Very Nearly A Perfect Day.

I cannot remember the last time I felt so proud of an Arsenal performance.  A fantastic day in which we clawed ourselves back to within three points of Chelsea after a dogged, determined display against Stoke, marred only by the tragic injury to Ramsey.

Rumour has it that we had been training all week in preparation for Stoke’s predictable aerial threat — and it showed. I am not talking about the goal we gave away after only seven minutes; I am talking about preparing ourselves for a determined fight back in the event that we went behind. And boy did they respond well, led notably by the team’s paternal leader, Sol Campbell, who may not be the armband wearer but he certainly is Arsenal’s proud standard bearer.

Stoke’s goal came predictably from a throw in conceded by Song who should have known better and given away a corner rather than a far more advantageous throw in but instinct kicked in. Delap sent the ball in with predictable menace which bounced off one of a cluster of heads and fell kindly for Puke, or what ever his name is, to head home. The commentators pointed the finger of blame at Eboue who certainly deserves his share of it but where was Sagna and who had been designated to protect that post during all the supposed mid-week preparation?

Stoke’s tails were up; they were fighting for every ball as if their lives depended on it and I for one feared the worst but there was one man who was not going to say lie down and role over: Sol Campbell was determination personified. Fabrégas may rightly get the man of the match award but it was Campbell maturity that shone through when the chips were down to rally the rest of the team when they needed it most. His infectious determination to throw himself at fifty-fifty waist high headers lifted the team to drive forward in search of the equaliser.

Arsenal poured forward using the most potent weapon we have available: our quick passing game. The interplay between Fabregas, Nasri and Ramsey was impressive; the problem was that the ball, having been thread through the eye of a needle, found its way to Bendtner who compared to world class Cesc does not have the ability to control it, the result being that the ball would pop up and we would lose possession.

It is a mark of Fabrégas’s own determination that he did not let that put him off and simply switched to using the Dane’s aerial ability. Our Catalan Captain sent in a superb cross for Bendtner who somehow managed to out jump three tall Stoke defenders to send the ball over Sorenson and into the net. The goal took the wind out of Stokes sails, their mid-week exertions started to take their toll and it was now Arsenal who with renewed belief were chasing everything down as if their lives depended on it.

The break enabled Stoke to catch their breath but that didn’t last long there was now only going to be one winner. Arsenal came out with all guns blazing, pouring forward with images of Premier League medals in their minds and then it happened. I am going to make clear that when Eduardo had his leg broken I didn’t think it was a red card offence, I thought it was a hanging offence, so I am no liberal, but having the use of Sky plus I have replayed the incident ten times and I do not think that it was intentional. Ramsey was unlucky, that break was a result of his commitment to the cause of Arsenal winning the league and boy I want to see him lift that trophy.

Many of the Arsenal players were understandably distraught by the sight of one of their friends groaning in agony on the floor and I for one wondered if they were capable of lifting themselves up. This job fell to Clichy: the image of the Frenchman determinedly encouraging the players to refocus will stay with me for a long time. The introduction of Rosicky and his experience helped; he led by example, driving forward in search of a winner but nagging thoughts started to enter my mind and I wondered if it was going to be one of those days when everything goes against us. Enter Nikki, his quick thinking changed all that, aiming a clever little chip at Puke’s hand, the referee decided we deserved a bit of luck and awarded a penalty, could you watch?

Fabrégas stepped up and in the face of what must have been incredible pressure slotted the ball into the corner, we were ahead. It was time for a bit of keep ball. The icing on the cake came in injury time when Rosicky drove a low rasping shot towards the Stoke goal, Fabrégas anticipating the rebound was there to knock it calmly across the goal to  our fox in the box Eduardo to score one of his trade mark tap ins. Cue unbridled celebration and relief to finish off what was very nearly a perfect day.

Player ratings:

Almunia: it has to be said that he had a good game, ok there was one flap but in that kind of game if it doesn’t lead to a goal then I reckon it is forgivable. I have been trying to work out where his new found confidence has come from and the only thing I can come up with is that being dropped for the Porto game and assuming his days at Arsenal were numbered he then watched Fabianski and said to himself: I may be crap but I am not that crap. 7

Sagna: another warrior like performance from our Bacari, I reckon he has been practising his crosses because they were a darn site better today, not great, but better. 7

Campbell: inspirational performance from the paternal captain his job is to get the team past the winning post at the end of the season. Take a look at his celebration after the Vermaelen goal, committed to the cause or what. 8

Vermaelen: has learned how to play with Campbell now and because of it gave a very commanding performance, what was he doing on the goal line four minutes into injury time? 8

Clichy: back to his absolute best today, he ran tirelessly down that left flank, was always available and had the best right foot low pile driver I have ever seen him send in. 8

