Let's continue with the debate…

[Update, it's true, Theo has dislocated his right shoulder in training with England and is out of action until January, damn and blast...! Can this season get any worse?]

Well, it’s been a busy day all round, and the debate’s been rife on yesterday’s comments and the day before. Yesterday, we had a look at the old guard versus the new and whether the current crop is anywhere near as good as the golden oldies. I’ve had quite a few emails come in as well, do feel free to share your comments with others done at the comments section, but I do appreciate all the emails too…!

The debate on email was whether Seaman or Lehmann were better keepers. The debate in the comments yesterday was also split, but ultimately Seaman has come out on top for a string of outstanding saves and consistency (Nayim aside), whereas the catalogue of errors that Lehmann had (a few very erratic Champions League performances) and petulant behaviour saw him come in second, some did say Manninger for his solo season, whereas current keeper Almunia has come in for a little criticism.

The defence was pretty unanimous, so here’s the “best” back five so far:

Seaman

Sagna – Keown – Adams – Clichy

So that takes us nicely to the midfield… (Kieran, we’re just looking at Arsene’s players so Jensen doesn’t make it)

Left Wing: Overmars, Pires, Rosicky and Nasri
So on the left wing, Arsene has been graced with quite a set of performers. Just imagine all four of those in the same team, albeit very attacking and somewhat injury prone. In the early days, Arsene took a gamble on bringing Overmars, a play who’s career was under threat and he became a fans favourite with some amazing performances, and some outstanding and vital goals. But of course, when Overmars left to Barcelona for a huge fee, he was replaced with Pires. And boy, Pires was the epitome of Arsene Wenger. Very French, very creative and very good. He went on to play a hell a lot of games for Arsenal and score some great goals. As I sit here, I remember his goal against Aston Villa when he lobbed Schmeichal. His link up play with Henry was sensational and between him and Ljungberg, you knew a goal could come from nowhere. Then Rosicky…. coming to think about it, we haven’t actually seen much of Rosicky as he’s really been in the wars throughout his Arsenal career. But he is a talented player, no doubt. And finally, we have Samir Nasri. He’s had an incredible start to his Arsenal career, with 5 goals in all competitions. He’s scored 2 against our biggest rival and you expect him to go on and have a great career with us….

Right Wing: Ray Parlour, Freddie Ljungberg, Alex Hleb and Theo Walcott
Good old Ray Parlour, what an awesome player. His desire was huge. I remember him chasing a ball on the corner flag when no one thought he’d get it and it resulted in a goal… and remember the FA cup final… it’s only Ray Parllllllouuuuuuuur!! He was replaced with Freddie Ljungberg. Freddie had a knack of scoring some very vital goals, in the cup final against Chelsea, in his debut against United. In that season, remember that one? Between him and Pires, they got something like 30 goals between them. Freddie was a fans favourite…. we love you Fredddie and the end to his Arsenal career came through a plight of injuries that kept him out of the team. And then there was Alex Hleb. A magician with the ball. He could keep it stuck to him at times and no one could get it off him. He was very frustrating in front of goal, but definitely had a football brain of some sorts. Our current crop sees Theo Walcott deployed at right midfield for us and for England. He’s definitely got potential, as that run against Liverpool last season showed as well as the hatrick for England confirmed. Too early to be judged perhaps?

Central midfield: Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Gilberto, Edu, Cesc Fabregas, Flamini, Diaby and Denilson
Yes, I know I could name a few more, but these players are the stand out ones, aren’t they. Arsene seemingly landed with Vieira and Petit and they had a formidable partnership in the middle of the park, both complete midfielders who you’d easily find on the edge of the box defending as well as running forward starting attacks. Vieira was definitely one of the best and he also had many leadership qualities and battles with many players. When Vieira was named on the teamsheet the opposition were scared. Petit left as part of the Overmars transfer and Grimandi, Parlour, Edu and Gilberto partnered Vieira for a while all respectable players, but it was Gilberto who formed the partnership and established himself in the first team. Maybe not as gifted as Vieira, he had a great desire, and his loyalty was outstanding. When Vieira left, he was partnered with Cesc Fabregas and this combination allowed Cesc to develop the attacking and passing side of his game. Cesc has been with us for five years now – can you believe it? He was amazing in the Champions League Final season. He formed a great partnership with Flamini last year which saw us come very close to winning the league. As Gilberto, Flamini and Edu all moved on, the current crop of Cesc, Denilson and Diaby are now trying to forge some partnerships. Diarra had a cameo appearance, but wouldn’t get past Flamini last season and of course Song has been in and out of the side. Cesc when partnered with Flamini really flourished. This season, he’s been partnered with Denilson for the majority of games and not hit the dizzy heights of last season. Is that a case of the partnered midfielder or is Cesc burnt out? With Denilson only establishing himself this season, the jury is still out and with Diaby yet to really establish himself, the jury is definitely still out on him.

