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Stand & Deliver

It`s a long trip back from Cardiff to London. Having digested what I had witnessed in the Millennium stadium and had time to reflect on the season up till now I came to the conclusion that the time for learning is over. Last season was the worst we experienced under Wenger, we reached the Champions league final for the 1st time but the constant away defeats and the way we were bullied made it a season to forget for me, the year we started our learning curve.

That learning curve has continued into this year but I now firmly believe our young footballers have gone through everything a footballer can go through in the season and a half since we started rebuilding. We as fans have learnt to be patient and now we need to be repaid in the form of trophies.

We learnt to come through the bullying as the game vs Bolton away in the cup showed us, we earned the right to weave our wonderful patterns so we cannot use that as an excuse for the boys anymore. We have seen them show strength in adversity by coming from behind time after time to rescue games so we know they have character. We have a squad of players as good as anything in the premiership, strength in all departments so injuries and suspensions can be covered. We have conceded the 1st goal in games so many times that the team should now know to start fast as they did in Cardiff.

They can handle intimidating atmospheres (The shoe box down the road). They play the most expansive and best football in the premiership so they know if they play well they will win games. They have shown that when they are not playing the premierships best brand of football they can win games (Watford away and Wigan at home spring to mind). They have also had the occasional kick up the backside that tells them nothing but 100% focus is good enough when you are playing for The Arsenal (Blackburn in the cup, Sheffield UTD and PSV).They have tasted the pain of defeat in 2 cup finals and wont ever want to taste it again.

Finally they have a manager that believes in them, that has been telling the world and whoever else that will listen that this team can be the best he`s had. Its time for them to repay the faith of the Manager and the fans, no more excuses its time to deliver. Champions league anyone?

Article submitted by Iceman10

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 26 2007

Time: 5:37PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Oh ffs, you've learnt to be patient? Get out of it, go 10 years without a trophy then start complaining! It is so obvious Arsenal are in transition and have a bright future with the kids coming through, and I'm not even a Gooner. You, along with all the other teams, have no automatic right to win anything and any fan who thinks their support should be repaid in trophies, especially a fan of a club who have done exceptionally well with not the biggest of board fundings, must be mad.
The Fear
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26/02/2007 18:35:00

yeah but it would be the icing on the cake to have actually won,as maureen would say,what has this team won?
fran merida
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26/02/2007 18:38:00

Nothing yet, so why don't you all panic, obviously Arsenal are on the rails, crisis, oh no, bloody hell. Look at what you have coming through, they are still learning and some of them look awesome. You are starting to sound like Man Utd fans, arrogant.
The Fear
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26/02/2007 18:42:00

Its not arrogance The fear its knowing that the team is good enough and its time to take away the excuse of inexperience. No panic either I just dont want to hear that we lost because we were young etc as they have shown how good they are against the top teams in what I think is the best league in the world. We have no divine right to win anything but a club that wants to be the best must have a winning mentality from the fans through to the board, management and players. 9 times out of 10 if you give footballers an excuse to perform badly they will. I think its time for them to realise their potential.
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26/02/2007 18:57:00

Don't worry about the fear, he always get irratable when it's time to pay out cash ;)
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26/02/2007 19:04:00

As I said on another thread, the defeats in 2000 and 2001 were the making of the invincibles, I don't see any reason why this team cannot surpass them.
Little Dutch
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26/02/2007 19:10:00

Just 18 months ago we were all worried about the fargility of our midfield, now there's none stronger in Europe.
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26/02/2007 19:12:00

Defeat is key in the learning process. I kind of accepted the Champions league defeat (although it hurt like hell!) and yesterday was all part of the learning curve. When we were driving back we went past Wembley and we all to a man said that if we got to the FA cup final we would be p*$$ed if we lost!
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26/02/2007 19:19:00

