Theo Walcott …. going …. going …. GONE

After a couple of pretty abject team performances recently, most can appreciate the extra zip that Theo brings to our wing/forward play. Against QPR we had a chronic lack of pace down the flanks for most of the game. The result was that we were toothless in the final third and Giroud cut a lone and frustrated figure in the centre of our attack. All that changed the minute Theo came on.

Pace is a natural attribute that can be honed but not taught. Its importance on the pitch is never more evident than when it is missing. Pace can be in the legs, in the feet or in the head. Henry had it in all three, Cesc and DB had it in the head and feet and didn’t need it in the legs. With Theo it’s mainly (but not exclusively) in the legs, but still he is a potent weapon in Arsenal’s armoury and a player who defenders know will hurt them if they allow him the space to run at them. It should not be forgotten that he is also one of the best finishers in the squad.

I confess to having changed my mind about him over the last 12 months. I recognise that he has improved in certain areas and he is an asset to the team. He’s a player I’d like to keep. He’ll never be a great help defensively but he can be a game changer and those types of player are few and far between.

Some on this site will know that I have an annoying habit of being right when it comes to predicting whether a player is leaving or not. This doesn’t make me clever, just heartlessly cynical as in the majority of cases we have desperately wanted the player to stay.

My reasoning is simple and it involves observation of body language, analysing individual performance in relation to team performance and assessing their worth to us as a player compared to their monetary value and our ability to replace them. Add to that the imminent expiry of a player’s contract and everything is brought into sharp focus.

The one thing I have learned is that almost everything the player says during the period of speculation can be dismissed. Similarly a lot of what club representatives say will be misleading; in fact, believing the opposite will more often bring you closer to the truth because this is the way the transfer game is played.

But if you look back, there will be times when amongst all the verbal jousting, the player (and sometimes the club) will indicate their true feelings but it just gets lost in the melee of media speculation.

Brave Sir Robin actually told us all he wasn’t staying when interviewed after the last game of the season …. we just didn’t want to hear him. Fast forward this clip to 2 minutes –  you don’t have to be a genius to read between the lines.

So that brings me back to Theo Walcott, a player who has divided supporters as much as Alex Song – and maybe there is a lesson to be learned from his departure.

Theo has said “I want to play for this club (Arsenal) and hopefully something can happen very soon” – hardly a passionate reassurance to supporters.

Add to this the statement that he wants to play centrally and the inference that this forms part of his conditions to sign a new contract. All of a sudden his words take on a different meaning. Everyone in the business knows you cannot dictate where you will be played to a manager and certainly not to one of the best and most respected in the business. I can only view this as a ploy to justify Theo’s decision should he leave.

My belief that Theo is on his way has been growing steadily and recent events have only reinforced that opinion.

These are the bare facts as I see them (and my selective interpretation of the reports in the media):

  1. If Theo does not sign by January, we will sell him if a deal can be done or worse, he’ll leave on a free in the summer. We know we are prepared to sell a player to a rival; the only criterion is getting the best price possible. He could have gone last summer but it appears that no club tabled a sensible offer – I wonder why?
  2. It seems likely that there are now several interested parties including foreign clubs. This is good news as competition should secure us a transfer fee in excess of £6m.
  3. Theo says it’s not about the money. So did Robin. It is … or at least money is the biggest single factor.
  4. On the pitch, Theo is doing his best to impress. His tally of 4 goals and one assist so far this season is very good considering the minutes he’s spent on the pitch. As it stands, he is on course to outstrip his stats for last season and that level of performance will attract interest from other clubs.
  5. Theo has watched teammates like Clichy, Na$ri and Cesc leave and achieve trophies and greater financial reward elsewhere.
  6. Another factor is that we now have The Ox – the new young face of Arsenal’s and England’s future. He’s already on the front cover of FiFA 13 and is fast replacing Theo as a marketing asset to Arsenal.
  7. The time when Arsène Wenger allowed himself to feel pressured by a ‘star player’ is over. He dealt ruthlessly with Alex Song. That must have sent out a message to players and their agents and who knows, Sagna may be in for a shock.
  8. We are looking at potential replacements and have shown interest in Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha as well as Athletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez and a several others not being touted on the internet.
  9. When in our PL history did we ever re-sign a young first team player in the last year of his contract? I can’t think of a single instance.

The evidence is mounting and Theo’s departure seems inevitable. As I’ve already stated, I’d like him to stay. Not because he’s probably going, but because I really think he can gel with the new set up and we can now get the best out of him playing alongside the likes of Cazorla and Wilshere.

Is he worth more than £75k a week? Probably not when taking into consideration what fellow first team players currently earn. Could we afford to pay him more than £75k a week? Yes, but we choose not to. The question is academic because it is likely that other interested clubs will offer Theo a higher wage than Arsenal can afford.

From what I heard walking away from The Emirates on Saturday, some supporters would prefer he left. Can successive England managers be wrong in preferring Theo to the likes of Aaron Lennon and Adam Johnson? I think not, it seems Theo may be appreciated more by the supporters of other teams than our own.

Saturday showed that a player with Theo’s abilities is important to create the supply to the likes of Giroud and last season proved that he can form successful partnerships with other players of high quality.

We lose Gervinho for up to 6 weeks to the ACN from January 2013. We have the Ox and Ramsey who can play on the right but they are better suited to other positions.

If Theo leaves, it is important we make every attempt to bring in another striker who scores goals, can cross the ball and can play wide right – a tall order. Such players are not easy to find and probably won’t come cheap. All we can hope is that we identify and sign a player who can fill the void quickly.

Written by Rasp

227 Responses to Theo Walcott …. going …. going …. GONE

  1. Wardy says:

    i for one hope he stays. I have more faith in Theo than i do the likes of Gervinho or arshavin. Not only that but on a personal level you would like all your players to have a little Theo in them.

  2. chas says:

    Excellent, Rasp.
    A fine match report from Rocky has the knock-on effect of a Rasp Monday. 🙂

    I think you’re right and he won’t sign a new contract with us.

    If we were to get only 6m for Theo in January, I’d prefer to keep hold of him until the end of the season especially with The Swerve going to the ACN.

    No new signing would be up to speed quick enough for us to benefit and January signings are usually overpriced which doesn’t fit well with the Arsenal purse holders. (I still can’t see us shopping for the rumoured extra striker in the January Sales).

  3. chas says:

    Perhaps your second sentence needs re-phrasing. 🙂

  4. Rasp says:

    Morning Wardy ditto, although I was very happy for Arsh when he came on and made the difference on Saturday. Ramsey may have got the assist but it was Arsh who created the chance. The little fella almost always manages to deliver the ball into the box when out wide. He like, Theo can change a game and if he returns to better form I hope he’ll feature more – maybe to give Cazorla a rest once in a while.

  5. VCC says:

    Rasp….you should become Prime Minister,,with quotes like that, spot on Sir.

    “Pace is a natural attribute” (Theo…theo….Theooooooo)

    “it’s importance on the pitch is never more evident than when it’s missing”

    Spot on, Sir. On Saturday, BOY how Theo changed things. As soon as he came on, you could sence the fear in the QPR defence straight away. The mere fact he was there made them edgy, and IMO opened things up for us a little. His presence alone was enough.

    Walcott has never been my favourite, but perhaps I’ve been too hard on him, considering his age. Lately I think he has grown a pair and I’m starting to warm towards him, just as it appears he will be leaving.

    I fear he will be missed.

    Great post.

  6. John Gee says:

    I honestly believe that Theo should be signed at any reasonable cost. His presence terrifies the opposition even when he has a bad game. His stats don’t lie.

  7. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, my cynicism is such that I think we’d accept two and sixpence for Theo rather than let him go on a free. Unfortunately he’s a £20m player who is worth only in the region of £6m when in the last 6 months of his contract.

  8. rog says:

    i agree , we would be mad to sell him, would rather see wenger go than him.

  9. Rasp says:

    Hi VCC, yes I agree ,by just being on the, Theo pitch gets into the heads of defenders and unsettles the whole defence not just the RB.

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Excellent Rasp. Thank you very much.
    You are almost, just not quite, saying that Theo lacks pace in the head 🙂
    Seriously. I always said Persie was flogged in the minds’ of the board before the signings of Giroud and Podolski. Its The Arsenal Way. Last year of contract, age, injury record and so on.
    In a similar vein, they will not allow Theo’s contract to expire.
    Having said all that, he would be a massive loss, and I do think there should be an opportunity to try him more centrally in a different formation. That might just make the difference between him staying and him going. We may also discover a more potent role for him.

  11. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Off into meetings. Back later.

  12. glic says:

    Superb post Rasp
    I cant really add anything as I think you have hit the nail well and truly on the head. I would love him to stay and hope our instincts are wrong.

  13. kelsey says:

    my comment got swallowed up

  14. Rob Lucci says:

    that is the funniest comment ive read in a while..

