Arsenal: what is wrong and what could be an answer

By Walter Broeckx

What is wrong this season so far?

If we look at the number of games we lost we are not doing that bad in fact.  With 4 lost games we do better than some other teams who are fighting for the CL places this season. But there are 3 teams who have done better than us: both Manchester clubs and Everton.

We have lost one only game more than Manchester United and that is a rather surprising fact when you look at the league table. WBA who are only one point behind us have lost the double of the games (8) and yet they are very close to us.

Where we go wrong is the number of games we draw and win. We have too many draws compared with the other teams who are close to us. Only Everton has more with 9 draws and we have 7. The rivals down the road do better than this and they have more wins and fewer draws, but also more losses.

So to improve it is vital that we win more games. This is of course easier said than done. I can imagine that the players would love to win more games than they did but for various reasons it didn’t work as good as we all hoped for.

Now the draws we had so far were games that most of the time we should have won or could have won. We started with 2 draws against Sunderland and Stoke and these games should have been won. But at the start of the season we couldn’t score. But looking at the chances for Arsenal compared to the chances for those two teams this is when we lost 4 points.

Our next draw was at Manchester City. And I think this was a game that could have gone either way. We deserved a point at least but we also could have lost that game. And a draw at City is not a bad result so I think we can accept that as a good draw.

The next draw we had was against Fulham. I think we all remember the disappointment when Arteta shot the penalty to close to Schwarzer who could put it in corner. This was a game we should have won at the end. Another draw we should have turned in to a win.

The next draw was at Aston Villa and again I remember us having most of the chances but we couldn’t score on the day. Those two games were again 4 points lost.

After that we went to Everton and we shot ourselves in the foot with a few errors leading to Everton scoring the equaliser. 2 points lost then? Well I do think a point at Everton is a decent result so far this season. So I can be satisfied with a draw there.

And finally our draw with Southampton the other day. I still haven’t been able to see the whole game but apparently we were poor. Wenger even said we can feel lucky to have won a point. So certainly not a desirable result and a not expected one but when you are not entitled to win we cannot but accept the draw.

But from the 7 draws we can say that we really should have won 4 of those games. I know the league table is not built on ifs, but that would have been 8 extra points for Arsenal this season so far. If only we would have been able to convert our chances a bit better.

Overall on average we score 2 goals a game and we let in just over 1 goal. So statistically we should be able to win each game with 2-1. We have had a few high scoring games we won but then we also had 5 games in which we couldn’t score.

Looking at goals scored we are near to the top teams (3rd highest in fact) an in goals conceded we also have only 3 teams who do better than us.

So we are close to the best teams on scoring and stopping the others from scoring but just not there.

So what is missing for the moment? Someone who can rule the field in a physical way a bit more than the players we have. Although we have one but he is turning in to a tragic character in an opera for whom all goes wrong. I am talking about Diaby. I like him and love him as a player and am a great admirer. But I think he is a player that can only play one game a week when fit. I wouldn’t even use him for a midweek game when fit. It will break him.

But I do think a player like him when fit would be the missing link we could do with to turn a draw in to a win. But for the moment I don’t count on him.

So who can we use to replace him? Rosicky is another type of player that could be used to give Cazorla a rest in my opinion. And we do seem to need a type of player that can run a game on his presence and physical force.

When you think of such players most of us will end up with…Fellaini. He is strong as an ox.  He is one to take on Shawcross and have a good battle with him. He scores plenty of goals and can be strong in defence when we need some tall guys to defend our penalty area.

I can imagine lots of fans saying: we should buy him. But would he fit in at Arsenal? That would be a major question to ask. And I really have my doubts. Because at Everton he plays more  as a target man but this is not the Arsenal way. We don’t play that way. If we bought him we would have to change our system.

Put Fellaini up front and have Walcott lurking on for the loose ball? With his pace he could be lethal to pick up the ball Fellaini heads on and so we could score a few goals. But then where would this leave the rest of our players and our playing system? It is not because a player fits in at a certain club in a certain style that he will fit in at Arsenal in another style.

But of course we could use Fellaini in a midfield role where he can support both attack and midfield. As a box to box player.  But he is not a defensive midfielder. Maybe he could play there but I don’t think he is disciplined enough to play that role. That is something we should forget.

Would I take him if I would have something to say in the matter? Well I think I would. But then again I wouldn’t be sure that he would work at Arsenal. But maybe there are other people who can judge this much better than I can. Cut the maybe. There are lots of other people who can judge this much better.  But based on his performances so far and looking at what we seem to miss in some games he could be a possible answer. But it would be a big surprise to me if he would come to Arsenal to be honest.

But we must do something about the games we had draws and bring that number down and win those games. That will be vital from now on till the end of the season.


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92 Replies to “Arsenal: what is wrong and what could be an answer”

  1. Nice analysis 🙂 been thinking about such issues too. Also the fact that most players would not fit into the system and there’s no fitting player in the market would mean that any changes would have to come from within instead of through £30-million deals.

  2. I will probably be shot/ hung /drawn and quartered yumm my dinner was quarter roast duck last night sorry i digress .

    but i think Lampard if let go by roman’s toy club would be a very interesting signing. i drool at the thought of santi arteta and lampard in the same midfield now back to thinking about my crispy duck drools again

  3. As an Evertonian I trust Wenger shares your reservations about Fellaini. I think your misgivings would have been well founded up until this season, when he’s displayed a skils set that justifies £15 mill. we gambled on him. The Everton fans weren’t convinced, but he’s a brilliant footballer and where he would fit into an Arsenal set-up is clear to me. wenger hasalways hada touch of the purist about his style, I bet he wishes he’d bought Arteta years ago, what you so clearly lack is bite …see the Newcastle match last weekend. Walcott scores goals for fun, you have a very solid ‘keeper and a leaky defence and a midfield with a lack of guile due to inexperience not inability. We ‘suffered’/endured about three years of maestro Arteta being bounced easily off the ball…I sadly recall the 7-0 drubbing at Highbury and a season opener massacre at Goodison when I think Fabregas was almost a debutant. Arteta learned from all that and he’s a class player and now tough as old boots. Wilshire , Ox-Chamberlain even Ramsey can come good, the latter two perhaps not so obviously, but if you introduced someone like Fellaini then you’d get both skill and bite. having said that i’ll set aside my realism and pray he stays with us. Wenger still licking his wound over fran Jeffers and is nervous about another Everton error.

  4. Everyone keeps talking about the players, this player in, that player out but maybe the problem is with the system we play, Man utd havent got the greatest team but the system they play does, this means they can lose players, Ronaldo, Stam, Van nistelrooy etc but continue to win things regularly!, just a thought.

  5. wow! You are as confused if not even worse than Arsene. And that my friend is what is wrong with Arsenal.
    Not even the acquisition of 4 or 5 players this window will change the course of this team. Why? Because the lads are bought by the manager,selected on match day by the manager,and asked to play as instructed by the manager.
    Now if in the summer of 2011 we made 5 purchases and 2 in 2012 to replace 5 players that left between both windows,why on earth do we still think the solution to our problem is as simple as a player tweek here and there. For more analysis please consider united teams of the last 2 seasons pre RVP,would u say on average across the field they’ve had better players than us? Look at Everton,spuds,Swansea,West brom,do they have better personel? How come the likes of villa,QPR(for 2 seasons & ingnoring last nights results)and other lower teams always find that bit of “extra” against us? The frequency of occurence of this phenomena is on the increase. Hell,its been going on for over 4 years under this manager.

