Arsenal At The World Cup 2002 – 2010

The final rosebushes in bloom, hidden from the public view by tracts of weeds in FIFAs overgrown garden

2002 South Korea / Japan

FIFA’s decision to have two countries host the finals stage prompted a spate of no hopers to club together for future bids, in the hope that they might win the bidding process and qualify for the finals themselves. Scotland have been among the most prominent names to feature in these partnerships although I believe their chances were hampered when they tried to use Atlantis as co-hosts. FIFA’s Inspection Reports suggested that the waterlogged pitches may prove problematic and Atlantis didn’t have enough stadia to cope with the deluge of matches being shifted due to the Scottish weather.

English football, the Premier League had assumed its mantle of being the financially dominant competition in club football, reflected in the number of players at these finals who plied their trades in these shores. It meant a plethora of transfer targets could begin to appear in the back pages. Bixente Lizarazu joined Vieira, Henry and Wiltord in the French squad who as defending champions put in a shambolic defence of their crown. Former Arsenal midfielder, Emmanuel Petit, had yet to start his movie career, plying his trade in the pre-Russian Chelsea Republic having failed to make any impression at Barcelona beyond a nifty set of brass rubbings from Catalan churches. No goals, no wins and one point; at least they provided a different comedy relief, the sort of derision usually reserved for the England squad swam across the channel before collapsing into gales of laughter on the Normandy beaches. Any Arsenal supporters involved would feel French wrath in later years when they decided that Mikael Silvestre should join from Manchester United when his prime was well behind him.

jd

The Danes topped that group including Thomas Gravesen, the lost Mitchell Brother, who some thought Arsène should sign from Everton when the midfield looked a little light. Poland meanwhile had future Arsenal player Jerzy Dudek in their squad. Yes, I know you are scratching your head at that one but it’s true, Arsenal did announce him as a player before the ink had even touched the contract (thanks to Arseblog for the picture and the story).  The then-Liverpool goalkeeper could do little as they crashed out of a group won by South Korea. Second place was taken by three teams – the USA! USA! USA! – whilst Portugal and Poland occupied the bottom two spots. The Americans included Brad Freidel whose name popped up on lists of experienced goalkeepers that we should sign in recent seasons before he went to the wrong end of the Seven Sisters and everyone realised he wasn’t actually that good any more. Co-hosts Japan also won their group, Belgium finishing second largely thanks to the intelligent midfield play of Danny Boffin.

Once again, there were no confirmed sightings of Alex Song in the crowd to support his cousin, Rigobert in the Cameroonian squad or Arsenal’s right back at the time, Lauren. The Africans exited in the opening round, unable to cope with the hustle and bustle of Ireland’s style, having beaten Saudi Arabia and lost to a German squad which included future Arsenal goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann. He was a proper goalkeeper unlike Niall Quinn, who had been tagged as the third in Jack Charlton’s squad twelve years earlier. This time he was included as a striker and enough said about that, the better. Davor Suker, the Croatian captain and one-season wonder at Highbury, was now plying his trade in Munich with 1860 and managed just over an hour of their first game defeat to Mexico before catching a flight home as the Croats exited in round one. It was a common theme for this tournament as teams which were expected to do well, fell at the first hurdle.

England somehow didn’t and perhaps that was due to the strong Arsenal backbone in their line-up. Three of the club’s quartet – Seaman, Cole and Campbell – lined up against teammate Freddie Ljungberg, fresh from making Chelsea look ordinary in the FA Cup final. And winning the league at Old Trafford, of course. Campbell scored a legitimate goal for his country, quite possibly for the first time at the World Cup finals, but Sweden pegged them back for a one-all draw that was entirely unsurprising and a fair result from memory. The Swedes beat Kanu’s Nigeria as England faced Argentina in the next group match, winning thanks to a dubiously won but comfortably converted penalty from future Arsenal trainee, David Beckham. The remaining group games were drawn and the Europeans qualified with Sweden top on goals scored, no thanks to Freddie who had yet to trouble the record books. He didn’t in the next round either, Sweden surprising losing 2  – 1 to Senegal.

