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Most of these Arsenal players actually exist, and some will play

So, having yesterday managed to replace Mark Randall (who plays for Arsenal) with Mark Lambert (who I was at school with), I hesitate to mention anyone today.

But then, being hesitant and writing a blog don’t really go together. Thus having broken the story that Arsenal broke all records by playing a 62 year old in midfield against Barnet (as well as the story that Michael Jackson has been spotted dossing out in a London bus in a field in Norfolk) and having double checked that I didn’t actually go to school with anyone called Van Persie, Eduardo or Bendtner, I proceed thus…

Meandering around the blogs this AM I found one in which we can all vote for whether the Lord Wenger should buy another centre forward or not. Of course I don’t ever indulge in anything so childish on this site (actually I don’t know how to arrange the technology), but I always vote on other people’s sites.

I voted no. About two thirds said yes. A similar theme appears in lots of blogs. Take the money and spend it on a centre forward.

But if we do a Manchester Arab and buy lots of strikers, won’t some of them get a bit miffed if they don’t get enough games?

Selecting a squad is surely a three-way balancing act in which

1. You select a team which can play well together and win matches

2. You select extras who can step in when players get injured playing for their country, or violently assaulted in Birmingham

3. You ensure that those extras get enough games so that they don’t think, “I’ve had enough of this” and bugger off to somewhere where they imagine they will play every week.

It is when all three components are balanced in this way that the problem with buying yet another proven striker is seen in all its glory. We have

Rosicky
Eduardo
Walcott
Vela
Van Persie
Arshavin
Bendtner
plus whoever emerges from the Austrian training camp as our new sensational wonder find. I’m now going for Ayling and Coquelin, but it could be a forward, you never know.

Anyway, the above list includes wingers who can play centre forward,
Centre forwards who can play on the wing, wingers who want to be centre forward, Centre forward currently being used on the wing, forwards who like to play like Bergkamp, and Bergkampian figures who can play on the wing.

But let’s try this another way… Supposing we list the players who might quite legitimately expect games. Considering for a moment players in the starting line up, and thinking just of the 38 league games, how many might each expect to start if they are injury free.

Rosicky – 50%
Eduardo – 50%
Walcott – 70%
Vela – 30% (is that enough to keep him happy?)
Van Persie 70%
Arshavin 85%
Bendtner 60%

Assuming we are talking about the two wide positions and the two central forward positions, that just about works, but it keeps Nasri out of a job, unless he plays in the middle, which seems unlikely through the whole season. It also assumes that Eboue and Diaby don’t get a start between in midfield during the entire season.

One has to remember that with Cesc, Song, Denilson and Ramsey (not to mention the above mentioned Nasri) we have competition in the middle too.

And I have also not mentioned Jack Wilshere (remember Liam said he was ready for the first team now), Gibbs (who was playing midfield before the Clichy injury), and the soon to emerge Fran Merida. Or Traore, of whom I have heard nothing so far. OK so maybe none of these will start any games, but the bench is already looking very crowded.

So to try and do these sums again with another player coming in and expecting to start in 70% of the games, and there’s an even greater problem.

Of course these are just bits of guess work, and a serious injury could take someone out for a long time, as we have seen in the past two years. But even so, I have got two players on 50%, so there’s a lot of accomodation for injury already.

Unless we suddenly get four of the above injured at once (as admittedly happened to both the defence and the midfield last season), someone is going to get fed up.

There’s more. If they are fit and ready, Rosicky and Eduardo will want to make up for lost time and Eduardo is a remarkable opener up of games. If Theo is going to be a striker it has to be soon. At the end of the season Vela looked a renewed player with extra weight to hold off the challenges. If he doesn’t start getting games soon then he will wonder if he ever will. And after giving Bendtner his chance in the last season it would be crazy not to continue believing in him.

And here’s another thought. Last year we scored the same number of league goals as Manchester IOU and the KGB in Fulham. What will we achieve with this forward line?

But let me throw in one more concept. We’ve debated before the notion of the teams that come and park the team bus in front of goal and play 11 behind the ball, with rotational time-wasting. The ability to change the forward line in the last 25 minutes against such a team is a major strength. Replacing Eduardo with Bendtner or vice versa throws “Parked Team Bus” players into confusion just at the time when they are getting knackered. Maybe that’s the plan.

