08
May
09

Should he stay or should he go?

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday tooo yoooou, happy birthday dear Aveline! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUU!

All the talk following the Arsenal’s ignominious exit from the Champions League been “squad reinforcements.” It’s the buzz word that will not die and perhaps one of the most common misconceptions about what happened this season.

It’s easy to point at the Champions League final and compare the benches. At one point (after Arsene had made three subs) the camera panned over to a distraught Diaby, a lazy Fabianski, and with a wide angle lens were able to catch a glimpse of the head of a lonely Silvestre. Not pictured was Denilson who was probably trying to make off with the Tea Lady. But the point is Arsenal had zero world class backups on the bench and Man U had four (Scholes, Tevez, Giggs, and Berbatov). This proves Arsenal need to buy at least four players, right?

It’s not that easy. Tevez is widely expected to leave this summer, unhappy with his bench role. Scholes and Giggs are retiring, and Berbatov is both arguably not a world class player and is a wildly fractious figure both in the Man U camp and among the fans. Which doesn’t even address how much money Man U are paying to keep those four on their bench. Berbatov cost £30m to get from Spuds, and Tevez’ deal is supposedly a loan of some sort with all kinds of unknown fees. For some people, that’s a lot of money for a Carling Cup player (Tevez) and a malcontent, but for others, those two are actually very important Champions League players combining for 6 goals and 1 assist in 9 games.

The problem is that that’s a fully healthy Man U bench and an injury ravaged Arsenal bench. A fully healthy Arsenal would have van Persie and Adebayor up front, Arshavin in the hole, Walcott on the right, Cesc and Song in the middle, and a back four of Sagna, Gallas, Toure, and Clichy. On the bench we would have Eduardo, Eboue, Rosicky, Denilson, Bendtner, Nasri, and Fabianski. Left out are Diaby, Gibbs, Djourou, Senderos, Silvestre, Vela, Traore, Ramsey, Wilshere, and Bischoff. Wait, you mean a fully healthy Arsenal would have had four world class players (Eduardo, Rosicky, Eboue, and Nasri) on the bench? Yes, that’s how injured this team was.

Having put paid to the notion that Arsena aren’t deep enough lets move to everyone’s favorite whipping position; Flamini, I mean Gilberto, I mean Song, I mean Denilson, I mean Nasri…

Since Vieira left people have been complaining about this spot on Arsenal’s roster, and to start the season I was one of them, but I’ve recently come around to a bit of a healthy respect for Song and I really don’t care if you or anyone else agrees with me: I was right about Flamini, and I think I’m right about Song. Song started the season a bit slow but has come on like a roaring lion and put in some pretty amazing performances. I’m going to have a whole blog dedicated to him later but suffice it to say that I think he’s Arsenal’s number one in that holding midfielder role. And at 21 years old, he’s going to be there for a few years. A lot of people say that Arsenal need a player like Essien and I would say that Song at 21 is comparable to Essien at 21. And before you go talking about Essien’s wonder goal against Barca, it was also Essien who failed to clear the ball that led to Iniesta’s equalizer.

Which brings me to my final point which is a blend of squad depth and showing you that we have world class players all over the squad and that what we need are just a few “burgeoning” world class players to fill in. To wit, I think that every player on this team has a pair that goes with him; someone who can start and someone who can play backup.

Adebayor and Bendtner are obvious, and if anything, Bendtner represents a place where Arsenal need to reinforce — Wenger would disagree, pointing to Bendtner’s surge this year — but come on, Bendtner is a Coca-Cola level player. Adebayor is also one of Arsenal’s malcontents and he’s already starting up the summer “I love you, I hate you” bullshiat. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsene doesn’t scrap this whole target man offense built around Adebayor, sell both players and buy a striker to pair with Theo in this spot.

Robin and Eduardo are another obvious pair, and if anything van Persie represents a place where Arsenal need reinforcements — he’s put in his healthiest season ever for Arsenal and frankly it’s not enough. Combined with his penchant for devastatingly stupid antics on the pitch and his disruptive behavior in the dressing room (he’s the first to say they need to win something and then in the big games he makes stupid mistakes) and I think he’s got a target on his back.  Wenger will need to find someone who can score incredible goals like Robin but keeps his head in the big games. Oh and for less than £15m, or whatever we get for him.

