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July 2021

Why Robin VP isn’t quite so important as we might imagine

Here’s the league table as we go into the game against Man U:

Man United
Man City

Last season’s final table showed us ending seven points above this having scored nine goals more.  So, if we get three wins in our final four games (that’s an “if” of course, but not impossible) and score nine goals in four (ditto) we’ll have exceeded the points total and equalled the goals.  And all with RVP.

Now to be clear, I am not saying that is all fine and dandy – of course I would have liked us to win four trophies, but for the moment I am just interested in the effect that RVP leaving has had.   And those two observations of goals scored and points means to me, not too much.

But here’s another point.  By the start of next season he will be 30, and although he may defy history and continue to be injury free and able to continue at his current level, at some stage next season I suspect we will start to see a little decline in his form, which will continue over the remaining three years of his contract after next season; a contract which we have been told is a highly lucrative one.

Arsenal on the other hand have younger players coming in – the players who joined us this season are in the 26 to 28 year old category.  Theo of course is considerably younger.

So we might consider that there is promise of better performances next year and more goals – players early in their time in England generally tend to take a little while to fit in.

In terms of our goal scorers so far this season Theo Walcott has got 18 despite spending most time on the wing, while Olivier Giroud has 17, Lukas Podolski has 14 and Santi Cazorla has 12.

“What you want to focus on is that when the big players go, you just want to get around it and try to find a new organisation that is efficient,” said Mr Wenger recently, and looking at the figures that is what he has done.  He has spread the goals around – which of course is a much safer process since a single top scorer is always liable to injury.

What’s more Mr Wenger said, “It took us a while to find a different way because the game went through [RVP] a lot. We had to find a new balance between defending and attacking but now we are stabilised.”

Now I would hope that next season that balance will already be there, and any new players bought in will be fitting in to an established system, rather than forging a new system.   “It is always difficult to lose big players,” Mr Wenger added.  “It is more difficult when they are 24 than when they are 29 and they have given a few years to the club, but that is part of the modern life of a modern footballer as well.”

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The coping with the loss of RVP has been done exceedingly well in my opinion, and although Manchester United have clearly got a lot out of the deal, they will see a declining value in their purchase in the years to come – while still having to pay the high salary he has commanded.  Arsenal however have got younger players who have adapted well this year, and will probably produce even more next year.

Of course I would have been happier if RVP had stayed, just as I would have been happier if Cesc had stayed when he chose to follow his DNA.  But I am encouraged by the way Arsenal has responded, and I rather think we will be seeing both some more transfers into Arsenal this summer and a further development of the players like Walcott, Giroud, Podolski and Santi Cazorla.  I also think we will see a considerable development in Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.  Of Gervinho I am not sure.  I thought he played very well in the African Nations Cup, but then as soon as the groans started at the Ems his form dipped again.

But even so, I think Walcott, Giroud, Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Oxlade Chamberlain is a fairly good starting point.

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84 comments to Why Robin VP isn’t quite so important as we might imagine

  • Mandy Dodd

    Totally agree. We have responded well to adversity. I think we are now far more solid than when we relied so much on the likes of vp and cesc. It has taken a while and we are not there yet but mark my words this lot with a bit of strengthening and further gelling will prove worth the wait . On another subject NEWCASTLE! A year is a long tome in football and for Alan pardew. Shows how hard it is to stay in the lofty position they found themselves in last year.

  • ema

    we can only get better… I respect wengers decisions regarding transfers,no matter how foolish they may seem!

  • soglorious

    With these new gelled team, next season is worth hoping for. New fans will troop into the club next season because Arsenal will be near invincible. I hope the doom and gloom will then learn to support the team

  • SA Gunner

    A declining RVP is more hopeful than half fact in my opinion. We have lost a big player who in addition to physical form has high intelligence on the football pitch. Dont be surprised if he pulls a Giggs and still delivers for many a season to come.

    We need to replace him with a like player who can add to our settled squad. A player like Jovetic springs to mind. I hope we can secure him in the window

  • thundertinygooner

    I desperately hope Wenger and the Board don’t read this article although it is well-researched. It would be better to look at games where we have needed an extra goal and then ask if RVP might have supplied it. The recent game against Everton comes to mind but other examples would be the defeats at Norwich (where RVP scored two last year),Chelsea (where he scored three) and at Tottenham (where he didn’t score) . Giroud has only scored against Spurs of the top six sides and has been found wanting afainst the better teams.
    We do need a better focal point for the attack

  • Mandy Dodd

    Giroud does not have the abilities of vp but he contributes in areas the Dutchman did not

  • I understand when you compare Oxlade-Chamberlain’s prospect with Van Persie’s as I see The Ox as one of the most brilliant talents in English football (except he should focus on football only to achieve what he is destined for) but I don’t get the Cazorla part as the Spaniard is just 16 months younger than Van Persie.

  • Adam

    Well the league would’ve been alot closer this season if RVP was still an Arsenal player, no doubt about that. Manchester United do have some history with getting longevity from their better players. So, I can see RVP being their for some time if he’s performing. The only saving grace for us is that they don’t have too much room for maneuvering when it comes to their wage bill and maintaining the quality.

    But as always Ferguson will probably surprise us.

    I think next season might be too soon for us, but the season after we should be seriously challenging for the title. Hope we win it next year though.

