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There is a great deal of ruminating and conjecture about Arsenal's bafflingly inconsistent form on the pitch, the defensive midfield position has been pored over for weeks, yet Denilson is playing really well. The issue of a monster of a centre back is also a recurring theme, but one thing you have to say is that since Silvestre has come into the sidehave only conceded one headed goal, a vast improvement. There is worth in exploring both issues, but I think the truth is more of a collective ill. I think it is not only the balance of the side that is lacking in nascency, but there is a vainglorious culture amongst the players.

A look at our wage bill shows that we pay equitable wages to Manchester United. That astounds me frankly when you compare the achivements of the players in our respective squads. United's is a squad packed with players who have won every medal worth coveting. In Arsenal's squad, only Toure has massively achieved with the club, the only other two players with respectable honour rolls are Silvestre and Gallas, who earned their stripes with our rivals! I'm beginning to wonder if Arsenal has become toomuch of a soft touch, our players are rewarded for boilerplate achievements. This has occasionally manifested itself into arrogance on the pitch, most notably and unacceptably of all in the final minutes of the match against Tottenham. Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Adebayor were immediately given payrises on the back of a solitary excellent season in which they did not land a trophy. While I can see the sense in tying players down, neither player was near the end of their contract. Some of the words the players utter to the press make me embarrassed, Theo Walcott telling everyone Europe will be afraid of us after defending like a pub team against Fenerbahce, van Persie's constant wittering about what a great team we are.

Firstly, I think we have a situation where players are not being greatly challenged for their places, hence the persistent mistakes. But I wonder if this reflects a problem at large at Arsenal at the moment. Despite my frequent reverie, I am not privvy to anything that goes on on the training ground or in the boardroom, so I can only offer speculation and conjecture. But I get the distinct impression Arsenal Football Club is operating very much in the comfort zone right now. The players are not challenged for their places, those that agitate for a move are instantly granted their wish. Whereas Hleb was shipped out on the first plane to Catalunya, Ronaldo, Barry and Lampard were all fought for and all are representing excellent value for their clubs this season. Again, one can only speculate, but what exactly is Pat Rice's role? Is he just a 'yes' man who puts out cones? A notable feature of Ferguson's reign at Old Trafford has been the constant freshening of the backroom staff. Kidd, McLaren, Smith and Quieroz were all respected football men who we are told chipped in with tactical ideas and provided something of a yin to Ferguson's chilling yang. Does Pat Rice do this? Perhaps there was a time when he did effectively, but after 12 years in the position, it is very easy for things to stagnate. One could argue that Ferguson's constant rotation of his right hand men is out of necessity as his assistants have been lured into the hotseats of other clubs. But therein lies a revealing morsel of food for thought, I can only ever remember Rice being approached for the Northern Ireland job around six years ago. Has anyone ever heard an Arsenal player wax lyrical over the role of Rice?

I wonder if Martin Keown's increased prominence in Arsenal's media, as well as the fact that he turned down the assistant's role at Portsmouth is significant? He was reportedly pictured next to the first team players at the Wigan match. Keown was apparently an ubiquitous figure around the club around the time Arsenal became the meanest defence in the Champions League. Maybe Keown is the man to challenge Wenger? As a player he was a dominant personality and showed an acute understanding of the game. (After the 2002-03 season, Keown told Wenger he had to play Toure ahead of him in defence. Altruistic and astute). He is also an erudite and articulate communicator who would have the respect of the younger players. But who's to say he would make a good coach? I don't know, but I think something needs freshening up. Ferguson appears to have showed that the position of assistant is an ephemeral one and perhaps it is time for soembody more splenetic and opinionated. The image of Rice as a sinecure is one that looms large. I get the impression Rice would have great compunction about suggesting a tactical change to Wenger, or challenging him to drop an underperforming player. I have often suggested that Gallas is not a bad captain, but he is something of a monolith in terms of leadership all over the pitch. I wonder if this is the case on the training ground? A number two should be able to undercut the weaknesses of the main man and enjoy a symbiotic relationship. I have to wonder what Rice and Primorac's input is in an average week.

