Wow, what a Monday…

“I call him a miracle worker. Never, ever lose faith in Arsene Wenger’s judgement,” said Dein. “He’s the most focussed, dedicated and intelligent football man I have ever come across. “The team has a bad patch, a wobble, and everybody starts criticising him – and that’s grossly unfair. See what happens at the end of the season and see if the team are good enough. “You are seeing quality football week in, week out. If I’m not mistaken we’re still in the early part of November – the season doesn’t finish until May. So, let’s see what happens then. “Meanwhile we’re six points behind (league leaders Chelsea) and you can’t say we’re not going to catch that.” Interesting stuff, especially as he refers to Arsenal as “we”… Dein’s not all bad, surely? Well, maybe he is all bad. Well, maybe a discussion for another time. I’m going to keep it very very short today and leave you with just what you’ve got. An exciting Wigan review tomorrow as soon as the gaffer announces the squad. Very exciting times in the Carling Cup – and Wigan will be no push over. ‘Til then…]]>

  • Gary

    < ![CDATA[If Hleb and Flamini had stayed put… Of course these conditional exercises are difficult to see through - there are always far too many variables, but still it is interesting to look at the options… Thinking of Hleb I think we would have been far worse off. Nasri would not have been signed, and we would have had a lot of dribbles, but how much more penetration? Would we have had Nasri’s goals? - I think not. The balance of the team with Hleb dribbling but Theo running like the wind would not have been so balanced I think. Of course I can’t tell for sure, but it looks and feels much more balanced with Theo on one side and Nasri (ie Pires II) on the other. For me Hleb out, Nasri in, is a brilliant trade. Flamini is different - and I can already hear the suggestion that with him on board we would not have lost three games. Maybe. But there would also have been some down sides. To have kept Flamini the wage structure would have gone, which would mean everyone would have then demanded pay rises, and that would have disrupted everything. Quite possibly Adebayor would have wanted more, and then if the club didn’t want to go that far (just as quite rightly in my opinion it offered A Cole “only” 50 grand per week,) he might have gone. So might anyone else. How would we have felt if Clichy had said, “well if Flamini is worth an extra £20k a week, so am I”. So certainly disruption in the squad - although who knows where that would have got to. Then the issue of Diaby, Song and Denilson. Because of Flamini going the players who have occupied that space in midfield would not have. Diaby may be a false issue because he could have still done is magic trick of playing midfield centre forward with Flamini there - although I can’t see it working as well as it does with Denilson. Denilson probably would have started to pack his bags, and Song would have known his only chance was at centre half. Of course, 3 wins instead of 3 defeats would have put us top of the league and 3 points clear, so maybe Flamini in but Denilson and Song out would be worth that. But… I am not sure. It is all imponderable I know, but I just wonder if we did not see the very best of Flamini last season - certainly Milan didn’t throw him straight into their team, which you might have expected. I haven’t noted the teams for the last couple of Milan games, but prior to that Flamini was a bit player for them - just as he was for us in the first two seasons. Of course he might have made it big again this year, as he did last season, but there is just that niggle at the back of my mind that he might have drifted back to how he was the year before. He had two rather ordinary seasons with us, and then suddenly it happened. The only other player who I can think of who did that was Hleb. Pires came good after one ordinary year. Henry much the same. Vieira came good after 30 seconds of his game as substitute. I am not sure about what happens when it takes you two years to produce something good. Certainly watching Denilson against Manchester Bankrupt what I saw (and I represent a whole one sixtythousandth of the ensemble) was a player of stunning talent coming to life. A player who is going to give us something rare and special in the coming years - a player who is going to be quite extraordinary. With Diaby, I am just bemused. I had no idea he could play as he does, shuttling between front line and midfield. No wonder the poor guy got substituted in the Bankrupts game - he had run miles and miles. I think here too we have something unique. So, overall, maybe, just maybe, with Flamini we might have beaten the three teams that beat us. But that is based on the premise that Flamini would stay on top form, and not slip back. And if he did it would have been at a cost. Nasri to me looks like a player I can idolise for years to come, and I am so delighted to have him, rather than Hleb. If, in some mythical world of otherness, the deal was to have both Hleb and Flam or neither, I think I am tilting strongly towards neither.]]>

  • Bartender

    < ![CDATA[I feel sorry for Nicklas Bendtner. He has taken a bit of stick from some quarters after he missed a few decent chances on Saturday. He is young and has a bright future ahead of him. Lets not jump on his back before his career has even begun. Nicklas is a confident player but will be inconsistent because of his age. He is still learning his trade. Yes he missed some chances but lets not forget he played upfront on his own against two world-class defenders in Ferdinand and Vidic. He worked his socks off for the whole game and deserves a bit of credit. Bendtner will become a top player, and a top player for Arsenal no doubt. He isn't rated by so many people in the game for no reason. Let's show him a little support.]]>

