Good news, bad news: Djourou, Miyaichi, Chelsea, Dowd

Good News

+ Chelsea’s loss means whatever momentum they might have got from Fernando Torres’ signing has been quelled for the moment. Definitely good news for those fearing that the Blues might immediately surge back into the title race.

+ Upon reflection of our history-making collapse the fact is that we are one point closer to the top and Manchester United’s unbeaten streak has been broken. In addition, United have to play Chelsea twice, a rejuvenated Liverpool at Anfield, us at The Emirates and of course Manchester City this weekend at Old Trafford. Meanwhile we have no games to play against Chelsea and City, host Liverpool and United at The Emirates and only have to travel away to Spurs. We certainly have the easier run home, although I do remember saying that last season as well.

+ It may have gone under the radar a little bit but Wenger has found another gem in young Japanese striker Ryo Miyaichi. Recently signed and sent on loan to Feyenoord, his debut for the Dutch club was spectacular (see video below). Pacey direct and very good-looking, he could prove to be a huge signing for Arsenal in more ways than one. I’ve not been this excited about a young signing for as long as I can remember.

Bad News

– Reports are that Johan Djourou’s knee problem will sideline him for a month. If true, it means we will be without our most important defender for the Carling Cup final and both legs against Barcelona. A huge blow, considering his terrific form.

– Rumours that reported referee Phil Dowd may have been at the centre of a match-fixing investigation turned out NOT to be true. A bit of a shame, considering the headline of yesterday’s post!


Have your say on today’s post by leaving a comment.



  1. I really fear how we’ll perform without Djourou for a whole month? Especially against Barca. With the accusations surrounding Phil Dowd it’s a shame nothing can be done about the game now! It’s a bitter pill to swallow but I’ll take a single point over none (like Man U & Chelsea) any day.

  2. Yes, It was the same Illegal Gamblers that paid for the Pakistani Cricketers to cheat in a Cricket game. Phil Dowd is one of three Referees that have been taped by a media group excepting money.
    He had to make sure that Arsenal would not win by more than 1 goal.

  3. whether the rumors are true or not, he’s bloody inept.

    1 Million Members for Sacking of Referee Phil Dowd (Arsenal 4: 4 Newcastle)!/pages/1-Million-Members-for-Sacking-of-Referee-Phil-Dowd-Arsenal-4-4-Newcastle/122074121486?v=info

    Where is the accountability?
    our clubs are gagged; the players are gagged; but they can’t gag the fans. We can be the voice that our clubs need.
    we can all relate, agree and unite on this issue; Arsenal supporters and supporters of other clubs, alike.
    Share the page on forums, groups, pages

    apologies for “spamming” the blog with this facebook action, will not repeat it in the future.

    shame about djourou. hope he can recover ahead of time.

  4. Hey guys, let’s try and move conversation away from Dowd now. I’m over it. It’s tiring to think about it and there’s so many more interesting things going on as I’ve mentioned in the post.

    Thoughts on Miyaichi? Djourou’s injury? Whether Chelsea are still in the title race?


  5. The apologists keep telling us we will win the league, Squelchy and his brother Kosmic were great signings, Diaby and Denilson are the future Baa Baa Baa. And what happens every season, we flatter to deceive and fall short. We wont win the PL this season and that in itself is scandalous, it could and should have been so much better. It’s Groundhog Day every day in the World of Wenger, the man who just keeps doing the same thing over and over again when everyone but him knows it wont work. Now didn’t someone called Albert say that’s the definition of insanity. Maybe whenever the apologists bring up the outdated slogan Arsene knows the realists should counter it with Albert Knows.

  6. Many referees like Phil Dowd worship Manchester United but kick Arsenal.Who’s afraid of our Gunners?

  7. 1. The match fixing stuff is a disgrace to the refrees and the game as a whole.
    2. If Diaby was to be red carded so should Nolan. It was biased.
    3. Harsh words, unparlimentary words uttered on Sagna by Dowd has to be investigated as a serious issue and he should be punished if true cuz only then he will be an example to other refrees.
    4. Djourou is a major blow. With squilaci and koscielny we can expect a 2-2 or 2-1 in favour of Barca @ emirates and a 5-0 @ Camp nou. Failure to sign a defender during the winter is gonna show the effect it will have on our teams defense.
    5. If we dont win anything this season and end up empty handed most of our fringe players will pursue their careers elsewhere.

    Bottom Line – We have to WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN and only WINNNNNNN

  8. There are some reports which suggests that djourou himself fears for his season…If this one month news is true,then we should be all happy…In one month’s time,we will have both djourou and vermalen,which would be huge for our title push….

  9. Could someone explain to me what instructions the team receives from the bench in situations like the 2nd half v Newcastle. Thanks.

