The Importance of Theo Walcott….

I’m not his biggest fan as followers here may know. A lot has been written about him, some good, some bad but there is one aspect of his game that he does better than most and that’s his off the ball movement. Theo is very intelligent as Jacques Crevoisier our sports psychologist told the Daily mail:

Arsene Wenger always tells me that you have to be clever to play for Arsenal and that is where he starts. Without that, you cannot fit into his system. At Arsenal I’ve done tests for all the young players. They were all outstanding psychologically. I think Wilshere’s showed him to be a bit more confident than Walcott but they all had some of the best profiles you will see.

Good off the ball movement was the hallmark of the Legendary Hungary side that famously beat England 6-3 in 1953 was their players’ tendency to drift out of their natural position and switch with teammates thereby confusing the opposition about who they were supposed to be marking. (Jonathan Wilson: Inverting the Pyramid).

Cast your minds back to the dreadful 08/09 season when we beat the Mancs at home. Nasri got all the plaudits for the second goal but if you watch the replay it was Theo’s intelligent right-left movement that distracted Vidic which led to Nasri having an acre of space to smash the ball in. When the season began he was our best player but it wasn’t only for his goals. His movement was devastating as he kept popping up in central areas similar to how Ljungberg did for the invincibles.

At full speed, Walcott he is devastating and defenders hate that. Messi even said he was the player they feared the most as you know once his brain and feet are on the same wavelength he is devastating.

Top European clubs have such players in their squads. We had Ljungberg and Pires at their prime doing this. Bergkamp and Ljungberg at the back-end of 01/02 combined effectively sealing the title for us. Bergkamp dropped deeper to receive and attract defenders and Ljungberg running infield to finish. It was so simple but opponents couldn’t deal with it. Our opponents in the knock-out stages of the Champions League have Messi and Pedro who are excellent at this. Guardiola has made Barca more formidable by making his players just as dangerous with or without the ball. As Barca destroyed Madrid you could clearly see why Madrid struggled to contain them. When Madrid had the ball, Barca players would swarm all over them. When they regained it Barca players would move into a variety of positions creating various angles for the ball carrier. Madrid didn’t know how to deal with this and you saw the result.

Nasri has recently improved this aspect of his game and you can see he is twice the player as Arsene Wenger noted:

He was a bit too much attracted by the ball and we wanted him to do more once off the ball, go in behind without the ball, because we have many players who can keep the ball.
Now he has more variation in his game: turns, runs in behind without the ball, and as well coming to the ball and taking it to his feet. So his game is improving and he is, of course, more efficient.

Robin van Persie is also excellent at it as evidenced by us scoring 55 goals in 19 games last season before he got injured. Lately our play has seemed slow and lethargic because it seems very few of our players move effectively to create space for the ball carrier. With the chavs game coming up I’d love to see a forward line of Nasri/Robin/Theo just because of their ability to create space for others to run into. Fabregas scored lots of goals last season because Robin would drag centre backs all over leading to space for him.

Diaby also scored a lot due to this and that’s why we demolished smaller teams last season as they couldn’t handle all that movement.

Off the ball movement is devastating when it’s used effectively. Paolo Maldini insisted that Arrigo Sacchi considered this aspect as key to winning matches:

Before Sacchi came to Milan, the clash between two opposing players was always the key, but with him it was all about movement off the ball, and that’s where we won our matches.

When we have so much movement off the ball is when we really play ‘Wengerball’. I hope over this break our players put in some effort to re-establish this aspect and maybe we’ll see some renaissance from our team starting with a victory over the Chavs, we are certainly due one.

Have a good day everyone!

Written by K-TR7

135 thoughts on “The Importance of Theo Walcott….

  1. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 9:38am

    Morning all, thanks KT :)

    I’m a big fan of Theo Walcott and I’ve been saying how important he is for ages :)

  2. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 9:51am

    Nice one KT. Interesting take on a problematic player. :-)

    Like you I am not sure Theo has ever reached his full potential. Still we live in hope! :-)

    Morning Rico. :-)

  3. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 9:53am

    Morning all.

  4. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 9:56am

    Morning RA and KT,

    I was going to change the headline to:

    Theo Walcott, Important or Impotent 😆

  5. nagpir

    December 22, 2010 at 9:56am

    Hes shit. All pace no brain a quicker version of Franz Carr and twice as crap. TW cost 20 mill in wages and fees and in 5 years what has he done……… answers on a post card.

