The one ingredient Arsenal have and our competitors are missing


After we lost to the vile Villains, who would have thought Arsenal fans would feel so upbeat just one month later? Don’t worry though; I am not getting carried away, YET.

I know for sure that I am not the only Gooner who was getting worn out by consecutive seasons of transition. At one point, it started to feel we would never come out of transition, as Arsenal appeared to be unable to hold on to its best players season after season.

But this season appears to be different: all key players stayed, even Vermaelen and Sagna! And instead of losing quality players, we have been able to add, but without overdoing it. The latter might be key: too many new (quality) players mean time and effort is required to fit them into our first team, and that would have meant another transitional year. We only have to look at the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and ManCity, and indeed ourselves, in recent years to know that buying loads of players in one go does not lead to instant success.

Looking back at our recent hard-fought wins against Spuds, Sunderland and Olympique Marseille, there is something about this Arsenal team that our competitors are missing; and long may it continue!

Arsenal have resilience and cohesion: we battle as a team and look like we are in February rather than in September, if you know what I mean.

The media have not picked up on this yet, but it will come sooner or later. I expected ManCity to be in transition, and to some extent, Manchester United, but definitely not Chelsea. My wife always tells me not to repeat a good experience by going there, or doing something, again (holiday resorts, restaurants, climb the same mountain etc), and it usually turns out she was right.

Could the same go for the Chavs:  is the reunion with the ‘happy one’ destined to fail? I certainly hope so, but let’s not get lulled into a false sense of security, yet. It is too early to say whether Maureen can get his team firing on all cylinders again and a period of adversity might just be the thing he needs to get this team focussed again.

For me, they remain our main competitors for winning the league and the more we can create a gap between us and them now, the better. The Chavs play Fulham at home (derbies are never easy) and then Spuds away, and let’s see how they get through these two games.

In the meantime, we just need to focus on our own games: one game at a time (OGAAT). Although I believe we are ahead of our competition right now in terms of team cohesion and competitiveness on the pitch, I will not get carried away as yet.

There are a few areas that need attention:

  • We concede goals too often, and too many in total;
  • We defend too deep, with our midfield often unable/willing to push the opposition back;
  • The lack of back up for Giroud and our increasing reliance on him.

The first point is just an observation right now; let’s wait and see how our defence/team defending will fare over the next five games. We could really do with a couple of clean sheet to get the ‘back five’ properly settled.

The second point seems more of a theme right now. In recent games Arsenal have been pushed back by the opposition during periods of the game, with our midfielders opting to play close to the defence and not allow any space between the lines. This allowed the opposition to get too close to our box and we have been left exposed at times. We got away with it until now, but I hope that Flamini and Ramsey, Ramsey and Jack, Jack and Flamini, or whichever players are positioned in the double DM pivot, will be able to readdress the balance.

There is a theory (Gerry?) that Arsenal sit back deep on purpose – similar to what Chelsea and Manchester United like/liked to do: absorb pressure, and as soon as the ball is won back, counter attack with speed and direct, incisive passing – and this could well be true. But I reckon, we need to work hard on keeping the opposition ten to fifteen yards further away from the box, as it is likely to cost us against the better teams. It will be interesting to see whether we will be able to push the opposition a bit more away from our box if and when Areta returns to the first team.

We have spoken about our over-dependence on Giroud in previous posts. This is not only about his goal and assist contributions which simply have been fantastic until now; it is also about his ability to be our central hub – our ‘holding’ striker – in attack. Let’s hope he’ll last the whole season somehow and that we get reinforcement in January’s transfer window.

But there are quite a few positives for us Gooners at the moment: Giroud’s and Ramsey’s fine all-round form and ability to find the net; the ease with which both Flamini and Ozil have slotted into the team whilst giving us additional robustness, spirit and creativity; the imminent return of the Verminator and Zorro; and the general focus and battle-readiness of the team.

All of the above will be needed but most importantly we need to take it OGAAT! Arsenal are a team in the groove and the next cup-final is on Sunday.

Written by: TotalArsenal.


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89 Responses to The one ingredient Arsenal have and our competitors are missing

  1. Xavier says:

    Loool. I think I’m first. Good post TA. I’m really liking the new Arsenal. I could get used to this. 😀 But on the real though, the one thing I think we really have.. Is Spirit. And no, I can’t define it!! But its something you can sorta feel. Like an Aura or so.

    But like you said, let’s just take it OGAAT!!!

    Long live The Arsenal!!!

  2. mA says:

    nice post TA. your usual self, u know.

    Indeed, we have an upper hand and hopefully luck is on our side this time round (arggg…giving away penalties). I can’t help but I must mention Ramsey and Flames. Rigid to the core and you need to look deep into statistics to realize this.I also agree with you that this Arsenal team really knows how to hurt the opposition during transition. Credit to Mr. Wenger for utilizing the individuals he has efficiently. Long may it continue and hopefully we can see more of the strategy at the Emirates. Simply absorb what the opposition has to offer and deliver a killer blow out of the blue.

    Hopefully, Maureen has been found out and there is no place to hide. Can you play a full team of midfielders? i do not know, but still wish Mata joined us.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Xavier. Yes spirit combined with cohesion/togetherness and it does feel soooo good at the moment! 🙂

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Chees mA 🙂

    I am enjoying the Chelsea slump as well: Could not be happening to a better team haahahaha 🙂

    I don’t think Maureen will ever let a quality player go to us again as he still loathes Arsene deeply….