  6. When fellaini leaves Everton, which he will do in the next couple of years, it will not be to Arsenal. A) they won’t pay the transfer fee. B) he earns more now (£75k) than arsenal will be willing to pay. C) better teams will be in for him.

  7. Certainly missing a diaby, or….and this is where it gets unfortunate, a song. Although some reports suggest the latter had become a bit ill disciplined….would be interested to know the truth on that.

  8. I was thinking about this too and if I remember it correctly,
    the 1997-98 team had lost the same number of games (4) upto
    December before starting on an amazing run to the title .
    While then ManUre were probably the only threat ,now we also have Man.Shitty ,Chelski ,Spurts and Everton in front of us.
    We may need a few upsets ,like QPR last night, to help us even things up .
    Lets hope we do well in January, and with a buy or two, maybe, just maybe we get some just reward .
    Up the Gunners !

  9. Arsenal need strong midfielder answer for that they must get Lambart from Chelsea (temporally) and Nani from Man United. The second post goalkeeper and back-up of Gibs on the left-back

  10. Wenger is the problem.At one time he said fans came to see pretty soccer. He shd have qualified that by saying if it wins games.More often than not the gunners lost games they had dominated. He did not want to win ugly.
    This could be the season that will be make or break for him.I don’t see how the gunners can secure 4th without an injection of the trusted brand rather than potential.He better get it right for his future .

  11. I think the problem is balance. We have 2 players in midfield that are very similar (Wilshere and Corzorla) and have the defensive midfield spot being covered by Arteta, who is not a defensive midfielder. I think the balance of the team is wrong. If Arsene is looking to sign a midfield option I hope he looks more to the DM slot. M’Vila of Capoue would be my choice although maybe a run in the team for Le Coq alongside Wilshere and Rosicky or Wilshere and Arteta may give the team the balance we need. I’ve not been wildly impressed by Carzorla of late, he gives the ball away in dangerous positions far to often for my liking and I think he could have more influence coming off the bench as an impact player.

  12. Walter,
    That’s what I was saying yesterday. Our midfield at the moment is wrong, because it’s full of very technical players, who are small and slow. Sir F, once alluded to it, that Arsene buys the same players (when we brought Nasri to play with Cesc and Rosicky). What we need is to have a different player (Diaby)to dominate midfield while at the same time giving freedom to the classy technical players to find us chances to score. If Diaby comes back and can only give us two uninterrupted months, then you will see what I’m saying.If not Diaby, then put there a fast player like Coquelin ( yes Coquelin!), then we would be difficult to beat. Why? Because at the moment although very technical, our midfield seems as if its being overrun.So as far as I’m concerned, we need one player, a midfielder in the Diaby mould.

  13. Wenger doesn’t like Rosicky as a player it seems. Last year Rosicky was fit for 2 months before he replaced a woeful Ramsey and revived the team. He has now been back for over a month but is yet to appear in the premier league and if my recollection is correct then Ramsey has appeared 4 times during this stage.

    Wenger has dreams of youth that often cost our team and while he hopes to see Ramsey realize his pre-Shawcrosss potential the team looses out on giving Rosicky game time.

    Wenger has to answer for the faith he placed in Diaby- the decision was unwise and most thought so at the start of the season-If he gets fit then great but if he doesn’t we need another player and Wenger ignored this to the detriment of the team.

    We have a great defense one of the best mid fields in Europe and a decent set of strikers-on paper- the manager must make them perform and if he fails to then he must go.

  14. The problem is our coach, the board and partly the players. Wenger on his part sold song waiting on diaby to take his chance playing some one in a DM role in the name of arteta who cn do a good job at an advance role-waste of talent to add on he make crazy substitution which does not impact the game. the board on there part have reduced us to an average team accepting average result every season and setting loan goal and mission for the club. back then we were competing with Man U the chelsea the we went a level lower to compete with the tott for forth position and you call that ambition, finishing ahead of spurs? f**ck it.

    The players on there part have shown low spirit in most of the game this season

  15. Let the truth be told: our major problem is Wenger’s Obsessions, once he believes in something he wants to force it on the team whether it’s working or not. Selling Song & banking on Diaby was his biggest error. Foolishly playing Ramsey ahead of better options available has cost us vital points. Wenger’s Obsession with British lads is annoying even with better options available: Gibbs, Ox, Ramsey, and are still learning they are not there yet we can’t build a team around them. Arsenal needs a midfield commander to play alongside Arteta, one would have expected Wenger to allow Coquelin flourish in his natural position in Diaby’s absence like he did with Jenkinson in Sagna’s absence. Arsenal needs to buy an experienced left-back, a Striker & a DM with physical presence like Nzonzi. Our midfield hasn’t shielded the defence very well this season for obvious reasons. Wenger needs to do something fast this January or else we face certain elimination from the CL. Arsenal is not a training ground for any player… That should be our stand for any meaningful progress to be made.

  16. Walter,
    i think our midfield is the concern,arteta and cazola seems to be the missing link. Take a look at all the games we lost or drew attimes cazola is totally missing and had no effect on the game, the pattern of game at the midfield is worrysome. Arteta is not a Dm and cannot be one.

  17. I’m half ashamed to admit it but lately I’ve begun to fantasise about life at the Emirates after Wenger. Not, I hasten to say, that I want him to depart or I have someone in mind who could do the job of manager better than he can.
    I just keep imagining the inevitable new guy in charge, what changes he would make in personnel and tactics. And how the team would fare under new management. Would he be a buyer rather than a builder and if so would this bring success any earlier. One thing I would hope is that Arsene would not be enthroned aloft on the Board to keep a watchful eye on things below…that in my view would be a big mistake.
    It’s an exciting outlook because we are all aging and mortal and Arsene cannot go on for ever.
    Guys, just for a moment, sit quietly, close your eyes and let your mind drift into a fantasy of life after Arsene….it’s amazing what your thoughts can drum up.
    Right, that’s enough, it’s back to the present….. Swansea on Sunday and the lads need support.

  18. John W: I agree this is what we need, I saw how it helped us with Diaby in the side its plain as day really, but who gets cut if this happens Arteta?
    I think that to rest him every few games would be good or play him higher up and rest Cazorla also as he needs to still learn the English game.
    I dont know but something is not right…

  19. I also think a couple of players need a bit of one and one coaching as well to rebuild confidence…starting with 2 of the subs from the Soton game. There are games where it looks to me like the players want to do as they have been instructed, but for whatever reason, they cannot. We play some quite complex team patterns, we play on the edge and that must be difficult for a player struggling for form, or a relatively new player.

  20. Wat is wrong wit arsenal is wenger.can any arsenal fans tell me d formation we played at highbury,we played 4 4 2 formation more attacking system of football and we were able to win trophies.looking at d system we play now 4 3 3 or 4 2 3 1 have nt won us a community shield.lets look at manu for past seasons,they played 4 4 2 formation and it kept them winning trophies.wat i am tryin to say is dat wenger changed our formation to non winning formation.when last did wenger play 4 4 2 formation or change d formation to two man striking force upfront to enable us to win.when we look our two previous matches,d front is lacking bite in d attack.To me,a good coach should be able to sense dat d formation been played in dat match is nt working.In wigan and southpton match,i expected wenger to change d formation to 4 4 2 or 4 1 3 2,a two attack force.As a good coach wenger should know playin a lone striker upfront will be easily isolated becos d striker is been marked by d central backs.

  21. Nice post Walter….

    If I were to add my conclusion to your post I would say that we’re lacking that little something to be the difference between a draw and a win or a loss and a draw. We’re not far off.

