How missing your central back pairing handicaps the attack.

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How missing your central back pairing handicaps the attack.

By Walter Broeckx

This may cause a few people raise their eyebrows. So let me explain.

This season Arsenal had for most of the season a very fluent and attacking game. We then always give credit to the attack and midfield. After all it is the passing of Cesc, the dribbles of Van Persie, the tricks of Arshavin that catch the eye.

They get the credit and rightly so. They are the players that make the Emirates rock at times. They score the goals and give the assists. So what have central defenders have to do with the attack.

I’m not talking about the fact that Vermaelen has scored 7 league goals this season. No I’m not talking about Gallas scoring another 3. Yes it is very welcome when your centre backs score a few goals and yes one could say that we miss them a bit for the fact that they can score a few goals between them.

No because of their absence we lack something else. Something that is more invisible and that at first sight does not catch the eye.

The last games we had to play Campbell and Silvestre at centre back. Campbell gets all the credits for his tough defending and Silvestre is the person who gets all the stick for his past. I think on the defensive side they were not that bad. If you analyze the goals when they were both on the field than it was Sagna who played Bale onside when Campbell and Silvestre had moved forward.

If you take the first goal from Wigan it was the fact that no midfielder tracked the run of Watson which allowed him to take his shot on goal. The second goal was the fault of Fabianski who lost the ball. And the third goal could be blamed on both of them but I think it was again our midfield that lost the ball and did not follow up. But even if we blame both of them, 1 goal on their account is not dramatic. And on the other hand Silvestre also scored a goal as Vermaelen and Gallas do at times.

So why am I saying that they give us a handicap  in comparison with Gallas and Vermaelen.

In fact it is not just me that is saying it. It is someone that most of us will see as a very reliable source. It was our captain, Cesc who has said this in fact. He has said this sometime in September or October.

We all know Gallas and we know that he is not only a good defender but also a very good and skilful player.  He can play with the ball at his feet, he can dribble an give a good pass.

But Cesc then was talking about Thomas Vermaelen. He said that his passing was so good and precise it was almost as if we had an extra midfield player. Vermaelen also has a very good technique, like most Ajax players where they train on technique, and he can pass to the midfield at the right tempo and with the right speed. He can create openings and when needed he also can kick an measured long ball to the attack or switch from one wing to another.

But if you take Campbell and Silvestre, and I will not take much away from their defensive qualities, when you look at them with the ball in their feet…. well this really is different from Vermaelen and Gallas.

If Campbell runs forward it seems rather clumsy. He never was the best in skill and this is really to see now. Most of the times he does not bring up the ball like Gallas but he puts it in the air. Silvestre is the same. He does puts his passes in like Vermaelen so he also just ends up with putting it in the air to the strikers.

But because of the lack of good passes going to our midfielders they cannot collect the ball as they are used to. Normally they get a perfect pass in their feet for 90 % of the time. Now they have to stretch themselves before they really can do anything with the ball. And for the strikers it is the same. They mostly get balls with the right weight on it and in the right place but now most of the time they are faced with ball in the air that are much harder to control – or even uncontrollable.

This means that most of our midfielders and attackers are not getting the balls they are used to get and this makes our attack less dangerous than before. When we still had Vermaelen we had one centre back who could bring the ball up with some quality. Now we don’t have him no more our game that is based upon technique and a nice build up game is disrupted by the absence of Gallas and Vermaelen.

Song is a player who also can bring a quality ball to the midfield but he is out too. So this means that we are facing a major attacking problem because our central defenders we have left are good defenders but not good enough any more in the their build up play.


Some recent Untold stories…

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Back to the end of the universe (with a postscript)

This team will have its day. There is something very special about to happen

The World’s Gone Wrong: how would other clubs have coped with this level of injury?

The Origins of Corruption. How the football league has been corrupt since its very first season.

What question should I ask Mr Wenger on Saturday?

Is football refereeing corrupt, or do strange decisions balance up between the clubs over a season?

Has Arsene Wenger’s great youth project finally failed?

Complete index

31 Replies to “How missing your central back pairing handicaps the attack.”

  1. Walter — Excellent article. I completely agree.

    To me, the first pass is always the most important pass because it transitions the team from defense to offense. If it’s crisp and accurate, then the midfielders have a lot less work to do. Without a great passer at centre-back, there are less passing lanes available, and if there are less passing lanes, then the ball invariably goes back to the GK who then chucks if up the field into safety. Brilliant, Walter.

