2013-14 Arsenal BUMPER Season Re-Cap – Don’t Miss it!

Opportunity Squandered or Progress Made?

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With the FA Cup victory almost a week old it seems time to ask these and other questions about the season just completed.  Pardon the length of this post and the lack of bullet points to guide those who might not want to read it all.  I’m still buzzing from the lifting of the FA Cup even if it was a faith-testing, come-from-behind experience on the day.   One for the (positive) memory banks, too…

Arsenal players celebrate with the FA Cu

But that’s just the final match of the season.  How do Gooners feel about the season as a whole? 

In my opinion this past season presented a real opportunity with managerial changes at Chelsea and both Manchester clubs, as well as a recalibration with our neighbors to the immediate North, who had pushed us in recent years for our Champions League place.  (Spurs were losing their best player, but they were also spending the money from his sale even before it was finalized.)  As such, nobody could quite be sure WHAT was going to happen.   We had to expect that all these teams would be strong but we also hoped that Arsenal would be in the mix.

Of course, with the summer winding down, the press (and management) blaring on about our “money to spend” and only a young player (Sanogo) in on a free transfer, it was all up in the air as the season kicked off.  Luckily it was an easy one on a sunny August day.  LOL.  When that match ended, in a 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa, it appeared even the air was gone.  Certainly, any momentum or positivity from our strong finish the year before eroded in an immediate tidal wave of dissatisfaction and doom.   The ship was righted somewhat, with convincing wins in the CL qualifiers, and another free signing of a guy we knew had quality (Flamini), and in a gutty home win vs Spurs, practically on the eve of the transfer deadline.  The really big move, bringing in Mesut Ozil in a transfer deal more than doubling our previous record came the next day making the first break for internationals more than bearable.

Since then we’ve seen so much.  In the Autumn we dominated our (not so difficult) early season league schedule, made it through “the group of death” (with both some stunning and naive performances) in the Champions league and watched a few players, notably Aaron Ramsey, make some marked improvements.  Ozil brought a certain level of pace and precision to our game which augured well.  Unlike in previous years, we weathered the early storm and found ourselves top of the table as others had much slower starts.

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As the “darker days” of Late Autumn and Winter came, we suffered some set-backs, going out meekly in the league cup in our stadium and losing to a very disjointed Manchester United team.  We also suffered our first “big loss” to a title rival, a 6-3 defeat at Manchester City which shook confidence.  The congested “Festive Period,” saw us regroup with a solid home nil-nil in ugly weather against even uglier (and very cynical) Chelsea team.  From there, even though we were winning our matches, we lost key players Theo Walcott to a season ending knee injury (after having already missed a couple of months due to another surgery) and Ramsey to a muscle problem.

20 weeks of holiday, at least! :)

Those two injuries would prove crucial, the latter because it was supposed to be short term but went on and on, and the former because he was not replaced in the January transfer window. “Internal” attacking solutions–Poldolski, Sanago and Bendtner, though offering a measure of promise, never truly brought what Theo might have in the biggest matches and most critical moments.  At least we never suffered (much feared) injury to our big man up front, even if his off-field antics hit the press at the very worst of times.

For a big player, who relies on power and has far too many head in hands moments, we still wouldn’t have guessed that Olivier Giroud’s worst would come when he was exposed in a very different manner.  The underwear shot (a photo tweeted by a woman who was not his wife) proved nothing, argued Ollie, but many would say the same about some of the shots he takes on the pitch.  That its release coincided with our first period of brutal fixture congestion (Sanogo started critical FA Cup and Champions League matches) made it far less comical.

Does Thierry know what Arsene's plans for the summer are? :)

Still, we got through against Liverpool (who, earlier at Anfield, had handed us perhaps our worst defeat of the season, a 5-1 loss which featured 4 goals conceded in twenty minutes) and we looked bright early vs Bayern Munich.  Ozil’s penalty miss and having to play with 10 men (after Szczesny was lured into fouling the floppiest bald man in the world, Arjen Robben) was a killer.  Losing two-nil and knowing that the holders would not make the same mistake two years in a row in the return leg, was another crushing blow.

Additionally, Ozil’s miss created a firestorm of bad press for the record signing.  Manager Arsene Wenger attempts to rest him–vs Sunderland, but more critically at Stoke City–backfired, when, in his absence, our offense stuttered and we lost the latter match.  Ironically, in the 2nd leg at Bayern we would lose Ozil to a hamstring injury suffered 2 minutes in and likely made worse by soldiering on through the entire first half.   Although we had advanced to the FA Cup semis (and then had the great fortune of seeing Wigan defeat Manchester City after we had drawn the winner), our league chances, given all the injuries, seemed tenuous at best.  We got past Spurs at White Hart Lane, holding a 1-nil lead (secured by a Rosicky belter) for 90 minutes.

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But then, in Wenger’s 1000th match at the club, our title hopes were crushed in a 6-nil defeat to Chelsea.   Beyond the horror scoreline and the comedy element (Kieran Gibbs was sent off for Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain’s early handball on the goal line–on a shot going wide!?!), we also lost another player to injury: our best defender, Laurent Koscielny.

The injuries and the psychological devastation of the Chelsea match (on top of the other away losses on big scorelines) led to consecutive home draws against Swansea City and Manchester City.  By this time, our squad was a shadow of itself, both in confidence and available, match-fit, personnel.  In a final blow, we traveled to Everton, got soundly beaten there and dropped below them and out of the Champions League places.

Many Gooners were calling for the head of Arsene Wenger, who noted (in a French interview) that with all the injuries, his team was “only average.”  With Kim Kallstrom as our only January signing, on loan from a Russian club, and having made only a minimal contribution due to fitness issues of his own, there was plenty of hindsight, most of which put the manager squarely in the cross-hairs.

Luckily, at that point, the schedule got easier and this “average” team did enough to win their remaining matches.  At first it wasn’t pretty, with the darkest moment coming at Wembley, as we came within 10 minutes of being eliminated by Wigan in the FA Cup semi, before beating them in a penalty shootout.  From there, we secured 4th place with relative ease as Everton struggled with a far more difficult schedule.  In fact, we ended up 7 points clear of them, the exact number we finished behind eventual league champions, Manchester City, who couldn’t beat Liverpool at Anfield.  Unfortunately for them, ‘Pool couldn’t contain Chelsea in their home ground nor hold a 3 nil lead at Crystal Palace, and, in essence, handed the title back to the Sheik and his Citizens.  All we could do, however, was win our remaining matches and watch from the sidelines of the mathematically eliminated…

It all culminated in the FA Cup final, a microcosm of both our frailties and our strengths.  Playing a goal-keeper (Fabianski) and a defender (Sagna) who were winding their contracts down in order to seek greener pastures, we started in a stupor and fell behind by 2 goals, only avoiding a 3rd, when wisely placed Kieran Gibbs used his head in another manner to clear a looping attempt which had Fabianski well beaten.  Fortunately, the smallest player (with the biggest heart?…) Santi Cazorla took the team forward, won a foul and converted the resulting free kick. The comeback was on.  Goals by Koscielny (risking injury as he scored it) and Ramsey, the season’s most stunningly improved player (and perhaps its best?), and we (finally) have our trophy.  The joy amongst the team, the manager and the Gooners who had all stayed the course was fantastic.

Arsenal's English midfielder Jack Wilshe

Now what?  How do we kick onwards and upwards? 

In my opinion, despite the struggles of the season (cheers for actually reading the synopsis for those who did…) we have much we can take from it.  There is great potential in the squad up and down the pitch.  Moreover, as a team, we have shown a certain level of resolve and focus.  The clean sheets and solid results against the lesser teams were the best in England.  Obviously, we had huge stumbles, especially in away matches to the other top teams.  Still, the “team,” at its core, is as solid as I’ve seen it for years with more upside than down.  We did not, again, in my opinion, “over-perform” this season and thus, if the spirit stays intact, we should improve.  Of course, our rivals will be trying to do likewise but that’s another matter entirely.  While I believe our greatest asset is our work as a unit, it being the close-season with the torture, er, transfer window unofficially open, an examination of the current squad, position by position is in order.

Keeper:  Wojciech Szczesny gained another season of experience and showed great focus to compile the incredible statistic of 20 clean sheets in all competitions (22, if you include the two CL qualifiers).  Yes, he still makes mistakes with the Red Card + Penalties vs Villa and Bayern standing out.  Nonetheless he commands his area well and makes most of the saves you would expect him to make.  He may well have benefitted from the consistent push of his countryman, Lukas Fabianski, whose contributions in the FA cup run were nothing short of outstanding, even if he might be somewhat faulted for the leakiness early (and the moment of insanity late on) in the final.  While I would love to retain him as a more than capable #2, I don’t begrudge his decision to seek first team football elsewhere.   Of course, he will need to be replaced.  We should be able to afford an older, very experienced keeper who might be happy to help Szczesney on the finer points of his game while being more than ready to deputize if necessary.  Damien Martinez, as our youth team keeper has perhaps shown enough to deserve promotion to the first team as our 3rd choice?

Defence:  Obviously, losing Bacary Sagna will be a major blow.  What a professional and what a servant to the club.  Additionally, he essentially held down two positions.  As such, we will need to buy (or promote) at least two players to replace him.  Players like him simply cannot be replaced in a like for like fashion.  A senior right back seems essential unless we really trust Carl Jenkinson and/or Hector Bellerin.  Additionally our style of play will need to change given that Sagna was such an accomplished header of the ball.  It could, however, be an opportunity for a pacy player of great stamina, one who can get forward on offense and circle around the tall (but not so mobile) presence of Mertesacker at the defensive end.  In many ways, I think, replacing Sagna sucessfully will be one of our greatest challenges but also one of greatest opportunities.  Given Wenger’s desire to have as many “footballers” in the squad, the huge hole Sagna will leave could actually be seen as a chance for several players to make their mark.

Central defense is as solid as it’s been in years.  The partnership of Mertesacker and Koscielny is the best in the league.  The back up of Captain Vermaelen is troublesome, but also reassuring, given that so many of us thought he was the best defender on the team just a couple of years ago.  Injury problems have hurt him, but he’s been a model professional.  That he can also play left back, where our first options have injury issues of their own, makes him even more valuable.  Still, I expect him to be the subject of endless transfer speculation and he might be one leaving the club.  A younger, more speculative prospect, especially one who has played a bit as a defensive midfielder, might also be seen as a positive change.

