Arsenal reserves on the brink of holding their own, ladies sadness, Luton disgrace, BBC petulance


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We’ve been without players like Fabregas, Almunia, Gallas, Vermaelen, Arshavin, Ramsey, Rosicky etc so much this season that it seems normal that we play without them.  Take out Song and Clichy as well, and it suddenly becomes apparent that what we see as Arsenal these days is nothing but Arsenal reserves with a few guest appearances from first teamers.

But now we know – after three seasons of trying, the reserve team can almost hold their own in the middle of the EPL, but not quite.

Just in case it is forgotten, the team included

One of our first choice back five (Sagna)

Two of our first choice middle three (Diaby, Nasri – although that doesn’t really reflect how unbalanced the middle three was because of the unavailability of players)

Two of our first choice forwards (Van Persie and Theo)

Yet despite that we were not too far off.  With two or three new players promised next season and three or four coming through from the ranks, it looks as if we might finally have an answer to the eternal injury crisis.

Of course much depends on the view you take as to why the injuries are as they are.   I’ve suggested before it could be

  • Just random
  • That the players are younger than the average age even five years ago
  • That the endless fouling tactics are now much worse than five years ago
  • That the speed of the game makes the injuries worse
  • That the media endlessly encourage kicking teams like Blackburn to kick us even more.

Who knows – but the fact is that continuing faith in the fandomness theory would be a gamble, and so a move to counteract the problem by increasing the squad even further is the only way forward.

This is made even more difficult by the new 25 rule, and is something that will be beyond many teams, and the fact that we are almost there is extraordinary.

I’m not sure we’ll have enough even with the extra six players for next season to hold our own against some of the top clubs when we put our reserve team out, but we should be able to see our way through against most teams, and that is what we need.

It was sad to see the reserves lose, and sad to see the ladies lose the cup final too in extra time.  Even worse for me, the local Northamptonshire team that I watch when there is nothing else doing on the football front (Rushden and Diamonds) got knocked out of the play offs for a league spot which they lost a few years back when the sponsor pulled out.

It was a sad day for the media too.  The BBC in a fit of petulance at not getting the ladies cup final refused even to put the score on their teletext service, while today the Guardian on line doesn’t even mention what Luton fans got up to (unless I missed it.)  The Independent covered the events including a wonderful quote from the Luton chairman that “One or two of our fans let us down.”

In case you didn’t see it something like 500 Luton fans ran onto the pitch after the game and attacked the York players with cans and bottles.  The York players had to run to the back of the stands, and then run the gauntlet of missiles to get out, while the stewards proved themselves utterly inept at even moving the Luton supporters back up the pitch.

As for the rampaging Arsenal supporters who are calling for Wenger’s head because the reserves are having a bad run, just nominate which manager you would have brought in, (a manager who might well have taken the job), and then explain how he would have a) foreseen the injury situation, and b) overcome it, and c) kept the players he brought in happy in the earlier part of the season when there were fewer injuries.    Such an approach of course means not selling any players, so if you have said we should have sold them, that would have left us with the youth team to put out yesterday, and you are disqualified.   Actually it would have been interesting to put the youth team out instead of the reserves, but I doubt we would have won.

On the other hand it was good to see Djourou and Gibbs on the bench.

Tony Attwood

Back to the future and enter the world of fulfillment and ultimate peace

Go back 100 years, miss a turn and do not pass go

Eat more chips

40 Replies to “Arsenal reserves on the brink of holding their own, ladies sadness, Luton disgrace, BBC petulance”

  1. Players out for the Blackburn game:

    Djourou Gallas Vermaelen Clichy
    Cesc Denilson Song
    Rosicky Bendtner Ramsey

    Reserve: Ramsey

    I even couldn’t get them all on the field and had to dissapoint some players and make Ramsey a reserve of our injury team.

    But just look at that team. 12 players out. It is ridiculous such an amount of players out.

