Wembley Awaiting or Despair Descending?

Who would have thought that Ipswich at home would be our most important game of the season to date? Some may say that beating Chelsea and overcoming our Big 4 hoodoo was vital but a loss tonight is unthinkable, especially for Mr. Wenger.

Ipswich were superb at Portman Rd. They deserved to win and but for a fine Chesney save could have won by more. It wasn’t that Arsenal were poor, more that Ipswich came out with a gameplan which they applied with great determination and skill, and Arsenal didn’t have the cojones to deal with them. One would have thought that our midfield would be quite used to playing against less talented but very dogged opposition, and that AW would have sent out his team fully aware of the dangers of underestimating any opponents.

I highlighted Conor Wickham before the game and he showed why he is so highly rated. I am sure that if one were to check the statistics he would have run twice the distance of Nik B and with far more effectiveness. To see him  - a 17-y-o. – closing down Eboue in the corner and then tracking his run up the pitch was an object lesson to all our players. Hard work reaps benefits.

Ipswich’s central defence was never ruffled nor were their full backs given the grilling one would expect, though to be fair to Nik B and Theo, they didn’t get any decent service from the players around them. Even Cesc had an off day. The side that took the pitch at Portman Rd should have won; it was packed with Internationals (Chesney was the only player without caps) and every player had bags of PL experience – they just didn’t gel. Arshavin and Eboue had stinkers resulting in a very narrow attacking area and no cutting edge.

The old adage “form is temporary, class is permanent” is apt for Arshavin this season. He WILL come good and looked to be determined to work his way back to form last time out. This applies to Chamakh as well, what has happened to our star striker? Can he regain his blistering early season form? Will AW play them, particularly in light of the kicking Nasri got at the weekend and Van Persie’s notorious chocolate legs?  It should be pointed out that we have Huddersfield in the Cup on Sunday and can therefore choose when to rest players.

In view of the importance of this game I would start with the A team, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the famously stubborn AW stick to his principles of playing some members of his B squad.

 

Tonight Arsenal have to walk onto to the pitch with the correct attitude – losing is not an option.

COYRRG

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204 Responses to Wembley Awaiting or Despair Descending?

  1. dandan says:

    Neatly summed up Raddy,Thank you
    But lessons do get learnt, we will come out with all guns blazing tonight and our high tempo game will be to much for a gallant Ipswich side. In fact I would not be surprised, if in there desire to shackle our speed merchants, an Ipswich defender gets two yellows.
    A two goal margin at least and a feast of quick, slick, Wengerball will send the Ipswich fans home impressed if not happy.

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning all, morning dandan,

    Fine post Raddy and suitable mental preparation for the game – I’m already nervous!

    We were vulnerable to the ball over the top in the first leg and didn’t do anything to change things in order to negate the threat during the game. Although we should win this game at a canter, I hope our coaching staff have addressed the problem and we have practiced a strategy to deal with it – if we suffer another sucker punch, we’ll need 3 to win.

    Yes we play our football, but let’s keep it tight at the back. An early Arsenal goal will make all the difference.

  3. Red Arse says:

    Good Post Raddy and points well made. :-)

    In particular I concur that we should start with our strongest 11, and only then when we are comfortably winning should AW “rest” players.

    Fingers crossed. Not getting an away goal could hurt us.

  4. Wonderman says:

    Great Post. The only change I would make to your starting line up is Nasri for Walcott. I feel we need a player who can reliably run at what will be a compact and deep lying defence to either draw fouls/a penalty or/and create space for others. I dont see the point of Walcott starting as the space wont be there for him to exploit early in the game. I really hope we do start with Sagna as I find Eboue’s attitude of late too casual.Arshavin must produce tonight, everything he touched on saturday went wrong. I’m going for 3 nil

  5. Rasp says:

    I’ve just read this headline on Arsenal.com and panicked…

    “Loaning a centre back may be best solution”

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/loaning-a-centre-back-may-be-best-solution-?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arsenal-news+%28News+Feed%29

    Luckily, (but disappointingly) it was just poor journalism and we won’t be sending Djourou out on loan, but seeking to bring a CB in ‘on loan’

  6. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    Having watched Cahill last night I think AW should steer well clear. Very average performance.

    With Squidgy recovered we will not buy a CB.

  7. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    I agree it is unlikely we will buy a CB. I shouldn’t criticise the writer of the article for his use of English I suppose, it’s standard football speak – the boy done good :?

  8. 26may1989 says:

    Nice intro, on the button, but one point of information: Szczesny has a full international cap for Poland (he appeared against the might of Canada).

    With confidence high, at some point soon I think we’ll post a big score – it should have been Saturday but perhaps it’ll be tonight. But you’re right, scoring early is very important, otherwise the evening will become an exercise in frustration.

  9. Red Arse says:

    I take it you are going tonight Rasp?

    I had a rare chance of a ticket for the game but still too unsteady on the old pins. Bit of a bugger. :-(

  10. Rasp says:

    Morning 26m,

    One thing is for sure, Ipswich will run their socks off expend and every ounce of energy they have pressing all over the pitch. We will need to get our passing game going, keeping it slick and simple. Let the ball do the work and have them chasing shadows, that way, if we don’t get the early goal, they will run out of steam and we can pick them off later in the second half.

  11. Carlito11 says:

    Enjoyed the read BR- I had to read this line 3 times to be certain you said it: “I am sure that if one were to check the statistics he would have run twice the distance of Nik B and with far more effectiveness.” Is your unwavering support of “the bomber” starting to flag a wee bit? ;-)

  12. 26may1989 says:

    All agreed Rasp, it could well be one of those games where most of our scoring chances come in the last 20 minutes once the oppo are knackered. But I would worry about our players’ mental approach were it to be 0-0 at half-time.

