We Are Family

I am not a fan of the term “must win game” which we have heard so often (including tomorrow’s “title decider” -as if!) but today really is a must win. No excuses, no silly mistakes, nothing but victory is acceptable.

We need silverware to bring the club back to the fans. The bitching from the Me Generation who have grown up with the ludicrous premise that “second is losing” demand a Cup and Arsenal have an excellent chance to keep them quiet for a while.

I know Wigan have done wonders recently and that they are New Wembley winners far more times than us (have we won there?), but they sit a division below us. There will be no excuses for a loss.

I have to say I am nervous, Arsenal, of late, have a habit of falling over in sight of the winning post, the Koscielny/Szczesny comedy routine remains fresh in the memory, so I do not take anything for granted.

images

Brilliant but Once is Enough

Wigan are nailed on to reach the play-offs. They are a good side playing attacking, pressing football so well that their victory at Maine Rd was well deserved – it was no fluke victory, they took on an over-confident City and beat them fair and square. They have been resting their players ahead of today’s match.

Managed by Uwe Rusler who appears to be a fine successor to Martinez, a good organiser and a man who may have a fine future as a manager. He has beaten lung cancer which shows he is a fighter. Rusler managed 3 teams in Norway before joining Brentford, before taking over from Owen Coyle at Wigan. Under Rusler’s management Wigan have only lost 5 of 29 games.

One fact to settle the nerves. In 20 matches between the clubs, Wigan have won 3.

Arsenal continue to struggle with both form and injuries.  Writing on Friday, we are missing Gibbs, Koscielny, Ox, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Myachi, Gnabry, Flamini (banned) and most recently Rosicky. 10 players plus Diaby – it is amazing we have a team to put out!! However, we are still able to send out 10 Internationals (Arteta) and they should be good enough to beat Wigan – maybe not a rampant Everton but …..

My Team – (prior to final fitness tests and assuming none pass)

fa cup semi

Hopefully we will have some bodies back – if not Steve Bould will have to be on the bench!

The fans will be really up for it today, well over half the ground will be Arsenal, and it will be a sea of red. Anything which brings the fans together can only help the players perform. We are the 12th man.

I am so envious of this going today. There is nothing like walking down Olympic Way  in the sun surrounded by thousands of fellow Gooners all excited and half-cut with the awful smell of dodgy burgers in the air.  The memories of those afternoons will be with me always and when I am stuck in a dentist’s chair or sitting disconsolate having missed a plane I have them to fall back upon. That is the wonder of fandom – those weirdo’s who look askance at us when we say we love football don’t have that, do they?

Will we win? Who knows? It all depends upon which Arsenal turn up today. In my opinion, if we revert to sitting deep early doors and getting to half-time at 0-0, which is a tactic Mr Wenger has employed each game following a nasty defeat, then we will not be the Arsenal I know and love. I want us to go at Wigan from the first whistle, pin them back, pepper their goal with shots from all angles, bemuse their defenders with our sumptuous passing game and score at least 3 by half-time. Wouldn’t that be great?

I will be wearing red today, I suggest you do the same – after all as the mighty Sister Sledge/Chic say “We are Family”

written by Big Raddy

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249 Responses to We Are Family

  1. Gööner In Exile says:

    Absolutely perfect Raddy..

    I literally can’t wait. On the train to The Smoke as I write.

    In other news

  2. Danny says:

    Sister Sledge surely? Alright, I’ll give you half a point coz Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards wrote it, produced it, played on it…..
    We have to win today!!!
    …..and come on Sunderland…..

  3. RA says:

    An evocative Post, BR, thank you.

    Actually, can I make a remark that may only be a peculiarity of mine.

    As you said walking down Olympic Way on the way to the game, the smell of dodgy, greasy burgers can be a bit off putting.

    On the way back after the game, they can smell very enticing, especially of a cold day and after a pint or two.

    A very strange metamorphosis. :-)

  4. benjamin osunrotimi says:

    we need to get the trophy by all cost

  5. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “must win game” Raddy?

    “have already won” in the words of the mighty Evonne :-)

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Danny. Thanks. Of course it was Sister Sledge – getting old is such a bore :-(

    20 years ago I was part of a 4 man team which came second in a nationwide music quiz (we got beaten by Sony Music but beat all the radio stations). Crap work from Raddy.

    I have amended it.

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Missing Myachi? Surely we can read positives into that piece of news. Seriously though, are Rosicky and The Ox definitely ruled out?

  8. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Only tried Deathburgers once – the result was ugly!

    Nowadays there are some excellent food stalls pre-game. I can heartily recommend Piebury Corner.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    No Micky. Tests this morning.

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    I reckon it’s a trick to lull The Wigan Athelticers. Nothing wrong with TR and Ox at all.

  11. Charybdis1966 says:

    Good motning all. Thanks for the prematch Big and Randy even if, as you’ve probably guessed, I find your choice of song not to my liking. Too many memories of being forced to go to nightclubs by my disco loving friends.

    Am quite nervous to be frank and will be behind an imaginary sofa as I take my seat in the upper tier in Wembleys west stand.

    I can get a train directly to Wembley stadium from my house so I’ll be able to be fully lagered up to settle my pre match nerves.

    Not been to Wembley since 1999, so I’m hoping for a winning return.

  12. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chary….are you aiming to get to the Green Man? If so get mine or Chas’s mobile from peaches and we will try and meet up.

  13. Charybdis1966 says:

    Hi Exile. I’m going to Mannions first but swinging by the green man after. What time are you there ?

  14. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Good morning all,

    FA Cup Semi-Final, in the words of three times FA Cup winner under Wenger David Seaman “It is the most important game of the season for Arsenal”. While The Romford Pele says “If I had to pick fourth and no trophy, or fifth and a trophy, I would take the trophy”. “It would give the club a boost”.

    We’ll see today exactly what this team is made of, decimated by injuries, and a suspension, relying on a defence that has conceded an avalanche of goals in vital matches and a central striker devoid of any hint of confidence, nonetheless we must win this match.

    Whatever line-up Wenger goes with today, we know what to expect, Plan A.

  15. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Crikey! Chary, you have your own private station? Even Wolterton, the one serving Sandringham House has been closed down. The Queen has to use Kings Lynn now along with the hoi polloi. :D

  16. Good post as always, Big Raddy.
    And showing respect to the opposition, too. That’s unusual for you, BR, on a pre-match post :-)

    Will there be an upset today today? Maybe. The ‘beauty’ of the FA Cup is the ‘upsets’, the ‘shocks’, the underdog winning the day.
    And I love it! Except when Arsenal are on the receiving end, of course.
    NOTE – anyone who may suggest I’m being negative in posting this can **** off !!
    This is posted so anyone who thinks the trophy is already in our cabinet may think again.
    Here’s just a few reasons why…

    Speaking personally, my own first FA Cup upset when I was 10 years old was…
    Peterborough United 2 Arsenal 1
    FA Cup 4th round, 1965
    Burns, Howe, F.Clarke, McLintock, Ure, Court, Skirton, Radford, J.Baker, Eastham, Armstrong
    Our goalscorer: John Radford (aka ‘Big Raddy’)
    Peterborough were a THIRD DIVISION side, we were FIRST DIVISION.

    Here’s a handful of other FA upsets involving Arsenal, all in my lifetime as a fan, except the very next entry of course…

    Walsall 2-0 Arsenal
    FA Cup 3rd round, 1933
    Division 3 South Walsall faced a hopeless situation when they drew First Division leaders Arsenal for their 3rd round FA Cup playoff. At the time, the professional Arsenal team was worth thousands of pounds, whereas little Walsall’s team cost only £70. However, Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman made one fatal error. Believing the result was a foregone conclusion, he rested three of his top players. Walsall took their chance and handed Arsenal a humiliating defeat.
    Arsenal won the League that very season.
    Let’s hope THMT’s Ghosts of 1933 aren’t stirring today.

