Thursday, 30 April 2009

Down, but not out

First things first. United were the better team last night, no bones about it.

So, lets pick at the bones. We went 4-5-1 but without the one. Well, I say without, Adebayor was on the pitch, but to say he was going through the motions is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. There were only "token" efforts to run for the ball, challenge or win a header, a piss poor first touch and an inability to pass or hold up the ball. the guy was total waste of space last night. God only knows why Wenger waited until the 80th minute to drag his sorry arse off the pitch and replace him with Eduardo. With that clown up front, we were impotent as an attacking force.

He needs to go in the summer.

Diaby was also equally shocking last night. Poor first touches, an inability to pass and a love for turning into trouble in vulnerable areas made him a liability, while Theo Walcott struggled throughout with poor form, no real will to attack his man with pace and Rooney tracking back to double team him with Vidic, and not in a sexy double team kinda way either.

In a game when we couldn’t afford passengers, we had 3 in key positions.

F**k me I’m writing like Miles Palmer.

Wenger’s team selection was also poor. Playing Song ahead of Nasri and pushing Cesc into the hole? Might have worked against Boro, but they’re sh**e. Nasri proved in November that he’s a potent attacking force, why not use him as one? And having Bendtner on the right wing crossing to Adebayor? That a guy who can’t cross trying to cross to a guy who refuses to jump for headers! Madness!

Ok, enough of the negatives. Lets put some positive spin on last night. Almunia kept us in the tie with an astounding first half display. Kieran Gibbs is getting better and better, the lad doesn’t look like a 19 year old with just 5 premiership appearances to his name, he’s got maturity beyond his years. He frustrated the Ladyboy all night, who had to resort to diving (shock horror) and then promptly throwing all of his toys out of the pram. It was only when the tranny switched sides that he got a little more joy, that good was Gibbs last night.

In the second half we established ourselves a little more, and while because of that useless c**t up front and Theo’s shocker we offered little in attack ourselves, the Ladyboy’s howitzer off the bar and Giggs’ offside goal were all that the Plastics could offer. Defensively a massive improvement from the game a week before at Anfield.

But vitally, as little as we offered last night, we could have been out of this in the first half hour. But you know what, we’re not, it’s only one nil. We’ve got a second life, another bite of the cherry, another ride of the whore (is that a real saying Francis? Seriously? Fair enough…) Yes, one goal for them on Tuesday and we’ll need three, but I honestly believe, hand on heart, that last night was their chance to take this tie and put it to bed,and they didn’t.

I believe, next week, we’ll do them.

oracle

Sod logic, there’s a sense of destiny about this. Eighteen days shy of the 20th Anniversary of that night at Anfield (yeah, I’ve got goosebumps too), and we’re in the same position. Facing the champions of England and needing a two goal victory.

This isn’t over. This is just the beginning. Where we go from here, is up to us.

believe

Sorry about the Matrix references!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Gametime!

So, this is it. Ground Zero.

I’m an absolute shambles this morning. Can’t think straight, restless, irritable, excited, and I decided to drink a few coffees and listen to ACDC, Sabbath and Metallica.

I’m concerned for what I may do to my workmates….

Team news. Vela is in the squad despite being quarantined following a visit from two friends from Mexico. Eduardo makes the squad despite being AWOL the last few weeks for reasons only the club knows. Gibbs and Silvestre had fitness tests this morning apparently so we’ll know later if we’re either screwed, royally screwed or Howard Webb screwed. If Gibbs isn’t fit I’d prey that Sagna switches to the left and Eboue plays right back. We shouldn’t fear, Eboue is up for it:

"To play in my second Champions League semi-final is fantastic. I never dreamed about that in my suburb in Abidjan called Nouveau Quartier Yopougon.

"We will be ready for Manchester. They are a great team, they are the cup holders, they have got some amazing footballers, but we will be ready for them.”

You hear that United, Eboue is ready! F**king run ya b*****ds!

It’s now the afternoon, just 6hrs and 45 minutes from kickoff, I’m wearing my lucky pants which have a big hole in them, so if I were to sh*t myself the result would be apocalyptic.

