Perspective.

I think it's time for a little bit of perspective... So what is perspective.

per·spec·tive    (pər-spěk’tĭv)  Pronunciation Key 
n.  

A view or vista.
A mental view or outlook: “It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present” (Fabian Linden).
The relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole: a perspective of history; a need to view the problem in the proper perspective.
Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view: the perspective of the displaced homemaker.
The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance: tried to keep my perspective throughout the crisis.

Calls for Arsene’s head are so out of perspective, it’s funny.

Yes, this season has been a disappointment and yes I’ve been upset. In yesterday’s blog I called out to all to give me some something to be happy about, but time is a healer and today I do feel better than yesterday. Tonight, with the guys round, counselling me have helped me gain some perspective on the matter.

In reaction to our fourth defeat of the season, we had the DVD, “Untouchables” on the box and this was a time when Arsene had the ability to splash the cash, it was a time when the Emirates was only a dream, I saw the sketches of the stadium. We had players such as £10m Henry, £13 Wiltord, £5m Pires, £17m Reyes… and yes those figures at those times where £15m was today’s equivalent of paying over £30m for a Berbatov or Robinho.

The plan back then was to become the biggest club in the world. But what did that mean then and what does it mean now? Pretty much the same thing. Sustainable debt. But at what cost? The cost of buying big names every year. So Arsene’s had to go a different way. A youth policy has been introduced although somewhat a constant theme throughout Arsene’s reign. Our superstar of the moment, Cesc Fabregas, came through as a young player, albeit not through our academy. Clichy, Toure, Van Persie, Denilson and Walcott were all bought at young ages for a lower fee than they would command at their best form.

If you look at the squad, you can’t argue with the quality. We’ve got players like Rosicky, Eduardo to come back and players like Vela and Ramsey who are oozing with talent. At the same time, we’ve built and are plying our trade in a world class stadium. I was on the way to the game last weekend and there were Villa fans who were standing in amazement at the stadium.

We’ve had to fast track the younger players into the squad and of course, it’s spelt out inconsistency. Inconsistency that means we beat Man United one weekend and with the same team, go down 2-0 at home to Villa next weekend. Questions can be asked about the formation and chosen personnel against Villa, but in all honesty with Ade semi-injured and VP suspended, Vela having played on Tuesday and Eduardo yet to return, was Arsene’s chosen XI the most sensible? Had he picked Vela instead of Diaby, would we question why he didn’t pick the team that beat United had we lost?

Many people think Arsene should have gone into the transfer market for a defensive midfielder – me included. But what were the constraints involved in his decision making. Was Song’s form in the Olympics and Bischoff’s availability something that turned his mind. The decision has been made and yes we could be stronger in DM, but Denilson has played out of his skin. His performance against Villa (having watched the game so many times) was actually one of the better ones on the pitch. So where do the problems lie? As we watched the DVD (The “Untouchables”) yesterday, it was a reminder of how many times at Highbury we went a goal behind or conceded – often from free kicks and corners. But the difference then compared to now is that we always came back to win. Without forward players such as Eduardo and Van Persie, it’s harder to score a goal out of nothing.

So today, I’ll sit back, gain a little perspective and support the manager whose assembled a top four team on a shoestring budget, letting our top players go and bringing through a great academy. Not to mention the stadium.

This article hasn’t been written to cheer everyone up, it hasn’t been written to give anyone false hope, but it has been written to air some perspective on the situation.

‘Til tomorrow.]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Perspective; guy ur are funny u know that. All this cutting expenses to maximize profit, is there no better way of running busines.Like spending more on guaranteed quality and expecting massive return.(Hunteler, retaining Kleb and flamini).

    The Man feels that if a soldier goes he will be replaced, but his forgetting time is important and what his style is based on; quality of players and not tactice.

    Wenger see u in Janu and please dont toil with my emotions again. Carling cup victory, premier WLWLWL.

    Food for thought folks.]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Perspective; guy ur are funny u know that. All this cutting expenses to maximize profit, is there no better way of running busines.Like spending more on guaranteed quality and expecting massive return.(Hunteler, retaining Kleb and flamini).

    The Man feels that if a soldier goes he will be replaced, but his forgetting time is important and what his style is based on; quality of players and not tactice.

    Wenger see u in Janu and please dont toil with my emotions again. Carling cup victory, premier WLWLWL.

    Food for thought folks.]]>

  • Fabrez!

    Good article…but boy oh boy do we need 2 toughen up mentally, acquire some more desire, get our injured players back, and add 2 or 3 quality players (not necessarily big names) in January. Yesterday and today didn’t hurt as much as the Stoke weekend… probably bcuz i realise its still early in the season…but mid season is fast approaching…quick turn-around needed.

