The New Arsenal

The new Arsenal: focus, enthusiasm, togetherness, and a mixture of raw talent and calm experience

The interlull is almost over. Although it has been a boring period – from a footballing point of view – at least we did not have to endure again the spectacle of recent interlulls: in-fighting of fellow Arsenal fans. No, quietly the fans have gained considerable trust in this Arsenal team again and are more united now. And this makes a big difference on how an interlull period is experienced. Football is funny like that.

The reason for this renewed optimism is not only down to a run of good games/results. There is something within this new Arsenal team that makes it easy to indentify with again, to really love again, something that makes us feel good to support and believe in this team again with all our heart. It is like having a new girlfriend: she might be not as stunning as the previous one, and not everybody talks about you anymore, but she is surprisingly pleasant and enthusiastic and you feel you are getting somewhere again – a sense of hope and progress. And we can definitely say Arsenal is getting somewhere again.

So what are the key ingredients of this new Arsenal team? For me, they can be summarised with the word: FEETT. On a personal/work related level I have always felt that people with a lot of FEETT get furthest in work/life, and I believe this also goes for whole teams, or even organisations.

F is for Focus:

There is a new focus in this team, mixed with a healthy dose of humility. For a big part this is due to our awful start to the season. The sweet uses of adversity (Shakespeare) have been on display once again. Arsenal is well below from where it belongs in the league table, and the aim is to simply focus on one game at a time and win as many as possible, so we can climb the table and end in the top-4 at least.

The same goes for the cup competitions. This will sound a bit bizarre, but I have not seen Arsenal being this focussed as it has been this year, for a long time. Nobody believes anymore that we are special – at the moment – based on our recent history of superior, title & cup-winning football: no, for the first time there appears to be a strong realisation among the fans and the players that we need to regain that status through hard work and focussing on winning game after game. Wenger has also recognised this, as he stated recently that we need to be a bit humble and just concentrate on winning the next game (rather than talking about winning the title this year). Combine that with Gazidis’ announcement that not finishing in the top-4 would not be a disaster and you can see Arsenal’s tactics to release the tension a bit, and allow time to build another Wengerball super-team.

The paradox is that by saying we are not focussed on winning the title (at the moment) and not qualifying for the CL is not a disaster, we are far more likely to do well this season. This team is on a mission – it knows what it needs to do.

E is for Energy & Enthusiasm:

We have the right balance now between talent, technique and energy levels, and with the likes of Arteta, Jenkinson, Koz, RvP, Ramsey, Song, Szzesny and Vermaelen in our team we have plenty of stamina. The team works a lot harder now – collectively – and with a considerable amount of enthusiasm as well. Energy and enthusiasm are paramount for success, as it will help us to get over the difficult moments easier and faster (recent second half performances against Udinese, Sunderland, Marseille, and Chelsea especially, spring to mind).

E is for Experience:

For me, this is probably the biggest, and most positive, change from last year. The way the BFG and Santos recovered in the second half, from their disappointing first half performances against Chelsea, was very telling. With Vermaelen, the BFG, Sanya and Santos there is plenty of experience in our defence and the likes of Jenkinson, Szczesny, JD and Gibbs will all benefit from this tremendously as well.

In midfield, we now have the ‘arrived’ Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Arshavin and Benny who are all experienced enough to make a difference and the likes of Jack, Rambo, Frimmpong. Diaby and Coquelin will all benefit from this. Upfront we have the experience of RvP, our captain, Theo, Gervinho and Chamakh – on whom I refuse to give up on, at least for the time being. The likes of Ryo, the Ox and Park can all benefit from playing with our more experienced players, especially the Dutch Master. It is this combination of youth and experience throughout the positions which makes me so hopeful of the (near) future.

T is for Talent:

This Arsenal squad is bursting at it seams with talent in all four areas of the team. Szczesny and Fabianski are both fabulous goalkeepers and Manone is nor far off either. Gibbs and Jenkinson are very promising propests and so is Miquel. The midfield is overdosed with talent, and this is after the departure of Cesc and ‘the other one’. In attack, we have representatives from four continents and I cannot wait to see Joel Campbell play for us. He looks like a great prospect and so does Park, who needs a bit more time to settle in properly.

The final T is for Teamwork or Togetherness:

This new Arsenal Team really is becoming a solid, cohesive group of players who are ready to fight for each other and make things happen. There is a great spine from Szczesny – Vermaelen/Mertesacker/Koscielny – Song/Arteta – Ramsey/Wilshere/ Rosicky – RvP. These players, together with the FB’s and Wingers, and aided by a great reserve bench in most games now, looks more ‘together’ and resilient than ever: a proper team where everybody wants to work for each other and for the club, and with plenty of quality to make the difference when required. As many have pointed out, the recent, collective team celebrations have been a joy to watch and tell us a lot about the levels of togetherness within this new team.

So there is plenty of reason to be optimistic for the future. Clearly, we are not there yet and things could still go against us again, but this team is on a mission and all the basic components are there for a successful season.

COYRRG!

TotalArsenal.

157 Responses to The New Arsenal

  1. SharkeySure says:

    Agreed. This new Arsenal is a joy to behold !!

    Morning all

  2. Big Raddy says:

    TA. A rousing Churchillian post.

    Are you a motivational speaker?

