Top 10 predictions for 2011 – Sulky players – The worst decision against Wigan

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Don’t you just hate top 10’s of everything? No? Just me…

I sat in on an SEO course (work) for simpletons a few months ago, and when I say simpletons, I’m saying that one of the tips was to put a contact form on the site so people could communicate with you. Anyway, the guy there said the best way to attract people to your site is with top 10’s of whatever. I dislike them for that reason, but today, I’m going to give my well thought out top ten predictions of 2011!

Before I get into that, I thought I’d just run you through a few after thoughts from the Wigan debacle.

I spoke to a guy who knows his football and he was as bemused as the rest of us about the changes. I read around a few of the blogs yesterday and there are a number of the ‘I’m just trying to show perspective’ sites saying they could understand the changes. Sorry, I don’t care how balanced and reasonable you want to be, anyone with half a brain and a bit of experience of sport will tell you 8 changes in a team of 11 is asking for trouble. It wasn’t precautionary, it was dumb.

Anyway, I digress… the guy I spoke to thought Wenger’s biggest mistake was not taking Andrey Arshavin off despite him clearly struggling for fitness in the second half. He made the point that the Russian’s lack of tracking led to the corner for the equaliser. Interesting point. Even more interesting is that Arsene Wenger was the most vocal a few years ago with doubts about the his ability to cope with the rigours of the Premiership.

How right was he? Arsene knows…

Me, I don’t care too much about his fitness. He creates chances and he scores goals. We shouldn’t be moaning about him not defending, we should be asking how we could get more out of him and whether his fitness should be managed in a different way to ensure we extract the most from his magic. That’s a different story for a different day.

On the team selection, did anyone think that the decision may have been made for reasons alternative to fitness? Has anyone thought that maybe players like Eboue, Denilson and Nik B might have been sulking? Lets be honest, we’ve all read what’s been going on in the media. If there are rumblings in the press, it’s hard not to believe there aren’t rumblings in the dressing room. Maybe Wenger thought he’d create more harmony if he played his miserable favourites in an easy to win game? Who knows…

Predictions 2011

1. We’ll win something. Of this, I am in no doubt. We’ll definitely take the Carling Cup this year because Wenger knows if he doesn’t, there will be an even louder group of fans calling for him to move upstairs. I think we’ll win that and maybe, just maybe… the FA Cup. The Premier League is a different kettle of fish. We have a great chance to win something there, I’m just not sure Wenger has it in him to spend the money we need to compete in the 2nd half of the season.

2. We’ll beat Barcelona. I know, I know… this is fantasy talk! Well, it might be, but it was fantasy talk to consider we’d beat Madrid and Juve back in 2006. I just think Barca are being massively over hyped and I can’t help but think it’ll be mighty tough for them to maintain that intensity of performance the whole way through 2011. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see us beat the Catalans then lose in the quarters to Copenhagen. Just kidding about the last bit… I might add that I don’t believe we’ll win the Champions League if we beat Barca.

3. Wenger won’t buy in January. Wenger won’t buy unless there is a need. I don’t mean a need as in a quality need, I mean a need as in a squad space because someone has left. Where in this squad could he possibly justify a purchase? He believes he has 3 world class keepers, he believes in the defence and he believes he has enough competition in defensive midfield. There is no one he could sign, so don’t get your hopes up. By the way, I haven’t heard anything about Tommy V’s season being over.

4. Pat Rice will leave. Word on the street is that Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice are going their separate ways. Our assistant manager is leaving for pastures new which leaves a space open for a new Arsene Wenger side kick. I’ve no doubt he won’t promote Steve Bould to number two, instead he’ll probably go for the Grimster, which wouldn’t be good. Wenger needs to sign someone who isn’t in awe of him. He needs some right wing to his left wing, he needs a shake up in back room staff if Arsenal are to ever kick on. He’s not a revolutionary anymore, he’s not at the cutting edge of football training wise. With the right selection of assistant manager, he could be.

