The one who’s got enough ‘Adamsesque Mongrel’ to be our captain

Zorro is doing a great job as our captain at the moment, but has he got what it takes to be our long-term leader?
Zorro is doing a great job as our captain at the moment, but has he got what it takes to be our long-term leader?

Leadership on the pitch is such a prerequisite for being successful, and it is fair to say that Arsene does not always get in right when it comes to choosing the right captain for the team. Adams, Vieira and Van Judas were inspired choices, but Fabregas and Vermaelen were less suitable for the leadership role in my opinion.

Fabregas was brilliant at leading by example but most of us felt something was missing: he was not a naturally born leader, and as a result he struggled with some vital aspects of leadership we were craving for. Fabregas was a more introvert and bloody brilliant creative, attacking midfielder, who needed to concentrate fully on the technical and tactical aspects of the game.

VJ was a very good leader, who could concentrate on both his own job as a central striker as well as the wider leadership responsibilities; and somebody Arsene would have build this year’s team around once more… But enough said about the grey-haired, broody woman with the boy screaming inside of him for manures new.

I could see quite quickly that Vermaelen was trying very hard, and maybe too hard, to be a good captain for us. He struggled with the communication side of things and tried to overcompensate with ‘leading by example’. Unfortunately, his own technical/tactical performances suffered in the process and on more than a few occasions it were his mistakes that led to us losing our confidence, shape and composure, which have cost the team dearly in a number of games.

I reckon Vermaelen is a great defender but just needs to be led rather than lead, and surely he will not be our captain again come next season.

Arteta is doing a good job at the moment and clearly revels in the leadership role, but the question remains whether he has got what it takes to be our long-term captain, not just in the PL but also in Europe.

Below you’ll find an overview of what I reckon a good captain/leader is all about:

  • Leads by example: not just with good personal performances, but also with high energy-levels/commitment, and a never-say-die attitude. He never spares himself, always gives everything and plays with his heart on his sleeve. He will also stand up for his players and let nobody be bullied by the opposition;
  • Is blessed with a high level of social-emotional intelligence: he understands what is going in the minds of other players, and is able to support them accordingly, on and off the pitch;
  • Is extrovert: he is not a constant shouter, but he likes to talk to this fellow players and make himself known when things are not going right;
  • Is a great communicator with the crowd/fans, and an ambassador for the club. He understands what the fans want and are concerned about, and gives good interviews to the press, by always representing the club professionally and with real passion;
  • Is a great communicator‘liaison-manager’ between the players and management. He has got the respect of Wenger, the coaches and the players, and is able to translate messages up and down effectively;
  • Is a team player/ team builder: he will regularly praise, on and off the pitch, contributions made by others and help the team in becoming a strong unit.
  • Is good tactically: he has a good overview of what is happening on the pitch and, by talking to his team players, can make minor adjustments to the way the team is playing.

Both Vieira and Adams ticked most if not all of the above boxes, but if I had to choose, I would say that Adams has been our best captain in Arsene’s era at Arsenal.

I reckon, we have a player with plenty of ‘Adamsesque’s mongrel’ in him within our current team, but I am not going to say who that is yet, in order to not steer the discussion too much.

I would like to ask my fellow Gooners who they believe should be our long-term captain from next season onwards, and why?

Looking forward to hearing your choices!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

With a special thanks to JGC for coming up with the term ‘Adamsesque Mongrel’ 🙂

170 thoughts on “The one who’s got enough ‘Adamsesque Mongrel’ to be our captain

  • great post, TA and very timely

    agreed re-Adams being the best of the lot, jack wilshere in some ways does remind me off Adams, he seems to have the fire in his belly.

    i wouldn’t mind either of Koscielny or Mertesacker being skipper next season and Jack as the deputy..

  • In the long term I see jack as our captain. However, for the time being at least he needs to mature a bit, which is why in the immediate future I see “Big” Per Mertesacker as our skipper. He seems to have done a good job at organising the back line and has got experience on his side both at club and international level.

  • Who used the expression ‘Adamsesque Mongrel’ first; was it jgc or 17HT? I want to give credit in my post but don’t seem to be able to find the comment…

  • I would say keeping arteta as the captain for the next two years is the rite move. If he is not an immediate quarter then i will choose mert. After two or so years later, give it for jack( mr. Arsenal)

  • well done, skipper ! (UMF) that was mighty quick.

    my choice would be Koc (not because of HH members comparisons;) based on the below :

    : seems to have found his place, voice and is beginning to impose himself more, is very passionate , you could see it when he scores a goal or is in a one on one, he seems to be one of those players, who appear to be proud of the shirt they wear and care for the team…..does have his moments of madness every now and again but i reckon he’s learned his lessons well, he’s at the peak of his career and still relative young (27/28) and has plenty of years to give to this current arsenal team….last but not least, he is one of those players, who seem to belong to this team….the character and confidence reflects on the team.

    2nd choice BFG :

    he’s a gentleman, german, always punctual and in charge of collecting all the fines 😀 (already shows that Wenger trusts him with all the petty cash ), he’s disciplined and can command his lines well, has a better understanding with the rest of the back 4 as opposed to TV5, is level headed and doesn’t try to do anything stupid in the spur of the moment, his this cool and calm presence which can be vital, since when things are not going your way, the shoulders of the team can drop fairly quickly , he has the ability to not let emotion show that much…something which lacked with TV5 i feel.

    both would be great captains i reckon and the main reason being that they would thrive that much more with added responsibilities instead of melting or losing their way like TV5.

  • Hi TA, are you referring to Jack or Mertesacker? If its Jack I think he still needs a few years before stepping up to being the captain and as such would not be suitable in my opinion for at least another 3-4 seasons. Whilst Arteta is a good captain, I feel that Mertesacker would be better. He has shown an exceptional ability to organise our shakey defence in recent games, also he has proven to have the trust of Wenger as the BFG is our debt collector.

  • I know I might be in the minority here, but I’d like Arteta to keep it! 😀 He’s played ever so well since he’s gotten the armband…He might not have to play every match, to have a positive influence either. Look at Vidic!!! Granted, United have a whole squad of leaders…I don’t know for sure, but I have the gut feeling that Arteta WILL play a lot next season!!! I think Aaron MIGHT be the one to give way. So, it wouldn’t hurt us at all to have Arteta as captain. A lot of fans are saying that Arteta is on the decline, but over the past number of weeks, he has been our best player, in my opinion. I don’t think he was prepared to play the defensive role, at the beginning of the season, but he has acclimated very well to it, along with Aaron, in recent weeks. Mikel has gotten STRONGER over the last few weeks of the season, while some of our other players seem to be running on empty! That would indicate a decline in quality of service for me.

  • to add to Milo’s points,

    Arteta, is still on the right side of 30, so he may have another full year in him.

    but the trouble is, if we buy a DM (which we should) then will Arteta be as good pairing with him and driving the team forward instead of slowing everything down ? that’s one of my major concerns apart from not seeing him play as many games he has for us in previous seasons due to the arrival of a DM.

  • Lovely post TA

    Cant disagree with any of your post about required leadership qualities. until we are lucky enough to see another Tony Adams, i have become a firm believer in collective responsibility been driven by an individual focal point,

    What i mean by this is that the focal point should represent the prevailing culture pre dominant at any given time within the players dressing room.

    My two examples about focal point and culture are Tony Adams and Cesc Fabregas

    Cesc always struck me as leader of the “Brat Pack”. the best player amongst a collection of young individuals who were the inheritors of the invincibles squad. He led by example on the pitch and was admired by the more youthful mind for his undoubted quality, and no doubt off the pitch for his play station skills. There were problems. a lack of experience within the squad, and a transitional period, allied with the pressure and burden of following the recent teams of the past took there toil.

    I first saw Tony Adams play back in the early eighties. I couldnt belive it. here was a guy who had only played five minutes telling experienced England internationals like Kenny Sansom and Steve Williams what to do.

    it was only years later, and upon reflection, that i now realise the impact of Adams. The guy is King because he changed the “culture”. No mean feat considering in his early carrer he made individual mistakes and was surrounded by prima donnas.

    This ability to change the mind set of a pool of players is a very rare quality. The nearest modern example is probably John Terry at chelsea. Of course there are many other factors at play, but regardless, someone who can take on the prevailing dressing room and forces his own personality to mould and shape it requires very special qualities.

    Jack Wilshere any one?

  • Milo,

    here’s one for you.

    if we got ourselves a decent DM, then who would you pair him up with, Ramsey or Arteta ? (i know i know, i’m cruel sometimes).


    solid points and all agreed, we know Jack the lad will eventually be the leader (think he already is in more ways then one ) but i see him captaining both club and country, as long as he remains fit and keeps developing further.

  • BJ

    At the end of last season I felt Koz should become captain. But, for me, he is just so similar
    to TV in terms of style and character and I wonder whether he also is better when being led rather than leading himself….

    Did you know Koz is from the same town as the current French PM, Hollande? That could be a sign of leadership potential… 😀

  • Yes Fred, sorry, I meant Mertesacker (sounds like a mean grass mower doesn’t it: wait till I get my mertesacker out of the shed hahaha).

