Thomas Vermaelen Needs To Grow Up

I’m sure you have all heard of the “Canary Test”.

In 19th century coal mining there were no automated ventilation systems, leaving the pit workers at risk of perishing from toxic gases.

So they used to bring a caged canary down to the coalface with them. Canaries are especially sensitive to carbon monoxide and methane and would keel over dead soon after inhaling them.

If the little yellow bird kept singing, the miners knew that all was well.

I thought of this before Saturday’s game against Norwich: given the haphazard nature of our results this season and, in particular, the untimely run of form we have struck of late, it felt like we were getting our own Canary Test.

Newly promoted Norwich are a decent side who have played some nice football this year and have managed to stay out of relegation danger. But that’s about it.

They certainly should not be too great an obstacle to a side with Champions League aspirations like Arsenal, right?

And yet, and yet.

Losses to QPR and Wigan in recent games had exposed Arsenal’s fragile underbelly (apparently our overbelly is just fine, although currently holidaying in St Petersburg) and raised old questions about our mental strength and tendency to choke when it mattered most.

So the visit of Norwich was a Canary Test, but with the outcome reversed: if the Canaries died, all would be well in Arsenal Land. If they lived… not so good.

We all know what happened. The Arsenal performance can be summed up in four simple stages: dream start; abysmal capitulation; spirited fight back; stupid capitulation.

The first half, after our early goal, was particularly worrying. Our midfield vanished like a coin in a magician’s fingers and Norwich made full use of the empty acres in front of them.

But it was the Canaries’ third goal that really ticked me off and which (I’ll get there eventually) prompted the headline to today’s Post.

We were 3-2 up with five minutes remaining in a game where a win was vital.

Any top team – and I mean ANY top team, including Barcelona – would, at that point, have attempted to close down the game to see out the remaining minutes and secure the points.

And they would look to their senior players to lead by example.

But, right now, Arsenal are not a top team so we did not behave like one. Inexplicably, we behaved as if we were chasing the game and needed another goal to win it.

In the run-up to the Canaries’ third, Song gave the ball away stupidly while trying an over ambitious pass and both Gibbs and Vermaelen were too far up field and out of position when possession was lost.

Think about that for a minute. A goal up with minutes to go, and our defensive midfielder is trying fancy-dan passes while two of our back four think they’re in the US Cavalry. As it turned out, they were in the US Cavalry – unfortunately they were with General Custer. Hadn’t we learned our lessons from Norwich’s second, when TV5 was stranded up field as the away team broke and scored?

Inevitably Norwich again exploited the empty spaces and scored.

Could you imagine Chelsea behaving like that? Or Manchester United? Or Manchester City?

Of course not.

The only highly placed Premier League team I can imagine doing that are the ones who live down the road and pong a bit. So that’s what it has come to: we, the mighty Arsenal, are behaving like your common or garden Spud.

I’m angry with the manager and the entire team for the first half performance and I am angry with Song and Gibbs for the third goal. But most of my anger is reserved for Thomas Vermaelen – a man pretty much universally adored by the fans.

Not for the first time this season, his lack of discipline as a defender has cost us points.

I am all in favour of him going up for set pieces (the break in play involved in set pieces means we can make sure to keep other players back to cover) and I am delighted when he drives forward towards the end of games where we are chasing a goal. His late winner against Newcastle was testament to what he can achieve in those situations.

But to behave that way when we are narrowly winning a vital game is immature and unbefitting of an Arsenal Vice Captain.

I hope all you Gooners who think that Vermaelen and Koscielny comprise our best centre back pairing are learning your lesson.

The great Tommy V, the Muscles from Brussels*, our Lion of Flanders has, to my mind, been getting carried away with his own publicity. For all his strengths, his indiscipline makes him a liability at times.

Before everyone slaughters me, I will mention his strengths: he is powerful, brave, fierce, a battler, great in the air, strong in the tackle, indefatigable, charismatic, intimidating to the opposition.

His combative qualities put him in the top echelons of Premier League defenders. But if he does not start showing more discipline and maturity, he will struggle to be remembered as a true great.

Let’s not forget, he is 26 years old. Unlike Gibbs, we cannot blame youth for his mistakes. In those final minutes when we were beating Norwich he should have been using all his experience and authority to scream his head off at his colleagues about holding their shape and holding the ball.

That job is even more important when you take into account how wasteful Alex Song can be. He is nominally our Defensive Midfielder, but his obsession with trying Hollywood passes when a bit of Ealing Studios is called for, and marauding up field at the very times when he should be shielding the defence, is slowly killing us.

When the experienced Arteta is playing, Song’s rampages are usually covered. But Aaron Ramsey does not appear to have the understanding to do likewise, making it even more vital that the Centre Backs stick to their duties.

On Saturday Vermaelen did not.

For me, the first CB name on the team sheet (assuming all are fit) should be Per Mertesacker, with either of Koscielny or Vermaelen alongside him. Beside the BFG, I feel that either of Kozzer or Verm are excellent options, but both of them need the organizational nous and composure of the German Giraffe to bring the best out of them.

In fairness to Tommy V, our approach to defending as a team and a squad is a bit all over the place (there is an excellent and balanced deconstruction of the issue on Desi Gunner’s blog: http://desigunner.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/a-detailed-look-at-arsenals-defensive-issues-tactics-shape-mistakes/ ).

Whoever takes over Pat Rice’s job next season needs to help Arsène Wenger make us more difficult to score against. It’s about far more than just the personnel, but it is also essential that the senior players focus on their own responsibilities.

I love what Thomas Vermaelen brings to Arsenal, but if he can apply a bit more maturity to his game I will love him unconditionally.

RockyLives

*Actually Tommy comes from Kapellen, which is nowhere near Brussels. It’s on the outskirts of Antwerp, which might make him a Twerper. ‘The Muscles from Brussels’ sounded better.

246 Responses to Thomas Vermaelen Needs To Grow Up

  1. Rasp says:

    Brave article Rocky – full of home truths, thank you.

    Maybe another solution to TV’s natural attacking instincts would be to play him in midfield. Vertongen would be a perfect replacement for him in the defence.

    TV is one of the few players we have who has a decent shot on him from outside the box and has the balls to keep going when in possession and space opens up in front of him. Too many of our players start to surge forward and then get a nose bleed and pull up and pass the ball backwards or sideways.

  2. GobiLux says:

    I feel like it isn’t just a TV5 thing. All CBs in recent years are guilty of having adventures runs a little to often. If it works out it’s great but it also makes us vulnerable at the back.
    AW let’s them do it or in my view encourages it!

  3. Will says:

    This is ridiculous, Song’s job is to sit in if a defender goes forward but he is so lazy he just cares about attacking, Ramsey is the same. The midfields protection for the back four is possibly the worst in the league, this is Arsenal’s problem look at all the goals we have conceeded and see how many were pull backs and midfielders running through to score, even at QPR Vermaelen played awful but there was no midfielder picking up the runs of theirs and that allowed Diakite to score and there have been loads this season, our midfield is just too attacking and one player has to just sit constantly, Man City have 2 players who do this constantly we have zero

  4. Rasp says:

    Hi Will, we miss Arteta badly as Rocky points out in the article. You are correct that without Mikel, no-one seems to have the nouse to fill the gaps.

    It has been apparent for a couple of seasons now that Song is playing in a more advanced role – what is not apparent is whether he has been instructed to do so, or it is just his preference and the coaches are not doing anything to stop him.

    I think you need pace all over the pitch these days and our midfield lacks pace. It’s OK if players have the ability to read the game and the positional sense to snub out problems before they occur (Cesc Arteta), but at the moment Ramsey and Song fail in that area and they seem to labour to get back quickly enough when we are being attacked at pace. If you add to that wide players who are not great defensively and you have a situation where the defence is going to be exposed.

  5. Gus says:

    I believe that we have an excellent, elite back 5 players. Szeszney is magnificent. Sanga is probably the best right back in the league. Koscielny and veremalen are undoubtedly brilliant centrebacks and so is mertesacker. Gibbs and santos are good left backs. why are we so poor defensively? We concede way, way too much. But our defenders are class? It doesn’t make sense. Rocky I think you’ve worked out the answer.

    I think that song, vermalen, Santos and Gibbs sream forward far too much. When arteta is playing he nulifies some of songs forward forays and we look more stable defensively. Our defenders and defensive midfielders need to remember that their primary job is defending.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    RL. You have stolen my thunder! I was going to write this exact post later in the week but the Master has beaten me to it.

    TV’s early season goals have caused problems. He is undoubtedly a brilliant footballer and a major figure in the dressing room but he cannot do it all. He needs to learn to keep a cool head.

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Amazing. 20 minutes in and no-one has blamed Ramsey 🙂

  8. GunnerPete says:

    For a change I agree with all the above. I am sick of us ordinary supporters ( me in my 62nd consecutive season) seeing the bloody obvious and no one at AFC seeing the same?

    It sickens me to say it but Arsene is as stupid with defensive coaching as Cameron is to working people.

    If I had my way, and we know thats stupid too, I would buy the best CB in the world , wahtever the cost, and Ba plus Cabaye from the Toon. I would then play the following team:

    Chesney
    Jenkinson WCCB Kossy Gibbs

    Song /Cabaye Vermy Wilshire

    AOC Ba RVP/ Podolski

    This choice assumes that as usual our second teamMan City will poach RVP and Juventus will take Song. It also hopes that Arsene has the guts to have agrage sale for :- Bentner, Denilson, Vela, Sqillacci, Djourou, Chamahk, and at least 6 other fringe players who are overpaid and never used.

