On what planet is Chambers not an upgrade for Vermaelen?

It has been very interesting to watch Chambers’ assimilation into the Arsenal fold. People like me made bolshie assertions that the sixteen million pound signing from Southampton would feature no more this season than Jenkinson did last. Other, wiser bloggers like Shard saw the folly of my statement and took me to task.

I was wrong to think that this season young Callum would only be, at best, the second choice right back. But I was not the only one; I share this error with none other than Arsene Wenger.


Wenger made clear, shortly after signing him, that he had noticed Chambers when we played Southampton and decided then to buy him as a right back even though he was obviously aware that he could play central defense and defensive midfield. At this point no one really cared or took that much notice as we were all still drunk on the news that we had signed Alexis Sanchez.

We then arrive at the Emirates Cup: Benfica being the opener. With first choice right sided centre back, namely Mertasacker, still on the Copacabana and our Belgian back up in the all too familiar surroundings of the sick bay, Wenger opted for Chambers and Monreal to play in the centre of the defense. Yet again, no one took too much notice; they were both obviously just holding the fort until the more experienced players returned.

Koscielny was available but Wenger must have wanted to give Monreal a bit of practice in the doomsday scenario that he might be needed to play there. The idea of Nacho playing CB in a competitive game probably scares the life out of many but he scares me far less than had Miguel been forced into that role. Monreal played as was expected against Benfica but it was Chambers who caught the eye of many a fan.

It was around this time that the Vermaelen to ManU/Barcelona story was starting to gather pace. In Wenger’s Friday press conference he was pressed on the subject to which he replied: should Vermaelen leave, the club will find a replacement because the Belgian is “an important player in our squad”. It is this promise that people are now waving at Wenger and blaming him for not fulfilling, some even going as far as saying that he has been negligent.

But wait, let’s look at the dates?

Wenger made that statement on the 1st August and the game against Benfica wasn’t even played until the 2nd of August. Now it may be true to say that Chambers caught the eye of many a fan in that game but we still had a way to go before outrageous questions such as: should he keep his place ahead of Mertasacker were being banded about. The blue touch paper had only just been lit at this point; the media rocket that propelled him into hyper space with all their grandiose expectations had not fully started in earnest.

Much of the hyperbole was justified: demands for an England call up seemed realistic even Arsenal’s new Tony Adams is not so wild but I for one certainly feel that it went a bit too far. The downward trajectory was inevitable and it started, in my opinion, with the statement pointing out that the nineteen year had played just two competitive games as a CB and had only ever played right back for Southampton.

The truth, as they often say, is somewhere in the middle. There is no doubt that Chambers has been a fantastic buy; he has got quality centre back written all over him, certainly good enough to play the same central defensive back up role that Vermaelen played last season.

The question now is: if he has this unexpected skill set in his locker what else is hidden? Could he be equally adept at playing HM? We have been given a tantalizing glimpse; watch how smoothly he plays the ball along the ground oooh, the accuracy. Add precision passing to the ability to defend and you have got the essentials of a very good HM. I wait with bated breath on that one.

So where are we? There is no doubt in my mind that Wenger misjudged this one; he did not realise how good Chambers was as a CB, who did? But the thing is, mistakes don’t always have to turn out badly, sometimes they can turn out well and they certainly did when we signed Callum Chambers.

Written by LB


193 Responses to On what planet is Chambers not an upgrade for Vermaelen?

  1. chas says:

    Smashing, LB, ta.

    So Wenger didn’t realise how good a CB Chambers was, but still agreed to pay £12m rising to £16m for a back-up full back . Yeah right.
    You’re having us on, aren’t you?

  2. Sav from Australia says:

    Nice post. It is a really good point to illutrate that Chambers is a replacement for Vermaelen. As a pure amateur football watcher, even I can see there is less nervousness with Chambers at the back. I like his temperament.

    People were saying when he signed that he has played at CB for England youth teams. Is this true and if so, Arsenal would surely be aware of this? Have footage? I am sure some regulars on this blog were talking about it…


    Cheers LB

    I have visited many planets, and on none have heard any one say that Chambers is not an upgrade on Verm

    I spotted Chambers last year and thought then, that If Arsene were to pay Southampton another nasty visit, it should be to buy this boy.

    He was playing right back, but I started imagining him in Arsenals midfield. In many ways its like Welbeck. He brings much needed height and physical presence. I also have height and stature by virtue of wearing secret height increasing shoes. If any one is interested in ending there plight of having sand kicked in there face, please contact me. I can help.

    I did not see the centre back, but as you say, Arsene might have neither. As you say LB, a mistake can often be a very pleasant experience. When I stole the charity money in aid of middle aged men addicted to Ikea furniture, I had a great holiday in the Caribbean.

    As a defender he reminds me of John Terry, though hopefully keeps his hands to himself.

    Hes no good to me in that respect. I have called John Terry many times to come round and meet the wife, but sadly the git demanded a photo.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  4. chas says:

    Definitely not bought for his drawing skills, anyhow.

  5. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning all,

    I like the post LB, well done.

    Is Chambers an upgrade on Vermaelen? Well I think so. He looks, so far, every bit as good as TV at centre-back and is nine years younger, he looks a more commanding figure, yet is the same height (1.82m) as Vermaelen. The other major factor is that he is fit, something our erstwhile captain so often was not.

    Never mind the back-up full back role, Bellerin and Flamini can readily fill that. As to the holding mid-fielder, maybe in the future but for now he needs to concentrate on cementing his place at the centre of our defence.

    Koscielny is nursing an achilles injury, Merts hasn’t got his head back from Brazil yet and his pace is floundering somewhere out in the Atlantic. Callum, as long as he can stay fit, is likely to be our first choice CB for the forseeable future.

  6. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Time for a swim, back later.

  7. Clive Bridgeman says:

    I think the writer is missing the point here. Even had Vermaelen stayed we still needed a 4th centrehalf. We have just replaced one with another and still no back up player. I think Chambers is an excellent signing but at 19 you can’t play him week in week out which may happen if BFG or Kos get a serious injury.

