What to do with Arteta, Rosicky and Diaby – Is Arsene paying the price for selling Song?

Since the departure of Fabregas, almost two seasons ago, Arsene Wenger has struggled to find the right combinations in midfield.

Last season, he experimented desperately to get enough creative spark in his beloved 4-2-1-3 formation. He tried Ramsey as his lone creative/attacking midfielder (CAM) but it did not work out. If and when Rosicky was fit, he was played as our CAM and the team often played a lot better as a result. But Tomas Rosicky’s anagram of ‘Sick Room Stay’ seems to always follow him, as he was once again more injured than available for Arsene. Wenger was hoping either Wilshere or Diaby would return to fitness, but they also remained in the treatment room, and in both cases for the entire season.

Ultimately, Wenger found a solution in asking Song to become our lynchpin player between defence and attack, which included producing a significant number of assists. Song did a great job at this and together with Theo and van Judas he saved our season, in terms of goals and assists. Many fans criticised some of his defensive performances, but these were the price to pay for the invaluable support he gave to our attack.

The Cameroonian’s partnership with Arteta had become a very strong one, and if Arsene could have added a new CAM during last summer, or JW10 would have returned to full fitness from the start, we finally would have had a strong and consistent midfield to kick-off the 2012-2013 season.

Inexplicably, Song was sold late in the summer and no replacement was brought in. Yet, Arsene did bring in a quality CAM in Cazorla, and luckily, JW10 finally returned to full fitness as well. Initially, everything looked great as both Arteta and Diaby started the season strong, both individually and as a ‘double DM tandem’.

However, Diaby became injured once again and Wilshere took his place once he became fully fit. With our defence not firing from all cylinders, and Arteta not the prototype DM many of us have been asking for, Jack was forced to stay back and help out on the defensive side a lot – and I would say too much. At the same time, Santi struggled to really give shape and purpose to our attacking play, and it became clear that the balance in our midfield was not right, once again.

During the January Transfer Window, we were linked with a number of typical, hairy-arsed DM’s, but regrettably, nobody was signed. Diaby has returned and has played a number of games recently. However, he is a shadow of the player we applauded so much after his game at Anfield, at the start of the season. Furthermore, and even more worrying; his partnership with Arteta has gone flat, as both players struggle to protect the defence properly, or support our attacking moves with the necessary impetus and gusto.

Rosicky has been fit for a while now, but does not seem to be able to get a foot into the first team anymore. This is surprising, given that he signed a new contract not so long ago and Wenger has always liked him. Rosicky had a decent game against Blackburn last weekend, but did not start against Bayern, and did not feature at all against Aston Villa. What is going on here?

I know that Song is not every Gooner’s favourite player, but I feel we are missing him badly at the moment. I am convinced that if Arsene would have asked Song to play as a sole, traditional DM, he would do this with gusto, and be very good at it as well. But he was sold and not replaced, and I feel strongly that this is biting Arsene badly in the arse at the moment.

So what to do with our midfield and with the likes of Diaby, Rosicky and Arteta?

I was glad to see Jack being played in the CAM position this Saturday, but just as against Blackburn a week ago, both Diaby and Arteta did not provide him, or the defence, with the required quality of support. This is a worry, and on top of that Diaby is injured again, and God only knows how long it is going to take before the lanky Frenchman is fully fit again.

We cannot buy a DM until the next TW, so we have to make do with what we have. I guess the easiest solution for Arsene is to put Jack next to Arteta and play Cazorla as our CAM. Another option is to combine Arteta with either Ramsey or Coquelin. For me, they are both not ideal but either of them should have a run of games now. Another option is to play Rosicky as our CAM, or even next to Arteta, but Wenger does not seem to want to play him regularly anymore.

However, Wenger will need to get this balance right as soon as possible: our defence needs better quality protection and our attack the right level of thrust and creativity. If he gets it right, we will finish in the top 3/ top 4 this season; if not, it will most probably be ‘Channel Five – Thursday Night’ for us.

Written by:  Total Arsenal.

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118 Responses to What to do with Arteta, Rosicky and Diaby – Is Arsene paying the price for selling Song?

  1. Daxxman says:

    Someone who thinks he invented the new kind of a midfielder (creative attacking midfielder) – knows s__t about football. Stop acting smart, it’s not working.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Ah clever boy, Daxxman. Why don’t you explain to me what the role I am referring to exactly does. Always willing to learn form an expert. 😆

    And please don’t try to explain what you think the ‘C’ stands for.

  3. Milo says:

    Song isn’t exactly pulling up any trees at Barca, playing as a defensive midfielder…in fact they don’t even trust him to play there, so I don’t know how well he would have done playing there for us. IF he was asked to take on a more attacking role last season, then he did a good job, but I have the feeling that he wasn’t asked to do that job all the time, and he cost us on a few occasions because he was caught up-field. I also got the sense that he was playing for a move and a big contract. In the end both sides have ended up looking like arses, but I think a year without him, resulting in Arsene buying a quality replacement, is better than another year with an unmotivated player. It would have been ideal if Arsene replaced him immediately, but he didn’t and he might have made an error in judgement there. Sometimes gambles work, sometimes they don’t. I thought Song’s best season as a defensive midfielder came in the 2010-11 season. He was very good that season. I think that he could have used more discretion as to when and where he attacked last season. A LOT more discretion.

  4. Milo says:

    I thought the “C” stands for centre or central…hahahahaha 😀 But usually central attacking midfielders are creative, so it could be either one…

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo

    Don’t look at Song’s performances at Barcelona: he is another President’s gift buy to appease the fans; just like Hleb, Affelay etc have been. Utterly wasted there: a cry and shame. 😦

  6. Milo says:

    I was just as upset when Arsene let Vela leave to be honest. If he didn’t want to stay, or be patient, or fix his disciplinary issues off the pitch, then I can see why he let him go, but look at him now??? He’s really playing well for Sociedad, and we could have used him. Let’s worry about who we have, and who we COULD buy!!! 😀 You probably already have done an article about that though hahahahahaha:D

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    It was hard to see where Vela would have fitted in our system. He would be great in 4-4-2, next to a big target man, but in our 4-2-1-3 it is harder to tell.

    Milo, Song was one of my favourite players and I was gutted we let him go, and even more so when we did not buy a proper DM instead. I hate the way he is wasted by Barca: such a waste of talent.

