Finally Arsenal have their own Van Bommel: what a difference he’ll make!

The Flame returned!

The Flame returned!

If Ozil can provide the absolute icing on the cake of the current Arsenal team, it will be Mathieu Flamini who can give us the much needed robustness, passion and never say die attitude the Gunners have often lacked in recent seasons. Flamini is the UMF: the ultimate midfield force.

Flamini is not the best DM in the world; far from it; but neither was Van Bommel, and yet he brought something to every team he played for that was invaluable: hunger, passion, aggression, presence!, leadership, believe! In a nutshell: a winner’s attitude. A Dutch friend of mine summarised it perfectly recently: ‘Van Bommel wins you things’. The hard as nails former PSV, Bayern, Barcelona, Milan player won eight league titles (at least one with each club) and once the CL, and a lot of this was down to his deep desire to win for his team – whoever he plays for – AND his ability to influence others to follow his lead.

Flamini has been in the shadow of Van Bommel, Ambrosini and Gattuso at Milan in recent years, and this will have frustrated him no end. During his last three seasons, Flamini only managed an average of 14 League games for Milan, although injury had a big part to play in this as well. The good thing is that Mathieu has been able to learn from the masters of DM (dark) arts, and not having played so much in recent years should mean there is plenty left in the 29 year old. We just have to hope he will stay fit and not suffer another bad (knee) injury.

I like Flamini, always have. When he came on against the brand new Spuds team, he brought something old fashioned to our team from the moment he ran on to the pitch. It brought tears of joy to see him directing his colleagues, waving his arms like a nutter and sticking his Gallic chest out, bursting with pride. Here is a player who left and was given an unexpected chance to come back, to make amends, and a last opportunity to become an immortal Gunner; and it is clear he will do anything in his power to make his second stint at Arsenal a successful, and unforgettable one.

As the Germans say: ohne worte!

As the Germans say: ohne worte!

I made a prediction this week:

IF Flamini can stay fit for most of the season, he will make as much, if not more, difference to the team as/than Ozil will.

Here are the reasons why:

  1. Flamini knows how to tackle and how to win aerial battles (despite his lack of great height at 1.78 meters), and he also knows how to get under the skin of opponents. As jgc likes to put it: he brings that bit of Adamsesque mongrel to the team. He loves to put his foot in but seldom does he cross the line. This is a skill we have been missing, and if and when we play the more physical/robust teams, our very own UMF will make a great difference this season;
  2. Mathieu will protect the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere and Ozil better than anybody else. The way Jack has been targeted and having to fend for himself against the thugs of Villa and against Fenerbahce recently – something he is very good at doing btw – without getting much support from his team mates, is unacceptable. With Flamini on the team this is very likely to change. Like Van Bommel, Flamini knows how to protect his colleagues and how to boss a midfield. His Presence! and street wisdom will see to that! I predict a huge difference in this area;
  3. Flamini will protect the defence with incredible zeal: he will bring passion AND focus to our defensive midfield play. He is not as good a reader of the game as Arteta, but he knows how to guard a defence behind him and he will scare opponents with his tackling ability;
  4. Leadership – he might not become our captain but the Flame is an extrovert and born leader: he just cannot help himself – he needs to lead and he needs to make himself heard. This is something we have been missing in the team, as many of our midfielders are less vocal and focus more on the technical/tactical aspects of the game. Flamini will be a great support to Wilshere, who is also a born leader but needs to develop further in the next few years;
  5. Because of his natural DM skills and focus, he will allow us to have a more committed box to box midfielder in the team: this is great news for the likes of Ramsey, Ox and Wilshere, who will be able to go forward without having to worry constantly for leaving the defence exposed.

Despite my optimism that Flamini will make a big difference this season, I am not (yet) entirely sure whether Wenger will give his fellow countryman a pivotal role this season. My gut feeling tells me Wenger’s plans to play Flamini occasionally rather than making him a first team choice. If everybody is fit, his double DM pivot is likely to be occupied by two out of Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere; the likes of Flamini, Ox and Rosicky could become second/third choice for the DM positions (although they might be used elsewhere as well). Wenger likes his ‘DMs’ to be multi-skilled, all-round midfielders who can play football as well, and it remains to be seen whether he regards Flamini’s skill set as good enough for a constant first team role.

But I reckon Flamini will work incredibly hard and show his worth to the team once more, both in terms of technical/defensive skills as well as his ability to lead and drive the team, that within no time he will become a regular first-teamer.

And what a difference he can make to Arsenal this season; let’s enjoy the Flamini ride. 🙂

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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134 Responses to Finally Arsenal have their own Van Bommel: what a difference he’ll make!

  1. mA says:

    thankyou Total for recognizing this man

    i also feel that if he Flamini can stay injury-free then we are in for a big season. I can see him coming in when we need to shut opponents and doing a fantastic job. As you said, it is not about physical/world-class type, but having the skills, experience and willingness to add something to the team. These factors are often overlooked and we all know that a team of world-class players is not everything. Sometimes you need some individuals who can get under the opposition’s skin by harassing and hurrying them. They also need to that a certain Arsenal player can play dirty if and when needed.

    Just that he doesn’t carry the worldclass tag, but Flamini is everything we needed in DM (Non-robust/physical, dirty at times, experienced, can play footie, knows the Arsenal way, vocal/organizer, willing, focused and determined). Hey, if can do the work properly who cares about the world-class thing-especially given that he cost NOTHING. The benefits outweigh the risks, and thus a good piece of business.

  2. James Bond says:

    nice one, TA

    UMF – sums it up perfecto and what a brilliant innovation for Flam’s – love it

    yes, he will deliver the goods, he may not get the recognition or appreciation he may deserve at times but one thing that is clear for all to see is that he’s a winner – he is hungry and he wants to win things with arsenal…in his own words ” i have unfinished business in England” .

    i am expecting a lot of great things from him – what’s more, due to the international break, he will get a great opportunity to gel that much more with the likes of jenks, gibbs, arteta, TV5 – note how most if, not all will be the focal point of this 4-5 way thingy to work, absolutely brilliant timing for the international break for Flam’s i reckon – more so for the others to understand his game a bit more as well

    also, the likes of Frimpong can learn a lot from the old maestro as well – he is a leader both on and off the pitch

    i am expecting a lot from him this season.

  3. Paul Walsh says:

    my thoughts exactly on flamonster I said to others and though myself that he can be that general we need since loosing gilbeto shield the back two cbs and give our fbs a chance to support It gave me great pride to see him the otherday take over from jack and take control of the mid with him and jack ramsey and jack casola osil walcott podolski and rosiky it will take alllot to beat but he needs to be in and stay in the team he would be my first name on the sheet if hes fit

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    mA 🙂

    Fine comment and all agreed.

    Cheers Jambo – good point about Frimmers learning from the master…!

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Paul – first one on the team sheet…. I tend to agree with you! 🙂

  6. AB says:

    Agreed TA. But I am less concerned that Wenger sees (I agree with your prediction here) Flam as a squad player rather than a standard 1st 11 man. I think we will see him often coming from the bench (and not just for DM roles), making starts during congested periods of the season and against primarily physical opponents, and of course for cups; and he will be key injury cover for DM. I would happily take this in exchange for him staying fit; he does bring something different, and we should look after this and make use of it on the occasions we most need it.

  7. Glic says:

    Thanks Totes

    I hope he reaches your expectations boys. I however only see him as a bit part player when we are desperate because of injuries !. I`m still keeping my beady eye on Wenger….one SQ in Ozil and one panic freebie in Flaming Nora !.
    Surely there must have been some younger better SQ DM`s who could have been enticed with a £30M bid !. We were after Capoue in the winter TW (and I take it he is ahead of Flaming Nora in the French Squad ! ) at a higher price than the Spuds bought him for !. Fellaini release clause £23M and he went to Manscum for closer to £30M !. Bender…not sure what we bid for him and Gundogan, much better and I`m sure our BK scouts could name a few more !. Sorry guys, to much Flamini Fellatioing and all for a guy who turned his back on us for a bit of AC/DC Milan !. Love to be proved wrong though !.

