Age Before Beauty??

May 30, 2009

Ok,  silly heading, but I woke up in the early hours last night and it came into my mind, probably after hearing we had or almost had signed two youngsters who ‘have great potential’.

What history tells us is that ‘potential’ means they could one day play the beautiful football that we all know and love, the football we used to play – week in week out.

Is that not the same football we are all so desperate to see again?
You know, that style of football that each time we break from defence we all sit there thinking – ‘There’s a goal at the end of this move’ – I remember that when Paddy used to intercept the oppositions attack on our goal, his long gangly legs used to race forward, ball at feet, Sir Bobby, Freddie or Henry were all waiting, huge smile in anticipation – and the rest as they say is history..

Oh those days…

Things for our club right now are very different, we have an abundance of ‘beauty’ but now we need some ‘age’ and with that age has to bring some experience.

What we lack as we all know is that perfect mix –‘The age and The Beauty’.

Today we are linked with Gareth Barry – All the papers are reporting that he wants to come to Arsenal, so which boxes does he tick?

Price – Y, coming to the end of his contract and old Randy won’t want to lose him on a free so we would probably get him for less than we got Arshavin.

English Y – That will give us a big tick in the world of the paps, we sign not only an English player, but a player who plays for England… mmmm

ACON – Nope, he’s English

But is price and being English the right reason to sign a player???

Would Barry be Cesc’s choice? I think not, he like me and many others would like Alonso or maybe Iniesta – J

Ok, I know we won’t get the latter, but I can wish can’t I?

Or would you prefer an unheard of player?
Someone who would cost the club half the price, but has the experience of winning?
Oh, and add to that, the potential to be a ‘beautiful’ player?

Over to you!

POSTED by Avenell, WRITTEN by?  (i’ll let you know tomorrow perhaps)


What Next For Denilson?

May 29, 2009

This time last season we were becoming increasingly worried about the impending decimation of our midfield: Hleb, Flamini and Gilberto had all signalled that they were leaving for one reason or another. Hleb’s fans and critics were appeased with the signing of Nasri who brought with him the promise of more goals which, by and large, has been achieved. The problem as we all know was that the loss of Flamini and Gilberto left a chasm of a whole in our defensive midfield. We were led to believe that Wenger had earmarked Diaby to fill Flamini’s role but few expected that to be a success as Diaby’s defensive skills, did and still do, leave a lot to be desired.

This left Denilson and Song; yet again, it seemed glaringly obvious to most that the pair lacked the experience to carry the heavy burden of expectation, which we rightly demanded, necessary to win the premiership. The impending danger seemed obvious to many of us and we cried out for reinforcements.

These concerns were viewed by some, notably the Lefties, as some kind of slur on Wenger and were met with banal comments like “So you think you know more than the manager” the answer to that childish jibe is obviously “No”. The purpose of a blog, as far as I understand, is to express a view and get to know the views of others. What the Lefties, and the like, failed to understand was that far from criticising anyone we were trying to draw peoples attention to what we saw as the equivalent of a child we loved standing in the road with a lorry hurtling towards it and in the hope of trying to avoid what seemed like an inevitable disaster we were crying out the warning of we need midfield reinforcements.

Song and Denilson were simply not strong enough which, sadly, as far as I am concerned, is reflected in our final league position. But what most people didn’t understand was that most of us who expressed concern, especially about Denilson, were not doing so for concern about his future success at the club just about his ability to play such an important role should Fabregas get a serious injury.

Our critics pointed to the fact that he was only 20. This was exactly the point, too young and too inexperienced but that was never meant to mean that we didn’t think he would eventually come good with experience.

The reality of the situation now is that after playing in most games this season he has gained the experience that we thought was lacking at the beginning of the last; his tactical awareness, his defending, his tackling his passing are all carried out with the authority that we who showed concern were expecting of him.

My guess is that Denilson was under instructions from Wenger “Play the simple pass, always find a team mate” this is the only reason I can find for all those side ways passes that drove us insane during our seemingly never ending run of nil nil draws. Perhaps another reason to say that he must have been under instructions was because the season before when he was playing primarily in the Carling Cup he was so much more adventurous in his passing.

Cesc was similar when he broke into the first team: short passes that always found his man. But that certainly wasn’t the case last season, by Fabregas’s standards, passes were going astray at an alarming rate; I put this down to being more creative, more adventurous, taking risks.

