It’s Just One Loss: 5 Reasons for Optimism

After our season opening loss to Aston Villa at home, many Gooners everywhere were very very down and pessimistic. As a result of this, our very own Total Arsenal asked me (one of a few optimistic Gooners) to write a post to try to bring optimism back to people. Now we find ourselves in a similar situation, and TA has asked me to do this once again. So let’s start this off:

1. We’re in first place!

table

Guys! We are top of the league and lost to a team unbeaten at home! If someone had told you after that Villa loss that you would be disappointed in the team after game-week 16 when we would be top of the table….. you would tell them that they were insane. Look at the positives. We’re still top and we now have 9 days until we play a team that just barely ground out a wi against CrystalPalace this weekend. This team is good enough to win games, and overall, being in first is technically the best position we could be in. You could argue that points and goal differential are issues, but we’re in first. We just have to focus and not make any more mistakes like that.

2. We still have players to return from injury!

players

Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain are still not back from injury. Once we have two more wingers in the squad we can move Santi and Rosicky back into the middle in the CAM position and therefore we can give Ozil (someone with famously low stamina) a rest. This will allow him to get back to his best and take some pressure of him. The more players we have in the squad, the more rotation we can do and the less physical and even mental fatigue will affect the squad. Even though there are no excuses for our performances, everyone must concede we’ve had a tough schedule as of late. You can argue that champions have to deal with that and it’s true, but the injuries are compounding these problems and with those players back we will be able to play fresher squads in every game, therefore scoring more goals and winning more games.

3. January is right around the corner!

transfer-window

January. The time of unsettled players moving on and desperate clubs making big buys in attempts to save a season. This year players like Di Maria, Cavani, van Persie, Berbatov, Chicharito, Benzema and more, are rumored to be unsettled. As well as the big name Lewandowski available for free on a pre-contract. This is a year where Arsenal have openly admitted to having plenty of money to spend and the team is clearly ambitious. The purchase of Ozil has shown the club is willing to spend and Wenger has admitted our strike options are low. Hopefully we can see at least one big signing this January. It is not unlikely that we will sign a winger or a striker to shore up our attack as well as a younger defender to begin learning from Mertesacker, Koscielny, and Vermaelen as they age. Keep your chins up and let’s see where the team is come February 1st.

4. The team wants to win!

Post-Game

Some may think that Ozil not applauding the away fans is disgraceful. But one positive to this is that it shows that this team finds anything less than a win unacceptable. We fought until the end at City with Per scoring late on. We didn’t give up and fold like one would expect after letting in so many goals. This is a team that will work hard all week to redeem themselves against Chelsea. We need not berate and attack them, just let them work this week and let’s judge them based on how they respond against Chelsea now that fatigue is not an issue. Let’s not judge them on a defeat to a side undefeated at home this season after just returning from Italy having played a game last weekend as well.

5. It’s just one loss!

We are 11-2-3 in the Premier League this season. Last time we lost in the league was a 1-0 away at United. We followed that up with a 2-0 home to Southampton and then a 3-0 away at Cardiff. This team knows how to respond. In the grand scheme of things we’re still top of the league with a nice opportunity to gain points at home after a 9 day rest. We can keep our position at the top of the table next week. In reality, our loss to City was not that bad. In fact, it could set us up for a nice run of wins. Let’s turn our eyes to the next game, everyone slips up (See: Manchester City 4 – Manchester United 1, Tottenham 0 – Liverpool 5, Manchester City 6 – Tottenham 0, etc.).

In conclusion, stay positive guys! It’s one loss to a very good team and quite soon we could have more points as well as more players. Let’s assess where we are after Chelsea, and then at the end of January. There are bigger milestones than this. We just have to get behind the team for Chelsea and trust in the team and Wenger.

Have faith you Gooners!

Written By: Dylan.

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103 Responses to It’s Just One Loss: 5 Reasons for Optimism

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Fantastic post Dylan and spot on. 🙂

    Coming back from Napoli on Thursday morning and travelling up to the Nothern Oilers on Friday, and that after playing Everton only a few days earlier, is not easy. We put three past them and should have had at least another goal, but our team defending was very weak on the day and it cost us (Mertesacker being overplayed and Koz’s early departure did not help either).

    It is indeed just a game lost and dont be surprised if the Oilers get beaten by Fulham this weekend… soon we will restore the gap.. this team has fight and talent in abundance!

    Agreed we should judge the team after the Chavs game and then again at the end of February.

    Cheers buddy 🙂

  2. James Bond says:

    splendid points – Dylan, well done lad

    also, Chelsea got knocked out of the COC by sunderland ahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaahh

    no reason, why we can’t go on and pile the misery on them, maybe we can make this December, double trouble for the Portuguese managers ? i wonder hmmmmm

    but on a more serious note, it could have been a whole lot worse with the fatigue factor, had we still been in the COC , as it stands, it was a blessing in disguise and we will go on winning this coming monday !

    we had a similar sort of break before we went to BM and guess what, we won 0-2 there, this time i am going to predict a 3-0

  3. James Bond says:

    very true @ TA

    also, worth noting that Aguero might be out for 2 months…

    Zabaleta is out injured (most likely for a month) , Richards already out, which means they are very thin at RB .

    the way i see this, they are only one injury (YAYA ) away now and boom.

  4. Jacks finger. says:

    One loss, that was severally aided by officials. 2 x offside goals (we scored 5 at City). a penalty denied. and a penalty given for one of the most blatant dives from Milner.

    I have watch the game again – and the most effective persons breaking up Arsenals attacking play were the linesmen. It would appear City buy more than just footballers.

  5. Malaysian gunner says:

    After a run of unbeaten games ,sooner or later it had to end. The manner of the defeat leaves a sour taste.Who knows what could have happened if the penalty,wrongly denied ,were given,
    Now the gunners must start another unbeaten run starting with a win against Chelsea.It aint going to be easy but if the gunners stopped giving cheap goals, it can be done.

  6. craig says:

    For years he has promised that Arsenal will be a force again, it just needs time, yet it never materialises. Quite simply, this hope has become nothing but a dream and a fallacy. The exodus of star talent from Arsenal in the past eight years has been quite amazing. And this season’s team is probably the worst since Wenger has been at the club. Yet, Wenger has weaved his propaganda machine and stressed patience was key.However as the seasons have gone on the gap between them Europe’s top sides has increased.The truth however is that.Arsenal lack the qualities in ALL positions to compete with the best sides in England and in Europe. Now many will argue that Arsenal’s decision to build a new stadium has hampered the finances of the club and made them weaker in terms of their ability to challenge Europe’s top sides. It is a fair argument and the decision to build the Emirates apparently seen as a short term loss in order to secure the long term financial stability of the club. However, to say Arsenal have not spent money is ludicrous, perhaps their ‘net spend’ makes them appear to have been savvy in their business, yet the truth is they have wasted much money on poor players these past several years.Wenger’s decision making, not the clubs finances must be questioned. It appears that a failed ideal and philosophy and a serious neglect of what made Wenger so successful in the first place has been the reason for Arsenal’s barren run. A French revolutionIt is important to note that when Wenger arrived at Arsenal he was very fortunate; he inherited one of the best defences in England and was blessed with the talent of Dennis Bergkamp. He developed his side on these strong foundations and in the period between 1997-2001 he brought in the French connection of Vieria, Petit, Pires, Henry, Anelka and Wiltord.The French had won both the World Cup in 1998 and the Euro Championships in 2000 and were without doubt the best side in international football at that time. Wenger used his connections and knowledge of the French league and players to build this foreign force in English football. Arsenal’s success was thus built on the quality and importantly mentality of this group of players.

    It was the 2003-04 season which would show the greatness of the work Wenger had done at Arsenal, the team would go unbeaten all year long and would play some of the best football ever seen in the Premier League. It has been voted the greatest team in Premier League history. A real compliment to Wenger and what he had put together in his years at the club.Yet in 2004/2005 the era of Arsenal’s dominance would begin to unravel. It was Arsenal’s centenary year and yet the “Special One” would make sure Arsenal did not celebrate it with a title. In fact Arsenal finished 12 points behind the winners. An FA Cup success would bring some joy for the fans and the following season Wenger took his team to the Champions League final, yet would lose to Barcelona. That would be the final time that Arsenal would be genuinely competing for major honours.

