Failure to Beat Sunderland: We’re All Doomed (and Player Ratings)

Well, all those hoping for quick and easy answers to what our season holds will be disappointed.

There were not enough positives in our 0-0 with Sunderland to have the optimists planning their outfits for the Champions Parade, nor enough negatives for the pessimists to start slashing their wrists.

The performance can probably best be summed up as “OK, in the circumstances.”

Not that that has stopped the media from going overboard with stories about how we’re doomed never to score again without the magic left boot of Brave Sir Robin and how Giroud is our latest French flop.

My favourite headline was from a website called Emirates 24/7 (not an Arsenal site – it’s based in the United Arab Emirates, I think). It said: “Van Persie Haunts Arsenal As Giroud Crumbles.” To whoever wrote it, take a bow son for the best load of hyperbollix on the net yesterday.

And so to the game.

Arsene Wenger gave starts to two of the new boys – Santi Cazorla in the attacking midfield role (despite him having travelled across the Atlantic and back with Spain midweek) and Lukas Podolski in the central striker role.

Well done Big Raddy for getting 10 out of 11 starters right in yesterday’s pre-match (Gervinho instead of Giroud was his only miss).

The home team took the field with a spring in their step and to a noisily positive reception from the crowd. The away team’s clapped-out old Greyhound bus sputtered onto the pitch and parked itself in front of their goal.

From the off it was clear that Sunderland were playing for a 0-0, but there were plenty of positive signs for Arsenal in the early stages.

Cazorla oozed class, controlling the ball instantly, turning on a peseta and always looking for the killer thrust. He’s a real midfield matador and could become our most important player this season, even if he could apply the “coup de gras” to Sunderland’s bull.

Gervinho was offering plenty of threat down the left, beating the Sunderland defenders and getting to the byline on several occasions, one of which gave Cazorla a good shot on goal, although it went narrowly wide.

Walcott, who struggled to create anything, scuffed a decent half chance after a Mertesacker knock-down and Diaby forced a good low save from Filet Mignon in the Sunderland goal.

At one point Walcott got to the touchline and pulled the ball back for the onrushing Podolski in the six yard box, but our new signing was crowded out by a posse of blue shirted defenders.

This was all still in the first half and it was becoming clear that something special would be needed to break down Sunderland’s resistance.

To be fair, the Black Cats did not need nine lives to survive, but their defending was full of commitment and effort. However, along with their time wasting almost from the first whistle, it made zero contribution to the spectacle. We know that many teams will come to the Emirates and will try to frustrate us like Sunderland. If we don’t score early on it gets harder and harder, so we really need the famous Plan B (of which there was no real sign yesterday).

Sunderland had a couple of breakaway chances in the first half – and, given our tendency to concede to the opposition’s first attack last year, I had my heart in my mouth – but a combination of well organised defending and good alertness from the Pole in Goal averted any catastrophes.

The second half was more of the same. Walcott tried an ambitious volley from a tight angle with an unmarked Podolski screaming for the ball in the six yard box; we had a few long range shots (including from free kicks), all of which went high; we tried to pass our way through the packed ranks of the bus boys… but as time wore on a goal seemed ever less likely.

Arsene switched out Podolski for Giroud and Diaby for Ramsey. We continued to press without much end product until Cazorla set up Giroud with a beautiful reverse pass into the box. Our striking (in more ways than one) Frenchman hit it first time and put it wide. It wasn’t a shocking “missed a sitter” moment of the kind trademarked by Fernando Torres last season, but it was a good chance and his shot should have been on target.

That said, it was one attempt and all strikers miss these sorts of chances. In fact they miss them more than they score them – even Brave Sir Robin. I have seen some people already describing Giroud as a flop on the basis of that one miss, which seems (to me at least) a spectacularly inane attitude. He may or may not turn out to be a good striker for us, but screwing one shot wide tells us very little either way.

With the clock running down and the Sunderland bus dented but still standing, we got the one big surprise of the day – a cameo from Andrey Arshavin. The Russian – looking slimmer than last year (which may tell you more about the quality of food back in Russia than about his fitness regime) – looked busy around the Sunderland penalty area, but also, frustratingly, gave away possession in the midfield several times just when we were trying to build momentum.

The final whistle led to Sunderland celebrations – they had got exactly what they came for – and a mixed reaction from the Arsenal faithful. The already-disillusioned felt it was déjà vu, and that we would lack firepower all season (as if we didn’t have any nil-nils when van Persie was playing). The more optimistic felt they had seen promising signs and were prepared to give it time.

You won’t be surprised to know that I’m in the latter camp. We lacked fluidity overall and there was little mutual understanding in and around the Sunderland box, but we created enough chances to have won, we were solid at the back on the very few times Sunderland threatened and there were some very encouraging individual performances.

When Cazorla gets used to the playing style of his new team mates I really expect big things to follow.

Arsene said we lacked sharpness and fluency and our passing wasn’t fast enough. All of which will improve.

Next week we’re away at the Orcs, which will give us a good indication of where we stand. I read somewhere that the FA have decreed that all pitches have to be the same size this year, so the Orcs will not be able to use their habitual tiny pitch trick, designed to assist Rory Delap’s basketball efforts. The little bit of extra room might be just what we need to give them what they deserve.

Player Ratings

Szczesny: Sunderland’s timidity meant he had little to do, but on the couple of occasions when he was called on, he did just fine. 7

Jenkinson: I noticed a mixed reaction to Jenks in the comments after the game. For me he didn’t do a lot wrong and put in a steady shift. He’s still learning but does not seem out of his depth. 6

Mertesacker: Typical performance by big Per: confident on the ball and good at anticipating the Sunderland threat. He wasn’t stretched but did what he had to do perfectly well. 7

Vermaelen: His first game as club captain. He was solid at the back and tried to drive us on for a winner. 7

Gibbs: He looked very comfortable defensively. I would have liked to see him him give more support to Gervinho at times, because on several occasions the Ivorian got to the byline with two or three defenders in front of him but did not seem to have the cut-back option on. 7

Arteta: Not his most showy display, but he was typically tidy and disciplined. 7

Diaby: First of all it was great to see him complete 70 or so minutes and look fit. He showed good attacking intent and did a solid job in the midfield. There’ll be better to come, hopefully. 7

Cazorla: Tired a bit in the second half, when the transatlantic jet lag must have kicked in, but he looked a class player throughout. A couple of clever reverse passes into attackers in the box were pure Cesc. MoTM 8

Walcott: Seemed uninvolved for long periods and unable to make much happen. Playing against the parked bus is not his forte and yesterday it showed. There are rumours that he, too, is about to leave. Maybe that played a part too. 5

Gervinho: A strange performance. He saw lots of the ball and was our most consistent attacking threat, mostly down the left. He made a couple of good openings for others, but most of the time his end product went awry. I can’t quite figure him out, but, based on last season and yesterday’s game, I find I’m getting less excited when he takes on defenders because I don’t expect much to come of it any more. On the other hand he is lightning fast and can skin fullbacks for fun and kept trying all game. For me though, the jury’s out. 7


Podolski: Plenty of effort but it didn’t really click for the German/Pole on his debut. It’s clear these players need to get used to each other and maybe Pod will feel more comfortable coming in off the left wing. 6


Giroud: Made good runs and had a great chance to be the hero of the day. Looks promising but time will tell.

