Arsenal the four man team – RVP not the MVP?

Written by Double98

Robin van Persie, the balon d’or snubbed, true king of world football, has been reeling in the plaudits for his exceptional scoring feats in 2011. By eclipsing Thierry Henry’s mark of 34 goals in a calendar year, and particularly by playing in a less competitive and more transitional team, he has booked himself a seat in the waiting room of the Pantheon of Arsenal Greats.

Of course he has to repeat the feat a couple of times and win a pot or two to get past the final interview stage to  join Bastin, Wright, Adams etc as they all bask in the glow of eternal goodness of Denis Bergkamp and his able Deputy Thierry Henry.

Of course it has been easy for the press to label Arsenal a “one man team” when one man is always on the score sheet, when one man is always applying an audacious flourish to his finish. That’s lazy journalism. Judging Arsenal in that way is like buying a car because of how fast it goes. You need to know a lot more about a car and its vulnerabilities before you can decide whether to buy it or not.

Arsenal’s true vulnerability is that it is not a One Man team – one man teams are easy to address with 1 or 2 signings – it is in fact a Four Man team.

Since the season began the team has had a few chiropractic realignments due to the loss of Fabregas and now the spine is populated by (Keeper aside) Vermaelan, Arteta, Song and Van Persie.

An easy way to judge a person’s contribution is to compare how the team do with and without them. It’s not conclusive but outside of a clinical setting, its as moneyball as you get.

The Raw data

I’ve included two substitute appearances for Vermaelan and van Persie. So the first thing that leaps out is RVP has yet to miss a game – that’s startling given his history.

Arteta despite concerns over his fitness had played every game bar one, Song is almost ever present – while the Verminator’s attendance is a concern.

Moving on to the data analysis, the teams results are examined on each players participation  record.

(Now before you get to digest the next bit, I want to let you in on a secret – this article started about a three man team and I thought I would see how our new Spanish Scouser impacted the team – it forced a complete rewrite!!)

According to this when Arteta is playing, we win 65% of our games and only lose less than 1 in 4. Van Persie on the other hand (likely due to his ever presence) has the worst team record but his personal haul is exceptional!

Vermaelan’s record is strange as he has the lowest win and (almost) the lowest loss ratio.

Now, I am not suggesting that RVP is not vitally important but I think this quick number crunch highlights the shared responsibility of our spine. And I know there are mitigating factors left (back), right (back) and Centre (forward) but the truth (or the damned lie) is, that our “Quarter Back” central midfielder, Arteta is our MVP and his contribution most dictates the fortunes of the team – through dictating the tempo and controlling possession.

Altogether the spine is our greatest strength and perhaps our greatest weakness. For when one part of the spine is missing the whole team does not function. See here when all four play / don’t play.

Wow – We’ve lost half our games that the 4 of these players did not play in, whereas we have not lost 90% when they have.

We can moan about Left Backs, Right backs, and Chamakhs, we can complain about Squillaci, Arshavin and Walcott but our real problem is an over reliance on the 4 players playing together though the centre of our team. That level of consistency is not feasible over a season. If they could, get this, projecting their performance out over a 38 game season would result in a points haul of 84 but when one or more of the four are playing the haul is 48. That’s quite a swing. In fact that’s the difference between a Title and a relegation flirtation.

When 2 of the four are missing its Pld 4 W 0 D1 L3!!!

That just shows how close / far away we are from realising Arsene’s vision and all our hopes.

What we need is Koscielny, Mertesacker, Wilshere, Coquelin and (Park, Chamakh, Walcott, OX) to either fill the gaps in that spine adequately or ship out.

Our young players need to concentrate on being not just good, but vital.

175 Responses to Arsenal the four man team – RVP not the MVP?

  1. Gooner In Exile says:

    Cracking piece Double, the Arteta figures are amazingly impressive.

    Let’s hope he has overcome the calf strain for Sunday

  2. Excellent read Double98 and well done on compiling the tables.

    Your point about the 2nd stringers needing to be able to deputise better is a good one. It has been the case for many seasons that we haven’t had the players to come off the bench and do a good job when required.

    Without RvP’s goals we would be in further trouble wouldn’t we as no-one else seems to fancy it at the moment? We saw on Sunday that without Arteta or a good replacement for him we had little impact in controlling the mid-field – I’m not sure why Song didn’t do better in that game.

    Vermaelen is a big miss on the pitch for his leadership qualities.

    Song is the one that worries me, he’s just not playing like Song at the moment.

  3. fatgingergooner says:

    Great stats and very interesting piece D98,

    “Vermaelan’s record is strange as he has the lowest win and (almost) the lowest loss ratio.”

    if you think about where he plays on the field, this stat actually isnt that suprising. We obviously defend much better when he is there but he cant score the goals aswell, so the strikers must be misfiring too often when hes in the team.

