Arsenal v Everton. Jack or no Jack? Podolski? Cappuccino?

By Billy the Zombie Dog


So its Arsenal v Everton [I think we know that Billy – Ed]

Our line up perhaps, possibly, could be, maybe…


Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal;

Arteta, Ramsey

Cazorla, Rosicky,

Walcott, Giroud.

Lukasz Fabianski got a kick in the ribs so can’t play.  Which explains why he got off the pitch so incredibly quickly at the end of the Norwich game.  A quick run over to shake the opposition keeper’s hand, and he was down the tunnel.   So it will either be Vito Mannone or Wojciech Szczeny in goal.

Nacho Monreal had a rest for Saturday’s fun and games, so I’d bring him back.  Theo was terrific when he came on, and Mr Wenger said that he brought Jack back too soon, so maybe he won’t play.   If he does, how about this for a line up


Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal;

Arteta, Ramsey

Wilshere, Rosicky,

Walcott Giroud.

That gives Cazorla a rest – he’s been playing so much, maybe a time on the bench could work for him.  No place for Gervinho though.

Per Mertesacker will be available again but does that mean that Vermaelen drops down to the bench?  I suspect not.

Tomas Rosicky was so brilliant in his last game, surely we’ll use him again, if he has recovered fully.  If not then we could play a midfield of

Arteta, Ramsey

Wilshere, Cazorla,

But what of Podolski? Is here really going to be kept out of the fun again?  If not where does he go?


Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal;

Arteta, Ramsey

Wilshere OR Rosicky,

Walcott Giroud Podolski

Hmmmmm.  I can’t make my mind up.
There were some around me on Saturday complaining about Giroud’s first half display, which was certainly a little off colour.   So we could go with:
Arteta, Ramsey

Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosicky,

Walcott, Podolski

Talk about radical!

Mr Wenger’s main comment was, “We have built a great run and that is basically down to spirit, dynamic, communication and huge desire. They showed great responsibility in a difficult situation on Saturday. That’s what you want from your players.”
What we have to remember is that just as we are on a run, so are Everton (four victories and a draw from their last five league matches)

There’s a lot of talk about, “if we win we’ll be 136 points ahead of Scarborough” or something, but the simple fact is fourth place is ours if we keep winning, and maybe third.  If we drop points we become dependent on Tottenham again, which is never a good place to be.

Five straight wins is the sort of form that our championship winning teams used to deliver – and to me this team is starting to look much better.

As for Everton they have won just once in their last 20 Premier League trips to Arsenal.  In fact they have managed six points out of the 60 on offer over those games.

Here’s one other thing, although I was watching to pitch in the latter parts of the Norwich game, I didn’t notice the usual number of people drifting away before the end.  How good it would be if that became the norm.
Let’s end with Jack’s comment from the press conference:
“We’ve got great players and want to be challenging for first and second. We’re happy with third when you look at this season but really we want to be higher. We want to be challenging for everything every year, we don’t want just to be saying that we got into the Champions League. We want to be winning trophies and having that experience as a team. There’s nothing better than winning, especially when you’ve been around a team that’s been working hard to win something for so long. To be rewarded at the end of it would be great.”
I’ll go along with that.
Finally, an apology – if you suffered any interruption to your normal Untold or Arsenal History blog service in the last couple of days it wasn’t our fault.  An attack going under the rather droll name of “Swarms of Zombies” turned up.  We seem to have survived, but some of our team of writers and administrators of the sites had to work hard to get around it.  Being canine I was safe. If you were inconvenienced – apologies.  I’ve changed my password to…[oh for God’s sake Billy – Ed] …. so we should be ok now.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Ted Drake

The books…

The sites from the same team…

129 Replies to “Arsenal v Everton. Jack or no Jack? Podolski? Cappuccino?”

  1. Best aresenal team to beat Everton:


    Sagna, Mertesacker , Koscielny, Gibbs;

    Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky,

    Walcott, Giroud, Podolski

  2. Not long now. It’s half 12 here and games on in 4 hrs or so…. Nervous but got to sleep, COYG!

  3. Getting on the train, heading for Finsbury Park, at 5. Let’s have a good game gooners. Bring it on, Everton. COYG!

  4. Mahesh — we are the only game tonight and its easier to wind up Arsenal fans than actually do some journalism

    They have form for this — the Bayern away game for one

  5. So the kicking that the Norwich players were dishing out was real bad then if Fabianski picked up such an injury. I never thought they were such a team, but then again almost all teams kick us in the premiership.

  6. “We want to be challenging for everything every year, we don’t want just to be saying that we got into the Champions League. We want to be winning trophies and having that experience as a team. There’s nothing better than winning, especially when you’ve been around a team that’s been working hard to win something for so long.”

    The supposed AAA gets lambasted around here for these very sentiments aired by Wilshere.

    Especially liked the part about “don’t want to be just saying we got into the CL”.

    Same exact thing many gooners who question the current direction and elevation of CL qualification akin to a “trophy” say. We need to be serious about winning it, for many fans that means further investment, and possibly more importantly more efficient use of current resources (i.e. players taking up money/spaces and contributing nothing).

  7. No A. Stewart,
    the AAA gets lambasted for wishing Ramsey to break his leg again, for calling all our players bad, rubbish, useless,…whatever insult you can come up with, for calling the manager all sorts of names. That is why they get lambasted because they never can say anything good about the manager or the players.

  8. Huh? Last I checked Wilshere wasn’t abusing Wenger after every defeat (or even narrow victory), wasn’t booing our own players on the pitch, and wasn’t repeating inane stuff about Arsenal being in terminal decline. He wasn’t betting Arsenal will finish behind Spurs, or saying that we’re useless. Must have missed all of that.

    Pointing out that qualifying for the CL is quite an achievement, (not to mention important for the future of the club), especially when there are clubs who spend so much more, doesn’t mean that is the limit of the desire.

    Winning things at Arsenal is a common goal shared by supporters and those running Arsenal, something which the supposed AAA always deny. There are differences about how to go about winning those things. But that shouldn’t make people forget the first part.

  9. I cant believe what I’m seeing, its looking that famous robbery at OT, this ref is letting everton get away with murder its unbelievable

  10. I cant believe we are the team playing at home, this ref is a disgrace. Anichebe should have been yellow carded there for his rant at the fourth official, shrek-style, but nothing given, not even a talking to.

  11. The players don’t mind – they are paid a King’s Ransom for this nonsense…

    Why we sheeple pay for it though God only knows

  12. This ref is utter disgrace. Everton are doing whatever they feel like and he is letting them get away with

  13. The ref gave them a lot of leeway, Fellini gets away with a hell of a lot. Ref bottled a red card for Everton and let them away with numerous fouls. They were clearly under orders to clatter jack and theo every time they threatened. Am surprised they were so negative with so much to play with in their position

  14. Second half we were better team by far. Ref clearly under instruction to stop Arsenal. Theo and Jack were clearly targetted and received no protection. Bookings for Arteta and Monreal a joke considering what Everton players did.

  15. Such a frustrating game, I had a lot of respect for moyes and everton before this game. That’s out the shittin’ window now. Anti football from start to finish, 10 men behind the ball, long ball shit, constant fouling and should’ve been a red for Gibson. I can’t understand how he gets away with a second yellow after pienaar and monreal got booked for identical offences. Come on you gunners, end the season with a flourish and prove the doubters wrong………again

  16. They are stoke with a couple of really good players. That is why moyes will never manage a really top side. Still, we have lost games like that before , a win at Fulham, who I also fear may just park the bus, and all is good again.

  17. Mandy, of course they are going to park the bus, every team (bar united) are going to til the end of the season

  18. Further reflections:

    Everton are strong physically with very good defenders, but I agree with Mandy’s comparison with Stoke.

    Maybe I could have played in goal tonight for Arsenal without affecting the result.

  19. Yes, let’s blame Everton and Moyes and his anti-football and forget about the painfully average striker missing good chances. Even Bendtner is better than Giroud. Another Wenger’s poor signing.
    I’m not surprised. When you have a striker with one of the worst conversion rates in the league, playing against a decent team, you can only hope for 0x0.
    Also let’s not forget about Wenger playing Wilshere, someone struggling for form, for almost 70 minutes.
    Oh, yeah, but keep deluding yourselves and blame Everton, the pitch, the referee, Moyes, the media, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the weather, the tea lady…

  20. True Russell, but some teams are better than others at bus parking, have a feeling Everton practice it more than most. Fulham do not have much to play for, nor in another way will QPR. Utd might not either. Wigan and or Newcastle might have to try and win. Not sure what that means, probably will play a part in the Dean game coming our way

  21. Giroud has seventeen goals in his first season sperez. Not bad stats, compares very well with some higher profile and more expensive players I can think of.

  22. Tough game tonight, but although we didn’t take all the points the players stood up well to a very physical Everton side. Overall we played the better football and created more chances. Pity we couldn’t take one of them. But it’s a game we might easily have lost a few months ago.

    I wouldn’t criticise anyone for the effort they put in tonight. Play like this for the remaining games and I think we’ll be OK.

  23. sperez, I agree giroud had a poor game in terms of finishing but also created a few chances with his flick on’s. That doesn’t excuse the fact that everton come to the emirates and played for the draw. They have every right to of course, a point away at the emirates is an excellent result in most teams eyes. Playing against teams with that mindset is going to result in limited opportunities, sadly giroud couldn’t capitalize on the few chances today

  24. Sperez, give us a break will you. We started complaining about the ref very early into the match as he was letting some horrible tackling from Everton go unpunished, and it was still nil-nil at that point. So you cant accuse us of blaming the ref as we couldn’t have predicted the outcome as early as that, we are not clutching at straws. I cant fault anyone of our players on their performances tonight, they all put in a solid shift. And I saw a few take a good beating that I wouldnt be surprised if one or two fail to make it in our next game through injury.

