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How would The Invincibles have coped last season?

How would The Invincibles have coped? A Retro-Retrospective.

By Dale Higginbottom



After the recent poor results around the end of the season and reading the hatred of many so-called Arsenal fans I wanted to bring a little bit of perspective on things and think about how would The Invincibles have coped if faced with similar situations?

Given that we have had to cope with Injury Crisis Episode III – Attack of the Shawcross we all know that we need larger squad, larger in fact than any other season in our history. We initially need a first eleven to mainly be there to get injured and sit in the injury room and a second eleven to come in and play the games.

The members of the first eleven will occasionally be making cameo appearances between injury spells, assuming that they are not ruled out for a whole season that is. So let’s assume that’s the case and this is our first eleven.

1st Choice XI 09/10

Almunia

Sagna   Gallas   Vermaelen   Clichy

Song

Fabregas    Denilson

Walcott                       Arshavin

van Persie

I’m not going to argue with choices. I’ve tried to stick to the 4-3-3 and replace as best I can like-for-like so hence, Nasri replaces Cesc and does not make it into the first eleven. So therefore, here’s the second eleven that will play the games.

2nd Choice XI 09/10

Fabianski

Eboue   Campbell Djourou   Gibbs

Ramsey

Nasri       Diaby

Eduardo                       Rosicky

Bendtner

Others such as Vela and Silvestre are there to fill-in in dire situations and make up the numbers on the bench or to play less important fixtures but I will ignore these for now as I would think give or take a player or two most fans would agree these are the 22 players that Arsene believes to be his best and these are the 22 that will play most of the important games.

Now a lot of the D&G/catastrophist fans hark back to the last time Arsenal won a trophy or mostly back to the ‘03/’04 season so I thought what happened that season? Arsenal failed to win the FA Cup and Carling Cup, got knocked out at the quarter final stage of the Champions League, which was eventually won by a side managed by José Mourinho, oh and there’s the small matter of Arsenal go a whole season without losing in the league.

We all know that was a fantastic achievement by a fantastic 1st XI and I’m not going to argue the merits of each player in that line-up versus our current one as that’s all been done numerous times on numerous blogs. No, instead I’m going to look at the next set of players, the like-for-like replacements (as best I can). So here goes.

1st Choice XI 03/04

Lehmann

Lauren   Campbell   Toure   Cole

Ljungberg  Viera  Gilberto  Pires

Bergkamp Henry

2nd Choice XI 03/04

Stack

J. Hoyte   Cygan  Keown   Clichy

Bentley   Parlour    Edu     Wiltord

Reyes   Kanu

I’ve done this as best I can using the number matches played by each player during the 2003/2004 season as a rough guide to give the details to hand. Can anyone really say that this ‘03/’04 squad has quality AND depth? Would that 2nd XI have taken the team through the business end of that season unbeaten? If the injuries this season had been replicated back then, would the theoretical squad available have been able to see those final few nail-biting games through?

Ok, now I know it’s difficult to think back 6 years and think, how good was the 18 year old Clichy and how does he compare to a 20 year old Kieran Gibbs or was Ray Parlour at that time better than Nasri or Diaby now?

This is all subjective of course but I think most fans will hold their hand up and agree that the squad is so much stronger now than then.

This last season we played 55 games whereas in ‘03/’04 the Invincibles played 57 games so what has happened? Why the massive increase in injuries? I think there are five possibilities.

  1. More international games during the season as more of our players play for their national teams, therefore showing a definite strengthening of our squad.
  2. More physical game, more running, more stress on the body leads to increased risk
  3. Zero Football. Hull, Stoke, Bolton etc try to find any
  4. Arsene buys injury prone players
  5. Lady luck is a Spurs fan.

Points 4 and 5 are obviously rubbish but one thing that is for certain is that the injuries are no longer a matter of being unlucky in one season, we now have to factor it into our squad and that’s where is struggles have been.

