Fulham Preview & Sunday Gossip

Arsenal travel to Craven Cottage for the final match of the Premier League season. A win will not guarantee third place, that depends upon events at The Reebok. Victory though might be enough for tomorrow to be less confrontational over where we have been, what we should have done. You know things are bad when someone who apparently hates Wenger supports him.

According to Arsène’s press conference, there will not be many changes to last weekend, with Cesc’s injury ruling out his participation in the upcoming internationals whilst Diaby, Nasri and Clichy all appear to have lost fitness battles. The absence of the latter duo has allowed imaginations to run wild, speculation this morning as to whether or not one or both has played their last game for the club.

Nasri’s public utterances have been positive on his new contract whilst Clichy’s had slipped under the radar until recently, so low key have the negotiations been. A Flamini situation is not going to be allowed to develop according to the club and Wenger admitted that signing Nasri is his first key step this summer.

Not that it will be his only activity,

Of course we have lists. Number one, two, three. We will try to sign them. We will always try to buy at the right price but we will also try to invest.

Well, that is surely what is expected? That said, naysayers will draw on recent signings to point out weaknesses. And invent others. The media it seems, will not let go of the goalkeepers even though most supporters appear to believe it is no longer an issue,

We are happy with our ­goalkeeping situation.  However, we expected central defender Thomas Vermaelen to return from injury in January – and he didn’t play.  If we had known that was going to be the case, maybe we would have done something. But would we have won the league? It is very difficult to say that.

Indeed. There are those who will tell you authoritatively that Wenger knew Vermaelen would not be fit for the season. Of course, they offer no proof of this in the same way that wages are bandied around, becoming received wisdom without evidence to support the supposition.

Back to this afternoon. Fulham are one red card away from missing out on a Europa League spot which begs the question of whether this is going to be a thunderous London derby or played in a long forgotten sense of bonhomie, the typical end of season match? My money is on the latter.

For some it is the prelude to a long summer break. Arsenal’s squad needs a rest. Those that played in the World Cup have suffered according to the manager. This time around there will be no delayed starts for anyone if reports this morning of Wilshere‘s omission from the Under 21 squad are true.

Sadly this is the same organ that believes Barcelona will bid £50m for Cesc. Credibility is a bit of an issue. It will not be enough, Manchester City’s rumoured interest in the player just began the auction at £58m. This has the potential to get into Ronaldo territory, in the media at least, before Arsenal sell him for £25m. Which would fund a new striker. Sow What, I hear you say.

No, it’s true although the papers believe it will be funded by Denilson and Arshavin hopping it. One thing I would ask of all hacks. Stop with the ‘Shock signings‘ or ‘Shock bid’ routines, they are neither. I would prefer you to admit, “I read it in the paper this week“.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

216 thoughts on “Fulham Preview & Sunday Gossip

  1. OneOfUs says:

    On reflection, “disastrous” was a bit harsh for Djourou’s performance. This has been his first full season for Arsenal, and I think he just needs a break now.

  2. Keysersoze says:

    Birmingham might make some money from the Europa League and they will also get the parachute payments. The fuckers may be back.

    But for today, a gratuitous slap on the head for Barry Ferguson from me. 🙂

  3. Keysersoze says:

    Does that mean Blackpool in the Europa?

  4. OneOfUs says:

    Tell me about it, dups – For different reasons I haven’t looked forward to close-season as much since 1995!

  5. Anicoll5 says:

    Cheeky bid for Roger Johnson while Eck is in shock ?

  6. goonzablazin says:

    Kenyan, does the Mail also show Wolves one point ahead of Brum, making goals irrelevant?

  7. Kenyan gunner says:

    The mail shows they are tied on points. But fuck the mail. I’ll take BBC’s word for it!

  8. Matoo says:

    Wait, so Englands representatives at the Europa League are Spuds and two teams from the championship?

  9. Team spirit says:

    am happy for wigan and wolves. very sad for Blackpool and west ham. My preferred replacements should have come from stoke/Newcastle/Blackburn

    somehow happy for Blackburn since sam A has left; at least it will show they can survive without him.

    Brummies going down is excellent! Caps it all

  10. Team spirit says:

    KG, they were until spurs last minute goal.

