Why is Almunia still at Arsenal?

A sad sight yesterday was watching Manuel Almunia lift the Emirates Cup for Arsenal. Sad because another season beckons with this back-up keeper starting as Arsenal’s number one.

To win anything, a team needs a strong spine. The goalkeeper is the starting point of that spine. If you have an average goalkeeper, you’re defence will not be filled with confidence. A back four that lacks confidence will leak goals.

With Fabianski as Arsenal’s number two, away games to Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers will turn into a crossing fest, leaving Arsenal with no points because they have goalkeepers who can’t punch or catch a cross.

Fabianski is the worst goalkeeper in the Premiership. Almunia is not far behind. With less than two weeks away until Arsenal travel to Liverpool for the season opener, there is no sign of any goalkeeper being signed by Wenger.

That’s disturbing.

Mark Schwarzer says he wants to play for Arsenal – well so do I and millions of other Gooners. The fact is Mark, you’re not good enough. You’re no better than what Arsenal already have. And at 38 you’re the “cougar” of goalies.

A lot of Gooners are more concerned about Cesc Fabregas joining Barcelona than a world class goalkeeper joining Arsenal. When I mention Almunia being Arsenal’s number one, they shrug their shoulders and say: “He’ll do.”

Having a goalkeeper who last season cost Arsenal 18 points, will not do. In fact, both Fabianski and Almunia need to be sold or loaned out.

Neither one belongs at Arsenal.

Other pieces of deadwood should also leave – Johan Djourou and Theo Walcott in other words.

Walcott hasn’t changed. He’s fast but has no end product. Someone said that he got two assists yesterday. His first assist was a shot that was so crap that it turned into a cross – if Vela didn’t have great instincts then Gooners would have been moaning about how shit Walcott is instead of celebrating a goal.

It’s been four and a half years since Walcott joined Arsenal and the man still can’t cross. He also has no moves to get past a player – other than speed – and his shots are off target most of the time.

Ryan Smith for Kansas City Wizards is just as good as Theo Walcott.

Johan Djourou is fast becoming Arsenal’s Titus Bramble. He’s been at Arsenal since 2002. Yet in eight years, he’s only played 46 times. True, he’s been on loan to Birmingham City and was injured for all of last season. So fans are willing to give him time. I, however, think that it’s time to sell him. The man will become a liability.

Wenger says that he’s looking for two more signings.

Let’s hope that a goalkeeper is one of them.

Keep It Arsenal

El Cunto

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Arsene Speaks

Arsene’s post match comments were telling. He has said what I have been thinking for weeks. Cesc must make it clear that he is at Arsenal and end the madness.

That alone won’t make Barcelona or Barcelona’s players stop making annoying comments about our captain but it will go a long way to help us all move along, even if only temporarily. Arsene has been fed up with all the chatter but what can he do? “There are a lot of things I don’t master in football and the rumours are one of these things.” He went on to address the tapping up question as well, “They [Barcelona] certainly have a case to answer but it is always the same – how can you prove it?”

So the door remains open for the player to set the record straight. “Cesc has five years to go and that is it…Who can stop the speculation? Only Cesc maybe, I don’t know, maybe not even Cesc.” Quite unsettling!

Common sense says that Xavi, Puyol, and Lerch (with his fucking US navy style buzz cut) should realize that they cannot afford the player. Until such time – and even then there’s no guarantee that we’ll sell – you’d think that they’d go about their business. You’d think that they’d be more worried about the upcoming campaign. Jose Mourinho is not an ordinary manager.

I used to have time for Barcelona. Some great players have worn their colors. They are Real Madrid’s bitter, bitter rival, a status that would endear almost any club to me but that doesn’t make up for acting low-rent and classless.

In other news…

Wilshere’s football instincts were glaring yesterday.
The new signings looked comfortable.
Eboue is to be respected – if Sagna goes down with injury, I won’t fret.
There were no injuries, not that I’ve seen reported anyway.
Wilshere/Frimpong got good experience against Seedorf/Gattuso.
Randall may have given Arsene the green light for a permanent loan.

