Where does Szczesny stand?

I have to say, I have been astounded by some of the recent criticism of our keeper, and not just on the usual self-hating Arsenal blogs. It’s funny how after a short injury, and one poor showing, fans not only jump on one of our guys, but re-write his past history as well.

It’s important to let you all know, I actually have appreciated Mannone for a while now, and think he might have a real future. Maybe a great number 2 for us, or who knows, possibly more. Alot of people wrote him off last year because of one big error. But in pre-season matches, 3 matches this season, and a few that I watched this summer from a couple seasons ago, He appears pretty solid to me. His record on loan is quite good also.

Back to Szczesny. First off, believe me when I tell you that 80% of the comments I’ve read on the blogs this week forgot that he actually gave us the first clean sheet against Sunderland, giving Mannone credit for three, and complaining (after the fact) that Chezzer got the start against Southhampton. But more importantly, talking about his arrogance and attitude. For me, give me a keeper with arrogance (confidence), taking charge on set pieces. With no sign of fear or doubt in his eyes. You know what I’m talking about. Almunia had that look of doubt, even though he tried to hide it. When I see that look, I lose confidence, as I’m sure the teammates do. I believe oppnents also sense it.

Another thing everyone was talking about was Szcsesny’s distribution. Horrible this past Saturday, the worst I’ve seen from him – yes, but everyone is now saying that it’s been a huge weakness in his game. Why don’t I remember anyone mentioning this last season ? Because, although he could be better at this, he’s actually not been bad, and still very young for this level. Good enough for it not to be brought up by the fans who think of him as the number 1 since he took over. Also, something like distribution is certainly not going to be overlooked by Le Professor, more important to our game than most teams.

And someone wisely pointed out here the other day something I thought about his mistake against Southhampton, allowing the goal. That is – I believe he has had a rib injury, which when you go arms stretched out high, leaves sore ribs very exposed to contact, and might have been part of the reason for the mistake. Even if not, it was just one goal in a match where we could afford it. I don’t want to be negative, but in the Liverpool match, Mannone let a header drop right in front of goal, and we were lucky it didn’t cause a problem, as well as not collecting another one higher.

I think everyone, like me, was so disappointed not to get the clean sheets record, that they simply took it out on our Pole. I’m not saying he’s untouchable as number 1, and I love competition, if only to keep the back-up sharp. But, to me, it would take more bad performance before I lose confidence in him. I couldn’t care less about what happened for the Polish team, or what he tweets. For the record- I was rolling on the floor laughing when he tweeted at Ramsey about his golf outfit.. a hilarious joke between friends, slightly irreverent, maybe just better off the internet. But sense of humour is part of team chemistry. If he starts acting like Alex Song, then I will worry.

Lastly, let’s not forget that he played the final few matches last season with a shoulder injury, and the whole season with a very undisciplined defense. Even though many of us suspected that the talent was there in our defenders. We also went through long stretches with players out of position because of four fullback injuries. And again, while so many of us complained about allowing 49 goals last season, only on minor occasions did we have complaints about the goalkeeping. With a number like that, most fans would be calling for the keepers head, yet most transfer window dreamers were only hoping for a strong backup, to keep Szczesny on his toes.

How quickly public opinion changes.

johnnie (jnyc)

112 Responses to Where does Szczesny stand?

  1. Red Arse says:

    Before getting into today’s Post by JNYC, can I repeat a message I left for Big Randy, which time wise was posted contiguously with the Rasper’s “New Post”! 🙂

    Repeated comment:

    That’s brilliant, Raddy, 🙂

    Oddly enough, I have travelled far and wide, and when doing the touristy thing, I can see huge differences between Tour Guides.

    All of them have been knowledgeable, as I am sure you will be, but certain types have stood out. Namely those who combine a bit of showmanship, chutzpah, humour and see themselves as entertaining their audiences as well as informing and enlightening them.

    When I was in Fiji I visited a small village, and their ‘tour guide’ was also the village chief. He singled me out for special attention and made comments about his ancestors would have eaten people like me, all the while smacking his lips, rubbing his belly and saying ‘yum’.

    I figured he was joking, but when he offered to marry me off to his daughter, provided I paid him in goats, I was not so sure!! 🙂

    Anyway, Raddy, I wish you success.

  2. chas says:

    Before I read the post…..
    You would definitely fall into the category of ‘long pig’. 🙂

  3. Red Arse says:

    Well written and well said, Johnny, 🙂

    I am entirely lukewarm in my appraisal of Mannone, altho I think he has been OK in his games this season.

    When I say ‘OK’ I mean just that. He is a young GK and will improve over time, but he does not ring my rafters, he is not a ‘great’ keeper, he is not a ‘special’ keeper, but he is OK.

    On the other hand, I think Chezzer can be all those things that Man One is not. He can be great, he can be special and at times last year he proved that on several occasions.

    Arsenal fans (some of them) seemed to have changed over the last few years. Instead of the old ‘we support all our players when they wear the shirt’, many of these ‘fans’ criticise, and whinge and give individuals a hard time for little reason.

    No one, it seems, is immune from these juvenile, acerbic and unwarranted comments, up to and including our brilliant manager.

