Football Is Back! But First, Not Quite Yet…

I seriously do wonder if Blatter and his cabal of nonsense speaking mental friends at FIFA have it in for the English league. I mean, we know the chap has a dislike for the Premiership bordering on the psychotic but a round of friendlies before the opening weekend of the season? That’s a prick move. Considering the fact that the Premiership is the most watched league worldwide, with a large number of world football’s superstars involved, you’d have thought it was in Fifa’s interest to ensure that they didn’t play a round of Friendlies in places like Mexico 3 days before the premiership season starts. At best it’s incompetence, at worst it’s malicious and I wouldn’t put anything past that bollock headed moron.

But, assuming that Arsenal’s international brigade don’t break their legs or faces whilst on international duty, it really get’s down to business this weekend. For once, Murdoch’s incessant dicking about with the fixtures will actually provide us with some benefit, an extra day. And so much can happen in a day, including getting a new goalkeeper and teaching your team how to defend. Well, we’ve had more than a day to do that already, but you know how we love the last minute.

I’m intrigued by the season ahead. I see Arsenal as having a major deficiency or two – namely we don’t have a goalkeeper yet, only three nodding dogs with rusty springs, and we still can’t defend as a team. Remember when we played Bar**lona and in that first 45 they a) dicked us all over the pitch and b) bullied us off the ball when we did manage to touch it. Arsenal don’t do that, we don’t track properly and we don’t close down. There isn’t any point in one player running after the ball and closing people down when the rest of the team are watching him. The opposition just pass to an unpressed player. If the entire team don’t press as one, then there is no point one player running their guts out. It’s what Wilshere was saying the Arshavin, run you lazy shit, for the love of god stop eating and start running (speaking of whom, what a marvelous pair of breasts he is growing – Arshavin, the new Nasri). We conceded 5 goals this week mainly because we step off and never pressure as one. If someone does press like Koscielny did for one of the goals, everyone else stands off (Vermaelen) and the opposition just walk through. Press or don’t, but really, definitely press please. If I see Denilson stand and watch Wayne Rooney run past him to score this season I might actually explode and cover my walls with brain and rage.

The frustrating thing about it is, I believe that in every position apart from goal we have a very strong 1st team (if not quite the defensive numbers to say a complete squad) – we genuinely do seem to suffer from a lack of effort and work ethic (hello Wigan 2-0 down you say, take 3-2) and defensive organisation.

As most of you will know from my comments though, despite our shortcomings I’m not naive enough to think it’s all doom and gloom. After yesterdays traditional season opener at Wembley, two things occured to me. Firstly, Wayne Rooney works bloody hard, but sometimes the press get a bit carried away with it all and secondly Arsenal will never have a better chance to win the league.

On the subject of Rooney, he is clearly an incredible talent, a player who I mostly admire for his tenacity and will to win. I’ve been one of those that has berated his moods and childish thugging around, but really it is great to see football mean so much to one player. It’s something I see in Jack Wilshere, but something I find lacking in the rest of our squad sometimes, RVP and Fabregas aside. But the way Andy Gray was going on about that first goal shows how much of a dour moron the man is. A fantastic ball from Scholes, Rooney looked up quickly saw he was onside and saw Valencia cutting across and he simply played the numbers game. Percentages. Hit the ball across the area and have faith that your mate is running there. He didn’t even look up again, Valencia could have stopped running – it wasn’t wonderful vision, it was simply a hopeful pass. What it was, was fantastic team play, great running and commitment from both Rooney and Valencia and a decent ball from Scholes.

Firstly the caveat to this next bit is both teams had a few players missing and the atmosphere was that of a friendly at times – in the League Scholes would have been off for two yellows. But 80,000+ people didn’t think it was a friendly and do not underestimate the will to win of either team, so that they might strike the first blow of a long arduous season.

With that in mind, both teams were fairly poor. Chelsea seem to have reverted to the narrow formation employed at the beggining of Ancelloti’s tenure – I don’t understand it, Kalou and Malouda who can run and cross, and you tuck them in? Mental. As a consequence, after United scored first Chelsea never really looked like they would break them down – they just didn’t seem like they could mount a counter attack – United defended very well, but Chelsea just looked dull going forwards at times. The sooner Drogba is fit and playing 90 minutes the better for them. Sure they coped OK without him at points last season, but he often proves the difference. Depending on how they line up this season if they continue playing narrow and solid in the middle, I just don’t think they’ll get as many points as last season. Nice to see Essien back though, he’s a terrific player and has suffered some horrible injury problems. Odd to say, but a likable Chelsea player – he just mustn’t spend much time with John Terry.

United look like they picked up where they left off last season. An incredibly effective counter attack built around Wayne Rooney’s tireless running and the wide players flooding to support, coupled with a disgusting cretin in the middle trying to break someone’s legs. Make no mistake, in the Premieship Scholes would have been off yesterday for at least two stonewall yellows. The few games I’ve really seen of Gibson seem to suggest he’s in the same mold, break legs first, break legs later, break them again as you get up. It’s a shame, because otherwise Scholes is a great footballer – he get’s forward and his distribution is excellent, I don’t think he gave it away once yesterday. He’s just an abhorrent tackler.

They really do have an average midfield compared to most of Fergie’s previous teams. Anderson is so poor he might get left out of their 25 (that’s doubtful though really), Fletcher (as noted in the comments a few days ago) was their best player last season which speaks volumes because he is essentially a box to box journeyman who wouldn’t have got a look in a few years ago, Giggs and Scholes are getting older and older – Scholes in particular is a red card timebomb as he gets slower and further from the ball – Valencia has the flair, but has been fairly inconsistent and Nani for all his quick feet seems more interested in taking an extra two or three touches. We had this debate in the comments but I’d far rather see Fabregas, Song, Wilshere, Frimpong, Nasri, Rosicky, Diaby and even lazy lazy Denilson in my dressing room that the other mob.

