Arsene to face the cat again?

WengerWincing (2)

There is a lot of anticipation among fine fellow Gooners that Arsenal will buy at least three super quality players this summer, and will have a far better chance to win something big next season.

Over the last few years the club has not necessarily stagnated – competition has increased, yet we have still been able to finish in the top-four – but we do not seem to be able to push on for the title, let alone for the CL cup (although winning the FA Cup was a fine feat).

When I wrote about Arsene in the past, I have sometimes used Kafka’s ‘Little Fable’ as a fine analogy, as I see it, of the Frenchman’s attempt to get the club back to the domestic top and European glory. You can never fail him for trying, although it is becoming harder and harder to support him on his choices/approaches to get there (at least for me).

“Alas,” said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.”

     “You only need to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.

Franz Kafka

‘A Little Fable’

My questions to you, fine fellow Gooners, are:

  1. Will Arsene change direction next season to get us to the very top or will it be another ‘deja-vu’ season?
  2. Do you believe that we, as a club, actually can compete for the top prices, or should we lower our expectations?
  3. Will he aim to get back to Wengerball football as in the Bergkamp and Fabregas eras; and if so, how will he achieve it?
  4.  How much trust do you have that Wenger can still get us there (on a scale from one to ten: one being very low and 10 being very high)?
  5. And who does he need to buy/what does he need to do tactically (formation/style of play) to get us there and avoid running once more into the Cat’s trap?

wenger_2878183

Written by: TotalArsenal.

 

 

 

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121 Responses to Arsene to face the cat again?

  1. Vinicius says:

    1 – No.
    2 – Yes, but Wnger don’t want them.
    3 – No.
    4 – 3, but if we don’t buy, we won’t finish in top-four next season.
    5 – Wenger miss the chance to used Fabregas buy-bakc clause to force Chelsea to sell him Lukaku, but Lukaku is too good for him. All the summer he push for the next season the solution of the team problems, like DM, CF. GK and now the RB

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi BKers, just a short post to have a ‘clean page’, discussion for the foreseeable future on BK. 🙂

    You can either respond to one or more of the above questions, comment on the World Cup games, or comment on anything else.

  3. Admir says:

    Hello, BKers!

    I will just use this post to make a comment about our first ever performance at World Cup.

    We weren’t bad at all. I think that BKers might have seen more than a few Wengerball-moments from Bosnian team – passing it out of the box with Messi and Agüero around, Misimović’s wonderful ball for Hajrović, Pjanić’s dribbling… We gave Argentina a good scare. Of course, they are much better team, Messi is the greatest player ever even when he sucks and Di Maria is a wizard.

    If we beat Nigeria and Iran, we should go through the next stage.

  4. omgarsenal says:

    TA your pessimism is shining through as always.but for ma last season was a big step towards a more solid, competitive Arsenal, so here are my answers:

    1. Wenger is not a Kafkaesque figure but rather more like Voltaire, logical and circumspect so yes, he will take us to a higher level with what he has and maybe will add what he needs.
    2. I presume you mean top prizes and yes we can, after watching some of our current Arsenal youth in the WC.
    3. He never abandoned Wengerball, just adapted the style of play and tactical approach to what he had to work with after serious injuries to 7 first team starters and constant rotational fouling.
    4. 9 on 10
    5. He will bring in Joel Campbell, get Sanogo up to speed, add a backup right back, another keeper and hopefully manage to keep his starting 11 relatively injury-free and firing on all cylinders for the next season. Anything more than that will be gravy and I am sure he’ll get a few new faces to support his already great team.

    To those who say we should have brought back Fabregas…..who would have been forced to sit on the bench? The Ox, Ozil, Wilshere, Ramsey and what would this have done to force AFC out of its current 4-3-3-1 strategy? AFC is no longer (as if it ever was) a one man club and the fact that Fabregas couldn’t get an assured starting place is proof of that!

  5. Admir says:

    Will Arsene change direction next season to get us to the very top or will it be another ‘deja-vu’ season?

    1.I hope so but he won’t. There is a joke about a Bosnian child asking his father: “Daddy, Daddy, are we going to visit Adriatic Sea this summer?” Child’s father replied: “Son, there is 40 percent of chances that we will go and 100 percent of chances that we won’t!”

    Do you believe that we, as a club, actually can compete for the top prices, or should we lower our expectations?

    2.We can’t. We can buy one player of Özil’s price per season (perhaps we won’t get one this season). Chavs can sign Fabregas, Diego Costa and go for more. City can offer a really massive wage (as seen in Sagna’s case – speaking of Sagna, I think they’ll use him as a central defender). Same goes for United.

    Will he aim to get back to Wengerball football as in the Bergkamp and Fabregas eras; and if so, how will he achieve it?

    3.First of all, I think that there is some place for 4-4-2 formation. Big things under Wenger came when he used 4-4-2 (hell, we even won the latest cup with Sanogo and Giroud on the pitch) – it only depends which kind of version of it he might use in today’s football. Wengerball as such has been lost since Fabregas and Nasri left. There was a great text about how Arsenal don’t have dribblers like Hleb and Nasri used to be. A winger who is a great dribbler might make our game more versatile and less predictable (yes, Di Maria, I’m talking to your big ears!). Remember, it’s not a good time to have a possession-based style as tiki-taka has suffered a lot of disasters in clashes against quality counter-attacking football in the last two seasons. Speaking of dribblers, Ben Arfa might be the solution (provided that he settles things straight in his head).

    How much trust do you have that Wenger can still get us there (on a scale from one to ten: one being very low and 10 being very high)?

    4. 6. He knows how much Champions’ League means to our club, our finances and that’s our priority. That means he’ll use even uglier methods to get us there if that’s what we need (as seen during run-in in 2012-13 and in some matches last term). However, we have a relatively young squad – Wilshere, Ramsey, Chamberlain, Özil…can give us a lot of wonderful football in years to come if they get a pace outlet in the attack. Agüero would be a perfect striker for that but he is out of reach. Balotelli is too much of a risk with his instability.

    And who does he need to buy/what does he need to do tactically (formation/style of play) to get us there and avoid running once more into the Cat’s trap?

    5.Di Maria and/or Agüero. A winger with dribbling skills and a pacey striker.

  6. davydavy says:

    Thanks TA, I love the Kafka story and it fits Arsene quite nicely! I really love Bergkampesque because of the variety of well-reasoned opinions that can be read on the site, so thanks for keeping it ticking over for all of us.

    To the questions:
    1. Well, I think he has already changed direction by signing Ozil, clearing out the non-performing players and consolidating the places of our best young players. Add to that the fact that we led the league for half a year and won the Cup and bingo!
    2. Absolutely, but other teams are strengthening and we will need to as well. Otherwise it’s another struggle just to get 4th place for us!
    3. I would argue that we have seen Wengerball starting to re-emerge this year; look at Jack’s goal against Norwich or our wonderful game against Liverpool back in November for example.
    4. A good 8 out of 10 that Wenger can get us there, based on last year’s improvements and in anticipation of a few new players coming in.
    5. The lesson that the Netherlands and Costa Rica have given us in this World Cup is that attacking at pace creates chances that win matches. Joel Campbell will come into the squad, and what a player he looked against Uruguay. Serge Aurier also wants to come, and he created two assists for Ivory Coast with fast, accurate crosses from the right (if only Sagna could have done that!). A dynamic midfielder playing out of the back of midfield proved to be invaluable for France, and if PSG could be persuaded to part with Matuidi then he could be a great successor to Mikel Arteta. I like him a lot more than the much-hyped Paul Pogba, but also I will be very interested to see how William Carvalho looks for Portugal against Germany.

    I’m totally optimistic that we will bring in the right types of players to bring back the days of a solid midfield base and fast attacking prowess down both flanks and through the middle. As long as we don’t fall for the trap of thinking that we need to buy Galactico’s (eg Cavani/Balotelli/Suarez) then we’ll have no problems putting together a fantastic squad with the funds that we are reputed to have.

  7. NW says:

    1.Will Arsene change direction next season to get us to the very top or will it be another ‘deja-vu’ season?

    No
    a) There are no HUGE problem with the club. The club is not in a collapse or disaster. It can get some cup win. EPL will always be a long shot bc two teams will always have plenty of reserve players and at least two more teams are like Arsenal which means capable of winning EPL in for one season but hard to retain.
    b) Don’t expect a sugar daddy coming in with huge fund
    c) Wenger is a person who figures out the most logical way and stick with it. He changes tactically but not strategically.

    2.Do you believe that we, as a club, actually can compete for the top prices, or should we lower our expectations?

    a) What do u define by top prices? 50 million? YES… 70 millions? NO and no point doing that
    b) only one each window.
    c) not this year because there are holes to fill. striker, rb, reserve goal keeper. holding mid/ DM if each of those cost 10 millions on average ( and u won’t like a 10 million striker anyway), 40 millions are gone.
    d) For several years to, things will look like this. 1x30million player, 30 millions for two players replacing holes. 10millions left for potential or reserve. and pulling in a few young guys from academy. If the team can retain the excellent players they have, it will be quite good.

    3.Will he aim to get back to Wengerball football as in the Bergkamp and Fabregas eras; and if so, how will he achieve it?

    Yes and no
    a) no, possessional ball not as important. Arsenal will still keep higher possession than others but won’t rely on it as critical tactic.
    b) speed of attack will come back. both direct ball runs or quick short passes pushing forward.

    4. How much trust do you have that Wenger can still get us there (on a scale from one to ten: one being very low and 10 being very high)?
    Again…. how high is there
    a) EPL possible
    b) CL harder give PSG, Bayern will always be there with other “traditional” winners
    d) retain EPL/ double… very hard because much more competition both in EPL and Europe

    5.And who does he need to buy/what does he need to do tactically (formation/style of play) to get us there and avoid running once more into the Cat’s trap?
    hard to say because we don’t know the amount of money. DM first, RB, then reserve GK. Winger is actually more important than stiriker considering Walcot is down… (Two names mentioned so far). and then we always want someone in the striker department. The thing is.. Giroud is there, Walcott can be the no.3 if someone can take his right position. Vela will probably be sold after coming back but Wenger might keep him as no.2 striker for one season. Joel Campbell can help and Sanago is also around. They might loan Sanago if Campbell comes back.

