Wenger has Gotze to get stuck in come January

It seems no matter where you go what you do you can’t escape Arsenal transfer speculation, even in September papers were linking us to deals in January ‘price agreed’ and ‘Arsenal make contact with’ are titles we’ve all become accustomed to. It doesn’t even seem to be tied in any way to form either, when we were having our worse start for 50 years the flow was as steady as it is now.

One name that has constantly popped up since the middle of the summer window though is that of 19 year old ‘wunder-kid’ Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund. The German teen has attracted attention from pretty much every big gun in Europe read, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan (Inter and AC), Manchester United, Chelsea (pfft) and of course Manchester City. I’m sure Liverpool were in there somewhere but as he’s not English and ridiculously overvalued ‘King Kenny’ will doubtlessly look elsewhere.

Arsenal are enjoying a real resurgence in form right now, Arsene managed to turn the vibes around at the club after the 8-2 thrashing with a few signings, we had the blip at Blackburn after that and a few slip ups but overall the team is plodding along nicely playing in a way we haven’t seen before.

Some of the technique the o-la-la if you like has gone out of our game but there’s a steady work ethic and real passion to grab the win now. The players seem to be enjoying each win all the more now and under Van Persie’s captaincy they really do look like they’re willing to fight for each other and the fans to get the victory. Though we have lost some of our flashiness it’s nice to see, we all remember the super slick Arsenal shipping four goals against Newcastle, or going 2-0 up against Wigan only to lose 3-2, or going 4-2 up against Spurs only to drop to a 4-4 draw. When Chelsea clawed their way back to a totally undeserved 3-3 at the Bridge this year I doubt I was the only one thinking ‘and wait for the fourth.’ But to my surprise it was us who bagged the fourth and fifth goals to take a historic win.

Some players have really stepped up to the mark and they deserve a pat on the back for it, it’s these guys you need to keep around. When the going got tough they didn’t need to be searched for, they were right there on the line fighting. I’m thinking of Koscielny, Schez, Vermaelen (now he’s back), of course RVP, Arteta, Gervinho. Ramsey is putting the effort in aware that our midfield talisman will return in a month or so. Walcott has stepped up his game now he can feel the breath of the Ox on the back of his neck. Frimpong and Coquelin have done well and brought a freshness and youthful energy to the team every time they’ve played. Andre Santos is improving with each game and it’s staggering how many attacks he starts each week.

But to notice the heroes, you can’t help but point fingers at the villains. Chamakh looks to be heading out of the club most likely to PSG (Le City de Manchester of Francais) and with a fee of £12 Million being talked about I wouldn’t shed too many tears at seeing the weirdly oily back of the Moroccan’s head. He’s been given enough chances and although some of his ball work and hold up play is good, he just doesn’t score enough goals or even look interested in being an attacking threat.

As much as it pains me to say it we need to look to sell Arshavin and bring someone in to replace him, and perhaps this is where young Gotze comes in.

I don’t know how many of you have paid attention to the German youngster since the summer but I certainly have (as much as I can) and he looks like a cross between a Fabregas and a Nasri. He has that killer ball in him, quick feet and a great sense of the game like Cesc. But he also runs the wings, has good pace and bags of tricks like Nasri. From reading up on him, joining his Facebook page he also seems a genuinely nice guy and has nothing but praise for us having played us. His agent said ‘Mario was wowed by the setup at Arsenal. The ground and the fans, the way they play the game is the way he wants to.’

Rumour has it Arsene is ready to break our transfer record and splash £25 Million on the kid. Dortmund want £30 Million but I think they’re playing hardball, though they are in a better bargaining position than say LOSC Lille who want a ludicrous £44 Million for Eden Hazard – another Arsene target.

The window opens in around three weeks and I hope we’re much more organised than we were this summer. What happened in August was nothing short of a complete shambles and it took an 8-2 pasting at Old Trafford to thankfully wake up everyone at Arsenal HQ and they pulled their fingers out.