Lets hope tonight’s result isn’t

COME ON YOU YELLOWS!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Just over 24 hours to go

And I can’t think of anything else.

It’s doing my head in, biggest game of the season, a defence maimed by injury, a potent attacking force taking on the European and Premiership Champions.

We could either pull off an unlikely result or be destroyed.

Logic says it should be the latter. As good as Gibbs has been since he was thrust into the starting line-up he’s got to keep the twinkle toed ladyboy quiet. If Silvestre plays they may as well play the retired remains of Ole Gunnar Solskj√¶r up front, that bad is Silvestre. Rooney on a good day would be a handful for Adams and Keown. Fingers crossed Djourou is fit to give us some hope.

But hope we do have. The history of Arsenal is littered with great victories as the underdog:

Anderlecht 1970 at home in the Fairs Cup Final.

Juventus 1980 away in the CWC semi final.

Liverpool 1987

Anfield 1989

Parma 1994

Old Trafford 1998

1-0 in the Bernabau 2006

2-0 home to Juventus in 2006

2-0 in the San Siro 2008

We’ve done it before, can we do it again?

Monday, 27 April 2009

Cescy!

Uuuuurrrrrggghhh. I should probably write a proper blog here but I really cant be arsed. Yesterday’s “few pints in the pub during the game” ended up turning into a session. I blame you Burnie, you and my lack of ability to say no.

So, that was quite easy really wasn’t it, and Wenger’s first win over Gareth Southgate who apparently was the only manager in the Premiership to have never lost to Wenger until yesterday.

Boro had few chances and it’s quite obvious to see why they’re going down, and with a whimper too from yesterday’s performance. I was surprised how gutless Boro were, especially given their situation. Looked beaten once the first went in and showed no fight after the second. Not that that's a problem for us as it provided a good opportunity to rest a few players once the job was done with an eye on the CL semi on Wednesday night. Oooh, getting goosebumps just thinking about it!

Anyway, other news. The FA have predictably charged Cesc over gobgate, once for the gob which everyone/the whole world/Jesus saw and once for coming onto the pitch. Smacks of a witch-hunt to me against the dirty horrible foreigner, boo talented migrant workers! They’ve slapped the second charge on there so they get their pound of meat either way. Will be interesting to see if that charge is applied in other games, can see there being real issues at Craven Cottage as both sides have to walk across the pitch between the dugout and tunnel! Typical FA, can’t get the ticket allocation of a cup final right but can punish us for something no-one/everyone/Jesus saw!

Monday afternoon brutality, provided by Pepe of Real Madrid.

Adios!

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Friday, 24 April 2009

Boro home = Goalfest?

Ok, so, Boro at home on Sunday lunchtime. I’m not going so the pub it’ll be for me and no doubt a Olympic swimming pool of Stella shall be consumed.

Team news is that Adebayor, Almunia and Djourou could all feature. My god we need Djourou back to plug the hole. RVP is out until probably Pompey next Saturday while Clichy could feature in the Champions League Semi Final second leg vs the Plastics. So slowly but surely we’re getting close to a full squad, nearly, maybe…..

Boro will scrap this weekend as they’re knee deep in the cack, so this wont be easy. However, they’re second bottom for a reason, mainly because they’re crap. So one all? Aliadiere? Probably, knowing what we’re like. However you’ve got to hope with Arshavin looking so so so f**king good and the rest of our attacking options you’ve got to expect three points regardless of how shite our defence is playing at the moment. Fingers crossed we can get the job done early so players can be rested ahead of Wednesday night’s massive massive game that will no doubt make me consume copious amounts of beer. But we’ll think about that next week.

Enjoy the weekend and COME ON YOU REDS!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Fourplay!

arshavinhorse

Apologies for not blogging yesterday, busy day and after a game like that I really didn’t know what to write!

So, what a game. On the plus side we didn’t lose, played well on the counter and scored four at Anfield, no mean feat. Although when I say that you could just apply that to our Russian Dynamo Andrey Arshavin! The negatives, we conceded four, the defence looked ragged all night and we coughed the lead on three occasions, twice shortly after taking it, very similar to our CL quarter final at the same ground a year ago.