  6. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 9:58am

    I think Theo is far from reaching his potential and what worries me is him reaching it elsewhere. I know I sound like a broken record but until he plays down the middle, we won’t see the best of him.

    We are struggling up front right now, chamakh needs a rest, what better time to play Nik and Theo…

  7. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 9:58am

    RA, i never did get your email :(

  8. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:01am

    Özil of madrid is another player who is so dangerous without the ball.a manc scout even said he is like a ‘ghost’ the way he pops in the box unnoticed.

  9. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 10:01am

    nagpir, probably about as much as most in our current squad, right now i cannnot see why Theo should be singled out…

    Ok, you are not a fan, why? Anything constructive/objective would be a good start…

  10. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 10:03am

    Mornig all.
    Basically I have to agree with the first sentence in your post K-TR7.
    The is like marmite and if I go along with your theory that he has a lot of movement off the ball,why is he so isolated when he comes on in a cameo role for club or country.
    His future is IMO a central one, and yes he showed most probably his best form at the beginning of the season before injury.
    I would say on his day he is as clinical in his finishing as anyone,but never consistent, something one can levy at a few of our players.
    He has bulked up a lot, is a nice clean living lad,but maybe that is part of his problem,he is just too nice and needs a bit of an aggresive streak in him.
    No doubt about his speed but tackling is not his forte,and 4 + years on he is still being confind to a cameo role, I wonder why that is.

  11. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 10:10am

    Morning kelsey

    The problem within the England camp is he plays for AFC, they never pass to him, the only player who did was Beckham.

    Wenger has suggested he is doing to Theo what he did with Henry, a few seasons on the wing then the central striker role with the freedom to kind of roam. He hinted that Theo would take that stage this season but yet again injury set him back…

    I bet he starts against the chavs…

  12. Pires7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:11am

    Great article and very well written, when the players have the confidence to make a run and drag other players out of position then we’ll see the real Arsenal. RVP, and Fabregas did that fantastically well last season, Theo and Nasri can do it as well.

    The real stem of the problem is the distribution from back to front. When Vermaelen plays he’s able to ping passes into fabregas’ feet or equally bring the ball out into the oppositions half. Pique does that fantastically well for Barca as does Rio Ferdinand, and that confidence and comfort with the player from the back rubs off on the front three, their movement off the ball becomes so much better and allows our full backs and attacking midfielder to occupy dangerous positions.

    Coming to Chelski – i think we all know what to expect, and it’s whether we can deal with the ariel threat, the 50/50 challenges and their attacking players. But when we played them at the start of the season they got the rub of the green and took their chances.

    Winning would seriously dent Chelsea’s chances albeit boost Manchester’s, but they still have to play each other twice in the new year when the fixtures really pile up.

    Bring it on

  13. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:12am

    The problem is that when theo makes a run somebody else has got to take advantage of it.thats why theo looks lively when both rvp10 and cesc are playing.robin even said that his favourite pass is the slide through ball to theo at full throttle.cesc spots theo’s runs very well too.Aw needs to drill this into the players to make it telepathic like it was for the invincibles/barça.our team having an injury free spell would certainly help to ensure everyone is on the same wavelength.

  14. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:17am

    Rico theo isn’t ready to play CF yet.his hold up play and link up play aren’t there yet but you can see Aw wants him to play like henry.the invincibles were excellent at this as henry would drag defenders wide left,bergkamp would drop deep and ljunberg/pires would make diagonal runs to was simple but devastating.i like rico can see theo starting against the chavs.

  15. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 10:22am

    Hi pires, good to see you here

  16. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 10:24am

    KT, i disagree a tad, said many time we lack a plan b, look at how many players we have who can play an inch perfect pass, play that ball through the middle of any defence, let theo do the rest… i also wonder how many defenders would get a tackle on him in the area which is mistimed because of his pace…

    thing is, none of us know the answer until he is tried there and as i keep saying, any other side would wish they had him and they’d play him too….

  17. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:27am

    Spot on pires7.vermaelen’s abscence has not only affected our defence but attack too.squillaci isn’t as good as vermy with the ball at his feet.vermy had 100% success rate in terms of passing in our first two PL games and it certainly helped our build up play.he is also excellent at setpieces and who can forget the thunderbolts he can hit with his left peg…

  18. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:33am

    Rico if you watch pedro of barca he is very similar to theo except he is abit more technical.he scores alot due to messi who plays as a false nine dragging defenders with him creating space.thats also the reason why villa doesn’t play central as messi is excellent at dragging defenders to create space.villa plays like henry coming in from the left to take advantage of this.

