Time for a change? Or time to be patient?

There are two ways to look at our season and current team, a positive slant and a negative slant... for those of you who think it's all doom and gloom and are mega frustrated then maybe read the section titled "Time for a change?", but for those of you who can see a bright future with the current squad, then read "Time to be patient"...

Time to be patient

The future is bright, the future is red and white.

It’s an exciting time at the moment for Arsenal, and this season has been a great lesson for the youngsters no doubt. Arsene recently spoke about the season and commented on the fact that we had two 20 years and two 22 years in midfield for the Champions League semi-final.

In fact, our squad has been assembled at next to nothing, is full of promising youngsters and we’ve managed to get into the last four in Europe and the top four in the most competitive league in the world.

Next season, no doubt, we will see a stronger Arsenal, with more experience thanks to this season, and the other teams will be weaker as their players get older. We’re brimming with potential and about to explode.

Theo Walcott looks a very exciting player, he’s shown this season that he can really put a team on the back foot. He’s got pace to burn and quality all round. Next season will surely be the making of the player. Without Theo, earlier this season, we could hardly find the back of the net, but since his return to the side, it’s been full steam ahead.

Of course, it’s not only Theo, but Samir Nasri has shown the world, that at age 20, he is also a force to be reckoned with. He is undoubtedly a great talent – he’s had a year of experience in the Premier League under his belt and I fully expect him to become the new Zidane come next season.

Add into the mix the amazing talent that is Andrei Arshavin and we’ve suddenly got more skill, ability and penetration than what we know how to use…

Arshavin has been one of our best players since joining us this season, scoring a hatful of goals, creating many others and rejuvenating the squad to ensure we finished fourth this season. Had he been available for the Champions League – I’m sure it would have been a different story.

Let’s not forget Tomas Rosicky, who should be back and brimming with energy next season – a player with experience and a player who can definitely make a real difference. We’ve also got Carlos Vela and Eduardo to get more playing time next season. Two brilliant finishers and very exciting players – it’s a return of the good old days when we have so much skill and pace. Very exciting.

Van Persie has overcome his injury jinx now, and we’ve seen plenty of goals from him this season. Compliment him with Ade and the ever improving Bendtner and we’ve got a real set of strikers who will all contribute to the Arsenal future. Bendtner has been steadily improving and I’m sure we’ll start to see the best from him next season.

We’ve seen young Gibbs come through and he’s played admirably in Clichy’s absence. We’ve seen Denilson and Song really take the mantle from the departing players and establish themselves as big big players.

Djourou has shown that he’s ready for the first team. We’ve got players such as Wilshere, Ramsey and Merida who are knocking at the door – and I really don’t think it will be long until they break through into the first team.

Having bought a world class stadium, with such a young team, we’ve only got happy times ahead.

It’s amazing to see what Arsene has done on and off the pitch and an accolade to him that he’s managed to do this in modern times.

The future is very bright – the future is red and white.


Time for a change.

It’s been four years since Arsenal won any silverware… during that time we’ve had two teams. One including Lehmann, Senderos, Hleb, Gilberto and Flamini, another seeing Almunia, Djourou, Denilson, Song and Nasri replace the aforementioned five players. Neither of these teams have won a single trophy – the Emirates cup aside – and after four barren seasons, it’s time for a change.

Arsene Wenger is surely about to embark on his final season as a trophyless manager of one of the “four biggest teams in Europe”. From being one of the world’s best teams, we’ll fallen behind the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and United. Imagine a fifth season in a row without a title challenge or a trophy? It would be painstaking, but ultimately, shareholders and directors, the Kroenke’s and Usmanov’s would surely not stand for under achievement.

The Emirates stadium was supposed to compliment the team. Give the world’s most attacking team a grand stage to play on. Unfortunately, it’s crippled the team. It’s not a fortress, it’s no Highbury. We’ve lost games at the Emirates every season. We’re in danger of being drown by the stadium and the financial burden. But is it a burden? Our directors say there is money – Arsene Wenger says there isn’t. Who’s lying? And why is anyone lying?

Players that have come in to replace established and season professionals. Conceding 4 goals at home to Chelsea, being humiliated by Man United in the Champions League and failing to hang on to a lead against Sp*rs and Liverpool with 1 minute to go shows a lack of confidence and belief within the squad. No matter what Arsene says – “I believe in this squad”, no matter what the players say “this squad is exciting and has a big future”, the real proof is in the pudding – i.e. on the pitch. Results ultimately show the strength of the team. This season has been a catalogue of excuses by Arsene.

I don’t want to hear that we were beaten by a better team, I want to hear that we’re the better team. So what now?

Arsene has to make some big decisions. There are too many players who rate themselves too highly. We need to get rid and get rid quick. Look at our squad. Once, I used to be able to say to any team in Europe – look at our squad – player for player we’re better than yours – but can you say that any player in our squad now?

Almunia is our #1 keeper, but he’s light years behind Van Der Sar, Petr Cech and Reina – three goalkeepers who aren’t that great anyway, but have top flight experience and know what it’s like to be a top keeper. Our #2 Fabianski is probably the worst goalkeeper we’ve had under Arsene. He simply is way too error prone. He needs to go – whether it be on loan or not, he needs to go. Almunia needs to go back to being #2 and we need a new number one. It’s as simple as that. We need to have confidence in our keeper, not worry about when he’ll make the next mistake.

Our defence is all over the place. We’ve been the laughing stock of Europe this season. We’ve conceded silly goals, left, right and centre. It’s all about confidence too. We don’t have a natural defensive midfielder and we have a very soft centre. Sagna and Clichy are two players who were once the PFA wing backs of the year, but now seem to be burnt out, mentally and physically – both making mistakes, both becoming devoid of what to do up field.

