Merry Christmas

Dear Arsene,

I’d like to start my letter to you by saying Merry Christmas and if I don’t speak to you before-hand Happy New Year. I’d also like to thank you for your efforts over the last 12 years. Under your guidance, we have won league titles, FA cups and reached the UEFA cup and Champions League finals. We have played some amazing football under your reign and at times been mesmeric, at times been magical and at times been unbeatable. We’ve moved into our new stadium. A 60,000+ start of the art all seater stadium in the heart of London.

I’m a big fan of Arsenal and you as manager and like many other fans, have Arsenal in my blood, in my veins and above all in my heart. I, like many other fans, pay the highest prices in the league. I, like many other fans, buy silly little mugs and slippers, heavily over-priced but in knowledge that money is going to the club. I’ve travelled around Europe following our team, I’ve spent hours upon hours on the motorway, in traffic, missed trains, spent money on hotels, petrol… and all for you and our team.

I was born in North London and to me, Arsenal are my local club, my community, my football club. I’ve supported us when we’ve been mid-table, when we’ve just finished fourth, when we’ve been knocked out of the cup by Burnley, when we lost 6-1 to our main rivals, and of course when we’ve won those lovely titles. I will always support the team, I will always spend my earnings on Arsenal, I will always come down to the ground and I will always buy a programme every single game.

So, as we sit here with our families and friends, remembering those without, I ask you Arsene, please give me the Christmas present that me and all other fans deserve. We have a team packed with youth and potential. We have some players who aren’t young any more. A Togo International at the age of 24 / 25 isn’t young. Wilshere at 16 is young. Our team has a youth policy and we like it. We’re proud to see our kids beat Wigan. Believe me, we are proud. But we also have experience and knowledge. Most of us fans have got decades of watching the team behind them, many of us watch other games, sky sports news and play pro evolution soccer and football manager. Yes, not many of us are managers, but we know football and we know our team.

We’ve been very close to winning the Champions League. Last season we all said buy one more player, but we didn’t and we missed out on the league by 4 points. We have the basis for a great team.

Arsene, the present we want is the player we were missing from last season and a replacement for some of the departing players. If you can buy one defensive midfielder and one wide player, then the players we have will not be pushed away, they will embrace and learn and become better players. Denilson will be a better player if playing alongside a Barry or Alonso rather than a Diaby and a Song. Song will become a better player when fighting for his place in the team rather than walking into a “top four” team. Wilshere, I’m sure, could learn a few things from a Ribery.

We seem to have an injury jinx, and with Rosicky, Cesc and Walcott out of the team for a while, and Nasri and Eduardo patchy for the next 4-6 weeks, we really have to dip into the transfer market if we want to finish in the top four. But if the players we buy are right and the aforementioned players come back from injury, then we may still have a shout at the title. Maybe. But it’s going to take a lot of hard work to do so. It’s amazing that we’re only 8 points behind the leaders. And maybe it says a lot about our form when Liverpool are leading the table.

I’m not criticising you or telling you how to do your job, but some things are blindingly obvious in football and buying at least 2 players is the minimum requirement this January. We can see it on the pitch. We have such a good set of players, but we’re just short in a few areas. You’ve said several times that we need “an extra body” or “another midfielder” but you’ve been reluctant to spend. The board say there is money and that you can spend it.

So, this Christmas, please think about the club, where we are, and think about the fans. Please buy the two players you need and then maybe buy the other two players we all want.

Give us all a Christmas present that we deserve.

Thanks,

Dev]]>

  • jat85

    amen

  • Pissed off

    A good one Dev. U mak me want to cry, infact am on tears now.

  • zohaib

    what a waste though, unless theres a way we can get wenger to read this brilliant piece of writing.

  • debs

    Wow! If only Mr Wenger reads this blog! If only! But yeah, well-written, Dev! Spot on!

  • Fabrez!

    Ahh dev…quite heartfelt blog i must admit…if only AW cud read it that would be amazing.

  • zaheer

    well said man..

  • RF

    Dev , your Blog is the voice of every Arsenal fan. Hope in some way Arsene Get things right.

  • willsscott

    < ![CDATA[Fantastic! Very well said!

    Quick point before today's match gets going....was Wenger pissed whe he picked the starting XI ?!
    Clichy, Toure and Vela on the bench?
    And according to Sky Sports, Eboue at CB, Song on the Right Wing, Gallas on the Left Wing, Silvestre at LB?!
    Has he lost it or is it actually going to work?!
    We can hope!]]>

  • Debs

    I dunno what’s happening to Wenger, but this starting XI came as a massive surprise! Was feeling confident about a win b4, but I dunno anymore. Hope Wenger proves me very wrong cos I’m quite upset right now- I hope I’m just overreacting though.

  • Fabrez!

    This is what is going to happen when u lack that extra bit of spine…that the “unbeatables” had for example. I’m gutted to diabolically-depressing proportions. That’s the end of Arsenal’s 08/09 season. Nobody can convince me otherwise.

  • debs

    totally Spurs all over again. I’m absolutely gutted! Should have taken all 3 points. At least we know Diaby and Denilson can score!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[another 2 goal lead thrown away. a lead that we didnt deserve in the first half. the goal we got was against the run of play and very unexpected for everybody including the aston villa players who were pretty much shell-shocked. as a result their confidence slipped. the second half got better for us. we went 2 goals up.
    and then what was inevitable happened. a team with too many youngsters, too many injuries causing too many players to be in and out of the side - causing inconsistency, a team completely unable to defend, let alone defend a lead, a team that gets nervous everytime its supposed to defend, a team that gets intimidated too easily, a team that has almost nobody with real guts and bravery like flamini had, gave away a precious 2 goal lead and ended up with a draw when they could easily have won the match.