Ramsey: Busy as ever. Won’t have changed anyone’s mind about him.

Arshavin: We know he’s gifted and carries a threat. His casual passing in midfield was frustrating.


201 Responses to Failure to Beat Sunderland: We’re All Doomed (and Player Ratings)

  1. This is from Wonderman from the previous post

    Wonderman says:
    August 19, 2012 at 9:55 am (Edit)

    Hi GIE I was at the game yesterday in what I would describe as unbearable heat. The first game of the season is difficult enough without those kind of temperatures to deal with. My thoughts

    1. We should have played the ball quicker when in possession. When dealing with a defensive minded team you MUST tire them out by moving them around then exploit the spaces that fatigue induces
    2. Players
    Szczesny – nothing to do except 1 save
    Gibbs – Solid
    Vermy and Mert – Solid gave, Mert gave the ball away once but also executed a Cruyff turn to lose a marker
    Jenkinson – distribution could have been better along with decision making but is a real battler, has a lot to learn but we have to accept he is not the finished article
    Arteta – Class
    Diaby – Good solid injury free 70 mins and almost scored
    Cazorla- Pure class excellent debut, we have a very special player here and the others need to raise their standards
    Gervinho – carried our ‘run at em ‘ threat all game and defended , when he learns to shoot a fraction of a second later he will go to the next level
    Walcott – from the heavy touch in the first minute of the game looked off. didn’t give us any width and in fact I wondered if Wenger told him to join Poldi to make a front 2 ( probably as part of contract negotiations) as he spent most of the day going inside
    Poldi- doesnt look like a lone striker to me but early days, also looks quicker than Van P
    Giroud – looks like a lone striker an probably should have started
    Arshavin – looked dangerous in patches , tends to give ball away cheaply
    Ramsey – Functional

    I feel Wenger got hs tactics wrong, Giroud should have started imo with Poldi either on the left or bench, Walcot was either still suffering the injury, disinterested or both and should either have started on the bench or been taken off much earlier. At the end of the game I was more underwelmed than disapointed as we did no worse than the opening game last season. I felt even better when I saw the other scores 🙂

  2. This from Micky from the previous post

    MickyDidIt89 says:
    August 19, 2012 at 9:56 am (Edit)

    You’re dead right about te formation requirements, sadly however, your 4-4-1-1 is not good 🙂
    The question is: do we play Ollie and Pod, and if so, how?
    My answer: If its 4-3-3, then Pod only, because both Gerv and Theo do the baseline cut back on the ground thing very well, and we would not get the best out of Ollie.
    However, if its 3-5-2 (which is the real answer 🙂 ), then both.
    …….Pod Ollie
    Santo Santi Art Ox Sag
    …Verm Mert Kos

  3. goonermichael says:

    I thought there was a lot to be excited about.

  4. micky, i can live with that 🙂

    does Jack get an automatic start when he is 110% fit?


  5. kgooner says:

    “given our tendency to concede to the opposition’s first attack last year, I had my heart in my mouth” This was very true. I was glad we did not concede.
    Cazorla was impressive. A full game after internationals and jetlag? He’s going to be a huge asset.

    I thought Giroud should have gone in first. He seems more agile than Pod. Some chances we got in the first have were not direct shots and required some ball handling. The parked bus played a huge role in this. Podolski would be great at direct shots that fly past keepers.

    I am crossing my fingers for next week away. I wonder tho, if Wenger knew we’re playing Sunderland, why wasn’t he armed?? They mostly play like that.

    Great post-climax post 🙂

  6. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Fine post match – the only negative being that we will miss an RL Monday post.

    Loved the Russian food quip and the “matador” (won’t be the last time we read that!)

  7. jimberee says:

    cant believe songs gone, our most consistent midfielder NEVER gets injured unlike everyone else in the squad, the game yesterday had a lot of positives i thought, but the season is sure to be another if only

  8. 1derman says:

    Pretty much agree with your post Rocky.In short Giroud for me already looks like he will pull the trigger more often than not and Santi .. nuf said early days the key for us this season is to avoid horrendous long term

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Jimberee. It is always sad to lose a player who has come through the youth system.

    I don’t think we will miss Song, good player through he was, no player is bigger than the club

    My concerns are that we are losing our “African” connection. There are millions of Gooners in Africa (post-Kanu) and we need them to identify with the current team. At least we still have Gervinho….

  10. Big Raddy says:

    GM. I though you were delusional 🙂

  11. Savage says:

    Bit harsh on Gervinho I think. He was very willing to shoot in this game – watch it again if you don’t believe me, and he laid off some great balls. It’s just that no human can dribble through 11 men – getting through 3 or 4 at a time was a phenonemal achievement already. Really getting excited about his season.

  12. Thanks for the match report Rocky.

    You’ve called it as youve seen it and just like yourself, i sit in the latter camp and the team needs time to find their bearings whith each other..

    One thing though, it was poor positioning from our centre halves for Sunderlands opening and only real chance..Depending which way you look at it, it could have been Per’s fault for pushing up and leaving his man open or it could be Verms fault for not pushing up when Per did (as he is almost always our last man/sweeper) and plays the off side line..

    Either way, they were just too far apart and better quality opposition attackers will exploit mistakes like that and bury us..

    All in all, we kept a clean sheet and on our way to conceding less than last year..Thanks Bouldy 😉

    Im optomistic for the season as i see it as a marathon, and not a sprint, however on a greedy note i would really like a signing to cover Song Billongs departure..

    As is, i still think our squad is a little thin for four competitions imo, but im basing that on all factors including possible injuries to the usual suspects, quality, experience and possible departures (players still yet to sign)

  13. Rasp says:

    Great match report Rocky and nothing to worry about from yesterday’s game as it’s early days and the players are bedding in.

    Cazorla for Song is an improvement. The matador is already showing us what we lacked last season so I don’t want to hear any ‘we’re doomed now Song’s gone’ – we’re not, we’re stronger with Cazorla.

    I don’t know when Sagna’s due back but it can’t come too soon for me.

    There is no way the team that started yesterday would concede 8 goals to manu , we’re in a much stronger position and it can only get stronger with Jack and Sagna returning and hopefully Sahin coming in too.


    Now the little boy inside me must eat..

  15. Red Arse says:

    Rockadiddlydoodah, 🙂

    A first class review, and I think it pretty much sums up the game as I saw it, too.

    Football is full of extremes.
    It would have taken just one of the better chances we made to go in and we would have been eulogising the team and the manager to the sky.

    Unfortunately it did not happen, so all the media and some of the more rabid fans are predicting that armageddon is not far off.

    Me? I was disappointed, but next week I will be happy again. That’s football – that’s life! 🙂

  16. GoonerB says:

    Good one Rocky. I am glad you are in the latter camp, as am I. It was obvious that if we didn’t score having lost RVP what the media would say. The headlines were almost handed to them on a plate, and for me it represents the lazy sensationalist journalism of today instead of reasoned analysis. I for one don’t believe we lack firepower in the squad and would put yesterday down to other combined reasons. Firstly as a big team we have a lot of internationals and this was of course an international week so there will be some fatigue, which will always have more impact on a team that plays a quick passing game like us. Sunderland probably didn’t have many players away this week (I don’t know the figures) and of course MON sides are well organised, so these combined factors can lead to what happened yesterday. An extra day or 2 days to recover would have been helpful. Hang on I can hear you all shouting at me, yes you are right, a bit like the 2 Manchester clubs (how on earth did they get so fortunate, the lucky devils!!).

