Losing Faith In Arsène

Saturday’s defeat at Norwich affected me much more than is normally the case with our setbacks and I have spent the last couple of days trying to figure out why.

Usually in the wake of a bad defeat (or even a depressing draw, like the 4-4s against Newcastle and Totteringham) I am able to keep things in perspective.

But on Saturday evening perspective was nowhere to be found: it was off cavorting somewhere with Lord Lucan and the Loch Ness Monster.

In yesterday’s Post Kelsey said: “That was one of the worst team performances I have seen for many a season.”

I would go further: it was the worst performance I can remember from Arsenal since Arsène Wenger took charge.

Casting my mind back to earlier horrors, there was always either an extenuating circumstance or something positive to grab hold of.

Collapsing 8-2 at Old Trafford? Well, we were a club in turmoil with a team comprising mostly youths and reserves.

Drawing 3-3 at home to Norwich during the run-in last season? The defence may have gone missing but at least we scored three.

Going from 4-0 up to finish 4-4 in the debacle at Newcastle? Again, we scored goals. Plus Joey Barton behaved despicably to get one of our players sent off and Phil Dowd gave the worst refereeing performance that this spectator has witnessed in more than 40 years.

I could go through many more examples (sadly) and there would always be some crumb of comfort to take away from the mess. But not on Saturday.

On Saturday we were so poor that the only crumbs were little bits of broken dream, dissolving dismally into the East Anglian turf.

Going forward, we were as toothless as a granny with gingivitis. At the back, we were as impregnable as an Essex girl on a Saturday night. And in midfield we made so many backwards passes we might as well have been playing rugby.

The three pillars of successful football – Skill, Passion and Determination – were absent without leave, away with Lucan and Nessie.

Of course, as you probably know, the disappointment hit me harder this time because I truly believed that we had put those sorts of performances behind us. Not that we would never again have bad results – that happens to everyone – but that there would be no more examples of just not turning up for a game that was  there for the taking.

In recent seasons I have felt that these kinds of showing were down to an inherent psychological weakness in the squad – one that also always manifested itself in our traditional late-season collapses.

And the weakness I blamed on the fact that the balance of the squad was wrong: too many young players who did not know what it took to win the big prizes. And that we also had players who were disruptive to good team spirit (like Nasri and Adebayor).

This season no-one can say we don’t have experienced, mature players throughout the squad: Mertesacker, Arteta, Podolski, Giroud, Cazorla for starters. And there seems to have been a good sense of camaraderie among the players so far. The only potentially disruptive factor has been the on-going saga of Theo’s contract, but you just don’t get the sense that he is someone who would cause trouble in the dressing room.

I know we have a lot of injuries, but when I saw the starting 11 for Saturday’s game I was happy we had a team capable of bringing home the points.

So when we lost in such a timid fashion, my train of logic went like this: here we are again with another abject surrender; but we now have mature players; we no longer have the disruptive elements… so it must be down to the manager and his team.

I do not for one second believe we lost because we were tired from international travel; or that we were complacent. Other teams also had many players on international duty and they did just fine. And we have had so many bad results to lower placed teams in recent seasons that the complacency thing doesn’t wash.

What was lacking, I felt, was any sense of motivation from the team. And the man ultimately responsible for motivating them is the manager.

If you look for a link between all the bad performances of the past five or six years, it’s not the players: the personnel have changed so much that our current team is barely recognisable from even two season ago; it’s not even the silent whipping boy of some supporters, Pat Rice. Pat has left and the man everyone wants to replace him is now in his position; the only link is Arsène Wenger.

In my post-Norwich doldrums I started to realise I was losing faith in Arsène. And that’s why this defeat hit me harder than any previous one.

Losing faith in Arsène is like falling out of love with your wife. It can creep up on you and before you know it, you’re looking at someone you have known for years as if they are a stranger.

The things that were so appealing, so charming – the windmilling arms, that way of drawling “weeellll…” at the start of every answer, the silly knee length puffer jacket – suddenly look silly. Unattractive even. But that’s enough about my wife. A similar effect was starting to happen with my view of Arsène.

In a marriage you can go to a relationship counselor who might just make you realise that the woman you always loved is still there, it’s just that current circumstances have got in the way of you seeing her properly.

In a football relationships, there are no counselors but there is good counsel to be found. And I found it here in the comments of Arsenal Arsenal. I read a litany of disappointment and disbelief. But, as the shock of that awful performance wore off, I also read many comments putting it down to “a bad day at the office.”

And while there has, perhaps, been a reassessing of expectations for this season, many commenters also pointed to the optimism we felt after the West Ham and Liverpool wins; to the quality of our performance against Man City. Surely the team that did so well in those games can not have vanished overnight?

There IS a link connecting all our poor performances of recent years. But it’s not Arsène (or at least, not a failure on his part to motivate players). The link is the changing economics of football.

This link forced us (rightly) to build a bigger stadium, with the period of austerity that it inevitably brought; it meant that when sugar daddy owners came on the scene they could skew the market for players to such a degree that even a club like Manchester United can no longer compete equally; and it meant a club like Arsenal, running itself sustainably, would suffer defections of key players at bad moments.

That’s the link that has left us now with a team in which several regular starters have only been with the club a few months; a team, therefore, that will inevitably stutter occasionally as it gels together; a team that has lost the EPL’s top goal scorer and player of the season; a team that gets lambasted by the ignorant press for not adopting the sort of Gordon Gekko economics that have bankrupted the entire nation.

No manager could have produced a title winning team during that period. In fact, no manager could have kept a team in the top four throughout all those crazy years.

Except that one man did: Arsène Wenger.

My faith wobbled, but it has come back stronger. We may win nothing this year. We may not even finish in the top four. But Arsène is still the right man at the helm and the tide in football finances is turning ever so slowly in our favour.

And I have a funny feeling that this version of Arsène’s Arsenal is going to surprise us all.


227 Responses to Losing Faith In Arsène

  1. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rocky superb post, at the end of last season I wrote a post saying it was time for Arsene to retire, he had performed the biggest miracle of all, getting that team after that start into CL football and a 3rd place finish. Not bad for a club in crisis and due for relegation.

    Now whilst it was tongue in cheek I do wonder how many times Arsene can perform the miracle of CL qualification with the resources available, whilst there have been some spending on proven talent this season it will always take time to bed in some elements.

    In reality the players should not need motivating, they are paid a lot of money to represent our team and do a job. Like you on Saturday I looked at the manager and wondered could he do it again…..and for once I couldn’t say with certainty “yes”….not sure I can yet either, but I do know I don’t think anyone else could achieve much more.

  2. Wombledin says:

    If you think Arsene is still the right man to be in charge even if we finish outside of the top four then you, sir, are a disgrace of an Arsenal fan.

  3. Rasp says:

    Brilliant post Rocky, I must dedicate a page at the top for all your great lines ……. “Going forward, we were as toothless as a granny with gingivitis. At the back, we were as impregnable as an Essex girl on a Saturday night” ranks among the best.

    To be reminded of our joy at the victory against West Ham (as chas and weedonald also pointed out) should be enough to put the Norwich game into perspective ….. but as you say, the performance was so lacking in every department that it was hard not to try to find someone or something to blame – and for many Arsene Wenger was the obvious target …. but what about the 11 players on the pitch?

    I still can’t fathom it, but fighting performances against Schalke on Wednesday and QPR on Saturday and my faith wil be restored.

  4. bops says:

    That’s some mighty positive views there Rocky.. Lets hope your optimism is long-lived..

  5. kelsey says:

    You put it much better than me RL.

    GIE, I take it as a compliment if no one responds to me 🙂

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Wombledin. Can you explain why having an opinion different to yours makes a REAL Arsenal fan a disgrace?

  7. glic says:

    Superb installment of the ” Rock Files “.
    For us, with our heads screwed on, it is obvious what a miraculous job Arsene has done against the tidal wave of oil.
    As in the words of that Carly Simon song, which the ladeez sing to me , ” Nobody does it better ” ! hahaha
    By the way, where can I get some of these Essex girls from ?.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Another thinking man’s post full of humor and substance.

    Like many others I am on the fence about having a 65 y.o manager. Yes, he is brilliant, yes, he is the best AFC manager in my lifetime but perhaps this should be his last contract.

    Could someone with fresh ideas to take us to the next level? If Guardiola was willing to come to THOF after his U.S sabbatical, I would be delighted.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    glic. Essex Girls? My guess would be ……

  10. John Gee says:

    Yes, worst performaqnce of Arsene Wenger’s reign. No point looking for a reason, you won’t find one. Like many others, I shall stay under the duvet until Wednesday evening, pick myself up, dust myself down etc… It too a while to get over the 8 – 2 last season and we shall all get over this, eventually

  11. Rasp says:

    Hi John, likewise – thank dennis for duvets and sofas to offer sanctuary 🙂

  12. Rasp says:

    I’d try Norfolk glic ……


    Rocky, i am genuinely moved by the emotion you display. Its funny that people like that Wombledin can post such a silly comment when its supporters like you that restore my faith in human nature.

    Talking about faith, lets keep it. In the grand scheme of things the Norwich result is a drop in the ocean, and the tide of that ocean is turning in our favour.

    Lets not turn into a bunch of sad whiners and moaners when we have so much to look forward to. We are not there yet, but the end of a cycle is approaching and a new and exciting one dawns.

