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Van Persie has gone to Man U – can the Arsenal expect to push past them this season?

By Phil Gregory

Following on from my other assessments of our likely rivals at the top of the table this year (Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham), I thought I’d turn my attention to Manchester United before looking at City and making some “top of the table” predictions before the season kicks off this weekend.

Until the Van Persie announcement, it hadn’t really been a great summer for United from a transfer point of view. They have signed up youngster Powell from Crewe who by all rights is supposed to be a talent, while the unveiling of Kagawa is of more relevance to the here and now.

According to those who watch far more Bundesliga than I, the Japanese international had an impressive season last year and plays off the striker. That last piece of information is certainly interesting, given how United arguably have two “spare” strikers they want rid of already in Berbatov and Macheda: Kagawa will  bring quality to their attack but also add to the congestion in this department. Needless to say the addition of Van Persie makes this all the more confusing: on quality he starts ahead of Rooney, if Fergie wants Kagawa buzzing around off a front man.

My initial suspicion was that Fergie might mould Kagawa into a midfield playmaker, but given United’s penchant for a two man central midfield that doesn’t seem likely… you don’t want a lightweight attacking midfielder  in a two man midfield as it places too much defensive onus on their partner. And yet United seem overstocked up front and underweight in quality in the midfield, so this signing is certainly slightly puzzling, to me at least.

Perhaps the intention is to use a 4231 system more overtly. On paper, United line up with an old fashioned 442, but really the centre of midfield is usually fairly deep and the wingers are pretty advanced, so 4231 seems a more appropriate framework if you have a creative “Number 10” operating off a striker.

Once you think of United in that structure, the lack of midfield creativity isn’t too much of a big deal: the midfield is solid to provide a base for the penetration to come from the flanks, with the addition of Kagawa buzzing around off a front man designed to lessen the burden on the flanks to create openings. So while the central midfield hasn’t actually been improved, the overall problem of creativity may have been, depending on what Fergie has in mind. I’m a Gooner, perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree.

This is important as, if you speak to any United fan, they only ever bemoan their midfield. They have done for about four years, and with Anderson not fulfilling the early potential that was seen in him, the midfield seems a little lacking. With the aforementioned Brazilian lacklustre, Darren Fletcher out  with a nasty sounding condition (though making the bench in a testimonial alongside Dwight Yorke recently), Paul Scholes aged 103 and already once retired, there is an overreliance on a 31 year old Michael Carrick – who cannot do it all himself – or the virtually untested Cleverley.

Much seems to rest on the shoulders of youngster Cleverley, who seems to be seized upon as the next big thing by United fans desperate for a midfield saviour. Yet by most accounts the youngster was outshone at the Olympics by our very own Aaron Ramsey who incidentally  came in for a lot of criticism from Arsenal fans last year for his performances. While Cleverley impressed at Wigan on loan, that alone does not convince that he is the man on which United’s hopes will be built. For me, the youngster will certainly be an option but whether he can function in a deep, two man midfield is debatable, and I suspect they will rely on their new #10 and the flanks for creativity this year.

All that bodes well for Arsenal, then. Overall the United squad is pretty solid bar central midfield. They are arguably a little light at full back, but compared to last season will be able to count on the presence of Vidic in defence which is a welcome boost.

Their successful pursuit of Van Persie of course has a huge bearing on this debate. Having secured him, Arsenal are weaker and the onus is on Podolski and Giroud to hit the ground running in attack for us,  and the likes of Chamakh to rediscover his début few months’ form as he’d surely be a bench option, if Podolski starts on the left.

If uninjured Van Persie will greatly improve the United attack – they finally have a world class striker – but the risk is  unsettling the squad, as they now have far too many options up front going into the season. The likes of Macheda and Berbatov will surely be out the door, but if Van Persie and Kagawa compete for the deeper role, Rooney, Van Persie, Hernandez and Welbeck are all competing for the advanced role… it’s a little cosy in there.

In terms of overhauling United, Arsenal have to really improve compared to last season. We finished 19 points adrift, which is an absolutely mammoth distance to overhaul, especially amongst top of the table sides.  Part of that deficit will be made up by Arsenal being prepared for the start of this season and not opening the campaign in car-crash style with the losses racking up in the first seven or so games.