That still doesn’t mean we need yet another forward – but it gives games to everyone we have got.

On the other hand maybe we will have a third season of ceaseless injuries. I think I wrote on several occasions that we were putting out teams which had at least six of the obvious first choice players missing. Maybe the Lord Wenger is working on the basis that we will be cursed yet again.

But I hope not.

PS: On made-up players, there is a lovely one on the 4-4-2 site (although they might have taken it down now). They have or had on their list of Arsenal players the 32 year old Álvarez. He is actually with Arsenal de Sarandi, not with us. So, there was the Times, 4-4-2, me…. I feel I am at last rubbing shoulders with the big boys when I get things wrong.

PPS: On the other hand I could argue that I only put up the wrong name by mistake yesterday to see who would cut and paste it into a commentary on Team Talk.

PPPS: Oooops it is time to go to work, and I haven’t checked through this properly. All mistakes are deliberate post-modernist ironies.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009.

25 comments to Most of these Arsenal players actually exist, and some will play

  • Dave

    Excellent but you forget to mention that half of these players don’t deserve to grace the Arsenal shirt; Diaby, Eboue, Song, Walcott for instance. And none of defensive midfielders.

    Good article mind.

  • es

    I don’t think we should be as worried about a new centre-forward as in central midfield and defence. The problem I have is that at the end of last season AS claimed he’d identified the squad’s weaknesses and this would be rectified via the transfer market. He also said he wanted to keep the squad together, but add to it in crucial areas. Five points.

    One. He’s failed to keep the squad together. Moreover, whatever certain fans think of Ade, he remains a ‘world class’ forward almost impossible to replace.

    Two, The position in CM needs to be filled with a player of command and maturity or Cesc will be off next summer. Song, Denilson, and Diaby all have their virtues, but none of them is a dominant player.

    Three. If AW doesn’t add to the squad with a player of the talent of an Arshavin or Nasri then the fans will create the kind of pressure that could eventually break this team. AW may be right – that the squad is sufficient for the coming campaigns – though personally I don’t think so. However fan disquiet and media pressure will become too much a distraction if or when we don’t have the perfect start to the season or the highly successful season the fans expect. Buying in another (or other) player(s) will dissipate this. I really don’t think AW appreciates the risks he’s taking by alienating the fans and baiting the media.

    Four. This is the most critical season of AW’s time at the club. Last season we didn’t even compete for the EPL title … we were fourth rate … and then only just. This coming campaign will be tougher, not easier. Failure to achieve a CL place will see the end of AW as well some other players at Arsenal. The risks are too high for Arsenal itself. AW needs to be seen to be pro-active before the season starts. Vermaelen isn’t enough.

    Five. Last season, not buying a player like Arshavin during the summer cost us dearly. If he was good enough in January then he was good enough the previous August. Clubs like MU and Chelsea hardly blink an eyelid once they’ve identified a player and consequently they win trophies. There’s a time for AW to stop carrying the financial well-being of the club solely on his shoulders and look at a bigger picture. This is it. Spend 15m to 25m on one or two players.

    If AW has learned from last season then he must show it. Another season of tension and strain on his players’ and his own position should not be an avoidable characteristic of the weeks ahead. If he hasn’t learned then Arsenal FC is in for some very difficult days.

  • LRV

    Tony, God bless you for the ever encouraging posts that you put up time and again. However, it saddens me that “angels” of doom never give us time to fully absorb the encouragement enough to pass it on to our team.

    @ es,

    It seems to me that your carefull analysis only screams of one thing; that Arsenal, Wenger and the team have lost the plot. Perhaps coming right out to say “sack Wenger” might have been a quicker way. Some so called Arsenal fans are saying it already on some of their blogsites anyway. You know they are even having a debate on possible replacements?

    Arsenal fans worry me more than the team. If we fail to win anything, I swear that it will be down to the “fans”, not the team. Suddenly, every jack-water fan seem to know the team more than the manager. Perhaps we should just sack the manager and let these fans take over.

    There are clubs out there whose team have no prayer of coming 10th; yet they are fully supported by fans who know that there is no point in shouting for big name buys. Far be it for an Arsenal fan to encourage the team.