    In fact we have a first team= the on on the field
    We have a reserve team= in fact the youth team
    We have a complete team on loan

    And we have our injury team= half of our players in fact

    I think we win the injury leage with some miles ahead of the rest

  2. Hi Tony,
    First and foremost, stop calling this the reserve team. Cuz according to Wenger, all the players on show were world-class. Fabianski is a world class keeper. Theo can be as good as Messi. Vela is Robbie Fowler. Diaby is an awesome powerful box-to-box player. And we ofcuz had Sol and VanPersie on the pitch against whom I have no personal complaints. U cant really call that a Reserve Squad. They’re first choice replacements to the 1st team and so should be atleast close to the 1st team. So given the above squad, we shud’ve clearly won, if not easily, then atleast by the odd goal.
    Now moving on to the coach replacement, I dont know who we can bring in but thats beside the point isnt it? The fact is, at Centre Back, we could have easily foreseen this injury situation as soon as Djourou got injured, especially given that Gallas has become injured towards the end of the season for the last 2-3 years. Instead on havin to rely on Sol (who cant play twice in a week even tho he’s been awesome) and Silvestre (who is a joke), we could have had another defender in the summer. Especially as Gallas is in the final year of his contract. How we could have foreseen other injuries? Cuz we always get them. Van Persie, Diaby, Eduardo and Theo are all crocks. They have been for the last few years. Any big surprises there? The unforeseeable one would be Fab4 I guess. Nasri got his leg broken by diaby which quite frankly is stupid. And given the injury to Persie, Arshavin had to play match after match with stitches so somethin had to give there. There’s your foreseeing the injuries.
    How to have overcome it? When we sold Adebayor, we could have bought a striker to replace him. And a defender when Djourou got injured (given the gallas situation as well).
    And mebbe get in some world-class defensive midfield talent to give competition to Song. And dont say Denilson is there cuz no matter what stats you show me, it cant explain his inept performances, this running slower than the referee and leavin Rooney unmarked when he scored that 2nd goal on the counter at the emirates, come to mind.
    Finally, the goal keeping situation. I dont think I need to talk bout it. Neither of our keepers are world-class and at a club of the stature of Arsenal which SHOULD be competing for all 4 trophies, thats ot acceptable.
    Now, I’ve done my bit and I’m acually looking forward to your answers. Also, remember that I’m an Arsenal Fan too and so are many of those calling for Wenger’s head (Even though I’m not. I think this summer with more money available to him, things might change.). So do give me some constructive arguments to refute any of what I’ve said above.

  3. Morning Tony
    It has been a depressing end of the season and the team has dropped considerably since the Barca defeat. What makes it worse as it has brought out the Wenger haters, even on this site. It seems that there is a breed of Arsenal fan that revel in our low times so they can vent their bile.
    So is it all doom and gloom as the anti brigade suggest?
    It may feel like it at the moment but I believe that the Emirates hangover is about to end.
    It was of vital importance for the club’s future (and possible survival) that the transfer policy was carefully managed during the building and initial years at the stadium. This became even more important when the Highbury flat sales stalled. If we had started splashing out £35m on a player plus £25m wages, this would could have been financial suicide.
    But never forget the reason we moved home was to generate MORE money for the best players. Now we are settled in and the debts are falling, the time that we can start investing is close – possibly even this summer.
    There were some ridiculous accusations against us ‘fanboys’ on the site yesterday. The most ridiculous is that we have no ambition. Wenger is the most ambitious manager I have ever seen. The good managers aim to build a great side. The greatest aim to build a club.
    The revenue from the Emirates will enable us to compete with Madrid , United and Barca for generations to come. Some are just to blinkered to see what is happening at this club,

  4. We have had the “Fabianski is a world class keeper” quote here over and over and over again. I have searched the internet and can find no record of Wenger having said that. I have asked on this site for someone to send me the source of the quote, and no one has.

    The other comments about the players fall into the same category, or are amendments of what was actually said with just one or two bits put in that are true quotes, to make it all look valid.

