Tom, Bill, Manny, Gael All Out. Anyone Back In?

Ahead of the visit to Wigan, the Arsenal balloon has had a Martin O’Neill-sized pin thrust into it and is slowly deflating thanks to the confirmation of the injuries sustained in Spain in midweek.

William Gallas is confirmed as being out for the remainder of the season whilst Manuel Almunia and Gael Clichy are going to miss arguably the most defining ten days of the season. Little surprise that this has happened for it sums up everything about 2008/09 so far; things go well and then wham bam, something comes along to try to derail the squad’s hunt for silverware, with not so much of a “Thank You, Ma’m” in sight.

Tough as this situation is going to be to deal with, I believe the squad can do just that. On paper, we have the players to cover those absences. Where their replacements cannot match them is the experience that they bring to the pitch. Each of them has played in big matches for the club or their previous employers in the case of Gallas. In the squad though, Arsene has options aside from goalkeeping where Fabianski is the option. Djourou seems most likely to come into the centre although Silvestre and Song can do so.

Left back has the choice of Gibbs or Silvestre. It would not surprise me to see the youngster play on Saturday with Silvestre taking over on Wednesday and against Chelsea. Problematically for Arsene, neither has a cast-iron case for inclusion nor exclusion. Where Gibbs has Clichy’s pace, Silvestre has experience to compensate. Suddenly, the decision to sign the Frenchman in the summer does not look as poor as some would have you believe.

It is not all bad news. Eduardo and van Persie are both having fitness tests later today over their groin injuries which suggests that one or both of them might well be available for midweek and the FA Cup semi-final, almost a case of the ‘Injury Fairy’ saying, “OK, I’ve weakened your defence but now I’ll strengthen your attack”.

Apparently, Tomas Rosicky refused to play for the reserves last night. Well, that is stretching the truth to the point of breaking – oops, there it goes, ping like, well you imagine what you want – as Wenger observed:

Tomas Rosicky, at the moment, is not close to coming back. We have to be very patient there

Patience is a virtue that Wenger and Rosicky have in abundance when it comes to the Czech’s recovery. It would be better to have Rosicky back, fully fit, than to have him bouncing in and out of the squad as is the case with Eduardo.

The key to overcoming all of these is going to be teamwork. Wenger re-iterated a point made by Cesc. The manager said:

I am confident we can score goals, we did before anyway. What is important to us this time is that we’re a team who are relying on the quality of our passing and collective play

The captain observed about the performance in Castellon:

we showed character and came back in the second half.

In truth, there is nothing more to be said. On occasion in the first half of the season, the accusation of not being a team was levelled more than once. There is an element of truth in that but more accurately, it was a case of young players growing up in public. Since December, there has not been one case that immediately springs to mind where that is the case. In fact, the opposite has been more prevalent. Poor performances have not resulted in defeat, points ground out. The next step is to take draws and convert them to wins for we know losing situations can be retrieved.

’til Tomorrow.

172 thoughts on “Tom, Bill, Manny, Gael All Out. Anyone Back In?

  1. Luke says:

    Fully agree with you, G4E, on Diarrhea. Waste of time to listen to a guy with an axe to grind and obviously incapable of making an objective assessment.

  2. Poliziano says:

    It’s hardly surprising that Diarra learned nothing from Wenger. I doubt Wenger spent much time with Diarra, since I expect he spends most time with the players with most potential.

  3. team spirit says:

    LDiairras comments should not come as much of a surprise.

    Anyone that can leave a club like arsenal less than 6-months after joining shows clear lack of intelligence.

    Hw will probarbly feel vindicated having ended up at real madris, so lets hope things work out for him.

    Its his loss and denilson and song’s gain!

  4. Blackstock says:

    Glad that Diarra mug got out of our club so hastily. We don’t need his type. Wenger has class knowing that if a player’s attitude and sportsmanship ain’t right then there’s no point in faffing around. Diarra suits Real well, all money and fame, no class, no personality. Look at our players: Fabregas, Denilson, Walcott, Vela, van Persie, Clichy, Sagna, Djourou, Fabianski. One thing separates these lot from the Diarra’s and the Drogba’s, and that’s MATURITY.

  5. Poliziano says:

    When a manager has a Denilson or an Alex Song to work with, I imagine the Diarras of this world get left in the shadows.

  6. team spirit says:

    I just read the comments by diarra in the cnn article. definately childish to say the least. so much bitterness and yet, he claims he has forgotten he was ever at arsenal.