It seems to me that Denilson now has the experience that seemed to be lacking at the beginning of last season. My hope is that Wenger changes his instructions to those of: take more risks, look for the incisive pass.

Written by London


Season ends on a high…

May 25, 2009

After a season of more lows than highs, we signed off in style yesterday as we put Stoke to the sword…The the top 4 spots had already been claimed and we didnt have anything to play for so the pressure was off….or was it?? As it was the last game of the season and as it was Stoke we did have something to play for…two words….pride and revenge..and neither the fans or the players let us down yesterday…

The sun shone, and the support and our football flowed as much as the beer and we showed that the early season game at Stoke was a fluke result…its a shame though really because those other ‘fluke’ results against Hull, Fulham, Sunderland etc probably cost us the league but thats football…we have all summer to put that right….right??

The fans gathered before the game and marched en route to the game to show their support for Wenger and the team…the banners to support Wenger were there to be seen all around the stadium…the turn out for a game against Stoke was immense…just as it was for the FA youth cup midweek….thousands upon thousands of the Red and White army were there and they made sure Wenger knew they were there…

Wenger wants more support like that every week next season…which is fair enough….as long as he doesn’t expect a march before every game!!!! And as long as he doesn’t start playing players out of position and watching them play poorly for 80mins before changing it….just a thought….

But…today is not the day for negativity….its a day for looking forward with anticipation and excitement and it started yesterday as we gave Stokes bullys and long throwers a damn good lesson in football….

The phrase ”boys against men” has been branded about alot recently…and all aimed at us…in a negative way…well yesterday we put that right and reversed it round…if it was a boxing match it would have been stopped after the first round…

We started the game well…the passing was crisp and direct, the ‘spine’ of the the team turned it on and our big game players turned up for once…and we went after Stoke from the start with a hunger and a passion that has been missing from this team for large chunks of the season..

The first goal came from some lovely interplay from a corner after 10 mins…Cesc found himself with space on the byline and fizzed a ball in low and hard that any predator would thrive off…unfortunately for Stoke..it was their own predator and it clipped of Beatties heel into the net…Yes!! Good start…a goals a goal and it was 1 nil to the Arsenal…

Our second came from a slice of luck…but in football you make your own luck…Robin took a pass just outside the box and looked to have lost control…but he never gave it up and battled for it back like anybody proud to wear the shirt would….he found himself in the box with the ball at his feet and took a tumble off the slightest touch that even Ronaldo couldnt pull off….and a minute later SMASH…perfect pen…the keeper didn’t have a chance as it clipped off the post and into the net….Robin Van Persie…Robin Van Persie…

The third was an excellent header from a free kick that was fizzed in with pin point precision from our chocolate legged boy wonder….with Toure and Diaby we actually had a bit of height in the box for once and the free kick was a beaut…Diaby leaped like a salmon and used the pace of the ball to glide it into the net… it was a great header by our very own enigma and the keeper didn’t have a chance again…. 3nil boys…let the carnival begin..lets thump em now… 

 Stoke pulled one back… sigh…but we wont talk about stoke…yesterday was our day…

We managed to regain our 3 goal advantage when Robin showed great technical ability and got himself into a position to intercept a Delap header back to the keeper…he chested it down…swivelled on a sixpence and blasted the ball into the goal…it was a piece of technical brilliance and his 20th of the season…a good return…

4-1…haha..and it wasnt even half time!!!!!

The second half was much of the same style of play…we were still all over them but we couldn’t break them down and unfortunately we couldn’t ripple the back of the net….we deserved a cricket score..it should of been a cricket score…but 4 goals was enough to smile about and Wenger and the fans and the players all went home happy….

Ratings

Mannone…9….no chance with the pen but had nothing else to do but save a Beattie free kick that was straight at him…

Sagna…9…a fairly quiet game but thats what you want from your defenders

Kolo…9…see Sagna.

Song…9 see Kolo

Gibbs..10..I love this lad…tackled, stormed forward, showboated…brilliant… Clichy who??

Walcott..9..needs to play in the middle

Cesc…10…brilliant passing, sprayed the ball everywhere and Stoke crumbled

Denilson…9…steady and consistent

Diaby…9..see Denilson

AK47…9…direct forced the issue and shot on sight..shame he didn’t score…

Robin…10…two goals, an assist and a battling perormance..what more can one ask for???

