Is lack of investment the only problem ailing Arsenal?

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Are Arsenal on the way up or down? πŸ˜•

A lot has been said about Arsenal’s misfortunes over the past couple of years and rightly so. An eight year trophy drought represents a shocking fall in grace for a team that once won the premier league unbeaten: a feat that has not yet, and doesn’t look likely to be, matched in this premier league era. It is unanimous among those who watch this beautiful game that this dire trend is solely due to the fact that Arsene Wenger has to be the stingiest spender on the planet.

However, I am here to dispute that.

Please do not get me wrong, I do believe it is a major reason why we haven’t won anything, but there is a vital underlying issue that we seem not to take note of. Since we last won the FA cup in 2004, Arsenal have watched as their best players depart for greener pastures, season in season out. In this regard, Wenger is guilty; if not for failing to hold on to them, then for failing to replace them with players of similar quality. That said; let’s really examine the situation comprehensively. Save for Cesc Fabregas, who was returning home, every single player who has left us sings to the same tune. They all left to seek success elsewhere, which effectively brings me to the point of this article.

The one thing that Arsenal – through Wenger – have lost is the winning mentality; the spirit of champions if you will. This is a key aspect that leads me to believe that no matter who we draft in, not much will change. I know this is can be construed as an outlandish statement to make, but let me elaborate.

Arsenal have not won anything in 8 years. There is a point during this period when we had Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri, Flamini, Vermaelen, Walcott, Rosicky, Hleb, Song, Gilberto, Toure, Clichy and many more; all in one squad. Not only that, these players were at their peaks and in their element at Arsenal, as evidenced by the fact that none of them, except Van Persie, has reached the kind of individual levels at their new clubs which they had at Arsenal. Even the great Cesc Fabregas is not the player he was at Arsenal. Add the fact that a player like Adebayor, who I perceive as average, was once second to Ronaldo, and above Torres, in the EPL scoring charts at Arsenal, and you begin to get my point.

Say what you will but give that squad to Fergie or Mourinho and watch how there will be a trophy flood.

This has gone on to the present day. Take a keen look at our squad, player for player. Our midfield of Wilshere, Cazorla, Arteta and Rosicky is on paper the best in the league: even superior to that of Chelsea. Ideally with the quality we have, we should boss possession by a large margin and create endless chances. Our defense has been criticized endlessly but did you know that statistically we have the fourth best defensive record in the league? Man city are the best having only conceded 24 goals, then Chelsea with 30 goals, then Man Utd with 31 goals; finally Arsenal with 32 goals. Shocking, isn’t it? Let’s Move on to our attack.

This season we have not been as prolific in terms of goals scored as we have in seasons past. This, however, I can attribute to the fact that we have acquired a whole new strike force since RVP’s departure. Let us carefully examine each signing. Lukas Podolski at Koln finished the season as the joint fourth highest scorer (tied with Claudio Pizzaro and Marco Reus) with 18 goals in the Bundesliga. On top of that, he has over 100 caps for Germany, one of the world’s best national teams, at 27 years of age. Olivier Giroud was the top scorer in the French league with 21 league goals. Gervinho, in his last season at Lille (who by the way won that years Ligue 1), finished with 18 goals in all competitions, beating then team mate Eden Hazard who was named the best young player that year.

Given these statistics, you are able to slowly come to terms with my point. Our squad (on paper) is not as weak as the performances we have been putting in suggest.

The problem is this: we do not have the belief or the spirit to fight, to win.

This is a problem that lies fully on the shoulders of Arsene Wenger. After we won our last trophy in 2004 at Highbury, we built and moved to the Emirates: a move that left us in massive debt. Wenger chose then to nurture talent rather than buy it ready made to save on costs. This was a great idea but poorly executed. I say this because it was a great idea based on the talent we were able to bring through (Fabregas, RVP, Wilshere, Clichy..etc). It was poorly executed because Wenger decided to put his faith ENTIRELY in talented youngsters. It doesn’t matter how talented those players were, experience is a vital ingredient of any title-winning side. This was the first stage of our descent.

Arsenal-v-Man-Utd-001

Inevitably, we went trophy-less but that was not the problem. The problem was that instead of quickly remedying this by acquiring one or two experienced heads to complement the talented youngsters, Wenger began making excuses for his squad saying “they will come good”. This ushered in the second stage, and worst part, of our decline from glory. This is because no matter how true his excuses were, subconsciously he was accepting defeat. With the talent those youngsters had, it was guaranteed that they would come good. Problem is, until they did, Wenger had accepted failure.

Ultimately his plan back fired and here is why: Wenger had banked on all the players developing at the same rate and eventually peaking at the same time. This of course was not the case.

Some players like Cesc developed and peaked faster than the rest. This meant that they were talismen at a tender age and they shouldered the team’s fortunes. It worked for a while but eventually they realized that to win trophies they needed to play alongside players of their caliber; so they moved on. Of course with Wenger’s new philosophy he replaced these outgoing stars with raw young talent beginning the cycle again. We were stuck in a loop where some players would bloom faster, carry the team for a while, then eventually depart leaving the mantle to the younger, developing players. We were never going to win anything. David Dein our vice chairman was the first to notice this trend and when he couldn’t convince Wenger to change his ways, he too left.

Then Wenger began blaming our shortcomings on our financial policies that, ironically, were set up by him in the first place. He also began looking at finishing in the top four as an achievement. This ushered in the final stage of our fall from grace. This is because he began making the players and the board believe that finishing in the top four was an achievement worthy of praise, and Arsenal football club began operating as such. Players no longer had the desire/mentality to fight for honours and when they didn’t, nobody in the club raised a finger against the gaffer. This continued for years until the fans began to get restless. Wenger then started buying sub-par players to appease the fans’ demand for signings. I mean, can you believe that the same Wenger who bought Santos, Mertesacker, Park, Chamakh, Squillaci is also the one who bought Henry, Pires, Vieira etc?

What we are seeing today is a result of years of this flawed policy. Even when we buy top players such as Cazorla we still cannot, and will not, achieve anything because of the mentality currently possessed in the Arsenal dressing room.

Sure, Wenger may decide to go all out and splash funds on several top players, but I believe that until this mentality is rectified, we are fighting a losing battle.

There is no way we will achieve anything when Arsene can insist on playing a player like Ramsey week in week out expecting results. It is a clear indicator the he has lost his edge, and unless he can quickly and radically change this mentality; first and foremost in himself and then in the team, I believe that his time at the helm is quickly coming to an end.

What say you fellow Gooners?

Written by: Marcus

Please note the article was written before this weekend’s games (TotalArsenal).

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180 Responses to Is lack of investment the only problem ailing Arsenal?

  1. AFC says:

    Marcus very good article. I think that these players were right to leave Arsenal (I will not say much on this as my article in the next few days will explain this and how we can stop this).

    As for our squad, we have a very thin sqaud and we need strength in depth to win things. We have a good baseline to do this.

    I also feel Wenger does not add to squads because his expectations of his squads are too high. I felt the squad we had the season before Cesc left was very good and if we added the likes of Podolski etc we would have began to win things.

  2. adam says:

    Whilst I agree with some of this blog, I believe we punched above our weight and are spoilt with the results in the league compared to other team expenditure during this time. Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs are three teams that may have won something in the last 8 years, but also want a new stadium to move into if they can afford it.
    The club maybe not be perfect, but with FFP, shirt and kit sponsorship to increase turnover the future looks increasingly position for the club.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent, thought-provoking stuff Marcus! πŸ™‚

    After our two victories in difficult away fixtures in the last few days, it all feels a bit different around the club. Would this post have come out a week ago, your post might have hit home a bit harder.

    We can never tell for sure whether RedNose or Maureen would have done better than Wenger with the same players or not; I don’t think so at all, but it is your opinion and there is no way for me to prove you wrong. I think we need to realise that just winning is not interesting to Wenger; he wants to win in style, which is something both Rednose and Maureen are incapable of. They have a purely perfunctory approach to football, which is ideal if combined with lots of money: a recipe for success, as in winning silverware.

    Arsene wants to play Wengerball, which is so much harder to do. Key for that is developing players and keeping them. You made very good points re the need for experienced players over the last eight years, but I feel he has been addressing this over the last two years.

    I also agree that something has been missing in terms of mental toughness and winning mentality within the squad. I think we are getting better at this now, but need to add a bit of steel in defence and/or midfield so both Cazorla and Wilshere can run the show for us and lead the team to glory. Add to that a bit of quality up-front and we COULD make the next step forwards.