Kieran Gibbs, when he’s not hurt (or being sent off for another player’s handball…) seems firmly established as our first choice left back.  He’s got great pace and athletic ability and his defensive positioning and offensive contributions are improving over time.  He seems one who, if he could have a full season injury free–and this season was closer in that regard–might really take a major step up in quality.  Ignacio “Nacho” Monreal, who is perhaps more comfortable on the ball than Gibbs, is an able back-up.  At times, Nacho appears a bit lacking athletically (in comparison to the “sneaky” athleticism Gibbs possesses) but also has some sly moves.  I particularly admire his high-angle pull backs when he drives forward, but think he might need to put away his full turns (away from the attacker and the ball) at the defensive end as they (sometimes) leave him trailing his man and badly out of position.  If we can retain Vermaelen, who brings real defensive stoutness (but is not as much as a typical touch line runner going forward) this position seems very well covered.

Midfield:  This is our obvious strength–an embarrassment of riches to the point of begging the question of how we keep everybody happy.  There is also a question about our ability to use our possession game to protect our back line, i.e., is there trouble at the back?  Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain (or is he a forward?) Arteta, Flamini, Diaby.  Wow, it’s a mouth-watering bunch of names, but it’s also a group which had more than its share of injury troubles.  Additionally, the guys we assume would lay back and protect our defensive line are not getting any younger.

Many feel that we need reinforcement at “defensive midfielder” and I would agree.  However, I also think that Wenger doesn’t look at it this way and wants his deeper lying mids to bring great skill and composure on the ball, rather than act as the prototypical “beast” many desire.  Mikel Arteta’s physical limitations will only become more glaring as age does its inevitable thing.  Still, trying to replace or complement him with a more physical presence, if he doesn’t bring similar on-the-ball skills, can be a double edged sword.  The initial contributions of Flamini (especially his vocal organization of the players in front of him) seemed very welcome, but the loose tackles hurt us as the season wore on and he never seemed the sort of player who could keep things “ticking over.”  Abou Diaby has the height and (as I recall) the ball skills to be a great contributor in this part of the pitch, but even discussing him, given his injury record, seems as thinly naive as his ankles.  As such I would expect every deep-lying mid in world football to be linked with a move to Arsenal this Summer, though I would also suspect that this is an area where Wenger might gamble on players staying fit, performing above expectation or (even) slotting in a player who is more nominally a defender.

He could also do likewise by (nominally) moving players back.  Wilshere, Ramsey and Oxlade Chamberlain have all taken turns, usually alongside Arteta, in what some observers label a double pivot.  Again, I don’t think Wenger views it in this manner, and would prefer a group of 5 midfielders (3 central, 2 who start on the touchlines as wingers) changing position freely and covering spaces for one another.  In moments when it works, it positively buzzes.  It can, however, lead to periods where we struggle against deeper lying teams and leave ourselves open to trouble on the break (and those freak scorelines against the better teams).  Ball retention, i.e., possession and pace of play are everything in Wenger’s approach and a stable group (fewer injuries) seems essential.  Overall, however, the players we have, I believe, perhaps with the exception of Arteta and Rosicky, are ALL poised to have more productive seasons.  Wilshere, Ozil and Ramsey looked very good but also had injury issues and trouble in the biggest matches.  I expect their output (assists and goals) to increase.  Santi Cazorla, expected by many to step into the #10 spot and make up for the output of those three, was a disappointment to many, but I see him as a guy whose true genius sparkles in filling the holes (on the pitch rather than the team-sheet).  With his range of passes (and shots) he needs teammates occupying defenders because he’s simply too small (and lacks that real burst of acceleration) to get away on his own.  I may have too much faith in the little Spaniard, who is also approaching the big 3-0, but I think his output (goals and assists) could go up the most of any of our midfielders.

Attack: obviously, this is an area of worry but also one of some serious promise.  Losing Theo Walcott was a massive blow as many expected him to kick on from his previous (and best) season with a 20 goal (or more) contribution.  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with maybe a touch less pace (but a lot more touch…) is also an extremely promising player who can be very direct and loves attacking the box.  Both guys, if they can just get a bit calmer in their finishing could go from (near) zero to (super) hero.   Serge Gnabry also appears to have a real eye for goal and a desire to work on his complete game and is still only 18 (!)  We should expect greater contribution from him as well.

This past season, however, Olivier Giroud had to carry the load.  He did quite well, especially against the lesser clubs racking up impressive numbers (22 goals) and showing a tireless ability to wear down defenders (in opposition to his annoying time-wasting antics feigning injury on the turf).  His younger French counterpart, Yaya Sanogo, also contributed, in a somewhat similar manner, even if he has (still) yet to score his first Arsenal goal.  Size matters in English football and those guys are targets at set pieces.  Not quite as big (unless you count his smile…), Lucas Poldolski brings so much experience and one of the most powerful left boots in world football but remains a puzzle.  When he scores he’s brilliant, but he also looks out of place as a total footballer.  He seems to enjoy drifting deeper and helping out with the possession work, but also appears a step slow in that part of the pitch.  Closer in, his striker instincts (to shoot or cross) seem positive but not always in-sync with his teammates.  Is it a lack of pace or on the ball skills or just too much time playing in a slower paced setting?  Regardless, he’s on a massive salary so, unless he makes a (surprise) splash for the Germans in Brazil and attracts some transfer interest, I would expect the enigma to continue next season at Arsenal.

World Cup

So that is my summation of the squad and what I perceive as the potential for the season ahead.  Who am I missing?  Also, speaking of Brazil:  we got a world cup to enjoy.  As a neutral I enjoy watching Arsenal players contribute and seeing who can and cannot handle the immense pressure of the situation, even if, in my opinion, the game is slower and (until the final rounds at least) generally at a lower level than the club game.  Compared to most of the top English teams we are not sending too many players who will play major minutes but, with our “vast” reserves of money to spend, ANY player who does well at the tournament will surely be linked with a move to our club.  In that way, if you have the right attitude, it could be fun to watch.

Arsene Wenger

But, of course, I’ve been accused of having a bad attitude.  In truth, I believe that Arsenal supporters are suffering more than a bit of an existential crisis and are overly divided into deeply entrenched camps, which brings me down immensely.  Right now, on the back of the FA Cup win–and the ease with which we clinched Champions League football, support has swung back towards Arsene Wenger continuing as manager.  Latest reports suggest he will sign a 3 year deal at 8 million pounds per year–essentially the same salary as our highest paid player (Ozil).  I believe the manager, while not always correct in every decision, is one of the great stories and maybe the greatest asset the club possesses (and, as such, deserves this new contract).  Many, however, disagree, or, at least, have tired of him as the face of the club and desire change.  But that’s an entirely different issue and one which we might discuss in more detail as the Summer wears on.  Unfortunately, due to his immense presence, our stance on the manager clouds ALL discussions about the club.  My hope is that we can trust in him (as we would with ANY manager) while realizing he’s human and appreciating that he has linked his personal legacy to that of the club.  It’s probably too much to ask, so, if (god forbid) we actually lose a match (we didn’t, in the league, at least, a decade ago–i.e., he made his own high standards)…it’s “Wenger Out” all over again.  It’s a pressure that’s (probably) too hard to bear, and one which, frankly I could live without.  Still, the times being what they are (the 24 hour “blame” cycle of the internet…) somebody must do the job.  At least Wenger seems willing to bear it, so I salute him.

Victory

Your views

OK, enough said.  What do you guys think?  Are we poised to kick on (and up)?  Can we expect improvement from a majority of squad members?  Who do you think might REALLY kick on?   (As opposed to the more typical, who must we REALLY replace?…)  Is the future so bright that we need to wear shades or is it so grim that we need to draw the shades (or curtains) and hide?  Many will be focused on the transfer market and all the links that come with our status as a “big club” (with money).  Others might lament that we (still) can’t hold onto our best players even if they’re on the older side (Sagna).  Where do you come down?  Is this a Summer of appreciation and hope or dissatisfaction and despair?…

Written by: 17highburyterrace

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113 Responses to 2013-14 Arsenal BUMPER Season Re-Cap – Don’t Miss it!

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Fantastic season’s review, 17ho. Who needs to buy sports papers when they can read it all here?! 🙂

    I think you captured the season exceptionally well. Opportunity squandered for me, though, and the biggest problem I have is that I feel this has become a structural problem for Arsene. But more on that later this weekend/week.

    The FA cup win was the big plus and soooo important for the development of this team and peace of mind of the fans. Something to build on, for sure.

    I have got to go now but will be back later today.

  2. Gerry says:

    Nice one 17HT- I see you have left no stone unturned 😀

    Bad day for me to do justice with a full reply – so that will have to keep until tomorrow. Sorry.

    I renewed my membership yesterday and watched the mini highlights on the ‘Player of last weekend …

    The thing that sticks in my mind most, was that look on TV5’s face as he led the team up to collect the trophy … It was not one of great joy. Understandable. He is club captain, fit to play, but took no part in achieving the victory.

    While it seems Arsenal are going one way, he is going another …?

  3. craszy gunner says:

    Thanks for a brilliant summation of the season I for one can not help but feel that this season was a failure though I respect the views of many that feel it was a success. If you look at the opportunity that presented itself and how we did not take it.

    Personally as much as I want Wenger to stay it only has to be with the proviso that he changes the way he operates but I have said so every year for the last 7 years that I am resigned to the fact that he never will.

    I will use the case of Gael Clichy as an example of Managerial incompetence( harsh I know but thats just calling it as it is)…I was not sad when Clichy for £6m left for shitty in June 2011 we waited till manure spanked us 8-2 to buy a liability in Santos for £7m who really stuggled against opposition in league 1 on the last day of the transfer season…now why am I saying this

    Sagna has left for shitty I do not begrudge him…if you gave me that kind of money and I had a gorgeous and expensive looking wife like him…wink ….wink…I wouldn’t think twice…but a club like arsenal should by now have replacements lined up …should have contacted our 2 best options with an agreement in place …and should sign our best option before the world cup…

    Now we all know what will happen…lets hope I am proved wrong…but it will be the same pointless scouting of every right back in europe till we end up with another duff signing…We needed a striker over the last 3 transfer season and we are still waiting…

    I just hope arsene will for once stop playing the hat in the bag tricks in the transfer window because thy are just as effective as Jose’s Mourinho’s mind games…

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry to hear you are having a bad day, Gerry. 😦

    Yes it was a strange move to have TV5 lifting the cup first…..

