Were we really that good in 2003/04?

Of course we were, we didn’t go a whole season without losing for no reason…..

Away from all the World Cup hype just for today, forget the goings on in the French and English camp, let’s go back in time and remember the 2003/04 season, the players and just how good we were. Not only were the  first eleven darn good, so were many of the players who had to suffer time on the bench. Look at then and then look and now….. 

Arsenal Invincible squad: ( not off the top of my head, help from google)

 Cole, Vieira, Keown, Pires, Ljungberg, Reyes, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Lauren, Taylor, Henry, Lehmann, Parlour, Edu, Cygan, Gilberto, Senderos, Pennant, Clichy, Campbell, Kanu, Toure, Aliadere, Stack

Arsenal today:
Manuel Almunia, Abou Diaby, Bacary Sagna, Cesc Fàbregas, Thomas Vermaelen, Tomáš Rosický, Samir Nasri, Eduardo, William Gallas, Robin van Persie, Carlos Vela, Theo Walcott, Denílson, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Song, Mikaël Silvestre, Jack Wilshere Johan Djourou, Łukasz Fabiański, Gaël Clichy, Andrei Arshavin, Vito Mannone, Emmanuel Eboué, Kieran Gibbs, Marouane Chamakh Armand Traoré, Sol Campbell, Nicklas Bendtner, Wojciech Szczęsny

By my count, back in the 2003/04  season we had seventeen top class players in that invincible squad!!

Looking at todays squad (not including Chamakh) I count we have eleven or maybe twelve at a push, so what does that say??

We have been saying for a while that we lack depth and strength, well apart from those who have funny coloured spectacles, and that quite clearly is the difference between then and now. Our current first eleven is strong and on its day is capable of beating any side in the world, but when injuries start to take their toll, our squad is exposed.

If you could pick two players from the invincible squad, pop them in Dr Who’s Tardis and bring them into the current day, who would they be, then come and tell us why you chose them…

Remember, they will be at the same stage of their career as they were in 2003/04. You can’t pick the keeper, I giving you him on a freebie 🙂

Those were the days…… 🙂


161 Responses to Were we really that good in 2003/04?

  1. rico says:

    Morning all, i find choosing two quite difficult, i’d want about five 🙂

  2. Nayan says:

    You weren’t watching in 2004 if you think seamen was in goal.


  3. rico says:

    Nayen, read the post, read THE SQUAD bit…. then come back with a slice of humble pie…

  4. Bez says:

    Seaman wasn’t in our invincible squad. He’d already retired.

  5. Burgerkamp says:

    Anyway to the question in hand, I’d have bergkamp and keown

  6. rico says:

    Thanks Burgerkamp, someone who wants to join in rather than point out errors….

    Tough call though on who to pick?

  7. c gander says:

    we need a spine i would say Big JL , Campbell , Vieira and Henry. In their prime of course.

  8. rico says:

    hi c gander, thats cheating, only two 😉

    agree re the spine bit, chamakh could just turn out to be the striker, back up for song, keeper and 2 ch’s and we are there…

  9. Avashnee says:

    Hi Rico, I’d love to have Gilberto and Viera back.

  10. rico says:

    Hi Avashnee, mine’s Bergkamp and Campbell… and Bobby and Paddy 🙂

  11. Avashnee says:

    Yes Rico, Bobby and Thierry had a telepathetic relationship. Absolultely beautiful. :). At least we have these memories to fall back on.

  12. Avashnee says:

    and yes we were that good…if i remember correctly we were labelled as the team that was playing the best soccer at the time which translates into THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD

  13. rico says:

    We were, that side would have taught Barca a thing or two Avashnee…

  14. K-TR7 says:

    Morning all.that invincibles squad played one touch footy but very direct.personally id have campbell and viera…aw has just confirmed gallas is leaving and koscielny is joining.i hope we get another gk as flappy and coco flap at all crosses making you wonder if we were playing with the jabulani ball the whole time.if only we took shots at the opposition goalie we’d have confirmed it…

  15. rico says:

    Hi ktr7, read the gallas story earlier, wenger saying he shouldn’t have been picked for the french as he’s unfit…

    i like to think we could blame the ball, but i suspect its just them 😉

  16. Avashnee says:

    Hi KTR7 , stop hating Jabulani 🙂

  17. SD-London says:

    Got it there Rico, we would have given even the present Barcelona team a trashing or two trashings.

    I will bet my entire wages on Henry making a solo run from the midfield and scoring while messi is still recovering from Viera’s tackle.

