Celtic 1 Arsenal 5: senational team, sensational prediction, sensational history

Welcome to the new world – the world in which Arsenal have recreated a team, devised a new free-flowing 4-3-3 system, and produced players of the highest quality who just a year ago were derided.

Welcome also to the new world in which Untold Arsenal is able to influence complete matches and give you the score in advance. Just to remind you (in case you missed any of the last 2547 articles here, on saturday morning I gave you Everton 1 Arsenal 7 and was nearly right.

Yesterday I gave you Celtic 0 Arsenal 4 – and what’s more told of our selfless activities in making sure the crowd noise could not be heard. If you watched on Sky last night, you’ll have heard crowd noise – and most of the time it was Arsenal.

I make my case, I do the work, I give you the score, I take my bow.

So it was Celtic 1 Arsenal 5 (shots on target) and Celtic 0 Arsenal 2 (on the mere detail of goals). The radio this morning says that we will be putting out some of the kiddiwinks in the return game, so instead of being forced to head balls in from the stand our Jack (whose surname I always spell wrong) will be able to score from the half way line.

Actually it was interesting to see how Sky follow ESPN in keeping sensible Arsenal comment out of the way of their programmes. Last night the “team” in the studio was an ex-tottenham manager, the son of the current tottenham manager, and an ex-man-iou players who was Celtic manager. Although I have to admit Strachan was worth listening too. Anyway, that’s balance (apparently).

But back to self-reverence, since it is now impossible for my head to get out of the room I might as well add that a year ago in Highbury High I wrote that the one player who would come through in the next 12 months to shine and shine again, would be Alex Song. I take another bow.

Genius or what? (Actually if you have had an irony by-pass this article is going to be a bit tough going).

And all this built on a transfer kitty of minus £40m.

Greg Adams, of the excellent GCR Books (see the permanent link on the right to his website) wrote to me recently with a reminder of the fact that Wenger’s transfer policy approach has long antecedents in our great and glorious history.

Greg’s thoughts – which I give below – are based on the book “Forward Arsenal” by Bernard Joy – there’s details on that below as well – and I’ll be doing a full review shortly, because it is a vital book for anyone who wants to understand our history.

Here’s Greg’s thoughts on transfers…

“The Wenger approach to transfer spending is, in fact, not too far removed from that of former Arsenal Chairman Sir Henry Norris who, when appointing Leslie Knighton as manager in 1919, specified “no transfer fees over GBP1000” at a time when the average player commanded GBP3,000.

“Knighton was forced to look everywhere for able footballers who would cost only the GBP10 signing-on fee and had to rely on his many friends coming across suitable footballers, almost by chance, and passing on the information to him.

“Norris even tried to extend his limitations to the Football League and in 1922 and 1924 proposed a transfer limit of GBP1650. Both attempts found little support.

“Interestingly, given the recent article about the height of the current Arsenal squad, another of Norris’s ecicts was, ‘no more small players. Nobody under 5 feet 8 inches or 11 stone.’

“Shortly afterwards, Knighton heard of a tiny 5 foot winger Hugh “midget” Moffatt of Workington who was delighting crowds with his impudent trickery. Knighton was so captivated that he could not resist signing him and took him on the club’s tour to Sweden. He was very successful but Norris disapproved and Moffatt was soon transferred to Luton Town.

“The breach of Norris’s authority was the beginning of the end for Knighton and after six unsuccessful seasons in charge, Norris dismissed him and advertised for a new manager. However, despite the lack of success, he stuck to his principles and stipulated, ‘Anyone who considers paying exorbitant transfer fees need not apply.’

“The new manager, as we know, was Herbert Chapman who was going to conduct a spending spree unprecedented in football up to then and one that was to earn Arsenal the “Bank of England Club” tag.

“Whilst Arsenal’s success in the 1930’s only came about after Chapman’s spending spree (the GBP11,500 paid in 1928 for David Jack was a record and GBP5,000 more than the previous highest transfer) it is clearly not impossible to build a successful team using more prudent methods. Arsene Wenger has done it once and, I believe, is close to doing the same again. Hopefully common sense in the transfer market will prevail over deep pockets and we’ll see some silverware in the trophy cabinet come May.”