  19. Pires7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:45am

    Thanks guys.

    TV5 is intergral to us succeeding this year, he adds stability, guile and leadership. His pasing is very good but he also makes good decisions, when to bring the ball out and when to hold back and create openings for the midfeild and wingers.

    I also think we miss Ramsey, he more than anyone would’ve been one of the first names on the team sheet this year. Here we have a box to box midfielder, with bags of energy, two great feet and a goalscorer. He played with no fear and relished every opportunity. If at all we can get him for 5-10 games next year (maybe even a Carling cup semi final appearance) then I definitely feel he will add a new dimension to our game.

    Does anyone know if Cesc and RVP will be fit for Chelsea?

  20. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:50am

    Pires7 is completely agree.ramsey was a starter before he got injured.i really liked him and id say he is better than jack at the second holding/watercarrier role.i see jack playing cesc’s role in future with ramsey behind him.

  21. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 10:51am


    you make some very valid points,and we have discussed on here before that Vermaelen wouldbe an excellent captain and is dearly missing this season.
    With regards to Theo again,how often do we see a cross and no one is in the box or far post to have an attempt at latching onto the cross, though the same can be said of others.

    The one and only time this season it worked perfectly was the first minute goal by Chamakh from song’s pass against Wolves.

    IMO a low hard whipping cross is generally more effective.

    Cesc has been seen out here training with Barca but RVP is a glass act :)

  22. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 10:57am

    Pedro has a couple of years on Theo KT 😉

  23. Potter

    December 22, 2010 at 10:57am

    From my position at The Grove ,I often see Walcott make runs and Denilson , Diaby etc play the safe ball and go square. Walcott needs to be released quickly until our midfield start to play with their heads up and take the risks involved he will remain a bit part player and we will not get the best of him.

  24. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 10:57am

    Ball playing CBs are also very important to build up play nowadays.thats why the chavs want David luiz from Benfica.milan have thiago silva,barca have pique,mancs have rio,madrid have carvalho while inter have lucio.such CBs are very useful tactically as they may join the Mf when a team is dominating or go wide of a 3 man defence like barca do while building up play.vermy is such a CB and once he learns when to come out of the defence to attack the ball and when not to he’ll be a big asset.messi/rooney played as false nines and dragged him out easily and we conceded as a result.

  25. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 10:58am

    Kelsey, agree re Theo crossing recently, exactly where he should be crossing to yet no-one there, who gets the slating?? Chamakh, Nikki etc? No, Theo ! :(

  26. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 10:59am

    P7, I think TV could be back for the Chavs, now that would be a boost…

  27. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:00am

    Hi Potter, good to see you here on HH….

  28. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:01am

    Rico this is pedro’s second season as a regular.he had his breakthrough year last season.two seasons ago he played for Barça B along with Busquets.

  29. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:03am

    See David Dein is odds on the become the FA Chairman… wonder if we will be more fairly treated from now on 😉

  30. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:07am

    Potter its nice to see you here.i have raised that point at 10:12.thats why theo looks like a world beater when playing with rvp/cesc.

  31. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:10am

    Rico i think i’ll widen the scope for my next post and discuss ball playing CBs.

  32. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:11am

    So, that begs the question, why did Theo not play more for the reserves? In fact why don’t a lot of the squad players who are not getting selected…

    The barca b team grow together and the jump to the first team is more easy. with ours they either play or, if not they don’t play ‘match football’ for weeks, its wrong….

  33. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:13am

    KT, you know you are free to write about what you like and as often as you like, but, your posts are better to go up when you are around as i don’t follow the euro football and certainly don’t know enough to compare…

    A womens life is too busy to follow all the euro footie 😉

  34. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:17am

    Rico the barca B team isn’t similar to the reserves in Spain the barca B ply their trade in the Segunda division (championship) where they play week in week out in a competitive England the reserves aren’t competitive enough which forces us to loan our players across the country hence they can’t grow England this wouldn’t be allowed as money talks alot and its no wonder the championship’s commercial deal is 4th behind EPL,La liga and Serie A ahead of the likes of the Bundesliga.

