sure many would agree with that.

  28. evonne says:

    26may – i would never get rid of RvP, TV or Gibbs. Only Theo 🙂

  29. Red Arse says:


    Never fear. Allow me to introduce you to Mr Baggy Pants, he is very well known to me and he is a fan of yours, and Kelsey too! 🙂

    Now that you have been formally introduced, you may call him Baggy, if you wish! 🙂 🙂

  30. kelsey says:

    I fear things will hot up in the boardroom soon, when Usmanov gets his 30%.Always kick a man when he is down and he will relish it..and the media will have a field day and destabilise our club even more. One solution is the key personnel at Emirates Airline: Investing £100 million for the naming rights of Emirates stadium (a 15-year deal + 8-year shirt sponsorship). If we needed another party to come between Stan Korenke and Usmanov, it is these guys at The Emirates Group.

  31. 26may1989 says:

    Senor Pants (good day to you) makes an interesting point: “To make comments about his or anyone’s mental acuity is really unfair and bordering on patronizing, and in any event is purely subjective.” At one level, he’s absolutely right; we don’t know these players as people, and we aren’t on the pitch orr on the training ground, so how can we judge their psychological qualities?

    But I do think fans and observers can nonetheless make meaingful observations. We see them week in, week out, and we learn how they react to pressure and to challenges on the pitch. In Diaby’s case, that’s been over a period of seven years. We may not know why he (or any other player) behaves in a certain way, but the patterns that build over time provide an indication of the whole package, i.e., what the player has to offer in terms of technique, physique and mentality.

    I’m only interested in genuine observations rather than tittle-tattle or prejudice. It may come across as patronizing and subjective (and may be that), but I still think we can form views on players’ mental attributes.

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Chuck Cunninghamed”…aaah, just so so good.
    As for Diaby, yes obviously the injuries and the period when he was played too deep, but I don’t go along with the “dim” tag. However, I have said many times that I think he lacks application and drive. For me he is on auto-pilot in terms of his career and swans through life on the back of an overload of natural talent. I think he will look back on his career with much regret and many what-if’s.
    There was a time when Arsene was using AA as a striker and I was saying Diaby would have been a better option. I always saw him as more of a Gerrard than a PV. Wish I didn’t keep using the past tense when referring to him.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA: how did you enjoy the match and the booz (after being good for so long)? Did you have to socialise a lot or were you able to focus on the game? Did your ‘date’ enjoy the game/your company? 😛

  34. Baggy Pants says:

    26, May,

    Very fair point regarding the unknown professional abilities of the medical team. You break your leg or tear your ligament or whatever and are out for x period of time. That’s football. How can the medics predict or prevent that? Medical setbacks also happen all the time.

    On the other hand, you implied Diaby had little or no football intelligence for falling into Farten Barton’s trap. Let’s see — you are kicked very painfully on the ankle by someone like Barton — how do you respond?

    a) Excuse me Mr Farten Barton, you appear to have maliciously kicked me, very painfully, on the ankle bone. May I respectfully ask you, extremely politely, to cease and desist, immediately? Or;

    b) Barton you little f*cker I am going to kick the effin sh*t out of you, and rip your shrivelled balls off and stuff them down your scrawny throat!!
    (grades of insult and violence are permitted).

    (a) or (b) 26?

    I will not give you my choice, or you might think I have no intelligence either.

  35. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And now to the moment I have been waiting for. The Micky Award for Greatest AA Line Ever, and the award goes to….Evonne, for her earlier:
    “I didn’t realise the CL game was tomorrow. Shit, I am not ready yet!!”
    I absolutely love your level of commitment and wonder what the hell you are referring to. Your kit is still in the laundry basket? You forgot to renew your passport for the flight to Germany? Unless you get in some fitness training right now, you may only be on the bench?

  36. 26may1989 says:

    Dzień dobry evonne!

    Ah the Theo debate! When I was catching up on AA discussions from the weekend, I saw there was more on that one. Personally, I’m with Total: Theo doesn’t get nearly enough recognition for what he gives us. Yes, he runs down blind alleys, but he also weighs in with real contributions. Last season, he scored 13 goals and got 8 assists in 38 appearances (compared with Nasri’s 15 and 5 in 46 or Cesc’s 9 and 17 in 35). If it weren’t for a good save by the Swansea keeper combined with a last-ditch clearance off the line, on Saturday Theo would have scored his fourth goal of the season. He can do the unexpected: even when he’s not having a great game, he can still get behind a defence and score or create a goal.

    Not that I’m blind to his faults. Without the ball, he is still very poor. His failure to track back or use his pace to pressure defenders in possession is a serious irritation. But I still think he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

    Mieć dobry dzień!

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Micky 🙂 🙂

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    HAHA, Spurs have left vdFart out of their Europa League squad – the Spuds medical team assessing him as injured for a long time to come… – and now he is fit again and was looking forward to playing a European game: not till Christmas matey 😛

  39. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA,

    I enjoyed every minute, as far as i can remember!! 🙂 I was a little foolish and drank alcohol which sadly did not mix well with my various meds, and I am still paying for that.

    The young lady I was with would be horrified to learn you referred to her as my date. She is a good friend, but strictly without benefits!

    If you are referring to my ‘dentist date’, I was only kidding about that because I was bored and you all cheered me up. 🙂

    As an aside, the somewhat pointlessly heated ‘debate’ about the noise supporters do or do not make, yesterday, is, I think, caused by the beautiful, enormous but sadly soulless stadium, which sucks up sound like a sponge.

    My throat is only now able to produce its normal sexy mellifluos tones. I loved the singing and all in the box were singing lustily too. (perhaps the booze) 🙂

  40. Red Arse says:

    Micky, 🙂

    Women eh? Getting ready for one man takes forever, but 11 – what can you expect?

  41. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Baggy

    I don’t really think Phil Dowd (the referee I have least respect for) needed to send off Diaby when the most dangerous part of play was Barton’s late challenge. But the reality is Diaby pushed Barton to the ground and shoved Nolan. We could all see what Nolan and Barton were doing, they were playing on the inability of our players to take a good old-fashioned English kicking (joke) without reacting. Just as Ruddock did with Vieira all those years ago, and Barton did again this season with Gervinho.

    I’d be quite pleased if Diaby did just shout at Barton from close range with maximum quality of insult, and tell him exactly what he thinks. But if a player of 26 years old, who’s been playing in English football for years, can’t spot the traps and control himself enough to avoid giving a referee as biased as Dowd a chance to send him off, then he’s just not learning.

    My comment about football intelligence also goes to Diaby’s positional play: too often, when he makes it off the treatment table, he is one of those who doesn’t track back adequately. That’s one of the reasons I’ve never understood why he’s been equated with Vieira, they seem completely different to me.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Sechsundzwanzig, Good to see your support for Theo. Do you know any other player who gets the same treatment: one bad game and the whole player/his entire ability gets slaughtered? Yet with Arshavin it is the opposite: one half decent game and everybody is queueing up to sing his praises/venture the glass half-full… Statistics are not everything, but I say without him/ his two vital goals we would not have been in the CL this season, and the figures you showed re last season are pretty impressive as well.

    I wonder what it is that causes this. The only thing I can think of is the high expectations he was linked to, from the moment he joined Arsenal. Maybe subconciously fans are associating him with the perceived failure of not winning any trophies by our team over the last few years. A burden he does not deserve at all.

    I am worried that all the rediculous criticism starts having an impact on him again, leading to a fans’ self-fulfilling prophecy of under-performances in the next few games. Yet, we need him to believe in himself and feel loved by the fans. He is a key weapon for Arsenal, no doubt about it.

  43. Rasp says:

    Hi 26m,

    I think the main reason for comparisons to Vieira was simply Diaby’s stature.