    Agreed on Jack needing a bit more time.

  • bring in a big signing and give him the captaincy that should wake the rest of the team up someone like villa .jack is future captain in my eyes but not this year hes no adams but maybe 2 years time and hopefully we don’t follow the trend of selling or captain aldo I could see y we sold rvp to old to injury prone [too good ] I get it but for the money he had to go if he realy didnt want to stay .think A V had to sell BUT not this year if were to belive wat were told wev got money Real money so hope we buy some big stars maybe 3 and villa as captain but not the big signing hes brilieant but not as young as he was so villa for captain and 3 big signings and were back and retain sagna for 1 more year at least hope someone like per / or god forbid Koc dosnt get captaincy hes just had 1 good season so let him enjoy the prayse

  • BJ,

    All the more to those players for performing well in their first seasons from an “inferior league”. Statistically, Nastasic was rated as top 5 for best performing CB in the EPL this year and Cesar frequently made 5+ saves in games for an awful QPR side. Boruc has become the #1 at Southampton and effectively brought them out of the relegation zone and has provided a good amount of clean sheets on the way. Coutinho’s return of 2 goals and 4 assists in 10 starts is pretty outstanding too.

    What you fail to understand is none of these players were top ones from Serie A and they stay within their own league most of the time. Balotelli showed promise but by no means had the mental stability to succeed and was placed in an environment where he was constantly subject to rotation. Balotelli was not a top player when he came over either, which you have somehow overlooked. His record of 13 goals in 13 starts and 13 sub appearances for $hitty last year wasn’t too shabby either.

    My point is, just because players from Serie A have not been coming over (the top ones) does not mean that the league has diminished. Such was true back in the Invincibles days that Serie A dropped as the gold standard, but since then they have had a resurrection and are progressing at a rate better than that of the EPL has this year.

    Your hypothesis holds no weight because you immediately assume that Jovetic plays in a weaker league (X) leads to him likely not succeeding in a better league (Y). There are so many extraneous variables that you are not taking into consideration, most of all Jovetic’s age. Even when Henry and Vieira were in Serie A at its peak, neither player had much of an impact at their clubs and were both young and considered projects for Arsenal. Didn’t work out too poorly in our favour did it? It’s this same narrow, short-sighted perspective that leads fans to assume that because of the past 7-8 years (X) ultimately means that AW will fail and/or not spend this summer (Y).

    Santi’s a different beast to Isco, since Malaga is Isco’s boyhood club, they are not in the same dire financial situation they were in last summer, thus no immediate pressure to sell Isco either. He just re-signed a new deal this summer and purposely increased the buy-out clause for the benefit of the club if they ever sold him. This doesn’t even go to mention the fact that Isco is not a striker…comparing him and Jovetic is a moot point.

    No one’s riled up about anything, just the fact that your perspective is too narrow and short sighted. Neglecting other “lesser” leagues/clubs is what leads to the big clubs paying exorbitant amounts when a player ultimately becomes successful. Just look at Michu at Swansea this year (EPL clubs passed on him because they didn’t think he had what it takes to survive and was only a lower club type player), Na$ri when he was with us, among with the many, many other purchases that our ultimately sells players at a profit for.

  • TA,

    he is in charge of collecting all the fines (disciplinary ones imposed by Wenger, for e.g. if a player turns up late for training, they have to pay 100 quid e.t.c e.t.c), every one found in breach of Wenger’s disciplinary rules has to pay the monies to the BFG.

    that’s interesting, i didn’t know that bit , so yeah a potential leader in the making, indeed.

  • Looks like it, dosnt it BJ.

    The other thing about Wilshere, and similar to Adams in this regard. He is already regarded as leader by the younger pool around him. I noticed earlier this season that the young players would after home games go round the pitch clapping the support. Wilshere was always in front and the others, Gibbs, Sheszney, Ox, Jenks etc followed him around.

  • Milo, all good points re Arteta, and I must admit I have been pleasantly surprised with how he has gone about with leading the team. The big question for me is: can he do it in the big games, especially when the shite is starting to hit the fan – can he turn things round for us???

  • Clearly your choice would be wilshere if he was fit enough to play!

  • Terry 🙂

    Lovely comment and excellent point about the ability to ‘change the mindset’: that is such a key skill and I wonder if any of our current players really has this. Jack has great potential for it, agreed.

  • be that as it may, HH

    we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one as i am not persuaded by any of your examples…and i will repeat again, i don’t assume he plays for the weaker league, HE ACTUALLY does play for the weaker league as reflected by the champions league country and team rankings, making EPL a better standard.

    for the avoidance of doubt, we’re competing with La Liga and Bundesliga and we don’t appear to see Seria A either as competitive nor as Entertaining for some (me included). As time goes by i reckon we will be competing with the Bundesliga making it a 2 horse race.

  • TA, the whole thing about the BFG being the debt collector is that Wenger introduced a fining system for all players, and if any players broke the rules they had to pay a fine to the club – if they failed to pay he sent Mertesacker around to get the cash (he did the same with Lehmann as well.)

    Although it is impossible to say that Mertesacker won’t “do a Vermaelen” it is also imposible to say that no other player would also “do a Vermaelen.” Whilst I can see the argument for most of our senior players becoming captain, for me personally Mertesacker would be the best choice. He has proven to be a good organiser on the pitch, he has the respect of senior members of staff, he is a proven international player, he is an incredibly experienced player, he can keep his cool when under pressure which appears to (at times) be lacking in our squad and as such would be a good example of how to handle pressure for the younger players and in my opinion he commands authority which is one of the most important attributes in a captain.

  • Another thing to dwell on, is if you were in Arsenes shoes, and had to determine what is in the best interests of the club going forward, who would you appoint next season?

    The club has strategicly placed a group of young players, predominantly Brits but not all, as the under current to the more experinced players like Merts and Mikel.. This is no accident, It is a well thought out move to coincided with the Clubs improved future finances in the aim of hitting the targets hard in a couple of years time.

    If thIS young under current is to form the basis of our “new era” then its logical that one of them should be captain and the obvious choice is Wilshere.

    Its a question of when rather than if.

  • BJ, but surely by your definition of looking at the Champions League to see which league is the strongest you have to say that La Liga and the Bundesliga are much stronger than the EPL, we did not even manage to get one team into the quarter finals!

  • TA,

    Loved how you clearly highlighted all the aspects of good leadership and I concur with all your points. It structures the discussion in a way that the answers should logically follow.

    My choice would be Arteta, as he ticks all 7 boxes to an extent and I believe AW ultimately wants to make Jack the next captain, but it would be too much of a burden on him now. Arteta can fill that role for the next 2-3 years before handing it over to him. He is the most composed player on our team and is the real engine of both our attack and defence. He could stand to improve his forward passing/not be so conservative, but as a dedicated DM, his creativity has been curbed. Also, he’s not a big communicator outside of the dressing room in terms of addressing the fans, but he says all the right things when called upon. His experience and the fact that everyone on the team basically sees him as the leader, makes him the easy, logical choice for next club captain.

    Fabregas symbolized what Arsene wanted Arsenal to be and for him to be an example for the future (project youth). The passion he exhibited for the club during his time as captain was second to none. However, he was likely too young to be named captain and I’m sure a part of AW hoped that by naming him captain, perhaps it could convince him to stay.

    Vermaelen, on the other hand, never struck me as a logical choice for captain. He was trying to do too much, compensate for our back line’s deficiencies and he’s a far greater introvert and less vocal than Cesc was. Verm is better when he just focuses on his role and when given the license to join the attack if the proper DM and back line coverage are in place. He is an ideal vice-captain/third captain (if the latter exists) in that he can lighten a tense atmosphere and enjoys pulling pranks etc.

  • Fred, I brought that up earlier, but he dismissed it as a fluke. Not to mention, in the past 3 years every Serie A team that has qualified for the CL has progressed in the round of 16, when the EPL struggles to get half of their clubs onto the next round.

    That’s the problem with the EPL, fans are too easily persuaded by the mass marketing and media and believe it is the center of the universe and the be all, end all, when in fact it is not even as strong as La Liga. La Liga teams would pass the ball around EPL sides for days (see Bilbao vs. Utd in Europa last year or Athletico vs. Chelsea in the Super Cup this year). Also, any player who has relative success in La Liga dominates the EPL.

    The EPL isn’t even the second best league in the world right now, behind that of the Bundesliga too.

  • All good points Terry, and you are in fine form tonight (has mrs Terry given you an early weekend treat?! 😛 ).

    But say Jack has all that it takes, which I am not sure about yet, will he be fully fit to play the majority of games next season?! And if not, is it wise to make him captain?

  • Also, if the Spanish economy were better right now and not in as much of a decline, their clubs would have been able to retain the majority of its bright talents. Or at the very least sold them at higher prices. The EPL is poor at developing their own talent (outside of 2 or 3 clubs) and heavily rely on poaching the best talents from other leagues. This melting pot of talents has largely been unsustainable too.