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    CG, thanks for your well written and sincere response 🙂

    I have no time for Evra as a person – in fact, I dislike him immensely. But the point is that Suarez seemed to have used the word ‘negrito’ about ten times at least. It appears that Suarez was trying to wind Evra up, which is of course totally legitimate in itself, but not every means can be used to achieve this. As a general point, anti-discrimination law is quite well developed in this country, and it is definitely something that I, even as a non-British citizen, are proud of.

    When you make a reference to somebody’s colour of skin – even meant in an endearing way, which I just cannot believe were Suarez’ intentions – you have to check his response to that. If Evra did respond to the first comment in an irate way, then clearly Suarez should have stopped. He appeared to have used the word ‘negrito’ many times in order to wind Evra up and just did not stop when he (should have) noticed that Evra took offense to it. If this is indeed the case, the FA are totally right to charge Suarez and he should be heavily penalised.

    I have had to deal with quite a few discrimination cases in my professional live, and a very common excuse by those who made racist abuse to other staff has been of a similar nature as in the Evra/Suarez case: ‘I have lots of black friends, I am not a racist. I can call them ‘such and such’ all the time, and they just have a laugh with me’. As I said before, what really matters is how Evra responded initially to Suarez’ comments and whether the latter should/could have known whether what he was doing was causing offense/ going to cause offense, judging from Evra’s initial response. I can see why the FA are taking this further: morally and legally they have no other option.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks BR but no, not at all. I am more a ‘behind the scenes’ kind of guy, lettng more senior people take the limelight, which suits me well 🙂

  5. oz gunner says:

    love the stirring post, and the new girlfriend analogy was a laugh.

    As for evra, he is a scum. Suarez, also scum. No question that he did it to try and get under evra’s skin. I think it’s evra’s call as to whether or not he is offended. They’re not chums so suarez has no right to say stuff like that

  6. oz gunner says:

    @ Micky

    you’re right i forgot to mention that. Thats right you are the one whose friend knows the drummer or something? lucky so and so

  7. TA, i really wish one day you would write some utter balderdash so i could use my pun

    “Well that was Total Arse” (see what i wanted to do there?)

    Anyway I have got it off my chest now as it appears your post writing gets better and better and I will never have the chance to use it.

    Love the mnemonic and you’re right that this team seems to have found something to unite them. It’ll be needed on Saturday as with the injuriy to Jenkinson someone will be asked to play out of position, and we can only hope that the players are now in the “I’m happy to play anywhere as long as i’m playing” mindset rather than the “its not fair i want to play in one position only”.

    I think it may be RvP’s leadership providing a good link from Manager to players, I imagine RvP as an elder member of the squad is more likely to have a conversation and pass it on to the players and probably be more able to approach Le Boss with any concerns the players might have.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Oz,

    To be fair, I stole the new girlfriend analogy from London/LB, who described the loss of Fabregas to Barca like losing his beautiful girlfriend (whilst still seeing her everywhere with another man – I think). This new Arsenal is less pretty and sexy than the previous one, but we will be having more fun with it!

    Your second paragraph is a beautifully brief summary of the entire issue.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Thinking of Arse. Is Red Arse on holiday or have we been abandoned?

  10. Also the beautiful ex is more likely to stray again, so a less pretty new girlfriend who loves you more than you love them is always a safer relationship 😀

  11. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    Excellent, thanks. I have to say that I found this description of a girlfriend so funny: “surprisingly pleasant”.

    Oz,
    I know the bass player, Chris.

  12. pat says:

    Interesting dilemma with Jenks injured – do you go for Koz in his place or take a punt on DJ so you can rotate/rest the other CBs?

    Really great post I would also have to say as well – it matches how I feel / see the team now. The guys that are here want to be here and do well. Going back to the RB dilemma for this game I would go for Koz at RB – he is just unstoppable at the moment. I would not want to be an opposition player trying to get past him but DJ (sorry dude) you would feel like you would have a chance.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks GiE 🙂 I had to look up mnemonic – at fist I thought it was a typo. I have learned a new word today, thanks!

    RvP’s leadership is indeed probably working like that. The Dutch like involvement and dislike hierarchical management relationships and Robin seems to be great at communication and encouragement, AND leading from the front. I really did not think he would be that good at it.

  14. MickyDidIt89 says:

    BR,
    I suspect RA is packing in the work and getting all the Christmas shopping done. I now have a clear Arsenal path right through the silly season. An Interlull well spent.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    GiE 🙂 but I have been told that your girlfriend is drop-dead gorgeous, so how does that work 😛

  16. A great read think you are right this team seems to be playing for each other now. They all look like they are in it to win it.Think Cesc is a bit shocked how the team is progressing with out him according to his twitters. ….

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Diane, what has he been tweeting?

    Cesc might well be regretting his move one day, but I am sure he is a very happy bunny at the Qatar Foundation at the moment. I think he left too early, not just for us, but also for himself. He did not finish the ‘project’ that he was co-leading with Wenger and there was plenty of time left to go back to Barcalona: it did not have to be this year.

  18. Well observed post there TotalA and looking at the first team tweets there is definitely a camaraderie built up amongst the team that has not been there during the time of the homesick spaniards tenure.

    For example yesterday, the verminator was being ribbed about finally changing his old banger of a car – Robin tweeted something like “Glad you listened to my advice TV05 and got a decent car” to which the verminator said “I always do what my Skip says”.

    The spirit being built up means these guys will run through walls for each other – can you imagine Na$ri doing that ?

