Oh, no Newcastle! You didn’t, did you?

Oh, no Newcastle! You didn’t, did you?

Last night Newcastle did what nobody thought they would and drew with Manchester United.

While the result has hardly blown the title race wide open, it has done something to my psychological well-being. It’s got me thinking we can win the damn thing again.

Bac is back

At this point in time, I really like Newcastle for doing us a favour. After tonight’s game against Spurs, I might hate them for messing around so severely with my emotions.

It is stating the obvious but we absolutely, positively must win tonight, both to cling onto the chance of winning the league and to right the wrongs of what happened against Spurs earlier in the season. Points are on the line, pride is on the line and in the toughest, most unpredictable of fixtures we have been given our final chance.

The brilliant news going into the game is that we are at virtual full-strength.

Bacary Sagna will return to remorsefully take Emmanuel Eboué out of the spotlight and take on Gareth Bale, while Alex Song is also a chance to start after fully recovering from his knee problem. The changes leave us strong at the back, strong in the midfield and strong up front.

Does anybody really want to talk tactics? The North London Derby is about energy and emotion, and the team who wants it more is generally the one who gets it. Tonight we should want it so much it should burn.

Our task is simple and the talking will be done out on the pitch. A win against Spurs and the impossible will seem possible. Anything less will make tonight feel like Dirk Kuyt’s penalty kick all over again.

Let’s get chatting in the comments.

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61 Responses to “Oh, no Newcastle! You didn’t, did you?”

  1. Jabulani
    April 20, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS

  2. carole osako
    April 20, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Please Gunners. Come on and make our dream come true tonight. Heed to van Persie’s and Wilshere’s advice. We can do it.

  3. T-Bone
    April 20, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    “Last night Newcastle did what nobody thought they would and drew with Manchester United.” Having taken 4 points this season off you guys, including a stunning comeback not so long ago, I’d have thought you more than anyone would be aware of what the mighty black and whites are capable of!

    Good luck fellas for the run in!

  4. Andrew Weber
    April 20, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    @ T-Bone – Nice one mate! To be honest, it was nothing personal about Newcastle, just that we really thought our title charge had hit the final wall. Now there’s hope again. Terrible, terrible, hope!

  5. Lyle
    April 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    From a Toon fan, good luck tonight Arsenal against the pretenders.

  6. jay-jay
    April 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    What Newcastle did is both bad and good. Bad because we are all now believing again but that could be shut short without victory against Spurs. Good, well because we have something to cling on too.

    I would delve deeper into the fixture list and produce more and more hope but that would all be for nothing unless we earn 3 points tonight. So here’s for tonight. The game that is all or nothing!

  7. Gruggy
    April 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    The most important game at WHL since we won the title there?

    I think so.

  8. 1NilToTheArsenal
    April 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    I first saw The Boss kind of late. Back in 1990, a good 15 years after his legendary status as a live performer had already been cemented. This was also after he had fired the E Street Band and struck out on his own for a while. He was still amazing. Then I saw him again right after he re-united with the guys and he was even more amazing. The last time I saw him was on the Magic tour here in Toronto. Un – freaking – believable. He is over 60 now and it was almost 3 hours of blood, sweat and tears. Just like the very first time I saw him. Love them or hate them Springsteen and E Street NEVER mail it in. Not once in over 20 years of going to shows have I ever seem them less than 100% committed to that performance, that night and that audience.

    Arsenal: Forget about the title, put it out of your minds and play for yourselves, for each other, for pride in your abilities and for the love of the game. At your level of talent, if do that each and every time the results pretty much take care of themselves. Ask the Boss and just walk it like you talk it.

  9. theicehammer
    April 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    i listening to Ray Parlour on the radio talk sport 10.89mw and he does not sound to positive. Lets hope the players can grab the bull by he balls and take control. Good luck you gunners.
    Up de ammers.

  10. skwam
    April 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    I hate that man u and others are doing their bit for us to get back into the race, but theres always us to mess it for ourselves….a match like today unfortunately is another where experience could tell the difference…..fairly similar in quality…bit more in arsenal…but solid experience in their camp…damn

  11. gunnerboy 1967
    April 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    who can honestly say they think we are good enuff 2 win league

  12. dejavu
    April 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    i jst see this as another chance for arsenal to raise our hopes and dash it against a very strong rock. Still i’ll be rooting for my darling team until there’s no more hope.

  13. iggypup
    April 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    man…i don’t believe what i’m reading…give it up…..their not good enough…no chance…dashing our hopes…what the hell…thats what most of you complain about the gunners…no fight..giving up…not me..i’m pulling for us till the end….i quote the great yogi berra…”IT AINT OVER TILL ITS OVER !” come on you gunners…peel them spuds !!!

  14. Filipino Dan
    April 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    I’m feeling good about tonight.

    It will be nail-biting though!