This sense of entropy appears to be omnipresent throughout the club. Arsene Wenger has certainly earned a decent amount of goodwill and freedom with the job he has done. But one cannot help but wonder whether he feels enough pressure in his job to deliver. Wenger confirmed that he will be involved in the appointment of the new CEO. (An appointment that has taken ten months and counting, hardly the work of a pro active, modern organisation). Effectively Wenger will be responsible for choosing his own boss. That is not a healthy situation at all. Of course steps should be taken to ensure that the manager can work harmoniously with the incoming CEO, assuming the board pull their finger out and appoint one, but for Wenger to have a hand in selecting a man he should be accountable to bears uncomfortable resemblance with the way a dictator manipulates a system to ween himself into power. I get the impression the club are happy with a fourth place finish every season and continue to rely on the groundswell of opinion against Usmanov and justify gargantuan pricing policies by lubriciously selling the concept of our 'sexy football.'

The manager has earned our trust and I would trust him implictly to turn us around. Of course there was a time when finishing fourth and qualifying for Europe's premier competition year on year was considered a pipe dream. However, Wenger has spoken of elevating us yet another echelon in his impressive reign and he is certainly capable. But there are mistakes being made in the team and in the club that are being identified, but no measures are being taken to fix them. I think a few egos need to be bruised, a few arses kicked. The players need to wake up to themselves and the manager needs to shake off his obstinance and address some big problems in January. Most of all, I think Arsenal are in danger of stagnating and rewarding mediocrity to a level unbecoming of a club that inisists it has intentions of equalling and overhauling some of the giants of Europe. Some soul searching definitely needs to be done. Like I say, I can only speculate, but I think some arse kicking needs to be done too. Arsene has always had a deft knack of recognising when a player has lost his hunger, perhaps its time to exercise that ruthlessness back through the mirror.LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 17 2008

Time: 8:38PM

Your Comments

AH! MY FAVOURITE BOWIE SONG!
merlin
My favourite Tupac song.
k_chelski
You're right, something needs to change. I feel the players take a share of blame, coz they are way too complacent for my liking. Some of the stuff that we hear is arrogant, and have been built up as a result of the over confidence that Wenger has bestowed on them. Gallas said it best, that we focus too much on the beautiful football. However, I will disagree with the appointment of a CEO. Wenger will be answerable to the Board as a whole. The structure of the club will be slightly different. I do agree that it shouldnt take this long, but it does as if efforts are being hampered coz all the identified candidates seem to be rejecting Arsenal. Whats with that ?
prits
As for the wage bill, we do things our way and if the focus is having a smaller gap between the highest and least earners at the club, so be it. ManU have a different financial structure and ours has been a policy where we dont spend on transfers, but spend big on wages to retain their services. All these problems seem a lot larger now, than they did at the end of last season. We may be reading too much into certain aspects and creating issues out of nothing.
prits
Just a quick question: When you win a big trophie, won't your players ask for more money?
k_chelski
I believe Wenger although hes done an absolutley astonishing job at Arsenal over the years, has now become the problem at Arsenal. His policy of no spend/trust the youth although for the most part has been excellent, has gone way too far. Your team on paper where it once read Seaman, Lauren, Campbell, Vieira, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp now reads Alumnia, Silvestre, Denilson, Bendtner, Adebayor, fine players but where are the experienced, world beaters in the core of your team? If Wenger would get his wallet out and buy 2 or 3 established players you would be unstoppable, i mean imagine david villa or xabi alonso in your side!? but Wenger wont do it and its why youve won ***** all recently.
HuddersfieldYiddo
I think we have become too obsessed with our own image as purveyors of beautiful football, we are narcissistic. Transfer market? Midfielders that tackle? Defenders that head the ball? Pah, these are dark arts practised by savages. We are like Prospero desperately trying to educate Caliban without acknowledging his strengths. We are pretentious in our outlook. The CEO is one of the people Wenger will answer to, but how many people here get the chance to appoint one of their bosses? Maybe I should have a crack at suggesting my preferred Attorney General? Maybe the way in which we structure our wages is different, but we certainly seem to dish out payrises willy nilly. If we're paying high wages to retain players, then that is a policy that requires reviewing because it hasn't worked well for us lately.