  • zaheer

    < ![CDATA[Heres Some perspective!
    Fact: Currently we are going through a GLOBAL financial crisis
    Fact: Arsenal F.C are a conservative club with highly regulated expenditure
    Fact: Other clubs (who are overcomitted) may be forced to cut costs by selling players (this will decrease the cost of players)
    Fact: Arsenal is in an extremely good position to weather out the current economic climate!!]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Zaheer - Bang on.

    Pissed Off:

    Perspective; guy ur are funny u know that. All this cutting expenses to maximize profit, is there no better way of running busines.Like spending more on guaranteed quality and expecting massive return.(Hunteler, retaining Kleb and flamini).Hleb was a fucking donkey. Great so he driblled round 10 defenders and then kicked the ball to the opposition anyway. Whilst not particularly consistant yet, Nasri has already scored more goals in 12 games than Hleb scored in all competitions in an entire season. Thats perspective.

    More importantly massive spending garuntees nothing – Berbatov – how much did Man U pay for a sulking 3 goal idiot that’s missed 3 open goals?]]>

  • Fabrez!

    Well said Zaheer. And kierandelaney…Hleb was a waste of time indeed…don’t miss him a bit. Nasri is the real deal!

  • jembea

    < ![CDATA[From the start of football there have been tough players - defenders for example who would say to a passing forward “go past me once more sunshine and I’ll break your jaw”. And he would and the ref would give a freekick. Maybe.

    The first manager I ever heard talk openly about playing Anti-football as a complete tactic was Lawrie McMenemy who managed Southampton from 1973 to 1985. He was always on panels on TV giving his opinion, so he never got criticised - not even when he said, about one game against Arsenal in which his team was so dirty it even left the Liverpool focussed media of the day with their jaws dropping, “they’ve got more talented players than us, so we have to play dirty.”

    So Anti-football was born. It is, in essence, the use of every tactic you can get away with to stop the other side playing football. There used to be time-wasting, kicking the ball out of the stand, all that sort of thing, but then rules were changed to stop it. And so clubs started to find ways around the problem - to break up the flow of more talented teams, while not getting penalised. Anti-football, the antithesis of Total Football.

    In the 21st century Bolton and Blackburn took Anti-football forward by introducing rotational fouling, followed by rotational time wasting. The fouls and time wasting are there, but never by the same player, and so the number of cards is greatly reduced, but the opposition is broken and frustrated.

    Aston Villa use one of the most sophisticated rotational fouling systems yet seen, and they have added another element to anti-football which I certainly haven’t seen before. When a Villa player goes down he holds his head, and the ref stops the game, in accordance with the rules. Then, having stopped the flow of the opposition, he gets up, either with nothing wrong, or (as we saw during yesterda’s game on one occasion which happened straight in front of me) to have treatment on an ankle.

    Thus when the one really serious injury did occur - Sagna being totally crippled by a bad foul - play went on and Villa scored. If he’d held his head rather than waiving at the medical team, Villa would not have scored.

    So the issue is, why can’t we beat the clubs that play Anti-Football? Part of the answer was given by Mr Wenger when he said, “If you want to be champions, first you want to be consistent. At the moment we are not.”

    But there is more. In the great days of Henry we were able to overcome Anti-Football in all its guises because we had there players of such stunning ability that singlehandedly they could take on the Anti-Football game. At its simplest Henry would stroll out to the left and take two defenders with him. He could side-step all the lunges and kicks sent his way - often passing to Pires who through tactical know-how could get himself into the space left by the defenders who were Henry watching.

    At this moment we don’t have the same supreme quality that can get the goal quickly at the start, and thus make Anti-football invalid.

    But, there’s a bright side. Henry joined us in the summer of 1999, and that season we were 17 points behind the ultimate champions. The next season 2000/1 we were 10 points behind. In his third season we won the league.

    My point being that some things take time. Of course it can be argued that either a) time is what we don’t have, or b) we’ve already had 3 years without a trophy.

    But, contrary to that, what we have is a superb team that is inconsistent. If that team was made up of 28 year olds I would be worried, because at that age in football you can’t learn consistency. But at 21 and 22 you can - just as Henry learned his trade between August 1999 and August 2002 when he really started to fly. What we have also is an extraordinary team coming up behind.

    Those supporters who left early and missed Theo’s one man tribute to those who stayed, perhaps do believe that success today is everything and success tomorrow is not worth waiting for. They perhaps won’t even be happy about the extraordinary talent at the club. They will maybe have seen Fabregas underperforming of late, and think, that’s the end.

    But Cesc will get his ability back - after all it hasn’t gone totally, and a player will emerge who will singlehandledly be able to unlock Anti-football, and we will be back and running.

    It didn’t happen yesterday, and that’s upsetting. The boos that rang around the ground was upsetting also. I can only hope that Theo really did carry the message back to the dressing room that some stayed, and some chanted “Arsenal” until he left the pitch.]]>

  • mannu

    < ![CDATA[It disappoints me to say that I have been proven right about Flamini being difficult to replace. But that’s not what irks me. What irks me is the fact that manager didn’t even attempt to replace him and on top of that, instead of playing one of the two men in the squad who have the potential to slot in for Flamini - Alex Song and Abou Diaby - Wenger has gone for Denilson, a player who simply does not possess the right attributes.

