Away to the Stone Pit: tonight’s team and news from Chelsea

By Tony Attwood

There are no secrets in football any more.  Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin are having a little break from the rigours, and Gaël Clichy has hurt his back – everyone knows.  Henri Lansbury has gone on a short term loan to Norwich (a small island just off the western coast of Ireland), and otherwise it is business as usual.

There’s a lovely way the papers report injured players too – try this for size…

Manuel Almunia (elbow), Thomas Vermaelen (achilles) and Abou Diaby (ankle).  Succinct but lacking a certain literary quality I feel.  Would it not be more informative (or at least more enjoyable to the readership) to say,

Almunia (a little tickle somewhere above the wrist, which is irritating, but nothing to write home about), Vermaelen (the old back of the foot stuff, just above the heel – a pesky thing done while playing for Belgium), Diaby (a twinge above the foot just where people like to kick you – not nice but part of the game it seems and those stupid refs won’t do anything about it and it’s doing my head – and foot – in).

Aaron Ramsey must be ready soon to trot around a bit, but there’s no sign of his yet.  Since I believe he is Cesc II it would be nice to see him before Xmas.

Here’s another thing from the papers… “The England defender Kieran Gibbs looks set to start, while the striker Nicklas Bendtner returns to contention after his groin problems.”

Why not, “Gibbs will play”.  What does “set to” mean anyway?  Manchester United are “set to” make a 50 trillion pound offer for a Bulgarian anchovy…”

(Sorry, got carried away there – I like anchovies, but not enough to write about them in a serious football blog).

Anyway, this leaves us with the old 1-4-2-1-3 formation. (Well, yes, I included the goalkeeper, because I felt sorry for him always being left out).


Gibbs, Koscielny, Squillaci, Sagna,

Song, Wilshere,


Rosicky, Walcott, Bendtner,

Sitting looking at the scenery so elegantly described by Walter in his previous piece, we would therefore find… Szczesny, Denílson, Djourou, Eboué, Chamakh, Vela, Fábregas, JET, Eastmond.

If this were to be remotely like the team to play in the economic land of “Anything-Ireland-Can-Do-We-Can-Do-Better” then the key point is whether you stick Bendtner down the middle, or Walcott.  Personally I would have them both playing both positions – although perhaps not simultaneously.  Regular swap overs would do.

Meanwhile, there is other news.  Not big news, but other news of a newsy kind of nature from the noisy part of Fulham.

It seems that having found themselves a rather good manager in Ancelotti the strange oligarchs from the region of the ‘Hel Sea in south west London are going to move him along.

Our russian friends are reported now to have paid £35.6m in compensation to staff for having contracts ended prematurely in the last four years alone.  Removal of one Wilkins (Raymond) cost getting on for half a million on its own.  Funny thing to do, when you are not buying players.

It is an interesting Jekyll and Hyde situation in that they are spending all this money on compensation, while pulling it in from selling old time has beens (around £70m over the same period).

In fact year on year they are now bringing in more money from sales than they are spending on buying – but they are still hampered by a very high wages bill.  Must be something to do with this financial fair play thing that everyone is chatting about.  Point is, if they are taking it this seriously, why isn’t Man IOU – or maybe that is what the restructuring of the PIK loan was about.

Funny old game.

Are Arsenal going downhill? Sometimes it is hard to say.

52 Replies to “Away to the Stone Pit: tonight’s team and news from Chelsea”

  1. You’ve got gibbs at right back and sagna at left in your team line up. just thought i’d let you know 🙂

    Best blog on the net. keep it up

  2. We have Braga to night but really does it change the price of fish in Ghana? Before now I would have said let’s finish it off today and qualify so as to let other younger players have a thirst of CL footie but I do not care that much any more because the result today will never wipe away the defeat by Spudz. What can wipe away this shame is a consistence performance by this team that will ensure that we reach the summit of the EPL and sustain the top spot to the end of the season. The least AFC fan or supporter deserves this. We lost at home to our bitterest rivals after being 2-0 up. We have lost 3 at home already, Chelsea & ManUtd have come to the Emirates and spank us on a regular basis by playing the same counter attack plan, and it works everytime, yet we still do not learn from it. We had embarrassing defeats at Wigan and Blackburn at the end of last season which you could tell was the final straw for Cesc who watched cold faced from the stands. And there are many, many other occasions where the fans have been totally let down, only to hear AW come out with “we must bounce back and show mental strenght” and “we were unlucky”. Its beyond a joke now and is insulting to be honest. The fans deserve more respect than this.