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Good example, Crasny. I hate the terror window and especially the way the club goes about doing business,… Wake me up when it’s all over! 😉

  6. Dylan says:

    Great post. Will respond more in depth later when I have better internet. I am replying from lovely Cedar Point on vacation with some friends just to say, no one has guessed it yet. And probably no one will. 😉

  7. That was an excellent read HT..great job 17

    I would describe it as a season of ‘improvement’..improvement in our activity in the transfer market(the capture of Ozil) and on the pitch(our early season performances) and on the same note I would call it a season of ‘what-if’s’..what if we had added some few quid, would it have tempted Liverpool 2 give us Suarez??..what if Rambo, Theo and Ozil would have stayed fit, would the league be ours???…but of all it was an unforgettable season one which thankfully ended with us ending our trophy drought

    Concerning the world cup, i’m for team Germany as i know and you and we all know England will clown around, maybe sneak to the elimination stage and receive a proper spanking from the BIG boys(Brazil, Germany, Spain e.t.c)

    On next season, I would dub it the year of the OX..the kid has FRIGHTENING potential and with any luck on his fitness I believe he will make his mark on the team and hopefully nail down a spot in the first team and with Theo ‘rumored’ not back till September, I expect the OX to make that right wing his own

    I believe we are past the days when we ‘allowed’ our best players to join other clubs, ofcourse with the expetion of Bac who I believe was just looking for his last BIG paycheck as a footballer and given our well know policy of the club regarding players above 30, he was never gonna get such wages with us…but the tying down of key squad and first team players like Kos the Boss, Rambo(G.O.A.T), Santi, the big Pole, the lovable BFG and super Tommy Rosicky proves we can hold on to our players(not forgetting one’s for the future Zelalem and Gnabry)

  8. Retsub says:

    Fantastic review of the season. Haven’t posted for a while but felt this worthy of a response.

    Couldn’t agree more about Sagna, defensively he will leave a big hole and whilst I like Jenks I don’t think he is ready yet. If we do manage to get a marauding right back it could make a huge difference to our attacking options.

    I believe our major need is a Vieira type player in midfield. In those big games where we took a hiding we were simply overrun.

    I think Sanogo is a good prospect. If he can get his goal radar sorted out he could be very good.

    If Theo and Rambo had stayed fit, who knows what might have happened, but at least we should gain some confidence from the cup win

    Looking forward to next season if we strengthen in the right areas we must have a good chance at the prem..
    COYG

  9. jnyc says:

    That is one major piece of work 17, could easily have been 2 posts. This window is going to very important. I think we will know from it whether Arsenal will challenge for a title. If we continue with the January attitude, and our past windows barring ozil, then we are in for a steady decline in an increasingly competitive league and sport. …

    But if we have truly changed, and Mesut was just the beginning, we will obviously know it ….. and this can be a very exciting time to be a gooner.

  10. Just got in from driving around “Award Winning” Cornwall, where the tourists have been pleasuring their selves at the site of me and noticed this rather long post !.
    I shall read it after I have been on the treadmill and by the time it takes me to read it I fully expect the Bastardo that is Lord Wenger to have bought at least 3 SQ players !.
    Ooops !……I blasphemed against Wenger !!…….7eventeen has probably had a depression meltdown and I haven`t even called Arsene a cucking funt yet !. Right, that’s me on the BK naughty step and 7eventeen sobbing under the stairs !. hahaha

  11. It is now 2024 and I finally finished reading 7eventeens epic post !…..is there still a BK ?…….did we sign any SQ back in 2014 ?……..have we won any trophies since ?…….I bet Wenger`s still manager though !. hahaha
    An outstanding presentation of another up and down Arsenal season which was capped off in a fairy tale style manner.
    I shall put up this link of which I found to be a tearful two days event and remember, you don’t have to be an Arsenal member to view it….log in, it`s free !.

    http://player.arsenal.com/player/5130-fa-cup-mini-movie

  12. proudgooner says:

    17,
    Well I read it all, it only took me 45 mins lol, but a good read and sums up the season well.
    I see the season as a success , it fact a big 1. We won something , got our first cupin the new stadium cabinet and broke the 9 year jinx. The FA cup is the most historic in league football, in truth the CL was not going to happen this season so we won the second best thing realistically and were TOTL for about 154 days longest of all and did challenge , as you said bar 2 bad injuries we cod have won it.

    On Wenger i think he he do the business this window. People say he has not changes but I disagree . He spent £40,000,000 on Ozil in the summer and has kept our best players, the 1’s that have left are not because he wanted to sell, but the got greedy or went glory hunting. Wenger is no fool every deal he has done has been for a reason, over the baron years it’s been to pay for the stadium of course. Them days have gone, he knows the transfer market has changed , he knows he will have to pay pay for SQ and he has built up a huge war chest . Have faith Gunners
    Arsene is our man! A very cleaver man.
    So again he is keeping our best players and spending big. So I would ague he has changed lately and no one can argu that he has not brought some unbelievable players to our club. 🙂
    COYG

  13. proudgooner says:

    Every great player we have Wenger has signed
    Rambo
    Cazorla
    KOS
    Per
    Ozil
    Walcott
    Whilshere. But to name a few. He brought all of them for a lot less money then all the top 7 in the premier this season except Everton
    We finished 7 away from winning the league. Totally caining man.u and spurs in league positioning .

    Winning something is massive for our team going forward, the belief etc

    Oh and this is an interesting stat I heard today. Ape spent more money on wages this season the athletico Madrid Just shows what you spend is not the be all end all. It qarentees nothing.

  14. proudgooner says:

    Or maybe it does looks like QPR are back in the big time of the premier league. They should have done it without play-offs though that is for sure
    Well done Rangers my old man will be getting lashed celebrating he love QPR I am glad they back

  15. Gerry says:

    TA – I should have clarified my earlier statement – bad in a time sense, as I was chasing the Scoop 6 : 2 winners, 3 places, and, yes, one unplaced. But it was fun while I didn’t know the result of the second race!

    Crazy Gunner – If you will believe what you read in the gossip columns, then you will assume that Sagna has indeed signed, or agreed verbally to sign for Man City. As that cannot happen until he is out of contract at the end of June, nothing is set in stone.

    Much the same for us not signing anybody until then. So apart from appearing to force Sagna’s hand in moving, whilst there is still a chance that he could change his mind, if we make public our dealings?

    Whatever is going on behind the scene, we are not privvy to. Right now, Arsenal is a very attractive club to come to. A team capable of winning the FA Cup, in the Champions League, and unlike Man Utd and Spurs, a settled management structure. So despite adverse speculation in some quarters, I would say it is only a case of A or B club agreeing a price. But if that gets prohibitive, it might just get them to have a rethink on Sagna?

    Meanwhile, all sorts of non-public agreements might be going on, that may only be completed after July 1st, or the elimination from the World Cup.

    Oh ye of little faith …

  16. James Bond says:

    wow what a fantastic recap – worth a read over and over again at some point down the years, one for the active archives and bookmarks for sure – thanks 17HT and well done for taking the time out and putting so much effort and research into it (not to mention the photos) !!! top notch

    yes, it’s a glass half full for me even though, if you go back a few months (feb) we were sitting pretty at the top of the table and then that happened again (injuries our biggest nemesis )… anyway – I do feel that we could have won the league provided we had not dropped crucial points to Everton – Stoke – Swansea , especially the games against Everton where we were leading and then conceded 1-1 and after that against Swansea but anyway – such is football you see QPR winning against a Derby when they were 10 men down and didn’t have a shot on goal until the 89th minute when Bobby scored.

    yes, we will kick on from here and the future is really very bright ; )

    to answer Dylan’s teaser – if it’s a SQ striker you have on your list then can’t look beyond Falcao/Cavani – personally , I would take a punt or 2 on Falcao, he is loads better than Cavani and a proper hitman , I reckon.

    won’t mention Martinez because we already had a discussion on him previously in HH’s post.

  17. James Bond says:

    *were down to 10 men and not 10 men down, ha

    congratulations to VCC and all the rest who were supporting QPR like meself 😉

  18. James Bond says:

    Dylan wants a striker whose name begins with a B ; )

    those of you who reckon we may have had a different outcome had theo and ramsey stayed fit then history tells us that both these players are injury prone, theo more so than ramsey , we need a back up plan and the back up plan happens to be Costa Rican player aka Joel Campbell.

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey guys, thanks for reading…I wasn’t really planning the blow by blow description of the season but it just kinda kept rolling… My grand point is that almost all our players, I think, could be reasonably expected to have better seasons next year. As such, while we clearly have some work to do in the transfer window, mostly to shore up at RB and for competition and back-up at the other defensive spots, I think we’ve got some players really ready to bust out or at least take a step up.

    Given that notion, my plan is to try and not get too worked up about the TW and rather take a bit of comfort in what we’ve already got. A little early work, to shore up Sagna’s replacement(s), however, sure would be nice and a little Super Quality (probably at the deadline), wouldn’t hurt either… Overall, we know that injuries will happen and there will be tough stretches of fixtures, but I just can’t imagine the combo of the two being worse than in this past season, thus my sense of hope…

    The CL final–the Madrid Derby from Lisbon–is on the telly…Anybody else watching?…

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nobody else watching, it appears… Bale with a big miss in the 32nd… Costa started but took himself out early…

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    1-nil Atleti… Iker Casillas comes for one but doesn’t get it… Ouch…

  22. James Bond says:

    am watching and that was a costly miss by Bale, however, it was a good piece of defending and tackle to put him off as well.

    bad mistake by the spanish skipper there, however, I still expect Real to win – they need to take of Luka.

    and get Ronaldo and Bale more involved.

  23. James Bond says:

    *could prove to be costly and off

  24. RA says:

    That is a truly superb article, 17ht, I loved it. 🙂

    After a very slow start I am enjoying the game, and I am happy that Atletico are doing so well.

    The pressing game from both sides is impressive and I hope our guys are watching and taking note.

  25. James Bond says:

    This lad Ramos = our own KOC – always bloody scores the most important goals

    fascinating final.

    for all the footballing reasons, I wish ATL-M to lose lose and lose, talk about Chelsea in Disguise – yawns.

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…Atletico were *this* close… Extra time coming…

  27. James Bond says:

    close but no cigar, so happy that Real scored.

