Crystal Palace: Another Must Win

Let’s get this out the way at the beginning because it is so distasteful to write ….. Pulis is doing a fine job at Palace. Who would have thought it?

Right that’s done.

And now for another unpleasant chore, a retrospective of Arsenal’s  January Transfer window. I will be brief, in my opinion it was ……..  how can I put this? Dire.

I know there are extenuating circumstances but the Draxler Affair was a comedy which ended with the player himself stating (I say “stating” but who knows if he did) that he wanted to come but Schalke refused to sell. AW saying it was all a media sham and Shalke winning all round. But who knows what is true? The club have never been open in their dealings and as we all know tradition is paramount at THOF. Any long-term fan knows that until a transfer is announced by the club everything you read and hear is supposition and gossip.

Crystal Palace on the other hand have been very active, bringing in 5 players. At least one will start today, Jason Puncheon, who is in excellent form following his joke penalty at Shite Hart Lane. And of course today heralds “The Return of the Chamakh” ( whatever happened to that Mark Morrison?). I always liked Chamakh but he is at his level now; an inability to reach the standard required by Arsenal was not down to lack of effort but lack of talent and he cannot be blamed for that. Bet he scores now!!

I have already sullied my keyboard with my first sentence so will not  linger on their manager. Suffice to say, he is an odious fellow who will hopefully return to South London pointless and humiliated.

Arsenal:  Usual stuff – who starts given our mounting injury list (which thanks to our bizarre TW signing now has a Swede in the treatment room).

Please Mr Wenger can we see more than 60 seconds of Podolski? Whilst I understand the need to balance the team by playing Gnabry on the right and Santi on the left I would much prefer to see  (for the final 30 mins) Ozil go right, Santi central and Poldi on the left.

Can we go into a game which is likely to be a midfield battleground with only Arteta to put his “foot in”? Micky suggests playing Vermaelen a in midfield and this makes much sense to me – won’t happen though.

I expect Rosicky to start. He has been a major plus this season. I recall a conversation with kelsey a few seasons ago when we both wrote off Tomas’s career and questioned why AFC didn’t pay him off ! I am excited to see whether Rosicky plays in a Mask. Would he be the first Masked Gooner?

The recurrence of Ramsey’s thigh knack is hugely annoying but it gives The Ox a chance to show us why he will be so integral to the team in future years. Important games ahead and his work will be under scrutiny.

My Team:

a v cp

This should be enough to win today. We have quality on the bench which has been further strengthened by the absence of Park.

The origins of The Crystal Palace are obvious(see pic)  but prior to the building of this wonderful example of English Victorian ingenuity and engineering it was just a part of Penge Common. And what is Penge apart from where Tony Hancock came from (look him up)

Unknown

Penge was another of the towns established by those hardy travellers the Anglo-Saxons. It was original called Penceat which means edge of the wood thanks to it being on the periphery of a dense forest.

Crystal Palace was built for the 1851 Great Exhibition which was hugely popular. In just 6 months over 6m people visited which was a third of the population of England! It was the first building with public flushing toilets and it cost one penny to visit them – almost a million did which is remarkable because you could buy a decent central midfielder for a penny in those days – anyway – this is where the expression “To spend a penny” comes from!! (for our foreign readers this is slang for going to the toilet)

It burned down in 1936.

On paper this should be a win for the good guys, but who knows? We haven’t been playing our fluent brand of Wengerball in recent weeks – perhaps not since the Ramsey injury. This is the last “easy” game before the “Death Cluster” (™ RL) we must take three points and return to our rightful place at the Top of the League.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy

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200 Responses to Crystal Palace: Another Must Win

  1. kelsey says:

    “We have quality on the bench which has been further strengthened by the absence of Park.” hahaha I could have written that.

    I think you have got the team spot on Raddy and I actually think we might get one of those days when we win comfortably.

    If Chamakh and Arteta clash in the air there will be a mass of gel on the pitch.

  2. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, FFP in the headlines this morning, sorry to quote a broadsheet I know we are trying to bring in more working class fans:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/exclusive-manchester-city-facing-new-threat-of-european-expulsion-9101725.html

    Raddy I tried to say that Pulis was doing a good job at Palace the other day…..I tripped over at Tony I couldn’t even start the surname so well done for getting the first line out in the open early doors.

    Hasn’t Puncheon been there all season? Just now converted to permanent so as to free another loan berth?

    They have done some good work in the window but I expect us to have too much for them.

    Ox in with Arteta will be fine, has done a good job there on occasion.

    Also reading twitter there appears to be a story in the Mail (must be true) that BSR wants to come home……..I’d really struggle with this!

  3. Malaysian gunner says:

    These are the games Arsenal need/must win if they want to be champs.Failure to get 3 points could be fatal.A draw aint good enough.
    I suspect Pulis will play on the break. That is where the gunners need to be careful. Remember Hull’s 2-1 win. The tigers were pulverised and shot to pieces but somehow survived to win.
    It could happen if the gunners carry their passing to a frenzy instead of shooting.
    I saw Adam scoring Stoke’s winner. I think instead of shooting the gunners will elect to pass which could have proven fatal.,

  4. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers, well done, yet again, BR.

    I won’t try to second guess Wenger on the team, but just for once couldn’t we play Podolski and Giroud as twin strikers?

    BR, you’re forgetting Penge’s other claim to fame, It was the site of The Penge Bungalow Murders, which brought about the greatest triumph of his career when Rumpole of the Bailey won the acquittal of the accused.

    Crystal Palace’s first ever transfer was when the whole structure moved to Penge from Hyde Park in 1854

  5. Big Raddy says:

    NG. Don’t spoil it, Of course, it was in HP which is why so many visited. It cost more to move to Sydenham Hill than it cost to build.

    Fine man Rumpole.

  6. Thanks BR

    I expect a Arsenal 1 Crystal Pulis 0 thrashing !.

    Podolski and Giroud look nothing like each other, how can they be twins ?

  7. Rasp says:

    Lovely PM Raddy. Crystal Palace burning down was supposed to be as unlikely as the Titanic being sunk by an iceberg. It was all glass and steel and yet it burned down – how did that happen?