    Very funny

  7. Gunner4Ever says:

    Yes, just like he forgot about Chel$ki, Arsenal, and Portsmouth…and god knows maybe Real Madrith as well soon….

    Obviously he learned in Real how to be a d*ckhead.

  8. Consolsbob says:

    In the absence of TC and her stats here are some from another poster clled jbh on UNTOLD ARSENAL that seems to lay the Flamini-Denilson debate to bed.

    April 9th, 2009 at 10:00 pm
    With all this Flamini vs Denilson debate I did a comparison of their figures (Flamini last yr vs Denilson this year) – NB that Wenger put Denilson in for the last few League games last year when it was clear that Flamini was not going to take the good offer that Arsenal made to him. Yes, statistics don’t show everything but the figures in the Flamini vs Denilson debate are very convincing, overwhelming in fact. Also when you compare players for a full seasons worth of games the comparison cannot be ignored.
    The core requirement of their position on the pitch is to break up play (make tackles and interceptions) press opponents, be always available to take the ball, to keep it and pass accurately. Goals, assist attempts and assists are a bonus for this position (the more defensive midfielder).
    The only stat where Flamini is better (per game played over a full season) is tackling where he was about 5% more than Denilson. Passes and passing accuracy about the same. Interceptions Denilson dramatically better (in fact best in the League by a mile) – and about 25% better than Flamini. So on the core of regaining possession by tackling and interceptions Denilson is better. In terms of Champions League Denilson’s figures are even better (number 1 midfielder for passing and pass accuracy, number 2 for tackling, and best in tackling success rate) – this is versus all other midfielders. In the Premiership he is no. 6 in tackling (only behind players from low in the league who have much lower possession than Arsenal), no 1 in interceptions, no 1 in passing and pass accuracy, no 4 in fouls won (only 1 behind Ronaldo), no 3 in goal assists [all figures for all Midfielders]. Compared to Mascherano, Alonso, Mikel, Barry he has much better figures in these categories. So it is very unfair to say that he has “potential”. The fact is that he is an exceptional talent NOW, and as he has only just turned 21 and that this is his first full season in the team is quite remarkable.
    Yet many just say he is too lightweight – I think this is because when he is kicked or pushed – like most Sth American players he goes down, and more often than not wins a foul (see fouls won, above). The fact is that he has provided much needed solidity to the midfield this year, and should have a sterling future in front of him. Behind Cesc he is probably the strongest technically and very rarely loses the ball, despite crowded midfields.
    Despite all of this some just want to the criticise every error as if an Arsenal player must be error free (or that Flamini was!).”

  9. Ole Gunner says:

    The stats are overwhelming in Denilson’s favour. I’ll tell you what the stats dont measure though. Stats dont show the dynamic between Flamini and Fabregas who were mates and believed in each other. That counts.

    That’s all we lost from Hleb and Flamini.

  10. Consolsbob says:

    Thay didn’t believe in each other enough to stay together though.

  11. team spirit says:

    Football time and again has shown clearly that it is not mathematics, and anything can happen depending on how events unfold on the pitch on the day.

    Am glad the stats back denilson cos though I dont watch many games, for most of the reports i have seen, he has been doing very well.

    He can only get better and am really looking forward to the team winning things together.

    some people cant seem to let go to the bad mwmories of the bad first half of the season. I thnk the fear of hoping and ending with nothing like last season is what hounds them. They have to learn to live in hope of a better tomorrow, no matter what.

    There are too many draws in the current unbeaten run, but happily more wins are coming in to tilt the balance.

    As for me, till its mathematically over, Arsenal for the double!

  12. team spirit says:

    CBOB, YEAH THATS WHAT I THOUGHT TOO. I expected the relationship between them – along with Hleb to have made them stay together.

    Iguess it doesnt always work out like that. Reyes would have been good for us and Cesc also did his best to makke him stay and yet he didnt.

  13. Consolsbob says:

    I think Reyes was another example of an intellectually challenged player out of his depth in a foreign country where the opposition seemed to want to kick him all the time. He is the reason I loathe the Nevilles so much.

    For Hleb and Flamini, it was just about money in the end.

    I felt sympathy for Reyes. As for the other two, f*ck ’em.

  14. Ateeb says:


    Good to see you back. That post was quite good from Jbh at Untold Arsenal. And funny enough, it was a response to HARPER A.K.A Nymarcus. Who has been going about shoving the same old rhetoric since the last month. According to him we shouldn’t forget the first half of the season. Where Wenger was completely lost, and had no clue on how to deal with our defense. Moreover Wenger gave up the title since october, and really needed to rethink about tactics and how we organized. Injuries to key players shouldn’t be given its due importance, but rather our inability to sign QUALITY players in the summers. And apparently this was the weakest team Arsene had ever fielded.

