A sneaky signing could see a sneaky title win for Arsenal

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I woke today expecting to see Chelsea atop of the Premiership and our boys languishing behind by 9 points. What a delight it was to see they had failed to beat Everton and that John Terry had been sent off for a very similar challenge to the one he made on Bacary Sagna a few weeks ago. What a crazy, crazy season this is turning out to be.

The result means that Liverpool will go into Christmas at the head of the table and we will go in fifth, 8 points behind. Aston Villa sit in third although victory over them on Boxing Day will see us jump ahead of them on goal difference. Manchester United currently sit in fourth although the couple of games they have in hand coupled with Liverpool and Chelsea’s recent wobbles suggest to me that they are looking the best of all the title contenders. Whoever wins, it’s going to be one hell of a second half of the season.

The fallout from the draw with Liverpool is sure to be massive. The news is that Cesc Fabregas could be out for up to two months while Emmanuel Adebayor is certain to miss out on the crucial clash with Villa. How we will line up in that game is anyone’s guess, but the loss of both of those players will mean the likes of Alex Song, Denilson and Abou Diaby are really going to have to step up.

The loss of Fabregas is going to be a big one, but if there is one positive to be taken from the situation it is that it may force Arsene Wenger to become more active in the January transfer window. A month or so ago he would have been expecting to have Fabregas, Theo Walcott and perhaps even Tomas Rosicky at his disposal but fresh injuries to the former two and the prolonged absence of the latter means we’re desperately low on attacking options from midfield. A change is in order.

Looking at our fixtures over the next three months after the Villa game reveals a huge opportunity for Arsenal. We play 12 games in a row before another clash with a big four side and the sequence of Portsmouth (H), Bolton (A), Hull City (A), Everton (A), West Ham (H), Tottenham (A), Sunderland (H), Fulham (H), West Brom (A), Blackburn (H), Newcastle (A) and Manchester City (H) is about as easy as it gets.

Although we have struggled against the smaller sides it will only take a shift in attitude and a couple of good results to overturn that phenomenon, something which could be achieved by bringing in a new player. There are whispers from Russia that we might be making a bid for Andreii Arshavin, but I’d say for that the £20m being suggested it’s unlikely to happen. However, something does need to happen or we could miss out on a huge opportunity that has presented itself in the form of a friendly fixture list and some friendly results from the other members of the big four so far this season.

There will of course be calls for the centre of our defence to be reinforced and calls for a defensive midfielder to be signed. If William Gallas does leave – as many people are expecting – then the manager has to act but if the Frenchman stays then I would be happy to see him partner Johan Djourou for the rest of the season. As for a defensive midfielder, Song had been a huge improvement on Denilson and has earned the opportunity to be relied upon.

For me though the injury to Cesc means the priority for the manager is to sign an attacking midfielder when the window opens. The fixture list is kind and if it does happen then I believe we have a much better chance at sneaking the Premiership than most people realise.


Have your say on Arsenal’s title chances and the need to sign a midfielder by leaving a comment.


62 thoughts on “A sneaky signing could see a sneaky title win for Arsenal

  1. Incredible blog. I agree with everything you’ve said. The absence of Cesc will be felt but I think the boys might have a win up their sleeves for the villa game. Fingers crossed.

  2. 3 months without Cesc.. We don’t have a chance. Even if we sign David Villa, Ribery, and 2 others, they wont gel together with the team instantly.

    That’s why, i want Wenger to buy in January, players like Ribery, and Villa and players of that class, that way, they have the rest of the season to get familiar with their teammates, and next season if Wenger would make signings like that, we should be favourites to win the title. But it would take more then 1 big signing (and Arshavin would not help us win anythng, he’d prob be like that Russian that plays for the scum).. and it would take longer then 3 months for that player to really get familiar with his new teammates and league. The buying should be started in January, continued in the summer if Wenger cant get a certain player in January, and next season we can make a real run for the title.

  3. I also hear whispers…..E-l-a-n-o…. Think about it, it would be an incredible coup….he had a great season last year in his debut and if he is open for a 6 month loan deal, it would fit Wenger’s purse perfectly! 40 grand a week for tried and tested class…couldn’t be better timing…

  4. Tevez is a safer choice than Ashavin because Tevez’s tenacity is proven beyond doubt. Ashavin have not played a single match in the Barclay’s.

  5. If Arsenal can really sneak and win the title AW could be vindicated. I think it is not likely to happen. AW has signed some of the best young players. It’s time he shows faith in them by playing them in the first team.If not it defeats the purpose
    when the fisrt team is so short handed.

