Thoughts on Arsenal’s festive sandwich


‘Tis the season to be jolly. And then less so.
Arsenal have just completed a festive sandwich of fixtures. On the one side, a wholesome and thoroughly rewarding victory away to Aston Villa. On the other, a rather stale draw at home to Wolves. In the middle, of course, was a big fat Christmas. Hope you had a great one, wherever you are and whatever you might be celebrating.

Alex McCleish is the enemy of football.
Anyone who watched our game against them on Wednesday last will surely concur. This man must be stopped: he seems to suck the joy out of any club he takes over. His Villa are a horrendous side – seemingly as dull on the eye as the Birmingham City team he led to relegation last season. On Boxing Day, Sky sought to outdo Scrooge himself by screening just one game: Stoke vs. Aston Villa. It was apocalyptically bad.

Yossi Benayoun deserves more opportunities.
His headed winner at Villa Park was a rare example of an Arsenal player coming off the bench and making a genuine different to the game. Supporters are tired of seeing the uninspiring sight of Marouane Chamakh or Andrey Arshavin preparing to take to the field. Benayoun guarantees hard work and, of late, real quality. His display at home to Wolves was another example of what he can offer the side.

Arsenal were denied by Hennessey’s brilliance rather than their own incompetence.
A point at home to Wolves is a frustrating result, particularly when the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool have both dropped points in similar circumstances, but on this occasion I think arseblog has it right: we have to offer congratulations to an outstanding performance by the goalkeeper rather than blame ourselves. These freakish results will occasionally occur – it’s only when they become regular that there is genuine cause for concern.

Four points from Villa and Wolves is not a bad return.
If we go on to beat QPR and Fulham, which is not an unrealistic target, 10 points from 12 available will look even healthier.

Whisper it quietly, but Spurs don’t look likely to collapse anytime soon.
Whilst of course we ought to try and pursue and overhaul them, I’m increasingly of the belief that the real battle for Champions League qualification is between us and Chelsea, and for fourth rather than third place. Spurs look very strong indeed, and I don’t perceive Liverpool to have the strength in depth to mount a sustained challenge – particularly in light of Luis Suarez’s ban.

Thierry Henry could be the best available option to strengthen the squad.
Of course there are better strikers out there than a 34-year old who plies his trade in the MLS, but how many of them are available in January? Very few. It’s not worth investing millions of pounds in a substandard player who will make a limited impact – you could argue we’ve already done that with Chu-Young Park. Bringing in Henry would give us a viable option from the bench as well as providing a lift to everyone at the club. If it happens, however, it’d have to be soon. No point waiting to look at other options until the end of January then letting Henry go back to the states after a fortnight.

Right. The next game is QPR at home on New Year’s Eve, after which we’ll be able to put a very rocky 2011 to bed.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.


  1. A Force!   •  

    “Arsenal were denied by Hennessey’s brilliance rather than their own incompetence.”

    You’ve got to be joking. We couldn’t finish as simple as that. Robin was too focused on breaking the record, shooting when he normally passes. The rest of the team can’t finish even if their lives depend on it.

    Also we did not win that game because of Wenger’s incompetence. Why start rosicky and benayoun? Why not put on AOC instead of Rosicky?

    Anyone remember Arshavin’s interview? He said no matter how you play you will get taken off in the 67th minute. Low and behold Arsene took off Benayoun arguably our best player for Arshavin who lets face it is turning into a flop.

    Times are changing in North London, Spu*s have a better squad than us for the first time in my lifetime. They have more strength in depth and better players.

    I’m ashamed. We are Arsenal Football Club and we will most likely finish behind the spuds for the first time in the Premier League. Unless Arsene bucks up his ideas and spends in January where we need key players in key Areas.

    It’s all good and well me naming potential targets, but we know Arsene he will just go out and buy a yakubu or a DJ Campbell. Mind you both better than Chamakh and Park.

    It’s funny. All Arsenal supporters will be happy with 4th place this season. Has that what it has come to. 4th fuking place!

    Managers normally have a saying “When I leave I hope to leave the club in a better position when I leave then when I first took over.”

    Pre Wenger we were winning trophies. If Arsene goes at the end of this season. He will leave us 7 years trophyless and out of the champions league for the following season.

    It’s shameful we the mighty Arsenal should be challenging for the title yet Arsene has cleverly lowered expectations from the title to 4th place. And in turn twitchy has took his side from mid table to a title challenging side. Do I think spu*s will win the title? No chance. But they sure as hell have a better chance than we do.

    One things for sure. Redknapp may not be the brightest manager but if he sees an area in which he is lacking he will go straight out and fix that problem. Arsene on the other hand notices he has a problem in a certain area after years. Take the GK spot. He stuck with Almunia for years. Then FINALLY knew he was dogshit, then went out to buy Schwarzer and squabbled around over half a million. Then he promoted Flappy.