    I’m a football purist and I bloody watch football to watch football not 24/7 defending , so chuffed Real will go on and win it in style (hoping, ha

    that’s what you get for parking 2 bloody buses @ ATL-M, Chelsea and all you anti-footballing managers out there, ha

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    I dunno 007, you get the scabby goal, of course you’re gonna defend w/your life…Additionally, w/o Costa and Turan it’s gonna be extra tough to try and score a 2nd… Mostly, however, I guess I’m just for the underdog and I appreciate how they press and hound and defend in packs… They also do those nice little 1-2s with real acceleration after the initial pass. Even if they’re only to keep a bit of possession, I still like ’em… At this point a good bet is that it goes to pens where the bigger keeper might have the advantage?…

    Of the two former Spuds, I’d say Little Luka has had the better final…

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ooops, spoke too soon…All Di Maria but Bale puts in the rebound…

  30. James Bond says:

    Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    JGC-DAMUS (TAKE THAT , ha

  31. James Bond says:

    who said Bale wasn’t worth 100 million and who was it that said he was worth every penny even at 120 million – please move forward , ha

    on a more serious note – no, 17HT , that’s not what I mean’t – I mean if you look at the way ATL-M play in general, it’s more or less like Chelsea and how Mourinho plays, doesn’t really matter whether it’s Champions league, or LA LIGA – it’s boring boring boring .

    that’s why whenever someone wants Simone at Arsenal, I am always against it.

  32. James Bond says:

    *please step forward

    oh the spanish skipper almost gifts them the 2nd goal, ha

  33. James Bond says:

    start the engine time and take your buses away from lisbon back to spain until next season.

    3-1 , Real Madrid !!!

    wo000t wo00000000000t

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, 007, I’ll leave you now to enjoy Ronaldo and his hairlessness… Simeone not taking the turn of events particularly well…

  35. James Bond says:

    nice one @ 17HT

    yep, just shows what a true nutter Simeone is – show some class and dignity you anti football Manager .

    so glad Football won in the end- just imagine had Atl-M had won the CL ? most teams would have tried coping that next season across Europe .

    justice prevails, football prevails – a happy ending it is, 4-1 , ha

    any ATL-M fans out there ? well done and hopefully you will be going back to the Europa league in 2 years time.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Real, real shame! Atletico were soooo close… if only they had positioned two players at the posts! 😦

    Atletico only costs half a Bale all together, but money wins again. Atletico can hold their heads high though: they were phenomenal and almost won against all the odds. Ronaldo and Bale got away with very poor performances and were saved by their central defender. Arrrrrrrgh, lucky bastards.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Aah forgot you are a Merengue, JB. Congrats to you then. 🙂

  38. Have to agree with JB there about AM. Good to see an Arsenal fan score the winner, one which I too said we should have paid £100M for !.
    Trouble with AM and Liverscum potentially winning things is that everyone will think you don’t need money to get trophies and then think that Arsene can do the same !, so, glad Liverscum fcuked up and AM didn`t win tonight !.
    In general, having the best SQ players wins you trophies and anything else is just an anomaly !.
    I reckon Levy has been waiting for the outcome of tonight`s game and had Real lost, then Ancelotti may have been the Spuds target !.

    All over now apart from WC, so start the spending spree Arsene you tight fcuker !.

  39. James Bond says:

    ahahahahhahahahahahahahaha cheers skipper 🙂

    but I find this rather interesting on the one hand you hate Jose.Moron’s style of play yet on the other hand you were rooting for another negative footballing playing team ? regardless of how much money it costs – it should firstly be about be the philosophy , no ?

    allow me to quote one Roy hodgson ” I can get a pub team to defend and draw against Man utd ” easy.

    and you will hate me for doing this but this must be done for the greater good of the game and I quote Jose Moron (kill me ) ” winning 1-0 is the most easiest of things to do in football after scoring and shutting shop”

    Football prevailed in the end, I don’t care how much ATL-M spent to assemble that squad, you can not score a goal and then park 2 bloody buses .

    I understand that the majority were rooting were the underdogs here but really, put the bias to one side and watch that game again or in fact, watch ATL-M last 6 games again , you will see where I am coming from…so please don’t think I was only talking about the final and so on – they did no different in the semi’s or Qf’s either or in fact most of La Liga vs the reasonable teams.

    it wasn’t money that wins again but style that wins.

    if Money were to be winning then the likes of Man city would have won the trophies last year and wouldn’t have won the double this year.

    yes, money is crucial to bringing in the “Right ” players, but how a manager sets up his team and instills the philosophy is also as vital.

    however, I do appreciate that there are people out there who are fans of such “tactical masterclasses ” by managers and teams – hence I respect that .

    PS: considering both Ronaldo and Bale were not 100% fit, not bad for both of them to play an exhausting 120 minutes 😉

  40. James Bond says:

    Hear hear @ Glics 🙂

    Hi-Five – good day for football I reckon !

    QPR won (another spending club) and Real Madrid won (always have been a spending club but couldn’t win the CL for so long, hence strengthens my point a bit more – the philosophy matters and counts , not money alone).

    Carlo is a fabulous manager and technician and one who likes to play football in the right manner – Spuds can get Paolo Di Canio 😀

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Pool spent loads of money over the last few years. Cockie. If it is just about spending most money, what would be the fun of football? Buying titles, like RM have been trying so desperately, and MC and Chelsea have done recently, means nothing to me. Long live the Atletico’s, Dortmund’s and Arsenal’s of this world.

    Best team won tonight, but for football that was a bad outcome. RM have loads of debt and have effectively bought this title. Big deal.

  42. AM had a similar goals for and against as Chelsea in winning the Liga !. In the EPL both Mansour City and Liverscum scored over a hundred goals, Chavs 71/27 !.
    Both RM and Barca scored over a hundred goals and AM 77/26 !…….boring twunts !.

  43. Exactly Totes !…..why do you think I want Uzzy on board ?…….to buy us the title !……and buy loads of SQ players who play fantastic football !. hahaha
    We are up against it with the two Manshafters and Chavs and in Europe loads of others……if you cant beat them …..join them !.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Atletico are not Chelsea of Mourinho, JB. There is a lot more football in the Spanish club. They got a goal whilst losing key players and RM put a lot of pressure on them. They did not come to defend, but it was their only way to get something out of today’s game.

    Chelsea have no excuse for their anti-football double busses approaches to football. They have spent something like £1bn pounds since Abro, but shopping at the Aldi is more exciting than watching the Chavs play…

  45. James Bond says:

    you have lost me there a little @ Skipper

    Dortmund good example, Arsenal great example but to have ATL-M up there with 2 fascinating teams to watch who play football ? not sure about that one

    yes, RM have loads of debt , but who hasn’t ?

    if your point is solely about money and debt, then fair enough but if it’s style vs substance then Cookie’s 23:02 is gold !

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Nah Cockie, it would be meaningless. I love proper football, fair and based on vision/style. What the Chavs and Man City have won does not mean a thing to me. Anybody can do that.

  47. I like Real because we were Real ( Royal ) once upon a time and actually before them !……..should have stayed….The Royal (Real) Arsenal imo !.
    Anyway, I`m here to ask…….where the fcuk is Fozzer and what is it he actually does ?…….all them countries he keeps visiting, I`m wondering if he is the actual real 007 !………..The names Bear ……Fozzie Bear !. Also…..where the fcuk is our signings ?.

  48. James Bond says:

    ah yes, a lot more clear now – Thanks skipper

    ok, they lost key players but even with the key players, their style of play is the same really.

    park the bus, frustrate teams and then boom score from a set piece and so on.

    why do you think Chelsea want Costa so much or more like Jose.Moron wants Costa at Chelsea next season at all costs ? it’s for that reason .

    but I do see your point – and I respect it !

  49. At the end of the day, whether money or not, last Saturday and todays games have been as exiting as it gets and from a football point of view, that’s why we love this game…..it`s not over until it`s over……or until the fat lady crushes Stretches neck between her thighs !.
    Night football fans !. 😀

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers JB. Ever since RM dumped Robben, Huntelaar and Sneijder and bought for £250m the likes of Benzema, Ronaldo, Kaka, Alonso etc (all in one summer), I have loathed them. It was a clear attempt to buy titles to which, I am sure you have noticed, I am allergic. 😈

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Night all. Club footie is over, bring on the national teams! Will Holland finish second again? 🙂

  52. James Bond says:

    night Glics,

    oh say no more @ skipper – I understand everything now 😀

    ignore my discussion with JGC- Damus which I reckon might be taking place in the next 24 hours ahahaahahahahhahahahahahahaha

    hope you are well and things are looking up , it’s good to have you back without you both me and Glic have no one to tag team on 👿

    night night !

  53. James Bond says:

    top 8 ,if you are lucky.

    (in no particular order)

    Germany

    Brazil

    Belgium/Argentina

    Spain

  54. VCC says:

    Good Morning All…..Great post 17ht…….I’m sure you won’t mind me going of track a little……………I would just like to say a BIG congratulations to QPR on getting promoted back to the premiership. My Dear Old Dad will be celebrating in the heavenly stars. They were mighty fortunate though, Derby were by far the better team.

  55. Gerry says:

    Back to the article, rather than the Madrid derby ….

    HT – You capture the distinct periods of our season well

    It also exposes the ‘What If’s’ for what they are: Endless speculation, tinged with hindsight and wishful thing, but something we all indulge at some point or other?
    How about this?

    What if we beat Villa in that opening game. Would we still be only 4 points off the title, and in 3rd place?? Would we have still bought Ozil??

    Where does it end?

    Well it should end when reality kicks in. The spirit of our season was what it was, and you do not dwell too much on the nuances that could have been different, only pointing them out for the discussion as to where we need to improve.

    I think we have agreed on most things throughout the season, and your analysis on the players and areas of play are not too different. A slight difference on the Sagna thing. I do not accept it is a done thing that he goes to Man City. I am clinging to the slim hope that he has agreed that their offer is indeed a very attractive one, but come the 1st of July he turns it down to stay?
    Not only a legend, but a SUPER LEGEND!

    It could happen. This is why I am not going to be drawn into any transfer speculation, because it becomes yet another round of ‘What If’s’. Whether it be my preference, or the reality. the reality is what counts. No matter what position you look at, there will be players, MANY players, that we will not sign. No matter how desirable or expensive they are, we cannot have them all. That is where the gossip writers win every time. According to them, we are ‘missing out’ on players we showed an interest in 3 seasons ago!
    It is ridiculous.

    So I am with you on that. Take a chilled out view, and go with the team we have next season on September 1st.

    As for the manager? I have said before, if you want things done differently, then you probably want a new manager?