  15. Rasp says:

    Micky, if we are prepared to play Gervinho centrally surely its worth giving Theo a chance there once in a while.

    It is clear that we can play 4:5:1 with Giroud up front and orthodox wingers (if we have them) or 4:3:3 with a more mobile (Messi type) of central player that could be Podolski, Theo or gervinho.

  16. “…I have an annoying habit of being right…”
    Cloughie’s looking down and giggling.

    As regards the clip, I don’t know where you’re coming from, Rasp… it’s obvious to me he’s staying, so that’s good news isn’t it.

  17. evonne says:

    Rasp – good post, thank you. I think you are right, it’s Theo’s last season with us. The only thing that surprises me is why we don’t make the most of it, make him play 90mins every game.

  18. Rasp says:

    Hi evonne, I’m sure Arsene wants Theo to stay and maybe he was hoping a bit of ‘tough love’ in the form of bench warming would help him see which side his bread was buttered. That is naive, but we know AW is a football romantic although recent let downs do seem to have hardened his resolve.

  19. kelsey says:

    Theo most probably the best cameo player in the squad especially if we are on the counter attack. Play centrally not Cost 12 million + and i think the briges are burnt between him and AW otherwise why did Ramsey start on the flank on saturday.
    Gervinho could be off for up to 6 weeks in january and if Theo goes we don’t have a regonised winger in the squad.
    Maybe the club will keep him and let him go in the Summer for free but Arsenal just don’t do those kind of things.

  20. chas says:

    More Bobby Pires….

  21. almariaa says:

    Keep Theo at all costs. It is shamefull, selling all the best players,Get a grip Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.

    He is not greedy like Van Persie

  22. Rob Lucci says:

    is it true that the Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini confirms
    Cazorla cost Arsenal £11.7m?

  23. @ Wardy
    Don’t you pay any attention to that Chas bloke… he’s a rough boy.
    Your second sentence is fine by me, luvvy.
    Best wishes.

  24. VCC says:

    Rasp….as you imply, Theo’s speed of thought from brain to feet could be better. His pace is certainly not questioned. One more nit pick about Theo is that he is not the best crosser of a ball. Surely he knows this, so why does he not stay behind and practise,practise,practise? I would, wouldn’t you?

    Whenever I watch Arsenal at my local or having a conversation with other supporters, about 99% say to me that they wished Theo played for their team. Why is it Arsenal fans are not so warm towards him? Any theories?

  25. GoonerB says:

    Well written Rasp. The thing for me with Theo is that in some games he shows some individual brilliance, but even in games when he is not we still look better and more balanced with him playing. He is one of those players that seems to make players around him play well. I have a nasty feeling that Chelsea will come in for him and we will sell him because they will stump up the cash. I also have a nasty feeling that if he went there they would play him up top with Hazard, Oscar and Mata behind him and he will prove to be a potent striker.

    It is interesting that it was the introduction of him and later AA that seemed to give us more teeth in attack, and both are in the last year of their contracts and looking unlikely to be with us next year. What will we have to pay to bring in the type of players that can replace what they bring us. My feeling is a lot of money, and money we won’t spend, and we will look towards younger or cheaper replacements who require 2 years to get to the required level. We keep hearing terms such as a work in progress and a season of transition and that we will rule the world in 2-3 years but we have heard this each season for the last 3. It begins to feel like that sign you see in some pubs that says “free beer tomorrow”.

    Losing Theo before we try him as a striker and see exactly what he can do could turn out to be one of the biggest errors the club has made. If he signs a new contract and then he doesn’t step up then he can be sold but at a good market rate. He is able to demand more money because the club have criminally allowed him to get to this position in his contract. I bet we could have presented a £75kpw contract 15 months ago and it would have signed sealed and delivered. Why are we again in this predicament? Is this not the job of Mr Gazidkis, the highest paid CEO in the EPL.

  26. Rasp says:

    Hi VCC, I think covetting another team’s players is common to all fanbases – particularly if the player is unpopular with his own supporters. But it is also true that when viewing a player in terms of the damage he can do to your team, you focus sharply on the danger they pose …… Barcelona singled out Theo as a threat before we played them.

  27. Rasp says:

    Hi GoonerB, I am in agreement with all of that. AW has a history of rigidly sticking to his planned position for some players (Theo is a prime example) and happily playing others where they are clearly not comfortable.

    Not only would I like to see Theo tried centrally, I’d like to see TV tried as a DM with koz next to Per and sacrilegeous as it may sound, have a look at 3:5;2 if we want to get the best out of Giroud but still retain some width.

  28. VCC says:

    Hi GoonerB.

    I have a sneaky feeling Theo will go to ManUre, to match up with BSR.

    Why not keep him? With English boys coming through such as Jenkinson,Ox,Gibbs,Walcott, they would surely get used to each other on a daily basis. This would bode well for Arsenal and England.

  29. VCC says:

    Rasp….I think you should apply for the next Arsenal managers job. I also like the look of 3:5:2. Especially if your wing backs are quick and athletic.

    I think we have the tools to play that system, and as you say why not try Vermaelen in the DM position? And at least give Theo a run of 5/6 games up front with either Giroud or Podolski.

  30. Rasp says:

    Haha VCC, me and a few million other self appointed experts 😕

  31. GoonerB says:

    Very good point VCC about the Englishness of our team. This work in progress is, IMO, very close to fruition. I feel if we keep the likes of Walcott (and possibly even AA) and add 2 quality players to the squad we can challenge again for the top honours. I am thinking 1 more quality striker, maybe someone like LLorente, and an improved option for LFB if Gibbs is injured. It may even be better to secure a left footed CB that is adept at playing full back. I think the midfield takes care of itself now and as you rightly point out Rasp even TV could be an option here.

    That is why, IMO, it is now vitally important to stop this cycle of losing key players and having to start again. I would like to see this trend stop now, starting with Theo. Players like TV, Sagna and Cazorla will have other big clubs show interest in them. We need to show these players that we are now in the “putting the icing on the cake” phase at Arsenal, and not about to embark on another 2 year transitional period. They may not want to hang around for that, and then we lose them and have to replace them with new players that will take another 2 years to fully develop themselves. We will be in a perpetual viscious circle of redeveloping the team. AW has done well in the last 2 years in bringing in the likes of Arteta, Cazorla and the BFG, but the good work could all be wasted unless we stop this cycle of constant redevelopment.

    By the way Rasp, I have sent you / Peaches an e-mail.

  32. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Good timing for this post the subject of which is going to be headlines in Jan.

    I am a big Theo fan and like many others believe we are better with him on the the pitch. Sure Theo has disappointing games – name a winger who doesn’t?

    GoonerB make an excellent point “What will we have to pay to bring in the type of players that can replace what they bring us?”.I really really hope Theo will sign a new contract and the Board give him what he is asking for. A bird in the hand is worth ……

    Mr Wenger has already given an indication that TW is off – the playing of Gnabry ,tomorrow night we will see Theo’s successor

  33. Rasp says:

    What really surprises me about this mornings debate is that we haven’t had a single blog sniper come on and say “he’s **** get rid of him”.

    How our perspective changes when we are forced to consider “what would life be like if we didn’t have player/manager X”

  34. Rasp says:

    Thanks GoonerB, we’ll have a look later and respond.

  35. Andrew says:

    Has anyone else seen Adrian lo

  36. Andrew says:

    Has anyone else seen Adrian lopez? His a genius!! If we signed him Id shit my pants!

  37. Rasp says:

    Hi Andrew, hope you have a good supply of incontenence pants ……

  38. VCC says:

    So true Rasp….you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone. That is my worry with Wenger, he has frustrated the hell out of me for 2/3 seasons with his stubbornness and desire to buy French!!!!!!!! And putting square pegs into round holes.

    Who else would we get/want?

  39. Brigham says:

    Good points raised Rasp me old mucker. I am very much in the ‘keep him at Arsenal’ mode and I feel it would be wrong to not keep him. The board need to have a good look at themselves with this constant bickering over money, especially wages.

    As others have already alluded to, his entrance to the field and subsequent running at their left back induced panic and made openings for others to find space. He can be very much one dimensional at times and I have stated he would struggle to dribble around a concrete post, but his pace will always worry the full back, as it is the one thing most full backs hate; Pace and being run at.

    His finishing has improved and Rasp, I am sure you can remember our conversation in The Tavern pre Blackburn game last season, when I queried his prowess in front of goal and said if the Ox had a one-on-one, he would finish with consumate ease and he did! Theo’s finishing has improved, particularly one on one and he took his goal very well against the ‘Appy Hammers the other week. I just wish he would try and skin the full back WITH the ball a little more.

    If he is ushered out, then Arsene MUST ensure we have a replacement for him, but I fully expect that to be either Gnarby or another youngster instead of an out and out striker with experience.

  40. RockyLives says:

    Fine Post Rasp
    You’re on the money: he’s already out the door and anyone imagining he will extend is in cloud cuckoo land.

