Stone Cold Friday: Why Arsenal Can Do Without Another Striker

He’s defeated Daleks, jousted with Jokers but I won’t tell you what happened when he met Wonder Woman. It’s the stuff of legend…Here’s Darius

January has to be the most depressing month for football journalists. The pressure to concoct player transfer rumours is so relentless it easily qualifies as working under duress. The suits upstairs are squeezing their Editors chuffers to ensure that they fill news columns and air waves. There’s a very fine line between exclusive breaking news and faecal matter you can only read whilst pinching your nose to avoid the stench.

In Arsenal’s case, journalists truly come unstuck hence the crap-o-meter is employed overtime. Hacks and pundits would like to think and make us believe that they are on the inside. The truth is no one really has any damn clue as to Arsenal’s real intent in the transfer market. Wenger doesn’t play his cards close to his chest, he pretty much plays them from inside.

From the beginning of the season, the establishment in particular have clamoured for Arsenal to replace Adebayor. Perhaps it’s because of their assumption that without a huge tall striker of the Adebayor mould, Arsenal would fall off the cliff and disappear into the wilderness of mid-table mediocrity. In defiance, Wenger employed Van Persie in a very creative ’false No. 9’ role. It was a job that even the Dutch ace admitted was hard to grasp at first, but the faith the manager had in him helped him settle into this talismanic role.

There’s a lethargic template peddled by the establishment as to what a team’s striking department should be composed of. It’s that little and large’ comical model where a tall lanky fella is paired with a more mobile pygmy.

You see it all the time – Crouch and Defoe, Heskey and Rooney, Carew and Agbonlahor, et al. Pick any quintessential Premier league team, and the little and large effect up front is as conspicuous as the dodgy 45 year old fella hanging out in the corner of every nightclub nursing a beer, while ogling the skimpily dressed 19 year old girls on the dance floor shaking what their mamas gave them.

The establishment’s narrative suggests that to be successful, a team must have a 7 ft tall striker, built like a brick shithouse. Their duties would include holding the ball up, winning route one balls, backing into central defenders to win freekicks, essentially plucking any ball out of the air and heading it towards the enemy’s goal.

Arsenal’s problem seems to be the arrogance of defying the establishment’s narrative. It may be the fact that Wenger chooses not to look at a player’s passport as a first consideration of their quality to play for Arsenal, or whether it’s the club’s unwavering determination to insist that it is possible to win while playing the beautiful game.

The Gunners tend to baffle simpletons who seem incapable of appreciating the method to our madness. Naturally, the falsehood is that the team doesn’t score enough goals. To do this, Wenger must buy the typical tall, strong loafer of a target man who will do the job that the team is incapable of doing.

The narrative has been peddled to the point that a section of Arsenal fans actually think that if we indeed buy a regulation lanky loafer as a target man, we will certainly succeed. It’s one of them things that if you’re told often enough, you start believing it. It’s like the brainwashing from radio stations who misguidedly promote themselves as the No. 1 radio station of the year. Some people actually believe such a fallacy as if it was a quantifiable notion.

When Van Persie played the talisman, there were still doubters who suggested that he didn’t have the physique or skill to weave the magic up front. Very few of these doubters took the time to observe his overall contribution to the team in that role. In particular, it was Van Persie’s assists, and his ability to link play that were mesmerizing. The Dutchman isn’t just a goal scoring typical striker, or the one man target machine.

He is an exquisite play maker who’s technical ability and confidence provides the most scintillating link play you’ll ever see anywhere in the world. The importance and effectiveness of Van Persie was only being lauded after his injury, particularly by those who doubted him at the beginning of the season.

There is universal consensus that Van Persie is a monumental loss to Arsenal’s attacking options. However, it’s fairly naive to think that such quality can be replaced by going into the transfer market and buying who the establishment insists is a big name player and a solution for Arsenal. Wenger is crystal clear on the type of player he wants to buy; an intelligent footballer with the technical capability to play Wengerball, a player who is committed to the cause.

Unfortunately, players of this calibre who are value for money and can add options to the team, don’t grow on trees, particularly in the January of a World Cup year. If such a player was available, then the Arsenal scouting system would have plucked them out. I’m sure Wenger would not hesitate to sign a player who would add value to this squad and was affordable. For now, it’s more important to be pragmatic and consider the options that the team currently have.