    Whether this is with Wenger or not remains to be seen. And I want to wait till the end of the season to see whether he is still the man for us.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points Adam and welcome to BK. πŸ™‚

  5. AFC says:

    Hit TotalArsenal, I agree with you. Wenger sees Arsenal as a project and does not want to buy a team and call it Arsenal (although he is being forced to do this now), he wants to build a team with young players that have come through the youth system and have Arsenal in their blood.

    In theory his idea of developing a team of players and watching them grow together for many years is mouth watering, but in reality this will never work in todays climate.

  6. adam says:

    lol think I was trying to say positive in that last sentence. It is late !

  7. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Marcus, first let me congratulate you on writing an article expressing your view. I agree with many of your points but not with the sentiment that i feel seeps through your post.

    It seems to me that from your post you are an Arsenal fan from the wenger era onwards and do not have a grasp or perspective of the bigger picture.

    I will politely leave it at that.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Arsene after the Swansea game:

    “Our commitment and determination, it is something special,” ArsΓ¨ne Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said. “We dug in when our legs were heavy. I’m very pleased with our spirit, our solidarity. I see it every day. We are ready for the fight until the last day of the championship. We know what it takes.”

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC, I reckon Arsene has changed over the last two years, and so have the funds he has available now. The formula going forwards looks like:

    * top youth talents making it through the first 11-18 players +
    * experienced, good players bought around Β£12-18m +
    * key players signed up on long contracts +
    * make them play Wengerball together, which takes time.

    A big part of me wants to give him time to complete this formula, but a small part of me believes he is not going to do it again… πŸ˜•

  10. AFC says:

    Also Marcus when you said that Wenger needed to buy experienced players although he is starting to do that, Wenger knows he can do that but he does not want to. SAF buys world class strikers and Wenger makes world class strikers.

  11. Highbury Harmony says:

    Marcus,

    Thank you for writing a quality, thought-provoking article. Fantastic to read something that doesn’t blame our lack of activity in transfer market as the main reasons for our downfall! I certainly agree with some of the points you made, especially the winning mentality that was already in place from players like Adams, Bould, Petit, Henry, in addition to the vicious cycle of depending on youngsters and them developing at uneven rates, creating unbalance in our squad.

    However, there are a few points in your article that I must contest:

    1) We have the 4th best GA in the league – Are we not in 5th place though? Despite our record of GA being only marginally worse than 3 other clubs in the PL, we’re comparing the performances as a whole and not just our GA domestically. Being a top club, we should be able to defend better against the other top clubs. How many goals have we conceded to the likes of Spuds, Manure, $hitty and Chel$ea this year? 13 goals alone to those four clubs in 9 games! Not a good track record of being astute defensively if you ask me…we will continue to be judged on how we defend against the top sides, not just on our ability to keep clean sheets against mid-table and lower-table teams.

    2) Success in other leagues does not translate to EPL success – Ligue 1 is definitely an inferior league to the EPL in terms of talent and resources. Ligue 1 can be a stingy league in terms of scoring, so there’s no denying that it takes a certain amount of skill to do what Gervinho and Giroud accomplished. However, against more physical and fast defenders, both players have struggled to find consistency. The Bundesliga is attack focused and goals are scored in abundance, which is a stark contrast to Ligue 1. Poldi’s goal totals are thus slightly inflated, BUT he still hasn’t gotten many opportunities to start and play in his preferred central striking position, which may explain the discrepancy.

    The larger picture might be that these players were the product of the systems in place at their respective clubs, and not from their talent alone. Let’s remember that not every player can fit into the Arsenal style.

    3) There is no proof that AW accepted defeat or that he convinced the board and players that top 4 was enough – Certainly the results the past 8 years are reflective of your points, but I believe AW is too passionate about football and this club to ever “throw in the towel” and set our club to a lower standard. That is all I’ll say because there is no proof for other side, merely speculation and observation based on body language, performances and interviews.

  12. Highbury Harmony says:

    not successful from their talent alone*

  13. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal. You are right I too would like to see a team developed from a very young age but the problem is that Wenger has to realise players do not want to wait to win trophies and wil easily leave for a bigger pay cheque. I personally would stay at Arsenal my whole career if I was a player as I would just love to be a part of Wenger’s finished squad.

  14. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, I truly hope that these leaked kits are not ours, they look awful…

    http://www.caughtoffside.com/2013/03/17/image-arsenal-new-home-adidas-201415-shirt-revealed-leaked-kit-looks-top-notch/

    The black, red and white is reminiscent of that pungent Manure club!

  15. Richie says:

    Definately the lack of winning mentality is a factor. However, it is one of the very hardest things to get into a team. You can buy good players but to get that winning mentality you need to actually win stuff. A big factor in our decline is also the increased competitiveness of the league and massive injection of money at City and Chelsea. It is not as simple as saying it is all Wengers fault.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I think there is a difference between buying world class players and experienced players. Arsene has definitely started to buy experienced players now: from Mertesacker to Arteta and Cazorla to Monreal etc.

    He is not buying top of the market players, but this might change; doubt it though. He does not need to do this for me either, as long as can keep hold of those who come good for us.

    Re RedNose, other than van J he has not bought top class either during recent years. In fact, his acquisitions have been pretty similar to Arsene’s in terms of quality/price tags. The difference is RedNose did not have to sell anybody in the process and cleverly kept Scholes and Giggs to guide the young/raw talents he bought….

  17. AFC says:

    HH agreed. Nike football kits looks miles better than Adidas football kits anyday.

  18. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, SAF buys players to add to his squads but Wenger has to buy players to replace other players who have left his squads. To me this is one of the main reasons in the difference in trophies between Arsenal and Man U.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed on your first sentence, AFC, but not entirely on your last sentence.

    Things are changing at MU re winning trophies as well, albeit slowly.

    No trophies last year, and no CL this year. It also looks like they might not win the FA cup this year, which leaves them with the League title. The latter is always an achievement, but the competition made it quite easy for them this year. 😦

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, I like that kit. Has an old fashioned style about it and I can see our players fight in it. Far better than the current one, imo.

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Btw, AFC, your post will be issued tomorrow evening. πŸ™‚

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Richie, hi and welcome to BK. All agreed!

  23. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal. Agreed the competition has been easier for them.

    Regarding players leaving. Maybe Wenger should have put his foot down or made it extremely difficult for them to leave (although he did that with RVP). When players told him they wanted to leave maybe he should have said “Sure you can, once your 3 year contract ends.”

    Not sure if this would have made matters worse and been bad for the club (e.g. West Brom most recently).

  24. William says:

    There are other areas as well.T actically Wenger plays in one attacking style and expects the other side to do likewise.He gets annoyed when teams play anti soccer and hit on the break.
    That is why he lost continually to MU and Chelsea in the epl and cl. Drogba,Ronaldo and the ugly Brit bulldog were scoring for fun with the acres of space and time given.
    The other is the defence. Starting with the gk,the other top teams have top,top,top quality gks. Arsenal’s at most is a second rate one.The defence as a whole had been conceding goals galore from set pieces and corners for many seasons. Nothing was done or crocks like Campbell and Silvester were bought. No wonder Messi was unplayable and Wenger expected to win the cl with these two guys in defence.Chelsea neutralised Messi and he was outplayed. Same with Bale, he maybe on ahot streak but WHU stifled him.
    Hopefully there are signs Wenger has seen the error of his wasy. Thelast two matches have given grounds for optimism and maybe the cl could be within reach but there is no margin for error.

  25. Highbury Harmony says:

    Disagree TA, that kit looks like something a beer league or houseleague team would wear. The stripes are god damn awful and black belongs nowhere on the home red and white. I’d be all for a black alternate or away kit, but not tainting the home kit.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Stripes should be red, HH; agreed. Maybe they are meant to be dark blue…

  27. bobby says:

    Wenger needs to buy his way out of trouble end of period.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, maybe he should have, at least in some cases: Song especially. Maybe vanJ as well, but he forced his way out with his statement against Wenger/the club.

  29. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal.

    Regarding Van Judas I do not know if you know about this but apparently he stuck it on Wenger and told him the club had no ambition. He them made crazy demands and asked for a Β£5m loyalty bonus and Β£13m a year wages. Plus wanted a new right back and new central defender signed and also his own personal dutch physio paid for by Arsenal.

    What a pisstake. He just had to go.

  30. AFC says:

    If I was Wenger I probably would have layed him out.

  31. bobby says:

    The pisstake is not winning ziltch in 8 years.

  32. Rohan says:

    I make this point a lot, but here it is again : Blame selling not spending. Since we moved to the emirates:
    In 06/07 we needed to replace Henry and Cole
    07/08 Reyes,Lehmann and Ljunberg
    08/09 Hleb, Gilberto, Flamini
    09/10 Adebayor, Toure
    10/11 Eduardo
    11/12 Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy
    12/13 Van Persie, Song
    As, you can see almost every year we have had to replace players in key positions.Even if you replace them, most signings often take a while to settle in. Simply having the personnel is not enough, having players who have been in the squad for long enough to perform well in our system is.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    I just don’t know, AFC, but if it is true I fully agree with you.