At one point this season, Kolo Toure was dropped and that was for a reason. He is not the player he was once – albeit it, he’s never been a real defender – coming to the club as a utility player. Own goals, lost possession and bad defending has been a mark of Kolo’s game this season. Sometimes Silvestre has looked better and that’s saying something considering the Man United reject is our slowest defender. It pains me to think we’re now picking up the rejects for the other top four teams and they’re actually making our team. The fact that we’ve had such a problem this season is also down to the antics of William Gallas – who is certainly no captain – certainly not awe inspiring, but maybe one of our better defenders. He’s out this summer – I wouldn’t stay after what’s happened this season. We need two centre backs at minimum. Silvestre has no place in our team and Toure needs a break to rediscover his form. We need back up for Sagna – Eboue is no defender.

Looking at our midfield – we need experience. Arshavin has shown that experience is an asset that cannot be replaced. Theo Walcott has had his chance this season, he is 20 now and personally, he’s blown his chance. He’s not become the consistent player that he could be, he’s shooting not really improved. He hasn’t made it to 10 goals, which was a personal target and he’s been bullied out of a lot of top games. He needs to be put back on the bench, and used as an impact sub until he can prove to the team that he’s worthy of his place in midfield.

Which brings us onto central midfield. Please Arsene, do not play Diaby ever again. He is the worst midfielder we’ve had at the club. He thinks too slowly and makes all the wrong decisions. You’ve given him chance after chance after chance and he single handily has lost us game after game after game. He needs to go. Alex Song and Denilson are squad players at most – neither should be the first choice at a club like Arsenal. We need strengthening in midfield. We have done since Vieira left. Cesc will die without a proper partner. We can see this season that Cesc has been a shadow of last season. It’s absurd to see some of the players that play in our team. Do you think Man United would ever play a Song in midfield. Hell no…

Which leads us to the striking berth – get Adebayor and Bendtner out immediately. They are both useless – they hardly try – they think that they are God’s gift to Arsenal, but can’t even reach 20 goals a season – it’s just not on. Rule number one, learn the offside rule – if you can’t they ship off… And then there is Van Persie – a player who can’t seem to break into the next level. He’s had a few seasons as number one striker – but he’s been injured for a lot of each season – he can’t seem to score a free kick to save his life and needs 4 touches before he shoots wide. Good enough for the bench maybe, but maybe that’s it. New strikers please Arsene.

It’s time for a change – a massive change – we’re losing ground every season. Next season may see teams like Aston Villa, Man City, Everton and even Sp*rs overtake us unless we do something very soon.

Arsene, it’s time for a change.

Positive or negative?

Til tomorrow…]]>

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[i'd vote for the a time for a change.

    some players really need to go.

    think it's true, when we compare squads, ours don't really strike a fear anymore.

    remember the days, when the line-up showed

    Thierry Henry - Dennis Bergkamp

    Ljungberg - Parlour - Viera - Pires

    i wouldnt even want to defend against them. all of them are freaking match winners.

    what happened to the days man..]]>

  • debs

    I’m torn as well! Some parts of both are true, while some parts of both aren’t. I guess it depends on if you want to be depressed and focus on the wrongs, or be positive and focus on the rights. We’ve definitely had one hell of a mix of both! More of the good and less of the bad next season please.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[I have always said that we have done remarkably well this season if you consider the injuries to key players. So i would also say be positive but with injury comes the question of squad depth...we certainly have not got the depth...basically a vast majority of players who played as our 1st team this season should become the 2nd / 3rd choice giving us the depth. I am talking Song, Denilson, Djourou, Gibbs, Bendtner. All of which have proved themselves worthy to stay in the squad but should not be our 1st choice.

    Not sure about the goal keeper situation if anything we could do with another keeper but perhaps a #2 not #1 as we could spend our money more wisely on CB, DM, CM and possibly a new forward if David Villa fancies playing for us :-).

    However I agree that we do have players that are very fortunate to have worn the red and white of Arsenal. Diaby in particular needs to go as he is absolutely, positively the single worst Arsenal player I have ever seen.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Bit of both I think. On one hand the future is bright because all the younger players we have. There's been a lot of improvement to fringe players like Song, Denilson and Bendtner, and we've signed good first team players like Arshavin and Nasri.

    But we do need strengthening. Defending midfield and central defence are our two most vulnerable positions right now. And I wouldn't mind a proven goal scorer like Tevez coming in either. The youth policy was all well and good when we had lots of experience in the side, but in recent years the experienced guys have moved on from the club, and so the young lads don't have anyone to learn from.

    I know everyone goes on about being trophiless for 4 years, but to me that doesn't tell the whole story. We've come awefully close to winning Champions League, Premier League and Carling Cups in 3 of those 4 years, and were EXTREMLY unlucky with crucial injuries/sendings off that resulted in us not winning any of them. We're probably about 2-3 good signings away from actually being a winning team again.

    Having trouble coming up with names of players to sign, realistic signings at least.

    My defending shopping list so far consists only of Hangeland. Yaya Toure would be good in midfield but I honestly don't see him leaving Barcalona. And if either Tevez or Villa want to come in then I wouldn't object, but I dont see those happening either. Santa Cruz is probably more likely as he desperately wants to leave Blackburn and I can see him wanting to play in the Champions League.

    Not sure if I want to seel any players as thats what undid us last season. You can always keep them on the bench if they're rubbish.]]>

  • Pete

    *Not sure if I want to SELL any players*

  • parsi

    Time 4a Change – Unless we see some decent players brought in

  • Fo

    < ![CDATA[My worry is the comment that Arsene said last year... (*June 2008)

    "The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players."

    "We manage at Arsenal to maintain all our football ambitions—national and European—while having to free up—for 17 more years—an annual surplus of £24million to pay for our stadium.

    "The club's strategy is to favour the policy of youngsters ahead of stars and to count on the collective quality of our game."]]>

  • Berth

    When Wenger becomes serious we will know!!!

