Friday, 30 April 2010

que sera sera

So we hit the home stretch and there are a lot of undecided things in this mediocre Premier League season.


Will Everton usurp Liverpool as Merseyside's top club?

Will Villa clinch a Champions League spot with a late run?

Will Chelsea implode?

Will Man Utd do 4 in a row and beat Liverpool's 18 titles record?

Will Arsenal have a longer pre- season than last year?

And of course will Sp*rs have the rug of optimism pulled out from under their hob nail booted feet at the eleventh hour yet again?

80 points Chelsea Maximum 86 Points
79 points Man Utd Maximum 85 Points
72 points Arsenal Maximum 78 points
64 points Sp*rs Maximum 73 Points
64 points Aston Villa Maximum 70 points
63 points Man City Maximum 72 points
62 points Liverpool Maximum 71 points
57 points Everton Maximum 63 points


Of course it could all go horribly wrong with Chelsea winning the league,Man City achieving Champions League status thus enabling them to buy more players for crazy money, Arsenal finishing fifth on goal difference and Liverpool, while finishing sixth make an appeal to EUFA (again) and get included in the Champions League 'cos 'it's not fair la'.

I guess what will be, will be;

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Defend and conquer

Last night at the Camp Nou bought to mind another outstanding defensive display against the odds.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Beauty at what cost

So the amazing Barcelona, conquerors of Arsenal face their Waterloo against Jose’s Inter Milan. Set up nicely for the Italians through defensive strength and lack of marvelling at how incredible Barca are.

As I said previously on my post of 7th April:

'This morning’s analysis has been equally as hysterical; ‘Messi is the best player of all time’ ‘Barca are unbeatable’ etc with a dearth of exceptional European clubs it is the easy option to focus on the exception to the rule.I hope that inter beat them, not through sour grapes but to prove a point that there's more to football than hyperbole and exaggeration and that you can win ugly as well as winning with a whipped cream cherry coated topping. '
I am no great admirer of Mourinho the man but he is able to produce effective teams that win things.

This may go against the grain of some but I think that the worse thing that can happen is that Barcelona over turn Inter Milan and the whole ‘other planet’ hype starts again. A Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan would show that there’s more to football than just pretty patterns. A lesson that a certain manager could do with learning.

Blackburn v Arsenal where it all began

October, 1996. Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Arsenal Arsene Wenger's first Game as Arsenal Manager.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Bould, Adams, Winterburn, Platt,
Vieira, Merson, Wright, Hartson
Subs: Parlour (Hartson 85), Shaw, Linighan, Rose, Lukic

Blackburn: Flowers, Kenna, Sherwood, Bohinen, Wilcox, Marker, Sutton,
Berg, Donis, Beattie, Croft
Subs: Ripley (Donis 64), Gudmundsson (Wilcox 75), Given,
Flitcroft, Broomes

Result : Blackburn (0) 0 Arsenal (1) 2 Scorers: Wright 3,51

Of the matchday squad Wenger inherited and kept hold of Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Bould, Adams, Winterburn, along with Parlour and Wright (and a decent second goalkeeper in Lukic) not a bad backbone to start with!

May, 2010. Blackburn Rovers ?-? Arsenal

This is the next game. How many of Monday's matchday squad would a new manager retain?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Lee Speaks

A voice of reason

"I always ask people who have played that position before making a judgement. If its goalkeeping I’ll ask David Seaman and Bob Wilson; they both said about Jens Lehmann that he was a good goalkeeper, neither of them when I asked, have said they think Almunia or Fabianski is good enough. I would suggest that they are right."
-Lee Dixon

Sunday, 25 April 2010

What if?

As Season ticket renewal time approaches we all look into our souls (and pockets) and ponder on signing on the dotted. I have seriously been thinking about not renewing for reasons well documented by me in arsenalism, from Wenger’s ethos to the thin plastic glasses at the bars. But of course I will renew. Why, I hear you ask? Because “What if?
What if this season we see a change of tack from Arsene and the glory years of the Invincibles return?
What if we hammer ManUtd and Chelsea at The emirates?
What if we play Barcelona in the Champions League semi final and win 4-1?
What if RVP plays a whole season and does a Ronaldo/Rooney/Drogba for us, week in week out ?
What if we clinch the title on the last day of the season at the emirates beating Sp*rs 1-0 in the 90th minute resigning them to relegation?