    Am i right or wrong ?Tell me.:);(

  18. rico says:

    Hi SD, you are not wrong 🙂

  19. rico says:

    If Messi has got passed Paddy, Keown would have flattened him 😉

  20. SD-London says:

    🙂 Thats what i thought.

  21. rico says:

    Its really quiet today 😦

  22. SD-London says:

    immagine Wiltord on the left(before he got home sick)and and Bergkamp on the bench to come in and correct things incase things were not working.

    I lost count of the number of times Bergkamp came off the Bench and rescued a game.

    Now we bring Vela to rescue a match.What a decline 🙂

  23. db10 says:

    has to be bobi pires and i’d go for gilberto too

  24. rico says:

    Don’t SD, it hurts 😥

  25. JonJon says:


    the invincibles only went unbeaten becuase they hardly had any injuries that season..

    it was practically the same 11 all the way through…

    although it was a great team it was full of individuals and we never won europe or back to back titles cos we had too many weak links in the squad..

    lehmann, toure, lauren, gilberto werent good enough

  26. JonJon says:

    how good was melo last night???

    thats the reason denilson cant get into dungas squad..if thats how he plays 90% of the time no wonder wenger was after him…

  27. rico says:

    Hi jj, trust you to dampen my mood when reflcting back 😉 😉

    I’m not sure on Melo, didn’t see enough of the game sadly, surely he has to be better than Denilson 😉

    One thing did strike me though about the Brazil way, how many times did they pass sideways, backwards, short passes but without going forward – just to keep possesion of the ball…

    I slate Denilson for doing that but didn’t we play like that once, with the right players its effective…

  28. JonJon says:

    yeah but the thing with brazil is was that when they keep possession they have players who could unlock a chastity belt with a toothpick…

    we keep possession and run out of ideas….

    melo was awesome rico.. IC didnt get a sniff in they made hardly any chances cos he wouldnt let them get near his defence…

    hes so quick into the tackle hes like lightening and some of the tackles were hit hot..i tell ya gilberto still looks 28 playing with him cos he does all his running for him..

  29. JonJon says:

    brazil are always looking for a way in..always probing always switching it up..we just look like we are passing for the sake of passing..

  30. rico says:

    Fair point jj, i forget we used to play that whay when Bobby, Henry and Freddie would be ready for the kill 😦

  31. SD-London says:

    Jon Jon , you are not totally happy with the indivisibles? Then which team ticked all your boxes , 2009-2010 team captained by Gallas and Fabregas (Soon to leave)?
    Goal protected by Almunia? Goals spare headed by Bendtner and Arshavin? (Rvp was injured most of the season)?
    Right wing that couldn’t be commanded by Ebue and Walcott for 90minutes (They basically play 45minutes each)?

    Let me stop there because thinking of it Jon Jon even RVP will probably be on the bench in the invisible team.

    Jon Jon, pls review you message above.

  32. rico says:

    Hi db10, not Paddy …

  33. rico says:

    SD, If I could go back in time I would swap the whole squad for what we had back then, maybe add Robin and Song to it…. We would rule the world I’m sure..

  34. rico says:

    Off for a bit, back shortly

  35. JonJon says:

    thats just it rico

    in denis we had a player who could unlock alcatraz…

    pires cole and henry would combine on the left and freddie would run in from the right and feed off the scraps…

    vieira would get box to box kicking lumps out of the midfeild and the rest would just stand around looking pretty.. and making up the numbers..

    basically we were a 7 man team but those 7 men were top top class…the best players in the world in their positions..

    the difference now is that we are an 11 man team but only a handful are top top class and thats why we arent successful anymore..

    we currently dont have any players who can say ‘this aint working just give me the ball and i’ll win this game’

    back then we had loads…

  36. SD-London says:

    Jon Jon, the invisibles were a group of fantastic players that peaked at the same time and resulted in them being unbeaten for a season.

    Chelsea(Morinho) and Manure Utd copied the style and won trophies while Wenger in a strange way and an unexplainable way got dropped the style and hasn’t won anything.

  37. JonJon says:

    dont really understand what your saying to me SD-London????

    just to clarify i dont think the current squad are half as good as the 03 team but im just saying that we only went unbeaten because we hardly had any injuries that season..

    all the best players played..

    if we’d had the injuries then that we do now we wouldnt have achieved anything..