  8. Ruf says:

    Good observation.
    I am surprised most cpmmententors are concentrating on the idea that bthough Ozil is a start AM, he does not solve arsenal’s immediate problems which are in other positions like DM, defence etc. they seem to be conviniently ignoring the timely return of Flamini. barring injuries, flamini – at 29 still has a few more years in him and will immensely help our defence and miedfield alike. perhaps is because he comes as a free agent. but so what? the media (sky sports) makes people believe football is all about money. the more money you spend should mean how good a player you have. yet history is full of examples where this is not necessarily the case.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    AB – very well put and yes you are right: one way or another he’ll come good and add a lot of value to the team.

  10. AB says:

    Lets not forget we had the second meanest defence last season! Yes there were times we looked wide open, in particular when Arteta was missing, but my main memory of last season was us struggling to turn attacking possession into clear chances, and of not converting the chances; we should not have been worrying about conceding the odd goal when we should have been several up. I don’t want the team to move to a more cautious approach – but I would like us to create more and finish more; I’m sure this is Wenger’s philosophy. If Flam can be used carefully, instead or alongside Arteta, depending on when we the robust defence, then we can focus instead on releasing our creative, forward-minded players and playing the attacking football that our greatest side (and in my opinion the greatest team that the premiership has ever seen) used to thrill us with a few years ago. This is where Oz, we all hope, will take us. But I totally agree, having Flam gives us options and better balance, as well as some of the grit we have been lacking for a few years.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Fair points, Glic. A new DM would have taken time to settle into the team, so is best to get as early as possible. Flamini fits in straightaway and has so much to offer to us that even you might end up with a tattoo on your hampton. And the good thing is for once you would not be lying if you only tattooed the last four letters of his name 😉

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Spot on, Ruf. It is a great signing for us with an immediate impact on and off the field. 🙂

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    AB a lot of games are being won 1-0 at the moment, which could be a strong indication that caution/defensive solidity is key to win the league this season.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Off to bed, as a long day of travel/work awaits.

    Keep rocking and RA if you are reading, come out to play compadre! 🙂 😛 😀 😉

  15. James Bond says:

    TA @ 23:12


    oh my days, i’m in stitches here

    but in Glic’s i trust – he’ll have his revenge !!!

  16. AB says:

    I don’t agree Glic. It comes down to Arsene’s line about only buying when you improve the squad. If you buy £23+M DM then you do so intending to play them in the 1st team – so we have space for only 1 of Arteta, Ramsey and Jack. I like Fellaini, but would I take him at the expense of Jack or Ramsey’s future? No way. So you could buy him as a direct replacement for Arteta – good value? Questionable. Oz is clearly the replacement for Rosicky – and no one can argue with this given Rosicky’s age and injury record. So we might buy big for a DM, but for my money they will have to be one hell of a player to either shift Arteta now or justify taking the spot of one of our brightest young talents. Perhaps next year then, depending on how our current squad develops this year?

    Flam though is perfect. He won’t be expecting to be 1st team, he will work hard when he plays and be grateful for his starts. And, while he brings all the additional attributes we all agree on, he won’t get in the way of the development of our future home grown stars.

  17. Frazium says:

    @Glic You are right, this is football business, Let move on, If you were Flamini shoes then you will do same, Hope our gunners can do well this season, Gunners forever(time for us to smile again)

  18. AB says:

    TA. Yes the 1 nil results have been vital, and we have shown more strength at the back. I would not argue that we should ignore defence from here, but I think the TW has given us a little more in defence combined with a lot more in attack. Last season often we should never have had to rely on a clean sheet, given the number of opportunities we should have taken. I’m not a perfectionist, so I would take a 5:2 win every time over a 2:0 one; its the way Wenger teams are set up. Of course when someone comes to give us a kicking, then we need to be able to stand up, and occasionally respond in kind.

  19. VCC says:

    GLiC has a small (mini) Hampton, it’s official. 😉

  20. VCC says:

    GLiC has a small (mini) Hampton. It’s official, quoted by Totes.

  21. Admir says:

    An excellent article, TA, about a true lion. 🙂

    And, I’d just add – he is one of the 49’ers!

  22. Fozzie B says:

    Evening Hampton holders!! Thank you Totes for giving credit to the flame!! Flam has been brought in as cover but I firmly believe that he has the presence! That has been sorely missing in our defence! He will start from the bench but force his way into the side through sheer determination. He really does appreciate this second chance and he has the added benefit of almost immediately being a senior existing member of the squad and this effect cannot be underestimated! He will be a vital member of this squad and will ooze old Wenger/arsenal blood into this side. I agree he left under a cloud, but I believe he actually is genuinely wanting this move hence he annexed himself like Henry for training. He has a flame that burns from within. A flame within a flame = power! 😀

  23. davi says:

    Agree with everything here except where you say he’s far from the best DM in the world – if he can play anything like he did the last time he was here, he’s not far from that at all! It may be controversial to say, but I don’t think Vieira ever played so well during the course of a season as Flamini did that year, but obviously it was only for one year. If he can get back to anything like that kind of form we will be a very tough side for anyone to face!

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Total, great post, and great riposte to the Glicster… good to have you back… I think we cannot underestimate the psychic tax the TW took on Gooners. Sure, we bring it upon ourselves, but geez…

    Flamini signing before the Derby was when I first started to feel better, though I have to admit I got nervous when he and Sagna were left out of the starting line-up. (It left us with zero offense on the bench if we went a goal down. Luckily we didn’t…)

    Compared to a new young boy who we’ve never seen but is supposed to be worth a lot (and therefore, obviously, your so-called “SQ”) this is not very exciting:

    It is, however, another way we can use our money… Why are Gooners so excited about giving our money to other clubs rather than rewarding players who have given their all for the club? New toys, I guess, are always more fun… Everybody ELSE has the prettier wife at home? (to (completely) misquote the manager)… Envy drives the marketplace? You tell me…

    🙄 😀

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Remember this one?…The play starts with our “new” CF as well…

  26. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht from the last article, cheers for the mention mate :).

    I thoroughly agree with everything you have said. Skill dominates over brute strength on any day of the week, however it is is pragmatic to include some steel in order to diversify your play or to combat other teams’ physical presences.

    There’s not necessarily a recipe for success, but with AW’s proposed style of football taken into consideration, a player like Ozil was an absolute necessity. He should allow us to play the brand of football AW has always intended this club to play (not that we’ve been too far off lately, we just needed a better catalyst) and he’ll be the individual to create that something extra special in the final third.

    For me, I’d take Ozil over Cesc any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Putting the sentimental factor aside, Ozil is just simply a better player and wanted to come here. For all we know, had we bought Cesc, then he might have played here for another 2-3 years before wanting to go back to Barca again when Xavi eventually retires…

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, thank you for a very fine report and it’s nice to see one of our more overlooked signings get some well deserved recognition :).

    While I see eye to eye with most of what you have written, I don’t necessarily agree with you that Flamini could be potentially more important to our team than Ozil. It’s true that he will protect others and the back four, add depth and allow our more creative players to work their magic up field, but to have the same or better effect as/than Ozil, he will need to play as often as Ozil. In addition, Ozil finally gives AW that penultimate catalyst that he needs to help create those special final balls on a consistent basis to break down stubborn defences/match stalemates.

    Still, I think Flamini will have a huge impact with our club in a different way. He potentially represents a changing of the tide where by we both no longer sell our better players (evident from the past window) and bring past stars back (if we want them back). He also brings a new dimension to our squad in that he complements all our skill with a bit of steel and presence!