    This is in fact where we are: with people so desperate to get Wenger out in order to follow their own agenda they are making up quotes that Wenger was supposed to have said, and then saying, “there, that proves he is an idiot.”

    It’s a bit sad really.

  5. Well said mate. You could also add that both the goals would have been blown for fouls in ANY other league in the world. I am afraid that the English league (and officials) is as bent as the English banking system.

  6. Aditya, we could call my injury team the reserves ? That would be a nice reserve team I think.

    I think one of the biggest things this season was the injury from Bendtner. He was going fine before his injury and until now he never was injury prone. The fact we lost RVP and Bendtner in a few weeks without the chance of replacing them cost us in the end. In the januari window Bendtner was almost back and I think it was fair to wait for his return and I think he has done a good job after his return for us.

    Also if you look at RVP now you can clearly see that he needs more games to come back to his best. That is a normal thing as every player that has been out for so long needs time to come back to his best.

  7. Ian — Spot on. AW is the most ambitious manager ever, and he has put Arsenal on the path of success for years to come.

    The criticisms against him are stupid. Especially the recent ones about him being blind towards our teams weaknesses.

    1. With all the injuries, what choice does Wenger have with the team selection? He plays Fabianski because he can’t play Almunia, and he wants Fab to recover his confidence…he plays Silvestre because he has no other centre-backs…Clichy, Song, and Bendtner all had injuries…

    2. He will NEVER publicly humiliate a player after a bad performance. And he will NEVER tell the public how much money he actually has to spend, nor what players he has identified.

    Why? Because it harms player confidence, hurts team morale, inflates prices, gives opponents insights, etc.

    Give the man a break. There will be changes made in the summer, don’t you worry.

  8. Walter, u can call neither team the reserve. They’re all part of the 1st team. Some are in the starting XI and others are 1st choice. When we should be competing for all four trophies, every player in the now 25 squad has to be quality. Sure there will be some exceptional players n the others will be very good players. But thats it, there is no place for other players in there except 2-3 very promising youngsters. We cant carry any freeloaders or OK players in there.
    Tony, Wenger said Fabianski is a top-class keeper. Which while subjective has still got to be right up there with world-class as an adjective. Check the site for walcott/messi, diaby has power/ Vela is like Fowler quotes. Its there.
    Its not about Wenger being an idiot, I love that man. But he’s making mistakes and its costing us. I understand the financial restrictions and I feel proud of the youth policy and structure in place. I know it needs time as well. But thats the academy aspect of it. Till our factory is churning out players like Barca, we need to get experienced players in our 1st team. We need to develop the winning habit, start with some trophy, get the team into a final n learn how to win it.
    Playing alongside world-class players is a learning which a lot of our youngsters are missing now. VanP had DB10. Fab4 must’ve learnt from Vieira. Clichy from Cole. These youngsters have other youngsters to learn from. Those who havent won anything yet. That shows.
    Truth is, any big match we played this season, we lost. Twice to Chelsea, twice to united, barca were better than us in both the matches, away to both city and tots. Thats our record against the top 5 and europe’s real elite. Doesnt make a pretty reading. we have won 1 match outta the 10 we’ve played against this opposition. Cant be put down to just injuries and coincidence, can it. There is something wrong and quite frankly, only the manager and the players are to blame. Noone else.
    Finally, I think I read somewhere that while Wenger is the most successful manager in our history in his first 9 years, he may well be our most unsuccessful in his last five. No manager has gone 5 years without winning anything. Not really sure bout this stat but it’s worth looking at.

  9. Personally I don’t go with this “winning is everything” view.

    Let us suppose there was this choice: 2 years ago we could have won the League Cup or got into the top 4. The “winning is everything” vision would say, “League cup”. Personally I would not. I would go for continuing our presence in the Champs League.

    Same with the FA Cup.

    What has happened is that the anti-Wenger brigade have taken over the agenda (which they copied from the national press) and taken that as a truth. It is not.

