Steve Bould: Arsenal’s most important signing as defence takes us to top four | Cheerio Spurs…

by & filed under News Review.

Well here we are people, on the cusp of a new start for the manager, the board and of course, us, the fans. Yesterday was important on so many levels. By finishing fourth, the manager has removed any relic of an excuse that could be pushed our way come August 31st. New commercial deals are so close you can taste the cash, the bank balance is publicly brimming and we have the core of a very strong squad already with us.

The Newcastle game boasted none of the drama we’d expected / dreaded in a final day of the season show down. However, that didn’t stop the whole occasion becoming a 2 hour nightmare. I watched the two games dual screen in a pub which boasted a larger Spurs population.

We knew what the script looked like for Spurs, they’d have trouble breaking down a dogged Sunderland, then magic man Gareth Bale would muster up some ‘at the death’ magic. Which he played out line for line.

Our game was a little more tense. Newcastle didn’t really put up much of a fight. However, we struggled to make an impact for large parts of the game. Podolski spurned a very simple chance when through on goal when he fired his shot into the retiring Steve Harper. There was a fair bit of possession but no bite from us. Theo couldn’t handle the double team action that was going on his side of the wing and Lukas didn’t give is an outlet.

Our chance dropped in the second half, from a corner, Podolski I think got a touch, it looped over Koscielny’s shoulder, he followed it eagle eyed and turned it into the net. A great goal.

There was no last surge from Newcatle. Theo made it through on goal but toe poked the ball past the keeper but found himself denied by a stubborn post. The team played out the last ten minutes with a maturity I’ve not seen in years. They were calm, they slowed play down and they made the whole ordeal a little calmer.

The spirit of the side was summed up by Laurent Koscielny who had an absolutely superb game. He lost his way earlier in the year, but there’s no doubt now that he is our lead centre back (arguably he was at the end of the last summer). He dominated at the back, he came up with the vital goal and he led by example.

I said last summer that the best signing was Steve Bould. A year on, we’ve seen the reverse of last season. It was the defence that proved pivotal. We’ve not taken fourth. Because of one man and his goals, we’ve taken it because the manager allowed more focus on the back four (in the end) and Bould delivered a defence that conceded 37 goals. That made us the second best defence inside one season. That’s an impact people. With the right movements this summer, we’ll have the best defence in the league. We’ve made serious inroads without a proper keeper. Wenger also has to take some serious credit. He dropped his captain and never let him back in. He also dropped his keeper and only let him get a chance through injury. Both moves proved decisive in turning around our season.

Another change in the team no one has mentioned all season that has played a huge role in us becoming more solid as a unit has been the departure of Alex Song. He’s moved on and we’ve now fitted out the midfield with two players who are prepared to track back and take responsibility. How many cheap freekicks do we give away these days? How often is that gap in front of the back four left empty? Not often. We’re defending as a collective these days. I’ve said for years, you don’t need to have 4 world class defenders to have  a world class unit. Now, I’m not saying we’re a world class unit by a long shot, but we’ve made serious inroads this season and proof of concept is the 24% reduction in goals conceded. Players have been made accountable.

Up front, the goals were shared out and we matched what we achieved last season, however, it’s apparent we need to build in that area. We’re not clinical enough and we lack a player with the dominance to lead against world class teams. That position will be filled this summer and I think there’s a very high chance it’ll be filled with an important name. That’s unlikely to be Lewandowski as he’s rumoured to be close to Bayern and I’ve not heard anyone mention Jovetic… but they’re looking at someone outside Sanogo. Will it be Wayne Rooney? The club are interested, but you have to ask yourself a few serious questions here. Firstly, his attitude has been appalling at United this season, some seriously shameful rumours floating around about his behaviour. If Ferguson can’t control him, what hope does Wenger have? His physicality has pulled him through his mid-twenties… but what happens going forward? Does his lifestyle catch up with him now? Is that a £30m risk we can afford to take?

I think the club are going to go all out now to make an impact in the transfer market. Expect to see a keeper, a centre back, a midfielder with bite, maybe a creative player and definitely a world class striker. The perfect storm has arrived. We have lots of cash in the bank, we have new commercials on the horizon, a manager wanting a new deal and all the clubs around us are going through managerial changes. This is our summer to shine and everything I’m getting from the club says that we’re going for it.

The major difficulty we’re going to have is that we’re not selling players a success machine. We’re selling them a project. A new type of project, but it’s not the finished article. If we want to land Cesc, we’ll have to convince him of our ambition by making an ambitious signing. It might be really tough, players might not fancy us… but I can guarantee you we’re already out there trying for players who are on a different planet to the types of players we’ve looked at in the past.

… but what about Spurs?

Well yesterday’s result was a baseball bat to the back of the legs if ever I’ve seen one. For me, it’s almost curtains for Spurs in regards to moving up a level in the eyes of world football. That was their one opportunity, which to be honest, if they’d have taken, would have killed them next year anyway.

Here’s why Spurs are unlikely to trouble us next season. Firstly, Arsenal won’t have a summer like they had last year. We won’t lose two key players this year. The only people moving will be the players who haven’t really done it this year (Vermaelen, Gervinho, Chamakh the deadwood if we can find them a home). We’ll have a settled squad in that sense. The base has been set.

There is no chance Arsenal won’t invest this summer either. We’ll never make that mistake moving forward. So we’ll not only have a settled squad by August 31st, we should have one that is buzzing with excitement for the first time in 10 or so years. That’s a major step change forward.

Thirdly, I’m guessing… and this is a guess. We’re unlikely to have a start as pathetic as tepid as last years.

Finally, it’s unlikely Bale will stay at Spurs and even if he does, will he have the season he’s had this year? Everything he’s touched has turned to gold this year. If you take his form out the equation, Spurs have quite an average squad. Think of how lucky their run in has been. They’ve been dominated by poor teams and been Baled out everytime. Not just that, the deflected goals, the inexplicable collapses… they’ve had a very lucky run in and they didn’t deserve top four in the end.

Then look at the revenue gap. We’ll be a full £100m better off than them by the end of next season. That’s an unbelievable power grip we’ll have on them. They’re trying to pull together this new stadium, but I haven’t read anything about a loan being secured? We picked up ours for what, 3%? They’ll have to pick theirs up for at least double. How will they fund it with the inflated wages of modern football and without consistent Champions League revenue? They won’t be able to… it’d be too much of a risk

*Not to mention the new Premier League wage rule will scupper any rapid growth plans they might have (only being able to add £4m to your wage bill each summer. Getting from £90m to £150m will take a while).