    Blackpool 3, Arsenal 2
    FA Cup third round replay, 1970
    It just wasn’t only that a SECOND DIVISION side should be so presumptious as to give an accomplished First Division outfit two goals start in a cup-tie, come roaring back to lick them 3-2 and go at them so hard as to make them look ridiculous. Or that the winning goal should come with the hands of the clock moving into injury time. Or that the winning goal should be headed home by the smallest player on the field, a forward who less than a year ago was playing non-League football.
    Arsenal led 2-0 at halftime; goals from Sammels and Radford.. The turning point in the game came when Bentley pushed a through ball on to Alan Suddick, who ran clear of a motionless Arsenal defence, drew Wilson and pushed home Blackpool’s first with the Gunners hesitating expecting offside. Six minutes after Suddick’s score, Bentley charged through to win possession midway inside the Arsenal half, pushed the ball on to Fred Pickering, who took it round Neill and calmly picked his spot. In the second minute of injury-time, Suddick wandered out to the right to collect a pass and pinpoint a perfect centre into the middle. Micky Burns, a brave trier who minutes earlier had crashed a tremendous left-foot drive against the crossbar, rushed in from the left and, with Wilson stranded off his line, headed home a dream winner from seven yards. [Edited from “The Gazette” - Blackpool]

    West Ham 1 Arsenal 0
    FA Cup Final, 1980
    West Ham United, a Second Division side that had only ever played at Wembley five times before and were huge underdogs on the day. Brooking gave West Ham the lead in the 13th minute. Despite Arsenal having more possession the underdogs held out and almost made it two with minutes remaining. Paul Allen, the youngest player ever to play at a Wembley cup final at the time, was through on goal with only Pat Jennings to beat, Young tackled the 17 year old, taking him down just outside the penalty box. It was a despicable challenge from behind on the then youngest ever player to play in an F.A. Cup final, however Young only earned himself a yellow card (the professional foul rule had not yet been instituted).
    [edited from wiki]

    York City 1 Arsenal 0
    FA Cup 4th round, 1985
    THIRD DIVISION York recorded a victory over First Division Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Cup after winning 1–0 at Bootham Crescent, courtesy of an 89th minute penalty kick scored by Keith Houchen.

    Wrexham 2 Arsenal 1
    FA Cup third round, 1992
    Arsenal were reigning LEAGUE CHAMPIONS. Wrexham were absolute rock bottom of the entire football league structure, 92nd out of 92 clubs. Arsenal took the lead just before half time courtesy of Alan Smith and were just 10 minutes from securing their passage to the fourth round until Mickey Thomas unleashed a 25-yard free kick past David Seaman. Wrexham were in the ascendancy and two minutes later Steve Watkin, 20, struck home the winner.

    Arsenal 0 Millwall 2
    FA Cup 3rd round replay, 1995

    Sheffield United 1 Arsenal 0
    FA Cup 3rd round replay, 1996

    Arsenal 0 Blackburn 1
    Last season 5th round
    Humiliated by fourth-tier Bradford in the League Cup quarter-finals in December, Arsenal left to jeers from its own despairing supporters.

    Also, Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle are among the Premier League teams to have been upset by LOWER-TIER opponents last season.

  17. And here’s a handful of NON-Arsenal Upsets…

    Mansfield Town 3 West Ham 0
    FA Cup 5th round, 1968
    West Ham United were sitting in SIXTH in the First Division when they played lowly DIVISION THREE Mansfield Town in the FA Cup fifth round in 1968. West Ham boasted three World Cup winning players in their team in the form of Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst, alongside a couple of youngsters named Billy Bonds and Trevor Brooking. Mansfield weren’t fazed at all by the names on the team sheet and took the lead after just 22 minutes when Dudley Roberts scored the opener. Many were expecting a West Ham fight back, but Mansfield were the ones to draw blood again, this time in the form of Ray Keeley who struck an excellent volley into the back of the net on 38 minutes. Mansfield went in at the the break two-nil to the good but they weren’t finished there. Nick Sharkey put the icing on the cake as he added a third and sent the Stags into the FA Cup quarter final and gave them their first ever victory over first division opposition.

    Worcester 2 Liverpool 1
    FA Cup 3rd round, 1968
    Liverpool were facing Worcester in a third round cup tie at the Southern League (a rung below the Conference) side’s St George Lane ground in 1959. Worcester had beaten fancied Millwall in the earlier round, but were expected to roll over in submission against a strong Liverpool side (then playing in the Second Division). In freezing conditions, egged on by a record crowd of 15,000, striker Tommy Skuse put the hosts ahead after just nine minutes. Liverpool who struggled to equalise, fell further behind in the 81st minute when Geoff Twentyman scored a bizzare own goal by lobbing past his own keeper. Though Twentyman quickly rectified his error minutes later with a goal from the spot, a frantic Liverpool could not score again as Phil Taylor’s side went out, giving Worcester a famous win!

    Colchester 3-2 Leeds Utd
    FA Cup 5th round, 1971
    Considered one of the best teams in Europe at the team, Leeds Utd were challenging for honours on all fronts in 1971 and were expected to easily continue their progress through this fifth round tie against fourth division side Colchester. However, from early in the game it became clear that something special was in the air as Colchester took the lead with two Ray Crawford goals in the first 25 minutes. DAVE SINMMONS (ex-ARSENAL) made it 3-0 early in the second half and put the home side well on their way to a football betting upset. Goals from Norman Hunter in the 60th minute and Johnny Giles in the 73rd minute set up a nail biting finish but Colchester held on to upset the FA Cup betting odds and record one of the biggest upsets ever.

    Hereford United 2 Newcastle 1
    FA Cup third-round replay, 1972
    Hereford United produced one of the greatest FA Cup upsets ever when they beat First Division Newcastle 2-1 in a third-round replay in 1972. Newcastle looked to have made it to the fourth round thanks to a late goal by Malcolm McDonald. However, Ronnie Radford then popped up to score the most famous 30-yard goal in cup history to take the game into extra time. Substitute Ricky George scored the winner as Hereford became the first NON-LEAGUE club to defeat a First Division side since 1949.

    Sunderland 1 Leeds 0
    FA Cup final, 1973
    Sunderland had reached the final after defeating First Division clubs Manchester City and ARSENAL. However, holders Leeds were expected to steamroll their opponents. Ian Porterfield, though, had other ideas as his volley crashed into the back of the Leeds net. Goalkeeper Jim Montgomery also played a big part in Sunderland’s win, twisting up from a prostrate position to acrobatically turn away a Peter Lorimer shot on to the crossbar. Sunderland became the first SECOND DIVISION side to win the Cup in 40 years.

    Bournemouth 2 Manchester United 0
    FA Cup third round, 1984
    Ron Atkinson took the FA CUP HOLDERS to Dean Court to face THIRD DIVISION side Bournemouth, who were then managed by Harry Redknapp. The hosts knew they had a mountain to climb, but through grit and dogged determination caused a massive upset as United came unstuck on the South coast. Bournemouth outplayed the Division One outfit and ran out worthy winners with Milton Graham and Ian Thompson scoring the goals that marked Manchester United’s early exit.

    Liverpool 0 Wimbledon 1
    FA Cup final, 1988
    The “crazy gang” had proven wrong all the so-called experts who said their long-ball style of play couldn’t lead them to Wembley. A Liverpool win was predicted but Wimbledon manager Bobby Gould and coach Don Howe had a plan and Liverpool were not allowed to settle. Wimbledon took the lead when Lawrie Sanchez rose high to send a looping header past the stranded Bruce Grobbelaar from Dennis Wise’s free kick. Grobbelaar’s opposite number Dave Beasant then performed heroics, saving John Aldridge’s penalty on the hour. Aldridge therefore became the first player to have a penalty saved in an FA Cup final.

