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The team works. As a team, for each other, all the time

By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes I cannot see the game live. When we play on Saturday there is almost never a problem, but when we play on Sunday I can get mixed up with my own games as a referee. Yesterday was one of those games. Of course one simple request to Tony and he keeps me informed about the score.

It’s a bit funny; when it was half time of my game the first thing I do is get out my phone (in fact the 3 of us do this – modern times I guess) and to my relief I saw that Podolski had scored and Tony let me know that Per was in defence. Then we went out for our second half and as we had a game of a home team playing in red and an away team playing in blue and also a 0-1 score at half time some similarities entered my mind. And when after some 15 minutes the visiting team scored the 0-2 I just felt and knew we would score a second goal.

And after I blew the final whistle and went to the dressing room I checked my phone and Tony has confirmed what I just felt would happen: we kept the clean sheet and won 0-2 at Anfield. A great game myself, some promotion chances for myself, Arsenal winning at Liverpool, my local team beating the team who was standing first in their league and getting to within  2 points of the top spot. What a great day.

But you are not here to read about my personal life but to read my personal view on Arsenal. Of course the first thing I did when I came home was watch the game. And I think I did see some interesting things and some confirmation about some things I had noticed in the first two games of the season.

Let me start with the first player that has been catching my eye and that got named man of the match: Diaby. This was the performance that he can deliver when completely fit. And I know some will say: but he never is fit for a long time. Well that is true but please remember that most of his injury troubles have been the result of really bad tackles on him. He has been kicked and kicked without protection from the referees so far. I hope and pray that the referees do their job now and make sure that when they try to kick him to pieces they will at least give the fouls and if possible give the yellow cards.

One of our members has met him in person on the shuttle to the continent when he was parked with his car in the same wagon and that friend told us that Diaby really is a very nice and friendly person when you meet him. So let us hope he does a Van Persie now and stays fit and carry us this season from midfield. But Arsène, please don’t over play him will you. Thanks.

And obviously Cazorla surely is a player that can change a game. He is the one that is always capable of producing something from nothing. People will point at Reina for our second goal but I think it was a great effort from Reina to even get a touch on that low hard ball from Cazorla that was going in anyway. Good vision, good legs, good running, good shooting, I think we got a bargain for that price.

Our first goal scorer of the season had to be Prince Poldi, also know as Lukas Podolski. I just had a feeling he would score his first goal at Anfield before the game. Because that is what he is capable of. He just is that player we know that can always score a goal anytime. Now was the right time and he likes the big occasions. And a great ball for the second goal also gets him on the assist list.

But what stood out most in this game was his will to work hard. He doesn’t seem to feel he is the main star, waiting for the ball to come to him and then produce something. No the first goal was all about him helping out the defence when it was needed a bit, collecting the ball in the own half, playing it up field and then start a run to support the attack and then finish it off.

And he kept on running on the flank. Helping out Gibbs when Gibbs needed help. Closing down Liverpool defenders when they got the ball. He worked his socks off. I know it sounds a generalisation but he showed the real German football spirit: work hard to win the game.  A never give up attitude that is typical for German football teams. Having some of that injected into Arsenal is great.

I could highlight other players but then it would get too long a piece. I just want to praise the whole team for doing a great job. An almost complete new team with only 2 regular starters in the team from last year for the moment (Vermaelen – Arteta) and 4 others who weren’t really automatic starters last season  (Per – Gibbs – Oxlade-Chamberlain – Jenkinson) this team needed a bit of time to start going.

But what is visible is that they all fight for each other and the team. It is as if there are no more prima donna’s on board no matter how good they might be. But when our players pressure defenders they really pressure this season. When our midfielders sit back they really cover the defenders this season. And our defender play with a ‘you shall not pass-attitude’ for the whole game.

If there is one thing I really have liked about this season it is the fact that we see a team on the pitch. 11 players determined to not let in a goal. 11 players determined to not lose the game. 11 players who want to give it all. No goals conceded in 3 games. Long may it continue. Is it just me or do we have a squad out there that is playing according to the Victoria Concordia Crescit?

Last season we had 1 point after 3 games. And the later champions were already 8 points clear. Now we are 1 and 2 points behind the teams that would play for the title according to the pundits. True, Chelsea had no real difficult games and lots of penalties going their way this season and are 4 points in front of us. But after getting beaten by Athletico Madrid their confidence might have had a big hit. If we keep on playing with the determination I have seen in the first three games we can win any game if we take our chances.

International break now….oh please let them all come back in a good condition. Why don’t we leave the getting injured part to the ones that had it in the past. If you know what I mean.

Oh, and finally …Giroud opening his account against Southampton…stepping the footsteps of a few great names from the past… Wouldn’t that be nice?

————————————————————–

The club that changed football

130 comments to The team works. As a team, for each other, all the time

  • avatar carl

    I agree only the greats start their Arsenal careers at Southampton…. Bergkamp for one :)

  • avatar Sammy The Snake

    Who needs Robin when we have Pad-Man?

  • avatar Damien Luu

    Last season, Arteta; this season – Cazorla. We are very, very lucky. To have Arsene Wenger, that is.

    This team have everything needed to win trophies. And no, don’t sell me the idea about M’Vila or any “great DM”. I don’t buy it.

  • avatar naked goon

    Agreed with the above. Also thought Gibbs had a great game bursting into the box at the last moment unlike Johnson who was continually caught out of postion.He looked so much like Cole of 10 years ago. Well done to CJ, you may well see him in England’s white one day, now he has a true defensive coach to teach him.Not forgetting Vito, tough job to step in as he has but no fear from the big man.Did his job

  • avatar Shakabula Gooner

    I was also impressed with AOC. He was very effective in defense; more so, if you remember that he only began adding this aspect to his game after he joined Arsenal last season. Plus I don;t think his instruction included bounding forward as we had Carzola and Diaby for that.

    I feel sorry for Gervhino. If he doesn’t dramatically improve his end product he may have great difficu;ty breaking back into the team.

    Giroud needs confidence boost FAST! that he may not go the way of our dear Chamkah

  • avatar wamberto

    Before the season i wrote “feed the Giroud and he will score:-)……No more predictions from me guys.

  • avatar allezkev

    Nice upbeat post.
    I’ve been to Anfield a few times, but I’ve never felt so calm and confident as I felt Sunday.
    There is something about this squad of players, a resilience, an all for one and one for all unity that you usually only see in title winning teams…
    Reckon this is gonna be a very tasty season…

  • One thing stood out for me which you referenced – hard work.

    I see this team as a rebirth of the Arsenal we know and love – a team that is willing to work for their results. Sadly that has been missing of late.

    The complete overhaul of the team might just work, because the players we are bringing in are (or seem to be) team players. They work off the ball as well as on it.

    Lots more of that please.

  • avatar elkieno

    Good upbeat Post Walter I like it, but…
    1. ‘Why don’t we leave the getting injured part to the ones that had it in the past’.
    * I know what you mean, but this is Arsenal and we have Diaby and Djouro with injury problems.
    2. ‘So let us hope he does a Van Persie now and stays fit and carry us this season from midfield’.
    * Again I get what you mean, but lets hope he does only half of what ‘knob jockey’ did and stay with us by publicly saying I love AW, AFC and the fans for sticking by me etc.
    That would be just perfect…
    Anyway, its only 3 games I know and I dont want to start talking us up cos when the hard times come along, we need to be still playing like we did on Sunday. Podolski needs to track back to defend every game, we have to play like that everytime we play a big side and for the smaller clubs something similar.
    Our backups like Ramsey, Theo, Djouro, Koscielny, Rosicky are good enough to keep the Arsenal machine going, so here’s to hard fought, smart, winning and no major injuries this season. If all that happens then we can do something good this year!
    COYG!

