Solid: A Case for the Defence

What can we conclude from the last 9 games? In my opinion we can say without doubt that the defence has done some hard work on the training ground and it is a solid defence that wins games.

Look at the stats. Last 9 games – 6 goals conceded. Previous 9 games –  15 goals conceded. Our first 9 games saw us concede 17 times!

Yes, we may well score outrageous goals and huge quantities of them but it is self-evident that if we don’t concede we get at least a point. This is the SAF way, his philosophy has always been to set out a team with a solid base and allow the flair players to work from that base. George Graham was a man who fully understood this. Sure, we saw some absolutely dire football but “1-0 to the Arsenal” was a song I sung with as much gusto as “Living in a Bergkamp Wonderland,” though I remember the DB wonder goals far better than the 1-0 bores of the GG years ….. apart from that magic night in Copenhagen when the defensive genius of Graham’s management was in full flower.

What has changed? The obvious answer is the return of the full backs. Any team would struggle with 4 FB injuries, and the loss of Sagna in particular was very costly (I have to admit to having a man crush on Bacary). But how does the return of the FB’s explain our new found ability to defend set plays?

It has to come from improved organisation, and that must come from hours of practice. And who at the club knows all about defensive co-ordination? Yes, …. “he’s got no hair, but we don’t care” Steve Bould.

Could it be that Bouldy has at last got to grips with the defence or is it someone within the team? BFG or TV? Or is it having a goalkeeper who has grown into the shirt and is prepared to dominate his area?

Whatever the reason, in recent weeks we have conceded from either bad luck (loss of footing) or a momentary lack of concentration (QPR).

And can you really say which is our best back line? The only player I would say is an automatic starter is Sagna, TV and Kos could be rotated with BFG, who in my opinion is the best organiser, and the jury is out on Gibbs or Santos. Gibbs has been troubled by niggly injuries and though he is undoubtedly our future first choice LB, it is to AW’s merit that he signed Santos to nurse Gibbs through. A run of games will show what a fine player the Brazilian is.

The ankle injury to Mertescker is a cause for concern. When I first read of the Vertonghen rumors I dismissed them but two serious injuries to the same ankle could be evidence of a skeletal weakness in BFG – I sincerely hope not as he and Kos were developing a fine partnership.

Which brings us to Arsenal’s most improved player of the season. Koscielny showed glimpses of his talent last year but this year he has been fantastic. Dependable, creative, pacy, good in the air. Another Wenger gem.

After the wonderful defences marshalled by Adams and then Campbell, have we at last a back 5 we can depend upon?

Written by Big Raddy

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155 Responses to Solid: A Case for the Defence

  1. Gooner In Exile says:

    I think having confidence in Szczesny is one thing, secondly our defending from set pieces has improved, this has been helped by the likes of Arteta, Rambo, Yossi and even TR7 who lets be honest are more prepared to throw their bodies on the line than others in the past.

    I also think the defence are being screened better and we are defending from the front, one of the players leading this is TR7 again he pressures the ball which leads to a hurried pass and another player receiving the ball under pressure, done consistently throughout the team (especially midfield) this can be so destructive of the opponents possession.

    Nice article Raddy

  2. Red Arse says:

    Well done, Randy. :-)

    I think, as things stand, that Chezzer, Kos and TV are the sure start central defence triangle for me.

    Bacary and Soda (Jenkinson) have tied down the right back spot, as have Gibbs and Santos with the left back slot.

    I think I am saying all the defence are show-ins for me.

    A little further forward, Song and Arteta are also shoe-ins.

    Ahead of them Theo, Ox, RVP and Rosicky are also shoe-ins.

    Hmmm, I have not left much room for anyone else, have I? But we need cover.

    (1) — Martinez to cover Chezzer would suit me fine.
    (2) — I have already mixed and matched the fullbacks.
    (3) — Mert, Djourou, Miquel and Bartley will adequately cover our CBs.
    (4) — Rambo, PingPong and Le Coq, will provide cover for Song the Thong and Arteta the brylcream boy.
    (5) — Gerv, Podolski, Afobe and Vela (yeah I still think he could be the biz?) would cover our front guys.

    So, we have a great ‘shoe-in’ team, excellent ‘in-house’ cover and, apart from Podolski, they are already at the club.

    As a manager, Kroenke would love me, if AW decided to call it a day. :-) I am happy with the team, I do not want to spend any money (other than on the Pod) and I have settled on a 4:4:2 system and am sure we will win everything next year!!!!! :-)

    I think I will have earned my £6m a year + bonuses, (or as we Latin scholars would say — bonii). :roll:

  3. Red Arse says:

    Ummm — I meant a revolutionary 4:2:4 system. It is so good at confusing me, it will blow the other managers away!! :-)

  4. irish gooner says:

    if we can keep the back 5 mostly fit for next season,we should win the league.