I was exchanging thoughts with Supah Strikah after the match. He felt that Fabianski might have done better on Pato’s goal. He felt that he didn’t take charge. I commented that it might be harsh to blame him yet I understand the sentiment very well. Let’s be clear. When ever a goal is scored against us, as long as those two clowns are in the nets we will always feel that they could/should have done better. That’s the kind of reputation and support they’ve earned.

Interestingly, Arsene made this point about the goal, “You can’t fault him [Fabianski] for the goal and he did everything else well. The only thing is there wasn’t much command on the free kick. From outside it looked like no-one took charge of the organisation and that’s a little bit down to goalkeeper.” I would add that organisation is also a captain’s job. And it was a bit disappointing to see the taller Djourou mis-time his header and then Vermaelen (captain for the day) beaten to the ball by the admitedlly dangerous Alexandre Pato. Vermaelen can and will do better. Djourou? I’m not so sure.

A fellow Gooner reminded me that he predicted Chamakh would “hit the ground running”. He seems to be settling in nicely. I need to see that, as my confidence is beginning to wane after years of supporting this group unequivocally. The addition of an effective striker is a good thing. Big ups Yardie! You’re right so far.

I just had a vision of Chamakh going nuts when we play Scum, making their shit stadium what Arshavin has done with Anfield. Hopefully our new striker will continue where Bob left off and score against _pur_ for fun, where ever we play them. Having ‘almost signed Rivaldo’ once, now they can claim the same about Luis Fabiano. To compensate for losing out on another Brazilian, Harry Redknapp has bought Anapka, which is a bit baffling. Why do you need another donkey when you’ve got Dawson and King?

So we wait on additional signings as time ticks away. All is not doom and gloom but I’d be really happy if Arsene plugged a few gaping holes. El Cunto said he’d take Friedel. I would too.

Celtic today! The Boss says he’ll play his best side. Oxymoronic since Clown No. 1 will be in goal.

Chat later,
Agent 86

Reviewing the Defence

Manuel Almunia – I remember vividly after we had gone up 1-0 against Chelsea two years ago. Bacary Sagna had just scored his first goal for us off a corner. Then, a frequent visitor to the pub I go to said these words, “I feel safe with Almunia.” I’ve never felt safe with Manuel. Ever. At the start of the second half of the Barcelona first leg, he looked like he was going to vomit. Why did he look that way? He had just pulled off a string of saves and the score was incredibly 0-0. Well, soon after, he proved exactly what he is, a shot-stopper and nothing more. He looked the same way before the Roma penalty shootout from last year. Almunia didn’t save any penalties, they just missed. It would be foolish to suggest that Jens was flawless as the Arsenal No. 1, but at least he had the demeanor of a No. 1. Almunia was a project, one with very little hype or potential. Imagine if Amaury Bischoff ended up a member of our first choice XI and that’s essentially what Almunia is. A nightmare, and one that must be terminated soon.

Lukasz Fabianski – It is easy to call him a clown. That is easily justifiable. You might call him a bargain basement keeper as well, but here’s where I disagree a bit. I’ve documented before that Wenger thinks highly of Fabianski. He’s committed enough errors for Wenger to wave goodbye to him, but something tells me that’s not going to happen. The summer we signed Fabianski, we were linked to many keepers and Wenger chose him. He was signed for 3 million euros and a friendly match to be arranged later. At this point, if he turned it around, it would be amongst the most incredible turnarounds in Wenger’s history. I don’t want to see it even attempted next year. If we had a decent goalkeeper, and I stress the word “decent”, we would have won the Premier League. Unfortunately, that is on Arsene nearly as much as it is on Almunia and Fabianski.

Vito Mannone – He delivered a brilliant performance against Fulham and then showed his years in the subsequent performances. He’s raw. He signed a long-term extension, but he doesn’t impress me much. I give him credit for having the hunger, but he’s the most un-Italian goalkeeper I’ve seen. I’ve yet to make a definitive judgment on him.