  25. Bendner better than Giroud? Spur(e)s sure knows his football. Wilshere struggling for form? Nothing to do with coming back from injury of course. We are indeed fortunate that we have someone with such insight into the game to share such pearls.

  26. MU will also park the bus, Their bus is usually more effective because Ferdinand, Evans, Vidic and co. are allowed by referees to commit fouls without being penalised.

  27. The poor performance from the ref and Everton tactics mustn’t distract us from what was a poor show by Giroud in terms of finishing. It has been his problem all season long and was the main reason behind our 9th draw of the season.
    @Mandy dodd, he has scored 17 goals but his conversion rate is about 1 out of 8 which is awful compared to other top strikers. Podolski is about 1 out of 5 and is my preferred choice for the lone striker.

  28. Most of Giroud’s goals were against average/shite teams. His 17 goals don’t hide the fact that he is a very average player.
    Everton dominated the game on several occasions, especially in the first half. They didn’t come to play for a draw at all. But in the last 20 min Arsenal was better, having more possession, pressing Everton’s players, trying to create chances.
    Anyway, even if Everton were playing for a draw, I don’t think this should be used as an excuse. Many teams parked the bus and a good manager will always try to find alternatives to that. Unfortunately, Wenger’s way is so predictable that makes the opposition feels more comfortable.

  29. Yeah, We know what Giroud is not. But what about what he is and what he brings to the team? He’s not going to be the 30 goal scorer or poacher, although he often does exhibit some great striking instincts. But he is always full of running (i thought this was lacking today, probably tiredness) and helps us press from the front, and links up well with his teammates. His hold up play could still use some work, but he’s better at it than Podolski and that is why he starts, aligned with the ‘fact’ that Podolski is carrying an injury.

    Giroud should have scored from that chance. The irony is that the chance came from Ramsey on the right wing, something which Wenger was criticised heavily for, but which probably led to Ramsey developing the instinct and ability to do that.

  30. What is more predictable than Wenger’s tactics? The moaning about it by some who don’t understand ‘tactics’ anyway, but feel the need to exhibit their obvious (to them) superior knowledge regardless.

  31. Conversion rates or not, giroud is on target for 20 goals in his first season in this league, not too many do that……even against average teams…..seem to remember Henry getting accused of that sort of thing! We seem more solid at the moment, maybe that costs us a bit offensively, but the inescapable conclusion is that despite a chance for the top four, moyes reverted to type…ie a hoof merchant manager , kick and rush, the type unfortunately commonly found in these isles. Very disappointing really. And to think the aaa have wanted the likes of moyes and o Neil in charge of our great club at various times! We will be ok at the weekend, because try as they might, Fulham will not defend as well as that, and unlike Everton, they have nothing to play for.

  32. Overall a good performance tonight against a brutal Everton side aided by another biased ref. Looks like we cannot expect much better from the refs for the rest of the season. However, it is another point gained.

    I used to have some respect for Moyes – but no more.

  33. I would also like to see Podolski have a chance as a striker, Wenger is aware of his qualities and has said this week that he’s been training in that role (or something like that, too tired to go browsing for quotes). Anyway, we can all feel a bit dissapointed with a draw but 1 point’s better than none and fourth is pretty much still in our hands considering the spuds fixtures compared to our own. We got this, I’m in no doubt

  34. Moyes said in his post match interview that he got bored by the Arsenal players constantly falling over and complaining. What an absolute pr**t.

  35. Honestly, Fulham caused trouble at The Emirates. So, I don’t think it’ll be easy to grab 3 points at Craven Cottage.

  36. Well Spermez…you can only hope that Fulham beat or tie us so that you can continue to attack Wenger and your favourite ¨shite¨ players like Giroud and Ramsey, Funny that we don’t see you here when AFC win….is it too painful for you?

  37. I comment here when Arsenal wins, but I guess you must have been too busy worshipping Wenger to notice. And I always thought Ramsey could be a decent squad player (not world class) but Wenger kills many young players rewarding them with inflated wages when they did nothing to deserve this. Then, they have nothing to prove and become complacent. The wage structure at Arsenal is abysmal and Wenger is responsible for this. I hope Ramsey and Wilshere don’t become victims of Wenger’s terrible policy.
    But Giroud is really average and he’ll turn 27 this year. If he were 5 years younger I’d say there would still be room for improvement but unfortunately this is not the case.

  38. Hi guys, this is my first comment on here but been visiting this site for some time now. I like how this site has more level-headed people then any other blog i have visited. Todays result was very good IMO, I know loads of you thinks that we’ve lost 2 points but I think we gain a point as Everton wanted to hurt us on counter and I think we did well to stop them from doing that.

    As for Refs, I dont think we should complain about them as our boys would know by now that you have to count them against us.

    I think we were unlucky not to score. As for people who are blaming Giroud (Sperez), are they for real. He didnt miss the easiest chance, that honour goes to Mikel Arteta. I thought Giroud is playing brilliantly for his first season, linking up players well up front. Our wingers and formation doesn’t really help him much. Why is our ball never goes to the target players in the box from both side I will never know.

    Sperez, here is a question for you – what age did VP started playing well for us? 28? 29? The thing is we have to believe in our players because no one ease will – not media and not BBC.

    I think we will be fine and may finish 2 or deferentially 3 this season.

  39. I can’t believe what I just saw. The first 12 minutes of the recording, that is. Anichebe should have been booked for the push on Sagna on 5′, Fellaini escaped 2 yellows for the fouls on Jack and Ramsey, and Pienaar elbowed Cazorla. This is not football. Are we sure it’s not Stoke in disguise?

  40. Man this Mirralas is a dark hearted prick….Some of his tackles were……bloody murder. Well I dint expect anything good from him, after that RYO injury.

    I dont understand how that hairy belgian got away. That tackle on Ramsey was Shawcrossesque. I hope all our guys are fine. Just bruised and nothing more.

    Hard fought point. We had good chance to get all 3 though. The second half was just wave after wave after wave of ARSENAL attack. No wonder Moyes was happier of the two managers.

    RAMSEY……MOTM for me. Stand out performer.What a week is he having.

  41. Sperez,
    we see you in 95% of the time after we drop points.
    And yes you did commented 3 times after a win. Only to drag the team or a player down.

    I didn’t went through all the comments completely but I think the day has to be born when you can say anything positive about Arsenal.

  42. Interesting that Moyes defends his rough them up tactics. Well the point is that if Moyes would go to the CL and play like that he would have been down to 9 man in this game.
    The bully boy tactics don’t work that way in Europe in 98% of the games.
    I think in this game with most European refs Fellaini would have had a yellow card after 9 minutes (3 fouls given against in the first 9 minutes), Barkley and Mirallas would have been booked for a few roughing up challenges that weren’t even called. Gibson would have walked with two yellow cards.

  43. Sperez,
    It’s obvious you didn’t watch the game, you shouldn’t really make comments about it therefore.

  44. Quite an entertaining match. Everton did not come to draw as someone claimed, in fact they very much wanted to win, as did we. But for the fact that we have a very ordinary striker in Giroud we might have done. The first ten minutes I thought Everton were the home team such was their dominance. They also went in with some heavy tackles and the one player that should have been carded, Fellaini, wasn’t. Yes Anichebe’s shove was a foul but he seemed to be fouled in the lead up.

    Our passing in the final third was off the mark frequently. Too much dithering on the ball when a decent final pass was needed or a shot should have been taken. Some of our players seem to nervous to shoot. Everton though defended well, as did we most of the time.

    After the first half I thought this had nil nil written all over it and so it proved. We finished strongly, very much in the ascendant but it’s obvious we need another striker. Also I think Gervinho for Walcott might have been a better option.

    Also Walter I know your hatred of this mythical straw monster called the AAA is hysterical but I don’t think any Arsenal fans want Ramsey to break his leg. In fact I’d like to think nobody wants any player to break his leg.

    Well said Jack as well. CL qualification is not the be all and end all, winning trophies is.

  45. Well Rupert is back…and he too takes heart from Wilshere’s comment…say something new!

    I thought that the team really played well…this sort of rigour and zeal to fight and also the dogged defending without any false steps was really heartening!

    I don’t think that the draw was too bad a result…we are on the right track…Ramsey common boy…you send all the Ruperts back to the sewer!!!

  46. On the Big Match Revisited Arsenal are playing Sheffield W. on an icy pitch. It’s 1979 and Stapleton and Brady are in the team. Of course they were soon sold to more ambitious teams. History repeats itself.

    Pat Jennings is being pelted with snowballs by the Wednesday fans.

  47. @Asif, what a witty riposte, I think we have a new Jim Davidson in the house. I don’t think you should call Ramsey a common boy, most unfair.

    The team played well in most areas of the pitch but really needed to be far more incisive in the final third.

  48. Rupert,
    some twats on twitter claiming to be Arsenal fans did on a few occasion last season wishing Ramsey to get his leg done again. You don’t have to believe me of course and I’m not the one to save or favourite all those messages. But they did I can assure you that.
    There even were some who wished he did the same to himself as Gary Speed did.
    Mythical monster you said…monsters they are indeed. Disgusting monsters. Of course twitter is not the real world so you could call it all mythical if you want.
    If they are really Arsenal fans (not supporters!!! ) I feel ashamed for them.