    There must be statistics on this, and my bet is that the number of times that Almunia or Fabianksi have booted it field have doubled since Thomas went down. Not exactly the best way to play Arsenal-style, ball-controlling football, now is it?

    I also think this might be a reason for the supposedly lackluster performances of Diaby lately. If he’s always collecting the ball in an awkward position, then how can he perform his magic?

    Thanks again, Walter.

  2. Walter — This might also explain why finding a proper centre-back in the transfer window is so hard for Wenger. Because they can’t just be huge and hulking, but also technically proficient.

    The same probably applies for GKs.

  3. You took the words right our of my mouth, Tim.
    When I had send the article to Tony I thought of it and I was going to add it in the comment section but you were faster.

    I think it is very important that, with the way we play, we have centre backs that are very good at passing. Any defender can hoof the ball forward, and sometimes it is needed, but we play a different kind of football. We play the ball on the ground and the last game I saw more than half of the balls from Campbell and Silvestre going up in the air in the direction of Bendtner. But this gives the defenders more chance. Even if Bendtner wins the header it is not sure that the ball will go to an Arsenal player.
    But when we play the ball on the ground we are more sure that we keep possession.
    But I really think that the last thing Wenger wanted was to play Campbell and Silvestre together in the team. But the injuries forced him to do this.

  4. Walter, thanks!

    It’s been the main thing about our play this season for me, Gallas TV5’s movement both on and off the ball, with Song and sometimes others dropping back as cover.

    Djourou, the timing of his loss, was a massive blow to the squad, almost as big a blow as loosing RVP I think. JD had rave reviews from Satan himself, where he’d played at DM & CB.

    Perfect training for an Arsenal CB.

  5. What I mean by ‘loss’ is that like Song, JD has been built up for a while now, without any major traumas, and was obviously ready for a good run in the first team this past season.

  6. Is it just me or is Sagna the weekest link on defense. He is the main guy we have to upgrade next to the goalie in the back.

  7. Walter i agree largely with a lot of your points but at the end of the day why is it we seem to have more injuries every season more than any other team. Now i was one of the fools who had the misfortune to travel up to Wigan on Sunday and witness the shambles that is our team. We all know the problems with it so I wont go into it.

    What I will say is that after the game while waiting for my train back to Liverpool (as I was staying there with the wife and family as she is from that neck of the woods), the Arsenal team coach turned up for their train back to London. I waited for the team to step off along with a spattering of Arsenal fans and police.

    Off stepped Pat Rice and I told him that the performance wasn’t acceptable. He replied, “ No it wasn’t”. I then said that to be 2-0 up against a team fifth from bottom and lose was just not good enough. He again replied by saying “ I agree with you, it’s not” and off he went to get on the train. A minute late off stepped out great leader. I repeated what I said to Pat Rice but did not get a word from him or even an acknowledgment and off he went to board his train.

    At this point as I went to walk off to catch mine, I was stopped by a copper from the Met Police. He asked me my name to which I replied “Why?” He continued by asking me what gave me the right to abuse Arsene Wenger. “Sorry” I replied.

    “What gives you the right to abuse Arsene Wenger?”
    “Abuse him”, I said. I told him a fact. I didn’t swear or make any abusive remark, just stated a fact.
    He asked me if I had been to the game. Yes.
    Where’s your ticket.? I gave it to him. ID? Gave him my bank card. He continued to press me telling me that I had abused Wenger and that I had no right to do so, with me arguing the toss.

    He then pushed his face up to mine and told me that “People like you make me sick. You come up here expecting to win and when you don’t you start complaining”. I told him it was a free country and I was within my rights to say what I wanted and as I hadn’t sworn or abused anyone, what was the problem?

    This continued for a good 15 minutes. I asked why I was being arrested. He told me I wasn’t but that my details would be passed on to the club and it would be up to them whether my membership would be revoked. REVOKED!!

    The fact that two Manchester coppers were stood next to us underlined the fact that I had not actually done anything wrong as if I had I would have been nicked.

    Was he trying to provoke me into a reaction? Are we now not allowed to question anything that goes on at that club or in anyway criticize Wenger? How much bloody money do I spend following the bloody team and I can’t even express an opinion, one that most Arsenal fans would agree with.

    Was he one of Wenger’s Gestapo?

    My anger has subsided enough after a couple of days to the point where if they were to take away my season ticket I don’t think I would really put up much of a fight as if this is what it has come to they can shove it. I’ll save myself a couple of thousand pounds a season and another supporter of 30 years will be lost.

