Sunday, 30 October 2011

Arsenal spank Chelsea - Official!

Morning all,

I speak to you today content with life. I have to say yesterday was one of the happiest days of my recent history. The corner, we must say has been turned and now it is the job of the boss and the players to ensure that we stay on track.

What a fantastic result. When we go to the Bridge and score five that is what the focus should be on, not the three conceded. We were a bunch of headless chickens at the back at times but it is clear that after half time, we were a far tighter unit. Chelsea on the other hand no answers to the endless bursts of attacks from the Arsenal.

Whilst at half time it looked like we may be punished for our lack of finishing simple chances and the jury on twitter was already ready to hang the boss and all the players. To be fair to the manager and the team we were pretty awesome in the second half and the goal from Santos started the tide of one way traffic.

I have not been the biggest fan of Theo Walcott but I thought he was a genuine threat throughout and he was immense. He only tackled himself once yesterday and the recovery was thrilling. A sublime bit of skill to take him away from the racist and the oaf and he smashed the ball in at the near post. Quality finish and great character from the lad.

They managed to get back into the game through a lucky but albeit great finish from the player that should have had a red shirt on. When it looks like we have thrown it all away RVP comes to save the day. If you only looked at all the papers this morning you would be surprised to know there were ten other players playing for us yesterday. Whilst I am not saying his two late goals were instrumental in our victory, I am saying there were other people on the pitch that played like titans yesterday. Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Koscienly in particular were outstanding. It is fair to say that RVP is in the form of his life and we need him fit to be the force we are beginning to become.

It was lovely to see the euphoria of Arsenal fans following the match. It has been a long time that people have felt like this and “@AshMudge I've been buzzing all day! Haven't felt like this since barca home last season!” sums up the mood nicely at the moment I think. My favourite tweet of yesterday has to be by @Faaaazilaa “@Persie_Official I was screaming after you scored my mum ran downstairs and asked if anything was on fire and I said Yeah Robin Van Persie!” Great stuff!

Chelsea 3 – 5 Arsenal

Fantastic stuff which puts us firmly in Seventh place just three points behind Chelsea now who are in third. To be fair this doesn’t include Tottenham’s two games in hand and Newcastle who play on Monday. Either way we are within touching distance of where the world, including many Arsenal fans thought we were not capable of getting to after our poor start to the season.

In all fairness it was difficult to see the horizon given how dark things had become and now we are finally in a place which looks like the right thing any setback regardless of size will be monumental. With games against WBA (H), Norwich (A), Fulham (H), Wigan Athletic (A), Everton (H) our next five games are ones which we should be winning taking our run to 9 games. This of course is very much a question of if as anything can happen but if we do manage to get this run going, it is probably as good a run as we have had in recent memory (by that I am thinking ten years). In fact even this run of four wins on the trot that we have at the moment is the best run in the league since September 2009.

Let’s hope we keep it going!

Let’s all laugh at John Terry who was eating grass as he gave up in pathetic fashion as RVP cruised past him, the Cech to slide the ball into the empty net.

Hopefully speak soon! Come on Arsenal!!


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Arsenal vs Bolton Preview

Another morning another hangover,

Imagine my delight when you have to try and be a normal human being when you are being interrogated by the in-laws to be, about all your imperfections and most of all about your dislike for anyone that doesn’t support arsenal. Worse still, the sister was promoting the sport of rugby; yes I am sure you have heard of the turd filled platter of delight. All the while pretending to be a nice person and put on a façade is not necessarily my idea of fun. Especially when you want to scream at people!

Anywhoooo, today Arsenal are playing so that places me in a better mood. We have the added benefit of seeing some of the players we do not normally get to see. I know a lot of people complain with a number of things around the Carling Cup but I do love the fact that we give a platform to our future stars. I would love to see Miyachi as for all accounts I am hearing on his performance in training and the like is excellent. Similarly with the Ox. I therefore find it slightly perplexing they haven’t had more game time. Perhaps a sign of the times where experience was essential or perhaps extra caution to not create the pressure that surrounded players such as Theo. Either way I will enjoy watching these players given a chance.

Team news is always difficult to predict in such games given the level of rotation but there are murmurs of a return for Vermaelan. Whilst that would be delightful I under no circumstances wish to see him rushed back. To be fair to his replacements, he may find it difficult returning to the starting line up if results continue in this fashion. I know we have Bolton tonight but I have more than just an eye on Saturday and a win there and I may have to indulge in a night of self love whilst watching the match again.

