Friday, 30 March 2012

THE SAGNA EFFECT


Bacary Sagna lay on the side of the WHL turf in pain; injured in combat. The mindless fans of the enemy rained deritiion and spittle on him as he exited on a stretcher.

On 26th February Arsenal trailed 0-2 to the enemy. Come the 40th minute it was Sagna who girded his loins and met Arteta's cross with a thunderous header. Grabbing the ball from the enemy's net and running to the half way line to place it firmly on the centre spot Bacary showed those fans of the enemy that their taunts and venom from the previous fixture would not stand.

Sagna led the fight back and his return to the right back position has coincided with Theo's upsurge in form (liberating him perhaps), his return in defence has coincided with more stability.

Bacary Sagna is all Arsenal, a real player and one whom we missed greatly and can now see how much his absence cost us.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

TO LOFTUS ROAD AND BEYOND


Saturday 3:00 kick off QPR entertain Arsenal. We can't be complacent (look at what Rangers did to Liverpool) but we have to be looking to gain an eighth straight win and three more points to increase the pressure on London's second and third best teams. Given their cup commitments each victory that we can grind out adds to our momentum and their need to try and catch us. This fixture brings us into contact with that Pantomime villain Joey Barton; let's keep cool heads and not be prodded into anything silly by this mischievous miscreant.


Current form points to an away win but as the Manager said "humility". Let's go there, get the points, come home and let the others worry about the gap.


QPR LLDLWL
AFC WWWWWW

Monday, 26 March 2012

They are THE Arsenal

'This is The Arseanl way boys'

Seven wins in a row has propelled Arsenal to the heady heights of third place with a three point gap between us and the fourth placed side and an eight point gap between ourselves and the fifth & sixth place sides. This is a great achievement in anyone’s books, but the job is not over; it’s far from over. Where and how we finish the season will have a tremendous impact on next season. In terms of keeping players, attracting players and giving The Club a lift and a positive outlook for the future. What these seven games have already taught us is that these guys have more character than we thought; that this group of players are created in their own image. They look like a team. For the last few years there has been blandness in our team, a detachment between the players and the supporters.
The likes of Almunia, Denilson, Eboue, Bendtner etc always (to me anyway) gave the impression that they weren’t ever that bothered, weren’t ever that ‘Arsenal’.

This lot have made that connection. Although not as talented as the Invincibles there is a bit of that character and rapport with this new set. I honestly believe that the younger players now are far, far better than the preceding batch. Wilshire, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Szcezny, Oxlade-Chamerlaine, Coquelin, Frimpong have all shown that they have more about them and seem to ‘get’ The Arsenal vibe.

To finish with a place secured in the Champions League (hopefully without a qualifying round) would be remarkable given our start, injuries and self imposed limitations. To finish behind City & United, with all their resources would also give our squad belief looking forward. 2012/13 season is a key one; it was always going to be as Wenger’s contract expires in 2014. But I’m not talking of matters Wenger today I’m thinking that we may have found a set of players that are the real deal. I don’t believe in divine rights to trophies; of course I yearn for Arsenal to bring home a shiny cup, but I believe in my team working hard, giving their best and making us proud; This lot are doing that, this lot are winning the supporters over and we are getting right behind them and this lot are part of what THE Arsenal is all about. maybe next season they will be ready to take their place in Arsenal's glorious history.

Friday, 23 March 2012

FEET ON THE GROUND TIME

Arsenal must 'keep humility, focus and fight for each other' in race for Champions League- Arsene Wenger
Spot on from the boss. The six game winning streak has propelled us into a great position to grab ahold of a Champions League spot. However, we as fans, along with the players, must take nothing for granted. Others have taken Gaps, power balances and such ‘as read’ far too early and we should be above such crystal ball gazing.

Don’t get me wrong; I, along with all Arsenal supporters are enjoying the moment, after having overtaken our premature neighbours. But come Saturday at 4:45 things could be very different, which is why we have to (in the immortal words from Anfield ’89) “Keep our powder dry”.

Saturday’s earlier kick off; Chelsea v sp*rs is pretty much the perfect fixture for us. It’s a win/win/win scenario that will either give us an opportunity to go 4 points clear in 3rd or 3 points clear, if not it will give us a 9 point advantage over Chelsea. If we get a result against Villa it will cap of a rather brilliant run with eight games to look forward to.

Man City and Chelsea will be fixtures to look forward to with relish as we entertain both sides at home. QPR, Wolves, Wigan, Stoke, Norwich and WBA complete the fixture list and it is not misplaced confidence to think we can’t do reasonably well out of these games.

