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Try Again Next Season…

Yesterday we saw the closing act of a season which promised so much up through the end of February but ultimately saw us finish empty-handed.

February saw us lose the Carling Cup final in calamitous circumstances, sending our side into a tailspin from which they never really recovered.

Exits from the European and FA Cup followed in quick order, as did our hope of the League. We should probably be grateful that the season ended today – another two matches may have seen us fall out of the top four, such was our end-of-season form…

One significant positive from this season is that coming into this afternoon’s match, we were the Prem’s best away team, leading the league in wins (8), points collected (30) and goals scored (37). If our away stats are so good, then it is quite obvious that our home stats are not: we lost as many matches at home (4) as away, gained only 7 more points at the Ems, and actually scored four more goals on the road.

No-hopers do not compile such strong away numbers, and I see this as evidence our squad has the capability to win things. The difference between the home and away form shows we still lack the necessary consistency, and I would say our players have yet to fully develop the “mental strength” and maturity to put it all together. When they accomplish this, trophies shall follow…

Throughout the season, there was much debate regarding the home support and the effect on our players. In our own Emirates version of the Chicken – Egg conundrum, some sections of support blamed the fans for creating an inherently negative home atmosphere, which stifled our players, sapped confidence, and inhibited play through fear of making mistakes.

Other sections felt the team’s underwhelming home form gave supporters little to cheer about, and directly led to an often toxic atmosphere in the stands. This section held up the wins over Chelsea, Barcelona and Man United as examples where the supporters drove the players on to signature wins. We can probably debate this endlessly with neither camp budging from their stated positions. What we shouldn’t debate is that a significant improvement in our home form is absolutely critical for next season.

If we are going to win anything, the Ems needs to well and truly become a fortress – not just for certain visiting teams, but all visitors.

We cannot afford, however to become roadkill in the process of making the Ems a fortress; we simply have to marry the two halves…

That will be an issue for the upcoming season…

We still had one more match to complete this season, a trip over the Craven Cottage to face Fulham. Flash back a year, and Fulham were our final day opponents: a year ago, the match was at the Ems, Roy Hodgson was Fulham manager, and they were focusing on the Europa Cup final versus Atletico Madrid. We were battling Spurs for Champions League seeding: in third place, we needed to win to ensure we held Spurs off. Then, we got the job done.

Yesterday we were fighting for third place, a win was needed and a bit of help from Bolton.

So we travelled across London knowing Cesc would be unavailable, with Samir, JD, Diaby, and Kos facing fitness tests. Of the latter four, only Kos did not make it.

We lined up:

Szczesny, Gibbs, Verm, JD, Sagna, Ramsey, Diaby, Jack, Samir, Robin, and Chamakh. Our bench was Jens, Squil, Miquel, Eboue, Denilson, Theo, and Arsh. Neither Song nor Nik made the squad, and Denilson’s inclusion may have been a surprise, taken in the context of his midweek interview when he emphatically stated he is done at our club.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we started slowly. Fulham got a couple of early hefty fouls in through Johnson and Hangeland, but we couldn’t do anything with the resulting free kicks. We made the first chance ten minutes in, Jack crossing for Samir, who could only weakly head straight at Schwarzer.

A few minutes later, the unlikely source of Gibbs got in a much better header, this time forcing Schwarzer into a more difficult save. Just as we looked like we were getting to grips with things, the opposition capitalized on a piece of poor defending. This time it was JD – who looks nothing like the composed, assured defender we saw for much of the season – who played Zamora onside.

The latter got away down the right and cut back for Sidwell – one of a seemingly endless procession of former Arsenal trainees who couldn’t make it here, yet have scored against us this season – to place his shot under Szczesny from a few yards out…

Fulham almost doubled the lead a minute later, with Zamora once again beating JD, but this time firing wide…

For once we mustered a quick response. Diaby won the ball in midfield, played a quick one-two with Chamakh, before putting Robin clear. Our number ten calmly beat Schwarzer with a low shot into the left hand corner for a quick equalizer, while extending his league record (now at 9) for scoring in consecutive away matches…

Instead of pressing on, we allowed Fulham to quickly put us under pressure. Verm had to clear off the line from Murphy, who placed his shot past Szczesny. We had a mini-surge in the final few minutes of the half, but did not carve any quality chances out.

There were no changes at the interval, as we looked to take the lead and hopefully overtake Man City to reclaim third place. The first significant event saw Robin booked for dissent. Off a foul on Robin, Samir produced an excellent free kick, forcing Schwarzer to tip wide for a corner (which we yet again wasted).

Then Samir was fouled and Robin sent his kick narrowly wide of the top right corner.

Yet again, we suffered a lapse in concentration, allowing Fulham to reclaim the lead. This time, Greening was given too much time and space on the edge of our box to cross for Zamora, who converted a simple header.

We tried to respond and had a chance when Schwarzer fumbled Robin’s cross. Chamakh was on hand, but wastefully poked the loose ball wide…

A couple of minutes later, Arsene made a triple sub, with Gibbs, Diaby, and Ramsey hauled off for Eboue, Arsh and Theo, Hughes responded by bringing Etuhu and Davies on for Greening and Murphy, respectively. He then made his third and final change with 18 minutes remaining, as Zamora limped off to be replaced by Gera.

The Hungarian’s first contribution was also his last, as he earned a straight red for a high, late, two-footed lunge on Verm. That was a definite sending off and Verm is lucky he was not seriously hurt. Sidwell then followed Gera into the book for bringing Chamakh down. A minute later, Robin was flagged for offside when he was clearly on.

With the extra man, we upped the pressure and forced Fulham further and further back into defence. Arsh then shot narrowly wide. It looked as though Fulham would hold out until a minute from time, when Theo cut inside and fired home off the inside of the post. We had three minutes of stoppage time, but did little and it ended all square.

Manchester City had won their game at Bolton,  meaning we had to settle for fourth place.