Let’s hope the fingers are already out, the phones are in use, e-mails and faxes (if anyone does that anymore) are being sent and we are negotiating because we do need reinforcements. These players are trying to so hard and I can see a burn out in the very near future. We can’t expect Robin to carry the team to fourth alone. And we can’t expect Jack to come back and be our Cesc and Samir in attack – talented though he is.

However, I do appreciate you cannot change too much too soon and upset what is a very precarious balancing act at Arsenal. I think most of us can agree losing Chamakh in January would hardly upset the apple cart, neither would the loss of the Squid for a couple of million. Frimpong looks like he’s going on loan to Wolves and unless Diaby (who’s injured again having played five minutes of football) can string a few games together before January I’d be tempted to send him on loan to France with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

We’re not going to bank fortunes, perhaps £15 Million if the expected transfers of Chamakh and Squillaci go through and Arshavin stays put for now but it does mean we’d only have to spend £10 Million of our money (the fee for Arteta) to land Gotze who has made it clear we (along with those Catalans clowns) are his preferred destinations. Please Arsene, don’t do another Mata.

Lukas Podolski along with Damiao the Brazilian striker have been linked with Wenger clearly realising that Van Persie will need a rest occasionally and with Chamakh looking ready to jump ship and Park hardly inspiring confidence up top he needs a good understudy.

I know there are people who still want defensive reinforcements along with a whole host of new talent but I honestly think Mario Gotze and perhaps Podolski or another decent striker will be enough to see us start battling at the top of the table again. Don’t forget Wilshere will be back at the close of the window meaning our options in attacking midfield are mouth-watering.

Should the German arrive do you put him in the middle of the park? Or up top with Van Persie and Gervinho leaving a probable middle of Arteta, Song and Wilshere? That’s the beauty of a player like Gotze.

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Article written by Super Cesc.

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Dortmund KO’d, who’s next?

Firstly, I am beginning to like a team in Germany. In the first leg against Dortmund, they showcased to us a wonderful stadium, immersed in yellow, filled with vociferous fans chanting away. Their fans did not disappoint at the Emirates, as well, creating a wonderful atmosphere. BVB has an exciting team, with a solid defence and a team that can match toe to toe with any club in Europe on their day in attack. Jurgen Klopp looks to me like a coach to look out for. Arsene is talking short term about two years of his contract being left. Jurgen Klopp looks like a young manager who runs a tight budget and knows to manage a team of kids. You run the Math and tell me what I am thinking! A quick comment on three players that caught my eye in this BVB side. Kagawa, Hummels and Goetze. I won’t be surprised to see them plying their trade in one of the top leagues soon. Hope we do get our hands on Goetze, though! Once Theo moves to the centre, he looks to me to the perfect right winger to play at that position.

But firstly, it is a time to showcase immense pride. Qualifying out of this group looked a task when the draw was made. But qualifying top of the group with a game to spare shows the kind of recovery that this team has shown. I can hardly pick on any performance yesterday. While the mainstream lazy media would again talk of Van Persie, it would be foolish to ignore the contribution the rest of the team is making. RVP is putting his chances away and has been phenomenal. But the team is giving him the chance to score authentic striker’s goals. I would be worried if Van Persie is beating three defenders and going on solo runs to score all his goals. But, thankfully, such a need has not arisen. The team has created chances and offered to him on a platter. If by that definition, Arsenal is a one man team, I think I know of at least two more “one-man” teams called Real Madrid and Barcelona. The other reason that this one man team chant has increased amongst lazy journalists is that there has been equally strong contributions from the majority of the team in this mini-run that we are in. All players are standing up and giving an 8/10 performance. Last few years, most games would have some players at 9/10 and some at 5/10. This year, I do not see any passengers in the team. Everyone is contributing in their own way. Ramsey regularly puts in a through ball that opens up a defence or makes a telling late run. Song has been ever present as the shield. Walcott and Gervinho have added a dimension with their directness. Arteta has given solidity to the midfield that has long been missed. Koscielny and Vermaelen have been immense. Santos and Mertesacker (barring the crazy blip against Norwich) have been growing with every game. Szczesny and Van Persie have not been that bad, as well, have they?

