We all know better than Arsène ………

This post was written in July 2012 and illustrates how playing personnel changes so much. I thought the journos’ questions about prioritising the Europa over the Prem, lineup-wise, were attempting to back Stevie Bould into a corner. Anyway, as excitement mounts for Sunday’s game, who would you play? 🙂

We all love doing it. I guarantee there to be at least one in every comments section of any Arsenal blog, forum or news site you can think of. The speculative lineup, it’s addictive. Why, I have know idea. There is just something so satisfying about writing the names of our beloved players down into a thoughtfully deliberated formation. Only a handful of us have a significant knowledge of tactics and almost none of us know anything substantial about the players apart from our parochial, emotion-fuelled observations during games and from their blogosphere reputations. And yet, we fancy ourselves as Arsenal managers and pick our own teams week in week out. So here we are in the pre-season, with the summer transfer window hotting up; this is the time where the phenomenon reaches its pinnacle. The debate over our team’s lineup is well and truly alive!

Something we don’t often think about is that your speculative lineup is actually a great indicator of who you are as a person and as an Arsenal fan. Think back to the lineups you’ve produced over the years (maybe even in the last few days!), and find out where you fit in the spectacular spectrum that is the whole gamut of Arsenal fans. So where do you fit?

1. Signing Obsessed






How often do we see a lineup like this? All the players who are even remotely linked with the club are portrayed as saviours, must-buys and symbols of hope for the coming season. This type of lineup will usually be followed by a comment such as ‘Get on it Arsene!’ or ‘Make it happen Gazidis!’

2. Academy Mad

—————–Szczęsny ——————





A lineup like this will usually be followed by something like ‘Future Arsenal first team, 2 years away?’ If this is you, you may need an injection of reality. Explore the archives of blogs from seasons past and have a look at some of the teams suggested as ‘Arsenal’s future’. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas anyone? Jay Simpson? The fact is that – if we are lucky –  each season has only one or two academy players that have what it takes to make the step up to the first team. Last season it was Coquelin, before that it was Wilshere and Szczesny. Who will it be this season? How exciting!

3. Formation Fans

———————Szczęsny ———————–





There is always someone out there telling anyone who will listen that Wenger should being deploying his team in 3-2-3-2 or 4-1-3-1-1 or 5-2-4 or God knows what else. There’s always someone who’s certain the team would be better off with Vermaelen commanding the midfield or that so-and-so should surely be unleashed in the ‘hole’. Every now and then the fan knows what they’re talking about, not often though.

4. Nickname Fans

—————World’s Number One————-


—————–Rambo——–Le Coq———–


——–Theo—The Boy Wonder—The Ox—

Football fans must be the only people in the world to give affectionate nicknames to men we’ve never met. But although we don’t actually know our players personally, in a deeper sense, we know them very, very well. Some of the nicknames are brilliant anyway, we don’t need to justify ourselves. I cannot stand when ostensible ‘fans’ invent hurtful nicknames for members of our beloved team such as ‘Flapihandski’ or ‘Ramilson’. Here’s a mystery I’ve often pondered. Why are some players known universally by their first name and others not? We always hear about Robin, Theo and Arsene and used to talk about Cesc all the time, but we never hear a thing about Mikel, Bacary, Laurent or Kieran.

5. England Snobs

——————-Szczęsny ———————





Some fans are extraordinarily concerned by the amount of English players in the team. Nationality is their top priority. Ramsey’s Welshness is considered acceptable. They even prefer players who are half English or aren’t really English at all such as Jenkinson and Frimpong. As more English players have developed and integrated into Wenger’s new team, these types of posts have steadily become less common.

6. Trollers and P*ss Takers





Poor Djourou cannot play full back can he? I couldn’t even think of enough players but you get the idea.

7. Diaby lovers

——————-Szczęsny ———————





Staunch Diabyists. They exist in their droves. But I do have this feeling like he’s gonna have an amazing season….

8. Fence sitters

—————————-Szczęsny ————————





This sort of lineup is a good sign; it means the club is spoilt for choice, that we have a lot of depth and competition for places. They manifest themselves in a variety of ways: slashes, parenthesis, brackets. But it sort of defeats the point of picking a team. Alternatively some fans like to make two teams, a first team and a second team and sometimes even a third team.

So now that we’ve analyzed it, let’s indulge in the activity we love so much. How do you think we should line up next season? Remember, everyone’s an expert – except for Arsène of course.

Written by Gus


103 Responses to We all know better than Arsène ………

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    In no way meant to disrespect the post but that donkey picture is fabulous

    Thanks Chas

  2. chas says:

    All subs on Sunday plus Aubameyang?

