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Who is to blame but also who should be given credit?

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By Walter Broeckx

When Arsenal lose a game it is sometimes hard to keep the perspective. We are angry and focus on something that went wrong and we just cannot see the bigger picture. I think it is fair to say that our defeat against United can be branded as such a defeat. If one would have believed some of the fans it was as if we had been battered and lost 8-2. It was as if we had no chance at all in the game and we were poor.

I didn’t have that impression during the game. Then we had the upper hand, then United, then us again, then United again. For me this was the pattern of a top game between two good teams. But the final score is what it is and we lost the game. It could have gone our way if we would have taken our chances a bit better. In top games it is vital to take your chances and we let ourselves down in that compartment.

How come some blame the manager for all and everything when we lose but when we win it is the players that have done the job. It is always a mix of both. Not just one to blame. Except when it is the referee.

Of course it is the manager that picks the team and does the substitutions. But once out there it is the players on the field that have to do the job. When Robin scores a brilliant winning goal it is Robin that gets the praise, not the manager. Robin gets the deserved praise from all of us and we don’t give credit to the manager for having bought him, worked with him on the training ground, developed him and turned him from an injury prone player in a strong centre forward. When Robin misses an open chance to put us level it suddenly is the fault of the manager when we lose the game at the end of the day. And for those who see this as putting blame on Van Persie they should try to understand what I say. This is not an attack on Van Persie as I think that making mistakes is just part of football. Sh*t happens sometimes. And if you saw Robin his face after his miss that was 100 times more a “NOOOO” expression than the one with the substitution later on.

I know people have to vent their frustration a bit  but it never is just the one or the other that should be given credit or the blame. Or you praise all of them or you blame all of them. But blaming only one person when things go wrong and never praising him when things go right is a bit simple.

If we now go back to winter of 2009. A cold winter with lots of snow and bad weather. For the whole month of January people were criticising Wenger because he didn’t bought Arshavin. At the last minute of the transfer deadline we did sign him. A big money signing. Well for Arsenal it was a big money signing. For other teams that we compete with it was a small change signing. Now with the amount of people being on the back of Arshavin saying he is useless and no good I really wonder how on earth can they ask us to sign a player like let us say Hazard for maybe the double amount of money than we paid for Arshavin.

For a lot of the angry people out there Arshavin is no good at all. And yet most of the people who want him out now, where the same people that are shouting the ‘spend some f*cking money’. We did spend some f*cking money on Arshavin and apparently it wasn’t a big success. He was what we were missing: older, experienced, ….. But now those people who want us to spend money want to get rid of him. Now let us just suppose for a moment that Arshavin was a failure at the end. Shouldn’t this be a warning sign to be careful when you are spending money? It’s not just sign someone as long as he costs a lot of money. Money that is gone forever after that by the way.

So spending a lot of money and not knowing how it will work out is always a risk and we are not in a situation like Chelsea or other City’s who can spend 50M on a player that doesn’t score. Even Arshavin scored more goals than Torres did last year. If we would have given 50M on Torres last January that would have been a terrible mistake.

But does our manager dares to take a risk at times? I think he does. I remember some part of the Arsenal fan base going wild and asking Wenger to be sacked this summer. When Wenger bought Oxlade-Chamberlain for a big amount of money for a 18 year old boy it was a risk.  And some fans saying: “yeah, just what we needed. Another youngster, another unproven player”. And some fans even started the disgusting insinuations about Wenger. Okay, scrap the word fans in that last sentence will you.

Wenger did spend the f*cking money on Oxlade Chamberlain. And he had his plan. The plan to bring him slowly. Not just throw him in the water and see if he can stay afloat or not. No  he brought him slowly.

And every time Wenger played him you could see a lot of promise. But for those who had their eyes open you could also see that he lacked a lot of things. His tracking back was… well not that great in fact. Losing possession at times and places you don’t want to lose it. You could see the potential but also the need to work hard on the flaws in his game.

Last night he got his first PL start. And this against Manchester United. The absence of Gervinho and Henry gave him a chance. And it was Wenger who preferred Oxlade-Chamberlain above Arshavin to start this game. He could have gone for Arshavin. But our manager made a brave decision to start with the youngster.

The youngster didn’t let him down. In fact for a rookie of 18 years old he did a superb job. Of course this is down to the talent Oxlade-Chamberlain has. It is down to the work of the youth academy of Southampton where he got his training and got his chance in the first team. But if you compare the Oxlade-Chamberlain from July with the one from now the difference is immense. And that my dear Gooners is down to Arsenal. I’m not even saying it is down to Wenger himself. No it is down to the entire coaching staff that has worked with him.

