The Defence: Where Did It All Go So Right?

In the space of a year our central defence has gone from a unit, viewed by many, as one capable of winning the league to one that should be broken up and sold as scrap and then back again, maybe not back to winning the league, or at least not this season, but certainly back to a point where people are not longer calling for Italian sounding defenders to be bought immediately to replace the out of sorts partnership of Toure and Gallas.

Where did it all go wrong and how was the turnaround achieved?

The obvious starting point was the Birmingham game, we all know what happened that day and the only curious thing that remains is how it still divides us. There are those who think that it was no way for a captain to behave and there are those, like myself, who sympathise, and view his behaviour as understandable, having just watched 6 months hard work go out the window.

This season started with high hopes, maybe one or two concerns about the mid-field which have turned out to be completely valid but as far as the defence was concerned, there seemed to be no reason why they wouldn’t continue at the same high standard as they left off at the previous season.

That was until we started leaking easy goals and dropping points: the finger of blame being pointed directly at Gallas and Toure. Everyone had a theory as to what had gone wrong and why the partnership was no longer working. They ranged from Toure not having shaken off a bout of malaria he had contracted in the close season to Gallas longing to return to France, although, probably the most common was that the two of them had got it in to their heads that they couldn’t play together.

What fascinates me is how Wenger went about solving the problem. He seems to have deconstructed the partnership, rebuilt each player’s confidence before finally reuniting them.

Relieving Gallas of the burden of captaincy was probably the obvious first step. The next step was to rebuild his confidence which he did quite easily by playing Silvestre next to him. It is obvious that they both have a great deal of respect for each other: a common language and the fact that Silvestre is left footed all helped. Gallas’s game started improving immediately; Silvestre wasn’t doing too badly either and a goal against spuds was an unexpected but welcome surprise.

Now I know that Silvestre is another player that divides us, there are those who will only ever see him as a manc b………d and will never accept him no matter what. And there are those, like myself, who see him simply as very experienced back up; an inexpensive insurance policy taken out by Wenger at the beginning of the season just in case both Toure and Gallas get injured at the same time. I mean, it’s not as if we signed Teddy Sheringham is it?

Toure’s confidence had plummeted; he had put on extra weight, things got so bad that he even put in a transfer request and there are some of us, and to my shame I include myself, who thought that it might be better if he left. Wenger solved this in a similar way but instead pairing him with Silvestre, Wenger chose Djourou. Toure was made captain; he was in charge; he knew exactly what he was doing and his game started improving.

The two pairs of Gallas and Silvestre and Toure and Djourou seemed to play alternate games building confidence every time they played until being reunited for West Ham at home on the 31st of January and it is worth emphasising that we have only conceded three goals since. The case for the defence rests…I know, I know, I just couldn’t resist it.

Written by London

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163 Responses to The Defence: Where Did It All Go So Right?

  1. London says:

    Mornng Everyone.

    I am up early as I have to take Mrs London to the hospital for X-Rays. Later

  2. London says:

    rico01 Says:
    April 3, 2009 at 5:34 am edit

    Few little snippets around – if this one is true then personally I think its really good news, Arsene had confirmed to the board that he will stay at least until 2011, and probably beyond. I really think he is the best man for our club, and why would he bring so much youth only to walk away when they are ready to shine?

    Nasri is a doubt with Flu, but Robin, Eduardo and Diaby are all definately out.

    The only one that really saddens me is Eduardo, and of course Nasri if the flu is for real..

    Vela returns today, and will be in the squad if needed.

    Sven has been sacked by Mexico, what a surprise!

    So against Man City – I hope we see

    Almunia

    Bac Gallas Kolo Clichy

    Nasri Cesc Song Arshavin

    Theo Nik

    Subs – Merida, Denilson, Jack, Ade, Djourou, Fabianski Ramsey ( Vela if Nasri out, and start with Ade and Nik, Theo on the right)

  3. rico01 says:

    Morning London, hope all goes well at the hospital, give Mrs London my best wishes ..

    Top post again by the way, very interesting and spot on

  4. London says:

    Rico

    Nasri has got Man Flu of course it’s real.

  5. London says:

    Opps Thanks Rico

  6. rico01 says:

    You sure Arsene wasnt keeping him away from the internationals… 😉

  7. rico01 says:

    Oh, and if its Man Flu, he will be out for the reat of the season 😉

  8. rico01 says:

    oops – rest, not reat ! 😦

  9. chaf1 says:

    Good morning morningers.

    London, some good points.

