Wednesday, 30 November 2011

ATALE OF TWO SQUADS


As our Carling cup run ends with a tight victory for Citeh the only real difference between the two protagonists tonight was squad depth.

That little bit of quality against a touch of inexperience was the deciding factor. Given that Man City have had just shy of £1Billion pumped into the club at all levels we need to take the result in context.

The sideshow of Nasri's return was nothing more than angry words from Frimpong aimed at the Frenchman but this alongside Oxlade- Chamberlain and Coquelin's performanaces gave an insight into the different young characters in our squad.

Competing realistically in four trophies was always going to be stretching things thin for us, so we pick ourselves up take the positives from the game and get ready for premiership action safe in the knowledge that we are safely into the knock out stages of the Champions League; something I would wager City would swap for tonight’s result.

Best of enemies: Emmanuel Frimpong goads Arsenal old boy Samir Nasri (left)

Monday, 28 November 2011

ARSENAL MAKE IT TEN NOT OUT

glass half full.jpg

A league season is full of awkward fixtures, badly scheduled and sometimes with flat performances. What is important is to take something from these games; on Saturday we did and the draw keeps us ticking over. Some reactions to not losing have been mystifyingly hysterical. We drew a game and stay unbeaten for a substantial period having clinched qualification in the Champions League 4 days earlier.
 It's all about context. A home draw against Fulham following a string of league wins is good form no matter how you look at it. Remember; we are still rebuilding.

Since WHL: WWWWWDWWWD is fine form, let’s not forget that.

No time to look any deeper, a cup game on Tuesday and a point to prove for some of our squad followed by a chance for a continuation of our good league form on Saturday awaits. Rebuilding continues and as such we should remember that, at the moment, the glass is certainly half full.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

 

ESPN have deemed that today’s game between Arsenal and Fulham take place at 5:30; the worst kick off time since sliced bread.

It messes up every routine a supporter might have. I got my head round 12.00 kick offs, I have come to terms with Sunday games, but 5:30 Saturday; terrible and inconvenient.

I guess the good thing to take from the early evening/late afternoon shenanigans is that we will know how Chelsea, Man Utd, Newcastle and Sp*rs have got on, and this knowledge may give some added motivation. The fact that Man Utd v Newcastle means points dropped above us is also well timed. Ditto for Liverpool v Man City Tomorrow.

Three points today is the mission statement and we can head towards 5:30 with some real confidence based on our current form, particularly at the Emirates. It may also be an opportunity for some peripheral players to put in an appearance ahead of Tuesday's cup game.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

ARSENAL: DEVELOPING THE PICTURE

I don’t really buy into the philosophy of avoiding the big teams in the Champion’s League. I feel that you have to play a good team at some point; that’s what the Champions League is all about. However, topping the group means avoiding Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at the first knock out stage which, to be fair, is a good thing. Not in the sense of fearing coming up against such teams but, it gives an opportunity for this set of players to keep growing. Never the less there are some decent sides who have finished second (AC Milan)  and look like finishing second that we could draw. The important thing is that we’ve qualified splendidly from, let’s not forget, a tough group consisting of two domestic Champions.

We can put the Champions League into hibernation until 2012, knowing that the trip to Greece on 6th December is academic.

This means we can focus on gaining three points in our Premier account on Saturday, and getting past Man City (who may have one eye on Europe) next week to make progress in the Carling Cup.

What’s been good of late is the emergence of a real team spirit, a sense that these guys want to play for each other. Of Course our Captain is setting high standards but we’ve also seen some quiet and unsung work going on; Koscielny’s improvement has been amazing, Ramsey is gaining in consistency, Song is looking proficient and comfortable, TV5 and Arteta have bought a sense of composure to the party and Theo is shutting up some of the haters.

The squad are looking like they want to do something this season and it’s to be commended how they have all turned things around.

In a season that looked like it would be defined by events at Old Trafford we have seen defining moments at Stamford Bridge and against WBA and last night. Moments that need to be appreciated for what they are; shoots of growth of this great club of ours getting back on track.