  8. LB says:

    No Chas

    Wenger knew he was good but didn’t realise how good. Had he done so he wouldn’t felt the need to say that he intended to replace Vermaelen should he leave. It is worth noting that Wenger said this after Chambers had been signed.

    As we know the Belgian was not replaced which I think gives strength to my view that Wenger didn’t realise how good Chambers was.

    The argument that Wenger paid 12 mil rising to 16 mil backs up my view even further because as we both know that is peanuts in todays market.

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    I really like this post, LB. Thank you.

    Minor detail. As you pointed out, Arsene said “the club will find a replacement”. Never said buy.

    Right LB, your favourite thing. A Bet.

    I said on here yesterday that Callum would be first choice CB ahead of The BFG by the end of the season. That big faux leatherette sofa of yours?

  10. LB says:


    Just because Chambers is 19 is a poor argument as to why can’t we play week in and week out? He has proved that he is good enough, and he will continue to improve in his cameo appearances.

    What’ that expression: if you are good enough you are old enough.

  11. LB says:

    Nice spot Micky, I missed that one.

  12. 26may1989 says:

    A thought-provoker from LB. And it’s got words in it too, bonus.

    Chambers has been an outstanding piece of business – the rumours that we’d be trying to sign him were kicking around for much of the second half of last season, but to be honest, I didn’t see enough to know whether there was real quality in him. But he has already shown so much talent and poise. In the disassembling of Southampton’s side, with players and manager being distributed around the league, I’d say we may have got the top prize.

    When we signed him, I did some internet trawling and the only person who seemed to have said at that point that his future was at CB was England Under 19 coach, Noel Blake, who said: “Chambers is in the first team at Saints at the moment and is doing very very well. He can [play at centre back] all the time, but obviously that’s not my decision. He’s played wide right and centre midfield and always turned out accomplished performances. I personally think long term that Calum will make an excellent centre half. He’s doing very well at right back but he’s got very good reading of the game and is very clever.”

    Good call, Noel.

    For all the chat about central midfield, and we can see that he has the mental strength to cope with the hurly-burly of midfield, I’d love to see Chambers used primarily as a CB – John Terry, Alan Hansen, Bobby Moore, that’s the sort of company Chambers might have the ability to emulate.

    But before we get ahead of ourselves, we haven’t seen Chambers deal with a loss of confidence yet – he is absolute class but there’s a long way to go for him yet.

    As regards our defensive forces generally, I remain concerned about the numbers we have available. With Sagna, Vermaelen and Miquel gone, and only Chambers brought in (at least before January), there will be a point when we’re looking to Bellerin and Hayden. That’ll be their chance to show what they can do. And if they can do as well as CC, bully for us.

  13. Rasp says:

    Thanks LB, I think AW knew he was buying a future 1st choice player in either RB or CB for the reasons chas gave – but I agree with you in that he (like us) hadn’t expected CC to look so good so soon. The guy is a natural and has everything in his locker needed to be a top player.

    I think a more difficult question is whether AW had been secretly drooling over the prospect of signing Danny Welbeck.

    Like most gooners, I wouldn’t have listed myself as a Welbeck fan before we signed him – but now I’m excited and think he has great potential 😛 ….. please, please, please Arsene, play him in the middle up front.

  14. LB says:

    Tomorrow’s post should just be:



    Two words, that’s it.

  15. Rasp says:

    …… or even ‘A?’

  16. RC78 says:

    I think that Chambers is too versatile for his own good…
    He was bought to fill in for Jenkinson, at first…If I were AW, I would let the boy settle in the middle, either as CB or as DM – he could probably do both but for his development, he needs to settle somewhere so that by the end of the season, he becomes a specialist on one position….

    As a result, given the team we have and the availability in the market of good players, I would say that he should specialize as DM and that we should poach the market for a CB…

    What do you say fellow Gunners.

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    Oi 26

    “it’s got words in it too”

    Now you back off that Hippy Raddy, as I know exactly what you’re implying.

    His sort see life through a haze of abstract coloured shapes, as a result of incidents in the 60’s, and they formulate these into images which tell stories. It’s their way, so kindly show more understanding in future.

  18. chas says:


    £1m for Jenkinson. Surely there’s a difference?

  19. LB says:


    I am really tempted to reply with one word — inflation.

    But out of respect I will go further.

    The idea that Wenger may not have realised how good Chambers sparked an idea to write about, I obviously haven’t got a clue what Wenger was thinking or is thinking.

    The interesting thing that has come out of this is that you view 12 mil rising to 16 as a lot of money which you use to back up your view that Wenger knew exactly what he was doing i.e Chambers was a very good CB able to replace Vermaelen this season. I view those sums as small beer in today’s market. I refer to them to back up my view that Wenger didn’t realise how good he was and, if some like, just how quickly he was likely to develop.

    Di Maria – 60 mil

    5 Callum Chambers……….maybe.

  20. chas says:

    Then again, you might be bang on the money. 🙂

  21. chas says:

    Haha, strikers and creative players are always bought at a premium.

    Having said that, the really astounding one is David Luiz for £50m. I agree with the interweb conclusion that something fishy has gone on there. How could PSG think they were getting a good deal, what with FFP biting as well?

  22. chas says:

    I say let him play in as many positions as possible, the more versatile the better at his age.

  23. Mark says:

    Southampton fan here. As soon as Chambers came into our team, the talk coming up from the academy was that he was a CB in the long-term, but was being used at RB to gain experience of the Prem, and improve his game awareness. Clyne was and is a better RB, but Chambers was being blooded to play the right-sided CB role.

    It is quite obviously out of the question that the Arsenal scouts wouldn’t have known this, the size of research dossiers compiled on players these days is huge.

    What’s surprising is how quickly Chambers has taken to the CB role at the top level, but essentially everyone at Southampton knew that was his role in the longer term, it was just a question of when.

  24. mickydidit89 says:

    LB and Chas

    Southampton LB Fatty Shaw to Utd £27M
    Southampton RB Chambers to Arsenal £ sixpence

    Just saying with a ROLF


    Mark, do you think Chambers could play midfield? Did he ever play there for the Saints?