  4. Double98 says:

    Thanks GIE – i must say i was underwhelmed for the first couple of matches – i expected him to play a more advanced role. it wasn’t til i realised that he wasn’t a direct fabregas replacement that i started to appreciate him…

    Peaches – in fairness Song was out of position against Swansea and Benayoun is not a central midfielder… thats why he never settled in liverpool or chelsea.. for a big club he is a “plan b” support striker whose true level is probably as the best player in a west ham team.

  5. fatgingergooner says:

    The worrying thing for me is not that we rely on 4 players, most teams do, whats worrying is how our whole system seems to crumble when just one of those four are missing.

    Its obvious that our back up players are not upto scratch, which just emphasises the point that most of us know already. THERE IS TOO MUCH DEAD WOOD AT THIS CLUB!!!

  6. Ozgunner says:

    very interesting read 98, love the stats. Surprising in regards to Arteta. He has alot of fight in him and seems to always push for an entire game. I don’t know if it’s because he was at the toffees for so long where he had to help grind out victories. But whatever it is it needs to rub off on some players (AA,Walcott, and such) because their complacency shouldn’t be accepted.

    @ Peaches

    i agree song is worrying. I’d like to see his players rating when Frimpong and coquelin (mainly) were pushing for selection, as opposed to when they were either out of position or out on loan. As i see it he gets very complacent when he doesnt have competition. When coq and frim were demanding more game time with their performances song was playing out of his skin. When coq moved to fill in the gaps song has dropped a considerable amount. He needs to take the next step and pull his finger out, he has the possibility of being the best DM in the world.

  7. Double98 says:

    FGG – that was the point that i was trying to make – this over reliance on 4 players playing every game is a massive achilles heel …

    I am not sure if we have that much dead wood – but personality wise we have a lot of coasters – who are content with basking in the glow of success but hide when there is defeat.

    Theo is no longer a kid, if he wants to play in the middle – he needs to start acting like a man.
    Kos / Mertesacker need to start talking / shouting / acting like leaders.

  8. chas says:

    Nice one, D98.
    The team definitely needs a strong spine at the moment.
    A minor point, we beat QPR.

    The midfield three against Swansea needed to be compact, both to defend and to keep the ball once we did win it back. In reality they were all over the shop, Ramsey fire-fighting all over the pitch, Benayoun like an auxiliary wide man and Song isolated as a result.
    When the ARS are playing (copyright TA), Ramsey and Arteta always have a high number of touches. Benayoun had hardly any touches, Rosicky would have been a much better choice if fully recovered from his illness.

  9. Ohis daniels says:

    This is a fabulous piece double. I have been thinking the arteta angle since we lost that game to swansea on sunday. There appeared to be a disconnect between our defence and attack due to his absence.

  10. chas says:

    FGG,
    Have got too much deadwood? 🙂

    I saw this comment the other day when browsing the LG archives.
    It’s from October 2008 and from Kelsey. Has anything changed in the last 3 and a quarter years? 🙂

    (btw, I was looking at LG archives as they were coming up to their millionth comment)

    http://le-grove.co.uk/2008/10/31/spin-spin-spin-spin-spin-spin-spin/#comment-103220

  11. chas says:

    *Have we

  12. Double98 says:

    Hi Chas – that is weird – all the calculations include qpr as a win – something must have gone wrong in the conversion process from XL – Rasp , Peaches can you please have a look?

  13. It is reported that after Juventus struggled to off-load their underperforming striker Amauri an enterprising fan attempted to sell the Brazilian on eBay.

    I can suggest one or two names to put forward, anyone have an account?

  14. chas says:

    D98,
    I only noticed it because that last run of four games (the first two with all four playing) would seem to signify a loss of form throughout the whole team. Especially as the Villa away win was a touch fortunate, too.
    Perhaps the team getting plaudits for the honourable defeat at Citeh had a negative psychological effect?

  15. chas says:

    Lifelong,
    LG did this with Denilson a while back.

  16. Double98 says:

    Eboue tweeted recently
    “Many ppl say i shud come back to d Emirate..But why? You booed me and told me to go. BUt you know what? i still love Arsenal.”

    and

    “i went through some hard times after the booing saga. but i still love.. i only left cuz wenger pity me and my family were hurt. it was hard”

    I would love that piece of deadwood right now….

    I think it might be unfair to refer to some players as deadwood – especially ones that always played as if there lives depended on it….

