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The forgotten heroes of yesterday’s win

By Walter Broeckx

When Arsenal win a top match like they did against Manchester City the feelings of happiness are a bit higher than when you win against let us say Sunderland. In a way this is not based on facts as a win against Sunderland gives the same number of points as a win against Manchester City. But still it feels more satisfying.

The players that will grab the headlines are the goal scorers of course and well that guy who was said to be nicking a living at Arsenal by someone who had a “talking pear” in front of his mouth and wanted to sound interesting. [Is that a Flemish phrase Walter?  I rather like it.  Tony]

Or was it a reporter who wrote it down in one of his match reports? Anyway the jury can be making up their mind if possible because when you look at the stats of Özil they are completely world class. In his last 16 matches he had 15 assists and 2 goals I have read somewhere.

Maestro Ozil

The Arsenal orchestra under the guidance of conductor Mesut Özil

But apart from this picture I will now look in to some other players. Players that go under the radar a bit but who are oh so important.

One of those heroes is also one of his best friends: Mathieu Flamini. Probably the richest player in the world if not now then possibly in the future with his investments off the field and brother of Özil outside the field.

As Charles Aznavour once sang: “you are the one for me, for me, formidable…” I now would sing: “you are the one for me, for me, Flamidable…” No need to search for this word as it doesn’t exist as far as I know. Not in English and not in French. But the way Flamini has played in the weeks since Coquelin got injured is amazing to see.

This is a player we should have got rid off during the summer the moaners told us time and time again. Wenger kept him. Knowing that a player like him cannot be found that readily. Flamini is an older player who knows he will not be playing 38 matches in the PL anymore. He can live with being on the bench and will not sulk or moan about it in the media and cry about it. Flamini knows he is a backup for Coquelin and as he has been around a bit, he can live with that. He is 31 and will be 32 when we reach the end of this season.

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But he is one of those players that you know that when you need them, they will come on the field and do their job in the best way they can. Yes he isn’t as energetic as Coquelin who is 7 years younger so this is natural. But as he had a career at top clubs in France, Italy and at Arsenal he knows what is expected of him.

For me yesterday he was once again producing the goods against Man City. You can use him against the small teams but not in the top matches they said. Well at Olympiakos he did an amazing job and now again against City he was outstanding.  So he might be not that bad as he was painted by some? And what he might miss in pace at his age, he compensates this with his experience. Which defensive midfielder would swap roles with Flamini and come to Arsenal in the knowledge that he will sit on the bench till the number one gets injured…if he gets injured? Flamini is fine with that and that is something a team needs. Players who will accept that role and perform when they are called upon. Luckily Wenger kept him.

My second under the radar player of the match was our captain on the field. Our Big F****** German. He is now in his fifth season at Arsenal. From day one I was as happy as can be with seeing this Gooner out there on the field. All the shit that has been thrown at him about him being too slow, cannot turn… I have always fought against it. Of course I know he is not as fast as Bellerin. But not every defender needs to be a rocket. Adams wasn’t really the fastest around but look at his career. Using your brains can be as important as running fast.

Yesterday Per had a few standout moments. I remember two times when a City player tried to dance his way past a few Arsenal players till they came in front of Per. Both Silva and De Bruyne lost the ball when our BFG stuck out his long leg to take it away from them. Vital interceptions! Much needed interceptions.

And what about his work when De Bruyne escaped on our left flank because of the only moment when Monreal and Walcott had a mix up when both advanced and thought the other would drop back to defend. Per used his head and didn’t try to come too close to De Bruyne because that would leave Silva completely unmarked in front of goal. So he closed down De Bruyne a bit but still kept himself in between De Bruyne and Silva so a possible pass would have to be inch perfect or he could have cut it out. De Bruyne then could only take a shot from a much more difficult angle cause of the position of Per and dragged his shot wide.

But for the rest of the match City had more than a few crosses going at the heart of our defence. But it looked as if Per attracted each ball and cleared it. With his head, feet or whatever body part that is allowed to touch the ball. He looked to be in the right place each time.

Two older soldiers who worked their socks off and played a huge part in our win against City. But also two players that have been ridiculed by the pundits and even worse by our own fans. So I feel very happy and proud to see them perform like they did against the team that spend all that money and was the number one challenger for the title after the first pundits favourite stumbled to the ground in the last months.

Well done you boys and keep it up for the next weeks and months because we still need your older legs and experience.

The publisher apologises for the late posting of this morning’s piece as he didn’t wake up until 8.30.  It was just such a wonderful, emotional, night.

47 comments to The forgotten heroes of yesterday’s win

  • Pete

    Walter – agree with you completely. I have said it before, and I will say it again, but I was always very happy having Flamini (and Arteta) as back ups to Coquelin. Utter b*llox that we needed to buy a holding midfielder in the summer. Nice to see that, so far, I have been proven right.