    For me, the big disappointment with VanJ was that he said he was a Gooner for Life, that he loved the club, and he would resolve his new contract issue over a cup of coffee. I believed him, and then he let himself down by forcing a move and going to our worst modern-day enemy. That’s why I will always despise him: he flirted with Arsenal loyalty only to kick us in the balls with seemingly no regret or emotions. Not the man I thought he was.

    I guess I am so disappointed in him, as he made a fool of me in the process. This is what I wrote about him for another side at the time:

    http://arsenalarsenal.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-interview-that-tells-us-rvp-will-stay-at-arsenal/

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    bobby are you a trophy hunter?

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Rohan, that is a strong comment, and very hard to argue against. πŸ™‚

  36. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, nowadays you can never believe a word players say. Sol Campbell (not sure what club he was at or if it was even him) in an interview said that his loyalty was with his club. When he left and fans were outraged his agent in an interview had the cheek to say that Campbell meant that while he was under contract his loyalty was with his club.

  37. bobby says:

    I agree Rohan, you should always build on a winning team by adding one or two quality players each season. Wenger can’t even get the basics right.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes AFC, I know I know… 😦

  39. AFC says:

    Speak to everybody tomorrow, off to bed.

  40. Art says:

    False, look at the past seasons, the teams that have placed higher than us ALWAYS have had a higher wage bill than us (not to mention a higher net spend) especially for their top players. Do you think this is coincidence? That would be quite naive. We simply can’t afford to pay players 180,000-250,000 a week. Teams that have finished above us can. Maybe this year it will change

  41. Tomas says:

    Any forensic analysis of Arsenal decline must begin with departure of Patric Veira who didn’t leave for titles but money he should’ve gotten at Arsenal. The biggest flaw of Wenger is his belief that any player can be replaced and they should be moved on while they still hold a high transfer value. If Wenger were the boss of United or Chelsea, players like Scholes, Giggs, Ferdinand,Lampard,Tierry and many others would’ve been sold before they reached 29 years old. When Henry was sold to Barca most analysts were quick to point out his goal productivity had diminished and so had his distance covered on the pitch by some 20 percent , yet it’s well known the value of certain players goes well beyond raw numbers, thus Wenger saw fit to bring him back on loan years later. When a manager wears as many hats as Wenger does and is as powerful as he is ,there’s always danger of things going bad if he gets it wrong. There isn’t structure in place to override his decisions and correct the wrongs. You simply begin to move the goal post so to speak. Eight years of trophy drought after promising success and challenging for trophies , no matter – you just point out the fifteen years of continuous CL competition claiming that to be a trophy in itself. Spending money for the sake of spending it isn’t a great solution , but identifying areas of deficiencies and rectifying the problem is a mark of good manager -Ferguson has done it for years. Arsenal are the only big club in Europe who haven’t had recognized number one keeper in five years or so, enough said.

  42. AFAS says:

    I think you’re right in most of your exposΓ© but just wish remind you that we won our last trophy in 2005 and not 2004. Thanks for you piece.

  43. marcus says:

    Highbury Harmony,
    Let me explain further. When I said he accepted defeat, what I meant was he got comfortable not winning anything. No top level manager goes cupless and makes excuses for his team. Last season man u won nothing and fergie not only deemed this unacceptable, he went on to buy the best striker in the land. Enough said.
    And about the board. Show me any top team anywhere that has gone even 3 years trophyless and retained their coach and I will accept your point. Literally anywhere.
    And finally, I was using those stats to show that our defense isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. Last season we had one of the worst GA records in the league and every critic used that to point to our defensive ineptitude. Besides, strike forces are judged based on goals scored and defenses goals conceded.

  44. marcus says:

    Terry,
    I am a fan of the Wenger era and all I’m doing is judging him based on two things. Historical achievements of the team and the standards he himself has set.

  45. marcus says:

    And let me clarify further. When I said that we needed experienced players I did not mean now. I meant back when Pires, vieira, henry, berkamp and co. left and we’d have a team whose average age was 21.

  46. Amit S says:

    Nice article dear. Just few more points which I feel should also be paid attention to w.r.t Wenger:
    1. Over reliance on his transfer philosophies – like failing to add to squad during Januaray transfer windows, even though every Tom, Dick n Harry would have known the squad was paper thin. By that time Asrenal were still active in CL and FAC. Result was easy to fathom, with just OG as CF, and no real DM, and lack of overall depth, they were out of both competitions within a week, and now struggling for 4th CL place.
    2. Not a man of his word – again his transfer claims could be referred, where he only added LB when Gibbs was injured. Also his claims of refreeing errors, and fatigued players after losses could be referred, while all these things are part of the game. For failing to inspire/refresh the squad also blame goes to him.
    3. Lack of Plan B – Wenger doesn’t seem to have any plan B, and never ever even thinks about any other plan then his 3-3-4 formation. Clearly in few of the games where the situation demanded 2-4-4 he still persisted with a lone CF with the result being a 0 result for Arsenal. May be because he does not possess a second striker, again his folly.
    4. Lack of Quality in all areas of the pitch – only if Wenger could see. Players like Gervinho, Podolski, Giroud, Jenkinson, Diaby etc. may be good players but certainly not Arsenal quality since they blow hot n cold in every other match, definitely not consistent enough for Arsenal. And this is while not counting the fringe players like Squillaci, Arshavin, Chamakh etc.

  47. Gerry says:

    Here’s the thing Marcus, I agree with you on much of what you say, but I also agree with what a lot of responders are saying.

    The reason for that lies at the very heart of what you write. It is a very personal viewpoint, and you put up a cogent argument for believing in what you are writing, and there lies the weakness I think? You build your case around what you see as fitting your point of view, at the same time, exclude things that might throw that into doubt, whether consciously or subconsciously.

    I give you just one area which you have left out – Injuries? All clubs get them, but we have had injuries to key players, and several at the same time, that has put us top of the pile in this respect. Would you even be thinking this way, let alone writing this blog, had we had a fully fit RvP for 8 seasons?

    (And here, Totes, I am in agreement with you, it is ‘the man’, not the footballer that earns the ‘J’. If we are to believe what has been said since, he had agreed to join United as early as January? I just hope, when he reflects on his one medal with his grandchildren that this lack of loyalty, YES, loyalty, to the man and club who stood by him through injuries, the (false) accusation of rape, and all his early waywardness, tarnishes that gold bauble in their eyes and, deep down, in his, because that is what 30 pieces of silver is all it is worth …)

    Back to the blog …
    This, and other areas which may not tell the whole truth about why we are where we are, or indeed, if an intelligent person as Arsene is, is that stubborn and single minded that in another time another era would not have done things differently? Mainly because none of us can really know?

    Undoubtedly, there have been mistakes along the way. Players that have not fulfilled the expectation level, although my strongest direct criticism of what you wrote is the inclusion of Mertersacker. For all his lack of pace, his other attributes still make him part of out best centre-back pairings. Certainly not a failure in my eyes? Chamakh you could also wonder would he be among the first named by many if RVP never recovered from his injuries?

    Tactically, Arsene Wenger is a purist, and his belief in playing fast moving, quick one-two football should beat whatever other teams do? Barcelona’s dominance, with better players than AW’s had, could be an example of that succeeding, and more recently, failing. If we are now adopting the Bayern way, it might show that Arsene is more flexible in his approach?

    Then we come to purchases. Much as you might like to put the financial issues to one side, the current improvement in the types of player we have bought, is markedly different, although, yet unproven, to that of the period of most restraint? So why should this TW not continue that trend? We will all know come July how that will turn out, but for my part, I think there will be the one ‘big signing’ that exceeds our previous price range, but there will also be a number of ‘project Wenger’ types, younger, but with great potential players joining.

    I also think that Arsene is learning from the experience of Wilshere, that the younger players like AOC, do need to be used sparingly whilst their bodies are still growing, Hence the 65 minutes or so for each game, and not every game. He is playing the long game here, and why he might be more incline to buy into the idea that new signings will not necessarily ‘block the progess’ of ‘his’ youngsters, but help them ease into the side as they develop physically? I repeat, I think this is another change in his approach borne out of experience.

    Despite all that, you have another good post under your belt that will brighten up this interlull with comment and counter comment.