    They are chosing to say winning league or cup is everything, but they are excluding, Champs League appearances, winning the reserve league, winning the youth league.

    but if that is how you want to take it, I think our most unsuccessful manager measured in this way was Herbert Chapman.

  10. It took the great H. Chapman 5 years to win his first trophee and at that time Arsenal was known as the club that broke records in transfer money. And he won the FA cup that year. Before that we were some 40 years showing just empty hands.
    So it’s not that big of a deal in our history.

    Also between 1953 up to 1970 we won nothing at all.

    From 1971 to 1989 we won 1 cup in 1979, in that year in february I became a fan of The Arsenal, and that was it. Nothing for the rest.

    I had to wait 10 years between our first prize and our second prize. And in those days I was young and restless one could say. So why should I worry…

  11. As for the rampaging Arsenal supporters who are calling for Wenger’s head because the reserves are having a bad run, just nominate which manager you would have brought in, (a manager who might well have taken the job), and then explain how he would have a) foreseen the injury situation, and b) overcome it, and c) kept the players he brought in happy in the earlier part of the season when there were fewer injuries. Such an approach of course means not selling any players, so if you have said we should have sold them, that would have left us with the youth team to put out yesterday, and you are disqualified. Actually it would have been interesting to put the youth team out instead of the reserves, but I doubt we would have won.

    I don’t know about managers, Tony, but as for the rest of your post:

    a) by looking at past history: Gallas gets a soft-tissue injury towards the end of every season, van Persie has never completed a full season with us, Song would be out for the ANC in January, Eduardo and Diaby have been getting niggling injuries since their major injuries a few years ago, Walcott has shoulder problems, Nasri had a broken leg in the summer, Djourou had a season-ending injury in the summer.

    b) by reviewing the medical team at Arsenal.

    Firstly, by looking at the cause of so many soft-tissue injuries, whether it’s a case of improper conditioning (i.e. our players’ muscles are fatigued by training and matches because they haven’t had a good enough pre-season fitness base), a case of improper fitness maintenance (training too hard aerobically between matches, improper pre and post training/match warmups), or a case of pushing players too hard during a season (a thin squad necessitates a star player plays more than is safe, and he gets pushed past his physiological breaking point).

    Secondly, by looking at injury management protocol. Who are our medical consultants, and are they doing their job properly? van Persie got his ankle snapped in an international friendly, and he spent a month with a misdiagnosed injury. He went to Belgrade to get quackery, when he really needed surgery. Gallas was allowed to nominate himself fit for the Barcelona quarter-final, despite coming off a long lay-off from a hamstring strain, without match-fitness (only thing he did was jog up and down some stairs in Paris), with a history of recurring soft-tissue injuries. Fabregas was allowed to play after a bruised bone, and snapped his leg the next game afterwards. Diaby and Eduardo are still getting injuries that are based on little match-fitness, despite the fact that their injuries happened a couple of years ago.

    c) It’s called competition, Tony. You don’t need to keep players like Denilson and Diaby happy if they’re complacent and not giving their best. You need to give them a prod by introducing players who will compete for those positions. Look at the dismal efforts of our players in the last few games. They don’t care because they don’t feel like their places are threatened.

    Anyway, in the positions we’re talking about (defensive midfield, centre-back, striker) we’ve been short:

    1. In a 4-3-3, we’ve only got van Persie and Bendtner as potentials for the lone-striker role. Eduardo, Walcott, Arshavin… no.

    2. In defensive midfield, we’ve only got one Song. And he was at the ANC. Song plays an important role because both our centre-backs run forward. Song has to sit back and slot into the back line to cover for them. There is no one else of suitable age to play that role. Diaby doesn’t have the tactical discipline for the holding midfield role. Denilson doesn’t have the physique or the work-rate.

    3. At centre-back, I was told that Djourou was injured two days before the transfer window closed. Fair enough, not enough time to get a replacement. But it left us with a centre four of Vermaelen, Gallas, Senderos, Silvestre. Wenger never trusted Senderos, and no one trusts Silvestre. It left us with six months to find a decent replacement back-up for Vermaelen and Gallas, because who would expect them both to play 60 games injury-free and at peak form? We ended up letting Senderos go out on loan, and bringing Campbell in on a free.

