Is The Glass Half Empty Or Half Full?

It seems that everyone wants experience these days, the Arsenal squad is apparently full of kids that will not challenge for trophies. Even cannot in some people’s minds. Yet no-one defines this ‘experience’ they desire, no-one tells us where it comes from and more importantly, none of the names I’ve seen suggested carry the ‘gravitas’ that you would normally expect to see in such cases. Ryan Babel? Talented player but anymore experienced than Tomas Rosicky? No. Talented – Yes, a more natural left sided player but not more experienced. Curtis Davies in for William Gallas? Please. Let’s be serious when naming players we want in, ones who are going to improve the side. You may think that Gallas is opinionated and out for himself but replacing him with a player who has spent one season in the top flight? How on earth is that going to make things better? Oh, I see, you think he’s more talented. But this does not fit with the ‘experience’ that you so desire. You may think him more talented – he isn’t in my opinion, he could potentially be but that is not what you want; you want the ‘experienced’ pro and you want him now.

If someone could bottle football experience, they would make a fortune. The trouble is, I might disagree and say that it is not enough, there are not enough Champions League games under the ‘bottle’s’ belt. Ask another supporter and they will say that part is fine but not enough Premiership appearances are captured in your magic vessel. Perhaps that is the crux; You can never satisfy everyone all of the time. If I take a look at what I think will be Arsene’s starting XI at the moment, it illustrates the point quite well.

Lehmann; Eboue, Toure, Gallas, Clichy; Hleb, Fabregas, Gilberto, Rosicky; van Persie, da Silva

with subs: Fabianski, Hoyte, Djourou, Walcott, Adebayor

The spine of that team is experienced – Lehmann, Toure, Gallas, Gilberto – until you get to the forward line. Even then van Persie has well over four years in top flight football – like it or not, the Eriedivision is top flight football; you may think it weaker than the Premiership but I am not convinced that the lower half of the two divisions are that much different in standards. Even so, RvP has the talent which negates the need for more experience. Da Silva? Unknown quantity but career stats indicate he is in the same boat. So where is this lack of experience letting us down. Defence? Gael Clichy is young but he was one of the most consistent performers last season. Eboue? He’s an international, has played half a dozen years in the top flights of Belgium and his native Ivory Coast. As for Hleb and Rosicky, please don’t try and tell me that they are not experienced.

The bench I will concede is inexperienced aside from Adebayor. Yes, he is experienced, an international, been to the finals of the World Cup and ACN; played in the Champions League before he’d signed for the Club, been part of a Champions League run before he arrived.

In any case what those howling for experience miss is that arguably the most experienced pairing that the Club had last season looked the most vunerable. Toure and Gallas have a wealth of experience between them but you would have to say that they did not look comfortable in each other’s company. That is down to understanding and no amount of experience can bring that. That is consistency of selection so that you understand each other and how the other plays. How do you get that? Experience? No. Consistency. Of performance. Of selection. But not experience.

So what people actually want is consistency and I agree with that. But that is not about the transfer market. That aspect is about talent. If Arsene identifies someone who is going to add to the squad, let him sign them. But leave it to him, not some tired hack. Ask yourself this. Of all of the players linked with the Club, how many were genuine targets? How many did we actually lose out on? If we did, what did it boil down to? Ribery? Must have been the fee and I agree with baulking at £17m. Babel? £13.5m? He was available for £6m two weeks ago. Something not quite right there.

And more importantly, which mode of doing business do you prefer? Do you want the media hype where you throw enough names out that some of them actually work. Do you want targets identified who you know you have no chance of signing? If you do, catch a plane to Madrid, that’s your sort of Club. I’ll sit quite comfortably here waiting patiently for signings, if they are coming. If not, then you have to put some faith in the manager to actually have a plan. The Henry era has ended sooner than some thought, later than others were expecting. But it is over. You have a new forward who the manager believes to be good enough. He’s seen more than you have of the lad in question yet the anguish over how he’s not good enough goes on. You even admit that. Ask yourself this; before Toure, Vieira, Henry, Fabregas, Ljungberg, and the like, how much of those players had you seen before they broke into the Arsenal first team? Less than that of da Silva. How do you know that da Silva will fail as you seem to think? People hold Bendtner up as the Great White Hope, to use a boxing analogy. Why? One season in the Championship? A decent scoring record in half a dozen internationals. On both counts , da Silva has better stats.

