Sir Alex Ferguson. Arsenal Manager.

Ahead of the Big Game at the Weekend….. A “What if “…….

Charybdis.  If you value your health ….. don’t read this.

Some of our younger bloggers may not know that Sir Alex Ferguson almost became Arsenal manager before Mr Graham. The Don Howe era had come to a sticky end with Steve Burtenshaw acting as caretaker manager, therefore Ferguson who was the hot young manager following his superb job at Aberdeen was approached by Arsenal and according to him,  turned them down after lengthy negotiations. Rebuffed, the Board signed the young Millwall manager, George Graham.

But what if Sir Alex had agreed?

It may be a controversial viewpoint but perhaps the Board made a mistake in not signing him, a mistake up there with missing out on Gullit and Maradona and Ronaldo!

At the time SAF went to MU who were quite frankly, a club in the midst of decline. (at the time of his signing MU had gone 20 years without winning the League ) much as we were. It took a Scotsman to change both of our fortunes.

Could SAF have taken us to the EC and all those trophies?  Would we give up the wonderful football and the Invincibles for the SAF trophy cabinet? I can’t answer for you but I have to say it is a difficult question to answer. Imagine Cantona strutting the fields of Highbury- But against that who could imagine living without the warm cuddly feeling of having seen the genius of DB10? Because SAF may not have signed him.

Could the Board have put up with SAF’s tantrums and his need to have total control? Would they have allowed a manager to break the transfer record again and again? Could they countenance having a £35m reserve (Berbatov)?

Whatever we may think of Mr Wenger as a football tactician what is clear is that the modern Arsenal is a reflection of our urbane manager. Mr Wenger has been able to maintain our reputation as a club with class and a wonderful heritage,; a club of almost unimpeachable honesty (apart from the sorry business affairs of GG). I doubt whether we would be in this position had SAF in charge because the same can be said of MU – they are a reflection of their manager; aggressive, over-sensitive to criticism, bullies with a built -in sense of importance, arrogant – The Cocks of the North!

AW has an acceptance of change and the need for cutting edge technology hence the youth policy and the development of  superb youngsters from Anelka through Fabregas to Wilshere; who has SAF brought through since the Becks, Scholes era? And yet SAF has built at least 3 great teams in his MU career.

Would SAF have allowed Cesc to leave? If so, Cesc would have gone on crutches and for €20m more than Barca paid. For SAF the club is everything, he couldn’t give a monkey’s cuss about a players feelings. OK, Ronaldo left but who could turn down €80+m and then go on to win the league title the season after? Whatever we may think of Sir Alex as a man, he is a colossus of a manager.

There can be little question Arsenal under SAF (given that they won the same number of trophies) would have become a bigger worldwide attraction and have the international status that is the domain of MU (let’s be honest, we are minnows compared to them in this area).

Mr. Wenger has been, in my opinion, the perfect fit for Arsenal since the day he walked through the Marble Hall and the bust of Herb, but it is an amusing diversion to imagine how things could be different, which is what occupies Big Raddy whilst waiting for the minestrone to boil. Such is the mind of an Arsenal (and football) obsessive.

Written by Big Raddy

222 Responses to Sir Alex Ferguson. Arsenal Manager.

  1. Hey, how could you do this to me man ?!

    The thought of the alcky jocko bastard in charge of the Arsenal is enough to send a shiver up and down my spine(a thing the homesick spaniard doesn’t have, incidentally)

    I’d hate for that red nosed toss pot to represent our club – the only thing he can bring is a pragmatic approach that Wenger lacks.

    That aside he’d be a total embarrassment to the club – we already have PHW fulfilling the function of club buffoon, why would we need a whiskey soaked version of what we already have?

  2. Red Arse says:

    CharyB,

    I am speechless!! Fancy you of all people positing the ‘what if’ question re SAF possibly being the Arsenal manager for the past 20 odd years? 🙂

    That aside, your training has come to the fore and you have dispassionately put together a really clever Post with an interesting array of plusses and cons.

    I need to think on it! 🙂

  3. Arrgghh, it’s not my post Redders, this has Raspers paw prints all over it I reckon.

  4. Red Arse says:

    Wrong – CharyB it seems you are not the author – oh my. The world has tilted back on its axis!! 🙂

    The rest of my comments on the Post still hold! 🙂

  5. pat says:

    er thats a big NO to Mr Red Nose!

  6. Pat/Redders – I wonder when/if we’ll get the Surbiton massive amd the kuala lumpar legion(heartlands of ManUre support and glory hunting plastics) here trolling us with “Most league titles” bla bla bla and “2 EC titles” bla bla bla.

    Don’t feel in the mood for dealing with manc scum trolls today. 😦

  7. Double98 says:

    He would have come in and like at united he would have gotten rid of the party boys.

    That means half the first team are gone and in the juniors – Adams, Merson, Parlour would never have gotten a run.
    Bould, Dixon and Winterburn would never have been bought and there would have been no genesis of the best back four to ever have played together.

    The lower profile of Arsenal meant he wouldn’t have attracted big names and so instead of Brian McClair he might have gotten Jock McFatpants.

    he would never have gotten cesc to let him go, he would never have signed Bergkamp, Overmars.
    He would never have signed Ian Wright or Thierry Henry.

    He wouldn’t have lasted longer than George Graham so we would probably have ended up with Arsene anyway.
    Thankfully.

    George and Arsene where made for Arsenal – They make silk purses out of sows ears and turn a profit – Ferguson buys top players and has the force of personality and beligerence needed to manage egos.
    I can’t imagine how he would have managed Henry – who needed his ego stroked and his talent coaxed.

    Ferguson, if he had of lasted more than Graham – would have won a title, bankrupt the club and we’d be in highbury playing Leyton Orient in the league.

    Definitely.

  8. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    I would say a slightly insensitive post given that GM needs to be focused and Chary is, well, still alive, has feelings and can read 🙂
    On the other hand, one could argue that at the time AF would have been the perfect fit what with the Quinn/Merse/Adams drinking axis.

  9. Double98 says:

    Oh and we would all hate ourselves and require constant showering….

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Firstly, the post was written to provoke some thought. Many have said they dislike AW (not so many on here!) and I think a bit of conjecture doesn’t harm.

    Second, I wrote this pre-Swansea when AFC & us fans were of a more sunny disposition.

    Thirdly. Are we so concerned about Mancscum? They are NoMarks to a man :-). In the highly unlikely event they bother to blog here – ignore them.

  11. pat says:

    oh well we will always have the invincibles chary…

  12. Big Raddy says:

    D98 😀

    The post was written to elicit a response just like that….

  13. Ah Radders, you’ve owned up.

    Good discussion point and a bit insensitive to me, but I’ll live 🙂

    My only fear is if we are invaded by mancsum I could end up swearing so much that PEachy/Raspers blog will get littered with profanity.

  14. pat says:

    I’m with D98 as well – great response!

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. You have been quiet of late. Hope it is due to being rushed off your feet at work.

    You are right re: Chary and GM but I should point out Peaches published this because there was nothing left in the Post Larder. It should have gone up on Saturday when Chary isn’t around and GM has passed with honors.

  16. Double98 says:

    No Perry Groves, Martin Hayes
    No David Seaman
    Rocky sold to Leicester to make way for Paul Ince
    No Mickey Thomas, no anfield 89.
    No fever pitch

    Steve bruce – Arsenal Captain

    Cliff Bastin Arsenal record goal scorer.

    Teddy Sheringham – Teddy Gooner…….

    (there goes the breakfast)

  17. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    These are dark thoughts. May I suggest avoiding Minnestrone from now on, or at least serve the wreched stuff cold so as to avoid the thinking time.

