Nothing like a bit of Dutch in our game…..

I meet a fair few Dutch people in my job, driving in London. I like Dutch people, they have a good sense of humour, like a beer, have fantastic coffee shops and make reasonably good footballers…. I don’t think that I’d be alone among many Arsenal fans if I said I’d be very happy to see 2 or 3 more Dutch players in the Arsenal squad.

Dennis Bergkamp is an iconic figure for us Arsenal fans. It’s difficult to look beyond Bergy when the question of who is the best player to have played at Arsenal since the War comes up. My hero is, and always will be Charlie George, but Dennis has to be the best I’ve seen in an Arsenal shirt.

One goal of his, sticks in the mind, I believe it was the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay at Sunderland. The tackles were flying, studs up, from the men in the red stripes, but with all this mayhem going on around him, Dennis still had the poise and coolness of mind to deftly drag the ball back twice, with each foot, sending Sunderland players hurtling into thin air as he calmly bent the ball beyond the bemused Sunderland goalkeeper.

A bit of Double Dutch.......

The man was a genius…

But Dennis wasn’t the first Nederlander to play for Arsenal. That honour goes to Gerry Keyser, who played the opening 12 League games in Arsenal’s record-breaking championship team in 1930-31. Keyser was actually Arsenal’s first ever overseas player, 60 odd years later Glenn Helder arrived. He initially looked good, then he had a serious haircut and was never the same…

During the late 1970’s Arsenal were strongly linked to Rudi Krol a stylish centre-back and the fantastic Johann Neeskens, a powerful dynamic forward cum attacking midfielder. We never were really certain, in those days of Dutch ‘Total Football’, they seemed capable of playing anywhere. Anyway in traditional Arsenal penny-pinching fashion The Board lost both because they wouldn’t pay the going rate for quality.

Sounds familiar eh..?

Marc Overmars had been linked to Arsenal several years before he arrived in 1997, he was one of Arsene Wenger’s first big signings. Injuries had blighted his career, but he showed us what a quality player he was, in the three years he was a Gunner. You never had to worry about over-passing with Marc in the team. If he had a chance or a run on goal… boom.

I was sorry to see him go.

Gio Van Bronckhorst was a solid, versatile and dependable player. He filled in many crucial roles for Wenger before following Overmars to the Camp Nou where Arsenal send all their old players ‘out to grass’…

Nacer Barazite didn’t make it, due to a bad case of the Abou Diaby’s. Oguzhan Ozyakup and Kyle Ebecilio have a lot of promise.

And then we have Robin Van Persie…

Robin oozes quality, has a swagger about his play, and he shares his goal celebration’s with the fans, making us feel part of it. A true Dutch Master. If he could stay fit for a season, then 30 EPL goals would be there for the taking.

‘Dank u wel Holland’.

Written by allezkev

106 thoughts on “Nothing like a bit of Dutch in our game…..

  1. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 9:37am

    Which other Dutch players should we go for?

  2. arsenal fan

    June 24, 2011 at 10:09am

    good post allezkev,
    wesley sneijder as cesc replacement,but we wont sign him………

  3. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 10:10am

    I am getting fed up with the way we do business.

  4. arsenal fan

    June 24, 2011 at 10:14am

    me too will,
    classic case
    samba wants to join us still we cant do the transfers done…….
    same old story for 6 years…..

  5. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 10:18am

    We need to do the Man Utd thing (and it pains me to say that). Durng the last game of the season, the management team should sit down, see who we need and on the first day, get them. Job done, enjoy your holidays boys.

  6. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 10:24am

    Morning all,

    love it AK, thank you – nothing like a bit of Dutch 😉

  7. EIE

    June 24, 2011 at 10:29am

    Bergkamp was overated, 3 good years, 4 mediocre years, 3 pi$$ poor years. Single handedly gave Man U the treble.
    Never scored a direct free kick in his professional career, averaged around 6 goals a season in his last 6 years. Only created 5 of Henry’s first 100 goals (watch the DVD if you don’t believe me). Petulant, lazy and overated. Not in Pires, Henry or Overmar’s class.

  8. Joaquim moreira

    June 24, 2011 at 10:30am

    Good morning
    Good market and not expensive. Sporting have got two players from there this season
    I’m going to the beach

  9. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 10:35am

    Good post AK, many fond memories come to mind, football as it used to be, quality players in a quality team, I look back at players like Dennis and its hard to think past those great days. Overmars took his chances at a drop of a hat.It appears today as if they need permission to shoot, or perhaps the quality apart from Robin is missing in this team. Having said that I wonder at times that having Robin in the line up is perhaps hindering the likes of Chamakh and Walcott and Vella. Robin is such a dynamic player we rely on him for everything upfront. Where by the others look to pass to Robin and give what chance they may of had away. Without Robin in the squad produced other players that stepped up to the plate, Vela could become so very good and also Chamakh but i feel that Robin puts them in the shade, I believe we will only see the talents of these others when Robin is injured or has moved on. That is not to say i want Robin gone, the man is a magician and seems a proper Arsenal man, but i cannot see the likes of Vella and Chamakh bloom while robin is first choice. I honestly believe that the only way we can be better up front is to buy a quality player that is as hungry as Robin and play them side by side.