  49. @Walter, twitter, do you take that stupid thing seriously? Probably Spud’s fans. If you start worrying about what’s spouted on twitter you’ll go mad.

  50. Tim from 7amkickoff went to the match at Swansea (i think) and one guy in the Arsenal away end shouted at Diaby wishing he’d break his leg again. And the away support are generally recognised to be the more ‘supportive’. This is no mythical monster. They exist. And I say this after for years refusing to use the term AAA. Generally I still don’t, because usually I don’t like classifying people in that way. But even more than such obviously stupid (and disgusting) statements, I think there is a group of people who, for whatever reason, are determined to pull Arsenal down no matter what actually occurs. Giroud misses an easy chance (or 5-10 easy chances in the season) so he’s now an ‘average striker’ with his 20 goals forgotten or meaningless. But RVP’s misses for ManU are meaningless, and only his goals count there. The referee will always be right, until there is some ‘doubt’ over a decision which goes Arsenal’s way, and then the referee was wrong. Or at the least this is enough to conclude that referees by and large don’t hurt Arsenal. etc etc.

    Oh and 7amkickoff had some brilliant tweets last night during the game, including this one “Dear Diary, my tactic from October 2004 of kicking Arsenal off the park is still allowed!” -Sir Alex Ferguson.

  51. Giroud was poor last night. I’ve no idea what RVP’s does at Manu each week because I don’t watch him. Some idiot shouts out nonsense about Diaby gets no defence from me other to say that people shout out stupid things in the heat of the moment when they’re frustrated with a player. Does the idiot really want that to happen? You go to a football game and you hear a lot of utter rubbish that if acted upon would probably get the perpetrator a jail sentence.

    Shame that Everton were so physical because it ruined a good game and they don’t have to be because they do have some talented players.

  52. Giroud was poor last night. Perhaps. I’m not sure he was, but I would be willing to accept that statement. That is completely different from ‘we have a very ordinary striker’. That is a statement which means nothing because it offers nothing substantial, but is used to denigrate a player who’s done some very good things for the team since the start of the season.

    The point about the guy shouting abuse to Diaby is not whether he wants it to happen or not, but that he spends time in the stadium pulling down the team rather than cheer them on. Which is counter productive to presumably his aim, and hinders Arsenal’s chances of success. At which point he will distance himself from having any part to play in Arsenal’s failure, blame it on anyone else, and protest about how he doesn’t get what he deserves. He has full right to protest of course, but what actually are the protesters contributing towards Arsenal’s success other than money? Is that enough? It’s easy to do. Just blame someone else without putting yourself forward to do something constructive.

    Actually apart from some who’re obviously motivated to do so, I think the abuse about Arsenal from it’s own fans is to do with self preservation. How to isolate themselves from perceived failure. Stand on the side which complains about said failure. You protect yourself against ridicule from others by joining the chorus. If Arsenal don’t win, you’ve protected yourself to some extent. If Arsenal do win, you can always go back to celebrating and say you only protested because you cared for the club. The more self important will also portray themselves as being the cause of supposed revival. And all will be well in their world. A no risk, no responsibility, vain approach.

  53. I don’t think someone shouting out an insult at Diaby is going to hinder Arsenal’s success. The chances of Diaby even hearing said comment is doubtful and since when have footballers collapsed in an ineffective heap because of fan abuse? If that was the case we’d have a team of sobbing wrecks at half time.

    Your point about fans criticism may have some truth in it, certainly might apply to some but wouldn’t hold true for all who criticize the team. I think after 7 years of no progress people are quite entitled to wonder where the club is heading.

    As for Giroud being an ordinary striker, so far that’s my opinion of him. He’s not world class that’s certain but maybe he’ll get better. He does work hard though and I think he has a good mentality.

  54. I was at the Norwich match. I was between two people who were nervous from the start. A man behind lost no opportunity to insult Gervinho. What can you do? I shouted encouragement to Gervinho whenever I could, pointed out to my neighbours the biased actions of the ref (e.g. Bacary Sagna as first booking), and when one of them said after Norwich’s goal that this was typical Arsenal, pointed out that we are on a long unbeaten run. Fortunately we got our reward and everybody went away happy.
    Sorry we didn’t win yesterday – we deserved to. Dreadful ref performance again.

  55. Apparently Diaby did hear that comment. Players actually can hear the crowd. Yes, some of them are good at filtering it out, but some aren’t. This isn’t to do with whether Diaby, or Gervinho are ‘man’ enough or not to deal with such abuse. But that shouting such abuse is not going to be constructive, rather has the potential to be destructive in nature. Nobody suggests they’ll become sobbing wrecks. But there is a certain subconscious element to playing, especially at that level where talent between players is largely comparable. And abuse does have an effect on mentality.

    No progress? You mean no trophies. There has been progress and setbacks in those 7 years. Questioning is fine. So is criticism. Abuse isn’t. Yet so many resort to unsubstantiated abuse, and will always settle on the narrative that paints Arsenal in a poor light even when there is evidence to the contrary, or at least there are other equally likely theories available. I don’t get how you can do that without either being determined to malign Arsenal, or being scared of standing with Arsenal because of the abuse they face.

    And I don’t include all who feel Wenger should go in this category. I’ve met some people online who feel that way, yet are brilliant in their support. I include only those that express themselves in a certain way, and for whom, Arsenal doesn’t come first. It is their need to have a scapegoat for their own feelings of inferiority that does.

  56. Rupert,
    so we only take serious what we like?

    First you say no Arsenal fans will say such things.
    Then when I say they do you say: you cant take that serious.


    yes probably spuds. But … isn’t that what some of us also say about the mythical AAA that some of them are spuds? But they influence the more fickle Arsenal supporters and they join in their chorus and follow them.

  57. How is the league bent? Let us count the ways: This (PGMOL-protected admission in Moyes-speak): “Do you mean when we were a little bit rough with the tackling?” he said. “Up north we do that quite often. That’s actually allowed in football. We weren’t going to come here and let Arsenal stroke the ball around and make 600 passes. I thought Arsène was complaining quite a lot [to the fourth official]. Was I upset? I just thought it was quite a lot.” This scenario would not be imaginable after a loss at Old Toilet.

  58. Walter, I have no time for Twitter, I never go on it and it seems to breed hostility and vitriol. If you want to take it seriously, please do. But I have more interesting things to do than read comments from people with hatred infesting their souls.

    Arsenal fans obviously do say such things as Shard has pointed out. Whether they really want people to suffer broken legs is debatable. People shout out loads of stupid rubbish at football games, does anyone really take it seriously?

    I agree Shard, there is a subconscious level where constant criticism can affect performance. Must admit I’m surprised players can hear one voice in the crowd but I guess the Emirates can be too quiet at times!

    Progress isn’t just about trophies, it’s about looking like real challengers for said trophies. We are nowhere near good enough to win the league or the CL. The FA Cup should be within our grasp and yet we’ve not made the final since 05. Or a semi final for a few years now. The League Cup seems beyond us too. For a team of our stature it isn’t good enough.

    Interesting final paragraph Shard. People are complex. We all contradict ourselves in minor ways most days of our lives. That’s why we’re so fascinating. It’s too simple to be explained away in just a few lines.

  59. What payrollS is Miralla$ on now? Is the refshite intensifying in the business end? Is anyone going to bring their red cards to the Ems and hold them up in unison at the clear-cut “northern style” fouling that the shiterefs abet and the aggro-boyz favor?

  60. Shard, Rupert,
    Can we agree/opine on any of this?:
    When a game is on the line, conversion rates matter more than goal totals. G&G have good skills, but clinicality. Both are true. Whether or not we achieve CL qualification, AFC team can well afford a top quality clinician, if not world-class poacher and needs to make that purchase. This is not the time to undermine G&G with fanshite at the Ems, and fans there should bring every ounce of support into the atmosphere each game, as fostering confidence is a must. That said, imo it is self-deception to use G&G’s sporadic brilliance as a counterweight to this club’s need for spending what it takes to bring in that clinicality. And that should be a ruthless decision, when the time soon comes (that is, starting the moment the last match is played).

  61. bob

    As you well know, I have constantly said we need another striker. But I’m not going to slag off Giroud for what he’s not (nor really supposed to be) He’s a good striker and offers us something that some other strikers would not, both in terms of effort and ability. Saying that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get another striker.

  62. Hi Rupert,
    Good to see they let you out of the clinic today.

    There has been loads of bashing Ramsey from Arsenal fans with some claiming they wished he got his legs broken again, some have even said he should have joined Gary Speed.

  63. The big gap between ourselves and the Manchester clubs is the number of genuine striking options available. Giroud is our only out and out central striker – I don’t count Walcott, Gervinho or Podolski as being in this category as they fulfil the more general front/wide player role. United in particular have four top rate options for striker and Red Nose is able to regularly rotate them between starting and the bench according to form.

    I don’t criticise Giroud too much because he brings a lot to the side apart from just scoring. His assist rate in and around the box I think is particularly good and he is our only aerial presence in the attacking half. However we do need additional options, and good ones at that.

  64. @Stuart, your turn for discharge will come soon, I’m sure.
    What Arsenal fans are these? Proof please.

    We need a world class striker. If we had one we’d probably not be struggling to finish fourth.

