Good morning Insiders, PGL, FTK and ArseneHollis present TGIF today, and please feel free to get stuck into the debate. I am looking forward to stuffing the arrogant mancs this weekend, so let’s gets started.
The Big Issues:
PGL: Can you believe it AH people have been talking about giving Wenger the chop. There has been the accusation that the dissenting voices come from ‘Plastic Fans’ but I think the truth is a bit more complicated. There are plenty of long and loyal fans who have been expressing displeasure too, partly because the club continuously tell us there is money to spend but we didn’t replace what we lost and, I believe, partly due to the underlying fact that most of us can still taste the bitterness of last season… this year we expected to go forward and taste sweet victory. This is something Wenger has created, the man has transformed the club and made us a true force and therefore raised the level of our expectations. Right now, due to the structure of the club and financial restraints, calling for a change is like asking a builder to come and remove the foundations of your house… it may stay standing for a while but it will come crumbling down in time.
Arsenhollis: For me PGL the big issue is the fans. I have seen Arsenal go through bad patches, I have seen us have shit teams and this isn’t one of them. It is nothing new that the press want to magnify every issue and project a picture of crisis, we never get a fair shake form them anyway. But I have never seen the team booed off the pitch before. Nor have I seen the manager, the greatest manager in the history of our club who if nothing else deserves dignified treatment, told in a press conference that the fans are openly questioning him.
From what I hear the away fans drowned us out all game Wednesday. The stadium was half empty with 10 minutes to go. We booed off a team with only 3 players over 23 who had just run the opposition ragged and thoroughly deserved the win. We booed a home draw that leaves us top of the group for Christ sake. Who deserves to be questioned here?
The reality is that it is early November, we are still a safe bet for top 4 and champions league next year. We are going well in Europe, have a favourable draw in the league cup, and can look forward to the FA cup. We should all be offering staunch support in the build up to the massive game on Saturday, if we win there all will be well. We will certainly start as underdogs, but this club has always been at its best with its back to the wall; at least up until now. Hopefully the team can remind the fans what heart and desire are.
FTK: Well this has been one hell of a week for Arsenal fans, and it will be remembered for much more if we turn over the Mancs tomorrow. I don’t know anyone who is silly enough to suggest that there are no concerns and that we will beat the Mancs with ease. This is isn’t going to happen given the injuries that we are carrying and the absence of robin van Persie due to suspension. However you would be complacent as a Manc supporter, polishing your 4×4 in sunny Surrey if you felt that this was an easy three points for the first ever victory at the Emirates. Manchester United in my opinion flatter to deceive. Several of their performances actually underline a vein of weakness yet to be exposed. It may be ironic, but as divided as Arsenal football club appear to be in public, we are very united and determined in private. There is a fierce pride attached to this fixture that will ensure the Emirates will be a cauldron of noise. There are enough greivances from van Nistelrooy and Paddy Vieira, to Neville and Reyes and Fabregas and the infamous pizza gate to ensure that no Arsenal player taking the field will give anything other than his best.
On ManU’s part, there are weaknesses in their arrogance, their striking formation, with Berbatov, Tevez and Rooney making a 4-3-3 lineup inevitable with loss of fluency. Their back four lacks pace, and Theo Walcott can rip them apart, and I expect us to win a penalty as carthorse Ferdinand takes him down, and finally the return of van De Saar will see the weakest link in the Yanited defence come under close scrutiny if we are prepared to unleash long range shots at him. He cannot get down well to decent shots and we should attempt to exploit that. I also feel that with the tackles that will fly in, Wayne Rooney will get the red card that most officials have bottled thus far this season. If Rooney stays on the field for the entire game, then the result will probably go their way, but my prediction is at least a draw, with us snatching victory in the closing minutes, so please do not leave early, and bring your voices with you.