Again, I see United struggling to score against more negative teams. It’s odd they made the transition from all out attacking goal scoring machines to counter attack darlings, but then they’ve lost Ronaldo’s flair and not found an effective replacement yet. They’ve started turning into Stoke. I keep expecting their players to start practicing long throws, although the new boy did his best to inject some hilarity into the game, kicking the ball into his own face before it rolled over the line. I did laugh. The trouble with counter attacking football is there needs to be an attack to counter.

I think what I’m trying to say is that before the season has even started all people do is sit and whine all over the internet about how we have to buy this chap and that chap and we need two for this position and that position. If we just learnt to defend, that would be a start and like I’ve tried to intimate above – the two teams who finished above us last season have problems of their own, and weaknesses.

One last thing, I wish Arsenal would shut our players up about Emir Spahic – we’ll turn into Barcelona if our players keep saying how great he is. That is not a good thing.

  • goonerman

    Spot on kieran, the one bad result we have in pre season is a 6-5 win and the whole arsenal fanbase start going into a meltdown worrying that we might not even make the top four next season! we have not even lost a pre season game unlike the likes of man united, chelsea, man city, liverpool and spurs and i have to be fair i dont see their fans having a crisis like ours. we all know we need them 2 signings and i do hope wenger gets them before the window closes but the team we have aint half bad iit just comes to basic stuff which would make us a bit more solid, all four defenders cant go running forward when we have the ball becuase we get embaressed onn the counter, if song is not playing then his replacemnt needs to sit in the DM position not wonder about and we really do need to just start defending as a team again like you say kieran you cant have one man putting pressure on a player when the team are just watching!

    i do find it amazing how cesc fabregas can be called up to the spain squad when wenger tells us he isnt fit for our first game of the season, these freindlies are a JOKE!!

  • mahes

    I don’t want anyone to get their knickers in a twist but is the official Arsenal website taking the piss?

    All summer long we have moaned (and rightly so) about the way Barcelona have conducted their business in their chase for our skipper Cesc Fabregas.

    Is it me or is this story on the site a tincey wincey little bit of double standards?

    Cool, we haven’t gone into a whole summer of tapping-up overload with this chap, and I haven’t heard Bacary Sagna talk about Emir Spahic’s Arsenal DNA, yet, but surely after the summer we have had, Arsenal would have used their noddle.

    How can we grumble when this is on the actual Arsenal website?

    We can’t scream and shout about Barcelona when we are doing it ourselves. Of course Barca took tapping-up to another level. In fact, it was an outrageous level, but we aren’t exactly doing ourselves any favours here.

    Maybe I’ve got this wrong. Maybe I’m being a little touchy. But in my opinion, after what we have been through since May, we shouldn’t be putting out things like this on our official site.

  • pareshpatel

    I don’t want anyone to get their knickers in a twist but is the official Arsenal website taking the piss?

    All summer long we have moaned (and rightly so) about the way Barcelona have conducted their business in their chase for our skipper Cesc Fabregas.

    Is it me or is this story on the site a tincey wincey little bit of double standards?

    Cool, we haven’t gone into a whole summer of tapping-up overload with this chap, and I haven’t heard Bacary Sagna talk about Emir Spahic’s Arsenal DNA, yet, but surely after the summer we have had, Arsenal would have used their noddle.

    How can we grumble when this is on the actual Arsenal website?

    We can’t scream and shout about Barcelona when we are doing it ourselves. Of course Barca took tapping-up to another level. In fact, it was an outrageous level, but we aren’t exactly doing ourselves any favours here.

    Maybe I’ve got this wrong. Maybe I’m being a little touchy. But in my opinion, after what we have been through since May, we shouldn’t be putting out things like this on our official site.

  • theusualsuspect

    Let me first say that I don’t want us to fail to win a trophy this coming season but I do fully expect us to once again finish potless. So if that is to be the case then I hope that our failure is abject, undeniable and plain for all too see. So that the necessary upheaval that is required can finally take place. Although worryingly I read today that Wenger is thinking of extending his contract.
    Why do I know we will fail again this season?
    Well lets start with the appalling goal keeping situation which Wenger has failed thus far to rectify. Even were we to get ourselves into a challenging position in the league or into a cup qtr or semi final, then either of the two current clowns will let us down, just as they have every time they have been called into action in such a situation in the past. This failure by Wenger to sort this out and bring in a decent keeper, will alone ensure we win fuck all this season.
    Then we have the current lack of cover at centre half, we haven’t looked too secure in our pre-season friendlies (5 conceded against Warsaw is very worrying indeed).
    So if either TV or the new unproven and in-experienced Pole get injured, then we have only Djorou ( who is not only injury prone but a bit shite as well)as recognised cover. The simple problem here is 3 have gone out and only 1 has come in, to what was already a problem area.
    Some might argue that Song can play centre half, I don’t agree and he has looked very vulnerable and a liability when asked to do so. And given that he is our only defensive midfielder of any substance, we can hardly afford to have him at centre back.
    Which is where our next problem will lie, if Song gets injured we will once again be left with the absolutely shite Diaby or Denilson to try and fill the role.
    Next we have the only area where we seem to have adequate cover in numbers if not necessarily in quality. The creative midfield role, where we have the 7 dwarves, Fab, Arsh, Nas, Rosy, Wilshire, Theo and Eboue. Here we have our captain who would rather be somewhere else and could very quickly become disillusioned, if things aren’t going well, and around him players who have simply not been consistent enough in recent seasons, and young Wilshire who may or may not get his chance this season.
    Finally, up front, we once again will be relying on the injury prone RVP and hoping that Chamakh can settle quickly With Eduardo gone we have the same depth in numbers as we had last season, which proved ultimately not to be sufficient.
    So I’m sorry if I am once again a Harbinger of doom, but I’m very worried about this coming season, as I honestly think this is the weakest most vulnerable squad we have ever entered into a new season with. Led by a manager who is becoming more and more stubborn and unwilling to accept when he is wrong.