  • avatar rusty

    I definitely thought the Ox did a great job battling across the pitch. He’s not as much of a menace as Theo in direct runs without the ball, nor can he hold the ball under pressure like Gervinho, but his game has undoubtedly grown since last season.

    Poldi’s performance up and down the other flank showed how to contribute at both ends from the wing, that’s for sure!

  • avatar Lanre

    Walter,
    I can rave n hype all I want about diaby. Boy, d guy’s really really good. And I knw I was d only one dat stood by him (eh maybe n wenger too).
    A lot of his doubters are still eating up the humpie pie. Mind you, they are waiting in d corner for a little drop in form to come out wit their knives again.
    Watch out, diaby will be better than yaya toure dis season. Let him play a few more games n you’ll marvel at great DIABY

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Elkieno,

    I copy from arsenal.com this morning:

    “Diaby reserved a special mention for Wenger, who has stuck by the France international throughout his fitness problems.

    “I have to thank the manager because I have had tremendous support from him,” said Diaby. “As a player it is really important to have that support and from your team-mates as well. I have to say that during this period, they helped a lot.

    “The manager is known for being close to his players and he is always checking to look how they are. I had great support from him. I want to be back enjoying myself because I love football and I want to pay back the club, manager and team-mates as well.”

    Good enough for me ;-)

  • avatar colario

    I am not at training and have no idea what goes on. I read how Steve Bould has stiffened the defense, which was what the ‘experts’ had been baying for after last season’s defensive performance. Well I am sure that Steve is an excellent no.2 to Arsene I think the appointment is a great move by Arsene. However I can see no point in comparing last season’s defensive record (especially at the start of the season) with this season, as last season our defense was shattered by injuries. In other words it was beaten before games were played.

    Compare that to this season when we have Kos (generally thought by the ‘bayers’ to have been last season’s best defender) on the bench, waiting his turn to play. All we want now is Sagna to be fit and we have a full defense.

    Slightly off subject I know but, what do Barcelona see in Song, a good Arsenal player but ‘Barcelona’?

  • avatar Asif

    @ Walter – Just wanted to say that this is exactly what I think, “If we keep on playing with the determination I have seen in the first three games we can win any game if we take our chances”.

    I think this is the first time in many seasons that as an Arsenal supporter I have not got flustered with our defending or the insanity of doing certain things…like an Arsenal team of old would have still been adventurous after scoring 2 goals, but we just concentrated on closing the game down. Even in the two draws, I think we put in a great display…the team is getting its basics right…and there are just a couple of aspects that we need to sort out, like our crossing needs to improve, Jenkinson has to start making those overlapping runs and feed the ball more. Giroud may have missed a few chances but he has not been serviced that well.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Shakabula Gooner

    There will be opportunities for him and others to shine. On paper we look like we have excellent depth this year in multiple positions congested periods should be looked at as times where we can exercise our advantage over other teams.

    I also think that competition can spur guys on. Arsene always talks of the intelligence of our players its important for someone like Gervinho and Walcott to see what Lukas and AOC did right in the game and try to add that to their armory. Both of these both offer variables the sundays starters cant.

    We need to hold fire yet though. Saints, Chels and City to come in the league.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    colario

    I just dont buy that. Your never beaten before you’ve played the game what a useless attitude.

    The team without the ball has lacked organization for years not just last season.

    Going up to old trafford last year and playing reckless headless chicken football with inexperienced players is on the coaching staff. I couldnt careless as to why its taken Arsene so long to understand that we’ve lacked defensive structure for years only that we now appear to have it sorted.

    We need to get away from this excuse making structure. Succesful sides incorporate a next man up attitude

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Why would you think a good arsenal player not worthy of Barca?

    He is versatile, he is young enough to improve, he plays 2 positins where they are thin on the ground.

    May well be a case that he flourished in our system and isn’t as good as advertised (we’ve see that before) but the notion that barca are to good for our players is an incorrect one i think.

  • avatar elkieno

    Walter: this is good enough for me too.

    Just thinking out loud here, but if Diaby can say all those good things about le boss, then how mean, cruel, evil and selfish is the dutch traitor that is rvp?
    only a cold, cold person could go thru all that he did with the support of everyone and then up and leave as soon as he can. It is just so unbelievable..
    Anyway, what will i do over this interlull? you wait so long for the season to start and then when it does, we have a break again??

  • avatar 'desi'gner gooner

    Excellent team performance by the Arsenal….great work ethic by all the lads and for a change we defended as a team and not just depend on the back four.

    For all those people who keep criticizing Arsene for his transfer business or the lack of it infact – why do they never question the purple nose?!! Why did he never buy Cazorla?? He is exactly what they needed – not Van Pursey!!! And their defense looks shambolic….And what about “one man team” anyone!!!

  • avatar Goona Gal

    Hmm, how long before the mask slips from the poster that’s like a rat stuck on a treadmill…

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Not sure what you mean Goona Gal.

    Im delighted we now appear to defend as if someone on the training pitch is coaching them, in fact its something i’ve yearned for for years, you should have done as well.

    I dearly hope Diaby continues his form. I expect with 50m left in the bank that the manger is hugely confident of gaining a respectable points total this year 80+ as failure to do so having left money in the bank will disappoint many and rightly so.

  • avatar colario

    @ Upper Street Gooner

    I did not write that Arsenal players are not good enough for Barcelona.

    I asked about Song because I don’t know why Barcelona came in for Song.
    I appreciate your answer to my question.

    Arsene paid 15M for a ready made player from Malaga whose attacking assists are proving to be better than Song’s. ‘So I think why didn’t Barcelona go for him?’

  • avatar Shard

    USG

    Why so? Wenger’s words (paraphrasing) were that spending money is never a target. Spending money on quality is.

    What if we couldn’t find the required quality within our budget? When he says we will only buy better than what we have, it is treated as a joke (because apparently the very players that have kept us in the top 4 all along, are useless), but he is right. Arsenal have good players, and it isn’t easy to improve on the squad.

    I think that makes sense. I mean sure, we’d always want more and better players, but I don’t care if we didn’t spend all our money, just to appease some fans. I want money spent on players that are good, and that fit into the managers plans for the team.

  • avatar Paobing

    “The team works. As a team, for each other, all the time” The caption says it all and echoed my thoughts. Gibbs bawling out at giroud following the chance created by diaby was kinda overboard for my liking though. It’s probably still fine if gibbs had just threw his arms up in exasperation and emphasised that he was in better scoring position, but to scream right at giroud’s face and nearly using his hands to shake giroud’s body? Don’t get me wrong, gibbs put in another decent shift with great passion but come on, this is not the way to help your new colleagues settle in.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Walter – due to the rediscovery of Diaby, Vermaelen’s strong performance as captain at Anfield has been a bit overlooked. I was glad to see him concentrating on his defensive duties, but still venture forward on occasion to test Reina.

    I am loving the ambition and determination shown by all the players at the moment. We had a nervy start to the game but as the player’s grew in confidence, all the players did well. We need a bit of momentum and belief to carry us through this tough month. Finally getting a win with a clean sheet would of definitely of bolstered the players.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ USG – if the cap fits….

  • avatar colario

    @Upper Street Gooner. ‘ just dont buy that…….’

    If your the manager of a billionaire’s play thing club then you buy 8 world class defenders and pay them each 200 000 a week. Before each match you decide which ones you’ve paid 200 000 to sit on the bench.

    If your not the manager of a billionaire’s play thing club then you have a choice.

    Disaster Choice. You buy 8 world class defenders and pay them each 200 000 a week with money your club doesn’t have.

    You buy according to the clubs budget.

    For what ever reason we don’t have 8 world class defenders so if four are injured at the same time we cannot field 4 more world class defenders.

    Back before Arsene arrived Pat Rice was the interim manager.

    BBC TV cameras were outside Highbury interviewing fans. I heard one say ‘This club is going nowhere its got a youth team coach for a manager.’