Nobody seems to give credit to Wenger for having the guts to start with Oxlade-Chamberlain in such a game. That was in fact the first substitution Wenger made compared to last weeks game when he started with Arshavin remember. People blame Wenger for the substitution during the game. But then we should also praise him for starting the game with Oxlade-Chamberlain. If it hadn’t been for Wenger Oxlade-Chamberlain would not be an Arsenal player. Perhaps he would have been a United player now….

But the strange thing is that Oxlade-Chamberlain going from ‘What??? That kind of money for another unproven kid????” has turned in to “he must put him on the field player”.  And when he is taken off in his first game in the PL that he started the manager knows nothing at all. He has lost it and he is useless. Don’t forget it is that same manager who put him on the field and took a huge risk by doing this. Imagine if Oxlade-Chamberlain would have had a poor game? Just imagine what those same people would say? You know what they would say. It would be something like this: “Has Wenger lost his mind? Starting a young kid against United? and then they would shout…”spend some f*cking money “

Maybe you can blame Wenger for taking Oxlade-Chamberlain off the field. In fact this was the most costly in money substitution ever made by Arsenal. A 15M player leaving for another 15M coming on the field.   But don’t forget who put him there in the first place.  Would you have started him in this game? Would you have taken the risk with “oh no another youngster”? Wenger took the risk. So before the game he was a great manager for putting Oxlade-Chamberlain on the field. And suddenly after 75 minutes he knows nothing and is a retarded fool? Somehow the logic of this escapes me.  It’s always easy to speak with hindsight like many do.

Oh and lets be careful with Oxlade-Chamberlain. He looks strong and has a firm body but please let us not play him until he can’t play any more. Let us not burn his wings before he can completely fly.  Remember Jack will you.  And let us hope and pray that whenever Oxlade-Chamberlain plays a bad game in the near or further future,  he will not be booed by the same people who booed on Sunday.

Because for some fans you can go from hero to zero very fast.

49 comments to Who is to blame but also who should be given credit?

  • WalterBroeckx

    For those who feel the need to comment read this below please if you are new to this site:

    If you fancy writing a comment for the first time, please note that your first comment will be held in moderation until we get back from the pub. Also, if you comment appears to be copied from another site, has nothing to do with the original article, is abusive against another writer personally (as opposed to joining in the debate with reasoned points), comes from an invalid email address, or comes from a computer which appears to be used by one person under different names, we might well not publish it. Dictatorial yes, but some of us are trying to have a bit of a chat here, and those are the tactics used by others (probably supporters of other clubs, but you never know) who seek to disrupt our fun.

  • marcus

    People are always looking for someone to blame Walter.

    Listening to the game I thought Arsenal were playing badly, but seeing the highlights they seemed to do well.

    I still feel Wenger is a bit restricted financially though…I don’t think Mertesacker is all that good…and he needs someone better.

    People talk how the game has changed…the primary change is that 4 or 5 clubs cream off the best of the best, making life very difficult for other teams.

    But the game has changed a lot over 30 years. The defining moments have been England’s best ever team, Liverpool, being blackballed from Europe for 5 years because of the behaviour of the NF. That created a vacuum, and Man U tried to fill it, with partial success.

    Latterly the game has become much more rigged than I ever remember, and since 2004, it seems that Man U let Chelsea win a couple of titles, so that it didn’t look totally rigged, before being given back their trophies.

    Two events now will change the footballing landscape, in as big a way maybe as Heyserl did.

    1) Man City – this is very confusing for Northern refs, because they are a good surrogate for Man U.
    2) Corruption case of Harold….
    There was a big corruption case with Brian Clough but it somehow never really got fully exposed. I think the Harry case will be a bit bigger…

    How these events play out …we shall see

  • iniez

    Great piece Walter, really makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure where certain fans get the image that arsenal players don’t care about losing. Isn’t that the logic they use when they boo? That if they don’t voice their opinion the players won’t get the point and keep playing badly. They seem to think that at arsenal everyone goes home after a bad match with a smile on their face and just sit down and count their money. Maybe its just frustration but I feel like some fans actually believe our boys on the pitch don’t care about having a bad day. But the fact is the players are upset after a loss, I’m sure they know the fans are upset, and I’m sure they tell themselves we let the fans down we need to do better next time. The players want to win, and they want to make the fans happy, you couldn’t convince me otherwise. So imagine what it would mean to them to have fans that only cheer and support them, through thick or thin. Imagine how much more they would want to win for those fans that are always with them and pushing them on. But what if the fans didn’t always support them. What if they cheer when things are good but jeer when they’re not. What does that say to the players..”we only like you when you win”. My point is the players know the fans are upset and they are too. So when people say if we don’t boo they won’t understand we’re upset..well honestly who would be happy after a loss? Isn’t it more than obvious the team knows we’re upset, we don’t need to rub it in their face

  • AFCThink'N'Thin

    Great article. There are so many factors to managing like for example the way the manager tries to protect his players etc from the media, but fans get on his back and call him a liar.