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Bit off both. Of course some bits in "Time for Change" is a bit harsh but Fo's above comment, which I do remember reading, is so frickin disturbing man. Arsene Wenger...u frustrate the living daylight out of me sometimes. Arsene needs to cut out the "compact squad" act and get real men in there. I've been hurt to see how we are just pushed around in games against Chelsea and Man U bcuz the side is so young an inexperienced. Bring in experience and bring in players who have no fear...players who are willing to stand up and be counted.... More like Arshavin? Yes please!

    I know ppl reminisce on past glories of The Arsenal but my goodness...some ppl are also blind to the fact that Arsenal operated differently before. There is clearly too much reliance on youth now...was not like that in the days of the Unbeatables. I kno we had Tomas and Edu injured along with some others but we do need some more experience to get the balance right. We need both. 3 experienced players (DM, CB and RB), less of the injury curse and sell Diaby. I target Diaby bcuz I prefer Denilson and Song...Diaby is woeful and his presence would lead to a congested no. of midfielders in the squad. And as i said b4, if a striker goes...or a player in any position for that matter...replace him PLUS the 3 experienced players. We need to have a bigger squad.

    Having players like Ramsey and Denilson is nice, well and good...but to be real winners, those players have to wait with better players in front of them. Arsene, u won't kill them like that, it would actually be a help. Look at Nani...class player without a doubt...but he waits his turn bcuz there are players as good as him with more experience playing in front of him. I think Arsene will find this hard to do bcuz the chance he has given to our youngsters he'll effectivelt have to take back but he's got to make a tough decision if he genuinly wants to bring this club success.]]>

  • Fabrez

    *effectively have to take back

  • Fabrez

    And in case Arsene doesn’t notice, “giving young players a chance” doesn’t win us trophies. It just a nice setiment fullstop! Do the right thing Wenger. Fans like myself are not asking u to entirely change ur philosophy…just make alterations to the obvious flaws in ur vision and we will be fine.

  • Fabrez

    Oh yeah…1 more thing…seeing youths playing beautiful football is nice…but it doesn’t make my eyes tear up with joy… Lifting the Champions League trophy after playing beautiful football the players the right age and of the right experience? Watery eyes all day long!

  • AJ

    I’m a bit of both, but much more in favour of change, I’m not even in the mood to talk much about Arsenal at the moment, I’m just hoping Wenger makes the right choice in the summer and brings in some expierence and makes sure the squad has adequate cover for injuries. Get back the balance we had before of young and expierenced, then we’ll start winning again.

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Isn't United close to £1 billion in debt? Yet they still buy players for £30 million each, so I don't get how our well managed debt restricts us in buying players.

    I actually think that Chelsea have more to worry about as a club than us. Lampard, Ballack, Carvalio, Drogba and Anelka, five key players, are all over the age of 30 and there isn't really anyone to replace them. And for the amount of money they've spent, they've not won nearly enough silverware. Pluse they came within hours of being liquidated before Abramovich came along.

    Thats one thing about Wenger I can't fault. Benitez, any one of Chelsea's 4 managers in the last two years, or perhaps even Fergie himself wouldn't have pulled off what Le Professor has if they were managing us.

    But seeing as we've spent comparativly little money in the last few years, there should be funds store up somewhere to buy players to strengthen the squad.]]>

  • Pissed off

    Exactly Pete. “Desperate times requires dangerous remedy – you all remember the quote; Sure you all do.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[So we've got to pay 24 million quid every year for 17 years to pay off our debts ?!?!?!?

    That's insane. I thought it was going to get payed off in a few years' time. Not 17 !!!!]]>

  • zohaib

    Pissed off – I believe the quote you’re looking for is ‘desperate times require desperate measures’ or something along those lines.

  • zohaib

    Great stuff btw Pete. Nice reading both your comments. And yeah ! Why can’t we spend money when even ManUtd, who have debts, can ?

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[Like it or not Wenger will never be sacked - reaching the semi finals of the champions league and securing fourth spot for one of the longest uninterrupted champions league qualification runs ever is better than not progressing at all in europe and coming 7th or 8th. AFC is a business and Arsenal are consistant top performers. Not the top, but no business in their right mind would sack the CEO if he consistantly broke into the top four in the field.

    With that aside, the goalkeeping thing - Almunia has had an excellent season and I just do not subscribe to the view that he is useless. Considering Cech, Van Der Saar and Reina conceeded 4 goals each at various points in the season I don't see how anyone can label them better than Almunia. Sure all goalkeepers have exceptional games but Almunia is developing into a consistant and effective shot stopper.

    Fabianski has had it. He's a broken boy after his semi final nightmare and he'll be off in the summer if we can get a new reserve. I feel sorry for him, because he has made some great saves, but equally his positioning is balls and his tendancy to rush out (Kolo's OG on Sun) ruin it for him.

    We have the best Wingbacks (and they are wingbacks) in the country and we have the best English leftback as our backup. Eboue also effectively deputises on occasion (though semi final found him a touch lacking in positioning) - he had a good season playing almost completely as right back.

    We have Toure and Djourou who, on their day, are both excellent centrebacks... but this is the first real position of worry.

    Gallas and Toure are our best players in the position but they don't talk. They don't even like each other. Therefore one of them has to go, and for petulance and age, it's Gallas. So we need at least 1 new centre back of international quality. Perhaps two in case of injuries/suspensions. Who else do we have to play there? No one.

    Our midfield is looking pretty good. Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin, Fabregas, Song and Denilson are all excellent and whatever anybody says, have all turned in some brilliant performances even Song and Denilson. Eboue also after a rough patch has had some good games and between him/walcott etc the right wing is covered.

    We don't have a left winger though. Arshavin has two feet and can play there, but I don't like the tendancy to stick Bendtner or Vela on the left wing. They are strikers. Diaby is shit and needs to go - he's crap wherever he plays especially on the left wing.

