Arsenal v the Royal Borough. Plus Billy Fury, Mr Bergkamp and King John.

Arsenal v Liverpool

By Billy the dog McGraw

Liverpool is a far off diminutive principality of little importance.  It was founded by the most incompetent king in English history, King John, in 1207, who made it a Royal Borough and over the next 350 years grew at such a rate that by 1550 it had a population of 500 covering seven streets.  Wild celebrations followed.

But still, despite its status of Nonentity of the North there were battles fought in and around the borough during the Civil War, and even a Siege of the Seven Streets in 1644 which lasted two and a half weeks.  No one noticed.

Liverpool will always be associated with slavery, with the first slave ship sailing proudly from Liverpool in 1699 and it was on the back of slavery that Liverpool grew.  It is no coincidence that its first docks were built in 1715 to accommodate the evil trade.

The Slave Trade brought the economic good times to Liverpool and by the 19th century half the world’s trade went through the parish.  When the trade was made illegal it was replaced by the Hub Cap Trade.

People who live in Liverpool are known as Liverpudlians, giving the name to their club of Liverpuddle.  They are also known as Scousers, which derives from the colloquial 18th century term for Slave Traders.

Its most famous export was Billy Fury for which it became European Capital of Culture in 2007, although the committee later conceded it was all a big mistake as they meant to give the title to Stavanger in Norway.

Parts of Liverpool are designated World Heritage Sites, although the football ground of Liverpool is not.  However Liverpool has the distinction of being the only football team in Britain to have been owned by the State, as when the nationalised banks took the club over and then tried to sell it to the Americans.

With such thoughts in mind I approached Dennis Bergkamp at the Enfield Tap, a hostelry opposite the now flooded allotments.  After a brief resume of what to do about potato rot we considered the fixture.

As Dennis said Arsenal have scored more goals this season without RVP than they did by the same stage last season with RVP.  “So me old mucker,” said Dennis in that lilting Dutch accent of his, “selling Robin was good news.  We get money and we get more goals.”

Liverpool have had another of their famous cup defeats of late – you might recall them losing to Northampton a while back – this time it was the mighty  Oldham.   It proved what we always knew – Liverpool has little in the way of youth policy (but see note on Arsenal’s youth policy below).

Life in the league isn’t much better however as Liverpool’s total number of league wins away from home since September seems to be rather small.  Trouble is we don’t normally beat Liverpool, so something has to give.

Dennis then gave me the latest from Mr Wenger.  Vermaelen is fit so either  Mertesacker or Koscielny will drop out.  Koscielny hasn’t been as dominant as last season, but that is probably because he hasn’t had a long run of games.

An interesting point, said Dennis, is that Ramsey is changing his game, undoubtedly under instruction from Mr Wenger.  Coquelin is still injured and Diaby is a doubt so it looks like Ramsey will be in the team again with Wilshere and Cazorla.

Which gives us something like this:


Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs

Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere

Walcott, Giroud, Podolski

What is happening is that Walcott is moving into the middle much more, and Giroud is having to learn to work around this.  That’s no bad thing.  Pires made his famous comment about the left wing (“It gets a bit crowded over there”) while learning to move into the middle to make way for Henry.  But when he got used to the idea, it certainly worked.

Oxlade-Chamberlain should have another appearance from the beach and Arshavin will sit in a coat ten times too big for him.

And in other news…

Arsenal beat Fulham in the fourth round of the youth cup 2-1.  The team was

  • Deyan Iliev
  • Hector Bellerin
  • Zac Fagan
  • Isaac Hayden
  • Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill
  • Alfred Mugabo
  • Jack Jebb
  • Kristoffer Olsson
  • Anthony Jeffrey
  • Serge Gnabry
  • Chuba Akpom

And in the Next Gen series Arsenal will play Inter Milan in the first knock out round, having come second in the group stages.

So there we are.  Everything you didn’t need to know about anything.  As for the game I predict Stefan will arrive three minutes after kick off and force Tony to stand up to let him pass, just as the first goal goes in.  Fortunately there will be several more after that.