From what I see of the Champions League tables, this is how it looks like the teams that would qualify.

Group toppers

Runner ups

Munich

Napoli

Inter Milan

Lille

Benfica

Man U

Real Madrid

Ajax

 Leverkusen

Chelsea

Arsenal

Marseille

Barca

AC Milan

APOEL

Porto

Amidst all the vicarious joy, my fellow Gooners have enjoyed in the misfortunes of the other English teams, it does affect us a little bit. From this above table, AC Milan and Napoli look like the teams to avoid when the draw is made. If United and Chelsea had done their job properly, a probability of landing this unfavourable draw was 28% (2 teams to avoid out of 7 possible opponents). But United and Chelsea threaten to potentially finish second, which would mean the probability of a bad draw increases to 40% (2 teams out of 5 possible opponents). Not good at all. I hear you Arsenal fans cry out if they qualify third then we would be back to our 28%. I guess so. But United would surely qualify and City would surely go out. Chelsea is a 50-50. We drew Barcelona last year and gave them a proper run for their money till a referee got irked with us for daring to compete with Barca. So bring on the draw, and we are ready for the lot!

Article written by V.Vikas – Arsenal-view (http://www.arsenal-view.blogspot.com/)

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Arsenal – better than the sum of its parts

I saw this comment on Tim Stillman’s blog  at Arseblog.com and it inspired me to create an overview of what makes Wenger’s current Opus better than his last 5 versions. Here are some of my reasons:

1)      AFC now have a relatively settled starting line up. The same lineup started at Norwich and against DB but if it needs to be changed, Aw is willing to do it in order to rest vital players like RVP.

2)      I know this is going to enrage some people but the team displays a greater diversity without Fabregas. Players who used to rely on him sculpting play now have to share that responsibility and step up. This can be seen in the more fluid and committed teamwork we are currently seeing.

3)      Arsenal look a more dynamic team that attacks with greater tenacity. It i no longer a one man show through Fabregas or Nasri. They appear to be more efficient and dangerous, more direct and with more counterattacking nous.

3)      We no longer have just youth to rely on but the maturity of Arteta and the blossoming of Ramsey have provided us with the perfect mix of experience and enthusiasm.

4)      When rotation will be required, Wenger has the bench strength to feel secure in doing it. If we look at the likely side that will play against Olympiacos, we have Fabianski, Mannone, AOC, Park, Benayoun, Frimpong, Arshavin, Miyachi, Gibbs, Jenkinson, and Chamakh along with a few regulars to round out the squad….not a bad side!Last year the bench deputies weren’t able to do effectively replace the  injured or knackered first team players over the run-in and with Nasri, Cesc and Chamakh out of form it cost us.

5)      The cohesion built up since September is beginning to reap rewards, as this team actually looks like a true brotherhood, showing confidence and understanding lacking previously.

6)      This season, we could avoid the time consuming, energy sapping replays we faced last season in the FA Cup and the CC, provided we maintain this finishing-winning attitude.

7)      What a difference a year makes to our 2010 squad players who are showing greater maturity and more enjoyment as the entire team generates positive feedback and confidence.

8)      We have loaned out,shipped out or sold callow players such as; Bendtner and Denilson, Vela and Eboue. This has allowed us to experiment with our new transfers and our promoted youth.

9)      I am excited about the race between us and the Spuds. Fair competition is healthy and promotes an increased level of motivation, enthusiasm and will to win. Last year we didn’t seem to be overly concerned about that lot but this year, despite what AW says, the players want to repeat the usual domination in North London.