  10. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 10:43am

    Steve, 4-4-2 would maximise Robin and another striker, especially the Vela/Theo type who should be looking at getting behind the defence.

  11. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 10:47am

    Hi JM & Steve

    I honestly didn’t know we had signed a Dutch player before DB…

  12. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 10:47am

    Going to teh gym, back in a couple of hours.

  13. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 10:48am

    Morning Will, whether Theo’s position on the flank hinders him, but he looks spectacular at times but rarely lasts long and he appears to have long lapses of quietness.

  14. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 10:49am

    Hi Will, agree – we all say that why play 4-3-3 if we don’t have the players…

    What is going on with Cesc, have Bara made an offer for him?

  15. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 10:50am

    Nice Bear Steve… :)

  16. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 10:52am

    EIE, your comment amazes me, you must be one of not very many who think he was overated, he was sheer class…

  17. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 10:58am

    Morning rico, hope your having good weather bit changeable here, The Dane before Dennis was a fair olt time ago rico maybe you remember him playing

  18. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 11:00am

    Thanks rico, he’s the same colouring and probably the same weight

  19. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 11:05am

    Ha ha Steve, way before even my time 😉

    What is going on with Cesc Steve, I haven’t seen much news over the last few days, and is it right that Lille have rejected our offer for Gervinho?

    The weather is changeable in Cornwall too, haven’t got soaked yet though 😉

  20. ArsenalDK

    June 24, 2011 at 11:06am

    I watched Ebecilio a few days ago against Korea, i never knew he was so big and powerful. I think that he was the tallest on the pitch. He had some amaizing runs, where the korean defence looked scared of him. He reminds me of JET, hopefully he has a better attitude…

  21. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 11:09am

    Hi ADK, read a few things about him, meant to be pretty darn good….

  22. ArsenalDK

    June 24, 2011 at 11:12am

    i really think he is rico.. Although i just want some proper additions right now :(

  23. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 11:13am

    You and me both, i just don’t get what the delay is, all that says to me is we are not getting any PL players – but, suggestion is Gary Cahills reps are talking to Arsenal today….

  24. ArsenalDK

    June 24, 2011 at 11:15am

    where have you heard that rico? That sounds fantastic, if true…

  25. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 11:17am

    Cesc is under contract and is tied to Arsenal for some time yet. Unless a massive offer comes in, Cesc will lead us to victory next year. All that apart nothing happens till the wanderer returns

  26. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 11:19am

    Cheers Rico, yeah a bit of Dutch eh??? Good for a bit of ‘blow’ as well…lol
    Thanks AFC fan, sneijder would be a dream…
    EIE…….?????? There’s always one eh Rico!
    StevieP, you make some interesting points mate. My Boys and i discussed this as well, the impact RVP seemed to have on Chamakh in particular. I love Robin, wouldn’t want to see him leave, but as Will suggested, maybe tweaking the system and formation could help?
    Love the bear, is he a pet?

  27. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 11:23am

    He’s a she, and i only let her out on full moons, good write up son, keep writing like this and you can give up erections ha ha

  28. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 11:25am

    ADK, i just read it somewhere and i have forgotten where, i wouldn’t believe it too much though, fridays are our signing day though 😉

    Steve, when is Wenger back or is he already?

  29. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 11:26am

    Hi AK, 😆 re the bit of blow….

  30. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 11:29am

    Ha Ha SP, no more erections for awhile…
    You know, i cannot see Wenger increasing his bid from £8m for Samba, and up to the oft quoted £12m.
    A 50% increase isn’t in his DNA.

  31. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 11:32am

    Re: the Gary Cahill rumour Rico, i did read it was ‘doing the rounds’ on Twitter

  32. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 11:32am

    Not heard anything about him rico been looking on the web to see where he is and found Zip his either buried in the Amazon or who knows where!!!!

  33. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 11:34am

    Also on Twitter: Oliver Holt was Tweeting [?] that Arsenal were close to doing some business on transfers [plural…!.]…
    Rico, we live in hope…

  34. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 11:36am

    SP, he was last seen taking a Polar bear for a walk…..

  35. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 11:43am

    The more I think about it the more I think our new defenders will be coming from where Wenger is. What manager would leave the country as the transfer window opens, knowing an early bid may secure his defence for the season, but disappears and leaves them without a worry. Sounds to me that theres either a deal in place, or he knows who his after in SA

  36. rico

    June 24, 2011 at 11:50am

    :) Steve, should we report him missing…

    I saw that one too AK, we can only live in hope, not that i think it will happen….

    I’m off for a bit guys, back later this afternoon…

    Have a good Friday :)

  37. Steve Palmer

    June 24, 2011 at 11:52am

    Better not rico, he would probably be found in a French speaking hotel with a bit of room service

  38. ArsenalDK

    June 24, 2011 at 12:10pm

    I was wondering.. I found a site, i think.. Do any of you know it? Is it trustworthy?