Would love to see you win the Champions League after last year's near miss!
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26/02/2007 21:57:00

so would we mate!
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26/02/2007 21:59:00

i have this feeling that we will meet chelsea in the FA cup final and seek revenge.. the kids have got a huge future, jose comments are just arrogant, wenger has still won more in england than him, and history shows arenal are still more successful.. when jose goes in the summer, chelsea will fall from grace and become an overpaid mid table team again.
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26/02/2007 23:00:00

im not would be nice to get a trophy after all that hard work,i think they deserve it for playing some beautifull football,compared to some anti-football teams,who just like to smash n grab.......
fran merida
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26/02/2007 23:59:00

They need to reward themselves for their own hard work and skill this season, we dont want 11 Alan Shearers great players with no medals. I dont want losing finals to become a habit!
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27/02/2007 00:06:00

I definitely don't think it will, iceman. In fact, I'm not even worried about it. Definitely we're in the process of 'delivering', and if anyone has waited longer than the fans, it's Wenger who's waited 5 years for this magnificent group of youngsters to prove themselves and to the world. We definitely won't be the Shearers and Anna Kournikovas!
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27/02/2007 00:21:00

I think like a lot of people we have great pontential but I also think we have a lot of work to do in defence. Its no good having a great passing side with flair etc and a crap defence. Senderos clearly does not cut the mustard , he is ok heading the ball unchallenged but his positional awareness at times is woeful. He very often finds himself on the wrong side of strikers (Drogbas second goal) and very often too far away to make any impact. Its no good saying he is young and will learn. How many finals do you want to lose until you realise something is wrong at the back ? You simply cannot say that if they have a big target man then we are in trouble !! If our quality is going to be of an extremely high standard and we aspire to have a team of world class individuals all the way through our side...then we surely must improve at the back. I want to see a center back sticking to Drogba like glue and not giving him an inch. I want to see a center back that can out-jump Drogba,out run Drogba and out-muscle him. Not to be the closest observer to admire Drogbas handy work as he skips past or sails through the air unchallenged to score. I use Drogba as an example of course it applies to anyone.Is such a player that hard to find ? We need a center back of that quality, a true world-class player because if we don't my arse will keep twitching as soon as anyone sends a cross over into our penalty area !!
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27/02/2007 00:31:00

The Fear, it's not arrogance. And we have been patient. And true gooners shall continue to be so. Yes, perhaps we have been most fortunate to have had the success that we have known in recent years, but we have given this yougn team time to grow and mature (except for the Alex Song incident at craven cottage, which still rankles me...) And agreed rocky, it is the strongest, most in depth midfield in europe. Maybe not quite the finished article yet, but by next season, it will be known as the best. »»Arsene Knows««
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27/02/2007 00:45:00

I dont like Arsenal, but if I was a Gooner I'd be chuffed to bits that your kids totally outplayed Chelseas first team. HOWEVER, you better start spending money properly because now more than ever its unlikely you're gonna win anything major with bargains and kids.
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27/02/2007 02:30:00

I look at it this way: we played CSKA Chelski off the park with our Under-21s, doubled the Mancs with our first team... we have yet to play a single game this year (to my recollection) with our First Choice back 4 (Clichy/Gallas/Kolo/Hoye-Eboue). I have no doubt that at full strength and with all our players we can turn over the best sides in the world and win trophies. The one lesson we have still yet to learn in the last two years of growing, is how to beat the WEAKER sides, those who park the bus. We have lacked that physical muscle, the ability to score cheap goals on corners and set pieces when teams are defending behind the ball. That's where we most need to improve. I'm not sure how it is exactly we get there, but PSV and Blackburn will be telling. Can we turn over sides content to take one or two shots in a whole game?
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27/02/2007 04:05:00

You just got to be patient show me a team in the world that has won anything with a team this young....just wait we will win something at sometime in the future you just never know when, our time will come.
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27/02/2007 05:19:00