    I’m not sure about the defence. I only thought that Toure plays well when he’s told what to do (ie Campbell). I just don’t think they are organised enough. We may have only let in 3 goals but they have been soft, and I still think any Allardice type of team with good headers will score against us.

    Not convinced of London (Area)…Not you London!

  10. Rasputin says:

    Morning roadsters,

    Thought provoking post London although it could be viewed as looking at a series of events and then trying to find a thread that ties them all together rather than the way circumstance dictates matters 😉

    Now we have a serious lack of strikers, I am beginning to think that my prediction of 2:1 may be optimistic. There is no mention of Ade – am I to take it that he is out of contention for saturday?

  11. kelsey says:

    Morning rico/london.

    Ben is back late this evening.Thank you for asking.

    So a 45million bid is on the table from Barcelona for Cesc,the papers are over here are full of the story,which it most probably is sheer propoganda,nevertheless it’s a hell of a price which in itself could cause a massive debate of the pros and cons.We all know he will eventually go back to Barcelona,but remember he is still very young and has played over 200 games for us already.We have had our longest unbeaten run,without him in the side,and maybe there is an element of truth that as he played a bit part,(i stress) in Spain winning the Euros,he is hungry,quite naturally for more success, but where ? barcelona are currently regonised at the best team in europe at the moment.Has he become arrogant,as the tabloids suggest,surely not ?

    When players kiss the badge and state they are committed to honour the contract with the club that they proclaim they love,does it really mean anything anymore.i am not suggesting that the rumours are true,but with the Highbury Development currently being a sticking point,who knows as first and foremost the club is run as a business to make a profit, and if the offer materialises one can’t be really sure what would happen.

    Never say Never.

  12. peachesgooner says:

    Morning all

    I shouldn’t be here but I had to say helloooooooo – got so much to do, includes paper-work so I can just about justify checking-in.

    Good post London – interesting thought that Arsene sought to re-build their confidence individually. I always thought it was a pretty poor decision to make Gallas captain in the first place but thats another discussion. Good luck st the hosp with Mrs London.

    rico – did those chickens wake you up so early?

    morning kelsey and chaf

  13. kelsey says:

    No disrespect to you post,london, i would like to reread it before giving what amounts to only my opinion.

  14. peachesgooner says:

    rico – I love the idea of Theo and Nik together up front – can’t see Arsene being that bold though….shame 😦

  15. peachesgooner says:

    morning rasp – new philosophy – strikers are just players that start up front anyone can score a goal 😆

  16. rico01 says:

    Morning peaches, raf and chaf…

    peaches, not the chickens, the little furry one was not so good, so i got up and nursed her, she wont eat and trying to hand feed a stubborn piggy is bloomin difficult 😦

  17. rico01 says:

    peaches – theo and nik would = 5 goals 😉

  18. Rasputin says:

    Morning peaches,

    We’ll see whose prediction is closest on saturday! – obviously I have to hope that yours is the winner 🙂

  19. peachesgooner says:

    Shall I have this discussion with my self?

    I was chatting with a young gooner yesterday and we were having a debate about the merits of Nikki over Ade – usual stuff from me, Nikki a better footballer, Ade lazy and unable to stay on-side, find an arsenal player with a header and put away a good many easy chances (I appreciate Nikki is guilty of this too).

    We talked about how many fabulous combinations of mid-field player we have when everyone is fit and how mouth-watering the possiblities were for creating goal-scoring opportunities.

    Nevermind 6 up front we ended up with 8 up front 😆

  20. Rasputin says:

    Peaches – good teams all have one thing in common – balance. We have started to field balanced sides and that has made us a much more effective unit. If Cesc returns and Nasri is out, there may be some re-adjustment. We should not expect Cesc to come back and be amazing straight away. He wasn’t having a great season before his injury.

  21. Rasputin says:

    RVP and Nasri have been really important in our build up play of late. I certainly think that tomorrow could be another chance for Arshavin to shine 😉

  22. rico01 says:

    peaches – thats funny, and to be fair Diaby showed as good a finish against Newcastle, as we have seen all season, and Arshavin’s – none of our strikers are really on the ball this season, bar Dudu of course, so are you expecting to see

    Gk
    4 x defenders
    6 x Midfielders, that solves the problem that Raddy was talking about the other day 😉

  23. peachesgooner says:

    rasp – I know its gonna be really hard not to have high expectations of Cesc but he is our captain and hes going to be eager to play and he does have Arshavin to feed to on one wing and Theo on the other. Plus Eduardo up front……..

