Well, in Arsène I still trust.

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Victory Through Harmony

By Walter Broeckx

Where do you start when you just have seen Arsenal booking a place in the Carling Cup final?

I think this is just the time to enjoy the final result. This is just the time to sing a Song even if he didn’t play.  This is the time to celebrate. This is the time to have a look at who was vital at the end of the day.

And in a game when Ipswich was building a big blue wall in front of their goal the first goal was going to be vital. I think we all know this and as it took us a long while before we could get it. But when it came I just knew we would win it and go to Wembley. This feels good typing these words. So I will just type them again: We go to Wembley.  (Actually Walter even season ticket holders are not guaranteed a seat at the final – we have to enter a lottery – Tony.)

But back to that first goal.  From the moment I saw Wilshere play in our reserves I knew he was going to be a massive player for us. Oh those great days when Arsenal.com was still showing our reserve games live. Even this week I said on the forum of the Benelux fans that Wilshere will be our most important player in the next decade. He will be the man and if Cesc ever leaves us, he will be our captain. What a fighting spirit, what a stamina, what a…I just can find enough superlatives to praise this young lad who has only just a month ago turned 19.

He was running and covering every metre on the pitch today. His vision, his work rate, his fighting spirit and his skill are so great for such a young player. And remember the way Cesc developed from when he was 19 till the player he is now? I do have a feeling that Wilshere will be even a better player when he is 23. That will be the moment he will begin to shine and to dominate like never before. Oh my God, what a bright prospect to look forward too.

The way Wilshere played the ball over the top towards Bendtner for the first goal was just great. He had the vision to see it but most of all he had the accuracy to play the ball perfect to Bendtner. It was a pass that had written Cesc all over it. Just imagine those two, Cesc and Wilshere playing at the top of their game.

But let us follow the ball and arrive with it at the feet of Bendtner. Even here on this site some people were having a go at him and saying  yet again:  not fit to wear the shirt. And yes he is no Walcott with blistering pace. Yes he is no Van Persie with a great first touch. He is who he is: a big centre forward who is playing on the wing for the moment.

But boy, did he make a great run to play himself free on the left wing. And what about that first touch of him. The one that is not good enough according to some fans. Well it was more than good enough for me. And what about that finish. Coming from the left hand side, curl it in at the far post. I have seen an Arsenal legend producing a few goals like that. And in fact I have seen Bendtner produce a few like that.

It was his goal that finally broke the door open from the parked tractor or from the concrete wall. And just like the Berlin wall came tumbling down at last, the Ipswich wall went down.

And look who was having some big influence in this. Our most unlucky player the last weeks. Totally out of form: Andrey Arshavin. First he went after a ball that seemed lost and forced a corner from the defender.  And then he takes the corner and Koscielny headed it in.

I will come back to the French Pole in a minute if you don’t mind. But now I will keep my mind set on Arshavin.  Another assist from the little Russian. Who still wasn’t on his best game. But you can see that he is trying and I think no one is more disappointed when things don’t go like he wanted it.

And let us look at our third goal. Cesc gets the ball and Arshavin starts a run and receives the ball from Cesc. And then he does what he can do so brilliantly. Holding the ball a bit while running at the defender and then releasing the ball at the right time for Cesc who put it in for our third. Another Arshavin assist to add to his numbers. So even without playing great he still made 2 of our goals tonight. Blimey, just wait till he is back in form.

And so I come back to Koscielny. On this site most of us never heard of him until he signed for us. And most of us said: oh, let us just wait and see how he adapts to the EPL. Some other fans knew better already in July. Without him even playing a game he was useless. He only played one season in the highest French league so how can he be good?  He was too small. He was not strong enough. He was the next Cygan or Stepanovs. Wenger had lost it. Again.

But from the start I saw a very atypical defender for the EPL. Not the defender who comes charging in like a bull from behind to kick everything away that is close to the ball including the striker. No, he was more the defender of intercepting the ball just before the striker without committing himself in the hard challenge. Of course this is not the way we like to see defenders. We want the bull type. But this quiet looking player just went on. And yes he made a few mistakes. Who doesn’t?

But the great thing about him is that he just gets up again, dusts himself of and just continues to play as if nothing happened.  A great thing to have. And because of the injury that Vermaelen had/has he got more and more games than Wenger and he would have dreamed of at the start of the season.  And I admit I like his style. I like the way he plays.  And most of all I like the way he adapted to the EPL.