    Now this is not a rant aimed at Denilson. Whilst he’s not my favourite player in the squad I do think he is quite a capable and decent footballer. But he is not a defensive midfielder. I’ve said time and time again that he should be rotated with Fabregas, not partnering him, and I really feel that the manager’s decision to continue playing him in the defensive slot is hurting our Spanish superstar and the rest of the team.

    I’m expecting some criticism for what I am saying. There will be people saying our defence is flimsy, that our captain is a poor leader, that our goalkeeper does not command his area and that our talisman himself, Fabregas, looks a shadow of the man that was dominating the Premiership in the first half of last season. But I honestly believe if Flamini had remained, an adequate replacement been brought in or even Diaby or Song been played in the defensive-midfield position as soon as they were available then we wouldn’t be sitting nine points of the pace and we certainly wouldn’t have lost four games at this stage of the season.

    The sad thing is that the manager has watched it all happen. With Diaby and Song unavailable in the first few matches Denilson was rightfully given a chance next to Fabregas in the middle of the park. He gave it his all but never, ever looked comfortable there. People can show me passing and tackling statistics until the cows come home but the lack of connection between Denilson and Fabregas was there for all to see. A manager of Wenger’s quality should have seen the signs, seen the lack of impact that Fabregas was having and made the change when first Song then Diaby became available. He didn’t and has been hugely punished for it.

    With the manager continuing to view Diaby as an attacking midfielder and Song as a centre-back he has no choice but to dip into the transfer market in January and buy a ready-to-go partner for Fabregas. As I said earlier I want to stress that I don’t blame Denilson for where we are on the table - I blame Arsene Wenger. He needs to admit that his gamble on the Denilson-Fabregas partnership has not worked and do something about it. Otherwise it is going to continue to be a frustrating and forgettable season for the Arsenal Football Club. Ghanaian midfielder Stephen Appiah, who still remains a free agent, might be a good place to start.

    Repercussions from this match will be big. The boys face Manchester City at the weekend in what will be an enormous clash against another club that desperately wants to break into the Champions League places. With Arsenal faltering at the moment it will be a perfect occasion for our opponents to show that they’re every bit as good as us and knock us down another peg. That they’re not will mean nothing, Villa’s win means we’re in a very vulnerable position at the moment.

    With the majority of players away on international duty it’s bound to be a quiet week for football observers if not Arsene Wenger. Hopefully the manager will use the time to make some critical decisions.]]>

  • rama

    < ![CDATA[Arsene Wenger is the manager of Arsenal Football club and he needs to begin to put the future of Arsenal before any player.

    I've heard him say many times before that he doesn't want to make a signing because it puts the future of a player in that position at risk. Its time Mr Wenger changed that philosophy.

    Le Boss has put a huge amount of faith and trust into this squad, and how he is being rewarded for doing so!

    The squad is full of talent, that cannot be denied but for me there is something else this set of players are lacking.

    Its a simple case of attitude. If these players can't put in the effort for the less glamorous games then I suggest they fuck off. We supporters want to see commitment.

    A squad could have all the talent in the world but it doesn't mean a thing if the attitude is all wrong. We lack the correct attitude and Le Boss needs to rectify it.

    The players are not repaying Wenger's faith in them. It's time to put the club first and not the players. Arsene, you've given them the chance and they are struggling. Do the right thing, for Arsenal's sake.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[I'm glad your feeling better Dev, sadly i'm not myself. I'm still feeling completely deflated. Its amazing how much it can take out of you being a fan. It really does put a damper on my whole week. Having an international game midweek is the worst thing as well, because it just longs the glum feeling out more.

    Your article is great for some of the overly dramatic fans that feel as though they have been stabbed in the back by AW etc. and all that bullshit. It can be a slap round the face of realisation that things aren't actually THAT bad. Personally i'm well aware of our situation already, and the difficulties Arsene has faced recently. It doesn't matter that i am expecting us to be inconsistent. It still frustrates me just as much.

    Of course in reality the stadium project was always going to pause the clubs growth. It will be a case of 1 back and 2 forward. Who would have known transition would be so aggrevating. At the start you think it will take a season, then 2 and 3 and so on but in reality it may be another few yet.

    So i guess what i'm saying is those of us that are switched on are fully aware the club is looking strong for the future, Wenger has a long term plan and it is (despite lack of trophies now) going to plan. Its perfectly alright to be miserable for now though, we are after all The Arsenal and expect to be the best all the time!]]>

  • abbey

    < ![CDATA[In a performance that was poor all round, the bloke behind us kept repeating his mantra, "Bendtner, you're shit...Bendtner you're shit..." until we felt the need to point out that if you are going to play up front and no one actually gives you the ball, then of course, you're going to have no effect on the game.