    I’m afraid the perfectly and purposefully executed headed OG against manu pereplexes me to this day. What was he thinking? He rose like a salmon, bent his neck and powered it past our keeper – it would have been magnificent at the other end. I think he was trying to put it wide of our goal but he got it badly wrong. As it was, it cost us 2 valuable points. I can accept OG’s from unlucky ricochets and miskicks but it just seemed so deliberate, like he forgot what end he was playing.

    But then you watch this and you think wow, what a player he could be for us.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, haha 🙂 ‘a GOOD friend, but strictly without benefits’: does such thing excist?

    I figured out early that you were making the dentist story up, but enjoyed playing along with your game. You could not have described her less attractive – a dentist to start with: who would like to date a dentist? Still very funny though 😛

    Good to hear you let it all hang out and sang your heart out on Saturday!

  45. 26may1989 says:

    I think you’re right Total, the expectations on Theo (big money signing, ludicrously premature England call-up) are part of it. I think the desire of many Arsenal fans to see a glorious Englishman have also stoked the fires of expectation. And the glorious moments he’s sometimes had (that run in the CL against Liverpool, or the hattrick he scored for England) have fed into the idea of a failure by reason of the fact they’ve not been repeated.

    Whatever the reasons, I see a very good player who could become a great player, and I just hope the serial negativity of Arsenal fans who attend matches doesn’t cause Theo to regress.

  46. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Mr Pants,
    I seem to remember someone saying , one of Arsene`s criteria for a player is his intelligence, Barton 0..Arsenal 3! , Make`s Barton the intelligent one in my eye`s.
    I`m sure someone with a braincell tell`s our players: watch out for Barton, he will try to wind you up and get you sent off!, don`t fall for it otherwise you wil let, you,us, the team,the fans down, possibly resulting in lost points.
    I still blame Diaby for last seasons Newcastle result.

  47. trevor says:

    who can forget that goal at old trafford last season.

  48. 26may1989 says:

    Absolutely right Rasp, that own goal was a real throw the remote control across the room moment for me. (We get through quite a lot of remote controls in our house….) We should have won that game at Old Trafford, but Almunia giving away a pen and Diaby’s OG denied us what we should have achieved that day. I do like to recall Arshavin’s superb goal at the right end though, very special.

  49. Rasp says:

    Theo needs to sort out his propensity to feel like a victim and his positional play when we are not in possession of the ball. Everyone must be familiar with the now regular site of him sitting on his backside with his arms outstretched pleading to a disinterested referee for a foul. He should take a leaf out of Tevez’s and Messi’s book and bounce straight back up and try to regain posession instead of complaining about being tackled. He also moans at his teammates when he loses possession implying that it is their fault because he couldn’t find an option for a pass. In short I think he needs to man up.

    I watched him closely on Saturday. When we lose possession he marks space which is a complete waste of time when the opposition is moving through you at pace. He is very quick – how many times does he read the oppo’s intentions and intercept a pass.

    I think his hattrick for England and god given pace sometimes cloud the fact that he is lacking in other important areas in which there is no significant perceived improvement.

    I’d play him as an impact sub for most games.

  50. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp: “He should take a leaf out of Tevez’s and Messi’s book and bounce straight back up and try to regain posession instead of complaining about being tackled.” I agree 100% with that (in fact, in football-speak, I agree 500%). I’d also say it applies to Arshavin, Rosicky and Chamakh, and also applied to Nasri and Bendtner. We can achieve these levels of intensity in our game when we want to – the win over Chelsea last year comes to mind, when Walcott was superb both with and without the ball (kept Cashley very quiet, and scored one and set up one goal).

    So come on Theo (and others), show us you can do that week in, week out, and then you’ll win over the misguided doubters!

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Spot on Rasp,
    Theo’s attitude stinks. His earns a fortune and is very priviledged, so stop blaming everyone and anyone for your mistakes, stop writing books and focus on your own game. His stats are very good and if only Arsene would realise that I am right and he can only play from the left, he could be deadly.

  52. Paul says:

    Dan Smith is what happened.

  53. Rasp says:

    Dead right 26m, it is clear there are similarities between Theo and Diaby in terms of their consistency, injuries and potential. That game against chelski showed just how good we could be when everyone pulls their weight – we just seem to have too many passengers sometimes as you say.

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Given the talk we have had about crowd support, I have to say that I ddon’t blame people one bit who feel a little let down by the “amblers” and we all know who they are. Arsenal fans are always right behind the Guns who give it all.

  55. 26may1989 says:

    It’s funny with Theo: first he gets slated to for being too timid, for not imposing himself on the team or on games, then he tries to show a bit more desire, and he gets slated for that too. I guess it’s all in the interpretation. Personally, I don’t care too much how much he complains to his teammates (who are often a bit lacking in the application department), I just want to see him get more from his prodigious talents.

    I also agree with you re the left wing micky, Walcott is very effective on that side, which is why I like the idea of him and Gervinho swapping flanks regularly through the game. The combination of those two is a recipe for sleepless nights for defenders.

  56. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky,

    Arsh and Theo were constantly changing sides on Saturday. I looked to see if there was some kind of signal going between them but saw nothing so maybe it is just an intuitive thing. Unlike Capello, I would be more than happy to see Theo cut inside and create a scoring opportunity.

  57. MickyDidIt89 says:

    26 Hi,
    To take that Gerv/Theo switching sides bit, I would like to take it a stage further and have RvP roaming as well. Now that is a defenders nightmare. RvP cutting in from the right with Gerv now in the middle. Or is it Theo?

  58. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I still can’t help wondering what Evonne is up to right now, as there are now only 31 hours to “get ready”.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, no doubt there are areas in which he can improve, and your analysis of Saturday’s game sounds spot on. He might be lacking in ‘other departments’ as you call it, but you are an intelligent man and have seen the stats. He is a very important player for us right now, with potential for further improvement. I agree with you partly though: for ‘park the train’ home games I would often let him come on as a sub – after we scored the first goals.

  60. Rasp says:

    Thanks TA,

    One of my themes for last season and particularly when compared to the Barca model was how poor we were when not in possession of the ball. They press high up the pitch and try to win the ball back in their oppponents half.

    This is only possible if you defend as a team and everyone works their socks off. The downside is that the team can tire in the last quarter. AW realised this and in the CL away leg against Barca, had it not been for the palpably corrupt dismissal of RvP, I think our plan of soaking up the pressure and hitting them late on would have worked as it did at the Emirates.

  61. 26may1989 says:

    Anyone got early views on tomorrow night?

    Drawing the reigning German champions was yet another piece of bad for us, but it’s good to see they’ve had almost as uncertain a start to their season as we have (W2, D1, L2), albeit without the humiliating, embarrassing result we managed. In the summer, they lost their most important player (Sahin) to Real, but they have plenty of talented players in defence and midfield (Gotze, Hummels, Subotic etc). And they’ll have a noisy 80,000 crowd behind them too.

    It’s going to be a very tough one, no doubt, but I feel strangely optimistic. I’d like to see a line-up of Sz, Sagna, Mert, Kos, Gibbs, Song, Frimpong, Gervinho, Arteta, Walcott and van Persie.

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp you are right about our tactics during the Barca game. The dismissal was outrages, such an error of judgement by the ‘ref’, and it deprived us of the opportunity to bring on Arshavin and Bendtner with fresh legs in the second half to score the second goal, and kill Barca off.

    Regarding your first paragraph: yes we need to improve on this, so we are able to do it throughout the game as well as throughout the season. We play effectively with two DM’s and Barca with one. I would say that makes us slower in one respect, but also saver compared to Barca. I believe we will move towards the Barca model this season, by just looking at our new signings: 4-1-2-3 (Song in the ‘1’ and Arteta & Wilshire (Benayoun, Ramsey, Diaby, Rosicky) in the ‘2’, and Theo, Gervinho, RvP (Park, Arshavin, Chamakh, Ryo, Ox) in the ‘3’. It would be a big pressure on Song (but I believe he can do it).