  • Fred,

    hence me acknowledging them as our direct rivals and leagues we’re directly competing with.

    i see the tilt in power from La liga towards bundesliga (as i’m sure many of you fine folks do as well) but no reason why we can’t over take la liga in the next few years, provided we keep producing and enticing quality players to England.

  • I totally agree with you HH, the EPL used to be the best league in the world. However, unfortunately it is now third (at best) in my opinion. It got too comfortable for its own good, and whilst the Bundesliga and La Liga were investing in producing top quality young players like Ozil, Hummels, Gomez, Jordi Alba, Pedro to name a few the EPL became complacient and was prepared to let things stagnate and now these leagues have overtaken us both in terms of quality and competition. That is not to mention the fact that the both of the other leagues only have a fair majority of the top players in the world. I mean Messi, Ronaldo, Robben and Ribery aren’t that good are they?

  • All good points HH and I am warming to the thought of Arteta being our captain. I am not sure though whether he can do it in the big, big games, and wehther he can do Terry’s mentioned ealier: changing a game through leadership intervention?!

  • “UEFA team rankings” are skewed by the fact that they consider the past 5 years. The Serie A has closed the gap in the last 3 years and have progressed more quickly than the EPL has this year. It’s not a weaker league, it’s just your assumption. The teams at the top of Serie A are nearly as good as the ones at the top of the EPL. In fact, I believe Juve are better than any team currently in the EPL. Also, you originally claimed that Serie A was a much weaker league, when in fact the gap is very small, if not the leagues being close to equivalent.

  • The only treat i get from Mrs Terry these days TA is when she goes out. hahaha

    Your right of course. the varaibles are there in terms of fitness and the required personality traits are yet to be proven, though the signs look good.

    Regardless of wether it would prove succesful, the intention and plan for Jack to be captain is there, but as i said its a question of when

  • BJ, the league rankings imho are:

    1) La Liga (still top despite this year’s CL results)
    2) Bundesliga (soon to be #1 if they can retain their talents)
    3) EPL and Serie A (before this summer’s transfers of course)
    4) Ligue 1

  • Van Basten, Rijkaard en Gullit went from the inferior Dutch league to Milan and boy did they make a difference. The league is pretty irrelevant; it’s the quality of the player that mainly matters.

  • BJ, the main problem is that we aren’t producing the top quality young players in this country. In the Bundesliga and La Liga the big clubs can let good players go safe in the knowledge that they have a player who will probably be better in their youth system. English players are very over-rated and I personally cannot see any english player (at the moment) getting into the starting XI of either Baryern Munich, Barcalona or Real Madrid. When a country stops producing top quality young players it will always struggle further down the line.

  • The PL will bounce back big style. Liverpool, Chavs and us are in transition and will get stronger in the next couple of years. City have the wrong manager – long may it continue – and Mancs will miss the brutal leadership of Ferguson. But there is too much money in the PL to not readdress the balance imo.

  • Good Question, but I believe the answer is that we don’t have a leader in the team. Vermaelen has evidently seemed to have struggled with the captaincy and arguably overall role of regular first choice centre-half throughout the course of this season, and although Arteta does show many characteristics of a good leader in my opinion, i do not believe he has what it takes to lead our current team into the lines of winning silverware next season. He seems to be like Fabregas in terms of leadership style, but gives just a tiny bit more to the role. But nonetheless, i think he should be kept as the captain.
    Jack Wilshere is inevitably the captain of the future, he is the new Mr Arsenal to be. I just think that Wenger won’t give him the pressure of captaincy at such a young and naive age, escially considering Jack’s injury status and the pressures that comes along with such, adding more fuel to fire would just lead to devastating results.

    Best option would be Arteta, as he is doing a fine job with the role at present and i believe we need to see more of it next season, in order to determine whether or not his role has developed through the experiences of captaincy from this season for the better and whether or not the team will maintain this good form we have with the band around Arteta’s arm next season.

    Whiever it is, best of luck, and lead our Gunners proudly.

  • Ikram welcome 🙂

    Very fine comment and mostly agreed, except I think we have the right leader already in our team (and you have not mentioned him in your comment 🙂 )

  • things that have already been mentioned but i feel need to be highlighted

    The new premeirship TV deal is the bigest in the world and blows away any other European agreemnets. This will inevitably make the Prem stronger. With this amount of crazy money it wont be long before the likes of sunderland are enquiring after top european players

    The euro crises is a very serious matter. The Spanish government has recently passed legislation in tax terms that will hit the players hard. I fully expect to see more Santi, Silva, Mata type players plying there trade over here. There is also talk of similar tax rises in italy wich will also hurt Seria A.

    In the last decade 4 different English Clubs have reached the Champions League Final. i think thats all you need to know about the “depth” of the Premeir league, and thats before the two things mentioned above

  • HH,

    like i said we have to agree to disagree on that one, it’s telling that when our 6th best team wins a CL (last year) and potentially the 5th if not 4th team wins another European competition… sure Juve could beat any top tier EPL team, just like Arsenal beat the current best team in the world and potential winners of CL, anything could happen on a given day in football.

    sure, we didn’t make it as far as we would have liked this year in the CL, however , i will be surprised to see the same feat repeated next year.


    we need to find the right balance and i believe we’re doing so, we’re taking the steps in right direction, i already see plenty of potential quality players coming through the ranks, you can see plenty of talent in almost every team…it also hurts me to say this but i do feel that after the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, you have the likes of Bale’s, anyone who denies him being top class or being that player with X factor needs to see him more.

    i actually feel, if we gave more chances to our young guns in the national team then we may actually do much better at the international stage.

    i’m surprised TA isn’t making any noise for dutch football 😀

  • hahaha, been a persona non grata TA has certain advantages. Forget watering the potted plant. In the morning i stand in a corner whilst Mrs Terry goes round watering the Plants and receive a very nice shower myself. i now come down with shampoo and soap and wait my turn with all the other plants. hahaha

  • BJ! 😛

    You want some noice? Van Gaal is going to lead Oranje to the WC final in Brazil – and this time in style.

    Club football is struggling to compete in Europe though. 😦

  • I’m with Terry on this one—It’s a question of when, not if, regarding Captain Jack. Of course, however, he needs to surmount his fitness issues and realize all the potential we all see in him….So maybe the “if” should be a fairly big one….

    In the meantime, and assuming we keep Vermaelen, there’s no reason to strip him of the armband or really change anything–this group is getting it done. It’s not pretty but it is getting done. Assuming that LK6 and PM4 finish the season well and don’t get any “injuries” and there are no major changes in the offseason–i.e., we don’t buy a ready made captain type like Gerrard (lol…or Rooney or C-Ron or Messi…LOL….) there’s no reason to make it an issue at all. If Vermaelen plays he wears it, if he doesn’t, Arteta does. And if Mikel doesn’t and Jack can play than he wears it (as I think he did at Swansea in the FA Cup match)….Collective leadership is where it’s at….and Per can still collect the fines (whether or not he plays)!!!

    The whole discussion to me indicates that we’re in a murky, transitional period AND that we don’t have anything of real substance upon which to hang our hopes. We’re limping to the finish line and there’s not a spot on the pitch that seems secure! SCSZ had to get dropped to start playing better, the captain is benched (but is taking it well, it seems) but seems about right in there with the other two CBs talent-wise at least. The fullbacks seem a toss-up between experienced (but maybe want-away and newbie) continental internationals and young English up and comers (one with real fitness issues). Central MF is codgers (Arteta and Rosicky) who need the help of youngsters Ramsey and Wilshere. And then there’s Theo and Poldoski who want to play up top, or do they want to play in the hole? Certainly they aren’t natural wingers…. Add in the Ox and Gervinho (as some observers will always stump for them) but they are clearly (at the moment) only fringe players. The only position that seems secure is Santi’s and he has no position at all! Giroud, when he’s available, seems undroppable too, much to the chagrin of many….

    I guess you could spin this as strength in depth, but I see the opposite. Sorry to be so glum…. Right now it’s all holding our nerve, getting the two wins and where we finish. The question I keep coming back to is why do I feel more confident watching our top 4 rivals (and rooting for them to stumble) than when we take the pitch?…..

    Finally, if you’re still reading….TA, I cannot take credit for the Adams/Mongrel comment. It belongs to the Kiwi professor….(C’mon, tell us, who do YOU like?….)

  • BJ, it’s the big names that lead you to believe the EPL is so strong, when in actuality it’s just a cluster f*ck of talents who do not play nearly as well together as a collective unit. La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga clubs have been playing together for years and while they may lack the big name signings/marquee players of that of the EPL, they can often beat them because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Agree to disagree.

  • Fred, I agree the EPL is entering a state of decline and has only been buoyed by it’s purchasing power and has lived off its reputation from mass marketing, media and its reputation in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Whether or not the clubs can remain sustainable under FFP (if implemented correctly) will be fascinating to see. If they cannot buy the desired level of quality from other leagues, several clubs will enter a cycle of obscurity (which is of course where our model will ultimately save us…hopefully at least).