    Bendtner was not the worse culprit. On a day when Nasri was anonymous, when Denilson tried manfully, and Theo stumbled under the weight of the massive expectation that now greets his every move, Cesc was...well, crap really.

    What made this particularly paniful was the fact that it was plain for all to see that the bloke was woefully out of form, and has been all too often of late, yet Wenger, with Ramsey surely brimming with confidence after Wigan, made no attempt to replece him.

    So...is he just knackered...or is his mind already back in Spain?]]>

  • gunner1

    < ![CDATA[Arsenal have put in poor performances every season under the current manager. What’s different now is that the team – due to their relative in experience – is low on self-belief. Few have endured such a spell with so many defeats to average sides. In the past, you’d get the odd one, but not the number we’ve seen so far this season in three months.

    There was booing at the end of the game from the home fans, at least those that had remained in their seats until the end. I don’t think this is a particularly healthy way of expressing your support for the team, but I can understand it. People pay a lot of money to fund the wages of the manager and the players and they can accept defeats if they think the players have put in serious effort to win a game. There was little evidence of that on Saturday. The team is flat, and the team is tired. And it’s only November. There is no justifiable excuse for the fatigue they are feeling. They’ve had a week off since beating Manchester United.

    Critically, the team did not have the wit and imagination to break down an organized defence. Martin O’Neill attended the match at the Britannia Stadium when Rory Delap’s throw-ins were enough to beat Arsenal. He sat a few empty seats along from Ken Friar and Danny Fiszman in the section of the directors box reserved for Arsenal’s officials. He would have seen how easy it was to stop Arsenal playing. Basically, work hard and get enough bodies on the edge of the box to cut out the one-twos. They will rarely use width, and rarely shoot from distance. They are utterly predictable.

    The paying public deserve better than this. And – aside from their booing at the end of the Villa game – many voted with their feet and left early. Soon they will be voting with their wallets. All because the manager chose not to strengthen the quality of his squad in the summer. And because the manager is stubborn and will not employ the coaching expertise the younger players are crying out for. The squad is in worse condition than it was a year ago. That isn’t progress.

    Where does Wenger go from here? Well, he has to look at some of the brighter of his Carling Cup team and start giving one or two of them a start on a regular basis. If they do better than the present incumbents, then give them a run in the first team. This is how Ashley Cole came through and whatever you think of him these days, he was a vital component of the team that won five trophies in four years. That Cole only got his break by accident rather than design makes you wonder how many other potentially decent players have slipped through the net.

    The manager also has to seriously look at the real potential of his established first team players and decide if he can do better by some wheeling and dealing in the transfer market. January is only going to allow enough surgery to ensure the team will have a shot at the Champions League qualifying rounds in August. But he has to be looking at next summer and swallow his pride to buy players that are too old to mould. Established professionals who will not wilt when things aren’t going well.

    Wenger deserves the opportunity to put things right, so I’m not calling for his head. But the first step towards turning things around is realizing he has got it horribly wrong. Pride comes before a fall. Wenger will never admit his experiment has failed, but his actions in the two 2009 transfer windows will hopefully tell us that he’s admitted it to himself.

    To finish on a light-hearted note, a glorious typo on the Telegraph review of the match, which according to John Ley took place on “an unseasonably barmy north London afternoon”. Unintentional? Maybe. Inaccurate? Not so sure.]]>

  • Fo

    Great article Dev, and it’s right to add some perspective back onto the subject. But if Arsene had just kept Gilberto, it would have made such a difference. The other thing that IS questionnable is the tactics – 451 at home???? Digging your own hole, surely!

  • rama

    < ![CDATA[Check out what this pansy has to say: "The former Arsenal man arrived on a free transfer from North London during the transfer window and he has been impressive so far.

    Flamini is enjoying his time at San Siro and believes he can achieve good results this term as he looks to learn from the best.

    "I settled down straight away when I arrived here and it was nice to see Philippe Senderos, who I already knew from Arsenal," Flamini told Calcio 2000.

    "I also became friends with Ronaldinho, as he speaks French.

    "It's different here at Milan. At Arsenal everyone was really young. Here there are better players and I can learn more things...it's fantastic to play alongside three Golden Ball winners."

    The midfielder also denied rumours suggesting that he was on the verge of joining Juventus.

    "A lot of journalists had written that I was close to Juve, but there was never anything concrete. I recieved offers from several big clubs from Spain, but I just couldn't refuse Milan," added the player.

    Il Diavolo are flying high this term and are just a point behind league leaders Inter following the controversial 1-0 win over Chievo Verona."
    Goal.com]]>

  • LEON

    i realy hope the villa match for the players and the manager and if they realy want the title they are going have to fight alot harder 9 points down and are likely to drop more points

  • rama

    < ![CDATA[This game hurt. Given the context of coming off a week’s rest, of beating United with the same lineup, of playing at home, and of the youth team dismantling Wigan in such sparkling fashion that was perhaps the ugliest Arsenal game I have seen all season.