The question is simple. Does Wenger buy a new player because popular belief suggests that we don’t have an out and out typical striker, and school this new signing on the virtues of Wengerball, however long it takes? Or does Wenger stick to in-house solutions that provide pragmatic options and keep the team harmony and fluency. There’s absolutely no guarantee that buying a striker will actually increase Arsenal’s goal tally. Furthermore, buying this so called goal scorer that Arsenal allegedly needs simply to hit the onion bag and not contribute to the link play or overall game is a self defeating exercise.

The Gunners don’t need a one dimensional player who does only what it says on the tin. Arsenal will do much better by working with and supporting Eduardo and Nicklas Bendtner. They are as good as or better than any strikers out there being touted as a solution for the perceived goal drought.

It’s ironic that the very qualities that Eduardo and Bendtner have are the ones that people are shouting for Arsenal to get. I guess for some, having a newer shinier model to come in with a hefty price tag looks better than the stuff you already have. Both are totally schooled on Wengerball. Their link play is excellent. In recent games, most of our goals have been routed through Eduardo’s precision link play. Just like with RVP at the beginning of the season, Eduardo’s goals will come with time. For now, the quality of his link play makes him a very effective traffic cop routing and directing Arsenal’s sublime forward play.

Last season, Bendtner scored 18 goals for club and country, and in case anyone didn’t notice, he did a pretty good impression of the huge, tall archetypal Premier league striker. He played some pretty good football too.

The solutions are there staring people in the face; some belief in their abilities would go a long way to stopping the trash talk on the airwaves. The trash talk that feeds the frenzy of negativity. The trash talk that creates misery around a season that has the chance to produce the biggest pots of all.

’til Tomorrow.

291 thoughts on “Stone Cold Friday: Why Arsenal Can Do Without Another Striker

  1. Matty Boy says:

    Ole Gunnar,

    If there were no truth in what Wenger said then i doubt it would have ruffled their feathers in the way it did.

    Martin O’Neil has got a reputation for speaking before he thinks. The fact is, he is under a lot of pressure atm due to their current form and up and coming games so i think he is using this as a bit of a smokescreen.

  2. FunGunner says:

    @ Bigbrovar, lagooner

    It sounds like you’re both mesmerised by the number of fit strikers we have, but the real issue is whether we can make and score goals. If we can do those things (make and score goals), we don’t urgently need to replace our injured personnel. We can wait for the right player at the right price.

    @ RayGun
    I think Arsene is changing the way teams will look in the future. The concept of a “striker” depends on a lone man leading the line and dates back to pre-historic football times.
    I think you could be right!
    Some people have said: “We need a 20-goal-a-season striker”. That’s the old orthodoxy again. It’s the team that scores. Doesn’t matter who puts the ball in the net as long as it goes in the net enough times a game. Was Ronaldo a striker? Is Cesc a striker?

    @ iain
    The general consensus is that people want Wenger to make an Arshavin type signing- a top pro whom is the finished article and can hit the ground running.
    If you know the shop which stocks such players and guarantees they will never get injured, tell AW right now.
    Seriously, if AW could find what he wanted, he’d have gone for it. As DS says, these players do not grow on trees. And give Wenger some credit – he already got us TV this season.

    As for the physicality issue – last season, maybe, but this season, absolutely not. Remember Bolton. Blackburn. Stoke (in the league). Against Chelsea, we were just poor – nothing to do with being outmuscled. There was a physicality mismatch against Stoke in the FA Cup, but that was strictly confined to the teenagers in the side, against the one of the biggest and heaviest sides in the league.

    And “walking the ball into the net”? I’m beginning to wonder if you’ve watched us at all this season. We’ve scored from headers, free-kicks, corners and goalmouth scraps as well as our beautiful trademark flowing style.

  3. Bill says:

    Darius:

    Excellent post. Certainly thought provoking. Historically teams that win titles have a dominant goal scorer. It does not have to be the prototypical “English” center forward. TH, Ian Wright, C. Ronaldo, Rooney, Etoo etc. Right now there is no one on our roster fills that role. NB52 is not there yet. Cesc is a wonderful player but we can not expect him to continue to be our leading scorer. According to AW and the board we have money available. Buying a center back and a striker will not guarentee a title but would clearly would increase our chances.

    Look at our options for next year. RVP is a big ?. Eduardo is not the same player he was. NB52 may develop into a dominant scorer (maybe). We could probably buy Dzeko for less then the tranfer profit we made this summer. Front 3 of Dzeko, Arshavin, RVP rotating with Bentner, Nasri, and Eduardo. Sounds like a team that has mulitple ways to score and could win any league. We have the money available. It is unfair to the fans and the players to not make every effort to help this team.