    As someone who has always thought Theo was a very good part of our team/squad I find it amusing to suddenly see a lot of people who have slagged him off to high heaven all valuing him and wanting him to stay.

    Looking at how hard it is to play that wide role effectively (Gerv, Ramsey, Arshavin, Pod and even Oxo have hardly set the world alight, let alone the likes of Lennon, Downing, Milner, Johnston, Wright-Phillips) Walcott seems a better option than most of what’s available, doesn’t he?

    When (not if) he goes in January or at the season’s end, the attitude of our fickle, impatient, non-supportive fans will have played a significant part in his decision.

  41. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, you make a very good point about Gnabry.

    It seems project youth is in full swing again – but this time they have the quality. Wilshere, The Ox, Coquelin, Gibbs and Gnabry (Miquel and Eisfeld) all look to be at the required standard and will only get better with time on the pitch.

  42. Big Raddy says:

    What makes sense is to get Theo to sign a contract, whatever it costs, and then sell him in summer for €10m more than we will get in Jan.

    Just for once let us see the Board control the players and agents, not the other way round.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Eisfeld looks like a quality player. And what of Ryo, anyone think he will step up?

  44. GoonerB says:

    Raddy, I like the look of the kid Gnabry. His physical presence is beyond his years and he has terrific pace. He has the classic wingers technical skills also of turning full-backs one way then the other and, at youth level at least, seems to have goals in him. There is of course a step up to make these skills work against better defenders. It takes a while to be able to get the better of players like Baines, Cole, Evra e.t.c, so I think we have to be careful that his introduction is not seen as the answer to losing Theo.

    One example i would use was that at the Olympiacous game the Ox was struggling to have an attacking impact. He was eventually replaced with Walcott and we instantly started to open them up and started to get behind them. The Ox and Gnabry will eventually, IMO, form part of a lethal attacking unit, but I would be worried if they were looked at as being able to easily cover what Theo gives us right now. I know many fans think and say this, that we don’t need Theo because we have the Ox.

    On a further note where the Ox is concerned I think I would prefer to see him groomed for a central number 10 type role rather than attacking wide player. To me he doesn’t seem to be quite as quick as Theo or possibly even Gnabry. He is still very quick, however, and i would like to see him running at defences from central attacking positions and working off another striker, maybe in that 3-5-2 formation. One thing that has made me think this is that he seems to have a terrific, natural and powerful shooting ability (compare it to Gervinho’s). A player that can drop a shoulder and hit a shot with either foot is a nightmare for defenders as they can be kept guessing which way that player will go until it is too late and the shot is on its way. I started to feel like this about the Ox after seeing a video of him in training where balls were pinged into him from out wide and he was taking one touch and then firing the ball at the goal from outside the box. He scored 3-4 times on the trot, and with both feet. has anyone else seen that video and are there any other AA’ers that could possibly put it up here for our enjoyment?

  45. Rasp says:

    Hi Brigham, I remember our chat in the Tavern – it’s a much more conducive arena for sorting out the problems at Arsenal than the Boardroom don’t you think? 😆

    I know what you mean about Theo skinning the fullback without the ball, but he has stopped just running straight off the end of the pitch and definitely looks up more often. I like his preference of drilling the ball low into the box as it creates panic and anything can happen. Incidentally AA is probably the only player who would have produced the inch perfect chip cross for Arteta’s goal.

  46. Rasp says:

    GoonerB, this is the Ox training with England U21 a year ago

  47. LB says:

    The beauty of not playing Walcott through the middle is that the idea acts like bait to someone who’s ego is big enough to think that he can make it work.

    This idea, in my not so humble opinion, that Theo can play through the middle is ridiculous.

    It may be possible that speed can be honed but ball control at the age of 23 cannot be taught and Theo does not have enough of it to justify the wages that he is demanding.

    So, go and go now Theo.

    A good old fashioned post Rasp.

  48. chas says:

    If we got Theo to sign a contract and then sold him next summer, we would get £10m more and he would get £10m less (than he would as a free agent).

    A no-brainer for him, surely?

  49. GoonerB says:

    Well done Rasp, I love that video. Would love to see more of this from the Ox on matchdays.

    I have a strong feeling that AW is going for Lopez. I had always felt that someone like Llorente may be the better option as he is more of a known quantity in terms of his ability at the highest level. I don’t know enough about Lopez other than at the moment he is behind Falcao at Athletico so isn’t always in the starting 11. Is that something to be concerned about in terms of what this says about his overall ability. I will however bow to AW’s superior knowledge of the players out there as his track record is good at identifying players that are top notch but for whatever reason are going slightly under the radar. How many people thought Arteta would be a poor mans Cesc, and how many weren’t sure about Cazorla, purely because if he was good enough surely the 2 Spanish giants would have gone in for him before now. I hope it is that he is a great player that is going slightly under the radar rather than just being a cheaper but ultimately slightly inferior option to say someone like Llorente.

  50. LB says:

    So that just leaves the small hurdle of getting Theo to sign and sign in the knowledge that he will be 10 mill worse off.

    Good luck with that one.

  51. Rasp says:

    Hi LB, I’m not an advocate of playing Theo through the middle, but on the other hand I think he can be as effective as Gervinho (and previously Arshavin = not very) and he’s been tried in that role.

    We don’t have any leverage left to persuade Theo to sign and as I wrote in the article, money is the single biggest factor – therefore, he’s going.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    GoonerB. I agree re: Gnabry. I just make the point about the future at AFC. There are no guarantees about potential.

    As to Theo,when fit I would start him every time ahead of Gervinho.

    Chas. You are right, , in which case sad as I am to say it, Theo is history

  53. glic says:

    Agreed chas, but we need to be cunning lying bastards and tell Theo that he is our bestest player and that he can play where ever he likes and then he will sign, then we can sell him in the summer if we feel like it !. Lets face it, the lying bit is easy, I was told Na$ri, Cesc and Bleep bleep bleep would be staying !, so telling Theo he can play up front should be a piece of piss !. hahaha

  54. Big Raddy says:

    GoonerB. Ask kelsey. He has the inside view and is rarely wrong – shame he will not say who is the intended target, but my guess is Pedro.

    The fact (?) that AW is gearing up to buy a striker is an even stinger indication that Theo is gone

  55. Rasp says:

    I should not speak for kelsey, but he will tell you that we are definitely looking to buy a striker in January and the targets have been identified.

  56. glic says:

    Any news on Mekon`s injury ?. Whats that I hear, he`ll be ready for ACN !.

  57. Rasp says:

    This is what AW said re Gervinho’s injury ……

    “It’s an ankle problem and how damaged the ankle is we will have to wait 24 hours to know more but it doesn’t look good.”

  58. GoonerB says:

    Raddy, Do you mean the Pedro of Barcalona? If so I didn’t see that one coming. Why would they let him go?

  59. Rasp says:

    Pedro is not on kelsey’s list … and I’d be surprised if he was on Arsene’s

  60. danny says:

    i think walcott is joining United, Ganbry seems crap to me

    Hey that’s what Wengers likes, carp players

  61. GoonerB says:

    Danny, I don’t know about “Ganbry” as a player but I will look forward to seeing how Gnabry develops over the next couple of years. I too like you don’t want to see any “Carp” playing for Arsenal. That would be decidedly too fishy for my liking and I wouldn’t be happy with “Wengers” if this were to happen!

  62. Rasp says:

    😛 Gooner B

  63. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey has a list??

  64. LB says:

    And you have seen Gnabry play exactly how many times Danny?

  65. Rasp says:

    He might have Raddy, I couldn’t possibly say 🙄

  66. LB says:

    That definitely is the funniest goal celebration.

  67. LB says:

    Most people would favour Walcott on the right rather than Gervinho but that doesn’t make Theo good it just makes him bettter than Gervinho on the right.

  68. Big Raddy says:

    A common carp can weigh up to 40 kilos and live 35+ years.

    Vicious buggers too. The Joey Barton’s of the freshwater fish world

  69. glic says:

    I`ve only seen Gnasher on Arsenal player and each time he has been the pick of the bunch, so f**k knows what Danny thinks of the other players ? .

  70. Rasp says:

    … and Gervinho is better on the left, Wenger just didn’t think this through did he 🙄

    I’m surprised no-one has hailed Myaichi as the new right side saviour yet.

    What a waste of his energy ….