    Just treat them with the disdain and contempt they deserve.

  4. Red Arse says:

    Long pig might be what the Chief had in mind, Chas. 🙂

    He even showed everyone the shed where they kept the black cooking pot. (It was a remote place, and by the smell, I think the shed contained diesel in cans). 🙂

    It was fun, and I especially enjoyed dancing with the village girls. It was allegedly ‘traditional’ but I think it was just vertical jiggy jig, and I had to keep thinking of something horrible – like Spurs – to control my ardour!! 🙂

  5. kwadosky says:

    I don’t see why we should be criticizing szczensy a lot, I believe every human being does an error……..http://incomepart.com/ref.php?page=act/ref&invcod=276264

  6. Total says:

    Hi Johnnie, thanks for a fine post and I fully agree with you. 🙂

    Supporters have different ways of dealing with perceived failure. A lot comes down to the way they have been brought up – in terms of reward and punishment approaches to the their behaviour by their parents when they were children

    Some feel the player is letting the club, and especially, them down and want to punish the player for this. Others see a player doing their best but having a difficult game/time, and feel the need to support them, so things improve again. I fall into the latter category – and I reckon the same goes for you: as long as the player is doing their best, and especially when they are still developing – just like Theo, Rambo, Jenkinson, etc – I will support them as much as I can. For me that is one of the important functions of being a supporter. When they wear the shirt they are one of us.

  7. chas says:

    100% right, Johnnie.

    The trouble with 24 hour internetting is that everyone’s scratching around for a story, jumping on bandwagons and changing their opinions every 5 seconds.
    What annoys me the most is when this short-termist view of the world spills over into the stadium and brings the players down.

    Here’s a little clip. I love him messing with the ball after Kuyt has placed it. This was just as important as any goal.

  8. kelsey says:

    johnny, i am conerned.
    There is no doubt that Szczesny will turn out to be one of the bst.he has a good 15 years in front of him, but I still think when it comes to keepers Wenger may make the same mistake he made with manninger.

    If anything Szczesny can be over confident and whatever the result he is never fazed.I can’t understand why he can’t distribute the ball better and his kicking hasn’t improved.
    we should have bought a more senior experienced keeper two seasons ago to mentor him, sewveral were available at reasonable prices.
    Looking at us as a top 4 team neither Mannone or Fabianski are up to standard and I was surprised Fab wasn’t sold in the Summer.

    Mannone says he has benefitted from his loan spell at Hull but that is not the same as standing between the sticks against the big guns.

    I hope to be proved wrong but IMO this is one position that AW has ignored .Seaman was a hard act to follow and Manninger could have grown with confidence, but he let him go and then so did his confidence also go.

    .Lehmann for all his faults and mad rush of blood to the head was good in his prime
    If Szczesny was injured (ankle) why did he play the second half,with the game already won.

    Keepers have to be good shot stoppers yet their mistakes are always the first player to be high lighted.

    The acid test comes on Sundy and I hope Mannone comes through it well, as competition is healthy.

  9. Bradster says:

    I still feel that not being able to kick further than the half way line has put us under pressure in the past and is a weakness of his game.
    That’s one aspect Mannone is strong at and seems to suit our defensive shape we have this season.

  10. Total says:

    Hi Evonne 🙂

    I very much understand your comment at the tale end of yesterday’s post. When we meet up next time we’ll talk about it, but please be assured that I will never let that happen. Anyway, it is now all about Johnnie’s fine post.

  11. chas says:

    The spuds as a means of avoiding tumescence.

  12. Dick Swiveller says:

    I have to say, talking about his distribution being poor is NOT revisionist, I’ve said it and seen it said more than a few times in the last 2 years, as it’s true.

    I agree that some of the criticism is way over the top, especially with carrying an injury but I’m wondering if he didn’t misrepresent his injury to the coaching staff, with Mannone enjoying a few clean sheets maybe he rushed himself back and paid the price; he might have just been unlucky ofc.

  13. Great post JNYC,
    & great clip Chas.
    Woj has presence and exudes confidence, we have not had that that since Jens was between the sticks, it was a relief when Woj got his breakthrough, and we desperately willed him to succeed.

    After a short while of experiencing his command of the penalty area, i started to feel that even if the opposition breach the defence they are still going to have to do something special to beat Woj.

    I’ve kind of lost that feeling now. I love him to bits and think he should still be no.1 but that confidence i gained has now whittled away. I’m sure it will come back, and i am willing Mannone to do well so that Woj if injured doesn’t have to play solely because we have no confidence in our back up.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Johnie. A good talking point and a fine read.

    My take on TPIG is not so rosy. Very early last season I started to call Chezzer World No 1. I was wrong (“he is just a naught boy”)
    What he is, is a fine GK in the making. Good shotstopper, commands his area but is prone to lapses. He will become an Arsenal great but still needs to develop. The 49 goals were conceded by the defensive unit of which TPIG is a vital cog – he has to take some responsibility.

    Poor decision making and silly distribution errors, can be ironed out – he has the talent and the confidence. The criticism is healthy and will improve him.