England comfortably bounded past a Bendtner-less Denmark to set up a meeting with future Arsenal gentleman, Gilberto Silva, and a Brazilian squad determined to put right the wrong of not turning up for the 1998 final, which they duly did. David Seaman was in the England squad so often that this was his third major finals in three different decades. A shame his arm couldn’t stretch back that far as Ronaldinho’s free kick went past him. Whilst Ashley Cole played well and was on his way to a record twenty-two appearances for his country in major finals, I still maintain that had Martin Keown played, he would have stopped Brazil in their tracks. As it was, he didn’t play a minute, joining Viv Anderson and George Eastham as one of the few who were picked for two World Cup squads and never played.

2006 Germany

When Michael Owen told us that he was looking forward to seeing Sven Goran Eriksson on 9th July, we knew at whose house the England Team were having their World Cup Final Barbie. The former striker’s optimism was so utterly misplaced as an abysmal England squad proved to be worse than we thought in Germany. But that wasn’t the news of the tournament, Arsène was busy signing the legendary Tomas Rosicky before the tournament from Borussia Dortmund, even if the paperwork wasn’t filed until afterwards. Who says the market is quiet beforehand? He was one of a cast of thousands of future Arsenal players at these finals, Mertesacker was there, Fabianski, William Gallas, along with *whisper* Mikael Silvestre and Park Chu-Young as some sort of bad omen for the future. Perhaps Arsène had seen something then which we all missed? That’s before we mention Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Rami Shabaan, Patrick Vieira and Sylvain Wiltord, who had left the club for pastures new by this time. Failed Arsenal trialist Yaya Toure was in the Ivory Coast squad. How bad must he have played at Arsenal not to be taken on?

If there were many of the future and past, the present provided 15 of the Arsenal squad, along with 625 of Team Adebayor who were beginning a scouting mission for their venture two years later which would end in his sale to Manchester City. The full list is: Lehmann, Cole, Campbell, Walcott, Ljungberg, Kolo Toure, van Persie, Silva, Henry, Djourou, Senderos, Reyes, Fabregas, Eboue and Adebayor. Sol Campbell’s inclusion meant that he set a new record for playing in the finals of six consecutive tournaments, from Euro 96 onwards. That’s France 98, Euro2000, Korea/Japan 2002, Euro2004 and this one, to save you working out the others. Theo Walcott’s selection was contentious until the FA explained that they had spent their travel budget but could take the youngster as he qualified for a child’s fare. It was money well spent as he learned a lot that he has been able to put to good use in World Cups since.

England topped their group, impressively beating two countries in one match, 2 – 0 vs Trinidad and Tobago, having subjected us to 87 minutes of mind-numbing tedium in the opening 1 – 0 over Paraguay. Freddie Ljungberg scored in Sweden’s win over Paraguay and unsurprisingly, the two European nations drew when they met but unlike four years earlier, England topped the group. A fat lot of good it did them as they continued the time-honoured tradition of losing on penalties, this time to Portugal whose goalkeeper Ricardo was, to the regret of a thousand headline writers, not replaced by Benfica’s Quim.

And what of the rest? Reyes and Cesc went home at the same time as England. Arsenal transfer targets Xabi Alonso and David Villa set them off to a fine start with a win over Ukraine which led to a procession of points from Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. First decent team and they lost, France winning 3 – 1 in the second round. The French were in the same group as Togo and Switzerland, who qualified with them. Senderos got on the scoresheet against South Korea, kept Henry at bay in a goalless draw and was probably sad that the Swiss exited unbeaten in open play as they lost on penalties to Ukraine. Adebayor was deemed a ringleader as Togo players argued about bonuses and went home without a point to their name. He didn’t even have the record of scoring their only goal in that tournament either. The French made up for their disappointment four years earlier by making the heartache worse, losing their heads and the final to Italy on penalties.

Eboue and Kolo Toure faced Arsenal colleague Robin van Persie, ending up losing to the Dutch and Argentina before exiting with a win over Serbia and Montenegro, the winner coming courtesy of some-time Arsenal target Kalou. Don’t even go there, Arsène. The Dutch went out to England’s conquerors, Portugal whilst Gilberto Silva’s Brazil lost to France. All the while, I know what you’re thinking (beyond that this is going on a bit), where’s Lehmann in all this? He was busy saving penalties with his infamous note of paper. Well, with his hands as opposed to the paper itself as Germany cracked on to finish third, having lost to Italy in the last four before beating the Portuguese in the fourth-placed trophy final. And yes, you’ve guessed, the Portuguese goalkeeper was…still Ricardo.