  28. Milo says:

    I don’t know…I don’t see him as being the first name on the team sheet, but I think it was a very wise move to bring him back. Ozil, when he acclimatizes will most likely and most deservedly be the first name on the team sheet, but for now, I would think one of Per, Kos, Ramsey, Walcott or even Giroud would be the first name to be penciled in on that piece of paper, and rightfully so!!! 😀 I hope it isn’t too long before we add Jack and Ozil to that list as well!!! 😀 If we do, I think we win the league. I’m not joking either. I still can’t forget that year of 2007/08 when Eduardo went down at Birmingham, and we lost the league, having lead for about/over two thirds of the season. I thought we played even more attractive football than 2003/04!!! SERIOUSLY, we dominated possession more, had just as much creativity and created more chances. We even made Adebayor look World class!!! :O We had 3 attacking midfielders on the pitch at the same time!!! :O Cesc, Rosicky, Hleb and Eduardo who could create from nothing, as well as score from nothing, not to mention RVPussie as back-up. I’m not saying it was a better side, it wasn’t, but it was an even more exciting-to-watch side. I was heartbroken after that draw at Birmingham, and I knew we wouldn’t win the league that season. Then we lost to Liverpool in the Champions League, and that was the final nail in the coffin for that side. Now I think we are finally building a squad capable of challenging that side. It might finally stop that awful incident from being re-played in my head, over and over again, when we lose or draw a crucial match.

  29. Hey HH, you gotta retire so you blog full time 😆 … We miss you…

    My impressions of Ozil come from not watching him game in and game out vs Cesc as I did when he was with us. Cesc will be just fine at Barca in the longer term. And props to Gazidis for writing the contract with the buy-back clause. Hopefully they’ve run that one past the lawyers… 🙄

    I was in Spain last Fall (Autumn) and actually saw less football than when I’m home. Suffice it to say it was dire times for Real Madrid and a lot of what I saw were the two forwards (Benzema and Higuain) looking stupified–if they ran too much they were criticized for not staying put and if they stayed put everything went static. The same could be said for Di Maria, hugging the touchline… Ozil made lots of chances but they didn’t convert at a very high rate…

    The big issue, of course was C-Ron. The battle for goals from the previous season with Messi took a toll and the greasy one was always tempted to take balls off other players toes (notably Ozil) and try to make his own shot from distance. Sometimes when they were chasing results in was almost laughable (except for the merengues in the tapas bars taking it all too seriously…) It might actually work with him and Bale on opposite sides and 9 bystanders. Outside the box they can dribble and shoot, inside they can dive. It’s all considered artistry in La Liga. In the CL I think RM will struggle, but, as always…WTF-DIK…

    Back to the current topic. I believe that AW was in for Cabaye but that Flamini had it all: familiarity, low (er, no) price and he got to audition in training. What’s interesting is that I’m (almost) ready to believe that the opening day loss was a critical moment and it helped galvanize resolve for the critical weekend just past (including our bank holiday on Monday). We couldn’t do brinkmanship for the best price on Cabaye because we needed the win vs Spurs. Yohan C. is a strong player in my opinion, closer maybe to Arteta in style then the Flamster, but with a very checkered injury history… We’ll see if he can get Toonies onto a more appropriate track. He should be the galvanizing force of England’s 2nd French team… 😆

    Today was a big writing day for me (almost HHesque, haha…) and I appreciate the support… Cheers!

  30. johnnie nyc says:

    Flamini has already had a big impact !! we got a VERY useful player and didnt have to pay 15 mil + for a gustavo or cabaye, who would have been part time players in our already very talented midfield…—–thus allowing us to more easily spend big on Ozil. and still have a reserve if an opportunity for a special purchase comes up in the next couple of windows…cash on hand is a very good thing….
    and i see him coming on late as a great sub to lock down a lead, and get some much needed rest for our fragile Jack, Arteta, and even Rosicky.
    i have a feeling Wenger will not rest ramsey as much as he should, but i hope he tries to keep him fresh as much as possible. Its looking like he may be the most indispensable player this year.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers for comments guys 🙂

    Off now, catch you later today. Eight more days of inter-lull nonsense…. 🙂

  32. robert okumu says:

    the flame awaits our rivals.

  33. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    TA.. I agree with you about Flamini..
    We miss his style for a long season.. even Song can’t do as good as he did..
    he was a good defender.. His tackle was awsome.. and I believe he still have that talents..
    Now he is back.. with our back four (fantastic four) are getting more solid week by week.. our defence will be very strong.. If he and Kosc are fit.. We will see that no clubs can get through our defence easily.. hehehe..

    And don’t worry TA.. Flamini will get enough place as long as he stay fit.. hahaha..
    He can play with Ramsey, Wilshere, or even Arteta.. and maybe Rosicky.. hehehe..
    Above all that.. his return to Emirates will also be a good trend for others ex-gunners to comeback to Emirates.. Fabregas and Vela.. as I said it again and again.. are my favourite return stars..

    But I think we must have two pivot DM.. Arteta – Ramsey and Flamini – Wilshere..
    Ramteta / Arsey play if we need more attractive playing.. and Flamere / Wilmini play when we need to play more defencive playing.. like the games again stoke city, Wigan or some others physical team.. hehehe..

  34. jgc says:

    TA et al

    Great post and van Bommel is the perfect comparator, first on no ones skills sheet national team, but first to be needed most.. In short, we’ve been too nice! Far too nice..

    I had a coach years ago who said as I rose the ranks I shouldn’t complain about fouling, it was a complement, and, most importantly for here, … that as skills get higher and teams become more and more even, the physical component (and steel), even if unseen, becomes more important.

    Thus, if you can physically have the Presence! to “intimidate” another player, even without touching them, that mix of physicality, talent, strength and mostly desire, then you will wi n every challenge and race with them.. And they are out of the game.. It’s not threat of harm its that undefinable Presence! Tat makes others give way… Yaya on his day is perhaps the best current version, Vieira and Campbell and Adams in theirs…

    Flamini brings that and it’s special .. Not everyone with the skills has it.. And not everyone wit it, by far, has the skills..

    Regarding playing time in EPL, assuming we have a fuller squad to choose from:

    A. Bottom third will park the bus and he won’t be needed

    B. middle third will be physical and he will be in a lot

    C. Top third or top 4-5, he will never start but be the impact sub

    D. Stoke, he will be cloned into 8 further copies and we will go with a 1-9-1 of Scez, 9xFlamin, OG

    Cheers — jgc

  35. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Yep Flamini is a roughneck alright, and I’m just over the moon that he’s our roughneck

  36. macko says:

    Hello friends, I agree Flamini going to become an indispensable piece of the team, at least I hopes because the time qu’Arteta found his level of play, Flamini has everything to prove to be essential to the team .
    The thing which scares me, it’s the players holder who are not going play and find themselves on the bench, but I trust in Arsene Wenger must think about it seriously;)
    If I’m still on cloud nine since our new recruit arrived Özil, I’m happy and I think we will enter a new era of ARSENAL;)

  37. macko says:

    please if someone lives in London and goes regularly to the Emirates, he could give me the ticket prices not too bad situate if it is possible, because in France we are offered the Place de minister of prices really too expensive ….
    Thank you in advance friends 🙂

  38. JM says:

    We bought additional pieces to our centre spine of the team this transfer window: Flamini(DM/CM), Oezil(AM/HS), Sanogo(CF), Viviano(GK); they will be playing primarily across the middle vertical stretch of the pitch, which are areas in defence and offence where most matches are either won or lost.

    {60% area of influence across the middle vertical stretch, and 40% (20%+20%) area of influence along both left and right flanks.}

  39. Gerry says:

    TA – Nice to have you back in a more positive mood 😀

    Now whilst I agree with most of the substance of your post, I do think only you could compare Flamini with Van Bommel. If ever there was a player that oppositions love to hate, it was him? For that reason I hope the Flam has learned something over the years. Looking at Prince’s video, some of those tackles were leg-breakers waiting to happen, his own in particular!