Ramsey: he drove forward as hard as any other player on the field; the thing I noticed today that was different was how he had gained the respect of Fabrégas; our Captain won’t pass to anyone, for instance he will pass to Walcott as a last resort but today Ramsey was as good as anyone in the mid field. I obviously hope he recovers quickly. 8

Song: ridiculous yellow card, totally undeserved, we will miss his commanding presence in the midfield. 8

Fabregas: world class performance from a world class player.9

Eboue: sadly not as influential as I hoped, his job was to run with the ball into Stoke’s area, he was slightly better when he came out in the second half but still no where near as good as he needs to be to keep his place on the right mid; I expect him to be replaced by Walcott next week. 5

Bendtner: if he was half as good as he thinks he is he would be brilliant, still that was a fine header for the equaliser so credit where credit is due. 7

Nasri: put in the kind of performance he usually saves for the Emirates, skilful and determined. 7.5

I don’t know how you are going to believe us; we are going to win the league.

By London

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120 Responses to Very Nearly A Perfect Day.

  1. London says:

    Morning all

    I need tea.

  2. Rasputin says:

    Morning AAall,

    Congratulations on a superbly crafted post London under the most difficult of circumstances.

    I was shell-shocked last night. This morning, when I awoke, immediately I relived the vision of Ramsey helpless on the ground unable to move and the horrified look of disbelief on our players faces. But it was replaced with what I can only describe as the most immense feeling of pride.

    I saw the coverage of the 25th anniversary of Arsenal in the community on the BBC. I heard our intelligent articulate players being interviewed and our manager looking professional and sophisticated in his sharp suit and I was proud. I remembered the look on TV’s face when they were waiting for the stretcher and then the fight and heart he displayed when he scored the goal. I remembered Sol’s anger at the Stoke players and then his elation celebrating the goals. I remembered Cesc pulling all the strings and picking the team up after the injury. And I was very very proud.

    We may not win the league, but we play football the right way. We genuinely care for the community and people. We have a fantastic club, wonderful players and the best manager bar none. We are very lucky supporters and we should all be proud.

  3. Pistol Pete says:

    Good appraisal but Vermaelen scored the third goal, not Eduardo!

  4. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent London.

    I think this is the best you have written.

    This was a team performance and one we have been waiting for. The players have talked about their collective ambition and today we really saw it.

    Plus AW has said there are more than one leader in the team: yesterday Ciichy, Rosicky, Sol, TV and Fab were pushing the team onto victory. Having recovered from the shock of AR’s misfortune, the team looked absolutely determined to win. Nothing was going to stop them.

    Today (as ever) I am proud to be a Gooner

  5. London says:

    Vermaelen scored the goal….did he?

  6. Dagsy says:

    Vermaelen, not Eduardo, scored the last goal. My thoughts are with Aaron at this time.

  7. Big Raddy says:

    London …. do you want me to edit?

  8. London says:

    No BR, I did it on purpose. It was meant as a humourous little dig at Eduardo.
    New people are leaving comments so it is doing its job.

  9. camp says:

    United fan here,congrats for yesterdays result really this is one of the best title race ever.
    Feeling sad for ramsey .the lad has a great talent hope he recovers soon and start playing again.

  10. philip says:

    dude it was TV that scored the third not Eduardo, though Eduardo did miss a glorious chance after being put through by a clever Song pass when it was 1-1.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    That’s what I thought and why I didn’t mention it earlier. I guess we have to be completely literal !!

    Though as you say, job done ;-)

  12. Big Raddy says:

    Welcome Camp, Philip and Dagsy.

    Nice to see a Manc on here Camp. Should be a great end to the season

  13. Rasputin says:

    We should change the goalscorer to TV so that people can focus on your quality post London.

    Hi camp, very decent of you to come on and leave such a generous comment.

  14. London says:

    I’ll leave it too you then.

  15. Paul says:

    Well done… very good account of the game! Delap’s tackle on Walcott was with more intent, but unfortunately Shawcross’s tackle had a devastating effect. I just had a look again online and it made me feel sick! I had to laugh at Cesc giving Pulis the shhh treatment after the 3rd goal.

  16. London says:

    By the way BR, I forgot to ask, how was Wilshire yesterday, I wasn’t able to see any of it.

  17. London its brilliant – filled with irony at every turn. Good for you – so we now have another fox in the box – Thomas Vermaelen – a team can never have too many foxes.

  18. London – why don’t you just put a final comment in after your name to say that of course you know it was Vermaelen but actually it didn’t matter who it was – it was a fantastic performance by the team that will win the league xx

  19. Big Raddy says:

    London.

    JW started poorly and looked out of his depth, being over elaborate and going for showboat passes, but midway through the first half he started to impose himself upon the game.