    Of course this is a must win. Although some of the chasing pack had unexpected results yesterday, the fate of the title will be decided by the consistency of the current top four.

    It’s rich that Maureen is having a moan about city’s manipulation of FFP. I still can’t see UEFA banning any of the top teams from the CL. If city have broken the rules and don’t get banned then FFP will have to be consigned to the bin.

    We’ve not been playing that well recently. We need to be patient and produce a confident controlled performance (with no injuries) and victory should be ours. I cannot even begin to predict a score – it depends which Palace and which Arsenal turn up.

  8. Rasp says:

    Is it something I’ve said – or something that’s been said about me? :?

  9. Jeanette Kliger says:

    Even if I find the Källström situation bemusing, isn’t many people’s preferred signing, Draxler, also injured?

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Very quiet this morning. Probably the post.

    Or perhaps it’s just Sunday.

  11. Jeanette Kliger says:

    Definitely not the post, BR!
    It’s difficult to know what to say, as you have covered the most important points.
    Really a question of fingers crossed and being glad at what we have achieved.

  12. Big Raddy says:

    Jeanette. Thanks – I was losing confidence :-D

  13. Rasp says:

    We have a new baby in the AA crèche – I’m assuming he’s ginger? :lol:

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    BR,

    Thank you for your pre-match, I thought you were supposed to be on your holiday’s?

    I cannot see past a win today, Palace even with a TP “conditioned” team will not have enough gas in the tank to beat us. Chamakh may be in for his own private boo fest today – which will make him revert to his performance levels with us.

    A win will put us on top again and if Chelsea and MC tie on Monday we will stay there for at least another week.

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    Herb,

    Your post at 6:46am was in extremely poor taste and your comments regarding dandan and GIE were also out of line.

    You continue to beat your well worn drum of discontent – why not give it a rest – it’s both upsetting and boring.

  16. GunnerN5 says:

    26M,

    Wow! Your comment at 8:02am was outstanding, it reflected my own thought perfectly. The only difference is that I could never have written my views with such clarity – thank you.

  17. RockyLives says:

    Fine pre-match BR

    I feel fairly confident about today’s game. We may be top of the injury league, but Palace are only one place behind us :)

    I hope Chamakh doesn’t get booed but I fear he will. He was not good enough in the end, but he never bad-mouthed the club and has not done so since leaving.

  18. RA says:

    Good Post, BR.

    The Kallstrom deal does seem odd to me at the moment, but as always, I trust AW must have had his reasons.

    With regard to the Draxler ‘negotiations’ (and you can take your pick of the rumours as to whether or not there was even a bid), I would compare that to the situation where if I were personally offered an item that I wanted, (say in a shop), at a price I did not like – I would not buy it.

    There is a difference between cost and value in my private life, and I would expect no less from the club.

    If Arsene (and we are talking hypothetically here) was told that Schalke would only accept ‘x’ for Draxler, but AW thought he was worth ‘y’, I could not criticise him for refusing to pay ‘x’, if he thought it was not value for money, even if, as a fan, I was disappointed.

    But none of us know what, if anything, went on, so I guess it is all moot.

    Having explained the above, where I would still question the club, as I said yesterday, is in their apparently blinkered pursuit of Suarez last summer, when it became clear to nearly all of us that ‘Pool’s owners would never sell to Arsenal, and the club did not appear to have a fall back plan to buy another CF, which AW clearly felt he needed.

    That was a mistake, in my opinion, and will need correction in the summer (by which time it will be too late to change the outcome of this season’s Premier League challenge), but better late than never, I suppose.

  19. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders, the cost of strikers next summer is likely to be sky high. As usual, there will no doubt be several whose price will rocket on the basis of their WC performances. We will be competing with the chavs who it is reported already have their sights on Costa. I’m still reasonably confident on Draxler, but he could also go out of our range if he has a good WC.

  20. RA says:

    Pulis and Fat Sam are cut from the same cloth, and I expect similar tactics today to those used by the open mouthed gum chewer to facilitate the Whammers draw against the Chavs.

    It’s football, anything can happen, but after a TW that has disappointed many fans, neither the club nor Arsene personally will want a poor result like the Chelsea one — and neither will we the fans.

    Hi, Rocky, nice to see the prodigal son has returned. :-)

  21. He looks ginger on photos Rasp but not in the flesh! Figure that one out! :)

    RA,

    We definately need a striker but i do worry about who we could actually get in the summer. If theres not one available now, then whos going to emerge in the next 6 months?

    There seems to be a real shortage out there.

    Maybe the thinking behind Draxler is that he can convert him into a CF, as has been suggested in the press.

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    FG, I must have missed the AA announcement of your son’s birth – my sincere congratulations

  23. RA says:

    Hiya, Rasper,

    You are absolutely right.

    That is another reason why the failure to buy Higuain (or similar) and giving up earlier than we did in the pursuit of Suarez last summer could be very expensive for us in more ways than one.

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi FGG, he looks a bonny lad, ginger or not :)

    I agree, affordable strikers are scarce. It would not surprise me at all if AW had it in mind to turn Draxler into a striker of sorts – I think he prefers to attack from midfield.

  25. Rasp says:

    Thanks Redders,

    I reckon manure may be looking for another striker too ….. although I had to laugh at the internet rumour that BSR was returning to Arsenal in the summer :lol:

  26. arnie says:

    Great stuff, Raddy. as ever. Yes, must win game, and one that we are expected to win, no doubt. But not without shedding a few drops of gel on the way. Have to win while protecting our nimble footed players from mercenary action. That has to be the priority. :D :D

    I would like to see Giroud and Poldi played together. But hey, if wishes were horses, …. :D :D

    Very quiet motning indeed, Raddy, I am still trying to catch up. In the midst of all the banter was a contribution of gargantuan proportions from 26. Well played, Sir!!!!!! :D :D :D

    The TT poll suggests 91% chance of winning today. Win, and then await the game tomorrow, where Arsenal fans place 70% odds on a Shitty win over the Chavs. :D

    COYRRG!!!!!!!