    theres nothing left to say. everybody who was being 'negative' at the start of the season has been proved right. all those who labelled people who were concerned and raising questions about wenger and his tactics as 'not true arsenal fans' have seen what all the fuss was about. maybe now we're all in th same boat and all thinking the same thing - we need to make some serious signings in jan or the summer. enough of this bullshit schoolboy stuff. lets get serious now. enough fooling around, trying to adopt a strategy just to prove people wrong and make yourself (wenger) look like a hero. yes wenger was great but that was when we played with men. every since we've been playing with boys, we've never really been dangerous.
    we're too delicate a side. almost every game a player gets injured. and we have more youngsters than experienced players so its not like we have enough strength in depth to cover for injuries. i say again. we're too delicate. we dont like defending. we think its not part of the game almost. its unbelievable how we defend. its like we dont practice it. we're not serious about it. shameful ! we get brushed off the ball too easily. whenever vanpersie had the ball he looked like a headless chicken trying to fight the defender to keep hold of it. and compare that to agbonlahor. how easy it was for him to hold the ball up. even though i think vanpersie's a better player. i'm starting to think i'm wrong. and now we're forgetting how to pass the ball. its been a very long time since i'v seen a team performance where the ball has been passed with the right amount of speed and placement. now theres just no precision. either its too far away. played with too much pace or not enough. played too early or too late. its just not how it needs to be.

    if we're to continue helping these kids develop their football skills then why bother going to the stadium while theyr being schooled. we might as well stay home and wait for them to learn what theyr learning, and once they'v learn it then we'll come and watch.

    just ridiculous. sagna was heroic today though. it has to be mentioned.]]>

  • Fabrez!

    Debs…ur constant positivity has me worried about myself…bcuz i just can’t be the least bit positive at a time like this…lol Oh well…Denilson was my Man of the Match…but i still know we aint gettin any silverware unless AW does that thing called buying…and that silverware can only be in Europe…but i’m honestly not convinced at the min… I wish i cud just 4get a things Arsenal for a while but when its in ur blood it aint that easy :S

  • Fabrez!

    And Sagna was class too…but Zohaib is rite…we need men for real…the school boy thing is not workin at all and its costing us silverwear and that pride once associated with being an Arsenal fan.

  • debs

    yeah, Sagna was class and he was my man of the match! But look, we’d have taken a draw at the beginning of the match and on balance, a draw was best, cos in reality, we only had 20 or 30 mins of real class and villa were the better team, but it still hurts losing a game you looked set to win, especially as this is not the first time. but the thing is, we’re stuck with the squad we have until jan, but I do expect Wenger to buy- he has no choice. but credit to the guys, I’m sure no one expected the performance we got at the start so I guess if we ignore the order of the goals, they did alright for a make-shift team. i’m not saying we shouldn’t expect more from the lads, but in the circumstances, a draw isn’t really the end of the world. We go to Pompey in 2 days so hopefully we get a win there. Please try to stay somewhat positive guys, cos well, that’s all we can do for now, until January, and if Wenger doesn’t buy anyone in Jan, feel free to lose all hope then! lol

  • debs

    And yeah, we DO need MEN- definitely. I just hope Wenger realises that!

  • debs

    Yeah fabrez, sometimes I do want to forget Arsenal, but it never lasts more than 5 seconds! Lol. At least we’ve stopped losing! Lol

  • willsscott

    < ![CDATA[I have to say, I am gutted, although Villa deserved a point!
    The first half was awful for 40 minutes and then Denilson scored completely against the run of play, I was honestly shocked!
    To be honest at 2-0 up, I was still not convinced....Andy Gray also laid the commentators curse, by stating that if it were Liverpool, Chelski, or United, he'd say Villa had no chance of coming back, however with our "Defence" he was not convinced.
    I feel a bit sorry for Sagna - he played his heart out today and was throughly outstanding. His goal line clearance and tackle on Young really did keep us in it. Toure, Gallas an Silvestre all seemed to lack any real effort or communication for that matter. Possibly 3 of the leagues most experienced defenders, it seems crazy that they cannot communicate with one another, especially as they all speak the same language!
    There were some positives however, we now know that Diaby can finish, and that Eboue is not as bad a first thought, and that Almunia can be a make-do captain in place of Cesc.
    I honestly think that is it for the league now, we're now batteling for 4th place, and need to get a grip soon considering we have United and Chelsea in 2 of our last 3 games!
    The FA cup is obviously a possibility, as long as we get our defence sorted out.
    No offence to Silvestre or Gallas, but they are both 2nd rate, ex quality defenders.
    I wouldn't mind seeing someone along the lines of Vidic or Terry - ie. a good quality centre back who does the basics very well.
    I'm sure there are plenty available, I just pray that Wenger looks!
    Another CM and a winger with width would also be welcome, someone like Inler, or Senna maybe, and a player like young for the wing, someone who's quick and can cross a ball. Ben Arfa maybe?!
    Anyway, rant over, I have to say, I am still incredibly frustrated/pissed off but hey that's football!
    Hopefully we can beat Pompy, and ease past Plymouth in the cup, and maybe by then we'll have a few more options!]]>

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

    < ![CDATA[It's odd how people still blame injuries and youth for our world cup winning first choice defender giving away a penalty!

    Before the match I would have settled for a draw and having just got home from another fruitless away draw I'm inclined to say it was a fair result all round. RVP had an off day, but Diaby looked like Patrick Viera. Denilson scored. That's youthful exuberence for you, we could be Chelsea and playing 30 year old midfielders who couldn't get into the Barcelona team.

    Arsenal played some spellbinding football in the 2nd half, but we were atrocious in the first half. We'd have been incredibly lucky to finish that match winners. RVP hitting the post was probably the turning point of the Villa comeback though - after that they always looked like they'd equalise especially after Gallas went through Abonghlahor.

    Sagna had the game of his life - but the trouble with Arsenal is that we don't all fire into life at once. We always have one or two players performing well, never the whole team.

    Credit where credit is due though, the equaliser was top drawer.]]>

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

    Oh and I know its off topic Zohaib, but finally Robbie Keane is looking like a better player. Still didn’t look all that despite a brilliant goal against us last week (the final 60 minutes he seemed to be thinking about dinner and hardly touched the ball) but today he played really well by all accounts. Sounds like he put in a good performance and scored two very good goals, so I look forward to seeing them tonight.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[We gave away two goals not because of our 'world cup winning, first choice defender' giving away a penalty, which was almost not a penalty - Gallas' trailing leg made contact but because Agbonlahor went down, the referee gave it as so.