And what about his partnership with Djourou? That other centre back who we didn’t expect back in this shape. They do look great together and my God it will be difficult for Vermaelen to come back in the side! But I think by then one of them will need a rest and Vermaelen will come back in.

But Koscielny who was bad before the season started for some fans, and who even this week was criticized by some fans, has made a great contribution if you ask me. Remember his great ball over the top against Leeds last week from which Sagna almost scored? Well now you can see he is confident of himself and his game. At the start of the season you could see that he was a bit shy when it came to playing the ball and always chose the easy pass. Now he begins to play more and he also scored. I would say in a typical Vermaelen style.

And maybe this is the best compliment one can give him.  He is our Vermaelen of this season. And yet again Wenger did know what he was doing when he bought Koscielny last summer. He knew more than the whole Arsenal blogosphere with their many writers. 5 clean sheets now with Djourou and Koscielny in the centre. Who would have thought this possible?

So yes, in Arsène I still trust. Long may he continue. Thanks lads, thanks Arsène, thanks Arsenal. It was a great day. OOOH TOOO BE A GOONER!!!!

Untold’s Submission to the Commons Enquiry on Football: let’s sort out the EPL/Championship divide

Do you know how the off side law came to be?  The full story is on the Arsenal History site

Football stewarding as art

Life as football

51 Replies to “Well, in Arsène I still trust.”

  1. @walter Whilst I am happy we have made the final I really do not get some of the hysteria.

    I get some of it as there seem to be quite a few who have never seen Arsenal win anything. I also think some are just excited to try the catering at Wembley and have the chance to buy a £10 programme.

    Is the Beer Cup such a big deal? Sure I was excited about winning it in 87 but then it was above our levels of expectation. Now, I think it is rather desperate that we are so upbeat about getting to the final of a tournament we held in such disdain for a few years.

    Until this season the Beer Cup had one purpose and one purpose only in the last five years. The chance to blood youngsters. That was it. We even continued with that policy when we played Chelsea in the final.

    If winning the thing makes everyone happy then good enough but at the same time it cannot be allowed to mask the inadequacies of the last five years.

    This competition is still the least important of the four and still the least alluring to the players. Thier rather muted celebrations last night told you that.

    I am happy we are there and I am happy that some will get the chance to see Arsenal in a domestic final for the first time but are we all really so happy that the first trophy being added to the stadiums hall of fame will be this?

    Carling Cup 2011?

    Smashing but I think I will keep the champagne on ice and hope something more meaningful comes our way asap!

  2. Walter, I know how you feel, but we’re not there yet. Funny things happen at Wembley when we play lower placed opposition.

    @snehal – maybe, just maybe, winning the Carling wotsit means more to the players than it does to the fans. Or maybe not.

  3. You have to start somewhere and I think the Carling cup would be a nice first step. Oh, and I don’t think I will be able to attend in Wembley. So no beer for me over there, no match day program. Just the chance of seeing us win something.
    And as this is the first final on the programm I will take it in the hope of more trophies later on. We cant win the league first in may and then return to February. Maybe Tony knows how to do it with some magic time loops but I just have to live according to the only calender I know.

  4. I know a final is a final and the best team doesn’t always win the final. An unlucky bounce of the ball, a ball hitting the post, anything can happen. But I’m sure the lads will do all they can to win it and this is all we can ask them.

    And I am happy that they have shown a great attitude during this Carling cup run with some difficult games away at Tottenham and Newcastle and now against Ipswich.

    So even if we should lose the final I still will keep my faith in them.

  5. @snehalbumbhatt – Blimey it seems as though you would have preferred we’d lost last night.
    The Carling Cup may not be the most prestigious cup but it is still a great achievement to win it and I will be excited and upbeat about it, as I was when we beat West Ham 3-0. They’re not the most prestigious team but I still love it when we win.
    The greatest thing about winning the Carling Cup will be the drive it gives the players to win more. It will (hopefully) give them some practise at closing out a competition which will be great experience later in the season when we’re in the FA Cup final and Champs league final!
    Arsenal also face Barcelona in the replay the week after the final. If the players are going to that game with the memory of holding a trophy in their hands the week before then I have every faith that we will beat Barcelona at Camp Nou.
    So this little cup can hold a lot of significance really. It’s a catalyst for much better things. And besides, isn’t it just great watching Arsenal win?

  6. Congrats Arsenal on CCup final! One thing I would say specifically about this post (and maybe the tone on a lot of previous posts) Please stop splitting our fanbase up, all i read is “Bla bla i said this and those other fans said that, look how great we are and how crap those other so called fans are!” The fans should be united as ONE, some need to accept that it’s not all as gloomy as they make out, and others need to realise that Criticizing the team/manager is what the fans do, does it make them less loving to the CLUB? i’d say no and it’s about time bloggers get off of their high horse.

