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A few first thoughts on the win against United

By Walter Broeckx

So  we won a game of football. A victory that makes me a bit sad. No, not that I feel sad because we won. No it makes me feel sad because the things that happened in the last weeks and earlier in this season.  But you will get a more detailed view on this when we do our season review on refs.

But let us just look at this game. When the line up came out everybody looked at each other. Cesc Fabregas out with an injury. Why did this have to happen again? And this at the moment we had to play United. The best team in the EPL, the team in form. The team that had just beaten Schalke in the CL. The team that will play the final of the CL.

And look at Arsenal. Lost 7 points in one week. Lost against Bolton (with all due respect; Bolton!)  Could not defend properly, no character, no guts, no brains. Cannot defend corners.  Oh yes and of course a clueless manager.  So did we have any chance? No. Before the game started we had already lost it. And when we realised no Cesc in the team I think a lot of the fans feared getting demolished by the machine that Utd is. Or they think it is.

Let us take a look at some in the line up. Szczesny in goal. Did he do anything wrong today? If he did I didn’t see it. When he came it was right to come, when he stayed on his line it was the right decision. When he had to save some things he was there. A very solid performance. And I think he read my advice after the Liverpool game. Or was it really Jens who has told him how to act when you have to take a few seconds off the clock without it getting noticed. A very solid display for a young keeper. A keeper from project youth.

Djourou was sharp as long when he was on the pitch. Strong in the challenges, strong in the air. How you want a centre back to be. And this also is one of the boys who have been around at Arsenal since a few years.  And when he got injured he was replaced by Squilacci.

If you have to believe some part of the fans Squilacci is the worst CB in the world. So yes maybe he wasn’t at his best in this season. But you know he has played with top clubs in France and Spain. Has played for France. So he cannot be totally shit and today he did what he had to do when he came on. He kept United away. He wasn’t the weakest link as some part of the fans feared. Maybe it is worth giving a new player the chance to adapt to a new league, a new country a new language, a new team and a new style of play.

Song in midfield was immense. He fought, he passed, he tackled, he ran, he did what he can to help this partners in midfield. Because at the tender age of 22 this player who came at Arsenal at the age of 17 was the senior partner in midfield. And at the end he kept back in defence to help shielding our lead.

Also in midfield  we had our Jack who is 19 and well isn’t he just great? Not in height, but what a player we have brought up in our own ranks. If he can add some goals to his game and I am sure he will do this we will have one of the greatest players ever to have played in an Arsenal shirt in our team. He can be a Brady, a Bergkamp, a Vieira  whatever midfielder you want to add to the list. He can be better than all of them.

And then we have our MOTM Aaron Ramsey. Our match winner. When he scored I felt a great joy but I must admit that at that moment I had a terrible flash back. A flash back of Ramsey on the floor at Stoke looking at his leg. Can anyone imagine what we have missed in the last year?  Just imagine that Ramsey for his real first top game coming up with such a performance against United. This really was top class. And this is another youngster that we have been nurturing since he was 16. And isn’t it just great that it is him who scored the winning goal? And some of you might remember that Ramsey was already declared a United player on their website before the deal was done. Great work Arsène to have snapped him under their nose.

In attack we had Walcott on the right. He worked really hard. Not just attacking but also defensively.  And in top games you need players who are prepared to work hard.  And that is just what he did. Another of those who came when he was 16. And who had more goals and assists this season than player of the year Bale.

And Nasri played a good first half but then was replaced after picking up an injury I think. But the most amazing thing was that Arshavin who came in his place made the most successful tackles of any player on the field. Okay maybe statistically this is not right but I never have seen him tackle like he did today. I loved it Andrey.

But if you look back at all those names: Szczesny, Djourou, Song, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott. Those are all players that have been bought at a young age.  Not all of them are a 100% part of the project youth. But all of them have been raised to play in the Arsenal philosophy.