  3. Yes well I like to mix it up a bit. One week I played Fabianski at centre forward, which made more sense than the stuff Dreamz is still pumping out.

  4. surely, best site for informed arsenal news! Shouldn’t we move forward and consign the spudz defeat into history?

  5. Ramsey is playing in the reserves game against Wolves, apparently, so he is “set to” return fairly soon I would hope.

    Would jumble up the forward line, too: Walcott, Rosicky, Bendtner.

    Free speech, Tony… not letting people moan on here is the same as the Groaners gunning down anyone who refuses to describe Wenger as cancerous puke…

  6. Tony – I must have missed something. I didn’t realize that Harry Redknapp was the Ireland manager! How else can you explain their need for an £80 billion rescue package!

  7. The Spudz defeat IS history – except for the saddos who buy the spurs DVD and watch it on repeat. Dreamz is actually even sadder than those Spurs fans to my mind.

    The only way for team, manager and fans is to move forwards and focus on the next game. Imagine if Dreamz was a player or a manager – he’d last 2 minutes before letting his head drop.

    ‘Dreamz can come true’ – unless of course you a boring repetitive nightmare for all concerned.

  8. We need a comfortable win tonight with not too much running around… although we need also to bear in mind that conserving energy for the next match can cost us very dear – even a 2 goal lead isn’t cause to relax too much (as Dreamz continually scoffs).

    So, a bird in the hand, and all that stuff, would be the order of the evening.

    On that subject; I’m starting to suspect that Dreamz isn’t all he claims to be… there is something very fishy about his posts – he revels in our defeats just a little too much and tries to spin them, in a fashion, to use as leverage to divide the fan-base. In fact I would go further and suggest that the only time he/she/it has any visibility is when there is bad news abounding to rub in our noses thereof.

    Anyone else wonder what the agenda might be there?

  9. Phoenix – you raise a very interesting and important point, and I’m not mucking around when I say that I spend a lot of time pondering it.

    Yes, if I stop people talking I am half way to being like other sites (not the full way because I have never and would never change someone’s comment to make it look like they have said something else).

    But there’s a problem. If someone like Dreamz comes on and repeats the same point over and over without the coherence of thought that many of the writers on this site have, and to which I aspire but often don’t reach, then it has an effect.

    Instead of debating the points that I believe many regular readers want to debate we end up debating his points. And because he is not putting a coherent argument together but is rather make a set of polemical statements, we go round and round in circles.

    There is another Dreamz contribution which I have not published because it just says the same as some of the previous ones – and indeed it is a cut and paste job in many ways.

    Should I allow him to rant, and in fact take over a site that has been a haven for pro-Wengerian thought. The man or woman or alien entity even uses our site to argue that we should not be here, but should be more middle of the road (by which he suggests, blaming Wenger).

    I really do consider these points and am concerned about them deeply, but I do think there is a point of saying “no” to endless repetition without any logical debate.

    Consider Paul Fowler’s piece, The Lost Weekend I thought that was utterly brilliant, and looked forward to a serious set of appraisals of it, and the game in the light of those comments.

    What happened? An anti-Wengerian comes on with a point which in terms of both literary beauty and logical consistency scores about 0,5 on a scale of 1 to 10 against Paul’s 10. And he succeeds in subverting the whole debate. I don’t think that is a good thing.

    I debate this endlessly. I listen to advice. I take heed of the writings of Walter, Phil, Dogface and Dale who are writing articles here every week, and I think, do I want their work pushed aside for the sake of Dreamz, whoever he/she/it might be?

    In the end my answer, rightly or wrongly, is no.

  10. This dreamz character is posting same comments under the “usualsuspect” name in another sight. So just disregard him/her/it.