  39. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:16pm

    What does it say ADK..?
    I think it’s one of those sites you can get off of ‘newsnow’, & you have to take what they say on there with a sack of salt…

  40. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:18pm

    All the same ADK, i still go on it and read up all [or a lot] of the rumours on there. It’s usually a load of bollox, but hey, we all love it really…lol

  41. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:20pm

    So you was impressed by Ebecilio then ADK..?
    I think his elder brother plays for the Dutch senior team. He’s supposed to be a good player…

  42. ArsenalDK

    June 24, 2011 at 12:23pm

    haha.. yeah allezkev, the summer would be boring without all the rumours. I read back in april that Messi was tired of the way Barcelona we’re unsettling our players, and because of that, he wanted to defy the board, and so he would demand to switch to us 😛

    The hottest rumour on that site right now, is that Guardiola has stated that he MUST have cesc, but we demand 60 million pounds..

  43. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:28pm

    Ah, i see, yeah just a merry-go-round of rumours. They all steal each others ‘news’, re-hash it and then put it out as if it was their exclusive. They’re all a bunch of knobheads ADK, but we’re addicted to all their crap.
    You know ADK, as i’m reading it, i know it’s a lot of garbage, but i can’t help myself… Help…

  44. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:34pm

    For example, i was reading it last night, and there was that rumour about Real Madrids Mahamadou Diarra [i think he was the m/f who was at Lyon with Essien]. well he’s 30 and apparantly on a free.
    So there you are, French/African & free, the perfect fit for Arsene Wenger.
    If you get a chance ADK, have a look on Untold Arsenal, there’s a really funny spoof on a sports newsroom at a newspaper. Funny, but more than a grain of truth in it mate…

  45. ArsenalDK

    June 24, 2011 at 12:36pm

    To tell you the truth AK, i’m off for the holidays in a couple of days, just me and some freinds to New Zealand and Australia, backpacking and stuff like that, so I will be away from the media for at least a month. I just hope that, when I return, we have a championship winning squad.. Although it seems unlikely :(

    haha, take a cold shower AK lol

  46. ArsenalDK

    June 24, 2011 at 12:37pm

    If that is true, it would be perfect, as I rate him very highly, he’s really underrated if you ask me AK

    I will check it out :)

  47. Joaquim moreira

    June 24, 2011 at 12:42pm

    Back again.
    Time to read the news.
    Villas-Boas has their pockets full of money and can buy what he wants.
    Arsenal refuse Barcelona offer – 30 milllions for Fabegeas (Arsenal said, at least 55 million)

  48. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:45pm

    Wow, that sounds great ADK. Never been to that part of the world but i’ve heard that New Zealand is absolutely beautifull.
    I think you are making a very wise choice in getting away from all the transfer tittle-tattle.
    My boy went to Aussie some 6 years ago, he had a fantastic time. I think he would have stayed, if he could…

  49. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:47pm

    JM amigo, when are you gonna come on here and give us some positive news re:AFC…?
    How about reporting to us that Wenger has finalised the signings of Rolando and Falcao….lol

  50. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 12:53pm

    See ya all later.

  51. Joaquim moreira

    June 24, 2011 at 1:28pm

    allez, I’d like too, but I’ msure Falcao goes to chelsea (30 million) and Rolando to Juventus (30 million)

  52. arsenal fan

    June 24, 2011 at 2:01pm

    rolando for 30 million…is he that good….
    and it seems vela is staying is he good enough .he coudnt even break in the west brom 1st team…..

  53. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 2:02pm

    Juve can’t afford a packet of crisps, let alone a £30m player.

  54. Lee

    June 24, 2011 at 2:07pm

    I’m still struggling to come to terms with the DB10 “overated” comment from earlier…..

  55. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 2:10pm

    Yeah Lee, that one has me baffled.

  56. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 2:27pm

    Hi all.good read AK.Palermo president Zamperini has said we’ve already signed Ricky Alvarez…fingers crossed.

  57. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 2:27pm

    Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has told an Italian radio station that Velez attacking midfielder Ricardo Alvarez has ‘signed for Arsenal’.
    Alvarez, 23
    Zamparini had previously told Corriere dello Sport that any move for Alvarez would be ‘difficult’ due to Arsenal and Malaga’s interest in the highly-rated attacker.
    “We had a specific interest which we express as early as January. Unfortunately, a mistake on our part has happened and he has already signed for Arsenal.”
    Alvarez has been a member of the Velez squad since 2008, although a cruciate ligament injury suffered in the same year stalled his breakthrough into the first team.
    The 6ft 2in Argentine, who also holds an Italian passport, is known for his versatility, and can play across the midfield, as well as a second striker.

  58. Lee

    June 24, 2011 at 2:38pm

    KT, you know anything about him?

  59. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 2:40pm

    Not much will be interesting to see what will happen to Gervinho if this happens to be true.

  60. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 2:52pm

    Afternoon lads, What’s all this nonsense [or not] about Jurado KT, thanks btw.
    Bon Jour Lee, yeah, that EIE guy [or whatever] must have been on drugs!
    Will, how was the gym, just got back myself, man it was hard after almost 6 weeks off the exercise…not a good idea mate.

  61. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 2:54pm

    Will, that’s good news re: Alvarez, and don’t we need some good news!
    JM, you’ve just gotta do better than that amigo… We need cheering up….

  62. W.A.T.H

    June 24, 2011 at 2:55pm

    Afternoon peeps………..

    Nice post AK…!