Subs

EE…8…plays for Arsenal

Nikki..8…see EE

Vela..8..see Nikki

Overall the fans wanted an end of season party and the players brought the beer and the strippers with that performance…and celebrate we did….

We now have a few months of withdrawal symptoms to look forward too…but hopefully the transfer window will give us something to shout about….the Under 21 championships are on the summer to keep us going too..maybe Wenger will take his cheque book!!!!!!

Have a good bank holiday guys and thanks for all your comments over the past few months….

Next season will soon be upon us and next season is ours….


Arsene tells everyone to shut up..And a special mention for the kids.

May 23, 2009

News coming out of the Arsenal camp this morning is that Wenger has grown tired of all the supposed infighting at the club and told everyone involved at the club to shut up….

I’m sorry Arsene..but we wont…its not infighting…its frustration…frustration at four years of stagnation with no signs of progression and there is more to Arsenal than just the manager….we are all entitled to an opinion…you telling everyone to be quiet is just like a child throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their own way….

Players like Arshavin and Ade have already declared that we need more quality players and Wenger isnt happy…the fans all say we need more quality players and Wenger isn’t happy…well I’m sorry again Arsene but players like Arshavin are proven winners…they want to play in a team that win things…AA is a world class player and a natural leader for his country, world class players want to play with other world class players and he isn’t a world class player and his country’s captain for nothing…..although you are the manager his opinion must be respected…you cannot just tell someone of this calibre to shut up…especially when this player was the reason we got back to 4th spot….especially when this player is easily the best player in your squad and especially when your opinions haven’t been working for 4 years….

It’s just like telling someone who you meet in the toilets after a game…..who ploughs thousands of pounds into arsenal every season…..helping the club to pay yours and your players wages…..that they are not a real fan…

Then there’s the rumours flying round about the clubs transfer kitty and the players that we are being linked to..and Wenger again doesn’t like it….well I’m sorry again Wenger…but the transfer window is looming and this is what happens every year and not just to Arsenal…all the other clubs go through the same torment too…

Arsene…I love you and I think you’ve done an amazing job here….but all these things that you are telling everyone to shut up for are exactly the things why you are paid 6-7 million pounds every year…managers are supposed to deal with the pressure and you are showing signs that you are cracking….the last four seasons haven’t been good enough…the players, the shareholders, the fans, the media are all going to talk…you’ve created this situation yourself and Arsenal are not a totalitarian state…this is not Arsene FC it is Arsenal FC and its up to you to put it right…so may i suggest that you put up, or you shut up…..

On to a brighter note…the Arsenal kiddies outplayed the dippers sprogs last night in a heavily one sided game that saw our babies take a 4 -1 lead to anfield in the FA Youth Cup….

I think babies is the wrong word…they proved the were men last night…as Perry Groves mentioned you could tell these lads had played a season of reserve football…they not only outplayed the dippers kids but they outfought them too…they had the dipper sprogs falling down with cramp after 60mins and they earned the right to play ”Bouldball”…

A special mention to the 33,000 fans who were there last night too…thats a fantastic turnout for a youth game…and the kids thrived on it..they showed they were ready and the senior team should take note…

The midfield duo of Coquelin and Jacky were outstanding, especially Little Jack…he was in a class of his own, showing why wenger promoted him to the 1st team earlier in the season….

JET and Sanchez Watt were amazing too and i find it quite ironic that after a season that has shown we need more experience, some of the best performances of the season has come from the kids…in the CC and now in the YC…

Fingers crossed that alot of these boys will make it with us….as i mentioned to a Roadster last night…i already have a stronger bond with them than what i do with some of those in the 1st team….and even if they don’t make it with us…the good thing is they will always have a career in football because what team from the mid table down to the coca cola league wouldn’t want an Arsenal kid??? Well done boys you made us all proud and the best of luck at Anfield…

The last game of the season is tomorrow…then i expect the club to start making the changes that are needed to make us ready for next season straight away…and not wait until the last minute like last year…otherwise Arsene you will have the same problems as this one…..


Vulnerable, Scared, But a Bit Dirty!

May 22, 2009

When all the rumours were in the papers the other day about Arsene and Real Madrid, I first thought “Oh my god what are we going to do without Mr Wenger OBE” even though I was 99% sure it was all taken out of context.

