Villa – It’s a big game, but it shouldn’t be… | Arsene Wenger’s contradictions

by & filed under Match Preview.

So Villa come to town off the back of what can only be described as an incredibly shocking season. I mean, they haven’t had it good over the past few years, but they’ve never really been in danger of dropping. However, under the guidance of Paul Lambert, they’re looking every inch the doomed club. I feel for Paul, I think he’s a good manager… I just think he bit off more than he could chew with this job. He should have stayed with Norwich for a few more seasons.

Anyway, we’ll have more on Villa in the guest post piece below. I want to talk about Arsenal. This is a major, major game… arguably bigger than the Bayern game because of the impending importance of the fixture after… which is Spurs away. Beating Blackburn was important so we could take something resembling confidence into the Bayern game… that didn’t happen, we lost to Bayern. That’s why this game is a massive worry, because we need three confident points to stand a chance next week.

I watched Spurs against Lyon in the week. Adebayor looked motivated and charged up, Gareth Bale is in an inspired run  of form and they’re team overall looks pretty compact. AVB has worked on their play off the ball, he’s brought structure and and planning to the side and they’re reaping the rewards at the moment. I still don’t think they’re a better side… but considering they spend £60m less a season on wages, they’re doing alright. They’re still in Europe and the winds of progress are blowing firmly in their directions.

If we win today… then next week, the gap will have shut significantly. If we drop points today, next week will look even more daunting and we could find ourselves out of all cups and the run for fourth place by early March. That really will be a tragedy.

Arsene Wenger is still talking nonsense in the press each week. I can’t work out whether he’s bluffing or he’s totally deluded. Whatever it is, taken at face value he doesn’t think we’re that far away from Bayern Munich.

“We are not so far when people think at the moment from Bayern. We need to be intelligent and strong in this period and keep a guideline of what we have done until now. Strengthen the team where in the positions we feel we are a bit weaker. But we have a basis of a team that is very strong for me.”

How can we make up the ground?

“It costs a lot of money*, it costs intelligent work,”

Hmmm… it doesn’t cost a lot of money to do the basics right Arsene.

When pushed on players, he said the following.

“I think, now, we are in a stronger situation where, like you say, we can spend some money,”

“We went out to spend money at Christmas but we didn’t find the players. If we find tomorrow a player of top, top, top quality, we will take him.”

Would you buy Falcao for loads of cash?

“We can do it. If we can afford it, we will not say no.”

When asked if he had an issue spending out…

“I’m not reluctant to spend,”

First of all, we only had money recently. *Secondly, in England there is a way of thinking that every problem is sorted out just by spending money but that’s not always the case.”

Can we afford to keep our best players?

“Yes, of course,”

Could we resist buyers?

“You can only keep your best players, let’s be realistic, by paying the wages of the market.”

So above, you have all the ingredients you normally find spread across a transfer window.

1. We haven’t had money in the past (Even though it’s been pretty clear for the last 4 years there’s been plenty)

2.We have money to spend now (he said this two seasons ago… ‘we can compete with Chelsea’)

3. He said he’ll sign top top quality if he can find it

4. He said he can’t find top top quality

5. He’s said we could sign a £40m player

6. He said problems aren’t sorted with money

7. He said the only way to catch Bayern is with money

I mean honestly… the man is an absolute nightmare. I’ve gone through the clubs issues at length all week, I can’t be bothered to this morning, I think his contradictory press conferences are enough for you to chew through this morning.

All we need out there today is a win. We can’t afford to take Villa lightly and we can’t afford to sit in reverse gear until late into the second half. I hope we get a performance out there today… we desperately need one. It’s going to be freezing, sadly, I’m expecting to see loads of empty seats dotted around the ground. Not as many as there will be if we don’t win out next two games.

Anyway… fancy reading something from a good pal of mine who is a Villa fan? Why not. Here’s Tom… his e-mail was titled ‘Villa are sh*t’… enjoy and follow him on Twitter.