    First, and perhaps most painful, is the fact that the team played without any passion. From the kickoff they looked nervous, uncertain, and very early on made key mistakes that led to yellow cards. Denilson picked up a yellow in the 10th minute and Fabregas in the 18th, this essentially de-fanged Arsenal’s midfield, true, but is there anyone who watched the match who thought that at any point that Arsenal team might come out and try to put a physical stamp on the match? Try to bully the win from Villa? No. Because this team lacks true passion. They can get geed up for a game, but when push comes to shove, when Agbonlahor knocks one of our players off the ball, no one is there to push back. Losing a game happens, but losing a game and letting the other team push you around because you didn’t give your best, because you caved in and let them push you around? That’s not Arsenal football.

    Worse than that, though, is the fact that the Captain of the team is one of the people who can be pushed around. Gallas is more likely to have a hissy fit than to tackle a showboating Nani off the pitch like Flamini did last year. And that’s the second big problem; ok, so let’s all agree that Gallas isn’t captain material, who is? Cesc? ha! If he was captain material he would have shown it by now. In any organization if there is a leadership gap a natural leader will rise and fill that gap — unless there isn’t a natural leader. Who then, Adebayor? Nasri? Denilson? Diaby? Do I have to keep going? Each name is more comical than the next. Arsenal have no leader. Gallas is “leader” only because someone has to wear the captain’s armband.

    The third big problem is tactical. I don’t quite think Wenger has lost the plot but he seems to be jumping around from chapter to chapter looking for a story line. It’s pretty clear that Arsenal’s tactic of 70% possession and 9 men in the opponent’s end of the pitch has been found out. Further, it’s clear that this team have no clue as to how to defend corners and set pieces: well, at least Almunia has no clue. Against teams that play open, attacking football, Arsenal are clearly superior. Against teams that invite them to attack, like footballing rope-a-dope, it’s clear that Arsenal are not superior. I’m not sure any team could put 9 men in the opponent’s half, pass the ball around, and expect their defenders to handle the inevitable counter. Sol Campbell couldn’t do it, Senderos couldn’t do it, Toure couldn’t do it, Gallas can’t do it, show me the 6′3″ defender who can clear every set piece, has the pace to catch Agbonlahor and the strength to knock him off the ball at the right moment. I’m not going to pretend that I have even a shred of the tactical genius that Wenger has but I think Arsene Wenger is asking a whole lot of his defenders. The overlapping play is nice and all but Arsenal seem to be sacrificing everything to go forward.

    Which brings me to the last problem, the one that we didn’t see yesterday but the one that everyone talks about all the time — Wenger’s reluctance to buy someone. First off, it’s November 16th, in the EPL there are 7 games between now and January, so, unless Arsene buys a free agent (the best of which is Stephen Appiah) the season will be over before he can bring anyone in. Up until last week, I was of the mind that we should let Arsene do whatever he wants to do; Arsene Knows Best and all that. I even said, “well more than any other season this one is an up and down season.”

    But I’ve changed my mind — watching Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool destroy their opposition week in and week out will do that to you. Chelsea have allowed a stingy 4 goals this season, their goal differential is an insane 28 while Arsenal have allowed a whopping 15 (10 of which were at home). Far from the idea that there has been a contraction in talent this season, rather, more than any other season Arsenal are the ones who look ordinary.

    For me, this plainness in the squad comes down to the one position: Fabregas’ water carrier. I have watched Denilson and he is not good enough — Barry showed the gulf in class in that position yesterday. I don’t care what Wenger says, Denilson cannot cope with the most crucial position on this Arsenal team. He’s a good kid and all, he means well, but he’s not able to do it. I have to wonder if Wenger doesn’t already know — all you have to do is look at the fact that Wenger is playing 5 men in the midfield at home games to see that he doesn’t think Denilson can do it.

    Put someone in there with Cesc who has fire in his belly, someone who will help control the tempo, someone strong, commanding, and someone who can provide some leadership and this is a very different Arsenal team. Basically, it would be the Arsenal team of last year minus the pointless dribbling of Hleb and plus the goalscoring of Nasri.

    So, if I was Wenger, I would sign someone like Appiah, now. Then, I might also change my game plan a bit and play a little less open. Have the defenders not get so far forward. Maybe ask the keeper to come and claim some balls off set pieces. Reign in the radical experiment just a little, because what they are doing right now, just isn’t working. Every team in the EPL has to look at what Hull, Fulham, Sunderland, Stoke, and now Aston Villa has done and be excited to play Arsenal — that has to be seen as love’s labour lost.]]>

  • pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Kieren, Just try to look at last season,. Hleb doesnt shoot,fine but he was really good. He complimented Fab well. When Fab lost form he really helped us and dont forget his precise passes.

