Should we have held on to the Deadwood?

It is a widely held belief that lack of squad depth has attributed to our slide away from the top of the table to a position where some fans are concerned about our ability to hang on to fourth place.

This is a perfectly reasonable stance, but I have a question….did it have to be this way?

During most of the 12/13 season and the one before that and probably the one before the most popular references to out of favour players was deadwood, a fairly unkind term used to describe players who in the blogger’s opinion had become surplus to requirements if Arsenal wanted to achieve things.

At the end of the 12/13 season several of these players left the club:


Also on their way were a whole raft of youth teamers who didn’t make the grade, plus some who just couldn’t quite make it in to the first team squad.

One name on that list leaps out at me… here’s the question would our squad look better with Gervinho still in it?

Would we be looking at the left side of midfield thinking “if only we had a pacy winger”.

I know Gervinho was not a world beater, but he gave us options, the level of criticism fired at him meant Arsène felt compelled to sell him for his own benefit.

And this is where as Arsenal fans we probably need to alter our thinking, we seem to judge every player as if they should be a World Class talent or at least as good as the man he could replace in the team. And when we have judged them with that yardstick and decided they don’t measure up we hammer them until we ask “Why doesn’t Gervinho look up for it today?”.

We appear to be heading in a similar direction with Giroud and Podolski, some fans have decided they are not good enough so send them back from whence they come….wouldn’t it be better to find better players but also keep the players we have in the squad too?

Gooner in Exile

79 Responses to Should we have held on to the Deadwood?

  1. Shubham says:

    Gervinho was the only one in the list I would have persisted with. Having no ACN and the world cup coming, he would have been a good asset. His unpredictability and pace could have opened up a few locked doors. But the management and fans became impatient and sold him. Not to mention Arsenal got a decent fee for him too. Others were bad including Chamakh.

  2. Podge says:

    I never waned Gervinho to leave I had watched him in France and knew he was a class player before we signed him. The ‘fans’ gave him such a hard time his confidence eroded and a player without confidence will never perform. He was capable of playing across the front 3, could score goals and had the pace we’ve been crying out for all season.

    That’s a very good point about comparing every player to legends in their positions. We hold the invincibles in such high regard and rightfully so but what they achieved was incredible and takes a special team. That squad should have won the champions league as they were the best in Europe that year. It is not easy to put a squad like that together where you have the best CF in the world arguably the best CM and arguably the best CB and maybe at LB and LM as well. Every wide player gets compared to Robert Pires and that’s just pointless he was a great player. Ljunberg was not a great footballer but he helped us do great things neither was Lauren, Toure, Gilberto or Lehman but they are legends because of the squad they made up. Today’s squad isn’t finished and if we keep our first XI together we only need 2-3 players max to turn it into a squad capable of great things.

    If Draxler comes in and we expect him to be Robert Pires he will struggle. Comparing Giroud to Henry and Van Persie is likely eating away at his confidence. We should be comparing Giroud to Kanu, Wiltord or Adebayor and he comes off a lot better in those comparisons.

  3. Motning all, and thanks for the post Exile.

    I always say that if a player screws up, for whatever reason, during a game for the sake of the team’s confidence if you can’t carry on cheering them then at the very least don’t jeer.

    I was a bit surprised how quickly Geronimo was booted out but who knows what goes on behind the scenes.

    As for the rest of the list, it’s less clear cut.

    Regarding next Saturday, who’s going to Wembley and where is everyone meeting up beforehand ?

  4. RA says:

    Nice Post, Exile.

    I have no problem with any of those players going.

    The weakness in the system, with regards to some of them, was getting rid of the ‘failed’ players BEFORE obtaining replacements.

    Gervinho had a good reputation before he joined Arsenal and he has done well with Roma since leaving. But, for whatever reason, he was mainly hopeless and most fans were not sorry to see him go — (not Shubham and Podge, obviously) 🙂 and it was in his best interests to move on and enjoy his football elsewhere, as he was not happy here.

    Giroud is having a bit of a rough time now, [from some fans] but he has scored a lot of goals this season, and it maybe his form has dipped once he was caught playing away by his Missus. 🙂 Who knows?

    Podolski is a fans’ favourite in many ways, but none of us know why he only makes sporadic appearances, that is Arsene’s choice, but he seems happy enough.

    Finally, the Gerv cannot really be compared with the latter two, as they may not even leave as you are only speculating, 🙂 and if they do go, I am sure they will be replaced immediately, unlike Gervinho.

  5. arnie says:

    Thought provoking stuff, GiE. Well played, Sir. 🙂

    I would have preferred to think more before responding. But I may not be able to come in again today. So just initial thoughts for the moment.