5. Aaron Ramsey will return. I know I’ve overhyped this far more than I should have, but this guy is going to be the real deal for us. He has the best stats when it comes to tackling, shooting and passing when he’s in the side, he has bundles of passion and he’s a superb technician of the game. When he returns, we will have, potentially, an amazing midfield ready to go for the next ten years. Remember, the only DNA we have to worry about with Aaron is the Welsh stuff he picked up somewhere along the way. If we treat him and Jack in the right way, they’re ours forever. Ahhhh… love.

6. Cesc Fabregas to leave. I know, I know, I didn’t want to depress you on New Years Eve, but I had to put this one in here. Statistically, he’s the best deep-lying creative midfielder in the world. Barcelona are cash rich again and have apparently, according to twitter sources, set aside £50million for him. I told you last summer that Madrid offered to match that price as did Manchester City. My gut feeling says we’ll look for £60million. If Wenger had a brain, he’d make sure we took  Mascharano as part of that deal because let’s be honest, £60million is no good to us with captain Scrooge at the helm.

7. Ivan Gazidis will not change his hair style, despite increasing pressure to cave to the Cesc pre first team rat tail look.

Oh Ivan you bore!

8. The Arsenal Marketing department launch bottled Spirit and Belief as part of their new soft drinks range.

9. Stan Kroenke takes over the club and turns the Armoury into an Asda Express. Cost of salt beef sandwiches set to plummet.

10. Le Grove are handed secret Wikileaks cables  exposing employees of as specialist HTML coding monkeys.

'Denilson better than Gilberto' sound like a good headline Barry?

Ok, the last few weren’t really predictions, I just thought you might start getting board of the whole top ten thing.

On that note, I want to say goodbye to 201o. From a personal point of view, I thought you were an ar@ehole. From a blogging point of view, you’ve been to kind to us. We’ve grown by 30% this year, so a big thankyou to all the new faces in the comments section, and a big hello to all the new people who read on a daily basis, we love you more than Jesus Christ and those little sausages wrapped in bacon.

I know I keep saying this, but bar the world-class writing from me and Geoff, you lot are the factor that distinguishes us from the rest. When people find out I write this, more often than not, they’ve got an opinion on their favourite commenter! So keep splurging your thoughts next year, they are well read the world over!

Next year, we hope to bring you… well, exactly the same! 365 posts, some insider gossip, honest opinion written from the heart and maybe some more competitions and prizes!

Have a great evening, don’t do anything too embarrassing, like wet the bed and blame it on the dog and remember to tune in tomorrow for Geoff’s first post of the New Year!

All the best, Pedro and Geoff.

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348 Responses to “Top 10 predictions for 2011 – Sulky players – The worst decision against Wigan”

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  1. patthegooner


    I think Wellington was announced and then did not get a permit. Someone said that they had been given the nod that it would be approved and then it wasnt.

    Gambon 11, 12 and 13 very funny

    SUGA3, the selection was high risk and a gamble.

    If we had held on, Wenger would have taken a lot of praise for it coming off. Unfortunately he wont take the criticism for it failing. Its a fine a line that we tend to always end up being on the wrong side of.

  2. Jaguar reloaded

    Advance New Year wishes to
    1)Gunners,Grovers and everyone who loves Arsenal.
    2)Spuds agents,Spuds fans,parasites,AKBs and Wenger.

  3. Rohan

    I don’t care- I expect a win before each and every game save perhaps Barcelona at home. 😀

    I’m expecting a huge performance from our big players tomorrow and against City in Cesc, Nasri and RvP…City need to be brought back down to earth

  4. A

    nah pat there was no mention of wellington at all until he failed to get the work permit, the only times he’d been mentioned was in the match reports of pre season friendlies and was always mentioned as “who is currently training with the club”

    Literally the first official word was to say that he was going on loan –

    It was on twitter and young guns etc that he was expected to get the work permit but there was nothing official about him even having signed before that….

    With Miyaichi it’s a case of “we’ve signed him and he’ll join his new teammates in January” it’s a different case

    Not that I expect him to feature for us at all this season….