  6. If it was me, my first choice for a transfer would be Lucas Poldolski. He can play as either a striker, a center forward, or as a left midfielder.

  7. Great post…I, along with K MaN, have heard numerous whispers about a certain brazilian from City. This seems much more likely as he will cost 1/4 of what the asking price is for Arshavin and already has been acclimated to the physicality and rigors of the BPL, so he wouldn’t require the 6 month acclimation period Wenger insists is needed for players to perform to their abilities.

    The rumors of Tevez coming to the Emirates are complete rubbish. There is no way that Wenger will spend 30 mill on him, and to think that SAF would let Tevez go to Arsenal is crazy (even if he is on loan).

    One thing is for sure, now everyone thinks that a holding center mid is much lower on our priority list, and while I agree that Song has put in some good displays, he NEEDS someone else to push him for that spot. Right now the only other option is Denilson, who we all know will never be a holding center mid.

    I do think that Denilson has shown something for us, but I never have thought that he would ever cut it at the Emirates. He played a great 30 mins, but he gave the ball away carelessly a few times that resulted in possible breaks for Pool, luckily they were moving as fast as my grandmother who has two bad knees.

    1. Attacking Center Mid
    2. Holding Center Mid
    3. TALL POWERFUL Center Half
    4. Attacking Winger

  8. Thanks for the comments all. To be honest I was expecting to be rubbished for suggesting we can still win the league.

    @ Cesc is genous – I don’t think we need four players. One or two signings would suffice. An attacking midfielder is a must while a centre-half and defensive midfielder are other options.

    No more than two though.

  9. if wenger truly believes in his u policy,now is d time for him to put more faith in wilshere,ramsey n vela

  10. @ babstu

    I agree. I personally don’t think e will ever win the title as long as Wenger keeps with hi youth policy. Such a young side has never before won the league, and i don’t ever see it happening with the likes of Chelsea and Man USA around. I mean look at their squads, they don’t have 17-20 year olds starting. You always need the older, world class players in the squad.

    BUT if thats the way Wenger is gonna go, i would at least like to see him play the youngsters. Don’t tell me they are good enough to sign, but not start them, thats rubbish. If he feels they aren’t ready to start, then thats a contradiction to his own policy which states he thinks they are talented enough to compete with the other big 3.

  11. You don’t think we need more than 2 or you don’t think Wenger will purchase more than 2???

    We are set to have our creative influence out for at least 2 months (serious knee injury and Wender doesn’t want this case to turn into another rosicky and a 14 month layoff).

    We still don’t have a proven holding center mid, and no visible competition for Song.

    Still don’t have a consistent tandem of two central defenders that WORK WELL TOGETHER.

    Plus we are VERY thin at winger.

    Compare our squad to one of the other top 3 teams in those 4 positions and you will find some consistency, talent, and depth we simply don’t have…well, maybe we are close on the talent part (when it comes to plugging in some of our youngsters)

    I agree with you if you are saying Wenger won’t buy more than 2, but to say that we don’t NEED more than 2 is a bit of an understatement.

  12. A would try ramsey or even merida in fabregas place.but we stil need a ball winner in the squad.and a winger since we only have nasri,but seem the rosicky curse is gettin 2 him aswel

  13. @ Cesc is genous – Honestly I don’t feel we need more than two. Djourou and Gallas are fine (that goal was a bit annoying but they are looking strong at the moment), Song is doing well (competition here would be good) and I think a signing in the shape of Nasri would cover both our wing and playmaker dilemmas.

  14. For anyone who lacks faith in Andreii Arshavin, I think Samir Nasri is living proof that players can adapt quickly into the pace of the Premier League. If he was to come into the team and play almost as a support striker it could be interesting. It could push Fabregas into a holding role. A centre half is seeming to be of less importants unless Gallas leaves. Because we have our big centre half in Djourou, and Gallas as the scuttler. I think the midfield is the most important part of the feild to replace. We need either a big strong defensive midfielder (Patrick Viera), or a tough tackling fast defensive midfielder (Mathieu Flamini) that is crucial, Alex Song is about halfway in between and is yet to find his niche.

  15. I know where your coming from, but it was only a month ago that we were all calling for Gallas’ head, what’s changed??

    He no longer wears the armband, but the simple fact is that he has been responsible for giving up 4 game losing goals this season PLUS i don’t think he wants to be with us.

