Thank God we didn’t buy another defender

By Walter Broeckx

I will admit it from the start of this article so that there is no misunderstanding about it. One of the things I love most in football is to see a young player making his way in to the first team.

Of course bringing in Alexis and seeing him flourish is great. No, it is magnificent. It is something that makes me happy. Completely happy. Have we ever seen a new signing having such an impact in his first months? He is something special. And the money seems to be well spent on him. I have to look it up but I think that his goal scoring record and assist giving is at an unseen level for a new arrival. So yes I am very, very happy that we spend that money on him. And if Wenger sees another player who can have such an impact I don’t mind at all that we would spend some more money on such players.

But on the other hand seeing a player like Jack Wilshere making it is something else. And it gives a different feeling. Alexis could become an Arsenal legend if he continues as he is doing and if he does a Bergkamp. But a player like Jack Wilshere is Arsenal from his top to bottom. Completely brought up the Arsenal way. Jack will never be Alexis and Alexis will never be Jack.

And then you have someone like Bellerin. He is not a Jack Wilshere of course. He came here when he was 16 from Barcelona. Much to the dislike of Barcelona. And in a way it is a bit amazing to think that a talent like him leaves what is called the best youth education system to move to cold London and come to Arsenal. Of course we have a bit of a reputation thanks to Arsène Wenger by giving young players a chance early in their career and that might have helped a bit. In fact I think it helps for a big part.

But Hector made the choice, a brave choice for a 16 year old lad, to come to Arsenal. Leaving home, leaving your family, leaving Barcelona where he was highly regarded. So I think he has a bit of Arsenal in his heart from the start. Maybe he was a big fan of Henry in his childhood days. Or Bergkamp. Or whoever it might have been but he came to Arsenal and that seems to have been one hell of a deal for  now.

I have been a supporter right from the start. I do admit that when a player comes to Arsenal I go out on the internet and have a bit of a search on him and try to look at some clips.  Or try to get in touch with people who know the player and get their impression on him. And thankfully for the fact that Barcelona has a lot of cameras hanging out even on youth matches I got to see a lot of Bellerin from his early days.

He was an exciting right flank player. Note that I don’t say he was an exciting right back. Because he was more than that. He was amazingly going forward I noticed and covered the whole right flank. A big engine for a not that impressively buildt boy. He looked a bit frail I thought. But once the ball was at his feet he was suddenly changing into an amazing young player. Ball always in control, and very fast. He immediately reminded me of Dani Alves. And I think that at Barcelona they considered him to be the successor of Dani Alves when the latter would become a bit older. Maybe that is why they were so annoyed about Bellerin leaving them to come to Arsenal.

But looking at players on clips is dangerous. However I do tend to look at every video they publish on from the youth matches and so I watched Bellerin grow a bit. And last year I embarked in the early hours when we played Borussia Dortmund in the CL because earlier that day when we won there 0-1 against the youth teams of Dortmund and Arsenal  in the youth league. A few of my friends of Arsenal Belgium joining in to see the Arsenal future.

I wrote an article about it   and this was the first time I really could keep an eye on him. It was in fact mostly for Bellerin that I made the trouble of the early departure. And Bellerin was amazing in that match. Until he had to come off with an injury in the second half. But what I had seen from him on the day confirmed what I thought I had  seen in the short video clips and on the occasions when other clubs showed the U21 matches on their channels: he was some prospect.  Actually one of my friends pointed out Toral as the hottest prospect on that day. I said it was Bellerin. And it seems I was more right than him. Probably just a lucky shot I think.

So I have been saying it for some time that I am a big fan of Bellerin and have very high hopes on him becoming our Dani Alves. On days when people questioned the loan from Jenkinson to WHU I thought to myself: this is to make sure that Bellerin gets his chance. I love Jenkinson a lot. Being a real Gooner and such things.  But football wise the talent of Bellerin is much bigger. And his possibilities to become a world class player are much easier to see.

Of course Bellerin isn’t the finished product. Of course I know all too well that Bellerin has to learn a lot of things yet. But his control, his technical abilities, his speed are amazing weapons. And those weapons will become better the more matches he can play. So I’m not saying he is already there but after his two last matches he has shown he can come back from a bad day at the office and can produce good performances on both flanks!

