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Archive for May, 2011


Guest post: Have We Really Improved This Season? 14

Posted on May 31, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

It’s been a familiar season at the Grove in 2010/2011, with polished, mature performances against Barcelona and Chelsea, along with unforgettably poor and pathetic one’s against Birmingham, Tottenham, and who can forget Newcastle.


You could say we’ve made progress in some areas this season. For instance, beating the so called ‘big teams’ in the League, getting to a Final, finding a Goalkeeper we can rely on and a young, English Superstar. They are positives, but for a Club of our stature, is that really good enough? I don’t think it is.

Now for the negatives, and there are a alot: the horrendous home record this season, defensive incapabilities not being addressed and costing us, not adapting to the way other teams play against us, like it’s either ‘our way’ or no way at all. Not strengthening in areas that everybody who knows football, know we need strenghtened.

I have came to the conclusion that we haven’t really improved on season’s past because the negatives outway the positives, for me anyway. It’s a simplistic way to look at it -but when you’ve seen our season plummet in the way it has – it’s blatantly obvious to see what needs fixing, and what we need to take us to THAT next level. Do I need to spell it out for you Arsene? In my opinion, and a lot of other Journalists’, fans’ and pundits’, Arsenal need a Defender who’s purpose is actually to defend, not know how to caress a ball and bring it out from the back, a Defensive Midfielder for cover/competition for Alex Song, who will be off to the African Nations Cup in January. I do believe we need a typical number 9, like Eduardo pre-injury. I believe and so do many with those positions filled with been there, done that, proven players, then we can finally push on from March – May where we’ve floundered in the last few years.

We call ourselves a ‘big club’ and it’s about time we started acting like one. Do you think Man United would call this a successful season? And before you tell me ‘well compare our net spend, blah de blah’, show me one team who have spent as little as we have and dominated their League or won trophies? You won’t find one.

Chelsea, United, and City have spent big over the years and you can say they’ve bought success, but who hasn’t? Every side spends money, maybe not to the extent of those Clubs, but what ends up in their’s or our trophy cabinet(s)? Another thing we haven’t done which they have is strenghten when we’re at our strongest. When we let most of the invincibles leave, we relied on youth, and I know that was Arsene’s ‘plan’ all along, but it’s failed miserably. At that time, we should have kept the Pires’, the Campbell’s of this world to show the Diaby’s and Song’s how to grind out results and get over the finishing line. But there was a clear-out and they were left to figure out for themselves, mostly. Our Captain Cesc made a fantastic point in his controversial interview with Don Balon, where he said:

“I Felt that if you made a bad game it was okay because your partner solved it. Those players made you better.”

And there lies my point, who was there to correct Diaby or Denilson’s mistakes when they were thrusted into the limelight, and onto the big stage? No one is the answer.

I know now those days are gone, and we cannot change that, but now we have to start buying experienced, proven quality¬† because despite what Arsene says about our young side ‘improving’ and ‘growing’ year on year, when it comes to the crunch, they will never go that one step further, because they don’t know how to.

I think, I hope Arsene has started to see what we’ve all been seeing for a few years now, and will now make the necessary changes to improve the ‘mentality’ of the team, Arsene’s favourite word. This is the summer where ‘le professeur’ either buys experience and we start seeing evolution, or where he buys a couple of unknown Ivorians and a couple of Barcelona kids (he has already), which isn’t the best sign. Everyone is on their holidays and there is going to be a lot of speculation, a lot of ‘supposed’ targets, but we need to give Arsene the chance to make these changes, and not just¬† bash him from pillar to post when the season has just ended.

Shall I end this piece positively or negativley? Hmm, tough decision. I think I’ll end it like our season ended, sorry. If Arsene does continue to buy the way he has done, then I’m afraid it’s the end for the greatest Manager in our history. But I shall say no more until the end of August.

It’s time to look FORWARD to next season now (I did end it positively, SEE!)

Enjoy your summer’s!

This post was written by prolific Tweeter Ross Anderson – find him at @rosssarsenal

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Barcelona: Disprespectful, odious cretins 46

Posted on May 27, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

So Arsenal let Barcelona use Colney to train ahead of the Champions League final. A sign of class and generosity of the club. Then, two of their horrible, arrogant little players decide to try and be funny:

Would you see an Arsenal player do this? No. Barcelona think they exist in a world of their own where nobody can touch them, that they can do as they please and their footballing excellence can excuse them of their misdemeanors.

How much more proof to people need to see this team for what they are? Their arrogance matches their brilliance and that is such a shame, it is a shame that Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta have to be associated to this rabble, their footballing philosophy is so good and they are so good at exploiting it to its maximum. Yes, they play stunning football but when they are also a bunch of cheating, rude, arrogant and ignorant little oiks it completely spoils it.

You can develop amazing footballers, you can buy some of the best players around, you can win as many trophies as you like.

But class, that doesn’t come with money, trophies, or players like Messi. It has nothing to do with winning, whether it be Premier League action
or 888casino blackjack. It is engrained in a club.

That is why Barcelona will never have it.

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Benzema a headline maker, but an unrealistic transfer option 42

Posted on May 25, 2011 by Martin @ thegoonblog.com

I’m sure we have all seen the headlines so far after Arsene Wenger’s comments about Karim Benzema, just like his comments about Eden Hazard earlier on this season. They are headline makers for sure – but real options in the transfer market? I would love to see the day when he could make those comments and back them up with action.

Arsenal are definitely in the market for a striker, we need a goalscoring alternative to Robin van Persie, we have a decent player in Chamakh but I really doubt his ability to knock in 20-25 goals a season, Benzema has the ability to do this and at 23 he still has time to improve too.

Looking at the situation Benzema is in there is definitely scope for a deal to be done. With Aguero and Tevez seemingly heading for Madrid (lots of noise suggesting the latter), Benzema will be one of the players that will need to be shifted out and this means that regarding price, the ball could be in Arsenal’s court. However, we would have to considerably surpass our record transfer. That said, we have never been in a better financial position to do so.

Commercially a signing of this magnitude would be a boost, shirt sales with his name on would rocket and it would be a big signal of intent. It is funny that when I mention a ‘signal of intent’ a lot of people tend to think I mean splashing the cash – that isn’t the case at all. We need to bring in some renowned quality to boost the squad and appease fans, these days I don’t think you can get upcoming players from obscure leagues at the cut prices that were possible a couple of years ago. The coverage is much more extensive and as soon as a talented player is recognised they hyped up in this Football Manager generation.

I feel Arsenal need to spend some considerable cash this summer, the majority of this can be made back through player sales and savings on wages – some of which are surprising given the place of certain players in the squad. Trim it down, get rid of the deadwood and hell, we could even break even if Fabregas or Nasri up sticks and leave.

On the case of Nasri – I think we are being taken for a ride now. I was 100% assured that everything was in place to be signed, everyone was happy. If his agent wants to dick us about then lets threaten to transfer list him, try to steal back a bit of the initiative. He is a marvelous player but one we can replace. If he doesn’t want to be here he can go, nobody is bigger than Arsenal Football Club.

With the membership and season ticket renewal period starting to draw to a close a cynic may believe that these are the headlines that Arsenal want. I do hope that is not the case. We need to see intent and ambition. Over to you, Arsene.

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