  24. Rasputin says:

    Peaches, I was talking soleley about the citeh game where we have no Theo, Nasri, Eduardo or RVP. I agree totally about the future looking very bright indeed – I’m just cautious about tomorrow

  25. rico01 says:

    Rasp, Theo is in for tomorrow I read earlier, and Nasri has a sore throat – but could still play 😉

  26. peachesgooner says:

    rico – the GK and defenders are a given but as long as the six in front of them are intelligent, at certain times during a game yes thats the plan. Van persie has been playing deep, looking for the ball, influencing the play and now that we seem to have got back in the habit of attacking as a team I think we should go for it.

    Ade doesn’t really fit into that set-up, but we’ve seen Eduardo is happy to make assists…..

  27. peachesgooner says:

    Why no Eduardo – he played the other night?

  28. rico01 says:

    he has a slight groin strain peaches

  29. rico01 says:

    But then again, I dont believe that either, nor Robin – I think Arsene is thinking about the Villa Real game and just not taking any risks

  30. Rasputin says:

    With Nasri and Theo playing and thew mouthwatering prospect of seeing the interplay between Cesc and AA, I’m a lot more confident. We owe them one after the way they completely outplayed us at home. I’m not too bothered if Robinho plays, but I’d rather that scumbag Bellamy wasn’t on the pitch.

  31. peachesgooner says:

    This is funny rasp – the times had to issue Mr Bellamy an apology

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/article6025141.ece

  32. avenell says:

    Morning Roadsters..

    An interesting theory London I am sure at least some of it is correct.
    I thought the defence went downhill last season when Sagna got injured soon after his family problems.
    Instead of simply replacing like for like, that is Eboue in. He went and shifted the entire defence around.
    A semi fit Toure got moved to the right back position, then Djourou and Song got put in the centre,
    Gallas who normally plays left side CB got moved over so Clichy had a new team mate next to him causing him problems.
    Then Song at right back was a complete joke.
    In the meantime Theo was sitting on the bench watching our best available right back play in his position..
    I could have done a post with that rant lol…

  33. Rasputin says:

    I think it would be a mistake to give the CL priority over the prem – they should be given equal importance and we should play the best possible side for both games.

  34. Rasputin says:

    Morning ave,

    Wenger is a brilliant man, but it is stretching it a bit to deduce that the pattern of team selection earlier in the season was part of some ingenious masterplan. He does look increasingly smug now I must say, because his faith in the players looks to have been well founded and the returnees will make a difference. Who knows who was really responsible for our disasterous transfer policy over the summer, but there is no denying that the injection of class and creativity that AA has brought has been a major boost to the side.

  35. kelsey says:

    morning peaches/chaf and all.

    I spent an hour writing that post and nobody commented on it 🙂

    These really are 2 important matches coming,it would be nice to have a 6 point cushion before Villa play.I think it is near impossible to name the team for tomorrow,with doubts or injuries to some of the players.
    By the way i read the reason Fabianski wasn’t even on the bench when Ireland played Poland,was that he was violently sick the morning of the game,and christ the polish keeper made Robinson look good.

    RVP,Eduardo and Diaby are definitely out.I am a firm believer to put out the strongest side possible for every game,not make priorities as to which game is more important than another.

    Back to today’s post,firstly i believe our season went tits up at Old Trafford in the FA Cup when our fairly inexperienced side got hammered and it could have been 8.The Birmingham incidents and the emotional impact of Eduardo’s leg break obviously didn’t help,but i still believe we gifted them a point.
    i think that silvestre was a bad but cheap buy.if he had a small amount of benefit to united,they wouldn;t have sold him,and he is yet another injury prone player,which leads me to Diaby.i love him,(not literally) I see the potential in him being great,but yet again he plays a few games and again gets injured.Djorou has been awful in his last two games and an overweight toure with Gallas would always be my first choice.I have wondered why Senderos,the much maligned Swiss Phil,was loaned out in August,when though not one of our best players we were weak in cover,and Djorou and Silvestre don’t offer much more.

  36. Big Raddy says:

    If Narsi is out, and Theo hasn’t started a game for the reserves……

    I fear we are going to be Ebwayed !

  37. rico01 says:

    Morning Raddy, is that work in the dictionary 😉

  38. rico01 says:

    Morning Raddy, is that word in the dictionary 😉

  39. rico01 says:

    oops – 😳

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Sorry Kelsey…

    The Cesc stories won’t go away until he does.

    £45m? It is a hell of a lot of money, though I wouldn’t sell him for 2-3 seasons. He will only get better and will be worth even more. Plus that would allow the development of Ramsey/JW.