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Chary, Nasri running through a wall? Only backwards! 🙂

    I believe TV has/had a stylish, old car: is that right? That would be typically Belgian: a lot of them have a real passion for (traditional) style and design. Good to hear there is a lot of banter going on now. Cesc might well end up in a permanent state of homesickness!

  20. oz gunner says:

    thats right micky, i knew it was either you GiE

    as for the RB position stick in yennaris, he did it well against bolton, but then again djourou (post 15mins) against chelsea was quite solid.

  21. If he was running towards a MacDonalds maybe TotalA !

    You can tell the underlying bonhmoie beneath the banter is something the homesick one could never have cultivated.
    Sadly his legacy will be one of unfulfilled potential leading to a job left undone.
    For me he took the easy way out in crying home to play for the Qatari’s.

  22. oz gunner says:

    nasri would only knock it down if there was a burger behind it, that’s about it. The uinified team is great to see, its how team sports should be

  23. oz gunner says:

    damn chary beaten to the punch.

    Exactly, he did take the easy way out, go to the world champions and get your trophies that way, or win from scratch at the mighty gunners. I know which one would be more rewarding. A part of me would get great pleasure from seeing cesc face as RVP lifts trophies for us, but hey thats me just being a spiteful w*nker

  24. chas says:

    Loving the enthusiasm, TA.
    Just concentrate on winning the next game. It really is as simple as that.

    Here’s TV’s old car, reportedly.

    http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/arsenal/92767/arsenals-thomas-vermaelen-signs-new-contract-keeps-old-car.html

    And another photo illustrating something different about the current set-up. Isn’t it great to see the players smiling while on the pitch?

  25. OzG – how much pleasure can it be to join a team that is already at it’s peak and get a few trophies on the coat tails of the players who established the Qatari’s supremacy in the SPL of Iberia ?

    A proper man would have toughed it out to fight for the team that nurtured him, he was just a silly boy who went crying home to mamma.

  26. oz gunner says:

    cheers for the pics chas, that car is hilarious, couldn’t picture the verm driving that little classic car. As someone said on the comments, drogba drives a mini or something?! couldn’t picture that either.

    @ Chary

    exactly, fair enough when xavi was ready to call it a day, but leaving the team that made you (and who you captained), to be second fiddle in a team (that wins trophies like there going out of fashion), is beyond me.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Chas, respect to TV for driving such a stylish, yet modest car! In Belgium these are the best cars to attract the truly beautiful women – well, at least they were in ‘my time’ when I used to frequent Belgium clubs. I drove a Fiat Ritmo, so no chance 🙂

    I love the koz, rambo and Santos picture as well – I will use it in a future post, thanks!

  28. harry says:

    Absolutely outstanding and a beautifully timed post as the interDULL, is finally over……….A* for Total Arsenal…..the biggest accolade I can bestow upon you mate, is that I scrolled down to check who the author was,as I had imagined it was wrote by the imperious pen of Rocky……

    Cannot wait for tomorrow, the opening word you used is so important tomorrow, FOCUS, we need that in abundance, forget about the Champions league and put them to the sword, give Norwich a sniff and they’ll be all over us, they play some good football with a strong support behind them.

    It will be interesting to see who plays at RB with Jenkinson out injured, for me it has to be Kozzer, the rest picks itself, so Raddy your line up tomorrow should be an easy one……….

    Anyway, I am on leave today but still have work to do as well!! so best get to it……..

  29. Fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t believe that Cesc moved to Barca primarily for trophies. This is, after all, the club where he had his early football education and also the area where he grew up. The fact that they are the best team in the world right now was definately a kicker, but not the sole reason.

    Also, he has been a key player for Barca so far this season, creating and scoring a lot of there goals. So he isn’t exactly riding on the coat tails of his team mates.

    Let’s be honest, we would all have him back in a heartbeat!

  30. LB says:

    Brilliant post TA

    I feel flattered that you liked my Fabregas analogy.

    The thought that everyone likes an enthusiastic girlfriend, which is all yours, made me chuckle.

  31. LB says:

    It’s easy to understand why he went there, just change the roles, if you were there and you had a chance to play for Arsenal would trophies be your main motivator?

    In half a heart beat.

  32. 26may1989 says:

    Lovely post Mr TA, and the latest in a long vein. This team is much more of a team than last year’s version. Perhaps we’ll see it develop into another extravagantly creative side but right now I think we’re all happy to see this solidity, even at the price of being a little less exciting.

    As for Evra and Suarez, I can’t believe I’m standing up for the ever odious Patrice Evra, but I completely agree that repeatedly and in the face of complaint using a racial epithet, no matter how innocent that term can be argued to be in far-off Uruguay, is unacceptable and deserves punishment. I might give a little bit of latitude if Suarez had just arrived from Uruguay, but he’s been in Western Europe for years, having played in the Netherlands before coming here. He should know better but clearly wanted to wind up his opponent and didn’t care about what he used to achieve that objective. Usually with Evra, winding him up would be fine but Suarez stepped over a line and he should suffer the consequences.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Harry, LB and 26!

    Harry, you are spot on re tomorrow’s game: focus from the start is required. I have watched Norwich a few times and Paul Lambert sets his team up very well against any team. They have nothing to lose either tomorrow and these are the sort of games that every Norwich player has dreamt of, so they are going to give their all tomorrow. Arsenal will be tested, but this is a team that can deal with it.