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    zesentwintig, I feel ‘strangely’ optimistic as well: and why not? They lost their first home game since a year ago, so confidence will be affected. I expect them to try and overpower us from the start with some good old fashioned ‘sturm und drang’, but that is where our passing game will come in handy. On the other hand, they might be fearful of Theo and Gerv and decide to sit back, as to beat us on the break (similar to Udinese). Both scenarios are familiar to us and we have the players to beat them. At the moment, we seem to play better away from home, and maybe that is also why we can feel more positive.

  64. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Totaal Arsenaal. It’ll be interesting tomorrow. From what I’ve seen of Gotze, Gibbs or Santos will have to concentrate, and the Japanese guy, Kagawa, also looked pretty handy last year. But looks like the challenge will be breaking them down – Saturday appears to have been the first time they’ve conceded two goals at home for over a year, at least in the league. But hopefully, they’ll be feeling pretty fragile right now.

  65. VCC says:

    Gutted I can’t see this one live, working again. Sod this work lark it interfere’s with one’s pleasures.
    As always in Europe, as long as we get an away goal. Even if we lose to the odd goal I feel confident we will turn it around at the Emirates.
    Theo is our trump card in Europe. Opposition are fearful of his pace.
    He is not so effective in the Premiership imo, thats why I would always use him as an impact sub in the last 20 minutes.
    Great article as always Rocky.

  66. VCC says:

    evonne = zstapi na ciebie rip ryk karabinow

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Impressive Dutch there 26! 🙂 Let’s hope it will be one of those great early season European nights for us. The atmosphere at the ground will be phenomenal, and the red and white of Arsenal against the bright yellow of Dortmund on a fabulous, shiny green pitch is something to look forward to! 😛

  68. London says:

    Every single person who went to the Swansea game thought Walcott was poor which has nothing to do with his performances in the other games he has played this season or how he might play tomorrrow or indeed for the rest of the season.
    On Saturday he was as ineffectual as he always is when the opposition come to the Emirates and park the bus.
    By contrast, he was very good against Udinase and manu, two teams that came onto us, I expect Dortmund to come onto us and I wouldn’t be surprised if Theo is MOTM.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, you are not getting your priorities right 😦 If I am right, this is the second game in a row you are missing because of that horrible four letter word. Tell your boss – whilst showing off your belly tattoo – he is depriving you of an elementary need, and as a result he/she is responsible for your unhappiness! His absence stats are at risk if he does change your roster immediately! 😛

  70. 26may1989 says:

    First of all, VCC, you need to get another job. It’s all about priorities… 🙂

    And TA, on seeing your latest version of my name, I went to Google Translate in the hope it would tell me the Dutch version of your handle is something suitably complex and throaty. But now turns out all one needs to do to speak Dutch is add an extra “A” whenever possible….

    Agreed re the atmosphere. And with later games at Marseilles and Olympiakos, those with the commitment to take in CL away games have some treats this year. I might even try to make the one in Marseilles myself.

  71. 26may1989 says:

    London, love this line: “Every single person who went to the Swansea game thought Walcott was poor” 🙂

  72. evonne says:

    Micky – you are just so extra 🙂 (as Peaches’ daughter would say)

    I am not ready mentally, I have not worried enough, research the opposition, think of our formation, you know, the usual game preparation 🙂

    And that Zidane?? Doesn’t he worry anyone? With a name like that…

  73. kelsey says:

    no one spotted your deliberate mistake. This is the group stage not the knockout stage 🙂

  74. evonne says:

    26may – Dzien dobry Panu! Wzajemnie, zycze milego dnia, Iwona

    RA – thank you for the introduction, I am pleased to be acquainted with Mr Pants

    Hi Baggy 🙂

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    London, that is everyone except Harry! 🙂

    I knew that when you wrote ‘Theo was pants today’ on Saturday, that this was indeed your view for that particular game, and that you were able to see things in a wider perspective. Unfortunately, not everyone looked at his peformance in isolation.

  76. Red Arse says:

    Right! just to break up the love in between TA and 26!

    How can two people I like as much as that is possible – in a manly way, of course – on a blog, decide to call me ‘a misguided doubter’ and a ‘ridiculous serial negativist’?

    My crime? I have expressed my doubts about Walcott, and explained my valid reasons.

    Actually, both accusations might be true, but you would have to include Theo in in that condemnation too.

    Theo has admitted publicly, that without his pace he is ‘rubbish’.
    I am simply bowing to his greater knowledge and agreeing with him.

    We all agree, also, that he does have prodigious pace, but when he is continually shrugged on to his arse and left appealing wistfully to the ref; or continually runs into defenders in a lemming impersonation; or forever shoots/crosses into Row Z, I am at a loss to understand why you have unleashed a diatribe on Theo, me and others who are disillusioned and agree with the man himself. 🙂

    Normally, I would say that is game, set and match. But ……..

    Now stand by for a lawyer wriggle. This should be good! 🙂

  77. 26may1989 says:

    evonne, Google Translate thinks “Panu” means Lord. Seems I’ve gone up in the world……. 🙂

  78. Red Arse says:

    26, I think she had a typo and that was not Panu but Panini which translates as a sandwich. much more a propos!! 🙂

  79. 26may1989 says:

    Dear Misguided Doubter, sorry Red Arse. I’m glad you accept that disagreeing with the noble and wonderful Lord Totaal van Arsenaal constitutes a crime; he is after all Dutch, and therefore has greater footballing knowledge in his unwashed socks than any of us can hope to accumulate in a thousand lifetimes.

    Now, can we move to sentencing……..?

  80. 26may1989 says:

    RA @2.57pm: Very good, I like that one! As one who is trying to shed a bit of poundage, I automatically thought of panini as in the snack; but of course you mean the stickers.

    God, I’m hungry….

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    This is getting interesting. I need to collect daughter from school but i’ll be back 😉

  82. Saw says:

    I think nomally diaby and vermallen are very good skillful players,but they are often many time injury,so some importent time, they ca’nt participate.

  83. Saw says:

    I suggest that ars should buy torrer and nemar(brazil)2 strikes,maybe 80m spend,but it is very good investment ,players and team both will achieve.

  84. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Ramsey`s out injured and again no oxo in squad.
    I work with a chap who goes to all southampton games, he said ,he was gutted when oxo left, He thinks the saints will make play-offs but was adamant they would come straight up with oxo still there!
    He couldn`t praise him high enough.

  85. Red Arse says:


    I am surprised by your wishing to shed a little weight, because Evonne told me you were gorgeous and very svelte. 🙂

    Was she speaking with forked tongue?

  86. London says:


    Now who is being patronising?

  87. Bashful Baggy Pants says:

    Red Arse,

    I do deplore your attempt to portray my dear friend Evonne as someone with forked tongue tendencies!

    I allowed you to use my first name Bashful in correspondence, but any further transgression and that will have to be reviewed!

    It must be the company you keep, especially that lawyer person!

  88. 26may1989 says:

    RA: I wouldn’t like to go as far as that………but yes!

    London: I’m just guessing, but me?

  89. harry says:

    Squad for Dortmund – Ramsey out……

    Andrey Arshavin
    Mikel Arteta
    Yossi Benayoun
    Marouane Chamakh
    Johan Djourou
    Kieran Gibbs
    Lukasz Fabianski
    Emmanuel Frimpong
    Laurent Koscielny
    Per Mertesacker
    Ju Young Park
    Andre Santos
    Bacary Sagna
    Alex Song
    Wojciech Szczesny
    Robin van Persie
    Theo Walcott

  90. London says:


    I am not sure how you read into this that Harry thought Walcott had a good game.