    For me the answer is quality through the spine of the team; you then build a squad (with quality) around that with options. Currently we have good players and possibly only one great player in Wilshere; perhaps Scezney will get there as well. That’s not enough to compete for the title; possibly enough for a top 4 finish though.

    If we look at our spine of the team how many would now get in United, Chelsea or City’s team? If you look at the depth of our squad in some positions it isn’t where it should be to compete for the main prize. For example we need a top quality centre forward. In the squad we should have 3 or 4 outright centre forwards of quality. We have one in Giroud.

    Add to this our need for a top quality midfielder (more in the dm/combative mould)and a top quality defender. We need competition for places in the squad, we need a bit of variety too.

    It’s not all doom and gloom. We’re still a very good side but that little something is missing and it is outright class in key positions, with depth in the squad. That makes the difference.

  22. Wow, interesting how many armchair experts there are that think they know more than Wenger. For me the main thing is familiarity between the players, or rather, the lack of it. Only Sagna and Walcott in the team that has been playing in last two months have been with us longer than 5 years. More than half the team has been with us less than two years. Now where are you going to find a team comprised of 11 players who barely know each other clicking just like that? We also havent had a consistent starting 11 due to injuries to key players at different times. If this team can stick together for a couple of more years we will see the difference. The telepathy, vital in unlocking some dogged defences, is just not there yet(anyone remember the number of lofted passes from Song to rvp?). Again, I know the Wenger-bashers will be saying why did he let the other players go in the first place….. you cant win this argument as its complicated(ridiculous wages offered elsewhere, underhand tactics used by unscrouplous agents whi shall remain nameless, loyalty, etc). But as for the poor results, I’d say this is a team of strangers, and that’s why.

  23. Elkieno,
    The soul of the Arsenal will be Jack Wilshire for a long time, so he should not be chopped. If Arsene so decides to tinker with the midfield, he should rest Podolski, play Carzola to the left of midfield, and Jack plays further up the field.If fact, Jack is much more creative than what we have seen, if he did it in the junior teams, he’s bound to do it even now, besided he seems to be very smart. Also, players thrive on competition, if someone sits for a few games and the replacement does very well, it could be a wake-up call.

  24. May I add that we never get a fair shake from the media and this creates an impression of a state of being in a crisis all the time. One win for harry and he’s touted as the next Messiah; a couple of wins for Liverpool against mediocre opposition and they’re touted as genuine title contenders; a draw for Arsenal against a determined side and they’re in a crisis. This negativity feeds into many of the fans, and many subconciously start believing that Arsenal are absolute rubbish. The only time Arsenal hog the headlines is when its about something that is not positive; like Walcott’s contract, a draw against Southampton, an injury to a key player, etc. United have contract rebels like Nani but you’d think he left a couple of seasons ago, gathering from silence surrounding the whole thing. Berbatov was almost forgotten he was still at united by the media last season, that my son(who follows Rugby more thatn football) said he could’ve sworn he had been in Italy last season when it was announced he was joining Fulham from United.

    But some things never change; Harry will always try and fail, bankrupt whatever club he will be at before moving on, liverpool will always struggle to finish in the top 8, and Arsenal will always be up there end of season usually within touching distance of the eventual winners despite being blatantly robbed of certain points every season(Newcastle, Birmingham, spring to mind, though I should add this year we may not have had our Newcatsle moment yet, touch wood. I’ll not inlcude controversially losing at OT as that’s ‘cast in stone’ that we wont win there). We also progress further than most of our fellow premiership clubs in the champions league every season. But going by what one reads/hears in the media one could be forgiven for thinking Arsenal are always involved in the relegation scrap every season. Yes, Wenger, like any manager, has made the odd mistake here and there. But this consistently negative reporting inadvertently puts some fans(I put myself at the top of this list) in a mind-set that refuses to acknowledge these errors, because of the way they are magnified. Conversely much like the AAA also refuse to acknowledge when he’s done good.

    A fair shake is all we ask for(though I should add Mancini may have a little something to say about this too:))

  25. @Al

    Interesting view, there might be something in some of what you say in your first post.

    Did you post from your armchair as well? 🙂

  26. The think I would do to be make walcott up front succes is to change positions of Cazorla and Podolski(kind of Man Shity). Crossing with Walcott as a striker is pointless and likes of Cazorla (and for me his replacement at this position Gervinho) would be able to cut inside from left wide position and make use of quick walcott movement in the box. As we have seen Podolski is very good in getting through the middle, he has got powerful shot and is also a good finisher. He has got very good understanding with Cazorla and they both could help get Walcott past defenders. I miss our dominating possession game from times of Fabregas and Nasri and I believe this apparently little change could create miracles.

  27. and I want Arshavin return. He didnt even get a chance! And play him thourgh the middle not on the flank.

  28. @Gooner S

    That post was made from the manager’s chair, which happens to be in my living room:)

  29. you make some very valid points Al, for all Wenger gets right, and all he gets wrong, the fact remains, in recent years, the only clubs in this country that have been consistantly more successful than Arsenal have spent massively more. I know the likes of Dortmund have wons things on a relative shoe string, but they are only up against 1 club with hugely more resources, we are up against 3….

  30. Gooner s
    HAaaaaa hAaaa.
    What a slap to that arrogant AL .Not bothered to read his rubbish after that line.

  31. ” Also the fact that most players would not fit into the system and there’s no fitting player in the market”
    Your assured pronouncement from on high is amusing. Are you part of our UA-touted world-wide scouting system? Have you researched this market? Is we can’t spend 30M and so we must spend nothing – the only two possible choices? Imo, that too common mantra hereabouts is defeatist thinking and hides the need for a proper analysis. AW himself said yesterday that yes, he will be “active” in the market. Whatever it means will be seen in the end. Walter, you may say it’s almost working – because of the seven ties. But when there are too many, chronic almosts, that is a pattern – not seven separate accidents. The idealized “system” of old has not been working with the current personnel. Are there too many out of their natural/accustomed positions? Perhaps the formation needs a tweaking to have an available plan B or C or D when the “system” doesn’t work against a given opponent’s tactics. They’re paid as well, right? What’s needed is a proper analysis, not a quaint statistic that says we had 7 near-misses so it’s not really so bad. Chronic near misses is Ok for a mid-table team. Do we dare for more? This window will tell the tale. Let’s see whether the exalted worldwide scouting system have earned its salt.

  32. Mandy Dodd,
    The Song story continues to wreak havoc and, absent another Song or better via purchase, it will have been one of worst recent moves. To me, it was a multi-million euro rush to a zero net transfer balance – a de facto club management/ownership policy – and resulted in the Bean Counter’s Trophy, which resulted in Untold christmas bonuses for a few. We have him for 3 years and couldn’t/wouldn’t say no? Then, of course, the Diaby Dream was available, as ever, to justify that move. Of course neither of us, nor anyone else writing on this site (except FunGunner) was there to know from the inside. But we now have a chance to fill a gaping DM need (or predictably burn out Arteta) that should never have been there in the first place. The Song out/Diaby in tandem was denounced by a few writing here back in August. Now is the time to acknowledge that failed delusion by purchasing well.

  33. AI,
    You’re right about the psychology of denial and attack. The media warms perceptions and helps make us, as fans, more defensive about criticism or more apt to overly criticize. But that said, having helped to clear the air and, in effect, call for a more sober and clear-eyed assessment, would you not agree that there are problems that need fixing in this transfer window if we are to be more than a mid table side this season? (Or is it, like this article, all down to seven near miss draws don’t add up to a serious problem at hand?) This is an honest question seeking your further thoughts.