  5. dandan says:

    Sound common sense as always Raddy has made for a fine article thank you. The return of fit full backs has also had the effect of stopping the opposition’s fullbacks from overlapping as they have been forced to defend our wide men and full backs who now move forward in tandem. The number of quality crosses has increased as has the potential of the wide players to be played in either straight down the flanks to the bye line or inside to attack the near post and shoot. In particular Sagna’s early crosses and chips into the danger area has increased our attacking potential greatly, witness Theo’s increased contribution.
    Defending has become much more of a team activity than in seasons past, all we need now is figure out what kind of footwear will allow our players to turn or accelerate without slip sliding away (as the man said) it would be an interesting stat as to just how many goals have been the result of just such a slip. Never having played in the era of the blade I am unsure how and when they are deemed the footwear of choice, all we ever had was stud lengths. Some info from more recent players would be appreciated.

  6. Slimgingergooner says:

    I am sometimes astonished when people say that Arsene Wenger doesnt have an eye for a defender. Yes, there have been a few flops, Cygan, Stepanovs, Senderos(?), Vivas just to name a few, but people forget Wenger has a long list of success stories aswell in Lehmann, Clichy, Lauren, Sagna, Campbell, Toure, Vermaelen, Gibbs, A.Cole and now Koscielny.

    The pairing of Kozzer and Verm is going to be Europes no.1 for the next few years, of this i have no doubt. We have a back 4 filled with pace and with Verms ability to attack the ball it is also one capable of dealing with more robust forward lines.

    The full backs are lightning quick and are getting better going forward all the time. Sagna’s crossing has improved 10 fold and Gibbs has always had the ability to beat players and get to the byeline.

    Add to this a goalkeeper who oozes confidence (maybe too much!) and you have a defensive unit that can be solid for years to come.

    The only question marks are Gibbs’ fitness woes and also some may see Kozzer as too easy to knock off the ball, but a bit of bulking up in the summer can sort that out. Also, our midfield trio has a tendancy to vacate the centre of the park a little too easily, but Arteta’s awareness and professionalism has allowed Song the freedom to set up more goals whilst also keeping the back door shut. If we add Jacks tenacity and workrate to the midfield then we should see an end to the days of our defence being easy pickings for counter attacking sides.

  7. Rasp says:

    Great stuff Raddy. The number of clean sheets recently and the small number of corners conceded is further evidence of the difference having proper fullbacks makes.

    It is not only that the back 5 are excellent players, but they are all committed to Arsenal. The collective determination of our defence is as good as I’ve seen since the days of Adams etc.

  8. dandan says:

    Irish if you had listened to the delectable Arsenal worshipping Tony Gayle against Wolves you would have soon realiized AW knows bugger all, Our defenders are lazy and know bugger all and unless we buy 5 Tony Gayle clones in the close season we will again unlike those glorious hammers and inspired Blackburn Rovers storm troupers,win Bugger all. Ever. Full stop. :-)

  9. Rasp says:

    SGG, good point about Arteta allowing Song to be more creative. I made the same point recently. Arteta can pretty much be left on his own to knit the back 4 to the midfield/attack.

    It is better that Ramsey and Song give Arteta room to function by constantly moving and giving him options for distribution of the ball. I think Arteta is a deep lying playmaker and it is best if he plays behind Song in most games.

  10. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Lovely post Raddy. On the point of defending set pieces, i think you could see even at the beggining of the season improvements. This is down to hard work on the training ground. We also get everybody back for corners, which i like. The full backs is self explanatory, who wouldnt miss 4 fullbacks out?

    I do believe however, that the key to good defending for Arsenal is possession of the ball, allied with the ability to move it forward and push our defence up accordingly. This season teams have tried to press us high up the pitch. When these tactics have worked we tend to make mistakes and have conceded goals as a result.

    it is no coincidence that Arsene likes central defenders who can move the ball quickly and effeciently, and fullbacks that can give us width and an escape outlet. Look at Barca, they also play a possession game and it is widely acknowleded that there weak spot is there defence, but the only thing is that to hurt them you need the ball, and winning it of them is, shall we say, very difficult. Thats were i want us to be.

  11. oz gunner says:

    thanks for the good read Randy.

    The defence recently has been a real breath of fresh air (largely to as you say all being fit for once). I’ve always agreed that a great team starts from the back as you need that solid as a rock foundation.

    @ RA

    I agree completely, all this talk of this bloke and that is really not needed. We have pretty much all we need within our squad. I am really excited to see the young squad come through and create competition for the first team regulars. I also think if Diaby cannot stay injury free for the remainder of the season then Lansbury should take his position in the squad. His time has come!