Bacary Sagna – He’s steady. He’s never tipped as the man of the match. He’s rarely burned by players. He’s an adequate player who hasn’t reached the heights of his first year with us. I thought he might have been our player of the year that first season, but for whatever reason, he’s failed to find that form.

Emmanuel Eboue – Once a figure of hate, now he’s a lovable fixture. Let’s not mistake what he is though, he’s a useful squad player. He can be used to solidify a defense or as a blunt, direct weapon. On his day, he’s very effective at attacking teams with his forward momentum. When he’s left to think about what he should do with the ball though, he struggles. He’s a good guy to have around because the players love being around this guy. He’s a joy. Not essential to the team, but very useful.

Gael Clichy – I think he may be sold over the summer. Arsenal have three left backs waiting in the wings. He’s coming back from a back injury, and those types of injuries never really heal properly. When he came back, he was torched so often that Martin O’Neill called him a joke. Slowly though, he’s steadied out and he has been one of our best performers in the last month (which is not really much of a compliment). I can remember at least a handful of goals where he was the direct contributor to. I used to love this guy, but he no longer looks likely to eclipse Ashley Cole as a player. If we could get 10 million euros for him, that would be a good price.

Kieran Gibbs – Some are unsure of his ability to be our starting left-back. I need to see more, but when he was on the pitch this year, he seemed to neutralize the opposition’s right wing quite frequently. He’s a better crosser of the ball than Clichy. He has mental strength, seeing how the United Champions League fixture could have severely damaged his career. I like this kid.

Armand Traore – I admire his professionalism, but that doesn’t seem to translate to the football pitch. We can deal with errors, as long as we see real improvement and an attempt to get better. He has speed, a strong left foot, and not much else at this point. He’s flimsy and unless he watches some defensive tapes, he’s not going to make it with Arsenal. He could be sold to a French club and turn into the D-grade version of Marcelo.

Mikael Silvestre – I’m sure he’s a positive influence in that locker room. But that is as far as it goes. Every time he scores a goal, something disastrous seems to happen (look at the Tottenham 4-4 draw last year and the Wigan match this year). He needs a string of games to approach anything near his best form, and he doesn’t get that, so when he does play, he’s often exposed. The fact that every back pass he makes is lightly weighted frightens me. This was a gamble that truly did not pay off. He’s gone.

Sol Campbell – I was not a big fan of Sol Campbell after he walked out of our club. He has restored his legacy at Arsenal, but let’s be clear, he cannot be anything more than a 4th choice defender for this club. His mountain frame and surprisingly fast pace helps him out, but near the end of his run this term, I saw the chinks in his armor. One of these days, one of his last ditch tackles is going to result in a red card and a penalty. That’s a sign that a defender is desperate. He’ll be an awesome influence on our squad, and as a 4th choice defender, he’ll be of more value than Silvestre was.

Thomas Vermaelen – Tony Adams was wrong. Vermaelen was in every pundit’s team of the season list. Along with his defensive prowess, he chipped in with some beautiful goals. He’s angry when we concede. He’s professional when a ref approaches him. This is what you get when you pay 10 million euros for a player. This is what you get when you buy a defender who was the captain for Ajax at a young age. This is what you get when you scout a player for two years. Vermaelen could be a future captain for Arsenal.

Johan Djourou – An incomplete grade. It was revealed recently that Wenger told him that he let Kolo go so that Djourou could play. It’s been written that Djourou was a player who was supposed to be kept secret from the entire world, that’s how much Wenger rates him. He has the physical tools (not necessarily the strength), but it’s yet to be seen if Wenger’s faith is justified. He looks like he’ll get an opportunity though. One can only hope he’s not like his Swiss compatriot, Swiss Tony. Senderos looked the part, but he lacked the heart and the intelligence to be an elite defender.