    As for the comment from a dimwit called iei I think the fella needs a padded sell, a yid on a wind up obviously…!

  63. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 2:57pm

    AFC fan, yeah that seemed a strange one, Vela at WBA.
    If he can’t get a regular game for them, then it don’t look good for him getting a regular spot with the Arsenal…

  64. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 3:00pm

    Greetings Wath, thanks mate.
    Not sure what those pillocks get outta it. I wouldn’t dream of going onto a Middlesex Hotspur site. They’ve got nothing to say that i’d be remotely interested in reading…

  65. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 3:06pm

    Mark Randall signs 1 year deal with Chesterfield…

  66. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 3:08pm

    Kev, did a big lesson. I won’t bore you all with what I did but right now, walking is not fun.

  67. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 3:14pm

    Ha ha ha, Will, i share your pain, and i just did one hour….

  68. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 3:14pm

    Lesson means leg session and my brain is still not working.

  69. Joaquim moreira

    June 24, 2011 at 3:23pm

    Team elected by the voters (Argentina):
    Like last year, the Football back to Porteño Clausura your selection with the best players in each position. And this year, the electoral college of the FP has the title of player of the tournament Diego Valeri, Boca Juniors playmaker, despite the runner-up in the current issue Clausura 11 ‘.
    In this election, 32 players were chosen as the best in the league. In goal, was elected Juan Pablo Carrizo. River Plate’s goalkeeper failed at times, it is true, but it saved the team in crucial moments. If not for the archer, the Millonarios could be in a situation worse than it is today.
    Wards, especially Iván Pillud, Racing, and Emiliano Papa, the Vélez. Both players, however little, were not unanimous electoral college according to the FP. The duo of defense was a major problem until the present time the advocates of Albiceleste. The former Corinthians Seba Dominguez repeated the good 2009 campaign and was one of the stations, along with Nicolas Sanchez, one of the pleasant surprises of the Godoy Cruz.
    In midfield, another player who was nearly unanimous was Victor Zapata, brain Velez Sarsfield, Argentina champion. Beside him was Diego Villar of Godoy Cruz. The two midfielders were just the most offensive playmaker League, Diego Valeri and Maxi ‘Enano’ Moralez, the Velez (club that had more players in the elections).
    The front line was the Colombian Racing, Teofilo Gutierrez, scorer of the Apertura 2011 (with Javier Campora, the Huracán) alongside Juan Manuel Martinez, of Velez Sarsfield, who ate the ball not only in the Clausura, but also in Libertadores of America.
    According to the electoral college in the FP, the great revelation of the tournament was Ricardo Álvarez, the Vélez. This team would be headed by Ricardo Gareca (Velez), but the tie-breaker (placing on the Clausura), as El Tigre was tied with Jorge Da Silva in the number of votes.
    Check out how the votes were:
    Goalkeepers: Carrizo (4), Barovero (2) and Bologna (1)
    Right-back: Pillud (6)
    Defenders: Sheba, and Sanchez (5), Goltz and Maidana (2), Lisandro, Vera (1)
    Left Back: Pope (6), Iberbia (1)
    Socks: Zapata (6) Villar (3), Camoranesi and Donda (2), and Rinaudo Fernandez (1)
    Hook: Valeri (7), Morales (3), Neira, Enzo, and Patricio Martinez Rodriguez (1)
    Forwards: Theo Gutierrez (5), Martinez (4), Campora, Silva and Palermo (1)
    Revelation: Ricardo Alvarez (4) and Matias Nicolas Colaza Laba (1)
    Coach: Ricardo Gareca and Jorge Da Silva (2), Gabriel Schurr, and Rodolfo Arruabarrena Caruso Lombardi (1)

    We have a man?

  70. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 3:33pm

    Hope we get him and it isn’t media talk.

  71. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 3:45pm

    Will, i tend to do cardio/vas and only a little bit of weights.
    Yessir, Alvarez will certainly lighten the mood on here.
    But i did read on another blog, that Arsenal announce signings on July 1st for tax reasons….
    Doesn’t seem to bother ManUre…penny-pinchers!

  72. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 3:47pm

    I did a 460kgs leg press as my first exercise 😉

    I read that tax thing but I can’t see that.

  73. Merlin96

    June 24, 2011 at 3:50pm

    If I can recalled correctly, when West Ham won the Cup-WInner Cup by defeating Anderclecht 4-2, the Belgain coach commented: “West Ham cheated. They played the European style”.
    A nice compliment to Ron Greenwood and his Academy.

    Influences of Englishmen in European Football?

    I read another book by David Winner “Brilliant Orange – The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer”.

    Ajax in particular had a tradition of intelligent attacking football dating back to World War 1 and credited to Englishman Jack Reynolds.

    There he coached Ajax for 25 years in 3 spells between 1915 and 1947.

    The club’s tradition of attacking, skilful, quick-passing football played with wingers began with the gouden ploeg (golden team) then.

    Reynolds’s strict discipline, and training that emphasised techniques and passing as well as fitness, transformed the then minor East Amsterdam club and propelled it to national importance.

    In the 1920s he laid the foundations of the Ajax youth system, working from eight every morning until ten at night coaching teams of every age group in the same style.