    So what wrong? Between 2004-2008 Arsene Wenger went about on dismantling his Invincible team. Out went Keown, Parlour, Vieria, Pires, Cole, Henry, Campbell, Reyes and Llungberg and Lehmann in the space of four seasons. The end to the exodus was Gilberto Silva who left in 2008. Many at the time believed Wenger was a ‘genius’ as the belief was that ‘he knew the right time to let players go’. And perhaps it would not have been as catastrophic had his approach to the ‘modern game’ not been so flawed. Evolution is important in football, without change you stand still. However, what came in to replace this winning group of players has been the reason for Arsenal’s failings. A cultural change It is important to consider Wenger’s time at Arsenal in two periods. Simply put I look at it not as the Highbury/Emirates periods but as the French/Spanish eras. Perhaps it was the 2002 World Cup in which France were nothing short of awful, which alerted him to the fact that the French period of dominance was at an end. Or perhaps Wenger was ahead of the game and envisioned the growing power of Spain and Barcelona. Either way it is clear that he set out to revolutionize his club in that image. If this was his belief, that the Spanish model was the future, then he was both right and wrong. The Spanish model of development, notably being put in place by Barcelona more so than others, was already a decade in, being set up around 1990. For Arsenal to overhaul their previous French/African style and philosophy was risky, dangerous and ultimately flawed.However in his attempts to replicate the Spanish model Arsenal have lost their power, strength and dominance. Wenger’s legacy will be based on a decision which has ruined Arsenal as a force in both England and Europe. Since the Invincible’s season Arsenal started to integrate players like Reyes, Fabregas, Flamini and Hleb in to the side.This new mentality pointed to a new type of player, a smaller player like the players we see for Spain now. A move towards a more slight player has seen players like Rosicky, Flamini, Oxlade Chamberlain, Walcott, Ramsay, Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla come into the team.

    And what has come from it? It has led to an era of mediocrity and the present day Arsenal is a shadow of it’s former self. I do not buy into the argument about finance, which although the net spend of Arsenal is excellent and as a business Arsenal have been run fantastically, do not tell me they have not spent money. The problem has been the type and quality of the players bought. There is no doubt for me that the change in the size of the players has had a major impact on Arsenal’s success. Wenger rid his the side of winners, strong mentalities and intimidation. Arsenal went from possessing World Cup winning players in his midfield and possessing a squad who knew what it took to win the Premier League. The “French era” did not possess just brutes, in fact Arsenal played better football then they do now, football which led to titles and success played with a style and flair which captivated many hearts and minds. The evolution or rather revolution of the midfield has seen the might and power along with skill and quality of Vieria, Pires, Gilberto Silva and Petit replaced with the more slight and average quality of Arteta, Ramsay, Song, and Diaby. Yes Cazorla and Jack Wilshere are talented players yet Arsenal possess too many similar players and are simply overpowered by most of Europe’s top sides.A neglect of what is needed in EnglandAlthough Wenger saw a new style of football coming into being, one which we are witnessing presently, he forgot some key and crucial things. Firstly, his French style side was perfect for the Premier League, they were tall, strong and powerful. In the unbeaten season Arsenal conceded only 26 goals. They possessed quality and importantly, intimidation, remember Van Nistelrooy’s penalty for United and the intensity and dominance of the Arsenal players around him. This was a team which was feared. And for some reason, call it ideology or misguided vision, Wenger threw it all away. Look at what Jose put together at Chelsea; Essien and Drogba were Arsenal type players before they switched the to the Spanish way, a major difference and one which catapulted Chelsea to the top of the league and which put Arsenal into the league of teams just below.  As cliché as it is, Arsenal became timid, small and vulnerable where they once were strong and fearsome, and with the change came a lack of success.I understand that finances played a part for Chelsea and that Essien and Drogba were very highly priced, I understand also that even sides like United could not compete financially with Chelsea and now presently there is Man City, who with players like Yaya Toure, have fitted a side together which is now title winning. Yet players like Kompany cost only £6 million, surely he would have been excellent for Arsenal? Unfortunately Arsenal have spent a lot of money on many average players, instead of spending big on one or two. And course this is where the issue of the “socialist” wage structure comes into discussion. Perhaps one of the most ludicrous ideas in world football which has rewarded mediocrity and prevented genuine world class players from being rewarded at Arsenal which has seemingly forced them to move away to be paid what (relatively speaking) they deserve. The methods of Arsenal right now are soaked in failed ideology. And let us not forgot the issue regarding his gradual shift away from the use of English players. It is not a coincidence that the successful years at Arsenal came when a strong English core of players was the bedrock and character of the team. Seaman, Adams, Bould, Keown, Dixon, Winterburn, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, Paul Merson, Ian Wright and Ray Parlour knew the culture of English football and knew the club. Their mentality, strength and desire was evident and it gave Wenger a strong foundation to build his success on. His inability to keep an English core in the team has been another failure of the Frenchman.It is no surprise that Alex Ferguson has remained successful because he blends experienced players with youth players and keeps a strong English core to his teams. Wenger has done the exact opposite and has thus lost his competitiveness. Defensive woeAnd if Wenger did seek to replicate Barcelona then he forgot or neglected the biggest factor as to what has made Barcelona so great. When I watch Barcelona and Spain I see a world class defensive side. Their ability on the ball is excellent, their movement and timing is mesmerising, yet they never lose their shape or their tactical role and understanding. The whole side understands where to be and what to do in and out of possession and this is what has put Spanish football on the top of the pile. It is an issue which Wenger overlooked in his Spanish quest and it is the reason have become an average side. 

    These past few seasons Arsenal lacked shape and organisation in the midfield and it cost them goals and points. Fabregas summed it up when he spoke of the “freedom” Wenger afforded him, of which the tactically astute and successful coach Guardiola was furious with. The Spanish are tactically as good as they are technically, something constantly overlooked by many. 

    Wenger’s failings was that he saw only the passing and ability on the ball, yet neglected or was ignorant to what these players and sides do defensively. Without a defensive foundation, a side will not win anything. And this is true for all successful sides.

    Arsenal simply are a shambles out of possession; they don’t press quickly to stop counter attacks, they don’t press from the front, or drop off and deny space. The midfield looks disorganised and clueless when out of possession. They allow too many 2v1 situations and fail to deal effectively with long balls and crosses. The problem was and has been since that Wenger neglected the biggest asset he had, the thing which won him the league three times and which made Arsenal such a force, the defence. I have alluded already to what Wenger inherited when he arrived at Highbury. Importantly, he inherited a world class defence; which was organised, unified and solid.Did he forget that his success at Arsenal was built on some world class defensive foundations? Yes Bergkamp and Henry were great yet it was Seaman, Adams, Keown, Vieria and Petit who were the key to that sides success at first. And then Lehmann, Lauren, Cole, Campbell, Keown and Toure became the 2nd generation of Wenger. Yet after that he messed it up. There are no players which resemble these players now. The lack of success has come from this poor transfer policy based on a failed ideal. Wenger seeks ball playing centre backs, yet neglects to work with the defence sufficiently. Players like Szczęsny, Sagna, Koscielny and Vermaelan are all good players, yet they are not a great defence.Naive defending and a lack of understanding and cohesion comes from the coach. Wenger is to blame for the team’s failings. When he arrived Wenger was a great and visionary coach, yet that time is over. He is now nothing but a stubborn old man who has no answers to the modern game and what is necessary to compete and be successful. 

    A grave mistakeArsene Wenger made a grave mistake in trying to revolutionise Arsenal and quite simply he has failed. He misunderstood what made his side so strong in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and believed that he saw a change in how the game would be played. He was right about the Spanish, yet forgot that the Spanish football is based on more than just their technical skills and possession. Above all, Wenger forgot the importance of a solid defensive foundation, which was neglected for “beautiful football”. It has led to a period of mediocrity and worryingly for Arsenal fans, a very empty trophy cabinet. 

    Yet it is not Spain were English teams look to ‘replicate’. In fact Bayern are proving that it is their ‘model’ which would have been the most suitable model to follow. I have spoken before about the dangers of replicating Barcelona. Because certain managers have sought to “replicate” Barcelona they have neglected to consider the importance of understanding the league they are playing in. Spain is not England; the leagues are different, as too the politics, the culture and the climate. The Spanish league is a much more technical and the pace of the game is slower and the physicality less so than in England too. Now I would argue that to try to have a side play a “Spanish” way in England is simply nonsensical. By not taking into account the differences between the countries and the style of play each league has, coaches attempting to play like Barcelona are only heading towards failure.

    In England as in Germany it is important to have a strong, physical foundation. The top sides have a balance of defensive security, physicality and attacking skill. Look at Mourinho, Ferguson and Mancini, they all understand the league and have built winning sides based on this.

    You only have to look at Bayern and see what Arsenal could have been had they not been led down Wenger’s flawed path. Strength, skill, defensive quality and an insatiable appetite to win are what Bayern has and Arsenal lack. A team which mixes experience, youth, world class talent and academy products appears the perfect blend. If only Arsene hadn’t changed his approach Arsenal then I highly doubt it would have been eight years without success.Wenger’s decision to change a style which was successful into one where he saw the future of football was going showed a naivety from the Frenchman.  Since his transformation of the side Arsenal have not won anything. I do not believe this is a coincidence.What next?

    Wenger has professed that gaining Champions League qualification should be regarded as a trophy and be seen as success. One can understand why he believes this; the financial rewards and the appeal for players to play for a Champions League side are essential. However, for all the rewards that the Champions League brings, for all the revenue that the Emirates brings in each week and with next seasons increase in TV revenue, is this acceptable for fans? It has been too long without a trophy and more needs to be asked of Wenger. Right now Wenger knows his job is safe, the players appear to know that the expectation is to finish in the top four, so where is the motivation? Where is the desire to challenge the top sides? It appears the club is in a period of contentment, as long as they are in the Champions League and making money, this is regarded as adequate. This mentality is unfair on the fans.Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s cheif executive has said that in two years time Arsenal will be in a position to challenge the top sides due to new commercial deals for the club and stadium. Thus, the argument is that in two years time, Arsenal will be buying the top players, spending the big money and improving the quality of the team and challenge for titles. Yet is it really about the money available? Can Arsenal’s fans seriously trust Wenger to use this money wisely?In my opinion Wenger needs to move on and allow a new coach to come in and push the side on. If there will be money available, then Arsenal will need to bring in the talent required to make them a force again. A new manager needs to understand that Wenger has taken this team in the wrong direction and a move towards buying more physical players like Arsenal saw during their successful years in the early 2000’s would be the smart move. 