    So is Flamini going to be that reckless this time around? I don’t think so. I think by just labeling him as a destructive DM(Van Bommel?), it undersells his skill level. Yes he has earned his ‘Presence!’ label the hard way, but there is more to his game than that. Which is why I don’t see that double pivot of Arteta/Flamini partnership as a purely defensive/negative one. As previously stated, I can see Arteta going forward to be the advanced defense, as well as prompter from outside of the box. But as HT17’s video shows, Le Flambeau is equally capable in that area. It is that flexibility within the midfield set-up that will make us a better team. As regards who’s place he will take up if he plays regularly … well it is called a squad and rotation, and if Jack or Ramsey are your favourite players, be prepared to let them sit out from time to time. In fact, of that pair, I think Jack is really losing out to Ozil, but as you say, there are other options.

    The strange thing about the post is, you give Flam the big build up, then your iinsight clouds the picture with how Wenger will use him. As some others have commented, if he is that good why wouldn’t he start? I suppose out of loyalty(?) to the likes of Jack, Aaron, and Miguel? May be, but this season I think he is more likely to play the team that works best for the winning result. Any of the aforementioned midfielders can come off the bench, and no doubt will do so. The over-use of players has been AW’s achille’s heel, and Ramsey look to be set for the next big injury if proper rotation is not used? Just because is at the height of his form, a game missed here and there is surely not going to stop his run? Same too with Flam. I was impressed by his game at Spurs, not so much by his tackles, but his positioning. That will not go, but repeatedly coming off the bench for the final 10/15 minutes will not do anybody’s fitness or confidence any good at all, and that goes for the academy players too. Rotation is going to be absolutely vital with our ‘thin squad’ – which I think is a lot fatter thanks to the quality of our youth players coming through – so I hope AW takes advice on this, as his record to date is pretty shabby?

    glic – Still living the dream/nightmare of last week I see? I just cannot see how you can put Flamini in as a panic buy? He was training with the club for over 5 weeks before the Spurs game. He was there only as a gesture of goodwill on AW’s part, same as he did for Beckham last season? Now if a guy drops in on your doorstep, who you know was very good 4 years ago, and starts looking the part, particularly against the players we had available, and really impresses a coach who knows a thing or two about the game. So spends a few days haggling over wages, etc, and signs him in time to play a vital match … were is the panic in that? If he wasn’t up to the level of play required, then yes, another player might have been a panic buy if brought in so late. But he had so much time to see Flam close up, it was a no brainer. And even you with your self-inflicted TW angst could see the impact he made in the game, particularly during that second half, or was your glass still falling from the half empty mark? Lighten up glic, we’re in a new era now 😀

    As always, injuries to any of our players, particularly to Ozil, could derail this new found optimism, but as with the optimist yesterday, I see our glass filling up nicely.

    Flamini more/equal impact as Ozil come the end of season? No, but i am hoping he gets more game time than he did in his 3 years at Milan, and prove great value for it 😀

  40. naked goon says:

    If we look at it this way, we have signed two complementary midfielders for £43m. One of whom is possibly the world’s best in his position.Good business indeed in this climate. Both of them have points to prove and like you said, they have been surrounded by other high quality players in their times with previous clubs.
    I think though Flamini’s extrovertness is probably the Italian side of him,(what’s in a name?)
    could be some combo, and very effective in the CL. Time for more consistency in defence, and less profligacy in attack. A 10% improvement in these areas, and we’ll win things

  41. geoffchase says:


    good point about Flamini being a longer term try and buy, and thus, I think, shrewd by AW …

    The post following yours should also ease any fears JB has 😀

    cheers — jgc

  42. Gerry says:

    Thanks jgc – i think JB can expect a probe very shortly : 😉 See the D, Mail ‘ 8.52 on News Now.

    Personally I’ll be glad when the interlull is over so we know how fit the squad is. I read the AU blog on platers affected, Aaron Ramsey look like the one to worry about? Whilst on the blog, i switch to their final round up of Refees bias series. Horrendous for Arsenal as you might expect, but Liverpool also.

    jgc/HT17 – You might both like one of the comments made by Brickfield Gunner, the second one looks like a blueprint of what AW looks for in a footballer?

    Sorry I’ve not mastered links 😀

  43. JM says:

    Injury/recuperating list from club and major domestic/continental opponents – going into the international break (This can be of relevance when the international players return from the national teams, for a roll-call on those returning fit and unscathed to those who do not):

    Vermaelen (fatigue fracture at the back, returning middle Sep.)
    Arteta (hip/thigh injury, returning end Sep.)
    Diaby (cruciate ligament rapture/ ACL knee, returning end Dec. or beginning Jan.)
    Podolski (hamstring injury, returning beginning Jan.)
    Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee injury, returning middle Nov.)

    Kalas (fracture of the tibula, returning beginning Dec.)
    Oscar (ankle/foot injury, returning date unknown)
    Hazard (calf/shin injury, late fitness test)

    Man. City
    Kompany (groin injury, returning end Sep.)
    Demichelis (knee injury, returning end Oct.)
    Richards (hamstring injury, returning middle Sep.)

    Man. United
    Rafael (hamstring injury, returning middle Sep.)
    Fletcher (intestinal surgery, returning date unknown)
    Rooney (head injury, returning end Sep.)
    Jones (ankle/foot injury, returning date unknown)

    Capoue (ankle/foot injury, returning end Sep.)
    Lennon (ankle/foot injury, returning middle Sep.)
    Gomes (fractured hand, returning date unknown)

    Johnson (high ankle sprain, returning date unknown)
    Cissokho (ankle/foot injury, returning beginning Oct.)
    Allen (hamstring injury, returning middle Sep.)
    Toure (groin/pelvis injury, returning date unknown)
    Coates (cruciate ligament rapture/ ACL knee, returning middle Feb.)
    Sturridge (hip/thigh injury, returning middle Sep.)

    Next match vs
    Brown (knee injury, returning middle Sep.)
    Bardsley (fractured foot, returning date unknown)
    Cattermole (knee injury, returning date unknown)
    O’Shea (suspended)


    Borussia Dortmund (currently top in Bundesliga)
    Guendogan (compression of spinal, returning date unknown)
    Piszczek (hip injury and operation, returning end Nov.)

    Napoli (currently top in Serie A)
    None at the moment

    Marseille (currently 2nd in Ligue 1)
    Morel (neck injury, returning middle Sep.)

  44. plive says:

    Flamini will turn out to be a good signing for us, last season when we went on the unbeaten run there wrere some nervy moments in games where we relied on luck.

    In tight games when we are one or two nil up we can have arteta and flamini in midfield, suing there expertise to see the game out.

    What I like most about this arsenal team is, nobody believes they are superior to anyone, mertersacker has had to prove people wrong, koscielny when he came was doubted due to coming from one season in ligue1 has worked hard to show his ability, ramsey has worked hard to show what he was capable of, sagna has had to show he is worth a new contract. Famini went to milan and saw very little game time, due to more exeperinced players ahead of him , he realised in that time he has lost his place in the france team, which was destined to be his Walcott, wilshere , jenkinson, gibbs, giroud they have all hard to work hard to prove the doubters wrong or to come back from injuries which threatenend there careers

    What we have now is a squad of players who dont give up, know how to grind out a win, they are there to help each other, We have finally got a team again who know the strengths but have also learnt how to work on there weaknesses.

    Against spurs it was great to see monreal and sagna come on to see out the game, to stop spurs trying to use the width.


    Fine post TA

    Of course you are aware that Flamini is a black belt in Judo.

    This is not to be scoffed at. I myself am a black belt in the little known but deadly art of Shititsue.