  5. Fournier Michael says:

    I don’t think I have felt this revived about the club since the arrival of Bergkamp. My only worry is injuries and defense. It is time we got a run of good luck for a change.

  6. Sam says:

    Great goin gooners…….wat I personally think is arsenal need another defense to stop conceiving goal and a stricker or midfielder who can shoot well so that the opponent defenders start closing the gaps for shooting thru middle which also increases the chance of sending thru balls to theo or giroud from both side giving them enough space to run…..also I hv seen arsenal players struggling to penetrate any defence due to the lack of pace handling. …..failing to do so they should start shooting from outside d box… open the space within. ….

  7. Arsenal_VCC says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you about the overall resilience and cohesion TA! 🙂 This has been a very welcome change in the team. But, are we conceding too many goals? or is the Villa game skewing the limited stats? The lack of backup for Giroud is quite worrisome. In addition, I feel that the absence of Santi & Pod is leaving the left flank a bit too empty and altering the balance. Would be good if Jack & Ozil mix it up a bit more than they have so far…Will be interesting to see the Stoke game and Ramsey in his current form 🙂

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    FM – agreed, although the only injury I am really worried about is OG right now.

    Arsenal_VCC – very good point about the left wing and yes Jack and Ozil are finding their way there. However, Gibbso has been doing very well filling in the space recently…

  9. Retsub says:

    After the miserable weekend I had following the Villa game, the lads have done us proud, despite the injuries. The big worry is Giroud, he looked dead on his feet at the end of the game last night.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Sam, another striker would be very welcome.

  11. double canister says:

    Great post TA
    I feel point 1 is a bit overstated, we are just giving away too many soft penalties at the moment.
    Point 2 is a good observation and I think we are beginning to address it, I saw a more cohesive back line at OM and they pushed out better, Gibbs used to be the one out of line but he has improved on this. We now have an offside trap that works. How’s that for good old arsenal back?
    Point 3 is totally valid, I have read that Giroud’s injury record or lack thereof if France was excellent. We need that luck to continue.
    With Poldi back and Walcott breaking his duck we may not be in such a bad way. Sanogo is untested, but overweight Nik is still around. Ifwe get into the business end if the season and reach the CL last 16 and are in contention in the League there is still money to sort out any additional striker needed.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Retsub

    Does anybody know whether Bendtner is fit to play or not?

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome double canister 🙂

    Fair enough about conceding goals. As I said it is still early but conceding 5 in 4 PL games (only one clean sheet) is a bit of a worry. Let’s look at it again in five PL games from now.

  14. Arsenal_VCC says:

    Just remembered after I read about Ken Norton’s death…wasn’t there this link between Ramsey’s goals and celebrity deaths? 🙂 In the form that he is currently in, it must have all of them really worried 🙂

  15. Milo says:

    Been saying this from day one! I wasn’t worried about the Villa defeat, because I knew something like that could give the squad a kick up the collective arse, and cause us to go in to that “us against the World” mentality that served us so well at the back end of last season! Then when it happened and we beat our next two opponents, I knew we were back in business. What I DIDN’T expect was the signing of Ozil!!! 😀 That was the icing on the cake for me. I had always thought we had enough spirit, judging from that run at the end of last season, but now we have just as much skill!!! 😀

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Milo 🙂

    What is the weather like in the Toronto area?

  17. AB says:

    Agreed TA. The spirit and familiarity within the squad are noticeable and significant developments that promise well for the season. Will avoid complacency against supposedly weaker teams, and develop a ruthless streak to finishing off teams when we get ahead? I hope so, but will need more evidence yet – OGAAT on this front too. The end of the last season showed we can apply ourselves, but the Villa game, albeit with some poor decisions, showed we can still be a timid rather than steely on some occasions. When we have been on a good run in the past I always look at games against ‘weak’ sides as potential banana skins. Stoke will be a good test; they will be rested, and we will need to be up for the fight, not feeling pleased with ourselves about yesterday’s result!

    Its interesting how most blogs rehash the received wisdom about needing a big squad to compete for titles and cups etc. I’m not so sure, at least if the ‘big squad’ in question is not settled, and has plenty of people who are a) quality and also b) happy to be on the bench a lot – a rare type. What we have is a small, tight squad, with a good core of flexible players who can be shifted around. We have plenty in midfield – even with 8 out now we can fill a team with quality in every position; and assuming the return of players is not exceeded by new injuries I have no worries here. Equally, we have cover across the back, with the flexibility of Sagna, Flam, Jenk, and even Ramsey if needed. The only weak point, as everyone and his dog can see, is right up front where Giroud is crucial. One decent striker (Ba would have been great I think) would mean we had this covered too – and without bloating our squad. Your point about cohesion TA comes from this tight-knit unit, with sufficient competition to keep people working, but not so much that players lose heart or never get settled playing with those around them.

    A long way to go, but a good feeling all round. And I like the fact that we have bucked the trend of Spuds, City and others in buying half a new squad in one TW. We are building something, as is the classy Arsenal way!!

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    “When we have been on a good run in the past I always look at games against ‘weak’ sides as potential banana skins. Stoke will be a good test; they will be rested, and we will need to be up for the fight, not feeling pleased with ourselves about yesterday’s result!”

    Fully, fully agreed AB – but I reckon this team is different: they know without hard work they won’t get there..

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    I will keep schtum for now on the squad size part of your comment, AB, as our 17HT has produced a fine post about it (which will come out tomorrow).