  35. mark paul hooker

    December 22, 2010 at 11:18am

    is that the dreadful season when we got to an fa and champions league semi final
    oh my days the use of hyperbolic language is stunning

  36. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:19am

    Rico i know you women love shopping,cooking…complicated lives!

  37. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:23am

    The 08 CL and FA semis where we were embarassed and ended up looking like ‘boys’…

  38. Pires7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:25am

    The Walcott issue is clearly hyped by the media. Here’s a boy who was literally on the plane to South Africa only to have the media scrutinise his every “bad” pass in the England friendlies.

    I personally believe that being part of the england set back then was a huge detriment to his progress. I think he’s far more confident now because Wilshire and Gibbs are there as fellow Gooners and friends.

    I get the impression that Walcott has a few aims and objectives of his own which stop hime playing with freedom. These are;

    1. You can see he’s a afraid of getting injured, he’s dislocated both his shoulders before the age of 21 and came in for some rough tactics against battling teams last year.

    2. He’s still adjusting to being a right winger as opposed to a right sided midfeilder. Wingers are there to get inside their markers or to hug the touchline and take on players, we all know Theo needs the ball fed into space and he will always hit the target or create a chance for on coming players

    3. Confidence – he was playing fantastically well at the beginning of the season, in fact he and Nasri who both missed out on WC spots trained harder and were the stand out players in pre-season. This year he gets injured on international duty and that has affected his confidence. He feels like he needs to performing in every single game now otherwise he won’t retain his position.

    However Walcott has quite a good record against Chelsea, he’s scored a few goals and generally makes their back 4 panic.

    I’d like to see this team against Chelsea:

    GK – Chesney
    RB – Sagna
    LB – Gibbs
    CB – Djourou
    CB – Squillaci
    DM – Song
    CM – Cesc
    CM – Wilshire
    RW – Walcott
    LW – Nasri
    CF – RVP


  39. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:26am

    KT, but they could still play in the reserves, look at Vela, Nik, Walcott, Denilson etc, why can’t they just go and have half a game to keep their eye in – Vela hasn’t played a matvch for how long now??

    Then, when he does he’s expected to hit the ground running, he can’t, by playing in the reserves it would help the natural progress of these players and make it a darn side easier for the reserve players to make the step up…

    It shouldn’t exhaust them, the reserves don’t have a hectic fixture list… And, on from there, it would then free up others to go on loans for that little extra experience…

  40. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:31am

    mark – painful, eh :(

    KT, I know, I don’t know how I do it 😉

  41. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:31am

    Pires7 that team would certainly pull apart the chavs and would certainly peg back malouda/cole who love tormenting us.we have conceded most goals against the chavs due to that combination.

  42. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:33am


    Good comment…

    I like the team too, especially the JD/Squilli pairing, i think its our best right now

    And Chesney in goal is a must, he won’t fear Drogba and it will make the chavs have a re-think, right now you can almost hear Anchovy telling them to target Fabianski….

  43. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:36am

    P7 the England setup is quite detrimental to our players.Capello said that at Arsenal jack is allowed to take extra touches on the ball but if he is to play for England.i mean WTF?is he telling jack to get gritty and hoof it up to caroll?no wonder theo struggles in there.

  44. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:39am

    Spot on KT, i am at the point where i wish no afc players would get picked under capello, hate to say it but if Arry ever takes over from him, we will all see a very different England style and i bet he’d get the best out of our number 14 too….

  45. Pires7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:48am


    Thanks Rico and K-TR7. Chesney has all the makings of a great goalie and it very commanding I thought he handled the Man U forward line really well.

    We just need to take the game to them and be clinical. RVP needs to start as again he has a good scoring record against them and he’s home record of scoring at the Emirates is also good.

    Djourou needs to play also his ariel ability has massivley improved and manages to get stuck in quite a bit, we need that against Anelka, Malouda and Drogba.

  46. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:48am

    Rico it will be like killing two birds with one stone: theo shines for England and spuds go back to midtable mediocrity…

  47. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 11:49am

    David Bernstein, the young 67 year old ex man city got the job, so DD can hopefully focus on us rico

  48. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:52am

    P7, you are welcome, and anytime you would like to write for HH, please just send me an email :)

  49. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:53am

    P7 chesney has the ‘it’ factor about him and thats why we have high hopes for him.djourou and squilli play well together and are quite physical enough to handle the chavs forward line.kozzer is more suited to ball playing teams like barca where his man marking and interception skills are required.