As I mentioned above details for this article on Arsenal’s history were taken from the recently republished edition of Forward Arsenal by Bernard Joy which is now available through GCR Books (www.gcrbooks.co.uk) at a price of GBP12.95.

I don’t have all the prices in front of me but if anyone would care to write in with the individual transfer fee of each of the players on display last night, that would be very welcome.

This is, I believe, the moment, when the previous transfer position of clubs will unravel before our eyes. We don’t know which way West Iceland will fall, and we can see the pain at Liverpool on a daily basis – the bankers have demanded their annual repayment of the debt and the club simply don’t have the money to spend (exactly as predicted here 18 months ago, I take another bow).

Will somebody shut that bloody dog up?

(Bow / bow wow – its a play on words. Oh never mind).

(c) Tony Attwood 2009 – read it again on Team Talk.

35 Replies to “Celtic 1 Arsenal 5: senational team, sensational prediction, sensational history”

  1. Tony, In yesterday’s prediction, it was 1-4, not 0-4.. Even though We didnt score lots of goals but it was indeed an incredible performance from the team. I was very nervous/excited before the match but when the players came out, the calmness/confidence on their face calmed me..

    Vermaelen looked really great and has a great engine just like Denilson. I loved the moment he ran the whole length of the pitch during the first half and made the most-important tackle of the match. I just pray Gallas to stay for another year or two. This partnership is getting better and better and can be one of the best partnership in the game. Vermaelen also has excellent ariel ability. Loved the way he attacked the goal-kicks and the long-balls.

    This formation suits our players very well.. Love the way they interchange positions and the runs they make..

  2. Alex Song is pure magic to watch. All holding midfielders should learn from this guy.

  3. Two seasons ago, I wonder how many non-Arsenal fans have heard of Alex Song. At the end of this season, they will all be wondering just how on earth did these light weight, hitherto unknown players suddenly become such dominant midfield masters, and why didn’t their teams have the same players…

  4. IndianGooner – a man of my fortune telling abilities cannot be expected to remember mere details!

    Ken – agree entirely, but I also wonder how many people remember the “he’s not fit to wear the Arsenal shirt” stuff that came from a load of Arsenal fans after he had a poor match against Fulham two years ago.

    It shows the utter genius of Wenger – he has found us someone who could be as stunning as Vieira, the “fans” hated him at first, Wenger stuck with him – and wow! look what we have got.

    A perfect case study.

  5. @Ken :
    non Arse fans who followed Cameroon knew about Song; he was producing similar displays for Cameroon in the DM position in ANC, Olympics etc.

    the hatred of Song was partly because of Arseblog — Song played consistently well in the Carling Cup matches(some of which were not televised/streamed, hence Arseblogger missed them), but Arseblogger consistently slated him for his aweful performance against Fulham (forgot if PL or CC match) at Highbury.

    Great result last night – 2 away goals :D.
    Verminator is GOOD.

  6. I am… I really can’t describe my feelings. I can’t find the words. Arsene is quietly rewriting Arsenal’s history. He is definitely doing the opposite of what Chapman did and is pretty convinced. He said, “my belief was full. If I read or listened too much to opinions I would not have done what I have done.” You see, he does know what people are saying. He is just folloing his convictions. I so very much pray that the project succeeds this year. I know that it will give hope to a lot of teams to try the same model of success. What a revolution we will have?

    Arsene also gave a recipe for success of such a project in these three words at the press interview before the Celtic match: Talent, Attitude, and Opportunity. Could these be the new Arsenal doctrine? Look at his team that he built. Arsene the philosopher said, “Life is about talent, attitude and opportunity. I believe that we have talent, attitude and we have a good opportunity in front of us to prove we are good enough so let’s take it.”. It seems that he is also saying to anyone who cares to listen, including the IKBs (I Know Better) out there, ‘If you have the Talent and the right Attitude, you will be given the full Opportunity and it is down to you to take them.’ Isn’t this showing in his team? Long may we continue to enjoy this success.