    26, good to see your point of view re Suarez/Evra. What is also interesting to see is Liverpool’s strong and unwavering support for Suarez. On the one hand this is seems logical, and yet, I wonder whether the club has something to answer for as well. Did they provide Suarez with a decent induction and training on ‘on how to behave professionally on and off the pitch’ for example. I expect the FA to look into that as well.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    LB, it was a great analogy at the time, as I experienced the same emotions as you about Cesc’s adieu to us. Anybody who has ever been dumped by a girl would have known what you meant at that moment 😦

  35. 26may1989 says:

    Hi TA

    I actually feel a little bit sorry for LFC. Yes, they have some responsibility to brief their staff on how to behave but we’re all adults, we should be able to take responsibility for our own actions. Suarez stepped out of line and should accept that. I imagine he went back to Dalglish and said “In Uruguay it’s just an affectionate term”, and the club defended him on that basis. This is one of the many challenges of football clubs having such cosmopolitan squads, since what counts as racism and linguistic subtleties are tough things for anyone to understand.

    Rather tham just defend him, and threaten to attack Evra for crying wolf, they’d do better to say, as CG observes, that it was a misunderstanding and get Suarez to state his objections to racism.

  36. 26may1989 says:

    I meant to say “what counts as racism in different countries”.

  37. goonermichael says:

    TV’s car is a Japanese one. They are very common in Japan but you don’t see them much here. It’s a current one though not a classic. Nasri would run through a wall foa 200k a week (and the burger)

  38. goonermichael says:

    Ginger
    I wouldn’t walk across the road to piss on cesc if he was on fire. I’m not bitter or vindictive at all.

  39. Big Raddy says:

    Mmm. Just made myself a toasted BLT for lunch. Tip Top.

    Must be brilliant for the kids to train with TH14.

    Less than 24 hours ….

  40. Big Raddy says:

    GM. I recall Jonathan Ross’s wife had one. Very pretty car, but a bit feminine for TV.

    I would have had him as a Porche Cayenne man (could be a post for the next Interlull in Feb!)

  41. goonermichael says:

    Is it lunchtime?

  42. goonermichael says:

    Ther’s one parke in my street Raddy. Always makes me think of Japan

  43. gunnern5 says:

    Prediction from Mark Lawrenson

    …………………………………………………………………………………….

    Norwich have been excellent at home all season but this is their first real test against an Arsenal team suddenly playing with real confidence.

    The Canaries only know one way to play, they come forward but if you do that against the top teams they will just pick you off on the break with real quality.

    Everybody knows about Robin van Persie and his goalscoring form but the key for Norwich will be trying to stop Arsenal in the middle of the park as that is where they will control the game.

    Van Persie is virtually scoring a goal a game at the moment but if Norwich try to stop him from playing then Theo Walcott, Gervinho, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey can all hurt you so it is going to be very tough.

    I expect a strong showing from Norwich but Arsenal will be too good.

    Prediction: 1-2

  44. LG/FGG & GM – the Cesc question is quite a complex one for me; perhaps the subject of a post if I ever do write another one, that is.

  45. goonermichael says:

    gunnern5
    Did you see that Russel Grant is doing the prdictions with lawrenson? I wonder if he used his crystal ball. He puts the mancs down for a draw

  46. goonermichael says:

    I have no good feelings for cesc whatsoever. I gave up on him 2 years ago.

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    BR, your BLT sounds lovely. I just bought myself a ‘Spotty Wombat’ from our local bakers (yes, they have disappeared a bit up their own arses): fresh brown bread with sunflower seeds allover it. Tastes great just with butter, or ham, jam etc etc. Cannot beat it!

  48. Oh bugger, just found out Phil (4-4 Toons) Dowd is the ref tomorrow – watch out for PK’s given if an Arsenal defender sneezes in our penalty area…gulp! 😦

    GM – I believed in him up till the Spring of 2011; what panned out since then changed my view.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    26, I have a strong feeling that Liverpool football club do not really know what they are doing with this issue, otherwise they would have clearly done what you suggested in your second paragraph @1.14. I agree with you though that Suarez, having played in one of the most diverse places in the world – Amsterdam – should have known better.

  50. gunnern5 says:

    From Goal.com

    ……………………………………………………………………………

    Five ways Arsene Wenger solved Arsenal’s defensive crisis and helped them charge up the Premier League table

    Former England and Gunners coach Don Howe identifies how the club got their act together at the back after calamitous defending had pundits predicting relegation battle

    Nov 18, 2011 9:38:00 AM

    EXCLUSIVE
    By Rob Stewart

    Arsenal were in danger of becoming a laughing stock earlier this season thanks to their kamikaze defending, but now the Gunners are looking like a force to be reckoned with again.

    Arsenal and England coaching legend Don Howe knows a thing or two about defending due to his services for club and country, and he has put the upturn in fortunes down to the way Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has tightened up the team’s defence.

    The north London club have traditionally been associated with mean defending and here, former England full-back Howe, who managed Arsenal during the 1970s before moving on to focus on coaching, tells Goal.com how Wenger has revitalised the team.

    “Arsene Wenger must have been hurting like hell when Arsenal were pummelled 8-2 by Manchester United and then beaten 4-3 in a comedy of errors at Blackburn, but you have to be impressed with his reaction because he remained calm and now everyone is seeing the benefits.

    “There was no big song and dance after the Old Trafford game. He took it on the chin and accepted the defeat with good grace and never publicly tore into the players, although he would have had harsh things to say privately.