  15. Nicholas
    April 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    … and here we will have another heart-stopping night with all the ingredients to throw our tvs/computers out the window in case something wrong happens. It’s been said before, we also gotta admit it now, being a fan of this team is never dull. GO GUNNERS! you have millions of people on the verge of a nervous breakdown, you don’t want to have them on your conscience!

  16. GUNNER_INDIA
    April 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    GUNNERS!!!please…in the last few weeks you’ve been trying to throw away the premier league title and still it has come near you…time for u to win this north london derby and keep the title race alive

  17. 1NilToTheArsenal
    April 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    @Nicholas – good one! The final couple of minutes of our last match was…not dull. But if it’s an eponymous 1-nil to us, I’ll take dull any time.

    “Everybody’s got a hunger, a hunger they can’t resist,
    There’s so much that you want, you deserve much more than this,
    But if dreams came true, oh, wouldn’t that be nice,
    But this ain’t no dream we’re living through tonight,
    Girl, you want it, you take it, you pay the price.
    And Prove It All Night”
    Bruce Springsteen

  18. Terry
    April 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    I don’t know how much more of this I can take! ‘

  19. kel
    April 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Oh boy, here we go again!!!!!

    We got a real chance here, lets take it

    Come on guys !!!! lets win this match if not for you, then for wenger.

    Make us proud……………….

  20. Nicholas
    April 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    my God, what a start of a game! I’m texting my friends to tune in, this is just great football

  21. Angie
    April 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    1/2 time and this is all ready a crazy game. :O defend gunners defennnnnnd! Clichy should really do a better job. I never liked the way he keeps the ball to lose it…oh God! this is goin to drive me nust!

  22. Angie
    April 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    1/2 time and this is all ready a crazy game. :O defend gunners defennnnnnd! Clichy should really do a better job. I never liked the way he keeps the ball to lose it…oh God! this is goin to drive me nuts

  23. Nicholas
    April 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    Well my oh my, what a surprise! it was indeed great football, a great game, fun to watch… if you’re not an Arsenal fan. If you are, however, you’re basically left wondering… how the f* did it end up 3-3 after we were leading 3-1? but heh, you can’t have everything in life, therefore no wish granted for a victory. Now I have this strange feeling, like I’m off to sleep, a good healthy sleep and when I wake up tomorrow morning I’m gonna be a Zen master. And none of this will matter. Arsenal meets Bolton, Arsenal meets Man Utd, not one thing. I promise, I will even forget I was ever angry in my entire life. Word! Because the frustration, the sheer agony I feel right now, at this very moment, cannot be matched by words…

  24. Terry
    April 20, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Flipping heck that was a corker of a game for the neutral. I just wish I was one.

    Great to see Nasri back in form.

    And how good is our defence?!

    Answers please to M. Wenger, Ashburton Grove, London N5

  25. Eddie
    April 20, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    Just seen the Spurs Game. Great game, awful result for Arsenal. Once again, who is to blame…AW, although there was some sign of a change in tactics, eg bringing Theo in more quickly and getting him into the danger areas more, no more stupid short corners (but more guile needed)………..but just not enough change.

    Unless Samir was exhausted…a backward step to bring him off. As for Theo, he was just the man to take advantage when Spurs attacks broke down. Bendtner and Arshavin were a waste of time…as they usually are when coming on late. We did NOT need to have these substitutions

    Walcott showed just how he can be a real danger at CF….with our attacking wingbacks, 4.4.2 would be far more effective. Great game that Cesc played, he is not the goal scoring support that VP needs.

    Have wanted AW promoted and a new coach with fresh ideas. AWs ideas of play are outdated, tired and predictable. Now, I am also fed up with his rants, his appaling behaviour to opponents and referees, frankly he is struggling and ‘past–it’…he is an embarrassment and he demeans the image of Arsenal.

  26. Dakota
    April 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Some doors opened, some doors closed. Hopes up? So good game but bad for Arsenal?

  27. jet
    April 21, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    where’s that renewed hope now? what the hell, defense? it is incredible how horrible it is, and equally incredible that nothing ever seems to be done about it. PLEASE buy defense this summer. i don’t care if TV does come back, we need more, and we need them to be strong and vocal. arsenal have succeeded in making me a very skeptical fan this year, always waiting for the next let-down or sucker punch. this is too much. while i’ll always be a gooner, i really hope things change soon. not wenger leaving, because he is amazing in many aspects, but wenger buying defense and the team playing like they understand the need to defend together. they suck at that right now and continue to be punished for it.