    Sutton United 2 Coventry City 1
    FA Cup third round, 1989
    NON-LEAGUE Sutton United caused one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history with their 2-1 victory over top-flight Coventry at Gander Green Lane, thanks to goals from Tony Rains and Matthew Hanlan. Two years earlier, Coventry had won the trophy. Sutton’s cup run was not destined to last, however, as they were beaten 8-0 by Norwich City in the next round.

    Shrewsbury Town 2 Everton 1
    FA Cup third round, 2003
    Shrewsbury manager Kevin Ratcliffe masterminded the humiliation of his former club as Everton were bundled out of the FA Cup at Gay Meadow. Ratcliffe – Everton’s most successful captain – saw two goals from Nigel Jemson ensure a massive shock. It was no more than the side lying 80 places below Everton in the THIRD DIVISION deserved. Substitute Niclas Alexandersson looked to have saved Everton when he equalised Jemson’s opener, but the former Nottingham Forest striker headed a dramatic winner two minutes from time.

    Manchester United 0 Exeter City 0
    FA Cup third round, 2005
    NON-LEAGUE Exeter produced a magnificent rearguard action to earn a deserved FA Cup third-round draw at Old Trafford. United fielded a weakened side, but it still contained the likes of Phil Neville, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes and Alan Smith. Conference club Exeter matched the FA Cup holders at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ to set up a lucrative replay, and they could have claimed a sensational win when lifelong United fan Dean Moxey shot narrowly wide after a scramble in the penalty area.

    Liverpool 1 Barnsley 2
    FA Cup fifth round, 2008
    Barnsley sent Liverpool crashing out of the FA Cup thanks to Brian Howard’s dramatic injury-time winner at Anfield. Ryan Babel set up Dirk Kuyt to put Liverpool ahead and only some fine saves by Luke Steele kept Barnsley in the game. The Yorkshiremen levelled when Stephen Foster headed home Martin Devaney’s cross and, although Liverpool poured forward, they could not beat Steele on his debut. Harry Kewell hit the bar for the home side before Howard’s low shot into the bottom corner won it for Barnsley.

    Barnsley 1 Chelsea 0
    FA Cup quarter-final, 2008
    They say lightning never strikes twice. However, having disposed of LIVERPOOL in the previous round, Barnsley only went and did it again by knocking Avram Grant’s Chelsea out on a memorable night in south Yorkshire. The only goal of the game was scored by a Nigerian forward with just one strike to his name so far this season, journeyman Kayode Odejayi, 26, who was bought for the relatively large sum of £200,000 from Cheltenham last May.

    Stevenage 3 Newcastle 1
    FA Cup 3rd round, 2011
    LEAGUE TWO Stevenage (postion 13th) stunned Premier League Newcastle with a fully-deserved victory in the FA Cup third round. Stacy Long’s strike took a wicked deflection off Mike Williamson before Michael Bostwick struck from distance. Toon substitute Cheik Tiote then saw red for a wild tackle before Joey Barton pulled one back from 30 yards in injury-time to give United hope. Peter Winn still had time to slot home as Stevenage avenged their feisty fourth round defeat from 1998. The home side, currently 13th in the League Two table, held their opponents to a 1-1 draw at Broadhall Way 13 years ago before losing the replay, but they were undoubtedly the superior team on Saturday.
    [edited from http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/fa_cup/9341905.stm%5D

    Wigan Athletic 1-0 Man City
    FA Cup Final, 2013 (last season)
    After missing out on the Premier League title, Man City were looking to win their only silverware of the season and claim the FA Cup for the second time in three seasons. On the other hand, Wigan were in a battle against the drop that would see them confirmed as relegated just days after their appearance at Wembley. It all seemed set up for a City victory and the FA Cup betting odds agreed with that assessment. However, Wigan had other ideas and a determined defensive display prevented City from creating any clear chances while Wigan looked dangerous on the counter. With time running out it seemed like extra time was on the way until Ben Watson popped up to head in the winner. Days later it turned from joy to despair for the Latics as they were confirmed as the first side ever to be relegated and win the FA Cup in the same season.

    Also, last season…
    Luton was seeking to become the first club from below England’s top four divisions to reach the F.A. Cup quarterfinals since 1914. The Hatters, who play in the fifth-tier Football CONFERENCE PREMIER LEAGUE, upset Norwich of the Premier League 1-0 in the fourth round.

    And this season, Sheffield United (status LEAGUE ONE) won 2-1 at Aston Villa.

    Maybe when CHAS has hauled his fat *rse out of his sweaty pit he can give us a few clips to watch.
    This one is available, Chas…
    Hereford United 2 Newcastle 1
    FA Cup third-round replay, 1972
    A FABULOUS winning goal !

    BTW – for all those who wonder at my post, whether I’m a pessimist, or whatever, I do actually think we’ll win today, and also lift the FA Cup trophy.
    I’m just a bit too much of a REALIST to think it’s already done-and-dusted.

    Ay? What’s that you just mumbled, Big Raddy :-) ?

  18. arnie says:

    Brilliant, Raddy. Must-win game? :razz: Come on You Gunners!!!! :-)

  19. kelsey says:

    Thanks again BR a very chic post :)

    I don’t know anyone who hand on heart isn’t nervous about today. The bookies make us odds on favourites yet we are in the worst run of form for years and Wigan will feel pretty confident.
    A must win game for the umpteenth time this season and I ask for these three things.

    Whoever plays gives absolutely all for 90 minutes,something that has been missing lately.

    Wenger really gets his selection right and hopefully will have watched Wigan and how they play and not dismiss them and concentrate only on us, as he has often put to much emphasis in the wrong place,and if subs are needed he must be bold and not wait until the eleventh hour..

    If we go a goal up early,none of this deep defending,but go all out for a second or even third.

    AW won’t admit it but he will be scared shit that our overall recent form improves dramatically.

  20. Manthan says:

    Hello All, Hope you all doing well.. Sad to hear about dadan.. May his Soul rest in peace and today’s match will be dedicated to him..

  21. Charybdis1966 says:

    A ha Norfolk, if only. What I meant was there’s an overland train from my town to Wembley stadium that cuts out the need to drive or go on the tube. Door to door less than 40 minutes. Sweet !

  22. arnie says:

    Two other things that caught my attention in Raddy’s pre match.

    First, Steve Bould on the bench will be good! Dont believe, see GN5’s post yesterday. :razz:

    Second, yes fans have to be the 12th man today.

    Come on fans, come on the team, COYG!!!!!

  23. arnie says:

    Big Al: thats quite a post in itself. If ( :razz: ) we win today, perhaps we can have a version of that before the final. Perhaps a day before the final. :-)

  24. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Arnie, that much posting has probably worn Big Al’s index finger tips down to his knuckles, add to that his first bath of the year and the poor old boy is probably laying exhausted on a divan being gently fanned by a pair of Thai beauties.

    I doubt that we shall hear from him again until the end of the season, or at least until Mrs. Big Al succeeds in chasing the pair of Thai fanners out of the house. :D

  25. Cheers Arnie.
    It looks more work than it actually is. I wrote very little; it’s mostly copy and paste.

    It’s always a bit quiet on here most match days, and with a later kick-off those who aren’t going to the game may find the time to read the details of the games presented.

    As I’ve said – everyone loves an underdog upsetting the ‘Big Boys’. Rest assured, all fans of clubs other than Arsenal will be supporting Wigan today. And the media will have a field day if we lose.