    The other concern is at CB. We clearly have enough money that we could have added a really good CB last summer of this Jan. WG may not be here next year. JD is unproven and who knows how he will return from injury. Running this thin at CB was/is a huge huge risk that is very difficult to rationalize. It certainly adds some validity to those who say that our fiscal prudence has gone a bit over the edge.

  4. The Brain says:

    Matty Boy: it’s definitely a risk and I would question how a change will affect the teams efficiency mostly. The obvious idea is to play the 4-3-3 where the wingers fall back but could that mean less dynamism or would it work better as it will help create more triangles? Obviously pressuring high up the pitch will go.

    Another option is to play a 4-2-1-3 and give Song and Denilson shared role in front of the back four, where they can cover for the full backs, depending on the side the play is instead of the wingers. This will also give Fabregas more freedom and interestingly it is he and Arshavin who have been the best tacklers in the new system.

  5. The Brain says:

    The best tacklers in the sense of pressuring high up the pitch is what I meant.

  6. Arse Shavin says:

    Cesc & Arsh the best tacklers eh? I think your 4 2 1 3 suggestion’s a good one. Both that and the 4 3 3 require the ‘wingers’ to track back though. Nasri loves it but theo – not so much.. It is risky changing at this point though. We can score from anywhere at the mo so i think we should keep it as it is.

  7. Ole Gunner says:

    Batty Boy,

    Martin O’Neil looks like a mug in all this.

    Can you ask him to teach his team to stop playing long ball tactics?

    He might think because they hoof it to their wingers it means they don’t play long ball.

  8. Matty Boy says:

    Ole Gunnar,

    I will have a word with MON but i’m not making any promises about them changing their style of play. I did read an interesting quote from Dunne though:

    “I think everyone is a long-ball team compared to Arsenal”

    “They play so much good football it’s difficult. We’ve got pace in our team up front and that’s how you use it.

    “They’re not just long kicks,” Dunne added.

    “They’re placed balls that we know our centre-forwards can get on the end of because they can outpace most defenders.”

    They’re not just long kicks, the are placed balls 🙂

  9. Matty Boy says:

    Long ball tactics are now called placed ball tactics.

  10. FunGunner says:

    @ Matty Boy

    I think you are probably right about journalists misrepresenting Arsene’s perfectly inoffensive remarks when relaying them to Martin O’Neill. They do it to Arsene, so no reason to think they wouldn’t have done it to O’Neill! Arsene’s smart enough not to fall for it, though. And it must really have struck a nerve with him. The press have their headlines, which is all they care about.

  11. FunGunner says:

    Wilshere to Bolton…we’ll have to give him a good all wash when he comes back.

    I expect AW wants him to face the challenge of imposing his creativity in a sea of hoofball.

  12. FunGunner says:

    meant “good old wash,” obviously.

  13. Poliziano says:

    Terry had an affair with Bridge’s ex-mistress. It’s not clear whether the affair began before Bridge and Ms. Perroncel split up, although Bridge’s reaction would suggest it did. Since Ms. Perroncel is a French underwear model, this can hardly come as a surprise. To f*ck one’s own team-mate’s woman is disgusting behaviour, and to me it makes him no longer fit to captain England, although it probably makes him more fit to captain Chelsea.

  14. Ole Gunner says:

    Ok Batty Boy!

    Good quote from Dunne. A virtual admission.

    Someone’s going to be in trouble with the mini mouse O’Neil.

  15. Darius Stone says:

    Bill. You say:

    “The other concern is at CB. We clearly have enough money that we could have added a really good CB last summer…”

    Does Thomas Vermaelen count? Wenger did buy him.

    Gallas will be an Arsenal player for at least the next 2 years unless something drastic happens with his contract negotiations in which case Arsenal will buy another centre half.

    Why panic about it and big bad Billy G is still on the payroll.

    Speaking of which, if we’re then happy with the fact that Vermaelen and Gallas are the first choice centre halves, pray tell which competent centre half worth their salt and better than Johan Djourou will be happy to sit on the bench for most of the season during a world cup year?

    As for the forwards, the question is not whether there are better forwards in the world who can fit our system of play. The issue for me is the timing, availability and affordability.

    I keep hearing Dzeko being bandied about. I take the view that someone at London Colney who gets paid to do these things, has actually thought of the fella and in discussion with other decision makers, they’ve concluded that for some reason or another, the young man won’t be a shoe-in in January.