    It will be unfair to criticize his lack of shooting bc the boss always wanted touches .]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Fair point pissed off. Either way, you know having Hleb wouldn't have stopped us losing the games we have this season.

    Fact is we need a someone brave and tough, with some fucking bollocks. It lifts the fans, our players, and scares the opposition. As great as the youth team are, they are going to suffer the same fate unless this is solved. It surely will be by the time they are around... surely?!]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Its not a fair point at all - Nasri has also managed more assists this season so far than Hleb managed in an entire season last year.

    So whilst you may not want to criticise Hlebs gutless displays in front of open nets, you'd really have to ask questions about his support play - he may have passed the ball a few times, but nothing ever lead to a goal (unless part of a bigger build up) and his number of succesful tackles over a season was woeful.

    I implore you to look at the stats before making sweeping generalisations about a players impact pissed off. The thing is, you're right - Arsenal are shocking at the moment. But you're not right that its all doom and gloom. If we lost every match fine, but we beat Manchester United for fucks sake. So whilst the team are incredibly frustrating, they aren't really shit.

    If you want to look at someone who complemented Cesc well, look at Flamini – he was our player of the season last year, above Fabregas. But, already Denilson is beggining to fill that role, Song looks an able replacement when Denilson is out and Diaby gives us yet another option in Midfield. Not to mention Wilshere and Ramsey who have not only played in European fixtures but looked great against internationals twice their age.

    Let’s face it, despite flashes of brilliance Cesc hasn’t been the same since this time last year – his blistering performances at the beggining of last season haven’t been matched since. Sure he was still good for the rest of the season but he hasn’t hit anywhere near the giddy heights of last seasons start, and if anything this season has turned in some dire performances. He didn’t really look all that against Utd to be perfectly honest but we all glossed over that in light of the fantastic result.

    The squad lacks consistancy which is a symptom of lacking experience. When Gallas is on top form such as against United we do ok – his marshalling of the youngsters against the Mancs was brilliant and probably won us the game in the final 6 minutes. When he’s disinterested we lose the game.

    Arsenal don’t need a midfielder really – we need a fucking centre back who’s not injured (Toure), not old and shit (Silvestre), not inexperienced (Djourou) and not a moaning moody fucker (Gallas).

    We also need a captain with a bit of heart. When Almunia captained us in Europe he meant every word, and you could see his passion. How often do you see that passion in Gallas when the game isn’t on Sky or against a big team?

    Arsenal need a captain who cares about every match, a captain who can help the youngsters find consistancy and who get get the teams heart beating on a cold wet day against Villa. We don’t need an arrogant smoker who couldn’t give a toss unless its against Man U or Chelsea.

    Which brings me full circle – Hleb patently never gave a toss, which is why we’re better off without him. The way he’s behaved since leaving, courting Cesc the way he has is disgraceful and underlines how little he cared for our club. If you think he is the type of player that Arsenal need to help them win against Villa on a cold wet winters day you’re mental in the head.]]>

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[we were so good when we went unbeaten because we had Henry scoring 25 goals and then 4 players adding 10 goals each Pires,Ljungberg,Wiltord,Bergkamp
    at the moment it doesn't seem like we have the squad to do this have this but we do.
    I can see Van Persie scoring 20 goals with Nasri,Rosicky,Eduardo and Adebayor adding 15 each .
    if we can stay within 6-9 points of the leaders by the time eduardo and rosicky get back and on form we definately have a chance of the title
    defensively we just need to get toure and gallas back together to try and form a formidable partnership and maybe buy a strong dcm but before wenger buys he should give youngsters like ramsey,bischoff,merida and wilshire a chance in midfield.
    Get rid of bendtner vela and simpson are much better]]>

  • shyiam

    < ![CDATA[Lets get 1 thing very clear. I’m a die-hard Arsenal fan and I take no pleasurer in watching us lose.

    Some of you need to understand that 25% of Arsenal fans have been saying this for some time. I am much as a Arsenal supporter as anybody. I want the team to be successful, But we see the light and are not acting like zombies and sheep like most of you who all just say “In Wenger We Trust” Even when its clear he is making loads of mistakes.

    we have the right to criticise just as much as certain fans have the right to keep faith, and whatever camp your in dont make you any less of a fan.

    Just because I have a different opinion to how I feel the club should be run does not give any of you the right to question my loyalty to the club I love.

    Just because you don’t have the balls or the courage to come out and say what your head is telling you what you know is true means you are not a better fan then me. If anything you are a weak fan and just go along with anything they do. You might as well not support the team if you dont feel angry when they lose or want to blame the manager or players.

    So lets be clear. We are all fighting for the same goal. We all want Arsenal to do well.

    You hope it will be in the future and you trust Wengers judgement.

    I know its all just a dream and until we start to spend we have not got a chance in hell.