2010 South Africa

If Germany spoilt us for choice, only 11 of the Arsenal squad made it to the first African finals. Thankfully, Theo Walcott wasn’t one of them because England were so bloody awful that I am sure his reputation was enhanced. Yes, England were unlucky that Lampard’s goal was disallowed by it would have been a travesty if Germany hadn’t won. Still what did Capello expect with no Arsenal players to call on, former employees Ashley Cole and Matthew Upson were present. Yes, Matthew Upson was for a time the best centre back the country could call upon…

Whilst there was an average number of Arsenal players in attendance, the past and present was a veritable smorgasbord. Henry and Anelka were with France, Bacary Sagna too now falls into this category. Kanu, Park Chu-Young, Squillaci, Clichy, Gallas, van Persie, van Bronckhorst, Bendtner, Gilberto Silva, Julio Baptista, Toure, Gervinho, Demel, Eboue, Cesc and Senderos. It’s almost an XI on its own. Some can fall into both, their Arsenal careers not yet started in 201o and now over.

The French were in disarray before the tournament started and continued to descend when the time demanded they were serious. The heirs did what seemed impossible and put in even more abject performances than in 2002, losing along the way to Carlos Vela’s Mexico, who would eventually lose to Argentina in the second round.

But it was the Germans who once more set the world alight. Last four in 2006, a repeat performance in 2010, undone in the semi-finals by the eventual champions once more, this time Spain courtesy of a Carles Puyol goal eliminating them. Özil was instrumental as England were torn apart and the highly thought of Argentinians were shown equally little respect in the quarter-finals as they were battered 4 – 0. The Germans were many peoples favourites to win the tournament but the warning signs had been there with defeat to Serbia in the group stages. It just goes to show how blinded you can be by a couple of good results. They finished third again, Podolski grabbed a couple of goals in the tournament although his trademark finish against England was his last, Özil scored the winner against Ghana in the group stages.

And you’re right, this final section is brief and that brevity reflects just what an awful tournament 2010 was. What should have been a celebration was for the most part, drab, dour and uninspiring, epitomised by the Dutch performance in losing to Spain when it mattered. Let’s hope that Brazil, with its history in the game offers something

And at a long last, there was a sighting of Alex Song at the World Cup, Rigobert showing him the ropes as a senior member of the squad.

’til Tomorrow

63 thoughts on “Arsenal At The World Cup 2002 – 2010

  1. I really hopw that this world Cup is a good one, there have been one nor two shockers in recent times.

    If the summer carries on like this, we’ll need a bit of cheering up as well as something to do.

  2. Morning Yogi, your Missus must be putting something in your tea!

    Well done Michael, I pass my crown over to you.

    Cbob, if the social problems in Brazil don’t ruin it then I think this WC could be a cracker, as an outside bet I’m going with Belgium to get to the final.

  3. NB how gracious…
    I would nearly lay your bet on Belgium myself 🙂
    The heat and humidity might throw up some unusual results…Like England winning!!!

  4. YW,

    I really like these WC posts…. I have blotted the 2006 one out of my brain as it was so tedious.

  5. But that’s all just history! Some European team will be the first someday. Maybe this year?

    Doing your predictor Bob? Just finished mine.

  6. I would suggest that the condition of players today is quite different to the last South American WC – Mexico ’86?

    I’d consider that a bit of a misleading fact, that the continent will be a barrier to a winner from Europe. Not saying the conditions won’t challenge and add a dimension, but I don’t foresee today’s european athletes to be incapable of winning this tournament over there

  7. Interesting point to note at Mexico ’86…

    Whilst Argentina were tournament winners, the runners up were West Germany and France and Belgium played the 3rd place play off game…..

  8. Infact, barring the 1930’s WC, at each South American WC the semi finalists have been made up from a minimum of two European sides, on some occassions three of the 4 were European.

  9. Yep, LSG. Just did mine as well.

    Don’t see too many shocks this year. Some good knock out matches too.

  10. Good post Yogi. Although it brought back memories of a tall Stoke player using our defender’s dreadlocks for balance while in the penalty area and getting away with it. BTW you stepped into island politics with the two country thing. Are you campaigning for secession?

  11. @Lime

    I watched the highlights of the Toronto win 3-2 over the weekend and spotted a good few arsenal shirts. More than I saw when I lived there.