    Keep the Faith has never been so apt. Its sometimes when you are almost there that your faith will be tested as never before because expectations rise. Thats a good thing not bad. Dont succumb to negativity when we are so close, our time is coming.

  14. Red Arse says:

    Well I am lost for words, Rocky, — that ranks as probably the best footballing essay I have ever read on a blog – anywhere.

    All hail the mighty maestro!!!! 🙂

  15. glic says:

    Raddy, your guess would be…… what/where ? ….dont leave me hanging on !
    Oh, I`ve just seen Rasp`s comment, cheers Rasp, no wonder , Total, NG and GIE live up there !. hahaha

  16. Red Arse says:


    You have posted a response from weedonald which quoted some of the phraseology I used in my rebuttal to his original ill tempered and ridiculously vindictive attack on all of us he described as ” you bunch of whiny doom mongers’.

    Can I say that I found it self justifying, self pitying, contradictory and totally missing the point.

    I did not cavill at the content of his comment, and I made that crystal clear in my response. What I objected to then, and I still do, was the insulting description with which he opened his diatribe.

    Trying to hide his tactless and obtuse ‘whiny’ statement behind an aggressive and despicable attempt to portray himself as a lone ‘hero’, while likening his insult to a conversation opener along the lines of ‘cheer up everyone’ is disingenuous at the very least.

    Let’s first hear an apology from him to those innocents on this site that he so gratuitously maligned before you consider accepting a Post from him.

    Appeasement has never worked in the past, and it won’t work now.

  17. doctore says:

    One fact is certain Arsenal would not win anymore titles with that man in charge,not sure what the club is anymore is it Arsenal fc,Arsene fc or Arsenal Plc,and fans like you don’t really help the sporting side of the club,remember the whole idea of competing is to win and not just survive,you sir,are blinded by your loyalty to the man and not the club,and its not helping…..disguted

  18. Red Arse says:

    But Glicster, did you not tell us you too live in a County with a webfingered indigenous population?

    Anyway, why do you need Essex girls when you have yourself and your cracked mirror? 🙂

  19. Melvyn says:

    Your blog is spot on , re so many points,but my reason for being so upset about Saturday is that after 15/20 minutes any supporter could see it wasnt going to happen and plan B doesnt excist with us. Apart from that who in a red shirt wil ever shake their fist and lead by example when things aren’t going well..What other quality team would have 65 minutes to equalise against a poor team and not look like testing the keeper. Even Mr Wenger realised the finger of blame couldnt be pointed outside the dressing room.

  20. goonerjake says:

    Rocky you are 100% correct with everything you said. If you ever apply for the job of CEO of arsenal football club you get my vote.
    The things you said I have been saying for ages but you put it over in such a way its clear and concise. Well done sir.

  21. evonne says:

    weah hey!! my membership pack arrived
    “I am a fan
    I am a member
    I am always ahead of the Game”

    am I ?

  22. doctore says:

    And we are not in any form of financial crisis we are one of the top ten most valuable sporting outfits in world,so I don’t get the crisis thing,except maybe when it comes to man management,that I would agree is worse than a crisis,but gradually becoming a disease….

  23. goonerjake says:

    ps. their is someone today who is wombledin free of his brain

  24. Okiarsenal says:

    Great post!!!! We must all pull together in hard times!!! Arsene is still the man!! COYG

  25. Red Arse says:

    Goonerjake, 🙂

  26. Red Arse says:

    Am you what, Evonne? 🙂

  27. evonne says:

    RA 🙂 you naughtiness!
    Those are the words on my brand new, shiny AFC membership pack and the last statements baffles me a bit; what do you make of it

    No time for Rocky this morning, but the title will inevitably attract some characters coming out from the woodwork; hope Rasp is not otherwise engaged today

  28. Gooner In Exile says:

    Terry….you are right sir, whining is the way of the Spud and Scouser…..not something for Gooners to do.

    Kelsey….you too are correct if no one responds it means there is nothing to challenge and therefore you must be right. 😀

  29. Red Arse says:

    And what about me GIE? Is this war?? 🙂

  30. chas says:

    Brilliant, Rocky.

    The first half of the post nearly had me convinced.
    “…the only crumbs (of comfort) were little bits of broken dream, dissolving dismally into the East Anglian turf.”
    Top, top stuff.

    Certainly the changing face of premiership football has had a massive impact on our ability to put together, and keep together, a side capable of winning the league again.

    I love what Arsene has done for the club, but I don’t really have heroes or ‘faith’ in players or managers. We’re all fallible.

    In reply to your question about not being sure ‘what the club is anymore’.
    I’d say it isn’t Arsene FC or Arsenal PLC, it’s what it always has been, the club’s history and its fans. Those are the things that don’t change.

  31. richie says:

    Great post Rocky you had me “Rocking” for a while there, only to flip it at the 11th hour. When we lost at home to Chelski things didn’t seem anywhere near as bad and most of us thought we deserved a draw anyway, but last weeks abject failure had many of us navel gazing. Human nature dictates we look for someone to blame, I certainly blame Arsene, but I also most certainly blame the players. At times like this we often role out terms like playing for pride, playing for the shirt, and those terms as you put it so eloquently were out there with Lord Lucan. I might have put them even further a field and said our teams pride on Saturday at Carrow Rd seemed to have been buried in Jimmy Hoffa’s pocket.

    Kelsey asked if Arsene could still be trusted to motivate this team? And lets all agree on one thing as Gooners, motivated the team wasn’t! I said that players seem to love playing for Arsene and that’s always been motivation enough in the past, we all know Arsene isn’t a rabble rousing type. The why’s and wherefores of Carrow rd I think may not become apparent until we’ve played a few more games, but I’ll repeat a comment I made previously after an international break we always seem to be sluggish and I’m yet to understand why?
    Perspective and hindsight it seems to me are the best cures for what ails us Gooners currently and much of both could be sorted for us against “Shalke no fear” on Wednesday.

  32. chas says:

    Personally, I’d like to read a weedonald post, especially if it ‘reflects on what the Arsenal truly represents’.

    p.s. even if I don’t understand why he’d say, ‘whether I am new here or have been begrudgingly invited into and accepted in the blog ¨family¨’

  33. ze bist says:

    u r talented ma brother. i never thought I’d recover from that horrible performance but your post already restores some confidence. thanks for putting things back in perspective

  34. A giant of a post from you Rocky. Very well laid out. I too was totally zonked out about Arsenal’s non-performance at Norwich. I too wondered whether I was foolish to dream of winning anything this season. In a game like that, it must have been reasonable to believe Arsenal was going to overcome a 20th. min. set back and go on to make a game of it. We Didn’t!! No bad rub of the green, no ref. to cuss. We just didn’t. No motivation, no invention.
    Your analogy comparing the Arsenal manager to a A wife who is being viewed in a certain light due to adverse circumstances is a good one However, I am getting towards a conclusion that Arsene is losing his powers of motivation. When we did our invincible season, it wasn’t because we had the highest paid players. It was more because the players went on the pitch wanting to win, determined to win and usually had the ammunition and motivation to do so. Maybe its time for The Man to move upstairs!!!


    There is nothing to worry about. Things are great and will only get better.

    We support a fantastic Club, enjoy watching our football, and have a laugh doing so. How can we not be happy? On Wednesday we get to participate in the Champions League and then on Saturday its game on in the league again.

    Generations of supporters come and go and ime sure they had there ups and downs, but now its our turn to experience them. I am very grateful for my time as a supporter of a marvelous Club participating in a great sport. Onwards and upwards.

  36. Double98 says:

    When your wife shops at Lidl and yet produces Harrods, you know you are married to Arsene Wenger.

    When your wife sees none of your faulty or incidents, you know you are married to Arsene Wenger.

    When your wife wants you to move on because you are killing your son, you know you are married to Arsene Wenger / Marge Simpson.

  37. henrychan - indonesia says:

    EPL championship maybe hard to catch this season..
    But I still believe we will end in big three again..

    Look what Chelsea bring this season.. They are very good in midfielders.. They brought Hazzard, Oscar, Marin, and Moses..
    And don’t forget they still have Lampard, Mikel, Malouda, Ramires, and Mata..

    Arsenal actualy have some great midfielders..
    Cozorla, Arteta, Diaby, Wilshere, Arshavin, Ramsey, AOC..
    And we also have Eisfeld and Gnabry..

    The problem is ROTATION..
    Wenger seem worry to much to change the winning team..
    We almost see several players play all time, and other bends all the time either..

    Cozorla as an example.. He looked very tired after International break again France.. But yet he is forced to play..
    Mertesacker is the same.. with his hard game again Sweden, losing 4 goals in 30 minutes.. He must be very tired and down.. and yet he is also forced to play..

    So in my vision.. if we really want to win the title.. we must do rotation smartly..
    Yes we have some injured player.. but we also have a fresh and qualify player also to win the games..
    Give them time to play.. and we will see that they really are great..

    Go Gunners..

  38. keys says:

    Oh my fellow GUNNERS, so you still think Wenger can win something ? Look at him closely and you will know that his ambition is top 4 finish and making money for the club.

  39. James says:

    Another hopeless Wenger sycophant. You’ll be saying exactly the same thing in another five years no doubt. Joke supporter.