Little Dutch
Good article if a tad verbose
bob p
Good piece, LD. What has struck me esp. this season is the players' attitude: their repeated complacency, arrogance and inability to respond to teams that refuse to allow them to play. They seem to have lost the ability to come up with ways to respond to such teams -- yet they demonstrated just the opposite last season. This has led me to imagine how AW handles his players -- for this squad being so young and still struggling for trophies, maybe AW has been overly coddling to their egos. His priority has always been to instill powerful belief in his players, it's one of his greatest strengths. That's why he refuses to even hint at any criticisms of them publicly. With this young, developing team he may have gone overboard with that and they believe far too much of themselves, forgetting that the real world of football involves meeting tough teams who don't just lay down and allow them to play their game. Still, as I said, last season they proved that they could handle tough, physical, defensive teams. Earlier this season they played up north against Blackburn, Bolton and managed a draw at a very tough ground in Kyiv. So what happened? I just don't understand what's going on in training. Aren't they taught how to face such defensive teams? And I'm in total agreement re Pat Rice -- I frankly don't understand what he brings except to act as Arsene's yesman. And deciding who will be your boss is highly questionable for a professional organization to indulge in. I wonder if the reason that everyone the Board has approched so far has declined is because they refuse to be Arsene's yesman. What I also find striking in Arsene's post-game interview and press conference is his body language and inability to be coherent as to the reason for the loss to Villa. It looked to me like he was a man abruptly faced with the negative consequences of decisions which he has stubbornly defended and passionately believed in.
jaelle
I feel that one of Wenger's weaknesses has been constructing teams over-reliant on one player. Without Vieira (which we often were due to suspensions) we are much less likely to win. Then we became addicted to Henry's potency. Now our team is geared around Cesc expertly pulling the strings. He's not looking like the player we know he can be, so we're not looking like the team we can be.
Kman
A very good article and some good points fairly raised, especially about not fighting enough to keep players compared to other clubs, that is very true, why don't we do more?! If "keeping this team together" was Arsene's priority as stated last season why didn't that happen? I'm afraid this is a transition season. What's most worrying is that I fully expect Man City to be putting together a real challenge in the coming seasons and I see our position as most under threat.
Gooner_Vin
Good article. Complacency kills. Our players aren't challenged to prove themselves daily because they have no fear of losing their spots because Wenger "trusts in the quality" and doesn't want to "hamper a young player"... All well and good but sometimes buying a player in, while effectively pushing a quality younger player out of the picture, is more important in the way it effects the rest of the squad. If a player sees a manager willing to replace one player because he sees a better option, then it would certainly motivate him to make sure he doesn't look replaceable. I think Fabregas, Clichy, and to an extent our forwards all feel they are safe regardless of performance.
smithdj74
LD, you articulate the point about beautiful football much better, thats what I wanted to say as well, that this obsession with beautiful football sees us ignoring some basic criticial ugly aspects of the game. As for the wage bill, its the current situation with player power and Wenger probably realises that the club needs to pay top notch in order for players not to be lured away. Whether it works or not cannot and should not be determined on the basis of a few bad results this season. These kind of things need to be analysed at a later time, coz EVERYTHING associated with the club will seem like a mistake right now. I just dont believe that a proper level headed analysis can be made.
prits
Interesting hypothesis. I hadn't really thought of a shake up in the back room staff. A similar thing has worked a Tottenham in recent times, but does it have an adverse effect on long term consistency?
gunnerkid107
Also about our wage bill, doesn't a lot of it consist of the higher wages we pay older teenagers?
gunnerkid107
re: We are all just beating around the bush here! Our first team is as good as any in any individual game. Problem is over the long season our "young teamsters" will definately have more inconsistent games compare to the older more experience teams of our title rivals. I hate to admit it but the stupid football pundits are right, we either bolster our squad with 2 or 3 proven experience midfielder and defender (strike force is fine) or wait 2 years when the team will be fully ready. The second options just means we have to be satisfied with CL qualification, anything above that is bonus.