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi chas, thanks for the link – you see I was talking sense even back in 2008 😉

  18. chas says:

    Haha Rasp, I knew you’d appreciate it. 🙂

  19. Double98 says:

    On that note
    Almunia and Squillaci should never play for arsenal again.
    Chamakh should be judged after a decent run of games.
    Arshavin, Walcott etc should be judged at the end of the season

  20. Rasp says:

    Hi D98,

    Thanks for such a clever post. I have been singing Arteta’s praises most of the season. He quietly has been the most important element of our midfield and his absence was the reason we just didn’t click against Swansea.

  21. goonermichael says:

    Haven’t had time to read the post yet. I’ve just heard that TV5 and Arteta are out for Sunday and Henry is 50/50. We’ll have to field a very similar line up as we did when they spanked us.

  22. Vermaelen and Arteta “no chance for Sunday” Official!!

  23. goonermichael says:

    Just read chas’ links to LG. Most of those posters have gone from there now. I enjoyed being on there. Shame.

  24. chas says:

    “At the moment I don’t think (Vermaelen) will make it for Sunday. Let’s hope we have a good surprise. Let’s see how he develops. There may be a test. At the moment we just go day by day but he looks short,” Wenger added.

  25. Red Arse says:

    D98, 🙂

    You have written a very good Post and a lot of effort went into compiling the data and interpreting those fascinating stats.

    I have always been a bit cautious in taking selected statistical data in isolation, but on the evidence you have supplied I would have to agree with you and GIE that it reflects well on Arteta.
    However, you say that his fitness has been good as he has played in every game but one, but your chart shows he did not play in the first three games where we lost 2 and drew one. Is that reflected in his 65% win ratio? (I cannot bestir myself to do the math) 🙂

    My problem is, and it is admittedly wholly subjective, for me, Arteta is an OK player, and does benefit the team, but I do not see him as an outstanding player. (It is a visual reading of the game versus stats.)

    For example, I read, on another blog last year, that statistically, Denilson had one of the highest (best) pass completion rates in the then squad, implying that he was one of the best players too.

    Well Denilson’s stats at that time may have indicated that, but my head said something different.

    But leaving aside my slight reservation (and I know you would prefer to have something to chew over), 🙂 that is a really good read!

  26. Oh joy unconfined! Wonderful news! Fabianski is fit again!!!

    YES! YES! YES!

    Oh s**t!

  27. goonermichael says:

    the mancs are so lucky. Not sure if I really want to watch the game now. May be very painful

  28. chas says:

    Agreed GM,
    As Pedro says, ‘as one blogger leaves another takes their place’.
    The only trouble is that with the editorial line on there, bloggers who used reason and debate have been replaced by those using negativity and vitriol.

  29. chas says:

    RA, I don’t think he was an Arsenal player in those opening games.

  30. chas – do you have nothing better to do than look through old lg posts 🙂 Very nice to re-visit nonetheless, for me, it was a great place to meet in those days – thoroughly enjoyed my time on there.

    Interesting to see how not much has really changed since 2008 but I knew that already 😦

  31. Double98 says:

    Hi RA –
    Arteta’s win loss stats include the 17 games he played – they don’t count the games he missed / was still a toffee.
    The “All 4 Playing” and “Not All” stats includes those three games.

  32. I’m not sure what happened to the data but I know that Rasp won’t be around until later. I’ll see if I can work it out – bear with me ……..

  33. Hi Double98 – can you give me a clue, what am I looking for?

  34. goonermichael says:

    There are a few people who don’t seem to blog anymore like QoS and Franchise. They are both on twitter though.

  35. chas says:

    peaches,
    I was trying to find out when I first posted on LG, but gave up pretty quick. I just stumbled across those comments while looking.

  36. Double98 says:

    Hi Peaches – the QPR line in the first diagram says teh result was a D but it was a W 🙂

  37. Red Arse says:

    Thanks D98, and Chas. 🙂

    I had already forgotten he was one of our so called “late buys”.

  38. Although the table shows the QPR game as a Draw instead of a Win the other data is based on QPR having been a Win.

    I can’t get into the table to change it but I might be able to track Rasp down to do it. If I can’t I apologise 😦

  39. Steve of Chiang Mai says:

    “What we need is Koscielny, Mertesacker, Wilshere, Coquelin and (Park, Chamakh, Walcott, OX) to either fill the gaps in that spine adequately or ship out.”

    Seriously…you are suggesting Kolscielny, Wilshere and Coquelin need to shape up or ship out?

  40. evonne says:

    D89 – very good post, I love the stats, must study them in detail later. Thank you sir

    Your comment @10:25 about Eboue made me very sad. He is a great guy and should never be treated the way we did treat him. He infuriated me at times, but so did others. No excuse really. Emanuelle, I’d love you to come back to the Ems.