  7. Raul Gooner says:

    @James, actually Yaya will miss the whole January due to AFCON if I’m not mistaken. So it will be 3 key players lost for them. Not so doom and gloom after all 😉

  8. mk says:

    if not for some strange offside calls we would have scored 5 goals at the etihad!

  9. Defeat is a defeat…. Positives are Walcott and Never Say Die attitude… Negatives are weak defending and loose balls given in the midfield… Hope we will get in to winning ways straight with chevs….

  10. Thierry says:

    We need to play for a draw against Chelsea doesn’t matter how bad Chelsea look we can’t beat Chelsea most importantly wenger cant get mourinho. Our record agonist the big teams is shocking since mourinho has come in he know how to set up against arsenal and that is to get 10 men behind the ball and hit on the break or a set piece and it works every time home or away.

    We need to hope for a point that Will keep us on top and then Chelsea play Liverpool.
    Liverpool always take points of Chelsea and then Liverpool play city.

    We need to play it cleva because that lumbering oaf giroud can’t do anything tiredness isn’t a excuse his top 4 record last season was non existent he didn’t score past any of em and this season same thing.

    Suarez plays every math he played for uruaguay on thursday and then flew back to play ye mersey side derby at 12:45 on Saturday and scored. Sick of people covering up for giroud. Hes a back up striker at best no way in hell is he a leading striker at a big club.

  11. Fozzie B says:

    Thank you Dylandinho!! Very timely and well set out article!! Together with our Optimus Prime ability we can transform the mentality of the dark side of the BK brotherhood!! JB also has news hot off the Tarzan grapevine that we have a new striker for Jan!! We can’t ask him any questions so I won’t!! I will say tell us Tarzan before Redders and Cockie use there new award winning Cockietazer!! Don’t worry the “cough” test on the Crytals comes first!!
    Health and Safety is very important to Cockie!! 😆
    … He would hate to injure himself whilst using the Cockietazer!! Haha!!
    Thankfully he tested it on Vickers first which helped Vickers get off the M25!!
    It helped that Vickers was naked at the time with a white flag hanging off his Hampton!!
    When Vickers came round, he was by his local Chinese, still naked but strangely relieved!! 😆
    That outcome could be your eventuality JB too!! Redders and Cockie are such thoughtful chaps!! Tarzan Talula does have a certain ring to it!!
    Ahahahahaha!!! 😆

  12. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Longtime no see..
    Dylan.. great post.. give us a lot of positive energy..

    We didn’t play bad against City.. Did we..??
    We just ain’t lucky.. and some players were exhausted..
    As I said that game (City) was the most important game we must worked with..
    If only Ozil and Giroud had more rest before City’s game.. I think the whole thing will be so much different.. hehehehe.. And if only Koscielny wa there for whole game and not injured.. We can at least draw.. hehehehe..
    But Let gone be bygone.. without Baygone (insecticide).. hehehe..

    I’m completly agree with you.. We are still in the top of the league.. As I predicted before.. We will still at the top before Chelsea’s game.. And now I predict that We will continue at the top and make our victory against Chelsea as our Chirstmas gifts.. the biggest ones.. hahahaha..
    Liverpoool’s fans may hope us to draw or loss.. but we won’t.. believe me we won’t..
    After Cardiff.. they must face City and Chelsea.. and we only will face WHU, NewC..
    So before New year come.. We will still at the top of the league.. hehehehe..
    And for CL.. Munchen is still along way to go.. We don’t know what will happen in 1,5 months..?? Maybe Suarez will be Gunners.. hahahaha.. And They were afraid of us.. hehehe..

    So.. Chelsea is our focus now.. They also afraid of us.. They don’t play their best team against Sunderland lastnight.. and they lost.. They also don’t think COC is their priority.. Mourinho see us as their big enemy.. hahahaha.. Walcott is back to his best.. Ozil will make more assist..
    Just hope Vermaelen can show us his solidity and cooperative with Mertesacker..
    And with Sagna and Podolski return.. We will be even better..

    Go gunners..

  13. jnyc says:

    I love that attitude!

  14. Gerry says:

    Dylan – I am in that camp of optimism too. It is a pity that so many seem to need reminding of it?
    You are a messenger of good news, and a positive attitude. Well done.

    It is all very well people thinking that we would have been 7 points clear if we had beaten Everton? We would wouldn’t be facing Bayern in the CL if we had gone out there to win? Not to mention having a strong rival 9 points behind us had we have won on Saturday? Perhaps reality sucks for them?

    I don’t suppose they noticed, but Everton are now in a CL spot after they won next time?. Napoli came out and won their match against Inter and regained 3rd spot? It does not really count that Man City went through their COC match with a reserve side, other than to emphasise that they bought that with money they did not earn, and why they were a lot brighter than us on Saturday?

    That final point is the real wake up message though. We cannot simply abandon everything that has brought about success, i.e. collective defending, in pursuit of winning. Although that does not mean we play Chelsea the way @Thierry, above suggests, as the Napoli game showed?

    The players are having their Christmas dinner today, so hopefully any frictions that came about in that game will be left far behind? Not that the Academy players rendition of ‘Silent Night’ might not bring about some acid comments, if the rehearsal posted by Tatum Moore is anything to go by? 😀

    In many ways it is a bit like the start of a ‘New Season’, and we have been given a handicap mark of +1 to our nearest rival, and even more to those we play over the next month. After a hectic pre-season, and a team bonding festive dinner, it is down to business once more. Even if it comes down to the same outcome as the ‘real’ opening game,and probably for the same negative refereeing reason? we still can have everything to play for, if we, the fans and team keep their nerve.

    The biggest change I would like to see is better use of our subs. You rightly point out that we have players coming back from injury, but with games coming thick and fast, the last thing we should be doing is rushing their return. You only have to see, that if they play one and miss one they are still face with two games in 6 days! i think the way we brought Walcott back, frustrating as it might have been for us on the sidelines, is the way to go? Every player can recover differently, as well as get more finesse to their fitness in training. Podolski will have experience on his side. AOC will have youth on his. But apart from how their different talents will have on the shape of the team, they both will have to have a period of integration. Lets us have the occasional half time substitution? Use the last half hour to give both players a rest, and bring on those recovering their sharpness. Even Walcott is not out of this bracket yet, at least imo, although his problem was not concerning his ankles, knees, or other essential bits that take a battering?

    The good news is, in a lot of positions we do have a good replacement. Nicky B looked a lot sharper last time, which is very good news Ollie, even to those who gave him a hard time before? Between Santi, Mesult, Theo, Aaron, Tomas, and the returning pair, we should be able to ‘cope’, even in the ironic sense, with the loss of Wilshere?
    Then it starts to get tricky … Arteta normally quite solid, but a needless red card shows what happens when things get stretched? Flamini too, has to be not far short of the ‘red zone’ if he is managing a problem? At some point Hayden needs to get some game time if he is the only other cover? I would like to see him alongside Per at CB to get the discipline he needs. I would like to see him get his positional sense from Arteta, and Flamini before he is needed at DM. The emphasis on ‘before’.
    Bar a double injury, I think we are okay with RB, and well covered at left back, despite criticisms of our last game, as that was a case of several players not being where they should have been? And GK we have Fab and Viviano, who, by all accounts made some great saves despite being on the losing side in his last outing.

    Then, as you say, we have the next transfer window to look forwards to, or not as the case may be? You just know copy writers have linked us to so many players, so even if we do get some of our targets, their will be a list of ‘Arsenal snubbed!’ posts everywhere. Be prepared, it is going to be a rough ride. I obliquely nailed down my preferences, no doubt many of you will have yours? The good thing is, if we only believe the direction of the ‘links’, we can be reassured that AW also knows the priority positions too.

    So yes D, at least five good reasons to be optimistic, and very satisfied with the team’s progress from last season …. even if it is harder to please some more than others?

    Oops, I have a double negative. Over 17HT’s word count, and his ‘expresso’ optimism
    🙄

  15. Gerry says:

    On a separate note. I do wonder about Maureen this time around? He publicly doubts one of his main striker’s ability – ‘Torres lacks killer instinct to get 25 goals a sesson’? – Whilst seeing us as a big threat, again publicly?

    Is he trying to launch an offensive to obliterate us? After all, his second team demolished us previously in the COC, and but failed next time to overcome Sunderlamd, after extra time.
    Notably, he rested Torres completely, along with John ‘He fell over’ Terry 😀 , and only brought on Hazard in the 83rd minute, much to his chagrin no doubt?