    You talk about Chelsea, who spent a lot of money to “buy” temporary trophy fix (just 2 seasons) after 50 years of waiting. Upon all that spend, even without a win in 4 seasons, we have still won more than they have ever won without spending as much as they have. Isn’t there something wrong with that?

    We give all these amunition to the papers and our opponents to bash our team with, yet we dare to say that the tabloids hate out club. We are doing a pretty good job of that ourselves.

  • Paul

    Well put LRV and I won’t even attempt to hit out at the gaping holes in the previous poster’s analysis. It’s quite obviously srecycled from feeding of the media and their ilk. Had you been on this site more than ten minutes you’d know what it’s all about.
    The Lord Wenger.
    He knows everything (He even predicted the recession in football, the landing of man on Mars and a whole host of things that a simple brain wouldn’t even dare conceptualize.) You think you see es, but you really don’t. Wenger sees everything. You wait and see, belatedly, of course, when you eat that humble pie only the Lord Wenger can dish out. It’s going to be especially large and tasty this time round cause it’s going to be dished out mostly by embryos. What a spectacle it’ll be. You don’t see it yet, but you will.

  • Paul

    And if Diaby, Eboue, Song, Walcott… God knows who else you’ll come up with with time and knee-jerk reactionary tendencies of watching a few matches, pint in hand. Show some flipping support. If they are bad players you are worse supporters who should be sold off before making use of a single coin got from Adebayor’s sale. Yeah yeah, so it’s your money that is used to pay the players. If you really feel that badly about the employees right about now. Vote with your wallets. Keep off for a season, don’t buy any merchandise, and wait. Let’s see how the club collapses then.

  • ES – you say

    The problem I have is that at the end of last season AS claimed he’d identified the squad’s weaknesses and this would be rectified via the transfer market.

    Of course I don’t see/hear everything that Wenger says, and my memory is not all it was, but I don’t recall that statement at all. I recall him saying that he hoped to buy “one or two” players, and he has purchased one with around 6 weeks left to go on the transfer window. That’s quite different from what you said.

    Could you let us know the source of this quote. I am more than willing to admit I have got this wrong – I am just curious because it seems un-Wenger like.

    I am also interested in your comment that

    “Ade… remains a ‘world class’ forward almost impossible to replace.”

    Again I don’t recall anyone saying this last season or the season before. On what basis do you make this assertion?

    I could go on, but I have to get back to work, but quickly, here is one more. You said, “If AW doesn’t add to the squad with a player of the talent of an Arshavin or Nasri then the fans will create the kind of pressure that could eventually break this team.”

    Your argument seems to be, “quick Arsene, change for your own good. Do as I say, not as you believe, otherwise you will be out of a job.” But surely, you would like it more if he continues in his daft old-fashioned blinkered ways, so that he can be booted out by the outraged fans (the fans who screamed their support for him before during and after the last game of last season) and your new man can be put in.

    Which really is the last question. Who on Earth could do a better job and who would be willing to come?

  • steww

    Excellent analysis Tony. This has to be one of the best playing staff we’ve ever had – isn’t the prospect of this season a mouth watering one? So much established first team talent, what looks like an excellent defensive signing, and all that incredible young talent in the youth and reserves.
    I assume the first comments today were some deep level ironic humour which is beyond a simpleton like me.

  • walter

    When TH left those same fans said this was the end of Arsenal, and it was also sadi and believed by fans from other clubs.
    But AW brought in a unknown player, Eduardo, and he was really getting in his goals on a regular basis untill he was kicekd in two at Birmingham. We would have won the league without any doubt if this hadn’t happened.
    This time I think we have the replacement for Adebayor already in our squad. That same Eduardo is fit again and will score again. Bendtner is coming at the age where he is going to deliver and be calmer in front of goal. The boys only 21 you know and he has scored as much goals als the “unreplaceble” Adebayor and had fewer starts.
    I think Arshavin will play second striker more this season, we have Van Persie who will be one of the leaders this season. We have Vela who can produce goals and he is very young. Then there is Walcott. I feel the options we have are great and with Rosicky, Cesc an Nasri in the feeding role there will be plenty of nice and good attacking play from the Arsenal the coming season.
    AW and the team found the way to replace TH, who was 10x better then Adebayor ever will be, so I know we will find the way to replace Adebayor.