    About a year after the ‘Double’ I met up with someone who I had not seen for years and like me is a life long Arsenal supporter. He reliably informed me, I quote his words exact: ‘That was Pat Rice’s double’.

    Above I wrote that I think that Steve Bould’s appointment is a great appointment and like everyone else I am sure he has and will help our defense but we can not compare last season with this season. The problems we had last year with defence were due to injuries not lack of defensive abilities or Pat Rice’s lack of defending knowledge.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Sharp

    Its a good point and if the aim is top 4 then so be it.

    I think Arsenal should do all it can in its self sustaining way in order to try to win trophies. If we come up short to teams with more resources then so be it but at least we’ve give it a go.

    Arsenal finished 19 points behind the 2 teams which finished above us last year.

    We have 2 decent strikers at the club one of whom is our best left winger. If Diaby were to be injured we are playing a novice in his position.

    If we come up short because of an injury to Diaby or one of our strikers and we have 50m in the bank thats inexcusable.

  • @Upper Street Gooner – why do you come here… serious question?

    There are plently of other places you could post on the world wide web with like minded people – why not go there?

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Colario

    Did you watch the FA cup game against Utd 2 years ago where there reserves spanked our 1st team?

    There players were drilled and tactically new our every move.

    We didnt lose 8-2 because we had some injuries. We lost 8-2 because we didnt adapt to having injuries. We went out with the same gameplan as if we had starters.

    We failed to learn from our mistakes. The next time we played Utd at home Djouou was consistently caught to far forward at rb. Surely we would adapt our gameplan but we didnt. It cost us the match.

    Football is decided by tiny margins. We finshed 1 point above spurs , utd finished level with city. Dropped points form week one have massive consequinces come the end of the season.

    Across numerous sports teams suffer injuries. You can either get on with it an encourage a squad attitiude which fails to condone excuses or you can waller in it. Dan Carter was injured in the rugby world cup, both his next 2 replacements weer also injured and the second best fly half refused to play…..nobnody complained people got on with it. They won the world cup. In the nfl injuries happen all the time you can either sit there an cry or you can make sure the next man up is trained and confident

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Dogface

    Why do you hate anyone who thinks slightly differently to you?

  • @Upper Street Gooner – I’m asking a serious question… I don’t hate you (nice try mate) – I do feel a bit sorry for you though, is that bad?

    So why do you come here… is it a personal ‘crusade’ or what?

  • avatar ify Lacicy

    we are lucky to have a fully fit Diaby @ Anfield he has proved to be worldclass, Cazorla and Poldi where Fantastic signings,Giroud i believe would come around cos he has a good work rate just the goals are missing but will surely come and i appreciate the leadership focus of Vermelean and our improving defensive record also the maturity display of Kierian Gibbs,Jenkinson has been very solid as we look forward to further improvement on overlapping runs and crosses but if u consider his performance so far as backup to Sagna then U know we’v got a decent squad and if we keep up the unity and work rate we could challenge for the title….

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Not really one for crusades. The topic is above and its a discussion im interested in. There are 2 sides to every discussion.

    You love defensive solidarity, so do i. I’ve loved it and wanted in longer than you.

    Is it not an interesting question to say what would happen if one of our strikers or Diaby were tio get injured. Lest say we fell off and ended up with an average points total again……………what would be your opinion?

  • avatar SharD

    USP :P

    Top 4 is not the aim, but it is the minimum objective. The players we have are not useless is my point. Never have been. Those that are deemed not good enough, inevitably find their appearances restricted anyway.

    We lost 8-2 because at 3-1 down, Wenger took off Coquelin (the novice you refer to I presume) and went for it. You know, showed some ambition to actually get a result. ManU’s shot conversion rate that day was insane. How many times will you see Young shoot like that from the left wing? Rooner’s free kicks? Not very often. It was a freakish result, in freakish circumstances.

    We could do with some extra players. Agreed. (although I guess that’s the case for all teams) Beyond that, I don’t know what you are on about.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Dogface – it does feel like he’s on a crusade, but not a revolutionary one though.

  • Excuse me Upper Street Gooner but you know nothing about me or what I want – you have already projected ‘hate’ onto me now you project something of a lack of concern – or at least a lack of insight (in comparison to yours).

    I do not accept that – so again, nice try.

    This ‘interesting question’ – would it be related to the topic of the post you claim to be so interested in or are you just planting those seeds of negativity again?

    It seems to me that you only really show up here during times of positivity to pour a little cold water on things… there’s nothing wrong with that but you do so persist in your ‘one side’ of the debate in a way I find curious; but that’s just my opinion – and [if I may project a little back] I don’t think you are really interested in that are you.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Shard

    The point being not every team has the money to bring in those players without spending what they don’t have. If you do you should spend it as the aim should be to try to win everything.

    Dogface

    You need to chill out big guy, its a football debate. People are talking about our new found defensive organization this is an interesting debate. Why do you think we are now defensivly sound? Could more have been doen over the previous 5 years where are defense has got progressively worse. These are merely questions if you dont like the answer that’s not my fault.

    I care about Arsenal Fc, always have always will. I’m one who feels we could have done better in recent years (not massively but defiently better) I hope tha manager learns form our defensive improvement and realises that stubbornness and conservatism cna be a detriment to the club. You cant help that feel when you hear Bould ex teammates talk of the current situation at the club and say…..Arsene you must do better, 5 years we’ve waited for a solution which was working in the same building as you.

    Lest hope we get to 80+ this year.

  • “Why do you think we are now defensivly sound?” – you see… there you go again, telling me what I think. This is something of your modus operandi I have noticed, you tell others what they think and tell us all what the manager, the board, the shareholders, the players and the fans think and expect us to take that as the foundation of the discussion i.e. these are the facts, now discuss them.

    And I’m the one that needs to “chill out”?

    If I can give a little advice (and you need not take it but I do it with good intentions) – try and be a little less confrontational… have you told the people you are discussing football with that you have found something in their posts interesting?

    That could be a start… just try and find some common ground and agree to disagree if you can (that goes for others too of course as I appreciate you can feel a little ganged up on as your opinion is often unpopular here) – I am looking at your entire post history here and, to be honest, there are some recurring themes.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    I don’t think negative and repetitive spiel is classed as debate though, let alone a healthy one.

  • @Gooner Gal – fragmentation and atomisation of the fan base just makes us weaker… we should be more inclusive or at least try and understand where each other’s concerns are coming from. It doesn’t mean that we should change our culture here – or accept opinions we disagree with, hopefully though – if we can hear them out then there might be some reciprocation and we can have some acceptance of the different personality types we have as fans. There is a place for everyone on the net – I believe that, but as long as we come together on matchday that’s the important thing… these differences between us should not get in the way or become the focus of our support.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Dogface

    I started posting in relation to a lad who was making excuses for our poor defense last year but failed to see that it had been deteriorating the 4 previous ones.

    Once again excuses were used to explain this rather than we just werent good enough and the manager and players need to do much better.

    Like is aid if you watch any other sport the winning teams foster a completely different mindset to what we allow at our club. We blame Pitches, injuries, refs, media for our travails everyone but ourselves.

    We need to get away from it. Last year we finished 2 points better than the year before. lets not say how wonderful we were lets take a cold hard look at where we are at.

    Finally we appear to be doign that. Look how much all these excuse makers love an organized side. Thats all anyone ever wanted.

  • You are also very judgemental… just saying. ;)

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Dogface – the thing is false accusations and constant repetition of negativity is tiresome and often repeated as fact rather than opinion. If there was anything original or new from people like USG, then I could understand, but it isn’t and it’s boring.

  • @Goona Gal Can you give me a brief synopsis?

  • avatar Goona Gal

    Na, but thanks for calling me a, instead of er!

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Gooner gal

    Its the same tired excuses from some of you though that are met with the same responses form others.