William Gallas – It looks like he’ll no longer be an Arsenal player. That’s a shame because he produced some of his best form this year. At this point though, he is also an injury prone player (the same can easily be said of Robin van Persie though). He does not have any special attachment to Arsenal, and that’s not meant to sound like an insult. I mean this in the best possible way, William Gallas is a professional footballer. That may make it sound like I’m calling him a mercenary, but that’s not what he is. He truly did care about winning more than anything else. For those that suggest he didn’t play because he didn’t want to mess up a potential contract, look no further than the Barcelona first leg. He crocked himself because he wanted to play on the grand stage so badly. His loss was as big a reason in our failure as anybody else. I will miss him, but the team may not miss him. Nasri revealed today that five players at Arsenal don’t talk to Gallas. He didn’t mean to suggest that they hate him, it’s just a generational difference. Whether they know it or not, Gallas was one of the finest defenders to suit up for Arsenal during Wenger’s regime. It’s too bad that too often injuries and petty squabbles came to define much of his spell. I hope he recovers in time to make the World Cup squad and play well for France. I wish him well.

No Mas

– The Blackburn match was supposed to be televised on ESPN2. Instead, the match ended up not being televised in the US. Somebody at the pub had a laptop, so we used it to stream the match. Fifteen men huddled around a 15 inch computer monitor whose wallpaper was of the owner’s Hebrew tattoos. The stream was solid, but I couldn’t see much of what was going on. I knew when we scored, I knew when we conceded, and I knew when we lost. And that was that. Usually, I’ll try to watch the match in full later in cases like this, so I can get a full impression of the game. But this time around, I chose not to. Can this season please end?

– What more is there to say? Fabianski was fouled by Jason Roberts, who bragged about Blackburn’s tactics to The Sun today, on the first goal, but our defense was completely all over the place. Our players don’t know when to track players; they only know how to follow the ball. And for the second goal, all I can hope is that Wenger sees that we have to buy a goalkeeper. That unfortunately isn’t the public face of Wenger though, but let’s hope he’s playing poker.

– Fabianski being a lights out goalkeeper in training tells me something else about our team. It means that nobody is giving him a hard time in training. Nobody is challenging him. Nobody is putting their body in the way in the manner these grafting teams will do. We don’t want to emulate these teams, but we have to prepare for them. What Blackburn did yesterday was no surprise.

– Vela did nothing. Walcott did close to nothing. It’s bad that we have a ton of injuries; it’s worse when most of our players who fight back are amongst those injuries. But where is the fight in Samir Nasri that he showed earlier in the season? What happened to these guys?

– As for the picture on the top of this post, you might as well enjoy something right now. Because in terms of Arsenal, it’s terrible. Even the almighty ladies lost to Everton yesterday. And now, we get to watch Sp*rs attempt to join us in the Champions League. Lovely. Wake me up when the transfer window opens.

Deja Fucking Vu

Blackburn are a horrible team with a manger who makes them play disgusting football. If football has a cancer, then Sam Allardyce is it. His tactics are simple. Kick high balls into the Arsenal box and put the Arsenal goalkeeper under pressure. Foul the Arsenal players at any given opportunity and score from set pieces, especially corners by putting your two biggest players on the toes of Lukasz Fabianski.

Fabianski is shit. Once again, he has lost Arsenal a game. I’m not blaming him for Cuntburn’s first goal, because I believe he was fouled by Jason Roberts.

Every time the ball went into the Arsenal box, the Cuntburn players looked to elbow or barge Arsenal players out of the way. It was constant, consistent, cynical little fouls by Cuntburn. Eventually, the referee is going to let one go and he did with Cuntburn’s first goal. True, there was no-one marking David Dunn at the far post but the foul should have been called beforehand.

Critics of Fabianski will say that his punch from the corner was poor, but Roberts had unbalanced him by deliberately barging him when he went for the ball. Sportsmanship and players coached by Sam Allardyce are like oil and water. This was summed up by Cuntburn’s Australian midfielder Vince Grella. He was booked in the first half for pulling at Eboue’s shirt when the Ivorian went on a run into Cuntburn’s half. Then late in the first half, he looked to see where Van Persie was before giving him a nasty elbow in the head. The referee did nothing.