Arsenal’s long term planning has started to bear fruit after nearly a decade. How will Spurs manage a transition like that? It feels like an impossibility.

Now, credit where credit is due. Making top four from where we were has been a massive achievement. 12 wins out of 16 is absolutely massive. Wenger has pulled it out of the bag at the death again. However, those who think 4th place with our resource is worth crowing about are really missing the point of being a big club. Wenger has had cash to invest over the last four years and he’s failed to do so. He’s been treading water and survived. This season has to be the last time he does that. This was the closest in a while. What made this seasons escape all the more impressive is that we didn’t do it with the stars he’s done it with of seasons past. The clubs management won’t want to go through that again and I’m pretty sure Arsene won’t want to go through that again. It’s time to face up to facts. Big clubs sign big players. You can still do things the right way… but a simple look around Europe shows you that even clubs like Dortmund spend big if they need to.

The club won’t put us through that again. They know there’s a huge opportunity this summer. The United team you saw draw 5-5 with WBA is a sign of things to come under them. City, Bayern and Chelsea can’t buy all the players in Europe. Spain don’t have the money they used to… and you’d have to be brave as a foreigner to set up home in a country that’s on the verge of bankruptcy… we all saw what the EU sanctioned against the people of Cyprus… footballers and their wealth will be easy pickings for the Spanish Government should things get desperate.

Arsenal is about to get exciting people. I truly believe that. If they don’t, well, that’ll be because the manager doesn’t have a project he can sell to elite players, and that’s a story in itself. This has the foundations to be the best summer we’ve ever had, so lets be thankful to the players for busting a gut to make top four happen.

Before I leave this post, I just wanted to take time out to thank everyone who visits the site, posts a comment on the Facebook page and chats to me on Twitter. Writing for you all this season has been, in the main, an absolute pleasure. To have a comments section with such a rich variety of opinions that are made by so many people is quite a marvel when you consider most blogs barely register a single mention. I wouldn’t write everyday if it weren’t for the people that e-mail me at 11:00 to find out if I’m dead if I haven’t posted. I’m never dead people… just nursing a Peroni induced morning of hell.

Anyway, a massive, massive thanks for continuing to make Le Grove relevant amongst Arsenal fans… and, now, with the club. Long may it continue.

Here’s to a great summer of daily posts!

See you in the comments.

843 Responses to “Steve Bould: Arsenal’s most important signing as defence takes us to top four | Cheerio Spurs…”

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  1. Gooner4lyf

    My humble pie biting. I thought we wont finished top4 but glad we made it. As a fan I always want us to do better but after losing to Spurs at home I thought we are finished. So glad we made CL next season. Now we need to big up this current squad, we should not suffer like this again!

    To Pedro thanks for having the belief that we will finish top4 even when it looks unlikely. I’m so HAPPY!

  2. Alex James

    Technically, we are not yet in the CL, which may have a bearing on who joins in the short term. We need the gods to be smiling at the draw stage. We don’t want Milan or someone of that stature.

  3. AussieGunna

    Great post again, I read it daily guys and appreciate the work you put into it, I don’t always comment because I’m one of these ‘overseas’ fans. Doesn’t mean I don’t have strong opinions on all things Arsenal. I’ve flown over every year to watch the team play and its the highlight of my year every time.

    It was nerve-racking stuff at one in the morning here in Perth. But it was a great way to spend Monday knowing that we’d out-gunned totteringham yet again. I know fourth place isn’t a trophy but given were we were after the WHL loss it kinda feels like it. Looking forward to a good summer! COYG!

  4. sylv

    Am I the only one thinking Bale will stay at WHL for another season? You never know though, but I got that feeling. I really hope this summer lives up to expectations. I agree that it is different from previous summers as there are no big players leaving or threatening to leave. No sagas… which in itself already sends a positive vibe. Also think we’ve been very lucky injury-wise this season, compared to last, so can’t help but feel the future looks bright.

  5. AussieGunna

    Great post again, I read it daily guys and appreciate the work you put into it, I don’t always comment because I’m one of these ‘overseas’ fans. Doesn’t mean I don’t have strong opinions on all things Arsenal. I’ve flown over every year to watch the team play and its the highlight of my year every time. It was nerve-racking stuff at one in the morning here in Perth. But it was a great way to spend Monday knowing that we’d out-gunned totteringham yet again. I know fourth place isn’t a trophy but given were we were after the WHL loss it kinda feels like it. Looking forward to a good summer! COYG!

  6. samsenal

    We’ll know a helluva lot more about the club’s intentions this summer within a couple of weeks of the transfer window opening. If we are serious, we will have done most of the groundwork for our big signings. If we haven’t it is worrying.

    Rooney isn’t worth the money now,

  7. gandu

    >the manager has removed any relic of an excuse that could be pushed our way come August 31st

    Well, we tend not to buy players unless a CL spot is secured, by which time it is too late. Qualifier is as good as 5th spot in that regard. We don’t have the money guaranteed yet.

  8. Wilshere's old chap

    I think in recent games we’ve relied too heavily on Walcott on the right. I genuinely believe he should be allowed to float up front. Get in two wingers, play 4-4-2. I was disappointed with the back 4 yesterday, for the first 30 minutes they looked like they were asleep… a little worrying considering how important the game was.

  9. Guns of hackney

    Clearly someone was still pissed when writing that pile of nonsense. Loads of bluster but why…we finished where we expected to finish and we won nothing. Forgive me if I am wrong, but was that not exactly the same result as the previous 8 seasons?

    We’ve always had loads of cash and not spent so why on earth do you think wenger will change a habit if a lifetime and buy some quality players.

    This post is still warm from yesterday’s ‘triumph’ but ultimately we are the same shit football club we’ve been for about 6-8 years and managed by the biggest cunt in football.

    Look at the facts: Man U will strengthen massively. Chelsea will spend massive and get mourino back. City will spend huge again and I’m sure the spurs and Liverpool will as well. Well go into the next season with the same squad…diaby will be back and wenger will say “this is my strongest team ever and we proved everyone wrong, I don’t need to buy”.