    I’m now hearing some of these same people syaing i told you so with Diaby. What in the fook has anyone been taught about diaby. He has been hugely talented for 6 years. Its the injuries which cost him and us.

    Not signing another mid was a massive gamble. A gamble which we’ve tried before at cb and it destroyed us.

  • Ok then – the way I see it is this. Upper Street Gooner firmly believes that he knows the best course of action for the team in terms of the direction it takes and this vision extends throughout the entire structure of the club and will ultimately provide success (trophies) on the field of play in one season – anyone who questions this is an idiot and cannot appreciate the blindingly obvious facts of the matter.

    This is somewhat counter culture to regulars here who see things a little less black and white and try to comprehend the vast complexity of the management and navigation of a premier league football club through, what can only be called, unprecedented times of economic upheaval… to a large extent we entrust this responsibility to the custodians of the club but we are curious as to the cause and effect of the decisions made and try to find other relationships and societal feedback loops (both positive and detrimental) that have an effect on the long term future of the club – we take our enjoyment where we can and cherish it.

    We are all passionate about the club and want success – we both feel the frustration.

    Frustration, passion and support – it seems – are the only common grounds here, so maybe we should just agree to differ and save it all up for match day eh?

  • avatar Stevie E

    Upper Street Gooner
    Towards the back end of last season when we had our first choice back four available to us, statically we had the best defence in the league. It’s easy to spout words as facts, but unless you can back them up, your argument will be quickly dismissed here. Just saying

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Dogface

    Agreed.

    Nothing wrong with wondering why its taken 5 years to organize a team defensively though. Or are we blaming the recession on that as well. I’ve never complained about selling star players i get it, i dont expect massive signings and i certainly don’t want us to uproot all the good work thats has been getting done. I just think sometimes the manager makes some major mistakes. This has led to us to believe that competing is impossible when its not.

    See you vs the saints, For a beer, debate, fight and cuddle.

  • lol – it depends on the result! If we smash 6 past them I imagine we’ll all be too busy singing.

  • avatar Stuart

    USG
    With regard to the £50 Million in the bank, why should it be spent just because it is there? If the only things you can buy are not going to make you better then surely not spending is the wise thing to do.

    Can I hear why you think it should be spent even if the options available don’t make us better?

  • avatar Jchr

    a bit out of topic.. can anyone here please guide me on how to get tikets for the olypiacos cl match.. in the website it shows that the tickets are available for only the red and silver members..is there anyway a non member can buy the tickets? please help .. i coldnt find an email on the website thats why i am posting it here

  • @Jchr – if they are unsold to red/silver members then they will go on general sale, so you just have to wait.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    stevie e

    whats statistics? we conceded a goal a game for the final 11 prem games.

    5 in the final 2.

    We got ousted from the cl becuase of tragic defensive display.

    Almost as mind numbing as the statement, ”statistically we have the best defense in the league from open play”, utter tosh

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Stuart

    After we 2009-10 season we finshed 10 points off the top. Our reaction despite having good wedge was to buy Kosciellny, Squilaci and Chamack. We finished 12 points off the next year.

    Last year we were 19 points off our aim. Our rection has been to sell our best player to one of those rivals. Whilst i think the squad looks much stonger, there are massive question marks over some of those players.

    We are an injury to a striker and diaby away from looking very very fin in certain areas.

    There are 4 comps. I dont want to hear about fatigue and dont want to see us trotting out the same side week in week out knackering the players. Diaby needs to be wrapped in cotton wool who comes in and can provide his spark.

    We should be mad that we had statistically speaking another average year last year, we should leave nothing to chance.

    If everyone stays fit and we challenge then the gamble works. If it doesnt work then management is to blame.

  • avatar Jchr

    Thanks a lot DogFace.. well thats sounds a bit weird ..feels like i am kinda thanking you and abusing you in the same sentence :) but i guess its aimed at good ol’arry

  • Ha… no – DogFace is not a reference to Harry Redknapps ample chops.

  • avatar Armin

    @ Upper Street Gooner
    Statistically speaking you maybe have point in it, but maybe you dont.
    Lets look at things this way, Robin maybe was our best scorer. But how many chances we missed as players didn’t had courage to do it themselves or they were willing to help Robin reach record?
    If I would have choice Robins 3 or Casorla, Podolski and Giroud 1 each, I would go for second option, that way team less depend of one guy.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Armin

    I completely agree. I think the club did a good job with regards to the situation. If we choose not to pay top level wages (whether we agree with them or not) we had to sell. The money we got was excellent.

    I think all 3 signings will be brilliant. The intelligence of Giroud runs to go with his strenght and touch make me think he will be a brilliant signing once he feels settled and at home at this level.

    If however Podolski is viewed first and foremost as a left winger we are still lacking a top class striker. We need to weaken the team in order to put Podolski up top.

    An injury to one striker now leaves us with very little until January.

  • avatar goonergerry

     

    Vast complexity? More like vast obfuscation. “We” don’t entrust anything to custodians-Arsenal is not some kind of democracy-supporters don’t have any say in who owns and runs the club. It is run as a business. Ninety Six per cent of the club’s shares are owned by 2 billionaire men.

    It is clear that the “regulars” on this site do not like to read anyone questioning the current custodians let alone suggest they might have run things in a different way.

    I have never quite understood why a blog which boasts a headline of 800, 000 visits a month should be seen as being a private club of people who all agree with one another- but that is clearly how they want it.

    USG I think you have raised fair points and I suggest you move on to other sites as “DogMatic” suggests where you can express an opinion and people may discuss it with you openly without trying to discredit you personally.

  • avatar SharD

    bob,

    Straight from P H(orse) W’s Mouth:

    “We’ve got a stadium debt of around £230m now, which is a 25-year bond at a fixed rate of 5.5 per cent.”

    http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/peter-hillwood-of-course-arsenal-can-win-the-league-this-season—-and-spurs-wont-trouble-us-8104267.html

    Not sure yet what that means for our annual transfer budgets, but there you have some information that you’ve been asking for.

  • Goonergerry, I think you simply don’t get the reality of publication.

    Anyone who bothers to set up a blog and keep it running, tends to express his/her opinions in that blog. It is the same with newspapers – the Daily Mail is there to publish a right wing agenda, the Express has its anti-EU agenda. The same is true everywhere.

    This site exists because I have always been very pro-Wenger and found that there was no blog where I could express that viewpoint without being shouted down and abused.

    Generally we don’t stop people commenting here unless they break certain rules. The most obvious are that abuse of the writer or others on the site is not welcomed, and mere statements without any supporting data can sometimes be cut, simply because they are boring. Thus “if you think that Diaby will stay fit for more than 10 minutes and be any use to the team you know nothing” is no abusive, but is just so pointless, that it is not worth publishing. The other prime reason for cutting is where the comment is utterly off topic.

    However what we never do is take someone’s comment and amend it in order to make the writer look foolish – as one or two other sites do.

    Now we are fairly relaxed about imposing these rules, but they are there for the moderators if required.

    Those of us writing for the site never hide the fact that we are pro-Wenger, and I believe our large audience is here because there are a lot of pro-Wenger fans who welcome having a site that they can comment upon.

    What I don’t understand is why, as you are so fed up with this site, you keep coming back here. It would be like me buying the Express or the Mail and then getting worked up about their pro-conservative anti-EU views. I know that is their agenda so I choose other ways of spending my time.

  •  

    Ha ha “DogMatic” haha – yes, I see what you did there… very good; you’re quite the wit!
  • upper street shit why was manure clobbered 6 can you explain? Its seems like you know much about everything are you a AAA in disguise???

  • @KampalaGun – come on be nice, we were just making some progress!

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Kampala

    Interesting point but what you fail to grasp is that i’m the one who is isnt highlighting just one game. Like i said our defense has deteriorated for 5 straight years and for the last 4 our manager has said every summer we must improve there.