And seeing such a young lad making the step up to the first team is something that makes me very happy. He is one of ours. Something Alexis will only be when he finishes his career at Arsenal after having broken all the records from Thierry Henry.  But Bellerin is already on of ours. Well he is for me.

And if we had bought another defender we never would have had the chance to see him in the first team yet. But now he has been given the chance and I think he has shown that he will and can be awesome for us in the future. Both in attack and defence. And particularly attacking, as full backs at Arsenal are people who can run their flank. And that is something he seems to be able to do.

On the Arsenal History Site: The man who didn’t demand a monkey when signing

The books

And also…  Untold Dylan – the music, the lyrics, the meaning

64 Replies to “Thank God we didn’t buy another defender”

  1. I really rate the kid as well but that’s the worse case for the defence since Oscar P trial. I have total respect for wenger by the way. Pray he gets it right. A centre back and holding mid and we can challenge anyone. Coyg

  2. Bellerin could be one of the best to come through our youth system for a long time he’s got everything except experience , sadly I dont think it will help Jenkinsons cause with Debouchy in place too but I guess thats football – perhaps Chambers will now be able to move into the centre and provide competition for Kosh and the BFG ?

  3. I really think that Hayden would have been a more than capable stand-in at centre back… had he been fit the last couple of months.

    I have also been reflecting on the fact that oppositions are ceaselessly targeting Sanchez – with hardly any disciplinary repercussions at all. The number of appalling red-card worthy challenges he has been on the end of is a disgrace. Tiote is only the latest. Our other players don’t get treated like this. It is quite remarkable that he hasn’t been seriously injured yet – but one fears it is only a matter of time. It is a disgrace that the PGMO/PL are not showing any interest in protecting players of this rare talent who significantly add to the ‘spectacle’ of the PL.

    As for Bellerin, he is developing very fast. I suspect he might eclipse Chambers soon as understudy to Debuchy. And give it a year or two and Debuchy may start to struggle to hold down his place..?

  4. Yes, Walter, even my Gran (who cleans at the Emirates) knows by now that you have Bellerin in high regard.
    Let’s hope he progresses at the Emirates without the need for a loan-out.

  5. Arsenal played brilliantly on Saturday, let’s not get carried away though. Bellerin was brilliant going forward but at his age the important thing is does he have a good reading of the game defensively ? In that match he wasn’t tested and I would not like to see him lining up against City away, for example. A full back is first and foremost a defender so let’s not build him up as a star already without seeing him seriously tested defensively. Arsenal still need a CB or, preferably, a player that can play at CB or DM.

  6. @Walter my friend Peter a good footballer in his day sang the praises of Bellerin too. He saw him at the ems in competition and said that his courage and speed complemented his ball skills. I also saw him play a few times and loved his confidence with the ball.

    Wenger knows him better than most and uses him in positions to improve his perception of the game. Wenger is master at bringing players on from good to fantastic. He did that with Cesc and only the agent stopped him returning to Arsenal. There are many more gems in our youth team. They will all be polished & sparkle when needed.

    Just imagine Hector, Theo, Santi, Alexis, Aaron, Olivier, Kieran going forward like a pod of Killer whales…….. I can’t wait.

  7. Looking forward to our right side with Bellerin and Walcott – how many teams will dare to push forward their left (wing)back? Oh, and top that off with Alexis and Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as Welbeck…

  8. Not forgetting Yaya, Danny, Alex, Thomas & Abu Diaby following in or passing through… It will be a nightmare for PGMO who do we book and who do we send off. Where is that central defender will be the cry from the AAAA. It will happen. We will get our squad off the sick beds & playing together.

  9. First time I read something that you wrote Walter, and just out of respect and your amazing past contribution to Untold (he he he…like Wenger) I will not say what’s really on my mind and just say that it completley lacks any basis. Sorry.

    It could be argued that we did not need to sign a defender in the beginning of the season, because we have Per, Kos, Gibbo, Chambo, Debush. That’s 5. And with Bellerin it’s 6. And according to Wenger, we need at least 6 defenders. However, your piece does not look at reality in retrospect – your contention (if I understand it) is that not signing an extra defender was the correct decision IN REAL TIME because otherwise we would have “missed out” on Bellerin.