You could look at that and say that the lessons from that game, and indeed the home game against the scum this season, haven’t been learnt. However the defence last night wasn’t even close to first choice. Silvestre looked further away than ever from the quality we require and just makes you wonder had we had Djourou or Gallas available for that and the Semi final where we’d be now, especially as Chavski drew last night. Gibbs learnt a few things as well, at times showing his inexperience. But this is an 18 year old who has only played a handful of first team games against the likes of Torres, Kuyt and Babel and was getting little help from midfield. Most established defenders would struggle with players of that calibre, so the lad done good in my eyes. Song also did exceptionally well, especially as he had to carry the slack for the poor Denilson. Actually I don't think Song misplaced a pass until the 75th minute, that's got to be a record! Fabianski also played well despite conceding four goals, pretty much single handedly keeping Liverpool at bay and us one up in the first half, and going some way to erase memories of his performance at Wembley.

Someone else who was ok I guess was some Russian bloke we bought in January. I mean, 4 goals isn’t that bad is it. Why the hell he didn’t play against Chavski only Wenger knows, but Arshavin’s performance at Anfield can only fuel the feeling of “what if”. Since the game, Andrey has announced that he wishes to end his career in the Red and White. Oh, ok then, if you insist!

Last thing on the Liverpool game is this clip. I love it, sums it all up! YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING, BECAUSE THATS 1000 MILES PER HOUR! ARSHAVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNN!

Finally, well done to the Young Guns, who made the FA Youth Cup Final by beating holders Man Citeh 4-1 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate. They’ll probably face Liverpool in the final, which I think is over 2 legs, so no-doubt they’ll get another impressive attendance at the Grove to watch that one.

Thoughts on Boro tomorrow, enjoy the sun.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Can Arsenal topple the Kop?

Liverpool away, always a big game but this is vital for both sides in pursuit of a title and CL spot (obviously only one of the two applies for us, sadly).

Team news, RVP and Adebayor are out with groin and hamstring niggles respectively. Eduardo and Sagna are back however Wenger isn’t sure if the right back will start. Personally I’d go for this tonight:

Fabianski

Sagna/Eboue   Toure   Silvestre   Gibbs

Walcott   Fabregas   Song   Nasri

Arshavin

Bendtner

However after the weekend’s formation and lineup controversy god knows what the hell Wenger will do. Possibly Diaby for Arshavin? Arshavin for Cesc? Mannone for Bendtner? Another concern is that it’s out of the frying pan (Drogba) and into the fire (Torres) tonight. The Scouse Spanish Talisman is in top top form at the moment, whereas Silvestre, well, erm, f**k……..

One thing we do know that this has the potential to be an absolute blinder. Two good attacking sides looking for a result, a decent surface and a loud atmosphere. Only thing that could ruin it is that Howard Webb is refereeing, so expect the usual decision in front of the Kop, probably a winning penalty in the 98th minute after Rafa trips over a water bottle in his technical area (oh yes, I’m still bitter after last season’s trilogy!)

Another thing of mention tonight is there will be two collages held up by the sets of fans before the start, honouring former Kop and North Bank legend Ray Kennedy, who sadly suffers from Parkinsons. Rumour is that he may be in attendance as well, fingers crossed. Please visit the Ray of Hope appeal site, which aims to raise enough funds to purchase essential equipment and services for Ray. Ray's illness has deprived him not only of his health but of his livelihood as he was robbed of the chance to make a living through the media or coaching following his retirement.

Obviously we’ll be in yellow tonight, we all remember what happened twenty years ago at Anfield. Lets hope for another Micky Thomas moment tonight!

ALLEZ ARSENAL!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Confusing team selection costs dear

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Before the game we were all wondering if it was Arshavin or Nasri starting. Wenger decided it would be neither.

Much has been said about that move, especially as we really had to have a proper go straight from the off to have a decent chance of winning, so leaving out two of our better creative players and opting for Denilson and Diaby was controversial to say the least. My only thought as to why is that Wenger saw the form Essien is in and decided to go for height and strength to subdue the threat from midfield. Either that or he decided to de-prioritise the FA Cup and focus all attention on 4th place and Europe, an unpopular decision to say the least if true!

