The Spaniard Who Finally Found ‘The Home of Good Football’

Mikel Arteta is gradually winning over more and more Gooners as one of their favourite, if not THE favourite, Gunner(s) in the current squad. There is something about Arteta that appeals to most, if not all of us: something that we can easily associate with as supporters of Arsenal. It is difficult to describe what this is in just a few words. The best I can do, is describe him as somebody who plays football as every single fan would like to do: with full conviction and desire to make the very best out of the special chance he has been given.

Arteta is the total professional who always gives everything and enjoys what he does to the maximum. In a way, he is confirming to us – through his career until now and the way he has established himself at Arsenal – that we, as in you and I, can indeed achieve what we want, by working hard and being focussed and enthusiastic about what we do. Arteta is not the most talented midfielder that has ever worn an Arsenal shirt, but he is brilliant at getting the very best out of himself, at maximizing his potential, and I believe that for the very same reason, the likes of Ray Parlour, Gilberto, and Flamini (at least until he left) were loved by many of us too. There is simply something very appealing about these sort of players.

Here is a man, who joined Barcalona at the tender age of 15, where he played alongside the likes of Iniesta and Xavi, but he did not manage to break into the first team, and a two year loan spell followed at Paris St Germain. It must have been hard for him to come so close to playing at the highest level, only to lose out against a number of midfielders of the highest possible standard in Spanish football history.

In 2002, he joined Glasgow Rangers because he wanted to toughen-up and there he established himself as a regular, scoring 14 goals in 68 games over two seasons. Then he returned to the Basque Country, the area where he grew up – to play for his boyhood team: Real Sociedad. But, once again, it did not work out for him in Spain and after only a year he returned to England in 2005, where he joined David Moyes’ Everton for the bargain price of £2m. Under the wings of Moyes, he developed into a fine player and he established himself as a successful attacking midfielder with 35 goals and 41 assists in 209 games, between 2005 and 2011.

Here is a man, who chose to come to Arsenal: The Home Of Football, because of the football that we play and who, apparently, took a pay-cut and was willing to fight for his spot in a strong Arsenal midfield. When he was asked, back in September, what he thought of Wenger, he said:

‘The most important thing is he wants to play good football and then win, and I like that’.

That sequence is important: first play good football and then win – he is driven by football itself, as an art, a treat (the latter being an anagram of his name!).

In an age where some footballers refuge to warm up, fight over who should take a free-kick, conspire against their manager, are almost entirely driven by earning as much as they can put their hands on, and show little or no loyalty to their current clubs, it is just great to hear that Arteta joined Arsenal because he had a longing, a homesickness if you want, to play good football. He had a first taste of good football at Barcelona in the early years of his career, and this taste created a longing that has never gone away.

At Everton, he was loved by the fans and did not have to worry about money or competition, but it was his personal ambition to get the very best out of himself and play football the way it should be played, that made him jump at the opportunity Arsène Wenger offered to him last summer.

His new challenge at Arsenal could not have been much bigger. Inevitably, comparisons were drawn between him – the newly arrived Spaniard – and the last summer departed, genial Spanish maestro, who had us play football of such breathtaking beauty. Fabregas had a strong longing – some called it homesickness – to return to his boyhood club Barcelona, and there is no doubt he left a gap behind. It did not take long for us to see our initial thoughts confirmed: Arteta is not a like-for-like, in terms of quality, replacement for Fabregas. In our current 4-3-3 formation, Arteta is not playing in the advanced midfield position as most of us had expected. Especially with the long term injury to JW, this seemed the most likely position for him.

Arteta has occupied Wilshere’s position last season, instead: the one next to Song as ‘the second DM’, and he has been a revelation. The partnership between him and Song has developed into something special, and the longer they will play together the better it will become. Arteta has shown us defensive qualities that many of us did not think he possessed.

He tidies up in front of the defensive and in midfield tirelessly, and links defence with attack seamlessly. His passing is incredibly accurate and efficient and his ball winning skills are very impressive too. Some have called him the ‘engine room’ (Ade David on AA recently) or the ‘perfect anchor’ (Rasp on AA yesterday), and these names sum up perfectly what most of us think of Arteta’s contributions to our team.

Personally, he reminds me more and more of one my all-time favourite Dutch players: Edgar Davids (such a shame he decided to play for the Spuds at the end of his career, though). Davids was known as ‘De Stofzuiger’: the Vacuum Cleaner. He used to work tirelessly to own the area between defence and attack and he made an art of performing the simple things to perfection. His partnership with Zidane at Juventus in the last decade was an absolute joy to behold.

Arteta is currently performing a similar role, albeit in a different formation. And, just the way Davids allowed the likes of Litmanen, Zidane, Seedorf, Bergkamp (national team) to shine in previous teams, Mikel is allowing Song, and whoever plays in the more advanced midfield role, to shine for Arsenal. Next season, Wilshere is likely to be our main man in the advanced midfield role and boy will he benefit from the service he will be getting then from Arteta (and Song).

So, there you have it. Arteta has made a long and beautiful European journey from the Basque Country to Catalonia, from Paris to Glasgow, and from the Basque Country to Merseyside, but only now he has arrived at The Home Of Football. His longing is over; he is no longer homesick for good football, as he now plays with a broad smile on his face, and wears the shirt of Wengerball-football with the greatest pride.

Welcome home, Mikel!

TotalArsenal.

220 Responses to The Spaniard Who Finally Found ‘The Home of Good Football’

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks Total,

    This ranks as one of my most favourite posts ever on AA. Not only because of the subject matter (as you know I’m a big fan of MA), but because the points you make sum up so well what I admire about Arteta.

    The flair players are the ones that excite me as a supporter but the team players who unselfishly and consistently do their job to a very high level are the ones that provide the foundations for the brilliant players to shine. Arteta is the epitome of that type of player and without him this season we would not be in the CL zone I’m certain.

    I do hope AW finds a way of constructing our midfield to include Mikel once Jack is fit. The idea of building a team around one player is risky as we’ve found, but Arteta would be my first name on the midfield teamsheet because he knits our play together better than anyone else at the moment.

    The stats on number of passes and pass completion % have rated MA as the most effective midfielder for either side for the majority of games this season.

  2. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    Brilliant and I agree with every word. It came as no surprise the reception he received on his return to Goodison and that really says an awful lot about the man. Like Rasp, I love me players in flairs, but as you say, fans warm so much to men like Arteta, and I think the reason lies in the fact that he appears to genuinely love playing for “our” team.
    One thing you did leave out. I think Arteta told me himself one of the main attractions in joining The Arsenal was the fact that you can get the best pre-match kebab anywhere in the land.

  3. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all, thanks for the post TA.

    I knew Arteta was a good player before he came to Arsenal, but I did not know he had so many strings to his bow. Like you I expected him to be a creative force, but undoubtedly he has impressed me more with his football when we haven’t got the ball.

    He scraps for possession eager to win it back, those years at Everyon under Moyes have taught him the other side of the game, perhaps the side of the game that Wenger worries less about. Or just the side of the game that we haven’t had enough players prepared to do.

    Arsene believes in good football and giving the players the atmosphere to play their football and take their own decisions. This works when the player is prepared to roll his sleeves up and dig in when needed as Arteta does. He recognises what he needs to do to make the team function and does it.

  4. Really like this blog about Mikel Arteta his pass rate is good one of the best midfielders in the game.Hope Wenger plays him next season with Jack. Will be great playing together in our team.

  5. Seriously all this praise for Arteta, makes my head hurt, did he even have a shot on goal for the QPR game no if you wanna write about a great Arsenal midfielder Song and Rosick would do fine they are truely Arsenal players in my book

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all, thanks for the fine feedback. Is it fair to say we have not had a player like Arteta in midfield since the departures of Gilberto and Flamini?!

    BR, if you are still reading. I love the way you use the third person now and again and I think all PreMatch Reporters should do the same! Have a great break in what seems a stunning part of Italy!

  7. Rasp says:

    superarsenaltv,

    You seem to misunderstand Arteta’s role. It is precisely because he plays the anchor midfield role so effectively that the likes of Song and Rosicky can go forward and join the attack.