    What did you make of Saturday’s match and who would you play in our midfield next weekend? 🙂

  8. VCC says:

    Thanks guys for my BDay wishes. Just got back home, Had a fantastic day with my wonderful family, need some sleep. Catch you all tomorrow. Good night Gooners.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Sleep well Vickers and happy birthday again 🙂

  10. glic says:

    I did say earlier I was mystified by Sick note`s lack of playing time, maybe he will get more involved with his sick note shadow ……..sick !.
    What is also mystifying is, if Song was so good, why was he sold ?.
    Facing a pacey Spud team, I think we need to ditch Snailsacker and Artolate. They must be the two slowest players in the league, they make Cesc look like Speedy Gonzales !.
    I`m glad foootball is such a funny old game, I`m expecting a bad defeat on Sunday, but if Bradford and Blackburn can beat us, then who knows, we might stuff the Spuds !. Cant help it, even though we have the majority of the time had the upper hand over them, I always fear the worse. I hate the c**ts !. I cant get my head around some gooners hating Manu more than them , I just dont get it !. Did I mention I hate the c**ts !. hahaha

  11. glic says:

    Night BK flame grilled flaps !. 🙂

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Glic, since when is being good a reason not to sell a player by the BoD?! I reckon they were balancing the books and Wenger thought he had enough midfielders…. 😦

  13. glic says:

    Someone should sell the f**king BoD then, trouble is no one would have the c**ts !. hahaha

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    No Glic, they would just sit out their contracts hahaha 😛

  15. allezkev says:

    I kinda thought that Sahin was the player Arsene had lined up to replace Song…
    Not sure though, that Mourinho would ever allow Real or any club he manages, to do any business with Wenger…

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Interesting point, allezkev.. I thought Sahin was used by Wenger to get the price down for Cazorla…

  17. allezkev says:

    Hmm, not sure about that TA, wasn’t Wenger still in for Sahin, even after Santi was signed???

  18. allezkev says:

    Looking thru your Orange specs, how do you rate Etienne Capoue?
    I’ve not seen too much of him myself, but he does seem the flavour of the season in many quarters…

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    It is hard to tell, allezkev, isn’t it. Arsene wheels and deals, and we never know what his tactics are. As far as I know, Sahin is not the orthodox DM he said he was looking for towards the end of the summer TW.

    And we did get Santi for a very good prize, relatively…

    Would you have liked him to join us last summer?

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    What I have seen of him, mostly on videos, he looks like a player I would love at Arsenal right now. We also have a bit of an expert on foreign league players on Bergkampesque; Highbury Harmony, and he reckons Capoue is very good indeed.

  21. allezkev says:

    I guess I kinda felt that Arsene saw Sahin in that def/mid role, or maybe he saw him in a role similar to how you described Song in your post…
    Very good read btw.

  22. allezkev says:

    As far as wanting him to join us, I felt that with the shadow of injury constantly hanging over Diaby and Rosicky (and Frimpong).
    That we needed another option to cover for Jack…
    On reflection, and seeing how he has not quite set the EPL alight at Anfield, that we may have had a narrow escape.
    Then again, under Arsene he might have been a success?

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    I have read that Arsene thinks a traditional DM is no longer required in modern football. With the double DM roles, he reckons he needs allround sort of footballers: Diaby, Arteta, Wilshere are such players. And maybe he has a point and would have liked Sahin to join us for those reasons.

    I just would love to have somebody again who hoovers up balls and wins one-to-ones constantly, in the air and on the ground, positions well, and is a decent to good forward passer as well. I reckon such a player would free up Wilshere and Cazorla to run the show a lot more.

  24. allezkev says:

    I will have to visit more often to keep abreast of your European expert H Harmony…
    How confident are you about the forthcoming NLD?

  25. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice stuff TA.

    Yes, we need a beast in midfield but for the time been have to make do.

    i dont think arsene will tinker to much. he will simply go with hs current philosophy and hope that we outscore our oppenents. its a dangerpus game and leaving him open to criticisim. The truth is, i personaly do not see an alternative with the players he has at the current time.

    One solution of course is to change the style and play two holding players, but i just cant see this happening. Firstly, he probably feels we would get better results the way we are and secondly it seems to go against his principles.

    Arsenes principles on playing the “beautiful game” are beggining to worry me. I have come to the stage were i am beggining to question wether a slightly more pragmatic approach would get better results, but then think who am i to question Arsene? I live in a Loft, and am about to pluck my dinner from a mico machine for F**cks sake. hahaha

  26. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    chicken in black bean sauce ummmmm. i love those nice people in Tescos and that genius who invented the micro machine. let the good times roll baby. hahaha

  27. allezkev says:

    I think most Arsenal fans would agree with you on the Def/Mid question TA…
    A Gilberto type would suit me, shame we let him go when we did…

  28. weedonald says:

    TA…..a fair assessment of our general midfield and DM issues but a few corrections:
    1) Song’s sale was NOT at all inexplicable but rather forced by his negative attitude and insistence that he be sold, specifically to Barcelona. Wenger publicly stated that he didn’t want to accede to Song’s requests but that , as a gentleman and being very player oriented, he finally agreed just as he did with Fabregas.
    2) The uncertainty we seem to have in the midfield is definitely NOT due to lack of viable options there, as Wenger correctly pointed out recently. He has Rosicky, Wilshere, Arteta, Coquelin, Cazorla, Diaby, Ramsey, and potentially Podolski (he played there at Koeln),Frimpong and Arshavin in extreme need. There are also 4-5 youth players knocking at the door as well.
    3) His real issue is with the tactical alignment of the 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or 3 1 5 1 he seems to prefer. Do we want to maintain our attacking Football philosophy or place more emphasis on defending resolutely and once in control, moving one of the midfielders into the slot behind the main striker?
    4) Barring serious player injury or fatigue, Wenger’s preferences appear to be, in order: Wilshere,.Arteta.Cazorla and Ramsey, then Diaby,Coquelin,Rosicky, and Arshavin. Not a bad lineup to start and a pretty decent 2nd string option as well.

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    allezkev,

    I saw Spuds play Newcastle a couple of weeks ago, and was not impressed by them. But the NLD is a different matter altogether. If we can get the balance at the back and midfield sorted, we should have more quality to beat them. But a draw would be fine too. What do you think?

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha Terry – you are in fine form again. Hope it is chicken you are eaten… 🙂

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi WeeD,

    Re point 1 – as far as I know there was a dispute over Song wanting to be paid more – to reflect his performance levels. He did not appear to want that much more, but Arsene did not want to give him a new, better contract. Anyway, he still had a few years on his contract and Wenger could have been stronger/ more resolute, or just improve his contract

    Agreed more or less on points 3 and 4. However, of all the players you mentioned, nobody is the experienced beast of DM I am referring to. And only if Arsene plays Jack in the ‘2’ do we get some structure and quality in our defensive midfield play. Yet, Jack should be freed up to play in the creative/ attacking midfield position, in my opinion.

  32. Dylan says:

    Very good read as always. I’m deciding to leave a comment this time though because I have a very strong opinion about Arsene’s transfer business. I feel he is often forced by the board to sell these players and is only allowed to buy a replacement if he makes a profit off the sale. That’s why the players we buy are slowly slipping a tier down, he can’t buy proper world class replacements. I believe that’s why he always says “We will do something if we find a player” but it appears as if we never find players. I think we find them but the board won’t give up the money unless they are making a rather large profit off players sales. I do hope this changes quite soon and we can buy players like Capoue and others (I believe Capoue has the potential to be a world class player from the few games I’ve seen him play but I’m not expert on Ligue Un.) But anyway I’m done rambling thanks for your time and I’d love to hear people’s input on what I’ve said.