Just a thought.. Dont know where to post this, but needed to get it of my chest. How come is it that video evidence can be used to punish offenses and yet the powers that be in football insist that it will disrupt the game if it is used to help the referee make better jugement? It all seems like double standards to me. Eboue is set to be punished cos the referee missed his role in the brawl initially, and yet, Drogba's offside goal will stand even if the video replay says otherwise. Its time a firm decision is taken. Either there is video evidence or not. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. IF video evience can be used to punish offences missed by the ref, then sure it can also be trusted to sort out those dodgy decisions that end up ruining a top game. I am happy that offenders can be punished in retrospect, but I think it is time they stepped up and allowed it to be used to sort out other issues which are equally if not more important. A goal makes a differenc eregardless of how well a team plays so detrmining a goal should not be considered less important than punishing offenders! What do you guys thin? On topic, I am cofident of the fact that this team will deliever, they are too good not to. As LD observed, it will be nice that as 2000 and 2001 defeats led to the invincibles, those pf 2006 and 2007 may yet lead to another great landmark.. INVINCIBLES II
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27/02/2007 09:53:00

i think everyone needs to be patient here, just like Le Boss is. we obviously have a very talented crop of youngsters coming through and it will only be a matter of time until the trophies come. we have cover in every position so theres no reason why we cannot dominate the EPL in the next couple of seasons. P.S Diaby was magnificent the other night and it was good to see Theo show his ability
Aussie Gooner
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27/02/2007 11:13:00

This obsession with winning the Champions League is really getting to me. i believe the lads are still hurting from last year's defeat, and are desperate to erase that memory this year. so lets start it next wednesday against PSV..
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27/02/2007 12:44:00

i can't remember us being behind in the tie after the first leg ever in the Cl knockout stages except against Bayern a few years ago, so it'll be tricky, but we'll get the job done..
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27/02/2007 12:46:00

I hate to quote Mourinho but this was what he said after the CC final: "They (Arsenal) have great kids and great manager, but football is all about winning. We got the cup today". When we lost the F.A. Cup final undeservedly some years ago, Houllier commented "I rather take away the cup than be an entertaining loser". How true these comments were. Le Boss got it right once in the F.A. cup final when we surprised Man USA with a different tactic to lift the cup. Le Boss then came up apologetically for his negative approached. To me there was nothing wrong. We are capable of neutralising other teams' tactic if we are willing to. I think Le Boss should not allow Arsenal's reputation of "total football" supercedes the ultimate goal of winning cups. Remember how we defended tooth and nail to beat Villareal on aggregate in the CL last year? I dont think a lot of critics remember that. We were remembered for playing in the final.
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27/02/2007 15:10:00

I think this article is aimed more at the fans than the club by iceman. we've all been voicing our patience with losses in the league and how we cant win it this year. but we are still optimistic about winning a trophy this year. Not too many people are disappointed at losing the CC, but I will give this team till the end of this season. I dont mind one more trophy-less season, as long as they start delivering results next season. Already, we have shown signs that we can seriously compete for the premiership, and the FA Cup and champions league are sill wide open.
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27/02/2007 15:28:00

I agree (to some extent) with radar. We need to do something about our defensive play. Our current squad is top-heavy with creative attacking players who do not have much of a defensive mindset. This results in attacking eye-candy but a defensive shambles. If you observe our midfield players and defence, whenever we are under attack they tend to back-pedal towards goal rather than hustle the attacker off the ball. This is the reason we concede soft goals, and the reason why busy, powerful attackers eg. Drogba, LeSulk and Co. keep giving us a torrid time whenever we play them.
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27/02/2007 15:31:00

As an addendum to my previous post, the one notable exception is Clichy. He stands out by his constant harrying of wingers off the ball. If we could have central defence and the holding midfielder doing the same, I doubt Lehmann or Almunia would ever touch a ball again.
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27/02/2007 15:38:00

I think as fans we have taken a lot of stick. We have watched as we went from invincible to be being bullied by the likes of Blackburn, Bolton and Everton and 99% of us have accepted the transition like true supporters should. I think we can win a trophy this season and personally If we dont win either the FA cup or Champions league I wont write it off to inexperience. If we lose unluckily or controversially then so be it but we have the big match experience throughout the squad younsters included. Nothing in life is guaranteed and as long as they always give 100% il never complain i just feel that if they do put that effort in like they did on sunday they will win silverware in the very near future.
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27/02/2007 15:42:00