I expect a team of Fabianski, Djourou, Miquel, Squillaci, Santos, Coquelin, Frimpong, Benayoun, The Ox, Park, Chamakh although I would much rather Chamakh fuck off for Miyachi to play. I would expect a closer to full strength side for Bolton when compared to ours. They are under all sorts of pressure at the moment and Coyle will need the win. This would provide a decent test for these players and as such I look forward to seeing it.

I predict an Arsenal win as I usually do but I have a feeling it may be quite convincing with a star performance from the Ox increasing the pressure on the manager to include him.

Here’s to hoping I am right for a change!


Monday, 24 October 2011

Not Doomsday after all!

Morning all,

I wake up this morning in jubilant spirits following a fantastic victory albeit slightly impotent performance for the majority of the game. That was until Captain Vantastic came on to save the day, yet again.

Whilst I do not attest to the notion that we are a one man team. I felt Ramsey, Arteta and Gervinho were superb yesterday and the defence despite some awful ping pong for Stoke’s try, were generally assured and seemed comfortable throughout. So whilst it is true we needed Van Persie to come on to change the game, it was by no means a performance where nobody else performed. I think the main reason why Van Persie was required was the inept performance from our very own Morrocan, balding and very poor imitation of that poof that plays for Real Madrid.

Chamakh was truly shit. He was completely ineffectual and struggles even with the simplest of tasks. Even his “super heading” ability has deserted him. He had a wondrous opportunity which he flailed at with his head in the first half from a lovely corner. Then people complain we do not score from them. It was his inability to create any space or provide any penetration that highlighted Robin Van Persie’s importance to the team. I believe they in fact highlight the dearth of talent available to us outside of our first XI up front. It is beyond me what role Park Chu Young is playing for us and what he will play seeing as it is clear that Chamakh is shocking and he still hasn’t got a chance of getting into the team. Perhaps we shall see a bit more of what he is made of tomorrow night.

Unfortunately it seems as though there is no end in sight as I cannot see us buying a striker at the moment and I cannot see Chamakhleaving. 'The news about Marouane and Roma is absolutely unfounded. My client is happy at Arsenal and will remain here. There is no doubt.' Pierre Frelot, Chamakh’s agent told Wenger pretty much said the same as well; 'Marouane is not going anywhere. There is not a problem with Chamakh,' He is fighting for the position with Robin van Persie, who is in great form at the moment. He will get his chance; there are so many games at the moment.'

But sorry I digress. It was a decent performance and more importantly we are returning to our right place in the league. It is funny how it was all doom and gloom from everyone in the world around our club and now we are in touching distance of Spurs and Liverpool. In fact Liverpool are only two points ahead of us and considering the bumming they have had from the media at their chances to succeed this season perhaps all wasn’t so shitty in North London after all. Newcastle have surpassed even the most optimistic of expectations so far this season and you would expect their level to drop sooner rather than later which essentially sets up a race amongst us, Liverpool and the scum to get that fourth place. For now anyway.

With another huge test coming up next week against Chelsea we can in fact see how far we have come from the beginning of the season. I still feel the Spurs result was slightly unfair on us as I felt we played the better football. Unfortunately the result is all that matters and another good performance but poor result will be another major blow to us. I feel the fixture list has been a bit unkind to us especially given our fragile mental state at the moment. It seems we don’t have enough of a run against smaller teams to put a real run together and when it seems like we might be getting there, a big team is waiting ready to capitalise on our lack of confidence. We all know we cannot do anything about the fixture list and to be fair it is a pretty sad reflection on us that we cannot mentally cope with the big games at the moment.

On the flip side a positive result in this game really will suggest we have turned the corner and are back on track. The amount of confidence that will give to the team will be immeasurable. It will also put us only three points behind Chelsea who are having a host of problems of their own at the moment from suspensions to racist cunts and the like.

In addition the fixture list I have complained about up until this point is far more favourable the other side of Chelsea as it gives us the opportunity to get a run of some substance going. Our next games are as follows; WBA (H), Norwich (A), Fulham (H), Wigan Athletic (A), Everton (H) before our next game against the high flying band of money grabbing twats; City. Should be enough time and wins to get us back to where we should be; in the top four.

Certainly not the doomsday scenario most people were hoping for then.

It is with that I leave you to enjoy a beautiful sunny day.