Secondly I’m much more confident of us being much better defensively this season: Mertesacker wasn’t great at the start of his Arsenal career due to a lack of familiarity with the team, but he quickly grew into a solid member of the defence. Koscielny has matured into in my view the best defender we have, and Thomas Vermaelen is fully fit at last, after getting over a long term injury but putting in some shaky performances last year while carrying an injury.

A fundamental problem last year was the way the defence was chopping and changing constantly. Mertesacker got thrown in at the deep end, struggled and then improved only to miss the crucial run-in with an injury. Vermaelen missed much of the season and carried an injury for the end of it, and Koscielny held things together until he too got injured. The partnerships were constantly changing, there was little familiarity between the centrebacks for much of the season and that all got compounded by the plague striking down every fullback we had at one stage last season.

For me, the defence could well be substantially improved this year given the much greater familiarity between the defence, and centrebacks particularly. Indeed I’d venture to say we have three quality centrebacks, as good a fourth choice as there is in Djourou and two youngsters capable of fringe appearances in Miquel and Bartley.

Finally, I feel that Arsenal have genuinely made some excellent signings this summer. Podolski offers depth up front and on the flank, Giroud offers a credible replacement to RvP as well as offering an aerial threat all game, while our new Spaniard offers us creativity in the middle of the park, an area where it was lacking at times last season. Rosicky is a solid squad option, and Ramsey is certainly capable of raising his game to compete for the berth too. While new signings always have an element of the unknown about them, I’d actually argue that despite  RvP’s departure, our squad is stronger than it was twelve months ago. If Wilshere returns from his injury nightmare and Diaby proves he can remain fit, that argument becomes ever stronger.

Without a car crash start, with a settled defence and with greater depth up front and creativity in abundance now, I genuinely feel Arsenal have no excuse if they aren’t part of the title hunt this coming season. That doesn’t mean we’ll come home with that much-vaunted silverware, but Arsenal will be there or thereabouts, and Manchester United should be watching their backs, particularly if their midfield remains underwhelming.

Ordinary is Pointless

 

 

58 comments to Van Persie has gone to Man U – can the Arsenal expect to push past them this season?

  • Another Fan

    Bad pice of buisness all around, both for united and Arsenal.

    They get a striker they will have to try to fit in and a injury prone one for that and Arsenal loose their talisman to a rival. If we get one or 2 more quality signings in the next 16 days I am very optimistic though.

  • none

    Well, here is the other part of that story.. allegedly
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/robin-van-persie-transfer-manchester-1263074

    “United striker Javier Hernandez, having dropped down the front-line pecking order at United with the arrival of van Persie, could move the other way to Arsenal.

    Hernandez, who endured a difficult second season at United last term, is said to be frustrated at the inevitable lack of opportunities to start now van Persie has joined, amid unconfirmed reports he has told Ferguson he wants to leave.”

  • Another Fan

    Hernandez will not be any better off at Arsenal. We already have a couple of good young strikers waiting in the wings.

  • Jim

    Phil, I don’t completely agree with your assessment that Giroud will be a credible replacement for Robin. The lad undoubtedly has the skill and qualities but lets not forget he comes from an inferior French league and almost all players making transition from Ligue1 to EPL struggle with the physicality and demanding nature of EPL in their first year, heck even our legend Pires initially struggled. Hence if we don’t sign another striker and rely only on Giroud as our target man, he’d burn out towards the end. And don’t even consider that Chamakh will come good, the man has lost all confidence and passion.
    And finally about Robin, I am deeply hurt by this mess. Agreed we got a good financial deal for an injury-prone striker, but football is also about fan-sentiments and self-respect. By selling him to our hated rival, we’ve sent out a very poor message. We should have made him see out his contract as a back-up to Giroud to ease him into Epl, but not sell to United. Would they ever sell us Rooney. And for this Wenger, Gazidis, Stan or whoever is responsible should take the blame. Also read this BBC article before blaming only Robin’s greed behind the deal-
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19179833

  • Savage

    I’m just glad to start the season off with a clean slate. The shadow of RVP’s departure would have hung over us all season and at every press conference. If the new boys bang in a few early goals, the daisies will spring up from the desert sand and spring will arrive.