10)  The squad has remained positive, during the difficult period when things were going south and this has been rewarded with excellent results both on and off the pitch. Last year, after the CC debacle, we lost the belief we could win something and it showed.

11)  ¨People have understood that I am doing what I can and that, in the face of a storm, I have been solid and I’ve stayed on course. I don’t for a second have a desire to leave Arsenal.¨  Wenger’s own words highlight the rock that he has been for Arsenal and the players. When your manager is calm and reassuring even in the worst storm, the players tend to be so as well.

12)  It is obvious, as Wenger has stated, that a new cycle is starting. The team is going through another period of rebuilding again and starting with a more-or-less fresh slate can have very positive and liberating effects on those who are at the core of the Club.

13)  Despite the above, AW has created solid foundations on which he can obtain success. He hasn’t abandoned his youth adventure entirely, despite the ignorant claiming this. He has modified it with experienced players and a shift away from relying on one player in the midfield.

14)  Historically, Arsenal have been courageous, innovative and  faithful to their values and this is finally starting to show results. ¨They try to do things with class and style. That’s why I defend them with so much fierceness. Because of these values. ¨ – again Wenger’s own words.

15)  Wenger has had the fortune of working with complete freedom and this has allowed him to fine tune the Club and start producing a winning side in his original mold. The real luxury in Wenger’s job is his having time, as he said. The Board and management have given him more than enough slack to achieve the rehabilitation of AFC, which not many managers get. This is a man who has realized his own mistakes and has responded accordingly, whilst still staying true to his footballing principles. Throughout the ‘storm’ he always behaved with integrity, never shooting his mouth off or over-reacting.

16)  Wenger’s vast experience and expertise developed over 25 years as a Football professional allow him to recover from just about any circumstance. He said, ¨That makes me think I’m the manager of an entire generation.¨

17)  Being the class act he is, he has never said anything bad about the fans, players, board or our history. He never derides a player or the team in public and contrary to SAF, he doesn’t even own a hairdryer!

18)  I see another change in AW’s style this season. He is more focused on NOW than what the team is going to be like in 2-3 years time. This is a subtle shift but has been reciprocated by his team.

19)  Contrary to the likes of Hleb, Flamini, Adebayor, Nasri, and Anelka, the current players he trusts  show the same class and are repaying his trust in them with heart,commitment and a will to win it for LeProf and themselves. He seemed truly and personally hurt by Fabergas and Nasri leaving and has learnt that no player is entirely predictable or reliable but he still preserves his class and trust in the team.

20)  The Team so far seems wiser, more gracious, more competitive and is showing unswerving commitment and dedication to AFC Footballing values and to Arsenal. In the past he expected the kids he’d brought into the club and transformed into the players they are to have the same sort of commitment and enthusiasm for the project as he does, that remains true today.

21)  The Board and Arsene are consistent in their style of management and dealings with each other and the players,fans and media, despite temptations to be otherwise.

22)  Szczesny: ¨That’s what you call presence, charisma, confidence. It must be a mixture of all that. He is a deep thinker, you do not play at this level and make the decisions he makes if you do not think about the game.” AW’s praise for his keeper is justified and the difference in nets this season has ensured that even our reputedly ¨unstable¨ defence has recovered the solidity that AFC traditionally displayed.

Players like Song, Walcott, RVP, Gervinho, Ramsey, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Santos, Szczesny and Arteta have stepped up their game when it really counts and deliver the goods week in and week out since September in all competitions. This has been a victory of the sum of AFC’s parts versus the sum spent on ¨superstars¨ at other Clubs. Here’s to it continuing until the end of May!

Article written by Don McMahon.

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Arsenal Evolution…. or Revolution?

There has been a heated debate over the last few weeks about whether the EPL has evolved into a world class competition and whether Arsenal’s improved form is due to Wenger being forced to change his tactical approach to EPL opponents after losing Cesc and Nasri. I wish to address both hypotheses and take a closer look at whether the EPL and Arsenal are evolving into something better or whether the original mutation has become an out and out revolution.