Recent posts…

The books…

The sites…


54 Replies to “Arsenal v the Royal Borough. Plus Billy Fury, Mr Bergkamp and King John.”

  1. As Dennis said Arsenal have scored more goals this season without RVP than they did by the same stage last season with RVP. “So me old mucker,” said Dennis in that lilting Dutch accent of his, “selling Robin was good news. We get money and we get more goals.”

    Well, they are going for the title and we are scrambling for the 4th spot. You decide which is better.

  2. Even with Rvp we were scrambling for fourth spot. We had henry, fabregas, rvp at one time. Nevertheless, we were scrapping for fourth spot up untill the last gameweek. That time we drew against martin jol’s Tottenham. We are always fighting for 4th, since 2004-05. And everytime we have made it. Why’s the doubt now?

  3. I suppose the doubt and uncertainty is all just part of the season long roller coaster ride. Arsenal will do well to shut out Liverpool tonight. I would go with the two more mobile centre backs against Saint Suarez, who, so I have been informed can be easily stopped if you throw holy water over him, just have a fire extinguisher handy.

  4. “So me old mucker,” said Dennis in that lilting Dutch accent of his, “selling Robin was good news. We get money and we get more goals.” Translation: my Self-Deception to cover our consistent inconsistency.

    Most goals are distributed in a few of the games.
    We haven’t beaten a top 3 side.
    The first goal by Brighton was not typical of our vulnerability.
    But wait: There’ll be no more injuries. Ramsey is the new Song. And Giroud is rounding into RVP. So, no needs to fill. No need to buy, thank you very much.

    Ok “old mucker,” there is a fast closing window. Is your “Good News” ye same ol’ Consolation? Not funny, Billy Boy. Just Consolation.

    Tomorrow = Window Closed. One lives in hope that we meet a few actual needs.

    And so many thanks for your lilting distraction, “Dennis”.

  5. “and everytime we have made it. Why’s the doubt now?”
    That’s really rich. As you’ve already bought the Brooklyn Bridge, I’ll tell you what: I’ve got a tickets to sell you on the Titanic for the return trip after we dock in NY.
    (Don’t tell anyone. Your eyes are wide shut.)

  6. That’s because Wenger gave the no.2 spot to Bould.

    Frickin’ massive loss to the club.

    Thanks for the heads up Adam

    I remember a similar situation when Keown left Arsenal when Adams got the Captaincy.

    By the time Brady leaves, this will be when Wenger’s contract expires too. I think there will be a lot of coaching changes made ’14, ’15 and possibly a boardroom bombshell being revealed. The stadium should be paid for by then too but no doubt that won’t make any difference with the current people in charge of the revenue.

    I have a special cigar put aside for the day the Wenger regime is trounced by a revolution. Sure we’ll slide down the table a bit, but nothing brings about required change and progress than necessity. It is true, the mother of invention is necessity. Just look at the advancements of Weapons and flight because of the second world war. Go ask the people in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Fat women get slim when they need to attract a man.

    Only when the accounts are done and it’s seen how the Wenger Regime is no longer a good “Model” will steps be taken to improve it. With new thinkers, a paid off stadium, possibly a new manager and board, we can start getting that sense of excitement again which feels like a belt that tightens more by the day as the weekend approaches.

    Revolutions are harsh at first but they produce fruit in the end and usually fast. There will be two factions warring within, the Wengerites with their pipes and slippers and the others will be the visionaries.

    Currently there is not one thing for any Arsenal Fan to hope for. We can’t hope to win anything. We can’t hope to hold on to our players. We can’t hope to see money available for players being used. We can’t hope for the extra money available after the stadium is paid for being used to improve the team. We can’t hope for the extra money available from the Stadium naming rights to be used to improve the team. We can’t hope for the players to be able to play in their natural positions, we can’t hope for a change of formation occasionally, we can’t hope for out set pieces weakness to be addressed, we can’t hope that one day the unchanging state of the club will change because even when squinting, there is not even the tiniest speck of light down the tunnel.

    When the fair play rules are strictly enforced and all teams abide by them, that is when Arsenal should have started. Not years before the rules are officially implemented. This is the type of people we have in charge.