    “Walcott: 7: A crowd splitter, he tends to frustrate more than he excites, but just what he instructions does he get? The team doesn’t aid him and he is not suited to balls in tight areas to his feet. I will defend him, but I agree without pace he wouldn’t be as useful, but he has pace so that statement is pointless, he does give us an outlet, he needs to become consistent to realise his full potential. But I would say, he has an Ox breathing down his neck…… I know quite a few will disagree with me but for all his knockers, he did more than Van Persie.”

    By the way I agree that Walcott did do more than RvP but that is more a critisicm of RvP than a complement to Walcott.

  91. London says:


    That’s right I was refering to you.

    By the way did you go to the game on Saturday?

  92. Red Arse says:


    Totaal van Arsenaal, is such a lovely name, well done for flushing out this piece of info.

    Sadly, I will have to accept your intimate knowledge of his unwashed socks and their content, and therefore withdraw my original complaint forthwith!

    Damn you lawyers — is there no end to your ingenuity? 🙂

  93. 26may1989 says:


    Nope, I was at a wedding in Cumbria, and so only saw it on Arsenal TV (or whatever it’s called now), which is why I didn’t comment much on Theo’s performance against Swansea.

    I, like you, sometimes do slip into a tone that is patronising, I make no bones about that, even if it isn’t intentional. But I’d be interested to know what your complaint is.

  94. VCC says:

    TA + 26 = At my age if I leave my current employment, all I would be is an Asda ace. I couldn’t do that job pushing trolleys around in the car park as my belly would get in the way.

    Kelsey 2:43 = OOPS

  95. Red Arse says:

    VCC, 🙂

  96. London says:


    Shame you missed the game there was much to lift the spirits, sadly Walcott did not have one of his best, hemmed in by the Swansea defence which gave him very little room to manoeuvre, something that was picked up by everyone who went to the game………….and later pointed out here on AA with varying degrees of ferocity.

  97. Rasp says:

    Apparently Ramsey is out of the CL squad due to an ankle injury in training. I don’t believe it (said in the style of Victor Meldrew).

    Not that it makes much difference, but my curiosity is tweaked. I think Ramsey injured himself when he kicked the ground in that shot he missed early in the game and was not fully fit thereafter. I actually thought he was going to have to come off and put us down to 10 men because he was hobbling so badly with 10 mins to go.

    So why would the official announcement be that he picked up an injury in training? They would have had Sunday off and flying out today, I don’t see how they’d even have time for the briefest of training sessions. I think AW left him on because he felt he had few other options.

    Benayoun was sent out to warm up soon after he missed the shot. It is possible that at half time Ramsey said he was fit when in fact he was suffering.

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    London, in my books a ‘7’ is a good score.

  99. 26may1989 says:

    Cheers London. From what I saw, Arteta linked up with van Persie pretty well, before both seemed to fade in the 2nd half, and a couple of potentially damaging slips aside, Mertesacker seemed to do ok. And I loved seeing Sz pull off good saves, even if that meant the defence had been leakier than we’d have liked. Swansea looked impressively settled and balanced, and certainly weren’t initimidated. But then, who would be right now? Still, a win gives us something to work with. I’m still optimistic about being able to compete for 3rd and 4th spot, though even I can’t honestly say too much about competing for the top positions this year.

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, 🙂 ‘Theo has admitted publicly that without his pace he is nothing’. That is just like Beckham saying without his crosses and free-kicks he would be nothing, or Nigella saying that without her flirtatious face she would be nothing, or Mandella saying that without his gift for diplomacy he would be nothing. Speed is good and a unique skill in football, but is this his only skill? Well he cannot score by running himself into the goal. He is a decent finisher, say 7.5 out of 10, but he also has a great first touch: 8 out of 10. That’s why is one of our most successful players: pace, good first touch, decent finisher.

  101. evonne says:

    26 – ‘Pan’ is a respectful form of ‘You’, used when referring to a prominent lawyer and especially one who is goodlooking and slim 🙂

    RA – I will get you a wooden spoon for xmas!!

  102. chas says:


    I haven’t seen the official announcement that it was in training on Monday. All I’ve seen is that ‘local media’ have reported it like that.

    That Dortmund terrace behind the goal is huge.

  103. RockyLives says:

    Morning (Afternoon) All
    Thanks for all the kind comments.
    And well done Rasp for brilliantly linking the theme of this post with the on-going discussion about Theo.

    On Diaby… as has been pointed out, the lazy PV4 comparisons are based purely on his physical build, which is reminiscent of Paddy, but their style of play has a lot of differences. In a 4-1-2-3 he could fit in very well as one of the ‘2’. He’s due a bit of luck with his injuries – maybe the ankle op will improve things once and for all. He could be a surprise package this year.

    On Theo… there’s no doubt that the parked bus causes problems for his style of play. Even so, I wish he would just push it past the defender and run more often rather than try to beat him by trickery (which is definitely not his strong suit). But I also feel the crowd are too hard on him. His stats are very good (extremely good, in fact) and I fear that the “Groan Army” may force him to quit Arsenal next summer, as he approaches the final year of his contract.

  104. 26may1989 says:

    evonne, now I’m the one being patronised! 😉

    Do you know anything about the Polish players at Dortmund, should we be scared of them?

  105. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, never believe anything on NN, it is just local media stories so far.

    However, I was surprised Ramsey stayed on because I felt he was hampered by the injury throughout the game and most noticeably in the last 10 minutes.

  106. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky,

    This thing about positive / negative support. There is no doubt that Adebayor was inspired by our away supporters when he scored that goal for city and in the resultant celebration whereas poor Eboue looked crestfallen when AW subbed him after the booing.

    I’d like to think that a player with backbone would have the determination to prove doubters wrong, but obviously it is far far better to receive encouragement from your own supporters as opposed to groans.

  107. kelsey says:

    I hold by my stance on Walcott but if given the chance to start more games he can only improve as last season showed yet he only started 19 league games and made 9 sub appearances, scoring 9 goals which is a reasonable return.

    I would say his three biggest faults are

    drifting in and out of a game on too many occasions.

    His crossing especially in the air,he needs to look up more and often choses the wrong option
    he doesn’t win many 50/50 balls and for that reason playing through the middle or on either wing tells me there is still plenty of improvement in him.

    To be a regular of impact in the team his days of cameo roles should be over.by all means start with him and possibly sub him, but he is now 22 and to give him 20 odd minutes at the end of a game hoping he can beat tired legs shows that the manager is not fully convinced, or he hopes Theo’s pace can turn a game. For me the jury is still out on him.

  108. RockyLives says:

    The Ramsey injury perhaps explains why he wasn’t able to accurately execute the long pass when we had a 4 v 1 late in Saturday’s game. Quite a few people have been slating him for it, but I felt at the time that something wasn’t quite right.

    The thing with Theo is that he plays on the wing in a situation where, in most cases, he has to go one-on-one (or sometimes one-on-two) with the opposition defenders. No winger in the EPL beats the fullback every time – there is always a high failure rate. There are clearly things Theo can improve on, but I feel he is disproportionately criticised by the fans at times and I worry where it will lead. It would be great if he had the “screw you” attitude of a Bendy or a Chesney, but footballers are human beings and their psyches come in all different shapes and sizes…

  109. Rasp says:

    Rocky, I too wish Theo would push the ball past a player and use his speed on occasion in the style of TH14.

    But then I realised that in the process, at some point the players are shoulder to shoulder. The difference is that TH is 6ft 2in and deceptively powerful and would often simply outmuscle defenders whereas I’m afraid Theo does not possess those physical attributes and maybe that is why he does not attempt it so often.

    One thing is for sure, if he gets beyond the last defender heading for goal he is either going to win a foul (penalty?) or get a shot on goal and that must be a frightening prospect for defenders.

  110. Red Arse says:


    As you chided me a couple of days for not picking up your misuse of adjectives, I wondered if you meant “my curiosity is piqued”, rather than “my curiosity is tweaked”?