  27. Fgg – he looks gorgeous :)

  28. RA says:

    Hi Slim,

    Again, I am in complete agreement with you regarding the likelihood of the cost of the best players going up after the showcase of the WC. Another reason why the failure to get someone last year was a costly mistake in my opinion.

    I do not believe for one second that we will ever see Draxler at Arsenal. If Wenger saw a discrepancy between cost and value this January, it is not likely to change after the world cup — and his cost is more likely to rocket and anyway there will be others with deeper pockets prepared to take him.

    On the other hand, there are always new ‘sensations’ coming to the fore and hopefully Arsene will secure one of those. :-)

  29. As I really don’t want this spilling over into BR’s Pre-Match Post, GunnerN5, I’ll try to keep this brief.
    Firstly, it is only ‘poor taste’ if you take it out of the context with which it was meant, as you obviously have.
    It’s called passion, and just because people on here have Arsene Wenger up among the pantheons of God’s, it doesn’t mean we all slavishly fall into line and become ‘yes’ men. I don’t ask people to agree or disagree, nevertheless, it is my opinion. I don’t jump on here everytime people go over the top with their lavish praise of our manager, I don’t swear at people or call them childish names just because I don’t agree with their opinion, in fact I’m not on here that often. We’re talking about a football club, not life and death, and some people should hang their head in shame for the way they behave.
    With regard to Dandan and GIE, there was no need to respond in the manner that they did, but my responses were far more polite than theirs, and your address to me.
    As for the accusation of being ‘boring’, only if you have a one-dimensional unintelligent mind-set that closes off all avenues of potential debate. Whether you choose to believe it or not, just as there are many Arsenal supporters that are content, there are equally as many who aren’t, just pop over to ‘Le Grove’ and see for yourself how many there are. I think you’ll find they use far more industrial and vitriolic language than I’m comfortable with.
    You want a sanitised blog, GunnerN5, where Arsene is ‘God’ with everyone singing hallelujah’s from the same hymn sheet, you got it
    You don’t need to tell me I’m the bad apple, many have beaten you to it. Over and out.
    Sincere apologies to you Big Raddy for disturbing your excellent pre-match, here’s hoping Arsenal get the job done today, I have this nagging doubt that says 1-1, but I’ll be happy to be proved wrong to see us back at the top of the PL.

  30. RA says:

    Slim,

    I would like to add my compliments to your son and heir (name?) as he is extremely handsome!! :-)

    Takes after his mom does he?? :-) :-)

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    Thanks guys. He’s been an angel so far so can’t complain, just hope it continues (it definitely won’t!).

    I can’t think of a striker that would be available that would greatly improve our team. Fingers crossed Wenger can pull something out of the hat.

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Herb,

    Now you are getting really offensive. In the future I will not be upset by your comments as I will no longer read them.
    This is the end of my communication with you.

  33. Rasp says:

    Hi WATA, I hope you agree that we’ve said all that needs to be said on that subject.

    I reckon you’ll be slightly more than ‘happy’ when we win and regain top spot. Remember, Arsenal is what unites us – not what divides us :P

  34. RA says:

    Rasp,

    The rumour that Brave Sir Robin is disenchanted and would like to return to Arsenal seems entirely without merit and after all that has gone on, I for one think his time has come and gone.

    There are always other fish in the sea, my mom used to say (and I have lived by that truism all my adult life — and I am still looking for one to marry me!) but that aside, the same applies to footballers, especially CFs.

    The dilemma is that some of the future greats are not ready now – and perhaps we all feel that we need the finished article NOW. :-)

  35. Rasp,

    Love this ‘Remember, Arsenal is what unites us – not what divides us’

    RA,

    His name is Jack. He may take after his dad, i will let you know when i find out who he is!!! :)

  36. GunnerN5 says:

    Wenger – It’s vital to stay open-minded

    Arsène Wenger says Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny’s progress since the 2011 League Cup final show the benefits of patience.

    The Arsenal pair’s mix-up in that game allowed Obafemi Martins to score a last-minute winner for Birmingham City.

    But Wenger says the huge strides Koscielny and Szczesny have made since then prove the importance of not rushing to conclusions.

    Since that incident in the League Cup final, Koscielny and Szczesny are two of the most improved players

    “Koscielny is one of the best in Premier League, without any hesitation,” the manager said. “He has combination of qualities. Good reading of game, good anticipation, great commitment, great speed and [he is] quick on the turn.

    “He is good on ball but he has improved a lot in that he now has better control of himself. He is more serene and calm, one of the very best for sure.

    “He had a tough spell after [the League Cup final] and last year I took him out of the team for a while. That’s where I give him great credit because he came back in convincing way and took being left out in a positive way.

    “I was thinking about that situation this week. Since that incident in the League Cup final, Koscielny and Szczesny are two of the most improved players. You questioned them but this shows you have to be open-minded.”

    Wenger insists he never considered signing replacements for either player – and he has been fully vindicated.

    “I was questioned on that, especially with Wojciech – there was a pressure there,” he said. “But he is still very young for a keeper at that level and this season I think he has proven it was the right decision.”

    Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com

  37. That pleases me GunnerN5, because if you think I’m being ‘really offensive’ you have a really strange set of values
    Hi Rasp, people just have a different criteria for what qualifies as success, but that’s fine. I promise not to ruffle any more feathers. We obviously all want the same thing for Arsenal, and hopefully Arsene Wenger still has a big role to play in taking us there.

  38. GunnerN5 says:

    Q: Why are fish so smart
    A: Because they swim in schools!

    Q: What does the pope eat during lent?
    A: Holy mackerel!

    Q: How do fish go into business?
    A: The start on a small scale!

  39. kelsey says:

    Oh I see we have another young gunner. Congrats FGG. His name is Jack……:)

  40. RA says:

    GN5,

    There is a time and a plaice for that!! :-)

  41. kelsey says:

    Do you want the report in your nuts Rasp ;)

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    Now you are skating on thin ice.

  43. RA says:

    Yes please, Kelsey.

    A report written on Rasp’s nuts will get to the crux of it.

  44. RA says:

    That’s me all over GN5, I just do things for the halibut. :-)

  45. GunnerN5 says:

    You are in trouble now Kelsey – he has you by the short and curly’s.