  3. Eddie says:

    who is Gus? very strange post. Gus had a feeling Diaby was going to have an amazing season. Right, I rest my case.

    Agree about the donkey.

  4. mickydidit89 says:


    Quite rightly Arsene will want to win, but a few things at play I reckon.

    Europa is priority, and some of our superstars will be winding down on the commitment level (let’s not risk a 50:50 challenge with a Stoker) with the WC on the horizon

  5. Eddie says:

    “let’s not risk a 50:50 challenge with a Stoker” 🙂
    I loved Raddy’s PMs especially before Stoke and Tottenham games, gosh I hated them. Orcs 🙂 Tony Pullis 🙂 Shawcross 🙂

  6. Eddie says:

    who was our new player a few years ago who started against Stoke and wasn’t warned about the Orcs? Was it Gervinho who almost hang his boots after going up ‘north just once?

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Can’t recall Gus but that is a fine post. Shame he didn’t stay.

    BTW are we playing tomorrow? Is this a ploy to get me to write the PM early? If so, it is crafty and befitting a man from the Midlands.

  8. chas says:

    Haha, BR, no it wasn’t, but now you come to mention it……… 🙂

    I was clearing out the spam bin on WP and the most current spam comment was on Gus’s post. That’s the only reason I went to look at it.
    The Bouldie press conference and LB’s comments about the tension and excitement building for Sunday were also factors. Oh, and me being off work, too 🙂

    I was wondering what to do for good Friday. Thought I might look in the charity shops for a copy of the Life of Brian DVD. 🙂

  9. Big Raddy says:

    ARe shops open in UK on Good Friday? Closed yesterday, today, Sunday and Monday here. Proper God fearing people

  10. chas says:

    They only shut on Sunday here – a country full of heathens.

  11. Rasp says:

    Thanks for a highly entertaining post from Gus (who may even be well know to us all 🙂 )

    Oddly I don’t recall that post …..

    However, it is relevant to the continuing theme of “we’re saying the same things now as we did 6 years ago.

    I though Bouldie was top notch in that press conference yesterday, although I do think LB was flattering himself in comparing the giant northerner with the chiselled jaw and rugged good looks to his own more delicate features 🙂 … incidently, Bouldie started his professional career at Stoke.

    I’m already getting excited about Sunday … no need to worry any of you, it will be a convincing victory for the good guys.

    On another point. I heard that UEFA have changed the rules on players who are sold in January being to be able to play in the CL and EL for a different team. Has this happened? Can Aubameyang now play in the EL for us this season …. answers on a postcard please.,….

  12. Rasp says:

    I’m working today so must be a heathen 🙄

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. You said it!

    11.02 Looks like recent days in Manchester. Marwood?

    chas. 11.03. Be careful. They can trace interweb stuff and you could be pig food next week.

    Why would UEFA change the rules mid-season? Is there a Russian playing for Moskva who is inelligible?

  14. Eddie says:

    chas, no offence darling, but could you please remove the photo of the sottish nazi? He taught his pug a Nazi salute. Not a nice guy.

  15. VP of Oz says:

    Oscypek, a golden-hued, spindle-shaped cheese, is as delicious as it is beautiful.

    That’s because, as per EU regulations, this golden-hued, spindle-shaped cheese has very specific criteria. It must weigh between 600 and 800g and measure between 17 and 23cm. It also needs to be made from at least 60% sheep’s milk, and can only be produced between late April to early October when the sheep feed on fresh mountain grass. Before that, any milk they have is needed for the lambs. Any cheese that doesn’t fit the criteria must be sold as serki góralskie (Highland cheese).


  16. VP of Oz says:

    when reading through all the wikipedia entries for every player that has played for Arsenal since the 1800’s, why is Davor Suker not listed? Purchased to replace Anelka who on his departure – asked whether he would be watching the Charity Shield at his Paris home, Anelka said: “Why should I? I’m no longer part of Arsenal and it doesn’t interest me.

    “To hell with the English people.”

  17. Eddie says:

    serki goralskie have been a delicacy long before EU. Personally I don’t like them, very salty, but they are the best seller in the mountain regions

  18. Rasp says:

    … the new rule comes in for next season so Aubameyang is cup-tied …

  19. VP of Oz says:

    Yes Eddie, but have you had the Oscypek?

  20. VP of Oz says:

    I thought everyone was going to post their team so that we can then determine what type of person you are as per the 1 to 8 in the post.
    I would go the #6




  21. chas says:

    11.02 is Alan Ball

  22. Eddie says:

    VP – of course! millions of them 🙂 my mother really likes them, I am bit squeamish – I saw gorale (many Croatinans are of Gorale origin) make them with bare hands, not always clean. I’d rather eat factory processed cheeses

  23. Big Raddy says:

    I can see it is Ball now. It was so dramatic when he played with white boots – such a fancy dan.