  33. Milo says:

    I’ve never seen Capoue play live before…I’ve seen Victor Wanyama play around 10 live matches. He’s very good, and can play centre back as well as defensive midfield. The last match that I saw him play was against Juventus, and he had a bad ankle that day, yet I could still see that he had some talent.

    Like you said before, ideally, we would have a beast in the middle and two more attacking players to compliment that rock in the middle of the park. That would free up Wilshere, yet still provide him with enough time and space to run at the opposition or conduct play from deep.

    On Vela, I think he would have fit nicely on the left-wing. He wouldn’t defend as much as Podolski does, but he would have offered just as much going forward, in the future, if not now. It’s a shame we lost him, but what can you do??? I also think he could have developed in to a David Villa type striker, if given the opportunity, but again, who knows for sure??? Not me.

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA,

    Great read as always, you provide a good case for the return of Song as the DM. I agree that his defensive game suffered as a result of being given the license to attack, but he was still effective as an enforcer with 3 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game. He would have served well as our B2B midfielder in a dual DM set-up.

    Placing Song alongside a player like Capoue (Milo and allezkev this is the scouting report for you two!) would have been the ideal set-up for Arsenal, with Jack playing in the hole. The 6’2 product from Toulouse represents everything Arsenal is sorely lacking: a presence who can strike fear in the hearts of the opposition, a no-nonsense tackler and he prowls around his own half like a pitbull until he gets the ball back. Capoue can control the ball relatively well, makes the simple short passes and can run up field and link up with teammates. He would represent the first purchase by Wenger to replace what Vieira was to this team (outside of his immense talent) – a player who could give vocal leadership and hold others accountable.

    Arsene has always been renowned as a passionate coach who encourages his players to express themselves on the pitch. What he’s missing is the link that can inspire others to push forward and to never give up. Despite not being known for his offence, Capoue’s statistics in Ligue 1 are not too shabby for a DM, registering 4 goals and 2 assists in 23 games this year. He was also named to Ligue 1’s team of the year in 2011-12. So far this season, he’s committed 1.6 fouls, 2.1 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game. It’s evident from watching him that Capoue is a hard tackler who is capable of shutting down the opposition’s skilled players. Combine all that with his 75.2% success rate in aerial battles and you have quite the talented holding midfielder. It’s not all good news though as Capoue needs further refinement in his offensive game and continue to develop his pass completion rate (raised to 81.1% this year compared to 76.5% from last year).

    While paired with Sissoko at Toulouse, the two formed a formidable partnership and an understanding similar to Song and Arteta’s last season. They took turns running up field and defending and both used their massive frames to either shield the ball or win it back. Sissoko was definitely the more noticeable of the two in games, with his surging runs forward but as a DM, Capoue played his role admirably by being a presence at the back and playing with real aggression in his own half (relatively disciplined with only 6 yellows despite all the fouls per game).

  35. Highbury Harmony says:

    For the rest of the games this year, our set-up will likely be one of: Arteta-Ramsey-Wilshere or Arteta-Wilshere-Cazorla, with Coquelin and Rosicky coming on as late substitutes or being called upon in case of injury. Arteta’s lack of pace, aerial ability and being a physical presence certainly hurts us but he generally makes up for it with astute positioning, smart passing and key interceptions. However, ever since returning from injury he’s looked anything but stellar and will really need to improve if we’re to make a serious push for third or fourth place.

  36. marcus says:

    Hi TA,
    Great article..you always seem to write what’s on my mind. I have some thoughts. I think Wenger keeps getting it wrong here. I am of the strong opinion that Rosicky should be in that midfield three alongside Jack and Arteta with Santi played on the left like against villa. People usually say that we need Diaby’s physical presence in the middle but watch him closely and you realize he does very little defending, if any. In fact defensively he is a liability as he is the type to escort opponents into our box and loses more possession than he wins. Also, he slows down our game completely, which in my opinion makes us extremely predictable. Now if you watched our game vs blackburn, you know how fast paced Rosicky’s game is. Plus he is technically equal to Jack and Santi so they can play that quick passing game that few can live with. He has this knack of picking up the ball and running with it at pace which draws opponents to him and creates space for others and he is devastangly ept at picking out players in these pockets of space. So why the hell does arsene keep insisting on playing Diaby or Ramsey?

  37. bc says:

    we need to go 2 up fron whatever. any combination of walcott giroud podolski will see us through. i would then play santi in a free role behind the front 2. with a midfield 3 of jack arteta and 1 other diaby rosicky ramsey or coquelin. chamberlain and one of the 3 strikers for the bench. plus 2 of the 3 midfielders a keeper and 2 defenders.my most contreversial move would be to play jenks at rb with sagna at cb alongside one of theother 3.

  38. macko says:

    hello friends English
    our salvation will come of young I beg you to to believe me (Thomas Eisfeld, Serge Gnarby, Chuba Akpom etc etc. ..) with one or two recruits top top top qualities I thinks werewill be attack.
    For players like Song, Nasri etc etc to relieve you say they polish the bench 🙂 🙂

  39. Gerry says:

    Hi TA – Interesting ? What you said about AW reading BK blogs the other day, I think may be true, and he repeats the comments to the players – ‘Look what this guy said about you Santi “Your slow, and won’t track back to the corner flag”. Well?’ = Click!

    I rest my case.

    Now to the point of discussion – for AW to pass on naturally.

    Now I too am a fan of Song, but I cannot help thinking you are confusing Alex Song the player and the DM role that we are missing. Here, I am in total agreement with Double H on this, Alex would be great alongside a full time DM.

    Ignoring all the what we need right now is a beast of a DM … We haven’t got one, okay? Frimpong, fully formed and developed is the nearest thing, and he’s at Fulham. It came a season or two too early for him. Might have been a different story had he not got injured at Wolves, but again, that is more wishful thinking.

    The one name that has not come up, probably because his services are seen as more important elsewhere, and that is Bacary Sagnna?

    I put him in the mix largely based on how well he adjusted to being a centre back. It is not a great leap of faith to think he could do similar a tad further forwards, is it? He certainly has all the physical attributes. He reads the game well, is quick enough and can pass long and short?
    If he played as part of a back 5, in a 4-1 role, it opens up possibilities of various combinations that could allow Cazorla, Rosicky, and Wilshere all to play together at some point, and still have a pair of strikers?

    As to covering the RB. Well Jenks might benefit from a decent run again? Behind him you have Coquelin and Yennaris, neither would do a shabby job if called upon.