Lets take a look at club ownership and the influx of oilygarch and sugar-daddy golden geese in the EPL. It seems to have started with Abramovich at Chelsea, but in actual fact the spend big to win big philosophy was best personified in Real Madrid buying up every star they could entrap, starting back in the 50’s. Regardless, since Chelsea’s reincarnation under Abramovich, according to the media and many pundits, the EPL has come to a sort of fork in the road. In their view,gone are the days when only 2-3 big clubs like Liverpool, United and Arsenal would be competing for it all. Now, they claim, the EPL clubs can be divided into the haves and the have-nots, with Arsenal somewhere in between. However they miss the real issues, since we have always had the richer clubs and the remainder. What has changed is the reckless and bottomless spending and subsequent debt-loads teams like Chelsea, City and recently Liverpool have espoused as their central philosophy. These teams are on the opposite end of the scale to Arsenal, where frugality and youth development have been combined to enrich the team and the tradition at the Emirates. I would say, in this respect, that it has been a revolution and the big losers in this revolt have been the FA’s  ¨fit and proper persons¨ test and the EUFA Financial Fairplay rules while the beneficiaries have been the fans of big money clubs along with the improved level and diversity of the competition. We now have 6 Clubs who can compete for the titles and Cups with a reasonable assurance of being potential winners. My the revolution continue!

Sandro Rosell, in typical Barcelona hypocritical fashion, stated that his team would never ¨sell out¨ like the money Clubs in the EPL are claimed to have done. Yet he sold his  rights to the Qatar Foundation. Of course he’d sell his mother to get enough money to get colour photocopiers or a player (with Catalan DNA) he really wants, in the Camp Nou.

Arsenal FC are another story. During the difficult 7 months after the CC last season and our spanking at OT, endless Anti-Wenger and anti-Arsenal attackers, including the minority AAA and moaner-groaner whiners who misnamed themselves Gooners and the media, launched a steady,relentless and merciless campaign against our Club and its administrators/managers. They cried for a Revolt against the tyrannical and stubborn Arsene-Board led conspiracy to destroy our great Club in order to make a fast buck. They wanted a revolution in the very heart of the Clubs’ Wenger inspired philosophy and strategy.

Their new mantra, which can occasionally still be heard echoing off the public toilets and hapless ex-players vacuous heads, is SEND,SPEND,SPEND and damn the torpedoes. This mantra is followed by another revolutionary chant which is ¨Off with their heads¨ -meaning Wenger and the Board need to be eliminated and replaced by Oilygarchs, sugar-daddies and other right thinking Fantasy Football afficianados.

Arsenal’s recent resurgence has flushed a great deal of this excrement down the pipes but the odour remains. In order to disinfect the Gooner airspace and based on my humble opinion, I submit that we are seeing an EVOLUTION of sorts, where AFC’s famous control and passing game is being modified, with considerable success, and mutated into a more direct, finishing yet also subtle counter-attacking strategy.  What is different with our Gunners that has turned their season around so dramatically?

1) The new, more experienced faces in the team have brought a renewed and more urgent counter-attacking style, while also strengthening and calming the younger players. They have also brought a challenge to every incumbent to do better and play with more heart, or lose their place. This is seen in the fact that some say Wenger has an embarrassment of choices in the CB and winger positions. He will soon have the same problem in the midfield. When were we last able to say that?

2) We also see a change in attacking style with Gervinho and Walcott offering rapid, incisive and pacey counter-attacking Football and also working hard defensively to recuperate the ball when Arsenal lose it. As well, we see Jenkinson and Santos offering an offensive threat that Gibbs and Clichy rarely ever provided.