    RA, hope that recovery is going well, sounds like you had a really nasty one.

  13. Carlito11 says:

    RA- I couldn’t get a ticket for tonight- went on sale while I was away. I do have 3 to sit alongside me for Sunday v Huddersfield if interested?

  14. Carlito11 says:

    Apparently a bookie is taking odds on the next Arsenal manager- no doubt inspired by certain blogs! http://www.oddschecker.com/football/football-specials/arsenal-specials/next-permanent-manager makes ridiculous reading! Big Sam at 50/1!!!

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Sorry if the post wasn’t up to standard – internet problems, lack of time, laziness ….. you know the drill!

    Carlito. I remain a Nik B fan but the team come first, and quite frankly until NB is played in position he will continue to struggle which will affect his career.

    Do away goals count double in the event of a draw?

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Carlito. As you say …. ridiculous

  17. Red Arse says:

    Raddy,

    Don’t apologise. It was a really good read. :-)

    The away goals rule does apply.

  18. brian says:

    Be very careful what you wish for Arsenal fans.Having seen Cahill yet again look very ordinary last night I would love somebody to explain to me why we should contemplate spending up to 20 million on an over-rated{because he is English}player.He is no-where near as good as Vermalin,Kosniely or Djourou and,although we all love a new signing,this is one to be avoided at all costs.I could make a case for Samba to play in certain games but definitely not Cahill.

  19. Red Arse says:

    26, Thanks for your comment. The quacks thought it was ‘Flu but it now seems it is another virus which is so far puzzling them (and slightly scaring me). :-)

    Carlito thank you for your very kind offer. I would love to accept, but progress is so slow at the mo’ I don’t think I could make it. Creeping from bedroom to lounge to tap away on my computer, and bugging you guys, leaves me breathless.

    What a wimp! :-)

  20. Red Arse says:

    Brian,

    My comment at 10:29 shows you are not alone in that sentiment.

    Now Kjaer or Subotic would be a different proposition, but next season I think Bartley will be pushing for a place in the team and what would AW do then?

    Best leave well alone or go for a temp understudy on loan maybe.

  21. Carlito11 says:

    RA- sorry to hear that fella- hope you get better soon

  22. London says:

    Morning everyone in AA

    “Loaning a centre back may be ‘best solution’”

    So do you think this means the return of Campbell or Senderos?

  23. Carlito11 says:

    Like what you did there London :-D

  24. awtachew says:

    sign Samba if u want otherwise no need of expensive C AHIL.

  25. 26may1989 says:

    Get better soon RA, that’s an order.

    Re away goals, is it right that they come into play after 120 minutes? Or have I got it the wrong way round?

    Hopefully there will be no need to think about away goals tonight though……

  26. 26may1989 says:

    I like Samba but it’s worth remembering that his screwed up back pass a couple of weeks ago nearly gifted Chelsea a goal.

  27. Rasp says:

    Red Arse,
    Sorry I missed your question earlier, unfortunately I’m not going this evening – my daughter is representing the family.

    Raddy,
    What are you apologising for? The post is of your usual high quality. Sometimes a very long article can be off-putting.

  28. Rasp says:

    No-one has yet been able to give me a projected value for Samba. If he’s £8m or less, we should buy him.

  29. Red Arse says:

    Guys, the following may be worth by-passing!

    In one of my boring, bed-ridden interludes recently, I idly reflected on how I could personally help my beloved Arsenal.

    My mind, without prompting, went back to my brief and unlamented brush with quantum physics. I have always loved mathematics and initially I was intrigued by the subject.

    (Apologies to Albert Einstein and other “proper” physicists for the following.) :-)

    In brief, the laws of quantum physics state that by simply observing something actually seems to influence the physical processes that are taking place.
    Light waves act like particles and conversely particles act like waves (wave particle duality).

    In other words, matter can go from one spot to another without moving through the intervening space (known as quantum tunnelling). Ball on boot – ball in net.

    Now this is the tricky bit, :-) according to quantum mechanics theory the entire universe is actually a series of probabilities. I won’t even try to explain that, other than to say the theory calls for there to be an infinitesimal number of other “universes”, other AAs, other AA bloggers, other Arsenals etc.

    So, if, in this universe, Arsenal were losing to Chelsea 3:0, in one of the other universes (probabilities) Arsenal would be winning 3:0.

    So my plan would be to engineer things such that if we were playing badly, by skimming thru’ other universes I would find the one where we were winning and purloin it. This would guarantee us winning every trophy in our universe! :-)

    I am currently working on this and will continue to do so until I get better!! :-)

    Damned clever that Einstein. :-)

  30. London says:

    I am amazed that there isn’t more interest in signing Samba.

  31. Rasp says:

    I’ve just read that Samba is about to sign a new deal, so maybe the conjecture is academic.

  32. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks BR,
    My beef? Arshavin. As Wonderman said “everything he touched on saturday went wrong”. I was sitting directly above AA’s zone of activity, and he was horrendously off form. Everyone around me, myself included, was clearly desperate to encourage him, but I really do not know when is the time to allow him to regain his form. I suspect that may be on sunday. I also have no idea why Vela never gets a chance. Wonderman, I see your point about the potential lack of space for Theo to be effective. Last point, I do not think they will run out of steam. Parking of the bus is a fairly effective way of conserving energy.

  33. Rasp says:

    Hi micky, I think Ipswich will play with just the one up front and pack the midfield. Expect to see 2 Ipswich players converging every time one of our midfielders receives the ball. That in itself is tiring.