    We are inferior to the spu*s. Imagine if Rocky (RIP) was here to witness that? Shameful. Arsene’s Answer? Thierry Henry. WTF!

    He is a legend and will remain so. But to go out and buy a player who is past it is downright stupid. Imagine Man u buying Van Nistelrooy as they needed a striker. It will just not happen.Arsene did the same thing with Sol Campbell. Look how that turned out.

    Arsene is a clueless imbecile. We won’t win anything with him in charge anymore. But it looks like were stuck with him until 2014 as Ancelotti is about to become PSG’s new manager!

    In Arsene we trust!

    • Munitionsman   •  

      They wont be happy with 4th. We stand zero chance of beating chavs to 4th. They are too strong in depth. And we are led by a past it buffoon who is now looking back in the looking glass in the hope that TH14 will somehow save his arse (again)

  2. A Force!   •  

    Also. Whenever the teams around us drop points we hardly ever capitalize. Happened last season which cost us the title and is already happening this season. We just don’t have that killer instinct anymore to kill off teams.


  3. arsenalDheart   •  

    we always flop when pressure is on us yeah Lvfoool & Chelshit lost points and if we win the game at wolves we will overtake chelshit 4th place and we will have the same point as spuds…FUCK like its really gonna happened, it’s been so fucking disappointing for the past few years….

    what made me even mad was after we were up 1-0 on wolves we played like fucking idiots passing around the ball like the game has already ended no fucking intention to attack showing self skills back-heel(song) that almost cost us a fucking counter and if you noticed why TV was so mad the first place it was song “self loving skill showing time” that angers him, wolves player noticed it and they’re adding oil to TV raging fire….

    Gervinho he did scored a goal good for him, but during the 2nd half he did a horrible job and he reminds me of how we used to play in the past few years…SHIT…pass that suppose to shoot and shoot that supposed to pass FUCK….and please stop dribbling so much it’s getting annoying where it slows down the game and giving ample of time for wolves defends to organize….

    Taking out Benayoun replacing AA23 WTF… Benayoun should be playing as an attacking midfield behind RVP supporting and giving killer through balls like what he did at the first half and AOC should be playing on the right wing WTF subbing the best player in the game for a piece of shit that totally can’t do a fucking shit.

    I don’t blame RVP for having a goal scoring mind to break AS record it’s actually a good thing for a striker to have that killer instinct look at chamakh useless but with 2CB and 1 FB always marking him that’s just way too hard when AR came in RVP always signal for a killer through ball whenever AR touches the ball and he gets it, he times his run beautifully that’s what he needed the whole game not the last 10+ min or so…

    I was so fucking pissed after the game where we should play our very best game and start picking all our lost points during our horrible start of the season instead we played like FUCKING IDIOTS this draw at Wolves was what we deserved….

  4. Wegin van Wegsie   •  

    Arsechums, I was thinking about Australia’s greatest XI:


  5. Nick   •  

    I wonder how RVP would take to Henry returning. A threat to his captaincy?

    • Munitionsman   •  

      stupid comment… captaincy on a two month loan?? Get a grip son

  6. True Gooner   •  

    After the horrendous start we made to the season Arsenal have come on leap and bounds. We have become more solid to beat which means we have sacrificed the free flowing football of the Cesc Nasri era.

    If Arsene make a couple of stella signing we could mount a challenge for a trophy this or more probably next season. The major concern is he likes to trust and promote the youngsters and keep faith with his favoured players nameably Chamakh and Arshavin.

    I think Arsene has finally woken up to the fact that now Man City Spurs and Liverpool have improved so must we to remain competitive.

    I hope so or fear the fans will turn on Wenger more so than at the start of the season … In Arsene I would like to trust!!!

    • Munitionsman   •  

      The fans booed at the end of the game. I hope they turn on wenger and the team of has been dross he has assembled.

      I mean seriously folks are saying that Yossi was our best player. A player who could not get a start for chavs… who was released by pool, who was average for the hammers and a player we dont even own FFS!!

      Is this what it has come to where we unload cesc and nasri and hail the arrival of Yossi??

  7. Nick   •  

    Don’t forget we have wilshire returning soon!!!

    • Munitionsman   •  

      And we get the pleasure of watching cuntene run him into the red zone chasing fourth spot again. Jack should leave until we get a manager with ambition.

  8. Munitionsman   •  

    Tis the season for that cunt wenger to walk. Why are we still watching TR slow down play. Why do we have to watch yossi being able to outrun a defender. Why do we have to watch chamahk at all? Why do we have no back up for RvP is obviously tired. Why is out most expensive purchase confined to the bench?

    But mostly WHY dont we have a plan B, like spuds. Why cant we hold our best players like spuds?