  • I find the discussion of who has the stronger league, uh interesting, but I refuse to weigh in….

    Does nobody have a date or a potted plant to water on the Friday evening?….(I note that Glic is loooong gone….)

  • TMHT, do you not think that the other clubs will be aware of the increase in spending power of the EPL with the new deal? They will simply charge English clubs more money for their players because they know they can, the prices will not remain the same, and also when it comes to La Liga and the Bundesliga’s turn to re-new their TV deals you can bet it will be at least almost as good as that of the EPL’s.

    With regards to your stats about English cluns reaching the CL final it is a bit misleading as surely winning the CL is more important. As such I decided to undertake a bit of research…

    Amount of times teams from the different leagues have won the Champions League 2000-present.

    EPL – 3
    La Liga – 5
    Seria A – 3
    Bundesliga – 2 (including this season)
    Portugal – 1

    So as you can see since 2000 La liga has won the Champions League the most since 2000 with 5 Cl titles – assuming that we are taking the CL as a measure of the quality of teams, it appears that La Liga has the highest quality teams. Next we have the EPL and Seria A tied on 3 putting them in joint 2nd.

    Now that shows us that in recent history La Liga has/is the dominant League, and unfortunately for us the history books aren’t too kind when it comes to looking at the amount of times each country has had the privillage of having the European Cup/Champions League trophy on their home soil. Heres the stats.

    1st. Spain – 13 times
    2nd. Italy – 12 times
    2nd. England – 12 times
    4th. Germany – 8 times.

    Now the reading does not get much better if you look at the amount of runners up in europe we have had.

    1st. Italy – 14 runners up
    2nd. Germany – 11 runners up
    3rd. Spain – 9 runners up
    4th. England – 7 runners up.

    Now unfortunately you may come to realise that England is not as dominant in Europe as we would like to think, especially if you look throughout history at the amount of finalists and amount of times we’ve won the major euopean trophy. I know that many will point to the fact that English teams were disqualified from European competitions after Haysel. But even if you look at the post 2000 times when the EPL was (and still is) supposedly the best league in the world. Something is not quite right as we have not dominated the other leagues in Europe as we should be doing if we truely are the best league in the world. How can we claim to be the best league in the world if we aren’t even the best league in europe?

  • 17ht, your quite right, we are in transition. who wouldnt be with the players weve lost.

    In a way TA,s artcle can be viwed as a part antidote to this perpetual upheaval, especialy if Jack assumes the cpataincy. Hopefully he, and all the others will stay and drive the club to glory.

  • Terry, without a doubt in the past decade the EPL has been stronger, but in no way does that mean in the past three years (including this year), the EPL has been stronger than Serie A, La Liga or the Bundesliga. The EPL has been in decline for a while despite Chavs winning the CL last year and only thrives on the reputation and lucrative marketing deals it receives. From a footballing standpoint, the EPL is an unsustainable disaster as a whole, but from a market standpoint, it is incredibly attractive.

  • Outstanding work on those stats Fred!!! I am applauding you all the way from the US my friend :).

  • TA, it all comes down to whether or not Arteta will play in those big, big games! As a sole DM I do not believe he can cut it, as his natural position is to freely interchange between attack and defence. If he is given more of a license to move forward and explore his creative side, I believe he can be a quality deep-lying playmaker for us in the mould of Pirlo. He has the composure, vision, vocal leadership, socio-emotional intelligence and experience to properly lead and organize the troops.

    Depending on the new signings coming in this summer could determine whether or not he is the right choice to lead us next season. If he is not viewed as an everyday starter after some new transfers in, it would be yet another mistake on captaincy. In that case, it would likely have to go to Per (again if he is an everyday starter).

  • Fred

    Your wrong on many points. The German league can not command the same tv deals as the prem, no were near.

    The Prem has the greatest “depth” not nessesarly the best teams

    I never said the English league is dominant. just made logical points how historicly the last decade has produced 4 different prem teams in the champions league final and how future changes in TV deals and the crises within the euro zone will impact european football.

    You seem to have gone on some “evangelical” rant in order to prove a point, which i find very childish and imature

  • Really Terry, I think that is awfully uncharacteristically of you to directly insult another poster. Fred’s comment was very well balanced, it just happens to be of a different perspective of your own. His perspective is well argued and backed up by facts. Yours is merely an opinion, without substance right now (aside from the 4 different clubs being in the CL finals in the past decade).

    There’s no right or wrong answer by the way, it’s purely individual perspective. If you don’t watch enough footy in other leagues, then you become biased to believing the EPL is “deeper” or “better”.

  • It’d be interesting to see how many players from the EPL that were not bought from other leagues have gone on to be successful elsewhere in the last little while, or even in the past.

    English players are overrated and a ton of players in the EPL in general would not survive in the other more technical leagues.

  • HH, i dont like words been put in my mouth that is all. I said “depth” not “Dominant”. Freds stats include multiple winners do they not? e,g. Madrid, Barca etc.

  • Easy fellas….and OK, I will weigh in, with a spin….(to support at least Terry’s assertion about the depth of “our” league….)

    One thing that pleases me about SAF stepping down is that I think we will see them dropping points in that it’s so much easier for the refs to stand up to Moyes than the Red nosed one….Also, like it or not, they should’ve beaten Real Madrid–the Nani red card was pretty questionable and that near whiff by RvP….well, that’s the sort of kick an “inner-child” puts away….

    The relegation clubs are sooooo much better than the bottom teams in La Liga (I know, I support one, kinda, CF Granada or at least I try and watch their matches. The talent level is much, much better at the bottom in England. Yes, at the tippy top “we” are suffering, but a team like Newcastle or QPR would be near the top 4 in Spain. Hell, our own tubby tourist (Smilan Mayan, Chipotle Chipper) Carlos Vela has got pedestrian Real Sociedad in that spot at the moment…. (That said, he helped WBA solidify their mid-table status when he went on loan there…..)

    If English refs were to protect the better players things would improve and stabilize. As it is, a guy like Modric (or Cesc) is far safer playing in Spain—and not only because they spend most of their time on the bench (haha)…. For a couple of years there was a lot of talk about the CL refs allowing more of the English style, but that seems gone like a stepping Nani….

    I’m curious about tax changes in Spain (and Italy) and I can see why some guys might see England as a shot for getting some national team exposure. Still, Michu won’t play for La Rioja, I don’t think, though Santi and Nacho might. I don’t really know where I’m headed with any of this, just that CL places (and finishes–there’s plenty of luck involved….) don’t quite reflect the strength in depth that I see in “our” league….

    Ultimately I hope our guy (Stefan J) is more Nastasic than Acquilani….More Ballotelli (minus the red cards, etc.) than Borini, etc., etc.

  • Terry :), my apologies mate. But, I still do not think Fred’s comment was malicious towards you in any way. It was more a general comment to those who believe the EPL is by far a superior league to most others.

  • 17ht, yes i agree. The Premeir league may well not be the best, i never said that, but it must be the hardest in terms of competivness. This i would class as depth

  • LOL 17ht, now what you have just said is COMPLETE rubbish. Sorry mate, I 100% disagree. The technical qualities of teams in La Liga would completely destroy teams in the EPL. So many clubs focus on physicality in the league and lack the technical qualities to thrive. They only way they manage to muster points is through defensive shells with shrewd counterattacks.

  • Fair enough HH, i think yor right and i should not have blown another gasket.

    Fred, if your out there, i apologise,

  • Why do you think Michu has dominated the EPL? Why do you think De Guzman, P.Hernandez, Santi, Mata, Silva, Chico Flores, Aguero etc. have done extremely well or dominated the EPL? Sure, some are superior talents, but it’s a fact that players from La Liga dominate in the EPL for the most part.

  • Terry, I’m sure everything’s all good mate. I have blown a gasket or two against Fred before too! It’s interesting how split we all can become on certain topics but completely agree on others! That’s what makes debating so fun :).

  • Ramsey’s not a bad shout for the future, the way things are going, but you’re probably talking about Wilshere. Just to point out, this season at least, we just haven’t looked a good side when he’s been picked. He hasn’t found a proper role in the team and the captain should be among the undroppable players at the club. Currently Jack, like Vermaelen, is definitely droppable, and it’s almost a necessity to do so, but hopefully we will soon figure out how to get the best out of him.
    Also I see Yennaris as definite captain material. Should be in the 1st team squad IMO and probably the only reason he isn’t is that he’s short. Potential Great IMO.

  • Theres no doubt the spanish league is more technical adn the Englis league more physical. it would be nice to see how a league of the bottom half of both respective leagues would pan out, but that never going to happen is it, so we just have to continue arguing. hahaha

  • In addition, the alleged competitiveness of the Premier League should be attributed to the irregularity or inconsistency of the teams. The fact that any team can be beaten on any particular day doesn’t mean they are all equally as good, but that they are all equally as inconsistent. This has been evident both this year and last year, where in the international arena the top English clubs have suffered early eliminations from Champions and Europa League competitions. Looking at the other side of the coin, Barcelona’s three Champions League titles in the past decade, Sevilla and Atlético Madrid’s Europa League successes, and the continued presence of solid teams in the final rounds of international tournaments show a stark contrast compared with the Premier League.