    We gave a two goal lead away because we have a midfield that is full of inexperienced, inconsistent, injury-plagued schoolboys. And as a result, our defence gets very little to no protection from the midfield, defensively.

    It's injury time, there are 3 minutes to go, and our defence of 4 is having to deal with 3 Aston Villa players without any midfielder helping out in time ! Even the mid-table teams have that much sense. But we don't have much defensive sense. We like to think that we're doing a very noble job by attacking every time we have the ball, but in reality it becomes quite stupid if done unneccessarily - like with 3 minutes to the end, with a one-goal lead.

    Our midfield didn't help the defenders because it was too busy in the center of the pitch trying to win the ball (another thing we don't know how to do well) and make an attacking move. The problem is that when we make an attacking move, we can't do it efficiently. We're having to commit too many players forward because individually we're not good enough. We have all 4 midfielders (or 5) with 2 strikers (or 1) involved (often the fullbacks as well). That leaves only 4 defenders in the event of a counter-attack, and that's too few. That is exactly what happened, and that is why we threw the lead away. That is also partly why the first goal was given away.

    The problem is that individually we're not good enough (which makes us weak collectively also). And that makes sense because we play with kids who are still learning how to play. Our midfield is full of youth. No wise, learned heads in there. It seems not many intelligent either. Mostly naive kids.

    One other major problem is that we have nobody with the Flamini attitude. The immense bravery, determination, desire and pure gut shown in almost every aspect of the game - heading, clearances, tackling, passing, shooting, covering etc - he was just exceptional. It didn't make a difference to him if he was playing against Ballack, Gerrard, Scholes, or someone from the bottom half of the table. His attitude was the same. Complete commitment. Presently, nobody looks strong enough mentally. The media is putting a lot of pressure on them. The fans are upset and some are disgusted. Everything around them seems to be negative. The atmosphere is difficult. And this is where they need to be strong mentally to overcome all the problems. But they're too young to do that well enough. Our best 11 spends more time being injured. So there's even more pressure on the youngsters. And they crack.

    What is our best 11 though, if everybody is fit ?
    Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy, Nasri, Cesc, Diaby, Rosicky, Eduardo, VanPersie for me.

    To me, we don't look like a very threatening side. And even if you switch a few players around, its clear that we're short of a proper defensive midfielder - which, as we knew in the summer, was a very important position for us to sort out. And we didn't. If we had and we had a few less injuries, who's to say we wouldn't have been battling Liverpool and Chelsea at the top at this time of the year.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Keane's pure class. He's not a lone striker, he's a support striker. He's been playing out of position because Torres is injured and they don't seem to have another proper striker to play a 4 - 4 - 2. Liverpool need one more striker for their squad to become a proper threatening, challenger-for-the-title squad.

    But after his goal against us, the whole Liverpool side were thinking about dinner. If only some people payed more attention. It was obviousy from the start of the match that Liverpool were thinking about defending for 90 minutes. The kind of starting 11 they chose. As well as the way they played for the entire game. Never really looking to attack. It's been covered in the media well enough. I don't need to explain it. It's quite an ill-informed opinion if some people choose to blame Keane solely for Liverpool's negative approach.

    Staying on topic though, which is the area that you guys here think we need to improve in or buy in, in the Jan transfer window ?

    I think a defensive midfielder should be priority number 1.]]>

  • Fabrez!

    < ![CDATA[That CDM positoin is so important rite about now. As i said before, Song isn't bad, but still learning. I like Senna...granted he's 31 i think...but even if it is for 2-3 seasons...he and Cesc cud have a really good relationship in the centre of the park as they r both Spanish and know each other's game. Gilberto shud just come back man...AW what were u thinking letting him go?? Anyway...whoever AW buys needs to be learned, committed, hard-working & experienced. What of Appiah tho? He don't seem too bad...but i don't know that much about him...but i think he is a defensive midfielder.

    And are we really the least protected of the "Big 4"? Bcuz our 1st team is always injured...so so frustrating! Hopefully a crushing victory is in order vs Pompey? Actually, a victory period wud b nice... *sigh*]]>

  • zaheer

    < ![CDATA[Im just going to keep it short..

    Sagna was a MACHINEEE!

    We need CDM and CB ASAP!]]>

  • zaheer

    Also is just me or does it look like Van Persie wants to get into a fight.. like every game!

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

    < ![CDATA[

    It’s quite an ill-informed opinion if some people choose to blame Keane solely for Liverpool’s negative approach.
    I’m not sure anyone has!]]>

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

    We gave away two goals not because of our ‘world cup winning, first choice defender’ giving away a penalty, which was almost not a penalty – Gallas’ trailing leg made contact but because Agbonlahor went down, the referee gave it as so.

    Zohaib, for someone that has repeatedly accused me of bias, I implore you to watch the tackle again. I don’t debate Gallas touched the ball but Abonglahor was still in control when Gallas trailing leg caught him. It was a cast iron penalty, if it had happened at the other end and it hadn’t been given you’d be rightfully angry.

  • debs

    zohaib you don’t even have Walcott in ur starting XI? And Toure instead of Gallas? as you rightly said, our first choice squad’s always injured- which meaans were they not injured, we’d have a decent team right? if that’s the case though, I don’t see why you can blame our poor form on the fact that the we’ve got an inexperienced squad cos if our first choice team were fit, they’d not be playing anyways! I guess you could say that if we had like for like back-up then we’d not have this problem- but seeing as we’ve got aa youth policy that really wasn’t expected from Wenger anyways. If you agree that injury is one of our major problems this season, then I don’t agree with putting the blame on the team playing at the moment, especially the midfield cos the fact is they are NOT first choice. obviously it’s predictable that your first choice team may get injured, but I’m sure no one could have predicted that our injury woes would be this bad, seeing as most of them are out for months, not even weeks! now we have to buy in january not because we’ve got a crap squad, but because we’ve got the we’ve got the worst possible injury list and that was totally not predictable and messed up our plans, really.