And so our season ends in all-too-familiar fashion: drawing a game that we really needed to win. A win would have sent us into the off-season feeling a bit better about things. Perhaps – in that context – not winning will serve the club and us better.

While I continue to maintain there are specific areas in which our team made progress, on the whole, it is difficult to say we have progressed overall. We finished with an underwhelming 68 points, dropped one place in the final standings and conceded more goals than last season.

While these can be somewhat balanced out by the emergence of certain players (Jack, Szczesny, and JD to name a few), three signature wins, and the best away record in the league, we still finished empty-handed despite being in the hunt for all four available trophies on the morning of February 27th.

In early April, we were neck-in-neck with Man United for the league title – the proverbial “two horse race” – today, we finish fourth, a massive 12 points behind the champions. With the pressure on, we were able to win only three of our final fourteen matches (from the start of March).

In an appropriate ignominy to the final eleven weeks of our season, we threw the Carling Cup away against a side which has just been relegated…

Much has been – and will probably continue to be – made of that final Sunday in February, as when everything fell apart for us. Certainly, Arsene and many of the players – the latest being Denilson – have stated we just never recovered from that loss. Post-Cup hangovers are not unique to us!

Our hangover has lasted three months – surely our players should be able to pick themselves up at some point. With the exception of the home win over Man United, they never did.

This belies Arsene’s continued claims of “mental strength” (thankfully muted as the season wound down) far more than words from any supporters could…

So now we head into what is bound to be an uncertain off-season.

I have to laugh when I see speculation regarding how much money Arsene will have to invest in the squad, who he will sign, what his strategy is, etc. As we all know by now, he gives NOTHING away – never has, never will. So he may radically alter the squad, or he may bring it back more or less intact. We won’t know for a while yet. I shall not get worked up over it only a couple of hours after this season’s final whistle; no point in it…

Friday evening saw sudden widespread speculation that Velez Sarsfield Argentine winger Ricky Alvarez had agreed to sign for us. Then it died down as suddenly as it started. Shortly after the final whistle today, reports emerged suggesting that he would be unveiled as an Arsenal signing once the Clausura finished. More on that if/when Alvarez’s signing is actually confirmed.

On the other hand, we know Denilson is gone – he said so himself. There are a few other members of the squad – some conspicuous by their absences today – who will probably depart. But until movement is confirmed, it remains speculation…

On the basis of the last several weeks, I think most of us can agree that there is lots of work to be done this summer. If not adding players, then certainly adding another dimension to our playing style; one that makes it harder for teams to nullify us as easily as they did at times during this season.

The players will be headed into their off-season now, and here is hoping they all do something they enjoy – something that will allow them to take their mind off football for a few weeks, rest, recharge, and come back ready for training and the upcoming season…

On the subject of breaks, I don’t think anyone needs one more than Arsene. For his sake – and the club’s – I hope he gets himself away from it all. He looked worse and worse as the season wound down: tired, stressed, discouraged, disillusioned. A walking melt-down, if you will…

There are no more matches to play for this season, so surely he can afford to get away from the thick of it all and stay in email (bring your crackberry this time) or phone contact? Surely there are competent people now at the club who can handle player transactions and any other squad-related issues that may arise?

If not, and he cannot afford to be away, then we have a very, very unhealthy situation, for both the club and Arsene personally. There is plenty of work to be done, but surely his hands-on involvement can wait for at least a couple of weeks while he recharges, can’t it?

I have my thoughts on what may help us get over the proverbial hump next season, as well as on certain players who were part of this season’s squad. I’ll save all that for another post. The season is over, and there is plenty of time to collect, formulate and express these specific thoughts.

For now, I head into the offseason disappointed for having so little to show for a fine first 2/3 of the season; but also knowing that time heals these sorts of disappointments and that the new season will bring new hope.

Let’s hope that Arsene and the players return rested, fit and ready to do four better this upcoming season…

Written by Oliver

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140 comments on “Try Again Next Season…

  1. From o/n Merlin96 says:
    May 23, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Can Nasri replaced Cesc?
    Nasri is just a pretty boy who gone MIA when we needed a man to standup like Cesc to win games for us throughout the season…and not good only at season satrt and faded away badly 2nd half of season.

    Contrast to Cesc since he broke into the side in 2004/05 season and the way he single-handed dominated midfield and made Arsenal ticked during those halycon days of Rosicky-Fabregas-Flamini-Hleb.

    Sell him for 30m to 35m and buy a player to complement Cesc.

    And I doubt whether Wenger will release Cesc now as he is sitll that cornerstoen that Wenger needed to rebuidl Arsenal.
    And Cesc’s contract runs to 2014 and I can only see Wenegr selling Cesc during summer 2012…after Euro 2012.

    Another thing.
    Cesc willing to sign an 8-year contract extension whereas this pretty boy is whoring himself to get a lucrative contract extension. That speaks volumes on his commitment to Arsenal in contrast to Cesc when he was acknowledged as that cornerstone that Wenger will build the team around him.

    Bottlers, French Poodles and pretty boys that are holding Arsenal at ransom with their agents whoring them to highest bidders? Just sell ‘em and rebuild a team with passionate, committed and fearless players that will fight and die for the badge”

    Unlike NAsri that after one or two hefty tackles, he gone MIA and does not relished the physicality of the English Football.

    1 – Clichy – 10m to highest bidder?
    2 – Nasri – 30m – 35 m to highest bidder?
    3 – Sagna – 10m to Bayern or whatnots…
    4 – Gibbs – just sell him and pointless to cater to his deluded wage demand.
    5 – ALmunia – just release him
    6 – Eboue – just release him to a circus
    7 – Squillaci – just release him
    8 – Vela – sell him if you don’t play him
    9 – Rosicky – just release him
    10- Arshavin – why do you want to keep a player who does not want to play for you?

  2. Morning…

    Merlin – no way should we sell Sagna….