  24. mickydidit89 says:


    I’ve been staring at the Alan Ball pic going…mmmm, Joy Division’ish but not Curtis.

  25. Rasp says:

    Hi Micky, Gus’ name is in the list of authors. Usually, back then, peaches or I would have had email exchanges with potential new authors to guide them through the process. That’s a good post above, it would have been a shame not to have heard more from Gus …. I’m just wondering whether he’s one of the many aliases some bloggers adopt?

  26. Rasp says:

    I’m just having a poke around behind the scenes (oo errr missus) and I’ve come across comments from 26may1989 … what a terrific blogger he was. He had legal training and was always spot on with his comments.

  27. Rasp says:

    Here’s a comment from 26may1989 from 2014 …..

    “Herb/WATA: Apologies if I offended you. Much as it is about subjective judgment, and I wouldn’t call Lambert a bad manager or a player like Adam Johnson a bad player. But neither one is of a special quality either. But you like them, fair enough.

    My main criticism of your take on things goes back to the theme that Rasp struck with his post at the top of the page, namely respect. Of course Wenger has made mistakes. There will always be mistakes, that is a guaranteed feature of any job that depends on judgment and prediction, including that of the manager of a football club: the brilliant 16-year old, whom every big club in Europe wants, could be the next Cesc Fabregas or could be the next Fran Merida. The player plagued by seemingly never-ending injuries could be Abou Diaby or he could be Tomas Rosicky. That brilliant winger could be the next Thierry Henry or could be Gervinho. There’s no certainty but looking back at the last 16/17 years, one thing we can say is that Wenger and his scouts get it right a hell of a lot of the time, and our club would be in a much worse position without that. To my mind, that deserves respect.

    And as for my suggestion, that no other manager could have done what Wenger did to steer us through a stadium move while keeping us near the top, I don’t agree there is a false premise. Based on a hypothetical scenario, that managers at Wenger’s level (the likes of Ferguson, Mourinho, Ancelotti, Guardiola, Hiddink, Benitez etc) were in the same position, of having a tiny budget to fund transfers and wages for a period of years, against the backdrop of the uncertainty and instability that comes from a major infrastructure project, spiced up by the collapse of the broader global economy and the arrival in the PL of oil money, I say that none of them would have accepted those conditions of service, still less been able to achieve the consistency we enjoyed. Plenty of people, you included, wouldn’t agree with my conclusion, which is fine; but that doesn’t make my proposition one based on a false premise, it’s just you coming to a different conclusion to me.

    However much I may not agree with some of Wenger’s decisions down the years (his faith in the dignified but poor Almunia being top of that list), I know my beloved club would today be much, much worse off if he hadn’t stayed loyal to us in 2005. For that, as much as everything he did from 1996 to 2005, he will always have my gratitude and respect.”

  28. mickydidit89 says:

    Eddie ate 26 as a light snack. Shame.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Cracking comment from 26. Alongside some other bloggers he is much missed.

  30. Rasp says:

    OK, not much going on here … guess you’re all good fridaying … so here’s a brilliant piece of ukulele playing for the musos ….

  31. Eddie says:

    no i didn’t, he was such a good guy, why did he stop blogging?
    Has anyone mailed him recently?

  32. Big Raddy says:

    The Bohemian Rhapsody is amazing. True virtuosity

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. Chas knows

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    The bloggers I like the most are those of us that remain loyal to AA, others only pop back in with the occasional burst of comments – but they remain still remain loyal.

    Bye the way where is Terry – did he get caught in the act of doing something abnormal?

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Almost certainly.

  36. Eddie says:

    Terry? Abnormal? surely never

  37. Eddie says:

    who do you think that is?

  38. mickydidit89 says:

    viv anderson?

  39. Eddie says:

    no idea who is viv anderson, but no. It’s Ronaldo, the neck is captured perfectly

  40. Eddie says:

    ok, Viv Anderson left Arsenal at the time I joined in. Hence the ignorant comment.

  41. Eddie says:

    so City can win the league next Saturday against United, nice one 🙂 I am sure Mourinho won’t mind giving them the guard of honour

    BUT, once they win next weekend city are playing Totts. they are unlikely to try very hard, pity.

  42. Eddie says:

    LB must be having kittens by now 🙂 something to read to kill the time:

    Breeding like… rabbits

    Unlikely as it sounds, in the 18th Century a woman called Mary Toft convinced doctors she had given birth to rabbits. Yes, doctors. And yes, rabbits.