    I think giving him up would be detrimental, but I don’t see him as someone that can give Arsenal his all anymore and we don’t want to deal with someone who once said it is difficult to play for a team that he does not have a heart for.

  16. I think we are exactly like the start of the season. In the need of a Defensive Midfielder a Defender and maybe just maybe a Striker.

    I dont see any improvements in Denilson on Song, they`re second class.

    Now that Cesc is injured is a big chance for Denilson because is very clear that is the only position that he can play. As Winger or DM he sucks.

    We dont need Wingers or Creative Midfielders, give a CHANCE to Vela or Wilshere !!!

    I hope Gallas leaves and come some one of first class to replace him to play with KOLO and sometimes Djouru.

    I hope Bentner leaves far far for the Premier League and Arsenal sign Podolski.

    Ad still in the chase of that monster that we need as bodyguard in our midfield.

  17. I cant see AW making a 20 million signing. If we buy Arshavin he will be a positive help but we are still at least 6 top quality players short to challange of the title – that is 7 if Cesc is out for 3 months. Also the loss of Cesc the captain is a big deal, he was starting to pull the team together and how can you measure that? I am getting ready for the UEFA cup next season, I think 5th spot is realistic.

  18. I think 6-7 players is way out of line name any team that changed the team that much and won the title in 6 months? I would think only a plastic supporter that can’t remember the days we were a mid table team even with the likes of adams and such in our team.the fact is Arsne has done an awesome job moving us from highbury to the grove, going unbeaten, winning titles and fa cups along the way without the huge backing of some one or big ceo of a company that can’t give a toss about the club just how many shirts he can sell by buying the next big superstar. If it wasn’t for arsne we would never seen the likes of henry, cesc, pires, freddie and all the other players that we all have fond memories of. Just because times have changed and every club has a scout watching our scouts (paranoid maybe) How many players have we been linked with that got stolen under our noses modric, babel, kompany and swp before the chelscum saga. Arsharvin must be a smoke screen as wenger said he is overpriced ect so we are going to get him dirt cheap or another sagna or nasri will be just fine with me and even if we finish 4th I’ll be happy as there is no other club to have such bad luck as us and still win the title.

  19. Really a wonderful article but today.i beg to dissagree with u SF.U say we will b ok if we get 1 player?Do u think Diaby and the likes of Denilson will make us win anythng?Not that am against them but,yes Diaby is ok only for his speed.Secondly,i think the youngsters have no the muscle to tackle the likes of Evra so atleast they need some time

  20. Im not sold on Arshavin but if Wenger does it I will trust his judgement… That run of 12 easy games is basically begging us to make some signings… Im praying for us to steal Ribery somehow- maybe the Wenger French connection or something… He would be absolutely perfect- can play wing, middle, or even second striker tbh. That point being he will still fit into the squad when Cesc returns. I think Nasri can step into Cesc’s spot and we can get a winger instead but its better to have some versatility. Someone above mentioned Ribery and Villa and though I think thats pretty ambitious- That may be the caliber of signings we need to win the league this year. I also like Song but a reinforecment is needed at DMF as well… Prority is AMF though right now

    Either way this coming match against Villa is theh biggest game of the year. 3 points is needed and can be achieved but we need to be fighting from the first minute to the last- They will see it as an opportunity to bury us and with their speed against our D it can be problems… We need to battle to the death- we have a break coming up- and we need Nasri to step up and run the show- I know he is capable of doing it… Cant wait till friday

  21. I agree with you pat it will be good to see Nasri playing from the centre instead of denilson and vela plays on the left wing.He stepped up well after we lost ade he was our only hope of creativity.Song has improved much he cn now pass accurately the only thing lacking is pace from him

  22. If AW fail to fits the team in January, I am believed Arsenal will face a DARK SEASON in this coming competition. I do believe Arsenal defeat by Aston Villa in the next game. If win it is just a LUCK.

  23. oh ye men of little faith. Cesc injury means wenger must buy, at last.2ndly it gives improvement for the squad and bench. whoever we buy get to stay now, meaning extra quality on the bench. As far as i am concern, the league is not over so i refuse to write us off. My only prob is dat i dont want man.u to come back to win it again. Liverpool cannot be bet on and chelsea is going thru a phase, meaning at the moment, arsenal is the only club with d right attitude and mindset to win the league, but impaired with the scanty squad–meaning tighten up the squad and i guarantee u a lethal gunners. its time for the fans to be positive and for wenger to kow dat arsenal win with quality buys

  24. I was totally overlooking Vela tbh… I hope he starts on the wing vs Villa… Throw them a curve ball and add another dimension to our team…

  25. If Wenger is gpoing to spend all ‘our’ well earned and well spent money then I think the signings that would make a real difference would be Sergio Ramos who can pretty much play anywhere along the back or midfield and also Pato from Milan.