  8. Having your key players injured does not surmount to the way we have just conceeded the title and everything with it. The players have showed absolute lack of desire whcih wnger keeps banging on about. Where are the Adams, Keown, Parlour, Viera’s gone?

    We now have misfits in Denilson, Diaby, and so many more – players who dont even know what it means to wear the arsenal shirt. I know that we were struck with injuries on Sunday but we were good enough to be 2-0 up before the almost predictable collapse in the last 10 minutes. When they got back to 2-1, I knew we wouldn’t be strong enough to hold out.

    Wenger has to take a huge share of the blame here. The goalkeeping situation is completely and utterly laughable. But his inability to motivate the players is shocking and his substitutions need to be seen to be believed. Why not throw on Van Persie with 20 minutes to go to give them something to think about?

    Instead he plans to bring on Merida and Eboue for Rosicky and Walcott with 10 minutes to go, it goes to 2-1 and he still changes them, why?! It removed all our attacking threat because Bendtner was about as useful as a block of wood!!

    I dont dount that, Wenger has done a fabulous job for 14 years, he has transformed the club from also rans to Champions League participants season in, season out. But he is now no longer good enough to manage a team to win trophies.

    How much more obvious does it have to get?

    His contempt for the FA Cup and Carling Cup is bordering on the pathetic and an insult to most clubs in the land. There is a defining game in every manager’s job and the visit to Wigan was it. We will never win another trophy with him in charge.

  9. I think part if not all of the problem is that the funds required for the building of the new stadium coincided with the start of the break up of the invinsibles, and maybe AW was covering up for the board, to the fact that there literally was little or no money available, unless we kept selling to boost our funds.Some managers would have acted differently to ours, but he chose to put the emphasis on youth,but at the same time rewarded players with salary increases which IMO were not always can argue one way or another if there has been an improvement in the overall performances, always mainting a top 4 position and 10 or so consecutive years in the CL, but the fans(the ones who really matter) pay the highest ticket prices anywhere and demand a trophy after 5 barren years.To me that is the reason why there are such diverse and opposite views on this page.Personally I think that the club becoming estate agents was a wrong move, but in hindsight no one knew at the time there would be a world wide recession.This level of spending by the big 2 and most probably City cannot be sustained, so maybe in the long term we will benefit.However if you throw into the equation that there maybe a buyout,would AW really spend money he never had before ?I wish I knew the answer, but the focus must now be to secure the 3 points minimum to achieve third place.

  10. Let me give you the next few months of wenger speak so we can all be ready for wenger bulls**t bingo

    we will sign world class players
    we will sign players if they are available
    we can’t compete with Man U/Chelsea, Man City, Scunthorpe etc
    our priorty is to keep the team together
    if we buy players now we’ll stunt the growth of our youngsters
    I believe in this team

    of course lets not forget the classic and my personal favorite…. our injured players will be like new signings

    of course we’ll let 3 players go and as soon as the transfer window closes we’ll get the we were looking to buy Kaka, Villa etc etc etc.

    why do you guys fall for the same crap every year?

    I forgot to add:

    you forgot:

    “judge me at the end of the season”

  11. As this site is for the rose tinters i would like to share some thoughts which may entice your tastebuds. My point begins with the fact that if we had decent replacements for our first teamers then we may have not suffered as much.

    When the first teamers were out Wenger had to rely on aged players like Silvestre and Campbell or on young kids like Denilson, Eastmond and Bendtner.

    The depth of the squad is simply not good enough and it is indeed a miracle that we have consistently been in the top four in the last five seasons.

    I feel however that no major surgery is required in the squad but the major deficiencies have to be seriously addressed in time for next season.

    And if Wenger finally gets his and Hilwood’s cheque book out we may well be celebrating the title this time next year.

    First and foremost Almunia and Fabiansky have to go. They have let us down on many an occasion this season and in important games too. No title winning team can rely on these two inadequate clowns.

    And to think that we passed over Van de Sar when he was available as well as Shay Given last season! Wenger should buy a top class goalkeeper there’s no two ways about it.

    Next shambles this season was our defensive cover. It was well known in advance that Djourou will not be able to offer cover to the two first choice defenders, Gallas and Vermaelen yet what does Wenger do?

    He lets Senderos go out on loan, brings in Campbell and keeps Silvestre. Campbell has been brilliant but could not be used too often due to age and Silvestre …well, as I wrote too often in the past, he is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Djourou’s long term fitness should be assessed and if he is ok then we need to bring in another quality central defender.