If I paint an optimistic picture it's because there is genuine room for optimism because what we are seeing is a team again in Red & White.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WE QUALIFIED THEY DIDN'T

133994686_crop_650x440

For one night only I’m going to indulge in some football   schadenfreude; we won tonight and secured our place in the knock out stages of the Champion’s League. Our next game in the competition is a case of Cigar on, Cognac in hand.

Citeh lost, Man Utd drew and Chelsea lost; we sailed through courtesy of an RVP double and a good performance all round.

Praise? Of course not, credit? Don’t be silly. But, guess what? I don’t care , we were triumphant and set the standard tonight for Premier league clubs.

Put that in your media pipe and choke on it smoke it.
1.ARSENAL 11
2.Marseille 7
3.Olymoiakos 6
4. Borussia Dortmund 4



 

 


 











LONDON CAN TAKE IT

A draw and a loss for Manchester last night. City are hanging on by a thread and may fall short of The Invincibles (to whom they are being compared in the league) in Europe, who reached the quarter final stage and now its London’s turn against the Germans; or more specifically North London, as where Chelsea are concerned “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”. Talking of Chelsea, they have announced that Anelka can go in January for around £1m. Could it be time for Nic to ‘come home’? As I said yesterday, with Chamakh in Africa we could do with some established cover up front. Stranger things have happened.

A Win tonight and we are going to the next phase. Lessons learned from previous campaigns point to us trying to finish the job tonight, but lest we forget Dortmund are German Champions so it should be a good game. With Fulham at home on Saturday at the utterly frustrating ESPN driven time of 5:30 and the Carling cup tie next week  we have a good seven days to make progress in three different tournaments. No bombast, just let's see how we get on. These are the good times.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

TITLES AND TALL TALES

So after beating an insipid Villa team Sp*rs, under the glorious leadership of next England manager Arthur Dailey Harry Redknapp, are title contenders. This is a team that have yet to visit Stamford Bridge, Eastlands, Anfield or The Emirates, a team that were beaten, by Manchester Untied and comprehensively defeated, at home by Man City, but a team who have 'appy 'arry at the helm and the Messiah Bale 'rampaging' up and down the wing, so I guess anythings possible; I may even have a bet on Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson having a new record ourt for Christmas.
In other news Man City are being hailed as the new Invincibles after an undefeated run of 12 games this season and 4 at the end of the last, making an impresive 16 games unbeaten. If they can resist defeat in the next 34 games they will indeed be the new invincibles. Some might say that the media are a tad early in their assertions, but what do I know? City are also being compared with the current European Champions. One could argue that this is a quantative comparison and only consistent European form is the comparitor; in this respect it's not a good one.

And finally with Chamakh heading off to the African Cup of Nations next year will we see the emergence of Park or the return of that legend in his own mind Nicklas Bendtner? To be fair B52 has scotred 5 in 5 for Denmark this season and 2 in 7 for Sunderland, but are his bridges burnt at the Emirates? with rotation an inevitability will he be summoned back as cover for RVP? he would certainly benefit from Jenkinson's crossing ability and Walcott's delivery. Stranger things have happened.


CATCH 22


Chelsea 22

Sp*rs 22

Liverpool 22

Arsenal  22

It’s tight at ‘just below the top'. Obviously with tonight’s game between Villa and Sp*rs things may change but it’s rather heartening that we are now in the chase with the following pack. One set of fans are feeling the strain though: Chelsea fans. They are now experiencing the anti manager media, the questioning press and the disgruntlement of media types. Chelsea have had some bad results one might say but that is to take away from Arsenal and Liverpool. Chelsea have won and lost  the same amount of games as Arsenal. Only difference being we have scored more and they have conceded less. Now there are calls for AVB's head and criticism of their aging squad, Torres is a figure of derision and there are doubts about their perceived automatic ECL qualification. I wonder how the new Chelsea fan base will react should things continue in a media led 'downward spiral'. 
Chelsea Fan
That's how easy it is for the knives to come out in this business; lose a couple of games and it's doom and gloom.
The Arsenal have been going quietly about our business with a minimum of fuss and this has led to a cooling of from the anti Arsenal press. When we do well it all goes quiet. But we all know that won't last. Failure to hammer Dortmund 7-0 on Wednesday will probably result in the usual hysterical back page headlines. This is a given, as the press don't really enjoy criticising Chelsea; it's not part of the sports journalists playbook.
So to all those Chelsea fans experiencing the current backlash I say "Welcome to our world"
The thing is that it couldn't be happening to a nicer club.
Still funny