    I'm probably in the minority - apart from the left wing I reckon we probably only need on midfielder and I wouldn't always go for a multimillion pound midfielder either. Song and Denilson have the defensive midfield covered, Nasri/Fabregas/Arshavin have the creative attacking midifield sewn up - but we have no effective cover for injuries or suspension.

    Fabregas almost serves as the lynchpin between defensive and attacking midfield - take it from Song pass it to Nasri etc. It's where he is best and where he excels. But we don't have anyone else who can play there. We almost need a 2nd Cesc as back up - you only need to check out the teams decline whilst he was injured to see the need for a similar player.

    In attack we also aren't as bad as people make out. Bendtner - I hate him. But! He gives 100%. He can hold the ball up. So for a sub he is fine and he can leap like a salmon - Spurs equaliser a particularly important goal.

    Adebayor though - bye bye. What a useless arrogant moany cunt, 5% effort, miserable season. Just leave.

    RVP and Vela are good strikers of the ball but it's here in the central striker role that I really believe arsenal are lacking. We had 12 chances on Sunday and scored one. Chelsea had 5 and scored 4. What does that tell you? We need a clinical striker.

    Who fits the bill? Edaurdo. But can he stay fit? Since he has come back we've seen him for a few minutes at a time punctuated by 2 week breaks.

    The lad would solve AFC's problems up front if he played 90 minutes every match. With his clinical strike and Van Persies balls to his feet I think I can see the perfect frightening storm spearheading our attack.

    Perhaps a striker of quality as back up (if RVP/Edaurdo were injured, would you really want Bendtner leading the line for 90?) or as a replacement if Edaurdo can't stay fit (RVP also has injury issues)....

    So when argued like that - we have a pretty impressive team shaping up. Anyone who will tell you we need more big buys is nuts - Nasri and Arshavin are £15m players, Adebayor is touted as £30m which must make RVP at least £20m+ and Cesc could easily command £40m - £50m even in the current climate.

    What we need is effective back up for the team - perhaps a little experience in places. We only have 3 players I'd get rid of - Diaby, Fabianksi, Adebayor. I haven't even counted Silvestre who should also leave.

    My shopping list would then be 1 GK, 2 CB's, 1 LW, 1 CM, 1 ST.

    That hardly looks like a major rebuild to me.

    Look at the other way - would you really, honestly, do what Chelsea have done and spend £30m on a player who will give you 4 years of service before he gets old and slow and retires and replace a talent like Edaurdo, Song, Vela or Djourou?]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[Sorry, got a bit carried away.

    Also forgot Ramsey, Wilshere and Randall. Brilliant players already and they are not even shaving yet.

    The futures bright, the future's red and white.]]>

  • parsi

    < ![CDATA[If I was Arsene Wenger this summer I would consider doing the following; I'd sell Emmanuel Adebayor and use the proceeds to sign Carlos Tevez.

    If Arsenal get offered anything near the rumoured £20+ million offers for Adebayor I think that Wenger will bite their hands off quicker than a piranha would.

    As far as I'm concerned Adebayor should leave Arsenal and be replaced by someone who would give 100% every time he wore the shirt. Carlos Tevez is that man.

    The Argentinian gives everything to the cause and I'm sure that when, not if, he leaves Manchester United this summer, there will be plenty of tears from all those Cockney Reds.

    Tevez could inspire a young Arsenal side. Adebayor can't inspire himself. Ade says Arsenal have gone backwards this season? Well he has gone more backward than the backward man from the film Freddie got Fingered.

    Signing Tevez would be a huge signing of intent and the way he has been treated at United I'm sure he would relish a move to the home of football.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Cheers Pissed Off! But as Kieran said, I don't think it's as bad as a lot of people are making out. It's been more of a transitional season for us this year, where as last year we were competing and were unlucky not to win the league. Arsenal will gain such strong, independant financial clout and have a stadium hat will last for generations.

    I agree with you Kieran about Almunia. There's been vast improvement in the guy this year, and being only 31 years old, his best years are ahead of him. With stronger defencive cover infront of him that includes a defending midfielder, there would be less goals conceded. Thats what has probably won United the League this year more than anything, because of the improvement in their defencive play. We could do with a clinical striker who'll stay fit too lol.

    But as a few of us have already said, it's not been a disaterous season for us, even if it might have felt that way at the time. When you think about all the drama thats gone on, it's quite remarkable that we've reached two semi finals this season. I don't see anyone leaving in the summer, not Cesc, Ade, RvP, not even Gallas, and I do believe we'll make signings in the summer, so maybe it aint so bad afer all :D]]>

  • Pissed off

    “So when argued like that – we have a pretty impressive team shaping up. Anyone who will tell you we need more big buys is nuts – Nasri and Arshavin are £15m players, Adebayor is touted as £30m which must make RVP at least £20m+ and Cesc could easily command £40m – £50m even in the current climate” – Seems you are Wenger’s line of thought – hope you haven’t motivated Wenger to consider selling one or two of these players, Kieran.

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[Can't we do what other teams are doing ? Giggs/scoles are already on there way out soon an there is already anderson to replace. You can see macheda coming up gradually. I think what should be done is have a mix of both youth and experience. I also don't understand why we dont rotate players upfront. When you see barca play if messi is being held on the right, he moves to left or centre and etoo goes wide. thereby giving defenders no time to settle at defending since the approach of each player will defer.
    I am for a bit of both change and patience.
    We definitely need defenders, potent strikers, as well as backup for sagna. Ade is no potent striker, you need a striker who is a torn in the flesh like torres or rooney or drogba.
    The following have no place in my arsenal team.

    The following need more experience to be first teamers


    The following need someone to keep them constantly on their toes

    Therefore i will advocate for total change in the first four while the secong five should be on the bench. Senderos would have been a better player than silvestre in my own opinion.
    Apart from left back (clichy ably deputized by gibbs), right back (sagna with no backup), central attacking midfield (cesc), supporting striker(RVP, Edu), and left midfield(Arshavin, Nasri). All other departments need an overhaul as well as shakeup.
    Did you see the match between inter and chievo ? arsenal would not have scored any of those goals!