  18. MickyDidIt89 says:

    D98,
    That last line is absolute filth. I actually feel sick!

  19. MickyDidIt89 says:

    BR,
    Simply work. Masses on.

  20. Double98 says:

    Micky – he made me do it… i was happy never to contemplate an alternative history (outside of girls i should have been / not been with)

    Now i am broken.

    Only RVP and TH12 can save me now

  21. Red Arse says:

    Having read all last night’s comments, can I recommend today’s Gooner Post to all parties involved in the late night shift. 🙂

    It addresses and tries to explain the various issues of contention regarding Arsenal/the manager/the players/the finances etc all of which arose last night.

    GIE,

    I love the way you patiently attempt to explain the club’s financial niceties and proselytize those who hold views not necessarily supported by the facts.
    The problem is that simple (to an accountant) financial issues become inextricably linked to the contentious ‘gut feelings’ of others, and n’er the twain will meet, unfortunately.

    The Gooner blogsite has also attempted to throw some light on this and other matters, and perhaps a referral there, of concerned non-accountants, might have a beneficial affect on your blood pressure! 🙂

    I once attempted a detailed explanation, on another site, of what Arsenal’s critical ratio analysis data told us – having first tried to explain the basics of liquidity, working capital requirements etc, when I reviewed the 2010 Balance Sheet.

    It was a disaster! Never again. 🙄

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Pleased to hear you are busy. Good Luck.

    D98. Teddy?? How could you?

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    D98,
    At some point we all experience deeds or events that are so deeply unsettling that they never again leave us in peace.
    I’m afraid your “Teddy Gooner” has achieved this on a new level of depravity. Sleep will never again be a moment for calm.
    If there was ever a case against AF as AFC Manager, this is it. Nothing comes close, game over.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    BR, crazy post, but I like it. But let’s turn this round for a minute. If we could have had Chary’s ideal person to travel to the moon with at Arsenal but Arsene would have gone to Old Toilet in 1996, with those talented youth players coming through and an unrivaled transfer budget till the arrival of Abramovich, would we have won anything / achieved anything? I dont think so.

  25. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Which Gooner Post. Can you add a link?

  26. Puri says:

    Thought Provoking. Extremely.

  27. Puri says:

    Umm would he have been a success at Arsenal? I’d say yes, definitely. Would the Arsenal board having given him total control? I reckon any manager in charge of a club for over 20 years deserves total control, so then again a yes. Would the Arsenal board have allowed him to break the bank time again, despite knowing some players would turn out to be flops? I’d say yes, if they had the money, then yes. I say this because his success to flop ratio in the transfer market has been pretty phenomenal over the years. The success of Ronaldo, Rooney, Ferdinand, Vidic, Van Der Sar, Cantona, Keane, Stam, Bruce, Schmeichel, all overshadow the flops of Berbatov, Veron et all.

  28. Red Arse says:

    Raddy, 🙂

    You rascal!

    Just a small point of order. As I understand it, SAF only tried to claim he turned Arsenal down to put himself in the best light.
    In reality, Arsenal did offer him the post, and wanted him to start immediately, whereas he wanted to dick around with the Scotland manager’s post because of their World Cup preparations, and Arsenal said forget it, and the rest as they say is ………………..!

    Could not let the sod get away with pretending He turned US down. That is bollix! 🙂

  29. Danny says:

    I’ve been working for the same shit company for 25 years. The day before I started the companys main competitor ofered me a job. I turned them down. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve wondered what could have been. The competitor is now bigger than us in every way. Sounds familiar. Thanks Big Raddy!! Reminds me of a classic Dave Allen joke about a man who throughout his life is always faced with 2 choices and always makes the wrong one…..

  30. Puri says:

    Also, I feel Ferguson is the only manager who can try to rival Wenger in terms of Youth Development. Hernandez at 6 million looks a great bargain, Schmeichel for 1 million, Ronaldo for 18 million (18 mill considered to be less given his current stature), Cantona for little and the list is pretty big. And I guess you’ve got one thing wrong in your post. You said which player has ferguson got in from the youth academy since the scholes giggs era. Well, till 2010 probably no one. However,since then Cleverly and Welbeck look great prospects. The Keane twins are exciting and so are Morrison and Pogba. So i’m sure Ferguson would fit Arsenal in this bill.

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Micky 10.31. So true.

    A more sickening profanity I have yet to read.

    Wish I had never written the post …..

  32. Puri says:

    Wenger made a pretty big mistake when selling Fabregas, or rather sold him at the wrong time. Given his current form at Barcelono, the 30 mill paid for him looks like a rip off. SAF hasn’t allowed any of his stars to leave cheap (Read Beckham, Nistleroy, Ronaldo), so yeah, this is one aspect Fergie would prevail in. However, even Wenger has quite the knack of knowing when to release stars, for he releases them at a time when their value is still up but are soon going to be far from their prime (Read toure, Henry, Viera, Pires).

  33. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    I picked it up at 9:18 on NewsNow, “The Online Gooner”
    – ‘A balanced view on a club with a healthy balance sheet.’

    http://www.newsnow.co.uk/A/544767683?-11203

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Puri. Who is to say that Cleverley will not be another Gibson? Welbeck I will give you – the man looks class. As to the other kids – they may make it , they may not but if you compare the 2 managers AW is way ahead in terms of youth development. Even today when we have Chesney, Gibbs, JD, JW, Coq, Frimpong, Lansbury, Bartley etc and that is without Theo, Ramsey, Song, RvP who were bought as teenagers

  35. VCC says:

    D98 10:17.
    Don’t know who I hate more….Ferguson or Sheringham. Both scum.

    Can’t deny Fergusons record though, the most successful premiership manager.

  36. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    I think the Post is fun.

    My problem is I cannot get thru my personal prejudices to look at the proposal dispassionately.

    The given is that they are both great managers, so what divides them? Well perhaps it is their human attributes.

    Wenger: Urbane, classy, charming, civil, loyal.

    Ferguson: Uncouth, mean minded, and chews gum like a Tibetan yak! — stop – that’s enough. (Shudder, shudder)!

    I rule it a ‘no contest’!

  37. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Thank you. You are right it is an excellent article.

  38. kelsey says:

    There is a big difference in what you say Puri. AW did not sell Fabregas, the BoD sold him, if anything AW was desperate to keep him and had hoped for one or two quality signings to show his intent,, but the BoD once again didn’t sanction it, and it was reported in the media that at the end AW gave his blessing for Cesc to go, and yet many comments are thrown at Wenger but he is an honourable man for sure, so he took the pressure off the BoD.
    Our Bod will feck this club up, not Wenger.

  39. cin says:

    Alex will not stay a club which concentrate only on business.

    He is more concentrating football than business. Wenger is concentrating more on Arsenal business than football.

    If Arsenal signed SOF, he would have left arsenal long back.

  40. Puri says:

    Big Raddy, definitely. I’m not denying that Wenger is ahead in terms of youth development. However, I think what I was trying to say was that Ferugson is good enough in that field for Arsenal’s standards.

    Kelsey. It was inevitable that Fabregas would go to Barcelona, and the same for Ronaldo. If a footballer of their stature wants to go somewhere, they end up going there. And I’m sure AW knew that he would go. In my opinion he held out too long to sell Fabregas- in the meantime Fabregas suffered an injury and had an average season, which plummeted his value down. The previous season, Arsenal would about got about 40-45 mill for him easily, for he was in superb form.

  41. patr1ck84 says:

    He took him 4 years to win a trophy at a club with huge financial clout in the same period graham won the league cup and the championship in fact he won the league twice before fergie won it at all and with a very small budget, it has to be remembered up to the last few years utd could outbid anyone for players and payed way more than anyone else could afford eg ferdinand, veron,carrick rooney berbatov.I would have liked to see how he would have got on in wenger or grahams budgetary position we might just see it in the next few years hopefully

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Puri. You present a case which is difficult to argue with.