  41. evonne says:

    Chas – you are terrible, cannot pull a fast one past you 🙂

  42. evonne says:

    GiE – thank you for your answer. So I guess that tangerine Alan has got a point about ‘footballing brain’

  43. chas says:

    peaches,
    The graphic isn’t important if everything else is correct. Sorry about causing a fuss.

  44. Rasp says:

    Apologies, I’ve amended the chart

    If Arteta and TV are out for Sunday, our chances of winning have just been halved.

    I am going to say I told you so 😦 I said in December when everyone got carried away that we needed to be very lucky for the next 6 weeks and If we sustained just one more significant injury our chances of 4th would disappear. That injury has happened – to Arteta and the only chance we have of 4th now is if the chavs slip up which I seriously doubt or totnum implode which is equally unlikely.

  45. chas says:

    Oh Rassa you are such a pessimist!!! 🙂

  46. WiganGooner says:

    Really great job. Loved the article. It proves what sensible fans have been saying all along, one man can’t make a team.

    WG

  47. chas says:

    It should be in red, Rasp.
    I’m off out before I get banned. 🙂

  48. Rasp says:

    Haha chas – only someone who followed ur link would get that 😛

    The fact is that I was right then and I’m right now – which makes me look like a pathetic bighead. In reality it’s not other bloggers I’m trying to persuade, but just a forlorn wish that our management would actually learn from the mistakes of their own past recent history.

    Gottta go now, so you can all lay into me……

  49. LB says:

    Hahahaha

    I followed the link, couldn’t resist, this made me chuckle.

    Rasputin says:

    October 26, 2008 at 16:11

    Van Persie looks lazy and half asleep – hasn’t anyone told him he’s supposed to be a striker, not strolling round lethargically in midfield!

  50. evonne says:

    Wigan – where the hell have you been??

  51. Ha ha ha – LB I noticed that one too 🙂

    I’ve had a great time revisiting October 26th 2008, thank you chas 😆

  52. Double98 says:

    Steve of Chiang Mai.. Yes – if we are so debilitated with one of our central players not playing then the spine needs replacement leaders and winners.

    Wilshere is a case aside as he ahsn’t been part of the dynamic this year but Kos or mertesacker need to step into Vermaelans boots when he is not there and lead and organise the defence.. and our central midfielder need to shore up the heart of our team if song or arteta is missing – Benayoun was shocking in the centre last week

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    196, that is a very fine post, well done Sir! 🙂

    It underlines both the importance of a quality spine and our vulnerability if and when it is not complete. The stats you used are very convincing and the spine of (Szczesny) – Vermaelen – Song – Arteta and RvP is indeed pure quality. Good to see Arteta and Song getting the recognition they deserve in your post: together with RvP (and Koz and Szczesny) they have been outstanding for us this season. Add JW to the spine and further progress in Ramsey’s development, and this will become a great team. Ask TMHT if you don’t believe me! 😆

  54. chas says:

    Is the peaches pocket widget a list of all the people not going?

  55. Park Royal Gunner says:

    D98 credit to you for coming up with such an interesting and intelligent post.It reminded me of my days at University doing Quantitive Analysis very thought absorbing article.I remember once telling my mate that Arteta is a vital member of the defence/Midfield and he called me all sorts of names.After the Swansea game we had a chat about the game and i mentioned that we missed Arteta big time and to my surprise he admitted that he is an important player.

  56. goonermichael says:

    Arteta Olsson Fans @MikelArteta08 1m
    Reply RetweetedRetweet
    Delete
    FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details Adebayor is on £225K (would be 10% of our wage bill if at Arsenal). RvP is on £80K, can people not see what Arsenal & Arsene are up against?

  57. kelsey says:

    Wenger is a f****** c**t, the whole f****** team should be f****** sold.Kroenke is a bas****, and by the way I f****** I love my team, and f***** support them when they win..

    oops, wrong blog.

  58. SharkeySure says:

    Arteta has simply been fantastic playing in a deeper role than most people expected

  59. RockyLives says:

    kelsey 🙂

    Good post D98
    If only we had had Arteta for the post two or three years we might actually have won something.

  60. evonne says:

    Kelsey – very funny!
    Chas – are you going?

    D89 – so what you are implying is that now that we have the spine everybody was going on and on about 2 years ago, we are more volnurable then we were while spineless?

  61. WiganGooner says:

    Hi Evonne,

    I’ve been wandering in the wilderness of work. Frustrating as it is I’ve been neglecting my site and this. However, things are settling down and I’ve made a bit of a resolution to get back to doing the things I love….i.e. Blogging and being opinionated.

    🙂

    So, I’m trying at least 🙂

    WG

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    on the other hand RL,

    if we had Arteta 2 or 3 years ago we would all be hating him and calling him deadwood!!!

    at least we can enjoy his talents for a bit before we get pissed off and call him a has-been 😉

  63. chas says:

    I’m going, Evonne.