  34. p.s. sorry, meant to say, the media “overheats” (not merely “warms”) perceptions….

  35. @ Walter
    I think that our problem in the draws (and one or two of the losses) has been that we don’t make enough chances, or that we make chances and don’t take them. Worst example of the second part was that Bradford game. The worst game I have seen was the Swansea game – we looked so flat and we would not have scored if the match had gone on all week! So to me, that would suggest that we need to do more on the creative and finishing side.

    I agree with Al (both your comments) – we need stability and continuity, first and foremost. When we click, we look amazing, ie when players correctly anticipate each other’s moves. That’s familiarity. No getting around it, though, Diaby is a big miss. The cocktail of Diaby, Cazorla and Arteta is the best Arsenal midfield combination I have seen for years.
    I also think Rosicky has been missed because he makes us make quick transitions from defence to attack. Anyone else think Coquelin has that ability as well? I find him a very intriguing and exciting prospect.

    Isn’t Arteta the league’s most successful tackler, by the way?

    @ Mandy Dodd
    January 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

  36. @ bob
    When I wrote my comments about Song, I showed you the quotes from Song’s side backing up everything I said about him.

    Just saying.

  37. Get another good defender, push Vermarine into Arteta’s role. The captain has the passion and ability to score that late goal when needed. His passing is good, he can easily accelerate the speed of the game, can launch long diagonal balls and his shot is one of the best. But you can only do this with another good defender ready to help out in case of an injury to the central defense pairing.

  38. Last year we had 7 draws in the whole season. Now, we have reached that figure in half the season. To me, this is down to lacking one world class player who is capable of producing magic moments. A striker who looks capable of scoring at any given chance is missing. There was no one in the beginning, then Giroud had a good run but failed to take it to the next level. Now Walcott seems to be on a good run, let’s see if it continues.
    What we definitely need is a little tweaking in the side. Our starting line-up & subs are just too easy to predict.
    We definitely need to buy at least a DM during this window. We can’t rely on Diaby or expect Arteta to continue all season. Ba would have been a risk worth taking but he is gone to Chelsea.

  39. FunGunner,
    There was no proverbial gun to AFC’s head to have to unload Song. They can still have said No and made it stick. You are stuck on the player wants out, end of story. That refusal to finally say no, on whomever’s part, is part of the problem, whatever your proximity and ability to cite press releases to the media. Do you deny zero net transfer balance was a major factor in granting Song his, purported, irresistible wannaway threat. Even as, at the same time, he was also saying that he does value being part of AFC. Well, only you are certain that he would have disrupted the club if he were “forced” to stay on. But, of course, you were there to know the chemistry that he would have most certainly toxified. And, imo, the illusion of Diaby made it possible for the Bean Counters to justify (or use to justify) the club’s pall mall rush to grant Song his wish.

  40. @Alex
    Please show a bit of maturity, will you. Instead of laughing hysterically at something that’s not even remotely funny, why not contribute to the discussion with some valid or invalid points of your own? Is it that hard? How do you know the rest was rubbish without reading it?? That’s childish at the least. By labelling others ‘armchair experts’, I was just being tongue-in-cheek. But don’t you think, with some comments here suggesting the fix to our problems is to pull such and such player from this position to that position or play a 4-1-3-2 formation or some such, this is technical advice that experts are qualified to give? My suggestion that this team needs more time to gel as it is composed of mainly new players who hardly know each other cant be deemed as technical advice to the manager, in case you want to accuse me of the same. Its just a generalized observation, which I would expect a few people to agree with given the amount of time most players need to adapt to the premiership. Now can we get back to talking about football please….

  41. p.s. and saying no – rather than chronically saying yes – is a way to try to stem the tide of contract breaking which, you seem to insist, cannot be resisted under any and all circumstances.

  42. “judge us after 8 games” said Arsene.
    Now in jan as the transfer window is open vives an oppotunity fans to vent their desire .
    I guess by now we all know what is ARsenal.
    Arsenal financial enterprise and Arsenal football club.
    AFE is there to make money diguised as a football entity.
    AFC is trying to do football thing.
    While it is obvious we need reinforcement particularly in the midfield and striking departments for footballing reason AFE has on opposite view as it does not bode well with their books.Probably in order to sweet the needs of AFE might just might bring one player after some sale.

    In regard to the draws/win/llost argument sided only with AFC.IF we have to measure AFE surely it is all an emphatic win.
    I can only discuss footballing matter in the pitch like tactics-subs etc.that could have won as some points.As such i would ask :
    Managers like O’nei Allardice Pulis every year they come with the same approach.SO what is done differently is not enough as the result speaks for themselves.

    Why is we cannot change the formation or tacti during or pre-game and we have to wait the 73rd minute ?
    It is the same approach is what is keeping drawing winnable games.
    How many playerx we got a winning Mentality.Of course i am not labelling anyone of our players as prima donna.i amquestioning the degree or level of unger when you not winning.
    Robin van Persie statement that now feels surrounde by champions says it all to me.

  43. One of our main problems is scoring goals – that’s why we are getting so many draws. Seems odd to say considering we have scored so many in the league but further inspection shows the true picture.

    In 4 games this season we have scored 23 goals, in the other 16 games we have scored 17 goals. The consistency is just not there.

    Defensively it might seem odd to say but we have one of the best records in the league.

    We’ve really missed RVP badly – those 8 points you talked about might well be ours if he had stayed as we know that he was able to win games that were heading for a draw last year with a moment of brilliance.

    This is why I think a world class striker is a must for January.

  44. @Bob
    I agree with the view that we need to strengthen, no doubt about that. But that in itself should not be viewed as the overnight remedy to our problems, if we may call them that. The main issue we have had this season IMO is that we have a front-four that have never played with each other and don’t know when to make that run, pass or cross(Gerv, Giroud, Podi, Walcott, are all still trying to understand each other’s movement). Add to that the fact that our current midfield has exactly the same issue; Arteta never played with Wilshere as the latter was out injured, and Santi is only a few months old at the Emirates. So, in reality we have a midfield and strike force composed of players who have not actually played with each other before. There’s bound to be discord at some point, sooner or later. There’s an understanding that players who have been together have that cant be substituted for skill or anything else. I could argue a midfield of Diaby, Rosicky and Ramsey, while not necessarily better that the current one, could deliver better results than the current one simply because these are guys who have played with each other for a while now and know each other.I know Walcott and Gerv were there last season but they didn’t really play all the matches or finish all the matches they started, so the rhythm is yet to develop. I think this discord could partly explain why one day the team is unplayable, and the next day the exact same team plays like a bunch of amateurs. You could throw in a top striker like Huntelaar, or some other proven goal scorer into the mix, and still come up with the same issue. Players need to be in sync to deliver consistently, and they need time to achieve this.

    So yes, we need signings, but we also need to give them time to settle and understand each other.

  45. @Al
    You brought it for yourself mate.You want your views to be heard and in one sentence you deem as invalid others view.That is wrong i say.
    Remeber we are all football fanatics.You dont get fanatic about anything you want kjust like that.It is becoming associated intimatly that we are labelled as fans or football fanatics.
    Thfough years and decades of watching/playing our undrstanbding of the game grows equally.Please give crddit to that first then on your own rihht you can disagree with other
    s as i do.
    Yes i agree with the argument that the current team needs time to jel .
    It is argumentathive that a few buys will sort the team performance.You reckon that from next game we will have Messi with this team things will change ?No.
    The team is mediocre at best.
    Van persie i hate to say this but is surrounded by better personell that work well as a team not necessarly individually.
    Ours individually i rate them high but not collectvely as a team.
    Therefor to add one or two players is not an instant solution.
    But with the guidance of Wenger we can assemle gradually a team that can win trophy.
    The disparity of the top three is unsurmountable financialy.The quality oc our players is still below mark to what was Arsenal.