    Nice point about Gerv. nothing to add. But what about Mannone? Of course hindsight is a great gift. But ex post knowing that Fabianski is likely to leave next year, would we have done better to hold on to Mannone instead? Whether this was an option at all I do not know.

    Finally, whoever puts the shirt on deserves full support! Particularly is their efforts cannot be faulted! 🙂

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    Thank you, Exile, you make a good case.

    Don’t really want to talk about Gervinho, as he was the reason I finally fell out with the Emirates crowd. I knew it was they that hounded him out and destroyed his confidence, while later Arsene as good as said the same thing.

    He may not have been a world beater, but he was entertaining and actually his stats were pretty damn good, however, the home crowd’s treatment was disgusting.

  7. arnie says:

    I guess one of the things that GiE wants to ask is: should the Gervs case be an eye-opener for the Ems crowd? 😦 are we making teh same mistake over again?

  8. RA says:

    Crikey, Micky, I am glad I was not in the Emirates crowd, but merely a hanger-on watching on the TV, as the Gerv strutted his stuff.

    To be accurate I have never boo-ed an Arsenal player, and I think it has personally benefited Gerv as he is settled in and playing well at Roma.

    To be candid, I was not a great fan of Gerv, but there you go, it is just one opinion.

  9. LB says:

    Yep, and there is another player that felt like pushing water up hill trying to explain that he was better than people give him credit for.

    I think the line I kept on trotting out was that he was far more effective down the left than Podolski was — my view remains the same.

    Podolski is more liked for his happy chappy, I’m an Arsenal geezer approach to being at THOF but give me goals, goals, goals any day of the week.

  10. LB says:

    Someone above mentioned that they were surprised that Wenger didn’t persevere with him a bit longer.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if he went to Wenger and said I would rather have hot needles put under my nails rather than play another season in front of that bunch of spoilt banned words .

  11. halith riz says:

    We need also need talented players at the bench, in order to be a great squad, I personally wouldn’t want Giroud or Podolski to leave the club. If u noticed this season both ofthem played well amdand scored when they came off the bench, they can be our super subs. Please let them stay because we need to strengthen our squad rather then weeken it. Them both have talents we need. Please hold on to them.

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    Top comment LB, and I 100% agree.

    I’m pretty much a fully signed up european away boy from now on.

  13. kelsey says:

    The simple fact was that Gervinho thought he was good enough to be an automatic selection and Wenger didn’t think so.

    Also it’s always a gamble when you import a player as some adjust to PL football others don’t.

  14. Gööner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, see I managed to write a headline that attracted the masses….oh maybe not then.

    I assume LB you are referring to Arshavin, think that he’s demise had something to do with that English thing of “He works hard= good, he is lazy= bad”.

    I never minded Arahavin on the ball but there were times when he did things that I thought meant he then shirked defensive responsibilities, one would be chasing a through ball to the keeper that he was never going to get, and then well “I’ll never far back to halfway now to mark my full back, I’ll just jog back from here”. Not being cut out for defensive work is one thing, purposely taking a position that meant you can hide from defensive work is another altogether.

    For the record I thought Gerv was quite a conscientious wide man who never complained about defensive side and would often drop in if Gibbs/Santos had gone past.

    But the main point was not to discuss pros and cons of various players it was more would they be better than what we have on the bench now, if so why do we the fans try to value every player that pulls on red and white as either Great or Shit. Every squad needs a bit of average joe….Milner at City for example.

  15. chas says:

    Cheers, GIE.

    Judging by yesterday’s stories of Jon Sammels being hounded out by the boo boys and earlier tales of the winger whose gait caused ‘handbag’ comments, the same thing has always happened amongst some Arsenal fans.
    You could feel some of the crowd willing Gerv to miss one-on-ones just so that they could laugh at his incompetence. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle when a player starts to lose confidence.

    Let’s face it, a lot of people who go to watch football are just plain stupid. I’ve heard pretty damning stuff at away games, too, though the home crowd do appear to expect more having given little or no support. Perhaps a 4 or 5 hour round trip to see a game helps to give you some perspective at least.

    Apart from Gerv, Djourou is the other one who might have been worth keeping, though being 4th choice must be depressing, especially when 3rd choice is not seeing a huge amount of playing time either.

  16. jnyc says:

    I like giroud, but he should be sold. I don’t think he is good enough to be our first or second choice. If a main striker goes down to a long injury, we would struggle to score from the position.
    Basically I want a complete overhaul of the position.

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi GIE.