    Sometimes (maybe more often than not) when an upset occurs it’s partly, or mainly, the result of over-confidence from the bigger team. The fact our form of late has been so poor may actually work in our favour today, psychologically. We are all too aware we could get turned over, and won’t relax in a confident manner that an in-form Arsenal might.

  26. arnie says:

    Big Al, Norfolk. :-)

  27. Norfolk Gooner says:

    OK, I’m going to go for 3 – 1 to Arsenal, two first half sceamers from outside the box from Podolski’s left foot, a second half Arteta penalty and an eightieth minute “offside” goal for Wigan just to keep us on the edge of our seat, or behind the sofa, until the final whistle.

  28. Bayonne Jean says:

    Recollection is that Arsenal at the new Wembley is 0 for 2, with both losses on keeper-related errors — Fabianski goes walk about vs. Drogba, and the TPIG/Koscielny cock up vs. Brummies.

    Went to that Carling Cup final; when Obafemi Martens was subbed on, my son says to me “he always scores vs. Arsenal”.

    I reckon that third time will be the charm, and think that Arsenal will prevail comfortably vs. Latics

  29. RA says:

    So, Big Al, cutting to the chase, what does Norfolk know that we don’t?

    Allowing for his lack of typing skills — “at least until Mrs. Big Al succeeds in chasing the pair of Thai fanies out of the house”

    No wonder you are there to stay! :-)

  30. Big Raddy says:

    Big All. Some fine memories in that post especially Dirty Leeds getting beaten at Wembley not long after they lucked a victory over us

  31. RA says:

    While you are in an informative mood, mayhap you will tell me something.

    A while back I was visiting a friend in your part of the world, and we were walking on the beach talking the usual stuff, when he said to me that we were entering a part of the beach that was for nudists.

    No probs, I am broad minded, I said, to which he replied, with a laugh, that we might maybe see a guy who was known locally as the ‘squirrel man’ but he would not say why.

    Well there were plenty of nekked women everywhere, but no sign of the squirrel man.

    Then in a jaw dropping, Norfolk kind of way, we both spotted a guy lying there with an anaconda on his lap.

    Dumbfounded, I said that the size of the critter probably meant the snake must have eaten the squirrel.

    I don’t know about donkey rides, but this guy could have gone into business in his own right.

    Now, just between us, what I want to know is were you the ‘squirrel man’ or maybe the ‘anaconda guy’? :-)

  32. RA says:

    That was addressed to Big Al — who else? :-)

  33. RA says:

    I have not heard any team news so far, but if Monreal plays at right back today it will not need a secret meeting between Rossler and Martinez to work out a strategy to beat us.

    All Wigan will need to do is to put a fleet footed and robust player up against him, and like against Lukaku he will probably fold, because two of the goals Everton scored came from that tactic.

    Boo.

    But Wenger knows that too and will have his own plans to counteract it! :-)

  34. Big Raddy says:

    RA. We have to attack from the first. We have better players and need to get Wigan on the back foot.

    I disagree about Monreal. Though he had a stinker against Everton he has been consistently good for a back up. There will be many players who get mullered by Lukaku

  35. kelsey says:

    haha, Spurs 2 down in 4 minutes then Adebayor takes a howler of a penalty.
    More importantly I have every colour under the sun but alas no red jumper,pants or shirts,tie,scarfs,hat,socks,trousers but I do have red tslip on trainers.
    Monreal….you are the weakest link :)

  36. RA says:

    Maybe you are right about Monreal, BR, and I certainly hope so, but I was not impressed with how he dealt with Lukaku, I must admit.

    There is no question that we as a 4th placed Premier league team should just roll over Wigan, an ordinary Championship outfit – but there is a lingering worry that should not be there.

  37. RA says:

    When I said Monreal at ‘right back’ I think you were all being polite and did not tell me I was a pillock! :-)

  38. stevepalmer1 says:

    Very Good post,
    Deep down in peoples mind is a nagging doubt, they may not like to admit it out loud, but it’s there all right.

    Arsene will be nervous today although he won’t show it, He knows the back stabbers who are all in red, will be out in force. I hope the players are aware of that as well.

    This could be the game that decides his future and his own decision to put pen to paper. I am sad that a manager who has done so much for a football club, could be made to look bad after this game.

    Personally i feel Wenger will lead us to victory, but that won’t be the end of it for some, they will celebrate tonight but the knives will be out for the next match.

    Arsenal should win all of their remaining games, others will drop points and our position could still be surprising. Players coming back should help the cause and as the season inches closer results should be in our favour. COYRRG’s

  39. arnie says:

    West Brom 3-0 Spuds. ha ha ha ha ha ha :-)

  40. RA says:

    Spot on, Stevep1.

  41. arnie says:

    down with the back stabbers. COYRRG!!!!!

  42. stevepalmer1 says:

    Spuds got one back 3.1 Everton 0.0 HT Gibbs could be back

  43. arnie says:

    Aaron Ramsey makes his first start since Boxing Day. Lukasz Fabianski returns in goal, while Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo also start.

    Wigan make seven changes from the side who lost to Millwall last time out in the Championship. James Perch, Ivan Ramis, Stephen Crainey, James McArthur, Callum McManaman, Jordi Gomez and Marc-Antoine Fortune all start for the Latics.

    Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski, Sanogo. Subs: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Kallstrom, Akpom, Eisfeld, Giroud.

  44. arnie says:

    Wigan: Carson, Perch, Boyce, Ramis, Crainey, McArthur, McEachran, McManaman, Beausejour, Gomez, Fortune. Subs: Al Habsi, Barnett, Caldwell, Maloney, Espinoza, Collison, Powell.

  45. stevepalmer1 says:

    Well done Arnie.

  46. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great team. Happy.
    Back later.

  47. stevepalmer1 says:

    WBA 3 .2 Spuds

  48. stevepalmer1 says:

    1.0 Everton own goal

  49. stevepalmer1 says:

    Spuds 3.3 result Everton 1.0 result

  50. Big Raddy says:

    Saddened for WBA. they deserved the win.

    And Sunderland surely deserved a point. Big win for Everton.

    Now is time for the Match of the Day. Interesting team. Not sure that we should go into it without OG but perhaps Sanogo has been good in training.

    COYRRG

  51. Rasp says:

    Thank god Sanogo is playing

  52. arnie says:

    And top result from Cardiff. I will be sad to see them relegated. :sad:

    On to important business. From Aveiro, Portugal. Firmly settled in front of the tele. COYRRG. :-)

  53. arnie says:

    with Portuguese commentary, of course. :razz:

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Come on you Gunnnnners
    Fans fantastic.

  55. arnie says:

    Sanogo is good, and The Ox is a handful.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    Good start from Sanogo.

  57. Big Raddy says:

    I am wearing an Arsenal shirt and socks. Drinking red wine and have AFC coasters. We are set up

  58. Rasp says:

    Sanogo should be our first choice striker for the rest of the season

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Last 10 minutes we have stopped playing. Walking with the ball!

    FFS lads get a grip and just give the ball to Ox

  60. Big Raddy says:

    Close from Bacary

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Well, we aren’t losing.

    Biggest concern for me is Ramsey, rusty isn’t the word.

    We need some magic from Santi or Ox

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    Nobody is willing to take risks in midfield. Suddenly the players don’t want the ball in tight areas and look to get rid of it straight away. Only Ox and Rambo have shown even a glimmer of confidence. The rest look scared.

    They need to snap out of it and up the tempo.

  63. arnie says:

    The Ox, Santi and Sanogo making some efforts, Rambo is rusty but he has to play, the rest have to pick their games up.

  64. Rasp says:

    According to the half time pundits, we we’re complete crap – nonsense, we were by far the better team.

  65. Hi gang

    Peeking out from behind the sofa …….