    Mrs Toft, a servant from Godalming in Surrey, surprised her family by going into labour. Even more surprisingly, she produced something resembling a kitten.

    Her explanation was rooted in the long-discredited theory of “maternal impression” – caused by being startled by a rabbit in a field in 1726 . From that moment, she said, she dreamed about, and had a “constant and strong desire” to eat, rabbits.

    An obstetrician named John Howard, who seems to have been less than rigorous with his examinations, was convinced by her story. He wrote to some of England’s greatest doctors and King George I, informing them of the miraculous births – including the momentous occasion when his patient produced nine dead bunnies.

    The King sent his doctor to investigate. The medic, who arrived when Mrs Toft was in labour with her 15th rabbit, was certain she was genuine – and took some of her offspring back to London to show the monarch and Prince of Wales.

    A surgeon was then sent by the royal household to have a look. The surgeon, apparently more sensible than the others, examined the rabbits and found that dung inside one of them contained corn – proving it could not have developed inside Mrs Toft’s womb.

    Meanwhile, Mrs Toft was busy giving birth to other unusual things, including a cat’s legs and a hog’s bladder.

    Medical opinion was divided – until a man was caught sneaking a rabbit into Mrs Toft’s room.

    She was eventually forced to admit she had manually inserted the dead rabbits and then allowed them to be removed as if she were giving birth.

    The hoaxer was later charged with fraud and imprisoned. She spent a few months in prison then returned to relative obscurity.

    As for the King’s doctor – he met an unhappy end after being convinced by the scam. He published a pamphlet called A Short Narrative of an Extraordinary Delivery of Rabbets but after the ruse was exposed, he lost favour with the court and died a pauper.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    What an interesting story. Almost as unlikely as an Immaculate Conception

    Just a little Easter thought …

  44. Eddie says:

    dear Raddy – Easter is about Jesus being killed, not born. I don’t expect you to be an expert on the subject, but now you know 🙂 🙂

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    No Easter eggs for Erik then 🙂

  46. mickydidit89 says:

    I went to Waitrose to get my wife an egg, and bought her the ponciest, but the best tasting had to be the giant Lindt bunny

    Bet I get a maltesa one

  47. chas says:

    I don’t mind being at the conception but being at the birth…….nah.

  48. VP of Oz says:

    Chas the voyeur

  49. Eddie says:

    immaculate conception does not require presence of any man even as willing as you chas

    I got a malteser egg and gave it away the same day, good riddance

    Raddy had chicken soup and chopped liver last night 🙂

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    The best looking ones I ever bought were from Fortnum’s

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    Alert re tomorrow

    My advice: don’t go, or at least if you do, lower expectations.

    Just looked some stuff up, and Stoke are in the bottom three, but only a few points from safety ie they will be trying hard

    Rainy day, half empty stadium, oppo. “letting us know we’re in a game”. Not nice at all

  52. Eddie says:

    9am cannot be real, has to be computer generated image, please tell me it is

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, slightly better news.

    I thought their manager was either Sparky Hughes or Pulis, but turns out it’s Lambert

    Is that better?

  54. chas says:

    No rain forecast for Islington tomorrow.

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    The general outlook gets brighter by the comment 🙂

  56. chas says:

    I only looked it up to see if I needed a waterproof for the 4pm kick off. 🙂

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha, I had to double check that. Luckily, the 12:30 ko will avoid the floods

  58. Eddie says:

    VP – what do you make of the crying cheat?

  59. Eddie says:

    a friend called me from Amsterdam today. It is all very politically correct over there – you are not allowed to express preferences in the brothel, can’t chose female rather than male prostitute without risking of being accused of sexism

  60. VP of Oz says:

    Hi Eddie, I’m just back from Easter Vigil. I’m feeling very paganistic now. As for the crying cheat, I think the media are thrashing it way out of proportion. Its not like its the world game, its just a sport played amongst the colonies. The aussie cricketers cheated (and it was a pathetic attempt) as many many many others have done before, especially on the continent with very little punishment, if at all, whereas we are one step away from burning their houses down and sending their children down the coal mines. I do not condone it
    at all but it has been an absolute media frenzy here. As I said before, the grand prix win here in Melb was hardly mentioned in the local press/media as it was all about Smith and Warner. The media frenzy is driving those men to a potential breakdown. I’ve seen it before. We’ve had some high profile sportsmen (for example James Hird) who have made very poor judgement calls and they have been hounded to the point of attempted suicide and psychiatric hospitalisation. Don’t get me wrong, I detest the cheating cricketers but at least they came clean and admitted everything. There are sportsmen and cricketers that will lie and cover-up which I detest much much more. As I said before, back from church so I forgive.