    The unfortunate fact is that some players end up not fitting into the Arsenal mold. These same players may be exceptional in other teams using different tactics, but our fans have expectation’s that are not always met.

    Of the players you mentioned, Gervinho, Mannone and Chamakh
    have all settled into 1st team places with their new teams and are all doing well. However all three (not surprisingly) suffered injuries with Arsenal was that played a big part in their demise.

    Arshavin was his own worst enemy, his four goals at Anfield were his downfall, he set the fans expectations and simply could no live up to the standard he had set – plus he was extremely lazy.

    But back to your point, I could not see any of them improving our bench strength, as in the end result even though they are doing well after their respective transfers they are nowhere near as good as the players we have now, assuming they were all fit and available.

  18. GunnerN5 says:


    I remember telling the story about the handbag incident in one of my posts.

    It referred to Doug Lishman who was one of our stars of the 40’s and 50’s – he played from 1948 to 1956 and scored 137 goals in 244 appearances – including his 3 consecutive hat tricks at Highbury.

    The comment was derogatory but when it was yelled out by one of the crowd it was met with a round of laughter. I didn’t mean to make it sound as though he was being hounded because that was not as I remember it, however he was barracked slightly about his style.

    He was tackled and when he got up to run down the wing a loud voice yelled out – “Hey Lishman you’ve dropped your handbag”.

    Maybe its just me but it still brings a smile to my face.

  19. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 that’s the point though….I am looking at our current bench with all those injuries, now would you like Gerv on it?

  20. jnyc says:

    Also would sell podolski while he still has some value, to be replaced by someone who Arsene would use more. Maybe another winger/striker.
    By the way, I was very impressed with gervihnos raw talent. I expected allot from him, such a shame it didn’t work out. I think he should have skipped an ACN to focus on his team form one time.

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    That’s simple GIE – Yes!

  22. chas says:

    Fairy snuff about Lishman, GN5.
    Not hounded as Sammels, Gervinho, Eboue, Arshavin and others have been.

  23. IanRealGunner says:

    I remember watching Gervinho away at Blackburn 3 seasons ago (when we lost 4-3) and his biggest asset was his pace – something that you only really get a feel for when watching live rather than on TV. The problem with him was that he never seemed to have control of the ball, which is unusual as AW normally has technical ability as a pre-requisite for a player. Gervinho may have been a good impact substitute, late on in the game, or if a team was playing a high line. I find it funny when my wife comments on players; she used to comment on Gervinho, mainly about him tripping over the ball. Her latest few have been, “Giroud looks like he is running backwards”, and “Andy Carroll just looks like a really big boy running around out of control, and barging into people”. Perhaps she could join Dick Laws’ scouting team.

  24. Domhuail says:

    Nice post Exile. Of the named ¨deadwood¨, only the following were certifiably woody:

    Squillaci,Santos and Chamakh.

    Mannone was and still is an excellent keeper but never got the opportunities at AFC because of the quality in front of him. Arshavin proved his class and abilities but fell out of the pecking order and Gervinho was the whipping boy for the whiners and moaners whose mantra was and always will be, ¨we want invincibles….wahhhhhhhh!¨

    What current players fit this category? Bendtner, Giroud, Djourou, Monreal, Podolski, Arteta, Wilshere, Ozil and the list goes on. Lets face it, the boo-boys will nominate any player having a supposed off season or even a few games as deadwood! Ramsey is a case in point, but their fickle natures won’t allow them to actually support the entire team, unless they have a fall guy or ¨deadwood¨ to victimize… they are bullies of the lowest sort.

  25. Big Raddy says:

    Interesting post GIE.

    It is not only the club and fans who are involved in a player leaving – it is also the player and his agent.

    Mannone loved AFC but wanted first team football and has got it. FairPlay to him – he would never have achieved his ambitions at AFC.

    Gervinho: I am sorry but the man was not good enough for AFC, he just couldn’t function under the pressure and pace in the PL. Serie 1is so much slower and suits his game. Again good luck to the bloke.

    Arshavin was a mystery. Tremendous talent and had the vision required at the top level – his problem seemed to be a too healthy appetite. A man who ate his way through the entire menu. Lovely player and a lovely smile but wasted at AFC. He should have gone to La Liga

    The others – not good enough

    Would I like any of them on the bench. No.

  26. chas says:

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Newcastle fans must be furious. The team has been “on the beach” since January but tickets for the sell out ground still cost the same

  28. stevepalmer1 says:

    Nice post,
    Gervinho or curtains, brings a smile to my face. Personally i liked him, you always knew where he was, and he was also a worker, Many’s the time he held the ball too long, but it has to be said that he looked on his own at times.