  38. JonJon says:

    also i think the 2008 team were better..

    we played better football, we were a better team..instead of having indviduals we had a machine like team…and would have won that league if rosicky would have stayed fit the full season..he was an important cog at that time…

    if cesc, hleb, rosicky, and flamini would have all stayed fit all season the way the invincibles did we would have won the league and it would have been a bigger achievement than going unbeaten simply because of the the money that the other teams have injected into their squads..

  39. SD-London says:

    JJ,Well i thought you suggested that they were not all that good(not your words) because quoting from your June 21, 2010 at 10:17 am above; (although it was a great team it was full of individuals and we never won europe or back to back titles cos we had too many weak links in the squad..)

    You might pick lehmann, toure, lauren, gilberto as not being good enough but there were more than 10times this season we could have done with Lehman in goal.
    Gilberto is the one mopping up in the best team in the World cup so far(We could have done with his help even as a CB this season)

    Toure is not like he used to be but i bet you will agree that he would have being better than Gallas playing with injury or fielding Sylvester or even calling Sol Campbell back.

    Lauren would have supplied a better cross than Walcott while overlapping(if not for the injury that killed his carrier)

    Just to mention.

  40. JonJon says:

    i can see where i got you confused SD-L


    of course the invincibles were amazing..but we should have won more with that team and im just saying that the reason we didnt is because we had a few weak links..

    we didnt play as a team..we were full of worldclass individuals and only cole pires and henry combined well together..

    id say only cesc, sagna and TV would have got into that team

    and although i never rated lehmann id take him over almunia…

  41. K-TR7 says:

    Brazil are such an effective side.they may seem to pass sideways but when they see an opening they will pounce at lightning speed.they play a 4-2-3-1 with melo and gilberto as holding midfielders.

    The only variation to the benitez system is the role of robinho who stays wide left and you’ll realise he sticks there most of the time waiting for swift counter attacks linking up very well with kaka.Fabiano occupies the left centre back.when bastos makes an overlapping run the right back is forced to follow him leaving robinho and kaka with only the right centre back.

    The same thing happens with elano,maicon and fabiano.when maicon overlaps,with fabiano on one centre back maicon drags the left back giving elano a leeway to score or vice versa.

    When in full flow maicon and bastos become wingers,gilberlo falls back to form a 3 man defence with melo holding in front of them which leads to the attacking combinations i have explained above.

  42. SD-London says:

    Well you might think the 2008 team was better, i disagree because they had a very good run in that season to the extent that Anelka tried to engineer his way back. But they ended with an empty hand (the end justifies the means)

    They all got too injured because they were not strong enough and i believe strength the pitch and speed of recovery also goes/counts with being a good player or team.
    cesc, hleb, rosicky, and flamini didn’t stay fit all season because they were not strong enough.
    The invisibles were good and strong , dare i say more?

  43. JonJon says:

    and i think gilberto is only playing for brazil for his experience..melo is the one doing all his running..

    no melo. no gilberto..

    even when gilberto was at his peak i always thought the vieira/edu combo was better..

    toure wasnt good enough then either..campbell carried him..kolos pace got him out of trouble but he was found out as soon as sol left..

    lauren was ok going foward and was a tough bastard but defensively he was crap..freddies energy on the right helped him out of the shit time and time again..

    there was better keepers than lehmann..but for a million quid you cant grumble..

  44. SD-London says:

    K-TR7 you definitely have good eyes for the tactics , just make sure you are in the right job.

  45. K-TR7 says:

    i tend to agree with jj on the 08 team.we had a machine and we lost our first game in december when injuries took their toll.Rosicky was a very vital cog and thats why i maintain we lost the league when he broke down.he and hleb would unlock defences through passing or dribbling.Flamini mopped up very well,sagna and clichy were having blinders.if AA can rediscover his form and rosicky to completely recover we can arguably have a much better team.AW should also look at our depth too…

  46. JonJon says:

    yeah the invincibles were good and strong but also extremely lucky..

    we had alot of hard players in that team so teams didnt find it as useful to kick us as they do now..

    but i still think we were a 7 man team and if those players got the niggles our current crop do we wouldnt be talking about invincibles..

    the difference now is that if we field our first team for 90% of the season like we did with the invincibles we will win something… our first 11 is a match for anyone and we play better as a team..

    unfortunatley this is never the case..our best players are always out injured for 6 months of the season and thats when we get found out cos our squad players arent good enough

  47. JonJon says:

    i agree with your 11.17 ktr

    its all about squad depth..we have a good first 11 and if they all stayed fit we’d be laughing..we just dont have the competition for places..

    back in 03 we had players like kanu and parlour and edu,wiltord, reyes keown all ready to come in and do a job

    now we have to rely on fucking eboue, denilson, theo, etc etc etc and there all garbage…

  48. SD-London says:

    JJ in response to 11.07 , even the invisibles had flaws and i believe they didn’t do well in the Champions league because they and Wenger knew they could make history and they did. Therefore they focused more on the league.

