What Did The Romans Ever Do For Us?

So, my title is of course lifted directly from Monty Python. In case you’re not up to speed, Life Of Brian is one of the landmarks of British film, and you should check it out. But that isn’t the point. A group of dissidents are sitting around and and one of them says:

They’ve bled us dry, the bastards. They’ve taken everything we had, not just from us, from our fathers and from our fathers’ fathers. And what have they given us in return?

And after a heated discussion:

All right … all right … but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and public baths and public order … what have the Romans ever done for us?

I only bring it up because it all seems horribly familiar. (Note – these are not my thoughts, but stuff I’ve read across the internet in the last few days.)

He refuses to buy a centre back, he really loves Denilson, he actively hates goalkeepers, he thinks Almunia is better in goal than anyone else in the world, he’s blinkered, he’s lied to us, he’s deceptive, he deliberately sold Hleb and bought Nasri to upset us, we should have kept Anelka at all costs and we haven’t won a trophy for 5 years. He’s lost the plot. He doesn’t have a clue. He’s tight. He refuses to buy the players we need. He’s playing with us. He hates us. He’s past his best. And what has Arsene Wenger ever given us in return?! SACK HIM!!!

Which depending on your particular level of lunacy may seem like fair points or idiocy because:

  1. He bought in Patrick Vieira. Well, he demanded the club sign him before he signed, but it’s the same thing. If it wasn’t for Wenger, Arsenal would never of had Patrick Vieira.
  2. In his first full season he won the Cup and League Double. Only our second double in our history. We won the league that year by overturning a 12pt deficit.
  3. In his second full season we came second, missing out by 1pt.
  4. ’00 saw us reach the Uefa Cup final, 2001 the FA Cup final. (I was at both, a heartbreaking two years.)
  5. 01/02 saw us get our second League/Cup double under Wenger, the third in our history.
  6. 02/03 we won the FA Cup making us one of only 6 teams to win back to back FA cups.
  7. 03/04 we were the Invincibles. We went an entire season unbeaten. We scored in every game. Only PNE have managed this in the top flight of English football, and they played 22 games. Significantly less than our 38.
  8. 04/05 FA Cup winners.
  9. 05/06 Champions League Final
  10. He is our most successful manager ever
  11. He bought Thierry Henry to AFC
  12. He rejuvenated Tony Adams
  13. He was (as of 2008) the only Premier League manager with a team playing European football to make a profit on transfers
  14. He’s qualified for the Champions League for 13 consecutive seasons (a record).
  15. He bought us Cesc Fabregas
  16. The team that went 10 consecutive CL games without conceding a goal on route to the 2005/2006 Champions League Final cost less than £5m to assemble.
  17. He masterminded the clubs (and now England’s main) training ground at London Colney
  18. He masterminded the move to the Emirates.

The man even has an asteroid named after him.

Do not underestimate the challenge to a football club of funding and building a brand new stadium and making the move, without going bust. Barcelona couldn’t afford to pay their players over the Summer and Portsmouth couldn’t afford to pay the electricity bills. Neither club have had to make such a move – in that context, the fact that we have managed such a complex upheaval and not financially collapsed, or resorted to private ownership, should be treated as a major accomplishment in itself – and it is something that would have been impossible without Wenger.

All right, all right, but apart from bringing in Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry and reigniting the careers of Bergkamp and Adams etc, apart from winning 2 League and Cup doubles, apart from winning back to back FA Cups, apart from taking us to a champions league final, apart from qualifying for 13 consecutive champions leagues, apart from being our most successful manager ever, apart from taking us unbeaten through an entire season, apart from the new stadium and training facilities, apart from all that – what has Arsene Wenger ever given us?

So before you start getting all hysterical from behind your computer screen in future, just sit back, breath deeply, stick on your Invincible’s DVD and think “wow, aren’t I a lucky bastard to be following such a magnificent team!”. If after all that you’re still angrily smashing stuff and demanding Wenger’s exit, maybe you should try a club like Chelsea or Man City – I hear they’re both still accepting applications for spoilt supporters who have a false sense of entitlement.

  • dean

    If we buy a new keeper what happens when he also has to keep covering every inch of the box because our defenders are to small and poorly positioned for set pieces? Are we then going to vilify Schwarzer or Given or whoever we buy? Has anyone at point noticed that our keepers are forced to make stupid runs and punches because we have absolutely no height and defensive capabilities against corners in particular. Little wonder Almunia insists on having players on the posts for everything. I have been looking at this for a long time now and I am really starting to see that our keepers are not protected in certain areas of the game in particular set pieces. Having watched a bit of football in my time and especially Arsenal we have for a long time before the last few seasons had god height and protection in the box. Many crosses etc hardly ever made it to the box on a short ball forcing players to hit a long corner or free kick which always comes with more issues. Looking back on Almunia’s performances we tend to forget the many many great saves, penalty saves etc that he has given us but of course we are only famous for our errors I guess. I am not sure that having the best GK in the world would cure Arsenal’s problems at the rear rather would just divert what could be the real issue onto another player to blame. For me the answer is to get some height on the front post and in the centre. Now you may remember we used to put Adebayor on the front post and he was forever heading balls away therefore averting much of the problem, now we have Diaby who for some reason plants himself in the middle of the box every time. Is it any coincidence that since we have lost the height we seem to be worse at the back, is this really the keepers fault? I feel that we may be avoiding a problem rather than dealing with it by purely blaming keepers.