  46. Charybdis1966 says:

    No one at the tavern ,

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    While sports fishing off the Florida coast, a tourist capsized his boat. He could swim, but his fear of alligators kept him clinging to the overturned craft. Spotting and old beachcomber standing on the shore, the tourist shouted,”Are there any gators around here?!”

    “Naw,” the man hollered back, “they ain’t been around for years!”

    “Feeling safe, the tourist started swimming leisurely toward the shore.

    About halfway there he asked the guy,”How’d you get rid of the gators?”

    “We didn’t do nothin’,” the beachcomber said.

    “The sharks got ‘em.”

  48. RA says:

    Yes there is, CharyB — YOU

  49. GunnerN5 says:

    One recent Sunday, a young boy arrived to his Sunday school class late. His teacher knew that the boy was usually very prompt and asked him if anything was wrong.
    The boy replied no, that he was going to go fishing, but that his dad told him that he needed to go to church instead. The teacher was very impressed and asked the boy if his father had explained to him why it was more important to go to church rather than to go fishing. To which the boy replied, “Yes, ma’am, he did. My dad said that he didn’t have enough bait for both of us.”

  50. RA says:

    That’s all very well, GN5, but I have often been described, by dopey students, as being a cross between a math teacher and an angry crab — it seems I give snappy answers.

  51. RA says:

    GN5, :-)

  52. RA says:

    WBA 1:1 “Pool

  53. jnyc says:

    Raddy, I love your idea for the last thirty minutes. It’s better because we get two of our best scorers on the pitch together. Santi tries to score allot more aggressively from the middle than ozil.
    I still don’t know why arsene couldn’t get lukas on longer last week. Frustrating.
    GIE, good link on ffp. Liverpools owners can be a good ally for us in this. But I just can’t imagine uefa doing anything about the owners pouring money into their teams through other businesses they own. Even though it’s obvious. We haven’t heard them address that aspect publicly.
    That affects Chelsea also in a big way, so we lose mourihno as a mouthpiece on that one. As much as I hate him, he is very effective at drawing the media attention that might help..
    Wasn’t there some talk about a separate English ffp, favored by a majority of clubs?

  54. RA says:

    Got to go and get breakfast sorted before watching the game.

    Laters. :-)

  55. Rasp says:

    Hi Kelsey,

    If you could send it to my nuts for now please :? I’ve spoken to peaches, I think she’s going to email you later.

  56. GunnerN5 says:

    1st kipper: ‘Smoking’s bad for you’
    2nd kipper: ‘It’s OK, I’ve been cured’

  57. kelsey says:

    e mail me about your nuts :)

  58. kelsey says:

    Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Ozil, Podolski, Giroud played very well.

    Any comments

  59. Rasp says:

    Great :P pool drop points at West Brom

  60. Rasp says:

    As regards the team, it will be interesting to see the formation. We are going to need Rosicky in the big matches so giving him another week to recover is a good idea….. maybe he’ll come on from the bench.

    Nacho for Gibbs is intriguing – is Gibbs fully fit I wonder?

  61. kelsey says:

    Subs: Rosicky, Fabianski, Bendtner, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Gnabry, Zelalem.

  62. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Afternoon All.

    Raddy,
    Can I say that I like this theme of yours so much. Second week on the trot I’ve shot off and told the family how clever I am. This time origins of “spending a penny”, followed up by the brilliant connect to football with “remarkable because you could buy a decent central midfielder for a penny in those days”.

    Brilliant stuff, thank you very much.

  63. well its an attacking line up. Im surprised Wenger hasnt opted for Gibbs after Monreal’s poor game against Southampton. Maybe hes saving him for the bigger games.

    Good to see TR7 on the bench.

    Podolski in the team!!!! Thank God!!!

  64. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ahhhh, at last. Mesut, Santi and Lucas together. That is very exciting.

    Chaaaaaarge to the title :-)

  65. JanMan says:

    BR. Great pre match right up as usual. I for one am very happy to see Podolski in the starting line up. I think his shooting skills are what we may have been missing in the past few games. He just needs to take the chances when they come his way. After the past few performances the entire team need to up their game and take this opportunity to put a few goals in the back of the net!

  66. Gööner In Exile says:

    Gibbs carrying a knock? Can’t see why else Monreal keeps place and as FGG says big games to come.

    Like the three man combo of Ozil, Pod and Santi, if it were me I might even be inclined to start 4-4-2, good shooting distance in the midfield line.

  67. Bayonne Jean says:

    No Vermaelen? Injury or manager’s decision?

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great opportunities for Ox.
    1st to grab a starting place for Arsenal in the absence of Flamini as well as Maelstrom, but also to prove to Roy Hodgson what a versatile player he is, and those are very handy in any WC Squad.

  69. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bayonne,
    Someone mentioned an injury earlier this morning. I think.

  70. Other results, and with City v Chelsea tomorrow, suddenley means that 3 points here would be a massive boost.

    Ox and Pods inclusion could be key as it means we have a very real threat from outside the box. This will force Palace defenders to close down rather than backing off and that could create space in behind for other players.

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey

    Love the team news….and Giroud played well :-)

    Or is that the MR? In which case, you win another :-)

  72. Ah, great minds GiE! :)

  73. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Come on you Gunnnnners

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Thank you for spotting the best line in the post. It tickled me as well

    Great team given injuries.

    Like others I prefer Gibbs.

    BTW Great to see Kolo still doing his best for us :-D

  75. Big Raddy says:

    The bus is well and truly parked. No surprise there.

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Already feels like it might be a good day

  77. RockyLives says:

    Oxo is trying too many Hollywood passes, a bit like Ramsey used to before he settled down.

  78. evonnee says:

    Thank you Raddy for the excellent and informative PM. As
    a foreigner I can confirm that I had no idea where the ‘spend a penny’ expression came from.

    I am not sure why you think that Crystal Palace under Pullis play well, but we have 60 more mins to find out. The commentators here said that Pullis’ greatest achievement in his 21year career is the fact that he was never relegated. Great!