  11. Team spirit says:

    would be very glad for Blackpool if they can nick the Europa spot… and am expecting them right back in the prem. hope they keep Ian on

  12. Kenyan gunner says:

    Europa league would be a liability for any championship team. It’s a distraction they don’t really need

  13. Passenal says:

    “I still hope that Fabianski and Szczesny will battle it out in pre-season and that the decision for number one has not been made yet.”

    My bet on Fabianski for number 1 next season not looking so bad at the moment!

  14. jason says:

    2 wins in 13 games since the CC final.A disastrous end to a shocking season.3rd last season 4th this is not progress.We need new players and not just one or two

    As the fans sang at the Cottage today “Spend some fucking money”

  15. george rodger says:

    We need to fuck the cups off and concentrate on the league.
    We dont need a good cup run if we are playing in Europe.

  16. Team spirit says:

    @jason… why is the idea that this same set of players actually underachieved this season and can do better and will likely do better next season is such an absurd notion? injuries and ref permiting

  17. george rodger says:

    @team spirit.Why would people want to do that when they can bitch and moan like petulant brats.

  18. Gunner4Ever says:

    I have to say when the away fans chant “Spend some f*cking money” it means it’s really bad. Those are the die-hard fans and it means they’re sick of it.

    Yes we drew 2-2, but to struggle for a draw against 10 man Fulham is hard to take. There is no amount of promising attack or formation will do when we are conceding goals like a calendar with big fat holes.

    It is one thing to lose to what they call big teams, but to struggle against lesser teams is baffling to say the least. For some reason we can’t get it straight, one season we beat the lesser teams and struggle against the big teams and the next we beat the big teams and lose to the lesser ones?

    I too could not think of any season where I wanted it to end so soon so badly than this season. I’m just glad this down spiral didn’t start earlier or we would have been in big big trouble.

    Now I’m someone who supports the team through thick & thin but honestly there must be a big stand this summer for club, manager and players to figure out what they want to be. A top 4-6 team or much more than that?

    I’m not one who’s asking for 10 superstar players, or send Wenger back to France or any of that nonsense. I want my club to figure it out, because we are almost becoming the laughingstock of England and it saddens me to see Arsenal slapped around this way.

    You can call this comment melodramatic or whatever you want to call it, but it’s an honest feeling from someone who loves Arsenal so much, who wants his club to be better, and will support Arsenal whatever pain that may cause.

    Let the silly season begin….

  19. Bill says:

    Hard to feel anything but disappointed with this season. The overpaid mercenary tossers at Man City could summon the winning mentality finish strongly and win the FA cup and beat us for 3rd. At least we had the courage to finish the season with a draw.

  20. dfb says:

    Because there has been little sign of improvement over the past few years. Because some players that were previously expected to feature in the the side for a number of years are probably leaving this year. Because the self-confidence of this group of players is at an all time low, possibly irrecoverable. So why do you think they’ll be better next year ?

  21. Team spirit says:

    @ dfb? No sign of improvement over the years? Even you dont beleive that statement… go back and re read it

    who are some of the players expected to feature that are on their way out? Just off my head, without much effort, JD in his first full season back from injury did quite well… Our keepers are improving, Kos in his first season in the Pl was not bad too. TV is coming back from a long term injury… By pre season it will be clear if he is fully over all.

    Cesc and nasri and clichy have speculations around their stay in the club, all of whom have expressed their desire to stay, and until they go for sure, we cannot surely start counting them to have gone?

  22. 1 loose cannon says:

    Birmingham relegated. Good riddance I say, that was the only thing I enjoyed today. Sadly Blackpool will not be in the premiership next season, they entertained us. I have not watched the game today so I can’t comment but I guess i have not missed anything spectacular. I heard we signed an Argentine midfilder, an unheard of of course. Wenger made it clear things will be sorted out over the summer, I don’t know if it means new players or change of philosophy.

  23. Bill says:

    G4E:

    The boss poured cold water all over the thing that many thought should be the first change, no defensive coach will be coming. Not willing to give up any of his control. I expect a long summer filled with lots of rumors but very little real change. Hope I’m wrong. Following all the rumors and getting hopes up will drive you crazy.