However I never thought we’d see the day we’d come away from an FA Cup Semi Final wishing that Wenger had started Song instead of Diaby. Strange times!

The day itself was awesome, in Silverspoons club from 1:30, many many many beers consumed on a sunny afternoon, some quality tunes (Madness, Specials et al) and all the Gooners in great voice.

Photo0324

Thoughts on Wembley itself, it is an awesome stadium with regards to views. We were in the gods but the view wasn’t as bad as we’d initially feared, apart from the sun in our eyes (typical British, never happy!) The pitch cut up a hell of a lot too as you may have read elsewhere! After seeing previous Finals and Semi Finals there in recent years that's not much of a surprise as it’s been ripped apart on each occasion.

Photo0327

You’ll have all read about the game. It was pretty much a carbon copy of the 2007 Carling Cup Final. Started well, dominated possession, went one up through Theo, let them back into it and finished the first half second best, with a repeat of the same in the second half minus the Theo goal and with their goal 4 minutes from time. Neither team was at their best and played as if they were more afraid to lose than anything. Diaby had an especially poor game, leaving us longing for Song (I know, I can’t get my head around it either). On the plus side, Gibbs and Theo caused all kinds of problems down the wings, Walcott especially giving the Rent Boy a torrid time.

We all knew what our problem would be, Drogba vs. our makeshift defence, and the big Ivorian didn’t disappoint. As Fabianski did midweek vs Villarreal he provided a “sweeper” role to compensate for Silvestre’s lack of pace. Trouble was his decision making midweek was a hell of a lot better than Saturday! Gibbs saved his blushes early on but it was merely a matter of time, and as Drogba easily burnt off Silvestre after getting on the end of a Lumpard hoof (which has been built up into a masterful ball from god by the press since the game) you knew what was coming. Not one of the keeper’s better games. He should have done better with the first as well, especially with the shot beating him at his near post. News today is that Almunia could well be fit ahead of schedule, potentially even for Boro at home this weekend.

If we’d gone with either Arshavin or Nasri and just gone for a bit more pace and creativity down the wings I still think we’d have done them, just that Wenger decided that a fresh Diaby instead of Song and attempting to outwork and outmuscle them in the middle of the park would do the trick. Hindsight is a wonderful thing I guess! But they were there for the taking, aside from the goals they produced very little in terms of serious attacks, and that’s the most irritating bit!

Wenger has said he would like revenge in Rome, wouldn’t we all!

Anyway, no time to moap as it’s Liverpool away tomorrow night. RVP apparently has a strain so I’d expect him to be out and it was confirmed that Gerrard would be missing for the hosts, but more on that tomorrow.

DSC00223

Friday, 17 April 2009

Is there a game tomorrow? Wembley you say?

Oh yes, my hairs are standing on end, I can’t sleep properly and my bowel movements, well, they’re not good. Must be a big game tomorrow then!

Team news isn’t great. Gibbs and Sagna are struggling to make the squad with a groin injury and virus respectively. If they’re both out then the only realistic option will be to play Song at CB with Silvestre (hopefully equipped with rocketpack) at LB. Not ideal when we’re facing Drogba, a man with a history of doing bad things to our defence. On the plus side, Eduardo isn’t fully match fit but is in the squad while Diaby is fully match fit and will probably start while obviously Arshavin is eligible. So lots of attacking options, not too many defensive ones. Full squads are overrated anyway!

In other news, Emmanuel Petit is on the BBC questioning our transfer policy:

"In the summer transfer market I see Chelsea, Liverpool and co spending millions to buy new players to build a stronger team, but when I look at my club they are spending almost nothing on new players and letting some key players go.”

Ok, so that’s two teams owned my million/billionaires spending money while the team that isn’t and is paying off a new stadium doesn’t. Shock bloody horror! And while Petit was at Chavski they nearly went to the wall anyway. 4 days I think they were from going under totally (god, just imagine if that had happened) until the Russian got on board and bought Whitebeard out, so perhaps Petit isn’t the best person to be giving economic advice. That and he wore shiny gold tracksuits.