    I also, like Big Raddy, predicted yesterdays set up but also had Giroud instead of Gervinho. I don’t know why AW went with this as the team that started at Cologne had both Pod and Giroud playing and we looked a lot more dangerous. Why not double up on our firepower in relation to goal-scoring ability. Having Gervinho and Walcott playing off one loan striker was what we were doing last year and for me neither Gervinho or Walcott carry enough goal threat, and therefore make it easier for teams to frustrate us as we can look a bit predictable. If he persists with this and only plays one or the other I think then we will struggle and it will be a case of AW not learning and heeding his lessons again. What made it worse was when we were struggling for a goal that he brought on Giroud for Pod instead of doubling them up. I do find AW’s decisions curious at times and I sometimes feel he is just trying to be too clever for his own good.

    Peaches, your suggestion of a 3-5-2 is interesting as it is one I suggested as a possibility last year. It keeps us with a dominant midfield numbers wise, which is important for our possession game and also allows us to double up with strikers. It may work I am not sure but I don’t see AW going for it anyway. I unfortunately feel that he is still stubbornly stuck in his 4-3-3 system. If we were to play 3-5-2 regularly this season then I would suggest we would need another quality CB in the squad.

  17. @ GoonerB,

    Micky is your 3-5-2 man..He swears by it

  18. goonermichael says:

    At least it’s one less going to the ACN Raddy

    “Always look on the bright side of life”

  19. GoonerB says:

    PPP at 10.54. Interesting about the CD mistake. I personally quite like Per and despite his obvious deficiency with pace we always seem to look more calm and organised when he plays. Both LK and TV are pacier and have a greater recovery to catch a player that has slightly got away from them. I can’t remember where I saw it but a German analyst commented that Per is best when he plays as the deepest defender. Per does have a great deal of experience so even though TV is captain maybe Bould should be instructing the defence to take their lead from Per when he is playing so that he decides when the team push up or drop and then use TV and LK as the quicker defenders to recover any dangerous situation.

  20. rhyle says:

    Morning all…sounds by the comments in yesterday’s post that I was right to avoid MotD!

    Did catch Sunday Supplement, though. Amazing. Talked all sorts of nonsense – season over before the transfer window’s shut. Liverpool can change managers all they like – everybody there does a good job, they’re just “unlucky” to face teams much, much better themselves like effing WEST…BROMWICH…ALBION…whereas we should jettison our manager right now because it’s clear he’s lost it and that our signings are poor man’s somebody or other (Podolski? Poor man’s RvP. Giroud? Poor man’s Chamakh…lol. Cazorla? Poor man’s Fabregas). To be fair, the first was implied, the second never said at all…but the third? Some twat actually said that. Clearly a big fan of La Liga.

    So that’s now no MotD and no more Sunday Supplement…two shows down and the seasons one day old. SS was so much better when you had a clearly “forgetful” Jimmy Hill to reel ’em in…they even implied that the booing was towards the team yesterday…and not aimed at the time wasting by Sunderland.


  21. Slimgingergooner says:

    i wonder how many of those that have slated Giroud and Arsenal have gone to the bookies this morning to back Fulham and Swansea for the title! 🙂

  22. goonermichael says:

    Rhyle I haven’t watched SS for ages. Don’t EVER listen to talkshite for that matter. Don’t read the sun. Don’t read the comments on LG. Blocked 70% of newsnow and so on.

  23. Gooner In Exile says:

    Cracking read as ever Rocky, as much as I enjoy your Monday morning rib tickling hard hitters I do enjoy your match reports and I for one would vote for you to do more. Neve fail to cut through the media “truths”.

    Reading the comments this morning I had a little thought, my guess is some won’t like it but here goes.

    Front 3

    Podolski …….Giroud……..Gervinho

    Interchangeable, intelligent and prepared to work up and back. Ok Giroud may be the main striker more often than not buy the other two can switch wings and provide a lot of threat either cutting in and shooting or driving to the bye line and delivering.

    Theo is to be sold, and Wenger playing him yesterday is making sure it is done early like Nasri last season.

    Then add a couple of extras and have Ryo and Afobe ready to come through.

  24. Gooner In Exile says:

    WMan thanks for the detailed thoughts on the performance interesting stuff.

  25. goonermichael says:

    Every time a player leaves is an “exodus” when it’s one of ours.

    If Wenger had pushed an official they’d be demanding the death penalty

    The ref plays advantage for them but not us.

    Even paranoids have real enemies 🙂

  26. glic says:

    How do you cut hair if you`ve become a hermit ? 😆

  27. goonermichael says:

    I think theo will sign anew deal GIE

  28. goonermichael says:

    No one can touch me when I’m holding my 7″ Matzuzaki scissors 🙂

  29. glic says:

    But who with gm ?

  30. goonermichael says:

    I can smell a full English wafting from the kitchen. See you all later

  31. goonermichael says:

    I think he’ll stay glic. I’m not really fussed either way tbh

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I love the smooth style of your match reports. Accurate with a pinch of witty seasoning. Thanks.

  33. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rhyle you have to learn to watch MotD on record then you can scroll trough the rubbish…altho occasionally it can provide moments of hilarity.

    WBA 3 – Liverpool 0

    Hansen – “Agger and Skrtel, arguably the best centreback pairing in the league”

    Excuse me Mr Hansen who are you arguing that with a 5 year old girl who does ballet?

    Anyway he went on:

    “arguably the best centre back pairing in the league”

    Sorry I’ve had to stop again…..REALLY?!?!?

    “arguably the best ……… (I can’t say it again I might just have a heart attack), were at 6’s and 7’s all game”

    Oh so the best centre backs in the league are at 6’s and 7’s oh you crack me up with your Liver Bird blinkers on Mr Hansen.

    Watching the rest of MotD, QPR defensively were dreadful, Hughes said in post match that Swansea “once a goal up are good at soaking pressure and counterattacking”, erm Mr Hughes the sun was in your eyes at least 3 of the last 4 were balls given away by your defence in your final third, Rob Green the goalie Wenger should have signed every summer for the last 5 (according to leople i’m glad have no say in or transfer activity) had another shocker for the first, and was pretty unconvincing.

    Another highlight was when Shearer and Hansen said Spuds would be all right once they signed a couple of centre forwards, oh it’s okay to start the season without a full squad now is it?

    Rant Over….maybe you are right Rhyle maybe I shouldn’t watch

  34. MickyDidIt89 says:

    On Theo.
    GiE may well be right, in which case the topic is irrelevant. However, over an iced americano with Peaches after the game, we discussed our wide boy. She rightly pointed out how much better he plays with Sagna behind than Jenks. This was kind of in defence of my accusation that again Gerv saw more of the ball because, I argued, he gets himself into better space.
    The empty space down our right in the second half was enormous.
    My sensitive conclusion was that Theo had moved central to find some shade from the blistering heat on the east side of the turf.