NeoGunner
"We are like Prospero desperately trying to educate Caliban without acknowledging his strengths. We are pretentious in our outlook." Good to see the pretention hasn't rubbed off the fans, mate. Now, let us get this straight: The dour and intellectual Arsene Prospero Wenger, born of a magician, has failed to get the most from the passionate and self indugent son of a witch Pat Caliban Rice and this is the reason for four years of Tempest at AFC. Please educate me if I'm reading you wrong here Little Bard.
th41
The most frustrating thing about AFC at the moment is that we all know that we would win everything in front of us if we just used the money available to buy players that would improve us and make the correct decisions behind the scenes that help us firther (new MD and assistant manager for example) I don't see us being vulnerable to drop out if we buck up our ideas and stop ****ing about trying to go down in history as the manager who spent so little and won so much. I think we will go for it in January. I genuinly believe that our beloved DM spot will be filled by somebody that we would have wanted (and should have got) in the summer. I am still a big fan of Denilson and see him - Cesc as one of the lesser problems in the squad, but I would still want a player of a higher level playing the role. And I would want a new winger to replace Walcott. A player similar to Hleb. Then possibly sign a center back who looks to be capable of playing alongside Djourou. Again, I am a big fan of Silvestre - Gallas, but this lad is the shining light at our club in terms of center backs and he could really dominate with a better player than Song alongside him. BRING SENDO BACK!
Tom14
Great points there Tom...i truly believe we would win EVERYTHING as well mate..now, back to reality. Re Pat Rice, all he does and has ever done is put the cones out and warm the players up, how we can lay any particulars of blame on him is beyond me, Boro Primorac is to all intents & purposes Arsene's ''assistant'' he's the one with the reputation for astounding tactical and worldwide football knowledge, he just doesn't sit on the bench on matchdays. And, talking about the wage bill, i'm sorry, but i simply don't believe that, lies, damn lies & statistics, this is a classic case of that IMO. Let's take a snapshot of our first XI for e.g. Almunia/Gallas/Cesc/Adebayor/Rvp vs VanDerSaar/Ferdinand/Carrick/Ronaldo/Rooney... the only player out of said names who could be on more would be Cesc (potentially) surely?
shewore
Th41, well done for missing the point entirely. i.e. Using a quite deliberately pretentious example to illustrate Arsenal's own pretense, I'm sorry if the subtlety of that was lost on you. I have a ball, perhaps you'd like to bounce it? Shewore, look at the accounts, it's a matter of public record that Arsenal's wage bill is comparable with United's. If that isn't true, then our club is guilty of massive book cooking and will be in a lot of trouble. It's not a case of blaming Rice at all, I know Wenger appointed Rice to the position because he wanted somebody who was imbued with the club's culture, surely after 12 years Wenger has altered that culture irrevocably and so that need isn't there any longer? Sometimes a backroom change can be good for shaking things up and making sure they don't go stale.
Little Dutch
mmm, now how did I know you would say that
th41
Great riposte there th... thing is, i'm not sayin Arsenal are cooking the books or guilty of 'creative' accounting, but there must be some discrepancies in the way we report our wages to that of United. Maybe we have more players registered as 1st team squad players, or their players are better compensated through other fees. The point is, there's no way our first 11 are on as much as theirs. Yeah, maybe a backroom shake up may have an effect, but is that really the answer? It would be nice if we actually did replace Dein, whisper it, but if he were here in the summer would we have kept hold of Flamini? Or possibly brought in a proven player...? Who knows.
shewore
The figures reported in the filed accounts are made in the same way by both clubs and include all staff, not just playing staff. Squad sizes are generally similar. So they are as accurate a guideline as they can be. But I think the assumption you make that everyone at ManU is on top dollar wages is incorrect. I doubt that Carrick or VDS are earning as much as Cesc, Gallas or Adebayor for example. I doubt that anyone at Arsenal is earning as much as Ferdinand or Ronaldo but the difference in top earners and others isn't as wide at Arsenal. It has it's advantages and disadvantages but overall, other than Chelsea, we compete on wages as well as ManU and a good bit better than the rest. As for Dein, he let Edu go in much the same way as Flamini went, and didn't exactly inspire confidence in his handling of the Cole saga why would you expect him to act any differently this time?
Amos.
