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Arsenal 1 Liverpool 1

When I was four years old, my grandparents bought me Sooty and Sweep hand puppets. These two artefacts were the most delightful thing in my four year old life, I slept with them on, I ate with them on and I even tried to bathe with them on. One incredibly pleasant summer afternoon, my Grandparents took me to Kelsey Park in Beckenham in Kent. Naturally, the hand puppets were still glued inexonerably to my hands. I rather think that that afternoon might have been the happiest and most halcyon one in my whole existence. What I did next has always been a complete mystery to me, but for some reason, right in front of my Grandparents, I contrived to take both hand puppets off and throw them into the River Beck. It wasn`t an act of petulance or rebellion, but one of complete wanton destruction. I immediately started to cry when I realised the gravity of what I`d done. I pleaded with my Granddad to buy me replacements but, understandably, he was none too keen. I`ve no idea what made me do it, but I think the truth is, it was an act of self destruction. I was afraid of being that happy. The point in this anodyne anecdote is buried in allegory; it reminds me of this Arsenal team. Every time they come close to joy or elation, they become terrified and wantonly self destruct. Emmanuel Eboue effectively took me back to that late 80s summer day yesterday and hurled a most cherished possession into the mouth of a river.

The day started in more positive and slightly hungover mode with a few Guinness`s in the Arsenal Tavern. It was hazy, shirt sleeve weather and with United incurring a dent in their momentum 24 hours previously, you felt Arsenal had a good chance to reignite the title charge for one final toss of the dice. Prior to the game, touching tributes were paid to Danny Fiszman following his untimely death this week, whilst the club showed a touch of class to also acknowledge the recent anniversary of the Hillsbrough disaster. Liverpool set up defensively as one would expect and the Gunners found it tough going breaking them down. When Fabregas and van Persie have simultaneous bad games, you really cannot count on Arsenal to create much at all. Arsenal forged snippets here and there, Fabregas` free kick was headed just wide by Diaby; Walcott`s shot was fumbled by Reina. But we were largely feeding on scraps.

Strangely, set pieces looked to offer our biggest threat and our best chance arrived via that conduit when Koscielny met van Persie`s corner with a firm header and Reina in no man`s land, only for the ball to rebound off the crossbar. Van Persie side footed Fabregas` dinked pass into the corner only to be denied by a correct offside flag, whilst Fabregas played Eboue into the channel and Skrtel deflected his cross towards his own goal but the ball spun wide. That was that for the first half really, Arsenal looked very pedestrian despite having our strongest team offensively. The team that was cruising past teams in January looks shot and one paced in April. The second half offered little in the way of improvement. Suarez did manage t jink his way past Djourou and Koscielny with a neat trick, but conspired to fire a left footed shot wide. Then a stoppage of eight minutes ensued when Jamie Carragher was knocked unconscious following a sickening clash of heads with his own team mate Flanagan.

Van Persie headed a Nasri corner into the side netting, whilst at the other end; Suarez was getting some joy in the wide open spaces left by Arsenal`s midfield. He walked through untracked to receive Carroll`s pass, but his shot was beaten out by Szczesny. Arsene called for reinforcement with Bendtner and Arshavin called into the fray. Bendtner was confusingly left to pitch puff balls from the right wing which reveals a very genuine inflexibility in the approach these days. Bendtner is a good player to bring off the bench when you need a goal, because he`s always capable of one. But a right winger he is not. Arsenal continued to probe but without the sort of urgency and insistence that troubled Liverpool. They did pick their way through once when Fabregas fed Nasri, whose clever flick put van Persie in on goal but his finish was straight at Reina. Meanwhile, Suarez wasted a good opportunity when he snuck in to the left channel of Arsenal`s defence undetected but sliced his shot horribly high and wide.

The game looked to be drifting towards an unsatisfying conclusion and another 0-0 draw at home. It was really all we deserved. But with the clock showing 97 minutes, Fabregas smuggled his way into the penalty area only to be taken by the stray leg of Jay Spearing. A pressure cooker of a penalty was converted by Robin van Persie and the three points looked to have been secured. But Arsenal find new and imaginative ways of shooting themselves in the temple. Liverpool came forward and despite both Nasri and Song having chances to simply boot the ball clear, both displayed their nerves and utter terror by instead taking heavy touches, culminating in Song conceding a free kick on the edge of the area. Suarez`s attempt flicked off the wall and Lucas gave chase. Eboue did not need to do anything at all. Lucas` only route was towards the corner flag. I am certain that one touch in that direction and the final whistle would have sounded. Instead, Lucas saw Eboue coming and allowed himself to be clumsily bundled to the ground. Penalty and no question. Dirk Kuyt slammed the penalty past Szczesny and the final whistle sounded instantly.

