Arsene Wenger’s Magic Hat?

December 11, 2012

Bradford. Seems an age since they were in the Premiership, and yet it was only 11 years ago. Today they sit 65 places below us. having had 17 (yes – 17!) managers since Mr Wenger came to Arsenal; Chairman Julian Rhodes has employed 9 managers since 2004! Current manager Phil Parkinson was an Arsenal scout and remains a fan.

Checking through some of the stats (kelsey kindly provided many yesterday) one fact stands out, tonight is Bradford’s 31st game of the season (we have played 24). That is a heavy workload and one must ask how is it economically viable? Plus, how can they do it with such a small squad?


The Romford Pele scored the last time we played Bradford(PL )

Having beaten Wigan in the last round Bradford will be looking to add an even bigger scalp tonight, can they do so? What do you think? Could a weakened Arsenal team really lose up in the frozen North? Even playing second strings AW will field a team full of current Internationals, however tonight will be about fight and spirit, not just talent and skill. Put these two teams on an indoor training pitch and AFC would win every time but tonight Bradford will be spurred on by 23,000 fans, their biggest crowd for 50 years, and they will not go down without a fight. The question is can we match their passion?

My Team:

bradford v arse

Whether the above team has enough attacking potency  is open to question and perhaps we will see Ox start in place of Eisfeld. We are likely to get a sub appearance from Gnabry – a young player who is very highly rated by Mr Wenger. This could be the final game for Arshavin and Chamakh with both available for sale in January.

Today’s English explorer: Augustine Courtauld. (1904-1959) This young chap was another ice specialist. Trained as a stockbroker and son of the industrialist and art collector, Samuel Courtauld (the Courtauld Institute)   he was typical of the English loony explorers. Greenland was Courtauld’s area  and he once spent  5 months on his own during a Greenland winter observing weather conditions. The highest peak in the Arctic region is named after him, Mount Augustine.


Preparing the Valley Parade pitch for the visit of Arsenal

It would be a monkey off the back should we win this cup. OK it isn’t the silverware we would choose but nonetheless it is a trophy and one all the PL clubs compete in. Furthermore, it was George Graham’s first trophy and one which was the springboard to greater glory.

Embarrassing if we lose, a semi-final if we win. Well worth fighting for.

Written by Big Raddy

If You Think Cazorla Wasn’t Fouled You Must Be Blind

December 10, 2012

In fact if you think he dived, I know you won’t be offended by this piece because your lack of ocular ability means you can’t even read it.

At the match, in real time, I thought Santi skinned his defender and was fouled for a clear penalty.

Arsenal's Cazorla challenges West Bromwich Albion's Reid during their English Premier League soccer match in London

Admittedly our Number 19 was at the Clock End and I was in the Upper West towards the North Bank, but still…

Later on Saturday, after several pints taken and a fine curry, I had a quick look at it again on my laptop.

“Just as I suspected,” I said to myself: “A bang-on pen.”

Then on Sunday morning I read several reports of the match, I heard what the Match of the Day commentators said and I began to worry that I was using the old Rose Tinteds again (even Denilson looked good through those babies).

So when I wrote up the match report for Arsenal Arsenal I hedged my bets, saying: “The consensus seems to be that Santi dived.  If so, I don’t approve but we’ve been on the wrong end of enough penalty-dives recently (Bale and Young last season to name but two) that I’m not going to lose sleep over it.”

Sunday was a busy day. I had people to do, things to go and places to see. So it wasn’t until late Sunday that I finally got round to properly watching the incident again.

I was expecting to see that, after all, it was a dive. Let’s face it, the media all say it was a dive and they don’t lie, do they?

So I got the incident up on the laptop again – full screen – and watched it LOTS of times. Not that I needed to. From my first viewing it was clear that Reid toe-ended Santi on the shin. Really hard.

Check for yourself.

On the close-up shot looking across from the direction of the West Stand you can see at the 5 second mark Reid’s wild swing hits Santi’s shin and changes direction. Not much, but enough to show there was contact.

I’m not in the slightest bit surprised that Santi went up in the air after being hit by that haymaker of a flailing foot.

Some might say there was no need for his other leg (the right) to go up in the air too. Maybe, maybe not. The exact effect of that contact on his body given the speed of his turn would be hard to judge.