  15. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    Thanks johnnie, I agree some of the criticism of Sz is way off the mark. As with most of us, Sz’s strengths are also his weaknesses when applied in the wrong scenario.

    He is arrogant. I know this first hand as a friend of mine met him but didn’t know who he was (spud fan would you believe) and the way the discussion went wasn’t very cordial shall we say.

    His self belief probably led to him returning to first team action sooner than he should as I think it is obvious he was still not 100% against the saints.

    He is way off the finished article and needs to work hard on his kicking and distribution because he will never be a great keeper while he has those flaws.

    Having said that, a fit Sz is the best keeper we have, we should stand by him. Mannone is a very good No.2 but you cannot criticise him for wanting regular football and that may mean he wants to leave next season.

  16. Morning all, interesting view point on how quickly players fall out of favour and thanks for the useful exposition jync.

    I fall into the camp(no sniggering Redders !) that Chesney is having a bit of a slump in form and has not become a bad keeper, however his appearance in the Euros and recent gaffes are a bit worrying.

    Wenger this morning confirmed he is “out for two to three weeks” so we are going to rely on Vito to keep our defensive record up.

    Also Sagna is a week away from full training and Rosicky two.

  17. Big Raddy says:

    Bradster. That being the case why try to kick so far? Casillas never does – he passes to the nearest outfield player and thus retains possession

  18. From yesterday, re Suarez ‘penalty’…
    @ 26may1989, and
    @ oz gunner, and
    @ Chas – thanks for link!

    I was convinced when seeing live on TV (inc replays); I am now doubly-convinced.

  19. chas says:

    …..it wasn’t a penalty.

  20. chas says:

    ….but a blatant dive as he wasn’t going to get the ball….

  21. chas says:


  22. Wonderman says:

    Morning All,
    Great post jnyc, My view is that Wenger made a mistake in bringing Chesser back so quickly. If we are to encourage and foster competition then a player should only lose his place through injury, incompetence, change of competition or being rested ( after a number of games) . As in my opinion Mannone was not guilty of any of the above he should have kept his place. Perhaps then a) we would have kept a clean sheet b)Chesser would now not have an ankle injury c) we would have two ‘keepers both understanding that if you perform you play!!

  23. colario says:

    Szczesny is 22 not 32 therefore we cannot expect the consistency of performance you get with a 32 year old with bags of experience. The lapse is part of his learning experience. We should support him all we can. He has already shown he has the making of a great keeper and as someone already has said he shows a command of the area we haven’t seen since Lenman and Seaman.

    One act of brilliance doesn’t make an average player a great player and so it is one mistake doesn’t make a great player an average player.
    I hoping that Mannone will benefit form the matches he gets and show us that he too is on route to being a great stopper for Arsenal.

  24. evonne says:

    before I read the postM – what is TPIG and why would I not like it?

    Chas – the ATM machine that was in Oakwood was forcefully removed by a JCB at 4am Thursday; like I said before – nothing to do with me 🙂

  25. Agreed Wonderman, I always believe if you play well you should be picked regardless of who you replaced and their availability.

  26. LB says:

    That slip doesn’t stop him being the World’s Number One in my eyes.

    It’s this Arsenal supporting thing I have.

  27. DANIELLUS says:

    Give Chezzer a break! He’s been consistent in the past and still is. Mannone is also good but not until he’s given playtime before we see more of him. These two guys have been great for Gunners & I believe we should applaud them. Sight other departments in the squad that needs adequate filling, ok!

  28. Evonne – TPIG means The Pole In Goal.

  29. Wonderman says:

    Hi Chary, it will be interesting to see if lessons are learnt with Sagna and Wilshere

  30. evonne says:

    Chary – I see, no, I would not like him being our captain. But the success of our Club is more important than what I like/dislike, so if he was chosen to be the next skipper, I will support him 100%

  31. Wonderman says:

    Hi LB, it doesn’t take away from his obvious ability but IMO it was a very basic error to make and an awful way to lose our clean sheets record . I still hold Wenger accountable as don’t think he should have been playing

  32. Bradster says:

    @ Big Raddy, usually it is our defender that is under pressure and passes back to releave the pressure on him. In that case he needs to be able to clear the lines.
    when not under pressure it’s not difficult to pass it short as there are players available to pass to.

  33. Rhyle says:

    Morning all

    Interesting read this morning JNYC! Agree with the vast majority of what you’ve said – Chezzer is most definitely still our No.1 keeper and still one of the finest keepers in the league. Mannone is a fine No.2 and capable of being a No.1…but elsewhere…if you want to talk about problems with distribution (which is a fault with both of them, Chezzer less so and rarely painfully so) and confidence, Vito is can be used as solid examples of both. Anyone remember him going to pieces at Barnsley? He has changed my mind tremendously since the start of the season, though. Still think he makes everything look harder than it has to be but you can’t argue with some of the stops he’s made.

    I think Chezzer is a top, top keeper, bringing not just exceptional talent to the side but a confidence to our CB’s…I’ll always remember how they were reluctant to pass back to Fabianski as to what not having faith in your keeper can do to you!