    CONGRATS Arsenal, will love this team till i’m old and wrinkley and i die 😛

    n.b any idea on how to go about getting tickets to the final in WEMBLEY!!!

  7. @snehalbumbhatt – while I understand the carling cup isn’t the prefered trophy, we’d like the league & champs league, to me if nothing else it will put an end to the constant “haven’t won anything for 5-6 years” nonsense (when we win it, which we will). Also, you do realise that a lot of the players which were blooded in the cup are in our first team now! Clearly Wenger has a plan, it didn’t start this season, it started when he first took over at our club. You should have the champagne out already, these are the good times, enjoy them fella cos if you live your life expecting more & more, you’re just gonna end up being disapointed. I for one am delighted we’re in the final, still in the running for all four trophys. Sure we may not win them all but that’s football, be happy, we’re doing great, this is just the beginning 😉 Great article as always Walter, keep up the good work!

  8. Another mature performance from this team, patience is undoubtedly the key to any success Arsenal can achieve.

    The game wasn’t a classic, Ipswich also deserve credit, they defended well held a good shape for an hour, however better teams than the Tractor Boys have fallen foul of fatigue chasing down this Arsenal team, who relentlessly retain possession, forcing the opposition to succumb to both the physical and mental demands that task entails.

    Walter, I totally agree re- Wilshire becoming a future captain. Young Jacks inclusion and progress have certainly been one of the highlights for Me this season, in such a short space of time he has become an integral part of this exciting team.

    Onwards and upwards.

  9. Amr, I totally agree wiv ur coment victoria concordia crescit should also apply to us fans.wembley!!!! at last

  10. Great post Walter. Now that we are in the Carling Cup Final it is too too small. Nothing will ever be enough for some “Arsenal fans”. Shame!!!!

  11. @Dan – Read my posts again and notice the times I state that I am happy we won last night.

    Now why would I write that if I would have been happier to lose?

    That is just a wanky statement from you based on nothing whatsoever and totally contradictory to what I have wrote.

  12. Walter great post. And yes I think if we can win the Beer Cup that will be a VERY important step in the progress of this team.

    I also agree with Amr & Ayor. Some of the comments on some of the other sites are appalling but about those

    – some are posted intentionally by fans of other clubs in an attempt to divide the Gooners. My spud mates (yes I do have 1 or 2 like most of us who live in Nth London) think it is a hilarious thing to do.

    – it is true some Arsenal fans are at times a little over emotional, immature or old fashioned and sometimes say some silly things – but we all do that occasionally don’t we – I know I do. But that is why I like this site cause you guys get the vision and remind us all to keep things in perspective. Doing that is fantastic – you don’t need to criticise other parts of the fan base.

  13. if we dont buy in another Centre back, we can forget about winning anything meaningful. It is as if Wenger WANTS to be just short every single time. It is getting really tedious, and I am really struggling to contain my language on here. Getting to the final disguises nothing !!!!!

  14. Well done boys – remember the trophies we went on to win after the last league cup success.

    @Walter – Nice article but I have a ref question. Can you tell me whether the ref made an absolute howler when he blew for a drop kick after the ball rebounded off him into a good postion for Arsenal. I thought the ref was seen as part of the pitch like a corner flag and if the ball hits him it’s just ‘rub of the green’ and play on. Fab certainly wasn’t happy and I think he agrees with me that the ref was well out of order on that occasion. Can you comment?

    Also, I suspect ManUre are getting a ridiculous amount of ‘fortune’ from the refs this season. Gary Neville’s pen and sending off turned down and now a terrible decision not to give Blackpool a nailed on pen. WTF is happening. How can such a shit team still be unbeaten?!?!?!?!

  15. snehalbumbhatt – let me get this right… we’re still in all 4 competitions (one of at the stage of a cup final) and you are so furious with Wenger that you can hardly contain your language?

    Is that correct?

  16. Would like to take my hat off to the boys last night 😉 They stuck at it even when things were not going our way and never let themselves drop. Credit to ipswich for the way they played. Thought Jack was out of this world last night and it is a pleasure wathing him play!! He is gonna be truely world class and thank the lord he is with us. We all looked hungry last night and the way the boys celebrated showed how much it means to them. I know it is only the cc however it is a final and a chance for the lads to taste and feel what its like to play a final and to WIN! it should be the spring board for the future and now we can chill and focus on the prem and cl. My only negative from last night is denilson he is so poor its a joke and don’t understand what AW sees in him!!! I think this will give the WHOLE club a lift and spur us on for the remainder of the season. There is a togetherness about us at the moment which is a good thing. Noone gives us any chance for the league and cl so lets prove all doubters wrong!!