  • One defensive midfielder, one not-so-injury-prone back-up goalkeeper a la Soerensen and one striker – that’s all we need for winning the title.

  • bc

    look lets be brutally honest. if you look at the players that have left, in the main there is not too much difference

    at dm we have arteta instead of song i would say that is a slight improvement

    we have cazorla instead of cesc, in terms of stats there is not too much difference.

    we have podolski instead of nasri, i say that is a slight improvement.

    we have giroud instead of rvp. ok here if you compare giroud to the rvp of the last 2 seasons at arsenal and of his 1st year at united, then we are worse off. but if u compare giroud in his first to any of rvp’s other seasons at arsenal then he is an impovement.

    i actually think the current team, is as good as any in the last 6 seasons. the problem is we have stagnated since reaching the champions league final in 2006.

    however, if wenger adds correctly to this 19 in the summer we will have a decent chance of success next season


    i havent included, mannone, sagna, frimpong, diaby, rosicky as i believe they might be joining fabianski, shea, squillaci, djourou, santos, denilson, eastmond, henderson, arshavin, park, bendtner, chamakh and watt in leaving this summer

  • Adam

    Off-topic and for Walter.

    Robert Madley made his premiership debut today, taking charge of the Southampton Vs West Brom game, 3 players sent off. He is another referee from Yorkshire, I don’t know what the PGMOL will do if Leeds ever get back into the prem, they will have no refs for their games. This is his third full season of officiating and he is given a mid-table premiership clash.

    Southern clubs do not do well under this National list referee, when facing Northern clubs at home. So basically this ref likes to see the away Northern side triumph against the southern boys.

    Another ref who may make the step into the “Select group” and one to keep an eye on.

  • bob

    “we have giroud instead of rvp. ok here if you compare giroud to the rvp of the last 2 seasons at arsenal and of his 1st year at united, then we are worse off. but if u compare giroud in his first to any of rvp’s other seasons at arsenal then he is an impovement.”
    In terms of the here and now, this season, and the different outcome that was possible in August, you’d make a better lawyer than a football analyst.
    RVP/Giroud – no contest in last third clincality. Just light years from what we now need. The past is not relevant.
    Song/Arteta – we have not made up for the defensive midfield gap. No one is near the stopper that Song could oftentimes (if not enough for his detractors) could be.

  • @bc I agree we are nearly there squad wise but we desperately need a top top striker,a holding midfield player someone that breaks up the oppositions play and then distributes the ball to our creative players another top no nonsense centre half and a mature goalkeeper,sell off the hangers on and the wasters,

  • bob

    Mr. Attwood,
    While I detest RVP and advocate that he/Fungus be given icy silence and red cards when RVP is on the ball, I think these claims that we’re substantially better in his absence are substantially overstated for these reasons:

    Total goals is not the same as when goals are struck in the context of a game; or when calculating shots:goals ratios; or when factoring in misses, howlers and sitters that go awry in the context of a game. As to goals: what is more important than totals is are the goals game changers or padding? That qualitative analysis is never (repeat) undertaken in UA quantitative analyses – only total goals.

    “Now I would hope that next season that balance will already be there, and any new players bought in will be fitting in to an established system, rather than forging a new system.” Imo, AFC is a work-in-progress and there is not as yet a system in the way that you are declaring one to exist. Imo, AW is learning his players and their capabilities and trying to sort out combinations and what works. Which is fine. But is not the rhetorical existing system you declare to which the newcomers are taking their time to bed into.

    “The coping with the loss of RVP has been done exceedingly well in my opinion…” imo, I don’t see being out of contention for top honorse well before the stroke of January as having coped exceedlingly well. A top 4 finish would have been coping, but to label this season’s performance “exceedingly” good is not a service to even-handed analysis.

    “of course I would have liked us to win four trophies” – why ridicule the argument that one trophy would have done us well? Indeed, one would have just about qualitifed as “fine and dandy.”

    “By the start of next season he will be 30, and although he may defy history and continue to be injury free and able to continue at his current level, at some stage next season I suspect we will start to see a little decline in his form, which will continue over the remaining three years of his contract after next season; a contract which we have been told is a highly lucrative one.” – imo, a bean counter’s argument. Manure seems to have no problem letting players in their 30s continue to make quality contributions in the context of the whole team. You single out a player on his own and say oh my god, there’ll be a drop off, therefore aren’t we lucky not to be saddled with an inevitable statistical decline of some unknowable degree, you suspect, “over the next 3 season.” RVP – what an awful problem to have on the hands of a club that can afford to pay such a player.

    And what might have been if RVP were forced to stay (because he could not have made the requisite case under Webster [as I understand it] that the team had mistreated him), even one of the newbies – say Poldolski or Giroud – would have added a larger dimension. Would Theo and Ox not been able to progress because (in your scenario) RVP takes all the oxygen out of the room? Did anyone else score in his time here? I don’t at all mind being wrong on this point, but where are the stats that could establish this one way or the other?

  • Wolfgang

    Whatever Wenger may say about RVP,the truth hurts. The dm has rescued rf many a time and it won’t surprise me if he were to score.Our French defender says he and his BG can keep the dm quiet. I have my reservations. The bg is a time bomb and can be beaten for pace as has been shown in games.
    So I say to the FD :prove it on the pitch and the gunners win.The Wigan game showed that Spurs for all their possession were unhinged by a breakaway. Arsenal play to a similar style with pressing . With this in mind,don’t be surprised RVP will score from a swift counter especially if the gunners can’t convert the chances similar to Spurs.