  26. Walcott, Rosicky, Fabregas, Eduardo – Long injuires to key players. Takes the fucking piss.

    We are paying the price for not investing in proven quality in the summer- Although this year we have had so many injuries, its unreal. Th irony of it is ecven RVP has kept a decent level of fitness this season and its been everyone else!!!

  27. @ Cesc is genous:
    You’ve got it spot on mate; our squad is considerably inferior to all of our 3 main rivals. We’re now competing with Villa for 4th spot, and if we lose on Boxing Day we really are in serious trouble.

    @ SF:
    You really are an optimist mate. You’re right about us having a run of “easy” games after Boxing Day, but you’re assuming we’re capable of dealing with these teams. It’s been glaringly obvious that we can’t this season. With Cesc out for weeks I’m seriously worried about whether we’re capable of finishing 4th. If we don’t, we’re in serious shit. Have a read of the following article:-


    This sums up our predicament really well.

    Yes, let’s be optimistic, but let’s temper it with a dose of realism as well.

  28. That article is spot on and it hurts me to say that. We have been left behind financially. We just dont have the talent to properly challenge for major honours at the moment. We were getting there last year but players were alloweed to leave and not be replaced.

  29. Pple, I want us all concerned fans to know that all the big name signings we re calling for might just be a flash to us all, as our manager is not a big name enthusiast, cos of the cash they go for. If we we all recall, he signed Sly from Woman USA for nothing, the guy is a big name without anymore bite. He did cos the guy was cheap hoping he will bring bite to the squard, but big mistake, SAF sold shaft. I tell u if AW can price David Villa, Ribery, Drogba etc for 6m pounds each, he will bring them all to the squard, but as far as they re over priced, we should keep our hopes. The only reason he will try something out of this planet to spend 20m for a player is to make us get off his back for a while cos he knows that the bulk cash that the club makes comes from us in different forms.By this he might gives us one world class name and the other,a name to look out for.

  30. There’s a lovely FREE Arsenal TV on line video on the Arsenal site of interview with Kolo. What a great guy. I’d really like to see him back in the team for Villa actually. Drop Gallas.
    Let’s hope the chaps pick up at Villa from where they left off with Liverpiddle. After all it’ll be the same sort of line-up with no Cesc and no Adebeyor – plus an extra man, as it were.
    I’d very much like to see Ramsay and Wilshire on the field for a good spell if not the start.
    Like Spanish and esther allen and others I want to be positive now. I’m sick of moaning. It’s bad enough with this frigging recess – oh, god…there I go again.

  31. @ Fatboy – I might be an optimist but I have to stress that I’m all about the ‘can’, not the ‘will’. Look what’s ahead of us and deny the possibility that we can win the league…

  32. Well said fatboy, how refreshing it is to see that we are not all hopeless romantics and some of us are willing to tell it like it is. No doubt you will be seen as not being a proper supporter because of such views but maybe if others thought like you including Wenger we would not be in such a bad position. I truly cannot see us even qualifying for the Champions League next season.

  33. Gutted for Fab….4 months is a long time to be sidelined….trying to be optomistic (maybe not as much as you Spanish!!) i remember about 4-5 yrs back when we lost our captain and main goal scorer, Henry, for a lengthy spell towards the end of the season the lads stepped up and we battled on with out him….it was hard to see him get back in the side!!…maybe Denilson, Diaby, Song et al will see Fabs injury as a chance to shine….also they need to cement their place in the side what with the transfer window looming….AW is sure to strengthen the squad now…he often talks about “strength in depth” and not panick buying but after the debacle of leaving the like of vela and ramsey on the bench recently he clearly feels they are not ready…..Will Alonso be on his way (the villain turning to Hero!?) Will Bendtner head for West Brom?? Gallas is surely off….I can see so many options for players to leave Arsenal…im just hoping AW brings in some key players and top names to replace the dross!! We definitely need to retain CL football next year…..title hopes may be a little ambitious now but top for essential…who knows maybe the easiest way to retain CL football is to return next year as defending champions!

