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  1. The Buy Well Team Jennings Dixon Toure Campbell Sansom Llungberg Cazorla Vieira Pires Henry Bergkamp Spend money, Arsenal Ok, our best ever buys put into a team. There is no way I can win with this one as everyone has their favourites and of course, I can go back further than a lot of you, but I am going to give it a go. I have a few rules as it is impossible to talk truly about players before your time as coverage was very restricted when I was growing up. You pretty much had to go to a live match to see it and 15 minutes on Match of the Day didn’t really give true pictures. So I am choosing players from 1969 onwards and also not choosing players who came to Arsenal very young, like Fabregas. Also not choosing players like Keown who started at Arsenal but was bought from Everton after not quite making it first time around. So if you wish to choose your own they are the rules. Also I am going 4 4 2 because it suits the team. Right from the start I am going to say that I have not chosen any current player simply because none have proven themselves to be Arsenal legends yet but feel free to choose one if think they are better than my choices. Big Pat Or big David or Big Jens? And so goalkeeper. In fact we have not brought through many goalkeepers so all the big names are available. I am going to say the top three are Lehmann, Seaman and my choice, Pat Jennings, possibly because he was foolishly discarded by Tottenham and went on to become a legend with Arsenal. So one Irishman makes the cut and he is the only one. He helped make Northern Ireland legends for their World cup exploits and played, it seemed, forever. But in truth, all 3 candidates are top class and it is difficult to say truly, which is the best. Huge hands Pat for Goalie I am going to go with Lee Dixon for right back as Pat Rice started at Arsenal and cannot appear on this list and truly it is hard to put someone in front of a guy who won 4 league championships, 2 FA cups and one European Cupwinners cup. Viv Anderson and Lauren were challengers but I would just about put Dixon in front. He set up the vital goal for Arsenal v Liverpool in 1989 as well so he deserves the nod. One of our best I feel Kenny Sansom for left back with Nigel Winterburn as runner up. 86 appearances for England over Winterburn’s one gives him the position I feel. He was classy and as a full back won player of the year in 1981. Full backs don’t win player of the year. So classy Centre backs and defensive midfielders are a bit tricky For centre backs I am going to go with Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure simply because they were superb together. Steve Bould is a possible but he never truly became first choice and only got 2 England caps. Frank McLintock also pulled up stumps for us as captain and was a strong choice. We brought through plenty of legends of our own in this position, Tony Adams, David O’Leary and Terry Neill spring to mind. Not available for this team, though. They never let us down The midfield 2 for me are Patrick Vieira and Santi Cazorla. Vieira will be everybody’s choice, of course, as one of Arsenal’s greatest ever. Santi, for me, was special. Emanuel Pettit was of course a contender but he didn’t stay too long at Arsenal. Alan Ball also but I feel his best days were behind him at Arsenal. Little - Cazorla And Large - Vieira Wingers are easier to pick Freddie Ljungberg as right winger/midfielder although he could play both sides. One of Wenger’s greatest buys, everyone loved Freddie. I feel the only real serious contender was Marc Overmars but he didn’t stay too long at Arsenal. Happy days Robert Pires as leftwinger/midfield. I think an easy choice. Voted Arsenal’s 6th best player of all time, he was everything you need in his position. He scored goals, got penalties, created assists and won lots of trophies. As are Strikers Dennis Bergkamp as striker. What can I say? He could do things nobody else could. All his teammates said he was an amazing footballer. Thierry Henry, when asked who was the best player he ever played with, said the Dutchman. That tells you everything when you think of the legends he played with for France and Barcelona. Better than Batman and Robin? And Thierry Henry alongside him. He invented the art of only scoring great goals. He could score a hat trick and all of them could be contenders for goal of the month. Widely regarded as probably the best player ever in the Premier league, he is the easiest pick of the day. And those left out? Ian Wright omitted? Yes, but what could I do? However, supposing he had come from Palace at 21 instead of 27? His goal record would be well in front of Henry’s and may have made my choice harder. Still, I doubt if I would have put him in front of Bergkamp or Henry. Ozil was another possible as, at his best, he was excellent, his ability to create was unsurpassed but he just didn’t do enough to get into the team. I feel modern young fans don’t appreciate how good he was. The heart of the Invincibles You may have noticed that this is also the essence of the Invincibles and that is inevitable. Any team that can keep their game to such a high consistent level have to be top class. And a lot were bought by Wenger who would, of course be manager of this team having been bought from Grampus 8. So buying is good, without them Arsenal would have been a far poorer team. Next week I am going to go for the best home grown side and see how they shape up against this team. Of course, few would regard this as Arsenal’s best ever side because some legends were home grown but it would give any team a hard game. So, what do people think? Have I got it right? Where can we finish update. Never predict football matches, it is the road to poverty. Now we have got to do it the Arsenal way, the hard way that turns Arsenal fans old before their time. I have a secret to confess, I am really only 21 years old, the grey hairs have been given to me by Arsenal. Of course we can still do it but we must go on a run, Chelsea and Man Utd are the right start in one sense as the pressure is less against top teams and they will give you chances. The problem is our weakened defence. I think we will concede in both games. We have to score and we don’t seem all that good at scoring. We are the lowest scorers in the top 7. However, I am going to add to my 21 year old grey hairs by saying 4 points to keep us in the hunt.