  8. Rasp says:

    Morning Micky,

    I see Chamakh has not exactly ingratiated himself to Arsenal supporters by being photographed sharing a peace pipe with Taarabt after the QPR game. Gone are the days of Tony Adams when it would have been a fine Havana cigar 🙄

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    I am not entirely sure that bloke knows who he is, where he is or what he is doing at any one time 😦

  10. evonnethegunner says:

    Hi TA – you fooled me with the title, I was sure it was Rocky’s epic:). Thank you for great post

    I forgot Mikel was a Basque; they are very special people, tough, hardworking, loyal, and Areta is all of those. I am just glad we are calling him by his middle name, Amatriain is unpronouncable to me 🙂

    I must admit I cringed a bit when I read yours ‘show little or no loyalty to their current clubs’, little grrrhhh. Personally I think the whole ‘players loyalty’ is hugely overrated and a thing of the past. They are employees looking for best working conditions and pay, like the rest of us. In the ‘good old days’ they stayed with a club becasue other clubs didn’t have much more to offer, many of them paying the same wage. Players of the past that secured a place with a half decent team, did their best to keep it. No?

  11. evonnethegunner says:

    Rasp – i love that picture of the players soaking up in a bathtub, smoking and drinking champagne. Good old days?

  12. no i just don’t like the guy, and hope he is bench next year i don’t consider him a real Arsenal player, i think he is a douchebag for leaving Everton just because a bigger club game calling ala Cesc

    don’t thing i would ever like him 🙂

  13. Rasp says:

    Haha evonne, you’re right, that was an archetypal picture of the era – hopefully your mate chas can find it for us and post it today.

  14. evonnethegunner says:

    Super – i am not sure if you are joking, but you have just made a VERY good point – Arteta was disloyal to Everton and we LOVE him for it. Hypocrisy? Why not 🙂

  15. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Evonne.
    Loyalty. That’s an interesting one. On the whole I agree with you, and certainly clubs will dump a player like a shot as they see fit. I do think Arsenal are a little different and stick by players through injuries as well as showing incredile patience. Maybe, in the modern era, we are a little too loyal sometimes.
    I need to think that one through a little!
    Basque history and loyalty is another question, and open to serious questioning.

  16. Rasp says:

    supera,

    Even the Everton fans don’t think he’s a ‘douchebag’. Don’t forget he took a pay cut to play for us – are you sure you’re not confusing him with Na$ri?

  17. evonnethegunner says:

    Rasp – my mate Chas is no longer 😦 He has a job the b******d 🙂
    I will find the photo, well I will try

  18. Rasp says:

    Thanks evonne, I bequeath you the mantle of site image researcher as it seems chas has got his priorities all wrong 😆

  19. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I have been mightily impressed with Arteta’s attitude, he appears to be a modest man who gets on with the game, doesn’t go crying to the ref and doesn’t sit on the ground looking aggrieved if someone manages to nick the ball off him, al la a certain loaned out Russian.

    Arteta’s lower profile may be a reason why he is not “targetted” in the way the Homesick Spaniard was and so gets a little more time on the ball.

    I wasn’t too surprised when we signed him, he had been on Wenger’s radar ever since Barca had started tapping up our erstwhile captain.

    Should Wenger manage to sign M’Villa, as suggested in The Telegraph, it will be interesting to see how the mid-field shapes up as Wilshire returns to full fitness.

  20. then hating our players when they are disloyal like Ade and Nasri and we should stop booing them since we can accept another traitor with open arms, i think he getting a bit two much praise which is not deserved

  21. Rasp says:

    Hi NG,

    I think it is possible that M’Villa is being signed as insurance/replacement for Song in the same way as Podolski will give us at least one proper striker should RvP decide not to stay.

  22. dandan says:

    Well done TA, Arteta has indeed earnt our respect, he is a classic team player who has that greatest of talents, he makes the players around him better. His work rate, competitive nature, awareness and ability to bring other players into the game, will surely ensure that he LJ and our other young guns rule the premiership midfields from next season on.

  23. yea but Coquelin should be songs Back up next year, and why would we buy a player to put him on the bench, unless Song is going to be out new ACM 🙂

  24. Any one think we would keep Bendtner, Sunderland says they don’t want him but he scoring, i for one don’t want him back

  25. Rasp says:

    Morning dandan, greaty news your good lady is on the mend

  26. Rasp says:

    satv,

    Coquelin is a super prospect, I expect great things from him. There may be no substance to the M’Villa rumours or it could just be another case of using supposed interest in one player to have a psychological effect on another or to be a smokescreen for an alternative negotiation.

  27. dandan says:

    Arsenal TV:
    If no player ever left a club, how would a manager improve or build the team he wants, its daft not to like a player because he changed clubs, clubs sell players when they have done with them. Why cant players exercise the same right.

    Unless you want all contracts honoured and players leave for nothing at contract end. Have you ever changed your job and if so why.

  28. dandan says:

    Thanks Rasp:

  29. Red Arse says:

    TA, 🙂

    You never disappoint with your beautifully crafted Posts.

    I have to continuously remind myself that English is not your native tongue, but the way you structure your Posts and the carefree use of colloquialisms as well as correct syntax is just so impressive! 🙂

    [DB10 told me that your Dutch is rubbish – so there is that to consider!] 🙂

  30. dandan am not saying they shouldn’t leave, or we shouldn’t improve our team i just find you’ll over rating his accomplishment at the club, to me he only plays good when the team is doing well, when the team plays badly he hides, in the QPR game i remember one instance he lost the ball and instead of tracking back he stayed on the ground arguing for a foul and i have seen it on more than one occassion

  31. dandan says:

    Err Red Arse what do all those big words mean please 🙂

  32. Morning all, I’m glad we can agree on Arteta totalA after our previous disagreements about the homesick/treasonous spaniard.

    He is one of my favourite squad players now broadly for the reasons you have raised and watching him play in the flesh you see he is playing with a joyful appreciation of the game.
    Compare that with the near psychotic approach favoured by Balotelli and various other exhibits in the Arab Camel shaggers circus freak show,

  33. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    As to content. I can not bring myself to disagree with the sentiments you express regarding Mikel.
    He is everything you say he is, but my only proviso is that technically, and physically, altho’ he is a cut above the average and he uses his experience intelligently, I just do not see him as being in the top echelon.

    Super,

    On the issue of ‘traitors’ and ‘disloyal’ players, I can understand, in part, where you are coming from.

    Personally, I don’t care that some fans ‘hate’ ex-players, especially those who are deemed to have moved for money. Whatever a player’s motive for moving, it simply does not bother me – when they go they are gone, and good luck/good riddance, but each to their own.

    I thought you made an interesting point by highlighting and contrasting the abuse ex-Arsenal players receive in comparison to the praise, even adulation, heaped on Arteta who made a similar, albeit reverse, move from Everton, again irrespective of his motives.

    If you had stopped there I would have agreed with you.

    However, having criticised Arsenal fans for their views on ex-players, you then rather spoilt your own case by calling Arteta a ‘douchebag’ and a ‘traitor’ for leaving Everton.

    Rather inflammatory and contradictory at the same time.

  34. Norfolk Gooner says:

    There have been hints that Song could be a target for one or two Italian teams so M’Villa could make sense, Coquelin is a “prospect” only at this time.

    I think Song is falling between two stools, is he a holding mid-fielder, at which he could be very good, or a more attacking player. If he is to play the holding role he needs to curb his attacking instincts a bit and keep his position shielding the back four.

    If we do qualify for Europe next season we need a solid back-up for Song, he plays in the hardest part of the game and cannot be expected to playso many matches.

  35. Rasp says:

    Hi NG, its difficult to ask Song to curb his attacking instincts when he is equal 2nd top of the list of the table on asists with Theo this season (both on 8) and behind RvP who is on 11.

    Sometimes I just don’t know where he is playing and I wonder if his teammates do. This general confusion of midfield roles has been a feature of thi season.

  36. Red Arse says:

    Darn it Dandan, and there I was trying my best to use the vernacular! 🙂

    Actually, I know full well that you are teasing and that you are more than expert at dealing with the lapses into pompous verbosity of people like me from your years working at a high level with multi-national corporations!! 🙂 Domo arrigato. 🙂

  37. Red Arse says:

    DD,

    Very pleased with the news of Mrs DD. 🙂

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Hah, finally back on the PC. It is school holidays at the moment, so I am competing with daughter and wife for access! 😦

    Hi SuperA,

    There is a big difference between a player leaving after a mid to long period at a club and clearly making a move upwards and a player leaving after a couple of years without having contributed much to a team. Arteta left with the blessing of most of the Evertonian fans and Fabregas’ departure was respected by most of the fans as well. The same goes for Clichy and Toure. However, the likes of Nasri, Adebayor and, to a lesser extent, Flamini and Hleb left too early and as such showed disloyalty to the club. Fans don’t forgive that easily.