  10. @ Aung Myin Suprised youre not blaming Pat Rice but at least blaming the refs takes the focus away from the real problems, hey mate.

    shut your fucking mouth you twat and understand that the result was a disgrace to have ever graced the EPL and the one wanker toblame for that is wenger. that vermin should be gassed out of arsenal along with these other mercenaries at our club. What a joke this club has vecome

  11. Chelsea are definitely NOT in the race, but they surely can be a spoiler, not against us, fortunately.
    We have to take care of our own business, and it does not look promising. A week or two ago, I asked the odds on or against Djourou and Kosc going uninjured for two months. How about two games? So, Saturday, Wolves come to the Grove. The way they played against ManUre, they could win or draw against us. We will be worse, not better! Then, it’s Stoke and Delap’s long throws. How will our cbs do? Even the Careless Cup is doubtful with Brummies thuggery and 6’5″ striker.
    Champions League was always in doubt, with Sagna on a red card. In my opinion, he, not Cesc, is the only one of ours who might start for Barca, though others, including Cesc, would be good enough to be often-used subs.
    I certainly hope I am proven wrong about Premiership matches and @Wembley, but I wouldn’t bet any money on it. We cannot blame the refereeing for everything, and we vitally need Song to ha e at least one man with some stick. Maybe we can still get Sol?

  12. Miyaichi is a wonder kid from Japan!
    i have seen videos, other than the on above, and he is very quick footed, very skillful!!
    unfortunate not to play for Arsenal this season, but he will be a boost to the squad next term!

    About Johan, his injury did not seem to be that intense when he walked off the pitch on Saturday..
    are u sure that it will take him a month to make a comeback?

    And yes, i feel Chelsea are out of the title race… but they are still a big opponent to face, not a thing to worry for us!
    Chelsea- Man U fixture, not aware about the venue, could have its say in the title race though!
    I just hope that things fall into place for us as quickly as possible!

  13. I think the question we should be asking ourselves is “can we fuck up a top 4 finish”? the answer most definitely being yes.
    With Kos and Squillachi looking likely to be our CB pairing for a while to come (anyone believing TV will be back soon will be disappointed), Al only an injury away from being back between the sticks and a morale crushing heavy loss to Barca pending, it could well happen.
    Add to this our awful home form, the spuds grinding out results and the mousers new found belief and I don’t think a top 4 finish is by any means guaranteed.
    This is why Wenger will now be praying that he can win the tinpot carling cup, he can then use that as this seasons “success”.
    So I am going to say it and you can all slate me for not being a “true fan” But if I ask myself in all honesty “do I want us to win the Carling Cup? Then the answer is probably NO.
    Enough is enough, and I don’t care what misfortune or failure we have to endure, if the means finally justify the ends and we are rid of this lying, pathetic excuse of a man.

  14. Oh well news coming in as of now that RVP has pulled out of the international game due to some Flu, lets hope either this was wengers idea to save him from being injured or get well soon and be ready for the weekend clash, Dj is going to be a big miss, but i really do not think so, we missed song more than anyone else over the weekend, so if he is back which he should we should be able to prevent the thuggery over our next set of games against wolves, stoke and the brums (CL). All is not lost yet.

  15. Andrew-
    I first got some information from a friend in Japan the moment I heard Wenger was following Miyaichi. There is no doubt AW unearth another gem there. I saw his entire debut(on line) this weekend. He consistently skinned the full-back- he just needs to hone his crossing skills. But that will come with time and practice. The prospect of having him on the left, and Theo on the right wing is mouth-watering! Plus the guy is two-footed. You can tell I am just as excited as you.

  16. I hope Squillaci will do well against Wolves, which is our next match. The big problem is when we face Barca over 2 legs & I fear that they will expose our defensive frailties once again. Losing Djourou at this moment is indeed a big blow.
    Perhaps Arsene should have tried to sign a defender in January but no point dwelling over that now.
    I feel that he will risk TV5 at least for the League Cup final (I don’t see the point of risking him against a superior Barca side. Remember Gallas last yr in the 1st leg against them?)

  17. Looks like Wenger has found another gem in Miyaichi.Maybe we will see him in the PL next season,I will be looking forward to that.Bloody shame about Djourou`s injury,he has been playing so well.Let`s hope that he makes a quick recovery and that Vermaelen is back soon as well.Sorry Andrew,gotta mention it…..I hate Phil Dowd…..he should be sacked!

  18. Fabregas was right about referee fixing matches. This was clearly demonstrated last weekend. This should be looked into, otherwise it will cost us the championship. The disallowed goal was legit by RVP, forget about what was shown on MOTD. Take a close look at the flight of the ball when it left fabregas to RVP you will see what i mean. The media in UK is s**t, they know what happened in the second half was a farce. I urge all Arsenal fans to be a voice for the players

  19. Pro Wenger what really is the problem becoz it was so obvious that we were short on defense and we actually wanted a back up and with Djourou whom we know didn’t play for the entire last season. It was really a fullish gamble not to sign any additional defender in January transfer. My fear is a foresee Arsenal ending the season with no Trophy after the entire toil. Fullish, stupid and unwarranted for one person we believe in and nick named prof.

  20. Pro Wenger what really is the problem becoz it was so obvious that we were short on defense and we actually wanted a back up and with Djourou whom we know didn’t play for the entire last season. It was really a fullish gamble not to sign any additional defender in January transfer. My fear is a foresee Arsenal ending the season with no Trophy after the entire toil. Fullish, stupid and unwarranted for one person we believe in and nick named prof.