    If im a ceo of a firm and i highlight a major weakness of my company that hinders its progress and the board give me excellent resources to sort it out but that said issue gets worse not just next year but the year after and the year after that , should i expect to be questioned.

    If it then transpires that the solution to the said problem was under our nose each time and me as ceo has actually prevented said solution from coming to the fore , will i be in even more trouble?

    We should ask tougher questions of ourselves. I think much of what arsene does is brilliant but he has a few fatal flaws which stop his own and our progress. Everyone can improve. The way we can start improving is by admitting our own mistakes whjich is what some of this fanbase are terrified of.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    The Anti Arsenal Arsenal its got a nice ring to it but in reality you are talking about a tiny section of fans. some fans who you would classify as doomers actually just wanted the club to do better. They saw our horribly unorganized school boy like defending and said………….why in the world are we so bad at that year on year what on earth is the manager doing????

    I dont expect trophies nor would i ever want us to spend city like money. I want the club to do all it can in a self sustaining way to be as successful as it can.

    Competing with Spurs for 70 points is underachievement considering the resources of the 2 sides and that is what soem of you have been happy with. If we dont significantly improve our points total form last year we will have underachieved. The target should be set high not low. There is nothing anti arsenal about that. I just think our incredibly well paid manager who is paid to do an outstanding job should do just that. We’ve got 16 more points than aaaary spurs side in the last 40 months that includes him taking over after 8 games with none of his own players…..hardly outstanding

  • We did get 3rd place though… which is one better than 4th – isn’t that an improvement or am I looking on the bright side again?

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    If you were actually analysing it though mate we got third because someone else was crap not because we did well.

    We got 2 more points than the previous year which was our worst in 14. Our gap to 1st increased by 7.

    If you actually look at it from a analytical perspective we hardly improved again. Should we pat ourselves on the back as another club were crap (cl & fc cup winners) or should we take a cold hard look at ourselves and say in reality we werent better.

    We should be looking to improve.

    72 points this year would mean we again hardly improved despite huge resources.

    The maanger worked miracles 2004-2009. since then we have treaded water

  •  

    I am analysing it… it’s all about results right? I’ve broken it down to the simplest terms… 3rd is an improvement on 4th, see:

    (3 > 4) = True

    just as

    (4 > 3) = False

    Forward!

  • avatar colario

    @ Stevie E. My point exactly. Thank you Stevie.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Dogface

    Maybe its just about standards then.

    I think if we are to get back where we want we need higher standards.

    If your ahppy with a 2 point improvement despite excellent resources then so be it but i think we should strive for more.

    Like i said our manager over 40 months has got 16 more points than aaarrry redknapp. He himslef is paid twice as much and has a wage bill which over the duration has worked out at about 40-50m more a year.

    City beat us by 19 just last year with there resources. The club has underachived. we need to start setting tougher targets. If we eneded up with 72 points this year would you be happy? If chels win the title the other 2 stay the same and we finish 2 points higher would you be happy???

  • You should stop trying to second guess what I’m “happy with” – it really is quite distracting to have you read my mind and base a counter argument on it… just saying.

  • avatar Woolwich Peripatetic

    Our average points finish for a season under Wenger is 76 and the standard deviation is 7 points. So if we’d had a perfectly normal season, we still would have finished third last year. Even in a good season, we’d have about 83 points, which would have got us, third again.
    For Chelsea in the Abramovich period, last year was exceptionally bad but it had been on the cards, their average even including last year is 81/9 so the previous season already fell outside their current normal range.
    As far as I’m concerned we have maintained our standards but we simply have not been able to compete with unlimited funds, just as in Spain, the way to go is to bide your time, produce your own players, who are steadfastly loyal to the club and fit only to play for a team with a certain style.

  • avatar Ong Bing

    I have feeling that Giroud will not bad as Chamakh, he makes me remember German striker Oliver Bierhoff, shining late.

    Wait until Sagna back and send some nice crosses for him.

    In this 3 games, Giroud don’t has any chances, and he needs more time to adapt, not like Poldi and Santi that has a lot of international and high level experience.

    Patience please…

  • avatar Ong Bing

    Good article Walter, you point a good point that I am not saw, only Vermaelen and Arteta is regular starter last season.

    I only saw that we played with two kids on the right.

    This is good, we have good depth of squad.

  • avatar Notoverthehill

    Tony, some people never understand that The Arsenal and that team on the wrong side of Tottenham, are equal.

    Tottenham Sxxxx from their last accounts employ 315 people per monthly average, at a cost of £79,058,000.

    The Arsenal from their last annual accounts employ 454 people per monthly average, at a cost of £109,578,000.

    The Arsenal have London Colney, Sxxxx are still building their training complex.
    The Arsenal run a Reserve XI, Sxxxx do not.
    The Arsenal run a Ladies XI, Sxxxx fo not.
    The Arsenal support Barnet FC, who do Sxxxx support?
    The Arsenal support Borehamwood for the Ladies Tea, who do Sxxxx do not have a Ladies Team.

    To compare The Arsenal to Sxxxx is plain nonsense!

    The only common factor is 19 Home Games in the EPL, the FA Cup and League Cup games are down to the draw and the Home team deducts the expenses and keeps 45% + VAT of the gate receipts, the rest is sent post-haste to the FA.

  • avatar Ong Bing

    OMG, I just check our next fixtures, Arsenal will play almost every 3 days from 15 Sept to 6 Oct.

    – 15 – Southampton (H)
    – 18 – Montpellier (A)
    – 23 – MCity (A)
    – 26 – Conventry (H)
    – 29 – Chelsea (H)
    – 03 – Olympiacos (H)
    – 06 – Westham (A)

    Only Conventry that we can give to reserve, they are now sitting 18th in Championship (0-3-1)

    If we can win all games in this month, that will big big big miracle. But nothing impossible, City and Chelsea not in good form, Montpellier also not in good form.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Dogface – Whilst I do have my moments when I am more than happy to enter into a long winded debate, today I am genuinely busy trying to sort something out. I was’nt trying to be curt earlier, regarding your request why I have an issue with people like Upper Street Gooner, so I will just briefly outline what winds me up.

    1. The spurious points which are more uncommon incidents rather than the norm.

    2. The easy dissmissal of things that the club does right and instead anal fixation on aspects that the club do not even have full control over.

    3. The mechanical way of assessing aspects in isolation with no appreciation or understanding of complexitites, with the slant that it’s always the manager/club staff/board/owner’s falt.

    4. The willingness to absolve players of responsibility in favour of criticising the manager/club staff/board/owner.

    5. The need for a level of predictability and assurances which aren’t possible in football.

    6. The inability to experience the ups and downs whilst retaining reasonable good humour or perspective as a Arsenal supporter.

    I am sure I have more issues with WUM’s like USG, but that’s what comes to mind.

  • avatar Stuart

    So USG, your arguement to back up your claim that we should be spending money even if it doesn’t bring an improvement is that, we should…. spend money even if it doesn’t bring an improvement.

    So I ask again, why should we spend money if it doesn’t bring an improvement? Also, why should the club spend every penny? Having a zero balance in your cash account does you no favours and is a risk for financial survival.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Gooner gal

    no you see your complicating an issue which is quite simple.

    All i’m talking about is the improvement of the team defence. Im not talking finance nor recession, nor rivals just purely the improvement of our team defence which appears by most accounts to have improved dramatically by us employing an excellent defender as coach in charge of our structure without the ball.

    When we got to the cl final did we have help from keown? yes we did.

    So why did it take the manger so bloody long to realise that in fact others were better than him. Our defending over the last 5 years has verged from bad to appalling .

    None of you appear to be able to answer why its taken so long for us to sort out an issue which has been there for all to see.

    Stuart

    how about we try. we’ve never tried. How about once we go into the season with to much depth and quality rather than to little. Injuries are part and parcel of sport, its makes me cringe when we complain about how unlucky we are. Our own doctor an physio have said we suffer around the average for the prem.