    You can replace Dzeko with any other player being bandied around.

    Arsenal has the best scouting system in the world and if a player Wenger wants was available this January (not in the summer), and was affordable, I doubt that Wenger would hesitate to buy that player.

    The telling thing is this – Wenger wanted to buy Chamakh but he didn’t because his club were playing hard to get for a player who will be free in 5 months.

    The fact that he was considering that option already tells you that he is not averse to buying another striker.

    The argument that many are pushing that Arsenal must spend money for the short term to guarantee winning a trophy is totally flawed. The only two things you can guarantee in life are dying and paying taxes.

    While those who are paid to find us players continue with their job, we need to support the current team to use the options they have. It’s just about being practical for now.

  16. Ole Gunner says:

    I couldn’t care less if JT was shagging Wayne Brigde himself.

    He’s scum. We’ve known that a long time. And I don’t want to know the details.

  17. Matty Boy says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if Wilshere could do us a favour and score some vital goals against our title rivals.

    And the Spuds.

  18. FunGunner says:

    JT business presents a real quandary for the Press. On the one hand it’s that upstanding honest warrior JT, and on the other hand…it’s a proper sex scandal!

    Wayne Bridge’s wife has no taste in men whatsoever. First Bridge, then Terry???

  19. Poliziano says:

    If it turned out that Big JT had been f*cking Wayne bridge, I dare say a few eyebrows would be raised in the footballing establishment, but in moral terms I suppose it would be a lot less than Big JT f*cking his team-mate’s mistress.

  20. Poliziano says:

    She was not married to Bridge, I’m glad to say.

  21. Matty Boy says:

    What will the headline be? “Chelsea man cheats on Bridge”

    Sounds like a compelling game of cards at the pensioners retirement home.

  22. Frank says:

    I am sure that both parties were looking for intellectual conversation and the possibility of a lasting relationship. Just didn’t work out. Understanding and recognising love for what it is Wayne Bridge did the decent thing and gave them some space for their newfound relationship to grow. Probably left with a wry smile, shaking his head knowingly, I should think.

  23. FunGunner says:

    @ Matty Boy
    ha ha – good one!

    @ Frank
    Intellectual conversation? Hmmmmmmmmm… If you say so.

  24. FunGunner says:

    The Sunset.

    lap-dancing club, presumably?

  25. FunGunner says:

    a drive-in lap-dancing club, perhaps?

  26. Frank says:

    …in a threesome with Frank Lampard’s wife..

  27. Frank says:

    …which he had been doing for several months

  28. Frank says:

    The Chelski squad are very close in that way

  29. Bill says:

    Darius:

    Thanks for your response. I support Arsenal and always will.

    TV was a excellent purchase. However, we risked our season by not having adequate cover at CB this year. Chelsea have Alex and Ivanovic. ManU have Evans and Brown. No other team with title aspirations would play Russian Roulette with central defense when there is money available to strengthen that critical spot. How many years have we gone without significant defensive injuries. Risking this year because we might have too many good center backs next year not logical and makes you wonder “what are they thinking”.

    Next year. WG is not a definite. JD has never proven himself and might not return to full fitness. Between injuries and rotation 3rd and even 4th choice CB traditionally get time on the pitch. Given WG’s age, even if he is still under contract, a young CB will not have to wait long to fight for 1st choice.

    With regards to a striker. I think this team would have a much better chance of winning this year and next if we could add a dominant goal scorer. right now there is not one on our roster. RVP might be that next year and Bentner in 2 – 3 years. (maybe on both) Chavs are really happy they added Anelka even though they had Drogba. They play pretty well together now. If RVP is back and better then ever next yr we will always have injuries, rotation and I am sure management could figure out a way to get two good players on the pitch together.

  30. OneOfUs says:

    “He’ll cross that Bridge when he comes…”

    Nope, can’t bring myself to finish it.

  31. Bill says:

    Darius:

    My comment is in moderation. I enjoy the debate. It makes these blogs alot of fun. Maybe I will send it to you on Monday and if you would like we can continue to debate. Bill

  32. els says:

    Oh well I heard that Kevin Keeg……

    No I’ll stop there.

  33. Frank says:

    I heard that too, els. Apparently it has left him quite bandy legged.

  34. Bill says:

    Darius: I copied my comment which was stuck in moderation. We will probably have other things to talk about Monday. Hopefully this one will go thru.