Arsenehollis: What happens against manure? This game is clearly of huge significance, with the injuries and suspensions we will almost certainly start as underdogs, so tactics will be very significant. I would be amazed if we don’t play 4-5-1 with Bendtner up top alone. Djourou and Fabianski I hope keep their places, but midfield will be the key I think. Utd aren’t a huge team, although we need to keep Ferdinand and Vidic tight at corners, and will try and play which will suit us. We can pass with anyone and this should be a good game. For me Diaby and Denilson – who was outstanding on Wednesday and looks very good for his rest – should play behind Nasri, Walcott, and Cesc. If we can get forward to support Bendtner we will be fine, if he gets isolated we will struggle, but at home I still fancy us to win.
PGL: There has been a lot of talk about who’ll line up against United. Ade, RVP and Eboue are out and with the possibility of us being without Gallas and Theo too, it will be a team short on experience but we’re still capable of fielding a side capable of coming away with 3 points. Personally, I’d like to see Nasri played in behind Bendtner same way Hleb played behind Ade for a lot of last season. Of course that leaves space on the left for Diaby to come in and add some muscle to our Cesc & Denilson combo that’s bound to start. Fingers crossed Theo will come through and take a place in the starting lineup, if the Big Dane can hold up the ball with Samir and Walcott getting close enough to him to join in the attack we could cause United problems. I feel our biggest problem the last few games is the inability to change the point of attack, we’ve been forced inside to often, slowing up our efforts, this is where Theo becomes such and important cog in our wheel. Does anyone have a number for Eileen Drury? Maybe the Romford Pele could give her a call on Theo’s behalf?
FTK: Also what is it with ex Arsenal pundits who sit with Sky Sports and can’t even show a degree of partisanshiptowards the Arsenal when all the media and most of the tabloids are against us? Paul “The Merse” let himself down by criticising Arsene Wenger attack upon Stoke City’s poor tackling. We are not expecting favours from any team, but when the usually anti-Arsenal Sky sports plays replays that clearly show several over the top challenges on Adebayor and Sagna in particular, all we ask for is a clear statement that these tackles are unacceptable. I do despair at some of our ex Gunners and their poor attempt to appear objective. Alan Smith and Ian Wright are less supine than Merson, but every so often, it would be nice to see our legends defend the faith more aggressively when there is a real wrong being perpetrated against us. We have to battle eleven opponents, and often three officials regulary, or am I being paranoid here?
Performance of the week
FTK: It has to be the wonder strike of Amaury Bischoff in the reserves game against Fulham at Underhill earlier this week. In almost bergkampesque style, he controlled a bouncing ball, chipped it over a defending midfielder and with the outside of his right boot, dispatched the ball with an left to right swerve into the top right hand corner of the Fulham net. I am hoping that Bischoff will continue to show the great progress since his arrival at the Emirates.
Arsene Quote of the Week:
“Let’s re-establish what we have not done well recently, defend together as a team and continue to play in a positive way,”
“The same people who say we are not good, let them say it in three weeks when we are the best.
“We want to be guided by the way we want to play football, our spirit and not to go over-board. We lost a game but we are six points behind the leaders. It is the start of November and we have plenty of quality to get it back.”
PGL: READ THIS CAREFULLY. The press and pundits have jumped on Wenger’s remarks, claiming he’s using the physical nature of Stoke’s game as an excuse for the defeat. That is simply not the case. Arsene made it clear after the game he didn’t feel we deserved to win, that we didn’t create and that’s why we lost the game. What he reacted too, was the accusation that his side were not ‘brave’. Wouldn’t every general react angrily if someone accused his troops of this? As usual the media have taken the easy route and gone for the story rather than the truth.
Arsenehollis: Agreed. I was glad to see that his reaction in the week was to trust the youth more. Djourou deserves to start regularly in this side, so does Fabianski i think. Vela and Bendtner will now get a chance to prove they are as good as we and they think respectively. Ramsey impressed me on Wednesday, played out of position he looked very smooth until the stamina fell away.