    Throughout the second half he was head and shoulders the best midfielder on the pitch. His speed of passing and ability to create space to receive a pass was outstanding, plus he likes a tackle

    He was withdrawn after about 75 mins and received a standing ovation !

  20. So, where have you all gone ……….

  21. tommystout says:

    I was so proud of them all yesterday, the spirit was amazing. Immediately after the leg break, the reaction was all to similar to that of Eduardo, I was shouting at Sol to get them in to a huddle and pull themselves together and do it for the kid. But that huddle didn’t come and everyone played shell-shocked for 5 or so minutes. After that though boy did we do the job, fantastic, shirt sleeves up and true grit. When Fab’s penalty came I was yelling for him to put it in the other corner we all know where he likes to put it. But what composure he showed under the circumstances, this was pressure in the highest degree and captain fantastic did not disappoint. After the Verminator added the third I was all smiles, job done, these boys have turned into men, and well capable of completing the mission in hand. After the final whistle there was the huddle, wow.
    Last night I scoured Newsnow, the majority of articles headlined Shawcross is not that kind of player, all too reminiscent of the Taylor comments after the Eduardo incident. I then watched Match of the day wondering if they would play it down, which I feel they did by showing the challenge in a manner that would not offend. I don’t think it was intentional but I do think that these media dullards should be more sympathetic to The Arsenal way and what happens to us for trying to play the right way. 3 broken legs/ankles in 4 yrs is not coincidence as Mr Wenger says. The jokes of Arsenal don’t like it rough or up them, should not be embraced anymore, it isn’t funny but what else would you expect from the Beeb.
    Alan Hansen turning in to an Arsenal Fan, that was a turn up! But maybe too little too late.

  22. London says:

    Morning Peaches

    A team can never have too many foxes, that was the humour I was looking for, if you want to change it please go ahead.

  23. London says:

    Morning Tommy

    Top comment

  24. Alfa says:

    London

    spot on, some great touches. The Eduardo joke made me laugh. Song wasn’t too hot in the first 15 minutes but picked up once he calmed down and overall a fantastic team performance. V. proud to be a gooner.

    I don’t think Shawcross meant to break Ramsay’s leg and I don’t suppose many do. I’m also damn sure that he didn’t care whether he inflicted a bit of pain as long as he got the ball. I’m sure he was hoping that Ramsay would end up on the deck, as he had done earlier. Take a look at the penalty shout earlier on in the second half though. Shawcross brings Ramsey down, then steps on his hand as Ramsey tries to get up. You have to watch the second replay very carefully to see it but it is clear once you do.

    As long as this culture of physical intimidation continues then good football will suffer and good players will be hurt. And I include Gallas’ tackle at Bolton in that as well.

  25. Rasputin says:

    I am still feeeling proud, but it gets replaced by anger if I turn the radio on. It appears that everyone in the media is feeling more sorry for Shawcross than Ramsey. Pulis said he was so upset his mum had to drive him home – doesn’t he realise that Ramsey’s mum would have loved to be able to drive her son home instead of drive 200 miles to visit him in hospital. It may not have been malicious, but Ramsey was on the receiving end so let’s hear no more ‘poor Shawcross’ talk.

  26. London – have a look and see what I’ve done. Is that ok?

  27. dandan says:

    Sad sweet day, lets hope for good news on Ramsey today.

    Who will criticise Wenger for signing Campbell now, his experience was immense yesterday a leader in every sense.

    The next red top hack to say this team lack’s bottle should have one shoved where the sun doesn’t shine.

    London that is a superb, infectious and effective piece of writing any neutral reading that would want to go watch the Arsenal, well done

  28. tommystout says:

    Yeah good peace London…. you gave me goose bumps!

  29. Mayank says:

    Shawcross isn’t personally responsible for the break, he’s a product of the system and the people who glorify gore in the name of grit. Are you reading this Mr. Gray?

    Question. If Gallas is fully fit should we still play Sol as our CB for more physical matches like Brum away?

  30. tommystout says:

    DanDan-
    yeah who would criticise wenger – sol was awesome yesterday. I think he has played well in everygame.
    If Gallas was fit would he get straight back in? maybe not!
    I think wenger will pick and choose, intimidating teams – sol, speedy opponents – Gallas.
    WOW Sols celebrations inspiring stuff!

  31. tommystout says:

    Mayank – you beat me to it… about sol/gallas..
    parrot me!

  32. dandan says:

    Maybank, I would not be surprised if he played all three with TV in front as the holding player protecting the back four.

  33. Big Raddy says:

    I would be surprised DanDan. Like Tommy says, I would play horses for courses.