    I am a big fan of Song and will write a post dedicated to him before the season has ended. Rosicky has had a handful of good games this season, but I am not prepared to agree with you on him being better than the vacuum-cleaner.

    Rasp has explained very well why Arteta’s contributions are special in earlier comments. Some solely admire the stately beauty of the immaculate white swan, seemingly moving effortlessly across the lake, whilst others appreciate the hard work that goes on beneath the surface. I admire both in football players and Arteta ‘the engine room’ deserves every praise he gets for his contributions to our team.

  39. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp,

    I think the mid-field confusion is part of a cunning plan of Le Professeur’s aimed at bewildering the opposition, unfortunately, like you and I, our own players and fans are being taken in by it too.

  40. dandan says:

    Red Arse my silken tongued friend, I am continually impressed by the clever use of The English language by non-native’s on here. Even your good self has overcome the “Two countries divided by a common language syndrome” to put us all to shame.

    Yes and of course I was sort of teasing, mainly to hide from you my jealousy at the way you so easily highlight my inadequacies.
    As for the working bit, 11 years Retired makes me far more Ex than executive. 😦

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    RA 🙂

    Thanks for the fine comments. Best thing to do for me, would be to leave a post to rest for a day and then read it again, but I just get too excited and send it to Peaches/Rasp as soon as I can. Having read the post again today, I would have liked to make a few changes to make it read better and take out a few mistakes! 🙂

    You have always been consistent about your views about Arteta, so your comment @12.04 does not come as a surprise at all.

    Do you think Parlour, Flamini or even Gilberto were in the top echelon in previous Arsenal teams? Arteta is of course not in the top echelon as in a top-top quality player on a par with Fabregas or Bergkamp. Those are the sort of players who add that little bit of extra that make us go berserk with joy.

    The great thing about Arteta is that he is ready to do the dirty/hard work to a high standard and as such he is just as important as Song, Theo or RvP. Without him the swan would be drifting rudderlously. I believe it is very hard to find players who can do what Arteta does to such a high standard and we have not had such a player for a few years. Song can do it really well, but he is not a player who can/likes to do this as dedicated and focussed as Arteta does. This is Arteta’s real strength, and we need it like every building needs a foundation.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    Now isn’t this just heart warming?

    ………………………………………………………………………….

    Chamakh: I’m staying at Arsenal

    April 3, 2012

    By ESPNsoccernet staff

    Marouane Chamakh has stressed he sees his future at Arsenal despite increasing speculation that he will be sold in the summer.

    After a bright start to his Arsenal career, having joined from Bordeaux on a free transfer in 2010, Chamakh has struggled for form, scoring just once this season.

    And, after a photograph of him holding a shisha pipe emerged in Tuesday’s press, it has been suggested Arsene Wenger could look to offload the forward.

    However, Chamakh told French magazine Onze: “Am I going back to Bordeaux? For now, no. I have spoken to Wenger and I will stay at Arsenal. I think he trusts my work and I will have opportunities in the first team.

    “I left Bordeaux to improve as a player and I think I can continue for this club. My agents have been ordered to reject bids that come from other clubs because I want to prove I can be useful for the Gunners.”

  43. Rasp says:

    That’s the worst news I’ve heard in ages GN5 😕

  44. goonermichael says:

    Super are you being serious? The Everton fans love him. Great post again. I think he’s been a great panic buy.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Evonne, good point about loyalty earlier today. I was not only speaking of loyalty as in not wanting to leave a club, but also in terms of giving their all to a club when they play for them. Arteta is a great example of such a player. The opposite of Arteta are a number of players at Citeh for example, who show little or no passion and association with their club / how their team is performing (Balloteli, Tevez).

  46. Norfolk Gooner says:

    GM,

    For a moment there I thought you were talking about Chamakh, I was about to re-assess my previous high opinion of your high opinions. Lol.

  47. whoops says:

    Yeah, in fact let’s all celebrate Fabregas leaving so we could get Arteta, what a stroke of luck! You’re delusionally clutching at straws.

  48. whoops says:

    Let’s hope RVP leaves, so Arsene can bring in Darren Bent, he always tries very hard. Its symptomatic of the decline Of Arsenal that you are putting a spin on this instead of demanding the best players. How much is your season ticket?

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    whoopsy – you not really understanding the post. Nobody is comparing the two Spaniards. Just so you understand: Arteta is filling a different hole than the one Fabregas left behind. Now go and read it again and come back with a more considered response. 🙂

  50. whoops says:

    I read the post and agree Arteta is ok and committed but it seems Arsenal win a few games and celebrate the fact they are all good players but not, apart from RVP, great players. I would rather have players who are world class like Balotelli and Tevez instead of Arteta and Theo who give 100% but wont win trophies. True, Parlour, Flamini etc weren’t blessed with great skill and are similar players, but they were surrounded by players who were, unlike bringing in Arteta when Fabregas left. And Arsenal fans are supposed to be happy with this?That’s my point!

  51. robbinURpersie says:

    fine piece off work Total,

    just quickly in regards to the transfer of Arteta, i believe that Everton were and are in dire straights when talking financial issues..

    what they have lacked in recent seasons past is a centre forward, a goal poach, and a go to man to play with cahill and they aquired that man from Rangers for 6mil (for some reason saha wasnt working and i expect his wage bill was a thorn in their side)..

    For this to have happened moyes needed to decide which midfield player (because they had depth in that area) he could release..

    i believe all offers and options were on the table as an insurance for jelavics transfer, including rodwell, fellaini etc..i also believe that the situation would have been known by all parties including Arteta as to the many factors that may or may not have contributed to this deal..

    Even the fans recognised the situation n till this day hold Arteta ( a true proffessional) in high regards..still to this day i amagine arteta going to moyes in the dying minutes like a teenager to its mother jumping in hope..”can i, can i dad, daa-ad please pretty please can i go play at THE HOME OF FOOTBALL” 🙂

    So now everyone happy…..except superarsenal TV 😉

  52. robbinURpersie says:

    *mother and father*

  53. Rasp says:

    Hi whoops, as TA has already said, Arteta wasn’t being compared to Cesc.

    I’m sure most Arsenal supporters would say that Cesc at his best was virtually irreplaceable. However, I would argue that Arteta this season has contributed as much to the team as Cesc did last.

  54. Nick says:

    Arteta is a great squad player. Shame he’s never player for the Spanish senior squad but they are overflowing with talented midfielders. I agree with Rasp, Arteta to me has done as much this year as Cesc did in his final season with us whilst pining away for Catalan country.

    Has anyone read the latest from Chamakh?
    “Am I going back to Bordeaux? For now, no. I have spoken to Wenger and I will stay at Arsenal. I think he trusts my work and I will have opportunities in the first team.

    “I left Bordeaux to improve as a player and I think I can continue for this club. My agents have been ordered to reject bids that come from other clubs because I want to prove I can be useful for the Gunners.”

    To be believed? I hope not! We need to make room in the squad for Podolski/Giroud etc.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Whoops, thanks for last comment, which makes sense to me. I dont think we need 11 great players to win something. You only have to look at the Manc clubs to provide the evidence for my view. One is stuffed to the rafter with expensive great players and will win nothing again this year and the other have just a few great players, and will win the league this year. I really believe Arsenal have the best squad other than Citeh and we have been going through a transitional year.

    Let’s see how Arsenal perform against Citeh on Sunday to see how this post-Fabregas Arsenal has developed over the last 8 months. I think you will be surprised how good our team is.

  56. RockyLives says:

    Excellent piece as always TA.

    I agree with every word. Arteta has been a great bit of business for us and has been consistently good all season.

  57. Gooner In Exile says:

    Re the traitor vs free to go analogy I think you have to consider whether that player has given you as a fan all they could before leave? Did they engineer their leave? Did the manager/club give his consent?

    Look at Eduardos welcome home, the same will be true of Eboue if he is lucky enough to come back, Henry too. They served the club well, I don’t even remember Viera getting a horrible reception. They didn’t all win something for us.