    Nor Nasri, unless ha faffs around signing his contract…

  3. Thanks for the post Oliver, another good read….

  4. cesc was not there
    he was watching the spanish gp in spain
    hisbreak started a bit early i suppose

  5. bad timing for cesc i think – he should have been with his team…

  6. Reports are out that Nikki has put in a transfer request…

  7. thank u nik b
    jst get lost n take ur manager with u aswell

  8. Ditto Lee, spurs are rumoured to be interested….. :lol:

  9. 1 – Denilson put in transfer request
    2 – Nik put in transfer request??
    3 – Arsahivn put in transfer request?
    4 – Eboue put in transfer request?
    5 – Diaby put in transfer request?
    6 – ALmunia put in transfer request?
    7 – Squillaci mutually agreed released???

    How many of above will come true?

  10. I’ve only heard about Nik and Denilson Merlin..

  11. A couple of things.

    Maybe the home form was not helped by the fans. Whenever I watched a home game, the fans were negative and I am sure this travelled down to the players. Instead of making the stadium a gladiatorial arena for away players and fans, we got on the backs of our players. Now, I am not saying the players were not to blame but, if they feel a lot of pressure on their back, it will show in their performance.

    And, I saw again that the ref’s are against us and for the life of me, I can’t work out why. I wish someone from the backroom staff would speak out on it but yesterday I saw our players being pushed off the ball and basically kicked but, because they tried to stay on their feet, nothing was ever given but the Fulham players hit the deck at every opportunity and got every decision they wanted.

    Do the ref’s not like Arsenal for pass misdemeanour’s?

  12. Morning all.
    Thank Christ its the end of the season, Arsenal’s free-fall is over for another season.Arsenals collapse was dire, poor old spuds another game and they could have had us, and with the form we finished this season off with, can only make you think we could be drawn against Spuds When we get knocked out of the qualifiers. I must say these players this year, have been absolutely terrible, and personally speaking I am not really concerned with who goes and who stays. These players have deserved nothing, and playing like they have I am surprised that supporters are still turning up to watch them. The players should be done by the trading standards people for Masquerading as footballers. The manager hasn’t helped much by announcing that the hike in prices is justified if Arsenal want to stay competitive. Competitive against who, we can lose against anybody quite easily. Anchelotti has been fired from Chelsea as his team only made second position, seems he couldn’t match his double from last year, but at least it shows Chelsea’s intentions,Wenger has stated second is good enough and his job is safe as houses and that in itself show’s Arsenals Intentions. I may be old fashioned but is that where Arsenal See their future fourth, because that is not good enough for me.

  13. The fans sitaution really is a chicken/Egg…

    Play well and get the results and take the cheers, play crap and lethargic the way they have done sometimes, take the jeers…

    The players are the author of their own destiny as is wenger for buying/playing the players who won’t give a full shift on a match day….

    Not all i know, but in a team game it only takes one bad apple, we have more than one sadly…

  14. Good morning guys. Bendtner has put in an official transfer request, but Arsenal don’t want to sell!

    What?? We could get a much better attacker than him!

    Wenger has gone mad i’m afraid

  15. 4th isn’t good enough for me either, nor is second Steve if i’m honest, unless we are winning a cup or two…

    i’m glad this season is over, now it’s wengers ‘last summer’ – i feel for Ancelotti, but for the club sacking Ray Wilkins, they wouldn’t have suffered such a collapse….

  16. ADK, i don’t believe the club don’t want to sell him, why keep a player who wenger clearly doesn’t want to play unless he really has too?

  17. Nik B should be sold on the first day of the window.

  18. I don’t know rico. I’m just reporting from a danish newspaper. I wouldn’t keep him either, especially if we can get 9-10 million for him..

    Although Wenger has admitted, that it has been a bad year, i’m not sure he’s going to spend 70 million on players..

  19. Sorry ADK, i didn’t mean to shoot the messenger :(

    Talking of reports, he’s said to ready for a ‘busy and active summer’….

  20. Is it June 1st it opens, or July 1st…

    Mind you, i think it’s open now as you watch the deals start to be announced….

  21. Don’t think about it rico :). The window opens July 1st.

    although, as you say, we can buy a player now, but he will officialy be announced on july 1st. I’m not holding my breath though :(

  22. We need three top class experienced players.

  23. Just reading around on Twitter and someone has posted that Carlos Vela has commented that he and Nikki are off this summer…

    Has Wenger begun his clearing out already…

  24. Will, as far as i’m concerned, we need world class in these areas: LB, def mid, CB, to proper wingers and an attacker!

    The only quality players we have IMHO are: Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin, Vermaelen, Sagna and Szczesny.. Maybe walcott also.. Ramsey and Wilshere are still too young to be playing 45-50 games a season..

  25. Thanks ADK :)

    Oliver is right about wenger needing a break but for me he needs to get his players sorted out first and then go for a break. They’ll be back in training for the CL qualifiers in july so he hasn’t got much time….

    I just can’t see Wenger not doing the deals himself, it was that which got us Ramsey…. And not Fergie’s lot…

  26. Who was to blame for the two goals conceded yesterday?

  27. AA has to be one of the most frustrating players in our squad, we all know he can ‘do it’ why on earth doesn’t he??

  28. The future at The Arsenal Looks very bleak. Starting at the top. The Russian and the Yank, will have another season fighting one another for the odd share that comes up, but the worst thing is neither one of them wants success as that only puts the share price up.
    Manager and No2. Have had six Fruitless years and are rewarded with at least another year.
    Players. Losers no backbone lacking in every department, and most of them will still be with us for next season.
    Prices. will rise as Arsenal believe supporters should pay for their Failures.
    Supporters. Fleeced humiliated and shit on, but will still turn up.
    Me. speechless.

  29. Steve,

    re the share price, surely they will both want the share price to increase as then they are set to make maga bucks when they sell on in a couple of years?

    if usamaonov one day buys us outright, money is no object for him…

    As for the rest, who could honestly disagree… but i do anticipate player changes…..