  • Kieran

    @pareshpatel

    I’m entirely in agreement, it’s almost hypocrisy. Not quite mind you, because we’ve not actually spoken out about it or demanded they stop. But.. the fans have been pretty single minded in their damnation of the Barca players, so you would have hoped the Arse would have learnt from that. Mind you, we know the official website is run by morons – just take a peek at the Transfer Linked section.

  • Kieran

    I’m still amazed that people think spending endless pots of money is the solution. Real Madrid have spent 1 Billion Euros in ten years and won nothing in the last 2. http://bit.ly/aB0iC9

  • Kieran

    @ theusualsuspect:
    I know at least 88 English league teams with sets of fans who would like a squad as strong as ours. We all have fears but a sense of perspective helps.

  • walter

    @theususalsuspect- AS yes – the old doom-and-gloom thing. Do you seriously believe that if everyone were less, well……doomy and gloomy….that the team would actually be one bit better or that you’d truly feel happier about it?

    Do you really think it was being more positive that made Thierry Henry and Robert Pires and Frddie Ljungberg and Denis Bergkamp such a brilliant attacking combo, or Patrick Vieira the World’s best box-to-box ball-winning midfielder, and Sol Campbell such a force for us?

    Maybe if you didn’t reject the doubts some began expressing five years ago as mere doom and cloom maybe we wouldn’t be as badly off as we are now, no? It’s an interesting question.

  • theusualsuspect

    @kieran – ome back in 8 mths this thread will still be relevant

    Problem, as shown by Wenger’s third place as good a trophy comment, is the manager and the board now view success as something entirely different to us fans.

    We’re fucked while they think like that.

  • Kieran

    @ theusualsuspect:
    I just don’t understand what you would prefer, for us to spend £1b like Real Madrid and still not win anything?

    The fact remains that only one team can win any competition and spending ridiculous money does not guarantee that it will be you who wins any of them. Liverpool, City and Spuds all spent significantly more than us over previous seasons and we finished above them.

    I just don’t understand you absolute faith that you all share when you suggest buying this player or that player would win us the league. You’re just guessing like everybody else.

  • devday

    Note to self: update pictures so my picture doesn’t come up when Kieran posts!!! Sorry mate!

  • Berth

    @ Kieran: We are not asking to spend that much, what we fans ask for is to spend and not to compensate quality with quantity. Why would someone go into an exams knowing pretty well he won’t pass; that is how ours look – we need a defender and a goal keeper – that is not to much to ask for.

  • Bonathan

    I think people are just getting a bit worried at the moment because we have been in this situation on a number of occations before. Wenger has come out and said we need to buy a couple of players, as the transfer window gets closer to shutting he says we only need one player, and before you know it, the transfer window has shut and none of the positions he was himself worried about have been filled.

    I think he did plan on buying a keeper and a CB. I think he will make sure we sign a CB. I don’t think he can possibly send us into the season without adding a CB given that we are short on numbers there and there are question marks over the players we have there (Kos, because he’s new to the prem and anybody new to the prem has to have a question mark over them in the first instance. Of course, we’re all hoping he can do a ‘tommy V’, and of course djourou, who was still proving his worth before he got injured and with the injury he had, he may not be the same player anyway).
    The main thing here is the numbers game anyway though. We were without tommy v, gallas and djourou for the run in last year and went to sh1t. This year, if Kos, tommy V and djourou are absent, we are even less equipped than we were last year to deal with it.
    Wenger will find a CB. It’s just a question of the quality of CB. As for a keeper, i hope he does but i think that might fall by the wayside now which would be disappointing.

    I don’t think anyone has suggested ‘doing a madrid’ and breaking the bank for either of these players. We have just basically agreed with the manager that this is what we need. I know we would all like to see the players in tomorrows papaer all signed and sealed but there is still a reasonable amount of time till the window closes and we’re just gonna have to be patient.

  • Kieran

    @ Berth:
    Yes – if you go into your exam you learn the subject as best you can (practice) you learn the rules and formulas (how to defend) and you prepare properly (self belief and squad harmony).

    And yes, taking in a pen, pencil and a ruler (a decent squad) makes a big difference – but taking in a fountain pen (Ronaldo), a set square (Kaka) and a protractor (Alonso) doesn’t always get you a better grade.

    What I am saying is that there are objective things the team can do to improve – learn to close down properly, concentrate for 90 minutes and defend as a team rather than leave it to the 4 at the back. This will improve our chances incalculably.

    Buying a player, any player, does not automatically improve your chances of winning anything. If it did Spurs and Manchester City would have both won the league last season at the same time.

  • Berth

    Just thinking of our DMF position when compared to other top teams

    Arsenal: Song, denilson, frimpong

    Mancity: De-Jong, Yaya, Viera, Barry, Kompany

    Man u : Fletcher, Owen harg (injury), Carrick, anderson,

    Liverpool; Masherano (just him; interesting)

    Chelsea: Essien, Mikel, Ramires.

    What do you guys think?

  • Kieran

    @ Bonathan:
    No one has said we do a Madrid no, but I’m wondering what the alternative is? If it were that easy, if there were better players who could improve our squad at a sensible price (during the World Cup inflated silly season no less) do you genuinely think Wenger wouldn’t have strengthened?

    I still don’t understand this obsession with Wenger not wasting cash – in previous seasons he may well have been stubborn, but this season he has stated that we need both those players – why do people think he is intentionally keeping the squad weak when he has already publicly admitted (rare) that he needs/wants extra players?

    If the right player is available for the right price he will be purchased. That’s always the way it has been at AFC, since Chapman through to Graham. Although sometimes George liked the odd envelope at the same time.

  • Berth

    Patient Bonathan, we have been in the past and see where it has landed us; fighting for third and fourth.

  • Kieran

    @ Berth:
    Mascha is off I think, I can’t see him staying after burning his bridges. I’d add Eastmond and Diaby to ours, both have played there.