  50. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:53am

    Ah, good point KT, in that case, i hope he gets the job very soon :)

    kelsey, i’m surprised by that decision, do you think he still wants to come back to afc??

  51. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 11:55am

    snowing again here, so best get out for an hour while i can 😉 won’t be too long and don’t all go away….

  52. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 11:56am

    Kelsey its about time Dein came back home…

  53. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 12:06pm

    Many feel he sold out but he is arsenal through and through and he took a lot of the responsibility away from wenger,so wenger could focus on managing the team,and it coincided with our break up of the invinsibles.if DD were back I am sure it would be beneficial to all of us.

  54. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 12:13pm

    Kelsey Dein thought it would be best and in no means meant any harm to our you say he is Arsenal through and through…

  55. Pires7

    December 22, 2010 at 12:18pm

    I’ve been reading the blogs for a while so I’d love to contribute…

    Coming back to the FA – Dein would’ve shaken that place up and looked towards a new way of thinking about Football in this country.

    This is the guy that brought Wenger to Arsenal and helped revolutionise the way we and the rest of the country play football.

    I hope no Arsenal players get selected for England whatsoever, a bit selfish, but hey!!

    Has anyone seen our two new signings in action – Miyachi and Wellington, plus Aneke, Afobe and JET.

    I’m hoping next year Lansbury comes straight into the Arsenal team, he reminds me so much of David Beckham, the unique delivery and constantly getting into the box to try and score goals.

    Does anyone think Wenger will sell anyone this year?

  56. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 12:33pm

    morning all…good post k. now, if only we can get the players back to the quick, incisive passing, and off-the-ball pressure. our opening day win at everton last season showed us what this should look like at it’s best.

    the fear of losing that cesc commented on recently may be what has seemingly inhibited us…

  57. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 12:51pm

    Thanks oliver.we were also excellent in the first half at villa park this season.

  58. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 12:59pm

    I hope in the 2nd half of the season we actually play ‘wengerball’ with the consistency of the 07/08 team.injuries clearing up will help and maybe then the mental block will be lifted.

  59. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 1:06pm

    but those sort of performances are now too few and far between. injuries certainly have an effect – but when have we not dealt with injuries.

    up until this season, we were able to play like this consistently against lower teams. i really think this fear of losing has inhibited us against virtually everyone…and it seems to be developing into a particular problem at the ems. witness our three home losses and abysmal performance against bottom-of-the-table west ham…

  60. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 1:13pm

    Oliver we can all hope.imagine the confidence we’d develop having very few injuries and playing ‘wengerball’ to beat the likes of the chavs?imagine having robin and cesc fit and firing for the 2nd half of the season?i hope it comes true.i remember how last season robben galvanised Bayern to two domestic titles and a CL final in the 2nd half of the season.i hope cesc and robin do the same for us.

  61. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 1:14pm

    i think we need more. i think our players need something to turn to – a variation in play – when things do not go so well. too many times, we are hit with some adversity or we don’t create anything, and we resort to the harmless, endless sidways passing – so often, the team looks like it is unable to figure out how to change things, and resorts to what they know.

  62. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 1:21pm

    Oliver it often goes unmentioned but to play ‘wengerball’ effectively you need very fit players as the distance covered in a match will be massive.this also necessiates having a big squad with very few injuries to allow rotation of fatigued players.this brand of football is very effective and can break the bus once mastered also requires lots of confidence between teammates which means you’ll trust cesc to send that inch perfect through ball once you’ve made a lung busting run.once we do that you’ll see Aw smiling again.

  63. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 1:27pm

    When thing don’t go well for barca messi bails them out.we need something…

  64. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 1:28pm

    my big problem is that when it doesn’t work – and it has barely worked at all this season – nobody (including arsene) seems to know what to do next. the way we currently execute it, it is too easy to nullify and counter.

    very fit players and the injury list we deal with every year – you have just identified a major flaw in our application of our principles. another you identify is our squad size – which is fairly big on paper, but much smaller in reality, as arsene has several guys on the bench that cannot get a sniff at the moment.

    i am actually starting to wonder if i have just imagined carlos vela – and he does not actually exist – these past few seasons…

  65. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 1:31pm

    messi scores the goals, but the team themselves seem to be able to adapt much, much better than us and still create opportunities…much of this may be attributed to this barca team having scaled the summit very recently, and always continuing to be in contention.