  5. patthegooner

    Young Guns are very accurate A, He rarely gets it wrong.

    I guess we will find out in the next week or so.

    If he does, I think we might see him once there is nothing else to play for (hopefully it wont come to that)

  6. A

    Why SUGA?! I wouldn’t say that City are automatically better than Chelsea…. They have been alot of this season, but that’s with Chelsea having injuries etc. We played a close to full strength Chelsea and schooled them, if we play like that we’ll beat City certainly

  7. A

    yeah i agree pat, they were spot on with Wellington Silva, again why I’m sure that Miyaichi has already gotten his permit….

  8. SUGA3


    the difference here is that the game ended 0:0 – this indicates that ManYoo figured that if they are toothless upfront, they will at least hold out for a draw…

    this is the art OGL and his boys are yet to master (vide Braga away)…

  9. skandibird

    Pedro; I hope your ‘prediction’ of no 3 & 6 is way off, as IMO Arsene needs to buy and Cesc must stay, who else can I blow my kisses to?
    HAPPY NEW YEAR one and all! I have a feeling 2011 is going to be a GOOD year!

  10. Goonerpower

    Happy new year Geoff & Pedro keep up the good work, always love a read of your blog and the comments…bar a couple of the pointless and regurgitated comments, same same same same…….

    Look forward to a new year with the grovers & grovettes!!

  11. SUGA3

    and I second that, gambon…

    as much as it was fun to rip the piss out of the Chav supporters for once, that win must be put into perspective a little 😉

  12. goonermichael

    what do you expect gambon? We haven’t beaten a top side for a million years. It’s a bit like the scum getting in the top 4 they think they are already champions of europe

  13. Jimbo

    From the videos (which are admittedly poor quality) Miyaichi looks a long way off Premiership, even reserve team level at this stage. That’s to be expected, considering the level he has played at so far.

    Not to write him off, but I don’t think he’ll be contributing this season, for sure. That said, Wengker did sign that idiot Koscielny to play every week, so who knows.

  14. A

    Pat wellington silva didn’t because he fell out with the fluminese coach and didn’t play for them again after he signed for us, that’s the reason he wasn’t granted the visa. If he goes on loan and does well then he’ll show that his not playing was because of that falling out and not because he isn’t worthy of a “special talent visa”….

    Miyaichi has had no such issues so should be able to get it, which i’m assuming he already has otherwise it wouldn’t have been announced

  15. SongtheGreat

    Geoff and Pedro..

    Thank You both for a fantastic blog..i know you both puts a great deal of work into it..and you both can be very proud ..Thanks again..

    grimandi are in the hot seat to become our new assistant manager,some rumours say that Bouldy is groomed to be Our new nr 1….maybe thats why the grimster is first choice…

    i Wish All Grovers Gooners a Very Happy New Year…c’mon you Gunners 🙂

    Pedro Geoff Happy New Year lads and please keep up the amazing work you do on Le Grove :

  16. DaleDaGooner

    Sooo. A, how is it that a regular U 18 or so for Brazil is not allowed but a school boy Japanese is a definite? UK Visa law sucks!

  17. A

    Jimbo he’s certainly reserve team quality, but a fair way off first team. I’d say he’s in between JET and Aneke, he’ll take the piss in the reserves but won’t be ready to step up for the first team for a while, looked very raw in pre season

  18. A

    Dale if Wellington Silva hadn’t fallen out with the Fluminese coach etc I’m sure he would’ve gotten the permit very very easily…. He should do in the summer if he does well on loan too

  19. DaleDaGooner

    A, ok, so why does falling out with one coach mean you get canned for a visa? I mean why did the Home office not grant him a visa instead of us relying on FIFA’s special visa?

  20. Jimbo

    He doesn’t look anywhere near as good as JET or Aneke- no idea why you’d come to any other conclusion, especially due to the fact that Miyaichi’s not even played at a sensible level.

  21. Lurch LeRouge

    I don’t think thats a fair appraisal of the chelsea game Gambon.