Yes it’s all fanciful stuff but;

What if Arsenal play good football with some resilience and heart and we see some proven players join the club and we compete week in week out and don’t capitulate and the players play their hearts out every week and we see a decent goalkeeper and we try to win all competitions and we see Arsenal Football club get back on track.

Well that’s all it takes as far as I’m concerned. If young talent is given a fair go, if we can all see that lessons have been learnt and if Arsene says “Okay, you've all been loyal supporters, I've tried something that hasn't worked and I am going to commit to following a path that makes sense and I will ensure that I try with every means at my disposal to fulfil the promises made when we moved to the Emirates”

“And I will tell that bloody announcer to get rid of ‘The Wonder of you’”

That’s all I want. For that I will happily sign on for another year!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Sunshine on Emirates

The sun is shinning and ManUtd have just beaten sp*rs. Obviously this takes Fergie's men further away from arsenal, but, to paraphrase Nessa; Truth be told third place for us is about right. Now of course we need to beat the team from Middle Eastlands to ensure a happy St Totteringham's day and confirm automatic qualification for the Champions League. Vieira will be be sauntering around the pitch as he recuperates from years of being an all action midfield presence and Adebayor will be sauntering around the pitch as he used to do at The Emirates week in week out. Let's not forget what an absolute top man for us Patrick was and happily give him a warm welcome (not at the detriment to supporting our own team though).

Tourre, Silvinho and Stuart Taylor are also part of Citeh's set up and they all deserve some credit. Emmanuel should, rightly, be given the Ashley treatment. Yes I know it's not big and it's not clever but hey 'let him have it' I say.Yes I include those of you who arrive by Rickshaw, clutching your free programme and free pint voucher having managed to find an O2 Angel!
Don't you just love it when the sunshines over the Arsenal. Come on Gunners!

Giggs celebrates his penalty against sp*rs

Mind blowing decisions

I have decided that this will be my final word on Wenger this season. I want to enjoy the closing moments of what has been a frustrating season.

Avoiding hysteria it is easier to present some tangible evidence of the problems at hand.

Poor decisions, we all make them from time to time; however a Football manager needs to ensure he doesn’t make a string of poor decisions. Away from the opinion and conjecture there are facts that point to an unprecedented number of poor decisions made by Wenger in recent years. Decisions that were all undeniably poor.

For example
Selling Pires and other players too soon due to a ridiculous age related policy yet then buying Silvestre.
Selling Gilberto too soon and letting Flamini and Diarra go at the same time
Not buying Shay Given.
Not playing Arshavin & Song in the 2009 FA cup semi Final.
Loaning out Philip Senderos this season
A plethora of incomprehensible substitutions; for example bringing on Eboue at Left Midfield (with the resultant impact on the player)
Making Almunia captain
Not investing in a striker when he knew that RVP would be out for most of the season.
The list goes on and on.

It’s boring to go on about the ‘has he hasn't he’ financial situation and the influence this has on decisions but the majority of the poor decisions have had nothing to do with the, shrouded in mystery, money situation. Pure and simple Wenger’s bad decisions have had a considerable impact. It’s time he started redressing the balance.

When a person in a position of power starts to make decisions that defy logic it generally results in a revolution a coup or more years of suffering. Rarely, if ever does the emperor change his ways.
A good emperor puts his subjects before him self.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Happy St Georges day

Will Wenger's legacy be as Proffessor or Mad Hatter
Arsene Wengers first ten years at Arsenal broken down really goes to show the extent of Arsenal's success, but stats alone don't tell the whole story of the beautiful football, the swagger and the guts.
The danger is that for all Wenger's success he may end up tainting his achievements through hubris. Now that would be madness!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Gunners With Attitude

You know there was a time when Arsenal played the beautiful game but with attitude!
Remember the Red cards, Pizza gate,Keown takes on Ruud,Freddie flicks the Vs at Sp*rs, Thierry reminds them who's boss, Jens gets involved, Thierry mugs off Danny Mills, Patrick sticks up for his boys, Gilberto offers out Ibrahimovitch "come on boys let's have it!"
Remember Arsene You can mix panache and trophies with cojones!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

NoFIGHT CLUB the truth

Now it all makes sense.