    “For me, the attack is and remains the best defence” Reynolds.

    In the 1930s, the club procliamed its aesthetic or objectives with a little poem:

    “Open game, open game/you can’t afford to neglect the wing”.

    The Volkskrant newspaper praised Ajax’s “technically controlled” game, ball skills and tactics. “Ajax comes close to the English professional game and lacks only the spirit that English teams have”.


    How ironic that in this modern days, English teams had been stereotypical as “kick and rush, lacking the finesse and tactical acumen of European teams”.

    But what Reynolds had done for Ajax, I see the similarities of those great Liverpool teams of the 80s and our French Spine and The Invincibles. That is,

    “Technically controlled game, ball skills and tactics; and that intrinsic spirit that English teams have”.

    Not the current bunch of french poodles, pretty boys and bottlers.


    Yes, I am lamenting the lack of visionary Englishmen of the likes of Herbert Chapman and Ron Greenwood that devised new tactics and also to emulate the likes of Ajax whose foundations are laid by Englishmen.

    A second Englishman, the late Vic Buckingham (a former Spuds player..), also helped prepare the ground for Ajax’s Total Football when he was appointed coach in 1959 for the first of two spells.

    Later, Buckingham would be the first Ajax man to takeover at Barcelona, thus beignning a trend that was followed by RInus Michels, Cryuff and Louis van Gaal.

    Buckingham [1993]:
    “Football is a serious game but an an elegant game.

    Possession football is the thing, not kick and rush.
    Long-ball football is too risky. Most of the time, what pays off is educated skills. If you’ve got the ball, keep it. The other side can’t score. I liked people to have people who could dominate other sdies playing like that.”

    Compared to English Football, Buckingham found the Ajax style refreshing:

    “Their skills were different, their intellect was different and they played proper football. They didn’t get it from me; it was there waiting to be stirred up. It was just a case of telling them to keep more possession. I’ve always thought possession is nine-tenths of the game, and Ajax played possession football”……..

    “I influenced them, but then they went on and did things above that which delighted me. For instance, two of them would go down the elft side of the field passing to each other – just boom-boom-boom – and they’d go thirty yards and two men would have cut out three defenders and created a vast acreage of space………

    …….you only have to give them an idea; they added skills, movements and combinaitons all the time. They’d get into threes and fours without really knowing they were doing it.

    They were playing “habit football” after a time, and habit football was star football. They could find each other by instinct. They’d have a rhythm; go from the left side of the field to the right side of the field but make progress of thirty or forty or fifty yards as well.

    Keeping the ball all the time. You have to have a lot of skills to do that, and we trained all the time on it.”

    “To make a good football team, you need a mixture of good players who get on mentally and physically. It’s about thought in football. When you see a big fellow going into a tackle, don’t go and help him. That’s a good player’s isntinct. If you’re good, you know the big fellow will win the ball – and he does. So you’ve saved that fraction of energy you would have wasted helping him.”

    His thoughts on Cryuff:
    “He was one who immediately struck a chord with me, as if he was my son. He was such a skinny little kid but he had such immense stamina. he could run all over the field. And he could do everything; set movements up, fly down the wing, run into the penalty area, head the ball in. Left foot, right foot, anything – and such speed.”

    David Winner – “Brilliant Orange”

  74. Merlin96

    June 24, 2011 at 3:58pm

    David WInner “Brilliant Orange”
    Before the WC1974 match against Bulgaria the Dutch prepared a special treatment for the one Bulgarian player they saw as a threat, their playmaker Bonev.

    Arie Haan recalls: “Before the game, we drew up a list of our players who would hit him with hard tackles early on. Neeskens first, Van Hanegem second, then Suubier, I think WIm Jansen maybe….I forgot the order and exactly who it was. I think I was number five.

    But we never needed number five. After four tackles, Bonev didn’t want the ball any more. He didn’t give us any problems.”

    And that is why teams are saying Arsenal is a “soft touch”…and why Nasri is always “in and out” games as every teams are adapting this serial and rotational hard-tackling tactics to smash Arsenal Midfield out of their rhythm…..and can get lucky too with red-cards such as that moronic of a French Poodle in Diaby that effectively lost us 2 points at St James Park.

    Question is:

    Will Wenger be cyncial enough to adapt this “serial hard-tackling” tactics to keep opponent playmaker quiet?

    And that was what Chelski did to Nani last season with continual rotational fouls and hard tackles to keep him out of the game in the 2nd half.

    Will Arsenal be as pragmatic and brutal as those Dutch players of the 70s?

  75. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:02pm

    Will, 460!!!! My God, you must have legs like Arnie…….
    That is some serious weight there buddy….
    Now off to read Merlin’s epic contribution…

  76. Merlin96

    June 24, 2011 at 4:11pm

    I am presently reading this interesting book – bought at Los Angeles during my last December X’mas holidays there – ‘Why England Lose & Oher Curious Football Phenomena Explained” by Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski”.

    Statisticians of baseball are those who care to be known as sabermetricians.

    Bill James came out of rural Kansas. He hadn’t done much in life beyond keeping stats in the local Little League, and watching the furances in a pork-and-bean factory.

    However, in his spare time he had begun to study baseball statistics with a fresh eye, and discovered that “a great portion of the sport’s traditional knowledge is ridiculous hokum”.