  43. kelsey says:

    Puri,

    A deal was proposed in February with Barcelona for more money than we eventually got, but the BoD would not accept it (AW was not involved)

  44. Big Raddy says:

    This is not a post about who is the better manager (AW is).

  45. No wonder we haven’t seen Ryo in the first team yet, instead of perfecting his football skills in training he’s been busy learning how to make large tousers…
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/ryo-i-ve-made-big-strides-in-training

  46. Red Arse says:

    CharyB, 🙂

  47. Puri says:

    Big Daddy. Fair Enough, I wasn’t aware of the February deal. Apoligies. And yes, this isn’t about who the better manager is. I was examining how SAF would fit in to the current Arsenal system.

  48. Puri says:

    *Raddy.

  49. Cool name there Puri, I always think of Jagnath when I see that name.

  50. Puri says:

    If you like my name, hope you like my blog charyB- flyfootball.

  51. I’ll check it out, us kaffirs have to stick together, lol.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    Puri. my comment was aimed at Patrick.

    If you keep putting the links to your website on here they automatically go into trash. Sorry

  53. Puri says:

    Ah ok, my bad.

  54. Judith Le'Strange says:

    Right now I think Arsenal are in dire need of a manager in the mould of a Ferguson or even Mourinho come to that. Wenger has lost the plot big time and I seriously think that he can no longer motivate the team to perform. We have some inferior players and if we fail to purchase decent players then we are could seriously look to loose RVP, Vermaelen and possibly Walcott.

  55. fatgingergooner says:

    Some strong words on this blog last night, no doubt ignited by watching Pepe flopping around like a fish out of water!

    Many people have different views on this blog, and for the most part, express them eloquently and with respect. None us speak the gospel and none of us are wrong. Until we get some transparency from the club then we are all right and all wrong.

    Good to see majority have made up though.

    Great read BR,

    It does beg the question though.. How was the minestrone soup?

  56. Puri says:

    No no Judith. Wenger is perfect for Arsenal. Firsty, I don’t see why you put Walcott along with Van Persie and Vermaelen. Yes, he needs to change his team to a certain extent, such as get a more permanent cover for Van Persie, sell Chamakh and Squillaci. The return of Wilshere will fill the midfield with abundant talent, and the back line seems to be coming good, and is a formidable force with Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Santos and Koscielny fit. Walcott needs to be more consistent and not only rely on his pace. I’ve lost my liking for Rosicky, and Benayoun shouldn’t be signed on a permanent basis.

  57. evonne says:

    Raddy – I read your post, wrote a reply which has disappeared, bloody wordpress. I am going away to think about the questions you asked, speak later

  58. Puri says:

    Yep evonne, happened to me too. If you wrote a longish post, split it into parts and then post it.

  59. Rasp says:

    Apologies for my late arrival, thanks Raddy for teasing us with this one.

    Both managers have been very successful using very different styles of man management – so it is clearly true that there is more than one way of skinning a meerkat.

    Not many would disagree that Fergie is a more fearsome character when dealing with his players and the press and that approach has served manu well. AW obviously could not reinvent himself in that mould even if he wanted.

    I would ask this question: if you were a player on the pitch and you knew you were letting the side down, what would motivate you more when you looked across at the bench – a manager who was fuming and most likely to take you off followed by a severe bollocking in the dressing room, or a manager who who looked wracked with anxiety and would give you a disappointed glance as you walked off the pitch?

    Barca and Real worked their socks off yesterday, chasing everything down. Somehow we need to get real fire back in our bellies or risk the sort of capitulation we saw at the end of last season.

  60. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. Minestrone was quite frankly crap. Thanks for asking.

    I cannot enter into a management change discuss, as far as I am concerned AW will be manager until HE decides to walk away. He is such a decent man that if we have a run of poor results where the primary cause is lack of team motivation, then IMO he will pack his bags.

    Or if as kelsey says, he has no support from the Boardroom.

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. In answer to your question, it is horses for courses. I respond better to AW’s approach – being a bit of a rebel (like your good self) my response to someone shouting at me is to mentally close down and walk away with an eff off. Whereas the AW approach leaves me thinking “must do better”.

    I guess it is a parenting issue 🙂

  62. Rasp says:

    I get where you’re coming from Raddy, I’m sure manu have touchy feely staff who provide the TLC when required, I wonder who in our set-up tells it like it is after a game like last week.

    I’d prefer to see our players totally focused with a steely fixed stare (a la Roy Keane) as they come onto the pitch, not giggling in huddles and discussing which Nandos they’re going to after the game. No player should feel he has arrived and his place in the side is unchallenged. There are Arsenal players who know they will never (or hardly ever) be dropped/subbed early.

  63. Arsedave says:

    A guy in my office up here in Glasgow who is from Drumchapel and knows the Ferguson family said that Fergie wanted to come to Arsenal with Walter Smith as his assistance. It turned out that Walter Smith had already made an agreement with Graeme Souness who was at Sampdoria at the time to take over at Glasgow Rangers for the season 1986/87.
    Fergie eventually got his man as No2 in our Invincible season and won the FA Cup v Millwall. Apparently Walter still dines out on that achievement more than any other.

  64. fatgingergooner says:

    in answer to your post BR,

    if Fergie was Arsenal manager then that would mean we would get to the CL final at Wembley against Barca which we would win in the 12th minute of Fergie time. This would then result in our fans clashing with the opposition fans (hopefully Barca), thus resulting in a full scale riot outside Wembley as the police also get involved. Fans and police officers would be killed, and as tv coverage increased, known thugs and rioters from around the London area would feel the need to join in the mass rioting for no particular reason!

    Eventually the Army would have to come in to try and create a lock down, but with other cities also starting to see outbreaks of rioters, they would eventually be overrun by mobs of youths and the country would be taken over. In Spain, a similar scenario would take place as the Spanish people are angered by the scenes from London of Barca fans getting trampled.

    Eventually the U.S would feel the need to interfere, and due to the fact they had now all become obese, lazy gits, the president would have no choice but to push the red button and nuke the UK and Spain. Countries in the far east would see this as a sign of war and the 3rd World War would begin.

    Whilst all this fighting was going on, the Aliens hovering above would see this as a perfect opportunity to take control of Planet Earth. They would harvest humans for their blood and wipe out the human race in the space of a week.

    So, in answer to your question BR, I would rather have SAF as our manager. After all, we had just beaten Barca in a Cup Final!!!

  65. fatgingergooner says:

    BR,

    obviously soured by the thought of SAF as boss!

  66. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasp, 🙂

    In a way you may have answered your own question, by mentioning Barca and RM.

    Madrid’s hardline Moaniho is not called that for nothing, although some players seem to get on well with him, while Guardiola is more in the AW encourage not coerce camp.

    If the managers are judged only on the basis of ‘frightening’ or ‘succouring’ the players, there appears to be little to choose between the two approaches, depending on the circumstances.

    In fact, Raddy, as usual, makes a good point. Individual players within a team are just that, so some will respond better to the big stick while others will respond better to the more ‘gentle’ approach.

    You pays your money and takes your pick.
    (On a personal note, anyone waving a big stick at me generally got a bigger stick waved back at them – me no like!) 🙂

  67. Red Arse says:

    FGG, 🙂

    Have you ever thought of writing a creative ‘end of life as we know it’ book? I think you would sell millions! 🙂

    ArseDave, that is similar to my understanding, in that Fergie wanted the Arsenal job but delayed too long, and the BoD lost patience with him. No great loss IMO.