    However, I cannot see the Spuds game being the time to experiment? So it will be the usual suspects lining up in place of Diaby. Wilshere and Arteta look the best combo for me. It is doubtful that we will slot in Rosicky as well as Cazorla, as that would mean Podolski stepping down again? So it will no doubt be Poldi on the left and Rosicky the bench.

    Now if AW is reading this, I think some serious practice will take place this week as Bacs new role is tested out …

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Thanks for the fine overnight, early morrning comments. I will respond after nine.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, you little genius! 🙂

    I have just read your Post and thought I had written it in my sleep! Obviously I think you are right on the button!

    Regards Song, it is indeed a crying shame that we let him go before getting a replacement lined up. Whatever happens to him now, and I am no longer interested, he was a big defensive player for us and a big miss.

  42. Jamesofsouthwales says:

    We have three good centre backs, but the Olympic problem is they don’t talk to each other or the midfield. Personally I think the problem is because of some of the errors that were made by the defence this year they are too afraid o stand up and take charge.

    The point is if we have a problem plugging the hole in front of defence put one of Vermaelen or Koscielny there preferably Kos. Koscielny is a good ball playing centre half so why not play him in the hole and play 4-1-2-3. Barca’s Tom Daily (Busquets) does this very well allowing their fullbacks to push further down the field to join attacks stretching the oppo’s defence allowing more supace for the attackers to work in. Whilst at the same time close off the midfield to counter attacks.

    This would allow us to play further up the field like the second half of our matches. We can use this system this season because we would have to change the way we are setup too much. plus this give us more stability and more bodies in the wide areas allowing us to defend the counter which catches us out often. Technically we could play 2-1-4-3 with Koscielny able to push into the hole in front of TV and BFG or drop in as a 3rd center half. We would then have a more congested midfield, with a minimum of 5 players it would be hard to play through before you even got to Koscielny. Then in attack our fullbacks would supply the width to whip in the crosses allowing Theo, Podolski and Giroud to gang up on the 2 centre backs giving us more bodies in the box then you have 2 centre mids who are able to sit on the edge of the box dictating the play.

    Imagine you were faced with this to defend against this and then break through it without losing the ball again:

    Vermaelen——Mertisacker
    ————————–halfway line—————————

    Koscielny

    Wilshere——–Cazorla
    Jenkinson/ Sagna Nacho/ Gibbs
    ————————–18 yard Line————————–

    Theo- Giroud- Podolski

    Yes we could actually play with essentially 3 strikers in their natural positions in defence with Koscielny droping into the space between or in front of the centre halfs we could look like this:

    Vermaelen – – Mertisacker
    Jerks/ Sagna Koscielny Nacho/Gibbs

    Wilshere- Cazorla
    Theo Podolski

    Giroud

    You see how quickly this would allow us to transition between attack and defence jus a thought:)

  43. Jamesofsouthwales says:

    Obviously with the players a bit more central than all drifting to the right wing lol

  44. VCC says:

    Hi Jamesofsouthwales.

    It all looks good on paper, but when we walk onto the pitch we seem to shrink into a timid state early in games.

    Wenger simply has to address this during the coming week or we will be ripped to shreds by the Spuds on Sunday.

    I’m already on valium, and its only Monday morning.

    I’m definitely joining GLiC this Sunday behind his sofa.

    Fine post yet again Total. My Son has said all season we have missed Song, and I’m inclined to agree with him and yourself.

  45. VCC says:

    UMF1 update.

    Weekly scores =
    Alex…………….5
    Rocky …………3……………tonights game to come
    Gerry…………..3
    Oz………………3
    TMHT………….3
    Herb……………2……………tonights game to come
    PPP……………2……………tonights game to come
    HH………………2…………..tonights game to come
    Red Arse……..2
    Henry …………2
    VCC…………….2…………..tonights game to come
    GLiC…………….1
    Total……………..0 …………tonights game to come

    All tonights predictions are a draw. The most popular choice this week.

    Will update running totals after the game.

  46. marcus says:

    And in regards to DM, there’s a curious issue that arises. Recently Wenger said that he believes the traditional hatchet man a la Gattuso is being replaced by the positionally aware, technically sound mid like Arteta. I strongly disagree. This kind of midfielder only works if:
    a) You are barca and are guaranteed over 70% possession in every game AND (OR)
    b) You play the kind of pressing game where everybody closes down the opponents and fights for the ball AND (OR)
    c0 You have the meanest defense in the land.
    None of these conditions currently concur with Arsenal’s situation so a traditional DM is needed and fast. A player whose passing is good but his instincts are defensive. I have realized that any player that Arsene turns from an AM to a DM (like Arteta) or DM whom he teaches how to attack (like song) slowly but surely abandons his defensive duties. I believe this is the same thing that happened to Essien. We need the kind of player who defending is in his DNA and breaking up play is the reason he plays football professionally. I can not count how many times against villa the commentator kept repeating how our back four had no protection in front of it.

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome Dylan 🙂

    In a way I hope you are wrong, and in another way that you are right. I definitely feel that Wenger was asked to balance the books, or even make a profit on player sales and purchases by the BoD. I felt he had to find a number of players every season with a relatively small buget. But that is me being charitable to Arsene and push the blame towards the BoD.

    But, I don’t know the facts, and most of us don’t. It is also plausible that Arsene has been stubborn to spend the available money, and it is also fair to say that he has got it wrong on a number of occasions, in recent years.

    I reckon he is buying better players again now and we will need to see what happens this summer in terms of additions and letting players go/ replacing them. But then again, we say that every season around this time…

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Milo

    Wanyama looked still great against Juve, despite his apparent ankle issue. He is exactly what I am wishing for. The Juve midfielders and attackers always avoided him as much as possible and avoided the middle of the park constantly. As soon as he had the ball, he did good and simple things with it. He also reads the game well.

    Vela on the left was a possibility, but he had a few games in that position and I guess he did not impress enough. I did like him though.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, once again, a very fine description of Capoue! It made my mouth water! 🙂

    The big question is can we have two players – Arteta and Mertesacker – in our first-11, who rely heavily on their intelligent reading of the game and positioning, rather than physicality and speed…?

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus at 5.47

    When are the elections due in your country?

    Good comment, as always (are you in the process of writing a new post, perhaps.. 🙂 ).

    If and when Diaby is all switched on he can be devestantingly good, but too often he appears to be uncomfortable in his own body and/or lacking focus and attitude. A total enigma!

    I don’t understand why we are not seeing more of Tomas. I wonder whether Arsene was annoyed with him for getting injured during the European Championships this summer – did he play against Wenger’s recommendation perhaps?

    It is just a gut-feeling, but something is not right between them anymore: no more darling Tomas, it seems!

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    bc at 6.45, I like the sound of your formation very much! 🙂

    Bonjour Macko – they might well be promising players but won’t help us right now to get the balance back in our team.