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Mark

    Always great to hear from fans of other clubs (well, almost)

    We have a Hippy on this site who lives in Denmark. He said about going to watch Malmo recently where (not 100% on this) a mate of his is the physio, and used to be at Southampton.

    According to him, we got by far the better player in Callum than Utd did with Shaw.

    What’s your view?

    ps Sorry we keep nicking your players

  27. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks for that, Mark.

    The most impressive thing in all this is the quality of Southampton’s youth and scouting set-up. To have found Bale, Walcott, the Ox, Chambers, Lallana, Ward-Prowse, Clyne and Shaw as kids, and picked up older but unrecognised players like Lovren, Rodriguez, Lambert and Schneiderlin, demonstrates a seriously high quality operation. The son of a friend of mine has recently been taken on by Southampton’s London academy, and was more excited about that than the prospect of being taken on by Arsenal, Chelsea etc.

    I know a lot of Saints fans will have been upset to see so many leave this summer, but cashing in and moving onto the next generation has to be part of the plan. A bit like Udinese have done for years.

  28. Great new all, Mrs GiE has been delivered of a new gooner this morning. It’s a boy, 9lb 4oz as yet unamed. Mother and baby doing well.

    Well done to all the GiE family 🙂

  29. 26may1989 says:

    Well done to the Exiles – and what a weighty little bloke!

  30. Rasp says:

    Terrific news, many congratulations Exiles 😛

    I suppose you’re going to have to call him either Alexis, Calum or Danny?


    Congratulations Exiles

    I demand Arsenal colours and nappies straight away. No chances must be taken.

  32. RA says:

    Congratulations, to Mrs and Mr GIE. 🙂

  33. RA says:

    Super Post LB.

    I absolutely agree with the main thrust of your thesis, and I am not saying that to flatter you, as I have been saying that myself elsewhere, and for good measure I even said it on AA at 4:02 yesterday;

    RA says:
    September 2, 2014 at 4:02

    Umm, excuse me guys/bots or whatever, I think Mr Wenger is being maligned!

    He has already found/bought a replacement/back up CB, although when he did he probably did not realise it.

    He has already been playing with some aplomb in our first matches — so I give you …… Calum Chambers.

    What I meant by ‘he probably did not realise it’ was that Arsene knew he had a good player well worth £16m, with great potential, but perhaps the speed of Calum’s conversion to CB may have taken him by surprise.

    Fortunately I was ignored by the Bots, and that’s just as well as it would have buggered up your very good Post if a discussion had ensued. 🙂

  34. chas says:

    Congrats, super stuff from the GIEs. 🙂

  35. So far he has done well. My humble opinion I just worry about pace. Whether pace is something that you can develop or born with. Nevertheless all this could be positioning as well.

  36. arnie says:

    Lovely stuff, LB. 🙂 🙂

    Bad day, but short and not-so-sweet for the moment.

    An upgrade? Maybe, in course of time. There is talent here, there is character, and therefore there is a lot of promise. But Verms is a veteran, for club and country, and a long time before Calum will get there.

    Good start, but let us hope the burden of expectations does not weigh too heavily on the young shoulders. COYG. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  37. LB says:


    You were my inspiration for the post.

    I was just about to join in yesterday but realising that Chary was on a war footing I stood back, in fact I did that 3 three times but kept everything that I had written. In the end I realised that I had enough for a post.

  38. LB says:


    Chambers will never be as fast as Koscielny but Mertasacker…………

  39. RA says:

    LB, 🙂

    That CharyB was certainly having one of his special ‘moments’.

    Anyway, it led to another very good Post!

  40. kelsey says:

    A really good post LB.

    I suppose we will never really know what is/was in Wenger’s mind but we have certainly got ourselves a very composed and gifted player who has had so few league games and at times certainly looks like a veteran.

    Hopefully he won’t get over exposed.

    Congratulations to Mr and Mrs GIE,looks like we have the holding midfield player we wanted 🙂

  41. Twivil says:

    Jenks is a better right back than Chambers. Chambers is a better RCB than Msacker and we still have insufficient cover in that area. Chambers best position may turn out to be DM but playing him there permanently would leave us with zero cover at the back and the liability that is Msacker. Many have been saying for many years, ‘you can’t win the Prem or the CL with Msacker, Arteta and Cazorla’and it has not been disproved yet. But one thing is certain- injuries will target us again this year (mainly due to refs allowing opponents kicking lumps out of us again) and the red line is very thin in the back six area. It will take only a modicum of ‘bad luck’ to relegate us to also-rans again.

    Incidentally- the other day I heard someone say, ‘would Sadihnio play Mert, Art, Caz and Giroud away from home in a top table clash’? Another wag asked, ‘would he have such players at the club?

  42. TwentyTwelve says:

    Wow! An excellent article, LB. When I began to read it, I thought “How clever! Why didn’t anyone think of that earlier.” It’s a great point that Chambers would replace Vermaelen, and that Wenger had this in mind all along.

    That you ended up suggesting something slightly different hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm, especially after reading the replies.

    Mark said that Southampton wanted Chambers for CB, and that Wenger most likely knew about that plan. I cannot judge the statement “Chambers for CB,” but the other part sounds sensible to me.

    Chas said that £16m is a lot of money, and you suggested that’s peanuts in today’s market. Having seen how much Man U paid for a LB, you’re probably right. However, this is Wenger we’re talking about! I remember the reaction of many when the news came out, “What? £16m for a 19 yr old RB?” We too thought it was outrageous, at least for Arsenal.

    Micky made the great point that Wenger never said “buy”. I recall getting confused and frustrated when Wenger said about the Vermaelen situation, “It could happen, yes [but] we are not close to signing anybody and it will be the wrong information.” So now we understand why.