    Wenger won’t buy players because it gives him the chance to show us fans who the boss is. “Panic buying shows weakness” – that’s his latest oat of wisdom. He’s going to be bloody minded and obstinate just to make a point to us fans. If we spent the month demanding that Wenger does not buy players, the man would be on a frickin’ spending spree now.

    I want Brady to stay and the club better be persuading him to stay.

  7. @Arsenal1Again

    What about the revolution at Villa Park or the one at Loftus Rd?

    Explain to us how Villa fans are enjoying the fruits they have produced?

  8. Arsenal 1: well done for comparing wars, fat chicks and football. Peoples lives are the reward for the revolution that everybody cares about as first priority all working together. Fat chicks don’t become glamours they lose a bit of weight, buy new clothes and get an equally plump man as a boyfriend to make other boyfriend jealous. 
    Football are not war or fat chicks, just entertainment, really good entertainment at times but hey. Also I am really looking foreword to this game just as i did for the last one and like our next one. Its what 99% of fans do when supporting teams. Why are Newcastle to passionate, why are spurs so passionate, Leeds etc etc what kind of fan are you? How long have u been supporting? What were you like before we became the arsenal that we are today, millions of fans, recognized works over, biggest/richest  clubs in world want our manager. 
    Perfect example of me, me, me attitude…
    Comon you mighty gunners – 6:30am kickoff but no telly just live updates… 

  9. Great post Arsenal 1, proof that cats are more intelligent than most humans.

    Comparing QPR and Aston Villa, not really like for like is it? Well I suppose Villa are owned by an American who seems indifferent so there is the odd similarity.

    Go with Bob regarding the crazy comments about RVP. Wonder how many games we could have won with him and how many Manu might have failed to win without him.

    Anyway Giroud is our potential season-saver. And Ramsey looks better in his current role, so please Wenger leave him there and don’t put him on the wing or in goal or whatever crazy experiment suddenly tales your fancy.

    Hoping for a win, 3-0 would be good.

  10. Arsenal1Again,

    You’ve already exhibited some hostility towards me earlier, which surprised me to be honest. And I know we don’t really agree, but I mean no malice towards you.

    However, I have to ask, and this is a general question to everyone. Do you really believe that a revolution is a good way to go about things? (I don’t mean Arsenal here) In my view revolutions are very good at destroying whatever structure exists and is blamed for the current ills, but pretty much fail at everything else, and eventually become the very thing they fought against. (although revolutionary ideas are something which contribute – and by that I don’t mean let the blood run on the streets type literature)

  11. @Rupert

    You never fail to amuse.

    The Dutch have produced many many top players who have all been educated in a system where they adapt to being played out of position.

    Its all part of a bigger picture that some have failed to acknowledge.

  12. @Arsenal1Again
    Liam Brady says he is leaving after 25 years.
    You say you know why. How is that?
    You have made this an excuse for a long negative contribution mainly attacking Arsene Wenger. Again.
    I don’t think we should speculate on why a long standing and illustrious Arsenal employee has decided to leave his job in order to attack the club and the manager.

  13. Liam Brady is leaving his position, the club have stated they wish to keep him involved with the club in some capacity, He is not leaving until 2014 so he’s not exactly fallen out with anyone, so why the negativity flying around, I don’t understand why some have put a spin on this? Personally I’d love to see Bergkamp come in and take over but Arsenal have a history of putting ex-youth products in the role.

    Finally if there was a problem he would leave immediately, either by his own choice or the club would have sacked him, and lets face it Arsenal are not shy of getting rid of a member of staff if they cross the line (George Graham anyone).

  14. If the three new signings were Oliver Gerald, Luke Poddle and Sandy Castor, Englishmen all, the Wenger Outers would probably consider it progress.

    These people don’t get it. It’s not how much you spend, but how wisely. The aforementioned Liverpool spent 35 million on England’s hottest striker, Andy Carroll. Result? About half a million’s worth of production.

    And Arsenal1Again, you want a revolution? Two words: Robespierre and Napoleon.