    Been armed with such skill gives you immense confidence and self believe. Many time i have been challenged and on these occasions Shititsue has given me the mystical knowledge and power to handle the situation in the correct and proper way.

    Flamini is a warrior and born leader. He exudes confidence, desire, and the will to win.

    I say, welcome home Mr Flamini.

  46. Dylan says:

    I totally agree. Flamini will be great for us. 🙂 I think he’ll get a good amount if playing time though. If he wasn’t going to, I doubt he would’ve been signed for 2-3 years.

  47. JM says:

    Off-topic news:

    (1) News from LSE (as well as others):

    “Arsenal investigate academy coach over Mesut Ozil betting tweet”

    How is our academy doing lately?

    (2) News from LlB
    “UK’s richest man Alisher Usmanov sells his Facebook stake for $528m”

    Key point: Usmanov sells shares for profit.

    Top 10 richest living in Britain(UK):

    (1) Alisher Usmanov
    Wealth: £13.3billion
    Sector: Mining and investment
    (owns a major stake in mobile phone operator MegaFon, a share in internet group and a major holding in Metalloinvest, Russia’s biggest iron ore producer.)

    (2) Len Blavatnik
    Wealth pile: £11billion
    Sector: Investment, music and media
    (owner of Warner Music, private equity firm Access Industries, own stake in TNK-BP)

    (3) Sri and Gopi Hinduja
    Wealth: £10.6billion
    Sector: Industry and finance
    (own Carlton Terrace House, a 70,000 square foot mansion near Buckingham Palace in which they all have apartments. Their business pans oil, banking, defence, energy, petroleum, media and technology.)

    (4) Lakshmi Mittal and family
    Wealth: £10billion
    Sector: Steel
    (CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaking company, stake in West London’s Queens Park Rangers football club)

    (5) Roman Abramovich
    Wealth: £9.3billion
    Sector: Oil and industry
    (Owner of Chelsea football club; main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC)

    (6) John Fredriksen and family
    Wealth: £8.8billion
    Sector: Oil and industry
    (companies Frontline, the biggest tanker operator in the world, Arcadia Petroleum and Seawell; controls Golar LNG from London)

    (7) David and Simon Reuben
    Wealth: £8.2billion
    Sector: Property and internet
    (own 48% of all horseracing in the UK; own the Connaught House on Berkeley Square, the John Lewis headquarters in Victoria and a number of properties on Sloane Street; own data center business, GlobalSwitch)

    (8) The 6th Duke of Westminster (Gerald Grosvenor)
    Wealth: £7.8billionn
    Sector: Property
    (owns rows of properties in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia through his property giant Grosvenor Estates.)

    (9) Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli
    Wealth: £7.4billion
    Sector: Pharmaceuticals
    (Investment management group Kedge Capital and Ares Life Sciences, which has invested in healthcare and pharmaceuticals and asset management business Northill Capital)

    (10) Charlene and Michel de Carvalho
    Wealth: £7billion
    Industry: Inheritance, brewing and banking
    (owner of a controlling interest in the world’s third-largest brewer, Heineken International; Michel’s the vice-chairman of the US banking giant Citigroup.)

  48. Gerry says:

    JM – The one injury of ours I find most strange is that of Vermaelin. Stress fracture? It suggest to me that this has very little to do with football? I could be wrong, but if it is not something in skeletal make up that puts particular pressure on his spine, then it could be more a bone weakness? The only thing that footballers do more than most physical activity is extra jumping, and therefore, landing. Perhaps he needs electrodes placde behind his knees which are activated by his feet when X amount of press is applied, and thus he bends his legs to save his spine getting the full compression on impact?

    Luckily for him I am not a qualified physiotherapist 😆

    The day before you posted comparative midfields, and my eye was drawn straight to Dortmund’s line up. Especially after seeing Mitchitkyryan(or similar?) scoring for fun in their last game? Now you show, at the momen,t their injury list is also pretty slight … arrgh!

    To my mind, if we do not get maximum points from Marseille then we have no chance of getting out of our CL group? We will be lucky to more than a point off Dortmund, despite their CB pair not being the ‘bees knees’ they were the season before? That said, how Napoli do against those two sides will also have a bearing on the final outcome, but I think we need more than 4 points from Marseille if we are going to get close to the magic 9 which is probably what is needed as a minimum?

  49. Fozzie B says:

    Hi team bk brokeback banditos !! Here’s a nice article to start the day. Me likey likey long time! 😀

  50. geoffchase says:


    you can stress fractures from running in padded running shoes. Basketball players for example get them all the time (jumping and running).. Add in longer games, more running and harder surface (no spring cushioned football pitches) and it gets easy, especially considering the other injuries that can lead to it (stomped foot + running lots…)

    cheers — jgc

  51. James Bond says:

    You can also get stress fractures , you have a crazy gf – I’ll let Terry and Glic explain that one 😉

  52. Gerry says:

    I still think he should bend his knees more? ha ha

    Question – Why is it not more common in footballers then?

  53. Gerry says:

    Hi JB, had your probe yet?

  54. geoffchase says:


    Ive seen similar ones before but always nice to hear again, and i too believe it is step 1 of a happier march..

    cheers — jgc

  55. 'mair says:

    Hey Frank, sent you an email!
    Good write up on Flamini !

  56. Fozzie B says:

    Yeah jgc my kiwi brethren, me too. I just thought it was one of the simpler and more positive I’ve seen in awhile. Sitting here in sunny albufeira feeling all upbeat with beer in hand by pool. Back to the uk to end the heat wave I believe!!

  57. Fozzie B says:

    Hey JB is that the probe that Glic was dishing out to VIP guests at his tranny window party? That chloroform and roofy van trip was worth his while then!! But be careful when your driving near caravans or your rectum will become baboon like and you will have an uncontrollable desire to kerb them ….. With your baboon butt which will also let out a mutley styled laugh each time you bump it!! Apparently Glic accidentally partook of the chloroform and roofy cocktail he was handing out!! He went to work in pink stockings and a tutu demanding he be given the revlon lipstick run!! A few caravan drivers reported a tranny in pink drag brown eyeing them with a mutley laugh that was distinctly feminine!! 😀 😆

  58. ProudGooner says:

    I think Flemini role as Van-Bommel is even more important now we have Marty jr in the middle of the park, Flemini will need to offer him some protection in the first few games even more so.

  59. ProudGooner says:

    I want darth Wenger to sign a new contract asap, we have the best manager in the league, which means we can attract the best players we play the best football. I think he will anyway , he is just starting to see his hard work pay off, with Ozil stepping in and his young guns starting to do the business he has work to do still and surly he will sign as he has said many times ” i have shown my commitment to this club” give the darth Wenger a contract.

  60. Dadagbon Emegbor says:

    A new dawn at AFC. Flamini our squardrom leader and a natural bully on the bitch. Bring on the stokes! we are battle ready…


    You are a very nice young man PG. I bet you have loads of girls chasing you. Cant get enough of the PG charm hey? hahaha

    Agree completely about Arsene, The best manager in the premiership and the perfect manager for Arsenal.

  62. ProudGooner says:

    Thanks TMHT,
    I do well with the girls , i defo can’t complain 🙂
    What do you think the England score will be tonight? If i was Roy the boy i would have given serious thought to Theo starting up front instead of Lambert. 2 very impoprtant games for England, they might not be big name counties but very important, no room for mistakes. I am not sure how rooneys cut will affect his hair transplant, have you seen the cut?

  63. Victor says:

    This is perfect. Hop he won’t attain such serious knee injuries.

  64. JM says:

    It is in Spanish.

    The names: Ancelotti, Benzema, Arsenal, Real Madrid, di Maria, Oezil, Luis Suarez, Mario Gomez, Arsene Wenger are mentioned.