  21. Djoruou’s injury is a big worry to me. And if Vermaelen doesn’t come back soon then I think we may have to go out and get someone on loan (is this possible anymore?) Provided we can keep injuries to a minimum, I think we have a good chance for the league. Barcelona, well I don’t think we have no chance, but I’m not expecting a victory either.

    I hope Chelsea still believe they are in the title race, because I want them hurting ManU. Otherwise they might just give up on the tough matches, especially considering the rumours that there may be some sort of a clear out in the summer.

    Considering Miyaichi was playing his first game in a new league, and (perhaps?) in a new continent he had a very good game, based on those highlights of course. He seemed to cause the full back constant problems, and chased back to defend very well too. Seems to trust his pace and skill on the ball, perhaps a touch too much even, but that’s just being picky. Hope he can keep improving.

  22. @ Andrew,

    I’m sorry. I know you said to take the debate beyond Dowd, but what makes you say that the rumours are correct? I can find no article that would seem to uphold that. I’d really like to know.

  23. I watched Miyachi, the whole game not just highlights. Its the first time I saw him play so bear with my analysis.

    Besides the usual technical ability of a Wenger signing, he is also not a typical Wenger signing at the same time. Ryo seems to be willing to attack the flanks ala pires/ljunberg, he is not afraid to dribble his way through too although not much of the dribbling produced anything against Vitesse.

    I can see that Ryo is quite determined, there seems to be an aura of focus with the guy not ala Bendtner confidence but more like Messi-like determination. No i am not comparing him to Messi, just the way Ryo takes on players remind me of Messi.

    It was a good debut for him, a bit lost during the game but that’s understandable for a first start with new teamates. He is quite big for an 18yr old jap kid and would be ready for Arsenal first eleven….I say in about 2yrs. Definitely can see him succeed in the EPL.

    Hope he improves even further and not be caught up in his own hype. 🙂

  24. My wonder is that; is it that Wenger doesnt learn from the past? February has always been the month that bring arsenal down. Must he constantly toy with people’s mentality? He refused to buy defender and now all are almost injured.

  25. @ Femi Jacobs,
    I don’t think he ever refused to buy a defender. He couldn’t buy a defender. I think everyone would have felt better if one had come in, but Wenger will not pay 20 million like Chelsea did for luiz, and in the end no deal worked out. So yes, I agree Wenger should have bought, but you saying he refused to buy is wrong.

  26. Okay, about getting anybody signed. If a player on the 25 man roster goes out for the season, can we replace him with a free agent? Could we buy a replacement? I would hope we could bring up one of our own non-roster guys. Could we call back a loan?
    Of current squad, can Gibbs play cb? Eboue? Anybody? Chamakh and Bendtner are tall, but probably can’t mark very well. Please, no Silvestre. 36yearold Sol would be okay with me, he wasn’t all that bad last year.
    Nice to read all that talk about still another offensive phenom, but “C’mon, Man” it’s defense we should be(and should have been) worrying about!

  27. God be our help, esle we are in trouble. But with God I know we can overcome all. Just wishing all our injury players fast recovery.

  28. I wonder how some one on earth could talk about Sol Campbell for the arsenal defense. It is indeed an insult to us . These guys conspired with Silvester to produce shit for us . We lost all games these two morons played in and the worst came to pas against Barcelona.We may have to convert some of our excess strikers like Chamak to do the sweeping role and change our style of game to protect the defense. Never mind it being conservative but we have to start playing classic counter attacking football.Am just enjoying the United fans blogging. You would love it. visit it. The earlier Barcelona beat us the sooner we prepare to win the League and other remaining trophies cause we honestly have no chance considering that even the most improved defender in Sagna wont be available. We even don’t know what injuries the friendlies will bring on us. If the gods would smile on us for messi to get injured in these friendlies then we could have a slim chance for a result at the emirates but not at the Nuo camp. I hope Persie is not stupid to get himself injured again in these useless friendlies.

  29. i dont care for what that stupid refree did but as far am concern we are going to overtake manu and the clame the tittle (premiership) this year keep faith up gunner

  30. @Delano I completely agree with you. the earlier beggerlona beat us the better for us to concentrate on the EPL and F.A.

  31. @delano: don’t know how old you are, or how long have followed the Arsenal. I’m 67 and over 40year supporter. Sol was outstanding for us and England on the early half of the last decade, part of the invincibles and the last double winning club. He’s 36 now, but that is how thin we are.
    You should have noticed I suggested several other options first.
    van Persie is claiming flu to duck friendly, which is good unless he really is sick. Hate ManUre but we do need to do the job ourselves, and how will we? That is the question. Forfeit the Barca games? Like we forfeited(essentially) the last two CL matches v. Shaktar and Braga?
    You want Messi to be hurt? That kind of “sportsmanship” is beyond the pale!