Guest Post – Villa

This fixture last season produced a routinely comfortable hammering of Villa. This was back in the dark days of Alex McLeish, who considered a thorough 3-0 defeat to a ‘top 4’ team a significant achievement. Big ‘Eck didn’t send his teams out to win; he sent them out to lose by a respectable margin. So cut to a year later, and we’re in an even worse position. Some how. However, there is nowhere near the disdain for Paul Lambert that there was in bile-filled bucket loads for McLeish, probably because we actually try to win games now. The only problem is – we’re not very good at it.

You’ll hear about how Villa generally aren’t playing as badly as their results suggest, and that’s partly true, although shipping 15 goals in 3 games without
reply is hardly an indicator of great quality. We’re coming off the back of a rare victory over West Ham, but that seems like an awfully long time ago now, and I
would worry that the team’s collective short term memory of how to win games, is as underdeveloped as their ability to adequately defend set pieces.

This Villa side fold like a house cards at the first sign of trouble, and even Arsenal on a bad day have plenty to tear apart our feeble defence. Arsenal fans should
brace themselves for a goal fest if Lambert sends the team out with 3 at the back; a bizarre preference he insists on returning to, despite the fact that the team
look much more solid, comfortable and dynamic in a 4-4-2. Gabby Agbonlahor should be back from injury, which is good news for us, and not so good news for
Per Mertesacker’s ability to turn, and obviously Christian Benteke is a match for the toughest of premier league defences (and someone you really don’t want to
see in a Spurs shirt next season). Charles N’zogbia has suddenly started to look like a man who actually accepts the fact he plays football for a living, albeit with
all the gusto of a nightclub toilet cleaner. Still, his undoubted quality represents one of the few remaining strands of hope we’re clinging onto to somehow drag us out of the relegation quicksand. And although this isn’t necessarily a game we would expect to win, sooner or later that ‘do or die’ mentality surely has to kick in. And let’s face it, stranger things have happened. After all, we did both lose to Bradford City.

570 Responses to “Villa – It’s a big game, but it shouldn’t be… | Arsene Wenger’s contradictions”

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  1. patthegooner

    It must be so easy to play against us Kwik Fit

    We will never surprise anyone with Tactics. Whether its Barcelona or Barnet we play exactly the same way. And like you say subs on the 70th Min. It used to be the 68th but he has added a couple on. Even then he rarely changes the style, it is just like for like most of the time.

    I would love to see a large poll on Kroenke Vs Usmanov.


    Let’s look at this way..

    On one side,we have the AKB’s,who say to a man…If Arsene goes,who will take over,after him..?

    The other side say’s:
    Joachim Low

    There are for& against argument’s for the list..

    Then we have the section,that say’s the owner need’s to go..

    A stand off between:

    I f Stan refuses to sell,we are in a bind..

    If Stan sell’s to Usmanov..

    The argument on one side is what about if Usmanov becomes an RA@Chelsea..

    Start’s sacking manager’s left,right& center

    What about if he does not invest?
    & then what?

    In a bind like Liverpool..

    Different owner’s,with different manager’s..

    Fast propelling to Europa,with no direction,continuity & stability in sight..

    Can’t see the wood for the trees,type scenario..

    What about if he does spend?

    Is that a guarantee?

    In short,this 50+1,allow’s the so-called learned AFC fan’s to retain the history of the club,decision making & forward thinking & direction of the club..

    It’s put’s fan’s who have been effectively custodian’s of this club,from time immemorial to steer the club into the 21st century,without recourse to score settling,corruption,carpet bagging & spin..

    No ulterior motives,just a wish to put AFC on the World Footballing Map,sitting amongst the elite’s,challenging them for all honour’s..That is the common cause..

    Under the current regime,we do neither..

    In effect,the fan’s have the future of the club,in their own hand’s..

    Rather than going hand in mouth,with a food basket,asking for crumb’s from the bourgeoisie..

    Who effectively decide the fan’s destiny,with outdated crumb’s..

    Out of all the scenario’s..
    Which would you choose?

  3. Spanish Bill

    Very strange what Mancini said. Why would he make such a gratuitous comment? Is he disgruntled closet Gooner? Is he after Arsene’s job? Weird.

  4. Johnny5


    I agree it would be a better set up. But who will bring about this change? Who will be the figure head of the movement? Like unsaid that would be a huge deal who would take that on?