If this is you or someone like you, the font of all knowledge, why are you not manager of Arsenal instead of slinging your poison arrows in all directions, lobbing so many that you hope one will stick. Is your view on life so negative that you see not one shred of hope, nothing positive at all?

’til Tomorrow.

63 thoughts on “Is The Glass Half Empty Or Half Full?

  1. i love you
    this blog epitomises the true gooner!
    The media hype has had many fans doubting Arsenal- including me but after reading your article i feel sick that i did!
    Arsene is not trying to REbuild a club that has suffered a loss- he is buidling a brand new team with different ambitions and goals and he is doing in his tried and trusted method
    there is a reason why he is considered the best scout of talents and we need to trust him that he will make the right calls
    and when we smash cashley and his ego inflated team mates- we will rejoice and forget all the negative feedback we have heard in the off season!!!

  2. bravo, maestro…superb piece! I am not even in the UK, just relying on the countless websites and blogs, to keep me up to date with what is happening, but fuck me, some of the blogs and comments you read get on my tits!. Why is everyone surprised that we are not hearing about potential signings from the club – we never have done and i doubt we ever will. Liverpool are demonstrating what happens when you give a manager too much money, they pay over the odds for players who have no guarentee of performing. Babel was half the price 2 weeks ago and Torres is a player that has been bought on reputation alone. Spurs are no better, Bent was half the price 6 months ago and yet they still paid the money. We need to keep the faith that Wenger knows what he is doing, this season our biggest advantage over other teams will be consistency and team spirit. We have the same squad as last year but with another 12 months experience, a superb cup run and narrowly missing out on 3rd place. why is everyone suddenly panicking because Wenger isnt paying double the value-tag on un-tested players?

    The future’s bright………..the future’s red and white!!!

  3. Brilliant! But I would also add that Fabregas after 3 years in the heart of the Arsenal team in the premiership and with a champions league run under his belt is also a lot more experienced than his 20 years of age suggest.

  4. greetings from malaysia. i personally believe this is the most insightful and truthful blog on the gunners. Le Boss knows what is good for the team. he has mould this team from 1996 and has never let us down. just because more money is available this year does not mean arsene has to spend more. look at all the managers who are after arsenal targets. even they believe in arsene’s talent in scouting talent. have faith gooners.

  5. good story
    why is rosicky ploayed on the left ploay him in the hole like he dose of czeck republic

  6. The glass is brimming full and it may just be me but i am actually beginning to enjoy this summer. This comes from my unwavering trust in the boss. Which by the way, he has more than earnt! For all the whingers, who complain that their flaky spineless opinions are castigated; who we going to listen to, you? Do me a favour! What do you have to do to get credit in the bank here? Well call me loyal but the boss has mine for life!

  7. Great article.

    Wonder who the first moron will be who ruins this debate and brings all Arsenal fans down, just to indulge his own negativity.

  8. Excellent stuff YW!

    It’s about time the fans started countering all the drivel puked about by the fat, slobbering, clueless, dishonest hacks in the “media”, and stopped believing the blatant lies and fabrications put out by them.

    I sometimes wonder whether some of the “lifelong fans” and “season ticket holders” who respond so negatively on some Gooner sites are actually who and what they claim to be.

  9. Very good article and right on the money. One of the first I agree with. I have replied to a few sites recently about this experience thing and why people feel we haven’t got it when if you list all our internationals we patently have. The other really annoying term recently is “we must buy big names”. What the hell does this mean and who are these big names. Your thoughts on that issue would be good.

    For me a big name is a top proven player domestically and internationally for 3 seasons. I feel the only true big name we were vaguely linked with was Eto’o and the only player I would put in the 20m+ bracket. I don’t think Torres or Tevez are big names by achievement. They seem to be more by media hype. Granted, both good players but, they have done nothing to date to suggest they are exceptional. Torres has an ordinary strike rate and is ok when he drops deep but certainly not better than RVP who we already have. Tevez saved WHU but it was more the big fish in a small pond situation last season. If you actually look at what he did he showed that he was a better player than those around him, and scored a few late season goals.It was hardly Maradonna in the late 80’s stuff.