    They played really well in the first leg but looked shattered at the end. If they do choose to simply park the bus, expect penalties and a sending off as our midfield will pass its way into the danger area.

    If they can win through by simply packing the defence, they will have earned their victory and probably had multiple slices of luck.

  34. Rasp says:

    Red Arse,

    You’re already in a different universe, has no-one told you? :lol:

  35. Red Arse says:

    Rasper,

    Blame Einstein. He says we are all in inestimable numbers of universes. :-)

    You can see why I did not pursue the subject!

  36. Red Arse says:

    I think Connor Wickham looked terrific in the first leg.

    Full of energy and skill and effective both in attack and defence, even tho’ for a big lad he was also played out on the wing, a la B52.

  37. 26may1989 says:

    RA, if you like inifinite universes etc, you could check out Transition by Iain Banks. Not his best but some interesting ideas and it’s quite good fun.

  38. mickydidit89 says:

    Rasp,
    Or one up front, and pack the defence. Saves all that running about chasing shadows!

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    I share your concern about the lack of an away goal. Yikes if they sneak one!

  40. Red Arse says:

    26,

    I will buy it on your recommendation. Thank you. :-)

    I don’t really have any great passion for quantum physics, even tho’ it affects us all, (incredibly difficult to comprehend) it was just a laboured attempt at humour. :-(

  41. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    I have been trolling on about young Wickham, but if we play Eboue, and he puts in another of his doolally performances, it is not beyond the realms of possibilty for them to score.

    As 26 said earlier, if we don’t score early on, and worse if they pinch a goal, things could get tense.

    I am, however, quietly confident, and I will have everything but my eyes crossed! :-)

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    I have a very clever as well as sympathetic scientist friend. He tried explaining to me something about quantum physics/mechanics with single syllable words as well as verrry, verrrrry slooowlyyyy, and nothing at all registered.

  43. 26may1989 says:

    My wife is very clever at all that quantum mechanics stuff as well. But whenever she tries to explain some aspect to me, I find myself thinking back to Martin Hayes’ penalties and the like. She finds me very irritating.

  44. Red Arse says:

    Micky,

    My sister is a physicist too and a whole lot smarter than me, although that would not be difficult. :-)

    She says the whole of quantum physics is split by different factions arguing between themselves, because no one really can get their head around it, or “prove” their case, even tho’ it does have practical applications in modern day to day life.

    Better stop there before I push my luck to far!! :-)

  45. Red Arse says:

    26,

    :-)

  46. London says:

    It seems as though Wenger has made the decision not to buy but to loan, I made what I thought was a humorous suggestion above about how that could mean the return of either Campbell or Senderos which made me chuckle at least. Anyway, I continued playfully going through the list of potential candidates capable of playing both CB and DM when all of a sudden a thousand alarm bells went off…….Vieira.
    Just allow yourself thirty seconds to imagine it……..How good does that feel?

  47. Carlito11 says:

    RA another quality read based on multiple universes is Stephenson’s “Anathem”, have you read it?

  48. Harry says:

    I agree that this game is the most important of the season to date. I hope the fans attending tonight along with me and my boys agree and understand what that means…Unlike against Leeds…..

    Ok, it was only the 3rd round in the FA cup so not so important, but Leeds outsung us and it was a tad embarassing, lack lustre support at its best.

    Someone said to me that it was due to how the team was playing, this is where fans need to understand their part in this journey of Football Utopia…..

    When the team is struggling rather than moan and become silent with frustration which only results in the negativity blanket unfurling across the pitch, get behind them and give them the belief, look at the way Ipswich fans used this in the first leg, ok they started quietly, but grew with the team and then really got behind them…Lesser teams get their results at home by getting behind their teams…We cannot always wait, we must get the atmosphere cooking and be intimidating, they are coming to the home of one of the best teams in the world…..

    Most of the time our team, gives us something to shout about, but just now and then we need to get them going…..Tonight lets not start lack lustre as fans and really get the emirates rocking, ok its not the CL against United but it is a semi and the silverware is glistening, just not in our cupboard yet!!Lets show them what this means to us and then let the team dismantle them systematically…..

    Rads the one thing you stated that I would disagree with, is that you said “it wasnt that Arsenal were poor”, without belittling Ipswich’s performance, we were woeful, absolutely shocking.

    Tonight I think a very strong team will show up and bury any lingering hopes the tractor boys have of ploughing their way to wembley, firmly in the ground….

    Winning this Cup will project this team through the mental barrier that gets chucked at us daily from the Journos who revel in our misery……

    Lets stand tall together, be proud, be a gooner, let them know what top level football is all about, no 2nd chances, no respite, work hard as a team, as a crowd, sing till the end and onto victory…..

  49. mickydidit89 says:

    26may,
    Brilliant!
    My wife occasionally tries to explain complicated stuff to me, and I know exactly what you mean. Nobody does the glazed over, faraway eyes thing better than me, but Martin Hayes!!! :-)

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    RA,
    “it does have practical applications”. Unless that incorporates some sliced white, some heat, a dairy product and a jar of Marmite, I am not sure I can possibly agree.

  51. Red Arse says:

    I haven’t Carlito.

    I am ashamed to admit that I have not occasioned across either Stephenson or Ian Banks, but I will do so as I like a wide spectrum of novels.

    An author I have come to very late is Alan Furst who is a master of a totally different subject matter.
    His genre is pre world war 2 espionage. His style makes for a riveting read, which is historically accurate, and throws a fascinating light on the work of the various intelligence forces, especially that of the Soviet Union, all of it coalescing in gay Paree! :-)

  52. Red Arse says:

    Micky,
    :-) You’ve got me there!!