  35. oz gunner says:

    top notch report Rocky, definitely how i saw it also.

    Reading newsnow u’d think Giroud missed 23 ‘torres-like’ shots in one game. Not to mention them thinking RVP never missed a shot in his life.

    I think AA gets a bad wrap (also amazing how once you’re labelled as something it sticks with you), because he has been slim for quite some time now. Especially last season. At the end of the day you either have a big cardiovascular tank or you don’t. It can be developed early in your career with dedication and hard work. Personally I don’t see why we don’t spend a few weeks up in Utah doing altitude training. I mean we have the money, can drop in for a few $$$ earning games in the US and our players with run other teams into the ground.

  36. glic says:

    Sorry, how rude of me, a fine MR rockylicious and a fine PM yesterday Raddylicious !. I`m now going to watch the highlights on Arsenalplayer……which will probably be shorter than…….. The Rock Report. I like the sound of that……..The Rock Report, we need a poll/vote to make this a permanent feature, who seconds this ?. 🙂

  37. oz gunner says:

    It is quite amazing to see how often Gerv tricks his opponent going left or right. Tighten up his passing/finishing he’ll be assisting/scoring for fun

  38. GoonerB says:

    Gooner in exile. Very funny post. I am recommending you to Norris McWhirter as the worlds best sarcastic blogger.

  39. goonermichael says:

    Funniest thing on motd was rob greens haircut.

  40. oz gunner says:


    also leaves us less exposed to the wrath of peaches or her trusty partner in crime Evonne, when they hunt down victims for match reports!

  41. Aaron kwegyir says:

    Let us give de boys some tym espetialy in de next game.Giroud,Podolski n Santi will provide hopefuly.

  42. glic says:

    I`m back, and as someone you know, of being a top technical and tactical analyst on here……..well the pitch looked fantastic……gm, a fantastic job with your 7″ Matzuzaki`s !.
    Indeed , the bus was truely parked and asks the question….How much is Sunderlands sponsorship deal with London Transport ?.

  43. evonne says:

    Rocky – good summary of yestertay’s game.
    The only thing I woult like to att is that Gervinho looket like the only one able to sneak through the closet toors of the bus from Sunterlant; other players coult see that too ant they kept on passing the ball to Gerv rather than Theo, leaving him isolatet. A quick change ant a tecent pass to TW coult have chanbget the result

    But hey, on the whole me is a satisfiet customer eager to see more

    Thanks for the post Rocky

  44. goonermichael says:

    We have signed an absolute gem

  45. goonermichael says:

    Goot morning evonne 🙂

    I’m off to watch the chavs and support Wigan

  46. goonermichael says:

    Arshavin is off by all accounts

  47. goonermichael says:

    well that was dissapointing

    Def pen but he was well on his way down before the contact. Theo should do that

  48. oz gunner says:

    what has been said GM? I was hoping he’d stick around! If we are only going to get a few million for him it hardly seems worth it as he can def play a part in our squad!

  49. glic says:

    My only negative with Santi is,….. I wish we had got him years ago, my type of player , It`s like watching me on a Thursday night 5-a-side !. 😆

  50. glic says:

    Sorry Oz, but I cant wait for AA to go, him and Santi are of a similar stature ,but only one has an active style of play.
    AA, Bendy and Squid out soon , even if we dont buy replacements now, It will help with getting the wage bill down.
    As much as I love Arsene, he does sometimes buy some shit , that wouldn`t be so bad if he paid them shit wages to go with their ability. Sebastien Squilacci…….basically, an exotic latin sounding Jeff Blockley !.

  51. oz gunner says:

    You are right GLIC in regards to Squidge, i’d have taken him in 2004 but definitely not when we picked him up. I disagree with AA though. Santi will need rests and as we all know the season is long and hard. Heaven forbid he picked up a knock! AA can do a job, and we need to keep what depth we have otherwise we will falter. A focused AA is a dangerous AA

  52. goonermichael says:

    We’ll have jack back at some point oz.

  53. Norfolk Gooner says:

    At least we didn’t concede a goal!

  54. glic says:

    I would give AA some performance enhancing drugs, who knows we may get a year out of him running about like John Terry rushing to the toilet with his new addition of Footballers Wives Jugs before he is caught by the Doping agency !.

  55. Gooner In Exile says:

    NG to score a goal MoN might have had to let two men go forward at once….unlikely.

  56. glic says:

    That was just a technicallity GIE, the doors on the Bus were jammed ! .

  57. evonne says:

    Norfolk – not even funny; I was petrifiet for 94mins that that was going to happen

    Girout’s previous manager hat sait last year that he woult only part with him for 50m Euros. Why has he changet his mint? BTW Giraut’s my hot fav, but I will never love a footballer again, never

  58. Norfolk Gooner says:


    We’ve faced teams that park the bus season after season ad-nauseum, we have frequently conceded goals in the past against such sides, to not do so in this instance is a positive. BUT, despite the best efforts of players like Bergkamp, Henry, the Homesick Spaniard, Na£ri, Arshavin, the Departed Dutchman et al, and now Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla we STILL can’t find a way through to the goal.

    We can’t expect teams to drop the tactic just because we don’t like it. We MUST find an answer, only then will teams stop playing for a nil-nil draw or to snatch a goal on the break.

    Before anybody asks, I am not a highly paid football manager, I’m only a common or garden football fan so I don’t have the answer. The manager should though, after all this time.

  59. Norfolk Gooner says:


    My comment wasn’t meant to be funny.

  60. glic says:

    e va va vonne
    Thats until you see me play 5-a-side , I`m the Messi of Launceston Old Gits !. 😆

  61. glic says:

    Next time a team parks the Bus, may a cunning plan would be to dress up as Bus drivers/ticket collectors or some old AAers like GN5 who get on for nothing and sneak through !.
    Personally, I`d rather an away team parked the Train !, If It`s anything like First Great Western, It`ll be too late or cancelled !.


    Messi Lost in Cornwall… 🙂

    haha, has a certain ring to it

  63. Norfolk Gooner says:


    Very funny i’m sure.

  64. goonermichael says:

    i think we would have destroyed wigan with the space they gave to the chavs

    Disclaimer… It’s only an opinion I can’t prove it 🙂

  65. mlic says:

    What would an Hairdresser know about football ?
    I`m Messi disguised as an Old F**king Van driver , I know tons ! 😆

  66. neamman says:

    Not so sad after the game. Due to the stupid Tv company mis labling I only saw thbe second half. But once the new guys settle in we will be fine. I dont rat Gervinho,, wonderful skills but where is the end product? All you often its a brilliant 10 second run into a dead end. For me..hes another Charlie Cooke.. [only old fogies will know that name.]
    Cant say if our defense will be better as Sunderland offered nothing up front.

  67. DJM says:

    Sunderland fan here.
    A thoughtful article – much better than many knee jerk offerings.
    For an equally thoughtful though differently slanted piece, look at this

    I make little apology for the bus parked on your pitch yesterday. However if you considered the awful mess SAFC made of pre-season and indeed the poor form they showed since beating your lot in the cup, coupled with the so-far slow progress in transfers in, you will understand why SAFC fans are at very least relieved we did not get the tonking we feared. To get some perspective on our expectations, we still haven’t adequately replaced Bendtner, for God’s sake!