    Again I need to apologize out of respect but that’s absurd. An ongoing injury to Kos, Debuchy’s ankle, the fact that we did not intend to use Chambo so much but rather to easily let him in (together with Bellerin) – and the fact that we were FORCED to use them – are all indicators that in retrospect the correct decision WAS to sign an extra defender.

    In addition, signing an extra defender is absolutely not what would have prevented Bellerin from playing – but instead of being forced to do so, Arsene would have done it under his own terms. So it would not have meant we would have not seen him play this season.

    And I’m writing this after choosing Bellerin as my Motm against the Magpies. He was immense, and I think he will be great for us. But again, to get to the conclusion that it was the correct decision – 100% no.

    As for another contention you made – Jack exciting more than Alexis; or home players exciting more than ready made stars; I really don’t agree with that either but that’s a matter of perspective. I love all of our players the same – when they wear our colors with pride, they earn my love and support. I don’t care where they came from or who they played for before.

  10. My friend is an assessor of fitness at Watford football club and he described bellerin as technically the best player at Watford when he was on loan there
    He loved him and didn’t stop raving about him, he has a very bright future ahead of him

  11. @ Nicky – you keep telling stories about your gran. She must be what, 150 years old ? 😀

  12. wheres Montreal, adding him in means that with have the 6 that Arsene said we need.

    Chambers is our backup CB/RB, with injury(which can happen to any team) the back up will have to play, isn’t that… Logical…? How’s is that a problem? Furthermore, chambers have performed remarkably well, with occasional mistake.

    What Walters want to point out is the fact that he is glad that bellerin got to play (: not so much on the fact that we failed to get another CB (: just saying~

  13. Blackfoox, you got the point that was hidden in the somewhat controversial headline 😉
    If we would have bought another defender then Bellerin would have seen little time to play. And who knows..he might have been off in the not so distance future. But now as he has been given a chance and took it rather well he will want to stay. That is until his head is turned crazy by some agent of course…. 🙁

  14. Inspiring article, Walter. Good to have reports from people who follow our young players. They’re recruited to Arsenal for a reason.

    This is the trouble with the media approach that seems to rub off on some Arsenal fans. The lazy journalists just look round a few world teams with some already established great players and suggest them for Arsenal. At the same time now and again they bemoan the fact that Premier league clubs don’t pay enough attention to their academies. This is an irrational and contradictory attitude.

    For Match of the Day Bellerin was a fantastic surprise. But Arsene knew.

  15. @Tommie Gun,
    She won’t admit to her age except to say
    that when she started work as a domestic, table legs were always in draped in cloth, because, uncovered, they looked similar to ladies’ legs…. which mustn’t be on view.

  16. Still think we are short in the centre with the Kos issues, Per risking over playing, and in central MF unless they can sort out Arteta sharpish, or if wenger trusts Le Coq to do a job in support of Flam.
    Or could Ox be the CM we are looking for? though there are worrying sroties that he is injured as well.
    But back to Bellerin, a magnificent performance. Also saw him at the Ems cup and was very very impressed. there will be opportunities to rotate him in with Debuchy, and indeed Chambers who may be covering 2…or 3 positions eventually? Maybe, injuries permitting, Debuchy up against the big boys, or situations whereby experience is needed, and Bellerin when we can afford to be more attacking as he develops his game. Hope this youngster has a great career with us.

  17. its about to start, just awaiting confirmation that we will have drawn Bayern, Real or Barca…..probably Bayern

  18. If we have the majority of our first team fit (if, if…) then we can go a long way in the CL.

    Just pretend that one day we will be able to watch a starting line up of:

    Szcz, Debuchy, Mert, Kos, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud, Walcott.

    With: Chambers, Ox, Jack, Santi, Danny, Ospina et al on the bench.

    Wow! What a team…

  19. Great draw. Although the AAA are not happy and predicting it’s pointless as we’ll lose the next round. Unbelievable way to support your club. No mention of the fact that come February we will have players returning. In fact, it appears they are disappointed we didn’t get Barca or RM.

    Quick browse of that other blog, oh My god was I laughing. That egotist who writes LG is so arrogant and deluded. They seem unable to celebrate any wins. Apparently we beat Newcastle because they had loads of injuries! I kid you not. Yet the same bloke refuses Wenger any injuriy excuses! Hypocrit. This is the problem with the AAA they are totally incapable of accepting any good result is because of Wagner. To them, it’s in spite of him. They will never accept being wrong.