    James wrote that he wanted to approach the subject of baseball “with the same knid of intellectual rigor and discipline that is routinely applied, by scientists great and poor, to trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe, of society, of the human mind, or of the price of burlap in Des Moines”.

    In self-published mimeographs masquerading as books, James began demolishing the game’s myths.

    He found, for instance, that the most important statistic in batting was the rarelt mentioned “on-base percentage” – how often a player managed to get on base.

    James and his followers showed that good old sacrifice bunts and base-stealing were terrible strategies.

    Eventually even the people inside baseball started to get curious about James.

    In 2002 the Boston red Sox actually appointed James “Senior Baseball Operations Adviser”, hsi first regular job since the pork-and-bean plant. The same year, the Red Sox hired one of James’ followers, the 28-year-old Theo Epstein, as the yougnest general manage rin the hsitory of the major leagues.

    In 2004 the “cursed” cub won its first World Series in 86 years. In 2007 they won another.

    In 2006 Times magazine named James in its hundred most influential people in the world. Now Football is due it sown Jamesian Revolution.


    In fact, Arsene Wenger had launched his own “Jamesian Revolution” in 1996 wiht his obsession on data and statistics and revolutionised the dietary plans of the players such that it extended the playing career of the Fab-4 in Dixon, WInterburn, Boulds, Adams, Keown and Seaman.

    Liverpool FC?

    John Henry is certainly going to emulate his successful 2002 transformation of Boston red Sox wiuth Liverpool FC.

    And John Henry will certainly launched a Jamesian Revolution at Liverpool FC, from Academy level right to the Board of Directors level.

    Much of the myths will be discarded and cold-hearted and hard-headed statistical analyses will be applied throughout the club to squeeze the last drop of performances and/or enhancement out of the squad, including deciding any new buys during August 2011.

    Like that Wengerian revolution that transformed Arsenal FC.

    But the key is modern dietary changes and physical conditioning in a systematical and scientific manner; resulting in fitter players that can run for 90 minutes and beyond.

    And that was the legacy of Arsene Wenger to English Football.

    He absolutely banned that “susage & chip” diets and stopped that working-class’ practice of “binge-drinking as a habit” with Arsenal players.
    And those foreign players set an example of professionalism.
    Have you ever seen tabloids publishing stories and pictures of Henry, Vieira, Pires and Bergy on a night out, binge drinking with pals and got caught up like Jack Wilshere, Cashley Cole, Gazza or even Rooney…and sadly even Gerrard over that alleged assault case?

    Notice what Wenger had not been doing lately with his players as follows:

    A traiend economist, Arsene Wenger is practically addicted to statistics like the number of kilometres run by each players in a game. Slowly, Wenger’s colleague are also ceasing to rely on gut alone. Increasingly they use computer programming like Prozone to analyse games and players.

    ANother harbinger of the impending Jamesian takeover of football is the Milan Lab. Early on, AC Milan’s in-house medical outfit found that just by studying a player’s jump, it could predict with 70% ACCURACY whether he will get injured. It then collected millions of data one have of the team’s players on computers, and in the process stumbled upon the secret of eternal youth.

    (It’s still a secret: no other club has a Milan Lab and the Lab won’t divulge its findings, which is why players at other clubs are generally finished by their early thirties.)

    Most of the starting eleven that beat Liverpool in 2007 CL CUp FInal were 31 or older:

    Maldini was 38, Flippo Inzaghi, scorer of both goals, 33.

    In large part, that trophy was won by the Milan Lab and its database.

    Jean Pierre Meersseman, Milan Lab director:
    “You can drive a car without a dashbaord, without any inforamtion, and that’s what’s happening in soccer.

    There are excellent drivers, excellent cars, but if you have your dashboard, it makes it just a little bit easier. I wonder why people don’t want more information.” We do.

    And I suspect that is whay John Henry’s Sabermetricians are going to revamp Liverpool FC.

    Strict dietary plan and scientific physical conditions perhaps to that level of that secretive Milan Lab?

    Injecting professionals and personal conducts and responsibilities of Liverpool players to the community at large.

    Exhaustive statistical studies to “discover” best tactical formations and techniques against opponents

    Scouting of new players and rejuvenating the squad with “unknown and undervalued” 20-22 year old players.

    ANd that is what Wenegr must do to transform this current team into “winners”.

  77. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:12pm

    Merlin, that was a very good read. I had heard of Vic Buckingham but Jack Reynolds is a new one on me. I’ll have to Google him later, cheers.

  78. Merlin96

    June 24, 2011 at 4:17pm

    Here is a gem on our Mad

    Every decent manager would had kept a database on their opponents. But computer and IT revolution have given them a tool to produce a quantum leap in “data-mining”.

    “Why England Lose, etc” by SImon Kuper & Steffan Szymanski

    There have probably always been people in the game tracking the past behaviour of penalty kickers and keepers. Back in the 1970s, a Dutch manager – Jan Reker – began to build up an archive of index cards on thousands of players. One thing he noted was where the players hit his penalties.

    The Dutch keep Hans van Breukelen would often call Reker before an international match for his briefing.