  12. barumgooner says:

    Nice post Raddy. To have a keeper the the defenders can rely on and trust is hugely important. Kos and TV seem to have a great understanding and Sagna is a world-class rb. Gibbs could be if he could remain fit ( maybe send him to see Robins witch-doctor). But I think the improvement comes from everywhere on the pitch. It’s been said before but as great a player as Cesc was, he was not a leader. He was captain because he was the best player and Arsene thought it might make him stay. RVP however inspires others not just with his talent but with his attitude and others have followed. TR is now playing with a gusto and desire that has been missing. Arteta, TV, Kos, Ches and Song are all more vocal and possitive. We have the makings of a team who will fight for each other which I’ve not seen for a while.

  13. dandan says:

    Oz although I understand where you are coming from, having seen young Lansbury several times this year, I cannot see that he is in the Diaby class and Diaby’s fitness should the medics manage to get him there will be a major plus to our squad next year. IMHO he is a monster enshrined in a chocolate shell, should that shell harden sufficiently then the PL had better look out

  14. Red Arse says:

    Hi Oz, :-)

    I am delighted you turned up to talk to me, because I have begun to question the point of blogging on AA! Perhaps I will have more success elsewhere. :-)

    It is understandable that many of our fans get carried away with the wish to match the buys of the ‘rich’ clubs, simply because ‘the market’ will soon open.
    It is too easy to forget the rich talent we already have in spades at the club. You mentioned that Lansbury could be another to add to the list of players available next year, and I think that is a good shout, together with the plethora of young guys, on loan or in the reserves, busting a gut to get a look in.

    DD’s Post yesterday addressed this ‘in/out’ dichotomy to a certain degree.

    Hi MerryT, :-)

    You said, “I do believe however, that the key to good defending for Arsenal is possession of the ball”.

    I don’t often disagree with you, but surely the key to good defending is to recover the ball after possession has been lost. This can be done by pressing the oppo, anticipating poor passes, etc, and then making effective use of the ball once it has been recovered.

    Anyway, I am off.

  15. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Where’s my comment just gone?

  16. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Damn. I hate this wordpress or whatever it is.

  17. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    On the subject of central defenders, ive always been of the opinion that they can be judged by what they look like. If they can audition for a Frankenstein or Dracula movie they get my vote.

    Stevie Bould – perfect 70’s Vampire, Ingrid Pitt would be sucked dry.
    Willie Young – Imagine him with short hair and bolts in his neck
    Andy Lineghan- Dosen’t even ned make up, perfect 30’s Frankenstein
    Kos- Looks like a rabid canibal hillbilly, would eat you alive
    Tony Adams- Lurch of the highest order
    Sol Campbell- George Romero arch zombie, grabs you and your finnished
    Martin Keown- Madman locked up in a cellar, turns a bit hairy on a full moon.
    Verminator- umm umm umm, crap, ime talking drivel again. hahahaha

  18. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Redders, Winning the ball back? Thats a fine point. must admit i never thought of that. hahahaha. I suppose my tactics are based on 100% possesion, that could be a bit difficult. hahahaha

  19. dandan says:

    Terry talking of Sol, did you see his greed got the better of his mouth again yesterday and he told the world that unless we bought a load of expensive new players the existing ones would be on their bikes? Can you imagine two human beings further apart in outlook and manner than he and RVP? Arsene must look at the help he has given Sol and think you will have one sad life now the one thing you did well is over.

  20. Big Raddy says:

    TMHT :-) Ingrid Pitt ….. mmmmmmm my first lust crush

    Looks as if I have unwittingly started a tactics discussion which proves that AA bloggers know their football!

    The point about Vertonghen adding a left sided bias is well -made. We are definitely right biased as has been shown time and time again this season. It makes our left sided attacker look weak compared to Theo. Had Gerv been given as many goal scoring chances he would have more than Theo, Or would he?

  21. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi dandan, trust you and your good wife are well.

    My views on Sol have never changed. I love the guy for what he bought to the team, in fact his signing was the tipping point for us winning the league again. However, he left Spurs to join us, and that in my opinion is treachery of the highest order. Surley if we do not acknowledge that, then we ourselves are hypocrities when we talk about Nasri, Cesc etc. As for his latest comments, they are silly and unfounded. You would think that by now he would understand what Arsenal is all about, but obviously not.

  22. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Raddy, ime delighted to have invoked pleasent memories of your first “Lust Crush”, hahahaha

  23. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t think Sol is the sharpest pencil.

    As you say, he doesn’t understand what AFC are about – unlike Nasri he is London born and should know better.

  24. chas says:

    Nice one, BR.

    For those who don’t like lesbian vampire lovers, look away now…

  25. dandan says:

    Sol should be rated alongside Steve McManaman. Both seemingly being all talk. Who should never be trusted and sadly incapable of telling the truth or composing a sentence without the words I, me or mine in it, poor man. At least the scouser con man appears to have the mental strength to live with his treachery, does Sol, I am not sure, he certainly doesn’t appear too

  26. Carlito11 says:

    Hi BR- have been thinking exactly the same thing in recent weeks- it’s not just the back 5 though. Even theo and rosicky look like they know exactly where to stand when not in possession. Long may it continue!