  28. Asurah
    April 21, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Good job Gunners, throwing another game away. Yeah, RVP was denied a perfectly legal goal, but fuck me, all Spurs goals were 100% the defence´s fault.
    A very good game though, better than the fucking Clasico boxing match…

  29. Nik
    April 21, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    MY DREAM IS MOURINHO MANAGING ARSENAL

  30. tricia
    April 21, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    more than the holes needed to be plugged in this squad, i think Arsenalfc also needs to consider getting like a media manager(just kidding) because all he manages to do is get the fans more pissed off with his post match rants and statements, see now we couldnt win the league from 2nd position, how in the world would we pull that off from 3rd spot that we all know from recent run of results is not even guaranteed

    @shard
    i asked in an earlier post if its because we’ve improved that we are(were) in 2nd spot or because others have sucked more, well?
    Anyway its not over boys, and ‘coming 3rd is not a bad thing afterall 17teams would die to be in our spot’ like our great manager is wont to say.

  31. Niko
    April 21, 2011 at 3:16 am #

    My dream is Mourinho managing Arsenal.
    He really takes intensity from his players.

  32. shambogunner
    April 21, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    First Spurs goal was a simple ball in from Corluka, Djourou and Koscielny in no mans land, sleepy head Diaby didnt track the ‘pacey’ Van Der Vaarts run and it was a shocking goal for a permier league team to concede, let alone one chasing the title.
    Second goal was just a freak, like the Danny Rose goal last season.
    For the third, I cant say aniything bad about Schezny, I love the guy hes got real presence and made important saves after.
    Wengers decision to take off Nasri and Walcott was outrageous, and dont tell me Wenger knows more about the players fitness than me, Nasri did not want to leave that pitch tonight so that point is irrelevent, he had more to offer than the hapless Bentdner, who to be fair isnt a wide man, any chance we had of getting the win we needed ended when Wenger deployed him on the right, its just brainless. With the game in the balance and them going for it aswel we needed someone to challenge Dawson and Gallas aerially and for us the win secondary, if not primary possesion to get us rolling forwards, all Van Persie did was jump into their CBs and give away frees, in fact I dont think our ‘lone frontman’ retained possesion once in the last 10mins. Whos fault is that???????????? Not RvPs, its the fault of one of the supposed best managers in the world who is supposed to know these players, can someone really tell me what Bentdner offers out wide right compared to centrally in that type of game?
    This team cant win from behind and cant see out a lead when they really need to, negativity, positivity, loyal fans stories, ranting angry fans aside, Pro Wenger, Anti Wenger, these are the facts and you can say you love players for all sorts of reason but the reason we follow and love this team is for football.
    Yes we still love the Arsenal win, lose or draw, were still here arent we? But one thing is being said to us from Wenger and another is being delivered, every year; they have grown, they will learn from last year, they have matured, they have the right MENTALITY, but another year has passed and I dont see them having learned anything from the past hurts that weve endured, shocking home losses to sides with nowhere near the facilities we have, hull last season is a century ago to those who wish to forget it, yet it resumed again this season with WBA and Newcastle, shocking capitulations against Spurs and Newcastle, yet the same was done last year at Blackburn, Birminham, Spurs and ,who could forget, Wigan, where another 2-0 lead was surrendered, a physio bill as long as Man Citys wage bill, but that wasnt planned for, even though injuries are the one thing we can depend every year.
    Sugar coat it anyway you like, hell, do and say whatever it is that makes it less frustrating and painful for you, but were going to have to get real at some stage and have the fundamentals right if we are to continue to be expected to pay so much money for our tickets.
    You wonder where that first half display has been when we needed it this year??? Thats the real problem with these guys, not that they cant do it, but that they cant sustain or see it through, they take the foot off.
    I just want the season to end and to have a summer without Arsenal, I cant even be bothered to scour through Transfer Rumour sites anymore, they have exhausted my enthusiasm. till next season gooners.

  33. Peter
    April 21, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    This team lacks leadership. Besides the manager has lost his fighting spirit and few weeks ago was very content with finishing second. Ha! that seems to have already alluded him. I will not be surprised if Arsenal finishes with five more draws. After all the team, the manager will argue is unbeaten since they lost at Old Trafford. Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wenger has failed with the transition and has already outlived his importance at Arsenal. When is Pep available? I think he might be a better replacement.

  34. realistic_gooner
    April 21, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    @Shambo

    I feel your pain and frustration mate, and I agree with all your points. You say everything like it should be, no sugar coating. It hurts but we gotta face the truth as it is.

    Ultimately the club’s gotta ask themselves what they want. Content with just qualifying for the CL each year? Balancing the books? Bringing through young players? Hell, even having the best parking facilities at the Emirates? If thats what they want, then yes, this season has been an immense success story and Wenger and his troops deserve a pat on the back for overachieving already.

    I don’t know, but to me, I feel the club is made for better things than that. I think the recent interview with Fabregas speaks volumes; he said what myself and many other gooners have been thinking for a long time now – the club needs to realign its focus towards winning trophies. That, and I think the management needs to stem out this culture of making excuses for failures, and stop rewarding mediocrity if we truly want to be a top competitive club. In the words of Pep Guardiola – coach of the most successful club of the last 2 or 3 years: “There are NO EXCUSES to be made in this club (Barcelona). None at all!”