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    The reason I am dribbling today is that I am nervous as hell. They CAN score an away goal, and netting three against any massed defence woud be hard even with RvP, Nasri and Cesc.

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    I have recently installed a very long sofa in my office, so I am off to sit flat for a moment or two.

  55. Hi all

    Harry – you must be so excited about your boys being involved in the match tonight and you’ve put another brilliant comment on above – would you feel inclined to write match report for us after tonight’s game?

  56. RockyLives says:

    Great headline BR – sums up everything about tonight in five neat words.

    I also hope you’re at least 10/11 on the team. Although I thought I read somewhere that TR7 was going to start tonight (maybe I dreamed it).

  57. Big Raddy says:

    Physics Schmysics. In another universe there is a Big Raddy who understands what a quantum is. Which gives me a Quantum of Solace!

    Away goals count double only after extra -time & if we can’t beat a tiring Ipswich at home then ……..

    Vieira! Why would MC let him leave to a rival? Would be great though.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    RL. I would like us to start with our most creative midfield (sans Nasri). This season TR7 (one of my favourite players) has been busy but not incisive – I would rather play the JW/AA combo

  59. RockyLives says:

    BR
    Agreed on the MF. I, too, like TR7 and there was a point in early season when he was our most effective midfielder, but his recent outings have been disappointing.

  60. Femi Jacobs says:

    To me I need Nasri on the pitch from the start. Walcot can come from the bench. If we are not winning at first half, Van10 should be invited. Lets bring in Samba or Cahil

  61. London says:

    Right, standing here freezing having had a bucket of cold water poured over me and my idea, I suppose the only credible name out there is Marquez. The man used to be brilliant although I have no idea what state he is in now.

  62. 26may1989 says:

    Stating the obvious, but the dumb arrogance of FIFA is on display again. Blatter today: “For FIFA, if there’s the will to change something for the international calendar for one year [and schedule the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year], it’s possible to do, because if there’s a will, there’s also a solution”.

    Any thoughts about the interests of football fans, clubs, managers and players in all of this? Apparently not. Just so long as those geniuses in Zurich “have the will”, that’s enough. Has anyone asked Slip “Me A Fiver” Blatter why this wasn’t considered during the bidding process?

  63. RockyLives says:

    London
    Vieira would be great as cover for Song…
    Not sure if he can play CB, but I guess you’d feel happier pushing Song back to the defence in an emergency if PV was filling the gap in MF.

  64. RockyLives says:

    26may
    That Qatar business shows what’s wrong with the governance of world football. It hasn’t been about the fans for a very long time; it’s also no longer about the players or their clubs; and now it’s not even about the spirit and traditions of the game. How can you give the tournament to a country with no proper league, no tradition of international footballing success and no infrastructure to hold a WC.

    All it’s about is money.

    The WCs have been getting steadily worse under Blatter’s leadership and by the time the Qatari one comes round I suspect people will be turning off their TVs in droves.

  65. Red Arse says:

    26,

    Blatter is an odious toad. And like most odious toads he has narcissistic tendencies, which on reflection is more indicative of a self refulgent, pompous bullfrog.

    Other than that I like him, with all due respect and apologies to toads and bullfrogs. :-)

  66. Big Raddy says:

    The Blatter thing is a joke. It is time the countries belonging to FIFA took a stand and insisted upon there being a complete clearout of the existing board.

    Blatter will be dead in 2022 and will not have to take the flack. He has single-handedly made a farce of the governing body of the most popular sport in the world, and become an extremely rich man in the process. Some legacy.

  67. Rasp says:

    The karma of the situation will hopefully be realised when there is a rebellion led by the more powerful footballing nations and FIFA is replaced by a democratic body with the necessary checks and balances to prevent the lunacy/corruption demonstrated in the selection of Qatar.

  68. Harry says:

    Thanks Peaches, just got in from work, got me short on, got me boys, out the door, lets go………..

    I’ll see what time i have when I get back, into work early tomorrow, but we’ll see what I can cobble togther if time permits….

    Prediction: Arsenal 7 Ipswich 0

  69. 26may1989 says:

    Rocky and RA, completely agree. In fact, just as the comments of Gray and Keys have actually been good for prompting debate on the point (who’d have thought we’d be lauding Rio Ferdinand for his enlightened views?), perhaps FIFA’s decision on Qatar will ultimately be good, in forcing everyone to face up to the fact that the world governing body is a cancerous tumour at the heart of the game. Who knows what will have happened by 2022?

  70. Red Arse says:

    Rocky,

    I have an idea that Blatter had a side bet with one of his cronies and said, “I can do what I like, and these mugs cannot stop me.
    I bet I can give the WC to the most undeserving country in the most self evidently foolish geographical location, without any footballing history or culture, in the most inappropriate season.
    And what’s more, I can even move the calendar on a whim, not because they want to, and despite all the furore but ….. well just because I can”.

  71. Harry says:

    That was shirt on……..

    And revised prediction@

    Fancy 8 tonight………I am so up for this one…….

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Sadly, I have totally lost interest in International football. The demise of the England team, the poor quality of the World Cup, the greed of the host countries, FIFA and the players has all led to my malaise.

    Even the English FA is only about the money. So many non-footballl people with their noses in the trough and with so little results.

    As to the team itself – who wants to be represented by a team with the morals of the current incumbents? We even have a drug cheat as Captain of our National team! Billy Wright must be turning in his grave.

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Arisen refreshed and even jocular from the flat chair, I did an hours’ very productive work and thought I’d nip over here for a little cerebral slap and tickle, and your talking about Septic Bladder. Yuk!