At the time the general perception around the Cole saga was that we got the best from that deal, Gallas was class at Chelsea, much the same as Carvalho is now in making Terry look world class/we had a more than capeable understudy in Cliche. And Edu said he wanted to go to Spain, it wasn't the same scenario as Flamini where he continued to deny any rumours and hint that he wanted to stay at The Arsenal, his last game at Highbury confirms that, with the reaction the crowd gave him and him being allowed to take the penalty, everyone knew he was going because the pre-contract had been signed. Okay, point completely taken re wages, i just find it difficult to believe, and i wasn't comparing VDS to Cesc/Gallas/Ade i was comparing him to Almunia wage-wise.
shewore
That comment isn't structured very well, apologies, in my defence, i do work in an industry that's leaking jobs at the moment!
shewore
Wiltord, Pires and Kanu's contracts ran down under Dein, he also undersaw the sales of Anelka, Overmars, Petit, Vieira. Since he's left, Dein has done a brilliant job of promoting himself as some kind of kinght in shining armour, slaying all potential suitors in the name of his beloved Arsenal FC. The reality is, we sold more players and lost more contracts under him than we do currently and he also alienated most of our fanbase with the dictatorial way he implemented the Bond Scheme.
Little Dutch
Hold on, weren't the sales of Overmars/Petit (c28m??) Anelka (c20m??) and Paddy all credited to Arsene as being a genius when it comes to knowing who's past his best?? And Pires leaving, that was down to Arsene's over 30 policy, was it not? Correct me if i'm wrong here. Kanu was long past his best (which was pretty much just the end of 99 season) as well, alhough i always thought Wiltord was underrated.
shewore
I wouldn't dispute that shewore, I don't regret a single one of those players leaving when they did. All I'm saying is that there seems to be this perception that Dein would never have let Hleb or Flamini go and that it would all be better if he were here when in reality it would be no different. Wenger has the final say and it was no different when Dein was around, in fact, Dein didn't want the move to Ashburton but Arsene's will won out.
Little Dutch
The other point I wanted to raise in the article but completely forgot was that I don't think commissioning a bronze bust of the manager while he is still working is a very good idea. Don't get me wrong, Arsene deserves to have his shiny bronze boat race sitting alongside Herbert, his impact on our club is comparable to that of Chapman. But it should be done once his tenure has ended. At the time it was unveiled, it was the height of the Usmonov/ Dein offensive and it looked to me like an act of one upmanship by our board more than anything. But it's not healthy for the board to deify a manager whilst he is still under their employment.
Little Dutch
i cant believe the comments i am reading, sack pat rice, sack arsene wenger, sack the board, what is wrong with you people, how short your memories are!!! there is a great saying that i try to live by perhaps it may help all you arm chair directors and managers if i share it with you, " dont be sad for what you had, be glad for what youve got" we are blesed with the finest club in the world and the majority of us stand by it, and dont slag it of in either the good times or the bad. have some faith, and start being positive, i suspect you were very positive during our double winning season, and our unbeaten season, as i said at the outset, memories are very short.and i for one have the utmost confidence in both pat rice and arsene wenger weve been there before, and we will be there again
cornish gooner
CG, I don't think anyone's said sack Arsene Wenger, or the board. In fact, no, nobody's said that at all. You've taken it to a massive extreme. It's not wrong to reflect on what's happening at the club or even constructively criticise it, it's not a cult, it is allowed. I'm just wondering if a slight freshening up of the backroom staff would be worth considering, Arsenal looks a comfortable football club with a losers mentality at the moment. Of course things aren't horrendous at all, but why not ask how they can get better? If you get pneumonia, do you now go to a doctor on the basis that "oh well, at least it's not throat cancer."
Little Dutch
http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8742_4512207,00.html
Little Dutch
Cornish what forum did you read these comments on? Cos they're not on this one, and don't give all this 'arm chair' ****, you get to a lot of games down there do you? Don't think we've played Plymouth for a while.
shewore
Things have definitely gone stale and certainly need freshening up or a spring clean if you would. That does include Arsene Wenger and the way he currently works. I still wouldn't swap him for any other manager out there currently, but we do need some fresh ideas and hopefully some fresh players brought in during the Jan window, otherwise if we drop out of the top 4 for even 1 season we could be neck deep in the brown stuff...........LD that article on 365 was very well written by the author and then do you see the amount of ignoramuses commenting afterwards, tsk tsk that's a shame!