  17. Yes, we are in all four competitons but that does not hide if any one of our defenders get injured and that docile skillachi comes in then Good heavens

  18. @snehalbumbhatt
    You don’t have to contain your language here, let’s hear you vent your spleen about everything that’s wrong with the team.

  19. Snehalbumbhatt

    Ready to learn?

    Squillaci (that’s how you spell it)

    Ignorance truly is bliss.

  20. When i saw Koscielny in his early months at Arsenal, i found him a good defender who had the basics down of defending at Arsenal quickly, but he had 1 problem. His timing on high balls. It happened too many times that a ball bounced over his head or that he just completely mis-timed for a header. But that is something that i wasn’t worried about, it would sort itself out after he got used to the Premier League. And it has.

    It’s quite unbelieveable that, compared to last year, we have a defence with two different centre backs and a different keeper. One played at Lorient last season, the other one was injured all season and the keeper was playing for Brentford in League One. Now they’re playing for Arsenal and i must say that right now with Djourou, Koscielny and Szczesny, i haven’t felt this confident and assured of the defence in a while.

    I still miss Vermaelen, Fabianski has had an almost perfect season and i still think we need at least one defender to fill up the gaps left by Squillaci and the Verminator, but with Djourou and Koscielny playing and Szczesny on goal, i have the feeling that we’re going to be alright.

  21. snehalbumbhatt–
    Let me get this straight:
    -You expect one of the defenders to get injured? The same old canard that AW needs to spend, spend….
    -“don’t expect to win anything meaningful…”. I guess you know which win has meaning.
    -Would you be kind to explain the purpose of Wenger’s use of the CC to blood in the youngsters? How many of the team that started yesterday were blooded in the CC?
    – At least learn to spell names right- “docile” Squillaci. Take a look again at the league table to see goals conceded by the top 4.

    You are one of those who always sees the glass as half-empty. One who sees the sun shining and say dark clouds must be approaching. It seems to me Wenger’s multi-year plan is beginning to bear fruit, in spite of the nay sayers in the press and on line.

    Walter- You missed the most sublime pass by Wilshere, weighted over the defense at Fabregas in the first half. I remember my wife asking me a while back how old the guy is. Even as a recent convert to football, she remarked that he plays like he is 25! Thank you for an uplifting write-up.

  22. walter, i havent yet read this article (a bit busy), but will eventually read it. but something is missing – Untold Referee Index. please psot it, that is one of my favourites.

  23. Koscielny DOES tend to commit too much and get caught out of position. He seems sometimes too eager to get the ball, which is also the quip I had with Vermaelen.
    I’d go for a Djourou-Vermaelen partnership when/if the latter ever comes back for us.

    Excellent article by the way.

  24. Erm 3rd goal was started by Denilson. He won the ball back from a counter attack from Ipswich. He plaid a lovely forward pass to Shavin who then laid it to cesc. I thought Den was fantastic last night.

    Arshavin was trying last night but I really do think his little legs really inhibit him. I’m suprised that he has taken such a dip from when we first met him. But I hope he can get back into that form for him and Arsenal.

  25. Interesting looking at the average age of our carling cup team yesterday (not is rounded down to nearest year) so may not be exactly accurate…
    Sczcncney? 20
    Koscielny – 25
    Djourou – 23
    Sagna – 27
    clichy – 25
    Denilson – 22
    Wilshere – 19
    Fabregas – 23
    Arshavin – 29
    Van Persie – 27
    Bendtner – 23

    Average age is 24 years for the above starting lineup. That is not a bad average age at all. Much older as expected than the usual carling cup teams from yester year.

    It shows there is so much more potential from this team that has yet to be tapped. Exciting!

  26. Good win for you guys – and a even better win for us – We showed gr8 fight to beat b’pool and whilst i must congratualte you for your win I’m convinced we will the title on this form

  27. It is remarkable how many people bring out that “but what if so and so gets injured?” as a reason to buy. If that is the way you are seeing things then the appropriate question becomes “how many players should we buy to avoid every possible injury?”. Should we have 6 central defenders? 6 Full-Backs? 6 strikers? You can see where this is going, can’t you? There is a 25 man limit to squad sizes. At some point you have to say “this is my team and if we get loads of injuries then that is just the way it is”. You cannot keep going out and buying to cope with every eventuality because, according to sods law, if we were to buy another defender then a striker would probably get hurt, and if we were to buy another striker, a midfielder would probably get hurt.