  • steww

    Walter – could not agree more. If Arsene suspects we need more cover up front he’ll buy someone. I am utterly confident in the wealth of talent already at the club should he decide otherwise.

  • Will

    I’m still secretly hoping that arsene signs fabiano out of nowhere.

  • es

    Oh dear. What have I said to upset LRV, Paul, TA et al so much.

    First to put some things straight.

    I believe Arsène Wenger to be the best football manager currently involved in the game and I’d be horrified to see him leave the club. But I also believe that he makes mistakes. He is not a god, nor a lord, nor infallible.

    Also, bizarrely, while the winning of trophies is fine, to me the joy of being an Arsenal supporter is the great pride I have in being associated with the kind of football AW has coached his teams into playing. Since I am palpably not the manager nor anything else at Arsenal FC, and because of this distance there is only one person with the necessary information to know who, and how, to play at any given moment.

    Furthermore, it annoys the hell out of me that players get singled out for extreme criticism especially during matches. Players have off days just like everyone else. I’m a firm advocate that support from the stands can turn any match round. Unlike AW, I don’t believe it’s the responsibility of the players to engender this support, but at worst it should be reciprocal at best: an act of belief.

    Now to what I actually wrote. I highlighted the fact that there are expectations from the majority of fans concerning summer signings and not all of these expectations are without foundation nor are unreasonable. My main point being that unless these fans are not sated with signings of ‘experience’ and ability then the coming season will be made more difficult for both players and manager. I also say that if the season does not go well then there will be extra pressure as a result.

    I also stated that “AW may be right – that the squad is sufficient for the coming campaigns – though personally I don’t think so.” I really don’t think any reasonable person can take issue with these statements.

    Would I be happy with the acquisition of another two players of Arshavin’s and Nasri’s quality: the answer is yes. Not just to quieten the detractors, but because, as I say, it removes the otherwise avoidable negativity that will come if, or when, things don’t go well. You see, unlike yourselves, I don’t believe the squad as it stands is definitively good enough to win either the EPL nor the CL and the reason is simple: injuries. If they occur like they have over the last two seasons then we probably won’t have the strength in depth. This is my opinion, and quaintly it’s as valid as anyone else’s – especially as I’ve qualified it with the provisos ‘definitively’ and ‘probably’.

    What is certain is that during the course of the forthcoming season Arsenal’s management will be faced with situations and challenges that ought not to be unforeseen. And some of these will be due to the personnel available. We lacked strength in depth last season and I do not want the same situation to be the case this campaign.

    Now some specifics. LRV. The difference between ourselves and other clubs regarding acquisitions is that we generally buy well. Chelsea, for example, have not. But then between Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink they were pretty much led by donkeys. It should be implicit that I’m not advocating spending for spending’s sake. Also no trophy is temporary – each marks an achievement that is sustained in the history of both sport and that club. And finally, LRV, I’m not concerned that we haven’t won anything in four years: that’s the nature of football. There are no divine rights.

    On to Paul. Edmund Spenser or Oscar Wilde you are not. That said, on a practical note if you can find an example in the press that advocates my main point: dashed expectations over signings leading to potential pressure from the fanbase, then I will doff my cap to you sir.

    Tony. On the Wenger quote coupling squad weaknesses with the transfer market … all I can say is I have an excellent memory, yes it was uncharacteristic which is why it stood out, and no I’ve not been able to locate its source, sorry. Nevertheless, its permanence in the public record isn’t actually germane to my point. Which is about perception and expectation. Other points. Of course Ade was and is world class, if not then he wouldn’t have been a first-choice member of this team. And no there is no “new man”, and no there is no cry for anyone to “change” for their own good, and “daft old-fashioned blinkered ways” is not a phrase I’d use nor even constitutes a valid extrapolation of anything I’ve written – however, it is somewhat revealing. We could go on.

    Elsewhere. Eduardo and Rosicky are ‘like’ new signings – that is, in an imaginary, not a real sense. I which case Eduardo is not a replacement for Adebayor since he was always a member of the squad.

    And since pettifoggery is deemed appropriate let me point out that “unreplaceble” is not a real word (though the archaic ‘unreplaceable’ is, or at least was) … the modern usage of the word should be ‘irreplaceable’ except it cannot be quoted as it is not what was written: that was “almost impossible to replace”, a phrase I stand by.