Then like when you are allowed out one night to the  “discotheque Au Go Go”  and that blond girl in the size 10  mini skirt walks past and turns your head and your mind wanders ” I wonder what that would be like?” You know it is no better than what you have, but it is different,  a change.

So I had a few naughty thoughts .. If Arsene left us..  😉

So who would you choose if you have too?  A  manager from this country .. David Moyes.. nah wouldn’t bring the big names in.. too direct.. So we look abroad Mourinho.. nah . knob .. Bergkamp .. no use on long away trips to Europe. van Basten mmm Hiddink nah tainted now.. So I thought about the squad and our limited budget at the moment . So  we can’t have a cheque book manager .. so who?  That geezer from Croatia , Bilic,  Slaven Bilic he could be the man  good football, technical players playing  “Bilicball”.

The transfer window would be a frenzy,  players who thought they signed for Arsene FC would be heading south, a few unknown Eastern block players coming in, the newspapers would be dedicated to us, whatever way you look at it more excitement than the mundane fourth place finishes and cup  semi finalists that we should be grateful for at the moment.

I know Arsene is a genius, or so I am told, but I don’t know why..Or can any manager take over this squad of players??  It isn’t his formations or his substitutions during games, they baffle me.. When he joined Arsenal he had 90% of the 98′ double team in place, he was also streets ahead with his knowledge of French football so bringing in a few choice French players wasn’t rocket science exactly..Is his longevity based on those  one or two major acheivements

He then made a extortionate profit on a few players and bought one  of his old players back from Monaco that he had kept a eye on..  Sounds easy, but it worked, in the end another double and a season unbeaten, albeit with some luck.. But good money was spent on the likes of Wiltord .. Not exactly a unknown as he scored in a world cup final.

Now we have gone into a youth project a little too far, it is a good idea no doubt , but we need someone to be a bit more cut throat and not Mr Nice Guy  and wield an axe a bit sooner, there is not enough time for more than 2 or 3 trainees in a team at any one time in the best league in the world I’m afraid..

When Arsene had to answer questions the other day, it was from his employers, his bosses he should be accountable to those people but he seems to have thrown his toys out a bit..

So then he coughs and the whole of the Arsenal fan base craps themselves like he has got  ‘Bird Flu’  I blame the board they have created what has become a monster, they have built him up to be more than a manager, they have put too much trust in him and he has become more powerful than the rest of the club.

We should be forcing him to be training up a successor, so if he does go he can either take over or guide our next manager along in the ‘Arsenal Way’ Liverpool done this from Shankly to Dalglish and look at the success they had over two decades.  Perhaps he has done this  to a degree with Stevie Bould.. I dearly hope so..

We are so vunerable and reliant on one man, perhaps we should never have got ourselves in this position so we need a get out clause just in case Arsene should ever leave , this should be a lesson learned, before 2011 please..

Back to reality , I just want the old Arsene back and a bit of the old speculate to accumulate PLEASE!!!!  (and a safety net)




Look What You Could Have Won!!

May 18, 2009

I’ll start of with a quick review of Saturdays game.

That should have been the title decider between the two teams, it was more like a Charity Shield friendly.. (well a cup in the Dippers eyes) .. Man U just needed a draw and sure enough they got what they wanted without turning up the heat.. If the shoe was on the other foot and we needed a draw at the Emirates they would have been wound like they had been on Red Bull and Sherbet Dip Dabs all day.. They knocked us out of the Champions League and called us ‘babies’ so we went at them with the full range of sideways passing..  Apart from Fabregas’s studs that dug into Evra’s knee we showed no real fight and if we had of scored you can bet we would have got the feeling of  Deja Vu.

That is the difference between us and them, we don’t want to win bad enough, we just think if we keep tippy tapping about we will always score. We need players who can change a game and force the issue.. Like the AK47 man, but he was slightly subdued, he was still recovering form his bout of flu I guess.

Their was a couple of good things that came out of the game, but it is difficult to tell how good in  surreal match conditions,  but Song looked superb he brought his calmness that he has picked up with his confidence from his midfield role and took it back one row. This could mean either Mr Wenger OBE preferred him over Silvestre because he See’s him as a CB and will be buying a new Midfield player.. or Silvestre is on his bike so it’s win,win, win!!

The other good thing is Gibbsy looked top notch and has his confidence back in full swing.