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

    To add to Deb’s point, you will never get players good enough to win the league sitting on the bench for long. Without Essien, Chelsea are struggling, without Rooney and Ronaldo, United look average. Without Torres Liverpool look like also rans. Every team has 5 or 6 very good players but no team has 22 brilliant players with experience and skill that are interchangeable. Of course you’ll say thats down to man management, but Phil Scolari (a world cup winning coach) is now facing revolt from his stars because of his team selections.

  • zohaib

    debs – and my point is that our backup isn’t good enough. the problem is that they are still schoolboys instead of backup for men.

  • Debs

    but if we had back-up, in the real sense, then there’d be no way the kids would get ‘educated’, and that’s what Wenger’s all about- ‘development of young talent’. I guess there should be a balancing act somewhere, maybe we’ve not been able to draw the line somewhere and that’s why we’re struggling, I don’t really know…

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Not mentioning Liverpool's negative approach but only mentioning Keane does make it look like only Keane's being blamed. Maybe taking a bit more responsibility by taking more things into consideration would be make for a more accurate analysis, which is what I had pointed out earlier. Maybe what I said would have been more clear if people stop taking my comments so personally, pretending to be the underdog who's feelings I've managed to hurt.

    I don't remember saying Gallas' tackle wasn't a penalty. I'll watch it again but I doubt he was 'still in control of the ball'.

    Debs - I havn't got Walcott in my starting 11 because for me he still has a lot to learn. At the moment, the only thing that he's got that's effective is his blinding pace. He still needs to learn how to get past people and how to pass the ball and recieve it. His movement can also improve. His attitude is good too.

    But what I don't understand is, are you saying you'd choose Walcott over Rosicky and Nasri ?]]>

  • zohaib

    Debs – I’m wondering why we have to school boys. Why can’t we just play with proper men. We talk about winning silverware. And then we choose the hardest way to do it. Why ? Why not just get some average men from the mid-table teams instead of youngsters who are so inconsistent.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib, I'd choose Walcott with Rosicky cos Nasri's still new and seems really injury-prone. Besides, apparently he's not really a winger- he generally plays centrally, so I'd rather have him as a CM, so my first choice wingers are Rosicky and Walcott. I agree Walcott's still got a bit to learn, but he's a much more improved player and I think he's good enough to be in the first-choice XI and he can only get better, and we do need his pace.
    I think I would go for Nasri as opposed to Diaby in CM, although Diaby showed yesterday that he's more than capable of fighting for that spot permanently.]]>

  • zohaib

    So you’d have Nasri and Cesc in the middle then. Remember I’m talking about when we’re at our best. Which means Nasri is not injured all the time. I’m talking about not having so much bad luck. What then would be your starting 11 ? Would you go without a DM by choosing Cesc and Nasri in the center. And how is Walcott more of a winger than Nasri. Walcott’s a striker being played out of position to get playing-time. Nasri has played on the wing for France and Marseille. And I think he’s played on the wing regularly.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[

    I’m wondering why we have to school boys. Why can’t we just play with proper men. We talk about winning silverware. And then we choose the hardest way to do it. Why ? Why not just get some average men from the mid-table teams instead of youngsters who are so inconsistent.

    I dunno- that just seems to be Wenger’s way. But when it works, it works- look at players like Fabregas and Walcott. I think Wenger likes to develop his own players cos then he’d know their game really well. Take yesterday for example, when I first saw the starting line up I was gobsmacked, but then, we did see the team play (for about only 20mins, granted) in a way that I didn’t think they could. By developing his own, he’d know what works and what doesn’t. Buying new players is not as easy as it seems- look at Sp*rs and Juande Ramos, I don’t need to say anything else! I guess Wenger’s ways does have it’s disadvantages, like lack of consistency, but then, that inside knowledge he gets about the players from developing them himself is also important. If we get average men from mid-table teams, one thing some of them do lack, and you can tell by their teams’ performance, is that extra bit of quality, and Wenger can get that from the youngsters, if given time, but yeah, time’s not really a commodity we’ve got loads of, but I think I’d go for youngsters with (obvious) potential instead of average men from mid-table teams, cos then, IMO, we’d lose that little bit that makes us Arsenal and we’d have a mid-table team and probably end up mid-table ourselves! lol. But as I said before anyways, they’re not really the team, at least not yet, and it’s just the fact that we’ve got exceptionally horrible injuries that Wenger is forced to play them all the time now. Also, if we had average men, we know that they can’t get any better, really, so what’s the point?
    As to silverware, we did (and maybe still? CL?) have a chance, if not for bad luck along the way…]]>

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[true that, Walcott's meant to be a striker, but for some reason, thinking of the team Wenger wants, Fabregas and Walcott are like the key components. And all Walcott's ever played for us I think is as a winger. And Diaby is not a defensive midfielder anyways.
    Starting XI- Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy, Fabregas, Walcott, Rosicky, Nasri, Eduardo, Van Persie/Adebayor. We've only got I think 2 defensive midfielders- Song and Denilson, and I don't think they're ready yet. Maybe not a 4-4-2 if we want to play Walcott as a striker, and Eduardo maybe just in front of midfield. Not 100% sure of the formation that would best work, but I'd say those XI and that's about our best, I think...]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[What aboue Fergie then ? How is it that he can buy players and work with them just as well as we work with developed players ? In fact it seems to me that he's able to do a better job. Why is that ? How is it that he can tell what works and what doesn't regardless of where the players received their schooling at around 20 years old or so.

    I don't think a top manager has any extra difficulty managing players he hasn't developed from a schoolboy age. So I'll have to disagree with your theory there.

    And my other point was that we can have 11 quality players as our first team. Maybe 3 or 4 real young talents like Wilshere, Ramsey, Vela, Walcott etc. But when it comes to backup for our first 11, we shouldn't have to rely completely on the youngsters. Instead we should have 'average players from the mid-table teams'. I don't mean to say they aren't good players but what I mean is that they're players at teams who are not a real threat to the top 4. Like Arteta, Jagielka, Micah Richards, Sean W.Phillips, Hangeland, etc. These are the sort of players that we need in our team. Good players with lots of quality but not at a top4 club. They'd give us enough attractive football while giving us strong backup.