    I would keep Rosicky whatever happens. He has shown the rest what playing for AFC means and should mean.

  9. Caravaggio says:

    Thank you Rockylives.
    The Canary test, 4-phrase match report, magician’s fingers, General Custer, pong a bit, Ealing Studios,Germanic giraffe. Brilliant. 🙂

  10. henrychan - indonesia says:

    What a grazy weekend…
    I don’t know how to expressed it..

    I hate when we easily lose 3 goals..
    Where is Vermaelen that night?
    I didn’t saw him play.. Is he a defender or what??
    Wenger must be sure to playing a man who know excactly what to do in his position.. (for me better playing Djorou for good..)
    Arsenal certainly need Vertonghen.. but will we get him..???

    Yesterday.. If not for RVP.. and a little bit lucky..
    we are surely out of the race..
    And fortunately.. that ‘lucky’ is continuing happened..
    Newc lose and Spurs draw.. We still in the 3rd..

    But will we depend on that ‘lucky’ every time..???
    Are we sure we can beat WBA this sunday..???
    Or we must pray for ‘our next midfielder-dempsey (I wish he would be our next sign star)’ to give his best to beat Spurs at home..
    Cause if not.. it will be another grazy weekend..

    I wish and hope this sunday will be our best game ever..
    RVP must score at least one goal.. hattrick if could..
    To get his Golden-boot..
    Nothing more that we can be proud of.. except for RVP throphy..
    And it will be his third.. He is absolutely the best..

  11. Rasp says:

    Hi Caravaggio, thanks for pointing out Rocky’s brilliant use of language – I take him for granted these days.

    You write pretty well yourself, be careful or we’ll try to recruit you 😕

    Do you have Italian blood or are you just a fan of 16th/17th century renaissance art?

  12. Pst Joseph says:

    You are 100% right. D arsenal defence was becoming too desapoint dis season dat is how conceded 4 gaols agaist millan in d Champions league giving too much work load,T V 5 and his couleges at d back need to grow up up!!

  13. kelsey says:

    RL, I quote you.

    “The first half, after our early goal, was particularly worrying. Our midfield vanished like a coin in a magician’s fingers and Norwich made full use of the empty acres in front of them.”

    The midfield is mostly to blame when you play a system where your full backs bomb forward.

    Tactics and Wenger now really need to be addressed.

    You say we are noot a top club and by that i mean we don’t have enough quality on the bench.yes, I know Arteta is a big loss but compared to 5 or 6 years ago, we have no one to boss and scream at each other to hold a tight line.

    Song and Vermaelen often go walk about, occasionally leading to a goal, but that creates problems for other teams to counter attack, the very thing we used to be masters at.

    By the way I have heard that we have bid for the third time for Dempsey,(10 million) and that tells me that RVP may be going or we are covering all eventualities.

  14. Can the team learn from their mistakes in the next few days and make sure it doesn’t happen against West Brom????

    Does defending as a team efficiently, hamper our ability to be creative and score goals?????

  15. goonermichael says:

    Kos and bfg for me. Twitter says song is off. Banfield new number two. Bould turned it down.

  16. Red Arse says:

    Super Post Rocky Mountain, 🙂

    I agree with all you say, but I differ slightly in the analysis of cause and effect.

    It is a given that our CB’s go marauding upfield in an indisciplined way. Thomas V does this more so than Kozzer who is often left on his own when Sagna and Gibbs upsticks and go on on the lam upfield too ………………… both at the same time.

    OK, so we all know they do it, but the question is why?

    You have already addressed this question in your Post, with specific mention of Song and Ramsey and their predilection for sallying forth.

    Again we know and agree that they do this ……………… but still the question is WHY?

    Well I have been saying for quite a time now (I hate the ‘told you so’ merchants too, but forgive me this once 🙂 ) and I did so again last Saturday, saying that the cause of the problem is further forward.

    Robin does a sterling job at CF banging goals in for us, but the service coming from the wings, in the first half, was abysmal and altho it improved in the second half, the scene was set.
    Gerv was ephemeral, at best; Rosicky had one of his flim flam days; and Benny seemed somewhat isolated after his wonderful goal.

    Couple that scenario with the growing anxiety within the team that someone had to do something, then triggered Song to try and impersonate Cesc, and with Rambo trying to play defence, to back up the forwards and to swan around on the wing, the inevitable result occurred in that he did none of them at all well. That is not a refection on his ability, it is the result of him trying to overcompensate when the team is not firing. [that is guaranteed to set off the Canadian cassandra syndrome] 🙂

    With the midfield charging upfield, the consequence was that it left a hole into which TV gladly charged to give a little more muscle and endeavour, and the backs also tried advance and to do what Gerv and Benny were not managing to do …… provide crosses.

    TV played in midfield for his old club, and not at CB, and I happen to think he has the makings of a cracking AM especially with that shot of his, but at the mo his position lies at CB for us, and frankly he is failing in that position when he goes missing.

    So let’s have a whinge at the defence by all means (not that you were) but the truth is a little more complex.

    With Jack’s return next season, and the creativity he brings, the balance of the team, which is skew whiff at the moment, will be restored, so there will be no need for the defence to try and do the midfield role, and all will be well.

  17. Philbet says:

    Oh no!!! The Gunners, rely on ‘world class’ Van Persie and are 3rd the Spuds rely on ‘world class’ Bale,Modric,Adebayor and Van deVart and are 4th. Some support only to grieve from implied disaster…..

  18. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all,

    Great post Rocky, as you say TV5 gets a bit of a free ride from supporters but he was wanting on more than one occasion on Saturday and can appear to be one of the biggest to be affected by nerves and begins to make some rash decisions.

    Youth can no longer be an excuse for some of our squad, Song, TV, Kos are all old enough to know better to have learned from problems before.

    TA6 tells of a time when AW first arrived and the midfield of PV4 and Petit were installed I. front of the famous back 5. We were shipping too many goals for TAs liking so he went to see Arsene and explained that in the PL the midfield needed to be the first line of defence. Petit and PV4 were made to understand their duties defensively and everything was a bit more solid.

    Arteta understands his responsibility to screen the back 4, he is the best defensive midfielder we have had since Gilberto…..but where our problems lie is in players not realising when he is not there that they have to do his job. I lost count of the amount of times clearances from Norwich defence dropped ten to twenty yards into their half and the first man to the ball unchallenged was Holt or Jackson. This then gives the centre backs a decision chase the player and take themselves out of position or hold their ground and be faced with players running at them from deep.

    Arteta, Gilberto and others would be first to that ball and would keep us on the offensive.

    But this all comes down to the word I’ve been using for the last two seasons “Responsibility” too few take it in the Arsenal squad, I’d say Koscielny, Arteta and RvP are the three outfield players who do most regularly.

  19. draiggogh says:

    Isn’t anyone going to mention the failures of our noisy overrated goalkeeper. Positioning is awful ,and he shares responsibility for at least four defeats,inc Totts away and Swansea..

  20. Danny says:

    Can somebody just clarify something for me:
    If we draw with WBA we’ll definitely end up in the top 4?
    If we draw and the Scum win, then they get 3rd and we get 4th – then we have to wait for the outcome of the Chelski match on the 19th to see if we’re in the qualifying round of the Champions league?

  21. Gooner In Exile says:

    Pretty much it Danny. Except if Toon win 18-0 and we draw we are 5th

    Draiggogh I know of one regular on here who will agree with you, check back to Saturdays pre match. For me you have to factor in his age, and the defence in front of him. Look at the defence Hart plays behind then look at the one Reina plays behind, De Gea and Szczesny too. If the defence are shaky the keeper is too. Put in two minds by the defensive frailties. If you want further evidence look at Cech playing behind Luiz and Terry compared to Cech playing behind Ivanovic and Terry. Massive difference in form.

    I’d also add that he has made some exceptional saves this year I’m tight games that have stopped us going an extra goal behind…and also there is that save against Udinese that got us through to the CL group stages. Am I ready to throw a 21 year old out because of one or two mistakes…..not a chance.

  22. wrightydenhenry says:

    Point well made Rocky. People forget that TV’s job is firstly to defend, and this season he has made a lot of mistakes that have cost us goals. Kos has been by far our best defender this year as even Sagna has looked a bit wayward in last few games. We can always look at excuses, 19th different combination of defensive partnership this season after Sagna goes off, but if there is a system people can come in and play in it as they understand their roles.
    What amazes me is that we are sooooo naive despite having a manager with 900 games for the club, we’re like a bunch of schizophrenics, great defensively at Stoke and then hopeless against Wigan and Norwich.
    I feel that the Song/Ramsey partnership does not work, Song is particularly culpable in that he saves his worst games for the lower teams, and it always amazes me to see how our midfield don’t track back with any speed and if you compare that to the likes of Norwich. For the Johnson miss, Ramsey is ambling back watching him run straight at the heart of our defence with no attempt to try and recover, and it shocks me.
    We have played some great attacking football this season but you have to wonder why our defending continues to be so woeful even with our best six players in the starting line up.
    It’s all the basic things we get wrong and I just hope we sort his out soon or we’ll be in this cycle for ever!

  23. zorr0 has had enough! says:

    Nice post. As a ‘mature’ CB I am amazed at how awful their understanding of what is needed from a back 4 can be during certain game situations. Having got back to 3-2 up, the 4 should have held firm and also got Song to hold, which still leaves 5 players to get forward on the break. The fact that not one of them can see this is a worry, not coqauvin or maybe Gibbs, but surely Kos and TV5 or even Song should be aware!