    Remember Wenger’s words earlier in the week: Poldi has been “lethal” in training. If he loves banging in cut-backs, Gibbs, Gerv, Ox and Theo will be dishing them up all season long…

  • Sammy The Snake

    Could United be thinking about off-loading rooney? How many star strikers does a team need?

  • Marky H

    We have done good work so far this summer but i hope and believe that the ‘we have already signed his replacements’ is nonsense. It is a Wenger mindgame so we don’t look desperate. We do not have enough firepower sans van persie and must invest further. We need a replacement striker of proven quality, a defensive midfielder (sahin?) and full back cover.

    While i love your posts and your footballing knowledge (and agree wholeheartedly with the imbalances at United) I was surprised that you didnt call for reinvestment of the cash, surprised that you didnt mention Bould as a (hopefully) significant reason for defensive optimism, surprised that you defend Djourou, and surprised you are at all prepared to give chamakh any further chances to disappoint.

    Don’t get me wrong, we have done great work so far with Giroud, Cazorla and Pod. And I firmly believe that 24m for a 29 year old injury prone striker with one year left on his contract is sensible business. But we must now make space on the wage bill by shifting Chamakh, Park, Bendtner, Squillaci, and preferably Djourou. (I would actually keep Arshavin as he’s the one with real talent when applying himself). We must wrap up Walcott’s deal, sell Song if he wants to go because he’s overrated. But we MUST replace. If we buy one more attacker, a Song replacement and full back cover THEN we can challenge, in my humble opinion

  • OMG

    well well well wengers done it again got rid of players for more than there worth, i give it 2 years before united ship him off to a struggling dutch team, and if hes gone for trophies just remember this us gooner fans man city are stronger tevez is back they have more experience and do you see united beating them cos i dont so in short robin is in the hunt for a fa cup or carling cup, well good luck to him.
    PS. united get the horse placenta ready your gonna be needing it

  • Aussie Jack

    The days of loyalty and team stability seem to have passed and we must expect an ever moving market in players, not just for Arsenal but for all of the top teams in Europe.

    With his background in economics Wenger is very aware of the law of moving averages so, from a professional point of view, it`s par for the course. No doubt Song could be next but there`s no need for panic stations it`s all part of the modern game.

  • Arun

    @Jim @ 8:41am
    1. There are no sources mentioned in that article just like every other article that media throws at you.
    2. His twitter page shows Manchester, so I assume he lives in Manchester.He also worked for Guardian, so might be a big fan of Man U.
    3. His coverage history at BBC sport doesn’t include Arsenal very much since the end of the last season. But there was an article about the game against totts which is pretty negative about Arsenal. Also note that he’s has written about all the Arsenal related transfers since the summer.
    So, there isn’t any more reason to believe him than any other journalist out there.

  • Jim

    Arun, I would like to believe you and I also know that media does hate us with a vengeance. But what saddens me is that we somehow allow ourselves to get in such situations. I’ll still forgive and forget everything that has happened if we re-invest the money from Robin sensibly as we have so far done. We still need a DM if Song rumors are to be believed. We’ll need a back-up to Giroud, and we are also light in the fullback category. If we get Sahin/M’vila and Llorente/any other proven target man, then we’ll still be challengers

  • WalterBroeckx

    Jim,
    Maybe the BBC has forgotten to mention that apparently he came to Wenger with his agent and told him how to run Arsenal (that is if we can believe the Guardian?)
    I think no football player should be allowed to tell a club how to be run and hence Arsenal offered him no new contract in the first place.
    And then came his statement and from that moment on he had opened the door completely.

    I think in the training camp it became clear that Podolski and Giroud could fill the gap from RVP and thus Wenger/board wanted him out.

    Couldn’t we talk with Bendter this week? 😉

  • SB

    Yes our squad is better off than last season particularly the preparation & squad for the start of the season. However, we have had a bad injury record the last few seasons, so unless we are extremely lucky, we need additions to address it as needed.