  15. @ Uncle Mike, sadly unlike citizen Robespierre those calling for others heads can do so in the safe knowledge that theirs are safe. The world of the internet holds no accountability for most.

  16. I’d love to know where some of these so called supporters get the motion that winning silverware is some kind of God given right. Where were you all during the sixties, seventies and eighties?
    Decent fans who support their team week in week out with virtually no chance of ever winning a trophy or attracting ‘superstars’ put you all to shame.
    Allez Le Boss.

  17. A good rescue act, one we should have won. But arsene, bould it reputedly on 1.5 million a year…..please make use of him? If we could defend, we could actually be amazing

  18. Same old, same old really. Could have won, could have got thrashed, could be decent, could be woeful. How many more times do we need to be reminded that Santos is a fucking useless waste of space. I don’t think I have ever seen a player look so bad for so many matches and still get in the squad. I doubt that he would even get on the ground staff at any other top-flight club and that includes most European leagues.

  19. Am I alone in the belief that Gerrard’s foul on Mertesacker should have been a red, rather than a yellow card?

  20. The goals conceded away at Southampton and again tonight stem from such gross incompetence that sum up the has been halfwit to a tee. Zero defensive coordination. Bould be a man and walk. Don’t sully your reputation and be associated with shit like that.

  21. AW really has no idea anymore – it was only fan and media pressure that got him to drop the welsh denilson and Gervinho a month or two back. it will take the same to get rid of santos.when you think that Vermaelen has played in fat andres position for both for club and country, the lack of awareness and knowledge displayed by AW is staggering. Also
    Look at the table. We are 21!!!!!! points behind Manure and it’s not even February. And you just know nothing will happen tomorrow, so it’s same old, same old till the end of the season.

  22. Reading take a point off Chelsea, and Norwich take a point off Tottenham.

    Nannu -1
    Nannu -1
    Nannu -1

  23. Disappointment at not getting 3 points is no excuse for abusive criticism of players and manager, nor for a total lack of perspective

  24. This team prove time and time again they have serious heart , desire and these days fire power. What they lack is proper organisation that leads to lack of confidence for at least half a game. And does it spread. Worth reading the Amy Lawrence interview with ches in the guardian
    This confirms arsene is trying to get us to play like barca. The fact is, we are not ready for that. That takes special players a long time. we may get there, but not this season, so why not tighten up a bit and start the barca thing next season? We concede in every game, and usually very sloppy goals. If Gibbs is injured for any time, santos is going to need serious protection. But he may get us a few goals as well.
    A revolutionary idea……bould manager for the first half……wenger for the second, with responsibilities shared in training. Might save our season….! Maybe in some parallel universe some day. Still, this evening could have gone a hell of a lot worse.

  25. @John
    I agree with you, Gerrard’s tackle was worthy of a red, nowhere near the ball but took the man. Luckily for Met his studs were not firmly planted into the ground.

    Just out of curiosity, when the defence was tight at the beginning of the season, Bould was getting a lot of credit, and now things are going south its Wenger’s fault. How does that work? We win as a team, and lose as a team. No need to be disrespectful or labelling players who are giving it their all abusive terms here. No true supporter would do that.

  26. Al, not wanting to come over all Stewart Robson, but do wonder if bould is being given a fair crack of the whip on defence, sometimes they appear very disorganised. Maybe the mf is conditioned to help the attack rather than the defence and this is causing problems? Whatever or whoever is the problem, I wish they would sort it, seems we invariably go behind , we give teams a head start. I just cannot believe this is a bould drilled defence, vermaelen per and kos are excellent players, lets tweak the system a bit more to make them look a bit better and not spread nerves. It could work wonders. Strange, almost as if this season, wenger , after a couple of tough years has gone back to elemental beliefs on formation and signings? I thought he was going to play a pressing game and make us more solid as we were early autumn, but he seems to have changed this….with so far, mixed results.

  27. Mandy

    We don’t really know who does what in training. The sort of goals we concede though aren’t really coaching or systemic issues. They tend to be more individual errors. That, to me, suggests that it is more mental than anything else. ANd it tends to become a vicious circle. The more it becomes an issue, the more the players would tend to get nervous about it, thereby causing more problems. I think we should get a sports psychologist in (if we don’t already have one) Although, the effects of that will take time too.