But I have watched Cazorla play all season and he is not a diver

Of course it’s no surprise that the media want to demonise as a diver a foreign player who turns out in Arsenal colours. We’ve been round that block several times before haven’t we? While there’s seldom a whisper against Gerrard, Rooney and Bale.

Let’s be clear: Santi Cazorla was fouled and the referee got it right.

To say that there was no contact and that West Brom were robbed is the most patent rubbish.

Contact. Foul. Penalty. End of.

Get over it.


Getting Better: West Brom Report and Player Ratings

December 9, 2012

What we needed yesterday was (in order): three points; a more committed performance; a more attacking performance; a supportive crowd; a clean sheet.

It’s fair to say we achieved all five, even though things didn’t always click.

All game the players put in a massive shift, pressing West Brom deep in their half, tracking back and busting a gut to make space when we had the ball.

In defence we were hardly troubled (Szczesny parried one long shot and was quick out of his goal to snuff out another attack, and I remember one unchallenged header in the box towards the end from which the visitors probably should have scored).

In the end a result of five-nil to the Arsenal would not have been unjust.

We created numerous chances (the BBC stats say we had 16 shots on target – but presumably that figure does not include the several times we slid balls across the face of goal only for no-one to quite get on the end of them).

There were some great moments of interplay between the forwards as well as many occasions where the wavelengths were not quite in tune. There is still a lot of work to do, but what is indisputable is that we carved open West Brom time after time and should have had more goals.

On the other hand, it was a pretty poor display from the Baggies who, several times, were kind enough to simply pass the ball to our players from unchallenged positions.

The first penalty was controversial. In the ground it looked bang-on and I have only seen a replay once, where I thought the defender’s toe caught Santi’s shinpad (although not hard enough to upend him). The consensus seems to be that Santi dived.  If so, I don’t approve but we’ve been on the wrong end of enough penalty-dives recently (Bale and Young last season to name but two) that I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Of course, Santi is foreign and an Arsenal players, so the media will probably go to town on him.

The second penalty was less controversial and well done Mikel Arteta for putting them both away so tidily (especially when you remember that he missed that last minute penalty against Fulham). Giroud seemed to be wanting to take the second one, but Arteta was having none of it. He had something to prove and prove it he did.

The atmosphere at the ground was good with plenty of noise from the home fans and (from where I was sitting) barely a squeak from the West Brom fans.

The relentless teasing of West Brom goalie Myhill who went from ludicrous time wasting to frantically trying to speed things up once the Baggies went behind was particularly enjoyable.

Bottom line: a good day at the office.

Player Ratings:

Szczesny: didn’t have much to do but when he was called on he was impeccable. A very reassuring presence. 8

Sagna: very solid at the back but some of his passing and crossing was erratic. 6

Mertesacker: such a reliable figure at centre back. He was outstanding once again. 8

Vermaelen: put in another tidy performance following on from a good showing in Greece. He’s getting his form back together. 7

Gibbs: fine game from Gibbs, who has made the left back spot his own. He was defensively secure and contributed plenty going forwards. 7.5

Arteta: did a great job of fighting and competing for every ball. Passing was excellent as ever and two good penalties. 8

Wilshere: he is improving game by game and yesterday showed why we are right to be so excited about him. His understanding with his team mates can still get better, but his touch, turns and forward bursts are a joy to watch and dangerous for the opposition.  8 (MoTM)

Cazorla: good creative work throughout the game and also put in a shift pressing the WBA defenders when they had the possession. Let’s not mention the dive. Whoops, I just have. 7

Oxlade-Chamberlain: showed some good moments in the second half after a quiet first period. You feel he can do more, but he is young and improving. 6

Gervinho: the current hate figure for many fans (must be nice for Ramsey to see someone else copping the heat for a change). He worked his socks off yesterday and created numerous goalscoring chances. The fact that players were an inch or two off converting them is irrelevant. If he keeps playing like that he will get many assists this season. However, I suspect it’s more likely that elements of our support will have crushed him before then by howling at every mistake (while tolerating similar errors from others). 8

Giroud: led the line very well, had some sublime touches and was occasionally out of sync with his colleagues. Work effort outstanding. 7.5


Coquelin: looked sharp and hungry.

Rosicky: picked up where he left off in Greece.

Podolski: looked lively; missed a sitter.


West Brom Ahoy!