    I thought it was strange that Wenger allowed the Germans to come back so late, while other clubs like Chelsea did not. The explanation was for injury prevention, which might be true, but now I wonder, did Wenger design this opportunity to try out some ideas? Did we get a preview of the future? We all knew Debuchy was replacing Sagna, and we started wondering if Chambers spelled the end for Jenkinson. In the Emirates cup, however, it was Bellerin who played right, Chambers central.

    Do I give Wenger too much credit? Maybe. Thanks to your article, I now believe he had a plan though. He knew Vermaelen was leaving, and he got Chambers early. Gave him some games to see if the idea works. If not, he had enough time to go into the market.

    Now, is it a gamble to go with so few defenders? Sure, but it seems a gamble Wenger took last season too. Let’s face it, Arsenal will never have quality and quantity in all positions. Not with cash rich City, Chelsea & United taking first cut, leaving alone PSG, Real Madrid, etc. (Mark is probably having a good laugh right now. Yes, we love a moan.)

    P.s. Congrats GiE.

  43. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Congrats to the exile family, it’s good to know mother and baby are doing well, but how is GiE doing? 😀

  44. arnie says:

    Chambers as HM. Yes, please. It seems to me he will be good in this role, and given our defensive frailties, it is better that all three of BFG, Kos and Calum play together.

    Having said that, given our bad luck, oh dear, perhaps too much of a risk?

  45. arnie says:

    Many many congrats, Mrs and Mr GiE. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Fantastic news for both of you, for George and also for all of us on AA. Sleepless nights should make for some exciting late night blogging time as well! 😛

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    Congratulations to the Exile family. GIE will have great fun bringing up 2 more Arsenal supporters.

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    I was curious as to how many players have moved from Man U to Arsenal.

    Here is what I found…………..


    Jimmy Rimmer
    Man Utd (1967-72): 46 apps – Arsenal (1973-76): 146 apps
    The Lancashire born goalkeeper’s Old Trafford highlight was a spot on the bench for the 1968 European Cup Final, but with his chances limited he went first on loan to Swansea City, before joining the Gunners. At Highbury he replaced the retired Bob Wilson as the Club’s No 1. It was with Arsenal he won his solitary England cap. He left North London for Aston Villa.

    Brian Kidd
    Man Utd (1967-73): 264 apps, 70 goals – Arsenal (1974-76): 90 apps, 34 goals
    Like Rimmer, Brian Kidd was part of the 1968 European Cup Final squad. His time with United, though, was much more successful than the stopper. His time with Arsenal was short and he headed back up north, this time to play for Manchester City. Kidd went on to form part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s backroom staff.

    Jim Leighton
    Man Utd (1988-93): 94 apps – Arsenal (1991 loan): 0 apps
    Leighton started his career at Aberdeen under Sir Alex Ferguson, and followed his manager to Manchester in 1998. Unfortunately Jim found life at United harder than he had in Scotland and found his chances limited by Les Sealey in goal. Arsenal was his first loan stop, that later included a time at Reading.

    Matt Wicks
    Man Utd (1995): 0 apps, 0 goals – Arsenal (1996): 0 apps, 0 goals
    Wicks was touted as ‘the next Tony Adams’ having graduated from the FA Centre of Excellence. Despite an attachment to Arsenal, joined Manchester United in 1995. Court cases over the move ensued and Matt eventually returned to the Gunners without featuring at Old Trafford. A similar fate occured at Highbury with Wicks eventually joining Crewe Alexandra.

    Mikael Silvestre
    Man Utd (1999-2008): 361 apps, 10 goals – Arsenal (2008): 0 apps, 0 goals
    Mikael enjoyed nine very successful years at Old Trafford, earning four Premier League winners medals. He became a fixture in the French national time while at Old Trafford and is Arsenal’s fifth signing of the summer.


    I think that Danny Welbeck may turn out to be the best of the bunch.

  48. Bayonne Jean says:

    Still don’t understand why AW did not plump for another CD (at least a loaner) this time around. At that has nothing to do with Chambers. More concern about the BFG. The German team manager had already sent out the indication that he was going to become surplus by not starting BFG in the last matches in the World Cup, and truthfully, he is not getting younger or more mobile, so there is a need for more cover in addition to Chambers.

    And from the “you’ll think I’m crazy” department: You know who would have been a smart cheap loan pickup at striker? Di Natale. With Wellbeck signed, doesn’t make sense, but if looking for cover for Giroud, here’s someone who, for an old fart, works his boots off, holds the ball up, can be a target man even at his height, and, most importantly, scores goals in every way you can (head, chips, two footed, poachers) and worries the back line. Kind of the striker version of a Pirlo — not physically imposing, but has a deep knowledge of the position. Could come on late in matches when looking for a goal.

  49. Hippy Bot says:

    LB. Fine post but IMO too many words 😀

    Chambers will take whatever position AW gives him for the first couple of years, it is the Arsenal way. Much like the Dutch and their Total Football. If a player knows what it is like to be a DM then he understands better how the DM wants to interact with his FB/CB etc.

    Twivil questions whether BFG, OG or Caz are good enough. Mr Wenger thinks so, their International managers think so and so do I.

    Would they get into the Chav team.? Not now that they have signed Costa and Cesc but last season? Definitely. And I rate BFG above Cahill as would any right minded football fan.

  50. Hippy Bot says:

    GIE. Congratulations. I think he should be called Lee or Pat. (Dixon/Rice – both No 2!)

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    Many congratulations Mr and Mrs Exile.

  52. RC78 says:

    Congrats as well from my side!

  53. 26may1989 says:

    Picking up on the references to our players getting into the Chelsea team, this would be my combined Chavs-Goons team:

    Ivanovic, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Azpilicueta
    Fabregas, Ramsey
    Walcott, Costa, Sanchez

    Not easy, leaving out Hazard, Szczesny and Ozil.

  54. LB says:

    I am off to Spain to celebrate my best friends 20th wedding anniversary. I am so impressed by how thoughtful they were all that time ago to ensure that it didn’t clash with an Arsenal home game.

  55. jason.t says:

    Shame for Saints to lose Chambers, he was great cover for when Clyne was absent.