  • hahaha, i dont like blowing a gasket HH, always feel bad after. Ive ben told by my Doctor to calm down, ive already blown a retina and damaged the telescope from to much excitement. hahaha

  • Ouch, so this is what cyber-bullying feels like…. 😉

    I think you’re wrong HH. My team in Granada beat RM (at home) and played close with Barca (also at home). They were also remarkably toothless in losing 1-nil to Atletico in the one (expensive) game I attended….

    How ’bout this–Give mid-table English “team” like WBA or Everton (note I didn’t say Arsenal) a mid-table Spanish team AND an English ref and I’ll pick the English team all day long. Give them a Spanish ref and my Granada boys will put them to bed (and the fans to sleep)….The technical level IS higher but so are the theatrics and the time-wasting…. Another thing….La Liga is so stacked (2 vs 18) that ALL the lower teams know the value of a point. You can argue that it makes things more “tactically sound” but also a whole lot less exciting. There’s something hollow in our goalfests, but there’s also something hollow in their desperate avoidance of the same (when playing Barca and RM) and how teams just don’t push forward in the same manner….

    Overall, I think the point is moot. (We’ll just have to judge Jovetic on his own merits as he plays for us….) We’re moving towards a Money league of haves and have-nots and the lack of protection English refs (and their stunning ineptitude) at least keeps the game moving and (for me) seems less cynical, which I appreciate. Hopefully, when the era of the Super-League comes, the reffing will be better (with maybe some video element as well….) and more consistent and Arsenal will conquer the world fair and square….

    How’s that for some rubbish….

  • The problem with evaluating the leagues 17ht, is exactly what you just stated. People value excitement and mistakenly equate this to a superior league. Sevilla and Bilbao are in general struggling this season and in most years, they would all be much better than they currently are.

    Also, people believe because the top 2 are so strong in La Liga that the rest of the league simply can’t compete with them. As you can see from the fact that Real beat Manure (who by the way have a 10 point lead in the table), losing to a lower table sid elike Granada has more to do with the sheer quality of technical talent and chemistry/team play in La Liga and not as much to inconsistency or depth in the PL. Lower table sides beating the top sides does not happen very often because the teams are more consistent, not the result usually hinges on actually outplaying the opponent for portions of the game, opposed to an immediate defensive shell after going up a goal in the EPL.

    By the way, La Liga on average produces more goals than the EPL throughout the entire league, if a measure of goals equates to “entertainment”. The overall team play is far superior in La Liga as players develop and grow together and have an innate understanding with one another. The saying goes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and EPL teams would struggle for any possession against La Liga sides.

    In terms of statistics: With a record of 97 wins, 74 draws and 86 defeats, Premier League clubs are trailing La Liga clubs in the historical head-to-head comparison.

  • I really didn’t want to get involved….AND I was originally on your side…about Jovetic not having a problem adapting to EPL football….So why then do you continue to bully me?….(winky face, eh….)

    I think I’ve made a couple of points about the refereeing which are germane, and I’d like to add that the overall level of English football is hurt when promising English guys get hoovered up by the biggest clubs but then sit on the bench (or in the shadow squads) behind behind international players.

    Actually, it’s all very interesting and will help me when I do my “cultural presentation” about Spanish football for the conversational Spanish class I’m taking. We have to share a newspaper article so I’m using a polemical editorial from El Pais about how the recent CL semi losses could be seen as an allegory to Northern economic dominance in Europe. Both Barca and Madrid actually have underperformed pretty badly this season in my opinion–As did the top English teams, United’s easy title notwithstanding. Overall the level of quality (for me) seems to be dropping and even the supporters of League winners (except in Germany) are moaning. I see lots of big clubs swapping (or at least talking about swapping) big names. And the money, somehow, even in Spain and Italy, will magically appear….

    On top of tax changes (I’ll trust Terry on this) continued levels of high entertainment and revenue sharing of the growing TV contract in English Football will help the lower teams in England even more. We’re slowly morphing towards a top 6 or 7 and a bottom 13-14 but with plenty of opportunity within those brackets. Good news for Arsenal, I think…

    Your goals stat is surprising. I watched a lot of nil-nils and 1-nils that Granada played in the Fall. There is a ton of technical skill on display but you don’t see the team oriented running you get in England. Meanwhile defense seems a lost art. Again, for me the level everywhere seems to have dropped.

    Anyhow, my overall take-away is that I can see the value in “taking sides” and speaking polemically in the various (silly) debates, but oftentimes it seems better if we can just write our impressions and have them respected and taken for what they are: impressions. My anecdotes about the match I saw live in Granada or the several I saw while nursing a beer and a tapa are just as important (to me) as Fred’s stats. In other words, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure. Maybe….

    Where’s the fiance tonight? My wife and kid are out on the lake but I’m more inclined to do my drinking at home and hang out with my very ancient dog on her very wobbly (last) legs 😦

    Plus, I’m nervous about TA, who said that he’ll deal with me in the morning….Where’s the “trembling with fear” emoticon?….

  • 17ht, there is no “right” answer though history does favour La Liga, including results in the most recent competitions between the two leagues. What often gets lost is that the mass marketing and oil-rich individuals that own some EPL clubs are able to buy “big name” players which gives the illusion that the EPL is a “superior league”.

    In actuality, the leagues are entirely separate entities (one could debate the merits of technical ability and team play vs. physicality and individualistic play all day).

    Hahaha glad you agree that the argument that Jovetic will be a failure because he plays in an inferior league is nonsense though. Also, I love cyber bullying you ;).

  • I like Koscielny as captain as well, if Arteta doesn’t play as much next season, BUT you can never tell what the captaincy will do to a player, in a positive or negative sense.

    I think Jovetic will do great things in the Premier League, IF he comes, because, if he comes to us, he will be moulded in to a great player by our great manager Arsene Wenger!!! 😀 He possesses enough raw talent and potential, that I can easily see him becoming a great player for us.

  • “How do you know he’s a great player?” “Because he plays for Arsenal.” Or so the saying goes….

    I should let the two Toronto guys get into it, but I’ll side with Milo to start….I love the Kos and I think his personal struggle coming up so late has given him a sense of heart and the underdog element that represents our “brand” perfectly…. I’m sort of joking here, but I’m also serious…. I also feel that he’s a real playmaker and his way of reading the play and closing in on the ball seems as good as anybody in the English league (Vidic). As bad as he and SCSZ blew the league cup final, I get the feeling that they’ve gotten it together. If those boys can lead from the back (with one as captain, or not) it could be a very good thing. Sometimes suffering together can lead to more satisfaction when the triumph (together) arrives.

    I wish I new more about Jovetic, but I like what I hear and see. Hopefully he can join a CL team that has done a lot of winning (with only those couple of draws to diminish the perfect results) and then he can take off running in August.

    With the drinking comes renewed optimism, I guess….

  • All agreed Milo :), a player can never be discredited until they actually come here, no matter what league they come from. I have high hopes for Jovetic too and I think he could become a quality player for us, capable of providing that something extra special that we are lacking. He has the talent, potential AND determination that will help drive him to become a better player and is the type of individual AW will love to coach.

  • Hi All, especially TA and 17HT,

    Quickly, lost time installing new modem, just plug and, … Call support 3 times, use brains, call support again, … Then play!

    Anyway, yes, thanks 17HT, I was the one. As for my thoughts:

    A. I agree a little with Iqram, we may be a touch lacking. Too many quiet guys?

    B. like many I think Arteta is a solid choice and has hidden mongrel. However, his years are numbered and I think we need 2-3 years from this captain to see us into Jack or any other future.

    C. I think Koz has the mongrel but maybe not the maturity or experience? I like him like I like Arteta for it, about 90%

    So, I could live with those, but

    MAIN CHOICE: BFG, tough, consistent, vocal and hates losing

    SURPRISE CHOICE: Theo, can be tough and doesn’t like to lose. One for whom I think the responsibility might make him toughen up some and step up a level.

    Theme my 13p… 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  • To one of the Highbury’s I think,

    Who pondered the impact on player motion of changing tax laws. Just a thought, the NHL hockey might be worth a look. It is the only major league I can think of that (strongly) crosses borders with several teams on both sides. Higher tax Canada and lower tax USA with even different US states having quite different state income taxes which add 0-8% difference, tho the zeros are rare!

    I recollect this discussion about top Canadian players leaving the big name Candadian teams for lower US taxes. That said, it didnt, or I dont recollect it, have much I impact really.

    Imagine if The EPL took in PSG?!?! …

    Just something to ponder perhaps — jgc

  • Another great article TA, you captured what makes a successful leader. Too often people focus on the best player or the oldest simply because they are expected to be best leaders.

    Gotta go with Arteta or Mert. Despite who we bring in this summer, can’t give captaincy to a new player. Can’t give it to jack either, too young and AW made that mistake before.