  2. Арсенал приема Кристал Палас в осмия кръг от Висшата лига след поредната пауза за националните отобри, която имах чувството, че се проточи с месеци. Лондонските дербита винаги носят един особен заряд със себе си, но в случая нещата са дори още по - специални. Това се дължи на факта, че Кристал Палас са водени от Патрик Виера. Обичан и боготворен от всички фенове на Арсенал, днес той ще изведе отбора си срещу бившия си клуб за първи път в треньорската си кариера. Макар и влиянието, което Артета и Виера имаха като играчи на Арсенал да не е едно и също, няма как да игнорираме днешния наратив: двама бивши капитани, доведени в клуба от Арсен Венгер, играещи в центъра на полузащитата. Ще е интересно да видим това надлъгване. Ситуацията е още по - пикантна заради историята, която излезе преди няколко месеца наяве, че Виера е част от групата, съставена още от Тиери Анри, Денис Бергкамп и основателя на "Спотифай" - Даниел Ек, която неуспешно опита да откупи Арсенал от семейство Крьонке. Сега обаче нещата са по - различни. Както можете и да предположите, много от въпросите към Микел Артета в пресконференцията преди мача бяха свързани с Виера, имайки предвид неговия статут измежду феновете на Арсенал. Запитан, дали Арсенал все още изпитва трудности в опитите си да замени Виера в центъра, Артета каза, че такъв футболист няма как да бъде заменен 1:1. Артета също беше шеговито запитан, дали му се иска да е играел по - често срещу виера в игровата си кариера, на което той отговори с твърдо "Не!" и обясни, колко талантлив беше Виера във всяко отношение. Което е така. Аз лично не съм гледал чак толкова много от Виера наживо, защото станах фен на Арсенал през първия сезон без него, но съм прекарал часове, гледайки негови мачове и компилации и тактически анализи. За съвсем младите фенове - ако не сте гледали много от Виера, гледайте! Това е образование. Палас правят нелош старт на сезона, феновете им са изключително обнадеждени за Виера и неговите успехи. Моделът им на водене клуба леко напомня на нашия - през лятото инвестираха основно в млади и перспективни играчи. Стилът им в момента е съвсем различен от този, който налагаше предишният им треньор Рой Ходжсън. Докато той беше от типа "safety first", където да се запази чиста мрежа беше най - важното нещо, Виера използва доста по - атакуващи стратегии и офанзивни идеи. Игрят по - директен и опасен футбол, срещу което Артета има решение, надявам се. Любопитен съм, как точно Артета ще подреди състава. Поне по последни информации нямаме особено посещение от великия мислител "Контузий" освен леката травма, която Мартинели получи, въпреки която той би трябвало да е на линия днес. Което означава, че Артета разполага с почти целия си отбор без Джака(и евентуално Мартинели, ще видим). Защитната формация заедно със вратарят са според мен залостени и няма да бъдат променени. Напред виждам Обамеянг, Йодегор, Сака и Смит Роу. Партей със сигурност ще започне в ценъра. Там за мен идва големият въпрос - дали Томас Партей ще започне в 4-3-3 както срещу Бърнли, където той игра от дълбочина. Това ще ни позволи да използваме още един атакуващ футболист - Никола Пепе. Другият вариант е да остави Пепе на пейката и да стартира с Локонга и Парти в центъра както срещу Брайтън. Аз си мисля, че по - скоро това ще е схемата, но няма как да знаем със сигурност. Мачът е от 22:00ч. българско време и ще бъде излъчван по Диема Спорт 2. Със сигурност ще бъде емоционална вечер, Емиратс ще е пълен и аз съм сигурен, че Патрик Виера ще получи топлото посрещане, което заслужава. Пожелавам му да има успешен сезон, с изключение на две срещи и се надявам, Арсенал да направи всичко възможно, той и неговите хора да си тръгнат леко тъжни от Арсенал днес. Vieira, whoah...
