Has this season been a success or a failure?

Bit of both. We showed fantastic solidity and consistency until January, but throughout the season, we’ve looked more pedestrian than any of us would like. The goals scored column is testament to that. And then when it started to go wrong, it did it spectacularly.

4th place for us does look disappointing, and it is, but nobody foresaw Liverpool’s amazing last half of the season, not even them. My Liverpool mates were still saying in December that they were rooting for Arsenal to win the title, on the assumption that 4th was the summit of their ambitions. I don’t think we’ve gone backwards, and the emergence of Ramsey has been the highlight of the season, but I don’t feel too warm and fuzzy about where we have finished and how we got there. We could and should have done better, even with all the injuries.

Amazing to think that Everton, Spurs and Hull will be in the Europa League next season but not Man United. As the MotD highlights showed, whoever gets Moyes’ old office has an enormous job ahead: a new defence and a new midfield – you don’t get those from LIDL.

City certainly look like champions now. From a footballing point of view, it amazes me how they haven’t won everything in the last four years or so. Says something about a lack of character there that they make it such a competition, despite having so many superb players. But it does look like they’ll win now.

Stunning recoveries from Crystal Pulis and Sunderland, much respect. And it was good to see Roberto Martinez serving such a good apprenticeship for taking over from Le Prof in a year or two…..

Written by 26may89

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144 Responses to Has this season been a success or a failure?

  1. S j little says:

    Pity we qualified for the so called champions league again!
    It means Wengers failure will continue.

  2. Shubham says:

    Agree with you friend. It has been routine if I may say. 2 basic targets fulfilled. 4th place trophy secured and St. Totteringham’s day celebrated. Now, for the season to be considered relatively successful we need to clinch the FA Cup. Then start next season with more verve, quality and positive feel.

  3. chas says:

    Thanks, 26, for a fair assessment of our current position.

    I can’t be too disappointed with 4th as we’ve been the fourth best team both in defence and attack. How different it may have been with Theo and Rambo fit we’ll never know, though I’d prefer to think it would have been at least half a dozen points different which would have made us serious contenders for the title.

    Our form against teams in the bottom half of the table has been excellent. we just need to play better against the top half teams and the goats will be stirring. 🙂

    http://www.statto.com/football/stats/england/premier-league/2013-2014/versus-bottom-half/full

  4. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning all,

    Well 26, you’ve answered your own question with the first three words of your post, “Bit of both”.

    We will only know for sure after the FA Cup Final, win that and I suppose it could then be said that we’ve had a successful season. But is winning our third choice target good enough?

    Much has been made of the disastrous injury situation but that only serves to highlight the paucity of quality options from the bench. The squad has just not been strong enough. The failure to strengthen in the January transfer window was a huge mistake, I don’t call the loan signing of a player who has managed less than an hour on the pitch in half a season strengthening.

    Fourth place was the minimum requirement in the league. The knock-out stage of the Champions League was again the minimum requirement.

    The fact that Liverpool made spectacular progress, up to last night 😀 , and Man U crashed and burned made no difference to our final league position.

    The three crushing defeats by our main rivals was a further indictment of the weakness of the squad as well as the apparent lack of awareness by the players on the pitch.

    All in all, I can’t really say we have had a successful season and without significant reinforcements arriving in the summer I don’t think we can look for anything better in the next campaign.

  5. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Whoa, 26

    I’d prefer it if you didn’t mention LIDL on a public forum where other Managers may be sniffing around.

    LIDL is where you pick up excellent quality German goods at highly competitive rates.

    I seriously hope Arsene pops in over the summer.

    Thank you, excellent read.

  6. RC78 says:

    I think the season can be considered:
    – satisfactory/positive if we win the FA Cup;
    – average if we do not win the FA Cup.

    In any case, there are some:
    – promises with our excellent home form, our consistency against lower ranked teams, the emergence of Ramsey and to a lesser degree Gnabry, the hope that Ozil will be better next year and the fact that we led the league for quite a while;

    – concerns with the amount of injuries suffered again this year, the lack of pace and width to our game when Theo is injusred, the lack of steel in midfield against big teams, the health of Wilshere, the awful performances against top ranked teams and the lack of apparent Plan B

    Let us see how we end this season to assess our team’s overall performance but so far, I think we have fared according to expectations
    – in the EPL by finishing in the Top 4;
    – in the CL by losing to a big European team in the knock-out stage;
    – in the domestic cups by having a strong run in one of them.

  7. Adrian says:

    If we win the FA Cup (no reason we shouldn’t, it’d be disastrous), then yes this season can be deemed successful in my eyes, purely on the fact that this would be our first trophy in nine years (about freaking time). But we definitely need have a lot of work to do to strengthen our squad this summer. A new DM, a new striker/winger (would be satisfied with us getting a new pacy striker and activating Vela’s buy back clause), a new CB (please please keep Verm if possible), a new RB (Coleman in an ideal world) and also a backup GK.

    Not going to be easy signing so many players of top calibre, but if Wenger signs his new 2 year contract I expect him to bring us forward in that period. With the extra sponsorship funds etc available now we really have no excuse to remain stagnant.

  8. Rasp says:

    Thanks 26m, nice idea for a post – this is one of several topics that divide Arsenal supporters.

    At the start of the season (pre Ozil) I’d have settled for 4th again. When we were TOTL for so long, nothing less than top 2 would have seemed acceptable. After the disastrous 2 ‘death clusters’, I was back to praying for 4th. So all in all, 4th and the FA cup means we’ve made progress. But what could have been?????

    What does concern me is our lack of ability (or perhaps stubborn refusal) to learn from our mistakes. Had we been more pragmatic at times this season we would not be having to pre-qualify for the CL.