    Yes we won against an average chelsea team on paper, but we finally played properly with a descent 11, and the old adage of beating what’s in front of you has never been truer.

    i don’t see why we shouldn’t pin our hopes on similar results if we can field that starting 11 regularly.

  22. SongtheGreat


    its just in that old song Marillion…you can blame it on me…or in chamakh’s case i bet you can blame it on wenger mate ;..

    Happy New Year Suga3…

    well off ..busy evening ahead….Eva says i have a great deal to do…??..darn those Polish girls ;

  23. DaleDaGooner

    Ryo has the raw ingredients, pace, good skills and PACE! did i mention that? he fashions his play after that sissy boy CR7.

    Should be good for us, reminds me of Park’s pace and work ethic for the manures.

  24. SUGA3


    it probably has something to do with the number of appearances in the last 12 months or something like that…


    sure, he is yet to play in a serious league, but he looks the bizzo against his ‘equals’ in Japan, plus, he must have played for their U-18 team or something and was pretty good?

    he looks pretty fast, brave and has a few tricks up his sleeve – why not?

  25. gambon


    It was a great performance, however let’s not forget Liverpool beat them, and Sunderland did them 3-0 at their place….no-ones talking about them winning anything.

    The amount of times I’ve read “if we carry on playing like we did against Chelsea” in the last few days is huge.

  26. Lurch LeRouge

    the answer to that question is likely that the UK makes a SHITELOAD more money from japanese foreign students than they do Brazilian.

  27. A

    Dale because his falling out means that Fifa look at him and see a youngster who isn’t even being selected in the matchday squads for his club in Brazil, and therefore decide that he doesn’t warrant a special talent visa….

    To get a visa outright you’ve got to have played in a high % of your national teams’ games over the past three years, hence any teenager pretty much needing a special talent visa on appeal.

    Jimbo that’s from seeing them all play together in pre season.

    I’d say in terms of current ability the hierarchy of our younguns imo would be

    Wellington Silva

  28. patthegooner

    Bullshit, as someone who has done a number of leadership courses, you have either got it or you havent. You cant make someone become a leader, it is something that happens naturally. You can ask to communicate more, but if they dont do it naturally it is because they are not comfortable in doing so.

    You are either a follower or a leader, and we have too many followers.

    The only way to solve it is to buy players that have it as a trait. I.E Vermaelen

  29. SUGA3


    but if we carry on playing like this in every game, we may be in for a nice surprise, come May…

    however, this kind of consistency is probably a bit too much to ask, IMO…

  30. patthegooner


    It doesnt mean I expect them to play like that every week. Wigan proved that.

    But it is a statement. Play like that and you will beat anyone.

  31. Jimbo

    I’m not saying he doesn’t look decent, but his level in Japan is basically college level, and even there he doesn’t even look as good as Aneke or JET, who are both absolutely top drawer.

  32. Jimbo

    In terms of quality, I’d have Aneke and JET as top two.

    Wellington’s attitude stinks, by all accounts, but from what little I’ve seen, I’d have Miyaichi on that list, but at the bottom.

  33. A

    gambon just going on the two games that they all played in the same team in pre season.

    The only way to actually compare, obviously playing in Japanese schoolboy games is irrelevant however well he does! In pre season though he was better than aneke and afobe, but none of them were close to wellington silva

    Obviously JET didn’t play for the reserves in pre season so it’s difficult to compare him to Wellington Silva but I’d say it was close between those two. Afobe and Aneke are very talented but not close to either of them yet, hence Afobe on loan in league 1 whereas JET is about to go on loan to a Premiership side

  34. A

    Jimbo by whose account does Wellington Silva’s attitude stink?! That’s literally the first time I’ve heard it!

    Apart from the Fluminese coach saying that he wasn’t focussed because he’d signed for us

  35. A

    Jimbo you’ve not even seen Miyaichi play though, so I’m not sure “but from what little I’ve seen” means, as you’ve seen nothing?!

  36. gambon


    Afobe has been prolific at all levels. He is more experienced at U17 level and has a similar record, he also has a good record since moving to U19 football.