    Catch you guys tomorrow.

    UMF competitors: don’t forget your predictions or Vickers will zimmerframe you naked hahahaha 🙂

    Terry, what is up buddy? Where art thou?

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nice post (as always) Total, and I love the O-Gaat…It sounds like Dutch for “Ay Dios” or “Oh God” in the two languages I purport to speak…

    As Gooners we’ve hoped and prayed and tried to believe in so many false dawns that we loathe to declare the corner truly being turned. This, however, does have a different feel to it. It’s too early to buy into any hype, but I think a “collective-confidence” may be blooming…

    A big part of it, of course, is Ozil making the move to our club. The Spanish papers are awash today in “Ozil couldn’t handle the pressure” statements from club president Perez. We’ll see about that. Our situation is plenty pressurized and, though we’re riding a nice little wave, it can crash at any moment. The fact that the club and the player made the commitment cannot be overstated…Could it be time for the “support” to do likewise?

    The culture ALWAYS sells “new and shiny” and we’ve got a bit of that in Ozil (despite the google eyes and questionable hair)…Sometimes, however, old and comfortable can bring something deeper. (We need Glic to weigh in on these sorts of matters 😉 I hope all is OK for him…) Of course it’s premature, but the storyline about a club and a manager and a handful of misfit players he stood behind, is the kind of thing they make features out of in Hollywood. Slick commercials may be the higher art form these days, but even the kids (still? maybe?) have a soft spot for a full length “main attraction”….

    As to the technical issues…I agree with double canister about the soft pens. Kosicielny and SCSZ need to wake up and realize that they can’t make every intervention and that players are baiting them as soon as they cross that 18 yd line. I also agree with VCC that it’s awfully early to make declarations about the goals against stat. Additionally, though the face remains the same, it’s a bit of work for the guy in my avatar to switch between wingback and CB… More consistency across the back four might help with the lines and pushing up…

    Giroud is playing well and working his (big) butt off…It’s not all about goals but he (and) Rambo have been carrying the load. I’m sure it will spread around and Theo’s volley was an impressive start. My real desire is to see Santi and Ozil playing together…4-6-0 has been proven to work (Spain, with Cesc as the “lone striker”) so, if Ollie needs a breather, why not?

    ‘nuf said, for the moment at least… 😀

  21. davydavy says:

    Quality post TA, and I could not agree more. I think that our collective team spirit is indeed the most important ingredient in our success, both now and at the end of last season. In my opinion, this has been greatly helped by the departures of Song and RVP and the arrivals of hard-working team players like Santi, Giroud and Podolski.

    I’m not too worried about the early-season penalties and soft goals. They will disappear once everyone reaches full match sharpness over the next few weeks, and having seen a few games now I feel that our overall defensive organisation is good.

    Giroud does need a rest though, that’s for sure. I’d like to see him start on the bench against Stoke and have him only come on if absolutely needed. Also there’s no doubt that Akpom and Gnabry could benefit from some first team experience in case OG gets injured.

  22. henrychan says:

    Morning all..
    Nice post TA..

    Everything are interconected.. interbeing..
    Our lost to Villa after 10 unbeatable games at the end last season.. was a blessing in disguist.. altough I still believed that we should win.. hehe..
    That lost made a big pushed to Wenger.. so that We got Flamini and Ozil..
    And the coming of Ozil is just at the right time.. because We must lost Rosicky and Cazorla at almost the same time..
    And here We are with a greater team.. beyond my expectation.. hahaha..

    TA.. about OGAAT.. I think that what Wenger did for 16 years long.. He always focus in every single game.. with all the players that avaliable..
    But priority is also count.. PL and include CL.. are the first priority.. others come later.. hehe..
    That’s why I prefer CL qualification (big four PL) more than any Trophy that We may get.. if We focus on that.. but for that we maybe must lost the CL..
    No trophy is not a big deal for me.. as long as We stay in the top of the league.. hehehe..

    And for that reason.. why We are still in the first rank of CL.. more than Dortmund.. City or others who can only be in CL for one or two years..
    And We proved it that the decision is right.. well maybe too soon.. but We will win the group.. I’m sure about that.. hehehe..

    Our team is getting stronger and stronger.. and I also as surprised as you TA.. that Vermaelen and Sagna are still in our squad.. the same as Park and Betdner.. hahaha..
    But In Wenger We Trust.. that’s what I always did for a long time.. hehe..
    He know better than all of us..

    And We will win again.. Stoke won’t be our wall anymore.. We have Rambo with his Gun.. We have Messile (Mesut Ozil) to breakdown the wall.. hahaha..
    We are the Gunners..

  23. Milo says:

    @ Total The weather here is warm, for the season! 😀 What about for you in Belgium???

  24. Gerry says:

    Top post Totes. I agree with the assessment that our ‘collectivity’, that was born Munich, but conceived in h the home leg against BM, is the major difference between this side, and those of the recent past. That, and the confidence that goes with it?

    The latest bile coming from RM, that Ozil couldn’t hack it, is why he will have no such problem here. The real thing that Ozil would have found difficult to live with would have been the disharmony in the dressing room there. Probably going as far back as the Casillas split. Most likely he hung on in the hoping the new manager would turn things around, only to get subbed … that was the clincher!

    Whereas here, well things could hardly be more different, both on and off the fields. I am sure Per would have told him this before he signed?