  9. Rasp says:

    From Sky Sports …..

    As a result of breaking the FFP rules, Man City have had their CL squad reduced to 21 and been fined £50m …….

    %$£&ing wow!!!!

    If this is the sort of penalty imposed on big clubs who flaunt FFP they’ll all be delighted I’m sure. £50m is but a grain of sand to city’s owners

  10. Is the first comment the troll?

  11. The smaller squad might affect them. Not much though and they’ll appeal and get it quashed

  12. chas says:

    Completely agree, Rasp.
    What’s the point in fining clubs who have bottomless wells of money. Unless its just revenue generation?
    Is the 50m included in their expenditure for this year even?
    21 players is no hardship either.
    Pathetic.

    It would be amazing if City didn’t agree to the sanctions.

  13. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp, City have until Friday to agree a “settlement” with UEFA. Failure to agree a deal would see a club referred to an adjudicatory panel in June where a non-negotiable penalty would be applied.

    So they can negotiate with UEFA over the size of the penalty, bet your life it will be reduced to an almost insignificant level.

  14. Rasp says:

    Hi gm, no, not the troll – just troll-like 😕

  15. chas says:

    I presumed it was sniffer.

  16. Rasp says:

    Hi NG, £50m is insignificant to City. A financial penalty is pointless, they must be punished in other ways that will make them think twice about doing it again.

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi chas, either way, it was one to be ignored.

  18. Adrian says:

    I agree, 50M is a slap to the wrist to the Arabs. And another important question is where does this 50M go to? If its for the development of football/UCL in general then fine, but not to pay for another private jet for Mr. Platini. Needs some clarification and transparency.

  19. It was never going to work anyway. Platini’s son is on the board of PSG. It’s all talk

  20. RC78 says:

    There is a motion in place to make the FFP illegal…Apparently, it goes against some EU Labour and Competitiveness laws…

    Anyways, the sanction is still quite decent: 50 Mln is a lot of cash + only 21 players for the CL is a big blow given that you still have to register home-grown and association players in it…

  21. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Why is FFP always scorned at?

    Firstly, £50 Mill is a lot of money, even to rich Arabs

    Secondly, a champions league squad of 21 players with 8 homegrown players within it, is a severe punishment.

    Thirdly, the details are not yet clear but there is also talk of a wage cap, so if true has vast ramifications for City and there like.

    If you guys think these sort of sanctions are not severe and that City dont care so will not fight it, think again.

  22. Rasp says:

    I have thought about it TMHT, and you’re wrong 😆

  23. chas says:

    50 mil is peanuts to them, surely?
    Do CL squads use the homegrown rule?
    Wage cap, mmmmmm, believe that when I see it.

  24. chas says:

    Nothing less than a CL ban for a season, ban on transfers and public flogging of Nasri would be acceptable. 🙂

  25. crystals says:

    Only one sanction will work and that is a points deduction. It has been implemented over here in our league on several occasions.

    Getting back to the post not sure about the answer,but if what AW has now said,there will be limited spending this Summer despite a significant increase in funds..

    The league was there for the taking with a little more planning last Summer and in January even though one couldn’t forsee the amount of long term injuries.

    Even with Suarez we still would have been humiliated in those 3 Away games. Lessons were not learnt.

    One has to accept freak results,this season more than any but a Cup win and back in Europe isn’t too bad,but in years to come one might consider this season as the one that got away.

  26. arnie says:

    Nice stuff to brighten up a quiet-ish period of play. Thank you. 🙂

    Success is necessarily relative to the other also-rans, so let us come to that second.

    First question. Has progress been made?

    No major departures in the summer, plus the arrival of Ozil and the continued development of Rambo and Szcz. Plus, Walcott, Wilshere, and The Ox, despite curtailed seasons. Much was expected therefore, and much was achieved certainly on the defensive front. In attack, yes some lovely team goals to celebrate, but overall a lack of goals. So, yes, progress but modest progress.

    Second, what about success?

    Beginning of the season, most expected Shitty to be strong. They have had their own periods in the shadows, but they will get the EPL crown, well done to them. Oiled up, yes, two fingers to FFP, yes, but at least they played an attractive game.

    As others have pointed out Liverpool was the surprise package. Their downfall had to come sometime, and it did come but rather late in the season. So well done to them as well.

    The Chavs played a boring tactical game with an ageing squad. Nothing much of note, except for Maureen’s antics. A pity that we are not above them in the league. If only our home record against the so-called big boys was a little bit better. Alas!

    So we end up 4th, like last year, progress in the CL and bow out with heads held high, same as last year. We have held firmly to our position despite many of our rivals oiling up. Well done to the good guys. If we win the FA Cup, it is certainly a successful season.

    Let us fight and achieve this. COYG. 🙂

  27. I disagree about our squad being weak. We lost Ozil Ramsey and Jack from our midfield how many top quality midfielders can you have.? We have a much better squad than the bindippers and look where they got with less injuries. We don’t need much apart from a right back, 2 strikers and a top class defensive midfielder.

    The fact that 4th isn’t a success shows how high our expectations are. Before the season started we were doomed as usual.

  28. arnie says:

    On squal depth, I have mixed opinions. I like teh fact that we play with a somewhat limited squad, so that we can offer chances to the young gunners. I like this idea.

    At the same time, I have to admit that our second string has not been as effective as I would have hoped. We were therefore left exposed by injuries to key players.

    Maybe the change in the academy setup will prove good. If we have to attract young players, there must be some hope for them to play in our team.

    Also, the moot point therefore is why did we focus so much on the midfield and not on other parts of the pitch. Particularly a striker. Frankly, I do not know. Will this change? I do not know as well.