    Off to watch the rest of the game

  79. evonnee says:

    Ginga – Jack is loooooooovely, what a little beauty! My granddaughter is very lucky to be in such good company – George and Jack, and Nicole :) They are the future!

  80. RockyLives says:

    The ref is way too lenient.

    Pulis’s clear plan is to break up our play with lots of petty fouls – and he’s being allowed to get away with it.

  81. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I know these games are frustrating (well, until you get the first goal), but I find them fascinating. Trying to probe and skill your way around a packed defence.

    Usual thing, the first goal, then the space opens up.

    Hope that goal comes :-)

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Game going as expected. Pulis tactics have been the same everytime he comes to THOF. Dull,dull, dull.

    We have tried letting them attack looking for some space but no luck so far.

    Let’s hope CP tire and we can open them up.

    Speroni looks solid. Why buy Hennesey?

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Wow. 75% possession

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    Seems to be a couple if different paces on the pitch from us.

    Could do with TR7 in the middle gives a bit more directness with his movement, too many ball movers than runners at the moment.

    Monreal having a good game, Pod looks hungry, Ozil is a genius on the ball but he needs more movement from those close by.

    Think the ref should have booked Jedinak for his foul on Ox in our half, that’s the only one I thought he got wrong so far.

    Oli needs to stop backing into the centre backs, Pulis has schooled them well, push into the forward then as soon as you feel his weight shift onto you take two steps back and put your arms by your side, result looks like forward is looking for foul. Dark arts but sometimes like to see a bit of that from us or at least a bit of recognition that it’s going to happen and get wise to it.

    Palace also looking to win free kicks, Ox guilty once of giving it to them when he could have let centre backs deal with.

    Need width width and more width, problem is it only seems to be coming from Bac and Monreal which will leave us open to the counter. Few balls into the box from deeper will force Palace to press higher which should then open a few more gaps for runners.

  85. kelsey says:

    Well I have done the first half report.up to 23 words :)

  86. RA says:

    Oxo has played well.

    I am in danger of being repetitive, but the lack of pace is evident, because it is like our guys are giving a training ground demonstration or exhibition of keep ball, with very few real bursts of pace – Sagna was an exception but even then he collided with the ‘keeper.

    Which of the subs is quick? :-)

  87. Gööner In Exile says:

    Get in!!!!!

  88. kelsey says:

    Just in case you were going to ask rasp, Santi with the assist :)

  89. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I love The Ox so so much

  90. TwentyTwelve says:

    Yes!

  91. Big Raddy says:

    Open a bottle of red wine, cut a slice of chocolate cake and we score.

    Works almost every tim :-)

  92. RockyLives says:

    Great work Szcz

  93. evonnee says:

    Micky – and there is me thinking that tall blonds like Per are more to your taste

  94. Big Raddy says:

    Agree with RA that Ox is playing well and the goal will lift his confidence

  95. kelsey says:

    If Gibbs is fit I would put him on for Monreal and bring Rosicky on for surprisingly Giroud he looks off the pace.

  96. Big Raddy says:

    We need something Kelsey. The team and in particular the midfield has gone to sleep.

  97. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’d get Ollie off now.

  98. Big Raddy says:

    Time to take off OG who has taken a battering, and Ox looks tired.

    Come on AW that is what subs are for

  99. MickyDidIt89 says:

    BR :-)

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That was fantastic.

  101. RockyLives says:

    Job done.

    Very professional and convincing performance…

    …just as Kelsey’s match report said… :)

  102. Don’t bother with the match report Kelsey, i wrote it this morning at 8.12am!

    ‘Going to be tough to break these down today, but if we stay focused at the back then a couple of 2nd half goals could win it. 2-0 to the Arsenal.’
    :) :) :)

  103. TwentyTwelve says:

    Job done! Here’s to a draw tomorrow.

  104. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. guess your little fellow has only seen AFC off the top of the table for one week in his life!

    I was mildly impressed with CP. Well organised and hard working.

    MoM: Easy – The Ox, but BFG and Kos were majestic

  105. JanMan says:

    Job done! Another clean sheet, three points and back to the top of the league. CP parked the bus and made it difficult for us to break them down but with patience we did the job. Ox was outstanding, hopefully at the end that was just a touch of cramp and nothing more serious. Good all round performance from the boys today even though at times our midfield struggled a little even though we had 73% possession. Now here is my question to all of you, do we want city to beat Chelsea and put Chelsea 5 points behind us or is a tie the best outcome? Your thoughts?

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    JanMan

    Definately draw. Coming 2nd is like coming 3rd which is like coming 4th, and given that we’re certainly not coming 5th, then we may as well go for 1st :-)

  107. Micky :)

    BR,

    He’s a lucky boy! I didnt see them top of the table until i was about 13!!! :)

  108. JanMan says:

    Mickey.
    I did not mean that I would be content with coming second. My path of thought that it would then be a 5 point gap between us and Chelsea and in turn we would then battle with City for the Championship. I am convinced City will drop points and I am certain so will Chelsea.

  109. Gööner In Exile says:

    Good win, little bit of sleepy time after our first goal .

    I’m one of Arteta’s biggest fans….only thing he does that annoys me is play others into trouble when tight in.

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Almost two thirds of the season gone and we are 15 points ahead of MU. Moyes in!!

  111. fatgingergooner says:

    Isn’t there also an argument that a Chelsea win is good as it means we are 2 points clear and it could cause City to wobble.

    I think we are golden no matter what because we’ve won our game. That’s all that matters.

    We could be the only team in the top 4 to win this weekend.

  112. Kgööner says:

    Good win. Ox is my man. Brought energy to the midfield that reminded me of Rambo. Both of them could offer a lot of energy in the central area if played together. Arteta was off his game.He’s had bad days but today seemed like nothing worked for him. I think that’s the replacement we desperately need. I wonder if he’s injured how we’ll pack up at the back? if Rambo is fit, I would play Rambo Jack and the Ox in front of the CB.

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Exile

    Time you learn’t to sleep through first halves, that way you won’t miss the good stuff and still feel refreshed.