    On the point about intentionally ‘sitting back’ I think is partly true as it comes with the overall confidence. I mean if your feel you are not going to lose, then why not try and pick them off on the counter? Falling back into your own half does carry risks, but also opens up space for Walcott to run in to, but not fully exploited yet?

    The Giro problem will only be resolved when alternatives are tested and found wanting/up to the task? I am a glass half full on this one, as I believe the confidence that Ozil inspires will see the others support the main candidate, Akpom, to come through with flying colours.
    Akpom does not strike me as someone whose nerves will get the better of him. If the team can adjust to his game and play to his strengths, then I see him starting this Sunday?

    What are the key differences? Well I think Akpom likes the ball at his feet, and which he can run on to. Which means the ball can be played away from his body. Giro has the edge back to goal, but Akpom is certainly more mobile. In defense is where Giro will be missed, as he has much more experience, but the ‘team’ can work around that? With him being a strong in upper body, Akpom will not be knocked off the ball easily, and I can see Ozil finding him some tasty passes, and a debut goal will be a crowning glory.

    The other alternative would be Gnabry who is probably more SS than ST, but did score a couple of goals from the central position in the Under 19’s. I think his need to be running on to ball would change our attacking style more so than Akpom, but that is not too say it is necessarily a bad thing. Alongside Giro/ a striker is probably more his thing though.

    When we get to the WBA Cup game I would like the front line to be Eisfeld, Akpom, Gnabry, with Ozil feeding them – (err whatever that German dish is that has two great lumps of meat with a slab of British bacon in between?) – all manner off tasty sauces to finish it off.
    (aaargh yes, it is called Goalfest! 😀 )

    What is a bigger concern for me, is while Santi is out, what happens if Ozil gets injured? I have no doubt we can get by providing than confidence aura does not evaporate?
    I hope the club are monitoring Ramsey closely. Players with his confidence right now want to play every game, but they tend to omit details of any little niggles they may have? If we get Arteta back pretty soon then the balance in midfield may be restored.

    Taking the OGAAT approach, Stoke will be interesting on how we bounce back from midweek travelling? Stoke I hear, are trying to play a more open game, which should suit us, but they will have a plan to attack our weaknesses. The line up will reveal our intentions and limitations … but we Ozil now?

  25. geoffchase says:


    Hmm, not quite in agreement throughout… My quick thoughts, are yes, we have spirit, and Presence! in players and as a team… all works to the good. Teams are lining up a little more beaten before the whistle then in prior years. But…

    1. Goals: Soft goals at best. If you eliminate AV which was half ref, half “weirdnnesss” you have 2 goals in 3 games where we got the clean sheet where it counted, and were well up otherwise. We got the clean sheet when it was absolutely necessary. ManU ran away with the league last year giving away far more goals then we are on likely pace to do this year.. Patience there I think…

    2a. High or low defense. I think we sit back more so we are less caught if Gibbs et al are forward. Equally, we counter very well now. Finally, sitting back lengthens the field when the ball turns over for us and suits our players better, I think to have that space

    2b. I wouldnt read too much into OM game. They came out and chased *every* thing. Thus, in such a game, as shown, they eventually tire and collapse and it reverted to more us then them. That said, when a team does that there is nothing much that will make you look good. Fit guys chasing will pressure everything and effectively slow the game for the other side, while not really picking it up for themselves.

    In credit to OM, it works a bit for them and in Valbuena they have a player to make magic from the mistakes it creates. Without him..

    3. I will counter a question with a question. If we pick up a spare striker somewhere and they are only average, have we won or lost? Id rather blood someone like Akpom for teh future if needed then bring in a spare wheel. Didnt we just get over 43M years of whining about “deadwood”? why bring in more, which seems most of what is available now, rather than rely on what we know.

    IMO, the glass is far fuller than emptier, and I am disinclined to create reasons to manage my let down if we dont succeed rather than enjoying the potential now…

    I.e. Part of not going back, IMO, is not shattering your image of what was which may be different than the reality you re-encounter the second time. It’s a way of avoiding disappointment. But, if you enjoyed what was actually there the first time, it’s good every time. Simply, if you like pizza, you dont fail to eat it again because you dont want to have the let down, you just manage expectations for the occasional not so good one!

    I leave with a repeat of:

    cheers — jgc

  26. henrychan says:

    Guys.. I found this quote.. but don’t know the truth..
    I like it.. hehehe..

    “I really like Arsenal. But you, do you like Arsenal? Or just Arsenal with Trophies?”
    -Dennis Bergkamp

  27. geoffchase says:



    — jgc

  28. geoffchase says:


    It’s number 8 on the top 10 BK quotes:

    cheers — jgc

  29. geoffchase says:

    And I also especially liked #9:

    “Other clubs never came into my thoughts once I knew Arsenal wanted to sign me.”

    That’ws where we want to get back to.. Trophies will then follow..

    cheers — jgc

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys 🙂

    17, OGAAT does indeed sound a bit like the Dutch ‘hoe gaat (het)’ (how are you?). 🙂

    I like the Hollywood analogy as well: ‘Ozil and the ten misfits concur all’ 😀

    You are right to point towards both the Ozil effect and the growth from within in, which is so typically Wenger. I wont say much more as I am looking fwd to your post about squad size… 😉

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    davy, davy, agreed on Giroud starting on the bench, but I don’t think it will happen as Wenger loves to keep things as they are as long as possible.