    Look, especially you Tony. If you want to use this blog as some kind of mutual appreciation society then please feel free to do so. Most blogs exist for the airing of opinions agreed with and not. It was my mistake to think otherwise.

    Haven’t got time to proofread … apologies in advance.

    Ms Eleanor Summerhayes.

  • Eleanor – firstly thank you for doing what some people who argue against the existence of this blog don’t do, which is to consider the replies to your post, and then expand on what you have written before, answering the comments and criticisms.

    Many people do not do that – and I think I have become so used to people coming on, stating their point, and then vanishing without the chance to get the debate going, I have tended to become short (in the sense of making comments back) myself.

    But there is one point I must pick up on. “Most blogs exist for the airing of opinions agreed with and not. It was my mistake to think otherwise.” Well, up to a point.

    I set up Untold Arsenal because I perceived there was a huge number of blogs that criticised Wenger and the team, and I wanted to say, “let’s have a blog that reflects what it is like in the ground.” In a sense a blog that is a reflection of what Red Action does week after week.

    And it does say at the top of the blog, “supporting the Lord Wenger”. So that’s where I start from – this is a totally biased blog, and not one that starts from an open viewpoint.

    To compare the blogs to the world of the fanzine – while the Gooner was running its “Meltdown” edition, Highbury High was continuing to stand four square behind Wenger, arguing that he knows what he is doing in all instances.

    Untold Arsenal is much the same as Highbury High – we start from a certain position and hold to that. I know that’s not open or balanced, but my argument would be, I have to be open and balanced in a lot of what I do in my daily life, and so the chance to be illogical and biased once in a while is quite welcome.

    Besides, I think I’m right.

    Tony

  • I’m sick of people saying “if x, y & z doesn’t happen Cesc will be off next year”. If we don’t beat Bolton 10-0 RVP will be gone next year.

  • walter

    even the reply’s are getting high levelled. 😉

    @ole gunner: me also I’m fed up with it. For some years I’ve read that cesc will be gone if we….(fill in as you like) and if I’m not mistaken our captain is still with us and every time his name is mentioned in another lie-article in some gutter-paper: he confirms he is and will be an Arsenal player for a long time. I think he generally states himself: certainly until the end of his current contract.
    He will be off to Spain and Barcelona in a few years, I have no doutbt about that and I can respect and accept the day he goes to his home town and country. But stop the ‘unless we… Cesc will go”.

  • stuartlondon

    ES

    The first three paragraphs of your response are unexceptionable. After that, the quality of your arguments rapidly diminishes.

    Can we ever sensibly claim of any team that they are ‘definitively’ good enough to win the EPL or CL? The real question is whether buying additional players is likely to significantly increase the chances of winning these prizes. Tony’s article was a reflection on this question as it applies to the current Arsenal team.

    I happen to agree with his view, which is that it is by no means obvious that buying a big name, big money offensive player will improve the effectiveness of the team, and could even undermine it. Like many contributing to the recent debate, I think our team has been overly reliant on scoring goals and too inclined to concede them. As a result, when we meet a team that is easy to score against we are likely to win, often overwhelmingly. But when we play teams that are highly effective in defence, we are likely to lose. As evidence of this, I understand that we scored as many goals last season as other members of the top four, but also conceded more. Consequently, we were fourth rather than first at the end of the season. For me, therefore, the need is to ensure we can offer a top quality defensive lineup, again a view shared by many others.

    I also agree with you that Adebayor is a top international player, at least in terms of his technical ability, and I felt alarmed, despondent and ashamed when he was booed by our own supporters after being sent on against Chelsea. I feel that such openly negative reactions only served to encourage the opposing team. In that sense, Chelsea were assisted to victory by some of our own fans.

    However, truely great players are not just technically proficient, they have other qualities as well. Chief amongst these, I would suggest, are loyalty to the team and the absolute determination to perform to the best of their abilities at all times. Many felt he failed to show these qualities last season, and at a time when the team was made vulnerable by a string of injuries and most in need of total commitment from every player. No matter how talented the player, if his behaviour undermines the morale and performance of the team, his effect is toxic and it is probably better if he departs sooner rather than later.