  71. Bryan says:

    I think it is inevitable that Theo will be leaving & it isn’t hard to predict when our big players are staying or going because they always go.
    I have myself been a big critic of Walcott but also feel he has improved a lot in the last year & certainly warrants a go in the striking position ahead of the useless Gervinho as he is a good finisher.
    Which brings me to my next point, I feel cruel but I think Gerviho’s injury on Saturday was good news, as he is a player I just do not get, for me he is just not good enough to be playing in a top 4 team & also losing him to the ANC is more good news as far as I’m concerned.
    Lastly after watching the game on Saturday, obviously you could see the massive lack of confidence in the team but the last 20 minutes showed the “urgency” that I have been asking for from the team, if only they had showed this in the 2 games before.
    Also I can’t comment without mentioning the absolutaly surperb come back performance from Jack Wilshire, it was impossible to believe that the guy had been out for 17months,I don’t think I have ever seen any player out for so long & come back like that in all my years of watching football, well done Jack

  72. Rasp says:

    Raddy, I have to take issue you with you over the assertion that carp are ‘vicious buggers’

    They are placid and predominantly herbivores. They have no biting teeth just lovey soft gums. They possess pharyngeal teeth which are boney flesh covered structures located at the back of the throat (pharynx) used for crushing vegetable matter. OK, biology lesson over 😕

  73. LB says:


    That is an interesting point, what was Wenger thinking signing both Gervinho and Podolski.

  74. Rasp says:

    I don’t know LB, maybe he assumed that being predominantly right footed, Gervinho would be effective on the right, but all his best preformances have come when on the left. I wonder why Podolski hasn’t been tried centrally with gervinho on the left?

  75. Bryan says:

    Well that is a question I have asked, why has Pod not played as striker as he is surely a better option than Gervinho playing there & actually has some experience there too

  76. GoonerB says:

    Rasp, I love the David Attenborough turn. Can you use the same technical terminology to describe the origins of TM’s barnet.

    Off for a while. Have a good day all.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. You are mistaken. A carp almost had my leg off whilst swimming in the Welsh Harp (well …. my dog’s leg)

  78. Rasp says:

    😆 Raddy, that may have been a Wels catfish which could be mistaken for a carp if viewed from the head. Carp actually grow to over 60lbs, but the Wels can reach over 200lbs on the continent. The largest recorded Wels caught in the UK is about 60lbs although the record is not officially recognised as fishermen are scoundrels and cheat at these thngs.

  79. Rasp says:

    Are you sure you hadn’t been drinking in The Welsh Harp?

  80. VCC says:

    Bryan 1:01……that “urgency” you mention was brought about by the introduction of Theo Walcott.

  81. Brigham says:

    Raddy, I am with Rasp on the Carp stuff and there is no way a common Carp or any other member of the Carp family would have attacked your leg. They do like boilies and pellets though, good bait to catch a Carp. Not sure they would work on footballers, but you never know, especially if they were coated in Champers! 🙂

  82. Bryan says:

    VCC I don’t agree with you on that actaully, I think we were showing urgency before Walcott came on but he certainly made the difference

  83. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh God Nooooo….. Rasp is one of those blokes that sits under a big umbrella all weekend with his flask and rod

  84. Morning all

    Well done Rasp, you’ve instigated an even tempered discussion about Theo, most must agree with your assertion that he’s on his way.

    I shall be sad to see him playing in another’s colours and angry too because he can cause damage and if he goes to another premiership team he will definitely improve them.

    I would have liked him to have learnt to use his pace better but it seems that he isn’t going to and therefore he’s only a ‘super-sub’ for us and that doesn’t suit him.

    It was remarkable how the game changed when he came on on Saturday and we need to find someone else that can do that – not so much change the game but play with that pace on the wing.

    I’ll miss him 😦

  85. Micky – he certainly is not but he has the best fish knowledge known to man 😆

  86. Rasp says:

    😆 Micky, actually I’m not. (but Brigham is and he’s a big bloke) I have mixed with obsessed carp anglers all my life and would often stroll down to watch them fishing on a pleasant summers evening, but the attraction of sitting rigid for hours on end watching for the faintest movement in my quiver tip or sleeping upright in a chair only to be awoken by a shrill bite alarm is lost on me.

  87. Bryan says:

    We seem to have a habit of grooming players & when they finally come good, losing them only for another club to benefit from our hard work

  88. Rasp says:

    …. I’m waiting for glic’s follow up line to my ‘quiver tip’ ……….


    Excellent post Rasp

    I have always believed that Walcott can give sides an extra dimension to there play. By virtue of his speed teams have to sit back. Ok technicly, he is very average, light weight, and can frustrate when up against packed defences, but if the game opens up he is one of the most potent weopens in the premeirship.

    I dont know about Carp, but i did wrestle and kill a shark once. It was off the Cretan coast were i saw this beutiful woman been attcked by the six foot critter. i imedeiatly sprang into action, swimming like an olympic champion i just managed to get there in time before it could take a chunk out of her. It tried to bite me, but i managed to hold its jaws open wide enough for me to use my Magnum pistol, that luckily i just happened to have on me.

    Obviously she was very grateful, and that night we made sweet love under the stars whilst dining on shark fin. hahahaha

  90. Bryan says:

    While you lot are carping on, Theo is angling for a move 😀

  91. Brigham says:

    @TMHT – love it and was it love at first bite? 😉

  92. Neamman says:

    Will be disappointed if he goes but as someone else said..if we give Gerv a chance centrally..why not Theo?

  93. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok then Mr Fish,
    Here’s something useful to wrap that fishy brain of yours around. Which is the tastiest?


    Yes Brigham, she took one bite on my wig and became intoxicatedly in love with me. I took one bite on the fin and fell hopelessly in love with the shark. hahahaha

  95. Big Raddy says:

    Bryan. We set that up for you …..

    Rasp. Carp schmarp. It was a big fish and as you are aware I only know about tropicals. Whereas Micky is an expert on sea-lions.

    Such diverse talents on the site.

    Terry. A liquid lunch?

    Micky. Cods

  96. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cods to you too Daddy 🙂

  97. Brigham says:

    @MickyDI89… Not sure if your 2.18 is aimed at me, but if it is. I have no idea as I have tried eating either boilies or pellets, but boilies are the better bait of the two generally. As for champers, I know it has been used to hook a few Premiership footballers in the past! 😉

  98. Brigham says:

    *That should read NEVER before tried in my last post!

  99. VCC says:

    Terry….did you use your go carp to catch that shark?

  100. VCC says:

    Or a motor pike?

  101. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nope. Didn’t understand a word of that 🙂

  102. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually Brigham, it was directed at Rasp on the back of Peaches’ rather alarming revelation that Rasp is a world expert on the slippery little fellas.

  103. Fishy Fingers says:

    It were prob a pike. Eats ducklings and your dog if it were small enough. Or mebbe it were a welsh harp pirana.y eat your horse that un

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Motor Pike
    Back to work.

  105. Rasp says:

    Micky, best fish to eat – anything freshly caught.

    Fish not to eat – roll mops, jellied eels and sushi

  106. RockyLives says:

    OK Rasp, you’ve gone too far now.

    Roll mops are wonderful, as is sushi.

  107. Adrian says:

    Surely one has to wonder what the people above are doing when time and time again our first squad players run their contracts down..? Next one on the list, Sagna.

    How does one even justify that IG deserves being the highest paid CEO..

    About time the board controls the transfers of players for once, and not the other way around. Every single time you see the headlines of a player on the last year of his contract/refusing to sign a new contract, 90% of the time its from Arsenal. The board and Wenger, no matter how great his vision is, can be extremely stubborn at times to the point where it gets really infuriating.

  108. Rasp says:

    Fair dos Rocky, as a pescitologist, you can appreciate that eating raw fish is akin to cannibalism to me 😕

  109. Rasp says:

    Hi Adrian, you cannot force a player to sign a contract against his will. If you offer him enough money and he is happy with the club and the way it is progressing then he’ll probably sign. TV and kozzer have both signed extensions. If on the other hand he knows he can get considerably more money elsewhere he won’t sign in most cases.

  110. Rasp says:

    You’d think buyout clauses and other clever contractual caveats could be employed to give both parties some lattitude – but it all seems weighted in favour of the player these days.

  111. Adrian says:

    And for all we know, Wilfried Zaha could very much have nothing more than Arsene’s favorite word – Potential. How many times have we put our faith in youngsters only to be disappointed? Plus, CP have stated that they will not let him go for anywhere less than 10M, ridiculous really when Walcott might be gone for prolly half the price if Wenger decides to sell him. Wouldn’t it be much wiser to just give him the extra 20k he wants? Some said that it wouldn’t be justified when the likes of Podolski are paid around 100k which would be similiar to what Walcott would be getting, well I think it can be justified considering that Walcott has stuck with us for almost 8 years and is the longest serving first team player right now.

    Why wouldn’t Wenger give Walcott a chance down the middle when he’s willing to let Gervinho have a try? Walcott’s finishing is easily tenfold better than Gervinho and the thing about Walcott is that he unsettles defenders, thus opening up more space for the whole team. Would be great if he had a chance to play CF in the COC game.