  27. Big Raddy says:

    chas. I always wanted to be a Lesbian Vampire Lover

  28. Big Raddy says:

    Imagine how much Lineker or Dalgleish would cost today!

    50m for Torres would make them 75m+

  29. VCC says:

    BR man thing for Bacary….that makes two of us. He has been magnificent for us since signing.

    Our defence are getting their act together and surely if they carry on progressing as they have this season we are in for a few clean sheets next year. Together with the addition of Podowsky and keeping RvP we should be pretty formidable 2012/13.

  30. Okwash kenyanGOONER says:

    Good blog from a true football fan. We have been playing barca style of recently. All the players have been involved n defending and u will always acknowledge that weneva we have conceded a corner kick, van persie has always been in there to defend. Also the fact that our fulback are now fit, the team has been attacking from all three fronts as opposed to wen we use to concertrate more in the midfield build up when our fbs were missing thus squizing the midfield and our opponents control the flanks and caught us n counters. If we can mantain our squad with afew addition to our weaker areas, the we will be a force that will reckon come next season.

  31. RockyLives says:

    Well said BR
    As you rightly say, the back five is as good as anyone’s, and the fact that the rest of the team are much more aware of their defensive responsibilities had also made a huge difference.

    I also think that the Song-Arteta axis has been influential. It’s like we’ve switched from last season’s set-up of having one DM and two AMs, to having two DMs and one AM. Except that in the current set-up both DMs have the potential to roam forward and cause damage.

    Redders
    Just because people don’t reply directly doesn’t mean they haven’t enjoyed your words of wisdom! Especially on work days I tend to read a lot more than I reply, but I still get a lot of pleasure out of reading the posts :)

    Terry
    Your horror film list made me laugh. A couple more:
    Pascal Cygan: Nosferatu.
    Senderos: another Frankenstein’s Monster
    Igor Stepanovs: well, obviously it’s Igor the mad scientist’s assistant.

    Chas
    That clip suddenly made me very nostalgic for “Cup Final Grandstand”, when the FA Cup really mattered and, regardless of who was playing, you built your whole day round watching the build-up and then the big game.

  32. RockyLives says:

    Okwash
    “the team has been attacking from all three fronts as opposed to wen we use to concertrate more in the midfield build up”
    Very good point.
    We do seem to have a more varied range of attacking approaches now.
    Last year I think we became very predictable.

  33. goonermichael says:

    Great post Raddy. Great to have you back. I read that dandan. I think he’s an idiot. They say once a gooner always a gooner maybe it’s the same for spuds. His interview was extremely derogatory

  34. goonermichael says:

    Apparently the good scousers have scored

  35. goonermichael says:

    Shitty 2 nil up :)

  36. RockyLives says:

    Morning (afternoon) GM
    I think as BR says, Sol is not the sharpest knife in the block. His quotes just seemed a case of trotting out the line that has been peddled by the press for the last year or two.
    He seems not to have noticed what’s actually happening at Arsenal.

    I can’t feel angry about him. For a start, he gave me one of the happiest days for years when he signed with us. The sheer pleasure from seeing the Spuds’ reactions was fantastic. And he went on to be a great player for us, even if he did go a bit strange at the end.

  37. 1tourettesgooner says:

    Good post Randy,
    Losing all four FB`s f**ked us up, shows how important they are !.
    Even better was the mention of Lesbian Vampires ,had me reminiscing of the old days (comments) !. :)

  38. RockyLives says:

    Hmmm
    The Manc derby is going to be massive. I stick by my contention that, as the lesser of two evils, I would rather the red Mancs did it than the blue Mancs (I just hate the idea that the EPL is so easy to just buy).

    But there’s no pleasure in wanting the red Mancs to win and if the blues do it, there will still be satisfaction at seeing Old Bacon Face spitting blood.

    To be honest, Citeh are a better team than this Utd one, so I can see why others would rather the sky blues won it. The prospect of a piss-poor Utd side winning at a canter is unpleasant.

    The refs could be crucial, in which case it will go to Old Toilet.

  39. RockyLives says:

    Haha
    Hello GLIC
    I wondered if the lesbian vampires would entice you out of hiding :)
    The ones in Chas’s clip are definitely award-winning :)

  40. RockyLives says:

    Carlito
    Do you think that’s down to better coaching?
    Why couldn’t we do it last season?

  41. Hi Rocky,
    I`ve been searching high and low for Total as I heard he was down this way, seems like he`s “lost in cornwall” aswell . I was hoping to get him to participate in some 5 a-side on Thursday night and after that Lesbian Vampire action we could have played some football aswell ! :)

  42. oz gunner says:

    @ Rocky

    Well said the 2 DM’s. It was something that was needed because of our attacking style of play. It was too much to ask Song to cover massive holes in the midfield and by our fullbacks. Now with support he can’t get dragged out of position and we are not as susceptible to counter attacks. Our biggest defensive flaws were set pieces and counter attacks, and now it looks like we have gotten them under control

    @ RA

    definitely second what Rocky said. Sometimes you stump me more than deforestation but always a pleasure reading your comments.