Monday, 21 November 2011

TALKING ARSENAL


"You need big shoulders to play for Arsenal. The cannon is heavy."
-Thierry Henry
"I still think Arsenal are the most beautiful club in England. At Man City and Chelsea, they will never have that class and style,"
- Marco Van Basten
"I thought the biggest honour in football was to captain England, but I was wrong. It was to captain Arsenal today."
–Joe Mercer
“Fergie said I was a Manchester United player in the wrong shirt - I said he was an Arsenal manager in the wrong blazer.”
-Tony Adams

Saturday, 19 November 2011

ARSENAL TO THE NEW YEAR


So today  as battle recommences in Norwich after surely the longest and dullest International break of all time. Between now and the end of the year Arsenal games come thick and fast. In 41 days Arsenal play 11 times that’s approximately a match every 4 days. This is a pivotal part of the season; before the transfer window and prior to the FA Cup kicking in

AWAY
Norwich
Wigan
Olympiacos

Manchester City PL
Aston Villa
HOME
Borrussia Dortmund
Fulham
Manchester City CC
Everton
Wolves
QPR

Clearly we are going to need 25 hours in a day and 8 days in a week, but, crucuially I feel that we have players now who won't crumble under the avalanche of fixtures. When games are this frequent a lot of putting in good performances is character. Players coming in for injured team mates, Subs coming off the bench, squad members digging deep.
This is the first time for a number of years that I see some heart out there on the pitch. Our usual November is a bad time and has become something of an Albatross but some players rise to these things, and those that don't have been jettisoned.
I see in players like Rosicky (who admittedly I wrote off)Arteta, Benayoun, Santos and Mertersacker, guys that will be called upon and not shirk.
Getting through this next 41 days also gives the squad a boost going into the new year with the return of Wilshere and Sagna and any squad members (if any)bought in during the window.
But we should not look forward with trepidation but with optomism and excitement. There's something about going to watch The Arsenal at this time of year; Boxing day games,a nip in the air, warm pubs and good company, and to be in the thick of things is a great feeling. On paper we have some winnable fixtures ahead and league wise just one tricky match with Citeh, but i'm looking forward to each game as I think we are still a work in progress therefore each game should be competitive.
Hopefully good times to be an Arsenal fan await.

Friday, 18 November 2011

ARSENAL CAN CUT THE MUSTARD AT NORWICH

Fry
Norwich has given us all manor of minor celebrity, cook, condiment and quiz show let's see them give us three points tommorrow to draw this interminable Interlull to a close.
Smith
Football
Quiz
Mustard
Nelson

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Power without accountability

“I would deny it. There is no racism, there is maybe one of the players towards another, he has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one, but also the one who is affected by that. 'He should say that this is a game. We are in a game, and at the end of the game, we shake hands”-Blatter on Racism

Lets be clear Sepp Blatter is not crazy, idiotic or a nincompoop. Well, actually he is, but he’s not only those things; he’s dangerous.

Dangerous because he has the lethal combination of Power without accountability.

Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men – such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?”-Blatter on Women’s Football

There is irrefutable evidence of corruption against him. He has made ill judged comments about women. His latest statement regarding racism is mind bogglingly irresponsible. His list of misdemeanours as head of World Football's governing body is lengthy and so disgraceful that he must have some sort of mystic power to enable him to retain his position, which has been shown to be untenable on a number of occassions.

“I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.”-Blatter on Gay fans travelling to Qatar

Yet he retains his place at the head of the football table; as a dictator does, and as a dictator is wont to do, power has gone to his head.
mad President
“There is no systematic corruption in FIFA. That is nonsense. We are financially clean and clear.”-Blatter on Corruption in FIFA

This is the man who runs World Football. He has been called the Prince Phillip of FIFA, but that paints him as a harmless old duffer. He’s not harmless; he’s the Kim Jong IL of world football.