Arsene has already successfully replaced the Invincibles as a first team and the quality is there to challenge for trophies. He’s even improved the depth of the squad significantly but one thing that has been impossible to forecast is this imposed requirement to expect 7, 8 or 9 key players out at one time. I’m sure Arsene didn’t expect that he would need to have the Silvestre CB partnership at any point but this sort of contingency now needs to be built into the squad.

——————

The Untold Index to Everything Positive and Nice (except Fifa and its bent world cup)

Woolwich Arsenal – now there is a club on the brink of disaster

The Book – not as useful as the Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, but still, quite good for a read during the summer break.

This building has to take time, players cannot be brought in all at once as it will affect teamwork and continuity (See Manchester Citeh, Real Madrid) and bringing in 2, 3 or 4 players per season has to be the route to take. It’s getting there people, keep the faith.

41 comments to How would The Invincibles have coped last season?

  • walter

    Great article Dale.
    Like you said we were lucky in those days that we didn’t get hit by an injury crisis like we seem to face the last couples of seasons. Good that you pointed this out to us.

    And I really do believe that if our main players would have stayed fit in the final run in, we would have been in there until the final day of the season. That is the only worry we must work on to bring and to have more players ready when we lose a whole team in a few weeks time.

  • lp

    Nice post.
    All i can say is that i can’t wait for next season to start.

  • Great article!

    A joy to read and look back at our past teams delightful set up!!

  • otniel

    Cant wait to see Bendtner next season

  • Cujo

    Wow, you really did your homework! Officially my unofficial favourite blog lol keep ’em coming please sir!

  • Matt

    I agree with you somewhat Dale, but despite the fact that the 2nd XI of the 03/04 was weak in some departments, the quality in a lot positions was sufficient. Wiltord, Edu, Parlour, Reyes and Kanu – all quality players that could step in when the side lost its key 1st team players. Now look at the current 2nd XI in the same positions – Diaby, Nasri, Eduardo, Rosicky, Bendtner. In my eyes these players lack the age, tenacity and experience that the 03/04 2nd XI possessed. In those days if I heard that Gilberto or Pires was missing, I’d be quite confident that Edu and Wiltord had the experience and world class ability to smoothly replace them. Today, when I hear that Arshavin, Van Persie and Walcott are injured, I already concede that Eduardo, Rosicky and Bendtner do not possess the ability to fit into the 1st team and play the same key role. This is partly because of the reliance of the current squad on two or three key players (Van Persie, Fabregas, Arshavin), but mostly it’s because of the drop of class between the current 1st team and the 2nd team, as compared to the minimal drop in class between the invincible squads

  • ScottRSA

    Totally valid points and i hope all the Anti AW fans out there have taken notice of the depth strengthening that AW has put in place, lets just hope that none of our boys get hurt when they come here in 22days for the World Cup. I dont mind if a Rooney, Messi, etc get injured, no just joking i wouldn’t wish injuries on someone for us to do well. We have the Talent, just need to cut off the cancer cell ie Almunia, Silvestre, Denilson

  • Lanz

    Nice post. But examine d physique & personal profile (at that time) of each of The Invincibles & d psychlogic effect it had on confidence of our 2nd string of players OR on our opponents. In our present team, we have several players far better technically than The Invincibles but our opponents simply do not regard them. People believe Arsenal is Fabregas & van Persie. I know it isnt true but that is what our opponents belive & once those are not featuring, they (the opponents) get inspired!

  • Livib

    Fantastic observation! This really does put things into perspective. You may not be the messiah but your a very clever man.

  • Guneryng

    May be the injury crisis is bcos of our young squad. I mean they lack experience, lack games ( compared to the invicibles) and finally a young squad is more fragile.. Also, we can’t ignore individual talent, lehmann : Almunia, the difference between the back four, the likes of ljungberg, pires and gilberto in midfield and HENRY ofcourse.