  40. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chas, 🙂

    I don’t see any reason to change my view. If a person admits he made a mistake and has the guts to apologise, that’s fine. If he tries to bluster it out …………. that’s another matter.

    However, as you know, I have no input into the running of the site, so if Rasp permits a Post from that guy, I will read it avidly to see what ‘gems of enlightenment’ he can offer us.

    What a paradox; we get blasted, wrongly, by weedonald for being ‘whiny doomers’, (what an objectionally ugly phrase that is), and ‘pink plastic fanboys’ (well I quite like the incongruity of that 🙂 ) then we have to politely turn the other cheek when the real ‘whiny doomers’, to use his words, appear briefly on site to bestow their wisdom on us.


  41. kelsey says:

    I agree with red arse purely because for once I can understand what he has just posted 🙂

  42. goonerjake says:

    Im sick and tired of people coming onto this site and attacking the post. This is a great site, a site where fans rally together, ok sometimes views are different but we never attack each other.

    Alll of you… you know who you are a piece of advice (friendly) If i dont like a certain tv program, film, political party, view, or person i avoid them to save myself stress. So why dont you and again you know who you are stay away from this positive and upbuilding site… please! Its for your own benefit. Did you noitice i did not attack you personally?

  43. Rasp says:

    Hi RA, I have been trying to avoid fanning the flames of this particular topic, but I would say this: weedonald is a proud man of a certain age and reading between the lines, I think he was stepping back from his rather harsh accusations of yesterday. The offer of a post is a cyber olive branch that I am happy to grasp and I would be very surprised if you do not agree with most of what he has to say.

  44. kelsey says:

    You know that the shite will fly if we don’t beat QPR and that is why I think Wenger will put out the same team that started at Norwich against Schalke.Surely we can’t be as bad twice running, can we ?
    my fear for both games is that no one else gets injured as the numbers are mounting up fast.

  45. Rasp says:

    Thanks goonerjake, it’s great to have your support on the site, comments like yours make it all worthwhile

    I think I’ll start posting the emails we receive every day offering to pay us to advertise on the site. We refuse because we want those who write and comment on AA to be confident that we don’t have any agenda other than to discuss matters relating to Arsenal in a friendly and whenever possible, positive way.

    Those who describe us as ‘cliquey’ would deny us the bonus of making new friends and discussing other mutual interests beyond football and that is one thing I’m not prepared to sacrifice.

  46. VCC says:

    Rocky….you could sell sand to the Arabs sir.

    Essex girls, what’s wrong with them? My 24 year old Daughter is an Essex girl and perfectly respectable too. They are lovely lasses from this part of the world.


    Kelsey, i think you hit the nail on the head there about the shite flying if we dont beat QPR. That is the fundamental problem with certain sections of our support. Its only one more game.

    People should realise that what goes on off the pitch lays the foundations of what happens on it. We are entering a new phase were many of the shackles of the Ashburton move will be lifted. At the same time the footballing envoirement in general is shifting to our favour

    Large football clubs are enormous enterprises with hugh budgets and startegic plans that go many years into the future. Those people that castigate the manager are within there rights, but to attempt to lay the blame soley on him is simplistic and naive.

    This may siund perverse, but i can defend Wenger by the amount of chelsea managers that have finnished above him in the league. Since Abramovitch. there must be at least 5 of them. Were they all better mangers then Wenger?, of course not. They simply moved into a job were the tools were all there for success.

    It annoys me when the Brain Dead say nasty things about the Manager and the Club. They simply have no clue.

  48. Red Arse says:

    Hi Rasper, 🙂

    I am happy to be guided by you. 🙂

  49. Rasp says:

    Thanks RA 😛

  50. Red Arse says:


    I am always tickled, for want of a better word, by the unfair image the soubriquet “Essex Girl” has in this country.

    I have always found them beautiful, funny and sassy! 🙂

  51. Red Arse says:

    Well said Terry! 🙂

    It bugs me too, far more than I should allow it to.

    On the other hand, those who feel the manager or certain players are not pulling their weight, however wrong I think they are, have the right to say so, providing they are not abusive!

  52. kelsey says:


    i have always been of the belief that a really good team needs little or no management and as you say chelsea proved that. Forget about the input of money for the moment. the shankley team was a very good example.

  53. Red Arse says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    I almost missed your agreeing with me!!!! 🙂

    GIE might be ignoring the pair of us, but we have always got each other!!! 🙂

  54. VCC says:

    Red 1:04. Your discription of Essex girls is spot on.

    Being a dirty old man I wish I was forty years younger, lol.

  55. Afternoon all – Mr Rock, from the title I thought you had a sea change of opinion regarding our manager however you built up to your final decision nicely and with an well put argument.

    That being said and the contrary sort of blogger I am I have to say that IMVHO I differ with your conclusion in that I feel a move to youth team coach for Wenger at some stage would be best for all concerned as developing young talent is his strength.

    Without taking away any of his obvious and many achievements for the club I think his weaknesses regarding tactics, substitutions and squad building will hold us back in the future.

    While I’m on, WordPress still doesn’t let me comment easily, I’ll put myself down as being in the “At the Tavern” widget for tomorrow.

    Needless to say “Mine’s a treble” 🙂

  56. Good stuff Rocky
    must admit that i was shell shocked on saturday and my faith has startedto waver.
    Its best to remind ourselves that when the new regime was implemented that it would have worked had the money men not come in.
    No other manager could have achieved what Wenger has done in that time.
    Early FFP signs are hopeful, backs to the wall for a while longer, everyone bar gooners want us to fail.

  57. Big Raddy says:

    glic. I have asked my Italian friends who tend to be experts on such matters, and they say the “most reliable” girls come from Cornwall. I have no direct knowledge to back this up but as I say, these blokes are experts.

    Chary. I am not sure AW could take another post at AFC. He is just too powerful. I see him taking up the pipe and slippers and probably a job as Japanese National Coach.

  58. Mark n says:

    I don’t know where to start, the words I used to describe that performance were gutless, toothless and a disgrace, I have seen and heard it all before, on there day arsenal can beat anyone, and on other days we are more than capable of losing to anyone, that’s a fact, I still for the life of me can’t understand why wenger changed tact, his formula worked in his early years at arsenal, two big midfielders that could play and compete and make things happen, they also protected the back four,wingers who were clever, cute and skilfull and forwards like, bergkamp, Henry, wiltord, kanu, etc, the back four and keeper were solid, and even when not at there best they were capable of grinding out results when not at there best, something the current arsenal teams do not seem capable of, we all know teams come and sit deep at the emirates and try to pick us of on the counter attack, why? Because they know we don’t like it and are still suseptible to it, and even teams playing us on there patch do it, Norwich played that way, I have seen united do it to us, let arsenal play, play play, suck them in then we will counter them, I’ve heard wenger moan about this, surely wenger it’s your job to work out what’s needed to break these teams down without leaving us vunerarable, for a long time I’ve felt we have tried to copy the barca blue print, with lesser players, it ain’t worked, and its clearly not working, 7 trophyless years tells me that, team performances tell me that, when will we realise or more importantly arsene when will you realise it’s not working, I like arsene a lot but someone has to do something, scrapping champions league every season and that may change is not enough for a club and the great fans of arsenal fc………

  59. Rasp says:

    Hi Mark, a passionate response to the post and one that resonates at least in part with most of us. It’s really all about making the most of the resources we have, which means doing the best we can whilst accepting that we can’t compete with the super rich clubs in transfer fees or wages.

    The manager is most influential in directing our resources although none of us know what constraints the Board put upon him. Arsene will not be manager forever and when the day comes that there is a successor, we will discover how much better or worse another manager can perform.

    I agree with Rocky that no other manager could have brought us this far, but like Raddy, I am beginning to wonder whether he’s taken us as far as he can.

  60. Big Raddy says:

    “scraping Champions League” ….. ask any of the other non-Oiler teams in the PL, if they would be happy scraping 15 seasons running …

    We have no divine right to play CL, it is a privilege. Though I agree that some silverware would be pleasant.

  61. Gooner In Exile says:

    Mark I have some sympathy with your point of view on what changed with Wenger, tall strong and pace was te order of the day, but he has changed and the chorus says why?

    He has revealed the why recently himself, because if teams sit back and double bank the defensive line, you can be as tall, strong as pacy as you like but you will have no space to operate. That’s why the most expensive players in world football are small and technically able to pick open a team. Iniesta, Xavi, Cazorla, SIlva, Na$ri, Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Messi, Ozil, Modric….these are the players thy people want in their teams.

    The question I myself pose is do teams play differently against us when compared to say how Sunderland or Norwich will set up against Man Utd or Chelsea?

    The only true way to not get beat is to sit back in our own half ourselves, but then most opposition in today’s PL would happily sit back and take the point, and we’d end up out of the CL. We have and always will win more games than we lose by attacking first, whether we can win enough to be Champions well that’s a different debate.

    I would also ask if anyone genuinely believes with oil money abound whether we would have kept Thierry, Pires, PV4 and even DB10 and others as long as we did. Perhaps God is the only one I could hand on heart say yes too, we couldn’t even keep Anelka before oil money washed through the game.

    Henry I agree wholeheartedly about rotation, Wenger has never rotated a lot, and in our current style of play needs more rotation than the old fashioned 4-4-2.