    Many fans are quick to get on the back of players, flip-flopping their opinion from love to hate and back again on a whim. Sometimes there’s good reason – Eboue’s more artistic endeavours while attempting to win free-kicks gave many ample reason to get on his back, and back again when he made efforts to sort his life out – but most of the time, as with Chezzer, there’s not. We’re all entitled to opinions but, instead of being pulled all over the place by the tide of public opinion, there should be an effort to be consistent, patient and most of all back your opinion with sound reasoning, much like today’s post!

  34. Rhyle says:

    Forgot to say what I didn’t agree with – Chezzer was at fault for the Soton goal, no two ways about it…injury or no, he’s either fit to play or he’s not…fact is he did not command his area or go through Jenks or make the possibly better deision to punch…but all keepers make mistakes.

    Don’t remember too many getting on Seaman’s back when he made his mistakes (one of which, famously, cost us ET and a chance to retain a trophy…another which gave me my 2nd worst day at Wembley and broke a 15yo’s heart!), or Lehmann, whose distribution was worse than Chezzer’s by a country mile…

  35. 26may1989 says:

    Lovely post, johnnie, I agree with everything you say.

    Szczesny is a tremendous talent who, as Chary and Goonerjon have said, is going through a dip in form. Getting wound up by the goal conceded to Southampton is plain silly, frankly who cares about clean sheet records, exactly how many trophies do you get for those? I was almost pleased that we conceded that goal, so that we didn’t get confused about what our actual objectives in each match are. And it was just an error (partly, probably, caused by injury), so on its own, there’s not much to read into it.

    That said, I do think over the past six months or so Szczesny has looked heavier on his feet, and he has let a couple slip in at the near post, which is never good for a keeper. That needs to change. His distribution has long been his weak suit but he had come a long way in rectifying that over the past couple of seasons. Not to brilliant standards (a la Reina) but to a decent standard. Yes, it was way off vs Southampton, but again, that’s one game.

    As for our other keepers, as I’ve said previously, I feel we have as strong a group of keepers as anyone in the PL. Mannone is a good keeper who we probably won’t be able to keep for more than a season or two longer, and is an astoundingly good third choice, especially when one compares him with the other third choices knocking around (Spurs seem to be the only ones who could boast of better). And Fabianski is a talented young keeper, with some flaws, but as a second choice, very good. I was fully expecting him to move this summer, and think he will go elsewhere very soon. And then young Damien Martinez appears to have a fair amount of promise too.

    Back to Szczesny, if his dip in form persists, he should be benched and if absolutely necessary, a replacement sought. But we’re a long, long way from that point. I remain of the view that he could still establish himself as the best keeper in the English game since Schmeichel (who also made plenty of errors in his early days).

  36. @ 26may1989
    @ oz gunner
    @ Chas
    @ everyone

    Sorry all, but if a rather long blog should appear sometime before midnight, it should have appeared at 10.50am. It’s being held in moderation for absolutely yonks!
    I assume it’s because of several weblinks in my blog.

    I’m done and dusted with it anyway; wish I hadn’t bothered in fact.
    Don’t even bother replying to it. (Yes, I know, you wouldn’t have anyway.)
    Sorry again. As you were…

  37. 26may1989 says:

    Looking forward to it Big Al!

  38. Johnny as one of Szczesny’s biggest fans it is unsurprising that I agree with you. Chas has highlighted that fantastic double save in the game at Anfield. towards the end of last season he was coming in for some criticism for the goals against column, there were only a couple in my opinion that he could have been expected to save.

    Lets face it goalies are there to save goals, but they cannot be expected to save everything, strikers are better, balls move more, etc etc.

    I also wrote a post last season detailing the games in which he won us points with important saves.

    Personally I believe his kicking will come in time, he is 22 years old and has spent the majority of his young life building up spring and agility in his legs, not really conducive to big kicking, I think i was probably about 22/23 when finally i had the strength to clear past the half way line from the floor, and about 25 when i could accurately pick a head at distance. That said i didn’t get to train every day of the week.

    People also often forget that he lost four months of his development time when he broke his arms whilst doing squats in the gym, maybe after that trauma strengthening leg muscles is not appealing to him 😀

    He is only just 22 a very young age for a goalie, but there is only one place he can become great and that is in the sticks in the top flight.

    Whilst I agree with competition for places everywhere on the pitch the one place i do believe there should be a No 1 is in goal. See Friedel now compared to when he was at Liverpool and being dropped/included/dropped. Keepers need to be playing every week, they need to keep concentration levels high and that can’t be done on the bench. (Oh and they don’t have a chance of getting near any Red zones 😀 )

  39. LB says:

    “Getting wound up by the goal conceded to Southampton is plain silly, frankly who cares about clean sheet records, exactly how many trophies do you get for those?”

    Sometimes even lawyers get is spot on.