    We have seen firsthand that not spending money either brings a tiny improvement or a reduction in points in recent years so for once why dont we go the other way and spend the money we worked so hard to generate

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Stuart – USG is talking out of his pitiful arse. There is no £50m burning a hole from player trading in the kitty. I refused to get into it with that muppet, because the attention gives him a reason to keep going. But if your interested, see below as there is a Gooner out there on the case. We are in the black, but its about £10m not £50m and though I commend the guy for the easy to read compellation, the ommission in all of that is the agents fees we pay. Which may very well of wiped out the £10m.

    http://www.arsenalreport.com/transfercentre/

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Stuart, I agree with the general point you are making though.

  • avatar bjtgooner

    Every now and again we get a slightly different version of the troll/AAA sewer rat who tries to deflect the debate from the titled subject onto an anti Arsenal topic which readers feel compelled to defend. I don’t think we should give this type of twisted character too much notice.

    The encouraging thing about the Liverpool match was the sense of togetherness and within that each individual being prepared to take responsibility. A great team performance and plenty of skill, composure and good football. Lets not forget the away fans who were magnificent and totally at one with the team!

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    USG,
    If (god forbid it) we lose our full backs again for a long period or lose all our centre backs we will concede goals again. With or without Bould.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    haha, just in case anyone was interested I do know the correct spelling of compilation!Damn it.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    gooner gal

    right so lets look at this

    So what your saying is that we as a club can generate any transfer money ourself without selling players???

    You see last year when swiss ramble had his look at us he said 50m we then proceeded to spend almost exactly what we made from Nasri, Cesc and Clichy. This summer almost exactly we have spent the same.

    So when our chairman comes out and says we have funds you think he is talking about 10m ??? where has the rest gone??????

    You make your statements but there complete and utter tripe.

    If we cant generate any of our own money wihtou selling i would suggest we had better look long and hard at our business plan.

    We have money everyone associated with the club says we have money its just some myopic fans who seem to think there is nothing there and we spend everything we’ve got.

    Walter

    I’ve said this before. The fact that we lost our full backs wasn’t the major reason why the defence was so poor. It was poor as the replacements were told to do exactly the same job as the sagna of this world. traore, Jenkinson, Vermalan Djouou were still overlapping as if they were experienced quality full backs. There was no tactical change from the manager to compensate for the losses or if there was the players just completely didnt listen to him.

    The defensive structure of the team now is much better. Its not just about defenders its about team defence. Players appear to understand their responsibilities better now. I would hope if we get a spate of injuries now the manager understands that we may have to change our tactics to get through them.

  • avatar Ong Bing

    Walter, if we lose all of our centre backs including all Terry’s centre backs, Arsene will put Tony Adams statue in front of our goal.

  • avatar Matt Clarke

    Thanks Walter for the article.
    I have three responses:

    1)
    Arsenal.com have linked to it in media watch … nice pic Paddington! :p

    2)
    Even though Giroud has missed some sitters I am not disheartened.
    he shows intelligent play – not only in getting into goalscoring positions, but also in doing what the article is about – teamwork. I saw him open up the pool defence for the (?first) goal, by diverting a key defender to the other side of the goal.

    and lastly relating to the responses:
    3) Read The Sign

  • avatar Matt Clarke

    …oh in being so smug with myself I forgot to add the Giroud reminds me of Robert Pires – which is good, right?

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Matt Clarke

    Spot on, his run for Podolski goal is outstanding. It showed excellent intelligence to do such things. likewise his runs for the Sun miss and 1st half liv miss were excellent. Decent strikers dont make that run very good ones do. He battled to excellent cb’s all game on sunday and only tired in the final few min.

    he just needs a goal to get firing and to convince himself he is ready to play at this level. having coventry and his old club coming up where he should get an excellent reception can only help.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Walter – I think one of my comments is in moderation, I don’t think it was that bad.

    Anyway, I hope people get why I made my rat on a treadmill comment now…

  • Nothing in moderation Gooner Gal

  • avatar bjtgooner

    @Goona Gal

    I fully agree with you rat comment, this one is a real sewer rat. But it is strange the way they keep popping their heads out every now and again – almost as if someone was playing a tune for them.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Dogface – thanks for letting me know, I am not sure I can remember in detail the all the points was making.

    Moving swiftly along then, I would like to congratulate Walter on this article being picked up by .com and by extention the blog’s custodians for your well deserved day in the sun, I meant to say it earlier but got sidetracked and then busy.

  • avatar Notoverthehill

    USG

    I was compelled to correct The Swiss Ramble as his £50 millions Transfer Budget was “pie in the sky”. In his last epistle, The Swiss Ramble DID NOT quote a Transfer Budget.

    As for the site quoted by Goona Girl, the site is way out. ONLY the Transfermarkt have a transfer fee for RVP. Transferleague and Soccerbase, at this time do not. The 3 sites I have quoted, include Value Added Tax inclusive fees.

    The actual cash spent on transfer fees is available in the Cash Flow Statement, Note (d) for The Arsenal, in the November 2011 Half-Yearly Report. Scrolling down the accounts, The Arsenal owed other clubs over £22 millions as at 30th November 2011.

    A little knowledge can be an advantage?

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Bjt – you might be right. There is a determination and singlemindedness that does’nt feel like the average footy fan wanting to talk and debate stuff about Arsenal.

  • avatar Stuart

    GoonaGal,

    I’m inclined to agree that there isn’t £50 Million in the bank (taxes on transfers to be paid and agent fees). Interesting link by the way.

    USG
    Even if there is/was £50 Million, spending every penny is not a wise move for any business (and yes, AFC is a business).

  • avatar Stuart

    Oh and ff subject but has anyone else heard that Michael Owen is going to Stoke?

    I think it’s a wind up myself.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Stuart – I found it a while a go and quite like it. I am sure you noted that the link is to profit and losses of player trades on their own not including other incoming and outgoings of the AFC yearly and 1/2 yearly balance sheet. We don’t have loads of surplus money from player trades, which is what people sometimes think of when they demand AW spend some F’ing money.

  • avatar Stuart

    Yes Goona Gal, that was interesting. Something I’ve always wanted to look into but never had the time to do it.

    It’s obvious really that there is more to it, there are agents fees for the sale and the purchase of players to be considered

  • avatar Shard

    We should also remember that the club have, in the last few years, invested in building a new state of the art medical centre including investments in the GPS technology and database. These things don’t exactly come cheap, but are essential.

  • avatar Goona Gal

    @ Shard, exactly progress of the club has cost money. Fortunately, we have property money, new commercial deals on the horizon and the premiership tv uplift soon so we will are doing even better.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Stuart

    I agree but surely you know that our cash reserves are at an extremely good level.

    I’m talking about actually spending some money this summer. We haven’t spent a penny. Now ive said i love our 3 bits of transfer business but the fact remains we are tying to make up a 19 point deficit.

    If you think we are good enough to do that meaning we have a squad capable of getting to the mid 80s at least then so be it.

    I personally think if we are outstanding and very lucky with injuries this could be the case. I think if we had another striker and another dynamic powerful midfilder in the mix we would def challenge.

    We cant keep harping on about there being no money when everyone associated with the club says there is clearly money available. We are close but we could be closer. If gooner gal wants to call me rat for saying that that is fine but there is nothing rude about what i say. No club has a united fanbase and its futile to expect ours to be with the way we are run. I think the extremes on both sides are the idiots and belive me my views on the gooner situation are far from extreme

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    shard

    nearly every club in the prem has gps and most prem rugby clubs (salary cap 4m) have had them for years.

    Its perfect building all this infrastructure but at some point the product on the pitch has to start performing better than it is. You talk of TV deals but that effects every prem club it will create extra wage inflation so the benefit will be mitigated against. The sponsorship deals are crucial but these can be negotiated on much more favourable terms if we go into the 2014 year with a highly succesful side on the pitch.