  43. Gooner In Exile says:

    So City win 6-1. It was 2-1 and then Nasri was replaced by Toure and City went on to score 4 more….back to the bench fat boy .

  44. nmcmaho1 says:

    I’m not sure what i ever saw in him as a player GiE. Yes there is quality there, but watching last weeks game against us, and several during the season all he does is pass it short, run a short distance, ask for it back, do it all over again. Result=nothing. No advanced positions, no dangerous passing, just very overrated.

  45. oz gunner says:

    bloody wordpress again!

  46. dandan says:

    Hi Guys. for those who have enjoyed the Bee Gees music over the years, spare a little thought for 62 year old Robin Gibb he is in a cancer induced coma and not expected to wake again, that family with all their success have still really suffered.

  47. evonne says:

    Hi BR, thank you for the post and the GN tips. You have promised us 400 words, but managed 552, well done :)

    I don’t think our defence is solid, far from it, it can still be pretty wonky at times. And, each time I see Szczesny and Koscielny going for the ball, my heart misses a beat.

    I’ve decided to back SeaBass (female jockey) and Weird Al, see what happens

  48. jnyc says:

    Raddy, thanks for being a lil positive about our defense. Its a lot more than just looking at stats. Its observing every aspect of the match, not just looking at the highlights. Sometimes i watch a match again, and notice alot of small points i missed.
    especially about mertesacker. He started for us a little tentatively, but slowly but surely, and through the fullback crisis, he became steady as a rock. He was comfortable, assured, and always in the right place. I even started to feel like he bulked up a lil in the weight room,which i was hoping he would do for our league being
    more tough the articles of last week saying he was going back to
    germany bothered me, because even though i want
    vertonghen, they were all saying merts was a

    disappointment. Just not true to people who watch the
    whole match closely.

    merts does his job in the most un-spectacular way. Using intelligence and instinct and experience to be in the right place almost always, and its kind of funny, because kos and verm are exactly the opposite

  49. evonne says:

    Raddy – thank you for the post and the GN tips. You promised us 400 words, but managed 552, well done :) As for our defence – no, I don’t think it is solid, in fact I think it’s wonky at times. And, every time Szczesny and Koscielny go for a ball, my heart misses a beat

    I’ve decided to back SeaBass (girl jockey) and Weird Al (both ex husbands :) ), see what happens

    Oz – my wordpress is pants! I hate it as much as Rocky’s daughter hates butter!!!

  50. evonne says:

    a long comment has just disappeared, I want to cry :(

  51. RockyLives says:

    jnyc
    Merts had a slightly shaky start (as you point out). The media decided after about five games that he was “a disappointment” and completely ignored the fact that he had emerged as a really good performer for us.
    I hope he stays next year (assuming he makes a full recovery). With him, Kozzer, Verm and JD we don’t need any more CBs.

  52. evonne says:

    Raddy – thank you for the fine post and the GN tips. You promised us 400 words and managed 552, well done! As for our defence, I think it is still wonky at times. And, every time I see Szczesny and Koscielny going for a ball, my heart misses a beat

    I backed SeaBass (girl jockey) and Weird Al (both ex husbands’ name :) ), see what happens

    Oz – my wodpress is pants, I hate it as much as Rocky’s daughter hates butter!!!

  53. evonne says:

    … and again :( must be in moderation, no idea why

  54. evonne says:

    WestEnd Rocker is wearing nice colours, red and white

  55. evonne says:

    photo, neptune me thinks

  56. Rasp says:

    I’ve released your comments from spam evonne – I have no idea why they were not allowed?

  57. evonne says:

    Rasp – thank you! Must be because i said I hate WordPress, noone likes to be hated :)

  58. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Trying to play without competent full-backs is like Neptune Collonges running on three legs.

  59. Irishgunner says:

    Sad to hear about Piermario Morosini – 25 year old – died of a heart attack today playing in Serie B. All games in Italy called off.

  60. Irishgunner says:

    Evonne – the poor guy had a tough short life, really sad. His father and mother had both died by the time he was 17, his brother also died young, and his sister is seriously ill, now he’s gone …

  61. Hi girlies – I had SeaBass and WestEndRocker – for his nice colours :)

    evonne – don’t know why your comments went into spam, sorry.

    Very sad about the young Italian footballer :(

  62. evonne says:

    oh no, that’s just awful, some people draw a short straw in life :( They say that God takes early those whom he loves most early

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi guys,

    Ghost of GLiC, I have returned from your truly beautiful, award-winning Cornwall yesterday evening, and only just read your 5-aside sexy football invitation. :( :)

    We stayed around St Ives, so would have been difficult to meet up but thanks for the invitation. It was only a short visit, otherwise I would have contacted you before we left for Cornwall to meet up.