  46. as many have pointed out, the missing link is diaby. but he is injury prone so we cannot trust him completely. it would be better if we can bring in a diaby-ish player minus the ‘injury-prone’. we did not concede on the first four matches cause of diaby. after diaby left during the chelsea game, we have struggled. and have been struggling since. against a better prepared team our midfield is virtually invisible. no one dares to drive forward and take a shot or arrange an assist. theo drives forward but being a winger he needs to be fed with the right ball. same with AOC.
    if arsenal can play in such a way so as to create spaces for cazorla, I think we can flourish. cazorla’s best games has been those where he is provided plenty spaces to create. again the missing link is diaby.

    unless AW plans to change ‘one man striker’ set-up i cannot see a striker being signed. however, a striker like adrian would be a good addition because of his versatility.

  47. @Walter, Mr Moyes has done a good job with Fellaini so far but I think you underestimate Wenger’s ability (on this occasion) to get more from his signings than previous managers. For me Fellaini is a very good player, Under Wenger he could be magnificent.

    He will win you the ball back or hold on to it higher up the pitch and has the capacity to bring others in to play. I disagree with you that he is a target man, they play very high up the field, Fellaini for me is an advanced midfielder. If you look closely at Arsenal we cannot individually hold on to the ball around the edge of the box with back to goal and introduce runners.
    When teams sit deep against Arsenal you need a player who will terrify the opposition with the ability to hold off challenges in the congested area.

    You state that Walcott could make runs off of him. Only if he is running from deep.

    I can’t believe im trying to sell a Belgian to a Belgian.

    And Walter tell him to get a hair cut.

  48. yup i agree Fellaini’s haircut should be an automatic yellow card( red would be a little harsh but not that harsh).

    its a shame you can’t book players for style or tweeting crap(now thats an idea!!)

    on a more serious note i’m not sure he would be able to keep his temper getting kicked in the nose hurts getting kneed in the family jewels smarts more.(watch jack during our last match)

  49. Adam,
    I hadn’t thought about it in that way. He surely would add power and if Wenger can improve him he could be world class.
    But somehow have second thoughts about it…

  50. I honestly think there would be too much interest in him antway, we would be outbid or forced to remortgage the stadium.

  51. @Al
    I agree with you that the team is basically new and needs time to gel. Jack Wilshere made the point himself that he had never even played with Arteta who had been at Arsenal for a full season, and now we have other new players as well.

    It is impressive how well Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski are playing considering these factors.

    Football is a team game where players have to co-operate. I find it odd, therefore, how many discussions concentrate purely on discussion of separate individuals and not on the team factor.

  52. @ John@ re: “The soul of the Arsenal will be Jack Wilshire for a long time, so he should not be chopped.”

    Things like this are also the problem, banking our hopes on a barely out of his teens developing player, who has just come off long term injury and building everything around him is not a winning formula.

    In the first place, and this may seem blasphemous to some, I truly don’t get what the big deal about Wilshere is really (yes yes Barca performance). He has good technique and seems to have some drive in his personality, and is unusual because he is a technical young English midfielder, that don’t produce many. However, for me, had been Argentine, Brazilian, Spanish, Italian, German and perhaps a few more nationalities, he would be just another of many promising up and coming technical midfielders who may or may not turn out to be something special.

    As it stands now, all I see is some pretty turns, a couple good dribbles, and the occasional nice pass, other than that he isn’t the quickest, the strongest (yes he is aggressive but that shouldn’t be confused with strength), doesn’t really have an eye (perhaps yet) for the decisive pass, has little end product, has taken over set pieces and I see little special about them so far.

    He’s a talented young midfielder, but for me it’s far too premature to be building a midfield and ultimately a team around this player who has proven nothing yet, but yet will be given everything by club and country. I just don’t think the player is that special. Most of his performances are pretty average and forgettable to be honest.

    I would take Thiago Alcantara over our Jack any day of the week, and like Alcantara had Jack been at Barca, he’d be at very best, on the fringes of the first team, more than likely still in the youth/reserves (as Pep once said they had plenty players like him in their youth/reserves, and I don’t think that was meant as a disrespect but rather simply an honest candid assessment).

    So to answer the question of the OP…Building our team and pinning our future on Wilshere NOW, is going to me a big part of “what is wrong”. Not to mention despite me personally not thinking he’s as special as most think, I think the burden of expectations on him to ultimately carry the club (and country) and the physical burden (he’s already broken down from it) are just unfair to him at this stage.

  53. Adam,
    Does he cost that much? I can’t remember where I read this but I saw a figure close to 16 million and around 70,000 for his wages. Granted that’s not cheap, especially by our standards, but a fair price given his experience with his potential partner, the league, and what he would offer us. Though you are right to point out that others would probably be interested too and drive that price up. Maybe with our new financial flexibility, and possibly the rumoured offloading of a few players this january, we could afford something close to the prices I mentioned? Also maybe arteta could sway the deal?

  54. I prefer to see the positive qualities in our players. This critique of Wilshere seems harsh to me.

    I feel that too much of our own fans’ criticism is influenced by the perennial “loaded” media commentary. Arsenal drawing at Southampton shows that we are in crisis, whereas Chelsea losing at home to QPR is a “shock”.

  55. even jack is critical of himself. hence I don’t find outside criticisms as bearing weightage. and, no arsenal is not trying to play on wilshere’s strength alone. weren’t it for diaby’s injuries wilshere would have been rotated frequently.
    unlike last year we have seen good enough distribution of goals, assists. this shows we aren’t playing to one particular player strength.

  56. @A. Stewart

    True that we cannot rely on a single player.The expectation are high on Jack for a reason though.

    Wilshere quality is not measured only on footballing technics alone that you compare it with Alcantara and the likes.
    Wilshere is proven that gives 100/% everytime is in the pitch.Yes is punching above his weight at 20.I firmly believe had we a couple more of his likes surely we wouldn’t be where we are.At times there is no urgency in this team.

  57. @ bob
    You’re getting muddled up – I said the club had to unload RvP, not Song. What I said about Song – taken from quotes from *his* people – was that he was agitating for a move. a) he desperately wanted to go to Barca, b) that he repeatedly demanded negotiations on a new contract even though his had three years to run and c) that, when the club agreed in principle to talk about it, he tried to dictate the timing of those talks, ie said they had to happen before the end of the transfer window. I think Song’s situation was different to RvP’s because Song was still in the protected period of his contract, but he was nevertheless agitating in public for a move. AW says he allowed Song to leave since we had a surfeit of midfielders, and we didn’t need a specialist defensive mf.

    Also, you’re confusing interviews, or Q&As – when you can hear the questions and and answers, or see transcripts of the answers – with press releases. The sources I referred to re RvP and Song were all quotes from recordings of interviews and Q&As or transcripts thereof.

  58. Iniez, the sums you talk about are huge sums of money. If I were lucky enough to win the lottery I bet you I wouldn’t win money on that order. These boys have become more than walking lottery tickets.

    If there is a chance of getting Fellaini I’d say go for it, its not all my money (just a little bit).

    Anyway Im just trying to highlight an issue within the Arsenal side, at the moment we rely on width to beat teams and sometimes we are lucky enough to come across teams that will allow space through the middle, mostly though teams will sit across their eighteen yard line and we need to find a way through them.

    So the options are bring in players who will move the ball across the field quicker or go for strength through the middle. Or both would be nice.