  8. RA says:

    Hi TA,

    I hate seeing you, someone so objective and well balanced, so despondent over Arsenal, and me telling you that, because I am hoping you will be able to put this malaise behind you, will probably not help achieve that. That is Kafka-esque in its way too.

    Maybe you are the mouse in Kafka’s fable? 🙂

  9. Gerry says:

    TA – Despite your pessimism, it is good to see you have put these questions for us to discuss.

    Thank you again for leaving the blog open.

    The common theme among replies so far is PACE. That is the one area that we were weak in many games. The failure to move the ball from defence and get to the final third before teams could park their bus. The Netherland’s win showed just how effective that can be. (The big question for them is can they repeat it in a similar manner next game?).

    So, to your questions. I find myself questioning the question before answering, just to clarify what my answers are about.

    1, Change direction? Deja vue? Changing from possession based to counter attacking perhaps?
    Challenging for top honours, but falling short, even if a top finish 4 in a competitive league is no mean achievement. Those are the expectations.

    Answer: As has been said above, AW has worked with the players he has had over the last 16 years. The expectation is that new players coming in will enhance his options, and I am a firm believer that this will be the case. That does not necessarily rule out a repeat of not winning anything. We can only control our own results. Which means we have to be strong against other top sides who will also add to their squads. Do that, and it will be another progressive season. Anything less, and even a top 4 spot will be difficult. To put that into context, with our side that finished last season off, we would do well to finish 7th!

    2, Can we compete financially? Are we talking silly money here, because the answer to that is No, nor do we need to. Chelsea are a perfect example of a team who paid big money for the players they brought in and ended up with just a top 4 finish? Man City had an expensive squad to start with, and added to it. They may have won the league but the FFP fine meant they gained nothing from their participation in the CL? With tougher sanctions expected next year, even these mega rich clubs are thinking twice about just throwing money at new players?

    Answer: AW will be his usual astute self when it comes to buying players. He will not enter in an auction, as that simply raises the price. Nor do I believe he will be leaving it late in the TW, because, for once, we can offer money at ‘sensible’ prices which clubs may accept if the other big clubs are that bit more restricted? Other clubs too, have a need to sell before they can buy in many cases. Plus, clubs like Barca and Man U,with a new managers, are reassessing their current squads. Indeed, throw in Spurs and Southampton, both now having very astute young managers now, also looking to add, but probably needing to sell first to raise cash, and will be looking at similar ‘value’ players that become available. As will Everton too. So whilst FFP may have made it a bit of a buyers market for the less rich clubs, you still find strong competition. Arsenal are in a strong position with cash assets, so I am confident this will be our best transfer window in this decade. Not all fans will be happy though, as it will be a mix of quality and youth, not necessarily from the top end market.

    3, Return to ‘wengerball? Well that might mean different things to different people. Mention Bergkamp and that narrows it downs to having skilful, intelligent players in all the right places?

    Answer: I don’t think he has ever lost that vision, only the players to achieve it? In many ways, even with a truly spectacular TW, the team assembled will be much stronger next season. But what we should see is more dominant performances throughout the season, rather than the sporadic ones of the season gone by. But a lot depends on recruiting the right players, and having real strength in depth.

    4, Trust AW to get us there? Well if the ‘there’ in the question relates to the previous one, as I assume it does? Then AW will continue to strive for the right balance to play ‘wengerball’, but whether that will be as dominant as is the Bergkamp era is another question.

    Trust AW on a scale of 1-10. For me it is a ’10’ on what is in his power to control, but only 8 out of 10 in the real world.

    5, Players needed and tactical/formation changes to avoid the Kafka-esque running down the same blind alley? As with the mouse, the only alternative to continue with what is in front of you, which appears that the only ‘change of direction’ available is to do 180 degree turn? I somehow do not see AW ever going the ‘park the bus’ approach?

    Answer: Fresh players, fit players, clever players will always give the manager more options than he has ever had in previous seasons. That in turn will make it possible for him to make tactical changes, such as the switch to two strikers in the Cup Final?

    As for naming players who could come in, I have in a large part resisted in naming. But I think his key signing will be the striker/second striker. I have gone on record as saying that Morata I believe is his number 1 choice. It is possible, but doubtful that Balotelli would be ‘as well as’. These are players as I see it, who would mostly play alongside Giroud, not necessarily in a 4-4-2, although is an attractive option. They could also be a replacement in case of rest or injury, more so with Mario, which is why there is little movement elsewhere until this decision is concluded, imo(cough).
    Benzama could play wide or central, but Di Maria is a better winger. Griezeman(the other guy for those not up to speed with my earlier posts) is younger, and with Morata, could be a tremendous long term option?
    But it all revolves around that central partnership with Giroud. None of the above were on my wish list, but I’ll happily take AW’s decision on any of them.
    The return of World Cup wonder boy, JC only affects one player in my view, Ya Ya Sanogo If we could offer him a loan at Olympiakos it may be the making of him too. Why JC benefited so much was having a season long first team action, and Ya Ya will certainly get squeezed out if any of the above sign up, apart from JC adding his bit. So rather than having the pressures of an EPL/Championship loan, where first team action is not guaranteed, cash strapped Greeks may welcome a similar offer?
    Then we come back to the midfield, particularly for a more sprightly version in the defensive slot than we have already, and names have been mentioned. However, any player emerging from the WC will have to be snapped up quickly, as others are circling for similar players?

    Finally, replacing those who may depart, or indeed, yet to depart??? Two or three players high on the list for RB could spell the end for Jenks I fear, and possibly Bellerin? We are in changing time folks, be prepared for it. Same with the CB position. Does TV5 stay and play 2nd fiddle, or move on? In which case another pair of young defenders, not costing the earth, will also come in.

    So much will unfold when the window officially opens, but one thing is certain, it will open the door to many tactical options which may, or may not, silence the doubters as to Wenger’s ability in this department.

    That’s my bit. I’ll leave 17HT to do the long version 😀

  10. RA says:

    As to your Post questions, in a way they are selective and closed, with a bit of a ‘yes or no’ slant.

    To be honest, I too sometimes doubt what we, that is Arsenal, are trying to achieve, and that becomes more so during the transfer window, because inevitably the rumours and counter-rumours can build up our expectations and then dash them — even though we really know that 90% of these stories are fabricated.

    They are made worse by the apparent ‘success’ of the wealthier clubs in landing their targets (Cesc to Chelsea etc) while we seem to be dilly dallying. The facts, of course, are that Arsenal have never leaked information about their targets – ever – and what we read is propaganda from agents, players themselves, people supposedly ‘in the know’ etc – but never from Arsenal.

    In addition, we do have it from the horses mouth that Arsenal are deep in conversations about the players they are looking for — and I am confident we are doing what we can, and hopefully there will be some good news.

    Don’t forget, the transfer window does not even open for another 2 weeks, and with the best players playing in the WC that makes it very difficult.

    Finally, it seems that it was the ‘Cesc Business’ that really got under your skin, and the only person who can work through that scenario, is you. The news came out about Cesc because he was forced out of Barca the club he tried so hard to join, and so he was not a ‘willing party’ to this whole thing, and wherever he went it would be a poor second choice for him – and that included Arsenal.

    I have used this analogy before, but it is still relevant — if I had a girlfriend who left me for someone else, because she had fallen madly in love with him, and then after a time was abandoned by her new lover, it would be humiliating for both of us if she wanted to come back to me, because she was desperate.

    That sort of forced relationship would never work. I would always wonder if she could stay faithful having already been let down, and she would always have one eye on the love of her life, and never be satisfied having come crawling back to me.

    The Cesc deal was very like that. It was rushed, forced on him, and would have made us look like a pathetic cuckold who had no pride, and had been unable to move on.

    No sir – not for me, and it should not be for any other Gooners either, because it does not matter how good a footballer Cesc is — or how gorgeous and sexy the ex-girlfriend is for that matter, it just would not work. 🙂

  11. RA says:

    Oh, really, Gerry,

    You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such a short response to TA’s questions – come on – put some effort in to it!! 😀

  12. RA says:

    Incidentally, Gerry, your weedy, short answers are excellent and I can find nothing about them that I would not have written myself, if I had thought of them.

    Well thought out and spot on! 🙂

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for fantastic, indepth responses, guys. I am busy today but will get back later. 🙂

    Admir, your boys did you proud. 🙂

    OMG, go on son, let some humility and doubt into your Arsenal supporting life. This ‘everything is just brilliant at Arsenal’ attitude is so flat and boring. One would think you are hired by the PR department…. 😉

  14. RA says:

    OMG,

    You stay as you are! That naughty Clogger is trying to lead you astray — it is just a mid-Arsenal crisis! 🙂

  15. retsub says:

    Firstly let me say although I don’t post very often I very much enjoy your blog. On occasions when I have posted I have always received friendly responses and made to feel welcome. I and a numbers of other bloggers used a blog that appears to have been abandoned and although very much smaller than your it did have its fair share of characters with diversifying views. It’s very difficult to get into the community of a new blog as many of the regulars tend to only reply And refer to the regulars. As I say this is not the case on your blog and I am sure this is in part because of your excellent posts and also the ongoing involvement in conversations. That said I can only imagine the amount of effort needed to run and maintain your excellent blog. As you say it’s entirely your choice whether you continue, but personally I can only thank you for all your efforts which are appreciated by many. If you do decide to close your blog, you will be responsible for a large number of bloggers who will struggle to settle into a new home.

    I haven’t answered your questions, but just wanted to add my perspective. I have supported Arsenal for a very long time and suffered mediocrity until the fairs cup success and the 1971 double. For that reason I am probably a little Wenger biased. The guy has given me a tremendous amount of pleasure ( Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Ljunberg etc). I therefore find it very hard to be too critical of him. In fact the thing that used to annoy me most was his constant failure to say that he never saw incidents (sending offs etc )

    Players leaving arsenal has always been a painful experience. I still bear a grudge over Frank Stapleton going to United, hate Cashley with a vengeance and have no time for the chinless wonder ( Nasri). I am a big fan of Cesc but do agree with many of you fellow bloggers that we are well sorted in midfield and whilst he would enhance the team, money may be better spent elsewhere. If the money is wisely spent on the right areas I do think we can challenge next season

    Right back. Sagna was a brilliant defender, would probably have been even better at centre back, but didn’t add. An awful lot to the attack ( although his header against the spuds was a huge bonus). Personally I would break the bank and buy Coleman, I believe we would be a stronger side because of it.

