Robin’s Batman To Theo’s Robin

The fixtures are coming thick and fast at the moment although a lull looms with the international break kicking in after the visit of West Brom to The Emirates. It is a headache for Arsène when those encounters will not include a Carling Cup tie, a match where he will automatically rest most, if not all, of the starting line-up from the previous Saturday. Arsenal have traditionally always played on a Tuesday for their midweek fixtures so the scenario is not new or unusual.

For the manager, the question is complicated by one of the more injury-prone players in the past displaying talismanic properties at the moment. van Persie’s absence in previous seasons is made more galling by the form shown now. The term ‘world class‘ is attached to any Johnny Come Lately in this media-defined era; van Persie has hardly burst onto the scene, more of a slow burner.

Like others before him, the Dutchman typifies Arsène’s reputation for buying cheaply and enhancing a player’s value. van Persie’s cost now must surely be a ten-fold increase on his £3m price tag six years ago. To think that he joined Arsenal six months later than originally intended because the club had a cashflow shortage due to the new stadium project.

That price tag was fuelled by ill-discipline, something he has worked hard on at the club latterly successful in this area. The stunning ignorance of those who inhabit the internet was highlighted with claims of a ‘Nazi salute’ at the weekend.

Any semblance of knowledge about the Dutchman’s personal life would have rendered the idea too contradictory to be believed; such is the desire of some to find scandal in any situation, this gained traction to the extent that the player had to issue a denial via his Twitter account. It is the negatives of this information age, where malicious lies and truths told with evil intent permeate via the electronic garden fence.

van Persie is still the subject of speculation over his future, you suspect that as he enters the peak years of his career such tribulations over his future will always continue. Like many, I take the view that even without the pressures that currently beset the club, van Persie should just be paid what he wants. More than his predecessors, I do believe he wants statements of intent from the club. The former captain wanted a flight home whilst his midfield compadre just wanted a bigger salary. No signings could change their minds. The Dutchman you feel – rightly or wrongly – is content at Arsenal, driven  by a winning mentality.

The perception of Arsenal as football club will do nothing to relieve these pressures, especially with Arsène joining those of us who doubt that Uefa’s FFP regulations have either the substance or substantial backing, to make them succeed. There are simply too many get out clauses and as Wenger pointed out, if Sion a small albeit wealthy, Swiss club has the will to fight the governing body through the courts, their bigger cousins will have no compunction in taking the same route.

All of this on a weekend when the soaring emotions of being an Arsenal fan came through. Such is the rollercoaster that at times you can be mistaken for an entrepreneurial Charon, refusing to take an empty boat back to the shores of the Acheron, filling it instead with the souls of disbelieving Arsenal fans ferrying them back to some semblance of belief.

Elsewhere, Theo Walcott is receiving some overdue praise. I have been critical of some performances and his shortcomings, Saturday proved that he has the talent and ability to overcome them. Having made Ashley Cole look distinctly ordinary, the expectations are there that Walcott will play that way every week. Unrealistic perhaps but he can play to some semblance of that level surely? That is not too great a level of expectation.

More than his actual performance, I was impressed by his intelligence. Stained by the ill-informed contempt of Chris Waddle, Theo cannot do right for doing wrong in some eyes. That is harsh; his goal showed an awareness that many never see, playing to the whistle whilst defenders stopped.

He wants to play centrally; it won’t happen in the foreseeable future at Arsenal and to some extent, performances such as the one at Stamford Bridge hold the key. Able to cut in from the wing, he can finish and create. Like van Persie some believe that he should not play centrally as the lead striker, feeding instead off a taller target man. Arsenal are not likely to play that way consistently and with his strength being pace, a wide position seems his immediate future.

As for Gervinho, well, Big Al did as much a job of making his Superman as anyone.

’til Tomorrow.

265 thoughts on “Robin’s Batman To Theo’s Robin

  1. From my perspective…….f*ck the pundits and media that back in August had already written Arsenal off in the Champions League – most predicting we wouldn’t advance to the group stages.