    I disagree about Swiss. He has the opportunity to learn under the very best defensive coaches. He is highly intelligent and will either improve, in which case we welcome him home, or he will be sold.

    As to why Silvestre was signed – I think it was a good shout. No-one knew that Gibbs would develop so fast, and MS could cover for both him and WG. I agree about the injury problem, but I bet he is paid by the game…

  41. Big Raddy says:

    It is now Rico 🙂

  42. rico01 says:

    And the best one in there Raddy 😛

    Has Senderos actually played much this season for AC, i thought both he and Flamini had seats next to eachother on the bench 😉

  43. avenell says:

    Unless senderos learns to run faster he will always be caught out.
    He is okay at reading the game and intercepting headers etc. But one on one the CF will always beat him and Sendersaurus will always foul him from behind..

  44. Rasputin says:

    Big Phil has stated 5 games for AC, come off the bench 4 times, given away 9 free kicks, been fouled 4 times and received 1 yellow card….all off the top of my head….. 😆

  45. Rasputin says:

    stated = started

  46. rico01 says:

    Morning ave 😉

  47. rico01 says:

    Rasp, that is some memory you have 😉

  48. avenell says:

    Morning Rico..
    and morning Ras..

    G/day Raddy!! 😉

  49. peachesgooner says:

    rasp – I didn’t know you were such a Phil fan to know all his stats 😆

  50. avenell says:

    Morning peaches.. I thought you was still at Lakeside..

  51. Big Raddy says:

    Ras…. you need to get out more !!

    True, Phil may have spent much time on the bench, but he still gets the education on the training ground.

    We need a mix of CB’s. Swiss may lack pace, but so did Jack Charlton and Bobby Moore (OK, it was a different era), and I don’t see Terry as a greyhound, not was TA.

    If he can work as a team with a quicker CB – in our case JD/Kolo, he could be the answer. …. Could

  52. peachesgooner says:

    Morning ave – Only managed Brent X I’m afraid – I’m not really a shopper……..

  53. peachesgooner says:

    I love big Phil – I think he was treated badly by the supporters (and the dog that is Drogba). Hes got a great head on him, strong neck and hes very clever – my kind of man really 🙂

  54. kelsey says:

    I am not a Phil fan at all,but it’s all about opinions.Drogba not once but three times mentally shattered him,and it was reported that he cried at Anfield after not marking whoever it was for a free headed goal in the CL.

    i just don’t rate djorou for a team that wants to win things.

    Flip the coin,we are now back in the top 4, a quarter final in the CL and a semi in the FA cup,with a tam,to put it mildly haven’t performed consistently.Song has made a dramatic improvement and our defensive has definitely looked more solid.
    Arshavin will play a big part in the domestic run in, though i don’t expect to see Theo or cesc start tomorrow but maybe one or the other will come on as a sub.

    Ave,did you say london has done Sunday’s post already ?

  55. peachesgooner says:

    ……really, I only wanted to be excited about Cesc today and now I’m thinking about Phil too…….

  56. kelsey says:

    Raddy,
    did you know Djorou is also a trouble maker .He wasn’t picked for the first to games in the euros and was chosen for their last game,but refused to play.

  57. avenell says:

    Kelsey.. He just said he would take care of the match report..
    I am sure we could add a bit, ask him when he gets back from the hospital.

  58. rico01 says:

    peaches, you dont really mean that about Phil do you ? 😉

  59. London says:

    Kelsey

    No I haven’t already done the match report, why do you want to have a go?

  60. peachesgooner says:

    rico – I have to say that my maternal instincts took over when that thug Drogba terrified Phil for the 2nd time in a couple of weeks. When my niece was going out with Armand they spent a lot of time with Phil and she said he was such a nice guy…….

  61. London says:

    Kelsey

    I’m not saying your wrong but to me Djourou seems the model professional: quietly biding his time without complaining, learning from the opportunities as they present themselves. Where is the link that suggests that he is a trouble maker?

  62. kelsey says:

    London,
    I don’t mind.If there is a post scheduled for tomorrow,i will do it to the best of my ability,more as an opinion as to the forthcoming 2 fixtures,or if you want to do a match report on saturday night for Sunday.To me they are quite different as the post match report will be based on an opinion about the game and the result. Let me know,either way.Do i e mail the rough copt to Ave.

    Ben is coming back this evening,so if I do the post for tomorrow I will have to send it in early evening.

  63. kelsey says:

    London,
    it wasn’t a link, it was said by quite a few people involved in the swiss Camp during the euros.