    I stay in Nigeria and the EPL followership here is massively awesome. Millions and millions of fans cutting across all age grades.
    Gunners are the least joyous as there is no cause for joy in the last few years. Apart from the purchase of arshavin , there has been nothing to be happy about week in week out.
    Therefore i think there should be change in those areas mentioned ade, diaby, silvestre, eboue and patience with song, walcott, denilson, nasri, gibbs,]]>

  • Chris Emers

    < ![CDATA[I think it is a fairly significant re-build - it is the spine of the team that needs replacing
    Not sure if Fabregas will now stay...?
    Definitely need 2 quality, top top quality centre-backs, one combative midfielder and one prolific goalscorer
    If we can get those four players, we will challenge for sure as the rest of the team is great but that is a major shopping
    I cannot think of one decent centre-back who we could sign?]]>


    < ![CDATA[KEIRAN delaney u hit the nail on the head, pretty much agree with everything you say
    we need at least 1 new player for every position, and as for the blog, your right someone is lying, either there is money or there isntl...our biggest buy ever is £15m for arshavin yet man utd n chelsea can spend £25-£30m no problem

    seriously i think arsene is being handicapped because if there was £25m a season then arsene no doubt wud of brought better players]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[Pete - bang spot fucking on about goalkeepers. Any goalkeeper is only as good as the four men in front of him. Cech has an exceptional reputation because he gets called into action 3 or 4 times a match on average. Even if he lets in 25% of those shots the chances are Chelsea will win anyway. Same for United.

    Just look at Reina against Arsenal - he was found severley lacking when Arsenal had four shots on target and scored four goals. He literally didn't make a save.

    Anyone claiming that Reina is a better goalkeeper than Almunia on that performance is talking pure nonsense.

    As for money - I don't think anyone is lying. Wenger hasn't contradicted the board at all - he hasn't said there isn't money. He just doesn't want to spend it.

    In fact I read Galzides say the board almost had to wrestle the money out of Wengers hands to buy Arshavin.]]>

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[Arsenal are in the position we are at the moment bcos the team is ruled by business minded people who are always thinknig of breaking even in the books rather that people like abrahimovic with passion for the game. hence if you can make fourth in the league, fourth in the champions league, fourth in FA without spending much, that would be ok to the biz men at the helm of affairs. But Man U, chelsea, Barca, Real are rated as the most indebted clubs in europe but they still buy players upto 30m on player pounds.
    I don't reall think for instance we would expect any of song/denilson/diaby to perform up to essien or mascherano or barry or ballack. They will get there but it means we will go on tropyless till they mature and that does not even guarantee that they will stay.
    We need major changes in most departments. Imagine, we let diarra, flamini, hleb, gilberto, henry, pires, viera, reyes go without replacement!!!! awfully awful]]>

  • Fabrez

    I hope Gazidis is the man to convince Arsene to spend the damn money…AW will go out there with ambitious targets and the clubs will tell him “no” bcuz he’s not throwing enuff money out. SIGH! Arsene better pull his finger out and spend the needed money if he doesn’t want to make fans more restless than they already are…not to mention another trophyless season!

  • merry

    < ![CDATA[I don’t agree with a lot of this initial post, the majority of our problems are nothing to do with ability but mental issues. Denilson could be a good player but he is too negative and doesn’t want it enough. Diaby could be one of the best in the world but is in a world of his own. We don’t have mentally tough players full stop and despite being told the contrary every week by Wenger and the players we don’t have enough desire.

    Ferguson would not have swapped a single player with us last week. Every single United player busted a gut in that match, even when there were 2 minutes left they chased everything down in an organised fashion. I’m sure someone can produce some stats saying one of our players ran 13.2 miles or some bollox but it has to be intelligent/disciplined work rate as part of a team effort. We run round like headless chickens and don’t actually tackle anyone.]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[

    Imagine, we let diarra, flamini, hleb, gilberto, henry, pires, viera, reyes go without replacement!!!! awfully awful
    What could have been worse is keeping the lot and them refusing to play or being knobheads in training because we were keeping them against their will.

    Or worse, keeping them until their contracts ran out and letting them go for free (except Pires who did).]]>

  • merry

    ade is our striker – alot of our big games he has played lone man up front – his job to either scores, finish chances, or at least hold up the ball and create problems for the defenders. he has done NONE of these. he has been ahuge disapointment and does not show me the drive or committment of other strikers i see at other clubs. like or hate at least bendt does try. a person who does not make any effort does not deserve to be aprt of our club. 2) i agree about cesc, he has suffered so much from losing flamini, he has lost alot of his freedom to go forward as denilson is no def mid and he cesc has had to help out a back four he has very little faith in. a world class def mid and cen half would allow cesc to show what he is – a top, top, top player.

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Heard the once a sweeper - turned coach is bidding for Hangland and Faye (stoke) - hope am not getting kidded here.

    Any ways we are used to being hoodwinked; but what I can foresee is Wenger not extending his contract after 2011; Kronke just acquired more shares again; something Wenger seem not to be in support (Who cares what he does any more, if he can't perform).]]>

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[Kieran, The ones that don't want to play or are NOT performing should be let off the hook and REPLACED. Thats what i meant. REPLACED being the keyword, quality replacment in terms of skills.

    Go to brazil, come to nigeria, go to spain, portugal, mexico, holland, germany, turkey. Thousands of players will give their all to wear an arsenal jersey]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Interesting reading on BBC site regarding our debate here. Have a gander at this.

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will splash out in the summer after conceding he needs to strengthen his squad.

    Last week's defeat by Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final ended Arsenal's hopes of winning a trophy for the first time since 2005.