  62. RockyLives says:

    Hello All and thanks for the comments – particularly those kind enough to defend the Post and the site from the hit-and-run merchants.

    Bit of a long old essay – thanks for bearing with it. I had a few dark moments (from an Arsenal perspective) after that performance at Norwich. I was hiding under the duvet with John Gee 🙂

    An interesting thread through the comments has been whether AW is effective as a motivator. Richie and Tony C made good points on this. On balance I feel Kelsey (and others) are right that a good team motivates itself: Arsene’s first two trophy-winning sides were packed with strong characters who would win at all costs. Notwithstanding Saturday’s showing, I still harbour hopes that this squad can achieve similar strength of purpose.

    As for whether it’s time for Arsene to make way for a younger man… I don’t know, but there are the seeds of an interesting Post or two in today’s comments from BR, Chary, Rasp and others.

    Thanks for setting out your views in opposition to the Post in a reasoned and non-abusive way. GiE has explained one version of why AW no longer follows the formula that brought us such success in the first half of his Arsenal career. But, like you, I do still hanker for a team playing like the Arsenal teams of 2002 and 2004. I guess the question is: would the Invincibles win the league if they were playing today? My feeling is that whatever AW says about needing small technical players, the class of 2004 would walk this league.

    I’m sure you’re daughter is a lovely lass and I apologise for slandering her by association, with the use of a lazy joke cliche. Although I do note you would like to be 40 years younger and on the prowl in Essex 🙂

    Why didn’t AW change things at half time? Good question – but sometimes we have been trailing at half time and come out for the second half like demons. Maybe AW thought it would happen on Saturday. As we now all know, it didn’t.

    I think our rotation options were limited on Saturday because of injuries. With Koscielny out we would have had to have dropped either Mert or Verm for Djourou, which would have gone down like a rat sandwich with many fans; and in midfield we were pretty thin.

    James, keys, doctor and womblehead
    An insult without a reason is like a car without an engine: it doesn’t go anywhere. And the longer it sits there, the sillier it looks. You are, of course, welcome to come back and debate your points in a non-abusive manner if you care to. You will get a fair hearing here.

  63. JM says:

    From LSE: Players will emerge from the fog for Europe, says Arsene Wenger.


    [He said: “I expect us to respond in a strong way because this team are very ambitious and want to do very well. The players were very disappointed that we lost a game at Norwich.

    “We have to put that behind us and I am sure they will show a strong response tomorrow.

    “We have a good opportunity, we play at home against Schalke and since we know that we won in Montpellier our qualifying will depend on how well we do at home.]

    Aaron Ramsey revealed that determination exists within the dressing room to return to winning ways after an abject display that leaves Arsenal 10 points behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League.
    [We were all disappointed after the game and when you have an upset like that you want the next game to come along as quickly as possible to put things right,” said the Wales midfielder.

    “Hopefully, we can do that and get on the right track and start to win games again.We have been doing really well so far this season and each game we felt like we are growing with confidence, so that was definitely an upset and one we are disappointed with.

    “Hopefully, we can turn things around as quickly as possible.”]

    Wenger revealed that Laurent Koscielny is available again after training this morning following a back problem but Jack Wilshere will not be involved despite taking his place among the substitutes at Norwich.

    Theo Walcott is also unavailable as he continues to recover from a chest injury sustained on international duty with England against San Marino and Wenger confirmed there has been no progress on the winger’s ongoing contract talks.

    “We have beaten Olympiakos and Montpellier, now it is down to us to beat Schalke and if possible away, of course.”

    “Provisional” squad (training preparation before Weds. game): –
    GK: Mannone, Shea
    DF: Santos, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Djourou, Miquel
    MF: Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey, Coquelin, Gnabry, Olsson, Meade
    FW: Podolski, Gervinho, Giroud, Chamakh, Arshavin

    Injured: Szczesny, Fabianski, Gibbs, Rosicky, Diaby, AoC, Walcott

    Rested: Wilshere, Sagna, Frimpong (played 90mins in U-21 game on Monday after returning from injuries)

    MIA: Squillaci

  64. glic says:

    Yes Raddy, the Cornish girls do it ” Dreckly ” ! hahaha
    Yes Rocky, they will get a fair hearing. In front of, Lord Chief Justice…..Skippy……then be put down ! hahaha

  65. RockyLives says:

    GLiC 🙂
    Do you still think AW is the man for the job, or would you like to see someone new come in?

  66. kelsey says:


    Can I answer that.

    Nothing will change for the next two years on the club’s financial policy and regardless of how we do I expect Wenger to complete his contract and bow out gracefully.

    What could a new man do ? There wouldn’t be any additional funds unless kroenke sold out to usmanov which is highly unlikely and usmanov can preach as much as he wants from a distance as opposed to what he would actually do if he ran the club.

  67. JM says:

    Also elsewhere, came upon this article in regards to the current EPL league leaders: Chelsea.

    Chelsea’s hub in the Lion City
    S’pore base reaping dividends for European champions.

    From the 2013-2014 season onwards, the European governing body’s new guidelines require clubs competing in UEFA competitions to prove they are financially sound and spending within their means.

    Based on the last two financial results of top English Premiership League (EPL) clubs, only Arsenal passed the test. — {Good to know}

    Chelsea posted a £67.7 million (S$132.3 million) loss at the end of their financial year in June 2011, £3.2 million less than 2010, despite the financial muscle of owner Roman Abramovich. Exactly a year ago, club Chairman Bruce Buck said they cannot rely on the owner’s deep pockets forever.

    [In a race to reverse the tide and conform to UEFA rules, Chelsea set up an Asia-Pacific base in the heart of Singapore’s financial district in July last year to tap potential businesses in the region, and the move is paying dividends.

    So far, deals have been forged with Indonesian bank BNI, Japan’s Orico Bank and Myanmar whiskey distillers Grand Royal.

    They join Chelsea’s long-time Asian partners Samsung, the club’s shirt sponsors, and Thai brewers Singha, who renewed their business ties with the club earlier this month.]

    — {What Ivan Gazidis & his team have been/are/will be doing for the club as well. Getting more partners to buy into the Arsenal brand}. {However, Chelsea are doing this equally well in regards to comply with the FFP guidelines, tying deals with 2 asian banks – in Japan & Malaysia, 2 brewers – Thailand & Myanmar & 1 mobile company – S.Korea}

    [In an exclusive interview with TODAY, Chelsea’s Asia-Pacific Managing Director Adrian New said the London club’s successes in the 2011-2012 season played a significant role in the Singapore office’s efforts.

    “Nearly half the world’s TV audience for the EPL is in Asia so there are huge opportunities for the growth of our fan base and business here,” said the 54-year-old Chelsea native who has lived here for 11 years.

    “Having an office in Asia certainly helps us to service our partners more effectively and gives us the resources necessary to turn opportunities into reality, but it is the success on the pitch that first attracts them to us.”

    Formerly the Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at World Sport Group, Chelsea’s New added that the club’s Singapore-base benefits their other corporate partners – adidas, Audi, EA Sports, Delta, Gazprom and Sauber F1 – as they also have crucial business interests in Asia.]

    – Key points
    (1) the London club’s successes in the 2011-2012 season played a significant role in the Singapore office’s efforts. {a winning team helps to promote a clubs’ brand & brings in broader/more sponsorship deals}
    (2) the club’s Singapore-base benefits their other corporate partners – adidas, Audi, EA Sports, Delta, Gazprom and Sauber F1 – as they also have crucial business interests in Asia. {i.e.
    building a strong commercial base/hub in an influential region because of (1) helps bring in more partners and could negotiate a better sponsorship deal etc}

    [Building a loyal fan support is integral to that matrix and echoing the club’s “Here to Play, Here to Stay” ethos, New’s team have helped set up six Chelsea Soccer Schools in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea.

    Now, the club are looking for a site to start one here.

    “We have invested in Blue Pitches and seven soccer schools around the region, developing facilities and local coaches to train children to play the Chelsea way,” said New. “We have had some discussions here already and I’ve been very impressed with the new facilities that are being created at Turf City. It’s too early to say exactly when we’ll be ready but Singapore is definitely one of our priorities.”

    But, for the moment, Singapore is key to Chelsea business goals.

    “The EPL is actually strongest in the ASEAN markets where the passion for football dominates all other sports, so we wanted an office that would initially allow easy access to the ASEAN markets,” he said.

    “Obviously Singapore offers a fantastic infrastructure and a great airport with great connections to everywhere in Asia, so we feel we can just as easily serve China, South Korea and Japan from here as we could from Hong Kong.”]