    I got into another argument midnight. A mindless … (don’t want to use a bad language) was attempting to score each player’s performance. He gave RVP less than 5 and DENILSON 5 etc, etc. I told him in no uncertain terms never to attempt scoring our boys performances any more. He really knows nothing about football and he is scoring; Uhn, cheeky … How such a conceited… can call himself an Arsenal fan is beyond me. Why do we seem to be gathering so much moss?

  7. Sorry, Tony. I forgot to congratulate you on another piece of excellence. Keep them coming, please.

  8. I dont need to add anything on Song or Denilson – they’ve followed the usual Wenger pattern of “young lightweight unknowns” who stumble in their first season or so but all of a sudden become well established team regulars that people forget about how they gave them stick earlier…

    For me the interesting player to watch the first two matches has been Bendtner – he’s not as clever at finishing as Eduardo, not as silky in passing or running as Cesc but he looks to be making a decent fist of the new role as wide attacking midfield/forward role. The sale of Ade seems to have liberated the team to play without a big man up front and rather than Mendtner trying to replace him the wide players are free to work more closely together as packs.

    Ive no idea whether this will work against Man U and Chelsea but at present hes keeping Edaurdo out of the side and further down the line Walcott, Rosicky and Nasri will be lining up on the bench at this rate – not a bad reerve team for a supposedly thin squad.

    Exciting times – but one wonders why we didnt – with the type of player arsene have – play 4-3-3 before: it suits our players and style so much better.

  9. LRV, Spot on.. I too am praying for this ‘project’ to be a success this year or else Arsene would not get the credit he deserves from some sections of the footballing world..

  10. From today’s Guardian –

    “Song was outstanding, his strength, smart positioning and interceptions helping to stem Celtic raids and launch those of his own team. As Wenger seeks his version of total football through midfield and attack, the importance of Song’s role cannot be overestimated.”

    Very true. It does raise the valid question as to who the cover is in the absence of Song – my supposition is that we would change formation to 442.

    Unless we sign someone suitable of course (which on evidence thus far would be harsh if they were to displace Song).

    Given the paucity of DMs and their inflated price I wonder how much Song is now worth or will be worth by January?!!!

  11. LRV I thought RVP was pretty woeful last night – should be working the keeper (and scoring) a lot more than he did. He was like that for large part of last season too – a tad too profligate for my liking.

    Still as you point out, less than 5 is ridiculous. I’d have given him a 6 and Denilson a solid 7.5.

  12. It was great performance, and without even looking at score, just when you look at the way team works. Stability in back line, Gallas and Wermaelen controlling all, communicating (what we lacked with Toure). In attack we have can opener for tight defenses, and even some say we are lucky with scoring, I prefer to say we were unlucky because we couldn’t score more. Boys in middle totally outplayed Celts, and it was just mater of moment when will some pass get trough and end behind Boruc. (so with a just little bit of luck Tony could again predict correctly).

    @Nick in Frankfurt
    In previous season, Le Boss was aware how fragile was our defense, so he rather strengthened defensive part of game. But once he sorted it he first time get in to this kind of play versus Midlsborough, I remember than we first time played 4-1-4-1 (basically in football you have 3 lines definition by segments of play so its 4-3-3, but if you sort players by their roles in game its 4-1-4-1).

  13. What was it they used to say when 90% of Lampards goals were acute angle deflections? Something about champions winning by any means!

  14. The first English win in Celtic for over 26 years and it was the then dominant Nottingham Forrest team who won several European cups in those days. Are we writing history ?
    What another great team performance.
    Bring on Portsmouth…. and I think AW will make some changes for this game.