  35. Antek
    April 21, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    As a Londoner, I now have to face spurs supporters at work today. Thanks wenger for making us all look like t@*!s. Then again, did anyone really believe? I should have put money on chavski nicking 2nd from us, but then again, the odds would have been crap. Wenger must change or go. 5!

  36. Darragh
    April 21, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Shambo – totally agree with you on the substitutions – very poor choices. If one _had_ to be made, I would have put Chamakh on rather than Bendtner wide…B52 is USELESS there.

    For me, Wenger consistently gets his substitutions wrong. SAF, depsite my dislike of him, is very good at these – knows what players to use when. Wenger seems to think ‘oh arshavin once scored some goals, lets remove one of our most handy players – Nasri – and put on Arshavin’

  37. Shard
    April 21, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    For once I can say this. We do not deserve to win the league.. If we can’t play through the tiredness, show some determination to win against Spurs, after what had happened against them at our home, while we are chasing the title, then we do not deserve it. That was a poor poor second half performance.

    The first goal Spurs scored was not the defence’s fault in my view. It really was a very good goal. It’s easy to argue he should have been closed down sooner but that kind of thing happens. He had a bit of space and unleashed a pinpoint shot. The only blame from an Arsenal view can be on Szczesny for it. He was beaten at the near post after all. The second goal we conceded was Cesc’s fault. He basically passed it out to Huddlestone, instead of booting it high and far, or out for a throw. We’ve conceded goals like that against Tottenham before. Where were Sagna and Djourou for the penalty incident? Sagna had a bad game in my view. Didn’t defend very well which is unusual, and his crosses almost always were overhit. The second goal was the worst of the lot in my view because we should have gone in with a 3-1 lead at half time. I think we lost concentration when Bale was injured. Unforgivable.

    @tricia
    Over the course of the season, I do think we have improved. Last season was worse. And my point was that you can only judge a team on the basis of the league that year. How good you are is only judged in comparison with your competition after all. It isn’t an absolute.

  38. dennis10
    April 21, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Perhaps a session with Anthony Robbins before every match can help the mentally strong players who rarely display it? Apparently the man has worked wonders for down in the dumps players like Agassi and turned them around. Maybe he can make them do fire walk, or get them to drink a newt potion mixed in bat’s blood, and make them strong, for real. Anything’s worth a try, eh?

  39. Shard
    April 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    @realistic_gooner

    Ultimately the club’s gotta ask themselves what they want…I feel the club is made for better things

    I agree. Why I’ve been arguing for the club and Wenger, and still do, is because the ‘ultimately’ of your statement hadn’t come yet. For me, we have not been good enough to win the league for a few years now. Except 2008, when we were , and we should have won. Another mini-rebuilding followed that year, and it took time till we could grow into challengers again. For me the criticism, and even abuse against the club hasn’t been fair because it’s treated the past 6 years as a single entity, and as a failure, which doesn’t take into account all that went on during that period, and our evolution, both as a team, and as a club.

    There simply was no option to go out and buy the kind of players that were required to challenge for the title, and pay their wages, if we were to live within our means. It is easy to forget how huge a transition it actually is. Nearly 400 million pounds is the cost of the stadium. How many years does it take a club to earn that much? Even the most successful clubs (which doesn’t mean the most profitable necessarily).

    We dismantled a team to finance the stadium. We got in youngsters with immense talent, so that we wouldn’t drop out of the top 4 and continue to earn through the UCL, so we can pay for the stadium. We hoped those youngsters will be good enough to win the odd title, but the priority was maintaining a stable base for the club to build on. That has been achieved, and it has involved immense dedication and hard work from all concerned. We forget the magnitude of the achievement only because it’s been managed well.

    For me, this season marks the last phase of that process. The finances have stabilised to a large extent. Our mid term report actually showed a loss due to us not having made money from selling players. To me that is a good sign. We feel comfortable enough with our finances to not have to sell players. Our stadium debt peaked in 2008, and with the property business garnering profits, and only the debt bonds left means that we should be able to take more chances. (Buying a player is always taking a chance incidentally) So a large constraint on us, ie finances, seems to be easing a bit. Secondly, we now have a new batch of youngsters that are ready to challenge for a first team place. At the least that builds competition for places. Moreover, that gives the manager more flexibility in handling the make up of the squad. He can now afford to offload a few players if he wants to. a)because we now should have some funds, b) because we should have reserves as replacements ready and hungry to step in, and c) the current players have had a chance to prove their worth to the squad. Some have, and some haven’t. All three factors taken together makes me feel that we will see changes in the squad in the summer (and I have been saying so for some time).