  65. Fozzie B says:

    I forgot to add when Glic passed any red cars he proceeded to flash his newly tattooed Ozil schlong which led to several accidents and a tranny traffic cop was sent to hunt him down. When he found Glic, Glic said “good grief have you looked in the mirror” … “That’s rich coming from the tranny in the pink stockings and tutu!” At that precise moment the full affects of the cocktail were shocked out of his system, so he to his back door and bent over sexily- “…. Would you like some lippy officer?” 😆 😀


    2- 0 to us tonight PG

    I desperately need us to qualify PG. I plan to use watching England in Brazil as a ruse when realy i will be having a sex holiday hahahaha

    That cut on Rooneys head makes him look even worse, i never that was possible to be honest. If someone had to said to me that Rooney could get even uglier i would have called them a Doctor. hahaha

    I think he may have lost some follicles in the hairline, but to honest in his case it dosnt realy matter. How can i put this without sounding offensive? I cant, the bloke looks like F*ucking Shit. hahaha

  67. ProudGooner says:

    Fozzie bear,
    An Ozil tattoo, that is genius , i want 1 or a cannon badge or something lol. You also sent my mind in to over drive and i thought of a set-piece move for the gunners. It is a corner where Ozil takes it and Perr and Arteta hold OG by the shorts (like a rugby player line-out) pick him up high so he is free to get a header, a free header for a goal, the corner must be pin point though.?? its possible right.?

  68. Fozzie B says:

    Moyes got his bagpipes out and battered Shrek so he knew who was boss. Apparently they had to remove ginger pubes before they could stitch them up. Fortunately the greedy badger (rvj) intervened and so some ginger pubes still remain to remind everyone that the Scottish tradition from old red nose is still strong 😆

  69. ProudGooner says:

    A hairy axe wound

  70. James Bond says:

    Hi Gerry 🙂

    what probe ? the case was highlighted, brought out in the open in front of the jury and everyone else – it’s a closed case now, everyone knows , the truth is right there for all to see 😉

    Fozzie B,

    oi, behave yourself ahahahaahahhaahahhaahahahahahhaahhahaahahahahaha

    thanks for the links both @ Fozzie B and JM

    when are we getting to read that article/post of JM’s @ TA ?

    ah, Umair is also here, which means – he’s written an article after a very long time – good good

  71. Fozzie B says:

    He’ll PG as a kiwi I think that’s a bloody brilliant idea!! And worse case scenario if they still miss the corner, they can downtrouser OG and distract the opposition with OG’s schlong …… Or if its too low near his knees OG can batter the ball in baseball style!!! Now that’s what I call a win win situation!! 😆


    PG, though commendable, dont get an Arsenal tattoo.

    If you want even more women, get one like mine. Its a dove flying towards the sun.

    When women ask me what the meaning is i tell them thats its a reminder of lost love and broken heart, and that through this emotional tragedy i felt that my love had no escape but to forever sail into the embers of the abyss.

    I gaurantee, you flash that Tat and give them that sob story, they will be all over you

    Dont tell them the truth, that you heard it was a good idea from some Creep that you know on the Football interweb. hahaha

  73. ProudGooner says:

    Fozzie bear,
    Oh your a Kiwi, good stuff.
    That is a great idea, while telling the story i will cry in to my pint glass while having a beer, if that does not get me any sympathy sex then nothing will lol

  74. ProudGooner says:

    Fozzie bear,
    That would get a few more women in the stadium a big Frenchmen willy swing about in the wind. It would defo put the oppersition of guard as well i can just see little Santi tapping it in while cracking up with laughter

  75. ProudGooner says:

    Il go for 4- 0 to England we should still beat them easy , i hope Theo gets a couple

  76. James Bond says:

    be serious PG.

    6-0 to the 3 lions.

  77. Fozzie B says:

    I’ll go for 5-0 for the 3 lions 😀

  78. James Bond says:

    and yes Gerry, that was my way of deflecting the probe away from me and putting the heat back on both of you 2 😉

    let us keep that on the low – shush ahahahahahhahaahahahhaaha

    such things are never to be uttered and muttered again 😉 i hope you get the drift unless of course, you don’t want the insider “scoops” in a few months time 😀

  79. ma ringa says:

    play flamini as regular as possible

  80. ProudGooner says:

    RAMBO scores for Wales , the boy is on fire at the moment there is just no stopping him. Keep it up son.

  81. Antony Alex Wawire. says:

    Hey buddy,you really like Flame,dont you?Anyway,I support you.I would wish to see a midfiel trio of Flame as DM then Arteta and Ozil on the offensive.I would then make Carzola my false left winger with Giroud as the lone anchor man.Definately we will not only be dangerous but unpredictable as well.Three creative engines!who do you mark?

  82. Gerry says:

    JB – I think you are quite safe here as long as you didn’t twitter anybody?

  83. Gerry says:

    PG – that means they will want him for the next one too? By the time Sept 14th comes around I can see who the Flam will replace, or it will be a stretcher job?

  84. ProudGooner says:

    Touch wood he will be fine, if Darth Wenger thinks he could get burned out he will say something to Coleman i also think Rambo himself would say something if he thought the same, he knows we need him and he will want to play as much as possible for the Gunners this season.

  85. ProudGooner says:

    Lol , i just did an engine search for my bog name and nothing came up, i typed in Terry mancini hair transplant and all your blogs came up. Funny as lol
    It was on Ask search engine.

  86. James Bond says:

    i don’t do Twitter or social media @ Gerry

    truth be told, you can never be a 100% with anything that Arsenal do, i placed 2 bets on Cesc and Ginter joining us this season – it’s yet to materialize, as you can see, it’s not a sure shot coming out in the open like that – if, that fella is involved in something like that and made loads out of it, then it’s wrong really as he’s associated with the business directly – he should learn and take lessons from Pere. G 😉

    i only do bk – i know i’m boring but hey , i’m surprised the Mrs. hasn’t killed me just yet for visiting it excessively , i’m sure down the line there might be a ban on the line – ah well.

    that was a well taken penalty by our own Rambo –

  87. ProudGooner says:

    Hair Transplant is famous ,
    Wilshere starts for England
    COY 3 Lions

  88. James Bond says:

    look at the bright side ,

    Spain only play once, that’s today and then we can have both Santi and Nacho back.

    i expect Santi to be at his mighty best when we play sunderland – he likes playing against them, isn’t it ? or was that reading :O:

  89. James Bond says:

    Macedonia 1-1 Wales
    Aaron Ramsey is getting some treatment now, clattered late as he tries to play a big switch ball out to the left. His time as captain wasn’t a roaring success but he’s absolutely the heartbeat of this side now. Almost half-time.

  90. Fozzie B says:

    I’m waiting to be picked up for the airport and the only game is the France v Georgia game, but interestingly giroud and benzema both playing up front!

  91. James Bond says:

    very interesting that one @ Fozzie B

    4 potential gunners in the team ? hmmmm

  92. ProudGooner says:

    Defo JB, he is vital to Wales , hope he is ok and the knock is not serious? . You would think that with Williams , Rambo, Bale and Bellamy they should be able to get in to the world cup. They did get a very hard group though this time around and i dont think they can get there this time around, If they dont win today then its all over anyway, so they should not play Rambo next time if the dont win

  93. ProudGooner says:

    I am watching that game now, thanks i did not know it was on.
    Sanogo has told French media he is settling well at Arsenal and is improving fast.

  94. James Bond says:

    true that @ PG

    they need to bring on Bale – he will win it for them.

  95. Gerry says:

    JB – Funny you should mention the Ginter. When I had posts not going through, and I may have repeated it later?, but I thought Bendtner’s quick turnaround from Malaga to Germany was a perfect set up to do the deal for the G. As we know now, neither happened.

    I bet on horses when I have the money, which means that I haven’t had a bet for 3 months now, ha ha. Well not so much ha ha, as Doh! Doh! really. And I rarely bet on anything else. I did win a fiver off Sky and put it on Augsburg to win their second match, after they played so well against BD. Of course the lost that one, but won their next two. …. Grrr!