    Defensive midfield. We need a beast and also a Vieira type captain figure. In those big games where we got hammered last year, we not only lost our shape but also our discipline. I can’t see a Tony Adams or a Vieira standing for that

    Striker. As good a player as Giroud has been, we won’t win anything major without some variety up front. Not sure I am clever enough to identify the best choice, but it a must.

    Lastly a keeper.

    All that said I believe if Theo and Rambo had remained fit we would have challenged for the league last season. For all the mega bucks spent by City and Chelsea none of the top sides seem to have the mental strength to win the title. United under Ferguson had this in buckets, but I don’t believe any side including City currently have this quality at the moment. Liverpool were a primes example last season and Spurs prove this every year prior to St Totteringhams day.
    So in summary I thank you for all your efforts and hope you find the energy to maintain your excellent blog.

    As ever I am hopefully that Wenger will buy wisely and we will have a great season

    COYG

  16. RA says:

    Well said retsub,

    That was a really welcome appraisal of this great site, and the top class guy who runs it so well.

    I like what you had to say and agree with you to a large extent.

    You made the observation, that many have over the years, about Wenger’s now notorious claim not to have seen something on the pitch and that still puzzles me.

    You see, I have watched many, many games up to and including this WC, and I am incredulous at the number of managers who claim to have seen some offence against their team, or to have seen a refereeing mistake, often from 60 yards away from the incident.

    As an example, the Brazilian manager, Scolari, claimed to have ‘seen’ the ‘foul’ that resulted in Brazil being awarded a penalty against Croatia, and widely acclaimed it as a good decision made by the Japanese referee, whereas 99.9% of those viewing with the benefit of the close up TV cameras and slow motion replays could not detect anything that remotely resembled a foul worthy of a penalty.

    There was a resounding silence from the media hacks about Scolari’s ridiculous claim, which was made from 40 yards away.

    This is the normal position of football managers, in that they claim something was a penalty when it often isn’t, or say a penalty awarded to the other side was a bad decision because in each case they could clearly see it.

    Anyone who goes to football grounds to watch a match, will admit, if they are being honest that they cannot always see whether or not something was a foul, or how serious it was — but not the managers it seems, who always see everything, and are never wrong.

    All except Wenger, who has been known to say he did not see a penalty or a foul being made, and that is self-evidently the truth.
    But somehow his honesty has resulted in his being hounded for being open about admitting this – because from the view from a dug out, with players in between the manager and the incident, it cannot always be possible to see everything.

    TV cameras shots have shown that managers do not look at the play for every second of the game, as they exchanged comments with their assistants, glance at their watches, turn around to tell players to warm up etc, and yet somehow they all can tell us they ‘saw’ a foul or the penalty precisely when it happened.

    They cannot all be telling the truth — but god forbid Wenger should say “I did not see it” because for some reason it is then made out he is the only one lying. That is perverse.

    I have a bee in my bonnet about this, because if the papers, with their biased journalists, and the ex-Manure, or ex-Liverpool pundits repeat it often enough, it seems that even Arsenal fans will eventually believe this nonsense.

    Anyway, you have given me the chance to air my annoyance. Thank you. 🙂

  17. Gerry says:

    RA @ 08.43 – Now you are just being too nice 😀

    You were writing your answer as I finished mine, and noticed the same thing about the questions?
    I simply used the same technique I developed at university. Whenever a question is vague, ambiguous, or somehow difficult to answer, then simply rewrite it in a way that you can answer. That way they cannot mark you down for not answering what they thought they meant?

    Dylan, or anybody else who will be sitting exams, take note. One advantage of being a mature student, you can have the confidence to do it?

  18. VCC says:

    Nice comments retsub.

    I too remember that Stapleton fiasco, and it sticks in my throat still today. It was a total farce. We got conned by the Mancs and FA.

    Stapleton wanted to leave and go to Manchester United. We had little choice but to let him go. The price tag went to tribunal. The panel said they had to pay £500.000 for him.

    We needed a centre forward to replace him and acquired Lee Chapman. Guess what price we had to pay?

    Yes, I guess you can come up with the right price…….£500,000.

  19. Gerry says:

    Retsub – Can I echo RA’s comment. This site for me is the one that is easy to feel at ‘home’. I rarely comment elsewhere these days, and I was never a regular at any other site. So to lose it altogether will be a sad day for me too.

    Mind I did muse that some us long-winded bloggers could start a new one called, appropriately enough, ‘Talking Out of Our Arsenal’ 😀 … but only if Arsene does not succeed in returning the optimism back in our Captain Totes.

    On that subject of not seeing things. You should remember that the Managers may not have had a chance to see the close up replay, unlike the commentator asking the question? So the answer may be more of a case of not seeing it in detail? Not to mention, any answer that might be different to the referee’s decision can put them in difficult waters?

    As for your observations on signings, I don’t think it is very different from how AW sees it? However, wanting a player, and his availability, are the things that will keep us all guessing for a bit longer.
    Like yourself, I think with the right signings I think we will be able to maintain a challenge for the title, but I am glad you also have the wisdom to know not to say we will win the league.

    Cheers, and stick a comment in more often?

  20. retsub says:

    Thanks guys, your friendly responses only echo what I said about it being a great site.

    Lee Chapman, yes I had forgotten that…. Funny. I am sure someone will come up with a better one, but in my opinion the worst player I ever saw play for Arsenal was Gus Ceasar

  21. JM says:

    World Cup 2014 bulletin (as of 16 June):

    Nike – 9 pts
    Adidas – 9 pts
    Puma – 12 pts
    Lotto – 3 pts

  22. Gerry says:

    JM – I think an elaboration on those points would help? Are they players who are with those 4 companies who have scored perhaps?

    If so, we are with the best … so far!

  23. JM says:

    @ Gerry, June 16, 2014 at 14:00

    Nike – 9 pts (Brazil, Netherlands, France)
    Adidas – 9 pts (Argentina, Colombia, Mexico)
    Puma – 12 pts (Ivory Coast, Chile, Italy, Switzerland)
    Lotto – 3 pts (Costa Rica)

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    JM,

    Maybe you should give us the winning percentages, as I am sure there will be less ‘lotto teams’ than Nike or Puma teams…

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Retsub 🙂

    You are a fine gentleman and thanks for the kind words.

  26. JM says:

    @TotalArsenal, June 16, 2014 at 14:20

    Nike (10) & Adidas (10) have the most teams, followed by Puma (8). Lotto, Marathon Sports, Joma and Uhlsport have 1 each.

    Most of the favourites are with Nike & Adidas.

  27. oz gunner says:

    @ Retsub

    mighty fine comment. I echo your sentiment regarding this blog. Whilst cruising the Arsenal blogosphere I stumbled across another blog. All very friendly but after a few unanswered comments I nearly moved on. Wasn’t until a bloke by the name of ‘RA’ responded so I decided to stick around. This is the only Arsenal blog I frequent too. Top admin, great posts, top discussion and very very funny.

    @ TA

    cheers. Will tackle the questions in the morning.

  28. VCC says:

    Totes………nice questionnaire…..I will try and answer later. My frustration and anger(? for want of a better word) have not subsided yet.

    Perhaps Arsene will cheer me up with some marquee signings this summer transfer window.

    RA……how’s things? hope your health is good Amigo.

    Gerry……any tips for Thursday? winners please 😉

  29. RA says:

    Hiya Oz,

    You were and are, an easy guy to talk too, and highly intelligent. I loved reading your technical report, that you allowed TA and me have a ‘pre-look’ at – stunning stuff! 🙂

    Speaking of the Lord and Master, TA, I also met him on the other site as you will know, and we had an immediate ding dong as he too was far too intelligent, full of beans, a wonderful grasp of tactics and he shared my love of poetry — all in a language that was not Double Dutch, and he had been brought up in the Land of the Dykes (which drove Glic mad with all the talk of him sticking something in the dykes) — so it was immediate war between Meneer Total and myself — and we soon became fast friends. 🙂

    I am determined to get TA back on the straight and narrow Arsenal track, full of beans and poetry and to talk turkey with us about tactics again.

    I reckon if we all agree to write a Post or two for him, starting in pre-season, that would take some of the work pressure off him and he will soon be full of vim and vigour and over his crush on Cesc! 🙂

  30. RA says:

    Hi Vickers,

    As I wrote earlier, it is easy to become despondent at this time of year, especially with other clubs’s managers sounding off about their player ‘captures’. Most of it is B/S as the window does not open until 1st July, and they may be counting their chickens before they are hatched.

    Speaking of chickens, remember, I told you the Monster Cock would be back on BK, when everyone thought he had gone – well OK he is loopy but he is also addicted to the best site on the blogosphere, and I told you he would be back.

    Well I am also telling you that Arsene will be buying a few goodies for us and they will be announced the Arsenal way on AFC.com, when all the paperwork has been signed and sorted.

    Then we will see a big grin on your fizzog, a hard on for Cockie, a declaration of love for Arsene from Totes, and a ‘told you so from Merry Terry. Gerry will give you some bum steers on the Gee Gees too.