  64. London says:

    Morning Peaches

    I couldn’t imagine anyone suggesting that Senderos is anything but a gentleman and I am sure that you would prefer to have your daughter associating herself with him rather than the likes of Vidic…. but which would you prefer in our defence. Just a thought.

  65. London says:

    Kelsey

    So if there isn’t a link how did you find out about his refusal to play? Do you know some of the Swiss team or people in their organisation?

  66. rico01 says:

    peaches – ah, maternal, thats ok then 😉

    he does seem a nice guy on the pitch, i really felt for him to when he that those horrid times against Drogba

  67. rico01 says:

    London, may I be as rude to poke my nose in relation to the question you posed peaches….;)

    Vidic 😛

  68. kelsey says:

    London,
    I have mentioned before that my best friend is a director of BWIN who sponsor Real madrid,Bayern Munich,and next season a deal with Barca. he also represents all the on line bookmakers operating out of gibraltar as their spokesman for all meetings with UEFA and blatter and Platini.He also supports arsenal,and attended the whole Euro competition.He is quite influential and he passes on to me a lot of “inside information” from players,agents,match fixing and unusual betting patterns on low key matches in Europe, and even UEFA officials that are corrupt,so I have every reason to believe him.

  69. avenell says:

    London.. I just needed to type that as everyone else is doing it.. 😉

    How is the missus mate?

  70. London says:

    Rico

    Yes, I accept that wasn’t one of my better arguments.

    Ave

    Thank you for asking she can have the cast of in two weeks time so she is on the mend.

  71. London says:

    Rasputin

    In response to your 10:14 post

    “Wenger is a brilliant man, but it is stretching it a bit to deduce that the pattern of team selection earlier in the season was part of some ingenious master-plan.”

    It is exactly what I am saying that the team selection was part of Wenger’s master plan and that plan was to win the league. Everyone of the top four mangers start with the same plan at the beginning of the season it is not as lofty as you suggest; the goal is very simple: win the league.

    Has the master plan of winning the league failed? Well almost certainly, due, in my opinion and many others, to a poor transfer policy during the summer.

    As for whether you agree that it was part of Wenger’s plan to find a way of rebuilding Gallas and Toure’s confidence in the way I suggested above, I say why not.

    I am sure you would agree that it was a bad idea to play Song as right back and Eboue as left wing these were both decisions made by Wenger that failed.

    If you accept that these were bad decisions then tell me why you think it is not reasonable to accept that it was his decision to drop Toure and play Sylvestre next to Gallas, which is obviously a good decision, in an attempt to help rebuild Gallas’s confidence?

  72. London says:

    Kelsey

    I find your earlier story about Djourou quite sad so I wanted to try and get as much information as possible.

    Thanks for taking the trouble to answer my questions. As you say, there is no reason not to believe your friend.

    I feel slightly let down as I said earlier, I have up until now always thought of Djourou as a model professional.

  73. London says:

    Kelsey

    Which would you prefer to try and do? Pre-match report or post match report the former will go out tomorrow morning the latter goes out on Sunday morning.

  74. rico01 says:

    Can i do a post match post…

    If so, I will pop it in the post 😉

  75. London says:

    Well it’s fine with me, it will mean I can get drunk as a lord on Saturday night.

  76. rico01 says:

    London – mine was a giggle, and using up all the ‘post’

  77. peachesgooner says:

    London – you have a point, Vidic is one hell of a thug of a defender – I have watched Senderos marshall the back four, vocally encouraging all around him (in a way that Gallas never did) and there has to be a place for that kind of intelligent defender – I’d like us to give Senderos another chance.

    By the way are you going to the game tmoro?

  78. London says:

    Yeah Peaches

    I will be there. I heard you were looking for another ticket unfortunately I cannot help this week.

    It is a great shame about Senderos, speaks 6 or did, he proabably speaks 7 languages now, was ear marked as the future captain, I don’t even mind what happened with Drogba but with his loss of pace I can never envisage a situation where I would want him back.

  79. London says:

    Rico

    I am confused, does this mean I can’t get drunk on Saturday night?

  80. rico01 says:

    London – I cant do a post, i wouldnt get beyond five words – i was just playing around with the word ‘post’ – I will leave the post’s to the experts 😉

    So no, sober night for you on saturday 😉

  81. London says:

    Peaches

    Thank you for the kind offer to meet up before the game, unfortunately I have to meet someone in the Eaglet to give them their ticket, another time, thanks once again.