    If the first 3 matches of the season were what we’d get with a Bould coached team, then I prefer this. It is however, of course, about finding the balance. Which I think will happen in time.

  28. @Mandy

    The BBC has that Gibbs will be out 3 weeks with a thigh problem (confirmed by Wenger at news conference).

  29. “just cannot believe this is a bould drilled defence”
    This was also the view of Steven Hughes on the postgame show on Arsenal Player. And a lot of callers were saying that something that started out so encouraging got lost in and since the international break. Hughes played with Bould and said he’s brilliant and astute (his words) on spotting the defensive problem. So then it’s either inadequate players or a coaching contretemps, as you seem to suggest (and if not, I do suggest).

  30. A|,
    What happened – nothing ? – in/since the break?
    We can’t know, but do you agree there’s a something there, or (for real) do you have a specific sense of what’s wrong? I mean, let’s take that first goal that Brighton scored on us. That was mind-numbing. Words escape me there. There’s a gap to mind, no?

  31. Want to concur with Shard’s views.Lets not forget this is the same defence we had last season, and that started this season so well. If anything has changed at all this season its the arrival of bould, so without wanting to sound like I’m pointing a finger at anyone, thats the only change that could’ve affected anything, if anything. The thing I find a little funny is that the defence is the only department that had no change of personnel from last year, and seemed to settle first early in the season with all our strikers struggling. Now it appears the strikers have settled its the defence’s turn to suffer from a lack of confidence. If we can just be composed this team isn’t far off from putting a solid run. Even though we have had a few games where we’ve thrashed teams, our defence let in a few goals too so the confidence hasn’t quite been restored to previous levels. A couple of successive one nil wins would be good in my opinion.

    I can see what you are saying Mandy, and can see sense in it all. This doesn’t seem a Bould defence, nor does it seem Wenger would suddenly change a working formula. But I think its more of just a vicous circle like Shard pointed out. If one looks at today’s goals they were both preventable and down to individual errors coupled with just bad luck; if Sagna hadn’t slipped, or if suarez’s shot hadn’t deflected in off Sagna’s leg, if TV’s clearance hadn’t ricochetted off Santos and fallen onto henderson’s path…. In both cases, an error occured initially, and our defence was presented with an opportunity to correct it, but bad luck ‘intervened’ before they could rectify the mistake, these things happen. Lets just hope the confidence comes back, and quick. Think just a clean sheet or two, and we are back in business. United’s defence doesn’t seem to be that mean too these days, but fortunately for them they get extra help when they need it, and more often than not that can be the difference. Just imagine that foul on Podi in the box, had it been given a penalty we probably wouldn’t be here saying this. Fingers crossed for a clean sheet, starting with Stoke.

  32. Santos v Bayern is a accident waiting to happen.I fear that tie could be over in minutes,given the away goals rule.Why does the defence look worse than ever,and why can’t we play in the first half anymore? Answers on a postcard to A.Wenger,c/o London Colney.I fear that the “waiting for our top targets in the summer” approach to this transfer window is going to prove a disaster,with said targets not willing to move to a club that has no CL football to offer.Which is looking increasingly likely.This is the worse defence Wenger has put together at Arsenal, and there are no excuses because defenders don’t command the huge transfer fees and wages of more attacking players that puts the best players out of our reach.Arsenal could have bought better defenders,full stop.I’m afraid it all boils down to bad judgement on players,combined with poor defensive coaching.The sooner Mr Wenger realises we ain’t Barcelona the better.

  33. Bob,
    Your post came through while I was compsing my last post, but agree we have hgiven away silly goals lately. Goals we shouldn’t be letting in, but without wanting to repeat myself all over again, we know our back four can be mean, we have seen it. Lets just hope they gather their confidence back collectively at the same time…. which is why the injury to Gibbs might have come at a wrong time(not that there’s any injury which comes at the right time, but sure you get what i mean).