  24. dfb says:

    I honestly don’t see that improvement in measurable terms. Where was it ? Points amassed ? Goals scored ? Goals conceded ? League position ? Are we talking about subjective opinion here or are we saying we’ve improved because we finished 4th while spending much less money. Yes there are good points, yes some players are looking good but overall ? I haven’t seen it, sorry.

  25. Bill says:

    We conceded 2 more goals then last year. We all thought there was defensive improvement this year. After last year we thought our defending could not get worse. We scored 9 fewer goals this year despite having much better luck with injuries. We finished 4th with fewer points then the year before.

    Improvement?????

  26. Gunner4Ever says:

    Rumors are just rumors Bill, you have to read and interpret them as such. I don’t really know if a defensive coach is the answer to our problems at the back, buying a center back, or a different collective team effort.

    I’m not paid to do that nor I’m qualified to do that. All I know is the club, manager, and the players he have or will have sit together and figure things out. Based on this season, it’s not catastrophic but it’s not good enough either.

    Wenger used to say the the Premier League is the most important trophy, maybe we need to forget about all others -including the CL – and concentrate on the PL to build this team’s confidence and stature. I’m sure the club owners would not like to hear about losing CL money of course, but that’s what they need to sort out.

    What’s their goals for the next period of this great club’s history? More of the same, just stay heads above water or something more?

    I’ll wait and see…

  27. DeiseGooner says:

    A highly disappointing end to a season that promised a great deal just a short while ago.

    Plenty of work to be done this summer to turn it around. I hope le boss is up to it.

  28. Team spirit says:

    there is nothing good about how the season ended. 2 wins in 13 from the time we were set for a quadruple is outrageous.
    It is how we go forward from here that is now the issue at stake.

    someone talked about the new for a load of new players which is what brought the observation that there was more to what went wrong at this end of the season and the very least of it is the quality of the players hence the observation that they underachieved and can actually do better than they did! So finished worse than last season, but ironically we were most likely to have won the Pl than in the last few seasons up until about 5 matches ago!

  29. Passenal says:

    I think Arsene made the mistake of responding to the demands of ‘fans’ by going for all 4 trophies. The squad as a whole was not strong enough and the effort meant that they tailed off badly when it really mattered. Next season we need to go back to focussing on the PL and CL if we qualify. The rest would be nice to have, but not if they are going to distract us from the main trophies.

    Our pre-season preparation the last few years have seen us start really well then tail off badly. Perhaps the change of pre-season arrangements this year could mean that we are better able to pace ourselves and finish stronger the way manure seem to do every year.

    As for when it all went wrong this season. I don’t think it was the CC final, I think it was Sunderland at home. The team played well but a perfectly good goal was called offside, while a clear penalty was not given. It looked to me that the team lost all hope of a fair contest after that and they never recovered.

  30. JohnN says:

    I don’t think you can say there has been no improvement over the last few years. 2 years ago we were 10 points behind Villa at Christmas and only their late collapse let us get into 4th. Although our league performance was similar to last year’s the manager believed we had enough strenght in depth in the squad to put out competetive teams in the cups. Who knows what may have happened against Barca apart from one of the most perverse refereeing decisions for many years? In the league Cesc and Rvp could only start 22 and 19 games respetively. TV played 5.
    With some of the doom and gloom amongst supporters you would think we had been relegated!

  31. Gunner4Ever says:

    Passenal,

    Maybe this is the problem? I really hope that the collective mentality of an Arsenal team is not so fragile to entirely collapse for one game, CC or Sunderland.

    But I agree with you and as I mentioned earlier in my post, maybe we need to concentrate only on the premier league.

  32. dukeGoonem says:

    for the first tim ever im now seriously doubting whether Wenger should move aside. Its clear something isnt right. we had Keown as defensive coach and got to the cl final after keeping clean sheet after clean sheet then he is let go. We are crying out for a defensive coach, Wenger needs top men around him but he is refusing to appoint them, 2-3 players i feel will not change anything next year, things higher up have to change first. crazynes coz i believe he should stay but i have doubts as to whether he can succeed again under the current format. I think we are now at a situation where Wenger has to chnage his methods or he will have to go. or are we happy with finishing 4th which is still a good position to be in and the fear is another manager wont get us in the elite top 4.