3) Our midfield seems to be shaping up as the most significant and positive change this season. Last year we relied on Cesc and Nasri to generate and support the attackers. If Arsenal could have ever been truly said to be a one-man team, it was during the Fabregas hegemony where every attack went through him. Would RVP or Wilshere or Ramsey have been able to flower like they are doing this season if we had not lost our two midfielders?  Arteta has been a remarkable find and has become the little general like Rosicky used to be, supporting the defense when we are under pressure but turning the counter-attack into a deadly and very pacey threat to any team at will.

4) Our style of attack has become more varied and we seem to be moving away from the complex buildups of the tippy-tappy era where we felt a shot from anywhere further than the opponent’s goal area was unthinkable, to a more eclectic shooting philosophy where we can call on RVP, Walcott, Gervinho, Arteta, Ramsey, and even Song or Vermaelen to hammer one from distance or rely on Santos or Jenkinson to whip either the ball or themselves into the attack.

5) With the Verminator back and Koscielny showing a formidable partnership with him or Mertesacker, our back 4 is starting to show signs of rock-solid reliability. The maturing of Jenkinson and the yet to be proven Santos offers AFC the depth we have always lacked. Once Wilshere, Sagna and Gibbs return to the lineup, Arsene will have the unenviable job of selecting from a treasure-house of talent to rely on.

What mid-table EPL manager wouldn’t dream of having players like AOC, Arshavin, Frimpong, Fabianski, Miyachi, Park, Djourou, Coquelin, Aneke, Lansbury and Benayoun in their starting 11?  We have them on the bench or out on loan, along with players like Campbell, Vela, Bendtner and Silva!

Arsenal have successfully EVOLVED from a young but naive Barcelona light, to a gradually improving collection of united, skillful, calm, confident and relentless winners……despite the media and AAA’s desperately attempts to portray us as a one-man Club. Long my the evolution continue!

Article written by Don McMahon.

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November could be a good month for Arsenal

This month could be a very big month for Arsenal, and the fixture list for November has been very kind to us. In past seasons, we’ve generally struggled during this time of the season, losing 7 Premiership games in the past three seasons in November.

This month we face a mediocre West Brom side at home, newly promoted Norwich at Carrow Road, then Fulham back at The Emirates.

First up is West Brom at home tomorrow, and I’m sure most Arsenal fans will have last season’s 3-2 defeat in the back of their minds. West Brom are a decent footballing side, but the loss of Shane Long through injury is a massive blow for The Hawthorns.  Peter Odemwingie is due facing a fitness battle too, so West Brom are looking light on the attacking front. I’m predicting a 2-0 win for Arsenal.

Norwich away is going to be an interesting game. Teams don’t really know what to expect from newly-promoted sides, and that’s no different with Norwich. They’ve surprised many this season, including Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where the score was 1-1 until John Ruddy was sent off with 10 minutes remaining. Chelsea went onto win 3-1, but could count themselves lucky after Norwich had chances to win the game.

Paul Lambert has done a fantastic job at Norwich, winning back-to-back promotions, and if he continues, then it won’t be long before the big boys are calling for him.

Have they got enough in the locker to beat Arsenal? Of course they have. But right now I’d take Norwich at Carrow Road over most fixtures in the Premiership. My prediction is 3-1 to Arsenal.

Fulham is always an interesting game, and a funny team to play against. They are possibly the most enigmatic football team in the Premiership. They’ve caused us troubles in the past, and the fixture is always a tough one, but also one you expect Arsenal to win. There’s rarely a bundle of goals in this one, and I’m going to sit on the safe side and go for a 1-0 win to Arsenal.

So all in all, this could be our first decent November in the Premiership in a long time, and it could be just the sort of fixtures to boost our confidence. By the start of December, Arsenal could claim back some points and be in a really good position in the league.

Can we win the league? With Man City playing the way they are, and the size and quality of their squad, I can’t see how we’re going to catch them. Saying that, there is still a long way to go, and this time last season everyone fancied Chelsea strongly after their flying start. Anything can happen in the Premiership, and until it’s mathematically over, I’m still going to believe we will win the league.