    Good to see you back on AA! :lol:

    I managed to read all the blogs and comments since Tuesday this week, and what a treat it has been!

    A great pre-match by Irish; a feisty call to support young Aaron by Rocky, followed by a fine MR in which he cheekily made Aaron Man of the Match-hahaha; a warm, interactive post by DanDan for the Friday-slot, triggering a great response; and today’s easy-going post by BR on how our defence is performing significantly better recently: all top stuff!

    I can see from the comments that everybody has had enough from discussing Ramsey, so I will not add my views to the previous discussions. But well done Rocky for standing up for him! :)

  64. Big Raddy says:

    Semi Final was a rubbish game. Carrol was awful and yet scored the winning goal. Worst of all was how negative Everton were – they have nothing up front. No pace, no creativity, no aerial threat.

    A decent team would have thumped L’pool. Instead we face the prospect of seeing them try to equal our Cup Double season.

  65. evonne says:

    Peaches – did you win? I had mine each way, so at least I didn’t lose. 3 black dogs say hello

  66. evonne says:

    BR – who else is in the final – chavs or Spurs, yes?

  67. goonermichael says:

    I burnt myself on the curling tongs. Bloody amateur

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Just watched the National. I was close with Sunnyhill Boy.

    Awful about the Italian player. Did this type of thing happen in the past? And if not, what has changed?

  69. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – I had Seabass backed yesterday at 22/1 e/w so I won a grand total of …………….. €16.25 on my €2.50 bet ha ha

    Synchronized died after his fall :( Sad one for JP McManus. He has a big party last year after he won. Horse was spooked before the off.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Happens to me all the time :-D

  71. goonermichael says:

    You should leave your pubes natural Raddy

  72. goonermichael says:

    woof woof

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Is that a professional opinion? Do I owe you?

  74. goonermichael says:

    You can have that for free Raddy :)

  75. Irishgunner says:

    BR – Records of it happening in the 80s and 90s but only in the bigger leagues. I dare say if he had died in the 70s or 80s, nobody outside of Italy would have heard about it – growth of the media and especially the internet.

  76. I had mine each way but stupidly bet on too many horses!!!!! Still nice to come away with something.

    gm – tell me you weren’t using the curling tongs on yourself ;) My mother rather liked to use them as a form of torture, I remember them resting occasionally on my neck. Ouch, maybe the therapy hasn’t quite dispelled that memory :(

    Welcome back TA, hope you had a lovely week in Cornwall.

  77. I’ve seen loads of spuds today and being the two-faced kind of gal that I am I’ve found myself wishing them good luck for tomorrow – don’t mean a word of it :lol:

  78. Raddy and goonermichael have you two actually ever met each other in person? I can’t remember …………………

  79. Too many dancing chocolate legs …………….

  80. goonermichael says:

    No I haven’t Peaches. But I have a description of Raddy from Geoff

  81. Irishgunner says:

    This is off topic but its me :) Lady Gaga sold out 77,000 tickets in England in 58 seconds …. that’s my Lady.

    Dublin tickets on sale on Monday, was told by my boss not to come into work without one cos she couldn’t be looking at me moping. I don’t mope … only when Arsenal lose.

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Peaches, thanks for asking. It was not warm but still sunny and away from the wind, it was often quite nice. Mousehole, Sennen Cove, St Ives: all very beautiful places with a ‘special light’ that burns away any gloom you could have. I can see why Micky and GLiC are such happy chappies! :)

    I could not watch the Wolves game, but listened to 5-Live in the car instead. Really enjoyed it, especially with the Mancs losing to Wigan as well :)

  83. Irish – you sit there until you get a ticket, there’ll be no dealing with you if you don’t :) They’re changing hands for ridiculous amounts of money, the Twickenham ones.

  84. oz and evonne – did you get to email each other?

  85. Irishgunner says:

    Peaches – I have one :lol: I thought I mightn’t get my 2 hours off Monday if I told her. Got one in the presale, but need to get 2 more for my sister and friend. If not I’ve to go all on my lonesome.

  86. evonne says:

    Oh Irish, I love you :)

    Peaches – not yet

    TA – hiya!

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Not had the pleasure of meeting GM yet.

    Something to remedy soon.

    In fact I would like to meet all the AA bloggers. If we can meet in our home countries it would be even better.

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Evonne! You have been in some fine form recently! :)

    Off to watch The Voice with my girls now. Till later :)

  89. Irishgunner says:

    Hiya Evonne :)

    I love Arsenal more than Gaga though – just to clarify :) Didn’t need to did I?

  90. VCC says:

    Geoff said Raddy was big fat and ugly. Don,t believe him GM.

  91. evonne says:

    Irish – course :) I have a hirarchy too. Bees are right at the bottom; allotment, German sheppard, books, cat and then either Romeo the pug or Arsenal. The pug is going to die one day, Arsenal won’t, so I guess it is Arsenal, but that’s a hard one

  92. Irishgunner says:

    Horrible picture going around of the young lad that died in Italy today – shows a club doctor trying to turn him over and the guy’s eyes are rolled back in his head and he’s evidently convulsing

  93. Slimgingergooner says:

    Apparently he left the pitch conscious and was pronounced dead later.

