Djourou On Hope, Expectation & What Might Have Been

A season of promise has not delivered the silverware but several players have grabbed their opportunity to establish themselves firmly in the first team squad. Having spent a considerable amount of time injured during his time at the club – he is the longest serving player currently at Arsenal – Johan Djourou is one of those who can look back on this season with some satisfaction.

In an interview with The Guardian this morning, he has spoken of the disappointment and the reasons for failure to land any silverware. They are similar to those espoused by his manager, suggesting that the squad are fully aware of their limitations.

There is a problem with lack of delivery in English football, most notably the national team’s Golden Generation failed miserably to deliver. It has re-emphasised the impatience connected with the Premier League era of modern football. That is not lost on the Swiss international,

You can say that Arsenal have lacked a championship mentality because we haven’t got winners, who have won many cups, but that’s a thing you build. And in this group we definitely have the ability to become that.

It’s not far away, that’s the whole thing...People have to remember that it’s a foundation of work and not everything works as soon as they want.

Equally, Djourou offers a ray of light that this setback is not a permanent barrier to success in the future for those that remain beyond the summer.

The Invincibles team was a project that was not made in one year. It was piece by piece by piece.

We have to keep the faith in this project and we just want to win to show the world that the boss is right. It takes a lot of courage to keep going with your own way.

It would be easy to argue that Djourou is merely saying this as he is benefitting from Wenger’s belief in the youthful players. Whilst that is true, Djourou has offered enough this season to prove that he is worthy of his first team place.

The comparison with The Invincibles is one that is quickly dimissed. To do so is to miss Djourou’s point. He is not comparing the squad to those players at the peak of their powers but in the seasons leading up to it. The dreaded word is potential, a signal for disparagement from those who believe only in the here and now, irrespective of the cost.

The balance has to be struck. Wenger is almost living on a pendulum, seeing the perfect mix as he swings past, the extremes of youth and experience. If he could pluck one or two more to add experience to the squad, then potential would be realised as a whole, ceasing to be a curse.

This was acknowledged by the manager when commenting about Lehmann coming to the club recently. Re-signing the German and Sol Campbell has been beneficial is the mental aspect to a degree but both were too old to be considered anything other than temporary solutions. That Campbell played more often and Lehmann at all, shows how bad the injury situation has been at times.

Even so, signing experience is almost as risky as the other end of the spectrum. Fine defender as he is (and was), William Gallas showed a temperament that was suspect under pressure, his ego in the way of leadership.

The captaincy is poisoned chalice at Arsenal. Recent permanent holders of the position have been severely criticised for their leadership. Gallas, Fàbregas, Henry; individually fantastic players, questionable leadership. Or is it that simple with the Spaniard?

It has been an easy and almost lazy accusation to make this season, that he is distracted by the previous summer shenanigans. No evidence of this is offered nor can it be, simply a false presumption that has taken hold. Perhaps in Fàbregas’ case, it is nothing more than a player who leads by example being injured and pre-occupied by that?

The problem is that the romantic image of a captain at Arsenal is formed by the likes of McLintock and Adams. Boisterous characters, vocal to their colleagues. Typically British. This generation is different, needing less of the ‘They don’t like it up ’em‘ attitude to get them going, more of a firm and steadying character upon which to draw strength.

That does not need to be a captain though. A leader in the middle of the pitch, one to lift Fàbregas when he needs it, one to compliment the Spaniard’s captaincy. That is the experience Arsenal need this summer.

’til Tomorrow.

170 thoughts on “Djourou On Hope, Expectation & What Might Have Been

  1. its not that george
    i just dont like it when ppl talk rubbish…(see njn above)

    im not a doomer, but im not an hardcore akb either…
    i can see whats right and i can see whats wrong and il debate it with anyone its not my fault ppl are sensitive and resort to insults..

  2. i havent gone off track anywhere mate…
    you called me a dunce and a dummy for saying we didnt have enough natural defenders when you could only mention two..

    doesnt matter what you say now you lost all credibility

  3. The Refs thing is a bit silly ,yet………………………
    I feel the terrible refereeing at Newcastle was the turning point of the season.
    That was more than just an odd bit of bad luck.It was fucking criminal
    Us being to weak to recover is also fucking criminal.

  4. JJ

    So we just need Wenger to speak o you as you can see whats right and whats wrong.