So which four players are the best midfield? Does Walcott – Denilson – Cesc – Nasri compare with Ljungberg – Vieira – Petit – Overmars? What about Pires!

I’ll leave it to you – but in reality where does the current crop stand in comparison with the golden oldies? Which four would you pick?

Til tomorrow…!]]>

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

    < ![CDATA[

    [Pires'] link up play with Henry was sensational and between him and Ljungberg, you knew a goal could come from nowhere.
    That settles it then! Pires/Ljungberg on the wing – the combination of skill, pace, cutting in, ability on the ball and in Freddies case absolute ruthlessness in front of goal – in the previous twelve years they are no doubt the best wings we’ve had. Ljungberg’s goal against Chelski in the FA Cup final – fantastic. Speaking of which honorable mention to the Romford Pele, Ray Parlour, who also scored a scorcher in that game – mentioned specifically because of his work rate. Like a less error prone Eboue, he also actually had a decent tackle on him and never stopped running. I remember that Euro hat-trick!

    Fabregas/Viera are to two best central midfielders the club have had under the stewardship of Wenger. Both became talismans of their respective sides – I just wish they were of the same generation and had formed a partnership. Funnily enough, out of all the positions there seems to be an overabundance of talent in those names you’ve picked, yet our midfield is consistantly picked up as week by the media and disgruntled fans. Edu was a class act – remember the free kick against Man U? Gilberto was brilliant until he got fat and aged ten years in one summer. Flamini was brilliant and alongside Cesc formed the best partnership since Petit – but by virtue of one good season doesn’t cut it. Petit and Viera had the best partnership – but Petit was a shadow of himself without Viera. Amazing how two players complement each other so well and look ordinary alongside others. So Fabregas/Viera then – the others, Diaby/Denilson etc have a bit of playing to do yet.]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Just to add a bit of controversy, I've watched a few match highlights from the past on ATVO and it seemed to me that Pires missed loads of great chances! Doesn't that mean he was terrible? ;)
    But I guess the fact that he was in decent positions in the first place is testament to how good he was/is, and he did score some lovely goals though!
    As for Viera, the presence of the man alone is enough to make people scared. When I think of Viera, I don't remember goals or performance, all I remember is THE MAN! He's got that aura that makes you want to play your best against him cos you know he would be at his best. We're definitely missing some of that in the squad at the moment, and it's something you can't buy or even develop overnight!
    I've always heard rave reports about Rosicky but the injuries have not helped and I can't wait for him to be back because maybe he'll be the answer to some of out questions. The little we've seen of Nasri suggests he's one to watch out for and I just hope he doesn't have the ill-fortune of recurring injuries!
    Walcott- he's still quite young so I'm sure there's more to come from him, but for some reason, right now, I still think of him as an impact sub and I don't know why, cos his performances prove he should be starting, but I just feel he's got more impact coming off the bench. But yeah, he's not even going to be close to the bench now, is he? Thanks to Mr Capello!
    Cesc- I totally loves Cesc last season but he's just ben ok this season, and Dev said, could it be burn-out or just bad partnership? I guess time will tell, but I hope we find out sooner rather than later, before the season gets any horribler (yeah I know that's not a word!)
    So I guess I'll go for Pires, Cesc, Viera, and I'm not sure who I'll go for on the right. Maybe Theo in the second half!]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Although i did say i would definelty go with the unbeatables in midfield, seeing all the names has made things more difficult (or difficulterer - as Debs would say). Overmars! What a player. He was class, and one of the first players i was enthralled by. Had he stayed for his career he may have won, but he gave way to Pires. I can't look past Pires, pure class. He ran like a flat footed donkey, but still made it look smooth as silk. It was pretty comical, seeing him drift past players looking like he had dropped one in his pants, and then curling one from the left of the box into the top right corner. Awesome.

    Next up i think its a no brainer. A huge part of the unbeatables was Freddie. The runs he made were almost identical every week, but still dazzled us fans, and fryed the brains of the defenders. Starts outside right, runs infront of the left back, behind the CB, the pass is inevitably slipped inbetween a couple of defenders and Freddie slips it in the corner of the net. He was a dead simple player, but oh so effective.

