Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday March 21 2008
'Arsenal have also had a problem they have had for years. When games are tight, their passing style is not equipped to grind out wins in the way Manchester United and Chelsea would do.......Emmanuel Adebayor has gone off the boil in recent weeks so we are back to pass, pass, pass.' Alan Hansen.
'Arsenal are a concern. I don't understand the mentality of players who can win in Milan but draw four on the trot in the Premier League. I just think they're not that strong mentally.' Mark Lawrenson.
Gary Lineker: 'In one word Alan, can Arsenal challenge for the title this season?'
Alan Hansen (snorts derisively)'No.' August 2007.
'I always wondered about Gallas as a captain - I thought it was an odd choice and a risky decision from Wenger when there has long been question marks about his attitude. Will that decison haunt Arsenal as the pressure is cranked up towards the end of the season?' Andy Gray.
'Manchester United to win title by large margin. Liverpool to come second, followed by Chelsea and Arsenal. The usual top four, in other words. Spurs make a faltering start, and take too long to recover.' Paul Wilson, The Guardian August 2007.
''MARTIN JOL`S Tottenham will gatecrash the top-four party in the Premiership this season. I`m sure the usual suspects will be leading the race - Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea - but the real interest centres on that fourth spot.
Without question one of the more attractive sides to watch last season and I like the brand of football they play. They have a young side with just a few old hands like Jens Lehmann, William Gallas and Gilberto but the question is whether with Thierry Henry gone, they will score enough goals. A lot will be expected from their new signing Da Silva and young Cesc Fabregas in midfield.' Kenny Dalglish's pre season prediction.
'For a football team to fight and win on several fronts is an incredible, enjoyable journey and the players will not want to be rested. And if you are beaten, you pick yourself up and start again, which is something Arsenal are not good at.
When Wenger says that mid-table sides go out with a plan to kick Arsenal and physically intimidate them, he is merely stating the obvious tactics used against any top team. Although Arsenal this season have shown themselves to be more able to stand up to a robust, physical game than in the past, they are still not as capable of withstanding it as Chelsea or Manchester United.' Guess who?
'I believe that we (Tottenham) will overtake Arsenal next season; things are not so bright over there. With the departure of David Dein and Thierry Henry, the confidence of the team appears to have been shunted and the purchase of Eduardo Da Silva covers up the true lack of Arsenal's desire.' Luke Darkin, July 2007.
'If we win the title with this team that would be great. I really believe in my heart we can do it. I think the manager is thinking the same. I started pre-season on June 18 and I'm with these boys every day. I see their ability. Yes they are young and young people make mistakes but that doesn't really matter." Robin van Persie on July 30th, 2007. Gathered press heard sniggering.
'When Thierry left it felt like the end. I had a lot of clubs in for me in the summer but always stayed loyal. But I felt it was the right time to go. When I signed my last contract two years ago we talked about the future, building a new stadium and bringing in top players, but it didn't really happen.' Freddie Ljungberg, July 2007.
"Arsenal have finished fourth in the last two seasons, playing a brand of football everybody agrees is as good as anything you see when it comes off. But I think if they keep playing that brand of football, even with one or two additions, they would be the one team out of the so-called top four that could be vulnerable, particularly to Tottenham." Hansen again, August 2007.
Boys, you know what to do.LD.
Date:Friday March 21 2008
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