    Not sure whether Song and Van Judas held our togetherness back, maybe you could expand on this? 🙂


    Thanks TA

    Forgive my absence. I have recently pur-chased a Smoking Jacket and Cravat, and this has somewhat preoccupied me.

    I like your thinking. We should not get carried away. Just like when we suffer a poor run of results the same applies to a winning streak, things should be kept in perspective.

    We are a Club and squad on the up, but that’s what it is, not the finished article by any means.

    There are periods in games when we are still restricted in the football we wish to play and are forced/choose to defend deep.

    My general conclusion so far is that Arsene will not address the lack of physicality in our team via the transfer window, but instead choose to wait for the issue to resolve itself naturally by allowing the younger players to mature physically and gain more experience.

    Its another example of the manager looking long term so we might have to be a bit more patient before we become a title winning side.

    By the way, I highly recommend the smoking jacket and cravat. If you can avoid builders accusing, assaulting and questioning your sexuality, plus young women calling the police as you pass school gates, you will not be disappointed.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry, yes everything is interconnected, karma and all that…. 🙂

    Don’t really agree about Wenger being good at OGAAT over the last sixteen years. We have been most vulnerable after a good win/period of winning and we are playing a supposedly weaker team next. Hopefully this has changed for good now. 🙂

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha The Mancini is back! 🙂

    Agreed on ‘the finished article’ view.

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Milo, don’t insult me! 😛

    Ask Geoff what the weather is like in Frietenland!

    in UK it has been very autumnal and cold, but it should become warm again this weekend (probably your Toronto weather!) 🙂

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, 17

    What is sour grapes in Spanish…. in two/three years time RM will be begging Ozil to come back as Wenger will have made him even better. I might write a post about it over the weekend.


    Good shout for Akpom and the AGE line-up against West Brom is mouth-watering. Especially Eisfield needs renewed top-team exposure. but OGAAT 🙂

    Agreed on Ramsey. We should see some rotation now, allowing some players to have a 10 day rest of their joints and muscles..

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Aah the weather must be rotten in Belgium….Geoff? 🙂

  38. henrychan says:

    JGC.. thanks bro.. I love that also..

    TA.. I think Wenger did what you call OGAAT.. but with priority.. and his top priority is be at the top of PL and qualified for CL.. hehehe..
    And one thing I like most from Wenger is he had so much patient in his players..
    He never left his boys behind.. eventhough they were injured for a long time..
    He always wanted the best of the boys.. and most of the time.. the boys betrayed his trust.. hahaha..

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Soft goals, penalties, etc are all goals, Geoff, and only one clean sheet in recent games is a bit of a worry. But as per the post, let’s give it a bit longer for things to settle down.

    Agreed on your and also Gerry’s point of the benefits of sitting deep at times. However, at certain periods in the game we have been sitting too deep and we have been lucky to get away with it. During these periods we also lose our shape and purpose in the team. For me this is the biggest area to work on right now.

    There was no reason to have to settle for a potential future deadwood striker, Geoff. We should have bought proper back-up and relying on the likes of Sanogo or Akpom to mature into the team is misguided imo, however glass half full you might be. 😉

    Agreed on the pizza analogy but it is a bit narrow. A great restaurant experience consists of more than the quality of the pizza alone, no?

    Love, TA. 🙂

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry, I was referring to a lack of OGAAT for bread and butter games i.e. for PL and CL in recent years.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Best Bergkamp quote: ‘Never, never, never listen to the little boy inside; you’ll end up a grey, broody woman’ 😉

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Catch you later 🙂

    Missing the Glicster a lot 😦

    Hope things are working out for you buddy!

  43. geoffchase says:

    TA et al,

    Weather in Belgium is about the same as, what do they call it, oh yes, “Holland” (that’s what it’s called, right?? 🙂 ) … Gray annd sunny alternating with cooler and rain. Not bad, not great… I have not been excessively rained on while running so it’s all good!

    I generally tend to find Belgian weather better than most, which goes to my experiences living in Cleveland and Detroit. I.e. it’s all relative.

    And yes, I had frites with lunch..

    Moving on from that, well coulda, woulda and shoulda, arent near cousins for buying a striker … We shoulda, and we may well have woulda given our efforts to get Ba, but the coulda was forever stymied…

    By Maureen at Chelsea when he heard we had Ozil. Likely we might not have gotten Ozil if we had gotten Higuain. In the end Suaraz was never coming, no matter his wishes, a feast I think Rodgers et al may well reap in full this year. And finally, unlike you I wasnt entirely sold on Jovetic and suddenly it’s all sort of cramped and hard.

    Overall, theres a story that said we may well not have gotten a great or near great striker and Ozil. For me, waiting on Ozil was the better choice given one or the other. I am not sure any of those other choices, bar, maybe, Suarez would be more of an impact player long term.

    Ie it is easy to say, we shhuld have bought.. but, it’s not like Pizza, just stop in, place your order and usually there is little more trouble, in this case, the pizzeria owner can remember you know Glic and Terry, and decide not to sell to you, and instead to your ex-wife and her new much younger lover…

    For the conspiracy theorists, there’s a topic! What was the real true upside of our summer, all considered, and speculating (of course) on who might have done what given a different path for our TW. IMO, only AW is so unemotional to not consider such factors and simply sell for the best price if he feels that is the only/best path. The rest all attempt to play deeper games, which i doubt get them much and likely cost them more. Consider Chelsea, with a now unhappy Mata, and the effect of his sudden change on the desire, whether they realise it or not, of others..