    So how do I see the forthcoming season. Well, even Ozil’s signing showed, whoever does come in, then season 2015/16 will be where we get the benefit. Note: Another good reason for Sagna to stay! So most of plus points will come from the players we have, and keep, having a better season. Possibly fewer injuries because we have a more rounded squad, better back up (from new signings), so the pressure is not so great on suspect limbs.

    Here is where I see it happening:
    GK – Chezzer remains our number 1 – Number 2? – whoever.

    Back 4: If Vermaelin looks for playing time elsewhere, as he may, given ‘that’ look, then a young ‘whoever’ will make the reserve back 4 with, hopefully, Sagna.
    If Monreal stays as number 2, then LB is secure with the best long term prospect we have ever had, in Gibbs.
    RB – Jenks could work, given the right support. If all goes well pre-season, I would like Bellerin to be used as a high wing back. If Walcott is not ready to start the season, is or moved elsewhere SS or to the other flank. He(Bellerin) converts back to an attacker, but with the now acquired defensive skills, where he could save the need to buy a back up for Theo. Not in every game. He is only 19. But it is all about options. The boy has more pace than Theo, imo, but lacks the experience at this level, but he has the potential to be a great winger/wing-back, and very suited to the Arsenal game.
    The other area that will be improved is a DM. Again HT we agree on the need and the type. I also think it will be someone who can play in at least one other position. The other key attribute is the need to be able to play well with both feet, which is why it is a more specialist position than simply moving someone off the flanks. A purchase will need time to settle if coming from outside of the EPL. For that reason we need both Arteta and Flamini to stay.
    Alas young Hayden got an injury at a time when he might have gained experience, so how he develops for the future is still to be determined. Has all the physical qualities and could yet be ‘the next Viera’ … the kiss of death for that position, ha ha.

    You have highlighted both the quantity and quality of our current midfield, so why would we need anybody here? Fabregas and Draxler are two names that spring to mind.
    Well to be it is all about getting the right combination from the 6 or 7 that could play in the 5 across the park, and we rarely get it absolutely right. What we are looking at is a variety of players that like to roam, either: from flank to flank, Ozil, Cazorla; or from deep(B2B), Wilshere, Ox, (Fabregas), (Draxler): or wide cutting in Walcott, Ox, (J.Campbell); or close up(SS) Podolski, Sanogo, (Vela .. mmm doubtful?), (my choice); or wide left(Reus – D’s choice?), (my choice).
    So all of these have to be accommodated with a single striker; Giroud, (Falcao), (?). A great squad but is it feasible?
    For me, Fabregas – YES. Long term I could see him as a future manager, but the here and now, he would always be an attacking option, no matter where he is on the field. He has that gift of knowing where to pass to before he receives the ball. For that reason he would compliment nearly every other player, but like Ozil, he needs players to be on the same wavelength, the two together would surpass anything in any side. He would make Ox reach his potential this coming season no question.
    Who misses out should he come, is a question other blogs have put up. Answer, nobody. They can all learn from him. Jack in particular. As all must realise they are not going to play every game, including Cesc himself. It is about having a full season injury free, so when they do play they are on top of their game.
    JD? Err Yes too, but not at £45m, and for that reason I think that ship may have sailed at this particular time. But he takes a great free kick and corners, and is still young enough to learn from the likes of Cesc? However, he is not worth an sq price, unless you are talking oligarch pocket money?
    Striker – Tricky. the need for someone for Giroud to have around is great, as Sanogo proved in the Cup. However, because of the multitude of midfielders, and AW’s preferred option of owning possession through the midfield,, and kicking on from there, I don’t see the 4-4-2 system being a regular starting point? So I think his support will come from midfield, or as a sub option a la the Cup. But the argument over a Manzukic-type to replace Giro, or a Saurez-type to support, will no doubt rage on. Giroud has a unique spot in our current line up, and for all his flaws, with a more regular side-kick, I can see him topping the 30 goal mark next season.

    Do I think we will kick on next season? Of course, but that does not necessarily meant the Title, or indeed, any silverware. But we will have a better squad. We will win more games. We will be more balanced. We will be more confident about winning games.

    And that folks is a BIG improvement!

  56. geoffchase says:

    JB

    full on here but you’re not ignored. My take:

    A. I’m still right about Bale, even 50 monkeys with enuff chances will give you Shakespeare. Imagine what one very good footballer with ape ears will give you in 118 mins?

    But

    B. Apparently god hates me, or at least has a wicked sense of humor! Siiiiiiigh…

    17, more later if I get time. It’s the end of our semester and I do all my teaching in one semester so … A bit under the gun here..

    Cheers — jgc

  57. RA says:

    Hi Guys,

    Interesting comments that seem to reveal the division in opinions between those who do not want to be touched with filthy lucre, and those who don’t care where the dosh comes from.

    I am glad for you VCC, but I am sorry for Derby because they were clearly the best team, and the only shot of the game for QPR came in the 90th minute and they scored. That’s football.

    I think AM ran out of legs, in extra time, last night because the Spanish Championship game against Barca last week did not help them and the natural elation of winning that for the first time in many years.

    Just an opinion.

    Incidentally, I totally agree with Total — about everything in his comments. No surprise there then. 🙂

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Happy Sunday boys… Congrats to the QPR fans on their promotion. Will they be calling all their big salary guys back with the new PL money? Just curious… Also, let me say that I appreciate the various debates around the CL final–Money vs Love, Attack vs Defense, Monkey men vs Shaved weight room robots vs defenders scoring late headers curled in by cute little boy-women midfielders…Oh, wait all those guys (Bale Ronaldo, Modric…) are on the same team… 😀 La Decima, vale y felicidades al equipo de Franco… :8

    Gerry, thanks (so much) for the long response. It’s so difficult to break down all the various philosophical elements in play when we discuss Arsenal so I really appreciate you taking the time trying to do so. IMO there are so many arguments out there, mostly press (hit-whore…) driven, which obscure the realities in play. The argument I’m trying to make is that we have some really great resources (players and a manager and a team spirit) ALREADY at the club and if expectations are managed (the hardest bit these days, it seems…) there’s a lot to appreciate and enjoy. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tweaked to make it better, of course…

    “Buy, buy, buy” is a mantra distinctly at odds with developing the youth squad so I also really appreciate those who can comment intelligently on the younger players. Top level football is moving to a state where the big money teams essentially have ALL the players in the world on loan at their feeder clubs (ALL other clubs…AND they’re developing the best youth programs, too…) so that if you support one of those clubs the transfer market IS all good fun. Arsenal are straddling the line right now. With our manager so highly respected (by others if not all Gooners…) his opinion helps drive the frenzy. Remember, Wenger (and Gazidis, too, it appears…) lie, so you have to see it as subterfuge. (Or, of course, you can take them “at their word” and use those words as sticks to beat them…and yourself…into a state of bloody–and pulpy—frustration)…

    So, Gerry, being that Arsenal are not quite “there,” I’m more resigned to the Sagna to City business. That team (ManCity) seems to be chastised on the transfer front while others (Chelsea and PSG) are skewing things with ridiculous transfer sums over not such great players (examples being the recent David Luis deal, and even the Juan Mata deal in mid-season) to clear their own room for big money players in. Diego Costa will be coming to London but will also (IMO) only be a moderate upgrade to Torres and Eto’o, other legendary strikers…of the big money game. I still believe it’s all about the salaries–and for Arsenal–walking that middle ground of buying players (relatively) cheaply but offering them a good environment for development (and a good salary) and then hoping for some appreciation (loyalty) if they come good. If a bunch of our guys stay fit and come good–all at the same time–we could have some very exciting seasons ahead…

    We know that some Arsenal players have probably maxed out their talent. Guys like Arteta, BFG and Giroud ooze a *lack* of super quality but also are highly dependable and bring a measure of leadership and stability to the effort. On the other hand, players such as Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs, Ox-Cham (or Chambo, as he prefers to be called?…), Koscielny and Szczesny seem like individuals who might ALL (if they can stay fit…) improve and really turn heads while (potentially) forming a core group who could make that collective breakthrough to a higher level. In other words, in my opinion again, rather than letting frustrations from the past season (or past 8 or so seasons…) drive our thinking, it’s more about relatively minor additions and changes…

    Anyhow, all good fun, if we can (somehow) maintain the right perspective. We’re not quite in fantasy land (like City or Chelsea or even Pool and United, with their tolerance for debt…) might be, so guys who under-perform (relative to salary) still can drag us down. Players like Poldolski and Flamini, however, seem an upgrade to guys like Bendtner and Denilson, so again, I sense improvement… Our built in restraints (which flow from ownership rather than management…) mean we have to be (much) more careful in the building of the squad, even if the collective voice of the press and (many of) the bloggers would suggest otherwise. I felt like 2013-14–as tough as the ups and downs (rumor to rumour in the Summer, match to match, injury to Weng-jury, etc. to etc., the rest of the year) were–brought REAL improvement to our club. So, if we don’t through out baby with bath-water, why shouldn’t 14-15 be another step up?…

    😀

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    Haha…With Gerry paving the way for longer comments (lol, at myself…) I’ve got one of my own. It sits in moderation because I used a bad word… I’ll copy and paste and edit out the offensive part… Sorry…

    Happy Sunday boys… Congrats to the QPR fans on their promotion. Will they be calling all their big salary guys back with the new PL money? Just curious… Also, let me say that I appreciate the various debates around the CL final–Money vs Love, Attack vs Defense, Monkey men vs Shaved weight room robots vs defenders scoring late headers curled in by cute little boy-women midfielders…Oh, wait all those guys (Bale Ronaldo, Modric…) are on the same team… 😀 La Decima, vale y felicidades al equipo de Franco… :8

    Gerry, thanks (so much) for the long response. It’s so difficult to break down all the various philosophical elements in play when we discuss Arsenal so I really appreciate you taking the time trying to do so. IMO there are so many arguments out there, mostly press (hit-whore…) driven, which obscure the realities in play. The argument I’m trying to make is that we have some really great resources (players and a manager and a team spirit) ALREADY at the club and if expectations are managed (the hardest bit these days, it seems…) there’s a lot to appreciate and enjoy. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tweaked to make it better, of course…