  • am dis pointed when i had that RVP has left Arsenal 4 Umited what a shamful thing is this any away we stil keep on d faith br God power we shall make it in this coming season

  • nicky

    From the moment when Van Persie made his unequivocal statement some months ago, I felt that at long last a buying spree of top class players was on the cards and a new era would emerge.
    Whether Arsene Wenger signed Podolski, Giroud and Cazola in an attempt to persuade Van Persie to stay is beside the point. The fact is that all three are now our men and we are a far better outfit because of it.
    My somewhat tired and forgetful memory cannot recall when last we started a new season with (a) a stronger squad and (b) a greater sense of confidence and optimism.
    Some may bemoan the departure of Van Persie after last
    term’s heroics and this is understandable. But the die has been cast and there is no point in bewailing what might have been. For what it is worth, I feel Arsenal are fortunate to have got rid of Van Persie at 29, injury-prone and unlikely to repeat the form he displayed last season, for £20 million plus.
    As we begin to move on, I am excited at the thought of our newbies, last summer’s signings beginning a valuable second season in the EPL and a number of our young starlets knocking at the door of the first team. Diaby is back and Wilshere will not be far behind him.
    A new era is dawning for our great Club and all Gooners can welcome it by giving 100% support for whoever Arsene selects to wear the shirt.

  • Neutral

    Frankly it’s a very weird piece of business. RVP is 29 and injury prone. When he’s fit, RVP is the best striker in the world. But what if he get’s injured? United have the backups though in form of Welbeck and Hernandez who are pretty solid….
    For Arsenal it’s a good business…They are getting reasonable amount of money for a 29 year old striker. They also have Podolski now who will definitely entertain everyone. Giroud will be develop into a definite first team player by next season. Chamakh for me is not good enough.
    This is a big season for him. If he fails to impress then he;s getting off.

    And Phil, Kagawa will play behind Rooney and RVP with Scholes/cleverly/carrick in the midfield and Nani/Valencia/Young in thw wings. Powell on the other hand is great. For an 18 year old he was sensational for Crewe. A real talent. The reason why united are overhauling their squad is because they had a major injury crisis last season. Worst in the league.

    But i’m still not expecting them to win the League. Infact this is what i’m expecting towards the end of the season

    City (*sigh*)
    Arsenal
    United
    Liverpool(Rodgers is the man for the job, but we all know how glossy and classy it all looks whenever a new manager is appointed for the Liverpool job. The owners need to trust him and give him some time)

    Shoot me but Chelsea are not getting into the top 4 and they’ll fight for the 5th place with spurs(I’m expecting AVB to work his magic). Wigan(they have overstayed their welcome as a premiere league side) to finally get relegated along with QPR(a classic example that the grass is not always greener for the Money clubs) and West Ham.

    Aguero to win the golden boot.

  • with God every thing is possible we most show d world that we can make it despite what happen 2 us do Song is also on his way 2 Bar ca we most fight and wine some thing this season wake up Arsenal and brake d transfer market and replace RVP

  • Arun

    Errata for my previous post:
    “His coverage history at BBC sport doesn’t include Arsenal very much since the end of the last season”. I meant before the end of the last season.
    @Jim, I agree with you that we are light in the fullback category and might need to get sahin if song departs. As far as Song is concerned, I seriously doubt his playing time at Barca, though he may win a few trophies there. As far as Robin is concerned, he is not a legend. He was just a hero and heroes can be forgotten. And if Poldi and Giroud start off very well, the name of Robin will be heard only in media, not among Arsenal fans.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have to agree with Walter , players should know their place and not ‘advice ‘ managers .Brian Clough once famously said that when a player comes up to him with some disagreement ,he would listen to him and that they would then ‘agree’ that he (Clough ) was right !
    I think there are still a few more ‘tweakings’ yet to be done to the team.
    @ Sammy – The Roo for Real ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Nicky – my sentiments exactly !Up the Gunners !

  • Ibbs

    Not bad for a player bought for £3m,shame it’s Manure.

    Feed Giroud and he will score!!

  • Timmy

    It does surprises me that at this time, some fans are still clamouring for Arsene to re-invest the 24mpds. After 15yrs at Arsenal, fans should have understood that Wenger doesn’t do negative transfers. When you noticed Arsene has spent in the region of 40mpds in purchases this going summer, we should understand that he has plans to turn that on its head and make profit from sales. He marked Bendtner and some other players to go, but obviously we know none of those can return anything in the neighbourhood of 40mpds, however by now, the sale of RVP is just the beginning of Arsene recouping his 40mpds purchases.

  • Sav from Australia

    Nice write up Phil.

    I would like to add the EPL referees (well at least a majority) to Man Utd’s squad – they are after all responsible for many of the points Utd pick up home and away.