Allardyce has a lot of nerve in his pre-match press conference saying that Blackburn are not a long ball team. It’s like the Taliban saying that they’re not Muslim.

An example of Cuntburn playing the long-ball was their goalkeeper Paul Robinson taking a free-kick close to the half-way line in the 82nd minute. They played long balls all day, looking to cause Arsenal panic in their penalty area so that they could win a corner and crowd Fabianski out of his own penalty box.

This tactic worked.

Blackburn’s winner was scored by Samba who had a free header standing on the goal line. That can’t be allowed to happen. Fabianski looks like a woman goalkeeper finding herself playing against physically imposing men. He was feeble. I don’t care what Wenger says about Fabianski, the fact is that he’s shit and has the presence of a mosquito. He’s not strong enough for top flight football.

Arsenal have now only won one Premiership game with Fabianski starting in goal.

But the Polish clown wasn’t the only non-performer today. Carlos Vela did zero. Theo Walcont was his usual frustrating self. His final ball into the Cuntburn box was sloppy, and he couldn’t get past Gael Givet. I know that he’s only 20, but then Mike Tyson was only 19 when he was Heavyweight Champion of the World and Pele was only 17 when he scored two goals in the 1958 World Cup final.

This is Arsenal we are talking about. A club where the finished article is required, not some young English sprinter who has bags of potential but can’t past Gael fucking Givet.

Chris Eagles of Burnley would have been more of a threat than Theo Walcott today.

The only good that Walcott can give you is winning a corner. But the Arsenal players failed to stand in front of the Cuntburn keeper and put him under any kind of pressure. That said, Arsenal did score from a corner in the first half.

Last word: Cuntburn fans are fucking inbreds. They have one chant: “Same Old Arsenal, Always Cheating.” And they boo. At the end of the game, they celebrated Cuntburn’s win as if they had reached the Champions League Final. So did the Cuntburn players.

It was depressing to say the least.

Keep It Arsenal

11 Reasons Why Arsenal Need a New Goalkeeper

Saturday, August 25th: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
Arsene Wenger was sent to the dug out. Robin van Persie had a legitimate goal ruled out for offside. Arshavin was denied a blatant penalty after being chopped by the miserable Fletcher. Diaby scored a ridiculous own goal and Rooney cheated by diving to win United a penalty. However, Almunia needlessly dived at Rooney – the England striker was going nowhere – and he duly took the bait by diving over him. Rooney then scored from the resulting 59th minute penalty and Arsenal’s flawless start to the season was wrecked. Thanks Manuel!

Sunday, October 25th: West Ham United 2-2 Arsenal
At half-time Arsenal were winning 2-0. They were cruising. Then in the 76th minute, Hines dived and won a free-kick. Diamanti’s shot was palmed towards goal instead away from goal by Mannone and onto Carlton Cole’s head. Four minutes later, Cole dived after barely being touched by Song and West Ham equalized. Mannone’s error brought West Ham back from the dead.

Sunday, November 29th: Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea
Chelsea destroy Arsenal and create an 11 point gap. This game was boys against men. The first Chelsea goal was poor defensively. The second goal was poor goalkeeping. Vermaelen’s own goal, just before half-time would have been averted if Almunia had commanded his penalty area. He didn’t. Instead, Ashley Cole swings in a low cross. Gallas misses it. The ball then hits the knee of an unsighted Vermaelen and spins into the top right hand corner. Almunia is nowhere. He should have claimed Cole’s cross but instead stayed rooted to his line like a frightened mouse. Thanks Almunia!

Saturday, January 9th: Arsenal 2-2 Everton
Rosicky salvages a point for Arsenal by scoring an injury time equalizer. Osman put Everton ahead with a header from a corner. Osman is 5 feet 6. Denilson equalized with a heavy deflection, but then Everton went ahead again when Steven Pienaar chipped the ball over a a pathetic crouching Almunia. Poor goalkeeping!