  3. We could win things with these two 1997/98 again We weren't all that happy Last week, I explored the changes Arsene Wenger had made or he was putting in place. But what actually happened on the pitch? Honestly, most of the season we weren’t very happy. Yes, we had a nice spell from game 8 to game 12 when we were top, including a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham and a 5-0 of Barnsley, but after that we were back to the old Arsenal and down the table to 5th. We didn’t look like winning anything nor qualifying for Champions League. So it was same old same old. His £2M salary looked bad value in many ways. Lots of players playing meant some of our old favourites like Ian Wright weren’t playing every week. We were in the UEFA Cup and were dumped out in our first round in September by PAOK Salonika despite playing the top squad, only without Bergkamp in the away match because he wouldn’t fly. That didn’t help Wenger’s cause. Beaten by Pensioners in the League Cup We did better in the League Cup, beating Birmingham and their neighbours Coventry in our first two rounds, although we made hard work of it as we had to go to extra time in both matches. Here Wenger did play many squad members but he got away with it. Then we played some Pensioners in the semi’s. That wasn’t so good. We were beaten 4-3 over 2 legs. Chelsea were turning into a top team and had lots of fancy foreigners such as Ruud Gullit and Dan Petrescu, plus De Matteo, Vialli and Zola from Italy. Wenger played a strong team for both matches only giving starts to a small number of squad players. He kept saying his priority was the league but we weren’t lighting any fires in that. It was frustrating for fans not to see our absolute top team playing in a semi against our true biggest London rivals at the time. In fairness, Vieira got sent off on 48 and on 51 and 53, Chelsea made it 3-0 and the tie looked over after we won 2-1 in the first. Ill discipline was costing us again and Vieira was making it a habit. Wonderful player but loved red and yellow. Bergkamp scored a late consolation penalty but we were out. The FA Cup? Our trophy? We had Port Vale to start and bizarrely, Wenger put out a strong team only to draw 0-0 and go to a replay where he once again put out a strong team and they took us to penalties after 1-1 after extra time, both of which were scored in extra time. Pretty much our top team couldn’t score in 2 matches in normal time against Port Vale? I hope you are getting the idea that Wenger wasn’t really feeling the love from the fans. Next time against Middlesbrough we scored 3 goals, Overmars and Parlour put us 2-0 after 19 minutes and Merson got another on 62 to make it 3-0. Just joking, he had been sold to them by Wenger so I am sure he was delighted to show he wasn’t finished. It ended 2-1. Paul Merson happy to prove Wenger wrong Then Palace in the next and a scattering of second choice players gave us no goals and a replay which, again a bit understrength, we won 2-1. Considering Palace finished last that year, it wasn’t good. The glory days of George Graham looked to be far back in the distance. We couldn't really understand Wenger's logic with Alex Manninger West Ham up next with a young Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard in their line-up. Except for Manninger in goal, a strong line-up. But we couldn’t understand Wenger’s logic of resting a goalkeeper. They rarely have physically demanding matches, particularly with our defence, and we felt that he was messing up the understanding by playing him in cup matches. And we struggled again but came through after a replay with a restored David Seaman. We were making it hard Championship Wolves in the semi, and again a bit of a struggle to win. An understrength side got an early goal via a squad player. Christopher Wreh, after 12 minutes and that was enough. Now I am going to switch to the league. We were frustrated, Arsenal were playing attacking, fast football, scoring lots of goals but also many poor displays. Suddenly, though, on March 11 we beat Wimbledon 1-0 to the Arsenal and couldn’t stop winning, Wenger must have put premium petrol in our tank because we won 10 in a row culminating in sending Everton back home to Scouseland crying after we lashed 4 goals against them. We were back, we were Arsenal and we had won the league with 2 games to go. We were the best, Wenger was the best and the players were glorious. We weren't scared of Shearer On to Newcastle in the final. We had done the double over them in the league and duly won 2-0 from Overmars and Anelka. But it went wrong for Wright. He didn’t play, Christopher Wreh being preferred. No sub for him either. He was to be shipped out to West Ham in the summer and a bit of a sad end to a legend. I guess records like that are only going to be broken at the end of your career anyway. Anelka was seen as increasingly first choice, and raw or no, he looked explosive and set to be a world great. Wright was top class but not a world great. But he did get a league title and another FA cup medal courtesy of Arsene Wenger. Surely he would turn out to be an Arsenal great? But we, now, were surely world greats? Who was better than Bergkamp, Overmars, Petit, Vieira and Anelka? Our defence was still super and we had 5 one nils to the Arsenal in the league, Wenger’s nod to George Graham. And his nod to Bertie Mee with a magical double. Enchantment was performed before our very eyes by a wizard Frenchman. The Brightest star in the sky I can’t really convey the emotion we had. A season that had stuttered and spluttered like a firework gone out, unexpectedly exploded into a lightshow unlike any we had ever seen. We were Arsenal, we were fast, bright and shone throughout the sky. And hey, Mr Ferguson, that is us, the Arsenal, that you can see as a new star in the sky.
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