December 8, 2012

To put today’s game into context let us start with the “crisis” of form. Two big wins then AV away – where once again we played a team just about to improve upon a poor start (check both Norwich & AV post-AFC), Villa are not a bad team and getting a draw was OK, Everton were above us in the table and unbeaten at home, a draw acceptable, then the Swansea game…….

Swansea were excellent last Saturday; according to their fans it was the best performance they had ever seen from their side. Laudrup was ecstatic, as well he might be. We got beaten by a better side on the day – yes, on the day – Swansea are not better than Arsenal and never will be.  Instead of damning Arsenal’s performance which seems to be de rigeur for some, why not applaud what was a fantastic team performance from Swansea? There was not one area of the pitch that they were second best, so hats off to Swansea for giving any football fans an enjoyable afternoon.


Saviour or just Irish’s Dream Man?

What is my point? Well, it is this . at the end of the game Arsenal left the field to the sound of boos echoing around a 30% full stadium. Thankfully, a few hardy souls stayed on to clap Swansea and applaud our boys for the effort they put in.

Do the remainder of fans only go to the Emirates to watch Arsenal win?

And yes, I do know this is our worst start since the Moses brought down the tablets.

But enough of this, let’s look at today’s game and see how the Mighty Arsenal are going to win and shut up the boo-boys. To start with they are going to have to win without Pod, Theo and Bacary, 3 important cogs in our attacking machine (?). The return of Tomas´and Jack mean we have a dynamic midfield particularly with Ox likely to start. Solidity in defence and a patient approach will, as ever, be important – basic individual defensive mistakes cost us last Saturday and they must be eradicated.

Tactics are beyond me, so I hope JM will make an appearance and make some suggestions, but if we are to play 4-3-3, where does Rosicky play? So, I am going for a highly improbable 4-4-2 based upon nothing more than the fact that Gervinho played the whole game in Athens

My team:

arse v brom

And what of WBA? Is their season going to fall away after such a wonderful start? Why should it? WBA will be good opponents this afternoon,they remain 5 points ahead of us in 5th (they would be 4th but some some miscreants with the same points and GD are alphabetically ahead of them). Steve Clarke has carried on the good work started by Hodgson and despite losing their last two games WBA are a tidy side.

Today’s English explorer: Matthew Flinders (1774 -1814) Learned his trade sailing with Captain Bligh (though not on The Bounty), Flinders was the first man to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent. Flinders was also the man who suggested the name for the new land (Australis). After his ship ran aground on the Barrier Reef, he sailed 700 miles in a small cutter back to Sydney and then returned to pick up his crew, a superb feat of seamanship. He also spent much time in South Australia and founded Melbourne. There are over 100 places in Oz named after Flinders. He died at the young age of 40 in London.


A freshly shaved Mr. Flinders

When we win this afternoon it will be Arsenal’s 250th home win in the PL. Let it be so.


Written by Big Raddy

All I Want For Christmas Is… Abou Diaby (with Batteries Included)

December 7, 2012

Just before the away game at Aston Villa we were told that Abou Diaby would be back in “three to four weeks.”

That game took place on November 24th, you may remember (and who could forget such a thrilling display of attacking football?).

So if we are to trust Arsene Wenger’s assessment of Diaby’s fitness, he is due back at the earliest around December 15th (just in time for Reading away).

For some reason (can’t quite put my finger on it) I am reluctant to assume that the lanky Frenchman will be mending his damaged bits in an accelerated fashion… so let’s forget that “earliest” return date.

In fact, let’s not even buy in to the later date – which would be around December 22nd (Wigan away).

Let’s assume instead that Abou appears all shiny and mended in our big Arsenal Christmas stocking. With all the batteries included so he’s in full working order.

At that point, provided he doesn’t injure himself on a walnut while extricating himself from the stocking, he might well be ready to resume his Arsenal career when we entertain the Hammers on Boxing Day.

I know what the cynics among you are thinking: “who still puts walnuts in Christmas stockings?”

Oh, and: “Diaby has as much chance of being back in three to four weeks as a three hundred pound fat bloke with a red suit and white beard has of fitting down my chimney.”

Well, that’s the joy of the festive season: magical things happen; wishes become real; and for a brief moment in time we all become children again.

The simple fact is that this Arsenal team, which has made such heavy going of a string of recent games, is in need of fresh impetus.