  29. arnie says:

    should have addressed the first line of my comment at 12:10 to 26may. Apols. 😛

  30. From what I can gather We had Higuain, Suarez’s agent (pep’s brother) told Arsenal about the non existent clause so we went after him and let Higuain go. The clause turned out to be bollocks and the very good strikers were all gone. Wenger tried to get Ba on loan but was stitched up by the chavs (clever move by them) so we had to go with what we have. I have no idea why we didn’t get a striker in January. Maybe Wenger is waiting for a big name in the summer or maybe we’d done our budget on Ozil. I think we’ve got Remy. I can’t see why he’d be at the game otherwise and Arsene’s comments sound like a wind up. We’ll see.

  31. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Its a fine balancing act not to damage the game yet at the same time implement rules that will curtail ridiculous spending. For me, this is a good start and will help swing thing things back to a more even keel.

    Thanks 26

    Its been a very good season. For the last decade the Club has been dealt blow after blow by losing players to rivals and faced severe restrictions in its ability to generate marketable income from sponsorship.

    My take is that this season we have just dusted ourselves down, stood up, and will now begin to seriously compete.

    Chelsea and Citys spending has slowed, Utd have lost there way, and this has allowed the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, and Everton to close the gap.

    Out of all the Clubs chasing those “big” three, though I accept Liverpool have had a great season and have potential, we are the best positioned both financially and squad wise to usurp them from the top.

    Its not a pipe dream. What ever peoples feelings about the last decade may be, the time has now come for Arsenal to become a major force.

  32. Rasp says:

    Hi gm, I’m not so sure about Remy. He’s been a bad boy and is awaiting a court hearing over some potentially serious charges.

    I really like the idea of Balotelli. He’s not a bad person intrinsically – just misunderstood 🙄

  33. I’m not sure if I want Remy Rasp. I just think we’ve got him. I’ve always liked Balotelli

  34. Are the ghosts stirring Terry?

  35. Adrian says:

    If Benzema would really be available as the rumour mills state so, I’d love it we put in a bid for him. Maybe Ozil in the team could be an added factor that works in our favour. Wishful thinking probably but one can dream…

    We’ve also been linked to Drmic, a young striker in the bundesliga. Saw some videos of him and he has massive potential and already playing with lots of flair at such a young age. At the quoted price of around 8M it could prove to be a great buy.

  36. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi GM

    The Ghosts will always stir my friend.

    By the way, ime a bit pissed at those living quarters youve got. I had images of you sending a young Viet boy on a 20 Mile trek to go fetch water from a well to alleviate your sun burn and dehydration. Yet you show up in an Olympic sized swimming pool

    You jammy git. hahaha

  37. dadgooner says:

    So many idiots – maybe finishing in top 4 has become routine and boring – consistency can be boring if you are a bit thick and don’t actually appreciate what it takes to achieve that consistency despite all the problems you face in season – why not go support spurzzz or everton and see how much you just might appreciate what AW has achieved for Arsenal FC for the last 17yrs you complete morons. Has only been disappointing because we got into a great position but ultimately failed due to key injures at bad times…. we wont finish THAT far behind the winner of Prem….compare THAT to previous seasons and then moan. COYG……..May 17th cannot wait……you miserable gits will no doubt be hoping for a Hull win #plasticgooners

  38. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha tremendous rant dad.

    No need to call people thick though dad. Ive got an O Level in technical drawing

  39. RC78 says:

    – Rémy coming in as a right forward for 10 Mln
    – Drmic coming in as a striker for 7 Mln
    – Bender coming in as DM for about 18.5 Mln
    – If Sagna leaves, we re getting Aurier from Toulouse for 8 Mln

    – Also monitored: Coleman, Veltman, Barry, Draxler, Zakaaria Bakali

  40. Rasp says:

    Hi dadgooner, as a new guest on the site I will extend you the courtesy of a chance to phrase your second comment in more acceptable terms.

    The majority of comments today have reached the conclusion that this season has been a success. We don’t need to be lectured by you and you certainly haven’t made any points that have not already been aired on here many times before. For a ‘dad’ you certainly have some growing up to do!

  41. RC78 says:

    Dusan Tadic also

  42. dadgooner. Most people on here do appreciate Wenger. No need for that

  43. 26may1989 says:

    Whoa, what’s this about the FFP enforcement not being strong enough?

    Of course the fine doesn’t really affect them (though that will further cramp City’s ability to comply with the thresholds in subsequent years), but as Terry pointed out, the 21-man limit on the CL squad would be a major problem for City, given that they would need to allocate 8 of those places to English trained players. In real terms that means dropping up to FOUR of the following players from the CL squad:

    1. Kompany
    2. Zabaleta
    3. Kolarov
    4. Clichy*
    5. Demichelis
    6. Nasri
    7. Javi Garcia
    8. Navas
    9. Silva
    10. Fernandinho
    11. Yaya Toure
    12. Negredo
    13. Dzeko
    14. Aguero
    15. Jovetic
    16. Nasatsic
    17. Pantilimon

    (* Our recruitment of the young Clichy may mean he qualifies as English-trained, depends on when that happened.)

    I’m sure Pelligrini is absolutely livid about that intrusion on his management of the side. The fact that he currently only has Hart, Milner, Richards, Lescott and Rodwell to act as counterweights is a serious problem for them.

