Surely one of the most uninteresting International breaks of all time is now over… and it’s lull-i-bye to any further Internationals for a while… fingers crossed… Having seen injury after injury after injury come from International break after International break after International break, it’s make or break time down at the Arsenal in terms of who comes back injury free.

The official site announced that Koscielny, Djourou and Squillaci are all back… I would actually swap all three of them being injured for Thomas Vermaelen being fit. As far as we know, the last announcement about Vermaelen was at the end of September when Arsene said he’d be back at the end of October / beginning of November. At the time of writing, Van Persie was due to start for Holland against Sweden in Sweden, and I hope he comes through unscathed.

With our away form absolutely appalling at present, we must must must win at the Emirates on Sunday (yes, we have to wait an extra day!)… Niklas Bendtner is ineligible to play on the weekend, as he is on loan for the season, but nevertheless, Sunderland are no mugs – they have experience in last year’s Man United reserves and fringe players and Steve Bruce is under pressure for a result. And managers love to get a result against the Arsenal when they’re under pressure, don’t they?

This season I’ve often commented on Van Persie’s striker role in a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 that we play and likened it to how we used to play with a 4-4-2… Personally, I am a big fan of the former formation, when Bergkamp played just behind Henry. Well, since my comments, it’s interesting that Dennis, the maestro himself, has commented on the current formation and seems to think the same thing….

The former Gunner said:

‘When I look at Robin Van Persie, he is the front player, but he is better in my old role. They are missing an out-and-out goalscorer. Now they play with an extra midfielder instead. The midfielders are all the same sort of players. You need one who wants to get in behind Van Persie.’

And he’s quite right – Van Persie would thrive on having someone playing through the middle with him – and surely that man is “I’m a central striker”, Theo Walcott. Van Persie & Walcott = a younger (and still to develop) version of Bergkamp & Henry. The problem with that formation is that it requires two very good midfielders to marshall the middle of the park – and Song & Ramsey & Arteta have something missing. One of the things to remember too, is that Bergkamp & Henry used to close down very well, something which the current team doesn’t quite do.

But I would love to see Van Persie and Walcott up front, with Gervinho & Oxlade on either side and Jack & Song marshalling the midfield… it may just change the way we play, we might actually end up scoring more than we concede. Which in itself was a previous trait – remember 10 years ago… if Arsenal conceded, you knew they would go down the other end and score a goal straight away. In fact teams used to be scared to score too early against us. But maybe Theo down the middle is not the answer – maybe Park Chu-Young is the answer – he scored his 7th goal in 4 games for his country today. Pretty amazing form for Korea…

No matter what we do, who we play, how we play, if our mentality is right, we will win against Sunderland. In fact, the support behind Arsene is dwindling – the comments I’ve seen have amazed me – and if we don’t win this weekend, then they will only get worse for sure…

Hopefully by the time I write the next instalment, there will be some positive news about the International break with all players returning unscathed…

Did I just jinx it?

  • arsefan101

    RvP is not injured! Yeahy!
    Also, reading reports that we’ve offered him a new 4 year contract

  • junior

    To me Arsene Wenger shows lack of ambition as a manager. Why would any top manager want to manage a team that see’s his best players get sold each year due to so called financial restraints? Do you think Mourinho, Gaurdiola, Hiddink, Ferguson would put up with this??? Don’t be so stupid they would have walked along time ago! So then to my next question. What is keeping Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? Is it money? Because it certainly ain’t because hes lifting silverware every season or competing like he should. If I was playing Football Manager 2012 and not winning on it I would chuck the game in the bin. What enjoyment does he get out of seeing his team underperform most of the time? Also all the stick and critisism he gets? Wonder what the rest of the fans think? The way I see it if the manager has no ambition then how can the players find the ambition to perform to win things?

  • Yemi

    Park is going to stay only 2 seasons at arsenal. He score a hat-trick followed by a brace in the last two games for korea. Why on earth has he not seen any action in arsenal ?