    And Per had one of his best games for a long time. He has done it at the highest level – 100 caps for Germany proves it conclusively – and long may that continue.

    With all the top players to come back over the next 3 months we are in a really strong position as long as we can hold it together with our currently depleted squad over the Christmas period.

  • Lambert

    In total agreement. Thank you for this thoughtful piece

  • John

    Coq has been out for a couple of weeks and so far so good.Flamini has been ok so far but for someone of his age being asked to play game after game is maybe too much.Flam and Arteta will be gone in the summer so why not try to bring in a Dcm to compete with coq for a place in the team.Its not utter bollox that we need to buy in that position as a handfull on here think.Coq will be a massive loss and i dont see Flamini and Arteta staying fit never mind being good enough for us to push for the title.

  • nicky

    An interesting post,Walter.
    You rightly pay tribute to Mathieu Flamini, a hero of mine ever since his return to the fold a few seasons ago.
    And then you similarly congratulate acting skipper Mertesacker for his performance, which, I must confess, went largely un-noticed by me (as it often does).
    What I like about this current Arsenal side (and I put this down fairly and squarely to the arrival of Alexis Sanchez)is the burgeoning desire for attackers to shoot whenever the opportunity presents itself. Plus the brain and boot of the master tactician Ozil, from whom any success we achieve, appears to flow.
    Our goals for and against stats speak for themselves.
    I am beginning to be persuaded that this Arsenal side can, with a reasonably injury-free winter and perhaps one or two January newbies, take the long-awaited EPL title. 😉

  • Al

    Brilliant summary, agree with every word. I made a comment last week when talk of who will be signed to replace Coq resurfaced again, and I said in all the matches he’d played in this season Flamini hadn’t been found wanting (including the spuds one where he was motm).

    Coq will be back in a couple of months, and I questioned the logic of getting someone who will come and be a bench-warmer and possibly destabilise the team. Flamini is a real warrior, he took a full bloodied shot from kolarov yesterday, hit the deck and was up in a flash as if nothing had happened. Just what you need, a player who will sacrifice themselves for the team. One player I’d have really wanted to see stay and play the Flamini role of stepping up when needed was Poldi, but like you say not everybody can be happy to wait for their chance. So people need to appreciate Flamini.

    Per was magnificent last night. Kos didn’t have a bad game either but Per was head and shoulders above the rest of the defense, literally and physically 🙂

  • Pete

    John – There are internal options coming through such as Bielik. Not quite sure what has gone wrong with Hayden (who can’t get in the Hull team) but did have hopes for him. I also remind you that Wilshere plays this position for England…

    I remember when Flamini returned he said he had “unfinished business” which I took to mean that he came back to win the League title we – and he – had missed in 2008. It would be fitting if we won it this season. I would be happier for him more than just about any other player.

    I don’t think anyone has a better back up CDM than we do this season with the Flamster.

  • bjtgooner

    Walter you are right to draw attention to the excellent performances of Per and Flamani, their contributions were vital. But the whole team performed well & worked well for one another.

    I thought Walcott covered back much more than he sometimes does – perhaps an indication that his match fitness is improving & Campbell continues to improve – apart from the miss in the second half!

    But all eleven players worked their socks off last night and kept going right to the final whistle, even though fatigue must have been a growing factor. Apart from the last few minutes we looked a better team than the heavily punted half Chinese Oilers!

    Well played the team!

  • Strus

    The rejuvenation of Flamini is astonishing. He was really poor in the season before. His unluck cost Arsenal chance for the title.
    He is close, but no cigar in this position- only becasue Coquelin is one of the best in the world.
    I’m really pleased that axis Flamini- Ramsey works. It is not the best one( Coquelin- Cazorla is) , but still very good. Fl-R are maybe as good as Arteta-Ramsey 2 seasons ago.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Flamini is unbeaten at the Emirates. Played 52 won 36 drawn 16. A damn good reserve player!

  • colario

    Walter *
    Almost everyday this season the media pundits and explayers of looserpool have been pontificating on how Arsene is

    A)stubborn, or

    B) blind or

    C) an idiot or

    D) all three.

    Because he wont buy a player of international standard as back up for the Le Coq.

    As has been pointed out here many times: ‘What international player would want to be a ‘bench warmer’ for a player that these same looserpool pundits sneeringly refer to as a ‘kid’?

    However in their

    bias –

    ignorance –

    blindness –

    terrace fan knowledge

    of football they hammered on and on how that: ‘When Kompany plays in defence for mancs oilers then mancs have a solid defence and when he doesn’t play the defense is poor.

    Give them their due they did provide evidence for their claim, which I thought was just a touch of a new idea for them.