    With there faults, they won Trophies and an FA cup the following season of the invisibility 🙂
    If Dunga could find a way to make use of Gilberto’s talent then why couldn’t Wenger.(Song and Gilberto would have prevented many unnecessary goals ).

    Like you said Lauren was good going forward but bad defending but at least he was good going forward.
    Sagna has not being great defensively or forward wise this season(correct me if am wrong).

    You picked Lehman as not being good enough but since he left Arsenal, anytime we concede an unnecessary goal i always remember him as thus(Lehman wouldn’t have made that mistake.)

    He was part of the invisibles and was the keeper in the FA cup win and conceded the least in the Champions league 2006 even though we got to the final.

    Trust me the invisibles where the best in a decade. Bring the whole Barcelona team to the premiership and i guarantee you they cannot go unbeaten in a season.

  49. K-TR7 says:

    it was interesting to see eboue playing central midfield last night…

  50. SD-London says:

    K-TR7, so was he good?

  51. K-TR7 says:

    i tend to disagree SD on sagna.he is as solid a right back as you’ll ever see.he is not good going forward because he is a pure defender.he is rarely beaten…

  52. K-TR7 says:

    SD eboue struggled since Brazil were so dominant but he did well since he looked like their most direct player on the ball when running from deep areas…

  53. rico says:

    jj, i thought there were more than seven great players in the invincbles team…

  54. SD-London says:

    K-TR7 , are you suggesting Wenger plays him in a similar role, God forbid if Fab leaves ? 😉

  55. JonJon says:

    we are signing from the same hym sheet SD-L..

    although i agree with ktr-7 (again) on your assessment of sagna

    hes poor going forward but defensively he is rock solid..

    hes defensive game is no different to when he was picked in the pl team 08 but his attacking play has gone backwards..

    sagna in my eyes is the best rb in the league as far as defending goes..if wenger could get a decent wide man for him to play behind that right hand side of arsenals would be awesome..

  56. SD-London says:

    Well rico thats what i have being trying to let JJ realize.
    I could only pick Senderouse , Cygan , Taylor and Alidere as not being good enough. The rest were great and fantastic.Have you seen the outside of the Emirates i guess is mostly a tribute to the invisibles.

  57. Red Arse says:

    Hi Peeps

    I liked Sagna when he first joined us, he looked first class, and I still think he is O.K. but that’s all. It’s said the death of his brother badly affected him last season and Of course it would, but ….

    Interestingly, it is rumoured Arsene is after Van der Wiel at right back, so maybe he is worried too. Denis Bergkamp recommended VDW last summer and again this January, but Wenger hesitated, again,so V D Wiel has been excellent in the WC and our chances of signing him have gone out the window. Come in Chelski, Citeh, Manure, Barcelone etc. Bum!!

  58. rico says:

    SD, I think we fans just all see players differently – i rate theo but no-one else does 😉

  59. JonJon says:

    rico the invincibles had lots of good players but only 7 of them were top class…

    i say only seven 😉

    wish we had 7 now.. 😉

    i reckon the weak links in the invincibles wouldnt get in our first team now..barring lehmann…

    i wouldnt take toure over tv

    i wouldnt take lauren over sagna

    i wouldnt take gilberto over song…

  60. rico says:

    Hi RA, i think you’re right re Sagna and his brother, you don’t get over things like that in a flash…

  61. Red Arse says:

    At the base of our problems, as mentioned by JJ is the lack of depth in the squad.

    Sagna gets injured .. in comes Eboue. Rubbish full back.

    Gallas gets injured … shuffle shuffle .. in comes Sylvestre. Rubbish.

    And so it goes on.

    On the other hand JJ you say Toure wasn’t up to it at CB, but do you remember when he first joined he played at left back, left midfield, holding midfield and then right back blah de blah. Wenger did notseem to know what to do with him.

  62. rico says:

    😆 jj, i wouldn’t mind Gilberto and Song 🙂

    fair comment re lauren and Toure…

  63. rico says:

    I’d take Keown over TV though…..