  12. Yogi, I love the World Cup posts, every one has been brilliant.

    I think this World Cup has all the potential to be quite a good one. All the top teams seem to have their players beginning their peak year, are in the midst of their peak years or youngsters that ooze class at an early age.

    Brasil will win it though!

  13. Bob

    I think until S.A 2010 the only team to win on a different continent was Brasil who have won in America, Europe and Asia, except Argentina of course who cheated and won in Mexico. That is Maradona cheated and Mexico is only technically not the same continent, but might as well be. Brasil also won on the N. American continent in the USA if we are going to insist on that differentiation.

    So Spain and Brazil have won on different continents, but no foreigners have won in South America. Is this the spiritual home of the game?

    Its going home,
    Its going home,
    Football’s going home!

    We have heard it before, but England is looking good this time. Quarter finals? i’m relatively revved.
    Pity they did not have a young side last time around in the high altitude environment of Bloemfontein. It suited the young German side. That and a pair of glasses for the referee.

  14. Just read back over the last few days. Great blogs, YW!

    Stefan Schwarz, eh! Great left foot, but blatantly didn’t want to know. Never shone for us, but performed in a far stronger league in a golden age Fiorentina team next to Batistuta and Rui Costa.

  15. Actually I bet AW would have got something out of him. And Limpar before him of course.

  16. Prediction done LSG & Bob, I couldn’t quite keep my summary to 250 words but I hope it makes sense at least. I actually think real shocks will be harder to come by, it’s going to be more difficult for the lesser teams to out work and out fight the better ones IMO. I just hope it isn’t all about conserving energy and winning games with the occasional rapier like burst. I’m expecting a real battle in the final though.

  17. Miami, I was really amazed at how many Arsenal supporters there were in the stands and on the streets in Toronto after the match I went to a couple weeks ago. It is great to see the club growing–and that cup win is going to help. There were lots of proud gooners saluting me and Limestonegunnerinho in our Arsenal shirts. Up the gunners!

  18. Does look pretty good, Cbob–I hope it will prove more entertaining that the last in South Africa which, apart from the Ghana-Uruguay match, seemed to hold relatively little drama.

  19. Still have to get to the write up, though. Sometime today or tonight. Yet more appreciation for YW’s insight and artistry on a daily basis…

  20. Gamb, I think Argentina might still have won that game without the Hand of God goal. Who knows.

  21. I think the weather will play a part in this World Cup. While the South Americans are used to playing in the temperature, the European countries aren’t and that weather during the midday can be absolutely brutal especially when playing a 90 min match.

  22. Birdkamp,

    I’ve wondered a number of times what Arsene would have done for Anders. I think he could have been unreal in a typical Wenger team. Before Santi he was the most two footed player I’d ever seen.

  23. One thing I hope happens (apart from all our players coming back uninjured from this tournament) is that Jack Wilshere gets a chance to play and proves his class and quality. He’s had so many injuries, been the subject of so much hype and then disappointment among England fans and in the English media, and been stymied in his development. It would be wonderful to see him have an excellent tournament. I don’t think England will do all that well, but Jack could still play well and even score a goal and set up one or two in the group games to boost his confidence, prepare him for the coming season, and show that he is a true talent and maturing player of great quality. Right now there is lots of talk of Henderson being ahead of him in the midfield, which seems a real shame.

  24. @LSG

    I completely agree with you. I really hope Jack does come good not just the his own personal confidence but for Arsenal heading into next season. Imagine how great it would be for Ramsey to continue and build on his form from last season and then Jack has a Ramsey type season?!??!??!?!? Honestly though on current form you can’t really say that Henderson probably doesn’t deserve the nod ahead of Jack, but lets be honest, a fit Jack WILL ALWAYS be better than Henderson.

  25. I think Podolski will be playing up top for Germany should something happen to Klose. It shows both their versatility and lack thereof when it comes to Germany’s attacking talent but lack thereof, of a striker outside of Klose(though I really rate Keibling!).

  26. I think I managed mine in 300 words, or something like that. Very difficult exercise in that sense.

    I agree, cannot see many surprises. That said, there is always one or two and I fancy one of Japan and South Korea to make at least the 2nd round. In fact, I believe I had both coming through if memory serves. I just love the work rate of those teams, no real stars so to speak but great team focus.