    I think this big name thing is a panic thing for people who don’t analyse our team properly and what we have thats good and where we were defficient. They can’t see beyond the blind panic of losing TH. In fact we dominated most games last season, (even without TH), but did not get the ball in the net to finish teams off. People forget we lost our 2 best goalscorers for most of the season at the same time. Take the two best goalscorers from Utd and Chelsea for the same periods and see how many points further back they would have been. We even mostly outplayed our main top table rivals (even without TH). What we need is the goals to add to our general control and dominance in games and I feel AW has addressed this and we can expect a good goal tally next season (if not the best in the EPL).

    It was never about needing more experience or buying big names it was about bringing in the players to balance the side out. Why most people don’t see this I don’t know but, I guess, when even a pro like Gallas is watching the silly money thrown around by some clubs and panics into thinking it will make those teams so astoundingly better, without proper analysis, then I guess you can forgive the average fan for doing the same.

  10. Thank you Yogi for distilling into a few words what I have been struggling to articulate all summer.

    Can we have more reason, not less?

    More thought not a craven acceptance of media lunacy?

    More John Radford than Peter Marinello?

  11. I said it before on other website, just give our loyal support to Mr. Wenger and trust his experience and talent. He had proven beyond reasonable doubt in his nine years managing Arsenal and the players that he is alway RIGHT. We are all merely armchair critics letting out our frustration once in a while especially after an Arsenal loss. Last year our makeshift team still performed great beating MU, Liverpool and draw against Chelsea. Imagine doing it without Henry and RVP and losing to lower rank team happen to all the top teams. MU, Chelsea and Liverpool swallow the bitter pill too. So what is so BAD or WRONG with our belove Gunners, why are we always nit- picking and beating down our team. Throwing away good money into the inflated transfer market for so call ‘superstar’ is an absolute idiotic move. I bet MU won’t perform any better than last year even with Mr. Smart Alex burning his MU treasury. Remember it is the team that play with their HEARTS that will win not ‘Cashley’ mercenaries and for HEARTS our young team have a plenty ! I am proud, Arsenal, my team – rightly said Cesc !!!

  12. @Browny

    You are spot on, in most of your post.

    The problem with our team is not lack of quality. It is getting the balance and formation right.

    The invincible team had a well oiled system, where even at 50% we would score goals.

    That comes with playing together and understanding when to attack and when to defend.

    It has just been 2 seasons since Wenger has begun this dismantling and reassembling process. And in 2005/06 we had to learn to cope without Vieira and in 06/07, last season, we were practically without Henry.

    So, 4th and CL final in 2006, 4th tied with Liverpool and CC final in 2007 were achived when the team was at its lowest point. I can only see an upside from here on.

  13. will u marry me?honestly though your recent articles have made me fall in love with you.we have a team that has been playing together and gelling together for the last few seaons yet some “fans” say they are inexperienced forgetting that new players traditionally need a bedding down period in premiership.arsene knows what he is doing and me i just want to watch the miracle unfold

  14. Great Article, ManUtd bought only one last year before winning the title, so your analysis is also backed up there so far as consistency is concerned.
    The Sun today has a list of players bought so far by all the Premiership teams and Liverpool have bought 9 players. How are they going to get them all playing the same way by the time the season kicks off? Chelsea Man Utd and us have got 4 each which seems far more sensible (That counts a 17YO Norway boy for us).
    Our squad might be younger than the other Big 3 but it is no smaller.
    Keep up the good work

  15. You write intelligently!

    Well done, i actually enjoyed reading that.

    I am generally a glass half full type of perosn, but i still think this is well beyond half! It is almost full.

    I also think we should keep freddie; his attitude and experience are invaluable, I wish he can stay injury free though.