    Anyway, you said yourself that Wenger should bring in players to cope with the injury list. What do you think will happen when we’ve got three or four kids competing for each position? They can’t all be guaranteed to play every game. So what’s going to keep them happy? Once you’ve answered that question, just think what’s the difference between introducing that this season, and introducing it during the next one.

  12. Your positive spin on the club, players, and manager is appreciated. As a fan, can’t wait to put this season past me.

  13. Tony,

    Even though I am a big admirer of Wenger, I don’t have a blind faith in him.

    I am not talking about wholesage changes to the squad here. Just can’t understand why Wenger didn’t get another GK when clearly Almunia and Flapianski have been consistently below par? Why sign two pensioners as CB instead of looking for a tall solid young defender that a club the size of Arsenal deserves!

    Its just his ego which is coming in the way of the team going from also-rans to winners!

  14. Aditya, Interesting stat which may well be true : “Wenger is the most successful manager in our history in his first 9 years, he may well be our most unsuccessful in his last five. No manager has gone 5 years without winning anything. Not really sure bout this stat but it’s worth looking at.”
    However this has to placed in context. Each manager in living memory has gone for a reason. None departed having taken the team to a third place position.
    The reasons were:
    Rioch – the board decided after one season he wasn’t the right choice
    Graham – The club had to sack him as they feared reprisals from the FA over the ‘bung’ allegations.
    Howe – resigned as he found out the club had approached Venables behind his back
    Neill – club acted after crowd demonstrations, notably after losing at home in the League Cup to Walsall
    Mee – had lost his way to such an extent that the cub was almost relegated (16th in 1975, 17th in 1976)
    So your stat may be correct but there is no reason to part company. Wenger is still the man to lead us to future glories…

  15. I read this blog as well as a few others, but don’t often comment. As a lifelong fan I cvan see both arguments. Yes I still think AW is the best man for the job (in fact I cannot see what other ‘world class’ managers would want the job given that they would have very restricted funds available for signings), however I do also see some validity in the DG mongers comments (well some of them). We have had terrible injuries this year, but also we’ve just witnessed some performances from key squad players such as Diaby and Nasri which look a little unacceptable (even taking fitness issues into account). I think the comments about players fighting for places is valid and perhaps it would make for a better team. I’m sure AW will concede that a few new players will make for a better campaign next year.

  16. Tony, I’m not one of the ‘winning is everything’ mentality either. But lets be honest, it is important. Else there’s no point really. Every manager and player wants to win. That we at Arsenal want to do it the right way is fantastic and an ideal that should be held up. But to say that champions league appearance and youth cups is ok is just not good enough. And for a club like us, it should never be ‘win the carling cup OR qualify for CL’. ‘Win EPL or UCL’ is understandable cuz noone expects us to win everything. But qualify for UCL? Be 4th best in the country? We’re bigger than that. We’re better than that and we deserve to be too.

  17. I rather suspect that if there had been blogs around in the past a lot of bloggers would have been calling for Chapman’s head after five years given the amount of money he spent, as Walter said.

    I suspect everyone would have been after Henry Norris too – he had, moved the club to a much bigger stadium. brought in Chapman, got us promotion to the first division, but the scream would be

    We haven’t won anything.

    And yet Norris and Chapman gave us the club – had they gone because of the lack of trophies we would have had no club at all.

    Be careful who you throw out. (And that doesn’t mean throw no one out, for in my past I was keen to get rid of Billy Wright, Bertie Mee and Rioch). I am not always pro the man in charge, but I am very cautious about moving too quickly.

    So, if you are saying Wenger must go now, presumably you would have said that of Chapman and Norris. And then what we would have?

    Absolutely bugger all.