  74. 26may1989 says:

    RA, it’s like you were in the room.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Harry. Am deeply envious, both of your attendance and of tonight’s family honour.

    You will be a very proud Dad :-)

  76. SharkeySure says:

    Quantun of Solace….lol

    I went out searching for another universe after the first leg of this tie. Didn’t find one, so I’m still stuck in this one for the 2nd leg.

    Maybe the team news will calm me down a bit…but I don’t think I’ll be relaxed til we’ve banged in a third without reply !

    Afternoon all, but not really stopping.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Sorry Micky ….

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Harry,
    Shorts on :-)
    Hope you all have a good, no great, evening.

  79. Red Arse says:

    I do not share the view that things will change.

    He has been careful to spread the bounty out to many other like minded dubious pillocks, so that chief Execs of tiny FAs have disproportionate power over the large footballing nations. Democracy? Pah!

    It would be like turkeys voting for Xmas. The status quo will not change any time soon.

  80. Big Raddy says:

    SS. Delighted someone picked it up :-D

  81. Rasp says:

    Good luck Harry, enjoy your evening. I hope you take plenty of pics to look back on in the future.

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    Ooops Harry
    Mind you, liked the shorts bit. Smiley face removed.

  83. Big Raddy says:

    RA. What will change things is revolution. And revolution will occur because the major footballing nations have control over the valuable products – the players, and economy rules

    I would not be surprised to see the top European and South American teams form their own breakaway WC.

  84. dandan says:

    Andy Gray has been sacked by Sky with immediate effect

  85. Red Arse says:

    Hope you are right Raddy!

    I have recently spent 10 minutes braving the loonies on a Manure site.

    I was polite, even diffident, while I berated their club and spiteful manager for trying to make a last minute hijack of every trf Arsene tries to make, since they made a cod’s of arrogantly announcing the signing of Rambo, and then seeing him choose us!

    You should try it, the colourful, albeit violent language is something to behold. :-) Even LG could learn something from them!

  86. Rasp says:

    Hi dandan,

    The karma has started, all we need now is for Blatter to be deposed.

  87. Big Raddy says:

    BTW. We still have Armand Traore on the books and should he get some pitch time and develop at Juventus he could find a place at THOF.

  88. dandan says:

    It would seem I wasted my time with the post I put in draft LOL

  89. SharkeySure says:

    I respectfuly agree with every single word of that Radders.

    I am so blessed to be a Gooner and follow a club with class, dignity and fully operational moral compass.

    To also have a manager who completely embodies that same spirit is quite remarkable. You really can stick your Cahills where the sun don;t shine, I’d much rather watch Djourou and th eother youngsters coming thru, alongised low key buys like Kozzer. Next year the conveyor belt will add Bartley and Miquel.

    I get way more joy watching Jack and Alex terrorise teams than I would watching Alonso and Cattermole*.

    Oh the joy of being an Arsenal fan, win lose or draw.

  90. Red Arse says:

    Dandan,

    Wow! There must be more to this than meets the eye.

    Did you see the additional clip Sky News released last night, where he discusses the young lady with another colleague (not Keys)?

    Bloodletting methinks, for old slights and account settling. Oddly enough the instigator was Keys, what of him?

  91. Big Raddy says:

    Whilst in no way condoning Gray’s off-air comments, this is another example of political correctness gone mad.

    Why not let him apologise?

  92. dandan says:

    Agreed Red Arse I haave said as much in an article i wrote last night.

  93. SharkeySure says:

    Harry Might Irespectfully suggest that even if you don;t do tomorrows match report, that you do write a post on your family’s big night tonight.

    If you could also include a b&w photo that would be even better. If not Rasp will add one. ;-)

    By way of part explanation. There have been a few nostalgic, or ‘personal’ insight type posts, and they’ve often had an old pic on them. ie GN5′s, GiE’s more recently.

  94. Rasp says:

    dandan,

    Maybe your article was yet another example of the prescience of the contributors on AA – only thing is, you predicetd it even before we published so no-one will believe you now :P

  95. Red Arse says:

    I second that Sharkey.

    On London’s recommendation I watched Arsene’s i/v on BBC before the game at the weekend. What a gentleman, as well as a great manager. First Class!

  96. Rasp says:

    Good idea sharkey, but we really would like a match report in the pipeline otherwise it’s panic stations at 7:30 tomorrow morning :lol:

  97. Red Arse says:

    Dandan, I believe you. What a naughty Rasp. :-)

  98. Red Arse says:

    Rocky writes beautiful match reports and doesn’t go to bed until hours after the game. (slouches off hoping Rocky doesn’t notice) :-)

  99. Rasp says:

    Raddy,

    Apparently this was not the first time Gray had made such comments and he had already received an official warning for previous misdemeanours. He should have come out and apologised straight away but instead only offered a muted justification. He is, as Gordon Brown would have described when he thought he was off air – a bigot.

  100. SharkeySure says:

    I hear ya Rasp, I’m just figuring that its looking a bit tight for Harry tonight. Trave home with two excited sons, get them to bed, write a post, get self to bed with an early start in mind. Its not looking too good from where I’m sat.

    Oh look, from over the hills comes Rocky on a white charger, 5-7 hrs behind the rest of us. We’re saved !!
    ;-)

  101. Rasp says:

    Here’s a challenge to help you guys cope with the pre-match nerves ….. your suggestions of suitable replacements for Keys and Gray…..

    I’m going for Harpo Marx and Genghis Khan

  102. Red Arse says:

    Sharkey,
    :-)

  103. mickydidit89 says:

    Much as I hate Gordon Brown, he was dead right. The bigot was straight to The Daily Mail for a quick fiver!