    I would prefer an arsenal attack line that includes


    with a midfield og


  • junior

    who gives a toss mate?
    not like this team gona win anything

  • Tone

    G’day All, been reading a lot of the comments over the past few days and felt obliged to comment on the way our club is going at the moment. I think Quality players should have been brought in 6 years ago and that should have been continued throughout that period, Arsenal fans were not screaming after the sales of Cesc and nasty Nasri, they were merely angry and frustrated that the squad was nowhere near good enough in the first place. How many seasons now have Arsenal needed 2 or 3 quality CB’s? The fans disappointed was answered on that score by bringing in idiots like Squillachi, Koscielny, Senderos, Djourou and Stepanov’s. If football and success is to be measured by how much money the club owner is willing to throw after a trophy, and the governing body doesn’t want to act to change that, then Arsenal should let Uzmanov have control before his cholesterol gets the better of him.

  • Pires

    The wage bill is higher than I thought! Unbelievable. It’s GONE UP to over £120 mil!!! I know we got rid of a few people but we’ve brought in a few too. That is truly unbelievable stuff I have just read, and makes a mockery of ‘self sustainability’!!!!

    Fucking farcical. Read those figures again. Then ask yourself how a club that manages to concede 4 and lose to Steve Kean managed Blackburn and ship EIGHT at OT, can possibly justify that wage bill, or a 6.5% increase.

    When Gazidis/Kroenke next insult you lot at an AGM, don’t let them get away with it. Don’t let ‘self-sustainability’ and ‘cannot compete with Citeh’ be used legitimately because Arsenal’s wage bill is only lower than Man United’s by just over £15 mil!!!!!
    Crying or Very sad

    What Gazidis, Wenger and Kroenke donot understand, is that this Holy Trinity of C**s, through their sheer arrogant incompetence have actually helped Usmanov to become more popular than he ever could have dreamed of!!!!

    A combination of Wenger’s rank management, with the lack of pressure at board level, and Gazidis’s complete cluelessness about European football have increased Usmanov’s legend.

    If you think a man as rich as Usmanov would tolerate the shite we are seeing now, thin again. Remember, Kroenke has borrowed plenty and the money where he’s from comes from his wife mainly.

    Usmanov has more cash than Abramovich.

    Two billionaires on the board but Arsenal ‘cannot compete with ManYoo (the Glazers up to their arses in debt) and Chelsea’.


  • arsefan101

    @ Pires:
    Your comment is having a go at the board, but by the end of comment, you actually contradict yourself. Self sustainability means having the 4th biggest wage bill in the country and managing it yourself without the need for the billionaires..

  • junior

    Mate – do you understand the concept that football is competitive? That it is a results-driven business?

    I don’t care what a manager wins with my club, if he then allows my club to sink away and get relegated. Sure I’d appreciate what he won but I would want him sacked immediately (but hopefully long before it got to that point).

    Why do so many modern fans think a bit of success entitles a manager to a job for life?

    Wenger is paid a fortune by our club (that’s you and me in the end) to deliver success. He is not at a small club where he is paid moderately to deliver survival and maybe a good cup run. He is at one of *The Big Three in the highest profile league in the world and is paid millions to deliver success. It is that cut and dried. If he cannot do it to some acceptable level then he needs to go.

    Scrapping for 4th every season is not acceptable.

    *(The Big Three for me is still Us, Manure and the Mousers. Fuck the chavs and their couple of seasons of recent success. When it comes to tradition, history, fame, long term success, fan base etc THAT is The Big Three).[/quote]

  • junior

    The chavs became a rich club as did Citeh – they are not yet part of a Big 3 or Big 4 by any stretch of the imagination. If in 20 or 30 years time they have proven some form of sustained success, have a far larger fan base (both in Engerland and abroard) than they do now, then they can be considered big boys.

    But no self respecting football fan with any type of pedigree would consider them there yet. I don’t know how old you are but you sound like maybe early 20’s because your point of reference seems to be recent success (in the chavs case) and recent riches (in the both chav and Citeh cases).

    But a club’s status is not dictated solely by current wealth.

    Arsenal have had success in most decades since the 30’s, Mousers since the 70’s and Manure since the 80’s (some would say the 60’s). The game is only just over 130 years old! Yet we’ve had repeated successes for 80 or so of those years, the mousers roughly 50 and manure roughly 30 (or 50 if you count their 60’s successes).

    And another key part of this is also the fact that all three clubs have dominated the game for the best part of a decade – us in the 30’s, Mousers in the late 70s to late 80’s, manure in the 2000’s.

    The chavs and Citeh cannot compete with that type of status just because they are now rich clubs.

    That is not what football is about to real football fans. It’s about tribal status, it’s about one-upmanship on rival fans, it’s about the glory of winning and sustaining success, it’s about pride in the team and the players.

