‘We have regained credit with our fans’ | Vermaelen is a frustrated striker

by & filed under News Review.

Never a truer line shared Mr Wenger. One thing I’ve always believed with football fans and players is that support is a two way thing. Fans pay big money to watch good football. Well, in an ideal world. However, if you’re not getting good football, fans also respond well to players who show passion and fight out on the pitch. I’d say for the last two seasons, we’ve really lacked that fighting spirit. Last year, it was pretty apparent Captain Cesc wasn’t interested in the team. It was also clear that Samir Nasri had turned to the darkside over Christmas… and the fans had to watch the team limp pitifully defeat to defeat.

This season we’ve watched a pretty average team take some batterings, we’ve seen resurgent form, then we’ve seen shambolic football return briefly. Now we’ve found a groove. We have our strongest back four back lining up every game. Previous flops have come good and the team has started to learn how to play with each other. It’s clicking at the right time and the focus is clear as day.

We’re a dangerous team again.

Robin Van Persie is a massive cog in the danger machine but now we have a Theo Walcott who seems to have found some sort of rhythm to his game. He’s not world class, but he’s a scary winger to play against. Even if his cross success rate is at the lower end of the scale, the fact he’s fast enough to give himself double the chances of most wingers to cross still makes him a threat.

Heading into the last few games, I’d really like to see either Chamberlain or Gervinho kick their games up a gear. The Englishman exploded onto the scene with a few superb performances… however, like all kids, he appears to have lost his way a bit. He needs to relax on the field and stop trying to force his game. Gervinho hasn’t exactly set the world on fire this season, which is a little disappointing considering the outlay. I think he’s a good player though. He has the trickery, he just lacks a bit of composure with his first touch. He also needs to give his final ball and finishing some serious TLC this summer.

Having a squad is the really key benefit for us at the moment. We actually have some genuinely threatening players to pull from the bench. It’s a shame none of them are strikers, but having Chamberlain, Ramsey and Gervinho to call up if needs must is a big step forward compared to calling on Djourou or Park Chu-Young.

The run in will be tough, I’m sure we’ll lose a couple, but I’m confident we can still take a top four place. Thomas Vermaelen is confident we can take a top three position

“We won’t be looking at Tottenham, only ourselves. That’s the important thing for us, not what other clubs are doing.

“Yes [Arsenal are favourites to finish third], we just have to keep the focus on our own performance. At the moment we have had some good results against some difficult teams. We have shown good mentality.”

Nearly all the messages coming out of the club seem to be around self focus. I can understand why the players are saying that, but I struggle to believe the players aren’t looking at the table every week. That’s what makes competition exciting!

Just so you know, I’ll be focusing on what Spurs are doing and saying. Here’s Brad Friedel…

‘It’s definitely not doom and gloom, definitely not a pressure situation where lads are losing confidence and things like that,” he said.

I’ve seen that many times and that’s not what’s happening right now. If you look at the last four results we’ve only had really one of those that wasn’t a Tottenham performance and that was Arsenal away.

I don’t think it’s about holding your nerve, I think it’s about going out and enjoying yourself and expressing yourself because those are the types of players we have.’

Err… not a pressure situation Brad? Are you sure? Your manager certainly looks under pressure. The 10 players in front of you look under pressure and from where I’m sitting… it looks pretty doom and gloom. As for the run in not being about ‘holding your nerve’… what the hell are you talking about? Spurs have totally lost their nerve! Sure they might come back into the race this weekend, but on the face of it, Spurs have choked and it’s going to take 4 truck loads of Mental Strength to come back into the fold.

Reading are also looking at the mechanics of a high flying finish. They’ve taken our great hope of a home grown striker on loan. Benik Afobe will join them for the rest of the season. Everyone at the club seems to have a very high opinion of him. He’s had his injury problems, that’s why he’s been sent out. This is a massive chance for him. He’s playing for a team that has an embarrassing lack of striking riches at the moment… the stage is set for him to impress and nab the 3rd or 4th spot for himself next year.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a line from Wenger about Koscielny and Vermaelen…

“Defensively they are not the tallest but they have a fantastic leap and both of them have good pace. Vermaelen looks like a frustrated centre forward because he has the timing to get into the box as well.”

Fantastic leap… he’s mentioned it at least 6 times? Can it go on the list of Wenger clichés yet?