    Seems a lot of people think life is like championship manager…..”sell a,b,c buy x,y,z problem solved”. You see it in comments all the time they really think life is just like a game. 1st time I played that game I beat my friend who played for years and I barely had a clue what I was doing…

    Honestly the internet has really brought to my attention the amount of people that lack a few grey cells.

  • Redgooner

    I dont think its bad as made out to be Walter sure people booed but I think the main thing is a lot of people think we are skimping a bit to much and there is to much emphasis on youth that the balance isnt right and younger players get injured easier in a league as physical as the EPL some supporters also have lost patientce with how slowly we off load some players and find suitable replacements.

    On another note …..
    Who Let The Dogs Out 🙂 snippeit from the BBC !

    The prosecution allege Mr Redknapp instead received a secret payment from Mr Mandaric into an account in Monaco in the name of “Rosie 47” – a combination of his pet dog’s name and his year of birth – the prosecution said.

    It was heard that in 2002 Mr Mandaric paid $145,000 into this account and on 13 January 2003, following a fax request from Mr Redknapp, $100,000 moved from “Rosie 47” to a company in Miami called First Star International.

  • Craig

    I’m a Yank who has been a Gooner since the mid-90’s. I respect the opinions and knowledge that I read on this blog. So I want to put this forth and I’d love to hear any feedback on my thought(s). As I said I’ve only been following football since the mid-90s and only been actively watching it for about 12 or so years due to living in the States, so please go easy on me. My problem with Mr. Wenger & Arshavin, who I rated immensely all his career, is that Mr. Wenger refuses to play the Russian in his best position: the middle. Instead he continues to utilize him as a winger. I understand this has a lot to do with our formation, but maybe it’s time for a formation change. Would love to see a 4-5-1 with Arshavin just behind RVP. Of course this poses many formational problems also: if you have Arteta & Song in the middle, where does Rambo fit in?…Theo on one wing but who’s on the other?…Rosicky? So there it is, lads. Don’t slag the Yank too much, okay?

  • Stuart

    Frustrated? Annoyed? P***ed off?

    Yes you could say that but angry with Wenger and the players, no. Things didn’t go our way but I have to bear in mind our injury room has a revolving door that doesn’t stop to let players out, we have been down to 3rd/4th choice out of position player in our team for some positions and players who haven’t had a chance to rest due to injury cover are tired now. To expect a win against a top team like Man Utd as though it is our God given right as an Arsenal fan is a joke.

    Am I annoyed, yes, but have some perspective please.

  • Stuart

    Iniez

    Too true, of course the players want to win. You don’t become a pro by being a loser or having no desire or passion, in fact you don’t get into the school football team if you don’t want to win let alone past it!

  • diablo

    I thought it was a good game and you cannot blame the manager for losing…the players are supposed to put the ball in the back of the net so when Van Persie missed that open chance who was to blame then?

  • Adam

    Gazidis stated “we kept our powder dry”. Now correct me if im wrong but doesn’t that mean Arsenal are playing it safe (and rightly so). For our CEO to state this then the fans ask for a return on their emotional & financial investment is not unreasonable (however hard it is to bring in Arsene’s transfer targets).
    Football is a team sport based on mistakes. People are intelligent enough to spot the individual errors. But we must blame or praise the whole team (please excuse the irony). I wonder if Arsene uses that philosophy and does not educate the individual on his errors and that’s why we seem to be making the same mistakes week after week. Just a thought inspired by the logic displayed in this article.

  • Adam

    With regards to Arshavin, It must difficult for the lad to always be asked to play wide left even though throughout his career he has played through the middle.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    Are you sure that the money spent on transfers never comes back? 🙂 Well, I suppose that would be the case with regard to Arsenal…

    Overall, good article. Good perspective.

  • i was very angry with wenger but after reading this article i think i have to change my mindset to that. thanks Walter.