  52. marcus says:

    elections are on march 4th, in a weeks time..fingers crossed…And did you see Rosicky against blackburn? I don’t care if he slept with Wenger’s wife, he deserves a starting spot.

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    Arsene a reader and listener to what fans have to say? Nah, I reckon his favourite shower song is, Non, je ne regrette rien… hahaha 😉

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, hope it all goes well and everything remains stable during the elections. I have read recently that both for your country as well as the wider region these elections are very important.

    I was at the ground for the Blackburn game and thought Tomas had a decent 2nd half, but during the first half he did not seem enough involved in the game. He played ok though, and I like the thought of playing him and Arteta together in the ‘2’.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, interesting thought re Sagna, and what about TV as our beast of a DM?

    I disagree on Song not being able to play as our disciplined, beast of a DM, but I also like HH and your thought of combining him with a typical DM… however, he was sold and we won’t see him in an Arsenal shirt anymore (unless… nah won’t happen! 😦 )

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders, hope you are keeping well?! 🙂

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    JamesofSW 🙂

    That is a great comment and it is worthy of a separate post. What about me taking it off now and publishing it tomorrow as your article?

  58. macko says:

    the placement of players is not good:
    Wilshere would be more defensive efficasse in backgrounds next to Coquelin Arteta or below I puts Santi, Rosisky and on the sides Theo / OX right Podolski / gerviniho left
    center forward Podolski / Theo / Giroud.
    But I really think that player who does not play a ca Wishere place and which would be much better defensive lowest backgrounds or else as a relay but not number 10 ……
    What we lack and a distributor of game like Fabregas / Nazris;)

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Macko

    I think you are saying Wilshere should not play as our advanced midfielder, and if so, I disagree with you. Until we get a beast of a DM, like Wanyama or Capoue, Wilshere is waisted too much next to Arteta. We need him to structure and drive our attacks and he is the best man for it (although Rosicky can do it too, but has not got the stamina/fitness to do this game after game).

  60. glic says:

    Morning Cooter Boogers 😆

    I know there`s still a game tonight, but here are my predictions for the coming weekend ( when I say coming weekend, I dont mean some sort of Ejaculation Festival…….apart from the one at Vicky`s Trannie car park in Brentwood ! hahaha )

    The Tea Baggies
    Neuchateau de AntDec
    West Hampton United
    Quenching Pussy Region
    Norfolk Felchards

    All to win

  61. henrychan says:

    Hi all..

    Wenger had learn from last season panic buying.. And didn’t do the same thing this season.. He bought Podolski, Cazorla, Giroud sooner than we expect.. and also Nacho.. (unfortunately he didn’t bring a GK).. And all of them are good player.. They all are our first starting eleven.. No more deadwood..

    If Wenger do it again this summer for the next season.. And with 70 mil -rumours said- he can bring 4-5 strong player who can be our first starting eleven also.. then we will become a very solid team.. And I wish that include one verygood GK, one solid CB.. And a solid RB if Sagna leave..

    I have a different view about a traditional DM.. I think Arteta, Diaby, Ramsey is strong enough for their position.. As I am not to concern about defending too much..
    If we have a solid GK and 2 great CB.. then the backside will be just fine..
    We lost some games because we don’t have a solid GK and CB..

    We need more creative midfielders.. Someone who can break the wall when we face a hard defence teams.. Someone like Goetze or Isco.. I just wondering if Isco come to Arsenal.. with his combination with Cazorla.. it will be just great.. hehehe..

    And for that reason.. with our players now.. Wenger must play Rosicky more to help Willshere and Cazorla on attacking.. 4-1-2-3 is the suitable formation for our team.. Not a 4-2-1-3.. Two DM make each of them seem to confused at each other.. hehehe..
    And it must start sooner as next week again Spurs..

    Go Gunners..

  62. macko says:

    TA reminded you when was the Song or Wilshere play;)
    he just reversed faudrais the job and play one Arteta a notch higher I think little Santi very well played in Jack’s current position

  63. VCC says:

    Nice early predictions GLiC.

    Your odds are 5468-1. The best of luck buddy. YOu never came last this week, whats the matter with you? 😉

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Macko – Cazorla works best for me in a free role on the wings and Jack is our best conductor, play maker: he is our Napoleon! 😛

    Hi Henry, we can only play 4-1-2-3 if we get a beast of a DM. It would be a disaster if we did it with either Diaby, Arteta or Ramsey as the deeper midfielder. I know you just want us to aanvallen, aanvallen, aanvallen but in my view we need to find the balance first between solid defending and creative and deadly attacking: and the midfield is pivotal in this.

    What is the weather like in Djakarta and how is life treating you in general, HenryC?

  65. macko says:

    I find Jack on the much more impressive recovery than on the finish therefore it will be at its best level by playing number 8 that is to say relailleur;)
    In the time of Fabregas and Nasri, Jack played more like relailleur and was elected best young first league (before ca injury)!
    But that’s just my opinion 🙂

  66. glic says:

    Vic`s. Klompencobblermeisterstein has a game tonight and can overtake in the weekly chart, but I`m hoping he gets no points with a West Hampton win. I think he would settle for that aswell !. 🙂

  67. Gerry says:

    I should think every one saw Villa’s first break out from our corner, thought it should not have been a problem … The ball thrown out to Weiman who took it over the halfway line, but he was faced with two defenders? Between them they did not stop him, and because he retained possession long enough for three others to join him, and that then meant they had a player advantage.

    I understand that from a defensive view they are looking down the pitch, and so can get a head start on our midfielders that have to turn and run. But why wasn’t he stopped before his cavalry arrived?
    Even when they scored it was a similar situation, with both Jenks and Nacho against Weiman. Perhaps it is Jenks lack of experience that made him head it back towards their onrushing players? But it is an area where they need to sort it out better, so may be one drops back behind so he can receive a knock back and play it out, or back to Szcz?

    I think we are missing Gibbs here? He is quite often used as the ‘back-stop’ from set pieces, and he has some key advantages; He is quick, he can trap a ball, he can tackle, and head effectively. Perhaps my alternative DM would be equally effective?

    The Bayern game might be the one to test it out, particularly if Gibbs is back in contention. You could field an aggressive line up that could switch from a 5-1-2-2 in defence, to a 3-1-4-2 in attack;

    Jenks – Kos – Mert – Verm – Gibbs
    Sanga
    Wilshere – Rosicky
    Walcott – Giroud
    to;

    Kos – Mert – Verm
    Sanga
    Jenks – Wilshere – Rosicky – Nacho
    Walcott – Giriod

    Or even give the likes of Eisfeld and Gnabry a run out

    As VCC said earlier, these all look good on paper though, eh?

  68. Gerry says:

    TA – Back to the Song point you made earlier. I have no doubt he COULD play a disciplined DM role, it is whether he would or not. I think he got a taste for the attacking role, which he was very good at, although his success %age could have been better?