    This comment from Bale shows the problem at AWFC

    “We know if a system isn’t working so it’s great to see we can change it. I think at Stoke, in the first half, we weren’t in the game, changed it and then battered them.”

    Where Harry has a brain all wenger knows how to do is make the opposition tired by continually passing laterally at the half wayline. Its pathetic. Boring shite.

    The team only turns up the play at 70min every fucking week. What is that all about.

    wenger out.

    Moyes in

  9. Munitionsman   •  

    yossi sd read UNABLE to outrun

  10. Munitionsman   •  

    shouldnt this read every occasion?

    but on this occasion I think arseblog has it right:

  11. Munitionsman   •  

    GS why dont you just cut and paste the managers email

  12. Munitionsman   •  

    These names have to be got off the books


    Under a proper manager AA23 could flourish. He has quality but wenger cant get it out.

    So get wenger out

  13. Munitionsman   •  

    the question is not if we will get CL footy next year. The question is will we get europa league

  14. GiantGooner   •  

    Now I remember why I normally don’t read the comment sections. Its freaking awful. ZOMG we didnt win the game. Frigging City went 0-0 against West Brom the same day, but don’t tell me they don’t have enough clinical players.

    It was bad luck. We took a billion shots at goal and they either missed or Hennessey got a hand or foot or lord knows what on them. How he saved the Mertesacker header I will never know.

    Rosicky shouldn’t have missed the target from 18 yards out clear through on goal though. One step forward and drive the ball and thats a 70% chance of goal. But even the usual whipping boys played OK. I watched the game on replay cause I’m in the States and as soon as Arshavin came on I was ready to kvetch about his awfulness but even AA looked okay. Just couldn’t find the back of the net.

    If you need to criticize one player its Song. He needed to move up after the clearance; Fletcher would have been offside if he hadn’t played so lackadaisically.

    • Munitionsman   •  

      Citeh are top of the league. We are fifth. Nuf said.

    • Nick from Joburg   •  

      Spot on, GG…perspective, please?

  15. Wegin van Wegsie   •  

    Muntionsman, I was thinking about moving to Singapore for study and to better know our neighbours from the north. Do you know what the work permit situation is like in Singapore? And should I mention my extra large penis as a special skill during the immigration interview?

    • Munitionsman   •  

      Pretty easy to get a work permit if you can find a company that wants you and you pass the special skills test ( that’s where the penis comes in) but you need accommodation. That is quite expensive. 3500 sgd for the most spartan of arrangements. More like 5.5k sgd for you are you acoitrement

      • Wegin van Wegsie   •  

        Thanks, Munitionsman.

  16. Wegin van Wegsie   •  

    My FM11 team has just won the Premier League 12 times straight, and finished the last season unbeaten in every game, and won the Premiership 38-0-0.

    As a result, a lot of my players want to leave the club, so I’ve sold a bunch for £55m, and I’m replacing them with recruits from the Academy. I think it would be an interesting experiment to build a side that will grow together and make lovely babies together whilst holding hands and singing sweet love songs about football.

  17. Wegin van Wegsie   •  

    I think too many of our players have had too much Christmas pudding this year. That would explain the sluggish performances and the lack of pep in the side.

    We need more pep in the side.

    • Munitionsman   •  

      Aye, of the gaudiola variety. There I have completed your post ;)

  18. Michael   •  

    Guys I strongly believe that Arsenal will finish in a top 3 position at the end of the season.

    Anyway, Cristiano Ronaldo on the differnce between English football and Spanish football.

    Here is the link –

  19. Mop   •  

    Who is AD?

  20. Gunner no 1   •  

    Abu diaby

  21. Mop   •  

    Oh thanks totally forgotten he still exist

  22. Gunner no 1   •  

    I think taking Henry back would be a good lift for the team,he might nit be as quick as he was but I bet hes still quicker than the defenders he’ll be running at and the experience he has is very also takes the burden off rvp for a couple of months.
    I can see a good run coming in the second part of the season Remember we have……jack,sagna
    Santos,gibbs all soon to be back..ROLL ON!!!
    MC,AA,JD,AD,MA,LF all out and start spending in aug To boost our chances of taking on the Mancs…….and winning

  23. Gunner no 1   •  

    Yeah tell me about it I’m nicknaming him Sick note now!!! Lol

  24. Daymee   •  

    GS, I have never been so disappointed by you, infact, I have respected your balanced view on things concerning this club. I’m scratching my head and reading your post over and over again almost in disbelief. These comments really shocks me!
    Did you really write them????

    (1) “…we have to offer congratulations to an outstanding performance by the goalkeeper rather than blame ourselves…”

    Waow! Even worse;

    (2) “These freakish results will occasionally occur – it’s only when they become regular that there is genuine cause for concern…”

    FGS, we scored our first goal in the 8th minute! What has happened to our standards???
    Is Hennessey a good enough excuse to drop 2 points? I’m sorry the result was not freakish in anyway GS! It wasn’t!
    We had no answer to the questions they posed of us – This is Wolves FGS! I think it is an insult to suggest that this was a freakish result. Not a chance in hell!