  64. Red Arse says:

    Hi Chico Rico

    JJ asked the other day, who was the last signing Arsenal made who you were thrilled by?

    I said Sol (Denis was already here) and that’s all I could think of. I feel the same now about Chamahk and Kocielny (if he arrives) Who dem? Who dat? 🙂

  65. JonJon says:

    of course the invincibles were fantastic…but they should have won more but they didnt..

    why they didnt is what im trying to explain..

    VDW has been getting rave reviews but its also rumored he can play CB..

    so maybe sagna wont have to give way..

  66. rico says:

    RA, Toure should have been a CM imho – just like his bro..

  67. Red Arse says:

    Now your talking Rico!

    Speaking of which, I saw a youthful Yaya play for us in a pre-season youth game, and he looked great in an Arsenal shirt.

    Wenger let him go and now Citeh are buying him for £25m. Another cock up?

  68. JonJon says:

    toure had energy..

    a player with energy and passion can play anywhere you ask him to and as long as you have players like sol, paddy etc etc around them they will do ok and not let you down

    which is exactley what happened with kolo…

    we all loved him but as soon as all his mates left and he was asked to step up he got found out..

  69. JonJon says:

    red arse..

    denis signing made me come in my pants…

    sol made me piss my pants..

    since then my pants have been liquid free so i agree with your assessment on signings..

  70. rico says:

    jj – only you could ‘come’ up with that 😉

  71. Red Arse says:

    JJ its good to look back and think of some of our great players and discuss who we would like to see in the current team if we could alter time.

    I think the Invincibles should have gone on to win more and more. Wenger however, started to dismantle the team almost immediately by bringing in worse players.

    We have a guy on the coaching staff who I would have in the team immediately if I could turn time back and that is Steve Bould. Big, brilliant in the air, no nonsense. Not the greatest technically but He got the job done and no one messed with him. BOULDY!!

  72. rico says:

    england have no chance wednesday, they have german officials 😉

  73. Red Arse says:

    JJ you are wicked.

    I’m still coming to terms with your Saturday night special (a la Wath) of Pink boots, Pink Vuvu, and mint green tutu. You little devil.

  74. rico says:

    RA, not being up my own, but been saying that here for a while, Bouldy should be wengers number 2 right now and getting him prepared to take over one day. he should be sorting out our defence and let someone else take over the kids…

    keep campbell too and together sort our rear guard out once and for all…

  75. Red Arse says:

    Spot on Rico! Question is; why don’t they?

  76. rico says:

    cos wenger wants a yes man i guess RA, Rice, as much as i love him is no more than a cardboard cut out in the dug out, he’s hopeless…

  77. rico says:

    i reckon barca will make another bid today….

  78. Red Arse says:

    My view too Rico.

    Got to disappear for a while, see you later.

  79. JonJon says:

    lol red arse

    im just doing it to make WATH feel better and to help him fit in..

    hes an ex village person.. i was just trying to make him feel at home.. 😉

    we dont call him sailor for nothing..

  80. rico says:

    later RA, be good…

  81. JonJon says:

    i gotta nip out too but i’ll be back later…

  82. rico says:

    laters jj, you be good to 😉

  83. SD-London says:

    So basically its only Chamarhk so far and June is almost over .

    Not looking like a promising start yet- we can blame the world cup for now

  84. oliver says:

    Bob Pires and either Keown or the Sol of seven years ago.

  85. rico says:

    SD, i think it will all happen soon, i fully expect three more players through the door at least 😉

  86. rico says:

    hi oliver, what a difference they would make right now…

  87. oliver says:

    good morning and agreed….Bob is one guy that was never adequately replaced. I was so disappointed for him when AW pulled him off to compensate for Lehmann’s red in Paris. I understand (without agreeing) AW’s thinking, that defense had to take priority – but keeping Bob on the pitch would have given Barca more to worry about. Hindsight…..

  88. rico says:

    i wouldnt have taken him off oliver, no way…

  89. oliver says:

    oh, and as i am born-and-raised in new york city and still hold allegiance to many of their teams, i though bob’s comments about philadelphia were spot on!! classic!!

  90. rico says:

    i didn’t see them??

    my brother and his wife are in NY oliver…

  91. oliver says:

    only about a month or so back. speculation started that bob would join the new mls franchise philadelphia union. bob quickly shot that down, saying he would not be moving his family there…he called philly a dump, in-not-so-many words…i loved it!! i grew up in the bronx, my mom still lives there.