  5. kc

    Wenger is just digging his own grave at this point with all the lies. Couldn’t find top quality in January?! Sneijder and Ba both could have been had for less than18 million!! Someone please explain how those two players don’t make us instantly better!

  6. kwik fit


    Everything and I mean everything that Wenger says now is false. We know it , the media know it and regretfully the players now know it. Hence their headless chicken type performances.


    You have a point..

    But are you telling me fan’s are so sterile& impotent,that the money they pay to watch their respective club’s ,up & down the country,count’s for nothing in today’s game..?

    AFC Match day Revenue:£100 million

    Liverpool Match day Revenue:£40 million

    Newcastle Match day Revenue:£30 million

    Spurs Match day Revenue:£45 million

    Chelsea Match day Revenue:£70 million
    £285 million Match Day Revenue for all 5 Clubs..

    So far I’ve counted £285 million from fan’s revenue…

    & that’s just taking into account 5 club’s..
    3 from London & 2 from the North..?

    My gosh,imagining taking a total sample of all the EPL Club’s & their match day revenue…

    Geezz…Fan’s need to wake the fuck up..!!


  8. Moray

    Bill, Wenger stitched Mancini right up (and us) by flogging the best striker in the Premiership to his (and our) rivals. And for no reason whatsoever.

    This is why Mancini is pissed off with Wenger. As should we be…


    Spanish BillFebruary 23, 2013 13:28:03
    Very strange what Mancini said. Why would he make such a gratuitous comment? Is he disgruntled closet Gooner? Is he after Arsene’s job? Weird.

    Nah..Mancini is miffed,because Arsene,the Kingmaker,sold RVP to Man Ure,effectively winning them the title..

    Arsene said so ,in an interview,late last year..b/w Oct-Nov 2012..

    Word’s to the effect,or paraphrasing…

    Arsene:”By selling RVP to Man Ure,I knew he would help them win the EPL”

  10. gambon

    Wenger hints that we can afford Falcao (we can) and numerous sites are reporting we’re gonna bid for him!

    Absolute bollocks.

    Maybe Dave Falcon, a 15 year old boy wonder from Huddersfield.



    Johnny5February 23, 2013 13:35:03
    VixI agree it would be a better set up. But who will bring about this change? Who will be the figure head of the movement? Like unsaid that would be a huge deal who would take that on?

    Of course it’s a huge deal..

    One is talking about taking the fight to the billionaires of the game..

    Do not underestimate the power of the fan’s in unison..

    It need’s a credible leader,with a clear & transparent policy…

    It need’s a union of suporter group’s from all the club’s to sit down & thrash this shite out..

    It need’s for financial support,professional supporter group’s..

    It need’s a lot of thing’s..

    Find a credible leader with a track record of being a strong proponent of supporter’s righter’s,backed with a philanthropist..

    A big name in the business world,with no ulterior motives & a blemish free track record..

    With contact’s, in the business world & the power’s of corridor..To move mountain’s..

    You have something to start with..

    But firstly,fan’s across the country,need to unite with one voice..& appoint their credible leader..!!

  12. R.S..P.C.Arsenal

    Gambon the academy has and will also fail. It’s a pipe dream that a team can all be filled with academy players. Remember 2008 wenger standing on the steps of emirates an saying the next generation coming through are the best ever an they are British. Whatever happened to the three kids we nicked from barca three year back…. Excatly


    gambonFebruary 23, 2013 14:01:19
    Wenger hints that we can afford Falcao (we can) and numerous sites are reporting we’re gonna bid for him!Absolute bollocks.Maybe Dave Falcon, a 15 year old boy wonder from Huddersfield.

    I’m assuming you did not see this link from yesterday that I posted..

    VIX AFFAIRFebruary 22, 2013 16:17:32

  14. Al

    Just seen the line up. Both Diaby and Arteta starting so expect us to be extremely slow when attacking.

    Aston Villa going to play with 2 up top and i can see this game being like last year against Norwich when lambert left his 2 strikers always up top with everyone else defending so they always had 2 options when counter attacking against us.

    And if you rememebr that game Norwich could literally have scored 5 against us just in the first half

  15. gambon


    Bellerin & Toral?