    Stirring up the Cesc/Nasri departures – Arsenal are a team in decline, no good team loses its best players, pointing out that Arsene had lost the plot and locker room, and on …. and on….. and on….

    For me, winning the group stage is important for short and long-term image of the club, players, and manager.

    Tomorrow night, our manager will select those that he feels will bring us the 3 points.

  2. Exactly, Paul. Plus you have the side benefit of confidence spreading through the whole team at the moment. I’m sure our second string are dying for a chance to outshine the starters as well.

  3. C’mon GunnerJones get with the program. Maturity is being able to overlook the fact that our player was strangled by a barca player, and received no punishment.

  4. Gris Gris…..
    on Theo’s goal……..get the rope out and lets check the angles…..

    Technique is pedestrian if the mind is shackled or distracted.

    At this level of play, mental clarity is an absolute necessity. (imo) Agree with your observations above.

  5. Hey I never ever said we were fairly treated, I have personally got that Buccaca fucker or what ever that refs name is on my to get before i die list. It was shocking, and in this day and age of sports i still cannot believe that people can get away with that shit. If i was Arsenal I would have demanded an inquiry into the refs integrity. But,, cant have that as the sole reason for our demise after that.
    And yes george I believe that Wenger did rectify that issue this off season. We seem to have turned a corner.

  6. True, Gris Gris. This is why I thought that the criticism levelled at Almunia for getting beat twice at the near post by Ibrahimovic was hysterical. I mean, what can a keeper do when he’s got the striker at less than five meters away? Not much, if you ask me. All he can do is hope that the strike comes close to him. Other than that he’s fried.

  7. “But,, cant have that as the sole reason for our demise after that.”

    I am not saying that .There were a few .
    Like the CC catastrophe
    Arshavin not winning it ,a disallowed goal and two stone wall pen’s denied,against Sunderland
    4 4 @Newcastle
    Eboue against Liverpool.

    Any one of these events,with a different outcome could have”rebooted” our season.

  8. Wenger’s post suspension suspension was a message, Arsesession. And that message was don’t fuck with UEFA or its officials. They couldn’t have made it any clearer.

  9. Sorry GunnerJones that may have came off harsher than intended. After all, the last thing we need is another pointless debate about Cuntalona and their ilk. Peace.

  10. The delay on signing RVP due to cash problems is a new one on me. He signed in May ’04, didn’t we spend £10m+ on Reyes in Jan ’04?

  11. The point of having a deep squad is having your best players rested for your biggest games without it costing you along the way. Tomorrow’s game is the biggest one we have until mid-late December when we go to ManCity. We need to rest some players but the talk among many is rather wild in terms of their lineups. This is not a Carling Cup game!!?!?!?

    The reason why it is so major a game is because we guarantee qualification with a win and virtually assure finishing first; all we need is another victory or two draws at most to assure topping our group. Marseille is our biggest threat for that so two victories against them will cripple them and do you see them going to Dortmund and winning? This is the marquee tournament and our future in it is guaranteed with a win. The reasons why we want to finish first are also obvious and the only one not mentioned is that the deeper we go in the CL the more matchdays we have which means more revenues from it and from the CL tv pot. Since we are a self-sustaining club, this matters a great deal to our ability to sign Walcott, Song, and especially RvP to the inevitable wage increases and any new signings in January and the summer. The other non-obvious reason is that every time we go out of the CL, I think, it has a negative consequence on our form in other competitions. This is because the players absolutely love being in the CL–it is the prestige competition.

    So, fine, we can rest RvP, but that means playing Song, Arteta, Gervinho, Walcott, and Ramsey. Why not play him for 65 minutes and then bring on Park and substitute for whoever looks most tired?

    It is early in the season and Song missed three games, Gervinho three, Santos has only played since mid-late September, Merts missed the first several games, Dj hardly played until he began filling in for right back, there were lots of rotations for the CC games. The only players who have played a lot are RvP and Kos. Arteta came here because of the CL so will be very keen to play. Everton missed its first game and he missed a game when he joined Arsenal. These guys are not going to be tired right now and we can start rotating more as soon as we are qualified.