  56. RA says:

    Hippy Bot,

    At first I thought you had been looking at my PR photograph, and I admit that I am a little sensitive about that because it is not my fault that my eyes are a little crossed, my tongue does not quite fit into my mouth and I have a bulbous nose with a Cromwellian wart on it.
    (Oliver Cromwell, that is, not the red hot poker up the Jaxi, Thomas Cromwell circa Henry Viii.)

    The cause of my dismay? Your comment made in your usual happy Hippy Bot sort of way referring to BFG.

    ‘And I rate BFG above Cahill as would any right minded football fan.’

    Now it is no secret that I have oft crossed swords with the inestimable multi-millionaire Rocky over the pace of the BFG as compared with that of an idle, cuddly Sloth, huh, a lot the Canadian ex-pat knows, tssk and my heart sank to read your comment looking askance at my right-mindedness – until I realised that you were not disputing my contention that BFG is slower than the said Sloth, and that it was merely a comparison betwixt him and the long-bodied, short-legged Cahill – and that put a stop to my agitated breaking of wind, as it is easy to agree with you on that score.

    damned Hippy Bots should sod off back to San Francisco – still, it’s cool he can’t read this.

  57. RA says:

    It is an oddity that as Welbeck has transmogrified into a Gooner I am disappointed that he will not play tonight.

    Cannot believe I said that. 🙂

  58. kelsey says:

    I now have a mental picture of you,RA 😉

  59. RA says:

    An interesting interview given by our new youth academy manager.

    — Arsenal’s new Academy director, Andries Jonker, says the club have encouraged him to hire fellow Dutchmen as he looks stamp his authority on the Gunners youth system.

    The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach took over from Liam Brady in July and has overseen a raft of personnel changes at Hale End and London Colney including the signing of compatriots Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon who’ll oversee the under-18s and under-16s respectively.

    Speaking to Arsenal Player for the first team since joining the club, Jonker revealed why he made his appointments: “One of the pieces of advice I got from people at Arsenal was to bring in a Dutchman because then there is always a certain influence of myself on the facility.

    “I looked for people I can trust, reliable people, people with experience in educating other people, people who have experience in leading an academy. I brought Jan van Loon, who is coach of the under-16s and leading coach of Hale End.

    “On the other hand there is London Colney, with under-18s and under-21s, and i had the same advice from Arsenal: bring in a Dutchman. So I brought in Frans de Kat who has the same qualifications as Jan. So I feel very comfortable – I know them both from back in 1990 when I started in the Dutch federation and they also started. So I know them for quite a long time, we have experienced a lot together and we worked together at Willem II in Holland.

    I think they are very able to do the things I ask.

    “With the English guys I asked Liam [Brady], ‘What is your advice?’ and he said, ‘They are good – keep them.’ They are all there and I am trying to let them work together with the Dutch guys and so far the start was fine.”

    Inspired by the 18-year tenure of Liam Brady, Jonker also stressed that he has a long-term vision that requires all parties to be patient.
    “I give you an example, Liam Brady. [He was] 18 years at Arsenal and he had the patience to stay in the job and Arsenal also had the patience to leave him in his job. For sure there have been years when no players were presented to the first team, and years when it has been successful. That is the thing with youth, you have to be patient.

    “The manager, the staff and in fact the players have to wait for a chance and you need to have confidence in the choice the manager makes, because the manager of the first team has to make sure the team wins.

    “If he thinks the chance is bigger without the youth players, he shouldn’t bring them [in] but if he thinks the chance is bigger with the youth team players, then please [take them]. I think having an academy demands patience from everyone involved and conviction about the quality of the work you deliver.”

    Sounds like my kind of guy!

  60. RA says:

    Kelsandra Bot, you are an expert scrier with your crystal ball, so getting a look at me in it next Saturday en route to the Isle of Man should be easy peasy, provided you can fit me in. 🙂

  61. chas says:

    This must be pretty damn close……

  62. RA says:

    You utter sod, Chas! Where did you get that?

    I was promised that no one would ever see it – except for Big Brenda, and she was swinging on my John Thomas at the time!!

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Game’s on telly everyone.

    No Welbeck? 😦

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Off to cook

  65. RA says:

    He’s injured, Micky.

  66. GunnerN5 says:

    Welbeck “hurt” in training – naturally he’s an Arsenal player…………..

  67. mickydidit89 says:


    “Injured” or a hang over from the Siralex book of he’s “picked up a little knock” just before International week 🙂

  68. mickydidit89 says:

    are the fa charging full wack?

  69. RA says:

    Really happy if he has kept the SirRedShnoz habits, Micly, as it is always a worry that one Arsenal player is sacrificed to injury every international – probably Jack if he keeps delaying his passes.

  70. RA says:

    I don’t know, Micky, but his brother Paddy Wack is in deep merde.

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    I can’t say on here what I think of Paddy

  72. Hippy Bot says:

    Wilshere playing well for England.

  73. RA says:

    He is a bit merdique, Micky, after frolicking in the midden heap. 🙂

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    168,000 sq miles. Population 5M

    96,000 sq miles. Population 60M

    Just looked it up.

  75. RA says:

    He is Hippy, but despite myself I think the pace and trickery of Sturridge and Sterling is impressive.

    And if Liam Brady had had his way (convincing Wenger, who said ‘Non’) we would have had Sterling from QPR for less that £5m – and he wanted to stay in Londre at the time – something to do with his domestic relations.

    But maybe if he had become a Gooner we would not have got Oxo.

  76. mickydidit89 says:

    You’d think the most northern town in Norway, Hammerfest, would be under snow and ice. It isn’t.

    Just looked it up 🙂

  77. RA says:

    A lady named Sadie in Hammerfest promises a good time under a blanket of snow, Just looked her up. 🙂

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Norway ranks #2 in the world for coffee intake per capita.

    Just looked it up 🙂

  79. RA says:

    I wasn’t going to say,Micky, but as I am bored, I must tell you that your maths are a bit wonky.

    385,200 square kilometres is equal to 149,000 square miles ±

    Your figures mean Norway is on steroids. 😉

  80. RA says:

    Norway, including Sadie is the 61st largest country in the world.