  15. Consolsbob says:

    Yes, I saw that post Ateeb. Saw yours over there as well. It is interesting how we (people) tend to make different types of posts on different sites.

    Someone smoked out NYM didn’t they.

    Excellent piece by you last night by the way. First class humour.

  16. Ateeb says:



    According to Forbes, we’re the 3rd richest club in the world, behind Manu And Real madrid, which are 1st and 2nd respectively. Don’t know if the judges take into account the massive debts Manu is running on. Especially since their profits from last season were not even enough to pay the loan interests.

    On another note, if liverpool go out from the CL. Excecpt them to go all out on the premiere league. Few days back, Benetiz was going on about how Ferguson would want Livpool to beat chelsea so that they would be playing in two competitions. But seems highly unlikely right now, would be a good show down between Livpool and manchester united. Let’s see how much refreeing decisions plays a part in swinging the title to whichever side.

  17. Consolsbob says:

    No Ateeb, they don’t take debt into account. It’s just based on turnover I think. If it was measured as other businesses are then we could be the most well off club in the world.

    All down to Arsene and the Board.

    God Bless You Arsene!

  18. shotta-gunna says:

    Consols & Ateeb: While NYM made a few good though provoking posts here at ACLF, he had this bitter animus towards Wenger that clouded almost every point he made. It is almost as if Wenger should have stooped and lick the ground on which Flamini (and Hleb) walked in an effort to have them stay. When they left, AW should have spent big on the proverbial big, expensive midfielder rather than his faith in Denilson, Song and Diaby. He departed from this blog because in general the posters here and Yogi in particular, refuse to join the doom and gloomers. I think it is Frank who really told him off and he went scurrying to join the doom-mongers elsewhere. Some posters it appears are just like Hleb and Flamini.

  19. Consolsbob says:

    Thing is Shotta, Untold Arsenal is another AKB site. No real doomers there. No real argument either though. It’s a bit rougher over here on ACLF!

  20. shotta-gunna says:

    Over the years, you get to know the writing styles of posters very well, and even when they post under a different name, you sorta know who on this site post elsewhere. (BTW: Passenal and Ole always pop up in many other blogs under their ACLF name.) So I am sure NYM still trolls this website – may even be using a different handle. My point is he/she should be man enough to return to this blog and say I was wrong about some things and be happy to continue posting. He/she was never a hypocrite or a xenophobe; those are the ones I hate most!

  21. Gunner4Ever says:

    We don’t suffer fools so easily over here…

  22. Ponyboy says:

    Hehe… what a man Robin is ! As usual it was Passenal who made me go see..
    He’s a good-looking b@stard though…and that counts against him…
    But, hey, Robin.. “Come on Adebayoooooorrrr!” from your son…sweet, and – crossing bridges – a sign he’ll be here for a long while..

    ~ n.b: All the players call the Dark Lord ‘Bac’…
    Would LOVE to see an interview with him…something special/unusual about Bac !!

  23. Ponyboy says:

    So long as he doesn’t turn his Bac when PZ is around.. he’ll nail him!

  24. Ponyboy says:

    PZ – we both like the Southern climes…. 🙂

  25. Passenal says:

    Ponyboy, I’m glad you followed my recommendation and checked out that interview. He definitely sounds like someone who wants to stay, not just saying he wants to stay while flirting with Italian clubs behind the manager’s back!

    There is an interview with Bac on the site under the spotlight series, if you’re at a loose end, you could check it out. He comes across really well and he’s got a lovely smile as well!

  26. Poliziano says:

    You might like southern climbs, Ponyboy, but I don’t like mountin’ men.

  27. Poliziano says:

    Not such a lovely smile as Barazite, though, surely?

  28. Maria says:

    What Harper is the NYM guy……that caused all the drama awhile ago….damn…..i actucally like him and his never come across as a doom and gloom merchant he actucally spends most of his time defending the players and Arsene from other annoying bloggers….it’s a real shame you guys don’t like him….

  29. Passenal says:

    I think Bac has the best smile of all, although Tough Cookie may not agree with me!

  30. Maria says:

    everyone is kolo….thanks Passenal that was entertaining…agreed pb…he really has improved in the looks department fatherhood has done wonders for him……

  31. Ponyboy says:

    Bac always looks like a hunted wolf… am off to check out his smile…

    PZ – It’s okay to open that closet door….
    Maria.. If unmarried – your top man at the Arsenal ?