    A central defensive midfielder is also needed because we cannot really expect Denilson to play that role every time Song is out injured, on Africa Nations Cup duty or banned.

    And finally if Chamach is indeed coming this summer then we will not need more reinforcements in the forward positions.

    All I can say is that Chamakh should have been at the Emirates in January. We may have been closer in the title race than what you may think.

    Still, better late than never.

    And if Wenger buys the right players this summer then all these barren years would have been well worth enduring.

    For they will be seen as the necessary investment in the time needed to bring on the talented youngsters, like Fabregas, Clichy, Song, Diaby, Nasri, Walcott and van Persie to Premier and Champions League domination.

  12. Finn,
    You say: “Where are the Adams, Keown, Parlour, Viera’s gone?” : As far as I know they have retired and Viera is not the same player we had.
    I could ask you : where are the Hapgoods, the Alex James, the Bastin ? The problem is that you keep looking back and we are looking ahead.

    You say: “but we were good enough to be 2-0 up before the almost predictable collapse in the last 10 minutes”.
    I could ask you: when did you predict the predictable collapse in the last 10 minutes ??? After 94 minutes ? I suggest you write to Tony with your predictions before the game.

    All the comments on Wenger I can only say: Please, please, please send your CV to the Arsenal board. With all your ability you will be the greatest manager and maybe the last manager we have after we have bankrupted ourselves with you as a manager.

    And then: “We will never win another trophy with him in charge.”
    And you can tell this based just on one game ? Must say I am stunned.

    But please do explain me : who gets the credit for being 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go ? The players ? No, because they are crap and useless. The managers ? No, also lost it.
    So if no one deserves the credit for going 2-0 up, then why you blame even players who were not playing like Denilson ?

    BTW as you are such a great manager : any comments on my thoughts in the article ?

  13. Walter in reply you are being petty in twisting the words…my point about Adams, Keown, Parlour, Viera is about the desire to play for arsenal. not the clown we have playing at the moment.

    I predicted the collapse as soon as that 1st goal went in for wigan.

    I would say wigan were just as poor in the first half and we capitalized on lucky chances to take the goals. But then our true colours were shown.

    As i said in my previous posts i do agree with your statement but who’s job is it to find cover for the centre backs?

    The Jan transfer window????

    hmm maybe i should send my cv in…cant do any bad then what we have been doing for the past 5 years eh>

  14. @finn:

    Desire is not always seen in the same way. When you mention Adams, Keown, Parlour and Vieira, perhaps you’re talking about a winning mentality and a more physical style of play. Personally, when I see the current team play, I see a great desire to win – how many times have we fought till the end of matches and recovered lost points in this season?

    I’m equally upset with the way we capitulated at Wigan, but when you sit down to think about it, what goes around comes around. We have recovered so many points at the end of matches that by the law of probability it’s about time we lost points in the last few minutes.

    Football’s really about very fine margins – there are 20 teams and only one will win. Would it be a failure to have fought all the way but not won? Perhaps we didn’t win the league, but can you honestly say ‘winning is everything’? If your children were the ones playing and lost narrowly (or even by a large margin) despite fighting hard all season, would you tell them they aren’t good enough and go adopt another child? Or do you keep faith in them, train them up so they’ll be better next time around?

    Similarly, I believe that’s what AW is doing with our team. For all the effort that they’ve put in, it would be criminal to tell them they aren’t good enough and bring in replacements. While that might be what most fans want, seriously take a step back and consider this: who are the players out there now that are better than what we have, and are affordable? How do we know that these players will do a job for the club? Money does not always translate into results – just look at Berbatov/Anderson/Nani at MU.

    I sincerely believe that the squad will improve if the fans just got behind them. Sometimes people play worse when they’re under pressure, forgetting even the most basic things, and I dare say this Arsenal team is under the most scrutiny and under a lot of pressure. For example, one pass is misplaced and the whole stadium groans – think how you would react! It’s a wonder that they’ve maintained a certain level till now. Other teams don’t get this kind of reaction, they lose a ball and everyone accepts it.

    Sometimes the heightened expectations we have as fans can blind us to what truly matters: we are playing the most attractive football in the league, we are not far from the title, and we are doing it all in a sensible way and not destroying the club. True, we’ve not won anything yet, but there’s every reason to be optimistic.

    Let us not be brainwashed by the pundits and dear old Mr Palmer down at ANR – he’s not a fan, despite the name of his site, as he’s continually stressed that he’s a journalist that found Arsenal interesting because they kept winning when he wrote his book.