Nasri and Arshavin are complimentary players and having both healthy will present a wonderful headache for Wenger.

Similarly, Theo and Rosicky are complimentary and having both healthy for a whole season would be critical. That said, Wenger needs to take a long, hard, look at Rosicky and decide if he wants to carry this guy another season or if he just wants to buy a reinforcement. Theo’s already committed to us having just today signed a new long term contract and so he’s here for the long haul.

Cesc and Denilson are complimentary and the only thing here that needs work is Cesc’s leadership. That will come along over time.

Song and ??? Diaby?? HA! NO. I’m done with Diaby until he does something really, really incredible. He’s not a Vieira type, no matter what people say. He’s more of an Arshavin type. If we keep him, he can play the backup to the Arshavin/Nasri role, in the Carling Cup. So, I think a quality holding midfielder is needed. Yaya Toure is often mentioned and I agree. Look for Arsene to buy some guy you’ve never heard of, from FC Twente or something. I still think Song gets the starting spot, but competition is healthy, plus, giving more pistons in the engine room is a good thing.

Left back is covered by Clichy and Gibbs and if anyone tries to take the piss out of Gibbs, you’ll have me a whole bunch of loyal Arsenal supporters to answer to.

Right back is covered as well, Sagna is a stud and while Eboue is a crazy retard, he’s still a damn fine defender, when he’s fully fit, which he hasn’t been this season.

Central defense is probably the most obvious place for reinforcements. Gallas and Toure are OK together and I like Djourou but I think we need some height at the back, someone experienced in the Premier League, tall, HEY! PHILLIPE SENDEROS! Unfortunately, I think he’s done with us, which means that we should brace ourselves for a summer of transfer rumors about Haangeeelaaaandd (who is so tall it stretches his name) and then at the last minute Arsene will buy someone no one has heard of. Also, I’ll be surprised if Gallas stays with the club, it’s been a difficult season for him and the green fields of France are calling. Wenger will certainly need to replace him if he leaves, he was our best defender by far last year.

Almunia and Fabianski are fine, everyone keeps talking about a “world class” keeper and then mentioning the likes of Cech and van der Sar. Aluminum is easily as good as those two.

So that’s a run down of the entire squad, top to bottom, assuming 11 subs,  and assuming that no one can play another person’s position in a pinch. The reality is you only get 7 subs and one will always be a backup keeper. There are other limitations as well, such as funds, bringing along youth players (where do Rambo and Wilshere fit in here?), what type of formation the manager uses, your opponents on a given day, and so on. I think, though, if you look at what I’ve written, it’s not a condemnation of this team, but rather that we have a very, very strong core to the team and simply need a few backups and maybe some replacements for players who are probably leaving.

You look at this team, in every position, and I think we already have a blend of experience and talent that it takes to challenge for silverware next year, but a little more depth wouldn’t hurt either. So, like I said yesterday, Arsene needs to keep the core of this team together, add a few parts and I think we’ll be in the thick of things next year.

Sorry for the long blog, but it’s a complicated question.


23 Responses to “Should he stay or should he go?”


  1. 1 soulrebel
    May 8, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Thumbs up pal. I’m no AKB man but I’m certainly not a doom and gloom glory fan. We have so much to be happy with.

    I think you did a fine job on the assessment of Van Persie. What the F happened to his early season form?

  2. 2 Tim
    May 8, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I don’t know Soulrebel, it could be the injury he suffered, in which case I should go easy on his play on the pitch. What I don’t like, though, regardless of injuries is his attitude. I know, people will say he’s a winner and winners get frustrated but did he really have to attack the Stoke keeper?

    And maybe I’m reading too much into this but when he slammed the ball down in the Man U game was he frustrated with himself or his teammates? He seems to me to be a blame everyone else kind of guy (most of his comments are about how OTHERS need to step up) so I wouldn’t be surprised if he blames Almunia for the second goal when it was his stupid foul that set up the free kick.

    So, I’m kinda getting tired of him, and maybe that’s not fair, but it’s my gut feeling.

