The Window Is Closed, Long Live The Season…

Well, yesterday was certainly a hell of a day in the transfer window. A hell of a day of non-activity. The major movers were to Villa, Everton and Sp*rs, the rivals that sit behind Man City whom sit behind the top four. I sometimes reflect back on the comment that Arsene said when we went unbeaten, that the tide had turned and Arsenal would dominate for years to come. As an Arsenal fan, it was a good comment to hear, but at the same time, something that seems to have haunted us.

Since those words, we have seen the break up of the unbeaten team. During that period, we have also seen the creation of the country’s best stadium and financial security beyond no bounds. If you listen to the media, Arsene Wenger has been hung, tried and quartered for his lack of signings this transfer window, however, a closer look at  the squad would allow us to examine the thinking behind Arsene’s decision or indecision in the market.

The question has been raised whether I am happy with just the signing of Thomas Vermaelen this summer – and the honest answer is no. I want success and waiting for success after having so much of it from 1998 – 2005. The way I see us doing better is by signing better players. Personally, I think we can bring in someone better than Bendtner, and someone better than Eboue. But this urge for signings is controlled solely by my rash decision making – my lust for more players, more players, as a route to success.

The business done over the last year is controlled business. We’ve seen Arshavin and Vermaelen come in for Adebayor and Toure – in your honest opinion, do you think Arshavin is better than Adebayor and Vermaelen better than Toure. I do. I definitely do. So, if we look at it from a squad point of view, we have a better 22 this year then we did last year.

The problem we face down at the Emirates is our injury woes – we do seem to have more injury problems than most of the top teams. But this is down to the fact that we have a lot of technical players – technical players are more injury prone. Actually, fast paced, technically gifted and high work rate are the three attributes you’ll see in most of our squad.

So, let’s include the injured players in our squad analysis and what do we have. In the goalkeeping department, we have Almunia, Fabianski and Mannone. Almunia is class – despite the question marks over big games, such as the weekend. He is a good goal keeper and unless we’re willing to spend £££s, we’re not going to get much better elsewhere.

In Sagna, Eboue, Gibbs and Clichy we have very able wing backs who will all excel in our 4-3-3 formation. In the middle, Gallas and Vermaelen have done very well this season, in fact, have been sensational. And if you add in Djourou, Senderos and Silvestre in behind them, then it’s a position I’m not too worried about either. In the middle, we’ve got Cesc, Denilson, Song, Diaby, Ramsey as well as players like Rosicky and Nasri whom I’d expect to play in the middle three. The striking three comprises of Eduardo, Van Persie, Vela, Bendtner, Walcott as well as Arshavin and the likes of Jay Simpson and Sanchez Wattt knocking at the door.

We’ve got enough players to mount a serious challenge and the only real obstacles in our path are the associations that run the game. The FA being ridiculous, apparently charging us with improper conduct for a high yellow card count, despite commiting less fouls than United and getting twice as many cards. As well as the FA, we’ve got to battle it against UEFA who are busy picking on us and picking on us ONLY as they’ve banned Eduardo for two games for a dive whereby the video evidence is inconclusive. The comments have been really saying it all recently – how on earth McGeady and Rooney will escape bans when they actually dived, and Eduardo didn’t dive is beyond me. It’s a focused attack on the Arsenal and it’s beyond belief. The club making a statement today:

The Club is disappointed with Uefa’s decision to suspend Eduardo for two Champions League matches starting with Standard Liege on September 16.  We have been informed that we will receive a “reasoned decision” from Uefa by Thursday of this week. Once we receive Uefa’s rationale, we will make a decision on the next steps.
 We have been deeply frustrated by the perfunctory and apparently arbitrary process that Uefa has followed in this instance. We believe it is imperative that Uefa’s explanation for its decision provides clear and comprehensive standards that will be consistently enforced.  It is also critical that Uefa provides specific details of the processes it plans to adopt in reviewing all games under its jurisdiction.

I love the way the statement says “apparently arbitary” as that really means “completely random and not thought about” – it’s ludicrous. Unbelievable. I hope the club fight it as much as possible. The problem with this is that the it’s already derailled our good start. The furore around the Eduardo stuff meant that he didn’t start against United and we went on to lose that game and instead of concentrating on preparing for games, we’re fighting silly UEFA bans! Very frustrating!