  • Guneryng

    How come i miss vieira

  • AnonymousGun

    I swapped Denny for Ramsey for our 2 teams tho .. Simply because I thing Denny is better in DM position while Ramsey is better are the 3rd MF in our lineup.

  • Mantot

    Hi,nice blog and article,been reading for a while,first time commenting.

    Any team with Bergkamp in it will become good because Bergy makes anyone looks world class,even Ljungberg,especially.

    For me,it’s all about physique and physical games.Watch how Vieira looks like during the tunnel and watch the expression of Fabregas in the tunnel.One is a fierce bastard and Fabregas just looks like a nice guy.That is where our battle already lost to teams like Bolton,Blackburn,Hull,Stoke and many more.

    Then,on the field…if given a choice of getting bodycheck by Vieira or Diaby,I would prefer the soothing tenderness of Diaby’s shoulder anytime.

    And,just asking,is it just me or the quality of Arsenal’s goal has been dropping.Where are all those curlers,all those lobbed,all the quick one touch passing or the pass the ball to the net?I am still waiting for those Pires trademark goal or Bergy superb lobbed trademark. Looking back at the season after the unbeaten one,it’s a pity that Reyes went his way.

    He was a beast,compared to Walcott.

  • Phil

    Great article, and well thought out. I’ve maintained all season that our squad has more depth than either of United and Chelsea, but it just got more injuries than the, so often we had third choice players involved, not 2nd choice.

  • Your all living in cloud cuckoo land.

    Project youth is over.

    Its finished. The days of Walcott, Eboue , denilson, Almunia etc are done. The stripping out of this squad starts now and will take four windows to do. But mark my words it will be underway.

    Cesc is going and good luck to him.

    And the days of Wenger or whoever ends up Arsenal manager buying poor quality cheap players is at an end.

  • RedGun

    Im not sure how you can make that argument Dale the thing about the invincibles was they didnt get injured they were more likely to dish it out i see what your trying to say but its just out of context I think.

  • No amount of pro AKBest from pro Wenger blos will now shift the trend of what will take place at this club over the next two years.

    Its over and a new policy will be underway.

    Ive supported this club since 70/71. If you cant read between the lines your going to suffer Because with the main man going he Wenger will never be able to sell the future an convincingly
    again. It will be exciting to watch it unfold but to be true Wenger has got away with murder these last five years and even he will have to pay the piper

  • Gooner80

    A point which I think is valid that you didnt mention is that this group of players retain the ball much better than the invincibles which mean more challenges come flying in hence more injuries. The viera team was much more scrappy and had a terrible disciplinary record so when you are dishing it out you are less likely to get it.

    The fact is this team is too technical for England in spain we would thrive. it is always ah he didnt mean to catch him and ah he is too quick, and the way you get at arsenal is you kick them,this is professionals and ex professionals saying this.

    Eduardo has been ruined I fear Ramsey might go the same way. Fact is the invicibles didnt face these injuries because they didnt hold on to the ball as long were much more direct and would stick the boot in. If BArca played in the premiership messi would be where ramsey is now, in fact half their team would be out in the treatment room aswell. I think this is the reason Cesc wants to leave, I think he is frightened his career might be cut short if he stays in england because we get no protection from refs which is another point, if they started producing 5 red cards a game see how quickly thing would change big SAM and his friends would be out of jobs

  • Just to clarify Stubby, the Youth Project involved a group of 11 year old who came to Arsenal 7 years ago. They won the double last season (their successors won the league this season, the first time ever a club has won the academy league two years running).

    This past season the Youth Project players have been out on loan – and we are expecting some of them back next season.

    I think it is not so much “cloud cuckoo land” that you inhabit but rather an alternative reality in which there is another Arsenal that fails all the time.

    Have you ever thought that the last ten years have been the most successful the club has ever had since it was formed in 1886?

