Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Arsene Wenger’s best and worst Arsenal XIs


1. Richard Wright
Arrived as the new David Seaman. After several errors, departed six months later as the older Stuart Taylor.

2. Justin Hoyte
Made more than 60 appearances but never looked comfortable. At Arsenal from the age of nine, he was eventually coaxed to leave in 2008.

3. Armand Traoré
Has recovered somewhat at QPR and has competition from Andre Santos in this position, but looked a feckless disaster whenever he lined out for Wenger.

4. Mark Randall
Much-tipped schemer on the fringes of first team for several season. Never impressed. Bounced around lower leagues and currently with MK Dons.

5. Igors Stepanovs
Latvian centre-half associated with many calamities, notably the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford in 2001.

6. Stathis Tavlaridis
Known as The Bull for his aggressive style, the Greek arrived for a million pounds from Iraklis Thessaloniki in 2001. Turns out his reputation was largely bull.

7. Amaury Bishoff
Mysterious French-Portuguese midfielder who arrived from Werder Bremen as an injured “gamble on talent”. The mystery was never solved. He departed after one sub appearance.

8. Julio Baptista
Shouldn’t be in Wenger’s worst midfield in terms of talent, but certainly should in terms of the return on his much heralded arrival. Neither beast or beauty.

9. Tomas Danilevičius
Lithuania’s record goalscorer couldn’t quite interrupt the Henry-Bergkamp axix. The beanpole frontman made two league starts in 2000.

10. Fabián Caballero
Paraguayan hot prospect signed on loan in 1998. Most notable contribution; a red card for punching Preston’s Ryan Kidd in an FA Cup tie.

11. Kaba Diawara
The Guinean played in England for Arsenal, West Ham and Blackburn. Never scored a goal. Hit the post many times for Arsenal though.


1. David Seaman
Won two doubles and edges Jens Lehman on sanity alone. On the pitch anyway.

2. Lauren
People didn’t tend to talk very much about Arsenal’s soft centre when he was around. A menacing presence and tidy, versatile, footballer.

3. Ashley Cole
Once you’ve broken up the ‘famous back-four’ Cole is a cert over Nigel Winterburn. Maybe England’s best-ever in the position.

5. Tony Adams
Won most things in the drinking years, won them again with Wenger in the sober years.

6. Sol Campbell
You certainly couldn’t leave him out, considering what you might be accused of. But a deserved selection as one of the key rocks of the unbeaten season.

4. Patrick Vieira
Maybe Arsene will yet rectify matters this season, but he has won nothing at the club without Vieira.

7 Robert Pires
Started slowly and faded towards the end of his Arsenal time. Maybe never recaptured his best after the cruciate injury in 2002. But his best was magnificent.

8. Emmanuel Petit
Fabregas a candidate here, but is tainted by failure. Petit’s Arsenal flourish was brief but his partnership with Vieira almost became a template for the perfect midfield.

9. Thierry Henry
Didn’t play in arguably Wenger’s most exciting team; the side that charged to the 1998 double. But while Anelka defected, Henry injected swagger into Wenger’s powerful model and for many years was the chief reason the stadium was always full and the Arsenal ticket exchange remained busy.

10. Dennis Bergkamp
If Wenger was fortunate to inherit a defence, he was equally blessed to find a velvet cog to hang his passing game on.

11. Marc Overmars
Another whose star at Arsenal burned out fast but only Ljungberg in 2002 came close to emulating his knack for important goals in the 1998 run-in.

Is it becoming too hot in Arsene’s kitchen?


Arsene Wenger’s tormenters are circling for the kill now. There is a Shakespearean vibe around North London. A great man is on the verge of being driven demented by betrayal and changed circumstances.

It could only ever have ended this way. They wrote him up as a learned professor knowing well that, one day, they would send him packing, in the final act, as a fool.

‘Wenger is in meltdown,’ the excited clamour goes. And since the Bard’s stuff doesn’t sell as well any more, they have begun to liken him to Basil Fawlty again, their greatest clown.

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Thierry Henry’s 5 Greatest Moments for Arsenal

Photo by Mark Hammond

As an Arsenal fan feeling a little subdued by some early Autumnal blues brought about by the usual mix of an unfortunate amount of injuries in our squad, a last minute goal against us in the North and this horrendously dismal September rain, i decided to think back to better days. Doing so one man always comes to mind. Va va voom. Thierry Henry. The Arsenal legend and the reason Jay Z said he loves New York. Ok, i made that bit up, but he is an Arsenal legend. And, thinking about Henry, i decided to make a list of his 5 greatest Arsenal moments.

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The top 10 Arsenal goals under Arsene Wenger – Part 2

Ok. These are the other 5 goals. I wanted to include the classic Adebayor goal against Tottenham in 2008 but i opted against it. You might not agree, different criteria et al, but if you need to ask why i left his goal out then you either are lying to yourself or aren’t an Arsenal fan. So, the other 5 goals in the part 2 of the top 10 Arsenal goals under Arsene Wenger. Youtube videos are, inevitably, here too. Enjoy.