Wenger is Tyler Durden the architect of Project Mayhem, Pat Rice is the narrator and Fight Club is Youth Club. David Fincher turned Chuck Palahniuk’s Novel into a prediction of Wenger’s philosophical doctrine.
Just look at some of the quotes; Fincher's take on a wenger press conference

“Youth club was the beginning, now it's moved out of the basement, it's called Project Mayhem.”

“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for goalkeepers drops to zero.”

“Tell him the manager who destroyed our prospects has realigned my perception.”

“We have front row seats for this theater of mass destruction. The demolition committee of Project Mayhem wrapped the foundation columns of the club with metaphorical blasting gelatin. In two minutes, primary charges will blow base charges and the future of arsenal will be reduced to smoldering rubble. I know this... because Wenger knows this.”

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected.”

“This is your season and it's ending one minute at a time.”

“If I did have a tumor, I'd name it Wenger”

“After Arsenal, everything else in your life got the volume turned down”

And perhaps most telling;

“Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken”

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Witness for Almunia's prosecution
Don't go to the Emirates if you have Coulrophobia

"Your Honour, Much as I do not like singling out individuals I feel I must present the following evidence and ask that a guilty verdict be reached"

In 2007 Jens Lehman made a couple of errors at the start of the season. In the first league game of the season, against Fulham (a game Arsenal won 2–1) and in the second match against Blackburn in a game that finished 1–1. This led to Wenger replacing him with Manuel Almunia as first choice goalkeeper; he even selected Fabianski in a cup game ahead of Lehman and made him captain. Wenger, in effect terminated Jens’ Arsenal career.

Jens was voted UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year for the 1996-97 and 2005–06 seasons, and at the time of leaving Arsenal, had been selected for three World cup squads. He was a key factor in Arsenal’s first-ever accession to the Champions League final; during their run Arsenal broke the record for the most consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League with ten, breaking the record of seven that Milan had set just one year before. That run formed the bulk of an 853-minute spell without conceding a goal, overtaking the CL record for an individual goalkeeper set by Edwin Van Der Sar. Jens made a vital penalty save in the ECL Semi Final of 2006 and also made a vital save in The FA Cup Final penalty shoot out in 2005, helping to win Arsenal’s last trophy. Perhaps his greatest achievement, to go alongside his medals, is being goalkeeper for the entirety of an unprecedented unbeaten league campaign

Manuel Almunia, therefore was Wenger’s replacement for Lehman on the basis of two errors. It is a logical and undeniable fact that you need to replace like for like or better, when replacing players.

Let’s examine Almunia’s Credentials.

No records in EPL or ECL, no international caps, no UEFA nominations.

Almunia currently lies at number 10 in the official Premier League rankings below Given, Hart, Sorenson, Cech, Friedel, Jaaskelainen, Van Der Sar, Schwarzer and Gomes.

He is ranked 7th in the league on saves with a save percentage of 66.3%

However, he is currently joint top Own Goal scorer with Knight, Dann and Zayatte

Some of the errors made in decisive games.
EPL v Man Utd-bad decision allows Evra to put in Ronaldo.
ECL Semi Final v Ronaldo- a crucial point in a game where having conceded early from a genuine error by a young player we had to get back on terms to mount a comeback.Ronaldo fired in a free kick from distance to kill the game.
EPL v Man Utd-Nani punishes poor positioning.
EPL v Birmingham-When people say Arsenal lost the league at WHL it is incorrect, the league slipped through Manuel’s fingers at St Andrews due to this eleventh hour blunder.
ECL v Barcelona-Ibrahimovitch chips a poorly positioned Almunia
EPL v Sp*rs- The Danny Rose incident.
Etc Etc Etc...

Opinions are one thing these are the facts and they are indisputable.
Billy Casper-"I'm going to be Manuel Almunia"

Monday, 19 April 2010

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad."

Time to end quiet reflection I'm angry!

Howard Beale at the Clock End

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad...I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" -Howard Beale

Sunday, 18 April 2010

it's grim up North

I spent today having afternoon Tea at The Wolseley ('ooh, very lah dee da' I hear you say) prior to going I watched the first half hour of today's game and Sky+d the rest. I successfully managed to maintain a communication blackout as I sipped my Darjeeling.On my return, full up on Scones, Battenburg and Cucumber sandwiches I sat and watched the denouement of the fixture.