  • jeremy

    Unfortunately the reality of the matter is that Arsenal as a brand is big, in and outside of the UK, and the internet, blogs have easily brought this community together, Arsenal is a big big club with a reputation/philosophy to protect, they just seem right now to be retrogressing, to be getting smaller in terms of performance and goals for the season and that’s what this community is protesting, and they see the manager as the man in charge, in-charge of his players and unfortunately some of his players are letting him down. In the stands the scenario is that some of the younger fans are expecting alot more than the team is currently delivering, they reckon that they are not getting same value for their expensive support, then there is the little issue of six years, patience is running thin, the explanations for the decline are still the same as they were 3 years ago… we seem to make the same mistakes as well year in year out, to some fans its an issue that we are not learning from these mistakes. There are many complex factors, my take is that someone in a position of authority needs to galvanize the Arsenal and that job is easiest done by better results than the team is currently delivering.

  • It is important to be objective. I have been a big supporter of Arsene even in down low moments but let us face the truth over the last let us three seasons he has consistently gambled badly i say gamble because some decisions are not out of reasoning. Let us start with about two seasons ago he played Cesc in a meaningless ecl game and he got injured our season collapsed. Santos was our only fit left back and it is like he never learns played him in a meaningless ecl game got injured look at the problem we have been having on that side and his reasons for playing Santos frivolous. At the starting of the season he waited and waited then sold three of our first team players with no ready replacement waited untill deadline to buy. Why do other clubs do their business differently even smaller clubs it is always us who have problems buying or selling.

  • Fedda

    The utmost frustrating thing in the chain of events after the subbing of Oxlade is Wenger’s interview after the match. He said the Ox was fatigued and needed rest etc. Lundekvam(former Southampton defender) promised Norwegian TV that he would call the Ox and find out if this was true. He did speak to him late last night. According to Lundekvam the Ox was feeling as good as ever and that Wenger did lie to the press and us, the fans.
    If this is true, as I believe it to be. Wenger needs to have a look in the mirror. I felt deceived to say the least. Sometimes you have to admit, that you did the wrong call.

  • when the window opened in January Wenger said that he is for SURE in the market for a left back but on loan we have waited waited what we got was Titi not a bad thing dont get me wrong but we wanted a left back atleast now he is saying he will not buy at that period we have lost three games and drew one that is a total of 11points and if you look at all goals it was the mistakes of the fullbacks. Coming to Arshavin to me it doesnt matter how much we bought him if he not playing well bench him let him come as sub in games that we have wrapped. Buying players playing players and drafting tactics be serious do you want to blame the players or fans the back must stop somewhere. Sometimes i agree it is the referee sometimes the players but when is the manager wrong?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks Walter for this as well as the earlier post.While most of us are still hurting from that game ,the passing days have dulled it somewhat .
    Like most I felt we had a good chance to win that game but with that unpopular substitution (and Murphy’s Law )everything that could go wrong – did.
    If Walcott had been taken off instead ,I’m sure that there would have been a great cheer fot the manager and Ashavin !
    Nice statement by RVP to nip any further misunderstanding.

  • The Spartan

    I love Arsenal FC and its fans. Football is a game of opinions and no other site delivers more quality comments than this one, be it negative or positive. I guess it`s the reason I log in at least 6 times a day from my cell phone or notebook. With that said, I think it`s a bit naïve to think that there is nothing wrong with our beloved Gunners(too many injuries, average players, questionable tactics, etc).We have gotten used to better that is why it’s so difficult to accept poor results. Imagine if we had a squad like the invincibles, then poor refereeing would matter much. That`s my 2 cents worth.

  • dan

    Wenger is not helping himself, he should say if his hands are tied or the board are not backing him in the transfer market.

  • Stuart

    Dan,

    If it is the board restricting Wenger then they need to come out and say it. If it is Wenger then he needs to come out and say it.

    Wenger can’t come out and openly criticise the board, they are his employers after all and will have the final say.

  • Adam

    @Johnie Njamio, With regards to the left back slot. I can understand Wenger not wanting to buy as Gibbs & Santos should (I hope) Be back soon. Also I believe we have Botelho out on loan working on his permit. So if wenger did buy a replacement we would be inundated with wing-backs next season.

  • Who is to blame a very good question, could it perhaps be all those fans who have decided to become either an AAA surporter or AKB instead or being a good old fashioned fan, like in the old days. This state of affairs seems to have been helped along by sites which encourage one or other, we now have a Sharks and Jets mentality on the terraces. The Spuds must be laughing there Tits off.