  30. I am feeling surprisingly optimistic.

  31. They only want the share price to go up after they have them all Rico. If you had shares and Arsenal was winning things would you sell them

  32. I am re the players changes Will, but the rest will be same old at the top…

  33. Almunia and Rosicky have been told they can leave…..

  34. so ultimately.. Do you guys think that if we sold the right players and bought the right players, we would be ready to fight for trophies? Or is it far more worse than that?

  35. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has held talks with want-away midfielder Denilson over his future at Emirates Stadium.

    The Brazilian announced on Friday that he was looking to move on after becoming frustrated at a lack of success with the Gunners.

    Wenger’s men looked well set to end their six-year wait for silverware this term before a shock Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham started their season on a distinctly downward trend.

    Defeats to Barcelona and Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup followed, while their Premier League campaign petered out with an eventual fourth-place finish.

    Wenger has already admitted he expects a busy summer of transfer activity and it remains to be seen if former Sao Paolo youngster Denilson will be part of his squad.


    The French tactician said: “Denilson wants to play, I did speak to him to see if he has opportunities or not.

    “We have to face many comments, but I have enough experience that the club is in a healthy financial situation and we have got the basis of the team – but we know we want to be stronger next year.”

    Wenger believes that this summer could be busier than usual in the transfer market with clubs rushing to sign players before Uefa’s financial fair play rules begin to be imposed.

    The Gunners boss added on Telefoot: “The market will be hyperactive because everyone believes financial fair play will happen soon.

    “So we are quickly doing the last buying before the stores will be closed. And for the very first time for a while, I will be very active too.”

  36. Honestly DK, I think we are just a few pieces away from dominating.

  37. I guess you’re right Will, but they have to be some pieces! We need proven winners, and players who can make the other players start believing again! It’s clear that Cesc, the most important player as he is our captain, has lost the faith..

    Again, we will never get a chance like this to sign a. Young..

  38. Fair point Steve, I guess that all depends on what their true intentions are – i’m not sure i trust either…

  39. ADK, 4 players would be enough, but if Clichy goes, make that 5…

  40. If we get Young, we will have to play Theo up front because there is no point having two super fast wingers and no striker who can keep up with them.

  41. ADK.I don’t believe that changing players will ultimately change our fortune. We play a set way, and i think that has to change, better players will help defending better, but the set playing ways will still be the same. Wenger has stated that he wants to play the same styles and that may be a mistake. we need to be able to change our style for different teams. we need a plan B. C. and D.

  42. ‘I will be very active’

    Good Arsene, good, about time too aswell…

  43. Imagine theo in attack, and young with all his crosses, no defender in the world can keep up with that!

    maybe Di Maria on the left? ;)

    I know Steve, too many times we lack a plan B, and even the smaller teams can figure us out.. our style of play is too predictable…

  44. Vermaelen coming back strengthens us but we still let goals in easy, so our system is bad

  45. And Czez is still not the answer in goal

  46. Now i agree re Ches Steve, yes he will be a great keeper but how did that go through his legs yesterday? And should he not have got there before Zamora??

  47. re the plan b,c etc – i think wenger believed he had the players to play a different way, two big guns up top in Chamakh and Nik but unless the perfect ball lands on their head or their, they are poor, especially nik…

    finally it seems wenger realises this?

    When he called on his ‘plan b’ it failed….

  48. I am not knocking the lad rico, he could turn out a good un, but not just yet.

  49. Young is a must ADK, a gooner, a true winger, just what we need…

  50. The problem with our style is it is too slow.

  51. Exactly Steve, me the same, we need an old head in there and leave Ches to learn as No 2… But, will Wenger get that keeper? I doubt it, he has Mad Jens….

  52. That is one of the set plays that must change, when we attack the ball must be crossed, we are held out all the time

  53. But, unless Wenger gets us a class striker who will finish the crosses and will get/stay in the box, we on’t change. Also, unless our lot improve their crosses, they will carry on finding the first defender…

    I hope we get a Drogba kind of beast to replace Nik, or Doyle…

  54. T think with (if we get them) Young and Ryo on the wings and Theo playing off RvP, we could see a very exciting attack next season with pace no team can defend against.

  55. Will, do you think Ryo will a) get his visa and if he does, b) will Wenger honestly play him?

    I know he says he will….. but

  56. just think of RvP dropping back, setting a pass through and bam, three of the fastest players in the game going…

  57. Hello rico and others.I think generally we are all frustrated at the casualness and approach by the team as a whole these last 2/3 months and then how do fathom out what went wrong.
    I still feel AW has lost part of the dressing room and it will be interesting to see these quotes from various players saying they are off if they don’t have a regular first team place or they and their dreaded agents want more and more money for less effort.
    A team that can beat United,chelsea and barca 9all at home) can rise to the occasion, but consistency has been missing all season.

    Wenger won’t be sacked, he may eventually walk away ur be moved upstairs,but questions have to be asked about a team that for a brief period were top of the league and going for 4 trophies,imploded.

  58. Will, we can only hope wenger is thinking the same way ;)

  59. Hi kelsey

    That part of the dressing room he has lost will be sold imho – and it started the day denilson said he wanted to leave, now nik has followed suit.

    My thought is that the clearout has begun and certain plyers have ben told they are being sold but are allowing the players to tell it how they want…

    We have too many bad apples, and i don’t think for one minute we will see those bad apples next season…

  60. Arsenal’s potential Play-Off opponents could be PSG, Udinese, Rubin Kazan, Twente and a further qualifier from the previous round.

  61. Does anyone thing this guy from Argentina is for real and could he be a Pires copy?

  62. Good morning all!
    End of the season.
    Now, hte sports newspapers are full of transfer headlines.
    I’m going to read a few of them

  63. I’m not believing it Will, until it’s on afc.com

    i think we can make domestic transfers now and nothing abroad until the window opens, however he could be different as he’s free so if its true, i am sure they will announce it soon…

  64. And do you think Wenger is going for bigger players?

  65. rico: Bayern, Benfica and Vila Real are much better than us; D. Kiev, Twente, Rubin Kazan. Udinese, PSG or Lyon very very difficult.