  18. The players brought into the team yesterday were, in some cases, not just second choices in the position they were asked to play but third, fourth or even fifth. As far as I can remember Eboue has never been asked to play in what was, essentially Fabregas’s position and Diaby (even though he looks like he should be able to) tries to play ‘too much football’ to be a defensive midfield. You have to think like a defender to play there and he just doesn’t.
    If you have to play one or two ‘reserves’ in the team at any one time that’s fine and to be expected. But I doubt whether we’ve had a full ‘first choice’ eleven out all season and most of the time we’ve been well short of that. And we’ll still qualify for the Champions League and be prevented for being Champions only by clubs whose combined debt/financial doping level would buy all of the clubs in the bottom half of the table.
    The rules under which the clubs operate are about to change very much in our favour but unfortunately, it would appear, you’ll still be able to ‘earn’ free kicks and then lump the ball in straight at the keeper knowing that at least one of your forwards will obstruct your keeper in a way the ref won’t spot or will choose to ignore. And until they do something about that then Blackburn and Stoke and others like them will continue to use that as their ‘main tactic’ (Copyright S. Alladyce)and will continue to do it in front of declining crowds of increasingly bored ‘fans’.
    And they wonder why they’re all going bust!

  19. WEG: You make some good points, and incidentally I’ve agreed with you on a few of them when I’ve written an article looking at our squad.

  20. Richard B: Pretty much saying exactly what I would’ve. Excellent comment. We can get away with the odd backup in the team, because the overall level of the team is still high. As soon as the majority of the team is backup, the average level falls significantly, as it would with any team.

    Combined with a rulebreaking approach from fat Sam and a solid home record… meh.

  21. WEG — I couldn’t agree with you more about the medical staff and injury protocol.

    Although this season has been off-the-charts bad, it seems like in the past few years, we’ve consistently had injuries occur at a greater frequency than most teams. Fat Sam’s tactics and poor protection from refs obviously has a lot to due with it, as do poorly-timed internationals, but Wenger cannot leave any stone unturned.

    It’s absolutely crazy that Bendtner, Clichy, and Song weren’t available yesterday…having any one of them (especially Song), would’ve prevented yesterday’s loss.

    One question: how would the 25-player rule affect your argument? Perhaps an answer to your question re: squad depth is that Wenger has been preparing all along for the rule to be put into effect?

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first time any PL fan has probably heard of this rule was when it came out of AW’s mouth…just a thought.

  22. Yesterday they even showed 2 fans, adult looking fans from Blackburn (I think), that were sleeping during the game….

  23. Toni

    Your just spouting propergander on behalf of the Wenger k best brigade.

    Its there for all the world to see. The team has just stopped playing for him.

    No amount of bigging up Wenger can cover the obviuose short comings of his squad.

    He has built a squad of nearly men.

    All those defeats against Chelsea Man u etc in finals and semis has not built a winning mentality but a sence of failure is achievement.

    You like all the rest of the Wknows B brigade will be leading the charge to run him our of town when the implosion occurs.

    Silvestre. Fabianski, Almunia, Denilson et al

    I rest my case the rest is just self posturing.

    Hes done.

  24. I really cannot find it in me to complain that the players do not seem to be giving their all. It must be very dispiriting to be so consistently on the wrong side of major decisions. Another game, another referee giving the game to the opponents.

    Are EPL referees bent? They are in the same sense that the IMF is bent. It has a charter, but its actions are in direct contravention of that charter. EPL referees have a rule book, but they blow according to another set of rules. They cannot admit to that publicly because FIFA would kick them out, but it is obvious that it is happening. The clearest example is that penalties are not given if the defender touches the ball before the player. It is illegal to “take out” a player, but in the EPL it is allowed if the ball is played first. Wrong, what I mean is in the penalty box. Outside the box, a foul, and often a card, is given. However, the rules make no distinction between in the box or not when defining a foul.

    That in no way explains why Arsenal should suffer worse than any of the other better teams. In my opinion, the major factor is not xenophobia, but is the fact that we live within our means. Referees are part of the football industry. The more money that is put into football, the better the industry does. That referees, football executives and football journalists want to push money, money, money, is a natural as brokers, financial advisors and financial journalists talking up the markets.