    That’s the different in our fans, some see the light, others are living in a dream, But we are no better then the other. I respect some of you for sticking to your guns and standing by Wenger, But your loyalty to him has made you blind to the real world. Your loyalty should be like me with Arsenal FC.

    i can accept that some fans have more patientce than me or still believe in the Arsene, fair play to them, what i find totaly out of order though, is these fans in the in camp that think they can tell us to fck off and support the mancs, spuds or the chavs

    These fans who have told me that i am a glory hunter, must know that ive supported arsenal since the early eighties, i was born in 75,I supported them when we lost to York in the FA cup and will do till the day i die.I love them like my own familiy, if not more.

    When i criticize the arsenal, people think i only begun to support them once arsene took over, but thats just crap, i been around even through the horrible Don Howe days.

    the fans who dont say a bad thing about arsenal today need to wake up, open their eyes, if they have, then in my eyes they have no passion, and their own vision and goals for arsenal football club need to be questioned? Arsenal are a team that should be challanging on all fronts, we should at most be runners up in the premiership, at most be challanging for the champions league, but we always fall short, and well the f.a. cup which has been lucky for wenger is not so lucky no more.

    there is only one person to blame for results, yes players have a part to play, but its the guy who plays them, who trains them, who gives them game plans, and makes important tactical changes that is to blame, when will arsenal fans begin to realise this and begin to shift the blame away from ref’s and to the man who deserves the criticizim.

    But we all want the same thing in the end.]]>

  • raj

    < ![CDATA[kieran: Spot on with your comments.
    It is quite shocking the way we have playing and i think again we will continue to be found out against team like boro everton and villa like we just were.
    wenger needs to wake up and smell the coffee, if he still blindly thinks this team will challenge then he's having a laugh-his problem is that 1 good win against the big boys and he thinks its all ok. but he doesnt realise the players are not giving it the same against the smaller teams and every one knows how to play against us- they know the way we play and wengers tactics have to be changed, why can chavski and pool do it so easy? C'mon wenger sort it out before the fans start turning on the club-which some have already done so]]>

  • vikram

    < ![CDATA[A couple of weeks ago my mother in law asked me if I ever got bored watching Arsenal. No, I said, ecstatic/angry/frustrated/depressed yes, but never bored. Well, that’s now a lie. I was bored rigid at the Fenerbahce game and until I moved into angry/frustrated/depressed mode I was pretty bored at the team’s attempts to play on Saturday.

    No pace, no fluidity, no movement, and that is increasingly the norm. Put the Man U performance to one side – still don’t know where that come from – and we have been pretty stodgy. When we have played well, we have still looked vulnerable. Bolton and even Blackburn away could have been very different results. I still think the Fenerbahce away was the most flattering result in Champions League history. I reckon we could have lost that 6-5. Think West Ham away, the early season home games against West Brom, Everton, Newcastle, and we laboured against pretty average teams.

    If we aren’t going to blow teams away with the excellence of our football, which we have only done for spells during games, then we have to look secure and at least capable of defending. Our midfield and defence with full backs acting as auxiliary midfielders/wingers and trusting in the pace of Gallas and Silvestre (!!??) is not going to produce too many clean sheets.

    We have under Wenger followed a high risk strategy which relies on every one of the 11 players being at the top of his game if it is to succeed. When it comes off it is fantastic and I would not swap it for anything, but we have to accept that it is not going to happen week in week out. The first choice 11 is not consistent. The Nasri who played in the Man U game looked a completely different player from the one who laboured so badly against Villa. The only player who has been consistent over the last couple of seasons is Fabregas, and we are now paying for it big time. The boy looks knackered. He is having to come ever deeper to pick up the ball. He now has to play square balls to Denilson, to Gallas, to Clichy and is having trouble getting into great positions because he is doing so much donkey work. Denilson may have the same build as Deschamps but he is carrying the water to an increasingly dried out Fabregas.

    I know that the Under 20s team looks good but can you really see us getting the right combination of experience and youth that will make us truly competitive in the Premiership for the whole season? Last season we lasted until February. Will we make it to Christmas this season?

    Let’s look back to the team that got us to our last final – Champions League 2006 with 11 clean sheets on the way– and see how they compare with the present first XI.

    In goal, give me the 2006 Lehmann over Almunia.

    Full backs – I think I prefer Sagna and Clichy to Eboue and Cole, but what has happened to Eboue over the last couple of years? Perhaps we were never that good.

    Centre backs - Give me the 2006 Toure over the 2008 impostor any time. Campbell or Gallas. I think I would prefer the 2008 Campbell over Gallas, let alone the 2006 version.

    Midfield - One slightly over the hill Pires and a now departed Hleb over two wannabes in Walcott and Nasri. Give me the first two. Gilberto and Fabregas or Denilson and Fabregas. Close but Gilberto and Fabregas.

    Upfront – Henry and Ljungberg or Adebayor and Van Persie. Henry and Van Persie for me, despite the latter always being injured (or suspended).