Shiny Gold tracksuits, not all bad….

Other former players in the press today are, of course, Robert Pires, who says he was pleasantly surprised by his ovation Wednesday night.

“It shows how great the Arsenal fans are and that they don’t forget their former players. I was really touched and moved by their ovation and the fact that they were singing my name.”

Absolute legend, my throat is still sore from singing his name.

So, semi final tomorrow. All those going, make sure the whole of our end is decked out in Red and White and you’re singing nice and loud. Lets show the Chavs that there truly is only one team in London.

COME ON YOU REDS!

13-10-3

Kings of London

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Good times, happy days and sore throats!

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So, United it is in the Semi Finals! I’m that happy I’m listening to Reel Big Fish, the happiest music you can get.

Last night was a relative walk in the park. Once we found out that the rumours on twitter about Sagna being out were indeed true it was obvious the only way we were going to defend was to just go at them from the off, and my we didn’t disappoint.

Cesc’s perfect flick-on put Theo in, who masterfully lobbed the keeper to make it one nil on the night. A goal of absolute quality. Adebayor made it two with good finish across the keeper after latching onto RVP’s great pass. Until that point he’d (Ade) done his usual, half arsed-always offside pisspoor display and the majority of fans, myself included, were calling for Bendtner. It was a good finish and after that he really upped his workrate, but my god, before that he was f**king dreadful! I mean seriously, if you can’t be bothered to run/stay onside (I counted 7 offsides before he scored, 5 in 4 minutes) in a crucial European tie then what the hell are you doing out there?

Anyway, that was two, and the night was rounded off when we were awarded a penalty for a foul on Walcott, RVP dispatched expertly. Looking back at the replay its a poor decision and you can see why Villarreal were so annoyed, so much so that Eguren talked himself into a second yellow card and an early bath. I’d be more sympathetic, but after all the diving, playacting etc from our guests it was a little karmic.

The final ten minutes was pretty much all about one player in yellow, Robert Pires. Standing ovations, constant singing of his name and applause as he continued to spray 40 yard pinpoint passes to his team mates. It was a class sendoff to one of the finest players to ever pull on the Red and White, with many not ashamed to admit singing his name one final time with a tear in the eye. Merci Bobby, merci.

Other things of note, Eboue reminded us why he was regarded as one of the best right backs in Europe a few years back with a great display deputising for Sagna. Another play who has been on the receiving end of my vitriol, Alex “Renaissance Man” Song, totally dominated the midfield last night. And when I say totally, I mean totally, hard working, hard tackling and fluid passing. Many have compared his performance last night to those of Flamini last season, a terrier. Fingers crossed he can play as well on Saturday!

So, United in the semi finals. Could be seeing a lot of them in the coming weeks. But in the nearer future, a menace from the west looms. Chavski preview tomorrow.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Beginning of a big week

So, the season-defining week starts here. Villarreal. Home. Champions League quarter final second leg. Nervous?

Too right!

Ever think that Arsenal as a whole speak too soon? Many occasions we’ve talked ourselves up only to have it blow up in our faces. Wenger says he won’t take the congratulations for the team’s turnaround. Congratulations? Nothing has been achieved yet lads, lets leave that for late May shall we?

Team news, as we already knew Clichy is out (although this happened while I was away, so not sure if I mentioned it, but you all knew already!) as is Djourou. No news on Eduardo so fingers crossed, but Diaby is back, and that’s got to be good news, especially with Senna out for Villarreal. The back four could be interesting to say the least. If Le Boss senses that Gibbs may be vulnerable then perhaps he'll play Song CB and Silvestre LB, otherwise it'll be Silvestre and Gibbs. Or he could throw a curve ball and put Eboue right back with either Silvestre or Song in the middle with Kolo, which I wouldn’t mind too much as he’s a better defender than midfielder. Either way it's not great, but lets hope with Senna out Diaby and Fabregas can keep the ball away from the back four as we dominate midfield.