  32. Ponyboy says:

    Mmmmm… G4E – this is what we have to determine. Too many hunks at the Arsenal..

  33. Ponyboy says:

    Oh man…will i ever see Bac ?

    Maria….am not gonna say anything negative…but, fucK was he boring!

  34. Poliziano says:

    Ponyboy, try three cold showers each day.

  35. Ponyboy says:


    Actually am quite into celibacy, PZ….which is why i probably talk about sex so much..

    The Hindus say that one ‘ahem’, Climax is = to 24 hours hard physical labour..
    Frankly… it’s easier to turn on the shower!

  36. Poliziano says:

    I suppose you’ll tell me you’re celibate for 90% of each day.

  37. Howard says:

    The stats say that Denilson’s pass success rate is high up there. What the stats don’t say is that Denilson’s passes are 85% sideways and backwards.

  38. Maria says:

    boring yeas pb…all those ‘finks’…are quite annoyin’ if unattached as i said before it has to be Carlos Vela but in close second is Armand who’s been looking mighty fine…. the coast i must say has given him a good glow!!!

  39. Ponyboy says:

    Carlos Vela it is, Maria… a bit of Deja Vu..but that’s what you get on here…

    A Cultured Zimmer-frame Ehehehehehehghghghg..ugh!

  40. Ponyboy says:

    okay, shall return when sober and human…..; tautologigallly and paradoxudally unsound, Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee………………… i can’t move my arms, nurse!!

  41. Ponyboy says:

    The needle and the damage done… it’s alll misty i n roots.. cabbages, radishes!!
    and a parsnip just flew by..

  42. Ateeb says:

    Why didnt anyone respond to Howard’s 11:03 pm post? He must really feel ignored now. Hardly anyone shares his views or sides with him already. Let me respond to you Howard so you don’t feel ignored and lonely.

    “SHOVE IT”

  43. jbh says:

    Howard, if someone can show you some stats which prove your pathetic arguments wrong, will you take even a little humility and accept you could be wrong?
    Guardian. Chalkboard. Arsenal vs Man Utd. 8 Nov 08. Arsenal 2 MU 1. Denilson 5 Tackles (all successful), 5 Pass intercepts, 61 passes, 58 successful. 36 passes forward (60%), 25 passes sideways or backwards (40%). Passes made and delivered all over the pitch (about 50/50 for attacking and defending halves).
    Anyway AW knows what his players can and cannot do, this is why he has selected Denilson for every CL and Premiership game (bar 1 when he was injured) this season.
    Or maybe I am reading it wrong? I notice that he made 3 bad passes in that game. What a crap player.

  44. team spirit says:

    howard is there a rule against backward or sideways passes in football that only you know of.

    his hjob of intercepting and breaking up oppositon play requires him to stay back so what is so strange in him bassing sideways or backwards to whoever he is supposed to give the ball to?

    Obviously if cesc is the likely perosn to recieve the ball and he is behind denilson, what is os strange in the pass going backwards to cesc?

  45. jbh says:

    Just had a look at this Fabregas guy in that game as well. 48 passes, 37 successful. And 12 of those sideways or backwards (32%). Reckon we should sell him as well. And he’s too small. Doesn’t look like Vieira at all.

  46. Gunner4Ever says:

    You are right Team Spirit, not sure exactly what that means? This guy is obsessed with backward and forward passes to the point of not even knowing what the hell he’s talking about.

    Someone in Denilson’s position is not required to do anything else except

    *Getting the ball back from the opposition in the form of tackles, interceptions, or break up play and he does that very well.

    * Join the attack when safe and possible and he does that hence a few goals and assists this season.

    When you have players like Cesc, Arshavin, and Nasri around, then Denilson is not required to find the killer pass, or that 70 yard long ball. He needs to play it safe and simple. He does move side-ways a lot in midfield, to block the opposition midfield players and allow Cesc or Toure (sometimes) to find a way forward.

    Howard, I think if you go through your past postings you will find that you were wrong on many many players before. You eventually came to your senses, but this one sticking up you so bad…I don’t know what Denilson did to you? Did he refuse to sign your Autograph? Or is it more serious than that?

  47. Luke says:

    In the high pressure midfield area, passing sideways and backwards is part and parcel of winning and retaining possession. A pass to a colleague in midfield or the wings with more time and space to pick a killer pass or cross is the name of the game.

  48. Poliziano says:

    I agree, Ateeb. Howard needs a lot more of that kind of support.

  49. Consolsbob says:

    I strongly advise all Arsenal fans to avoid today’s Telegraph Sports.