    We might lose, but just imagine how great it’ll be to be there if we win!

    Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
    Man never is, but always to be blest:
    The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

  64. chas – Peaches pocket is indeed for those not attending. The history is that for the Barca game a couple of years ago I told Raddy that he would be in my pocket as he wasn’t going to be at the game.

    Since then I stuff everyone in there who isn’t going to be at the ground, you won’t tell on me will you 😛

  65. Rasp says:

    LB @ 11:46,

    Well done for quoting something entirely out of context. That comment was for that game 4 years ago. I have had nothing but praise for the RvP that has matured from that time. However, there were several other comments I made back in 2008 that are still relevant today as in some areas, nothing has changed.

  66. Double98 says:

    Evonne – thats it precisely –
    beware of what you wish for 🙂

    Seriously i doubt we ever had a poor spine –
    Gallas, Fabregas, Song, van Persie was strong

    Our problem is our spinal player spend so much time injured and the back up is so weak (and inappropriate)
    Like now – who will fill in for Arteta? Benayoun??? Who will fill in for Vermaelan (who would be deployed out of position any way) Yannaris, Djourou.

    If Van Persie is injured how can Chamakh be expected to perform in an attack built around RVP – he is not appropriate – neither is TW14, Park etc

  67. Double98 says:

    Peaches – stick me in ur pocket too please!

  68. I wouldn’t worry Rasp, I gave Almunia my full support during that game 😳

  69. You’re in Double98 …… and dandan and fgg 🙂

  70. Flexible talent, thats the way forward. What if Djourou or ‘a.n.other’ for example could play as CB, RB and DM then with our injuries he’d almost always be needed to play.

    We shove players into other positions and expect them to be first class – are we wrong to hope that they perform better than they do?

  71. chas says:

    Ah, I see, peaches.
    You’re going to need big pockets this time around.
    I’ve got this mental image of lots of tiny little AAers sticking their heads out of your pocket. Weird.

  72. chas says:

    Apologies to any arachnophobes.

  73. chas says:

    peaches, you should never be ashamed about giving an Arsenal player your full support, even Almunia!

    That just reminded me of when the Emirates crowd was jeering either Almunia or Fabianski while they were playing. At least we’ve progressed on the goalkeeping front. 🙂

  74. evonne says:

    Wigan – welcome back! We were wondering about you. And yes, get your priorities right, ie Arsenal first and foremost 🙂

    Chas – nice verse, but not for this coward.

    D89 – thank you for this, you have a very good point.

  75. evonne says:

    Chas – have we progressed on the goalkeeping front? How is that?

  76. chas 🙂 It’s gonna hot and stuffy I reckon, you should be glad I’ve got a ticket I was going to volunteer you to have a pocket full 🙂

    Are we going to meet for a drink beforehand?

  77. evonne says:

    just the two of you? Chas and Nigella-lookalike?

  78. You can come for a drink if you like evonne, save you hiding behind the couch for too many hours 🙂

  79. goonermichael says:

    joey barton is hilarious on twitter. Absolute total dickhead. He’s slating Warnock at the moment.

  80. evonne says:

    Peaches – no, 3 is a crowd. Plus, you have seen me upset during ManU game. No, no way. I am not even going to watch it. I’ll record it and if we win I will watch all week

    Thanks to your daughter I have to go to a hairdresser, again!

  81. goonermichael says:

    Adam Leventhal @AdamLeventhal 18m
    Reply RetweetedRetweet
    Delete
    FavoritedFavorite · Close Open Details Hypocrisy? @joey7barton was ‘gutted’ & wished Warnock ‘all the best’ when he left #QPR. Now he’s called him ‘Mike Bassett’ & ’embarrassing’

    Retweeted by Mark ✔

  82. goonermichael says:

    evonne. What has happened with your hair?

  83. Tut tut evonne, you only said that to reel in gm 😉

  84. Who is thinking of going for a drink before the game on Sunday?

  85. goonermichael says:

    When asked about the influence of captain Barton on the team, Warnock would not be drawn: “I don’t think I want to get into talking about Joey Barton. Joey talks about himself enough and I think we’ll let Joey talk about Joey.

    “I just want to talk about positive things about the club and I think there are too many positive things to talk about without going into detail on individual players.”

  86. RockyLives says:

    It’s a shame to lose Verm and Arteta for Sunday but not a disaster.

    They key is that we don’t make the same mistakes we did against Swansea, so…

    Song has to play as a holding Mifdielder and not gallivant all over the park.