  11. Well Im sitting here watching the match and its nearly half time. We will have to beat the 6 officials along with these diving rolling around cheating muppets as well.

    This wont be easy everythings been handed to the home team.

  12. Tony you are right and there is no way around the likes of Dreamz obviously a disturbed individual.

    Best if everyone just ignores them or deletes the posts until something coherent comes out of his or hers mouth.

  13. Just have to admire the standard of the officials in Europe.
    What a joke if you cheat for long enough it seems eventualy you will get the result you want.
    Cant wait to see the next ref report.

  14. A terrible night all round – poor officials, injuries, late goals, dodgy defending. Sometimes its hard to be a Gooner.
    Looks like second at best, we really should have done better in this group.
    The delights or Barca, Real or Bayern await should we qualify.

  15. Eboue for me symbolizes everything that is wrong with this current Arsenal side. Average on the ball, can’t pass, and goes down under the slightest touch rolling around feigning injury when everyone knows he’s fine. PA TH ET IC!!!

    He’s not the only one though, Bentner? Vela? Could they have scored the second Braga goal? Not in a milion years of their wildest dreamz!

    Why did AW play Fab4 this eve!? Doh hamstring! Hello!!!

    OK AW has done well on the financial side, no one wants debts like the MU and we have a shiny new stadium, fine, fair play.

    Now however, having built this solid financial base use some of the money to buy more quality in key positions.

    By all means develop the young talent but realsie that not all the sow’s ears will end up as silk purses.

  16. Red gooner, If have already finished it and I must say that I will hold it back until tomorrow morning because I cannot remember being so angry about the officials (and all of them even the 5th and 6th) in a long time in the CL. I think this goes back to that dreadul night at Liverpool when the ref gave that penalty for a foul outside the box and a dive inside the box.

  17. Officials or no officials Arsenal should be able at least to get an away draw against likes of Braga. I guess Arsenal simply don’t know how play for a draw… Because if they did they would have won 6-0 on the counters. Do not forget Braga needed a win to stay in qualification race.

  18. come on Walter, allways the same story: officials, bad luck, we will bounce back, i don’t buy it any more.
    we are in serious problems and only one who doesn’t want to see it, doesn’t see it. i was angry after sp%#$ds game, but now i’m stunned. It’s just too much.

  19. Andrei, It was Braga that scored on the counter as we were to busy trying to win the game. I don’t think you have seen the game because you would have noticed that Braga was playing at home with 10 men behind the ball.

    If we would have played for a draw there wouldn’t have been a shot on goal all night long. They didn’t play to win, they played not to lose and so they won at the end when we were down to 10 men because of a player being kicked out of the game with no more substitutes as they all had been done.

  20. I guess that in this life, we all get times where no matter what we do, things conspire against us, then at times, we get the flip side. What was it that poem said about triumph, disaster and imposters?
    The fact is , we will qualify from this group but we will get a tough draw. But by the time that game is played, things may seem a whole lot better.
    This side makes mistakes under pressure that need ironing out but this evening, we were up against more than just Braga.

  21. Walter, I meant that Arsenal weren’t playing for a draw because they don’t know how aka don’t have Plan B. As you said yourself there wouldn’t have been a shot on goal; point earned; qualification assured.

    The bottom line is Arsenal didn’t have to press it was Braga who were in the dire situation. Perhaps Arsenal were just compensating for the loss to Spurs…

  22. Walter I agree totaly, If you havent watched the game how can you make a comment.
    what made it worse was listening to fox soccer warren bartons typical anti Arsenal crap smug as ever when Arsenal loose and as distant as ever when Arsenal win.

    Still we will be home to the bottom team in the last game and hopefuly with a win we can forget about champions league until March. You never know which teams will have injuries come then and who will be hitting top form.

  23. We were not fecking good enough. How do we rate Jack tonight? I think he joins the list of distracted personel along with Cesc and Arsene.