  65. Mandy Dodd,
    Giroud’s 17 goals is good, yes; and his work rate and attitude are generally positive. But can you accept his conversion rate and degree of clinicality as a reason not to bring in (I call it spend, some call it splash, but the point is acquire) a clinical poacher? Are Giroud and/or Gervinho that? Starting this summer, do we need that or not? And if not, why not? Do you think the money (assuming we have what we’re led to believe we have) is better spent elsewhere? If there’s 70M on tap (good, if not petro-max), would you reject splashing half that (at least) on clinicality? My vote is yes. Could we expect more of Giroud in a second year in the EPL (which you seem to imply)? Of course there’s no way to be certain, and real fans do hope for more. But I continue to be very troubled by Gervinho and Giroud’s goal::shot conversion rates and would rather gamble on splashing for the needed poacher/clinician than advocate the gamble that they’ll become this as an excuse against attempting the splash for a demonstrated high-quality purchase. Can clinicality be taught? Can calming down at the moment of the strike be taught?

  66. Shard,
    Yes, and also I find you (and I) do have common ground here with Rupert on this key point. And, now at the business end, I’d assert that it matters more to help maintain morale. Comes the summer, I would urge us to return to a ruthless look at the future adequacy of our combined striking options and what we want, as opposed to what we pragmatically now need to/choose to settle for.

    If you’ve been following it as you suggest, how much of Fungusson’s set of “striking options” would you say has been the result of a certain gift from AFC/HQ?

  67. bob,

    I wouldn’t call £24m a gift and anyway that’s another discussion. In any event he would doubtless have spent it on another striker having identified this as being what was needed after finishing 2nd last season.

    Thinking back to last year I feel that the expectation on AW’s part was that Giroud + Podolski would make up for RVP on the striking front. Although it’s Giroud who is getting the attention here, in many ways I think it’s Podolski who is more puzzling. The fact that he has usually not been in the starting line up, and seems to have fallen into the immpact substitute role makes me wonder how he fits into the
    equation for the future.

  68. “No A. Stewart,
    the AAA gets lambasted for wishing Ramsey to break his leg again, for calling all our players bad, rubbish, useless,…whatever insult you can come up with, for calling the manager all sorts of names. That is why they get lambasted because they never can say anything good about the manager or the players.

    With due respect, sorry Walter, this is hyperbolic nonsense. The so called “AAA” routinely gets lambasted around here for thinking that 4th is nothing to be celebrated and that we should prioritize winning more,or shouldn’t be happy to just merely qualify for a competition (the CL). the so called AAA, gets called “glory hunters” etc for the mere mention of trophies…c’mon let’s be real and honest now. The so called AAA routinely gets lambasted around here for saying EXACTLY what Wilshere said.

    Also no-one wishes Ramsey would break his leg, and if you can find an example of such an idiot, please don’t dishonestly try to make such a idiot be representative of the portion of the fanbase who merely thinks that some change is needed to our direction, or that we should prioritize winning more especially through a more efficient use of our resources, and perhaps should even consider a change in management. Trying to conveniently lump all together as some caricature is just not accurate and insulting to be honest.

    Also if someone thinks a player is bad, so what? (not to mention that isn’t unique to AFC, players divide opinons in the fanbases of every single football club in the world, eureka!) It doesn’t mean they aren’t AFC supporters, the vast majority of those wishing change who may think x and y player is useless, still put that aside on match day. But if someone is genuinely of the opinion that a player isn’t good, that’s just their opinion and shouldn’t be confused with “support” or lack of especially for the entity that is bigger than any one individual…the CLUB.

    Seriously that was a really insulting post.

  69. “Shard
    April 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm
    Huh? Last I checked Wilshere wasn’t abusing Wenger after every defeat (or even narrow victory), wasn’t booing our own players on the pitch, and wasn’t repeating inane stuff about Arsenal being in terminal decline. He wasn’t betting Arsenal will finish behind Spurs, or saying that we’re useless. Must have missed all of that.

    Pointing out that qualifying for the CL is quite an achievement, (not to mention important for the future of the club), especially when there are clubs who spend so much more, doesn’t mean that is the limit of the desire.

    Winning things at Arsenal is a common goal shared by supporters and those running Arsenal, something which the supposed AAA always deny. There are differences about how to go about winning those things. But that shouldn’t make people forget the first part.

    At Shard, again…I’ve been around here long enough to know that my point is entirely accurate. The so called AAA gets routinely abused around here for saying EXACTLY what Wilshere said.. you can feel free to add in what other things you that you think they (a minority that don’t represent the majority of those who simply want/consider change and are respectful in their views) are also abused for, but none of that changes the fact that there is regularly vitriol spouted in the direction of posters for talking EXCLUSIVELY, SINGULARLY and in ISOLATION about what Wilshere said… So I’m really not sure why you are going on about all this other stuff that wasn’t mentioned. Because personally I know I don’t abuse and say nasty things about players, the manager, and the fans that I disagree with, I simply talk about my feelings about the direction of the club, and about things like Wilshere said about not being content to merely qualify for the CL, and that winning is paramount.

    Also I love this line you mentioned…

    “There are differences about how to go about winning those things.”

    I couldn’t agree more, and that is something that I have tried to stress during my time here, that we all in the end want the same thing, success for Arsenal Football Club, we simply disagree on how to achieve it, and yes in some cases, disagree on WHO should lead us there.

  70. Stroller,
    Did the 24M for RVP finally make up for what AFC should have for selling off x-Cesc for LESS THAN market value?

  71. “Rupert,
    some twats on twitter claiming to be Arsenal fans did on a few occasion last season wishing Ramsey to get his leg done again.”

    Soooo, those “twats” on twitter wishing Ramsey break his leg again, should represent the portion of fans who think that maintaining the status quo of CL qualification and touting it as a “trophy” is nothing to be overly celebrated given our resources (and inefficient use of said resources), and that winning should be prioritized more etc?

    That’s logical?

    It’s logical to link some random twats on Twitter talking about Ramsey breaking his leg, to people who can reasonably argue their case (whether you agree or not) about the “4 place trophy” and its over-celebration and lowering standards to this achievement especially with regards to actual trophies we used to win?

    I guess it’s logical to do so, when one thinks that everyone who doesn’t accept everything the club does without question are all part of the same beast that somehow conspire to hate the club..

    It’s somehow logical that:

    random twitter twats wishing Ramsey break his leg = Gooners who think (and can articulate that)we should prioritize winning more and shouldn’t be content with mere CL qualification.


  72. Arsenal 13, UA,
    I’m serious: you raise an important point. There should be a MIRALLAS watch. Wasn’t there a time last summer when AFC was supposedly considering/tied-to him? (I remember asking Walter how he was rated in the Belgian league.) In any event, since he took out RYO and went in for getting WILSHERE suspended with the tunnel incident and was vicious on the field, is this man on a personal or sponsored mission? That he’s on a mission there seems no doubt. This guy is earning his spurs, one way or the other and should be put under the UA microscope from now to the season’s end. He is out of control or under control, but the pig-fucker is on a mission.

  73. “Hi Rupert,
    Good to see they let you out of the clinic today.

    There has been loads of bashing Ramsey from Arsenal fans with some claiming they wished he got his legs broken again, some have even said he should have joined Gary Speed.

    (since I started this)…And exactly what does that have to do with people getting lambasted as “AAA, glory hunters, should go support City etc” around here for saying EXACTLY what Wilshere said about CL qualification and winning?

  74. Lastly, not only was my point solely about views on just qualifying for CL(4th place trophy) vs. was limited to what happens “around here” as in on UA. So along with not being sure what idiots wishing Ramsey break his legs have to do with the topic, I’m further not sure what some random twats on Twitter have to do with what I was saying about a specific topic and how it (and those who advocate it) is received here on UA specifically.

  75. Walter,
    In your reviews of this match, would you consider a breakdown of exactly what Mirallas did in terms of calls/non-calls and who his actions were targeting? Given his crunching of Ryo and his attempts to provoke Wilshere into suspension, my hunch is that he bears special attention. Indeed, perhaps there are other Mirallases to come as the business end draws to a close.

  76. A. Stewart raises a good point. Witch-hunting with labels is not a way to preserve a free-speech zone. And UA has been that in exemplary ways. To defeat arguments with labeling rather than argument also seems weak-minded, if not cowardly. Free speech is messy, but the witch-hunting alternative is fascistic and boring.

  77. @bob,

    I have no idea how the club relates RVP’s fee to Cesc’s fee, or if it even does so. I also question the concept of market value when it comes to fees. I’m sure the question of a transfer fee is far more complex with more factors than we are aware of when it comes to reaching agreement. In Cesc’s case there was no market for him, he was only ever going to one club. That almost certainly affected the fee paid for him. RVP’s situation was different. At least one other club (Man City) was in for him.

    In Cesc’s case I seem to recall that there was also some payment by the player, which of course doesn’t show up in the headline transfer fee.

  78. p.s. to be crystal clear: I’m saying that UA has been an exemplary free speech zone.

    But that one threat is to continue to fan the flames of a witch hunt by, imo, mining Twitter for vicious content.

    Of course Twitter overflows with sewage; but how indicative is that? There’s no quantification possible enough to say how representative even the most vicious comments are of a fanbase. And no way to attribute a posting to an Arsenal fan.

    Another way to fan the flames of the AAA-peril is when some fans on UA rejoice after a victory that, aha, the AAA have gone silent and back to the sewers. What is that about? Do folks who do this want an AAA presence so you have an enemy to fight with? do you need an AAA to conjure?