I can’t see tonight being scoreless, and both teams will go for goals. So it could lead to a pretty entertaining game, although hopefully not with the 4-4 scoreline that the Chavs and Scousers served up last night. AW has called for a red-hot atmosphere at the Grove tonight, we’ve had a couple of really great games at our new-ish home so far; United one three occasions, Chavski at the end of the first season to deny them the title, Scum this season had an awesome atmosphere and The Scousers just before Christmas was one of the most hostile atmosphere’s I’ve ever heard an Arsenal stadium produce, so we can do it!

So, destiny awaits. Let ‘ave it!

COME ON YOU REDS!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Post Easter Weekend thoughts……

Photo0312

Hope it was a good long weekend for you. I had a nice chilled out one in Devon, sunny all weekend and as we took Leanne’s car I spent most of it drunk. Ahhhh, joy.

I caught all of our 18 seconds of highlights on MOTD on Saturday night, why do those cockhounds insist on putting us on at the end of their programme I don’t know. Pretty certain Villa were on earlier when they were in 4th.

Overall I thought we looked good. Common consensus was that Gibbs was lucky not to go on half time to taking his man out. While I agree that he should have gone, I’m not entirely sure that he man got ahead of him by legal means anyway, looked very 6 of one, half dozen of the other to me. But there you go.

We punished Wigan for sloppiness with our first and third goals, Silvestre contributing for the second by putting Cesc’s good pass away, but goal of the game had to be Song’s effort at the death for the 4th. Speaking to the old man I compared it to a “Batistuta” type of goal, using strength to hold off his man before drilling in a well placed shot. Yes, I’m still talking about Alex “Renaissance Man” Song here! The lad deserves it for really upping his game recently, long may it continue.

Only real negative was the injury to Djourou. No news yet on how severe it is, but lets hope he makes a return in this utterly vital week of the season with the CL quarter final second leg and the FA Cup semi final.

So, Villarreal tomorrow night. This has the potential to be high scoring. We were lucky not to be out of the tie by half time at El Madrigal. Potentially we’ll only have Kolo as our only first choice Centre Back, so we wont be too convincing at the back I’d think. The Yellow Submarines lost again at the weekend, 2-0 home to lowly Malaga. Crucially for us, first leg goalscorer Marcos Senna is definitely ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury while Cani and Mati Fernandez are also concerns for our visitors. Nice to see its not only us losing players at this vital stage (although a few injuries to Drogba, Essien et al would help ahead of the weekend. Note to self: Learn Voodoo)

More on Villarreal tomorrow, I’m probably meant to be doing some work

Bye bye me luvvvveerrrrrrr!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

I knew I forgot something……

Pack, yup. Tie up loose ends at work, yup. Do blog…….crap!

Erm, Wigan. Only team news that I’ve heard is that Almunia is out for 2 weeks after aggrivating the ankle injury he got from that c**t Diouf. Obviously Gallas is out, not sure about RVP, Diaby and Eduardo. I imagine they wont be rushed back for this one with the 2nd leg and semi final coming in the following week. Arshavin will be back in the squad following his ineligibility midweek.

As for Wigan themselves, erm, has Zaki returned from international duty yet? Not seen anything recently about this and he didn’t face Everton last weekend. It’s a potential banana skin this one, we played out a dreary 0-0 on a quagmire of a pitch last season and with Everton facing Villa this weekend a win for us could put a huge gap between ourselves and 5th.

Ok, I’m off to Devon, enjoy the long weekend and COME ON YOU REDS!

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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Two stunning goals, two costly injuries?

So, honours even after the first leg.

A wonder goal from Marcos Senna from 30 yards put the hosts up within ten minutes. A great goal but, like at Sunderland this season, really really should have been shut down before he shot.

The hosts dominated the first half with some good first time passes and high tempo. In contrast our passing was poor, our tackling was poor and we had no outlet up front as Adebayor put in one or the laziest, half arsed performances I’ve ever seen. Constantly offside, token efforts to run for balls once they were out of reach and never bothering to jump for crosses or even getting the correct side of his man.

Seriously, bringing him off wouldn’t have been enough, there’s a danger he might do it again another game. I’d have shot him, the lazy c**t. Nasri was pretty anonymous as well, but this can probably be chalked down to still having the flu to be fair.