    Miquel needs to be instructed to be more disciplined at LB (against Swansea he was way up the pitch for their third – and this seconds after we had got back on terms).

    Arshavin must be dropped – he gives no support to Miquel and does not make up for his defensive deficiencies by doing anything any good up front.

    Team should be:
    Szcz
    JD PM LK Miquel
    AR AS TR7
    TW RvP AOC/Benny

  87. goonermichael says:

    got me hook line and sinker too Peaches

  88. RockyLives says:

    If Song doesn’t abandon his post and Miquel plays more defensively I think we’re strong enough to beat the Mancs.

  89. goonermichael says:

    Rocky
    I think Arshavin wil play. can’t see past us getting beaten. I am not even a doomer. Nani against JD and Valencia against Miquel? I’m not even sure I want to watch it. Mike Dean reffing too!

  90. Big Raddy says:

    TV and Arteta out? Say it ain’t so

  91. Big Raddy says:

    If we played our strongest 11 against theirs , we would beat them.

  92. goonermichael says:

    I agree Raddy. I’d love to have our strongest against theirs. We are so bare tomorrow it’s frightening. Sagna is 3 weeks away. All the talk of targetting manu at home as a comeback date.

  93. chas says:

    Evonne, progressed on the ‘keeping front in that at least we aren’t jeering our own keeper anymore.

    Peaches, I’ll be in the Tavern as usual with the clan plus adopted dad. It’d be great to see you there.

    Rocky,
    I had a look at heat maps for the Swansea game.

    Here’s Song’s.
    http://twitpic.com/89kvak
    Rambo’s
    http://twitpic.com/89ky25
    Benny’s
    http://twitpic.com/89kwj7

  94. chas says:

    GM, it’s Sunday.
    The TV5 rumour is a smokescreen.

  95. chas says:

    Nani is just a shit Michael Jackson.

  96. chas says:

    I hope for Dennis’s sake the team aren’t thinking like some of you lot!

  97. goonermichael says:

    The team is very similar to the one that got beaten 8-2 chas. If we had our strongest team I’d be confident of spanking them.

  98. No, no, no we have to be positive. It’s our home, we have to take the initiative and score our early chances. Split the midfield and load each wing because that’s where they’re going to hit us. Tell Song to sit tight and push the ball up to van Persie whenever he gets possession.

    You can see why I didn’t go into coaching can’t you 🙂

  99. evonne says:

    GM – nothing happened, but Peaches’ daughter laughs at me for doing my hair only twice a year. ‘My mum goes all the time na na nan na nana’. So I felt ashamed and go more often now.
    Peaches goes before every home game, she wants to look even more gorgeous on the day 🙂

  100. chas says:

    You’re right, GM.
    I’ve decided to go and play golf instead.

  101. chas says:

    I used to bleach my hair but it did look a bit like Phil Jones’s.

  102. evonne says:

    Chas – I am the same, I hate any fuss with hair or makeup so I try is at home. Had pink hair once, long before it was fashionable 🙂
    And once I had it done like Freddie Ljunberg, the red top, gosh, I looked crazy wearing a suit and red woodpecker hair 🙂

  103. Forgot to say that Theo will have loads of space to run into once van P has the ball and sends him running onto a pass 😉

  104. JackWilshere Jack Wilshere
    Just had a little trim at Michaels now off for some dinner with @Afobe @13Szczesny13 and we even invited @Henderson_91 this time! 🙂

    I know it’s sad but I know where Michaels is 😉

  105. Here I am giving you the inside info on tactics and the teams hairdresser and you’ve all disappeared 😦

  106. chas says:

    Not Michael Barnes?

  107. chas says:

    Peaches,
    Theo’s going to run them ragged. He likes the big games and he’s got his twitter boots!

  108. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Evening all,
    I was 46 miles away from THOF today , at Redfield Garden Centre, Surrey. I would like to think that the smell there, was the Surrey Mancs getting scared, but after reading some of the stuff on here ( no Arteta, Verm and the rest at Arsenal casualty ), I think It might have been coming from N5. 🙂

    peaches,
    Can I have an Exec` pocket for 4, I need more room for the first Cuckoo Club meeting. There`ll be Queen Evonne the 1st (shall need Throne and a settee to hide behind ), TMHT ( he has a large Telescope ), Redders ( large wardrobe needed, for his many Pseudonym`s ) and I`m bringing the sanity and “award winning” cakes and pies.

  109. No, not Michael Barnes ………

    Are you really going to play golf instead of schlepping to Finsbury Park?

