Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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By Tony Attwood

These are difficult times for the anti-Arsenal alliance of mobsters whose single aim is to bring down the Lord Wenger and the club he built from the mould ridden ruins of the of the Bruce Rioch year.

According to the anti-Arsenal we are nothing but a mid-table failure, populated by a bunch of dilettante cast offs and kids who will never make it.

Yet we find on the pitch a team that on finding that there can be no protection from English referees now metaphorically states to the opposition, kick us and we’ll kick you back – while scoring goals at the same time.   A team that has dug deep in its astounding mental and physical resources.   A club that can put out more or less its reserve XI and hold its own in the group section of the Champions League with a side that will undoubtedly qualify for the knock out stages.

If we study the league table we find not only that we are second, but the simple difference between us and faltering Chelsea is that there was one match that we drew, that they won.  Otherwise our win-draw-loss tally is the same as theirs.  Chelsea – the team so far ahead of the rest that they had already won the league by September, according to all those highly knowledgeable, well paid fellows on radio and TV and their stuporised mates down the pub who scribble for the daily rags.

Indeed today (monday) on the BBC’s sport and soap channel, Radio 5, they did a piece about the league, and the commentator managed to say, “well as we have been saying all season, Chelsea have a very slim squad”.

No mate, you haven’t been saying it all season.  Untold Arsenal has been saying it, starting from the moment that the “25” list came out and we pointed out that Chelsea had the smallest squad of all.   (We also pointed out that Man U has an ageing squad, that Liverpool were on the edge of utter collapse, and that Man C would find it hard to integrate everyone quickly).

With Arsenal you can take out our two central defenders and much of the midfield we still put up a show.  With Chelsea there simply isn’t the back up – for the very simple reason that they are desperate to get into the Champs League financial zone and so they are cutting the wage bill and not buying in any more.

(And incidentally for those anti-Arsenal gangs that claim that the financial doping regs will mean nothing and that the clubs will find a way around it – if that is so why do you think Chelsea have got such a thin squad when they can draw on the oil resources of half the world?)

But Arsenal, poor Arsenal. Always passing, so light-weight, always getting knocked off the ball.   Poor Arsenal, so downgraded that the only thing we could do in the summer was to bring in a free-transfer centre forward.  Still playing that Song who is not fit to wear the shirt.  And as for our goalkeepers.  Well!

As I reported from Wolverhampton, the general consensus there was that Fabianksi was man of the match, and that sort of feeling has been growing for some time among those actually on site.   As that has happened attention was drawn to Szczesny with negative commentaries about the fact that he was brilliant and wasn’t going to sign because the usual inept mismanagement for which Arsenal is infamous.

Remember Hleb?  Remember Flamini?  Remember Henry?  Remember Vieira?   Add to the list Szczesny who had broken off discussions because he was so frustrated with the club.   Add him to the list of all these players who just walk away because the club is so stupid, so rigid in its pay policy, under a manager so obdurate that he won’t change any policy any time no matter what.  A manager who won’t play JET despite his wonder goal.

Except Szczesny quite happily signed a couple of weeks after these stories circulated.  Except that Hleb is a deadbeat playing for Birmingham, who was raised to a new stunning level by Wenger – a level never achieved before or since.   Except that Flamini turned out to be a bit player with WC Milan who had one, and only one, brilliant season.  Except that Henry made us a huge profit, and never really hacked it for Barca.  Except Vieira, wonderful, wonderful, player that he was, had reached the end when he started his meanderings around Europe.

It is, in my opinion, worth revisiting some of the mindless gibberish the anti-Arsenal alliance put out day after day, week after week.  From their perspective any player that is not getting 9 out of 10 each game should be given away and replaced by a multi-billion pound purchase.  Arsenal should wait for no man, and players who fail to deliver at the highest standards for a game or two should be out, no messing.

Never was there a more perfect example of this than Denilson.  If you manage to watch Denilson in the flesh, and watch his movement off the ball (and this was demonstrated perfectly in the latter stages of the Wolverhampton match, and in the second half of the Everton game), you will see that he has this amazing ability to know where the ball will be after the next touch, get there, and break up the play.   Gilberto had it too – and the anti-Arsenal morons booed him over and over until I was afraid that the guy would just say he had had enough and move on.