All of them have been brought by the manager. The manager has kept his belief in the players. And today they rewarded him with this victory. This was a victory of the Arsenal that is being built. The Arsenal that will get better and such a result will bring  more confidence that they are able to win the top games.  In fact for the moment we are leading the mini top 4 league. If Chelsea win at OT they will have the best record in  that league table. If United win they will have as many points as  we have.

I think this is very important for the future.  Even at the start of this season and after our defeats at Chelsea and MU people wrote the team off as they could not win the top games. Well they can. They have won half of the top games this season.

And doesn’t it feel very sweet that we have beaten United who declared themselves already champions before the game with a team that we have raised for over 50%. The only thing that makes it a bit bitter today is that we now realise more that we lost the league in the smaller games. The games we should have won. But I think it is more easier to get that right in the next months.

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52 comments to A few first thoughts on the win against United

  • Justin

    Felt really really good to see Ramsey scored. Yesterday’s team looked more like a future project but the way played was really fantastic. I don’t want to go in referee’s performance and all, but we deserved to win and we won. That’s the final thing. Hope we can continue it next season and win irrespective of our bad luck about decisions.

  • A brief apology for the late posting of this article by Walter (at 1045 BST). Today (monday) is a public holiday in the UK and I got up late. (I thought I might as well admit it – oh and there were a few celebrations last night too about the result).

  • Dark Prince

    The good sign is that when we’re up against the best teams, the players show their character and immense maturity. Beating Chelsea, ManU, City, Barcelona in a season is in itself a huge achievement. But the problem is consistency. The same maturity and fighting spirit tends to disappear against some of the average/weak teams. Our season was not lost against the big teams, it was lost against teams like west brom, newcastle, bolton, etc. Our uefa challenge became problematic not bcoz of barca but bcoz of loss against Braga and Shakhtar.

    Its eventually down to the players. They have shown they have what it takes, but Wenger can only show them the path, its eventually the players who need to walk thru it.

    Anyways, massive result for Arsenal. Just need to keep believing and keep fighting.

  • Samuel

    The one player who made all the difference was Alex Song,not Ramsey for scoring the goal or Wilshere,Song ,so don,t let the English bias confuse your minds,typical hogwash ?

  • Chowdhury

    Walter, thank you. Those 2 words should convey a whole lot more than they sound.
    One thing I noticed that you missed out from the list of “Le Facts” is “This team has no true leader on the pitch”. Just thought i’d point it out, cause the Gods of Know The Solution from planet “Wenger Out” might get disappointed. I mean after all the energy they spend in “establishing” a “fact” of such nature, we the morons who still believe in Arsene and in Arsenal in general, shouldn’t dare forget it. 🙂
    Oh the feeling to truly and honestly “Believe” in something from the core of your heart, and to be rewarded for that believe in a fashion such as yesterday… Priceless…
    In Arsene We Believe.
    Go Gunners.

  • nicky

    I have only 2 nitpicking comments, namely:
    1. Chesney’s overlong kicking towards the end which only reached Van der Saar and then came right back at us.
    2. Our sideways close passing in their penalty area still persisted…… until a backward pass from Van Persie to Ramsey resulted in a shot (at last) and the inevitable goal.

  • Gooner80

    When you look at how young the team is, I think the only thing you can do is support them, although they have the experience in terms of games played, they still have the maturity of young men

    who honestly can say there hasnt been notably improvements in players such as:

    Theo
    Wilshere
    Chesney
    JD
    Nasri

    they are becoming more consistent, I am very impressed with the rise of young Theo, he is no longer just relying on his pace his technical ability is improving immensely.

    we are the only team to beat Barca in the champions league and Wengers often accused of his tactics but his tactics worked better then Mournhino, Dark Prince is right we fell short against the lesser teams but we were robbed against barca

    The talent is there, I would concede that we do need a bit of defensive organisation, but when I look at a team like Barca their defence isnt great but it is hard to find out how good they are because they dominate possession, also I take on board the point there is alot more long ball tactics and rotational fouling allowed in england, and in some ways our games suits europe, we destroyed shaktar and braga at home. IMO it is tweaking and finding new approaches to dealing with opposition we have had problems with this year

  • walter

    Samuel, I’m not English. But I could be biased but then I would be talking about Vermaelen maybe. 😉

    But I must say that I thought saying Song was immense was meant to praise him.