  • Wolfgang

    After the game aginst rf, Arsenal will play sides in the relegation struggle. Arsenal have a habit of underperforming against sides who play anti soccer.
    Allied to this is the gunners short ,short ,lateral passing game. It’s passing all over the place.
    You watch how Wigan scored the second goal. Why can’t the gunners score similarly?Maybe they have but more of this please. The speed of attack is vital,imho,and in this respect the gunners are sorely lacking.

  • weedonald

    It is almost impossible to replace a 30 goal scorer with an equivalent transfer and it was apparent that Wenger knew this and had no intention to trying to do so.
    RVP kept us in the CL last season and was essential in many key wins, so in terms of who we brought in, they couldn’t individually hold a candle to his achievements the last three seasons. That said, they did score enough to keep us in contention for a CL place and we have seen flashes of future brilliance from Walcott, the OX, and far more consistent performances from Ramsey and Per. That has been hindered by Gervinho, Sagna and Vermaelen’s loss of form and confidence. Cazorla’s influence in the midfield and Arteta’s steadiness has, imho, more than adequately filled in for the loss of Song and Nasri.
    Szcesny and Fabianski have done enough to win us enough points to keep us up there as well. It will be interesting to see what Walcott, Podolski, Gervinho, the OX and Rosicky can do in the last three games (assuming they are all fit) and it will be a team effort, not a one man show,that will get us to the top 4 once again.

  • Rufusstan

    Part of the strategy has worked. Losing RVP meant spreading goals amongst the team so that we were less reliant on one player, and we have scored as many (OK 2 less) this year.

    To an extent we have been lucky, because the strategy relied upon 3 players adapting well in their first year in the league, and to an extent they have. Both Giroud and Podolski have room to improve, which bodes well for next season, but Cazorla hitting the ground running has been a huge boon.

    The part that has not worked is wrapped up in the title of the article, in any way judging the season on how well we have coped with the loss of RVP. In absolute terms, we are treading water, despite the arrival of 3 high quality players.

    I always tend towards the positive when it comes to Arsenal, I have been arguing that we will do OK this year all season, while others have predicted doom. Additionally, I believe keep this squad together and make a few careful additions and we will be challengers next year.

    That said, we took a squad that was overly dependent on a single world class striker, and started this season instead with a single untried striker. It could very easily have gone horribly wrong for us (and I suppose still could), and I find it very hard to feel positive because we got away with it and broke even.

  • Shard


    Agree with you, but I still feel more positive. We know, that Wenger tried to sign at least another striker in Mirallas. Perhaps he tried to sign David Villa too? Who knows.

    As a manager, would you say, we need a striker, let’s get the ones we want, and failing that, let’s get whoever is available regardless of whether we think he’ll fit into the system we want to play, and then we’ll try and fit him in? Or would you say if we can’t get the striker(s) we want, we’ll wait to see who else becomes available next year, seeing as we can stay relatively stable even without buying just anyone?

    There’s no ‘right’ answer there. It’s just choices. Would buying ANY striker have meant we’d have finished higher in the table? I don’t think so. And not many quality strikers moved in the transfer windows I think.

    It’s safe to say we will buy another striker this year (it looks like there’ll be plenty of movement this transfer window)

    We’ve had players settle in fairly well. We have a new team dynamic as opposed to last season. Whether it’s better or not is moot. But what is relevant is whether we can build on what we have. I think we can, and we will. And I think you agree with that too.

  • Shard


    I think Wenger’s explanation of why h sold RVP was pretty close to mine, where money was not the primary factor, even though it obviously was a factor (rightly so)

    But it seems you were right about his captaincy too. However, it also shows that the players felt betrayed by him too, even if they don’t react the same way as the fans do.

  • Takashi

    You and all those that agree all just try to justify that just because more people are scoring that it’s okay that RVP left Arsenal…..You say these lineups with Walcott and the Ox and Wilshere but what’s the use in saying it when the squad is much better with RVP in it…Giroud is NOT EVEN HALF of what RVP is…I’m a gooner for life but if you look at our team now and how we’re playing, there’s no reason to think RVP would have had the year he had before with the Gunners…With Santi and a healthy Wilshere, RVP would have scored the goals Giroud missed, which would have won us plenty more games, and assisted the same amount, if not more goals for the likes of Walcott, Podolski, and Ox

    I’m tired of all the people that try to justify that RVP’s departure from our club was okay….WE MADE A MISTAKE LETTING HIM GO AND WE ARE LUCKY THAT WE STILL HAVE A GREAT COACH LIKE WENGER THAT CAN KEEP OUR TEAM TOGETHER….because the way this season started….we were looking at not even making Europa League next year

    Mistakes happen and it’s okay, we’re lucky to be as strong of a team as we are, but at the same time, WE AREN’T LOOKING FOR 3RD OR 4TH PLACE MEDIOCRITY, WE WANT SILVER!!!
    Even being 2nd and competing for the title at this point in the season would make me a happy GOONER!! Bring in Jovetic, Isco, N’Koulou BRING US OUR SILVER!!