  34. To All YOU Arsene haters Perhaps you will allow me to educate you! This current phase of Arsenals history is tied up with the new stadium. Arsene has had to spend less and has decided to develop players rather than buy experienced. At the same time Chelsea has had access to transfer funds that no one else could compete with and they were successful. When they (or rather Roman) decided to spend less Man U took up the spending lead. Regularly spending £20 million on players and they too were successful. Liverpool too have taken to spending big, although not on the same scale as the other two. So what will become of the teams that live the dream that they can’t afford, Arsene is conscience itself, his head, heart and his instincts are right. Balancing the books is more important now than ever. It would have been foolish to flash the cash in the past. Now that there is money he wants to buy and he knows that defence is a problem. Transfer targets didn’t materialise into actual transfers. It is to Arsene’s credit that he doesn’t unsettle players who are under contract unlike any other major team you care to mention. As far as Adebayor is concerned he did what any player would do when shielding the ball. A crucifix position just like Babel did when he wanted to keep Toure away in last years Champions League. Maybe the real problem is that Liverpool players know how to go down in style. They are seasoned professionals after all. ps in the internet age you have to know your subject really well before you write, a selective collection of opinions will nolonger do. Literally there are many many people who know more than you. More importantly Arsenal are a discrete club, and very few people know exactly why things happen or don’t happen. Arsene is an insider so when he speaks I listen!!!!!

  35. SF: I join you on thinking we actually are going to win it this season. I am sorry for Fab, but I guess it will help him with his captaincy come next season. Combining the two hadn’t seemed to take off for me as yet.

    People are ignoring conveniently that we are in this situation partly because Cesc hasn’t put in a kind of a “shift” he did last season. 1 goal and 3 assists in 15 games is way short of what we should get from our beloved AM.

    With Song alongside him, we had the slowest CM partnership we have ever had for a long time. Which accounts for us not be too threatening going forward. Both Nasri and Denilson are faster, but this now is Denilson’s show. People have been unnecessarily unfair to Denilson so far. How many times did Cesc set the world alight when playing somewhere else other than AM?!?!?. The hack jobs Denilson has been putting up in other positions have only prepared him very well for the AM role. He now understands what others are faced with and what they should do. I would like Nasri on the right and Vela to get a run on the left.

    Gallas will eventually leave and the CD partnership will be Toure and Djourou. It will be too disruptive to leave WG out at this point because it will damage him to the point of being unusable. Senderos, Diara anyone?

    I hope to see Wilshere more now than ever, because between him and Ramsay, he is always more asured and better than Ramsay who is a luxury inclusion when we can afford it.

    Whatever signings people are crying for can only be no more than 1 useable player in CM and definetely not the AM role where you need more understanding of your team mates.

    Villa are NOT going to finish above us. It is Villa and L’pool for 4th. In the meantime, Chelsea are doing a very good job of keeping up with our mess-ups. That leaves Man U to realy battle it with.

  36. @ SF, I love the spirit and heart. I agree with you in that we CAN still win the title, but for Arsenal to lift any silverware this season, we have to address AT LEAST TWO new signings in Jan.

    Also, I was a bit appalled by this article from Des Kelley of Mail Online:


    he is, somewhat comparing Ade’s two tackles that earned him his cards to the one that broke Eduardo’s leg last year.

  37. @ rilub; well put.

    With Eduardo coming back, this will be a new-look Arsenal that will suprise even the fans themselves. The only slow striker we have (who’s pace matters to him) is Bendtner. I said it here some weeks back that RVP has been unleashed and we are going to see even more amazing stuff from him. My dream pairing upfront is RVP/Eduardo, with Theo on the right and Rosicky/Vela on the left(Sorry Nasri)

  38. @ TayGoon…how can you say you would play Vela over Nasri??

    Vela has had some very good showings, but has had some stinkers too. Nasri has very well in some vital games, i.e. against ManUr and Pool. He wasn’t anything great against Chelski, but no one was.

    Also, keep in mind that Nasri is only 2 years older than Vela.

  39. @ Cesc is genous;

    Vela has pace and creativity that Nasri doesn’t have in comparison. If you have someone wide who is causing all sorts of problems, and is even deadlier in the center, you are made. With the way we play our wide defenders, it doubles our threat instantly. With players like Nasri who constantly likes to drift inwards, and not a natural left footer, defenders can deal with them easier since they don’t have to wory about being pulled out wide. Vela is a better LM than Nasri, and in the middle he is deadlier than Nasri. He just need to protect the ball better. On the other hand, Nasri is better defensively so if we want Clichy to go up, we need to have someone to cover for him for a few odd seconds. Should our Central defenders take that role, I would like Vela to be unleashed @ LM.