    I have no doubt that the referee has been the most influential person on the pitch in many of our games this year. That Joe comes to the site and crows is fine. His team will win this year, and he often gives a different perspective. That Arsenal supporters direct their anger at the team and the manager after, for example, Atkinson’s performance shows a fundamental lack of understanding. In a parallel universe, both their goals would have been disallowed while Salgado’s rugby tackle would have resulted in a penalty and a red card. The result was down to Atkinson, not to our players.

  25. @walter
    But when they woke up, their eyes looked like piss holes in the snow!

  26. Toni you even sound fearfull.

    Hes done. The era is over Toni.

    Its just Arsenes way. He knows best.

    It should read Arsene did know best.

  27. What has fans sleeping through the game got to do with Wengers squad.

    They are his 100% and they are poor.

    Its him whos stuck.

  28. You have to remember the league is four clubs.

    We are the also rans of the top four.

    When man city retool what will happen then.

    Can you see Wenger supplanting three clubs.

    Not with his policies

  29. Mate the result was down to the ref.

    Get a grip it was down to poor goalkeeping and bad squad selection.

    Would man u have faired the same way if the title was on the line.
    Er no

  30. @stubby224 3:56

    It is astonishing that someone who has the ability to read and write can say the result was down to poor goalkeeping. What part of “Dunn committed a foul which resulted in Fabianski being dumped on his arse” do you not understand?

  31. @cape gooner

    Why bother replying to posters like stubby224? For one I can’t make any sense out of most of what he’s typing, and of that which I can, there’s absolutely no argument, just a doomsayer proclaiming the end of the world.

    There’s no arguing with people with such divine talents, so just let them be and write for those who would listen to reason. We’re only as good as the company we keep, and to be irritated into responding to foolishness is only folly on our part, for we become just as foolish as them.

    ‘As our mind is strengthened by communication with vigorous and orderly minds, so it is impossible to say how much it loses and degenerates by our continual association and frequentation with mean and sickly minds’ – Michel de Montaigne

    Let us air our opinions and have a debate. It’s not about persuasion, but it’s definitely about reason. There is no way we can persuade a man to change his opinion – it’s like pulling a bull by it’s horns – but we can definitely reason with him through our arguments. If that fails, it’s not worth carrying on.

    I’m happy to read well-constructed arguments and facts to show that players/managers are not good enough and should leave for the greater good of the club, and I’m sure Tony would concede to the argument if it was true and reasonable.

    For example, let’s pick on our favourite scapegoat at the moment: Fabianski…

    He should leave because he’s continually made mistakes (evidence exists, eg. night at Porto and poor decision making) and he might not be strong enough for the EPL, considering referees do not protect him and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    I’m perfectly fine with arguments like that, and it would leave room for debate rather than simply saying ‘he’s not good enough because he didn’t manage a clean sheet’. However, there still remain holes in such an argument which leaves room for counter arguments such as:

    1)Is Fabianski really personally responsible for the goals we concede? For some of his flaps, he definitely is responsible, but has there been a recent improvement in his game?
    2)Are we certain that he’ll never be able to play for us after 5 first team appearances? Remember what we said about Song when he first came on the scene – and look at him now. Similarly, Bale and Gomes for spurs. Everyone thought they were rubbish but they’re turning in fantastic performances now. Let’s not be too soon to judge.
    3)If we get rid of him, who will take his place? While the usual big names come out (Frey, Neuer, Adler, etc.), let us remember that there’s absolutely no certainty that they will be good for us as well. One look at big names like Berbatov at ManU, Robinho at ManC, Shevchenko at Chelsea will show that they aren’t necessarily better than what the team already has. Judging by reputation is dangerous, especially to us who do not have the skills of specialized scouts.