    I would play WG v Man City because Sol hasn’t the pace to subdue Bellamy and Tevez.

    How wonderful to have this problem;-)

  34. Scott says:

    As a Stoke fan it was a bad day all round. A defeat, leg break and a sending off. The best Arsenal have played at our place and deserved the win. Having seen the tackle from Ryan he clearly went for the ball, I felt sick seeing Ramsey and it ruined the whole game I lost complete intrest. I hope he has a speady recovery and like Cisse and Eduardo return as good as new. I see that Ryan has been called up for the England squad for a the game on Wednesday to be played at Wembley. No doubt Arsenal fans will boo him John Terry and Ashley Cole (had he been fit)would also recieve the same treatment. Remember there was no malice Shawcross looked devastated and if he could turn back time he would. Please for England and the world cup let’s ensure we all get behind JT, Shawcross and Wednesday or the summer could be a short one. I wish Arsenal luck in the league as I love to watch the football you play, we play our way just to stay up but we are improving. Get well soon Ramsey I am sure you will return as strong as ever

  35. tommystout says:

    Scott, thanks for the comment and welcome. I think most people would agree that there was no intent to injure.He looked devastated for sure. However the way that we play and the more the beeb and sky big it up that arsenal dont like it up ‘em then the more teams will play like this against us thus making it more likely for this to happen to an arsenal player as opposed to someone from team B.

  36. Mayank says:

    So i think most agree that Sol is definitely an option.
    Like BR said this is the kind of selection problem we’d love to have.
    But kudos to Sol for turning his career around.

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Scott. Fairplay to you. However, it should be pointed out that Shawcross’s style of play is at best “energetic” in an old fashioned English way.

  38. Rasputin says:

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for coming on and giving your view. If I were a Stoke fan, I would support Shawcross, but I would also be ashamed at some of my own fans for the things they were singing after Ramsey was injured. I am sure that had the reverse happened at the Emirates, we wouldn’t have allowed such chants because decent fans next to the minority singing such disgusting stuff would have shut them up.

  39. Alfa says:

    Scott, thanks for coming on and the good wishes. We know Shawcross didn’t intend to break Aaron’s leg but is he seen as a hard man at Stoke? He does seem to have a bit of a track record (Jeffers, Adebayor).

  40. Sean - Liverpool says:

    I am a Liverpool fan boys and I have to say I am not surprised that this unfortunate incident happened to one of your players again. The good old British Managers (McLeish, Pulis, Allardyce etc) who believe that the good old English way is to get stuck into Arsenal and let them know you are there will prevail….Its OK to kick Arsenal they think cos thats how you beat them is their view.

    Fact is that I (maybe wrong here) dont think Shawcross did mean to cause that level of injury (The tackle was shocking tho and he should have known the risks). The issue is that these Managers wind their players up to kick Arsenal every time they play them and the end result is Eduardo and now Ramsey. ANy surprise its these teams with old school Britsh Managers that are most at fault? Come on, you remember playing in the park and hearing someone from teh line telling you to kick the most skilful players on the pitch as though its fair game….

    For me the managers are more at fault than the players (Didnt Fergie do this as well with Neville kicking Reyes all over the pitch?). Its also a reason why we have so few really skilful british players…

    Good luck for the league…A top team and the best Manager in the league by a mile (No-one could have matched his performances with you lot with the lack of budget he has had)

  41. Alfa says:

    Just noticed JET is off to Doncaster on loan. Should take him just under an hour to get there at the top speed of a Mercedes McLaren SLR… :D

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Can I say once again how fantastic the second half was yesterday (albeit overshadowed by the AR injury).

    We can push forward from here and we have seen another face of this team.

    Come on you Reds….

    And what a game at the Bridge. Citeh looked really fired up and the Chavs looked very tired in the second half. The CL games midweek have a serious knock on affect upon the PL teams.

    BTW. Who do you want to win today (MU/AV) and does anyone outside of their fans really care ?

  43. Alfa says:

    Sean, thumbs up for the kind words and do us a favour with the Mancs will you ;)

  44. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks Sean. Just for that post I will support Liverpool in their attempt to get 4th!!

  45. Rasputin says:

    Thanks Sean,

    That’s an incredible accolade to receive from a supporter of another club, thank you very much.

    I think that we are all football fans and the good guys want to see skillful football whichever team we support. The ‘culture’ has to change to reward skill and penalise brutality. I’d hate to think of young Stoke supporters playing for their scool team next week and thinking it is OK to enter into a challenge that you know could injure yoiur opponent.

  46. karin says:

    QUOTE FROM STOKE SCUM
    The Britannia, it’s like a fortress, and if we do play to our strengths I don’t think Arsenal can deal with the aggressive play.

