TGIF: Guest Insider Harper debates with PGL and FTK

PGL: This weeks TGIF could be renamed TFHG (Thank Fu*k He’s a Gooner). Finally, 24 hours past the deadline we got our man. The snow that greeted the new man also lead to the cancellation of our game against Cardiff which gave us all a chance to relax and chill after the stresses of the Transfer Window.
PGL: There is only one this week. I was talking to a buddy the other day and we both agreed that all the hype around Arshavin was partly caused by the fact we’ve all been waiting for this sort of signing since TH14 departed. People have been expressing doubt but I feel certain he’ll be a hit. He should bring us the ability to unlock park the bus defenses and hopefully give us a directness that we have been lacking. We’ve looked as blunt as a hippo’s ass the last few months. I know a lot of us, myself included, thought we’d bring in a more defensively minded player but when played in the centre I think Denilson is more than capable, I simply do not understand playing him on the right hopefully he, Cesc and Arshavin will click like Flamini, Hleb and Fab 4 did last season.
HARPER:  I’m on the fence as to how much of an impact he’ll make for us.  I just hope he can take the pressure, it’s the first time he’s ever left Russia.  The Russian league is rather insular, it’ll be a huge change for him to be in a big European league.  I think Arshavin will also lift the entire league in what I think has been an uninspiring season overall.  Already I’ve seen fans of other clubs (incl. some fair-minded spuds) say they look forward to seeing him play in the league.  How many Russian superstars are there, after all?  BTW, not only is he Russia’s captain, he’s Putin’s favourite player.  I still can’t help but wonder if Usmanov had anything to do with this deal.
FTK: Well I felt like retiring at one point in the deal, with all of the underhand behaviour of the player’s agent and Zenit St Petersburg. The feel good factor about the signing is what Gooners want at the moment. To be able to say to the likes of Tottenham, we got our man, who rejected coming to that pile of Shite down the Lane. It signals our intention to finish this season on a high. His position on the pitch will be interesting. I suspect that he will play just off the striker centrally in a free role, mainly linking up with Nasri. The balance of the team means that it can only be either Adebayor or van Persie. I fail to see how  Arshavin, van Persie and Adebayor can all play at once. Arshavin is a playmaker as well as goal scorer, and he will create chaos for defences as they will not know which side to shepherd him. Usually teams decide for instance to keep van Persie out wide right and preventing the cut back so that he is on his weaker foot. However Robin has been working on his striking with the weaker foot and thus creates more doubt in the defenders mind. Note the use of the phrase impact player in Arsene Wenger’s description of Arshavin. This rather suggests that initially he sees him as coming on with 30 minutes to go to up the tempo and attack tiring legs of the opposition. So a question to everyone reading this blog, how do you fit Nasri, Fabregas, Arshavin, Walcott, van Persie and Adebayor into the team? Surely it’s bye bye to 4-4-2?
PGL: This week I take my hat off to FTK. Your “The State of our Club and it’s future prospects Part III” was the best thing AFC related thing I’ve read on the interweb in a long time. I sent a link to my brother who has been a little disenfranchised from the club by virtue of a move to New Zealand. He wrote this back to me “It’s people like that, that make me proud to be a Goon. Balls out allegiance to the cause, the club and our leader with the sense to recognise the problems but still see we’re on the up”.
That’s what we should all see Insider. Yes we’re in a minor sticky patch but we’re moving in the right direction a little slower than we’d like maybe but like the ad says… ‘Good things come to those who wait”.
HARPER:  I have to shower FTK with praise as well for all the work he did on deadline day, absolutely incredible to read his updates throughout the day.  And even more praise to everyone who works on this entire site.  I’ve left two blogs in the last year because they deteriorated into two opposite extremes (AKB and AKN – Arsene Knows Nothing).  This site is a blessed escape – I can bitch and whine and criticize the team and manager without being called a traitor; and I can express my loyalty and belief in Wenger and the players without being called an AKB.
FTK: Thanks everyone, but all I did was try to give Gooners a real insight into the great man’s thinking. His vision is so precise but what impresses me is the way that he deals with failure. He can motivate players if they wish to be motivated. He accepts his squad’s weaknesses and works to get the best out them. Sometimes that means putting his faith in weaker players to do a job. Take Ramsey against Cardiff for instance, that is the worst game that I have seen Aaron Ramsey play, but mark my words Arsene will take him aside and instil him with confidence. He will come back stronger. This is why Gooners must understand that when they boo such a young team, they are doing the work of the opposition, and only failure and catastrophe will follow. It’s better like Harper to let off steam on our blog rather than scream negatively at our boys in red and white. I am proud of Arsenalinsider, I believe that we have a community of real quality, who are not afraid to express themselves… oops am I beginning to sound like AW…lol

“He is a versatile player with great experience, who will add real quality to our squad.
Andrey is an exciting impact player with a huge amount of ability and has been an influential force with both Zenit St Petersburg and the Russian national team in recent seasons.”