We can ask big questions about why 11 minutes of an 8 minute period of stoppage time was played, but the bigger inquisition needs to be why this sort of thing seems to happen so often. It`s not ill fortune because it seems to happen so regularly. I don`t need to reel off the examples of this perpetually suicidal tendency because we all know what they are. It`s a problem that needs to be addressed. The problem is that it`s not a cosmetic issue I don`t think. It goes deeper and more complex than that. The trouble is none of us really know why it happens, despite our best attempts to offer inspired sounding adjectives. On the way up to Blackpool a friend of mine joked that he had seen a foreign newscast of a particularly inarticulate gentleman on an EDL march. Having slurred his way through some tabloid buzz phrases, the news anchor ended the link with, "People are angry and they don`t know why." We made the link with the Arsenal supporters at the moment. Ultimately, that really spells the end of our title hopes. In the unlikely event that Newcastle beat Manchester United on Tuesday, then a win at White Hart Lane would light the blue touch paper. But after this setback, I rather think this team will wallow in pity for a couple of weeks and feel sorry for themselves. I just can`t see them raising their game and rather think we`ll finish 3rd now. But if the players are struggling for motivation, this harrowing thought should spur them on. If United win their next two games, any points dropped in our next 2 matches, presents United with the chance to win the title on our home ground.LD.

53.SZCZESNY, 27.EBOUE, 6.KOSCIELNY, 22.CLICHY, 2.DIABY (17.Song `80), 19.WILSHERE (23.Arshavin `74), 4.FABREGAS ©, 14.WALCOTT (52.Bendtner `74), 8.NASRI, 10.v.PERSIE. Unused: 13.Lehmann, 18.Squillaci, 28.Gibbs, 29.Chamakh.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 18 2011