    I’m loving watching Rambo Raddy, I thought he’d been in the game.

  66. Rasp says:

    I’m afraid Arteta is a year past the time when he should be a starter in the important games

  67. fatgingergooner says:

    There’s a massive gap between us and them, even with us playing pretty average, but the longer it stays 0-0, the smaller the gap becomes.

    I’d like to see a youngster come on after an hour. Either Eisfeld or Akpom, someone who is willing to play without the fear of losing.

  68. RA says:

    Rasp,

    We were not crap — but we are not too good either. Sorry to disagree.

    Sagna must be disappointed — he broke his backward passing on 1 occasion and wrecked his 100% record.

    We need to get a move on — the usual laceless performance other than the Ox.

  69. RA says:

    I agree with you Peaches. :-)

  70. There’s a massive gap between the defence and the mid-field!!!!!!

  71. fatgingergooner says:

    So true Rasp,

    All he does is take the ball off the CB’s and give it back to them. His job is to feed the midfielders but he hasn’t done it.

    He’s not totally to blame though, our players aren’t trying hard enough to create space to receive the ball.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    What shirt is Ramsey wearing? :-D

  73. Big Raddy says:

    I thought Arteta was one of our better players!

    Right – COYRRG

  74. Big Raddy says:

    As you say, we have totally dominated the game both in possession and territory, yet it is us who are crap.

    I hate journo’s

  75. arnie says:

    I must have missed the 1 occasion when Sagna passed forwards. :razz: Anyway, back to supporting the boys. :-)

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Arnie will be back indoors in a minute. He’s on fag no 4

  77. arnie says:

    ha ha ha, Micky. :-)

  78. arnie says:

    FFS, disaster.

  79. arnie says:

    BTW, has Monreal got up?

  80. fatgingergooner says:

    Maybe a Wigan goal will wake us up!

  81. Big Raddy says:

    It was a foul on Monreal but Terrible defending from Monreal and BFG.

    Now we are in trouble

    We must go for it, bring on OG

  82. arnie says:

    hopefully, FGG.

  83. Big Raddy says:

    Bugger,bugger, bugger,bugger.

    Now we see if this team has bottle

    COYRRG

  84. arnie says:

    OK, Giroud on for Poldi. Let us see.

  85. Big Raddy says:

    25 mins to save our season.

    Pod off instead of a midfielder or Sanogo?? WTF

  86. Rasp says:

    Why are we strolling around?????

  87. Rasp says:

    Where’s the urgency?

  88. Rasp says:

    Wigan are still working harder than us

  89. arnie says:

    Wigan is working harder, yes that is correct. why? well …. I dont want to say it out, not now. Let us see.

  90. Rasp says:

    What is Arteta thinking?

  91. arnie says:

    COYG

  92. arnie says:

    Mert, you saviour. on with the show. :-) COYG

  93. Rasp says:

    That’s what happens when we take a risk – come on now let’s win this

  94. ArseneAround? says:

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLL
    yEEEEEEEEESSSSSS

  95. arnie says:

    We have started passing backwards again. :sad:

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Come on, keep up the tempo. If we slow down Wigan benefit

  97. White Bear says:

    replay or extra time?

  98. arnie says:

    OK, Wigan have started tiring. COYG. Extra time. :-)

  99. fatgingergooner says:

    Fair play to the players for finding the goal. Would’ve been so easy for heads to drop.

    We need to go on and win this now.

    Sanogo off for Kallstrom

  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Because we will win, I’m delighted we’re having an extra 30 mins, as I haven’t had enough football for today

  101. Rasp says:

    Good shout for Kallstrom, he’s a free kick specialist and can take a pen, I think Sanogo is too young for the pressure

  102. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Excellent.

    Ramsey was better ( ;-) )that half but looks shattered.

  103. Big Raddy says:

    I am impressed with Sanogo’s energy if not his finesse – one can see the potential.

    I would like to see Kallstrom on but for Ramsey or Arteta

  104. arnie says:

    We pushed for 10 mins, got 3 chances, got our goal, and then took our foot off the pedal. COYG. better effort expected. :-)

  105. Rasp says:

    We must maintain the intensity

  106. fatgingergooner says:

    Gibbs has been our best player!

  107. fatgingergooner says:

    Or maybe Ox…

  108. fatgingergooner says:

    Sanogos definitely got ability. Just needs experience.

    We need Santi to take control now.

  109. Rasp says:

    Another unnecessary free luck conceded by Artrta

  110. Rasp says:

    The ox is shattered

  111. Rasp says:

    We do not want this to go to penalties

  112. arnie says:

    Yes, The Ox is tired. But he has to stay on, I think. Kallstrom for Arteta is a fair shout, IMO.

  113. Big Raddy says:

    This is painful watching. Please score Arsenal – I can’t take penalties.

  114. fatgingergooner says:

    Tired just watching!

  115. Rasp says:

    Artetas fouling is becoming epidemic

  116. arnie says:

    Living very dangerously, but still alive. :sad:

  117. Big Raddy says:

    Ref is doing well to keep up with play. Fittest man on the pitch

  118. arnie says:

    we hit the upright twice today. :sad:

  119. arnie says:

    penalties. feck!!!!

  120. arnie says:

    come on Fabianski. your chance to become a hero.

  121. Big Raddy says:

    Damn. I hate this

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Because we will win, I loooooove penalties

  123. fatgingergooner says:

    If we go out now it’s because of the 120 minutes before the pens.

    Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen.

  124. arnie says:

    hmmm, Micky, crystal balls? :-)

  125. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    Arteta’s increased fouling is a sign his legs have gone. Too slow to react. Need a replacement end of season.

  126. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Now……. this is excitement

    Come on Lads

  127. ArseneAround? says:

    at the Arsenal end! come on goons 12th man !!

  128. arnie says:

    yes yes yes

  129. arnie says:

    1-0 in penalties, 4 to go

  130. arnie says:

    Fabianski, you beauty, two saves. COYG

  131. arnie says:

    2-0, 3 to go.

  132. arnie says:

    ok, job done. we live to fight on.

  133. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  134. MickyDidIt89 says:

    love it love it love it

    FA CUP FINAL

    Yessssssssssssssssss

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Phew!

    Micky. Thanks for your positivity, it was very helpful. I should never have doubted

  136. Big Raddy says:

    Fabianski must stay.

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    OX
    MAN
    Star, fighter, winner, love that man

  138. fatgingergooner says:

    YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES!

    Hope we can go on and win it for Arsene now. Id like him to get at least one more trophy.

  139. neamman says:

    we did it, lets forget the negatives and enjoy the positives!!!

  140. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ant, Duck, Exile, Chary

    BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER :-)

  141. MickyDidIt89 says:

    DELIGHTED FOR ARSENE

    SORRY CAPS LOCK BUGGERED UP

  142. Big Raddy says:

    Can’t I have a beer as well?

    Finished a bottle oof red wine and don’t like water.

  143. ArseneAround? says:

    pundits on ITV (apart from Lee Dixon) dissing Arsenal victory, Wigan are a cup scalp, look at who they’ve beaten (and we ko’d the spurstic coin chuckers remember?)

  144. RA says:

    Endemic I think, Rasper! :-)

  145. RA says:

    Ouch, I have had a quick look elsewhere and some of the comments are not nice.

    I don’t care – we won.

    The Final beckons – so fcuk the shitty mouths!

  146. stevepalmer1 says:

    A very draining game for us as well as the players. Relief on our Managers face, said it all, and for those who says he couldn’t care less, you may have a look at his face, before, during and at the final finish.

    Maybe we should have won in normal time , with everything being equal but this is the FA cup and there’s never anything equal.
    Well done both teams a very clean game played in the spirit of the game.