  110. glic – I can offer you the front pouch of my rucksack if you need more space to spread out 😉

  111. evonne says:

    Peaches – of course he’ll be schlepping

  112. chas says:

    Of course not, Peaches. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  113. chas says:

    Peaches., I’m not sure you should be offering out your front pouch on matchdays. 🙂

  114. In the rucksack chas ………… 😉

  115. I’m so consumed with our game I haven’t even bothered to check on any scummers ……… anyone spoken to any scummers today about their game?

    dandan has spuds and citeh supporters in his family doesn’t he?

  116. chas says:

    * of your rucksack

  117. evonne says:

    Chas – she always makes matchdays extra special, as if the excitement of a game wasn’t enough!

  118. chas says:

    I don ‘t know any scummers, peaches. One of the advantages of living up here.
    I played golf with one once. He never came back!

  119. chas says:

    Matchdays are always special. I love the whole ritual. Couldn’t be without it.

  120. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    peaches,
    I hope this includes underground parking facilities ! 🙂

  121. chas says:

    Mind you, the scummer golfer I played with was talking about how he was looking forward to seeing how Santini was going to rip the league apart. Ah, the good old days! 🙂

  122. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    chas , whereabouts is “living up here ” ?

  123. chas says:

    Nottingham, glic.
    It’s about 125 miles to Cockfosters, well out of spud territory. 🙂

  124. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    I cant believe that I moved all the way down here and I end up with a spud at work and one down the lane below me !, they are a good laugh though, at their expense. 🙂

  125. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    I know there`s Sunday`s game to deal with, but I`m getting excited about the Cup game, the drive up with my boy ( the only chance I get ,without he`s girlfriends claws in him ! ), wearing the colour`s, the Stadium (effing drop dead gorgeous ), hopefully meeting AAers, the atmosphere, the win !, cant wait ! 🙂

  126. evonne says:

    Do you guys honestly think that supporters of certain clubs share some characteristics? No way

  127. What characteristics do you mean evonne?

  128. RockyLives says:

    Yes Evonne
    All Spudders are Neanderthals. Even the clever ones.

  129. evonne says:

    Well, like Spurs being aggressive scum, pool supporters being all thieves, Mancs arrogant and Chavs plastic supporters. Oh, and all Gunners being lovely

  130. Gooner In Exile says:

    This poor excuse for a preview has some great stats of Arteta v Y Toure. Impressive to say the least. 35 interceptions must be one of the highest in league. Would love to see Scott Parkers stats.

    http://www.eplindex.com/8683/arsenal-man-united-preview-opta-stats.html

    Good heat maps earlier Chas.

  131. Do we really have to care about the others as long as we’re all lovely?

  132. Although I have to say, I can be quite nasty when in the company of spuds 😆

  133. goonermichael says:

    I posted something that was inappropriate earlier. I’m sorry if anyone was offended. I’ll think before I post in the future.

  134. fatgingergooner says:

    Re: Warnock v Barton,

    I fucking despise Barton on a cellular level and think the Warnock sacking was harsh. But does anyone else agree that these Sky interviews with Warnock have been pretty embarassing? Why do they feel the need to have him reading fan mail in front of the camera? Yeah, he got them up, but they weren’t exactly setting the league alight.

  135. SharkeySure says:

    Excellent research and post D98.

    I actually typed that earlier on my phone…not sure where it went

  136. fatgingergooner says:

    Ooh GM I missed that!

    Please post it again!

    Was it about the Spuds? If so then pleeeease post it!!! 🙂

  137. chas says:

    GM, I thought the Gary Glitter comment was yesterday?

  138. Gooner In Exile says:

    It had a word that rhymed with a popular river activity in Cambridge and was about a footballer who shares his first name with that of a kangaroos offspring, and whos second name is the first name of a fictional character who’s second name is Fink.

  139. SharkeySure says:

    Lol GiE….I thought that was ROO-ney for a bit there. I Fink the Fink bit cleared it up…

    Cheers 😉

  140. SharkeySure says:

    I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it GM…whatever it was.

    Bet it was hilarious though….

  141. SharkeySure says:

    Cheers Chas..there’s something pretty wonderful about Kylie.

    One of those odd instances of a woman actually getting hotter as she gets older…

    On second thoughts..perhaps not that odd…I mean…look at our Peaches and Evonne. Both fairly pretty in their 20’s I’d guess and now blazing hot in their mid 30’s !

    Night all…

  142. fatgingergooner says:

    GiE,

    I’m confused, what rhymes with dogging? 😉

  143. gooner lost in cornwall says:

    Gary Glitter ?, Isn`t he the new head of youth development at Celtic ?, They were running out of Catholic Priest`s !

  144. Gooner In Exile says:

    I meant to say for the record I thought it was spot on accurate 🙂

  145. Ozgunner says:

    Hopefully this time around during free kicks we actually put someone on the line, because rooney was lobbing them in for fun last time around. Miquel will be fine if he sticks to defending, look what he did to johnson when we playing the oil slickers. He seems to learn very quickly. JD on the other hand scares me, i’m having flashbacks of the beginning of the chelsea game!