  92. rico says:

    ah i see, thanks oliver

    Coquelin has gone to Lorient on loan, guess we will announce our new boy in the next few hours 🙂

  93. oliver says:

    yeah, i just saw that. we both know the club would not announce his loan move if the hurdles on the koscielny deal were still there. whether club announced his transfer or not, i think we can safely assume that the stumbling blocks have been sorted and koscielny will be an arsenal player. we need more than just him, however, so hopefully there are a few more things in the works.

  94. rico says:

    we sure do need another 3 at least, but at least this one lokks like its done, now wenger can get on to the next and sort it rapidly..

  95. rico says:

    poor old Korea, 4-0 and still 30 mins to go…. portugal scored 3 in ten mins…

  96. K-TR7 says:

    Portugal 3 nil up.afternoon rico and oliver.the invincibles kind of played similar to current brazil side as i have explained in my 11:09 in terms of counter attacks,solidity,one touch footy and brilliance.i hope aw takes us back to that level…

  97. K-TR7 says:

    Sorry 4 nil up…

  98. rico says:

    4-0 now ktr7, afternoon to you too…

  99. rico says:

    portugal look a very happy side ktr7, they could maybe even should have 8 or 9 by now…

  100. oliver says:

    k-tr7, i do not think we will ever see another side like the 03-4, but i expect that we will be successful in the future. that is not to say we will win the european cup with aw, but i think we will win something again in the next few years. each side aw has won (and lost) with has been unique and i expect this currently-developing side will be no different.

  101. rico says:

    wow, 7-0 portugal, nice bit of heading skill from the winker 😉

  102. rico says:

    Off for a bit, laters all

  103. SD-London says:

    I heard Joe Cole said he is putting any transfer talks on hold till the end of the world cup. That confirmed that yes he was negotiating with Arsenal and probably reached terms.

    But with the latest report, i suspect sabotage and it can’t be nothing else than Morinho’s Real Madrid whispering to his hears.

    I just hope his Mrs maintains her stand of not leaving London, because we have no hope against Real Madrid.

  104. Pat7 says:

    Nice poser Rico!

    Of course I wanted more & didn’t even notice Bergkamp in the list(?). I considered Henry but like Dennis they’d be luxuries – we need a defense so plumped for Paddy & Gilberto. Both can strengthen our spine, pass on experience and not only resolve problems and battles on the field but put our kids in their place!!!!

  105. rico says:

    Anyone about???

  106. K-TR7 says:

    Younp guns have confirmed a deal for koscielny has been thrashed out.i find them quite reliable…

  107. rico says:

    Hi Pat, sorry for the delay, i was busy and you were in moderation, first comments always do, but your free to blog away now…

    Hard to choose two players isn’t it? Are you saying Dennis wasn’t in the squad? So much for google and Wikki if i got it wrong 😦

  108. rico says:

    ktr7, just being reading young guns, hope its right, like you say it usually is..

  109. oliver says:

    still here…not much going on at the moment. another 30 or so minutes and we will know if cesc starts. i will wager a guess he is named on the bench again.

  110. K-TR7 says:

    Rico id like to comment on the new zealand vs italy game.NZ played a 3-4-3 formation against italy’s 4-4-2.this ensured NZ had 2 cbs marking the two italy forwards with a spare cb to spare.they had a 4 vs 4 in midfield.the two wide forwards marked the two italian fbs and thus the game remained deadlocked with goals coming from set-pieces.NZ had inferior players but tactics aided them to a point and thats why the impact of tactics shouldn’t be ignored.however there is an aspect of the italian game,furbizia,may seem insignificant but the italians use it to overcome stronger opponents.its not pretty but it works…

  111. rico says:

    Oliver, bet he starts, hope he doesn’t though….

  112. Red Arse says:

    Hi Oliver, how’s it going?

    Your earlier remark re New York made me stop and think. I have family in New York and although I have only visited I love the place. Not sure about the Bronx tho’ .. bit scary.

    I also have family in Wichita … too hot now, too cold in the winter! Well I’m a bit of a tart as the English say and hard to please, altho Hawaii does the trick! 😉

    Where do all these rumours come from … Montolivo, who he?

  113. K-TR7 says:

    In the portugal game earlier today the north korean coach played 3 cbs against one forward(almeida).this allowed cr9 and simao to pull the side cbs outwards creating space for midfield runners(meireles,tiago…) in between the cbs resulting in a clutch of goals from nearly all their midfielders.to counteract this the korean coach instructed his wingbacks to push back to form a 5 man defence.this resulted them weakening their midfield hence couldn’t retain the ball and thats why it ended as a rout.