    When the boys play happy they shift the pig quick and we break teams down.

    We are too easy to frustrate.

  59. There is NO simple or one-size-fits-all strategy that will improve AFC’s team and anyone who says there is, is a fool, irrational and a true amateur fantasy football manager. Here are some reasons why:

    1)Bringing one or two players in, unless they are Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, won’t necessarily remedy all the issues Arsenal face since the issues are complex. In fact, bringing in the ¨wrong¨player(s)may acerbate them.
    2)Team Chemistry is far more important than a simple slotting in a new player(s). there is NO guarantee that the new addition(s) will fit in with the Club’s needs and style. They could end up disturbing the delicate teamwork and chemistry already in place, just as much as they could improve it.
    3)Because Wenger is extremely conscious about the latter aspects of team-building and expert at man-management, he has a set of standards he requires to be met before he moves for a player. Jenkinson, Gervinho, Cazorla,Giroud and Podolski and most of Arsenal are living proof of that.
    4)Finally, bringing in additional ¨stars¨ is a financial as well as performance impacting decision and has to be carefully calculated, a la AFC style….we aren’t oilygarch or rich playboy toys, we are the Arsenal.

    Lets leave the professional stuff to the professionals at AFC and stick to supporting the Club.

  60. My point of view is that we are not in top 3 purely because our attack is very inconsistent. We score more goals in one game and don’t know where the goal post is in the next game. We drew or lost more matches than we would have liked because our attack was not really good enough in some of those matches. For example, our game against Southampton, Norwich, Swansea, Sunderland and our League Cup match against Bradford would have given us good results if we had a potent attack that could score at least 2 goals in 90 mins.

  61. Well, I still remember very well the last time people laughed at Arsenal because “they never lose but they just can’t win”. Hell yeah, just after that we completed our legendary unbeaten season!

    Now we just need the “never lose” part 😉

  62. @Domhuail: I agree with every single word of yours, except the “unless they are Lionel Messi and Ronaldo” 😉

  63. FunGunner,
    Your assessment (pronounced from on high) on AFCs ability to say NO to wantaways, as well as the desirability saying NO – in BOTH cases – is the core of what I’ve been addressing. Your mantra is: they want away, so they get to leave, and there’s no holding them, nor any point in trying; and that, if they were kept, both Song and RVP would inevitably each pose a massive/constant disruption. You say this last part, with no evidence: Only cocksure insistence and your presumed expertise in predicting human nature. Your sheer projection,what Song and RVP would have done this season were they kept here.

    To me: Not saying NO – indeed, the organization’s never finally saying NO – has been a de facto open invitation to any player to consider being a wantaway, whenever they feel like it; and that it will not stop – whatever the contract phase – unless and until someone with the power at AFC will draw the line and is perceived to mean it. To me, there is a payoff to not saying no: grabbing the low-hanging fruit of the millions on offer. Well, bully for them and for you.

    But that Failure to say NO – in both cases – has continued to harm and, over time, worsen this teams’ current situation on the pitch. Your not addressing whether AFC were then actually in a position of strength, in each/both cases, each for its own reasons, is not responsive to the point I raise. Instead you emit an all-knowing pseudo-mini-chronology and purport to tell the essential truth of what went on — as if public media performances and timed leaks to the press are identical to the face to face realities between the sides.

    The fact that you were not and never there on the inside poses no obstacle to your certainty that AFC had no choice but to comply to their wishes. But you have displayed no real grounds for such certainty. It’s just a pose.

    The point now, is to advocate/see what results from this transfer window; and to finally fill the gaping holes left by the organization’s unfortunate refusal to say no in August.

  64. FunGunner,
    On your Song was allowed to leave because there was a “surfeit” of midfielders answer (as if sheer fact). Really?: In August, some of us were hand-wringing hereabouts about the Song out/Diaby in great gamble that was then brewing: that it would take Jack weeks to first come back and more weeks to start rounding into form. And that it would take Rosicky more weeks to return, and who knows what health he’s in on this very day. And that it would take Diaby a few games to probably re-fall apart. And that Arteta would be stretched to the limit from necessary overuse. And that there’d was not enough time for midfield and forwards to sync/gel because of the ill-timed Asia junket. But to you, well, we had this “surfeit” of midfielders so there was no need to keep the too noisy Alex Song. Still thinking “surfeit”? This word blows smoke that covers a then reckless gamble. And the prediction made in August was that the actual condition of the midfield, on examination, was that we ran a terrible risk of dropping too many points too soon to be able to mount a real run for the roses by the business end.

  65. The other thing about song, he is versatile and could play in defence if required, important if reports of letting background defenders go are to be believed.
    I take all points that there may have been reasons for songs departure……but to me, the only good thing about it was that wenger pulled out of the sahin deal! Not exactly setting the world alight at Liverpool , but on big wages and a big fee.
    Whatever the rights and wrongs, I am a bit gutted over songs departure, he was one of our better players last season, and there have been games this season where we could have done with him…..but take the point about arteta a tackling as well.

  66. @ Mandy
    Fair points about Song’s versatility at 10:02am, except we haven’t been short of defenders either, this season! Just to be clear, I rate Song, and would often be found defending him while he was with us. I supported and enjoyed the forward forays, but felt that he was leaving too much of the shielding to Arteta.

    Totally agree about Sahin. And I remember the screams at the time about what a terrible short-sighted mistake it was not to outbid Liverpool for him.

  67. @Bob
    Are u ok? Leading up to and starting the New year, you sound like you’re getting a bad case of AAA syndrome. Hooked on one view of Arsenal not saying no to rvp,song,etc. Where is ur evidence that saying no to rvp + song, we would be in a stronger position than we are at present. How involved are the players when their contracts are negotiated? Maybe Arsenal were saying No to the players representative demands. IMO!

  68. @ bob
    We do say no to players. Most of the time, some of them will be having a moan about something or other (says my football agent contact). According to Wenger, “half the squad” wanted to leave in 2011. Clearly, all of those players didn’t get to leave. Cesc did not get to leave in 2009 or 2010. Also, stop bracketing Song and RvP together – their cases are not the same.

    To go back to the original point of contention, you have been insisting AW was forced to sell both players by your “bean counters”. I have said that RvP is the one he was forced to sell, but by the player, not anyone else. I have also pointed out to you that it is AW who has the final say on player ins and outs. Finances are a factor, but it’s AW who weighs that up. He says he chose to sell Song because we had lots of midfielders (10 vying for three/four spots, 11 or 12 if you count Frimpong and either one of Walcott or AOC) and we don’t need a specialist defensive midfielder. (Not that Song was playing that role in the previous season.) My own opinion, based on the information which I passed on, is that Song’s wishes and behaviour about his contract and the offer from Barca must have played a part in AW’s decision and in those circumstances it was a sensible one. It’s not the first time it’s happened – Diarra was let go after ONE year because he was unhappy about the amount of playing time he was getting.

    You think it was a reckless gamble to sell Song, but despite having a midfield injury crisis a little while ago, we didn’t run out of players. My view is that what we are lacking this season does not include Song’s talents, fine player though he is. Song and Diaby may be alternatives in your mind, but not in Wenger’s. He didn’t let Song go because he was gambling on Diaby’s fitness – they do have height and physical presence in common, but they’re not really similar players apart from that. Neither is Rosicky an alternative to Song. (Rosicky is fit, btw, and has been for some time – he was ill recently, not injured.)