    In May 1988, PSV reached the European CUp FInal, the keeper phoned Reker. At first Reker’s index cards didn’t seem to be helping much – Benfica’s first 5 penalties all went in – but Van Breukelen saved the 6th kick from Veloso, and PSV were European champions.

    A month later, so were Holland. They were leading the USSR 2-0 in the Final where Van Bruekelen conceded a penalty. But using Reker’s database, he saved Belanov’s weak kick.


    WC2006 – and Mad Jens’ famous crib sheet!!! And during penalty kick against Argentina, Lehmann emerged with a crib sheet tucked into his sock..

    Apparently, the Germans had a database of 13,000 kicks. On a little page of hotel notepaper (‘Schlosshotel, Grunewald’, it said), the German keeper’s trainer Andreas Kopke had jotted down the proclivities of some potential Argentine penalty-takers:

    1 – Riquelme – left
    2 – Crespo – long run-up/right
    ……….. – short run-up/left

    3 – Heinze – left low

    4 – Ayala – waits long time, long run-up, right.

    5 – Messi – left
    6 – Aimar – waits long time, left.
    7 – Rodriquez – left

    Of the 7 names on the list, only Ayala and Rodriquez actually took penalties.

    However, Ayala stuck exactly to Lehmann’s plaln: he took a long run-up, the keeper waited a long time, and when Ayala dutifully shot to Lehmann’s right, the keeper saved.

    But Cambiasso was not on the list. And yet the peice of paper did its job, because Lehmann stood looking at it for a long time.

    Wortmann says that as Camiasso prepared to take his kick, he must have been thinking: “What do they know?”

    But Cambiasso was psyched out nonetheless. Lehmann saved his shot.

  79. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:21pm

    Another very interesting piece Merlin.
    Wonder if Kroenke will gradually bring some American sports medicine/science knowledge into the mix at Arsenal?

  80. Merlin96

    June 24, 2011 at 4:23pm

    Why Chelski lost 2008 CL Cup FInal?…

    In 1995 the Basque economist Ignacio Palacios Huerta, began recording the way penalties were taken. His paper, ‘Professionals paly Minimax’, was publsihed in 2003.

    One friend of Ignacio’s who knew about his research was a professor of economics and mathematics at an israeli university. It so happened that this man was also a friend of Avram Grant. When Chelski reached the CL Cup FInal in 2008, he put the two men in charge.

    Ignacio then sent Grant a report that made 4 points about ManU and penalties:

    1 – Van der Sar tended to dive to the kicker’s ‘natural side’ more often than most keepers did. This meant that when facing a right-footed kicker, VdS would usually dive to his own right…and vice versa.

    2 – Ignacios emphasised in his report ‘that the vast majority of the penalties that VdS stops are those kicked to a mid-height (say, between 1 and 1.5 metres), and hence that penalties against him should be kicked just on the ground or high up’.

    3 – Ronaldo often stops in the run-up to the ball. If he stops, he is likely (85%) to kick to the right-hand side of the goalkeeper.

    4 – Teams going first win 60% of the time.

    Ballack, Belletti scored low to VdS’s left.

    Cech stayed motionless – ‘not even blinking’. Then, exactly as Ignacio had recommended, Cech dived to his right and duly saved Ronaldo’s shot.

    Chelski’s next 4 penalty-takers, Lampard, Cashley Cole, Terry and Kalou all hit the ball to VdS’s left, just as Ballack and Belletti had done. In other words, the first six Chelcki kicks went to the same corner. Cashley COle was the only one of the six that disregarded Ignacio’s advice as he is left-footed.

    But after 6 kicks, VdS figured out Chelski’s strategy.

    As Anelka prepared to take Chelski’s 7th penalty, VdS, standing on the goal-line, extended his arms to either side of him. Then, in what must have been a chilling moment for Anelka, the Dutchman pointed with his left hand to the left corner.

    Now Anelka had a terrible dilemma. This was game theory in its rawest form. VdS had come pretty close to divining Chelski’s strategy: Ifnacio had indeed advised right-footed kicker like Anelka to put the ball to VdS’s left side.

    So Anelka knew that vdS knew that Anelka knew that VdS tended to dive right against right-footed kickers. What was Anelka to do?

    Anelka kicked to VdS’s right and worse, hit the ball exactly at “mid-height” exactly the level that Ignacio had warned against. VdS saved the penalty.

    Ferguson: “That wasn’t an accident, his penalty save. We knew exactly where certain players were putting the ball.” Anelka’s decision to ignore Ignacio’s advice probably cost Chelski the CL Cup.
    It meant that VdS psyched Anelka out of the game, like what Lehmann did to Cambrassio in WC2006.

    [And Anelka repated the same error in FA CUp tie against Everton – MID-HEIGHT SHOT!!!!}

    And of course, even though Terry followed Ignacio’s advice, he slipped and kicked against the spot with VdS diving the wrong side.

  81. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 4:24pm

    Interesting read Merlin…

  82. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 4:32pm

    I’ve observed that Van der sar stat for a while.its easier to score him to his left with low/high shots.i remember when Milan tore apart the mancs in 07 milan’s goals were placed in the left bottom corner.whether it was deliberate is anyone’s guess but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was with all the research they perform.