    The me an AAA does exist in the media: where it can be seen and thus combatted, because their sewage appears under a writer’s name or a presenter’s face. But to seek out “the AAA” within a massive group of web posters is, with a few exceptions, pretty much futile if not self-injuring by chilling the free speech that has made UA but important and diverse.

    To me, the best way forward is to stand for and advocate what’s best for this team on its own merits.

  79. A. Stewart,
    Most on Untold say what Wilshere has said. yes, we want to win things as much as he.
    But if it doesn’t work out we will not call for a sniper to shoot Wenger, we will not call for Shawcross to break Ramsey his leg again and we will not call for Ramsey to follow the example of Speed.

    Neither does Wilshere by the way.

    The non-existing AAA does those things.

  80. Off-topic (but joyous):
    Just saw the moment in the movie “Angel’s Share” when Albert, a daft member of the wee crew that successfully steals “the most expensive scotch whiskey ever” rears up and bellows: “ALEX FERGUSON!!!”

    The beauty of this moment is that he then clinks his most expensive bottle of whiskey against another thief’s bottle and both bottles of this priciest brew are smashed to smithereens.

    So much for toasting Lord Football! Just desserts I’d call it! Indeed, a cautionary tale – this very very good movie – in this terrible time as Lord Football and toadies RVP and MickyR ready themselves for their Great Anointment.

    To combat it with OUR STORY, I’d vote for: (a) our second place finish, to put theirs in a bit of shadow; and (b) our smashing (and I do mean smashing) victory in the forthcoming showdown with the Evil-Twins (Sauron and the Golem, and I think, speaking of movies, that fans here could readily do the casting for those two roles).

  81. Ken Loach,
    If you are reading, the previous posting is for you! And please find someone other than Eric Cantona next time you need a football player or manager with acting potential to represent something deserving. AFC have got a lot more deserving than that team and its nuremburg ralliers for your casting calls. Oh, and if you’re looking for a great expose of a film, how about Old Trafford, 2005, ManUre v Arsenal – working title, “Stopping the Streak”. That story – the real story – with all its ramifications would make an immense tale with real villainy and contempt for the national (if not worldwide) sports pastime. C’mon, be all of our Ken, Ken.

  82. A. Stewart

    Yes. Agreed. And I have already said I’ve come across folk (mostly on other sites) who believe that we should do things differently, and be led by someone else, who I do not take issue with. The difference is in how they express themselves. Also, the difference is, despite their belief, they do not take every opportunity to take potshots at the team or the manager, about how every isolated incident PROVES that Wenger’s time is up etc. Essentially, they have their beliefs but feel no need to seek reinforcement for it through everything. A LOT of people do.

    Also, as I said before, certain people who spend their time protesting against the team rather than help them win are part of the ‘AAA’. (Note the quotations) I don’t agree with generalisations, but the basic message of the term AAA, I accept, and agree that it is a convenient term to classify a certain branch of people who choose to express their opinion a certain way. Otherwise to explain what is meant, whole paragraphs would have to be written. Like all labels, it isn’t comprehensive. But it is adequate.

    As for the Wilshere quotes. His saying that doesn’t read like a criticism of Arsenal’s current standing. Just a desire to improve it. When you said it, perhaps it read differently?

  83. bob
    Did the 24M for RVP finally make up for what AFC should have for selling off x-Cesc for LESS THAN market value?

    I don’t get it. Sure, you feel keeping RVP would have been the right thing to do. But that ignores player power and the realities of the situation. What happens to ManU is never no mind to us. What matters is whether we did the right thing for ourselves.

    Keeping RVP – an RVP who released a statement, as club captain, dissing the club, his teammates, and lying about the CEO- could just as well be counterproductive. Would he be motivated enough to play his best? Perhaps, since he’ll want a fat contract elsewhere. But playing for himself is not the same as playing for the team. Arsenal, more than most teams, rely on teamwork. If RVP is unhappy, plays selfishly and in turn his teammates are also unhappy with him and his play, do you think that is a healthy situation?

    After which, we lose him for nothing, leaving us short of funding to add another player, and not having the team learn a style of play best suited to playing without RVP. In short, we enter another rebuilding phase.

    In my view, we merely accelerated the inevitable -the breakup of the team after Fabregas forced through his move. A new team was allowed to come up this season. They’ve improved because they’ve learnt to play together, and I’m sure we’ll be adding some players in the summer to build on this and challenge for the title.

  84. “What happens to ManU is never no mind to us. What matters is whether we did the right thing for ourselves.”
    Yeah, it does matter. We’re way off the table top and gave up our best (an unclosed hole) to our second worst enemy which enraged or depressed a very large segment of the fan base, which are not AAA, nor are AAA for saying that fact. Is that the right thing for the club? And we had the whip handle on RVP because at 30, with a crocked history, and needing to secure a next contract, he would have had to perform well for whatever club he was playing for – even us, the club he serviced very well as its Captain. And, even in that last year, when he know he was wanting out, he did not switch off. Well, why would he switch off were he to stay in the next season. He’s wired to win and feather his nest by any means necessary; including the success he could bring to the team that he wanted away from. That would be a further selling point to any would-be suitor. I’d even argue that he’s always played for himself: in the sense that doing well for your side does double-back on making one the best player (judging by the 2 top player of the year awards) in international football last season — because the club’s success is an obvious major measure of your individual value (in both football and market-value terms). And, not least, we could have afforded to lay down the law and drawn the line. And – along WITH Podolski and/or Giroud – he would have (not that any of us can predict anything with certainty) brought us CL qualification and raised the odds against the RedNose XX – which you urge us to pay no mind. That’s a big gap between us that I we can disagree on whether to mind.

    Further, did the club, btw, announce they are strategically breaking up the club as of Cesc’s departure? Why not? Why not be open and inviting wide-support amongst the fanbase with that kind of rallying cry? That would be honest and I think could galvanize much of the fanbase who was stung by the break-up that you judge as part of a foresighted plan. I don’t see that as being the plan – a rational plan that was somehow put in place during or since the summer of Cesc and last summer. I see fast improvising and to do so within a zero-transfer-balance fiscal straightjacket when (with the TV money and new Emirates deal in sight) there was no fiscal necessity to have to fatten the calf as much as has been done. That said, I ask: was not replacing RVP’s clinicality a rational move? Was dumping Alex Song and leaving the unfilled defensive hole in the midfield another rational football move? or a zero-sum/fiscal fattener accountant’s logical move?

    You’re arguing from hindsight, having seen a master plan when, at the time, this was not in evidence. That said, perhaps you’re right, but I didn’t believe it then, or now. The acid test for me will come this summer: to see whether the promise of the 70M will be kept; and whether – as I fervently wish for – it will redeem the losses (where you see a plan) of the past two summers, and the non-purchases of the previous two winter transfer windows. I want to see our ambition materialized by savvy spending for quality, in the first eleven and in depth on the bench. That’s what the league winners have and we aren’t that far away, if Stan’s regime will actually do what it has promised. What I fear is the owner arrogance (whatever side) that the fans will always come around, spend their money, and watch their medicine on the screens (if not the terraces) like good little boys and girls. We shall see. And without being a badge worshipper, I am not AAA and love AFC and its prospects. I also hate cynical mistreatment of any fans by any management. So much for the EPL.

  85. bob

    Would you harm ManU’s chances of winning the title if it meant harming your own progression? I wouldn’t. We offered RVP a contract that no one in our history had gotten before. He refused it. We then tried to keep the possibility that we would not sell him, and RVP released his statement to make it untenable. We tried selling him to Juventus, who were offering him the same wages, and a chance at a title winning team, but he wanted to go only to ManU, who Ferguson rvealed, had been working on the transfer for 4 months prior. RVP, in his last few days here, was a snake in the grass, who betrayed his club and his teammates with his statement, and it isn’t unreasonable to assume that his presence would have harmed us more than helped us. We’re a team much more focused on teamplay than some others. We’re looking a much better team this season anyway.

    As to the quality on the bench. We’re missing a top striker, but look at the bench in our last few games. Wilshere, Podolski, Walcott, Ox, have all found themselves on the bench because there were players performing well, keeping them out. The likes of Coquelin can’t get a game at the moment, which in some ways is a shame, but in others is a return to the Wenger days of old where youth had to wait their chance to make the grade, because the bar was high.

    Reasons why I believe we will spend money. Wenger himself said that we’ve been in an era of reduced spending which is now over. The club, with their ‘spin’ have been sending us the same message. (They haven’t before. People only misread it) They painted the Emirates deal as a ‘gamechanger’, and basically put it out there as proof that we have money. They released their cash balance for the first time. Yes, all of this can be to just keep the support onside. But that would be stupid. I don;t think Arsenal are stupid.

    As for announcing strategies. No they didn’t and I fully back that. I do not agree with this desire to be involved in every part of a decision making process. Arsenal offer roughly the same level of access to supporters as most clubs, and in some ways offer more. Which other CEO sits with fans in an open forum for 90 minutes? Yes, this year the questions were vetted from before, but that is actually the fans’ own fault for abusing the privileges granted to them. And no, it wasn’t part of the design to lose RVP. We obviously wanted to keep him. But with the team having been built around Cesc, the team dynamic did have to change when he left. We’ve added Podolski and Giroud to make up for RVP’s loss. He scored 31 goals? Those two combined have scored roughly the same number, in their first season. The 24 million, we got for RVP allows us to add another component to that. Which we wouldn’t have had beyond this year if RVP had stayed and left for nothing. Which when a player behaves the way he does, you assume is what is going to happen.