    I don’t believe Arsenal did not have what it took to win that game. Not just win it but comfortably too. You get what you demand!!! The result is the level demanded from the players. If we had to win that game to avoid relegation and had the same players and substitutes, I’m 100% convinced we would have won it! THEREIN IS THE PROBLEM!

    Again I say, you get what you demand from your players. Credit to the team, they have looked more organised lately but these 2 points dropped really hurt and I would have expected to see that reflected by Gunnerblog. What Arseblog says really doesn’t matter and I thought Gunnerblog would often have a balanced view on things.

    I’m very disappointed in these quotes to say the least.

    • shaun   •  

      I have no idea why people can not see as you say we would have one this game if there was something at stake like relegation lol…… when the team need to produce they fail miserably they are atleast consistent in failure and still the manager cannot see that when persie has an off day we have no option I mean come on this is joke management .How manytimes do you need to be given an opertunity the team is a joke we have already been told the top four finish is the priority .

  25. R.S.P.C.Arsenal....   •  

    what no apology for the absence gs…..

    no mention of henry,,, posssible transfers in jan,,, come on old boy….

  26. Alfred   •  

    LMAO at the hissyfits here…

  27. Wegin van Wegsie   •  

    Thierry Henry will soon return and make things right again. He will clean out the pigsty that is the Arsenal dressing room and replace it with clean, chic French elan. Let us hold hands and sing songs about the greatest Frenchie of them all!!!!!!!!!

    4th place trophy? With Henry in the side, even 3rd place is possible!!!!!!!!!

  28. Wanadoo   •  

    Guys, I want you you to think about this for a second…….please read it and pause for a moment….

    We have a manager who has led us for SEVEN years without winning a trophy

    Seven years! Is this a good manager?

    It’s fucking awful – and I really can’t believe that there are still AKB’s out there. SEVEN, not two or three…..SEVEN!

    Is it still Judge me in May? Well what fucking year are we talking about?

    This guy is a has been (I’m not convinced he was ever anything). I’m convinced it was David Dein being the puppet master and made it look like that fuckwit was a professor.

    Wenger has time and again proved he is totally incompetent to be a football manager.
    – Persists with Almunia, when even the tea lady doesn’t rate him
    – Waits a year for Chamakh – like he’s Messi or something
    – Panic buys 3 players after being humiliated by Man U

    I could go on forever….

    Here is a manager that has admitted on national television that “there is no difference if you play at home or away – it is still a football pitch”
    – I must admit to believing the same thing; But I was 8 years old!!!!
    Is this the comment of a respectable manager – no its the comment of a retard.

    I want to take you back to the past and show you what the future could’ve been…..
    In 2004 we were the invincibles – think about it INVINCIBLES…..every fan, including opposing fans thought we were to embark on era of crusade – about to win everything in site. A mate of mine who supports Spurs admitted to me that he was dredding the next ten years. He couldn’t see how this Arsenal juggernaut could be stopped. Enter Arsenal Wenger! This retard of a man decided the best way to continue the golden era is to dismantle the team bit by bit, a little bit each season….replacing individual key players with youth team members – what kind of madman policy is this? Is this kind of policy expected from a sensible manager? No, it’s the policy of a man who has no football management brain whatsoever.

    I will repeat; these years that we are now in, should have been part of our Golden Era. We had all the best players in the world wanting to play for Arsenal Football Club. Now we have Chamakh & co.
    We should have been the next team to follow on from Liverpool and Man U and have a decade of trophies and titles. We could and should have been unstoppable. You AKB’s need to think about that.
    He did something that was near impossible to do; take an extraordinary team and demolish it. It reminds me of Tony Blair who somehow managed to take an extraordinarily bad Labour Party and turn them all into Conservative look-a-likes….winning the next 3 elections.

    In Arsene I trust….to continue ruining us for years to come

  29. Nick from Joburg   •  

    We are missing our attacking fullbacks. We are not stretching defenses enough with width (both Theo and Worf prefer to drift inside), because the makeshift FB we do have are more defensive in nature (as well they ought to be). Makes for tighter defence, but means that poor quality teams can clog the middle and park the bus. Wolves pulled it off; QPR tried to do the same but were not successful. Note when le Coq entered at FB, and things loosened up promptly: Theo’s miss (!) and RVP’s goal. Le Coq is more the attacker.

    Just a thought.

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  31. Lashunda Marksberry   •  

    Believe it or not unlike the Brits in The top Exotic Marigold Hotel, who want to leave England I might enjoy to retire to England. I love that country!

  32. Michael Lee   •  

    I wonder how much of this post could be written today and still resonate as 100% true? I’ll let you decide!

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