  104. Carlito11 says:

    Top call to arms that Harry- and a sentiment very close to heart as most on AA know. Another top comment- will we see a post from you anytime soon? (apologies if I missed one when I was away)

  105. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    How about Kermit and Miss Piggy. No chance of sexism there! :-)

  106. Carlito11 says:

    “I went out searching for another universe after the first leg of this tie.” Lol :-D Well pleased Andy Gray has gone- I wrote a comment to that effect on Irish’s blog last night. Sexist, bigotted and inaccurate punditry to boot- good riddance!

  107. Rasp says:

    micky,

    I used to find Gray’s match analyses entertaining in the main, and he is a character. Unfortunately his machismo allowed him to make the daft comments in the first place and then prevented him from apologising appropriately.

    There are so many new ways for us all to get into trouble these days – Twitter, Facebook, security cameras everwhere :(

  108. Rasp says:

    Acccording to Arsenal sources there will be 4 or 5 changes in the starting lineup tonight. Chamakh will start in place of RvP, but there will be a strong bench. It’s a risk…..

  109. Red Arse says:

    What have you been up to then Rasp? Tell all! :-)

  110. Red Arse says:

    Carlito,

    I did not know Irish had her own blog now. Do you have a link to it?

  111. Rasp says:

    RA, moi? :oops:

    Irish writes for several sites now. The link to the article is towards the end of yesterday’s comments. She also writes for The Bleacher Report and one other site as far as I am aware.

  112. 26may1989 says:

    Gray’s failure to apologise and acknowledge the crassness of his error really is stupid. Christ, if Richard Keys knows to apologise properly, you know it’s pretty obvious.

    I don’t mind Gray as a pundit (whereas I detest that know-nothing Richard Keys) but what he said was out of order and he should have just accepted it.

  113. Red Arse says:

    26,

    I understand Gray was pulled up for a previous “no, no” in December 2010 and was given a “final” warning at that time.

    Keys was smart enough to apologise before HR got involved. Of the two, I would have preferred Keys to go too. But if Gray has got form …….

  114. 26may1989 says:

    Truth be told RA, I have little sympathy for either one. I feel sorry for Sian Massey for all the focus that will be on her for a little while, but as I said earlier, this probably isn’t a bad thing in terms of the issue being raised.

    Anyways peoples, I’m off for a pint and then to The Grove to watch the mighty Arse sweep away the worzels on the way to our first trophy of the season………

    Enjoy.

  115. Big Raddy says:

    Gray/Keyes. Who cares? – they both have anti-Arsenal bias but at least Gray recognises when we play beautiful football and has provenance, whereas Keyes is just a journalist and a fully paid up SAF arse-licker.

    Wish I was going tonight, it will be a fantastic night if we score early and the crowd starts rocking.

  116. Red Arse says:

    Night 26.

    Spot on Raddy.

  117. dandan says:

    God forbid Rasp… It could be Keys and Fat Sam….noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo please

  118. charybdis1966 says:

    Evening all the AA resident doomer here, Rasp your 5.25pm is a bit worrying.

    If I was an Ipswich player and I just found out that the guy who’d scored 6 goals in his last 3 games was not starting I’d be mighty relieved.

    I always go by the maxim that you do what your opponent least wants – above all else.

    So Robin must start.

  119. Carlito11 says:

    Am I too late to get a London prediction for tonight ;-)

  120. charybdis1966 says:

    Scratch that – the starting line up looks great to me:

    Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Denilson, Fabregas, Wilshere, Arshavin, Bendtner, van Persie

    With the exception of Denilson that would be my starting 11.

    You’re trying to get me worried Raspers.

  121. Carlito11 says:

    Quality line up- theo nasri and song rested- I feel we will miss song but hopefully not that much. Coyrrg!

  122. Frothing Inarticulate Loon says:

    That line up’ll do for me !!

    Arshavin hat trick. Left foot screamer, overhead kick with his right, towering header for the match ball.

    There ya go Carlito, I often stand in for London on the predictions front !!

  123. mickydidit89 says:

    Oooo line up.
    Very strong defence, and with Cesc and RvP we should have more than enough.

  124. Big Raddy says:

    I would have played Theo over Nik B but a fine team nonetheless

  125. mickydidit89 says:

    Really hoping our little Ruski finds his sparkle.

  126. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi BR,
    Wonderman made what I thought was a good point about Theo, feeling that he may not find any space against a wheel clamped artic. Maybe I added the last bit, but a good point I think.

  127. SharkeySure says:

    If its 0-0 at H/t there’ll be changes. There’s no way Arsene will be waiting til the 67th minute tonight. I truly believe that we will coast through tonight with that starting 11.

    I know FIL’s a certified and (hopefully)medicated loon, but I can also see Arshavin scoring tonight, perhaps not the low key hat trick(!) as described by FIL, but a goal and assist.

  128. Frothing Inarticulate Loon says:

    Leave your messages of support for our little Russkie on
    http://www.loveyourmeerkat.com

  129. mickydidit89 says:

    FIL,
    Towering header from AA :-)

  130. RockyLives says:

    If FIL is going for an Arshavin hat trick then so am I! Get in the Russki!!!

    Can’t do the report tonight folks, sorry. Off out for a somewhat drunken event after the match (and hopefully a celebratory one, too).

    But Redders – don’t think I didn’t spot you trying to dob me in it!

    Personally I would suggest it’s written by someone who’s spending a lot of time in bed at the moment, possibly through an unfortunate bout of ill health, has nothing better to do than a bit of tippy-tappy on the old keyboard…. hmmm… wonder if anyone fits the bill?