    Firstly that means distancing oursselves from Liv, spurs and toon and closing the gap on the top 2. Europe is becoming tougher and tougher look at what zenit have gone and done, we need to make sure the top sponsors are desperate to plaster themselves all over us

  • avatar Shard

    Well. Everyone will be getting the tv money increase, so in relative terms the commercial deals will be crucial for us. I know the negative nellies point to the empty trophy cabinet and say that means we won’t get big money, but I don’t think it works like that. After all, Liverpool were able to get very good deals despite not being in the CL. I think sponsors look more at the captive market base, which as we saw in the Asian tour, is huge. The US has potential too, as does India. The club will be keeping track of where all the memberships come from, the twitter and facebook followers etc. and make sure the sponsors know it too.

    Also, I read somewhere that the new stadium actually is useful to us in getting new sponsors on board because of the hospitality it allows them for their clients.

    So, I think we are well placed. But those deals are crucial. We’ve signed new deals and renewed some older ones and I think the commercial team put in place by Kroenke, will pull through to get us some good deals there. They have to in a sense. The basis of our whole plan is commercial success, and matching ManU etc through that. We probably won’t get the kind of deal ManU got (which led to the GM of GM :) being fired), but we should get close. Much closer than we are now, and with Wenger at the helm, and the academy looking good, we can do wonders with those extra funds.

  • avatar Shard

    I typed the above before I saw your comments USG, but I guess they sort of answer, and in some ways, mirror your comments.

  • avatar Shard

    USG

    ..TV deals but that effects every prem club it will create extra wage inflation..

    Actually, it might not, or might in a limited way only. There have been a few chairmen of PL clubs coming out and saying we need to ensure that all of the new money doesn’t just go back out. There’s talks of salary caps and FFP like rules in England. It might not happen exactly like that, but there is a growing awareness that something needs to be done about the current situation. And Arsenal aren’t alone in this by any means.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Shard

    Much of what you say is spot on. The liverpoll point being key. There deal with standard chartered was negotiated in 2010 at 20m a year so 2014 we should be looking at something better. Its not being overly ambitious to say revenue of 2014 with tv incorporated as well we will be 300m. thats all great and i completely agree.

    You talk of these unsaturated territories and they are just that, the potential fans are undecided. More and more clubs are working to attach themselves to these fans and unfortunately the main variable is success. How else can you expalin a club like chels having a much bigger fanbase than us in the US.

    If you were picking an NFL team tomorrow what would your criteria be?

    We cant miss the boat on this. Like i said i think we look strong this year the defensive shape of the team being a huge part of that but also we appear to have excellent options in areas we didnt have before (cb was an excellent example this weekend). But we could have that much more. Why leave anything to chance. Can we rely on Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshere and Frimpong? If we can great we should be fine if we cant and history tells us we should we cautious we would have missed on another opportunity.

    if one of our 2 strikers gets injured or Giroud doesnt perform (i think he will) we will be in an incredibly fragile position. There are 4 comps to compete in.

  • avatar Shard

    “How else can you expalin a club like chels having a much bigger fanbase than us in the US.”

    Visibility. But I don’t think Chelsea necessarily have a bigger fanbase than us in the US. I have no idea how many they do have, but I’m willing to bet we can match them in terms of turnout, if we ever tour the US. Hell, the Spurs game against the New York Red Bulls had more Arsenal fans there (thanks to Henry) than Spurs’, and Arsenal weren’t even playing.

    “If you were picking an NFL team tomorrow what would your criteria be?”

    Me? The same reason I chose Arsenal. First criteria as always, has to be visibility, since I can’t follow them if I don’t even know anything about them or get to watch their matches. Success plays a role initially(Fox showed only Arsenal draws or defeats in the offseason, including the 8-2 twice or thrice..i wonder why..) But beyond that if the NFL team play dirty, play boring, or just have a nastily behaved crowd or player or manager, that team will not be for me. See where I’m going with this? Arsenal’s identity is unique, and that too is marketable.

    Also, Arsenal’s rise was about 10-15 years ago, and that is enough to have built up a second generation of fans who support Arsenal through their parents without ever even have been to London. History cannot be bought.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    shard

    the american salary cap derived from the fact the product was becoming uncompetative and franchises were struggling.

    this is starting to happen over here. I yearn for ffp to work but im amazed at the excess of psg and zenit this summer when the rules are meant to count for something.

    Our future looks excellent but that still doesnt hide the fact that our present can be as well. I just hope that our lack of activity doesnt come back to haunt us.

  • avatar Shard

    Agreed USG. But I don’t like micro-management. Let’s trust those in charge who’s job it is to make these decisions, and who actually know what the financial situation is. We don’t.

    I agree a couple of good players in certain positions could have helped strengthen us. We don’t know whether it was finances or lack of availability (or both – since extra finances will allow you to make any player available)

    Yes we need some luck to go our way with injuries etc. But you can never really account for injuries completely. Especially in the era of 25 man squads. Sure, clubs like City will have more depth because they can afford to pay players to even play against them, but we have good squad depth too (more than ManU except in attack), and we also have to trust our academy prospects to step up when required. Otherwise what’s the point. There’s no better manager in bringing them through anyway.

  • avatar Stuart

    USG,

    Yes, I think we have a strong enough team. One of the criticisms levied at the team over the last few seasons had been about certain players lack of team work/ethic or laziness. We have lost these players and put ourselves in a better position by recruiting (hopefully) non lazy players but also boosted team morale as everyone works together.

    Second of all, you don’t need any superstars in a team for it to be successful. I am a firm believer that the style of football we play is the main ingredient to our successes, no player could have done it on their own and is doesn’t matter if we lose a player as everyone plays the same game. In fact, you could argue that the superstar/ego players have held back the Team as a whole, notice how someone always steps in to replace our ‘best player’ and everyone wonders where they had been hiding last season. A team works most efficiently and effectively when the players are all of the same skill level and quality so no one has to be shy or feel inferior to their peers. Have a look at the German teams recent performance for an example of this. There were no superstar players, just hard working and skilled players who are compatible with each other. I think compatible is the key word, this is what we had with Pires, Lunjberg, Henry and all, pure compatibility. All they wanted to do was kick a ball about together.

    Going off on a tangent here, one thing that is a big annoyance for me is the use of personal stereos / i-pods in team situations. When the players get off the bus and many have the ear phones in, you know there has been no team bonding going on for them and I believe it shows on the pitch too. These are the players who usually play for themselves. That’s the first thing I’d change if I was manager.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    shard

    it would be interesting to see the exact figures but my understanding is its utd, liv and then chels.

    your absolutly right our traditions account for allot but remember many clubs from europe have wonderful traditions. its competative out there.

    The next 2 years are utterly crucial to our future in my opinion and success on the pitch over that period will make our excellent position that much better.

    I think the zenith of this starting team is incredible and we have some excellent depth in certain areas (look at our bench vs liv on sunday) but there are huge questions marks in there and we are relying on all those question marks going our way. History tells us we might not be so luck and it would be such a shame to miss out again becuase we went with the safe conservative option over the ”we are really healthy” lets go for this option again.

  • avatar Shard

    Stuart,

    Good point about that. The manager recently was talking about how the technology affects team spirit, in some interview. Can’t remember where, but essentially he was saying it’s a new reality where even when you are travelling together, you won’t really be together, because you’ll be on the phone, on the internet, or listening to music. I didn’t get the sense that he was going to ban that, and as a progressive person I don’t think he believes in banning anything, least of all technology. But he raised the same point you are raising, which at the least tells us that he factors it in.