  • Rupert Cook

    What do Manu care about the longevity of RVP? That’s the difference with them and us. They intend to win things now, we intend to win things in some distant future.

    Manu rake in loads of money because they’re successful. We rake in loads of money by selling our best players. One strategy works on the field, the other off it.

    We’re becoming the Everton of the south. Unless we buy some proper world class players next season will be a repeat of this season.

    Look at the players up for player of the season, not one from Arsenal. Manu have RVP Spurs have Bale, Pool have Suarez, Chelsea have Mata and Hazard; only City can boast that rather disappointing fact too but they have far more quality players than we have.

    We need some proper game-changing players. Never in Wenger’s tenure have the team been so bereft of one gigantic talent.

    He needs to sort that out this summer. Spend some of that 1OO million that the club horde.

  • Rufusstan

    Shard, I completely agree with the positivity in terms of the future. We should be able to keep this settled squad, and there is no reason why we should not strengthen it in the summer.

    I think I bit on the article (which I don’t think I have ever done before), because the feel is that of the spurned lover–‘My new partner is younger and way more attractive than you; by the way, you were crap in bed’. I understand the rationale behind it; it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Selling RVP was always a necessary Evil. We had a choice between selling a player to the only team he would go to, or keep him for a year, hope he was not too much of a disruptive influence, then watch him probably leave for United for free this summer. There was no right choice, just which was the least harmful.

    I understand the arguments behind not having another striker, both that we could not perhaps get exactly who we wanted, and the dislike of paying for a player just to pad out the squad. The problem is that leads to us going into a season with a single dedicated striker (both Manchester clubs have at least 3, as do Spurs, Chelsea were weaker; but have brought in Ba). I can live with that if it is RVP, although I flinched last season at every tackle. Giroud was both an unknown quantity and all we had.

    For me the importance of RVP is highlighted by how often I have watched a game, see a chance spurned and my instinctive thought is ‘Robin would have buried that’. We might have matched last year, but with an on-form striker, how much better could we have done?

    Interesting numbers: Giroud has the lowest chance conversion on the table. Is that because he is a bad striker? Or is it because he’s played when out of form, when his style has not suited the opponents, because there is no one else.

    In the end, you are right that we do not know that a second striker would have affected our league position. It just seems a risky thing to do if you want a balanced squad. Sadly, we do not know yet what impact the lack of cover will have, with Giroud set to miss 3 for our last 4 games.

  • uk

    Yea, same artcle copied and pasted after the sales of henry, viera,cesc,nasri, etc. Will again be useful next season wen the next batch of players set off. Then we’l get the next chamakhs and gervinhos, and you’l once again say, they did well on their debut season, give them the next, all the while the manc clubs, chelsea are sharing the titles and everything good between themselves

  • AL

    I feel Giroud has not been getting the credit he deserves. He’s in his first season in the premiership, but is tied with Man City’s top goal scorer Tevez this season having played a fewer games. Chelsea’s leading scorer, Torres, only scored 3 goals more than him. In terms of a goal return in the first season then he’s right up there with the best we have seen in the premiership. Who knows what’s in store in his second season in the premiership. The boy’s done well, and deserves credit for that.

    Off topic; was nice to see Harry go down:-)

  • AL

    Think selling him to whoever for the highest amount possible was the best decision, as he had clearly indicated he wanted to leave anyway. Imagine if he’d stayed, we finished 3rd like last season again(well, this is still a possibility this season without him, so we haven’t fared badly)then he left on a free to join utd. Imagine the mayhem. The way i see it is we will finish in the top four like last season, but be £24m richer with a stable squad. I will take this any day.

    Watching sky sports coverage is kinda making me sick, one would be mistaken to think it was the skunk’s testmonial match, all focus(ok, sorry, all cameras) are on him. Show some impartiality, ffs.

  • Rupert Cook

    That’s right we’ll be 24 million richer. Thanks to RVP. All you people who despise him should be thankful, he’s made Arsenal all that money and as so money of you love our business model you should be applauding RVP.

    RVP’s a good business man, he’s got himself a decent pay rise and he’s gone to a club that doesn’t despise success on the field. He’s now somewhere his talents are appreciated.

    I don’t know why people invest footballers with these imaginary characters. I suppose it’s because they think footballers are just like fans but let’s face it how many of you would stay at a business that cannot offer you rewards to match your skill?

    As the Pop Group once screamed, we are all prostitutes.

    What was RVP supposed to do? Stay at a club that venerates
    finishing fourth, claiming it’s a trophy. Waste his career waiting for Gervinho to be the new Messi and delight as Wenger forages for another bargain from the French league. I’m sure all rational people would do that.

    RVP is where he belongs, with winners.

  • Rupert Cook

    “as so many of you” that should read.

    Oh and RVP has just scored.

  • AL

    Fuck you Rupert, twat.

  • Yassin

    and you are happy he scored, why dont u go cheer him and his team instead of coming here to moan, that shows u r not worth discussing anything with cause u aint a real fan, so please dont come again

  • AL

    All except Rupert,

    Sorry about the language, but this prick deserves it.

  • Rupert Cook

    Direct your anger at the board. Our beloved club is ripping us off. It ain’t nothing to do with me. WAKE UP!

