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This wonderful Arsenal midfield; when was it ever more varied?

By Tony Attwood

It is enough to make my mouth water.  It fact it does make my mouth water.  A midfield of remarkable talent and so many players at a mixture of stages in their careers it is hard to see how they are all going to fit in at different times of the season.

If we look at the front line names in midfield we have something special…

  • Cazrola
  • Rosicky
  • Wilshere
  • Arteta
  • Ramsey
  • Oxlade Chamberlain

And that is not all, for there are other names behind… but before we get to them I think it is worth considering the players above.

Cazrola was an incredible purchase for Arsenal, not just because he is so good at what he does, but also because he does so much.  One of the noticeable points about the new Arsenal team is the flexibility that is being established, and as we saw last season Santi Cazorla can play left, right and middle, and as a false number nine.

Part of this, and one of the rare things I think I noticed before others started writing about it is that he is ambidextrous (a rarity for me to spot stuff in advance).  Like all ambidextrous people he has a writing hand, which apparently makes him right handed (although obviously I’ve never seen him write) but playing…

It is the ambidexterity that makes him so unplayable in midfield because he can pick up the ball with either foot, pass with either foot, and he can be unplayable for the opposition.

Not surprisingly the Arsenal stats suggest he played more passes into the final third of the field than any other midfield player, and those passes are successful.  In all the years of watching Arsenal I am not sure I have seen anyone else work the ball in the way that he does.

With Rosicky we are into something quite different.  If you predicted after all those injuries that he would be around in 2013 playing near the top of his game, then you should be running your own blog.  He’s in the last year of his contract so I imagine that this is going to be the last season (although he could always do a Bergkamp deal Mr Wenger) and of course he won’t play anything like every game, but he is there giving relief to Cazorla in the centre, when needed, or taking over when Cazorla is played out wide.

Then there’s Jack.  Early signs are that the injury picked up playing for England (who else?) is not serious and he should be ready for Aston Villa.   The number 10 shirt given to him a year ago today seems to be a clear statement of where he is.  He can be a number 10 with those amazing passes, just as he can play at the back of the midfield.  Like Cazorla he is a totally versatile player – as well as being brilliant.

Arteta now looks to be out for a while because of a thigh tear which is unfortunate.  But as with all players aged 30 plus he is certainly going to be susceptible to injuries.  I think he was not properly valued when he first came because he was a 31 August arrival, and those can be dismissed as last minute gestures yet he was anything but.   Because of the depth of the midfield squad I don’t think the injury matters too much at the moment, although I would still have preferred to have Coquelin in the side as an extra backup.  (However I always like extra backup even to the extra backup.)

Next is Ramsey – derided by so many “fans” of Arsenal, in the way that Song was during his “not fit to wear the shirt” days (and indeed as Koscielny was in his “just not good enough” period – or maybe that was just my pal Ian sitting next to me) his improvement has been extraordinary, making the purchase of him for £4.8m look a snip.  He’s now 22 and his life in football is before him.  To have recovered as he has done from injury shows the psychology of the young man.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain who was 20 yesterday seems to have developed as planned too.  Again for around £12m he now seems to have been bought at a bargain price.  I doubt we will see his best – that is still several years away, but he is exciting.  He too is highly versatile, and seemingly can play defensive midfield, wide midfield, and attacking wing forward.

So that’s six midfielders, with Cazorla, Wilshere, The Ox, and Ramsey all able to play in multiple positions.   But that’s still not all.

I don’t know what’s happened to Frimpong, who a while back looked to be developing into Song II, but perhaps the injuries are just holding him back.  He got six games for Fulham in the second half of last season, but now…

With Ryo I have the same uncertainty.  On tour, he just didn’t look like the exciting prospect he had been – but the injuries have been so great I wonder if he can get back to that standard.  He’s 20 but not looking to have recaptured what he did in the 12 games for Feyenoord.

But even if injury has blighted Ryo’s career we still have Gnabry, Eisfeld and Zelalem.  Eisfeld is another one that I am unsure about – he did so well in the 2012 summer games I expected more from him this year in the summer tour, but it didn’t happen, perhaps because he had to make was for Gnabry and Zelalem.   Maybe we are still waiting for all that talent to come through.  Gnabry too may take another year, but then there is Zelalem…

If Z he is another Cesc type character all he needs to do is to eat a few Mars bars to bulk up (I jest of course) and then…

Interestingly Arsenal don’t have anything on him on their web site players’ list which I guess means they are waiting to add him to the first team squad.   He has already by-passed the academy so why not by-pass the reserves too?

It was a Zelalem pass that created the Eisfeld goal in Indonesia and a Zelalem pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain which brought on another goal on the tour.  And a Zelalem ball to Theo for the Theo chip against Nagoya Grampus.

Of course I am not arguing for a place in the starting XI but I do hope we get a home or Midlands draw in the League Cup so I can watch him.   At the moment he looks to be part of the youngster discovery process that goes all the way back to Herbert Chapman with his regular trips around the country from Exeter to Kettering Town via Southampton.  (If you know your Arsenal history you’ll know who I mean).

It is like having another Wilshere coming through, or a Bastin or Brady.  And that adds just another bit of flavouring to a remarkable midfield.

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100 comments to This wonderful Arsenal midfield; when was it ever more varied?

  • Jammathon

    We have 11 (possibly 12) players fit for tomorrow.

  • Gary

    Nice article, as always. Happy to find a calm blogger in the land of hysterics.