  32. With Djourou injured we’ll play Koscelny & Squilacci at CB. If one of them gets injured first option will be Song & second will be the Spanish youngster from the reserves (sorry forgot his name).
    This is not ideal, but it’s also not the end of the world. Ramsey (who has been looking good at Cardiff City) returns within a month,
    Hopefully, Djourou’s injury is only short term, Vemaelen returns fully fit with a month & the other key players remain fit.

  33. the title can still be won! other teams are human and will make their own mistakes and come across unforeseen obstacles. go arsenal!!… now andrew, can you do something about the cursing and abusive language on this blog? it is putting some of us off.

  34. Ryo looks really good. There are two things that I really appreciate about him. First and foremost, his work-rate. Arsenal fans have complained, and rightfully so, about the effort given by the likes of Arshavin and Denilson. I’m very pleased to see that Arshavin is starting to work a lot harder. He made a terrific interception in the box yesterday. However, Arsenal could use more players who are able and willing to run up and down the field for the full 90. Second, I think that Ryo’s play on the wing is terrific. Unlike Theo (and I am a huge Theo fan and have a Walcott shirt), Ryo is able to cut both inside and outside of defenders. Many times, Theo seems SO right-footed that he doesn’t cut back inside against the defender. If Theo could do this more, he’d be one of the deadliest wingers in the world, but, as of now, he seems to play only on the outside, and gets trapped in racing towards the touchline.

    I think that Arsenal has some terrific young players that can push into the first team, and will be able to help the team push for trophies sooner rather than later.

    With regards to Djourou, I’m not sure he’ll even be gone for more than two weeks. He tweeted today that he is already feeling better. He is no medic, but I think that it is good news that the player himself says that he is feeling better already. I’m not sure if this is mentally or physically, but I have to imagine that if he were going to be out for a while, he wouldn’t have said he felt better.

  35. I have to apologise for the mistake in the original post.

    At first I had written: “Rumours that reported referee Phil Dowd may have been at the centre of a match-fixing investigation turned out to be true.”

    This should have read “NOT true” as I have now amended.

    An honest mistake, apologies for the confusion.

  36. If we win the league it will be in spite of the defence not because of it. Maybe we should just forget about playing defenders and just pick ten attackers and pray we score one more than we let in! BTW, what happened to the Norwegian defender we had – before the start of the season a few people were singing his praises as a possibility to break into the squad. Nordveit or somethign. Can anyone please enligthen me?

    Good to see Fabregas and RVP developed mystery illnesses ruling them out of the friendlies!

  37. @Andy,
    What is it with you and the man crushes bro?
    Iv been talking bout Ryu since we signed him, hes different from what we have right now, he goes AT defenders and puts them on the back foot where we have been PASSING through teams for quite a while now, I hope Wenger can introduce him to our style without jeopardising this great direct dribbling ability he has, he will be a real crowd pleaser and will get us up off our feet.
    On the Djourou injury, Its hard for me to not be very angry with Arsene Wenger for not investing properly again this season, especially knowing Verm is out for a while, we now have only Squillachi and Koscielny available at Centre half, both are questionable defensively and are prone to costly errors aswel as suspension, Im not even going to contemplate losing one of these but they really have to come good now, all will be forgiven if they somehow manage to forge, at minimum, a stable partnership…..but the thought of Barce running at those two scares the beeheebeejeebies out of me if Im honest.
    Right now Im not worried about Chelsea, Utd, Spurs or anybody else, if Im honest I think if we wernt so mentally fragile and tactically naive we would have this League wrapped up by now and Im only worried about us. It worries me that we have been dropping points against teams the same way for years now, Newly promoted Hull at home two seasons ago is one reminder, Then theres newly promoted West Brom and Newcastle this year, the spurs home game capitulation wreaked of the still fresh sore of that game against Wigan last year where an average team with nothing to play for managed to come from two down to beat an Arsenal team looking to secure Champions League football, it scares me that I really dont think we are learning, yes we are improving a little while the Utd and Chelsea seem to be getting worse, but I really believe if this squad dont get their mental strength sorted then there has to be changes to introduce, dare I say it, hardmen like Parker who, if they cant win, will give every ounze of their being not to be beat….theres alot to be said for that and I think we are sorely lacking in the never say die, body-on-the-line aspect of football, which whether you like it or not is still an integral part of the game, I just cant subscribe to the notion that a lesser team should be dictated to by the better side, they shuld be allowed to level the playing field by adopting and executing their own tactics, its up to the officials to adjudge if these tactics are within the law and spirit of the game. The invincibles are testament to the fact that you need a blend of Arsenal and Newcastle to be not just feared, but respected. When you have this attribute the trophies will follow.
    Yes the invincibles are gone but when we had them and we got kicked or someone TRIED to bully us we could change our game to suit, I think alot of my, and other fans frustrations stems from the fact that we had this magnificent group of individuals and a magnificent manager to match, he bought these guys back then, but why has he abandoned the judgment that served him so well back then for so many similar build, style and injury prone players, I just cant understand it or hide my dissapointment when it doesnt work…..Wenger knows the recipe but wants to get all ‘organic only’ with the ingredients.
    Please note this was not one of my usual angry, off the point rants, I am now a practising ‘in Arsene I trust ‘ follower, I just got a couple of questions to be answered before I can truly immerse myself in the blissful ignorance of it all.
    Cmon you gooners.