    “People ended up wondering if he would quit but anyone that knows him will have known that he would stick at it and gradually pull things through. And that is the sign of a good manager.

    “It is easy to be a manager when you are successful but the real test comes when things are not going well. And the way things are developing, that shows what a great manager he is because they were facing a crisis. They knuckled down, kept a cool head and worked things out.”

    “Everyone likes to see fast-flowing football that results in a spectacular finish but the harsh reality is that the majority of games are won and lost at set-pieces, and the way Arsenal were defending the corners and free kicks left a lot to be desired.

    “They were all over the place when they were up at Blackburn, but now they seem to have turned around that situation because they are now defending them like a group. And they are making sure that every player does his bit and that everyone is assigned to picking up an opponent.

    “It helps that Wojciech Szczesny seems comfortable at set-plays and he likes to command his box and it will do his confidence the power of good that his team-mates have got their act together. As a whole, they will be feel better equipped to repel their opponents in dead-ball situations because they have gone back to basics.”

    “That game at Old Trafford and the one at Blackburn really were a jolt to the system that would have had lesser clubs buckle, but you have to look at the wingers and central midfielders to see that they have learned their lessons.

    “The midfielders now have extra defensive duties and you will see Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey sitting more deeply to give their back four a bit of a shield, while the wingers are under orders to make sure their opposite numbers do not cause too much trouble.

    “From a defensive perspective, the midfielders are a lot better in terms of their positional play so they are making sure that no-one can take pot-shots from around the ‘D’. The way the wingers graft will stop their opponents getting the chance to race forward and fire in those low crosses across the six-yard line that defenders detest.”
    “When people talk about top-class Arsenal centre-halves they never talk about them in the singular, because they can only perform when they are in harness. But that was not happening earlier this season and it really told.

    “Back in my day as a coach under Bertie Mee, Bob McNab and Frank McLintock were the centre-halves when we won the double. And moving on a few years, there was the likes of Tony Adams and Steve Bould or Tony Adams and Martin Keown and then there was Martin and Sol Campbell and then Sol and Kolo Toure.

    “Their secret is that they always operated in tandem, but earlier this season the centre-halves were doing their own thing. That was down to the fact that Thomas Vermaelen was injured and Per Mertesacker was new and Laurent Koscielny looked lost.

    “Things were bound to improve as everything settled down, but they have worked on issues on the training ground to accelerate things and make sure the centre-backs are on the same wavelength so that they work as a pair and are confident enough to call the shots when they are under pressure.”

    “When they were hammered up at Blackburn, there was a clamour from people calling for one of the Arsenal old boys to come to the rescue as a defensive coach, but they over-looked the fact Arsene had Pat Rice as his right-hand man.

    “Pat has been around the block more times than he would care to remember but he was the right-back in that Arsenal double-winning side of the 1970-71 season, and he will have forgotten more about the art of defending than a lot of younger coaches.

    “Arsene might have inherited a team of good defenders when he took over 15 years ago but remember, Arsene and Pat put together the team that everyone came to call the ‘Invincibles’ when a solid defence was the cornerstone of their success.

    “Pat knows his stuff and he will have been able to call upon his vast experience to help Arsene get through the toughest spell of his time at the Arsenal.”

  51. RockyLives says:

    Great post TA. Just the ticket to get me really pumped up for BR’s pre-match and then the game at… er… 7.45am tomorrow morning 🙂

    On the Cesc discussion… the funny thing is that, great player thought he undoubtedly is, if he had stayed this year I am not sure our FEETT would be smelling quite as sweet as they do right now.

    I think RvP is a better captain than Cesc and I think so many years of falling at the final few hurdles had taken its toll on Cesc and left him with a sort-of inferiority complex (regarding Arsenal) that communicated itself to the rest of the players.

    It has been reported that Arteta and the BFG made everyone start eating together at lunchtimes on training days. The fact that, previously, it was broken up into cliques speaks volumes about what was wrong with last season’s Arsenal.

  52. RockyLives says:

    GM 🙂

  53. RockyLives says:

    Gn5
    Great interview with the Don – thanks.

    Loved this line: “It is easy to be a manager when you are successful but the real test comes when things are not going well.”

    But this is a bit of a worry:
    “Pat has been around the block more times than he would care to remember but he was the right-back in that Arsenal double-winning side of the 1970-71 season, and he will have forgotten more about the art of defending than a lot of younger coaches.”

    Is he saying Pat’s getting Alzheimer’s?

    Perhaps Don forgot to finish the sentence: “…he will have forgotten more about the art of defending that a lot of younger coaches WILL EVER LEARN.”

  54. gunnern5 says:

    On the subject of Cesc Fabregas my view is that he was one of the best players to pull on an Arsenal jersey. However the fact is that we achieved nothing in the way of trophies during his time with us. As a individual player he was incredible and always gave his all for us, even though he seemed under par in his last season.

    My view, controversial as it might be, is that some of the negative and derogatory comments written about him on AA are cheap, unseemly and unwarranted.

    Like every worker he has the open choice to choose his employer and his end choice was never in doubt.

    He will go down as one of our legends, even though his potential contribution was never fulfilled.

  55. LB says:

    GM

    Gotcha…….I think!

    I have been trying to find a connection, there are four clues: your age (roughly) your team (exactly) your profession and I believe you are married to a Japanese lady.

    Right, I have a friend/acquaintance who supports Arsenal, he is a hairdresser and is married to a Japanese woman and Central London ain’t that big.