[twitter-follow screen_name=’LeGrove’ show_count=’yes’]

339 Responses to “‘We have regained credit with our fans’ | Vermaelen is a frustrated striker”

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  1. Thomas, it's up for grabs now..

    On Jenks.. He was totally unproven; 8 games in League 1. He was thrown in at the deep end with lead weights tied around his waist! Old Trafford! And he sank, along with most of the team. Now I’m not blaming him directly for that. Our severe lack of depth (quality) due to injuries was brutally and savagely exposed that day.

    However, I do like what I have seen of him later before he got injured. He may well indeed prove to be a great signing. He does look good on the ball going forward. And I do like the lad.

    But we are well stacked with great prospects. What was badly needed was quality signings (ala already establised top players).

    Arsenal only submitted 22 names to the PL as our squad of 25 on Sept 1st last. However, AW had 30 players under 21 he could supplement that squad with!

    What this team cries out for more than anything is a few top top players to add to great, v good and average players already there.

    So when we talk of quality, at this time, this is the quality we need. Quality that will go right into the team and not take 2-3 years to develop.

    Do you really think we would be in this position now without RVP’s goals? Whilst no one man wins a game you have to agree we have been blessed this year with his form.

    It’s great to see us up in 3rd, but we can push on from here, and have the Platinum ATM card to make a big withdrawal and make it so!

    No guarantees, but I would be much happier seeing 2 20-30m type players arrive than 8 players like Carl. (young, good prospect, talented but unproven at a high level) And I would be as happy as a pig in shit to see Jenks take his place on merit and achieve something with the club that he loves. But only if he’s better than Sagna…

  2. andy

    I think we have a different view on our team right now. I really do believe we have had teams in recent years capable of winning something. Do you think we had a problem of quality in our first eleven thomas/bade? I think our problem is/was not being able to have players on bench/reserves having a certain quality + winning attitude like manc?!? My honest opinion is we have had a better first eleven at least 4 years than mancs in recent 6-7 years but after injuries and bad form of starting players we were not able to get guys on the pitch with real quality and attitude … And thats my point. Do we need many top quality signings for our starting lineup or do we need players accepting sitting on the bench often but still proving qualities after coming on as a sub? Think about our team right now, think about having jack and santos fit – do you really think we would not been capable of challenging for the title with the guys we have right now? Maybe we need one addition for centre forward in case of injury to rvp + a creative midfielder like goetze BUT i believe we are desperate having quality AND attitude on the bench … Have you seen the reaction of rosicky after verms winner? He was on the bench but jumped around like a fan and this is more important than quality in my opinion. Guys wanting to play for a certain clubs prove to be more important than more talented player with less attitude. Perfect example is johnny evans. I have checked the opinion of many mancs fans – they think he is one of the worst centre backs since silvestre … Now he is one of the most important player for them according fergie … I feel we need attitude more than quality although i would love to see goetze here next year

  3. ritesh

    Selling Fabregas, Nasri and Bendtner (loan) was key to getting this team to focus and fighting. Arshavin’s loan spell has alos been great.

    Now we have players who are willing to try. And thats all I care to see whatever the result.

    Last year at this time was appalling. They let it slip bcoz they did not care. And Fabregas let it slip as Wenger’s punishment for not letting him go to his f’king barca earlier. Rarely has an Arsenal captain been so classless!!

  4. DialSquare

    At this stage” there are no plans for the preseason game vs Barnet this summer due to other commitments

  5. Thomas, it's up for grabs now..

    Andy.. gotta fly, sorry.
    All great teams keep adding and building. We are not talking wholesale change for the sake of it. Rather, adding really top players.

    In the end the best will shine through. If young prospects make it then so be it. Great. But this squad would certainly benefit from the arrival of Goetze, Hazard etc and my personal wish (so far off the wall!) Super Mario Gomez.

    While 3rd is great at the moment, don’t forget we are still 15 points off the pace here. And of course everyone around us will also be looking to add in the summer.

    Gotta leave it there! Tomorrow!


  6. Bade


    Sorry but the facts suggest otherwise, we lack quality in the first XI as well

    Song isn’t a starter for me

    But as you already know miraculous XI can’t guarantee you trophies in a season 60 games long, bar interlolls.

    The need for quality is on the pitch as well as on the bench. Quality means also competition for the starting spot, which will assure a much better attitude from players to keep their position

    We need much more quality than you suggest, I’d immediately insert 3-4 players in the first team, LB, DM, AM and Pdy for Gerv

    you have to have a second string able to compete if you want to gun for trophies



    Don’t let us down tomorrow. Give Villa the hiding they deserve from first to last minute.