  40. Also we have a big drawcard for any BIG signing at the moment is they will get playing time and get a chance to show they are the best as ribery would walk straight into the squad but in the summer he may not of with walcott and nasri ahead of him maybe babel could come over as we tried to sign him before luckypool stole him and maybe poldoski will play as we know the next injury is bound to be rvp because evry time he gets good he gets bloody injured.

  41. I have to take issue with Song referred to as reliable… He had one 20 minute stretch against Liverpool where he was effective and really stepped up his game, and for that, all credit is his. But aside from that and most of his match against West Ham, he has been what he is: slow, occasionally lazy, gives the ball away or dribbles directly into defenders far too often, a poor passer and lackluster in defence. Which is why Cesc’s injury leaves us in such a bad place. All season we’ve been looking for Arsene to add the defensive midfield partner that Cesc deserves. Now, if we do get that player, he’s partnering… Denilson? It’s just terribly frustrating. I rate Song above Denilson, but that’s like saying I rate Darren Bent above Marcus Bent… they’re both crap.

  42. @Taygoon

    Vela does have pace on Nasri, but that’s about it. Nasri has and has shown brilliant creativity, and he alone scored 2 brilliant goals to sink United. Vela, while possessed of great pace and ball control, firstly is not a winger (and that’s Arsene’s stance) and secondly has done much less to impress this season than Nasri (see: Carling Cup exit). I’ll take Vela over Bendtner every time, but over a healthy Nasri (injuries being his one real drawback), no chance.

  43. Bendtner says:

    “It is quite clear that my priority is to play football.

    “I know what I want. If it doesn’t happen at Arsenal, I will move away from the club.

    “I want to spend the whole remainder of my career playing, wherever I am — I want to play solid.”

    OMG Thank you God for hear me!!

  44. Im not saying Vela over Nasri- Im saying put him on the wing and put Nasri in Cescs spot and let him run the entire show…

  45. The preimiership title? lol. Why don’t we win at Villa first and the subsequent games then talk about the title. Optimism is fine but too much leads to blind optimism.

    To succeed we have to sometimes realize Wenger has failed in some ways this season. I am not asking Wenger to leave but there should be signings since the Cesc news. If we all really believe that Denilson or Diaby could do the job, we would not be commenting on new positions Deni or Vela should attempt or tactics of how Arsenal should play. We supporters don’t even know strengths players such as Deni or Diaby has. Hence all this speculation of the best Arsenal formation etc etc. Subliminally we all have been trying to be Arsene. I hope this optimism does not morph into denial and shift us from the reality of the situation.

    It does not mean we can’t take the title, it just happens Villa has an equal chance on the title as well. The most obvious scenario I can aggree is that we really need some signings to be done. Every Arsenal supporter here(AFCBLOG) or elsewhere can see that, if Arsene does not, should I just follow the motto of ‘Arsene Knows’ or have at least the right to question him? hmmm I don’t know what I could do… all I know is I have supported Arsenal since the days of Wright-Hartson and I hope that I’ll see everyone here still supporting AFC even if the worst case scenario happens (we drop to mid table).

    Merry Christmas SF and everyone here and keep it gunning!!

  46. @ Ianinja:-

    Well said mate. I’ve been a Gooner since 1971. I’ve seen us seriously flirt with relegation for much of ’73, and endured some terrible times under Don Howe in the early 80’s. We’re all Arsenal through and through, so it doesn’t call our loyalty into question just because we criticise the team or the manager occasionally; that’s our right as paying customers (and boy, do they make us pay these days!). The criticism is borne of frustration that we are now struggling to remain one of the top 4, at a time when the increased revenue from the new stadium should be seeing us competing with the best on the continent. We knew we’d be a bit strapped for cash to start with at the new stadium, but the promise was that the money from the residential developments around the stadium and the Highbury Square development would service the debt from the building of the new ground, leaving the increased gate revenues available for players. With the collapse of the housing market, much of that revenue will not now materialise. This leaves us in a position where we simply cannot compete with Chelsea, Man U or Liverpool, let alone the new clubs with money like Man City. If we fail to secure 4th place this year or the following 3 or 4 years, we will also lose the £25m that goes with CL football. This will leave us in a serious financial position. You only have to look at what happened to Leeds to see the potential dangers. This is why it is vital that AW strengthens the squad in January, and invests sufficiently in the summer to keep us up there in the CL places. He’s failed to keep the squad challenging seriously for honours for 3 years now, but as we’ve held safely onto 4th spot or better, it hasn’t really mattered. The stakes are now much higher. I’m sorry to be so iserable, especially at this festive time, but we’re talking about much more than a few disappointing results on a Saturday here…