  68. kelsey says:

    Irish Medical Dictionary (apologies to irish 🙂 )

    Artery: The study of paintings.
    Bacteria: Back door to cafeteria.
    Barium: What you do when patients die.
    Benign: What you be, after you be eight.
    Caesarean Section: A neighbourhood in Rome.
    Catscan: Searching for Kitty.
    Cauterize: Made eye contact with her.
    Colic: A sheep dog.
    Coma: A punctuation mark.
    Dilate: To live long.
    Enema: Not a friend.
    Fester: Quicker than someone else.
    Fibula: A small lie.
    Impotent: Distinguished, well known.
    Labour Pain: Getting hurt at work.
    Medical Staff: A Doctor’s cane.
    Morbid: A higher offer.
    Nitrates: Cheaper than day rates.
    Node: I knew it.
    Outpatient: A person who has fainted.
    Pelvis: Second cousin to Elvis.
    Post Operative: A letter carrier.
    Recovery Room: Place to do upholstery.
    Rectum: Nearly killed him.
    Secretion: Hiding something.
    Seizure: Roman emperor.
    Tablet: A small table.
    Terminal Illness: Getting sick at the airport.
    Tumour: One plus one more.
    Urine: Opposite of you’re out.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky, thanks for a super-post: a mini work of art, and I love it when you put your emotions into your writing! 🙂

    I have written a lot about the Norwich game on my own blog, and for me the problem was definitely not a lack of motivation or urgency.

    The team just did not click at all: the wings did not work as we were totally lop-sided towards the left, where Santos and the Pod had communication problems of Babylonic proportions, and nobody seemed to feed the ball properly to Gervinho on the right.

    On top of that, Giroud was often isolated up-front, and surrounded by defenders; Cazorla was often isolated in the hole, and Ramsey was not able to help Cazorla enough, who in turn could not help Giroud enough through the middle.

    So for me the problems where purely of a tactical and qualitative nature. Our patterns and tactics did not work and our substitutions were ineffective. The interlull combined with the fact that this is indeed a new team are partly to blame for this, but I also feel that Wenger and Bould did not get it right on the night and deserve most of the blame.

    However, like you say in your post, it is just a game and the bigger picture is still positive. We are six points behind the number two and have 30 games left to make up ground.

  70. Red Arse says:

    Kelsey, 🙂

    Loved it, especially, Node = I knew it.

    I have made a note in my diary that when I meet you I might have to give you a larruping as you might be offending my Celtic origins. Still thinking about it!! 🙂

    Will let you know, so you get a 10 second start!! 🙂

  71. tomstoned says:

    great post Rocky 🙂
    i consider myself as a stubborn and not always positive gooner,and personally i dont think Arsenal is doing everything right…thats for sure….

    the Norwich game…it was a disaster,but we will have a few of them every season…everyone does,,,deep down every Gooner and football supporter know this…

    so folks…get real and back our team…they need us and we need to show just how much we love Our Arsenal…

    over and out from the North Pole….

  72. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, 🙂

    Are you back?

    I had forgotten that you wanted to pick a bone with me over my somewhat less than admiring assessment of the Gerv’s display on Saturday. I will take that up with you later! 🙂

  73. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Total and Tom
    It’s all about the bounce-back now!
    Thank Dennis that we have a game tomorrow. It’s time to get back in the saddle and show what we can do.

  74. Red Arse says:


    I made the observation on Sunday that I could not explain the team’s performance on Saturday.

    I could have, like most other fans, dredged up various reasons and/or excuses but they all seemed like grasping at straws and an understandable attempt at rationalizing an inexplicable event, but my heart was not in that.

    I ended up saying something along the lines that it was ………….. just football.

    Sometimes there just is no logic or explanation for things, even the gob smacking under performance of quality players.

    It is an unpalatable fact of life, but once accepted it makes it easier to stomach and does not require a scapegoat nor an irrational reaction like lashing out at the manager, the team, the club or the bloke who farted at the turnstile and brought us bad luck. (That’s lucky for you then Chas). 🙂

  75. Red Arse says:


    I should have added, above, that it is a fallacy to say the phenomenon I described above, “it’s just ……. football” is peculiar only to Arsenal.

    Manure lost 1:6 at home to Shitty about this time last year;
    they lost 1:2 at home to Crystal Palace in the League Cup;
    and lost 2:3 at home to Blackburn – yes, relegated Blackburn in the EPL.

    They then went on to within just a whisker of winning the EPL on the last day of the season.

    No reason to think Arsenal cannot do as well.

    The name of the game is perspective!! 🙂

  76. RockyLives says:

    Aaah… perspective.

    As I said in the Post, mine definitely went AWOL for a while after Norwich. Reading the measured comments on here helped me find it again 🙂

  77. VCC says:

    Hi Rocky.

    Forgot to say “fine post” , yet again. Your joke cliche’s are of the top drawer type Sir. I’m sure there have been more Rock sayings on AA than any other since I have been visiting the site. We are sure spoiled by the quality of bloggers we have on here. As I have said many times before, it’s my number one on the bookmark, I have to have my daily AA fix or I get withdrawals.

    It sure is a lovely site when my Daughters friends congregate around my house before their venture to the night club world most week ends. My Wife has to fan me down after they have left, lol.

    Now to more serious thinks Rocky, how are we going to sort this Arsenal out? They had better get their act together before Saturdays game against QPR as I will be there, curtesy of that nice chap Chas. You will have to give us all fair warning before you make your next game so we can try and get tickets for that corresponding game, to allow us AA’ers to have a drink with you.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Is that you, Tom from Svalbard? What a balanced response from the most Northerly based Gooner I know! 🙂

  79. Rob Lucci says:

    Losing faith?

    I’ve said it before and I say it again, we missed our recognisable heroes, the man that know what it takes to play for Arsenal football club.

    The Invincible squad had the privileged to grow and develop under the famous back five. That’s why Arsene didn’t have a problem to motivate the squad in his earlier tenure, because Tony Adams will do that for him anyway, by letting everyone knows what it takes to play for this club.

    The changes in economics of football may hit us harder than we thought. As Rocky said above, we suffered defections of key players at bad moments.

    I mean, look at Van Persie. He is the one that should be the new Tony Adams. The one that knows the privilege of playing for the greatest football club in the world. The one that motivates and let everyone knows what it takes to play for this club. He is the man that adore arsenal in his childhood, the troublesome child that Arsene saved, and he owed Arsenal fans wit his injury. He played with Viera, Henry, Pires, Sol, Kolo, and the God himself. He was the last man you will expect to leave Arsenal. and yet, even him succumb to the power of money.

    From what I’ve seen so far, this new team still searching for an identity, without the man with Adams or Dennis calibre, it will be hard for them to do so. Even our longest serving player still have problem with his contract.

    There is no man that can give them that ‘identity’ better than Arsene and Steve Bould. Can’t you see it already? I mean, he is the man that created Invincible, the man that achieved CL placed with Almunia in the stick, Denilson in the middle, and Arshavin upfront.

    I placed my bet on Arsene, just like when we lost to ManScum away last season. Losing faith? with Arsene? My friend, ‘genius’ don’t get old.

  80. Red Arse says:

    And while I am on a theme, Sunderland, Everton and Swansea all beat last year’s EPL Champion’s Man City.

    No Arsenal are hardly unusual in losing to ‘lower teams’, far from it.

  81. glic says:

    Hi Rocky
    I see Arsene as a sort of Father figure, taking care of my Arsenal family. He has done a great job of bringing up this family, a proper role model dad.
    If my dad (who I love), suddenly falls on hard times due to the financial climate and struggles a bit, do I support him or forget what a great loving dad he has been to me and think, “lets find another one” !.
    I think this oiley recession will come to an inevitable end and I want my dad to put the new silverware on the table !. 🙂

  82. kelsey says:

    I think the year we did the double in 1971 we lost both games to relegated huddersfield, but i maybe wrong.

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders, love to pick a Gervinho-bone with you! 🙂 Ooh, that sounds a bit wrong, doesn’t it? 😛

  84. RockyLives says:

    Well said Redders and Kelsey.
    The history of football is full of good teams having apparently inexplicable defeats at the hands of unfancied opposition.

    Oh how we’ll laugh about the Norwich defeat in May, as we sit there with the league title and the Champs League trophy clutched in our lap 😀

  85. glic says:

    We won at home 1-0 and lost away 1-2

  86. Red Arse says:

    You’re a right little know it all, Glicster!! 🙂

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Rob L. “From what I’ve seen so far, this new team still searching for an identity”

    Well said. We haven’t had a team identity since Gilberto Silva left. Fabregas, great player that he is, was incapable of creating a team ID. Hopefully the return of JW will help.

  88. LB says:

    Great post Rocky

    I hope you are right.

  89. Big Raddy says:

    Which game to watch? Let’s think —–

    No way do I want to watch MU and that bloke

    Like to watch Barca but don’t wan’t to see Celtic get smashed

    Juve could be interesting but again it will be a massacree.

    Perhaps the Chavs will get beaten tonight.


  90. RockyLives says:

    I liked your comment about “still search for an identity” as well.

    Don’t suppose you could be persuaded to write a shot Post on that subject? It’s a very interesting one…

  91. Red Arse says:

    I agree with Rocky, Rob.

    A Post from you would be great on a subject you have clearly got good ideas on! 🙂

  92. I nearly didn’t get to the end. Fantastic post. wimbldin you are a disgrace mate. People are allowd an opinion. Tom are you stoned? 🙂

  93. Raddy watch storage wars it’s far more interesting

  94. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:


  95. evonne says:

    Rocky – I’ve just read your post, it is amazing, I really love it.
    The pantomime on Saturday upset us more than other defeats, because seeing the talent that we have we started to build up the hopes of successful season, trophies, wiping out the enemy, the usual. But even faster than that the inevitable proved to be true: ‘the higher you climb the harder you fall’.
    I managed to shake it off quickly, because I am well seasoned in dealing with ‘Arsenal situations’, nothing new there. I hope you are right and it was a freak one off, but I am well prepared for more to come our way. They say that a pessimist never gets disappointed, so bring it on!