Of course the powers that be in England are not exactly helping matters. It has taken over a month for the announcement of an investigation into allegations of racism against Liverpool's Suarez. More concerning is that John Terry, who is being investigated for racism, captained England this week. Now, one could say innocent until proven guilty, but video evidence which is regularly used in football to sanction players has shown the facts of the matter, and yet the armband of captaincy proudly worn by Moore, Beckham and Adams has been allowed to be tarnished by Mr Terry. When you have a head of the whole shebang like Blatter, you allow flagrant disregard for what's right.



Blatter's FIFA carry on regardless. Handing out trifling fines when players are racially abused in Spain and Eastern Europe while on international duty. FIFA turn a blind eye to practises that they boast of challenging and our own FA and Premier League follow suit. racism in football is still a cancer but unfortunately the Surgeon General is a man without responsibility; he is a man with power but no accountability and as such, corruption and ugliness in the game are inevitable. 
Inevitable

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT THE EMIRATES


The last competitive game at Highbury saw us clinch a Champions League place at the expense of Sp*rs with a thrilling encounter that saw a hat trick from Thierry Henry and left us buoyant for the Champions League Final in Paris. At Highbury we had enjoyed 13 league titles and numerous cups
7 May 2006 Arsenal 4 Wigan 2

Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Hleb (Van Persie 79), Fabregas, Silva, Pires (Ljungberg 74), Reyes (Bergkamp 79), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Djourou

The First competitive game at The Emirates was a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa; Gilberto equalising Melberg’s opener for Villa. That season the following players; winners to a man, had left the club, Bergkamp, Campbell, Cole, Lauren, Pires and Reyes. Since the first Emirates game we have seen no silverware, save for the Emirates cup. 

19 August 2006 Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 1
http://youtu.be/Zf64g72u-Jc

Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Djourou, Hoyte (Flamini 80), Hleb, Fabregas, Silva, Ljungberg (Walcott 73), Adebayor (Van Persie 65), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Cygan.


The move to the Emirates was more than just commerce,it was symbolic, and things have not been the same since. The character of the team changed, the personell that had been champions and winners gradually faded away and the heart of the team was replaced not with men, but with boys. How many clubs would thrive when losing Bergkamp, Campbell, Cole, Lauren, Pires and Reyes? particularly if their replacements were, by and large, nowhere near as good. 

Of course being boys in itself is not an issue, if they have the right mentality; most of the new breed didn't. For me the stadium with it's attendent lack of character has been matched by  an Arsenal lacking that character. This season, for the first time at the Emirates I feel that I am watching a proper Arsenal team; a team with heart and a team that are not just eleven players in red and white. 

To cement Emirates' place in our hearts we need a team that we can feel empathy with, a team that we can believe in. Of course a trophy will help but in a way it's more important that we see this Arsenal team give their all each game and achieve something despite every Tom, Dick and Harry having it in for us. A bit of the seige mentality goes a long way. It's something we saw against WBA two weeks ago.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

SNOOD CONSPIRACY

It's Snoods fault
5th March 2011 that’s when Snoods were banned by The International FA Board; “The IFAB agreed that in relation to Law 4 - Players' Equipment, the wearing of snoods should not be permitted," said football's spoil sports.

Oct 2010 Chamakh becomes first player to score in six consecutive Champions League games. November and he scores against Wolves in 37 seconds; the fastest Arsenal goal scored to date. From the start of the season until March 2011 he scores a respectable 11 goals in all competitions, his eleventh goal scored on 2nd March. Then the snood is banned

He didn’t then score a goal until 7th September 2011

There you have it; it’s all down to the snood ban! The FIAB are also against us.

Monday, 14 November 2011

A TALE OF TWO ARSENALS


Two managers define the modern Arsenal ; George Graham and Arsene Wenger. Graham awoke the sleeping giant and introduced success built on defence but with a flair that is often overlooked provided by a core of young players from within. Wenger took the club to a successful style based on a purer philosophy yet utilising the defensive stability he inherited.