  16. i agree with your article but not ur starting 11,i think Wenger will definitely start with Adebayor,Eduardo will be eased in also i think Diaby will be in …

  17. Well said, I have been reading this blog for a few months now, but this is my first post. I just wanted to thank you for a clear, honest and helpful assessment of where we are. Sense at last

  18. Just to add to the Gallas point, he has got an unbelievably large, can’t ever keep it shut type gob. However having actually seen the full article of what he said, it appears the worse of it was taken out and isolated. Leading to an undiluted levy of moaning, that admittedly he is more than capable of. It does however, have a fairer slant to it, as he considers all rationale and credits Wenger for his ability to find talent and discusses potential financial restraints. A french journalist yesterday said it was much more in the continental player’s make up to have a moan and we know that to be the case. He is an easy target for the English media because he will never go quietly but it has got to the stage where they are happily perpatuating the myth and talking up all potential rifts within the squad. As annoyed as we are, we should turn the other cheek and allow Gilberto to begin bringing this squad back together. His calm nature may be perfect for the squad right now, a different voice, a different language even. Let the whole country underestimate our youngsters, even Gallas or Henry for that matter. They’ll never see us coming!

  19. Sensible post Yogi.
    I think the spending sprees of our neighbours in the table is the bee that’s gotten under the bonnet of many fellow fans. While I understand their trepidation, I think they’re letting fear get the better of them, losing sight of the fact that we have here a fantastic side, though one that’s not quite the finished article yet. Now, does that mean we’re condemned to slipping down the table in the process? I don’t think so. I firmly believe Arsene will do what’s needed to continue the development of the side while keeping us competitive. If he hasn’t earned that trust after all these years, I don’t know what’ll convince our jittery brethern. Spending money per se isn’t going to solve anything. Sensible spending is the necessity, and Wenger has earned the right to our patience and trust on that front.
    When the dust settles after the 07-08 season we’ll have a better picture of what the consequences of spending sprees have been at various clubs. I wager it’ll not be a uniformly pretty picture.
    That said I’d be happy if we’re given some indication that the board and Arsene have resolved issues, if any, between them to mutual satisfaction. That, and a season where the Gods of key injuries look elsewhere.

  20. I agree with the vast majority of your comments. The only concern I have is where we are going to score goals from Midfield?

    We are relying on big improvements from Cesc and Rosicky in that regards before they replace what we used to have with SuperBob and Freddie.

    I don’t think we are far away and I suspect that the Boss will bring in a replacement for Reyes to address that problem.

  21. my first time to post, and all i want to say is, thank you. you have done a great justice to the club and its supporters who think likewise.

    i can’t wait for the season to start.

  22. did you eat a bacon and egg sandwich this morning YW?

    How do you get that? Experience? No. Consistency. Of performance. Of selection. But not experience.

    OH NO ITS experience . the likes of pires crawling down the left wing .. but his vision and experience was MAGICAL !
    or patrick already 4m running back to goal because he’s reading the play of the game b4 anyone else.. or freddy who draws the foul .. or beats him for pace then cuts in for goal .. Thats all experience!!
    coles pushing forward down the left, laurens long shots ,bergcamp running the play in the centre of the pitch … .. (ok freddies games changed now but is it old age or just the style of game has changed +too many new personnel?)
    same can be said of henry !!!
    I think when most of us are asking for experience we are talking about proven preformers within the EPL ! curtis davies also played in the epl .. i wouldnt say there is too much difference between gallas and curtis .less complaining (& there still is edmilson from barca on free transfer 🙂 )

    Also YW like you said our bench runs 1 deep in experience
    and thats with all player present !NO INJURIES ? you can strike gilberto
    off for the 1st month (aug/sept). who do you replace him with ?
    then mid – season we have toure – eboue gone ..
    AND OUR BENCH RUNS SHALLOW after your 1st 11 !
    keep on dreaming 🙂

    we need players .. and SOON !
    looks like freddies going too .. so hope we have a consistant time !!!!

  23. @ethan_gooner

    What happened the season before last then?

    We still had the ‘magical Pires’, Ljungberg, Henry, Bergkamp, Gilberto, Sol Campbell, Lehman and Toure.