    Just Looked that up. 🙂

  81. mickydidit89 says:


    Never said anything about km’s. So shurrup.

    Oooo, half time. Fresh air 🙂

  82. RA says:

    There are approximately 450,000 lakes in Norway, and Sadie hasn’t swum in them all.

    Looked her up, again.

    As a bonus; football has the highest per capita sports participation in Norway, and half of them are playing at Wembley tonight.

  83. RA says:

    I know Micky, its irritating to talk about Kilometres, but Norway is 385,200 ± square kilometres, which is equal to 149,000 square miles ± 🙂

  84. mickydidit89 says:

    Shrrup again 🙂

    Just seen my first Barn Owl since we moved here 🙂

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    What’s the difference between a lake and a pond?

  86. chas says:

    Wow, love barn owls in the half light.
    Look like ghosts.

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    •Generally, a lake is an area of open, relatively deep water that is large enough to produce a wave-swept “washed” shoreline, which can prevent vegetation from growing along the shore.
    •Another difference can be seen in the water’s temperature. Lakes, because they are deeper, have a stratified temperature structure that depends on the season. During summer months three distinct layers develop: The top layer stays warm at around 65–75 degrees. The middle layer drops dramatically, usually to 45–65 degrees F. The bottom layer is the coldest, staying at around 39–45 degrees F. Ponds, on the other hand, have a more consistent temperature throughout.
    •If the water is deep enough that light does not penetrate to the bottom, and photosynthesis is limited to the top layer, the body of water is considered a lake.
    •A pond is a body of water shallow enough to support rooted plants. Many times plants grow all the way across a shallow pond. There is little wave action and the bottom is usually covered with mud. Plants can, and often do, grow along a pond’s edge

    Cool 🙂

  88. mickydidit89 says:

    Right. Football.

  89. 26may1989 says:

    Is Nordtveit our old Nordtveit?

    Could someone look that up?

  90. mickydidit89 says:


    Oscar and I built a box for barn owls at our old house about 7 yrs ago. Had babies and all. Saw them every morning and evening.

  91. chas says:


  92. mickydidit89 says:

    26 🙂

  93. mickydidit89 says:

    Great owl vid. Fantastic wild flower meadow. Beautiful.

  94. chas says:

    Yes, it is, 26?
    Or were you doing a Micky? 🙂

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    I do concentrate harder when Arsenal are playing 🙂

  96. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all, nice one LB
    Thomas Vermaelen was a very good defender when he first arrived, He was doing the business for us and we were all singing his praises, As i remember people was saying that he was outstanding, and he played well for quite some time.

    As most Arsenal players, he got injured, and that really was his downfall, coming back, in fits and starts, he hardly got a chance to gain the form he had shown.

    Now young Calum looks a very good prospect, his involvement has shown that he looks older than his years, but of course we have to realise that its still early doors for Callum, and i feel he should be fed in slower,

    I would have liked Wenger to have brought a replacement for Thomas. Calum has stood in well, but he is still only 19 in what some call the best league in the world, I personally feel that Callum needs time, his call up for England as well, shows that even the England Manager has been impressed , but i feel things are happening faster than it should.

  97. chas says:

    I did just look it up though.

  98. chas says:

    I’ve got the TV on downstairs and can just about hear Tyldesley.
    It’s enough!

  99. 26may1989 says:

    No-one can do a Micky, the man is a law unto himself. And unto buxom ladies…..

  100. RA says:

    There are a lot of barn owls in Norfolk. There wings/feathers don’t make any noise when flying.

    The area of Norfolk is 2,074 square miles. Big barn owls there.

  101. chas says:

    I know Steve typed ‘singing’ correctly, but it’s always bugged me why everybody types
    ‘singing’ when they meant ‘signing’
    ‘manger’ when they mean ‘manager’ and
    ‘form’ when they mean ‘from’.

    Could someone look that up for me?

  102. chas says:

    As big as Sadie?

  103. mickydidit89 says:

    “And unto buxom ladies”

    Eh….where did that come from? Not the sort of thing you can just look up 🙂

  104. chas says:

    ‘There’ as in in Norfolk.
    Do their wings make a noise elsewhere?

  105. chas says:

    As in ‘do unto others…..’

  106. chas says:

    Tyldesley sounds excited, must have a look.

  107. RA says:

    A pond fits into the average English garden, and you can buy one at B&Q.

    A lake doesn’t, and you can’t.

    Didn’t look that up. 🙂

  108. mickydidit89 says:

    Corrr, that’s how to take a pen

  109. 26may1989 says:

    Oh, don’t play the innocent, Mr DidIt.

    Ah, Welbeck on…..

  110. mickydidit89 says:

    Welbeck just un-injured himself

  111. RA says:

    You leave Sadie out of this, Chas, and yes she is a big un – so no pictures.

    I have been to Liverpool recently, and it is easy to get mixed up with hair and her, there and their — want a spell off? 🙂

  112. RA says:

    Welly has given it to the Norwegian No. 10, Micky. 🙂

  113. 26may1989 says:

    Welbeck, best England shot of the night from open play.

  114. mickydidit89 says:

    He’s sensational 🙂

  115. fatgingergooner says:

    What Welbeck did there is exactly what we’ve been missing. Hope that’s the sort of thing we see regularly in an Arsenal shirt.

  116. fatgingergooner says:

    And then getting in behind in a crowded area around the box. Looking sharp so far.

  117. RA says:

    He has bin on fer only a few minits buy I luv Welly already, and that is probly only the start of fings

  118. fatgingergooner says:

    Welbeck Watch: nice run down the flank and a good dummy on the edge of the box. Better than Messi so far!!!

  119. 26may1989 says:

    Yahay, Calum coming on……

  120. mickydidit89 says:

    Don’t want to go to Norway.

    Want to go to Greenland, Iceland or Antarctica.

    Ooo ooo ooo Chambers

  121. fatgingergooner says:

    Chambers coming on at RB I suspect.

  122. RA says:

    Our uvver man is coming on, I probly luv im two.