  12. Not saying it’s not right btw…

    Just not something I’ve heard before.

    Anyway, still buzzing from Saturday!

  13. dups, that poll has Jones slightly edging JW right now, what a joke. Plus they list the Ox as playing for Portsmouth! Now that is going to get the goat not just of Gooners but especially the Saints supporters! I voted for JW, but clearly this outfit has no credibility…

  14. George, lol! Yes, they have to stop paying attention to their families, friends and such in the evenings; we can’t keep repeating ourselves (although you have done a good job reminding people of your Arshavin views!).

    Dups, it’s like saying Balotelli was playing for AC Milan or Gago was playing for Lazio! Well actually it is more like saying Pastore is playing for Catania, tbh; it is just two teams on the south coast in the championship, but they are fierce rivals.

  15. This made me laugh

    Stokies, Wherever you may be,
    We know about your Incestry,
    You’ve got webbed hands, and an extra toe
    And a rather odd looking yellow glow.

  16. Sounds good, George. I look forward to your fresh insights and some unanticipated suggestions about where he should play and what kind of defensive responsibilities should come with the position!

  17. Lol LG.But seriously can you remember me saying the very same on Fans Forum this time last year?
    They weren’t listening then,they aren’t listing now.Perhaps they never will
    Starry starry night……………………………………

    Oh sorry burst into song why don’t I ?

  18. Lime, I don’t think tomorrow’s game is the biggest game until we meet Man City. With a draw we stay ahead of Marseille and even if Olympiacos beats Dortmund away, which I highly doubt, we still have our fate in our own hands. The biggest game at the moment is West Brom. We have to beat them or we slide further down the table and the CL spot becomes harder to attain.

  19. Aaron looks happy at last! (He’s been not only having to make do without Cesc, Sami & LJW, but also his best mate, Big Nik, got shipped up north of the Watford Gap for a loan spell.) So very pleased for him, for his contribution on Saturday. And he also looked super-keen to score all the way through (even kind of denying Arteta a clear chance.)

    Thought Santos did really well (from 55 min onwards, which is when I got to the pub, when it was already 2-2), although I gather he was a bit precarious earlier. Also, he’s goal-hungry. We need to keep the goals coming from everywhere.

    Amazing we still have some key players still out/on their way back.

    Looking forward to the CC City game – kind of a trial run for how we’ll tackle them in the league, although I imagine Song vs Silva might wait for another day.

    Can’t imagine AW wanting to do anything other than pound Marseilles into dust. (But with Barça in 2nd place in their group, we’ll still end up with them.)

  20. @ Gris Gris | October 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    That’s interesting, thank you.

    Re picking up the subtle physical cues, I think you are right. There is a passage in the book Bounce: How Champions Are Made by Matthew Syed that discusses this skill. The gist of it is that one of the skills found in top-class performers in sport is their ability to recognise these subtle cues. For example, a top tennis player will have a better idea of where a serve will go not by watching the racket head or the ball, but by watching the opponent’s hips, legs, etc – cues that others would miss completely. This skill, which is very specific to the sport they play, is honed through thousands of hours of mindful practice. As you’d guess, the best are typically better at it than their rivals. I would think that, for a goalkeeper, it must be an extremely important skill.

  21. Andre Santos is good for seven or eight goals a season. I think Kolarov is the only left back who will challenge him for the amount of goals scored by a fullback.

  22. I really pity that old fellow Joey Barton! Left Newcastle cause they weren’t ambitious enough for him. Well, just goes to prove that there is karma in the world … and it comes back to bite you in the arse, if you are a proper c*nt like Joey.

  23. Gains, we have 28 games to make up ground in the league. We have three games remaining in the CL group stages and one more against our biggest challengers for qualification and especially top spot. It is much, much bigger than West Brom and that is why the Boss said last week that we had two cup games this week: Chelsea and Marseille. Two big tests. He thinks this game is crucial because if you win it you break Marseille in two and take the group by the throat.