    They are both good.

    Infact Bellerin, along with Akpom, are the only kids that i think have a chance of making it.

    Although most deluded gooners think half the kids will, cos they know nothing about football.

    We really dont have an overly impressive academy.

    U21s beaten 4-2 by spurs, U18s beaten 6-0 by Villa, both at home, today!


    Amazing we have a lot of kingmaker’s at AFC..

    Steadfastly protecting their own interest’s,rather than that of the club..

    Vice-President-Lady Nina whatsoever..Selling to SS
    & now moaning..

    Arsene-Championing his selling of RVP to Man Utd&boasting he’s effectively delivered the EPL to Man Utd..

    PHW..Thank’s for your interest in our affairs..

    IG..FFP & Sustainability…

    Never Leader’s,or Champion’s,just pig’s with their snout’s in the trough…

    Never hear of trophie’s,just the money train..!!



    At the last count..1..Wilshere..

    & he’s off soon..

    Hopefully Arsene,follow’s him out of the door,with boo’s& sprayed in urine & confetti..

  18. gambon

    Obviously they shouldnt shut it down. But they need to change things, and stop spending so much time and money buying 15 year old kids.

    It costs a lot of money to buy them, pay them, and buy their parents houses etc.

    Its also damaging to english football, and as much as wenger hated to admit it for 15 years, we are an english club.

    Look at all the foreign kids we’ve bought in recent years…..Iliev, Mannone, Martinez, McDermot, Bellerin, Angha, Hajrovic, Monteiro, Toral, Coquelin, Ebecilio, Gnabry, Eisfeld,

    Yet the biggest talent in our youth system is an English kid.

    Look at all the players we’ve paid for and havent made it in recent years, yet the only top class player we’ve produced is an English kid, Jack.

    the academy should be there to produce good english kids.


    gambonFebruary 23, 2013 14:27:49

    Nooo..The academy should be there to produce a core of english player’s mixed with good talented foreign player’s..

    An amalgamation of English grit,passion foreign flair & tactical nous..

    There is no philosophy,no direction..

    Look at the current team..

    Talent- Yes
    Squad Depth-Pftttt
    Mental Strength-No Comment

    Because of one man…Arsene!!

    The Regime need’s an overhaul..

    Arsene & the BoD..

    50+1 is the way forward….



    Stop pissing & moaning..

    Jump on the 50+1 board…

    You are a significant voice on here..

    Don’t wait for the Villa result,if we lose to vent your anger…

    Find solution’s to the problem,not keep identifying the problem’s..!!

  21. gambon


    Talking about 50+1 is pointless.

    You think the 200,000 Arsenal members can afford to buy £600m worth of shares?

    Thats not even the main problem….the main problem is that English football is now billionaire owned, why on earth would they give up 50% of their clubs to the people they despise?


    SUGA3February 23, 2013 14:39:35

    Call it what you want..
    I’m assuming you’re thinking along the lines of Barca,where they’ve now made it a Catalonian cause..?

    Correct me if I’m wrong in my assertion..

    It’s not about nationalisation as such..

    How could it be,if fan’s in a democratic society,have a larger say in the decision making process..

    Have you ever heard that Bayern Munich is a nationalised Club..?



    What are you scared of,overhauling & changing the landscape of the decision process in football ownership?

    Scared of fan’s not having a majority say in the running of a football club?

    Happy to sit idly by& have the current dictator’s rob you blind?

    & brainwash the masses?

    You are right,it might not work..

    But name a better alternative,for fan’s to have a bigger say?

    Let’s maintain the status quo, piss & moan for the next century..?

    Come on man,fan’s have power,they just need to change their mindset..?

    Pedro say’s protesting in the stadium is unbecoming of AFC fan’s..

    Doublegooner,repeatedly tries, to get some momentum of protest’s going,all to no avail..


    Some fan’s are scared shitless of losing their ticket’s,or seen to be classless..

    Find me a medium ground,other than the one I proposed& I’m all ear’s..?!

  23. Arsene's Nurse

    Teams are able to run straight through our mid-field. We need to work on the transition between losing the ball and getting in shape to win it back.