    I still say no club can guarantee trophies. Trophies are not won only through good performances. Supporters in my view should not demand trophies. They should demand performances good enough to win trophies. Even next year, I don’t expect a trophy. But I expect the team to do better than this year( which has been better than the last), and for the first time in a while, to project ourselves as real contenders, rather than an outside bet. Signings have a role to play in that.

    P.S. I think I’ve outlined above why I think the criticism the club has faced, and the ferociousness of it has been wrong. To that I’d like to add that it hasn’t helped the team, and us as fans, in any way. In my view it has been counter productive.

  40. Shubham Goel
    April 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    http://delhigunner.wordpress.com/
    Great Derby!!!

  41. realistic_gooner
    April 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    @shard

    Mate you just articulated perfectly everything that’s been on my heart. I see where you’re coming from.

    I agree with you, the transition period was managed decently, our finances are healthy, and we’ve qualified consistently for Europe with the odd push for the title. We do have a decent young team that may just be lacking in that little bit of quality to win things. Not bad at all for a team supposedly in transition. For this, Wenger and the board can take enormous credit for their astute management.

    Having said all that, ultimately there’s got to be a cut-off point where the club decides – This is the end of our transition; from henceforth, we gotta push to the next level, which is to get to the level of Man U and Barca and Real etc. After all, was this not what the Emirates Stadium was built for? To allow us to compete on equal footing so that we can join the top tier of footballing giants.

    If i read you correctly, you expect this season to be the last where we can still fall back on the premise that we’re still a team in transition. I gotta admit I’m far less patient than you; I actually expected the transition to have ended some time back. Possibly many other gooners too, from what I know. Maybe that’s what’s contributed to the growing sense of frustration among supporters because they expect success already.

    I think it also doesn’t help at all that we see the same mistakes made season after season, with the team crumbling in almost identical fashion year after year. I can definitely understand the frustration, many a times I feel like pulling my hair out myself. I think for this, Wenger cannot be absolved of blame; he’s definitely erred in tactical approach to games, imo he’s too protective of the players, he has blind spots, and he’s definitely gotta take some share of the blame for the teams perennial crumbling. Folks calling for his head are not entirely unjustified in their stance either, in my opinion. Just that maybe they could have chosen a better time to voice their criticisms (at the end of the season and not now, where it could be counterproductive for team morale)

    Yup, you’re right in saying no club has a divine right to win or expect trophies. However what I do expect for the fans investment of time and money into the club is, like you said, performances that befit the status of the club. I expect us to be competing strongly. Having players that would give blood for the shirt. Unfortunately, I do not observe that quality in some of our players. We do not yet have a winning mindset that the likes of Man U have, and this is something that has to be addressed, and soon.

    For me, whether or not the team should be overhauled, or whether Wenger is still the right man to take us that next step forward remains to be seen, but I’ll still support the team till the close of the season as we still have a league to play for (unlikely as it may seem). What’s for sure is that next season, things will have to improve. For AFC is too big a club to stagnate in transition perpetually.

  42. barry
    April 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    i think fans wanting a new manager are going a little overboard with it because there isn’t a better manager we could get.where would you put wenger in the world,easily in the top 5 when you consider what he’s done for a football club both on and off the field.there is only in truth 2/3 managers who are better and we aint going to get them so lets be honest and realistic here.fergie,guardiola,mourinho,would never join arsenal with the restrictions that the club found itself in moving to the emiraters. the best way i think is to make enough noise as a fan,and many are doing it so that the club and wenger see that we aint happy that we are falling short all the time.i do believe that wenger has had enough with some players and now that he finally has the financial muscle he can do something about it.i heard frank mcclintock say yesterday that wenger is a fantastic manager who is ONLY 2/3 top players short from being unbelievable,i share that view with mcclintock.wenger will get rid of the dead wood and he will make the neccasary signings to get us over that winning line.considering we have flaws in our team we are still 16 games unbeaten,get those players that make that difference then we can be very competative.it certainly aint as bad as some are making out.think of the spuds and liverpool who may have just thursday nights to look forward to next season.we aint far short,9/10 fans i believe think that.

  43. Shard
    April 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    @realistic_gooner

    You see, despite our disagreements in the past, there really isn’t that much of a gap in what we actually feel or want.. I wish fans, all fans would just calm down, unite, and for once just get behind the team. Protect them from the monotonous and usually absurd media, and their agenda driven bile. They love the story of a club in crisis, and at the moment all of us are allowing our club to be painted with that brush. In crisis, we most definitely are not. All the pointers are there that we do have a core in place, which will allow us to push on and join the likes of Barca, Real, ManU etc.