PGL: So that’s the bosses view and it’s also obviously what he thinks we’ve been missing. You’d wonder what would have happened in this window had Cesc and Theo both been fit. Would we have bought anyone? I doubt it. Despite what people are writing our squad is improving week on week. Arshavin will be the cherry on top that should allow use to convert more of our possession into goals. And remember the best for of defense is attack!
HARPER:  I remember back in the summer Arsene expressed doubts about Arshavin maybe being too lightweight for the PL – he said it only in passing.  I too think we wouldn’t have seen Arshavin come in if Cesc wasn’t injured.  I’m still amazed AW went after a player of Arshavin’s age, and of his price.  It’s a huge admission on his part about what his team is lacking.
FTK: I agree Harper, but it’s not so much the admission that the team needed some experience, but the fact that we lack creativity at the moment. We are too predictable in our build up play thus allowing the opposition to organise their two banks of four players. He can shoot, he can pass and most importantly, Arshavin has good close ball control and can go past defenders. The injury to Theo Walcott probably forced his hand to buy an attacking rather than a defensive player.
PGL: Ivan Gazidis get my performance of the week. He did the unthinkable… he took on the Russians in winter and won! Zenit have proved to probably the most stubborn club we’re ever dealt with and I think had Gazidis not been involved in the negotiations we would not have been successful in our pursuit of the Russian. Hopefully Ivan and AW can become an even stronger unit than Wenger and Dein.
HARPER:  I think you’re forgetting Ken Friar’s role in the deal.  Sounds to me like Friar and Gazidis worked together on the negotiations.  I like your choice but I’ll expand it to OUR CLUB IN GENERAL, which includes our manager of course.  I think Arsenal Football Club has, throughout this entire month, behaved with incredible sanity, honor, dignity, class while in the middle of such media-driven hysteria.  Not only that, the trio of Friar/Gazidis/Wenger played hardball and managed to prise the world’s 6th best player from a club that had caused giants like Barca and Madrid (and the spuddies) to surrender all efforts to sign him.  They couldn’t get him but we did – and by offering less money than they did.  Also, Arshavin said that a big factor that made him determined to move to Arsenal was Arsene talking to him all the time telling him how much he wanted him in his team.
FTK: I agree with you both, Friar and Gazidis did the deal and it is often Wenger’s personal intervention which becomes pivotal in the deal. He did that with Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, he is willing to make that effort to secure the best. The only thing that worries me is that Arshavin professed undying love for Barcelona during the Euros, and has taken a pay cut to come here. But look at it this way, if he is to get his dream move to Barca, he is going to have to put in some blistering performances at the Emirates first.
PGL: This week I’m giving Matthew Flamini my Friday Finger. You broke my heart when you left and now all your doing is warming the bench for Milan. You could have been a legend here. You went for the money and I hope its keeping you warm as you look on from the sidelines at the San Siro.
HARPER:  A big F—K YOU! to the media for trying to create a fake controversy over the Arshavin deal – even trying their best to egg Villa and even Everton to create a scandal against us.  Miserable lowlifes.
FTK: My finger is going to all spud fans, because they are talking up beating us at the Lane on Sunday… Get a life you morons. The pressure is all on you. Robbie Keane or  Darren Bent, bring ‘em on. We are going to play our part in trying to send you down to the Championship where you belong. Word is that the scum did some very late loan deals as well, who may be making an appearance against us. Apparently a pair of centre backs called Elvis and Costello who played in their famous silent movie back four of 1961 in black and white, together with a midfielder called Glen Hoddle who bends spoons with Uri Geller. Seems as though “Bring in the Clowns” has taken on a new meaning!
PGL: This week I’m thankful for Daniel Levy. Ever since the Fast Show left our screens Levy and his club have been the funniest thing on TV. Redcrapp signed Keane on the last day of the window and now their squad list looks like a Friends Reunited profile page. It truly is a comedy. So once again I thank the producer of the show Levy for ensuring every turn his club makes gets funnier and funnier. Any more of this Daniel and we’ll be pissing ourselves.
HARPER:  Thanks to Andrey Arshavin, for flying over to London a few days early even tho the deal was still in the balance, just to make sure he’d be around to take the medical and sign.  If he hadn’t done that, the bad weather might have really prevented the deal from being completed on time.
FTK: Thanks to our Insider community like Berg10, Needmoregrit, Ole Gunner, JJ, Durham Gooner, John in Norfolk, Ahmad and Hamy really loyal and colourful characters who bring such quality to our daily debates. I love you all guys – (Metaphorically speaking of course…lol) There are so many of you that I could mention, who contribute in making my vision of an all inclusive loyal international Gooner community come true! Take a bow all of the Insiders who either come here to debate regularly and openly or just by reading our contributions silently. Keep it Arsenalinsider for incisive analysis and comment!

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