    I'd rather have a selection headache caused by having too many players fit rather than a selection headache caused as a result of injuries and not good enough backup.]]>

  • zohaib

    Debs – and thats my point exactly. Diaby hasn’t been played as a DM. Maybe he doesn’t want to play there. The point is we need a DM. Because what we’ve got is nowhere near good enough to win any silverware. So we either get one or stop saying rubbish like we’re still in the titlerace.

  • Debs

    I guess each manager has his own style. But Fergie doesn’t buy average players- he buys already developed top quality players for a lot of money. Maybe Fergie can deal with all those egos, whereas Wenger believes he can do without it. the real reason why Wenger goes for youth instead of anything else is only known to Wenger and all we can do is speculate. Maybe my reasoning is all wrong, but then I’m not Wenger so it doesn’t matter, really. The fact is that’s what we’ve got, and there’s nothing you and I can do about that. I do agree we need a DM, but at the moment, we’ve not got an established DM so we’ve got no option but to play with an attacking midfield.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Well there are other managers. Roy Hodgson for Fulham, Gary Megson for Bolton, Harry Redknapp for numerous clubs he's been at and others who don't have top quality stars in their team. But they've been performing very well. It shows that it can be done. That potential young stars isn't the only way.

    3 days more of 'no option but to play with an attacking midfield'. Then we can sign someone.]]>

  • Debs

    But then though, that’s why they’re not in the top 4, I’d say.

  • zohaib

    It’d give us the consistency we don’t have at the moment. It’d give us the ability to rotate players. Which would mean less injuries. Because players wouldn’t be playing too much football like for example Clichy had to do or Cesc had to do because there were no proper replacements. They can’t be expected to compete for 4 trophies and play something like 50 games a season without any proper periodic rest along the way. That’s torture. Their careers would end well before they reach 30.

  • zohaib

    And I’m talking about individuals. Whether their team is in the top 4 or not is not because of the individuals that I’ve mentioned, alone. There are many other factors. There are other players that affect the team performance. I thought that was obvious.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I'm talking about players that are good enough to be at a top4 club but at the moment are not. For whatever reason. The least of which is that they don't deserve to be.

    Real Madrid were going to sign Pennant and now they're in for Valencia from Wigan ! I think Arteta, Phillips, Young etc are all good enough to be at a top 4 club but they aren't. It's not that they don't deserve it.

    I hope you understand my point. Because I'm really trying to make it crystal clear. Please don't just disagree for the sake of disagreeing. I'm really putting my time and energy on the line here to reply and get my point across.]]>

  • Debs

    I meant that’s why the managers are not in the top 4 clubs- not saying they are not great managers, but they’re not managers of top 4 clubs for a reason.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[Yeah, granted there are players in the other clubs that would actually be a good addition to top 4 clubs but are not there for some reason. But the thing is just because one player's good enough in a particular club doesn't mean he'd be great in another. Wright-Phillips is the perfect example. Was doing fine in Man City then went to Chelsea where well, for whatever reason, didn't do as well- he's back at Man City and he's at his best again. Does that mean he's not good enough for a top 4 club? I don't know. He tried it and it didn't work. There are obviously the ones who make the switch and do well- look at Tevez for Man U last season, or even Benayoun who's doing ok at Liverpool. It's easy to see a player doing well in another club and think, oh my gosh, they deserve to play in a better team- it's not granted that it'd work. Maybe Wenger's not willing to take a gamble. I guess Wenger knows what he wants and for whatever reason, not because they're not good enough, feels they don't fit the bill, I don't know, but all I'm saying is that it's not as easy as that.
    And don't worry, I'm not an argumentative sort so I wouldn't disagree just for the sake of it- I'm not that silly :)]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Yep. I see your point. Can't disagree.

    On your comment about "Maybe Wenger's not willing to take a gamble" - I'd have to say, think Bischoff - Wenger said himself it was a gamble.

    Maybe we can never truely understand how the mind of Wenger works.]]>

  • Debs

    yeah, Wenger’s like one of the few ppl in the world that are capable of stumping you all the time with his logic! lol. I guess that’s what makes him him :P

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[But I don't see what Tevez and Benayoun are doing in that comment. They were both brilliant for West Ham and are still brilliant for their present clubs.

    Sean Wright-Phillips isn't a good example though. He played under Murinho mostly and maybe because they already have too many stars there, he couldn't make his place there and as a result maybe lost confidence and fitness which led to him sealing his place on the bench until he transferred again.

    For us, I meant, I think SWP would be terrific. We presently have Nasri, Walcott and Rosicky and Diaby on the wings. Only Nasri is the winger in my opinion. And even then some people think he's more of a central midfielder. Rosicky isn't a winger. Eboue isn't really a footballer at all. And just today I've read Wenger saying he doesn't quite know if Diaby is a midfielder or a striker - so much for the theory that because he develops players he knows them inside out. So SWP would be absolutely perfect ! The only proper winger we had, if we were to get him, which we most probably won't be able to now.]]>

  • Debs

    Tevez and Benayoun were examples of when it works…

  • zohaib

    oops :( got that a bit wrong didn’t I.

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[I think this is what Wenger said:

    with Abou Diaby you don’t know if he is a midfielder or a striker. He has the power to go passed players and he plays off the striker, so our formation was a 4-4-1-1

    From what I understand from that, it’s not that Wenger doesn’t know where to play Diaby, but that his position is not clear-cut midfielder/striker, that’s why he plays him in-between. I’m sure that shows he does know Diaby’s game.]]>

  • Debs

    Maybe SWP would do alright for us, maybe, I guess we’ll never find out.

  • zohaib

    Initially, Diaby was supposed to be the new Vieira, as Wenger implied then. Over the years, with the long injury absences and other players in better form, he’s not had a good run of games in the side. And now nobody really knows where he plays best and if he’s good enough to be our first choice midfielder. If he’s not a DM, then he doesn’t fit into the playing 11. I’ve mentioned my playing 11 earlier.