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Arsenal – The big lie

Being a big fan of ¨what if¨ scenarios in film and fiction, I decided, therefore, to try a ¨what if ¨ trilogy where three different ¨journalists¨ render their articles on a common theme based on their particular bias and spin.

The three facets of this exercise are, in no particular priority; the AAA oriented media guru, the average hyperbolic tabloid journalist and finally the open-minded, pragmatic supporter represented by blogs like Arsenal Opinion, LadyArse, Untold Arsenal and countless others.

The theme will be Arsenal’s defensive situation versus its attacking efforts after the Chelsea game. Here goes:

AAA headline – WENGER IS ARSENAL’S DEFENSIVE PROBLEM

The report: London, Oct 30th, 2011

Well lads, I told you so. Another defensive nightmare against a Chelsea side that tore Wenger’s frail and suspect defence apart at the Bridge, was rescued by the one bright light in an otherwise crap team rapidly going downhill. RVP, who most certainly doesn’t deserve to suffer under LeFrog’s arbitrary and autocratic dictatorship, showed up his pathetic teammates while Wenger jealously looked on. When will the Board and Gazidis wake up to the fact that Arsenal’s defence is a sieve and that we are shipping goals like the Titanic shipped ice and that this is all AW’s fault?

Can anyone blame RVP for wanting out just like Cesc, Nasri and Clichy? Despite his ceaseless scoring exploits, it must be apparent to anyone who has the eyes to see it, that he is desperately unhappy at AFC and cannot wait for the January transfer window to arrive! Why is he scoring so prolifically?

Obviously because he wants to augment his sell-on value and because he wants to show Wenger how misplaced his terrible transfer dealings have been since 2005 and how much better it would have been had Arsenal spent the billions they have hidden away, on players like Torres, Carroll, Lukaku, and Cahill. What a tragedy it will be when we inevitably lose our place in the top 4, drop out of every Cup and finish below the Totts for the first time in the Frenchman’s 15 year reign…and you can bet we’ll be there to remind you that we TOLD YOU SO!

British media Tabloid headline: WENGER’S LUCK HOLDS OUT FOR ANOTHER DAY or RVP’s HEROICS HIDE SERIOUS FRAILTIES IN WENGER’S SIDE

After a sterling display by United at Everton which went a long way to confirming Mancunian superiority in the EPL, Arsenal just squeaked by a powerful and motivated Chelsea side thanks to the heroics and last minute sacrifice of their want-away striker, Robin Van Persie.

Replete with defensive errors and lacking a viable alternative to their goal-machine, the Gunners stumbled and scrabbled their way to a very unconvincing win over a clearly superior Chelsea side, thanks to the referee’s favouritism and a slippery playing surface.

Wenger admitted that his side were particularly poor defensively and even hinted, we are lead to believe, that he’d be trying to bring in replacements in January if the Board were willing and able to open the notoriously tight AFC purse-strings. The striking incompetence of Mertesacker, Djourou, and Santos was compounded by the headstrong and juvenile bullishness of Szczesny, who is now showing what everyone feared might happen to this neophyte….impulsive and reckless aggression. Basically it was 3 points stolen from a battling and brave Stamford Bridge brigade who could justifiably have taken all three points were it not for RVP’s rapacious attacking. How long can Wenger and Arsenal rely on their hero staying fit and remaining at the Club?

True Gooner headline: ARSENAL SHOW TRUE GRIT IN HARD FOUGHT WIN AT CHELSEA

Today’s double comeback victory over a battling but fragile Chelsea 11 highlighted some very obvious aspects of the changing Arsenal landscape since our horror show at Old Trafford at the end of August.