In the first half against Olympiacos on Tuesday night a returning Tomas Rosicky showed exactly what a talented player can bring to the team – especially one who has not been involved in the morale-sapping outings of recent weeks.

Diaby can have a similar effect if (please let it be a “when”) he returns to full fitness at the end of the year.

He can be a frustrating player at times, but he also showed earlier this season how effective he can be against even the strongest opponents. Imagine that man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool repeated in game after game during the rest of the season.

His injuries have made his Arsenal career more stop-start than the Central Line and it’s understandable that many supporters have given up hope of him ever becoming a regular fixture in the side.

The odds must be against him but maybe – just maybe – this time he will come back for real. Maybe all those months and months of treatment, all the surgeries and physiotherapy will finally rid him of the legacy of that ghastly Dan Smith tackle.

You can’t help but feel that the half of the season that runs from January to May is Abou’s last chance to show he can do it.

If his ailments keep him out for all or most of that period surely even Arsene Wenger will have to give up on him.

It would be a crying shame for a gifted player – and for Arsenal. We have already lost the best part of several seasons’ worth of his contributions in his seven and a half seasons with us.

But right now, just like children all round the world, I am willing to believe.

Come on Abou – you can do it!


Can Arsenal be in the top four by the New Year?

December 6, 2012

Looking at the standings as of December 5th we languish in 10th place, while not the worst start in our PL history it’s pretty close, only 1994/5 was worse when we had only 5 wins and 19 points versus our current 5 wins and 21 points.

Our play has been very spotty, our incisive passing and our high energy game has eluded us and many of our players are not in the best of form.

The teams quarrelling with us over the 3rd and 4th spots are Chelsea, Tottenham, West Bromwich, Everton, Swansea and Stoke, with only five points separating the teams. (The writer is conceding the top two places to Manchester)

Each team has five league games to play before the end of the year and, being a positive type I’ve assumed, for the sake of the following analysis, that we will regain our elusive form.

I will list each of the teams showing their current points, the teams they will play and the points that I estimate they will earn.

Chelsea is currently at 26 points and will play –

Sunderland away, a win and 3 points

Southampton home, a win and 3 points

Aston Villa home, a win and 3 points

Norwich away, a win and 3 points

Everton away, a draw and I point

This will give them a total of 39 points.


Tottenham Hotspur is currently at 26 points and will play –

Everton away, a loss and zero points

Swansea home, a draw and 1 point

Stoke home, a draw and 1 point

Aston Villa away, a win and 3 points

Sunderland away, a win and 3 points

This will give them a total of 34 points


West Bromwich Albion is currently at 26 points and will play –

Arsenal away, a draw and 1 point

West Ham home, a draw and 1 point

Q.P.R. away, a win and 3 points

Norwich home, a win and 3 points

Man U away, a loss and zero points

This will give them a total of 34 points


Swansea City is currently at 23 points and will play –

Norwich home, a win and 3 points

Tottenham away, a draw and 1 point

Man U home, a loss and zero points

Reading away, a win and 3 points

Fulham away, a win and 3 points

This will give them a total of 33 points


Everton is currently at 23 points and will play –

Tottenham home, a win and 3 points

Stoke away, a draw and 1 point

West Han away, a win and 3 points

Wigan home, a win and 3 points

Chelsea home, a draw and 1 point

This will give them a total of 34 points


Stoke City is currently at 22 points and will play –

Aston Villa away, a win and 3 points

Everton home, a draw and 1 point

Tottenham away, a draw and 1 point

Liverpool home, a draw and 1 point

Southampton home, a win and 3 points

This will give them a total of 31 points


West Ham United is currently at 22 points and will play –

Liverpool away, a draw and 1 point

W.B.A away, a draw and 1 point

Everton home, a loss and zero points

Arsenal away, a loss and zero points

Reading away, a win and 3 points

This will give them a total of 27 points


Arsenal is currently at 21 points and we play –

W.B.A. home, a draw and 1 point

Reading away, a win and 3 points

Wigan away, a win and 3 points

West Ham home, a win and 3 points

Newcastle home, a win and 3 points

This will give us a total of 34 points.