    Which just reminds me.. I meant to address the Guardiola and Barca thing of your earlier post. There are no excuses at Barca. Yet from 1999 to 2005, Barca won nothing. In basically a two team league (since they take the lion’s share of the money), without building a new stadium, and still managing to not have enough money to pay their players. They finished 6th one year too I think. Not something that is very praiseworthy I’m afraid. What was their reasoning or excuse then? Real were in their Galactico phase, and there was intense pressure on Barca to follow. They only bought Ronaldinho after failing to buy Beckham. While Ronaldinho provided the spark, they are the Barca we know now because they kept faith with the likes of Xavi (once called the cancer of barca), Iniesta, Puyol.

    Coming back to Arsenal, we’ve faced more billionaires financing insane spending than Barca did. We have a new stadium to show for our prudence and sacrifice, and we still have competed. We’ve had more disadvantages than they did, and it’s been the same time frame since we won a trophy. I’m not saying we’ll become as dominant as they are now (though I think we are ahead of the curve they were on), but there are foundations for success. Wanting them instantly doesn’t work. Ask Real, ask Chelsea, or ManCity. Spending money is no guarantee either, and if the demand is for just that little bit extra, it should also acknowledge what we already have. Too often you see lazy arguments like the players are rubbish, Wenger’s gone mad etc. Regarding your criticism of Wenger, I do not presume to know the thought behind his substitutions, tactics etc, but I still have faith in his ability, even if I feel frustrated by them sometimes.

    As for when the transition should end, I did not have a pre planned figure in my mind as to a 5 year plan or a 10 year plan. I’m sure something like that would have existed, but it would also have room for flexibility according to the situation. Why I think some things will change is because of the above listed factors (finances, reserves, some players not proving their worth), not because I’ve lost patience. I believe now is the time to add to what we already have achieved, and I will be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. Hopefully, the team and the fans, see out this season strongly, and as one. Let’s not give the outsiders any reason to call us a club in crisis or at war with itself. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

  44. killer
    April 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    But that is the whole problem..we are not far short…. for the last few years we have been in the same position of not being far short, everybody can see it, yet nothing is ever done about it….

    In 2007/8 we were 1 maybe 2 players short of sweeping all before us, nothing was done, did he learn his lesson, no. What did he do, he went in to the next season 3 maybe 4 players short, Shocked did he learn his lesson, no.. and so it continues…

    This is what causes the anger the fact that we are not far short and yet no effort is made to remedy that…

  45. killer
    April 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    @shard – Piresistable, anyone would think you’re the leader of some Wenger worship cult the way you just described him. I disagree with the whole “who would you get instead” and “no-one would do better under these restrictions” stuff thrown at us by the AKBs. As I’ve said numerous times before, we’re one of the top clubs in Europe, top managers would line up to manage us. It’s not like Sevilla, Valencia, Roma, Porto, we’re bigger than those type of clubs.

    I think Mourinho/Guardiola/Hiddink/Scolari etc. would do so much better than Wenger is right now, you say “these restrictions”, but is there any at all? I doubt 9/10 fans think the way you do, alot of those that do are the same ones who sit in silence all day at home games texting stewards for us nasty thugs using “abusive language”. Rolling Eyes
    _________________
    Tarara boomdiay!

  46. Shard
    April 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    We were short because we couldn’t afford to buy the needed quality, and pay their wages. In 2007/08, we were a few correct refereeing decisions short of the title, and at least progressing further in the Champions League. 3/4ths of our first choice midfield either left, or were incapacitated, which meant another rebuilding after that season.

    Besides as I said, if we are just one or two players short, then the other players cannot be called useless. Well, they can be, but it’s not true.

  47. Shard
    April 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    @killer

    uhhh..when did I describe Wenger? When did I say who would you get instead? Twist facts, exaggerate or distort arguments, lie, throw about insults or jeers, and you think you make a point strong enough to go Tarara boomdiay? (really what is that?)

  48. killer
    April 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    @shard – an you honestly see the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, Almunia, Eboue, Squillaci, Clichy (downhill since Brum away 08 ), Vela, Rosicky, and even Song becoming world beaters? Because thats what Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol are, among the best players in the world. I cannot see one of those in my list ever reaching anywhere near that standard. Concerning Song, in my eyes he’s overrated and gives away so many fouls in bad positions, two seasons ago he was our worst player. No doubt he’s improved, but he’s too clumsy for my liking. What about Wenger’s contradictory statements then?

    As I said, last summer he admitted for once the obvious, he needed a GK. He then proceeded to dilly dally over the Schwarzer deal and ultimately fail to address the problem by the window closed, knocking Almunia’s and Fabianski’s confidence even further, yet still playing the two of them. West Brom at home and the equaliser in 4-1 at the lane explain everything.

    In response to “protecting our players from the media” – these people (if they can be called that, majority of our squad don’t seem to possess emotion nowadays judging by the way they treat our away fans.) get paid ridiculous amounts of money in one week for doing fuck all. They’re getting paid to not pay attention to the media. I will not start singing these players names when they show no passion for the club and fans, all some of them are interested in is picking up their wage packets.