  40. Anotherswissgooner says:

    Great post jnyc, and illustrates a malaise of modern fandom.
    In an era of instant communication via Internet, and the evolution of communities such as this excellent forum, mob mentality is a constant threat.
    I am sure all of us are guilty of accepting “truths” about players that are actually just opinion,assumption and rumor. Certainly RVP’s defection up north upset our view of a hero we assumed was Arsenal to the core.
    The worst of these certainly revolve around our perceived lack of ambition: statements like “the arsenal board is happy not to win the league” simply because they set champions league as a minimum requirement. Shitty statements like 4th place trophy etc.
    It doesn’t take much nowadays to change public opinion about playersfor the worse, sadly. Not that players get to sit on their laurels for past displays, but a good player doesn’t turn bad overnight, ever.

  41. Hi all

    I’ve just let Big Al’s comment out of ‘pending’ but I can’t find it, it may be on yesterdays post. I’ll have a search around

  42. REPORTS [edits]

    “…and Rodgers thought his side could have had a penalty when Mertesacker wrestled with the ineffective Luis Suarez…”

    “52min: Now that is a strong penalty claim for Liverpool. Suarez appears to be pushed over by Mertesacker inside the area, but the German’s foul is just subtle enough to prevent the referee from seeing it.”

    “51 mins: Gerrard slides a lovely ball into the penalty area from the right, and Suárez would surely have got to it first had he not collapsed under pressure from Mertesacker. To me it looked like a penalty – he did appear to be pushed – but it wasn’t a certainty, and a decent penalty shout is not as good as a very clear goalscoring opportunity, which is what he’d have had if he stayed on his feet.”

    “Liverpool had appealed loud but in vain for second half penalties when Per Mertesacker wrestled with Suárez…”

    “To be fair to Liverpool they did have a decent shout for a penalty when Per Mertesacker seemed to man-handle Luis Suarez inside the box early in the second-half, but the Uruguayan’s reputation and willingness to drop to the floor theatrically clearly did him no favours as referee Howard Webb waved play on.”

    “And the home crowd screamed for a penalty when Per Mertesacker leant on Suarez as he tried to meet Gerrard’s centre.”

  43. oz gunner says:

    good post Johnnie, my sentiments are exact to what GiE said. Plus he knows his keeper stuff so who better to judge.

  44. podge says:

    Even fans of our rivals admit Szczesny is one of the top goalkeepers in Europe, he has struggled with injury for the last few months, funny how all his mistakes have come while he was playing with an injury.

    Arsenal fans more than any others denounce our players as not up to it, the Ramsey situation made me ashamed to group myself with many so called fans of AFC. Szczesny has great confidence, it is not arrogance as arrogance is when a player thinks he is too good and doesn’t put in the required work I have never suspect Szczesny of a poor work ethic. Goalkeepers need confidence it is vital and we Arsenal fans have a great talent for destroying our player’s confidence levels.

    We exaggerate Szczesny’s flaws in an attempt to rein in expectations of this incredible talent we have, he can become the best in the world if he works hard enough, is coached well enough and supported well enough. Casillas made mistakes when he was 22 Buffoun made mistakes when he was 22 and they are 2 of the all time greats.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Big Al. I am not convinced. As far as I am concerned and far more importantly the referee, it wasn’t a penalty. In fact I would have given the little shit a second yellow for diving.

    Diving is cheating and deserves a red card not a yellow. Plus a month’s salary fine and two weeks in Hull ….. make that 3 weeks.

  46. 26may1989 says:

    Hear, hear Raddy!

    That said, Mert did let Suarez get goal side, and there certainly have been occasions when Suarez has been fouled but not given a pen or frre kick, perhaps partly on account of his rep. I just didn’t see that specific one as being close to being a foul – sorry Big Al!

  47. 26may1989 says:

    @LB 12.47pm: Thanks…. I think!

  48. oz gunner says:

    @ Big Al

    thanks for your detailed analysis, always love evidence to back up points given. However, the video kings clips show it all. I don’t trust newspaper reports because the majority are biased. 5′ Suarez dived to the left like he was shoved from behind, but BFG appeared to give a slight tug of the shirt that should have (if forceful) pulled him to the right. Suarez rivals Ronaldo in terms of diving so he carries no weight in an arguement

  49. Rhyle says:

    Raddy, I’m with you…minimal contact, went over too easy. As I mentioned earlier, I can’t stand diving whether it’s by the opposition or us…it deserves harsher treatment – can’t go for straight red in case the ref gets it wrong (it can be a very hard call) but retrospective punishment should be allowed for diving. One match ban.

    As for Hull? I’d sent ’em up to Middlesbrough myself!

    Question for you all…biggest dive – stadium and / or place – that you’ve been to see the Arsenal…

    Stadium – The Dell. horrible slope to the pitch, shed of a stadium.
    Place – Birmingham. Villa Park is a lovely ground but when you come out and are directed to the “BNP Pub over there” for a wee you know you’re not in Kansas anymore…

  50. Oh dear, typo on the home page of Arse.com “It would grow the confident of the team…” FAIL !

  51. Podge well said sir, it is one thing to critique a performance but some of the abuse that people calling themselves Arsenal supporters dish out to our own players leaves me very sad.

    I used to think it was something we as Arsenal fans took pride in, giving youngsters a chance. Just how would Arsenal heroes like Adams, Thomas, Rocky have faired in today’s instant success world?