    Thanks once again for a truly inspiring article

  96. RockyLives says:

    How you been doing GM?

    GiE posted something alarming last night about having naked Twitter pictures of you or something. I didn’t really understand.

  97. RockyLives says:

    Thanks evonne 🙂

  98. evonne says:

    what are you grinning about PPP ?

  99. I’m good thanks Rocky. I was really busy with a big hairshow then depressed about Saturday. My twitter was hacked and sending spam messages about me in the batrhroom to everyone who follows me.

  100. RockyLives says:

    Blimey – sorry about that GM.

    I was so p*ssed off about Saturday that I didn’t blog for two days. I just sulked.

    A couple of wins this week will set things right again.

  101. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Hi Evonne, evening all..

    Evonne, you dont hear from GM in donkeys years and back he comes with an epic one liner

    Storage wars!
    haha, funny thing is, im waiting for some games to start and i was flicking through some channels and wouldnt you know it….. Storage wars! haaha

    And thats what we should do with the Naarich result…store it, build a bridge and get over it..
    Its a one off and a valuable lesson taught, that complacency is a curse..

    Thanks for an immense post which i truely loved, although had me very agitated reading the early parts..Rocky you have a gift and i thank you for sharing your headline posts with the great community at AA.. We should build a statue of you outside Peaches headquarters 😆

    As for ganging up on people, GN5 was right, you only have to look at comments made at 6.09 and 6.12pm to see the evidence..Poor old Rob 😀

    Special mention goes to GiE and Merry Terry for some fantastic comments made over the last 2 days..

  102. tomstoned says:

    Thx Total ..Yes its me.darn..im on a very limited connection…Hope all is well mate ?

    Goonermichael..Yes of course ….mushroom omelette.?

    and like most see when we look closer at Arsenal’s results over the years hickups are a natural part not only of our Team but of every team in the world..

    to be honest i think we have done pretty good so far and i think we’ll only improve..

    c’mon you Gunners..

  103. jnyc says:

    Great post Rocky. Its not easy to write such a thoughtful, quality piece after a performance like that. Credit to you.

  104. evonne says:

    GM – busy my foot. Peaches said you were going mad on Twitter. Did they really post naked pics of you?? Hold on, how did they get hold of your nude snaps? I cannot wipe the smile off my face.. ha ha ha

  105. RockyLives says:

    Thanks PPP and jnyc
    PPP – loved the “ganging up” line – spot on! Poor old Rob.

  106. Neamman says:

    Some of the comments here amaze me. For the first time I am thinking maybe AW’s time has past but I respect all those who think he is still the man to lead us. I can only think Wombldin and others are children. My main beef with AW has been his choice of captains. I believe a true leader on the pitch is invaluable and Cesc, TH14 or Gallas were not worthy captains, even if great players. Vermarlen may be the guy but until we have that spirit on field we wont win anything. Oh for a Keown Adams or Vieira.

  107. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Good to see your gravatar again. I thought it was personal as you disappeared just after I visited 🙂

    Don’t know what Storage Wars is – My imagination is running riot. Is it External Hard Drive vs Cloud?

  108. There wasn’t any nude pics it was a malicious link.

    I love storage wars 🙂

  109. I’m off home. I’ll tell you later Raddy

  110. RockyLives says:

    Good comment – thanks.
    Sometimes we only really recognise the leaders after they have had a chance to show their mettle.
    Cesc was a poor captain but Brave Sir Robin – despite the reservations of many (including me) – turned out to be an a very good one.

    I still think Verm can be a good captain, but it will get easier for him if he can get his own best form back.

  111. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    the sequel is better… Junkyard wars. 🙂

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Neamman. All the players you mention (K,A,V) are trophy winners. When TV becomes a winner he will be talked of in the same manner.

  113. glic says:

    There is:
    The Naked Chef
    The Naked Cowboy
    The Naked Civil Servant. So why not the Naked Hairdresser or Naked Barber ?…….Well there is ! , on YouTube ! hahaha
    The best one is, if you google “The Naked Barber” ( different from the youtube one ) it will give a decent picture of gm and his techniques !. I particularly like the line, ” Scrotum and Crack shave ” ! . hahaha

  114. chas says:

    This is the picture I was sent in a DM from GM on twatter.


  115. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Raddy 🙂

    I am sorry but TV is not captain material, and I also think it is having a detrimental impact on his personal performances. The sooner he gets released of it the better.

    Hi Tom, all is well, thanks. 🙂 Are you back with family at the moment?

  116. evonne says:

    ha ha ha it is GM 🙂
    you are such a hunk Michael 🙂

  117. glic says:

    chas, can you put the picture up of The Naked Barber via google ?.
    Your likely to get in less trouble than me ! hahaha

  118. RockyLives says:

    I’m not sure GM will thank you!

  119. kelsey says:

    I watch storage wars and pawn stars, both on The history channel.

    no it’s not what you are thinking

  120. RockyLives says:

    I know you’ve written a Post on your own site about TA not being up to the job of El Capitan.

    I think you’re wrong – but time will tell. He definitely needs to start getting his own best game back.

  121. evonne says:

    GM is big enough to take it, otherwise Chas wouldn’t do it

    If he even posts a naked picture of me, he is dead meat, no excuses

    What are we watching tonight?

  122. kelsey says:


    I really can’t make a good case for anyone to be captain except possibly Arteta.

  123. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Evonne, ” GM is big enough to take it, otherwise Chas wouldnt do it”….. NO pun intended 😆


    hahahahaha, lovely GM

    A couple of years ago i done some nude modeling for charity. There was one particular hottie drawing and i couldnt get my eyes of her.. To stop myself from getting over excited i spent the next 45 minutes thinking about Steve Archibald.

  125. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Manure down 1-0 to Braga after 2 min 😆

  126. RockyLives says:

    Chas has naked pictures of you?

    Chas – get sharing 🙂

  127. RockyLives says:

    *my 7.41 said “TA not being up to the job of El Capitan.” Obviously it should have said “TV” since TA was, in fact, not a bad captain and may have won one or two things along the way…

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Terry. Did it work?

    TA. We disagree. IMO Of the current squad TV is the only captain. He has the passion, voice and drive of a leader.

  129. Rasp says:

    The chavs and manure already 1 down 😆

  130. RockyLives says:

    Terry 😀

    You are a very funny man Terry. Can you write another post please?

  131. RockyLives says:

    Let’s hope they have the same response to being one nil down that we did on Saturday 🙂

  132. evonne says:

    no more than he has naked pictures of GM 🙂 all CGIs

    ManUre it is then, come on Braga!!!


    Hi Rocky, great post today.

    Hi Raddy, yes it did. I was a bit worried i might have to bring Garth Crooks into the equation but Archibald done the trick.

  134. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t understand. Why has chas got naked pictures of evonne? Could this have anything to do with her calling chas “monster”?

  135. Thats weird, I have to think of TMHT, to be able make love to the missus !

  136. chas says:

    This was apparently taken by Peaches of her swimming pool….

  137. TotalArsenal says:

    Raddy & Rocky, TV is out of his depth as a captain. In my view, he is a specialist, just like Cesc and Henry were. We’ll discuss it another time, maybe accompanied by a new post.

    Hi Kelsey, Arteta is a good shout but for me Mertesacker is the best one of them all.

  138. evonne says:

    2 nil !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  139. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    2-0 Braga. muhahahaa

  140. Rasp says:

    Now Celtic are beating Barca and manure are 2 down 😆

  141. kelsey says:

    you are absolutely right.that was terry diving to the bottom looking for his piece.

  142. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Its the damn inter lull Raspers… proffessional players, my arse.. Big egos more like it

  143. chas says:

    I’m always impressed by the surety you have in your own opinions.
    Mine change from one moment to the next. I’m never sure of anything.

  144. This post by RockyLives is a serious and emotional one. I have read and appreciated it’s content and noted most comments.
    I am hereby saying (1). I believe now that Theo. deserves to be an integral part of our future.( reasons for that on application).(2). Arsene Wenger is a genius.(no explaining necessary). Now, because the man is a genius, that doesn’t mean he should be on the same stage too long.
    Arsene Wenger, I suspect is now beyond buying and selling players while coaching the team. His brain is not being properly challenged. He is an academic and economist by qualification. He is
    overqualified for his job. When he first came here it was a perfect opportunity for a man with his intelligence to seize the initiative and compete with a fox like Fergie. Alex Ferguson is a powerful guy. He is the Manager of (maybe) the biggest football club in the U.K. He has ownership of/in good racehorses. A bit of a man’s man. A lot of people will check for that. Mainly men. Some may be referees or friends of, who like horse racing. Little kindnesses like this can make a canny Scotsman more popular to the non Arsenal aficionados than studious French economist Arsene.
    Are you with me yet? O.K. In a nutshell, If there is a less stressful job at Arsenal somewhere between Manager and owner, Chairman perhaps, put Arsene there. Not only as a figurehead, but a director with strings to pull. As manager, he had great success. Generally, he is the best thing to have ever happened to the club from then till now. Then being Woolwich/Plumstead, Henry Norris, Herbert Chapman, Allinson?, Bertie Mee, Terry Neill, G.G. Wenger is the Don.!! No Doubt.!!
    Arsenal F.C. really don’t need any directive from casual fans as to how to direct the club, but how, not when will we want Wenger’s time as manager to end
    I can hold it back no longer. I would love to see the club again under the management of those who are aware of the British Isles.
    Steve Bould in my opinion is hopefully on track to be Arsenal manager sooner rather than later. I would be disappointed if it were down to Wenger to win the next trophy for THOF. after the last few years of pressure.
    I have no magic solution, but if in two years or so Arsene announces he is handing the reins as first team coach to S.B. win or lose, and he is remaining at Arsenal In Ivan’s post and director of football, I would love it. I would prefer two more years of Wenger and another five of Steve without winning anything than seven more of Le Prof reducing his kudos. I would still be an Arsenal anyway, so what will be, will be.