What actually happened was that Gilberto got a year long injury, and we really missed him.  The roar upon his eventual return showed that inside the stadia at least, we had ousted the idiots and were back on track with a real understanding of the game.

Of course, a week ago it was depressing. The WBA defeat was bad enough, but to lose at home to Newcastle – it is really tough to live with that – especially when Chelsea had won the league back in September.   Except, it suddenly turns out, they hadn’t.

This past week the Guardian said, “The trouble for Arsenal, though, is that no one will hold them up as champions-in-waiting until they actually win anything.”   But what the media don’t realise at all is that this is not our problem – it is our strength.   The Radio 5 piece I mentioned above with its commentary on Chelsea and how they had been saying all season that the squad was thin, then went on to marvel at the strength of Manchester United being able to come back from 2-0 down (“it is that sort of never-say-die mentality that can win you the league”) and the difficulties faced by Manchester City (“but you can never write them off”) before meandering off into the cold distance with some chit-chat about Liverpool finding it tough away from home.  Not a word about Arsenal.

And that’s the way I like it. No mention of Arsenal except focus on a few tackles that are of the “you do that to me and you’ll get it back” variety.   Without of course the commentary noting that it was done to us first.  We’ll just stay there, with this extraordinary squad that allows us to win without even disturbing the likes of Bendtner, Van Persie and Walcott, with the central defence missing, with full-backs that all the knowledgeable blog commentators claim are utterly useless, and with a captain who is still finding his way back to his old form, with goalkeepers who wouldn’t even get a place in the Conference, with one centre forward who is so injury prone we never see him and another who is clearly no good because we got him on a free….

Oh I could go on and on, but the fact is, this is a great team, that will make a significant challenge in all competitions.  Yes we suffer deep heartache when beaten, but that’s how it goes.  It doesn’t change the fact that as matters stand just at this moment the only difference between ourselves and the side that won the league in September is that they won one match we drew.

This team can do it.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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46 Replies to “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

  1. hear hear!

    well said tony. we now have a plan B too. we can get the job done, albeit with a slight dip in flair. which, for me, is fine. we can still turn it up when needed and the two goals and so many shots on target were beautiful moves. we defended well towards the end. it was heartening to see clichy and song throw themselves at the ball. rosicky made coleman’s life miserable. and cesc and denilson were fab. as was fab(ianski). chamakh is one hard worker, i must say…

    There can only be one Arsene Wenger! and he’s on our side…



  2. Spot on, Tony..

    And like you, I too like it when we’re kept out of the media limelight. This way, some pressure is taken off the players allowing them to express more on the pitch..

  3. If we win the north London derby and we’ll be top of the table before Chelsea kick off at birmingham city. What will the pundits do??? so to those who Anti-Arsenal, just shut up and watch us win the league!!!

  4. Arsene did one thing extrodinary at half time… Take out Wilshere and bring on Denilson… At least the morons out there who had been insulting Denilson all these years can actually see what he brings to the first team game… Confidence and composed with the ball… Driven and dicipline without it… Looks physically stronger now and his decision-making is excellent… Way better than the inexperience Wilshere… Quietly ran the show at Everton and shut out the opponents to the end… Brilliant passing play between him, Fabregas, Rosicky and Nasri… And how old is he…? Godness me, dont ever let him go…. Worth a mention to Chamakh… Played his hearts out the whole 94mins and deserved at least a goal… Good that Arsene did not bring on Bendtner… Stern message to the squad about the value of teamwork, humility and professionalism… Nobody can scare Wenger…

  5. Good article again Tony – the league is back in our hands now – win every game and we have won! not relying on others slipping up.
    Michael – Bendtner was injured again yesterday – not even on bench.

  6. The more they forget us, the better.
    We will enjoy it even more when we come out winners at the end. And we will be laughing ever lauder when they say: ‘Like we told you all the time ….. “

  7. Tony, on slysports yesterday after the KGB lost:

    Richard (hairy hands) Keys: “That point Manchester Utd got at Villa yesterday is all the more valuable now”.

    Shame they dropped to 3rd. He never mentioned Arsenal moved to 2nd.

  8. I hope we dont become complacent again. We have a string of good wins and then suddenly Arsenal starts to become complacent. The next few games will be a very tough – Spurs and then Villa….also i hope Vermaelen can return back before the United game.