    Interestingly I listened to Whistleblowers blog this week and a Chelsea fan was defending the club not bringing through youngsters, two players Mancienne and Mchechran were cited as players who should be given more time, and he admitted that Chelsea fans have had an embarrassment of riches and despite the Academy that Frank Arnesen established the fans are not willing to wait for them to develop.

    The pity is that this is killing the English game, the best youngsters end up on loan at minor teams, when the only real place to learn is at the coalface.

    Over the last few years we have had several young players written off before reaching an age at which they should be judged fairly. I am afraid that there is an element of tribalism in the players chosen to be written off…..will be interesting to see whether Jack gets the dogs abuse aimed at the likes of Denilson, Bendtner and Ramsey during their development years if he suffers any dip in form.

    Or because he has been raised from within he will be given more support, the same comparison will be able to be drawn between Frimpong and Coquelin.

    Finally mentioning those youngsters at the club i do feel with our current squad there will be good role models for them to follow, Frimpong and Coquelin can learn from just watching Arteta’s calmness on the pitch with and without the ball. Jack can learn from Cazorla, and everyone can learn from the Pod about attitude and performance.

  52. Gooner In Exile says:

  53. GunnerN5 says:


    That’s one Hull of a penalty!!!

  54. Red Arse says:


    I would give anyone diving a Hull. If they argued with the ref they should get two Hulls, but a violent tackle would rate a Stoke!

  55. chas says:

    Personally I think anyone that hits the deck when their shoulder is touched or shirt is pulled has dived. It really is as simple as that.

    Newton’s third law says action=reaction. Legs crumbling underneath you after a tug is a whole new action in itself i.e. a dive. 🙂

  56. Talking of arse.com did anyone see the pics of the squad training today ?

    I can’t see Theo anywhere, maybe he is out injured with an unsigned contract.

  57. chas says:

    Haha, chary.
    He’s in pic 35 though.

  58. O right Chas, I’m Mr Magoo for sure – I had to ask the guy next to me last Saturday who set up Geronimo’s second, I thought it was the Pod, and the goal was scored about 20 foot in front of me !

  59. Did I, or did I not, specifically ask you all NOT to bother replying to my long-lost post.

    @ 26may1989, 12.10pm – You lying g*t!

    @ oz gunner – “detailed analysis, always love evidence”… but you didn’t love it, did you!

    @ Peachesgooner, 1.34pm – a) Why didn’t you just leave it well alone? Anyway, who’s waste bin was it in, Peaches?

    5/4 – Chas
    6/4 – 26may1989
    7/2 – oz gunner
    8/1 – bar

    If I told you all I was only winding you up from my very first post you wouldn’t believe me would you?

    btw: Excellent post today, johnnie (jnyc).
    As regards this off-topic stuff… not my fault, mate.

    Right, I’m six hours ahead of the UK – the bars are open, the beer is cold, the birds are hot, and I can smell the perfume wafting down the hill, and through the windows of my bungalow…
    …gotta go!

  60. kelsey says:

    Big Al,

    are you an ACLF regular by any chance ?

    Everyone is welcome here. We have a high class infirmary and also east end boys laying low in cornwall and some who are bestotted with hair.Others are food experts and we even include hairdressing and landscaped gardens but the piece de resistence are a multitude of accountants and lawyers. 🙂

  61. Sorry, back again, but quick as a sniff…
    Forgot to add several yellow smiley faces to my 3.03pm post!

    @ Kelsey – what’s ACLF?
    Are you referring to “A Cultured Left Foot”, run by Yogi?

    I’ll check your answer tomorrow… oooh, that perfume!!

  62. chas says:

    Worst stadium – Stamford Bridge when it looked like this.
    Worst place – Tottenham High Road.

  63. Bayonne Jean says:

    JNYC, agree completely with the take away on TPIG, but do take issue with one statement:

    “Another thing everyone was talking about was Szcsesny’s distribution….. WHY DON’T I REMEMBER ANYONE MENTIONING THIS LAST SEASON ?”

    That was written up so much last year that I felt his middle name was Heneedstoworkonhisdistribution


    Thanks johnnie baby. Were does this leave chesney? the same place hes always been, fighting for his place. The same applys to Vito and Fab. I wish them all the best.

    Keepers do drive me a bit crazy though. When they make a great save or pluck out a high ball my love for them reaches frenzied levels. However, when they make mistakes leading to goals ime still in a frenzy but its usualy in the form of expletives and kicking the telly. This is then followed by regrets that my foot needs hospital treatment and i will have to sit there with a plaster without even a T.V. for company. hahaha

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Tottenham and Tottenham.

    Why? Because we hate Tottenham, We hate Tottenham …. We are the Tottenham haters.

    Looks a bit Pythonesque when in print

    chas. The Shed, a fearsome place when I were a lad, when it was demolished (post-Taylor report, I think) the meathead fascists moved to the West Stand by the away support and gave the nazi salute throughout the game. Deeply unpleasant men who are hopefully either locked up or living in Hull

  66. 26may1989 says:

    Worst ground visited supporting AFC: good call on the old Bridge but the old Den was worse.

    Worst place visited while supporting AFC: Salford. The stadium’s rubbish too.