  33. Bill says:

    Passenal:

    the boss played the b Squad for many of those FA cup games and rotated for many of the early CC games. We had plenty of players to handle the way we played the season. At the beginning of the year we all thought this was the deepest squad that Arsenal had ever had and the deepest squad in the world. those cup games gave us a chance to use the squad.

    With regard to the boss giving into the fans you know as well as I how much fan and media pressure influences him. Based on what the players said, they wanted the CC more then the fans did.

  34. Team spirit says:

    i think the players and the boss wanted to end tis no trophy in 5 yrs thing.

    The irony is that if he had actually concentrated on the Pl and Cl as is his usual practice, we may likely have won one or both or even more.

    there is nothing wrong with the policy of allowing the fringe players practice with the CC and FA cups, it can only make the squad stronger in the long run

  35. dukeGoonem says:

    ha ha ha . Wenger gave into the demands of fans and went for all four trophies. hilarious.

  36. OneOfUs says:

    The great thing about our setup is that there’s usually someone who’s on the verge of stepping up. At the start of the season it was JW, while Theo and Nasri became real first team stars.

    I think we desperately needed one or two players more to emerge from the second string or even reserves after the new year – put a few first-class performances in and place the established XI under pressure. Djourou managed it in the early rounds of the CC, but nobody else really came through after that. In fact, it felt like a few players had regressed. Sadly, I’m thinking of Bendtner, Denilson, Gibbs and Rosicky. For different reasons, none of them could stake a claim when we needed it.

    So when the body blows hit – that draw against Sunderland, the 2nd leg against Barcelona and the CC – we had nobody who could come in and reinvigorate the team. We had to rely on our first XI, even though they were slumping horribly.

  37. Passenal says:

    The ‘B’ team were sent out in the cups, but when they couldn’t get it done in one game, first team players were used in many of the replays. Had we not had to use Cesc in some of these games for example, he may have been fit for the CC final and to face BBB at the Nou Camp. We were the last PL team in with a chance of 4 trophies and have paid the price of a game every few days in Dec and Jan. The players are fit, but obviously that schedule was too much.

    G4E, I am not suggesting that it was that a single game, I believe it was the final straw at the end of a gruelling campaign. They just could not raise themselves again, when it seemed that no matter what they did, nothing was going their way.

  38. Dexter says:

    WEll, if the away dans are saying we need to spend some fucking money, then we obviously need to spend some fucking money. And when the away fans chant, Arsene Wenger’s havin a party, bring some vokda and some charlie, well you better go and get some booze and devil’s dandruff.

  39. OneOfUs says:

    Forgot to mention Vela above.

    The bright side is that there’s aways a steady flow of talent. We’ll have a couple of the better loanees in and around the squad next season. For all this talk of experience (and I know it’s necessary to some extent), you need ambitious young players in every squad, especially ones who have been at the club for a few years; they know the training methods and teammates; they’re settled at Arsenal, and while they’re going to be ambitious, they’ll also be patient for their opportunity.

    Every great club (excluding Man City and Chelsea) has this base of homegrown talent beneath its first team.

  40. Dexter says:

    DukeG

    Keown was only at the club while he got his UEFA coaching badges I tink? And although we di well in the CL, defensively, we werent very good in the league late, if I remember right? Still, I would love Keown back at h club as a coach. I do think a change like that is needed, as well as some significant signings.

  41. Passenal says:

    Duke, you are missing the point. Any Arsenal supporter would know that Arsene tried to manage his resources by only going for the PL and CL while using the CC and FAC for development of youngsters. This is the first season he really went for all four because of the clamour from the glory seeking ‘customers’. I believe the late season collapse is the outcome of that change of approach. He hoped, and believed the squad was up to it. Clearly they weren’t and I suspect he will return to focussing on the 2 key trophies.