  • Wow Tony. Triumph of poor timing and misjudging the mood. We have no DM. No replacement.

    Poor management. Really negligent. I mean who could spot a 31 yr old would be injury prone? Nobody clearly.

  • Dan

    Another blind and blinkered post Tony.

    You really think Ramsey & Rosicky will provide us with the necessary quality to kick on?

    I think not.

  • Dale de ruig

    This is mental.

    I am hoping for a win tomorrow and hoping that we add to this squad soon but to go on about the amazing midfield is craziness.

    Arteta and rosicky have now both had injuries before the season starts. Jack shouldn’t be playing every game and Ramsey, as much as he has improved, is far from top drawer.

    No Dm. No cover for Arteta. Frightening how short we are.

  • Eddy

    I don’t think Arteta is a defensive midfielder and we have no recognised replacement for him,if he is.So the timing of your piece couldn’t have been worse.Iam all for supporting your team but turning your head away whilst Rome burns isn’t responsible behaviour.Any fool can see that our squad hasn’t got enough depth to challenge and to wait to reinforce it,if at all,after a possible Champions league exit is criminal negligence.

  • Armin

    @Doofus
    Do you really think Arsene, board or my late aunt does not see it? But what can be done? Or why do you think nobody working on fixing it?
    You think you can bring someone such easy? No it doesn’t go that way. Yes you may say Luiz Gustavo. But than I would repeat my self. He and many like him, will snub bench in world class clubs for regular starting place in smaller club. It is year which end with WC and everyone want earn place in national team.

    Btw yes I agree with Tony, we are best equipped in middle, and that’s what make me believe it wont be such bad season what ever happen till end of transfer window.

  • Edu

    hi tony,its nice to see your optimism as always,carzola,wilshere and rosicky are magnificent arteta has done well as a stop gap DM but the niceties end there..the rest show flashes of brilliance at best consistency is not part of their game..tony if you were to be honest with yourself our squad is thread bare at the moment in comparison to other title contenders..eto’o is pleading to be bought,rooney is not done deal yet,swansea are still willing to sell william,gustavo just got nicked as with most arsenal target off late..the premier league is a marathon not a sprint

  • nicky

    @Dan,
    Yet another blind and blinkered comment, o ye of little faith.
    Even before a ball is kicked at the start of a new season the negative thinkers are about. Their name is “fickle”.
    The transfer Window is still open. Our 4 signings from last term enter their second season in the EPL…..when the experience will count.
    Wilshere has recovered well from his ankle operation and Ramsey has found a new niche, more centrally in midfield.
    Why should any true supporter of our great Club not be anticipating a bright future in the months ahead.

  • Badare

    This comment has been cut as it consisted simply of abuse

  • Faron

    I take it Rambo will be the defensive unit tomorrow. I wouldnt be surprised if the Ox is in Walcott’s position either, as Theo has a small knock. what ever that means.

  • I watched Oxlade Chamberlain playing the Song role last season, and saw him come on as a replacement for Arteta and so to me he is cover. Don’t know why some people don’t see it, but I watched it. And just to prove to myself that I wasn’t asleep and dreaming I just looked back at my notes at the time, and from that found lots of other web sites saying that Ox can play in the Song role.

    OK if some readers don’t see it, but that’s the way it goes.

  • Jambug

    I loved this site. Now I’m not so sure. I thought it was for Arsenal fans with a possitive take on all things Arsenal, a la the article above. Yet what do we have, neg head after neg head.

    It’s got nothing to do with being ‘one eyed’ or haveing our ‘heads in the sand’ or thinking ‘Wenger can do no wrong’ etc. because those accusations can be thrown right back at the likes of the AAA’s etc. I mean, don’t they see EVERYTHING Wenger does as bad. In other words they are equally as ‘one eyed’ with there ‘heads in the sand’ thinking Wenger ‘can do no right’ as we are supposed to be.

    In other words those accusations hold no water as we are both effectively as bad as one another holding deep, seemingly entrenched views.

    Which brings me to my point.

    WHY ARE YOU ON HERE SPOUTING YOUR HATRED????

    There are plenty of other places to air your ante Wenger vitrial. There are planty of other places to feed your need for negativety. Just read the SUN, Mail or listen to TalkSport. Better still seek out Ian Wright and make a day of it. He’ll have enough shite to say he’ll keep you entertained for the whole season!!!!

    SO WHY ARE YOU ON HERE???

    If you think we are so contemptable why come here? What, do you think spouting your crap is going to achieve? After all we are just a bunch of deluded fools are’nt we? I am all for lively debate which includes praise and critisism as you feel fit, but in a constructive manner. You have no desire to be constructive or debate. You have no ‘Love’ of your team, just hatred and contemp, fine, but why bring it here? I don’t get it. I would’nt be seen dead on an AAA site. So please for the sake of my sanity, and yours I would of thought, GO AWAY.

  • Tom

    Tony, if by varied you mean talented players who are versatile and can play different positions, I’d take Arsenal “invincible ” midfield over the aforementioned one any day of the week. Players like Veira, Pires, Silva, Parlour , Ljunberg and others were head and shoulder above this crop of players(with Cazorla being exception ). If by varied however you mean ambiguous ( unclear, open to more than one interpretation), then you might be right. We have uber- talented Wilshere who makes too many rush challenges -hence his injuries. There’s Arteta playing out of position by necessity , lacking speed and power to be the cover for our back line. We have Ramsey who is on the verge of a break-out season( too soon to tell), Ox who is direct and dynamic but unproven, Rosicky who in terms of reliability is a step above Diaby( the less said about him the better). The only proven entity is Cazorla who’s always in control, superb technically, ambidextrous and has everything you would want in a midfield player.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Good morning all

    There is growing hysteria in the Arsenal fandom this morning.