    It is a shame about Diaby. I hoped he would really be able to push on this year in a similar way that RV Whatsit did? Let’s hope this time it was more preventative than serious.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic – a couple of Bale own goals would be nice 🙂

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent point about Gibbs, Gerry: yes he is excellent in these situations. You are liking this Sagna-as-DM option, don’t you.

    Against Bayern I would like us to play 4-1-2-3 as we did against Milan last year.

    With Arteta as sole-DM, or Ramsey, or ideally one of TV, Koz or Sagna, and Ox and Jack in the two, or Jack and Cazorla, and Pod – Giroud – Theo ahead ahead of them. I would even consider 3-5-2 with two proper midfielders on the wings of the ‘5’ instead of fullbacks.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Macko, Jack’s goals will come, but for now we need most of all a conductor and he does that best ahead of the two midfielders behind him, in my opinion, which is also just an opinion! 😀

  72. Red Arse says:

    Gerry,

    I am open to be corrected, but I do not remember the Villa goal in the way you have. 🙂

    From our corner, the ball was played out of their penalty area and hacked up to the halfway line, where Wieman controlled it on his chest. (I saw him as a kid playing against the Arsenal Youth team, and, in that game, he was probably the pick of the crop, fast and technically very good.)

    He turned with the ball, and was faced by Arteta and Corp Jenks.
    Jenks was also faced with a player already running on the outside of him, and so he went to cover that player, leaving Arteta to take Weiman – which I think was technically correct.

    Weiman is a very quick player and he raced down the middle of the pitch which opened up like the Red Sea, leaving Arteta behind, and Mert obviously had no chance to get anywhere near him.

    Whatever, the shot from Weiman from all of 22 metres out was nothing special, but Cezzer displayed chocolate wrists to palm the ball into the net.

    The whole team was frankly to blame for that goal, starting with a poor cross from the corner, our inability to close down Villa players, and our slower players unable to get to Weisman.

    Jenkinson’s fault? Not in my book – he cannot be expected to close down two players on his own.

  73. VCC says:

    I’m with you Red Arse. I have had another look at the Villa goal.

    It was a punt upfield…..Jenkinson got a poor purchase headed clearance that went to Weimann, who in turn controlled the ball and ran at the heart of our defence. Jenkinson went to cover his winger (imo correct) when just outside our area Weimann struck at goal hard and low slightly to the right of central goal. Szezeny could and should have saved it. No blame in my book is at Jenkinsons feet.

  74. Red Arse says:

    I read Martin Samuel’s article on the mail site this morning and was impressed with it.

    Those who are paranoid about the Press will, of course, find fault with anything a journo writes, but I think he catches what Arsene Wengers footballing philosophy is all about.

    have a read!

    — “– “After a troubling week in Europe, it would be easy to mock Arsenal or Barcelona, were it not for one thing. Each time they play, these two clubs, arguably above all others, attempt the hardest feat in sport.
    They try to win beautifully. Not pragmatically. Not with cunning. There is a plan but it is a noble one. To attempt victory with the game in its purest form.

    One of the clubs, clearly, has been a lot better at it lately. The crisis at Arsenal and the blip at Barcelona barely compare in real terms: eight years without a trophy against a bad night in Milan. Barcelona are walking away with La Liga and Arsenal would kill to be in their shoes.

    Unless Real Madrid win the Champions League this season – and chances are they won’t even make the quarter-finals, with Manchester United growing in strength – they will have seen off nemesis Jose Mourinho in almost contemptuous fashion.

    Yet viewed dispassionately, even Barcelona’s near-decade of dominance contains elements of underachievement.
    The club have been on the way up since the beginning of 2004, when Edgar Davids arrived to supplement a changing squad including Ronaldinho and newly-promoted youngster Andres Iniesta, Barcelona were beginning to reverse a mid-table position.

    What coach Frank Rijkaard began, Pep Guardiola advanced in splendid style. Rijkaard won two La Liga titles and the Champions League, Guardiola won three titles and the Champions League twice, while his successor, Tito Vilanova, is sure to add his first Spanish title this season.

    For the last five years at least, Barcelona have been acknowledged as the greatest club side in the world – some would argue the best there has been, comparable to the Real Madrid late-Fifties era of Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano.
    Yet while Real Madrid dominated the early years of the European Cup – a markedly weaker tournament back then, it must be said – Barcelona have spent many of their golden years being eliminated by inferiors.

    Inter Milan defeated them in 2010, Chelsea in 2012. And Barcelona’s triumph in 2009 would have been cut short by Chelsea in the semi-final, were it not for one of the most bizarre refereeing displays of recent times.

    AC Milan, not even the best team in Italy according to the Serie A table, now stand a very reasonable chance of removing them again, taking a two-goal lead into the second leg.
    Strangely, as out-thought and sterile as Barcelona appeared in the San Siro, the failure almost made admiration grow. Milan were brilliant: but they were brilliant in the familiar way. Brilliantly disciplined, brilliantly organised, brilliantly coached to carry out a brilliant plan, brilliantly effective. They were not like Barcelona at their best. Their ambition was not of that scale.

    Arsenal are a hard watch right now. They are not playing well and for all his protectiveness, Arsene Wenger surely knows this. His defence was a shambles against Bayern Munich and only Jack Wilshere could have held his own in the opposition team.
    Wenger is presiding over decline, albeit on a limited budget for an elite Premier League club, and there is a real chance Arsenal may be squeezed out of qualification for next season’s Champions League.

    At this point any ideas of bold investment become meaningless, as Radamel Falcao is not about to quit Atletico Madrid for a club that cannot offer the biggest prize of all. Yet, despite this, Wenger’s aims never alter.

    Arsene might be delivering reduced fare compared to past glories but there is no doubt he aspires to more. Still, Wenger’s motivation is to win playing the most ambitiously exhilarating brand of football on its day.

    We are not far from Europe’s elite, he claimed at the weekend. Wenger knows that an Arsenal midfield driven by Wilshere and Santi Cazorla could be inspirational, with the right support network.

    ‘You’ll miss me when I’m gone,’ he says, and of course we will. Those not paying Arsenal season ticket prices can afford to indulge Wenger’s theories on the off-chance they will click – because,
    when they do, the results are sublime. Like The Dude in The Big Lebowski, it’s good knowing he’s out there.

    Barcelona’s football feeds the soul, too. After defeat in Milan, the conclusion was that Vilanova’s team did not have a plan B. Why would they, when plan A is such a beauty?
    Sulley Muntari boasted that Milan had worked out how to play them. Chelsea and Inter did, too. But beating them and playing better than them are two different things.

    Barcelona and Wenger’s Arsenal attempt football’s high wire act: to perform perfectly, without compromise. And of course, it will not always work: but we’ll miss them when they are gone.”