  112. Rasp says:

    Own up rocky, did you google pescitologist 😕

  113. Adrian says:

    Well it seems that the only thing standing between Walcott and a new contract is the board’s refusal to offer him an extra 20k or so. Ofc, you could say that these are all unfounded reports but I do believe at the very least there is some truth to them as there is no smoke without a fire. I really do believe that Walcott likes it at Arsenal and would love to continue his career here, its just the way he carries himself on and off the pitch.

  114. I have said before, I’ll say it again, Theo. is THE only Arsenal player that the opposition hate to see on the pitch against them when they are getting tired. He is very direct and can score a hat trick in the blink of an eye. He is now one of the longest serving members of our team. Why sell him?
    If any of our players deserve to earn close to £100,000 it is him. I do not go with the idea that he should be more of a footballing genius. He can score and that is what we really need from him. Men like Santi and Jack can caress and massage the ball while Theo gets himself into positions where the ball ends up into the net. With a bit of shuffling of the side, this guy can do what Gervinho is struggling to do.
    One would have to travel far and wide to find a bigger fan of Arsene Wenger than I am, but, his economic nous is now far eclipsing his coaching senses. Right now Arsenal have the troops but are deploying them amateurishly.
    The manager has spent much time massaging the egos of some players in his tenure. It is good to see him getting steely in his dealings, but he should not lose the plot. We need to win a prize. How about him trying to add the smallest cup to his big aim of always qualifying for the E.C.L.? I still can’t get over us not lifting the Carling Cup in the final against Birmingham. We always seem to be there to be shot down. Was that when Na$ri, Cesc and BSR made their minds up about our mentality?
    We as Arsenal, are not strangers to giant killing acts by smaller clubs. However, if we blindly think that Football Fair Play will offer us a more level playing field, We had better instill a more winning mentality into our psyche, or we will be waiting beyond our lifetimes for another trophy.
    When Wenger does go ( and he will have to sooner or later). Do we wish for Pep., or Jose, or who? I have no answer to that question. But maybe then we will be back to Arsenal.
    I am Arsenal forever.

  115. WARNING!!!
    For those on this site who might also surf other sites…
    “Arsenal have a left back dilemna for Man Utd”
    my anti-virus (Avast) gave me an instant WARNING – Malware!
    when clicking on the heading.

  116. Rasp says:

    Its all very perplexing Adrian. I don’t know the details but it appears city virtually paid totnum to take Adebarndoor off their hands – and now it looks like they’re planning to sell him.

    We let Diara go for what we paid for him after only half a season and ‘arry made a tasty profit when he sold him on 18 months later.

    We have to acknowledge that Arsenal’s record of making a profit from selling on players is second to none – but is that always a good thing?

  117. richie says:

    @Chas10:13 Thanks for the BP reminder. What a player! A clip like that is needed every now and then to warm the cockles. If only we had the players to play that style of fast attacking football now. The movement of the players off the ball was increadible! They linked like they were in telepathic contact. What a team!

  118. Rasp says:

    Stan Kroenke said emphatically several times at the AGM that the Board make the decisions. PHW has come out and said that we’ve made TW a very fair offer and its up to him if he wants to sign, there will be no more on offer. He said something similar about RvP when BSR continually said that he had not discussed money with the club.

    I am one of those who believes our Board is populated with some elderly figures from a bygone era that are out of touch with modern ideas.

  119. LB says:


    Wenger has played Walcott down the middle, I think you have just forgotten when it happend.

  120. Adrian says:

    The entire board needs a reshuffle, esp that PHW bloke. So far IG is still tolerable to me, but he needs to start showing everyone why he’s the highest paid in Engand and justify his paycheck. He can start by preventing more dramas that revolve around player contracts and sort all these crap out once and for all.

  121. kelsey says:

    I usually take a different view and now I see a player lke Walcott could enhance the squad .It maybe about money with him but though not 24 until March the expectancy on him has been enormous since his arrival, aged 16 .At first mainly because Wenger had actualy bought an english player,with potential, yet despite several shoulder problems and having his best season so far last season the club and he are at deadlock apparently over money.

    None of us thought at the start of last season that RVP would have got over his injuries and turn out to be such a prolific goalscorer and provider, and it was a joy to watch.
    Now he has gone the fans are looking for a replacement and at this moment of time neither giroud or podolski can get anywhere near the quality of RVP.
    Arshavin appeared to be off back to Russia but no one wanted him and now we have a situation where he and Walcott are in the squad to be played as subs if required.
    Chamakh and Park were a disaster and if you look at the goals scored this season not many have come from what I call true attacking forwards.
    Some will argue quite rightly that a good spread of options to score will benefit us, in other words not being reliant on one player.
    Tippy tappy IMO is finished as we don’t have the quality as a team to play that anymore to our advantage.

    Every week one sees goals in most games that are screamers from outside the box, but hardly ever from us.
    Look who is capable of shooting with power and accuracy from outside the box.Arteta,cazorla vermaelen the Ox and sometimes Podolski, but we don’t do it enough and we don’t have a player like chicarrito a fox in the box player to be on hand if the shot is spilled.
    gervinho frustrates me but is another who so often runs down alleys and has a powder puff shot. Walcott on a one on one can deliver (West ham ) was a very good example, but another aspect of his game is that he drifts in and out of games on a regular basis. he has only ever played less than a handful of games for the whole 90 minutes, so is the manager wrong ?

  122. evonne says:

    Tony – when did Theo score a hatrick?

    Rasp – money is hardly a modern idea. I think is even older than our Board

    I am in a bad mood, so will nitpick all I want.

  123. Adrian says:

    But not a single time this season and the previous season. Last season it was understandable as we had a red hot finisher banging in goals left and right. But this season Walcott’s confidence and finishing is at an all time high and he has constantly asked to be played in the middle. But what does Wenger do? He plays Gervinho at the CF position instead whose finishing is miles behind Walcott. Cmon, give him a try while he seems to have his finishing boots on.

  124. Rasp says:

    nitpick away evonne – I didn’t say money was a modern idea.

  125. Brigham says:

    October 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm
    Tony – when did Theo score a hatrick?

    Against Blackpool, two seasons ago. 🙂

  126. LB says:

    Too harsh that Rasp.

    Hill-Wood is smarter than many give him credit for; he knows we cannot get into a bidding war with City or Chelsea, so the club have made Walcott a very good offer, if Theo really likes the club as much as he says then let him sign, I, like you say in your post, bet he wont, is that Hill-Wood’s fault, I think not.

    The other thing you should be aware of is that you critisice Gazidis for not being honest, too much spin is often your complaint, well Hill-Wood is giving to us straight and some are still complaining.

  127. LB says:


    You have a very selective memory when it comes to Walcott.

  128. dandan says:

    Mickey Re Carp, Rasp is correct, as one who has caught many including a fair number of 20lb +. I can only say that though powerful in the water if you insert your finger in their mouths whilst holding them they tend to sit quiet, unlike a Pike,Zander or Catfish any of which could have been the one casting hungry eyes on LB,s dog.

    excellent post Rasp. I have long been a Theo fan and have enjoyed the modesty and character projected by the young man in the interviews I have watched and listened to. Now however he has reached the age when he should be commanding a regular start if Arsenal cannot provide that then I believe he owes it to himself to test the waters elsewhere , though who would commit themselves to playing him through the middle I know not. His pace and ability to cut inside terrorises defenders and makes him a natural wingman. Add that to a team that has forwards and runners prepard tot attack the space available in the penalty area and you have formidable weapon for which £6mil would be a steal.
    Hopefully He will stay but I fear not.

  129. kelsey says:

    For buying in france now read Spain. it is not beneficial for many players to play in Spain anymore as the tax rates hav escalated out of ll proportions and three quarters of the la liga clubs have severe cash flow problems. That is a situation made for Wenger.

  130. Big Raddy says:

    Tony C. Good comment. If only it were as simple as paying 100k a week. Perhaps it is.

    Rasp. I am a traditionalist, it is one of the things I love about The Arsenal. and PHW represents a long history of HW’s (over 80 years). He has few shares and little influence. As a mouth piece he leaves much to be desired but after a life time of service to The Arsenal he deserves some respect.

    Furthermore, PHW is portrayed as a bumbling idiot, this is very far from the truth – he was the vice Chairman of Hambros bank having been head of their investment branch.

    As Chairman he is required to speak – perhaps he could be “sick” at the next AGM

  131. Brigham says:

    Messi, Xavi and Iniesta on the cheap it is then? lol

  132. Rasp says:

    Hi LB, my quotes from PHW are reasonably accurate although probably not verbatim so I don’t see how that is being harsh. In truth he was quite embarrassing at the AGM and he clearly wasn’t happy with the ‘impertinent nature’ of some of the questions from the floor. He failed to acknowledge that there were several votes agianst reinstating some Board members.His parting shot of “well thanks for taking an interest in the way we run the club” was pretty dismissive.

  133. Rasp says:

    Raddy, he acted like a bumbling idiot at the AGM – ask peaches if you don’t believe me.I’m very proud of our club’s traditions and wouldn’t change them. Ivan was very slick and professional. PHW is getting old, it happens to all of us.