  66. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 1:32pm


    hi oliver and thats good news P7…

  67. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 1:35pm

    hi rico…

  68. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 1:40pm

    Oliver you’ve raised a good point re:barca.they cope much better and their game against inter is the perfect example.despite them having a bad day they still created chances.bojan missed a sitter and with a little bit of luck bojan’s goal would’ve stood.

  69. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 1:49pm

    you guys read about jose has opened the door on a move back to inter? rafa is on his way it seems…

    wouldn’t it be horrid to have our club changing its manager every season…

  70. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 2:03pm

    Apparently rafa has been sacked by e-mail…

  71. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 2:05pm

    hi rico. jose is going nowhere – i think he is just posturing. if he can win the european cup with madrid, it will cement his legacy, first manager to win the cup with three different sides. currently, he shares the two cups – two sides distinction with ernst happel and ottmar hitzfeld.

  72. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 2:06pm

    i am hearing that rafa has not yet actually been sacked, but it is likely to happen in the next day or two…

  73. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 2:15pm

    hi oliver, i did say hi earlier ;)i think he wants to come back to the PL myself, no doubt Fergies replacement….

    KT, I’d laugh if that were true …

  74. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 2:16pm

    B’burns Samba has requested to leave…

  75. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 2:18pm

    Fabianski and diaby back for chavs.vp10 and cesc closer to full fitness.vermy back but won’t be fit till end of january.gibbs and almunia out till early january-Aw.

  76. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 2:24pm

    i’d rather both were still out KT….

  77. Izedragon

    December 22, 2010 at 2:25pm

    I believe in Theo but I think Theo loss his confident in the things he can do ,that is his problem. The way back to confident, the key is him to build his confident.

  78. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 2:29pm

    Hi Rico, Guys!

    I tried to email you Rico Dico but just kept running into problems. I will try again later.

    I like the comments from Pires7, informative, interesting and intelligent! :-)

  79. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 2:30pm

    When rafa wa at liverpool no one harped on about the spanish and spanish speaking players he bought,yet we are “a french team”.

  80. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 2:31pm

    Red arse,
    still hopping about :)

  81. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 2:31pm

    Hi RA.

  82. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 2:31pm

    Fabianski against Drogba, no thank you.

  83. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 2:33pm


    I think you are absolutely right about Dein.

    He made a mint out of selling his shares in Arsenal but so what?

    He is an Arsenal fan and an astute businessman. I think Arsene has missed his support and advice since he left.

  84. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 2:34pm

    A little rant.

    I read on a number of blogs that those attending pay the highest prices in the land to watch the Arsenal but so many equate that to us having to win trophies season after season, i just don’t get’s quite simple if that is ones stance why bother going.

  85. Steve Palmer

    December 22, 2010 at 2:34pm

    i have been reading all your thoughts on tactics who goes here and who goes there, very interesting but what a waste, i don’t mean to make fun of your suggestions but Wenger maybe a great manager on the business side of the game but as a tactical genius he is not, i dont know about a plan B he doesn’t even know the plan A, i have always supported Wenger he has done wonders for our club, but where Mourinho and all top managers they make changes when they are needed Wenger has a game plan that any certain player will get 20 mins and sticks to it,he would do well to employ one of you lot , for you lot know far more about tactics than he will ever know

  86. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 2:36pm

    Rico no matter what you say am excited diaby is back and could come in handy on monday.

  87. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 2:36pm


    As I said earlier, a good article and shows you have a good writing style and a depth of knowledge.

    Kelsey, been a bit tied up today, but tried to liven up AA with a few jokes yesterday, but I suspect I was wasting my time! :-)

  88. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 2:38pm


    I am right with you re Diaby. He could make a big difference against the Chavs with his size and skill!

  89. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 2:39pm

    you know my feelings about dein.he and Wenger are still very close and you must be aware that dein’s son is Cesc’s agent,so dein may just be biding his time to come back in some sort of capacity but age might be against him now.
    When he brought Arsene to Arsenal people said who ?I am sure he has his own ideas and IMO is still very influential with the two major key holders who could tip the balance either way,they being the terminally ill fiszmann and lady nina who together hold the remaining third of shares.

  90. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 2:41pm

    Kelsey, spot on re the French/Spanish…

  91. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 2:42pm

    Diaby yet another enigma, how many can one team have ?