    Sums up my own view pretty accurately. 🙂

  75. Red Arse says:

    I take it you are feeling better VCC. 😀

    I was suspicious when Glicster was bragging about sticking a pin in a VCC doll — I think he said it was a pin — but it could just as easily have been his tiny todger. 🙂

  76. VCC says:

    Yep, Im fine now Red Arse. thankyou. Hope your well too, buddy.

  77. Red Arse says:

    Just so – so, Vicky! 🙂

  78. allezkev says:

    Thanks for that assessment on Capoue, HH, he certainly sounds the type of def/mid we’ve been longing for since PV04 left us for Serie A…
    Like you TA, i’m hoping for a draw at WHL (well a win really, but i’ll take a point)…
    In the long run I think a draw would prove more damaging to the Spuds.
    No doubt we’ll go into the game as underdogs again, which suits me. I think we’ve been underdogs in our previous 3 meetings.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the article, Redders. I am going to have read in a minute.

    Sorry to hear you are still so – so. Hope things improve for you soon.

    Hi allezkev,

    We both would like the Spuds to get mashed by the Hammers tonight, but you are right a draw could make them start our game full of cockiness. That could really suit us. Our defence remains a worry, but we have more fire-power than the Spuddinskies. 🙂

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, what about Jenkinson’s poor header…. surely that added to us conceding the goal, no?

  81. allezkev says:

    Ah, TA, I meant the NLD…

    But yeah, a draw at Upton Park would be excellent (of course a win for the Hammers would be uber excellent).

    Did you see the DB10 interview on FATV.
    You can get it on YouTube if you have not…
    Very interesting for any Bergkampesque fan… 😉

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Enjoyable article Redders. It is true that since Cesc’s departure our football is not only not winning, but also not beautiful. There are still beautiful moments though. However, Gilcster is right; we need one or two ugly MF’s to allow the rest to play the game beautifully 🙂

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    I will check it out Allezkev 🙂

    Where are you based btw?

  84. Gerry says:

    TA – That was the point I was making, although only to say it was down to inexperience.

    VCC – Like yourself, I went and had a look at the highlights before commenting. Alas, it did not show the earlier, and very similar scenario,from which they did not score. I was therefore not able to identify the pair of defenders on that occasion.

    Sorry Redders, memory playing tricks. The ball went to Jenk, who instead of giving it a firm header, it just plopped on to Weimans chest. I also think the shot had a deceptive sting in it. Szcz was no doubt thinking of the Balckburn goal, where a solid wrist plonked it straight to their striker to score. This time he was trying jut to ease it away?

  85. Gerry says:

    Sorry gents for just popping in and out of of chat, but from 9.0am I am dog walking. Then I have a quick catch up. Back to my racing stuff, Feed dogs. Quick cat up. Back to the racing stuff.

    I have the Cheltenham distraction next week, and then attention will move quickly to the forthcoming flat racing, and I need all my data in place by then. It is an early Easter this year which tends to compress the schedule a bit.

    Still, I will keep my eye on things here, as and when I can.
    Cheers

  86. Red Arse says:

    Gerry,

    That is probably right, (regarding misjudged header) as I said I was going from memory, but it does not change the overall conclusion, that overall the whole team were at fault, including chocolate wrists! 🙂

    Actually, I think we are more in agreement than not!! 🙂

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, it is great to know you have some time left for us mere two-footers! 🙂

  88. VCC says:

    Total, I did say it was a poor headed clearance from Jenkinson. But I do not think he should have confronted Weisman, he done the correct thing and tracked the winger running forward.

  89. Highbury Harmony says:

    Redders,

    Thank you very much for sharing that article, it was a fantastic read! It really brings to light how admirable Barcelona and Arsenal’s approaches to the game, in comparison to the majority of other football clubs in the modern game. However, my only criticism is that Barcelona and Arsenal are at their best when they are in constant motion and playing free flowing football – there’s a difference between the author’s distinguished “beautiful” football and what we’ve been seeing from Arsenal lately and from Barcelona last Wednesday. In both instances, both teams were stationary and hesitant and that is not the football we have grown accustomed to from either side.

    TA,

    I don’t think we can be successful with both Mertesacker and Arteta on the pitch. Neither are commanding physical presences (either on the ground or in the air) and both lack the pace necessary to thrive in the PL. Both can be harassed and when placed under immense pressure, crumble and create unnecessary turnovers. Winning battles in the center of the pitch is vital for any side, and the combination of Mertesacker and Arteta will just not cut it past this season.

    As Marcus aptly noted, if AW is convinced that the DM role has evolved, then it makes more sense to replace Mertesacker with a faster, more aggressive in the air and tougher tackling CB. Still, we all believe that Arteta’s role is better suited to one as a substitute since he’s getting older and we have a definite need for a beast of a DM. Another unequivocal leader and no-nonsense character like Capoue is exactly what this team needs and he will protect the back four as if his life depends on it. His heart and soul approach to the game inspires others and his reputation (and willingness) for being a tough tackler terrorizes the opposition and makes them think twice about entering his territory.

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC< I was only teasing you – just dont want you to get too cocky on that blow-up zimmerframe hahahaha 😛

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    all agreed Highmony, but why didn’t we sign the BoaDM this January, for feck sake?!

  92. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, were any significant BoaDM moved this January though? All the targets that meet our requirement for that position stayed put (Wanyama, Capoue, Rode, Gustavo etc.). The only DM that moved this January were M’Vila and Sissoko, with the former having serious attitude concerns and whose development has stagnated and the latter being more of a B2B midfielder whose mind was set on joining Newcastle.

    By no means should we have sold Song though; our squad as a whole would have been much stronger this season and our transition and counter attacks would have been more fluent and cohesive. None of us have the inside track on the Song situation, so it’s safe to say that there was likely a reason he was sold outside of the typical financial profit means. AW gambled on Arteta taking over as the sole DM after he flourished playing a dual role with Song there last year and probably hoped the market would be better in January than it was. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out for us this season and we’re seeing how deteriorating an effect it can have on our squad’s presence against the opposition in games first hand.

  93. Red Arse says:

    Hi HH, 🙂

    I think Samuel covered your perfectly correct point when he said “Arsenal are a hard watch, [at the moment]”, but his overall thesis was that both Barca and Arsenal try to play beautiful football, even if they do not always succeed.

    As he is a West Ham fan I appreciate hearing that from him, rather than a justifiably biased Arsenal fan.

    I was chuffed that our great manager was spoken about in such a respectful way.

    Amazingly, there are Arsenal fans who are so paranoid that they felt it was disrespectful and part of the Media’s attack on the club. That is not healthy!

  94. Highbury Harmony says:

    Redders,

    Good point, I guess I just took the “at the moment” as a correlation to “a lack of results” opposed to “our beautiful football not being played properly at the moment”.