  114. rico says:

    ktr7, you can comment on what like here, you know that 🙂

  115. JonJon says:


    looks the the french polish bloke from acctrington stanley is a done deal then with coq eu van going the other way..

    ok fair enough..7mil for a backup is not a bad price..now lets go get the real thing and the back line is sorted..

  116. oliver says:

    RA, I have no idea who Montolivo is – he is under contract at Fiorentina, but until he was linked with us this morning, I did not know he existed. Stuff like this usually comes from agents. If we check back, perhaps we will find that he was hoping for an improved deal at his club, and if that is the case, then agent drops link with Arsenal to tabloid buddy, link is published, and agent dismisses speculation. Fully intended to get Fiorentina’s attention.

  117. rico says:

    ktr7, re your earlier, have to say that i dont care if we don’t play pretty in some games, three points are all that matters in any game, thats where moanrinho gets it right…

  118. rico says:

    Hi jj and RA

  119. Pat7 says:

    Rico – No you had it right, I just missed him!

    I’d have loved him or Henry or Bobby or Edu or Keown or Campbell but only TWO you said so they ball had to be left.

    I think our attack will be OK with Chamakh added and Joe Cole could add some more trickery so I focussed on our defence. I think Vermaelen will gain more authority next season, maybe as Captain or vice captain & with a good partner & hopefully better or at least a back-up for Song we’ll be fine…….

  120. rico says:

    jj, he’s good for starters, get one more and thats the defence sorted, now to a keeper and midfielder…

  121. Pat7 says:

    I am assuming we get a goalie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  122. oliver says:

    Teams in, Cesc not in Spain’s starting eleven.

  123. rico says:

    🙂 Pat, I still miss him 😦

  124. oliver says:

    Navas in for Iniesta (on bench) is the main change to the midfield.

  125. Pat7 says:

    Don’t we all – RvP does his best but spends half his time in the sick room and half his matches getting up to pace………….I like him but he is a luxury even if he is a solid gooner!

  126. Red Arse says:

    JJ the cynic in me, and I really, really hope I’m wrong, is that they will parade Djourou anda years contract extension for Sol, as our defence strengthening.

    The way Arsenal tend to use their budget is £9m for Koc + a salry of say £3m per annum * 4 = £12m.

    Therfore we would have spent £21m of the supposed £30m. Perhaps we can Lease/lend one of the American boys for £9m inclusive. 🙂

  127. rico says:

    Pat, a goalie is essential in our eyes, but not sure it is in wengers sadly…

  128. rico says:

    RA, i reckon Celtic will be too tempting for Sol, big money…

  129. Red Arse says:

    Oliver, I think you are right re Montolivo’s agent trying to work an improved contract for his client.

    We get so many of these nonsense claims/denials which just muddy the waters.

  130. Red Arse says:

    Rico, he has enough money, surely. I think it’s an ego thing with Sol,he just wants Wenger to ask nicely! 🙂

  131. JonJon says:

    montolivo is garbage i doubt we are even looking at him..

    as oliver mentioned the whole world knows we might be losing cesc so agents far and wide will be telling ther players clubs arsenal are interested just for a bargaining tool..

    poor cesc..go on mate move to barca get your dream move..they obviously love you in spain….go for it

  132. Red Arse says:

    JJ love the irony. I think Cesc has been badly advised, this is just a pissing contest between Barca’s President and Arsene. Who’s is bigger?

    Well probably mine actually, Arsene/Laporta! 😉

  133. rico says:

    RA, depends whether Arsene lets him break for his honeymoon… 😉

    I now know why Almunia was prepared to end his early, no other club would have bought him 😉 😉

  134. rico says:

    Don’t mention Laporta, he’s tomorrows post 🙂

  135. JonJon says:


    i think your right..barca are just pissed off that one of ‘theirs’ is playing a starring role in the best league in the world..

    their having a fucking laugh and cesc has had his emotions torn..its heart over head business but theres only so long you can tell your heart not to give a shit..cesc has been badly informed..they dont give a toss about him they just dont want anyone else to have him..the fact they wont bid more than 30mil is proof to this and its an insult not only to arsene but to cesc as well..

  136. K-TR7 says:

    Rico you should mail that post to wath who will ensure it gets to the right people!…he has connections with the tea lady…montolivo has yet to convince me,he seems to be abit like aquilani and might struggle here.