The first thing we could attest to was the destruction of the myth that Arsenal are a one man team. RVP, Gervinho, Ramsey, Song, Santos, Koscielny, Arteta and Walcott all joined in to ensure that AFC could continue on their incredible mission to finish as winners this EPL season.

Mertesacker and Djourou had a hard time of it in the first half but stepped up their games and when Vermaelen came on to substitute Djourou, it was a sight for sore eyes. Szczesny’s insane sortie intending to decapitate Cashley Cole, on any other day with any other referee, would have earned him a red card, as he was man enough to admit on his Tweet but in typical exuberant fashion he also added that it was a spectacular game.

What can we take away from this game? The first and most glaring change is that the Gunners are starting to show a toughness, commitment, hardness, ruthlessness, determination and ability to overcome the odds that was lacking in previous years. The second is that our bargain basement transfers and young guns are starting to gel as a unit which is proof positive that Wenger Knows Best.

The third is that, as our walking wounded return and our bench begins to play more, there will be even more pressure on our starting 11 to perform like they did against Chelsea. The fourth is that we still need to tighten up our defensive play and play our high line better if we are to avoid shipping unnecessary goals. We won’t be intimidated anymore and thanks to the OT trauma, we seem to have woken up to the fact that we are a better Club than the AAA and their media familiars claim.

Can anyone see a difference in these three reports?

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Article written by Don McMahon.

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Van Persie – best striker in world football?

Well, this result should shut up some of the anti-Wenger fans. Momentarily anyway.

I watched ‘You’re On Sky Sports’ last night, and some berk phoned in asking for Wenger to be sacked. His reason, we concede too many goals! If we score 5 each week, and concede 3, then I’d take that all day long. I reckon this is the same Arsenal fan who was moaning after we beat Swansea 1-0, because we didn’t score enough goals. You can’t please them all.

Going into the Chelsea game, I was actually confident that we’d get a result, but to score 5 is just ludicrous. What a silly season of football this is. Man United beat us 8-2, then lose to Man City 6-1 at home! Arsenal beat Chelsea 5-3 at The Bridge, and Man City beat the Spuds 5-1 at The Lane! It really does seem like a season where anyone can beat anyone, literally. Probably bar Man City, they look unstoppable right now.

Man City look unstoppable right now, and at this stage of the season you can see them winning the Premiership by a long way. Saying that, we were saying the same last season about Chelsea after their great start, and all it took was one bad run and their season fell to pieces. The Premiership is a marathon.

The funniest thing about yesterday’s game has to the moment John Terry knew that he couldn’t reach Malouda’s misplaced pass, so just threw himself on the floor, pretending to slip. He didn’t slip, he gave up.

The two surprise performances came from Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott. Two of our most enigmatic performers, who just never seem to hit the consistency Arsenal fans expect.

Ramsey played really well today, but Walcott was at his best. When he’s at his best, no left back in the world can touch him. The last time he played against Ashley Cole, who is arguably one of the best left-backs in the world, he ripped him apart, and today was no different. Cole could not cope with him.

One player who really isn’t getting the credit he deserves is Gervinho. He’s been absolutely quality. He looks like he’s going to trip over the ball every time he’s got it at his feet, but he’s such a direct player, and he scares defenders. You can see why he got so many assists in the French league last season. He adds a new dimension to the Arsenal team.

I don’t have much to say about Van Persie, which hasn’t already been said. In his current form, he’s the best striker in world football. Obviously, I don’t include Messi in that category, as he’s on a different planet.

People say Arsenal are a one-man-team. But the fact of the matter is, every team has a best player, a talisman, and Arsenal are no different. Man United would struggle without Rooney, and Man City would be less effective without David Silva. This one-man-team nonsense does my head in.

I’ve been a bit lazy with the blogging of late, due to being ultra-busy at work. Now that we’ve finished our project, the company have kindly given everyone two weeks paid holiday as a thank you for all of our hard work, so you’ll probably see more articles from me in the next couple of weeks.

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