    One thing for sure, he will be hoping for a big response?

    Strange isn’t, despite our 6-3 loss, it is Chelsea who have their backs to the wall in the league, give they have not been convincing in many games this season? Which for their squad, reflects badly on the manager, and thus on Ab ‘the finger on the triigger’ vic?

    Gunners beware, with this well paid referee, it will be a bruising encounter?

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning FFGs 🙂

    Fine comments, especially Merry Gerry’s is a gem.

  17. geoffchase says:

    Hi Dylan et al

    First I’ve not commented much due to busy-ness in e extreme but also because I’m an optimist as well. Two points to add..

    1. The Oilers blow out almost everyone at home. It must be the musty air. WE on the other hand got 3 goals and were close on others and offsides… Ie we weren’t blown out as badly as many others there…

    2. When I ran ultra marathons, as well as before that as a football player, someone reminded me that “you can’t be in top form all the time” .. “There has to be a down period” … This is true within a game but especially true over seasons and cups. We have to expect some off games. We’ve had some too… And won! Against e northern Oilers, at home and very hot there, but strangely less so elsewhere… Well an off or even “not all on” day was going to be punished.. And it was, but not too too harshly all in all… In all…

    So, reasons to be optimistic, and reasons perhaps to understand.

    The really good news? Away to the Oilers would always be a very tough ask… BUT, unlike them and others we are winning and clean sheeting all those games we should be winning…

    Cheers — jgc

  18. Tapps says:

    Excellent article, and I agree with all points raised. I am certainly more optimistic than pessimistic.

    Furthermore, although the result at the Etihaad looks bad – and to listen to any commentators you’d think we were thrashed – we actually played quite well. Three clearly incorrect off-side decisions against us and a blindingly obvious penalty denied! I’m not suggesting that we should have won 7-6, but if any of those decisions had been made correctly, I believe the outcome would have been entirely different. I also believe the only reason we conceded six was down to tiredness. The guys looked mentally drained – and yet still opened up Manchester City with regularity.

    We WILL be back, and the title is ours for the taking.

    And it could be worse……. You could support that other North London club!

  19. Dylan says:

    Excellent comments guys! I wonder if we hit those important fixtures at a bad time? Knowing that we could afford to lose and stay top? Perhaps now with this Chelsea game we will see we have to win to stay top and do it? Just musings.
    Some excellent points made by Craig. We don’t necessarily have that hulk in the midfield. Flamini is the bite, and we have the cunning but we don’t have a giant like Yaya Toure is or Viera was.
    Also excellent points by Gerry. Injury recoveries are tricky but I think Wenger has learned those. This season it seems to be substitutions that are his issue, you are correct. I’ll be interested to see what he does with the Chelsea game (in terms of line up and such). I agree Nicky B has been fairly good lately, but I still think we need another striker. More on that later though. On a final note the one thing I disagree with you on is Hayden. I don’t see much potential in him. Then again, I could definitely be wrong. But I just don’t know if he has the skills. I would like to see another young defender come into the club in January (Montoya, Zouma, De Sciglio, etc). Someone who could play in the first team.
    Final note, a striker in Janaury is probably most important (or a winger like Marco Reus (who can play striker) or a true winger (like Di Maria or El Sharaawy) and we convert one of Gnabry/Theo/Podolski into a full time striker.

  20. Gerry says:

    Oh, come on fellas, you cannot let craig@1.13 think he is the master of the universe with that history lesson.
    A lesson totally written in hindsight, I might add.

    Let us see whether you are actually cleverer than Arsene Wenger, with a little more projection into the future, without knowing what has already happened. By all means, scribe another post as to the player is going to buy to add to the squad, and tell us why, because you know of the type of player he is preprogrammed to buy. Clever chap like you can do that can’t you? Tell us your prediction why we are going to fall into mid table mediocrity because AW is and aging has been, and just how you would do it differently?

    But do it now, not when you look back and say this and that player left, and not say who else was available to replace them, without prior knowledge of the oligarch revolution that change the landscape so dramatically and at a point where our resources were in the worst position to respond?

    I don’t suppose for one minute you have a look at Lyon, who won the French Lique
    title seven times in a row, and are now caught up in a very similar situation whilst trying to build a new stadium, and may be hard pressed to stay in the top 10 at the end of this season. You sneer at finishing 4th or better for the 17th season in a row, without any appreciation, or how hard that would be for any manager to achieve?

    You chide Ivan Gazidis’s statement of intent as being a flawed ideal. Yet it was barely 12 months ago when he made that statement, and he we are, in the first year of that two year plan, ToTL, and having bought one of the top midfielders in the world?

    History is easy to write about when you know what follows. Write your statement of intent and it might be worth a read?

    But I will not hold my breath…

  21. Gerry says:

    Dylan, I’ve got to dash. But the point about NB23 and Hayden has nothing to do with the TW. We have many games here and now to get through, okay?

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Dylan, thanks for the post AND the optimism. Lovely. Sorry about the lack of City girls. Hopefully all else goes well in Lake Effect-land…

    Like Dylan, we all *should* all be enjoying supporting our great club. As in all parts of life, it’s important to be critical and observant about the various elements and make adjustments accordingly. When it comes to Love Thangs…, if negativity is the overwhelming emotion, a break-up might be in order. If, however. your love is unconditional, staying appreciative and emphasizing the positives (even in dark times…) seems the better approach… For one so young, Dylan’s seems to have got it just about right…

    But that’s just me… What say the rest? It’s good to see many of the regulars echoing Dylan’s thoughts, esp. the busy professor and Gerry. What’s up with the Aussie crew and what do they say? I’m glad that Henry seems happy… Amongst the furry-folks, Fozzie seems sanguine but I wonder if the cockster will contribute his conundrums (found amongst the crumbs?…) from his couch-cowering… I miss our Highbury Harmony and thought Giroud’s frustrations in front of goal might bring him out. Finally, now that December 16th has passed, I’m really curious about the thoughts of our fearless leader, ToTL…

    Sorry if I forgot anybody. If Craig comes back I might do more than skim his cut and paste. Early on there’s something about this being our most disappointing squad. Towards the bottom I think he got around to saying that we need a new manager…French football and cultural misunderstandings seem at the heart of it all…maybe?…

    Of course, I’ve been knowm to write a few words myself and my thoughts about the City match (and the disappointing week) can be found throughout the 500+ posts on the last thread so no rehash for me. Overall, I’m happy we are where we are, but I do wonder about certain decisions in those three games. I’m also very curious how our manager will line us up for the important match with Chelsea and then rotate through the very tight festive period. Jose is already starting to talk of a more pragmatic approach after his boys threw away the league cup in the Northeast last night… A draw in our match would suit him, much as a draw (and replay) would suit whoever brings Spurs down to our part of North London for the FA cup tie in the match which will close our run of 5 in 12 days. Frankly, I believe we have the squad to win them all and just need that bit of luck and resilience to avoid the stumbles (and the crashes!) and overcome the various hurdles which will pop up along the way…

    And, if not, (or even if…) people can surely get themselves twisted up about the transfer window… One at a time, of course, but I’m upbeat. My hope is that (sooner than later) I’ll have to write one about not getting carried away… 😀

  23. James Bond says:

    Craig 🙂

    how are you ? been a while ehhhh, my old china

    i think what you really tried saying there was that the biggest ever mistake AW has made and still continues to do so is his choice of skipper ? and that we should have won the EPL in 2007/08, it wasn’t derailed because of that Ramsey injury but more due to AW’s biggest ever mistake – his choice of captain, it cost us back then and it continues to do the same or may even do so in the current season if the Armband is not given to the BFG ? – very positive criticism it would have been and very current, as opposed to you coming across as a “troll” copy pasting the same post to many other blogs, no doubt.

    I have kept it short because I don’t see you coming back here for more, hence R.I.P.

    Raul Gooner,

    valid valid point mate, i nearly forgot the great AFCON, ha

    there you go then, let’s see how they do in January then without their spine ( Kun, Z and Yaya)

    nice try @ FB 😆

  24. Fozzie B says:

    Come on JB ….. Sort the furry fellas a little bit please… Just one of your cryptic clues will be fine!! 😀

  25. James Bond says:

    Ah, yes yes @ Dylan

    the striker is the most important position to strengthen and guess what ? AW has known this from quite some time

    and now you would want to do an FB on me to press me on the subject, so i will gladly induldge without you having to threat me with a laser treatment, ha

    January 2013 = Bid for David Villa – but the Wank@ERLERs didn’t want to take our offer of £12 million at the time and instead sold him for like £2.75 million to a team that is now direction their rival and in the no.1 position (tied), they would have been no.1 had Costa not missed the penalty.

    so instead of selling him to us, they sold him to a direct rival for far less money, someone try to explain that to me , ehhh ? the height of stupidity , yet we keep on selling them players for X amount and in return we don’t have get half the cash paid up front and them owing us A WHOLE LOT in debt.

    Cavani bid – rejected.

    Summer time – Suarez, Ba – no go

    so that’s 2 TW’s and 2 utter failures to address the situation, it’s still not improved and has gotten worse in the sense that we are genuine title contenders this year and we could still win a double this season.

    will it be a case of being 3rd time lucky for AW ? – you betchya.