  • Gunnung4u

    < ![CDATA[A deflected goal goes in for Arsenal, Manchester United’s perennial big game flop misses his answering goal by mere inches, and those two bits of action were sandwiched by two goals of exquisite quality; one for each side. Ronaldo’s miss, one which you would put certain money that he would take, is all that kept this game from being a 2-2. Of course, on the other side Bendtner had his chances, and Arsenal could easily have come out with a 4-1 or better win. And on the Man U side they could also have come out with a 3-2 or even a 3-1 win. It did end up 2-1, however. Arsenal won and now all the stories and the blogs and the tee vee pundits are saying that Arsenal are right back in it. WOO HOO! There will be articles penned that describe in great detail what a tactical genius Arsene Wenger has suddenly become, when only last week the same folks were asking aloud if he should step down. There are now articles floating around penned by Hull City’s Phil Brown that praise Wenger’s inspirational vision of beautiful football that pays for itself driven by bringing young men up steeped in the Arsenal tradition. WOO HOO! Just last week the footballing world and even former Arsenal players were saying that the youth system was a failure and that Arsenal needed to buy at least three players. What a difference a win makes. But what does it say when the likes of Phil Brown and Roy Keane are telling us to hold the line? When a person for whom I have no respect as a human being (Roy Keane) — a horrible hobgoblin of a man who would deliberately injure a fellow professional because of something the man said — what does it say that that man respects our manager more than most supporters do? In fact, I can’t point to a single Arsenal blog or Arsenal fansite who have spoken as well of Arsene Wenger as Phil Brown, Roy Keane, and Sir Alex Ferguson have this last week. I break this phenomena into several categories — the people who don’t understand football, the people who are stuck in the old way of playing football, and the people who are just plain hysterical. That first group, the people who don’t understand, are the easiest to dismiss but we do so at our peril because they are a sizable and vocal group. These well meaning folks aren’t stupid, but they just don’t know. They don’t know, for example, how Hull is to be commended for the way they held Arsenal — that it was Phil Brown’s tactics that were dead on and that Arsene got it wrong that day. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I count myself in this group: I get things wrong, I panic, I over react, and sometimes I make the cardinal sin of this group — I listen to the pundits. This group, more than anyone else, should heed the advice of Roy Keane: If you’re going to watch a game of football, just go and watch it. Anytime I watch a game on television I have to turn the commentators off. They say: ‘He’s playing really well’ and I’m thinking: ‘No, he’s not’. My advice to anyone is don’t listen to any of the experts. Will Arsène Wenger be remembered in 25, 50, 100 years’ time? Bet your life he will. Will any of these people on the television yesterday be remembered? None whatsoever. Newspapers, after match commentary, in-match commentary, the paid bloggers, and the worst of them all here in the states, Fox Football Phone In. Their job is to stir up controversy — as I write this they are writing off Man U’s season! Ignore them, ignore them all. Hell, ignore me! Who am I to tell you what to think? I will try, but really you should come here for the jokes, the links, and a place to exchange ideas and nothing more. View all media sources through the jaundiced eye of a skeptic and you really can’t go too wrong. The other group of people are the ones who are most hurt by Arsene Wenger’s insistence on doing this thing his way; the traditionalists. These are the folks who love and hate this regime. They love the beautiful game but they can’t stand the fact that football has changed. So, after every 5-2 win they are effusive with their praise and after every 2-1 loss to a side like Stoke, they are the ones calling for a more traditional, experienced, tough side. Everyone I know likes to count themselves at least partly in this group. Some people from the know-nothings and from the ‘old heads’ can sometimes get together and, whipped into a frenzy by a well written piece of punditry, they can become hysterical. If you step back from it all for just a minute, the word “hysterical” actually applies in both ways, because it’s actually funny. It’s funny to see grown men with their head in their hands, IN NOVEMBER, saying that Arsenal’s season is over. From a distance, it’s funny to see Arsenal fans calling for Arsene Wenger to step down: who would you replace him with? Steve Maclaren? Put any name here and I can tell you that name would be a joke compared to what Arsene Wenger has done and will do. And that’s the point. We are the club, and as a club member feel free to get all tetchy about a loss (I do) it’s your team, but while you’re getting upset, just remember that Arsene Wenger has the club’s best interest at heart. He’s the manager and unless you’re going to be hysterically calling for him to be replaced we need to let him manage and show some support. After all, it’s going to be a crazy season this year — more than ever before any of the top four can win it and some of the top four could drop to the middle of the pack. I trust that Arsene Wenger will guide these young men and do his level best to keep them in the fight for the Two Leagues: Premiership and Champions. Right… if you want to see some of that young talent on display, tomorrow is the time to see it as Arsenal take on Wigan at the Grove in a Carling Cup tie. 11:45 PST is the time, Doyle’s is the place (so far as I know, right now) and if you want to see what King Ramsey I, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Vela and the like can do to a Premiership side like Wigan, you should come down, have a sandwich and a pint and watch the match, what else are you going to do on Veteran’s Day? See you then.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Good stuff Gary, albeit an external article, i wont moan this time because Dev's was somewhat short today so it gave me something lengthy to get into. It was nice to read some positive views on the situation with Flamini, and most of what you have said made perfect sense, and kind of opened my eyes. Its all common sense really but you can be blinded by the feelings of missing a top player. The wages statement is bang on, but don't you kind of feel its inevitable anyway. Were more than likely going to have to loosen the purse strings if we are going to keep this group of players when they are all more experienced. In Diaby, Song and Denlison we have more talent and potential then Flamini ever did. We just need someone to step up to the plate and settle with Fabregas, let him play his game. I agree completely Nasri > Hleb. He brings more confidence in front of goal than Hleb, which i feel we are lacking a bit!]]>

  • gary

    < ![CDATA[dan, yes it was heading that way and to a certain extent we only felt that way because falmini played so well in that 1 season. i can still remeber how much he was loathed, but as i say let the water stream under the bridge & bring on the pretty boy from mehhiiccooo Vela Vela Vela]]>