  58. goonermichael says:

    Whoops
    Whoops 🙂

    It actually gets boring when every blog writes about demanding the best players everyday. There’s only so many ways you can say it.

    You could write one though and I’m sure the administrators of this site would publish it providing it wasn’t inflammatory

  59. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Re. your 1:40 on composition of teams, I have a suggestion of how that can be viewed regarding the type of players any Arsenal team should have.

    I am going to outrageously paraphrase a well known criteria commonly used by military people when reviewing commissioned officers. It takes a bit of thinking about, but at core it is a very good template. 🙂

    All professional players must have achieved a certain level of skill, but you can then further sub-divide all players into four types:
    — the gifted; the lazy; the hard working; and the stupid.

    In addition to the basic skill level, each player possesses at least two of these additional qualities.

    A player who is gifted and lazy is suited for the high post of Arsenal captain, as he has the temperament and the nerve to deal with all eventualities.
    [Gifted delegation]

    Players who are gifted and hard working are the backbone of any Arsenal team.
    [capable and reliable]

    Players who are lazy and stupid can be coached to achieve great things.
    [told what to do – made to do it]

    But players who are stupid and hard working are a menace and should never be permitted to play for arsenal.
    [Incapable of learning – works hard at screwing up]

    The bracketed synopses are merely suggestions, and you may have your own.

    Can anyone identify players who belong in a particular group? 🙂

  60. goonermichael says:

    I’ve read a couple of reports that the mancs wanted Podolski but he preferred our style of play. I know this could be made up to wind them up but isn’t it funny how many times we go head to head with united on players?

    Ronaldo
    Smalling
    Jones
    Ramsey
    Oxlade Chamberlain
    Podolski

    There’s a post in there somewhere

  61. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great post TA. Arteta has certainly exceeded my expectations. when we first bought him my immediate reaction was a poor mans Fabregas, but no. He is an experienced, inteligent pro, links defence with attack and as you say, likes a bit of Vacum Cleaning…i should invite him round to my gaff, it needs a bit of a vac.

    The thing is though, and ime second guessing Wengers mind here, but i dont believe that Arsene sees Arteta as a starter next year, but here comes the contoversial bit, i think this also applys to Song. The reasons are these. Arsene belives in balance and wants a left footer in the middle, step up Jack Wilshere. Hes also obsessed in possession, so step up this kid M’vila. (looks a great player to me). Next season will be very interesting in terms of that middle area, and ones thing for sure, Arsene will have many options.

  62. Red Arse says:

    Dandan,

    I am sorry I had previously missed your 12:33.

    I have to say, I do not recognise the comments you made regarding your own abilities.

    The perceptions of peer groups are often very telling, and I am happy to posit an opinion I am sure will be shared by all at AA.

    Without doubt you are a doyen of AA and accorded great respect by us all for your consistently upbeat, intelligent Posts and comments, together with your intuitive and pragmatic assessments of Arsenal’s, so called, disastrous results.

    You do this in a way that is immediately understood by all, without embellishments, other than a large helping of humor, and all this while dealing with acutely personal family health issues.

    That — is the Dandan I recognise, and I commend you for it! 🙂

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    RA 🙂

    It would be a lot easier to ask ourselves who are not gifted, reliable and hard working at Arsenal, and still in our 25-players squad. I’d say Squilaci (not reliable enough) and Chamakh (not gifted enough). Over to you, Sir!

  64. GunnerN5 says:

    From The Islington Gazette.

    Here is absolute proof of how the Arsenal Stewards mute the atmosphere at the Emirtates

    ………………………………………………………………………….

    Sit down or stand up?

    After two Arsenal fans were banned from football having refused to sit down at a match, we ask:

    Should terracing be reintroduced at grounds to allow fans to stand during games?

    Poll Results.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………….

    Yes – fans should stand and it’s time to bring terracing back 54 %.

    No – terracing is unsafe and it’s better to sit for games anyway 24 %.

    Undecided on terracing but fans should stand if they want 23 %.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………..

    “In the bar area, James became very aggressive towards a police officer. He had to be restrained by several officers.

    “It didn’t have to happen, it was as simple as persistent standing. They did not take kindly to being told to sit and it spiralled into something from there. They have no one to blame but themselves.”

    James, 34, of Thirlmere Gardens, Northwood, was banned from all football matches for five years after being found guilty of two public order offences at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on March 19, for abusive behaviour and causing fear of violence. He was told to pay out a total of £665 in fines and other charges.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Terry,

    Interesting point about next season’s midfield. Arteta and Song have earned themselves the two ‘DM’ positions and I cannot see it change much next season. Have to think about your ‘balance’ comment though. I just cannot see us buying another defensive midfielder, unless Song is being sold this summer, which is unlikely if you ask me.

    Song, le Coq and le Pong to fight for DM position 1, and Arteta, Ramsey and Ozyakop to fight for DM position 2, with Jack, Rosicky and maybe the Ox competing for the Attacking Midfielder role… Does not sound that bad to me! 🙂

  66. Gooner In Exile says:

    GN5 that’s not absolute proof of anything except one fan was aggressive towards a police officer in a football ground and received a ban. Unexpected? Not really.

    Now here’s the thing if they’d asked me to sit down and I was in the family enclosure (assume blocking view of kids), if I was standing near and taunting the away fans and the atmosphere was getting tense I’d probably accept his request. If however I was stood behind the goal with a group of fans I’d probably refuse….would I get thrown out….well I haven’t so far.

    I was recently told to sit down when at the very back row of the Clock End Upper during the Villa FA Cup comeback….I again smiled and refused asking who’s view I was blocking, he left us all to it.

    The article gives no context….but I must admit I have never felt I was over stewarded (new word) or policed, but recognise the stewards often have a difficult job in the Clock End near the away fans.

  67. Gooner In Exile says:

    TA and TMHT that debate will run and run. But it’s also further reason why Arteta at 28/29 is a good fit for our current squad, along with RvP, Sagna, Merts and TR7 he brings a maturity to an otherwise young and experienced squad.

    In the next two/three years those players will provide a great deal of experience to the youngsters you both mention. After that the world will be the oyster for the current 19-22 year olds amassing at the club.

    Whilst I think we are well set at the back and in midfield in those age groups the one area we are yet to see exciting potential is up front, I know Silva and Afobe are in that age group but until we see them display it for us at the top level there is a question mark.

  68. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE;

    Your view – to which you are entitled, others on here have voiced very different opinions on the over vealous stewards.

  69. Red Arse says:

    GIE,

    As I read the full report in the local paper, there were two brothers involved. They had been drinking and were both the worse for wear apparently. They accosted a steward after someone complained they could not see and he requested them to sit down.

    One brother punched a police officer…………….end of.

    TA, as it was quiet, I thought I would suggest a different way of looking at team selection.

    As you know, from your Human Resources training, there have been various studies done showing, for example, that a group of Chief Executive Officers, having been set a simple task to do, failed miserably in resolving the problem because they all wanted to make the decisions and issue the instructions, but no one wanted to be the ideas man; or the ‘go for’ guy; — basically no team work! 🙂

    This applied to other ‘same set groups’ of accountants, personnel types etc, too! 🙂

    I thought it might be useful to show that having a team of ‘stars’ or 11 RVPs or 11 Kozzers would be a similarly unproductive solution.
    We need a ‘water carrier’, an industrious box to box player, a creative player, and a mixture of different physical attributes.

    I feel in my bones that at Arsenal we still have a number of very similar players in the team, either physically or with similar skill sets, both in midfield and dare I say it — in defence too (the Jolly German Giant excluded).

    On the other hand, your suggestions, Squid and Cham, are physically different and with different abilities, but are basically lacking the required skill sets! 🙂

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA, yes you are right: we need variety and your exercise is a useful one. Let’s say everybody is fit and the Pod has signed for us, and we signed one more £20m top attacker on top of what we have (and nobody of our top players is sold). It’s the summer and Arsene had time with the team to prepare for the new season. Would you agree we would have everything we need:

    Experience/Reliability: The BFG, Santos, Arteta, Podolski, Rosicky

    Quality – top players with experience: Szczesny, RvP, Song, Koz, Vermaelen, Theo, Sagna, new top signing in attack.

    Top Talent with some experience: Wilshere, The Ox, Ramsey, Gervinho, Gibbs, Diaby (in this group because of long injuries)

    New top talent: Ryo, Jenkinson, le Coq, Miquel, Frimpong, Ozyakop, Campbell.