  42. jason says:

    Passenal
    Utd went further than us in the FA cup and CL.They has to play FA Cup games and CL games in the run in.In our last 10 games we only had to play the Premiership.How come our schedule was harder. The sad truth is although Wenger amazingly thinks this is his strongest squad ever it is a long way behind Utd’s

  43. Dexter says:

    G4L

    last eason we showed great committment and fighting spirit, just take the Stoke game when Aaron got his leg mangled for example. The season waslitterdwith late late winning and game saving goals. We beat all the “smaller” teams, ye did crap vs the big boys. This year we didpoory and then the slump that refused to end, with only the unied game a briht spot in that terrible run. Why the fuck that happened nd was not rectified is a real puzzle and somethng Wenger will earn his corn trying to sort out.

  44. Dexter says:

    jason I doubt Wenger thinks that now mate. In fact he probably didntmean it when h did say it. he never slates his players in public and nor should he. But I reckon he will be offloading a fair few of these squad players because they didnt make the grade that was expected of them.

  45. Dexter says:

    Passenal
    #
    You ain going to like this, but I think Fabianski should go out on loan nxt season, as a1st choice GK and we should sign Freidel as Szczesney’s bck up. That way they both get to play and Friedel can come in when required.

  46. Passenal says:

    That makes no sense Dexter. Before his injury, Fabianski was playing really well. Szczesny shows promise, but has made a lot of mistakes, for which he has been given a free pass because he has the goodwill of the supporters. Fabianski will not stay under the circumstances you describe and I wouldn’t blame him.

  47. Team spirit says:

    wht exactly did Szczesney do better that fabianski? i think fab’s performances were better than Szczesney’s until he got injured. If Big Al had conceeded some of the goals he did, m sure we would not be hearing the end of it by now

  48. Team spirit says:

    aha passenal puts it more eloquently than me i see

  49. Passenal says:

    jason, read my post again. I said he hoped and believed the squad was good enough, but they let him down in practice, hence why he had to turn to the first XI too much in the end.

  50. Dexter says:

    I knew you wouldn like it, but frankly Szczesney is the better keeper, has not made anywhere near the same amount of level ofmistake as fabianski has. Why wuldFabianski not like playing regualr 1st team football compared with sitting on th bench?

  51. Team spirit says:

    @ jason
    A long way behind united> because they won the league with no small help from the refs? You sir are being dramatic!

    By all means say the team did not do well, but do not over dramatize!

  52. Dexter says:

    TS

    I like Faianski, in fact, I was the only Gooner I knew who still stood up for him even when he was making all those high profile mistakes. He came in and did well, really well. Yet he still made misakes on a regular basis. But I dont want to use those to beat him with. My point is that I dont think Fabianski will be the number 1 next season and unles he wants to end up like Kuszcak at United (useless) a loan wouldreally benefithim.

  53. Team spirit says:

    @ dexter, he has not played the same number of games wither so how exactly can u tell?

    Nobody is saying he is not a great keeper, but judging them on this season, there is no way that Szczesney was better than Fabianski

  54. Dexter says:

    Passenal;

    OK just swap over the names of the 2 Poles to suit your preferance then. Thn get back to me!

  55. Passenal says:

    Fabianski will be playing regular first team football next season for Arsenal. Szczesny is not half as good as you think he is. Had Fabianski been in goal for these recent games, he would be taking a lot of the blame for some of the goals conceded. The goal keeper plays an important part in organising the defence for set plays and his inexperience is there for all (who want to) to see.

  56. Dexter says:

    The Ukranian or Argentinian Arsenal teams Passenal?

  57. Team spirit says:

    @ Dexter LOL

    the English Arsenal Team

  58. OneOfUs says:

    I think both ‘keepers have done well. GK hasn’t been a problem position at all this season – apart from when our first choices have been injured. Fabianski proved what he can really do with a proper run of games under his belt (his first ever at Arsenal), while Szczesny never looked out of place either. Apparently, Szczesny rates Fabiankski as the best goalie at the club, so doesn’t sound like he’d be upset to play second fiddle to him next season.

  59. Dexter says:

    TS;

    Basicvally my point is that neither keeper will be happy about not being number 1 next season. And sitting on the bnch is not an option, in my opinion. Therforea loan i in order, which would then mean we need an experience keeper to be back up. Friedel is vastly experienced, has a nother year in him, is out of contract and would sign for us I reckon. But any other old keepr would suffice.