    Hargreaves will most likely never play in a United shirt again, he certainly won’t be named in their 25 up to January according to Fergie. Anderson isn’t a DM, but I would have put Scholes in that role.

    I don’t think I’d label Vieira as a DM either, but Chelsea and City both look strong.

    City have the best of the bunch, 3 very solid players, of which they’ll likely play 2 at any time. City will struggle to rotate and keep happy those players they have.

  • http://arsenalandtherandomthoughtsofmylife.blogspot.com/ Debs

    I see the Sagna Spahic Article is no longer on the Arsenal website…

  • ny

    @Berth
    Liverpool has got Lucas.

    Are we ready for the Liverpool game?Everybody says about Chelsey,ManU and City.But Liverpool is a mighty team now.They played very well in their new formation(Joe Cole-behind the striker and Gerrard-deeep lying ).

    ———Reina
    Johnson-Carragher-Agger-Aurelio
    ——-Gerrard-Lucas——–
    Kuit—————–JOVANOVIC
    ———–J.Cole——–
    ———–N’Gog——-

  • dean

    usualsuspect: You seem to have a habit of totally blocking out any facts that don’t fit in with the theory you want to perpetuate..
    You can’t say what evidence is there that he had more money to spend after the manager has on numerous occasions in the last couple of years said he had money to spend…especially considering you have absolutely no ‘evidence’ to the contrary..
    I would say the manager actually saying he has had money to spend is a damn sight more reliable ‘evidence’ than you hypothesizing that he hasn’t, but that wouldn’t fit in with your obsessive board bashing would it….
    What is going on is a collective vision, the manager and the board are as one following this vision… this is not the evil board stifling the poor manager..if it was the manager would be long gone..It’s not like he would have trouble getting another job…so there is no logic in the idea that his actions are forced on him against his wishes …

    His vision as the boards is obviously a vision of rapid repayment of our debts whilst maintaining the required income level (CL qual) he is obviously looking long term as are the board and they combined are prepared to sacrifice a bit of silverware in the short term for the long term prosperity of the club. In their eyes that means maximising profits which means CL qualification with as little outlay as possible to achieve that..Thats why Wenger doesn’t spend, not because the money isn’t there if he needs it, but because he thinks he can and has achieved that goal without having to spend any more…

    I don’t see why this has to be interpreted as some devious or criminal plan…yes a lot of us are frustrated at the lack of real investment in the team of late and think that the balance of repayment to team investment is wrong, but to suggest that paying the clubs debts back as quickly as possible must be some sort of devious plan as opposed to just sensible business practice is a bit extreme to say the least.
    It may not be what you prefer or i prefer but that doesn’t mean that it is being done the way that it is for any other reason than Wenger and the board perceive it to be in the best long term interests of the club..

  • dean

    @kieran – None of us expects Wenger to spend £30M on a player (see above post).
    But a new goalkeeper, centre back and defensive coach need not cost more than £35M total, spread over three years, for combined transfer fee and wages.

    Surely the club can afford that, certainly according to published accounts it can?

    So is there an accounting secret problem we don’t know about?

    Or is Wenger more of an egoist than he polite manner suggests?
    Is he, as you mention, really determined not to spend?
    To the extent it is probably threatening our Champions League place, and certainly nixes any chance of the title?

    I think ego does come into it as far as hiring a defensive coach.

    I think Wenger believes he can get the balance right between not spending too much, and ensuring Champions League qualification.

    Yet this year, because of Spurs’s and Man City’s progress, I am extremely concerned he will get the balance wrong.

    P.S. I do expect us to sign another centre back, but not sure we will sign a keeper.

  • theusualsuspect

    @kieran True, they however don’t pay the highest admission prices in Europe.

  • Kieran

    @ dean:
    Cool! Find me a top quality Goalkeeper, decent Defensive Midfielder (who won’t mind sitting on the bench waiting for Song to get injured) and a top quality Center Back for £35m including wages over 3 years. Remember, Koscielny, the player who none of you think is good enough, cost £7m.

    I’m really waiting for someone to give me evidence that Wenger is just sitting with his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears, pretending transfers aren’t possible.

    I just don’t think it is as easy as you make out. Too many people play football manager or Fifa and think they could balance a football club as easily as cooking beans on toast.

  • Berth

    @ Kieran:

    We are not expecting Wenger to spend that much you mentioned. For my money I know Wenger will by a CB but the worry is the quality of the CB; he might go for someone similar to Silvestre s he did some years back. And we seriously need a good first team gk. It will be ideal to get Mark Schwartz.

  • yemi

    Does Wenger look like someone who is going to sign 2 more players ? I will be shocked and surprised if he does. The best i think he can do is another CB but i doubt a GK coming in with all of this competing for first choice talk going on. Flappy has been given enough opportunities to show his worth, Wenger has said scenzny is too young for no 1., he also said one GK will go on loan. So we are left with alumina and any of the remaining 3. 

We are now being linked with shay Given, We are also said to have gone with an improved contarct for shwarzer. What is going on guys ?

  • Gooner Get Ya

    I was talking to my mates last year about Man Utd’s midfield on paper being pretty poor, yet they tore us apart.

    On the transfer note it is not a question of how much we spend it is a case of how many players we have. We only have 3 CB (TV, Kos and JD) surely we can’t start the season with this amount especially with our track record of injuries.

    If TV gets injured in the first game and is out for 4-6 weeks or worse…what then? An even worse scenario is if we get another CB injured at the same time!!!

    We must get decent cover for the vulnerable positions and CB is definately one of those.

    Based on a 4-1-2-3 formation and names used from Arsenal website (first team)

    3 GK – Almunia, Fabianski, Manonne, Szczesny
    2 RB – Sagna, ?
    4 CB – Vermaelen, Koscielny, Djourou, ?
    2 LB – Clichy, Gibbs, Traore
    2 DM – Song, ?
    4 CM/AM – Cesc, Nasri, Rosicky, Diaby, Denilson, Eboue, Ramsey, Wilshire
    4 Wing/FWD – Walcott, Vela, Ashavin, ?
    2 CF – RVP, Bendtner, Chamakh

    So we need cover for RB, CB, DM and Wing/FWD. We have surplus in midfield which we can use to plug the holes.