    Thats 8 of the invincibles, who managed to finish 4th on the last day against Spurs.

    Stop it with the nostalgia right now.

    That team was so good because it had time to gel in a league where there was only one other competitor in United.

    If the current team plays together as much as that team did, I think it could actually be better.

    Have a little patience damn it.

  24. I think the geling of the team is what is crucial rihgt now and if there are not too many changes, them they are at that very stage…

    set to ex[lode this season

  25. Should money gained from transfers out of the club inpact on what we spend on players comming into the Club?

    Just becase we have made good money on Tierry PV4 etc should this mean that we should spend more on buying players?

  26. Great article Yogi possibly the best i’ve read since I started reading your blog.

    I am actually in agreement with you for the most part, with the exception of Hleb and Babel.

    Firstly Hleb, this guy may look like he has all the talent in the world but there is rarely any end product, then there is Babel I truly believe in time people will see £13.5m as money well spent when liverpool finally land him.

    But I think the fact that we have got a striker in the shape of EDS, a new keeper to keep Lehmann on his toes, and the possiblity of a new full back and Valery Bojinov as part of the Ljungberg to the Viola deal. Our future is looking good.

    If we find consistency against the so called smaller teams this season we will be up there fighting for the league but similar failings against the lesser teams will result in another 3rd or 4th place finish.

    Wenger has always said he had faith in his youngsters I guess now we are gonna see whether the youngsters are gonna repay his faith.

  27. I would like to add that if AW brings in Sagna a predominantly right full back but who can play on the left, we will have a few more options with this. Firstly the widely mentioned potential of using Eboue at right midfield. I for one think this gives a good wide option. I thought when we were 2-0 down to Spurs that it was his introduction at right mid-field that swung it. He caused them no end of problems and our goals came from that flank. Also if Sagna can operate on the left you also have the option, if needed, of Clichy at left midfield. I saw him play there in front of Cashley a couple of times and was impressed.

    I do feel, though, that another option at left mid-field may be sensible. I for one would go no further than swap Reyes for Robinho. I know many say he has not achieved the heights his young talent warrented and will argue he will be kicked off the park like Reyes. Well firstly I have seen recently that he is increasingly getting an eye for goal as he matures and could provide us that threat that Pires used to offer from there, and I think he can finally realise his potential at us. Secondly, having some Brazilian friends, I have been told on more than one occasion that some of the beach football played as they grow up is rather violent, and the thought the Brazilians play the fancy stuff but can’t handle the rough stuff is a myth. Also remember many of these lads have come from very tough backgrounds.

    There is also one other difference between Reyes and Robinho. They are both smaller players certainly and are both quick and skillful and can run at people. If however you watch Reyes he is a more head down and run in a straight line type of player, which makes it easier for a tough tackling defender or midfielder to anticipate when to hit him with a hard tackle. Robinho however has that balnce and ability to switch direction at pace in a fraction of a second and this is the crucial factor that will allow him to avoid and ride the clumsy challenges without getting hurt. Remember how Juninho (even smaller) managed to do just that. I think Robinho could be our left midfield answer and is also adaptable in a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 or across the midfield or in behind another striker.

  28. Congratulations on not recycling the same crap that 95% of Arsenal blogs push around, and actually constructing thoughtful pieces that drip with common sense. Very refreshing 🙂

    however don’t get your hopes up that any of the usual culprits will get the message :/

  29. These complaints about experience originated not from the gooners nor the media, but with Patrick Vieira. Our former skip bitterly complained to AW that he only brought in unknown young talent. AW’s riposte about young Paddy’s stature when he came to Highbury notwithstanding, that complaint was mimicked and acted upon by Henry. His open contempt for Reyes is a prime example. Now Gallas has picked up on this theme according to the comments from his website.
    If there is anyone to blame for all this nonsense about experience it has to be the players. Everyone else -us gooners and the media, just pick up on it and speculate.

  30. What we need is one major signing – that of Keown as Defencive coach. He was with us the second half of the 05/0 season when the goals against dried up, but not last season when we let in too many. He is worth paying for.