    Worst ground attended not supporting AFC: Gigg Lane, Bury, the Goldstone Ground, Brighton or the pre-World Cup Soccer City in Soweto, South Africa.

    Worst place visited for footy but not while supporting AFC: Chisinau in Moldova (England debut game for David Beckham and, as manager, Glenn Hoddle) – but it was part of an epic road trip from London, and despite Chisinau being pretty crappy, I had a great time.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    Stadiums over 30k …. the old Juventus stadium to see Turin v AFC was awful. No seating, just concrete terraces at bum height. Miles from the pitch, zero atmosphere.

    Pre-game.The police took away anything metal from the AFC fans including keys and any cigarette lighters (I smoked in those days) which were thrown into buckets and unavailable after the game. Penned into the carpark for hours with no beer or water and just one burger stall ( there were a few thousand of us). No toilets in open carpark. Sniffer dogs on way into stadium.

    Inside stadium fences around away fans. Home fans were firing incendiary rockets at AFC fans …. an old lady was hit – police did nothing. No food and no alcohol.

    Shitty 0-0 draw.

    Coaches at stadium – no-one allowed into Turin. Straight back to airport herded by police with huge dogs and guns. Anyone singing was told to shut up or taken away by the cops.

    I had a brilliant time.

  68. chas says:

    I used to go to the old Den with a school mate who supported Millwall.
    I always found it really exciting in a ‘kid from the suburbs visits scary docker territory’ kind of way. But yes it was a right dump.

    QPR last season was still pretty awful as grounds go.

  69. chas says:

    BR 🙂

  70. chas says:

    “Magnificent Stadio Delle Alpi” Haha.

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks Vid king. Happy memories, 18 years ….Seems like a couple of years ago

  72. Big Raddy says:

    I like QPR. It is a proper old fashioned ground, close to the players and when full intimidating.

    In the 90’s The Boleyn didn’t have sinks in the toilets!! Guess the chimps who followed that horrible WHU didn’t know how to use water.

    I love the fact that the “Academy” has a manager whose footballing philosophy is hoof ball. Sir Bobby must be appalled

  73. chas says:

    This was the view from one of the restricted view seats at Loftus Road last season.

  74. Total says:

    Bayonne: ‘Heneedstoworkonhisdistribution’ 😆

    Chas, I went to the Old Den a few years ago on a cold February midweek day (meal out and a game of footie with the infamous leader of the RMT….. a big Millwall supporter). It was a miserable night in a dingy stadium, and was glad to go home again!

  75. Gooner In Exile says:

    Didn’t see your question earlier Rhyle, there have been several dives, The Old Dell (but waving fake money at Bruce Grobelaar was fun), Brammall Lane and Maine Road (because had to walk through Moss Side).

    As for best grounds, Goodison is great as is Upton Park but not for their magnificence but for the atmosphere.

  76. evonne says:

    Tony Adams had a pop at Wenger. Wenger retaliated. Manicini said the Arsenal are the genuine title contenders this season. Some fans are saying that this one is the best team we have ever had, really?

  77. Arsenalista says:

    To me Sir Chesney is will spend most of his career around the top of the world game and Mannone will spend most of his career playing for a championship club or a mid-table Serie A side.

    At the moment Mannone is high on confidence and our real number 1 is badly out of nick.

    Remember the old adage about class and form.

    I don’t think he is the better the Szchesny, I don’t think he is better than Fabianski.

    Just an opinion.

    I hope he continues playing well for a while though. No.1 out for six weeks.

    The articles makes a great point, no harm in everyone being on there toes.

    Think we have had a great start.

  78. Arsenalista says:

    Worst ground attended –

    Colchester’s old barside stand was pretty minging.

    Wisla Krakov – Last year, minus 5, windy, little cover, smell of piss and undercooked hot dogs.

    I’ll chuck in a couple of old stinkers, the dell, plough lane?

    Worst Pitch – Barnet – for the strange slope.

    Favourite away ground : goodison park

  79. evonne says:

    Arsenalista – minus 5? pshhhh, you should try going there in the winter. Minus 28 last time I was in Krakow 🙂

    How can blame a football ground for the weather? That ain’t fair

  80. GunnerN5 says:

    Best ground = Barnet fabulous bar, full of family.

  81. johnnie nyc says:

    i just thought of a different title — “the pole in goal, or the hole in goal”

  82. johnnie nyc says:

    Hi Evonne,of course it’s premature to define this team, but there is incredible potential in depth, especially if Giroud is what we think he can be. When healthy there will be super quality midfielders fighting to get minutes, and even defenders.And if Mancini is being honest, he will remember how well we played City last year, even if he is trying to lower expectations..im sure hes truly concerned for Sunday.