    I wonder how many who heard their fountain of knowledge on this point last night noticed this:

    Not one of them berated Mancs oilers for not having a back up for Kompany as they have berated Arsene for not splashing the cash for a back up for the Le Coq.

    Why should we splash the cash, when all the time we have the best possible solution to the problem a freebie, an Arsenal – Arsene fan in Flamani?

    *Walter, I like your reference to ‘pear mouth’ Can we have the full expression please.

    OT I did a check of the transfer cost of players involved in last night match for players costing £10 million or more.

    Splash the cash Mancs oilers cost (approx) £320 million.

    Value for money Arsenal £ 100 million

  • WalterBroeckx


    About the “talking pear”
    yes in Flemish (or where I come from in Flanders) there is this expression that some use for a microphone and where it is called a “praatpeer”. Praat being the dutch for talking and peer well the fruit called pear.
    I think it comes from people (mostly politicians it is being used) who jostle each other and themselves in front of a camera and a microphone in order to be on TV and win votes that way. If there are some things I don’t like it are pundits and politicians 🙂 So thought I could use the expression.

    And maybe the pear shape of some microphones might have helped to invent the expression….

  • proudkev

    Good morning all.

    Walter, great comments I couldnt agree more.

    As you know, I have for a long time disliked the way the media portray our club and our manager. The real crime is not just the lack of respect they afford us and Wenger but the way in which they have manipulated a small section of our fans too.

    Pre match I read a lot about our ‘poor defending’ being our achilles heel, despite the fact we all know that no team has conceded less than us in 2015. In fact, since the start of the previous season.

    Pre season this same defending garbage was raised. So too the line that Mertesacker is too slow and all these fast forwards were going to rip him to pieces. In fact, last night several people, including a well known football pundit of the Liverpool persuasion (of course) was making the same claim. Yet again, completely wrong and evidence proves the line.

    We were also told that we had a thin squad. We needed to buy three or four players as we couldnt cope with injuries. Well we have certainly had a few injuries and the p-layers that have come in have nailed another lie.

    We were told Flamini was past it.

    We were told that Giroud was rubbish and we would never win anything with him in the team.

    We were told that Theo Walcott is not a striker and cannot score goals.

    We were told Mesut Ozil was nicking a living by Neil Ashton of Sunday Supplement and the Daily Mail.

    We were told Arsene Wenger has had his day.

    I could go on. If only journalists and the aaa would go and do some research instead of repeating the same old rubbish. I have no idea how people who continue to get so much wrong, have the nerve to continue making these claims.

    Last night after the game I did what I always do and scoured the aaa blogs. Truly unbelievable that any of these morons can be fans. All the talk was about Wengers poor substitutions, Ramsey being rubbish and the urgent need to sign players.

    Apart from my love for Arsenal Football Club wanting us to win the Premier League, I have never wanted anything for somebody else more; Arsene Wenger. This man has done so much under such difficult conditions, yet continues to get abused, win, lose or draw. It is nothing short of a disgrace. I am ashamed that we have so many pathetic fans who are so ignorant they have embedded themselves into an agenda perpetuated by morons, poor journalists and rival fans masquerading as Gooners.

    Yesterday was a massive result. To beat a squad of that quality, which has spent so much over the years is a great achievement. Especially in view of the injuries we have had. Our consistency, despite a huge injury list, since the start of the last season must be recognised for wjat it is, absolutely incredible. This has been achieved with the pressures of the Champions League midweek games too and two year unbeaten run in the FA Cup. Outstanding. None of this has been achived by waving a cheque book around and bullying teams with less resources. Honest, it is an amazing achievement to have mantained that level.

    Arsene Wenger deserves so much credit for this. Winning the Premier League will not shut the naysayers up, because they are too arrogant and ignorant for that. But it will give him the least of what he deserves. Now lets push on and make a proper go of this, I have every confidence we will.

  • Mandy Dodd

    well said Walter, those two, along with the rest of them, their coaches and manager deserve alot of credit.
    will also mention Joel Campbell,just a handful of games, but doing great work out there.
    “Just get out while you can Joel” ….wonder if the person who uttered those immortal words on a Stoke railway platform has the ability to think about what he said, and how things have panned out.

  • Pedro

    No one should be surprised we beat city. That is 5 games unbeaten against them. Great team performance. Good to see Ramsey play a disciplined game. Mert was m o m in my opinion, superb positioning throughout. Not sure about Gibbs , he had a bit of a nightmare when he came on. He gave Monreal no cover , looked nervous and weak on the ball and didn’t seem to understand what his job was. Have to say ox looked good, very composed on the ball and not trying to rush or over complicate things. Can see him getting a start over the Christmas period .

  • Jambug


    “OT I did a check of the transfer cost of players involved in last night match for players costing £10 million or more.

    Splash the cash Mancs oilers cost (approx) £320 million.