Okay, let me just quickly summarise….

Transfer window closed. Squad is good. Arshavin better than Adebayor. Vermaelen better than Toure. All kids one year older. Eduardo & Rosicky back. The FA, SFA and UEFA all hate us. Let’s battle against all of them and win the league… Come on you Gunners.!!!!

  • Bergkamp4Eva

    Hear, hear! Come on the Gunners!

  • VJ

    well said dev its arsenal vs the rest of the world
    and id still back us for everything
    in wenger we trust

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    Dev, always enjoy the blog but:

    The FA being ridiculous, apparently charging us with improper conduct for a high yellow card count, despite commiting less fouls than United and getting twice as many cards.

    The rules of the English game – no charges are being bought against the club. Any team that picks up 6 or more yellow cards is liable for an automatic fine for failing to control their players. The FA aren’r ridiculous for enforcing a rule that is over 5 years old.

    The ref on the other hand – that’s a genuine complaint which led to those yellow cards, not the FA.

    As well as the FA, we’ve got to battle it against UEFA who are busy picking on us and picking on us ONLY as they’ve banned Eduardo for two games for a dive whereby the video evidence is inconclusive. The comments have been really saying it all recently – how on earth McGeady and Rooney will escape bans when they actually dived, and Eduardo didn’t dive is beyond me.

    UEFA have no jurisdiction in the SPL or the EPL. UEFA simply cannot charge McGeady or Rooney with anything. They can charge anyone they like in European competition. FIFA could but they won’t, and the FA could but you’ll notice they’ve been incredibly quiet about all this because they have no intention of introducing retrospective bans for diving.

    The only place you’ll see this in future is European competition, IF, UEFA follow it through. And the Champions LEague and Europa League haven’t started proper yet, it’s far too early to tell.

  • Pissed off

    Kieren – finally see someone who still has his emotions intact in the WOA – I must commend your comment but am sure Dev does understand the rules; may be Dev is just being upset and having a rush of blood which is understandable too.

    But one thing I know is that; since Arsenal stopped fielding considerable amount of English players in the greater percentage of a season, we have not been getting fair refereeing from the FA; as for UEFA I have nothing to say, just that we where unfortunate to get caught in the web and are been used as a scapegoat.

  • http://worldofarsenal.co.uk Josiah

    if we beat city on september 12th it will just go to show that we are better this season at bouncing back from a defeat..

  • Pete

    It’s definately been a strange summer at Arsenal, a lot of twists and turns that none of us really saw coming. as you said Dev, Wengers comments at the end of last season seemed to indicate some sort of change in his approach towards his policy of signings. But if we look at the summer in its entirety, although we’ve only signed 1 player, its definately been busy.

    Most of us were happy with the timing of Vermaelan’s arrival, because it gave us a feeling of “more to come” in terms of transfers. And we were right to expect it, because at certain points throughout the summer we’d made two, albeit unsuccessful yet serious bids for Melo and Chamakh. Not to mention being linked with quite a few other players like Hangeland, Matuidi, Cana, and Huntelaar. The Melo situation is quite intereting to me, because it seems Wenger identified that DM position as something to rectify, but since the Melo deal fell through he hasn’t brought anyone else to fill that in. So I guess he’s been really impressed enough with the likes of Song, Denilson and Diaby during pre-season to have faith in those guys.

    What I dont think any of us saw coming was that our two most recent signings in Vermaelan and Arshavin have essentially become replacements for Toure and Adebayor. If I’m totally honest, I never saw those two leaving, Toure being regarded “Mr Arsenal”, and Ade, well, I didn’t think anyone would buy him after last season. Now I still think he’s a good player, and while last season wasn’t great, I don’t think he was as bad as many made out. I still think he was singled out by some and some of the criticism, while deserved, went too far at times. But it appears that trimming the quad of these two guys has boosted morale in the remaining players and given a new lease of life in someone like Gallas, whose struck up a good partnership with Vermaelen so far. I still think Ade is good and that its a shame it didn’t work out with Arsenal. He’s showing his talent at City at the moment, but it’ll be interesting to see how things are once the honeymoon period is over and he’s fighting for a starting place once everone is fit. It’ll be a good time to go to City in a week and a half, as they’re still settling.