  44. omgarsenal says:

    26May89….you had me fooled for a moment as I thought your post was about the Arsenal’s season but it appears to have been about a few other EPL Clubs as well! However your article’s title was rather generic, that’s true.:)
    I can’t agree with you regarding this season, especially your belief that ¨We could and should have done better, even with all the injuries.¨ Take 4-7 first team starters out of City ,Chelsea , Liverpool or for that matter ANY EPL team for any length of time and you’ll soon see what a devastating impact that has on their season. Would City have won without Aguero,Silva, Toure and Negredo for half the season? Maybe, maybe not. would Chelsea be in the top 4 without Hazard, Oscar, Lampard or Terry? I really doubt it. Would Liverpool have enjoyed such a resurrection without Suarez, Girard, Sterling and Sturridge? Most assuredly NOT.
    We have improved this season, especially in the FA Cup run and we will likely finish the season with more points than since 2006. Had we not conceded so many goals at the Kop, the Ethiad and at Chelsea, our goal difference would have been very admirable. Finally, we tied 8 games…..and lost only 7, had we won 4 of those 8 tied games, we’d have been top or thereabouts.
    A CL place for the 18th straight season, finishing once again above the Spuds, a possible FA Cup and Ozil,Giroud and Ramsey’s excellent seasons all add up to a success in my book.

  45. Rasp says:

    Hi 26m, are you sure that they will still insist on 8 English trained players in the reduced sized CL squad – they may reduce it pro-rata = 6?

    City can just buy a couple of decent English players if they need to. I agree with Kelsey, a points deduction would be a more punishing sanction.

  46. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks for nice comments about the headline post, but in truth peaches cannibalised it from a comment I made a few days back (and before the weekend’s round of matches).

    I do think we have plenty of reasons to be cheerful but plenty of cause to think “What if…..” as well. I don’t go along with the suggestion that we have a weak squad: I think our first choice XI is incomplete. And given Wenger’s attempts last summer to buy Suarez and Cabaye, I think he’s of the same opinion. As for buying in January, yes, if the players were available, we could have maintained our title challenge and perhaps we would have been preparing to collect the PL trophy now. But the crucial bit is “if the players were available” – there isn’t a magic button marked “Press if you want to recruit a top class striker or winger now”. This idea that the club made a decision not to recruit looks completely baseless.

    But I do symapthise with Rasp’s criticism, the players and the coaches appear not to have learnt lessons at times. The failure to respond properly to what was happening in the defeats to Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea were especially poor – how is it that experienced players don’t react when things are going badly like that? We may have still lost all of those games, but the failure by the players to react (which should also be blamed on the coaches) made defeat in each of the games a certainty. And the failure to lift themselves against United (twice), Swansea, Stoke and Southampton also cost us valuable points.

  47. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, I’m pretty sure the 8 reserved spots for domestically trained players will remain – there’s nothing in the rules about pro rata-ing those thresholds. But we will have to see precisely what comes out once the process is complete.

    As for buying English replacements, who? And what level of premium will they need to pay on such purchases given that the world will know their FFP situation?

    They might try to use use money to dig themselves out of a hole that results from the excessive expenditure of the recent past, but that is likely to get them into more serious problems further down the line. Bear in mind that the FFP enforcement regime is built on carrot and stick: this is the suite of punshments City get now (the aim being to get them to comply with the fianncial thresholds) but if they continue on the path they’re on, they will be looking at disqualification in a few years’ time, so they can’t afford to spend willy-nilly if they want to remain in the CL in the medium term.

    Although the details are not out yet, I’m reasonably impressed that UEFA appear to have dealt with the dummy commercial deals that PSG and City have tried to use to evade the rules (the “commercial” deals being overvalued contracts signed with entities linked to their owners). That takes a degree of fortitude, since the lawyers and accountants working for PSG and City will have attempted to disguise the arrangement in complex ways, much as tax dodging multinationals do, and I half-expected UEFA to chicken out of classifying the deals properly. Seeing through those structures risks litigation but is essential if the system is to work.

  48. Rasp says:

    Thanks 26m, I bow to your greater knowledge of these matters. We will have to wait and see how much of what is threatened will be enforced once those pesky lawyers have done their worst 🙂

  49. Danish Gooner says:

    Massively selfinflicted failure.Had Wenger not been procrastinating in january we would have been looking at a double and 90 points in the account.Instead we are once again looking at what could and should have been,scared of spending just a little money is what this will get you,mind you the so called professeur have done it before in 2008 and 2011 exactly the same predicament and exactly the same outcome.Doing nothing when the fire starts will get you burned but hey our own Kim-jung Wenger will do exactly the same next season(absolutely nothing)and fail spectacularly again because he is set in his arrogant,stubborn ways.

  50. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Spot on 26.

    Uefa do not want to disqualify any body, and the likes of City know that. City also know that the rules are flexible enough for them to cement there position within the European elite without taking the piss.

    A compromise will hopefully be found, but either way the rules curtail the oilers options, which can only be good for the likes of Arsenal.

  51. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, I could only claim greater knowledge on the legal bits, as far as the rest of it goes, i.e., the footballing bits that really matter, we’re all the same, ignorant together! 🙂

    The BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27290532) are reporting that the squad size limit could go as low as 18, which would mean seven of the foreign players I listed being dropped. That could be a very painful experience. And were a squad wage cap added on top of that, given that City’s players are averaging £100k per week basic (the best paid members of any sporting team in the world), the decisions could get even harder.

  52. If only our home draws had been wins! Home losses: Liverpool, 2; Arsenal, Chelsea, MC, 1. Home draws: Arsenal,5; Chelsea, 3; MC, Liverpool, 1

  53. Rasp says:

    Thanks 26m, it would be an amusing sight if the wage cap meant City could only field 7 players 😛 but we know that won’t happen, they’ll buy their way out one way or another.

  54. RA says:

    I enjoyed your Post when it was two itty bitty baby comments, 26, and there is no reason to change my mind.