  • elkieno

    I am gutted twice over by rvp, 1st for that statement, 2nd for leaving to them!.
    I loved him, sang his songs and got a shirt with his name on it. But the funny thing is that I never wore it cos it brought bad luck. My other home strip is what I wore mostly, was it the universe that didn’t like that name? Who bloody knows!
    Anyway back to reality, I don’t believe that a guy from french league can score all season long. There will come a time after just January where he (giroud) will hit a brick wall and it wil be like last season towards the end, ‘dropping points letting spuds catch up’.
    So what will be done about it?
    I am nervous as hell! But I will still be supporting arsenal and every man wearing it!
    Coyg!!!

  • Timmy

    I think the next “Pest Controll” post should be Manchester United

  • ARSENAL 13

    @elkieno
    Thats the thing we as fans do, which makes players feel like gods.

    I am soooooooo happy that RVP is not wearing the Arsenal colors next season. AND I dont care one bit who he will be playing for.

  • colario

    We all know Fergie is a chancer and will take a gamble with the greatest of ease. In contrast Arsene is cautious and slow at making a decision.
    RVP has a great season just before his new contract is up for discussion. Naturally he will want a lot more money, especailly as it will be his last big contract.

    We all know the number years Arsene has not brought home the silver and the pressure is on.

    What to do?

    RVP says in public ‘I love Arsenal but Arsenal don’t win trophies’.

    In private we don’t know the details of what he said but apprently he has a plan to bring home the silver but its not the same as Arsenal’s and is / or not the same as Arsene’s.

    Knowing that RVP is to be out off contract in come a sack full of offers. Well if the press is to be believed 2 offers. Juvi and manure. They are rejected and the situation slumbers on until manure make a more acceptable offer.

    Eventually we are told that manure offer 22m Arsenal want 25m. So Fergis and Arsene are told to sought it out. The comprimise we are told is 22.5M up front plus 1.5M if manure win the epl of champs cup.

    Both managers are happy.

    Fergie’s got his gamble on RVP injury chances or goals.

    Arsene dosn’t take the risk of getting zero millions for RVP next season and the club has 22.5m plus a saving of just over 5M on RVP’s salary.

    The fans: manure take the high road and taunt the Arsenal fans with ‘ Your club’s going no where.’ and alike.

    Arsenal fans are left with ‘You don’t know what you buying!’ and alike. Its soft at best.

    All they have is hope that Fergie’s gamble does’t come off – which sadly means injury to RVP. Also that Arsenal’s new players hit the ground running plus Walcot who having signed a new contract has his best season.

    However there is surely a far more important factor which until it is resolved will always be the main determiner, I refer of course to the poor standard of refereeing that runs through the Premier league with one or may two excpetions of course.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Will do later Shard.

    When I heard the news a song came to my mind, just post the lyrics here:

    It’s a mystery to me – the game commences
    For the usual fee – plus expenses
    Confidential information – is a diary
    This is my investigation – it’s not a public inquiry
    I go checking out the reports – digging up the dirt
    You get to meet all sorts in this line of work
    Treachery and treason – there’s always an excuse for it
    And when I find the reason I still can’t get used to it
    And what have you got at the end of the day?
    What have you got to take away?
    A bottle of whisky and a new set of lies
    Blinds on the windows and a pain behind the eyes
    Scarred for life – no compensation
    Private investigations

  • WalterBroeckx

    Translation from the link from Shard:

    Reporter tells him Van Persie off to United as mentioned on club websites and ask Vermaelen how he deals with that news:

    TV: That is a surprise for me. It ‘s a shock and I am disappointed. I would have loved it if he would have stayed at the club. Robin is… er… was important for the club and made a major contribution last season. I must say this is new for me and I don’t know how to react to this. Yes, I’m very disappointed.

    Reporter: Was it difficult for him the last days with all the fuss and talk about Van Persie?

    TV: I didn’t see anything wrong at training. He was sharp and I didn’t see much wrong with him. At the end maybe for him it is a good choice and what he wanted. Maybe I will talk to him later today as I don’t know how to react as this is completely new to me.

    Reporter: How are you going to compensate that:

    TV: I think we have done some great buys this summer with Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla who have made a great impression on me. Those are good players and I am confident that we have enough quality at Arsenal to start the season.