    We had no choice in the case of RvP. We would definitely be stronger with him in the side, (him, PLUS Giroud, PLUS Podolski AND Cazorla AND Walcott would have been amazing). But only if he was prepared to be. That is all moot because he wanted out. If the club could have kept RvP to the last year, they would have, but in addition to what I have already explained, RvP had the upper hand with his contract. I was wrong when I said a while ago that I thought that technically RvP could have been forced to stay. He couldn’t be. Because his last year was not part of the protected period of his contract, all he had to do was tell the club that he wanted to leave and they would have to let him go – in return for a compensatory fee of course. That was the point at which money came into the equation, not before. It is absolutely not true that AW was forced to sell him by the bean counters, it was RvP himself. RvP was only interested in United. His representatives told David Ornstein after the move that he was offered a huge package to stay here and that Man City had offered more than United. He is there because he wants to be there, not because we didn’t try our hardest to keep him.

    I don’t claim to know anything other than what I have read or heard either directly out of someone’s mouth or from a reputable source who is in a position to know. Likewise with chronology.

  69. Loved the Post!

    Intrigued by the chat between angry Bob and FunGunner.

    It is not my fight, but expressing an opinion, which is a view not necessarily based on fact, is not the same as making a statement of fact, surely?

  70. Gunz,
    You might consider stopping the urge to (almost) tar people who are loyal and love this side with the handy-dandy all-purpose AAA brush. Hmmm? I reject that practice and can answer you in kind but but won’t play tribalism games. I’ve been having a non-stop idiot’s dance with FunGunner which will soon be over and done with; so you can choose not to read those postings anymore (just as you could have chosen not to read this past one). Is FG not preoccupied on this with me as well; but you agree there, so escapes your need to label, no? In any case, I’m also sick of it and looking forward to our activity in this window and a fresh re-start.

  71. FunGunner,
    You again mischaracterize (in order to duck) my main points. I’ll have one further exchange with you on this later on; so that I, for one, can go on with other lines of analysis and concern. And happy new year to your unnamed, exalted agent pal, from my agent pal. (Does he ghost write your responses 🙂 ?)

  72. “So we should buy Thiago Alcantara and sell Jack?

    Yet you know I wasn’t suggesting anything of the sort, silly.

  73. @A. Stewart

    True that we cannot rely on a single player.The expectation are high on Jack for a reason though.

    Wilshere quality is not measured only on footballing technics alone that you compare it with Alcantara and the likes.
    Wilshere is proven that gives 100/% everytime is in the pitch.Yes is punching above his weight at 20.I firmly believe had we a couple more of his likes surely we wouldn’t be where we are.At times there is no urgency in this team.

    A lot of players can give 100%. Still regardless of effort, I think he’s not nearly as good (maybe yet) in terms of quantative and qualitative impact as many think (which is their right)..

    I’m not just judging on technical abilities from my view, I really just don’t see the overall impact that so many see. That’s all really. And this team will (imo) be designed around him on and off the field, and I think that at this stage is a mistake. The biy just aint that good, yet, and imo I really don’t see the extra special playing qualities that suggest he’s a once in a generation player (not considering nationality) as many suggest. Just don’t see it.

  74. “I prefer to see the positive qualities in our players. This critique of Wilshere seems harsh to me.

    I feel that too much of our own fans’ criticism is influenced by the perennial “loaded” media commentary. Arsenal drawing at Southampton shows that we are in crisis, whereas Chelsea losing at home to QPR is a “shock”.

    I prefer to just call things as I see it, be it postive, negative, both, constructive, whatever, and regardless of how loved/favoured a player is.

    Secondly, my views are just that, mine. And have little to do with anyone else’s, and are genuine and are not influenced by this mythical media hold or whatever. People can actually think for themselves. I may ultimately be wrong or correct, or not quite either, but just calling it as i see it.

    I really don’t see how Wilshere has improved our play, neither in style, statistical measure, bite, anything.

  75. Reader Spoiler Alert:
    Dear Reader: This is to finish my round of verbal badinage with FunGunner. So if you, like me, are thoroughly sick of it (and I could never slate you for it), please do pass it by. No problem. Enough is enough. (And I surely don’t wish to further inflict it on Gunz, or anyone else, who got so cross with my attempt to get to the bottom of something discomforting, so that he had to resort to labeling that effort as my having contracted the “AAA bug”. Alas, resorting to the tribalist name calling is just an excuse to stay lazy and not provide your counter-arguments.) But, after this, I’m dropping the topic of RVP and Song’s departure, unless there’s real evidence – not FG’s say so, or that of his unnamed always-in-the-know agent pal, on what really, really has been going on in the inner sanctums. Now back to FG:

    “We do say no to players. Most of the time, some of them will be having a moan about something or other (says my football agent contact). According to Wenger, “half the squad” wanted to leave in 2011. Clearly, all of those players didn’t get to leave. Cesc did not get to leave in 2009 or 2010. Also, stop bracketing Song and RvP together – their cases are not the same.”
    FG, you start out by invoking your unnamed and presumed football agent contact as a trump card that decides all disagreements your way. Ludicrous attempt to disarm your opponent with the who you know, not actual evidence. If you won’t give his name, then give specific evidence of what your agent friend of the family tells you that is true, rather than generalized twaddle.
    “’Half the squad’ wanted away in 2011”. First FG, you decide this is literally true and decide to take AW literally and, with no evidence other than this alleged quote, we are supposed to believe this. But second, if it’s true, is that not cause for major alarm and investigation, as opposed to your reducing that to all players “having a moan” (in your or your agent pal’s condescending phrase). Rather than finding in this cause for serious alarm, you use it as a mere debating point to say I’m wrong. Third, in any case, my accusation of AFC/AW never saying no to wantaway players has been (as you know) focused on our best and major players – RVP and Song being the objects of our dispute. So I do grant you that AW/AFC have indeed said no to at least one player of no or little substance to our prospects on the pitch (happy now, FG); which is irrelevant to our actual dispute about players that have mattered (RVP and Song).
    FG, you invoke this “protected period” of the contract. I don’t know what that term literally stands for, nor how it works in RVP/any contract. So, if I’m wrong in its implication, I’m happy to be educated on this, even by you. Truth is truth and that’s fine, I bow and have learned. That said, it is my understanding then, that: (1) there is nothing in the contract that forced AFC to sell RVP this season at all – indeed he could have left on a free this coming summer. Right? And I’ve been saying that (2) it would have been worth keeping him and testing him because he could not then have afforded to have a bad season playing for us – because he would then have been 30 and have come off a poor season, all giving pause to his next suitor and lowering his value in that next contract. This, in my view, was a gamble worth taking because (a) he is professional enough and has loved/owed AW enough to perform at a high level (b) it was in his self-interest to perform at a high level with us this season and, (c) were AFC (with RVP and the new signings added) to have won the League (or come second), it might have changed his mind about wanting to sign the next contract somewhere else. Now if there is something AUTOMATIC in the contract that FORCED AFC to sell RVP this season because he demanded it, please bring it to my attention and I will have learned from you and back off and concede this point. It’s not my understanding. And so, I say AFC should have kept him, capitalized on an expectable high-level performance, and improved our prospects greatly with him on the side right now. It doesn’t matter to my argument whether AW and the AFC Board were in agreement on this or not. The decision not to keep him for this season was arguably risk-averse (I’d say gutless) and imo, dead wrong.
    FGA, my (3rd) point in this context is that nothing – repeat nothing – can justify selling him to Manure for 24M as opposed to Juventus for 14M, say. That sale is a cardinal sin, except to your dismissive, adult business logic. I know that his success there has pained you and I both, greatly. And there I feel a bond with you. But I still say it was both AFFORDABLE for AFC to accept less than that (not even great) amount – a sub-market amount, Mr. Businessman, because then it would not have GIFTED the League’s top scorer – last season and this – to the Golem in charge at Old Toilet. RVP, player of the year, does score when he wants; and he is the well-known difference between Don Fergus becoming Lord Football, or not. And you know it. And you accept it, in the end. I don’t. But you are irked by my calling this ahem, transaction, a “gift.” Well, you can cite or slobber over we got the 24M all you want; but it’s still less than market value, and so, a GIFT. And in that gifting, AW chose or was pushed to fall on his sword (it doesn’t matter in the end); and Don Fergus – ruthless winner-at-all-costs that he is, seems not even willing to return the favor (at least verbally, so far) by making his bench-warming Nani available to us. (Perhaps there’s been a deal all along? Ask your agent pal and I’ll ask mine.) And it doesn’t matter a fig to my concerns and argument whether AW and the AFC Board were in agreement on this sale or not. The decision to sell RVP to Manure is beyond the pale, imo; and shows how football tradition and well-grounded enmities mean nothing to the Bean Counters in Charge. I’m immature enough to want to obstruct – not enable – the two of them – from the wining the Rednose XX and go down in history together. And we could afford to be the spoke in that wheel – and would be so to great acclaim by our worldwide fanbase. Kerching!
    My position (which you want to freeze at my “original” position) is that while it is CERTAIN to you, it is NOT CERTAIN to me: (1) that AW makes all the transfer decisions (2) that AW and the Board were in agreement all along on letting RVP leave instead of staying this season (3) that AW and the Board were in agreement all along in letting Song leave this season. And in a way it doesn’t matter to me. Whoever made the decision, unanimous or not, I think it’s wrong in football terms and fan-emotional terms. And, whatever the protected contract phase is that you invoke (and surely I’ll hear you irresistibly gloat over my openly professed ignorance of this term), my point is that we could and should still have had both RVP and Song playing for us this season (– whatever the consequence (in RVP’s case) for leaving on a free (or re-signing) next season. You don’t value Song (though rightly appreciate his strengths) as much as I do; and that in itself is fine. But, right now, Alex Song would have been a needed tonic in our unready, overstretched, not back from injured, still sick mid-table achieving midfield. And this was predicted – you’ve ducked all this part of my “muddled” analysis – last August. Indeed, with Song in the midfield – rather than stake the farm on Diaby-, my contention is we would not have dropped as many points this early. And, of course, surely not with continuing the Song-RVP link-up that we had. Oh, and “we didn’t run of players” in the midfield, you say. Well, mon ami, quantity is not quality and Song has been sorely missed. The foreseeable combination of prolonged injury, recurrent injury, not being ready for prime time, and new-ness to the EPL all argue for having retained “the specialist” Song and having the balls to have resisted (a) Barca’s tapping-up redux; (b) Darren Dein’s further predations; (c) and, especially, the rush to zero net transfer balance – the holy grail of the Kroenke Era. Oh, and as for your laundry list of 11 midfielders: Still not in full form are: Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky. Still not yet ready: Frimpong. Not really accomplished midfielders: Walcott. New to EPL rigors: Cazorla. Tragically crocked: Diaby. (And I don’t accept Usmanov, either. So put that card away, ok? 🙂 Dumping Song because he wanted to leave and not saying NO is a blunder, and we’ll never agree on its being a major blunder that we might still decide to try to rectify this transfer window. But, in your logic, he’s nothing but a “specialist” who is mere chaff when compared to the infallible versatility, jack of all trades, renaissance flexibility of all the other interchangeable midfielders in your laundry list of solutions.
    Anyway, I’ve overstayed my welcome and will rein it in, unless unduly provoked or new actual evidence comes to light, or is brought to light by the bean counters, by you, or by your agent pal.

  76. Bob, Research the Webster test case.

    Article 17 of FIFA’s Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players is entitled “Consequences of Terminating a Contract Without Just Cause”, and is the fifth article of Chapter IV, “Maintenance of Contractual Stability between Professionals and Clubs”. It outlines the provisions which apply if a contract is terminated without just cause, and the requirement for the party in breach to pay compensation.[9] Specifically, it states that any player who signed a contract before the age of 28 can buy himself out of the contract three years after the deal was signed. If he is 28 or older the time limit is shortened to two years. Article 17 was introduced in December 2004, with effect from 1 July 2005.[

  77. Bob presumably the protected time frame of the contract is the first 3 years.

    If RVP threatened to use this, Arsenal done well to sell him for the quoted price, the compensation settlement that the court of arbitration for sport would have decided on wouldn’t be anywhere near the figure received.

    Hope this is right and helps.

  78. @bob

    Exactly my sentiments on the RVP and Song departure saga.

    For any future discussion on the above, on this site or otehrwise, I would hyperlink to your comment, unless of course you object to that.:-)

  79. @Bob
    (For what it is worth) I find myself fully swayed off the fence of indecision by your last post, which summarises your points on RvP and Song so well.
    Thank you.

  80. Nick Lee, Matt Clarke,
    Cheers, mates. Really appreciate your comprehension and mutual support on this. Any use or abuse (by hyperlink, by hook or by crook) of my argument is most welcome!

    It’s too much to go over and over again the whole of it, especially by those who distort the whole or take selected bits from it and misrepresent the bits as if they were the entirety of the argument.

  81. Adam,
    Cheers for the links and the insight.
    I’m unclear about what’s “just cause” here and what “compensation” would mean for either side, and, of course, whether or not anything was invoked. But if indeed this were invoked, and if AFC were in the weaker legal position, whatever, then why wouldn’t someone at AFC make that public? And by doing so, to avoid criticism, to dilute anger, and to explain so emotionally difficult the departure of our best player (yes, explain) from and to the fanbase? Why don’t they say any of this, Adam? Are we too dense, too unwashed, too undeserving of a public explanation? Or would that set an unwanted precedent? I’ll be happy to soon read through the legal labyrinth and have a more informed take. Perhaps that is what was meant by the “protected” part of the contract; but with no one but someone’s agent pal (that shadow-bloke in the position to know) and no public say-so or explanation from the AFC, very very few of us would know what really went on.

  82. @Bob, I’m not sure how many players have used or threatened to use the Webster ruling, but it does not bode well for the clubs so maybe it’s a non-promotable issue. How much according to the court of arbitration was RVPs final year worth to Arsenal? Plus in all honesty it’s not something I’ve researched.
    I know it’s all ifs, buts, and maybes but it is something to consider. Do Arsenal really want to tell the fan base that RVP was so desperate to leave he would go to this extent. Also take in to consideration the press release as ammunition towards “just cause”.
    Presumably the courts would also take in to consideration RVPs wishes to compete for the highest honours towards the end of his career. “Just cause” could also mean “footballing reasons”, I know were all pissing in the wind here but it’s an option that I personally lean towards.
    I cannot see any club being able to keep a 28+ year old in the final year of his contract if the player is adamant in leaving. The receiving club can write off the compensation the player would have to pay within the new contract. It would in all honesty, have been the cheaper option for United, but then the flood gates open, and all clubs would be at it and the players contracts would have to become so expensive that it would not be worth a player taking this course of action.
    Anyway I’m going to leave it at that for the moment, until I get my head around the Webster case and the player’s status regs. RACE YA.

  83. Adam,
    Yeah, let’s reconnoiter on this one.
    It’s an interesting wrinkle for sure, and
    in this specific case, there was and is a lot more
    in play than a 28 year old player, but I’m open
    to wherever any road takes us.

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