    "Certainly we will try to strengthen the squad in the summer," said Wenger, who side lost 4-1 to Chelsea on Sunday.

    "We'll look to sign one or two players. We are prepared to spend the necessary money to get the players we want."

    Wenger has revealed he will look to bring in experienced players this summer, a stance backed by Alisher Usmanov, a major shareholder in the club who has expressed concern over the strength of the club's squad.

    "At times it was a bit like men against boys," Usmanov, who owns 25% of the club's shares, said after the Champions League exit at the hands of the Red Devils.

    "Does the club need to take a step up? Of course. To be first in the world, to be first in Europe, you must have a much stronger bench.

    "Look at United on Tuesday night. They had at least £100m in talent sitting on the bench."

    If this is true we may have a good summer with plenty to talk abaout....I am getting excited already....Le Boss better not let me down.]]>

  • Fabrez

    Ha…i aint keepin my hope up about the boss spending! I’ll keep my hopes down to avoid disappointment come the end of the window. So if he splashes cash, i’ll b suprised and happy. I’m just about ready 2 not b bothered for a few months… AW will play tough with his bids and try 2 leave it all to the last minute once again…which can mean we won’t get our man. Bleh!

  • Fabrez

    *keepin my hopes up

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[It is pretty surprising when you look at it like that. Surprising that we've managed to finish where we have and reach the semifinals of two cup competitions with the number of injuries we've had over the season and the quality (lack of) we've had as back-up. But that doesn't tell the whole story. What's dissapointing is that we were in a position to do even better and countless times we've shot ourselves in the foot and thrown matches away. Sometimes it's because the players haven't performed, other times it's because the manager has made some mind-boggling decisions.
    Personally, I don't think sacking Wenger is the right option and I doubt he'll get sacked. But he definitely needs to drop the stubbornness and partly modify his persistence with the siege mentality. He has to realize that when he talks in the media, his fans are listening and he should try to make an effort to get through to them rather than always be on the defensive. It's very annoying as a supporter to never be able to trust what your manager says. He's always deflecting from the important issues. He's always putting up a face. You wish he'd be more honest, talk straight and tell it like it is. Please stop this spin-doctoring nonsense.

    Kieran - Agree with your point on Almunia. Always liked him. He was always a very very good shot-stopper. But now he's improved in other areas of the game as well as becoming stronger mentally and that has a lot to do with less unneccessary pressure from a certain Jens Lehmann as well as him (Almunia) being given the no. 1 goalkeeping spot, a position of more responsibility. He's shown his desire to grow into it and that's very commendable and satisfying to see as a supporter.

    I completely disagree with your assessment of the Fabianski situation. He's going absolutely nowhere. And we're definitely not looking for a better keeper. Wenger's said countless times how much faith he has in Fabianski. He's said Fabianski is a top keeper etc. Even if there was a better keeper available for a decent amount of money, for Wenger to replace Fabianski would be to publicly admit he made a blunder, and that he'll never do. He's too stubborn. You haven't learnt that about him ?

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say 'Eboue had a good season playing almost completely as a right back.' That sounds like you're saying he played as a right back for the majority of his playing time, whereas that's about as wrong as it gets. He's only played as right-back for 1 or 2 games. The rest of the time he's played as a RM or RAM. If you meant that whenever he's played as right-back he's been almost complete, then that's pretty wrong too. He doesn't really know how to defend, or he hasnt' done it well enough anyway.

    I'd agree that Gallas would be my pick b/w him and Toure, to leave, but only if we can find another CB of good quality to replace him. And again I agree, we'd probably need two to cover for injuries etc. One exceptional one and maybe another slightly younger one. (We've been linked to Gary Cahill of Bolton today but Megson says he wants around 15-20 million quid for him.) And I'm not looking forward to Senderos returning.

    Song and Denilson are pretty far from excellent. So is Walcott. People are getting blinded by the fact that he's probably the quickest player around. His final ball is atrocious and maybe his positioning at RM is the reason why his game is so one-dimensional. I would have tried putting him at LM to see if he's more comfortable cutting in and having a pop at goal, but I wonder why Wenger hasn't tried that out. I'd maybe agree that RM is covered but not because we have Eboue and Walcott. Walcott might get some games as striker, which is his natural position. In that case we might play Nasri or Arshavin or Eboue at RM. If I was to choose one, I'd choose Nasri, then Eboue. Arshavin, as he's apparently stated, is not comfortable at the wings, he's more of a support striker.

    The problem with the left winger isn't that we don't have one. It's just that Wenger doesn't play them in the orthodox style. Gibbs and Traore are left-wingers. Yet he plays left-footed players at LB for some reason. And he puts strikers out wide for some reason (Vela, Walcott, Bendtner). Next season Rosicky will be back and Nasri can play as winger too. But for me, Rosicky is a central midfielder, so is Diaby. So we've got few players who we can play wide, but I think unless we sell somebody off or send them on loan, we're not getting any wingers anytime soon. We need maybe one proper winger like a Valencia or Young etc. but I'm pretty sure we're not going to get one. Simply because we've got too many midfielders when all are fit. Sure we don't have too many proper wingers but try telling that to Wenger ! We all know he'd rather play players out of position than go and buy a specialist. And as usual we'll have to play for such botchiness/make-shift nonsense.

    I'm not sure the defensive midfield is covered at all. Denilson and Song are very similar in their overall contribution. They're slightly different types of players but both don't shield the back four enough. They leave too much space in b/w CM and the CBs. ManUtd was having a field day creating chances through the center, as were Chelsea (note Anelka solo goal). They press far too much and they don't know when they should just stay back and protect the space created in the hole, when they start pressing further up the pitch. They go too far ahead. Either they aren't DMs or they make too many mistakes. Diaby has the physique and the speed to be a defensive midfielder but he thinks he's an attacking-midfielder. So unless he is told to play as DM, I'd rather sell him and get a proper DM or get a proper DM anyway. He just doesn't have the speed to play AM. He's too slow.