    Go Gunners! 🙂

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, Monday morning after a “wild” weekend…And Gerry wants a long one…lol… I’ve kept up with the comments and there’s plenty of good stuff in there. I enjoyed the back and forth with RA, who is also good to see in these parts. Buster, please bring your crew over this way, eh… And, finally, Princy, my friend, I will be around for the Germany-Portugal match (and likely the others) today, if you want to take me outside and rip me a new one…Oz, I may also have offended you, so you too should feel free in this regard…

    Totes (McGoats…), Cheers for putting up a new post and for making it literate (literary?) and keeping this place afloat… In general, I have to agree that we’ve got a (very) good crew around here and that (if we put our minds to it…) we can work out our issues pretty well. I apologize (apologise?) if I get overbearing at times or try to push back against some of the anti-Wenger stuff. He’s the face of the club–and with his new contract, I fear, he will take the brunt when (not if…) we fail to measure up. Some of it feels awfully misplaced, however, and (as I try and explain when I’ve got the time and energy) a lot of it seems more “structural” to our ownership model relative to those around us…

    I need to review the questions from the post but what’s unique about this place and what makes you (Total) such a great leader is that you’re insistent not only on “success” but on success with style–in the image of Dennis Bergkamp. You want intelligent, beautiful and winning football. It’s a tall order, but (IMO) we’re not *that* far off…

    What needs to be accepted is that we’re (clearly, IMO) NOT prepared to compete with the money-down-a-hole clubs. This comes from the owner but is executed by management. The Cesc case is a brutal one: a player with (or without…) an emotional attachment to our club (and some of the fan-base), used by our cross-town oiler-garch, to gain his (and his agent’s…) lottery payday. I keep scanning for info on the contract but only see that it’s a 5 year deal. If it’s on Ozil/Wenger money (8 million/year, approx 165K/week) I’d say he did pretty well–for a guy who wasn’t first choice at his club or with his national team. (Also, I find it curious how the deal got push AHEAD of the WC…) For me, Ozil is the more exciting player (pace plus creativity…) but that’s just me…This match today and the WC overall will be a good test for our Messy. What’s clear is that, unlike City and Chelsea, our management doesn’t believe we can stockpile players in (more or less) the same position at this level of money. I’d have liked to have seen Cesc as the new Arteta (which is a whole NEW level of irony, if you think about it….) but (maybe) AW wants a more physical presence back there,as do many of us (including TA). Intricate play (w/o much pace or physical power) out of our own half doesn’t work as well in England, I think and little Santi dropping deeper and then playing those long passes is already quite tantalizing (for me at least)…

    Additionally, teams like Man United are also after the older “name” players and we have to accept that they ARE willing to compete (in salaries and fees) with City and Chelsea even if it means higher pay each season for their guy named “debt.” Rooney and RvP and Mata are on huge money (Vermaelen might be next…) and if they play for Van Gaal like they did for Fergie it could be impressive. Still, as poor as young Jack (and injured Ox) might be for England, they at least made the team. Jones and Smalling and Cleverly are no match for our “British Core” so they will have to patch with more big money signings to get Van Gaal’s boat truly afloat after the sinking of the (new) Scottish vessel this past season. A year out of Europe will surely get them doing better and appearing more exciting, but Rooney and RvP and Mata will be how old when they next play in the CL?…

    But who cares about these other teams? Arsenal fans, that’s who. Like I say, in this (and previous) off seasons we take it on the chin, losing our best players to these teams and replacing with younger, cheaper guys. (Or, in the case of say, Flamini…older, cheaper guys…) We’re top of the heap in this regard, however, although Liverpool, of course, finished above us on the strength of a LOT of wheeling and dealing and now have some good management and the fruition of guys like SSS. They will continue to augment their squad but the true test comes with competing on the multiple fronts….

    Back to Arsenal. With the rejection of Cesc, our core group MUST come good and they must do it sooner than later. We dug deep, IMO, through a lot of bad luck (injuries, scheduling) AND some questionable management decisions (I still cannot fathom resting Ozil at Stoke City, nor choosing Sanogo over Giroud in the two cup matches, underwear tweets notwithstanding–unless, of course, Wenger was *trying* to lose them…) but we did what was needed at the end of the season. If the core group didn’t want Wenger as their manager, they could have easily sagged to (more) defeats after Everton away or in the cup semis or final. That they chose to win ALL those matches shows me (and maybe only me…) that there’s a “collective belief” in there somewhere.

    It’s summer of course, so it’s all about adding to it now… Did anybody watch the Ivory Coast match? I did and Aurier IS exciting. Those two assists (plus numerous earlier balls perfectly spun, with pace, to the 6 yard line) were like a youtube of Sagna (AND Eboue) best crosses over the past 8 years. Yes, their defense was at 6s and 7s but the big man (looking maybe the best of all the specimens in his tight orange shirt) did his part to funnel players to the other defenders. This is a signing that I pray is in the bag and just waiting to be announced…

    On the other hand, I missed the Campbell, er, Costa Rica match, but it sounded (very) good…

    My point is, while we cannot get every young player out there (as Spurs did last Summer with the Bale money) we are now in a position to boss a lot of these stories and we can offer good opportunities to the very best of the younger guys. North London and a chance to play in the CL (under Wenger) is not the worst, IMO and the obviousness of some of our needs is greater than at the other clubs…

    So, to the questions… 1) Deja Vu, for sure. We’re trying to build upon what we’ve got. It’s less exciting but the only way forward. I’d like to see us able to work the tight spaces better (tika taka) but I think defense first, speed and increase pace of passing will be the way forward. Will it be good enough? Well that’s question 2… Quite a typo there or maybe not? We can, IMO, if we get some luck (fewer injuries a better schedule, easier CL group, etc.) compete for top “prizes” but (as explained above) we will not be competing to pay top “prices” except, of course, for the ticket buyers, who, unfortunately, must… 3) I don’t know about this Wengerball idea (so maybe it needs more explanation) but it seems to me that Ozil and Ramsey and (maybe) young Jack can do some exciting stuff, esp. on the break. Santi Cazorla is a wonderful player (but maybe, like Henry the dog, not as appealing when he’s carrying a load…) who can also create extreme beauty. Obviously, a finisher (and participant dropping deeper) like Henry (Thierry, that is…) is a missing element and clearly we’re looking at the FBs getting into the act. (We cannot forget the contributions of that Cashly fellow…) Gibbs (and Aurier) are exciting options IMO, in this regard… 4) I give Wenger a 7 on the faith scale. The Cesc decision shows a certain negative decisiveness, but now we need some positive decisions. It’s crunch time now and the money in the bank must be used to get us over the hump. Finally 5) we need our “like new signings” to come good as much as the new faces. Personally, I would be happy with Aurier, a player to push/spell/replace Ox and Theo (his name might be Joel Campbell…) and a good up and coming keeper. The big need for me (I have been convinced…) is a CB/DM type. Are there any guys out there who are big enough, strong enough, technically good enough AND smart enough to become this player? We need to look beyond the “linked” names, I fear, because those rarely happen…

    So, there you go… Hopefully that’s long enough for Gerry…I’ve got plenty more to say and, like I say, I will be around for Germany-Portugal. Thanks for reading!

  32. VCC says:

    Redders, my good man……I will hold you to your promise of some well deserved goodies from Arsene. 🙂

    If this promise does not materialise, I will set Merry Terry’s pigeons on you. Not an experience one would advise.

    SO, my merry friend from over the pond, use your psychic powers and infiltrate Mr.Arsene Wenger’s mind. 😉

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Whoa…Sami Khedira’s price may just have dropped….Gotta hit those open goals…

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Germany 1-nil…Softish pen, but the defender should’ve backed off as Goetze had already lost the ball… Ozil looked like he wanted to take it but Mueller got the honor and did just fine with a low well placed kick…

    Nobody else around?

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    2-nil. Ozil layoff to Goetze just deflected out but Kroos to Hummels from the corner and this one is over…

    I’ll feck off now so that others can chat…

  36. Admir says:

    Germans are brutal. I want this sort of brutality at Arsenal – when the opponents are on the ropes, knock him out. I think that we have had that against smaller teams in last two seasons but have gone through the same problems against big teams as the German national team had had between the end of EURO 96 and World Cup 2006.

    Speaking of defensive midfielders, Muhamed Bešić really kicked some asses last night. He is a young fella who had problems with his temper when he was at HSV. He has played well since joining Ferencvaros (Hungary) and last night he was giving Messi a really hard time. He would probably prevent Messi from scoring if Bičakčić hadn’t tackled his own team-mate. Perhaps Wenger might look at that direction. Bešić’s display spawned a very popular joke today: “71 percent of the Earth is covered by water. Rest of the Earth is covered by Bešić.”

  37. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    TA, this Kafka geezer obviously aint met the Rats down my way. There bigger than the cats. Corner them? You need a medium sized mortar capable of wide dispersal shell fire to get rid. They terrorize the whole neigbourhood. Luckily, I dont have no problem, there too scared of the wife.

    I feel for you TA. Its hard when your dreams of glorious total voetball are shattered.I had many hopes and aspirations when younger. Day dreaming that one day I would be rich and retired on a Carabean island surounded by a bevy of beautiful women who wernt put off by my digustingly hairy body

    Alas, the only thing ime left with is the hairy body. For the rest, I reside in a ramshackle loft, and through top shelf magazines, the only women I see are ones who have staples through there stomachs.

    1) I dont think Arsene will change. For the next three years we will all have the pleasure and privlege to watch the great man at work, doing the same things we all love and admire.

    2) Not only can we compete, we can win. For me, the waiting game is over. Next season we will win the league and Arsenes and the Clubs policys will be vindicated.

    3) Arsenes teams will always play good football TA, its his nature. I expect to see some great football as we march to the title.

    4) If your asking what mark do i give a guy who I trust 100% to give his all and put the Club before all other interests, then the answer is 10.

    5) Something like Di Maria and Sanchez would make all the difference. Forget tactics, with those guys added to the squad we wont need them.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Some fantastic and well balanced comments this afternoon and evening. It just shows again how different we can look at our club and future developments, and that is great for the blog. Let’s see what’ll happen this summer and let’s park the Cesc snub, which I reckon Wenger will come to regret. 😕

    Just for you, RA, I reckon Cesc is not the ‘wanting to come back girlfriend’, but the refused prodigal son. He came as a young teenager, returned home as a young adult and wanted back as a grown up, but Wenger closed the door. I thought we were a bigger club than that but I was wrong. I liked your analogy though, and fully agreed. 🙂

    Of course, Arsene could well surprise me and many others by getting the right players this summer. Who knows, he could even find a system and set of players that can start winning, or at least drawing the big games again. I hope so, and I like some of the arguments today of how he is going to do it.

    Our performances against our main competitors away last season worry me most. It is not just losing with huge, embarrassing scores against Chavs, Pool, and Mansour City, but that we dropped six subsequent points straight after those humiliations defeats. Those six points and a draw at MC and we would still have won the title. For me that is down for a big part to bad management: bouncing back is what great managers make their teams do, and we failed on three occasions.

    I guess some are right to label me a pessimist, but I am not one by nature. The sad loss of my wife’s brother and the painful aftermath is influencing me quite a bit, for sure, but I it is not just that. Speaking to E, one of my off line Gooner friends and one of the best supporters I know, he believes the club and manager do not seem to be hungry for success anymore. These are the vibes that he is picking up, and I can see where he is coming from.

    I respect those with the natural positive outlook and please keep commenting as much as you like: everybody is welcome as long as comments are nuanced. Let’s see what happens and in the meantime enjoy the spoils of the World Cup. 🙂

  39. proudgooner says:

    Good post TA.