  • Rupert Cook

    @Yassin, couldn’t care less. You sell the best striker in the league to your rivals, though Manu aren’t really our rivals anymore, you get what you deserve.

    All this utter nonsense about self-sustainable models and FFP will save us, it’s the language of chancers who love to watch the money role in and then stash it away in the bank promising fans some bright tomorrow. If this regime is still in power three years from now we’ll be exactly where we are now.

  • bjtgooner


    I think I might have been wrong to call you a rat – it was a really a bad mistake and an insult to the poor rodent.

    You are really the lowest form of sewer bacteria imaginable.

  • Shard

    Oh give it a rest rupert.. The board didn’t give away that penalty.

  • Shard

    In fact RVP had very little impact on the game. Sagna was stupid to give the ball away like that, and even more stupid to try and tackle in that situation.

    I think we played well today. But once again, we make a stupid mistake. That gave them a lift and in the second half, they were much better, probably even more likely to score. But we had our moments as well. Pity none of them resulted in a goal.

    4th is out of our hands again, and for the first time, I’m worried about it.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, why worry? It’s only QPR, relegated, Newcastle, poor, and Wigan, probably relegated too by the time we play them.

    I’m sure we’ll be celebrating our imaginary trophy. And then we’ll enjoy watching all the other big teams invest in great players over summer.

    And I hope RVP wasn’t booed. I hope those sitting in the director’s box. Fleecers.

  • Shard

    I’m worried because it is out of our hands.. It’s not a trophy. It’s a REAL achievement, and important at that.. Why worry about next transfer window? Since you already expect the worst, what’s to worry about? You might just be pleasantly surprised.

  • Arun

    Has to be counted as 2 points dropped, especially after the first 30 minutes. That late own goal from Wigan took the CL qualification away from our hands. The totts still have to visit Stoke and Chelsea, any dropped points in either of these matches combined with 3 wins for us should see us through.
    I think Dowd did a good job but I can’t say the same for the main commentator on sky. He was talking shit throughout the whole match. Anybody knows his name???

  • Arun

    “And I hope RVP wasn’t booed”
    Did you even see the game???

  • Shard

    Haha.. Yeah.. rupert doesn’t want RVP to be booed, but at least all the fans in the stadium found some unity through that. The divisions between the fans can wait. We all need to unite to finish as high as we can.

  • John L

    hahaha Rupert…..didnt even watch the game. true gooner that you are an all….and having not watched the game you are of course in the perfect (AAA) position to comment on it.

    makes me wonder how many of these mongrels online bother to actually watch the games?!?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Arun, we have guests over so I got to see snippets. After a few drinks you let your true feelings thrive. Some of the more vicious types on here don’t even need that as an excuse to fling imprecations.

    The main culprits for this depressing stagnation at our club are those despicable types in charge, not the players who, on the whole, give their all for the club and that includes RVP when he played for us.

  • Rupert Cook

    @John L. exactly when have I commented on the game? Bar the comment that RVP scored, a mere fact.

    If you’re going to let your fingers do the talking don’t forget to engage your brain.

  • Shard

    Yes..We get it rupert. You don’t like the current board, you think we won’t win a trophy while they are here, and while Wenger is here and so on and so forth… I think everyone who visits this site knows this by now…

    Why do you feel the need to bring it up again and again? There was a game of football which occurred today. Isn’t discussing football more important? And more relevant? I thought that’s what it was all about ultimately. Apparently not.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, the bigger picture. That’s what this site lives for isn’t it? Corrupt refs, Manu fixing the league, all part of the somewhat tarnished tapestry of football.

    We got a point, we played ok in spurts, our goal was offside, we were possibly denied a penalty, Sagna committed an idiotic foul and gave a penalty away and was completely overwhelmed by Nani too often.

  • Shard

    Bigger picture? You’re sort of missing the point. The bigger picture is only used to bring into sharper focus the sport which is played on the field. Not obscure it.

  • Shard

    And in any case, there is no new insight that you have to give on the subject. They are simply your views. We are well versed with them. Give us a break from it will you?

  • Arun

    We got a point, we played ok in spurts, our goal was offside, we were possibly denied a penalty, Sagna committed an idiotic foul and gave a penalty away and was completely overwhelmed by Nani too often.
    We played well throughout the match but first 30 minutes or so were brilliant. Our goal was offside, and yes, I think that we were denied a penalty, it was clumsy on Gibbs from rio. And NO, Sagna wasn’t overwhelmed by Nani at any point. It was just those 2 mistakes in a row by Sagna just before the half time that took away 2 very vital points.

  • Shard

    bob (or anyone else)

    What are your views on Sagna? It’s not just because of this error that I bring it up. You know I really like Bacary Sagna. A lot. I’ll never forget his thumping header in the NLD last year. But he’s not been playing well for some time now. Although I think some of that has to do with Theo’s lack of effort and know-how in supporting his full back *Also why think Jenkinson plays as little as he does. Sagna copes with that better) But it can’t be denied that he isn’t playing too well, and that he’s lost some pace. Would we, unemotionally speaking, be better of buying a new RB to play as 1st choice/challenge/cover Jenkinson? Or should we stick with Sagna for another year at least? (with or without a new contract)

    Over the past few weeks, I’m leaning more and more towards the idea that there might be someone else better out there, and that keeping him will be more about maintaining stability rather than just his attributes.