    In fact, there’s no need of this or any other blog as you just need to post one universal one, once an thats all we will ever need!

    Brilliant stuff. And, yep, I can see how you get yourself into these spats too mate!

    Thanks, seeya

  5. Yes, we do get some good calls from the ref. But on the whole, those are few and far between. This season, I’ve seen countless, malicious fouls committed against us, go unpunished. Take the case of Sagna v that racist thug from Birmingham. Dude could and should have been sent off on at least 4 separate occasions. Bizarrely, no card came forth for persistent fouls on Walcott & Sagna, until after his 12th, and even that was a joke. A mere yellow for a two-footed attempt to eviscerate Sagna’s leg from his knee – without any attempt made to get the ball. Contrast that with the many soft yellow cards Song, Squillaci and Koscielny have received all season.

  6. You are right there Goerge, we never fully recovered from that result, add the CC final and i think most teams would suffer.

  7. MLS just handed out a 10 game suspension for a leg breaking tackle. Should have been 50 but at least it shows some cajones and is a small move in the right direction. MLS ahead of the EPL, who would have guessed. May be next MLS will get goal line technology.

  8. george yeah the newcastle thing was a debarcle..
    but if we beat brum maybe we dont collapse and maybe they call the decision not to get a pen and a red card in first 3 minutes a debacle too
    maybe if blackpool get that nailed on pen they get it back to 2-2 and it doesnt finish 3-1 and holloway doesnt kick off…

    come on dex..weve been here before just cos i think its right and wrong doenst mean im right does it..but thats why we blog isnt it..its my opinion..
    if wenger listened to half the people talk on here we wouldnt win anything for 6 years… ooopppps wait… 😉

    the thing with the spats is ppl just dont like it cos i dont agree…so out comes the mug, idiot, moron, cunt, dunce, dummy, fool etc etc etc…

    and youve had your fair of spats on here as well recently

    your welcome..laters


    (i) Gibbs will be sent out on-loan to a lower-to-mid table,
    Premiership team, next season.

    (ii)Vermaelen, if fully recovered will see plenty of action,
    alternating between Central Defense, Left Back & Defensive Midfield

    (iii) Pedro Botelho will provide additional cover in the Left Back &
    Left Midfield positions.

    (iv) Ryo Myaichi will get a chance to showcase his talent in the EPL,
    after qualifying for work visa, courtesy of his summer exploits.

    (v) Eastmond will be moved on either in the summer or during the
    January transfer window to maximize revenue.

    (vi) Frimpong will be sent out on a loan spell ranging between 1-3 months.

    (vii) Bartley & Lansbury will gain first team squad promotion.

    (viii) 5/6 current first team members will move on – 2 of ’em will be
    a shock to most. Excluding Traore

    (ix)To the dismay of some, Squillaci won’t be one of the departed.

    (x)Jay Emmanuel-Thomas & Carlos Vela – one these two won’t remain in
    Arsenal’s colors. I’m leaning towards the Jay.

    (xi) 7 reserve team players will be released from their contracts

    (xii) Lastly 3 new players will join our great club. 2 will be
    absolutely top quality, heavy hitters. The rest will be business as

    Don’t shoot the messenger. Change is inevitable and a natural part of
    evolution. In short, if you’re riled by the above predictions, take it
    up with Arsène Wenger for wielding the axe.

  10. JJ you know very well the mitigating circumstances for the 6 years and counting shit.So just by bringing up that particular sound bite you annoy many people and make yourself look like someone who just rehashes the usual crap.
    I know this is not the case but you dont help yourself.
    After all its ACLF not Le Shite ,what do you expect?

  11. george
    i just think its time we stopped the blame game…weve used it too long its time we looked into the mirror and admitted its not them but us..

    its time we adressed our blind spots and got them sorted once and for all..

  12. Borges:

    My hero:

    Kos as DM instead of TV5? Kos better passer and TV5 a stronger.

    TV5 on the left a great shout. Adds some bulk to the side and help with set pieces. He loves to get forward, has enough pace and probably can cross as well as Clichy.

  13. Jon Jon:

    I asked earlier but Kyle has not been in the squad for Rangers for the last few games. He was pretty regular for a while. Is he hurt or did he lose his spot?

  14. You know our blind spots JJ :- World class goalkeeper, WC C defender, and a striker who can bag 20 plus goals a season.