  61. VP of Oz says:

    A further example, I think Thierry Henry cheating against Ireland was far far worse

  62. Eddie says:

    nonsense! anything bad against Ireland is a good thing

    thanks VP for replying. I think I agree with you – he resigned, end of. He is no longer a public figure, leave him and more importantly his family alone. But that’s against human nature and I think the frenzy has some way to go yet. Poor bastard and stupid to be so blatant about it. I cheated many times but got away on most occasions, clever me 🙂 I don’t like cheating in sport, but I am not judgmental, some people do it some don’t. Catch them, punish them, move on.

  63. LB says:

    She was out on a bit a of a late one, copped off with a Roman soldier (all a bit taboo at the time) and then had to explain the pregnancy – I mean, what would you do?

  64. RA says:

    Good Afternoon, All,

    Late again, as usual, I can only say that I did not deserve to read such an interesting, zany and clever Post written by Gus ( who he?).

    Well done that man — as BR said earlier, it is a pity he did not stay with AA as he is/was a very worthy author.

    Of course looking back over 6 years ago, we can all say none of what he said applied to any of us, naturally, but it rings true none-the-less. 🙂

  65. Eddie says:

    LB – she was 12 at the time!!

    Raddy – tell us about ‘I am Queen Mary’

  66. LB says:



    Immaculate conception it is then.

    For the life of me I cannot think why my mind is any where else other than on tomorrow’s riveting fixture.

  67. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all,

    I’m busy today cooking for the family, we are having an early Easter dinner – turkey, roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips, mashed sweet & yellow potatoes and lots of veggie stuff. Mrs GN5 is baking a fresh fruit and cream meringue. Our son is bringing several bottles of red – he prefers Australian Shiraz made with grapes from the Barossa Valley region.

  68. Eddie says:

    LB – I cannot help you there. You should be clad in the full strip and the cashmere scarf, waiting

    12 was a normal age for girls from that region to get married and have children. They only lived to be 40, 50max, so there was no time to mock about taking a gap year to travel the world.

  69. Ant says:

    what time is ko Micky?

  70. Big Raddy says:

    Ant. Why are you disturbing The Oracle? Look it up.

    VP.They did it to Bothamn for smoking weed, did it to Warne for “slimming tablets” :-D. The bigger the star the more the bigger the headlines. Which explains the media witch hunt of Arsene Wenger.

    GN5. Can I come over to yours for dinner?

  71. GunnerN5 says:


    You are always welcome to our home for dinner.

  72. chas says:

  73. chas says:

  74. Eddie says:

    only in England:

    “The Labour official at the centre of an anti-Semitism row has resigned from the party’s ruling committee.

    Christine Shawcroft said her membership of the NEC had “become a distraction for the party and an excuse for endless intrusive media harassment of myself, my family and friends”.

    Ms Shawcroft will be replaced on the NEC by comedian Eddie Izzard.”

  75. VP of Oz says:

    This one is very good, my favourite

  76. VP of Oz says:

    In the citroen video, I love how Cazorla asks her if she plays football

  77. VP of Oz says:

    Happy Easter everyone at AA

  78. chas says:

  79. chas says:

  80. chas says:

  81. chas says:

    Norwich City’s former home at The Nest, famously built at the bottom of a chalk pit 1920s

  82. chas says:

    Fitter, faster and clad in lycra: the middle-aged men racing against stereotypes


  83. Eddie says:

    Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has accused the UK and US of seeking to stop her country hosting this summer’s World Cup.

    Speaking in a lengthy interview with a Russian TV channel, she said their “main aim” was to “take the World Cup out of Russia”.

    YES YES YES, I so hope the WC in Russia won’t happen

  84. chas says:

    Don’t eat too many easter eggs.

  85. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha what an idiot 🙂

  86. Eddie says:

    both Sane and Salah amazing yesterday, especially Sane. I am glad in a way that he won’t go abroad, such a joy to watch

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    very brief motning all

    love the “only need a draw against Stoke tomorrow to guarantee their place in the Premier League next season”

    Off early walkies. Enjoy day all who are going

    (Eddie back on the Daily Mail I see 🙄 )

  88. Eddie says:

    didit – you should read Daily Mail, I think they predicted that bitcoin won’t reach your predicted price of £100k. How is the bitcoin doing now 🙂 🙂 And what did you say then: ‘rule number one – don’t take any notice of what Eddie says’ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    enjoy the walk, me is out with the twins too. Then to Brighton for Easter

  89. Big Raddy says:

    Damn, I missed the morning banter.

    There is a New Post

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