  31. Well done, YW.

    The tension among Gooners is primarily seeing ManU and Pool, who were both ahead of us in the table, spending heavily. While we only brought in four; at our usual bargain prices.

    While they are SEEN to be improving their squads, we are SEEN to be just waiting.

    All this while we KNOW that Arsene believes that we are almost there with the squad that we need to win.

    Who played the most scintillating footie last season?

    This squad, despite its supposed lack of experience, did. Which means we already have the talent and capabilities.

    We just need more consistency – that is harder to achieve.

    And which I’m sure the Prof already have plans on how to go about it.

    Arsene knows, innit?

  32. Yogi, along with Arseblog this is now my favorite Arsenal blog (yours for analysis, his for humour). Your opinions are considered and not overly influenced by media tripe. Well done! Listening to all the other moaners out there is tiresome. You seem to attract the true Gooners out there, and its because of your thoughtful analysis. Thanks.

  33. The reason that Babel’s price has jumped is that last week Arsenal were the only team linked with him. Now Liverpool want him as well, therefore price increase.

  34. chelsea was gelling the same time we were gelling .
    yet they won 2 titles and we ended up 4th .
    to a degree chelsea is ALWAYS gelling .but yet again .
    it was neck and neck last year , i spose sir alex whats to ensure another win this season . MY POINT ?

    are we on par with these teams ? maybe for talent (future), but experience in the great game of football at the top level , if you could clock man hours on a football pitch chelsea wins by experience hands down and that does go a F#ckin long way to winning games !!
    your all insane for even thinking otherwise. to gel together shouldnt take much more than 1/2 a season if they are all as talented and seasoned as you say !!!! FACT.
    if your inexperienced and young it will take LONGER .
    and thats what gallas is on about ..
    the stats are in black and white and gallas just aintcomplaining ! he is sticking up for this team !
    and not wanting us fans to have another middle of the road year ! he’s sending a message ..

    and to answer your question roster

    chelsea happened ! this sort of spending by chelsea and manU
    has put a gap between us that will take a BIT OF LUCK and 2 or 3 years before we can mount a serious challenge .. but you go put your tints on and think we can get up this year ..
    with henry gone id be happy just to avoid desaster !

    theo is the key ! my prayer is for him to WORK IT this season .. and pick up the slack …

    all you gallas haters read this ..
    (read on another blog)

    There have been occasions when he has looked Arsenal through and through. He has celebrated with travelling fans after the game at Old Trafford, but also thanked supporters after a series of defeats – something not all our players have done. I particularly remember him clapping the fans after our defeat to West Ham, as the rest of our players skulked off the pitch. To say he doesn’t care about the club, or that he is only here for the money and the easy ride, is simply not true. He does care about our club achieving success.


  35. YW


    yes martins , im sure 80 % on will be an arsenal player .
    13 mil is the epl experienced player we need .

  36. Ethan I’m afraid i’m not agreeing with you on the gallas subject as i think he is a bit of a mercenary. Who simply left Chelski because he was a bit bored of his surroundings, and would jump at the chance if say inter milan or newly promoted juve come knocking.

    He could and should have kept his feelings to himself because all it has done is possibly influence the younger members of our squad that grass is greener elsewhere. The transfer window is only 11 days old and Man U and Liverpool can spend millions and millions but that hasn’t worked in the past you only need to look at how much money the scum have spent over the past three seasons and i BET they won’t top us in the league again.

    I am begining to have faith in AW I think with the signing of one world class player our fortunes could be turned from challengers to real contenders.

  37. ethan_gooner… how long have u been a gooner? yesterday? we just don’t have the $$$ to spend like chelski, MU or Liverpool did… haih…

    i’ve been supporting this club since old Graham days… been almost 20 years and i think AW knows what he’s doing…

    Chelsea spend on experience? how much did Sheva scores for them? What did ballack ever do to them? Do u think Ashley Cole were better for them than us? They have the $$ to buy experience… to buy the team… to buy championship… do we? i seriously doubt it…

    btw, YW.. brilliantly put. 🙂

  38. sakaito

    They have the $$ to buy experience… to buy the team… to buy championship… do we? i seriously doubt it..