    Mert or Arteta = holding captains until Jack or someone else is ready. Surprise pick would be Koscielny, would not be upset with that either.

  • UMF Selections:

    Chelsea away win
    Spuds away win
    Everton vs West Ham draw
    Liverpool away win
    Newcastle away win

  • Jack Wilshere, the boy from our own academy. The man who bleeds Arsenal……BUT I feel he is similar to Cesc. A bit fickle. I’ve seen (some times) his shoulders drop too soon. Maybe thats got to do with his form and health. But right now, am not sure he is ready.

    Arteta, well, he will be on the bench for the majority of the next season. He will be used in important games and may be FA cup and League Cup games to keep him ready for the league when needed.

    And BFG…….He is perfect.

    My candidate is RAMBO. I am biased here. Because I like him. BUT he ticks most of the boxes. And has shown a great character for a 22 year old. A great professional. He has won back the fans (most of them), has the managers faith and has never complained (about booing and stuff).

  • Morning all, he is my quick note:

    The missing link, and probably TA’s choice(?), is simple … Bring back CESC F, simples.

    One of the requirements is to be on the pitch for most games, which does rule out a few?
    The argument against Kos is that he is better left to do his own job, rather than worry/organise others. Hence he plays better with Per.
    That makes Per the logical choice from ‘current ‘ players?

    HT17 – Sorry to hear about your dog. I have a similar ‘wobbly’ one 16 next month, but tablets may buy her a bit more time all being well.
    Just remember to stick with your gut instinct, and not get involved. Some people just don’t like to lose an argument, so they resort to cyber bullying ha ha. I did like you input though.
    Shame about the FA Cup being ovesrhadowed this week by somebody retiring, otherwise the David v Goliath would have been a huge story?

    Fingers crossed for the right results over the weekend, it will make Tuesday a whole lot easier to watch?

  • for me its obvious arteta stays captain till he retires or leaves and then Jack becomes captain too obvious

  • Morning fine fellow G’s 🙂

    FA cup final – COME ON THE LATICS!!!

    Gosh, fantastic debate between the usual suspects and great to see tenacious Terry and right said Fred join in with quality and passionate comments as well.

    I love watching the Spanish league from a technical/tactical point of view but 17 is right to point out the constant diving, card waving and other unsportmanslike behaviour.

    The PL is great to watch for its fighting spirit and unpredictability, and sometimes the football is fantastic too. The top teams might be a bit under par at the moment compared to other European top teams, mainly due to teams being in transition (which will continue next year), but the quality of football is improving among the mid-table teams.

    I have been impressed with WBA, Liverpool, Everton, Spuds and Swansea’s football this season and this will be a positive upwards force for the PL. Also typical English ‘bully and buy’ managers are quickly becoming unemployed in the PL, which is a good sign too.

    Does anybody have the English v Spanish teams one to one in recent time stats?

  • VCC entry for UMF =

    Ars v Wigan……home
    Eve v WHU…….home
    MU v Swans…..home
    Ful v Pool ……..draw
    Sund v Soton…draw

    Still waiting for



  • Hi TA, mon ami, 🙂

    Very good Post, and actually it is not easy to decide who would make the best captain and who fits the guidelines you set out.

    There are those who will never be captain material, Chezzer, Flappy, Sagna, Nach, Giro, Theo, Gerv; then there are those who are far too young, Jenkinson and the other youth team guys coming through; those who could be captain but should be left to get on with the technical side of the game, like Cazzor and Jack; and then those who are too old and will have to be chopped and changed in the short to medium term, like Arteta, Per, Sagna, Rosicki,

    After much deliberation, and looking to get someone set for the next few years, I would go for either Rambo or Kozzer. Spin a coin!

    So that leaves Vermaelen, and knowing Arsene, he will probably stick with him!! 🙂

  • Re our Adamesque Mongrel: for me it is the BFG. 🙂

    He has that rare combination of a cool head and superb organisational/tactical skills on the one hand and the fire, over my dead body on the other hand. Make him captain and the latter will come out even more. Like others have said, he is a real winner who hates to lose.

    He has great inter-social skills, speaks good English, would have a great report with the fans (the away fans absolutely love him) and would be able to convince the likes of Bould and Wenger to do things differently.

    But the main reason is that the BFG is a born organiser and leader who just needs to be given the platform to be himself. Leading and organising are his big qualities and compensate for some of his obvious weaknesses. The rest of our defence should be build around him in order to compensate for his weaknesses and to let his strengths fully come to the fore.

    Mertesacker would be a great leader, and I am sure he would be able to perform in the top games as well, which is the one big difference with Arteta, who just does not have the big game/ international experience compared to Per. And this is exactly the area where we have to improve next season: having the confidence and leadership to beat the top PL teams and best of Europe.

    I reckon the BFG is our brainy beast of a leader, our Adamsesque Mongrel! 🙂

  • I seriously think Jack Wilshere will fit the bill. Jack has the never say die spirit and always commited on the field of play. He also hates it when is team member is been bullied. My only concern is his and age and if he can command the respect he deserved from other players. Another player for me is Koscieny who has most of the qualities you have listed above but rather to quiet on pitch. If Jack can cope with the pressue and carry is team along for them to give him the captain respect then Arsenal will definately be great once more

  • Hi TMHT, no problem, we all have our different opinions right? And as you say with the EPL’s new TV deal we could dominate again. But in order to try and dominate in the long term the FA does need to invest in grass roots football to try and produce a better standard of English player. Once we do that in my opinion we will see a stronger EPL and a stronger national team.

  • Morning Redders 🙂

    Do you really reckon TV will remain captain next season? Well, Wenger could indeed be stubborn enough to do so, but i guess he would not have benched him for Koz as he did in the last few games if he still believed in his leadership skills. But yes, it would not totally suprise me either….

  • Hi Vicent

    Agreed with you and many others that Jack has what it takes to become our (future) captain. I reckon Koz can grow into the Mertesacker role in the next two years and either Vermaelen or a new purchase can take Koz’s current role. I have little doubt that Wenger will keep the triangle of Sz – BFG – Koz as automatic starters next season and the German seems to be the natural leader of the three at this stage of their careers.

  • Hi Vincent, I agree with you that eventually Jack should be the captain. However, for me personally he is not quite mature enough to take the armband. I would like to see him mature more and develop more as a player before he becomes captain, but he will innevitably become captain in the not too distant future for all of the reasons you have given. Also just to play devils advocate here (as I can see why people would want Captain Jack next season) do you think that the pressure of making Wilshere the captain would stunt his development or enhance it?

    I have been in two minds personally about this one, on the one hand it could lead him to “do a Vermaelen” in which case he would not reach his potential. But then on the other hand if he took well to being the Captain the added responsibilities could well force him to mature more as a player and a person. In which case he would be the perfect candidate.

    But at the moment I have to say that I am going to side with TA, as I think that the BFG has the right qualities to be a very good captain. However, if Jack does mature then I think he would be a great captain.

  • And just to add to that if he did mature more now then he could potentially exceed the alreayd high expectations people have of him.

  • GLic…1127-1
    Gerry.. 577-1
    Total.. 294-1
    Red Arse…131-1
    VCC…… 30-1

    Sorry Total I meant Terry.

  • Slicky Vicky 🙂

    I already gave you mine; you even gave me my odds.

    I will see if I can find them and copy them again to you.

  • Where’s PPP…..he’s been on the missing list for over two weeks?????

    Terry and Oz…..can you get your fingers out guys, please.

  • TA,

    Great article and what a debate it has brought on from a few of the fellow BK’ers.
    In my opinion I would pick Arteta but i just can’t see him playing as much next year, of course that will depend on who comes in during the TW.

    I would like to see a combination of Arteta and Jack to prepare the Lad for his responsibilities in the future. Then again lies the question, Will the pressure be too much for Jack to take on? Will it affect his game?

    If Arteta is to have a diminished role next year, perhaps we are should look at BFG and Kos. They make a great pairing as they do combine well at the back. They have the composure to lead us.

    TA, it’s hard to pick just one and if i had to pick now, I would say Zorro.

  • HH,

    Sorry I have not responded to your post a couple of days ago in regards to the UMF for next season. I have been extremely busy with work and 16 hour days do not allow for much time here.

    I had brought up a last week that instead of charging everyone 10 pounds to enter next year. I offered to pay for 1st and 2nd prize. First prize would be the Home and Away kit, the second prize being a home kit. If this is ok with everyone I would gladly supply the prizes.

    I have a creative accountant and he looks after my business well. Last year I saw The Arsenal at Hong Kong and it was booked out as a business trip. Supplying 3 tops to the UMF would not be a problem and I would like to do that instead of everyone putting money in.

    If everyone agrees to it and with TA’s permission, I think that it’s a no brainer.

    Let me know

  • Hi Alex……Can I say on behalf of all the UMFers, its a fantastic gesture your making. I know it’s small in comparison but I am putting up one of my old programmes for a prize, probably the wooden spoon one.

    There has been considerate interest these past few weeks in the continuation of the UMF league, of which I will be glad to administer.