    One over-riding problem for the administrators of FFP, and I am in the cynical but prepared to be pleasantly surprised camp, is that there is no way on god’s earth that the TV guys who pay billions for the right to screen the CL, or the sponsors of the clubs for that matter, will allow any club to be removed from the competition, without reaching for their equivalent of your goodself, and shouting foul.

    I am not sure what Rasp means about deducting points.
    Once a club has qualified for the CL that is that. Deducting points at the group stage will help others in that group and distort the competition.

    It’s in or out, I think. (Ssh, Terry, we are talking football here!!) 🙂

  55. Rasp says:

    Hi New Yorker, there’s an old English saying “If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle” 😛 which literally means that ifs and buts do not an argument make. I bet the pool fans are saying “if only we’d played for a draw against Cheski and then not been so gung ho against Palace.

    I’m as guilty as you in this. If only we’d played with more conviction against manure at home etc

  56. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders, I don’t see why its not feasible for city to start their group stage campaign on -3 for instance. I know its a UEFA thing, but why does it have to be the CL? better they start the domestic season on -10

  57. The post !…….A bit of both, so I shall say it`s been a successful failure !…….and that’s if we win the FAC !…..if not, then we would have failed to be successful !. 😆

    I`m in the Rasp camp ( and I don`t mean I`m sharing his bed making tents with a boner ! ) here about Fcuking Flying Pigs…..FFP !.
    You can say all that about them being restricted in the CL, but I`m more interested in winning the EPL, so where are they punished there ?. Rumour has it they want Messi for over £160M, that would make them breach UEFA rules again !…..and gladly take another £50M drop in the well fine !. Grow some space hoppers UEFA, not Labia`s and deduct them points or ban them from European competition like you did to a small club like Malaga !.

  58. Aftotnoon all, I saw my learned friends (aka 26M) comments, that gestated into today’s post, the other night and it got me thinking about the question he raised back then.

    To me it reads as “Do you think we have had a successful season:

    a) compared to what you thought at:the beginning of this season
    b) compared to when we topped the table
    c) compared to when we were 5th
    d) now, before the FA Cup or
    e) how you’ll feel if we win the FA Cup.

    So the evasive politicians answer would be “I don’t know yet” ha ha.

  59. 26may1989 says:

    Watcha Chary. Nice take on things – perspecive is always important!The season has been slightly less successful than I thought it would be before it began but then I’m always excessively optimistic. I just thought our Jan to May 2013 had been so good that with Ozil feeding Walcott and Ox, and with a CB partnership to rival anyone’s, we’d do really well. I was right for one half of the season (2013 was a great year for us) but once the injuries (including to Theo and Alex O-C) caught up with us, my optimism proved to be ill-founded, and everything feel apart.

    Still, if we win the FA Cup, at least that should shut up one or two of the moaning minny brigade…..

  60. arnie says:

    good one, Chary, can I join your camp please? 😛 With appropriate accreditation to Cockie. 😛

  61. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, you’ll be pleased to hear that points deduction in the CL Group Stages is an available punishment that UEFA could apply to City etc.

    The question I’d like to ask is why the PL doesn’t introduce a domestic FFP regime. After all, the Champtionship have it, why doesn’t the pre-eminent English competition as well? I thnk we all know the answer – if anyone thinks UEFA is corrupt, they should look at how deeply tainted and compromised the PL authorities are, starting with Richard Scudamore. True, FIFA does look more corrupt, but they’re in the same ballpark. Platini and UEFA are the best of a bad, bad bunch.

  62. Before I go on the treadmill to keep my self fit for Mrs Sagna, you have probably wondered why Mrs Sagna ( Ludvine ) is seeing me behind Bacary`s back for pleasuring time !. Well here`s the answer, this is about as enthusiastic as he gets !.

  63. RA says:

    Rasper dear boy, you have answered your question for me, thank you.

    I have already said that deducting points in the opening group games would cause a distortion of the qualification for the round of 16. Just an opinion, of course. 🙂

    But as you have pointed out, deducting points in the EPL for a breach of a UEFA CL competition will never happen.

    The Premier League clubs are the sole arbiters of the rules/punishments relating to the EPL, and getting them to agree such a points deduction relating to a competition outside their authority, and which many would see as ultra vires their mandate, would lead to 26s sprouting like weeds all over the place — I mean they would all be reaching for their bestest lawyers. 🙂

  64. As far as the Europa League is concerned, which would you prefer, Manure in the Europa League or Tottenscum? If it is Tottenham, that would mean they would continue to miss Eastenders and have the stresses of covering two campaigns.

    Or Manure wins two and Tottenscum lose two and then Manure get stretched and have problems rebuilding?

    Any preferences?

  65. Ah yes 26, I see your point as I was slightly optimistic also pre season as I thought our competition was in a bit of disarray and while the Spuds appeared to have bought well(how wrong we all were on that point!) I thought we had a good stab at the title.

    The way things unravelled a little bit in the spring was a bit annoying and I did do a bit of toy throwing(out of the pram) after our lack of additions to our forward line in January. I know, it was childish. :(.

    However a few unexpected things have brought a smile to my face this season, the demise of ManUre and the Moist in/out in/out shake-it-all about saga was hilarious as is the disenchantment with the (not so) special one felt by the Hitler youth of Stamford Bridge.

    Arnie – welcome to my camp, the sensible choice.

  66. White Bear says:

    Cockie @ 4.46 – that is terrible!! If I didn’t love these boys I’d be ashamed

    26m – it must have been a nice surprise for you to see that you wrote such a good post today 🙂

    Success in my books. We are competing at the very top of all the leagues and doing very well at it. What’s there to complain about?? Happy customer here

  67. crystals says:

    Ignore me if you wish 🙂 but forget the CL for the moment why has no one addressed the docking of points instead of a fine, in the league.