    Thus, there is more to the pizza than the food, but then again, there is more to find the next visit too, it’s not always all downhill unless that’s the only way you’re looking! Hence, my many returns to Belgium..

    cheers — jgc

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Great response Geoff 🙂

    To do a jgcism: I will need to keep it short.

    I am not talking about a Jovetic, Suarez etc as we got Ozil instead. I am talking about a nr.2, with potential to outperform nr1, Giroud. There is no coulda, woulda, whatever about it. These sort of strikers are easy to pick up if you are prepared to pay their rate which is in the region of 12-25k. I would feel a lot more comfortable if we had a Michu sort of player on the bench right now: PL experience, good goals/assists per game, ambitious… job done, no?

  45. Gerry says:

    TA – So, without hindsight, you would not regret having Michu, when Suarez might be available for £40m, a couple of weeks later?

  46. AFC says:

    Hi guys, 🙂

    Interesting debate going on here in regards to our CF/ST problem.

    Wenger was (and still is) right to only look to purchase a top CF/ST however when Wenger and co realised that there was no chance of getting Suarez, Rooney etc, we should have signed a decent back-up CF/ST on loan. There are plenty decent CFs/STs who would have been available for loan. Off the top of my head, Bent was available, Adebayor and Defoe were also available (depending on whether Spurs would have allowed us to take one of them on loan, which I think they would have as they really just wanted to get rid of Adebayor and Defoe to some extent), so there is no excuse for Wenger not bringing in any CF/ST on loan. I know he went for Ba but he should have had other CFs/STs lined up to take on loan.

  47. redawraw says:

    wenger may actually be on to something here, and it may even be grand. The future is bright, the future is red and white!!!!!

  48. AFC says:

    JGC, most of the time clubs will sell as long as the money is right. It does not matter whether they are rival clubs or not. If Wenger or Ivan rang up Levy and said we’ll pay 100 million for Bale, Levy probably would have eventually accepted the offer. It all depends how much a club really wants a player and how much the club is willing to pay. For instance if United really wanted Jack and were prepared to pay over 60 million for him Wenger would definitely consider the offer and if I was him I would accept the offer.

  49. AFC says:

    United would have a good chance of getting him. Same goes Ronaldo or Messi. If a club offers 200 million for Messi there again is a good chance Barca would accept the offer.

  50. James Bond says:

    and for that reason alone, i thank the footballing Gods that you’re not a football manager at Arsenal or the decision maker @ AFC 😀

  51. James Bond says:

    a good accurate reflection and analysis @ TA

    yep, silly mistakes and stupid penalties give away’s need to stop – also, Sczny actually needs to save one and least try getting close to them as well, he hardly got close to any ,minus the first one he could have probably saved without letting the rebound go back in , anyhow, that’s the difference between a top goal keeper for a top notch club and what we have.

    i was going bananas the other night when everyone wanted Sczny to be man of the match, i’m like, erm ? ok.

    back to business, Arteta is coming back and for me it needs to be Arteta ahead of Flam’s in the pecking order, once e is fully match fit

    both Poldi and Ox back due soon,

    can’t wait for the Poldi and OoooOOOooZil combo to play for Arsenal , that will be a cracking partnership i reckon

    you nailed it when you said ” we seem to be a team that are in feb as opposed to being in Sept” – that’s how it needed to be and the lads have delivered.

    Glics , HH, RA – hope all of you are fine and about to make a comeback like our Technical Captain aka Arteta

    PS: what striker problems ? are you lot having a bubble ? we already got a player who has scored 6 GOALS in his last 6 MATCHES – that’s what you call clinical, just stick him up front 😀

  52. AFC says:

    JB, 😀

    It would make sense to sell Jack for a huge fee (e.g. over 60 million) for a number of reasons.

    1) he is not SQ yet; Jack only has the potential to be SQ. There is a chance he will never reach his full potential whether that be down to injuries or other factors.

    2) Jack is injury-prone, he needs to be handled with care and cannot play every match, so if United were to get him (as an example) they would not be able to play him match after match for the whole season. For all we know Jack may continue to have injury problems throughout his entire career.

    3) That money could be used to purchase a SQ midfielder (someone who we are not hoping becomes SQ) and improve other areas of our squad.

  53. AFC says:

    JB, we still have a CF/ST problem. We have no back-up out and out CF/ST for Giroud. We only have one out and out CF/ST. 😦

  54. James Bond says:

    i wouldn’t sell JW for even 160 million ? why

    because LOYALTY & PASSION are priceless.

    who is to say that if , we got another CF/ST he would not get injured in training or be firing blanks e.g. CHELSEA situation ?

    we gotta keep the faith and keep it going, Poldi is nearing a return and it’s almost october which means another 8 weeks or so after that and the Pizza shop opens, JGC likes Pizzaria.

  55. AFC says:

    JB, there is no loyalty in football anymore. There are very few loyal players around and every players lack of loyalty can be exposed. If we got relegated and started falling down the leagues would Jack stay, I doubt it.

    Most SQ players fit into their new teams. If we could Fabregas back and sign Hummels if we sold Jack you would be against that. Of course that’s just an example but that example shows every player can be replaced.