  49. realistic_gooner
    April 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    @Shard

    Yes, we in fact share many similar thoughts and ideals, even if we tend to articulate it differently at times.

    What you say is right, there is a very good foundation for the club to build its future success on, and much of it can go down to the foresight of board members like the late Danny Fizman and of course, Mr Wenger himself.

    I’m not too sure I agree with your assessment of the Barca situation; I initially brought that up (the quote from Guardiola) to make my point that the truly great clubs give no excuses for their failures, instead they learn and respond to improve and grow stronger.

    While there are some similarities in Barca’s barren period to our own (like their faith in youth and in developing players), there were things they did do that we do not. For one, they were not afraid to chop and change managers (some of their managerial casualties included big names like Carly Rexach and Louis Van Gaal). They also invested heavily in signings during that period, until they found the winning combination of Rijkaard, Ronaldinho and Eto, backed by the core of Puyol, Valdes, Xavi and Iniesta.

    Now Barca may not have done all things right, some of their signings and managerial appointments were disastrous, but the point remains that they were not afraid to make changes when it mattered. To reiterate that, they sacked Rijkaard (who won them the CL and La Liga), ditched Ronaldinho (their best player then) and Deco, and appointed Guardiola. The rest as you know is history.

    Now I understand what may have worked for Barca may not necessarily work for us, but I do feel its worth considering that top clubs with lofty ambitions are not afraid to embrace change in a bid to strengthen, even when its painful. Barcelona have done it, the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter, Bayern have all done it, and they’re still up there as the pinnacle clubs of Europe.

    I think if we truly aspire to join the league of the elites, then we should be open minded about changes where its necessary. Even the drastic ones, like sacking Wenger, if it really comes to such a time where he’s stifling the club’s progress (Don’t misunderstand, Im not saying we should sack Arsene in the morning, I love the man and hope with all my heart he’s the one to take us forward). No man is greater than the club and even Wenger for all the wonderful things he’s done for the club, is no exception.

  50. realistic_gooner
    April 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    @shard

    I feel i need to qualify my previous post, as I think it can be easily misinterpreted

    – We should embrace change when it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the club to progress

    however

    – reckless chopping and changing (see our Russian-owned London neighbours, or other high profile clubs in Europe) will almost always lead to a comedic tale of instability and strife within the club

    Its about finding the right balance and the middle ground I guess

  51. Shard
    April 21, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    @killer

    I see Cesc, Nasri, Djourou, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vermaelen, who I think will be or are already top quality. Song too. You consider him overrated, I don’t. Of the ones you mention I think Denilson did quite well for us in the past. He’s often been criticised/abused for very little I think. However, at this stage he has regressed so much that he’s a liability. I think he should and will go. Diaby is exceptionally talented, his problem is lack of consistency. At some point if he doesn’t deliver that, then he will have to be let go, but I don’t want him gone yet. Vela obviously has talent, but for me is unknown. Hasn’t done anything to impress with us. Clichy has done well this year. Last year his performances were bad, but he has improved again. The Birmingham match is just a perception thing. He suffered a back injury after that, and I think that is when his performances started to drop. But as I said, he’s improved. Rosicky and Squillaci are hardly apt examples since they were the experienced signings that were to add to the squad. (Rosicky wasn’t a bargain basement signing either)
    BUT, the whole point is that at one point, Xavi, Iniesta etc were all called the same names. They proved to be world class, but at the time they were called useless.

    I agree that the keeping situation was mismanaged. Mostly for Almunia. I think Fabiansky was to be given the chance for being first choice, if a new signing didn’t happen, and Almunia was to be sold. But Fabianski’s form in pre season was so bad that in the absence of a signing, it was best to start with Almunia. Of course his confidence was affected by that, and I do think it could have been better managed.

    They are being payed to not listen to the media? Perhaps so. But do you expect them to exist in isolation? What you are saying is what you probably accuse Wenger of….idealism. Have you ever seen any team constantly being told how useless they are? They sit second in the table, and they are told everyday that they are not good enough. Their every mistake is seized upon as another proof of an already formulated ‘truth’. every bit of reason (both as in reason, and perspective) is brushed aside as an excuse. On what basis? Performances? Not really.. Trophies. That’s all we want, and you are shit until you win it. You may be challenging this year, but it’ll be just like the past and you’ll never win it. That player is rubbish. Wenger always whines and makes excuses. His behaviour is embarrassing. And that is the FANS talking! That in my view, is utter rot. I don’t care if the manager behaves badly (he doesn’t), but if any outsider calls him names, it should be all Arsenal fans who say eff off to that fellow. But we have Evra saying Arsenal is a training centre, EVRA.. and what do arsenal fans do.. ya he has a point. Complete BULL. He has no point, and he has no bleeding right to say anything about OUR club. Until we learn to take the bad times on the chin, how can you expect the players to do so? If fans don’t show passion, I struggle to see how they can demand it..