    But before i answer my opinion i want to say, or comment on some news gossip and that is all it is at the moment but interesting none the less.

    First we man have a chance to get revenge on City for getting Sagna on a free. Word is that IMO a SQ goalkeeper in Pontillimon is said that man city will not be renewing his contract. So we could get the Romania’s keeper on a free , a position that needs filling and could even be our number 1 at 6’8 a giant of a man. Sunderland are said to be moving in on hoim though. But i would see that as sweet revenge.
    The other is worrying, Man u are said to be hot on the heels of TV5, there new manager is very keen to sign him.They say TV5 has agreed a deal in principle . 👿
    Also Pepe Reina is said to be able to leave Liverpool and Napoli have said they will not sign him and Liverpool saying there have no plans to use him next season.

    I would be very happy to see either keeper in an Arsenal shirt next season.

    My trst in Wenger is absalute. He has explainned why he did not sign Cesc now, saying we have signed Ozil and is happy with him.

  40. proudgooner says:

    Wenger is a 10/10
    There is no manager i would rather have.
    Who would you replace him with?
    It is ok to get upset at missing out on a player we did not sign, but if we all did that it would be a horrible summer TW, its good to remember the media have linked us with players not the club or Arsene.
    We have the best football manager in the league with the players he has to work with.
    Arsenals most sucessful manager of all time.
    Wenger created Wengerball, its called Wengerball.
    We are on the up, let le Prof watch the world cup and pick the players he wants to create Wengerball, he will never change this, its his philoshopy .
    Just look at at what happened to United after losing Fergie, we need to just fully back our Jedi master. We just want full support from the stands come the start of the season , not an ill feeling bad taste in the mouth for the team to feel edgy about 🙂

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    Uh oh…In addition to getting zero in the way of game-day-chat, I can’t get TA to address me by name… Time to really feck off and out of here, I fear… 😦

    I cannot comment to the prodigal son vs old GF discussion re: Cesc, except to say that I think, unfortunately ALL relationships in our culture (under Capitalism) are economic. As such, I found myself in complete agreement with PPP’s little rant about greediness in the last thread. (C’mon out, you little punk…I’m ready to rumble…winky, eh… In fact, I’m skerdshitles, as they say…) My thought is merely that the (current) manager is trying to build around new guys. Whatever gets built, because of restrictions coming from above, has to be leaner than the squads up in Manchester or across town at Chelsea…

    I’m with Admir about us being a bit meaner and I’ll look forward to watching your DM. (I had that match on Spanish radio for a bit…) I’m sad I missed some of the matches over the weekend (and forgot to record them as we left the house) but everybody has at least another round of high stakes group play ahead… On that note, did nobody watch Aurier?… To me he looked a good measure meaner than, say, our old Ivorian RB (Eboue)… Interesting that he stands in at set pieces with his national team…More size ALWAYS seems a good thing…

    Finally, the Verm to Mancs stuff is worrisome, but we have to accept that he must be desperate for first team football. Part of Wenger’s leaner approach, I think, means that we need players who can, in a pinch, do a bit of work in a 2nd position. Sagna was ideal as RB and as a 4th CB. Verm, this past season was just as valuable as a LB as he was at CB. My thought on Aurier is that he’s big enough to play some CB if there’s an injury crisis at that spot. Maybe he already has. Again, anybody? (Gerry, Alcide, others who watch the French football…) A CM/DB beast of a monster is quickly becoming my biggest worry IF guys like Theo (and Ox, Sanogo and Campbell) can play to their potential further forward…

    OK, not much to take from Nigeria-Iran, the first draw of the tournament (!) USA plays later…

  42. proudgooner says:

    Cast your minds back 5 years ago.
    When every TW we would lose our best players every window.
    That is over!
    We are keeping our best players and adding a few SQ world class players.
    We have finally won something again, that could easy of happened a couple of times years ago, most of all the final v Birmingham.
    I am honestly quite sure we could win the title with the team we have now next season, the fixture list was brutal last season.
    Things are 100% looking up.
    TA this is what is was worried about, our fans having there hearts set on signing Cesc.
    Chin up skipper!

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    17 🙂

    Good afternoon, Sir. How is the coffee today?

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers PG, I love reading your ‘Wenger is all good’ comments. I could bring up a lot of arguments against your statements/positives, but I respect that you see it that way, and nobody has the exact truth anyway. The fixture list is the fixture list, PG, and we had long periods in which we had ‘easy games’ one after the other. This helped us to build up momentum, but when the going got tough, we went missing and, for me, this has little to do with the toughness of the fixture list.

    Are we keeping our best players? We need to spend time and money on replacing Sagna and Fabianski now. The former was one of our best and the latter will be missed too. And the TW is not over yet… TV could be next. All can be replaced, of course, but this comes at a price, both in terms of hard pound coins, management time spent and fitting these players into the squad.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Looking fwd to the USA game – big moment for Klinsman too.

  46. AB says:

    Evening TA and BKers. First let me add my vote to all the many above – this is the only site I write in, and pretty much the only one I visit regularly; I try to read pretty much everything written here. So it gets my vote for quality and value for whatever that’s worth.

    On your questions then:

    1. I don’t think he will change his philosophies at all. But I do think he will continue to adapt to the players he has and how they develop. If Theo starts banging them in he may well get his chance up front – as might Campbell. And I can see competition in the mid-field leading to changes in how we set ourselves. But he will focus on how we play over how other teams play; and I’m mostly ok with that.

    2. Yes we can compete, and we showed it this season. But we will have to do it the hard way (proper way?) by building a team through proper coaching and development, coupled with selective signings. We won’t just buy a team. And our limits mean we won’t compete for the very best (our greediest) and we will have to have a season without too much injury as our squad won’t match some others’.

    3. Wengerball happens more occasionally now it seems. I’m not sure why this is – lack of pace, interruption in team stability due to injuries?? I don’t know. But if we have Jack, Ramsey, Ozil and Theo together for any length of time next season, the yes there will be some memorable moments.

    4. I would give a realistic 7 out of 10 here. I have not lost faith in Wenger’s ability one iota. I do think he may vacillate more these days than he did once over transfers. And he is stubborn – a trait unlikely to diminish with age! The biggest challenge, speaking realistically, is the strength of opposition – we now have 4 very strong teams to fight against; great for the league, but a tough challenge for any manager.

    5. Yes, I do expect us to make signings and some strong ones to boot. But predicting is a mugs game with Wenger! To be a mug then, I do wonder whether we might land Khedira; he would be very high on my list as a DM who can play and comes with winning experience and mentality. I’m sure there will be plenty more on the Benders in the press before the TW is closed too. The DM slot seems the most pressing of all to me. Joel Campbell’s performances thus far may take away the desire to fork out major sums on a new winger – but if Griezmann or Draxler could be bought at a reasonable price I suspect we might (an unlikely premise however). I’d like a proven PL RB, who can actually defend, rather than another young player with promise – if Jenks is not that already then we need to shift him on. And I suspect there is endless choice for a back up keeper in the £5 – 8M range. A striker, well we could either break the bank here, or just opt for a short-term utility type (like Ba), but if we get an attacking winger (like Campbell) I could see Wenger sticking with what we have on the basis that Sanogo and Akpom will come on – but I think he will try to buy big here if he can pull it off. Finally, I hope we extend TV5’s contract and buy a youngster with potential as further backup – we were bloody lucky with injuries here last year. Selling Verm would be a real shame, and we won’t find it easy to attract quality to replace him, if its known to be for a place on the bench.

    Overall, a tough week for the emotions TA, but the outlook for us as a team remains just as positive as it did 10 days ago. I will be hacked off too if we don’t strengthen key areas. But as I’ve said before, why would Wenger sign for 3 more years, given we now have some cash, if he didn’t intend to try and win something….? Keep the faith!

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    Excellent comment there AB (and all agreeed) but you ask a question in the end… and suggest faith is the answer. A cynic would answer that Wenger stayed on for a 25 million pound payday. Let’s remember, in this day and age, how good you are is measured not only in trophies and titles but by your salary…

    Of course, I don’t think he’s any more cynical than anyone else but it maybe helps to think the worst of every character (and everything which comes out of their mouths) these days. The arguments that one or another is more loyal kinda read like the who has passion ideas. If you kiss or thump the badge does it mean more than those who give a smile and a shrug?…I dunno, the ball in the net seems the significant thing…

    Yes, TA, the coffee is good, even if some suggest I ought to give it up… 😦

    My home country up a goal early…

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks AB, very fine comment. 🙂

    Good start by USA, 17, but now Ghana are getting into the game. Do the attackers have enough composure, though?

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    A Wilsheresque goal! 🙂

    Sorry, American BKers 😦

  50. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    i was honoured that TA and yourself took the time to give it a once over. It was a last minute decision by my supervisor not to read my discussion (it is the university rule but 7 other supervisors did not do the same with their students). You both eased a lot of pressure and I am indebted to you both for that.

    TA is definitely in Arsenal purgatory at the moment but he is too optimistic to stay on the dark side.

    @ 17

    You have no offended me whatsoever. I thoroughly enjoy your comments and your match day involvement.

    Only thing that bloggers can do to annoy me (and I’m sure it’s the same for most) is by bringing the same tired rhetoric without explanation.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    You are a top guy, Oz.

    Well done USA. Professional performance but Ghana deserved a point.

  52. oz gunner says:

    1. Will Arsene change direction next season to get us to the very top or will it be another ‘deja-vu’ season?

    I don’t think he will change direction and nor should he. He got us to the top for an extended period but he’s let down by two things: Injuries and tactical nous/stubbornness.

    The club really does need to fix the injuries, it is out of control and has cost us time and time again. With the facilities at Arsenals disposal there really is no excuse. I think our players really need to work on their core strength. It is proven to reduce soft tissue injuries and it will allow our small players to be stronger in battle.

    I’m not sure if it’s stubbornness or Arsene’s tactics that let him down on occasion. He cannot go in to every game thinking “let the opposition worry about us and it’ll all work out from there”. From an outsider looking in it definitely looks that way. We got smashed to pieces by the better teams this season and never looked like winning at any stage. If an opposition clicks straight away and is dominating why not sit back, soak up the pressure and wrestle back the momentum? I’m not suggesting a Mourinho-style approach but doing this for 10/15 minutes can demoralise the oppositions mentality (“we’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink at them but it still wasn’t enough”) .The games against Chelsea and Liverpool were inexcusable. If we defended resolutely and absorbed everything those teams threw us us we may have had a chance to fight our way back in to the game. Instead we decided to fight fire with fire and it produced catastrophic results. We flirted with danger, the teams went for the jugular and we paid for it.