    As for Eduardo and Rosicky, they come back to us after overcoming severe injuries, and during their lengthy revoveries we have been deprived of two major talents. As they rejoin the first team squad, their impact will hopefully be equivalent to making two new top quality signings. It is therefore entirely correct to regard them as ‘like’ two new signings, and your attempt to qualify this statement as true in an ‘imaginary’ rather than a ‘real’ sense makes neither logical nor grammatical sense.

    Finally, try to avoid being openly condescending towards other contributors whose command of language may not may not match your own lofty capabilities. It deeply unattractive.

    best wishes

    Stu

  • Nhan Le

    Stu,
    I actually think you and ES share one similar concern – public relationship. Your questioning of Ade’s attitude makes me believe that you’re among fans who misunderstood him, which is a public relationship issue

    I think the Gallas saga last year is a proof that underestimation of the media could have serious negative effects on technical matters. I believe that Arsene wanted Gallas to wear the armband to protect Cesc from media limelight when he’s still young. Gallas does have the understanding of the game and seniority to be respected as a captain. As things turned out, the media was effectively saying: captain is a public job, if we the public are not happy with your choice of captain, we’ll bring him down. I think Gallas’ only sin was to be a bad public communicator, verbally and non-verbally.

    Ade was a bad public communicator too (watch his interviews on youtube). He is among the Afro-French players who are separate from the British public by a significant cultural barrier. And this difficulty was intentionally magnified by the media, making fans believe that he is what you described.

    In the modern labor market, it’s completely normal to point out to your employer what outside offers you have to bargain for higher salary – no-one should be judged disloyal to exploit such a tactic. Ade and his agent (I blame his agent) did not manage the public side of this process gracefully last year, falling pray to tabloid speculations. Staying true to their PR policy, the official voice of Arsenal was pretty much quiet, leaving Arsene alone mopping up the media mess after Ade got the raise he asked.

    To tie up the point, I agree with you that technically, buying or not right now is not essential, probably not even relevant, because we’ve got world class players coming back from long term injury. We also feel that we could improve a lot from the available resources.

    But buying/selling/selecting players do have a media effect as ES was rightly concerned. Even if it is largely true that most fans know next to nothing about scouting info and finance, thus should be separated from technical decision, it may be important for Arsenal to be more discreet and transparent about our transfer business.

  • pig

    This is a very interesting debate. Loads of interesting points have been raised

    The league isn’t played in a bubble. would that it were. The press, as much as I hate to admit it, are powerful. In some cases it’s for the good, but the rest of the time they are either lying or lying.

    Now, if you sling enough muck, some of it is bound to stick. And the press, media etc spew out unfathomable amounts of pure nonsense. it used to be the case that we could only get a daily fix of bullshit interspersed with hourly bulletins on the idiot box. Now, however, with the advent of news channels and internet news pages, we get our bullshit update every second.

    of course the trophy hunter, plastic type of fan is bound to be more susceptible to this barrage of negativity, because it echoes their own sentiments. is it any wonder then that posts like the first one appear.

    I do think that as much as we decry the dark side, we shouldn’t deny that its there, and that it will affect our club. as much as we ridiculed george ‘monkey boy’ bush as un unintelligent ignorant redneck, look how much havoc he wreaked. the dark side is powerful and it plys its trade in the strangest of ways.

    what could be stanger than a supporter slagging his own club, manager, players etc.

    death to the dark side, may the force be with you Arsene.

  • shotta-gunna

    Nhan Le – Your analysis re public relations is spot on. It is a cliche to say that competitive sports is highly emotional meaning there is a highly subjective side to the performance of athletes and the support they receive and/or trigger from their fans. We football fans like to think there is no other sport as emotional as ours; especially the case in the English Leagues. To an outsider it is unreal the emotional ties the average English fan has to his/her club and the demands of “loyalty” they put on players. I think Adebayor and his handlers misunderstood this; how else can you explain the many faux paxes they committed last summer when they wheeled and dealed for a pay increase.
    I for one was among those who felt the fans were unreasonable to question his loyalty when in the end he decided to stay despite a reportedly bigger offer by Milan and the fact that Hleb and Flamini were unmoved by the appeals to stay, from both Wenger and the fans, and went for the big pay check. Like you (is that presumptious) I am convinced that the blogs and the media decided to exploit the “cultural gap” (a polite metaphor for differences in race and nationality) between him and the fans by amplifying any negativity on his part through “tabloid speculation”. This had even more reasonance because the team struggled. Ade was as affected if we go by that late season BBC interview. Going back to the earlier thesis, athletes thrive on the emotional energy of the fans, and Ade, from a distance, it seems was very reliant on the positive feedback of the fans in 07-08. Many of us on-line tried to emphasize the objective, to dispel the negative vibes by the tabloid media and blogs but alas that was not to be. Even fans who, prior to the transfer, were publicly saying “keep the team together” have defaulted to their their tribal insticts and have decided to give Ade the proverbial knife in the back for becoming a Man City man. One blogger couldn’t restrain himself and reprinted line for line a litty ditty sung at Barnet about “showing him the door”.
    As in politics, fans have a lot to learn about media manipulation and self deception.