  3. 3 JohnW
    May 8, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I agree with you Tim. When Arsenal lose, Gooners lose their cool so much you just wonder. May be Gallas will not go, but i think Silvestre will, so in any case we will need a CB. I wouldn’t be unhappy if Mathiew Upson came back.
    I disagree with you about Song being number 1. I think Denilson is number one, however at the business end of the season you could see that he was jaded, may be that’s why Song was preferred. But Denilson will be a real star, may be in two seasons.
    The most obvious weakness of Arsene is always his inability to blend in players so that the get the much needed playing time. For instance, Vela did not play enough this season. Where was Wilshire and Ramsey? If he gets that art of blending them in, then the squad depth creates itself.

  4. 4 caribkid
    May 8, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Agree with you in most part Tim with a few differences.

    Denilson is not a Fab replacement. He is too slow, very little passing vision and is more defensive minded. Nasri would be the obvious one for me. Most folks here will disagree with me, but I think Denilson is a waste of time because he offers no dynamics to the team.

    We do need a dynamic, pacey, clinical striker. RVP has yet to produce an entire season, Ade has seemed out of it for most part and can we depend on a full recovery from Eduardo. Sell either Ade or RVP and get one. Also, Bendtner is not a like replacement for Ade. The only thing in common is height and decent heading ability. Apart from those, they are completely different.

    Almunia doesn’t do it for me Tim. Great shot stopper but lacks positioning, poor ball distribution, does not command the penalty box and often mis-communicates with his defenders.

    Traore could be a key element for us if he is able to force his way into the first team as that would supply tremendous speed on the left flank and give us more formation options.

    With all that said, Theo is still a very incomplete player and has to up his game tremendously in order to make a meaningful contribution. We have a lot of questions in regards to players’ health. Rosicky, Ade, RVP, Eduardo, Djourou and Silvestre have all seemed to be injury prone this season and very slow to recover from hamstring and groin knocks.

    My summation of the situation is that we have more questions than we do answers and I truly don’t see Arsene addressing those questions in the off-season.

  5. 5 St. Louis Gunner
    May 8, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I agree with much of what you said. I’m thinking Gallas was our best defender after the captaincy bullshite settled down. I’m not so sure he will leave. But who knows?
    I also agree that Adebayor, Bndtnr, and RVP disappointed. I think the expiration date on Robin is about here. He’s jaw-dropping when he is healthy and wants to play, but…
    I think central defense (born in the USA!!) needs some help. I think King Kolo has some football left, but somewhere else or on the bench as backup. He can be Silverstre. So Gallas and someone else, or two someone elses. I dunno.
    Central holding midfield needs some depth. I think Song and/or Denielson can grow into it, but they’re not there yet.
    So: A striker, a central midfielder, a centrel denfender. Oh, and hang onto everyone else, Fab., Theo., Arshavin, Eduardo, even Rosy if he’ll stay. Two of the three strikers (maybe kicking one to the curb will wake the other two up), Clichy, Sagna, Gallas (if he’ll stay), Song, Denielson, Eboue: All of ’em.
    Oh yeah, Arsene, too.
    Gooner till I die!

  6. 6 Shaun
    May 8, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I was actually quiet happy to see RVP chuck the ball down in disgust. I dont think he was upset with the rest of the players but rather frustrated that we weren’t able to compete at least. At least it shows he cares. Also, that foul by RVP on Ronaldo was more a clumsy challenge which Ronaldo milked big time.

    Anyway other than that, I reckon your spot on by enlarge. Though I agree with caribkid, Almunia does not inspire confidence in me.

    Two things I will be praying for this summer, One Gallas must stay. He is by far our best defender, he is absolute quality and he was a HUGE loss in the crucial time of the season (i reckon more than Fab). Two, I will be praying that Adebayor finally f*cks off to who gives a crap where. He makes me sick.

    Up the gooners for Sunday. I hope we thrash those chelski chav tossers.

  7. 7 nycgunner
    May 8, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Tim, first of all – did you have a new baby? Congrats if that’s the case. Hope to see him in a gunner baby uniform very soon. Your posts usually give me some things to think about and this time it’s no different. I do however disagree with a few things. First of all – you named four bench players in our fully fit squad who would be considered as world class – Edu, Rosicky, Nasri and Eboue. I am going say Eboue is not a world class player. He has improved quite a bit from his God awful performances earlier in the season but is he world class? He is no where close to Dani Alvez or Bosingwa. Nasri is young, talented and has the potential to be world class someday but is he world class yet? He has been a non factor in a few games and still has a tough time holding down a place in the French national team. He is a player for the future but not world class yet sorry to say. Eduardo and Rosicky are both world class but there are big questions over their fitness after such long term injuries. Many players dont come back and time will tell how much of the old Edu and Rosicky we will see in the future. I’m not a doom monger – but let’s be realistic.