  38. @JJ Pittman,
    Your post are right on as usual.
    1) To wish any opponent an injury is not the way I support my team. I certainly don’t want Messi to do what he did to us last year, but I feel lucky to watch somebody like him in his prime. I envy anyone who can say they’ve seen him play in a CL match at the Nou Camp or Emirates and be able to tell their kids one day.
    2) Defense wins championships – always, in anything. Any exceptions to this iron rule are just that. Pittsburgh led in all major statistics last night except one: turnovers. Aaron Rodgers had a great game, but it was the Packer defense that created scoring opportunities through turnovers. Barca may have Messi and Villa, but they also have Puyol and Pique. We have sorely needed healthy defenders for the last three seasons running at least. But you don’t need me to tell you that.

  39. @Shambo: had to look up twice to make sure it was you! Agree with all your points.
    Thankfully, a little of your best slipped into the last two paragraphs. Don’t drink the KoolAid, man.
    “Blissful ignorance”? That’s what it seems to require. I had hoped we could more than two matches after the window closed to be exposed, but as the old saying goes:” you would like to think so, but you would be Wrong”

  40. I tried watching American football but there’s so much strategy going on that I feel lost in it all. The atmosphere is awesome though, like a carnival, rock concert rolled into one.

  41. @laninja:
    No cheerleaders last night, though. Bummer. (Ladies, my apologies for being a boor).

  42. Looked at 14 highlights of Ryu looks like he had a great game, always looking to go forward and take on people. He made a couple of wrong decisions but he is getting to know his teammates and the runs they make. Looks like great talent and hopefully after loan spell he can get a loan in Prem to prepare him for the next step. I am more much excited than when I first saw Walcott. I remember sitting with my Dad watching Walcott saying we didn’t think he would ever make it at Arsenal, all he seemed to have was pace. But things are looking up for Theo, way to go to finished article but he is still young and wenger has worked wonders in a few years.

    On Djourous injury……People saying Wenger should have bought in Transfer Window, but I think 3 fit CBs was fine with Song as backup. What decent defender would have been available who wasn’t cup tied for champs league anyway. Remember Verminator was the only of the 4 injured a few days ago. We have been really unlucky that Song and Djourou are both injured at the mo but hopefully wont be long til they are back.

    I am still really excited about Szczesny, watched Newcastle game again and he did have a great game and was unlucky to let in 4 goals, the 4th maybe but he saw it late. Most goalies can make saves, but it’s the unexpected saves and their decision making would make them a great keeper. First keeper since Seaman who has given me such confidence, and its helps defenders to know you can trust the keeper, long may it continue.

    On Ref Betting scandal, whoever started that rumour (probably on twitter) must be having a big laugh at a lot of people. The coverage it has got is amazing, chinese whispers are funny, thomas rosicky was implicated on one of the last updates I saw.


  44. Finally shambo from your last two posts you are sounding sensible thank you for waking up cheers

  45. @TonyAdams, stop panicking, we can stop Barca and proceed winning the Champions as well as the EPL. lets not worry about CBs & the rest of the defense lineup coz there is nothing we can do at the moment anyway. i can assure you if the same squad that faced Newcastle was put to face Barca home and away we can stop them and we can beat them. the fisrt half was juicy to watch and the same can be done to any other team that calls itself great. i normally watch EPL, La Liga and the A series and if my judgement and observation does not lie to me then i would say that if Barcelona was placed in the EPL today especially this season their winning streak can be broken within three games by a team at the mid or bottom of the league table. i have no doubt when saying this.The come back by Newcastle is a demonstration of how inconsistent the EPL can prove to be. And the fact that the Wengerlets are consistently placed at the top of the league is a reason enough to say they can beat Barca and this is how we can do it. 2-0 at Emirates and 1-2 at Nou camp, thats an agreggate of 3-2 in favour of the Gunners. Someone please shout to Wenger and tell him not change that squad apart from those injured and you will all remember to re-read this blog.

  46. @1NTTA:
    While I agree with your claim that defense wins titles, I disagree on your point that Barca have won titles because of Puyol and Pique. No. Barca are always vulnerable in defense. Their defense can always be exposed. Puyol and Pique is the most fragile centre-half partnership among the top teams in Europe. Puyol and Pique will never match defenders like Ferdinand, Vidic and Terry on any day. Puyol and Pique are just average players. The fact of the matter is: their front 6 players are so good that they overshadow the defensive frailties that Barcelona have EVEN TODAY.

    If we get our passing game going, we can really hurt them. Perhaps, if someone like Song can hold off Messi somehow, man-mark him for the entire game, anything can happen. We just need to get our tactics right.

    There are many positives to look forward to. If Walcott plays beautifully that day, we can expose their defense badly.

    Hold on Gooners, do not concede the match before it is played.

    Come On You Gooners !!