  • shotta-gunna

    PS: Contrast Ade and his handlers with the professional pr-savvy manner in which Van Persie negotiatiated his big salary increase. It was practically out of the public eye with frequent declarations of love for Wenger and Arsenal together with the leverage of he will play for a club that “matches his expectations.”Closer to the XIth hour there were leaks about interest in his service from three (3) big clubs including Inter. I don’t question RVP’s commitment to the cause but football is a business and his negotiating tactics were spot-on.

  • steww

    Once again shotta you have nailed it right there. Ade’s advisers let him down, RVP’s were more savvy and certain quarters of the media and the blogosphere are always quicker to put the knife into ‘lazy’ ‘uncommitted’ Africans than white Europeans. Unpalatable but transparently the case.

  • Nhan Le – thank you for a most excellent analysis. I wish I had more time to follow it up, but I’m off on holiday shortly and must dash out the door – but thank you for that commentary above.

  • shotta-gunna

    steww @ 8:06 pm – Credit is due to Nhan Le for initiating the thread. While it is easy to castigate Ade’s advisers, he of course bears equal responsibility. IMO, a problem with many young, footballers from 3rd world countries is they are not as media savvy as their 1st world counterparts. Many have been cocooned in a football bubble during their formative years they never get exposed to the life experiences of us regular folks. My point they are easy prey to the tabloid media and blogs. Of course steww, you and I are familiar elsewhere with bloggers and posters who, contrary to their upbringing and socialization in Great Britain, fiercely deny that there attitude towards Ade and other “Afro-French” players is any way influenced by this “cultural gap.” Time to move on but there are so many lessons to be learnt.

  • steww

    All fair and unarguable, shotta. Also credit to Nhan as I should have said earlier.

  • T00farg0ne

    Great article Tony. Why do we need to replace Ade? We don’t. Wouldn’t he have been away for the African Nations Cup anyway? (not sure on this, couldn’t find out if Togo have/could still qualify). If so the disruption would have been a problem and surely it’s better to build a team knowing a player is not there and working to the strengths of the rest of the team.

    It looks like we’re going to play 4-3-3 with RvP, Dudu and Bendtner (even Simpson) filling the middle of the front 3 that Ade would have taken. That position in a 4-3-3 doesn’t need pace and pace is the only thing we may lose from the sale of Ade. All of our front players offer a range of things and will freely swap positions in the way that Man U have done so well with Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez over the past 2 seasons. With Walcott, Vela, AA, Rosicky, RvP, even Nasri and Diaby able to fill in left and right of the front 3 we have plenty of quality options. I don’t really see the need for another forward player except for the possibility of getting a run of bad injuries which given that this season will have fewer competitve matches during the season we may be luckier. Although after Vela’s injury and now Nasri the curse is looking to continue.
    Signing Huntelaar would be great but purely as a statement of intent, not through necessity. The priority has to be defence and holding midfield.

    The current forward options are good enough and we have some geat emergency cover in the youth, Barazite is looking great so far and I can’t wait to see more of Wilshire.

    Roll on 15th August

  • LRV

    This is why I love this site. Loads of thanks to everyone for a very insightful debate; especially ES, Nhan Le, pig, shotta-gunna, etc.

    Let’s keep this spirit up and make this blogsite a joy to visit. We all know that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are not infallible. Nobody is saying that everything is perfect. But let’s have positive, constructive criticism; such that will encourage the team; rather than helping others peddle ‘gloom & doom’.

    Thanks again everyone.