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Arsenal Vs Stoke preview

You know what? My feeble excuses around my lack of activity even make me cringe. I feel like curling into a ball into the corner of the room, rocking, ever so slowly in a way that makes you realise that I have gone crazy. Yes, crazy! Crazy with workload, and more recently Football Manager.

I had the best of intentions to post two days ago but upon buying the fabled disc I have been unable to do anything else. So it is at 4.00am that I write this after a 48 hour gaming binge in which I have only had Bacardi to accompany me and I really do feel crazy.

So my message to you kids is; do not spend all your time playing games. Just beat people up, hang around outside shitty shops like Budgens and scare old ladies on your bikes. It is much, much cooler. Oh deary me, I forgot the most important one, ask any passer by you see if they will purchase cigarettes for you, that makes you really cool.

Anyway onto the Gunners shizzle my brizzles. It seems as though corners are being turned as we speak but we may venture around the wrong corner and come back on ourselves which really means we haven’t turned which actually means we might be going backwards because our tom tom doesn’t have a fucking clue where we are supposed to go. If we lose today, I fear that we would have in fact gone backwards. You deserve a sticker if you followed that particular linguistic treat. Clearly the nights of watching simulated text based football matches are not helping my writing skills.

It is clear that we have showed glimpses of the old Arsenal in the past few matches but the ugly wart called our defending has reared is disfigured, disgusting and  discharging head. Yes, discharging, that is how disgusting our defence can be. I however feel that these moments are reducing in duration and we are returning to a level closer to what we have been accustomed to over Wenger’s tenure.

Another win today is essential for a number of reasons, none more important than the three points the win carries propelling us into 7th place only two points behind the wonderous new collection of racist cunts King Kenny has assembled. Not bad for a team that are in disarray, have a shambolic defence and are managed by someone that has lost the plot. I wonder what the media will say about that?

It is clear that today will not be easy and any victory, regardless of the finesse involved will be greatly appreciated. It is very difficult to play our brand of football when playing rugby and their ogres will do whatever they can do to disrupt our passing. They will cause Koscienly the types of problems he would not face in Europe where he does look pretty awesome. It is interesting to hear the sudden clamour of praise coming his way following the midweek result. Whilst his performance was everything it should be, to start talking of him being a world beater may be premature:

“I’ve always liked him – he’s strong, quick, physically good, heads the ball well. For me he has everything to be one of the top centre backs around. When you have all those things it just needs a little fine-tuning here and there to become one of the best defenders.”

Wise words RVP but it is pointless having those qualities if the team around him neglects their responsibilities which is something we have improved on in the last two games.

It is also fantastic to see the CB partnership of Mertesacker and Koscienly begin to look solid. Especially with our best defender getting back, fantastic to see some genuine competition for places. If in the next two games, and it is a very big if, we ensure two clean sheets than it may be difficult for the Verminator to automatically take his place in the team.

Onto team news for today and there are a number of areas where the team is depleted but that is of no surprise to anyone. Of particular note is the position of right back which the poor lad, Jenkinson looked set to fill in has suffered a knee injury. It must be particularly upsetting for him given his rapid improvement across just two games. He was getting forward readily and in many ways nullified the opponents left wing by being so tenacious. I really rated both his performances, not because they were faultless because they weren’t, but the attitude, the willing and more importantly the enterprise. He in both games seemed a more effective attacking outlet than Theo Walcott.

So the dilemma is who we can play in the position today. I know there are many arguments for a number of players, all of which make sense but I just feel that I would not want to break up the central partnership as it seems to be finding it’s feet so for me the logical choice would be Djourou. That’s just me though, and your guess is as good as mine as to who would actually start at the back.

Aside from that the team really picks itself on the whole with two of Gervinho/Arshavin/Walcott making up the front three to accompany RVP one of the question marks but I would expect Gervinho to step in today.

I expect Szczesny, Djourou, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Santos, Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Gervinho, Walcott, RVP.

I hope that we win and I think we will but I never really know anymore. All I know is, I love the Arsenal and I will regardless!

Up the arse!


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Arsenal vs Sunderland Preview

Morning all,

Another pre-match rendition from the one, the only, the GoonerVerse. Is it me or am I the only one that has wanted an introduction like that before. Doesn’t feel quite the same when you do it for yourself but I fear it is the only time I will get such an introduction.

We go into today’s match following a much welcomed breather according to monsieur Wenger. Whilst I could do without the shitty international break I am sure there may be some truth to the statement. Everything we have touched, whether good or bad has been analysed to death by the media and even wins are scrutinised beyond belief. The pressure on the players is intense and this break is actually that for them, a break. And for once, it is a break because nobody has come back in worse shape.