I also mentioned this week about Song’s rejuvenation recently and wondered if this was down to lower standard opposition. Well he didn’t exactly excel last night, his work rate was good but he just seemed a little out of his depth last night. Guess we’ll see again next week depending on Diaby’s recovery.

However as someone once said “Get away from her you bitch” “Its a game of two halves” and whatever Wenger said at half time worked wonders as we looked a different side. Walcott began to penetrate the hosts’ left flank, Cesc came alive and began to spray the ball around with ease, including one brilliant ball over the top that was chested down by Adebayor, who then produced a stunning volley to give us the vital away goal. (Cheers to Arsenalist for the videos).

Senna fizzed another pile driver just over the bar towards the end but we held on, better second half, good result but still work to be done next week. Remember Chelsea in ‘04?

However, to put a dampener on it, we picked up two injuries to seasoned campaigners. Almunia went off after about 20mins with an ankle injury he picked up from a challenge with Rossi. Looked to be the same ankle that Diouf kicked a few weeks ago and he’ll probably be out of Wigan this weekend and maybe the second leg. More seriously, Gallas damaged his medial knee ligaments when a Villarreal player landed on him awkwardly from a Song tackle. Initial reports are saying that his season is over.

While Djourou is a more than capable replacement the loss of Gallas could be huge, especially as domestically he had formed a formidable partnership with Toure at the back since the turn of the year, shipping just 4 premiership goals this calendar year.

So, it’s finely poised, we have a slight advantage. Fingers crossed for next week. Will do a Wigan preview tomorrow as I’m off to the West Country tomorrow afternoon to visit the outlaws for Easter.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Showtime!

“And so, this is where the sh*t gets deeper” – Winston Churchill

I’m pretty sure Churchill didn’t say that, but it’s quite appropriate as Arsenal enter the most crucial phase of the season, beginning away to Villarreal tonight in the CL 1/4 final.

Team news, we’re still without Eduardo and Diaby, RVP’s groin has also ruled him out. I think it held its own press conference which was quite spectacular, and as we all know, Arshavin is ineligible.

For our hosts, they head into the tie off of a 3-0 defeat at Almeria. Bobby Pires was sent off while midfielder Santi Cazorla broke his leg, ruling him out for the remainder of the season. So not idea preparation for tonight but expect a tough game. El Madrigal is an intimidating ground and the locals will be up for a spot of revenge after this from our last visit.

Of course, this will also be the first time we’ve had to face Arsenal legend Robert Pires since his departure, I’m sure he’ll get an awesome reception from the travelling supporters. He’s probably the only one of the players that have left under Wenger that I’d take back without even thinking about it. He may only be able to last about 70 minutes but the skill is still there, which is why he’s probably been singled out by Wenger as the one to watch. Saying that, he’s also said that Cygan is as well, reports that Wenger was seen smoking from an Opium pipe before that comment was made are yet to be confirmed.

So anyway, I’d take a 2-1 defeat tonight as long as we get the away goal, but I think we’ll get something our in Spain tonight, 1-1 is my prediction.

ALLEZ ARSENAL!

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Monday, 6 April 2009

Two good

 

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So a sunny Saturday in N5 saw many a beer consumed and, more importantly, 3 points for the Arsenal.

Citeh never really turned up as we dominated from beginning to end (despite what the MOTD highlights may have suggested). They were poor, if they play like that every time they go away it’s not hard to see why they’ve experienced little joy on their travels.

Ade put us one up after ten minutes with a well placed header from a Fabregas cross. The same pair combined on 59 minutes, Cesc’s sublime ball over the top of the Citeh defence saw Ade latch onto it, round Given and roll it into the open net.

Ade had a good return from injury, Citeh provided the perfect opposition for him as he was given time on the ball. Saying that, he worked hard as well and I can’t really remember his strolling offside or not tracking back hard enough. Well played.

He was a midfield colossus, won every ball he went in for and made a few good passes, including a deft back heel. Yes, while it was good to see Cesc play 65 odd minutes in his return, I was actually referring to Alex Song. Yes, you read that right.