    ‘Tweak’ means a joke or an amusing remark — Your humour tweaked my funnybone; whereas 26 piqued my interest in lawyerly obsequiosness! 🙂

    But to hell with it — why can’t you tweak your curiosity, if you want to? 🙂

  111. Rasp says:

    RA, no I’m happy with the use of tweaked, in the same context of a player tweaking their hamstring = mildly troubled 😛

  112. Red Arse says:


    That’s fine. I will add it to my lexicon of colloquial English usage.

    A tweaked hamstring is usually referred to as a pulled or injured muscle, or similar.

    A tweaked curiosity is usually referred to as a pulled or injured – emm – curiosity. {Author : Rasp}

    Go Boy!! 🙂 You are as bad as 26! 🙂

  113. Rasp says:

    Rocky, I suspect that you are correct in thinking that Theo is one who does not take criticism well – as evidenced by the passage in his book where he explains that Capello’s outburst (admittedly way over the top) upset him in the WC.

    But I do wonder if the ‘encouragement’ he gets in training ever suggests to him that he should not stay down so long when tackled as he is contributing nothing to the team sat on the grass and also more likely to stimulate negativity from the supporters.

    We all love a trier after all, look at The Romford Pele, worked his socks off and a big crowd favourite but probably possessing less talent than any current first team player. (oops I’m gonna get slaughtered for that 🙄 )

  114. Ramsey needs to get dropped like a bag of rubbish he is, so overrated its actually hilarious

  115. Rasp says:

    😆 RA,

  116. RockyLives says:

    I will resist the obvious retort one could make relating to your moniker but…
    I think you are 100% wrong about Ramsey.
    Come back and revisit that statement at the end of the season – I suspect you will be eating your words.

  117. Rasp says:

    Yes James, so overrated that he won MotM in the Euro qualifier against England.

    If you’d have said overburdened for one so young and still not fully recovered from an horrific leg break I may have agreed with you.

  118. RockyLives says:

    Theo’s “poor little me” when he sits on the turf with a pleading/outraged look towards the lino does my head in too.

    But I suspect he learnt it from the players around him at Arsenal these past few years. Eboue, Cesc, AA and Denilson have all displayed the trait at various times.

  119. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rocky, 🙂

    An erudite post as per usual.

    The Theo debate is fairly pointless, but a bit of fun, as I suspect you might agree.

    Some like me have run out of patience with him, and altho’ well disposed to any Arsenal player – I have oft times said I would like him to prove me wrong – I simply see no improvement season on season.

    Others, like your goodself, TA, 26, et al (you are in good company) see much more potential in him, and are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Whilst applauding your generosity of spirit and/or perspicacity in seeing footballing virtues in him which I, lamentably, don’t, means that n’er the twain will meet.

    I go so far as to say that, by season’s end, Oxo will eventually become the star man, ably supported by Ryo, and Theo, unless there is a radical improvement, will become yesterday’s man.

    “Head – block – chopper – me” springs to mind, but even at the last I would say “mmmhh arrrgh …………”

  120. Danny says:

    That booking against Swansea summed up Theo.

  121. Baggy Pants says:

    James the so called special one, I smell a Chav rat. Is it you?

  122. London says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Walcott has really poor control in tight areas.

    Can you imagine saying that about any player that was even vaguely connected with Barcelona?

    What am I missing?

    It is quite likely that Mandela would have drifted into obscurity without his gift for diplomacy.

    Beckam would surely have been a far lesser player with out his ability to cross

    Although, Nigella with her flirtatious mannerisms that suggest she could suck a golf ball through a hose pipe I suspect she would have been fine.

  123. London says:

    By the way, another extremely entertaining read Rocky.

  124. Rasp says:

    That’s it London you’ve cracked it, let’s get Nigella to suck Theo through a hosepipe – that’ll put some lead in his pencil 😆

  125. RockyLives says:

    Hello Redders
    Hello London (and thanks)

    “Nigella with her flirtatious mannerisms that suggest she could suck a golf ball through a hose pipe”
    Hilarious 😀

  126. Red Arse says:


    In answer to your question – no, you are not alone – there’s always me! 🙂

    Your comments about Mandela, Beckham etc, are, I think, referenced to TA’s somewhat facetious comment earlier.

    You are right, of course. The main difference is that Theo admitted he is rubbish (sic) with the exception of his pace, whereas none of the people you or TA mention has ever said they are rubbish at what they do.

    Who can argue with Theo’s appraisal of his own skills?
    Well, TA and 26, I suppose. How rude? 🙂

  127. Red Arse says:

    Rasper, that is disgusting! How long is the hose? 🙂

  128. RockyLives says:

    Your view of Theo is perfectly reasonable, but it does not take into account his stats, which make him far more effective than a certain N17 Monkeyman, who was the media’s darling all last season.

    But I have no answer to your eloquent last words…
    “mmmhh arrrgh …………” I’m surre all on here would agree wholeheartedly with those sentiments… 🙂

  129. Rasp says:

    I’ve got to admit that being sucked through a hosepipe by Nigella would make me a better dribbler …..

  130. RockyLives says:

    Perhaps Theo’s “I am rubbish” was a case of misplaced false modesty…

  131. evonne says:

    26may – Lewandowski is a decent striker and Blaszczykowski is the current captain of Poland. They are both good I am afraid

  132. Red Arse says:

    Rocky, perhaps you are right about Theo’s false modesty.

    On the other hand — perhaps he is a realist and wants people to get off his back.
    He might have been subconsciously saying to all of us – for and against — “Why diss me/boost me for things I never said I was any good at?”

    Anyway, I really want – hand on heart – for Theo to show us all what a star he can be. He has scored some cracking goals from the time when he was a kid, and I am sure he will again. Fingers crossed.

    When he comes good, you have my consent to take me to task — well, all you Theo-spians have done so, today, in advance, but alas and alack, I feel my boredom threshold has been reached. 🙂

  133. dandan says:

    Thanks for the smiles your super article brought me Rocky.

    As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, it has always been in the nature of a section of the Arsenals support, to need a fall guy to vent their spleen on,

    So as all the recent candidates have been sold or loaned out, it was only a matter of time and natural progression that would ensure the mantle would fall on someone new. Theo it seems is the chosen one, no doubt should he have a monster game tomorrow hostilities will be transferred temporarily elsewhere. Probably Chamakh or Song will be the lucky recipients..

  134. kelsey says:

    Red arse,

    are you related to William Shakespeare by any chance 😉

  135. RockyLives says:

    Agreed. No more navel-gazing over Theo (for today at least 🙂 )

  136. RockyLives says:

    Judging by Redders’ purple prose, I suspect the Arse family may be descended from blood relatives of the Bard who took ship to the Americas back in the mists of time. 🙂

  137. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey, Rocky, Eh? 🙂

    Why doest thou ask?

  138. kelsey says:

    Shakespeare was a man of wit
    and on his blog he wrote a load of s ***
    one day while walking through the marble halls
    someone grabbed him by the b****

    (was it evonne 🙂

  139. kelsey says:

    Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.[5][nb 4] His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights,one of which emigrated to the States who was commonly known as Red Arse V1 (from Wiki)

  140. Red Arse says:


    “Vent their spleen?” I hope you were not including me in that activity because you are likely to be very disappointed! 🙂

    I understand the spleen is – a lymphatic organ interposed in the blood stream. The surface projection of the longitudinal axis of the spleen is the tenth rib. Whereas the meaning of the verb to vent, is taken as a means of releasing from confinement.

    Now there is no way I am farting my spleen any time soon, even if you ask me nicely! 🙂

  141. Red Arse says:


    That is very illuminating.

    Actually Shakespeare was a conniving, dissembling b*stard, and I wrote all that stuff with Sir Francis Bacon! Fact!! 🙂

  142. Gooner in Exile says:

    Damn i hate coming on late in the day and having missed a days sparring between the regulars and reducing their comments to nothing more than a skim read as my wife looks at me with an even more furrowed eyebrow as I am supposed to be off to dog borstal in about half an hour and have yet to remove myself from my suit.