    We won a Cup Semi-Final and are going to Wembley. That is great. Enjoy it. This team continues to progress and improve with very game they play.

    Terry – I assume you are a Utd supporter (good guess huh?). Yea, unbelievable result for you guys. I think your luck will definately run out eventually this season. That doesnt mean I think you will fall apart, I just cannot see this Utd team going undefeated. I still think the two games you have against Chelsea and the trip to the Emirates will be the big games and think the race is still wide open. There are only so many times you can pull the rabbit out of the hat. Once or twice in a season is fine, but seven or eight times is getting ridiculous.

  28. The questions about the ref will be answered in the ref review which will come online somewhere today, I think.

  29. @Paul – we shall see matey. At this rate i cant see anyone stopping the UTD Juggernaut. And i think you will be undone by us at the em’s

  30. Utd juggernaut? What Utd juggernaut? You are scraping out wins with extreme amounts of luck. Look at last night. That was a clear cut penalty at 2-0 and it wasnt given. Were you going to come back from 3-0? And the missed penalty a few weeks ago when you were 1-0 down? This Utd team is not a juggernaut. I wouldnt even think Fergie rates this as one of his top-10 teams. Nobody fears this Utd team. You could still win the Championship, I have no doubts about that. But this Utd team is as far from a juggernaut as any Utd team I’ve seen in the past twenty years. Utd have made the most of their luck and are worth their lead right now, but to classify this Utd side as a juggernaut is one-eyed bias as bad as there is.

  31. sometimes you have the ref on your side and at other times we have the ref on our side 😉

    like it or lump it we are grinding out the results and thats all that matters really – we have the trophoes to show for it and once again we will have the main one in the bag

  32. Superb win!! But we were made to sweat for this win…only one team remains between us and our first trophy. Hope we can do it…
    Keep the Faith Fellow Gooners!! 🙂

  33. I said at the start of the season we would win Silverware but the prem was out of our grasp. And I stand by that. I think this year if all players stay we have found a side that next year will be up there all season and I would be certain we would win the prem and other trophies.

    But though I think United have been luck at times. It’s nothing new. They are known for their super subs and dogged attempts at winning games near the end of the match. Something I think we have lacked but are showing signs we are getting this. Let’s just keep our focus and keep winning and trying as hard as we can. We have points to prove and the Carling Cup is not enough!

  34. Terry

    Sometimes you have the Ref on your side and at other times you again have the Ref on your side.

    It does seem remarkable the amount of major decisions that have gone your teams way this season.

    It would appear, some are more equal than others.

  35. @Terry
    Haha, at least you can admit that Utd get the rub of the green a little more often than most 😉 and why not, embrace the dodginess.

    It’s the Utd fans who pretend there’s nothing going on and it all “evens itself out” that bug me.

  36. I wont lie to say we get the ‘better treatment’ at OT but I have also seen shocking decisions not given too. But that’s for another day another topic.

  37. I am looking forward to the final the league cup still means a lot to many teams and their fans, when looking at ManUtd and Chelsea winning it recently all I could see was “Happy Players with BIG smiles and supporters crowing about their achievements”

    Walter, I wouldnt let Cesc go though and wait for 4 years until Wiltshire is at the same age and level. I would make him see out his contract hopefuly he will want to stay and this first trophy will be the start of him being more happy about us winning things.

    Your an idiot no rhyme or reason to any of your comments …..Jog On.

  38. Terry – absolutely, good on Utd for taking advantage of those decisions and ramming it home to the opposition. Dont get me wrong, Utd are an excellent side, a hard-working unit with one player in transcendent form (Berbatov) and when fit, the best central defense in Europe. That may be enough for them this season because our home defeats to Newcastle and West Brom were poor, not the type of things champions do. You’ve got to establish a fortress at home, which you have done and we havent.

    But Utd’s away form has been shaky, and that still leaves the door wide open. If we return the favour and beat you at home then it is effectively a two point gap, and you still have to play Chelsea twice and City at home. We are done with City and Chelsea for the season. This race is still on.

  39. I cant help it. Carling cup or not. Going to wembley and playing footy in a FINAL is always fun. I dont care if nobody takes it serious. its still way exciting. Im gonna buy a nice six pack and watch the game and enjoy it.