    Value for money Arsenal £ 100 million”

    I know. Amazing isn’t it. Wenger is a genius.

    On the subject of spend. I lost count of how many times I heard Charragher going on about how Arsenal have to win the PL this year because if they don’t they’ve got no chance next year because all the others are going to push on and spend loads of money.

    What makes me laugh is he says this as if this is a new phenomenon and it hasn’t already happened !!!

    Look at this Jamie:

    Last 10 years net spend PER SEASON (or loss if you prefer)

    MC = £52 Million per season
    MU = £32 Million per season
    Ch = £47 Million per season
    Ar = £7 Million per season

    Last 5 years ne spend PER SEASON

    MC = £65 Million per season
    MU = £60 Million per season
    CH = £45 Million per season
    AR = £20 Million per season

    Over the last 3 years alone:

    Man City have a net transfer spend of £260 Million. They lost £110 Million on transfers last Summer alone

    Man Utd have a net transfer spend of £200 Million. They lost £40 Million last Summer.

    Chelsea have a net transfer spend of £90 Million. They lost £35 Million last Summer.

    So of course they will spend big. It’s all they know. It’s all they can do.

    So yes it will be tough. But they all spent big last Summer, and very big over the last 3years, but we’re still in there giving it a go.

    But again what makes me laugh is Arsenal, and Wenger, aren’t allowed to cite the comparatively enormous amounts of money spent by City, Utd and Chelsea as a reason for our trophy drought, or not winning the PL. But in the next breath they CAN cite how much City Utd and Chelsea are going to spend next Summer as a reason why we wont be able to win the PL next season.

    So the money either makes a difference or it doesn’t?

    What is?

    Well basically it’s whatever suits there narrative of having a pop at Arsenal no matter what.

  • Tom

    I admire your optimism re Bielik being able to be counted on soon, but highly unlikely.

    Bielik is 17, 6’2″ and about 170 pounds after a full meal.

    Matic came to Chelsea in 2009 at 21 , 6’4″ and about 190 pounds , and the verdict on him was that he wasn’t physically ready for the PL.
    After a couple of loan spells he ended up at Benfica and became the player of the year in Portugal at 25.

    There are of course smaller players who can play DM role perfectly even in the PL , but none of them have done it well before their 24 birthday.

    Coquelin , Kante( Leicestershire City),and Makelele at Nantes, they all hit their stride at about 24.

    Krychowiak , another compatriot of mine who plays for Sevilla, is 25 but came into his own only about a year ago or so.

    Bielik is a talent no doubt, but to expect him to feature in the starting eleven for Arsenal any time soon, is a bit of a stretch.

  • Jambug


    Well said my friend, especially:

    “Apart from my love for Arsenal Football Club wanting us to win the Premier League, I have never wanted anything for somebody else more; Arsene Wenger. This man has done so much under such difficult conditions, yet continues to get abused, win, lose or draw. It is nothing short of a disgrace. I am ashamed that we have so many pathetic fans who are so ignorant they have embedded themselves into an agenda perpetuated by morons, poor journalists and rival fans masquerading as Gooners.”

    Here here to every single word.

    And you can add a plethora of ex players to that list.

    Some of them are a F***ing embarrassment and should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Barry L

    Really insightful piece Walter

    Also you make some great points ProudKev.

    I think what these blow-hard pundits don’t get is that AW has built a number of great teams over his 18+ years at Arsenal, and all have been schooled on playing “football” properly.

    We are now seeing in the current version the emergence and development of a high quality “team” not based on galacticos.
    Yes, Ozil and Alexis are the nearest we have to “star names”, but we have also seen the likes of Monreal, Ramsey, Wilshere, Giroud, Kos, Cazorla, le Coq, Bellerin, Walcott, Campbell develop and grow into top players without spending mega-millions. (for example on the likes of Mangala and Otamendi etc).
    The icing on the cake was the purchase of Petr Cech who ably assisted by BFG are starting to create a calmness and assurance about the team.
    It is noticeable how few of these pundits* have the bottle (or the ability) to try their hands at actually managing a club, which says it all
    * exceptions being Roy Keane and now Gary Neville


  • Andy Mack

    John, I suspect that the manager will be pawing over reports on Hayden and if he decides Hayden is too far from AFC 1st team action then I’d expect he will look for a DM this Jan. But it’ll be with next season in mind and the odd ‘fill the role’ game this season, knowing that new transfers rarely play well in their 1st season. Then next season there would be a fair fight between Coquelin and ‘The newone’, but if ‘The newone’ loses out to Coquelin then he’ll have to take it in good grace rather than whinge, moan and look for a transfer, and have a contract to suit that situation…. Not as easy as it may first appear.