    In the middle is where it gets really tricky! Vieira takes his place no questions ask. Like he always did. Pure captain material. He led with his gob and by example, the way it should be. He was an apsolute machine, and the opposition were all running like Pires with logs in their pants once they caught sight of him. It wasn't just that though, he was really talented and had a great touch. He could play some real intricate football. That last fact is important to my final choice.

    I think Fab is a cracking player. In the current team, he is absolutely necessary. Having Vieira, Pires and Freddie however - things change. I don't think you can have 3 AMs and a box to box. With those wingers attacking and Vieira having his own input, the final place needs someone to sit back keep things tight. So i choose Gilberto as Vieira's partner. More for the balance of the team than his ability, but sacrifices have to be made! Gilberto drove me crazy with his random passes that could sometimes be shocking. He played it simple but sometimes got that wrong! Thing is he read the game perfectly, and was pretty quick over 5 yards. He was a no nonsense midfielder who did the boring job that was left over. He did what was required.

    So its...

    Freddie - Vieira - Bert - Pires

    Another reason for Cesc's dismissal will be revealed with my selection of strikers :)]]>

  • vikram

    < ![CDATA[why on this God given earth, when the fixtures are thick and fast would the idiots hold a friendly?

    November, is such a pain in the backside to us Gooners! What next? More defeats, more injuries.

    I'm sure that some will blame the Walcott injury on Wenger. I'm looking forward to the Man City game because I can see three points in the bag, but I'm really interested to see the team we play.]]>

  • rama

    < ![CDATA[We now find ourselves in a mutually acrimonious viscious spiral:

    - The team falters due to inherent weaknesses.

    - The fans, enraged behave in a terrible and unprecedented way - but towards the team, as I suppose the only outlet for their ire. (How many players have been frequently booed this season - Bendtner, Adebayor, Eboue, the whole team? Booing has been present almost every other game.It is absolutely disgusting in my view, and I am ashamed that our Arsenal supporters relationship with our own players has come to this.)

    - The team personnel already with fragile belief and love in the arsenal project and the badge really do lose any remaining vestiges of love, performances drop further, and players cannot wait to get out.

    - All is destroyed.

    I implore all Arsenal Fans. I share your pain, but on no account boo the team. Even more so if they are spineless, do we need to get behind them to give them heart. It is not any players fault that he is on the pitch, so any annoyance at his percieved lack of quality should not be directed at him.

    OUR ONLY CHANCE OF TURNING THIS ARROUND IS TO REALLY GET BEHIND THE TEAM AND SHOW THEM THE LOVE.]]>

  • gary1

    < ![CDATA[ive got an interesting theory about bendtner that il try and explain in my lunchbreak.

    i feel he has the potential and certainly the confidence, but feels underminded by the other more senior members of the squad. i also feel playing up fron on his own is hard work for him as he is very indecisive as the moment - he holds the ball up well but generally loses it after doing well in the air. he drifts out wide far too often, and i think he feels under pressure to perform due to adebayor. when ade is on the bench, i think he feels more under pressure to perform after their fiasco last season. however he does seem to play better with ade up front i.e. west ham away, and he improved slightly when ade was on with him on sat. he seems to be able to do it at international level tho, but i feel he may not make it with us as he suits a team who play a different style of football]]>

  • Dan

    < ![CDATA[Agreed Rama. Its an issue, but how is it solved? I don't know. Certainly posting on here won't help much. What can really be done. The club can't exactly slap the fans wrists or anything.

    I'm with you, it is definetly counter intuitive but emotions take over i guess.]]>

  • trying2keep hope

    < ![CDATA[I think Sidwell said it all when he said teams play Arsenal and know they can get something at of it, even when Arsenal is at home. No one is intimidated by Arsenal anymore. We have been way too soft for far too long. I also don’t think Wenger is the man to get us back to that level that teams go to Arsenal and know they cannot gain anything. I think an article i read said it best.

    “The time has come for Wenger to dispense with fantasy and replace it with a game plan that will give his club the success it craves. The glory, glory football should only be on show when games are in the bag, but they are a long way short of considering any showboating on this evidence.”

    Our style of beautiful football will always make us beautiful losers in today’s football. As the person who wrote the article said, there’s a time and a place to play beautiful football and in a close game, its not the time. We need to be able to dig out wins, in games we probably don’t deserve to win. Arsenal have not proved they can win ugly over the last 3-4 seasons and until then, no one will dread playing Arsenal. As i said, I don’t think Wenger is the man to get Arsenal to that point. Stubbornness is NEVER a good quality to have in a position of power. He is just too stubborn to change.