    Their names are Peter Smith and Yuki Maekawa. (spelling)

  56. goonermichael says:

    I disagree gn5. I don’t think he’ll be considered a legend. He was part (and captain) of a team that never won anything. He’s a fantastic player and I understand him wanting to go home but he won’t be remembered as a legend.

  57. goonermichael says:

    Is he based in Knightsbridge? I don’t know him just googled

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers R 🙂

    A pretty girl with smelly feet… now that is a set-back!

    I think you might be right re Cesc’s leadership abilities holding us back during the last few seasons. Still mis him though, and I think he would have loved to play with Arteta and Song in midfield, the BFG and TV behind him and the quality of Santos and Gervinho on the left and Theo and Sagna/Jenks on the right, and a fit and all-firing RvP in front of him of course. The added experience was something he had asked Wenger for more than once in the last few years. It always seemed a reasonable request to me, but I think that Kroenke might have had some influence on Wenger on this one during the summer.

  59. gunnern5 says:

    GM;

    OK how about an unfulfilled legend.

  60. Agree there GM – Cesc’s technical abilites are not in doubt; his leadership and fighting qualities when push came to shove were found to be woefully lacking; never a legend IMVHO.

  61. goonermichael says:

    Are there legends from our other barren periods gn5? I don’t pretend to know the details of our history. He could have been in other curcumstances. Some people say he was holding us back because if you stopped Cesc you stifled our creativity. We’ll never really know. It wil be really funny If Madrid win la liga though.

  62. goonermichael says:

    And the BFG wins the EC with ze Germans Or Boy wonder with the Dutch

  63. goonermichael says:

    picture number 8. Little and large lol

  64. gunnern5 says:

    GM,

    We only won trophies in three of the 31 year’s from 1953/4 to 1985/6.

    Although the definition of a legend is somewhat cloudy and personal I can name you over 20 players from that period who I felt were incredible.

  65. RockyLives says:

    gm
    Legends from our barren periods?
    Liam only won 1 FA Cup…

  66. So Abu Dhabi FC’s 2010-11 accounts show a record loss for any football club of £194.9million.

    Financial doping ? What financial doping ?

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Chary, and despite all that money Napoli will knock them out of the CL on Tuesday: kick that Italian boot right up their pampered arses!

  68. oz gunner says:

    The term legend gets thrown around very loosely these days, cesc is unbefitting of that title.

    @ GM

    well said, i hope real win also. and you are corrrect in saving your urine. Urine still has uses, cesc doesn’t.

    http://purpleslinky.com/trivia/science/eight-brilliant-uses-for-urine/

  69. oz gunner says:

    as for tomorrows game, they are without three defenders so robin may have an easy day. On the left wing they have a player called pilkington who has scored 4 goals so far, so whoever plays at RB must keep on their toes.

  70. goonermichael says:

    Thanks Rocky and gn5 it was a genuine question. Brady is a legend. Gn5 I don’t know those years personally. 🙂

  71. Let's hope so TotalA - it would be some justice in a world that is largely bereft of any.
    As Alan Harper would say:

    "You want, justice ? There's no justice
    Looking for justice ? We're fresh out!
    This is a justice-free zone"

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Chary 🙂

  73. LB says:

    Alan Harper? Is that Charlie’s brother?

  74. Yeah, that’s the one LB, Alan Jerome Harper brother of Charles Francis.

  75. LB says:

    Damn, I miss Charlie.

  76. Scott says:

    I have heard plenty of players labelled legend who would not belong on the same field as Cesc. As a leader,well he wasn’t great,but not all legends were captains,so that argument is reduntant.
    Also,time is often very,very kind on players,so look back in ten years time and your views will undoubtedly be more positive.

  77. chas says:

    In ten years time I bet we all remember Cesc mainly as a Barca player.

  78. goonermichael says:

    I agree chas. A barca legend. You find the best videos and pictures by the way.

  79. LB, It seems one of the creators of 2.5 men can’t forget Charlie either, the last thing Alan says on the latest episode is, while sitting in a mental home, is “Winning” a piss take of Charlie Sheens infamous melt down interview where he uses that as a catch phrase.

  80. chas says:

    Cheers GM,
    This is my current wallpaper
    http://twitpic.com/7fve8k/full

    from Stuart MacFarlane’s photo stream
    (the first 20 or so are new)

  81. evonne says:

    Chas – great pictures, as usual, Robin looks excited 🙂

    GM – I still cannot get over your creations, I wonder if I could have the White Geisha style for Christmas 🙂

    Total – I am going to start reading your post now

  82. evonne says:

    TA – yes, I can confirm that I agree with other AAers – a very good post, FEETT we have, marvellous.

  83. California Gooner says:

    Interesting point TotalArsenal 9:54… if those are the laws, then Suarez might be in trouble. Which is interesting, because as I said, the words themselves don’t really carry much animus. In the context of football trash talking, I’d have to say it’s pretty mild.He should have called him bug-eyes, or perhaps you stupid cunt or some such other insult that is apparently Ok in the UK. So, I can understand where you’re coming from and I obviously agree completely, it should not be allowed abuse people based on race/appearance/ethnicity. I don’t think this will be a huge blow for racial justice if the FA does find that is what he said and decide to punish him.

  84. Fatgingergooner says:

    A quick hypothetical for u all,

    If Barca turned round and said we could have Fabregas back for the same money we paid them would you take him?

    Personally, I would bite their hand off. He obviously loves this club and would still fit in well with the new look Arsrnal line up.