  15. @spy. Rvp Bagged 19 so far THIS SEASON. 15 in the PL. If he “bags” 3 more or even 2 more he is a 20 plus goal a season striker. you are such a nuubblet when it comes to stats man….

  16. JJ

    Haha! Yep, I have had my fair share of spats mate, thats why I found your latest one funny dude! Been there, done that, couldnt resist mate!

    Seeya here’s to a win tomorrow.

  17. haha dex i know you too well by now.. 😉

    bill, i think i replied mate..kyles injured for rest of season…

  18. Yeah Poodle dont throw stats at me i know what RVP has scored, as far as im concerned he is the best striker in europe, that said imagine how great we would be with another 20 plus scorer in the side. get it

  19. @Bill
    I also prefer Koscielny in DM to TV. But i suspect Wenger might prefer our current CD partnership to remain. Either way, both players appear to have what it takes to thrive in the 2 positions. Which could be useful.

    @Mr J.J
    I felt compelled to share my gut feelings with the rest of my ACLF family. Ofcourse i may be wrong in one or two of my aspersions, chances are that 75% will come to pass.

  20. spy i dont totally agree
    i think ches has done enough…
    i also think we could get away with not buying a defender..i think its a training ground thing…although if my dream of tv at lb comes true we will need another cb…
    i do think we need a hotshot striker but if we revert to 442 we could get 20 out of rvp and theo..
    a solid midfielder is needed and so is a winger most definately

  21. If you look back on the games this season, I think you could say we showed signs of the fallability of the team whe we lost those 3 home games in pretty quick succession. To lose one of them was normal, as crazy hit happens, but 3? That was fucked up and the Toon game was just too fucking bonkers to get my head round. That journey home, on a train full of neanderthal geordies was too too much to take after losing a 4 goal lead. Anything after shouldnt have been a surprise I guess.

    Wenger knows now who he can and cannot rely on, so changes will be coming in the summer. Not massive changes like the tabloids love to suggest “Exodus” style, but significant nonetheless.

    I havent cleared that with JoJon, so I might not have all the correct information there!!!

  22. JJ ur right about Theo there’s so much more to come from him, as for ches, he is a great goalie but i think under a WC established keeper he could learn so much, RVP definitely needs a hand, i leave the formation to your superior knoledge.

  23. Apologists are not needed when you support a football team. Fuck all this ‘get on with the ref’ bollox. How can a player respect a ref when he gets sent off for kicking the ball 1 second after the whistle has been blown (never happened before or since). Or when when a refs ignore blatant dirty tackles you are supposed to say, what, “well done ref”.

    Being a supporter means you are biased towards the team you support. Always has been and always will. Except it seems for some Arsenal fans.

  24. lol dexter

    wenger makes changes every summer…this exodus thing is bullshit..
    last year wenger replaced an entire CB personell..
    so the media wont have asked for anything new..
    silvestre, gallas, senderos, campbell…bye bye..
    hes done it before, this is a man who got rid of the invincibles in 2 years remember
    he’ll sell this year but we just need the right players to come in..

  25. Dupsff

    Anyone who says they are being objective when describing anything to do with the team they say they support, well, they dont really support them do they!

  26. Fuck me, everyone and their dog is beating Sunderland and Bolton these days, well everyone except for…

  27. no respect for refs duke
    they are all crap…
    but we cant keep saying we fell apart in the league cos this ref did this in a game back then and he cost us the lot….its all his fault theres a mass conspiracy..
    there isnt..they are just shit

  28. Dont get bitter Dex you know they raise there game to beat the Arsenal, or is it we cant raise………..

  29. How about this for a theory Dumpkuf, when you respect the ref you might get some back, leading to a trouble free game eh.

  30. JJ. I did say we were criminal as well.
    I think you idea of what is needed is very close,a winger and dm.
    But how can people think Arsene does not know where weakness are?

  31. Arsene does know where the weaknesses are, and to be fair has tried to redress, ie:- Shay Given when they would not let him go, but he is still stubborn in certain area’s

  32. @NJN
    I’m thrilled you’re deriving some sort of amusement from my predictions. As this is a public forum, you have the right to deduce from it what you may, as i do, too, reserve the right to opine.

    Have a good evening.

  33. “Clichy can’t defend”

    Lol. The 2nd choice (not sure if Evra has been completely dropped. Anyone?) France international LB Gael Clichy can’t defend. Those French know fuck all about football huh, JJ. Funny stuff.