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The top 10 Arsenal goals under Arsene Wenger – Part 1

For want of a better idea i decided to create a list of the 10 best goals we have scored under Wenger’s reign. Well, the 10 best i could remember browsing over the results chart of the last decade and more. Remembering the crackers isn’t that dificult actually. Youtube videos are, of course, attached. This is part 1 with the first 5 goals. Enjoy.

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Part 2 of the 8 most revealing quotes from Arsene Wenger about Arsene Wenger

”Some are wrong because they are not strong enough to fight temptation and some some are wrong because they do not know.”

Wenger at his Dostoyevskian best. We are all guilty whether we realise it or not. Wenger might not be a Christian but this statement is as Christian as they come. I’m not entirely sure of the context but I think it is related to the tactical approach of managers at the Emirates and Higbury. Still, as a stand alone quip, this could be from any classic Russian novel of the romantic period. Wenger is called a un philosophe for a reason only it isn’t usually this.


“I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel yesterday, but I fell asleep.”

Wenger is a true gooner. For all his professionalism Arsene Wenger is a football fan at heart. He understands rivalry and he recognises the importance of certain matches to fans. To Arsenal fans nothing is better than beating Tottenham. Wenger understood this, took it to heart and made sure his players understood it too. Beating Tottenham is vital. Bergkamp knew it, Henry knew it, Fabregas knows it. More pertinently Wenger knows that beating Tottenham is not all there is to it, it is also necessary to put them down at every available opportunity. Reminding Tottenham that the football they play is nothing, in terms of aesthetic appeal, compared to what he offers at Arsenal is part of the deal.


“Sometimes now, when I watch continental games on television, I’m a bit bored. I’m thinking: ‘Where is the intensity?'”

A Frenchman becomes an anglophile. Who would have believed that would happen when Wenger walked through the marble doors at Highbury all those years ago? Well it happened and Wenger never tires of telling us how much he likes the country. The multiculturalism, the passion, the reason. Wenger often says he feels at home in London and the United Kingdom. When he tells us how much he dislikes contemporary football in continental Europe it is merely his way of reaffirming his affection for the United Kingdom and the Premiership.


“A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful.”

Wenger is a poet too. Only we see this side of him all too infrequently and so it is often forgotten. Sir Alex Ferguson has his inspiration and quips, Mourinho his bravado and charisma, Wenger has his philosophy and poetry. All great managers in their own right, actually this goes without saying, but this part of Wenger, the poet, is all too often forgotten or misunderstood.

The 8 most revealing quotes from Arsene Wenger about Arsene Wenger

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger watches before the start of his team's Champions League Group H soccer match against Partizan Belgrade in Belgrade September 28, 2010. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (SERBIA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Part 1 of the 8 most revealing quotes from Arsene Wenger about Arsene Wenger


”At a young age winning is not the most important thing. The important thing is to develop creative and good skilled players with confidence.”

Yes, Wenger said this. Then again it’s not exactly hard to believe. Truthfully, I am convinced the man is right only I think he might be ‘more’ right, if such a notion is plausible, if he said that it was important for young players to be creative, good skilled, confident and to have a winning mentality to boot. Having skill, confidence and the ability to create sounds like our first team. Somebody should whisper in Wenger’s ear that a winning mentality helps too.


”I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables.”

Wenger made this remark once whilst speaking about the dietary influence he had on the English Premier League. It was known that professional players in England in the early to mid nineties played without caring much for the impact their diet had on their performance but when Wenger arrived, so the legend has it, he revolutionised the way a modern professional footballer, an athlete, should take care of himself in his own time. No longer was it enough to eat appropriately when with the club on duty, it was now also a necessity for the player to take care of himself when away from the club. This impact will perhaps be Wenger’s greatest legacy to English football, apart from the invincibles of course.


”Of course we also have the responsibility to win games and the difficulty in the job is to combine both.”

Wenger was speaking about the importance of entertainment aligned to success. His theory, a somewhat beautiful one however idealistic and wanting of pragmatism it might be, is, for the most part, his defining characteristic. Winning is important but not the be all and end all. When we consider that it is, as the cliché never fails to remind us, a results business, well, we realise just what a startlingly original manager we have. For everybody else success is paramount, for Wenger there is no hierarchy as the two, entertainment and success, are equals.


”Of the nine red cards this season we probably deserved half of them.”

The Frenchman is renowned for his considered eye sight. He sees what he wants, when he wants. It’s infuriating yet wonderful, naïve yet masterful. Wenger is always effusive even when he is clearly calculated and merely employing a step in his plan. He adorns the manner of a man who would never ask his players to play aggressively and when they do he rarely acknowledges the problem. ”I never saw it” was a post match manager’s comment for as long as I can remember, Arsene Wenger took it to new levels, for better or worse.