    With reference to earlier discus, the guy was a stupid bragging twat. I hope he offers to put his winnings in a charity box?

    I shall be watching the Germany match to see how ‘our’ pair get on. We only have Theo in the England match don’t we?

  96. James Bond says:

    Rosicky scored but they lost to the mighty Armenia, that’s the Czech out of the tourney

    great news for us ? 🙂

  97. Gerry says:

    We have an almighty thunderstorm going on here, so I am getting off my computer now. Catch you tomorrow.
    Cheers -jgc## Gerry

  98. James Bond says:

    that is it @ Gerry

    if anyone comes round to probe – i will gladly show them how much money i have lost and insist on being reimbursed,

    course that’s a decoy account i usually use for snooker/tennis and occasional footy “fun” ahahahahahahhaah

    the guy was an idiot for sure – Charity and an Apology is the way to go, such people make it that much harder for people like me to get the insider scoops , as if it wasn’t hard enough already

  99. Fozzie B says:

    Hey JB, I thought rocky quit from international football, so glad he made it through unscathed!!

  100. Fozzie B says:

    JB if any one asks you about the probe, best just to turn around, and show them where the probe was inserted…. Sometimes honesty is the best policy!! 😆

  101. James Bond says:

    both JW and TW playing @ Gerry

    nah, he’s the captain – not retired yet, although he should @ FB

    you can’t stop such things from coming out, mostly it’s the club (PR) department doing it on purpose to feed the journos , people – creating a buzz for their own fans, sounding things out to certain player or simply creating an unrest for other clubs on purpose, there is a lot of black smoke, white smoke and then there is little good stuff that occasionally comes out as well 😉

    but you’re spot on, honesty is the best policy and i can always show them your comment @ 14:40 🙂

  102. James Bond says:

    santi and nacho both on the bench with koko playing at LB.

    not good for Nacho

  103. James Bond says:

    interesting, both Sagna and Koc at CB

    Giroud and Benzema up front,

    sczny and fabianski both sat on the bench LOL.

  104. James Bond says:

    JW is the proper no.10 tonight – finally !

  105. AFC says:

    17highburyterrace September 5, 2013 1943

    You said

    ‘I don’t mean to pile it on the Fantasy/Computer game types (too much…) but, beyond the cost = value fallacy and rigid formations and positions for players, it kills me when people say stuff that is seems blatantly untrue, at least from my observations…’

    I assume you include me in the Fantasy/Computer game types so I thought I would give you a reply :D, which I do not want you to take in the wrong way.

    At times I think you take the comments of myself and others too literally. For instance when I (like many others) say we need a defensive midfielder I do not mean we should acquire a player who can ONLY play as a defensive midfielder. I mean we should try to acquire a player who can play numerous positions on the pitch but whose main position/preferred position is playing as a defensive midfielder. Versatility in a player is always a good thing especially in the system in we play.

    So then when I go on to say that L.Bender is a DM or Bendtner is a CF you take that as me saying that Bender can only play as a DM or Bendtner can only play as a CF. Most footballers can play in a number of different positions so by referring to them using their preferred position(s) or position(s) which they mostly play makes it easier for other bloggers (such as yourself) to understand what type of a player they are, as well as which base position a particular player would occupy, when playing for us.

    For me, it would take too much time for me to name all the positions a particular footballer can play as. So rather than saying Bendtner can play as a ST, CF, SS, RW, LW and AM every time I mention him or saying L.Bender can play DM, CM, RM, RB etc, I choose not to.

    The same goes for formations. Just because I say that we should play a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 formation I am not necessarily saying that the players should be glued to those positions throughout matches. The 4-4-2 or the 4-2-3-1 formation can be rigid or free-flowing depending on which way the formation wants to be used or which manager is using the formation.

    Managers will choose which way they want to use a specific formation. There are some managers who will use rigid formations (for example a manager who is using a rigid 4-4-2, will tell his players to stick to their positions as often as they can and not to venture out into other positions and fill the positions of their team mates) so the team has better all round organisation or there are some managers who use more free-flowing formations (for example a manager who is using a 4-2-3-1 formation in more of a free-flowing way may give his players more freedom. By that I mean allowing them to take up various positions (which are not the positions in which they start matches during matches. Players can take up the positions which other players would normally occupy if they are not there (an example of this would be Gibbs taking up the LW position when Santi Cazorla has drifted infield to take up another position) and players can fill positions which other players would normally occupy (an example of this would be a RCB moving to the cover the RB position, if a RB has left his position vacant to join an attack with a midfielder who is performing a holding role dropping back and filling in temporarily as RCB).
    Arsene Wenger is a manager who normally plays free flowing football so throughout our matches you might see total changes in formations due to our players not having to stick to their positions. When our full-backs are on the attack our formation changes from 4-2-3-1/4-2-1-3 to 2-3-2-3, if we are playing with the box to box midfielder in midfield or our formation changing from a 4-2-3-1 (without the box to box midfielder which Wenger opted to do at the end of last season) to a 3-2-3-2 if our RB (Sagna or Jenkinson) has bombed forward to take up the role of RW with Walcott drifting in next to Giroud to take up the role of another ST. I think it was the England under 21s or under 20s (I cannot remember which) were playing in a rigid 4-4-2 during their international tournament.

    Of course there are some managers who tell certain players to keep to their positions (so in a 4-2-3-1 formation only the back four and the two holding midfielders may have rigid positions and be told to stick to their positions as much as possible) whereas the front four may be given complete freedom meaning they do not have to stick to their roles at all. Some managers may choose to mix it up and give some players freedom in certain areas of the pitch (the first third, the second third or the final third) and give other players no freedom in other areas of the pitch. When it comes to team pressing, aggression, passing, team width it all works in a similar sort of way.

    Which brings me onto my next point. As the game of football has evolved (changed over the years) various tactics, formations and positions to be scrapped, adapted or changed or invented. The role of the sweeper has virtually died and the role of the defensive midfielder has been invented. Some positions such as the No.10 and the No.9 have been adapted/changed which have led to roles such as the false 9 and the false 10. These roles have been invented by the tacticians of the game (managers and coaches) the same guys who have adapted, changed and invented tactics and formations not by your average football fan. The DM role was ‘invented’ in the same way and by the same people who ‘invented’ the CB role and the false 9 role was ‘invented’ in the same way and by the same people as which the No.9 role was ‘invented’.

    So I cannot understand (17ht my friend) why you are so quick to dismiss some roles while embracing others? You recognise the differences between roles such as DM, CM and AM or RB/LB and RWB/LWB or RM/LM and RW/RM but do not recognise the differences in the roles of ST, CF and SS or No.9 and false 9 or No.10 and false 10 or choose to acknowledge them in the same way you do as others. All roles carry the weight in terms of how ‘real’ they are. It does not matter whether they are new roles or older roles.

    I know you are not really a formations/tactics sort of guy so you may not know all the differences or similarities between all the roles within positions but I feel it wrong (naïve) to do that.

    That’s just my views and opinions and you do not have to agree with them…

    My post reached the lengths of the legendary 17ht, wow! As I said no harm intended.

    TA, my response to your post soon. 🙂

  106. AFC says:

    TA, great post. 🙂

    I like the Van Brommel comparisons. I remember the days we Van Brommel and De Jong shielded a weak and average Holland defence and took Holland all the way to the WC final in 2010.

    Flamini can be a very important player for us. Not sure if he will be an important first team player though. He will be that defensive midfielder who will be able to keep things nice and tidy. He definitely has the quality to play in the CL as well.

    He can probably still give us at least 3-4 seasons playing at his top level. A good and experienced pro to have.

    Saw Glic’s comments and while it is funny I can see where he is coming from.