    RB = Eboue
    CB = Song
    DM = Diaby/Denilson
    Wing/FWD = Rosicky/Nasri

    The most important position has got to be CB as it free’s up Song and thus keeping out Diaby and Denilson.

  • Kieran

    @ Berth:
    The reason I mentioned 35m is because Dean has suggested you could replace the spine of a team for that, I’m unconvinced.

    @ yemi:
    Personally, I don’t think Given is the right player for Arsenal. We already have a competent shot stopper who is dreadful at crosses, we don’t need another one.

    Given has conceded more goals in every single season that both he and Almunia have been No. 1 keepers at their clubs.

  • dean

    guys join up at fanatsy premier league dot com.

    Once you have logged in and entered your team, click on the ‘Leagues’link you can find on the right of the page. Now enter the code 1083539-230605 to join the private league.

  • dean

    goonerman says on August 9th, 2010 at 9:58 am: did you think we put in a stellar performance in the Emirates Cup? By our high standards, even our play going forward hasn’t been all that but certainly our defensive unit has not covered itself in glory by any stretch. The worrying thing is that, maybe barring Clichy, you could pick at least one goal and attribute it as being the fault of each of the defensive players in our starting 11. I’m trying to stay positive mate but, with the season starting this weekend, it’s not easy! AFL

  • theusualsuspect

    Firstly, I just dont know how much Arsenal have to spend – the board say there is plenty of money available, but Arsene flirts between suggestions that we need a couple of players and the old `squad is good enough` notion. Why is Arsene reluctant to spend? Yes, the markit is a difficult one, with not many players actually available for transfer. But any suggestion that the squad is good enough is a clear and simple lie.

    OK – we dont have money to spend…. why stick with players that are clearly not good enough? This season, it looks like a few young players might actually get a chance, but why hold on to players like Denilson, Diaby, Almunia, and Fabianski? These players are not good enough, and although we may not have the money to buy well knowns, Id rather we get a few of these players sold off and take a chance on some other players who maybe are not top class but just maybe are? Point is, do we stick with sh*t knowing they will always let us down, or do we take a chance with players that might be sh*t but may be good? Arsene just seems to `believe` too much in some of his players, and that will be his downfall

  • Bonathan

    Anyway, the point is, we need to wait and see what he does before we get carried away. There is still time, he has said he is in the market for a CB, so i’d expect we’l get one.

    To the guy who said about doing the best with what we have. Yes, of course we need to improve on everything. That goes without saying for every team in every land. But at the end of the day, unless you’re going to train people to play with one leg, then you’re gonna struggle when injuries come into play if you don’t have the numbers. Or to use your analogy………taking one pen into an exam only to find it runs out after one question, would be pretty stupid.

    And spurs and man city would not have finished 4th and 5th without bringing players in. granted, it doesn’t always strengthen the squad, but the general idea of signing a player is to stregnthen.

    we all know money is tight everywhere at the mo (nearly everywhere anyway), we know that. And none of us are expecting any rolls royce signings. anyway, if he hasn’t brought anybody in by the close of the transfer window, that’s when we can bitch about it, until then, we gotta be patient.

  • Kieran

    @ Bonathan:

    And spurs and man city would not have finished 4th and 5th without bringing players in. granted, it doesn’t always strengthen the squad, but the general idea of signing a player is to stregnthen.

    It’s entirely irrelevant where they finished – what is relevant is that we finished above both of them, and they both spent about 65,034 times what we have. The only sensible conclusion to draw from that is that spending lots of money doesn’t win you the league. In their cases, it doesn’t even get you above Arsenal.

  • Bonathan

    For clarity. i am simply of the opinion that we need a CB. That’s all. Arsene Wenger also happens to be of that opinion. So let’s see what happens. I’ll say it one more time for clarity, i haven’t said anything about spending a fortune on any player, overhauling the squad, ‘doing a madrid’ or buying set squares and rulers.

  • john

    actually, chelsea bought the title. And to suggest buying players doesn’t help is ludicrous. man city will continue to improve. money is not the be all and end all…………but it helps

  • Kieran

    There are 34 comments in this thread, so for clarity I’m not only replying to you when I post in the comments ;)

  • Bonathan

    sorry, i thought the @Bonathan bit meant it was aimed in my direction

  • Kennedy

    Chelsea bought the title and to suggest money doesn’t help is ludicrous. it isn’t the be all and end all……..but it certainly helps

  • Kieran

    Yeah obviously me quoting you and explaining why I disagree with what you wrote was fella, but the pencil case stuff, the ‘doing a madrid’ and spending a fortune weren’t. Keep up! ;)

  • Bonathan

    That’l be why I didn’t put @kieran then i’d say!

  • Kieran

    Not that this isn’t terribly exciting, but it’s a bit off topic. In any case, if you post immediately after me and only refer to things I’ve written then it’s a fair assumption that you were making a point in my direction.

    Which is cool but you didn’t actually address anything I wrote, it all just seems a bit pointless!

    Spuds and Citeh have both spent an in-ordinate amount of money and still haven’t finished above us – I know you want a centre back, I assume you know of one who is a) affordable, b) available and c) good enough to satisfy your demand? Which is all I keep saying. It’s OK for people to keep saying “all we want is this , that and the other” but those things aren’t always possible.