    He will never be a defensive midfielder his natural instincts are to attack.I like him a lot.

  92. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 2:44pm

    Hi Izedragon, sorry for the delay in letting you on, i have to agree, get his confidence back and he’ll shut his critics up…

    KT, you and i will never agree re Diaby, doesn’t mean either one of us are right, we just differ with our view… :)

  93. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 2:45pm


    I did know DD son is Cesc’s agent and perhaps that is why he is still with us.

    I would not mind DD coming back to Arsenal, but it won’t happen until after his one time best friend, Fizman, is gone.

    Silly spats between two Arsenal fans, but that is human nature, I suppose. Unnecessary and illogical.

  94. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 2:51pm

    This story about us signing croatian fullback vrsaljko isn’t going away.maybe there is something to it.

  95. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 2:56pm

    No way back for DD i’m sure, not unless the big russian comes in and buys silent stan out….

    what’s with the mancs being taken oven by a gooner …. huff huff…

  96. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 3:00pm

    K-T I am not that up on european players but the thought of croatian or eastern european defensive players appeals to me.They all appear hard as rock but of course the no nonsense approach must be applied with skill.

  97. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 3:10pm

    Kelsey i agree.Eastern Europe is a gold mine of talent waiting to be exploited especially defensive players.

  98. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 3:11pm

    How much is valued at KT, that will tell us if there is any truth in it, anything over £2M, its a no no….

  99. SD-London

    December 22, 2010 at 3:23pm

    Nice post KT.
    Rafa is going to get the sack, i suspect when he said he is in Liverpool on Holiday.(nobody believes that one bit)But i don’t see him coaching Blackburn.

    If going by speculations; we might be interested in Chris Samba.

    Well , can anybody remember when i mentioned on this forum that we could do with Samba as a defender. He is huge , good in the air and more importantly he is scary.

    But i don’t know how true the report is but he definitely made a transfer request.

    Well KT, i hope Wenger can play NAsri,RVP and Walcott upfront.
    Considering that Chelsea’s back is shaky at the moment we can definitely cause some problems for them.

  100. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 3:30pm

    Hi SD, I’d be happy with Samba to be honest, he ticks every box, apart for the 7-1 drubbing by the mancs, B’burn don’t concede that many…

  101. SD-London

    December 22, 2010 at 3:48pm

    Yeah Rico, he was in that game wasn’t he.

    i guess his bad qualities are the fact that he can give up on a game easily, i have seen him resign in body language many times.
    But on the other hand he has an habit of getting late headers. Since we like goals in Arsenal , why not.

    Oh how we miss TV , he would have scored 3goals already this season.

  102. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 3:56pm

    Rico he is valued at 4.5-6 mil.

  103. SD-London

    December 22, 2010 at 4:02pm

    Kelsey there nothing to it, barca are too broke to refuse 125mil sponsorship

  104. SD-London

    December 22, 2010 at 4:05pm

    Rico, that’s pure Wenger’s price, the rumour might be true. :)

  105. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 4:14pm


    I have sent that email. Hope it gets there! :-)

  106. SD-London

    December 22, 2010 at 4:22pm

    See yah, guys, bracing myself for the snow tomorrow

  107. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 4:31pm

    Bye SD, catch you soon…

    Ah, so there could be truth in the runour, that’s about wengers range 😉

  108. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 4:32pm

    kesley, i am not the best at understanding what that would mean :(

  109. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 5:04pm

    rico, it’s all political saying Qatar fund hammas the terrorist organisation and of course the israelis aren’t too happy,in other words more middle east conflict that’s all.

    vermaelen fitness levels prolonged for another month.sounds familiar.

  110. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 5:12pm

    well, that all isn’t good news kelsey…..

    what, how, when did TV get injured?? i still think he’s been dropped for speaking out about Cesc….

    Thats one heck of a lesson if i’m near the mark….

  111. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 5:29pm

    We have done well in defence.2 new players to the PL and JD just coming back from a 9 month lay off.i can’t wait for Tv to get back.

  112. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 5:31pm

    KT, we are poor in defence…. take a peep at our goals conceeded…

    When i say defence, i mean the unit, right through to Song and right back to our keeper…

    we concede silly silly goals :(

  113. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 5:33pm

    what did he say about cesc,rico

  114. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 5:35pm

    part of the reason is that the midfield don’t track back to help the defence, like song going walkies and the very thing we used to do so well,the counter attack is often our undoing.