    But for Song to shine is well almost a habit imo. I really do rate him as one of our best players of the season. But Jack and Aaron are much younger and still new to those games and so I focussed on them a bit more.

  • walter

    Just imagine beating MU and playing a midfield of an average age of not even 21 years!!!! (20,66 to be precise)
    That is just what we did yesterday.

  • Sammy

    For all the Wenger eulogies, I can’t get over the fact that if he had paid that extra £1mn to Fulham for a goalkeeper out of his massive £40m transfer kitty, we would still be in with a chance of winning the title.

    What premier league manager would not give away £1mn extra to win the title? No-one but Wenger. I just think he is penny wise but pound foolish!

  • merakis

    That win has confirmed my recent thoughts. It’s time to cash in on Cesc. Don’t get me wrong i love the boy and appreciate what he has done for arsenal, but lets not drag out the inevitable anymore and give him his wish to play for Barca. Lets take that £35m/£40m now and spend it on players that want to be at us. We have good enough players in the centre in Ramsey/Wilshere/Song and Nasri can play their too. Spend it on one more monster centre mid and the other obvious areas we need too and i am confident we can compete at the top again.

  • anatra

    @Nicky; Maybe Czszesny kicked the ball as far away as he did because he’s been struggeling with his kicks up until now. Maybe he just got carried away. 🙂

  • @Dark Prince

    “But the problem is consistency.”

    Do you know any club in EPL which have no problem with consistency?

  • walter

    If we would have bought Schwarzer then we would have an overaged keeper in goal and Szczesny would have left us by now. We would have lost a keeper that will be ours for the next 15-20 years. And a keeper that really wants to be an Arsenal player. Remember how he celebrated against Barcelona? This guy has all the talent he needs to succeed and he loves Arsenal. Thank god we now have a keeper that can stay with us and win our next 10 league titles.

    And if Schwarzer would be the answer between winning the league or not then I ask myself why he still is at Fulham? Why wasn’t he bought by let us say Manchester City or Tottenham?

  • Shard

    @Walter

    Correct. Schwarzer was never going to be anything but a stopgap. Besides, how can we assume he wouldn’t have made mistakes which cost us points. He has made some for Fulham too.. I did think we needed a keeper at the start of the season but I’m glad it wasn’t Schwarzer, or Reina. But we have our No.1 now I think. If Mannone is willing to be 3rd choice then we are set. For years to come.

  • Evil

    Besides, we didn’t get Schwarzer because we did not want to pay the price. We did not get Schwarzer because Fulham could not secure the services of Given. If they would’ve gotten Given, Schwarzer would’ve been free to go.

  • jayj

    Song was the MAN.

  • Gooner80

    I am shocked that the media havent torn into Man U for playing against a side in crisis, all compliments to arsenal have been under their breath

    cant believe anyone could think schwarzer would have won us the league, the keeping issue hasnt been a problem this year only when Almunia was in goal. Chesney does need to work on his kicking though

    if it was a simple as spending the most money each year real madrid would win everything, there is so many issues when dealing with a transfer, rigorous drilling of the defence would reap more rewards than buying a man in his zimmer frame

  • bjtgooner

    Great win yesterday. This young team really outplayed the Manures. What I liked about Song yesterday was that he played deeper and protected the back 4. This is his best position and it is very important to the team that someone plays this role.
    Otherwise our style of play can leave the back 4 too exposed. Song also marked Rooney out of the match.

    While it was great to see the young guys do well and especially to see Ramsey come back and score (we are now used to seeing Wilshire and Walcott performing!), the whole team performed well, seemed to cover better for each other and defended more as a unit rather than a collection of individuals. Keep it going guys!