  • Adam

    As stated previously. Arsenal have in the region of 50+ playing staff on professional contracts. How many more players do we actually need?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Unfortunately, we live in a 24hr newsfeed blame culture society obsessed with football.
    RVP has come out fighting, shame he chose the Sun, but maybe it was to make a point and hopefully a big fat check to a charity of his choice. Or maybe they just hacked his phone.
    I am sure Wenger had the very best of reasons to take Ox off. It backfired, but so be it, we just have to get on. Do not know what to make of Arshavin – lack of confidence, fed up for some reason or does he just want out but it is not happening? He and others were partly at fault for the goal. I was more annoyed with Arshavin at Sweansea, he left young Miquel horribly exposed repeatedly, but again, we can only go back to a lack of full backs.
    If looking for blame, several players and you could say the manager were guilty of the odd mistake/ failing.
    As for credit, Ox being there, Kos being there, RVP – bad miss but what a player, and then, a guy quick as lightening, who can tackle and cross, look forward to seeing more of Yennaris vs Villa

  • jayjay

    thanks walter for the article. Have being an Arsenal fan from afar (Nigeria) and all have known about Arsenal is the wenger era. Although have delved deep into our history book and come to understand many things about the club. I wouldn’t claim to have spent a fortunate(financially) to the Arsenal course(as have never being to the emirate nor Highbury), but I sure have invested a great deal of time, energy and emotion. I didn’t support Arsenal because of trophies (although my love for Arsenal began in the pre Invincible era). Like I said I just love Arsenal for the name and certainly for fantastic players like viera,Kanu,Henry, Gilberto, Ashley Cole etc.
    But the problem with the club now seems to be mideocrity.
    Arsenal is like a new chap in school who came nd topple the club of genuises. None expected him to do well academically but due to sheer determination and talent(wit) he does. But with time, his secret was found out. The class text became more difficult, His peers bought more expensive books. Attended extra classes. Went to the most expensive summer school, but he still choose to do things the same way. As to him success will taste better than. At first He succeeds but soon things started changing, brighter students were admitted, the old ones improved (due to heavy investment nd loses and sometimes cheating) . So he finds out He is not the most intelligent in class anymore. As guys with more resources arrived.. Yet he stuck with his original plan. Continued attending night classes, kept purchasing cheap (though highly educative) books, went for affordable but intelligent tuition teachers but alas the big boys started doing what He does along with what they do, they no longer shop in thier expensives stores alone, they visit his cheap grocery stores, they go to the same old public libraries he goes to. And while he keeps saying he can afford most of what the others can, he never does. His source of knowledge dwindles things become more difficult. Teachers begin to hate him, his classmates gradually lost the fear factor… And slowly but surely he slips towards becoming just like every other mediocre classmate…
    Thats the problem with Arsenal, a genuise who desn’t go to the best(expensive) school.
    As for the sunday game,
    It’s dead and gone and as being said before there were many positive but the negatives outways the possitive. And I fear that slowly, Man U is becoming Real Madrid’s Barca to Arsenal…

  • mark

    Good point Walter. I think the finishing by the Gunners was just not good enough in the game. Manu did a better job of that.
    Our goal was a great effort by several players not just Ox.

    Arshavin is a good player but I think at times he does not play as hard as he could. I think especially his defending this season has been lazy. The second goal showed that. He was not defending soon enough so when he finally got into the defending he was not positioned well. If he had started defending sooner it might have prevented the build up that lead to the goal.

  • From what little you can gather from the internet, I would say the Ox is the kind of guy who would play on with a broken leg, so I wouldn’t read too much into any alleged statements made by a third party as to how he felt when he came off. Based on his performance, I’d rather he played seventy minutes each for the next five games rather than ninety in total because he picked up an injury.

  • Tasos

    @Jayjay

    Insightful post but you’re confusing intellect with wealth.