Time: 10:07AM

Your Comments

Nice write up Tim as always. My only thoughts on the massive amount of injury time in injury time is the 4th official got the board wrong, because 11 minutes was about right, I was supprised when it said 8 (of course it was 0-0 at the time and wanted more) They took a little over six minutes to treat Carra (Hope he's doing ok), 3 minutes to treat Carrol (sickening bend in his leg) and then there was 5 substitues for which the ref has to add 30 seconds added time each, so I've no complaints really.
Another frustrating day. Its so Arsenal to give you such a high before crashing you down to earth so quickly. If it had ended 0-0 i would of gone home disappointed but accepting as it was i went home with a huge low, angry, frustrated etc. Too many mental fart moments.
A few other things. 1. I feel sorry for bendtner because he get put on and then hugs the wing? I know he is only doing what he is being asked of so not fault of his own, but seriously just get him in the box. 2. What has happened to Chamakh where he started of so well to not being even considered to come on? At first i accepted tirednesss but it is obviously something more than that. Rumours of him having issues at home & possibly returning to France? 3. Walcott needs to cut inside more, he is so obvious to read especially when even if he were to beat the man we dont exactly flood the box.
If this team have to give utd the guard of honour do you think it will affect them? Do you think that the very thought of that sends shivers down their spines and will play their hearts out to make sure that doesn't happen? Or do you think when they have to do it Wenger will tell them they have to accept it and that it's not their fault, it's down to poor refereeing decisions all season, and if it wasn't for them we'd have won the league comfortably. Eboue lying on the floor yesterday when they attacked down the right, thumping it in "agony" then getting up again straight after they've missed a good chance, he's an effin embarrassment on the pitch, I don't care if he revels in his cult status and indulges himself by going to the odd reserve game, or stays out the longest and throws his shirt into the crowd, it's what he does on the pitch that counts and quite simply he's been embarrassing. I really can't see that many being shipped out in the summer either, they're on such cushy contracts here no other team in their right mind's gonna pay what we pay em.
Bendtner is a square peg in a round hole, you reckon Wenger gets him to work on his crossing all week in training? FFS change it up, he didn't have a clue how to play against their 4-4-2 yesterday.
Paul - Said the same thing to my Scouse brother-in-law yesterday. Would have been much happier today had it finished 0-0. Would have still be supremely frustrated, but wouldn't have to sit wallowing in yet more "what-ifs"
Ive said it time and time again that this team is one of the worst ive ever seen at dealing with in game situations. They need constant coaching from the sidelines, something AW has never done....Like a kid riding a bike they have learned not to fall off but haven't mastered the brakes so just career off into the streets smashing into people and weaving in and out of cars.
In game coaching - that is something he'll never do. When carra was down for 10 minutes yesterday, he didn't move, Dalglish saw it as an opportunity to get messages across, he surely couldn't have been happy with how we were playing. ..
Return of a 4-4-2 next season? I would like to see RVP & Chamakh up front. I think we miss Chamakh as he was good at holding the ball up and bringing others in to the game higher up the pitch. Keep him high up with RVP dropping back as he does anyway.
not with Cesc we won't see 442
Why not shewore? We did see it in 07/08, and it worked quite well back then!
Fair point, but he brought in this 4-5-1 thing purely for him, all built around Fabregas, I'd be extremely happy to go back to it -w ith a degree of flexibility, as it'd mean shipping out a bit of deadwood and maybe signing an experienced Centre Mdfielder.
Who said this? "this is my best squad ever!" Go on, you know who.
Fabregas was garbage yesterday, barely even looked bothered. Think his times come to an end?
Probably is the best squad ever if you look at the back ups to the invincibles. Stack as keeper, Cygan and a 38 year old Keown as centre backs, Justin Hoyte as right back and a 19 year old Clichy at LB. The difference was that our first 11 then played something like almost 90% of the available games (CC excluded). Only Sagna and Clichy get near the playing time most of that 2004 starting 11 had.
LondonGooner I think it's just a case of tiredness a bit. He has been 100% committed to the cause. Even though he had a bad game he came out and won that penalty. We can't question his desire to play for Arsenal. We can question his form but not his commitment to the club.
Best squad....I can see the argument unforunately its probably his 4th best team. Obviously behind his 2 championship winning sides (Adams era and Vieira era) and worse than the Gallas, Flamini, Hleb, Adebayore incarnation.
I liked the Flamini, Hleb combo. I think the other problem is that teams play so defensivly against us more than against any other team by far. Even 3 years ago not every team quite parked the bus like they do now. Every team has latched on and copied tactics, even the so called bigger teams like City & Liverpool just sit back.
And why our away record is better than our home record.
Nice write-up. Not much more to really say other than same old Arsenal, always capitulating.
Strange then to see that ManU have 'capitulated' from winning positions in the league more often than we have this season.
Yes but they've won from losing positions a damn sight more.
Not in the PL they haven't. As far as I can see we've both come back twice from losing positions to win in the PL this season.