  82. kelsey says:

    i will stick with the pre match report as we originally stated,but it might not come up to scratch.I have/used to, be a man of many talents,delegating was so much easier than actually doing the work 🙂

  83. peachesgooner says:

    kelsey – I’m certain your pre-match report will be interesting and amusing and look forward to reading it 🙂

  84. kelsey says:

    I have done it,it’s a bit factual, no jokes,anyway I leave it to you guys.Post match is much easier 🙂

  85. avenell says:

    Thanks Kelsey..
    I have sent it on to London and put it in drafts..

  86. rico01 says:

    Afternoon all 😛

    kelsey, looking forward to your post very much

  87. rico01 says:

    From AFC.Com

    Nasri fails to recover for Man City clash

    Samir Nasri will miss the Premier League clash with Manchester City.

    The French midfielder returned from international duty with flu and will not recover in time to face Mark Hughes’ side on Saturday.

    Nasri joins Robin van Persie (groin), Abou Diaby (thigh) and Eduardo (groin) on the sidelines – all victims of the latest round of World Cup qualifiers. Of that quartet, Nasri has the best chance of returning for Tuesday’s Champions League tie with Villarreal.

    “We lost a few players during the international break, especially Eduardo, Van Persie and Diaby,” confirmed Arsène Wenger. “They will all be out for tomorrow’s game.

    “Nasri came back with the flu, he is in bed and is not available for the game. He has a small chance of feeling better for Sunday, so maybe he should be available for the Tuesday game.

    “Van Persie, Diaby and Eduardo we believe have a little, little, little chance but they could all be short for Tuesday.”

  88. rico01 says:

    peaches – you an i should do a joint girlie post, you can write about how to get super duper grass, and i can write on why piggies would love to eat it 😉

  89. kelsey says:

    rico,
    if you want “super duper grass” Marbella is the place.The sign is universal.Just look for an old plimsole hanging on a telegraph pole,and there you are.SIMPLES 😉

  90. rico01 says:

    haha kelsey – i was talking about the pitch, but i will remember that when i come to spain, after watching thomas make an appearance tomorrow 😉

  91. peachesgooner says:

    rico – is Tomas due to appear tmoro?

  92. avenell says:

    London hopes not “phew”.. don’t you like him.. 😉

  93. rico01 says:

    probably not peaches, but my hunch says he might come on from the bench for the last minute 😉

    If he does, Raddy is treating me to a holiday in his fine country, kelsey is doing the same but in his sunny spain, and London i think promised to carry me there if he does play any part – something like that anyway… 😛

  94. rico01 says:

    ave – did i recall that nearly right 😉

  95. peachesgooner says:

    ave – I love Tomas – is it possible?

  96. avenell says:

    “Exactamo” Apart from I am looking after your chickens.. 😎

  97. avenell says:

    What for London to carry Rico to Spain? .. I cannot say!

    No chance Peaches.. He was booked in for a reserve game first wasn’t he? and he never played in that..

  98. peachesgooner says:

    Well you’re onto a good thing then 🙂

    You know tickets are like gold-dust for the game tmoro, it’d better be full or I shall be very cross.

  99. rico01 says:

    Ah yes, I forgot you were taking care of our fine chickens – actually, giving it some thought maybe Thomas shouldnt play, I would like to come back to four chickens and now three, you and Nita having had Sunday lunch!! 😉

  100. peachesgooner says:

    rico – don’t pack your bags just yet 🙂

  101. rico01 says:

    trust me peaches, the clothes are not even ironed yet – i am so confident – not 😉

  102. avenell says:

    Would you like a “P” peaches?

  103. rico01 says:

    ave – dont be so fussy 😉 😛

  104. peachesgooner says:

    Nice offer ave – why?

  105. rico01 says:

    Got to pop off for a while – catch you shortly 🙂

  106. peachesgooner says:

    …..have you been trying out my recipe for ‘super duper grass’ ave – I havn’t a clue what you’re on about……..

    I get it, I get it…yes quick, he’ll be home soon, thanks xxx

  107. avenell says:

    Is peaches TV up for grabs tomorrow or is the rasp man viewing?

  108. kelsey says:

    Ave,
    did you watch Shovel on the programme before fans Forum last friday.Looked like someone had given him a black eye.

    Oh,i wont be the slightest offended if you don’t use my post.

  109. avenell says:

    No the last time I saw shovel he was on the best fans programe and he visited a supporters house and nicked his Arsenal blazer..
    I didn’t really read your post, I left it to London, but I liked what I saw it just needed London’s touch..