    So scary that people so fit can die so young.

    Good to see the Spanish games hold a minutes silence.

  94. Strus says:

    Using DecTech team ranking +Poisson probability distribution for simulation of mean goals allowed and scored,
    this season defence/ offence record match by match was as following:

    good/ weak
    bad/ weak
    woeful/ good
    good/ below par
    woeful/ good
    good/ good
    bad/ average
    average/ average
    average/ good
    bad/ rocking
    good/ average
    average/ average
    average/ below par
    good/ rocking
    good/ bad
    good/ bad
    average/ good
    average/ weak
    good/ weak
    bad/ below par
    woeful/ average
    bad/ average
    good/ weak
    average/ rocking
    average/ average
    bad/ rocking
    good/ good
    average/ average
    good/ average
    good/ good
    bad/ below par
    good/ below par
    good/ good

  95. evonne says:

    TA – no, I am as grumpy as always, just pretending better
    night all x

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Evonneski, you need to book yourself a few days in St Ives, and the grumpiness will disappear at once! :D

  97. 26may1989 says:

    Bugger, have just worked out that City’s win today means mathematically we can no longer win the title.

  98. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahahaha, thanks for the stats Strus, that confirms exactly what i thought.

  99. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks for the focus on the defence Raddy. I’d say all the defensive positions bar LB are nailed: Sz, Sagna, Kos and TV. I still worry about LB: much as I like both Gibbs and Santos, I don’t have complete faith in them. But then perhaps the contrast is a little too extreme: I really do think Sz, Sagna, Kos and TV are the best, or at least amongst the very best, in their positions in the PL. Objectively I don’t think we can say that about LB: Evra, Assou-Ekotto, Cashley, Baines and Enrique are all ahead of them.

    But the stability in defence is fantastic for us, and it’s a big reason we should feel hopeful about next season.

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening 26, nailed? I don’t think so. Just think back about our away games at QPR and Liverpool recently: enough reason to have doubt about the pairing of TV and Koz. They are too similar in type for me and remind me too much of the previous pairing of Toure and Gallas.

    Our defence worked best in the past when we combined a cool and calm organiser with a strong physical presence, and a terrier-like CB who wins a lot in the air and is fast and strong on the ground: Adams/Keown – Campbell/Toure. I believe Wenger got Mertesacker because we simply lacked the former and as this season progressed the partnership between him and Koz looked stronger and stronger. It does not mean that TV and Koz cannot work together and as they showed against Citeh, they can be very effective. But I am convinced Wenger wants partnerships between Mertesacker/JD on the right and TV/Koz on the left in the CB roles going forward.

  101. RockyLives says:

    Strus
    if i’m reading the stats right, they say that our second half against Citeh was “below par”. Really?

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening Rocky, I think Strus means our attack (strikers) was below par in that game (only goal of game came from midfield). He does not seem to be using a division between first half and second half of a game, but defence vs offence during the entire game.

  103. RockyLives says:

    Whoops – thanks TA
    should have read it more carefully.

  104. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all missed some good blogging yesterday, I was sulking after I heard the ‘Pool result!

    Can’t take a scouse cup double and can’t take a Spuds trophy so it’ll have to be a win for the Chelsea Pensioners then.

    TA…welcome back glad you enjoyed Cornwall, Mousehole and Sennen are both nice places, it’s a shame they have monopolised Lands End so much that I hate going there now. Did you go to Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre? If not there is a reason to return to Cornwall. (not like anyone needs one)

  105. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Big Raddy,
    Thank you for the post. I did write some words but they vanished, so I copped a strop and didn’t return. Then Pool won which made matters worse. Finally, I had two horses in the National which finished 1st and 3rd, which sounds great, other than the fact that as they turned into the final straight I decided I definately wanted SeaBass to win. It came third, so I lost to myself!!!

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    TA welcome back. Glad you had a good break.
    GiE morning too. Minack? Oh yes. They stop performances in full flow if a dolphin swims past, as they say the acting or even the setting simply cannot compete.

  107. chas says:

    Morning GIE and DidIt,
    I couldn’t help noticing Suarez’s ears yesterday. They stick out in the most alarming way!

  108. chas says:

    By the way Micky,
    I saw both your planned bbq comment and the hapgood one and appreciated both but forgot to comment. :)

  109. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Chas,
    He’s done Hapgood. Done Cardiff Years, now on Chapman. He asked me yesterday whether the Library stock Arsenal Literture.

  110. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    Suarez is far more my type of footballer for the Arsenal than Podolski. I am talking football here, not character.

  111. chas says:

    Haha, all good libraries should.