    Tony

  • well-endowed gooner

    Why is the idea that Arsenal buy injury-prone players “obviously” wrong? Rosicky was bought on the cheap because he was incredibly injury-prone at Dortmund. van Persie’s had injuries every season he’s been at Arsenal. Bischoff was bought on a punt, and was injured the whole season. Arsenal are on a budget, can only target players with something wrong with them that cause bigger sides to overlook them (e.g. physically suspect).

    I’d also have a look at the training schedules and warm-up and warm-down regimes between the two sides. Having lots of injuries in the past 5 years, and having very little in the Invincibles era, is something to be concerned about.

  • Of course Toni.

    But you keep implying this period coupled with the period ending with the Invicibles.

    His track record taken over the last 5/6 years is poor.

    The youth project works fine in the youth Arena but fails without the balance of the experienced players.

    This Arsenal team does not play beautiful footbal anymore. Its just multi pass and trying t play through narrow channels.

    But its the AKB brigade who are blind. Youve nearly become Wenger lovers over the love of Arsenal.

    The money has been there for at least two years but he would not change course. Time Toni will sort Arsene out.

    Time will be the disciplinarian of his failed youth project.

    3 Questions i why sell Adey and kolo and not replace them

    2 Why not purchase Chamak for 10 mill and possibly win the league

    3 Why persever with 2 poor quality goalkeepers.

    I dont know about you but it does not say much about his judgement to me.

  • Toni if Cesc goes and its a big if. What does it say about Wenger and his average reriferal players. It says he wont play with average players and selling the future anymore. Toni Arteta
    is good but he aint no Cesc.

    Toni my heart bleeds for the AKB brigade becuase you do beleive Wengers retorhic. He cannot win this way. Read Mourinhos comments. Not Mourinho the man. It cant be done this way.

    Its the start of the finish.

    Asvharvin has been saying since he came. We need more quality/ experienced players.

    Wenger wont change becuase he cant . If he does all power to him ill be with him but look at the process hes created paying super wages to below average players. Its stupid.

  • By the way I hope Arsenal dont sell Cesc.

    He is there best player by a mile.

  • Finsbury

    Well, AFC players will now be monitered from Space, the very pressure they exert with every step calculated to the nearest nano-unit.

    Diaby,

    Eduardo,

    Ramsey

    Cesc:

    Are all of them injury prone?

  • t00farg0ne

    I don’t often get chance to comment on here but thought I’d better put in a quick one for my own article.

    Matt, I see your ponts about Wiltord and Edu etc but I’m not sure they are that much better than for example NB52, Rosicky or Nasri (if at all). The point is that at some points we were without 8 first team players this season and replacing that many players from the invincibles would have proven a challenge.

    Stubby, since when was Almunia classed as being part of the youth project? I repeat Tony’s point that the youth project has not even made it into our first team yet, we’ve still got that to look forward to with Jack, JET, Lansbury etc.

    Gooner80 – agree with your points there. I hadn’t thought about that to be honest.

    Thanks for the (on the whole) positive feedback on the post.

    Dale

  • Royal Arsenal

    great article Dale, i think you make a VERY convincing argument, its surely something to be consider, i agree with every word.

  • AnonymousGun

    Ever curious when a fan claimed he been supporting the club since 70+ but somehow, after 5 years without a trophy, he thought we been underachieving and AW must go?

  • AnonymousGun

    Oh btw.. In AW year… Never has AW sold our best player.. He sold “has been” but never sold the best from the team.. I see nothing from him that suggest he will do something different now.

  • critic

    @every1
    it doesn’t matter how barca evaluate fab, what matters is how arsenal evaluate him he is after all arsenal player for next 4 years…..slap him and make him stay at arsenal or else ask for 70-60 mill, he is no less than that….

  • Stubby, you don’t tell us what your actual name is, and that’s fair enough, no reason why you should.

    But I have chosen to reveal that my first name is Tony. Toni, as you repeatedly write it, is a girl’s name. Please do use my correct name, since you know it.