LondonGooner
Bendtner. He said: "So far this season I haven't played as much as I would have liked. But I'm sure it will come and I'll keep working hard in training." Played more than i would of liked
paul_ownz
LD all i will say is changing the backroom staff to freshen things up may or may not work. it hasnt really worked for United lately whenver Carlos Quirez wasn't around and this season it ain't looking even half as good as last season for them. unless & until we find a better person than Pat Rice, only then can we consider changing him. for me, he has done a fabulous job over the years, and he shouldn't be blamed for this losers mentality. he has been there when we did the double in 2002 & in the Invincibles era. it's just that the players we have at the moment, do not have the same mentality or spirit of the Invincibles. adding someone like Keown or Parlour would certainly help, but for that we dun need to change any of the current staff that we have, cuz they are the best we've had for a long long time. and in the end, whatever profession it is, we all work with the people we are comfortable with, and Pat Rice must be doing a lot of things right for Wenger to still have him here after 12 years. bring someone like Keown & Ray Parlour to interact with the players, but on the coaching & tactical side of things, this team is the best..
luckys_10
Paul - in agreement there, he's played far too much football this season, a lot like last year's title run in. Not his fault though!
shewore
I think NickyB needs to be removed from the firing line as he is young, learning the game and needs confidence and in the current Arsenal line up he is also surrounded by dross performances and a struggling striker thrives on good service, we are supplying nothing like that either. I think he has the talent, but right now not the attitude or confidence to make the most of that talent. The whole team is either need of a rocket up the backside or replacing with others from within just to remind them nothing is garunteed in this game. Which begs the question, Is Wenger strong enough to do that with "his team"?
LondonGooner
Great article LD,well said or enuf said. sums up most of wats wrong wit da club we luv. But I disagree wit Pat Rice being made the sacrificial lamb,the buck stops at one table,.......AW's. I became a fan bcos of Bergkamp but stayed bcos of Wright(Ian,not Richard),Henry,Pires,Kanu,so lets not be too hasty in destroying our beautiful game,it has won us titles and legions of fans all over the world. we need the balance wit guys like Keown,Viera,Adams,Parlour.
D'arsassin
Another change might be needed now that Theo dislocated his shoulder with England. :( Do we have any player on the right side? I'd be happy enough if Nasri comes back from France okay and play there, and Vela in LW or something... http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/7736641.stm
GoonerLou
This will be very interesting to see how we can play without Theo. I bet we start with a stupid soul destroying 433... Diaby - Denilson - Fabregas; Vela - Adebayor/Bendtner - Nasri. I think that is we had the rest of the squad it could be a positive, but Eboue, Rosicky and Eduardo are injured.
Tom14
We'd do well to start with Cesc up in pasty/flatcap land.
shewore
This isn't necessarily about castigating Rice or crucifying him over the altar of our problems. Nor am I saying we should sacrifice our style of football as such, for a start it wouldn't work to play any other way because we don't have the players to suddenly change tack. We showed last season that we could master the dark arts when it mattered, remember that Prague match at the beginning of last year when Repka was putting himself about? Hleb had a word then Cesc put a crunching (but fair) challenge on him. We can do it, it's just down to mentality. What I am saying is slight alterations, the Prof had an article posted on here the other week about how Ferguson had adapted in the face of Chelsea's new money and Wenger hadn't. I think a new number two with some fresh ideas and some knowledge of defending in the modern game could be a decent solution.
Little Dutch
it is not your year even though my Brother disagrees with me!!!!!!!!! Chelsea all the way
starginga
Arsenal’s loss to Aston Villa on Saturday seems to have ended any hopes Arsene Wenger’s side had of winning the Premiership this season whilst Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all won well. Chelsea Still Odds On For League Title Chelsea are now 8/11 with Bet365 and Coral to win the Premiership after a convincing 3-0 win over Premiership new boys West Brom. Chelsea have plenty of injury problems at the moment but they keep churning out great results and they look a solid bet to win the league.