  145. TotalArsenal says:

    Chas, not sure about that 😛 but I am indeed sure about TV. The thing is, though, Wenger does not seem to really believe in a strong captain: he rather has lots of leaders on the pitch, which of course makes sense too.

  146. RockyLives says:

    Interesting idea Tony – and a comment that’s almost a Post in its own right!

    Rasp said earlier he thought it would be difficult for AW to stay on at the club with someone else as first team manager because AW’s power and influence at the club is so great it would make his replacement’s job almost impossible.

    I’m not sure either way – but it’s definitely something worth expanding on.

  147. Big Raddy says:

    Unbelivable. Can they stop the 3 games now. Chavs, MU and Barca losing

  148. Danish Gooner says:

    I admire your staunch defense of Wenger unfortuantely i think you are wrong and that Wenger must be removed sooner rather then later before this club is transformed into midtable mediocrity.

  149. RockyLives says:

    Disgraceful from Buttner – doing “a Rooney” to try and win a penalty.

  150. chas says:

    Danish Gooner,
    That is the politest thing you’ve ever said on here. Fair play to you.

  151. Big Raddy says:

    Chas lol

  152. RockyLives says:

    At the risk of opening a can of worms, what is it you think he’s doing wrong? (As opposed to what he’s prevented from doing by our financial situation).

  153. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Barca goal…. shear quality, superb.

  154. chas says:

    The chavs should be 3 or 4 down at least.
    When will their spawn run out?

  155. That was a great goal by the catalunts. mancs and chavs losing still

  156. Big Raddy says:

    Mad …. NS take the lead against Juve & the Chavs 2 down

  157. evonne says:

    what did I say this morning Raddy 🙂

  158. evonne says:

    champions of Europe my arse

  159. Big Raddy says:

    Celtic…. 😦

  160. Well, Arsene Wenger will not be at the club forever.Unless his huge salary is an indication of his worth, then he can either sanction progress for our club meanwhile or otherwise FFP. does take effect.
    Do we then see him win the C.L. or E.P.L.? Plenty of things will be laid bare when we speak in English to our supporters. French could be the other default language in honour of Arsene Wenger Would it not be fine if all serious Arsenal fans tried to be fluent in French so as to honour M. Wenger? Arsenal though, are now so equipped to win something which must be in line with M. Wenger’s deservement.
    That must be at least the FA. Cup. Upwards of that boys, EUCL success would be a milestone in our history. Follow the Chavs and win it. If they can, we can. In sh Allah (to quote a phrase)

  161. Big Raddy says:

    NS almost held out Juve. Nik missed 2 golden chances.

    The population of Farum where NS come from is under 15,000. Amazing performance

  162. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds like the stuff of fairytales, Raddy. A little bit of romance in the CL. 🙂

  163. I can see there are no recent posts concerning the above topic. Arsenal Arsenal are you watching Man U.?

  164. Gooner In Exile says:

    Let those results be a warning to the boys tomorrow night, 9 from 3 and maybe just maybe we can put our slippers on for the next three.

    Schalke have scored at least two goals per game this season, we need to be I too odour game.

    Oh apparently the club has had to defend its decision to take a14 minute flight from Luton to Norwich. I am not sure why but they have. In the clubs defence there are a lot of pics of the boys travelling by train so flying must have been a last resort. The train line to Norwich has had it’s fair share of problems over the last year, and the route by road on a Friday afternoon is not great. Most of the players would have returned from International duty on Thursday, if we had spent all day Friday travelling too I reckon the players would have been even worse.

  165. Neamman says:

    Thank God Barca beat those parkhead clowns.

  166. LB says:

    Just a quick scan and noticed Rocky’s 8:24…..brilliant, I bet that it doesn’t get answered or certainly not answered intelligently anyway.

  167. I despair . God help us.!!!!!!!!111

  168. LB says:



  169. LB says:


    What? Why do you despair?

  170. Rasp says:

    Tony, you are not making a lot of sense – please explain what you are asking for……

  171. RockyLives says:

    Help us out!

  172. Gooner In Exile says:

    I think Tony would like a response to the suggestion that Arsene should move upstairs and let Bouldie take over because he hails from these shores.

    Not sure who the last English manager to win the PL was…always amuses me that the media accept British managers and players should play and coach in the English PL, I especially like when Souness complains of foreign influence in the PL…..ironic? Just a bit. What right have Scotsman got to manage in the PL? As much right as a Frenchman or an Italian I would say.

    For what it’s worth Tony I don’t think Arsene will move upstairs……same as Ferguson won’t, they see that Kenny couldn’t keep his hand off the rudder at Liverpool, and they know that is an issue.

    But secondly if Bouldie is considered the right man for the job then great, but in reality he hasn’t had a lot of experience up there so is say its a little early to give him the responsibility.

    Is Wenger on the sideline tomorrow or is he still in the stands?

  173. RockyLives says:

    I agree.

    Bouldie may end up being a great No 2 but that doesn’t mean he is cut out to be No 1.

    As for the British manager thing – I think you’re being a little bit mischievous calling the Scots foreigners. They are, of course, much closer to the English culturally than the French or Germans.

    That said, the days when it might have mattered to have a Brit manager for an EPL team have long gone.

    It’s an international game now and, sadly, not many UK born managers are showing themselves to be good enough.

  174. weedonald says:

    Rocky…….I was all set to blast your post for being too gloomy BUT you, like the Arsenal pulled it out of despair into brilliant pragmatism and positivity! Well done mate!
    Who can replace Wenger? He is a unique genius and the most formidable EPL manager beside SAF….without him, we would be a mid-table club at best,like we were under his predecessors. All those whining for his head have nothing constructive to suggest about replacing him, but even worse, they can’t come near to suggesting someone who can IMPROVE on his results.
    Like you, I am in the camp that says, he has his faults and blind spots BUT he is still the best of many great options and he WILL bring this squad up to the level we all demand and desire. It is a hot time in the kitchen but we’ve been there before and Wenger always produces a chef d’oeuvre as the French say!

  175. 1967ers says:

    When I was last in London (’97), I met a girl there who told me she was from Essex. When I made a bit of a puzzled face, she asked, “Oh, and what does that mean to YOU?” I had to admit I was racing through my mental map of England to see whether I actually knew precisely where Essex was. Then SHE had to explain to me why I should mock her for being from Essex. 🙂

    I thought the “dispiriting loss to a team you should soundly beat” was a staple of sports everywhere. On to the next game.

  176. 1967ers says:

    I don’t mean for the previous comment to come across as flippant, it’s just that as someone with a ton of experience with soul-crushing losses, there’s no value in overanalyzing these things. This team has seen a lot of roster turnover, lost the key cog of the offense, has goaltending nobody is dead certain of and, as said, has a bunch of starters who aren’t all that familiar with each other. As irksome as this kind of performance is, it is to be expected and is much more in line with “the bad day at the office” than some major systemic failure. There will be more of these. The key will be season-long progress that builds as it goes. Don’t lose it over the setbacks. That way leads to madness. Check out any Toronto sports board….

  177. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Before I get too praisey over a really well written piece, can I first ask one question: “Were you thinking to yourself, ah that Chap DidIt, he’s married to an Essex one, I’ll drop this line in?”.

  178. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Some superb comments and interesting views yesterday.
    However, whichever camp you are in over AW continuing as Manager, one very big and nasty question: “Would you trust the present board to pick Arsene’s successor?”
    I wouldn’t.

  179. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    This is the squad as I understand it

    Mannone, Shea
    Santos, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Djourou, Miquel
    Arteta, Cazorla, Ramsey, Coquelin, Gnabry, Olsson, Meade
    Podolski, Gervinho, Giroud, Chamakh, Arshavin

    Injured/Recovering: Szczesny, Fabianski, Gibbs, Rosicky, Diaby, The Ox, Walcott

    Does that help Raddy ?

  180. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The Hill-Wood Dein combination was in my eyes the perfect team for finding an Arsenal Manager. One understands the Arsenal Way and traditions and what would be expected of a club representaive, and the other the modern game, what’s required and equally important, how to actually get your man.

  181. kelsey says:

    Morning Micky,

    We must have early breakfast one day 🙂

    I am not sure where AW will end up.I don’t think he will extend his contract.He was offered Presidency of PSG sometime back,but they were a different club then.
    Moving upstairs might be an honour bestowed to him from the club, but would a new man feel comfortable with a possible feeling that his every move is being watched.
    Steve Bould is part of a team and let’s see how he sorts out the defence over this whole season, but as manager, not for me.