    2 targets again, and we remain confident of landing one.

    fingers crossed ehhhhh

  26. James Bond says:

    *The

    *directly their rivals

    and FB – behave yourself, good things come to those who wait, so wait a little bit longer.

    how’s your Chelsea mate doing, by the way ? no doubt , he will be well chuffed at his teams showing last night

    it was beautiful for me to watch – it also saddens me that due to our mental block we are unable to beat the big teams so far, it’s not due to them out doing us due to superior skills but it’s due to us gifting them silly goals…for example we lost to Chelsea in the COC due to us gifting the first goal, man utd due to a set piece and man city due to a lot of factors, both collective internal ones and external ones, beyond our control

  27. Fozzie B says:

    Nice one JB …. Lazer diverted for now!!haha but Cockie might take it up in moment when he has delivered his chilled revlon lippy consignment to Brighton!!
    I still don’t know why le prof didn’t try to get Villa in the summer!! I mean he wanted to come to us and we could have got him on the cheap! Sure we would still need to be looking for a marque player but he would have been ideal while we waited for that!
    JB … Are these 2 targets CL cup tied? 😀

  28. Fozzie B says:

    I haven’t spoken to Chav Kermit since being in Jamaica but I have met another who is still bullish about Monday night!! We’re going to find a sports bar to watch it 😀

  29. James Bond says:

    the ship had sailed in the summer and had been sailing around north of England, and when i say North of England, i mean both places that stink of sh*t and so on, yep, old toilet (man utd) and liverFOOL…

    yep, we were in for both Rooney and Suarez – we do know that 2 or 3 bids were made for Suarez, well there was another bid made for Rooney, believe it or not – I kid you not (sorry, 17HT).

    🙂

  30. James Bond says:

    that’s ok , his team will do well to finish 3rd again this season with another 50-70 million investment in the summer, where as we will be sitting pretty by the end of monday and in may when the season ends, no problemo

  31. Fozzie B says:

    JB …. My furry eyeballs are looking nearly as googly as Cockies!!
    Are these the same 2 you are talking about now? 😀
    Man I can’t see Ratatouille but I think he will go in the summer even if Liverfool are in top 4, and with RVJ agitating for a move, surely Shrek will not go as well?
    I really thought we wouldn’t even consider Shrek if we would pay him £200k a week?
    I read that we baulked at Cavanis wages at 135k a week which I think is a bargain!! I guess it’s tabloid talk … Hence I prefer JBs special sauce!! 😀

  32. James Bond says:

    wages are no longer an obstacle, and no it wasn’t about the wages of Cavani , that is incorrect, we made an offer of £30 million and so on.

    they wanted more money and they were dead sure that Man city will pay them silly money, as their boss at the time Roberto. M was promised Cavani , hence they let go Mario.B but then they got rid of the boss himself, hence Cavani went off to the highest bidder, in a 3 horse race in the summer – we didn’t go back in for him in the summer as the time to get him was in January, in hindsight, we should have upped it to £35 million up front cash and it may have been a different story.

    anyhow, it is what it is, sadly.

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    It is what it is…And we got Messy!…

    In truth, I don’t quite get what you’re saying about Giroud, 007, seems like he’s done better than expected and thus the pressure is off for getting a Higuain or (for the dreamers…) a Suarez (the non cup-tied prize…) or a Rooney, bids made in the summer (and laughed away…) notwithstanding…

    This next phase (it would seem to me) is about getting other would-be CFs into the fold and developing ways they can play with and without big Ollie. If we stumble I’d expect some Weng-juries and a desperation move of some sort for a striker (combined with the offloading of Bendtner)… If not, then I’d expect the combo of Poldolski, Walcott and Nicky B (and Yaya, haha…) to be our guys until the summer… Long term is always the Wenger way…And, besides, we might not have very many matches to play in the new year… 🙄 😯 If we were to get a forward I would expect an off-the-radar, one-for-the-future sort…

    Unless, of course, your sauce says something different… 😆 😉

    Everything will be different by the end of the first week in Jan… Here are the schedules… (Let’s win these 5, sign Sagna, AW, Per, etc., I say…)

    Arsenal: Chelsea H, West Ham A, Newcastle A, Cardiff City H, Spurs H
    Chelsea: Arsenal A, Swansea H, Liverpool H, So’ton A, Derby A
    Man City: Fulham A, Liverpool H, Crystal Palace H, Swansea A, Blackburn A
    Liverpool: Cardiff City H, Man City A, Chelsea A, Hull Tigers H, Oldham H
    Man United: West Ham H, Hull Tigers A, Norwich A, Spurs H, Swansea H
    Everton: Swansea A, Sunderland H, So’ton H, Stoke A, QPR H

  34. Fozzie B says:

    Yeah too true, maybr Ozil was the first of the “real money” deals where the gloves come off and we negotiate hard till we get what we want … Extra 5-10mill on Cavani/Suarez should definitely have been attempted! Lets hope that they’ve learnt their lessons!!
    Reading between the lines, I’m thinking Shrek is a possibility for Jan? 😀

  35. James Bond says:

    Jeez , FB – is Jamaica as boring as you are making it sound ? shouldn’t you be admiring the big boot* and big you know what i mean right ; ) listen to the voice of reason aka 17HT

    let’s win our next 5 matches, and let’s wait for an exciting January.

  36. Fozzie B says:

    Hi 17h, they way I look at it, Giroud was not brought as a direct replacement for RVJ, he was brought in to supplement him, hence we have gone for Rooney/Suarez/Cavani and I reckon he will go for SQ now for a striker. Yaya replaces Chamakh etc… We could get a loan player which will let the Danish Samurai go etc … 😀

  37. James Bond says:

    good to see you back @ JGC

    you were missed and without the JGC-Damus’s predictions, our team suffered.

    hope all is well with you and you can predict a good good scoreline for monday 😉

  38. Fozzie B says:

    What you on about JB? Jamaica is amazing!! I need to talk football when I’m relaxing no? MarleyKaze takes umbrage at your comments and is making frantic pointing movements towards the lazer!!
    Settle young one… I’ll let you turn him into pinhead later!!haha 😆

  39. Fozzie B says:

    And on that note I’m going “boring” diving … Laters muverrezzz!!

  40. James Bond says:

    ahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahahah

    i have been planning on visiting that part of the world since ages, cruises and what not, but it never actually materializes for some odd reason, anyhow , one day , some day ehhh

    agreed, the best way to spend a holiday is to be on a sandy beach, sipping a few and discussing footy

    Koc will be out for 2 weeks ? a blessing in disguise as he could do with a breather, me thinks.

  41. James Bond says:

    ah, i didn’t mean to send you away @ FB but enjoy your boring diving, if you need any diving lessons then i hear , Suarez is the best in the business, ha

    he did manage to get Paulinho a red card in that spuds game, btw.

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, the voice of reason will speak…

    We should not expect our bids to be accepted by other English clubs with Top 4 aspirations. The logic is that we cannot/will not meet the fee AND wage demands of the two silly money clubs. IF you’re content to sell to an English team, Chelsea and City are your first targets. United may pay over the odds too. They’re “all-in” with Moyes so I would expect big bids for Baines and Barkley (with moves completed in the Summer if he can get them up for top 4) and maybe a completed move for that Spanish fellow they fumbled (Herrera?)…

    Chelsea (esp. if they continue their struggles) may try to do something big in the window…City seem a great spot for a world-class keeper to go if he needs playing time before Brazil…(Emperor Cesar, for example…)

    The most interesting element would be if somebody (Real Madrid?) came in with silly money for Suarez, setting off another merry-go-round. If that were to happen then the English clubs might have a shot at Benzema. Who would be his preferred coach, his former (Jose) or the Frenchman (AW)?…Kroenke, I fear, would be hard pressed to over-bid Abramovich. He’d be cup-tied as it is… Mourinho, however might want to lay low on KB given that he’s not that good AND they’ve got Lukaku back in the Summer… 😯

    So, I dunno, and I wouldn’t expect too much (low expectations = key to happiness)…Value for money (regardless of position) seems AW’s MO (modus operandi, but also Mesut Ozil… 😀 )

    In the meantime, I have greater concerns about our underperforming MFs–Santi, Jack, Arteta (Flams?) and even Ramsey who hasn’t given us a 2 goal game for quite a while now…Some say the same even about Ozil, but for me he’s still settling and such a boost in quality as to make the others pale. We need all of them to start firing esp. given that we’ve been a bit leaky down the sides (in the FB spots)… Also, this run of matches is likely make or break time for the Captain, given the gash Kos got…

    Haha, I said gash…With Fozzie gone diving, I would expect Cockie on here soon, reminding us of the counterpoint to the kid’s (Dylan’s) optimism… 😆

  43. craig says:

    Wenger is poor during games. He rarely changes anything whether formation or substitutions (when he does it tends to be like for like). This is odd as there times when players and formations are needed to change in order to adapt to the game. Is it no surprise that Wenger has not opted to go to Italy or Spain where tactical manoeuvres are a big part of the game continually throughout the game. Listen to Mourinho talk of tactics in Italy and he says it was like a constant battle of chess with the other manager. Is Wenger capable of this thinking and adaptation?If Wenger is stubborn and refuses to change his ways and tactics then he is doing a disservice to the fans and players. If however he just does not know what to do, hoping that his players will figure it out then he should not be a Pro manager. A youth team coach may use this method, allowing his players to learn the game and solve their own problems. Yet this is not youth football, this is top level football which requires changes and an understanding of tactics.Does he change anything to suit the teams he faces? The United 8-2 contained no tactic or instruction, they should have sat deep and looked to counter, yet they were shockingly open, the defence like against  Milan appeared lost and confused as to whether to push up or sit back. His mentality appears to be “go out there and play”. This is not top level football. Do you think that Guardiola doesn’t alter his tactics? He is always moving players and adapting in the game, always configuring gameplans and styles to suit the opposition in order to win. Former Valencia coaches Unal Emery and Bielsa at Bilbao are tacticians who evaluate and make changes during games. These are masters of the game, you simply cannot put Wenger in this bracket, he simply lacks the talent and tactical knowledge to compete with these men. His signings have been questioned yet perhaps it is the way he handles these players more than the players theirselves; does he play them in the right places? Is he bringing in players who improve the team, recruiting players needed to fill positions or just buying prototype players that he likes and putting them in positions which don’t suit them? Tactical he has shown he relies on his players to make decisions instead of him. He lacks the ability to change style and formations when required. His 4-3-3 is too rigid, predictable and slow, lacking all the necessities for a successful 4-3-3- to work, yet he stays with it when he can’t break down a team. Why does he not try to play over the top, turn a team and get his players behind the lines. What once was a strong and fast counter attacking 4-4-2 philosophy has now become a predictable possession based formation lacking the guile, craft and speed to break through defences.Wenger can be accused of not having the right personnel for the style he wishes to play. He is to blame, it is his players, his tactics, his motivating skills which have resulted in a poor team with no guidance, lost as individuals and disjointed as a team. Wenger is not great, he has never been. It is myth that he is one of the best, he is now being found out and questions are finally being asked. He must accept he has failed as manager and must move upstairs and oversee the club. He should leave Arsenal at the end of the season if Arsenal is to challenge for anything in the future.

  44. James Bond says:

    ah , Craig, you have surprised me, i can’t believe my eyes…

    funny how you mention the 8-2 vs UTD, when it was us down to 10 men, RVP missing a penalty to make things very interesting, and us being a team who went out all guns blazing, if we didn’t have more attacks or shots on goals than them, then it wasn’t less either with 10 men.

    also, you mention tactics and how we play to a constant 4-3-3 , when was the last time you watched Arsenal play ? be honest, was it last year, sometime ? because i can safely in form you, that we’ve not played the 4-3-3 since a very long time, why ? because as you rightfully (or fluke fully) point out, we don’t have the right people (injuries) hence we have been playing a…4-5-1

    yes, he could do more with the surprise element, subs and formations, on some days – i’ll give you that one

    but no, he remains one of the worlds best , the proof is in the pudding and the pudding goes something like this – lost key players every year until now, yet has kept us there about’s on a consistent basis with minimal investment – yet, you look around and a team that spend £110 million is playing both toothlessly and blandly as they come, oh , they also got rid of their manager

    the season hasn’t ended, yet you want him to quit ? what if , he delivers the PL ? would you do a Pier Morgan or still look for reasons to slate him , just because you’re fed up of his suave charms, ehhh aka french stubbornness ?

  45. James Bond says:

    *inform

    agreed @ 17HT

    why would everton want to sell baines or barkley, if they sit pretty in the top 4 by the mid of jan- with man utd losing further ground ?

    Everton , don’t need to sell nor the player/players are keen to leave the club from what i’m gathering.

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Alright, Craig is back…And he likes to post long…This one I actually read. All one paragraph as well…

    What I took from it is “Wenger Out.” Which of the managers you’ve mentioned (or maybe one you haven’t…) should we get in?…It appears you prefer the foreign managers. Were we fortunate to avoid David Moyes, then? (I like Martinez and hope he can get some CL experience next year, but, on the other hand, AVB is suddenly available… 😯 )

    It IS a feature of this version of the Arsenal that the manager IS the club. As such we all have frustrations with the man, but some of us who respect him hope for the best. My advice to people who cannot stand him is to put the club to the side, spend your efforts and energies in happier pursuits and wait until his time is done. You’re probably a bit younger than the man, I would guess… Ideally, if you’re really flexible you can find one of our rivals to support…

    As to the content of your posts, if you feel you must continue…I think you need to dig a little deeper. Arsenal will change when the manager does but I wonder if it will be all positive as you suggest. There are a few structural issues in play as well that go even beyond HIS power.

    Finally, Craig, be careful what you wish for…Having a scapegoat for all ones troubles is awfully sweet and there can be a lost, unmoored sensation if the scapegoat disappears. Cheers. 😀 (Pardon the paragraph breaks…)

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bond, well done on the troll…Sounds like a little too much time playing the manager games… Shouldn’t there be a reflecting pool–with AVB’s face staring back–for all the guys who just say give me the money and I’ll buy the players?…

    Yes, Craig, I forgot to mention that a flag went up when you started going on about our possession play…I’ve seen plenty of Fat Sam tactics in all those long balls from Szczesny to Giroud…

    007, you misunderstood my take on the Jan transfer window re: Everton players…I think Moyes will be tapping up Baines and Barkley but not buying them until Summer, if at all (and dependent on their WC output)… “Interest” in January puts pressure on Roy to select them, as well. Martinez (who will battle Moyes and Rodgers for the 4th spot) will have quite a rebuilding project when his loanees go (in the Summer). Other players will be tempted to jump across to the other side of the greater Manchester area as well, I fear…

  48. AFC says:

    ahahaha 17, the first two paragraphs in your response to Craig is too funny. 🙂

    Hi guys, Dylan great post as always with 5 valid reasons. 🙂 A much needed post at this moment in time. As TA says we should wait until at least Febuary-March time until we start to judge the team and how well the team will do.

    Just the one paragraph from me 17. 🙂

  49. AFC says:

    * are too funny

  50. 17highburyterrace says:

    On that topic, just how much time does Moyes have at United? He signed like a 6 year contract so it will be expensive if they sack him, no? It’s not ideal that Rooney and RvJ drop hints about leaving. Also, what’s up with Danny Welbeck? He played well (back in the line-up)..at Villa. That one was too freaking early for me to get up for… (Finally, what a shame about Zaha, although I guess Chamakh wouldn’t have anywhere to play if Sir Alex hadn’t hoovered up the kid…) Is there any chance, Bond (others?), that some of these guys clawing for spots on the English team might be moving around? My hope (of course) is that Theo establishes his credentials as 2nd striker (along with your boy Wayne) by the time the tournament rolls around and that the Ox and Gibbs are taken too. 3 matches and a lengthy beach holiday will be good for the lads… 😀 And what about you and the beach vacation? Are you still planning on attending, James?

    C’mon AFC, the water’s fine… 😉 Who do you think we should we buy in Jan?… :man fishing from a boat: ….

  51. James Bond says:

    ah, in that case he can tap them all he likes, as in the summer, Everton might be in Europe and Man utd in an utter mess, why would you want to join a club that can’t offer you Europe 😀

  52. AFC says:

    JB, is the surprise of formation change really necessary? Remember we play total football meaning we are constantly changing formation throughout matches. I guess it boils down to whether Wenger makes the team play organised football where some players are in slightly rigid positions like at the end of last season (where change in formation is sometimes needed) or the free flowing football (where formation change isn’t as important ).

  53. AFC says:

    17ht, I’d just be happy is we could sign another defender preferably a young Zouma type CB. I cannot see a quality CF/ST or DM/CM coming in. The defender would help us this season and come next season, would not to settle.

  54. AFC says:

    down and be intergrated in the squad.

  55. James Bond says:

    we wouldn’t know if it’s necessary or not, until we’ve tried it, no ?

    4-6, be hardly a surprise anyway so to speak, as we have the right players for it now.

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    I know the question isn’t for me AFC but I think the key to our whole season will be pushing a 2nd guy into a forward spot and figuring out how those guys play with and without Ollie. I guess you could argue that it failed at ManCity, despite the three goals… I wish we had used it vs Everton and at Napoli… A key for me in the tougher matches, is having Santi in to help find Giroud and/or Theo… There’s a good article on the whole evolution of tactics and formations today from Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/dec/18/question-holding-midfielders-changing-role Maybe if you and I get our terms correct we can have some interesting (and civil…) discussions here… 😉

    Yeah, I’m concerned about the Sagna thing, knowing my unnatural love for the man (as Total has mentioned)… Like I said above, this next run of games is a big (and maybe final?…) chance for our Captain, TV5… We can’t really consider a run in the domestic cups without a (real) two man back-up in central defense, I think. You and I agree about issues at RB, too…

  57. Gerry says:

    17Ht – I think you got it right the first time re craig

    It is a cut and paste job written a while back. The first one is longer now because he keeps adding bits to make it sound original.