  134. evonne says:

    Rasp 🙂 thank you 🙂 you did say that the board are out of touch with modern ideas and I think that at the end of the day it is all about money

  135. Bryan says:

    For me Gazidas is an overpaid waste of time, I would like to see the back of him, In fact I would like to see the whole board gone & some fresh faces with up to date fresh ideas replace them.
    I have said & will say it over & over again, they treat us supporters with total contempt

  136. Adrian says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but he he hasn’t played in that CF spot so far this season as well as last season hasn’t he? How is that a selective memory considering that Walcott only amplified his calls to be played as a CF when RVP left. Last year with RVP in our side it would be mad to let anyone else take that CF spot, this year Giroud isn’t really working for us yet and I honestly see no harm in letting Walcott have a go at it as his finishing seems to have improved quite a bit esp in 1v1 situations.

  137. Bryan says:

    I’m with you Adrian, how can Walcott do worse than Gervinho, the answer is he can’t.
    Gervinho is usesless & how he has managed 5 goals so far I will never know.
    Walcott is streets ahead of Gervinho at finishing.
    Gervinho’s best positions are Right Back at home or Left Back in the changing room 😀

  138. johnnie nyc says:

    Rasp, you know im not a big Theo fan, but have started to appreciate him a little more lately also. now i would like him in the mix, starting occasionally, more often as a sub, but it’s too late now.the interview was just another guy saying its not about the money, its about being a striker.. just to cover his exit…………………….
    my real complaint is that we let it get this far again, he should have been signed or sold over a year ago.. now we lose a player and alot of money.. it may be a disaster, and we may get nothing

  139. Rasp says:

    Hi Johnnie, we couldn’t force him to sign and I personally think we would have sold him in the summer if we’d received a decent offer – to avoid the situation we now find ourselves in.

    My view has changed during the course of the day and I now think it more likely that he will see out his contract and leave on a free. The club will be lambasted if that is the case, but it must be equally difficult to sell a player who doesn’t want to sign for a club at a particular time when their contract is due to expire. We could accept an offer from manu for £3m and Theo could say no thanks, I’ll have that £3m for myself when I sign for them on a free in the summer.

  140. Adrian says:

    I agree Johnnie, how it has gotten this far again is simply ridiculous. You’d thought the higher ups would have learned from past experiences – far too many of the same scenario has taken place in the club. For once, I’d like to see the club be ahead in terms of player contracts and not the other way around. Honestly, how this can constantly happen to a top club in English football is beyond me.

  141. richie says:

    @Rasp 11:41 I like Adrian my only worry if we went for him is his team mate Reyes might stick a spanner in the works………………..As I recall he didn’t have such a good time with us!

  142. Rasp says:

    Reyes was homesick the poor little thing, Lopez looks like more of a man

    I do like the idea of having a greater Spanish contingent in the side, you can be sure that we won’t be second best in terms of technique..

  143. So, Dandan’s hobby is inserting his finger in a carp’s mouth whilst holding them.
    Is it any wonder they sit quiet? I’d sit quiet if a strange bloke inserted his finger in my mouth.

  144. richie says:

    @TMHT its no good castigating other AA bloggers when they say its a syrup telling them its a hair transplant. Only for you to the call it a syrup. Can we have it straight is it a syrup or a transplant? I mean forget about Theo and his pace this is a serious matter 😀 😀

  145. I wouldn’t dare budge an inch for toffee… I’d be wondering what the ****’s coming next.

  146. @ evonne& Brigham
    Theo has not scored a hat trick for Arsenal, but he has done for England against Croatia. Who scores hat tricks for Arsenal? BSR? Um, He doesn’t play for us anymore. We are bereft of clinical goal scorers. We would be at a loss without Theo who can do more the triers Wenger deploy as goalscorers. Why did the manager buy Walcott? I do believe it to be the blade of a sharp arrowhead strike force.
    Who else is our deadly sting?
    Come on Lovely Evonne, Talk to me about the bite we must employ/ deploy. Should we continue to sell, sell, sell our better players?

  147. evonne says:

    Tony 🙂 i am anything but lovely, but thank you for the compliment.
    I like Theo and I don’t want him to go. Sadly the current climate is such that as soon as a player catches a whiff of money in large quantities, he is off. And unless Arsenal are prepared to pay even more money, there is nothing to stop him. What would you do Tony to stop that b**ch going to ManU?

  148. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just one thing on this excellent Theo debate. I assume he will only go if a club are prepared to improve on his wages. Now, although the buyer wil save a hefty wack on the fee, they still have to believe he wont upset other players by being on superior wages that some there may not see him being worth.
    Really, unless one of the big boys come after him (and will they?) then he may have to put up with the terrible £70k odd a week on offer!
    I am not convinced there will be a stampede. Afterall, a player who believes he is worth £100k must also believe he is worth a CL type level of Team.
    Roy Hodgson clearly rates The Ox more highly already.

  149. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Can we flog him to anyone we like? Just thinking of the Lauren story and him being informed he was on his way to Pompey.
    AW: “Theodore Mon Cher, Voici Le Crack. Its £70k a week or pack the snow chains for your nasty blacked out Range Rover. You’re off to Anzhi in Siberia”.

  150. richie says:

    @Adrian If any player signs a 4 year contract and half way through is offered an extension, what would you do if that player refuses to sign an extension saying he’d rather negociate a new contract when his current contract has only a year left? That was Na$ri BSR and then now Theo’s position. Next with only a year left none would then enter into talks about extesions, new contracts or offers. Its a whole ploy that agents instruct their clients to use in order to get what they want. Remember Rooney did it? I don’t think there is an answer apart from ruthlessness. If any player doesn’t sign an extension after 2 years he’s immediately sold! Then would arrise the next problem in this current equasion “Player Power” because any player can refuse to agree personal terms with whoever we sell them to. Generally this effectively means a player can force through a move to the club they want to go to, Even if thats our biggest rival, a la BSR.

  151. kelsey says:

    But richie what happens if the player is just 30 or over.We all know Wenger’s stance on that.

  152. I see!, so where do we stand in this equation? It is that we sell before the price reduces. Does that mean that we capitulate to these rich “superior clubs” or do we see them as ones we must beat in order to emphasize our ultimate intent?
    Arsenal have seemingly always been at odds to defy the trend to comply with being trendy. That is what is so attractive of being Arsenal to me and many fellow fans over the years. When we lose any players to them, we compete anyway. It was a disappointment to lose Stapleton to them, however, we have since maintained our status against United until now. Money? ouch! We seem to sell when they will buy.
    It is interesting to see if we are willing to already to crumble over what they buy compared to how we sell.
    We are Arsenal

  153. richie says:

    @TC3:52 Sorry but thats twisted you think we’ll get back to being Arsenal if AW leaves? Which Arsenal are you talking about? Do you mean the mid-table Arsenal before Arsene arived? Arsenal under Arsene’s 16 year tenuer have 15 straight top 4’s 3 of those were league titles, it seems to me you are harping back to a golden age of Arsenal that I must’ve missed. In 2 years time I will have been watching this team for 50 years straight

  154. richie says:

    @LB 4:52 Yes I remember when Theo got to lead the line but he has improved massively since. He didn’t do so well back then and we had other options.

  155. LB says:


    Your 4.18 is a case of moving the goal posts, your original comment about to Hill-Wood was in relation to Walcott.

  156. Gooner In Exile says:

    Right only just read comments to tail end of yesterday’s post. So before I have a chance to read Rasps piece I wanted to reply to Chas in case no one else has, the projection is based on the same games compared (so Chelsea lost a point yesterday and ManUre gained 2 points as the game was drawn last season). Hope that clarifies, my substitution of relegated teams was purely random, Southampton = Bolton, West Ham = Blackburn, Reading = Wolves.

  157. LB says:

    The idea that Wenger hasn’t thought about playing Walcott through the middle is laughable, he has and anyone with any football knowledge can see that the Walcott cannot operate in tight spaces. So what is he going to do in 95% of the games when the opposition set themselves up in two banks of five.

    This new found Theo tolerance by some comes from seeing him coming on three quarters of the way through a game, a super sub if you like, but do we really want a super sub or do we want a player who by his own talent deservers to start every match?

  158. Rasp says:

    LB, I said this at 3:58 ….. PHW has come out and said that we’ve made TW a very fair offer and its up to him if he wants to sign, there will be no more on offer. He said something similar about RvP when BSR continually said that he had not discussed money with the club.

    I consider this to be accurate and stand by it. Exactly what part of that do you consider to be harsh?

    My goalsposts are unmoved, the further point I went on to make was in response to someone else’s comment.