    I have to say that i didn’t understand the way that Walcott made him switch wings, and have seen it be done with others as well, i often used to think that if Walcott had a hard time with his defender he looked to change. Gervinho would take on any defender and could turn them inside out where Walcott could only outpace them. I felt that Walcott released the ball to quickly at times where Gervinho held on to it , Being fair to Gervinho our centre forward has been slow and offered very little up front to pass to.

    Arshavin i felt was played out of position and he found it hard to adapt until he lost interest. He gained weight and pined for home. Had he played in the position he was best suited to i beleive he could have still been here.

    The others was in all honesty Deadwood, and when working to a budget they had to go..

  29. Gööner In Exile says:

    El Spaniardo’s …… As you can see from the opening Soanish not a strong point….can anyone translate :

  30. arnie says:

    in for only a few minutes, and off topic as well, apols. just wanted to share that I am very very nervous about tomorrow. read the articl on Martinez in today’s The Guardian, even more nervous now. 😦 COYG. 🙂

  31. LB says:

    Thank you very much Santi Cazorla “Juniors A” of the Youth League.

    Thank you very much for making me the banner, you are the greatest.

    The thing is we don’t know what Santi did for them.

  32. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thanks LB, thought the “Estadio” might have meant he paid for their pitch or something…..that’s why I asked.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    A mystery that needs solving.

  34. arnie says:

    a pity, GiE, what a poor return to a nice thought provoking post. 😦 a mystery what happens to the site sometimes.

  35. chas says:

    As far as I can make out, the badge at the left hand end of that banner is for the Real Oviedo youth academy.
    Santi, Mata and Michu all went there and when they are transferred the club get some part of the fee as some sort of recompense for their training.
    Real Oviedo nearly went under in 2012 and Santi, Mata and Michu all bought shares to help save the club.

  36. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie, as others sometimes say, comments are least of my worries, not to bothered about hits either. And like you maybe too many are nervous about today’s game and are hiding under the sofa.

    Makes sense Chas.

    I had a terrible dream about Wemberlee last night, more the arse of getting there, not having my Green Man ticket and my Mum dropping me off at the station. My mum doesn’t drive so it was a scary moment. Then I forgot my AwayBoyz ticket so had to go back and wait for postman….then I ran in to a load of United fans at Norwich station. All very surreal.

  37. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Be honest here Exile, was Kelsey in the dream dressed as a Drag Queen or similar?

  38. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Is Ramsey definitely in the squad for today?

  39. chas says:

    Last time we played Everton away at this time on a Sunday. 2-1 to the Yellows.
    Only first 10 seconds……

  40. chas says:

    Sorry to have given you a nightmare with the posting the pub ticket idea.
    Apparently the venue holds 2000, 500 tickets printed and the rest on the door. I wouldn’t want you to get there at 1 without a ticket and the whole world and his wife had arrived between 11 and 1, meaning you couldn’t get in.

  41. chas says:

    It sounds as though Rambo only joined full training on Thursday.
    Surely today is too soon for a comeback?

  42. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas you of all people should know the weirdness of my dreams lately, remember I told you before Swans that I had dreamt of being responsible for cutting the lovely Suzanna Reid’s hair.

    She hasn’t been on BBCbreakfast since so maybe I did butcher it and it wasn’t a dream after all 🙂

  43. chas says:

    I thought you said it was a pubic coiffure job?

  44. White Bear says:

    GiE – I sympathize, I often have nightmares before games. We usually win, but sometimes I end up dancing with Thierry Henry, so good result after all

    Was there a more important game this season than today’s fixture?

  45. White Bear says:

    lovely Suzanna Reid?? OMG, she is my most hated BBC presenter, I wrote complaints about her, hate that pretentious stupid cow. A gold fish has more personality than Suzanna Reid

  46. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Evonne

    Yes, many, I think. FAC Games. One or two in the CL. Anyway, even if we lose, there’s still plenty of games left to put things right.

    You may relax.

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh God, do I bother to google Suzanna Reid?

  48. White Bear says:

    Relax? Re-lax?! RELAX. You can’t be serious!!

    I think I would quite enjoy strangling Maurinho

  49. White Bear says:

    No Micky, don’t bother, she aint worth it. Good looking, self obsessed, stupid female. Her husband is divorcing her, cannot say I blame him

  50. Big Raddy says:

    White Bear. You could turn off the television. Like Didit, I have no idea who this woman is.