    yes they do and i was talking to roster about ! NOT you . yes we were cash strapped and if you look at rosters question i answered it like you ! the difference that took place was the chevs built up an empire overnite and changed the EPL forever . and if we are measuring dicks ive been a fan for 38 years ! we dont have money as we bought a new stadium and while others spent big and we didnt ..

    arsene has done his best with the money restrictions .
    and sagna is pretty much pencilled in as ours ,also Yoan Goufrann, & martins would give me faith also . hopefully once we have some new faces things will look better

  39. A thoughtful coloumn, Yogi, that got me thinking. You asked what people define as experience? Well, let’s throw another word into this discussion, which might help…. maturity. Yogi’s right that when you look through the team, there is a decent amount of experience (heaps for such young guys) and perhaps all that’s missing is a decent amount of consistency, or time on the park together. But for all that experience, some of our boys still look green at times. I think that’s what a lot of fans are fretting about when they howl for players with more experience. They know that winning is at least as much about mental strength as physical prowess at that level and a great way to get that is by having gone through it all and having seen it all before. The concern is that, for all the experience you list, Yogi, the team can look fragile, can give away or miss an easy goal that someone who’s mentally tougher wouldn’t. Or they’re perhaps not ‘nasty’ enough as Fabregas said.
    Ade’s a great example. Captain of his country, but seemingly rattled in font of goal. Eboue, experienced for country and in the Champion’s, but erratic in his performances for us…
    So what I hope AW is looking for, as well as blossoming talent, is maturity. The level-headedness and compsure Bergkamp probably had in the cradle. The kind that Cesc shows even though he’s hardly out of his footballing diapers. What Arsenal need this season is that steely resolve and consistency of performance that comes from someone who keeps his head and remains composed. Now that might not be a matter of experience Yogia, as you say. But experience is a good indicator, so would still be welcome.
    As to the transfers, I still think it’s reasonable to want more signings, and to want them to have maturity. Even Arsense said he was after a couple of star players. But it’s reasonable to assume he’s on track. Think about it. All the blogs and analysis at the end of last season through up a couple of facts – we didn’t finish enough from the chances we created and we let in a lot more goals than the other top 3. Sure, injuries and – yes – the forced inconsistency of selection impacted on that. But something had to be done about those weaknesses. So what has Le Boss done? We’ve got a finisher in Eduardo. First box ticked. Plugging the goals leaked? Well, we’ve got a new goalie to challenge Jens and wake him up. Tick. We’ve got a highly, highly rated fullback, who can play anywhere across the back. Tick.
    The other main criticism last year was our lack of width. So yes, we all crave a new winger. But given’s Arsene’s record sovfar this summer, it’s safe to assume he’s on the same wavelength. I agree with Browny, that Robinho would be stellar. Given we’re already dealing with Real over Reyes and Real seem to be signing Robben as well and are like to have too many wingers, we’re in a good place to do a deal. I hope. Checking his stats, Robinho averages a goal every 3 or 4 games. Goal-scoring winger? Hopeful tick.
    Events this summer, with Henry and now probably Freddie leaving means we probably need another striker and, Eboue/Walcott-allowing, probably another wide player.
    I admit I’m worried about the wingers, cos there aren’t that many around and half a dozen big clubs seem to need them. But there’s plenty of time and with so much silly money having been spent, maybe the prices will get more realistic now.
    So, broken down like that, it doesn’t seem quite so bad, does it?

  40. til Nordtveit:)

    to the no1 blog!

    velkommen til den vakreste klubb! er virkelig stolt over å ha deg i klubben vår! du er det største talentent arsene har kjøt! all ære til vats, skjoldar og fkh for at gunners fikk deg!!!
    hilsen jaa

  41. Loved your article.

    I read many Arse blogs (yes, including arseblog), and it was truly refreshing to read something with so much to say about a subject, that has been went through so many times. Thank you for that.

    Chin up, Gooners! You support the very best, now look like it!

  42. Arsene himself says that consistency is something that comes along with age, experience and maturity.

    At a young age the Walcotts, Rooneys and Ronaldos of the world put in some brilliant performances, but generally also lots of very ordinary ones, and sometimes downright diabolical.