  123. fatgingergooner says:

    Welbeck Watch: hasn’t been involved for the last minute. Sell him, he’s shit! 🙂

  124. 26may1989 says:

    Leighton Baines, a busted flush methinks.

  125. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m fully expecting Theo to un-injure himself and come on any second now

  126. fatgingergooner says:

    Welbeck Watch: he’s a real defender botherer! Nicks the ball and goes on a run. For a second I think I’m watching Henry the way covers the ground…..only for a second!

  127. 26may1989 says:

    Result, Germany 2 Argentina 4. Neither Ozil nor Merts played, Poldi played for an hour.

  128. RA says:


    Iceland has an area of 836,000 square miles.

    It is an island, and the centre of the island has been squished down by the weight of the ice, and the lady Sadie.

    They say they don’t want the bloke who is a law unto himself and buxom women.

  129. fatgingergooner says:

    Sturridge is such a greedy bar steward. Why does he insist on doing a trick when he’s got an easy ball on?

  130. fatgingergooner says:

    Welbeck Watch: blocks an attempted cross on the bye line. Works hard for the team. Needs a haircut though!

  131. mickydidit89 says:

    Bobby Fischer died in Iceland, and he’s one of my heroes

  132. Hippy Bot says:

    A pond can fit in a lake but a lake cannot fit in a pond.

    Like a boat can fit in a ship but not the other way round

  133. mickydidit89 says:

    Cunning Raddy

  134. mickydidit89 says:

    Good night Gentleman.

  135. mickydidit89 says:

    Men, even 😦

  136. Big Raddy says:

    England really are poor.

    Ox was completely anonymous but didn’t seem to know where he was playing.

    JW started well and faded.

    Welly looks much better than he did at Man Utd. Must be the Wenger-Effect

  137. chas says:

    Feck, that was exciting seeing our Danny come on with a banger up his arse.
    Get rid of the granny-shagger and Milner and England could have a team.

  138. fatgingergooner says:

    Welbeck Watch: if you put all the touches he just had in 15 minutes onto video, it would perfectly show all the positives and negatives of Danny Welbeck.

    First thing he did was let a ball roll under his foot and out of play! After that though he showed pace, good link up play, strength, a powerful shot, and work rate.

    If he does all that for us on a regular basis he will definitely improve us.

  139. chas says:

    That was only one negative.
    Where did the plural come from?

  140. chas says:

    It’s Welbs, not Welly. 🙂

  141. fatgingergooner says:

    Sorry Chas,

    I thought his hair was a given!!! 🙂

  142. Big Raddy says:

    And his tackling was poor.

  143. chas says:

    Haha. I quite like his hair.

  144. chas says:

    His tackling was poor!
    He won the ball back three times.
    Stop taking the ‘shrooms and watch the game.

  145. fatgingergooner says:

    So far we have a problem with his hair and his tackle. This is getting personal! 🙂

  146. stevepalmer1 says:

    Nice to see an Arsenal player get a powerful first shot on target, Danny boy even gets over injuries quick as well

  147. fatgingergooner says:

    I thought Nordtveit played well for them. Usually a HM I think but looked like he was at CB tonight. Apparently been doing well for himself in Germany since leaving us. I think there were rumours of him coming back to us a year or 2 ago

  148. fatgingergooner says:

    What’s this injury that’s getting mentioned? Was he supposed to miss the game?

  149. chas says:

    I didn’t even know the BFG had retired from international football.
    Good news all round.

  150. stevepalmer1 says:

    I read he picked up an injury in training and expected him not to play, maybe just press talk, as he had signed for us

  151. GoonerB says:

    Super super Dan, super super Dan, super super Dan, super Danny Welbeck. Looking good baby. Direct, pacy good shooting, good first touch and good link up play.

    Evening all and a big thanks for an excellent and thought provoking post LB. The latter part of TV’s time with us and the way Chambers has started would indicate an improved situation if comparing it on a direct one out and one in. To be fair to TV though I still think he is a very good defender who will come good again if he gets a run of games and stays injury free. It may be that it turns out to be the amount of injuries that proves to be the biggest immediate benefit of Chambers over TV, rather than any significant upgrade in quality. Having said that the early indications are that Chambers, if not already, should eventually be a better CD.

    I still feel that another squad CD would have been very sensible, and like Steve feel it would have allowed us to ease Chambers in a bit more. I think it would also have afforded us the opportunity for him to have some games at DM which I would have liked both from a development point of view and to see if he could shine in that position as well.

    I hope that Debuchy has a bit of Sagna in him and can play CB because I would worry if Monreal is our go to CB option if injuries hit. If not, as Micky said, maybe someone like Hayden can seize an opportunity. As (LB I think) said earlier age is not a great issue if they are good enough. Stones tonight and Chambers himself are proof of that.

    Finally a big congrats to GIE and family.

  152. fatgingergooner says:

    Oooooh, just read the comments. Congratulations GiE and family!!! 9lb 4oz! Get that lady a Premier League winners medal! 🙂 hope everyone is well.

  153. GoonerB says:

    Just to add my tuppence-worth to the Scandinavian chat, Hammerfest is the most Northern main town in Norway if we are considering the mainland only. If you take into consideration Svalbard which is under Norwegian sovereignty then it is probably Spitsbergen.

    I believe those snow loving people up in Hammerfest are blaming the lack of snow coverage on global warming, primarily due to southern surfing dudes who like a crafty fag or two.

  154. GoonerB says:

    I missed the 9lb 4oz bit Fgg. Blimey, poor Mrs GIE, that is about the size of Wayne Rooney before pre-season training.

  155. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sorry, Congrats GIE

  156. fatgingergooner says:

    The United fans I know are pretty upset about Welbeck leaving. I would be gutted if we sold Ox or Wilshere to United on the back of signing Sanchez, espescially for only £15m.

  157. GoonerB says:

    Excellent link Chas. A good read that article and I find myself both agreeing and encouraged by the thoughts of the Utd fan

  158. chas says:

    I think GIE said the bab was breech, so side door rather than rvp.