    I think Nasri can play anywhere across the midfield. I can understand why Nasri was played as a DM. He looks like a real quality player. Obviously he wasn't brilliant because he hasn't played there enough. But to say that we don't have another Cesc and that we need one, I think isn't correct. Nasri is the second Cesc and more. Ramsey is the other player who plays in Cesc's position. Diaby can do that too. But he's a little too slow.

    I rate Bendtner much higher than Adebayor. A few flashy strikes don't mean much. Overall Bendtner's game is much much better than Ade's. His positioning is much better. His aerial ability is much better and his link up play is much better. His finishing is weak but he's our 4th choice striker. We can be a bit more patient and wait another year or so to judge if it gets better or not. I'd even consider selling Adebayor and using that money where we need it (to get a DM and a CB) and playing Bendtner as 2nd or 3rd choice striker. Because how many times do we play the long ball ? Where's the need for two tall guys up front, one who is shit and never is in the box when you cross (Ade) and the other who's good but who's a 4th choice striker (Bendtner) ? Let's face it, 9 times out of 10 we're going to go for our natural on the ground football. We rarely play long-ball. Either we increase the scope and variety of our game and play a plan B when it is required or we quit the nonsense and sell Ade to use that money better. Wenger said we'd need power and strength against Chelsea. Then he doesn't play Bendtner or Adebayor and instead plays a less physical style of football as we are used to. Raises a lot of questions I'd think.

    I'd agree we're still lacking a proper striker it seems. We probably only have one real quality striker in Eduardo. Of course Vela has loads of quality but he's young and inexperienced. VanPersie hasn't done enough to convince me he's got what's needed of a striker. He's probably a support striker. Or maybe the midfield hasn't been good enough for him to show he can be a striker, because he's had to rush back to midfield to be the 5th man to give protection defensively. Maybe that's affected his game. I'd sell Adebayor, use that money where it's needed and give more chances to Vela, Walcott and Bendtner alongside the starting 2 of VanPersie and Eduardo. We then have Arshavin, Nasri and Rosicky who can play as support strikers.

    On another note, there are quite a few decent strikers in the league who might be available should we want to buy (Jones, Benjani, Martins, Zaki, Tevez etc) and if we have the money.

    I don't think we're in the market for a goalkeeper but somehow if Wenger changes his stubborn nature, I'd want us to get Mark Schwarzer. I wonder if Fulham will let us have 2 players, the other being Hangeland.]]>

  • zohaib

    ‘…and as usual we’ll have to *pay* for such botchiness/makeshift nonsense.’

  • Fo

    Some brilliant comments there – Zohaib, I agree with you on most of your points!

  • zohaib

    cheers mate !

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[Experience has taught most of us to sit on the fence where arsene is concerned. Keep your hopes up and he dashes it . Keep it down and he surprises you.

    I hear benitez is selling off 11players Xabi alonso and mascherano included. They would be a good additions to the squad. I am sure if martins is approached now, he would surely move.

    I don't like jones but zaki and benjiani won't be bad. Santa cruz should be available too.
    Then barry (very long shot)]]>

  • zohaib

    I’m not entirely sure about Santa Cruz. He reminds me of Bendtner. He’s obviously much more experienced which suggests Bendtner could reach that level when he’s that age. But I’d have any of the strikers I’ve mentioned above, rather than Santa Cruz. Saviola from Real Madrid is apparently also available. Rumor is he’s heading to Newcastle. Maybe that means Martins is leaving.

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

    < ![CDATA[

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say ‘Eboue had a good season playing almost completely as a right back.’ That sounds like you’re saying he played as a right back for the majority of his playing time, whereas that’s about as wrong as it gets. He’s only played as right-back for 1 or 2 games. The rest of the time he’s played as a RM or RAM. If you meant that whenever he’s played as right-back he’s been almost complete, then that’s pretty wrong too. He doesn’t really know how to defend, or he hasnt’ done it well enough anyway.
    I may well be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Eboue covered the majority of the games as right back in the season before Sagna arrived which is what I meant. Before Sagna he pretty much was our right back.]]>

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

    Saviola from Real Madrid is apparently also available. Rumor is he’s heading to Newcastle. Maybe that means Martins is leaving.

    Hope he likes the Campionship :D

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

    < ![CDATA[Ah, Zohaib, I was right, Arsenal.com says:

    In his first couple of seasons at Arsenal, Emmanuel was a raiding right back. However last term the Ivorian became a fully-fledged right midfielder.

    He also won player of the month twice in that position ;) ]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I thought we were talking about this season. What good is talking about when Eboue was a RB. It's not like he's any good either. And now he's playing RM. You can't expect him to be a decent enough back-up to Sagna as well as a contender to start at RM. Everybody knows we need better quality backup if we want to challenge for the trophies.

    He may well have won player of the month, but that doesn't change my opinion. Sagna is miles better at RB than he could ever be. I remember being ecstatic after I saw what Sagna could do. Plus Eboue's attitude left much to be desired. Surprisingly, it seems that after all the boo-ing he got, he's become a changed man. Wow, what good boo-ing did. As I said it would. Not in all circumstances, just this one.

    If you ask any sane football lover, they'll tell you Eboue and Bendtner (only now is he improving) and more recently Adebayor (one-season wonder, plus he had a fantastic midfield playing for him) and possibly Diaby and Silvestre are by far the worst players ever to play for a title-challenging club such as ours. I can only remember two players before them that were shockingly poor - Cygan and Jeffers.

    And come on man. Quoting self-praising stuff from Arsenal.com. You should know better. Have you ever seen anything negative on that site about Arsenal ? Obviously not, because their job is to be blindingly positive about Arsenal. They have an agenda. Do you really not see that ? Come on grow up. You don't look at Arsenal.com to see what's not right with your club. It's probably just for kids, and share-holders who need soothing.