    I’m so chuffed all you guys still enjoy a bit of friendly banter and with it goes some cheeky competitiveness.

    I’m so grateful to Total letting us use this great site as a vehicle.

    Again, I say a huge thank you to you for your generosity. A true Gooner. AMIGO

  • VCC,

    No need to thank me. Logging into BK whenever i get a chance is my escape from work and it’s a great place to be. There’s always the usual guys here and I enjoy the varied opinions by everyone here. Everyone is passionate about The Arsenal and where else is there a forum like this one without all the morons out there in the usual blogs?

    As for you wooden spoon prize. It’s not small by any comparison. There are lots of guys here who have never had the opportunity to go to London (myself included) to see a game live. Don’t place little value on it when in fact it will be treasured by whoever receives it.

  • Thanks Fred

    Vics, sorry for the delay

    Arsenal 5-0
    Stoke draw
    Norwich draw
    QPR draw
    Utd win

    Following in the spirit of alex the greats gesture, i to propose a prize.

    Winner: Night out in brentwood tranny club
    Wooden spoon: Night out in brentwood tranny club

    Vics and Cornwall, hahahaha

  • Cheers Alex, that’s kind of you.

    Please God, one day you may have the opportunity to visit the home of football and meet up with some mighty fine Bergkampesquers for a pint in the tavern, and maybe see the Away Boyz live at the same time.

    London is a fantastic City with many diverse things to do, you would love it. It has thousands of diverse things to do during maybe a seven day visit.

    Theatre Land at the West End.
    London Eye.
    Jack the Ripper tours. (at night)
    Covent Gardens.
    Tea at the Ritz. with GLiC, 😉
    Good old English Real Ale.
    Loftus Road, 😉
    Duck Tours

    etc, etc, etc.

  • Hi Alex

    How are you doing – glad it is the weekend?!

    HH, this was a comment by Admir that got stuck in SPAM for some reason:

    Hello, people!

    HH made a few excellent questions with his text and it’s hard to decide what the real answer is. I agree that self-sustainable model is the best one but sometimes you need to make a risky move and make some investments that can end up either spectacularly good or spectacularly bad.

    The best example is story of Van Judas. We could keep him in the club and lose 24 (at the end, it’s 25,5) million pounds when his contract would expire. However, we decided to sell him and – thanks to the fact we missed a lot of chances in big matches due to lack of top-drawer striker – get ourselves in a difficult position in which our CL-spot is not secured yet. If we fail to snatch that, our loss might turn out to be even bigger than the gain from 25,5 million pounds Red Nose paid to us for Van Judas. From Manure angle, they made a risky move by paying 25,5 million pounds for 29-year-old striker with an injury list longer than the one that contains Dr Glic’s lesbian clients. At the end of the day, they won their 20th title and Van Judas’ goals often took them out of manure.

    @BJ – regarding Cavani: he is a striker that scores in big matches. He scored against both sugardaddies’ clubs in Champions’ League last season. He scored a hat-trick against Lazio this season. He scored a hat-trick against Juventus two seasons ago and this goal is something that would make even today’s birthday boy proud. If you want Bergkampesque football, then Cavani is the man to deliver it.

    Regarding Rooney vs Jovetić – it’s not hard to choose. I’d pick Rooney in a second. There is only one manager in England left that could deal with him and we all know who that man is.

  • VCC,

    I was meant to be going to London around Feb/March Next year but everything is on hold now as my wife is expecting our first baby. Things have changed quickly. I was supposed to be in Brazil in June for the confederations Cup, and again next year for the World Cup and London in Feb.

    I am not complaining, things happen for a reason and I will be in London with a Baby Gooner in the next year or two

  • alex the great, i accidently drove there once, and then accidently went in side, were i accidently stayed for a few hours.

    So basicaly, by accident. hahaha

  • TA,

    No such thing as a weekend at the moment. Worked through this saturday and Sunday I have to paint the house to put it on the market. Just to cap it off, we are not playing tonight.

    How are you?

  • Terry,

    I have done many things accidentally but I cant say that I accidentally walked into a tranny club, not that I would ever admit it, if it did happen . haha

  • TA results from 2009-10 onwards la liga has dominated the EPl:

    Valencia 2 vs Stoke 0 (Europa)
    Bilbao 5 vs United 2 (Europa)
    Athletico 6 vs Chelsea 1 (Super Cup)
    Real 3 vs United 2 (CL)
    Real 3 vs City 2 (CL)
    Barca 2 vs Chelsea 3 (CL)
    Valencia 0 vs City 3 (CL)
    Barca 3 vs United 1 (CL)
    Barca 4 vs Arsenal 3 (CL)
    Valencia 1 vs Chelsea 1 agg (CL)
    Real 5 vs Tottenham 0 (CL)
    Valencia 0 vs United 1 (CL)
    Athletico 2 vs Chelsea 2 (CL)
    Barca 6 vs Arsenal 3 (CL)
    Athletico 2 agg vs Chelsea 2 (Europa)
    Athletico 2 vs Fulham 1 (Europa)

  • Excellent news Alex and congratulations to you and Mrs Alex. Hope the pregnancy goes well and make sure you’ll sing some powerful Arsenal songs to him/her. The sooner the better really!!! 😛

    Out for a bit. Going to watch the Villa game with a Spud in the pub. At least we both want the same outcome hahaha 😛

  • Arsenal apparently have agreed personal terms with Gonzalo Higuain. Anyone else know anything about this or just another player link with this great club??

  • May have missed a game or two but off for my flight! Catch you all later, Alex and admir I’ll get back to you guys later 🙂

  • I am feeling great Alex, thanks. 🙂

    Thanks for the update, HH 🙂 You is early my fwiend.

    Catch you later guys: Come on You Brummies! 😀

  • Last one should say Athletico 2 agg vs Liverpool 2 (Europa)

  • Thanks TA,

    I have downloaded all the Away Boys Albums and I’ll make sure that he/she knows them all.
    Enjoy the game and go Villa. Do us a favour

  • Alex, congratulations on your baby news, another Gooner to come into this world no doubt.

    Terry looks cute in pink, but I think he looks best in turquoise, it matches his eyes. But when he walked into the tranies club in Brentwood with those tight fitting leather trousers I thought he over did it a bit.

    Safe journey Harmonious.

  • VCC,

    Definitely another Gooner on it’s way.
    Are you admitting that you were at the club with Terry???

  • VCC,

    When I do make my way to London, I would love to have a few drinks with you guys, Should be a good laugh.

  • Alex……Would be nice to meet up with more BKers.

    I live close to Brentwood, and as I was driving past I see Terry sneaking in with his tight black leather trousers and torquoise shirt with a frilly collar. Not my type of thing but every one to their own as they say. 😉

  • VCC,

    Each to their own as you said.
    Wasn’t nice that you didn’t stop by and at least have a drink with him.

    Good night guys and shame about chel$ki getting over the line. One CL spot left.

  • cheers Alex. Yes we now have to play for fourth. Wont be easy.

    I did not go for a drink because I feel uncomfortable around those types of people. Terry doesn’t mind though, nor does GLiC, in fact it was GLiC that got Terry involved in the first place. 😉

  • 17ht,

    well done for sticking to your guns and believing in what you’ve seen in 😉 i am with you when you say that our mid table teams currently may well be ahead of the teams in la liga and other leagues, i also suspect the reason why the goal scoring ratio in la liga is higher than the EPL is not due to the mid table teams or lower teams out scoring each other, it might be due to the top 2 or 3 teams in la liga battering them 😀 either way on technical abilities alone, la liga is better than EPL, however the EPL has a little bit of everything and for that reason i believe, players from leagues outside spain and germany may well find it hard to adapt and deliver the goods.

    Re- Jovetic, when i compared and expressed my preference of rooney over him, i had also taken in time for adapting, sure, Jovetic might yet turn out to be the next big thing, but it would be unwise to expect him to adapt immediately and start delivering the goods, i reckon he will take a season or two even and i much rather have someone who we know won’t be taking long to adapt…..either way, if he does indeed make it to the emirates, like everyone else i would be wanting him to shatter all sorts of records 😀 but saying that, the amount of rumours circulating these days re- Jovetic could mean one of 2 things :

    1: he’s most def signing for us

    3: he’s being used as smoke screen and we get someone else.

    there also happens to be higuain apparently signed for under 19 million , going by this rate i think we’ve already signed 10 players and it wasn’t 70 million we had, it sounds as if we have in excess of 150 million 😀


    i have watched Cavani a fair few times and i have also watched Falcao a fair few times, where as both are game changers on their day and ooze class, for me Falcao is slightly ahead and hence i preferred him, however, i do expect Cavani to join man city soon and it will be interesting to see how he copes coming from an “inferior” league to the rigours of EPL 😉

    Aston Villa you so and so’s, at 1-0 i was very happy until the moment of madness from benteke ala nani , he did deserve to be sent earlier on as well and only got a yellow but oh well, in Everton we trust, but first let’s put Wigan to bed by winning 8-0 on tuesday 😀

  • Afternoon Broke Back Bergkampesquers !. 😆

    One nil up and the Chavs down to ten men, thanks a lot Bentake it up the ars !.