  66. Arsene Wenger should have realised Arsenal’s misfortunes years ago I’m talking back when they lost in the champions league final against Barcelona.

    6 YEARS NOT WINNING A SINGLE TROPHY and his just realising that now??????????????????????????????????

  67. Maybe one – but not all….

  68. Hi JM,
    This is from afc.com on who we can draw, we should avoid the first three you list and Lyon…

    Once the ten clubs are confirmed, the five with the highest UEFA coefficients are seeded and will be drawn to play one of the five clubs with the lowest UEFA coefficients.

    Arsenal’s coefficient is bettered only by Bayern Munich in the list of potential teams in the Play-Off Round so Wenger’s side would definitely be seeded.

    As it stands, if all the seeded teams from the Third Qualifying Round advance to the Play-Off Round, Bayern, Arsenal, Benfica and Villarreal would be seeded. If PSG finish third in France, the final seed would be Dynamo Kyiv.

    In that scenario, Arsenal’s potential Play-Off opponents would be PSG, Udinese, Rubin Kazan, Twente and a further qualifier from the previous round.

    If Lyon finish third in France, their coefficient would earn them a seeding. Therefore Arsenal’s potential opponents would be Udinese, Dynamo Kyiv, Rubin Kazan, Twente or a further qualifier from the previous round.

  69. Hi Christian, we don’t know that he has learned yet…

  70. We wont sign players of 50 million what does that mean?
    1.that we wont sign players above the range of 50 mil
    2.our one player wont be of that price

  71. i don’t want us to buy players who cost 50M

  72. rico, I know that. Dynamo Kiev and Rubin Kazan in that time, are in the middle of their leagues. Fortunately, it’s not winter. Twente loose dutch league on the second half of the last match versus the 1st (ajax). Udinese it’s an italian team, always difficult and boring. However, if those teams want to choose a team for playng with, I’m quite sure they choose Arsenal…

  73. AW:”we have quality.We nedd solidity”
    My Answer in Arsenal forum: The robustness can not be bought. Gets up, wins are wins in the rapport between the players, the joy of playing, the eagerness of victories and strength of the collective whole

  74. OOps, sorry JM ;)

    I can’t see any of those sides causing us problems, not next season, we’ll be very different ;)

    Why? Because i believe Keown will be on board….

  75. RIoc, the list is just my prediction and dearest wish to see the back of Denilson, Bendtner, ALmunia, Squilaci, Eboue and Rosicky.

    I think before we decided to sign anyone, Wenger must first sort out who are “The Fulcrum of the Team”.

    Is he stubborn enough to retain a reluctant Fabregas for one more season and then agree to sell him in summer 2012, with only 2 years left of his contract?

    Then, we will see the Fulcrum as Wilshere-Song-Fabregas plus new buys to complement this Trio, perhaps a “Hleb” clone…that Argie Ricky-something???

    If Cesc stayed, it can means that Nasri will be sold as Nasri is eyeing Cesc spot in the team and may not sign an extension knowing that central midfield is overcrowded with Diaby, SOng, WIlshere, Ramsey and up-and-coming youngsters like Conor Henderson, Lansbury, Aneke, Frimpong, and Toral-Harper which Wenger promised he will be in senior squad within 2 seasons, i.e. 2012/13 season.

    Guess Wenger will finalise who is staying, who is leaving and select the tactical formation before he will decide which players to buy to complement his “Fulcrum”.

    If Cesc leaves and Nasri stays, this will change the kind of players he will buy to complement Nasri-WIlshere-SOng…….

    If both NAsri and Cesc leave, then Wenegr will need to spend mega-buck to buy a worldclass and experienced playmaker to complement Wilshere-SOng-Ramsey, the “Spine of Arsenal Future”…

    Djourou is a walking disaster, a poodle easily outmuscled by the likes of Zamora, poor reading of game, poor anticipation and interception skills, no understading whatsoever with Vermaelen and rest of defence…and worse, easily caught out of position by deep running midfielder coming into the box late; hence high line off-side trap so easily beaten by FUlham.

    I see DJourou as a mediocre DCM performing as a mediocre CB, no better than Senderos and a “soft touch” against the likes of Zamora.

    Of course, this does not help much by FUlham having an autobahn at our left flank. Guess which over-rated full English international was on duty there?

  76. morning all, busy morning here…thanks for the taking the comments, rico. disappointing end to the season, i am kinda glad it is over. now hopefully everyone can have a bit of a break and start again…

  77. We can get solidarity by ridding the bad apples and building on a strong base of players who want to be at arsenal for the right reasons….

  78. Rico, we will not be better off next season if Wenger refuses to cull his presetn squad and retained all those bottlers, french poodles and pretty boys..with them bottling it again after X’mas.

    Look like Arsenal had inherited this saying against West Ham:

    “Arsenal always went up the table rapidly before X’mas; and went the table as rapid as X’mas dressings.”

    Come 2011/12 season, we may very well do a “Liverpool 2010/11″ hovering around the relegation zone by X”mas 2011…as Wenger may claim on 1-Sept-2011 that “why should I buy? I have worldclass and experienced players in Wilshere, Ramsey, Diaby, Song, Nasri, Fabregas, Walcott, Van Persie, CHamakh, et al? It is not fair for the new players to sit on the bench with my worldclass players playing week-in and week-out throughout the season.”

    Don’t get your hope too high as I can recalled during Euro 2006 where he said: “I had identified 2 or 3 players that I will buy, I am bringing an open chequebbok to Euro 2006″…

    Or WC2010………

  79. AW words: “… think I am responsible for the results and I am very disappointed. The players have had an outstanding attitude. We have played 58 games but in the decisive moments, we have never had the whole team together. Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, for example, have not played many games.
    We will try to do the right thing this summer and we will try to buy the right players. The amount of money is not always linked with the quality of the player but if we find the right players we will spend the money…

    ok, but with an average of 2 games a week until last 2 months, nobody expect all the teama is would be in peak form and with the freshness of August.
    In the mid-season on four fronts and with a chance of succeeding, why not better managed the squad, why not better managed and the effort why not got anyone who could provide continuity and exhibitional route to victory?