  • DC

    A nice piece that gives balance to the concerns that have reached this crescendo; thank you.
    I’m also glad that some natural calm from the loss has now materialised.
    Arsene Wenger loves Arsenal football club and what it stands for as much as we do. He could have left on many an occasion (and he still will) to where he will achieve success with i’m sure greater resources (do not be surprised if he returns back to France and to the now mega-rich Paris St Germain sooner rather than later).
    The success that everyone craves could indeed have been achieved by now now but Arsene and the fans have been let down by two groups of people: the board (which i think we all can see); and by the very players he buys, develops and supports unequivocally!
    Being let-down and disappointed by his players both on the pitch and off cannot be overlooked and it they have to take a massive portion of the blame. 
    Now people can argue about “he’s being played out of position, he should change formation, etc) but that’s totally irrelevant if one is trying to attain total football as a club philosophy! Any defender should be able to play anywhere in defence, any midfielder anywhere in midfield and any attacker anywhere in attack! That is what the masters Barcelona do, which is whom Arshavin reportedly wanted a move to whilst he was in his pomp two seasons ago?!
    Additionally,  whether it’s in-match underperformance (witness the first-half on Sunday against ManU which was dramatically turned around in the second-half) lack of concentration and maturity to take responsibility (witness the league cup final against Birmingham last year) or recurrent and perennial injuries; Arsene has also be let-down in these regards.
    Following the match on Sunday, i was sitting in a local pub with a couple of friends analysing the squads and the young players Arsene has had under his tuition since the end of the 2004-2005 season. We concluded that Arsene has never actually been permitted to completely develop and nurture another full team and squad without exit-disruption in personnel.
    Since that time, the following players have come and gone for reasons that have been debated and justified on grounds of “he wanted to win trophies” or, more honestly,  “he wanted more money”.
    A few of these notable names that are still playing at the top level are as follows; along with their probable reason for leaving in brackets:

    Ashley Cole (money)
    Emmanuel Adebayour (money)
    Gael Clichy (trophies/money)
    William Gallas (money)
    Cesc Fabregas (trophies)
    Samir Nasri (money/trophies)
    Kolo Toure (money)

    I may have missed-out a few names but does anyone seriously believe that if all of these players were still in our squad now, major honours and the arrival of further top players would not have materialised?! 
    The lack of commitment and belief from the players (without full and objective financial support from the board) has been the most destructive element to progression on the pitch and unfortunately the manager wrongly takes the blame for it!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Good points Walter, but;

    This loss isn’t that bad, it’s the losses to the likes of B’burn, Fulham or Swansea that is hurting the club. 8 losses in 22 games? 2nd best defense at home but the worst defensive record away from home! The standards are falling, don’t you think?

    The aim every year has become scrapping to 4th, which is probably the most efficient return on investment. But this year, injuries and the drop in our overall quality means we’re seriously playing with dropping out of top 4.

    How many players should be getting their first EPL game against ManU? Think about it home & away.

    And the money spent on players can return. What if we sign 2 top players in Jan, and they help us reach Champions league? Wouldn’t that be a good return on money spent?

    Don’t get me wrong, I still support AW. But the pressure of the past years is getting to all Arsenal stakeholders (AW, coaches, CEO, the board and even the fans).

    Untold has been rightly talking about expanding our revenue base, can it be done outside of Champions league?!

  • DC

    &STS,
    Top 4 will be achieved this year as the minimum and i have placed a considersble wager on that outcome following the ManU match and second-half performance!
    The returning players from injury and the African Nations Cup (and yes I am including Chamakh in that!) will be akin to new signings.
    This full squad of players is more than good enough for top 4 but you should really be asking now for this season whether they can win the Knockout competions of the FA Cup or Champions League?
    I and several of those that go every week still think they can if they believe in themselves and play as we know they can! I guess we’ll find out about the FA cup on Sunday?!

  • Rhys Jaggar

    The case of Arshavin is a complex one but the day you conveniently refuse to mention in your biased discussion is a day of infamy for Arsenal football club, at Wembley FA Cup SF against Chelsea. Let us be clear on my opinion: everything was done to make sure Chelsea won that game. They played the Chelsea anthem up front and played some mindless rubbish which I as an Arsenal fan have never heard before. Then Arshavin was benched to play Diaby. Neither decision had any logic to it…..

    Arshavin’s view will have been this: ‘I have been dropped to ‘prove’ some French youngster can play. What is the point of this transfer from a club where I captained a side to the Russian title, the UEFA Cup and which catapulted me to the semi-finals of Euro 2008 if I am deemed an add-on to some inexperienced show pony?’

    There will no doubt be discussions as to whether the Russian mafia were involved in ensuring a Russian didn’t embarrass Mr Abramovitch. I couldn’t give a **** about that. I didn’t pay very, very good money to watch Arsenal to pander to Russian mafia image issues. I paid that money to watch the best Arsenal side win, draw or lose against the best side the opposition could put out. So did thousands of others.