    I also felt today, that a striker (obviously), and a DM are needed. Even though our midfield played quite well I thought.

    We’re capable of having a very very good bench if we can add those players.

  • Shard


    I too felt that Ferdinand’s tackle on Gibbs was a foul, and hence a penalty. But that’s not one we’re very likely to get. Ugh.. I think I’m over it, and then I get frustrated again that Sagna gave away a goal today. We could have won that.

  • AL

    I think we played better than anyone expected. Apart from the mistake leading to the penalty just before half time Scezsney was reduced to a mere bystander in first half. Even in the second when they seemed to get some belief from their goal, we still bossed it. They were looking to hit us on the break which is why their chances looked clearer(fewer men in our box) but the fact they got their first corner around 83minutes tells you all you need to know. I felt Gibbs should have got a penalty too, anywhere else on the pitch that would’ve been a foul. I still think its in our hands because spuds & chelsea still have to play each other, they both can’t take 3points out of that one.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Arun, we’ll have to disagree on Sagna. Time to sell him maybe.

    @Shard, we hear your views repeatedly so tough. I’ll tell you why I mention this because I got rather sick of all the hypocrisy over RVP. So many on here cheer on this farcical financial plan at AFC but when it’s executed, as in the sale of RVP, he’s a traitor. The traitors are the people running this increasingly desperate show.

    RVP wants to move to a club with concrete ambition, something I suspect most people would do on this site in their real lives if their employers weren’t meeting their expectations. He’s nearing the end of his career and he’d like a trophy or two and he’s fully aware that the chances of winning any with Arsenal are limited.

    Directing hate towards him is utterly pointless.

  • bjtgooner


    I agree with your views about purchasing a striker and DM for next season. I am not sure about Sagna – a lot may depend on his attitude pre next season.

    I think Jenks is being groomed to take over the right back spot, the question then becomes – will he be ready to do so next season – and if so, will Sagna be a good enough back up. To answer the question properly we would need to be able to estimate if Sagna’s loss of form is temporary or not – it must be difficult to come back after two bone breaks to the same foot.

  • Adam

    @AL, April 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm.

    Glad someone has brought this up again (comparing players).
    I do feel its unfair on an individual to compare them against another who has played in this league for many seasons.

    If people are to make comparisons then the honest way to go about that would be at the same age and league standard. RVP at 26 years of age managed 10 goals for us, Carlos Tevez at 26 managed 29 goals for city.

    Rvp in his first season scored 10 goals, Tevez got 7 goals.

    Giroud isn’t doing too bad, could be better. But is not that far from both the players brought up.

    I’m not disagreeing with you just trying to reinforce your comment.

  • Shard

    “Directing hate towards him is utterly pointless.”

    Firstly, it’s not. It is very much part of being a football fan, and as such, we can do with more of a tribal loyalty at times than some fans exhibit of late. Regardless of differences in views, football is essentially about the good guys (your team) vs the bad guys (anyone else) That is tribal. It is immature, foolish, and hardly fair at times. But it is not pointless. It is the whole point of having a team that you call your own.

    Secondly, with RVP, it wasn’t just about him leaving. It was him forcing Arsenal to sell him, the disrespect he showed, and the lack of gratitude he showed. I don’t know if most people would behave with their employer the same way as RVP did, if the employers also treated them the way we treated him. If they would, that is an indictment of them, not of the employer.

    You take the view ‘it is what it is’ (which incidentally is also how Wenger seems to see it), except where Arsenal are concerned. Doesn’t shock me that the level of tolerance you seemingly show to anyone whose interests at this point are contrary to Arsenal’s, you don’t show to Arsenal themselves.

    RVP’s motivations about ‘concrete ambitions’. He wanted a title. He got it. Fair enough.

    He played for us, we loved him, despite his injuries and off field problems we stood by him, he had 18 months where he truly played for us, and then gave a middle finger to us by his statement and his desire to sign only for ManU (Juventus have ‘ambition’ don’t they?) So now we hate him. Also fair enough.

  • Shard


    If Spurs win all their matches and Chelsea win all theirs except the Spurs game, then we finish 5th.

  • Adam

    Rupert, Arsene and Arsenal do have a long term plan to bring continuous success to the Emirates, Robin Van Persie was welcome to stay at the club and help us achieve our goals, he chose to leave. We are currently building a side that will challenge, but it takes time. Manchester United have the foundations to mount a challenge and have done for many years and Ferguson has never been put in a position where he has had to build the club back up, from the ground up, we are building ours and RVP leaving has put us back somewhat, same as the other players leaving has kept stalling our progress.

    I’m of the belief that had RVP stayed the top 3 or more would’ve been extremely close this season and we may have surprised a few people.

    Please have some respect for what the club are trying to achieve.

  • Paul "the Gooner"

    Why,why are people responding to the tosser “Rupert the Crook”.
    From today say bugger all to him.

  • AL

    Yes, agree that’s a possibility. Unlikely though but still possible. I think the main thing is for us to win all our remaining matches.

    I’m with you, Giroud doesn’t deserve some of the criticism that’s gone his way.

  • Shard


    I’ve been a little less than emphatic about a need for a DM, but there were times today that I felt someone a little more of a tough tackler could help.