  47. There are three big reasons why most football commentary is negative.

    First, it is easier to write negative than positive commentaries. I remember the classic moment 20 years back when we beat Liverpool Not-yet-insolvents in the last game of the year. The fanzine “1-0 down 2-1 Up” celebrated that with a series of articles at the start of the following season. Naively I expected the mag to be full of positives. Instead it contained a whole string of make-believe articles considering what might have happened… if we had lost.

    Second, journalists write negative all the time simply because most people don’t support Arsenal, Liverpool Insolvents, Manchester Bankrupts or the KGB in Fulham or any other team you can imagine. (Incidentally that is why sponsorship of any particular team is always pointless from a commercial point of view. Would you ever buy Crown Paints or Holstein? Sponsors lose far more trade than they gain through their sponsorships. It is all vanity for the top dogs.) So if a JIP (journo in pub) writes a scathing attack on Arsenal, they are pleasing most of their readers, because most readers are anti-Arsenal, and that is good for sales.

    Third, no matter how good you are, you could always be better. (Even Arsenal Ladies have this – true they win every league match, but they have just lost Julie Fleeting, and they have been knocked out of Europe…) – which make criticism so easy.

    So negativity is what we get. You may have noticed how jolly the JIPs were over Cesc’s injury, and how they poke fun at the Lord Wenger when he gets annoyed on the touch line… it pleases most of their Anti-Arsenal readership.

    The only consolation is that JIPs do it to every club. Just today (24 Dec 2008) there are stories about Liverpool’s failure to get the money for a new stadium, about how Scholari is demanding money and the club ain’t got none… so it goes.

    Hence my thought as I get ready to go to my partner’s house for Christmas… a true supporter supports. That’s the deal. To peoople who say they are “Arsenal” but moan a lot about Arsenal my answer is that they should have a bash at being a supporter of a team that doesn’t win stuff, ever. Like Torquay United. Small ground, in need of repair, small crowds, relegated to the Conference, no reason local concern or feeling for the club, got to one Wembley final only to lose… Go there and try supporting them every week. Then come back after three years and realise just how blessd we all are to have had Arsenal chosen for us by our families, our heritage, and our background.

    Just under 99 years ago, Arsenal went bust, and were on the very edge of being taken over by and ultimately merged with Fulham. Because of the dedication and determination of George Leavey, the chairman, who despite not being a wealthy man, selflessly put his own money into paying the players during the summer of 1910, Woolwich Arsenal survived as an independent club, and when the move away from the declining Plumstead area did come it was a move that brought growth and maintained independence rather than bringing closure and oblivion.

    In 1910, first division Woolwich Arsenal were struggling on crowds of around 10,000, and criticism was everywhere. We no longer remember how everyone at the time was a critic of Arsenal, but those who really know their Arsenal history do remember people like George Leavey. He never got his money back, and no one ever really thanked him for saving our club, he is not honoured with any plaques or busts, as far as I know. But I believe we would all do better to remember him, than spend our time sniping at Wenger, the board, the team, or the club.

  48. @gunner32

    Thank you for pointing that out. Are you Tony Attwood? because it seems you took that from another site. Maybe you could just provide a link instead of the whole article and credit it. Its just the right thing to do, this is SF’s blog anyway.

    I do aggree with points made in the article. I hold Wenger in high regards but I don’t see anything wrong to question some decisions. The only change most supporters are asking is talented experience be added to the young players. And we only ask after a drastic thing happen to Cesc.

    No one really want to see Wenger go. There is money reported that is available therefore that’s the reason we ask for new signings(after 3-4 season). I do think its good we question the board and management. If there’s no accountability or questioning, there’s the danger that we may go into private ownership and be sold to any shody billionare.

    I will always remember Wenger throughout Arsenal’s history just as I remember what George did but no man is irreplacable. No matter how small the role we supporter may play, we are the ones that keep the AFC board in check. Supporter or manager we are all replacable to the eyes of the bigwigs at AFC. Managing a football club has changed drastically since Leavey’s time. Its only the passion we have for AFC that never changes.