    Anyway great post as ever Rocky, I really wish Diaby would become the player he has all the credentials to be. Unfortunately as others have stated with only a little over 100 appearances to his name at the age of 25 he has missed so much of his development and to expect him to suddenly start using all those attributes to offer a new edge to the team is a big ask. Oh how I wish he could.

    To offer a comparison, Viera at the same age had 222 appearances for Arsenal plus another 66 at Cannes and Milan. Cesc hasn’t even reached 25 yet has 307 senior appearances. I haven’t got time to wiki every player but I would doubt there are many that have gone on to do great things with so few senior appearances at what is almost middle aged in footballing terms.

  143. kelsey says:

    i will tell you a true story.my little boy when he was learning English literature or actually anything had to be prompted to remember things by giving him a clue usually to do with food.
    Anyway when learning about Shakespeare and Bacon he always got confused and came out with the name Bill Frosties. it may not seem funny to you,but we still laugh about it to this day.

  144. Red Arse says:


    “Purple prose?”

    Well, I suppose one man’s flowery, ornate writing, is another man’s love of language.

    I shall take my unwanted prose and bid you all – Good night.

  145. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, sorry have been away for a while…washing my socks 🙂

    13 goals in 38 games for Theo last season (according to my right honourable friend 26). That means he scored one goal in every three games (at the moment he is scoring one in two games, but it is still early days). Bergkamp’s career average is just under 1 goal in every four games. I have no doubt that Dennis produced a lot more assists than Walcott’s one in four(ish) throughout his career, but my point is: Theo does not have to prove anybody wrong anymore: Il est arrive! I do think he will still get better, but we should already be happy for what he is doing for us now. Our should we just ignore hard stats and keep listening to our gut? Theo has a habit of annoying the sh*t out of fans, me included, and sometims he plays woeful, but he deserves our respect nevertheless.

    Sorry to have bored you further 😉

  146. dandan says:

    Red Arse as perhaps the second most pedantic poster on here, I am sorry but your presentation needs attending to. 🙂

    As always these old and I mean old sayings are normally based on fact as is I agree your definition in part, but not in its complete substance 🙂

    Origin: The spleen is an organ in the body near the stomach. In European medicine from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century, the spleen was thought to be the source of the “humours” that caused the emotion of anger. Therefore one could expel anger by “venting the spleen”.

    As far as yours and Kelsey’s preocupation with willie is concerned I have it on the highest authority the he died in reduced circumstances seated on a public Loo. A signed note was found on his body that read.

    “Here am I died broken hearted, spent a penny and only farted”

    Signed Willie Spokeshave

    I hope this helps 🙂

  147. TotalArsenal says:

    DanDan 😆 Good to see you in fine form again Sir!

  148. kelsey says:

    I thought that was elvis, dandan 🙂

    Anyway the moral of the story is never use a public toilet in Stratford-uopn-Avon.

  149. dandan says:

    Total, one has to laugh, having just spent an hour watching Bloomberg and there prognosis of what the future holds.

    I find the trials and tribulations of the Arsenal a relaxation rather than the stress related worlds end fixation of many of my fellow fans.

    Win or lose we remain the Arsenal. 🙂

  150. dandan says:

    Kelsey My Friend, your Keyboard has been in fine form of late, keep at it…… It suits you well. hope the end of the week is still Go.

    Speak soon.

  151. RockyLives says:

    I always thought Purple Prose was a compliment. But having looked it up I see it is defined as “writing that is more complicated and formal than necessary.”

    Apologies in order, I think…

  152. critic says:

    If (and I know it’s a big IF) Abou can fully recover from his ankle operation and IF he can put his niggling injury record behind him and IF he can find his best form on a consistent basis……………………
    he will be sold for a good profit…. 😀 😀 😀

    Sorry couldn’t resist that.

  153. London says:

    I wish some of you lot would have a go a writing match reports, I would love to see how you manage to praise every player, every week for every performance…………………just think about that for a moment and you will start to understand how some of us who have tried to write such things arrive at the idea that in some games certain players do not play as well as they have in others.

  154. London says:


    Everyone on this site supports Arsenal, which team do you support?

  155. SUGA3 says:

    one of Pedro’s tweets from the AST meeting:

    @LeGrove Le Grove
    Extra players were a reaction.

  156. SUGA3 says:

    and oh, evening all 😉

  157. London says:

    Evening Suga

    I haven’t been to the Devil’s play ground today what’s been happening over there?

  158. SUGA3 says:

    Pedro is seemingly taking suggestions to heart and curbing the enthusiasm of some, if you know what I mean…

    still, it’s the same good old LG, lovely evil bunch :mrgreen:

  159. London says:


    What are people suggesting to him?

  160. Big Raddy says:

    Is there an AST meeting tonight?

    Just because they say something it does not make it true or does it?

  161. SUGA3 says:

    oh, you know, cutting out stuff which is bang out of order…

  162. Big Raddy says:

    Evening Suga. Long time ….

  163. SUGA3 says:


    dunno mate, I think Wenger’s absence on the last day is pretty telling…

  164. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t agree re: AW ‘s absence. I think it showed that we have finally got a management team that is not totally dependent upon AW. That others are taking some of the work can only be good for the club in the long run.

  165. SUGA3 says:


    I know this may be just a bit of spin, but it was said that AW felt that he was done shopping in June…

    either way, it does not bode very well: we are facing one of the two situations:

    – the manager is no longer able to assess the situation


    – the board is at loggerheads with him, hence these little snippets

  166. RockyLives says:

    Hello Suga
    When did AW say he was done shopping in June? I thought he kept saying precisely the opposite. For example:

    July 2nd
    “Everyone wants to make that great signing and I’m focused on those objectives and am very busy on the telephone.”

    July 8th
    “For me, the best thing is not to talk too much about it. The more you speak about things, the less chance you have to achieve them. The only thing that I can promise you is that we will work very hard and we have had some long nights to achieve what we want to achieve. I can understand [the impatience among the fans]…
Let’s hope we can bring in one or two more additions of top quality.”

    July 23rd
    “Certainly, we will have to find one more defender. We [are] working on it.
I can promise we work very hard on it.”

    July 30th
    “Our business will be done sooner rather than later but it is difficult to speak about any individual player because that makes things difficult.”

    August 6th
    “Ideally I would have finished all [our business] but it doesn’t work like that. We work very hard, we are non-stop working throughout the summer. I am positive because we have good quality and a style of play that is known by the players. So we want to add not quality but super quality.”

  167. kelsey says:

    Thats old news to me 🙂 see my history

  168. London says:


    Now that is what I call blowing the ship out of the water.

  169. SUGA3 says:


    soooo, it must be the latter then, eh?

  170. Red Arse says:


    Now Purple Rain? That’s something else!! 🙂

    London, re your 7:33, every player would get a 10. (at least).

    The stiff upper lip, see no wrong merchants are just as irritating as the doomers, and just as delusional in their outlook.

    You are quite right. It is important, essential even, to support your club and support your team, but it is just as important to be honest and give praise where it’s due and criticism where it is due. Otherwise what is there to debate?

    There are one or two – “lovey, lovey, never a critical word will escape my lips” – merchants here on AA, and if they got their way we would all be like them.

    Yeah, in a rats arse!

  171. SUGA3 says:

    and surely, we heard all these lines before?

    like the previous summer? or the one before that?

    don’t you think it’s a bit weird that we have managed so many signing in a day?

  172. critic says:

    sorry, but isn’t that the pattern arsenal are following for past 4-5 years? Flamini, Hleb, Nasri 3 game changers all gone when they are about to make it big.

    I love arsenal but what’s happening at the club at this point of time is just painful.