    The link below was retweeted by Philip Auclaire yesterday. It is a must read. It helps justify AFCs position on a careful and calm approach to transfers this summer

    http://t.co/AudMVC15He

  • GoonerDog

    Good grief the delusion knows no depths! Good to know the glass is always half full with Tony. Together will Walter they myst have drunk the othet half.

  • Arran

    Well I was looking forward to the Start of the season, but am in fear of it now !.. 4 Fit Defenders…one injury during the game and I think Bould may have to put on a shirt !.. 3 or 4 fit midfield players and 3 fit forwards (im not couting Bendtner and Park for obvious reasons)… who the hell is going to be on the bench and given Koscielny is suspended for the CL qualifiers who is going to play in defence next week ?? I don’t get what Wenger is playing at, even if we get Suarez we still need a DM (Who now ? given Gustavo has signed for the wolves and Capoue has gone to the spuds) a CB, a Keeper and another midfield player or forward who can play out wide. Our first team when fit are good, but although we needed to sell the deadwood, we now have a threadbare squad. Am sure a few youth players will get promoted to the first team but we are just treading water rather than pushing forward… another season of fighting for fourth place awaits i fear ! (kind of hard to be positive at the moment !)

  • Jamburg are you for real? So you want s world where no dissent is tolerated and reality doesn’t permeate the lala land you live in.

    Again 150m in the bank and Wenger can’t find quality replacements. Rank stupidity.

    If you can’t see that, well have fun riding your unicorn over the candy mountains of lala land.

  • UmBongo

    This comment has been deleted as it did not come from a valid email address

  • Jambug,

    I have been called names for expressing your sentiments but I don’t care. These souls need our sympathy and understanding though; they are mostly pathetic losers. Like you rightly said: “(you) would’nt be seen dead on an AAA site” Me neither. But if perchance I get there through links from other sites, I just read their vile rubbish (if I can stomach it), shake my head in sympathy and close the browser window or tab. I consider it bad manners on my part to intrude on the God given right to be sad and miserable.

    On the other hand, despite this site’s clearly displayed position on Arsenal, the AAA flood here to whine about the articles and insult the authors. I understand and appreciate Tony’s magananimity. It helps us to see how hollow the brains and lives of these people are.

    My advice Jambug, read the first few sentences and then scroll past the negative comments. After a while, you’ll know them by name and then you won’t ever have to read the crap they spew again. I mostly ignore them or mock their stupidity.

    Please don’t let them turn you off from this site. Untold remains our place of refuge, the AAA agents provocateur notwithstanding.

  • This comment was deleted as it claimed to be sent from an email address that was in fact non-existent.

  • Tom

    @Jambug. By my count more than fifty percent of posters that expressed their feelings before your mini rant , were either positive or simply stated a fact . If a couple of negative comments are able to unhinge you and make you blow your gasket then perhaps you don’t really want a free exchange of ideas and opinions as you claim you do. No one mentioned Wenger by name even once and the strongest negative word used was “negligent “. I doubt that qualifies for hatred . Did you try Valium?

  • Hello Boo! Sanctimonious as usual.

    So when you and I debated last week and I said to you arteta was an injury waiting to happen and you called me AAA and stupid, as you still are!

    Who has proved right? And positivity without foundation is actually delusion.

    We have 12 fit players, how is that good?? Please explain.

  • uk

    @jayram
    seems the “bootoomee” spirit has possesed you.
    calm down, i know you’d rather whinge about the fa,the press,referees, madrid not selling us hig, barca buying our players, uefa,fifa etc. unfortunately most other people prefer to talk about arsenal and what is goin on. so, go ahead, spout your “positive/head in the sand” stuff. you’ve got tony,walter,bootoomee,bg,stuart to rub minds with
    ps: i like it when you call your crew a “bunch of deluded fools”, i didnt say it, but i almost agree with you

  • Tristan

    Do you not think Tony that it’s an extremely risky game we’re playing at the moment? Please for the benefit of everyone can you name a 1st eleven for tomorrow..? Then consider the possibility of a few injuries in the 1st few prem games which would impact the Fenebache games. My main concern at the moment is qualification for CL. If we don’t it because of injury, I’m afraid there’s no way of looking at it other than negligence. Please give a starting eleven for tomorrow and viable back-ups in each position and I’ll stand corrected.

    There’s no point waiting for qualification for CL to purchase players who want to be in it if we don’t qualify..

  • @Doofus

    “So you want s world where no dissent is tolerated and reality doesn’t permeate the lala land you live in.”

    It’s nice that you regard this site as your world… although that’s perhaps a little unhealthy.

  • joe

    This comment had nothing to do with the article and so was deleted

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis,

    Thanks for the link. Absolutely great analysis backed by data. A great read.

  • Lanz

    I must commend you guys for choosing to be positive in the face of anything. That, to me, is how to face life. Remain strong at it please. Fans are so fickle. I cannot forget one blog site (kinda defunct at present) that called Wenger all sorts of names for buying Koscileny. I wonder how he feels now. Then also the press that went on about Theo not having “football brains” or that he is a sprinter that likes football, etc. Do they still feel this way? It is good to still have bloggers like you guys. Kudos.