In fact for today’s game we see the return of the deadly Squilaci! Now we can really get our season started… Really though, we have some players returning and are only missing Sagna, Wilshire, Vermaelan and Diaby. Seems immeasurably shorter then the last few times I have done that but the bad thing about it is, is both Sagna and Wilshire are very long term and the latter two, despite being fit soon can be expected back on the treatment table if their poor luck continues. However we have a much fuller squad to choose from and with the exception of right back we are looking in better shape around the park in general.

It seems clear from Wenger’s comments that Jenkinson will be given the opportunity to fill in at right back and fair play, that is what he was bought for. I just find it interesting that the poor lad has got his critics already as he was no worse than anyone in the games he played and the general consensus at the start of the season was that he looked the part. Of course he is still raw and was unfairly thrust into action so anyone in that situation is going to make mistakes. Aside from the united match though he was generally decent and was in a side that played some difficult ties, but then was there anyone apart from Walcott that came out of the united game with any credit?

Anyway I hope we get behind the lad today as it must be difficult enough for him. Aside from Jenkinson there is one other selection dilemma for le boss. Just in front of Jenkinson where it is either Walcott or Chamberlain. While I think a lot of people are jumping the gun on our forward, strange because it has never happened before, I do think there is something a little special about the lad already. He is already pushing Walcott at this young age which is only a reflection on how well he is doing already.

There is a lot of talk of whether Walcott should make the move up front and I wonder if we could revert to four-four-two to see how that works as it would be interesting to see Walcott plays up top, but clearly he is never going to get ahead of Van Persie. A team at the moment of Szczesny, Jenkinson, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Chamberlain, Song, Arteta/Ramsey, Gervinho, Van Persie and Walcott could work well but of course there is not much scope for experimentation. I know we would be reluctant to lose a body from the midfield but with Van Persie in a withdrawn forward role, and Walcott using his blistering pace to split defences open could we be looking at a system more akin to that of the invincibles, then now. I know that people will say that football has changed and that there is the need for the extra body to dictate the game, that is something that is not happening at the moment anyway so why not try something a little different. Also United have reverted back to four-four-two so there is evidence it still works. When fully fit that formation looks even stronger and has the potential to maybe work. Teams would not want to attack us as they are now as Walcott on the shoulders of any defenders will cause problems. This would also prevent us from being so frustrated with him, well at least in theory.

Well enough of football manager, need to wait another week or so for that so in the meantime I shall just deal with reality. I expect Szczesny, Jenkinson, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Song, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie. I doubt Chamberlain will start but I am sure he will come on.

I do expect us to win today and I have a confident feeling today for some strange reason but this fixture has been fairly tricky in recent history, so I will take any victory we get.

Enjoy today and the rest of your weekend gooners! Speak tomorrow!


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Five ways we can get our season back on track!

Morning all,

We have a long wait before we have football back in our lives. We have to make do with Rugby at the moment which is a bit like not having your TV working so you have to make do with the radio.

In terms of Arsenal news I am afraid there is nothing of any real substance but the murmurs of a £20m bid for Reina last season which he wanted to speak to us about being rejected seems to have got a lot of people excited. It is strange as this is not really news as Bob Wilson told us this at the end of the transfer window last season.

I am personally glad that we didn’t as I think Szczesny is going to be one of the worlds best. Could just be me though. It does highlight that Arsene was not as oblivious to our goalkeeping problems last summer though. What does strike me is that if he identified Reina and was willing to pay £20m why on early was nobody bought in. You’d think with our other targets costing around 10% of what we were willing to pay on a keeper then we should have attempted to sort out the keeper problem.

The funny thing is, in this instance it has helped us as we end up with a (potentially) better player, but this does highlight that despite highlighting a problem and trying to solve it Wenger is happy to just carry on if plan A does not work. Gotze and Hazard were identified to replace Fabregas and Nasri but we did buy other players in a haste of panic and without medicals on other players. For me though, the players we bought essentially replaced a number of outgoing squad players with the exception of Arteta and Mertesacker. We are still short on world class quality and it is something I have been harping on about but we need one or two in the next transfer window to ensure the other world class players we have (nearly all of which seem to be coming to the end of their contract) do not leave.

So today we are going to look at the possible players we could buy that would tick the box of Marquee signing. I have only included people we could afford and I am going to go out on a limb and declare we can afford to give anyone the wages they want. We just choose not to. So whilst the signings may not be likely these are certainly all possible if we really wanted them.