    I would bet the latest offering is at least 2 years old?

    Which is why he has not responded to any of my points.

    I bet he hangs around just waiting to for a bad result to come around? I would think it got recycled somewhere after the Villa game. This 6-3 was too good to miss, eh craig.

    Sorry feller, this is an Arsenal supporters site … try somewhere else eh?

  58. Gerry says:

    Sagna – £85k per week, 2 year deal = Sorted!

  59. James Bond says:

    yes, still planning as we usually have a very tough january at work, due to deadlines and what not – it would be nice to get it done and dusted, however, it’s not as straight forward as we want it to be a men’s trip but the ladies have other ideas, if you know what i mean, ha

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Gerry, Yeah, I feel bad for people who feel the need to write so much 😆 … So on that account, hopefully it was a cut and paste!…

    We need to hear from Total…While we’ve got a minute, I think the next topic is what our best 11 is (for winning matches, not drawing them…) and then how we can rotate to get through these 5 in 12 (days)… It’s a huge opportunity we’ve got, but banana skins (if not sheet ice…) makes it slippery. On that note, are studded snow tires an appropriate X-mas gift for one’s wife?…Or maybe a trip to Brazil is the way to go… 😀

    Of course, another topic might be about young Jack–Is he smokin’ hot or does he need to feck off for a bit? (This is a troll to try and get Total to contribute…) Perusing NewsNow headlines, a one match ban seems likely, which might help kick the question about best 11 down the road…(2nd part of the troll…Where are you, boss?) Looking for news of the Sagna contract, I see nothing…Info please…

  61. AFC says:

    17, really good article and thanks for pointing it out. 🙂

    So lets see, the author has highlighted the three different types of midfielders who can occupy the DM position. The deep-lying playmaker (regista) so our Arteta is the closest, the destroyer of which Flamini is the closest and the carrier (which is the box to box midfielder?) of which Ramsey is the closest.

    I think you want us to have two carriers in occupying the DM position, like Yaya and Fernandinho do, who can make runs in the box. Playing Flamini and Ramsey in the middle means you get your wish as Flamini can play the carrier as well as the destroyer. However if Wenger plays Arteta (who plays the deep-lying playmaker role) he must play Flamini next Arteta as a destroyer or we could be left too open?

    Agreed on Santi as the guy who can be the 2nd guy in a forward spot behind Giroud. I would say Podolski could also be this guy.

  62. Gerry says:

    Sorry to confuse you. The Sagna thing was what I think will swing it?

    Half way between the £100k he asked for, and the £70k offered

  63. Gerry says:

    Yes AFC, I read it too, He missed out our formation at any goalkeeper pass out.

    The 2 CBs; the two DM; the 2 wingbacks + a floating box2box; 2 creative MFs + deep lying striker.

    Try fitting that into your 4-3-3 @craig?

    Note: the floating box2box player is you Rosicky type – AM who comes back to collect the ball.

  64. AFC says:

    Gerry, I would like to see us try a 1-4-2-3 with a sweeper. Verm as the sweeper, Kos and Mert as CBs, Gibbs and Sagna as wingbacks, Ramsey and Flamini as box to box midfielders, Walcott and Podolski as wingers and Giroud as the deep lying striker. This would allow more freedom for Gibbs, Sagna, Flamini and Ramsey to get forward and join the attack.

  65. James Bond says:

    ROONEY INJURED – Stoke v Man Utd (1945 GMT)
    Big news from the mouth of David Moyes: “Wayne Rooney is injured.”

    When asked if he will be fit for the festive season, he answered: “We hope so.”

    No Rooney and no Van Persie?

    wink wink @ FB

  66. AFC says:

    JB,

    Liverpool might get the 4th place trophy this year…

  67. James Bond says:

    you reckon @ AFC

    i doubt it, and have Everton ahead of them, bear in mind, they have finished higher than liverFOOL for 2 or 3 seasons in a row now, and this time round, they have a much better and fluid squad plus a tactically brilliant manager.

    4th place is up between Everton, liverFOOL, man utd and Spuds (yuck).

    i have liverFOOL down as 5th in my predictions, but you never know how it all pans out , will be interesting none the less, as i was sick n tired of fighting for the 4th place trophy from god knows how many years, that this team has made me dream again, mainly due to our back 4.

    did you know that, whenever the back 4 of Sagna/Gibbs/Koc/Per have started, we haven’t lost a game ?

  68. The Cockie Monster says:

    Evening Dastardly Dick Dashers 😆

    Thanks Dylan, a splendid post for the optimists !. 🙂
    However, I`m not one of them ( it`s only an Arsenal thing ! )……I was convinced we would go the whole season in 2004 undefeated !…….but not win the league because of too many draws !. hahaha
    So I shall give my opinion to the 5 points.

    1) Only until Saturday and Sunday !.

    2) Great having players come back…especially The Ox !, but we all know a couple of injuries is just around the corner with our record !.

    3) This is unchartered territory !…………….having spent a record amount on Ozil, will he (Dafty) oblige again and who is definitely actually available of SQ ?.

    4) I`d expect nothing less of all our players wanting to win and so should any team !.

    5) I see it more like 3 games we`ve lost !. The old rule of thumb was you cant loose more than 6 to win the league !. Although in the last 8 years that has dropped to an average of 5 !, I have discounted going back to 10 years as that would have inc` Arsenal`s invincible`s and Chavs one loss the year after !. So looking back 8 years, history tells us we can only afford to lose 2 more games !.
    The likely hood of that is shown in my link !.

    I thought I was on a porn site earlier with comments about ” Gash ” and ” Diving ” !. hahaha
    Someone said ( sorry I cant go back through all the comments to say who ! ) there is a African Nations Cup this winter and City will lose players !. I`m sure your wrong….they have just had two back to back ones so it didn`t clash with next years WC !.
    Anyway, so, sorry to put a dampener on the optimistic post, but my logic comes from history ! and to use my regular excuse that we are currently 4 points worse off against like for like opponents from last season , a season that we only scraped into 4th with 73 points !. I`m sure some will be able to calculate what total we are currently heading for on that logic !. hahaha
    We could pin it back to 1 point worse off with a win against the Chavs !, but see my last link for my thoughts !. hahaha

  69. James Bond says:

    that was me mentioning city losing players and so on @ Craig

    🙄

  70. Then you shall be made to wear the inverted Porcupine loin cloth !. hahaha

  71. James Bond says:

    ahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahha

  72. Dylan says:

    I have to disagree now Craig. Wenger out would be a nightmare. He has a long term plan and always has. He understands the modern game like few others and knows how to adapt as it changes. The only issues he has is the occasional slip up with substitutions/rotation. Although sometimes it works out (ex. Bendtner starting vs Hull). Let’s have faith in AW. Firing managers is not the way to go. And when he does step down lets pray for the club to go to a worthy manager (fingers crossed for Klopp).
    As for transfers, I think the list is fairly simple.
    January:
    Lewandowski precontract
    Montoya precontract
    Buy Zouma

    Summer:
    Buy Draxler
    Buy Reus
    Buy Gundogan or Lars Bender

  73. Fozzie B says:

    Evening Frozen Flesh Flute Fondlers from far, far away 😆
    So I was I come off the boat from diving (not muff Cockie …. Sea diving:lol: )
    I was looking up and could see something shining and waving at me!! I thought that it must be MarleyKaze waving something shiny to get my attention! I immediately felt a wave of compassion wash over me and I couldn’t wait to see my new best mate. So I’m walking along and as I get closer to the dive hut … I could see it definitely was MarleyKaze. As I got closer I was astonished to see he was holding onto a to a little knife and fork with a napkin tied around his neck!! 😆
    Little bastardo was waiting for me!!! His lunch!! Haha!! Such a loveable yet lethal companion!! Haha!!! 😆

  74. Gerry says:

    AFC – Nice try, wrong sweeper? That would be Kos, as that is what he does already?

  75. Hahaha Fozzer !
    Thanks for the holiday snap !.

  76. Gerry says:

    So Dylan, you are going to stick with Bendtner through to May then?

  77. Got to give it to Vics……he has a top sense of humour !.

  78. Fozzie B says:

    JB … You reckon both Rooney and RVJ will be leaving in jan? It does seem too much of a coincidence that both are “injured” suddenly before the Tranny window? 😀
    Shrek to Arsenal .. Can’t see Manure letting that happen or do really rate out chances this time?