The players have put the Club in a great position to finish the season on a high and I’m sure that they and us on the terraces will keep our feet on the ground but our heads looking upwards and onwards.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS WE'RE THE ARSENAL

No Feelings

So Liverpool lose after taking the lead, Chelsea lose after taking the lead, Sp*rs drop two points at home; quite a few problems there. Then the Arsenal produce an old School 1-0 win to take us into 3rd place. Some evening and some turn around.I have no feelings for those other teams and tonight showed that The Arsenal don't; we just did what we had to do.
Let's keep going now, let's have no talk of 'job done' let's keep The Arsenal ball rolling. For some of tonight's teams there may be no future as far as The Champions League is concerned but we could possibly look forward to our Holidays in the sun safely tucked up in the ECL.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS


Everton V Arsenal; the two clubs who have been in the top flight the longest come head to head in a game that is vital to win in order to pile the pressure on the team currently above us in the league. Given that Sp*rs kick of a quarter of an hour before we do, we could find ourselves in an interesting position at the 9:30. Least way we should know what we need to do when news comes in from WHL when their whistle goes. What was once potentially a 13 point deficit could (and I stress could) become a 2 or 1 point advantage to us.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; Everton won’t be easy but that is the nature of the beast. Games like this, though, are when you see character, and if we show the character that has put us into this position in the first place who know? If the opportunity presents itself let's grasp it firmly. The players and the fans can’t concern themselves too much with events in Tottenham but, be honest, we will all have one ear open for updates.


I feel I need to mention the events of Saturday night. A lot has been said so I’ll keep it simple.Out of the tragic circumstances the response and goodwill showed that positive and caring people are out there; something we overlook too often.

Friday, 16 March 2012












It's a shame we're not in the FA cup this weekend. The competition has some great memories for the Arsenal and we are second to one when it comes to winning it.
copyright Stewart McFarlane




Wednesday, 14 March 2012

VIEIRA


“ A big team when it’s under pressure, it pulls together, it makes the trouble go away. Sometimes you know you have difficult periods, even the best teams. You accept the opponent is stronger, you defend, you stay strong, more compact. You accept you have to suffer
We did it in the [2005] FA Cup final against Manchester United. I’ve no idea how we won United were all over us for 90 minutes. We knew the only way to win was penalties. Some days are like this. It’s not your day. Accept it and find a different way to win. Fight for each other. It’s not the way you want, but what’s important is to win.”-Patrick Vieira Former Arsenal Captain
PV 4
Honours
Premier League-97/98, 01/02, 03/04
FA Cup-98, 02, 03, 05
FA Community Shield- 98, 99, 02, 04
Serie A- 05/06, 06/07, 07/08, 08/09, 09/10
Supercoppa Italiana-06, 08
FIFA World Cup-98
UEFA European Championship-00
FIFA Confederations Cup-01
UEFA Football Championship team of tournament-00
FIFA Confederations Cup-01: Top Scorer
PFA Team of the year-98/99, 99/00, 00/01, 001/02, 02/03, 03/04
EUFA team of the Year-01
French Player of the year-01
Team of the Decade: Premier League 10 Seasons Award (1992/03-2001/02
FIFA all time 100

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

SMELLS LIKE TEAM SPIRIT


let's get dystopian
That's what we are being in our pursuit of the third spot that guarantees Champions League Football. The place that is reserved for London's top club. By reducing a potential 13 pt deficit to a gap of 1 pt is remarkable.It's almost machine like; Terminator-esque. Last night we were relentless in our pursuit of those valuable three points. The team spirit was evident and our rapid response to Newcastle's opening, badly and embarrassingly celebrated, goal, was swift and beautiful. Theo, Tomas, and the rest of the boys put in another all action performance. You sense that now, finally, this lot want it; they want it badly.Late goals and overturning leads is now our stock in trade. Whatever happens, however the chips may fall, if those fellahs in Red & White, or two shades of blue or Yellow for that matter, give this level of performance I for one won't complain. It's imperative that we finish the season strongly. Then we can take stock in the summer and look forward. Right now it is literally,to quote that oft used Footballing cliche,a case of taking one game at a time. With this team spirit we currently have we are in with a shout. 
  

Monday, 12 March 2012

TAKING THE TOON

Tonight we play Newcastle in an old and history laden fixture. Newcastle are one of those clubs that have been around for ages and have a traditional flavour about them. Generally flattering to deceive they are currently having some moments in the sun so they present a challenge.