  34. Gibbs, three weeks, worrying I love santos attacking, but as a defender, no. That would be a huge huge risk. Shard, yes, nobody knows what happens in training, but earlier this season, we looked more solid, bould was getting praised by players, wenger then said primorac was also a great coach, and we would always give goals the way we play bould or not….and since then….you may be right, it may be mental, but this level of defending has gone on for years, and it is punishing us. I know defending has gone out of the window, but we seem to be the worst of the top level teams. Attack and defence is a balance, out balance is wrong at times. If as you say, and I agree it is mental, why not be more solid at the start of games, put in a solid formation for say twenty mins to help the defence. Another thing, how many goals have we conceded in the last couple of seasons through players slipping….a footwear issue to increase pace? Bob, not sure with the coaches, but I believe bould if allowed could help this team, build confidence and help on the mental side of things Shard refers to. I do wonder if for some reason, wenger is going for broke this season, his way or nothing, with maybe an acceptance of possible consequences. I would not rule out a top four finish and other things happening deemed a success, but I wish we would not sail so close to the wind and I wish we were more solid as a team, ches in his interview confirmed this team are being fast tracked to a barca way of playing, trouble is it takes us at least forty five mins to get into that tempo, often the first forty five are a disaster. Barca are not usually like that. If we are not yet barca, lets be a solid , but attacking team for a while.

  35. A|,
    Yes, i got you. Santos (in current form, and maybe in any form) will not do and no purchase I truly fear (i.e., am convinced) thereabouts will sink the ship. And what if he got injured? Or someone in the midfield, even if no new striker is sprung for. Clearly there are issues, but, well, one day left.

  36. Ps bob, I do not think on the whole, it is any inadequacy in the players, I think some of them are amazing, more the system they are playing, which I am not sure they are yet comfortable with

  37. Mandy,
    I think because we have suffered defensively in the early stages of almost every game in the last 10 or so games, this has become some sort of mental block for the players. They’re too nervous not to make a mistake in the opening minutes, try to be too cautious that it inadvertntly leads to these costly mistakes. Perhaps the manager/coach tells them to relax a little bit during the break, and that could be why our second half performances have been better. But like you say, this looks more of a mental thing than anything. Maybe we should just start our next match from the second half, as if that was possible:)

  38. Mandy

    That would be ideal, but I don’t think it works like that. You can’t just change a team’s identity like a switch. Don’t get me wrong. I know exactly what you are saying. The goals we concede off of basic errors is really frustrating. But, in practical terms, how to combat it. If it is indeed a mental issue, would focusing on it too much in training lead to players becoming even more nervous? Or if it is a coaching issue, do you concentrate enough on it so as to let the defense be a burden on the attack (as it was right at the start of the season)

    I’m really quite disappointed that this Bould vs Wenger thing has caught on. As far as I know, the only source of this is Robson and his poisonous tongue. But we can clearly see Bould and Wenger talking during the match. Sometimes even sharing a joke. They may well have differing inputs, but they seem to have no issues in working towards a common goal. That can be a strength. As, of course, you suggest too.

    I’m just glad I don’t have to figure out this Jekyll-Hyde nature of this Arsenal team..

  39. Bob,
    I can see Wenger asking TV to play leftback, and partner Kos with Per for our Bayern tie, and possibly for another game or two.

  40. Al , I agree, those goals were a result of slipping, balls bouncing around and all manner of things. But there were also a few moments of madness in the first half that did not lead to goals but could have. I think what you say does play a part, the mental thing, vicious circle, confidence. These are not bad players. At times the mf do not give them enough help. Sagna especially is given much more to do to help satisfy Theo’s goal scoring wishes. All I am saying, just give bould a chance to rebuild confidence in the back 5. We don’t have to be Sunderland or stoke, but as it stands, nearly half of our team are good players but bordering on dysfunctional for at least forty five mins, wenger should not let his however worthy attacking ambitions blind him to this. He has help, I really hope he is using it

  41. We might also use Miquel as an option at LB. Meade is injured I think, otherwise he was quite impressive against Olympiakos and can be another option.

    the other option is to use Sagna at LB and Jenkinson at RB, with Yennaris/Coquelin as cover for RB. So it’s not like we have to rely on Santos. I’m not sure Wenger is ready to give up on Santos yet though.. I have. After today’s last minute error.