    Still, for Sunderland as for Arsenal, the season is yet to take full shape. Cheer up, at least you don’t follow Liverpool or Spurs (teams with high aspiration) or indeed QPR or Norwich. Wait till their battered buses grace the Emirates!

  68. evonne says:

    DJM – you are brave, i give you that 🙂

  69. mlic says:

    Welcome DJM
    What I like about you Mackem`s is……… your not as gobby mouthed as the Geordie`s !. 🙂

    I know this because I work with one !. 😆

  70. Gooner In Exile says:

    DJM good comment there good to hear the other sides views. Do you think MoN would get away with the way his teams play at many other clubs, both Villa and Sunderland have very loyal support. But others are proving that there is another way in the PL, and perhaps it’s time some of the managers like Sam Allardyce, Pulis and O’Neill took note. Far harder to coach a team to play passing football and survive in the PL than the football those three churn out.

    You certainly won’t be the last team to come to the Ems and park a bus, and you certainly weren’t the first.

  71. goonermichael says:

    Went to the shops. What happened to Aguerro?

  72. GM,
    Stretcher came out, twisted knee or something in his leg…bye bye Aguerro

  73. glic says:

    I dont like to stereo type people and this is a request………next time a Northern team park the bus, could they please clean the Racing Pigeon shit off first, It makes our shiny stadium look a mess !.

    Kind Regards

  74. glic says:

    Whats this, Aguerro done his leg in ?. Is it bad ?.
    Trust our bloody luck, we should have held on for a few more days with Brave Iron Penis !.
    1 ) He would have converted Giroud`s chance.
    2 ) We could have sold him to Money Bags for £40M .

  75. Farca have immediately put a 60mil buy out clause on Alex Song smokesabong

  76. goonermichael says:

    Shame I like Aguerro.

  77. Maybe we should be putting massive buyout clauses on our new recruits seeing as Arsene is so upset at losing players coming to their peak…

  78. glic says:

    Mancini has just been on the phone to Farca and bid £60M for Song !. Will we ever get the true value for one of our players ?.
    Damn you Dennis !.

  79. let me guess GM, he swept you off your feet after clinching the title from Manure in the last 5 sec of last season 🙂

  80. Glic maybe im wrong, maybe Chamack, Squid, Denilson and co. do have these massive buyout clauses..after all they are worth it

  81. glic says:

    We have, but on the wrong one`s, Squillaci`s buy out clause ….£80M !.
    Consider that against Gareth Bale`s buy out clause……..2 ton of Peanut`s and a Ton of Banana`s……….. what a crazy football world we live in !.

  82. createstrain says:

    i think theo not signing yet is insulting and im glad you pointed out his ‘come and get me, im the star of the show volley’ when the pod was unmarked in the 6. he might stay but that choice of personnel fame over team success says too much.

    gotta be the pod, giroooo, ricky front three with theo on the bench if he stays and santos as back up challenging.

  83. That buy out clause on Song is to stop him walking away after a year of not being played enough. We probably have dibs on a sell on fee though so at least we will get around £6m.

  84. Brigham says:

    So, just how many more players are we going to sell before the transfer window closes? We have become a selling club and to be honest, its all getting a tad embarassing for me.

  85. GiE, he will play more often than people think..Puyol is nearing the end and seeing as they couldnt nab Martinez, theyve been using mascherano and busquets as both DM and CB..Song will feature quite often as Puyol (imo) is one injury from calling it a day.. Still, id like to see us put these clauses on our top talents.Who is to say that man shitty wont come in for Santi after a fabulous season? The sad thing is that 20mil would be enough for our board

  86. glic says:

    Even though I like Theo ( coz Stretch say`s he`s got a nice mum ), I would sell him for £20M and buy Mose`s for £8M, just an opinion.

  87. if Hulk had a 100mil buy out clause on him at Porto (ridiculous i know, but it keeps the hawks at bay)then we should do the same with the likes of Jack and Ox..Young homegrown talent, internationals, and genuine superstars in the making.. Seriously, what gives?

  88. glic says:

    If he can part the Red Sea, he`d have no trouble with them Bus`es !.

  89. Glic, id sell Gunnersauras for a pack of smokes, just an opinion 🙂

  90. Glic 5.02pm, just brilliant sir

  91. goonermichael says:

    Spanish teams always have buyout clauses, they are always mental and they are generally meaningless

  92. No they are not meaningless!!

    They give the power to the empoyer rather than the player, at least till the last year of the contract..

    Porto is a porkacheese club and that meaningless clause scared chelsea away

  93. glic says:

    Talking of buy out clause`s, Me and Stretch ( Terry ) have a release clause on Mrs VP. She`s not going anywhere `till she`s made 10 Stretcharobic vid`s with Dr Stretch. Until then, Brave Iron Penis will have to knock one off looking at sticky photo`s of Red Nose`s rotten Rodent infected Rectum. Something I`ve no doubt he will enjoy !.

  94. Glic, he might find comfort in that. Rumour has it he has an old photo of Bale’s baboon butt blowing those love hearts when he scores

  95. glic says:

    PPP 😆
    They would make a great couple then, a camera,a bag of Dry Rectum roasted peanuts ,a box of banana skin`s and some imagination will outsell Dr Stretch`s vid !.

  96. goonermichael says:

    If there is no buyout clause the power is with the employer anyway. If someone meets a buyout clause he can go whether the employer likes it or not. Anyone can bid on a player with or without a buyout clause and the employer can accept it or tell them to do one.

    In Spain they are mandatory

  97. goonermichael says:

    sorry for wanting shitty to win but i’d rather that dutch tosser doesn’t win a medal.

  98. 🙂 Glic, they can call the vid ‘Top Left Hand Corner’

    Southhampton just equalised..1-1 some guy named Lambert, apparantly the championships top scorer..Expect him in man shitty come the January window

  99. goonermichael says:

    By next Friday if Aguerro’s scan is bad

  100. goonermichael says:

    van pissflaps must be loving this

  101. GM, no one can just bid out of the blue and definately cant get private time to talk personal terms That my friend is tapping up, just like the Ashley Cole case..That is where we most likely lose our players..Their heads get turned when they hear the personal terms that can be offered..

    So let them meet our ridiculous buyout clauses if they want private time with our own. Id put Jack an Ox on a ridiculous buyout clause of 80mil plus..The future of England

  102. goonermichael says:

    Anyone can submit an official bid through the proper channels at any time. tapping up is (supposed to be) banned with or without buyout clauses

  103. GM, my apologies, clubs CAN come out and bid out of the blue, but usually wont unless they smell an unsettled player

  104. whats going on, i have one smoke outside and its 2-2 and turned into a basketball match..And they call themselves the champions pfff

  105. goonermichael says:

    It’s the law in Spain I think PPP. If you are going to have one you would insist on it being high. The players very rarely (if ever) sold by them being triggered unless the are too low.

    the lesbian just scored.

  106. 3-2 fat french dyke scored

  107. goonermichael says:

    Were you RYP before

  108. rhyle says:

    Southampton really deserve to get something out of this…but MC have been fantastic since Ballotelli came on. Tempo and quality have gone up a notch. Nothing to do with him, though…purely coincidental.