    The other thing that amazes me is how someone can claim that marketing principles (learned from a recent book apparently) should be applied to our football tactics. Incredible and people actually accept this rubbish. The idiot says that the money spent by the oil clubs is irrelevant and no excuse, we should apply strong marketing principles to get an advantage! Apparently in the battle between Samsom and Goliath, it was Goliath who was at a disadvantage! I give up. I really do. These people are complete lunatics. They genuinely believe they known best and are just making stuff up to poor negativity on our club.

  20. Bellerin an awesome prospect. But I think Jenko is a good prospect too. I think Jenko was one of the best crosser of the ball. And with Giroud and Danny, we have a strikers with ability to get on the end if it.

    I believe Jenko was sent on loan to learn the art of defending, mainly defensive positioning and timing. We’ll have a good competition for place there though.

  21. A tremendous prospect with unlimited potential

    Thanks to Arsene Wenger for his reputation of developing young players.

    What a wonderfully competent and highly focused manager we have.

  22. Proudkev – I had a sneak at the weekend and feel like I soiled myself. Laughing at the idiots!

    I just want what is best for the club in the long term. But I am also a realist and am patient. The best thing for the club in the long term was to build the stadium, the best thing for the club in the long term was (and is) to keep Wenger as long as possible – as the best chance of keeping us in the lucrative CL.

    I have to be honest and – with hindsight bias – state that Wenger has wildly exceeded my expectations in terms of anchoring the long term health of this club. Look at the players we are seeing play for Arsenal now! Multi-participants in last two World Cup Finals! All seems to be taken for granted.

    The malcontents seem to lack even the most basic understanding of economics and finance…

  23. @ Blackfoox – no problem with that, I’m very excited Bellerin is getting playing time ! Just that the headline and the article were not exactly there…

    @ Pete – when pigs fly we’ll have our full squad. With our luck…

    [and then we get MONACO at the CL draw and all of the sudden I am starting to think that MAYBE our luck is starting to change a bit…]

    Like my gran (who died at the venerable age of 102 this year, god bless her) used to say [I don’t know how to say it in German, but it is supposedly in the region of] – > It’s better to have a centimeter of luck, than a kilometer of brains.

  24. Pete. I think most fans understand the reasons for the stadium move and the financial restrictions that were put in place. However, we have a tiny minority, most of whom I suspect are from a certain demographic, who either don’t understand this or want to ignore it.

    We have started to see big signings arrive. Our net spend last couple of years has taken us from almost zero net spend to £50m. That is because of great financial management and the ability of the manager to get us into the champions league. This is where the idiots go wrong. They talk about ‘4th place trophy’ but don’t realise what woudl have happened had we missed out.

    When you look at the teams winning the CL, they all have the most money. It isn’t brain surgery. To criticise Wenger when since 2007 he’s been on an uneven playing field is bonkers.

    Drawing Monaco gives us the chance to lay down a marker. With the players we have coming back, the squad will be far superior to what it is now. maybe an addition in January too. I have a funny feeling about this season. I would not be surprised to see us go on a very strong run and prove a lot of the doubters wrong. If we were to get to the final or win the Champions League, I would love it. That really would shut up a lot of teh idiots. However, I suspect if that happens it will due to the other teams failures and nothing to do with Wenger. Pound for pound, Arsene Wenger is the greatest manager out there. Ihe has proved it before and I hope he proves it again. That will send a message to the morons who write negativity garbage, every day, and encourage anti-Wenger sentiments, while reading Marketing books.

  25. Walter a good post, to parts of which I agree. Bellerin is a superb prospect and potentially a player of real class, but just now he has a lot to learn.

    The person who would have kept him out of the first team this season was Jenkinson – until he was loaned to West Ham. I do hope Jenks is not discarded by the club.

    Where I would take issue with the wording of the title is that we seem short of central defenders – ok Monreal and Debuchy have played well in that role, but against the bigger teams we would be safer with more height in the center for set pieces.

    @Pete – great post, fully agree. It is a while since I have looked at Le Groan, but have always found their posts intellectually underwhelming, never mind distorted by hate and full of foul mouthed metaphors!