  83. evonne says:

    johnnie – correct, I cannot disagree. BUT – can there be a better team than the Invincibles? I would go over the moon if this team was almost as good as the Famous ones. To be better than them? Nay, not possible

  84. kelsey says:

    The Pole in Goal, is a kelsey original (the only one) 🙂

  85. 26may1989 says:

    Hate United, hate Ferguson, but this letter to United fans ahead of the match with Liverpool is (in my opinion) a superb way to get the point across to partisan fans (ignoring the nonsense about best club in the world etc):

    “Dear Supporter,
    “The great support you gave the team here last season has seen our allocation back up to near-full levels. I want you to continue that progress today.
    “But today is about much more than not blocking gangways. Today is about thinking hard about what makes United the best club in the world.
    “Our rivalry with Liverpool is based on a determination to come out on top – a wish to see us crowned the best against a team that held that honour for so long.
    “It cannot and should never be based on personal hatred. Just ten days ago, we heard the terrible, damning truth about the deaths of 96 fans who went to watch their team try and reach the FA Cup final and never came back.
    “What happened to them should wake the conscience of everyone connected with the game.
    “Our great club stands with our great neighbours Liverpool today to remember that loss and pay tribute to their campaign for justice. I know I can count on you to stand with us in the best traditions of the best fans in the game.
    “Yours sincerely, Sir Alex Ferguson.”

  86. LB says:


    It’s interesting you say the bar at Barnet is the best, full of family and all that, I have a different experience………….I had a bottle smashed over my head there and still have a big scar.

  87. LB says:


    The slope at Barnet has gone.

  88. LB says:

    Actually it was smashed then pushed into my head, feeling it now it is definitly in the shape of a broken bottle.

  89. Total says:

    Jeez LB that sounds horrific! How long ago is this, and did the perpetrator get caught? 😦

  90. GunnerN5 says:


    My experiences were always with family, one of my cousins played for Barnet so we were always treated like club members.

    Sorry to hear of your experience – I hope the perpetrator got his comeuppance…..

  91. evonne says:

    26may – yes, good stuff from Fergie.

  92. GunnerN5 says:

    Nothing Rudolph does impresses me, I always think he has an ulterior motive. I will never, ever, forget him saying that the worst day of his life was when England won the world cup.

  93. Gooner In Exile says:

  94. jnyc says:

    Of course. EVONNE, i was just thinking that we could be a special team by todays standards, BUT, especially considering how the world is underestimating us. If we are strong in the next few weeks, they will be less likely to look past us. Lets go beat city!

  95. evonne says:

    jnyc – amen my son

  96. oz gunner says:

    eboue you legend!!!

  97. goonermichael says:

    The best club in the world/ Best fans in the world? He’s drunk again

    Total you went out with bow crowe? I hate that man. I sat next to his predecessor Jimmy knapp once on a plane to Edinburgh. He was good for the RMT. crowe is a (that word I’m not allowed to say). There will be driverless trains on all tube line within 10 years and he won’t have many members left. Greedy bastards

  98. goonermichael says:

    That Eboue account is fake I think

  99. Gooner In Exile says:

    My brother in law drives trains his other half is a train guard. It’s the best paid job he has ever had in Norfolk, they have been able to afford a very nice house in the outskirts of Norwich….the only reason he is a member of RMT is if he wasn’t he’d be ostracised by fellow drivers. As he says he doesn’t know what they do for him, and he has very little to complain about. They would obviously argue that they’re the reason he has little to complain about.

  100. Total says:

    Hi GM, Bob C is a great guy. Most charismatic man I have met in ‘business’. I have met him a few times for dinner and I can tell you he is ok: very clever and streetwise, and as I said charismatic. He does a great job for his members – you cannot blame him for that – and the (Tory) government made it very easy for him and other union leaders by dividing the transport network up.

    Hi GiE,

    Your BIL does not know what they do for him? Ask him to tell you the number of RPI+ pay increases he received since he started the job, and how many members were successfully sacked by the company he works for in the last few years…. 🙂

  101. goonermichael says:

    The RMT are greedy. We have to pay for their pay rises and they are generally ignorant and unhelpful with a few exceptions.

    Threatening to strike to get an extra 2k just for doing their job during the Olympics (and Paralympics) was disgusting.

    As for not sacking people how is that good? Some people deserve to be sacked.

    I can’t wait for driverless tubes.

    BTW I hate all politicians.

  102. goonermichael says:

    Don’t watch it you’re easily offended

  103. goonermichael says:

  104. Total says:

    Morning GM, without any doubt they are mostly greedy and very often totally unreasonable, but they have a lot of power and their members demand them to use it. I have been there many times with them and have been often very frustrated.

    Re not being able to sack people who deserve it (once gone through the disciplinary process), I fully agree with you. I was merely taking the point of view of an RMT member, as in what use they get out of their union.

  105. Red Arse says:

    Morning Folks, 🙂

    Great for Jack that he is back training. He must have thought his career might be over.

    Pleased for us, but more for him! 🙂

  106. Total says:

    Thanks GM, now I’ve got that bloody LU song on my head! 😦

  107. Morning all

    Gorgeous day in my part of Herfordshire, sunshine and blue sky.

    gm – your post is up today, I hope you’re busy but also hope you’ll have time to chat 🙂

  108. kelsey says:

    Are there any swear words in the post 🙂 i hope so otherwise it wouldn’t be GM

  109. Rasp says:

    Morning all …..

    …. New post …..

  110. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, as well as the content!

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