    Martins for the championship ?! Have a laugh mate.]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[I dont get all the Bendtner bashing...what is everyone's issue with him...The poor lad is what...all of 21 and gets thrown in to our 1st team due to injuries and tries his hardest in every game, scores only 3 less goals than our 1st choice striker, even saved us against the sp*rs NS he is still disliked. Fair enough he has missed some chances that other strikers would have tucked away but you cant score all your chances in every match.

    Rant over!!!]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Nobody's bashing Bendtner for goodness sake !
    He is our 4th choice striker and that's a fact. That's all that was said anyway. What's with all the love for Bendtner !?]]>

  • zohaib

    You could argue that he’s played more matches than Adebayor and VanPersie but the fact is that he’s had less starts and more substitute appearances. If you consider all the stats, he’s had a better season than VanPersie and Adebayor. Obviously, he’s missed quite a few sitters as has Adebayor. The stats don’t tell you the assists though and V.P has lots of those (9 I think, which means he’s in the top 5 assist’ers’ this season).

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Another point worth noting is that when Adebayor was injured, so was Fabregas. Which means Bendtner didn't have that same midfield working for him as Adebayor had. So Bendtner was playing with an inferior midfield, yet he's managed to score a similar number of goals, and he's also started less times, while playing in more games, than V.P. and Adebayor.

    Draw from that what you guys want but after looking at the stats I'm beginning to realize that Bendtner hasn't had a terrible season at all. If you compare only the starts and the goals then he's got the best ratio !]]>

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    < ![CDATA[

    I thought we were talking about this season. What good is talking about when Eboue was a RB. It’s not like he’s any good either. And now he’s playing RM. You can’t expect him to be a decent enough back-up to Sagna as well as a contender to start at RM. Everybody knows we need better quality backup if we want to challenge for the trophies.

    He may well have won player of the month, but that doesn’t change my opinion. Sagna is miles better at RB than he could ever be. I remember being ecstatic after I saw what Sagna could do. Plus Eboue’s attitude left much to be desired. Surprisingly, it seems that after all the boo-ing he got, he’s become a changed man. Wow, what good boo-ing did. As I said it would. Not in all circumstances, just this one.

    If you ask any sane football lover, they’ll tell you Eboue and Bendtner (only now is he improving) and more recently Adebayor (one-season wonder, plus he had a fantastic midfield playing for him) and possibly Diaby and Silvestre are by far the worst players ever to play for a title-challenging club such as ours. I can only remember two players before them that were shockingly poor – Cygan and Jeffers.

    And come on man. Quoting self-praising stuff from Arsenal.com. You should know better. Have you ever seen anything negative on that site about Arsenal ? Obviously not, because their job is to be blindingly positive about Arsenal. They have an agenda. Do you really not see that ? Come on grow up. You don’t look at Arsenal.com to see what’s not right with your club. It’s probably just for kids, and share-holders who need soothing.

    Martins for the championship ?! Have a laugh mate.
    This comment pretty much sums up why I stopped posting here and why I will stop again. Ignorance, deliberatly missing the point to mask your own misunderstanding, rudeness, patronising tone. It’s all there.

    Of course I see Arsenal.com puts a positive spin on things – try it sometime.]]>

  • Pete

    Kieran, please don’t go mate! You’re a top poster.

  • Pete

    Zohaib, like what you wrote about Bendtner. He’s still learning his trade but has also done alright this season!

  • AJ

    Lets be honest, non of the strikers have had an amazing season, yes people have been injured, but no one has stepped up to the plate this season and frankly I’m coming round to the idea that Bendtner is a better striker than Adebayor, after all he has only scored one goal less, is younger, tracks back and actually has a damn good work rate and even though he fell out of a club with his trousers round his ankles and his statements about how he is going to be the best striker in the world are comical at times, at least he has that drive and desire to be the best. Adebayor on the other hand, has scored some vital and amazing goals, namely the one against Villereal, but (I may be wrong) didn’t Bendter score the 1 goal in the 80th something minute against Bolton when they came to the emirates and parked their whole team infront of the goal? That was pretty damn important too and the only reason these don’t come to mind so easily is because it wasn’t against a big flamboyant team, if anything that was in terms of the match a harder goal to score as they had their whole team infront of the goal whereas the villereal game, was more open. As for RVP, I really like him and when he lines up to take a freekick we know that he is really going to challenge the keeper to make a save, but I don’t think he could have been much better this season if A he hadn’t got injured and B if Wenger stopped deploying him on the left wing. As for Ade, I think he’s a waste of space, when on song he is great, but when he’s not he is baaaaaad and too often he isn’t.

  • AJ

    *I ment I thought RVP could have been better this season, my bad

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Kieran - talk about over-reacting mate. I'm not sure whether you're acting like a spiteful wife or a childish cry-baby but jeez man.

    Rudeness, patronising tone, ignorance, deliberately missing the point ... blah blah .... ?!?? What the hell are you on about mate ? Have you completely lost it ?

    If I ever heard a load of garbage that was it. Wow man. The lengths you will go to for sympathy. Just wow.

    And deliberately missing the point to mask your own misunderstanding is exactly what you're doing. What's so positive about a title-challenging club barely finishing in the top 4 and if that wasn't bad enough, screwing themselves with the only realistic opportunity to win a trophy (FA cup) and never turning up for the big prize they talk so highly of wanting (Champs League - where the hell was the desire ? Look at the Chelsea v Liverpool game. How many times did Liverpool look out of it. They looked out of it before the game started but they made their own luck. That's what you call fighting spirit. We're constantly reminded how young we are and how much of an underdog team we are. Surely that should help getting the team brimming with confidence and desire. Where was it ?!)

    What's ironic is, you've just gone and commented on quite a lot of negative issues at the club and then you're cheekily suggesting I should be positive. Sums you up doesn't it.]]>