Remembering Le Bob

by .

Morning kids – James here, covering for Pedro, who is off sampling the delights of Mykonos’ nightclubs and fetish bars.

I hope you all arrived at work safely this morning and didn’t die from the sweltering temperatures, especially if you’re in London. Personally, I love this weather and as someone who isn’t especially sweaty, I am able to fully appreciate the warmth. The state of some folk on the underground is quite alarming though, it must be said; with sporadic moans and saturated brows being wiped like a scene from Dante’s Peak. They are the weak and as evolution theory dictates, they will be the first to fall…

….Onto the football – it’s a relatively quiet news day, and week for that matter, in Arsenal-land. Rumours are circulating of a Sunday paper exposé about Gunnersauras and Rob the Chef having a bit too much fun in the restroom of a well-known Mayfair haunt. Personally, I don’t care about what they do in their spare time – as long as they continue their elite-level performances on match day, they can do as they please.

News ‘broke’ yesterday about players who have been released by the club. Whilst there were the annual raft of kids being slung off who didn’t quite make the grade, Abou Diaby’s association with the club has also come to an end. I have mixed feelings on the situation and view it as something of a dichotomy – I hold sympathy for him and the route his career has taken, but there has been widespread recognition this was the right decision, which echoes Alex’s rather excellent blog from yesterday. Diaby is a player who was divisive and split opinion during his brief periods of fitness, but I do sense there is a case of the Eduardo’s about him – not necessarily his talents, but his performance levels have been over-egged during his absence. When he was good, he could look very special – Anfield away a couple of seasons ago sticks out, as well as in the 2007/08 Champions League tie where he was excellent – but I can count those games on one hand. Whilst he had ability I always got the impression he lacked something mentally – quite possibly a result of the hardships he’s faced with constant injury rehabilitation and breaking down every ten games. The Vieira comparisons were utterly tedious too – he bore some similar traits such as his subtle touch and rangy playing style, but lacked Vieira’s aggression and ability to dominate games on a regular basis.

Many have also seemingly forgotten how wasteful he could be – my abiding memory will be of a player who spun away from a midfield marker, beat a couple of defenders and then slipped a pass out of play. Again, it could well be a manifestation of spending so long on the side-lines and not being able to gain any momentum or rhythm, but unfortunately we will never know.

I do have genuine sympathy with him however and admire his determination to make a career at Arsenal. The arguments of ‘how can you feel sorry for a guy earning £60k a week for doing nothing’ are totally boorish. The amount you earn doesn’t detract from the human desire for professional pride and satisfaction. I also don’t blame the club for standing by him. There have certainly been summers in the past nine years where we haven’t signed the requisite midfielder we need so as to not ‘kill Diaby’, but that hasn’t been the case for some time. I don’t get the impression he has been a guy Wenger has had in his plans over the last few seasons – if he got fit and could play and it was just a bonus and some extra squad depth, but I can’t imagine Diaby has had any bearing on Arsene’s transfer plans for quite some time.

Nonetheless – good luck Abou and thanks for the, albeit limited, memories. Hopefully he can carve out a career elsewhere, go into coaching; or most logically – retrain as a physio.

Meanwhile, it appears that Lukas Podolski’s move to Galatasaray is nearing completion – the fact we’re receiving a reported £2.8m for him is a minor miracle. Hilariously, Podolski’s agent told German rag, BILD:

“Wenger wanted to keep Lukas but couldn’t guarantee he would be a starter.”

Hmmm…I sense some serious ego-massaging of his client in this instance and it’s something of a paradoxical statement – Wenger really wants to keep your client, but won’t play him, despite paying your client £90k a week – something doesn’t quite add up. I must say he’s a player I am pleased to see the back of. Whilst his finishing ability was undoubtedly unparalleled at the club, he just does not contribute enough to general play for a modern attacker. He was lazy as sin and seemingly quite unfit – I recall an away game early last season against Leicester when he replaced Sanogo and was puffing out of his arse within five minutes, despite never breaking out into anything resembling a canter. His social media antics (or his PR company’s) were also irksome in the extreme – his constant professions of love for the club were never reflected by what he did on the pitch – a nothing player who we are better off without.

Speaking of left sided attackers, on this day in 2000 we signed my favourite ever Arsenal player – Le Bob. Pirès joined off the back of strong performances for Marseille (and scoring a hatful for Metz prior to that). His first few months in England fitted neatly into the ‘soft foreign player can’t adapt’ bracket, but when he finally hit his stride – what a player. Whilst I loved Bergkamp, Henry, Freddie and Vieira; the sheer grace and nonchalance of Pirès was staggering. Deceptively quick with his bowed knees, he would glide past players with unerring regularity and his finishing would be the envy of many an elite centre forward. He also played on the wing during the days of the fabled 4-4-2, meaning he wasn’t just an auxiliary attacker – he did it all. His triumvirate with Ashley Cole and Henry down our left flank is one of the seminal memories of that astounding team. His value as a player also appears to be matched by his nature as a man – the image of him lifting the 2001/02 title aloft with the squad bowing to him on the Highbury turf lingers long in the memory and is indicative of how his team mates viewed him. And that hair, that musketeer goatee – the whole package.