    Arsene MUST show more respect towards the opposition. Lower teams do not have the quality but can upset the top teams with brilliant match day tactics. Imagine what a team with top players could do!

    2. Do you believe that we, as a club, actually can compete for the top prices, or should we lower our expectations?

    I think we can. But I know nothing in regards to the money side of things so I’ll leave that to the financial whizzes on the blog. I think it comes down to whether or not Arsene is willing to spend it.

    3. Will he aim to get back to Wengerball football as in the Bergkamp and Fabregas eras; and if so, how will he achieve it?

    I think so. I definitely think that is his biggest goal. At teams we’ve needed to play ugly in an effort to stay in the top 4 and I think it kills him to play that way. So much so I think he cares more about winning pretty than winning trophies. He will achieve it through persistence and the return to form of Ozil, Jack and other additions.

    4. How much trust do you have that Wenger can still get us there (on a scale from one to ten: one being very low and 10 being very high)?

    8. I still have the faith but he needs to tinker with things a little.

    5. And who does he need to buy/what does he need to do tactically (formation/style of play) to get us there and avoid running once more into the Cat’s trap?

    I think we have the personnel and squad stability is very important (what i attribute to our good start last season. We just didn’t have the depth to sustain it). With the departures of Fab and Sagna we definitely need to strengthen. I was just going to suggest Costel Pantilimon but after googling the spelling I’ve seen that he has signed for Sunderland…bastard. Oh well Szczesny is number 1 and getting an adequate backup will be easy enough to find (should have got Mark Schwarzer. He would have been ideal). I think Jenks is ready and should be given first crack at it. He needs a monreal-like partner though to keep him on his toes and to step in if it doesn’t work. You can’t teach what Jenkinson has. That passion and desire for Arsenal is enough to lift his game to the required level.

    Vermaelen…if he goes to Man U he can suck a lemon. He should be used as a DM. Arsene moves players around all the time to add versatility. I’m not sure why he doesn’t in the DM position. Song was a CB transformed in to a DM so why not give Verm a go. He’s quicker, has a better shot and the better overall player. Plus it’s the perfect position for a captain. Plus it gives us added height and makes us more dangerous on set pieces. Plus his long range shot. Plus…just f*cking do it!!!!!!

    THE PLAYERS NEED TO INCREASE THEIR FITNESS LEVELS. That is my biggest gripe. Too often last season players were jogging around the pitch not busting a gut to get to the contest. We need to become the Arsenal of old. Once upon a time our players would break down the bus parked opposition with supreme attrition. With increased fitness the team could press over the pitch better. THAT Chelsea game…I’ll never forget it! We pressed, we rushed them, we didn’t give them an inch, but it vanished. It boggles the mind to be honest. Swansea, Everton and co did it to us and made us look very very ordinary. Why don’t we do it? If we are to reach that next level we need to add better defensive pressure. Like an MMA fighter…a striker is cautious when throwing a kick or over committing to a punch in case they get taken down by a wrestler. How do they fix this? By working on their take down defense over and over and over!!! Once this improves they can throw caution to the wind and use their talents to win. Arsenal must work on their defensive pressure if they want to shine on the offensive end.

  53. oz gunner says:

    If it were up to me this is what Arsenal would be doing in the off-season (see vid).
    Stuff these around the world friendlies. You win supporters by winning. Sent the players to Utah for 6 weeks to train at altitude (yes altitude training has it’s skeptics but the comradery it brings to the group would be amazing). Players live and train together away from the spotlight. They train hard (strength, conditioning and ball work). Some players have commitments with World Cup etc but it doesn’t stop the younger guys, fringe players and those wanting to lift their game from going early before the main group arrives. We easily have the money to do this. If they do a solid block of training like this before the season starts they have a very good foundation to work with. Once the season begins they taper off the intensity and it’s all about proper maintenance from there on. A better fitness level = reduced risk of injury, players are more confident in their body and we can out work the opposition.

  54. oz gunner says:

  55. JM says:

    World Cup 2014 bulletin (as of 16 June):

    Nike – 12 pts (Brazil /3, Netherlands /3, France /3, United States /3)
    Adidas – 13 pts (Argentina /3, Colombia /3, Mexico /3, Germany /3, Nigeria /1)
    Puma – 12 pts (Ivory Coast /3, Chile /3, Italy /3, Switzerland /3)
    Lotto – 3 pts (Costa Rica /3)
    Uhlsport – 1 pt (Iran /1)

    =================

    Top goalscorers (active):

    Miroslav Klose (Germany) -14 goals/19 games (0.74 avg)
    Thomas Müller (Germany) – 8 goals/7 games (1.14 avg)
    David Villa (Spain) – 8 goals/10 games (0.80 avg)

    Overall No.1 goalscorer:
    Ronaldo (Brazil) – 15 goals/19 games (0.79 avg)

  56. Gerry says:

    Right, catching up with comments since I left off …

    HT17 It must be very frustrating for you in ‘your’ mornings, and have no feedback. So I will belatedly do my best now – Oh, by the way, my reference to coffee was really about the evening/night ones. If you are ‘buzzing’ at night then you tend not to sleep well. But I also start with a big half pint caffeine jolt in the morning 🙂

    You did me proud with ‘the long one’, although a bit too much about other teams and money, but I know you were just catching up. 😀
    Your irritation with Wenger’s replacing Ozil and Giro in some matches might just be tinged with hindsight? The Cup games and Giro, where we were made to struggle a bit more than we should have been, for example. it wasn’t just the hotel headlines that was the problem. Giro’s domestic life was under serious threat, and if AW thought he would not have his full concentration on the game, he needed to be dropped. The fact that Sanogo was the only realistic contender is more about what we are saying in this TW about the need for depth in the squad? But again, without those games could Sanogo come on in the final and did what he did without those games? Ozil is slightly different. He had missed his winter break in his first tough season with us, and may have been showing up in the ‘red zone’. Whatever. If we had won the games without him we would not be discussing it now, but we did not know we would lose them going into those games?

    A quick note on the Cesc thing that came from Barca, was how his performances in each of his 3 seasons there, and how dropped off in the second half of each of them? That is a consistency you don’t want in a key player? Anyway, that may explain both their fans reaction, and management reason why he was no longer wanted? Chesea watch this space come January 2015?

    Aurier? No I did not see that WC match, nor did I remember seeing him on matches I watched from Ligue 1, but your visual impression sounds good. The problem now is it may become an auction for his services, and he does carry the AFCON problem, which AW may swerve from. Unless he does buy 2 RB’s?

    On the World Cup, you were a tad narked at the lack of comments during the Germany game, but for you I am guessing the timing of these matches is okay. That was an early kick off here in the UK, and much of Europe, but it also was at commute/evening meal time for many? I cannot do chat, as my TV is my computer monitor, sorry. The USA match was an 11.0pm ko, and while I watch the first half, a 1o’clock finish is too late for me. I only saw the England game because BBC2 repeated the whole match at 6.0am the next morning. So don’t take the lack of interaction personally, the scheduling does not help.
    My highlights so far were Mexico overcoming some dodgy refereeing, the Netherland blitz, and of course the JC show … he was that good!

    Anyway, keep on trucking, and don’t get sucked into rumours too much. I mean the latest headlines make you laugh out loud – TV5 swapped for Cleverly 😀 😀 😀 ….
    Yeah, like that is going to happen??? I wouldn’t mind Welbeck though?

    All nonsense. Even his agent has said so. Something may happen, especially as we are looking for CB(‘s?), but as I said earlier, there will be some casualties as we step up for more quality?

  57. RA says:

    Superb Oz,

    I will have to re-read your comments after breakfast as my eyes are hardly open yet! 🙂

  58. RA says:

    Morning Gerry,

    I will have to read your comment after coffee and toast too. 🙂

  59. Gerry says:

    AB – I think you and I, and a few others are on the same wavelength, both regards to this site, and to our progress through this transfer window.

    The only slight disagreement is over Joel Campbell. He only solves our problem of not over-using Theo down the right, and a bit of extra in the middle.In fact he may get a good run in the side if Theo is not fully fit until the end of Sepember/?
    He does not solve our need for pace down the left, and which you then correctly identify the sort of player we do need.

    If the latest rumour has it, (and I am not sucked into thinking it will happen?) is the decision has be made on our striker? What makes it interesting is the £25m ‘offer’ is actually higher than the previous £20m rumoured price, which may or may not have some validity?. Plus the Wolfsburg bid for Morata could be what Barca want if it includes some buy-back clause down the line, which AW was, quite rightly, dead against? So if it happens, then it will trigger other activity, but with a tweak. More Di Maria, less X , whose price will rocket if RM don’t cough up a bigger pay packet?
    And I can see Barca them selling Khediera as they have an ‘agreement’ on Rakatic?

  60. Gerry says:

    OG – Great to see giving the questions a full blast 😀

    I think having better options will help with AW ‘s tactical nous, but yes, he has been guilty at times.

    I admire your faith in Jenks, and I agree on his commitment, but two big weaknesses that pull me back from being convinced: 1, He is very,very right footed which can make his passing predictable; 2, Lack of heading ability?

    Agree on Schwartzer, but I think money talked, and we did not go through with it in the Jan window when he was keen, as I recall?

    Fitness – Well they only have the NY Red Bulls game set so far, and they are going back to Austria. Big problem will be the returnees from the World Cup. They will need an extended break and we have a dozen players out there?? Hence a chance for the youngsters to step up in other games to be arranged, and the Charity Shield?

  61. Gerry says:

    JM – Puma are still hanging in there?

  62. Gerry says:

    Don’t get too sparky on it RA 😀

  63. Gerry says:

    VCC – Your request will be attend to later today.

  64. VCC says:

    Gerry…cheers…..my Daughter is going to Lady’s day on Thursday….. 🙂

  65. oz gunner says:

    @ Gerry

    Morning. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

    In regards to Jenks’ one sidedness I definitely agree with you. It was something I noticed when he played against Liverpool a couple of seasons ago. It looks awkward at times and it’s a testament to his game that he’s made it this far with only one peg. However, that right peg whips in BEAUTIFUL crosses time and time again. It is one area of his game that outshone Sagna’s (although it did improve this season. Before it was putrid).