  • Dark Prince

    Alek- thats the reason its been a frustrating season for us. No team has been good enough in this season to be called champions. The title was always there to be won, but we cudn’t step up to it. A team like ManU who are probably havin their weakest squad and no one have challenged them. In other words, we were jus givin them d title wit a ribbon tied to it. Look at chelsea, after their injury crisis got over, they have been in superb form while ManU and Arsenal were inconsistent. Jus think, Chelsea were 15 points off the top n lying in 5th position in feb. And now bcoz of our inconsistencies, they are one win away from leadin d table.

  • bob

    @Walter, UA, all: A holy-trinity (GOOD, BAD, UGLY] for our going forward to our championship:
    + Massive Kudos to the boyz (youth!), to Arsene and all the Joy we Fans can stand! [This for The GOOD]
    + The BA Massive Demand by legions of fans for Video Replay to level the chronically-Bent pitch and undo the unholy trinity — Kastle Fergus, Kremlin-2 and the Hong Kong Syndicate. [This, to bring-down The BAD]
    + Massive Drilling of the defense by a specialist on set pieces with (contract) players who can launch killer-headers in training like those that chronically brought us down in real-time (this and last season). This so that we can end (massively lessen) the Acknowledged “immaturity”/anxiety that has hurt us, as Arsene admits. The morning after, this remains a flaw. [This, to beatify The UGLY]
    It’s great to be on this brilliant ride. Up the Arsenal!

  • bob

    p.s. sorry for confusions: by “BA” (above) I meant Bad-Ass – my bad (short-hand)

  • Charlie

    Distinct lack of credit from the press i would imagine, i can imagine the headlines if we’d lost but by winning we prove them all wrong. The team has the best selection of young midfielders in the world now and that is at least one area that we don’t need to worry about for a very long time. Sort out the weakness from set-pieces and headers and we’ll be world-beaters. Maybe just one player. The CBs are just so small, let’s be honest. Consistency starts from a solid defense. I think the season started to go wrong on 3rd November with the defeat by Shaktar followed by the defeat by Braga. That set up the tie with Barcelona which was where it all deteriorated. The mental blow of all those major defeats in a row would hit even the most experienced player for six.

  • Gf60

    Because I’m a gooner…and because I’ve only heard the fat lady croaking so far, I’ve had a dream. For those wishing to have a bet I have to warn you that my position in the Barclays Prediction League is 24746/220869 but that doesn’t stop me dreaming! And I also want Blackpool to stay up.
    Results over the next three weeks will be:
    MFU 0 -Chel$ki 0
    Stoke 1 Arsenal 3
    Arsenal 5 Villa 0
    Chel$ki 2 Newcastle 1
    Blackburn 1 MFU 1
    Fulham 0 Arsenal 2
    Everton 1 Chel$ki 1
    MFU 1 Blackpool 1

    And that my friends will take away the pain of the 19 points dropped to WBA,Newcastle,Sunderland and the unmentionables from up the road.

    Gooners champions with 76 points and 3 goals difference.

  • Gooner80

    @Gf60 dont tell everyone keep it quiet lol, if arsenal are written off they wont see us coming, that would be a great triumph if you are right, I think we might pip chelsea to second, so in a weird way we need man u to get a result.

    All we can do now is win our games and see what happens

  • DC

    Solid performance yesterday which was all down to concentration, hunger and belief. All attributes that have been partially missing throughout our poorer results this season. Such great performances are all down to the players and not Arsene once they cross that white line.
    @ merakis,
    I kind of agree. The saga regarding Cesc and “will he or won’t he leave” has become somewhat stunting to the other members of the squad – and this is particularly highlighted whenever we’ve lost matches. He is a great player but as we have known for a long time now, if he’s not on form, then we can be bereft of ideas and there aren’t enough players in the side that have the courage to step up and take the lead away from him. I might even say at times, that Cesc can disrupt and slow our play down if he’s not given the room to play (I refer to the Liverpool match at the Emirates). The ability to beat that deep-lying midfield and attack the back four is crucial for our attacking way of play and what is now clear is that Rambo, Samir and Jack all have that skill while Cesc doesn’t. It’s unfortunate that Cesc’s not as athletic or as quick-of-footed as they are but if he’s sold, then a central midfielder that can do that would be great. I sometimes wonder what Hleb or Freddie Ljunberg would have provided for this team in an attacking capacity with their blistering 5 yards of pace off-the-mark to beat the first man?! I’m sure we’d have scored more goals and been out of sight this season?!