  • kelly

    Chelsea managed to buy the title

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @ Kieran:
    Tasci
    Zapata
    Mexes

    There’s 3 CB that meet all three of the criteria mentioned…and that was without a hatful of scouts at my disposal.

    working as an Arsenal scout must be the most annoying job in the footballing world…that and being Adebayor’s agent :)

  • Bonathan

    This is getting a bit silly but….

    since i didn’t only comment on things you wrote, as you yourself correctly pointed out (set squares) , i’d have thought it was a fair assumption to be aimed at anyone i felt may have misinterpreted my earlier posts. you correctly identified yourself as one of them, set square man was another. Had it just been just you, i might have been inclined to put @kieran.

    putting @somebody and then saying it wasn’t just @ that person though, like you did, is not something i’d do.

    as for the rest, i’m not a scout, i’ll leave that to wenger and his team. i’m sure somebody is out there and hopefully he’l find him before the trnsfer window closes.

  • Kodjo

    @ Kieran

    pls lay off Denislon …why do you call him lazy? sure rooney waltzed past him to score…could he have fouled him probably! i have said for the upteenth time that fans should not expect the blood and thunder type game from denilson cos he is not that type of player…he is purely technical…thats all you are going to get from him. Denilson is the kind of player who reads the game and makes interception and short passes as opposed to pure tackling….in the veiera mould….he probably the alonso/carrick type of midfielder.

    for the 2nd and 3rd goals conceded against man utd… the 2 centre backs made terrible mistakes …1st gallas goes on attack…trying to make the extra player in midfield which is not a bad idea but at that time it wasnt the ideal move we had over 45 mins to get into the game….

    instead of vermaelen holding his position he gets attracted to rooneys movement by trying to step in ….he doesnt get the ball and leaves the defense exposed

    i’ll count how many times vermaelen has repeated the same mistake

    against barca for the 1st goal and possibly the 2 goal…ball hoofed over towards the left side of the central defense

    against west ham conceded a penalty when he gets attracted to Franco…the ball was played over the top and he is caught pants down

    against legia on at least 2 occasions

  • Kieran

    @ Bonathan:
    I AM Set Square man, maybe now you see why I’m confused – all those things you mentioned were my points! :D

    @ Kodjo:
    I like Denilson! But he is pretty lazy, certainly he isn’t a DM. And you’re right, we make lots of mistakes across the team, but he really irritates more than others because he just shrugs after.

    @ Gooner Get Ya:
    Would all three of those players be happy not playing 1st choice?

  • Gunnersaurus

    Obviously we are the only team with weaknesses, this was evident in last year’s league campaign, as we managed to get back to the top after being behind 9 points. But, we all know how it finished at the end of the season though – one defensive howler after another.

    Even in the Champions League, going to Camp Nou with Silvestre as our starting CB is an absolute disgrace. I remember Wenger’s interview after that game and he made it pretty clear that we needed to build our team defensively, but I’ve seen no sign of this. I’m sure you all remember how you felt after that game and I am worried that we will all be experiencing the same emotions this season. We have lost Gallas (a solid CB, despite having a few personality problems), Sol Campbell (an experienced CB) and Silvestre (the less said the better).

    Getting Djourou back from injury is a breath of fresh air, but the addition of a Koscielny (physically weak) is cause for concern due to the physical nature of the Premier League. Above all, we have not adequately replaced our departed players.

    I don’t even know where to begin in the goalkeeping department. We all know the problems we have, I just hope Wenger finds a solute ASAP because Anfield is not an easy place to go on the 1st day of the season.

  • Gunnersaurus

    I meant to say ‘We are not the only team with weaknesses’ *****

  • Bonathan

    @set square man

    Ahh, you are the set square man! my bad. In that case, it was all yours.

    Back to the debates, yes, of course money isn’t the be all and end all. but there’s no denying it helps. finishing 4th and 5th is very relevant when u look at the previous years placings. and of course chelski did buy the title. Anyway, no one is suggesting we take that route

    As for the CB, I’d hope that if wenger does find someone, it wouldn’t be someone who’d expect to sit on the bench. or settle for a place on the bench. They should be competing for a first team place. and they’d have a good chance of getting one if they were of the class of the names mentioned above. I think we need that competition there.

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    I think the thing with Centre Backs is, whoever we bring in will be fairly mature – older. For one, I believe we need a Campbell type figure but also I think Djourou and Koscielny are both viewed as long term solutions and I guess Wenger will want to ensure they are not blocked. Zapata and Tasci at 23 are no older or more mature than Djourou or Koscielny so can’t really be see as mature/experience additions and Mexes has played for Roma for 6 years – a fairly high standard but hardly ‘top’ quality.

    That is why I don’t think Zapata or Tasci would walk into the team ahead of players who are the same age or older than them (Kos/Djo).

    As for money, of course it helps – my point is it doesn’t guarantee anything.

  • Bonathan

    yes, i’d agree an older campaigner would be preferable. jagielka would hav been nice but that ain’t happening. mertersacker again would have been nice. but that looks doubtful.
    i think, and i’m putting my head on the line here, you could guarentee we won’t win the league without adding to what we have. I hope i’m wrong of course. anyway, i’m sure there’l be a new face.

  • Kodjo

    Guys

    I’m sure we all agree that money helps but it doesnt guarantee success!

    We all agree that we have big problems in central defense and goal keeping positions. Yes we are not the only team without problems …but we have to take care of ourselves and not worry about others….

    Given the age bracket and the # of games our present centre backs have played with each other….it is obvious that an a commanding, older and experienced head is needed in the mix.

    To add to that given the way we play high up the pitch we clearly need a CB who reads the game well, has the physicality to compete in the premiership, a ball player and has the speed to match. Certainly not easy to find all these qualities in one player. the selling price has to be right as well !

    So the question now is are there any CB’s around with most if not all these qualities….

    Mertsacker – good but doesnt have the pace..Friedrich did most of the covering and running around…

    Spahic – rough and tumble (mad dog) type …good for the premiership…dont know about his pace.

    Zapata – strong…anticipation okay..i’m not sure about his speed.

    Cahill & Jags – wont comment on their qualities …cos they are overpriced and out of the question.

    I am apprehensive that if Wenger does not fix these problems we could end up empty handed.

  • Toni

    Is there any reason Arsenal should not bid for Jussi Jaaskelainen.. just my thought.. as I think he is better that Almunia.. what do you think?