    I hope I have not forgotten anybody, but with the above players and a fresh start we have the balance and skills set to make it all the way next season.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, to say it another way: there would be a good balance between water carriers, flair players, experienced players, fighters, leaders, winners and pure gems/talents. 🙂

    But i reckon from your comments today that you are not convinced about this…?

  72. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    That is lip smackingly good when you see the lists like that, and I cannot fault the distribution! Maybe we will also get M’Vila or similar as a hardman in midfield.

    And that would leave plenty of room in the 25 man squad for back up players, excluding the Under 21’s.

    Well done. Not that I expected anything different from you!! 🙂

  73. GunnerN5 says:

    For the record here is the complete report from the the “very local” Islington Gazzete.
    There’s no mention of them accosting a steward or being the worse for wear or punching a policeman………….. If they had punched a policeman they would have, at best, got a suspended sentance. End of what?

    Here is the report.
    ………………………………………………………………………………..

    Arsenal fans banned from the Emirates Stadium and all football after refusing to sit down

    by Tom Marshall Monday, April 2, 2012
    5:58 PM

    Two Arsenal fan brothers will not be visiting the Emirates Stadium any time soon after they were banned in the courts after refusing to sit down.
    Hot-tempered Gooners James and Colin Hogan have been barred from all football matches for a total of eight years after matters spiralled out of control during the Arsenal versus Man City match on November 29, 2011.

    The pair got hauled out of the stands after getting angry and causing a rumpus when stewards told them they couldn’t keep standing.

    Police had to jump in to restrain them, but they resisted arrest.

    Pc Lucy McAuley, of Islington Police’s football intelligence unit, speaking after the sentencing, said: “It started off very minor. A steward had to have a word with them for standing up and they reacted very badly and became abusive.

    “In the bar area, James became very aggressive towards a police officer. He had to be restrained by several officers.

    “It didn’t have to happen, it was as simple as persistent standing. They did not take kindly to being told to sit and it spiralled into something from there. They have no one to blame but themselves.”

    James, 34, of Thirlmere Gardens, Northwood, was banned from all football matches for five years after being found guilty of two public order offences at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on March 19, for abusive behaviour and causing fear of violence. He was told to pay out a total of £665 in fines and other charges.

    Brother Colin, 33, also of Thirlmere Gardens, was convicted of one count of abusive behaviour, but he was cleared of a second charge, relating to causing fear of violence. He was barred from attending football games for three years and handed a bill of £465. Both men denied the all charges they faced.

    Pc McAuley added: “The football ban should send a clear message that police will not tolerate disruptive behaviour, before, during or after any matches.”

  74. Red Arse says:

    Ta,

    I must have given you the wrong impression. I feel there has been a similarity in certain areas for a couple of seasons now, but what I should have added is that the team/squad are evolving and the signs are very positive for the future, as the mix is changing nicely.

    We have both accepted the departure of AA from the squad, altho oddly enough he meets the criteria for being a top rate captain/top rank army officer, as per my template. [skillful, gifted and lazy] Maybe the Russian army will have him!! 🙂

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, the rumours on M’Vila keep returning. I don’t know what to make of it. I have noticed that the top posts on NewsNow virtually always cover transfer rumour stories rather than football stories, which tells its own story. It would be great if we could sign him though!

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    I don’t think he would have lasted a day in Kutuzov army! 🙂

    RA, you are right, we have missed a dimension this season, and I cannot help thinking that if we had had at least one of Diaby or JW fit in each and every game we would have had an extra dimension. Add to that our bad luck in the FB area this season, it is still amazing we are third at the moment. The signs for the future are indeed very positive 🙂

  77. Red Arse says:

    TA, I have only seen M’Vila play once in the French Ligue.

    Not much to go on, I know, but even so, he made a favourable impression on me, and I want to believe it is possible we will get him, because he seemed a no-nonsense tough nut to me, and I think he would stop us getting bullied against the likes of Stoke and QPR.

    Bit worried that the reported transfer fee is a little high — but Arsene might just surprise us and splash out!! 🙂

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, I also like the look of Fulham’s Dembele. He looks like a great DM but is played in a too advanced position at Fulham imo.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, where are you mate? Are you hiding because you did not mind QPR beating us as long as we become third?! We wont blame you……YET! 😆

  80. Red Arse says:

    TA, after a terrifyingly poor start to the season has been transformed by Arsene and the boys, I have every expectation that we will kick some butt next year.

    Even disappointing blips like the QPR result have not changed my mind on that.

    When you see the names in your list and the prospect of one or two quality additions and, as you say, the return of L’il Jack and hopefully a fully functioning Diaby I cannot wait for next season to start!! 🙂

  81. Red Arse says:

    VCC, in the absence of Evonne and her Cuckoo Club members, we could do with some of your good humor!! 🙂

  82. LB says:

    What a beautifully crafted post, an absolute joy to read.

    TA

    I enjoyed that so much I want to savour every point you make so with that in mind can I politely ask you to sort out the sentence under the second picture. I want to comment on your view of what role Arteta has taken up this season but before I do I want to make sure I understand exactly what you are saying. Thanks

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Arsenal Arsenal is somehow not the same without the tattooed belly popping up now and again! 🙂

    Out for a while now, till later! 🙂

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers LB,

    I’ll do my best:

    was:

    ‘Arteta has occupied Wilshere’s position last season, instead: the one next to Song as ‘the second DM’, and he has been a revelation.’

    Should be:

    Instead of the AM role, Arteta has been occupying the position in which Wilshere played during last season – the one next to Song as ‘the second DM’, where he has been a revelation’.

    Hope this works for you.

    I will reply to any comments later. 🙂

  85. evonnethegunner says:

    London – are you back for good or just a flying visit?

  86. Hi all

    First chance to look in sadly …………

    Great post TA and thanks for taking the time to write one for us, going to read the comments now.

    We do need posts for tomorrow and the next few days – including Saturday so if you have one up your sleeve please send it in 😉

  87. LB says:

    Thanks TA

    Yep, I agree with that as well.

    There is such a growing swell of belief that Wilshere will play a more attacking role next season, a view I do not share, that I might put the brakes on a tad to see just what will happen. Although as things stand I see Wilshere sharing the role with Arteta next season.

  88. LB – I see what you mean, it must be something lost in translation, hopefully TA will have a look at it again.

  89. LB says:

    Evonne

    I dip in and dip out, I shared the match report with Peaches on Sunday.

  90. evonnethegunner says:

    Sorry Peaches, I would, but I have a fence to build 🙂

  91. LB says:

    Peaches

    TA sorted it at 5.40.

  92. Ooops, dealt with while I wasn’t looking 😳

    evonnethegunner – welcome home 🙂

  93. LB says:

    I am going through a ‘Civil Wars’ phase right now, I can’t stop playing them, the track ‘Barton Hollow’ is so good

  94. evonnethegunner says:

    London, I know, I was away last week but read it today, excellent, of course 🙂 can we have more please?

  95. Arsenalista says:

    Good post TA.

    Arteta reminds me of a player who was in the team when I started watching them, Paul Davis.

    He uses a different foot but reminds me of Davis cool passing in a tight situation, intelligent positional play and timing. I deep lying passer.

    When Arsenal won the title in 1991 he was , dependable, consistent and elegant and to me Arteta is the same but because he is neither a traditional holding man or a out and out creator a lot of his work goes under the radar.

    He keeps Arsenal ticking over. He is always availible for anyone in trouble and this to me is the hall mark of a real team player.

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    LB, you have been consistent in your doubts about JW playing in the attacking midfielder position as soon as he is fit again. His speed of thinking, ability to see the bigger picture, his accurate passing, including ‘eye of the needle’ through-balls and his ability to go past defenders in order to create space and options make him a strong candidate for it.

    The one doubt I have, is his finishing / ability to score goals himself at this early stage of his career. The big question for me is whether it is needed for him to score a certain number of goals or whether he can suffice with focussing on setting up attacks and making a large number of assists. With Theo scoring more and Gervinho’s scoring potential, and possibly Podolski joining us, and obviously RvP continuing doing a good job, the need for JW scoring a lot of goals might not be as strong as we would expect.

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Arsenalista, you are right, he is the ultimate team player.