The sheer panic in the Arsenal defence just after we scored illustrated our defensive vulnerability perfectly. It is what all opposing teams feed on, that whatever the score is against Arsenal there’s always a good chance of getting back at us. We have developed this reputation over the last couple of seasons and it is not down to having bad defenders. We have a real psychological problem, probably born out of our style of play where we spend most of our time in the opposition’s final third. Watching the likes of Nasri and Song struggle to put their boot through the ball and clear it demonstrates a desperation that is really worrying. These are International footballers at the top of their game, so what pushes them into making such elementary mistakes? Is the pressure at AB too intense? It might explain why our away record is better than our home record. Is the level of expectation too much? Either way, Wenger has to find a way to solve the problem. We need to get rid of the reputation.
Sir Henry
I completely agree with you LD. This team screws it up just when there is a glimmer of hope, of winning something. I say they bottle it consistently in these situations, other people can term it differently. I can see the problem, but I dont know what the solution is. I doubt that bringing in 1 goalie, 1 mid fielder and 1 defender (like I've heard on some forums) is going to change anything. Song, Nasri and the mid field need to take part of the blame for that goal (although Eboue also acted poorly). The brittle defence owes itself more to the mid field than the defence, and I dont think thats something that is acknowledged.
Yes, Amos - so what? They've lost 2 pts at home while we've lost 17. Another amazing stat: since our CL game at Anfield 4 yrs ago we've dropped leads in 39 games - THAT'S AN ENTIRE SEASON. Which other team has done that? Certainly no other team in the top 4. Tell you what I find more concerning this season than last season. We've actually improved this season. We've improved on our defense. We've remained 2nd for most of the season. We beat Chelsea convincingly & Barca at the Grove. And our players played very well for the most part yesterday. Our defense was excellent, we marshalled Carroll & Suarez very well. Diaby was superb. And yet STILL the same old frailties are there. LD is right - all the reasons pundits & blogs go on about don't explain it - at least not entirely. I'm sick of gooners going on and on about selling players & bringing in new ones. I'm sorry that's NOT THE PROBLEM. Our problems go much deeper than individuals & signings. And I don't see it improving. I don't give a damn about the ref, 8 mins or 12 mins, penalties we should've had or Dalglish telling off our manager. If that game had been at OT United certainly would've scored & they certainly would've seen that game out professionally. Instead of scapegoating Eboue, ask WTF were our players doing conceding a stupid free kick in the game's last minute in the first place??? Why are they so fkg casual about stuff like that??? The other issue is AW taking so fkg long to change things or not changing at all - it is simple & routine now for poor teams and managers to come to the Grove and get a result. They don't fear coming to our home ground any more. AW has no answer to negative tactics. It is very easy to figure us out. And yet he doesn't change tactics or formation & keeps putting players out of position. I don't believe these players can get a result at WHL & they'll be forced to form an honor guard when United come to the Grove-or we'll have to stomach seeing United winning the league at the Grove when they will most certainly get a result against us. Unfortunately, this team has none of the so-called "mental strength" to either prevent or learn from these inevitable outcomes.
So it is what ever you want it to be jaelle - but the fact remains that ManU have dropped more PL points in more games from winning positions than we have so far this season - so I guess if it's not a problem they're flagging up then it needn't be something we should beat ourselves over the head about. As for the 39 in all competitions figure even the 'invincibles' dropped leads in 8 of the games they played in 2004. It's a bit of a bogus stat really.
A pointless, pointless stat, either way. Who cares, you have to be in a position to win the game to actually drop points, not look like heroes coming back from 2-0 down away at WBA.
My sentiments entirely. It's just another desperate endeavour to explain things that are inexplicable. To paraphrase LD's quote - people are angry but don't know what to be angry about - other than we haven't got enough points to sit above ManU.
jaelle, you beat Chelsea convincingly when Chelsea were in a slump. Dont think you would now.As for beating Barcelona you are joking. They toyed with Arsenal like a cat plays with a mouse at the Emirates. They took there foot off the gas. Fair play Arsenal came back but got r soled in the return. Dermot Gallagher on Sky explains quite clearly on the added time debate. Second place up for grabs now.
iceman, your point re in game coaching: I listened to the 3-part podcast on with Tim Payton, Amy Lawrence & Philippe Auclair. Very good discussion. One of the many things they talked about how AW has not changed his coaching set-up/system since 1996 (unlike Ferguson) - and also mentioned how Armand Traore once said it's very difficult at Arsenal because no one tells you what you've done right or wrong after a game. Amy & Philippe discussed how Arsene believes players need to be smart enuf to figure things out for themselves, so there's little guidance. I figure AW doesn't go in-game coaching because he thinks they should figure it all out by themselves.