    He also looks much more suited to English football physically. The one time I saw Wellington he looked like a 12 year old.

  37. A

    Yeah gambon but again, going on his only performances I’ve seen where they’ve been in the same team miyaichi was better, and I expect him to show that by pissing all over the reserve league along with aneke when he’s back.

    wellington silva is small and skinny but he really is something special. even more excited about his break through from seeing him for the reserves/younguns than i was about wilshere….

    I agree Afobe has had good scoring records throughout youth football, both in u17 and now 19 for England and throughout our youth team up to u18, but that doesn’t mean that much.

    Don’t get me wrong I think Afobe is a real talent, all five of those I named above are, but currently he’s just a very talented kid who is a long way off the first team, hence the fact that he’s sitting on the bench in league 1…. Wellington Silva is way ahead of Afobe, when he goes on loan it’ll be to a spanish prem or at worst second tier side, and I’d expect him to be pretty awesome over there!

  38. CEL

    THANKS G & P
    For the effort to keep a daily post on the go. The frustrations trying to understand the absolute power
    management of Wenger will again test LG in the NEW YEAR.

    Interestingly the successor to Pat Rice will need to have a very strong personality to put over his football view. Look at the case of Don Howe. Don was a most respected coach at the Arsenal.

    Grovers would be dismayed to know that AW never consulted him whilst he was at the club. Don was not a cone man and deserved respect. So I have some reservations here about the new assistants influence.

    Like the LG posters I am still bemused and angry by the 8 changes made by Wenger on Wed. The lack of respect by Wenger, should also include the supporters who made the trip to Wigan. They deserved a full strenght team on duty.

    Best wishes for the NEW YEAR


  39. Bengali Gunner

    If we win the carling cup only then i still consider us in a drought, but it will definitely be better for the teams belief and mentality.
    2010/11 should be carling cup, fa cup and maybe just maybe The Premier League 😀

  40. Lurch LeRouge

    Brunette: “Doctor, my body hurts all over.”

    Doctor: “What do you mean?”

    “Watch…” The girl pokes her arm, and screams in agony. She then carries on to poke her neck, her stomach and her leg, screaming in pain each time. “See?”

    “Are you a natural Brunette, Miss?”

    “No I’m a natural blond. I dyed my hair.”

    “I thought so,” said the Doctor, “Your finger is broken.”

  41. Gooby

    i think lansbury has something special about him, i’d love to see him with the first team next year. plus he’s a local boy, arsenal through and through….

  42. A

    I think he’ll make it for us Gooby, but not sure about having something special. He isn’t Wilshere/Ramsey/Wellington Silva level, although he could just be a late developer on account of his stunted development throughout the youth teams because of illness and injury

  43. A

    gm i’m going for


    Sagna JD Koscielny Clichy

    Cesc Song Wilshere

    Theo VP Nasri

    or maybe Arshavin rather than theo, and theo to start against city

  44. SUGA3


    all good, bar Fabianski, I’ve had it with him!

    had he stayed on the line instead of watching the ball and making the customary half arsed attempt to go after that, we would have not conceded that goal…

  45. alex

    Lansbury is a great talent, would like to see him go on loan to Prem side. Like Wilshere he has that aggression and passion in him that we need.


  46. A

    Come on now SUGA, Fabianski did exactly what every keeper in the prem would’ve done – to try and blame him for the goal is REALLY pushing it imo

  47. SUGA3


    I thought you might say that 😉


    it’s not ‘pushing it’, he left his line when he had no chance in hell to do anything with that ball without fouling Rodallega and conceding a pen, then as Rodallega nodded it across the goal he turned around without even watching the ball, being miles away!

    watch it again: had he stayed on the line, he could either save any possible attempt at the near post or catch the ball after it was ‘passed’ back across the goal…

  48. A

    SUGA he did exactly what every keeper does in that position, go to narrow the angle if the guy at the far post goes for goal. Whoever (in the prem) was in goal we would’ve conceded that, the keeper wasn’t the cause of the goal, it was the godawful ability of the outfield players to defend set pieces

  49. Kushagra India

    sorry but Fabianski is not commanding enough(especially on crossed) not vocal enough and we are running out of time

  50. A

    he is not the most commanding kush but that doesn’t mean that people should TRY to find a way to blame him for things that have absolutely nothing to do with him!