    Thanks for your response. I support Arsenal and always will.

    TV was a excellent purchase. However, we risked our season by not having adequate cover at CB this year. Chelsea have Alex and Ivanovic. ManU have Evans and Brown. No other team with title aspirations would play Russian Roulette with central defense when there is money available to strengthen that critical spot. How many years have we gone without significant defensive injuries. Risking this year because we might have too many good center backs next year not logical and makes you wonder “what are they thinking”.

    Next year. WG is not a definite. JD has never proven himself and might not return to full fitness. Between injuries and rotation 3rd and even 4th choice CB traditionally get time on the pitch. Given WG’s age, even if he is still under contract, a young CB will not have to wait long to fight for 1st choice.

    With regards to a striker. I think this team would have a much better chance of winning this year and next if we could add a dominant goal scorer. right now there is not one on our roster. RVP might be that next year and Bentner in 2 – 3 years. (maybe on both) Chavs are really happy they added Anelka even though they had Drogba. They play pretty well together now. If RVP is back and better then ever next yr we will always have injuries, rotation and I am sure management could figure out a way to get two good players on the pitch together

  35. Frank says:

    …with a hint of a limp and a tendency to keep checking that his genitals are still there. Scarred him for life.

  36. Jaguar says:

    Any chance of us buying that 12 year old wonderkid from Angola?

  37. Frank says:

    You want to be careful making comments like that on a public blogsite, Jaguar.

  38. Jaguar says:

    What was offensive in my statement Frank?

  39. Nasir Jones-Nasri says:

    How awesome was Gyan’s goal celebration dance against Nigeria? That guy is right there with Eboue when it comes to dancing!

  40. Nasir Jones-Nasri says:

    F*ck off, Jaguar. You bald scummy c*nt.

  41. Frank says:

    Your proclivities are of no interest to me, Jaguar. I have no wish to be involved.

  42. Frank says:

    Well done, perrygroves, it is not often you see a Red Egret and a Cattle Egret together in the same shot let alone both taking the piss out of a jaguar.

  43. Frank says:

    In fact I think we might be getting a glimpse of a Scarlet Ibis there by the look of its bill. I do beg your pardon. The Scarlet Ibis speaks Spanish of course…

  44. Maria says:

    “I’ll leave that to Maria, Pz!”

    FG, how could you??

    Now I feel dirty.

  45. chamakh says:

    re bilesh.january the 28th,10.20pm

    there is only one dog and thats you.

  46. Maria says:

    @ NSN,

    I know it was an amazing dance. This guy puts Adebaywhore attempts at dancing to shame.

    Reminds me of some of the dances in South Africa.

  47. Frank says:

    Fucking hell, perrygroves, you really did catch me out on that one. That is not a pig is it? You were trying to slip a peccary by us. A collared one by my reckoning, though peccaries are not my forte.

    Well done anyway.

  48. Poliziano says:

    Love rat John Terry enjoyed a karaoke session with some team mates last night, and entertained them with his own saucy lyrics to his favourite Michael Jackson song:

    She was more like a porno queen from a magazine
    I said don’t mind, but what do you mean I am the one
    Who will lie with a whore on the ground
    She said I am the one, who will lie with a whore on the ground

    She told me she was really keen, as she caused a scene
    Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one
    Who will lie with a whore on the ground

    Jose always told me be careful of what you do
    And don’t go around breaking young Wayne’s heart
    And mother always told me be careful of who you love
    And be careful of who you do ’cause the lay becomes the news

    Mrs. Bridge is not my lover
    She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
    But the kid is not my son
    She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

    .
    .
    .

  49. Poliziano says:

    Love rat John Terry enjoyed a karaoke session with some team mates last night, and entertained them with his own saucy lyrics to his favourite Michael Jackson song:

    She was more like a p0rno queen from a magazine
    I said don’t mind, but what do you mean I am the one
    Who will lie with a whore on the ground
    She said I am the one, who will lie with a whore on the ground

    She told me she was really keen, as she caused a scene
    Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one
    Who will lie with a whore on the ground

    Jose always told me be careful of what you do
    And don’t go around breaking young Wayne’s heart
    And mother always told me be careful of who you love
    And be careful of who you do ’cause the lay becomes the news

    Mrs. Bridge is not my lover
    She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
    But the kid is not my son
    She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

    .
    .
    .

  50. FunGunner says:

    @ maria
    ha ha ha

    @ RayGun
    Have a read of vitalarsenal – Amos has written an article about the “strikerless team”.