  • DogFace. WTF?? Where did I say that. Stop being a cocky and answer the Q that Boo is so studiously avoiding: is it good management that we have 12 fit players at the start of the season?

  • This is deleted as it is a repeat of another post

  • Edu

    my opinions on this site are considered ‘AAA’ to the extent of walter once asking me to ‘in a polite way’ to piss-off but i dont regret it,because when its all said and done ‘project youth’ has terribly failed and that why we are halfheartedly in the market and insistingly so for 50mil rated player to prop the average players we have in our squad annually aiming for the ‘4th place trophy’…

  • @Doofus – I quoted you directly.

    Can I get this right – it’s ok for you to spew out ‘straw man’ postulations but not anyone else?

    If some of the posters here live in ‘lala land’ then where do you reside.. ‘blahblah land’ maybe?

  • joe

    This comment had nothing to do with the article and so was deleted

  • Oh Jesus wept: “If we win, well, that’s a different sort of disaster.”

  • Ok AKBs – ANYONE want to answer the question? Who is to blame for us having 12 fit players for the season opener?

  • melt

    This comment had nothing to do with the article and so was deleted

  • Will

    This comment had nothing to do with the article and so was deleted

  • Jambug

    Tom

    50% positive you say. So thats 50% negative then. How does that equate to “a couple of negative comments” ?

    My point is this is supposed to be a PRO Wenger site (Read the header) yet 50% of posts are in a negative vein. If your view point is that of someone who quite clearly can see no merit in anything Wenger does, as is the case with many serial posters on here now, why are you here? If we are such fools why engage with us? It is La La Land after all !!!

    Look I am not a fool and I do not live in la la land but my point is in a World in which the mainstream media is so blatently anti Arsenal it would be nice to have a place of refuge where the mood is of general optimism and admiration for what is happening at Arsenal. This was that place. Not any longer. Even this haven of positiveity is overrun with negativeity.

    UTOLD ARSENAL:SUPPORTING THE CLUB, THE PLAYERS AND THE MANAGER.

    At what point did you and the likes of ‘Doofus’ ‘Dan’ ‘Dale De Ruig’ ‘Eddy’ ‘Badare’ ‘uk’ (all over this site) and other serial detractors read that mantra and think this was the site for you ???

  • Another one: “I don’t care if we beat villa or win the league.”

    What is wrong with you people?

  • Tristan

    Hi Tony, just a reminder that It’d be great (and hopefully reassuring) to see your 1st eleven for tomorrow and a back up in each position for the CL qualifiers should anyone get injured..

  • I think somebody needs to explain the meaning of the word “sanctimonious” to these retards. I understand its a word you’ve just heard but proper usage is key, fools.

    Sanctimonious means “Making a show of being morally superior to other people.”

    I don’t think I’m morally superior to anyone but I am fairly certain that I have more intelligence in my pinkie than you lot have in your whole being. I have sympathy for you because it takes intelligence, which you lack, to see the difference.

    Don’t be mad at me for being mentally superior, it’s not my fault that you are stupid!

  • DogFace,

    If there is a Nobel prize for patience, I think you deserve one 🙂

  • Edu

    This comment had nothing to do with the article to which it was appended

  • joe

    This comment had nothing to do with the article to which it was appended

  • bob

    Mr. Attwood,
    Two issues to debate:
    (1)”Because of the depth of the midfield squad I don’t think the injury matters too much at the moment, although I would still have preferred to have Coquelin in the side as an extra backup. (However I always like extra backup even to the extra backup.)”
    + It matters a lot, because of his football nous/field generalship.
    + We still lack the degree of steel recently produced by the rapidly dispatched Alex Song, whose departure you telegraphed and would not advocate for his retention either before or after or since. Maybe you disliked Song, but you’ve not underscored the loss of his or need for our physicality, defensive physicality, to protect the back four. Rather your view seems, imo, to have been that this need is a thing of the past and is overcome by Arteta’s unique style which, methinks, departs with this purportedly six (is it?) week injury.

    (2)”(However I always like extra backup even to the extra backup.)”
    You may “always like” the backup, but you will have rarely advocated for this – especially in advance of or inside the transfer windows. Most notably in the transfer window in January 2011, before the summer of Cesc (2011) when we were still competing on 4 fronts and stressing the defense and had players away on internationals, and obviously – even beforehand – a need for quality defensive backup. People wrote in here advocating to fill this need, but I don’t recall and think there was nothing from you on this score. My feeling (and I admire AW and have continued to back him, even through the current window of our discontents) is that because AW has openly despised the winter x-fer window, that you would not then have put yourself in an advocacy position that ran counter to his inclinations. On this, I think you’ve both erred with a reckless conservatism; and, like many, I’ve feared the inevitable injury to Arteta (which has struck two seasons in a row now) who, as he ages, is increasingly harder pressed to provide the dual (degree of) defensive/link-up work that he has fashioned. To me, that reluctance to spend proactively toward injury-ensurance has been a habit retained from the past. That cost-saving habit has (witness the 2011 collapses) is reckless and may seriously hurt us again, as these early weeks are filled with important games as everyone knows.

  • alex

    Comments really do have to have something to do with the article that was published.

  • joe

    Comments really do have to have something to do with the article that was published.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This would be me when reading some of the comments !

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uSTOHa4Im4

    For those who would like a background sound track when reading the hot air ,..I mean the longer comments here is an extended version ! Do try it – it so comforting !!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl_auj1ybVA

  • joe

    Comments really do have to have something to do with the post.