  26. Hector did not come to Arsenal because he loves us, he came here with a the sole intension so that he can get 1st team football and that’s not possible with Barca. Now, this is in no way disrectful to our club, but actually a compliment as youngesters choose us over other clubs, as they can learn under AW. But the problem i see is that once they establish themselves they will move, that’s provided we don’t win trophies.
    Hector is a more dynamic player compaired with Jens. I think Jens is more solid and suited to the middle? a future Calum and Jens partnership?

  27. Many Very intersting comments. As in our side of the world, the famous saying goes… a successful king is groomed is once a educated prince.

    Many English speaking fans kept saying we lack defenders , defensive midfielders , striker and goalkeeper. Then why do arsenal invested into a youth academy then we sold N Analka for 23.5milliom.

    If you are asking for more established covers for positions .. You are contradicting yourself unless you disagree with arsenal youth policy ;

    There is no lack of arsenal fan globally. Go and support Chelsea; you failed the marshmallow test.

  28. Eye catching article there Walter on Bellerin.

    Some may argue your points out but I think young players (Bellerin inclusive) see better chances of breaking into the first team at Arsenal than anywhere else.

    It is AW’s philosophy of football to give opportunity to young players to develop. I have argued it before that the reason AW didn’t buy some advertised established players is to enable the young players develop.

    Cesc is the player he is today largely because AW gave him the chance to excel by believing in him.

    OT: Is AW a prophet? Why did he invite Monaco at the last Emirates Cup?

    AKB and IAWT!

  29. Gouresh,

    You do not talk sense unless you are saying Barca has a not-so-good youth training system than Arsenal. Hecoir comes here to improve his chance to be spotted. Hector is already a star in their system, why does he need move to arsenal?

    I don’t know how to agree with you .

  30. Agree Walter, the youth always gets chances by Arsenal and AW. I was glad to see Bellerin play so well, not fazed and recovering from mistakes.
    Before the CL draw, i had a vision that we will go far in CL this year, now getting Monaco, i think/hope my vision is coming true. I know it seems unrealistic, but hey this is football, and many other factors come in to play.
    In case we haven’t noticed, AW is trying to keep his players rested as much as possible, as the xmas crazy period is upon us.
    After Xmas i fully expect things to look even more rosy for Arsenal and i would not be surprised to see us top or near top(hope chel$ gets injuries now and bombs out, a little like us last season).

  31. Pete

    December 15, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I am waiting to see our first team play together consistently and let see how many teams can cope with our firepower and solidity.

    Bring it on ARSENAL! Exciting days lie ahead.

  32. I’ve to admit the first time I ever heard of Bellerin was from Walter commenting about him here. And boy, what an amazing prospect he is. I fully agree giving him a chance this season was the best thing the manager did. Imagine if he’d got impatient, which isn’t unusual if a player is aware of his talent, and also there are vultures that will always be sniffing around. We could never live it down, seeing him grow into one of the best right backs in the world at some club knowing he’d been on our books earlier.

  33. Just to add, the media still use the trial offered to ibrahimovic as a stick to beat Wenger with, so imagine if he’d let Bellerin go….. only for him to become a superstar at bayern three years from now.

  34. Bellerin and Hayden could become future first choice players. Interesting about Maitland Niles who is a fiorward but Wenger seems to fancy in the middle. We have some very good young players, irrespective of what others say. It is the way to go and Wenger will give them a chance.

  35. I get where you’re coming from here Walter, and watching talented kids develop can be fun. That said, I think it’s fairly obvious that Arsenal would be in a far better position in the league at the moment if they had better players available right now.

    At the start of this season, Arsenal’s squad was built to compete. Kos, Per, Debuchy, Nacho, Arteta, Giroud, Santi…all guys who (likely) have a pretty limited amount of time left in their top-level careers. It is what it is at this point, but it was clearly not in the best interests of being competitive in the short term, which has to be taken into account occasionally.