    Starting with a ludicrously sentimental two page puff for the scousers and Stevie Me in particular, all Henry Winter apologists shall in future bring down wrath, it moves on to give a platform for Phil Breakdown’s odious views and tells us that Hiddinck appears to have “fallen in love” with Chelski.

    To finish, it’s ‘review’ of the arsenal -Wigan game is actually the diatribe from Diarra reported yesterday with the added viuew that he learnt more from ‘the Special One’. One of my banties is completely Doolalli Tap and therefor ‘special’. I would call her Jose from now on except she is rather harmless and sweet.

    I shall be writing to them to tell them where to shove their paper in future. Has Howard got any more room?

  50. Passenal says:

    It’s not just the stats that prove it, there is also the evidence right in front of your eyes if you watch the game with them open. The problem is that if you don’t rate someone, you only notice the 3 stray passes rather than the 58 completed passes.

    There are 2 incidents recently, which shows just a glimpse of his quality in both attack and defence. One was the pass to Arshavin for his goal against Blackburn. The second was the tackle to win the ball on the edge of our box after the Man City player had got past Clichy on the left. These are not isolated incidents.

  51. Consolsbob says:

    The only good news Passenal is that Breakdown reports that Russell Brand called him a ninny. Just goes to show that there is some good in everyone.

    He obviously got right up his nose from the tone of his comments.

  52. Frank says:

    …wear plairn Wigun terdair…the horm of Lancashire’s rrrrugbeh leagah horps…

    ….Wigan Athletic were invented in 1932 before that they were known as Wigan Lardarses….because the players were….fat. This made it difficult for them to recruit players….a typical exchange would be….’you look like you have some footie skills, son, wanna play for a side with enormous potential and thats really going places?’…..’Oh great which side is that?’….’Wigan Lardarses, son’……’F*ck off, Fatty…..

    …this happened quite a lot….so they decded to change their image and their training policy….firstly they changed their name to Wigan Athletic….and then they…well they….well actually they didn’t do anything else…until Steve Bruce came along and being tactically astute and well versed in modern training methods made them all go jogging several times a week and reduced their pies to one a day… them today…I think you will find that they are all a lot thinner….

    …..unlike Arsenal who are just pure f*cking class….


  53. Passenal says:

    Walcott told the Daily Mail: “I’ll let my agents deal with the contract situation and just get on with playing.

    “But I do look around and think what a great team this is. We’ve got a great squad and some great talents. Some of the things Robin (van Persie) and Eduardo do in training are just ridiculous.

    “There are so many examples of players who have developed into great players under our manager, Thierry (Henry) for a start, and I want to be one of them.”

    Just a little antidote to the Diarra nonsense – not all footballers are dumb after all!

  54. Maria says:


    Arsene does usually sign intelligent players but he seems to have slipped through the net somehow…it is funny though the way everyone was questioning Arsene decision to let him go now it’s all good riddance to bad rubbish….anyhoo a look at this interview with the Chelsea boys tells you all you need to know about Diarrhea mental strength….or lack there for…..

    Is Macca your father????LOOOOL still laughing over that what a wally!!

  55. Poliziano says:

    Wally? I haven’t heard that word in a while. It’s too tame for modern tastes.

  56. Maria says:

    I choose my words very carefully P….LD is ultimately from a simpler time…

  57. Ateeb says:

    Danish referee Claus Bo Larsen has revealed that he was asked by a Chelsea official, before the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Liverpool, to avoid booking any players who would subsequently face suspension.

    Apparently, the Blues have confirmed that they did propose the idea and have denied any wrongdoing, insisting they had asked for the treatment to be applied to both both teams.

    “A representative from Chelsea said, ‘Claus Bo, you should just remember that we have some players who have a yellow card already and we are not so excited if they get one again’,” Larsen is quoted as saying in The Daily Express.

    “I’ve never experienced anything like this. We were quite shocked. I have been to more than 100 safety meetings and this is the first time I have experienced such a thing.

    “Liverpool and UEFA and other people were there. I responded by saying that, if a player does something for a yellow card, then he gets a yellow card.”

  58. Maria says:

    ….maybe i should have gone with hoody since it’s the biggest insult going for immature scoundrels like our beloved LD…

  59. Poliziano says:

    Surely FIFA have to investigate that. What possible excuse can there be?

  60. Ateeb says:


    If an arsenal official had done it, we would have been banned from the CL for the next 2 years.

  61. Luke says:

    Not too long ago… Picture caption: “Wally with a brolly”

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