Mario Gotze – He is my personal preference and there are conflicting reports of a deadline day bid of 35 million Euros was seemingly rejected and the player said he is going nowhere for two years. However we have heard all sorts of stuff before and we all know money talks. If we wanted he would be ours in January. A sublime touch, great passing and vision, if there is a Fabregas heir apparent it would be this fella. I think he is awesome. This would also represent around a cost of £35m leaving a cool £20m left in our coffers.

Eden Hazard – Our interest in Hazard is public knowledge and lots of people claim we have an agreement to sign him next season but cannot imagine such an agreement being in place. We could definitely benefit from a clearly classy player but the ligue 1 player of the year would not find things as easy in the premiership. I have no doubt though he would add undoubted ability to the team. Would we go for him in January? I hope so but maybe this is one for the summer judging by the comments of a lot of people. I hope we buy both the above players and truly believe that is what is needed to get us back to where we belong. It would not break the bank and the wage demands of these players would not be so excessive as to present the biggest hurdle so feel we should do everything in our power to do so. But then I am just a blogger and if I had the answers then I would probably be doing something about it.

Moutinho – He is someone I am a big fan of, would likely be cheaper then all the above so would present the best value. He is a great player with some of the best control and passing I have seen but for some reason we have not as of yet been linked to him nor can I see us putting in an offer. I hope I am wrong but we could seriously do with him. I tend to wind myself up thinking about why we do not buy some of these players. We CAN so why don’t we! Argh!

Wesley Sneijder – I know a lot of people are going to say it is pointless saying this and perhaps it is because I know for a fact we will never even entertain the idea of bidding for one of the worlds best players. Of course the wages are very, very high and that is something we need to contend with going forward to keep apace with the wider world but there is no reason we couldn’t sign him and pay one person these wages. I know there are arguments against this with players looking for parity and all that. I say tell them to shut the fuck up and when they are good enough for that money they will earn it!

Carlos Tevez – Perhaps the most controversial of all for a variety of reasons. Will he cock up the dressing room, will he just leave soon anyway, stupidly high wages and of course his cuntish behaviour most of all. Is that really the type of player we want. Probably yes, he is a work horse, amazing at what he does and he will get goals. Even a loan deal until the end of the season may do the trick to assert ourselves as a force.

To be honest I do not at the moment see any of these players wanting to join us the way we are. It is a self deprecating circle and we really need to sort things out before we really are beyond immediate repair. They say things get much worse before they get better but that doesn’t need to be the case with immediate action. If however we do not buy world class players things will get much, much worse even if we qualify for the champions league as I fear we may have to let go of some of our best players again.

I apologise to everyone for such a depressing post again but with no football to talk about I am only left with my deepest and darkest thoughts to fester over. I hope I am wrong but I fear without some real action from Wenger The Arsenal he has built will be ruined. I still think we will have a top four finish; I really do but is that enough for the ambition of Robin Van Persie? Time will tell.


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Return of the Mack,

The micidy micidy micidy mack is back and I aint wack so suck on my scrotum sack. Ha. I should be a rapper.

Anyway, apologies for the unforgiveable absence in posting, it was in part due to work and also because I was slightly suicidal following last weeks result.

I did not think we were as bad as some others felt we were and I think the result was harsh but it is clear that when things aren’t going well for you, they really don’t go well. A stupid winner to give away clouded an otherwise improved performance but what really struck me was the impotence of us going forward once we went behind. The match has been analysed to death and to be honest there is not much I want to say about it. Except this; you can either be a follower or a supporter. The team, despite how shit they are at the moment and they are shit. I think me, 15 stone and 5’2” could gather a band of men at the moment that will give them a run for their money. Despite that we need to support them on the pitch and act as help not hindrance.

It is clear the pressure is on and that was highlighted by Ramsey’s comments just the other day. They know that they need to do better and if confidence is a major issue which I think it is, I think their own fans booing them will hardly help, do you?

At the moment it feels like we are knee deep in shit and unfortunately there are no shitless waters in sight. We are a team that is just above the relegation zone approaching the quarter mark of the season, our best players are ALL running into the last year of their contract with no clear resolution in sight and we have an injury list as long as my friend downstairs so I understand the frustrations. I really do, mainly because I am as frustrated. However booing or getting at the players playing will not do the slightest bit of good.