To end, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to Sol Campbell. I vividly recall the day we signed him – I was at a school football tournament (playing – not watching like a creepy voyeur) and my football coach told me we’d signed the Tottenham captain. I genuinely didn’t believe him – he was a Tottenham fan after all. It was a masterful signing and a one of a kind – he could have earned more elsewhere and avoided the vile vitriol that followed him ever since – but he bought into Wenger and Dein’s vision for club and took a chance. A fabulous defender – what a shame he’s such an ostentatious, self-entitled Tory-tosser.

On that note, I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of your Friday and be back with you on Sunday.

Until next time x

Give me a follow @James_Willson2

236 Responses to “Remembering Le Bob”

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  1. qna

    “So no one commenting today.. hottest day of the year and all that bull !!”

    Maybe that explains Arsenal’s apathy in the transfer window.

  2. kwik fit

    Wtf is going on at LG I have a pike if cops America birds fir your titalstion and I can’t get them listed, Pedro on a bender again! Hint transfer 😉

  3. kwik fit

    Now I know how Lionel Ritchie felt when he penned the song …….Hello (#Is there anybody out there)

  4. Wengerites Be Damned !

    Glad Chile won. I feel sorry for Messi. He certainly deserved a title with Argentina. However, Chile never won a thing and it was about time they could celebrate something in football, specially because this Copa América is there, in Chile. Congratulations, Chile!

  5. Loyika

    And this is why no matter what Messi does at Club level he will never be considered as great at Maradona back home at Argentina. Just a shame that it just doesn’t seem to be going for him at the national level. Oh well!! ON TO THE NEXT ONE!!

    As for Alexis, nice one mate. Now rest up and come back strong. WE HAVE A PREM TITLE TO WIN FROM CHELSCUM!!

  6. Cesc Appeal

    Glad Sanchez got the winning penalty as well, can have a good long rest now but carries serious momentum into it and hopefully into next year.

    Great year for him, arrived in a new league with a new team, carried that team until the turn of the year, was our player of the season, FA Cup and now Copa America. Good stuff.

  7. bishop

    Coudnt comment cos Legrove wasn’t accessible all day..
    Congrats to Alexis Sanchez..another trophy for him.

  8. Wengerites Be Damned !

    ‘Messi deserves nothing he’s not capable at International level’
    Well, Neymar, for exemple, is more important to Brasil than Messi to Argentina.
    But, i still think Messi could make a big difference with the national team with the right manager
    At least, the Argies have better managers than us, Brazucas. And then CBF…
    CBF is like FA, always shoving us outdated managers who have no idea what is going on in modern football and just crumble under the pressure of marketing to pick the players.

  9. vicky

    Tata Martino is a clown. What a clueless manager.

    Overhyped Higuain exposed again on a big stage. Higuain cost Argentina a WC and now Copa America. Napoli not in the CL because of him. Bottler !!!

    Congrats Chile !!!

  10. roaaary

    So legrove blocks access for loads of people today yet redtruth still gets through.

    Harder to shake than herpes.

    On another note the womens football game was actually really entertaining and higher quality than ive seen throughout the tournament.

    Still a load of crazy errors and space but it was watchable

  11. roaaary

    Overhyped messi…..haha get over yourself redtruth you dont half spout some shit.

    If youre going to troll atleast say something people might argue for

  12. vicky


    Messi was not in his elements but was still the best Argentine player on the pitch. Don’t let your biases cloud your judgement. Argentina has got no midfield. Aguero and Higuain bottle it more playing for the national team but the media is always on the back of Messi although he invariably performs the best in almost every match they play.

  13. Redtruth


    You are also a MKB’s

    I don’t know what games you were watching but Messi was garbage in every single game which is pretty much the norm when playing for Argentina

  14. roaaary

    Red i didnt watch any of the tournament aside from this game.

    I dont really need to build a case for messi – youtube him and let me know your thoughts pal.

    You sad little troll

  15. Zeus

    RedtruthJuly 4, 2015 23:12:49
    Messi is fiction dreamed up by fantasists who cream whenever he makes a basic pass.

    Leave Ray Hudson out of this.

  16. vicky


    Did you realize how deep was he playing ? If Higuain scores that tap-in, he gets an assists, and a great assist at that, running past 3 players and making a timely pass. Higuain fluffs it and basically that Messi run is rendered useless. He also won so many free kicks that I have forgotten count of it.

    In the semi-final, he got 3 assists and was involved in the build up of another 2.

    Garbage ? No way. I am not arguing like a fan boy . I am sighting instances and moments. But I am sure you will not counter my arguments and just accuse me of being a Fanboy or something. Can we argue on points that on empty rhetoric ?

    P.S : I am not saying he was amazing but definitely not garbage. Below his normal level but still quality stuff..

  17. Redtruth

    Their are plenty of Ray Hudson’s on this site that’s for sure.

    Humble pie moment for all those sheep who fawn over the flat track bully Argie.