  60. goonerandy says:

    I remember at the start of the season; everybody wrote off Man City as no threat. Didn’t quite turn out that way eh?

  61. Team spirit says:

    As one of us said, the loan thing need not arise if Szczesney is second choice. Who says we cannot have a great back up keeper? In fact it is crucial that we do given our luck with injuries when all 4 keepers were out at one point this season!

  62. Bob pat den tel says:

    How will it be different next year

  63. dfb says:

    More so Utd and Chelsea. Their time had passed. Nowhere near as good as us. Pure hopeful fantasy …

  64. Dexter says:

    A thrat to what Andy? They werent a threat to us. It was ll self inflicted, City finishing 3rdto our 4th is neiterher nor there mate.

  65. Dexter says:

    TS;

    I dont se that happening. I’d be very surprised, gobsmacked even!

  66. Passenal says:

    Dexter, both goal keepers are good, but you seem to assume that Szczesny will be number one on the basis that he has played the last few games of the season. I am just making the point that he has had no competition and that you should not rule out Fabianski. Fabianski has made his mistakes, but with a run of games he showed that he is a quality goal keeper. You seem to rule out the possibility that having a rookie like Szczesny behind them had any impact on the defence. I’m not so sure.

    I would be surprised if Clichy left especially to go to Inter. Gibbs is really not up to it yet and I can’t see Botelho slotting in right away, even as back up. Perhaps Vermaelen will play left-back and we’ll get another CB if that happens.

  67. OneOfUs says:

    “I remember at the start of the season; everybody wrote off Man City as no threat. Didn’t quite turn out that way eh?”

    The only surprise is that they didn’t improve earlier – they’ve spent shitloads on transfers (the GDP of the Solomon Islands!) and 12 of the world’s top 100 earners in football are in their squad, with three in the top 10.

    We have three in the entire list.

  68. Dexter says:

    Passenal, I already said change the names to suit your preferenace (its just before your previous rant!) You miss my point. Sure I think Szczesney is the better bet, but thats just my opinion, its not the point i was originally making.

    And on Clichy. I can definitely see him going. Of the 3 supposed certainties to leave (him, Cesc and Samir) I think he’ll be the only one gone.

  69. goonerandy says:

    Dexter – A threat to our lge position. Which turned out to be very much true as they finished above us. It doesn not matter that we fucked it up ourselves, they were still in the position to take advantage of our collapse.

    Arsene really needs to get it right this summer. Manure, Chelsea and M City (especially) will all throw cash all over the place and improve their squads. Liverpool and the Spuds will also improve their squads without doubt. The top 6 will be even harder next year.

  70. Passenal says:

    OOU, they only finished 3rd because we imploded. We took 4 points, which should have been 6, off them this season.

    It’s no coincidence that the 3 teams with the most money finished in the top 3. While disappointing because of the position we were in earlier in the season, fourth is not bad given the resources at our disposal.

  71. Team spirit says:

    @Andy
    league table does not lie, but for this arsenal team, this is a pure case of underachievement rather than city being better than us

  72. Passenal says:

    Dexter, I’m happy to discuss the issue with you, but I don’t appreciate you describing my post as a ‘rant’ that is not my style and I don’t see where you get off describing it as such.

  73. Dexter says:

    Andy; I know what you mean, but to be honest, finishing 3rd or 4th is still failure, we werent fighting with them for the title, therefore they werent a threat to us. Our form was that of relegation candidates towards the end.

  74. OneOfUs says:

    Yeah Passenal, I should have added that they only got a sniff because we fell apart in spectacular fashion.

    “Manure, Chelsea and M City (especially) will all throw cash all over the place and improve their squads. Liverpool and the Spuds will also improve their squads without doubt. The top 6 will be even harder next year.”

    I really don’t think there’ll be much spending this summer without it being balanced by departures. UEFA are going to have their eye on this transfer window for the first time. While they can’t do much at this stage, they’re going to be growing increasingly vocal from now on.

    Man City are talking about “just one or two” squad players, Chelsea just spent £70 million in January and I can’t believe Abramovich will cough up that amount again, while Levy just told the Spuds fans they’re more interested in keeping their squad together and welcoming back a couple of youngsters.