    I am not against playing Park for RvP or TV for Kos. They have played the most games. But if you sit RvP you have to make sure we win this game and that means playing our best midfield and Gervinho.

  24. With a draw, Gains, you have to play both of the remaining two games at full strength to get top spot. Win tomorrow and you can rest people for the league for at least one of them, perhaps two depending on the results in the other games. So play now and you’ll be able to rotate more.

    Consider the confidence that a win will give, insuring qualification, putting a string of victories against top teams of Europe–Marseille twice and Chelsea. I think that is worth stretching a bit for. My team, which I posted last night had four changes but played RvP. If you want to rest RvP, then you have to play Ramsey, Arteta, Song, Gervinho, Santos.

  25. @poodle
    Full agreement. Season before he was the best midfielder in Europe, and got nothing. This season he was subpar — by the standards he set himself at least — and gets nominated. I do wonder if it might be related to this fancy new shirt he’s wearing!

  26. Because he plays for Barca and has already scored 7 goals and 4 assists in 7 starts and 8 subs. He is essentially getting the recognition now for leading Europe for the last 5 years in assists and chances created. As an Arsenal player for some reason he doesn’t get that attention afforded to continental players. Thierry Henry should have won it, Vieira could have won it and so on.

  27. @limestone, not being rude but even you could hve scored 7 for Barcelona surrounded by the players they got. They only play crap teams 🙂

  28. but yeh you are right. Barcelona players are very well conected indeed. their influence streches all the way to the inner chambers of the secret societies within the secret societies at uefa.

  29. AW is very clever. He has started responding to all the RvP plaudits and questions about how great RvP is by pointing out that he benefits from the way we play, our attack-minded orientation and the chances created for him. He is saying Arsenal are not a one man team and he is subtly telling RvP that his success is related to the style of Arsenal and his prominence in our attack. If we bring in some players and show that we can and will win trophies, RvP will stay. Money will not be the problem as long as it is decent money befitting a player of his caliber.

  30. Marseille will probably try to play the same way to get a draw or nick a win on a swift counterattack or set piece. Deschamps has been talking about RvP and the need to stop him. He is a tough customer and might have some scheme for physical close marking of RvP. I wonder if there is some merit to the idea of letting him rest but be on the bench for a late bit of heroics if needed. The merit of Park is that he is familiar with Marseille. I wonder how he did last year against them.

  31. @lime clever or not, he does tell the truth though. Im sure RvP benefits tremendousley from being our best player, our captain and the focal point for attack.
    I think he really enjoys being the top dog. And thrives on the new responsibility he has. In another club he would just be one of many stars. In arsenal he is THE star.
    Cesc seemed to find it more of a burden, But RvP, i think he loves it.
    Hes always been like that though. I guess tahts why he rubbed some people the wrong way back in the day. And one cannot deny hes doing a very good job so far.

    It seems like the rest of the team are happy with finally having a leader to 🙂

  32. but rvp did not score our last goal against Marseille, that was Aaron Ramsey! Let them stop RvP, it will give more room for the rest of our players to score

  33. Rvp didnt creat any of the first three goals, obviously the first one but again gervinho put it on a silver platter. RVP has had alot of easy goals. not like he is making and scoring them himself.

    Andy(bitter as a pint of Boddingtons)Jacobs actually had the bitterness to say without RVP we are mid table team.

    very suprised we are getting absolutely no credit for scoring 5ive even though we were 5ive to one to win which makes one think that this chelsea team must be a bit good at them odds…but nothing not a fukin titter. just a load of chelsea were poor…chelsea didnt turn up…chelsea gifted…fuck cunt shit blah blah…cun ts.

  34. @duke aparantly spurs were “silky” though against a low table qpr while ” top teams have ridiculousley naive defences” since they can let Arsenal score 5.

  35. Last year Park scored the equalizer away at Marseille in the 79th minute. The return fixture ended in a 0-0 draw. So he has scored on them. Maybe worth starting him. I don’t think Wenger will do it though.