Sunday, January 24th: Stoke City 3-1 Arsenal FA Cup 4th Round
Two minutes in and Stoke win a throw-in inside the Arsenal half. Rory Delap launches one of his special throws which flies into the Arsenal penalty area. From the edge of the penalty area, Fuller sprints in and heads home an easy header. 1-0 Stoke. Standing on his heels waiting for the ball to reach him was Fabianski. I’m sure he never saw Fuller coming but instead of going to meet the ball, he instead waited for it. It was a costly mistake that got Stoke in the groove.

Sunday, January 31st: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United
When a goalkeeper scores an own goal two things come to mind: (i) He was unlucky; (ii) he is a clown. With Manchester United’s first goal, Almunia was a clown. Nani gets the ball on the right hand side, deep into the Arsenal half. He then Cruyff turns two Arsenal players and chips a cross into the Arsenal penalty area, which Almunia somehow pushes into his own net. Appalling positioning, appalling decision making, and appalling goalkeeping.

Sunday, February 7th: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
The news of John Terry cheating with Wayne Bridge’s partner is all over the news. Chelsea’s first goal was from a corner. Almunia had no-one on the far post where Ivanavich headed to set up Chelsea’s first goal. The second goal was a Chelsea counter attack. Drogba went around Clichy and Vermaelen to shoot past Almunia. The ball was struck with a fair amount of pace from maybe ten meters but it was not unstoppable. It looked as though Almunia ducked underneath it. Coward goalkeeping.

Wednesday, February 17: FC Porto 2-1 Arsenal
This game was the worst goalkeeping performance by any Arsenal No.1. Fabianski scores an own goal by palming a nothing cross into his own net – he was under no pressure at all – 1-0. Then, he picks up a back pass but fails to organize his defence for the resulting free-kick, allowing Porto to re-take the lead. Porto will never score an easier goal.

Saturday, March 27th: Birmingham City 1-1 Arsenal
Arsenal are within seconds of a famous win at St Andrews. Joe Hart, the Birmingham goalkeeper, takes a free-kick from just outside his own penalty box. It lands near the Arsenal penalty area and isn’t dealt with by the Arsenal defence. Sagna lashes at the ball. It hits Kevin Phillips in the face and loops towards the Arsenal goal. Almunia slaps at the ball instead of tipping it over for a corner. The ball then agonizingly falls into the corner of the Arsenal goal with the pathetic Almunia scrambling back trying to claw the ball away. Another costly mistake.

Wednesday, March 31st: Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona
In the first half, Almunia produces world class saves and keeps Arsenal in the game. However, 30 seconds into the second half he shows Arsenal fans his other side – his crap side. Ibrahimovich takes a long ball, deep inside the Arsenal half. Almunia comes charging out of goal – for no reason – and is duly lobbed by the Swede. Ibrahimovich’s decision making is made easy for him by the poor positioning and decision making of Arsenal’s No.1. Fucking nightmare!

Sunday, April 18th: Wigan 3-2 Arsenal
There’s one minute of normal time left. Arsenal are winning 2-1. Wigan are asking questions and putting Arsenal under a lot of pressure. They are fighting relegation and win a corner. Fabianski is on his line. He comes to catch. He is under no real pressure. The ball lands in his hands. He fumbles and flaps the ball onto the head of Wigan centre-back Bramble who heads into the empty net.

2-2 and Arsenal’s title hopes are over thanks to Fabianski’s costly error.

Message to Arsene: Please sign a world class goalkeeper this summer.

Keep It Arsenal

Post Match View – Manchester City F.C.

This meeting was supposed to be exciting. It was supposed to be memorable. It was neither.

We played Manchester City to a stalemate Saturday in a match that provided very little entertainment. There were times when I felt like the child who is forced to go on a long road-trip. He sits in the back seat wondering, ‘are we there yet? are we there yet?’.