    “Buy, buy, buy” is a mantra distinctly at odds with developing the youth squad so I also really appreciate those who can comment intelligently on the younger players. Top level football is moving to a state where the big money teams essentially have ALL the players in the world on loan at their feeder clubs (ALL other clubs…AND they’re developing the best youth programs, too…) so that if you support one of those clubs the transfer market IS all good fun. Arsenal are straddling the line right now. With our manager so highly respected (by others if not all Gooners…) his opinion helps drive the frenzy. Remember, Wenger (and Gazidis, too, it appears…) lie, so you have to see it as subterfuge. (Or, of course, you can take them “at their word” and use those words as sticks to beat them…and yourself…into a state of bloody–and pulpy—frustration)…

    So, Gerry, being that Arsenal are not quite “there,” I’m more resigned to the Sagna to City business. That team (ManCity) seems to be chastised on the transfer front while others (Chelsea and PSG) are skewing things with ridiculous transfer sums over not such great players (examples being the recent David Luis deal, and even the Juan Mata deal in mid-season) to clear their own room for big money players in. Diego Costa will be coming to London but will also (IMO) only be a moderate upgrade to Torres and Eto’o, other legendary strikers…of the big money game. I still believe it’s all about the salaries–and for Arsenal–walking that middle ground of buying players (relatively) cheaply but offering them a good environment for development (and a good salary) and then hoping for some appreciation (loyalty) if they come good. If a bunch of our guys stay fit and come good–all at the same time–we could have some very exciting seasons ahead…

    We know that some Arsenal players have probably maxed out their talent. Guys like Arteta, BFG and Giroud ooze a *lack* of super quality but also are highly dependable and bring a measure of leadership and stability to the effort. On the other hand, players such as Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs, Ox-Cham (or Chambo, as he prefers to be called?…), Koscielny and Szczesny seem like individuals who might ALL (if they can stay fit…) improve and really turn heads while (potentially) forming a core group who could make that collective breakthrough to a higher level. In other words, in my opinion again, rather than letting frustrations from the past season (or past 8 or so seasons…) drive our thinking, it’s more about relatively minor additions and changes…

    Anyhow, all good fun, if we can (somehow) maintain the right perspective. We’re not quite in fantasy land (like City or Chelsea or even Pool and United, with their tolerance for debt…) might be, so guys who under-perform (relative to salary) still can drag us down. Players like Poldolski and Flamini, however, seem an upgrade to guys like Bendtner and Denilson, so again, I sense improvement… Our built in restraints (which flow from ownership rather than management…) mean we have to be (much) more careful in the building of the squad, even if the collective voice of the press and (many of) the bloggers would suggest otherwise. I felt like 2013-14–as tough as the ups and downs (rumor to rumour in the Summer, match to match, injury to Weng-jury, etc. to etc., the rest of the year) were–brought REAL improvement to our club. So, if we don’t through out baby with bath-agua, why shouldn’t 14-15 be another step up?…

    😀

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    Throw (not through) out baby with bath H-2-O…

  61. James Bond says:

    ahahahahhahahhahahhahahahahha

    well, I would disagree and so would an elephant fore headed chap who used to play for us and now finds himself at Roma – you give him the easiest of chances in front of an open goal and he wouldn’t disappoint 🙂 @ The Professor

    right, let’s take the money element out of this completely and do it in a different way, which would prove if Bale has proved me right or has proved the majority on here right.

    Bale was a direct upgrade and replacement for Ozil, yes ? hence Real Madrid went in and allowed the other to move out.

    Bale first season stats = 20 Goals, 15 Assists – didn’t go hiding in big matches, and won them both the cups with his goals (no doubt about that ) also, bearing in mind that he has been unfit for large parts of the season and at the beginning of it.

    Ozil aka our Messy – 5 goals and 9 Assists – went missing almost in every big game , was also substituted in the final of the FA cup.

    Has Bale been an upgrade and improvement on Ozil for Rm – Yes.

    Has Bale delivered the goods for RM and 2 trophies for Rm – Yes

    Has Bale justified the numbers and everything else – Yes.

    🙂

    Re- Derby vs QPR – yes, Derby were hard done but so were Bayern Munich when they played Chelsea in the final – such is the beauty of football – am I complaining ? hell naw !

    last but not least, Apologies to me Amigo for ruining his gem sumwat by going off tangent and discussing other things !

  62. Subterfuge !………sorry 7eventeen, but one thing I cant stand is lying !. If Wenger tells me something then I believe him !. He is the figure head ( King ) of Arsenal !, he should set an example and to get my trust, I must believe in what he say`s to be gospel and for him to be honest and straight down the line !.
    Right, I`m off to suck the farmers wife`s tits !……I did tell my wife that I was going to milk a cow, just a little white lie !. hahaha

  63. James Bond says:

    ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    007, I believe the idea was that they only needed one of Ozil or Modric (the provider)…So Bale was the perfect back-up (or addition as an on-the-break player) to C-Ron…Let’s be clear, his goal was all Di Maria (finally) getting through on the left. Yes, he kept running but was extremely lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I know you love your polemics and “debates,” so I’m probably only adding fuel to the fire…

    But let’s start another one… What was funny is that I was extremely impressed by Cortois (the Belgian Szcz, hahaha…) actually getting down to Di Maria’s shot–as well as Marcelo’s… even if BOTH of them ended up in the net. (He got pretty close on Ramos’ header too…) He was good (but very gangly) when I saw him in person in Granada but he’s improved a LOT (IMO). I’ve got big worries if Chavs bring him in (and make Cech their bench keeper)… Given that Mourinho (as you say) favors a more,er, defensive approach, T-BO might get more clean sheets than our own #1… Scary stuff, no?… A big story this close season might be how many players Atleti lose in the Window (Costa and T-BO to Chavs?…I want that Miranda fellow or even one of the balding defenders–JuanFran or Godin…) and how badly they fade after their big season…

    Cockie, that’s all they are, little white lies…It seems to me Wenger ought to be your type of guy, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander or maybe, what makes the hen crow ought to be the cock, or something?… Happy milking… 😀

  65. James Bond says:

    you make your own luck in football – fortune favours the brave, if you are going to call Bale’s goal lucky then the first goal by ATL-M was also very lucky, however, there was no such thing as “luck” in this one ; )

    only joking of course 🙂

    right, he’s loads better than Sczny and I have often hinted at him being younger and better than our own no.1 – whenever people have tried defending Sczny and putting his age down to him being what he is, if that rings a bell ? you are spot on about the main points though –

    he won’t be coming to the EPL just yet, Cech is still one of the best goalies in the world and he will be Chelsea’s no.1 for next season as Courtois is allowed another season at ATL-M with the understanding of Costa being allowed to move to Chelsea as part of the agreement.

    what the likes of Dortmund and ATL-M do have in common is the fact that they must lose one key player every season to balance the books off, was very similar to Arsenal until last year – so yes, bet your bottom dollar that they will lose 1 player and not more than 2 ATL-M and I’m hoping that Dortmund lose one in Reus but only to Arsenal.

    from ATL-M – Juanfran be rather good don’t mind the other 2 either but I doubt if they will be losing anyone other than Costa .

    re- La Liga then I did say that Falcao was on his way back to Madrid a while back hence he left Madrid in the first place – so there is every likely hood that Suarez ends up at Barca and Falcao back to Madrid but only to Real Madrid – this summer will be rather very interesting but don’t forget where you got this scoop from 😉

    the trouble I am having with all the puzzle is that PSG got Luiz for 40 bloody million and they were meant to have been fined or told to reduce spending which means 1 of 2 things:

    1: Cavani is being sold by PSG

    3: Chelsea are the favourites ? = Costa plus Cavani at Chelsea with Fernando Torres headed to ATL-M = FFP adhered too just by doing that alone (SPOOKY) considering they have already started making room for 2 SQ strikers by letting ETO’O leave.

    yes, frightening and I Kid you not – this is not some fantasy running wild, this could become a reality very soon.

  66. Gerry says:

    17 HT – I thought your post deserved a full and proper reply. I hope I did it justice.

    I agree that fewer ‘must be on the team sheet’ names that come through the door, the easier the coihesion will be to maintain.

    The names I mention, with Fabregas probably being the one possible exception, are ones I am not expecting us top sign. For the record, my shortlist is: quality DM, or one that might transfer into same.; a quality MF who can play the No10 role as a second striker, better than what we have; a centre-half, and my choice is younger, who could possibly play DM when not needed at the back.
    They are the essentials.
    The ‘very nice to have’ would be; Cesc – no brainer if available; a pacy, wide left side player; Sagna – no brainer; and a bright prospect to be the alternative to Giroud, as and he is in need of a break. This would be a luxury, but the right player should be versatile, and not fully expectant to play every match.

    Talking of which. our youngster, Tafari Moore, who played at left back in the under 21’s for England, does actually play on the right for us, and should be just blossoming in a couple of years … ANOTHER reason to keep Sagna!

    We have a lot of youngsters who, in two seasons time will either have made the grade to be challenging for 1st team spots, or will be moving on. So signings now will have a critical bearing on their futures. The CB’s might need more time, but the likes of Zelalem, Toral, Olsson, and Crowley could learn so much from Fabregas in the mean time.

    Similarly, a great striking option would do wonders for Gnabry, Akpom, Campbell and Sanogo. Clearly some will go out on loan to try and get more game time, although that is never guaranteed. Whereas, if this B-team idea comes to fruition, then it will suit all the clubs with a large academy?

    So my blueprint would be 3 new signings plus Cesc. Then, wait and see who moves on to see if there is a need for more.

    But this really only applies to my options. AW may see it differently?

    Cheers

  67. Gerry says:

    JB – Bonus point for Chezzer – He counts as ‘home grown’ in the squad. No doubt Courtois is a very good keeper, but as I said earlier, we are not going to get everybody we like.

  68. James Bond says:

    well said and put @ Gerry.