  15. Tony as requested – (to best of my knowledge)

    M Almunia 2.5M
    B Sagna 6M
    W Gallas (Swap)
    T Vermaelen 10M
    G Clichy 2.5M
    Denilson 3.4M
    A Song 0.1M
    F Fàbregas Free
    N Bendtner 0.2M
    R van Persie 2.75M
    A Arshavin 15M

    Total – 42.45M

    If you add in Diaby –
    A Diaby (70) 0.2M

    We could round it up to c £43M.

  16. LRV – I came across the site you mentioned. The first thing I did this morning (I’m based in Asia) was to seacr for Celtic vs Arsenal player ratings to find out what people say about our performance. I went to each and everyone of them, both independent as well as supposed Arsenal supporters sites and I came across this site that gave the rating that you mentioned. I would have been very disturbed in the past but today, i just laughed off their ignorance.

  17. If I got coin every time I sow ratings and had to spit on computer or papers I would be rich, very rich. In general if you take average rating in all games we won last season we had lower rating than opponent we beat. Even some goalies whom we managed to fill with 3-4, had higher rating than Almunia or Fabianski and so on.

  18. Any comment that has a link within it, goes into moderation. I have this setting because the vast amount of junk that comes through to the site hour by hour is in fact a set of links to other site, and I need to remove these before publication.

    Because I am also (contrary to popular opinion) trying to do my job at the same time, and occasionally even have a social life, I do occasionally miss a genuine article that might have a link within it – so anything with a link in, can be delayed for a while. Never anything personal – it is just the only way I have of running the system


  19. LRV – Myles Palmer is very famous amongst Arsenal blogs – he wrote one of the very first and even published a book call ‘The Professor’ about Wenger.

    Sadly the guy is and always has been more than a little bit unhinged.

    Others, less generous than me, would probably say he is a ‘complete and utter tit’.

  20. Johnny m8

    M Almunia 2.5M
    B Sagna 6M
    W Gallas (Swap)
    T Vermaelen 8M
    G Clichy 250k
    Denilson 3.4M
    A Song 1.0M
    F Fàbregas Free
    N Bendtner Free(academy)
    R van Persie 2.75M
    A Arshavin 15M
    A Diaby 2.0M

    Total – 40.65M

  21. I swear! What the hell is Myles Palmer on! Isn’t he just a first class spud coming up with such tripe. His Attitude sucks. He’s a talented w-word ending in anker. This gives us the opportunity to boycott that rubbish excuse of a site. As always, Arsene knows.

    Watched the first game of the season. Song was phenomenal in that one. I guess people were simply waiting for him to have a bad game. Couldn’t watch yesterday’s match but good to see he’s kept it up.

    I watched a re-run on Arsenal tv where we outclassed a Westham team composed of Lampard in the middle and Ferdinand at the back. They must have been around 22-23 years then. Lampard didn’t look like he belonged in any midfield and Ferdinand was simply terrorized at the back. We have people playing excellently at the same age and I simply don’t understand why people have to be so negative.

    Thanks to Tony we have some respite from all these negative clueless chumps.

  22. I confess that I am rather a careful person with optimistics, but I rather stay on the ground and I had the impression that it wasn’t Arsenal’s best form, Arshavin, van Persie, Bendtner, Fabregas they all seemed to me not to be in best comfort, excuse my expressions, I’m German, I just talk out of my stomach so don’t mind me, but it’s even more worth if they win their weaker matches too, so it shouldn’t be criticism, I think Celtic were much agressive in the first half, exactly the way how theicehammer commented, and the goual was luck, obviously, I think the goalkeeper would have caught Faby’s freekick (and I wasn’t sure if it was a freekick at all, don’t mind me, it’s difficult to say sometimes ), and after this goal, Celtic really were disappointed, they had to fight with their psyche, and even managed to play at a high level, they forced much of wrong passes from Arsenal, then the second goaul was lucky, cause the defender should have kicked the ball out of the field if he wasn’t a footstep too late and that resulted from frustration and disappointment, though Arsenal forced these mistakes, resp. they forced their luck, of course, but I can’t agree that it was an excellent performance from our boys, the contrary, but it was an excellent fought, in my opinion the teams were at one level in general aspects, but Arsenal did the goals and that was luck, though for me at nearly every goal there is a bit of luck within, so don’t mind me, there are a lot of more games where they can show their excellence and I hope they will do so dot