  110. Rasputin says:

    Hi London,

    Sorry I didn’t respond to your post but I have been out teaching all afternoon. There must be a misunderstanding or perhaps a problem with semantics. Are you really saying that the way the first half of the season went in terms of team selection was part of Mr Wengers masterplan? Surely the juggling with the back four was to a great extent dictated by the injuries and Kolo’s lack of fitness. I hope I haven’t touched a nerve, but I stand by my comments in the paragraph you reproduced. 😉

  111. Rasputin says:

    I’m just going out to pick up my youngest, back in a while then out to classes again. I’ll catch up later…..

  112. kelsey says:

    I have just flicked through a number of tabloids and in all honesty i am worried about this groin problem of Eduardo’s.This is the second consecutive match he has played(obviously omitting the few weeks he missed) where he has felt a groin strain and yet continued playing for a while before being subbed.

    It’s the same old chestnut with him and to an extent with diaby.RVP looked perfectly alright after his head collison after scoring for Holland,and he has a groin strain.Surely our medical team,reputed to have one of the best medical set ups in football can surely in Eduardo’s case access if he is ready to play or not.

  113. London says:

    Kelsey

    How many games has Eduardo played in the EPL since his return? None, they are protecting him.

  114. London says:

    Rasp

    This is definitely a case of picking up the wrong end of the stick. I find this an interesting discussion so I will get back to you. By the way what do you teach?

  115. avenell says:

    Kelsey… I have emailed you..

  116. kelsey says:

    and I have replied.

  117. avenell says:

    and back to you London.. lol.. this is like a new game.

  118. rico01 says:

    Yoooooooo whooooooooooooooo

    😛

  119. rico01 says:

    No-one has emailed me…. huff huff 😉

  120. London says:

    Rasp

    I was in the middle of writing a book of an answer when I realised that the difference of our view probably boils down to whether you believe that Toure was injured or not? I don’t, so my suggestion is that Wenger dropped him and introduced Sylvestre. I see that as a conscious decision; therefore, he was dictating circumstances rather than simply reacting to them which is the reason why I praised him above.

  121. avenell says:

    You have 2 free holidays coming up.. here chick, chick.. 😉

  122. London says:

    I haven’t got it Ave

  123. avenell says:

    I have done it again london..

  124. rico01 says:

    You calling me ave 😉

  125. rico01 says:

    ave – have you heard he is playing tomorrow? 😛

  126. JonJon says:

    interesting post london….

    that explains a fair bit as to why our defence was all over the place at the start…

    but i also think that our defence hasnt been that bad….its been more down to the midfield….

    we havent had a sturdy defence since the days of adams/keown really…. but since then we defended by outplaying the opposition and keeping the ball, we defended by attacking and thats why the invincible defence looked so good….this season the midfield has let us down….not retaining the ball, not closing down, not being direct enough and messing about passing it sideways….some of the goals we have conceeded have been down to defensive errors….but it was the midfield who exposed them to those errors…

    denilson and song were both learning and are now starting to find their feet….

    add to the fact we now have AA who is direct with his play and the defence is no longer as exposed….hence we havent conceeded as many ‘bad’ goals….

    as for senderos…he’ll never make it at arsenal…we had several seasons of him and we saw the same mistakes over and over again….

    unless he comes back from italy with a new burst of pace and abit more concentration he will always be an average defender….

  127. avenell says:

    Your stutter is getting worse Rico.. 😉

    You need to e mail Arsene to see if you can get those holiday vouchers on for a few minutes at the end..

  128. rico01 says:

    Arsene Wenger will not allow renewed speculation regarding the future of Cesc Fabregas to throw Arsenal off course, and claims he is not surprised by Joan Laporta’s decision to publicise Barcelona’s interest in the midfielder.

    Ever since Wenger plucked Fabregas from the Barcelona academy in the summer of 2003 the man recently installed as Arsenal captain has been periodically linked with a return to Spain, and particularly his boyhood club.

    Indeed, ater recently admitting that he had been contacted by former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon in 2007, Fabregas has now been officially named as a Barca target by president Laporta who is looking to unite the 21-year-old with his international team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta in a midfield already bursting with technical genius.

    Wenger is unmoved by Laporta’s lack of tact though and is solely focused on keeping hold of fourth place and fighting for the FA Cup and Champions League trophies.

    “Why should I be disappointed?” said Wenger. “If I was disappointed, that would mean I should expect another behaviour, but I do not.

    “No, [it does not annoy me]. What is important is how well we deal with this kind of thing inside the club. That is more important than what people say.

    “Any distraction would be a weakness from our side and a wrong excuse. We do not want that. We cannot influence what people say, or write or think. We can influence how much success we can achieve together.