    I didn’t walk out when we were losing 3-0 at home to Utd in the Champions League. I didn’t walk out when losing 4-0 in the FA Cup at OT in 2008. I went to Blackburn mid-week to see the team lose in the FA Cup. And because I didn’t leave early, I had a trip through the night home via Manchester. In fact, I’ve never left one game early, nor left early before half time once in over 150 games to get to the bar. Because for me, a day at the football is to watch and enjoy football. I can drink beer anywhere………

    There are a lot of rumours out there that Arshavin was not Wenger’s signing. I don’t know the truth about that but I wouldn’t bet my shirt on him having signed him. Whereas I would bet my shirt on him having signed Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    I have put a lot of money where my mouth is watching teams including Walcott, Traore, Denilson, Szczeseny, Wilshere, Ramsey, Flamini, Fabregas, Nasri as young players. And I don’t expect to be told by someone who’s shelled out a lot less what my opinions ought or ought not to be. I predicted when Ramsey was 17 that ‘he would captain his country within 4 years’ and I was right. I predicted when Wilshere was 16 that ‘he would be a regular for his country within 5 years’ and I was right. I was a tireless defender of a young Walcott when the whole Press was at him because I was watching him improve month by month. I wrote a rather well-received skit of Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat of Juventus which I believe an 18-year old Senor Fabregas approved of.

    The question you never address is this: ‘why should Arsenal season ticket holders pay the highest prices in world football to be told by occasional visitors like you what they should expect to get for their money?’

    That’s why I tell you to buy a Club Deck ticket for a season or two and see if you think it’s value for money.

    You might have a different opinion if you did……….

  • Shard

    Oh give me a break… ME ME ME!!! I DID THIS…I DID THAT!! MY OPINIONS ARE MORE VALID COS I AM A GENIUS AND I SPEND MORE MONEY THAN YOU… Does that about sum up your argument Rhys? I think it does.. If you DON”T think it’s value for money then why are you still paying? Is it because you love the club, or is it because you just like simultaneously moaning and gloating about it..which I grant you, is quite a feat.

  • bob

    Adam,
    Imo, we need to keep RvP by plugging the leak.
    If the next is purchase number 51 and it can plug the
    leak at the back right now, then we will not lose more
    ground toward a CL/top 4 exit. If we miss the CL, that
    is the end of RvP at AFC. The 51st signing (or whatever
    you say it is) would then be worth its weight in gold.
    It’s a cost-benefits analysis. Bottom line: keep RvP
    or expect a very serious spiral. Are you willing to
    accept that in the name of how many can AW add when there’s
    already 50?

  • bob

    Sammy the Snake,
    I fully agree – essentially that – all things considered – finishing 4th is essential, on every level; starting with that it appears to be one of the necessary conditions (and likely not the only one) of RvP staying as our captain. Imo, for his suggesting that a non-top 4 finish is acceptable, Hill-Wood is ushering in a ruinous direction. And, for all who listened, Arsene has called a non-top 4 finish a disaster for the club. Arsene does know this and we should heed his words and advocate that the club does whatever is necessary to ensure this. It is not just a matter of pride or ego; but a financial stopgap to avoid the 30M loss that goes with it, and to hope to retain our captain and mute the whisperings of his agent, Dein the Lesser, who just happened also to have been x-Cesc’s agent in the previous lamentable departure of our last captain. Is Gazidis and the Board perhaps(?) counting on an expectable RvP windfall sale of 30-50M to compensate them for the 30M loss that would come with dropping out of 4th place? Do you think that this calculus is not the way that some powers on the business side do their contingency-planning?

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, meant to say Hill-Wood (not Gazidis) in the next to last sentence above. But who knows where any of management actually stands – except for Arsene, who is (I pray) likely to be fighting on the inside for a top 4 finish. There’s a few days left in the x-fer window and whatever purchase will help push us much closer to a top-4 finish will be worth it – except for those who calculate that it’s worth losing RvP because of the expectable windfall to some.

  • DC

    Arsene now seems unlikely to sign anyone this window although I still hope he gets someone to take the burden off RVP. I wish Eduardo was still around!
    If there is no top 4 placing, RVP will leave and others will follow!
    In that scenario, Arsene will see out his contract then leave for pastures new; and leave PHW & the rest of the board to deal with the comfort on non-champions league football on their very own!
    God help AFC if that happens but I do not believe it will! I really hope that the rumbling rumours of board changes at the end of the season are true?!

  • Adam

    @Bob, I know your an advocate for bringing in another top class finisher, But we do have wellington & Campbell out on loan, Again working towards a permit and “if” they get there special talent permits next season what do we do with all the extra strikers. What becomes of Afobe, Murphy, Neita, Ansah, Watt, Roberts, Vela, Bendtner, Campbell, Park, Chamakh, And i have not mentioned those who play wide for the first team but can play through the middle.