    What makes me really mad though, is that Gibbs is charging forward, right in front of our bench, yet no-one, not AW or Pat Rice are seen to be making any attempt to tell him to get back! If it is bad on the player’s part, it is absolutely criminal on that of the manager and completely inexcusable!

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I couldn’t agree more about players taking responsibility.

    I often find myself shouting “who wants it?” when we get a throw in, players just walk away with their backs to play when they should be milling around and keeping the opposition on their toes.

    I would estimate that we lose possession from 50% of our throw ins.

    Players showing for the ball has a lot to do with confidence, but it drives me mad to see players turning their back on play when the ball is live, Theo used to do this but has improved greatly, Gervinho still does.

  25. awusaify says:

    Good and very worrying truth our defence in whole has to grow up TV5 is it that we expect more from you or you can’t deliver? the answer to this is that you need to exercise your commanding power in the pitch……Please improve you are one of the best league defenders so live up to it. relax this are constructive views..

  26. Danny says:

    Thanks GIE, appreciated.
    18-0….Cisse is hot at the moment but maybe not that hot…..

  27. goonermichael says:

    Only just seen the (bite size) highlights of the game. Chesney was at fault for the first goal and he should have come out for the third. our fist 2 goals were brilliant. rooneys overhead kick has been voted the best goal of 20 years what a joke. If we keep our attacking players plus pod we’ll be fine attack wise. Maybe 1 more. We need to sort out the defending (incl midfield) otherwise it will be the same next season. I think the mancs will be poor next season but city will definitely improve.

  28. slugboy says:

    The problems as to why these guys (TV and Song) are out of position so much is their frustration with the lack of ‘active’ football ahead of them. With so many midfielders and forwards playing square balls, the guys at the back get frustrated and want a more direct approach (as we all do). We need midfielders who can break the ‘game line’ ie get past people. We are absolutely impotent sometimes in attack. Song and TV have been two of our best attackers this year which is a really sad thng to say. Walcott, Gervinho, Ramsey, Rosicky etc are really not contributing enough in attack. They need to start playing with pace and start taking chances. Losing the ball in the attacking thrird is not a problem. Playing square balls and keeping posession for most of the game, but not really looking like scoring is a problem.

    Mind you with the game in the closing minutes there is no excuse for marauding forward looking for a 4th goal.

    Danny, we are guaranteed fourth if we draw the next game. Newcastle could only top us if they win about 20-0.

    Now, wish list for the summer is a genuine free kick taker (step down Robin, just haven’t done it for the last 6 years) and some tall players. Our lack of success from dead balls is embarrassing. No youngsters please, our reserves are packed full of potential who will never see the first team.

  29. Gooner In Exile says:

    One point worth making about defending is how we fail to double team effectively, difficult to explain this without chalkboard and a magnetic pitch diagram but I’ll try.

    Opposing full back has ball, one player goes to shut down tight, second players takes ages to get there but when he does he also gets tight and makes it easier for full back to push the ball between the two defenders who don’t know who should tackle. What Barca do well when pressing high is the first player pressures the ball and denies the easy channel pass, the second player fills the gap deeper to cut off the only forward passing angle but also can get close if full back decides to take on the closest defender. This results normally in the man with the ball passing backwards or forcing the forward pass which is intercepted more often than not.

    But this doesn’t come from coaching alone this also comes from the old adage “the football brain” which can see the patterns and passing options. These are clear when sitting high above the action but a lot more difficult in the heat of the action and at ground level.

  30. Gunner says:

    Anyone catch Ramsey running back on defense? No, me either. The midfield is a disgrace defensively when Rambo is there. No heart at all. When Ox came in at least there was some passion to compete. One more thing (in a whisper) our goalie is not as good as he or any of you think he is.

  31. Alwaysgunner says:

    Good write up Rocky but I still don’t think you cn lay blame at the bosses door. Two very silly goals that Sczc would normally swallow and as the master of the defence line should have been barking orders which were lacking, perhaps some coaching from Lens (if he became the goal keeper coach, didn’t bob Wilson have that role at some stage?)would not go astray. Although we left too much open space and committed to many people forward that same silly goal where we are almost knocking the ball into their net we get caught..Hey we have done it to other sides so perhaps it needs the likes of Galus who never seems to lose sight of the requirement to have someone stay at home. Next game will be what faith and belief will bring but you still can not depart from the fat tha at critical times our injury list seems to go make us pear shape. Just look at our side again, see how many are missing. Yes we have let in more goals than we normally do but no full backs for three months midfield just starts to settle and now we go again. wonder if Theo will be available for our next match. If we make the CL for next year would we rather the Carling/FA cup or would we rather be in the CL? This manager has been the only manager I know who would be able to do that after our terrible start./

  32. Rasp says:

    slugboy@12:15

    Good comment. I can quite understand that TV gets frustrated when the midfield is slow and can’t create, its happened frequently this season.

  33. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Great post Rocky, more than a few home truths that needed airing, but let’s not get too despondent, there’s still a very good chance of finishing in third place which, considering the awful start to the season, is a respectable position.

    My view of games is sadly only through TV so it is difficult to know what goes on, in defence, when we are attacking. Who stays back when the CBs go forward? One thing I have noticed is that neither Vermaelen or Koscielny appear to “bust a gut” to get back after corners and free kicks, thus leaving acres of space for counter-attacking opponents an almost free run on goal.

    I would like to see some-one other than van Persie taking corners on the right, he should be in the box not isolated at the corner flag. If he was in the penalty area one of the two CBs could stay back and give a bit of cover in the event of a fast counter attack.

  34. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks for the great post Rocky, and some great comments in response to.

    Though i agree with many of your sentiments, i feel the tone of your post is a little harsh on the Verminator. I class him as a world class player.

    I feel our current problems can be summed up in one word “Space”. Who reads space at the highest level in this team? For me its Mertsacker at the back, Arteta in the middle, and RVP at front. At the moment we have to many players chasing the ball and not enough players reading the space. This causes holes to appear, and leaves us vulnerable when we lose the ball. ime sure Arsene is aware of this, and we have been a bit unlucky with the Mertsacker and Arteta injuries.

    I dont like speculating about future purchases, but if there is one player i would bring to the Club its M’vila. Ive watched a lot of French football, and this boy is on another level when it comes to screening the defence, and in addition his passing is crisp and inteligent, bringing the more gifted players into the game. Cast your minds back to England France at Wembley and you will see what ime talking about.

    By purchasing Podolski, we now have a front man who can score goals and lift the stastical burden of RVP. If we can procure M’vila to, ime very confident we can push for the big prizes. Exciting times ahead.

  35. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    re your 12:44. Slugboy seems to be repeating exactly what I said at 11:16.

    Didn’t read it — didyer?? 🙂

  36. Red Arse says:

    NG,

    You may have a point re Kozzer and TV jogging back from a dash upfield, tho I don’t see it that way, but the point is they should not have gone sashaying up front in the first place.

    I absolutely agree with you re RVP taking too many corner kicks, or even all the free kicks around the box. He is our tallest player at 6’2″ and should be in the flippin box!

  37. Red Arse says:

    Hi TerryM,

    Does ‘reading space’ equate to ‘anticipation’? If so I agree. 🙂

    Anticipating where the ball will go — either when attacking or defensively closing down the opposition is fundamental, but not always evident in our play — what GIE refers to as having a ‘football brain’; or the corollary, ‘not having a football brain’.

  38. Rasp says:

    It is being repoorted that Steve Bould has been appointed Assistant manager.

  39. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    I always expect you to talk sense 😛 but since slugboy is a new visitor I thought I’d acknowledge his point to encourage him further.

  40. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Redders, yes, thats another way of putting it, but it equates to the same thing. Been a master of the art of “spaced out”, ime quite obbsessed with space. hahaha

  41. Nick says:

    Well said! I’ve been rather disappointed with TV5 a lot this season. He’s been out of place and responsible for a lot of our opponents goals. That combined with Gibbs youth and Song failing to play DM more often than not its a recipe for disaster.

    I know there were loads of comments about “why buy M’Vila when we’ve got Song?” and I ask if that’s such a good thing. I live Song at times but he has more below par games than he has good ones and he’s too often looking for a magic pass to RVP and giving the ball over.
    I think adding M’Vila is a must as us Belhanda.

    Real Madrid are rumored to be interested in Song.
    Would you be terribly upset if he left? I can’t say I would.

    TV5 like Song is another case of us forgiving his frequent bad play due to the occasional goal he gives like Song’s brilliant assists. I think Per is better back with Koscielny and maybe TV5 can move to midfield.

  42. Hartere says:

    That was true but we need to talk 2all team and the maneger also because our performance after 1min goal Arsenalfc were play slogishly and thank 2RVP goals which we just need to defence and walk away wit 3point thy stil fucked up. UP GUNNERS

  43. Ali Al-Rikabi says:

    Hi
    Nice article and very good assessment of what was the cause of our blunder that miserable day.
    I totally agree with you, TV5 needs to know that his number one duty is to guard our goal and shore us up to safety. His credit (by the fans and manager) will be by doing so. Look at Company in City, he is an absolute beast, you certainly feel much safer with him than with TV5, yet Company still scores now and again like he did against Man U. For me the most important part of Company’s display that night was blocking his area successfully and bullying Rooney. The scored goal was only a bonus.
    Lets go back to TV5, although I like him a lot and I think he will only improve, he has cost us few results due to lack of concentration and awareness of his prime responsibilities.