  23. The trip to Celtic is one of the most difficult ones for English teams. They almost gave Celtic nog chance of scoring a goal and in an away tie where the winners goes trough this is all you need to do and score self a goal or two.
    It wasn’t the best game, I admit, but if you can win those games…. then you have got wat it takes to…… fill in as you like.
    Last year we could have lost such a game and now the worst thing we could have reached was a draw, no way Celtic would have won. That’s the difference with one year back.

  24. You have to laugh at all the doom-mongers writing us off before a ball was kicked. Arsene Knows…and true Arsenal fans knew too that we had a great team, strength in depth and that the last two seasons have been blighted by injuries and bad referreeing decisions (08 CL QF for starters!)
    Two good away wins against decent teams and suddenly those who said we would struggle for 4th place and to qualify for the CL are now tipping us for greatness.
    It’s a funny old game innit?

  25. Hey Untold Arsenal supporters, there is one battle we true Arsenal & Lord Wenger supporters seem to be winning, unless I am halucinating. The IKBs (I know Better) at le grove, who call everyone else AKBs (Arsene Know Best), are deliriously happy with our 2 wins. They are even praising our boys whom they have hitherto said were not fit to play for Arsenal. Wonders shall never end.

  26. The guys who have done a breakdown of the squad value are wrong about Gallas. We actually got £5 million plus Gallas in exchange for Cashley.

  27. LRV, We seems to be winning even though its just the start.

    Anyone read the article on Arsenal.com with the title “Vermaelen – Gallas has been key to my start”. This again proves that Arsene really knows.

    I’m not sure about others but I really wish Gallas stays for atleast another 2 years.. The team-spirit and the understanding between the players during the last couyple of games has been outstanding and Gallas seems to be lot happier.. I really hope He stays for couple more years.

  28. LRV – I’ll finally believe we have won when Sinbad swallows the moronic, unpleasant bilge he spouts and admits he is not worthy to wear The Arsenal colours.

    Is anyone else aware of the necrotic arse-clown that is Sinbad?

    He writes for perhaps the worst Arse blog in the world (arsenalaction). Since the start of the season he has been VERY quiet indeed.

    In fact Arsenalaction’s last two posts have been footballers cars and that Chamahk is no longer interested in Arsenal.

    Frankly I just find it funny that these people, who (like all of us) have a limited grasp of football tactics and the inside football world, assume they know so much better than Wenger and still complain about what, to my mind, was actually for the most part, an excellent season (last season).

  29. KG at 10:10 am – I am happy you reminded us that “the hatred of Song was partly because of Arseblog — Song played consistently well in the Carling Cup matches ….but Arseblogger consistently slated him for his aweful performance against Fulham.” In the past, I have expressed elsewhere that because he is a very influential bloggerI, found Arseblogger’s continued slating of “certain” players during the past two years to be irresponsible and very negative to Arsene’s rebuilding of a young team. Up till recently he spent time belittling Eboue with a certain perjorative joke I refuse to repeat. He calls it fun but when it is echoed and and re-echoed by his minions and fellow-bloggers who have been inspired by him, it tkes root in the Arsenal fan-base. I will never gorget the humiliation of Eboue when he returned from injury and was thrust on left-midfield, only to be booed and jeered, eventually the substitute had to be substituted. I call AB the comedian from Dublin, a smart writer who has certainly gained fame and notoriety but IMO at the expense of the club.
    PS: I did deliberately not repeat your quote where you excused AB’s ignorance of Song because he never saw games where he played well – that is no excuse for a blogger of his stature.

  30. Poor United – No Ronaldo to get them out of jail.

    Just watched the Burnley – United game (great game!) on Veetle TV and the screen was showing SETANTA SPORTS. Thought they were bust. Are they still going in the US? Does anyone know?

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