    I just read on news now, that a fake-airline pilot is on the run, the bastard flew passenger planes, including an Airbus A320, into Gatwick Airport !. I was a bit worried again for HH, as he flies a lot !. It makes me feel a lot better knowing there`s a bigger bastard than me out there, being more unscrupulous than my fake position of Professor of Gynaecology at Launceston Hospital !.
    Congratulations alex and if I can be of any help don’t hesitate, Vic`s will fly me over, I liked his Pilot uniform he wore at the Emirates !.

    Great post Total van Dutchelmdiseaseknobrotstein !. 🙂

    They say a great goalie can win you so many points per season, I also believe a captain in the Adams mould ( dare I use the term, but it`s like having a Fergie on the pitch ! ) will also have the same effect, but they are few and far between, shame we didn`t snap up John Terry as a youngster, as he is of the same quality. Personally, I cant think of anyone who comes near to a “Adamesque Mongrel”, so we are talking second bests.
    Yes, Jack will be the future captain, but let Zorro keep the position warm for time being !.

  • Hi all..
    Firstly.. congrat to Lampard for his record.. but he just steal my three point. Hehehe..
    I love the kind of player like Lampard or Gerrad.. the are very loyal to their clubs.. and that’s why fans love them..

    I think We still can get the 3rd place if Chelsea lose to Everton.. but they only need a draw because they had better goals than us..
    And it will depend on the result of the Euro cup they play again Benfica..

    So.. is all about us and Spurs now..
    And our players know it for sure that they must stand for their dignity..
    And lucky us.. We have more fresh man there in Emirates again Wigan.. even when Wigan win the FA cup..

    Spurs must face Stoke away.. and they will find a hard game like chelsea got tonight at villas.. And if (hope so) they lose their point.. then winning again Wigan.. will means everything.. hehe..

  • One simply cannot claim EPL mid table clubs are better than La Liga’s since not one has experienced any success against any of the mid table sides in Europa. Just a hint of typical, biased, center of the universe EPL view ;).

    Alex, congrats on the new baby mate 🙂 and cheers for the kind wishes! I generally try to stay away from caughtoffside, but if the rumour is true, Higuain would be a top class signing and the cost represents a typical AW bit of business.

    Also, Higuain is exactly the type of striker we need. He has strengths in all of the weaknesses of OG’s game in clinical finishing and pace, yet also has the strength and link up ability too. His aerial ability is not quite as good though! Higuain has always been more clinical than Benzema but does not own the same type of flair, which often saw him played behind Benzema in big games unfortunately.

  • we can still out do chelsea if they draw against Everton provided we win by a big margin at the emirates and do a new castle or west ham, by that i mean score more than 4 goals or win by a 4 goal margin, it’s not beyond our reach since wigan have quite a few injuries and not a very good defence, and like you say, they are playing today so tired legs at the emirates won’t be lasting for too long as long as we keep all 11 on the field.

  • speaking of europa, you may well have a point there , i was being too kind when i mentioned mid table teams , even teams fighting for relegation in the EPL do plenty better in the europa league 😉


    what are your thoughts on Lukasz Piszczek, is he an upgrade on Sagna or not in the same league as Sagna ?

  • Glicster, have no fear my friend I landed safely in Utah and am awaiting my connecting flight. There were no runaway pilots, but there are snow capped mountains in over 20 degree Celsius weather!

    TA, there was only mild, harmless flirting with the stewardess, the missus tends to keep me in line with either a kind slap to the back of the head or takes away certain privileges at night if I go too far hahaha!

  • BJ, no comment on lower table clubs from either league being better or worse as there is no data to support a case for either :).

    Piszczek would be an upgrade on the current version of Sagna. Despite still being fairly reliable, Sagna has seemingly lost a step in all aspects of the game (crossing, scoring, contribution in key passes, defensive awareness, decision making, pace etc.). Piz’s style is more akin to Gibbs than the formerly defensive and all around Sagna.

  • the way you have described him, he seems to be tailour made for Arsenal 😀

    if rumours are to be believed, then you have plenty of departures from dortmund….which brings me to the next question, how likely are dortmund to sell him and why are dortmund seemingly unable to hold onto their prized assets ? we were selling our best players for a reason, do dortmund have any such reasons or it’s just players wanting to leave themselves ?

  • and there you have it, Wigan have done it

    congratulations to Wigan for doing the unthinkable and again proving that you can spend all the money in the world but nothing beats true grit and determination.

    fully deserved !

  • Finally, my comments are going through (thanks, TA!)! 🙂 I had a lot of problems to comment yesterday and today from three different computers. It happened at three Arsenal blogs – Untold Arsenal, Bergkampesque and The Armchair Gooner.

    Anyway, this Higuain rumour is a really good one. We can screw Spuds in a triple way. 😀

  • i don’t think Mancini will be getting the p45 just yet, he seems to have the support of all his fans, it will be a bad decision to sack him .

  • It would be the right decision to sack Mancini. Why did he take Tevez off today??? Just another one of his mindless substitutions and tactical decisions. I’m no expert on him or Man City, but how to defend the indefensible, comes to mind. He has taken them as far as he is capable of taking them. I don’t care about him or his club, but in a way I would like to see him sacked, as he doesn’t seem to have a lot of respect for Wenger or our club.

  • Mancini may well be a bad manager but to take off a player at the 50th minute mark should be seen as embarrassment – yes, Na$ri , how we doing ? yet another one of our ex players discovering that the grass may not always be greener on the other side even if their bank balances are.

    Milo, success often commands respect, i am not going to blame mancini or the clowns who only are successful because of rich owners or funds given to them, soon as we start winning again, we’ll command respect…8 years is long enough, let’s start this tuesday and build on it next season.

  • How about Martinez to Everton then?

    With all the possible managerial changes there could be be a lot of good players available before September 1st?

  • they are interested in Martinez, Everton are, (they have made contact with him and he said after the season ends we’ll talk, mind you he did the same with liverpool and then said no to them before they appointed rodgers) laudrup is another candidate….but just for laughs i have mentioned Rafa B going to everton as well 😀

  • Um BJ Wenger has been and probably will always be a more successful manager than Mancini. He should have displayed more respect in dealing with our club through the media. I don’t care if Wenger last won a trophy in the middle ages, he did not deserve to be called “stupid” or having the claim that he “lacks competitive drive and ambition” thrown at him by Mancini. It doesn’t matter when you won, it’s how much you won, and that you won in the first place. I didn’t think Mancini did well enough in his time at Inter Milan, and I thinkhe has done even worse with City. It’s just an opinion, but I think I”m not the only one who believes this!

  • what do you expect from a manager who lacks class and only whinges about lack of buying players every 6 months (even when they spend 50 million on average every 6 month to an year).

    i see where you’re coming from and agree, however in football people look at the recent stats and history, if we had won more than i doubt if anyone would be calling stupid (mind you, i know a fair few fellow gunners who have hurled even worse abuse at Arsene Wenger).

    today , football won again ! !

  • *most people or majority of people

    you can live at past glory’s for so long, ask any liver pool supporter and then will tell you. (stuck at 19 whilst mancs have over taken them ).

  • True…but until Mancini wins the league unbeaten, any league, for that matter, I don’t think his success will ever measure up to Wenger’s. If I can’t look back on that with fondness, then what is the point of winning it in the first place???

    I think we will win something next season. It doesn’t matter what for me, really. Just watching the magic of this year’s FA Cup is enough to get me excited for next year’s campaign!!! 😀 I know I must sound old fashioned, but that trophy still holds a lot of value in my eyes, and I’ve only seen around 18 finals! Sooooooooooooo you can imagine how some people view the FA Cup!

    I think once we win one trophy, we will get on a bit of run, or at least know what it takes to win a final. That is why I was so upset that we lost to Birmingham City FC in 2011! 😦 That could have been the catalyst! It wasn’t to be though, and I think the next major trophy we get our hands on, will be valued by all supporters, no matter what cup it is. Even the League Cup holds some value. Not nearly as much as the league, Champions League, or Fa Cup, but some nonetheless 😀

  • you’re spot on, most of these plays haven’t tasted success , soon as we win one, the flood gates are very likely to open as success is an addiction of sorts and players who have tasted it once would like to re-live and feel the same experiences over and over again.

    imagine how the wigan players would feel on tuesday once we give them a guard of honour ? even if they get relegated they will feel like champions and the memory and experience is their’s alone to re-live through history.

    we will get there, i am confident, 2014 will be our year !!

  • Can someone please explain to me why then think that the EPL is currently better than La Liga or the Bundesliga please?

  • Fred,

    i’m sure someone would have explained it do you if they had thought EPL was better than both la liga and bundesliga, i think you got it all mixed up with the original discussion started by me on here – re jovetic vs wayne rooney/isco/reus

    here is the original place where it started

    read my comments posted Bond James
    May 10, 2013 17:41…onwards and it may all make sense.

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