This is no time for knee jerk reactions (although I know who I would like to kick, and that would involve jerking my knee) or suicide, it's more a question of frustration at the short comings that we all know about and that the Manager ignores and chooses to carry on regardless with. Let's not talk about the penalty that should have been or a Wigan wonder goal or 'these things happen' or Arsenal being out of the title race with just three games to go or indeed about the injury list. Let's talk about something I mentioned at the start of the year; Squad poverty.

The Arsenal squad should be able to absorb injuries, but it clearly cannot. The last few League games have crystallised where the problems are.

Fabianski comes in a makes a terrible howler that cost's a goal (sound familiar?). If we had a first choice keeper of any quality then this error by the second choice would not have been as costly,as in all probability that quality keeper would not have already cost us points. Also Wenger's thinking that among your squad of keepers you don't need an experienced one among them is foolhardy at best; Goalkeeping situation at the club-not good enough.
Conceding a late equaliser at a crucial time of the season-not good enough.
3 out of 15 players competing in a local derby during a must win game-not good enough.
Throwing away a 2 goal lead against a relegation threatened team-not good enough.
The insufficient level of maturity among the squad (due to Arsene)-not good enough.
Failure to invest in the small number of proven players that would make a difference-not good enough.
Recent Results (okay Barca are a good team)
Birmingham 1 Arsenal 1
Arsenal 2 Barcelona 2
Arsenal 1 Wolves 0
Barcelona 4 Arsenal 1
Spurs 2 Arsenal 1
Wigan 3 Arsenal 2
-Not good enough
Actually the list goes on and on! from letting players leave the club too soon to adopting a style of play that results in a negative deficit of shots on target.

A 3-2 defeat at Wigan can happen to the best of teams so hysteria is inappropriate when it's just one of those things. But this goes deeper, so deep in fact that it's a bit of a downer to think about it. Is mediocrity the legacy of the Emirates and Wenger's philosophy undertaken in 2006? We all know that as poor as Man Utd and Chelsea have been this season they have destroyed us and are clearly better, and the club have almost fallen into the trap of accepting this.

If, as looks likely, we finish third (yes I know, you wonder!?) then no one can complain about league position reflecting the merits of the club. If the club views that, as a major achievement and a sign that things aren't so bad, I would seriously worry about the path we will be taking next season.

This has all put a bit of a downer on today.

Lovely Battenburg though!

It's Grim up North London

From Mick

Thank you For On A Lighter Note.  

Despite the fact the club's not the same stuffy institution I supported as a child, that's it's turned into a brand rather than a club... a tiny sparkle remains, and sparks turn into flames... like the song says, I'll be around.
Mick M

On a lighter Note

11th January 1936: Arsenal football supporters cheer from the train carriage as they leave Paddington Station, London, on their way to Bristol for their team's FA Cup tie against Bristol City.

The gnashing of teeth, weeping and wailing has quietened down (unlike the extended carnival in N17) so let’s look at the last knockings of a frustrating season;

Wigan-Northern pallid and irritating
Man Citeh-Big mouths and big pockets with a retired international in their ranks and an opportunity to give our ex Captain some much deserved applause.
Blackburn-Allardyce is a horrible person and would prefer to see his mate Alex finish second, Nuff said
Fulham-good manager, good club, fair play and we’ll have Hangeland if that’s okay Roy.

And that will be that. Should finish in automatic Champions League spot, if not second, and who knows we may be in the Charity Shield come August.

Which brings me to the ‘on a lighter note’ bit?

We are not Liverpool. I find it absolutely hysterical that they are looking at The Europa Cup as a means of glossing over a shocking season. I mean, we have beaten them thrice this season! I’m sure they will produce a black armband to commemorate such a poor season.

We are not Sp*rs. They released, within 24 hours, a DVD ‘A night to remember’ in honour of a 2-1 league win.

We are not Everton, Birmingham, Stoke, Blackburn, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Bolton or Wigan who all clutter up the league with mediocrity. We are better and hopefully we should be a lot better next time around.

And most of all, despite our faults, we are not a team full of arrogant brash loathsome twerps like JT, Ashley, Shawcross, Lamps, Rio, and other assorted chavlebrities. This much is true.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Twelve step programme


1. Hope

2. Expectation

3. Optimism

4. Elation

5. Irritation

6. Frustration

7. Anger

8. Pessimism

9. Disappointment

10. Realisation

11. Acceptance

12. Love

Then you start it all over again in September!

Views, opinions and that...

To Contact me you can