FTK: There has been alot of nonsense spoken by usually sane Gooners on the site this week. But hey, you are entitled to your opinion. As long as the Boss points out, you are prepared to give the lads their dues when they eventually turn it around. Arsene Wenger knows that he has let us down. The first mistake was the failure to strengthen the squad in the Summer, the next mistake was to trust some of his highly paid stars too firmly, the early substitution of Niklas Bendtner in the last game, shows that he will no longer wait for ever for these players to deliver quality, and finally even if you do not subscribe to the AKB philosophy, you must at least hold your criticism until the end of the season with regard to our expected finishing performance. Judge him when the 38th game has been completed, for fairness’s sake. The greatest manager ever to grace Arsenal Football Club deserves at least that. Lets get back to doing things the “Arsenal Way” as supporters, and not savaging our own.
Love the Legend:
FTK: Robert Pires has recently written to Arsene Wenger expressing his regret at having left the Arsenal. My many memories of Robert Pires include the flashbacks of him scoring goals from impossible angles followed by the trademark wagging of his finger as he took the applause of the crowd. Pires, I salute you, I thank you for having been a loyal and talented player of our football club. Super, Super Rob, Super Robert Pires!
Give the Friday Finger
Arsenhollis: Anyone, gooner or not, who slags off our team.
PGL: My Friday finger is going to anyone who doesn’t realise how important AW is to the club. The simple fact is we are entrenched in the top four because of him. He is our most successful manage EVER. He has changed the way the club is viewed all over the world. We are revered for our beautiful football, our youth policy and the fact we do it all spending less than every other top club. That might not keep you as warm as trophies would on these cold winter nights, but it should stave off the cold until we’re wrapped in the warm glow of silverware again.
Ftk: Tony Pulis manager of Stoke City, for claiming that Arsene’s complaints will unfairly put pressure on the referees to scrutinise the tackles of his players. Well tough sh*t Mr Pulis. Carry on like that and you will be going down with the Tottenham. Play football not the man. Anything else is cowardly full stop!
I also want to give a small finger of contempt for those Gooners who think that supporting their team includes booing. you have the right to complain, you have the right to call our players and manager every name under the sun, you have the right to leave early in disgust, but what you do not have the right to do is support the opposition and the anti-Arsenal brigade by booing your own team and manager when they are down. yes we have problems, yes we are not playing well, yes it is Arsene Wenger’s fault, but don’t say that booing your team is anything other than a betrayal of the passion that we all have for this club. You should hold your heads in shame.
Arsenehollis: For Arsene Wenger, it is a shame we refuse to show him the loyalty he has shown us. How many top cluybs, with stadiums already built, money to spend, and quality in place would have paid him a king´s ransom to leave?
PGL: I’m thankful that Cesc hasn’t hit top form because Saturday is the day his season will explode. I don’t know why but something tells me Cesc will put in his greatest performance in an Arsenal shirt this weekend. He is always at his best against in the biggest games and I think we’ll all be on here on Sunday worshipping at the alter of Fabregas.
AH: I hope so PGL, he looked sour on Wednesday, RVP to. If we are to stop the rot Saturday he will be essential. I hope the team shows more solidarity and fight than the booers, all together now:
And it´s Arsenal FC, We´re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen…
FTK: Thank heavens, that there are still some Gooners willing to get on the airwaves and tell the nation that the moaning fans who are publicly ripping apart our club by their short term angry comments, do not represent the majority of tolerant fans. Thank heavens there are fans that will remain singing until the end and never leave the ground until the players are themselves leaving the pitch. Thank heavens there are those Gooners who will wear their colours with pride and passion this weekend, and prove to the antiArsenal media that
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH… THE ARSENAL GET GOING!
Be a TGIFer!
FTK: Remember folks if you fancy joining PGL and Arsenehollis for a Friday morning rant, just send a mail to [email protected] and you can be a TGIFer too!
Thank Gooner it’s Friday.
by Fabregas the King
Next up… Vic Crescit and his assessment of the weekend to come.