  36. Poodle, agree that AW tells the truth and the truth is RvP belongs at Arsenal and should win trophies with us as our inspirational captain. I hope we can do something special this year and continue to build for next, and that includes having a good transfer window in January and next summer.

    My worry is not that they will stop him but play very physically in their zeal to stop him. I agree that the rest of our attack can come up with the goals needed.

  37. The key thing that has happened and no one seem to talk about is the fact that Gervinho has started to square the ball to RVP more. at the begining I was really fustrated with him he used to get into fantastic positions but rarely made the final pass, he wanted to score himself,I remember one game were he did not pass to RVP instead blasted the ball over the bar , RVP was in better position than him but did not make the pass. RVP gave him a rollocking for not passing to him and this is what I call leadership, he made his point very clear. since then things have changed. He had a hand in most of RVP’s goals so far Gervinho to me is the unsung hero

  38. even if we win out on our group in the champions league, we might meet BARKAcrybabies in the next round. still, I’m of the mind to put out our strongest available 11 in tomorrow. thumpING Marseille in submission by end of first half and then make the proper defensive substitutions at half time to see the game to the end. they have won four games in a row in all competitions since we beat them on practicely the last kick of the game. should not underestimate these guys and need to snuff out any hope they have for winning this game EARLY. given hope these guys will grow in confidence. hope we don’t suffer any major injuries tomorrow. here is hoping for convincing and moral boosting thumping of the highest order manyana for my GUNS.

  39. Goonerkam – “A recent survey illustrated most Tottenham Hotspur fans have had sex in the shower!

    In the survey, carried out for leading toiletries firm ‘Brut’, a whopping 86% of Tottenham fans said that they have enjoyed sex in the shower.

    The other 14% said they hadn’t been to prison”………yet 🙂

  40. A major hurricane (Hurricane Gazza) and earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale hit Tottenham in the early hours of Tuesday with its epicentre in Bruce Castle.

    Victims were seen wandering around aimlessly, muttering “Faaackinell”.

    The hurricane decimated the area, causing approximately £30 worth of damage. Several priceless collections of mementos from Majorca and the Costa Del Sol were damaged beyond repair.

    Three areas of historic burnt out cars were disturbed. Many locals were woken well before their giros arrived. LAST.FM, one of Tottenham’s local radio stations, reported that hundreds of residents were confused and bewildered and were still trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting had happened in Bruce Castle.

    One resident – Tracy Sharon Smith, a 15-year-old mother of 5 said, “It was such a shock, my little Chardonnay-Mercedes came running into my bedroom crying. My youngest two, Tyler-Morgan and Victoria-Storm slept through it all. I was still shaking when I was skinning up and watching Trisha the next morning.”

    Apparently looting, muggings and car crime were unaffected and carried on as normal.

    The British Red Cross has so far managed to ship 4,000 crates of Sunny Delight to the area to help the stricken locals. Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found large quantities of personal belongings, including benefit books, jewellery from Elizabeth Duke bone china from Poundland.


    This appeal is to raise money for food and clothing parcels for those unfortunate enough to be caught up in this disaster. Clothing is most sought after – items most needed include:

    Fila or Burberry baseball caps

    Kappa tracksuit tops (his and hers)

    Shell suits (female)

    White sport socks

    Rockport boots

    Any other items usually sold in Primark.

    Food parcels may be harder to come by, but are needed all the same. Required foodstuffs include:

    Microwave meals, Tins of baked beans, Ice cream, Cans of Colt 45 or Special Brew.

    22p buys a biro for filling in the compensation forms.

    £2 buys chips, crisps and blue fizzy drinks for a family of 9

    £7 buys 20 B&H and a lighter to calm the nerves of those affected.

    **Breaking news**

    Rescue workers found a girl in the rubble smothered in raspberry Alco-pop. ‘Where are you bleeding from?’ they asked.

    “Tower Gardens” said the girl, “woss that gotta do wiv you?

  41. irish, if you are not a comedy writer , start being one. i know I’m gona have a great day now. tnx for the levity. You are a credit to ALCF and everyone you come in contact with. have yourself a awsome day bud.

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