  36. I indeed twitted that the boss should sub Bellerin at 1/2 time as I thought he was playing to the gallery. But he later proved me wrong as he even assisted in scoring one of our 4 goal. And he didn’t relent in his assaults down the right flank to keep Newcastle defending busy and consequently limit the Magipies raids at our goal. This is a case of a developing Gunner making his availed opportunity count. I hope not yet given a chance at CB will also make his chance count when he is eventual given the chance to prove his worth. Monaco? Is a walk over game for the Gunners. Let’s not preoccupy our thoughts with CL games for now. But focus on overcoming Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday. That’d the game I ‘m focusing how I will plot a towering graph that will thwaf the one Brendan Rodgers will plot against the Gunners. I ‘ll wait until the boss gives the update of the Gunners in his News Conference before I will plot a winning Gunners graph for our must win Anfield game.


    ‘Scuse the slight tangent but I think those “Keane Out” idiots who so impressed the rest of the football world (not really) will need to dust off those banners and warm up the vocal chords. I note the vegan poultry farmers still own the club (I think) still own the club, so that path worked out well for them.

    Not a look I’d recommend. And judging by the reaction of many many people at the New Arsenal Stadium, whatever they think, fair to conclude they gave the strong impression that they feel the same way.

    No wonder Tottenham fan, former player and PL manager John Gregory recently said:

    “AFC represent the best in English Football”

    But then most, as in most, Arsenal supporters already knew that. Which is why you heard what you heard on Saturday. Simples.

  38. @Far East Gooner: i am not saying that Barca does not have a good training set-up, in fact they have a very good one. The downside of that is that youth may have to wait their turn for the 1st team, it they ever get a chance. the option is to move and the best bet [if you are good] is us, because you have a very very good chance of playing in the 1st team. if i was in Hector’s shoes, i would do exactly that. Cesc is another example.
    what is attractive for a boy to leave his home, family, lovely weather, food? British food? weather? i think not.

  39. Proudkev
    Wasn’t Samson the dude with the long hair betraid by Delilah ( bitch!), and Goliath the giant defeated by scronny David ?

    Anyways , why would you go and read a blogger who’s mission in life is to force a managerial change at Arsenal. Isn’t his vested and only interest for our club to fail badly enough for that change to happen?

    I used to read Jayramfootball posts on here until it became obvious he was actively advocating and ruting for Arsenal to lose on another site , and now I skip right over his posts.

  40. And to expand on my last comment a bit, Bellerin really isn’t, and never has been a part of the squad construction issue at Arsenal. He was essentially the 5th option at fullback when the season kicked off. That’s perfectly acceptable.

    The issue is, and always was, at center back. Wenger started the season with two senior center backs in the squad, one of which was already dealing with an achilles injury. After selling Vermaelen, Chambers appears to be the primary backup, even though he’s not played that position in senior football yet. The other options are a left back and a right back, both of whom started their careers as forwards. SOme sort of cover was needed, even if it was simply an aging center back that offered little more than experience playing the position. Nothing to be done about it now, but it really needs to be rectified in January.

  41. @Tom

    Proudkev can answer your question in his own way, but I would like to respond to your post.

    There is a conflict between giving an obnoxious site additional hits by opening it and keeping up to date with its malevolent schemes.

    So, most of the time I ignore Le Groan, but now and again I find it useful to see what they are up to – NB there are links between some of the users of that site, the anti-Arsenal section of the fan base and certain elements of the media.

    For the same reason, certain members of UA frequently come to UA – but do not always comment!

  42. Bjtgooner

    I take your point about some members/ readers of UA not participating in commenting ,but not so much the former point. And if in fact the guy who runs Le Grove was voicing his disappointment with ,what I would consider the best possible outcome of the CL draw, then he is a complete tool and just proved my original point I was making to Proudkev.

  43. Monaco are not to be underestimated, they have some good players, but that went a lot better than I thought it was going to!

  44. Nice post from Walter.

    Debuchy is 29years old and approaching the time when AFC offers one year contracts. I presume that Wenger’s plan is to provide 2 good quality RB that would eventually take over the from Debuchy hence the developmental loan for Jenkinson and the gradual exposure of Bellerin. It would appear that the future of RB is being settled by Arsene. I would think that Bellerin might go on loan next season while Jenkinson provides a backup to Debuchy. By the time Debuchy retires, 2 good RB would have been developed to take over from him.