    I am happy with how the team is shaping up. WIth a few additions, and a few of the youngsters coming through, we really could have a very good squad soon. But it would be so annoying to miss out on the top 4 just when there are signs that the financial situation is improving and the tam is gelling. We need that CL spot. I hope we can get it.

  • Rufusstan

    Al/Shard — Sadly top 4 is out of our hands to some degree, but the circumstances above that mean we finish 5th does require Spurs to win at Stamford bridge and Chelsea to win at OT.

    Not saying that it wont happen, but all we can do is win our games and see how they cope — It is worth mentioning that Chelsea have Spurs, United and the Europa semi in a week.

    There are still so many permutations left that it could easily be down to the last day.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Adam, time to build. Doesn’t work in the modern world. Chelsea, City, Manu don’t do it. Barca, Real Madrid, none of them do. They pilfer the best players. They win things, thereby attracting other players.

    The minute one of our players becomes any good he’ll be snatched by those clubs.

    You are welcome to believe that the club is trying to build a team but I don’t believe it. Wenger may have faith in that ideal but if he does he obviously can’t accept the reality.

    He’s had seven years to build a new team and it’s been scuppered by the likes of Barca, City, Manu etc. It won’t work and Wenger is a busted flush.

    @Morons FC, I’d save your petty childish insults, I won’t respond to rude children.

    £100 bet that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2018.

  • Shard


    How exactly did the likes of those clubs (Oilers excepted) get to that stage, if not by building their club to that level?

    You talk of 7 years as if it’s such a long amount of time. In the history of an institution, it’s nothing. And those 7 years have hardly been disastrous. Just not as good as was initially hoped for. Things change rupert. Just like the ‘modern world’ seemingly doesn’t accept Arsenal’s model, the post modern world might not accept any other model. Who knows? What doesn’t change is that having solid foundations ensures the survival of the club.

    What in your view, would be the alternative to building the club?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, what are you going to do if you meet RVP? Punch him in the face, spit at him? That’s hatred. Hatred is a strong emotion that serves you and your usually very reasoned debating no good at all. Your jealousy of Manu’s success has made you a somewhat bitter individual. It’s made me bitter too but I aim at a target closer to home.

    @Adam, I’ve seen you direct strong dislike to Manu fans. Do you hate them? Everyone? I have two very good friends who are Manu fans. Self-effacing individuals who never gloat about
    their team’s success. It’s easy to label them all scum but not so easy when you reflect on it.

    Also how do you know what Arsenal are doing? I don’t, neither do you. We believe what we believe supported by the evidence we weigh up. I base my belief on our performances since 2007.

    I wish you all a good night.

    £100 bet that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2018.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, spend the money we hoard. Pay that bit extra for players like Mata. The club won’t go bankrupt because success breeds success and to establish success in modern football you need money.

    Those clubs didn’t build a team, they spent vast sums importing the best players. That’s the modern way. We can’t expect to compete unless we sort out our crazy pay structure and actually invest some of our wealth we stash away.

    Good night.

    £100 bet that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2018.

  • Shard

    huh? You’re now going to take one word, use it out of context, and then say that somehow that diminishes my reasoning ability? It’s possible that language isn’t your strongest suit but that doesn’t seem likely. Could you be wilfully manipulating the ‘weighing of the evidence’ in my case too? What you??? Noooooo.. Never..

  • Shard

    You’re mixing up building a team (which Barca did actually) and building a club (which all of them did)

    How would you know the club’s financial situation as to how much they could spend? How do you know what players were available and what conditions could not be met? Those however, are the team building aspect. Tactical rather than strategic, and on that level, I have disagreed with the club too. Strategically, the club have my complete support. At least based on the evidence.

  • Adam

    No Rupert, even I’m capable of going OTT when describing my dislike for most Mancunians, I actually spent the match time with a Man U fan, not watching the game but celebrating our children’s birthday’s. Nice deflection by the way.

    I like you Rupert, but I also feel sorry for you, with such a negative view of the club which you support.

    You have some very valid points, but most are outside the influence of the club. What I believe is happening recently at Arsenal is we are witnessing changes that will allow us to compete with the teams that are challenging for titles.

    A little more patience are needed, are you capable?

  • Adam

    Plus I’ve already put my money where my mouth is and so have you. so we have already agreed to disagree.

  • bjtgooner


    Re your 8.43 pm post. I agree with your comments, my feeling about a DM is that we need someone with height & pace as well as footballing ability to balance the very creative but relatively short existing midfielders.

    For set plays, we need at least one striker and one midfielder with height to support the central defenders. A tall full back like Jenks is a bonus in these situations.

  • bob

    If think he needs some months off the pitch to fully mend and rehab. There’s got to be a chance given him for genuine services rendered. He’s given limbs for the side and is still capable, and maybe more, even if only for stability, teaching the young (Jenks), and the 50/50 chance of a full return to form after a period of rest. I’d take the gamble. Plus we have paid crap players out of loyalty; how about keeping a former loyal and excellent player who may well need only healing time (no one can know today). The non-performers need to be released and there’s money in the till to take the Sagna gamble for old times sake. I would also say to keep Rosicky, who seems to have plenty of good football left since he’s finally been sufficiently rested. Not everyone becomes 3o years old in the same way. Alas, look at RvP. As for the rest, yes, I’m still on with q quality striker and a real DM.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I will always think a hell of a lot of bac I hope we keep him but if we do not I hope he ends up happy successful fulfilled and abroad. No more selling to English rivals far too damaging and fuel for the aaa

  • Takashi: it is often felt that people who write in CAPITALS are replacing argument and debate with shouting. But simply using CAPITALS to make assertions doesn’t make anything you say true. You have just made assertions, without any interconnecting evidence.