    You all fucking know it but are to scared and hungover to say it. See you all in August.

  10. AJ

    Great post.

    I agree that the conditions aren’t the same as they were last season or before that, some positive changes can be expected. We’ve landed some commercial deals. It remains to be seen if any significant activity takes place this time in the window. Not even worried about spurs, but they did try very hard this time.

  11. Romford Pele

    Good post Pedro. Interesting to see what happens with Jovetic now. Fiorentina were minutes away from CL last night before Mexes’ winner for Milan.

    Hopefully we can snap him and Jovetic up asap.

  12. Josh

    Great post. Such a relief for our summer activity. If it’s not Rooney or Lewandowski, who could it be? In my opinion Cavani and Falcao are currently out of our league. Realistically speaking, are there any other strikers who are currently world class and are an “important name”?

  13. Dominic Moss (@PPM2010Guru)

    Great post as always – I share the optimism for the future, good things come to those who wait and how much more satisfying to achieve greatness by design rather than the whim of some Oligarch or Sheikh. I hope the Spuds continue to struggle and that the managerial changes at the other top clubs plays to our advantage – looking forward to some headline grabbing signings and the departure of the usual suspects,

  14. Gregg

    Ok well season over and a stressful one at that. Some excellent analysis by Gary Neville yesterday aswell, got it spot on on both counts.

    Credit to the manager & coaching staff for accepting and realising that this squad cannot play the open and creative style that we have done for years and still be solid in defence. Something had to change and we went back to basics, built from the back, clearly been finally working on set pieces. I know this is boring but it’s bread & butter goals that come in handy over the season. It bails you out in a close contest, as been seen recently. Other than a Cisse chance early, we were never in any danger.

    Now it’s adding real creative quality & potency up top whilst maintaining the defensive discipline. I do think the run of ten games has probably changed the managers outlook in recruitments. My biggest criticism with this team over the last few seasons is the lack of work-rate and desire to get the ball back when we’re not in possession. I think that has been addressed over last two months and there’s absolutely no reason why it should change back to lazy habits next year.

    We’ll hear all sorts about who we need etc however I think he needs to be looking at Wilshere & Chamberlain and deciding exactly where and how he is going to use them next year. Time to add quality replacements and make sure they are round pegs that fit into round holes.

  15. the mighty karim

    LOOKS VERY PROMISING ! Especially since the boss hinted deals were secured even if we did miss champions league spot … What do you happy people reckon ?

  16. stuart

    Your Comment Here

    It is imperative that any new signings are completed early so that players can bed in over pre season training and hit the ground running. It would be a disaster if signings are finalised at the last minute as a good start to the season is essential.

    It is vital that new signings are quality. Anything less would be a let down of the supporters who have been loyal over these barren years.

  17. shad

    Since we all know AW will have (probably) one last season, he’d better make a move in the right direction. I’m sure for all his pride and ego, he doesn’t want to bow out on a low. Hopefully he’d want to leave with at least a season of at least 2 trophies in the bag, a solid base (done already), and a load of optimism.

    That said, what are the probable names coming in given the optimism Pedro?
    Would love to see Isco, Williams, Begovic/Vorm/Mignolet, Soldado, Capoue/Gundagan (ok Gundagan is a bit out of our grasp) and maybe Benteke.

  18. Christianpt

    Fantastic post and what a fantastic blog.

    Long may it continue – it definitely provides my mornings with a bit of relevance and significance.

    Come on you gunners.

  19. nuudles

    Great post and, considering our first more-than-half a season, great end to the season from the boys, massive respect to them for that. They showed great hart, much more maturity than before (Arsenal of a couple of years ago would have bottled a couple of the close games we managed to sneak through in the run in).

    So Pedro, if I read between the lines: we are looking at a big name striker, which is not Jovetic (or not only Jovetic) and not Lewandowski. You say Rooney has question marks and is a gamble (still think if we can properly motivate him he is easily up there with Suarez & Aguero, i.e. a world class striker).

    Benteke, although massively promising (he has it all: speed, skill, finishing, etc), is probably not big enough of a name yet. Big fishes in smaller ponds such as Yilmaz are too risky and definately not big enough names if I understand you correctly.

    That pretty much leaves: Falcao (I think he is too expensive, and we dont want to put so many eggs in the same basket), Cavani, Higuain (I dont know if he is too much like Giroud, not fast, but strong, maybe more clinical and a bit more of a fox-in-the-box).

  20. Romford Pele

    Alex James,

    We won’t draw Milan, we’ll be seeded. Zenit and Fenerbache are possibilities though.

  21. Byo

    To do what you do- provide a forum for Arsenal fans to congregate while accompanying it with deep analysis, everyday(!) is a labor of love.
    Thank you.

  22. Romford Pele

    Nuudles,

    Higuain may not be Theo pace but he’s not a slouch either. His movement and incisiveness is definitely an upgrade on Giroud IMO.

  23. Brenowski

    With the clearing out of the dead wood and the players who are out of contract leaving we should have plenty of room to pay good wages to attract big names this summer. Lets hope our business is done by pre season so the new players have plenty of time to settle in. Great work this season Pedro keep it up!

  24. Johnny

    Buying Rooney would jst be to rub it in the scums face for taking RVP. All in all we’ll have to wait and see how the summer pans out. Our ambition next season is dependent on how Wenger buys this summer. Bcos our season starts early this time around. Good post Pedro.

  25. Jude Obuninta

    We pulled it off again,but hey, days like yesterday and last Tuesday(14/05) are not good for the heart.

  26. N5

    Excellent post Pedro and I’m glad no one has bitten to Guns of Hackneys vitriolic bait, its best just to ignore the plastic gooners and all feel happy today, even if it’s just at the faces of the Spuds who celebrated Newcastle equalising to just find out it was a mistake. Bless em.

    I agree Pedro, with everything today you have wrote, I must say I’m genuinely excited about this summer! please don’t let us down Wenger and Board, I don’t think we can take anymore.

  27. Gregg

    Really need to get business done early if we can. Targets should already have been identified & initial sounding outs made. Transfer window is open all year round, always has been as proven by the Goetze announcement a month or so back.

  28. Matt

    Very nice post, and whilst I would truly like to believe what Pedro is saying, I cant help but think that what Guns of Hackney said is more like the reality.