  80. Hi Merlin

    I actually think he will get rid af a few, if we are to believe what we read, Denilson and Nik have asked to go, Almunia and Rosicky have been told they can leave and Vela has ‘tweeted’ he is off….

  81. JM,

    Because we don’t have players who can drag our side from the mire, and that’s something that can be bought.

    When the going gets tough for Arsenal, we don’t have the tough to get going….

    Two defensive signings can bring in mental stregth if he gets the right ones, two with a never say die attitude will stop the defensive rot.

  82. Boo! Robin’s been the only great thing about our team after the CC Finals disaster, tbh. What else to do but swallow the bitter pill that is this AFC?

    Looking forward to this summer’s clearout. And big(ish) signings. And our players sorting themselves out. Mental strength, my foot!

    Good one, oliver. You really do this stuff well. Boo, rico. Howdy? Hello, JM and Merlin.

  83. hi agag…thanks, it has not been much fun recently. this last one almost felt like writing an obituary. obviously it is not that bad. but at this moment in time, it is difficult to overlook where we were in february and where we have ended up…i am not convinced we are that close – certainly not as close as arsene continues to maintain.

  84. it’s official – jack has been omitted from the england u21 squad. a smidge of good news to cap an otherwise depressing weekend…

    jack needs the break…so does arsene, so do all of our players…

    come to think of it, so do most of us…

  85. Merlin, I am getting the feeling you don’t like the French.

  86. Howdy agag :)

    hi Oliver, thanks again for the post, cracking yet again – the Jack news broke at the weekend and Pearce crawled in a hole :)

  87. Would anyone like to see Wenger get Ben Foster?? I bet he’s up for sale now B’ham have gone down, my guess is Arry will replace Gomes with him….

  88. I saw that Rico, that should tell Wenger everything. Not all fans are no nothing idiots and many know a lot about the game.

    No one rates Nik B.

  89. Shame about Jack though, would have been a reason to watch the tournament ;)

  90. no thanks to ben foster…if we are going to get an experienced goalkeeper to spell szczesny/fabianski and provide sage advice, foster does not fit that profile. i have a gut feeling jens will sign another contract with us…

  91. jens has said he wants to stay on oliver, i just threw fosters name into the mix as B’ham have gone down – i don’t think wenger will be looking to sign a keeper, i wish he would though…

  92. I honestly don’t think we need a keeper, we need an organiser at the back.

  93. even if he is, i want nothing to do with foster. he wasn’t good enough for man united, he started for a relegated side…he played well against us on february 27th…but not so well in both the league games – we don’t need him at all.

    if we are going to get a keeper, i would like to see us bring an older – but not as old as jens – keeper, preferably one who has experienced success. someone who could play more than a game or two, and also serve as a mentor.

    i said it here about a year ago, if we are going to get another keeper – and it is something i would like, but not a hugely pressing issue for me – my preference would be jerzy dudek.

  94. It hasn’t been much fun since Feb. :( On the other hand, our players have the summer to take stock and recover. We are all a little scarred by this season, I think.

    Mad Jens is quite the character, and would have much to say (and authority, too!) re: winning ways. Relieved about Jack. Good, he needs some rest, too.

  95. Will, i worry about fabianski…..

  96. I think Fab will be ok once he gets some confidence.

  97. I worry about his injury as well as his confidence, and that will get worse again now that ches seems to have cemented his place as number one

  98. This is true but I really don’t think keeper is a problem issue for us. As I said, I think we need an organiser either a CB or a midfielder.

  99. Both Will, we need an organiser in both areas… both need to be beasts too…

  100. Yep, I agree.

  101. How pleased will we be to see a few players in and a few out…

    roll on i say…

  102. What a shocker with De cannio taking on the managers job at Swindon, why would he want to do that??

  103. So then, the Giggs affair is out….

    Who really cares, eh??

  104. Not me to be honest but I think it is stupid that because you have cash, you can hide your affairs.

  105. Me neither Will, apart from he’s always been the ‘Good Guy’ – what a joke…. he should have spilled as soon as twitter leaked it…..

  106. Oh, and the real news in the world is…..

  107. I think there are far more serious things than where some over paid guy sticks his doodah but also, I think injunctions should only be in the interests of national security.

    Have we signed anyone yet?

  108. Spot on Will, and, what about the poor woman who was gagged but had the paps following her everywhere….

    anyway, i don’t think we have Will ;)

  109. I don’t know why after the end to the season we have just had, but I think this is going to be a great window. I think Wenger has finally had enough with the no hopers.

    I never think we have a right to win anything, but let’s try at least.

  110. I was saying to a friend of mine earlier Will, I have never heard wenger talk so openly about transfers, never has he been so vocal about buying experience, nor has he said in a long while that he expects a busy window with him involved….

    some won’t believe him and rightly so but something in me says i want to believe him…..

  111. I think, going by his actions during games that he is fed up and feeling let down by the Rosicky’s and teh Denilson’s in the squad.

    I really do feel like this is THE window for us.

  112. I’m sure praying it is Will – but, I am not expecting big stars in the door, i don’t think that is wengers way regardless of what he has done in tha past…

    I’m thinking more about getting rid of so many he is fed up with and bring in some fresh blood who want to play for us for all the right reasons…

    i’m looking forward to the coming weeks, i don’t think we’ll have to wait too long…

    If we get to Aug 1st with no news, i will be surprised and very disapointed….

  113. It seems it’s just me and you on here tonight… ;)

  114. I am expecting almost ready players. Like Henry and Pires.

    For too long he has gone for the 15 year old, I think it is not the unpolished diamond who is 21 or 22 years old and just needs a finishing school if you will.

    Yeah, where are Wath and JJ?