In the past few weeks Song has been a revelation. His work rate has risen, his passes are hitting the target and he’s an animal in the tackle. The metamorphosis is frankly staggering from the useless lump we had to endure at the turn of the year into a legitimate midfield anchor, merciless and grafting hard, a pitbull! So, has the penny dropped or has the standard of opposition been more to his level? I guess with the run of games we’re about to embark on we’ll find out if it’s the latter shortly.

Post-game Wenger revealed that Theo took a knock to his knee and was a slight doubt for Villarreal away on Tuesday night. To be honest I’m not surprised, the lad took about 5 “tackles” from behind as Citeh systematically took him out. To be honest, that was probably the most productive thing Robinho did all afternoon, looked as if the long flight back from South America was taking its toll. There’s also hopes for RVP returning tomorrow night as well as Nasri providing he’s over his flu (poor little mite), however Diaby and Eduardo will be short and won’t feature. More on Villarreal tomorrow.

Yesterday Villa lost 3-2 to Man United, leaving us 6 points clear of them in 4th and starting to look comfortable, however the next 20 odd days will be vital, some big, big games coming up for us!

One final thing, well played Cesc for blowing Barcelona’s favourite method of signing a player; the Spanish Media, out of the water in the matchday programme:

“Once more, there have been stories in the media recently talking about my future, I’m very happy at Arsenal and have said it many times – but I cannot control what the newspapers say or stop the press.

When they speak for me, I don’t understand it because only my friends, family and the boss know what I think.

It’s just a story that will go on and on, even if I was to say I would stay and retire here!

I’ve said many times I’m proud to be captain of this club and I see my future with Arsenal.”

And on that note, good day!

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Friday, 3 April 2009

Back to the good stuff!

Ahhhh yeah! Fridays are even better when you’re up the Arsenal tomorrow!

Straight into it, I asked who would join Diaby, RVP and Bendtner on the injured list. Well, add Eduardo (groin) to that list. Seriously, Eddy, is it something I’ve said?

Bendtner apparently texted the boss yesterday to say he was fit, however Nasri has the flu and Vela is f**ked after flying back from Mexico (who incidentally sacked Sven last night). Adebayor is also back from 2 months out, Theo is back, but most importantly so it this guy:

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Ahhh yeah, lets get Cescy! Personally, I’d be surprised if he started, but stranger things have happened and to see Cesc, Theo and Arshavin in the same team will be pretty awesome.

Citeh won’t come to defend, no siree. Not sure if they’ll have Robinho as he was in action for Brazil midweek, being withdrawn after 45 minutes, may have been for the weekend, may have been an injury, not sure, but one thing is certain, I’ve used a sh*tload of commas in this paragraph so I’ll stop.

Obviously it’s not all about Robinho. There’s Steven Ireland, Micah Richards, Shaun Wright Philips (although he’s doubtful after picking up a knock with Ingerrrrlund.) They’re a good side as we found out at Eastlands, but they have a poor away record.

Lets hope that continues.

COME ON YOU REDS

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Bring on the proper football!

It’s ok, you can come out now, it’s over.

Another thrilling gash round of international matches are behind us and decent football returns on Saturday with the visit of Man Citeh, I’ll cover that tomorrow when we have an idea on casualties. So far we know that the following three picked up injuries from the first round of matches:

Diaby, RVP and a comical picture of Bendtner!

Hip and Groin injuries kept Diaby and RVP out of their matches last night respectively, while Bendtner made the bench for Denmark despite his knee injury. We don’t know the extent of the injures but I’d be surprised if 2 of the 3 made the Citeh game.

Also apparently Samir Nasri dropped out of the French squad at the 11th hour with a virus. F**king boo.

All of which means we could see a bit more of Cesc than first thought, and maybe a bit of Rambo (Aaron Ramsey, not Stallone, although the latter would be awesome!) should injuries force Wenger’s hand. Adebayor could also play a part following his goalscoring return from injury for Togo. Another goalscorer internationally was Eduardo who got Croatia’s second against Andorra last night.

That's the internationals over, lets not speak of them again………

Citeh preview tomorrow, will the body count rise before then?