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    @ Kodjo:
    The trouble with Spahic and Mertsacker is according to their clubs both are unavailable. Of course they might both be playing hard to get to try and drive up the price or they might just be being honest – they want to lose their best players no more than we wanted to lose Cesc. It’s awkward, for sure, and that’s why I’ve repeatedly said I just don’t think it is easy to pick a decent CB and sign him the same day, as we aren’t able to swing transfers like City/Real with massive fees.

    @ Toni:
    I really rate him as a keeper, but I think his ties with that dirty c*nt Phil Brown exclude him from ever playing for us.

  • vj

    just been reading some interesting stuff what do u guys think of WM formation for us?
    Almunia
    Sagna Vermaelen Koscielny
    Song Djourou
    Fabregas Nasri
    Arshavin Chamakh Van Persie
    okay it doesnt really work with out current squad, but with a DM it could be really good

  • Kodjo

    @ Kieran

    I agree with you, Wenger has a tough job to sign the required CB plus we don’t have and wont splash cash around for the sake of it.

    It’s easy to say sign a player….but i’m sure fans can now appreciate that it takes just more than desire to pull of a signing.

  • Bonathan

    It’s a wonder there’s been no more mention of brede hangelund this year. there’s no doubting they’d be able to get him. i guess wenger’s not that interested in him after all.

  • Kodjo

    @# Bonathan

    Hangeland’s reading of the game is good which probably makes up for his lack of pace …also good at set pieces …but too clumsy for my liking.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Martin O’neil has quit Villa, 5 days before the season!!!

  • Pete

    Some interesting stuff regarding Shay Given possibly requesting to leave City if Joe Hart gets ahead of him in the pecking order and he’s left on the subs bench.

    ‘I haven’t joined City to sit on the bench. I’ve gone there to play. If that’s not the case, I’ll sit down on Monday with the club and see where I can go after that. The manager hasn’t picked the team yet and he hasn’t spoken to me. It’s not ideal. You want to know mentally whether you’re starting.’

    Arsenal was also mentioned later in the article:

    City have also rejected offers from Fulham and Arsenal. Arsene Wenger kept tabs on Given during his 10 years at Newcastle but never accepted the club’s valuation. Given has now again been linked with Wenger as he seeks an experienced keeper.

    ‘To discuss now would be a little disrespectful to the goalkeepers they have already. Arsenal are a fantastic club, it’s just too soon.’

    “I’m 34 and you cherish every year, every game. For me, it’s very important that I play football. I know I’m at a very exciting, very ambitious club with great owners and great ambition to win trophies. That’s why I went there.’

    I reckon its a real possibility to land either him or Joe Hart, whether its on a permanant basis or a loan move, as neither seem happy to play second best to the other. I know the season starts this weekend, but the transfer window will be open for a few weeks.

  • Sam

    I’d love Shay Given to join us, but can’t see it. AW likes taller ‘keepers!

  • Berth

    Who says he does like tall keepers.

  • edison

    @Bonathan – Hangeland was all the transfer talk at the beginning of summer, but Hodgson refused to let him go, thats probably why no further advances have been made to sign him.

    As for Given or Hart i think thats NEVER going to happen. I just cant see Man City giving either keeper to Arsenal – as even more than last season we are pretty much their direct rivals.

  • Berth

    *
    likes

  • edison

    What the hell happened to the bid for italian no.2 Federico Marchetti (supposedly 5 million) ??

    WELL it seems the Marchetti will be in LONDON tomorrow

    As Italy are playing against Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

    WATCH THIS SPACE !

  • edison

    hopefully the smoke screen of the ‘ Given / Hart FOR SALE’ story should give us plenty of space to sign Marchetti.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @ Kieran:
    The defenders I listed would play as first choice alongside TV? Kos and JD would be backup.

  • Kieran

    @ Gooner Get Ya:
    But two of them are younger than Kos and JD – I thought the problem was their age and lack of experience?

  • edison

    Marchetti is in London today, somebody get this guy a medical!

  • walter

    Many Arsenal fans have thrown themselves off the cliffs after Saturday’s game. Be it mostly virtual cliffs on the internet. The world stopped turning, the forces of gravity lost their force, the end of the world was near: Arsenal conceded 5 goals in one match. Was I happy with us conceding 5 goals? No, not at all. But I really do think we are missing a few things when we see some reactions.

    Let us start with the opponents: Legia Warsaw. Now when you live in England and you can follow the EPL I can understand you don’t care about other leagues. And with the success from English teams recently in the champions league, all is it over 2 seasons that an English team has won it, some people may think that outside England football is nothing. Well they do play some football in other countries and going away to another country is never easy. No away games are easy.

    Legia Warsaw is a bit of a sleeping giant club. It still is one of the big names in Polish football. And a club that has a very hot blooded supporters clan. They even are one of the teams that is known and feared for their hooligans. They support the team with a lot of passion. I think those who have seen the game could see that for a big part of the stadium this wasn’t a friendly game at all. The fans stood behind their team in an unseen way in friendly games. In friendly games the atmosphere is normally a bit soft and gently but the fans in Warsaw made it look as if it was a Champions League game.

    So there we were with our team with some new players, with some players with a little bit of pedigree but also with a few real young players. I think players like Frimpong never have experienced such an atmosphere in their career before. And it is fair to say that Arsenal started their game like they start any friendly. They tried to control the ball and play some nice football. But Legia had other things in mind and they ran around like mad men in a cave. They pressed, they fought, they shoved, they ran, they ran and then they ran some more.

    And yes the young lads lost it a bit you can say. You could see that some of them did not really know what to do. And yes they made mistakes. Even some more experienced players made mistakes. I think in the first half hour you can point at all the players for making mistakes. I only could see the first half our live on my computer and I had written down the word restless to describe our performance. So are we doomed? Are we lost? Is the season over?