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

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib you're the most frustrating person I've ever spoken to. I started out with a gesture of goodwill by saying finally Keane is looking a bit more like a decent player, which regardless of how rabid you get he hasn't been anywhere close to so far this season.

    Not mentioning Liverpool’s negative approach but only mentioning Keane does make it look like only Keane’s being blamed.

    Please re-read my original post – Keane is a good player but our debate a few weeks ago stemmed from me saying that talent is useless without consistency and Robbie Keane has been at too many clubs and never really shown any serious consistency to be considered a great player. All I said this time was that against us last week he again showed that inconstancy. He scored one of the best goals in months and then disappeared. I couldn’t care less how negative Liverpool were, and I’m certainly not blaming Robbie Keane for the clubs tactics but he touched the ball maybe 4 times in the second half. However the team were playing I’d be bloody annoyed if he was playing for us and went missing like that.

    Let’s leave it there – even when I’m trying to be nice and concede that he is at last looking like a better player you try and argue black is blue.

    On topic I’m intrigued by this – note I’m not arguing or picking holes or being nasty or saying you’re wrong or trying to be horrible or “play the underdog” but I’m simply intrigued by what you said earlier (debs you can join in too!!):

    I havn’t got Walcott in my starting 11 because for me he still has a lot to learn. At the moment, the only thing that he’s got that’s effective is his blinding pace. He still needs to learn how to get past people and how to pass the ball and recieve it. His movement can also improve. His attitude is good too.

    I think we are agreed that Walcott is a brilliant player so far but that he has a lot to learn. However, I’m intrigued as to how he would learn what he needs to? Would you play him in the reserves, or would you send him on loan? I think that he can only learn these things with experience and I think he already improved by leaps and bounds in his most recent run, especially with England. He learnt a lot that night. I would definitely place Nasri on the left, and until Rosicky comes back its probably to early to tell how well he’ll play, and if he’ll recapture his form…

    So my question is, I agree that Walcott needs to learn and I agree he doesn’t automatically get on the team sheet just yet, but I’m not sure how he’d get that experience?

    I think, I’d be inclined to play him in the reserves a bit more rather than loan him out…. but I think a loan might build his character a bit more.

    It’s a conundrum that applies to a few more players, Vela and Wilshire in particular.]]>

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

    Oh dear, that quoting is nasty!

  • Fabrez!

    I would have joined in the discussion…but u guys have been doin a gr8 job! lol :p

  • Fabrez!

    BUT no need for the bitter arguing tho! :S

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

    < ![CDATA[People on here keep labelling it arguing - debate is healthy!

    Out of interest what would you do Fabrez? I understand the calls for more talented established names in the side, but what would you do with players like Walcot and Wilshere who clearly have the talent and aptitude but need the games and would likely not get into the team at all if we had Beckham/YayaToure/Tevez/Arshavin any other player.

    On a side note, I'm not sure Arsenals pulling power will be the same in January. We're fifth in our league, and at this rate we're not going to qualify for the CL next season. Coupled with our payment structure I can't see many big names being that interested?]]>

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[I think I may have said enough for one day! lol. But yeah, Zohaib were discussing which players, out of the ones we've got right now, forgetting injuries and all, are our best starting XI. I swear we've had this discussion a few weeks ago but one more time wouldn't hurt! lol
    I'd play Walcott in the squad any day, yeah, he's got a bit to learn, but I think at the moment, he's wayy ahead of Ramsey, Vela, Denilson etc as to development and all he needs is to play in games, cos that's how he'd learn. I wouldn't say loan him out cos I think he needs to play more games with our squad, so he can build partnerships and get to know the other player's games whether as a winger or a striker- I think he is/should be more than a fringe player for us and should be in our starting XI looking at the squad we've got. I don't feel as if he's miles off a first team berth...]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Thankyou. I'll take that as a compliment. I'm so sorry Kieran, for offending you. It seems everything I do ends up offending you. I'm not too sure what to say anymore. I don't think I can have an opinion either. I'll just have to agree to everything you say or else I'll end up offending you.

    I don't know whether I should start playing the same game. Whether I should start being offended at everything you do too. Like when you say that you offered a gesture of goodwill. I don't know how you managed to do that but lets say you did. How is it that I didn't do that myself ? All I did was state my opinion on Keane. I'm not 'arguing black to be blue'. In fact if anything, I'm agreeing to disagree. I'm saying we have different opinions about Keane and I already have left it at that. You however, decided to pick on my opinion and make it a personal case against yourself and then try and prove that you're right and you know everything about Keane and there's no way yours is just another opinion. No sir, it has to be the only right analysis. Where's the sense in that my friend ?

    Can you direct me to Heaven please ? You'd know where that is too wouldn't you. Geez man. All it was was an opinion. Can we please move on. I can't keep spending time explaining myself to you.

    You're constantly picking on my comments and taking it personally. You can't let go of this ridiculous debate about Keane that's been going on for days now. These are all qualities that you find in annoying women. They never let go of the one thing that you did that they didn't like. Years later when you manage to piss them off, they'll bring it back up and start another fight on it.

    I think its you that needs to do the re-reading. You're just imagining things again. Where have I been rabid ? Please explain ? You really have to start living out of your dreamworld. Making things up and accusing me of being violent. That's crossing a line bro. If you want to disagree, at least be honest. Don't start making up events that didn't happen to support your opinions.

    'I couldn't care less how negative Liverpool were ...' - Okay don't. That's your opinion. Mine is that I'd rather take all factors into account, or all that I can see anyways, before making judgements. I don't see why any player would want to do something completely against his manager's instructions. Not that he should be worried about his place in the squad for the next game, since he'll be on the bench no matter what he does. Benitez being another tinkerman. But why would you do anything that your manager tells you not to. Doesn't make sense.

    And finally coming to the normal debate, which I'm so glad you came to in your comment - Walcott. What I had said was, if you consider every single player we have at Arsenal. And imagine none of them were injured and everybody was at their best form - the best form they've been in at Arsenal or the best form we've seen from them in the past, not their future potential - then which players would make the starting 11. I would rather have Cesc, Rosicky, Nasri and one of Diaby or Denilson in the midfield. I don't think Walcott can just make his way into the side because of his pace. There are other aspects of his game that need improving. And we don't neccessarily need to put him in the reserves or send him out on loan. What's wrong with coming on as a substitute for 30 mins or so, consistently. That'll give him loads of playing time.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[And the Wilsheres and Ramseys and Velas can do the same. Make consistent substitute appearances, like all the other newboys do at every other club. It makes so much sense, yet to Wenger it doesn't.