  • WalterBroeckx

    don’t you understand that Wenger wants you moaners to also leave us? You have already but you don’t know it yet…

  • Tom

    @Bootoomee. Complaining about being called names for expressing certain views , and in return calling those who disagree with them “pathetic losers ” and “retards” , does in fact constitute the title of being sanctimonious .. The fact that you don’t see it as such proves that you aren’t as intelligent as you think you are , or just a hypocrite.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Did you guys notice that this blog has been number one for a very long time especially in the close season .And did you notice that once a new article comes out the pests are quick to the draw – maybe too quick ? Hmmmmm….

    ‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).

    Anyway ,my point is that if many of the posters ( thats you naysayers ) went away ,this blog would not be number one and may not be popular nor influential (sorry, Tony !)and the AKBs will die a natural death .
    So get the fuck out of here and let the rest of us mourn in peace !
    Tony ! Walter ! Open the gates !

  • uk

    @georgiakis
    good article.
    1. it highlights what some of us have said numerous times. our squad i maintain, has in years past been the most notoriously and unnecessarily bloated in the league. we havent lacked in quantity, we have lacked in quality. im actually glad for the clearance sales, but we havent added the required quality(just to make clear so AKBs dont twist my words, we needed to clear 20-25 deadwood and add on average 5useful players)
    2. its AKBs that are the king of excuses, according to that article we have all we need squadwise to do well, please please please, can you guys spare us the “injury” “lack of depth” excuses, when the season goes tits up. i remember last season when we drew the first 2, then won at anfield with diaby having a blinder, you were ecstatic. then it went downhill and all we could hear was you AKbs going on that the loss of diaby to injury was the cause. please, AKBs can we have an excuse free season, since we have done so well in preparation?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Damn ,Walter you beat me to it !

  • Boo – please don’t throw out words like “retarded” a family member has downs, so that’s morally repugnant. Ban yourself, tosser.

    But first, you and all AKBs: who is to blame for us having 12 fit players?

    Not a difficult question for someone so clever is it?

    Wow, so much censorship! Kim Jung-Atwood!

  • uk

    This post was abusive and had nothing to do with the article, The poster also failed to give valid details of himself on registration

  • Doofus this is extraordinarily silly, and I must ask you to stop. You make a presumption that we have 12 fit players, which is untrue, and then tell us that we have to answer your false question.

    The team line up as suggested on this site names 13 players who are according to the Arsenal web site fit. And that was before we started thinking of possible subs – it was just the choice of players.

    The endless repeating of the same point appears to me (and it is of course just my opinion, but then I am the publisher, so my opinion counts) rather silly, not to say a little boring.

    There are a lot – indeed thousands – of other sites that agree totally with your view. You have given your view here many times, and no one has sought to stop you, but your repeating the same point over and over to people who hold a different point of view, when the answer is on another page of this site, doesn’t do anything to enhance the site, or indeed the enjoyment of readers many of whom hold a different view from yourself.

    I think it is time to stop this, and either for you to start your own blog, and work hard to raise your own audience, or join another debate. I know, because it has happened many times before, that some will reply (and I am not saying you will, but some will) that this stance of mine proves that we will not allow debate. In fact I believe the reverse is true, and indeed I think we are far more open that most other web sites when it comes to debate.

    Thank you for your contributions in the past, but I think it is time to stop.

  • UmBongo

    Sorry, the fake email address is a knee-jerk reaction to prevent spam. Can I trust you Tony? That’s the question. Here we go anyways…

  • Umbongo. You will have seen the huge amount of abuse that is posted on this site. What you don’t see are the threats which are mostly removed within moments of them appearing. To deal with those we need valid email addresses. Whether you feel that the whole Untold thing is just set up to harvest email addresses or not is for you. But if you read my article about Chelsea’s email activities you will see that I am myself rather frustrated by the way some people behave.

  • UmBongo

    Tony…. that’s not fair. I took the time to write out a long and considered post, which calmly and analytically laid out my feelings. It would have encouraged debate.

    Now that post is lost because of not taking an email address seriously… do you have any access to it? Can I have it back!?

  • Tristan – I rarely write the previews – only if our regular reviewer is unavailable, and the article is up now. But we only do one game at a time. Remember those of us involved in running this site also have jobs, families and hobbies beside Arsenal, so we can’t just create articles on demand.

  • I will email it to you. But I must say you have a very strange concept of fairness. The site clearly states that we want an email address, and you deliberately lied for your own purposes. And yet you call me unfair. What sort of logic is that.

  • Tom,

    No, you are still making the same mistake. I call people names who called me names. It’s called giving tit for tat or at worst, being vengeful. I confess to both ‘crimes’. But not knowing the meaning of words that you love throwing about is indeed retarded. No apologies if you are affected.

    calling authors of an article that you disagree with names is just plain stupid and rude. If you have objections, state them in a coherent manner, don’t just call the writer “deluded” for thinking the Arsenal midfield is strong just because his opinion contradicts your own. If you consider being called out for such a behaviour “sanctimonious”, I suggest look for the meaning of the word hypocrite not in a dictionary but in a mirror.

  • joe

    Comment unrelated to post

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Got this in an e-mail today , just for the laughs -enjoy !

    http://www.downvids.net/the-world-stands-up-indian-dude-in-london-332919.html


  • I have deleted this post as it had nothing to do with the article.

    Actually Doofus, having been warned about going off topic, and then immediately coming back with an off topic post is ludicrous. Calling the editor “pathetic” isn’t very clever either.