  173. Red Arse says:


    In part the last day of the TW is take it or leave it time for the selling clubs, as well as the purchasing clubs (like us).

    Bolton blew it by forgetting to blink at the last. The result is they are going to take a hit when they sell Cahill in January or next Summer.

    More fool them!

  174. RockyLives says:

    Hi Suga
    Yeah, the pattern of signings was odd, but AW (and the BoD via Gazidis) made pretty consistent noises all summer about needing to bring people in.

    Which, however, does not mean that all is well between manager and Board.

    Perhaps, if there was disagreement, it was over how much to pay (in fees and wages) rather than over the issue of whether or not reinforcements were needed (about which there seems to have been consensus).

  175. Red Arse says:


    Each of those players ran their contracts down, the same way Campbell did to the Spuds years ago.

    You cannot make people sign a contract if they do not want to.

    Anyway, what did Hleb and Flamini do after leaving us? we were well shot of them.

  176. Red Arse says:


    Did you read Kroenke’s interview at the St Louis Rams when asked about Arsenal?

    He said he and Wenger were as one with the need for buying players that added value to the squad; that he did not want to be hands on, and that Wenger had his full backing.

    I know the cynics will read into that what they want. But taken at face value(and why not) it makes sound business sense and gives no indication of a Board/Wenger split. (For Board read Kroenke – he is the Board – all the other directors have no authority).

  177. Big Raddy says:


    Hleb? Do you mean the Hleb whom we got €17m for and can’t get a place in a poor Wolfsburg side or

    Flamini who can’t get ahead ofDiaby or Diarra in the French National team nor is first choice in the ageing AC midfield.

    As to Nasri being a game changer. Once or twice a season but other than that???

    Of course, I am one of those whom RA calls a “merchant” 🙂

  178. Big Raddy says:

    Wright Phillips is playing a superb game for QPR. What a strange player he is, brilliant for the first few games for a club then pants ….

  179. London says:

    Thanks guys

    I just wasn’t in the mood for that one, night night.

  180. SUGA3 says:

    I have merely expressed my humble opinion and respectfully taken yours on board 😉

  181. 26may1989 says:

    I think Suga’s right, it is telling that Wenger attended the Elite Club Coaches’ Forum in Switzerland on transfer deadline day (along with Ferguson, Guardiola, Villa-Boas and err, Remi Garde). It tells me that that transfers are indeed completed by others at the club, presumably after Wenger has said what he wants. I might not like it, but the tempo of our summer transfers was, as predicted by Wenger, deliberately run long, probably for financial reasons.

    Having added another £20m to the now enormous accumulated transfer pot, we’ll see if Kroenke and co live up to their words and spend when a suitably “good value” option arises in January or next summer. The new squad is pretty good and I feel will bed down nicely. But the difference between us and the Manchester clubs now isn’t so much in squad depth, it’s more in the quality of the first choice line-ups in attack and creation; where we have one or two top quality players, they each have three, four or five. And bridging that gap would mean Kroenke and co living up to what they have said they would do and spend £30m+ once or even twice. The money (which ultimately we paid) is there.

  182. 26may1989 says:

    Nice to see QPR back in the big time but for connoisseurs of such things, Joey Barton just got taken out by his erstwhile teammate, Tiote.

    Pretty poor match this one.

  183. evonne says:

    Hi Suga, what do you recon about Lewandowski i Blaszczykowski? I have not seen much of them, but they look good in internationals, no?

  184. dandan says:

    RA It is interesting to some of us loveys to see the way that some of those who feel the need to constantly criticize the team, react when they feel, usually wrongly that criticism is directed at them.

    How is the right to criticise any more viable than a conscious decision to accept that no one is perfect and therefor criticism is superfluous unless it is constructive. To often the criticism on blogs is just a personal opinion stated strongly often grounded in rumour and without substance. However much the poster believes it to be so.

    Do you never get the feeling that some posters just love to see there words in print, so to speak or perhaps it is just the cynicism of lifelong competitor refusing to go quietly..

  185. SUGA3 says:


    I think we should have more than enough in the locker to contain the former, he is a good striker, but not necessarily top bracket, it’s the other striker that is supposedly one to watch…

    I heard Kuba may start on the bench, which is good, as I can see Gibbs struggling against him…

    and don’t forget Piszczek (RB), he ain’t half bad either!

  186. TotalArsenal says:

    London, RA, why are you both unwilling to grasp the crux of the issue here? I have not been challenging anybody on their criticism of Theo’s individual match performance on Saturday, but I have been critical of quite a number of fans who were subsequently critical of Theo’s general ability as a player, attitude and value to the team.

    I feel a need to defend him, not because I am a ‘lovey-lovey’, but because I believe in fairness and facts.

  187. RockyLives says:

    Well said TA
    I, too, will defend Theo for his overall contribution (while also finding fault with his deficiences).

    And I am happy to argue (respectfully) with those who doubt that his contribution is good enough.

    But I will refuse to make generalised insults at those whose views differ from mine.

    Perhaps I’m just a lovey-dovey.

  188. 26may1989 says:

    To be honest, the general absence of insults and the willingness of people on AA to listen are aspects of AA that make me keep coming back.

  189. Ramsey is fucking rubbish

  190. SUGA3 says:

    you are indeed ‘special’ 😆

  191. Rasp says:

    I’ve left jame’s last comment on so everyone can see his level.

    He has indeed become ‘special’ because he has joined a very short list of bloggers who have been banned from the site.

    Had he shown even a hint that he might be prepared to enter into a constructive dialogue he would have been given a chance.

  192. 26may1989 says:

    So Chelsea are now publicly having a go at one of their senior players, Torres, openly saying he might be lying about what he said in a Spanish language interview about the Chelsea pensioners that make up much of the squad there. Doesn’t sound like a particularly healthy situation for him.

    Would anyone want to take another Chelsea cast-off in the form of Torres? Or is he too slow, too damaged to be of interest?

    OK, so it’s all pie-in-the-sky speculation, and if he left the Chavs (which he probably won’t any time soon), Torres is highly likely to head back to Spain rather than to us. But we’re allowed to dream…….

  193. TotalArsenal says:

    26, thanks for that. The tought of RvP and Torres together upfront is mouthwatering 😛

    Night all.

    Oh and this one is for RA, for when he wakes up tomorrow morning:

    orta recens quam pura nites!

  194. Gooner in Exile says:

    Scrap that TA the thought of Torres on his own with through balls from Gerv, Arshavin and Arteta. Yes please. He would give us a more mobile forward line runs channels all game but his current teammates don’t look for him in the same way they did at Pool. And he also can play up on his own and cause havoc, January £30m bid snap him up.

    A collection of live tweets from an attendee of AST:

    “Predominant feeling that either Kroenke or Usmanov could sell a few shares to fanshare, prove their intention without harming their stake”

    “Club made around £15m profit in the window. Added to previous TPA, that leaves roughly £50m to spend on transfers & new contracts.”

    “Wage bill 4th highest last season. Abou Diaby paid better than Modric. Spurs last season’s biggest undetachievers in league based on salary.”

    “Nike & Emirates deliver club about £15m a year currently. Big shortfall currently until 2014 when deals expire.”

    “Club accounts unlikely to look as impressive ad they are now cos accpunting period till May 31st. Club made lot of profit after that date.”

    “Kroenke has little to no input in the football strategy of club. Reports of Stan interfering on that side are almost certainly not true.”

    “Owner of Spanish hat company was trying to get a much wider trademark than press reported. Club had to act, despite bad PR”

    “Arteta hasn’t taken a wage cut in real terms. Arsenal put another year on Arteta’s contract. Beware the press reportage”

  195. 26may1989 says:

    A little bit more made-up evidence to justify the Torres to Arsenal dream: having spent big in 2011 and needing to spend more on the squad, Chelsea are likely to be in some difficulty on FFP compliance. So wouldn’t it make sense to generate sales revenue from one player who’s not working out for them?