  27. It is interesting, C, that European teams are being sacrificed for European audiences. 1pm kickoff in Recife or Fortaleza?! That is truly idiotic. But Italy and Germany fans want to watch at a reasonable hour their team suffer . Who do you think is better at playing low intensity football in such heat? Going to be interesting but it is a little bit like the Qatar WC or US world cup in blazing heat. Luckily many of the venues in Rio, Porto Allegre, Sao Paolo, Belo Horizonte will be in “winter” so more moderate conditions.

  28. ML, yeah, he was the man just at the time I got into football. Revisited him recently and he’s got the balance of a modern attacking midfielder; just great to watch. Got to say that AW would have turned Rocastle into one of the greats too. But Merson would probably have been out the door before he broke though, despite the talent!

  29. @LSG

    That’s true, but living in the US I don’t mind the match times especially since most of them start either during my work day(yea probably won’t be much work done during the World Cup), or right as I’m pulling up into my drive way or the local pub.

    The thing about playing low intensity futbol, is the fact that the South American teams I would imagine will press the tempo and pace of play similar to what Brasil did to Spain in the Confederation Cup, forcing them to either adapt which then it would become who can last 90 mins(my money is on the South Americans) or get embarrassed(yea I’m looking at you Spain).

  30. True, Jonny. That would have been a problem for Argentina! To me, however, as a non-Englishman, it is a pretty beautiful part of WC and football history.

  31. The more I watch Hulk the less and less I am impressed with him. I fully doubt that he makes it through the group stage as the starter on the right wing.

  32. Looking at this Brazil lineup, it’s pretty low on creativity isn’t it? Lots hard-running players, but not many passers apart from Oscar. Even he’s not the most imaginative player.

    Panama have got a dude who makes Rory Delap look like 50 cent! Huge throws!

  33. @Big Al

    Yea agree and Hulk just continues to not impress and offer really anything. This will probably be the starting XI except you will have Paulinho(who offers both more creativity and an uncanny partnership with Gustavo) in for Ramires, Thiago Silva in for Dante and many Brasilians including myself(who is not Brasilian but grew up on it) are hoping for either Bernard or William for Hulk.

  34. Its a shame that Ganso wasn’t included in this side having really shone this year most of the time at club level. He would have surely provided the #10 that Scolari loves, just play it to them and play dictate play and tempo and spread the ball all over the place.

  35. C, yeah Paulinho and Willian/Bernard would make definitely make a difference in this side. I can see the attraction to Hulk, but there need to be passers behind him.

    To me, Fred’s another strange one. A very good box player, but never seems to set things alight elsewhere on this stage.

    Meanwhile Neymar’s obviously got a good eye for a pass, but is going to be marked to death in this tournament.

  36. I mean you compare Fred to the great Brazilian strikers and he doesn’t come off too well.

    What happened to Ganso? A few years ago he was looking immense. Was it just injuries? Jadson’s another natural playmaker left out.

  37. @Big Al

    Paulinho, Gustavo and Oscar are going to be the starting midfield. Hulk just never impresses for me for Brasil.

    Fred is a classic poacher simply put. If you think about it, he is the perfect striker for this side. Marcelo and Dani Alves love to attack and whip in those delicious balls and Fred is brilliant at getting on the end of them. He works perfectly with Neymar and Oscar because he doesn’t cramp their space by constantly dropping deep. Fred doesn’t want to link up and doesn’t need to link up play, he scores goals and is good at it.

    I agree with Neymar being marked out but that IMHO and many Brasilians eyes is down to teams simply not respecting Hulk and Hulk not punishing them. Put Bernard or William opposite and it will be hard to just say “Were going to take Neymar out because the other “winger” won’t hurt us.”

  38. @Big Al

    NO modern strikers compare to those of the past. Pato has the potential but his confidence has been shattered since Milan kicked him out.

    Gustavo’s knee let him down for about 2 years and now that he has changed clubs(from Santo to Sau Paulo) he is starting to flourish again and show the skills that had us all mesmerized with his connection with Neymar. Jadson just hasn’t put it all together to be honest.

    Scolari plays a different brand though that doesn’t have all the creative talent but prefers Hulk(which again is CONSTANTLY being criticized for his poor outings seemingly every time he puts on the Brasilian shirt.

  39. C, I think many fans have a romantic concept of what a Brazil striker should be like, and Fred doesn’t seem to fit the bill. But if he works in the system then I suppose that’s what counts. And yeah, there don’t seem to be many alternatives. It’s a shame what’s happened to Pato. Hell, Adriano would still be young enough had he not gone off the rails all those years ago!