  47. I’ve noticed that a few Newcastle fans have posted replies to the various post mortems of the St James Park debacle published elsewhere on these pages and they are largely spot on with their comments. Yes, Joey Barton does not make many friends on the pitch but wouldn’t we also like a few hard men in red & white to boss the Arsenal half of the pitch and beyond? Arsenal’s enforcers of yesteryear would have kicked Barton all over the pitch but we don’t have even one of those in the 2010/11 vintage of Chateau Le Wenger. Perhaps the 20:20 camera coverage of today makes exacting revenge on Barton a near guaranteed red card but if Arsenal had kept their heads and had instead allowed Newcastle to lose theirs and fly in with wild tackles, the Gooner contributors would instead be savouring 3 points gained and closing the gap at the top to 2 points.

    As our friends up North also rightly say, Referee Mr Dowd was at least even handed in his shockingly bad officiating to both sides. It’s not just the quality of play overall in the Premier League which has been poor this season. Much of the decision making by the officials has also been substandard fare

    Thomas Rosicky and Clichy both looked lightweights and all at sea when Newcastle pushed on following Diaby’s departure. Gibbs is at least challenging Clichy and should succeed him for the left back role but Tomas is now well past his best playing days and we don’t need anymore flyweights in the side who can’t punch above their weight when the opposition start throwing their weight forwards. There is indeed only one Song at Arsenal and that state of affairs can’t be allowed to continue forever more.

    The goalkeeping issue seems to have resolved itself more by accident than any grand design but Szczesny needs some defenders worthy of that job description in front of him otherwise all that talent and potential will be wasted. The Verminator’s return date is uncertain and if Squillaci is a stopgap signing then where are the long term centrebacks we can build an all conquering side upon? I’m hoping Koscielny will bulk up and rise to the physical demands of English football but he should be a squad player and not first choice alongside Vermaelen. As ever, Djourou starts to look the business before his creaking body fails again (I’ll leave it to someone else to bemoan the injury prone state of our entire squad) and we’re left with no reinforcements able to step up and perform to Arsenal standards.

    I should be delighted with the season so far – one cup final place secured, second in a League surrounded by fallible, equally underperforming teams and still competing in Europe and the FA Cup – but I’m not because all the failings of the current Arsenal side are all so predictable and should be well within the capabilities of Le Boss to fix. It’s unacceptable that:-

    1. Arsenal field players who earn upwards of £20,000 per week can’t get to grips with rudimentary defensive play;
    2. a club of the stature and resources of Arsenal have only two fully(?) fit centrebacks for selection;
    3. of late, Arsene can’t find or develop players who can tackle and shield the defence;
    4. we have all that talent at Arsene’s disposal and loads of glory still to play for but absolutely no guts to get stuck in and win it; and
    5. almost worst of all, performances this season have been so poor that I have to listen helplessly to muppets like Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen, Gary Lineker and Mark Lawrenson ridicule Arsenal, week after week in their inimitable mind numbingly dull style.

    Sort it out please Arsene.

  48. As usual, most arsenal fans offer is excuses. The fact is we blew a 4nill lead
    GOD HAVE MERCY!!!! And, its not the first time, as a matter of fact, it has become worst.

    Some people are saying we have the easiest run in compared to MANU but we all know what happened last season.

    A little pressure and we break in two, the subs had zero impact, I bet new castle loose this weekend.

    BUT arsenal fans that’s not the worst part, Djourous injury takes the prize ,my little nephew could have told us this would happen and he is only 5.

    I predicted no new defender would come in and that wenger would say we have in-house cover and all predictions came to fruit.

    How the hell could this mad man not see we needed cover, Am angry cause wenger keeps screwing us over every year, am sick and tired of his cheap, stingy, and low ways.
    He’s applying total economic to every aspect of our football and its crippling us.

    Arsenals wage bill is one of the top four in england and the tickets the most expensive yet we win nothing and get excuses and shit performances.

    We spend 20 mill on a whole heap of young players may be even more and only 1 comes through or in some cases none or their always injured or take a whole heap of time to mature.Vanpersie is proof of that and the list can go on, Now this new signing from Asia, lets talk about now, he can’t help us this season.

    Now were stuck with two defenders who can’t help each other if one goes down then it will be song back there which breaks the chemistry of the team, wenger you make me sick.
    Even though TV came back it will take a while for him to be back to his best.

    This is the most crucial time of the season and were having problems we just could have avoided
    why did you not spend that money you used for the kid from Asia and buy a defender you maverick, we already have a whole lot of kids that cost us a whole lot of money and are useless to us now. How much of these young players become world beaters, a very few, YET we waste a whole lot of money on them. Look at clichy he should be in his prime but look he has gone back-words.
    and some want him out for gibbs to take his place, Hence all the money we spent on clichy really reaped limited returns.

    Wenger your a gambler you’ve gambled with arsenal and the fans for too long.

    You wenger are at the most privilege club in the world, any other club you would have been history
    so please get it right you have been given enough time.

    Am not sold on the in “ARSENE WE TRUST” crap produce the results or NEXT………..