    In fact, don’t even let my comments or even the authors of this site convince you to go with the party line. Think critically and see if there’s really any reason to believe everything’s a disaster and an overhaul is needed. That is the agenda that these pundits and writers are trying to put across and make you accept as the norm, influencing your own behaviour by imprinting it in you through various forms of media – tv, radio, the internet, even games.

    Let’s be in control of our thoughts, weigh things carefully, and then make our own decisions. That’s the very least we can do as human beings, let alone fans.

  15. @Walter

    Sorry for digressing earlier, but I fully agree with your article. Even as a sunday league player, having good distribution right from the defence is the key to a formidable attack. I would go as far as to say that it even begins from the goalkeeper – does the first pass put your players under pressure or in trouble? Or does it find a player in space and allow the team to hold on to possession?

    For that reason, I believe that the loss of our central pairing makes our possession game much more difficult as Sol is a great defender but not so much a passer, while Silvestre seems to play the safest option to the fullback which invites more pressure on the defence.

    However, I do feel that the midfield could have done more to alleviate the pressure on the defence. Let me state that it’s the first time I’ve been disappointed with the midfield this season for seeing a situation and not really doing much to help out but rather stare in frustration and hope that Wigan didn’t score.

    That being said, it’s been a long season, and all teams suffer a blip. If I’m not wrong, Wigan have beaten Chelsea and MU this season as well, so it’s not entirely embarrassing.

    Let’s hope for now that something was said, and things were worked on in training for our team to face Man City this weekend. Despite the loss of pretty much our entire squad, I’ll still support the team and hope they get back on track!

  16. Great article Walter. Everyone can pass the ball, but only few can pass it in a way that the receiving end can easily control it or do something with it.

    To finn, as far as I remember, we are the team who scores most in the last minute, which shows the mental strength of the players.

    To all D&Gers, to play football (well, actually applies as well to other sports), players need confidence. If you do sport, you can understand it. When it’s there, everything ticks. If not, we will have a second thought, hence less smooth. And when bad things continue to happen afterwards, we will come to the idea that it’s not our days. Worse, we will think that we’re crap and it will get carried to the next game and so on.
    Supporters can have a big role in this case. That’s why we as the supporters, especially the ones in the stadium have to always support the team as any negative behaviour from us will likely have negative effect on the players, as we saw in some cases already (Eboue and Song but good things Arsene was stubborn). I don’t mind people expressing opinion or showing disagreement, but too much negativity doesn’t help, especially for players with low confidence.

    My apology for long comment.

  17. There have been games with those players that we lost games in the last 10 minutes you know.
    But one forget those things.
    There also was a time when Adams was described like you describe some players now.
    If the manager in the first Adams years would have listened to fans like you Adams never would have become the player he became in the end. Or he would have become such a player for another team.
    But lucky we gave him the time to develop.
    And this goes for most players but when the players have become good, one forgets this.

  18. player has been paid to train and play in the match..i really can’t understand if someone who can do a very very dumb mistake even after have been train for whole season? can you explain to me walter why is it happening? is arsenal coach do not teach the fundamental aspect of being gk? how to make decision- to catch or to punch?something like that..i still can’t get it right..
    as for defender, campbell & silvestre are not as bad as you thought. They’ve done adequately but some of player is still below par and I’m solely believe that the lost at DW is all about goalkeeping. GK is not allowed to do stupid10x decision!! it affects defender confidence and concentration! why i’m still bother about this..arghhh

  19. Sorry Walter I don’t agree with this article at all.

    Just play around the guardian chalkboards and have a look at the passing of Vermaelen & Gallas vs that of Silvestre & Campbell. There isn’t a very big difference.

    The reason we were forced to kick the ball upfield against Wigan was because the midfield was completely missing. I did a detailed analysis of the Wigan fiasco on my blog. Eastmond made 1 pass from min 71-90 and diaby made 3! They were nowhere near the defence and just not available for support. In effect they make the defenders look bad.

    Against Tottenham we made over 500 passes and controlled the play. The problem was a lack of penetration in the final third that changed drastically with the arrival of RvP. There was nothing wrong with the passing of the defenders.

    I can go on and on but I think it’s better if you see the stats yourself.

    I love most of your articles but with this one I think you’ve got it wrong.

  20. Let me state once again that I don’t think Campbell and Silvestre did much wrong defensive. I think they are good defenders.

    I also agree that it was our midfield that went missing in the second half.

    But in my search for the “Why” they went missing I tried to look at the service our midfield got from the back. And with Gallas and Vermaelen on board we almost never use the long ball up front but pass it on the ground to our midfielders and this mostly with real quality.