    A draw at Man City would be a good result, but Man City is a team in real need for a win to take pressure off their manager, so i wouldn’t be totally shocked if we lose again. Esp if the squad consists of Denilson and Bendtner.]]>

  • pissed off

    < ![CDATA[There is nothing wrong with the booing, the fans are only voicing there fustration towards Wenger. His refused to do the right thing and the only option for the fans at the moment is to boo.

    I personally do boo and I fill thats the only way I express my feelings for Wenger to see.]]>

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

    Ah, conclusive proof that you’re an idiot and an insult to Arsenal fans everywhere. I knew it would come eventually.

  • Debs

    I think we shouldn’t leave Kieran and pissed off alone in the same room… Someone wouldn’t come out alive! ;)

  • zohaib

    wat about reyes at left mid ? or was he a support striker ?

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[fight fight fight fight !

    but doesnt pissed off have a point ? what other way is there for supporters to show the manager their frustration bcuz things haven't been steady for some time now, i.e, 3.5 years. thats too long a time for a club that used to be a top-2 club. yes the other teams have got stronger but thats only a small part of the problem.

    its tough for everyone, supporters included. so if we can tolerate arsene wenger and the players not producing, why can't we tolerate our fellow supporters who resort to boo-ing to voice 3.5 years of frustration. its not like theyr making obscene gestures, swearing, or throwing things on to the pitch or players.

    if the supporters boo another team then it definitely isnt right or sportsmanlike. but thats because its not meant in the same way as when the they boo their own team. when they boo their own team theyr merely saying 'hey ! we want you lot to realize that we can see you're not playing properly and have been doing so for some time and we'r paying money and have been for years, to see you create a million chances, dominate almost every team, have 60% possession, then throw it all away and lose from winning positions, finishing the season somehow not on top of everyone else'.

    its basically an expression of disappointment as opposed to hatred. i wish there was another word for it so that there'd be no ambiguity. but come on. chill out. its really not as big a deal as some people make it.

    its a great word when u think about it. its only one syllable long. why won't people use it.]]>

  • Pissed off

    Kieren we both are wishing the club success from different point of views. There shoudn’t be any hard feelings.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I understand the booers' (not a real word is it?) point of view, but still, the players OBVIOUSLY know they're not playing up to standard, so does booing really help? I know for a few players, it does (e.g Gavin Strachan- he said so in his blog), but generally, as a team, I don't think it helps their morale if the crowd boos at every opportunity (although Zoihab, I have no problem booing the other team!)
    It's a different case if the WHOLE team were shit, then I guess that may be justified, but that's usually not the case for us. For example Clichy plays his heart out all the time but at the end all he hears are the boos! As far as he is concerned, he's being booed as well. I think the problem with booing is the fact that it's generalized. Every player is affected- those playing well and those who are not. I guess If you feel Gallas is horrible, hold a placard up or something or sing a song directed at him. I know booing is the easiest thing to do but it's just the fact that it's directed at everyone!]]>

  • http://arsespeak.wordpress.com jamesgillesp

    < ![CDATA[Pires-Vieira-Cesc-Ljungberg

    By far the best, when they all play well that is!]]>

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

    < ![CDATA[Rubbish I just wrote a long and eloquent dismissal of booing in general and lost it all when my browser crashed.

    Main points:-
    1) No hard feelings pissed off, I just happen to think manners and respect are important, as is getting behind and supporting the team you've paid to watch. That's right, support, we're not "Football Boo'ers". If we have such a fundamental difference in views on something so important, its unlikely that we'll agree on anything else. I don't want to sack the manager and change the team every time we lose for example.
    2) Debs - spot on.
    3) Zohaib - I have no problem, as Debs says, with directing comments at players. Several times I've shouted from the touchline (easier at Highbury obviously) and like to think the players have heard me - I remember Ray Parlour once turned round after I shouted "Ray pull your fucking finger out, I've paid good money to watch you lose the ball all day long". He went on to score one of his rare goals. The point is, booing is ineloquent, uncouth and abominable. It ruins the atmosphere at matches, it ruins the game and it shows you to be fickle and disloyal. I cannot believe people booed on Saturday. Its intensely negative. Spurring someone on is totally different. I know Villa fans who attended Saturday and they all unanimously agreed - the atmosphere was nasty towards the home side, the fans were disrespectful and not only did Arsenal have to cope with going down 2-0 but they had to cope with their own fans turning on them as well. If I was Cesc I'd have half packed my bags already.]]>

  • Debs

    I agree with Kieran yet again! I’m sure people would argue that they’re top level footballers and that they’re paid a lot of money so they should be able to deal with it, but the fact is that we’re there to support, not make their jobs harder than it already is!