  109. GM, cheers, i take all that on board..My main point i was trying to get to was putting our best up and comers on a ridiculously high buy out clauses so as to scare the petrol boys away or pay the obscene amount.. 8 times out of 10 Wenger will develop a top player only to be sold just before they peak and get sold for peanuts by todays standards..

    By the way, you might know or heard if the rumours are true but didnt Bayern Munich recently trigger a 40mil buyout clause for that Javi Martinez bloke?

  110. goonermichael says:

    Great game

  111. GM, Yes, are you gonna avoid me now that you know im a foreigner and own a bicycle? 🙂

  112. goonermichael says:

    Possibly PPP. In that case the employers have to sell. If they didn’t have one they could tell them to fuckenzie off

  113. goonermichael says:

    I’d missed when you changed your name. Obviously had to.

  114. thats me, time to Fookenzie off n catch sum zzzz’z..

    Good night all, its great to have the season back

  115. RockyLives says:

    Hello all and thanks for the comments.

    Hello to the Sunderland fan who posted earlier – it’s always good to hear the visitors’ perspective. Good luck for the season ahead.

    From reports it looks likely we’re going to get Sahin on loan from Madrid. He’s not a like-for-like with Song, but he’s definitely a trade up in class.

    Personally I find it strangely reassuring that everyone’s writing us off again, just like last year. Even with the departures we are in a much better position than we were this time last year.

  116. rhyle says:

    Just read Gabrielle Marcotti’s summary of the game in the WSJ…a fair write up but another one who seems to think we were booing the team and not the time wasting…

  117. goonermichael says:

    It suits them to think that. Was he there?

  118. rhyle says:

    Have no idea GM. At least he doesn’t resort to talk of crisis. He merely implies it.

    just out of interest…is anyone planning to go to any Arsenal U21 games this season? Are they all to be played at the Emirates?

    £4’s not bad value in my books…

  119. goonermichael says:

    The Nextgen series at Barnet look worth the effort

  120. 123 says:

    The buy out clause is a great idea, for all of Wenger’s brilliant ideas, this is surprisingly one that he has not thought of yet. Or perhaps its the way the board operates that make these buy out clauses meaningless. Seriously, how painful is it to be an Arsenal fan every single time the transfer window opens? This needs to stop ASAP and inserting buy out clauses in player contracts would be a great first step. Second, the board needs to stop getting weak in the knees every single time a decent offer comes in for our payers. Third, perhaps restructuring the wage system to stay on par with other clubs by lifting the wage cap or perhaps even remove it and reward those who deserve it with high wages and mediocre players with average wages. Look at Rvp’s scenario for example, he got almost double of what Arsenal were prepared to offer him for a new contract, what type of message is being sent out here? Players are human beings like us too, and they’ll always want whats best for them some way or another.(Very few will actually turn down an offer to double their salary) Yes, I know we have a strict budget and bla bla bla, but for gods sake this has to change ASAP to stay on par at the very least with other top clubs.

  121. Gooner In Exile says:

    Southampton showing how to get respect in the PL with that performance.

    Good football and good attitude, City crowd getting restless at the end, and defence was looking ragged. They do have quality where it matters tho unfortunately.

    Brigham what’s to be embarrassed about, we have sold two players that wanted away, that’s better for the squad than keeping them.

  122. kelsey says:

    There appears to be a dramatic change in poicy at the club, Song being a very good example, in other words “if you are not happy with the wages offered you can leave”

    Yet how many seasons have the club stood by injury prone players such as RVP,Diaby and Rosicky all presumably on good wages and others who are barely squad players like Squillaci,Park and Almunia again on very good wages.

    I believe these last few days of the transfer window wil possibly see Arshavin and/or Walcott also go as well as Bendtner which has been on the cards all season.

  123. rhyle says:

    Like all contracts buy-out clauses are might as well be written in invisible ink if the player wants out. Only important in the cases of buying loyal players who want to do right by their club (like Martinez) and in setting a starting point for negotiations with the majority who aren’t as loyal…where you’re then talked down to market value.

    Nice idea in principal, think it’d work out poor in practice.

  124. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Do you know if the club insures players against injury?

    I hope you are right about selling the fringe players. We need to sell in order to refine the squad and with O-C needing games I cannot see AA playing too often.

    I would keep Walcott unless he too asks for silly wages.

  125. Gooner In Exile says:

    Seems to be prevalent in Spain more than elsewhere, is that due to the financial might of Barca and Madrid? Strange for Barca to place a buy out clause.

    Think Kelsey is right about change in stance, rather get rid now with 3 years to go than have all the “they’ve allowed him down to 1 year” rubbish to be written. If Song had refused to sign a contract we would have a problem in each of the next summers and a player getting less motivated to put his body on the line.

  126. chas says:

    Excellent summary, thanks Rocky.

    If I came all the way down, just watched the game and then went straight back, I would have been gutted at the lack of entertainment on offer.
    However, seeing family, the peach and lort titIt of tevon made it all worthwhile.

    Thanks to everyone who replied to my request for new ways of referring to brave sir robin. I particularly liked cund and vanp*ssflaps whilst realising that neither are suitable for the site. 🙂

  127. Gooner In Exile says:

    In reality the players that we need to shift we all know, NikB, AA, Squidge, Cham and Park.

    Pretty sure Squid is in last year, but I think we will be paying him until he retires (unless he fancies a pay cut and a return to the continent).

    I’m pretty sure Cham could find a club, and Park (altho would be happy to see him loaned to Sunderland for PL experience), as I still think he may do something for us.

    Same for AA but money and transfer fee will be stumbling block.

  128. SB9 says:

    The starting eleven is is perfect ,we need a real finisher like Llorente . And Someone should please ask Gervinho to pass the ball !

  129. Rhyle: In long years of watching football, mainly Sunderland home and away, I have almost never seen a team leading by one goal or defending a draw doing other than stealing a few seconds where they can. Timewasting, like diving and trying to get opponents booked or sent off, is commonplace at all levels. So prevalent, in fact, that they could almost be the product of written manuals or training ground preparations. No protest from me if a way was found of coming down hard on it. But then refs can and do book culprits and the 4 mins of added time yesterday probably reflected Mignolet’s timewasting since it was otherwise on the long side.

    As for the praise for Southampton in another comment, please remember that we went one better at the Etihad – 3-3 – last season and should have won, probably as comfortably as we did at Chelsea the season before. You do what you can on the day with the resources available. Yesterday, Saha apart, we had a choice between three strikers who managed all of four PL goals last season.

  130. Gooner In Exile says:

    Well reminded Chas I forgot to add mine:

    Little Boy Lost

  131. SB9 says:

    I keep wondering ,weather wenger is a coach or a business man

  132. rhyle says:

    Rennes chairman has confirmed that Yann M’Vila has played his last game for the club and will move this week…I wonder where he’ll end up? Definitely prem but with us about to seal a deal for Sahin…we wouldn’t…would we?

  133. chas says:

    4 mins was on the long side.
    You’re kidding me. There were six substitutions in the second half.

  134. I doubt if any of ours took more than half an hour to leave the field

  135. chas says:

    …….not that we’d have scored yesterday if there’d been 10 minutes. 🙂

  136. chas says:

    hahahaha, nice one.