  • critic

    Oh rhys, u stole words from my mouth.

    “I can abuse arsenal because i have paid for it”. Does that makes it ur bitch? So arsenal is basically a prostitute which will be beaten if she fails to satisfy u? The one who paid bazillion quarters?

    Do u think u own arsenal?

  • goonergerry

    Losing to Man U narrowly at home for the 10th time in the last 13 attempts is not evidence of being in decline- just in not being competitive-but the lowest January points total since Wenger arrived, losing to the likes of Fulham and Swansea after being out played certainly is.

    When the manager says not qualifying for the ECL would be disastrous-and he is 100% right, why is the club sitting on its hands in the transfer market? It is hard not to view your arguments as simply trying to defend fundamental flaws in the running of the club through the use of specious arguments about debt and Torres. There are any number of players in the EPL who are well within AW’s meagre budget who would benefit this club-like Ba, Dembele, Dempsey-to name but a few.

    Spending nothing-just selling your best playing assets and not replacing them hoping that one day young players will take their place is the riskiest strategy of all. Tomorrow may not arrive and when it does, the stadium will be at best half empty. Most other grandiose plans will have been binned alongside the marketing team.

    Of course it was right to bring AOC off-but why do you continually defend the lack of options-Arshavin has been chronically out of form for over 12 months-and has proved himself a liability defensively. We only want keep him because the club are so under prepared and so ineffective in the transfer market.

  • bob

    Adam,
    Sorry, but what if RvP gets injured? There’s no capable enough insurance on hand to win enough points to stay in the CL and keep RvP onside. Even a temp, a quality loaner is fine – an impact rent-a-player or purchase – and I’d widen the net to include defense. I’m saying that we need to be willing to spend now to try and help to ensure the top-4/RvP-stays scenario. If you had the power, would you really gamble that RvP won’t be injured (especially with the refshite/non-calls/lack of protection the way they are for us)?? This is not a casual moment and the logic is clear enough to see, if you want to. On any calculus, it is borderline crazy to gamble on losing RvP this way and court the possibility of a long-term descent. It is pure self-interest I am arguing, and I truly fear that your desire for fiscal reasonableness on this score would point the way towards fiscal disaster. I think Arsene is saying just this when he flatly contradicts Hill (farewell top 4) Wood the very next day.

  • bob

    p.s. and none of those talents holds a candle to RvP – and surely not on the timetable that in fact is at hand, whether you’d see it or not.

  • Adam

    @Bob, Yet again I fully understand your view point. I don’t deny that Arsenal could do with a capable back up to Robin, My stance goes beyond the interests of just Arsenal. Plus if we did bring in say, Raul till the end of the season, we are still open to injuries on him as well, no player is immune even our lord Henry is sidelined. The unspoken point I have been trying to direct people towards is how many players does a club need. We have over 50 players pro contracted ( I don’t even count the scholars in this). Arsene has stated in the past that if your good enough for Arsenal reserve’s your good enough for the first team. Now you think if all prem clubs have a similar number of pro contracted players we are talking in the region of 2000 pro contracted players in the prem alone. On a single match day only 280 players can play. So already we have 1700 paid players sitting around on a prem match day which we are paying for one way or another. Now if these unused players were free to play in the lower leagues it would push even more players down and out of the pro pyramid. In turn raising the quality of the lower leagues and allowing players of quality to gain the experience that you want for the Arsenal first team. It’s a catch 22 situation, Big clubs hoard the best talent and rent them out only when they see fit.

  • Adam

    @Bob. Sorry got my sums wrong (very early morning over here and I should be asleep) But I hope you understand where my opinions originate from. For me Top level clubs have too many players.

  • Broken record time but where is this world class striker who is better than the options on the bench that we can get in on loan? Demba Ba would be a good option, except he’s gone to the ACN.
    Same thing with a left back? I just can’t think of one. Everyone brings up Cissokho but the fact that we haven’t signed him already should be a red flag that we don’t want to.

  • bob

    Woolwich Peripatetic,
    Broken record replying: Where is the help?, you ask. Good question: address it to our worldwide scouting system. Do you deny that we urgently need it for this moment?

  • Stuart

    I think the board need to shoulder alot of the blame. They obviously want top 4 for financial reasons, I believe 4th place is their preferred as it is more lucrative. From Wengers comment about finishing outside the top 4, I read this to be him putting pressure on the board for players with out criticising them.