  98. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Quick hello from me. Hello.
    If anyone here has watched Real Madrid this season, how good is Ozil as an AM? Is he Cescy, or what?

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Come on, hurry up!

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    While I’m waiting, Arteta has a pathetic right hook compared to Paul Davis 🙂

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    Micky, Ozil is neither kaka nor is he Fabregastic. But what would you expect under Mourinho?!

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Allez Marseille!!

    Off the watch the footie!

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Total,
    Maureen plays 4-2-3-1. His front four do look exciting on paper. So I’m guessing Ozil does something right.
    Anyway, I’m working on a brilliant theory, hence the call for help.

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    …..Benzema
    DiMary Ozil LadyBoy

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Final question, does he ever play Higuain and Benzema at the same time (from the start)?
    I’ll be correcting your answers in the morning.
    Goodnight.

  106. Irishgunner says:

    Barcelona players should get booked every time they wave those imaginary cards of theirs – its disgusting. Vile creatures are Barcelona players – want them to win tonight, smash Chelsea and then lose to Real Madrid (who I also detest but Mourinho’s smugness at beating Barcelona to the League and European Double would delight me) or preferably Bayern Munich.

  107. VCC says:

    Total & Red Arse = Thankyou for your kind words, it’s nice to feel liked.

    Smashing post Total as always, so enjoyable reading you and others on this truly enjoyable Arsenal site.

    I still try and keep up with AA but have been so busy with work commitments lately.

    Yes I did take some flak over the QPR game, especially from one certain member, but I can,t hide the fact I have a soft spot for them.

    I have refrained from commenting on the game, but as I said earlier, as long as we finish third I want QPR to stay up. After all I am a proud Londoner, that’s why I hate the likes of Manchester United.

    They were always a family type club and have had some great players. Stan Bowles and Rodney Marsh being two of my favourites.

    So annoyed I chickened out when I had a chance of a trial in the late sixties. What memories they might have been.

    Keep up the good work Total, and hope our paths meet once more soon.

  108. Irishgunner says:

    GunnerPunner ‏ @gunnerpunner Reply Retweeted Favorite · Open
    UEFA fine Arsene Wenger €40,000 for shouting at a referee. UEFA fine FC Porto €20,000 for their fans making racist chants. Seems fair…

  109. Irishgunner says:

    Barcelona are so vomit inducing – glad to see the boy that lacks balls (Fabregas) has learnt the skill of going down as if one was shot by a sniper. What a vile little club.

  110. chas says:

    Great post, TA. I think Arteta has been a great signing and you have done him justice.

    VCC,
    I hope you don’t mean me and that silly hippo video.

    I don’t want the chavs to reach the CL final but still find myself wanting Milan to shake up the catalans. Crazy. Barca have too many good players to need the help of UEFA and the refs as well.

  111. chas says:

    Irish, you always come out and say exactly how I feel on these CL nights.

  112. chas says:

    What’s the odds on a Messi penalty hat-trick?

  113. Irishgunner says:

    Chas – Wouldn’t bet against it.

    How do neutral fans, pundits, ex-players, current players, appeal to the masses to love Barcelona? Cheating, diving, sniveling c**** is all they are.

    The first one definitely a penalty – so they get that and what do they do? Surround the referee and look for a red card. Boy with no balls joining in with the “I’m after been shot when a gust of wind hits me” brigade.

    Puyol tried to rugby tackle Nesta but nah nah, can’t be touching the beloved Barcelona.

  114. VCC says:

    If that had happened at the other end do you think it would have been a penalty fro Mi
    An.

    I think not.

  115. Irishgunner says:

    And everyone seems to forget RvP’s red card there … but, nah, no bias, they are footballing genius 🙄

  116. evonnethegunner says:

    That Messi is a freak, how can anyone be that good?
    What is he like off the pitch, seems a very nice boy actually, down to earth and unpretentious. Simple hair style and no earrings, I like that

  117. SharkeySure says:

    Frankly…I’m almost speechless. Not really sure how best to describe a post as fantastic as that.

    The comparisons, the descriptions, the analogies…all masterful.

  118. VCC says:

    Shit

  119. SharkeySure says:

    Well said ETG/L FHWP….

    No stupid tattoos either !!!

    Fair do’s something tasteful and meaningful, but those hideous sleeve things do my head in. Or tattoos that people have to show off all the time by wearing shorts, short sleeves, etc.

  120. Irishgunner says:

    Its easy to be good when you’re not allowed to be tackled.

    Don’t get me wrong, Messi is a great player, but he plays in La Liga where tough tackling is not existent and in Europe he is over protected.

  121. evonnethegunner says:

    Hi Sharkey
    I wish we could show the world this picture of Spurs flag. I have not laughed so much for ages 🙂 i asked Chas to do his magic, but he’s busy now

    Do you think Messi is a nice guy in private? He looks it, don’t you think?

  122. evonnethegunner says:

    Evening Irish
    Even the tackling he takes well, he is only small, but doesn’t seem to overdo the pain, never. Gets up and runs again

  123. Irishgunner says:

    Tattoos are never stupid as long as they mean something to the person SS – sure, some idiots get them to look “KEWL” but for others – like myself – they are a statement. And sleeves are nice – give me a man/woman with a lovely bit of art on their body than a fucking oompa loompa that acts like some whore from The Only Way Is Essex.

  124. Irishgunner says:

    He has a good center of gravity. I dunno, I’m not into the Messi wankfest. I’m not for a second not saying he isn’t a top player, but he has never ever excited me like Bergkamp did, or Zidane did – never knew what those guys would do. But Messi – chips the keeper, yip-fucking-ee.

  125. dandan says:

    Irish you are in fine ranting form tonight, remind me not to upset you 🙂

  126. chas says:

    Evonne, what did you ask me to do and when?

  127. evonnethegunner says:

    Chas – fabulous, the first one is my all times favourite 🙂 Cheers for that!

    Irish – I like discreet tattoos and always wanted one, just not brave enough and too worried what others would think. So you have them, you love them, good for you!

  128. Irishgunner says:

    😆 Dandan – like any woman, once you get me going … 😆

  129. Irishgunner says:

    EVT – Why would you be worried about what others think? If you have belief in your own convictions then others opinion shouldn’t matter. Its like religion – I don’t care what others think, I don’t believe in a god or an afterlife and I don’t care what others think.

    Man, if I worried about what other people thought of me I’d never do anything 😆 As it is, I’m going to see the Backstreet Boys in two weeks and I’m going to take a “I ❤ U Nick Carter" banner and if people don't like it, they can shove it up their holes 🙂

  130. Irishgunner says:

    P.S. – EVT – they don’t hurt 🙂

  131. evonnethegunner says:

    Chas – that Spuds picture, didn’t I ask you to try to blog it? I might have forgotten, sorry 🙂

    Dandan – I have read today that Pani Ania was very poorly, but is on the mend now. I am happy to hear that!

  132. evonnethegunner says:

    Irish – last question darling – how on earth do you move a cat into another room?? Lilly La La has ‘her’ bedroom, which I would like to reclaim, but she is not having any of it! What do I do???

  133. Irishgunner says:

    Does she have a blanket or bed she sleeps on Evonne? If she does, try moving that to the new room and she should settle into it. That will have her scent – cats are like dogs when it comes to territory.

  134. SharkeySure says:

    Alright Irish, my fave is a bloke who coaches in my sons footie league. He has his boys face tattooed on his calf. No matter what the weather, this guy has thre quarter length trousers on. Oh…. and his little prince is captain of the side – obviously.

    When I think of Arsenal tattoos, names or dates….I have a liitle more understanding.

    What I don;t like is how some things suddenly become oh so fashionable. Whether its the sudden need to wear converse trainers or plimsolls, when most wouldn’t have been seen dead in them five years ago, or the need to wear jeans or trousers half way down an arse.

    Tattoos seem to have gone the same way in the last few years for so many ‘sheeple’. I bet some of the real tattoo diehards are spewing about that.

    It was my birthday on Sat gone …maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy??