    That would hurt far more and it is a far more competive than drawn balls in the CL.

  68. Rasp says:

    kelsey, see my @ 4:19 and 26may’s response @ 4:44

  69. crystals says:

    Indeed Rasp, apologies.

    If we let Sagna go to another PL club (looks like City) I will not be a happy bunny. We can’t keep strengthening our rivals,where is the logic in that.

  70. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all,
    I must be easily pleased, as i am well happy with our season. People seem to think the season is over, how can you judge the season when it isn’t.

    Nine years without silver ware and it could all come to an end in a couple of games time. I can remember when Arsenal fans used to love the FA cup.

    Maybe for a club that win things every year the FA cup may not be that prestigious, but for me it will be a magnificent achievement should we win it.

    I may see things differently than some, where i have been used to 3 clubs better than us over a season, Most of these clubs spend Vast amounts on their squads , fortunes that i feel we cannot afford.

    I feel that we have found the position that our club deserves, We struggle to keep our players fit all season and we drop points, we usually have barren results against the teams above us, but over the season it has proved for many years, that that is the level of our squad.

    Arsene Wenger, has worked Miracles over the years and no other manager has managed what Wenger has done apart of course Sir Alex.

    Managers come and go, they take over a built squad, they build very little, Chairmen and owners demand results so many Managers fall by the wayside, Many get cocky and get sacked, Mourinho being one but as we all have seen he has worked himself back in. Many Managers and clubs have spent fortunes just to get that 4th place and have failed miserably.

    Should we win the FA cup and, i believe we will, we would have had an excellent season., and if we have the same next year i would be just as happy.

    20 teams in our league and we are fourth, 16 below us that would give their Hight teeth to be where we are. Could we have done better that we will never know, but at this present time 16 clubs will hope their next season is better.

  71. JM says:

    The ghosts of thirties are not stirring on one aspect – Injury Gremlins

    Our medical team have found no clues yet(misdiagnosis occurs. Injury weeks become months).
    Our players are visiting the sickbay more frequently. They are not amused.
    Arsene wants solutions to this too so that injuries cannot as a major excuse for our failings to sustain on the title challenges.
    Our fans/supporters are left frustrated, with the what-might-our-seasons-have-been-if-so-and-so-players-are-fit comments around.

    It has been plaguing our club. How many previous seasons? This season? Next seasons to come?

    1st Priority post season – Exorcise the Injury Gremlins.

  72. 26may1989 says:

    Love RA’s use of crossing-out text at 4.50pm……

  73. N5
    I don’t think the spuds or mancs can qualify for the europa now that we’re in the CL. Hull have qualified though

  74. AmosCP says:

    A bit of both indeed. An FA cup loss will be a total disaster but we are winning it.

    It is more of a success with a trophy finally.

  75. White Bear says:

    hellooooooo GM!! xxxxxx

  76. I’m in no doubt we’ll win the cup. It will get the monkey off our back and hopefully be the start of a new era

  77. I’m still smiling about liverpool.

  78. Goonermichael 6:36
    http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/news/news/2013-14/apr/europa-league-qualifying-places-explained-140414.html
    Capital One & FA Cup finalist already in Uefa CL so 2nd Europa League goes to sixth place.

    As far as next season’s squad goes, here’s my pitch for the timeline.
    wednesday June 11 – anyone getting off the bus shown the door. Last stop, otherwise you are here until Jan or end of season. So no RvP lingering farewell.

    July 21 – All Arsenal Incoming Transfer deals complete. Pay the money or tell them “This is our final offer, answer “yes” within 24 hours or we’re off to see someone else.” In that time the target club gets a visit from the Arsenal Money Truck. An artic lorry with a huge screen showing the bank vault with a huge pile of cash a la Brewster’s Millions! The truck shows up outside the stadium of the club of a target and it starts playing “Gooner Til I Die” with pictures of the money and a close up of a money counter racking up to the number being offered and a timer counting down. When times up, it drives off!

    August 16 – All players have had a least two warm up games and attended a minimum of two weeks of pre-season training.

  79. You are right of course N5. i searched after i posted but didn’t find anything as clear as that.

  80. crystals says:

    Play off for qualifying for CL proper starts 19/20th August, N5

  81. To your original point though. I’d rather the mancs were in the Europa

  82. chas says:

    Next year’s CL final is in Berlin at the Olympiastadion. It has a running track round the pitch. Behind the goal you’re about a quarter of a mile from the pitch. I’ll have to take my binoculars. 🙂

  83. GOONERKAM says:

    26 may89
    nice writeup. To me this year is an overachievement and a success. Last summer I view this campaign as the last year of a transition that has lasted a few years now. I felt that this coming summer with a bit of strengthening would have made us the team to watch in 2014-15. Low and behold as we lead the league for close to 130 days. Felt good but then the injuries and rough play did catch up with us. I’m still hoping for a great transfer summer and a fantastic campaign next year where we will give everyone a run for their money. If your are polling count me in as a yes to success.
    UP THE GUNS OF ARSENAL!!!!!!!

  84. Do they really mean it ?. 😀

  85. Hi gm – how’re you doing? I catch up with your comments on twitter.

  86. Big Raddy says:

    It has been a fine season whether we win the FAC or not :-

    3 months TOTL was brilliant and totally unexpected (except by 26!)
    Winning in Dortmund, drawing in Munich.
    Beating Spurs 3 times.
    Beating Liverpool twice.
    The emergence of Ramsey

    One thing which is overlooked is that this is the first season at The Emirates when the fans have been completely behind our team (apart from AV) and been the 12th man.