    It’s been proved in the past that Chelsea and Bolton have roughed them up and tried to bully them.

    We can also be rough and aggressive when we need to, but we have quality too, and so we can mix it up.

  47. Rasputin says:

    Hi karin,

    I’m not surprised by the quote, but the reaction and good wishes we’ve had from supporters of other clubs has restored my faith in football fans in general. No-one wanted this to happen, but the plusses are that it has focused attention on the over-physical approach adopted against Arsenal and also it has given our boys the most incredible motivation to ‘do it for Aaron’

  48. I want Villa to win the Carling cup of course. Last season it was really tight between them and us and this season its not quite worked out for them. They have a good crop of young english players and that must be good for the future of the England team.

    Even though my first love is Arsenal, I do enjoy the cameraderie of England being in a competition.

  49. K-TR7 says:

    Sol’s passion was surreal,he was like a caged animal directing traffick at the back.clichy was very impressive’07-08 esque’.sol should play in such away games while not giving a sniff to opposition strikers,well done AW it was a masterstroke.nasri and eboue were everywhere swapping wings at ease baffling stoke defenders.ramsey was having a good game but due to our familiarity with such injuries,he will be under good care.Diaby needs to stay fit for the rest of the season to keep den out,shava has been out for 3 weeks he needs to comeback and lay his mark to push us over the line.RVP must be eager to get back because we need all our matchwinners firing to help us take the final step in the maturity of our team,winning silverware.

  50. tommystout says:

    Media to blame? thats what arsebog says
    http://www.oleole.com/blogs/arseblog a good read i think.

    Just watched Goals On Sunday… bstrds.. i liked kris kamara up until today, same old sht.

    I think that its only the refs that can help us now, the media keys – gray – linekar all of them can go do one.

  51. Rasputin says:

    Welcome K-TR7,

    I agree totally about Sol. He is an immense man in every sense of the word. I remember how he screamed at Lehman when he let the spuds equalise against us a few years ago and the fight and passion he showed yesterday affected the whole of the team.

    Oddly, I’d like to think that Denilson will also be motivated by the events of yesterday. Ramsey appeared to have overtaken him for that midfield slot, but now he is likely to get more time on the pitch. It could have been him on the receiving end of that tackle.

  52. kelsey says:

    I have already written my take on the game prior to this new post, but I would like to add something Patrick Barclay said on The Sunday Supplement this morning.

    Eduardo didn’t follow through with his left foot when he should/could have scored and not for the first time he is either still mentally or physically not the player he was, and IMO and Barclay’s will never be .

  53. Rasputin says:

    kelsey’s comment posted earlier today…..

    In the heat of the moment many things are said,and name me any one manager who would not have been upset /incensed by the horrendous injury sustained by Ramsey, if it was their player.I genuinely believe there was no malice intended and hopefully it is not a career ending injury for the young Ramsey.I support my club first and foremost, and under the direction of Wenger we have become a quick intricate passing team and logically many teams will use a physical approach to break up our game and sometimes that can be effective.I believe it was a must win game for Arsenal,and a lot of character was shown to eventually get the required result,which realistically puts us right back in the title race.A team such as Stoke one could argue are more difficult to beat with 10 men behind the ball then with a full compliment of 11.Yet again for the third time we fell behind to the Delap throw in, and in all honesty for the first 25 minutes we were at sixes and sevens.Bedntner header was exquisite,and a special mention to Fabregas,Vermaelen and Campbell who were immense in our fight back.There is a thin line between being over physical and outright dangerous play, yet all in all it wasn’t a dirty game.The game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, which of course is a shame.

    On individual performances I felt most of the team if one has to be critical didn’t have a great game,but the above mentioned three turned out to be real leaders in a desperate time during the game.

    Walcott continues to disappoint, Eduardo just isn’t the same player and Nasri definitely plays better at home.Rosicky is not the same player he was, or maybe he has changed his game.If we had made the 3 signings we needed we would walk this league.

  54. tommystout says:

    unfortunately i missed the sunday supplement, i was hoping to hear some sense on SKY!

  55. chaf says:

    Good morning everyone,

    What a feast of football love in this is, a truly great post from London – surely waiting to be picked up by a daily newspaper soon, whatever you do, you do well!

    Great to see other supporters on here as well, and much better than watching sunday supplement, where they think they are running football.

    As an old arse supporter ( was at WHL as spoken of yesterday, and Fairs Cup) yesterdays game was one of those where I went mad at the final whistle, and was proud to be part of it, as we all are. Not even a speech from Churchill at the end would have bettered it. Hope Ramsey has a speedy recovery, and Stoke look back at the game and realise what football is all about…

  56. Rasputin says:

    Well said chaf ;)

    There is a sense of history being written and it is already becoming apparent that the spuds away game near the end of the season could be pivotal in the title race.