Based on my estimates the table at the end of the year would look like this

1. Man X

2. Man X

3. Chelsea

4. Arsenal

5. Tottenham

6. Everton

7. West Bromwich

8. Swansea

9. Stoke

10. West Ham

I known what you’re thinking estimates are just guesses, and you are right, but at least to my way of thinking all is not doom and gloom and we are still in with a good shot at finishing in the top four.

But if we lose to West Bromwich on Saturday even my bright outlook may become a little clouded.

Written by GunnerN5

Second string Arsenal slip to narrow loss in Athens

December 5, 2012

For the third year in four Arsenal found themselves in Athens in December playing against the Greek champions with the chance to top their Champions’ League group.

As qualification had already been secured Arsène Wenger decided to rest a majority of the starting eleven from the weekend defeat to Swansea, with the team being made up of mainly squad players or youngsters.

Chesney was in goal with a back four of Jenkinson, Squillacci, Vermaelen and Meade, possibly the shortest player Arsenal have had in recent years, recalling memories of another short left back, Juan.

The midfield was made up of Coquelin, Ramsey and Rosicky behind a forward line of Gervinho, Chamakh and Oxo, who seemed to tuck inside or play a little further back than the two departees for the African Cup of Nations next month.

Despite the Olympiakos stadium with a capacity of 32,000 being less than full the game got off to a noisy start with Arsenal starting calmly, of not confidently with Chamakh winning a fair number of headers and a pattern emerging of Gervinho dwelling on the ball for too long and slowing many attacking moves. That being said, a Gervinho through ball for Chamakh early on nearly led to a shot, as did a pass from Coquelin that found our resident hookah smoker just offside after he was also involved in some defensive headers.

While the Moroccan seemed to be working hard however his lack of sharpness showed with another through ball being wasted due to a heavy touch when he almost beat the Greeks keeper, Roy Carroll, to the ball.

The first good chance for arsenal found Ramsey running onto a Chamakh pull back and then fluffing his shot rather tamely. As ever Ramsey was always showing for the ball even though some of his passes weren’t coming off and was energetic throughout.

After Arsenal’s first period of possession and attacking threat the Greeks were probing our right flank as Abdoum and Torosidis were combining well to set up scoring opportunities, while our left side was being fairly well looked after by the full debutante Meade.

And as well the centre back pairing of Vermaelen and Squillacci seemed to be working quite well, with the skipper in better form than of later with many vigorous clearing headers.

As is typical with football when one side starts to dominate they concede a goal on the counter as was the case here. Despite Gervinho constantly frustrating with making so many wrong choices in attack he cut the ball back for Tomáš Rosický onto and place into the net, 1 nil to Arsenal on 38 minutes.

rosicky scores

With Schalke only drawing at that stage it looked like the unlikely scenario of Arsenal topping the group was on at half time, when it remained 1 nil to the away side, despite a few more forward forays from the Torosidis/Abdoum axis in the last 5 minutes of the first half.

The second half started with Rosický being replaced by Arshavin, and a few early half chances for Arsenal to extend their lead with goal ward headers from Squillacci and Chamakh.

A Chamakh cross after another Arsenal counter attack was too high for Arshavin to do much about; the Russians ariel threat being virtually non-existent.

Olympiakos got more into the game as the half wore on and Coquelin found himself getting stretched to the extent he was given a yellow card for one lunging/grappling tackle too many on Abdoum, who was a menace.

Chamakh’s hard work almost paid off after he stole possession from an opposition midfielder and threaded a ball through to Arshavin who drew a good shot from Carroll.

Then a cross from the Olympiakos led to a headed shot on the Arsenal goal that appeared to come off the post but was called a corner, to the dismay of the furious Chesney, who was booked for his protestations. To rub the salt in the equaliser came from the resulting corner as a ball back into the danger area bounced off the chest of the unfortunate Ramsey into the path of Maniatis to bundle home, one one on 64 minutes.

Sensing a chance for victory Olympiakos brought on their star striker, Mitroglou, who soon worked some space in the area to curl home a snot that put the home side in front and complete a miserable turnaround as far as Arsenal were concerned.

Aside from another Arshavin run and shot and Oxo finding a second wind with some darting runs the home side held onto the ball and ran down the clock to record a win which, in terms of the final group table, meant nothing.


Olimpiacos and other Narratives

December 4, 2012

Two draws followed by a painful home defeat. How will Mr Wenger react to this poor run of form? He will send out a second rate team and pray for a draw.