  • vj

    but seriously guys we need a CB but saturday and yet during a period which should be the most frantic, there are no rumours

  • http://kierandelaney.net kierandelaney.net

    The purpose of my article is not to suggest the team or manager are perfect. Wenger has his failings and the team is not complete.

    The purpose of the article is to suggest that people demanding Wenger leave just because we need a Center Back are idiots.

  • Berth

    Idiots – That is not very diplomatic is it.

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

    Hear hear! Well said, Kieran. We really have no right to be moaning like spoilt brats. It could be worse, and if not for Arsene, it definitely would be worse!

  • tom

    Nasri out – having knee surgery :(

  • vj

    cmon, why can’t we ever catch a break, always people getting injured

  • Goonerman

    Very true! There are moaning fans after an away draw at Liverpool and it is pathetic to be starting the moaning now, we have had a rough few years bit like you say we have moved to an amazing new stadium and we are not struggling financially! That is very impressive.

    Also I went on a couple of other forums and there are idiots moaning at wenger because nasri is injured, they think if we buy huge playerour injuries will stop, I’d say the reason injuries like that happen is because every 2 minutes nasri is getting taken out by a Liverpool player! And it is a blow because he has looked sharp but I’m sure cesc and rosicky can chip on and do a job in the next month they are hardly bad replacements lol!!

  • Yemi

    Under any circumstances, a draw at anfield is a good result, so is a draw at the bridge or old trafford. A win will be fantastice though !!! Just as man u and chelski come to emirates to pick all 3 points.

    On the transfer front, i still think we need 2

  • Yemi

    I also agree that the defense ,starting from DM down to GK is what separates the other big clubs from us. We scored quite a number of goals last season and for a long period(up to 3 quarters of the season) we were actually the leading goal scorers. But in the long run, our defense let us down and we conceded way too many goals.

    Therefore, i agree that we need at least 3 players(GK, CB & DM), I am certain we will get 1 of GK or CB but i doubt if wenger will get 2 more

  • Sam

    Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) are behind a new initiative which will hand the club’s fans the opportunity to purchase a small shareholding in the club.

    Fans can sign up to the scheme online, and will have the chance to buy ‘fanshares’ for £95 each, one hundredth of the price of an actual share in the club.

    They will then be entered in a ballot for a seat at the club’s Annual General Meeting. Any fan who buys 100 fan shares can have their membership status changed to full voting rights, equivalent to one full share.

    The initiative has the full backing of the Arsenal hierarchy.

    “Arsenal Fanshare has been established by the AST to increase supporter ownership and representation at Arsenal,” AST spokesman Tim Payton told reporters.

  • edison

    samir nasri out for up to a month, good thing we dont have any champions league qualifiers to worry about and a fairly easy stint of premier league fixtures in the next four weeks. And of course a very capable and on form Thomas Rosicky to take up the role. Did anyone forget about Cesc too? we can actually afford to miss out nasri for once it seems!

  • Gooner Get Ya

    We should have Djourju, Cesc, Song, Denilson and RVP back though as it only says they will be short for Liverpool game. Unless anyone knows different?

  • fan

    I think song and denilson will be still out. heard arsharvin might be out too

  • Bonathan

    Armand traore could be on his way out. does anybody care?

    How often do you actually need a 3rd choice LB? ot very often usually although last season was an exception. Similar to our other two LB’s in that he is a bit of a flyer and gets forward well.

    Very dodgy defensively though and to be honest, i’d probably rather one of our centre backs was moved to LB for a game. Tommy V has played a lot at LB before his time here so that would be a nice option,……providing of course we have a good CB to cover for him!

    still only 20 though. could still come good if he fills out a bit. At 6 foot 1, he has decent height. Be hard to turn down any decent bid though and i’d say he’d jump at the chance of 1st team football for benfica. if that’s what they are wanting him for.

    and let the injuries begin! nasri out, bit of a blow but We have plenty fit who can cover but lets just hope this isn’t the start of a load of injuries like last season

  • Kodjo

    For tactical reasona i’d keep Traore if only Wenger will give him games…he’s by far the best crosser that i am aware of in the team.

    I am of the view that Arsene could use Traore in an advanced position like the way Bale is used at sp*rs….giving us options and getting the ball quickly into the box.

  • Nick

    City have completed Milner signing. Stephen Ireland went the other way to Villa. Congrats to Ireland for getting out of that nightmare.

    When are we gonna sign anyone?

    Me thinks Traore will never see the kind of time he wants.

  • Bonathan

    not sure on the final money that transfered hands there but if it’s anywhere near what was being touted, villa have done very well out of that. from what i can gather though. they won’t be spending it, which is rumoured to be the reason for martin leaving

  • http://Kierandelaney.net Kierandelaney.net

    They aren’t weakened though – they’ve got Ireland to replace him, a player who is younger and arguably better in the attacking midfielder role that Milner occupied next to Petrov for Villa last season. It really is a great deal for Villa.

  • Berth

    Squillaci???