    I think you also implied that RVP is a player you wouldn’t mind seeing leaving. Well I’ll have to say that I would be absolutely gutted to see him leave. I think Arsene has to shoulder a large part of the blame for his dip in form. He constantly plays him on the left flank where he is useless and he is also not a player who can defend well. I wouldn’t call the foul against Cron a stupid foul. Like I said, he is not the one to defend and he fouled him 40 yards from goal before he made the run inside. Almunia has to shoulder the blame for that goal. Yes that was a good strike but how many times have we now seen Almunia give up that kind of goal this season? vs the spuds, vs hull, vs the mancs… and speaking of Almunia, sorry again but he is nowhere near Petr Cech or Edwin VSR. Both those guys may have had a bit of a dip in form recently but they made their marks on the game long before most people even heard of Almunia. But coming back to the RVP issue.. If Arsene hadn’t played him in the left vs. Chelsea when he was already carrying a groin strain, he wouldn’t have aggravated his injury and might have given us something more. Also, I wouldn’t say RVP and Edu are a pair (as in the context you used). Edu is more of a fox-in-the-box type of striker while RVP plays best as a support striker role, often falling deep to help the midfield.

    I think at the least we need a new defender – Hangeland will be great. Senderos? way too error prone and nervy in my books. It would also do a world of good to get rid of Adebayor and get a real quality striker. Someone who works hard for the team and has a killer instinct. I am not happy with Almunia either but I am 50/50 on him. In any case, Wenger has said that he is not going to spend cash and I dont even know how to react to that. I guess I will find out next year.

  8. 8 Tim
    May 8, 2009 at 10:47 am

    nycgunner, that’s my daughter Aveline, she’s 1 year old today.

  9. 9 Mark
    May 8, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Interesting views. Arsenal are a very good team who are getting better. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Fabregas was anonymous against his 2nd favourite team, and all the heads went down when M.U. got a bit lucky. I don’t think its just down to skill and ability, there is also desire to win, fighting spirit, and experience. Rooney and Ronaldo are out and out winners. Their team feeds off that. We are a good side though, and we need 2 or 3 key signings to really be awesome. An out and out winger, as in the Halcyon days of Robert Pires, allowing Arshavin to play in the hole, where he belongs. A top notch central defender to partner Gallas. These are musts. Adebayor is a good time man, I’m sure Italy would suit him! RVP seems neither one thing nor the other. He can’t lead the line, and he needs too many touches to play the hole……besides that’s Arshavin’s – Eduardo/Fabregas/Nasri/Diaby’s slot. Bendtner has a bit of dynamism, so I wouldn’t write him off yet. But if RVP and Adebayor go, Wenger will need one class act upfront.Dzeko…..is he the real deal…..Gomez….Huntelaar…..? One of them better be good !! Wenger made his name bringing in the creme de la creme, Bergkamp, Henry, Viera, Petit, Campbell, Pires…….Marcos Senna is a class act, even at his age. Another fundamental difference between Arsenal and M.U. was leadership. M.U. have some old heads with a lot of fooball knowledge. Fabregas at 21 is our leader……I think its asking way too much of him.

  10. 10 nycgunner
    May 8, 2009 at 10:58 am

    ah got that all wrong! but i still hope to see her in a gunners uniform soon!

  11. May 8, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Here you go nycgunner!

  12. 13 left peg
    May 8, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Fair blog, However, one thing I disagree with is theo starting in front of nasri. Now I know he’s the golden child but I dont see him as a starter, I would prefer Nasri on the right and arshavin on the left with fab and song in the middle.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s pace is crucial, but in terms of overall effectiveness with the ball on the right, nasri takes it for me. Better dribbler, crosser and just higher efficiency with the ball compared to theo. If you noticed, sagna and theo dont really have an understanding really. I reckon theo is better when brought on to run at tiring defenders to devastating effect.