  137. rhyle says:

    Salutsunderland…thanks for the reply, nice blog by the way.

    As an Arsenal fan I can CATEGORICALLY state that, even at 1-0 with 5 mins to go we don’t waste time…any more…maybe under Graham, Rioch. I’ve been screaming at the box “take it into the corner” many a time…as with 5 mins to go it’s acceptable to defend your lead.

    Taking excessive time over goal kicks, free kicks, tying up boot laces is, and I’m positive most gooners will agree, a tactic employed by many of our rivals from minute 1 in games at the Emirates. Look at last season and the lambasting that RVP gave Krul due to his time wasting ALL GAME. As for yesterday, there was 30 secs for each subsitution, which means that there was 3 mins for subs +1 for your defender who pretended to have cramp in the last 5 minutes of the game…lol…in no way was Foy compensating us for your time wasting…no one was booked or even spoken to for it yesterday. Mignolet started in the 20th minute, by the way. At least there was that…!

    I accept that it happens, I don’t accept that it should be seen as acceptable because it happens.

    As for your point regarding Southampton? Proof that you don’t need to shut the gates to come away with a point against the better teams, which doesn’t serve your eloquent blog’s argument of the day too well!

  138. chas says:

    btw, I tried to post a comment on your site at 5.30 approx, but it didn’t appear. I assumed it was in moderation, but now think it probably disappeared into the ether.

  139. evonne says:

    GiE – I think “little boys insite him” was better

    Monster – I know you are going to Pool, ton’t worry, you ton’t have to meet up with me 😦

    GM – PPP titn’t have to change his nick, but I think it was a wise, mature tecision not to be callet after the tefector

    I thought Southampton were going to be slaughteret! Fair play to them!

  140. Chas
    By and large I am the only moderator at and I delay first-time posters only to ensure nothing libellous, neanderthal etc appears. I will check but at a quick first glance – I don’t often get as many reponses for anything as this site has for a dull 0-0 – there’s no trace of your comment.

    Rhyle: we agree 100 per cent on the eloquence of my site. I will keep a beady eye on your tactcics towards the end of your next 1-0 win at the SoL.

  141. chas says:

    Getting in and out of Liverpool is going to be complicated enough as it is.
    Apologies from me for any offence caused.

    To tell the truth, I wouldn’t have expected peaches to reveal confidential info in such an underhand way, but there you go.

  142. Chas: I have now looked properly and your comment had sailed straight into the place normally reserved for offers of hair replacement, garden fencing and penile extension. It has now been posted. Sorry.

  143. chas says:

    Haha, just about sums me up.

    Inadvertently those three subjects could be the tag line for Arsenal Arsenal. 🙂

  144. GunnerN5 says:

    Losing both RVP and Song causes a dilemma not only due to losing two talented footballers but also in the total squad selection. Song was part of our home grown group and RVP was in the over 21 group.

    Right now we only have 6 regular 1st team choices in our home grown group.- Djourou, Gibbs, Mannone, Szczesny, Walcott and Ramsey.,

    So we will need another 2 from the remainder of our home grown group – 3 more if Walcott leaves.

    The remaining over 21’s are – Lansbury, Eastmond, Watt, Shea or Bendtner

    Looking at the choices for the over 21 group we only have 13 recognized starters from last season – plus our 3 new players – Meresacker, Vermaelin, Santos, Fabianski, Arteta, Diaby Gervinho, Koscielny, Sagna, Coquelin, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski.

    Remaining in our over 21 group are Squillaci and Park.

    Assuming we do not add any more new players it leaves AW with only 6 home grown and 16 in our over 21 group for a total squad of 22 so he will have to select 2 from the remaining home grown group and 1 more from the over 21’s to make up his full squad – or he will have to rely on some under 21’s to come through..

    This does not paint a very pretty picture and is even worse than it looks when you consider that we have 5 injured players – Koscielny, Sagna, Coquelin, Rosicky and Wilshere.

  145. glic says:

    Salut 😆
    You would fit in well on here with me and a small minority !. luv it . 😆

  146. chas says:

    As Jenkinson, Frimpong, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain don’t have to be named in the squad even if we only name 6 homegrown and 16 non-homegrown over 21s that’s 21 +4.
    A first team squad of 25 is sufficient (especially with the new additions of Sahin and M’Vila 🙂 )

  147. chas says:

    whoops 22 +4

  148. glic says:

    I take it the extention was a success !. 😆

  149. chas says:

    It was, glic, it’s almost doubled in size.

    No, to tell the truth, I was waiting for your Stretch Armstrong video to come out.

  150. glic says:

    😆 It`s currently in production, why do you think Terry..sorry Dr Stretch hasn`t been around for a few day`s. We`ll bring one up for the Southampton game.

  151. evonne says:

    Monster – it wasn’t unterhant, it was unterwater :)Hat to twist her hant

  152. Rhyle says:

    Dani Alves poor for the Sociedad game – will they now buy Gibbs? Or Santos?

    Ouch 2-1 in 10 mins…looks like I could be in for a treat…

  153. Rhyle says:

    3-1 after 15 mins. Business as usual at the Nou Camp.

  154. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas, Obviously I know that, but it makes far more sense to have 8 home grown plus 17 over 21’s for the full squad compliment of 25 – that way the under 21’s are a bonus and not a necessity to be relied upon.

    Without any new signings we will have to use Lansbury and maybe, Watt plus Arshavin, Chamakh and Squillaci to make up the 25
    – and what if we lose Walcott?

    My hope is that we make another 2/3 new signings and dispose of Bendtner, Squillaci and Chamakh.

  155. Rhyle says:

    We don’t have to name 25, GN5, but get the thrust of your argument. For me, would love us to address both sides of the FB equation before squads finalised.

  156. GunnerN5 says:


    I understand that 25 is the maximum amount of players that can be named but it makes abundant sense to name a full 25 as it gives AW the most flexibility and allows him some protection against injuries.

  157. Shard says:

    HI GN5,

    I don’t think we need to name a full 25. We also have to account for some U21 players we think have the potential to come good. We’ll need squad spaces for them and as we know, getting rid of players we don;t want isn’t easy. So if we fill our 25 quota, we’ll be stuck with too many players. I think we need more players than last season to actively contribute, but we might be able to have a full squad without filling the 25 list. Which is no bad thing.

  158. Rhyle says:

    …thought you might but we don’t HAVE to name those you mentioned was my point…meant nothing by it. Plenty of half decent/yet to disappoint quality in the U21s…no need to rely on those we KNOW will disappoint!

  159. GunnerN5 says:


    Naming players to fill your 25 man squad is sensible. For example if we cannot sell Squillaci (and we need to fill the 25) then it would make sense to name him because if we were desperate and all of our other CB’s were injured then we could play him whereas if he’s not named then we cannot play him.

    The 25 man squad can be changed during any transfer period.

    I’m unaware that you have to “account” for any under 21’s, I’m of the understanding that any amount of under 21’s are automatically a part of your squad – as long as they are signed players under 21 at the start of the year.

  160. Gooner In Exile says:

    Just a quick answer to SB9’s pondering on Arsenes job title.

    My suggestion is you look at the league table for the last 15 years and then look at him on the touch line it’ll soon answer your question.