    And it was this quality that I missend last week. If a midfielder gets a good ball he actually doesn’t have to control it he just can pick it up and run further. Now on many occasions the midfielder first had to try to gain control and many balls were played at the wrong side of the midfielders (= the side where the defender is standing) Let me give you an example if you run from left to right over the midfield with a defender on your left side then the one who passes the ball to you must make sure he plays the ball to your right side. That is a simple basic rule. TV and Gallas do these things mostly but now this wasn’t the case. This leads to midfielders have to stretch themselves all the time to just keep possession and it also makes the attack slow. If you can take the ball in your stride and just pass it to a team mate with one touch or control, or you first have to take 2 or 3 touches to get control over the ball and then you only can think of what am I going to do with this ball that is a big difference. Maybe half a second in real time but that could be the time that is needed for a defender to change his position.

    Also the long ball to Bendtner was, for my likings, to much misused. And mostly it was Campbell and Silvestre to play this ball in. And yes maybe Bendtner was at the end of it but those balls are much more difficult to control and are easier to defend against.

  21. wen-detta, I think if we would go to a training and see Fabianski perform he could be a magnificent goalkeeper. But there are goalkeepers who are great at training but who can not perform on the same level in the games.

    Must say this is also happening to outfield players who on training are unstoppable and in the games can’t pass an opponent.

    Why ? Well if I knew this I would sell my expertise to all of them and get rich. 😉
    It’s in the head I think. But I also fear that no one can change those things.

  22. I get your point about long balls. It’s a complaint even I had while analyzing the game. The question is – did the defence do it on purpose or were they left with no choice?

    Just as you analyzed how the defender needs to move the ball, I believe it’s important to see how the midfielder offers himself to receive the ball. Without the intention of being critical, I do feel Eastmond was a little scared on the pitch and on most occasions people didn’t pass to him unless he was completely free. As Wigan pressurized us in the second half, he was rarely free and so the defence was forced to use alternate options. Even earlier in the game, i.e. first 50 mins or so, our passing was largely through the flanks. Sagna and Clichy got more passes than Eastmond and Diaby. Normally our defensive midfielder and link midfielder has most passes in a game.

    In the end it does boil down to split second issues and hence it’s quite complex. Whether the midfielder offered himself right, did the defender take an extra touch, or simply if they had the right understanding and confidence. It can be any or all of these issues.

    Since you’ve mentioned this point, I’ll try and observe the passing out of defence more carefully. Normally I tend to be more interested in how the midfield plays because I feel that’s at the heart of our game.

  23. Sir Tony & Walter,

    The above post from mulder, April 22nd, 2010 at 9:27 pm, was a copy & paste from Kevin Whitcher’s Online Gooner.

    If you don’t mind, I’d just like to copy and paste two responses from Frank @ACLF to that article in return, where it was also referenced:

    Frank on April 22, 2010
    at 4:11 pm

    “If anyone needed proof that Kevin Whitcher is less than supportive of Arsene Wenger then the articles he has up on his site are great examples. The guy has been undermining the club for years.

    Don’t buy the Gooner…don’t provide Online Gooner with hits…and certainly do not buy the book he wrote with the Spud fan.

    This guy makes money out of the club and dises it at every opportunity.

    The clue is in the travel arrangements. The team coach is the ultimate in luxury and is THE Arsenal team coach. Why on a Sunday night would you drive it to a train station when all you have to do is drive down the m/way for two and a bit hours to London Colney.

    Where was this train going to stop…Colney Holt? Oh don’t tell me the train was going to Euston and the team coach was going to drive down to London to meet them off the train to take them to Colney. ”


  24. The usual drivel as Gallas cannot pass a ball ,it,s sideways to Sagna who can,t get past his opposite defender ,then back again to Gallas who passes it across to Vermaelen who is now under pressure as the opposition midfield has pushed up the pitch pinning Arsenal in their own half ,so the ball is now passed back to Almunia who started the whole sequence but now has to boot the ball upfield so losing possession after 5 minutes of sideways ,backpassing courtesy of Gallas and Sagna ,the story of Arsenal,s defensive mishaps this season with Sagna a ball watching expert by now ,caught out against Barcelona(2nd leg) again at Wigan ,i don,t know what certain fans have been watching but it,s obviously a different game to the one i watched?

  25. Samuel – you are right, people are watching a different game than you are. I for one am very glad that I am as well, as it is nice to actually see a football game. You should try it some time.

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