    On another note, does anyone else think a cheeky loan/transfer bid for Affellay would be a good move? Espescially if AA leaves.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi CG, I get carried away sometimes when debating something, but you have been a good sport throughout this discussion. Bug-eyes or stupid c-word would probably be far more effective in winding Evra up. Suarez is now likely to learn this the hard way.

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Evonne 🙂

    FGG, Affelay is out with a bad injury. I think he is not available till February next year, but yes he would be brilliant for us. Of course I would have Cesc back: we can but dream!

  87. gooner lost in "award winning" cornwall says:

    Total,
    A very good read. I see a lot there which I was talking about the other night, Stamina,Teamwork,Work ethic, working for each other, hope it rubs off on Arshavin. 🙂
    Also, I think It would be a lot easier telling Arsene that the team is “not as stunning as the previous one”, than anyone telling their new wife/girlfriend the same !. Be very afraid ! 🙂

  88. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Evening good folk.

    Tomorow our climb to the top will continue. Lets get as close to City as possible. Come the end of the season they will certainly bottle it and we shall gorge on there demise

  89. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Terry, You never disappoint me ! 🙂

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi GLiAWC

    Thanks, and you are right: make sure you keep telling your award-winning wife, she is totally stunning!

  91. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    After driving 900 miles in the last two days, I`m walking about with my hands in the “ten minutes to two” position!

  92. goonermichael says:

    Hi evonne thanks for the compliments. I’ve just cut a lump out of my finger. Haven’t done that for a while. 😦

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    GLiAWC, it is fair to say that you did part-inspire this post with your comments the other day. How was your trip to chest-beating Orc-land?

  94. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Hi Total,
    But is she as stunning as the last girlfriend ?, SHIT she`s just walked in……….you are my sweetness…………..she was ugly……and fat……………ouchhhhhhhh…….is there a doctor on this site…..and a solicitor……..

  95. evonne says:

    GM – anybody there to kiss it better?

  96. goonermichael says:

    I work with my wife !! 🙂

  97. goonermichael says:

    I’m off home see you tomorrow

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    GLiC, what are you doing in Stoke every week? 900 fricking miles in two days, that must be pushing your limits.

  99. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Total, It was mellow, I think the Stoke “morlocks” were asleep in their underground cavern`s waiting for darkness to fall.

  100. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Total,
    Trentham Estate loves our cakes!

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    GLiC, what do mean: ‘Trentham Estate loves our cakes’? I thought you worked for SKY?

  102. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Total,
    Thats a bit Pie in the Sky . 🙂
    Got to go, Young gooner wants to browse.
    Curious to know why you think I worked for SKY !

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    GLiC, a while ago either you or FGG, or somebody else gave Red Arse some advise regarding Sky boxes/connections. I thought it was you and it made me jump to the conclusion that you must be working for Sky… 😳 So are you a baker of award winning cakes then?

  104. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Total, I taught Gordon Ramsey all he knows, about swearing, No, I`m not a Baker of cakes, let alone award winning one`s.
    I`m sort of semi-retired. When I moved to Cornwall, I dreamed of having a little Part-time job in the countryside, some sort of idealic life style. Seven years ago, I was lucky enough to come across that sort of job. I now deliver hand made cakes to all the beauty spots around the West Country, Harbours, National Trust etc, for Three days (except one day in orc land ). It beats the hustle and bustle of the City. If your ever down this way, I will get you the cake of your desire. 🙂

  105. I am typing this with Siri…. using only my voice. That’s pretty cool right? Now I can type match reports with my voice.

  106. chas says:

    How come it understands Cockney with a Norfolk burr?

  107. oz gunner says:

    i agree with total i’d snap up afellay in a heartbeat. Everyone used to rave about him like they did hazard, now he’s a forgotten player.

    @ FGG

    i’d say i wouldn’t have him back, but once he scored a goal or a beautiful assist all would be forgiven! until then he is hated!

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    GLiC, that sounds great. It takes a lot of strength to go for what you really would like to do and you did it. II really respect that.

    We normally go once a year to Cornwall and it would be great to meet up and try one of ‘your’ – per definition – award winning cakes 🙂

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Oz, what time is it in the Perth area?

  110. oz gunner says:

    its 7.38am TA. What better way than to wake up with some vegemite on toast and a bit of AA

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Aha, so you will be watching the match 9pm/ in the evening. Nice timing for you. Vegemite on toast? What about a full english breakfast?!

  112. oz gunner says:

    definently, i can’t wait, perfect after a long day of study! what does an english breakfast consist of?

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    Bacon, egg, sausages, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans, toast (or horrible fried bread) hash browns (potatoe cakes), tea/coffee. Basically a heartattack on a plate, but if prepared well it is the best thing there is in the morning.

    Good luck with your studies – you are one dedicated student – and enjoy the game tonight. I am off to bed, goodnight mate.

  114. 26may1989 says:

    In my 20s, the ideal Saturday consisted of hangover, playing football in Clissold Park in the morning (up to 40 would turn up on sunny days, no more than 6 in the middle of winter), a full English and then over to Highbury for the match. We’d then be set for a good night out.

    Heart attack on a plate – spot on TA! But they are bloody marvellous!!