  115. Ready made yes, as good as those two, i sure hope so Will…

    Don’t know, they must be busy or just really fed up with Arsenal…

  116. I am not holding out hope we will get players that good but I want players who are known and good but need a little Arsenal polishing.

  117. agree with the bad apples bit..
    the harmony at this club is shite we need a mini clear out of the babies and resore the dressing room before we start signing anyone

  118. The Frenchman insists he will not spend for the sake of it and will only target the right players to enhance his options.

    “We need good players, world-class players,” Wenger told Sky Sports.

    “We will try to buy the right players. Spending is not a purpose, it’s not our goal. We want the right players.

    “We have to be conscious that we cannot buy players for £50million. We fight with opponents who can do that.

    “You have to live in a realistic world, therefore we will give it our best to strengthen the team.”

  119. Hi jj, i think the clear out has started….

  120. heres a point..
    why on earth have we let nasri and clichy get to their last year??
    we renewed 17 players contracts last year..why wasnt those two part of that??

    are they stalling??
    i think we could lose them both this summer..

  121. They were offered deals jj, they are playing the game but now they have been told sign or be sold…

    If they won’t commit to us, they cannot want to play for OUR club – bollox to them i say, if they won’t sign, naff off….

    There are better players out there… No player is bigger than afc…

  122. I think they will sign.

  123. I think Nasri will, as for Clicy, i don’t care, not if really after Baines, or there is that German guy i mentioned yesterday…

  124. i dont

    i think we could lose alot here..
    it could be a rebuild job…

  125. Marcel Schmelzer…. 23 and plays for Borussia Dortmund

  126. nikkis dad is whoring him around germany
    clichy and nasri are stalling on contracts
    denilson got pissed off and wanted to go when he lost his place to jack..
    cesc wants barca
    arshavins just arshavin
    almunia gone from 1st to third..

    bad apples…squads got too big for its boots and theres not a high enough level of consistency in the quality of player in the squad, nor is there any trophies…

    if wenger keeps this lot together he will lose his job next year

  127. If it is, it is jj –

    As long as we build on, RvP, Theo, Sagna, Jack, Rambo, TV and Chesney – i don’t care who leaves….

    They either want to play for Arsenal or thay don’t….

  128. He won’t keep them, not this time….

  129. Back later guys.

  130. rico as long as we keep the majority of the core of the squad we will be ok
    the singings we make as well as promotion of young guns will make up for the numbers who leave,

    it doesnt matter about the quantity of the squad its about quality..

    weve got a massive squad but 85 out of the 100 aint good enough..

    as long as the right players are brought in we shouldnt have a problem…

  131. exactly jj, that’s just what i’ve been saying for a while, start building a team again and not just build everything around one player..

    the likes of Lansbury and Bartley would give more for the shirt than Squilli or Denilson/rosicky/ and even AA sometimes does…

    buy what we need to give us a proper squad of maybe eighteen then give the young guns an introduction…

  132. i’m off to watch the soaps, have a good evening all

    catch up tomorrow…


  133. I listen now , F.C. Porto budget is 90 million euros !

  134. “Why I called Arsene Wenger a hypocritical snake-oil salesman”

    Arsène Wenger blasts Chelsea for hypocrisy over £75m transfer spree• Arsenal manager questions rivals’ fair-play credentials
    • ‘Abramovich was in no man’s land. Now he’s back’

    Arsène Wenger last night accused Chelsea of hypocrisy after questioning the logic of Roman Abramovich’s lavish £76.5m outlay on Fernando Torres and David Luiz despite the Russian owner claiming to support Uefa’s policy of financial fair play.

    “Chelsea supported Uefa’s financial fair-play proposals but in the morning they announced a £70m loss and in the afternoon they buy £75m worth of players. Where’s the logic in that?” Wenger said after Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat of Everton. “It’s hard to guess. Officially they vote for financial fair play but they can explain why they have done this much better than I can.”

    The Arsenal manager anticipates the Premier League champions will spend heavily again in the summer following their mind-boggling huge outlay on transfer deadline day, with his clear distaste all too evident last night.

    Asked whether Chelsea’s decision to spend almost as much money in one day as they have since José Mourinho departed Stamford Bridge in September 2007 was a sign that the champions were concerned at falling behind the other challengers, Wenger said: “He [Abramovich] can tell you why but that’s how you can read it from the outside. If you don’t invest for a while, it looks as if you’re not as involved in it any more. That he doesn’t like it as much. But £75m means more will come.

    “Abramovich was a bit in no man’s land where nobody could guess if he wanted to still invest or not. He has been like that for a long time but that has changed. He has decided to put big money in again and that tells you in the summer more will come. He is back to full investment.”

    Wenger has been critical of Chelsea under Abramovich in the past, accusing them of “financial doping” during the oligarch’s early tenure at Stamford Bridge when the Russian instigated regular overhauls of the Londoners’ squad. The Arsenal vice-chairman at the time, David Dein, famously claimed Abramovich had “parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us”. Old wounds appear to have been reopened by the latest bout of spending.

    Uefa released a statement yesterday noting the frenzy of transfer activity on deadline day – Chelsea and Liverpool alone spent close to £140m on four players – with a view to the adoption of their fair-play regulations, which will come into place for season 2012-13. “Uefa is aware of the recent transfer activity across Europe,” it read. “It must be noted, however, that the financial fair-play rules do not prevent clubs from spending money on transfers themselves but rather require them to balance their books at the end of the season.

    “We have full confidence that the clubs are increasingly aware of the nature of the financial fair-play rules, which aim to encourage clubs to balance their incomes and expenses over a period of time covering four to six transfer windows.”

    Wenger’s line-up last night cost £40m to construct, around £10m less than Chelsea have paid for Torres alone. “That’s why I sat back in my armchair on the bench and watched with satisfaction,” the Frenchman said. “Chelsea and Manchester City are obviously special cases. It looks like Chelsea are back on the market, which they weren’t for a while. But they have the financial potential to do this.”