  68. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    I think the Barca players receive plenty of vitriol when they underperform – but maybe not from their apparently mild mannered manager. Cesc made a point of saying that if Barca lose, the players daren’t be seen about the town that evening for fear of admonishment from supporters and contrasted that to the relaxed way players used to accept defeat when at Arsenal. His point was that there wasn’t really any presure on the players when they underperformed.

  69. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. So we go to meet our maker as Euro Champs. Seems right and just 🙂

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    RA,

    I think H G Wells may not too pleased if i released a book along those lines!!!

    If only our very own lazy Yank would push the red button to transfer funds into Arsenes account (see what i did there!). We could be winners again instead of debating who’s to blame for our current plight.

  71. Red Arse says:

    You are right about the fan’s pressure at Barca, Rasp. And because so many of them are home grown, or from the immediate area, it almost certainly has a knock on affect on their families.

    Pretty potent reason to try harder, and also to walk about the city with pride.

    But the question relates to managers, I think, and I am not convinced that SAF does not have an ‘arm around the shoulder’ approach when necessary, or that AW does not bring out the verbal ‘cosh’ when riled.

    My view is that Fergie will administer the stiletto to the sternum of a player rather more readily than Arsene, who sometimes seems to show more forbearance than many fans want.

    Too nice? I do not know.

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, we did not lose against Swansea for a lack of attitude or ‘fire in our belly’. Watch it again. We rather missed calmness and control, our passing was off-key and the formation did not help at all: too many times players were left isolated as a result of Swansea’s superior tactics of hunting us down in packs. Our formation did not work for full-on hunting down as Swansea’s ability to pass the ball round so well undid all our efforts. It would have been totally different with Arteta, Coquelin, or Frimpong (as you mentioned a few days ago).

    Some players were out of form and missed composure but never did they not care: not a single one of them (even Arshavin gave it as best as he could, but he and Yossi were our weakest points on Sunday). The last two goals against us were a result of a combination of individual mistakes and bad positioning/miscommunication, not a lack of attitude.

    The main reason we lost were to do with a mis-functioning, totally out of shape/normal formation, midfield and not having proper FB’s in place, plus Swansea’s superior tactics to fully benefit from this. Oh, and Szczesny made a bad decision for the third goal.

    Against MU we can get our players to be 200% focussed and burning with fire in their bellies. Wenger’s major challenge is to get the formation/shape of the team right. Not just against MU…

  73. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    In your capacity as boss/administrator, can I say that I wrote a most corruscatingly interesting response to your comment — only to see it disappear into the ether.

    Others have reported this happening to them too. (No one can argue with my self congratulatory comment, above, but it might be an aetherical comment on my crap writing, again). 🙂

  74. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi Raddy,
    thanks for accepting my apology, cyber handshake it is.
    Cracking post on a subject I have previously, (but briefly) mentioned myself.
    As unpalatable as it may seem now, back in 1986 we only really knew him for his success with Aberdeen, and breaking up the dominance of the ‘Old-Firm’, during his time there.
    We’d be a different club today, that’s for sure. I can’t imagine Sheringham being allowed anywhere near Highbury though.
    At the time when they sacked Ron Atkinson, the whole Man Utd Board wanted Terry Venables because he was ‘media friendly’. It was Bobby Charlton who suggested they give Ferguson a go.
    Evonne – As I said to Raddy, it wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular, and it was the wrong thing to say, so apologies to you too if you took it personally.
    TA – I did respond at 1:30am if you read back. Rasp is far more articulate than me, and he summarises much of what I was thinking.
    But the short answer to your question is because it ain’t bloody good enough!

  75. Rasp says:

    Hi Total,

    I believe a major reason our passing was off key against Swansea was because many players (not Ramsey) were failing to show for the ball and the options were further reduced because Swansea worked very hard and closed us down effectively. I do think Swansea had more fire in their bellies. I saw our midfielders trotting back and a general lack of urgency to get the ball up into the danger area.

    We have been poor when not in possession for some time now. The term ‘swarming over the opposition’ is often applied to Barca and was also true of Swansea – when was the last time we ‘swarmed’?

  76. Rasp says:

    I’ll answer my own question, our best performance recently was against city when we were underdogs and everyone put in a good shift – no passengers.

  77. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi RA,
    Arsenal approached Ferguson whilst he was care-taker manager of Scotland, and was preparing for the WC in Mexico. The deal collapsed because Arsenal wanted to call a press-conference announcing him as their new manager immediately, but Ferguson wanted to wait until after the WC.

  78. Red Arse says:

    Hi Herb, 🙂

    Yes, that’s pretty much what I was saying, altho you phrased it much better.

  79. Rasp says:

    RA @ 1:01 ….. shit happens 😆

  80. Rasp says:

    Total,

    I agree with much of your @ 12:58 and I do expect us to put in a good performance against the mancs. We will be up for it. But we need to be up for it in every game and to be more ruthless.

    Why settle for two goals, lets get six. We have never been a team under Wenger that has been good a defending a lead because we simply drop back and defend too deep.

    We should be good enough to keep hold of the ball to defend a lead and keep the opposition on their heels by always posing an offensive threat – but be sensible and forget playing silly Hollywood passes.

  81. Herb'sArmy says:

    RA,
    you’re as bad as Henry, with all your false modesty!

  82. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    I am not sure if your 1:13 comment was addressed to me.

    Perhaps there was more than one question?

    I, like Raddy, at 12;17 was responding after you said;
    “I would ask this question: if you were a player on the pitch and you knew you were letting the side down, what would motivate you more when you looked across at the bench – a manager who was fuming and most likely to take you off followed by a severe bollocking in the dressing room, or a manager who who looked wracked with anxiety and would give you a disappointed glance as you walked off the pitch?”

    Apologies if we are we at cross purposes.

  83. Red Arse says:

    S**t does happen Rasp. 🙂

    What is worse I made out that my answer to your question was a ‘corruscatingly interesting’ comment.

    Sadly it popped up later and proved me a liar! Damn! 🙂

  84. Rasp says:

    Hi RA, sorry, its getting very confused. My @1:13 was in response to my own @ 1:10

    The ‘shit happens’ was my laissez-faire response to your lost post – unfortunately it is due to circumstances beyond my control.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, agreed that we a struggling with playing the pressing/passing game at the moment. I am sure the likes of wonderman and harry can explain this better, but for me, in order to play an effective pressing game, or ‘swarming of the opposition’ we really need to have our formation right. It really is less in issue of attitude than you think. I believe we conceded the third goal as a result of an overeagerness to press Swansea and boy did they punish us.

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Herb, I understand that you find it ‘not bloody good enough’. My question was: what is it you want to see changed by keeping saying that at this stage of the season. Do you want Wenger to be replaced right now? Do you want us to get rid of underperforming players right now? Do you want a supporter revolution against the BoD?

  87. Red Arse says:

    Not sure which Henry you were comparing me too, Herb.

    False modesty? I have very little to be falsely modest about, as many on here would agree. 🙂

    Hi TA,

    I pretty much agree with your 12:58.
    The only rider I would put on it is that a lot of your undoubtedly correct observations are the consequences and not the causes of the poor team performances and tactics.

    I have not explained myself very well. But what you have said is correct, and it is something Rasp has commented on regarding our lack of comprehensive closing down, or swarming, for example, so we need to try and work out the ‘why’ of it.