  159. richie says:

    @Kelsey I don’t necessarily think tippy tappy is dead in fact the more technical players we have the easier it is. Arteta Cazorla and Jack could TT for 90 mins no problem. Play Rambo in there and it won’t work though (I’m not a Ramsey hater BTW) its just hourses for courses.

  160. Rasp says:

    These are Peter Hill Wood’s exact words…..

    “We have got our general overall wage structure and we are not prepared to break it for anybody,” “We have made an offer which he didn’t think was acceptable and that is the end of it. We think it is a very reasonable offer.

    “For the moment his people are still talking to us and we hope it will be resolved. But don’t ask me when, because I haven’t a clue.

    “I hope that he will eventually come round and sign. It will be a pity if he does not, but the whole issue of pay for footballers has got totally out of hand and they don’t get terribly well advised a lot of the time.”

  161. MickyDidIt89 says:

    There is a touch of the grass is greener romaticism about the Theo debate. This is in part due to a complete lack of viable alternatives, and the fact that he offers pace to an otherwise very pedestrian attack.
    Every time I watch him live at The Emirates (you are not aware in the TV), I curse his lack of off the ball awareness and running, combined with his perpetual moving too narrow.
    The fact remains that his stats are good, but my real beef is the very poor return we are about to get on a considerable investment.

  162. MickyDidIt89 says:

    on the tv

  163. MickyDidIt89 says:

    They broke it for Henry. Big time!
    Other than that small oversight, I think what he says is very reasonable.

  164. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, I agree watching Theo can be hugely frustrating, but I do believe he has improved. As I said earlier, its not only Arsene, successive England managers seem to rate him. It won’t be a disaster if he leaves as long as we can promote or buy a player who can fill the void. Ramsey on the right is definitely not the answer.

  165. richie says:

    @Bryan @4:24 As a supporter of almost 50 years “The board is firmly keeping their traditions then” By continuing to treat us supporters with complete contempt. Anyone know a time when they didn’t? N5 you’ve got seniority.

  166. Rasp says:

    They did find a way round it for Henry Micky although I’m not sure it paid off as he wasn’t his old self in his last season

  167. richie says:

    @Adrian 4:25 I’m with you on that score if Gerv can Theo can.

  168. Gooner in Exile says:

    Right now read the very fine post by Rasp.

    Tricky position that we are in I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    If we really have £39m to spend in January, and if Chelsea go for Falcao as expected, I’d be looking to pick Torres up cheaply, or Sturridge.

  169. Gooner in Exile says:

    Surely Myachi is one of the answers on the flanks for us going forward that boy flies!

  170. richie says:

    @Kelsey AW is right to consider age. When Arsene inherrited the team the first thing he did was lower the average age. Because dinosaurs may have once ruled the earth but this is very much a young mans sport. Exceptional players may play on especially those who are prepared to eat right and not “party down” but those players are rare indeed. I fully support yearly contract offers over 30. If a rarity occurs then address the individual concerned but generally the rule is sound.

  171. Well, here we are More questions than answers.

  172. Rasp says:

    😆 GiE – see my comment @ 1:01

  173. Will Arsenal sell. Yes. Will we buy, ? maybe for a laugh., Good old Arsenal, taking the piss.

  174. Gooner in Exile says:

    Haha are you saying I’m predictable Rasp? 🙂

    Bit disappointed he hasn’t featured more for Wigan.

  175. Rasp says:

    Yes, he always looks fantastic on his YouTube clips 😛

    Raddy made a good point earlier about the way Gnabry has been fast tracked into the first team squad. The last player who was elevated that quickly was Jack and before him Cesc. Maybe AW sees a great future for him.

  176. Brigham says:

    Quote…Tony Cummings says:
    October 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    @ evonne& Brigham
    Theo has not scored a hat trick for Arsenal, but he has done for England against Croatia…Unquote.

    Tony, I hate to pee on your bonfire, but he scored a hat trick against Blackpool. I was there and saw it myself, or did I and the Mirror reporter have too much pre match Peroni?

  177. Ben says:

    Agree with most of your article except, I would rather he leave and free up space for someone better. Even if he stayed, Arsenal would need to find a striker who can “cross the ball”. Theo is hopeless in that department. He often crosses when there is not even a team mate within the box.

  178. richie says:

    Serge Narbry is a real talent I for one ain’t surprised he’s being fast tracted.

  179. Gooner in Exile says:

    Rasp I can see what Raddy means about Gnabry, but isn’t that need to promote rather than want to (a bit like Yennaris last season and Eastmomd previous to that?)

    We really need to figure something out with our academy though. What is our strategy for progression to the first team. I hate to look to United but they are probably the closest to us in terms of amount of talent produced, but even the ok players are kept on for as long as possible. Brown, O’Shea, Fletcher, Gibson, Evans and similar are and have been good squad players for them, they know the club, know the systems. They show that you don’t need wall to wall world class talent in your squad to win things. You need a group. I’d rather not sign new players when squad players leave rather promote and keep what we have got, JET would cost less than Chamakh in wages, Bartley probably less than Squillacci, etc. All homegrown and would allow the crowd to love them a bit as they came from within.

  180. Great article Rasp. England managers are generally dickheads though. England are also shite. Theo is going. I’m not really bothered either way.

  181. Adrian says:

    Surely people can’t defend Wenger’s attempts to play Gervinho down the middle rather than Walcott can they? How he managed 5 goals is a mystery to me, he has got to be the most frustrating player I’ve seen. His work rate is the only thing I truly appreciate, his nimble feetwork and all are very nice to watch but brings little in return.

    I think the wage structure needs to be revised, sure having an organized and well planned structure is all very nice on paper, but times have changed. Clearly it isn’t working when you look at the scenarios that happen to us every transfer window the past few years including the coming one. If we want to continue competing the board have to learn to change and adapt, we can’t have a wage atructure that is too rigid or unflexible.

  182. LB says:

    For the sake of clarity Rasp, my comment of “Bit too harsh” at 4.08 pm refers to the last sentence of your 3.58pm. I then go on to explain the comment.

    A fine post and a good day’s blogging. I would say. A win at Reading now would put us all in a good frame of mind.

  183. LB says:


    I can justify Gervinho down the middle, although, you have made it much easier for me by pointing out the most compelling piece of evidence that being that he had scored 5 goals.

    I agree with you when you say Gervinho is one of the most frustrating players out there but there is no doubt in my mind that Walcott down the middle would be even worse and what’s more Wenger agrees with me or he would play him there week in and week out.

    Gervinho’s control is erratic but Walcott’s is worse, don’t confuse Walcott’s improved ability to cross the ball with his close control in tight areas. This really is a case of dumb and dumber.

  184. oz gunner says:

    Thanks for the good post Rasp on an issue that is getting a bit fishy!

    LB is bang on the money for me.
    It’s naive to think Walcott hasn’t been tried down the middle, whether it’s training or pre-season tinkering. Arsene obviously hasn’t been too impressed otherwise he would have given him a shot long ago.

    I hope Arsene takes the Song stance: Sign or piss off
    It’s that simple really! Arsene and most supporters have been very patient with him over the years, and now we will get duck egg for him. Thanks a lot Theo you clown.

    (if he resigns please dismiss the above haha)

  185. kelsey says:

    I agree with everything said by LB about Walcott, but not Gervinho.He may have scored a few goals but I find him the most frustrating of all our attcking players.


    I like debating with you but we are poles apart in our thinking.

    The record books will show that Chelsea won the CL and have been more successful than us in recent years. How many of the so called old team are over thirty ?

    I have to say that we are in for a tough season for three main reasons.

    Wenger appears to have his hand at too many things at the club when his main objective should be to win a trophy.

    He hasn’t got what is known as a plan B and as I said earlier he still installs into the team to play tippy tappy football and it is noticeable that our pace as a team has dropped remarkably.

    His judgement lately of buying attackers is questionable.

    we could finish up with two orchestral leaders in Cazorla and wilshere yet no one to finish off their work.

    If we are still in the hunt come january and he buys at least a proven striker (which i understand he is serious about) we may have a real chance to win something.

    One can’t lose so many class players over a few seasons and expect everyone to gell. Wilshere more or less said it himself.

    it will interesting if Wenger picks santos to play against united, if so we will get murderd.

    Tonight is a traing match in his eyes,he has more or less admiied that.

    I think we have had the best of him but he will never be sacked or stand down as he has too much influence at the club, and who would replace him ?

    He has been a fantastic manager for us in a number of ways but all great men eventually peak and unless he changes his game plan dramatically,instead of often playing players out of position we are in for yet another disappointing season.

  186. oz gunner says:

    I just want to see Podolski as a striker.

    He has so many similarities to RVP it’s not funny.

    @ GiE

    like the shout for Torres, but i’d have to go with lewandoski. BD play our system, he is a complete striker and is still only 24

  187. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All

    Fine debate yesterday.

    LB are you on foreign shores or an insomniac?

    Oz. I am with you. I want to see a 2 pronged attack with both Pod and OG central. Push the FB’s forward to give width and play Micky’s 3-5-2.