  135. dandan says:

    Thanks Evonne,

    Irish, I don’t think I have ever been brave or stupid enough to get a woman as volatile as you going… I prefer you as a friend…. besides I suspect you can also run fast 🙂

  136. dandan says:

    Sharkey. Time was when a tatoo’d man was an attraction at the fair or the seaside in this country, now many footballers have them by the mile 🙂

  137. Irishgunner says:

    SS – I actually agree with you fully on that. I was getting my Arsenal tattoo and this girl was there getting her 5th tattoo, I asked her what she was getting and she said “I’ll just look through the book” – those people are not for me when it comes to tattoos, they usually regret it. So you’re not old and grumpy – and a belated happy birthday 😀

    Dandan – Surprisingly I only get this wound up about football ha ha most other things I’d walk away from cos I couldn’t be arsed 😆

  138. SharkeySure says:

    “Why would you be worried about what others think?”

    Agreed 100% Irish. I’m uin the throes of driling that imnto my 11 yr old, as he’s off to big school in Sept.

    He was over the moon with his new trainers (F50’s?). I teased him about how shit they looked, and I was over the moon when he said ‘thats your opinion – I like them’. Good lad 🙂

  139. Irishgunner says:

    SS – Exactly. As long as you hurt no-one with your opinions/beliefs/likes (i.e. be racist/homophobic etc., – just uneducated/badly educated or plain stupid) then don’t mind other people’s opinions. As they say “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”

    Katja Quist ‏ @KatjaQuist Reply Retweeted Favorite · Open
    THIS RT @ILoveReal: Ronaldo showboating: wow, what an arrogant asshole. Messi showboating: OMG BRILLIANT GREATEST PLAYER EVER!!!!!

    Anyone else agree with this?

  140. goonermichael says:

    Well I’ll be supporting the chavs over that lot.

  141. SharkeySure says:

    Yep DD, thats exactly what I was getting at.

    Time was you’d never get a decent job with any tattoos. Now we have maintenance men visiting our building in short sleeves showing tattoos off.

    Tattoos on necks. Why..??

    Perhaps you could get one celebrating Mrs DD’s recovery…?? (thats fantastic news by the way…..)

  142. SharkeySure says:

    “I’ll just look through the book”

    Oh dear….

    Is she related to the Irish (or Greek) Finance minister by any chance..??

  143. Irishgunner says:

    Dandan – That is great about your wife 🙂

  144. goonermichael says:

    I’ve got the sound turned off and jamie redknapp is still annoying me.

    I nearly punched a cyclist today. I hope a bus goes over his head.

  145. SharkeySure says:

    NOt really Irish..I think Messi is a breath of fresh air in top football these days.

    He seems humble, plays for the team, and doesn’t seem affectetd by any of the hype. I simply can’t imagine Messi showboating

    Ronaldo is another kettle of fish altogether.

  146. goonermichael says:

    He’s a diver though sharkey. And ugly. Ronaldo is quite handsome from the nose up

  147. dandan says:

    Thank you Irish/Sharkey, it has been quite humbling the generosity of spirit shown by the AA’ers to someone who is after all, just an electronic acquaintance to most of them. My wife has had a blood transfusion today to help perk her up and hopefully she will be home this week.

  148. chas says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Sharkey.

  149. Irishgunner says:

    SS – He was doing keepy-uppys in the Milan penalty box in injury time, I’d say that’s showboating 🙂

  150. SharkeySure says:

    “I’ve got the sound turned off and jamie redknapp is still annoying me.”

    You’ve gotta put all your pithy one liners in a book GM, you really must. Comedy gold.

    Gary Neville has put every single pundit before him to shame, with the exception of Keown, Dixon and Clarence Seedorf (BBC for SA WC).

  151. dandan says:

    Sharkey His brother was the pundit on 5live (BBC Radio) this week and he did a pretty good job too.

  152. Irishgunner says:

    Dandan – that’s great and I hope she’ll be home to you this week and continues on her road of recovery. You bring her tea when she wants it or I’ll have to start my ranting again – 😆

  153. SharkeySure says:

    Messi ugly..?? Really. He just looks plain to me.

    If its the three touches i think I saw (left side of the box?) Irish, then we may just have to agree to differ….again.

  154. Rasp says:

    Evening all,

    We do not have a post for tomorrow – any ideas?

  155. SharkeySure says:

    Just had my stream freeze with Redknapp mid sentence on screen….it was horrible, really horrible.

  156. Irishgunner says:

    SS – Keown is on Irish television for CL of a Tuesday, including tonight, and he talks some rubbish from time to time, although to be fair he has to share a couch with Tony Cascarino.

  157. Irishgunner says:

    SS – I am in an anti-Barca mode this evening ha ha I’m not as into Messi as a lot of people are, but I’ve nothing against him other than who he plays for 😆

  158. Irishgunner says:

    Rasp – Writing something, it might be shite but I’ll give it a go.

  159. TotalArsenal says:

    Sharkey, you have been sharp again this evening. Top stuff 🙂

    Irish, you are free to have an opinion and I know from your comments on AA that you understand football very well. What I cannot understand is how you cannot see that Messi is a phenomenal footballer with a fantastic attitude. If you love football, it is simply impossible not to love what Messi does on a pitch. What has he done that makes you not want to see it?

  160. Irishgunner says:

    TA – I never said I didn’t want to see it, or I never said he’s not a top player. I just don’t find him exciting – he dribbles a bit and then chips the keeper. I like the Bergkamps, Zidanes and Ronaldinho in his prime – where they would pull something totally and utterly unusual out of the bag.

    As it is, I’ve always favoured defenders and all round midfielders anyway. Maldini, Baresi, Schweinsteiger, Redondo – those are the players that enthrall me.

  161. Irishgunner says:

    Don’t think its because of my dislike of Barcelona, when Manchester United beat Chelsea to the Champions League a few years back, I stood in the pub in my Arsenal shirt and appalled Ryan Giggs as he lifted the trophy because he is a model professional on the field and a truly class player.

  162. TotalArsenal says:

    Irish, ok I can see where you are coming from. The only thing to add is that Messi would be a brilliant, classic 4-4-2 attacking midfielder too if Barca would play him there.

  163. Irishgunner says:

    TA – Yeah, its nothing against him, but I do wonder what his tally would be if he played in a league where teams actually defend. He does it in Europe I know, but he gets a lot of protection and has a great team around him. Its hard to tell you where I’m coming from without sounding disingenuous towards the player.

  164. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Forget Messi, i give you “Diego Amando Maradona”.

    The Good- Best player ive ever seen. juggles a peanut and finishes by eating it. Wins world cups on his own. Goes past hatchet men defenders and leaves them crying with frustration, a footballing God for sure.

    The Bad- A horrible cheat, evidenced by the fact that he looks like Suarez’s dodgy uncle. Cheated England at the world cup, and has never apologised.

    The Ugly- sex and drug crazed lunatic (not so bad after all hahahaha). the kind of guy who sits at his window shooting passers by with an airgun, scoffs his face with burgers whilst his at it, and then suffers cardiac arrest and then pleads his innocence to the ambulance crew.

    Messi- best player since Maradona…….Loves his mum.

  165. GunnerN5 says:

    Irishgunner,

    Re; your 10:35.

    Take a look at the way you spelt the word before Ryan Giggs, a really funny slip up….

  166. Gooner In Exile says:

    Re Messi the bloke is an unbelievable footballer, and what makes him unbelievable is to make the game look so god damn easy. We can all watch that and show it to our kids and say there you go that’s how you play football.

    When I played a bit of 6-a-side a couple of years back we had this one youngster (about 17/18) turn up who was all Ronaldo step overs and flicks, but he couldn’t pass the ball 5 yards, couldn’t spot a pass and didn’t know how to cope with someone actually tackling him. A team of middle aged and overweight has beens easily beat his team of younger fitter glory boys.

    Messi, Iniesta and Xavi keep football simple.

  167. Irishgunner says:

    “Congratulations to UEFAlona” is trending on Twitter 😆

  168. Irishgunner says:

    😆 GN5 – appalled at myself for applauding a Manc 😆 Good spot 🙂

  169. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Irish, Messi can do it against anyone, I have really no doubt about it. His ability to keep the ball so close to his body, with such speed and a brilliant first touch as well, are second to none. Best I have ever seen. On top of that come his incredible strength, helped by his great centre of gravity, his accurate shooting and passing and his ability to start an attack with an entire defence in front of him, taking on players and beating them with such ease. Very, very few players can do that. Yes he plays in a good team that is build around him, but that goes without saying with such a phenomenal talent. He really is the best footballer I have ever seen.