    Despite this, despite all the disappointment of not signing a bus-load of players, the drama with Eduardo and the result at United, we’ve actually gotten off to a fantastic start this season. 10 goals in just two games is unheard of, and I don’t think scoring that many is an accident. In one game you can call a one-off, but scoring four or more goals in two games in a row shows that something is different. And thats without players we normally rely on for goals scoring either. With the likes of Nasri, Walcott, and Rosicky on the road to full-fittness and yet to play competitivly so far, and with our new 4-3-3 formation a success so far, there’s nothing that suggests we cant compete against other top teams.

    The only team I can see us struggling against at the minute is Chelsea. Thats not an insult as I think pretty much all the other teams would look at them and say the same thing. But Liverpool, United and everyone else in the league, I don’t think they have anything they can throw at us that the players in our squad aren’t capable of handling.
    Even Chelsea will struggle at some point this season with several key players out at the African Nations Cup, so there’s a chance that they’ve not just going to steamroll their way through the season like a lot of pundits would have you believe.

    A few teams seem to be closing the gap a little bit between the “top 4″ and the rest of the bunch. The likes of Spurs and City will make this season more insteresting than usual.

  • devday

    @Kieran

    Thank you for your words. The charge itself / fine for bad behaviour I know is standard, but the fact that we received 6 yellow cards, and United only received 3 despite committing half as many fouls. My frustrations are laid within this rather than the actual FA rules.

    In regards to Rooney / McGeady, it’s silly that the SFA complain to UEFA and the whole Eduardo thing happens – but it’s okay for one of their players, one of Celtic’s players to dive? I know the FA and the SFA are independent of UEFA, but there can’t be different rules in different competitions. It’s absurd.

  • Marc Callan

    Dev

    Your right…you can’t call for someones head while one of your own commits the same crime…Overall I think UEFA should sit down with the respective Associations and see can they stamp it out…this is far fetched but at least we can see that UEFA want a European ban in not only Euopean games but Domestic games…

    Personally I didn’t see Toure going anywhere and I thought the relationship between him and Gallas could be resurrected…honestly I think the new partnership is good for both camps (Arsenal and Toure) since we are playing better defensively and Toure got a “new challenge”…Regarding Ade I really dont like him, he is just lazy and then firing the parting shots at us constantly makes me want us to kick his ass even more…

    Overall I think this Arsenal team is on the up but we will have a better indications after Christmas and then in March when squeaky bum time happens…

  • Pete

    I think Ade’s biggest mistake was responding badly to the criticism he received. Rightly or wrongly, if you come under such criticism, you have to be professional and not let it affect your performances. Compare him to Gallas when he lost the captaincy, completely different responces. Other players too come under fire and bounce back stronger, Beckhams done it countless times throughout his career. Thats what disappoints me most about the Ade situation, because he is a tlen and does have ability, but a tad too insecure I think.

    I’m really interested in seeing what comes of Senderos this season. All of a sudden we have quite a few centrebacks in our squad, Gallas, Vermaelen, Djourou, Silvetre and Senderos. They might not all necessarily be the centrebacks that every supporter wants, i.e Silvestre and Senderos, but we at least have numbers in that position. Thinking back to the pre-season games, I’m wondering if big Philipe will be played as a DM at all, as he was plyed there in a few of our friendlies. With Song due to play in the African Nations Cup, and with no actual natural DM in the quad, I’m wondering if he’s seen as an option in that area, especially in the new formation we’re playing in.

  • Leeroy.N

    I just found it hard to believe that they all of a sudden want to change and/or implement the rules. It’s almost as if this is the first dive that’s happened. That being said I do understand what they want to do (we all do) but they are going about it in the wrong way totally. Players actually playing for free kicks and penalties by contact is rife in all levels and all competitions of the game. The Prem and Champions League has been plagued with it for years. We have had the backlash of it on many occasions and then it cost us a game. What they are trying to do will take many months of review, money, lawyers and technology before they will even get on the right path, nevermind get it out of the game. Bu what’s done is done. I’m wary about even trying to fight the decision about Eduardo for fear they might extend it (as they like to do).