    Yes we can blame the officials, but for me it was more of a case of:
    BAGGAGE HANDLERS 2 ARSENAL 0 – I’m pretty sure that was deliberate time wasting on the way in that clearly gave us a disadvantage – Walter/Tony time to discuss

  24. Oh dear ! Its like reliving ” Groundhog’s Day ” every match with no respite in sight.The errors are almost repetitive every
    match and the morale is low – the body language is all wrong.
    Hope the players snap back and get into winning ways in the league – its all in their hands .Mental thoughness comes from within,so come on guys,do us proud !
    When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

  25. What a sorry state of affairs at the Arsenal.Totally inept display against a mid table Portuguese club, and though we most probably will beat Partizan Belgrade to qualify, Arsenal will be the team everyone will want to draw.That in itself speaks volume.You can put whatever spin you like on it, there was again no leadership, no commitment and above all absolutely no confidence in the team.Yes, we had a nailed on penalty denied,but it doesn’t make up for the fact that Wenger cannot install “mental strength” into this team and admitted he took a huge risk playing Fabregas,who hasn’t looked right for weeks and quite frankly doesn’t seem to be bothered one way or another.No use saying “Wenger Out” it just won’t happen,and the players themselves need to take a long hard look at themselves and it is becoming increasingly evident that the pressure has got to the manager himself as he is making elementary mistakes in his team selection and style of play.When you support a club and lose interest mid way through the first half,it is an acceptance that the inevitable will happen, as it surely did.

  26. Like Bexxy said – Distracted. It’s a mystery to me, how from a team that a month ago really looked mature, composed, ready-to-fight (at last!) without losing the sparkle and brilliance – we turned into THIS. Really. We had done a whole lot better when 70% of our first team were out injured, then in the recent 3-4 weeks. We look drained, without any energy. It’s not coincidental that the only 2 players that look energized were Gibbs (who didn’t play this season yet) and Fabianski (who is still doing really well, thankfully). I mean, what IS it for f***s sakes… the guys look like their proverbial dog had died… where is our famous “joie de vivre”?

    Surely, this is not something that will be solved by some AAA solutions like “buying a new fart machine” or anything like that.

  27. @ tommie. Do you think we have lost the winning mentality? I mean like if we look @ the players of the past they would die on the pitch. I really hope there is a turnaround @ villa park. But with players like denilson and bendtner sssiiggghh

  28. @ Peter – I am clearly not pointing a finger at anyone in particular, and as I said, I find this a big mystery. In the past seasons, we have always played with the same brilliance and attitude, playing ultra attacking football that combined possession and accurate, intricate passing and a very organized collective play.

    What we lacked was the desire or the ability to show negative sides, who kicked us out of the field, that we can also play their (dirty) game – a thing we managed to do very successfully this year, while maintaining our beautiful attacking game. As a result, we combined 5 and 6 goals a game against some opponents who tried to attack us (Braga, Blackpool, Shakhtar), with solid results against sides that in the past created difficulties for us (Wolves, Bolton).

    It should be noted, that some sort of clues or indictaions to the shock defeats vs. WBA and Newcastle were present last season – we had a few lukewarm games vs. lesser opponents, where it was clear that the guys just didn’t feel like they need to put in 100%.

    But what we had last year – in abundance – was a “never say die” mentality. Coming back from 2-0 to win 4-2 v. Bolton is a fine example. Getting the reputation for scoring those 90th minute winners was something I adored. And we did that with a much longer injury list.

    So I’m coming back to square one, unfortunately – not being able to put the finger on it. Surely, a few good results should put it all behind us – but for me, it’s more interesting to know why we are in this situation in the first place and when will we shake this mental block off.