  57. Big Raddy says:

    Wonder who Chary will be supporting this afternoon ;-)

  58. London says:

    Thanks mate

  59. K-TR7 says:

    Nasri really worked hard but things never seemed to tick for him.he made some amazing dribbles and his celebration after cesc’s goal was pleasing to watch.cesc’s leadership was evident;the media gives the illusion a captain should be 6feet,thug and screamer but i wouldn’t change him for anyone.when the media spout cesc to barca,remember yesterdays performance.

  60. London says:

    Good point K-TR7….I wouldn’t change Fabregas for anyone as well.

  61. dandan says:

    Yes it is a shame for Eduardo, but given the pain and heartache he went through, not surprising.

    The real danger for Ramsey is that at 19 his career, like Eduardo’s may have peaked, the physical and mental scars from the struggle ahead perhaps precluding him from fulfilling the potential that saw Arsene and the Manc,s fighting over his signature.

    It should be remembered that this is not just a tragedy for Aron and us, because he is also the great white hope of Wales around whom the national team is going to be rebuilt. Sad as it is for us, we have the world to scout for a replacement, Wales have just that small country. So the loss if it occurs will in some ways be felt all the more.

    Lets hope then that he comes through and presses on and is not just remembered as another good young player who could have become great, like say Duncan Edwards.

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Fab is growing into his Captaincy, just as StevieG did at LFC. He drove the team on yesterday.

    I really like Nasri (who is also coming back from a broken leg). He is going to be a huge player for us.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    Dandan. AR will come back as strong as before. May take a season or two but as us old folk know, time is the greatest healer.

  64. Rasputin says:

    The difference yesterday to two years ago was that we had at least 3 ‘leaders’ on the pitch, Fab, Sol and TV.

    I love the way TV gets stuck in up front when we need a goal late on. Someone will have to do some research for me, but I’d imagine he has probably already scored more goals for us this season than any other centre half – certainly in the premiership era.

  65. dandan says:

    How about Andy Linighan I seemed to remember he scored a few as Stoke will remember LOl

  66. dandan says:

    On second thoughts it was Sheffield he upset

  67. Rasputin says:

    From arsenal.com

    Official statement – Aaron Ramsey’s injury

    “During yesterday’s match against Stoke City, Aaron Ramsey sustained fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg. Yesterday evening he underwent surgery.

    “The operation successfully reduced the fractures and whilst it is too soon to state an exact timescale for recovery, Aaron will certainly miss the remainder of this season. Our thoughts are with Aaron at this time and everyone at the Club wishes him all the best in making as speedy a return to action as possible.”

  68. Big Raddy says:

    TA scored a fair few. I tried to Google it but to no avail, but TV could well get to double figures this season. A feat none of our strikers will achieve!

  69. Rasputin says:

    I wondered about TA. TV has 7 at the moment, and a lot of those goals have come at a vital time. He is the best purchase of any player in the prem this season IMO.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    I am sure Linighan upset Stoke as well !!

    Linighan’s nose! That was a dull Final, but we celebrated long and hard nonetheless. Those 3 games against SW were dire, and it is a testament to AW that we could never play that way today.

    Happy memories though…..

  71. Yesterday we had a charming Stoke supporter who posted several comments pre-match on the blog.He had left a comment on the previous post this morning that I’ve moved over.

    Thankyou TheWiseMaster

    TheWiseMaster Says:
    February 28, 2010 at 10:28 am edit

    Not such a good morning…..

    Sadly it is the injury which will have dominated the headlines. My own view was restricted as the incident occured near to the half way line and there were players around the ball. It seemed to me that Shawcross lost control of the ball and then lunged in. Match of the day confirmed my thoughts that the challenge was at worst reckless and was not ‘over the top’. This makes no difference of course to Ramsey who has a very srious injury. We can only hope that the break is clean and above the ankle. Our very best wishes to the lad for a speedy recovery

    As to the game we started brightly and of course scored via Delap’s throw. Arsenal recovered their game after some 20 minutes and thereafter we were out of the game. We were attempting to play a containing game with some success but severely limiting our own opportunities
    Excellent goal from Bendtner from a quick throw and cross. Down to ten men Stoke just didn’t have the legs to continue the containment and to their credit Arsenal eventually recovered their composure to win quite comfortabley
    I genuinely hope that Arsenal now go on to win the title

  72. dandan says:

    My son went to college with a lad who supported Sheffield Wednesday and would not utter the name Arsenal without spitting.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    To refer back to Kelsey’s comment.

    He says “Walcott continues to disappoint”. Theo had 10 minutes on the pitch against a team who had 10 men constantly behind the ball, and compressed behind the 20 yard line. Theo had no chance to impress and to criticise him is grossly unfair.