    His opposite number, David Moyes, Everton’s manager, spent no more than a nominal fee on the Greece Under-19 forward Apostolos Vellios, signed from Iraklis Thessaloniki, during the window but had his own warning on the ramifications of the deadline day frenzy. “If you were the dad of a young player at one of the clubs who have spent so much, you’d be asking how your son was ever going to get a chance there,” he said.



    Why can’t he kept his big mouth shut instead of spreading it wide like a hypocrite having one of the highest player wage bill in premiership with zilch in return after 2004/05 season?

    How Abramovich, Abu Dhabi, Glazer Family, John Henry and Joe Lewis wanted to do with their money is none of his business…

    And that is why I called him a hypocritical snake-oil salesman.

    If you spend £75m to buy players in summer 2011, and sign ‘em all on a 5-year contract, then you cost per annum is £15m, i.e. amortized over a 5-year period as part of your overall player salary.

    £15m amortization per annum over a 5-year period is a piffy sum in contrast to that average turnover receipts of £250m+ per annum.

    And it is pure stupidity not to spend as those PHW & Co are laughing all the way to the bank, collecting millions from Kroenke…and have any of the directors put back a penny back into Arsenal FC????

    And yes, their millions are partially contributed by Arsenal fans paying the highest footabll season ticket in the world; plus spending on Arsenal merchandises.

    Just look at the figures for FY2010:

    In FY2010 (June 30), our wage bill is the 5th highest in premiership:
    1 – Chelski – £174m
    2 – CITEH – £133m
    3 – ManU – £131m
    4 – Liverpool – £121m
    5 – Arsenal – £110m

    Liverpool sold Babel for £8m, sold Torres for £50m; and bought Suarez for £23m and Carroll for £35m. Not forgettign that they sold MAscherano as well…….thus making space for “expensive” players like Suarez and Carroll and mor eor less keeping the same wage structure.

    Look at ManU.
    Their player wage is only £21m more than us, and they won the title, plus in CL CUp FInal. Compare the following data for FY2010:

    Turnover receipts:
    ManU – £274m
    Arsenal – £382m, but with £156m from “flats & retail properties sales”. Then actual football turnover:
    Arsenal – £382m – £156m = £226m

    ManU – minus £79m [loss]
    Arsenal – £56m profit (bulk of ‘em from property sales)

    Annual Interest Payment:
    ManU – £107m
    Arsenal – £16m


    Look at above, since 2003, with a crippling debt, has ManU gone bankrupt?
    No, a success on football pitch plus increasing commercial sales has boosted their market value to at least £1,500m or more.

    Does the money-pinching policy helps us to boost our commercial value and global market share and becoming a marquee club like ManU, Real or Barca with all those money-pinching policies?
    And contrast that to ManLeeds just on “player bills”.
    Notice there isn’t any significant difference?

    But the contrast in delivering silverware and successes since 2003?
    There is a quantum gap.

    And everybody praised Wenger for his “financial acumen”, but if he is running a corporation, he will sacked in no time at all for not growing the business to its full potential and earning mediocre profits in contrast to his competitors growing by leaps and bounds, rednering Arsenal PLC to a “2nd Tier also-rans” competing 4th spot with the likes of S*CUMS, Liverpool and Man City…….especially with “vibrant and new-blood” Man City overtaking tired and obsolete “financial model” like Arsenal PLC…….akin to Toyota and BMW over-taking “tired and fossilised old firms” like Rover, Rolls Royce….

    I beleive Kroenke will load Arsenal PLC with debts to challenge the likes of ManU, Chelski and Man City for honors?
    If you don’t spend, you can forget about winning anything for the next decade or so.

    Like any mega-corporations, it is a matter of managing your debt, grow your global business and grow into a marquee club that increases your market values with increasing commercial, global franchises and merchandise sales.

    Like the late Jimmy Goldsmith on how to grow yoru business:
    “Use other people money to make money”.

    And that is why British corporations and old firms can’t compete against aggressive American, European and Asian corporations akin to the likes of PHW & Co adopting a staid and conservatice policies of “no debt, all internal generated funds” to compete against the lieks of Glazer Family, Abrmaovich and Abu Dhabi who are not afraid to use “leverage” – called debts – to grow their businesses via buying successes on the pitch.

    ManU, by just spending £21m more than us on “player wages” in FY2010, won the 2010/11 title and qualified for CL Cup FInal.
    Not only that, their commercial revenues for FY2011 is estimated to be about £100m, with Arseanl trailing far behind about £44m?

    You tell me, on “return on investments” theory.

    By spending £21m more than Arsenal in FY2010, how much has Ferguson got in returns for Glazer Family by winning the title plsu entering the CL Cup FInals?
    Not frogettign the knock-on effects of a successful team durign summer tours plus increased global merchandise sales and demanding more money or premiums ofr commercial rights associated with teh “Red Devils” brand name???

    You all had been sold a delusion on “Arsene Wenger’s superb financial acumen”, which is not true in a corporate world of “return in investments” as you need to spend to generate greater profits rather than that piffy sum due to penny-pinching policies.

  135. Morning all…

    Merlin, that is one heck of a comment, i get the impression you have seen and heard enough of Wenger?

    I’m not good with the finances of the club – all I know is we seem to sell more players than we buy and we make more money than we spend….

  136. New Post up

  137. Morning all.
    Yup, enough of his spin-doctoring and I don’t have high hope that he will change this summer….status quo with him promoting another bunch of youngsters plus 1 or 2 unknown French players….nary a British player incluidng Scott Parker, Cahill and Samba.

    Love to be proven wrong.

    Arsene Wenger is simply too obsessed with his experiment and wanting to be proven correct come what may by building his “3rd and greatest Arsenal team” basing on Rinus Michels “Ajax Model of Team Building” by nurturing and creating a team from its youth rank to senior team; a group that are friend on-and-off-the-pitch, joyously playing for each other and devleoping that telepathic understanding of The Invincibles.

  138. Merlin, the new post is up, come on over…

    i still think he’s going to shock us this summer, for the good, not bad..

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