  29. Have you noticed that we continue to lose matches in pairs? Since Man Utd and Man City last August, I think with one CL exception and one league exception, we’ve lost two matches consecutively when we have lost. 
    We have often played poorly away from home in this competition. If you can qualify from a group, such displays are quickly forgotten about. However, what the Braga defeat showed is that lessons have not been learned with a view to lapses in disciplined team play and getting caught on the break. Sure, Carlos Vela should have had a penalty, but the non-award of a spot kick was no reason for the visitors to lose focus and start taking risks. A draw was a result that would have guaranteed qualification. There was no need to press for a win. It was as if the injustice of the Vela decision made something flip in the minds of the Arsenal players, and you have to put that down to lack of experience at how to get results from tight matches in Europe.It was interesting to see three of the back four changed and all of the front three. This was partly a reaction to Saturday, but also an acknowledgment by the manager that, ultimately, the big game for Arsenal is the one at home to Partisan Belgrade, a team with zero points out of 15 so far. But Braga’s win does mean that Arsenal have to merely turn up on December 8th. And with the mental fragility of this team, a home win certainly cannot be taken for granted. It will probably be a tense evening, in spite of Partisan’s abominable record. It is not unknown for eliminated teams to produce shock results on matchday six. Just look at Arsenal’s win at Panathinaikos in 1998 with what would today be considered a Carling Cup strength line-up, the Greek side needing a win to secure progress from the group. It can happen. I cannot get too excited about last night’s defeat for three reasons. The game should prove an irrelevance if Arsenal do what they should and win in two weeks’ time. The collapse at the end told us nothing new and changes nothing. Maybe it will help to convince a few of the AKB brigade to admit to themselves that Arsene Wenger cannot build a team that can defend unless he buys more proven players. And finally,

    we haven’t got much hope of beating the best sides in Europe over two legs.

    The real issue about last night though, is that a team who only needed a draw, and performed like it, suddenly lost the plot when a penalty was not awarded to them. That suggests a lack of brains to me, a lack of composure, a lack of the knowledge of how trophies are won.

    The defeat to Spurs hurt more for a number of reasons, not least that every point matters in the Premier League. But the lack of defensive solidity over the two matches when just the merest whiff of pressure was applied will hopefully shock the manager into doing something to rectify what is obviously a fundamental flaw in the team at the moment. If losing Thomas Vermaelen is all it takes for the floodgates to open, then some serious questions need to be asked.

    As for the manager’s position, he is sitting pretty for a while yet. The most important thing to the directors is that he gets the team in the Champions League group stages, for financial reasons. Anything further is regarded as a bonus. And that creates a comfort zone feeling in the club that means players do not always exert themselves to the level the fans would like to see. I am not going to make a big thing of Braga’s win, it just confirms a few problems that we knew about already. Problems I don’t see changing anytime soon…

  30. It seems the apologists who normally have a lot to say, but never about football don’t want to come on here and defend the bumbling buffoon they worship. What no geriatric Benjamin Button type Canadian moose boring us to death with nonsensical statistics which don’t actually tell us anything. I don’t need to know how many times Rosicky lost the ball, I don’t need to know how slowly Denilson tracks back, I don’t need to know how many times an Arsenal player passed the ball sideways. I watch the games and I don’t need anyone else telling me what happened, I can see what the problems are myself. And the problems are Wenger, Wenger, and Wenger. The man is tactically inept, he can’t motivate anyone, he refuses to improve the side by entering the transfer market, he refuses to stop buying second rate French rubbish, he refuses to accept any responsibility for anything, it’s always someone else’s fault never his. It’s high time the paying fans refused to accept his stubbornness. Get on the phone, e-mail, write letters, give him pelters whenever he stands up. We have to make this egomaniac realise we are fed up with his Vanity Project. The PL is there for the taking, someone will take it but it wont be Arsenal with Wenger in charge.