I have a number of possible solutions to our problems which every fucker under the sun has at the moment. We all have opinions to be honest some might and some might not. Do not for one minute think that these problems have escaped the attention of the club. They are all highly paid and you’d expect them to make the best decisions possible. Given our track record however I understand the anxiety around the club at the moment.

These are testing times for the club but are by no means irreparable. If we sort out our wage structure with the squad getting what they deserve and the rest superstar money then we would go a long way to sorting out the problems at the club.

If we focus on maintaining the services of what we have at the moment and literally do whatever is required than other things will fall into place. In order to keep captain Vantastic we require sufficient investment in the squad, our wage structure broken and some world class stars at the club. Even then, that may not be enough if we do not sort out our performances on the pitch and lose out on Champions League football. If we lose the next lot of stars at the club in the summer I really do fear for the club. That will seem like an irreparable job and then we must look at a new manager. I love him and these are his most testing times and we shall see how he copes. I am not saying fire him now as that will be stupid, but if this situation is not fixed then, like any manager who has had serious failings throughout a campaign, serious questions need to be asked.

I am proud Arsenal are a club that doesn’t hire and fire managers at a whim but by the same token I do not expect Arsenal to blindly allow failure and to be honest the way things are heading we are failing.

I think two world class players could sort out many of the problems just with the lift it would give everyone at the club. If these come early, in fact if they are even arranged before January then you have to think that gives out a statement of intent. Wishful thinking though I am afraid.

Anyway I will post again about something a bit more coherent this weekend.

Until then,


Saturday, 1 October 2011

MEGA POST! North London Derby preview and much, much more!

Morning all,

It seems that it has been a long time since I last spoke to you and my there is a lot to talk about. We have had a decent win in the Champions league, the youngest ever ENGLISH scorer in the premiership, Silent Stan opens his mouth and; surprise, surprise even more injury news for the North London derby preview.

So without further ado, “Let’s get it on!”

Arsenal vs Olympiacos report

Oxlade-Chamberlain became the youngest-ever English goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League, beating the record set by fellow gunner Theo Walcott as we managed to hold on for a 2-1 win.

The big summer signing in terms of transfer fee has made an amazing start to his arsenal career. Having played in the Carling Cup just a week earlier and scoring the teenager then made a dream debut in Europe's premier club competition. The Ox controlled a difficult pass on his chest to take him away from the first defender before drifting past a weak challenge and firing into the bottom corner of the net in only the eighth minute. He had a little luck in the build up but capitalised like a seasoned vet.
And it was 2-0 to not soon after as Santos embarked on a surging run down the left where his cut back towards Marouane Chamakh was cut out even though Chamakh could have done better. This did not hamper Santos’ progress though as he won the ball back and exhibited a lovely bit of skill to take him past his marker and fired beyond the keeper at the tightest of angles.

Arsenal were seemingly comfortable up until this point but following the second goal, the tide turned. The visitors had the bulk of the positional advantage and swiftly reduced the deficit following some awful marking from a corner which allowed a free David Fuster to head into the bottom corner. Whilst the corner was a well-worked short-corner routine, the zonal marking meant that nobody in the Arsenal side seemed to understand who was doing what.

I have mentioned before that zonal only works when there is complete synergy in the team and that is something, a relatively new look back four does not have. I really hope we sort this out as we have looked more susceptible to set pieces the past few games than ever before, including last season. The number of times Olympiacos exposed our lack of understanding was there for all to see. This will give all our future opponents some confidence and have quite the opposite effect for us.

There were further chances at both ends and whilst the media portrayed this as a nervous display I felt we looked far more assured in the second half and did not feel vulnerable despite the positional advantage.  Either way we saw out the match and Wenger will be happy to see his touchline ban over and without incurring a loss in any of the games.

Szczesny said this of our performance and I can’t say I disagree;

It was a very tough game… We knew before the game that it was going to be a very tough game. I think you have to give credit to our defence for keeping the result at 2-1 because they did put pressure on us. It was a great defensive performance in the second half. We did very well… We won the first half, we were 2-1 up, it was all about keeping the result that way and we managed to do that. I think we knew what we had to do. We had to keep the ball as long as we can. I thought we looked the better side in the second half and deserved the win."

In related news, Marseille had a fantastic win over Dortmund so this puts the group in balance. Hopefully when we next play Dortmund we will have some of that renewed swagger we had this time last season and we can give them a footballing lesson as well as win the heart of Mario Gotze.