  170. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Baahhhh, Maradona would have made mince meat of Messi. he would have left Mexes on his butt, rounded Abati, and before tapping the ball in, would have indulged in the finest line of coke known to man.At the final whistle he would have celebrated in the milan players faces, slyly kicked Ibrahimovith in the balls, and then gone down like a sack of potatoes with no one near him…..Messi’s a great player though.

  171. Irishgunner says:

    Maldini is the best player I’ve ever seen TA – defenders must love me 😆 I stick up for their art all the time ha ha

  172. TotalArsenal says:

    Second penalty for Barca was a soft one and should not have been given. Also felt that Robinho did not handle the ball when he went through on goal with only the keeper to beat. But Milan never really believed in it and could not keep the tempo up to surprise Barca. The second half was quite tedious and it reinforced my believe that the best football is often seen in October and November of any given year, rather than in the final months of the season.

    Also do not think Fabregas is playing in the right position atm at Barca. He is wasted there: far too advanced for his key skills – he should sit a bit more back and pick the passes to open up defences.

  173. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry, you have a very romantic view of the past!

    Irish, yeah Maldini was a fine player too. But could it be that those twinkly eyes had you a little bit hypnotised at times? 😀

  174. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Not romance TA, Messis a great player and a nice guy, but hes like a cardboard cut out. Maradona was a great player, hero, villian, and lunatic….i cant help but like those sort of people. hahahaha

  175. Irishgunner says:

    Not a dot TA – now, I’d never ever kick him out of bed, more a chance I’d tie him down to it 😆 but he was an absolute incredible player to watch.

    My favourite moment was when they played Real Madrid in the CL at the San Siro. Figo had a head start on him going down the right wing (Maldini’s left) – Maldini caught up with him, did nothing stupid, just stuck with him, saw his chance, nicked the ball away and cleared it – Figo kicked out at him in frustration. Maldini was never a dirty player, and he had some head for reading the game. I’ve openly admitted a few times to having Milan jerseys – they all have Maldini on the back though 😆 I even have a Italian one as well ha ha

  176. Irishgunner says:

    Rasp/Peaches – I’ve a post in drafts if ye need it for tomorrow.

  177. TotalArsenal says:

    He was a character Terry AND a brilliant player. This one is for you:

  178. TotalArsenal says:

    Irish, Maldini also played in a fantastic team, build around the best of Italian defensive football and Dutch attacking power. Like you I watched many of the Milan games, but I must admit it was mainly to see Rijkaard, Gullit and especially Van Basten. I also really liked Franco Baresi – what a beast!

  179. Irishgunner says:

    Bed time for me – talk to ye tomorrow evening, night all.

  180. TotalArsenal says:

    Night Irish 🙂

  181. Irishgunner says:

    TA – that was the side I grew up watching. In my younger days they showed a lot of Serie A on Irish tv and I used to watch it avidly. I loved Weah too, then this bloke called Ian Wright caught my eye 🙂

  182. goonermichael says:

    Irish “on the field” off the feild giggs is pure scum. If he was my brother he’d be playing football in a wheelchair.

    Maradonna for me any day. People wonder what messi would be like playing against stoke. I wonder what he’d be like playing for stoke.

    Nowadays everything is made out to be the best. It’s as if everything in the past was sub standard. Messi needs a World cup before he’s compared to Maradonna.

  183. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Interview http://dai.ly/Hm42Gs

  184. goonermichael says:

    Night Irish

  185. TotalArsenal says:

    I used to watch Football Italia (?) on Channel 4 in the early to mid nineties. They had a live games on Sunday early afternoons. Bergkamp, my favourite player at the time, played at Inter and it was sad to see how the Italian style of football totally did not suit him. Then he went to Arsenal and I had a similar experience to your Ian Wright one 🙂 Dennis found his home of football and so did I gradually. 🙂

    Good night, nice blogging with you.

  186. TotalArsenal says:

    GM, fair point, but what would Maradonna have been like playing for Stoke? Both would still be very good. It is the first time in my life I have actually said that is the best player I have ever seen. I never had a best player before.

  187. Gooner In Exile says:

    You can’t ask players to be great in a world cup to say they were the best of the best. Some might be unlucky through country of birth, they may be in a weak national side.

    Would Messi get in any team in the world? Simple answer yes, just like Eusebio, Pele, Puskas, Maradona, Best.

    Actually Best was probably as good of not better than every player mentioned above.

  188. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC – I almost forgot about your earlier comment. Would be good to meet up again before a game at the Tavern soon! Don’t let them work you too hard!

  189. goonermichael says:

    I’m watching “beyond the valley of the dolls” extremely camp but more enjoyable than watching messi. Fantastic hair. Women (in films) were a different (better) shape in the 60s.

    softcore lesbian scene atm

  190. TotalArsenal says:

    As the name would suggest GiE 🙂

  191. goonermichael says:

    George Weah GIE. I don’t think best was anywhere near Maradonna. I’m not an expert though.

    Weird seeing women without all the surgery and modifications

  192. goonermichael says:

    then end of this film is total wank

  193. goonermichael says:

    Looks like evryone’s gone. Night all

  194. evonnethegunner says:

    Morning all
    Chas at 10:10 and 10:11 – you did it!!! Thank you so much

    I took those pictures at the local rubbish depot, looks like spurs found a ground for the new stadium 🙂

  195. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Funny pics Evonne 🙂
    Reading through last nights’ comments, if I can take it that Cesc has joined the fake card waving brigade and it was as bad as people made out, then its Madrid to beat Barca in the final for me from now on.

  196. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Still delighted Barca won last night. Here’s why
    April 17 Barca Chelsea CL Semi
    April 21 Arsenal Chelsea PL
    April 23 Barca Chelsea CL Semi

  197. evonnethegunner says:

    Hi Micky, I told Peaches last night that I still love Cesc, but I want Barca to win nothing, that would learn them 🙂

    Have you read the debate about Messi? I think very highly of him and love his humble demeanour as much as I cannot stand Ronaldo’s self assurance

  198. evonnethegunner says:

    Micky – providing we can secure the 3rd spot, I would love the Chavs to win CL, here’s why

    1 ManU
    2 Shitty
    3 The Mighty
    4 Spuds

    Only first 3 qualify for the CL next season 🙂

  199. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    Although I love your thinking, I still want us to be the first London Club to lift ‘Ol Big Ears.

  200. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes, I like Messi. No poncey hair or tattoo’s. I know Irish is not around early, so I’m safe. As far as I’m concerned, they are for sailors, hard core rock’n’rollers and fat yobs.

  201. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Anyone on here with an Arsenal Tatt is obviously fine by me 🙂

  202. evonnethegunner says:

    Micky, ha ha ha
    The thing about tattoos I don’t understand is why have a tattoo on your back where you cannot see it? If I was to have one (only if you accompany me) I would have a lizard on my wrist. And our badge of course on my bicep

    True about the first London club with the CL cup, you confused me now

  203. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Now loading car, as heading off for the week shortly. Not sure about internet connection at the other end, so if its bad, have a great week all and give it a “come on you Gunners” from me on sunday.

  204. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    I left a post in drafts last Friday. Don’t worry if you think it’s too out of date now – feel free to bin it. I just wanted to be sure you had spotted it was there.

    Micky
    Have a great week. Somewhere nice?

  205. Rasp says:

    Morning Rocky
    Yes thanks, we were planning to use it tomorrow if that’s OK with you, we have an offering from Irish today. We like to space our Rocky gems a few days apart otherwise the readers will get spoilt 😛

  206. Rasp says:

    Enjoy your holiday Micky (in Ramsey country?) its work, work work for me this time of year although the Sunday trading laws do mean I’ll get to go to the city game on Sunday.

  207. RockyLives says:

    Cheers Rasp
    I’m on an eight hour flight shortly, but then I’ll be home so I can spend a bit more time chatting 🙂

    Laters.

  208. VCC says:

    evonne 8:26.

    Thank you, thats exactly where I have my cannon, on my right shoulder.

    Then I would not have a tattoo on my wrist, each to there own.

  209. Ridwan says:

    @superarsenaltv

    Why keep saying negative stuff about all our players?
    Its really unfair for a true fan.

  210. Rasp says:

    Morning all…..

    …. New post …….

  211. He didn’t take a pay cut to come to arsenal. It was made clear in AST meeting. Tweeted by one of their members. Can anyone from AST confirm it?

  212. get laid in university…

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