    Thanks for the info on Ganso.

    What’s puzzling about Hulk is that usually when a manager opts for a player like him it’s because he offers more defensive stability, but Hulk doesn’t seem to track back too well either. He has his uses in that position because he’s so powerful on the ball, but I can see why people would prefer someone like Willian, who’s much trickier.

  40. @Big Al

    Trust mate, I hate the fact that Fred is our main striker, he just doesn’t do it for me but I understand why Scolari has gone with him(remember he was the Golden Boot winner at the Confederation Cup with 5), he scores goals and stays out of the way of the more creative players by roaming the box looking to get on the end of balls and rebounds. I much would have preferred that Pato get his head on and played there. Adriano was just another player that is a side case. When he was playing for Inter he was brilliant and then he just went off the deep end.

    Yea Hulk NEVER tracks back! Somebody like Bernard or William not only offers you the pace and willingness to track back but also that bit of trickery and creativity that they need opposite Neymar and on the right side of Oscar. Hulk is one of those players that are really good for club but not so much for country.

  41. Hernanes is a midfielder I really like and honestly gives them more creative punch than Oscar.

  42. Yeah, Fred’s scoring record is impressive and the way you put it definitely makes sense.

    Whoops, Hulk just did what he does best. Got in behind onto a fantastic backheel by Neymar.

    Btw, I watched a bit of the Toulon tournament the last couple of weeks. Brazil have got riduculous amounts of talent coming through, There’s this kid called Mosquito who looks immense already.

  43. @Big Al

    Yea Fred is just not your typical Brazilian striker but he sure does enjoy scoring like one.

    For me though, if Hulk was the main striker but he’s not creative, doesn’t help defensively but does score IN FRIENDLIES ONLY. Here’s a stat to think about: He has 9 goals and 0 in competitive matches!

    Yea the talent coming through is absolutely fantastic. I am truly excited about not just him but they have a striker(Luan) that is reminiscent of some of those strikers that you speak of!

    There will always be talent that comes through Brasil. You can look at a club like Shaktar who just seems to constantly have Brasilians coming through that rarely get spoken about until they explode in Europe for Shahktar.

  44. Looking at Sagna play for France and knowing he will not be playing at Arsenal again makes me feel that we still do not have our priorities right. He is class and the cost of replacing him (if it is possible) is likely to be the same as paying him the £150 k p/w he will get at ManSour. Why not break the rules in order to give a reward to players on their last contract.

    Now it appears that we will have to play against Cesc too, if Ozil was not looking like the best deal last year, he is now the reason why we will not go after Cesc too. Sure we don’t need anyone in that position, but there are plenty of players that I would be tempted to get rid of to make way for him including the Oz.

    I shouldn’t post when I hear bad news…………aaaaaaarggggggh.

  45. No way we should be getting rid of Ozil for Cesc at this point, Gamb. Cesc should agitate to return to Arsenal and narrow the market as he did before to one club. But I agree with you entirely about Sagna and said the same. Total cost to replace (need two players basically, RB and backup CB) is going to be higher in the end plus the loss of continuity. Transition rather than progress is what you get this way.

  46. I think AW should buy Balotelli now before he reminds the world of his quality at the WC. Good chance to win the Golden Boot.

  47. LSG

    I’m tempted to agree. The boy can play and he scores goals wherever he goes, offers a different option to what we’ve got. The bad boy image means, relative to talent, he won’t cost the earth (Bony and Balotelli both being touted at circa £25m? No comparison for me…)

    But that bad boy streak…. can he be tamed?

    Or, another way to look at it, should he be tamed? For me, it makes up part of his game. That nasty, ruthless, me against everyone mentality is part of what he thrives on. Also, we’ve taken on some pretty naughty boys before, why not again? The other problem with the players we are supposed to now be looking at, the ones with zoopah, zoopah qualiddee, is that that talent doesn’t always go hand in hand with being a lovely little nice boy goody two shoes. Time for the management to earn their corn I say

  48. Damon

    If anyone could tame Mario then it would be Wenger…. but as you say, perhaps his personality is also part of his game. He wears his heart on his sleeve so to speak. Passionate but unpredictable. If we sign him his first week there he’d probably burn down the trophy cabinet and the FA Cup would melt.

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