  44. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Come to think about it Physics is more important in football than we give it credit for. Imagine Einstein as a fantasticly gifted footballer. He would know exactly when to close down opponents, when to make tackles, and when to play through balls. And of course his timing would be impecable.

  45. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    I saw that Le Grove was reporting that Steve Bould has been appointed Assist Man, :impeccable source: apparently.

    On the other hand our own inside man — aka Kelsey — reported that bouldy had turned it down.

    One of them is bound to be right, unless SB had not been offered the post, so did not accept it or turn it down! Lateral thinking, eh? 🙂

    Prefer Bergy myself!

  46. Red Arse says:

    Terry,

    The only problem with Einstein playing for us, other than him being dead and all, would be that he would be unable to stay focussed, with all that woolly thinking about “pi squared” and “the meaning of life and everything”!

  47. Carlito11 says:

    Rocky- what a marvellous rant! Behaving like your common or garden spud sums up our entire club at the minute- fans on the players backs as much as daft capitulation and glory seeking silliness. Thanks for the beautifully written piece which I’m sad to say I’m reading on my lunch break at work on a bank holiday. We were lucky with the other results on Sunday. We must not fail at west brom!

  48. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Redders, thats true…..i also heard hes not very good in the air. hahaha.

  49. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    Many will welcome the appointment of SB as he’s a defender and that’s the area we need to improve – but don’t forget that PR was also a defender 🙄

  50. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great news about Bouldy. Was instrtumental in the development of a lot of the younger players, and is not a man to be trifled with.

  51. LB says:

    Song the Subbuteo player

    Place him in front of the back four and he won’t ever move. I am sure it would work in Subbuteo but in the real world that is simply not practical.

    I was enjoying that read above, thinking it really does highlight many of the frustrations that most Arsenal supporters almost certainly share. Then, I read that Song is getting blame for the third goal. So I mosey back to the telly to watch a recording of the goal again: Vemaelen and Gibbs certainly deserve to be blamed but there is no way that Song is in the wrong what so ever for that goal.

    This is yet more anti-Song prejudice.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    LB-. How often is it the case where peoples perceptions are not backed up by fact?

    Happens to me all the time!

    Sad fact remains that we would have won the game on Saturday had RvP been more clinical (or Ramsey) and had we been given the benefit of a decent ref.

  53. Gooner In Exile says:

    Bob speaks out against the Beeb….well played sir:

  54. Top Dog !! says:

    We have to ask question is Szczesny the real deal ? Seems like he’s been making too many mistakes. Norwich had one late chance & tucked it away. Ruddy at the other end was pulling off saves left & right. All teams defenders make mistakes but rely on keeper to keep score down .

  55. Gooner In Exile says:

    https://twitter.com/mikelarteta08/status/199467318470905856

    Twitter always throws up some interesting stats.

  56. Gooner In Exile says:

    Top Dog or Norwich forward made his chance count finding bottom corner, how many of Ruddys saves were straight at him.

  57. kelsey says:

    Not from me RA, re Bould getting the job. All I know is what I said about Dempsey. 4 clubs want him. Why are we bidding for a 29 year old with 17 PL goals, because at 10 million that would be a typical Wenger buy, regardless of the fact that dempsey has told my lad he isn’t interested,he maybe telling porkies, but more to the point why are we in for someone like Dempsey, is RVP off. Last week at the presentation he said something like “I will always be a gunner”.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. That is a very good question.

    I recall mid-season GIE saying we should cash in on RvP and thinking “surely not”. But if we really are in for Dempsey it would indicate that RvP is indeed going to leave.

    Assuming he is going, is Dempsey the limit of our ambitions? I sincerely hope not. We need to replace him with a top International striker and there will be some for sale in summer.

    p.s. How di you write in bold??

  59. jnyc says:

    Omg ROCKY , i couldnt have said it better myself. I agree with every single word from start to finish. You basically expressed almost every thought i have had on the subject.
    i love tommy v, but he needs a good stern talking to. —- i just want to add, i have been saying recently, and even more now, that wigan, and the first milan match would have been different with our bfg in there, and this past weekend also vs norwich. Even though all those stupid media articles a few weeks ago saying he was a disappointment and was going back to germany. Ridiculous. Just another costly injury we are dealing with.

  60. LB says:

    I always thought the Dempsey story had credibility on the basis that RvP stays and Chamakh goes.

    If RvP stays would Chamakh also really want to stay?

  61. RockyLives says:

    Good day all and thanks for some great comments.

    In fairness to Tommy, I do think our defensive issues are more of a team/coaching thing, but it’s still down to individuals to take responsibility for their own duties.

  62. Gooner In Exile says:

    I like Dempsey as a player, he suits the 4-3-3 we seem to prefer better as he is very good at supporting the attack and midfield.

    I am working on a theory about our formation….we haven’t got the players for 4-5-1 without Cesc, and neither have we got the players to make 4-3-3 work. Podolski and Dempsey and to a certain extent Theo are more in line with what’s needed.

    Barca have probably been the best performers of the 4-3-3 system.

    It works because the width is provided by the full backs and the wide front players attack the box. They retain a very solid middle base with Piqué/Puyol and Busquets in front of them.

    Everyone else plays forward and presses up the pitch.

    Too often this season RvP is isolated against two centre backs, the full backs run into blind alleys as the wingers hold too wide and no one in our midfield breaks through the defensive line.

    So in reality we have full backs who can do the attacking we have centre backs who can hold…what we don’t have is a Busquets/Mascherano type who will sit and mop up. Then we don’t have wingers who run towards the box to distract defenders from RvP enough.,

  63. RockyLives says:

    LB
    My recollection was that, instead of playing a simple pass to retain possession, Song tried an unnecessary ‘progressive’ ball to a man who was already marked, leading to us losing possession in the run up to Norwich’s third goal.

    But I haven’t seen a replay – so apologies if my memory has failed me.

  64. William Briggs says:

    Never mind Norwich. Looking at the league table before the game its hard to believe but we have lost 13 points from the bottom 5 teams in the Premiership. That’s our problem.

  65. Noobgooner says:

    Luck has been our side far too many times. If this was 5games from the end of the title, i wouldnt want to imagine how we wouldve have faired.
    The boys need fighting spirit. . .not just when theyre a goal or two down, but throughout the game. This lack of consistency in pressuring opponents over 90+ mins lets us down a lot of times. Do they need therapy? Or reruns of rocky. Athletico bilbao have that spirit all through their games. If we could borrow that from them=a great stride to a bright season

  66. Bayonne Jean says:

    Rocky, a great post, and a lot of good comments.

    Vermaelen, for all of the moments he provides with his forward runs and cannon shots, just doesn’t defend that well on a consistent basis. The way he was taken to the cleaners on that one move by Jackson on Saturday was Squillaciesque. Shows where the BFG has been missed and is better suited to partner with Koscielny or Vermaelen, as you suggest. With all the lamenting of how Arteta has been missed, the long win streak has masked how much value Mertesacker has.

    Regarding the M’Villa vs. Song matter: I suspect that Song is one of the relatively few assets Arsenal with some market value, so why not sell and acquire a more traditional, talented mid like M’Villa instead?

  67. kelsey says:

    Raddy,
    I went to edit and then copied and pasted the bit i wanted and pressed the B

  68. RockyLives says:

    BJ
    “Squillaciesque” 🙂 – we have a new adjective. I like it.

    To be honest I like Song a lot, but I’m not sure he’s right as a full time DM. That’s why he works better with Arteta than Ramsey, because Arteta is better at helping Song to screen the defence.

    If we signed M’Vila, I would not mid a midfield that had M’Vila screening, with two out of Wilshere, Song, Arteta and Ramsey in front of him.

  69. Big Raddy says:

    Bayonne. IMO if we sell Song we are over-reliant upon Wilshere for creativity. Song for all his faults has an eye for a pass – see RvP’s first on Sat etc etc

    If we can keep him IMO the only additions we need are another GK (should Fab leave). This assumes the current squad all stay.

    Back-up DM’s are Frimpong and the ever improving Coquelin. Podolski takes over from Chamakh, and Arshavin.

    Should Song stay, I see our midfield being Song, Arteta and JW,

    The personnel of the team is fine, it is their tactical discipline which is lacking.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. I thought you were computer illiterate!!

    Very clever.

  71. kelsey says:

    I think that it isn’t all about Dempsey as i don’t think he would come to us.It’s about strengthening the strike force and as LB says maybe we are looking for a replacement for Chamakh but there is always a nagging doubt that RVP will sacumb(sp) to money, as will the club.
    Also we have been told Jack will miss the start of next season having had a year out and we have missed him dearly so perhaps the link to another player in a similar role is also possible as i am quite convinced there will be a huge clear out of players on comparitively big wages.

  72. kelsey says:

    No, just illiterate 🙂

  73. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Eaxctly (regarding Song). With his eye for a killer pass and his body strength he could be a real menace if freed up more from the defensive duties.

    So Kelsey is one of the Illiterati? Aren’t they the secret masters of the world?

  74. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey,

    I thought your ‘bold’ comment was in honour of Bouldy!

    You are my only ‘inside’ man, but I must have confused you with another bold character!

    What I don’t understand with the “Bould will become Assistant Manager, and Banfield will become First team coach” is that Arsene is described as “Coach” and if Banfield becomes first team coach, does that mean AW is off? And where does poor Bouldy stand being assistant to no-one?