    For what Pedro says to happen means a change in philposphy from Wenger and can any of us really see that happening, regardless of money available!?

  29. @snoekrats

    First of all- Koscielny what a performance

    Not just yesterday but the last couple of months. He doesnt get the credit he deserves in England.Who cares we love him.

    I havent stressed that much in a very long time-and celebrated for that matter.

    This result is huge. We were with in touching distance of Chelsea and city and with the money they spent says all bout Wenger.

    Lets go make so marque signings.Give me a new name to put on the back of my Jersey/.

    Cant wait for the transfer window.The winter is coming in Cape Town- so waking up with a coffee and rumours Messi and Ronaldo is on their way always makes it better.

    Pedro big up – great blog.

    Never fuck with Wenger.When he is gone those haters will truly appreciate him.

    He has laid the platform- or more fittingly- the deeper the foundations the stronger the castle.

    Lets now go and build that Castle

  30. rhj

    How could you not mention the best part of the day? Whoever sent the 1-1 tweet, that was truly inspired. Admittedly I couldn’t fully appreciate it till watching on MoD when both games were finished, but good work whoever you are.

  31. nuudles

    IMO David Villa is not what we need. He is a massive injury risk, he is well past his prime, and no-one knows if he can deal with the physicality of the PL and lead the line (he plays as assistant to Messi in a system where he does not have to win headers and keep the ball up). Villa would only make sense if we have the next big thing as his understudy, lets say if we had a young but immensely promising CF who is starting to hit the age where he regularly starts (say if we had a Benteke or Lukaku).

    If we are getting a Barca player it simply has to be Cesc. Getting Cesc + even just a decent CF alternative (Benteke, Jovetic, etc) would take us to the next level. Giroud is not half bad, Theo has shown some great flashes, give Poldi more time in the PL. Take those 3 options and add a fourth option like Benteke or Jovetic, let Cesc & Jack play behind them and Santi on the one wing and we will be a serious attacking threat…

    Ceesc has lifted his scoring, Santi is a very good goal-getter, Theo has become a lot more clynical. Play those three (Santi & Theo on the wings and Cesc in the hole) with pretty much any decent CF and we will score plenty.

  32. Stan Donkey

    Losing to Barca in the Champs League final put Henry off going there for a year… Maybe some discord during this years final will discourage Lewandowski from joining Bayern. If he wants to join Dortmund’s big rival anyway? Surely not all footballers are treacherous twats like RVP? They probable are, but you know the little boy inside Lewandowski wants to come to AFC!

  33. Leedsgunner

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2327171/Tottenham-Hotspur-fans-think-Newcastle-scored-Arsenal.html?ICO=most_read_module

    This made me laugh. Gullible spuds. You almost feel sorry for them really. Almost.

    It’s really sickening how Wenger is gushing over his squad today. How he always knew they would come through, and how this squad is one of the best he’s had, full of mental strength and able to take the pressure.

    It’s sad really, Ferguson retires and his best squads are measured by the results, and trophies they have won.

    Wenger scrapes through to fourth place, and he had the audacity to hail this squad as one of his best ever, even though they still have not won anything, still did not beat any of the top sides in the league this past season and we were still a country mile behind the league leaders. Great, fourth was achieved. Now what? How do we push on from here?

    The manager will go back to his normal self. He can’t help it. He is too proud to do otherwise.

    THE LOT OUT.

  34. N5

    Higuain may not be Theo pace but he’s not a slouch either. His movement and incisiveness is definitely an upgrade on Giroud IMO.

    ———————————-

    100% agree with this, Higuain would be a great buy and with a few more games his consistancy would improve ten-fold.

    I’m not sure how quick he would adapt to the English game, although the Argies (I think he is) are made of good stuff normally.

  35. SHGooner 71

    When I saw those quite frankly pathetic celebrations on the pitch yesterday, I had to ask my girlfriend if we’d actually won a trophy?? Alas no. It would appear that we’ve sunk low enough now to getting into the CL qualifiers a major coup for this club.

    We’re losers!! Simple as that. I’m expecting an open top bus parade for finishing ahead of the spuds!! I’m so pissed off with the way things are. Dumped out of all cup competitions, & nowhere near the league title.

    I hope Wenger does the honourable thing & step down. A new direction is needed. New blood & new ideas are clearly needed at this club. We’ve got major financial power, it’s time to find a manager that isn’t afraid to wield it.

  36. Marko

    Alex James even qualifying rounds of the Champions League are seeded so we won’t get Milan. If Sociedad from Spain as opposed to Valencia make it we could get them or a Lille or Saint Ettienne.
    Anyway good post Pedro

  37. N5

    Kay are you saying names we could buy or asking if their here? I’m not sure as you just post a name and a question mark?

    😀

  38. Romford Pele

    Koscielny is a BEAST, nothing new there.

    Nuudles – You’re right about Villa, He’s the wrong side of 30, just come back from a serious injury and is on massive wages. We could get someone younger and just as good IMO.

    Agree elsewhere. I hope we do get Jovetic, and not just because I wank over him. It’s generally because he’s an outrageous talent. I said a couple months back that bar Thiago, Gotze and Hazard, there aren’t young players as a god as him.

  39. nuudles

    Romford Pele, Giroud looked a lot more hungry than Higuain has looked to me in a while. For a big man Giroud has great touch and he is an absolute monster in the air. Not saying he is better than Higauin, but he is not a bad CF to have in your squad. Higauin is a top player, but I dont think he is quite the world class player we need (he is likely to not even be on the bench for Argentina with Messi, Aguero & Cavani as three absolute top CF options).

    As I said in my previous comment: if we get Cesc I dont think we need the absolute best CF. I would be a very happy man if we manage to get Cesc & Higuain…

  40. Ben

    I read this blog daily but never have the time to involve myself in the comments. I would just like to thank you on what I believe is the best regular arsenal blog, I might not agree with you on every issue but I admire the way you construct you arguments with a mixture of humour and seriousness

  41. Max85

    With us getting Sanogo and with Giroud already in the ranks, it looks like Benteke is a definite no-go. Shame.

    Not sure about Higuain, seems a bit limited and always tends to bottle the big games. Would be massively keen on Jovetic, he brings a lot to the table apart from goals. very skiful and creative, and at 6’1″ he’s no midget either. Could also do with an experienced goal getter, which is why I wouldn’t be too unhappy to see David Villa come in.