  131. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, is that how you spell Ruski?

  132. Frothing Inarticulate Loon says:

    You heard it here first MIDI !!

  133. mickydidit89 says:

    Great, three different spellings. Mine counts, being first up!!

  134. RockyLives says:

    Only kidding Redders – you need your rest by the sound of things. :)

    Micky
    Wonderman’s point does make sense, but I feel Theo is becoming a better all round player these days and doesn’t need to just rely on the sprint down the line. Wigan were pretty defensive at the weekend but Theo cut into them time and again.

  135. mickydidit89 says:

    7:45 or 8:00?

  136. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Rocky,
    Can I agree and disagree. I think so. Agree he is a better all rounder. Disagree about saturday. On several occasions he had bags of space, but nothing to quibble about.

  137. RockyLives says:

    7.45

  138. London says:

    Unleash Hell.

  139. RockyLives says:

    micky
    I think you have just helped me understand my own point better!
    In the past I have agreed with Wonderman that Theo is best against teams who push up against us and leave space in behind.
    Wigan didn’t do that but Theo still found tons of space. Why was this?
    It’s because of the way the wonderful movement of our front six pulled the Wiganers all out shape. Basically, our first team now creates space for Theo even against a massed defence.
    Happy days!

  140. RockyLives says:

    London :)

  141. mickydidit89 says:

    Rocky,
    You know something, that is a massively good point. Two of us nice and clear!
    Thanks for time check. Liquid in hand. Lets go.

  142. Big Raddy says:

    FFS. This is a really important game, why is the pace so slow? And why is the atmosphere so poor.

    Come on boys ….. All of you

  143. Irishgunner says:

    2-0 to Blackpool

  144. mickydidit89 says:

    Wowee,
    Lets talk about Blackpool!!!
    No prizes for guessing who Ipswich see as the danger man!

  145. mickydidit89 says:

    Surely the goal will come.

  146. Irishgunner says:

    Blackpool are playing the Mancs, seen as the EPL is a possibility the result matters.

  147. Big Raddy says:

    where is the PASSION?

    I love the meerkat but he had a dreadful half. He hasn’t beaten his full back once in 45 mins and his passing has been very average, Nik B should teach him how to cross.

    And how did RvP miss that very simple header from a fine cross from Nik?.

    Denilson has been anonymous.

    Song and Nasri ….. PLEASE

  148. Rasp says:

    Half an hour to go at Blackpool, I’d say the most likely score at this stage is a draw – manu have the mentality to claw it back….. I hope we do.

    Our players (Cesc RvP) are tightening up when they get a goalscoring opportunity. That is the difference real belief and a winning mentality makes. If we get to the final, we may develop the belief and resilience of manu.

  149. Gooner in Exile says:

    Come on the Arse!

    We can do this, we need more width, and we need to be on the end of crosses, Nik B needs to be more central when we do get the ball wide on the left to get on the end of the crosses.

    Wilshere having a great game.

    With one sub already used, a double change is difficult. Can’t concede!

  150. Irishgunner says:

    just SHOOT

  151. mickydidit89 says:

    Bendyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

  152. Irishgunner says:

    Beauty by Nikki B

  153. Gooner in Exile says:

    Super Nikky Bendtner!

  154. Gooner in Exile says:

    Kozzzzeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr!

  155. Irishgunner says:

    YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

  156. ryandanielwood says:

    Its incredible. A fine goal from Nik B and a fantastic corner from AA. Our two underperformers, pull it out of the bag. I’m hoarse with joy!

  157. Irishgunner says:

    2 brilliant goals

  158. ryandanielwood says:

    I’d also like to point out just how much we’ve fought and been bruised in this game. I’m proud of them, but I think it is second team at the weekend.

  159. Irishgunner says:

    fucking ref – he can’t penalise us for what he did, wanker

  160. ryandanielwood says:

    YEY! We love you Fabregas!

  161. Irishgunner says:

    How much does that goal mean to Cesc :)

  162. Rasp says:

    It would appear that both we and manu have the winning mentality :P

  163. Rasp says:

    Fantastic performance by Wilshere

  164. mickydidit89 says:

    Anyone got a spare for Wembley?

  165. mickydidit89 says:

    Very true Rasp about Jack.

  166. Irishgunner says:

    WOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO

  167. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I agree, JW was fantastic tonight. We really stepped it up in the second half, thankfully once we scored it was all over.

    Brilliant control and finish from Nik B, and a superb pass from JW.

    Only negative was MU once again buying a ref and 3 points

  168. mickydidit89 says:

    Anyone notice Bendy nearly splitting his sides in the interview when Cesc was saying that Brum and W’Ham were both good sides?

  169. Rasp says:

    A feature of our play lately has been the long diagonal cross pitch passes. Jack’s pass for the Bendtner goal was sublime and Cec’s long ball delivery was equally good. This allows us to attack at pace and that is a major improvement.

  170. Rasp says:

    Congratulations to Ipswich, I don’t think they could have done any more.

  171. Gooner in Exile says:

    Anyone else think the players might have stripped Nik B just before he went on air? His hands never left his side like he might have been covering something.

    By the way anyone hear that atmosphere? That’s the noise the stadium can generate, let’s hope that happens more often

  172. Big Raddy says:

    Hate to be niggardly but we were playing with 8 men, Eboue, AA and Denilson were passengers IMO. Perhaps not Eboue, he did what was required of him but we look so much better with Sagna.

    With Song and Nasri playing.