Springy, STFU and stop the spuddy bull***** dissing our good performances this season. Don't come on here pretending that your post reflects an objective evaluation. So a win against Chelsea WITH both Drogba & Essien on the pitch for the 1st time in yrs in which we played an excellent game should just be dismissed and excused b/c Chelsea were on the downslide. I'm sure you'd make that same argument if Spurs had done the same. We were ONE goal away from eliminating the world's best team at the Nou Camp. We defended heroically. 15 of 19 Barca's shots on goal occurred AFTER RVP's sending off. It's amazing how Wenger got slated for his negative tactics (Mourinho got slated in Spain too for negative tactics v. Barca this weekend) - how the hell ELSE do you play against Barca??? Your team were crap against Madrid yet you guys were the media darlings--yet we did FAR FAR better against the world's best team yet we're just dismissed. Have no idea what you mean by "r soled". We didn't have to win the Nou Camp game, we could've lost 3-2 and would've won the tie with 11 men on the pitch. Our win against the world's best team at the Grove was an excellent performance-it's only your blinkered spuddie glasses that refuses to credit us for it. Your spuddie opinion is worthless.
Oh and guess what springy, tell me, just exactly WHICH team on the planet DOESN'T "get schooled" by Barca???
jaelle thanks for the ultimate insult...calling me a spuddie!!! I can well understand your rant if I was a spud..god forbid. Carefree!!!
A well written & very decent article. Despite where you guys finish this season 1 thing is for sure, your 1st Team will look a lot different next season. Finally you may see Wenger making a serious amount of signings. Im not trying to wind you guys up with petty neighbour taunting but I seriously think the summer will be the right time to cash in on Cesc, Wilshere is immense & alongside any of Nasri, Ramsey, Song & Diaby you have enough creativity & strength to easily cope without the former talisman. Im not saying I think he's rubbish as no doubt he'll have a blinder on Wed, its just too often for nearly 2 seasons he hasn't been at his usual high standard throughout the season for you guys. As brilliant (& theres no denying his brilliance) as Wenger is he completely lets himself down far too often in front of the cameras, yesterday complaining about that pen was cringeworthy to watch and thats coming from a Spurs Fan ! I don't know what the full reason is but for a couple of seasons now your Team have taken their concentration out of games, yesterday was a prime example. I guess it probably coincides with Cesc's lacking for Arsenal, I don't think your lot would be performing like that if someone like Wilshere was Captain (though I believe he's far too young atm) ? So I guess a new Captain shall be very high up on the shopping list. You may think it strange but I want Arsenal to remain 1 of the Leagues strongest Teams, coz we @ Spurs are seriously starting to shape into genuine title contenders (finally) & beating you to that achievement will make it so much sweeter if you don't lose your strength. I know some of you will scoff & be wound up by my words but Im hardly going to lose any sleep over pettiness. I really love the fact that the Top 4 is no more & that theres now 6 genuine Title contenders in the League. Now whilst the likes of City & Chelsea needed bored billionaires to try their hardest to buy success & ruin the game in the process, Teams such as ours (whilst having wealthy owners) have built our Clubs in the correct manner & play the game in the right way. New Money City & Moan Utd think they have the strongest Teams (& therefore) rivalry in the League, but quite simply I believe our rivalry has a far greater substance to it as both our styles of play is that of the beautiful game rather then the over inflated ego's of Manchester. Anyway this wed will be very interesting indeed & I can't wait for it, lets hope theres no controversy & we get to witness a classic NLD. On a completely separate note thoughts are with the Fizsman Family, Danny was instrumental & especially so in your successful move to the Emirates & clever managing of the Highbury development. His great work has helped secure the financial security of AFC forever after, so although his life came to a sad ending his legacy will live on forever. RIP.
True Spurs Supporter
I'm still adament that Cesc and Lucas both conned the referee. And the funny thing is he completely dismissed the stonewall penalty on spearing in the first half. This team needs to prove that they have improved because right now if we continue our form we won't finish second. And if we don't finish second then there has been no improvement on last season.
Funny write up - quality stuff. Amos - great point about the 1st XI playing time. With age I'm starting to agree with my old man more and more. He reckons If you tell a player enough times that he'll be tired after 3 games in a week, he'll believe it. Perhaps a firmer approach is needed?
True Spurs Supporter - Top post mate, I don't agree with all of it, but it is far superior to the inane, dribbling ramblings of some of your fellow supporters.
LondonGooner cheers, so just out of curiosity what don't you agree on ? I try to be as objective as possible & I believe I gave an accurate account of the current/future situation ? I guess most of my fellow people just love winding you lot up as 1 or 2 of you have been known to do on VS ! We all enjoy a bit of banter with any group of fans but when its a proper rivalry like ours then a victory or a late min equaliser such as THAT 4-4 game, makes the occasion/result even sweeter. Whilst EVERY London Club seem to enjoy their fiercest rivalry with us @ WHL, the NLD is Londons TRUE Derby & they're the MOST important fixtures on the calendar each season. ONLY a win will do for both of us so its going to be a classic.
True Spurs Supporter
Wow, 2 great posts from True Spurs Supporter - thank you for coming on here and sounding so reasonable. Nothing really to debate in your observations about AW and our team. I frankly agree with arseblog who said AW deserved Dalglish's "f--k off" comment. It's times like that that AW infuriates me-his reaction to Dalglish once the whistle finally blew was just plain stupid. So WHAT if Lucas made the most of it, if that had been an Arsenal player grabbing a point in the last minute of the game he'd have no complaints. I don't blame Lucas in the least. And there's no reason to complain about the 8 minutes extended to 12 - the ref got it absolutely right. Sky and a couple of Arsenal blogs went thru the various stoppages after RVP scored his pen & Marriner got it exactly right. In fact, the ref had a pretty damned good game overall, I only wish he was the worst ref in the PL.