  42. Crono

    It’s been an absolute pleasure reading your blog this season Pedro! Keep up the massive work and we will hopefully see some more positivity around here come next season.

  43. Johnny5

    Great great post Pedro thank you.

    I’d say in optimistic about the summer though not as much as you but I’m not itk as they say. It has to be this year though. Next season will be too little too late and I think wenger knows that too. I don’t want Rooney or villa ones close to being past it the others a fat scouse cunt who’ll be lazy as fuck and cause problem. there’s plenty of quality attackers to buy and we only need one but he has to be a top signing.

    Just one thing I think you got wrong In the post though was this

    ‘How many cheap freekicks do we give away these days? ‘

    The answer is alot. Arteta has been good but guilty of conceding far too many free kicks in dangerous areas but in all I do agree we’re stronger. A proper DM is the missing piece of the puzzle I think.

  44. WengersSweeties

    Top post.

    Still not 100% convinced Wenger’s going to spend big this summer. He was already making excuses about City and Chelsea next season.

    Why does he always do that? why not come out and say, “yes, they have huge financial muscle but we will spend as big as we can”

    He seems already defeated sometimes and resigned to losing the league.

    I’m pleased we finished well, but I think it’s going to be the same summer signings.

  45. N5

    SHGooner71 you wanna man up mate, asking your girlfriend if we won a trophy! does she put the spiders out for you also, maybe you were doing the hoovering whilst she was drinking a Peroni watching the football. Just be happy we finished above the Spuds this year and lets hope the talk from the club, which this year has been much more then usual, is true. Most of us are very happy with beating Spurs, we are unhappy with the current situation but just happy to not be at work today with gloating mugs from the shit half of North London.

  46. Trikky

    Wenger’s saying “He’ll strengthen the squad IF POSSIBLE”. Someone please tell Him to remove that conditional clause (if possible) immediately. It is a MUST if we want to move forward this season. 4th is no trophy, and Like @Arseblog said “it is one of the lesser completions in the BPL where the main prize is the title, and we won it, so it was worth celebrating.

    Please Arsene, get in some top players this season, we already have enough promising youngsters and cheap players, so no need for anymore, let’s bring in the stars. And let’s bring them in right away, we don’t need to wait till prices fall in the last 30 mins of the window.

    Please Arsene try new things if We want new outcomes, any attempt to go about the summers biz as previously done, then we will still fight for top 4 clinching on the last day.

  47. Romford Pele

    Nuudles,

    Giroud splits opinion but i’m a fan for sure. I still think he can improve next season and become an important player. I just think another striker is necessary, a more mobile option. Higuian is definitely that man. I’d say he’s very close to WC, he’s just very unfortunate that the Argies have the best strikers in world football.

    And btw, Cavani is from Uruguay mate 😉

  48. SHGooner 71

    Just be happy that we’ve finished above Spurs, That just says it all!!!!

    What the fuck has happened to this club where the supporters are all spineless!!

  49. Gregg

    David Villa; Hmm not sure. Him wanting to leave is all a bit self serving, purely designed so that he makes the Spain world cup squad. I’d be pretty sceptical of trying to land players that have done it all with Barcelona. We’d end up with another Davor Suker situation. Here for the final payday, see it as a step down from what they’ve been doing. What we need is hungry players hitting their prime.

  50. lance peters

    wenger has become too arrogant pedro. he will not buy big name players. he will continue with this mediocre squad and look towards a top four finish. arsenal’s days of trophies are over and all we are left with is being happy with champions league qualification. the club has not tried to to put a title winning squad toegther for too long. with fergie gone , city & chelsea unsettled they will feel they dont need to strengthen. come august you will be back to your frustrated posts asking for the coach and board to be changed.
    arteta and ramsey only looked good because they have been compared to song. they can only play at walking pace playing sidewards and back. look at the fulham game against 10 men for 80 mins we never created a chance becuase our 2 midfielders were playing at a snails pace passing back. against wigan ramsey was lost when the game picked up pace in the 2nd half and was guilty of losing posession too often even tried his stupid back heel when in trouble. its sad that wengers mediocre squad has even got the fans happy with mediocrity. personally this is a dissapointing season and i was not ecstatic yesterday. i only wanted 4th bcos of the spuds behind us i would have preferred everton 4th and us 5th so it would have got wenger out and maybe a start fresh with a positive attitude.

  51. Vivek

    Brilliant stuff Pedro!! Like you says, this summer seems to be a calmer one, one we haven’t witnessed in a while…good riddance those transfer sagas!! The team is a unit now more or less, they believe, there’s a backbone for success right in there!! What we need to do is to step up and I have a good feeling about it. It really has paid off in a decade and we should be filling those empty closets starting now!! Anyway, for a good summer ahead, Cheers!!

  52. Gunneronabeach

    Pedro, you have provided my daily arsenal reading season long and it’s much appreciated. Today is no exception, awesome post.
    It’s been a roller coaster of a season but as you rightly state, there is no greater opportunity to give the fans a massive lift and the club provide the proven players to move to the next level. I believe because of posts like Le Grove and the varied comments it stirs, it will happen.

  53. Paddy got up

    Guns you are right mate.. Sadly!!

    Feels good to be on top of those chickens though. Come on Wenger move upstairs or wherever you want, you proved people wrong, got your 4 th place and all that blah blah..
    Dennis Bergkamp in charge for August anyone?

  54. samsenal

    The final 10 games were – defensively speaking – magnificent. 05. goals per game conceded. After a poor opening we have finished with the 2nd best defensive record in the league.

    What a platform to build on, As a minimum we need a goalscorer and another player that can supply him and chip in with goals himself. Jovetic and Higuain.

    Considering how appalling our record against the top 6 has been we can only improve there, we will surely get more points. Our new defence will also enable us to avoid terrible those early-seasons results.

    Reasons to be cheerful.

    Depending on Sagna, a good DM is priority number 3. then it’s a GK.

  55. kay

    It will be awesome.. if we land Higuain, Cesc, Gonalons, Williams, Adler..

    Arshavin, Squid, Chamack, Denilson, Bentner are going to be out..

    So I am a bit optimistic..