  137. JonJon says:

    come on honduros..

    send those smarmy fuckers home and the media and the public can all blame it on cesc and barca circus for disrupting the squad

    see how much he wants to gome home then..

    theres also a possibilty that cesc aint being picked cos barca have unsettled him and if thats the case then hopefully he blames them for ruining his world cup and finally tells them to stick it up their arsenal..

  138. Pat7 says:

    RA – you said who’s is bigger? As Laporta is Joana & the new guy’s got a girl’s name also it must be a ‘no contest’! IMHO – LOL!

  139. JonJon says:


    we think alike..the cynic in me has also said many times when debating transfers that wenger includes the wages in the kitty..

    so when really weve got 30 mil its more like 5mil cos weve given 17 players new contracts this year..

    i said a few weeks ago i dont believe for one minute what wenger was on about..he was talking shit when he said he would spend the money..

    i’ll beleive it when i see it… and chamkakaka isnt included..he was a freebie..

    i also think we wont get a keeper either..wenger doesnt see the gk as an important position and will not ‘waste’ any of his kitty on a decent one..

  140. K-TR7 says:

    Barca are hoping that there develops a rift between cesc and our club.and since it is a monopoly kind of market they can dictate the price since they will claim the player is unhappy.unfortunately arsenal fans love him more than his family and he respects aw so much.Guardiola has to be credited for keeping quiet and i can see why he signed a one year deal because he hates dirty politics.he’d love to have cesc but i’m not sure he approves of the way they are going about it since if it backfires cesc would be the most affected.he knows cesc personally and wouldn’t want him affected.if barca don’t pay over the odds we’d be happy to keep cesc.

  141. K-TR7 says:

    Word is guardiola submitted a letter of resignation to rosell but it was declined…

  142. rico says:

    ktr7 😆 – it will be right down his throat me thinks…

    off to watch … see you H/T

  143. JonJon says:


    good point…guardiola has stayed admirabey quiet about it all and i for one wouldnt mind him in charge at arsenal when wenger steps aside..

    AW moves upstairs into a directors role and guardiola takes charge of coaching

    im not a fan of the continental approach when managing a football team..but i think the wenger guardiola combo would work..

  144. Red Arse says:

    Rico, JJ, K-T, Pat7, we have sussed the b**tards out!

    Actually it’s more a questions of cojones. If Le Prof loses this he might as well retire. I and many others will have lost respect for him. JJ, as usual, is right, see his 6:56 post. But if Cesc does then he is “makinga a biga mistaka”. 🙂

    Got to go and watch Cesc NOT playing in Barca/Spain team.

  145. rico says:

    What a goal, what a wonderful goal, why oh why could we not get him…. bloody stains!!!

  146. K-TR7 says:

    Rico you must be having a dirty but warm,fuzzy feeling…its a cracker to be fair.39 goals in 60 games for spain!thats a man who knows where the goal is…

  147. rico says:

    KTR7, if there is one player, just one player who could … no i am not going resemble jj’s earlier comment, its David Villa….. 🙂

  148. JonJon says:


  149. rico says:

    Henry and Paddy were the fav’s to be morphed back into todays world….

    Not my choice though 😉 😉

    I wanted Cygan and Aliadere 😉

  150. rico says:

    jj, have i embarrassed you, surely not 😉 😉

    guys, gals, i’m offski – be good all, stay safe and ketchup tomorrow…

    Nighty night.. 🙂

  151. rico says:

    Villa, bloomin David Villa……….

  152. JonJon says:


  153. K-TR7 says:

    Villa again…

  154. rico says:

    nite jj and ktr7, enjoy the villa show – purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 😉

  155. JonJon says:

    hes awesome..

    better than torres and thats saying something..

  156. JonJon says:

    nite ricolicous..

    sweet dreams about villa.. 😉

  157. K-TR7 says:

    Villa misses the penalty!no one better at penalties than rvp!cesc is coming on…

  158. oliver says:

    Aaaaah!!!!!!!!!! Cesc SHOULD have had a goal or assist within seconds of coming on!!

  159. JonJon says:

    hows cesc got so quick??

    has he been on the roids??? or one of ericks mixtures.. 😉

    he looked like henry at 25 then

  160. oliver says:

    Not too bad a cameo for Cesc. He has not had too many match minutes in the past couple of months, but he did not look bad at all – a few good crosses, and runs. Lest we forget, he IS our Captain….

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