    Cheers

  48. marcus says:

    Gerry,
    Fine comment that. On the injuries front, I do agree that I subconsciously overlooked that. However isn’t that in itself another failure on Arsene’s part? A good example of this is when we sold Song to Barcelona, Wenger did not buy a proper DM and his reason was that we have Abou Diaby. He said this because at the time, Diaby was fit (preseason). I’m sorry but we can try and defend Arsene all we want but that kind of reasoning points to delusion on his part. I mean really?
    Secondly, the reason I’m done defending him is this; When Wenger arrived at Arsenal in 1996, up until we won the FA cup in 2005, Arsenal and United were the only 2 teams winning trophies. People can argue that the premier league has become more competitive and so is harder but I put this questions forward to all of you, what changed at Arsenal that didn’t at united? Isn’t the Fergie of then still the one dominating the league now? Man united is a club that has suffered massive debt like we have, so why aren’t they on a trophy drought like we are? What has changed so that a manager who was once able to build and guide a team to the league unbeaten, a feat that has never been matched in the EPL, now can’t even win the capital one cup?

  49. marcus says:

    Someone once told me that winners rectify their mistakes but losers make excuses.

  50. naked goon says:

    before the Swansea game,we were as close to the bottom as the top, 24 points in either direction, that makes us mid table in my view, maybe the club should view it that way

  51. Gerry says:

    Oh ye of little faith Marcus. You’re just another lapsed soul that will be back in the fold come August?

  52. Willy young says:

    It does appear that the club now have a viable route to change tack. Maybe it was all a waiting game but

    1. FFP
    2. New sponsorship deals
    3. TV money
    4. Expensive players wages leaving

    We have the opportunity to invest and compete in quality signings. It is imperative we make 4th this season to not dilute this opportunity. Surely Wenger will see his faith in many players has been misguided and take action ( Diaby / Gervinho etc)

    If he does not and we underperform next season he must leave.

    We have a core of good young British / German players but need quality around them which we presently lack.

    We need to rally support for the end of season and then pressure club to act.

  53. marcus says:

    Gerry, how exactly? Because if you say that we shall finish in the top four then you are just proving my point that Wenger has made finishing in the top 4 seem a noteworthy achievement.

  54. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    marcus, please allow me to apologise to you. i realise my comment last night was a bit condescending and patronising. Your a good guy that speaks from the heart.

    I tend to be a bit defensive when it comes to Wenger. hahaha

    Gerry, you make some great points mate. We are definately on the up.

  55. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Hi to all the regulars and bye. This has to be the worst article i have ever read on BK. Sorry but absolute bullshit. I stopped reading when apparently David Dein left because he couldnt change Wengers ways. Umm, as the brits would say BOLLOCKS.

    Wenger accepting defeat?

    Marcus,How the fark do you know that Wengers hands are not tied by the board? How do any of us know what is really going on?

    Sorry i shouldnt stay im too irate for this babble. FANTASTIC article for our run in, Fantastic!!
    Now Marcus, imagine me clapping my hands in your face, ala Ferdinand to the ref.

    Whatever! Im going for a drink or few…

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    How is finishing in the top-four not a noteworthy achievement? Don’t you like top European football, or do you think Arsenal are simply entitled to it?

    What you and many others don’t seem to grasp entirely, is that Wenger has never said it is the only thing that matters. Just because the club and he, and many fellow supporters, find it really important to finish in the top-four, does not mean that other targets, like winning the PL, CL and FA-cup, are not important.

  57. Rohan says:

    marcus, in fairness – top 4 with 4th highest wages, and consistent profit on player sales- over the past 5-10 years we have the lowest net transfer spend of any club in the prem – can hardly be considered underachieving on wenger’s part. I agree that we should be aiming higher, but on a resources to results basis we are doing perfectly well. In all honesty if we are to compete with the chelseas, man cities we need to overperform and unfortunately that hasn’t been happening. Hopefully, by avoiding losing any key players and the addition of one or two quality signings, we can overperform next season. But it will be overperforming.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PPP, take it easy compadre πŸ™‚

    Marcus has written a heart-felt post. I am sure many BK regulars will not (fully) agree with him, but Marcus is a Gooner and has at least written his thoughts down in a lengthy article for us to respond to. πŸ™‚

  59. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    By the way…. Cesc is still a top 5 midfielder in the world, Easily! He may not be ambidex2footed but he still holds the vision of a Bergkamp and can split a pass through the eye of a needle. At 17 he was the greatest player seen since Pele

  60. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write Marcus

  61. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    1 Tequila 2 Tequila 3 Tequila Floor Tequila

  62. bobby says:

    Gerry how do you explain Podolski being substituted always on the 70th minute, is he still growing like The Ox.

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus wrote:

    “People can argue that the premier league has become more competitive and so is harder but I put this questions forward to all of you, what changed at Arsenal that didn’t at united?”

    Marcus come on mate; you know the answer to that surely. In a nutshell:

    * Build a resource-sapping new stadium with a need to balance the books year on year – Mancs kept spending year on year and are heavily in debt

    * Lost a number of key players every season (see Rohan’s comment last night) – Mancs held on to their Mancs

    * Need to re-establish the home fortress advantage – Mancs have the strongest ‘home fortress advantage’ in the league

    * Unlucky with injuries

    * Don’t own any referees and we refuse to dive in order to win

    * Mancs just keeping it simple and mundane, whereas Arsene kept working towards both attractive and winning football

    Comparing the two clubs over the last eight years is nonsense. Even comparing us with the Chavs and Northern Oilers over that period is nonsense.

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    PPP, agreed re Cesc. In fact, I reckon he is the best all-round midfielder in the world together with Pirlo and Iniesta and Xavi. At Barca they don’t play in the position where he belongs. Put him in City or the Chavs team and they win the league with their eyes closed.

  65. bobby says:

    TotalArsenal you don’t know what you’re doing. Once we move in new stadium we will be able to compete, Wenger’s words.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    And you know what you are doing? Silly one-liners get you nowhere in blog-world. Everyone can do that. Put some meat on the bone.

  67. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal. Agree with you on Fabregas. I think he has plenty of time to become better than Iniesta, Xavi and Pirlo. He has already shown he can as a CF and score goals and his midfield and attacking abilities will only grow with time.

  68. Red Arse says:

    A very good Post, Marcus. πŸ™‚

    You have argued your case very well, and supported your points with reasoned and relevant observations.

    That said, I have to admit that you have not carried me with you.

    A team’s ‘mental toughness’ is a concept or a myth that I cannot believe in because it is too simplistic for anyone to say that winning teams have it and losing teams don’t.

    Generally, how do people define mental toughness? It is usually referenced by twee comments such saying only what it is not, as in ‘the team failed to show the menatl toughness necessary to win’, or ‘X showed his/her/its mental toughness by coming through to win’.

    But what is it — this mental toughness?

    Many is the time I have heard another variation on the theme such as, ‘the gallant losers showed great mental strength in clinging on and not being blown away by a far superior team’. So apparently this mythical property can be attributed to both winning and losing teams, dependent on the subjective view of the observer/commenter.

    Sorry, I do ot buy into this concept and others like it. If a team or an individual lose it is usually (luck aside) a result of meeting a superior team or individual, however much personal grit or ‘mental strength’ the vaquished party possessed.

    Incidentally, Gerry (hi Gerry πŸ™‚ ) claimed that; “you (marcus) put up a cogent argument for believing in what you are writing, and there lies the weakness I think” — bloody weird if you put up a cogent argument for something you did not believe in! πŸ™‚

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    I am missing him badly AFC and it pains me to see him used in various positions at Barca to somehow fit him and Xavi and Iniesta in the same team.

  70. bobby says:

    Pity you don’t buy into mental strength Red Arse because Wenger emphasisis it all the time.

  71. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, when I first heard off Fabregas being used in a more advanced role I thought that he would not perform that well. Then once I had watched him for Spain playing as the CF in a few matches his finishing looked quite good (better than a lot of strikers I have seen in the Prem), he can get himself in too really good positions in the box (almost as if he was a poacher) but I do not see it becoming his main position because he is not the best header of the ball, not that strong and not that fast.