    I haven’t really noticed his aerial ability to be honest.

    One thing that stands out for me is his speed. I think it is very underrated. In that same Liverpool game he was targeted as a weak link in our team. Early in the game Sterling ran at him with pace and Jenks was very impressive. So much so that after a few attempts he some gave up and the Liverpool players stopped playing it in behind in the hope Sterling would blitz jenks.

    Yeah the Schwarzer ship definitely sailed after Arsene refused to sign him for 500k. Not sure why he didn’t. He’s been a top keeper in the league for a very long time and doesn’t need time to settle in (as shown this season with Chelsea).

    The players not involved with the world cup should definitely be working hard to raise their game. You would hope those players involved in the world cup are professional enough to be on top of their strength and conditioning, and ready to slot in as soon as they join up with their team mates.

  66. VCC says:

    Hi Oz….just watched those videos you posted about training in Utah…..looks just the ticket for our boys.

    Will you be doing more pre match posts next season?

  67. Retsub says:

    Just looking at the endless rumours circulating.

    Balotelli likely to sign for Arsenal because Puma want it and are willing to pay part of the fee. Is it just me or is money ruining football?

    If Campbell comes back and another striker comes in, presumably Sanogo goes out on loan?

    Tommy V goes to United ( can’t blame him for that). But we might do a px deal, Cleverly or Nani. Personally neither appeal. We don’t want another Silvestre.

    Surely it doesn’t make sense to let players go before going to the market for replacements (Vermaelen, Sagna). If other teams are aware of the size of our so called war chest and know we will need players in positions, I can only guess they are rubbing their hands in anticipation ahead of negotiating.

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Brilliant, well balanced comment, Oz. Always good to read your opinion, and you have, in effect, produced a mini post (like so many others).

    Agreed re Jenkinson. Maybe we should play 3-5-2 to get full value out of Jenks and Gibbser?

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Retsub,

    Agreed. He is a great player, though. Theo, OG and Balotelli in front of a good nr10, would mean business., no?

  70. RA says:

    Hi TA,

    You are right about Oz’s comment @ 1:27

    If you are a bit stuck for a Post, why don’t you lift it and set it up for today’s Post Headline, it will surely attract a lot of comments?

    Oz will never notice!! 🙂

  71. RA says:

    retsub,

    I have a friend who is a manic Manure fan (he is still a nice guy, even so) and he thinks that neither Cleverly or Nani are good enough for them, and would be happy to see the back of them.

    Cleverly started out as a good prospect, but has fallen away – and if he is not good enough for Manure then he is not good enough for us! 🙂

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    I just noticed our boomerang throwing professor of science has sent me a draft post by email. He has been prolific in the last 12 hours! 🙂

    Right, off to do some work. Catch you later.

  73. RA says:

    Oz,

    Those training vids show the way to go! 🙂

  74. VCC says:

    Retsub…Wenger has been a long time admirer of Nani, so that one would not surprise me, but Cleverly?????? surely even Wenger wouldn’t go for him considering he turned down the offer of Cesc……..Oh, wait a minute, how stupid of me, I forgot, this is Arsene Wenger we are talking about……..any one remember Silvestre? Kalstrom,,,,,,,beggers belief.

  75. VCC says:

    RA…..Cleverly has fallen into the “stardom” trap imo………He was a hot prospect in his early days but I think success (stardom) has gone to his head.

    This is what I fear may happen to JW. I sincerely hope not though.

  76. oz gunner says:

    @ Retsub

    not to mention the rumours linking Santi with Athletico. Lazy journalism at it’s finest. “hey santi do you want to go to athletico?” shit he mentioned some quality players better type it up and say he wants to take a pay cut!!!

    @ VCC

    I hope to. I love writing them. Once I’m settled in Brissie and in my office I’ll have more time.

    I definitely think it’s the way to go. The players believe in it that much that they pay some of the costs. Of course that sort of thing wouldn;t be needed at a club like Arsenal but i see no disadvantage to it. First stop there, then NYC, then home for the community shield.

    @ RA

    haha I don’t want to be responsible for bringing down bergkampesque. The timeline would read

    -> TA hiatus -> oz post -> 0 views -> site liquidated

    @ TA

    It definitely could work. Both our full backs are quick enough and have the endurance required to get up and down the pitch all day. I’ve never been a big fan of that formation but if the players are minful of their defensive duties it could definitely work. With that formation I think we could get away with Jack and Ramsey together in midfield.

  77. RA says:

    I was talking earlier about my Manure loving friend’s delight when he heard Arsenal were wanting Cleverly as a swap for Verm.

    Well here is a crib from a well known ManU blog, and it says all we need to know about the rumoured swap — as if we did not already think he is cr.p

    — “According to reports, Arsenal are interested in a couple of United squad players as part of any Thomas Vermaelen deal.

    Player-plus-cash deals are exceptionally common when it comes to rumours, but exceptionally rare when it comes to actual deals that get done. So before we proceed with today’s frankly delicious slice of rumour pie, we warn you to keep one firm hand on your scepticism at all times.

    Suitably braced, we press on with the news that, according to John Cross in the Mirror, Arsene Wenger is keen for any Thomas Vermaelen-to-United deal to include, going in the other direction, Tom Cleverley.

    That’s right. Tom Cleverley. Apparently Wenger nurtures an “admiration” for the midfielder, which doesn’t seem compatible with the fact that he’s been “keeping tabs” on him but, well, who are we to argue?

    If Wenger wants to take on the challenge of turning TC23 from the player he actually is, to the player he wants to be, then he’s more than welcome to do so. Good luck to you both. Apparently Wenger is also keen on Chris Smalling, who at would at least be a direct replacement, but that isn’t anywhere near as funny.

    This development has completely shifted TBB’s position on a prospective Vermaelen transfer.

    We’ve gone from broad scepticism to absolute desperation: this simply needs to happen. Imagine how Arsenal’s fans would feel about a summer in which they pass up the chance to repatriate Cesc Fabregas, then swap their captain for Tom Cleverley?

    Come on, Arsene. Do the right thing.

    ;- the busby babe blog

  78. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    I think I would cry if that came to fruition. He has declined at a rate of knots. A promising youngster who has been crushed by the big expectations placed upon high. He’s the anti Ramsey!

  79. jgc says:

    Hi TA et al (i.e. the rest of you in latin)

    Been away awhile and am wildly busy. In Hungary at the moment, but a mix of work and family things have me totally under the hammer lately.. At least I am: a) getting things done; and b) missing the torture window (mostly)

    Anyway… Hmm, here are my thoughts immediately…

    1.We were at the top last season so yes, he will.. provably so perhaps!? 🙂 .. That said, it’s always tougher, but I figure we will compete if we can avoid injury more and get the right player or two. More on that later.

    2.Yes, one big one per year and no silly ones. That game is almost always a difficult one to win on the field at least (shirt sales and other bits aside) … so many big transfers in football, as in life, go astray a bit and never quite repeat what they did. I think this is the reason AW goes for top 20-25 year olds and/or those someone else has given up on a bit. They have room to improve and anything less than what they did is less likely and equally less likely to occur..

    Ozil last year was a classic case and I think he’ll get better.. For the rest the 5-15M bracket holds good values I suspect..

    3.Will he aim to get back to Wengerball football as in the Bergkamp and Fabregas eras; and if so, how will he achieve it?

    You can never go home again, which is to say Ozil is not the next Bergkamp, he’s the first Ozil. Great great player with chance to add more than a few more greats to that, but he wont be the exact mix of Bergkamp. Neither will JW, tho he is perhaps closer in play and temperament.

    However, I think he desperately wants to get back to that style of game and is now getting the players to do that. Some of that revolves around the few players, IMO, necessary to let us offer more “looks” and styles to that game. The thing that for me differentiates the BK era was all the different ways they could play.

    For example, we talk on and on about the invincible but the number of ugly draws and 1-0 type games in there were huge… someone once described the style then by saying that watching Arsenal play was like watching a python eat a rabbit… slow strangling and then gulp.. Not to mention it is harder to find teams who will let you play that way or will let you do so without punishment.

    So, yes, in style and concept/outcome, but no, not exactly the same..

    4. How much trust do you have that Wenger can still get us there (on a scale from one to ten: one being very low and 10 being very high)?

    Champions League winners? 1 / 10 but only because winning the damn thing is hard
    EPL Champs? 7 / 10, not easy but doable
    FA Cup? 10 / 10 based on some recent rumors! 🙂

    5.And who does he need to buy/what does he need to do tactically (formation/style of play) to get us there and avoid running once more into the Cat’s trap?

    for me, as always of late, it’s a DM type, a defender to replace Sagna, and a pacey winger or ST type. The ST winger would be ideally interchangeable in my world, but equally depends on how Sanogo (too early I think) and others come along.

    I would like a strong Schneiderlin type in the DM and an expensive pacey winger or ST in my world for the other. The defenders I hope come and that Bellerin or others step up more..

    S’all for now, and back to the grind in Magyarorszag (Hungary in Hungarian)

    Oh and US 2 vs Ghana 1 — nemesis / bogey team overcome, finally… need a draw vs a humiliated and likely wildly fired up Portugal… eek!

    cheers — jgc

  80. geoffchase says:

    Oz

    wouldn’t that make TC a good, low cost bet (as in not for TV5)?

    Latest useless rumor has it we actually want Nani for TV…

    cheers — jgc

  81. geoffchase says:

    Oh!

    and I forgot to mention that Arsenal have already signed the person that a million posts back (in one of my actual posts I think) I said was more important than Yaya Toure or similar DM or anyone’s SQ striker

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/383548/Arsenal-make-their-first-summer-signing-American-physio-Shad-Forsyth

    One article had him there specifically to work on recovery and better management thereof, which many of us have agreed has been a problem leading to injury for Arsenal..

    So, score one for the good guys as the most important signing was made. Give back 4-5 of those injuries last year and … ?? … Makes one wonder!

    cheers — jgc

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Not my favourite formation either, Oz, but it might work a treat…. Shouldn’t have let Sagna go though…

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to see you back, I was starting to get worried. jgc. 🙂

    How’s life in Hungary?

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC and JB would LOVE Cleverley to join us! 😉

    Am hearing Eboue is on his way back….