  31. To be fair to wenger I want to say he should be commended. To take the club to a new world-class stadium by making a relatively small net loss on transfers and remaining in the top four for each subsequent season, as well as qualifying for the knockout rounds of the CL during this time is a significant achievement and should not be belittled. But the harsh reality is that Wenger is failing to implement his vision for the club which must, ultimately, end in the winning of trophies. One begins to question his initial success at Arsenal: how much of it was down to the players left at his disposal before his arrival? I’m talking Seaman, Keown, Adams, Dixon, Bergkamp, was he riding the crest of this wave until 2004? The policies and infrastructure he has introduced in the last 6 years have been an unquestionable success, but (most alarmingly for a man once celebrated as ‘Le Professeur’) he has been exposed as a poor tactician with a limited understanding of formation, the targetting of opposition players and the art of the tactical substitution.
    For Arsenal’s failures this season I do not blame the goalkeepers (Fabianski has won matches for Arsenal), the centre backs (who have been left cruelly exposed by Mr Wenger’s idea of having a roaming defensive midfielder. Most teams have two players with some sort of positional discipline) or the injuries (all the big teams have suffered the same, if not worse such problems). No. The blame must lie solely at the door of Arsene Wenger.
    When will he realise that Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas cannot play together in the midfield three? When will he realise that Theo Walcott has arguably the most outstanding future of all players at the club and that playing him on the right of the front three has become ridiculously easy to counter by managers who simply instruct their left backs to show him inside and leave no space in behind? When will he realise that Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky are not impact substitutes? Bringing such players on in search of a winner is a) extremely unlikely to reap reward due to lack of pace and penetration and b) liable to leave the back four more exposed than it already is. Perhaps most tellingly is his insistence on focusing on our game and not worrying about the tendencies of other teams – to me this screams arrogance. It is no wonder that opposition star players love playing against us, Wenger doesn’t give them two thoughts. Drogba, Bale, Messi, Torres (CL 2007) – we’ve seen it happen again and again, but Mr Wenger pays no heed.
    His stubborness is costing this club and his good work will surely go unrewarded if we cannot keep hold of our best players next summer. Wenger needs to study what he sees every time his players lose ‘inexplicably’ and realise what is wrong with the way that this talented team is playing its football. If he can’t do this then he needs a no. 2 that can. Either that or continue to sit and watch in awe of just how such individuals are losing games which they should be winning

  32. Bexxy, Peter C, I have tried to explain a million times before but clearly my message never gets through. Here’s one more go.

    When I started this site there were lots of sites calling for Wenger to resign, with writers claiming that he was useless.

    I didn’t think that was right, and felt that I had nowhere really to put my case that he should stay. So I set up this blog, expecting perhaps a few hundred readers. From day 1 it has said, “Supporting the Lord Wenger…” It has never said, “this site gives a balanced view about Wenger, or this site will on occasion be critical. It is a supportive site of Wenger.

    If you don’t like that, that is fair enough, and you are lucky because you have hundreds if not thousands of sites that agree with your view. But I am not changing the editorial policy of this site, because of your view.

    I do allow critical comments about Wenger on the site, as you will have seen time and again, although if they get repetitive, or if they are plagiarised, if they are very rude to the writer, or if they come from a person using multiple addresses and arguing with him/herself, eventually I stop them.

    Don’t know why this is such a difficult editorial point to put across, but that’s how it goes. What I would also say is that although I do cut a few pieces what I have never done and will never do is change what a writer has said. If you want that sort of service, it is available elsewhere.

  33. Tony understand your message loud and clear. But I’m sorry there is no one but to blame apart from the manager. He is the cause and the effect is this team of overpaid and greedmonger foreigners who are destroyiing our club. So I guess another season without a trophy should suit people just fine then eh?

  34. Well Peter C, I just can’t follow your line of reasoning about “destroying our club”. To argue that you have to show some sort of historical context, since for the club to be destroyed it must once have been in a better position. When was the better position? During the first Wenger double run, that I have written about? In which case how do you explain the matches I mentioned in that article?

    Or maybe you were a fan of Bruce Rioch?

    To make this argument make any sense you must put in the historical context instead of just repeating what so many are saying. Just because a lot of people say X equals Y it does not make it true.

  35. Peter C and Bexxy I apologize if I have been misunderstood: I don’t share the same views as you. Even if I think that Cesc should have been taken off at half time due to quite clear lack of movement (and I’m not talking about the hamstring aggravation thing) – to say that Wenger is to blame, and moreover, suggesting that the solution is “plunging into the transfer market” is absurd. Since, as I said, we did a lot better in the beginning of the season and mentally speaking we were doing a lot better last year with a much thinner squad. So your logic doesn’t stand.
    Yes, something is going on, but sorry, you guys don’t have the answer.