Key moment for Graham’s Arsenal was the Title clinching game at Anfield in 1989, his finest moment The European Cup winners Cup triumph. For Wenger the key moment was the double achieved in his first full season, his finest hour the Unbeaten Season.

The main differences though are in how they used the transfer market. Graham bought a good deal of effective unflashy players and Wenger bought players with more panache.

A team of some of the players bought by Wenger and a team of some of Graham’s buys; not players who came through at the club or those inherited but those purchased and bought to Highbury/Emirates, makes for interesting reading.

ARSENE’S XI
1996-present Record 3 League titles, 4 FA Cups
Lehmann
Lauren Campbell Vermaelan Silvinho
Overmars Vieira Gilberto Pires
Henry Anelka

GEORGE’S XI
1986-1995 Record- 2 League Titles, 2 League cups, 1FA Cup
1 ECWC
Seaman
Winterburn Keown Bould Dixon
Campbell Jensen Schwarz Limpar
Wright Smith

Sunday, 13 November 2011

ITV HEART ESP

Inside Clive Tydesley's dreams 

ITV football commentators have an obsession with Barcelona; we have got used to that but now it's clear it extends to the Spanish national side. The current Espana team are clearly the best things since sliced pan, the most gifted set of individuals there have been since Paris in the twenties, the greatest athletes since the USA 4x100m relay team at the LA Olympics, the most prodigiously superlative collective since the Marx Brothers.
Yet despite 90 minutes of toe curling ingratiation England managed to beat them.
Clive Tydesley obviously has visions of bronzed Spanish lotharios when ho nods off of an evening.
Oh how the ITV pundits could barely muster any enthusiasm as they had seen Olympus's finest toppled by mere mortals.
It was a bit like when Arsenal beat Barça; the sheer effrontery of actually beating this Wunderkind!
Poor old ITV; there deities toppled, albeit for one night.
 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

SCHOOL OF THOUGHT


As a kid I went to Highbury Grove School and as you would expect the majority were Arsenal supporters. We had a house system; mostly due to the Headmaster Rhodes Boyson’s delusions of grandeur and I was in Oxford House. Our House master was called (improbably now) Mr Bean, George Bean and he was a good bloke. Eddie Kidd was in my house and often got a lecture about bunking off to go on his motorbike. He made it in his chosen field, although tragedy was to strike. But I digress. The Arsenal connection was that Chris Whyte also went to Highbury Grove while I was there. Our PE teacher was the former Sp*rs double winning Welsh winger Cliff Jones. This meant that football ‘lessons’ were led by a teacher who had been there, done that and yes, he was a good bloke also.

Even at that age you could tell when someone was on a different level. I didn’t particularly know Chris that well but I suppose I would be expected to say that he was head and shoulders above the rest of us on the pitch; not so, although Chris was far better than most of us there were a couple of kids that were supremely gifted with natural talent who shone when they stepped on the pitch but guess what? They didn’t get anywhere. Not due to injury or lack of opportunity but because they didn’t want it badly enough. I guess the difference was that Chris had the work ethic that allowed him to forge a successful career as a professional footballer.

So when I see professional footballers who don’t appreciate their position; a position that I know they have worked hard to get to, it makes me sad. Sad because, to be one of the few people who actually live the dream that many of us had when we kicked a ball at school, and to take it for granted through arrogance and petulance is unforgivable.

Neither Chris or Mr Jones showed any arrogance or petulance and that’s part of why I remember them.

Friday, 11 November 2011

WHEN EVERYONE IS AGAINST YOU


INSPIRATION IN 1990

Arsenal deducted 2 points 90/91 div 1

Remember when the FA tried to knock us down, our Captain got banged up and the anti Arsenal feeling was in full effect?
How did we respond?
Exactly!

RESULT

Thursday, 10 November 2011

ALTERNATIVE ARSENAL

In an alternate reality The Arsenal had another set of legends who will always be remembered for their feats of daring-do and thrilling goal scoring expertise.
Rmember these guys?
AmauryBischoff_2024788
Paul Vaessen

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