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    007, thanks for your fantasy speculation/report…Personally, I think you’re not too far off…That said, it’s this kind of stuff that allows the papers/blogs to beat the crap out of our club which is trying to build things in a slower, more-responsible (for-profit) manner… The bottom line, for me at least, is that we are doing extremely well for a non-Sugar Daddy club. We haven’t had the big ups of teams like Dortmund or Atletico but we haven’t had the big downs either. People don’t appreciate what the consistency of the 4th place trophy represents, but a continued presence in Europe is big. You cannot win it, if you’re not it…

    But many will say we cannot win it regardless… This is probably been true since the stadium move (and real-estate crash) which coincided with our one very successful effort in the tournament (but also barely getting up for 4th). The truth of the matter is that good planning is all fine and good but you need great players to do special things. As much as I prefer looking at my own naked body (in the mirror, lol…much like the Cockster…) over looking at his (after his all too glossy penalty kick)…I can admit that C-Ron is a top-of-his-era player… It should be noted that ManU couldn’t keep him…and that he missed his pen when they won the CL…Luckily others did worse, including John Terry and his tears of a clown… Rooney and Nani at their best plus a great defensive group in Van der Saar, Vidic, Evra, etc. was the trick to their triple…But, look how the table have turned into 7th place and an out of Europe rebuilding effort…

    Obviously, we’ve got a long ways to go and some hurdles with personnel and team psychology…but, if the core group stays healthy and continues improving and the breaks fall our way (schedules, bounces, etc.) I don’t see why we cannot compete for the bigger trophies. It’s very good that we didn’t choke away the little one, but some improvements must be made so that we can compete against the bigger clubs while staying ruthless against the smaller ones. A year ago HH, 007 and I had a good debate about Spain vs England with the tentative conclusion being that the players are better down there even if the teams are worse. This year was interesting in that some of the smaller teams stepped up and won some key matches–allowing a more motley and negative team to back into the title in Spain and a totally stacked group of Mercenaries (albeit playing some decent offense) to win in England…

    So, IMO, it’s all to play for now, as they say…And keeping the group together (which IS the tough part) is the key. Obviously, I don’t share Gerry and 007’s hopes (gut feelings) re: Sagna. Money speaks loudest even to folks with the best of hearts (and worst of hairstyles)…but I will throw out some hope for our youngsters (Gerry’s boys) or picking up some bargains after the Sheik-o-Garch teams pick their lottery winners. (And Cesc *could* be one of them, even if I positively cannot take all the talk about him heading to the Gringo side of Manchester…In the end, I think he stays–and plays a sizable role–at Barca…)

    As for style…I think we’ve seen that Wenger can play safe, defensive football (see TA’s post on his tactics–including using no subs–for the nil-nil at home vs Chavs)–when he has his players available–even if he is prone to too much “positivity” (suicide tactics, at Chavs and Anfield and the middle Eastlands…) If we shore up properly at the back (replacing Sagna and Verm with real up and comers plus a better offensive player at RB if Bellerin+Jenks cannot do the job…I think we can get some important results AND play some decent football. Are we gonna be Pep’s early Barca team with three forwards (Messi, Eto’o, and Henry) netting 100 goals (with Iniesta and Xavi slipping in the passes)? No. Still, we scored 99 this season (everybody in all comps) AND kept 20 clean sheets, so I sense *some* measure of (real) potential at both ends of the pitch, even if we have had some elements of the spine (BFG, Arteta, Giroud…) which are clearly a class below. I dunno, but I feel upbeat and that we’re more in need of a tweak (here and there) rather than a complete overhaul…

    But that’s just me and my bad attitude…Clearly if all these other clubs spend money like crazy (and we don’t…) WE’RE DOOMED!!! 😀

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, on another tack… Where’s Fozzie? I freakin’ love that guy and he seems to have a good attitude about the Arsenal…

    Of course, the question always arises about what he actually does for a living…With all his travels and his little companion, Marleykaze–whom I picture like this…
    https://secure.gravatar.com/userimage/52051490/a7105e8767e53a4ddaf4ffd5bba0229f?size=512

    …my thought is that he *might* be in the drug trade…

    Around here, with medical marijuana in many States (and fully legalized pot in a couple…) everybody (and his brother) is growing the stuff. As such, the price keeps going down, so I think it’s actually pretty hard to make a living at it, but maybe if you’ve got some building skills (those swanky pre-fabs with a little creative electricity and plumbing, for example, might do the trick nicely…) and maybe you’re used to making deliveries, maybe in a van with the windows neatly covered over… Well, it’s just a thought and it might explain the good attitude…

    Maybe?… 😀

  71. 7eventeen !.
    He may or may not be in the *drug* trade, but what`s for certain, he is definitely on drugs……..the cucking fad munt !. hahaha
    The Fcuking Frenzied Fiend seems to visit a lot of places around the globe, so I doubt our Double Dutch Drug Dealer has any competition from Fozskin there !……..unless all this Globetrotting is a release in his mind as he serves out a sentence at her majesties pleasure !……and Marley Kaze is in fact……a big Rastafarian who injects his drugs intravenously into Fozzers rectum whilst questioning him with…..”Who`s your Daddy ?”. hahaha

  72. Admir says:

    “Will Holland finish second again?”

    @Total – yes, they will end up second…in their group. 😛 Frankly, Holland will have a really tough group ahead of them as I wouldn’t underestimate Chile if I were Van Gaal. They have shown their quality in friendlies against England and Germany so Holland will have to give their best shot to advance from the group, especially if they lose to Spain in the opening match of the group.

  73. Hi Adders !. 😀

    Hope the floods have gone and you and your other half are OK !. I saw the floods on the TV and they were truly shocking !.
    We had bad floods here in the winter and I`m afraid that when mother nature is pissed off, it`s time for some prayers !.
    I did leave a message on your other site and said that someone of your writing skills deserves more comments and that you should in this TW, transfer to BK, where you will be more appreciated !.
    Best of luck buddy !. 😀

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Some brilliant comments today. Good to see RA commenting and agreed re tiredness of AM in extra time.

    Fozzie is a prossie, who is hired for holiday entertainment of the rich and famous (that’s why he’s located at Gatwick).

    Admir, you are spot on. The group is soooo tough. Get through it and Holland might get far. It looks like we will be playing 3-5-2, with diving testicle head and Van Judas in the ‘2’, and Huntelaar and Lens as back up pair. Shame Strootman is injured though.

    What about BH’s chances?

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    17, still owe you a more in-depth response, and I hope to find some time tonight. 🙂

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Would RM have won the league if they kept Ozil – yes!

    There’s logic for you, JB. 🙂

  77. Thanks Totes for recognising my brilliant comments today ……..that’s another award winning performance from the land of everything award winning !. 😆

  78. Fozzie the Prossie…….I like !. 😆

  79. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed Total, where’s my more detailed (more doom and gloom?…) response?…. Also, I’ve been a bit concerned about our Bosnian friend and the moisture there, so I’m glad to see he’s back atop the waves of the Goonersphere or World Cup-o-sphere or otherwise on the drier side of things…It looks like a MASSIVE rebuild in your neck of the woods, Admir, and I hope nobody in your immediate circle lost more than a bit of property…

    Sometimes when I cannot stand another transfer link I think about those from the past…So, speaking of the Dutch team, what ever became of Ib Affellay? Of course, I can always just look up the answer, but even then you don’t always get the straight story from trusted sources. Who’s gonna be in that Dutch 3 man back line? And what about at Keeper?…Does Steklenburg go down to Brazil after going down with Fulham?…I know, I know, I’ve asked before (Krul and Vorm both kept their English clubs up, by comparison)… Does Heitenga still make the first team? I dunno, those big name grey and bald headed guys better score a few goals, I would say, esp. if Von Bommel isn’t on hand to chop everybody down to size…

    OK, it’s a hot one today (and the trails will be crowded from the holiday weekend) but I’m still gonna try and get out for a trot… Gotta get my bod into “Ronny-shape” Did anybody else take his preening flex-o-rama as a giant billboard reading–“I just won the Champions League…and I did it on steroids?”…

  80. Let me get this straight !………Ronaldo stripping his top off and running along flexing his muscles is not the norm` !………shit !…..I do that in front of the mirror every time I make a comment !. 😳

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Award winning nutter you are CoD! 🙂

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Have not given the defence much thought, 17, but it is likely to be our weakest area. De Jong will protect them no doubt and I am looking forward to seeing Clasie – the Dutch Wilshere? – in action. Hardest part will be getting the full backs right in this formation…

  83. Biggest problem for “Oranje” is trying to get the ball off the greedy bastard Arjen Robben !. hahaha

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    So true Cocker, he is a selfish twat.

  85. proudgooner says:

    I think we should take a good look at signing Klas jan Hunterlaar again.
    Wenger wanted him 2 seasons ago, if he could pass a strict medical test due to bad injuries last season then for me this is the last possible time it will be worth concidering him , as he will be 31 at the start of next season.
    KIas has everything we need in a striker, he fits the profile perfectly for me. He is world class, if we could take him or Draxlar of Shalke 04 it would improve us no doubt in my mind. I know Huntelaar only has 2-3 strong years left but he he can help us push on i am sure.
    I don’t know if he is in the Holland tean for the world cup, but i bet if he is then he will demand a strong price afterwards , he is 1 i would take a punt on before the WC at the right price for a player of his age.
    Ideally we take both him and Draxlar, but its very doubtful as Shalke 04 will feel we are taking the piss taking them both but, if you don’t ask then you don’t get.

    Aslo we need a keeper, get Begavic and ask QPR about Ceaser . 2 great keeper that will not let you done and we need 2 .No time to waste in trying to find the next Seaman, Szcs could be the man but he is still very young for a keeper

  86. proudgooner says:

    Is Klas jan Huntelaar fit and going to the world cup Total?
    I think he could be our main hitman, or he could be our David Villa of Ath.Madrid. He should have been ours the season just gone at the price he went there for, we missed out there.
    Talking of Ath.Madrid, they always find great strikers, if they sell Costa, whoever they go after to replace him we should take a good look at i think.

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes he is, PG, but it looks like he will not be a starter. I rate him too, but cannot see him coming to us anymore.

  88. Admir says:

    @TCM – thanks for kind words, mate! 😀 Speaking of the other site, I’ve been doing a huge statistical job these days – average ratings of all Arsenal players that played in the season 2013-14 based on ratings given by the authors on AllArsenal.com. I’ve finished goalkeepers so far. Szczesny’s improvement is something to speak about.

    Floods are gone but erosion and some other crappy things like mine-fields moved, poorly organized system of providing food and other things for the victims…are still issues to deal with. At least people of all nations, religions and political views are helping each other.

    @Total – yes, it’s going to be difficult for Oranje. I wasn’t very impressed with that match against Bulgaria and without Strootman and Willems…I don’t know how it will look like.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina have a bad schedule. We’ll play first match against Argentina. If we get stuffed (and it’s the most likely outcome given how poor are defence is – despite Begović), Nigeria will have one foot in the Knockout Stage with a victory against Iran. We’ll have to beat Nigeria and Iran to go through but there is always a possibility that we get screwed like this:

    -we lose to Argentina, say, 4:0; Nigeria beat Iran 1:0;
    -we beat Nigeria 1:0; Argentina beat Iran 4:0;
    -we beat Iran 3:0 and Nigeria beat Argentina (they will rest their best players for the KO-stage) 1:0 in the last match of the group stage.