    You see ManU and RVP win a title. I see it as a consolidation and a step towards building of our own title winning side.

  86. Hi Rupert,
    Yes I agree, a 30 goal a season striker would have done wonders for us this season, this is the down side of the spiral of selling your players once they are developed and before the next generation is ready to replace them however Giroud has not done badly for his first season, better than we could have hoped for in fact. He is very similar to Bendtner but a little calmer in front of goal which I like.
    Still, we carry on and I will be there cheering & supporting.

    As for evidence, I don’t have the time to sift through megatonnes of articles on blogs to find the comments relating to Ramsey so you’ll just have to take my word for it (unless you wish to search for it yourself).

  87. I am fine with people having different opinions on the judgement of M. Wenger et. al. with regard to decisions made but I do take umbrage when people try to infer what the club and by extension AW were thinking when they made the moves.

    We will probably never know exactly why decisions were made. To say we lack ambition because we sold RvP is unfair unless you KNOW we decided to sell him because we only wanted to finish 4th or 3rd or whatever. You can question whether AW should stay on but defamatory remarks about ambition, etc. are beyond the pale and just emotional claptrap.

  88. Shard,
    Just to pick up on one of your comments here : “You see ManU and RVP win a title. I see it as a consolidation and a step towards building of our own title winning side.”

    I am inclined to agree with you here. Our title winning sides (and all others that spring to mind) were not centred around one individual like we were with RVP so moving him on has helped us to evolve and develop. I have said before that since his departure, various other players have come to the forefront of the team, we no longer have the one man team stigma associated with us and for very good reason.

  89. I remember Van Persie slagging off Ramsey for not passing to him (which would have given him some sort of record of scoring against all the teams in the league or something) and instead taking a shot, which he skied over the bar. It was a bad shot, but Ramsey was perfectly entitled to take it. RVP, sought to castigate Ramsey on the field rather than offer support. Why? He was playing for himself. At the risk of destroying team morale, and especially of a young player making his way back from injury. At the time we loved him, but I did feel uncomfortable about it, and in any case felt that Ramsey was right to take the shot. I’m happy enough having players in our team who actually want to be here and want to do so. Van Persie didn’t, instead manufacturing a move to our bitter rivals. Talented though he was, I’m glad enough to be rid of a character like that. The only reason to keep him would be to punish him, but only teams like City, Chelsea and ManU can afford that. Not us. Not at the moment.

  90. So, the linesman gets castrated for correctly calling an offside in an Arsenal game yet nothing is said of the equaliser in a man Utd game scored from an offside position.

  91. “We will probably never know exactly why decisions were made. To say we lack ambition because we sold RvP is unfair unless you KNOW we decided to sell him because we only wanted to finish 4th or 3rd or whatever.”
    And by the same token, you don’t know either and how many descriptive ways can you use about alternate interpretations to your full faith in the angelic purity of upper management. As to your “defamatory” “emotional claptrap” “unfair”, the question still lingers whether the club were willing to accept a 3/4 place finish – not necessarily desire it. And, despite your series of defamatory labels, these don’t slay the dragon interpretation that argues that zero transfer balance in the last three windows (at least) has had a negative impact on the possibility of competing for top honors.

    As we know, the big boys play hardball and resort to statements. Imo, none of that statement ties the outrageous blasphemies that Teves and Balotelli cast personally on Mancini and his abilities last seasons. Yet they were kept on, and that team marshalled their firepower into a Championship. A tainted Championship versus a simon pure turnaround? Well, ok, but it’s not decisive. (I too exulted at the Great Turnaround that brought us third place as our rivals faded badly.) And, of course there’s always counter-argument that well, they can afford to have disgruntled players and we can’t: that is we couldn’t afford to say no and run the very real risk of a disgruntled RVP. (Basically your argument, no?) For my part, I don’t see that dreaded disruptive factor on the team as having materialized. RVP, until that love note, was highly professional and first-class captain, even with the background connivance (which we didn’t know about, presumably) of Sauron of Trafford. Skill can eclipse character flaws when it comes to winning or dropping points. (And as for good character, the gay player who came out two weeks ago was interviewed in the Guardian and told readers how seriously agents drill their players in exactly how to project their “character” toward the fanbase. So we don’t really know who/what we’ve got. As AW found out, so tragically imo, at the hands of the last seasons’ wantaways.) And, imo, the oh so terrible terminal insulting love note that is a keep exhibit in your argument will have utterly disappeared at HQ and the fanbase with the first victory, owing to his verry golden boot. (Scoring that he will have needed to provide to stay economically desirable.) And everyone on this UA blog would have been this-quick to let bygones be bygones and praised the maturity of management for seeing past the unforgivable insult.

    On the 24M, that was to zero out the Podolski/Giroud buy which was proactive. Just as Song’s sale assured at least zero balance transfer window. But further, we didn’t need that 24M to consolidate, depending on what you specifically mean by that term. Imo, getting the low-hanging 24M that allowed the accountants to show profits and shag christmas bonuses is what won the day last summer. And what you now call consolidation, imo, ignores the fact that the team could forseeably have better than endured not getting that money. For evidence: Gazidis/PHW had said, that previous season, that there was a viable Plan B even if we did not qualify for the CL; it was known that there’d be a TV deal and an Emirates deal, and the real estate deal had already just come good, etc. In sum, saying no to RVP and keeping him on was financially affordable. Where you see a dedicated wrecking ball risk, I argue that his disloyalty, bad performance season, and his advancing age would have lowered his market value for next season – something that was decidedly against his and Dein’s interest. So they played hardball with their memo; and we elected to take the money and game over. That having been over and done, I will look to the summer’s doings – real deeds or excuses – to see whether the consolidation that you see is parlayed into the championship contender that 70M should be able to help produce. With that amount of money in hand (as you rightly declare has been pledged), there will hopefully be a set of personnel moves that put us eye-ball to eye-ball with anyone at the top. There’s been enough time, this time, for the purchases to come to be well planned and well executed and to snag serious quality. And, as for not having enough to compete with the petro-doshers, they cannot buy everyone and its the right mix of quality talent and quality reserves that will win the day. Last year it was the January window that we two looked for (especially on le affaire Song). This year, a year later, we shall see what happens on August 31st (which right now seems like an eternity to wait). In any case, it’s been good crossing hearts and minds and swords with you in common cause. 🙂

    As for “emotional claptrap” my dear GoingGoingGooner, our choosing to be strong-armed into moving RVP by Fungusson and RVP-Dein is simply not compatible with many fans’ love for our common side. (Although I can’t help but feel excommunicted from your church.) Indeed, to each his own. But as to your litany of accusations, and assuming it was directed at me/my analysis, I can only respond to your own lack of analysis with this most gentle of rebukes: up thine, triple g.

  92. Shard@9:31, Stuart@8:34,
    No, it was wrong for RVP to have slated a teammate, Aaron Ramsay on the field. Agreed. But Ramsay, while being in the right to take his opportunity, was exasperating with so many misses – many – last season and much of this season that it was chronic and mental. He’s a great bloke and came back from hell and has non-stop commitment on the pitch. But I’d never trust him with a game on the line or in doubt to take the shot that matters. So I could understand without condoing (in fact disliking) RVP for public negativity towards a teammate. That said, while you use that to condemn RVP to eternal hellfire, I would hasten to remind us of the very warm and embracing validations in full public display of other players goals and assists to his goals. As cold hearted as he proved to be in business, he was consistently that warm-hearted on the pitch to his teammates. I may have missed it, but have you heard other teammates slate him since he left? as a self-centered narcissist? as a bad captain? as choking the potential from the team? Has Arsene Wenger? Do I think he’s a snake. Yes. Do I think he would have damaged this team on the pitch and cost us games. No. He would have won us games. And to paint it that no one else would have developed if he were there to suck all the oxygen out of the room is a worst-case scenario assumption. And, to finally wear out my welcome, I’d say that if we’d have competed for top honors or won or came second this season, then there is still the possibility that he would have re-signed with (a richer) AFC at an agreed on price; or still could have been sold at a satisfying to AFC premium because his performance will have been as good as he’s turned in for Fungusson this season.

  93. bob,

    I’m trying to recall any one time that we’ve kept a wantaway player on our books under Wenger. Going back to Anelka, Henry, Reyes, Cesc, RVP. Not all of those can be about the money. Because at that point Arsenal were high spenders and didn’t have to worry about a new stadium. We also did refuse a 50m offer for Henry in 2003 (when we were planning for the new stadium) So while the money might be a factor which made the decision easier, I think if RVP wanted out, we weren’t going to keep him. It then became simply about getting a high price (which too his statement was meant to ward against, since it would reduce his wages if someone had to pay more for him) Wenger might have been tempted to keep him one more year and hope to convince him, but obviously RVP had no intention to stay. Basically, whether we could afford him or not (in terms of opportunity cost, not absolute terms), I’m not convinced keeping him would have been in the best interests of Arsenal. The money simply makes that decision easier. (Although we did reduce the price for foreign teams)

    As you say however, what matters is the future. I think 70m is a media created figure, not what Arsenal have promised. In any case, it doesn’t matter what we spend. Although I think we’ll see a new transfer record for us. I also think we’ll see no more than 3 players sign. Which should be enough. (Possibly 4 if Sagna is sold) Any more and then they’ll need more time to gel too. So it could be counterproductive.