  • bob

    @DC: That said, I thinks you’d agree, this morning after, that there’s still set-pieces/killer headers/immaturity-anxiety which will not get addressed and need be as well. Massive offense does not do it alone – note even for Barca who are banshees on the pitch with a swarming collective defense.

  • DC

    @ Gf60,
    You know what, i might well take a punt on that but think you’re wrong on a couple of points….I can see Manure losing away at Blackburn and Chelski losing at Everton! Happy days!

  • DC

    @ Bob,
    Of course you’re right but in order to play that smothering type of defence ALL of your players need to be athletic and fleet-of-foot, aligned with the obvious organisation. Whether Cesc can do that job as well as Xavi or Iniesta in their current side, i’m not too sure he can!

  • DC

    With respect to the set-pieces and calmness under pressure when without-the-ball, just alot of work on the training ground in the post-season with a PROPER defensive coach would be massive!

  • bob

    @yes, but even without Barca-fleetness-afoot on defense, the proper focus – massive focus – has needed to be applied to the set-piece/header issue which cannot be achieved by offense alone. I say don’t ease Cesc out the door quite yet, amigo; we can achieve a major difference by doing whatever it is necessary to fix this chronic problem that has continued to bring us down. It’s not just the boyz immaturity and anxieties in big moments (against LITTLE TEAMS), but it’s not there in the training. Now, neither am I, so I don’t know as an eyewitness. But if it’s there in the training, then new defense-men are needed who can apply the lessons; or, if it’s not there in the training, then a specialist must be brought in to apply it in the training (with the right kinds of striking, etc. to simulate game conditions as closely as possible). Do you disagree on this?

  • bob

    p.s. above was @DC, sorry as ever.

  • Cody

    What I liked the best was the way our “pathetic” defense literally pushed Hernandez and Rooney around, in fact we basically bullied Hernandez out of the game! We showed a ton of fight and determination. I also realized yesterday we don’t need cesc anymore. His heart hasn’t been in it all season. The best thing he can do for us is give us a mountain of cash to firm up our team. He will look great on the bench for barca… And we will have players that want to be here. I also have to disagree about bringing in schwartzer… We wouldn’t have been any further ahead. We have our keeper for the next decade, just need mad Jens as his mentor!

  • bob

    @DC: missed your follow-up. We’re on the same page on this for sure.

  • DC

    @ Bob,
    No mate, I agree!
    But I also think that what the boys will finally be needing is abit more self-belief and to realise just how good they are as Arsene keeps telling them. I think that that will ultimately only come with success and once it does, the sky’ll be limit and the world their oyster! Cesc’s already done that (and so had Gallas before him) so it must be kind of hard for him to see the nervous anxiety at times. It’s a shame that the premiership wasn’t already put to bed by us by now cos I’m sure that we’d see a real arrogance and confidence that is clearly evident with Manure and Chelski (which are technically inferior sides) but more experienced at winning things.

  • bob

    @Cody: I think the bitterness toward Cesc is misplaced. There’s also an external issue that is not wiped away by one victory: namely, we don’t (I don’t either) know to what extent the open-season on Arsenal players allowed (if not abetted) by certain Bent-Refs from the Hives of Riley has taken its physical/psychic toll on Cesc (who has been chronically injured this season, as you know) and may well have led to a thought process whereby he MUST think about what continued EPL barbarism on the pitch will do to his future as a footballer at all. It’s all speculation, but this is NOT unthinkable. So before giving the elbow to Cesc, now that we have “English Steel” in the midfield, you might think about this chronic Bent-ref NON-CALL issue – what Walter has documented the entire season – and about how it may be affecting Cesc’s decision-making. Walk the talk in his mocassins and you might not be so quick to get pouty and say, “well let’s get someone who REALLY wants to be here.” It’s not that simple, and Cesc deserves far better, as do we all.