    You were not banned, but rather moved into automatic moderation, as obviously I had no idea if you were going to accede to the norms of web sites.

    Tony

  • Doofus,

    Are you sure you are not that family member? Anyway, don’t play the Sarah Palin card with me. I don’t know your family member and I really don’t care about him/her. My business is with you and I describe you based on your intellectual display here.

    Besides, I could also claim to have a moralist in my family and claim that your throwing the word ‘sanctimonious’ wrongly about is “morally repugnant”.

    You really make it too easy.

  • If you have been reading through the posts above you will realise that there is something of an attack on Untold going on at the moment. We have received a very large number of unwanted emails this morning, and as a result we are having to change the settings on the site. Apologies – hope it doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment of the articles.

    Tony

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Not to worry ,Tony – I always get a laugh from these ‘posters’. I don’t think they are Arsenal fans anyway .
    Keep up the good work !

  • ARSENAL 13

    why are people so scared of Aston Villa???….@joe keep pissing all over yourself. You hope for a Benteke hattrick.sic.

    I hope and expect us to win big and waiting for Billy and Dennis talk from their Enfield quarters.

  • Digvijay

    After reading Mr. Tony’s messages I was going to right I second his opinion, but then it just became funny. Man, thank god these guys are off. I was just wading through the storm named Doofus, waiting and waiting. Finally, it is gone! Yay!

  • paul

    The mdfld we have is good, not great. Last season we could barely score more than one goal. For all the teams wenger has fielded the last was probably the least creative.

  • Tony,

    I say it’s about time!

    Good regular Untolders are being turned off by these guys. Posters like Rupert Cook, who I mostly disagree with, at least make coherent arguments but these new set seem to have only one objective: wind up Untold regulars to the point of frustation, thereby discouraging them from coming here in future. 3 or 4 regulars have hinted about not visiting anymore as a consequence of the insults and negativity on display.

    I’m glad that you are doing something about it.

  • Andy Mack

    You’re right that we have some very good players and some that are a bit too young (and therefore a bit too inconsistent) but with odd very good flashes and for that reason I’m not too worried about the first few games. But we do need to add some depth as a few more injuries will leave us throwing the youngsters (zelalem etc)on as starters when they should really be blooded towards the end of games that are already won. That could knock their confidence and suddenly a talented kid disappears.
    I really hope the ‘working on transfers’ gets a result or we could be in for a long season.

  • Max

    A bad consequence of uncontrolled personal invective is the polarisation of argument into entrenched impasse. I don’t much like what either pole is hurling at the moment. I’ve started reading this site for its intelligence and moderation, so these recent postings are disappointing.

    One thing I don’t understand – why is it that critics of those of us who see positive/optimistic aspects in AFC, assume that we are unthinking apologists for M. Wenger? Moreover, why is it assumed that such positive views are unequivocal?

    I have just read an article by Jeremy Wison on the Telegraph website, for whom he covers Arsenal. Despite being rather downbeat about AFC’s chances, he has written a good piece.

    Surprisingly, I thought uk’s offering today was enjoyable (lacking invective: room for thought?).

    I am worried by Arteta’s injury. I agree with Tony’s implication that Ox might be a safer alternative to Ramsey, or at least to play alongside Ramsey, who looked to leave the back four too often exposed pre-season.

    Finally, I don’t understand why there is a held view that the press has it in for AFC. Is there historical evidence?

  • Faron

    Blimey, Nothing like looking at the glass half full huh Tom. i know this site is very much over the top, Pro Wenger. But you are too pessimistic. Our Midfield Oozes Talent and is right up there for one of the best in the Prem. i will be bold and say it is probably the second best in the Prem behind Chelsea’s.

  • Tristan

    Hi Tony,

    I agree with alot of what you say in the article! But, we must remember that not everything is black and white, so while we must take people who slag off Wenger with seemingly no logic with a pinch of salt (they’re idiots as far as I’m concerned), this does not mean that we automatically agree with everything the club does! There is a middle ground. Which is where I am. I think we have a fantastic team, and in fact I might even put a little wager on us winning the premiership this season (especially after the Gustavo incident for good odds). But there are certain things that are starting to grate at me. As supporters we spend the most per game in the premiership. Gazidas states a few days before season ticket renewals that we can easily afford £30m players on 200k. But then for whatever reason this hasn’t transpired as yet. I just feel uneasy, and it’s not as if history is telling us otherwise. Remember the January when we were down to the bare bones in defence, and Wenger said it’s ok, Vermaelen will be back soon so we don’t need to dip in the transfer market, then we suffered as he didn’t come back for months and our defence was extremely short? There have just been so many examples of this attitude from the Arsenal ranks that it makes me uneasy.

    As I say, I think Wenger is a genius, I love our football club and will always be optimistic, but it’s important to have balance. I’m not entirely sure your view is. By stating concerns of how the club is run doesn’t weaken your overall argument, it strengthens it.

    Just maybe think about having a balanced view and not feeling as though you have to push out positives all the time, because life really doesn’t work like that and I’m sure you’d prefer to be seen as having a well rounded opinion as opposed to naive. The same goes to all the idiots out there simply shouting ‘Wenger’s not spent any money, get him out!!’

  • bob

    “Finally, I don’t understand why there is a held view that the press has it in for AFC. Is there historical evidence?”
    Max,
    Try this for Untold’s ongoing analyses of the abiding press bias (yes bias) against AW/AFC and come back with your thoughts:
    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/the-media
    And as in depth and broad as is this body of work, it’s still the tip of a larger iceberg. I hope you’ll then understand why there’s such a “held view.” Nope, it’s not paranoia; it just is.