Completely agree with you Jaelle, the ref got both the penalty decision and timekeeping correct as there was a lot of time wasted after we scored our penalty. It is embarassing when AW reacts like that in public but what is more worrying is that he may not actually blame the players in private either. Eboue deserved a rollicking after that game and not for the first time, but AW probably didn't bother giving him one. I can only imagine Fergie's reaction to his players if something similar happened to his team.
How do we know Eboue wasn't given a rollocking in the dressing room?
Little Dutch
Because it doesn't fit the popular image portrayed by the media.
Ok fair enough, I'm guessing there a bit and I hope I'm wrong. It's just that AW always seems to blame everyone but the players which makes me think that.
I'm not one to post on here within seconds of witnessing one of our players having a brain fart. As supporting this team this season has shown....I'm kind of becoming used to them. Also I'm not one to come on here and slate individual here I am a couple of days after the that debacle. Has the last 48hrs made me realise after analysing that last 4 minutes or so, that this is just football, and these things happen? Has it *****!!!! A lot of people have had there say about Eboue so I wont say to much about what I think of him (not one of my most favourite players due to his unpredictable and undisciplined antics) but I always give him the benefit of the doubt when I see his name on the team sheet. Eboue seriously has to be running out of lives now! Not that I'm a twitter fan, but if I were him I would seriously have to look at myself in the mirror and make a public apology to the fans for my foolishness....penalty or no penalty, he just didn't have to put himself in that situation! But I suppose that's the difference between the GREAT defenders and the bench much for me not saying to much about Eboue. The GLARING mistake that cost us the game wasn't his rush of spunk to the brain. It was what we did with the ball after Livepool kicked off after we were 1 up. Just all cast your minds back to that moment....Liverpool kick off....we win the ball back and it ends up in the hands of our GK, young chesney. At this point in time I'm pretty sure the clock would have looked something like this (97:40) and the score 1-0 to us. Now in my opinion it was what happened next that cost us the game. Chesney had 2 choices.....either roll out the ball to one of our defenders (bearing in mind we are probably the second best team in the world at playing keep ball) I estimate the ref would have blown his whistle after about 20 seconds of this. OR he could go with his other option of just hoofing the ball straight back to Liverpool to give them one last charge! hmmm I wonder what Lehman would have done in that situation and if he had a word in young chesneys ears after the game.....I just hope he has learnt something from this.
"The substance of that Cesc interview is, as might be expected, different from the headline" - Not exactly. I read the whole interview carefully in Spanish and the headline is correct - Cesc DOES say that at some point you either focus on winning or developing players tho we can debate whether or not that's the "substance" of his comments. But he very clearly says it. It's a conclusion he reached after yrs of competing at the highest level at Arsenal yet still falling short. He talks much more about the importance of learning/being guided by alongside older, experienced veterans - he talks a lot about playing with the Invincibles & what an incredible experience that was, and how much he learned from players who knew how to win and how to get out of trouble. There's also a lot of talk about the responsibility of being a young captain for such a young, inexperienced team - he refers frequently to himself & RVP being the only ones left from the Invincibles period (he skips over Clichy unintentionally I'm sure). I got the feeling that he both likes being captain but that the burden weighs heavily on him as each season they fall short. In the rush to dismiss the predictably twisted UK media headlines (most of which should be dismissed as exaggerations & deliberate twisting of Cesc's intent), too many gooners who haven't read the entire article (esp in the original Spanish) ignore the fact that Cesc explicitly expresses his belief that the team is unbalanced & missing experienced veterans to help guide him & his teammates. He says that's not something he believed initially--only in 2007 did he start to think that might be the case.
I think the context is very important. He accepts that as a youngster he benefited from learning within a mature settled team that was reaching the end of its performance capabilities which the youngsters in this team haven't been able to do. Clearly the rebuilding of this team, because of the unique situation, changed the balance between mature players and young players but though he accepts this hasn't benefited the younger players that came into the team after him to the same extent he also accepts that he, and presumably the team, still has time (referring to Puyol reminding him that he didn't win anything until he was 26) for that balance to alter as it has been doing naturally for a few seasons now. In order to get to where Cesc thinks it needs to be then the solution is to keep as much of the squad together for as long as possible to reach the point that he came into the team but with a greater potential for retaining a mature side while introducing youngsters. You wouldn't get all that into a headline and there's no surprise that the headline used is one that would pick out a potential controversy but read the piece in it's entirety and unsurprisingly it is more understanding than the headline suggests.
cesc4official Incredible that people try and twist everything to make headlines. Arsene Wenger has had a huge impact on me and my career. Great man. about 19 hours ago

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