  9. Not only do we have competition for places in the main XI,we have big competition for a place on the bench..
    Yesterday we had wojo,eboue,gibbs,denilson,roscicky,van persie and walcott on the bench…Only 7 allowed in the league…
    Now for the next week,kosc’ly will be coming back after the suspension,bend ,diaby should b back to full fitness….What will wenger do??Who will he drop?Interesting times ahead

  10. Always love everything from here, one of the best blog about Arsenal in the world.

    It would be great if you can create article for a player who is one of the most important to us at this time IMO, who is also a joke for Arsenal fans just few weeks ago, Fabianski. He is a perfect explanation why Arsene Wenger is the best manager in the world while we are just boys with keyboards compared to him.

  11. The usual claptrap Tony as Trash.United cannot afford any top players anymore ,too much debt, have to try and buy cheap Chicharito players ,Luckypool have gone into serious decline for obvious reasons.Man.City will be without a manager very soon with so much money laid out on players and wages but no slverware too show ,Spurs a flash in the pan team with no consistency and Chelsea seeming to be the top team in the land ,but seeming to be and actually being the top are two separate issues ,losing 0-3 at home to Sunderland who lost in turn 0-5 to their Geordie rivals ,a good weekend for Arsenal ?

  12. Samuel I have to disagree on your last sentence.

    It wasn’t a good weekend, it was a great weekend for Arsenal. 😉

  13. Great post, but to me it’s important to always get the facts straight, even if they are not 100% in-line with the story.

    I’m talking about Henry and Patrick.

    Henry’s first season @ barca was not good. He did not adjust well to the new role, and looked a shadow of his former self. But, it’s a bit unfair to overlook his second season – he was one of the best, most influential players, although not as influential for us. After winning the CL, he looked like nothing else interests him (aside from looking down Eva Longoria’s cleavage, etc.)

    Patrick move to Juve to form one of the best midfield duo of the past decade – him and Emerson were as good as it could get. Playing with Nedved and Camoranesi on the flanks, the Juve of 2003-2005 was a magnificent team (and yes, they lost to us on our 2006 CL campagin). But to discredit Patrick for his 2 years over there is also unfair, in my opinion.

    I think that the best point is that Wenger proved everybody (AGAIN!) that he is right and they were wrong, with Fabianski. Just a joy to watch…

  14. I think the next few weeks are crucial. Chelsea are missing a few key men and drogba has malaria :)! manu have too many average players these days and rooney will be gone for a while. considering how they are playing they are lucky to be close and I can see them falling away in the coming months (hopefully) and the rest don’t have the consistency/quality to challenge. We have the best depth in the league at the mo imo.

    Were going thru the weeks without RVP, Vermaelen, walcott for a while,cesc isn’t 100% right and aaron is due back soon. Hopefully all these options will be around in the next 2-3 weeks. We haven’t gone on a run yet and it’s about time we did.

  15. thought i was in dreamland when Chelski lost, but overall it pointed to the fact that only arsenal can stop arsenal from winning the league. Great post and wonderful read.

  16. As usual, Tony always has the right perspective on The Arsenal. For true gooners, we are gutted when we lose but we will not hurl ourselves out a window, and request AW sell the entire team. And when we win, we understand that it is a long season, and it is just another building block in our long-term philosophy.

    I remember a treatise Tony wrote a while back about player transfers, and all who know more than AW: how does that player fit into our team; is he available for sale; how much will he cost; etc. The first issue struck me most:how does the player fit into our team? Notice how Kos and Squillaci have fit in.

    I must say I’ve had a smile on my face for a few weeks now. This is because I noticed that we don’t succumb to the bullies anymore. We will even take a few cards for our troubles.

    P.S. I read a stat somewhere that Chelsea scored only 7 goals in last 8 games, and 21 in the previous 6.

  17. A fantastic weekend. I have a real feeling thta this could be our year. My only frustration remains with Wenger who has clearly taken his eye off the ball in preparartion for this season. The summer signings we so badly needed would have seen us leading the pack by 4 or 5 points, wouldn’t they?