One comment here troubles me, it doesn't have much to do with the article, but please don't swallow Allardyce's tripe. We didn't play negatively in the 2005 Cup Final, we just played badly! If we had played negatively, we wouldn't have allowed United so many attempts at goal. Don't confuse a bad performance with a defensive one, we played with a back four and had Fabregas, Pires and Reyes in our midfield. It wasn't negative, it just didn't work.
Little Dutch
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27/02/2007 15:49:00

As for your defensive shortcomings, when Gallas returns full time things will improve.
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27/02/2007 15:55:00

I fully agree LD we used the same formation in Europe last season, played beautiful football and got to the final. It was just a bad day at the office and payback for when we tore Liverpool apart and lost the cup in 01!
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27/02/2007 15:58:00

There are two critical area that we need to rectify in our defence. First of all it is of our tactic. We are the only team in EPL that play with two wing backs (when we have our 1st eleven, Eboue & Clichy). This exerts extra pressure on our CB and makes us vulnerable to long ball when the opponent's strategy is to absorb our team into their half and hoof a long ball to the flank whenever they regain possession (review our game against PSV & Chelski). Secondly, radar is spot on. We need another CB who can recover quickly and not to be out-muscled to complement Toure. I would like to stress that I have nothing against Senderos. He reads the game well, has precise interception and good in the air but his recovery is too slow, vulnerable to physical contact and his aerial ability significantly diminished when being challenged. He is welcomed to play against almost any other striker except Drogba please
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27/02/2007 16:07:00

Regarding a centreback Djourou is fine. When Djourou and Willy G are fit we are ok in defence. We don't really play wing backs, we have two left backs who love to go forward but even if they do get caught out, both Eboue and Clichy have amazing recovery pace. What Chelsea capitalised on was Phillipe Senderos. He still seems a bit shabby, sometimes he reminds of Monsieur Pascal Cygan. The jury is still out on him. I loved Theo's finish, you don't teach such composure or finishing, not against Petr Cech. When Wenger decides he's ready to be a striker, it's going to be lovely to be a Gooner. Not that it isn't already. And next year we WILL win something, the League is top of my wish least and we have a team that's more than capable of delivering.
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27/02/2007 16:18:00

These are your team of the future. You have to be patient with them. You could be a lot worse off. Try supporting a lower league team - then you can moan!!
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27/02/2007 19:40:00

Support a lower league team? you mean like sp*rs?
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27/02/2007 23:10:00

I agree with the fear, why cant we be happy to just watch our team play the best fottball around, better than barca, better than the Argies, Dutch or Brazilians. I know its frustrating when we lose to Sheffield Utd or West Ham, draw to Blackburn or lose to PSV when we're just not on our game but would you prefer to win things playing like Chelsea or come mighty *****in' close playing like us. We have been within minutes of winning two trophies in the last season, both times making record breaking cup runs and getting incredibly unlucky in the finals with bloody young teams. The trophies would be nice but both losses had positives to them, against Barca it meant keeping Henry (honestly does anyone believe if we won he would've stayed?) and against Chelsea the experience and total football of the youngsters. Winning trophies playing like Man U have this season or like the invincibles would be a different story but if trophies means playing like Juventus or Chelski then ***** 'em. They will come but.
Ozi Gooner
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28/02/2007 00:08:00

Keplaz, to say Snenderos reminds you of cygan is damn near sacraligous. I've said it 50 times already and i'll say it again, Senderos was covering for traore the entire game and with the exception of the winning goal was by far our best defender. Even that goal, who has stopped drogba this season?
Ozi Gooner
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28/02/2007 00:13:00

iceman, he lower league, not lower class. »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 00:18:00

* he said
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28/02/2007 00:30:00

I think in the case of the sp*rts both mean the same thing, wingston :)
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28/02/2007 07:05:00

at least lower leage clubs will be found to have class. It's indeed a rarity amopng the spurts... »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 08:41:00


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