    Senderos – His transfer to Everton or any other team went quiet a little while back. Maybe he has seen an opening that he feels he could fill, with Gallas at his nearly best, but not many more years to go, a little older than Djourou, so he might fancy that spot next to Vermaelen. I don’t think he is the worst defender we have, but maintain he’s still got time improve. Like alot of people had written off Gallas last season, but this year he looks revitalized. Even Silvestre had a few good games in him and popped up with a couple of goals for us. I believe anyone who wears our colours deserves a fair chance to prove their worth. Maybe this is a good season for him, jus aslong as he gives a 100% when he’s on the pitch he is a Gunner. Giving the option that him (as PETE said) and Djourou are more than willing to step in a DM we would have adequate (not perfect)cover IF needed, and is willing to do what it takes for the team when asked. But thats what let me down about Adebayor last season, his lack luster performances were too painful to watch at times. There was no real fight when we really needed him. When we were comfortable and winning he was there alot of the time, but when we really needed him to step up, he couldnt.

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!!

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    @dev

    Thank you for your words. The charge itself / fine for bad behaviour I know is standard, but the fact that we received 6 yellow cards, and United only received 3 despite committing half as many fouls. My frustrations are laid within this rather than the actual FA rules.

    Fully agreed – the refereeing was awful in that respect, didn’t think he had a bad game except for his decision making on the cards and the penalty. United deserved a straight red and to be fair without Fletcher on the pitch in the second half Uniteds fould count would be significantly lower – he was by far their worst offender.

    I think we probably both agree though, that given a decent referee with fairness and no home bias the rule is a good one, because it curbs any team managed by Sam Allerdyce going out specifically to kick the opposition. We’ve needed that protection in the past.

    In regards to Rooney / McGeady, it’s silly that the SFA complain to UEFA and the whole Eduardo thing happens – but it’s okay for one of their players, one of Celtic’s players to dive? I know the FA and the SFA are independent of UEFA, but there can’t be different rules in different competitions. It’s absurd.

    Unfortunately the rules are different. For example the 6 yellows = fine rule does not exist in European competition. It’s mental, but the only other way would be to have Fifa dictate the laws of the game and that would be silly.

    Perhaps UEFA should make all member FA’s have the same rules for consistancy but each league has their own peculiarities.

    In terms of McGeady and the SFA, well they look like idiots don’t they. He has managed to undermine them completely, single handedly. You can’t blame them for him diving, and they may well have been annoyed at Edaurdo’s dive – but perhaps now they will remember that their own players are not saints before condemming others.

    We’ve all mentioned Rooney’s dick kid at a wedding stunt by gliding along on his knees before landing on Almunia’s hands (definately a penalty, only due to our keeper’s ineptitude) but not many have mentioned Eboue’s ludicrous half pike in the middle of the pitch – he was rightly subbed immediately (although it looked like that was planned anyway) and he put further focus on the club.

    So it’s easy to condemn others, but our player (Eboue) let us down on Saturday – how can we condemn Rooney given Eboue’s play? The SFA will hopefully learn the same lesson now and shut the fuck up.

    And in regards to Senderos I’m always amazed at how many people forget that him and Campbell took us to the final of the Champions League. He had two very bad matches, including the mare at Liverpool on TV and he has been written off – alongside Vermalen even Gallas looks twice the player he was last year, maybe Senderos can shine alongside someone who doesn’t flap like Toure, or get pulled out of position like Gallas.

    Shame Vermalen doesn’t have a right footed twin and a 8ft goalkeeping cousin.

  • Pete

    Not exactly new transfers, but Denilson and Bentdner have signed new long-term comtracts. Was reading that Bentdner scored 15 goals last year in just 27 starts last season. Thats bloody good! Plus he had many other chances to score too. Seems like this summers been about tying down our current players on a long-term (RvP, Theo, Clichy, Ramsey etc).