  161. Rhyle says:

    GN5 – you’re right re U21, my understanding too

  162. Bayonne Jean says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that even when Gervinho has a good performance (and yesterday’s was very good), he actually detracts from everyone else’s, as things slow down and there’s no movement from anyone while he dribbles all over the place? EPL teams have no doubt scouted him and push him into black holes near the touch line and gum up the overall attack.

    I think that a Podolski/Giroud pairing, both of whom historically have shown efficient, well-timed movements in the box, coupled with a pacey right side player like Theo or Ox, with Cazorla pulling the strings, is the way to line up going forward, especially at home against the draw seekers in the EPL. Use Gervinho as a late match change of pace substitute, or start him in the group stage European fixtures where he’d be more effective.

  163. GunnerN5 says:


    That’s a good observation, it makes a lot of sense. We possibly lose an attacking advantage while he is running in circles as the defence have more time to close off our runs in and around the box.

  164. Shard says:

    It’s late at night here and I obviously didn’t communicate very well. I agree with putting Squillaci or whoever in the squad as long as they are with us and there isn’t anyone better we’d like for that slot.

    My comment about the U21s was that we have to keep in mind our squad of 25 not just for this season but for probably th next 2 seasons as well. This year Szczesny and Ramsey have to be added to the 25, next year it might be Jack and Coquelin (not sure about those- just examples) So when we say we have space in the squad to get in some other players, we have to ‘account’ for the U-21s and then see how best to utilise the slots.

    That said, we might see loan deals become more popular even with top clubs, because signing players on 4 year contracts and not needing them a year later because you’d like/need the homegrown young players to be registered doesn’t make sense.

  165. Rhyle says:

    Crisis @ PSG…held to 0-0 draw at Ajaccio…Ancelloti sent to stands, Lavezzi sent off…

  166. Gooner In Exile says:

    Shard I actually think our squad is age wise more set up for incoming youngsters than it was a couple of seasons ago. The age of certain members (Pod/Giroud/Arteta/Sagna/BFG/TV5) is such that when they are nearing the wndof their usefulness the younger players (Coq/Jack/Ryo/Frimpong/Miquel/Afobe etc) will be reaching peak years.

    The difficulty is the fact that the 25 man squad limits the ability to hold on to the actual in house homegrown talent.

  167. Gooner In Exile says:

    Very interesting Bayonne, actually thought the same about Moses watching him on MotD last night but that could be because he was waiting for everyone else to catch up.

  168. chas says:

    It sure is complicated.

    For the 2012/13 campaign Under 21 players will have been born on or after 1st January 1991.

    Sanchez Watt born 14 February 1991, so qualifies as u21.
    James Shea born 16 June 1991, likewise.

    So that leaves Lansbury and Eastmond, if Bendy goes.

  169. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nice. We are under way.

  170. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The pigs live in an enclosed area of about quarter of an acre. Last week, the children released them into the field adjacent. Yesterday…..drumroll…in front of the house. Mates over, and eating outside with two 220IIb pigs snoring by chairs. Really very surreal 🙂
    I wish you could post pics here.

  171. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Has Song definately gone yet?

  172. chas says:

    Morning Micky.
    If you email me a couple of pics, I could upload them and post links.
    Song’s gone all bar the medical, I think.

  173. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok Chas,
    So maybe hold fire on any thoughts about hair, rolled up shorts and not acknoweldging away fans then.

  174. chas says:

    Cesc must be delighted at the prospect of playing with Alex Dimitri again……
    ……and some were saying he was one of the reasons that Fabregas left.

  175. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Does that mean I need to download them from a camera first?
    Mmm, maybe just post a pic of any pig in a large verdant open space.
    No-one will ever know will they.

  176. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cheekily, I’ve sent one to your mobile number. I was going to Message it straight to Evonne, but don’t have her no.
    If you have it, forward it straight on if thats easier. Maybe not an appropriate pic for the site.

  177. chas says:

    Best miming ever.

  178. LB says:

    There is nothing more in the Spanish press other than “an agreement has been reached between the two clubs over Song”.

  179. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all, couple of rumours circulating this morning appear to be gaining momentum:

    1. NikB to Milan (with possibly Mexes coming other way)

    That’s a ROFL rumour.

    2. Sahin loan deal close to completion.

    3. MVilla deal close to completion

    Now the ROFLMFAO rumour

    4. AVB wants to sign Chamakh to spearhead the Spuds attack…..please do it, please!

  180. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning LB,
    Right, off out for an hour or so.

  181. Gooner In Exile says:


    “Song will now travel to the Catalan club to agree personal terms and undergo a medical ahead of the proposed move.”

  182. Gooner In Exile says:

    😀 Chas why do I think that picture was taken in the Southern states

  183. chas says:

    Is rumour no.4…….
    East Anglian exile comes out of retirement to give Szczesny some competition?

  184. chas says:


  185. Gooner In Exile says:

    😀 haha its too early for me to count, thought I had edited before anyone spotted it.

  186. evonne says:

    Micky – picture of pigs?? Please, I want to see it 🙂
    I’m a bit fet up with togs at the moment

    Sickening sights of chavs ant shitty celebrating ant all smiles that neet wiping of their smug rich faces

  187. Big Raddy says:

    Don’t worry evonne – our time will come.

    I would like to know the real reason behind Song’s sale. I hope it wasn’t just to balance the books.

  188. evonne says:

    hope you are right Ratty. In the meantime we’ll be submitet to seeing the Traitor tonight. Thank Got Spurs lost on Sat 🙂

  189. evonne says:

    subjectet, grhhh, cannot blame it on the keyboart

  190. Red Arse says:


    Story is that Song was lazy, turned up late for training and refused to carry out instructions of coaching staff, for a period of more than 6 months.

    In addition, with 3 years left on his contract, his agents were agitating for a new contract (double the dosh) and touting him to clubs around Europe.

    AW, rightly, got p’ed off and said enough, get him out, much to Song’s surprise, allegedly.

    Seems about right, given the circumstances of his departure.

  191. Big Raddy says:

    RA. If that is true, then he is a very silly boy.

    Watching Barca last night I fail to see where he fits in. Perhaps as backup to Busquets

  192. 123 says:

    Song reportedly wanted 70k a week, not double his 55k a week..

  193. Morning all

    I’ve got loads of posts in drafts from young Miles but all mention Song!!!!!!!!!! AAArrrggghhh

    We might have to go back to talking about the weather lol

  194. Red Arse says:

    Thank you, 123, for so precisely contradicting the alleged report I quoted by sharing the no doubt superior accuracy of the alleged report that you quote.

    Facile is the word that springs to mind.

  195. It’s ok, you don’t have to all run and hide, I’ve sorted it 🙂

  196. Morning Red 🙂

  197. Red Arse says:

    Morning, Peaches, 🙂

    You could perform a super job of redacting any such reference to Song, or ask Evonne to re-type them using her laptop. We would be so immersed in substituting her ‘d’s and her ‘t’s we would never notice. 🙂

  198. dandan says:

    M’villa is highly unlikely to join IMHO his record says he is attitude personified Song with knobs on it would seem, cannot see AW spending good money on bad discipline

  199. New Post …………

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