    Reporter: Despite this the joy of the win still has the upper hand(win from Belgium against Holland)
    TV: Yes I am pleased with that win but tomorrow at the club and then focus on Saturday

    Reporter: and what about this season?
    TV: Well this all… Er….I will talk to him later…Robin… well that’s just the way it is.

  • Sam

    I thought that Theo was bought as a central striker. He must be tried in this position this year rather than buying another striker.

  • asd

    What message has the board/Wenger sent to the players? What is going through the minds of players like Theo, Walcott, AOC, e.t.c
    Do you guys think the players will be telling themselves 24mil for a 29 year old is good business?
    Wenger and the board just said we don’t win trophies and we don’t pay top dollar so if you want any of those you will have to move on.

  • Nakew

    Sad to see RvP10 leave like this.
    He didn’t want to renew his contract with THE ARSENAL.
    It is time to move on. Enough of the rant.
    Now,
    The boss has to let Chamakh, J.Y.Park, Bendtner, Arshvin & Squillci leave.And add to the squad 1 ST, 1 DM & a LB.
    That will make Arsenal competitive with big spenders Man.City & Chavs.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Thanks Walter for the translation from which I wish to amplify the TV philosophy on RvP:
    Robin…..that’s just the way it is.

    Upon reading the reactions from readers here, it is clear that many still hoped that somehow, Robin would remain at Arsenal or Wenger would find a way not to sell him to either ManU or ManCity. It is a mark of our deep love for him and respect for what he did for us especially in the last 18months and can therefore, in all probability, do for one our keen opponents.

    However, today, in respect of Robin, this is just the way it is: the club has to go with willing players, with valid contracts…anything less is just courting dressing room disharmony as well as poor team spirit.

    As to whether ManU or ManCity could have been avoided at all costs. Again, this is just the way it is: as soon as we set our terms for him to leave, within the parameters that is our right to do, we cannot also pick who will meet the terms or change the terms because we don.t like who meets it.

    As to how this affect Arsenal’s chances I seriously think that it is up to Arsenal and no one else.

    We have a fledging new team that, by all accounts, is not bad on paper and even in the practice pre-season games.

    We have a new assistant coach that has made improving our defense his main project.

    We have a rich vein of young players looking in. We have an almost unchanged pot of transfer kitty.

    We may even be in the process of changing the way we line up for and play the game and we still have about 14days before the transfer window closes.

    When we didn’t have these things, we “struggled” but still managed to come 3rd – in a very competitive league – last season; later in the season, playing in full strength, we gave ManCity a very hard game and won.

    Now that many things are better for us at the stage than last season, It will amount to being more pessimistic than the situation deserves to think we will not be right up there challenging for trophies in every competition to the very end.

  • Mahdain

    the details are finally coming out.. Make no mistake about it the twat had to go.. He and his agent made outrageous demands

  • Well apart from all that lovely money we got in the bank we”VE still got PARK SQUILLACI CHAMMAK BENDNTER AND DENILSON.

    The futures looking bright !

  • Paul "the Gooner"

    I think he is a total lowlife.Read Bob Wilsons comments on the BBC website.He sums it up very well.He looked at his match programme notes(from last season) and the lowlife speaks about staying for his career,he loves it at arsenal and all that.Bob, went on to say he was very angry the way he has treated the club.
    I leave you all with this throught.How will you feel when he scores in front of the Stretford end and celebrates on his knees, arms open.Then you see Ferdinand running the lengh of the pitch to jump on his back.He deserves all the stick and abuse he will get when he comes back.All about Money,nothing else.

  • Mick

    @Paul “the Gooner”
    Well said, you’ve got it in a nutshell, he’s a greedy, dishonest b*****d. I don’t wish people to get injured but wouldn’t it be ironic. Can you give a link to Bob Wilson’s comments?

  • Ozzie Bill

    Having supported Arsenal since 1947, yes 1947 and at 75 years of age,I have seen it all and the best and the worst of it all, and I find it amazing that most of the Arsenal blogs newspapers are saying that RVP won us third place last season, implying that we were a one man team. For a start I do not remember Arsenal fielding a one man team for each game last season and I seem to remember there were 10 other players and without these players RVP would not have been supplied the passes to score his goals, so in short RVP transfer will not affect the team play, in fact, we are a lot stronger now with the three new signings and possibly another DM signing I fully expect us to be up in the top three throughout the season. Will we win the PL, who knows, but we will give it a bloody good shot.