The weight of expectation for this game was a big factor but that we went into it knowing our season’s top prize can only be finishing third further dampened the occasion. Roberto Mancini choosing to be conservative didn’t help matters. As Arsene commented, maybe they feel that they can get a draw against us and finish the job of clinching fourth head to head against Spurs.

Fuck Spurs!

I didn’t even bother noting the action for this post as I usually do.
The interest was there.
The passion and anticipation were there.
The levels were just slightly off.

I hate feeling like the game doesn’t matter as much as it could. Oh, by the way, FUCK SPURS! And didn’t they live up to “expectation” against United!?!? I hope Wilshere gets a hat-trick against them and then they get smashed at Eastlands.

As for us, we’ve definitely reached a crossroad with this squad. It’s fast approaching time to make some decisions about its makeup. A player like Clichy has done well enough to turn around his recent performances but ideally, a fit Kieran Gibbs is the least he should have to worry about. And now that Fabianski has kept a clean sheet, will Arsene reiterate that Greasy Hands will be great one day? Having Eboue to replace Theo is not the worst option, especially from a tactical point of view, but there’s much, much more that we can/should expect from a right sided forward and neither player provides it. Diaby has improved. There’s no doubting that. To think though that Denilson is still a question mark and that injury-prone Rosicky turns 30 in October begs the question of whether we can match our opponents going forward. No play on words intended.

Our keeper situation – some might say our squad depth overall – is a joke. I wouldn’t go as far as the latter but I understand the frustration, having come so close again this season and finishing with nothing. The frustration mounts, especially when we read that Arsenal F.C. is the third most valuable club in the world. A very simplistic but valid position would ask if our commitment to winning matches our ranking. It’s an interesting debate, financial restraints notwithstanding.

Is it time to start spending more now that we’re on a better plane where the stadium debt is concerned and that many players have proven to be less than reliable?

The UEFA 8:25 rule complicates matters and will make for even more interesting times at Arsenal this summer. I imagine the development of players like Craig Eastmond, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Jack Wilshere, Henri Lansbury, Tom Cruise, Sanchez Watt, Kyle Bartley, and a few others from that Youth Cup winning side will now be even more important. And what of veteran reserve but still young players like Nacer Barazite and Mark Randall? Will Conor Henderson and Francis Coquelin make the step up? Is there another Jack Wilshere amongst the youth?

Will the rule give Wenger more reason for staying committed to giving these kids a chance or will he modify his plan by bringing in a few established, super talented players? I know he likes David Villa. Those thoughts were running through my head as I watched City play a very cautious game. Tevez was hardly a factor. Bellamy found out what it’s like to face Alex Song. He has come a long way attitude and behavior-wise but he did manage to anger the mild-mannered Song. Bellamy should consider himself lucky. I wouldn’t fuck with Song. Abou Diaby (who almost won it with the shot that KO’d Shay Given) was in Patrick’s face like our former hero had something of his. A ticket to South Africa perhaps?

Those were the only highlights for me. The game was tepid at best. Seeing Patrick in City colors was a bit unsettling but I got over it pretty quickly to be honest. I still love the guy though. I remember how proud I used to feel seeing him patrol the pitch. A great man recently described him as one of the best ever. No argument here.

It would be interesting to see the number of matches we’ve played this season with our full team. The injuries excuse is one I will not use but let’s be clear, one of the reasons for Wenger’s position against “financial doping” is that it allows clubs with sugar daddies to bench top quality footballers when others are forced to include youth or average players. The 8:25 rule may change that. How it will affect our club remains to be seen.

One thing is certain however, we must get this nightmarish injury situation sorted one way or another. The City match was supposed to be meaningful. It turned out to be just another game. What would have we done to City with a fit Cesc, Arshavin, Gallas, and Vermaelen?

While some are debating if finishing third is really an improvement, I am left asking why have we failed, again???

I’m suddenly feeling empty. Worse, I don’t have much more of real interest to say but I do feel this needs to be said; FUCK SPURS. I’m out.

Keep the Faith

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