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Whatever mates, I guess I over reacted. But there has to be a way of making our words heard. A kind of forum were fans interact with the coaches(LOL).

    I hate it when all you fine people suggest good ideas, only for the ideas to be trashed in a bin a hope not. We need to be heard.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[okay fair point. debs and kieran. thanks for 'showing me the light' (not meant sarcastically).

    btw kieran, mate, wat browser do you have ? mine saves it if something as annoying as crashing/restarting etc happens. dont you use mozilla ? leme guess. u were using chrome eh ?

    debs, placards and songs is okay. but then the player would need to see it for it to matter. and theres a good chance he won't be able to.
    and good point about it affecting other players. i didnt think of that. but aren't the players who dont play well, get boo-ed only when they get the ball ? if so then it shouldnt affect the others. but if its general boo-ing like against aston villa, then it is obviously different. but then with the exception of clichy and a few others, everybody else was anonymous, so one can understand why there was general boo-ing.

    encouraging them seems like the right thing to do, being uncomplicated, disambigous and positive. but its because that tactic hasnt been working, which is why some are resorting to boo-ing. they are desperate for change. nobody knows a guaranteed way to bring it about and so boo-ing is one of the ways which is practiced. i think wenger already instills skyscrapers full of 'confidence, faith and belief' in them. maybe the supporters' encouragement doesnt have as much of an influence on them as any other clubs' supporters have on their players. maybe.

    i have seen boo-ing being done in a way that is not-nasty and not-abominable. i'v seen it done in a light-hearted manner that isn't meant to offend. thats probably why i'm putting up an argument for the other side. but i realize that maybe the culture where u are is just different and people dont take boo-ing in the same sense. if thats the case then its certainly better to not boo and encourage the players instead.

    i just hope i was able to express my views in a way that was not offensive and that made a little bit of sense.
    thanks for having a decent, sensible arguement though. theres too many immature nuts out there who don't know how to argue in a healthy way and take frustrations from other areas of their lives out on a comments page because it is so easy.
    i respect and appreciate your views and ability to make what seems like an immense effort these days, to give respect to another individual when you can easily choose not to.

    anyway. hopefully arsenal's fortunes can change soon. walcott out for 3 months isnt a great start. i guess its better to look at the bright side and say, maybe this means wilshere or vela get a chance.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[oh and btw ! eduardo might be ready to play !!!!!!!!

    boy am i looking forward to that !

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/injury-news

    says wenger said on oct 23rd that eduardo was 3 weeks away from playing competitive football. it'll be 4 weeks at mancity.
    btw does anyone know if he was playing with croatia. i'm assuming they also had a friendly or something. if not then, does anyone have any other updates on him ?]]>

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

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib, I completely understand where you're coming from but

    but its because that tactic hasnt been working, which is why some are resorting to boo-ing.

    I’m not sure its not working – I’m pretty sure no one’s tried it yet. From kick off against United the crowd was totally different to the crowd against Villa. If you needed any more proof that support works we won against United and lost against Villa. The difference was immeasurable in the crowd. We were behind the team 100% against United, but quick to turn against Villa. Can you imagine how the team might have been different if we were behind them from kick off rather than ready to boo as soon as they conceded?

    We’re not just talking about our own team either. Its a fact that no team fears the emirates. There isn’t the atmosphere or the support. Been to Anfield? Its fucking intimidating. The emirates doesn’t really compare does it. Villa came on Saturday – the crowds support for the home team was non-existant, they got a lucky first goal, and then we started booing – that only helps one side and it wasn’t the Arsenal. Villa grew as the home fans booed the home team.

    When we do support the team, in conjunction with other factors, the difference is massive – beating the champions 2-1.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[i agree completely about us not being intimidating like anfield.

    i'v felt that for a very long time. i thought it was because the vieira's and co. had left, but now i see that its also because we supporters havn't been doing our job either.

    thats a good example you give because i used to think that supporters needed to see an agressive ('dirty') player on the pitch to get going, but with liverpool that theory is proved wrong.
    they aren't a 'dirty' side. with the exception of maybe 1 or 2, they dont really have nasty players. and the crowd still manages to support them and be intimidating to the opponents. thats probably the best kind of support.
    being intimidating without being nasty. we should learn from that.]]>