  • Pete

    Colario – the two centre backs Man City fielded cost approx £70mm! Proof that if you have too much money you are unlikely to spend it wisely. That is about the same as the entire Arsenal starting XI, with the exception of Ozil.

  • bjtgooner


    Good points re the relative spending of MU, MC, CH and ourselves. It illustrates perfectly the limited thinking Carragher applied to the subject when he indicated that this season was Arsenal’s chance to win the league – because by next season the others would have strengthened.

    Carragher conveniently forgot that the others have outspent us consistently over the last ten years – and at present we have, arguably, the best squad.

    Furhter, while the other teams will try to buy the League and will continue to overpay for players, AW will continue to develop the squad, team and individual players in a way the few if any could emulate.

    Over the last few seasons I felt we had a very good team, possibly an EPL winning team (held back by the PGMO and injuries) but it had not quite reached its peak. Each of the last few years we have improved and got closer to that peak – but I still think there is more to come. For this season, lets hope we can overcome injuries, fatigue and the sinister PGMO – and win the title that this team richly deserve.

  • Jambug

    Barry L

    “Yes, Ozil and Alexis are the nearest we have to “star names”, but we have also seen the likes of Monreal, Ramsey, Wilshere, Giroud, Kos, Cazorla, le Coq, Bellerin, Walcott, Campbell develop and grow into top players without spending mega-millions.”

    Exactly, but it seems to pass everyone else by.

    By way of belittling our performances, and giving Wenger as little credit as possible, we still get Carragher (yes him again) claiming we haven’t improved at all, and our position is all just down to the others getting worse.

    We must be seeing things Barry and all this must be a figment of our imagination:

    Ozil hasn’t improved at all then?

    Giroud hasn’t improved at all then?

    Cech isn’t an improvement after all then?

    Bellerin hasn’t matured at all then?

    Monreal, despite going from ‘not good enough for Arsenal’ to making the team of the season, hasn’t improved at all then?

    Sanchez hasn’t stepped up on his first season at all then?

    Walcott being back isn’t an improvement then?

    Honestly, the likes of Carragher are beyond stupid.

  • SP

    We have only played17 games and already lost 3 games! Scraped through into the champions league last sixteen after 2 defeats by shit teams and a hammering by Bayern! knocked out of one of the cup by being hammered by a team out youth should beat!

    Yet you lot think we are the best team in Europe! Man city have been poor away from home this season, We did ok but the last 20 minutes we were hanging on!

    Chelsea, Man City and Man U spend a lot of money! But they win titles! and they will all buy in January and they will become a major threat in the new year, Wenger needs 2 or 3 players in January to combat this and If he does I really do believe we will win the league. If not you on this site can go back to defending him and making excuses like you do most weeks.

    And stop with the cry baby antics! They say nasty things about Wenger and Arsenal, they are biased! Of course they are biased,, ex Man U and Liverpool players! What do you expect! Wenger is one of the most loved and respected Managers in the world! Rated highly by Ferguson, Guardiola, Enrique and Blanc to name just a few. These are the people I listen to not some idiot ex Liverpool defender and striker (Jamie and Micheal) who don’t know there arse from there elbow

  • Jambug


    “Yet you lot think we are the best team in Europe”

    Show me where anyone said that.

    You always know when someone’s talking out of there arse when they have to make such ludicrous statements to make there point.

  • Pete

    Tom – Fair points, but I think Flamini may have another season in him (Arteta probably not). Let’s see how things evolve over the next 12 months or so. In the meantime I am happy with our resources – and Flamini in particular.

  • colario

    Jambug, proudkev, Pete, bjtgooner.

    I almost hit the floor laughing when I heard Carragher come up with this gem.

    ‘Arsenal have to win the league this year because next season the other clubs will spend big’

    And the one quoted above its not that we have improved its the fact that the others are not so good this year.

    No mention of the ‘wonderful season’ looserpool are having. We note.

    Last week he and the rest of the northern based pundits went on and on about what a bad November Arsenal had.

    Unless you saw the league table you would have thought Arsenal were second from bottom but the fact showed as now Arsenal are second from top.

    Its not rocket science but truly beyond the brains of these all knowing pundits that if 2nd place Arsenal had a bad November then the clubs below them must have had a worse November.

  • Pete

    There is this amazing groupthink among the punditocracy that change, or more specifically “investing” in more expensive players/managers is the way to go.

    But change has an attritional cost. Every time a manager changes, everything changes: new players, new style and so on – all at great expense. And a new team/style takes time to bed in. Consider the bemusement at Klopp’s assertion that he is not that bothered about buying in January because he wants the rest of the season to fully assess his current squad.

    And we all know that big purchases normally take a while to bed in and form on-field relationships with their team mates.

    Let’s look at Man Utd as an example. They have spent a shedload of money, after two fairly rapid managerial changes – so why is anyone surprised that they are struggling to gel? Van Gaal does need time to bed them in.