  146. Ozgunner says:

    alot being said about rio and verm, i think it’s all mind games like there always is in the big games. I fully expect both of them out there with henry on the bench. Hopefully ox will get a run out instead of AA.

  147. fatgingergooner says:

    Szcsesny
    Djourou Merts Kozzer Verm
    Ramsey Song Rosicky
    Walcott RvP Arshavin

    V

    Rooney
    Nani Giggs Park Carrick Valencia
    Evra Smalling Rio Jones
    Lindegaard.

    What u reckon oz?

  148. Ozgunner says:

    I think you’re bang on FGG.

    Personally i hope rio doesn’t play so we see a CB pairing of evans and jones, with smalling playing RB. Could be calamaty at the back especially with evans and jones together. Ox and theo attacking smalling would be ideal! i hate park, always plays good in the big games, not recently however so i hope the trend continues

  149. Ozgunner says:

    although fergie likes to play ultra defensive against us and hit us on the break, and why not it always seems to work (even in the cup match last season when they fielded full backs on the wings). So i wouldn’t be surprised to see anderson in the centre with carrick, and park dropping to the bench

  150. Ozgunner says:

    see the LB we were linked with at AC milan is going on loan at QPR. Can’t be that good then if we didn’t bring him in when we are in desperate need.

  151. Gooner In Exile says:

    Says something about Traore tho.

    Anyone else see this about Cashleys all time eleven of players he played with.

    …………………….Seaman…………………..
    Lauren……Adams……Campbell……Cole
    Sturridge…..Viera…….Gerrard…….Pires
    …………………..Bergkamp…………………
    ……………………..Henry…………………….

    Tells you something about the quality of player we had then even compared to Chelsea title winning sides he picked none of them.

    Not sure how Sturridge sneaked in.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2089674/Ashey-Cole-snubs-Chelsea-stars-best-XI.html

  152. nmcmaho1 says:

    i’m very shocked GiE, considering how much of a w*nker he is i thought he’d do the opposite and not pick any arsenal players. I’d imagine a few chelsea players like terry and fat frank would be quite angry. Sturridge must be his best mate or something because freddie would wipe the floor with him!

  153. evonne says:

    GiE – did Cashley really say that? What about Gerrard, why is he there?

  154. evonne says:

    Darlington FC fans were preparing the pitch and the kitchen for today’s game. They are desperate to keep the club going. I hope they succeed

  155. nmcmaho1 says:

    morning all

    he sure did evonne, the video shows him saying it and that drogba would be upset.

    haha love the widget rasp, i wonder if the security will notice peaches sneak in with all us inher pockets

  156. Big Raddy says:

    Evonne. He played with Gerrard for England. And with Rooney etc etc.

    Surprising selection

  157. Big Raddy says:

    Oz. Why the name change?

  158. oz gunner says:

    bugger, cheers for that BR. Just internet explorer complications, my secret identity is over!

  159. chas says:

    Thierry v mancs
    Thierry Henry goal v Man Utd

    Thierry v mancs
    Thierry Henry winning goal

    Thierry, Bobby and some old lady
    Henry Pires and Maradona

    Nico Yennaris as Arsenal mascot
    Nico Yennaris Arsenal mascot

    Thierry excited about Sunday’s game
    A young Thierry Henry

  160. Morning all

    sorry chas for taking so long to get your pics up, sometimes the links go into spam.

    How sweet – Nico Yennaris as the mascot 😉

  161. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all,
    Cannot wait for tomorrow, and to think we warm up with Spuds getting smashed. In the wise words of Evonne: another total waste of a day with a non footie saturday 🙂

  162. SharkeySure says:

    ‘Some old lady’…lol

    Really had me going there Chas !

  163. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Very quiet here. Excellent day to slip in a non-sensical post!

  164. Some must have got their supplies in early for a weekend behind the couch 😉

  165. goonermichael says:

    Just read that TV is fit! Feeling much more positive now. Good morning.

  166. goonermichael says:

    Fully booked salon
    One sty;ist has called in sick
    Manager coming 2 hours late cos his boyfriend has broken leg
    My first client is late.

  167. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    peaches it’s gone mad over here.I can’t get the link up or it goes red and white or the page moves on it’s own.
    I also got bitten around the ankle by a snake yesterday and my leg is like a balloon.Went to the doctor and had several injections and pills, and that happened on the decking of our bowls green.

  168. Rasp says:

    Morning all……

    …. New post …….

  169. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey,
    Hideous country. Hot and sticky and now biting snakes. Emmigrate!

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