    The development of the CB pairing.
    Massive improvement from TPIG
    Gibbs growing up.
    Wilshire’s goal of the season.
    Ozil’s first 10 minutes in the shirt (and many more)
    16 clean sheets (or is it 17?)

  87. Bayonne Jean says:

    Artillery: we raised the question in the post prior to the Manure Sunderland match re preference for Spuds or Manure in Europa League. That was before the Mancs capitulated thoroughly against Mackems, which means Spuds have to lose their finale for them to possibly drop out of sixth.

    Answer is clearly Manure, as Spuds are perfectly capable of screwing things up for themselves no matter their circumstances. Making van Pussy and Shrek travel to Kazakhstan or Moldova for Spursday nite footie is a delightful prospect.

  88. 26may1989 says:

    Tremendous observations from Raddy, The three wins over Spurs seems not to have registered with many, and great point re the crowd at the Ems. I’d add getting to the FA Cup Final having had a really tough run of draws; once again showing the summer pundits how little they know about the game when they constantly write us off; and finishing the season at least ten points above Man United.

    Other than the obvious disappointment about the long time at the top ending in a run of heavy, morale-sapping defeats to our principal rivals, here are some disappointments from the season:

    1. Not being able to sign Suarez, even when he publicly said he wanted to leave;

    2. Oxlade-Chamberlain getting injured in what I thought would be his break through year;

    3. Theo’s injury, which came at a terrible time for us and denied him the chance to play in the World Cup;

    4. Sagna’s inevitable decision to cash in on a Bosman;

    5. Our ponderous attacking game;

    6. Arteta starting to slow down;

    7. There being no attacking players of the right quality to sign in January;

    8. Not beating Man United at least once this year;

    9. The draws that followed virtually all of our defeats this season.

  89. GOONERKAM says:

    If it is your birthday coming up on may 26th , a very happy one indeed.

  90. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks, Goonerkam, but the upcoming date is a lot more special than my birthday: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_0–2_Arsenal_(26_May_1989). A very, very special night…….

  91. GOONERKAM says:

    Ahhah. There you go. Should have guessed . Very appropriate.
    CHEERS.

  92. 26may1989 says:

    Always a pleasure to remind myself about that one!

  93. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Success or failure?

    Bang in the middle for me. With the doped teams, I reckon 4th is our par spot.

    Obviously, an FAC would be a massive bonus, and I agree with all the comments about how we need to improve on the pitch as well as on the injury front.

    Clearly it’s been a season of surprise with Utd and Pool swapping league positions, and this will inevitably lead to the nagging thought that perhaps this season was an opportunity missed.

    I don’t go along with the theory that we should have strengthened in Jan, but I was convinced our season went up in smoke the moment Theo was injured. Less Ramsey, but our only counter speed threat gone was a fatal blow.

  94. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Micky. We both said at the time that the loss of Theo would have an impact 😉 .

    When Ozil goes central to conduct the play we are left with OG isolated upfront and being virtually forced to play with his cam to goal and he just isn’t that type of striker. Looking at his goals he scores almost entirely from balls cut back into the box i.e. Theoballs

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Raddy,

    I actually said it last season that I felt Theo was our most valuable player.

    Not that I think that he’s the best, but he is the most irreplaceable.

    Without our speedster, we lack the option of sitting tight while having the counter threat, on top of the fact that he’s worth many goals and passes (or assists 🙂 )

  96. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not around much now, what with shitballs of workload, combined with pending house move, as well as a commitment to complete work by 10am on any day when the surf’s good 🙂

  97. Adrian says:

    Theoballs. That’s a term that should stick around.

  98. Adrian says:

    It would be good for a change to actually get our dealings done early this season. But ofc with the WC it wouldn’t be that straightforward..

    I honestly believe we have a strong core in the team, and if we add in maybe 2-3 quality signings and backup we really do stand a chance to compete for the league next season.

  99. RA says:

    Good point, Micky,

    Without a pacey outlet, in Theo, we have often lacked a cutting edge.

    My concern is that relying on him with his injury record is a bit short sighted — we need another speedster — that is to say an additional speedy winger, especially if you get your way and AW plays him at CF.

  100. Morning 🙂

    Beating the totts three times is clearly up there as a highlight of the season.

    Beating Liverpool in the FA cup a week after they thrashed us at their place was a fantastic test of spirit from the team which they passed with flying colours but also the atmosphere at the Emirates for that game was brilliant. Actually all the FA cup ties were sensational ………… love the FA cup 🙂

    Getting to know Ozil, wanting to get to know him better, looking forward to Theo and Ozil getting to know each other.

    Nik being a complete and utter plank ……….. he’s a striker, we’re paying his wages and he did nothing for the cause when we needed him.

    Sanogo having Bambi legs 😦 but looking forward to his improvement in front of goal.

    Being TOTL and singing it week after week at the Ems 🙂

    Having to watch some very slow attacking play from my team was not enjoyable but we still managed to score some great goals.

  101. RA – we have another speedster in Oxlade-Chamberlain, also injured 😦

  102. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA

    This is where a versatile front boy with speed would be so beneficial.

    Hello Herr Draxler

    It’s been disappointing that neither Ox or Gnabry really stepped up to fill that void.

    I know that AW has talked about Ox developing into a more central role, but I think it has been a mistake to not to give him the Theo role permanently the moment Theo went pop.

  103. Need some posts for the coming days …………….

  104. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes Peaches, true, but when fit AW has played him in the wrong places given the Theo loss.

    Right Lads, must off.

  105. Big Raddy says:

    Seeya Didit.

    Gnabry and Ox were both injured at crucial times in the season. Like an earlier blogger I thought this would be Ox’x breakout season and he would by now be established as first choice member of both Arsenal and England.