  • Debs

    Good point about the Eboue/Celtic dive, Kieran. It’s the same way with every other type of controversy. It’s easier to focus on what other teams are doing wrong, than what your own players are doing wrong, that’s the unfortunate nature of competition. You’ll always find players who dive in most teams; not that they set out to dive from the get-go, but they just do, when the opportunity provides itself. Maybe if the powers that be actually made it CLEAR that there IS a hefty sanction for it, whether a 2-game ban or whatever, then it’ll be easier to phase out. Same way they set about with the Respect campaign (even though it’s arguable that that’s not worked!), instead of acting when someone cries ‘blue murder’. I’m really interested in seeing the contents of UEFA’s reasoning for the Eduardo ban, and I can’t wait for the next European dive. I’m sure it’ll be sooner rather than later.

    As far as the squad’s concerned, I’m fairly happy with it, and not too bothered about the relatively inactive window. I’m not in the Tony Gale school of thought that only if you spend heaps of money can you be successful- I think it’s pants. Why spend money on someone who you don’t actually need to bolster your team, especially in a recession? Why waste money on a bench-warmer?

    Senderos deserves a second chance, and I hope he does well if the opportunity arises. He’s a decent enough back-up, and doesn’t seem like a disruptive dress-room influence. Good luck to him.

    And yeah, Pete, securing the signatures of those players was absolute priority.

  • Fabrez

    I think ppl being upset by a lack of signings is a ‘hangover’ from our well documented case of not replacing our DM players. And it affected our results. I feel it’s less of an issue now with our new formation & the emergence of Song.

  • Fabrez

    I look fwd to the rest of the season & the future with a lot of optimism. Losing Flamini was neglecting dealing with players u have on board. So happy 2 see Arsene dealing with so many contracts. Let’s get behind the lads. Hard work ahead!

  • Debs

    I second that, Fabrez! Come on you gunners! :-)

  • khai

    i guess so. we arent really conceding that much. and we are kinda playing total football. the man u match was somewhat a freak incident. just hope the team will come back stronger. they have shown their quality. they just need to stick it through. i’m kinda excited about the season.our midfield is overflowing with talent. but the same cant really be said for our cb and dm. though it shouldnt be much of a problem if there’s no injuries, which looking at the past seasons seem highly impossible. nevertheless, KEEP THE FAITH!

  • Debs

    I can’t waity for the next big story in football, because to be honest, I’m fed up of seeing replays of the duardo incident on TV. If I had a £1 for each time I’ve seen it, I’ll be rich! lol

  • Debs

    *wait
    *Eduardo
    *if I had £1
    Too many errors! lol

  • Fabrez

    lol Yeah debs! I’m amazed at how much press the stupid incident has earned! Hopefully the upcoming int’nals will be distracting enuff!

  • Missing a donkey

    please don’t tell me we’re stuck with senderoff. Imagine if Cygan and senderos were our CB pairings. We need another quality CB for cover and squad rotation.

  • devday

    @Kieran

    So it’s easy to condemn others, but our player (Eboue) let us down on Saturday – how can we condemn Rooney given Eboue’s play? The SFA will hopefully learn the same lesson now and shut the fuck up.

    Eboue was wrong, and was carded for the offence – however, Rooney will go unpunished, which is not a fair judicial system in my opinion.

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    Dev, I’m not sure what you’re getting at? Why would Rooney be punished for being unfairly tackled?

    Yes he went to ground before the challenge and yes he kicked the ball away from the goal, but it’s absolutely baffling that anybody would argue that he should get punishment. Almunia would have taken him out whether he went to ground or not.

    The only person we should be angry about is Almunia’s ridiculous decision to commit himself in such a dangerous position.

  • tom G

    Kieran, didn’t Rooney dive, implied by your admission that he went to ground before the challenge? And the point is that of the two who dived – Eboue and Rooney – only Eboue was punished (rightly of course, the idiot). This is of course within the rules, as only video evidence has revealed that Rooney dived (like Eduardo), and the FA has different regulations to UEFA, but Devday’s point is only that it shows up an unfair judicial system. If Eboue and Eduardo (retrospectively) are punished, why shouldn’t Rooney be?

  • tom G

    I absolutely agree however that Almunia shouldn’t have committed himself.