    Almunia is a great shot stopper, but not the most intelligent when it comes to reading the game. Perhapd this can be recitified with training…but to be honest, I do get jittery during games. As for the forward positions, Ade has to go really…simple. I’d swap him for Roque anytime.

  13. 14 caribkid
    May 8, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Nice Pic of the young one Tim and congrats on seeing her first birthday.

    Hope she looks like the Mom though (LOL)

    Just kidding? Then again, maybe not (LOL)

  14. 15 nycgunner
    May 8, 2009 at 11:29 am

    that’s a great pic! good one.

  15. 16 Bongo
    May 8, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    I hate to say it Tim but that’s our away shirt only for another few games, which means it will be out of fashion in a couple of weeks, you know what girls are like you’re gonna have to order the new one for her soon. I hear it’s gonna be green.

    I would gladly see both Van Persie and Ade go if we get in David Villa, I think both he and Eduardo would be a fantastic partnership and we could play a proper 4-4-2, instead of the big burley striker crap we’re currently forced to watch.
    Our high crosses into the box have been woeful except when we have Arshavin playing, if you look at the stats for crosses made and attempts on target its shocking to say the least.We need to get rid of that aspect of our game and focus on penetrating defences with quick passes and through balls. It would help if we had more players that could take shots from outside the box too.

    Our biggest problem this season has definitely been defence, our midfield is filled with attacking players that are forced to track back too often to cover for our woeful defense as a result we have been unable to break as often and teams have been able to reset their defenses and hold us off.

  16. 17 viva los gooners
    May 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Happy Birthday Aveline!

    Why does Ade remind me of Kanu sometimes? I keep tellimg myself there is no similarity, but it just keeps coming back.

    RvP, as I said previously not the same since the foot problem, doesn’t seem to know what his task is, maybe this is down to managerial communication or a personality disorder.

    I say keep Bendtner, he’s is still very young to take a big mans roll, and he has some spirit, particularly on his night out.

    I read a lot about Flamini, and what he brought to the team. I was never overly impressed, good yes, busy yes, but always had the impression that work expanded to fill the time available. ie not everything was productive for a lot of effort.

    Goalkeepers, Almunia, Fabianski, they’re OK. I suggest that many keepers can only be as good as the defence in front of them.

    As for the Ronaldo (El Horizonte)free-kick, why place a wall, however small in front of a free kick 40 yards out. Let the keeper see the kicker, read his intention, and see the ball from the earliest moment.

    Continuing my theme of throwing in the hats of unlikely contenders for the glorious red and white, would Barca release Carles Puyol? There’s a guy with experience defending, and not well known for taking prisoners!

    Viva!

  17. 18 WC
    May 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I agree with some of caribkid’s points.

    Firstly we need a 20 goal a season player. For all intents and purposes, the team that wins the league usually has at least one of those. To be honest Wenger should find a goal poacher to feed on the crosses from Theo and through balls by Cesc, Arshavin and Nasri. What I’ve found utterly frustrating about Ade and Nicky is that they drop deep, collect the ball, dribble to the edge of the box and there’s nobody to give the ball to or a cross comes in and they’re busy at the halfway line. Your tallest strikers are supposed to be in the box finishing the play, not playing deep as a part of it. They are supposed to apply the last touch into the goal but ours are way out wide with no one in the box to put the ball in the net. Love or hate him Pippo Inzaghi epitomizes this ethic. Some think he’s a terrible player but I personally think he’s brilliant. He’s lazy, lacks technical skill and can hardly pass to save his life but he knows where he needs to be when he needs to be there and you would bet your life savings and your baby on him putting the ball into the net if he ever gets it in the box. Too often our chances go wanting. I suppose Eddie is that kind of player but he has to be fit for an entire season and we’re still not sure how he’s going to be with his on and off rehab.

    I can honestly live without Senderos, he’s not fit for the Prem. He’s clumsy and slow which is why Drogba can make him his bitch. Drog is a beast of a man and is one of the quickest players today who weight as much as an elephant. Senderos just cannot overcome the size, power and speed of those kinds of players and there’s plenty in the English game. Maldini is as old as dust and Senderos can’t even usurp him at Milan for a start in the defense. Hangelnad’s name gets thrown around but we’ve also come to hear about Sakho who is pretty much Drogba when Drog was a teenager. He’s fast and huge but still only a 19 year old. I suppose a good understudy for the centre of defense.