Silent Stan No Longer Silent

I know I am late but I will give my thoughts on the main talking points on the two part Arsenal Ownership special in The Telegraph. A great coup for them certainly but one which suits all parties I feel. Stan was able to talk to the world through a objective party so could not be accused of propaganda in the way it would have done if it was on I would still imagine though that the questions and every facet of the interview was regulated by Team Stan to ensure that the message was focussed and there were no potential sticking points. I imagine that anyone that wanted the interview would have to strictly adhere to the rules set out or they can do one.

So Telegraph emerged victorious and probably agreed to all stipulations more readily than the other papers so have been the first media outlet in England to speak to the man since his takeover.

He was full of praise for Arsene Wenger and emphatically supported him through this little tough patch we have found ourselves in “You know something, Arsène is one of my favourite people I have met in the last 20 years. He is a great person and I love the way he handles himself. I love his focus. He is a very intelligent guy. You can talk to him about anything and, when he starts talking to people, I really love to listen to him. He should hold seminars he is so good at it. I have tremendous confidence in him. He is one of the great managers in the world.”

A glowing review of Arsene Wenger’s character then but what of his ability to manage the club? “He still maintains himself in tremendous physical shape. You have to have stamina and energy. It’s an energy business. You are coaching, training, travelling and in stadiums packed with pressure. It’s almost like you are training like an athlete. Arsène has great energy and that will always be his decision. [when he goes]… Sometimes you go through periods like that. Arsène’s our man. As an owner, that’s who we put our confidence in… Remember, five months ago, we were in a position to win everything. Everybody doesn’t need to panic. I have a lot of confidence Arsenal can compete, stay very competitive and hopefully win championships.”

On the Fabregas and Nasri situations he had this to say: “That was between Arsène and him. I like the kid but I’m not going to change his mind. Arsène made the decision. If we wanted to be really hard about it, we could have done but Arsène believed that it was the right way to do it. We talked about it when we were in London. I also get it on Nasri. If we didn’t do something on Nasri people would be looking at us next summer and saying, ‘Why didn’t you do this?’ We bought in a lot of resources that we can use on other players.”

The last part of that is most telling for me as most, if not all of the transfer proceeds was left unspent in the summer. I for one hope that we do spend it all on two world class players in the January window. More on this later.

When discussing our transfer policy in more detail though he says “Some people want their private benefactor. I don’t think it is sustainable. Maybe it is, maybe it [football] will always be the one place where there will be guys coming who are willing to pour money in. I don’t know. We have a self-sustaining model. We are committed to that model.” One thing I will say here is, that in the long term we should be committed to be self sustainable but in the interim if there is the need to improve our team, which there is.”

I do not think it is contradictory to put in some serious money to ensure we can maintain our position. If we were to buy two or three players, and paid them what they wanted to ensure we get the best players then I cannot imagine it toppling the balance to any detriment of our self sustainable model. I know it sets a precedent but for me it is a precedent I am happy with. If you are going to be a world class talent for the club then you will be rewarded. If not, you get fuck all. The number of fringe players making shit loads at the club makes me feel sick.

A lot of people say it makes them feel sick to hear footballers earn so much. I don’t agree. To be the best in one of the most popular things in the world you deserve it. It is an issue of supply and demand. If people are willing to pay their money to watch football than the people that make you want to watch are going to benefit. If a company makes something that everyone wants to buy, say a wii or an ipad, no one complains that the company is making millions/billions and so are the directors. It is the same principle, the players are what we want to watch, they are the product and we buy it so of course they will get paid. However when a Denilson earns in a week, twice what the average person earns in a year is something I understand people getting annoyed about. I think our wage structure needs to be anally fucked till it is split wide open. Lovely imagery for you for the weekend ;-).

Enough of the rant, back to Stan where he left us with this thought:

“I haven’t said a lot, I don’t know that I need to. We have really good guys out there in London. Sure, people want to know what we are doing but we are not going to do anything differently than we have ever done. There is no owner with as many years or as many hours in sports as we do. I don’t think so. We have had a good amount of success. I have a lot of respect for all of the other owners. I’m not decrying their way. What I am saying is that if you look year after year at sustaining it, Arsenal have done a pretty good job. Arsène Wenger has been the real reason for that and I like our future.”

In the second part they delve into Stan as a man and look at what type of owner he will be. Not much to report on so if you want to check out
His son does say that “I know my dad has a certain vision, he’s in it for the long haul in everything he does, from his wineries to real estate to his sports investments. He is a competitive person. My dad and I used to square off in the driveway and play basketball and baseball. When I was a little guy he wouldn’t let me win anything. There were some heated battles in a lot of different sports. He wants to win and that won’t be any different at Arsenal.”