  56. Village Gooner

    Massive win and a massive season — against all the odds, the media and the non-believers.

    And respect to you — I’ve noticed a much more balanced view in your writing and I’m starting to like what I read, so thank you.

  57. N5

    SHGooner71, not spineless mate and as I said not happy with the situation just happy today as it could have been so much worse.

    I lay money you’re an armchair supporter who has never been to the club, I’m a season ticket holder and have been for 16 years and I hate the way the club is but I love the badge and have been going to Arsenal since days that were much worse than now. I would like AW gone, I would like a change of board, I would like new players, a good playing system and to win trophies, however I am glad we don’t have muggy yids today rubbing the shit in!

    Go to a game mate and support the club rather than just moaning all the time on some blog like you could run the club better you soppy cunt!

  58. nuudles

    Kozzer is a massive player for us. If TV5 can manage to lift his game and fight for his place we have 3 top CBs in Kozzer, Per & TV5. Miquel has also always impressed me when he played. Not the fastest but very assured and reads the game very well just like Per. I wouldnt mess with that 4, and would only get a CB if TV5 wants to go elsewhere.

    We do need to sort out the Sagna situation ASAP. Either get him to extend or replace him quick & early. Jenks is still a bit rough around the edges but he looks promising. Selling Sagna and promoting Jenks without getting him some proper competition will not work: see our left back catastrophy after Clichy left and Gibbs got injured. Monreal has made Gibbs lift his game, we now have 2 proper left backs, and if Sagna stays we will have 2 proper right backs.

    What are your thoughs on a keeper? I would be very happy with Cesar. Chezzer has been very good for the run in, but he was atrocious earlier in the season Fabianski has also looked a lot better than previous seasons, but they are quite similar: one mistake (they happen) and their confidence tanks. Cesar has been through a lot and has proven he is still a top GK, I would let Fabianski go and let Chezzer fight it out with Cesar, Cesar being the obvious no1 in the short term, but Chezzer can learn a lot from him, and I am sure he will push him.

  59. Craigy

    Great post pedders, enjoyed it m8, really excited bout this summer, theirs no way the manager will get away with a quiet summer this year, he needs to spend, so fingers crossed

  60. Romford Pele

    Paddy,

    To follow up on Ardent’s point, Dennis also doesn’t travel remember, so there’s no way he could be a manager.

  61. Dannyboy

    Perfect replacement for Saggers, I’ve said it already but I’ll say it again. I want Wenger gone, but if he wants to go out and sign a load of quality players and win uss some trophies next year, then I’ll have absolutely no problem eating a truck load of humble pie… It’s all on him though.

  62. Trikky

    Ramsey is always everywhere, runs the full pitch, high work rate, super commitment and lot’s of improvement lately, but why cant he just stop giving away ball dangerously? Why does He always make passing look so difficult? Why does He try too hard when he has the option of doing things simply? Why does he always leave a “but” in all He does? I think that with a little guidance, Ramsey can be world. But seeing him make the same errors game after game only makes me wonder whether Arsenal has the best coaches/backroom staff. Are thy not noticing it? or isn’t that the essence of having coaches???

  63. Mayank

    Great post Pedro.

    “Not to mention the new Premier League wage rule will scupper any rapid growth plans they might have”

    Is this confirmed? Link?

    A 4m limit might be a problem for us as well if we don’t manage to offload a few players.

  64. Raz

    “By finishing fourth, the manager has removed any relic of an excuse that could be pushed our way come August 31st.”

    Not true at all – only 2 summers ago we had to qualify for the champs league. We played Udinese. We made no signings before we finished qualification, then when we qualified all the fans were thinking ‘now we’ll make some quality signings’ – next thing that happened was Mata signed for Chelsea and we got hammered 8-2.

  65. arsenal tom

    Don’t see Bale leaving personally, He seems to genuinely love it at the scum.

    Them missing out on CL is massive though, means their summer spending will have to be far more conservative.
    Hope we get a deal or two done nice and early.

  66. Romford Pele

    Nuudles,

    I’m not sold on Cesar. He flaps just as much as Fabianski. The fact he ended up at QPR after Inter says a lot really. He’s a good shot stopper but i’m not convinced that he’s good at claiming crosses and controlling the box. I’d be more inclined to go for Adler who is an absolute beast.

  67. Joe

    Good post but Podolski was offside when he ‘spurned a very simple chance when through on goal when he fired his shot into the retiring Steve Harper.’

  68. nuudles

    Ardent, true! Still makes Higauin 3rd choice (evidenced by the fact that Aguero, who is a year younger than him has 10 more international caps than Higuain).

  69. Radio Raheem

    A new GK will be good but can’t see it happening. Szczesny and Fabianski have shown enough in the last 10 or so games to earn Wenger’s faith for one more season. That’s how things work at Arsenal anyway.

    If TV moves then we’ll sign a CB, otherwise not.

    We’ll get a midfielder, striker and might also get a versatile creative forward.

    Well done Pedro you do a great job keeping the blog going 365/6 days a year.

  70. N5

    Nice one Kay, it’s good to feel excited about the possible change that’s coming. I’m normally the most pessimistic, but Pedro has really got me back onside with some of the murmurings he has recently heard and reported to us.

    I’m still not convinced things will change but I’m very hopeful. I swear one thing though, if it doesn’t this is 100% the last year I renew my season ticket.

  71. SHGooner 71

    N5. I go to as many games as I can, work gets in the way, I’m sure you have no concept of that!! I’ve also supported this club since the mid 70s!!

    It seems that you’re the new bread of supporter that can’t see Arsenal without Wenger. I pity you!!!

  72. Romford Pele

    Cheers Mayank

    Ramsey is progressing fine. His work rate is a big part of the reason we no longer get overrun in midfield or have anyone running straight at our back four. The criticisms about his composure are right, sometimes he does rush and make the wrong decisions, but a 22, this is something which can be ironed out.

    Ramsey has all the physical attributes which are now a necessity in his modern game, it’s just about refining the technical qualities which IMO is one of Wenger’s best strengths.

  73. N5

    Again I agree Romford, I think Ceser wouldn’t improve things a great deal and we need longer term, Adler would be great, I couldn’t see him leaving though, but I still think we should have got Lloris, Jesus though the shit I took for that here when Tottenham were looking at him and I said that we should take a punt, then he turned out OK didn’t he?