  • Shard


    Astute observation. I’ve just been looking at the numbers and we were poor in the air, both defensively and offensively (with the exception of Sagna) If the rumour mill is to be believed however, we’re looking at Gonalons, who as I recall, isn’t very good in the air (I could be wrong about this). I thought Capoue ticked all the boxes for us, but obviously, who knows what is going on behind the scenes.

  • Shard

    Regarding Sagna. I think I even asked that question only to seek reassurance. I like Sagna, and I think his experience could help us next season as well. I hope he stays, even if a new contract cannot be agreed. I hope he gets his form back. Maybe that’s why we’ve not offered him the contract he wants because we need to be sure his drop in form is only that, rather than a decline as a player.I don’t think Wenger wants to sell him. But Sagna might want to go to PSG or somewhere else where he can play out the rest of his career.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Adam, you’re ok yourself. Still I have no idea why you trust people like Gazidis and Kronke, especially as you seem to have a healthy mistrust of such types in other walks of life.

    I’m sure Wenger wants to win something but I think the guy isn’t up to it anymore. Still from reliable sources I’ve heard there’s going to be a fairly major squad overhaul this summer and the quality of players depends a lot on CL qualification. Some of our targets are impressive but some are ordinary, the latter will be joining if we finish fifth.

    Patient, you mean mighty Arsenal can’t win one pitiful trophy in 8 years? That’s just poor,and as I said modern football doesn’t work on patience; and Shard, Barca bought high quality players to ensure success. They also held on to their best players because they are a world class club with far more clout than Arsenal on the international stage.

    I don’t trust the people running our club. Why should I? I’ve seen no evidence to suggest we’re getting better, quite the contrary, but I hope you’re right about everything Adam.

    If you, Adam and several others on here like Shard, Stuart, Brickfields and Mandy were running the club I’d feel much more hopeful about AFC.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Adam, apologies too, I took off a year on that bet.

    Correction : £100 bet that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2019.

  • Shard

    “Shard, Barca bought high quality players to ensure success. They also held on to their best players because they are a world class club with far more clout than Arsenal on the international stage.”

    And rupert, how did Barca gain that clout? How did ManU gain their clout? They built themselves up to that size over a period of time.

  • Shard

    I also like this line…”as I said modern football doesn’t work on patience”

    What does that mean? It just means some people have no patience these days doesn’t it?

    Yet impatient people wouldn’t have seen Barcelona’s rise if they’d overhauled the club structure 8-10 years ago, and instead gone the Galacticos route of the ‘impatient’ , ‘win it now’ ‘modern’ Madrid. Impatient people probably led to Dortmund’s bankruptcy, and without patience, would not have seen the two titles that they have now. Even the big money clubs need patience, as Mancity have shown. Patience is not a sufficient quality to build a great side, but it is patently necessary.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, City shown patience! They got rid of any manager who wasn’t propelling them to the highest pinnacle. As soon as they had the money to spend they spent it. I’d hardly say they had patience, at least not the sort Arsenal practice.

    I think Arsenal fans have shown remarkable patience and all they see is the best players leaving and ticket prices among the highest in the league. And I don’t see Real Madrid struggling, they have the world’s second best player and arguably the best manager after Fergie. So they haven’t won the CL in a while but then when did Arsenal last win it?

    As for Dortmund I have no idea what they’ve been up to for the last decade but if we look as good as them next year I’ll be happy.

    £100 bet with anyone that Arsenal won’t win the league before 2019.

  • Shard

    The manager is only one part of the equation rupert. City had to be patient to win trophies. They didn’t win in one year. By the way, they still have less trophies than us in the last 15 years. (why stop at 8? I mean, why arbitrarily cut off at the point Arsenal didn’t win?)

    Once again, you are obfuscating the message. A club needs to grow to have that clout. Arsenal are in a growth phase. A growth never seen before. All football rich lists bear that out. Ironically, your like use those same lists to decry how ‘unambitious’ we are, failing to note that there is an inevitable delay factor involved in the growth on those lists, and of its effect on the field.

    Yes of course there’s a risk that even with that growth, we won’t have enough to win. But trying to match the spending of clubs who have infinitely more vast respurces than we do, is hardly a guarantee of anything, except, drawn to its inevitable conclusion, of going bankrupt. Yes yes, ARsenal have 100m NOW, but is that enough? And would we have won if we’d spent the money? Maybe, but it would still be a risk because if we didn’t, we might not have been able to stay stable and secure either. Do you spend all your income without knowing where your next cheque is coming from, and how much it’ll be for? If you do, that is irresponsible, even if you happen to get lucky and survive once in a while.

  • Adam

    We are quite similar to Dortmund Rupert, but I hope we are better next season than they have been this season.

    Agree £100 bet that Arsenal first team win the premiership between now and the end of the 2018/2019 season.