    We end up third with 6 points and the worst goal-difference.

    Admir – The Lord of Bosnian Chart of Doom! 😀

  89. Admir says:

    @17 – thanks a lot, mate. Luckily for me, erosion spared center of my town but unfortunately we don’t have enough ecological sense to prevent or at least reduce the impact of these disasters. We should have cleaned our rivers last summer when their level was low.

  90. Dylan says:

    JB is correct, my striker does start with B. 😉

  91. proudgooner says:

    thanks TA.

    During your mourning i wrote a post out , i said so but you were clearly thinking about other things i still have it if your interested in reading it.

  92. proudgooner says:

    TA,
    It may need polishing and adding a few pictures etc. Bit if your interested let me know where to email it, thanks.

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    YOu might be okay, Admir. Argentina are the favourites but you can beat the other two.

    Good to hear the flodding and erosion issues have not hit you directly, and hopefully the country as a whole will recover smoothly.

    PG, great news: please email to bergkampesque@gmail.com

  94. proudgooner says:

    Wenger says on French tv that Benzema has played his last game for Real whilst comentating on the CL final, also saying that the French hit man will one day play in the PL. Interesting..

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/380573/Arsenal-boss-Arsene-Wenger-drops-MASSIVE-hint-about-imminent-Karim-Benzema-bid

  95. proudgooner says:

    If so that would give Arsenal all of Frances main centre forward. Giroud, Sanogo and Benzema.
    With Theo and Podolski on either wing , then that would be a CL challenging team not just a league and FA cup contenders.
    I also believe Giroud with Wengers coaching can get very close to RVP goal scoring tally next season.

  96. 25 years ago we won the League at Anfield !. Not all could get in the Stadium to watch the title deciding game, so this day was probably the catalyst for the Scouse gits to steal as many TV`s as possible so to watch!, probably the reason they are obsessed with stealing plasma screens to this day and why the 26th May 1989 was the day we stereotyped Scousers !……..yeah right !, they were thieving Scouse bastards long before that !. hahaha

    Has Bastard bought anyone yet ?. All I hear is players with names beginning with B !.
    I personally don’t want Benzema…..not at £40M !, I`d rather have Remy for £8M !……and as for Balotelli….no thanks, think Fozzie B with football boots !. Bony…..not sure, the trouble is, we maybe should have bought him for £12M before Swansea !…….He He Henry was always on about buying him before Swansea, not sure I wasn’t him for £20M !. Barry !……a free agent…..maybe worth a gamble, better than Kalstrom for a freebie !.
    Begovic !……now that would be a good Szczesny back up !.
    Now to the 2 “B`s” I would like……..Bernard !, a top talent from the vids I have seen and best of all…..Barclay !, he is going to be immense !.
    So there you have it, my take on the weird amount of B`s going about the rounds of TW rumours and I might have left some out !……..Ohh yeah, I forgot….Bees !…….that bastard VCC has told me he has been trying to pollinate his plants in his greenhouse by sucking pollen from Bees and transferring the Pollen with his tongue !…….he said it`s the….Bees Knees !……however, I have my doubts and guess it`s probably the Bees Cock he`s sucking !.
    Whilst we are talking nature !…….One of the girls at work who happens to be a Gooner, asked me for my opinions on the TW, she see`s me as a bottomless pit of football wisdom. I said to her…….”it will cost you for my knowledge, the sum being…. some Carnal Knowledge !.
    I may enlighten you with my wisdom of transfers, but lets first see how you perform your Oral exam !………ten seconds later !…….yes !, not bad, but you have to do better and more frequently, as…….one swallow does not make summer TW ! “. Genius !. hahaha

  97. The interesting thing in this link is one of the comments below the post, it`s by someone called ….bc @ 8:52am. Have a read at his comment !.

    http://allarsenal.com/arsenalrumours/report-arsenal-will-use-vela-clause-to-buy-antoine-griezmann/

  98. This had me laughing watching it !…..for some reason the 2 characters had me thinking that, 17 HT is the one on the Sofa and I`m the one behind the Sofa !. hahaha

  99. AFC says:

    A really good recap of the season showing the ups and downs of the season by AFTV. Worth a watch.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4lB7XafjTic

  100. AFC says:

    Cockie, this is my favourite interview from AFTV this season.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7gSFEaI4HdA

    What I like about this interview is how honest and up front Chris Hudson is. He says it as it is and basically said what we were all thinking. I take my hat off to him.

  101. AFC says:

    17ht, thanks for producing a brilliant recap of our season. As others have said you have captured it all. 🙂

    It was vital that we won the FA Cup. If we didn’t it would have been another season of disappointment. We need to push on now and try and win the league next season.

    I know you don’t like all the transfer talk and debates about buying new players I feel the only way to progress and even maintain our position in the league next season is to sign some new players. We will have improvement and development internally as you say buy so will all the other teams. In terms of goal difference we were miles from winning the league but in terms of points less so but then you have to take into consideration the managerial changes as United, City and Chelsea and how all of those team did not perform as well as they normally would. We have to go into the transfer market and invest. Top quality signings are needed to add to our squad which is full of potential.

    We can hold onto our best players but do not want to give Sagna the extra money he deserves which is pissing me off more and more every day.

    Whether it will be all doom and gloom depends on what Wenger does in the summer TW. I am sure Cockie will agree. 😀

  102. AFC says:

    but I feel*
    but so will*
    miles away from*

  103. AFC says:

    Cockie, you said

    ‘Trouble with AM and Liverscum potentially winning things is that everyone will think you don’t need money to get trophies and then think that Arsene can do the same !, so, glad Liverscum fcuked up and AM didn`t win tonight !.In general, having the best SQ players wins you trophies and anything else is just an anomaly !.’

    SPOT ON!!!

  104. Gerry says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble Cockie, but you have forgotten the last time Bernard was mentioned?

    He had a third party ownership, and presume still does? In which case he would cost any EPL side £50m, on JM’s reckoning last time.

    If Real Soci are wanting £25m for Griezeman, you can see where they will get their replacement?

    The only problem I would have with Ballotelli is that if we reclaim Cesc, there will not be a lot left in the kitty for our more urgent needs?

  105. AFC says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I think Cesc and Balotelli would be perfect Balotelli will give us pace, power and presence up front and he is only 23. Far from his peak and has the potential to be world class but is good enough to play for us now. He could be available for a cut price, Puma might put up some of the money, win win for me. Wenger might try and play Cesc next to Ramsey? After all that would fall in Wenger’s philosophy, midfielders who can play all over the pitch in deep positions and technically gifted. We would be left vulnerable against the top teams though which is where a Verm or Flamini might be useful and could play next to Cesc or Ramsey.

    We would only then need a cheap experienced GK as back-up for Szez, a RB and maybe a fourth choice young CB. I think we should have the money with the saving in wages from our released players and various sponsorship deals

  106. Gerry says:

    If they are willing to go that far, AFC. It would get close to my budget of £135m???

    But I agree, the mighty Mario would sit very nicely in our side, and AW was big fan in his teenage days.

    I am not sure a back up goalie is as important as a DM, we do have the very capable Macey, as well as Martinez. Still a 10% chance that Sagna stays 😀

  107. AFC says:

    Gerry, agree re GK. We might even be able to keep Viviano?

    When it comes to DM I am split. I want a SQ DM like Javi Martinez, Bender etc, but if Wenger is just going to go for someone like Barry I would rather AW buy Cesc and play him next to Ramsey as a regista or volante. It would leave us vulnerable at times but would be worth the risk in my opinion.

    It would allow Wilshere, Cazorla and Ox to fight it out for the spot in the left flank

    The sale of Podolski would help balance the books as well. It would be expensive but worth it in my opinion

    The Flamini situation seems weird as well. He seems to be on Wenger naughty step. He might be off?

  108. AFC says:

    When it comes to Bale, I still think he is overrated. He is worth nowhere near £80 million. He is worth around £50-60 million. Di Maria was the star in the CL final and it was his hard work which led to Bale’s lucky goal and if I had the choice of Bale or Di Maria I would take Di Maria.

    For £80 million you could have Di Maria and Walcott.

  109. Indeed Gezzer, I have no recollection of Bernard`s value. I was thinking of more like £20,000,001 !.
    Yes, AFC, I agree it all hinges on who Wenger buys in the summer and lets make this clear, I think we have some SQ players already, but we need SQ back-up for the inevitable injuries we will occur next season !.
    Although we seem to agree on a lot, I wouldn`t touch Balotelli with Girouds barge pole and personally, I reckon we should have made an offer of £100M for Bale !……but I am half mad…..lucky enough, the other half is insane !. hahaha
    Off for an early night as I have to take my gorgeousness self around Cornwall tomorrow and the ladeez will be up early queuing in St Ives for a glimpse before they self pleasure their selves !…………………………………I`ll tell you what`s mad…..you lot probably believe all this crap I come out with !. hahaha

  110. proudgooner says:

    I am not sure about Vela or Bony, they decent but there not an RVP or Suarez.
    Ballatelli yes i think he would give us an edge, he would add that Viera steel to our side, we could do with at least 1 nutcase, maybe 2 imo.
    Yep 1 maybe 2 warriors willing to kick lumps out of the likes of Oil City and Chavski Petrolium.
    I know it sounds a little nuts, but none of you would have minded having Suarez this season i kniow..

    A goalkeeper is a no brainer, it is quite simply a must recruit Szsc injury would leave us in big trouble and Begavic could, should even take number 1 , imo

    Striker i am really going to back Giroud and Sanogo to catch fire next season, that said i want another worldy. But i am willing to be very patient with Wenger as he needs to get the right man in amd watching the world cup to see who is doing the business, available and comes though the tournament fit again could be a wise move.

    Wenger has alway found good players for me and i trust him too, also history tells us he is a last minute man, so we will have to wait.

    The most important signing i am waiiting for is Wenger himself, i do wish he would just get it done , as this could well affect the chances of SQ quality players signing for us, maybe Sagna wants Wenger to prove he is staying who knows.?? Remember when Jack said if Wenger ledt or the fans forced him out that he might leave ??? Just shows how much players want to be coached by him.

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post Maiden Post! 🙂

    ProudGooner wants a new captain! Enjoy. 🙂

  112. proudgooner says:

    I would really like us to make Barcelona a big offer for Naymer , why not offer them £50,000,000. We can afford him and that would make us lethal

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