    All sounds like an LG bollix story to me!

  75. kelsey says:

    I think the one question we all have to ask will the board change their principle of absolute financial stability for the time being and that usually means selling before buying. Who knows ? The podolski signing is unusual to be announced so early unless a player of ours has already agreed terms with another club

  76. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    I believe that in the fullness of time Steve Bould will be confirmed as assistant manager

  77. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey,

    Where the devil is the ‘edit’ button? I want one!!

    Rocky,

    Squillaciesque, more of a noun maybe? ” —the infuriating breakdown in defence, the incomprehensible Squillaciesque of a novice nun — ”

    But maybe your adjectival, “His Squillaciesque mastery of the ball, brought the house down ……………………. in laughter!” would have more staying power? 🙂

  78. kelsey says:

    One has to be of a certain age to achieve an edit button, RA. A bit like a gold watch for 25/30 years service 🙂

  79. Red Arse says:

    That might well prove to be accurate, Rasper, as he is one of only 4 candidates – allegedly. And I would be happy enough with that, altho I would still prefer the Bergermeister! 🙂

    I was more irritated by the inexplicable ponderous way it was explained (reported???) by a certain other site. 🙂

  80. kelsey says:

    But Rasp, Wenger has only one more year on his contract, which makes it very interesting.

  81. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey Bloody Elitist,

    You should award me a gold edit button for the sheer quantity of my drivel! 🙂

  82. Rasp says:

    The other site you refer to do have a very good source. They were the first to reveal our bid for Reina – which I thought was ridiculous at the time, but was later confirmed by Bob Wilson in a radio interview.

  83. kelsey says:

    Actually RA, inadvertenly you have cheered me up no end.

  84. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey,

    I have it from a very good source, (?????) that AW has two years still to go on his contract with an offer to extend!!

    So there, Elitist!! 🙂

  85. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    I realize now that I have joined the ranks of Kelsey’s elitist group by cavilling at Pedro’s poor explanation — and I also saw it reported earlier by yet another site — presumably by the same secret source!!

  86. kelsey says:

    Was that sauce served on your steak at Caprice. AW couldn’t do another two years, it would kill him. 😉

  87. Red Arse says:

    Pack it in you Kelsey BOLD ELITIST,

    My cheering you up was not inadvertent, but a deliberate attempt!

    You cheer me up often enough! 🙂

  88. kelsey says:

    Now i know you aren’t married, RA 😉 (work that one out)

  89. Rasp says:

    Haha RA, as you will know, it is very difficult to keep secrets in a big organisation. The words, “I’m going to tell you something but you must keep it a secret” are doomed to failure.

    It is equally easy for some peripheral figures to get the wrong end of the stick and for the message to be completely corrupted as it passes between individuals.

    So don’t tell anyone but TMHT is really Arsène Wenger …. 🙄

  90. Red Arse says:

    That cunning change of a very poor spelling effort Reiner/Reina, when he became emboldened, makes me suspect the dodgy digit of Rasp! 🙂

  91. Red Arse says:

    Rasp, I know, AW told me the same thing when his wig fell off! 🙂

  92. Gooner In Exile says:

  93. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey,

    Are you suggesting/inferring that you think I am gay? How did you find out?
    Was it a giveaway when I kissed you and whispered sweet nothings in your ear?

    It was your ear, wasn’t it? 🙂

  94. kelsey says:

    Come to think of it i hadn’t thought you might be gay, but now you mention it 🙂

  95. Red Arse says:

    Well I am off to sulk!

    That Rock pipsqueak has not acknowledged my brilliant Post sized comment earlier today, in response to his comment sized Post, just because I challenged his floppy foundations!

    See if I care!!

  96. kelsey says:

    Oh not again, duckie. 🙂 be brave young man, be brave.

  97. We really do have some ridiculously talented writers on here, great stuff Rocky.
    I`ve been out and about, it was an open day at Penmayne Edge Park, Rock, so I went and had a sneek at the contemporary styled mobile home I want to build. I walked in and the estate agent said ” ahh good an Arsenal supporter ( I had my white with red piping Arsenal jacket on and was looking Ludicrously handsome. 😆 )”, we got on like a mobile home on fire, Rock is a classy place with classy gooners living there !.
    ( Blame Randy ) Randy was earlier talking about Treasure hunting, so I thought I would nip down to the beach, wasn`t having much luck finding any treasure chests, untill I accidently wandered onto to a Naturist beach, my “detector” went haywire, there were chests everywhere ! . No site of any Lobsters micky, but plenty of Lob ons.
    I then had a young lady ask me if I could rub some cream on her, lucky enough, I just so happen to have some cream, I applied it to every inch of her body, effing two hours it took, then she tells me , ” I only wanted It on my shoulders ” !.
    I know , not as good as cooking a freshly caught Lobster on the beach !.

  98. Edd Balls says:

    A Personal Message to YOU from David Cameron……

    The UK is in DEEP trouble…
    The population of this country is approximately 60 million.
    Of them, 32 million are retired.
    That leaves 28 million to do the work..

    There are however 17 million in school or at Universities which leaves 11 million to do the work.
    But, of this there are 8 million employed by the UK government, leaving only 3 million to do all the work.

    Another 1.2 million are in the armed forces preoccupied with fighting in Afghanistan, which leaves 1.8 million to do the work.

    Take from that total the 0.8 million people who work for Local County Councils. And that leaves 1 million to do the work.

    At any given time there are 488,000 people in hospitals or claiming Invalidity Benefit, leaving 512,000 to do the work.

    Sadly of that total, there are 511,998 people in prisons.

    That leaves just two people to do all the work.

    That’s just You and Me.

    And there you are, sitting on your arse, at your computer, reading jokes.

    Is it any wonder that we are in such a mess and that I am stressed out through trying to cope on my own?

  99. sam says:

    dudes please!
    stop looking for scapgoat, its not vermaelen, song or gibbs. time to stop blaming our players for arsene’s mismanagement.
    if you look at our games its only czesny who stays in his position. its like we play with 10 strikers no midfield or defence. norwich got beaten by liverpool and next game they scored 3 against us.
    we badly need a defensive coach because wenger doesn’t care about defence. look at clichy now, he was not bad afterall just badly managed.
    arsenal attack like a team but defend like school kids.

  100. Sue says:

    oh so easy to lay the blame at Vermaelens feet there are others in the team/squad at least he pulls his weight.

  101. RockyLives says:

    Sam, Sue
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    I agree that there is a problem with the way we defend as a team – and some of that is certainly down to coaching.
    But with 10 minutes to go in a must-win game where we have just taken the lead, we also need to see some personal responsibility from the players currently on the pitch.
    I highlighted Vermaelen’s performance because he is a senior player and he often seems to be above criticism – and I have seen his mistakes repeat themselves a few times this season.
    There were other players who also performed badly (I mentioned some in the Post) so I was certainly not trying to lay all the blame on Tommy for the disappointing result.

    Do you think a new No 2 for Arsene (Steve Bould is said to be in the frame) will help matters?

  102. Rasp says:

    One site (completely unsubstantiated) is reporting that we have signed M’Vila. Should it turn out to be true, it would confirm my long held belief that Song is leaving this summer.

  103. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    Why do you hold your long held belief that you have been holding?

  104. Big Raddy says:

    Sam & Sue (good name for a band)

    The post is clear in stating how good a player TV is but that he needs to have discipline in his game as well as steel. TV is our senior defender and the defensive leader – it is up to him to lead not be led.

    And Clichy was always a fine player. The reason he looks better now is because he plays in a team with 2 DM’s to cover him.

  105. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Rasp has held the view for some time …..

    And if it is true, not only will Song gone, so will Coquelin.

  106. Red Arse says:

    OK, Sue,

    Thing is, it was not a blame laying comment really, it was a rationalization of what occurred on Saturday.
    Everyone recognizes TV’s talent and endeavour, and he certainly does try to pull his weight.

    Name your culprits? What are your reasons?

  107. Red Arse says:

    Randy, Randy, Randy,

    Post mortems, mon petit choux, post mortems!! 🙂

  108. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    You are right – I should have responded to your typically cogent response to my Post. Mea culpa.

    I agree with your analysis of the chain of events that leads to the likes of Vermaelen feeling obliged to drive forward and help the attack.

    I took Tommy to task for not taking responsibility – whereas you point out that he was, in fact, taking responsibility for our toothlessness by trying to influence our play at the sharp end. A very good point Sir!

    However, I still maintain that when we’re one up with minutes to go, his primary responsibility should be to manning the barricades rather than mounting a sortie! (And I suspect you would agree 🙂 )

  109. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Indeed – I know Rasp has mentioned several times that he thinks our Song is sung.

    I was just wondering whether it was a ‘gut feeling’ or was based on some Kelsey-style inside info…

  110. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp your 5:28pm highlights the almost impossible task facing Arsenal as a club.

    How do you keep a player of good quality happy on the bench without paying OilRich wages?

    If it is true that one in means the first choice leaves we have an issue.

    But what about a different spin….if we take LBs view that Jack is intended to be the deep lying midfielder, and Song to be more advanced, what if M’Villa is being lined up to replace Jack and help Arteta given the speculation in some (again unsubstantiated) quarters that Jacks injury is career ending.

  111. RockyLives says:

    Would anyone else like to see us switch from a system of having one “holding” midfielder and two AMs, to having two DMs behind an AM?