    That I find difficult. 😦

  88. Red Arse says:

    I am going to bugger off and do some work for a while. 😦

    All of this delayed posting of comments by word press makes me feel I am in the Two Ronnies skit I saw over Christmas, when one Ronnie answered the question before last from the chairman Ronnie. Very funny.
    Here on the blog it is becoming confusing for my limited brainpower! 🙂

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    HaHa RA, falsely modest, me? But of course not! 🙂

    RA, I think we are currently not compact and organised enough to do the comprehensive closing down. This is were the FB’s and CB’s, and wingers are so important. It has to be done by the whole team and everybody needs to be well positioned to deal with the failure. The third goal against us Swansea is a ‘perfect’ example.

    What worries me is that Arsene can only take a few changes to his first starting 11 at a time. More than 2 or 3 and we dip in form significantly. I guess this is partly the cost of bringing in so many new faces recently.

  90. Gooner In Exile says:

    Right Raddy you bugger…..I am supposed to erase 20 odd years of disliking someone and put myself back to when I was 15 and decide whether we should have got him.

    Well neck on chopping block time Chary, GM and other SAF haters form an orderly queue to throw rotten tomatoes at me.

    I would support him because he managed Arsenal.

    Now take me to modern day and ask me if we would be seeing anything different. My answer is no. Why? Because the tragic events of Munich made United the club they are and the then rebuilding of that side by Busby and the courage the club showed. They gained supporters from across England and further in those times and in reality never looked back.

    Interesting to note that looking at last three seasons United actually have a net income from transfers, you can check it out on Transfer League Table.

    I predict Rooney will go in June for a similar figure to Ronaldo for the sake of allowing purchases going forward. Glazers have changed Uniteds operations due to level of debts.

  91. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA thanks for that link, good read.

  92. goonermichael says:

    Interesting and well written post Raddy
    I haven’t read any comments yet.

    I wouldn’t touch him with a bargepole. I can’t stand the man.

    I also read tha he turned us down because he was managing Scotland and wanted to keep it secret but the board wanted to announce it before he’d finished the relevant tournament.

  93. Herb'sArmy says:

    It depends what you mean by under-performing, TA. We’re carrying far too many passengers, that’s been obvious for a while.
    I think if Tottenham qualify for CL and we don’t, the whole set up needs a root and branch clear-out.
    I want Wenger to be flexible enough to variate his tactical approach instead of being so fixated with the current one, which works very sporadically, but mostly mis-fires. It would be fool-hardy to dismiss him at this point of the season (though I think he’s virtually untouchable in regard being sacked).
    I would like Stan Kroenke to address the fans and explain what the club means to him personally, and what his plans are regarding the club’s long term future.
    Finally, if Wenger’s hands are tied and he has financial restraints put on him that mean we can’t attract a certain quality of footballer, I think the fans have a right to know so that we can adjust our expectations accordingly.

  94. Herb'sArmy says:

    RA,
    Our returning hero, who else.

  95. goonermichael says:

    GiE
    THe days of paying £80m for a player are over for the moment. Rooney isn’t in the same league as ladyboy either

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Ok Herb, that is a clear answer! 🙂

    I will have a critical look at where the club is going and the BoD’s role in this, which players are not making the grade (anymore) and whether the manager is the right one to help us make further progress by the end of this season season – in only four months time. Until then I will focus on this season and on our strengths and supporting our team till I see red in the face. I respect your positioning in all this, but it is tough reading your comments when they are so often of a negative nature. Mostly I can ignore them, but sometimes I feel I need to respond.

  97. Herb'sArmy says:

    I can only apologise to you TA.
    I will support them until I draw my last breath, but on the negativity thing, if the club give out positive vibes/energy, they would get the same in return. The reason there is so much negativity around is because the club has been in turmoil, and fans don’t have a clue what the intentions of our owner are. A steady ship is a happy ship etc.

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    Fully agreed Herb.

  99. Red Arse says:

    Good point about supporting the manager, whoever that may be at any given time. Even, heaven forbid, if it had been SAF, the devil incarnate.

    The Gooner article simplified things and perhaps made it easier reading than my hopeless attempts. (tho’ you did very well).
    I have lectured eager young accountants on tax and and various perfectly legal but complicated tax avoidance schemes, but a much ‘easier’ subject on a blog met with universal incomprehension. Oh well. 🙄

    TA,

    Your point is well made. That is exactly one of the things I could not understand on Sunday.

    When we had the ball, a ‘Rasp swarm’ of Swansea players closed down our man, and a little toe poke here, or a surreptitious push there and we lost the ball.

    When the situation was reversed, we sometimes had 2 or 3 players around the man with the ball, but we kept our distance allowing e.g. Dyer or Sinclair to dribble between them as if those two were Messi like players. Disappointing!

    I have to admit to shouting lustily at the TV “tackle the Fooker for goodness sake” (or something similar) 🙂 because we seemed to be shirking the physical contact. (?????)

    And for Swansea’s 3rd goal, you are spot on. We moved everyone up to, or close to the halfway line, determined to get the 3rd and winning goal, but leaving ourselves open to the classic break away sucker punch. Indiscipline or Dopiness? (?????)

    Why, why, why? 😦

  100. TotalA – for me if I see other gooners comments that strike me as negative I try amd look on it as a fellow Arsenal supporter expressing their allegiance and attachment to The Arsenal in their own way; just because, IMVHO, I don’t agree or necessarily even understand the sentiment it doesn’t invalidate it or make them less(or more) of a fan.

    I save all my ire and displeasure for the scum of the Earth, such as the subject of todays post, the N17 looters, the Stoke orks and BrumScum.

  101. Red Arse says:

    First part of my 2:29 was addressed to GIE (well it wasn’t but it was meant to be) 🙂

    TA. I did not mean the ‘false modesty’ comment for you. It was a comment addressed to Herb, as I do not know what he meant by saying I was showing false modesty.

    Doesn’t matter now.

  102. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE

    In response to your 1.49pm

    If United do sell Rooney, do you think they could be the new Arsenal?

    Ie selling off good players at their peak to fund other sides of the business. During the move Arsene was offed slated for selling at least 1 top player every season. Will be interesting to see if United would drop down the league due to a lack of top quality, as we appear to have done.

    If that did happen to SAF and co, I would like to see if certain Arsenal fans would then maybe ease off on Wenger. Afterall, if SAF can’t keep his club competitive when losing quality players, then who can!?

  103. Herb'sArmy says:

    RA,
    I was referring to you always under-mining your own writing, when everyone else on here knows you’re a natural, with a turn of phrase that’s second to none.
    The same false modesty displayed by Henry in his after-match interview against Leeds.
    Hope that clears up any mis-understanding.

  104. chas says:

    Excellent, BR.
    Like GIE, I would be supporting Ferguson as Arsenal manager.

    “since the day he walked through the Marble Hall and the bust of Herb”. Wenger walked through the bust of Herb…..he’s more talented than I thought!

  105. Hi all

    Raddy – this is a mighty fine post that has enjoyed wide readership and generated interesting discussion. I think SAF is a fine manager of his club but I don’t believe he would have had the power he needs to do his job as well at Arsenal. He’s a bit uncooth isn’t he and we’re a classy bunch 😉

  106. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Ooops. Can you proof read before I publish please.

    Luckily no-one else mentioned it.

  107. goonermichael says:

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is ready to make an £18m offer for 26-year-old Newcastle United striker Demba Ba.
    Full story: caughtoffside.com

    Why do the BBC quote a website like caughtoffside?

  108. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches . A more likely outcome is that the BoD would have sacked SAF before winning his first title. GG and AW both won silverware in their first seasons

    They were ruthless with Bruce Rioch.

  109. Big Raddy says:

    GM. BA is one kick away from long term injury, so it could be true 🙂

  110. goonermichael says:

    And he’s in Africa 🙂

  111. But would they have been ruthless with Bruce Rioch is they hadn’t already lined up Arsene???????????

  112. gm – have you taken your test yet? How did it go?