  • avatar Shard

    USG,

    Agreed with all, except with your assumption that this necessarily reflects a gamble not worth taking. I don’t know because I acknowledge I don’t know the facts under which the decision was taken. What I do know (or think) is that we have a squad which is good enough to challenge for the title, provided some things go for us. That for me, is good enough, with regards to the current circumstances (stadium loan, players leaving, billionaire clubs) It depends on who was available to buy, who we’d rather buy and are they likely to be available 6 months or a year from now, how much money we have to buy etc.. All factors unknown, and in such a scenario, I will side with the club rather than against them.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    stuart

    The team ethic looked outstanding on sunday, and to be fair even in the first 2 we looked disciplined and organized. It was only natural for the attack to be off colour considering they had played 65 mins in total together for the entire pre season.

    My rant earlier was due to what took us so long to look organized united and on the same page.

    I was incredibly impressed with how a new team closed out the liv game. I was almost waiting to let in the sloppy goal and see us fall back under sustained pressure but it never came. When werent for once terrified when the opposition had the ball there was no panic we had a plan which we knew if we stuck to it individually it would work collectively. ”Everyone do your job” is the new england patriots mantra . Thats what we did everyone new there role and they did it, and that impressed me tremendously.

    We’ve always had wonderful attacking talents in the last 7 years but we lacked (bar 2006) lacked that organization.

    This next month is crucial. if we are to compete this year we will do it being up there come xmas. Chances significanlty reduced if we are behind then. Chels and City to come if we can get 4 points from those 2 (assuming we beat who we are expected to beat) we will have had an unbelievable start.

  • avatar Upper Street Gooner

    Shard

    Fair do, and put like that it sounds lie a perfectly resonable and correct attitude to have. I think the difference is that i’ve been left more frustrated with some of the alleged mistakes in the past so am less willing (still very willing) to accept mediocracy again.

    I understand times are tough and i know our manager and ceo are highly capable and love the club. What i hate is the silence and the double talk. Lets stop this we have lots of money chat, lets stop this we will keep the players when in reality we know we cant. Lets actually be slighly more truthful to a fanbase that is much derided but who can still put 36,000 out for a youth cup semi final 4 years ago who pay tremendous prices to see there team and blog more than any other about the club they love.

    If money is really tight then tell us and we will understand. If we have to sell before we can buy then say so. If 2014 is our plan to boom then say so. You would be amazed at how many of those disgruntled fans would immediatly realign right behind everyone.

    You might not think it but the defence chat from arsene really riled some fans and for perfectly legitimate reasons. I f we had more honesty many of our issues would be resolved as your absolutely right nobody knows anything and with great unceratinty people are inclined to think what they want

  • avatar Shard

    USG

    If that is your take, then might I recommend going through some of the media watch articles.

    I think the mistake you make is thinking the club talks to YOU when it talks of finances. It doesn’t really. It can’t say ‘we’re skint’, or ‘we’re prepared to let this player go’. Those revelations will impact on any transfer/sponsorship negotiations.

    Also why I mentioned media watch is that often though the club or the manager make perfectly reasonable and truthful statements, the media twists them around and misrepresents them.

    I think it’s up to the supporters, as intelligent persons, to figure out what the club says and why (and yes, they will also have their own agenda), and figure out why the club can’t say what they might like to. Gazidis actually said in the meeting he annually has with the fans (which no other club’s CEO does as far as I’m aware)that he’d like to answer questions about transfers and finances, but he can’t, since it isn’t only the fans he’ll be revealing the information to.

    Just as there are limitations in finances, there are also limitations in communication that the club can do. It is up to the fans to understand this.

  • avatar Woolwich Peripatetic

    Off topic but on topic; has anyone been following the Lewis Hamilton twitter row?
    For those who haven’t, Hamilton posted a screencap from his team’s datalogging software demonstrating that because Button had the new wing (and he didn’t), Button was much faster than him over a flying lap. Innocuous enough but it gave every other team a chance to study the effect of the setup differences in the McLarens, and from there to reverse engineer the new wing.
    The point being that much as you might want to reveal sensitive information to score a minor victory, you expose yourself to all sorts of long term problems by doing so.
    For instance, revealing that you bid £30 million for Hazard but Chelsea gazumped you, might appease the fans in the short term (the spendsumfakkinmoney brigade) but then means the price for Cazorla would be £30 million, instead of the bargain basement price we got him for.

    Oh and about the defence. The defence has improved because we sold RvP and bought Giroud, everything flows from that. I could go into that in massive depth but suffice to say, we could never defend the way we do with RvP as the focal point of the attack.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    Woolwich,

    you are taking away things from a new post I had in mind. ;-)
    One of the things I didn’t like about RVP was the fact that he never put pressure on their defenders. He ran around a bit but you could see that he didn’t really intended to chase the defenders who had the ball.
    I think Giroud has more presence when he runs to defenders and try to put them under pressure. It cost more energy that might be lost when he has a scoring chance but it brings more problems for the defenders of the other teams.

  • avatar WalterBroeckx

    And if I may add a thing. Yesterday our sports channel was broadcasting Arsenal TV. And they showed the Liverpool-Arsenal game in full again with the Arsenal commentators (who were rather enthusiastic I must say – as it should be).
    In the first half with the score still 0-0 there was amoment when deep in our half just outside the penalty area an Arsenal player made a good defensive tackle, got up and ran away with the ball. The commentators first said: good tackle from Gibbs (it was a typical left back position) but then said: Oh it was Podolski.

    And that is it. Our frontman are not scared to defend, even deep when needed. We play more like a team.

    And I don’t really think that Bould is teaching our attackers to defend like that. The bould influence will be there of course but I think Wenger has not just bougth attackers that can and will score but also who can work harder than the ones we had before.

  • avatar bob

    Shard @2:40.
    Many Thanks for the link to the loan info. I appreciate your remembering and will digest (and see what comes up, so to speak). Do you have a further sense of what the early repayment penalty entails?

  • avatar Woolwich Peripatetic

    Walter,
    It’s a massive change in how we play and it’s gone largely unnoticed. It says a lot about how crap punditry is!
    I think the last time we had a player like Giroud it was John Hartson. He’s a one man tactical problem for opposing managers.
    The Book of Sam states that against Arsenal, thou shalt drop deep and launch thy counter attacks with long balls from keeper and centreback alike, for they art toothless yet crafty, acolytes of the heretical art of passing behind the defence.
    The next chapter, entitled ‘the long hoof cloven in twain’ states that against the enemy who is unto you like a brother, thy centrebacks shalt split, the first going unto the ‘big man’ and driving him hence from the six yard box, the second to come unto the keeper and offer him comfort.
    Sadly there isn’t a third chapter, provisionally entitled ‘the coming of the prodigal big man unto Arsenal’ but I hear Pulis the apostle has put crayon to parchment with help from Alan Hansen.

  • avatar Stuart

    USG

    Sorry about that then as my take on what you said was that we had the money there, therefore it should have been spent ;-)

  • avatar Pat

    I’ve come late to this article and debate but I seem to have hit it at the right time!
    I have only watched the highlights of the match against Liverpool so far – I was out when the match was on tv – but now I’m going to watch the whole match with Walter and Woolwich’s comments in mind.
    Very interesting about the whole team working and defending as a team, and about the effect of Giroud.

  • avatar semeotistic

    If people only listened to those who absolutely subscribed to their point of view then they will be risking repeating the same mistakes; if only because no alternative views are tolerated until its far too late. I find the discussion on Untold very down to earth but I’m always surprised when the commenters ask and often demand ‘honesty’ from the AFC board. I’m not sure how realistic this is in the business world where trnsparency is only mandated for good governance and not for the benefit of anyone but shareholders. Transparency may assuage a fan’s need to know but could open the club to all manners of hostile strategy from competitors. I love the levels of engagement on this blog.

  • avatar Steve

    http://www.eplindex.com/17644/lies-statistics-arsenals-dominant-defenders.html

    So we are defending as a team but the above article shows how much our defensive injury’s cost us last season.