  79. Fozzie B says:

    Ahahahahaha Cockie!! Fantastic snap!!:lol:

  80. James Bond says:

    curiosity kills the cat @ FB

    ah, and let me tell you a secret – i don’t like cats 😆

  81. Fozzie B says:

    Don’t worry with inverted porcupine loincloth and a angry MarleyKaze … The pleasure is all mine! 😆

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    Weather troubles up there in Stoke… I’m sure Rooney is fine. He’s just a bit Moyes-rible having to play with RvP… Speaking of the tranny window… Maybe the manager has sent them out together today in a bonding session–perhaps checking out the better brothels of the Greater Manchester region…We should send Cockie out to join them, bad attitude and all… 😀

    As I’ve said before, I think this season will be more transitional than most and the various point totals will be lower. As such, the value of a draw will be higher…Another reason nobody should count out Mourinho…and another reason a result in our next one is critical. Chelsea, City or Pool have to drop points by dint of playing one another as we cross into the 2nd half of the season. Top of the table isn’t good enough for cockie now and it probably won’t be at that point either. 😦 I’m with Fozzie… It’s all about having fun and enjoying life…MarleyKaze all the waze, I saze…

    And with that said, I have to shove off…The wife wants her snow tires early, if you know what I mean… 😀

  83. Fozzie B says:

    MarleyKaze also has some jalapeño Reg gay sauce of his own for where the sun don’t shine!!! You will be doing a lot screaming between the trees!! Haha 😆

  84. Fozzie !……… when cutting the grass in the summer I get bitten a lot by horse-flies which incurs a large swelling and itching !….apparently mozzies do the same, so just go au-natural and by the end of the day Mrs P will be very pleased to see you !. Just get MarleyKaze and a few of his mates to gang bang your Hampton !. hahaha
    VCC prefers a wasp sting for the same desired effect and has an ingenious way of doing so without getting stung anywhere else !………he covers his knob in jam and sticks it out through the letter box in his hallway and the wasps do the rest, all to because of his wife`s demands !………well that the excuse he gave to the police after the girl guides came around knocking on his door trying sell cookies !. hahaha

  85. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Evening Bergkampesqueres

    Excellent stuff Dylan. The most important thing to be happy about is that your a Gooner. We should all count our blessings, anything else is a bonus.

    I am never negative about Arsenal. Great club, great history, and great future.

    People like craig are not well. I had a mate who cracked up, ended up up in Friern Barnet Mental Home. When I went to visit him he demanded the staff remove me because “hes come to do me, hes a psychopath”. I said, “No Will, your the Psycho, not me. Thats why youve just had an enema and are frothing from your mouth as well as your arse”

    He went crazy at that and started shouting “Nurse Nurse, help help, he wants blood”. I couldnt beleive the cheek of this geezer “After your blood Will? Leave it out mate, your the blood sucker.Ime just hear to collect that £400 you owe me. Whats money to you now anyway? By the end of the week you will probably believe your Napoleons son, Phil Taylor the darts player”

    Suffice to say I never got my £400. The last I heard about Will was that he had gone to the island of Elba were he is plotting to invade Europe by chucking darts at everyone.

    One hundred and Eighty, hey craig?

  86. Fozzie B says:

    Haha!! Nice one Cockie!! I know you would get a sardistic pleasure from knowing my Hampton was in its very own Mozzie gang bang!!! Would it count if I told you u left half my bum cheek out last night and I now look half hippo?? 😆 I swore I could hear a bit of Marvin Gaye when I woke up!! 😆
    When I challenged MarleyKaze in the morning he couldn’t help smacking his chops … “Booty fill!!” He reckoned!! Haha 😆
    Stretch nice to see you tried to get your dough back… It just so happens that Cockie and I frequent these places often…. On a purely consultative basis!! 😆 last time it was to help the smart bed salesman who turned up in their white uniforms offering “the best sleep known to man!” 😆

  87. VCC says:

    TCM 20:26…….I had that done last Summer after having the cannon tattoo on my shoulder blade.

  88. On the face of it, Stretches £400 given to his mad mate could be perceived in the same manner as the UK government bank rolling Al-qaeda !.
    Stretch…the terrorist funder !. hahaha

  89. Yes Vic`s, but you also had…”Britain is Full ! ” tattooed on to your arse, but that didn`t stop a few Bulgarians and Romanians trying to enter illegally !. hahaha

  90. James Bond says:

    ahahahahhahahahahahaahhaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhah

  91. Just shows how important the COC is !…..the Spuds lost to the Hammers 2-1 at home and it`s hardly mentioned on any Arsenal blogs !…..they are sinking so low that they are just being dismissed with a nonchalant wave of my cock !. hahaha

  92. AB says:

    Evening BKers. Have to drop a quick line after enjoying the Spuds result, and now reading the Craig lines. Who is this geezer? Reminds me of whoever runs the ‘arsenal truth’ site. But what a bizarre time to be out slagging off Wenger for all his failings – when we are top of the league and playing pretty consistently well?! We are not the finished article for sure, but a mighty promising work in progress, mostly built on youth and talent developed by one Arsene Wenger.

    Nobody has to follow Arsenal if they don’t wish to, and it clearly pains Craig more than it does inspire’ Craig, my simple advice is do something different mate. For me, Wenger has plenty of flaws, as does anyone who follows a clear set of principles. But he has brought us the best football the premiership has ever seen, and managed to raise the stature of a club even with the history of Arsenal. And when he does go, at a time of his choosing I hope, he will leave us as a global football powerhouse, with a reputation for quality football, and with a combination of finances and values that should set us well for the future. When that day comes I will toast his achievements and mourn his passing. And I hope I give the new manager a good run of support.

    And while we reflect on what we might wish for, lets not forget a certain local team that have just spent £110M on players and now have just the opportunity (again) to choose the sort of manager that Craig wants us to have……… Nah, I will stick with the Arsenal thanks!

    Night all. COYG!!!!!!!

  93. James Bond says:

    Craig, my old china – don’t let these disillusioned folks peg you back 😆 clearly, you are very knowledgeable .

    tell me, what are your thoughts on Sczny @ Craig

    👿

  94. Fozzie B says:

    On a side note did you guys see the fancy dress got the lads Crimbo? I got to admit for earning 60k plus a week those costumes looked like the came from Poundland!! At least they got a few brewskis in for a bit of RnR as JB wanted!! 😀

  95. Dylan says:

    Thanks TMHT! Interesting to hear about your crazy Napoleon-like mate. 😉
    Gerry, exactly. Nicky B will due for now.

  96. geoffchase says:

    All

    A busy break, as it were, … some thoughts with a few references to our favorite 007 agent and others as we go further. Ie JB, I think you are best placed to work with “c” below! 😈

    So:

    a. We sometimes already play 4-6 even with OG when he comes way back and Ozil or others overlap him…

    b. Strikers and who to buy. I like Dylan’s list but wont the Bundesliga complain if they have no players next year? 🙂 … I think we need a top class one to complement OG, but who from a wide list doesnt fuss me too much. I am hopeful for someone solid to very good possibly in January

    However, JB has made the point, which I interpret a little differently, that you can make lots of bids but if you arent successful for whatever reasons outside your control (i.e. a team holds out to get even more from PSG…) then it is what it is. There have to be 3 willing partners in these deals and often only 2 arrive it seems.

    c. Concerning our friend Craig, well I dont read them as the one paragraph “speed rant” is a sure sign that the government conspiracy is working as the tin foil cap is not working as intended. Dont believe me? see:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20130307180428/http://berkeley.intel-research.net/arahimi/helmet/

    So, no tin foil cap reading pour moi!

    d. It will be very interesting to see the response against the Chelsea folk. I think we will respond well. I see Per et al as having a lot of pride and 6 is not good for the pride… Expect some tightening for the Chelsea boys, and thus the reason for Maureen to butter everyone up with a “we’re the underdogs” whine, for which I expect to see him use the COC loss as further proof of his contention…

    And finally, someone called for the ‘damus…

    e. The mind is quite blurry with work for various reasons, including moving buildings due to earthquake damage repair. But, thinking (or “tin-king”?!? 🙂 ) hat on (pause….) says:

    Arsenal 2-1 over Chelsea at home, one to AR and one to Walcott, Ozil to assist one, Per to be mad at giving up another goal. I could also see 1-0 to the good guys too…

    cheers — jgc

  97. ProudGooner says:

    I am not a fan of rotation, i think we should put out our strongest team ness we play a weaker team or a player really needs a rest. Just thought i would put my imo out there lol.
    I am always or more then not optimistic.
    There were positives to be taken from the oilers match, most be Theo and never say die attitude.
    I hope that Theo or Podolski or both can really find some devourstating goal scoring form once fully fit and firing on all cylinders there is no reason why not + Sanogo i have big hopes for him if he can stay fit. These 3 players can really push us on, but i still really want another huge signing in Jan and that is of course another striker. We know Wenger wants 1 he has made that clear by going after Suarez and Higuin . So surly it is just a case of will the clubs we want to buy of sell i am sure 1 will so that is something to look forward too.
    In Arsene we trust !
    COYG do the chavs!

  98. Gerry says:

    JB – Lowering your sights to get support, eh? -@22.44

    I read his little rant a second time, and he did say we have a good back 5, but not world class, Hence he is not contradicting himself when he said we are short in all positions.
    I think that is an example of damning with faint praise?

  99. Gerry says:

    I have a couple of hours to rattle off a quick post, okay.

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning FFGs 🙂

    Gerry, I will issue your post this morning, but if you are writing a more urgent one, please let me know.

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic finding that picture of MarleyKeze so quickly was impressive. Suspiciously quick me thinks…

  102. Gerry says:

    TA – You have mail?

  103. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post 🙂

    A great analysis of the factor of fatigue in sports and its impact on our team lately. Top stuff from merry Gerry. 🙂

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