Diaby Day

May 24, 2015

End of a season. For some players this will be their final day at the finest ground in the universe, for others a glittering future awaits. I always hate the final day of the season, if we have not won the title it means my hopes fade and die – as far as I am concerned it is never over until the fat lady sings.

And the chubby lady’s voice is echoing all around Abou Diaby. I cannot recall a player who has had such a frustrating career. The man could have been the answer to all our midfield woes – tall, strong, pacy, and blessed with fast feet for a big man (I love a cliche´). Injury did for the poor fellow. Imagine how frustrated he must have been as season by season he worked his way back to the first team only to be knacked in the first game of his return. My sympathy for the loss of his Arsenal career is tempered by the many millions he will have earned sitting in the stands and lying on the treatment table. A story is so much better with a what might have been.

images-2

This is not the place for a season review, we can leave that until after the big game next weekend, and it is with that in mind that we come to the selection of the team to play West Bromwich Albion.

Will Mr Wenger rotate the team? He surprised us all mid-week by playing the Crown Jewels (or The Holy Trinity as chas calls them). They have to be rested this afternoon. So should Per, Kos, Hector, Aaron, and OG. We have the squad…. Use them.

And what of WBA? Pulis has done a remarkable job – never liked the cut of his jib but credit where credit is due. Could Berahino be a summer signing at THOF? He has a touch of the IW8’s about him and I think if we can control what appears to be a massively inflated ego (see Raheem Sterling) he could do a job for us, especially if Theo leaves.

WBA are the usual Pulis team – hard working, organised, strong in defence and pacy on the counter – they are a decent team; mid-table decent.

Can we score? For a team with such a varied supply of attacking talent we have been toothless the last 4 games. This has to change and change fast. Not playing Theo mid-week was IMO a huge mistake because we seem to have lost the confidence and ability in front of goal  – Theo adds something different. What is the point of Bellerin crossing repeatedly into the box when all our players are dwarfed by defenders (apart from OG who has lost his mojo)?

There is the possibility we could ship 4 and MU could beat Hull by 3 so 3rd is not 100% guaranteed. Of course it is, that will never happen!

How would we feel if our players downed tools as Chelsea did last weekend? I would be hugely unhappy if any Arsenal player did not give 100% every time he stepped onto the field in the historic red and white; I expect nothing less than a sparkling display this afternoon.

Barca had a Xavi Day yesterday. We should have Diaby Day.

I am 72% confident

COYRRG

 


All the Kings horses and all the Kings men….

January 14, 2015

 

Abou Diaby

 

Abou Diaby, the glass man who cannot be put back together again. Every time he seems to get fit to play, we hear that he is injured again. There are those who are romantics and think the club are doing the honourable thing by keeping him on the books, paying his wage and hoping that one day he will play again. Alternatively, there are those who believe he should be sold and a place will be made for a new player to come in.

It is a tragic case I know, none of us want to be seen as heartless, but the reality is that he is taking up valuable space in the team. It has come to the point where questions have to be asked about the feasibility of his tenure at the club and the financial consequences.

Should we keep him or should he be sold?

What, in the best interests of the player and the club, is the answer?

Written by northbank69


Give Us An A: An Arsenal Alterative Alphabet

May 22, 2014

Throughout the Dog Days of summer, between the euphoria of Cup Final day and the Big Kick-Off for 2014/15, Arsenal Arsenal will be taking its own idiosyncratic amble through the dictionary.

For each letter of the alphabet we will offer up some suggestions for entries that can ultimately go in the Arsenal Alternative Dictionary (available during the pre-Christmas weeks at all branches of Wasterstones or to download direct to Swindle).

Today we start with the letter ‘A’. The numerate among you will quickly have deduced that – with one letter per day – there will be 26 “alternative alphabet” Posts throughout the summer, which should help swallow up a chunk of the silly season. If only Arsenal Arsenal was published in Russian we would be able to fill up even more days, there being 33 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet.

This will be an occasional series, appearing on those days when there is nothing better to write anout.

Naturally you are encouraged to suggest your own entries in Comments.

So let’s get going…

A IS FOR…

Anfield ‘89

Like 1066 and 1945, the year 1989 will be remembered through the ages as one in which great things happened. Specifically it was on May 26th of that year that our lads, managed by Gorgeous George Graham, went to Anfield for the last game of the season needing to win by 2-0 to clinch the First Division title. No-one gave us a chance and even – at 0-1 in Arsenal’s favour, with the clock ticking down and Steve McMahon running round the pitch giving everyone the finger, few thought we would do it. But cometh the hour, cometh the Micky Thomas… bursting through the midfield… it was all up for grabs – and grab it we did. Probably the most remarkable, unbelievable, spectacular moment in my 44 years of supporting Arsenal.