    Good luck to Chelsea too tomorrow.

    Good luck to my other teams: Stevenage Boro, Millwall & Queen Of The South.

  8. DialSquare

    Interesting to note that two new Arsenal shares sold today, one at record £16,000 price. Will Alisher Usmanov show his hand?

  9. kwik fit

    ‘Arsenal will sign Lukas Podolski from Cologne for £11m plus add-ons for any trophies he wins at the club, bringing the deal to around £11m.’

    Fuck if I hear that joke one more time I think I’ll fucking………laugh.

  10. Bade

    I didn’t check this but I believe the last time we made 7 wins in a row in the league was in 2008, or even in the 2004 invincibles

  11. kwik fit

    The guys need to be careful tomorrow cos villa have had two weeks rest.
    I also think that a chav’s win tomorrow is the worst possible result .
    The bigger the difference between us and fifth the better.

  12. Bade


    I’d love a Chavs win

    Nothing beats the look of a choking twitchy with his ‘best in 50 years’ …

    And that will give us a 4 points cushion in 3rd spot


    Nah not for me Kwik. I want a Spurs defeat. We should have confidence in our own ability.

    Don’t under estimate Villa. But play to our strengths at our tempo and we win. Simple as that.

  14. Bade


    It’s about time we gain back those ‘easy wins’

    We didn’t have this feeling for so long

    The Villa game should be the final approval for that (hopefully)

  15. kwik fit


    Chelsea seem to be gaining a head of steam atm. They could be capable of a strong finish. So I would prefer if they started to stutter a little and get back to the old AVB form ASAP.

  16. Bade

    I meant from the fans view

    I know nothing’s guaranteed this crazy season

    But I remember days when we knew we’re going to win games in advance and were very confident about

    I got tired of being itchy in matchdays, I had a gray hair this season as if I was the manager

  17. jane ryan

    Haven’t read le grove in quite a while.What happened to all the “Wenger out” cries? Maybe just maybe he does know what he’s doing.

  18. andy

    Thats my opinion too bade. I dont think we need 4 top quality signings but 2 would be nice. You are talking about stronger attitude in case of higher competition in the squad and more desire to get the place or stay in the first eleven … I dont think this is working a full season … After 5 matches everybody knows who is prefered in which position so i dont think competition automatically increase attitude and desire
    I am sure we didnt have so many players wanting THIS club to be successfull for a long time … Players who identify themselves with our club and feeling proud winning something with AFC … Rosicky turned down offers to stay, jack, carl, frimmers, ramsey are player AND fans and others like rvp, verm, arteta, sagna at least are commited in every second. This is the main reason why we are as good as we are right know – desire (not the wenger desire but real desire)
    I go for a 5:1 with braces of ox and theo plus koscielny header

  19. luke

    im surprised the yannaris’ loan didn’t come up. you seem to rave about him (i don’t disagree about his talent either). it will be interesting to see how well he does over there. He has looked very composed for a youngster when given chances in the first team against united etc. any thought on him next year?
    it is good news about afobe loan. i do hope he comes back as the powerful striker we keep hearing about. he could be the first proper english striker since ian wright. i mean god knows rooney isn’t english, he’s an ogre with english citizenship.

  20. Texan gunner

    “Quantity-wise we will not do a lot. Quality-wise, certainly, and we will take a gamble if we find top, top quality of course,” Wenger said.

    This is the cut-n-paste job from 2006-2011. Kind of like how every Christmas BBC News shows travelers stranded at Heathrow. btw, Wenger, where do Chamakh and J.Y. Park fit in on the quality scale?

  21. Rutu

    Am I the only one who is very nervous about today. Whenver I feel that We can win the game comfortably we goof it up some time or the other..
    Still im positive 4-0 for us..
    Rvp,Ox brace and header by either Tv5 or Koscienly 😀

  22. Confidentgoner

    Still do not understand why Ramsey starts for us. He brings nothing to our game, except hoofing and puffing. I notice also that he has stopped using ox. I’d say use ox a lot to improve his game. By benching him, you take the ooomph out of his growing confidence. Our midfield suffers when Ramsey plays. What I would give to have Wilshire back!

    Hope today we give Villa a deserved pasting.