  113. I have to go and take some photographs while the sun is shining, be back soon 😉

  114. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Who can say?But Rioch had DB and had just secured AFC’s place in Europe which by the standards of the time was success. I was at Highbury that day and we were very happy.

  115. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Are you NVQ’d up?

    If so, why aren’t you propping up a bar?

  116. Red Arse says:

    Herb,

    You have me blushing! 😳 I knew you meant well, I just did not understand what you meant.

    Of course I certainly agree with you about our Henry, like all top professionals he does love himself! 🙂 And why not?

    The difference is that he knows, even now, that he is brilliant, whatever he says, whereas I genuinely recognize my prose and syntax limitations. Too many years of writing fusty Board papers. 😦

    Thank you anyway, and remember, you are not a bad writer yourself, and another Post from you must be in the offing. Yes? 🙂

  117. Danish Gooner says:

    One thing is certain he wouldnt have overseen 7 years of abject failure and incompetence when you are supposed to have “a special team”.

  118. Red Arse says:

    GM,

    I am tickled that you have changed from someone who knew bugger all about Twits, Twats and Tweets to be an absolute mine of tweety info. Do you use a smart phone or have you set up your laptop to chirp with the latest twerp?

    OK, you have probably guessed, I know next to nothing about twitters or the correct terminology, but twitter us the news about your NVQ, have you passed? 🙂

  119. evonne says:

    Danish – when Micky gets back he will give you telephone number, you must have lost it

  120. Herb'sArmy says:

    RA,,
    as you know, writing is as much in the heart as it is the head, and one day, when I’m feeling really positive, and everything is right with The Arsenal, I might try and compose something that even TA might enjoy reading.
    Besides, you’re a fine one to ask. I’ve seen you wax lyrical about our club, and I know you could turn one of those into a stellar post, if not even a best-seller.

  121. Red Arse says:

    Herb,

    I can’t wait! 🙂

    Evonne,

    Poor old Danish. They’ve just let him out. Anyway, the ‘phone number for him to call is 08457 909090.

    Where is Micky, indeed, and where too are those cheeky chappies, your Cuckoo Club acolytes GLIC and MerryT?
    If they cannot help – no one can! 🙂

  122. It was fantastic to have Raddy’s post sitting waiting to be published even though it was scheduled for either tomorrow or Saturday but it now leaves the cupboard bare yet again.

    Could someone offer to write something for tomorrow or Saturday please ……. 🙂

  123. Red Arse says:

    Peaches,

    Danish is obviously about to tell us to beware the Ides of March, which falls exactly 6 weeks from today.

    Perhaps it is portentous for Arsenal and he wants to write a Post to give us advance notice?

  124. Red Arse says:

    When I said 6 weeks, I probably meant 8 weeks. I need a good accountant, obviously! 🙂

  125. Big Raddy says:

    I am ashamed of my fellow countryman.

    Surprised that MU have yet to buy anyone in the TW. Or the Wheeler Dealer

  126. Big Raddy says:

    I am disappointed no-one noted the superb pic in the post.

  127. Rasp says:

    Nice pic Raddy 😉

  128. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    I did notice the pig in the Post, but I have an aversion to commenting on Purple Schnozz!! 🙂

  129. Rasp says:

    Actually it is a nice pic of the pict on the pitch

  130. Red Arse says:

    Rasp, 🙂

  131. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Tremendous pun on a dim sleet filled Thursday afternoon.

  132. Red Arse says:

    In fact, it was a nice pic in the Post of a Pict prick on the pitch.

  133. goonermichael says:

    Thank you. The nvq went well although I have one more session before it’s finished. They are so anal. I suppose they have to be 🙂

  134. goonermichael says:

    or a cute account of the c**t

  135. Red Arse says:

    Herb will be pleased to learn the latest economic news, just released.

    “British Economy Grows by 0.0000001%
    Thursday 19th January, 2012

    In a rare piece of good news on the economy, it was revealed that the UK’s GDP increased by a total of £20 this month.

    The £20 was introduced into the economy by Mr Basil Pennypincher, aka Arsene Wenger, when he bought an old-fashioned football rattle, cash in hand.
    Next Summer he promises to buy a back up rattle, if he can find one of the right quality, at the right price.

    David Cameron said it just showed the UK economy was on the upswing as a result of Mr Pennypincher’s shrewd investment.”

  136. Herb'sArmy says:

    Thanks for that RA, I may even raise a glass in celebration.

  137. goonermichael says:

    Don’t drop it Herb or we’ll be in the red again

  138. goonermichael says:

    would it be bad for me to follow Gary Glitter on Twitter?

  139. evonne says:

    Raddy – I cannot make up my mind what to say. I absolutely admire SAF (going to wash my mouth), but would I want to have him managing Arsenal? No, probably not. Like you said, he wouldn’t sign Bergkamp, Henry, Cesc and many others that I adore. He would sign van Nisterooy, Rooney and the Nevilles, oh and Evra, God almighty!

    Do I think he would win trophies for us – yes, I do. I am almost certain that the cabinet would be full of them. Would he guide the club through the stadium move? Not sure, he likes to spend big money when he wants someone badly. Would he keep with the ethos of the Club? Probably not. The story of the race horse made him look disgusting, greedy and dishonest. Has Arsene more class? No doubt about it.

    Could someone do player for player comparison of our starting XI vs ManU eleven? I did a mental comparison and there is not one current Manu player that I would want in our team, well maybe Welbeck.

    Teddy Sherigham? I shall wash my mouth and keep it shtump.

  140. Herb'sArmy says:

    You don’t want to be in his gang, GM.

  141. evonne says:

    GM – what, to the nearest creche?

  142. Irishgunner says:

    Evening all,

    I do commend Old Red Nose for everything he has won with the Mancs and no one can doubt he has stood the test of time but he’s a prick and his team’s are generally too efficient and dull – give me Wengerball any day.

  143. Irishgunner says:

    GM – I think the account is a fake.

  144. Really need a post for tomorrow ………..

  145. Hi Irish – didn’t see you there 😉

  146. Irishgunner says:

    😆 Hi Peaches – I can throw something together for tomorrow if you like 😆 but it won’t be on the game, save that for Saturday?

  147. evonne says:

    Yes Irish, do a post for tomorrow, your last was sooooo good

  148. Big Raddy says:

    I will get on the prematch Peaches. Do you want one for Saturday as well? I will have time tomorrow evening if nothing is forthcoming.

  149. evonne says:

    Raddy – sorry about your minestrone, my chilli con carni is delicious 🙂

  150. goonermichael says:

    A lot of people say that bung taking was rife at the time that GG got done. We may have lost rednose over it too.

  151. evonne says:

    GM – congrats on your NVQ, not just a pretty face, are you?

  152. Oh wow, you’re all wonderful 😉

    Irish – if you can put one in for tomorrow that would be great, thank you. Make it on whatever you like 🙂

    Raddy – we could run the pre-match over the two days if nothing else turns up or leave Irish’s up over more of Saturday and put the pre-match up later on Saturday. What say you?

  153. Maybe Micky’s up for a mad one for Saturday morning 😀

  154. kelsey says:

    GG wasn’t the first, we had a winger in the sixties called MacCloud who went bent in a FA Cup game, i believe it was against liverpool and he never played for us again.george armstrong took his place in 1964 and never looked back.