    It hasn’t ever been about bragging about being a fucking rich club until recently. “Fans” like you are what has gone wrong with the game. You don’t understand where the game came from, what it’s appeal was. Once you have your comfy seat, a £7 hotdog and no one making any noise near you in a nice shiney stadium you are happy.

  • junior





    Its the 125th birthday of our wonderful institution that is called Arsenal football club.

    We have seen top flight football every year since 1919 and boast a proud history.

    We have had hard times, no cups of note during the 60s
    No title challenges from 53-70
    No FA Cup wins from 50-71 and 79-93
    Long periods of wilderness and some top flight battles notably during the mid 70s

    But seriously never ever in my time as a gooner have i felt so low…..this is atrocious..

    I had hardly anyone text me when we lost 8-2
    I have today received 20 plus texts laughing at me from QPR, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Man Utd and even a Plymouth mate of mine….all taking the piss…

    I go to work on Monday knowing every kid in my skool is gonna take the piss along with my teaching colleagues.

    I had to sit and watch like all Gooners the worst crock of shit i have seen in blue and white amass THREE shots on goal and score four….


    Since February and that joke final we have been basically appalling…..


  • junior

    pires you bored the hell out me. Look, I keep reading on here about the decline of the club over the last 5 years.
    It is very strange, every time I come on here it feels like entering a parallel universe.

    The last 5 years Arsenal have been easily the 3rd best side in the Premier League. It is only Abramovich’s money which has relegated us to 3rd and stopped us winning trophies that occurred in the first 10 years in which Wenger was in charge.

    Here are the Premier league points from the last 5 seasons:

    1. Man Utd 431
    2. Chelsea 408
    3. Arsenal 366
    4. Liverpool 294

    Now that Man City have joined Chelsea in spending BIG money it is entirely possible that Arsenal may fall further. Certainly it is unrealistic to expect either Wenger or ANY OTHER manager to challenge for the title if there is not significant investment in the team. That is why the target should be Kroenke and not Wenger at the moment. Until Usmanov puts BIG money into the club it really does not matter whether Wenger is there or not.

  • devday

    @Pires – comment removed as stolen!

  • junior

    The comments from Hazard’s agent have got me pondering the rumours. Real Madrid seem a more likely destination, for ovbious reasons like better wages and transfer price, and possibly more chance of winning something, but if he is smart he will come our way, assuming of course Wenger and co. get their act together and put in a realistic bid. He will be guaranteed a starting spot, fitness permitting of course, he will be a very important member of the squad, he will be playing in the best, most competitive league in the world, all of which will help him to develop into a true world class player. If he goes to Real there is a lot more competion so his starting spot wont be guaranteed, he will be one of several similar players, Mourinho doesn’t want too many unproven players so he may not get played as much as he would like, and given all of the money Real have, they would quickly find another player to fill his spot if he doesn’t take off quick enough. I hope he does come our way, but given the current situation, I wouldn’t expect any loyalty what so ever, and we will end up with another Nasri scenario

  • mikeyb

    The economic downturn has hurt us, but with the squad we have, should we be down in 15th place? No. Why did we allow the Nasri/Cesc saga to drag out? Why did we sign Benayoun on loan? Why did we wait until the last second to sign Arteta? Last season, we spent a combined £15m on Squillaci/Kosicelny… we would have had Cahill for that. We wanted Schwartzer… granted, he wouldn’t have been an amazing signing to be fair, but we dallied and lost out.

    We’ve not necessarily become shit due to lack of money, we’ve become shit through poor management at all levels of the club, spending what little we have on the wrong solutions, overpaying players and dishing out big money extensions to undeserving players, allowing a lazy atmosphere to develop by continually playing poor players like Almunia and Denilson when we all knew they were crap.

    Kroenke has come in on the board, offered nothing to the fans, doesn’t attend any games, is never in the UK, offered no financial input or assistance whatsoever – the club even had to pay his £3m in legal fees FFS. And strangely this is almost the exact sum made back through the ticket price hike – self sustainable model hitting the fans in the pockets AGAIN whilst a multi-millionaire sits there offering fuck all and a rich Russian businessman who owns nearly a third of the club is prevented from seeing financial reports and refused a seat on the board.

    Disruptive influence? I think the only thing Usmanov would do is oust the frauds at our club and reveal that everything we’ve been told about the club’s finances is a complete load of horse shit.