    Meanwhile Liverpool can spend all they want – they’ll still be two or three years from challenging.

  75. Dexter says:

    Passenal

    It was a joke. A light hearted aside, a non-serious statement.

  76. Conférencier says:

    the three most financially buoyant clubs in the premiership can demand trophies..Arsenal can’t..I love the club but anything above 4th place from next season will be a job well done….expect the Uzbek takes over (God forbid)…

  77. Evil says:

    Losing Clichy, not really sure what to think about it. On his day, he is really useful with his interceptions, but his offensive contributions have been lacking. He has had 1 assist this season, one assists last season. Compare that to Cashley, who has had 5 assists this season. Also, I felt that he was often the weakest link in our defence, playing people onside a lot of times. Considering that the is the most experienced of our defenders, that was really surprising. He should be in his best years as a footballer but I feel he has deteriorated compared to where he was as a player two or three years ago. Unfortunately though Gibbs is nowhere near ready … maybe a continuous spell in the first team might help him but starting next season with him as our first choice would be a big risk. So I still hope that we can keep Clichy in the hopes that the can rediscover his form, but if Clichy goes I don’t see any alternative but to bring someone else in. Especially as I am not sure how good Vermaelen would be at left back.

  78. george rodger says:

    Whatever happened ,for whatever reasons one thing we all agree on is that it was fucking horrible.And none of us want to see it happen again.
    The most important thing is that we shake off the dreadful negativity surrounding the club and team.
    This will not be achieved if the “in” fighting continues ,or worse,escalates.
    If the financial fair play rules do not have the desired effect ,then we must accept that anything better than fourth is seriously over achieving,
    If we can accept that simple reality then not winning will not generate this dreadful ill feeling year after year.
    The other reality is that Arsene Wenger is such a genius that despite our financial handicap we still could win things.

  79. dfb says:

    The most important thing is that the team become more effective. If you’re speaking of in-fighting and negativity within the club itself then I agree with you. If you’re implying that there’s anything anyone on this or any other blog can do to change anything, then I don’t. The turn around must start within the team itself, to suggest otherwise is delusional. Honesty would help. If the limit of our ambition is to fight for 4th every season then why doesn’t the club admit it rather than pretend that we’re realistic contenders for every title. Then we might all feel a sense of accomplishment rather than failure.

  80. george rodger says:

    Ambition and expectation are not to be confused.

  81. Passenal says:

    Evil, TV had been playing left back when we bought him. At least we know he can contribute goals from the back. Clichy’s form I think has been impacted by his back injury as well as having Arshavin infront of him. I would be sad to see him go, but since we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes we have to just accept that what will be will be.. It could be that the intensity of the PL is too much for his back so a move to a slower league like Italy may be for the best for him.

  82. dfb says:

    Then that difference should be made clear. By the club.

  83. Dexter says:

    We fought for the title this season, didnt win it, but because we ended up 4th doesnt mean thats our objective does it?

  84. Henristic says:

    What a season this has been. The lack of motivation to play at our best in the last few games is worrying. If any other top flight club had its players playing so poorly in the business end of the season, there’d be rumors saying they want their manager sacked!

    These group of players, both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams have underperformed. They’ve let their manager down and confirmed the critics view that they are essentially a bunch of bottlers.

    Thankfully we do have a good base to build on. But the players need to be shaken out of the ‘mental space’ they seem to currently reside. Hoping that they will naturally evolve into a better team is simply not realistic as the last few seasons have showed. Fact is, we may not be so lucky with injuries next season, and the refs are not gonna be fairer to us. We need a quantum leap in season-wide performance levels to be able to seriously challenge next year.

  85. Dexter says:

    I think the club shoul put out a statement in August stating;

    “We, the board members at Arsenal expect the team to do all they can to hoodwink the mug punters, erm we mean fans into thinking we are challenging for the title and trophies, while all the time, we are only really interested in finishing 4th and going out to barca evry year in the champions league.”

  86. dfb says:

    I don’t know. Many use the argument that because others spend much more than us then we can’t expect to compete with them and that coming 4th is a success for us. It might be a realistic objective for us. Why not ? If so then lets be honest about it.

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