    Achieving 3rd looks improbable now, but hopefully we’ll finish 4th, and then not wait for the qualifying round to buy the players we want. Although I’m not sure how feasible that is. And the finances, much as you decry the attention paid to them, are important. Another year or so won’t matter if we can secure our financial might for years to come. ManU’s entire success is founded on their financial position. We’re playing catch up, which’ll take time.

  94. The game was not on the line as far as I recall. We were winning that game fairly comfortably I think. Although I could be wrong. His goals don’t insulate him from his failures, and his lack of fitness over the years. He played well for 18 months. We offered him a fitting contract. He turned it down, and tried to get a move away to our bitter rivals. That much is clear. Keeping him or not is not just a financial call however. We’ve not been reluctant to spend money if Wenger has felt it is the right player to spend money on. (We bid 20m for Reina, we offered more money to Phil Jones than ManU did) Wenger obviously didn’t think he was worth the risk. And note, ManU can build teams for one year because they can afford to buy players and dump them later (or keep them benched) Arsene has to try to build teams for the next few years. RVP wasn’t sticking around for the next few years. He could be forced to stick around for another, but at the cost of some team harmony. I think we look stronger as a team this year, than last year. Although we took time to gel.

    As for Arsenal players not slagging him off, we don’t normally hear Arsenal players slagging anyone off. It’s part of the ethos of the club. Not Willam Gallas, not Adebayor, not Nasri (except for Frimpong on twitter) It’s part of what makes Arsenal a classy club.

  95. Shard,
    On the finances: MU fans decry the Glasers hands in the till and various machinations. Yet there’s been enough of a bank vault for that team to have afforded RVP and other quality splashes. Do you see us ever getting close to that point with Stan Kroenke? (And I don’t want Usmanov, so just to stay on point.) I can’t see that happening in this economy for decades; and, with respect that I’ve had for your thinking, I feel that predicating your patience with our purchases and (observable) policies on the notion that we’re trying to and should be enabled to achieve that kind of stability really will not pan out. It’s too big a gap to bridge and I don’t see most (if any) owners having the restraint not to cash in that you seem to have faith in. In a way, I think that where we disagree may come down to such acts of faith (or, in my case, absence of faith).

  96. Shard,
    It would be very instructive to research the 70M to splash figure. I don’t have a quote at hand from the club; but the club has not denied the widely-bandied about 70M figure, media-creation or not. Now that, to me, is very worrying. Because, while no one wants to announce their total spending budget (and for good reasons), there is also lots of non-accountability in play, and the club could always say to its fans, at some stage, that we never promised you a rose garden. Personally, I would find that way of conducting the summer transfer window as deeply immoral breech of faith; and coolly predict that it would trigger a massive revolt in the fanbase. What do you think?

  97. bob

    No. Not anytime soon. We won’t be catching up. We don’t need to so much either. We were never ahead of ManU and yet we had the Invincibles. Money is important, but it isn’t everything.

    Yet, we’re already 5th or 6th in the rich club table. We’re, in the not too distant future, going to have the stadium paid for, we’re still growing and there’ll be more opportunities for branding (it also makes sense to not open up all these branding streams now, and wait for later when market prices go up, plus we shouldn’t necessarily become the walking billboards that ManU are. There is a certain value associated with long term branding and exclusivity) We also have an advantage over ManU, simply by being in London rather than Manchester (I’ve been there, trust me on this 🙂 ) although that has its challenges as well.

    We’re not going to catch up to ManU suddenly, but we’re on a growth trajectory that should propel us towards being one of the true European elite. Which is what all the hard work in building the stadium was about (delayed due to the effect of oligarchs -hopefully this will decline or be curbed to some extent)

    Honestly, I don’t think Kronke is looking to sell his stake in Arsenal. For that matter, I don’t think anybody, except Usmanov, is even looking to buy. And for Kroenke to give up on the growth potential that Arsenal possess, it would have to be a massive offer (or Kroenke would need to be desperate) to tempt him. I’m fairly confident KSE is going to be involved with Arsenal for a long time. Of course, you never know, but with the FFP coming in, the German league beginning to shine, etc, I think the possibility of any oligarch buying us as a personal plaything are reduced anyway. Remember Liverpool’s owners, and KSE were among those supporting FFP as one of the reasons they were looking to buy into the clubs. That suggests long term thinking to me.

  98. @bob 1.30, agree, would not exactly call giroud clinical in the way others are, but he is on his way to doing very well for a first season in this league. He will improve, he may be fatigued having played most games this season, but if he gets twenty plus this season, he , if allowed will improve next season. We were too reliant on robin last year, giroud has qualities more suited to our more socialist multiple goal scorers model. Also, unlike vp, or for that matter, Podolski, he gets back to help out, and is part of our new found solidity, I have seen physical defenders bounce off him, notably those of a stoke persuasion.I do not think giroud is the be all and end all, but he has made a good start, will get better and will be a very important player in addressing our weaknesses against certain teams. Wenger wanted bendtner and vp in the same squad for different teams, maybe giroud and Podolski or if reports are correct, jovetic could create such a union? Have an uneasy niggling feeling Gervinho could have been very effective causing unpredictable havoc yesterday?

  99. Mandy,
    On the causing havoc front, I think that Rosicky could have provided something that back-from-injury and not-yet-mature (yes) Jack Wilshere was unable and not yet ready to provide. I think that Cazorla, Rosicky, Arteta (with Wilshere off the bench) are our most havoc-playing combination. Do you value Rosicky that way now?

  100. Sure do, but some reports saying rosicky not fit to play? Could be true, that game was made for him and would be amazed if he really has played no part of fully fit. A real risk playing jack, he like theo was clearly targeted , Everton helped in their cause by the most lenient of referees……and to think, I once believed England internationals got protected by them…….

  101. bob

    The club’s policy is not to comment on media reports. That is nether here nor there. They lay their finances out. That is their responsibility done. The rest is up to interested parties to try and figure out. I did do a very rough sort of calculation in February of around how much cash we have left to spend on transfers and wages. I don’t remember it now, but I think it was a lot less than you might think (with cash reserves of 120m or so) Maybe around 30-40 million.

    I did a long calculation (very very rough with lots of assumptions) and I think, we can afford to spend about 50m in transfer fees and pay 3 players around 80k a week each, and have some 25 million left in the bank as emergency reserve. Provided we can lose some of the ‘deadwood’. If we can reduce our wage bill further by selling lots of our unwanted players, we might be able to stretch it further.

    I guess the 70m affordability isn’t too far wide of the mark. But I think that includes the wages as well (annual, not over the length of the contract)

  102. Actually the figure will probably be less than 70m total, since I forgot to consider that we’d be paying our loanees less than their entire wages, and unless we can sell them, they would count as an increase in the wage bill.

  103. We will not breach ffp regs, shard, think your figure could be in the right ball park……and so does swiss ramble for that matter. Guess it also depends on who we sell, but hopefully no more selling our best, although I am a bit worried about a couple of our defenders. Will be amazed if we spend 70 million, to be honest, not sure we need to either. Another forward will come in handy, maybe an elder statesman keeper, but is Capoue better than Ramsey and arteta…..and would he accept not being an automatic first choice? Do we really need another top cd…..ours look pretty good in an organised structure? If bac goes, maybe a rb but Jenks looks good, maybe just backup needed. I am not saying there is not room for improvement, of course there is, there have been horrific performances this season, but this team are getting better.

  104. Mandy.

    My first estimate was 50m in transfer fees and about 12-13m in wages. That seems about right to me. If we do not manage to sell our ‘deadwood’, I think that would be the limit. If we do, we could probably go about 5-10 million higher.

    But yeah, do we need to? It depends on who’s available to buy at what price. It also depends on whether we’ll buy a ‘luxury’ player, a known name, simply to send out a message. It seems contrary to what we know about Arsene Wenger to do that, but I just have a funny feeling about that.

    I think a GK, with Fabianski out of contract, is a must. A striker likewise. I am torn about a DM like Capoue. On the one hand his physical presence would help against the sort of performance Everton put on yesterday (although we’d better be prepared to go down to 10 men with a destroyer in our side) but then we have Ramsey and Arteta playing so well, and Coquelin, Frimpong, Yennaris waiting on the bench (or in the reserves) I suppose for once I’d prefer we err on the side of caution, buy a player like Capoue (who can also fill in at CB) and who will give us the freedom to rotate, to pick players for specific opposition, as well as move players like Arteta or Ramsey further forward or wide.

    The other option would be to give youngsters like Coquelin a chance at DM, and buy a creative player to fill Diaby’s (almost guaranteed) void. I’d prefer the first option though.

  105. Wenger has some really tricky decisions shard. I am one who was seriously pissed off at , for a start selling,song, then not replacing him…..but Ramsey is starting to do so well. Would be a shame to,stop such a player in his tracks. With the financial situation, there will be a lot of sub falcao cavani type players available. We are in a position to take advantage if we want to. Think wenger will be under pressure to make a name signing….a la jovetic……but still think many of our problems this season can be solved by increased familiarity, coaching tweaking and a bit more tactical awareness, which is related to the,other two. And of course an improvement in refereeing standards, but that is as likely as the ability of the aaa to stop going on about that groundhog day film. We are not as bad as critics would have us believe, and we will get better…but I sense some ch…ch……changes

  106. Mandy, Shard,
    Thanks for the great and quick responses. Such a pleasure to think out loud with you both and help make progress in my own thinking. 🙂

  107. Shard, Mandy,
    Realizing that it’s not been his way, do you nevertheless see AW’s being in the last year of the contract as a possible factor in his splashing for the high-profile luxury type player that many fans (me included) have been demanding/hoping for? And who might be a few names in the sub-Falcao/Cavani layer that seem desirable/irresistible to you? You mention Jovetic. Do you think he’s the business? Why?