    Forgetting the tanking we took at ManUtd, they were lucky to beat us at the Emirates and we beat ManCity, tanked Chelsea and the Totts, so we have every reason to believe this could be our season. So if you are a supporter, give them every support you can.

  • Ozzie – I am not as old as your good self, but old enough to recall and you will, that in 1974/5 just four years after the double, we were bottom of the league, and only escaped relegation with three games to go, and then the following season was worse. We were saved in 74/5 by Luton, Carlisle and Chelsea being a little worse than us.

    And that was a team with Liam Brady in it.

    Agree with you totally.

    Tony

  • Ozzie Bill

    Tony,

    Unfortunately with age, memory not as good as yours however, my best memories were standing opposite the clock end after playing in the morning at either Hackney Marshes or Regents Park etc, and watching stars like Billy Steel, Len Shackleton, Robledo Bros, Stanley Matthews, Tommy Lawton when he transferred to Arsenal, and to many more to mention, so wonderful memories.

  • Ozzie Bill

    Tony,

    Forgot to add that I emigrated to Australia in 1965.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I love the idea that Giroud will struggle physically, if you’ve seen the guy and then checked the stats, he’s something like the joint third heaviest player in the league this season, bigger than virtually all PL centrebacks, was probably the most physical attacking player in Ligue 1 last year and top scorer (joint). Cazorla I worry about physically, Podolski has a temper so could be sent off a lot but Giroud is an Arsenal-grade Andy Carroll. His game is a lot like Drogba’s, he wants to make life really difficult for centrebacks by marking them out of the game – he was sixth in the total number of fouls committed despite not making that many tackles.

  • Shard

    Woolwich..

    Arsenal grade Drogba…Didn’t Chelsea also try and sign him? To replace Drogba probably.. I bet if he’d opted to sign for them no one would say he’s going to be outmuscled or whatever. Instead he’d be a great player and a show of ambition from Chelsea.

  • Shard

    Walter,

    Thank you for the translation. Vermaelen seemed surprised RVP went to ManU.

    Oh and a bigger thank you for those song lyrics.. Absolutely wonderful.

  • Wooby

    Phil – I mentioned this in my comments on another post. I wonder if SAF will drop Rooney into the midfield alongside Carrick, then have Kagawa in the hole behind RVP with Nani and Young on the flanks. That’d be a pretty formidable lineup. If you compare that to our six of Song, Arteta, Cazorla, Walcott, Poldi and Giroud … I think we are even up with Song / Arteta vs Carrick / Rooney, Cazorla vs Kagawa, Poldi may be ahead of Young but Nani and RVP I’d rate ahead of Walcott and Giroud.

    Now that I have had a good night’s sleep, I am ready to move on. We have made very astute purchases, but I think we may need one more up front. The BPL schedule is tough over Christmas/New Year, playing 3 games in the space of 7 to 10 days while the other major leagues all have a winter break. I am not sure that Giroud and Poldi, in their first seasons, will be ready and able for the rigours. While Chamakh is still on the squad, I’d rather have someone more dependable …

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Shard,
    Arsenal-grade Andy Carroll, not Drogba. I think we need to see how he copes with the pace of the PL before saying whether he compares to the Chelsea legend (who we who have suffered at his hands must admit was quite a player) yet.

  • Shard

    Woolwich

    Lol.. Yeah.. I was thinking of Drogba and hence the error on my part.. Of course we need to wait and see, and give him some time too. Drogba himself took some time before he became effective as anything other than a battering ram. What little I saw of Giroud in Cologne though, was encouraging. Especially his knock down to set up Cazorla. His link up play was generally excellent. I think he’ll be a good player for us. How good? Well, we’ll see.

  • Ong Bing

    @Woolwich 4:45, like it: Arsenal-grade Andy Carroll.

    Maybe expectation too high if we want Giroud scores 30 in his first season. But total goals of Giroud+Poldi+Santi 30 or more is possible.

    I am disappointed with RvP transfer, since Dennis left, he is Arsenal player that I like more than the others, even when he injured and Cesc shinning.

    But live must go on mate, and this is real world, not fantasy football. So keep support Arsene, whatever, whenever, forever! Oiks?