  85. JM says:

    @ Gerry, June 17, 2014 at 08:26

    “JM – Puma are still hanging in there?”

    They are, though the favourites with Nike & Adidas will likely pull away in the knockout stages and beyond.

    ========================================

    There are more to it than looking only on players.
    (Agent/agency; foundations; 1st contact; personal terms; medical; “unexpected twists to plans”; contract)

    Any one linked in the media (traditional or social) currently with us, we aren’t (present tense) going for them.

    Arsenal FC doesn’t give away much of their plans to the media; which is why the media loves “riling” Arsenal fans & supporters.

  86. geoffchase says:

    TA,
    In Hungary for 10 days, so on the same time zone at least… Was just very busy these days of last 2-3 weeks. We have a series of major grants in NZ that occur every 10-12 years (5 or 6 years and renewable) for millions. Won as a leading part of a larger group on 1 and looks likely on 2nd so… Add in family time and all the extra seconds were gone..

    Hungary is good, enjoying my Soproni and Paprikas … 🙂

    As for the sporting side and Arsenal, we will see what happens… good to see, however, that Joel Campbell is lighting it up for the always difficult CR crowd.. The other US nemesis of recent years

    cheers — jgc

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear you are bringing in the big fish and enjoying the national food. I have never been to Hungary but would love to one day.

    Joel was immense: what a powerhouse with precision tools as well!

    Look after yourself Geofski. 🙂

  88. geoffchase says:

    Thanks TA,

    Regarding the topic at hand, I think Joel and Sanogo are still a bit away, but definitely potential SQ or near-SQ in nearer future perhaps.. WC could be redefining for Campbell in terms of mental confidence….

    Get to Hungary and see the castles and parliament along the Danube, the 700+ year old mosques from Turkish rule in Pecs and then drink some red wine in Villanyi… Among other good things..

    And, I always enjoy the native foods, why go far far away to have the same?!?

    cheers — jgc

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Sounds great, Geoff.

    Joel has performed twice on the big stage, scoring important goals…. Time to bring him home…

  90. Gerry says:

    jgc – You forgot to mention Lake Balaton? Very nice for the next 3 months, but the water cools off very quickly in September.

    I am still trying to remember if this is JC’s second World Cup? Anybody??

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    According to wiki, his int career started in 2011.

  92. VCC says:

    not sure if this is a wind up, but fixtures have been leaked and they show we are away to Liverpool in our first game.

    ManU are away to Aston Villa.

    They are published tomorrow, so not long to wait and see if they are true or not.

  93. Retsub says:

    Gulp hope you are wrong VCC. It would be nice to get an easier start, that said Villa at home was meant to be easy

  94. VCC says:

    retsub……It’s a first day fixture list that has reported to have been leaked. As you say, An extremely difficult first fixture, but then we get it out of the way.

  95. VCC says:

    well played Mexico

  96. Admir says:

    Hello, BKers! 🙂

    @VCC – if I remember well what happened last year, there had been an information from a reliable source that we would start our campaign against Southampton at home. We’ll know more tomorrow but if it is really Liverpool, that makes our start of the season even more difficult – we probably won’t have Theo ready, we’ll play City in CS and qualifiers for Champions’ League.

    Campbell did a great job against Uruguay and I think my father-in-law got bored with my constant remainders whenever Campbell did something well that night: “He is an Arsenal player, you know, but was on loan at Olympiacos.” I remembered, however, that Junichi Inamoto gave some strong performances at World Cup 2002 as well. What I’m trying to say is, let’s not put too much pressure on Campbell to burn down the Premier League even though he looks capable of wrecking havoc. I don’t know if it’s him or Brazuca but his long shots looked very impressive.

  97. proudgooner says:

    VCC,
    Where are the suppose leaked fixture list? do you have a link?

  98. proudgooner says:

    I get it you joker lol
    The community shield, or for us Zim Zimmer frame crew the Charity shield for the FA to coin it in, a needed charity indeed.
    Oh wrong Manchafter that will be Chity.

  99. proudgooner says:

    TA,
    You seem a litle less mad at Arsene in your reply. 🙂
    Sagna i agree is a great player, but he left us for more cash. Zabaletta is better then him and will keep him out of the side.
    We are not losing our best players and you know we are not.
    There are quite a lot of LB better then Sagna and younger, but as you said will cost us.
    If Wenger was able to get his man last summer, we would have won the league. Defo. Wenger was willing to spend massive, but Liverpool owner would not sell to us. Full stop

  100. proudgooner says:

    no 1 about?

  101. Admir says:

    @pg – Sagna might be used as a central defender too.

    Speaking of which, I’ve read that Kouyate, our alleged target, is about to join West Ham.

    I’ve also heard that Jovetić might join Inter.

  102. proudgooner says:

    Admir,
    I agree with you Sagna is a geat player, but he has left us for the main reason of more money.
    Which is a shame, he could have been an Arsenal legend , He has ruined that by joining a rival for cash.
    I don’t know its just me but i dont see the point in thinking about him and the others any more,. Just the players at our beloved club instead. 🙂
    We are going to be linked to everyone mate.
    I think it is going to be even worse then last summer :/

  103. proudgooner says:

    Admir,
    What is your opinion on Sanogo?
    Do youi think he can really catch on fire next season?
    Signing Ballotelli or Benzema would be awesome, but trying to prise them of ACMilan and Real is not easy to do. We could have to be very patient this TW window again like with Ozil, i mean say Real would only give us Benzema if they get Suarez etc.
    Last summer and winter TW have taught me a lot.

  104. proudgooner says:

    Jovetic signing for us would really cheer up our skipper and me.
    But what i have learnt from the TW’s is the media whind up Arsenal fans terriblly and nothing we read can be trusted but 90% of at at least we only course up disappointment.

  105. proudgooner says:

    Speak later Admir im going to get of the computer . Night mate

  106. JM says:

    World Cup 2014 bulletin (as of 17 June):

    Nike – 14 pts (Brazil /4, Netherlands /3, France /3, United States /3, South Korea /1)
    Adidas – 15 pts (Argentina /3, Colombia /3, Mexico /4, Germany /3, Nigeria /1, Russia /1)
    Puma – 12 pts (Ivory Coast /3, Chile /3, Italy /3, Switzerland /3)
    Lotto – 3 pts (Costa Rica /3)
    Uhlsport – 1 pt (Iran /1)
    Burrda – 3 pts (Belgium /3)

    =================

  107. Gerry says:

    Morning all. got to be brief this morning….

    I read the T BA-otelli story is warming up. Agreement by the weekend?

    Retsub – I picked up the feeling you would not be in favour this signing. I don’t think it is just Puma driven, although that is a big plus to get the deal done. However, Arsene said before he came to England that he would like him at Arsenal as he saw great potential in him. If he has calmed down I think he would be a great signing in terms of a ‘Presence!’ in our attack?
    Trust AW to keep him sweet.

    I cannot believe you are sill having a dig at Sagna PG?. I am with TA on this, we may regret not giving him that 3 year deal. For some reason I have it in the back of my mind that this was as important to Bacs as the raise he felt he deserved. May be he wants to change nationality, and that would have given him the 10 year residency … ha ha :D.
    Seriously, just leave it at he has moved on.

    Re your other signing, Benzema, if the MB deal goes through, as I have said before, I think Benzema much less likely? Likewise the Morata link.

    JB – Don’t get your hopes up on the Mexican keeper as he will deserve a first team slot? But of course you would give him that? 🙄
    We are more likely to get Westwood on a free, but will Mannone be happy now?

    Don’t believe all you read from these serial blog writers. I have just red one that was published today, but probably written over a week ago suggesting that we should buy both Cesc and Song.
    Lazy stuff from the publisher who presumably stuck it in because it had a bit about how to play ‘Super Mario’? That at least was ahead of the latest developments.

    Got to go, big fields and all
    Cheers

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning 🙂

    PG, Sagna was one of our best and we were not able to keep hold of him. Yes, we will find a replacement but to believe we will improve on him, especially in the first season, is not realistic IMO. It has created an unnecesary gap.

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    Ballstelly in London would be tying the cat around the bacon, as the Dutch say! But what a player he is. We would have to bring in Thierry to mentor him! 🙂

  110. VCC says:

    proudgooner…….I think City will use Sagna as a Centre back with Kompany. He was one of our star players last season, and, many seasons before that. He will be a huge loss imo. We will struggle to replace him straight away.

    Admir……that fixture list is only something leaked on the web, I’m not sure if it’s authentic, but we will find out later.

    Morning all.

  111. VCC says:

    Admir, I know what you mean about expectancy of talent (Campbell). Inamoto was inafective 🙂
    for Arsenal, but you cannot deny what your eyes see in that Campbell has an explosive shot and pace. Fingers crossed he will be a huge success next season for the mighty Arsenal.

    I hope Jovetic does go to Inter, he is not what we need imo.

    Ballotteli, is an enigma. If Wenger does sign him, I hope he can calm him down and get him to concentrate on playing football and not be a loose cannon.

  112. Retsub says:

    So the season starts Palace at home Everton away. Could be worse

  113. VCC says:

    Retsub…that means I’m going to have to shoot someone for that fake leaked fixture list yesterday 😦

  114. VCC says:

    I’m off to strangle some one.

  115. JM says:

    Mino Raiola represents:
    Paul Pogba, Mario Balotelli, Ignazio Abate, Sergio Romero as well as others.
    (Maybe Arsenal FC is getting them all for £100M – a DM/CM, a ST, a RB & a GK. This message is to the media reporters, please help spread the word).

  116. Retsub says:

    VCC. just strangle him a bit, he probably meant well

  117. geoffchase says:

    TA and Gerry

    1. Balotelli, well AW has gotten the best of difficult cases in past and managed hot heads, so, if anyone can perhaps it is him…? He’s got the talent for sure. That said, if we get him, then we have **no** right to complain since what we’ve all been kvetching about is wanting more “excitement” in the team. Balotelli would bring it both on the pitch and elsewhere… 🙂

    2. Gerry, yes Balaton of course, and not just the candy bar!

    3. JM, very mean to taunt the bloggers and journalists of the world like that! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Geoff, it could work and the idea of Ballotelli, OG and Theo upfront is very attractive… especially with a strong midfielders behind them…

  119. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post 🙂

    Oz is telling us with boxing gloves what to do with TV5. Enjoy!

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