    No. When 3-0 down after some really bad mistakes, and not only mistakes by the 4 defenders but also by even some of our more experienced players we changed it around. Chamakh proved to be a player who can be used as a big and strong attacker. A good cross to him can cause problems to other teams. He scored our first goal on a beautiful chipped cross from Nasri, who was maybe the best player on the pitch in our preparation.

    And what did our so called stubborn manager do at half time? He brought in some young players. Vela, Gibbs and an older player Eboue. He made a few changes and suddenly we were on top of the game. Vela curled in an excellent free kick and Eboue of all people headed it in. I think this is the first goal he scores with his head in his career. And just a few minutes later Eboue was running on his own on goal. A few seasons ago you could have put all your money on : Eboue shooting right at the keeper, Eboue shooting the ball high in the crowd, and you would have won. But the Eboue we see now kept his head, feinted a shot and then shot the ball pass the keeper on the ground. 2 years ago he would have hit the keeper on the ground and the ball would have gone wide. Please don’t think players cannot change or get better. They do get better when Wenger and Arsenal have them at the club.

    Then Vela picked up a ball, saw the forward running Gibbs, played an inch perfect pass and Gibbs powered his shot high past the keeper. In some 25 minutes we turned the whole game on its head and had scored 4 times.

    And when we failed to clear our line and conceded a 4th goal we just came back out and scored another few goals. Vela headed a ball in the path of JET who turned it in low. And to finish the game Nasri fired in a free kick. In between Vela was very unlucky to see a shot from some 25 meters out with the outside of his left foot going just wide. And oh yes Legia scored another goal to make it 5-6.

    So yes there was some complacency at the start of the game, so yes we didn’t defend enough like a team, so yes in the first half some players lost their head a bit. Are we going to throw it all away by a bad 30 minutes?

    Why don’t we look at the last hour of the game? The hour we scored 6 goals. How many teams would have done this trick at Legia before? If there is a Legia fan out there could he inform us how many times Legia was forced to let in 6 goals at home, in one hour and after being 3-0 up?

    Why don’t we hype the performance of Eboue, from zero two seasons ago untill a player who even keeps his head cool when clear on goal these days. Why don’t we underline the great performance of Vela who gave 3 assists and who was just unlucky not to score on of the best goals ever? Why don’t we talk about the great performance of Nasri, once again this preseason? Why don’t we talk about the strength and power of Chamakh in the opposing penalty area?

    Being 3-0 down after 35 minutes, away from home, against a team full of fire, against fans who supported their team as if it was the CL final and still win is something that only great players can achieve. And some may be young, maybe to young at times, but they have something special: they will not give in and they will try to fight back. Even in a friendly game in pre season they don’t want to lose the game. And even if they started with the wrong mentality, which is a capital sin in football, they did something that few teams can do: change this mentality and start to fight for it, even in a friendly game.

    So yes we can be disappointed with the 5 goals we got against on Saturday. But we must be filled with joy by the way this team turned it round. A team that was playing without : Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Andrei Arschavin, Nicklas Bendtner. 7 (yes seven) players were missing. Some of our best players from last season and some of the best in the world and still we refused to accept defeat and fought back to win a friendly game.

    A final note, let us think back just one year on the day. That day we ended our final preparation game at Valencia and lost 2-0. Every doomer and gloomer went crazy and predicted we would finish out the top 4, we would even struggle to qualify for Europe, we would be relegated with this team, we could just stop playing and hand the 3 points to the opponents each week and go to the coca cola league.

    Tony from Untold Arsenal was in those days a beacon of light in the darkness and told us to just wait and see. And Tony was right as only one week later we started a great season which was only stopped by the biggest injury crisis since I follow the Arsenal and that is rather a while to be honest.

    Maybe those 5 goals turn out to be a blessing in disguise, just like the defeat against Valencia was last year. A nice reminder of the fact that you have to come on the field with the right attitude.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @ Kieran:
    You were saying about the criteria needed and i listed some players that met your original criteria.

    You have now added to that criteria by questioning the players age/experience and their willingness to be a bench warmer.

    What are your thoughts on this? Would you prefer and experienced campaigner who will walk in to the 1st team or a younger player that will fight for a place along with JD and Kos?

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @ Kieran:
    On another note: I don’t believe the age arguement, if they are good enough then they will play. Just look at Cesc, he was playing in our 1st team at a very young age and I dare say he was keeping out some older players then.

    The case remains that we still only have 3 CB’s in our first team as per the Arsenal website so we need one more for sure. AW may just promote within and not buy another new player, we shall see.

  • Kieran

    @ Gooner Get Ya:
    Sorry, I wasn’t trying to be difficult, I’ll try to explain:
    - I agree totally, age is usually irrelevant. You’re right to mention Cesc, looking further afield I could also use Rooney and Owen as examples of players who have come through and had a massive impact at a young age.
    - However experience is not, it is far more important. For this reason I don’t like Song in the back 4 because he simply doesn’t have much experience in the role. Young players who break through generally only do so as they have advanced precociously at a young age and have experience (I like our Carling Cup approach for this reason).
    - Now we either need a CB for two reasons, 1) We don’t have enough and 2) What we have isn’t good enough.
    - I entirely agree with you that I personally would like a new younger talent to come in and fight for a place. What better than 3 players all fighting for one place?
    - However, you and I are in the minority! Most of the Arsenal fans (judging by comments here and on other blogs) appear to not accept this. They want a ready made championship winner to parachute into the spot next to Tommy V and let JD and Kos fight for a sub spot.

    So yes, those players match my original criteria and I agree with you that they would add good depth I’m not sure that
    a) they will satisfy our fellow fans demand for a top CB
    b) be happy to leave regular 1st team football to fight for a place again.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    @ Kieran:
    So my next question is, would you be happy if AW promoted Nordtveit into the first team and left it at that? or would you like AW to buy another player?

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    @ Gooner Get Ya:
    Nordveit has only ever played one game as a centre back, he played midfield and right back on loan. I wouldn’t be happy if he was our 4th CB.