  51. Poliziano says:

    Big JT also gave a touching rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

  52. Maria says:

    What kind of trash has a affair JT??

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW

    Just got round to reading this story. Poor old Bridge playing second fiddle @ the club to Cashley cheating Cole then his captain forced him to take to the guest room at home.

    DAAAMNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

  53. Maria says:

    Makes you even more prouder of our boys @ The Arsenal.

  54. California Gooner says:

    Frank, that post is spot on regarding O’Neill’s whinging. Ridiculous. Villa is a good team and he has done a good job. He could beg to differ with Wenger’s analysis. But accusing Wenger of ‘grave insult’ is beyond absurd. it shows just how small-time O’Neill and his team’s mentality is.

  55. Muppet says:

    Better you get more stories like this.You will have much to discuss when you finish empty handed AGAIN this season.

  56. Gooner4Life says:

    Great post as usual Stone Cold. Its no surprise english football cant move away from the concept of the big target man and big striker theory, there still f*#kin goin on about 1966 FFS.

    Lots of the usual guff about Arsenal needing a striker and Man U not being a one man team. If Rooney and Did -he- dive Drogba get injured then who is scoring their goals. You wont hear that story touted around much would you? But clearly despite being without orthodox strikers the team are still top goal scorers.

    Raygooner post of the day .The doomers will have nowhere to run when The Arsenal ‘Strike Force’ blow a whole in Uniteds title charge. How many teams can boast 18 different goal scorers. Chavs and ManScum beware.

  57. OneOfUs says:

    Nice post, G4L, as ever.

    This MoN thing has got seriously out of hand. Not only was he and two players directing personal insults at AW right after the game, O’Neill is still going on and on and on about a perceived slight that had clearly been twisted in the first place. Two days later he’s had a chance to cool off, but he still won’t let up.

    A few things could be going on – he could be dumb enough to keep taking the hacks’ bait, or he’s trying to gee his squad up after a rough patch since we spanked them at home. Or there’s still a grudge after we overtook Villa so effortlessly in the last 3rd of 08-09.

    Either way it still rankles that Wenger was totally respectful, made fact-based observations, without ever once getting personal.

    I dread to think the response AW would provoke from the press if he chose to pursue a silly feud in such an aggressive and blunt way.

  58. Passenal says:

    OOU, MON is a passionate Brit so he can say what he pleases free from criticism. He is a small man who manages a limited team and he cannot get over that fact. If it makes him feel better to whinge and moan, good luck to him. I’m sure Arsene has moved on and has no interest in his petty comments.

  59. OneOfUs says:

    And I know that this “feud” has been pretty much 100% manufactured by the press – but it doesn’t make it any less damaging.

    Nor does it dampen MoN’s latest comments. I’ve just read them again – I think the man has a problem. So much rage.

  60. Paul N says:

    Geez, Wenger even gets slammed for compliments now.

    I think white rum has something to do with it, no one in their right mind would say such stupid things, would they?

  61. 1 loose cannon says:

    This actually proves Wenger is regard very highly and it mattered to O’neil what Wenger thinks of his football, He was hoping for a different assessment from Wenger about his brand of football. Its a bit like when you spend so much time working on a project ,in your head you are thinking you’ve done really well until your teacher looks at it and says “You haven’t done enough son” so its matters what the professor has to say.
    Its very simple. O’neil need to watch the game again and see what Wenger is talking about and Improve on his project . Come back next season and see what the professor has to say about it and he might get a good mark next time. No point dwelling on it.

  62. OneOfUs says:

    Yeah guys, it’s a good chance to show that we’re above this kind of stuff, but I doubt that will make the headlines.

    Clichy always says the right thing, doesn’t he? Great to have him back.

  63. Poliziano says:

    “…this “feud” has been pretty much 100% manufactured by the press.”

    I don’t really agree with that. I’ve never liked O’Neill. As far as I can see, he’s acting completely in character with this tantrum against Wenger. He didn’t need the help of the press or anyone else.

  64. Passenal says:

    OOU – I’m a bit pissed off with some fans criticising him for not keeping up with Ashley Young against Villa when he is just back from a serious injury. What do they expect?

  65. Mean Lean says:

    Has anyone read this? It made me chuckle.

    http://www.arsenality.com/2010/01/arsenal-and-manchester-united-in-tipsy.html

    Friday, 29 January 2010
    Arsenal and Manchester United in ‘A Tipsy Team-Talk’
    (Fictional)

    Ten minutes remained until kick-off. The Arsenal and Manchester United players had just completed their warm-ups, and were now filing down the tunnel to their respective changing rooms.