    There are 3 or 4 keepers that I think are both gettable and right for us, I really hope we look at this position, has there been any talk from the club about getting a keeper in?

  74. Mayank

    Adler has ruled out the possibility of leaving his club.

    Begovic might not be worth the cost. He is good but a 20m GK should at least have the ability to become world class. Does Begovic?

    Ceasar I’m not too interested in.

    How about we get the Watford bloke that saved the pen to get them to the playoff finals.

  75. Eric

    Great optimism coming from great Pedro about the chances of having better seasons starting from the next but, my gut feeling is that Wenger and the board are just too comfortable with ‘money being funiture in the bank’ and 4th place trophy. They are most likely not going to make the right signings starting with Sanogo. If they do something remarkably different in the transfer market, it’ll be another ‘wonder of the world’. Wenger simply has to leave.

  76. ardentgooner

    nuudles

    I think Higuain would be fine for us. He is a bit between good and world class which is exactly what Arsenal aspire in their players these days? 😉

  77. Jimmythegun

    I’m no AKB, but Wenger deserves some credit. I wanted him out after the domestic cups embarrassment, but in the last few months we have looked like an actual team again.

    That for me is the reaason why there’s no shame in celebrating fourth place – its an achievemnt because of how big a job it was to turn us around from the team that was beaten by Norwich, Blackburn and Bradford, not to mention QPR et all at the end of last season.

    Was in corporate at St James yesterday with all my Newcastle supporting mates – the entire game was complete torture but we made it.

    Did anyone notice how sh*te Howard Webb was?! Corners given as goal kicks and visa versa, free kicks awarded for nothing, fouls unpunished – was bad for both sides and he’s supposed to be England’s top ref!

    Quick word on Kozzer – talk about body on fire, head in the freezer – apart from a stange desire to always finish top own goal scorer, the lad is an unbeliveable defender.

  78. Romford Pele

    N5 – why wouldn’t Adler leave? The only reason I can think is that he’s only been at Hamburg one season. But they aren’t exactly good and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

    The keeper talk does seem to have died down. And I guess there are other priorities.

    The list of GK’s i’d like in order:
    Adler
    Handanovic (pretty much impossible)
    Vorm
    Rui Patricio

  79. Trikky

    Kos was excellent yesterday, He has been a top class defender lately. I’m so looking forward to his performance next season. I also hope Sagna, Gervinho, Diaby, Fabianski, Bendtner, Squilacci, etc will be sold this time, or realeased.

    We have too many average players who need to either go or drop to bench, to be used in FA/carling and games of lesser importance e.g Scezeny, Poldoski, Arteta. Met, Ox, Ramsey. We need a DM, FB, CF and GK.

    Wenger in as much as they say you are a father/coach, please spend on quality, and do it early. Let there be competition for places in the new squad. No time for sentiments!!!

  80. Adam A Carbarundum

    Interesting post, Pedro. Of course it all pre-supposes one key thing; that Wenger alters his all too familiar pattern of essentially doing little to nothing, other than his all too typical bandaid solutions..I’m not buying any of the Peroni laced Kool-aid that you’ve been drinking, Peds. I still believe Wenger will chime his usual song and dance about his squads quality depth and let’s not forget, Diaby will be like signing a world class talent – so take that one to the nut sack! In otherwords – I will believe it when I see it.

  81. N5

    SHGooner71 you must had missed where I put I want Wenger gone, also I’m at work now so unsure what you mean about work getting in the way and me not knowing about that? I’m a civil servant in the city so it’s not hard for me to travel back to N5, how could I pay for my season ticket without working? and lastly I’ve been going to Arsenal for 30 years, it has been worse, much worse.

    Read this carefully please: I would like Wenger to leave, I would like things to change, however I feel some optimism for things being different this summer! I may be proven wrong but at least I’m not on this site day in and out just to moan like a few of you on here.

  82. Danny

    I’m loving this! I’ve been calling up every Scum fan I’ve ever known since the final whistle yesterday and they’ve nothing to say back to me! Seeing their chairman crying was simply classic.
    In a nutshell, the last 3 months has been championship winning standard by the players. Lets hope in August we continue this way.
    Thanks to Pedro for being here every single day. Well done mate.

  83. Afc53

    A proud gooner today it’s only 4th but one in the eye to everyone who wrote us off.

    Higuain
    Adler
    Capoue
    CB

    Would be a nice addition for the new season

  84. N5

    @romford, I was thinking more about his contract, was it a 4 year? and would they let him go, I think he may jump at the chance if it was given.

  85. Gregg

    As said before, I watched Ray Parlour from when he first got into the side in 1990. He was all energy, little refinement. As the years went by he developed and became more and more composed and became a fantastic player for us. I see so many similarities in Ramseys game to that of Parlours. This kid will get better

  86. Mayank

    “Can someone please tell me where I can view the Newcastle equaliser ??”

    Apparently they’re screening on next weeks apprentice.

  87. deanthegunner

    haven’t left a comment hear in a while as i just comment on the tweet machine….. been reading for the past couple of years and i honestly think the site is getting much better, with, your pod cast’s, AST meeting gossip, and all things arsenal!! love the blog, don’t always agree but no matter where i am i always get my daily dose…. and if i am right i no there isn’t that much to talk about in the transfer season but the comments always go mental!!! COME ON YOU GOONERS…….feeling very positive for next year.

  88. Romford Pele

    N5 – The bit about it being much worse is so true. But unfortunately people have short memories these days. We seem to now live in a culture of entitlement and “What have you done for me lately”.

  89. Guns of Hackney

    So many amazingly predictable and hopeless responses to Arsenal’s FOURTH place finish. When you set your stall out at the beginning of a season and it reads:

    Sell best player/s.
    Finish fourth.
    Talk up transfers before ticket renewal day.
    Finish above Spurs.

    Does anyone realise that we have become Spurs? Their remit used to be finish above Arsenal – we were “win the fucking league and we’ll definitely finish above Spurs” – not so anymore.

    I would take 30 years of losing 10-0 to the Spurs if it meant we won something.

    Get your priorities straight. We are a football club and our success is written in cups, not fourth place finishes. It’s not even bronze FFS!

    Short sighted, bastards!