    There is nothing but respect to Arsenal and Barca in that article, everything he states is the truth and exactly how it is. Unfortunately, as you established last week, there are fans at Arsenal who are too evangelistic and choose to blindly follow the club and refuse to see the faults.

    The bigger issue for me is the growing contingent of fans who actually believe that boycotting games will force the board, owner and manager to re-invest their funds or the club’s funds into player transfers. Sadly, this summer’s TW was one where we would have had a greater ability to spend now that the stadium debt has been paid off, and instead those deluded fans will believe that their absence from games influenced the club to spend.

  95. Red Arse says:

    Worse than that even, HH, before the Villa game there were ‘fans’ on other blogs calling for Arsenal to lose 1:4 or even 1:5 ( I don’t understand the spurious accuracy of including the “1”.

    The reason, apparently, was to teach the BoD a ‘lesson’ and to result in the sacking of AW.
    That is the way to true madness!

  96. allezkev says:

    TA, I currantly reside in South London…

    And you, are you in the Low Countries?

  97. Highbury Harmony says:

    Redders :),

    Completely agreed mate, some of the beliefs that fans hold onto are completely beyond me and it’s fascinating, yet frightening, to see how easily manipulated people are from the media.

    Sadly, if we continue to see a decreasing trend in ticket sales, it may only affect the employees that need their jobs and deserve to be paid (ones that are paid to be at matches to sell programs, food, merchandise, take your tickets at the door, etc.). This is a point I make in my upcoming article!

  98. glic says:

    allezkev, TA is from the low countries ( Holland ), but now lives in the low counties ( Norfolk ) !. 🙂

  99. Red Arse says:

    I look forward to it, HH!! 😀

    Got to go — see you all tomorrow!

    Glic will be on in a minute — and you will think it is me in disguise!! 🙂

  100. allezkev says:

    Thank you GLIC.
    A similar landscape to his homeland I guess. 😉

    Interesting comments on Song HH, but I do think that

    Arsene may have grown tired of letting players hold the club to ransom, last season etc, and decided to sell AS rather than drag out the agony.

    We do seem to have a better defensive record this season all the same, for whatever reason…

  101. VCC says:

    Total 16:51. My Kids bought me that very inflatable this Christmas. They made me go to my local with it at lunch time Christmas Day. True story.

  102. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry @ 07:10 :),

    I believe this marks a pivotal point in our blogging careers as it is quite possibly the first time we have ever been in total agreement about anything Arsenal related hahaha! Like you, I feel that Song is definitely a good defender, but that he is more effective when given the license to attack and defending on a need be basis. If he had been paired with a true beast of a DM like Capoue, it would have been the ultimate dual DM set-up and we would have terrorized opposing teams for years.

  103. Milo says:

    Well, having watched the Spuds match, I have come to a painful conclusion…we don’t have anyone who can truly rival Gareth Bale’s match winning qualities. Don’t give me Wilshere, who I would take over Bale anyways because of his all-round ability, and passion for the club, don’t give me Santi Cazorla, he can score, but not seemingly at will, like Bale does. We still might finish ahead of them, but we don’t have anyone who can match him. I hate the guy, I really do, but you cannot begrudge his level of talent. The only good thing is, he’ll probably leave Spurs in a year or so.

  104. Milo says:

    Actually, fuck that, there’s more to winning matches than just scoring goals!!! We have players who can win matches in other ways!!! We DON’T have a goalscorer who can do that though…I guess that was my point!!!

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Allezkev,

    I lived in South London for a number of years: on the edge of Greenwich and Lewisham. Glic has already answered your question earlier today, so no need to repeat it.

    Hi Milo,

    Yes, gutted with that late goal, but fair is fair, it was a brilliant goal. Hope we have learned our lesson from recent games that we need to block shots better from outside the ‘D’ area….

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    So right Milo, I would not want to swap our overall fire-power with theirs. How long is the Welshman going to Bale them out?! 😕

  107. Milo says:

    Well, he COULD keep up this form until the end of the season…just long enough to keep us from finishing in front of them:( I don’t care if we miss the Champions League, I just want us to finish in front of those shits!!! It’s amazing I’m calling them that, as they have a large Jewish following, and I’m Jewish myself, but I can’t help it!!! I dislike their club a lot. I can’t really hate other supporters because I have a Stoke fan for a friend, but I can hate their club!!! 😀

  108. Highbury Harmony says:

    Bale’s form is very concerning and Sagna/Jenkinson will have to be at their best to defend him this weekend. Fortunately, Nacho should neutralize Lennon on the other flank, but it’s always scary to line up against a Spuds team with immense physicality and pace. They even have a creative distributor in Holtby now, so it’ll certainly be a different team than the one we faced in the first half of this year.

    I absolutely hate Bale too, but you’re right Milo – you can’t deny the monkey’s skill!

  109. Highbury Harmony says:

    Unless Bale plays through the middle, in which case we could be screwed if Arteta and Mertesacker have to cover him!

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    OOooooooooooohh Santi Cazooooooooooorlaaaaa!! 🙂

  111. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Milo, have no fear my son. We will teach those no marks a lesson on Sunday. They may have the best player but we have the better team

    They will come fith and enjoy spursdays on channel 5 and we will be in the champions league. The great Possideon came to me in a vison and told me this himself.

    By the way, we have as many Jewish fans as them. Its just that it dosnt show as much because weve got about 10 times the supporters. hahaha

  112. Milo says:

    Well Terry, I hope you are right!!! 😀 The Spuds fans infiltrated the youth team blog I follow because they beat our under 21’s 4-2 on the weekend!!! :S They are soooooooo arrogant!!! I mean, I wouldn’t even bother to post something on a Spuds forum, so why would they bother doing it to us??? Sad, sad people they are!!!

    Hahahahahahahaha, I’ve heard that there are quite a few Jewish supporters, so I’m happy i’m not alone!!! D:

  113. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Whats the youth team blog Milo? Is it that Jorge Bird blog? cant seem to find that one anymore

  114. Highbury Harmony says:

    I don’t think I’d be able to deal with a loss to the Spuds Terry, so you better be right! As TA duly noted, the match this Sunday could be the turning point for both teams. If they lose, surely it’ll be Europa league for them and if we win, Champions league again for us!

  115. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I do infiltrate there blogs some time Milo. I go under the name “RALPH COATS COMB OVER”, or “DAVID PLEATS SEEDY WIG”. They all hate me on there. especialy when i tell them that Hoddle and Waddle were more than chums. hahaha

  116. allezkev says:

    Yes Milo, I saw those Spuds, how pathetic?

    Maybe they should have been a bit more concerned about their 1st teams last two visits to Ashburton Grove…

  117. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    We will turn them over HH. We are simply better than them and will prove it on Sunday

    Like you say, the game is crucial. i dont think a draws enough, we have to win.

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post! 🙂

    In an excellent post, HH looks into the consequences of boycotting games, and he explains why it is make or break for Wenger this summer.

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