    If we get a proper playing 11 of ready-made players, it doesn't mean that the youngsters' development will be stopped. I don't understand why some of the fans think so bizzarely. Clearly it's because they heard Wenger comment on it. But what we seem to conveniently forget is that he's under media pressure. He's doing a job. He has to put up a face. He has to say things that make no sense at times. Well, he doesn't have to, but he's the sort of person that thinks he has to. That's why he does. We, fans however, don't need to just repeat his comments. At least wake up and understand what you're saying.
    As I was saying, if we get a proper ready-made playing 11, it does not mean our youngsters will stop being developed. They have the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, substitute appearances for the first team in the Premier League and maybe even the Champions League to play in. That's enough play-time. Plus there's reserve games and internationals and injuries etc.

    So, to get another few experienced ready-made players that we desperately need for the first team if we're serious about challenging for the Premier League title, would be the right thing to do, in my opinion (I think I'm going to have to say this everytime to prevent people from getting offended).
    And if we feel that we don't need them and that we have 'internal solutions' (quoting Wenger), then we should stop lieing about hoping to win the Premier League. A cup competition is not out of the question because the form on the day is what makes the difference. For the League, consistency is what is needed, and playing youngsters regularly won't give you that, as we have witnessed many times. It shows that what needs to be done is to sign players. But also, the right players. Not more potentially bright stars for the future.]]>

  • Fabrez!

    < ![CDATA[Well kieran, i'd think that competition in the side is healthy, plus guys like Wilshere, Ramsey & Theo are still very young so i'd say that they can be on the bench. In terms of strikers, we don't need anymore. We have Ade, Eduardo, VP, Vela, Bendtner (*sigh*). Theo can fight for his spot as a striker as well as a wide-man. With everyone fit, I wouldn't put Theo before Rosicky or Nasri YET to be honest. He'll have to prove himself better. Or if i were AW, i'd give him a couple cup games to prove himself upfront against some good oppostion, probably a sub in a Prem game as well. With all this said he's 19 so he is still young and still has some development to undergo. Yes he's an England international so some would think he shud b in Arsenal's starting XI but all the strikers and wide-men he's fighting for a position for are internationals too. Wilshere & Ramsey are young so i don't see bringing sum1 like Yaya hurting their development. They will learn from the like of experienced players and seasons are long so they will all get a chance to play. But it's ultimately up to the young guns to prove themselves...for example...it's up to Theo, altho young, to play so well that Rosicky/Nasri need to step back & warm the bench. This is what being at a top top club is about.
    With Chelsea; Essien, Ballack, Deco, Lampard, Mikel, Malouda & Joe Cole have to fight for midfield positions. All full internationals but not all are always going to play. Football is more than a team sport, it's a squad sport.
    Granted i do understand the point sum1 made with competition being bad in that players question manger's decisions n that...but it's up to Arsene to demand that respect and also not to have whiners in his dressing room. He is a good enough manager who has won league titles before so the players have to respect and trust them the same way he does them. I think with Scolari it's bcuz he is new to the Prem he lacks that Prem respect sum1 like Arsene or Fergie have.

    My starting 11 wud be...
    Almunia
    Clichy Gallas Djourou Sagna
    Nasri Denilson Cesc Rosicky
    VP/Eduardo Ade

    Well that's just my two cents...]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Fabrez my man ! i think i'v finally found someone to agree with. thank God !

    good commenting friend. makes a lot of sense, what you said. completely agree with everything you've said.

    Debs - just wanted to say I really liked your point about partnerships. very good point. i missed that tangent.

    And I've come up with yet another solution concerning the Walcott situation. Play him up front instead of Bendtner. Sell Bendtner off either in January or wait the whole season, and sell him in the summer. We don't need any more strikers at the time being. Play Walcott up front instead of out wide. It's going to happen eventually anyway. This way we'll have 4 good strikers in Adebayor, Eduardo, VanPersie, Walcott.
    This also means we can sign another winger. And it's a personal opinion - I think we need to get rid of Eboue. So, sell Eboue and Bendtner and use that money and more if we have to, to get a proper winger. As well as anybody else we need - DM, CB.]]>

  • Fabrez!

    lol…i think we r on the same page Zohaib but it’s cool that some ppl have different opinions or else it wud b all boring i guess! lol I didn’t quite think about ur suggestion b4…good call…but I think i wud handicap Theo at international level for a little while tho…that’s my only worry about having him up front too soon…and u wouldn’t want that handicap with the World Cup not that far off… There is no doubt in my mind that he’ll be Arsenal’s best eventually as a striker but in time for the WC? Thinkin not…and we all kno Capello is a guy who likes th see his players featuring regularly for club to play for country…so what then? And how much do u think we cud actually get for Eboue & Bendtner if they were sold?? £7M & £8M?

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[True that, Zohaib. If Bendtner leaves, then Walcott can have the opportunity to play up front. I see you guys' point in leaving Walcott out of the starting XI. I guess maybe I've just been getting carried away by his amazing growth, but he's not too far off- he's impressed so far this season. The Bendtner solution is quite a good one Zohaib; I doubt Walcott'll get that many opportunities to play up front with Bendtner in the team. It's quite an interesting option, and I wonder if Wenger may be thinking about that in the long run...
    As for Eboue... I don't know... he did set up the 2nd goal against Villa quite well- I remember watching with my cousin and both of us praying he didn't mess it up! Lol]]>

  • debs

    Oh wow! Just realised we’ve got a match 2moro! Duh! Quite excited now!

  • zohaib

    LOL. Fabrez bro, I really doubt many teams will want to buy Eboue and Bendtner. And the few that will, wouldn’t want to pay more than 5 or 6 million pounds for each of them. If we’re lucky and if Ivan Gazidis can outsmart agents etc., then maybe 7 – 9 million pounds.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Debs - I understand exactly what you were thinking while watching Eboue get the ball for our second goal. Lol.