    BUT FANS that’s my view.

    what the hell do i know?

  49. Look gents, as far as Djourou is concerned forget the Barca game, what happens will happen and if we get dumped out of the CL I won’t be gutted as long as we put up a decent fight and score a couple of goals. What really worries me is the Beer Cup final, because if we lose that I really WILL be arsed off – because this is a game we ought to win but without our Swiss defensive wall we’re not that hard to break down (1 goal conceded every 54 mins without him, I read somewhere the other day). Add in one or two crappy reffing decisions, a whole load of high balls into the box and the rest of the time the Brum sitting with 11 behind the ball and I have to say I’d be pessimistic about our chances.

    I know the above paragraph sounds like utter madness – like I’d prefer the Carling cup over the CL – but what I mean is I give us a good chance of grabbing a trophy early on, which could boost the rest of our season. I see the CL as just a bonus (admittedly an almighty one).

    As for Chelsea, I reckon they’re a busted flush and their chickens are starting to come home to roost (or should that be ‘pigeons’? either way, mixing poker and farming idioms is entering dangerous literary territory). They’ve stripped their squad of some seriously good players and their legendary spine (Terry-Lampard-Drogba) looks like it’s slipped a disc or two and is feeling the effects of ‘old’ age and loss of form. That, coupled with their frankly laughable attempts at promoting youth teamers and having mediocre squad players, is basically dropping them in doo-doo. Also, it was pointed out either here or on A Cultured Left Foot that spunking £70m on those two players (can’t remember their names now) is just an act of desperation and means they have to change their playing system to accommodate them – which so far has resulted in P1 W0 L1!

    Final note on Ryo. Love his fast footwork and fullback-skinning ability, let’s hope he doesn’t do a Vela.

  50. P.S. Mr Weber, are you going to block people who are still banging on about Phil Dowd? If so can you please add to that list anyone who says ‘we should have signed a CB last month’ and ‘Wenger out it’s all his fault’. Thanks.

  51. After that disaster 3 days ago I don’t think the good news warm me up that much. It’s true, even after spending millions upon millions, Chelsea still needs time to get a good run and there’s only so many matches left this season. For the second point, sure, Man Utd will have a couple of really tough games and most likely they’ll drop some more points, so there’s still chance for us to catch them up. As for Miyaichi he seems to have a lot of potential, which is great for the club, but… in perspective. Not now, not this season, and this season is what really concernes me. If we don’t win anything – I’m not counting Beer Cup here – we’ll have a lot of time to guess and worry for the next season, as Fabregas will probably go, Miyaichi will be in the squad and who knows what.

    And so we get to the bad news. With Djourou gone for 2 weeks we’ll have Squillaci back most definitely. Problem is, Squillaci will need time to get to top shape, we’ve seen this so many times, we saw it 2 matches ago if I remember correctly, when he got that red card. Hopefully, by the time we meet Barca, he’ll be at his usual level but I don’t know why, I just don’t see hime being able to stop with Messi&Co. But maybe I’m just being pessimistic here.

    What really worries me though is that this could very well be the turning point of the season for us. And not in the good way. Morale down, Djourou injured, Diaby off because of that red card, Denislon unable to do anything in front of our defense, no Nasri, crack after crack at the very foundation of this team. And amidst all this, I want a proof from our players: I want them to quit acting like boys, get back on their feet and fight like hell untill the very end. If they let that disaster – which was really their fault in the end, I don’t care how idiot that referee is – get them, then it’s all over by now. If they don’t get their minds right, we will loose against Barca, we will start playing that inconsistent footbal like we did this season when our best XI wasn’t available. Ca we still win every competition? I would say yes, but from my part saying it is enough. They need to prove it. Oh, and Fabregas and van Persie really, really need to take their role as leaders more seriously, I didn’t see that against Newcastle at all and being a true lider means stepping up in moments EXACTLY like those.

  52. Hi folks from Spain! Please forgive my english. Just a few words to open your eyes: I think all of you dont understand you are about to face the greatest football team of all times. It makes me smile when I read some of your opinions about Pique and Puyol, the leaders of Spain`s defense line, World Champions and 0 goals against in World Cup`s last four games. I`m sure you dont watch Barca every week. Some of you talk like the Manchester supporters before the 2009 Rome final (and everyone knows how it ended!). Please, dont misunderstand me, it looks like England lives in another dimension when Chelsea pays so much money for a bluff like Torres, the worst Spanish player in National Team.
    Forget Champions League but Go Arsenal on Premier!!!

  53. @Barca Legend,
    We know you are the best team in the world and respect you.
    Best of luck in the game, it will be two of the worlds best footballing teams once again playing this game the way it should be played, but you should give us the respect we deserve because we have the ability to knock you out brother, remember that.