  • Debs

    Chelsea’ve been banned by FIFA from the next TWO transfer windows for inducing a player to break his contract. Very very interesting!

  • Steve

    Debs beat me to it.

    Banned from registering players for 2 windows.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/chelsea/8236187.stm

    It’ll be interesting to see how they cope with their current aging squad until Jan 2011!!

  • Debs

    I’d rather the 2-match Eduardo ban than the Chelsea transfer window ban. They both seem to be means to finding scapegoats. Eduardo, for diving; Chelsea, for tapping up. Both are obviously widespread, and I guess both parties are right to feel aggrieved.

  • Leeroy.N

    DEBS – Agreed. The football associations must be drunk and high when coming out with these shifting of rules. There has been many, more blatant instances of “tapping up”. If this is the case, then Man U (Berbatov), Citeh (Lescott), Mardid (Ronaldo), Barca (Fabregas) ..the list is endless and dates back further. Will the rest of them get the same punishment?

    Win, Lose or Draw.. Gooner Til I Die!

  • Kuka

    ….phew!!!!! At least that will take off some’media pressure from Eduardo’s incident

  • Debs

    My thought exactly, Kuka!
    I’m sure the Chelsea decision has Redknapp shaking in his boots. He’s the king of tapping up! lol

  • Pete

    Wonder if FIFA will do something about the Ca$hley Cole transfer too :-)

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    @Pete, this is a dirct result of theCashley saga – they got a suspended sentence for that, which was taken into account with this punishment.

    @Tom G, no I implied Rooney played for the penaly – it is cheating and un-sportsman-like, but the very fact that there was contact means it was not a dive.

  • Debs

    Anyone else miss Theo? I feel bad for him that he’s out injured, especially with Lennon making all the waves. He’s almost been forgotten by both club and country. I wonder if he wishes he had taken Wenger’s advice over summer. But then, what are the odds he wouldn’t have gotten injured anyways?! I hope he gets back soon and on form quickly!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Lol Diaby has injured another player, not one of ours this time though it is the French goalkeeper…what a numpty

  • Fabrez

    What is it with Diaby? Maybe he’s just accident prone? *sigh* And I do miss Theo! I think he gives his all…and it’s unfair for him but I hope Capello, Pearce & Theo himself takes notice of Wenger’s wisdom. Nxt time Wenger says leave him, leave him! Now he’s basically messed up till mid-Sept I’m guessing. Then he has to get match fit…so we may get the best out of him in October or something. Guess this has affected his more forward transition…excited about him playing on the right of our front 3. The other one is Rosicky…Wenger wasn’t thrilled he was going to join up with his national team. He better not come back injured or else that’s Wenger saying, “I told u so Tomas!”. Hope the Czech Rep use him sparingly granted they aren’t in the best position in terms of qualification…we’ll see!

  • Fabrez

    Was just watching Arsenal v Birm’ham Reserves…largley impressed by what I saw. Sunu, Watt, Coquelin, Traore and Merida all look like they have bright futures…hopefully with Arsenal. Merida’s vision is very Cesc like. And I think he’s more physically robust than Cesc was at that age. He’s still got to refine his game like the rest of the Reserves’ lads but he isn’t far off from some1 like Ramsey, for example. I also like how Neil Banfield goes about managing them with the utmost seriousness. You get that feeling he’s instilling a high level of professionalism in them. I really like the Youth/Reserves set-up on the whole. I think Arsenal’s future is brighter than many ppl can imagine! :D

  • Debs

    True Fabrez, the future’s sorted! Now if only we can take care of now, we’ll be a near perfect club! :D And there’s no reason why we can’t win things this season!

  • Fabrez

    Yeah Debs…the now seems so unsure sumtimes but we know we can do it! I kinda worry about having another 07/08 season…an “almost season” with anything to show! We r so overdue to win something! When I go with my gut feeling, I know this season is potentially special tho :)

  • Fabrez

    *without anything to show

  • Missing a donkey

    Diaby will get better & better. He’s not just covering the middle third of the field. he’ a goal mouth to goal mouth player. We havn’t had one of those in a while. Prob since viera.Can see simularities. Big strong athletic and a little agressive. the mistakes will disappear with age & experience.