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just did. Guess there must be either a mistake, or there are two of them, and I just can’t find a pic of the good looking version 🙂

  52. White Bear says:

    BR – sometimes I enjoy being angry with TV 🙂

    All the top 4 contenders (except for ONE) are banging goals in as there was no tomorrow. They must be worried that it will come down to a goal difference in May

  53. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Actually Evonne,

    I take that relax comment back. Get tense and stressed right this minute. I’ve just looked at the league table. Holy crap.

    ps She’s not good looking 🙂

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Got it Evonne. If Ms Reid is on the BBC then she’s only employed as she’s filling some positive discrimination quota, and in her case it’ll be the “pushy thin lipped career obsessed bitch” category 🙂

  55. chas says:

    You always fancied Angela Ripon, didn’t you, Micky? Especially the fat lips.

  56. White Bear says:

    holy crap it is Micky, no shit

    I was sort of saying that I don’t mind not playing in CL next season. Even very clever people say some fooking stupid things

  57. Morning all

    Poor me, poor me, poor me I’m just not getting enough sympathy. Clearly this is the downside of being a ‘wonder woman’ everyone reckons ‘oh broken shoulder? She’ll be fine’ but I’m so uncomfortable!!!!!!!!!

    Anyway I’m very disappointed that neither chavs nor oily chavs managed a small slip up yesterday. Is this the most important must win game today? Maybe, a loss to Everton will not be good but a draw still leaves space between us and them.

  58. Anyone got any ideas who the radicalised ex Arsenal player might be?

  59. RA says:

    Hi Peaches, 🙂

    I did not realise you had damaged your shoulder – that must be really painful and make sleeping difficult.

    You have my sympathy and best wishes for a speedy healing.

    Anyway – it will teach you not to keep hurling midgets so energetically! 🙂

  60. chas says:

    Don’t talk about Rasp like that!

  61. Morning Redders

    I agree, I reckon that juggling babies game is overrated.

    And sleeping is a complete nightmare!!!!!

    Evonne – I have that dream of when we win and I’m dancing with Thierry Henry too 🙂

  62. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hurling midgets 🙂

    Now Peaches, this “wonder woman” tag. Does this mean you wear your knickers on the outside?

  63. Raddy – can you give us a clue when you’ve put your team in the post please 😉

  64. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    Well there aren’t many teams that the season is already over for and the two who had nothing to play for were Newcastle and Stoke,so not surprised about the results.
    Lampard takes a penalty with 3 Chelsea players well inside the box before he kicks it, saved and lucky rebound back to Lampard

    Arteta takes a penalty two weeks ago,with a slight infringement by one or two of others. Verdict. Has to be retaken.

  65. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And Thierry told me he has a dream of winning followed by a threesome. Spooky or what?

  66. MickyDidIt89 says:


    If you’re not bothered about CL football next term, what are you worried about?

    Mind you, even highly intelligent women can be wrong sometimes. Europa Cup would be a complete disaster.

  67. Kelsey – I thought exactly the same thing about the Lampard penalty yesterday

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, time for a nap.

  69. White Bear says:

    Poor, poor Peaches 😦 Her arm looks like a footballers tattooed skin – all black and blue.

    RA – don’t you dare calling my granddaughter a midget!!! Peaches broke her shoulder trying to protect the baby, a hero! There is a hole in the wall to prove it.

    Peaches – I didn’t sleep either, but it was good, I found £30k at night 🙂

  70. White Bear says:

    No Micky, it wouldn’t. We could even win it!

  71. kelsey says:


    kindly sort out the controls for me. I have asked several times:)

    A draw wouldn’t be the endof the world but our goal difference is an issue and Iwould rather we pushed for third. The only team I can see falter enough above us is Liverpool.
    If Chelsea or United (yes I know,don’t say it) win the CL and we are forth,then Thursday night it is and that needs even a bigger squad and numerous more games.

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh no Evonne. Picture this:

    “Ok Smithers, you’re in charge of Corporate entertainment, well next week Mr Wong and his fwends get in from the Orwient. They want a game of football to watch. Arsenal, a half empty Stadium against the drunks from Dynamo Dublin, or Chelsea playing Real Madrid. You choose”

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Sorry chaps and chapesses the post is late thanks to some total tosspot messing about with the internet (may his testes wither).

    Nearly done though …..

  74. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……

    ….. New post ………

  75. RA says:

    White Bear, Evonne, or Zzskzvzkezz as you are known in Poland, 🙂

    I am surprised that you claim to have difficulty sleeping.

    I thought Chas said you were going to be kind and show Peaches how to hang from her feet overnight – and that would take the pressure off her damaged shoulder! 🙂

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