  90. Romford Pele

    N5 – Money talks mate. And considering how good Adler is, he’s a cheaper alternative to Begovic or Handanovic.

  91. N5

    N5 – The bit about it being much worse is so true. But unfortunately people have short memories these days. We seem to now live in a culture of entitlement and “What have you done for me lately”.

    —————————–

    Never a truer word said, nice one Romford.

  92. Romford Pele

    Gambon – i’d love Handanovic, he’s the best GK in Serie A, but I think he’ll go for upward of £20m. I don’t think you need to spend that much to get a good GK personally.

  93. Radio Raheem

    Nuddles

    Cesar is a good shout. He was arguably the best or one of the best in world a few years ago. He suffered a serious dip in form, maybe a mental episode, after Brazil’s WC loss to the Netherlands. He then suffered injury problems and never quite recovered his old form which eventually led to him leaving Inter.

    At QPR he has somewhat gone through a rennaisance recovering his old form back and returned as Brazil’s number 1 goalie. He is experienced and would be a good stop gap until Szczesny is ready.

    There is no perfect goalie even Buffon flapped against Bayern…TWICE!

    Bergovic is a good goalie but overhyped. When you look at the figures Mignolet is more impressive.

  94. vicky

    Grovers what about a combo of Jovetic and Berbatov ???

    I think Berbatov and Jovetic will really complement each other.

    Both are what you will call Arsenal type players.

    Great technically and very good movement.

    Also both can score wonderful goals.

    And price wise it is realistic as well.

  95. Mayank

    Did anyone see MIlan’s celebrations on getting the 3rd place trophy?

    They’re the 2nd biggest club in Italy and one of the top 10 clubs in the world. They can celebrate getting CL and we can’t?

  96. Doublegooner

    Listen you lot. We fuckin scraped through.

    This can’t happen again.

    The owe especially paying fans who’ve been lied to over the years to now spend serious money on serious players.
    No more Gervinhos, Chamakhs etc etc.

    Wenger needs to make a statement or the flack he’ll take will be unbearable & fans on here will do their dammdest to make it known he should go after next season.

  97. Romford Pele

    Vicky – I think the Berbatov ship has sailed. While I can’t deny his technical qualities, I hate the way he prances about the pitch. He doesn’t work anywhere near as hard as he should do for me. And I’d personally prefer someone quicker. We already have a slow striker in Giroud.

  98. Brennyken

    Pedro ur da man. Great post again. Let’s hope we can add to the squad next season. Would love to see Fab back. Rooney would b great also.

  99. N5

    @Mayank

    I know mate, Milan were as bad if not worse then we were. I’m not up on Italian football though so I guess they’ve won something recently and is why its not as big a deal to “supporters”.

  100. SHGooner 71

    N5. I wish I had a job where I could be on the net all day. I must get a job like yours. I’m sure you’re a credit to your company!! No wonder this country is in such a mess!!

    This is the first time I’ve ever decided to moan on any web site, But thanks for your comments anyway.

    When Wenger comes out with his usual patter, I’m sure you’ll lap it up, in the hope that he’s seen the light. I’ve heard it too many times now. Try supporting the club, not the man!!

  101. DIXON

    PLEASE WENGA WE DONT NED DIS BOLD MAN FOR THA TEAM…HE IS VERY OLD FOOTBALA N CANOT PLAY FOR THESE BIG TEAMS LIKE ARSENAL. SIGN OTHA PLAYA AND 2 STRIKARS WITH DM ND MAYBE WE TALK TITIE. DE LIKES OF TEVEZ AND FLACAO.

  102. kay

    TBH I din’t want us to secure CL spot when we lost to Tots that day..

    But it has been a good recovery.. I never knew how much it was important yesterday until I saw my 1 yr old kid was scrambling on fear towards my wife when I yelled like hell when Walnut hit the post..

  103. N5

    Wow you are blinded by your bile SHGooner71, 3 times I’ve wrote I want him gone, 3 times you’ve ignored it. Are you at work now mate? if so you are doing the same as me. I am working flexi time today, meaning I am not being paid for it so its my time on the web, I’m not on here daily so please don’t make things up and lastly I’m pretty certain the problems in this country are due to people borrowing more then they can pay back, nothing to do with what I work on!

    Stop making yourself look silly mate and move on, post your insite then, tell us who you would buy? who would you have manage us? what changes would you make.

    And lastly just in case you missed it, I would like Wenger gone, I would like Wenger gone, I would like Wenger gone, I would like Wenger gone! got it. Good.

  104. Danny

    I honestly thought that after we lost to the Scum on the 3rd March that we were really fucked and that we’d end up below Liverpool and Everton. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one here that thought that. Maybe if Wenger wants to continue after next season he’s goona have spend now or else he might not get a new contract, I reckon this coz he hasn’t signed a new one yet.

  105. Gregg

    Never been linked as far as I know but the one player I noticed a few years back and always thought was going to be top, top class is Axel Witsel. I know everyone loves Fellaini but this kid always stood out as having more of an all round game. As a Midfielder this guy has it all. He won’t stay at Zenit for long and by all accounts he’s fed up with the constant racism issues. Give me this guy over Fellaini anyday

  106. gambon

    Mayank

    We are the only top club after a keeper, they have already bought his replacement.

    As long as the player wants the move he will cost about £12m

    Udinese were asking £50m for Sanchez, ended up costing half of that.

  107. vicky

    Meanwhile Chelsea have landed a gem in Tihbaut Courtois.

    We can look at Mignolet or Lopez.

    Mou is all set to leave RM and Casillas will regain his no 1 spot. So we can lure Lopez out of Bernabeu.

    Mignolet or Krul are surely cheaper than Begovic and that is why more realistic options.

  108. Dublin Gunner!!!

    good man pedro great post as usual, agree 100%. i read your post everyday but i dont always comment, but keep up the great work, now the pressure is on you to keep us gunners entertained for the next 89 days.
    i taught that was funny when the spuds taught the toon army scored on us, hope all you guys seen it, i taught the two cholesterolly challenged carpet licking spuds celebrating was well funny!!

  109. Romford Pele

    Mignolet I wouldn’t mind either but Adler and Begovic would be priorities above him. Unfortunately Szczesny’s stock has taken a fall in the last year or so. He’s only 22 though so hopefully competition will bring the best out of him.