    Im not a cup snob, i love cups. I loved CC before cos it gave the young talent a chance to prove themselves, i love CC now cos we in the final and i will scream and yell and jump around madly when we win this Mickey Mouse cup and i will be proud to be an Arsenal fan. and i will laugh at all the stupid papers that hate Arsenal knowing it will be a long time until they again can say “bla bla bla and no trophies for bla bla bla years…”

  40. i play a cruel game where i listen to and read the press comments on the arsenal- then scan comments for repetition, try it-lots of fun.
    however commenter on the day has to be snelhalbumbhatt/ buy another defender!!!!!- i choose to look on it as tough love for arsene.

  41. United juggernaut! Yet again – seems they needed the help of a sympathetic ref last night.
    Back to Arsenal – whisper it – but really get the sense things are starting to come together. Injuries remain a worry with this team but our cover is starting to look stronger.
    Hopefully, we will lift the Carling Cup, the first of many bigger things for this team.
    Guess you are right about getting a team and trying to stick with it Paul C. Buying is not always the answer,(not sure Arry would agree here) tho I do worry about our defensive cover should we lose a couple of them.
    Still…onwards and upwards…

  42. I am really pleased you highlighted Jack’s performance. A few matches ago I thought he needed a rest, but he has come through really well. I hope Cesc never leaves, but if he does then Jack is the heir apparent.

    I also liked your piece about Koscielny. He is far from a finished article, but he definitely has potential and improves in leaps and bounds. I also think there is something about Djourou that reminds me of an old fashioned ‘sweeper’. It is the way he brings the ball out of defence.

  43. there are rumours (young guns)flying around that we are close to bringing in a young croatian defender. the boy,19 looks fantasic. classic wenger target, if you ask me.

  44. You know its really funny to read the comments of AAA’s like @ snehalbumbhatt: when they shout “buy, buy, buy” who exactly are they talking to? Wenger? Does he follow Untold? Or is @ snehalbumbhatt talking to us? Well we don’t want to “buy, buy, buy” thank you! And by now the AAA’s should understand that Wenger’s game is high science compared to say ‘arry Redscrap. Funny also that @ snehalbumbhatt should be so disparaging about the CC when Man U, Chelsea and even George Graham’s Gunners used it as a launch pad for sustained League successes! I don’t know if @ snehalbumbhatt plays the game or any competitive sport for that matter (reading his comments makes me doubt that very much) but as a lifelong sports person and a career P.E. Teacher & football coach I can tell you that to the team there is no such thing as a lesser competition. At their stage of development winning the CC would be just as powerful psychologically as winning the EPL. In real terms this team is a couple of years behind Wenger’s schedule – the team should have won the league a couple of years ago…if we hadn’t crumbled after Eduardo’s injury we would have been sweeping all before us since then. No one would be talking about Barcelona now. Psychologically this final is more important than the league at the moment. Because as Walter says it comes first. We get through this and lift the cup and we’ll see a transformed team for the rest of the season. All the pain and disappointment will have been eradicated in an instant to be replaced by something unique for most of the current players: the knowledge of what it feels like to win something!

  45. I’m old enough to remember being at Wembley for the 1968 League Cup Final (note – no sponsorship). It came at the end of a 15 years period without a trophy and, indeed without an appearance in any final. We lost (and again the following year) but it marked the beginning of another remakable period in the Clubs history when there was a final of some kind every year for 5 years and the winning of the Double.Actually winning can be viewed as the icing on the cake but getting there is still sweet.
    Koscielny? He reminds me of Carlos Puyol – not tall but remakably quick and a fantastic reader of the game. Such players need time to acclimatise to the speed of the game here which he done remakably quickly. Against a small team like Barcelona he could actually play alongside Vermaelen and be very effective.
    Wilshere? Couldn’t agree more with you Walter – but with one proviso. When we first saw him in the reserves he was playing much further forward – often wide right, where Theo plays now. Moving him into the middle and giving him more of an ‘anchor’ role is both brave and inspired. Few (no?) other managers would have the nerve to do it and many players would baulk at it.
    I don’t think he’ll be captain in the long term future – I think Djourouu is a more likely candiddate for that role – but he will be key for us and for England, as will Gibbs and one or two others emerging now.
    Win or lose the Carling Cup it’s difficult for anyone but the most negative and pessimistic (or fans of rivals) to be anything but positive about the short, medium and probably, the long term future for Arsenal.
    And Spurs will be moving to Luton!

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