  108. bob

    I don’t think Wenger being in the last year of his contract will make any difference to the transfer policy. That is an argument I read on Le Grove, that he wants to keep his cushy job and the only way he can get a new contract is to win something etc etc. If Wenger wanted to be selfish in the transfer market, he had enough clout over the years to make public protestations about the lack of money (a la Benitez), and to make some name signings, even if he knew that they weren’t worth the money, because those signings would ease the pressure on him. Instead he’s chosen to take all the pressure on himself by constantly saying there is money to spend (that wasn’t a lie, he never said how much money though)

    In any case that theory is at odds with Le Grove’s other theory of how Kroenke and co. love Wenger because he makes them loads of money and hence will never let him go whether he wins or not. They contradict themselves a lot those fellows.

    What will guide the transfer policy is where Arsenal are at the moment. As I ‘calculated’ I think we have money (saved up over the years) to make a substantial move in the transfer market. We have the basis of a team who can challenge for the title, and we have some future increase in income assured. We also have a disgruntled fanbase, which is another factor which’ll probably accelerate the spending by one year.

    We weren’t scheduled to get the Emirates money till after next season. The only reason we would front load a part of the deal is if we needed the money. We’ve already spent on improving infrastructure, and on renewing contracts. What else would we need the money for?

  109. Mandy, as regards selling Song and whether we should ‘replace’ him. I think we should look at the midfield partnerships rather than the players.

    At the moment, our best play has come with Arteta, Ramsey, and Rosicky playing together, with Cazorla out wide. We also have Wilshere and Coquelin, plus Diaby. Cazorla can play in the middle too of course.

    If we take out Rosicky, Cazorla could move central and Podolski play out wide. Or we could play Wilshere there, as we’ve done the past two games. (Ox could also play there, but let’s leave that for later)

    But the Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere axis doesn’t seem to work as well. At least at the moment.

    If we remove Arteta, we could possibly get Coquelin to cover, although his passing isn’t as metronomic yet, and he will make the odd mistake.

    If we lose Ramsey, probably the only player who could fill in properly in that role is Diaby (I know they are different types of players) Wilshere-Song worked. But Wilshere-Arteta doesn’t I think. Wilshere-Coquelin won’t either in my view. Arteta-Coquelin could though.

    If we do buy say, Capoue. We could play Arteta-Capoue-Rosicky/Wilshere. Capoue-Ramsey-Rosicky/Wislshere, Coquelin-Capoue-Rosicky/Cazorla/Wilshere/Ramsey.

    Yeah. I think we would do ourselves a huge favour by getting in someone like Capoue. With him being capable of filling in at CB for some games as well(4th choice along with Miquel), I think there will be enough games to go around, especially if we concentrate on the cups too.

    50 games a season. 150 games in midfield positions plus 50-70 sub positions. 200-220 games, between Capoue, Arteta, Ramsey, Coquelin, Rosicky, Wilshere (and Cazorla who’ll also play wide) That’s around 30-35 appearances per player. Which is alright I think.

    I don’t consider Diaby, but if we also make progress in the domestic cups, we could play about 10 games more. Some youngsters can play too.

    All in all, I think buying a player like that would give us many more options even in an attacking sense, and allow us to mould our play according to the opposition. So, my vote. Yes to someone like Capoue.

  110. bob

    About Jovetic. I’ve never really seen him play (just once or twice) but he doesn’t seem like a clinical finisher type to me. His stats bear that out too. He does however, have the ability to create his own shot. David Villa, is a clinical finisher, but can’t dribble really. If it came down to between the two of them however, I’d go for Jovetic. finishing can be learnt, he’s younger, faster, and more creative. He can also play behind the striker or in the wide positions, offering us more flexibility. We already have a clinical finisher in Podolski ( and Walcott too), and I feel we could do with more creativity (and speed) in the front positions.

    However, there might be someone better out there, who’ll have a lot of the same traits but also better finishing? I don’t know.

    Basically I see 3 new signings making our squad
    New keeper, Szczesny, Sagna, Jenks, Gibbs, Nacho, TV, PM, LK, Arteta, Coquelin, New DM/CB, Ramsey, Diaby, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski, Walcott, Giroud, Ox, Gervinho, new striker/attacker.

    Hopefully I didn’t forget anyone in our squad right now 🙂

  111. “Most on Untold say what Wilshere has said. yes, we want to win things as much as he.
    But if it doesn’t work out we will not call for a sniper to shoot Wenger, we will not call for Shawcross to break Ramsey his leg again and we will not call for Ramsey to follow the example of Speed.

    Neither does Wilshere by the way.

    The non-existing AAA does those things.

    Respectfull Sir, please, spare me. 🙂 Most on Untold do not say what Wilshere said; “there is nothing better than winning” “don’t want to just be saying we got in the CL” i.e. winning is the most important thing.

    No-one doubts that every Gooner wants to win something (regardless on how they think is the best way to get there)…But it’s a separate point where people regularly on here, talk about winning as THE MOST important thing, and especially in the context of over-celebrating of just qualifying for the CL (like Wilshere alluded to)…are regularly shouted down as plastic, glory, hunters, only love AFC for the trophies, AAA, etc…

    It’s not even rare, it’s very regular on this blog that those who are not happy with our state because we are not winning, and question ambition because we are not outwardly prioritizing winning, but (lowering our standards to) elevating CL qualification as equivalent are regularly shouted down, and you and the UA faithful.

    And UA REGULARLY opposes those opinions bases on putting forth so many reasons of why things are good/not so bad, and how much worse they could be (especially in context to previous era, and other teams lower than us) as in “hey see how bad things were in 1937, 43 or whatever” directly as a shot against those who are not happy with us not winning.. C’mon sir, this happens so often here.

    C’mon let’s be real now, this happens OFTEN on UA, so regular was the discussion and the opposing factions involved in it, that it necessitated a posting by you about winning vs competing…

    where you said:

    “Maybe we can come to the conclusion that for people like asd, doublegooner, goonerdog and spurz is that they only love Arsenal when we win a trophy.
    In itself there is nothing wrong with that of course. But just say it then that you only want trophies. There is a name for such fans. Because that is where the difference is between a supporter and others. Supporters will support their team even when they don’t win a trophy. ”

    NO matter how eloquently delivered, and the just posing a “maybe” angle taken..the intent was basically to call into question the true nature of these supporters (well according to you there is another name for such fans) because they think trophies are of the utmost importance…i.e. pretty much the same as Wilshere!

    In your op you also quote the line:

    “I could use the words once said: do you love Arsenal for the trophies? Or do you just love Arsenal?” The point of which was to make people who elevate trophies and winning as the most important thing as somehow deserving of their love of Arsenal being called into question.

    So please, of course UA has regularly opposed Gooners for saying almost the same exact things and sentiment as Wilshere said in the quote in this post.

    And since this argument was very defined in context to winning, there was simply no need to try to lump those who you think are AAA and less loving of Arsenal because they prioritize trophies as essentially the same as some (vast minority) random idiots on Twitter saying Ramsey should break his leg again…

    The two are not nearly (morally) equivalent, nor does one represent the other, and it’s nothing more than a cheap tossing out of red-meat to obfuscate from a legitimate and extremely different discussion.

  112. I’m sure you can find no shortage of posters here who felt like they’ve been labelled by Untold & its faithful, being as plastic/glory hunters, had their genuine love for AFC called into question, or have been lumped into the so-called AAA, specifically because of their thoughts of needing trophies/winning as a/the top priority, and that just saying we’re constantly in the CL is nothing to be overly celebratory about.

  113. There is a different between wanting trophies, and between cribbing about not having won trophies.

  114. I watched the replay of Manu and West Ham last night Bangkok time. I was amazed at how little physical aggression there was in WH’s play. I kept thinking about Mancini’s comment that teams play Manu soft. This was such a contrast in how Everton played against arsenal. But generally when teams play the gunners they play much more physically aggressive. The tend to close down quickly and with a bump and a shove or a foot left in. This agression is rarely called by the refs. The Bangkok paper reported that SAF slams WH for its aggressive style of play. But there were only one or two incidents. This was remarkable different than with Everton and almost every team that the Gunners play. Why do teams play Manu so lightly? At one point SAF complains to the fourth official and it seemed to me that the fourth official responded favorable. I did not hear what was said but it looked like a person saying “Thanks for pointing that out we will get right on that!” Again the contrast with AW and the fourth office is very evident. RVP was offside and the officials did not see it. So Manu get a point.

  115. @A.Stewart, very well put. It’s funny how often Walter and co. claim that things are far more complicated when it comes to signing players, players’ characters, transfer dealings etc. but it’s all black and white regarding supporters. If you want Arsenal to win trophies and question our progress you’re suddenly a member of the mythical AAA. And people like Doublegooner who it seems by his posts attends most games is somehow not a supporter. Wow, you’d think he’d be sick at the amount of money he’s throwing at a team he doesn’t support.

    We need to win trophies, in my view, and not just for the supporters. As I’ve said before a team who wins things has a new confidence and self-belief. it makes players feel stronger and it also means we get taken seriously by good players we want to sign.

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