  147. fatgingergooner says:

    We’ve beaten Everton, Liverpool, Spurs and the holders to get to the final. Anyone who says we had it easy are talking shite.

    A win is a win is a win.

    I will enjoy this and then cheer on the Blades tomorrow!

  148. Bayonne Jean says:

    Like we said in the pre-match, a comfortable win for the Arsenal.

    Jeez……

    Fabianski is a much better PK stopper than TPIG1.

    You think you had it bad on commentary on your side….on the left side, guest commentator in studio was Piers Morgan!

  149. fatgingergooner says:

    Whoever gets Fabianski will be getting a bargain. He’s been excellent for the last 18 months whenever he’s played. Good luck to him. Hope he gets a winners medal as a farewell.

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    THIS TEAM WOULD PROBABLY BEAT ANYONE

    ……….OX
    ..OX OX OX
    …….OX OX
    OX OX OX OX
    ……..FAB

    FAB GETS THE NOD OVER THE EXCELLENT OX FOR THE GK SPOT IN CASE IT GOES TO PENS :-)

  151. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RADDY

    MAYBE TIME TO MIX SOME RED AND SOME WHITE

  152. MickyDidIt89 says:

    yessssssss

    cap lock unbuggered itself :-)

  153. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Tough luck Sniffer ha ha ha ha ha ha

  154. fatgingergooner says:

    It was a tough, tough watch today and a pretty poor performance for 65 minutes. We weren’t much better after that but we stuck in there and got the result.

    Gibbs coming on changed the game, and Girouds presence helped too. How many of Wengers previous teams would’ve been hitting the long balls we played today? It was desperation in the end, some might even call it plan b!!!!? ;)

    Semi finals are about winning and nothing else. If we play like that in the final and win on pens will anybody be complaining on other blogs? Probably, but they’re all f**ing idiots! :)

  155. ArseneAround? says:

    Wigan AthleticArsenal
    8(1) Shots (on goal) 27(11)
    16 Fouls 13
    0 Corner kicks 0
    1 Offsides 8
    37% Time of Possession 63%
    4 Yellow Cards 0
    0 Red Cards 0
    6 Saves 1

    I think the best team won!!!

  156. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ArseneAround

    The best team won by miles :-)

  157. MickyDidIt89 says:

    So, Chary jumped on a train and got to Wembley in 30 mins.

    Where do we reckon he’ll wake up on the return journey. I’m going for Dundee Central.

  158. Shard says:

    The players don’t care
    The manager doesn’t know tactics

    Today we saw proof that neither of those statements are correct. The boos for taking Podolski off were ridiculous. He hardly had any impact, would probably not have lasted 120 mins, and wouldn’t have provided the aerial threat that Sanogo and Giroud did, allowing us to bombard Wigan who must have felt unprepared for it.

    Also, although our training is blamed for our injuries (and it might be true), I think we also saw that we are among the fitter teams when it comes to matchday. Wigan aren’t really as mediocre a Championship team as the table might suggest. They have some PL quality players, who have been successful at Wembley before, and generally have some confidence about them. Arsenal are struggling with confidence, but today should help. We played a decent tactical game, nearly undone by an uncalled foul and a rash challenge, and then we showed some real fight to come back. The result is all that matters, and you could see how much it mattered. We live to fight another day. 6 more games to win.

  159. And breathe ………………. well, Fabianski certainly made the penalties entertaining. Well done Per for getting the equaliser and the good guys for scoring their penalties.

    Now we really are on our way to Wembley :)

  160. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Shard

    I’d say that apart from the lack of drooling over The Ox, you make very good points :-)

    The same whingers who crapped on about how their beloved Fergie’s and Maureen’s knew how to grind out wins as winning is everything, are probably moaning about the style of the win.

    We did the cup style stuff against Pool and Spuds, so right now I couldn’t care less how we dispatch Wigan, Hull or Sheffield.

  161. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Will you be your usual fit self Peaches for Wembley II ?

  162. Big Raddy says:

    We’ll be knackered for Tuesday.

    Still, we are on our way to Wembley.

    In the Merry month of May :-). :-). :-)

  163. kelsey says:

    I have been banging the drum for Fabianski all season, but oh no, we let him go at the end of the season.

    Just what we needed,120 minutes .Half were knackered before the match and as for our twin strikers I wouldn’t give you two bob for the pair of them.

    Only thing AW got right was to sub Podolski.

    Oh and Sagna was everywhere,had the best chance in the first half standing on the left side of their goal.
    We huffed and we puffed and finally got the win on excellent penaltes,but as a team performance it was woeful.

    Sure the OX, our only really driving force was unlucky,but you can’t expect him to carry the whole attack.

    Ramsey wasn’t fit.Vermaelen had a good game as well, but for christ’s sake Wigan were there for the taking from the off and we just can’t convert chances. It needed Mertesacker to save our game.

    Of course glad we are now in the final but hopefully we might have 11 fit bodies for West Ham, but I am sure this game will have drained our resources
    .
    Wenger is a lucky man,but IMO has only delayed the ineviatable.

    Three of our best four players in Sagna,Vermaelen and Fabianski will all most probably leave.

    Santi is totally out of form,but he got us to the final.

    The only saving grace is however tired it will lift the form of so many players.

    When the final whistle went the first man to go to Fabianski was Sagna. Please AW keep the guy.

    Mixed emotions as you can see but now we have dropped down to fifth as well.Radical changes are needed and I won’t be convinced otherwise.

  164. kelsey says:

    Well that’s my review I am sure someone else could be kinder,but then they may need glasses :)

  165. kelsey says:

    You can all comment as much as you like but we only one because of Fabianski.

  166. Shard says:

    Micky

    I have still not recovered from the sheer exhaustion of watching that game. That was ever so close. But I am very impressed by the fight the players showed. That should stand them in good stead for the next 6 games. That’s all that matters right now. Win the next 6.

    PS… “‘***DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL***””””’

    —————————–OX——————————————-

  167. RockyLives says:

    Wemberley… Wemberley…
    We’re The Famous Arsenal And We’re Going (back) To Wemberley!!!

    Bit nervy, but what the hell, the Cup is the Cup and Wigan were the holders. The idea that it would be a pushover for us was always bonkers.

    They beat Citeh and no-one says Citeh are sh*t. We beat them (admittedly the hard way) and Arsenal fans – yes, Arsenal fans – take it as evidence that we are sh*t.

    Bollocks to that.

    Thanks for the PM BR – great read as always.

  168. Big Raddy says:

    Any chance of a ticket ???

  169. kelsey says:

    Shard
    with all due respects that is all bolloxs, Wigan were shite and as to”we are among the fitter teams when it comes to matchday.” it’s not 1st April, my friend.

  170. RockyLives says:

    Yes BR
    Take your car down a suburban street at 90mph.

    Nailed on ticket.

  171. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I think we can all see the positive side to that review, Kelsey :-) :-)

    Quality drool Shard :-)

  172. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Is that your match report published 13 hours early?

  173. RA says:

    You need to go and lie down, Kelsey —– We Won for god’s sake!!!

  174. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening Rocky,

    Fellow Finalist Football Supporter :-)

  175. kelsey says:

    Glad you even read it Micky ;)

  176. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Thanks. Very helpful.

  177. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA

    He is lying down. That’s the really worrying bit :-(

  178. RA says:

    Peaches,

    I have been meaning to ask how your shoulder operation went, but as you seem pretty chirpy I take it all went well!! :-)

  179. kelsey says:

    Oh sorry RA I am drooling as well :) Yes that’s me done for my review.
    Every week I hope we might get out of this slump and show the football we were capable of up to Xmas.
    Of course as i said I am delighted that we fluked a win to reach the Cup Final.