  112. LB says:

    First chance I have had to read the post and a fine post it is, fine comments as well, clearly all is well in AA.

    Off to Hertforshire now for a swift 100k.

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    100k? Strewth. Pack the compfy saddle, and steer clear of hairdressers.

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Do they need a post for today. Just had an idea. Will wait until a leader arises.

  115. Red Arse says:

    Morning Dudes, :-)

    Everybody up early as usual and full of beans, altho Chas is trying to put me off my breakfast with a vid showing evil ears!

  116. Red Arse says:

    Didit oh honourable Devonian personage, what’s your idea? :-)

    My own idea was to ask everyone (AA) to face West this p.m. and stand on first their left leg when the Spuds are about to shoot, and then switch rapidly to stand on their right leg.

    Quoi? Well the shift of weight would have the affect of disturbing the rotation of the earth’s axis and cause a miss.

    What do you think? What do you mean it’s bonkers? :-)

  117. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    There’s a GP about to begin.
    My idea is, well naturally brilliant, but concerns a new formation. I’ll reveal all in a comment if I receive the letter of rejection.

  118. Red Arse says:

    I’m watching too, Micky. As an adopted Brit it’s Lewis and Jensen for me!!! :-) Laters.

  119. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA,
    I’m afraid I watch the first two laps. That’s it.

  120. Gooner In Exile says:

    Micky is that true about the Minack….ive never been for a performance but think the setting and the cove below is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

    People fly 1000’s of miles for seas like this:

    LB must have had a big win on the National….100k…wow

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GiE,
    Yes, true. And LB comment :-)

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Seeing as there is a Cornish flavour this morning, we went to see this lot last night. From Port Isaac, North Cornwall.
    Lady Gaga fans.. look away.

  123. Big Raddy says:

    That’s the first laps done

    Minack is beautiful, though it was a cloudy for my visit. it was the day Princess Di died and was a sombre day

  124. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yip, had a feeling that would go down well :-)

  125. evonne says:

    Micky – are those guys related, they all look so alike

  126. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. I would love to join a choir like that. Must be great fun.

  127. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Excellent, Raddy to play with.
    Loved your post yesterday, and my disappearing response was along the lines of consistency of personel amongst CB’s has been key. The returning FB’s added as much to the attack as the defence, but equally significant was the fact that it allowed both Verm and Kos to return to their proper positions and gel.

  128. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    Two are brothers, although not untypical amongst closely knit Cornish Communities, they all share the same mothers and sisters.

  129. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    Its not for those that like their men thin, pale and emotional :-)

  130. evonne says:

    Micky – ?? isn’t incest illegal?

  131. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Not in these parts, no.

  132. Big Raddy says:

    Didit. are you inferring I am anything other than a Real Ale swilling, red meat eating, alpha male?

  133. evonne says:

    Now I know you are joking!! Get lost!

    We cannot win the league, no, not this season, but we still have St Totterigham’s day to look forward to

  134. evonne says:

    Raddy – prove it

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Evonne. Where micky lives it is called “keeping it in the family”!

  136. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    No way. Just that its not a fashion thing.
    Evonne,
    I’m being serious :-)

  137. evonne says:

    Raddy – awful! Is Micky inclined that way too?

  138. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    There’s another lot who meet up on tuesdays during winter time in a boozer on The Lizard. Its free beer to anyone who rocks up and sings or who joins in with a musical instrument. There’s one old boy who can neither sing nor play, but has muscled his way into the group, and free beers, by turning up with a triangle that he occasionally “tings” between “slurps”.

  139. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. That is why I love it. i am a big fan of folk music and traditional folk in particular. There is a reason why roots music survives over generations – it has a primal attraction.

    the music I play is always acoustic (these days!)

  140. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    I do like my men with strong forearms and weather beaten. Yes.

  141. evonne says:

    Micky – brrrrr… Mind you, they all look alike in the village my almost ex has a cottage, unbelievable, same faces everywhere. I was told not to talk about anyone, because he/she is bound to be related to somebody else.

    My son and husband used to stay at a golf course near Mousehole, they loved it. I am well overdue a trip, but not you truly put me off travelling south

  142. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    I know you’d love it. Come over and we’ll book a room in the boozer (ahem, with our Missises).

  143. evonne says:

    Micky at 8:51 – so do I :)

  144. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Your son has a husband?

  145. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Sounds great.

    Come on Jensen ……

  146. evonne says:

    Micky – yes, it’s Peaches’ daughter :) She wears the trousers

  147. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh heck. I volunteered a post, but see no orders. Are they covered for today as I want to go outside.

  148. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne :-)

  149. Big Raddy says:

    There is a post in drafts but write away and we can publish yours midweek

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah ha, thanks Raddy. I’m free.

  151. Morning all

    Sorry Micky, I missed the chance to grab you for a post!!!!!! We have one for today but feel free to write yours up and we’ll use it next week – everyone wins ;)

  152. New Post …………….

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