    M’Vila and Song? Song and Arteta? M’Vila and Wilshere? Etc…

  112. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, there’s not much science to it except for the fact that his body language and performance has had many similarities to other players who have known for the best part of a season that they are going to leave. Also I wonder whether AW might be a bit fed up that he hasn’t fulfilled the role the team requires on occasion.

    The fantastic assists have been counterbalanced by some pretty chronic play recently. He did his best to get sent off against Norwich by raising his hands twice and losing his rag with their players. Luckily the ref didn’t produce the card but many would have.

  113. Rasp says:

    That’s a very fair point GiE. My take is based on hunch, yours could well be the one that turns out to be true.

    What I do think has happened is that (without any acknowledgement by AW or the club) our approach to transfers has changed.

    Whether this is because we finally have some money to spend or simply because we are fed up with being held to ransome by our own players, I couldn’t say.

  114. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rocky we have a holding midfielder?

  115. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    How lovely to chat to you! 🙂

    Not only do I agree with you, I am appending a copy of my para @ 11:16 supporting your contention that TV’s primary consideration, especially so late in the game, is defence!

    — “TV played in midfield for his old club, and not at CB, and I happen to think he has the makings of a cracking AM especially with that shot of his, but at the mo his position lies at CB for us, and frankly he is failing in that position when he goes missing.”

    Yaay, when I can entice you away from your work (sorry, I know I am a bad influence 🙂 ) it seems we are still in agreement. 🙂

  116. Gooner In Exile says:

    Hopefully the last para turns out to be true Rasp.

  117. Me Sir, Me Sir, I would like two !. Viera and Petit, Viera and Gilberto. That was a good system. First things first, we must be hard to penetrate, then when the oppo` have broken down, we attack . Simples ! 🙂

  118. Red Arse says:

    I have had a swift look at some (well two) dodgy French blogs and there is no mention of M’Vila being transferred.

    Isn’t that the sort of non story that ‘has been reported in many other blogs’ as the guy in Premier league Owl says, with tongue firmly in Kelsey’s cheek? 🙂

  119. GIE,
    When you say ” Hopefully the last paraturns out to be true “, I hope you wasn`t talking about your one with Jack`s career ending injury !. 😦

  120. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    Have had a look at the German blogs (well Kicker) and they were reporting back in April that a deal was ‘reported’ to have been rubber stamped.

    Tenuous, at best! 🙂

  121. Gooner In Exile says:

    GliC that is returning to 4-4-2 which is something I’m not sure I expect to see.

    We adopted to 3 in the middle because of other teams fondness for playing 3 in their to counter act our two. To do this they sacrificed a forward.

    Now they play 4-4-2 because we only play one up and teams have moved to marking space and areas rather than players.

    I think of all the formations from opponents I have liked the most was Wigans 3-4-3. With the BFG back and Vertognen as an additional option it could work for us.

  122. RockyLives says:

    The normally red background to my AA site has gone grey.

    Is this a sign of age?

  123. RockyLives says:

    The anagramometer is inconclusive as to whether Mr M’Vila will be joining us or not.

    His anagram is either “Vain, Manly” – which makes him sound a bit of a prima donna.

    Or “Anvil Many”, which is a bit more encouraging for a midfield enforcer.

  124. Thanks GIE, I bow to your superior knowledge of tactical formations. I dont like getting beat, so I prefer the “Italian” 1- 9 -1 formation. ! 🙂
    Rocky, I thought the new background was a picture of kelsey`s barnet ( a much sort after Item, just ask Terry ) !. 🙂

  125. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Today has been interesting because in a way i feel we have been debating a problem that dosnt realy exsist. Sure, Norwich was a defensive horror show, but it was one of those games that usualy occurs away, were the opposition press us all over the pitch and we struggle to get our own game to function. This leads to frustration, and in turn players try individual things that can lead to mistakes which costs us goals. For me the remedy for this is alraedy there. its called Mertsacker and Arteta.

    What we have been lacking is a player who can score loads of goals and lift the burden on RVP. We now have the solution in Podolski. We also need more ability in deeper positions, and that will come from Wilshere and Chamberlin. The final missing piece to the jigsaw (no ime not that creep from the jigsaw films) next season is a player who can link defence and attack, thats why i want this Mvila guy.

    Next season we have a great chance for the league, but if we can procure a special player that can join the defence and attack, we might just win the lot

  126. Gooner In Exile says:

    GliC I have no tactical superiority I wouldn’t mind seeing a 4-4-2 now and again, especially when Pod arrives.

    http://www.whoscored.com/Teams/13

    For those with the time and inclination here is the ammunition for a stats based look at our players this year.

  127. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    If i was that creep from the jigsaw films i would lock Clive Allen, Gary Lineker, Glenda Hoddle, Garth Crooks and Daniel Levy in a celler were they would suffer terrible torment. Allen would be starved to death, Lineker tourtered by me in an Arsene Wenger mask, Hoddle would be forced to eat himself, wouldnt waste time with crooks, just shoot him, and daniel Levy would be forced to eat £1 million pounds in crisp £5 pound notes

  128. Terry,
    I`m sure that somewhere in the comment archives of a few months ago, I stated , ” If we were to qualify for the CL, I`ll eat Terry`s syrup “.
    Squeaky Bum Sunday is fast approaching ! 😥

  129. That lucky bastard Levy would eat £1 million in crisp £5 notes and shit out £2 million in crispy £10 notes !.

  130. jnyc says:

    Oh, and i forgot to mention, fantastic title ROCKY. sums it up. Dont u just feel like saying it to him. 🙂

  131. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    No Cornwall, once ive finnished with him,it will be Clive allen begging me to feed him my syrup. hehehe

  132. Red Arse says:

    AW was reported in a number of papers today saying — not verbatim — he said, I am pleased we accomplished our transfer dealings early, in the first phase. The second phase is to get our injured players, (Jack and Abou) fit. After that we will look at our squad, which is quite big –.

    I am not expecting much activity in the summer, especially when you bear the above in mind and add it to his earlier comment — he said, that you will be surprised at how little transfer activity there will be in the summer —.

    We can only go on what Arsene says, but as Rasp has said previously, he has form in this respect! 😉

  133. RockyLives says:

    Hello Terry
    I don’t think we can say the problem isn’t there when you look at how many goals we’ve conceded this year.

    We have let in 47, compared with:
    Citeh: 27
    ManUre: 33
    Spuds: 41
    Toon: 48
    Chavs: 41

    Only Newcastle from the top six have been as soft at the back as we have been.

    The last 10 champions of the EPL have had an average goals against tally of 27.5.

    The weird thing is, we have had spells where we have looked very solid defensively without blunting our attacking edge. But then we have other periods where the opposition look like scoring every time they attack us.

    If Norwich had been a better team they would have been up 4 or 5 to 1 by half time.

  134. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Rocky, take away the 8 at Utd and 4 at Blackburn, when lets face it we were shit, the figures look a lot better. We will win the league next season.

  135. goonermichael says:

    I have a hunch song is going. I don’t think that coq will go though.

    I’m having an amazing time here. I’ve been to the final of the triumph young lingerie designer of the year show, Bobby Chinn’s grand opening of his new restaurant and just got back from the Vietnam launch of Russian Standard vodka at the Hard rock cafe. My friend get’s paid just to show her face. I’ve met 3 billionaires and I think I can really make a go of it here. I have met so many beautiful women it’s mental.

    And we’re still third!!!!!

  136. RockyLives says:

    Haha Terry – I would love to take them away. Sadly they happened and will be in the record books for ever more, so I can’t.

    The 8-2 may have been a freak result, but shipping 3 or 4 is becoming a bit too regular, unfortunately.

  137. jnyc says:

    I just read an article that bothered me quoting wenger saying after podolski we have to wait before any other moves because we have a big squad, etc, we have all heard before. I was hoping pod was a sign of a new style. I was hoping we would try to go after mvila fast before the bidding starts. Using arsenes french connection to get it done before big clubs jump in. I dont all moves to be done early, but that one could cost us im afraid. Because i have a feeling we are going to lose song also, and after the past few weeks, i really feel the need for a quality aggressive def mf to put in front of the back four.

  138. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    GM, you have this terrible habit of making me very jealous. hahaha. Good for you, sounds like your having a great time.

  139. That supports my preference then Rocky, Two DM`s, I`ve said It before, “first, we must be hard to beat” .
    glicette Is calling , time for spag bol !.

  140. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    I may be clutching at so many straws here that I should be strolling along with Dorothy and Toto but… when Arsene said he had completed the first phase of our transfer dealings, how do we know he was only referring to the Pod? Maybe other deals (M’Vila?) have been done but not announced…

    Just a thought 🙂

  141. Brigham says:

    I entered the gronund on Saturday full of hope, inspiration and total ideal that we would put the ‘Carrot Crunchers’ to the sword. I left feeling down, depressed and realizing that we were actually outplayed, outfought and were tactically inept. We got exactly what we deserved on Saturday, nothing, but a draw.

    Song and Ramsey were appalling in the middle of the park, they ambled about, failing to chase back and harrass the counter attacking style of Norwich. Far too many lax passes by both of them and they spent most their time going backwards and slowed down just about every attack we had.

    We need a massive make over in the summer , something along the lines of turning Bella Emberg into Kelly Brook. We are a team who have very little idea how to kill weak teams off, we let them off the hook every time, failing to deliver the coup de grace.