    Stability is critically important. Arsenal’s approach whereby players are developed over time within a coherent and consistent team framework is showing clear superiority to the throw money at it approach.

    If the moneyed clubs spend big in the summer, so what? Their new acquisitions will likely take time to settle – and the rest of the team time to adapt to them. So absent £60mm+ players (of which there are not many) who one would hope could adapt very quickly, I expect continuing churn to hold them back. Managerial changes will only make things worse for them. Good!

    And the Arsenal approach also has the benefit of being good for our financial resources. Bringing in one top player plus a few very promising youngsters every year seems like an optimal approach to me.

  • Pete

    To add, I am extremely confident that this team will get better and better over the next few years. We won’t be at Barcelona or Bayern Munich’s level next season – but we could be in three to four years. The only caveat is that the person who is at the centre of our extraordinary development as a club and a team, the incomparable Arsene Wengerm may well have retired by then. The risk then is that we could end up in a MU post-Fergie situation – albeit with far less money. Still, he seems to be in good health, and still seems to love his job so let’s hope against hope that we will have the pleasure of enjoying his teams for as many years to come as possible.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Assuming there are no health issues, can see Wenger being offered and signing a new deal to really take this team forward in the next few years, and cement what is already a great legacy……hope so anyway.
    Let the others panic and change managers at the drop of a hat. Wenger is again proving himself as one of very few equals when it comes to developing, bringing the best out of players. Afterall, he has taken the man Jose described as the best number 10 in the world,and made him even better…in the most demanding of leagues.I would imagine most players including the elite would love to play this team

  • Andy Mack

    Mandy, I’m sure they’ll ask him to continue, but will he.
    The immense pressure of the PL (plus the aaa) must take it’s toll and no amount of money is worth a heart attack. I hope he can stay but will he want to?

  • Mandy Dodd

    who knows Andy. Yes, that is a lot of pressure, but some deal with it better than others, and I am sure they keep a pretty close eye on his health. But yes, there is always the chance he might not want to carry on, only he will know that

  • proudkev


    “Yet you lot think we are the best team in Europe”

    What a ridiculous comment. You would have to be certifiably insane to claim Arsenal were the best team in Europe. But this is the point with the anti-wenger crowd, as soon as their opinions and predictions are proved incorrect, they start making outlandish statements.

    For the record. I do not think Arsenal are better than bayerm Real or Barcelona. Thsi is based on the collection of world class players those clubs have been able to obtain with their cheque book managment philosophy.

    However, what i can say is that Arsenal are a very good side and a hell of a lot better than the anti-wenger crowd will admit. I will also say that the Arsenal players are better than the anti-wenger crowd have been claiming:

    1. Giroud is not ‘shit’
    2. Theo IS a striker
    3. Mertesacker is a quality defender
    4. Ozil was not a waste of money
    5. Flamini is good cover for Coquelin
    6. Bringing back a loanee from Charlton was not ‘crazy’
    7. We dodged a bullet not signing WOB players Balotelli & Benteke
    8. We do not have a thin squad
    9. Injuries have not killed us
    10. The manager is top quality and none of his trophies were bought by outspending

    I have no idea how much fun it is to moan endlessly or how stiff an erection can be obtained by slagging off the club, because I’ve never tried it. However, what I do know is that the Wenger Out Crowd lost all credibility ages ago. Not because we won two FA Cups but because of the sad behaviour those successes were greeted with. Shit fans who care more about not being proved wrong than they do the success of the club. Pathetic group of fanboys.

  • Tom

    Arsenal were leading the table on January 28th 2004 and none of their potent attacking options ,that included in their prime players like Henry, Bergkamp, Wiltord, ljunberg, Kanu, Pires and the up and coming Aliadiere were injured, yet still Arsenal decided to bring in a record signing, Reyes, from Sevilla for £20M.

    Did Arsenal need him to win the title that year? Doubtful. The records indicate Reyes had a sort of limited influence on the title race in his first season for Arsenal, but a curious thing happened on May 4th in the game against Portsmouth. Reyes scored the only goal for Arsenal for a 1:1 draw, thus preserving an undefeated record.

    Did Reyes’ Arsenal career warrant such a massive outlay? Probably not. Although who could’ve predicted the treatment Reyes got from the likes of Ferguson and his henchmen, the Neville bros, but had it not been for his transfer, there might’ve not been the invincibles.

    Had someone posed the question whether Arsenal should buy Reyes for £20M on Untold in 2004, I’m fairly certain the vast majority of posters would’ve said no.
    For reasons commonly used today, like we don’t need him, he will take playing time away from others and make them unhappy,too much money for unproven player or use an internal solution.