  180. White Bear says:

    DidIt – told you it was in the bag, easy :wink:

  181. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Of course I bloody well read it. Can’t be heading up the KELSEY OUT campaign without monitoring your work closely.

    Thorough is what I is :-)

  182. Shard says:

    kelsey

    Wigan weren’t shite.. They played to a tactic. Arsenal just didn’t fall for it and did not lose sight of the fact that without players like Walcott, Ozil and Rosicky, they cannot play an uptempo free flowing attacking game. It is when they forget that that they get caught on the counter.

    As for the fitness thing, tell me, how often have you seen Arsenal physically outlasted by the opposition? Doesn’t happen much at all as far as I can tell. You can dismiss that if you want, it is my opinion, even if it is a fool’s opinion.

  183. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Look here Furry Bear or whatever your stupid name is, Evonne Dearest

    I believed you and you know it. :-)

  184. RA says:

    Raddy,

    Micky would be happy to get you a ticket, so take no notice of that Rocky, the only problem the Surfer Dude sees is that he only uses Oyster Cards in London. :-(

  185. RockyLives says:

    I thought Wigan were good.

    Not from an attacking sense, but from a defensive/organisational sense.

  186. kelsey says:

    Then we should have a stronger squad,Shard. how many more times are people going to mention injuries,it’s all part of being an Arsenal player,goes with the contract.

  187. kelsey says:

    Their manager was managing brentford a year ago,but has toilet problems :) and he nearly outwitted our manager.

  188. RA says:

    Kelsey, sweet heart, on the instructions of the manager aka MickyDoneDidit, I forgot to finish my last comment with;

    Kelsey IN, Kelsey OUT, Kelsey Shake It All About.

  189. kelsey says:

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side have overcome a mental block in the big games to beat Wigan and reach the FA Cup Final.

    “Yes I think so (overcome a mental block). Mentally we were strong, determined, we were ready for the fight and everybody gave everything,” Wenger told our reporter Gabriel Clarke.

    The Gunners boss also praised Yaya Sanogo for his performance at Wembley and says there is more to come from his striker: “He showed great potential but he’s still too much mentally determined to score at any costs and when he calms down I think there is a lot to come from him.”

    mental block,my arse :)

  190. kelsey says:

    There is a thin line between genius and madness :)

  191. kelsey says:

    Right siad my piece,glad we have a good chance of one trophy and goodnight.

  192. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey may be concerned but I am chuffed to bits and think it is the start of our return to greatness.

    It is easy to forget that Wigan are the current FA Cup holders and just beat the next PL champions

  193. Shard says:

    kelsey

    What do you mean ‘then’? We should have a stronger squad anyway. No disagreements there.

    Did I mention injuries as any sort of excuse? I mentioned injuries to maintain that we cannot play the free flowing football many seem to demand as a right without some of the players most important to that style of play. If that gets in the way of a moan about needing big changes then I’m sorry. But the squad, as it is, played a good game, despite nearly getting undone by 2 mistakes (one ref, one player). And they showed some real fight to get back into the game, and then showed their superior physical strength, and held their nerve at the end to come away with an important win.

    And what do we do about Fabianski if he wants to leave for first team football? Guarantee him a place ahead of Szczesny? I don’t think so. I hope he stays. I think Szcz’s form this season is also in part down to the competition that Fabianski provides, but I don’t blame the club for an out of contract player deciding to leave, and for football reasons at that.

  194. MickyDidIt89 says:

    RA
    What the fuck is an Oyster Card :-)

  195. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You are not very happy are you, Kelsey.

    I’m getting one of my feelings here :-)

  196. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And tonight, Peaches, I’m Bo Derek

  197. Thank you RA for your kind concern, my op was cancelled at the last minute, so I’m still in agony and without the promised metal plate in my shoulder :(

  198. And now I’m me :)

  199. Danny says:

    For Big Raddy

  200. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sniffffferrr

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  201. fatgingergooner says:

    We are in the FA cup final, you don’t get through all those rounds against strong opposition by fluke.

    I think Rosler outsmarted himself today.Why he brought Mcmanaman off I will never know. Gave Gibbs the freedom of the left flank and he didn’t disappoint. He drove us forward at every opportunity and could easily have scored. He also set up the goal, albeit with a scuffed shot!

  202. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok Lads,

    I’ve got a house full, and now have to go and join the festivities. Oh joy.

    So it is a very goodnight from him. Goodnight.

  203. So is the ticket fairy going to be trying to get a few tickets for the final.

    The ladies that sit next to me won’t be going so I might be able to use their numbers. So that’s two plus my one. I want to go ……..

  204. Big Raddy says:

    So do I, so do I :-)

  205. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t understand this ‘only a championship side’ thing. Wigan won the cup last season beating Man City in the final. They’ve reached the semis this year beating City at the Etihad, aswell as other PL teams.

    If you thought we were going to turn up and steamroller this side today then you’re a fool, especially considering we haven’t won in 4 and got hammered by Everton last week.

    We are in the FA Cup final, that’s all that should’ve been expected from today and the lads delivered.

  206. Looking forward to some entertaining pics from chas tomorrow.

  207. Big Raddy says:

    It is hard to understand some Arsenal “fans”, we are through to the FAC final having beaten 3 of the top 6 teams and they are calling for AW’s head!

    Makes me sick to think they are Gooners

  208. Adrian says:

    What a nerve wrecking and emotion changing game that was. Fabianski was the hero for me today, what a shame he won’t be with us anymore next season. He absolutely has to and deserves to start over Sczeszny in the cup final.

    Really really thrilled that we finally have the chance to end our 9 year wait for silverware. However, cup game or not the manner of the win was really unconvincing. I know our form has been really dodgy as of late with several key players missing, but bloody hell we were so poor and slow with our passes and build up play before Wigan had scored. The amount of backward passes especially by Sagna was shocking, Mert would pass it to sagna, sagna back to him, mert to fabianski, rinse and repeat. Only the Ox really provided any sense of purpose in our attacking play. Arteta I felt had a poor game too, slow in defence and gave away several unnecessary fouls during extra time. Monreal going off was actually a blessing in disguise for is, Gibbs really gave us a boost the moment he came on. Cazorla too is nowhere near his excellent form the season before, but credits to our two spaniards for the great penalties.

    Sure hope we play better for the cup final, COYG!

  209. Big Raddy says:

    Sniffers about.

  210. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all
    :D :) :D :)

  211. Hi Exile, sorry i couldn’t get to the Green Man, by the time I got there a load of aggressive bouncers at the gate were turning people without tickets away. Bar stewards !

  212. Gööner In Exile says:

    No worries Chary it was quite busy in there….

    Can’t believe we had over two thirds of the ground.

    Thought the fans played their part, very noisy at kick off, got a bit quiet as game settled and we didn’t make use of our early possession, but good noise and encouragement after they scored and thought played our part during pens.

    I thought Sanogo did well in terms of energy and trying to get us in to the game.

    Gibbs changed the game for us but I have a theory on this. Gibbs was prepared to go past Podolski because he has confidence in his pace to recover as he knows Pod will not cover him, Nacho also knows that but also knows he doesn’t have pace to get back.

    Rambo was one of the leaders on the park, organising senior players when we had set pieces. But clearly lacking in match fitness.

    Ox ran himself into the ground.

    And Giroud improved us as did the change of shape to 4-4-2…..Wenger doesn’t react my arse, Rosler went three at the back so AW responded putting Oli up top with Sanogo. We had the chances to win it before penalties Ox against the bar, Sanogo against the post, Sanogos turn and shot from the edge of the box.

  213. arnie says:

    now, was that not lovely stuff. got late for a dinner invitation, and smiled all the way to dinner and back.

    We won, dont care how, 6 more games, let us win these however. any manner of win will be fine.