    And, just so you know…

    The last ten years have been the most successful in Arsenal’s history, even more successful than the 1930-9 period.

    Wenger is a more successful manager at Arsenal than Chapman.

    Even if we only look at the last five years of Wenger’s reign, he is still the second most successful manager for the club ever.

    And he has done all this at a time when he is faced with the financial manipulation of Chelsea, Liverpool, Man C, Man U.
    Indeed we should remember that Arsenal 1925-39 spent more season on season than any other club ever.

    And you want to get rid of him.

    So, do you want to get rid of him to bring in a manager who will take us into debt like the clubs listed above? Or do you want a manager who, like Wenger, will make a profit?

  • Still King Kolo

    Tony, I have never commented on here before but I do read this very good blog when I can. However, I take issue on two fronts… this squad is not better than the Invincibles squad. I assume we all accept that the Invincibles team would have destroyed Vermaelen and Gallas as good as those two can be. But the 2nd teams is where it falls down. I would back Wiltord, Parlour and Edu over Nasri, Diaby and Ramsey any day of the week. Hands down. Players who know what to do, will always win out over ball players. Citing Brazil, Spain etc does not count because they combine these two elements to make them unstoppable. See Chelsea with several 6, 7 and 8 goal games this season. The 2nd issue is related to the Wenger out brigade. I am not in this crowd but I am not stupid enough to believe that another manager could not achieve with this team. I do not advocate breaking the bank but one could imagine Wenger not adding a goalie and a tough centre hallf this summer. Hiddink or Bilic would without breaking the bank, I imagine… just as two examples…

  • BillikenGooner

    ” This is all subjective of course but I think most fans will hold their hand up and agree that the squad is so much stronger now than then. ”

    I only disagree with that because I think the 2nd squad of the 03/04 team is much better at the *English* game, the one that seems to see our current squad so out of sorts when dealing with the Blackburns and Stokes, then the individually talented 09/10 team.

    imo, of course.

  • Richard B

    A very good piece – well researched and hugely logical. It might also be worth remembering that Wenger bought both Kanu and Overmars after they had major injury scares – both gambles that paid off in spades. The much praised Wiltord actually went into hiding for his last six months at the club and left on a Bosman. Very loyal!
    Ther double winning team of 70-71 esed only about 16 players across all competitions and, famously, Villa won the Championship using only 14 players.
    Injuries are down to many things including (bad) luck and whatever referees will let you get away with. And if Cesc goes I firmly believe that it’s as much to do with the weak refereeing we get in the Premiership as anything else. He was, pretty obviously, the most emotionally upset player on the pitch when both Eduardo and Ramsey were injured. As a targetted player himself what thoughts must he left with after a season that saw the longer term effects that it has had on Eduardo and the assault on Ramsey. If Barcelona tapping up hadn’t worked before it was sure to work after those.
    One final point – the ‘youth project’ has existed at Arsenal for as long as I can remember (way before 1970!). The double side of that year was built on youth and all teams since then have been mainly constructed from home grown players and very cheap additions – many of whom we had barely heard of before they arrived. Economic squad development is built into the DNA of Arsenal and I hope it will continue to be the case.
    In fact, under the new UEFA regulations, in can’t be any other way for anyone!

  • Stephen

    @ WEG
    It is time that the term “injury-prone” was properly defined and consistently applied. An injury such as a muscle tear, achilles tendon etc occuring frequently in a player can legitimately cause them to be described as “injury-prone” – it is the failing of their own body to stand up to the rigours of playing football. I can accept that Rosicky is injury-prone. However, I cannot accept that RVP is “injury-prone” – his last two major injuries were caused by kicks from opponents i.e. external forces. If in the case of Aaron Ramsey an opponent breaks your leg – it doesn’t make you injury prone.