    Anyone else watching the US Open Final between Djokavic and Nadal? Epic, sport at its best. If our players could find 10% of this intensity of play and sheer drive, we’d have no problems.

  196. gunnern5 says:


    I’ve copied two posts and left out the poster pseudonym’s.

    I have a simple question.

    Why is one poster banned and not the other?

    August 31, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Danny – I fucking hate when people say bollocks like that. Sure RvP is world class, why isn’t he at Man Utd? Cesc was the best in the league for a season or two, why didn’t Citeh snap him up as a four year old?
    Fucking annoying talk gets my wick. Shane Long is far better than WBA but no-one snapped him up. This isn’t actually the Playstation, its real life, and in real life, variants come into play.


    September 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Ramsey is fucking rubbish


  197. 26may1989 says:


    Rasp will answer for himself but the post you put up from 31 August is part of a dialogue and doesn’t include gratuitous insults. It might have a couple of strong words in it but it’s part of a debate, which Special James’s contributions today aren’t. Plus the 31 August poster actually apologised six minutes after the quoted comment was posted.

    Where’s the problem?

  198. gunnern5 says:


    Maybe your response is correct but here is another post from the same poster 6 days earlier’

    I emailed AA about both posts but I was ignored and got no reply.

    To be clear I am not offended by any of the posts. I just ask why one is banned and not the other.
    August 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm
    vieirasboots Neil Kirk
    by swanny_83
    Nasri: Vieira told me Man City is “place to be” translated paddy said this place is full o cunts you’ll fit in
    Y’all need to get on Twitter

  199. gunnern5 says:


    I just checked and the apology was for misunderstanding the question that was responded to – not for the foul content.

    I wish no evil here just simple clarity, is the use of expletives acceptable on AA?

  200. SUGA3 says:


    are you for real? swearing is big and clever 😆

  201. Big Raddy says:

    Another big test tonight and a very exciting one.

    Witha full first team I am sure we would win but with this patched up 11 I am not so sure.

    Will Frimpong start in midfield instead of Ramsey or will it be Benayoun? Will Arshavin start or Gervinho, or will it be Theo who is dropped to the bench?

    Do we play defensively and pack the midfield or go with our usual 4-3-3? (OK London?)

    Gn5. I have no wish to get involved in this discussion but you should be aware that there are many on AA who can bin a comment, not just Rasp. The question should be why I do not ban them or Peaches or Kelsey etc etc.

  202. London says:

    Morning TA

    It seems to me that we are on the same page, neither of us were impressed with Walcott’s performance on Saturday but we are both aware that he has contributed a great deal in other games. Doesn’t my first comment yesterday say exactly that?

    London says:

    September 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Every single person who went to the Swansea game (and later commented on AA) thought Walcott was poor which has nothing to do with his performances in the other games he has played this season or how he might play tomorrrow or indeed for the rest of the season.
    On Saturday he was as ineffectual as he always is when the opposition come to the Emirates and park the bus.
    By contrast, he was very good against Udinase and manu, two teams that came onto us, I expect Dortmund to come onto us and I wouldn’t be surprised if Theo is MOTM.

  203. Rasp says:

    I don’t have time to answer GN5’s question in full as I have got up early to put up the CL banner and do some work on today’s post, but 26m’s answer @ 1:39 is correct.

    Swearing pre se when gratuitous is unnecessary but the odd word not directed at an individual or the club used to add impetus to a comment is what grown ups do. New bloggers who come on and do not understand the site are given a degree of lattitude and will always be put straight by the regulars.

    I use my judgement as do others in admin to decide whether a comment should stay up. I think the amount of work we put into the site gives us the right to exercise that privilege and that in general we get it about right on most occasions.

  204. London says:


    In every CL away game that I can remember Wenger has always started 4.5.1 and I would be amazed if he changed it tonight.

    My punt at Wenger’s team.


    —-Sagna, Mertz, Koscielny, Gibbs

    Walcott, Arteta, Song, Frimpong,Gervinho


  205. MickyDidIt89 says:

    (and morning all)
    I think your team is spot on, although clearly Micky Knows Best and Theo should be stationed left.
    Back in a few hours.

  206. dandan says:

    Morning all.

    London your post at 7;37 is what i define as constructive criticism it is not a blanket statement but reasoned.

    Re your team selection, one gets the feeling that the back five is beginning to look more convincing and the return hopefully of TV shortly can only add to that.

    The five across the middle also looks capable of doing a job and again the return of Jack will add guile to that.

    All in all don’t you think, reason for hope for both tonight and the future

  207. kelsey says:

    Just to back up Rasp.

    Swearing is part of football talk to many and in fact also in life in general. Some blogs don’t allow it, I wasn’t for it but didn’t make an issue about it.
    If people just come on here with an abusive one liner and then run away they do absolutely nothing to enhance the site.

    Gunnern5 my friend you are taking up too much of your time disecting what people write.There is not one rule for one and one for another.
    If someone makes a point worth debate or not it is their opinion and if it is full of swear words doesn’t always mean that their point isn’t valid.

    no one is obliged to blog anywhere and in my case if I feel i can’t give a reasonable response I ignore the post.

    No one questions you love of arsenal and the time you put into your stats proves that to a point. I think you like myself (sometimes) take things too personally.
    let’s all move on as anyway we all support this great club.

  208. London says:

    Morning Dandan

    I like to think I have similar qualities to yourself when it comes to my view of supporting Arsenal and I certainly do think there is reason for hope for both tonight and proabably even more so for the furure.

  209. kelsey says:

    Anyway let’s hope we don’t get bratwursted tonight 😉

  210. dandan says:

    Morning Kelsey. Wise words my friend. A big day today and much to discuss.

  211. evonne says:

    GN5 – I don’t get you – you seem to be a nice and funny guy, yet your obsession with censoring Rasp is becoming tedious, give it a rest

  212. evonne says:

    Flooding the midfield, I like that 🙂 Feed all the balls to Robin and he can score, to be sure to be sure

  213. evonne says:

    Micky – i hardly slept last night, I think I am ready for the game

  214. Rasp says:

    Morning again all,

    The bookies have Dortmund as favourites tonight – great, just the way I like it!

    I’d settle for a draw but fully expect us to surprise a few and come away with a win.

  215. evonne says:

    Dortmund are favourites? Oh dear 😦
    What is the situation with Park and Ryo? Are they in the squad for tonight?

  216. Rasp says:

    My last comment on the ‘censorship debate’ is this:

    No-one makes any money out of the site in fact it costs us to run it. We cannot be around all day every day as we have jobs and other responsibilities and so inevitably there will be comments that are not noticed and perhaps should be acted upon.

    In ‘About AA’ it states: All opinions and viewpoints can be freely expressed, all we ask is that no-one descends into insults and name-calling.

    At no point do we say that swearing is banned, but hopefully common sense will prevail and we can run a site that sets a good example to the blog world. I will not tolerate the ‘C’ word as it is offensive to women and no degree of racist or homophobic content will be allowed.

  217. Rasp says:

    evonne, its good news that Dortmund are favourites, we play better in Europe when the expectation is low.

    This system is crazy when you can get ex-winners and German Champions as your pool 4 opponents when that is supposed to be the weakest group.

  218. evonne says:

    Rasp – ‘we play better in Europe when the expectation is low’ – that is clutching at straws 🙂

  219. Rasp says:

    New post ………

  220. Chris says:

    I was thinking this exactly! I was saying to mysepf last week ‘hay, whens diaby back because he plays alright when hes fit’. And i agree that if he gets consistant then we could be on to abit of a winner. Its the same thing with nani, he was inconsistant now hes 1 of uniteds best match-winning players. When we get diaby back he could re-open afew doors last seem to be alluding us. With him we have versatility and more strength in depth and maybe, just maybe a route back to 4th which with every passing draw/loss is looking less realistic.

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