  18. roaaary

    And how would you know if im tubby? Typical insult of a child. Im guessing next youre going to bring out the mum insults which also dont have any relevance in discussing messi……but there you go

  19. vicky

    I knew you would not counter me on points . may be because you have no point ? Tell me which Argentine played better than Messi today ?

  20. Redtruth


    I don’t care they are all overrated.

    I said at the time Paraguay were woeful but no doubt through your ignorance you were praising Argentina.

  21. vicky

    yeah they are all over-rated but it’s amusing that you pick up only on Messi as If football was an individual sport. Argentina don’t even seem to be able to keep the ball for a couple of minutes.

  22. roaaary

    No aguero is known for just scoring and how many did he get?

    Messi is known for his all round footballing brilliance – dribbling, assisting and scoring. Clown

  23. Goondawg

    Alexis what a don. Let’s please never mention Higuain as a purchase for us ever again. He always flops in big games. Missed a penalty today, choked on a penalty to gift Napoli CL too. Always fails to convert chances when the pressure is on

  24. Kiyoshi Ito

    Bloody hilarious. .

    Redtruth is slinging his fishing rod, into the le-grove cesspit..

    & two critics have already been hooked and reeled in..

    Absolutely hilarious.

  25. kenyangunner

    Messi is obviously brilliant but will never be great as Diego Maradona.
    The Argentine team that won the WC in 1986 was quite average only that they had the magician.

  26. Rosicky@Arsenal

    @ loyika & kenyan gunner

    Fully agree Messi cud not be termed as the graeatest footballer ever born on the planet.

    Pele & Maradona still remain the top 2 in that order IMO.

  27. daniel

    How people think higuain is an upgrade on giroud amuses me.
    Not worth wat napoli paid thank god wenger didnt listen to people like bamford.

  28. MidwestGun

    Hahaha Redtroll you are a complete and utter lunatic. And a moronic one at that. So Messi’s team loses in the finals to a brilliant Chile team after a pk shootout and that suddenly justifies all your moronic comments?
    Nope. .. Messi is still a world class player and your still a world class idiot.
    It was Argentina’s tournament to lose. …. and they lost. Thanks to Higuain’s ability to choke and some brilliant pk’s.
    Congrats to Chile and Alexis Sanchez. … brilliant stuff, couldn’t be happier.

    Also Redtroll…. I wasn’t hiding you moron. It was Independence Day here, and I had better things to do then to argue with a moronic internet troll.
    Your arguement has never been Messi is over-rated , it’s that he is average….. which makes you stupid. Perhaps you should take up watching another sport you can understand like darts or table tennis.
    Why you persist on trying to ruin a decent blog comment section on some days, , I have no idea.

  29. Emiratesstroller

    According to the official Arsenal website there are 32 players currently listed in
    first team squad. Surprisingly this includes still Diaby but not Miyaichi even though they were officially released.

    Included in the list are 6 players aged U21 who do not need to be registered as
    25 players to be registered with EPL and UEFA. However, I will assume that
    Bellerin and Chambers will be included in list.

    Excluding Diaby we have still got 26 players aged 21+ on books, although the likelihood is that Ospina,Jenkinson,Campbell and Sanogo will leave.

    Therefore even if you include Bellerin and Chambers the squad of registered
    players will still be 2 players short of a full complement.

    The conclusion must be that Wenger will still be adding at least 2 new players to our squad this summer.

  30. Wallace

    kinda sad to see the back of Poldi, but no complaints about the fee. anything north of 5m would be great business on our part.

    delighted for Sanchez & Chile, and pleased Aranguiz had a good game. he’s an excellent little player.

  31. tunnygriffboy

    So city going to spend £190 million on Pogba, DeBruyne, Sterling and Delph

    It’s absolutely shite. What is the point. We’ll end with 5 or 6 clubs with super teams an the rest playing catch up. A team will split them now and again but all they’ll do is chuck another £100 million to get it right. No craft of building a team or club.

    I’d loveit if we could do em next season. C’mon Wenger, see us right this window.

  32. Leedsgunner

    Congratulations to Chile… now can we just get on with the transfer window please?

    Sanchez… have a relax you deserved it! Have a good rest so that you can lead us to the title this season!

  33. karim

    What a game by Sanchez, he was all over the place ! Love him !
    What a volley at the end, what a cheeky penalty !
    What a player !

  34. Wallace

    Charity Shield on the 2nd of August….would imagine it’ll be round about that time that Sanchez rocks back up at London Colney. would hope we don’t have to see/use him until Sept.

  35. tunnygriffboy

    Sanchez old coach in Chile says Alexis wants to be the best in the world. Not surehe will be but great for us if he’s striving for it. He’ll take players with jim as well.

    Alexis rest will probably involve running from Santiago to London 🙂

    I can’t imagine the reception he’ll get when he goes home to Topacilla. They adore him already. ( love the giant mural of him in his Arsenal kit on the side of a building )

    C’mon Arsene, give him the two players he needs to take us to the title.

  36. Rich

    Times reporting that Schneiderlin would rather work with Arsene than Van Gaal, can’t blame him….. Van Gaal comes across as a complete cunt