  72. glic says:

    Good day Sploogeinyourfacesmegesquers πŸ˜†

    Thanks Marcus, I like the post but that doesn`t mean I agree with it. I like to hear other peoples points of view as long as there not abusive, we can all agree to disagree.
    Most peoples comments on blogs are opinions and not fact, it`s when they talk as though it`s fact but it`s only an opinion that it can become heated. For instance, my bit on the side, Shakira, told me that the condom I was using was safe, where that was just her opinion, because now, Gerard Pique is bringing up my kid and thats a fact !.
    Look at Princey babies opinion that Cesc was the best 17 year old since Pele, the fact is Prince was drinking them Tequilas well before he made that f**king ridiculously funny side splitting remark ever !. hahaha That has thrown me completely and I dont know what the f**k I`m talking about myself now !. hahaha

    Oh yeah, The only fact I know is that we haven`t won anything 2005 and it`s only my opinion that the futures bright, the futures Red and White.
    I`m now off to see Pele, to tell him Princey`s tequila joke !. hahaha

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I watched Pirlo during the Euros and I just thought of Cesc all the time. The deeper laying conductor position of Pirlo would be perfect for Cesc. A midfield of Song, Jack and Cesc would have been mouth-watering: a real shame we could not keep them together but at least we are seeing a new top-trio developing now (if/when we buy a beast of a DM this summer).

  74. Red Arse says:

    There is a popular view that RvP and others like Nasri or Adebarndoor should be demonised for moving on to another club, and increasing their personal wealth by doing so.

    TA feels particular strongly about this in the case of Brave Sir Robin, perhaps because of the personal link of both being Dutch. That opinion has been reinforced by comments allegedly made by van Persie, which Total has mentioned above, and I am not criticising him or others for their view in that respect.

    What lies at the heart of this feeling of betrayal is the realisation that a players loyalty to his club can be bought and sold, because, all else to one side, it is that which has deeply hurt many fans who themselves are deeply loyal to their club, and will remain so until the end of their days.

    But loyalty is a two way deal. Just take a moment, and think of what mutual loyalty means, not from the fans to the players, but from the club to its players.

    Many is the young heart that is broken, every year, when it is time to shuck off youth team players who are deemed ‘unsuitable’. No amount of ‘loyalty’ playes any part in this process.

    From the moment a player gets on the conveyor belt from youth team player, up thru’ the ranks to the first team squad, this weaning process takes place, without sentimentality or any compunction to refer to ‘loyalty’. If a player is deemed ‘not wanted’, or we get someone in who is supposedly better — off he goes.

    The club would say “It’s just business – it’s the football merry-go-around”.

    So then, when the boot is on the other foot, and the player can choose to stay or go, why do we not accept that as “just business”, should RvP or any other player choose to say “I’m off”?

    Just another thought to back up my view on loyalty, or the lack thereof, which really has little place in business, football or otherwise. Clubs, including Arsenal, send out myriads of, mostly younger, players on loan to other clubs, ostensibly to gain experience and to ‘grow’ as men. Sometimes players having completed a loan period with one club, are then sent out on loan to yet anothe club, and perhaps another one after that.

    This is all for the players’ benefit you say? Not a bit of it. It is just the football clubs’ alternative method of selection, in that if a player is good enough he will be a financially worthwhile asset to the club, and can be either retained or sold on when it suits, for the rest of the keen youngsters, however much they love the club they are contracted to, they are booted out. Goodbye, so long, see ya!

    Is ‘loyalty’ shown to them? No!

    So we need to reappraise this feeling of personal hurt and betrayal that many fans feel when their heroes leave and are shown to have feet of clay, because — it’s just business, it’s just part of the football way of life, and always has been and always will be.

  75. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, we really do need that top DM. I do not know much about Capoue and he is rated highly by people on this site. I always though that he was pretty average from what I have heard. Do we not need somebody with Santi’s experience and Jack’s youth and quality.

  76. AFC says:

    Red Arse, agree with you about loyalty being a two way street.

    Part of my article tonight will go into depth about why players were right to leave Arsenal

  77. Red Arse says:

    bobby,

    There is no ‘pity’ about not buying into this concept of ‘mental strength’, regardles of whether or not Arsene Wenger mentions it.

    If you believe it exists, or perhaps even if you don’t, and leaving aside comments attributed to Wenger — he is not on here blogging but you are — maybe you would care to explain what is your understanding of the meaning of that term?

  78. Red Arse says:

    Oops, sorry AFC, I did not mean to steal your thunder, I was just following up on specific comments made earlier, following marcus’s fine Post. 😳

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comment Redders, and all agreed. The relationship between the club, as employer/business and players is exactly as you put it.

    The relationship between fans and players is of a different making. Van Judas flirted with loyalty and Arsenal immortality: a choice he made. He then dumped us, the fans, who because of his self-confessed love for the club, and naming himself a Gooner for Life, had emotionally invested in him heavily. That is why I won’t forgive him.

  80. AFC says:

    Red Arse, no worries.

    It is good to hear a fan who does not just blames players for leaving clubs and does not expect players to stay at a club forever.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    We will copy and paste your comment into AFC’s post later, Redders! πŸ™‚

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC, it is all about the right fit, you are right. Capoue looks great, but it remains to be seen whether he would be the one. Wanyama looks good too. If I had a choice I would buy Ramires of the Chavs, who in my view is one of the best footballers in the PL.

  83. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, Ramires is just class and because of his abilty, desire and workrate can play in a number of positions just like Jack.

    I personally like him in a 4-2-3-1 formation playing as the RAM. Maybe Jack could be used in as a LAM or RAM in the future.

  84. bobby says:

    Red Arse what’s your take on Wenger always going on about mental strength.

  85. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, πŸ™‚

    I’m sure that AFC’s Post will be just fine without my warbling!

    Has anyone else taken note of the Southampton Ramires that we have been linked to recently?

    When I saw the link ‘Ramires to Arsenal?’ – I looked at it with incredulity, as Chelsea would not sell, but hope beats eternal — and then i saw he playes for SHampton and i lost interest, as I know nothing about him.

    Anyway, Wanyama for me — I think he is Marcus’s mate!! πŸ™‚

  86. marcus says:

    TA,
    I agree with the building a stadium part because that really put us in debt. My point here was that since we and Man u were the 2 contenders, the only thing we’ve gone through that they haven’t is building a new stadium. That said, man utd have been in situations where they’ve been in massive debt (like when glazer took over) yet it never wavered their level of success. And please note that while I am really pulling no punches when it comes to Wenger, I am not calling for his sacking. I really just want him to change some of his ideologies that will see him restore us to the level of success we were so accustomed to.
    And, I’m not saying that finishing in the top 4 is nothing. I’m just saying that when a team like Arsenal is fighting for a top 4 spot to save their season, it downgrades us from the league of title contenders to a mid table team struggling to survive in Europe. We are now in the same league as spurs, who for many years were way below us.

  87. Red Arse says:

    bobby,

    Wenger often says things that i would prefer he did not, simply because he is far too open at press conferences.

    I have often said, in the past, that his constant referral to buying ‘top, top quality players’, or, after we have been beaten, to blame the defeat on our players ‘being a leedle bit leggy’ and so on, is misplaced and I wish he would stop.

    However, polyglot though he is, English is not his first language, and I think we should make allowances, as I am sure he picks up words and phrases from other native English speakers and unintentionally misuses them to try and be supportive of his players, or when explaining the club’s transfer intentions. [His definition of ‘top, top quality’ is not always mine, for instance.]

    He has used the phrase ‘mental toughness’ in interviews, as have many others, but on this blog, I was repeating something I have previously said, and that is that we should define what we mean by using this term, and others like it, and make sure we all mean the same thing.

    To date, no one has come up with a satisfactory definition — or any definition that I am aware of.

  88. glic says:

    Your right there Totes, this emotionally investing stuff is what hurts, what he did after praising Arsenal and confessing his undying love for us was the same as finding your wife cheating on you with your worst enemy !, he`s gone now so we can abuse him `till the end of time !.
    I hope the ghosts stirring in Terry`s pants come back and haunt him !.

    There is also emotional investment with Arsene and to tell the truth, when he comes out with statements in the past like….” If we sell these two players ( Nasri, Cesc ) we cannot be considered a serious club” or words to that effect and ” We will buy Super Quality ! “, then I take it personally, I feel like I`ve been lied to and it hurts. For someone in his position I expect the truth and no bullshit., with over 50 years of marriage to Arsenal, it`s something I think I deserve.
    If only it was like my wife say`s and probably the same for most others …” It`s only a game of football “….if only !….it`s a life long obsession, most will cheat on their wife`s but never on Arsenal….the one constant in my life….So Mr Wenger or whoever else takes over, dont come out with stupid remarks you cannot back up, speak the truth or say f**k all as I take it to heart !.

    I think I shall make Monday`s , serious comment day !. I`ve just pissed myself off by bringing up Arsene`s promise of two super quality players, that seems like years ago and I`m still waiting !. hahaha

  89. bobby says:

    It’s about money marcus, after abramovich came, Wenger should have invested about 30-40 million on new players to keep our noses in front, but he blundered by weakening the team, thus compounding the problem.

  90. marcus says:

    Glic,
    lololol so shakira has your baby? congratulations are in order then. lol. And i respectfully accommodate everyone’s opinion no matter what it is. Always have..