    Sadly it wasn’t to be. I fear he will try too hard during the games he gets as he is just one of many similar players vying for a place in the team.

  106. No argument from me Micky, I reckon AW made a mistake there.

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches,

    Which days do you need posts for?

    Raddy,
    I think Ox would have broken out had Arsene played him in one position and one position only, namely, the direct replacement for Wide Right Theo, not deep in the midfield.

    It was impossible for Ox to develop those small triangular understandings with those around him.

    (I think you can guess my angle for a post 🙂 )

    Really to work I go

  108. arnie says:

    Motning all.

    Playing a young developing player in one position is not Wenger style. He feels they need to know all positions well before they settle on one. Right or wrong I do not know. But it seems to me that this gives young guys maximum chance to play in the team as well.

    So, unfortunately, we are stuck with this style.

  109. arnie says:

    sorry, Micky, did not read your comment carefully, shd have held on to that one. 😛

  110. Posts needed for today, tomorrow and Saturday. I have 26may’s other comment from Saturday night to use where necessary …….

  111. No further discussion on Oxlade-Chamberlain then 😉

  112. Shard says:

    I expected a title challenge this season, and hoped for a trophy.

    I’m satisfied with our title challenge, even if it is frustrating the way it fizzled out. We could also get a trophy. If that happens, I see this season as a success..

    Other bonuses are the capitulation of ManU (they’ll be back, Moyes was made a patsy), the annual hilarity at Spurs (and their warrior Adebayor going off with cramp and turning away from free kicks when standing in the wall), John Terry tears and Mourinho magic being found out to be a cheap (but expensive) magic trick using smoke and The Mirror, and lest I forget, getting Ozil, only the best playmaker in the world.

    We’ll be back stronger next season and can look forward to a bright future as a result of the hard work we’ve put in over the past decade. If I were Terry Mancini I’d sign off with the ghosts of the 30s, but I’m not, so I won’t.

  113. GOONERKAM says:

    precisely. He will play him left right and center to make him an all-around better player and figure out which is his most strong and natural position. IMHO he is unstoppable playing on the left forward winger cutting to the middle. Deadly. That’s why I felt last summer the only place we were thin at was back up for THEO. as it is TOMAS filled for him alas he has the techniques but not so much the pace. At CAM we are deep as on the left as many of our players can play that position. If we can hold on to everyone the only position we need to strengthen in is right forward winger. Fr•••Ing navas would have been perfect.
    Morning everyone.

  114. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Sorry but I just do not have time to write a post ATM.

  115. Shard says:

    BR

    I want to thank you for the words of support the other day regarding my knee.. Believe it or not, it helped.. I’m not back on my feet yet, but the swelling has reduced, and I’m hopeful (though still not certain) I will not require another surgery.

  116. GOONERKAM says:

    The only other comment on the OX is that I love his gusto and bravery and gonghooness but I feel next year we will get ourselves a young man who is much more intelligent. I felt his injury this year on the first game was a bit self inflicted. There was absolutely no reason why he threw himself 100% into that challenge at around midfield. Next year he will learn to pick his battles better to win the war. I could say the same thing regarding THEO & JACK too. In JACKS case he went all out on a tackle in an international friendly. I hope he finds out by next year who is writing his paychecks every month. Hopefully they will all come back smarter because of their injuries and make better decisions. A bit like AARON.

  117. arnie says:

    Shard, I missed that. Sorry to hear. Quick recovery, mate! Too many election rallies? 🙂

  118. Shard says:

    arnie

    Thank you.

    But I would expect the upcoming Scottish secession to be getting greater coverage in kiltland. What is Nessie voting for? 😛

  119. Big Raddy says:

    Shard. In the words of Sister Sledge….. we are family

    and hope in the words of Elton John you are ….. still standing 🙂

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Kam. Gunghooness. Great word. I want some.

  121. Shard says:

    Raddy

    I had to google the elton John song and the video was one o those ‘What did I just see?’ moments 🙂

    And since you want gunghoness… Try this

    http://www.gogungho.com/?gclid=CKfWqaOqmb4CFRWSjgodsWkAZg

  122. chas says:

    On this day 2006

  123. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches
    Art thou there?
    I’ve got a cancelled meeting, so could elaborate on my earlier feelings into a post for today.

    Yay or nay?

  124. chas says:

    Always yay, Micky.

  125. GOONERKAM says:

    Hahaha. two new words for the dictionary this morning. THEOBALLS & GUNGHOONESS.
    You won’t get any of that with maureenwhore. he is a coward….

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    Sister Sledge and Elton John eh.

    Slightly embarrassed to know about these things are we?

  127. Big Raddy says:

    Didit. Go forth and multiply

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ll wait Chas. She may be copy pasting a 26 Special as we speak.

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well which is it Raddy. Mating or Writing?

  130. Big Raddy says:

    Oh definitely writing …..

  131. chas says:

    Tim Sherwood driving the Cockerel chorus to some more Spursday nights….

  132. arnie says:

    yay. Micky IN. 🙂

    Shard: On the kiltland referendum, keeping my cards close to my chest. For the moment. 😛 I am shi**ing in my pants. Invited to join a high profile panel to discuss Indian elections next Monday. What do I know? long time expat, oh dear! 🙂

  133. chas says:

    If it’s mating, beware of those forward rotor blades

  134. chas says:

    #WearRedToWembley

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Rack of the Day 😀

  136. Big Raddy says:

    9.16. That is remarkable

  137. GOONERKAM says:

    Knowing a bit of Spanish, I believe the word gunghooness has its roots from coohooness. Hahaha. They can be used interchangeably.

  138. We have a New Post …………….

  139. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Post sent!!!!!!!!

  140. chas says:

    Soz

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