  155. Hold the front page!!!!!!! Just found a post from Double98 in drafts could be good for tomorrow, text you in a bit Irish 🙂

  156. evonne says:

    Kelsey -and sir Henry Norris was no angel

  157. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – if you have one that’d be great cos I’ve no ideas 😆 I might have an interesting idea for one next week though *cue mysterious music*

  158. Thanks Irish, you work on one for next week with or without the mysterious music, that would be wonderful 🙂

  159. Irishgunner says:

    Okay Peaches I’ll take it D98’s post has tomorrow’s cover and I’ll have one for you next week – WITH THE MUSIC, the music is good 😆

  160. Irishgunner says:

    agggh would ya look at Jack

  161. RockyLives says:

    What a funny day on here today.

    Such a provocative piece from BR and some great comments all round.

    I was even prepared to embrace the whole “what if” scenario until someone threw out the horrifying image of Teddy “Oh Teddy Teddy, you went to Man Utd and you’re still a C**T” Sherringham wearing the hallowed red and white of Arsenal.

    I nearly fainted.

    GM
    I’m a bit worried about your anal NVQ. What have you gotten yourself into?

  162. evonne says:

    Rocky – he wants to be a Gastroenterologist

  163. RockyLives says:

    evonne
    is that someone who likes fine dining?

  164. RockyLives says:

    I liked your creche joke earlier. You’re very naughty. 🙂

  165. evonne says:

    no, that’s someone who checks what became of someone else’s fine dining 🙂

  166. evonne says:

    Thank you, I try 🙂
    You wouldn’t like to hear what I think about Teddy Sheringham though

  167. RockyLives says:

    Does that mean you fancy him?

  168. evonne says:

    I think he is very cute
    But I hate him because he hates Arsenal

    Rocky, are you happy with the way we are at Arsenal?

  169. RockyLives says:

    evonne
    I feel blessed that out of all the football clubs in the world I ended up supporting Arsenal.

    Even if we slip down into League Two (or lower) I will continue to support and to be positive.

    Right now my feelings swing backwards and forwards a bit. When we put that excellent run together with a makeshift team, many of whom arrived on the last day of the transfer window, I was blown away by AW’s abilities. He had got a hotch-potch group of players playing excellent Wengerball in no time at all.

    Then we get a bad run like we’ve just been going through, and you see all these recurring problems (like defensive cluelessness, apparent lack of effort when we don’t have the ball etc etc) and I start to wonder if maybe he is a bit past it and just can’t motivate the players any more.

    Overall I think he is an amazing manager and he will pull things round for us – if not this season, definitely next.

    I can’t help but worry when Kelsey and others who have a bit of inside knowledge hint at troubled behind the scenes. But there’s no point getting overheated about it all. I’d still be watching (or listening) every game even if we had a rubbish team (which we don’t).

  170. evonne says:

    Thank you Rocky

    My feeling are similar to yours. For me Arsenal is a bit like blood family – you don’t have to like them, but you love them and stick with them united against the world.

    I am a proud Gunner too and see no reason to be unhappy, look at Evertons or Villas of EPL – why Arsenal fans think that we must do better than those clubs? We might do better and then Evonne is a happy Gunner, but if we don’t Evonne remains a proud Gunner.

    Trouble ahead? Maybe, but I will worry about that when it happens. My most favourite saying is that of Mark Twain ‘I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.’

  171. RockyLives says:

    Evonne
    We are of like mind.
    And to paraphrase Mr Twain: “reports of Arsenal’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”

  172. evonne says:

    Rocky – ha ha ha, yes, that’s wonderful

    I am off now to read the Kindle thingy, xmas present so I feel obliged

    Good night Rocky x

  173. Phew, got a ticket for Sunday at last, couldn’t have you all thinking that you were in my pocket if I wasn’t actually there 😛

    Bring it on, I couldn’t bear to be pacing the floor at home 😆

    Come on you rip roaring gunners, I’ve got a whole team in my pocket rooting for you.

  174. fatgingergooner says:

    RL and Evonne,

    Between you, you have probably just summed up how a lot of Arsenal fans feel right now, including myself.

    On one hand I feel we should be doing better and worry about what’s happening behind the scenes. On the other, I still have faith in Wenger to take us forward and turn us into winners. It’s a confusing time for Arsenal fans.

    Sometimes I think as fans we are far too analytical of our club and take too much notice of back room politics. I think we should sometimes just take a step back and concentrate on how the players are doing and how the team are performing. I suppose it’s like saying that we wanna be kids again, when things were so much simpler! You just supported the club and only cared about new signings and results, not shareholders, sponsorship deals and stadium moves.

    Oh, to be young again!!!

  175. RockyLives says:

    Night Evonne

  176. Gooner In Exile says:

    Well done Peaches I got excited when I saw two tickets on Exchange then realised they were Club Level at £229 each and decided that was half a weeks cottage rental in Cornwall for me and the missus and she would kill me!

    And besides I don’t think I’d fit in up there.

  177. You’ll be in my pocket too GiE. Can’t bear not to be there for the big games – don’t even know where i’m sitting, don’t care ………

  178. GiE – there’s a ticket just come up on twitter @arsenal_tickets

  179. Patrick says:

    What are u talk abt the past is past focus now AW is also very good in the past SAF is not really gd now u said that he wont cesc but his heart is with barc remember ronaldo SAF still sell him to real madrid so end of story

  180. Patrick says:

    What are u talk abt the past is past focus now AW is also very good in the past SAF is not really gd now u said that he wont sell cesc but his heart is with barc remember ronaldo SAF still sell him to real madrid so end of story

  181. Ozgunner says:

    Well said rocky and evonne. Since i agree i’ll chuck in some twain too.

    “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”

    rings true for me because i’ll never give up believing arsenal will dominate football soon enough, and for a long time to come.

  182. Ozgunner says:

    @ BR

    even though the thought of sir red nose being our manager gives me nightmares cheers for thegreat post.

    I despise the man like most on here but he does have his great qualities (how could he not with what he’s achieved). I think his firmness and anger is needed at times when managing. Whenever i need motivation a verbal lashing always does the trick for me, followed by positive reinforcement afterwards. Egos need to be groomed but they also need to be reeled but in at times (something that would of been hard for SAF with the likes of rooney, ronalso and beckham). He is to be respected however give me arsene any day of the week!

    As for rooney i can’t believe he had the nerve to have a go at pepe for stepping on messi’s hand. The same man who got sent off at the world cup for doing a similar thing, the same man who kicked and elbowed an opposition player. Stupid contradicting scum!

  183. Ozgunner says:

    in terms of the press (something that has come from hockey).

    The team has to act as a unit otherwise it falls apart. For it to be great the players must:

    *believe in the system
    *work their arses off
    *believe in their team mates

    If they do not it simply cannot work. If one player doesn’t work hard then gaps are created and it simply won’t work. It is something that needs to be drilled into them during training session after training session (something that managers/coaches have said can fail for 2/3 years but all of a sudden just clicks and works a treat!). The better the press the more likely the team is going to win! the fact we don’t employ it is quite ridiculous. We are not barca therefore we should not have the attitude of ‘we will play our game and the team will have to adapt to that’, opposition teams need to respect,and as they say no time in reconnaissance is a waste. Homework should be done all the time to break down the opposing team/players before you have even stepped onto the field.

  184. Ozgunner says:

    this video shows it prefectly. First half shows attacking, second half defending. Hard work, and making yourself available is the key for success with our team, all the other components are there!

    http://www.youtube.com/watchv=yJ4BzY2eN8U&feature=related

  185. Gooner In Exile says:

    Oz cheers for the video I have a couple of reasons why i think that system doesn’t work as well in the PL & for Arsenal as it does in Spain for Barca:

    1) you need a high line, Spanish teams rarely resort to a ball over the top, whereas 50% of PL teams will still play the percentages and even of it doesn’t work 9 times they will still try a 10th time

    2) generally Barca play with a 3 man base (centre backs and 1 holding (deeper) midfielder), means they have 7 men who press, 5 of whom start in the opposition half, occasionally the two full backs do to. Generally we play with 1 advanced midfielder and two deeper.