  45. I agree WA. That’s what I’ve thought elsewhere. Jenks to stay next season with hector probably on loan. Could be wrong. But it seems like a plan to me! Whisper it though, don’t want to be upsetting any Experts…

  46. Another slight tangent, but as Untold have tried to support grassroots football with their series of articles over the years on coaches, funding, and the FA etc. I’m sure no one will mind:

    Thanks again to Tony and everyone for supporting grass roots football in public, for articulating and propagating what many volunteers and coaches have had to say, their expertise and thoughts, when so many do not! Least of all the FA, Greg Dyke or the 24/7 football hack-dwarves.

    Anyone else intrigued by the complete lack of coverage Niles had on debut this week. Compared to others. I mention no petro-clubs *coughs*, no need! I’m not complaining, less hype is good for the player. In the spirit of balance it’s possible to think that AFC shouldn’t have missed out on Sterling and Clyne but it happens (BBB weren’t happy at losing Bellerin!)and with Jonker etc. coming in there have been changes to that side of things, not that I’d know what they are… 🙂

  47. Nice article, Walter.

    Now when you compared Jenko and Bellerin… I think two of them might be a good example of what is wrong with English football and why Spanish football has been so dominant in the last decade in pretty much all categories.

    Jenko literally learned to play football at Arsenal. He wasn’t that young but the fact he was too raw at the beginning was visible with a naked eye. Lucky for him that he came to the club where he can learn his trade. That’s why my West Ham pal is so thrilled to have a real full-back in the squad. Well, until we get him back.

    Bellerin, on the other hand, learned to play football in Spain and came to Arsenal (perhaps he was fan of Cesc Fabregas?) to build up on what he had learned in Barcelona.

    The thing is, Jenko and Bellerin come from two different worlds: one that has really poor coach-per-players ratio and the other one that stresses out thinking on the pitch, passing and technique from the very beginning. In a way, whatever Jenko makes during his career, it’s over-achieving. Both players are the future of Arsenal – who knows, maybe we’ll watch Jenko covering Bellerin’s back while the Spaniard marauds forward as a winger. 🙂

  48. Great post Josif
    I like to imagine that as the two of them shoot it out to be Debuchy’s eventual heir (Plan, eh? What plan! Stop dithering!) that maybe Jenks will evolve into a RB who can also play at CB? I have no idea why but it was during the 3-5 at the Fulham Bus Stop that I thought or guessed that he might one day be able to play CB. Though Debuchy looks like he might have decided he wants to make that move for himelf in a couple of seasons’ time, heh. We shall see.

  49. Tom. I am a bit of an Arsenal nut and therefore I view several Internet sites regarding the club I love. Every now and then I view LG, never post because they are the opposite to what I believe and I would just be abused. I know the idiot that writes it and know he is not actually blogging because he loves Arsenal but because he is ambitious. H

    However, reading that blog every now and then does help provide me with an understanding of how these guys are wired. it is good to view that blog after a good result. it is quite something how they go out of their way to discredit Wenger. And that proves everything we say on here. Those guys care less about the club than their agenda to remove Wenger. They are not supporters, they are everything I loathe about modern fans, self iobsessed, abusive and typical of the ‘buying success’ culture.

    But at the end of the day, I will view whatever I want. I choose to post here because this community closely reflects my own views. I consider Untolld members as proper fans who appreciate the history and progress the club has made. This site contains real supporters who care passionately about the club and its employees.

  50. Thanks for the link Gord. Looks like no retrospective action against tiote, as with Charlie Adams choke hold on Sanchez. Would be very different if say Jack Wilshere had committed one of those fouls.
    Is it me, or are we starting to see more and more criticism of these refs in the mainstream press?
    And what does cahill have to do to get sent off? Is Jose the new fergie?

  51. Thanks Finsbury, just signed the petition, a very worthy cause, the powers that be should be doing much more on this front, instead of just milking the game at elite level.

  52. You’re welcome Mandy. I am regularly looking for referee news these days. I would say there is slightly more now, than say at the beginning of the season.

  53. Yes Bellerin is promising, but let’s try not to get carried away. He made a few defensive mistakes against Newcastle, and was below par against Stoke, although you can’t be too hard on him in a game like that. He still has quite a bit to learn defensively.

    Maybe if we get more players back we could see four Arsenal fullbacks on the field to protect a lead..aaahhh the good old times…One Nil to The Arsenal…:D

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