    In which case a flying winger who can cross is an essential. We just have to teach Ryo/Theo/Gnabry/Ox to cross the ball.

  188. kelsey says:

    Arsenal (from): Mannone, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud, Martinez, Coquelin, Djourou, Koscielny, Arshavin, Chamakh, Frimpong, Gnabry, Sagna, Angha, Santos, Miquel, Yennaris, Eisfeld, Bellerin.

    Morning Raddy,just to help you pick your line up 😉

  189. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You can be on foreign shores AND an insomniac. Think Kelsey.
    And a bonnie good morning to you all.

  190. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Post put to bed and my guesses made but thanks for the info.

  191. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey @4:36
    Great comment, and I certainly agree that no-one should be beyond criticism. I don’t agree about Santos and the Utd game, as I think if AW gets his selection and set-up right, we could get a win, but of course it’s a big ask.
    Don’t really want to get into the managerial debate, as I made my views very clear a week or so ago, and it would be too negative a topic for me both on a match day, and on the back of a win.
    Superb Theo iscussion here yesterday, although the overriding concensus appears to be that he will be off in january.
    What concerns me is the type of player AW may target as a replacement.
    A striker would indicate to me the continuation of a three pronged attack, which I dont think we have the players for, on top of continuing with a prolific goalscorer in Podolski stuck out of position.

  192. Gooner In Exile says:

    Kelsey I’d be interested to know what other things Arsene is responsible for….I’ve heard it said before but in my opinion it’s just a misunderstanding, he has to go to board meetings, all things about the running of the club are discussed, as an intelligent man he doesn’t switch off once the football matters are discussed, so if asked knows the answer.

    Oz, Lewandowski is a good shout but think BD wont sell until summer (if at all).

    Have to praise BD so far keeping hold of most of their squad, they sold Kagawa but have not been weakened.

  193. Gooner In Exile says:

    On the Theo wide/central debate I really think its a non issue when it comes to him signing a contract, although it will be his excuse for leaving.

    A wide player can score goals especially in the 4-3-3 system, two players need to be looked at for proof of this Messi and Ronaldo….neither are their teams centre forward both are record goalscorers. Make the right runs, play the right one twos and you can score a hatful.

  194. evonne says:

    match day 😦

    Cluttenburg accused by Chavs of racist language, towards Mata??

  195. LB says:


    Messi and Ronaldo…………………..Walcott and Gervinho.


  196. LB says:

    Morning BR

    Number 20 Blomfield Road’s alarm went off at 2am, they were not in and it went on and on and on and on. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

  197. Gooner In Exile says:

    LB 😀

    Even if they got a quarter of the goals they would be doing us a good turn.

    The one thing I didn’t answer earlier was why Gerv gets to play up front and not Theo, for me it’s simple, size, control/touch and ball retention. In fact all Gerv needs to work on is decision making and he could be a very exciting player to watch, rather than a frustrating figure.

  198. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne he has been accused of ” inappropriate language” in two incidents once to Mikel, once to Mata.

    The PGMO revealed that there was an element of racism, but also the Human Rights lawyer Peter Herbert has also written a letter of complaint to the Met Police about a racially aggravated offence by Clattenberg.

    If the offence occurred when Mikel was booked by Clattenberg you have to wonder why he didn’t react at the time, the same with Mata. It is horrible to have an element of doubt over the claims but Chelsea had just suffered a shocking couple of decisions, they are feeling aggrieved about the treatment of Terry, and their own fans injured their steward and threw objects at the celebrating United players. We are not talking about the last incident, which is there for all to see, but are talking about an incident that one assumes took place during the game but there was no visible reaction to.

  199. chas says:

    I really find it hard to believe Clattenburg called Obi Wan Mikel a monkey.

    Calling Mata a spanish twat is believable as he should have signed with us as he promised to do.

  200. evonne says:

    Chas 🙂
    If it is a revenge from Chelsea then they deserve to have points deducted. Why on earth would Clattenburg call Mikel a monkey?? Nay, I don’t believe that

    Anybody looking forward to the game tonight?
    Will Wenger try to win the micky mouse cup, or will he rest the team for Saturday and field youngsters?

  201. Big Raddy says:

    Since the Russian took over a decent club has become a disgrace.. Don’t they ever see the bigger picture?

  202. Big Raddy says:

    If Clattenburg is found innocent (which he surely will) Chelsea should bedecked points for bringing the game into disrepute.

    evonne. Yes, I am. Always look forward to seeing how our 2nd/3rd team would cope in the PL

  203. chas says:

    Apparently, Chelsea have recommended a two week wage fine and 4 game ban if the allegations are proved to be correct.

  204. evonne says:

    Maybe Clattenburg said something like ‘no more monkey business lads’ ?

  205. chas says:

    The trouble is, Clattenburg can’t be found innocent, only that the charge isn’t proven. Regardless of the verdict his career is wrecked.

  206. chas says:

    Apparently the microphones they use mean the linesmen would have been able to hear what he said, but none of that is recorded.

    Takes us back to Elleray.

  207. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Shame on the Chavs.

  208. chas says:

    I’m in corporate at the Madejski Stadium tonight.
    A friend got us some tickets courtesy of Kyocera.
    We’d already bought tickets in the away end for £15, very cheap. My nephew is now using those.
    League Cup nights are always stress-free for me.
    I’m looking forward to seeing Gnabry in the flesh.

  209. Rasp says:

    Morning all, I completely agree re Clattenburg. The chavs are acting like spoilt babies. For the club to get involved in such petty tit for tat racial allegations is unprofessional and hopefully will backfire on them. In the process a referee’s career is being ruined.

  210. chas says:

    Talking of refs, it’s Mike Dean on Saturday at the old Cowshed.
    He produced a good performance when we were last up in Manchester.
    Is there any chance of that happening at the red mancs?

    I suppose he’d find it difficult to be as bad as last Saturday’s ref anyway.

  211. Gooner In Exile says:

    Whilst I agree on Chelsea v Clattenberg with the consensus here, it is one mans word vs the other. If Clattenberg is not treated the same as Suarez there will be more calls that the FA are soft on their own. We have all interpreted the situation based on our opinion of Chelsea and previous events. But the allegations could be true as much as we don’t want to believe it.

  212. Rasp says:

    Morning chas, what incensed me and those sitting around me at the Ems most on Saturday was the ref’s failure first to get QPR’s wall back 10 yards and then he to allowed them to encroach a couple of yards more by the time we took the free kick. Each time we got a FK, the QPR players took less notice of the ref – he had no control whatsoever.

  213. chas says:

    Completely agreed, Rasp.
    The wall must have been 7 yards away for most of the free kicks.

  214. chas says:

    I’ve always though a line sprayed on the pitch was a good idea.
    A circle where the ball has to be placed, not so good.

  215. Rasp says:

    Morning GiE, therein lies the problem. Fair minded people like yourself will always try to see both sides. The problem is that if it does come down to one man’s word against another, there is unlikely to be a clear outcome and Clattenberg’s career will be stained forever.

  216. Rasp says:

    I like the line idea chas. Alternatively the linesman could be charged with keeping an eye on the wall and if they don’t stay where they were put or if they encroach, he should flag the ref and the FK be taken again, but this time with the wall 12 yards away (unless the goal is scored in which case justice has prevailed)

  217. Rasp says:

    Morning again…..

    …. New post ……

  218. Brigham says:

    I also noticed that Rasp, as I am sure many others did. The ref never had complete control of the game in my opinion and QPR took full advantage of it. Also, their player Genorare shouuld have walked following his stamp on Giroud? as he had only been booked a few minutes earlier, but the ref bottled it.

    As for Chelsea, cannot stand the club or its supporters and never have liked them. In fact, I despise them more than the Spuds.

  219. Jamie says:

    This is all fine except “Wenger dealt ruthlessly with Song…sound out a message to the players..Sagna may be in for a shock…”
    Yeah Song got sent to join one of the most revered squads in this history of club football, a pay rise, and shot at silverware, and sunny beaches…
    You got served Song…I bet Sagna must be quaking in his boots..
    Let’s not kid ourselves that the club is in control of it’s outgoings anymore. That ship has sailed
    £75k-£80k a week is a pittance in the context of 3rd choice players being on £40-50k a week. It’s how the club wastes money on the reserves rather than use that to keep the stars that baffles me.
    It’s Wenger socialism gone potty. They’re worth what they contribute. RVP was worth £200k a week for the minutes and performances he puts in. Talent is not democratic. Does Jonny Evans bemoan the wages of Rooney? No.
    And finally the policy of not negotiating contracts until 24 months out is insane. Players and agents sniff an opportunity to take control between yrs 2 and 1, and take it.
    RVP you could understand due to injuries and age leading up to his blockbuster year…but Nasri…Walcott….it’s just plain daft.

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  221. Sophia says:

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