    Fair point JanMan. I’m still going for the draw, but I am thinking over your idea. We do have City at home and Chavs away. Mmmm

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kg
    I am not contemplating the idea that Arteta has picked up a serious injury :-(

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey

    Bet you don’t stick up your usual excellent Match Report comment early tomorrow before the Match Report goes up :-)

    We’ll have to stick to the usual early morning filth right up until publishing time. There will be no intelligent football related banter early tomorrow :-)

  116. JanMan says:

    Mickey. There are so many scenarios and what ifs! I guess at the end of the day all you can do is win our games. However, I would like to see that little bit of breathing space behind us.
    On a different note, lots’ of articles in the German press that Klose is really upset with his Italian club. He really wanted the loan move to Arsenal to challenge himself in the EPL and play along side his German team mates, especially as he is not getting much playing time in Italy and he wants to earn his spot in the German National team for the WC. At 35 Klose is fitter than most younger players and is fox in the box. With the chances our boys create I think he would have been a great help to us.

  117. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Two goals, another clean sheet, three points and back to the top of the league. MotM Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    I’ve always had a sneaking respect for Palace, they played good football in the past but now that they have sunk to the lowest level of Pulisball I hope I never have to watch them again. 11 0 0 for much of the game, that’ll keep the crowds rolling in!

    Another fine performance by The Gunners, another tactical triumph for Le Boss, he really has no equal. WATAbout that!

  118. kelsey says:

    Yes Micky.

    Maybe a pre match report and a match report :)

  119. MickyDidIt89 says:

    JanMan

    We’ll find the silver lining in tomorrow’s result. No need to worry about that.

    Can’t wait to get back to your Wife’s homeland next month and get stuck into a top notch schnitzel, and admire from a distance those gorgeous Bavarian Fraulines :-)

  120. kelsey says:

    This boy and he is in goalkeeper tems is going to be a legend.Fantastic save at a crucial time
    .
    So often to make those saves when you have next to nothing to do all game is so much harder than when you are bombarded..

  121. MickyDidIt89 says:

    On that note, I feel weak and hungry.

  122. RA says:

    Did you see the Arsene interview?

    (For those who have not):

    On kallstrom, he set the record straight regarding the loan transfer deal.

    – We got KK for nothing – no payment for ‘borrowing’ him.
    – We will only pay his salary after he recovers from his injury.
    – Spartak will pay his salary in the meantime.
    – KK will have recovered from his injury by mid-March, at the latest.

    So, we did know he had a pre-existing injury, and the medical check showed it was a micro fracture.

    If he does not recover – we pay nothing and it will be as if the deal had not happened.

    If he is back at the end of February or mid-March he will be available to cover for our midfielders during the run in to the title.

    Sounds like a good, no risk plan to me. Now there is a surprise – not! :-)

  123. Gööner In Exile says:

    Lol RA.

    And Lol Micky the sleepy time was not me but the team…. :)

  124. Gööner In Exile says:

    Look at the amount of strapping on Kozzers ankles!!!

  125. So RA, no media conspiracy against the Arsenal, however, the deal is not as suspect as the media would like it to be.

    Interesting deal though.

  126. kelsey says:

    Report emailed ….mind your nuts :)

  127. kelsey says:

    RA,
    “If he is back at the end of February or mid-March he will be available to cover for our midfielders during the run in to the title.”

    Note run in to the title, not CL qualification.

  128. Right up to the last minute on Dead Line Day, Arsene was looking for more loan deals closer to home !.

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/images/cabinetpapers/nhs-politics.jpg

  129. arnie says:

    Well done, Ox, well done team. Poldi is a great guy, such positive spirit and influence on the team!!!!! Relieved today, and wait the results tomorrow. :D :D :D

  130. welarfedourselvestobits says:

    Am I missing something? Man City appeal Kompany’s red card 2 footed tackle v Arsenal…and WIN but the Flamini identical tackle red card still stands? FA+ FECKARSENAL?

  131. rosickyball says:

    I really like your style, I definitely enjoyed reading this!

  132. Gööner In Exile says:

    Where is everyone? 2-0 win back top of the league Ox scores two, Pod plays with Santi and Ozil. Szczesny doing what every Championship contender’s goalie should, stop the one chance that’s given.

    Or is everyone having a nap before watching Super Bowl?

  133. Gööner In Exile says:

    The AA crèche is looking a fine bunch now….so when do we place bets that they’ll end up playing for Arsenal?

  134. Gööner In Exile says:

    Not saying the BBC reporting is slipping but this from BBC Web:

    “Palace’s Argentine keeper Julian Speroni blocked a low shot from Serge Gnabry and pushed out Mesut Ozil’s floated free-kick, which had missed everyone and was heading towards the far corner of the net.”

  135. GunnerN5 says:

    Gie, you are most observant I read the same BBC report by Michael Emons and skipped right over that.

  136. Gooner in Exile says:

    Haha GN5 just caught my eye. I didn’t read the rest :D

  137. arnie says:

    Fine run of comments, GiE. What is the point here? That Beebs conveniently ignore Chesney’s save, is it? Well in that case, true to type is all that can be said? :D :D

    The AA crèche is looking lovely, indeed!!!!! :D :D :D Brings a smile to my face every time I go to the top. One less reason, and a big one as well, to be grumpy here on AA. :D :D :D

  138. arnie says:

    oh, I see, Gnabry was the invisible Gooner. ha ha ha. :D :D :D Was this drafted before the game? :D :D

  139. 26may1989 says:

    An industrial win today – but our efficiency at the sides outside the top seven continues. We’ve bagged 87% of those points so far. With that sort of efficiency, if we can get just a few more points from the top teams in the return fixtures than we did first time out, we could be in the special zone……

    Interesting to see the explanation behind Kallstrom. It all makes sense in football terms, but it really is a PR screw-up: the club had all the information ahead of time, so why didn’t they manage expectations by saying it up-front, and not wait for it to come out afterwards? I’m not one who says that the club communicates badly with the fans generally (they do a better job than pretty much all other clubs, as far as I can see) but this is a bit of a Mickey Mouse level mistake.

  140. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE will the blast make it for next week?