These are the games when you show what you’re made of; taking the opportunity to capitalise on your enemy’s failings. A couple of weeks ago Arsenal were looking at a13 point deficit in league positions between us and the enemy. At the final whistle tonight that gap may be closed to just a single point.
That’s quite something, that’s a response from the team. But let us not assume anything. Newcastle are decent and have hung on in there all season. We must not underestimate them tonight; that would be foolhardy, but we must also embolden ourselves by remembering that we are the team that sunk Sp*rs, grabbed victory from Liverpool, battered Milan, tonked Chelsea and are scoring for fun at home.
Lets also not forget how objectionable Pardew is and a chance to beat his boys is a good way to wipe that smug look off his face.
Tonight is about turning the screw in our quest to finish as high up the league table as we can. Tonight is about showing true character, about bringing the performance level against Milan into every remaining game. It’s about we the supporters recreating the recent atmosphere at the Emirates.

It's another step towards the Champions League, another step towards being London's number one and it’s another step towards St Totterinhgham’s day.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

THAT TEAM THEY CALL THE ARSENAL



Bob Wilson appeared on the radio during the week, as ever Bob was as erudite as always. He talked about the current state of play at The Arsenal and was intelligent and informed. We all know Bob for his amazing charitable work; primarily for the Willows Foundation and we all know Bob for his exploits in the Arsenal goalmouth; no gloves, rolled up sleeves diving fearlessly at the feet of attackers.
Which got me to thinking about the team in and around the 1971 Double side; this team were, for me, the quintessential Arsenal team. A team that define what the Arsenal are all about. Frank defined what an Arsenal Captain should be he leadthese guys through battle week in week out and still defends them to this day in corporate boxes, TV studios and Radio stations.
Dogged, gritty, full of character, a bit of flair dotted about, not opposed to having a drink and a tear up a team that would win against the odds and make their own bit of history. Taking the title at WHL overcoming Liverpool in an unforgettable final tasting defeat and prevailing in Europe. Each and every one a Mensch.
For all this great club’s history there is something about Frank, Bob, Charlie, George, Ray, Peter et al that says
‘We are the Arsenal’

Friday, 9 March 2012

ARSENAL IN BLACK & WHITE

Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie.
The new model is actually starting to give us some faith going into the final stretch. Let's finish the season with purpose and look ahead to 2012/13
 Jack Wilshere.
Aaron Ramsey.
...and if him on the left is joining perhaps we can start to have a postive horizon ahead
Lukas Podolski and Michael Ballack.

Images from:

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Out but not down

It would be churlish to talk of the referee's inadequacies or the Milan players inability to stay upright. It would be negative to ponder Arsenal's poor performance in the first leg or discuss our lack of depth when it came to effecting change from the bench last night. No, let's revel in a blistering first half performance that saw the Gunners throw the kitchen sink at the Italian champions and give us a 3-0 victory. You couldn't ask for more from the players last night and the Emirates faithful once again played our part as the twelfth man. 15 goals in the last three home games and an exit from the ECL that leaves the Arsenal covered in glory have seen this group of players turn a corner. We've seen heart,character and just plain obduracy that has propelled us right back into the mix for third spot. Leaving the Emirates last night I was buoyed by the positivity that swirled around the local environs. I paused in the Tollington and purchased a copy of So Paddy Got Up and read the first chapter on the journey home. The words of Arseblogger about why we support this great club resonated on a night that kind of summed up what being an Arsenal supporter is all about. Good old Arsenal. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Your mission (should you decide to accept it)

Let battle commence   It’s not so much that tonight’s game is a dead rubber it’s about putting in a performance to keep confidence high. A 5-0 victory is unlikely, albeit not impossible (stranger things have happened) however it’s the manner in which we meet the challenge that is going to be vital. Let’s not forget the stadium will be full of supporters who deserve to see a gallant effort. The players who have raised their game in the League will, in all probability see a few changes. Whoever wears the red shirt tonight will know that they are up against it but let’s get behind them. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose you have everything to gain. Going out on our shields will also maintain the positive feeling as we seek to further cement our ECL spot. Now I won’t pretend that catching Sp*rs is not a delicious thought but we have to be mindful of Chelsea as well. Fourth or third are achievable so we need to resist the temptation to be too consumed with finishing above our fellow Londoners. Those around us face games against stoke at home and Everton away, and nothing can be taken for granted about those clashes. By Monday of next week we should be going into our home game knowing exactly where we are at and let’s not forget that a win against Newcastle keeps them at arms length; after all the talk of Newcastle collapsing they are still hanging in there. But tonight it’s all about the Champions League; our dire performance in the first leg has put us in this situation but let’s enjoy the game, let’s get behind the team and revel in our underdog status, and if we go down fighting let’s take it on the chin, and gird our loins for the visit of the Geordies.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

NOT FADE AWAY


An Ugly win is a win is a win. Last week we showed how to turn the tide and fight back, at Anfield we dug in and hit them with a touch of class. Sometimes in life we don’t always get what we deserve or want, and this victory may not have been just from a Liverpool supporter’s point of view (something our honest Captain acknowledged after) but that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes. We won, simple as. Despite Suarez’ dive, despite losing Arteta, in spite of Liverpool’s overwhelming dominance in the corner’s won department, with the aid of the post and Szceszny’s great double save we took home the spoils on what is turning into an auspicious weekend.