    Sorry about that rant above. It wasn’t aimed at you really. It’s just that sometimes I lose patience with certain ‘fans’.

  52. Shard
    April 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    @realistic gooner

    In the differences you say about Barca, you mention heavy investment in signings. In my view it was very haphazard, and they did it only under pressure from their socios (after all they are the ones that vote you into power), to try and keep up with the Joneses, or rather the Madrids of the world. In that sense, there is similar pressure from the fans for any known player, since that sounds reassuring. A Koscielny by default is bad, but a Subotic, despite not many having seen him play much, is a brilliant signing. I feel it is right we didn’t go down that path, especially because while Barca could afford their flops, we cannot. Especially if we pay big money and wages. Their real success came when they gave up trying to compete in signings, and focussed instead on their real strengths and needs.

    While changing managers is always an option, it is something that should be very well thought out. In this case I think it’ll undo all we’ve actually worked for as a club. Many players have actually tied themselves with Wenger, not with the club per se. Whatever be the truth, a lot of them will seek to leave if there is a change. Leaving that aside, a new manager will want to spend big and chop and change the squad. In the end, it’ll turn out to be more expensive than the money we ended up saving, and it will still be a gamble. If we have that kind of money, then give it to Wenger instead. The core stays in place, there is stability, and there are now funds to add to the team. People often ask for Mourinho. Boring football aside, I still don’t see that ever happening (thankfully). Now he does act like an embarrassment to the club. He will ruin the academy, which we need now with the Financial rules coming in, and he will demand a king’s ransom in wages and an entire kingdom for his transfer budget. 150m I think he quoted. Give Wenger a third of that and I think he’d do as good a job with this team, if not better. I know you are not really arguing for Mourinho or even for Wenger to go. Just wanted to put that out there.

    If ever there comes a time for him to go, I think there are a few very good managers we can look to bring in. Calls for him to go are still very premature though, and in that sense, even the media is scared to suggest it with any force. I still think it’s the minority that hold that view. The majority however, do realise that some things should change now. (Pat Rice might retire at the end of this season, which will prompt a change in coaches anyway)

  53. Terry
    April 22, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    Some of you guys need your own private chat room!
    After the disappointment of Wednesday I still have a little bit of room left for optimism. Manure are note exactly firing on all cylinders and I can see Everton sneaking a point off them, or them dropping points against Chelski and us. The blues are coming home with a wet sail and thankfully we don’t have to play them again. I have a feeling that there is still a twist or two left in this season yet.

    Of course I have been taking drugs ever since the Spurs game so may not be entirely rational!

  54. ^_^GUNNER^_^
    April 22, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    @Shard: Great posts 🙂

  55. ^_^GUNNER^_^
    April 22, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    Well.. The result was disappointing, but I just loved one moment in particular. A little fight between Van Der Vaart and Jack Wilshere- the way in which Wilshere stood there and looked right into VDV’s eyes was fantastic. I enjoyed it on the replay. Nice one Jack 🙂

  56. paloi_asse
    April 22, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    of course united will drop some point…but arsenal with bottler inside sure drop some as well. deluded.

  57. Nicholas
    April 22, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    @ Terry – mate, glad you could squeeze some optimism after all that happened, I think I’m gonna follow in your footsteps even though I’m actually afraid of saying this
    @ ^_^GUNNER^_^ – the same incident caught my attention, Jack’s attitude was like he was playing at home, not VDV :))

  58. Shard
    April 22, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Heh..Sorry about that Terry. I guess I tend to ramble on when it comes to Arsenal. My friends get a glazed look in their eye when I do it to them too. Can’t help it.. Will try though.. (Note to self: Down boy) 🙂

    You still up for the title race? Well if we do it, it’ll be something similar to 1989. I’m just going to lay back and enjoy watching us for the last 5 games of the season.

  59. theicehammer
    April 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Oh boy, ive said it b4 and i will say it again. The club does not have to spend any more money than it has been doing, just purchase a better balanced team . Some strong and distructive, some skillful and creative. Just a better balance please.

  60. Arseneknows
    April 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    “Oh, no Arsenal! You didn’t,did you? again?” would be the next post.

  61. REDARARTS
    May 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    ARSENE WENGER NEEDS TO GET READ OF BENDTENER, DENILSON, ROSZYSKI,ALMUNIA, DIABI IF HE REALLY WANT TO WIN US SOMETHING GET US THESE PLAYERS AT LEAST SOME OF THEM: JERMAIN LENS FROM PSV , CHARLES NZOGBIA FROM WIGAN,ISACKSSON FROM PSV- MAN CITY, LIMA FROM Braga (No. 18),

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