  107. James Bond says:

    3-0 HT

    our boys involved in some of the good and meaningful stuff !

    ah, AFC AFC AFC 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Popcorn, anyone ?;)

  108. ProudGooner says:

    hurt hummm JB did someone predict 4- 0 ha ha ha ha ha

  109. James Bond says:

    well done lad ! 🙂

  110. wordsmith says:

    I totally agree, shrewd and vital signing for Wenger. We’ve always missed that bit of bite in the team. Always been a fan of flamster, ever since nani started show boating and flamini out him in his place.

  111. ProudGooner says:

    lol i was only joking, but shame i did not put any cash on it though. i do not know what he odds were.?

  112. James Bond says:

    not wise to put money on the score line from experience – the more greedier one gets, the more the chance of losing out on more money

    i tend to stick to wins/draws – much lower odds but relatively safer of an option from past practice.

    ukraine is going to be tough though, i thought we could call Daniel Sturidge and slot him on the left ?

    people like Milner are the reason why we are so boring and dull to watch – the guy has no flair at all

  113. AFC says:

    JB, I am so sick of watching England play I will not watch anymore of England’s friendly matches or matches needed for qualification.

    I cannot bare watching the likes of Milner, Johnson etc. I feel like smashing my TV at how dull they are. Roy continues to play these same players over and over again. Instead of Baines not having any impact on our matches I want to see our young Gibbs get a chance.

    Surely, we are not thinking of taking Lambert to the WC. I am not convinced he is good enough for us. He’s only scored goals against Scotland and Mol-who 😀 so I am yet to be convinced by him.

    How did our guys get on?

  114. ProudGooner says:

    I always bet on first goal scorer and final score, score-cast.
    I would just play Ashly Young instead of Welbecki i think he is possibly better even though Welbeck played great today and is clearly in form so he is probably rightly ahead of Young but i dont see the need to worry with him on the bench

  115. ProudGooner says:

    I agree it is so dull watching England play, i will not go as far as you went, i will always watch them but i see what you mean. Even though he is a spud i would have to pick Defoe over Lambert but of course i would pick Theo over Defoe. Fair enough though i suppose to Roy all that mattered today was getting the job done safely , it is not easy being the England manager that is for sure lol

  116. gunmelburn says:

    Great acknowledgement of such an underrated signing. He was much better than song, imo, at breaking down attacks, protection for cesc and for his sheer hunger at the ball. Gutted and angry when he left, he definitely has something to prove to us, but I’m confident he’ll follow through.

    Great read, the commentors appear just as knowledgeable. I’ll definitely be following this site, don’t know how it’s gone under my radar for so long.

  117. James Bond says:


    it’s baffling how Milner seems to be our first sub , when we’re 4-0 up

    surely bring in a spud player or someone with a bit of flair on the wings ?

    not sure about Lambert though, i rate him, the lad puts in a decent performance and is always at the right place at the right time, also creates and has presence in the box – corners e.t.c e.t.c


    so do you end up winning more or losing more ? or is it a case of you eventually balancing it out with a win and a few losses ?

    yeah, good shout re- Young, agreed

  118. Alcide says:

    JB, Sagna was playing LB, Abidal was CB alongside Kos. Our defenders had a good game. Giroud had a decent game too but missed a good chance – but it was one of these days where all shots and headers to straight to the GK… Benzema was really average. Des champs played a 4-4-2 with 2 defensive midfielders (Cissoko and Guilavogui, Pogba was injured). With only Ribery and Valbuena supporting STs, nothing much happened with Georgia parking the bus, had to wait for Nasri for some good combining. Cant figure out why France is so cautious playing against teams like that.

    I also watched Germany outclass Austria. Impressive combination of pace and technique, and they use the wings very effectively. Ö had some classy moves, including a back heel that cleared the field and initiated a fantastic play that lead to a splendid 3rd goal.

    Otherwise, I believe in the Flam! He will be great when grit is needed, and to help with turnover. Can’t wait to see Ö with an arsenal shirt…

  119. ProudGooner says:

    I am defo up on my score-cast bets, i have done very well. When you follow football as closely as we do then its not hard to predict a score. I dont make big bets the most i do on score-cast is a tenner , the trick is picking a scorer who is not most likely but has a decent chance so your odds are big and a prize worth winning. i will give you an exam- AFC v Stoke i bet Gervinho to score first AFC win 3-1 it came in. the odds were 40/1 i put a tenner on and got £410

  120. James Bond says:

    thanks for that Alcide,

    but i just don’t understand, how you can keep Nasri on the bench against such teams ? surely, you need a creator in the midfield of 4-4-2 ?

    i noticed how Benzema was subbed nice and early – i thought it was due to an injury but now i see, it was a poor performance.

    how did our blockbuster signing do for Germany ? did he create anything for the germans ?

  121. AFC says:

    PG, I too would pick Theo or Defoe over Lambert. I will watch England in the 2014 WC but do not see the need to watch them now. We are facing teams which we should beat with ease to qualify for the 2014 WC.

    JB, surely Milner, Johnson etc, have all had their chances. I want to see young players who are ready and who will be good enough to play the Germanys and Spains. Will young Ross of Everton be good enoug or ready? I doubt it.

    My problem with Lambert is that I do not see him doing it against the big nations. Would Lambert get into the teams of the other big countries, I don’t think he would.
    I want to see England with a top quality ST.

  122. James Bond says:


    that’s fair enough, i’m glad it works well for you

    i’m more of a calculated type guy, low risk and lower return policy when it comes to betting – i tend to put more money on cricket than football – amongst other sports

    so in the end it goes well for me, as it’s a little bit from here, a little bit from there and voila.

  123. AFC says:

    Alcide, what about Rami and Sakho. Where were they?

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks gunmelburn – really appreciate the feedback. The site is just under a year old, so that could explain it.

    You are welcome to return and blog with us, as we always like new bloggers to keep us fresh and diverse! 🙂

  125. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for all the comments today – I could only skim-read them but I will remember the key observations and views and get back to you eventually via comments and future posts! 😉

    Top stuff! 🙂

  126. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post! 🙂

    Prepare yourself for a JM special: nobody can apply the scalpel better than the master of football surgery! Enjoy 🙂

  127. James Bond says:

    you’re being a bit harsh on Lambs, he’s our Plan B aka Giroud

    and Ross is promising – don’t write him off either

    one question – were you watching the game tonight or did you boycott altogether ?

  128. Alcide says:


    Not having a “10” or organizer of some sort does not make any sense at all in that circumstance – only Ribery on his LW managed to “create” but he can’t dribble 3 defenders all the time. I suppose France played it cautious… Stupid.

    Prince Igor had a few classy moves and thru balls, but to be honest the whole team was attacking left, center and right, he didn’t standout more than Reus, Mueller, Kroos and co. He did a brilliant backheel pass that got the ball out of a 3vs3 on the right wing that allowed for the 3rd goal to materialize. Oh he did miss an opportunity – a defender missed a cross in his box and Ö was surprised to receive the ball and lost the ball between his feet, he recovered but shot a bit wide. He also went head vs head on a defender that had tackled seriously late Khedira (or Mueller, can’t remember) – he’s not afraid to stand up for his teammates 🙂

  129. Alcide says:

    AFC, rami was on the bench (told you before I don’t value him though, slow and error prone IMHO). Didn’t pay attention for Sakho… I would have put him in front of Abidal though, he is clean, well positioned, has flair in intercepts, but lacks a bit of oomph

  130. ProudGooner says:

    I too like Lambert , i can only say good thing about him, he has done a fine job last 2 England games. Unlike other England players he is totally honered to play for his country , your united players seem to think of it as a second best to there clubs were as he loves it and it is his peak.

  131. James Bond says:


    thank you for the brilliant mini report on our players- top notch stuff, much appreciated, both you and Gerry do brilliant mini analysis of games involving players of interest!!!

    hear hear people @ PG

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