    COYG!

  • Ong Bing

    @Wooby 5:10

    I think our front 3 is enough.

    Gerv – Ox – Poldi – Giroud – Theo – Santi – (Arshavin) – (Chamakh)

    We can play Giroud/Poldi/Theo in the middle.
    Remember, Theo want that role, maybe this year Arsene will try it.

    And, if Arsene want to make joke, he can put TV5 there!

  • SureRosicky

    Self-delusion can be very strong but I can’t help feeling that once a player wants to go his poison must be removed whether its rvp or bendtner.
    Am I weird to think we should keep arshavin to back up cazorla?
    I genuinely think we have a better unit as a whole than last year – less brittle, more creative and harder to stop plus I expect a couple more good signings.

    So maybe I’m fooling myself but I am more hopeful and excited than for many years.

  • Asif

    @Jim – respect your feelings but, do you think we should have let him continue just to prove a point…Do what totts are doing to Modric? RvP during last season also had a run when he didn’t score for 5 games on the trot…imagine if he had stayed and had a run like that…our own fans would have turned against him and he would have been the next Arshavin!

    RvP made his own position untenable by bringing out that statement…it was time for him to go! Good…atleast I am not worshipping false heroes! And I really don’t care if he has a good career or bad one at Manure…but I seriously doubt that even Manure fans would ever accept him whole-heartedly…i have read all the comments from Manure fans and they were luke warm to his signing…they are seemingly taunting us but I know Manure fans who surely are less than optimistic at him joining them!

  • Dgeoel

    I am more worried by the ref bias than RVP going to boost jersey sales @ Manure!!

  • Andrew Chua

    So much vitriol put forth against RVP by fans which I personally think is uncalled for.

    Firstly, RVP merely states his intention of not renewing his contract next year when it expires. He did not asked to be transferred (officially as far as I know).

    Secondly, the manner he did that publicly may make his stay untenable but then again he has his rights to his views.

    Thirdly, Arsenal put economics foremost rather than sticking to the contract. There are many views on this but personally I would insist and take the risk that RVP completes his contractual term and abide by the professional code to play his best. If he quits next year, we lose the contract amount (3-4 million?) + his wages to date. Yes we lose the 24 million we will get but then again we will be sending out the right signals that we are not a selling club, not just to potential mega-rich clubs but also to the younger budding players in our stable. This is of utmost importance as we have millions of young players moving up the ‘corporate’ ladder. As I see it, this continual selling of our best players will have repercussions in the future for the young players and youth development.

    Lastly, these players are professionals that play for a living. Loyalty and the likes are afterthoughts. I just wonder what happens to the ‘Liverpool’ tatoo on Torres’s arm.

  • RobL

    @ Andrew,

    I think you are swallowing a line here from VP – if he had not openly criticised the club and made it untenable to stay, he probably would have been made to serve his contract.

    The only reason he would not have put in an official transfer request is to retain his loyalty bonus.

    He’s an adult and is managed by a legal professional (Dein) the statement and his subsequent actions were all carefully planned and plotted to get to a desired outcome.

    Am I bitter about this? no, he’s a twat and not worth it.

  • Abetiaja

    There was no point making van Persie fulfill the rest of his contract. If he had been forced to stay and he wanted to leave anyway, he would be free by January to negotiate with Man U. From January onwards, how would he play in front of the home fans when they already know he would be joining their rival? Making him stay against his wish in that circumstance would have been a huge distraction with great consequences for the team. Besides, I see his leaving having the same Henry’s effect. When Henry left, players who kept on deferring to him as the only notable superstar came out of their shells. I expect Gervinho and Walcott to come out of their shells, at least. The new signings are still there, don’t forget.

  • Andrew Chua

    @RobL
    When the alleged statements were made, there were no transfer activity, yet. Whether the statements were crafted by him or Dein is inconsequential. He had decided by then to leave. My point is that he abided by the contract and is entitled to his views, rightly or not.

    @Abetiaja
    My point is to make it harder for his departure, which of course is destined. At the same time, we want to make our statements clear on the selling-club impression to potentially related parties. And selling to a title-chasing rival like MU doesn’t really reinforce our ambition. RVP is still lethal for another 1-2 seasons.

  • Andrew Chua

    @Abetiaja

    as you said about coming out of the shell… most of them left after that.