    3) skill with ball at feet, the ability of Iniesta, Xavi and Messi to keep the ball when surrounded by defenders when they can’t find a pass.

    4) movement and intelligence. Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and others see the triangles, they instinctively know how to find space whereas we have only one or two in current team, three if AA23s legs could get him there and four when Jack comes back who seem to be able to find that space and run effectively. The rest of the team are drilled into doing something, which makes it predictable in one sense and secondly means they do not adapt as well to other situations.

    I was thinking about this most of yesterday, and decided the only way we could launch the full press would be for Alex Song to be given a role as defensive holding midfielder, we need to play TV and Kozzer as CBs as Merts has not got the pace to defend with the high line. Sagna and Santos would need to be full backs.

    The midfield would need to be Jack, Rambo/Arteta playing more advanced and Song deep. (and staying deep).

    The wings would need to be Ox and Gerv (IMO more versatile and improvising than Theo) and up front you would obviously still have RvP.

    Then perhaps we could employ the press and also get back to better passing football.

  186. Big Raddy says:

    RL Evonne 6 FGG. Thank you for encapsulating my thoughts about our current situation.

    Though according to FGG’s final para 10.06 I must still be a kid. Happy to be so and hope remain so until my final breath.

    Never wanted to be an adult – it was forced upon me 😦

  187. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Spot on. Hope AW reads your comment

  188. chas says:

    GIE,
    Sometimes I get the impression that our PL opposition employ the full press against us, working their bits off to deny us time on the ball. At the Emirates, instead of two rows of bus parking, most teams seem to defend higher up the pitch.
    Is this accurate?

  189. fatgingergooner says:

    Peaches,

    Can I be in your pocket please?

    Sounds like such a warm and inviting place to be, filled with happy types. Just where I need to be on these cold, damp mornings.

  190. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas cheers for the link ….. perfect article that.

  191. chas says:

    Great comments last night. 🙂

  192. Gooner In Exile says:

    Chas I’m not sure, certainly Swansea did last week, and maybe teams are pressing us more than they have in the past, but I also think that’s due to the fact we haven’t got as many options (lack of attacking full backs) when on the ball so they can do it with less risk.

    But you probably are right as how often do we see opposition strikers taken off after 60 minutes because they’ve run themselves into the ground chasing down defenders with the ball.

  193. Gooner In Exile says:

    If they do press it’s probably a half court press from Basketball, and for some a final third press which gives the impression of bus parking.

  194. Ozgunner says:

    Wow can’t argue with that GiE, sign him up AW!

    your right with our players and level of skill a half court press would be more realistic. With the midfield and attackers press non-stop and the defenders holding their shape, in case of the long ball and to stop quicker opposition from carving through.

    @ Chas

    thanks for the article, good read

  195. fatgingergooner says:

    Also,

    We don’t have the same levels of movement in the team that we used to. We used to create space by dragging the opposition around, which in turn, tired them out.

    We have lost a lot of attacking fluidity, and the lack of full backs in the opposition half certainly doesn’t help with this.

    If we take Barca as an example. Alves’ advanced right wing positions occupy the full back, allowing Messi to roam around inside unmarked. The centre halfs are scared to come out of position to press him and the midfielders are too busy being occupied by Xavi and Iniesta.

    I still think though that we need a more direct midfielder. The reason Nasri was so good at the beginning of last year was because in tight games, where space was at a premium, he could beat his marker. This meant that another defender had to come to him, thus creating space for someone else. And so on, so forth.

    If you have players that can beat there man (Iniesta, Messi, Sanchez etc) then you will automatically create more space to work in.

  196. evonne says:

    Morning all

    I cannot believe you guys wanting to go to the Sunday game. I could not do it, I am already so scared that any mention of the game gives me shivers…brrrrrgggghhh, couldn’t go, no no no!

    Ginga – in which one of Peaches’ pocket you’d want to be? Her shirt breast pocket or tight jeans? And you are talking about getting married soon!! men….

  197. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Just a quick observation on Barcas pressing game that i noticed on there 2 visits to the Grove. Firstly i wouldnt call it a pressing game its more akin to a sprinting to the ball game and if they dont win it back within 5 seconds or so they fall back into poistion (they do usually win it back though).Secondly they keep the ball so well that they have plenty reserves of energy to sprint to the ball when they havent got it. Lets face it, before there first visit a couple of years ago we thought we were great on the ball, after that game we realized we were good but not great, that acolade can only be reserved for them.

    Still think we can do them this year if drawn against them, but not at there own game, no one can.

  198. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. All our MF players can beat a man (apart from Theo :-)) at will. AR bamboozles players with fast feet, JW with body movement, Song with strength, Gerv with pace and trickery .

    Our problems lie in the improvement of the teams around us. Every team in the PL is quality and can beat anyone when on form. Wigan were v. unlucky last week v MC. They had most of the play and many chances – the difference was (as usual) clinical finishing.

  199. evonne says:

    Ginga – the reason why Na$ri was so good beginning of last season was his desire to impress potential ‘buyers’. Once he secured his move to Shitty, he stopped being so good for us

  200. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    To play like Barca first of all you need wonderful players, and believe me after watching there players twice now, they realy are on another planet. Evey one unknows about Messi, but the rest, especialy Xavi and Iniesta are amazing on the ball.

  201. Ozgunner says:

    @ FFG

    i agree we don’t have that movement, something that has been missed since hleb left. His lack of a shot was definently made up for by his ability to pick a pass and draw a crowd with his dribbling. We may not have the movement offensively but there is no reason why we shouldn’t defensively. A lift in work rate and energy.

    @ TMHT

    that is after all what a press is, is it not? if a play doesn’t return to their position the shape is lost, and if the shape is lost it is largely ineffectual.

  202. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    One more thing before i go. When Messi runs with the ball, and this is probably an optical illusion, but i could swear his feet wernt touching the ground.

  203. evonne says:

    Terry – oh no, that’s not an optical illusion, you nutter cuckoo cuckoo!

  204. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Oz, watching other teams press it seems that one player is rushing to press the opponent, when Barca do it its more akin to some crazy fox hunt were they are all sprinting to get the ball and coming from different angles. When Inter knocked them out of europe a couple of years ago, Moaniniho was asked how Inter did it. He responded by saying that you have to defend like madmen and when you have the ball you have to switch it quickly because Barcas players are drawn to the ball. After his comments i youtubed the highlights of that game and noticed all of Inters chances came from switching it from left to right, 20 yard passes, and a lot of the time the inter player was unmarked with a great chance. A little bit like Arshavins goal for us last year.

  205. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, ime definately losing it Evonne, i go to watch Arsenal Barca and think ime in the middle of some crazy fox hunt, but of course its all an optical illusion.

    Definately gone now, have a great day every one.

  206. Big Raddy says:

    And Ronaldo’s goal in Weds Clasico

  207. evonne says:

    GiE point 4 – can players be taught such skill, ie to see triangles and spaces? When they are running at high speeds it surely has to be intuitive, there is no time to think strategies, no?

  208. Morning all

    New Post ……………………

  209. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne that was kind of my point, a lower league coach can drill a side to do certain things and stand-in/run-to certain areas when a ball is in a given part of the pitch. You can use this in youth coaching also.

    But the thing that makes the difference in the top level is to see/find the space that others can’t see. And the ability to create time on the ball. Something Cesc had in droves and also Jack possesses.

  210. fatgingergooner says:

    Evonne,

    Tight jeans pocket any day of the week!

    Plus, if its cold and im in the breast pocket, i might get poked in the eye!

    😉

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