    Were Arsenal in a better financial position back in 2004? Of course not.
    The plans for the new stadium were in full swing and the cash reserves were a fraction of what they are today.

    So the question is why so many on here are against bringing in players who could make this a special season for Arsenal.

    Food for thought.

  • proudkev


    It comes down to what is needed and who is available to fill that need.

    Managers always say January is a difficult time to sign players, especially top ones because they are likely to be playing in CL.

    So I don’t think its as easy to buy as FFM’s say it is.

    I am sure if a player we needed and fancied was available we would buy him. But we wont buy a player the fans want us to buy.

  • nicky

    Apart from my dear wife, we all age quite visibly…..usually starting with the face.
    Anyone who doubts the ravages of pressure on the face of a football manager, need only look at a photo of Arsene Wenger, now compared to when he arrived at Arsenal.
    And remember that he has experienced more success in his comparatively short tenure, than most managers achieve in a lifetime. 😉

  • finsbury

    I hope all at untold and your many untold readers enjoyed the match.
    I’d like to put forward one unlikely candidate:

    Special Agent Mendes.

    Bear with me, please,if you can bear the stench and slime.
    For starters alongside his special ally, the specialist in signing players from special agents, after they gutted the uber squad Gazprom were building which should probably be stomping it’s way to third straight title (literally in the case of Ramires) and replaced their upcoming talents primed and ready for their peak with a selection of one legged mules good for one season at best. So I thank him for his fine work in west london. but back o City:

    I staked my precious reputation as a self-declared expert scout, coach, accountant & physiotherapist(sports) on branding Mangela as another Mule upon his arrival at City. It was obvious, I know, but as so few in Fooball especially the plundits were laughing at that transfer I thought I might as well. To be completely honest our spectrum of reliable sincere and honest plundits to a man and odd woman were full of nothing but praise for such dodgy business.

    So: a big shout out to Mmmmmmmmm….Mangala!
    And his agent 🙂

  • goonersince72

    Thanks Walter
    Just want to applaud the steadfast, rock solid performances of Flamini, the BFG and Koscielny. Absolutely first rate. The centre backs stood up and repelled everything Silva and Aquero could throw at them. A few harmless headers straight at Cech. Flamini smothered many attacks before they started. Great defensive shift put in by all. They only lost the clean sheet to a crazy strike from Toure. Still conceding the fewest goals. Not bad for a side that can’t defend.

  • Rich

    Oh oh, I’ve been doing well in not posting so much and not writing any crazily long posts of late, kinda thought I’d near enough said everything I had to say, but then I started a response here, and… shit got out of control.

    I’ve cut two thirds of what I wrote, so I’ll skip to my thoughts on dm.
    —- —
    I had a strong conviction we’d get confirmation in the summer gone that Wenger was decided on extra protection for the back four, with a player obviously suited to the task of helping us defensively when sitting deeper or to stopping counters when we have numbers committed in attack. Yep, a dm. Like Coquelin, only surely not as good. Like Arteta and flamini, only much younger. What happened indicated I was mistaken.

    However, I don’t think that story is over. Right throughout the season, with whatever player availability, we have looked to bring on defensively-minded players in midfield to close out games ; Arteta, and now Gibbs and Chambers. If I remember right, Arteta did well at it every time; Gibbs has been mixed, Chambers hasn’t had much time but has yet to show he’s particularly suited to it.

    Which’ll bring us to Jan. Coquelin was brilliant, Flamini has done excellently, this year has cemented the importance of a true dm in our system and firmly suggested Wenger often wants two such players at times, for the purpose of trying to close down games in the second half. So will Wenger be happy to rely purely on Flamini’s health for two or three crucial months. I think not and I hope not.

    The beauty for me is that,especially for the role of bolstering the midfield defensively later in games, it should be quite a bit easier to find a player who meets the requirements than to find one who is technically excellent or adds something to or improves on our attacking functions. The main requirements are: tenacity, legs, tackling ability, decent composure, positional discipline and the absence of a desire to score or set up goals. Ideally, you want someone who is excellent in possession, but that takes us into the territory of players who are extremely rare and extremely hard to buy or create. Anyway, main point is that, to begin with, technical excellence is not essential, especially not for the substitute role with a lead established.

    I think there’ll be a fair few (maybe 5-10 possibles) of those players out there I describe for reasonable prices, that our statistical team give us a good chance of identifying them in the same manner we apparently did for Gabriel (and Flamini first time around), and that the closer they are to twenty years old the more chance they’ll be happy to join us with no guarantee of game time (in fact the guarantee would be closer to, barring injuries, or a leap in form, limited game time).

    I have no idea if the latest player I’ve seen linked, Elneny, is pure fabrication, as most of them are, but that’s the sort of profile I’m talking about. If you were a 23 year old dm doing well at Basel, would you not jump at the chance to come and play for Arsenal? Looking at the squad, thinking ‘I should get some game time, often as a sub, and I should develop as a player in that company, with that manager. Sign me the hell up!’ ?