  • Still King Kolo

    I also have to say that whoever thinks this team is aesthitically more pleasing than the 0304 team is in dreamland. See the 7-0 against Everton, or Pires display vs L’pool at Anfield… some of the one touch stuff was incredible and a front three of Pires, Henry and Bergkamp cannot be matched in the history of the Premiership for goals, pace, guile, individualism and team ethic, experience, impudence, power, strength and so on…oh no I would watch that team play well before this one… and this one is pretty darn good

  • AaronGSi

    Tony,
    I don’t think any manager takes a club into debt, after all, it is the board of directors or the owner that are ultimately responsible for the purse strings. But at the same time who wants a manager that is focused on making profits??
    However, I do agree with the principle you are stating, in that you want a manager that has the ability to develop winning football teams within a clubs own resources. Not only has AW done this over the last 13 years, but Arsenal also play a brand of football that is now envied all over Europe, particularly here in the UK where idiots like Tony Pulis and Sam Allardice continually takes pops at him because his genius shows them up for what they really are – 2nd rate charlatans who wouldn’t know a good game of football if it jumped up and bit them. We should all be grateful that AW continues to grace our game and his influence and legacy will go on for a long long time yet.
    However, Arsenal made £35m profit for the 6 months to December 2009, so as this financial year draws to a close we can realistically expect maybe another £30m on top of that for these last 6 months. As fans I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect the club to spend every single last penny of this on improving the squad, and I think that is all the fans want assurances on really. Profits are for corporate businesses, football clubs should not be in the business of making profits, after all, they are sporting clubs, not supermarkets. Arsenal already have over £100m in the bank, even using half of this money would still leave plenty for a rainy day. If we spend big now, then we also might not have to spend anything for the next few years also, as the squad will be stronger, all players will be on long term contracts, and the youth players will start to come through. Most fans know that Arsenal – despite its stadium debt – has a lot of money now at its disposal and its time the club took a punt and invested a lot of it on the players we all know are needed. Maybe they do have genuine plans to do this. We’ll have to wait and see

  • well-endowed gooner

    @ Stephen,

    van Persie gets injured every year. That’s my definition of injury-prone. Yes, a lot of them are freakish (I think he ruptured a knee once when gardening), but he DOES get injured a lot. It could be that he’s never learnt how to protect himself in tackles. It could be that he’s naturally brittle. It could be that he has physiological anomalies that make him compensate in the way he stands, moves, runs, etc.

    The three things managers look for in a player are: technique, mentality and physicality. A player with all three has the ability to be world-class, and is sought by every manager in the world. If we can’t afford those players, we’d have to drop one of those qualities. A lot of our youngsters have the technique and physicality, but not the mentality to be world-class. Some of our older players have the mentality and the technique to be world-class, but not the physicality.

  • T2T

    The biggest difference between the Arsenal team of 5-6-7 years ago and now is the way they play. Before, we were applauded especially for our counter-attack play, the way we broke-down play and within seconds scored. I remember frequently reading a corner for the opposing team was almost like a goal opportunity for Arsenal.
    The style of Arsenal has developed. The players we have are all talented – even Fabianski (not mentally there) – but we play more of domination game than before. Look at the two games we lost to Chelsea and ManU earlier this year. Both the teams allowed us to keep the ball but when they got the ball they immediately passed the ball forward and catching us on the break. Look at Denilson at ManU’s 2nd goal I think it was when he was jogging back instead of fighting the ball back.
    AW need to buy a very good GK (Buffon?) while we wait for Mannone/Sczezcny, have Almunia as #2. Furthermore, buy at least 1 ready-made replacement for Gallas who are likely off. Those are minimum of what we need.

  • Mystery777

    Tony.

    First let me say good work on the blog always an interesting read.

    Anyway down to business. Before I start let me just say that I have been the biggest Wenger supported since he started and have spent many an evening defending the guy. I love your optimism but unfortunately my patience with Wenger has well and truly run out. I am not going to call him names and swear and curse the guy has done so much for us and deserves more respect than that.
    Let me just get this out of the way Wenger/Arsenals long term plan of developing young players has failed. He said give me five years and we are now six and counting. Six years ago we were sold the dream that the young bunch of players we had would in time become a team which would rule the world . Now lets look at the reality.