  • Wrenny

    The team as a whole was excellent, and our work on the flanks and deliveries from wide deserve a mention. That’s something we often don’t do very well at but against Utd we did it brilliantly. The cross from Walcott that Vidic punched away was fantastic, and there was the Clichy cross that Theo couldn’t keep under the bar, the Wilshere shot-cross that Evra had to scramble out before Theo got to it, and Theo’s cross that RVP put into the side netting.

    Nothing came from those chances, but it frightened the heck out of Utd and that’s important. Seeing those balls getting into their six yard box plants seeds of doubt into the opponent’s mind, subconsciously pushes them back, midifelders get a little deeper to help out. Scaring teams forces mistakes. Patient passing 30 yards from goal just isn’t scary, it needs to be mixed with some incisive cross-it-first-time play on occasion.

    I also loves seeing us commit bodies forward, midfielders charging into the box. When Ramsey scored we had Walcott, Arshavin and Wilshere all on the edge of the six yard box – five players in the penalty area in total with RVP and Ramsey. And their runs dragged defenders away from Ramsey and gave him the time to slot the ball into the net. If they don’t do that then Ramsey gets crowded out by a gaggle of free Utd defenders and the goal doesn’t happen.

  • bob

    @Wrenny: good one, mate! I’d love Macho Evra to read your posting, especially after in today’s press he rattles on about how it was all down to Manure and that the Arsenal attack didn’t scare us. (That’s what he bellowed forth this very day – see the Guardian and grin widely!))

  • DC

    @ Cody,
    Agree about our keeper situation. We don’t really need a so-called “top keeper” as Chesny is going to flourish into one (even if Fabianski doesn’t) but if Schwarzer did come, he would be a great mentor for both as Jens’ playing days are surely going to be over very soon.

  • bob

    @DC: In Brooklyn we used to have a great expression for Chesny’s “cheeky” style [like he played against Manure by not picking up the ball until the very last second as he was being hounded by their stay behind hound] – we used to call it “Moxie”. I don’t know if that’s known across the pond, but Chesny’s got it and I gotta love it.

  • Wrenny

    @bob
    Thanks for letting me know!
    Evra: “We didn’t feel in trouble. We knew how Arsenal would play. They kept possession of the ball but never looked dangerous.” Brilliant 😀

    Yes, I’m sure Fergus didn’t feel in trouble either during that half hour he spent on his feet bellowing.

  • Gooner80

    How predictable was fergie keep playing park, nani on the left 4-5-1 defending deep hit arsenal on the break, Park has hardly played all season, Im hoping Barca can give him a lesson and maybe he might change his tactics.

    Arsenals number one lesson must be breaking these teams down on a regular basis, once we score they have to come and play, many teams are happy with a draw at the Ems and for a large part we have given it to them. When Chamkh was upfront we was crossing the ball much more because it was bread and butter for him, and we picked up a lot of points, we need to make sure there is variety so the opposition doesnt know what is coming

  • Wrenny

    @gooner80
    Man Utd lined up in the 4-4-1-1 that Fergus has been persisting with and has seen them lose huge matches at Chelsea, Liverpool, and now Arsenal. He underestimated our midfield and didn’t expect Song to completely own Rooney and mark him out of the game, taking out Utd’s main threat and their crucial link between midfield and attack. They couldn’t get him on the ball and their counter attacks broke down repeatedly. Can anyone remember what Rooney did exactly in yesterday’s game? I can’t.