  141. arnie says:

    Next two games are absolutely key. On to Rocky’s Death Cluster 1. :D :D

  142. TwentyTwelve says:

    JanMan, I want a draw tomorrow because both competitors would drop points. Chelsea has it easier the rest of the way, so it might be better if they lose. On the other hand, City is looking so tough, that I think the sooner they stumble in their march, the better.

    You expressed wanting Chelsea 5 pts behind, but a draw leaves them 4 pts behind, which seems almost as good. In addition, City would be 1 pt behind instead of 1 pt ahead.

  143. 26may1989 says:

    I thought we really missed Wilshere and Ramsey today – the passing needed speeding up, and LJ would’ve done the business on that front, and in the first half we needed more running into the box. That said, the Ox’s attacking running certainly warmed up in the second half.

  144. arnie says:

    My impression is that The Ox played further up in the second, and this made a big difference.

  145. Rasp says:

    Terrific 3 points today, I was working so will look forward to seeing the highlights on motd :)

    chas, I can’t update the stats widgets until the chavs and city have played tomorrow, but can you confirm for me the assists for the last 2 games please

  146. That was a very enjoyable escape from dog, daughter and granddaughter. Gone are the days when I just put my coat on and say “bye, I’m off to The Arsenal” ;)

    After spending the first 45 minutes trying to get through ten men, i and those around me wondered how we would unlock the Palace defence. It didn’t take long and wow wasn’t Oxlade-Chamberlain an exciting sight for sore eyes.

    Great day and TOTL again :)

  147. 26may1989 says:

    Yup, my impression too, arnie. Not that I’ve had the chance to watch any TV coverage to check my impressions yet.

  148. Gn5 – your 3rd blast from the past will definitely be used next week either Wednesday or Thursday.

  149. Bayonne Jean says:

    Until things more clearly sort themselves out at the end of the season, 4 points dropped is better than 3 points dropped. So a draw is what we hope for tomorrow.

    As awful as it is to watch Palace playing Pubis style of football, they are organized, physical and difficult to break down, plus they still have matches at Selhurst Park against City, Chelsea and Liverpool. So some successful doses of 19th century football against those sides would be welcome.

  150. fatgingergooner says:

    I think the whole team played higher up at the beginning of the 2nd half.

    Watching Pod collecting the ball just over half way was doing my head in during the first 45. We were far too deep and blocking each other’s space.

    I thought Özil was much more assured today and Mertersacker was unbelievable. Never missed a tackle. I’m worried about Arteta who just seems to have lost something, and I’ve got a feeling it might be to do with a certain Welshman who keeps his discipline better than some of his other midfield partners.

    Rosicky was great when he came on too. Glad he’s back.

    TOTL, 14 games left. If we can beat Liverpool, then I think we will beat United and Liverpool again, so the next match could be key to this tough run of games.

  151. fatgingergooner says:

    With the pressure of the PL and FA cup building, I think the lads should use the CL as a bit of a release. It’s the perfect competition to play attractive passing football and nobody really expects us to get past Bayern (although I think we can).

    Who knows what can happen if we get through.

  152. 26may1989 says:

    I don’t begrudge for one minute a club of Palace’s limited resources playing Pulis-style. They looked dead and buried before he arrived, now they look organised and solid. Difficult to predict who’ll be making the drop this season, but I think Palace will escape.

    My problem with Pulis is almost entirely the result of the Ramsey episode. Organised, narrow football is one thing, but for a while at least, the likes of Shawcross and Huth were commissioned to play with a degree of physicality and recklessness that, with the game played at the pace it is today, ran the risk of an accident like Rambo’s. Stoke eased off that style in the last couple of years under Pulis, and Palace aren’t doing it now.

    it’s up to us to break down these sides, and so far, we’ve been pretty bloody good at it.

  153. kelsey says:

    Morning

    There are some interesting comments last night after the game and for copyright reasons :) I wish to inform you that I submitted my post an hour and a half after the game finished before these comments were made.

    With regards to the KK deal it’s amazing these days how pundits and the media find out every single detail in the minutest detail and at the end of the day it comes across at mocking Wenger and the club.Pity it couldn’t have all been kept under wraps however bizarre this deal was.

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Steady on now Kelsey

    We promised, didn’t we, no sensible footbally talk this morning :-)

    Let me get another coffee, and we’ll have a chat nevertheless

  155. kelsey says:

    Me sensible :)

    Fine, do you think Chamakh swings both ways :)

  156. kelsey says:

    peaches,

    I had to read this a couple of times

    “After spending the first 45 minutes trying to get through ten men” :)

  157. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mmmm, coffee.

    I think Maelstrom will start zero matches. Back injury, or not, it’ll take him too long to get up to prem speed. He’s played something like 30 games in the last 18 months.

    Reading through comments, I guess there was nothing too bad with Arteta.

    As I mentioned the other day, I think Pool away could be our Bayern away moment. The point where we cement the belief in ourselves, continue to beat the “lesser” teams, wollop Utd at home, and do just enough against City and Chavs.

  158. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey

    I only had to read that line once :-)

  159. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 hopefully….once I sort pics

  160. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mmmm….thinks…

    Did Chas “park” at Evonne’s yesterday?

  161. arnie says:

    Motning all. A treat awaits, the Kelsey match report, now just the small matter of non-football banter. :D :D :D

  162. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches

    Could you let us know if you still need posts this week, and for when?

  163. Gööner In Exile says:

    Lol Micky he has been quiet……..

    Ox does look good in that central role .

    What I thought we did very well yesterday was press to get the ball back in their half.

    Couple of things not so good Arteta’s passes to feet under pressure, he sometimes passes on responsibility similar to the gifted goal against Bayern at home which Rambo took a lot of stick for but wouldn’t have happened ifArteta just put it in row Z.

  164. arnie says:

    Micky, this is a tough game. I have been thinking for a while now, but cannot find anything much to say.