    To me Rosicky was excellent in the short time he played. He drove the team forward and was responsible for the 3rd goal. As to whether he is as good as before his injury is a moot point. But for a player that both Kelsey and I thought would never play again . he is doing OK.

  74. I agree about Rosicky – he was the perfect player to have available to come off the bench yesterday because hes experienced and a captain in his own right.

  75. alfa – if you’re about I just found the piece of paper with the passwords for the vodpod ;)

  76. Rasputin says:

    TheWiseMaster,

    Sorry your 10:28 went on to yesterday’s post and did not appear here until reproduced by peaches.

    I think your comment is very balanced. You are welcome to come on the site and share your views with us any time.

  77. Mayank says:

    Wonderful post by the Wisemaster, gives me some hope for Stoke fans yet.

    It’s funny that Man U fans across different blogs have decided Wenger’s a ‘whining French prat’. What a bunch of cunts, imagine if it’d happened to Rooney or Gibson.
    I apologise to Chary for reading Man U blogs.

    It’s alarming that the general consensus among most Chelsea and Man U fans is Arsenal invite this kind of trouble. I feel sorry for them.

  78. scott says:

    Hi Alfa

    Ryan has not really got a “hardman” tag he is just a steady reliable defender. He is whole hearted and and can sometimes look a bit awkward. As far as previous goes I think Huth is more likely. I was disapointed with AW’s comments labeling it as horrendous, I know he was disapointed but he always sees things against his team and never those that his team does. I like Wenger he always comes and talks to the press and never shys away I just think he lets himself down at times. Just a quick note on Walcott and another poor display is Rooney going to be the only England player who has any form this summer?

  79. Rasputin says:

    Hi scott,

    Arsene is a very compassionate man. Not your archetypal manager by any means, and he considers the players to be ‘his boys’. He gave an emotional reacion to the injury – read the link below to see what else he and the club do beyond football.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/arsenal/7326648/Arsene-Wengers-revival-at-Arsenal-will-take-time.html?

  80. scott says:

    Hi Rasputin

    Saw the article on telly yesterday about how much Arsenal have done in the community over the last 25 years. I would love to think we could stay in the premiership for the next 25 years and replicate that. stoke on Trent is a poor area but with good people the community stuff is so important. As for Wenger he has stood the test of time and done a lot of good. Pulis ran the London marathon last year for charities in Stoke I think all players and managers have an obligation, long may it continue!

  81. Rasputin says:

    Sol Campbell for England anyone? ;)

  82. kelsey says:

    BR,

    Theo was on for 24 minutes and hardly did a thing.IMO Eboue should have stayed on.

  83. London says:

    Eboue had tired, Theo did exactly what he was supposed to do and in my humble opinion he did it well. His job was to stay close to the touch line in order to draw one or more of the Stoke defenders out from the centre. He didn’t try and go past anyone which often leads to him losing the ball; he played short efficient little passes ensuring that we kept possession which helped us go on to win the game.

  84. dandan says:

    Just a thought, what will the opinionated Myles Palmer make of the fact that we are right back in it.
    Given his drivel of recent weeks not much.

    Latest Odds to win the Premiership Chelsea 5/4

    Manc’s 6/4

    Arsenal 3/1

    We were 10/1 and above a couple of weeks ago, John Motson said he backed them at Tens and reckons he will collect. Lets hope he is right

  85. have a read of this…

    http://legendaire.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/20-minutes-that-will-change-history/

    and tell me you don’t have a real feeling of destiny!

  86. btw i got 14/1 on us winning the league on Betfair back in pre-season

    and i will not be laying off!

  87. dandan says:

    LOL Stringfellow 14/1 a legend in the making, well done

  88. i am heavy on villa this afternoon aswell

    utd without rooney are mid table quality.

    the omens are good aswell… all this newton heath green and gold stuff from the fans…

    well, the actual team wore a green and gold kit against villa, at wembley in the 94 final and lost.

    3-1 villa again? :)

  89. Big Raddy says:

    I think that was decent refereeing SH. Vidic should have got a yellow, nothing more.The penalty was enough punishment and to send a player off after just 4 minutes ruins the game. I know the new rules suggest a red, but I believe that should apply only outside the box

    If only the ref in the CL (Mad Jens) had been as good

  90. Rasputin says:

    Make that 1 all :(

  91. Big Raddy says:

    Not been to the New Wembley. Very impressive

  92. Big Raddy says:

    Watched the Spurs game. They are a decent team, but wait until you see Landon Donovan’s miss – shocking. Shame he didn’t bury it and further dent THFC’s chances of 4th

  93. BR – are you serious?

    that was a clear goal scoring chance, vidic was the last man

    a penalty was rightfully given

    the law clearly states he has to be sent off

    one of the worst decisions this season.