North London Derby Preview

“How do you measure the dimension of a club? Success. Exactly. So if you look at success historically they have a lot of work to do. We have been in the champions league 12 consecutive years so once they have done that they can say of course that they are similar.” Arsene Wenger, 2009, Independent.

A lot of the build up to this game has centred around a shift in power in North London. Charlie Nicholas and Paul Merson have called Spurs strong favourites for the fixture and this is a sentiment that has been echoed by the bookies. This is exactly why I felt the need to have that quote at the start.

Whilst I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous because I am but to say that they are well above us at the moment is a bit crazy. In form terms and confidence yes they are but in terms of team when fully fit I think people are getting a bit carried away. So whilst in the short term they may look like favourites tomorrow to say they have overtaken us is ridiculous.

Team news again is not great as is always the case these days and Wenger said that for the Derby tomorrow we are looking at:

“Koscielny looks to be definitely out for Sunday, it looks short for him. He couldn't absorb any test today [Friday]. For Walcott and Gervinho a decision will be made on Saturday or Sunday. The most likely to be fit of the two looks to be Walcott. Benayoun and Squillaci are completely fit. Squillaci lacks match fitness, Benayoun does not.”

That suggests that Song is the player who is going to be stepping up to the Centre back plate and to be fair the lad he was pretty decent midweek, particularly in the second half. So this brings us to the central midfield area again. I would imagine Frimpong is a certainty given his strength which will be ideal for the fixture but who will play alongside him. Are we going to be cautious and play two holding midfielders with Arteta or Coquelin as the second one and Ramsey further forward as opposed to Arteta and Ramsey being free to venture forward. It may be a temptation but I think if we are to win it will need us to keep the ball in their half not ours.

It will be tricky but I think we can get a result and I hope everyone at the club agrees. We must go out to win as it is essential. The last time there was a international break we imploded so another one of those and suicide is definitely on the cards.

I expect Szczesny, Sagna, Song, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Frimpong, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Gervinho, RVP. That is still a good side and one that in full swing should be able to beat great teams but confidence and circumstances dictate that things are not what they should be.

I would predict a victory with a decent performance but am just too scared to jinx things. I am quietly optimistic whilst being on the verge of shitting myself.

Other News

I briefly highlighted that Stan said we have got good money from the sales of Nasri and Fabregas that we can invest in the squad. I think it is essential that we do that and do that soon with rumours mounting of a RVP exit, Vermaelan, Song and Walcott all first teamers coming into the last year of their contract. There is nothing more important than sorting out RVP at the moment. He is world class.

It is clear he is hesitant and for obvious reasons but he has always stated he loves the club so his future is up to us. We must do everything we can and unfortunately it is not simply just a case of offering him as much money as he wants.

I know it is still early and I have been very optimistic throughout all the problems we have face, but without two world class players I fear we will lose a number of world class players over the next two windows and that will be to the detriment of the club we love.

We have a minimum of £60m to spend and can clearly buy 2/3 world class players so long as we pay them the right wages. I have touched on this already and it is clear that it is possible for us to do so. Especially with all the departing players and the savings made there should be enough to accommodate three world class players with ease if we invest the money earned back into wages and increase our budget as necessary. With Fabregas 110k, Nasri 60k, Bendtnar 58k, Clichy 58k, Denilson 52k, Eboue 50k gives us an extra 388k a week to spend before the arrivals this summer.

I know it is very early to speculate who we may buy but I am certain we need to buy two marquee names which will have an immediate impact on the club. We could buy two of Gotze/Hazard/Moutinho for around £60m-£70m which would be affordable as well as provide a boost to the fans but more importantly those players that may well be in a position to demand a transfer in the summer.

It is imperative we start acting now to avoid a repetition of the summer and cement our place back as a contender for the league. Add two of those three or even one of those three and bring back Wilshire and we have a team capable of beating anyone and I mean that. A lot of people are talking about Gary Cahill but it would be difficult to have 6 centre backs on the books and a lot of people forget how difficult it is to get rid of players. If we can get rid of another couple of buffoons this winter then him and two attacking players would be great. A nice cheap player is always good but I am not convinced he solves any defensive issues we have either way.

Anyway, I feel this could be a University essay at this stage so I shall stop. Hopefully the next post will not be so late.

Have a good day and enjoy tomorrow. Hopefully.