    I reckon you normally get about a year’s grace, over double that of a very experienced player, with that profile before they become unhappy with limited playing time, if that proves to be the case.

    Not to play captain hindsight here, but supposing we had identified Ngolo Kante this summer, isn’t there a pretty good chance he would have chosen us over Leicester and the likelihood of much more playing time? Perhaps I’m naive there but if a rising defensive star in Spain fancies his chances of battling against Kos, Per and Chambers, I’m convinced there are many young midfielders who would take on the challenge of fighting for our one guaranteed dm spot, supplemented by substitute appearances and with the possibility of sometimes using two dms. A good proportion of players probably don’t analyse their moves that way anyway, and are likely to be driven by optimism, prestige or the money.

    A dm with limited responsibility for the build up seems to me about the most forgiving position in the team. Defenders and goalkeeper can barely put a foot wrong, attacking midfielders need excellent end product and a high technical ability (and we’re very well stocked with them), a deep-lying playmaker needs to be great on the ball and a top-notch passer. So, relatively speaking, while a dm is miles from an easy position to play, it does seem more forgiving than the other positions, or at least that role of being an extra dm certainly does. A consequence of that is that there should be a few more available at good prices.

    No other way I could state my case apart from going into this much depth. We’ll see what happens. I guess I’m incorrigible and can’t resist the conceit Wenger’s thinking is the same as mine, or, more accurately, that my thinking is similar to his.

    Still there? Merry Christmas to you (and roll on boxing day!)

  • Andy Mack

    Tom, I think you’ve completely misunderstood. No one on here will be unhappy with any player that the manager actually buys. But to say buying someone is needed isn’t your or our job, IT’S THE MANAGERS DISCISION !

    He bought Reyes in the Jan window but for the future rather than to effect that season and that’s what he usually does (yes there are a few exceptions but usually). Also I would ask how you know whoever else had played instead of Reyes (if he hadn’t been bought) wouldn’t have scored or set up someone else to score in that Pompy game. I certainly don’t know.

  • ARSENAL 13


    “What a ridiculous comment. You would have to be certifiably insane to claim Arsenal were the best team in Europe.”

    I think now i know for sure. I AM INSANE. hahahahhaaha. And there are many more like me.

  • AJ

    Everyone seemed to criticise De Bruyne for his shot in the 30th minute. But if you review the play again, Bellerin had made up incredible ground to catch up with Silva and Ramsey had done the same for Aguero. My read was that the shot was his only option and Petr and Per’s excellent positioning gave him a very small angle which he then missed.

    If you saw the Sky coverage and Big Sam’s comments that was the only point he talked about throughout. Yes Arsenal did get caught out, but they recovered well to close the angle so that by the time De Bruyne recovered it had become a low % play.

    Finally on the overall game, Arsenal seemed to want the win more. Except for between minutes 75-85 where ManShitty tried to get something going, there seemed to lack any real desire. This kind of performance if it continues will see Pellegrini sacked like Moaninho.

  • AJ

    There were good as well as poor aspects of Flanimal’s performance vs ManShitty

    He seemed to make a conscious effort to sit in front of the back 4 and not bomb on, which was good.

    His positioning especially after the 65th minute seemed to suffer and he was right on top of the defense. In fact if you see Toure’s goal again he was in line with the defense almost forming a back 5. I don’t blame him for the goal. Toure’s was a 5% shot at best, but a little more space between the defense and Flanimal would have helped

  • Andy Mack

    AJ,I think Flaminis task was to watch Silva and Ramseys task was to watch Toure. Ramsey had a lapse and let Toure stroll past him to score that extremely well taken goal.

  • Andy Mack

    proudkev, There’s a difference between ‘Best Team In Europe’ and ‘on our day we can beat’ the best teams in Europe. Because ‘on or day’ we can… but don’t have the consistency to beat them every time yet.
    We can beat Barca (on our day with some ‘fair’ officials)… but will we?

  • ARSENAL 13

    On Toures goal,

    that was a lucky goal. Lucky not because he dint intend to score from there. He sure did and tried. Lucky because Cech did little to stop it. Look at the goal again and see Cechs action/reaction. Cech withdrew from trying to stop the goal. He thought he had covered it and the ball wasnt going in. His reaction after seeing the ball inside the goal says a lot.

    These are the things Rambo, Cech and Flamini error does happen during a long grueling games due to fatigue.

  • OlegYch

    For me giroud was motm
    Scored a decisive goal with world class finish, constantly nagged defenders so they couldn’t do the first pass, headed away a few corners, and oh that last minute tackle! Can you imagine ronaldo or aguero doing that?