With Chelsea beaten at the Hawthorns we now look to WHL and how Sp*rs respond to their Waterloo at The Emirates. Regardless of recent cup disappointments our current League form is excellent and this has been down to a combination of things, not least some genuine character and heart. Our remaining fixtures should not be taken for granted but let’s balance things out by saying that they are winnable games; should we maintain our belief and sheer bloody mindedness.

Our away fixtures are what I would call quite kind; Everton, QPR, Stoke & WBA. Our home games against NUFC, Villa and Norwich could give us maximum points, which leaves games at the Emirates against Man City and Chelsea.

What position we finish in is in our own hands now and that final position will have an impact on our future. There has been much to complain about this season but how about we all gird our loins and get behind our boys for the next two and a half months and see if we can finish on a high. I have seen enough from certain players that shows me that they are willing to go that extra yard for the club. Maybe as we approach the climax of this season rather than fading out we are turning up the volume
Robin van Persie

A FIXTURE TO CONJURE WITH

On their way to the 1950 Cup Final Arsenal v Liverpool

Freddie Ljungberg; loving your red hair and golden shirt hitting the back of the Anfield net.
Merson rippling the Scouse onion bag. Bobby's curler, Tomas, Thierry, and many more.
Michael Thomas, let’s never forget Michael Thomas and of Course Smudger’s glancing header.
Some great goals and great memories at one of the world’s real homes of football.

Whether up there or at Highbury, Wembley or Emirates the games between the two of us have a certain something. Mind you  I once drove with friends up to Anfield and we only got into the ground after a Robbie Fowler Hat-trick, but less said a bout that the better
From the 1950 Cup final to 1971, the Littlewoods Cup and 1989, Games between Arsenal and Liverpool have often been significant ones. Today’s is significant in that every game between now and the end of the season is significant. We need to win, to keep confidence high to maintain momentum.

Liverpool are of course in the no man’s land of annual qualification to the Europa League; cut off from Europe’s elite and I often ponder the fact that their decline of late is never remarked upon with the same enthusiasm as Arsenal’s. I won’t and can’t deny Liverpool’s record in Europe and England; it’s great. But they have not won the league for twenty years as opposed to Arsenal’s eight year gap. As we know, the league is pretty much the barometer of how consistent a club are. The Champions League (god I would love to win it) is after all a Cup competition.
That today’s game isn’t a title battle or decider is a nod to the way that times have changed at both clubs, but we must look forward. We must look to treat Liverpool with the antipathy that we need to show against every team that stands in our way between now and May.

Let’s see some goals that we can compare with the other Gunners who have scored at Anfield and let’s bring the points home.
 

Friday, 2 March 2012

Another week another Must win scenario

Image of Anfield '89 // Art Piece
©3nil
Phew, what a week it's been. Sunday's blistering performance certainly gave us a ll the feel good factor that has lasted for days. Not just the overturning of the prophets of 'balance of power' but the manner in which each and every man in a red shirt decided to take back the game from the hands of the enemy. The atmosphere at the emirates on this fateful Sunday will resonate with all of us that were there for many a year.
Valuable, precious league points and essential goals harvested means we now sit fourth with a seven point gap betwixt us and the third placed team, but let us not forget that we are only in Fourth on Goal difference with lots of football still to be played.

Our adversaries on Saturday have had their own feel good factor following on from their marginal victory at Wembley. Regardless of how the game was won they came home with the Red & White ribboned spoils. Thus the two big winners of the week lock horns at Anfield in a game we have to win  and a game that Liverpool want to win.
Take three point s and the pressure shifts to Sp*rs who entertain a machine like Man Utd and Chelsea who go to West Brom probably confident of taking all three points.
So let's look to win first and then we can focus on Newcastle and to a lesser extent Milan

One eye on the two London clubs sure, but our main focus needs to be maintaining our league momentum that has seen us score 14 goals in our last three Premier League games. Sunday's victory had shades of Brady and the five goal rout and Anfield, of course, will always hold great memories for all Arsenal supporters and with their current wretched home form we have to grab our chance and maintain our confidence and above all we need to show what we did against sp*rs we need to show that "it's up for grabs now" mentality
davis_quinn_fans

Images courtesy of AISA

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