    On to Song, who has been our most improved player, but not quite there as yet. I think when we say we need another Vieira it’s not only his power, skill and intelligence we miss but his drive. He emitted “the aura” that just made everyone around him want to be better and fight for the cause no matter how dark the times are. Cesc isn’t a leader, he’s a figure of iconoclast. He’s much like Henry was – a loved player but no real leadership qualities (which is why Vieira was captain over him). Arshavin looks to be our best bet for the armband but I know Wenger won’t strip Cesc of the captaincy. Song is not a vocal player and I think we can agree in football today that the CM is a player who can define a team. We need a general who will command the troops. Not one who sulks when they go down 2-0 in the first 11 minutes of a game. A hanging head should never be pictured in association with the captain. It always has to be held high and looking forward.

    2-3 special players – that is the distance between us and the likes of Barca or Man Utd. I believe that and as much bullets are fired at us this season we’re among the top 4 clubs in Europe, losing to the European champions is not a disgrace.

  18. 19 goonersg
    May 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Ade needs to learn to play like a real striker and not stay on the flanks all the time. If you look at the number of times he drifts out wide in a match it’s ridiculous… does he really expect fabregas and nasri to run into the box and challenge for headers? I’d rather Bendtner than Adebayor, the boy gets himself into great positions and a bit more work in the finishing departmaent should do it.

  19. 20 Leo
    May 8, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    You know I kinda agree with everything you said but i disagree on Eboue being a world player..Eboue is a cheat and I think it time hes left off the hook
    But what battles me when I watched the chelksi match was how Yaya Toure manhandles and man mark Drogba..now let compare the marking to how our our Eboue and King Kolo Toure marks Drogba..I think it a big shame and I hope am gonna find someone who will believe what I said…Both of eboue and kolo marks drogba as his he is their king and when I watches how yaya marks him..I think we need someone in the mode of yaya.
    Can anyone tell me when Rosicky will be fit to play for arsenal again..and can anyone also ask Lord Wenger why he lies to us often and often..I told my pals right from day one that Clichy was out of the season but wenger wont say the truth and he didnt until now..the same way he did with gallas in 2007 and rosicky ..am sick of that.
    A gunner for life and well love the pics of your kid
    Peace

  20. May 8, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Anyway you look at it, we could do with a few experienced additions. Another striker (Adebayor doesn’t do it for me, Eduardo’s not proven in England and van Pesrie is unreliable). Another holding midfielder (even if Song’s good enough, Diaby and Denilson aren’t). Another defender (Gallas is leaving, Toure is worsening, Djourou is young and Silvestre should leave). Another goalkeeper (Almunia kept us in the game in the first leg, but lost it for us in the second). We don’t need a full clearout, but we do need to add to the team.

    I wouldn’t rely on Eduardo until he’s put in a full season in the Premier League. Exceptional international record, but can he sustain it for a full domestic season? Probably yes, but you can’t say for sure until he’s done it. I like van Persie for his great goals, but if we get a good price for him, we might as well sell and buy someone a bit steadier.

    I think the most important thing is to get someone in to help Wenger with tactics and defence. That was the real difference between us and the Mancs and the Chavs this year. Leaving Arshavin out in the FA Cup was madness. Leaving so much room for Ronaldo in the CL was the same. Look at how well-drilled the other Top 4 clubs are, and look how disorganised we normally are. We’ve got the players to be competitive, IF they’ve been drilled properly. Think about how well our defence went when we had Keown coaching, and think of the disaster we have at present. But will it happen? No.

  21. 22 citygunner
    May 9, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Spot on Tim

  22. 23 chris
    May 9, 2009 at 5:44 am

    I would be gutted if robin left – he has been our best player this year. Hard for him to do anything in the game when we completely lost interest after 10 mins. Throwing the ball down shows that he cares. We need to keep the squad together and we will win lots. My first choice team would be Almunia, sagna, toure, gallas, clichy, arshavin, song, hcesc ,rosicky,rvp,eduardo. The only players I would consider letting go are ade and I would give Diaby away. He is useless – gives the ball away and fouls all the time. If you look at the team it means we went into the UTD game missing five starters. You take 5 players from the UTD team and you think they would have beat us?


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