  159. chas says:

  160. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thanks all….

  161. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    Well I for one had absolutely no interest in watching the game and thought Young Vets was far more interesting to watch and anyway I knew when I logged in early this morning I would read all about the game from my learned friends.

    But no, I now know about the population,how many lakes as opposed to ponds there are in Norway.Wonders never cease 🙂

  162. chas says:

    Guy’s a bit of a dick but some of the filming is rad. 🙂

  163. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    Just watching the news and an interviewer was telling Hodgson that England only had two shots on target last night. Hodgson wasn’t particularly happy with his stats and more or less told him so.

    We wait for an England win, and then some cretin always finds a negative. Kind of reminds you that if you are not particularly liked, your press will always be poor.

    We know all about that don’t we

  164. chas says:

  165. chas says:

  166. mickydidit89 says:

    Nice pic Exile

    My money says, that along with George, that’ll be the AA Under 3’s CB pairing sorted.

  167. RA says:

    Great pic, GIE, the baby has obviously taken after his mom. A handsome CB in the Arsenal development programme! 😀

  168. RA says:

    I met Igor in Spain a while back.
    A nice bloke and he still had two arms at that time. When was the photo taken?

  169. RA says:

    This is an interesting tribute to Welly, from a Manu blog.

    — “Danny Welbeck has left Manchester United” , These are words that I personally never thought I would ever see written or be spoken. The reality is that the un-thinkable has happened and Danny Welbeck has signed for Arsenal. The arrival of Falcao on loan on deadline day would have seen Danny demoted to fourth choice striker if he had decided to stay at Manchester United.

    Its hard to see Danny leave the club but at 23 years of age and desperately in need of game time this is the right time for him to leave.

    Danny Welbeck is a player who is deeply adored by most Manchester United fans and will undoubtedly be loved by Arsenal fans in the future even though his signing has received mixed reviews so far. With Giroud out injured Danny Welbeck is finally going to get the chance he deserves to play as a central striker.

    Yes , It will be sad to see Danny boss it at a club other than Manchester United but personally I will be tuning in to every Arsenal game to watch Danny play. United had neglected him at his time at Manchester United by playing him on the wing all the time but the fact that we have sold him to Arsenal shows that everyone at the club wants Welbeck to do well.

    We have sold him to one of our biggest rivals and arguably the one team in the premier league that is a perfect fit for Danny Welbeck and desperately in need of a striker.

    Welbeck’s biggest strengths are his movement and his ability to stretch the game with runs behind the defense. Even at times when United’s midfield lacked the pace Welbz always added some urgency into the build up play with his quick give and go’s. Arsenal are a team that’s attack is based on the philosophy of playing quick football in an around the box with quick short passes and through balls.

    Danny Welbeck will thrive under these conditions with players such as Ramsey and Ozil picking his runs out. Yes, at times his finishing is not up to the level of the top top strikers in the world but over the years Danny has proven that when given a run of games as a central striker he will get you the goals. Even at this moment in his career his finishing is not as bad as some people claim it to be and with more game time at Arsenal his composure and finishing will without doubt improve.

    Lets not forget he is a consummate professional who gives everything for his team. At £16 million Danny Welbeck is going to prove to be an absolute bargain for Arsenal in five years time.

    At just 23 years of age Welbeck still has enough time to blossom into a top premier league striker. Its just a shame that it will happen at Arsenal and not Manchester United.

    As a Welbeck fan I hope he proves all his critics wrong this season and proves to the world how good a player he really is.

    Goodluck Danny !!

  170. Eddie says:

    congrats GiEs!!!
    This baby looks very unhappy about being born a Gunner

  171. mickydidit89 says:

    With sound off, that’s a great vid.

    Superb Welbeck (Welly :-: ) tribute

  172. mickydidit89 says:

    Damn it, that was meant to be rolling eyes thingy


  173. mickydidit89 says:

    Ah ha

  174. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning Eddie

    Anything in The Mail this morning worth chatting about? 🙂

  175. Eddie says:

    phew, micky is talking to me again 🙂 🙂
    in The Mail……disgusting media coverage of the sick boy, very good response from Roy Hodgson (his watch is worth about £200k), old people will have to pay for TV licence. The usual shit

    Very, very good article about our Danny posted by RA, well worth a read

  176. mickydidit89 says:

    Do we have a post?

  177. Eddie says:

    we could have a long poll – which player from another EPL team would be better than our own player in the position.

  178. RA says:

    Go for it Micky — minimalist is your style — oh, and the Hippy’s too. 🙄

  179. Shard says:

    Got in before the new post..

    Fanstastic write up LB, (and you are too kind)

    I think you are correct in the sense that Wenger wouldn’t have known just how good Chambers would be, although I disagree that 16m is chump change. However, I think Wenger wanted another signing. Rather than a 4th choice CB, because no one of any real quality and value for money is going to come in that position. Rather i think he wanted a DM who can play at Cb, which will allow Monreal and/or Hayden to be the emergency/CO Cup centreback.

    Why we didn’t get this player, I have no idea, but I am certain that Wenger wants someone to play there, and despite what he’s said, I’m not convinced that Chambers will be that person.

    Also, congratulations to Mrs and Mr GIE. So George and now Harry. I bet they’ll love the Captain Underpants stuff in a few years 🙂

  180. mickydidit89 says:

    You have a post now 🙂

  181. RA says:


    I understood your comment until you mentioned Monreal and Centre-Back in the same sentence.

    You were kidding – right?

  182. Shard says:


    I wish I was. Genuinely. But that would need wishing that Wenger was kidding when he played him there in the Emirates Cup.

  183. Morning all

    Just sorting the post ……….. back in a bit 😉

  184. New Post …………………

  185. Manthan says:

    Now we have welbeck in the team we should go for Alexis/Ox — Welbeck/OG — Theo/Campbell as front 3 and ozil and santi rotation as Playmaker this will be very successful against so called big team.. Keeping fingures crossed don’t wanna see Santi or Ozil playing on wings anymore.. Wenger please listen

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