Denilson looked good at times but I did notice Ryan Giggs run past him to gather a a pass and shoot over the bar.. Call me old fashioned but a defensive midfielder should track back and not let a 35 year old run past him.

When I saw the line ups I thought that Arsene has actually got the system right to play Man U.. apart from RvP is not really suited as a loan striker.. Then 20 minutes from the end.. the subs.. Nasri and Arsh off .. Bendy and Theo on.. any normal manager would put the 6’4″ bloke in the middle and get the winger to feed him.. Oh no.. The striker is the right winger, the right winger is the left winger and the love child Diaby stays on.. What goes on in his head ????

Other good news is Adebayor has a minor groin strain.. or a I talk too much on the BBC and you are for sale chap injury .. please!!

The Daily Mail says that Wenger is off because they take what they choose out of a sentence to make up a quote from him, perhaps there is also a little retribution after the Arsenal fans treated Arsene like a murderer.

What I will say is I don’t want Arsene to go, but tell the fans and the players what is going on in your head.. You want our full support but we only have yours until your contract runs out..  It’s a two way thing Arsene!!

Arsene also says that the team learned a lot from watching Man U lift the Premiership again, That’s debatable what.. I’m sure Kroenke and Usmanov learned a bit too..


A Few Thoughts From My High Horse

May 13, 2009

The Usmanov PR machine has been out and about this morning: promises of cash injections to be used to buy new players are rife. This does not sit well with the cynic in me, it smacks of opportunism. Having just suffered the indignity of two humiliating defeats we are at our most vulnerable, like a sweaty paedophile offering sweets to children outside school, if we are foolish enough to take what might seem like a treat I suspect we will regret it for a long time to come. In our case the enticement being offered in a grubby little bag from a fat sweaty hand is the equivalent of David Villa with all the intoxicating lure that sugar has to a ten year old.

The sad reality is that the signing David Villa is about as likely as the signing of Messi. Maybe a tad better because of the debt that Valencia have but equally as unlikely that either will play for Arsenal this coming season.
Apart from making it clear in every interview he ever gives that he does not want to leave Spain both Barcelona and Real Madrid need new strikers either of which are capable of out bidding us but even if we imagine that he is just saying he doesn’t want to leave Spain to push the price up, Chelsea would out bid us by whatever it took and there is no reason why David Villa is more likely to want to play at Arsenal than Chelsea. I know it is good to have a dream but unfortunately I just cannot see how this dream is going to come true.

The season hasn’t even finished and the cries for change are so loud that they have been heard in Uzbekistan and I must admit that I am going through my vocal warm up exercises as I write this but when it comes to the craving of new strikers it seems to me that some of us are accidentally in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Until a striker reaches 23 you really can’t be certain just how good he is going to be and if we are not careful we could miss out on a very special player, just ask Juventus, why I hear you say; has London gone mad again, no just mention the name of Thierry Henry to any Juventus fan and they will let out a deep sigh as their gaze moves embarrassingly towards the floor. They sold him just before his 23rd birthday and Wenger was there with open arms. The rest my friends is history as they say, a history that gives us a warm inner glow.
Ok, that’s enough warm glow I am trying to make a serious point here: Bendtner 20, Walcott, 20, Vela 19; are far too young to consider selling.

It might appear that the board room is in turmoil but this is not my impression. It seems to me that a very orderly transition has taken place and the reigns of power have been handed from Fizman and the long term shareholders including Hill-Wood over to Kroenke. There is of course the question of Lady Nina’s shares that could still tip the balance of power but as I have said before I cannot see her wanting to do anything that would hurt Arsenal so my guess is that Kroenke is working on the basis that they are in the bag. That said, if the noise made from the Usmanov camp in this morning’s little sortie is anything to go by they are not going to give up until the fat man sings.

The one good thing, above all, that is clear about Kroenke is that he has not bought into Arsenal for reasons of purely increasing his personal wealth. It seems to me that people like Kroenke enter into these ventures for very similar reasons as the world’s leading poker players go to Las Vegas: they want to be, and be seen, at the table of the “Big Game”. I am not trying to say that he is gambling with Arsenal I am trying to say that by having a controlling interest in the club he has an important component that gets him a seat at the “Big Table” of world sport; it is an essential part of his sports portfolio that gets him recognition as a global player. Simply put, this is an ego thing.

OK Stan, you have got your shiny new toy car in Arsenal lets see how fast you can make it go.

Written by London