    There was a tangible sense of anticipation spreading throughout the Emirates. Huge banners billowed as they were passed around the stands, while fans took to their seats and speculated excitedly about the line-ups. In the Green Quadrant, the home and away support exchanged melodic banter; the Manchester United supporters were doing their best to make themselves heard after the long journey down.

    With darkness beginning to descend, the floodlights blazed over the arena. The immaculate pitch was illuminated by their glare, the radiant green glow of the turf complementing the increasingly vibrant atmosphere.

    Kick-off was drawing closer. A cotton blanket of red and white scarves unfurled itself across the home stands to the opening refrain of ‘The Wonder of You’.

    Meanwhile, in the Manchester United changing room, the players were sat on the benches awaiting their manager’s team-talk.

    Gary Neville was complaining about the recent insults by Carlos Tevez to a disinterested Park Ji-Sung. Remaining fiercely loyal to his Argentinian friend, the midfielder had defiantly rammed his fingers into his ears and was now obstinately – and tunelessly – warbling a traditional South Korean ditty at the top of his voice.

    Dimitar Berbatov, who had given training a miss, had only just come out of the shower; he was now sauntering languidly across the dressing room in his towel, his crow-like features and withering hairline still wet after an inexplicable 45 minutes of lazy lavation. Michael Owen, clean-shaven and raring to go, watched in disbelief, wondering how much it would take for the Bulgarian to finally irk the Manchester United management.

    In the corner of the changing room, Nemanja Vidic was vigorously devouring a raw beef steak, his face soaked in cow blood.

    A minute of near silence passed, with most of the dressing room becoming concerned about their manager’s absence. Mike Phelan was stood by the door checking his watch, growing visibly anxious as the kick-off drew nearer.

    “Where is… boss?” Antonio Valencia awkwardly enquired.

    Phelan pushed the door ajar and poked his head into the tunnel – still no sign of Ferguson. He closed the door and folded his arms. “I’m sure he’ll be here soon.”

    The players started to grumble amongst themselves as the assistant leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes and wondering where on earth Ferguson had got to.

    Suddenly, there was a loud crash in the tunnel, followed by the sound of laboured breathing and heavy footsteps. The room shook as something large hit the other side of the near wall, propelling a screaming Rafael da Silva across the floor.

    The players leapt to their feet, visibly startled. The commotion continued in the hall as they babbled anxiously amongst themselves and considered the possibility of an attempt at intimidation by Arsenal.

    “Wait,” Michael Carrick called out. The room fell silent.

    The midfielder held out a hand and sniffed the air. “Does anyone else smell… alcohol?”

    The players turned to face the door to the tunnel. The handle was now rattling sporadically, and the same large weight that had hit the wall seemed to be slumped against the other side of the door. The atmosphere was tense; all around the room, hearts were pounding against rib cages, and beads of sweat were trickling down foreheads.

    Ryan Giggs stepped forward cautiously. “Perhaps we should -”

    He was hushed by his team-mates. The rattling was now frantic, and ill-tempered grunting could be heard in the tunnel. Phelan held Giggs aside and inched towards the door, his hand poised to turn the handle; the players all held their breath.

    Suddenly, the door burst open. Sir Alex Ferguson stumbled into the room, his cheeks flaring a magnificent scarlet and his white Manchester United polo stained with crimson splatters. In his hand was a large bottle of red wine, which was now spilling freely over the United players as he struggled to maintain his balance. He had neglected to tie the top of his tracksuit bottoms, and his waistband was now flapping perilously close to the lower limits of good taste.

    “What are you all looking at?” he slurred, leering obnoxiously at his players. “You all think you’re so important with your… cars, and your trainers…”

    Mike Phelan rubbed his eyes in frustration. No matter how many times this happened, he would never know how to handle it. “Alex, maybe you could just -”

    “That’s Sir Alex to you, Felon!” Ferguson barked, staggering disjointedly in the direction of his assistant. “You’re no Carlos Qu-” He hiccupped crudely, sprinkling his assistant’s face with yeasty spittle.

    “Yes, okay Sir Alex,” Phelan continued, wincing and wiping his face. He held his hands out and made a downward gesture. “Maybe we can just put the bottle down.”

    Ferguson nodded – then violently threw the bottle across the room. It exploded against a locker, showering nearby players with shards of glass.