  91. marcus says:

    Glic
    I always respectfully accommodate everyone’s opinion regardless of whether it aligns with mine or not.

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, I don’t want my club to have massive debt, especially not when also in a process of building a state of the art 60,000 seater new stadium in London. The Mancs have done well out of it, but I will say to you what I often say to others; if Arsene had been in Fergie’s position and vice versa over the last eight years, the Frenchman would have won many cups and play some fantastic footie in the process.

    Building the stadium whilst oil money arrived and spoilt everything has set us back tremendously. I do believe Wenger has made mistakes and could have done better; but it could also have gone a lot, lot worse.

  93. marcus says:

    Red arse,
    Mentality is key. When a player is motivated by certain goals, they play at their optimum ability thus strengthening the teams performance. Its the same way you compare the Fernando Torres of LFC and that of CFC yet it is the same player, same abilities and same league. Mentality comprises of morale, confidence and hunger for success. Fergie knows how to make each player yearn success to the point they’d do anything to get it. That’s how come he’s been able to win the league with some average teams like the 2010-2011 one.

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    RA – Ramires of Southampton lol πŸ˜› Now if it had been Ramires of Northampton then Glic and I would have been excited! πŸ™‚

    AFC, Ramires would be my ‘1’ in a 4-1-2-3 formation. He is my beast and he can play footie too. Wilshere and Cazorla in front of him and we can rock the place! πŸ™‚

  95. glic says:

    Sorry Marcus, my comment was not to insinuate that you didn`t respect people`s opinions, it certainly was not meant to come over that way, I probably got lost in my babbling on with my usual crap and plus Gerard Pique has put a contract out on me !. hahaha
    You are a fine addition to BK my friend !. πŸ™‚

  96. Highbury Harmony says:

    Redders,

    Ramirez of Southampton (note the Z πŸ™‚ ), is a quality talent. Liverpool, Arsenal, Swansea etc. were all interested and linked with him until he signed with Southampton.

    I don’t quite see where he’d fit into our squad though. He’s a highly skilled midfielder who’s got some pace and dribbling, that has the vision to create and score. I pretty much see him as a younger Rosicky, which is great, but you can see how that’d be a problem given that we already have Santi and Jack keeping Rosicky out of the starting line-up.

  97. marcus says:

    TA,
    I fully agree. Given the circumstances, he has really tried. What i wouldn’t like to see him do is settle for what we are now once the storm of debts is over, which it seems to be. He himself has admitted that we are now in a better financial position so this summer I’d like to see some top class names drafted in (and not the Gervinho types). A true class player like Gotze or others in his league.

  98. glic says:

    I dont like the rumours about Jack`s ankles keeping him out for the rest of the season !. Is this going to plague him for the rest of his career ?. 😦

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Marcus, that would be great. πŸ™‚

  100. Highbury Harmony says:

    Marcus, in response to your query about Wenger’s comments about defending our clubs’ position and activity in the transfer market, you are simply another victim of the faults of the media. Wenger knows the media manipulates whatever he says and critics will use his answers and twist them to help explain the club’s failures over the past 8 seasons.

    However, I ask you this. How do you know that Wenger is comfortable with not winning the title? How do you know that he tells his players that top 4 is enough? You simply draw this from his public comments in interviews where he defends the club and its players. What an individual says to the media could be much different than the message to players behind closed doors. In addition, what kind of manager would AW be if he publicly said that his players were not good enough to win a title or that our finish in the table this year was a failure?

    Simply put, I do not agree with you in your comments on AW. You cannot take his comments in press conferences and interviews in defending the club as the exact same message he conveys to his players. Without being an employee of the Arsenal hierarchy, we also do not know what happens behind close doors and how much the stadium debt financing and the board has handicapped his activity in the transfer market.

  101. marcus says:

    Bobby,
    At that point we were still deep in debt so a 30-40 million buy was probably out of reach. That said, he could have drafted in some quality players for much less, considering he has a proven track record for scouting talent.

  102. bobby says:

    Arsenal are in massive debt albeit manageable debt. The dimwits on the board should have speculated to accumulate in the team, thus generating wealth through success on the playing field.

  103. Gerry says:

    My,it has got a little tetchy here since I went out with the dogs?

    Bobby – Before you play the ‘sarky’ card you should gain a little more knowledge about what you, so briefly, say. Shortly after Podolski arrived he said he carries a little niggle that doesn’t stop him playing, but it can flare up. That was repeated not long ago. I have no idea whether that is related to his current injury or not, but it is likely to be the case. So you will see even the precautionary 70 minutes or so may have caught him out? He has not specified exactly what his problem is, so whether he can have it dealt with by surgery this summer I’ve no idea. Either way, if 70 minutes quality play is the best we can get, then let’s work with that?

    Redders my old fruitcase – the ‘weakness’ I spoke of, was not so much of Marcus believing in what he wrote, rather than play ‘devil’s advocate’, but more that it was his personal point of view, and therefore he was likely not to see a broader picture?
    TA has put in a list of things that might have played a bigger part in our shortcomings, rather than Arsene Wenger as an individual with inherent flaws. The bigger picture has all these factors combining at some point or other, the degree of effect on AW is impossible to tell from the outside.

    I think Redders, on RVP/J, where we differ is in fact he said he was leaving then fine. Everybody would have known what to do. He didn’t. Far from it, ever since he has taken every opportunity to have a dig. Bit of class about Fabregas I’d say, sadly lacking with the other guy?

  104. marcus says:

    Highbury,
    That’s an excellent point. I admit a lot of the information that we get is from the media and we know not the actual situation on the ground. That said, there are things we do know for a fact. A good example is how Wenger babies his players. He always opts to use kind words and encouragement when a player is not performing when perhaps a good telling off would do the trick. Like Fergie/Mou are not afraid to come out and apprehend their players when they are not performing up to standard. However your point is still valid because Wenger knows his players personalities best and how to handle them.

  105. glic says:

    Agreed earlier HH. I dont like that rumoured new Adidas shirt. I`m all for the sponsorship money but it will be at the expense of our iconic designed traditional shirt.
    Like you say, black should only be used in our away kit, like the one I think we both admire below !. πŸ™‚

    http://img.bleacherreport.net/img/images/photos/002/112/618/hi-res-152319238_crop_exact.jpg?w=650&h=440&q=75

    Ooops…..The Northampton Times !. hahaha

  106. marcus says:

    Anyway, I think we can all agree that this season has been one of our worst, if not the worst. We have a very solid core of players like Jack, Poldi, Santi, Rosicky, Kos, Nacho, Gibbo, Bac, Jenk, Theo, Ox, Verm, Arteta and szsczesny. If arsene can complement them with some real winners then i see this trophy drought ending.

  107. bobby says:

    Gerry your definition of quality play is as dodgy as Podolski’s flare ups.

  108. Gerry says:

    Another one liner .. t must be the school holidays/

  109. bobby says:

    Gerry just highlighting your lack of understanding of all things Arsenal

  110. Gerry says:

    Oh, that’s all right then.

  111. Highbury Harmony says:

    All agreed Marcus, perhaps if you had put that comment into your article, it may have been better understood! However, that does not take away from a well-written article that has brought plenty of interesting responses. Glad to read an article that “goes against the grain” every so often!

    Wenger takes a different approach to his players and is often criticized for this paternal touch for making his players soft (susceptible to not play through pain) and to have a weak, losers mentality. However, again this is largely construed by the media and we cannot accurately paint this as the picture without being in the organization. Everyone has their own preference when it comes to managerial styles and there’s nothing wrong with your preference to SAF’s or Maureen’s.

    I do think Wenger needs Bould and/or another strong personality within the squad (a la Vieira) to help balance out his softer, paternal approach. Jack is similar to the personality I’m talking about, but I still think AW needs one more strong personality to help rally, lead and inspire the team on the pitch. This would allow Jack to focus more on his play and his creative instincts, opposed to having to also rally and inspire at the same time (not saying he shouldn’t play without passion either). I think a beast of a DM is the type of player to fulfill this role that will hold other accountable and be vocal and vociferous at the back, with Jack being that presence in the upper half of the pitch.

  112. Red Arse says:

    Gerry,

    I only tease those I like!! πŸ™‚

    I was not actually defending the personality or some of the misleading comments Rip van Persie made, I was trying to examine the nature of ‘loyalty’ and the massive mismatch between a fan’s loyalty and that of the club and most players i.e. zilch. [Players like Corp Jenks are the exception as they are fans as well as players.]

    I do not like ‘hit and run’ one liners either, and fortunately the majority on BK make interesting comments or explanations as a matter of course. ‘Hit and run merchants’ bring nothing to the party and their one sentence posts are either an attempt to be cryptic or more likely are just irritatingly facile.