  42. bob,
    the point i was making was that despite of the quality we had in the 05/06, 06-/07, 09/10 seasons we are always scrambling for fourth spot. I am not against any quality signings; despite that i reckon we will be scrambling this year too. last year it was just the totts and chelsea. this year there are a lot more contenders for the last CL spot -everton, liverpool, westbrom, swansea and totts and none of them is showing signs of slowing down. its gonna be tough but if the “ghost of 4th spot past” can help us and totts choke at the end we might be through. but i do have to say we cant depend on external circumstances like last year. we have to create some distance.

  43. A|,
    Alright, fingers crossed. But not enough quality in depth has been a chronic problem; and the assumption of no further injury or the 3 week return have been reckless gambles.No purchase on this front (or back, or you know what I mean) will only work on that dual assumption. Would you put your money on that gamble? (If you were still competing, I mean.)

  44. Shard,think Robson has probably massively exaggerated the bold vs wenger thing, I am sure it is not a conflict, bould is assistant, that is his role. But our defence has gone backwards since last autumn , whether you use what you see, or stats. There may be lots of reasons for this, lack of protection would be one. You are right to say focus on it could damage it more, but work behind the scenes without media focus could help. Was it a golfer who said the more I practice, the luckier I get! And I do not doubt for a second the desire for this whole team to practice, they clearly do not lack work ethic or desire or ability, nor does their coaching staff…yet something is not right

  45. Need a versatile defender. I trust Djourou more than Mertesacker at the moment. Get someone in who can do a job in the back four so either Per can be sat down and Vermaelen moved to LB or get someone who can play LB. The opposing team is letting the German have the ball and allowing him to dribble, pass, and doddle into trouble time and time again.

    On a more positive note, I really like Aaron Ramsey in his new role as holding midfielder. He was too aggressive and mistimed many tackles in the beginning, but I feel like he’s growing into the position and has been very disciplined.

    Santos is Santos. We all see. No need to discuss. Feel sorry for him, but he is not enjoying his football and he looks so unsure out there.

    I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed if we didn’t sign anyone as I think we have a good squad, but at the same time, wouldn’t it be nice to have a boost like we got when we signed Arshavin. Someone dynamic who can come off the bench and give the opposing team a good scare.

  46. GoonerVance,
    Ok, whilst preparing for no signings, you won’t be terribly disappointed. Would you be a little more than say, somewhat disappointed? Or not at all? Low expectations we’ve been led to have. Hell, we definitely need that “Someone dynamic” that you really wish for, right? Well that’s what I wish for. That extra jolt of quality because truth be told, you are what your record says, and we are, right now, pre-window closing, a high mid-table team with lots of potential but too inconsistent to realize it. Anyway, we have a long day today and I don’t think AFC are so whatever one calls it to not make at least one needed signing. One lives in hope.

  47. To tell how far our defence has fallen: we conceded 14 goals in the first 14 matches, whereas in the last 10 matches we conceded 15 in the PL. The last 10 games were a period when we had pretty much every back four uninjured and first choice keeper.

    On the contrary, our attack produced 24 goals in the first 14 matches, while the same number were scored in the last 10. So clearly we are on a rate of 2.4 goals in the last ten. Our defence is making the attack work the extra mile. So, I reckon improving our defence is the best way to go if we are to achieve the coveted 4th spot. Its more to do with the players themselves than bould or AW.

  48. @Tasos, I know about the Dutch but how many Dutch men are in our team? We had one once……..

    @Uncle Mike, yes all revolutions are the same, aren’t they?

    @Dec, who said winning trophies was a God-given right? And I remember the 70’s. Won a few cups and the league. Won the league and a cup in the eighties too. Don’t think God had anything to do with it.

    @Mandy, trouble is there’s always something not right and usually it’s the defence. Once we sort it out we might actually be quite a potent force.

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