  51. SUGA3


    as you know, I am not his biggest fan, to say the least 😉

    what he did was a silly mistake – he misjudged the flight of the ball, as Rodallega could not do much else with it, given its trajectory, so there was no point in narrowing the angle, plus, he left the goal wide open by making the ‘charge’


    Happy New Year, dude, have a good ‘un 😀

  52. simon mcmahon

    I’m going tommorow , I’m still pissed about wigan on wednesday ,to be honest we need to play and win no fucking around wenger, I would like to ssee chezzer in goal and jd at the back, because you know that the brummies will be playing ala wimbledon with zivic up front and flappy and the chuckle brothers cannot handle that power game .

  53. SUGA3

    IMO, the keeper should not leave his line if he is not sure he can get the ball and Fabianski got himself in trouble more than once by not following this simple rule…

  54. Jimbo

    A- there’ve been a few articles about him, comparing him unfavourably to Neymar in terms of his attitude, saying he’s been behaving like a prima Donna both on an off the pitch. Also he has apparently not been turning up to the English classes he’s supposed to have been taking. Looks a top talent, but I’ve heard a few times that he has a bad attitude- there was an article on a few weeks ago, IIRC.

    On Miyaichi, I saw one of the preseason games, and a few of those videos of him playing in Japan. Nothing on any of them to hint that he’s better than Afobe or Aneke, or indeed what Ive seen of Yennaris recently. Like I said, he looks an interesting prospect, but I’d be surprised if he was even at reserve team level yet.

  55. A

    Jimbo at Borehamwood he certainly looked a level above both Afobe and Aneke, whilst being on the same pitch as them….

    He is very raw, his decision making and movement wasn’t amazing but on the ball he was just superb, very quick, skillfull, and pretty tenacious as well. His run and shot to hit the underside of the bar was superb.

  56. A

    Didn’t know that Jimbo re attitude, I’d heard nothing about it at all. Have to just wait and see, he is a really special talent imo, although then Pennant was pretty special as a youngun, how that talent was wasted….

  57. SUGA3

    I used to work at the PGO in Archway Tower and had an older mate there who knows quite a few people at Arse – he told me a story about Pennant: he came to the training ground and one of the long time and well liked and respected security employees greeted him ‘Hi, Jermaine’ and got ‘That’s Mr Pennant for you’

    and the little twerp was 16 at the time!

  58. Jimbo

    Aneke and Afobe have stepped up massively in the reserves this season, much better than they were against Boreham Wood, and better than Miyaichi looked then, or in the compilations I’ve seen.

    No reason to discount those games when judging those players.

  59. patthegooner

    Mannone is coming back

    Sounds like he had a thigh injury but Boro wanted to extend the loan, but for some reason that is not happening.

    I am going to be optimistic about this, maybe it means Almunia is finally fucking off!!!! One down one to go

  60. JJ

    Hey Lurch – On my Hannibal/BA slip from a few days ago, please don’t accuse me of being American (smile). I may have just got my US passport but I am Sri Lankan first, despite being born in Scotland and growing up in Australia.

  61. Lurch LeRouge

    haha JJ, you sound about as confused as me…

    i harbour no ill will towards yanks anyhow, they’re good a blowing shit up and we need that sometimes!

  62. Lurch LeRouge

    he hasn’t actually said that yet Kush? surely not??

    good and bad really, it’d be good to have a older DM on the books…but im getting excited at the thought of an arsenalista capable of scoring from 25 yards out!

  63. JJ

    Wifey just pee’d on a stick. I am going to have my second young gunner! Woohoo. You guys are the first we have told. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  64. JJ

    Thanks guys. Haha, still trying to work out if the first one is mine. She sure gets on well with the gardener! Oh well, Mexicans are good at football too!