  56. James Bond says:

    it’s a very futile discussion for me AFC,

    you on the one hand acknowledge that there are a “few loyal players around” and on the other go on and say that every players lack of loyalty can be exposed.

    stability is the name of the game,

    and no, players like Lampard, Gerrard, have shown it year in year out , what loyalty means

    Ramsey and Jack wilshere are our Lampard (Ramsey) and Gerrard (Wilshere) , we are set for the next 10 years – injuries allowing.

    we can of course, sell this and get that , like we have been doing and so on but no, not anymore we don’t.

    chuck in a 300 million offer for Messi, will they consider it ? hell yeah ? would they sell him ? i doubt it very much because Barca are a one man team, no matter which way you look at it , he’s the pinnacle of all their happy endings

    is 300 million better than success ? for most clubs, yes ? but for clubs who build and crave on trophies and silverware, nope, it’s not.

    that is what i am hoping our Arsenal is now – we have weathered the storm

    i’m the first one to criticize JW after a bad performance and for his bitchy behaviour and so on but to even think that we would sell him for X amounts of money to be replaced with a SQ player is beyond belief for me.

    talk about selling Sczny and i’ll get us both some coffee and we can discuss that , sure 😀

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    Without hind or foresight, Gerry, we needed an additional attacker of quality (which is Ozil) and we needed an additional striker to have appropriate cover. We got one but not the other, and yet the striker was the easiest one to buy. Not doing so is in my opinion a big mistake, and totally unnecessary.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    JB 🙂

    RAMsey is a great name for a striker and boy he is doing well. If our midfield keep delivering the goods we are going to win the PL. Shame you don’t value Szczesny though: the boy has been brilliant recently.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    JB: ‘we gotta keep the faith and keep it going, Poldi is nearing a return and it’s almost october which means another 8 weeks or so after that and the Pizza shop opens, JGC likes Pizzaria.’

    You are in fine form today, Jammers! 🙂

    Hi AFC, how is life treating you, SIR?

  60. AFC says:

    JB, Gerrard and Lampard came from an older generation of player. When I say there are some loyal players I am often referring to some of the old pros. Players of today’s generation cannot be compared to players of the Lampard/Gerrard generation.

    Do you really think Gerrard and Lampard haven’t left Liverpool and Chelsea because they are loyal to their clubs. Of course that could be one of the factors that contributes to them staying but they could have stayed for other reasons. Whose to say they are loyal.

    1) Family and friends. Their families are settled in England. Their familys may not want to move abroad.
    2) They have a comfortable live at Chelsea and Liverpool. They are regular starters and have been for years. They are top dogs at Liverpool and Chelsea. If they go abroad there is a chance it will not work out for them.
    3) They might just not want to leave the EPL.
    4) They do not want to leave England themselves, they like the culture in this country.

  61. AFC says:

    There are many reasons why ‘loyal’ players will not leave their existing club. Don’t buy into all of this loyalty stuff.

    Why sell Szez, we wouldn’t get a big fee for him so it makes no sense to sell him.

    TA, I’m good, just been busy. I thought I’d check into to BK while I have some time to spare.

  62. SAMUEL says:

    good observations

  63. proudgooner says:

    The striker issue is the only 1 that is a risk, that said we do have Sanogo but how long he is out for i don’t know hopefully no more then a few weeks surely.???
    On Bentdner being fit or not that i do not know either, you would think think with limited options only that he would make the bench but as he has not been on there i don’t think he is.
    Good news is Arteta is back and may even play tomorrow, so TV and Arteta back in a week is good next should be the OX .
    Oh and Marica has said he has been in touch with 4 clubs and will be making his choice in the next 2 days, with AFC & WHFC being strongly linked as long as we offer him a good package we trump WHFC so its down to 3 clubs is Wenger like the player enough. He is very much worth having i think OG can simply not play every game. end off.

  64. proudgooner says:

    I expect big things from Podolski when he is fit again, he loves our club and him and Ozil linking up together every day in a world cup season. I expect him to give his all. Him and OX i hope for the OX to get motoring on his return and him to learn a hell of a lot from Ozil 🙂

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to see you back AFC and nice to see you firing on all cylinders again 🙂

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PG – fine comments and all agreed. Not sure about Marica though; I dont have a good gut feeling with this one..

  67. proudgooner says:

    The players we have to come back are massive. Santi, Podolski, OX , Rosicky, Zaleame Diarby all great players that would get in any team in the PL .
    Podolski and Carzorla are the most needed the thought of Santi and Ozil feeding Podolski OG and Theo is an awesome prospect.

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    I am looking forward to that feeding frenzy, PG 🙂

  69. proudgooner says:

    Me neither i know nothing about the player except his highlights on you-tube, but for me the ideal deal would be a season on loan as cover , if he was at Shalke 04 he must have something about him and we just need a little cover for OG he cant play every game mate, or its defo injury for sure..
    That said the Arteta coming back is a huge boost , it free’s up a midfielder who can play right wing and let Theo go CF in theory.??

  70. geoffchase says:

    TA, JB, AFC et al

    Well, well, well.. Coulda, woulda and shoulda walked into a pizzeria (was going to say bar but it wasn’t topical 🙂 ), and a fight breaks out. That’s their problem, these three are always up for an argument, usually totally unprovable…

    TA, sure Michu, but when I brought it up heads failed to turn from Bitey-the-magnificent. Buyers remorse works even when you don’t buy in the TW world, it seems? So, a number two with potential to be number 1 while we wait for our number 3s to become number 2s, if I have it right. All at the time we mostly all, including me and my stats, felt OG wasn’t a true number 1, or at least not with a capital N…

    Knowing what we know now, Michu or similar was a must. Of course with Ozil, Poldi becomes a touch redundant wide and could fill in as a great number 1.5 (really), except damn who knew he’d hurt something new

    AFC, I’m not sure I would have gone for Bent or Adebayor, butt Defoe would have been nice. But with Levy screaming at his “partners” at RM not to sell Ozil he likely missed AWs call about Defoe… If you see my drift 🙂

    JB and AFC, regarding loyalty. I think plenty have it today, but less than in past. Too much pressure to move up for more money. The economic stratification of clubs is becoming more pronounced and only Arsenal really sit above the divide between Oilers and wierd fiscal (I’m)prudence and “normal” clubs.