  • bob

    “But we do need to add some depth as a few more injuries will leave us throwing the youngsters (zelalem etc)on as starters when they should really be blooded towards the end of games that are already won. That could knock their confidence and suddenly a talented kid disappears.”
    Andy Mack,
    Yes, prioritizing quality reserves are presently and have been essential for several years. The club cannot not know this; and anyone can do well to expect us to make quality signings, some to ensure against injuries. There’s no known financial reason to resist acknowledging this, and no football reason. If it’s not done, then something serious is awry. Time will tell soon enough.

  • AL

    I was shocked at the sheer number of ridiculous posts that had flooded this place over the last few days. I had told myself I wasn’t going to contribute as long as the mostly abusive & incomprehensible nonsense continued. What’s the point of trying to engage a debate with someone who keeps going off at a tangent revisiting a topic that has nothing to do with the subject of discussion over and over? Its crazy.

    Thanks Tony for bringing some order & sanity to a site many of us so love and rely on for positive Arsenal news.

  • AL

    That we have 3 in the midfield(if you consider Theo) in the current England set up speaks volume of how good our midfield is. If you throw in the Rosickys & Carzolas you have a very good midfield.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This divergence in opinion reminds me of this old joke.
    Two AAAs are on a flight with an AKB, who is sitting in the middle seat .After sometime the AAA at the window seat gets up to get a coke .The AKB offers to get it for him and does so in his stocking feet .
    The AAA at the window seat notices the shoes and pick up one and spits in it .The AKB SOON returns with the drink and gives to his neighbour and sits down.When he puts his feet into his shoes ,he immediately knows what had transpired but keeps quiet .
    After sometime the AAA in the aisle seat makes to get up, saying that he too wants to go get a coke .Again the AKB offers to get it for him ,and does so in his stoking feet.
    The AAA in the aisle seat promptly picks up the other shoe and he spits into it . The AKB returns with with the coke, gives it to the man in the aisle seat , sits down and slips his feet into his shoe and again realises what had been done.
    The two AAAs are by this time are laughing their heads off at the man’s discomfiture ,but are silenced by the man’s next words .
    “Oh ! When will it all stop ? This eternal enmity between us? This spitting in shoes , and the PISSING into cokes ?!

  • Paul wrote:

    “The mdfld we have is good, not great. Last season we could barely score more than one goal. For all the teams wenger has fielded the last was probably the least creative.”

    Your first sentence is an opinion that you have absolute right to hold although I disagree with it.

    Your second is not just wrong, it’s ridiculously easy to disprove. We score 72 goals in 38 league matches last season for an average of 1.9 goals per game. 1.9 is not “barely more than one”.

    If your third sentence is to be judged by output, i.e. a yardstick like goals difference (because it combines attack’ potency and defence’s effectiveness) then with +35 last season, that is our best in 3 seasons.

    This midfield helped the attack create more goals and helped the defence concede less than the 2 previous seasons.

    I am attributing these statistics to our current team because we are basically carrying the same players forward.

    Let’s support the team and see what we can achieve this season. Let’s stay positive.

  • Rufusstan

    @Arsenal 13 — no idea. After the Mail Article yesterday, just looking at their list of the fit, you just put together a starting 11 that could win comfortably.

    Add Ramsey to it, and the first team is strong enough to take on almost anyone.

    Behind that 11 is where the potential problem is right now.

  • bob

    Rufusstan,
    My fears are that without Arteta, as shown last season, the midfield lacks a consistency and nous that even (and I love him) the resurgent Rosicky and motorized Ramsay don’t provide. Given that experience, one hopes this is being rectified as we speak, so to speak.

  • Shard

    bob,

    Agreed about Arteta’s importance. I’m quite confident we can beat Villa tomorrow but I worry about the likely midfield of Ramsey and Wilshere. Especially because Wilshere doesn’t seem like he’s fit enough to manage 90 mins. Add in the fact that Cazorla was out of steam last season, barely got a rest due to the Confederations Cup, and has now just completed a round trip to Ecuador, then I start to worry a bit. On the other hand, Rosicky, and along with a frontline of Theo, Giroud and Podolski should be good enough, as well as leaving a bench with Cazorla and the Ox on it. Now if only we could have another striker, but I suppose Akpom will fill in tomorrow, and perhaps Gnabry/Eisfeld.

    Frimpong is an option too but he’s not played any pre season games with the first team, so I don’t think he’s in the manager’s plans.

  • alex

    You don’t think the link that i provided does have to do with the article ? It tells about the squad in general that comprise the midfield in the article plus the well defined number of the team required in each position that matches the versatility and variety of the midfield described above.

    I don’t see honestly what is wrong with that.

    Above all it enlightens the silly accusation that without any foundation about the transfer activity.

  • bob

    “Now if only we could have another strike.”
    Shard,
    It’s been quite a long time we’ve been agreeing on this. If not this transfer window, we’re one frontline injury from a world of cascading woes.

  • Shard

    bob

    Hmmmm..Not one, perhaps two. If we lose Giroud, Podolski can still play there, as can Walcott. With Rosicky fit, Cazorla can play on the left, or the Ox on the right. Add in some potential from youngsters like Gnabry and Akpom, then it shouldn’t be a case of cascading woes.

    That doesn’t mean we are set as it is of course. We need some more variety in attack, and somebody in midfield who can do what Arteta does even if not as brilliantly, but also has a more physical and pacey dimension to him.