    Almuina-too inconsistent to play at the level we need to be at.
    Senderos-Deemed not good enough.
    Eboue-Not reliable enough was replaced as our first choice RB.
    Flamini-Left.
    Reyes-Left
    Aliadiere-Not good enough sold.
    Hleb-Left
    Adebayor-Sold
    Diaby-Not good enough. Lazy performances and a lack of football intelligence has made him unpopular.
    Denilson- Has regressed and looks a long way from the great talent we thought he would be.
    Clichy- Has lost form and has also regressed.
    Song-Has improved greatly of late but he would not get near any of the top 10 club sides in the world.

    The only true successes have been RVP and FAB.

    The truth is that the team which was used to sell us the dream does not even exist anymore. What has actually happened is that Arsenal has developed them at the cost of the last six seasons and have not been able to retain them in order to see the fruition of the master plan. In fact the most consistent performers have actually been the ones Wenger had brought in such as Vermalen and Sagna.

    Arsenal fans have to pay more than Barca, Chelsea, Inter Milan fans to watch what is in reality a team that is not capable of playing at the top level anymore. Can you imagine anyone of those clubs coming out and saying that simply qualifying for the CL is a trophy? If Fabregas does go then it will be the loudest and most conclusive statement about the flaws in Wengers philosophies. Last season, he finally became the all round midfielder that he has promised to become after years of development at arsenal. His best years though will not be at Arsenal they will be winning trophies at Barca.

    Now the common argument you make is regarding our sound financial position. Nobody is asking him to be reckless and spend 50 million on a single player but he could certainly have added depth to this squad with affordable players who could have made the difference. Instead the money is banked and the team continues to fail. It’s like Groundhog Day and most people can see the solution but Wenger refuses to address it. Every season we go on a good run then due to injury’s etc dip out of contention for the Prem because we don’t have the quality in our squad. We get to the latter stages of the cups and Wenger fields a weakened team and we lose. We get to the latter stages of the CL and when we come up against the best of the best we are found wanting. Wengers faith in this current team is misplaced and he is leading us down a cul de sac.

    Wengers should gracefully step down now and let someone else come in and shake things up. His list of blunders grows by the season and here just few of them:

    Letting Flamini, Gilberto and Diarra all go in the same season.
    Not playing Arshavin in the FA cup semifinal against Man Utd.
    Not buying a top quality international keeper after Lehman left.
    Not replacing Adebayor in the summer and not replacing RVP in January of this year.
    Not dropping poorly performing players but instead playing them week in and week out.

    My philosophy is watch what people do and not what they say as it normally gives you a better idea of what they really think. By playing weakened teams in the cup Wenger is actually admitting that he has not got a strong enough squad to compete on all fronts. The saddest thing for me is that aside from a few players the team has lost any sort of winning mentality it once had. The shocking performance against Spurs in which they were outfought by a team who had played 120 minutes three days before spoke volumes.

    Thanks for the memories Arsene take a bow and leave the stage by the door to your right.

  • Gooner80

    Tony

    you have reminded of the world class player viera was and I woke up thinking of the spine of the invinvibles,

    Lehman, campbell, viera, gilberto and Henry (What a spine)

    Now

    Alumunia, Gallas,Fabregas, Denilson,Van persie

    in their day you could class all of the invicbles spine as world class, able to get into any team in the world. sad to say but cesc at a push and rVp is close but nowhere near the quality of Henry. Iam really sad now because in my heart I know these players aint never gonna be as good,we have never replaced Viera, never replaced Henry

  • LenH

    Arsenal have lots of injuries because we have lots of young players. Young players are more injury prone because they are still developing. 26-30yr old get less injuries. Simple.