  • Gooner80

    @Wrenny Yeah I simplify systems down, some may class UTDs system as 4-4-2 but the way they played it was more 4-5-1

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘And if Schwarzer would be the answer between winning the league or not then I ask myself why he still is at Fulham? Why wasn’t he bought by let us say Manchester City or Tottenham?

    Walter, I don’t know what planet you live on but Man City have Joe Hart and Shay Given and Spurs have Pletikosa, the national Croatian keeper, as 3rd choice.

    They don’t need a goalkeeper right now.

    Arsenal could have done with one this season.

    I return always to the same gripe I have with you: you don’t pay the most expensive season ticket prices in the land as you only come 3 or 4 times a season. It’s easy to take your attitude when you don’t shell out. But Arsenal’s squad would disappear if the season ticket holders didn’t cough up every year.

    They have a right to expect more for what they pay……..and if you were honourable about the ‘youth project’ you would expect ticket prices for the past 4 years to be significantly lower as a mark of that reality. Rising with rising success….

    They weren’t, so you’re being a snake-oil salesman, I’m afraid…..

  • WalterBroeckx

    If the old idiom “time is money” is still valid I pay the highest price of us all. 😉

  • merakis

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1382063/Arsenal-fix-future-forlorn-Fabregas.html

    At the risk of pissing off all the AKB’s who will undoubtedly question the need for another article like this, I couldn’t help but marvel over the latest words of wisdom from the GIC. I’m sick of hearing about how “intelligent” Wenger is and how he knows far more about football than the rest of us put together, and then you read an article like this i.e. one where he is actually quoted. Just pick the bones out of this drivel

    ‘Maybe this season has been a bit of a heavy burden for Cesc, he puts too much pressure on himself,’ admitted Wenger.
    ‘It’s too much pressure for someone his age. But he is captain and (Robin) van Persie is vice-captain so they put a lot of pressure on themselves. It’s all self-inflicted’

    Oh really – self inflicted eh ? Remind me who it was that decided to follow a policy of letting anyone over the age of 30 leave because they decided to piss around over the length of contract renewals and instead tread the path of signing ‘never will be’s’ on 5 year deals. You gave him the captaincy at 22 pal, no one else. And you chose an injury prone vice captain in the absence of any other (fit) leaders on the pitch. They are our only 2 world class players – so apart from when TV5 gets fit again who else could you select from this miserable bunch ?

    Spending big on established names will go some way towards persuading Fabregas to stay for at least one more season.
    ‘Cesc’s comments in that interview were motivated by frustration,’ admitted the Gunners boss. ‘It’s frustrating to accept that you’re so close, as we were, but that’s part of top-level competition

    Yes, it’s especially fucking frustrating when 60000 people, plus just about the rest of the footballing world, have been telling you for 3 years or more that we need 2-3 players in key positions to stop being “so close” and actually fucking win something. In case you’ve forgotten – keeper, centre half, holding midfielder with some bite. That’s the list – I presume it got lost in 2006 when we were “so close” then as well

    ‘We’ll try to certainly bring in some more experience. One of the reasons I took (Jens) Lehmann back was because he has done it.’

    Oh yeah – the old promise about bringing in “one or two” experienced players. You may fool 50% of the Soulless Bowl faithful mate but not me. I’ve heard this shit now for 3 seasons, hence setting up the thread a few days back along the lines of “Those who think it will change – pls remember” and highlighting exactly the same words that you uttered every year when we fell apart at this stage.

    Is it the same one or two you were promising after we got routed 1-4 at the Emirates by the Chavs a couple of years back, or beaten 1-2 at OT the year before. Bloody hell, they’re taking a while to sign. Not available at the “right price” no doubt.

    And BTW – highlighting Jens as an example. FFS – what a joker. Since when was experience defined as someone that you actually persuade to come out of retirement, and do you not thing it only happened because we had an injury crisis and he was the only one actually available. Honestly – trying to make out that this was all part of his plan; lies, lies and more lies. Experience comes between the ages of around 28-33 i.e. the type of player we allow to leave to get a 2 year contract elsewhere. No doubt we can look forward to TH14 resigning when he’s 38 as part of our experience plan.