  115. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 5:43pm

    KT, he said about how he thought Cesc would leave and that he loves barca, i think, its a long time ago, my words are not verbatim….

  116. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 5:44pm

    We have only conceded 3 more than the world class mancs.when we make our unit stronger goals conceded will dry up.barca press alot and mount wave after wave of attack pinning back a result they scored 31 goals before conceding 1 last weekend against Espanyol.

  117. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 6:44pm

    KT, the mancs are far from world class… 😉

  118. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 6:50pm

    What do you make of the rumours that Grimandi will take over from Pat Rice?

  119. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 6:54pm

    hi all…k, just rumours at this point. and i am not sure it will matter who our number two is. arsene appears to make all the decisions and gives the impression (note i am not saying this is what he does, as i am not on that bench) that he does not consider input. so i feel grimandi, or whomever else is appointed will be little more than window dressing…

  120. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 7:01pm

    Ronaldinho has agreed terms with his boyhood club Gremio.its now up to him and the AC Milan to negotiate his release…its such a shame that if not for his attitude he’d have probably been the greatest ever footballer.

  121. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 7:04pm

    Aw is usually in total control a recent i/view seaman said he doesn’t even listen to his GK coach.he is apparently a huge fan of stats and that explains why he rates denilson so much.

  122. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 7:07pm

    Grimandi for Pat Rice… that is out of the frying pan and in to a furnace….. i hope that is not true….

  123. Red Arse

    December 22, 2010 at 7:11pm

    I totally agree Rico. Not Grimandi …… no way! :-)

    Did my email get thru to you?

  124. kelsey

    December 22, 2010 at 7:17pm

    i received it thanks

  125. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 7:20pm

    k, that just suggests what i said about arsene not considering others’ input may be accurate. if so, what will it matter who is the number two?

    grimandi is certainly close to arsene – and probably beholden to him as well. this does not inspire confidence that he would be willing to stand up and at least voice a contrary opinion on occasions.

    i don’t mean to be unfair to grimandi – for all we know there is nothing to this. but it seems evident that rice is leaving the club at the end of the season, so the position should be open. my point is that i think this club badly needs a strong number two who is willing to offer advice – regardless of whether arsene wants it or not – and can offer a different perspective when matches start slipping away from us. hearing grimandi’s name suggested makes me think that we will get another “seen but not heard” number two. if we intend to go that way, why not just save the trouble and promote primorac? we can save the wages we would pay a number two…

  126. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 7:24pm

    RA, it did, thank you, i am still smiling…. :)

  127. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 7:25pm

    k, why would people even want to work under him then? primorac has been with him forever, so i guess there is a bond there. pat rice has been a great servant to our club, particularly as a player. and i am starting to view him – rightly or wrongly – as someone who may have had enough. from what you have seen of him sitting on the bench next to arsene, has he looked like he enjoys himself? is it possible that he could be frustrated that he may not serve any purpose? i have no way of knowing for sure, but i am starting to come around to this line of thought…

    seaman’s comments may be accurate – or they may be agenda-driven. i don’t think, however, that he is the first person i have heard suggest that arsene does not consider others’ input…

  128. rico

    December 22, 2010 at 7:25pm

    I have to say goodnight all, however, in my heart of hearts there is only one man who should replace Pat Rice, if he is retiring…

    Steve Bould….

    Night all, catch up tomorrow…

  129. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 7:29pm

    Oliver there must be something we don’t know as members of his coaching staff seem ultra loyal to him.

  130. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 7:29pm

    night rico…

    for the record, if anyone were to ask me who i would like to replace arsene, i say bill belichik..wrong sport, of course, but…

  131. oliver

    December 22, 2010 at 7:35pm

    k, there is so much we don’t know. he has kept that team in place – with a few departures here and there – for the better part of 15 years now. perhaps i am completely misreading this – always possible – but is it possible that pat rice’s love of arsenal is what has kept him there for so long? without knowing much about primorac, the length of time they have been together implies loyalty more to arsene than arsenal. is it possible that others are more loyal to arsenal than arsene? i am specifically speaking of rice…

  132. K-TR7

    December 22, 2010 at 7:56pm

    Interesting point of view oliver.

  133. rico

    December 23, 2010 at 9:06am


  134. rico

    December 23, 2010 at 9:08am

    New Post up…

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