starginga
your comments noted and agreed with little dutch, thanks for the positive reply, she wore, i must apologise, i didnt realise this was a competition to see who had seen most matches, i thought it was a discussion forum, you are quite right of course arsenal dont play plymouth a lot, the last time was in the eighties in the then milk cup result plymouth nil arsenal 6 i was there. i went to my first match at highbury in 1952 when i was10 from the age of 16 i went to every home match and a great number of away matches untill we moved to cornwall in 1983 since then owing to the distances involved, and the cost i have had to restrict myself to 1 trip a month,the last being the villa saga.i wish i could still do every home match, but the O.A.P wont stretch to it, i am truly sorry if my comments offended you that was not my intention, perhaps when i am to old to make even the monthly trip, i may donate my season ticket to you, as a means of saying sorry ( am i forgiven)
cornish gooner
Nope! Hope retirement's treating you well though :-)
shewore
Fergie could adapt to Chelsea's financial prowess was because he had the same financial resources too. do w ehave 66 million pounds to spend on three players like United did on Carrick, Berbatov & Hargreaves. on the other hand, maybe Wenger wasnt even given enough financial resources to hang onto Flamini & Hleb. maybe i'm just speculating but it could be true. The Boss had built a team to win in Europe & the league last season but we were unlucky because of refreeing decisions on both fronts especially in Europe. & about having a new number two bringing in fresh ideas, well it could work, but that is upto the Boss to decide. Rice must be doing a damn good job to still be here. i'd say adding someone who is Arsenal through & through along with Wenger & Rice would be the best thing..
luckys_10
There is a certain argument that financially United have been able to compete with Chelsea better than us, but they're still a long, long way short of Chelsea. It's more of a philosophical thing, the prettiest football doesn't cut it anymore, you need something else as well to go with it which we showed signs of for most of last year. Wenger has always liked to work with a small squad and pray he gets no injuries, well that doesn't work anymore either, even our terrible injury record withstanding, you need good quality players to come in and do a job. You used to be able to get away with having a slightly suspect defence as long as you could outscore teams upfront, in the 2001-02 season, Igors Stepanovs played enough games to win a medal and had a run in the centre of defence between February and April of that title run in, Lauren and Luzhny played left back. Nowadays you wouldn't get away with that. You certainly cannot sell three players that play the same position and not replace one of them. The margins for error are tiny now and small imperfections in pursuit of the art form doesn't cut it, Liverpool lost four times last season and only guaranteed CL qualification with two games remaining. This is where we need to adjust our thinking ever so slightly, not radically, but slightly to reflect these changes to the game.
Little Dutch
Think that also touches on another point about English team's domination in Europe over the last couple of years (elite europe that is) the standard of the top 4 has increased so much over the last few years, you could almost assign it all to Chelsea.
shewore
ya but can we go and buy a Berbatov for 30 million or a Carrick & Hargreaves for 35 million who are experienced enough & will garuntee yu the quality they will bring into the squad. we cant even compete with United at that level. there is definetly something missing in this team, and what Wenger is saying at the moment could just be a smoke screen to protect them. obviously he cannot come out and be hard on the team & himself. he will address it no doubt come january. right now what is required is to get the maximum out of the team till jan & get their confidence back. and we should seriously target the CL this season, cuz no matter how our league form is, we are a totally different proposition in Europe..
luckys_10
Agree with you there Lucks, the CL is the one competition we have the ability and style to win!
LondonGooner
Imagine if we won the CL (which we are more than capable of)?!!!
Tom14
Yeah but what if Wenger doesn't do anything in January? Then we'll go through the season as is, perhaps scraping a CL position, next summer will arrive and he'll think along the lines of: oh well, the likes of Denilson, Song and Diaby have all had more experience now, and we have Ramsey and Coquelin coming through, so I don't really need to add anything cos I don't want to impede their chances/development. Isn't that really the most likely scenario?
Gooner_Vin
We've got every chance of winning the CL if we don't defend like we're playing over Hackney Marshes on a Sunday and or we don't meet an English side.
shewore
We'll definatly met an English side unless we are extremely lucky (unlikely then) but the defending will be easier as we will be under less pressure i reckon.
LondonGooner
Ha,ha,right on the money,Gooner Vin!!!!We know our Manager well.
D'arsassin
Where's yur Gallas story? Your club captain reveals all and you stick yur heads in the sand...........sounds like the wheels are well on the way off.
Scott Spur
Its better than having square wheels like spurs you plumb
paul_ownz
At least our captain can play more than once a month.
Little Dutch
Or.....
Tom14
 

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