  36. Tony, take it as a compliment that we rate your site so highly. I am not anti Wenger. This is a very interesting debate by in the main, intelligent arsenal fans. Don’t keep your head in the sand. The majority of fans on this site will back Wenger until the end. We are not all sheep. Don’t punish us for that.

  37. Tony Obviously the Credit Crunch has come at a time when we were leveraged up to the b******* with the stadium and has made it very difficult to pay high wages that attracts great players and considering we have been in the Champs lge year in year out, is brilliant. However the premiership has deteriorated over the last 5 years and with Wenger’s philosophy there is no reason why Arsenal would have deteriorated as well because he has kept to his guns and bought young, cheap, potentially good players a lot of them now are mature players. Now, if we nearly one the league in 07-08 season when Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea were very strong, why is it we have made no progress on this, when clearly Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea are not as strong as they were?????? Unfortunately it seems that he has adopted the herd mentality and that he will happily chase the leader but not be the leader and until this changes then we will not win a thing!!!!!! West Brom and Spurs no excuses, gambled with Cesc last night no excuses.
    Braga are a nobody team that we should have beat with ease. Next up Is Villa and United and they will be out for our Blood. If we do not up our game ten fold they will both beat us. If that happens this team will be finish and will struggle for a euefa cup spot.(harsh some might say but its my feeling) If we can turn around and beat Villa and United then we will have the confidence to march on and take the Title. There is a big two weeks ahead.

  38. I would not waste your time explaining anything on some of that lot Tony, looks like the Wenger haters have landed!

  39. I hope you don’t mean me Mandy? I have an opinion on Wenger bases on his performance over the last 6 months. I am a little drunk right now but still have a clear mind. I hope I have not offended Tony, but here is an opportunity to embrace the thoughts of all fans of his site. This site can fulfill it’s potential if Tony opens his mind to it. I’d like to think all on this site are Wenger fans to various degrees. Strange choice of sites if not!

  40. I would say that there is a problem in the dressing room – but this is one of many reasons as to why a match is won/lost.

    The black and white view that we lose a couple of matches on the bounce therefore Wenger should be sacked doesn’t sit well with me… the reasons spouted as to tactics also don’t sit well as they do not take into account the hostile environment we play in – if you understand what you are watching and not what you are told you will know this.

    I do concede that we should have kept a 2 goal lead – and in a fair game we would… to be champions you have to keep a 2 goal lead even when the referee is out to fuck you – this is called ‘experience’… we certainly don’t lack that as we’ve been fucked by referees more than most clubs in the past and this season we have seen something of this ‘experience’ florish.

    That is until now – now we have a blip which seems out of character… and not just for the past two games – before then.

    And this brings me back to the dressing room and the captain – there are problems between Wenger and Fabregas, it is clear to see. I believe that Fabregas has lost some respect for Wenger and in turn the dressing room has lost respect for Wenger and this, of course, is reflected on the pitch.

    There is a reason for this and I think we all know what it is… Wenger is like a second father to Fabregas and I think that there is some personal resentment from Fabregas for the recent allegations surrounding Wenger’s private life – this timing of this coincides with what we are witnessing. Wenger, no doubt, has been seen to not practice what he preaches in terms of the standards of behaviour he expects from his players.

    If he were my dad and I were young and righteous again – I’d be pissed off about the situation to a point where it would affect my judgement… and in this Wenger most certainly take the blame and bear the consequences of his actions and indiscretions through the undoubted stress he must be under from his family (private life) and his second family (Arsenal).

    I say all that; but if you were to ask me, do I think Wenger is still the best man for the job – absolutely I do… and I hope he can validate my faith in his abilities as a inspirational manager by navigating this rough patch in his career and grow from it – after all, we are not a club in crisis just yet.

  41. Here “Peter C” comes with the “greedy and overpaid foreigners” argument again! I guess you can say the same about ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool, etc too. This kind of xenophobic, pediatric and nonsensical argument should not even belong in civilized company. Are the better players in England? We all saw how they did at the WC.
    I will gladly state that the efficiency of Lampard with Chelsea is due to the “foreigners” to his left and right in the midfield. His deficiencies are exposed when he dons the England shirt. Please develop a better sense of logical thinking before writing.

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