    “The period which is in front of us can be a formidable human experience for our players, and that is what I want it to be. What is the most important is that we do as well as we can.”

    Fabregas has not played for Arsenal since sustaining a knee injury in the Premier League draw with Liverpool in December but returns to the matchday squad for Saturday’s home game with Manchester City.

    The Gunners have missed their skipper’s influence in midfield and Fabregas is itching to return for the North London side.

    “I feel good and I’m available for selection, although I don’t know what the extent of my involvement will be yet,” Fabregas writes in his programme notes for the City game.

    “During the past week I’ve felt really sharp – I don’t know if I can cope with 90 minutes in my first game because I haven’t played competitively yet, but whether I start or am on the bench the good thing is that we cannot say I am injured anymore. I’ll be very happy because I will feel like a footballer again.”

  129. rico01 says:

    Sorry about the last, just hot off the afc.com site

    ave – you are so cheeky 😉

  130. rico01 says:

    I lied – it was from setanta, the tv company who own afc tv – i am sorry 😦

  131. rico01 says:

    I lied – it was from setanta, the tv company who own afc tv – i am sorry 😦

  132. avenell says:

    Rico….You’ve got to speed it up.. You’ve got to slow it down, if you believe that a love can hit the top, you’ve got to play around.

  133. London says:

    Kelsey
    all is well

    Ave
    I will do the honours tomorrow morning

    Hi Jonjon
    I am very curious to see the AA effect on Adebayor.

    I am off for the night.

  134. JonJon says:

    hi london, bye london. 😉

  135. peachesgooner says:

    ave – peaches tv is open to lucrative offers 😆

  136. peachesgooner says:

    only joking – i’ll call you in the morning when I know what rasp is doing

  137. peachesgooner says:

    rico – did you type all that out?

  138. peachesgooner says:

    ha ha 😆 😆 😆

  139. avenell says:

    Peaches I part own this site!! It’s up to you. 😎

    No seriously I’ll take it, but only if I am next in the queue.

  140. avenell says:

    Bye London..
    Hi jonjon.. 🙂

  141. peachesgooner says:

    Its fine I’ve got two lots so you can use one with pleasure. I’ll email you the codes again shall i?

  142. avenell says:

    If that okay peaches that would be good.. Thanks.

  143. JonJon says:

    who reckons cesc will leave in the summer?????

  144. avenell says:

    I have views on that jonjon, but it may be for a post next week.. If I’m allowed.. 😦

  145. kelsey says:

    8 0
    8 )

  146. kelsey says:

    8-0

  147. JonJon says:

    45mil is good money though…….

  148. kelsey says:

    sorry about 🙂

  149. rico01 says:

    Blimey 😛

    peaches – you are kidding, i learned to copy and paste, me and typing dont go together, 🙂

    ave – Bucks Fizz 😛

    Dinner calls … 🙂

  150. peachesgooner says:

    JonJon – cesc is not going to leave in the summer

    kelsey – whats that?

  151. kelsey says:

    Evening JonJon,

    i have views on that as well.clichy is the one who might go for 23 million,with gibbs and traore as back up.Anyway we don’t want a wholesale clearout.Gallas is pivitol to us.has he got a one year extension yet,or is he off to France.RVP hasn’t signed on the dotted line. Theo the same,but Ade sits on his arsenal for 80+K a week.

  152. kelsey says:

    peaches,
    I was teaching Sophie to do a post.

  153. kelsey says:

    Oh sophie is a bich by the way

  154. kelsey says:

    bitch

  155. peachesgooner says:

    Was that her prediction for tmoro game?

  156. kelsey says:

    no the number of times we hit the woodwork,peaches or how many yellow cards.Haven’t quite worked out what she meant.

  157. peachesgooner says:

    Glass of wine in hand now – anyone about?

  158. avenell says:

    Just watching the Cloughy documentry Peaches, then onto fans forum..
    Real lager in hand..

  159. peachesgooner says:

    ….oooh fans forum, meet you there……

  160. avenell says:

    Sammy is on.. With a girl.. 😉

  161. avenell says:

    Was you there in the North Bank when the trunks came down Peaches?

  162. kelsey says:

    Good morning,

    For those interested the boy is back,and looks like he has just come out of Belsen,but a bit of sun and some good food he will get stronger.At least he hasn’t got a groin strain.

    Here’s a thought Senderos got slated by most every time he cocked up,quite rightly,but he can only do his best,yet Clichy has made as many cock ups as Senderos going back to the Birmingham game and several this season,but never gets berated as much.technically he is a far superior player but just as guilty.

  163. London says:

    New Post

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