  113. Red Arse says:

    HH,

    Thanks for your clarification on Ramirez (I noted the zee) πŸ™‚

    There has been a lot of speculation about Glic’s wet dreamer, Isco, so your concerns about where Ramirez would fit in would apply to him too. Nice to have the problem though – do you think? πŸ™‚

  114. Red Arse says:

    HH,

    Probably best not to edit other bloggers Posts or comments, or we could be here forever correcting each other! πŸ™‚

    And I can be a boring tart when it comes to grammar, content, tone and meaning — but Glic and Terry will not let me get away with it!! 😳

  115. bobby says:

    I don’t want to sound harsh Highbury Harmony but you must be delusional if you think marcus is going against the grain. The majority of fans want him gone, it’s only a few Wenger backers who defend the indefensible with lame excuses and platitudes.

  116. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    bobby, i suspect its you that enjoys “going against the grain”

    You remind of an incident i had last week with a fly that for a good half an hour i was trying to swat. Everytime i thought i had the bugger it seemed to escape. I tried everything, towels, cricket bats, frying pans, at one stage i contemplated getting the shooter out.

    Eventully, i miraculously downed the little F*ck with a tennis ball. I examined the wall and could clearly see his remains so went to bed happy. Then, whilst in a deep sleep, i heard a buzing and then something landed on my nose. I shot up,turned on the light and saw the bastard. i knew it was him because he was laughing at me.

    In the morning i examined the sunlit wall and could see it wasnt his remains but something from last nights chilie con carne. Just at that point i heard the buzzing and then felt the little shit landing on my ear. Of course i went for the swat, but am now sitting at work with a bruised ego and an ear the size of an elephant. hahahaha

  117. Highbury Harmony says:

    Perhaps I should clarify bobby, that what I meant is “goes against the grain here on BK”. Though I do believe that you (and many others) are slightly misguided in calling for AW to be sacked. Do you really believe that your calling for AW to be sacked will really be heard by the club?

    As long as AW’s contract is in place, he won’t be going anywhere. The grass is always greener with another manager, but I can guarantee you that there are few if any other managers that could have done as well as AW during his tenure here, especially considering the financial restraints he may have been put under in the last 8 years. Whether it was the financial restraints or his stubbornness in following his own philosophy, we’ll never know since we are not directly involved in the Arsenal hierarchy.

    Why don’t you just wait and see what happens this summer to see if AW spends the considerable resources he’s been given wisely, before wasting your time in an unrealizable goal to sack our manager. His contract his over in 2014 and I don’t see him being let go before that.

  118. glic says:

    Four lines bobby !, now go lay down and have a rest that must have been exhausting, what next..the London Marathon !. hahahaha

  119. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic @ 13:48, missed that comment! I like both that black kit with white sleeve and the individual wearing it πŸ˜‰ (actually not sure what I like more about that image hahaha!).

    It would be the perfect complement to our red and white sleeved home kits imo. The blue’s not necessary from my standpoint, but was nice to have as a change for this year and next. I still feel the blue was a positive for our kits because it added a sense of “royalty” to our home shirts.

    In regards to the Adidas kits, I really don’t see a way that they can improve our current/past kits from the Nike era. Adidas seems to work better with kits that one predominant colour – what I mean by this is a kit that does not change colour in the sleeve. I love Real Madrid’s kits, but I reckon it’s much easier for them to design an all-white kit, with the stripes from the neck to the shoulders, then one with a red body, then white sleeves. Just my opinion though, we’ll see what the final results are when they’re confirmed on arsenal.com next spring/summer.

  120. glic says:

    Hahaha Stretch, obviously your not being hard enough on Domingo !. Tell the illegal, he will be on the next boat if he doesn`t clean your walls proper, it`s not just the spunk stains from hours of internet porn he must clean off, lazy f**ker, that Β£1 a day you pay him is too generous of you !. hahaha

  121. Red Arse says:

    Rumours are circulating that Jack is out for another 6 weeks.

    Reinforces what I heard a week ago that he would be out for the season. [Another Diaby?]

  122. glic says:

    HH. I`m with you mate. I dont like any different line`s, design etc` spoiling our iconic shirt. Red with white sleeves, red cuffs and white collar, simple but beautiful and wrapped around an Isco !. hahaha

  123. glic says:

    Yes Redders, I posted a similar comment earlier. It`s worrying, will he always have a problem and be another Diabsiky !. 😦 ( my second sad face of the day )

  124. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I have some sad news about Domingo, Cornwall.

    After that vist to citizens advice i went through his micro machine and found a letter that he was pencilling to them about getting me done for cruelety.

    I had no choice but to pre empt this so grassed him to the Home Office. Felt realy bad doing this, no one likes a grass for f*cks sake. But since he would no longer accept the beatings, cleaning the spunk stains, or me pissing on him, i thought it was for the best

    It was very sad. He started pleading with me to help as they led him away, so i asked them if he could stay another 10 minutes and give my walls a good scrub, but they said no. hahahaha

  125. glic says:

    Hahaha and not for even another minute as you needed a slash !. hahaha
    Your a Top Boss Stretch and if I was to move back to London , I would be straight around for an interview, I`d even bring my own Cillit Bang !. hahaha

  126. glic says:

    Maybe you should try the Citizens Vice Bureau, they will set you up with an illegal who will swallow it instead, so they`ll have more time to clean off the chilli con carne !. hahaha

  127. glic says:

    Or, here`s an idea, you know you can get self cleaning glass for windows, conservatory`s etc`, well just have glass walls all over the loft and put a bucket on the floor and the splooge will just run down into it !. Yet another award winning idea from Cornwall !. hahaha

  128. Gerry says:

    Now, now you guys, I think there might be a child lurking amongst us?

  129. glic says:

    ### WARNING ### The image you are about to see may lead to blindness after a mass debate about it !.
    Sorry to all especially HH, take a cold shower now !.

    ### THIS IMAGE CONTAINS MATERIAL OF GRAPHIC AND EXPLICIT SEXUAL NATURE ! ###

    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/A-vdB-SCQAAxSCR.png:large

  130. glic says:

    Lucky for me, I had already installed the self-cleaning glass walls, just off to empty the bucket now !. hahaha

  131. glic says:

    Stop it with the one liners Gerry ! . hahaha

  132. Gerry says:

    Bad news about Jack. Well we coped without him on Saturday, but a certain young Eisfeld has just made it back from injury Good timing or what? Between him, Rosi, Le Coq, and Ox, we may just get though without him?

    Whoever takes over, if they apply the same effort as we have just seen, then tricky, but okay. Knowing our luck with injuries this inter-break could bring us more headaches?

    fingers crossed, eh?

  133. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I think we will be alright without him Gerry. Going forward though its a hugh concern and realy depressing. The best kid to come out of our youth since Liam Brady and hes ankles are dodgy.

  134. Gerry says:

    I have an idea for a mini competition. How about we fill Totes email box full of who we think will sign in the summer. Remember, who will sign, not who we would like to sign? One entry only, but a max of 5 signings. The winner gets signed shirt of their favourite signing, or a blank shirt if ‘Nobody’ is the correct answer given.

    In the event of a tie break, the one who names the nearest to the disclosed fee?

    Which reminds me …

  135. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic @ 15:48, the photoshop in that image is so dastardly awful! I don’t want to see another shotty image of our saint Isco like that EVER again. Plus, we all know the real thing is coming this summer, let’s just be patient πŸ˜‰

  136. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, have you seen Carlitos way? Look at the sean penn carachter, he plays the sleazy laywer. Hes the spit of Mike Strutter.

  137. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Arsenal officaly deny Jack rumours and say he is on course for the Reading game.

  138. Gerry says:

    VCC – On the UMF. The rules as they are do not remove the anomaly that one draw = 3 correct homes wins. Sometimes home wins are easy but other times not?

    My suggestion is this;
    Limit the number of home wins to 2;
    Give a 3 point bonus for 3 correct results,
    5 for 4 correct results,
    and 8 for 5 correct results.

    The thinking behind it is that 5 draws would be hard to get, even 4 might be stretching it? So anybody just getting 3 draw right, from a blanket all draw pick will only get 12 points. Even a mix of 2 home 2 aways and a draw(which require a little more thinking about?) would get 9 points, plus a bonus of 8 = 17?

    Does that make life on the spreadsheet untenable?

  139. TotalArsenal says:

    Somebody needed the hits Terry 😦

  140. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry

    Good idea. πŸ™‚

  141. Gerry says:

    Yes, I am just putting off going back to my racing studies …Soz glic, another OL ha ha

  142. Gerry says:

    Which one Totes, I’m full of ’em?