    I’m still amazed that anyone who loves Arsenal falls for this old shite anymore. Just send in your season ticket money and watch all this old cobblers get lost in another window of inactivity. Can we also end all this stuff about his “intelligence”. Playing back to us things we’ve already know for 3 years or more i.e. we have a lack of experience. Fuck me, if only the rest of us were as intelligent as that eh ? We can only dream….

  • walter

    Merakis,

    Deleted my coment myself. What’s the use.
    Merakis is the messiah. He knows it all.

  • Tasos

    @Rhys

    Spurs don’t need a goalkeeper right now…..Doh!

  • You must be joking

    As a much younger man, I watched the Edmonton Oilers (an NHL team) develop from a collection of talented youngsters to perhaps the best NHL team ever to play (there were other great teams before, and the rules were all different, so we will never know). The point I want to make is that there were 3 years of bitter defeats at the hands of some terrifically talented, and more importantly, experienced, teams that kept our boys from winning it all. Eventually though, those losses taught the boys what it takes to win it all, and they went on to do the unprecedented, and unrepeated, winning the league 5 times in 6 years. The year they missed was the year they sold the best player hockey has ever seen (you might even know the name — Wayne Gretzky). They won their 5th Stanley Cup the next year.

    The league itself even changed the way penalties were assessed to disadvantage them — if there were simultaneous penalties (a frequent occurrence in NHL hockey), then both sides didn’t lose a man, the game stayed at “even strength” (the Oilers were a team of speed and finesse, and fewer men on the ice disadvantaged the goons. Sound familiar?) They changed the rule back to the original once the Oilers were dismembered.

    As an older fan of Arsenal, I see very much the same thing developing over the past few seasons. Bitter lessons, like having your fate in your own hands in March, then blowing it by losing to also-rans, sink deep and provide players who have experienced them with the leadership and game-day focus that Arsenal lacks and Man U more frequently has. If the manager (who is brilliant) can keep the lads believing, so they become committed to each other and accomplishing something amazing, this year will have been the turning point.

    If not, well, these kind of opportunities only come along at rare intervals, and Arsenal fans will have to torment themselves with once having had “The Invincibles”, and the departing Arsenal players will have to comfort themselves with slightly bigger wads of cash than they would otherwise have had.

  • a team this young and with this much potential makes me think a dinesty coming for the next few years. an ARSENAL dinesty. i really thought this was the breakthrough year. first move A) KEEP YOUR MOST IIMPORTANT AND VITAL PLAYERS
    B) FORTIFY IN KEY POSITIONS IN THE B TEAM, SO IN CASE OF INJURY QUALITY STEPS UP.
    C) THE PROFESSOR NEEDS TO OFFER PROPER 2 OR 3 YEAR CONTRACTS TO QUALITY PLAYERS SO WE ALWAYS HAVE A BALANCE OF EXPERIENCE + YOUNG TALENT COMING THROUGH. NONE OF THIS ONE YEAR BS.

    UP THE GUNS OF ARSENAL!!!

    PS . FERRET FACE FERGUSON NEEDS TO SHUT UP, VE.DICK SHOULD HAVE BEEN RED CARDED, AND OWEN WAS OFFSIDE BEFORE THE DIVE.

  • vretou

    Now Wenger is asking us to keep the faith in his vision just because we had beaten Utd in a largely meaningless match(meaningless in our title hopes). Just as most of us suspected it was not the lack of funds that held us back in the last 6 years, at least not to the extent some of us thought, it is his unwavering belief in his project that had let us down. Remember he once famously said that if given 100 million to spent he would give it back. Some of us also feared that this win will give him an excuse to continue his silly obsession. The nightmare will soon become a reality. He is now hinting that it is business as usual this summer which means even more cheapoes and freebies will be coming in. With his latest interview anyone out there still convince he will change? Or at the very least learn from past mistakes? I think not.