    Cesc is an extraordinary exception to that.

    But leaving that aside, I think what people are hankering for is not players who are “experienced” but ones who are “proven”. i.e. Been-there, done-that, got-the-T-shirt at the top level. The kind of players we had in plenty in the invincible year.

    True no-one knew how good Vieira would be when he came.

    But we know all too well that not every hardly-known player we buy will turn out to be a Vieira.

    And we did use to buy World Cup winners as well, which Pires and Henry already were when they came.

    Now I’m not saying let’s rush out and spend big on galacticos. I don’t think we can, and it’s not the Arsenal way anyway.

    But it’s not so long since our team-sheet read:

    Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole, Ljunberg, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry.

    And we are kidding ourselves if we think that the current team are either already in that league, or are even a sure thing to get there. They may make it, and we all hope they will. But it’s no sure thing, and that gets people down.

    When people get down, some of them hope for a magic cure by signing a few big names. But it’s never as easy as that, even if you had Chelski’s money to splash around.

    I’m pretty sure Eduardo will be at least in the class of a Darren Bent or an Andy Johnson. Who can score plenty in the EPL without being world beaters.

    I hope he’ll turn out in the class of an Henry or a Shearer, and he might do. But we really don’t know yet.

    At the mo, it’s fingers crossed that Arsene knows.

  43. I thoroughly enjoy your blog as a football fan if not an Arsenal fan. As a Brentford fan I feel I can coment on the very different sport that is Premiership football with no bias. As stated in previous comments, Arsenal under Wenger have overachieved and his job does become harder the more foreign money piles in to other clubs. Top four this season would, I believe, be Wengers greatest achievement.
    Be happy Arsenal fans that you haven’t just paid £6 million for Nugent or £ 16 million for one of the Bents. I just wish Wenger spent his undoubted talent bringing through English talent but that is my own particular hobby horse.
    For what it’s worth Gilberto is no Viera and I think until that issue is resolved your young bucks will continue with their inconsistency, maybe they should have pursued Hargreaves or even tempt Makalele across London while Fabregas completes his education. Anyway you’re one of the few Premiership clubs I would pay to watch.

  44. “Gilberto is no Viera”

    But who is another Vieira? Certainly not Hardgreaves, who is no Gilberto. The only one remotely comparable to Paddy at his best is Essien. Everyone knew that & nobody can outbid Chelsea for those very rare players.

    You cannot replace the DB10s, Bobs etc just like that even if you do have Chelski’s money.

    Who has been bought or sold by a PL team that has “been there & done it”, is still in their prime, and better than what we have?

    What we had last season was a squad that could put out 2 entirely different teams that were capable of beating most & could give anyone a game (eg CC final).

    The elements that were lacking,at times, were aggression/nastiness, ruthless finishing & lapses of composure/concentration in defence.

    We have oustanding quality & if we can improve on the above anything is possible.

    There is no doubt that there is no bar on English talent,at Arsenal, but just a lack of English talent with the right mentality. Just look at the England team.

    One of the major problems is the restricted area that Arsenal can take young trainees from now & lack of the right sort of coaching at an early age.

  45. i will now give up writing football blogs because you have discouraged me and i will never be able to come up with something that good. thanks.

  46. Phuckin’ great post. I too am sick of the supporters that seem to think that what Barca/Real/ManU/Chelski do is the way to go. This seasons transfer market has already doubled the money spent last season and tripled that of 2 years ago. That’s insane, unsustainable and will destroy the sport. This is a team sport and as such I’m confident that many supporters of other clubs will be rather disappointed when they’re multi-million quid sides are made to look average by the ‘kids’. It’s happened many times in the last two years, all we lack is the finish, and some gelling at the back. Finishing will come with a fit RVP and hopefully EDS, the back can easily be settled by Gallas shutting the funk up and getting on with the job instead of butting heads with Toure who’s already proven himself…. It all comes with the ‘experience’ you mention – which I translate as team understanding and time together.

    Keep it up matey, you’re one of the most level-headed writers there is writing about the Arse, don’t stop and keep the sense flowing.

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