    Thus, I agree with AFC that for the right price, most any club sells. Except for those above us in the EPL (City, ManU and Chelsea), as they don’t seem to have to. Fiscal reality even seems to be settling in at RM and Barca.. Relatively speaking of course! 🙂

    Arsenal would likely sell for 60M or some such. Let’s hope we are not tested that way. I suspect there are no perfect answers and coulda, woulda and shoulda will be hanging at your local for years to discuss it either way…

    Spurs already passed/failed the 100M test question. IMO, for them a good move whose long term salary costs won’t be paid off if they don’t qualify for CL next year .. So watch this space…

    So, I’ll hold to my we likely got about what we could have. The rest is fun debate but best left to the three debating boys…

    Cheers – jgc

  71. geoffchase says:


    I forgot to note that a number two striker without Ozil or before him and who knows. Certainly without him the TW would have been a downer and TAs background would now be black text on blacker background… 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  72. proudgooner says:

    Me too, i can’t wait. I got offered tickets for the Stoke game, but as i am going to WBA my mates were not up for it on Sunday as well. They might still be availble

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    It’s really easy, no need to overcomplicate things. £70m in the pot. We needed back up Gk, DM, nr.10, and back up striker of good Pl quality. Quality nr.10 not easy, well done Arsene. The rest is easy and there is no excuse for not getting the back up striker.

  74. proudgooner says:

    I totally agree, the only thing il say in AW defence is he would not have expected to lose Sanogo and Podolski at the same time so early on. But there will be back soon, says the optimist.fully fit my 1st 11 men.
    Szcz, Gibbs, KOS, BFG,Sagna, Rambo, Cazorla, Ozil, Walcott, OG, Podolski, that is full on all out attack mode 🙂
    For more defensive against stronger teams Ozil on the bench and Arteta in there place, plus Flem for Rambo, Cazorla for Podolski
    The missing ingredients is Podolski

  75. proudgooner says:

    All of that said, the club is crying out for the next Ian Wright. Could you imagine if we had Ian Wright at his peak in the new squard?

  76. proudgooner says:

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    That would be great, PG 🙂


    Evening Bergkampesqueres

    PG, Ian Wright, absolute legend and fantastic player. Also a complete lunatic.

    i remember playing Wimbledon and was in the first row Clockend. Wrighty had just won a corner off John Scales shin and shouted at him “Oi scalesey, hows the limp dick” and started scrathing his balls for good measure

    I dont think scales liked that, but i did. hahaha

  79. geoffchase says:


    Consider it this way. AW isn’t dumb, nor lazy. He’d be long gone if so. Neither Moyes just to note another failure. I just think the answers are never that simple and am willing to see the other perspective.

    I have to confess when everyone sees the simple answer it’s either that simple (very rare), or not so in practice. It’s a form of populism I see every day, for example, when someone implies someone else’s job is simple..

    Marketing, simple, just put up a babe with the product and done… Professors, all lazy on permanent vacation. I hear it all the time, for any. Umber of jobs, people, races, you name it. It’s a form of populism that never leads anywhere good..

    — jgc

  80. James Bond says:


    when are you writing a book ? or if you have already done so then when’s the next one coming out 😉

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    sorry Geoffster, it really is that simple. Wenger is anything but dumb but there is more to buying successfully than being smart. I love it that you want to see the other side of things, and I very often do the same, but on this one I believe Arsenal made a big, avoidable mistake.

    But let’s agree to disagree and move on 🙂

  82. Fozzie B says:

    Good evening Shakespeare schlong strokers!!
    Well well, fozzie bear leaves the building for a bit and everyone has has had a session on Glics tranny cocktails!! The poor guy can’t even host his own party!
    ;Come back in health brother Glic, your lesbanians miss you 😀 )
    Where art thou striker from far away pizza land … Dressed in the finest pink tutu and prepared to serenade Arsenith from thy highest balcony to come hither!!
    Wow!! I won’t need to my nightly chloroform cocktail from the doctor tonight!!

  83. Fozzie B says:

    By the way Totes fine post! Maybe we could nickname OGAAT …. Humphrey??
    You know cockney styles??
    I know that’s rich coming from a kiwi!!
    For foreigners including myself lol -! Humphrey Bogart!!
    I will dedicate that to Glic in his absence!!
    After each post match report you could say, “Humphrey OGAAT says ….. 😀

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Fozzie 😆

    I am sure you are picking a smile on the big man’s (tiny winkle) face 😛

  85. geoffchase says:

    TA, JB et al

    TA: No worries. Time will tell…

    JB: define “book” .. Or more exactly, on what? 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    injuries will tell

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    17HT, has written a very fine post touching on many key, current issues with depth and authority. Enjoy! 🙂

  88. Great article, very easy on the brain 🙂

    Keep up the good work.

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