    I’m of the opinion that we should have civilized debates by means of reason rather than simply setting sail on our own personal vendetta against the authors, the club, or even other posters here. Once we cross the line by making personal attacks, we set forth on a very slippery road.

    Let us PLEASE allow opinions to be aired, at least in the comments section. If there is no logic to arguments, we don’t have to reply to them as they’re simply perspectives without grounding. If people refuse to listen to reason, there’s really no salvation and any further efforts would just be a waste of our precious lives. I’m sure most of us are mature adults, so let us behave as we should, and excuse the folly that comes with the passion and exuberance of youth.

  32. stubby, i’ve held my tongue for a while now after reading your posts.
    but enough is enough. Tony is spelt with a Y, not an I. the least you can do is spell his name right.

    what is propergander, is it a well fed goose? the word is propaganda. if you cant spell ten letter words properly, try using words of one or two syllables.

    i think that you and the rest of the D&G brigade should mind yourselves or you might end up with what you are all screaming for.

  33. Only Van Persie and Sagna are first team there (Assuming our first choice midfield is Song Denilson Cesc and attackers are Arshavin RVP Bendtner).

    To all those who said that Wenger has not planned for injuries properly consider this:

    Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone, Szczesny

    Vermaelen, Gallas, Djourou, Senderos/Campbell, Silvestre

    Clichy, Gibbs, Traore
    Sagna, Eboue, Eastmond

    Song, Denilson, Eastmond

    Diaby, Ramsey, Merida

    Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere

    Arshavin, Rosicky, Vela

    Eduardo, Walcott

    Van Persie, Bendtner

    That’s 3 players for nearly each position, and I haven’t even taken into account the fact that half the players on the attacking side can play 3 different positions themselves. Even if you read the second name from each category (4th and 5th for centre backs), it still makes great reading as a team, perhaps Silvestre aside. However, even our immediate replacement players have been screwed over by “English-type” football (Ramsey, Eduardo, Rosicky, Gibbs), leaving us with players out of position, and those meant to play 5 games a season suddenly expected to play 15.

    On the other hand, Barcelona, whom many Wenger-haters love citing as an example for us to follow, have 23 players in the whole squad. If they lose six players to injury (which is a given for us more than half the season), they can’t even name a full squad.

    Wenger is clearly not the one at fault.

  34. D & G hint: When you guys call for a replacement, try Hodgson instead of Mourinho. At least that might make sense when you say, it’s time for a change.

  35. It’s a shame your ladies couldn’t light your season up but at least while your youth/reserves are being demoralised playing against vastly superior counterparts (16th in form guide, last 6 games. Serious relegation form that is!) at least our own young prosepects are firing on all cylinders with a Youth FA cup win, 5 players being promoted to first team (warranted through performance, not forced through lack of professional standard cover). Young players out on loan scoring the winning goal in title decider in Holland. That’s what young players should be doing, not being beasted by the whole world for poor performances, whilst listening to one man P.A. team Wenger assuring them they are not at fault and are bright young things etc. By the time they are old enough to complete they will be shot to bits.

    The future is very bright over here. No issues with homegrowns, no debt, £500 million in trust in case Roman walks out. Whilst Arsene’s refusal to spend on proven quality only reinforces belief that top stars are not willing to play for him under this regime, nobody wants to wait for Arsene’s plan except those not good enough to get a game in the other top sides! Maybe once Fab and RvP feel they have shown enough loyalty and decide to leave then some true class will fight to play alongside Eboue or Drossicky.

  36. Joe- just look at the age of the core of your team- Drogba 32, Lampard 32, Ballack 34 this year, Anelka 31, Terry 30, Cole 30. This is an old team. Do you call that a future?
    Lets just say the next few years are going to be interesting- make the most of this years success and be thankful that Arsenal had the injuries that they did because you wont be this lucky with injuries every year.
    You have no outstanding reserves that could step in and hold their own at the top level- your youth system is 10 years behind Arsenal’s- which is why you are bribing French families to let their kids join Chelsea.
    The only person you are fooling with this kind of garbage is yourself.

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