  94. for him to not even have been given a yellow.. says it all!

    why give a penalty otherwise?

  95. Big Raddy says:

    Yes. SH I was kidding !!

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Because Dowd can clearly not make the rules to suit his personal taste. It was a Red.

    Great save by Friedel…. he is a fine GK

  97. dandan says:

    Sticks his nose over the parapet and says, BR might have been kidding but in all honesty that is how the law should be, ten men after 4 minutes and the game is ruined. Dangerouse play fair enough, but a profesional foul like that NAH.

    Now I remember big Ian Ure at Wembley LOL

  98. Big Raddy says:

    DanDan. Did you go to the Swindon game? One of the worst days of my youth. Bloody Don Rogers !!

  99. dandan says:

    OH Yes and Luton and Leeds, One day soon I will write about cup finals and me .

  100. dandan says:

    You had a bad day, a gooner I know travelled down as a 15 yr old on a coach from Swindon and back.
    Now that is a bad Day

  101. where the f would united be without rooney?

    one of the biggest one man teams in history this side.

  102. Alfa says:

    Scott,
    AW will no doubt moderate his comments once he has calmed down, that’s the normal pattern.

  103. Big Raddy says:

    Dowd won that game for the Mancs not Rooney.

  104. Alfa – i think when all the facts about shawcross hacing previous are laid bare… i do not envisage wenger or arsenal calming down.

    i expect a real escalation.

    this is a good time to put to bed the kick arsenal off the pitch mantra.

  105. dandan says:

    Actually given the way Martin O joined in the Wenger bashing recently I am not really heartbroken that his team lost.

    Although I am sorry for stringfellows bet

  106. cheers, dandan

    i’ll top the tin up with cheltenham around the corner.

  107. dandan says:

    Your a festival man then stringfellow?

  108. i certainly am dandan… you?

  109. Alfa says:

    SH, sure, see my previous posts re previous.

    Arsene does tend to sound off though and I don’t blame him, but he always sounds more balanced a few days later.

  110. btw – Sizing Europe in the Arkle is my bet of the festival.

  111. dandan says:

    No Have been a few times on business, but am to tight to risk my pennies. I know to many well of bookmakers.

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Not having Sky, I didn’t see this .

    Respect to Patrick Barclay

    http://www.skysports.com/video/inline/0,26691,13989_5991357,00.html

  113. dandan says:

    Some additional thoughts I have also posted on ACLF but have enjoyed the discussions here today so thought I would leave these with you too.

    Many of today’s excellent post and fair summations, expose and expertly clarify the problems the premier league in particular and English football in general faces today

    In a world cup year we will be pitched against technically gifted foreign opponents with our own so called committed players. Hopefully our foreign coach will be able to curb the worst of our inbuilt excesses but should one fail and commit the kind of tackle and inflict the kind of subsequent injury visited upon Arsenal trio of unfortunates in recent times the ramifications for English football will be horrendous and doesn’t continence thinking about

    It unfortunate that the megga money available to dimwits like Alladyce who in my view, started this up and at em philosophy, with the Neanderthals he laughingly called footballers at Bolton. ( You notice even he didn’t have the balls to call them players) Has resulted in a chain of equally talentless nonentities like Brown, Pullis and the demented Neil Warlord, Warlock hiding there brutishness behind a plethora of sports psychiatrist, computer analyst and the like.

    All this has to my eyes a touch of the mumbo jumbo used by Voodoo practitioners in other climes to make them feel invincible against the modern weapons of the foes they are pitted against. Doomed to failure but never the less capable of causing damage in the short term.

    Will the Football authorities react, do they dare react, or would the outcry from the money men be so loud at the thought of their possible eviction from the gravy train that is the premier league. Cause these officials with their comfortable sinecures and large incomes to hide their heads in the sand again and carry on as is.

    My guess is they would choose the latter, so talented players will continue to be kicked at will by these licensed assassins until, A Rooney, Gibbs, Gerrard or Lampard are taken out, then and only then maybe some thought be given to a better way

  114. Rasputin says:

    dandan,

    Thanks for the above comment last night and sorry no-one was around to respond. You have made the point brilliantly. Without Rooney, our world cup hopes would be in tatters. Had Rooney been on the end of Shawcross’ tackle and suffered the same consequences, there would be a massive media-led campaign to stamp this ‘violence’ out of football. But because it was a 19 year old Welsh kid who plays for Arsenal and we’re a bunch of primadonna’s its OK because it’s a ‘man’s game’ …… sickening, neanderthal hypocrisy.

  115. SharkeySure says:

    Great post London……

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