  54. @Barca Legend: as a 40 year Gooner but American, I must say that almost all of us Gooners have our eyes wide open and know damn well Barca is the best team of this time(which is all that really matters when you actually play the game)
    We also know that our captain will sit the bench when he finally comes home to Catalunia. Of our starters, maybe Sagna could start for you.
    We have great admiration that you paid more than 2 million TO UNICEF to wear their logo instead of being paid to wear some commercial enterprise.
    Most of us do not hope that your players will be injured.
    Most of us still despise the diver Ronaldo and root for Barca especially versus Real Madrid.
    Some of us have danced the Sardana in front of the Gothic cathedral and a few have been to Montserrat and heard and seen the congregation rise and sing with tears In their eyes in memory of all those who died during the long dark night of oppression by Franco and the Fascisti.
    We don’t speak Spanish when we visit Barcelona. We don’t know Catalan, so we are not ashamed to speak French, German or our native American or Canadian English.
    We love the Arsenal, but we respect Barca! Still, we hope to play well and some of us hope even to win. Surely, you can respect that!

  55. Ola Barca legend. I will respect your club a whole lot more if we don’t start to see the quotes in the press in the week before our tie about Cesc and his fucking Barcelona DNA! You can bet your house that they are going to start up again next week.

    I don’t reckon we’ll beat you but I hope it’s not as catastrophic as the first half of the first leg last season. Never felt more embarassed watching my team. We’ll miss Nasri and Djorou if they are still injured.

  56. after reading lot’s of response from the newcastle game, i’ve noticed a pattern in the fanbase. There are people who stand behind the team, and the fans who call for immediate results. screw them we are the arsenal!

  57. @Barca Legend all the respect for your club and for you as a fan, that team plays a superb footbal, it was a marvel to watch even when they trashed us last year. But you have to admit, we need to believe, we are supporters of our team, the match day is the most important day of the week for many of us, we will never stop believing we can beat Barcelona. And while we give credit to you team, we give even more to ours, it’s the way things go 🙂 All in all, the whole world will se superb footbal when our teams meet next week.

  58. @shambo, whats up my man? If it wasn’t for the arsenal and manure result i would have been £289.50 better off.
    I’ve said it before and i will say it again. Mr Wenger does not have to spend big bucks in order to champ league or EPL, all he needs to do is promote two or three physically abled bodies who can play a bit improve their technique and “Bobs your uncle”.The team is defined by it’s light weight, silky and fast twitch players who consume vast amounts of energy while buzzing around the pitch. They are not built to encounter and obsorb to many hard heavy tackles, they are designed to escape or ride or jink round such challenges. Wenger is trying to convince them that they have the mental strength (which is important) to cope under that sort of bombardment but unfortunately sometimes the body runs out of energy (almost over night) effecting the mental strength. Injuries and doubt follow (unless one is Fabregas) and points are dropped. I have to say that i agree with mostly all Shambo has to say even thought as a massive follower of Arsenal (and football) that he is, it must hurt him to say it. Just look at the pattern of the last 5-6 years. Ask yourself the questions, Why does it keep happening, why after Wenger had designed a successful way of winning has he changed it. I can see the wanderful stadium of which i have been to over 20 times sitting behind the away teams who recieve massive abuse week in and week out. I can recognise the massive financial profits and silky style of play, but you already had this when you wan the double and prem with Arsene. Where are the leaders, the musscle, the A force you use to have in the midfield, the fights in the tunnel. Rember the battering you gave to Van nistelrooy when MK wanted to do im so bad. WHY CHANGE IT. THE GAME HAS NOW CHANGED AND IT WAR OUT THERE. YOU KEED TO MAN UP AND KICK ASS, I REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN ARSENAL WERE LIKE A TRAIN SMOAKING….WHO EVER STOOD ON THE TRACKS WOULD GET ROLLED OVER. Now it all about silk, light weight, and the balance sheet.
    By the way, before you say it I know all about the ammers. At least i dont stick my head in the sand i as questions on what i see. Peace up people.

  59. I thought I’d share this thought-provoking quote from The Guardian :

    “I have a lot of feelings for Arsenal and it means something great to me. I would be sad to leave it, but you have to think about yourself and, with the career goals I have, I cannot be sitting on the bench” – Nicklas Bendtner puts a positive spin on his 22 Premier League goals in five seasons in a way only Nicklas Bendtner can.

  60. I still think Bendtner is an important part of Arsenal, we have to remember that Bendtner didn’t always start and mostly used as a sub.

    Wacott scored 29 goals in 5 seasons at Arsenal, don’t see much of the British media condeming him, in contrast to their snide/snipe remarks on Bendtner. Take out the Champions league, FA cup etc, Walcott scored 16 premier league goals for 5 seasons. Hmmmmm 16 seems to be lesser than 22 league goals or did I just fail my maths…..hmmmmm

    Walcott has a career total of 34 goals (southampton included) whilst Bendtner has a career goals (Birmingham loan included) of 53 goals.

    Frankly I don’t know which of them is more valuable to Arsenal, because I feel both are important to Arsenal. All I’m saying is don’t read into too much what the media has to say about Bendtner, what Bendtner said has been taken out of context, sensationalized to generate site hits for their own benefit.

    I’m really happy that Bendtner is upset at being on the bench it simply shows that he cares and wants to perform and improve.

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