We saw in the home leg how good Olympiacos are and they have a 100% home record in the Greek Super League. which they lead by 10 points.  On that rain-soaked night in October we struggled, particularly in the first half when Olympiacos showed why they are Greek Champions. We eventually won 3-1 thanks to a good performance from Gervinho and a lovely Ramsey finish in the final seconds.


This is an important game for Olympiacos who will be eager to achieve a Europa Cup place, and with Montpelier taking on Schalke they must be favourites. Add in the noisy and colourful home fans plus our 3-1 loss last season in a similar situation and you can appreciate my concerns. For once, BR thinks Arsenal will lose.

Would losing be costly? If Schalke win first place is beyond us and I believe they will win in Montpelier, so we are likely to finish second. Not really a problem. But at what cost to the morale of the team, is it in their interest to be sent out as lambs to the slaughter? Is it sensible to have young players remember that the first time they played in the first team they lost? Trouble is, the resting of the first team is more important than winning tonight, it is the reward for early qualification.

My Team:

oly v arse

With Rosicky coming off the bench on 60 mins, and some young fresh legs to replace Gervinho and Ox.

Today’s explorer: Darwin’s mate let us down at the weekend, let’s hope this chap brings better luck. Francis Light (1740 – 1794). Founder of Penang, Malaysia. Born in England, his father was unknown but he was lucky enough to be taken in by a wealthy aristocrat who had him educated as a naval officer (oh yes ….). For 10 years Light travelled around the Far East being based in Phuket (nice work if you can get it) before leasing Penang and developing Georgetown.. BR has spent many a happy hour in Penang so thank you Mr Light.


Further proof. No facial hair, no Title

It would be wonderful if tomorrow we were writing about the fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude of the team. We may not win but make us proud boys.

Written by Big Raddy

The Boxer

December 3, 2012

Have you ever seen an ex-champion boxer? I have.

Ageing, outdated, short on his wits. He can’t dodge the punches or predict his opponents next move.

Weighed by expectation, jaded by the years.

Last Saturday I watched Arsène Wenger stand on the touchline at Villa Park, drenched and lifeless.

Is this the man I have come to know and begrudgingly admire? The Professor?

The sophisticated, urbane, mastermind. The man with the plan.

He looked a beaten man.

I have spent the last week thinking of the good times. Of the first double, of Bergkamp, Henry, of Vieira and the Invincibles. Of the fast football, a team playing off the cuff.

Arsène deserves respect and lots of it but not immunity.

We convince ourselves every time that the players leave for the money and I’m sure that’s true but they also leave for success.

If you deny that you are deluded.

In recent summers Wenger has failed to convince stars to stay with a salary budget that was big enough to keep them.

Meanwhile millions are wasted on the salaries of players that are not good enough for this club.

Are the Board really offering Wenger a budget of £50m for transfers?

In my opinion, No

Is Wenger told he has to break even in the transfer market?

Well the proof of the last 7 summers tells you that is the policy. We break even on transfers, that isn’t coincidence.

So let me ask this, if Arsène came out tomorrow and said “the board are withholding funds from me” who would you back?

I wouldn’t trust our board with a pound in a phone box. I would trust Arsène.

Would I trust them to pick a successor? No

I don’t like 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 and the use of it coincides with the start of our demise. It coincides with a loss of direction, a loss of nerve.

Play 4-4-2, and for god sake play Walcott up front before you lose yet another one you stubborn old fool.

If you had  told me 7 years ago that I would be watching a bunch of overpaid minatures playing 4-3-3 with thousands of empty seats and a club run by Americans I would have laughed. I’m not laughing now.

I don’t claim to understand tactics but I understand this.

If you lose your sharpness, if you lose your edge in any sport then your are finished.

Play your system, recover your style, have a go Arsène, have a go.

If this is it, if this is how you go out, then you’re not the man I thought you were.

“We could have made a 0-0.”

Really, Is that all you’ve got?

Is that where we are now?

We could have made a 0-0 with Swansea.

Get some pace, take “le handbrake” off, play your way and be true to your beliefs.

How many times, have we heard “we had the handbrake on”. It’s your car Arsène, your handbrake.

Are you going down with a whimper?

Have you lost your nerve?

Have you gone soft?

If this was a fight then this is the moment with the sponge in the corner. The trainer telling you to step up, throw some punches and move your feet. This would be that moment.