  83. arsenal fan

    June 24, 2011 at 4:36pm

    reports are coming that we have signed ricardo alvarez….
    palermo president says that they have lost out to the signing of the argentinian …………
    pls pls hope its true…….

  84. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:41pm

    Really interesting Merlin, i wonder if David Seaman had a similar record of penalty takers?

  85. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 4:41pm

    Where are you finding these Merlin and why won’t you write an entry?

  86. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 4:45pm

    Is it just me but does Alvarez remind me of pires?

  87. Lee

    June 24, 2011 at 4:47pm

    Interesting stuff Merlin!

  88. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:49pm

    KT, any views on Jurado?

  89. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:50pm

    What about Alexander Milosevic KT, any idea what he’s like?

  90. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:51pm

    Does anyone on here think there’s any mileage in the Jose Enrique rumours??

  91. allezkev

    June 24, 2011 at 4:54pm

    I just love newsnow, lol…
    Mahamadou Diarra for a year? Did hear he was a bit injury prone and wants big wages…. What do ya think KT?

  92. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 4:56pm

    Yeah, from what I am hearing KT, let’s hope he is as good.

  93. arsenal fan

    June 24, 2011 at 5:01pm

    alvarez looks like kaka to me…….hope he is good….but do you all beleive it to be true or is it a rumour….with arsenal at the moment you cant trust a thing……

  94. Joaquim moreira

    June 24, 2011 at 5:07pm

    Interesting Merlin. Moreover, in Spain and Portugal they are second coach with that mission (in others). Know everything about the other team, the players, etc.
    I remember Christo Bonev. A very good player. I remember also in World Cup 1996, how Pele was put away versus Portugal. Since then, more or less, that “work” is share between more players.
    The referees, they rarely show a card in the first 15 minutes and in the meantime, the key player has been sufficiently disturbed.

  95. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 5:17pm

    Jurado is decent but not what we need.

  96. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 5:20pm

    Milosevic i don’t know much about him.

  97. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 5:24pm

    I have just watched the ljunberg goal against juventus where we went from our penalty area to theirs in a matter of seconds culminating in Bergkamp juggling the ball making the defenders look like mugs and then scooping it for freddy to finish…good times.

  98. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 5:49pm

    Yes and we could still have a team like that if Wenger and the board had nuts.

  99. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 6:04pm

    That team was electric will.some of the 1 touch was pretty awesome!

  100. K-TR7

    June 24, 2011 at 6:15pm

    Being called Ricky has got an aura about it.when he scores we’ll be like Riiiiiiiickkkkkkkyyyyy…!

  101. Will

    June 24, 2011 at 6:35pm

    That would be funny

  102. Joaquim moreira

    June 24, 2011 at 9:29pm

    About penalties, etc, do we use this ?
    The software is called Tactical Mourinho Board and was developed by Portuguese technological Forward Green’s coach Jose Mourinho, but now is already used by professionals in this area in about 160 countries, “practically the whole world.”
    The balance is made by Pedro Araujo, director of the company, which launched the first version of this tactical digital picture on April 16. After having extended the range of platforms for which the application is available, the company is now preparing to add functionality you with the release of an update next week.
    The plans were revealed by the responsible agenda, which also explained that among the new features to expect is a notepad and the ability to create sequences of moves on video.
    The application – available for computers running Windows operating systems, Mac and Linux, and Android smartphones and tablets – is for football management and planning sports, relying on physical criteria, tactical, historical and statistical team and their opponents, is directly geared to use by professionals.
    Asked about the possibility of designing an alternative directed to a wider audience, consisting of amateurs and curious – with one aspect of the game, for example – the person responsible for the product does not hide his interest in expanding the base of potential customers, but says, for now, the team is concentrated in the format in marketing.
    Witness the “five or six corrections” that the platform has suffered since it launched just over two months. This need to constantly work on the product is one of the factors that contributes to Pedro Araújo do not hesitate to assert that there is no return on financial investment made by the company, consisting of 10 persons.
    The Forward Green was established last year as “arm” dedicated to the programming of another company, Brandit, operating in the area of ​​marketing and digital advertising. The need arose to address the “growing request of applications for mobile phones,” the official explained by the company, based in Barcelos.
    The application that became the best-known product brand took about five months to market, being sold at a price of 39.95 euros in the desktop version, 9.95 and 19.95 for tablets for smartphones – for now only with the Android operating system, but soon on the BlackBerry and iOS.
    The promised update for next week will be available for free and automatic for those who already have the software installed. But those who buy the solution will have to receive it in its new version.

  103. Merlin96

    June 25, 2011 at 1:28am

    Will says:
    June 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm
    Where are you finding these Merlin and why won’t you write an entry?


    Hi Will,
    It is not appropriate to write a piece when it is just “cut and paste” from those books that I had read.
    However I will be writing a piece on my fantasy of 2011/12 season tactical 3-4-3 formation in July when I know which players are “in” or “out” of Arsenal.
    My thoughts are still in an embroynic stage……….

  104. rico

    June 25, 2011 at 9:19am


  105. rico

    June 25, 2011 at 9:26am

    Back shortly ….

  106. rico

    June 25, 2011 at 10:53am

    New Post up

Comments are closed.