  143. glic says:

    Your right Stretch, he does look a bit like Mike Strutter.
    Shame MTV didn`t make more Strutter stuff, I love that kind of stuff….which is probably why it didn`t go down too well on AA !. hahaha

  144. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    True TA.

    TA, since i know you cook at home, how did you learn?

    Some one mentioned the other day that aside from the micro machine there is a thing called a cooking oven machine were you can make chickens and stuff? Some one else mentioned a contraption called a Toaster that can make cooked bread, is this all true?

    If it is, my question is, can i purchase said machines and have a chicken and cooked bread for dinner every night, and if so does it take 10 minutes like the micro machine or a bit longer?

  145. TotalArsenal says:

    Merry Gerry Berry, I was referring to your player acquisition predictions suggestion. πŸ™‚

    Re the UMF for next season:

    I prefer VCC to pick five games and for us to predict the exact score for all five games. The scoring could be as follows:
    Correct score = 5 points (you predicted 4-1, it ended 4-1)
    Correct result with one right line = 3 points (you predicted 4-1, it ended 3-1)
    Correct result with no right lines = 1 point (you predicted 4-1, it ended 2-0)

  146. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cornwall, i owe you for introducing me to Strutter. Its hilarious.

    If i could get away with it, i would definately act like Strutter. hahahaha

  147. TotalArsenal says:

    Best to stick to the micro machine, Terrymisu! πŸ™‚

  148. glic says:

    What is this technology you speak of Stretch ?. I have an automatic food dispensing unit called a Woman !. It also does lots of other things too, now and again I have to top it up with Anadin !. hahaha

  149. glic says:

    We are of the same mind then Stretch !. hahaha

  150. VCC says:

    UMF 1 ideas/rules for next season.

    1) H = 1 …A= 2…D = 3
    2) W/E selections submitted before 18:00 Friday
    3) Mid week in by 22:00 day before.
    4) Joker……If 15 points behind 1 joker scores double points. Once per month. Max 6 per season.
    5) All five selections correct extra 3 points.

    Gerrys suggestions =
    6) Home wins max = 2
    7) 3 bonus points for 3 correct
    8) 5 bonus points for 4 correct
    9) 8 bonus points for 5 correct

    Any other suggestions gladly appreciated.

  151. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Christ, so ime doomed to tesco ready made meals for ever. No women, skint, impotent from hair loss drugs and now this for f*cks sake. i dont now why i bother.

    i hope this dont turn me into a Totnumb fan. I went past there development site the other day and noticed a massive structure. It wasnt there stadium, it was the Sainsbury store going up. Its going to be bigger than there stadium, the classless gits.

    Makes sense i suppose. They will probably show ther class even further by providing all there executive box holders a ready made chicken tika along with there own portable micro wave machine. Class.

  152. glic says:

    Too many points available Vic`s, I need some sort of anti-joker system where I can get even less points so I can keep a clear conscious at the bottom !. hahaha

  153. VCC says:

    UMF1 . Donated by total

    10) Correct score = 5 points
    11) Correct result with one right line = 3 points
    12) Correct result with no right lines = 1 point

    Keep em coming guys. I’m keeping a list so will re-print at the end of the season and we can all have a vote on it.

    If Gerry’s ideas are implemented I will need a secretary, any volunteer’s ?

  154. VCC says:

    GLiC, what size spoon do you want in May?

  155. VCC says:

    Terry, get yourself a steamer. Works wonders.

  156. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Vics, why dont we just follow the odds with Hills and get points based on the odds for each one we get right

  157. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Whats a steamer? Hope its not like the other night when walking home from the pub some geezers shouted “steam him” and i had to leg it. hahaha

  158. glic says:

    I hope you spat on the site Stretch !.
    When I`m looking in the SportsDirect store, if ( a big IF ! ) I see a Spud shirt I gob on it !. honest truth !. Have I previously mentioned how much I hate the c**k sucking splooge gargling muvver f**kers !. hahaha

  159. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I aint got time for other clubs Cornwall, but Totnumb are the enemy. Goes without saying i hate them.

    Not joking about that Sainsbury store. The structure is up and it looks massive.

  160. glic says:

    I thought a ” steamer ” was a steam sauna , where you get your meat and two veg well wrinkled before having a naked massuer massage it back in to life !.

  161. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Oh right, i had one of those but now hes been deported. hahaha

  162. glic says:

    Last time Vic`s had one, the heat made his colostomy bag explode and the condensation rusted his zimmerframe !. There is now a wanted poster of him in all of the massage parlours in Essex. !
    Poor sod, The only way is Zimmersex !. hahaha

  163. VCC says:

    GLiC…hahahahhahahahahhahahahhaha. TOWIZ.

  164. glic says:

    Yet another nick name for you Vic`s !. hahaha

  165. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, please check your mail πŸ™‚

  166. marcus says:

    And by the by, on a totally different note, do you guys think the wilshere/cazorla partnership works best? I’m thinking Wilshere is like Drogba. He is such a dominant figure when he’s on the field that whoever plays alongside him has their influence subdued. Is it me or have cazorla’s best performances been in wilshere’s absentia. Thoughts?

  167. Gerry says:

    Vics, I’m not sure how an ‘e-secretary’ would work out? What you really want is some super whizz kid to write a spreadsheet program that spits out the resulting scores after you enter the predictions, and the correct results as they come in? That applies to whatever system that is adopted.

    Do you reckon you will get any offers on that?

    The only thing I have against Total’s idea is that some will simply drift over to the BBC site and nick Lawro’s best 5? Perhaps that what Tote had in mind??

    I work my horse ratings out on an Open Office spreadsheet, and it is fairly good for the input/result side of things, but it is all done in a lot of columns rather than using ‘computer speak’.Just logically developed over time … a long time! But I will let the idea mull around in my head and see if I can set something out that would work my proposal. It would have to have the necessary adjustments for anything else.

    Better a whizz kid mind

    I have nearly 3,000 entries for the database and I am only in the first week of June. The next 4 months are the busy times for the best horses, and I would like to be at least starting August before the Flat season opens on this coming Friday.

  168. Gerry says:

    Interesting thought Marcus?

    I am sure he must have had good games with Wilshere though. I think the different approach re the defence, has given the midfielders more space if they win the ball back high up the pitch, rather than any one individual creating inhibitions in the rest. I guess we will not know until Jack plays with the ‘all for one, and one for all’ tactic employed in the last two games?

    Personally, I would not hold my breath about Jack being back for the Reading game, whatever the ‘official speak’ says. They were pretty quick to rule him out of the international friendlies as well as our game against Swansea, so it must have been quite severe. But perhaps people are putting 2 and 2 together and getting the wrong answer?

    I just had a quick check on the website to see how the Under 18’s got on 1-1. However, the ‘big boys’ play Man U on Wednesday, so they will give that one a go before their Next Gen game. I would imagine Eisfeld will play on Weds, so keep an eye out for his progress re any likely spot on the first team bench in the near future?

  169. VCC says:

    Gerry. A little tip for you…..All you have to do is place Β£100 on Dundonny the next time he runs. Simples.

  170. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, I am happy to go ahead with your proposed changes.

  171. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, what time will the post be released.

  172. Gerry says:

    That horse may be out in a couple of weeks, but first I need to build my stake up to that level!

    I have only just recovered my losses at Cheltenham, so a way to go.

    I am doing wonders for hits on this site, as I keep coming back between my new entries.

  173. VCC says:

    My stake money is all ready in my wallet. Problem is I mustn’t miss his debut run.

  174. Gerry says:

    Vickers – Just remember two things; He wast fast ground; and the big race is not until May. His first run will just show how well he has developed over the winter. Okay/

  175. Gerry says:

    I’ve just realised I have to get my own Blog tidied up for Friday too. First big race is on Saturday, so a bit of testing out my rating on this new template … and do all that and amuse you guys on here?

    Not enough hours in the day!

  176. VCC says:

    Gerry, how do I access your site?

  177. Gerry says:

    Details later, I want it to look smart for the new season, okay?

  178. AFC says:

    TotalArsenal, just to confirm I have sent you a email telling you that I am happy to go ahead with the title change.

  179. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC, emailed you back. Post will come out in about 30 minutes.

  180. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post! πŸ™‚

    A fine maiden post by AFC, who looks at the main reasons key players left and what can be done about keeping our current key players as long as possible at Arsenal.

    It is a shame Richie has not been around for a while, as he would give us all a good counter argument on this important topic.

    However, I am sure we will nevertheless have a good and varied debate about AFC’s post in the next 24 hours or so.

    Enjoy the read. πŸ™‚

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