  49. Just want to wish you all Merry Christmas.

    I’ll have a 12 hour round trip to Birmingham on Friday but can’t wait, as so much depends on the Villa result.

    Many of us have been saying on this blog that Denilson is a back-up for Cesc. Well, now it’s his chance. A bit early, sure, but with Ramsey, in-turn, backing him up, I don’t see a need to buy an AM. We won’t buy many players, so I still see DM as the priority. I hate speculating and dreaming but for me Alonso or Yaya Toure would suffice. I don’t see it though.

    I hope Vela plays on Fri, not as a left winger as many are suggesting, but as a forward – that is his position and we are being forced into experimentation due to injuries, therefore i see no need for any more. Keep players in their actual positions and let’s see how this game (and the rest of the season) pans out.

    Let’s hope Santa is a Gooner,

  50. The Villa game will be big not only for the reason we need the points but also to see how the team reacts. I would expect to see Vela or Wilshere on one of the wings and Denni as well as Song’s performances will should be closely watched.

    I would use this game as a bit of a barometer to see what talent we have on the team now. The play of Vela and Wilshere for me could suggest if we require a winger. It’s a big game but there’s no reason for Wenger to go with a team full of central midfielders. Play the lads you haven’t even if it’s as subs and make a decision if they can be relied upon. If the answer ends up a no in most cases then he must buy.

    And as for the transfer rumors. Elano would be a great pick up. I think he would adapt very quickly to the Arsenal way. Anyone that thinks Tevez, Yaya, Podolski or Ribery are coming in January still believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny too I’d imagine.

    I could see Arshavin, who I do rate, but for quite a bit less than 20 million. He’ll only come if Zenit decide they HAVE to get rid of him and they can’t get any other club to pay more than us. That’s not going to happen. If he did come though I see him playing on the wing.

    For some reason my gut says a deal for Xabi isn’t dead. I have absolutely nothing to back this up as Rafa would be absolutely crazy to sell him. I think Veloso would be a good option as well and maybe cheaper but I don’t feel Wenger has his sights on him.

    If we sell Gallas we should buy a defender. IMO Toure has been poor this season but fortunately he does still have pace. I don’t think we can afford to sell Gallas and start Toure. He’ll need a few games to get back into it and we can’t afford that.

    Chiellini would be a solid and possible replacement. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Giovinco come over to the Emirates either as I feel he could play on the wing when Cesc returns. Again though just a prayer as I don’t see it happening at all in January.

    In the end I think Wenger will buy a midfield someone who hasn’t been mentioned and possibly sell Gallas. Outside of that I don’t think we’ll do anything else. We will be in fourth at the end of the year though. Unless Villa go on a spending spree to add depth they will eventually fall off the pace.

  51. Marry Christmas folks, have a good one.
    Veloso would be great for the team, he fits Wenger’s policy perfectly b/c he is young, talented and cheap. 20mil is too much for Arshavin, i think Wenger will put 16-18mil on the table. But Arshavin would be a great signing for us.

    I wouldnt worry about replacing Fabregas at the moment, i think Denilson can do that job. I would also love to see Nasri in CM, he can pull off some killer passes and he is great holding the ball. So i think 3 new players will put us back on track. Veloso/Yaya, Alonso and Arshavin.

    My team against Villa:

  52. @ C-Bass

    It would be either be Chiellini or Giovinco. Juve wont let them both go and Wenger wants them both. Juve would be willing to sell Chiellini, but Giovinco would be easier to convince on a personal level, but Juve wouldnt want to let him leave. So i would hope Wenger goes for Chiellini to solve the problem in defence, and sign Alonso or Veloso to play behind Cesc when he’s healthy. I dont care if we sign Arshavin or not, personally, i think he wouldnt be as good in England as he seems to be in Russia, just like his Russian teammate that plays for the scum and besides a few goals doesnt really look good at all. If we are gonna spend that much on someone, use it to bring in a David Villa, Benzema, or Santa Cruz. The reports that Wenger may swap Bendtner+10mil for Ribery also makes me very happy.

    Buon Natale tutti!!!

  53. Ribery, Hamit Altintop (Dudes a baller but i doubt he leaves Bayern), Chiellini, and a Striker and we are set for the next 8-10 years…

    I realize this is incredibly optimistic but thats why I am posting on a blog and not running the team…

    IMO there is no way in hell Barca lets Yaya walk…

  54. i think we need a strong centre half….a def midfielder a gattuso or flamini type….we dont need a winger bcause walcott will be back or we can play wilshere or ramsey…..

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