  18. Bexxy – I think you have to consider how long it takes for new signings to bed into the team, and for the team to adjust to the signing. Chamakh has made it straight away, and Vermaelen did too – but the number of players who can be transferred and walk straight into a new team is small.

    What’s more we are building a team not just for this year, but for next year and the year after. This is an attempt to repeat what Chapman did after five years – he didn’t just give us a team that could win the league, he started a dynasty that only Hitler managed to stop.

    If he can do it, Wenger’s greatest achievement will be to hand over a team and a system that rolls on and on for years after he has gone. That is why we revere Chapman, and why Wenger’s name will be here for ever.

  19. i think i’ll wait until after december before i start bashing one out. some big games in december, for all of the top teams which could have a real affect on the final outcome. but it all starts now against the yid scum.

  20. Loved the article (Are you gettng bored reading that Tony?).
    I just remembered Cesc saying something about no-one believing that Spain could win Euro 08 was something that team used as strenght (It was still in ’08 when I supported whole team so I remember it, now I only support Cesc and Iker).
    Oh what annoyed me in Finnish news paper today was there was big article about Sunderland winning (good thing) but only one line about Everton-Arsenal match and that was translated as “Mid-table teams have improved . For examble almost everyone strugles with Everton. As did Arsenal yesterday” and then it continued with comment from Steve Bruce. No mentioning that even Arsenal had hard time we won (well actually we were only team in top4 to win this weekend). I didn’t see the writer today but I might mention it next time I see him.

  21. Bexxy – what summer signings are you talking about?

    We needed depth at center forward. We got Chamakh. Check.

    We needed depth in defense BADLY. We got Koscielny and Sqillacci. Djourou came back from injury. Check.

    In what other areas did we need buys? Full-back? Nope. Midfield? Nope. Attacking midfield/Wingers? Nope.

    Ah, yes. Goalkeeper. That was the one. Well, Fabianksi is currently playing as well as anyone in the country. Reina has made just as many mistakes this season as Fabianski has and Reina would have cost 20-25m to buy. Is Fab the finished article? Nope. He will still get better. But his performances recently should have finally shown folks what Wenger saw in him during training. He looks to have gotten the confidence of his teammates which is vital.

    To say things like “The summer signings we so badly needed would have seen us leading the pack by 4 or 5 points, wouldn’t they?” is disengenuous. No, they wouldnt. Manchester City should be all the proof needed that new signings need time to integrate, especially when you are talking about integration into a system as dependent upon players being comfortable with each other as ours is. Team building takes time.

  22. I noticed one thing all the time about those so calleed piundit that every time we do well on the good run they are so quiet they dont say nothing but wait for that day when arsenal have bed moment and throw a critic on us like ; I alway said that they are to young no experience and to light ..

  23. FinnGooner, as far as I am concerned people can go on saying “I loved the article” all day and night. There is a certain web site which (at one time at least – I haven’t seen it for a while) gets 600 comments a day most of which say, “Am I the first?”

    We could have six hundred comments a day saying “Loved the article” perhaps, just to show them how it is really done.

    (I jest of course).

  24. Like a broken clock, there come Bexxy talking about “summer signings” and AW “taking his eyes off the ball”. When will this buy-buy mentality end? Have the examples of Liverpool, ManU, Portsmouth, etc not taught these people anything?

  25. a request to every fan that goes to ems that pleeeez get behind arsenal and create a gr8 atmosphere dere.

    we need to beat spuds(handsomely) to carry on with the momentum. And not just them everyone that comes to Emirates. I really believe that anxiety at ems gets to arsenal players and that cud be the reason for under performance at home.
    I know we have some doubters and some people are not satisfied with current squad but one should not feel that once he enters ems.the moment one enters emirates he should think of our team as world beaters,believe that arsenal can still win from 3-0 down even if the clock says 80 mins,Boos and whistles at every opposition possession, a bit like wolves fans(when we beat them 4-1, they were still chanting their hearts out) then only that confidence will be reciprocated by players on field.

    If 60,000 can’t act as the 12th man what’s the point of having such a big stadium.

  26. Sam I don’t want to repeat a word that you find offensive – and I fully understand where you are on this.

    But I have thus far on this site not taken any action as editor to cut posts that use the Y word, in the same way that I would cut the N word.