    I guess this is the team AW will play at Wembley the tie would have been over at half-time

  173. Big Raddy says:

    Typo….. with Song and Nasri playing the game would have been over at half-time

  174. mickydidit89 says:

    BR,
    Certain 11/11 from you for the final :-)

  175. London says:

    After about sixty minutes I was so tense, pacing in front of the telly, goodness only knows what my heart rate was when I suddenly asked myself why do I do this? What is it about this that I like and then Super Nik who I have never ever doubted, ouch, that was my nose getting longer and hitting the screen, scored with an absolute sublime bit of skill, that I remembered the reason, we love you Arsenal we do, we love you Arsenal we do, we love you Arsenal we do, oh Arsenal we love you.

  176. charybdis1966 says:

    Well, well, well.

    How unlikely a scorer was Bendy for our first ?

    And an even more unlikely second scorer, Koscielny ?!

    Glad the Arsh got the assist on the third(I think he had a better game today – he also forced and took the corner for the 2nd goal) and did anyone notice Cesc’s almost tearful celebration after he nutmegged it through Fulop’s legs?

    Another good side effect of the Wembley final is that the NLD will get delayed, and nicely f**k up the
    Spuds(aka Middlesex Wanderers) fixture congestion.

  177. mickydidit89 says:

    All true London

  178. London says:

    Who was MOTM

  179. Frothing Inarticulate Loon says:

    Two assists for the Arsh. He would have got the goals I forecast had Arsene not taken him off. Arsene’s a complete wrong’un I tell ye.

  180. mickydidit89 says:

    I just love Bendy’s arrogance. The look on his face after the goal was “yeah, so. What did you expect?”. I am convinced he prances around the house singing:
    “I’m by far the greatest striker,
    The world has ever seen.
    And its Niiichoolaaas,
    Niiichoolaaas Bendy,
    I’m by far……….”.

  181. SharkeySure says:

    Nervy nervy night.

    Wilshere..wot a player. He is an absolutely frightening talent. 19 yrs old. WTF. Its just so so wrong that he is so so good at such a young age.

    He can do absolutely everything!

  182. London says:

    That’s funny, probably because it’s so easy to imagine.

  183. SharkeySure says:

    I reckon he’s entitled to tonight MIDI. Wot a relief that was. Fantastic ball from LJW, and Bendy really lived up to the hype (his own..lol) and did the rest.

  184. London says:

    He is going to add goals to his game in the same way that Fabregas and Nasri did and then he will be world class that should be at the age of what? Say 22, scary.

  185. SharkeySure says:

    Too true Pinocch…oops, London. I can imagine it too.

  186. SharkeySure says:

    Only downside tonight was watching Denilson. I like him as a player ordinarily, but after tonight I’m pretty convinced that he needs a change of scenery, the logjam of quality behind and in front of him is getting silly now.

    I loved his long range goals, and I’ll never forget his great wobbly head dance. Magical moments.

  187. SharkeySure says:

    Wot a plonker Mark Halsey is. Good on Cesc for refusing to give the ball back to Ipswich.

    Oh and great shout re the NLD Chary.

    Nite all

  188. London says:

    I think we have less to worry about Denilson that meets the eye, Diaby will come back and get the nod ahead of him as will Ramsey next season, in the mean time he eases Song’s work load…..no real harm done, that said I tend to agree with BR that that game would have been over with the inclusion of Nasri and Song from the out set.

  189. London says:

    What does NLD stand for?

  190. mickydidit89 says:

    North London Derby?

  191. London says:

    Night all.

  192. charybdis1966 says:

    Night S Sure.

    To be fair I don’t think Denilson had that bad a game tonight – he was playing with the tempo of the rest of the team, a fairly quick tempo.
    So I feel tonight was a night for unlikely heroes.

  193. charybdis1966 says:

    Yes MDi89/London – it was scheduled to be on the Saturday before the Carling Cup final.

    I hope it’s rearranged for the most awkward time possible for those Spud f***ers.

  194. SharkeySure says:

    Just Song alone would have done it for me Pinocch’s. He consistently finds forward passes and keeps our tempo up.

    I agree re Denilson having limited chances, and I’m not worried on that score. If/when he goes, I’ll tell him ‘mucho/muito? obrigado’ and wish him ‘boa suerte’.

  195. SharkeySure says:

    Fair do’s re Den Chary.

    Night

  196. 26may1989 says:

    Evening all. I’m at H&I station, waiting for the train home. Thought I’d post a couple of thoughts.

    Great performance by Ipswich, they kept us out for 150 minutes and played fantastically well.

    Wilshere was superb tonight, head and shoulders above Fabregas. LJ put his body on the line, ran with the ball with purpose and passed incisively.

    Try as he might, Arshavin is just not up to it. His assist for the third was sweet though.

    It wasn’t perfect but Bendtner’s performance was good tonight, even before his excellent goal. He won’t get enough credit for it but tonight he was at least as good as RvP and Fabregas.

    The crowd was often poor tonight, getting close at 0-0 to being openly negative. Inexcusable.

    But above all else, WE’RE GOING TO WEMBLEY!!

  197. mickydidit89 says:

    Great result. It does feel very good to be going to Wembley.
    Very good nite all.

  198. Harry says:

    Well I am back and cobbled together a match report which I emailed to the address in contacts, hope you get it, I am knackered and up in 4 hours!!!

    Gotta to just love the Arsenal though……….

  199. Rasp says:

    Thanks Harry, that’s great. It looks like you burned the midnight oil too by the timing of your comment.

    I’ll be adding your name to our list of authors widget this evening.

  200. SharkeySure says:

    Well played Harry.

    Morning All

  201. Morning all

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    around the internet. Shame on the seek engines for no longer positioning this
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