    A CB, or RB is also required. A GK would be a bonus which I am not expecting at this point. We’re 3 good players away from being a title contender. I’m hoping we get them. I expect this will only be after we qualify for the CL. Till then, it’s up to the players we have right now to get us through all our tests. Do that, and we have a chance. A real chance.

  • Rufusstan

    @Bob I completely agree. I disappeared to read the article linked by Georgaki-Pyrovolitis, and it crystallized a lot of my personal worries. (and came back to see that war had apparently broken out here)

    The guy makes an interesting point about the current squad having the quality to do well, and it is true, but it represents a very high risk view on the season, largely because it relies on a large number of the current squad increasing their contribution. In many case that goes against their history (injury or otherwise).

    If you look at the midfielders in Tony’s article, all 6 are of the quality we need, but the fact is that we need at least 6 guys of that that quality to compete (injuries, rotation), so there is no room for error.

    As it stands, I agree with you about Arteta. Ramsey could step up, but it is a risk. Additionally with Arteta we rely on the guy being able to stay fit, at his age, in the role he plays.

    Wilshere is a risk this season as after the last couple of years, we don’t know how he will adapt to regular football.

    The OX is one of the most exciting players I have seem in years, but he did not perform reliably in the league last year, and may have to be used as cover wide right.

    Rosicky seems to be intending to go out with a bang, but since ’07 he has not been able to start 20 league games in any season, or stay fit through a whole season.

    It all could end well, but that midfield represents a huge risk. The fact that the first team squad is so thin magnifies the problem.

    On paper we have 24 in the first team, but that includes Park and TGSTEL, who are unlikely to ever play for us again.

    After that are Ryo and Frimpong — the first hugely inexperienced; the latter with an unknown future (he’s training with the first team, but has already had major surgery on both knees — again a big risk).

    Diaby is there, but will not play until 2014 (at least).

    That takes us down to 19, and that includes Sanogo; again hugely inexperienced.

    With a squad this small, and the midfielders as described above, it frightens me how easily it could all go wrong. Gnabry, and Zelelem in particular could be promoted, but realistically will not be ready for major participation for a year or two (Gnabry perhaps next year).

    New recruits will help spread the load, and allow us to use our more fragile midfielders a bit more carefully.

    I feel strange coming at the argument from this side, as I tend to be one of the most positive ones on here, but the deeper you analyze; the more worried I get.

    It is funny, but I started looking at this from the perspective of proving that the players we have cut have not damaged our quality, which I still believe to be true. It just flags up how risky our position is right now (and when have Arsenal ever got lucky).

  • sukebe

    I missed the action….

    Yay for mr.tony.

    This is not some blog to take out yer frustration for arsenal by bashing and attacking all the good people in it…

    As i said:
    jump out now, there is no glory at arsenal!!
    Choose other team to support, you won’t be able to cope with them, it’ll damage yer health!!

    Signed:
    -the uneducated 5yo living in the darkness that debating with no mental strength with them-

  • paul

    nless we bring in Messi before I wake up tomorrow this trasnfer window has been a disgrace. For get what the Owners think forget what the manager thinks hell you can even forget what the players and the fans think at this point. But what in gods name must our potential shirt sponsors Puma be thinking? Why in gods name would they want to give us 35 million a season from next year on when we dont even bother to invest a single cent in the most promising window for over 10 years?

  • Busch

    Having read through these comments and all the ones that were removed because they have nothing to do with the article, I noticed one certain persons comments, that have nothing to do with the article, are never removed.

    Ah well, since i don’t want this to get removed because it isn’t about the article, I will just say:

    I think our midfield is a bit thin, but has quality. I don’t think I’d ever call Arteta or Chamberlain a DM, though.

  • sukebe

    Oh ya, sorry for not commenting on the article, gets overhyped..

    I really do think cazorla have to start from the bench substituting zelalem later on.

    Let the kid collects game time under his feet, that’ll do him good.

  • Pat

    Right Tony, we are strong and interesting in midfield. One of the points Arsene Wenger makes in his press conference in answer to a journalist trying to trip him up.

    Sky Sports just pointed that we haven’t lost on the opening day since, I think, 2001. A very good record. Should be a good omen. At least it means there is no basis for a flood of negative comments as is currently happening on this site.

    Sorry you’re having to spend time fending off negativism and abusiveness, Tony.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Let’s all stay positive for Saturday’s game. Go Gunners, Go!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Wouldn’t it be really great if everything (and everyone !) comes labelled so as not to be misunderstood ? In such an event , AAAs wouldn’t wander in here knowingly , would they ?

    Just thinking aloud and there may be some truth in advertising.
    http://www.fakeposters.com/posters/stupid-people-label/

    It could make the moderators work so much easier !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Yesterday was really a bad ‘hormonal ‘ day for the AAAs . Don’t know why they were out in force to try and upset the usually upbeat AKBs.
    My take is that this site is probably doing something right that pisses them off . Or maybe its the full moon !
    Was I feeling threatened ? Not more than the usual monthly dose !
    http://www.fakeposters.com/search/?q=pms

  • ARSENAL 13

    Yes missing ARTETA is a bit that we worry about, but then last season we had a couple of games where Ramsey played that role and he had a very good game playing there. I agree that the sample size is too small (well, nothing actually) to pass any judgement but the improvement/development Ramsey has gone through, it wouldnt be naive on my part to see him play that role exceptionally well.