    My action has been led by the thought that a number of hard core fans of Tottenham call themselves by that word (as in the Y-Army phrase), and so although I never use it myself in any context at all, I feel ill at ease in cutting it here. I am open to persuasion on this, but (as with the recent issue on racism) I am concerned to try and find a balance between accepting the language of the street (which is after all the language of football) and being downright offensive.

    Having been brought up as a child in Tottenham I think I have a fair understanding of where we all come from on this, but still I find myself stuck.

  27. any of you have any idea how mr.wenger is gonna handle the threat of gareth bale in the totts game..guys i really want to know your ideas and suggestions though wenger might outdo us all….
    ps. i read the “handling bale smartly” article on the club website.

  28. Bale? what bale? sagna and nasri on the right would not give him a yard. on the contrary, how will harry contain the threats of arsha, chama, fab4, nasri, song??

  29. Spot on! A really well written article! Lately Fabianski has been really good, and I hope that he keeps improving. I also think that Djourou has been playing well and yesterday Denilson showed some character. I feel that because the players have been fit, the competition for places has done wonders to our game.

  30. Tony i realized I was supposed to write Are you gettng bored reading that Tony? ;)). But forgot the smiley…
    Also I think we should remind you guys how great articles you write so when those AAA guys comment you notice they are minority.
    Actually I should be sleeping right now but I had to come to read these first. Also I decided to leave 1 article for morning (I have to wake up around 5am, with Finland being 2 hour ahead I need something good to read before going to work).

  31. Great article Tony. I get up at 0250hrs to watch the games on Sky. Half akip but still get fully into the game when to teams are presented. Then back to bed with a satisfied glow only to get up and read the blogs. I find yours and Gunninghawk to be the best in that the variety and un-biased(in the most part) review of The Game, AW, Team and backroom staff really make my day. I miss the game experience within the stadium but you bring it alive for me. As a 65 year old steadfast genner I thank you most sincerly. Keep up the good work!!!

  32. Please excuse the spelling mistake in my eagerness to present I failed to read what I had typed.

  33. As far as the Y and N words are concerned, I have my own views. Both words are very ugly and i think that use of them belies ignorance in the user.

    Black people use the N word quite a lot and I have no problem with that, although Chris Rock has a great take on it. As far as I know, Jewish people don’t use the Y word amongst themselves like black people use the N word.

    On the other hand, Black people are a race and so the disparaging use of the N word is racism, whereas Judaism is a religion that spans many races and so the Y word isn’t racism. It’s Flying Teapotism.

  34. Fabianski has been unbelieveable if you ask me. I did had faith in his talent and i thought that the best thing for him would be playing time, as he was hurting from not playing a consistent run of games. The thing is, i didn’t think that it would happen at Arsenal yet, so i thought that a loan move to a mid-table Premier League-club would be the best for him.

    Instead, he got a opportunity when Almunia got injured and you can see him growing every game. Fabianski has been almost faultless in the last two months and really has been the revelation of the season at Arsenal, together with Nasri and Song, who added a new dimension in his playing style by making runs and going forward and be more of a influence in the build-up.

    I’m no AAA-member, but i must admit, i didn’t think Fabianski would do so well, so soon. I always wanted to see Akinfeev at Arsenal, but at the moment, seeing Fabianski is making me wonder whether it would be wise to spend on Akinfeev, with Fabianski’s current form and Szczesny, Mannone and Martinez in the come up as well.

  35. Great stuff as usual, did anyone hear what they said during the game about us being bottom of the fairplay table, whats going on there? Frankly if its true im proud of the boys for finally kicking back and not taking any sh**, i dont mind not being seen as the cleanest team anymore, if anything itll work better for us

  36. Great stuff Tony!! I still remember ppl bashing Nasri for the past two years but look at him now!! Seeing a player evolves like that really please me. In Arsene we trust

  37. Paul C – Yes in the summer, Goalkeeper was the main concern (and in my eyes is the reason we are not 4 or 5 points clear of Chelsea) I also felt, at the time that the we required a quality holding midfield player.

    Tony, of course a team is being built for the future (This has been the game plan for what, 10 years now?) However, I think we would benefit from signing the occasional established Premier League signing.

    So, back in the summer I was wishing for an established Premier League goalkeeper, Centre Half and holding midfielder.

    So shoot me!

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