    “My eye!” Jonny Evans screamed. “Oh my God, there’s glass in my eye!”

    Antonio Valencia groaned weakly, his feeble fingers fluttering across the top of his head to find the source of the blood which was now cascading freely down his forehead.

    Nemanja Vidic sat in between them, simply staring forward with a fixed, resolute expression. The unblinking Serb seemed completely oblivious to the sharp debris raining down on his skull, which remained curiously unscathed.

    Ferguson smiled, his eyelids drifting independently in opposite directions. “We’re gonnae win easily… We’ve got Nummy-Na and Rio back in defence…”

    Phelan opened his mouth to remind him, but checked himself. “Sir Alex, I think -”

    “Hey, it’s Nani,” Ferguson giggled, waddling across the changing room as his tracksuit bottoms began their inevitable, mischievous descent. The players behind recoiled in disgust as they were greeted with the sight of two red buttocks jiggling themselves free of their polyester oppressor.

    Taking no notice, Nani was tying his bootlaces. “And then the bunny jumped into the hole -”

    He stopped short, as a wide, dark shadow spread over his feet. He looked up just in time to see Ferguson stumble, trip over the tracksuit bottoms which had now caught around his shins, and lose his balance.

    Fearstruck, the winger leapt aside as his manager crashed face-first into the wooden bench, rebounded off it and tumbled to the floor.

    Several of the players gasped audibly. Phelan rushed to Ferguson’s side, his hands on his head and panic in his eyes. The da Silva twins were huddled together in the corner of the room, wailing and squealing in fright.

    The manager’s head was turned at an unnatural angle, and his short, squat limbs were jutting out in worrying positions. His cheeks had flushed a peculiar shade of purple; drool oozed out of the corner of his mouth.

    He hiccupped and started to mumble incoherently. His tracksuit bottoms still snagged around his ankles, he began to roll groggily from side to side, his features contorted in fury.

    “Where’s Cristiano?!” he yelled, his voice hoarsening. “Where’s… Cristiano…” He relaxed and rolled over, his ferocity giving way to gentle sobbing.

    Phelan and the players stared in bemused silence. Tears streamed down the bawling Scotsman’s cheeks; he tried to wipe them clear, in doing so smearing a globule of mucus across his nose. His soft weeping resonated around the dressing room as he clawed at the floor in drunken despair.

    The players all looked at Phelan, silently urging him to do something.

    The assistant kneeled next to Ferguson, calculating his next few words carefully. Employing the hushed, sympathetic tone of a primary school teacher dealing with a manic-depressive child, he tried to reason with the inebriated manager. “Sir Alex… the match is about to start. Let’s get you up.”

    No sooner had he reached to help Ferguson to his feet than the manager had rolled away and emitted a sort of snore-grunt hybrid. His mouth lolling open and his chin glistening in saliva, the manager faded out of consciousness.

    Phelan and the players stared aghast at their inanimate manager. With a key fixture in his team’s season literally moments away, one of the greatest managers in football history was lying prostrate on the floor in a state of dangerous intoxication.

    The eery silence relinquished itself to the gentle pitter-patter of tiny feet in the tunnel.

    “The Arsenal players are heading out,” Phelan sighed. “Right, go wait in the tunnel and I’ll sort him out – it looks like I’ll have to take over.”

    (If any Manchester United fans see this, it’s just a bit of fun… please be good sports! I should clarify that this is fictional – Sir Alex Ferguson does not have a drink problem. Here’s hoping for an entertaining home win on Sunday…)

  66. Poliziano says:

    Investigative journalism at its best!

    But who added the joke at the end?

  67. Footballvanity says:

    OOU, MON is a passionate Brit so he can say what he pleases free from criticism. He is a small man who manages a limited team and he cannot get over that fact.
    ————-
    He proved to be one-dimensional, in all his teams. Tactically, and technically useless. Cloughie would “face-palm”. Wenger is a genius for making us better team than likes of Aston Villa and Totts, who netspend more than us. Lol.

  68. Tazz says:

    Eduardo is not his former self. Bendtner was doing ok before he picked the knock. So he might take anything from 1 month to 1 year to fully re-gain his old form! And Walcott, well his ‘curious case’ continues to baffle one & many. Me no exception. With Van Persie virtually missing the season, Arsenal should have bought any of these:

    http://11gunners.com/news/chamakh-balotelli-gignac-dzeko-zezinho/2865/

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