  115. oz gunner says:

    Must be where we stole it from then because thats a sunday tradition for us. Perfect way to start the day, but generally a nap is needed afterwards haha.

    cheers, you too TA, catcha

  116. oz gunner says:

    Sounds like the perfect day 26

  117. 26may1989 says:

    Long time ago now Oz – Saturday morning now is all about the kids and their various activities. Different but I love that too. Still nice to look back at some much enjoyed years in the 90s though!

    Have just watched the final episode in season 2 of Treme – fuck me, it is such a good programme. Nothing like normal TV, more of a eulogy to music and a fractured city. Really makes me want to get back to New Orleans for a visit!!

  118. evonne says:

    uuuummmmm…full English breakfast…love it too. The only improvement is the Irish version with some black pudding…dream on a plate, yum yum

    Oz – so how come when I was in Oz I was given fecking mango for breakfast every single day??

    26may – I guessed you were a perfect student. Beware – do not let your children know, I made a mistake of telling my son some horror stories from my past and he held me to ransom till the very day

    Chas – Cockney from Norwich 🙂 I love Cockney accent, have my son saying ‘water’ just to make me smile

  119. Morning all

    I’ve escaped the soil moving, the sun is shining and Arsenal are playing today – all is good with the world 🙂

  120. evonne says:

    on my own…la la la… on my own…on a bloody match day, psshhh, woz up??

  121. Hello, hello evonne, I’m here ………..

    Did you know you have your own endearing Polish/Cockney accent 🙂

  122. Whats the news, I saw that Jenks is injured – who’s gonna play at right back? Djourou?

  123. oz gunner says:

    @ Evonne

    haha you definently got the short end of the stick there. Most market food halls give you exactly what TA said for under $10. god i don’t know what id do if someone gave me a mango for breki

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning EEEEEEEEEEEEEEvone 😀

    I cannot believe the boys will be playing footie again in less than 4 hours, 2 miles away from my house!! Father-in-law and a local footie friend (QPR) will come and watch the game with me at home and after the game it is to the pub to, hopefully, celebrate a win with a couple of gooners who are lucky/rich enough to be going to the game. Now we just need BR’s early match report!

  125. harry says:

    morning all, finally we have our arsenal back……..cannot wait, lets hope for supreme focus, no mercy and 3 pts……….

    whilst your waiting for todays post, heres a nice article about arteta..

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/mikel-arteta-arsenals-latest-magician-6264496.html

  126. I’m so excited that Thierry is training with the team, maybe now Theo will learn some real Henryesque tricks – watch out Norwich!!!

  127. oz gunner says:

    its a mystery peaches, kozza or djourou? My money is on djourou. But hey its a lower team give yennaris a go

  128. evonne says:

    Peaches – have I really got some cockney accent??? you made my day 🙂 I was told I sound and look Irish, for obvious reasons

    Oz – tell me about it, will never eat mango again! But a wombat given to me by another oz Gunner sits by my bed, always

  129. goonermichael says:

    Hi peaches. Where have you bee? Or have I just missed you? Morning evonne

  130. TotalArsenal says:

    26, Treme, I never heard of it before, but it sounds really interesting and it’s had some high praise. And you must like it a lot using the f-word hahaha 🙂 You recommend it then?

  131. evonne says:

    I am so happy about TH being back with us too!! If only Tony Adams came back to join the coaching team ….. we would win the league, every season

    Raddy is having hard time to chose only one of the Norwich personalities 🙂

  132. goonermichael says:

    evonne here’s some cockney

  133. evonne says:

    Morning Michael and TA

  134. Hi gm – I’ve been sculpting a very difficult landscape in a sloping woodland garden, you work your magic using hair and I do mine with soil. I feel like I’ve been away from blogging for months 😉

  135. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahhhh, once again the weekend makes sense. Everything is back to how it should be. I have my bearings.

  136. Just tried to have a peek at the post but Raddy is still in there.

  137. Micky – are you coming to any of the games this week – Dortmund or Fulham?

  138. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches,
    I really do not want to be reminded that the Dortmund game even exists. The most monumental cock up has taken place.
    Fulham, probably.

  139. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The Full English Breakfast. Now there’s a thing. I have just started writing a book on the subject. Fast women and car chases are thin on the ground, but a rollocking read it will be!
    My money is on JD at RB.

  140. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches You have outed me 🙂

    Difficult to write that post. I am so rusty and couldn’t get the juices flowing. I promise BD will be better!

    My parents spent big wedge cónverting my cockney accent.

  141. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    I’ve done the pitch gaphic but Rady is still perfecting his masterpiece for the day.

  142. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Can’t wait. Do you need a Danish publisher?

  143. Rasp – are you about, Raddy’s post is ready, can you do the pitch layout please 😉

  144. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. No he isn’t 🙂

  145. Rasp says:

    OK Thanks Raddy 😛

  146. evonne says:

    don’t cockneys eat bubble and squeak for breakfast?

    waiting for Raddy…

  147. MickyDidIt89 says:

    BR,
    Hoping for a man with a beard 🙂
    A Danish version? Wow, global domination, now there’s a thought.

  148. Rasp says:

    Close Micky, just a few minutes and you’ll find out. …….

  149. MickyDidIt89 says:

    When I think of Norwich, only Dykes come to mind. Is that just me?

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A woman with a beard! How prophetic of me 🙂

  151. Rasp says:

    OK folks, footie’s back, I suggest those of you with sound click the link I’ve made in the first comment as it provides the perfect tension building background to Raddy’s stupendous….

    ….New post ……..

  152. evonne says:

    Micky behave yourself, family site…

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