  34. Well is he stubborn or just more knowledgeable than the people who think they know all the answers?

  35. Borges, I think a lot of what you stated will come true, keep going man there is nothing wrong with a prediction or two, and you have got some backs up well done.

  36. To be fair Clichy is targeted a lot.He is therefore perceived,by premiership managers,to be at least a weak link.

  37. I know one thing, we play the best football in the Premier, i would not pay to watch any other team in this league, and i know we will win something very soon.

  38. “How about this for a theory Dumpkuf, when you respect the ref you might get some back, leading to a trouble free game eh.”

    When you start living in the real world I will take note of your posts until then I will just treat them as the nonsense that they are,

  39. Well Dumpkuf i do live in the real world,unlike you who never played the game and have no knowledge of how you have to get on with the ref in actually playing the game

  40. It was well amusing, BS. For the sheer arrogance alone. Your use of the English language is quite funny, too. You have quite the vocabulary. Easily one of the most articulate armchair manager posts yet.

  41. Djouru, my friend. We are talking about basic mistakes that cost us dearly and the ability not to organised yourselves on most set plays. The fade away culture that we seem to now have. Fix it up and get us win v utd and keep out the papers, they hate your gut’s.

  42. Well Dumpkuf im glad im in James company, Its not often i can debate with one as intelligent as you

  43. Yup, my mastery of the English language is on par with any eruditious, native speaker. Thanks for the bank-handed compliment, NJN.

  44. NJN,

    This is the 2nd time in a month, you have attempted to get at me with derisory comments of sorts. The first, i let slide in order not to reduce the atmosphere of this gentile blog to that of a nuthouse – out of respect to our good authors and fellow participants. Still I’m not sure how it profits you, in your artful pursuit of beefin’ with me. It’s tedious and picayune. Maybe you have a complex or crave the adoration of other respondents (whoopy doo, perdido, they’re all laughing now), or quite possibly you just might be an unhappy, nasty individual. In any case this blog won’t provide the anecdote to your problems. You may want to try a therapist’ couch for a more effective solution.

    Flattered, as i am, by your interest in my posts, your opinion of my views, linguistic prowess and whatnot are inconsequential to me. So let’s keep it moving, homie.


  45. Lol. None of the above, BS. Your living in a fantasy land. I think I’ve said your name twice in two months. How that equates to an artful pursuit of beef is beyond me.

  46. Good post: refreshing to see someone thinking hard and trying to get below the superficial and the throwaway. For what it’s worth, I always thought that it was a mistake to sell Gilberto — a much under-rated player and captain. The current team would have benefited enormously from his quiet authority and long experience.

  47. Joshua I have never recommended or bought into the Man U, Chelsea or even Man C, models for success – but always said Arsenal needed to and still must prune and add to the current squad. The Arsenal Wenger system, i love, but he does not have the right balance in the squad to make it work. Our lads will always put on a good show in periods, but are they able to maintain that for an entire season. History has answered that question for us. (5 previous seasons we suffer burn off at the same stage) No! We could only speculate now, what the addition of Chris Samba might have contributed to our backline when the going was tough. I could not see Alex Song playing the way he does getting through an entire season without picking up an injury, getting sent off even become worn-out.
    Koscielny I like but I still say he is playing out of position. Because he reads the game so well, alongside Song might prove his better position. Also because of his height and build, he has to work dubbly hard in defense where it is most tough. Arsenal midfield creates more goal scoring opportunities than most teams in Europe, but we lack a natural goal scorer.

    Having squandered the January transfer window, my suggestion was that Mr. Wenger do the next best thing. Bring in reinforcement from the Reserve squad and some of those sent out on loan. Such as Kyle Bartley, Lansbury, the JeT, Coquelin, Aneke and Afobe. Get them training with the first team and bring them in when needed. The Bear was crying out for this immediately the January transfer window closed and Arsene did not take advantage of that opportunity. Why? I could see Denilson is having a terrible season, Rosciky after running ten minutes is wacked. Diaby up and down, Squallaci you never know what to expect. Fabergas & Walcott was injured and Song was showing signs of wear and tear. Other option would have been to take a few players on loan.

    Kenny Daglish it was that gave Mr. Wenger a little lesson recently by playing young reserves.

    I will conclude by saying this what have we learned from past mistakes: History has shown that history have taught us NOTHING!

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