  182. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Kelsey,
    No Ox or Theo eh?
    So either Gerv out of position, or 4-4-2’ish
    Mind you, reading through your squad, I have no idea what a Meade or an Olsson does.

  183. kelsey says:

    I still think the break up of the invinsibles, Dein leaving and the move of stadium together with the arrival of Abramovich, all happened in a comparitively short time, then add the recession and it must have had some impact within the club, let alone the in house fighting within the board.

  184. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Very good idea 🙂
    I agree, once he goes, he goes. The upstairs thing cannot work for any parties, and I agree about SB.

  185. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The stadium and Abramovich of course changed the financial map, on top of recession and property values, I agree.
    I do think its realistic that the limit of our aspirations in the league is CL qualification until we sort out our finances.
    A Cup is always possible.
    I think some may way underestimate the negative impact of failure to qualify, often citing how other clubs (Spurs) survive without it.
    Recently, we all discussed the contribution made by corporate, which is dwindling anyhow. Subtract CL money and lesser commercial deals soon to be negotiated, and I think it could be catastrophic.

  186. kelsey says:

    Godd points micky. Spurs overall wage bill is about 30% less than ours, but if I am honest I really think this will be the hardest year for many a year to secure CL qualification.

    Look at United again last night, they did it again yet they have gone behind 8 times in their last 12 games, and I still think they are not a great team, and their defence is leaking goals regularly.
    The problem in Wenger’s own words is that players he buys from abroad need a bedding in period and the difference between top and bottom in the EPL is narrowing in general every year,so we don’t have time “for a waiting period”.
    look at Arteta,a seasoned pro who had already played years in the PL, he slotted in straight away.
    This old chestnut tht players from the PL are too expensive to buy, is not always the case.

  187. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Interesting about bedding in of foreigners to the league. I’m not so sure. Quality is quality. Look at Chelsea’s new boys, or closer to home how Petit, PV or Sagna slotted in.
    I’m terrified of one more “Sheik Up” somewhere, and I agree with you, qualification this season is going to be very tough.

  188. kelsey says:

    Wenger says it himself, or is it an excuse.Sagna was the best recent example,he slotted in from day one, and Santi isn’t doing so bad.

    I think it applies to attackers more as they are in the spotlight far more.

  189. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A fleeing Taliban, desperate for water, was plodding through the Afghan desert when he saw something far off in the distance.
    Hoping to find water, he hurried toward the oasis only to find a British soldier selling regimental ties.
    The Taliban asked, “Do you have water?”
    The soldier replied, “There is no water, the well is dry. Would you like to buy a tie instead? They are only £5.”
    The Taliban shouted, “You idiot infidel! I do not need an over-priced tie. I need water! I should kill you, but I must find water first!”
    “OK,” said the soldier, “It does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie and that you hate me. I will show you that I am bigger than that, and that I am a much better human being than you. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find our Officer’s Mess. It has all the ice cold water you need. Inshallah.”
    Cursing him, the Taliban staggered away over the hill.
    Several hours later he staggered back, collapsed with dehydration &
    rasped…… “They won’t let me in without a f—–g tie!”

  190. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Have a good day all.

  191. Red Arse says:

    Good Morning and have a good day yourself, Micky! 🙂

  192. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all,

    Rocky….Souness, Dalglish, Hansen, Brazil, Macari, Gray etc etc etc would probably all count as Non Homegrown under current rules (assuming they all made grade in Scotland before transferring south of the border), then there’s the Irish and Northern Irish players down the years. It’s just one of the little bug bears I hold 🙂

    Liverpool were the first team to field a non English team in the FA Cup Final in late 80’s.

  193. Gooner In Exile says:

    Kelsey I think it is the competitiveness in every game that catches out most newcomers to the PL, the fact that most teams play to 90 minutes even if losing 2/3 nil. Whereas in a lot of European leagues especially Spain and Italy it would be seen as game over.

  194. chas says:

    Serge’s English is better than mine.

  195. Gooner In Exile says:

    Kelsey I think strikers in the PL are the one thing most top clubs overlook. Take us and Liverpool, we both needed goalscorers this year, Liverpool stuck with Suarez a man who scores very few of his shots. We chose to go abroad to replace a proven goalscorer.

    We or Liverpool could have decided to sign Holt or Fletcher, while they are not typically Arsene Wenger type players their goal scoring record speaks for itself, and they do it in teams that are not creating chances for them very often. They take the one or two chances that come per game. I think Wenger still smarts from buying Jeffers.

  196. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All

    Been racking my brain to think of the last English CF we had – it couldn’t be Wright could it?

  197. Gooner In Exile says:

    Unless you include Watt or Afobe as they have played some CC games you are probably right Raddy.

  198. Gooner In Exile says:

    Altho if Theo counts as a forward it is he 🙂

  199. chas says:

    I can’t see Fletcher or Holt doing well at Arsenal.
    They’d soon be dragging out wide, fed up at not touching the ball. 🙂

  200. Gooner In Exile says:

    Raddy did you edit your question from Forward to CF? Or did I read it wrong in my low caffiene state?

  201. chas says:

    Have they both got a really high shots to goals conversion rate?

    I was talking to a Norwich fan on Sunday and he was laughing at Holt’s attempted chip over Mannone.

  202. chas says:

    Wrighty is from Sarf London, not strictly English.

  203. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. No. you need an intra-venous coffee drip.

    I agree about Fletcher and Holt. But let’s reverse it – how do you think Giroud would fare at Norwich or Sunderland?

  204. chas says:

    Hah, I just looked it up, he was born in Woolwich.
    How appropriate!

  205. evonne says:

    Chas @7:52 – agree, his accent is cooler than yours

    A Spud suggested we meet up tonight, she and her 2 spud offsprings. I explained in some details and with great satisfaction that the top teams engage in Champions League fixtures this week, not that i expect her to know about it….. she hang up, what a cow 🙂

  206. Gooner In Exile says:

    Raddy he wouldn’t get through the door 🙂

  207. evonne says:

    Freddie answers some questions:
    When will Arsenal win a trophy again?

    I would love to say this year but probably not. They have got new players but they have to keep their best ones [which they have not been doing]. If they sold some of the squad players then so be it, but don’t sell your best ones.

    Who was the best player you have played with?

    I have to say Dennis Bergkamp. He had so much talent and ability but he never showboated it. He did it for the team. He never felt the need to show that he could do this or that for the fans. That’s something I really respected – he always wanted the best for the team.

  208. chas says:

    I was looking at the Manor Ground history a little yesterday.
    Highest crowd was nearly 33,000. Wow.
    It had the first Spion Kop in the country and was closed for six weeks in 1895 after the crowd beat up the ref!

  209. evonne says:

    and more of Freddie, God bless him:
    When you look at results, who do you look out for?

    Always Arsenal. I know it’s a boring answer but that’s it. I hope they can challenge for the title this season. They have talent but my worry is that you need a big squad to win the Premier League. When the winter months kick-in with a lot of games, and you need to rotate, you need your squad players to be just as good as your starting XI.

    What was the highlight of your career?

    Winning trophies are highlights. Also, the connection I have with Arsenal fans. On a personal note, I won the Premier League player of the year award [in 2001-02]. That hasn’t happened to other Swedish players and was nice for me.

  210. evonne says:

    i hate sandi toksvig and stephen fry, gosh they make me want to puke. Sorry Rasp, it has nothing to do with football, guilty as charged

  211. Rasp says:

    Morning evonne, what are you apologising for? We have never said that we should only talk about football – quite the contrary

  212. evonne says:

    really? ok then, let me carry on 🙂

    I read something that made my stomach turn. There were calls (for many years now) to tax financial transactions and use the money to eradicate the poverty in the world. And guess what, the new tax has now been agreen in EU, but it is going to the WEU coffers, not to help the poor!!!

  213. kelsey says:

    In the true sense of the word I would say Alan Smith.

  214. kelsey says:

    Stephen Fry can’t help it that he is bi polar.I think he copes most of the time quite well but does have his suicidal moments.

  215. chas says:

    Alan Smith’s not English, he’s from Birmingham.
    Might as well be a Silurian.

  216. chas says:

    I doubt it was Stephen Fry’s bipolarity (?) that was making evonne puke, kelsey

  217. kelsey says:

    Before the new post comes up I have only ever been to a few away grounds outside of england.
    In the late sixties I worked as an apprentice designer for christian dior in Krefeld and lived for a year in gelsenkirchen.
    it was then mainly a coal mining are and if you wore a white shirt to work it was black by the evening.
    I went to Schalke’s old ground and saw a pre season frendly against chelsea. I reckon i was one of about 5 englishmen in the crowd.
    Gelsenkirchen has changed tremendously since then and has good access to Dusseldorf and Koln.

  218. Morning all

    New Post ………………

  219. Red Arse says:


    You are trying to lure me into a comment just as Rasper calls; NEW POST.

    Very cunning.

  220. I believe I haven’t reached the summit of my career.He strolls about the town.May I speak to Loraplease? A good knowledge of English will improve your chances of employment.I know all about it.Nothing but death can part the couple.Nothing but death can part the couple.He can hardly speak.I can’t afford a new car.The sun was shining and the sky was crystal clear.

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