    When I saw him get the ball I almost turned away. I completely switched my excitement off. I was getting myself prepared for what I would do next - get angry and curse him for wasting another opportunity - and then what he did worked and still I was cynically happy. lol. I guess I was a bit surprised as to what had happened and how they'd actually manage to score.]]>

  • debs

    Crazy 10mins of brilliance, and then we were brought back down to earth! Damn! Lol

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Yea lol haha.

    You're right. Tomorrow's game comes a bit quickly. But I'm glad. It'll be some occasion. With Tony Adams coming and other ex-Arsenal players as well.

    Part of me says because it'll be an emotional, happy occasion, there'll be less pressure in the traditional sense and we'll do well. And another part of me says we'll just be inconsistent as we have been and loose.]]>

  • Fabrez!

    Well maybe i was being a bit ambitious with the prices! lol And i guess Eboue deserves a bit of credit…he does have his good times…altho few and far between… Actually i just remembered him do sum kinda trick against Fener i think…then set up Ramsey for his goal. And yeah debs…game on tomorrow…kinda shocking to have a game Friday then Sunday!!

  • Fabrez!

    And surely a win is due 2morro?? Surely?!

  • debs

    Yeah Fabrez, crazy innit? But I’m happy though! They can ease the pain of yesterday quickly! Hopefully! Lol. But a win is in order though. We haven’t played Pompey this season yet, but we should be able to get all 3 points if we’ve got our heads sorted. Hope the fact that they played a game yesterday doesn’t have a bad effect though- tiredness and all. But I am excited! Lol

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

    < ![CDATA[Eboue is a brilliant squad player though. There aren't many players who can play right back, right midfield, centre midfield and left midfield. Hell he's played left back for us a few times. He had an excellent season at right back before Sagna came.

    He's a frustrating player because he tends to be all guff and no result, but its important to have versatile players in the squad.

    I wouldn't pick him for my first 11 and sometimes he wouldn't make the subs bench with a fully fit squad, but I'd keep him all the same.

    Bendtner though has to go - I don't see any real application for him, he's not even capable of filling in up front. Highlighted I think against villa when we preferred to play Diaby in the hole behind RVP. Arsene doesn't even know where he plays best but he knows he is better than Bendtner!

    As for players like Walcott I think we're agreed that they aren't always going to be first choice's, because pace aside they still need to learn a lot, but I'm always apprehensive about keeping players on the bench for the last 30 minutes.

    It wasn't until Walcot made a few starts that he really started to blossom. His start for England also saw improvement.

    I'm all for competition, its the thing that keeps players on there toes and in good shape, but sometimes I worry that players (Diarra/Bentley) will move on because they are frustrated with sitting on the bench and only getting 10-30 minutes at the end of a match.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Eboue is not a brilliant squad player. Eboue is not even a footballer. Would he make the Manchester United squad ? Would he make the Chelsea squad ? Would he make the Liverpool squad ? Would he make the Aston Villa squad ? He wouldn't even make the reserves for any of those teams. And thats partly why we have him at Arsenal. Because at Arsenal, the players come before the club. It's more important to groom players and give them 10 years of premiership football, rather than ensure that we get footballers so that the club are an equal threat to winning the title, consistently, year after year - since that was the quality associated with Arsenal. That was our reputation. The Arsenal now is different. And it gets me more frustrated than anything else. It's only a feeling of relief when we get it right.

    Eboue at centre midfield and left midfield and left back. HA HA HA. Get serious. Would you have Eboue playing centre midfield rather than Song, Denilson or Ramsey who are backup to our first choice midfielders ? Would you trust Eboue to play at centre midfield or left midfield for an entire season, ahead of Rosicky or Nasri ? Don't forget, we're talking about winning some silverware as well. Not just looking pretty and playing out of position.

    You wouldn't put him in your first 11, and you wouldn't have him on the bench, but you'd still have him. Oh dear. Have we just won the lottery that I didn't hear about ? I thought we had no money. Why should we waste money keeping players who don't even fit on the bench !

    Get out of dreamland. Seriously, some of the fans have been affected by the disease Wenger has of 'makeshift solutions'. It's like people think it's a real solution. Wake up !

    We don't need players who can play in a million positions. We need players who can play their own positions exceptionally well. If we keep going for players who play every position, then where will the stability come from. Nobody'd know where they'd be shifting to next week. First we talk about stability and then we talk about playing players out of position. Makes a lot of sense !]]>

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

    < ![CDATA[

    Eboue at centre midfield and left midfield and left back. HA HA HA. Get serious. Would you have Eboue playing centre midfield rather than Song, Denilson or Ramsey who are backup to our first choice midfielders ? Would you trust Eboue to play at centre midfield or left midfield for an entire season, ahead of Rosicky or Nasri ?

    Uh, I already answered that before you wrote anything!

    I wouldn’t pick him for my first 11 and sometimes he wouldn’t make the subs bench with a fully fit squad, but I’d keep him all the same.

    So I wouldn’t play him for an entire season ahead of Rosicky/Nasri then? But if they were injured (like they are) and so were Denilson/Diaby/Ramsey…. he’d get into my team. At the very least he’d get on my subs bench whilst Ramsey Diaby and Denilson are on the pitch – or who else would you have in his place? Fabianski? It’s not like we have plenty of choice.]]>

  • zohaib

    the point, as your under-developed brain can’t understand, was that we buy some serious footballers instead of people who can’t play, like eboue. and its not like the rest of the backup is much good either. theyr still being schooled.

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

    < ![CDATA[I understand what you are saying, but I still think you misunderstand how difficult it would be to keep 22 world class players happy when 11 of them are always on the bench or worse in the reserves!

    I agree with you Zohaib, I really do, I'd love nothing more than a squad full of brilliant individuals, but as we've seen at Chelsea this season, Liverpool last season and even Man United at times, big name players often get unrestful when not in the first team every week.

    My brain isn't undeveloped either, just realistic :)]]>

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