    The point I am trying to make is that the team as a team has not moved on in the last couple of years. The 2006 team had to be dismantled – Pires, Henry, Campbell were on the slide and Ljungberg’s last good year was probably 2002 - but the 2008 team is one of potential not achievement, and I cannot see a firm base of experience on which we can see the potential flourish. We do not have an imposing goalkeeper. We have no dominant defender who will be around for the next three or four years – in fact we have no dominant defender period! In midfield we have only Fabregas, around whom we could build a team, but another potless season will see him back in Spain. Upfront, Van Persie is too unreliable and Adebayor showed his true mercenary colours in the summer. There’s always Theo, but you can see him staying just long enough to improve and get a great contract elsewhere.

    So, should we Gooners be downhearted? Well, if you genuinely expect us to be challenging for all the main competitions year in and year out, then yes you should. However, if you think that for seven years from 1998 to 2005 we played great football and won competitions, and that since then there have been times that we have been untouchable and can live with the rollercoaster, then just sit back (or stand up) and enjoy it.

    Here’s a positive to end on. Our lack of progress as a team has been magnified by the improvement at Chelsea, Liverpool, and ManU. However, how stable is that improvement? Those three clubs are heavily indebted or reliant on the whim of a Russian whose fortune is diminishing as fast as it grew. I know we have got the debts associated with the old and new grounds but these do seem manageable in comparison. Perhaps the world is turning in our favour when these clubs and other trying to buy success in the same way will not be able to bid up transfer fees and wages quite so aggressively and good experienced players will become affordable and welcome the opportunity of playing with a very talented group of youngsters. Then we shall see the wisdom of Wenger’s cautious approach to the transfer market and players wages as we reap longer term benefits.

    I am firmly in the “let’s enjoy the ride” camp. There will be lows but the highs will come again and they will be great.

    Keep the faith.]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Also some good points Kieran :D

    I do belive he is right that he complimented Cesc well. Stats aren't everything, because you can't put a stat on Cesc's change in mental attitude since Hleb hasn't been around, which is the point being made. Don't get me wrong though, i preer Nasri in every way.

    I think your bang on about the CB position. It needs fixing. I'm not really eager to see any of them in an Arsenal shirt anymore (maby Toure would do well without a moron next to him) Especially Gallas and Silvestre. Gallas is without doubt a hinderance, and the best thing that could happen to this team is seeing him replaced along with his captaincy. Its difficult to bring a new face in and immedietly name them captain though. Personally i don't really agree with GK as captain, whoever it is.

    If the midfielders you have mentioned can find some motivation then i'll agree we don't need a new one, but i'm not sure they will under the current captain. Denilson has been quite good, but he hasn't been what we need.]]>

  • Dan

    That was ‘prefer’. I don’t preer Nasri :S :)

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Kieren experience counts. I also know we will certainly be better than this when men like my lovely Rosicky and Eduardo comes back. Infact V Persie alone can make the difference. But please dont be blinded by Song, Denilson and the diaby.

    All these players arent good for that position, not in this league, may be in the championship. For Gallas and co;what was Wenger thinking wen he got SIver, lol. Its just madness and being ridiculous(Wenger).

    First U dont compromise your back line, the first rule in premier league. (make sure ur back line is compact before you start any season) Wenger hasnt done that and then de defensive midfield position, u need to ve a commanding D midfilder.Imagine someone looking at Wengers Midfield, Denilson 18 Fab 21, I will smile and brush you aside comfortably without thinking twice.

    This Man should wake hope from his dream land,his becoming Alice.]]>

  • Pissed off

    Imagine were we would ve been with Toure pairing Senderos, May be in hell but i will say heaven. I thought that was Wengers dream.

  • http://kierandelaney.net/blog kierandelaney.net/blog

    < ![CDATA[Dan I totally agree with you about goalkeepers and captaincy, but I was just pointing out the difference it made.

    Pissed Off I'm not being difficult but I don't understand what your trying to say? Are you agreeing with me that the defence is a shambles? Arsenals best teams have been built on a solid defence - that way the midfield is free to roam forward and play exciting attacking football. Now we're too busy tracking back to defend to play proper football.

    As for Song, Denilson and Diaby - Stone cold fact that we beat Chelsea and Man United to two of those players, so if you don't think they are good enough perhaps you should tell Ferguson and whoever is flavour of the month on Abramovich's yacht. All three of them are great players.

    Oh and Dan, I know what your saying about Hleb, but I suspect its the friendship Cesc misses rather than the batshit stupid runs and the lazy awkward backtracking. If it is the friendship then Cesc needs to snap out of it. I earn 25k a year and I work with complete cunts. He earns 4 times that a week - 200 times more than I do, so he should be able to play alongside anybody. He needs to grow up.]]>

  • Pissed off

    Kieren !!!

  • Dan

    Very true Kieran.