  142. kelsey says:

    Wenger is playing poker with the media. Maybe Song is leaving(no one answered me wehen I asked about the lap of honour and Song didn’t join in,just strolled into the centre circle without acknowledging the crowd, as reported by a few blogs).
    GIE picked up on Jack. AW said he will miss the start of the season. Denilson is coming back according to some as so is vela. I don’t believe either will come back and i expect them both to leave wih Almunia,Fabianski and Bendtner also going.I bet there is a lot going on behind the scenes,
    the there is Chamakh,Park and the Sqib are they part of ouir title challenging squad.?

  143. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    That is always possible. (Your 6:57).

    AW does have an elliptic way of answering questions, and he is such a marvellous linguist I am sure it is quite deliberate.

    On the other hand, wishful thinking (M’Vila) begets rationalization = Song leaving.
    RVP not committing himself yet begets rationalization = better buy Dempsey (altho, like Randy, – if RVP does go, I hope we have our sights set higher than that).
    Rumours about the Jolly Green Giant begets rationalization about Vertonghen etc, and so on.

    We have this every year – don’t we? 🙂

  144. VCC says:

    GM. 6:53.
    Don’t forget Im your best friend.

  145. jnyc says:

    Rocky, i so hope its the case that mvila is wrapped up, what a dream that would be. From your keypad to Gods ears. I will remain hopeful. But still worried.

  146. Reddawn says:

    Hi RL…. The only person I would put Ramsey in front of is Squillici on the transfer list.

  147. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey,

    I did not answer you about the ‘non lap of respect’ by Song — I was too busy dodging your ardour! 🙂

  148. No VCC,
    With the picture of yourself in your avatar, You are “Mans best friend”. I am gm`s new best friend, with his talent and my handsomeness, we will go far !. 😆

  149. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    AW has been pretty clear about RvP. He has stated (last week) that even if Robin does not sign a new contract, we will keep him for the final year of his current contract.

    I’m surprised so many people seem to have just ignored this statement.

    Reddawn
    Not keen on Ramsey then? 🙂

  150. RockyLives says:

    Kelsey
    I was intrigued by your question about Song and the lap of appreciation. I even repeated the question myself a bit later. I suspect none of the regulars who was at the game has been able to comment because (whisper it) they did not hang about for the “appreciation”.

  151. Sorry Rocky,
    I think Arsene made a similar statement in that we would also keep Cesc and Nasri,
    Personally, I think he`s staying.

  152. RockyLives says:

    GLiC
    He said that if we lost Cesc and Na$ri we could not be considered a big club. We lost them and… well… draw your own conclusions.

    But I don’t believe he ever categorically stated that they would not be allowed to leave – which he has done with Robin.

  153. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    apropos of nothing, I saw this crossword clue (cryptic) and thought you might like it:

    1 Across:
    (3,3,3,1,4)

    Enjoy…

  154. VCC says:

    GLiC.7:17.

    I see you are still wearing a mask then.

    I suggest you turn the light out before you have a shave, it will frighten the life out of you, also seeing, the image before you will totally sicken you when you see the real GLiC.

  155. bah! says:

    – RVP, despite scoring two good goals, needs to be much more efficient. As it’s now he’s just a mediocre finisher. (Opta stats)
    – Song needs to be less lazy and adventorous in posession
    – Ramsey…how many points has he cost us this season?! Slow down the game and a waste of space.
    – TV5…I dearly agreed with the writer of this piece.
    – Walcott…1 good game out of ten.
    – Gibbs, not good enough and I don’t trust Santos.
    – Sczc, should have saved at least one vs Norwich. Has drop his standard at a critical time.
    – Wenger, SEND RAMSEY OUT (on loan?)!

  156. Rocky
    Just a differant use of words ,but I take your point . If he does go though, then Arsene will be attacked from all sides for such a statement and his only escape would be to push the blame on the BoD for going above his head, but would he ? ,I doubt it .

  157. Gooner In Exile says:

    Kelsey, I hope Arsene’s mutterings about Jack are to put off any potential for Pearce picking him for Olympics, hopefully Hodgson will tell Pearce in no uncertain terms that Jack will be needed for World Cup Qualifiers and so in no way will or should be risked for the poxy Olympics. I certainly hope Jacks injury is not as bad as some noises are starting to suggest.

  158. VCC,
    When I see you next season at the Tavern , I will buy you a………….actually, I will buy the regulars a pint and you will get a bowl of water and a bonio for outside and you will be only allowed in with Terry and his shades and a white stick !. 🙂

  159. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Kelsey, Rocky,

    When song came out he was a bit late and seemed to stroll around uniterested, maybe he was still playing the first half? The only thing i can say in his defence was that he looked to have a limp, maybe he was carrying a knock or something. A couple of people around me did notice and comments like “look at Song, the wanker” were muttered, but at the end of the day its not a big deal, to me anyway. As long as he puts in a good performence against Albion thats all i care about.

  160. VCC says:

    GLiC. :-).

    I sincerely hope we meet up before a game next season.

    I hope it’s not haloween, and you wearing that nasty mask you keep persisting to use. You are frightening the kids.

  161. Gooner In Exile says:

    RvP mediocre finisher? Ok it may be true Micky has a 1 in 3 theory which probably held up on Saturday.

    Using that website I mentioned earlier heres some comparisons goals and shots in brackets:

    AFC:
    RvP 30 (170) – 17.6%
    Theo 8 (76) – 10.5%

    Round the league:

    Cisse 13 (35) – 37.1%
    Holt 14 (75) – 18.7%
    Rooney 26 (152) – 17.1%
    Adebayor 16 (99) – 16.16%
    Ba 16 (106) – 15.1%
    NikB 8 (62) – 12.9%
    Torres 6 (64) – 9.4%
    Suarez 11 (121) – 9.1%
    Drogba 5 (64) – 7.8%
    Bale 9 (133) – 6.8%
    Carrol 4 (78) – 5.1%

  162. kelsey says:

    That’s a lame excuse TMHT 🙂

  163. RockyLives says:

    Let’s get Cisse!

  164. VCC
    It will be my pleasure to meet you at the tavern next season.
    My concern for you though is, I know you have a soft spot for QPR, but I`m worried you will start to have feelings for the Chavs aswell, when they move close to you at Battersea !. 🙂

  165. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Kelsey, hehehe. On a side note, is this site different somehow?, it seems sort of a different colour, and were are all these words in bold coming from?

  166. Gooner In Exile says:

    😀 Rocky thats a no brainer for every team in the PL, just realised i didn’t include any Shitty players.

    Aguero 22(123) – 17.8%
    Balotelli 13 (75) – 17.3%
    Dzeko 13 (88) – 14.8%

  167. I thought we already had a sissy , Chamakh, or is it a big girls blouse !

  168. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky,

    I’ve just seen your @ 7:26 ….. how many letters?

  169. Not the way I like

  170. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Sitting hear stuffing myself with KFC and now that cute blackburn chicken appears on the pitch…somehow its made this chicken taste even sweeter hahahaha.

  171. Gooner In Exile says:

    TMHT if you want to bolden letters you type strong surrounded by a less than sign and a more than sign before the words you want bold and then /strong between the same signs after the words like so you can replace strong with em to do this

  172. Terry,
    All depends on where your stuffing it !

  173. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks GiE hahahahahaha

  174. Reddawn says:

    RL……now what makes you think that?

  175. RockyLives says:

    Rasp

    (3,3,3,1,4)

  176. Gooner In Exile says:

    TMHT try here http://www.htmlcodetutorial.com/_STRONG.html

    I can’t put the more than and less thans in as the comment then things i’m typing code!

  177. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, hahahaha. Your right, next time i go KFC definatly gona demand a live one.

  178. RockyLives says:

    Reddawn
    I think Ramsey will turn out to be a great player for us… but I know that’s a hard one to argue after recent performances (particularly Saturday’s).

    The early part of next season will tell us a lot.

    I hope I’m right (in fact I’m sure you hope I’m right, as we all want great players at the Arse).

    For now though I admit the jury is out.

  179. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    GiE,hahahahaha, after looking at that ime not sure whos smarter, me or the chicken.

  180. I just dipped my nuts in chocolate

  181. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    When i master how to do it, probably about five years time, ime gona post all my comments in bold hahaha

  182. VCC says:

    GLiC ….Does Mrs GLiC like to lick them first before she crunches them.

  183. VCCenstein 🙂
    Close, but no, I lick the chocolate off and give them to her mother !

  184. Rocky

    Has not got a clue ……………….. 😉

    Combined effort 😀

  185. VCC says:

    You have a sweet tooth then GLiC.
    I’m trying to do this bold thing and it ain’t working?

  186. RockyLives says:

    Peaches 😀

    Well done. It stumped me!

  187. We’re very clever you know …… 😆

    He gave me a clue and I did the rest 😀

  188. desigunner says:

    RL, Thanks for the kind words and the link

    Also, I didn’t know about the Canary Test. Very interesting.

  189. VCC
    Mrs glic brought back a chocolate cake with icing on top from my grand daughters school fete, it was like a massive chocolate cup cake, Mrs glic went out, I cut the top layer of icing off and ate it, leaving just the dry bit of sponge, it was deliceous. Mrs glic came back and went Bananas ! 😆
    Right off to watch, Game of Thrones.

  190. kelsey says:

    First the shades,then the bold, am i the dedicated follower of fashion.

  191. RockyLives says:

    Desi
    No problem. Keep up the good work. Your analytical pieces are always well researched and explained and always make a fascinating read.

    In fact you should be on our Blogroll (hopefully the administrators here will add your blog to our list).

  192. RockyLives says:

    Kelsey
    Follower of fashion? Don’t do yourself down.
    You are the LEADER!
    🙂

  193. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Thank goodness you got RL’s clue.