    If it is football it has to be bollix, but if it is sensible, it has to be anything but football. Right? :D :D :D

  165. arnie says:

    Chas has a lot of footballing things to say this morning. But because these are not bollix, or he thinks they are not, he is staying quiet. :D :D

  166. arnie says:

    That is a good 24 minutes to get a cup of coffee. uhmmm. Time to retire, I think. :D :D

    Back laters. :D

  167. evonnee says:

    No, Chas didn’t park here, he never does. I reckon he has a girlfriend somewhere in London. Peaches parked here though. Peaches – getting away from dog, wife and kids has been men’s excuse to go to a game for ages

    Kelsey – never mind Chamakh playing for both teams. It’s our Micky who is in love with Alex OC

    Top the league, hoping for a draw, broken bones and red cards tonight

  168. evonnee says:

    what a story – I am loving it!! Nothing to do with football or Arsenal, soz. A muslim couple has given up a child for adoption, who was promptly ‘given’ by the Harrow council to a lesbian couple. Much fury followed :)

  169. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes Evonne, I do love The Ox.

    Remember me doing me nine hour round trip just to see his full debut? It was Shrewsbury in the League Cup. Sat North Bank Upper, with an Evonne and a Peaches. Me and two hot birds. Tidy.

    Ok, didn’t score, but a memorable night :-)

    I’ve already written one post on him, albeit a couple of years ago, but very happy to do The Ox II.

  170. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne

    I’m happy to talk about Lesbians, but not so much adoption, as given that I have two adopted children, the whole process makes me more angry than anything.

    So….Lesbians it is then :-)

    Come back Arnie, things are about to get interesting :-)

  171. evonnee says:

    I remember Ox’s debut too! Peaches and I were looking forward to the big Ox coming onto the pitch only to see little oxen trotting in the middle :) We were both smitten

  172. evonnee says:

    Micky – sorry, I just thought that any family giving up a 3 year of child for adoption should be delighted that someone wants their unwanted kid. Won’t say another word

  173. kelsey says:

    I can’t do it but chas could if you were to take a full on picture of The Ox in black and white he would look like a footballer from the early 1900′s

  174. kelsey says:

    Adoption is a very emotive subject and things have changed dramatically since I was born and subsequently adopted.

  175. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I listened to an interview with him soon after joining us, and remember clearly thinking what a great attitude he had. Not only his charm and humour, but there was a clear intelligence, humility and obvious professional determination.

    The fact that he is also so naturally talented, strong and quick on top of that attitude is what will make him great.

  176. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Very true Kelsey.

  177. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh no Evonne
    You can talk about whatever you like, I’ll just be careful not to put my foot in it :-)

    Kelsey
    What does the Arsenal Gentleman call The Ox? I’ll see if I can unearth it, as unsurprisingly it was brilliant. Very early 1900′s as you say.

  178. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Can’t find the pic. Must dash. School running this morning.

  179. Well done to you, Micky, I was taken into Welfare Care in the 1960′s and had a nightmare of a childhood.

  180. kelsey says:

    Our new DM

    pic.twitter.com/Iwy4WdNZqI

  181. Gööner In Exile says:

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned much about Ox’s first goal yesterday was that sublime first touch with the outside of the right boot.

    Killed the pace, controlled it and set up his second touch in one sweet motion….and that stuff you can’t teach.

    You can teach kids where to run, you can teach finishing and passing, but instant flashes of brilliance like that or the way Santi controlled the wayward pass in the first half are from reactions that can’t be coached, but can be encouraged.

    At too many clubs in the PL moments of individuality like that would be coached out of players as they are high risk.

  182. evonnee says:

    oh dear, sorry lads, I hope I didn’t offend anyone, I didn’t mean to. ‘Hackney Child’ is a good book on the subject. And as for lesbians I find Faye White far more sexy than most men . She and her wife have just had a baby

  183. kelsey says:

    GIE

    nor that Santi moved the ball from one foot to the other

  184. Morning all

    Would anyone like to come up with some player ratings to add to kelsey’s match report?

  185. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I always wondered if I was adopted? I am much better looking than my parents. They could have played the Banjo for a living.

    I have been friends with a lesbian couple for near on 20 years. It started as a love triangle but I lost out. How can you compete with some one that not only offers another women all the sensitivity and feelings of another women and yet can perform DIY better than you.

    Advice to other men. If your other half starts seeing another women, dont fight it. Just pack your bags and take up train spotting instead.

  186. arnie says:

    Back again …… :D :D I see, lesbianism, adoption, The Ox, and of course, Micky on school run …. nice topics for a motning banter. :D :D

    On teh creche business, it remains to put a photo of baby Vines up to complete the quartet, George being the leader of the pack. :D :D :D

  187. arnie says:

    Terry. :D :D

  188. dandan says:

    Mickey,I too have adopted two children and one of those has adopted two children from the States, so we are well versed in the ways of the authorities they are a disgrace and yet another way for government to bolster their finances. That having been said our kids have been worth every penny of the substantial tax the gov. Has seen fit to charge for our families love. By far the best investment We have ever made.

  189. Gööner In Exile says:

    Kelsey fine point about Santi switching foot.

    The simple beauty of a two footed player is joyous, the fact that a defender can be befuddled so easily , let’s be honest if Gibbs, Sagna, Theo etc shaped to go on to their wrong foot most defenders wouldn’t change their body position as they don’t fear them on that foot and they expect them to trying a dummy, facing a two footer like Santi they have to respect he can go either way and are scared by the prospect.

    Also G Neville made a great comparison of BFG to Tone yesterday, discussing how BFG doesn’t back off just lets the forward come at him and backs Harold to win the challenge, the difference this makes when holding a high line is one of the key elements of our better defending this term.

  190. kelsey says:

    I senbt the ratings peaches ,must have got lost but have sent them again.

  191. arnie says:

    Dandan: yet another way for the “Big Brother” state to meddle in common people’s lives. :D

  192. kelsey says:

    dandan

    Firstly during the baby boom many children were adopted and in most cases wherever known they would try and match the physique of the blood parents or parent to the proposed adopters.

    I believe today it is nearly impossible to adopt a new born baby at least in the UK for many reasons one being the fact that a single mother gets plenty of hand outs from the state system.
    I know of a number of cases where adoption has gone terribly wrong In most cases these were children as opposed to babies, but of course many many adoptions are beneficial to all concerned.

  193. Found them, thanks kelsey

  194. We have a New Post ……………

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