    At your current estimate,you are basing it on average @ £3000 per fan over a broadbase of 200,000..

    How much has the average fan paid over a 2 year period,travelling,merchandise,ST’s..having no say in the decision making process.?

    £4k-£5k,or more..?

    There’s a cost for a major input into the affair’s of the club..

    Yep,it’s astronomical from the outset..

    But pricing plan’s can be implemented to make it less prohibitive,than the current situation,with no voice..?

  25. Bergkamp63

    I have been watching Arsenal since the 60’s and this side is as bad as some of the teams of the early & mid 80’s !!

  26. Al

    Look how easily Villa are exposing our defence with their attacking play. The look much more dangerous and attack with a purpose while we look slow and uninspired.

    Also Giroud is becoming a little bit more shocking with every game as his limitation become more highlighted, he offers very little. He is static in the box, has a poor touch , Zero pace, overelaborate his passes leading to poor flick on and next to nothing in hold up play

  27. Arsene's Nurse

    We don’t move the ball quick enough on the counter-attack. We had 3 chances to move the ball up the pitch quickly but didn’t do it.

  28. Al

    useroz February 23, 2013 15:37:04

    Wilshere needs some outcomes from some of his eye catching stuff… And learn how to shoot FFS
    Yep but look at the other Arseal players…All of them static no one moving and giving him an option

  29. salparadisenyc

    For a team whom used to abuse opponents on the counter we now move like ants in honey. Midfield is cluttered with no width, Arteta and Diaby on the pitch at the same time is an exercise in torture.

    Only saving grace is Villa are worse.

  30. bayo

    with the space between the defence and midfield……No tactical input of putting in players to shield the defence…..You ask yourself what this players do in training…A better team will have scored 5 today against arsenal

  31. Arsene's Nurse

    Too static up front. I’d look to sub Arteta for Rosicky and move Diaby back in front of the defence. We’d play quicker and have more penetration that way.

  32. Bergkamp63

    February 23, 2013 15:38:11
    Giroud is so flipping slow. Moves like a boat

    Are we talking Oil Tanker or small sail boat !!

  33. Bergkamp63

    I’d move Diaby back to the dressing room before he gets himself stupidly sent off ?

    You know it’s coming !! Then Villa score !!

  34. sam

    how shit is jack wilshere over fucking hype. if hes so good why dont he score a few goals like carzola. take wilshere off and put rosicky on. is walcock reali on 100k aweek?

  35. Al

    Bergkamp63 February 23, 2013 15:43:48

    February 23, 2013 15:38:11
    Giroud is so flipping slow. Moves like a boat

    Are we talking Oil Tanker or small sail boat !!
    I should have been more specific…He moves like the Titanic….As he does more, out of his depth and is clearly a disaster

  36. Al

    I wouldn’t mind if he had other strong qualities but everything else that you might say is a quality needed for a striker he falls in between being average or below average in those categories.

    Hold up play – Average
    Touch- Below Average
    Movement- Average-
    Finishing – Average-
    Passing – Below Average

  37. Al

    useroz February 23, 2013 16:05:21

    Still too many side passes and cut back around MF
    that my friend is the curse of Arteta. Players feel the need to always find him when there are better options further forward. I think this is down to the senior position he has within the team

  38. Arsene's Nurse

    Commentator saying that sub was due to an ijury to Diaby. I assume that’s correct because it’s not the 68th minute yet.

  39. useroz

    Open game but becoming a bit stale…

    Hahahhahaa……Diaby broke after back couple of games??? FFS wenger had to put ramsey on with Rosicky on the bench.

  40. Bergkamp63

    R.S..P.C.ArsenalFebruary 23, 2013 16:10:00
    Is it true that diaby is out of contract in the summer?

    Sadly no, June 2015

  41. Al

    Diaby has gone straight down the tunnel clutching his heart and balls. Physiothink it is down to a lack of heart and balls

  42. Arsene's Nurse


    How many times do we get into good positions wide but no one is committed to getting on the end of an easy tap in?

    It’s basic football FFS.

  43. gambon

    Lol at Wengers face

    He literally doesnt know what the problem is, even though millions of fans who have “never worked a day in football” know exactly.