    No negativity please. Let us back the good guys to win all the games, But no negativity please, :-)

  214. White Bear says:

    I wonder if the private parts will now start saying ‘1 trophy in 9 years’

  215. White Bear says:

    Sheffield would be better

  216. Charybdis1966 says:

    White Bear, they will say “only the FA Cup in 9 years, not a proper trophy”. But the gooners at Wembley were ecstatic about getting to the final.

    And I’ve almost lost my voice in shouting and booing at the Wigan penalty takers buts it’s well worth it.

  217. kelsey says:

    Sorry and sincere apologies about my rant but in all honesty although we have got to the Cup Final I found so few positives about our general performance that a review by me today would be inappropriate.

  218. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Maaarnin’ Kesley (that’ll be Devon speak)

    It’s nice that the biggest positive is the one that counts most, at least on this occasion

    I reckon we could all list the negatives, but it would be very nice to have the FA Cup. :-)

  219. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha,

    Kelsey. Unmoderate me by editing a word could you.

    This line has a genuine mistake in it: “It’s nice that the biggest positive is the one that counts most”

    I left an “o” out of “counts”.

  220. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh don’t tell me

    Motning Crew Headaches :-(

  221. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well Gentlemen

    I’ll leave you to your hangovers. We have some waves to catch. Sun’s up. Surf’s up. Later.

  222. Morning all

    Do any of the match goers want to write a quickie for today?

  223. kelsey says:

    peaches

    I would normally as you know but honestly we were all nervous before the game and bar a few exceptions I really believe that to rely on just a very few players capable of doing a shift for various reasons was most upsetting.
    If I start naming them and why their individual performances were average or perhaps they just can’t impose themselves (again for various reasons) I would be shouted down
    It’s funny during the game I didn’t comment at all but most that did were pretty critical of various players and it was pure relief that we won then everyone puts a different slant on things.
    I could go through the whole team that lined up and not many would gat a high rating.
    Some are tired and jaded,others have been injured and aren’t at full throttle,others are apprentices and some are just distinctly average and a few are of the standard required.
    At least we are quite good at taking penalties.
    Overall I am pleased we are in a Cup Final which we should win,but generally speaking we need a huge overhaul to progress next season.

  224. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Sunday lie-in for many.

    kelsey. No need to apologise. IMO the positives hugely outweigh the negatives.

    Hope we get to play Sheffield and that City get a result but expect a Hull and home win

  225. Big Raddy says:

    What cannot be argued about is the level of effort the players put in. My concern is how they recuperate ahead of West Ham.

    Podolski looked injured when he was subbed – he was limping badly at times during the 2nd half – looked like a bruised achilles.

  226. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’m rustling something up Peaches

  227. kelsey says:

    Raddy

    I said the same thing last night as to how they recuperate with West Ham a few days away.

    I thought of the established players Podolski did next to nothing before he came off and how anyone can rate Monreal is beyond belief. Why do nearly every team we play target him especially with Podolski in front of him.
    Santi is knackered,I believe he has played nearly 40 games this season,thus a drop in form.
    Sanogo is an appretice, made a few good touches but if that is our only alternative to Giroud at this critical stage of the season,heaven help us.

  228. Big Raddy says:

    I agree about Sanogo but have the feeling he will explode once he scores his first goal. It is easy to see the power and the potential.

    Sanogo playing highlights once again what a complete dick the Dumb Dane is. What chances he has blown by his monumental stupidity

  229. kelsey says:

    I was thinking the same Raddy. Bedtner really fecked up his own career with us,I honestly believe he had the potential to make the number 9 slot his own. His heading ability alone far outweighs Giroud,except when Giroud is heading out of our own defence :)

  230. Big Raddy says:

    I am just guessing but I suspect NB has addiction problems – alcohol and/or gambling (?). There can be few other answers for his remarkable inability to stay on the straight and narrow despite being given chance after chance.

    Great shame for both Arsenal and especially NB

  231. I agree with Raddy that the positive – a chance to win the bloody cup – far outweighs the negatives………… but i would like top four too :)

    kelsey – you’re off the hook today :)

    I hope LB found somewhere to watch the game.

    Who do we think will be back from injury for the final? Diaby is definitely being prepared :lol:

  232. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Kos and Fisheye are essentials. Keep Rambo fit and get Mozart re-assembled and we are ready for a strikerless Hull

  233. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    The morning after the night before.

    Watching MOTD and Arsenal again and then again the highlights at twelve, brought it home to me, that our players were out on their feet a long time before the final whistle.

    Some of our players have had a long season with some shattering results, while others have had injuries and we know they have struggled with match fitness.

    Even so professional players should in all fairness still have reserves of stamina. Many believe our diets and training may be linked to injuries and that could be well true, but with a handful of games left from the end of the season, i would have expected a top team to be able to handle extra time without too much trouble.

    All teams suffer injuries, we have what seems to be more than most, Some times i wonder if Arsene calls a player injured because he feels that his form has dipped, Ozil has been out for a while now, but i think it was quite clear that the mans confidence had hit a low spell. Wilshere also had a spell of running into brick walls. I really wonder if these players are being handled with kid gloves, as i don’t think the killer tackle is within some of them.

    50 . 50 balls are seldom won by our players headers our players jump but more to try and put the player off than to compete. Now i hate to cast aspersions but we do need to man up, our player are small and are easily pushed over, and if we are going to buy new players, i feel we need a bit more backbone.

    Tired weak willed players heads will go down very quickly, and i think its fairly clear that we have a few in the team. No matter how well Wigan had played we should have had that game wrapped up by the end of normal time, but it seems that confidence and bulldog spirit is at a low. Sanogo tried but lacks confidence and the skills to come into a game of this measure, A young striker with what could be a bright future who hasn’t scored a goal was not the ideal man for the job.

  234. RA says:

    Peaches @ 9:08,

    Totally agree. Everything else is irrelevant — We Won. :-)

  235. Big Raddy says:

    Steve. Are you suggesting that our players are given “ghost” injuries? I could accept that for a couple of games but not a month out., especially for Ozil who had a brilliant game in the FAC vs Everton prior to his injury.

    As to JW, I have never seen him avoid a tackle – quite the contrary which is why he keeps getting broken.

    Nor do I accept our players are weak willed.

    As to fitness, we have played far more games than Wigan yet which team was piling on the pressure throughout the whole of extra time? And they were playing on a warm day at Wembley which is notorious for draining players

  236. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning BR,
    I am afraid in certain situations yes i believe Wenger shields players, Jack will go on runs with no intentions of passing and inevitably gets a foul. But he brings the chance of injury for wayward runs. Jack has a history of stress fractures, many believe it was for being played to much at a young age. Running into blind alleys will bring injuries and jack ran into many. That is not bravery that’s mindless. Jack has the ability to sweep passed players but you cannot sweep past a whole team. Ozil has struggled that is plain to see But his injury came at the right time for him. confidence is built up with good performances and it grows but when its low it has a domino effect on players around you.

  237. Charybdis1966 says:

    Morning all, while we’re waiting for Exile’s report here’s my effort. http://www.7amkickoff.com/2014/man-at-the-match-chary-fabianski-ushers-arsenal-into-the-fa-cup-final/#com-head

  238. fatgingergooner says:

    Wigan have actually played more games than us this season because of their EL games.

    As for Sanogo, I thought he did everything right yesterday apart from score. I think Wenger summed him up pretty well when he said he was too desperate to score. He actually reminds me of when Adebayor first arrived and was missing sitters. Once he gets a goal or two he will relax and I can see him banging them in.

  239. We have a New Post …………..

  240. Ooops sorry chary, i didn’t see you there ……….. I’m sure you’ll add it to the new post.

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