    I would have been thinking all night about it! Well done

    Desi. Love your gravatar. Is it Crazy Ramon from Fistful of Dollars? No? Well, someone else then ……

    What has happened to our lovely red background?

  194. Big Raddy says:

    Busiest day on the blog for months (in terms of hits).

    Always busier when the fans are disgruntled. PLus, of course, a superb RL post

  195. Gooner In Exile says:

    Blackburn down, Wigan stay up. (if it stays like this)

    Bolton or QPR for the third and final relegation spot. So going to be an interesting final weekend.

  196. Gooner In Exile says:

    Btw that means Yak and Hoillett are available….any takers?

  197. VCC says:

    GiE. I would take Hoillett.

  198. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Can’t let you off the hook that easily.
    One more clue for you to ponder on…

    A bar of soap (6,6)

  199. Gooner In Exile says:

    Stats from Saturdays game are interesting reading:

    http://www.whoscored.com/Matches/507262/LiveStatistics/England-Premier-League-2011-2012-Arsenal-Norwich

    What is noticeable is how many more interceptions and tackles the Norwich midfield made compared to our midfield.

  200. Rasp says:

    ? Rovers Return ?

  201. Gooner In Exile says:

    Yakubu 16 goals 65 shots (24.6%) (altho he does take all penalties I believe).

    Hoilett 7 goals and 5 assists in that team is pretty impressive.

  202. Gooner In Exile says:

    Also found this interesting on the Membership renewal details:

    “Next season we will be introducing a new match grading system which will provide you with access to cheaper tickets for home matches.”

    I know they froze the price of Season Tickets, but it seems for some games they are dropping the gradings, my guess is there will be an admission increase for A & B but a new C bracket for the lower teams in the PL.

  203. RockyLives says:

    You’re good Rasp
    (or did Peaches help you out 🙂 )

  204. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky, thanks for a superb post. Today, you have raised your own high bar by another notch. 🙂

  205. Jose Antonio Reyes says:

    Hardly Tommy v if he is the only player (besides RVP) who can score. Also Barcelona wouldn’t see the game out if they that was true they would have been 2 0 up against Chelsea at ht.

  206. Gooner In Exile says:

    Here’s a question, QPR need a point against City to stay up, they have a 9 goal better goal difference than Bolton.

    So if you were Mark Hughes would you be practicing fitting 11 men into an 8ft by 8yard space to fill it without having any hands/arms showing.

    I reckon its possible with a bit of help from the Moscow State Circus.

  207. Rasp says:

    Very good news that Theo may be fit for Sunday, his partnership with RvP has blossomed as the season has progressed. I wrote him off at the start but his stats cannot be ignored. We stand a much better chance of scoring against WB with Theo on the pitch

  208. RockyLives says:

    Jose
    I said they would attempt to see the game out. Obviously it’s never going to work every single time.

  209. umair says:

    is it me or wat that whenever an arsenal player ends up miskicks the ball or plays a bad pass they always give away a goal. We need to buckle up

  210. Gooner In Exile says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17982474

    Interesting piece on BFG going to Germany squad, and training soon. Maybe not as bad as feared.

  211. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A signature Rocky post. Thanks.
    Sorry to have missed the discussion yesterday, but nevertheless, I couldn’t agree more. I listened to the game on the radio and Ray Parlour was having kittens over the Verm and the full backs still bombing forward at 3-2 with ten to play.
    Could it be true that Bouldy is stepping up? No hair and we don’t care!

  212. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Someone said the black in the new strip is a nod to HC. We did have hooped black and white socks in those days, but I still think its horrible.

  213. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Pool Chavs could be interesting tonight. FAC replay, some revenge, Chav last chance to pinch a top four (v. unlikely I know, but possible) and Pool a Europa spot and topping Everton.

  214. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooops, do they already have a Europa from CC ?

  215. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    I have a question about our squad.
    Does anyone know on the so called hit list how long the contracts are for Vela,bentner,fabianski,Walcott, Song and say anyone else with two years or less.I know Almunia is out of contract and of course we all know about RVP

  216. Big Raddy says:

    I seem to remember GIE putting that information on the site a couple of months ago. No idea where he go the info (if it was GIE)

    Would be good if Cole, Drogba and Lampard got nasty strains tonight – enough to put them out of the CL Final

  217. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Exactly my line of hoping Raddy. Cruel but fair 🙂

  218. Big Raddy says:

    There are others who remain under professional contract at Arsenal:- Craig Eastmond (on loan at Wycombe), Murphy, Harjovic, Aneke, Afobe, Watt, etc etc

    All are being paid by Arsenal and if we are lucky one or two may join the first team.

    In these difficult times of double dip recession players are going to struggle to find clubs, even on a free.

  219. evonne says:

    Morning
    Rocky – sorry, I had a mare with bees all day, disaster. I will read the post today, I know it’s great anyway

    Micky – agree about the kit, horrible, horrible, horrible. Resembles ManU strtip, don’t you think?

  220. Big Raddy says:

    Exactly Micky. Sod it …. let’s throw in a shoulder injury for Cech, a lasagne illness for Essien and Torres, a nasty cold for Sturridge

    and trench foot for Mata.

  221. Morning all

    Talking of Lasagne, the Arsenal chef tweeted ‘Lasagne Lasagne Lasagne’ after the spud result on Sunday 🙂

  222. We just have to stop moaning about the new kit, here’s the rationale and it is quite amusing to think that our players need blue hoops on their socks to further indentify them …….

    Chapman was a modernising tactician, advocated the use of numbered shirts and white balls, and also made significant changes to the Club’s kit for the 1933/34 season. In that year white sleeves were added to the previously all-red shirt and blue hoops were also introduced to the socks. Chapman’s rationale for these innovations was he wanted to maximise player visibility, making it easier for his players to pick each other out on the field of play.

  223. Gooner In Exile says:

    Every little helps Peaches 🙂

    Kelsey here is link that I find reliable:

    http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/manuel-almunia/profil/spieler_16621.html

    Start at Almunia and work through the squad, if you want loan players just search for them in the search bar or find their loan club.

  224. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Its blue trim? Looked black to me.
    Peaches,
    High vis players is bad. I like my stealth wingers. Lurking in the shadows out wide while blending seamlessly in with the crowd, then suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

  225. VCC says:

    News seems to be mounting that Wenger is looking at 17mil M,Villa and free agent Hoilett.

    I would say that’s exceptional business if done. That will be us sorted for next season, we can all go on holiday and have a peaceful few weeks dreaming of The Mighty Arsenal.

    Mickey I agree with you, the new shirt looks like it’s got black trimmings, but the read ups say navy???

    I hope it’s blue = Our countries colours Red,White and blue.

  226. Red Arse says:

    Morning Peoples, 🙂

    Peaches/Rasp, I read the (evening) comments this morning and saw Rocky’s Xword puzzle. I like doing them too, so when I saw 3;3;1;4 followed by ‘enjoy’ I thought I would crack it quickly.

    About to give up, when I realised the Rock was just exhorting us to ‘enjoy’ the Xword, and had not given us a clue at all. The leap was intuitive! 🙂

    Then I saw you two had cracked it easily, hours ago. Well done!! 🙂

  227. Big Raddy says:

    10 years ago today,” we won the league …. in Manchester “

  228. Micky – I agree, maybe they’ve all got poor eyesite or it helps Arsene when he’s watching at ground level 🙂

  229. Red Arse says:

    Peacher/Rasp,

    I would never have got the “Rovers Return”. (the name of) — A bar — (in a) — Soap. You are both brilliant! 🙂

    I don’t watch soaps, so never had a chance — that’s my excuse!!

  230. chas – where are you? Can you find the picture of our banner at Old Trafford when we won the title there pretty please xx

  231. Morning RA – Rasp gets all the credit for ‘Rovers Return’, he had to explain it to me twice and I still wasn’t sure I knew what he was going on about 😳

  232. Red Arse says:

    Doesn’t this “M’Vila deal agreed” stuff have all the hallmarks of last year’s “Mata deal agreed” — before he swanned off to the Chavs?

  233. Gooner In Exile says:

    RA Don’t think it’ll be a done deal until the outcome of the assault case involving a 17 year old lad thumped by M’Villa is dealt with

  234. Red Arse says:

    Peached,

    I bet the Rasper does the Times cryptic Xword!! 🙂

  235. Red Arse says:

    Got my ‘s’ and ‘d’ finger mixed up!! 🙂
    Anyway they are too close for my sausage fingers!

    Hi GIE, that’s why I think it is all too presumptuous about M’Vila.

  236. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. There is one on Arsenal World – link via Arseblog

  237. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Don’t they make a special keyboard for “big people”?

  238. VCC says:

    here you are Peaches.http://youtu.be/G_adATOypVQ

  239. Duncan McAndrew says:

    S.G.E.G. (9,4)

  240. New Post ………….. from an author that’s been in hiding

  241. Rasp says:

    Thanks Duncan, that’s perfect.

    …. Scrambled eggs…. 😛

  242. Thank you Duncan 🙂

  243. Harry says:

    “In the run-up to the Canaries’ third, Song gave the ball away stupidly”

    That is all you needed to right. Song is fucking thick.

    He does not fit the criteria of “intelligent footballer”, and gives the ball away far to often, usually in dangerous areas and when there is an easier and safer ball available.

  244. wedding magician…

    […]Thomas Vermaelen Needs To Grow Up « Arsenal Arsenal[…]…

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