I’m not suggesting we have a team of champions but they are good enough to beat Sunderland, Norwich, Fulham and Swansea. We got 2 points.

Either they aren’t trying or they have lost faith in what you are saying.

Stop talking about the spirit of team. Stop telling us the world is against us. The whole club has a complex.

I still think you can win the last round but if you can’t dodge the punches Arsène, maybe it’s time to get out of the ring.

Written by Arsenalista

Question Time

December 2, 2012

Swansea were very good, Arsenal were very poor. Why?

GiE – who was at the game – made this fine comment yesterday after the game………………..

Several times in the first half with the ball at centre backs feet I looked up to see a high Swansea line and Theo one on one with the left back. This is where you would normally see a player of Theo’s pace point to the space and start running. The statuesque nature of some of our players up front today was something I have seldom seen throughout Wenger’s reign.

Oh and finally what most impressed me with Swansea today the unselfish runs of their midfielders and attackers, runs they made willingly despite not being likely to be played in, it’s that movement that creates space for others.

In short the teamwork that we displayed at Anfield has disappeared, and the question that has to be asked is why? Same manager, pretty much same players, but for some reason the workrate has dropped…. fatigue I certainly hope not they are paid a lot of money to be match fit… it’s mental, confidence or desire. My fear is its the latter the only Arsenal voices in the dressing room are too young to be listened to.

Discuss …………….

How do you feel Arsenal – the business model – will cope with non-qualification to the Champions League if we fail to get into the top four?

MickyDidIt89 put this comment out there this morning …………….

Almost to a Man, and Woman, we will all continue to attend games whenever possible, irrespective of performance. Both GiE and Chas have made this point very well, in respective of meeting up with Mates and watching our beloved team and so on. On the whole, we have also lived through a wonderful period, as well as attending throughout darker days.

However, the 60,000 Emirates Project relies heavily on Corporate as well as attracting/keeping the new breed of more fickle fans, and to that end, I see real problems looming from the point of view of the business model.

I may well be wrong, but it is my belief that CL football is very important to sustain what is, somewhat tragically, a business.

The club has been holding onto a sum of money for some time that would be used for running costs should we fail to qualify for the Champions League, if that becomes a necessity then the funds available for players will be reduced. The new sponsorship/tv money will just get dropped into the hole created by no Champions Lge football.

Has the club mismanaged this ‘rainy day’ fund?

Kelsey has made some good comments recently which were echoed on Saturday Supplement ……….

I just watched Sunday Supplement and nearly word for word they are saying what I have been on for months. We are a team of individuals not a unit. The few big name players that are left will be having their doubts and will maybe also move on.
The board believe qualifying for CL is basically a trophy.

AW panicked last season and to an extent this and bought in the main sub standard players realising project youth had failed.

The question for me is if there is money available,will Wenger not spend it or is he under instructions to be over frugal?

Danishgooner was very kind to put up some player ratings from yesterdays game which are always good for some discussion.

Player ratings

Chezzer 9.Absolutely kept us in the game with amazing saves.

Per 7.Solid as ever,had a lot of firefighting to do because Vermaelen went missing several times.

Vermaelen 3.His promising start to his is Arsenal career is well and truly over,pulled out of position to easily and generally all over the place.

Carl J 4.Completely out of his debt today,tried hard and that is a positive but simply isnt very good at the moment.

Gibbs 3. Woefull in defending,absolutely atrocious and going forward not much better.

Arteta 6. Did ok but not one of his best games,lost a lot of midfield battles.

Santi 8. The one intelligent player in attack,drove us on and tried his hardest but his colleagues are not on the same wavelength.

Walcott 3. When will Wenger realize that he is not a Winger,keeping playing him in a position he doesnt do well in isnt exactly doing him any good.

Podolski 2. The games biggest disappointment, looked tired and ragged,welcome to the PL.

 Gervihno 3 Simply not suited to the Pl,to skinny and cant beat his opponent,atrocious decision making.

Jacky boy 5. Always tries but even he had a stinker and couldnt stamp his autorithy on the game.

Lots to chew over there, however you feel about yesterdays game or the way the club is going or whether you  think the manager has lost his players please don’t take your frustrations out on other bloggers if they don’t share your opinion.

A match report talking about a win would have been much more fun ………