Arsenal Stadium Mystery

How many other teams can say they’ve had a film based on them? Made in 1939, the film focused on a murder mystery at the stadium. Strangely, our neighbours down the Seven Sisters Road have not yet cottoned onto the idea of entering the movie business, even though they seem baffled every May about who murdered their season…

Arsenal

I love the word ‘arsenal’. A place where munitions are made seems such a brilliant word for a football club to share. In our case the Arsenal in question was the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, South-East London (and a mere hand grenade throw from where I was born). The Royal Arsenal provided the hardware for our troops to defend the nation from the late 17th Century up until its closure in 1994, reaching its peak size during the First World War. And, as you all know, our team started out as the works team for the establishment.

Al Qaeda

While the West lives in fear of more terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Al Qaeda, only the Arsenal stands secure as a place that will never be touched by the terrorists. Rumour has it that Osama Bin Laden was a regular on the terraces when he lived in London in the 1990s. He even bought an Ian Wright shirt for his son Abdullah. His time as a gooner led to him getting his own song: “Osama, woah-woah, Osama, woah-waoh, he’s hiding in Kabul, he loves the Arsenul“.

Armstrong

Players won’t normally get a look-in in this alternative Arsenal alphabet (they belong in the official alphabet), but little Geordie Armstrong, the flying winger of our 1971 Double side, gets a mention because his picture was the avatar for our dear, departed fellow blogger Dandan, who now supports from the great North Bank in the sky.

Avenell Road

I’ve been to Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington and to Fifth Avenue, New York. I’ve got drunk on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and I have walked down the Champs Elysees in Paris. But there is no finer street in all the world than Avenell Road, N5.

Right, that’s half a dozen to get the ball rolling.

Now, over to you…

RockyLives


Ramsey’s 15th and Jenkinson’s 1st – match review

May 12, 2014

Many called this game a dead rubber but most were thinking first and foremost who would start and more importantly how to avoid injuries while keeping up the momentum of four successive wins in preparation for the Cup Final.

We weren’t disappointed. We started the first half in quite a cautious fashion and Ruddy made a couple of excellent saves, although I thought Giroud should have scored around the 32nd minute. Having said that, I thought he had a very solid game. Giroud has been improving as the season drew to it’s conclusion and the deadlock was broken when he lofted a beautiful ball for Ramsey to volley home.

What a player we have in Aaron Ramsey and one wonders how much nearer we would have been  to the title if he had remained fit all season.

Jenkinson settled the match with his first goal for the club and his facial expression on scoring will live long in the memory.

All in all the whole team did just enough that was required though I thought Ozil had a very quiet game. Maybe he is saving himself for next week.

With Fabianski starting one could presume that he was given his last game today and our Number 1 will be in goal at Wembley.

One can never second guess Wenger even after nearly two decades and when he said afterwards

if you look at our overall season I think we need to focus first of all in keeping everyone together” and when asked about possible transfers in the Summer he said “World Cup transfer markets start after the World Cup, usually.”

We will see if those words run true.

Those who read my comments know I am a great Sagna fan and yet again he didn’t let us down playing with Koscielny in central defence, regardless that it was against Norwich, so keeping everyone together by the boss was an interesting comment.

To see Diaby back after a full fourteen months was greeted with loud applause from our fantastic away fans and he even applauded them as he came on.

Jack had a cameo and it was hard to tell if he is absolutely fit, though not spectecular,  it was good to see him come on and by all accounts we will have The Ox back midweek, so it will be really interesting as to who lines up for The FACup Final.

Finally Wenger said he would still be here next season. I just wish  he looked a little happier.His post match interview was very low key or even sombre and subdued, which frankly, surprised me.

kelsey

 

 

 

 


Can you help cure our injuries?

April 27, 2014

Morning Gooners

Injuries have blighted us again this season, although we’re in fourth place with three games to play, which in a league of twenty that’s not a bad position at all, but injuries I am sure have robbed us of at least two or three  positions. I know this is not just this year as we all know we seem to suffer more than a lot of others.

What causes these seasonal injuries, we could say our players are just not robust enough, but we do have a fairly large squad and we do bring in the odd one or two in, but are we doing something wrong, or are we just unlucky. Do we encourage injury by the way we play, many’s the time I hear players and managers commenting that if they get in our faces and play physical we are easily turned over.

Now I am not sure that is the answer, as we seem to get our fair share of bookings. Are we easier in the tackle than the rest? I always remember in my playing days that it was said, that if you go into a tackle half-hearted you always come out worse off. Many would say that size may have some bearing on it. Our midfield are not the biggest around and after all it is the engine room of the team, so power must come from it, but I must admit I never really feel that we are that powerful. We have little Santi, Jack and Arteta and Rosicky isn’t so big either but then you have Aaron, who seems pretty sizeable, but he’s only just come back after quite a spell out and Koscienly too.

Diaby has been out for a season but he tops six feet so it appears size is not the reason. Diet and training has to be considered as it seemed to make a massive difference when Wenger first came, enough for other clubs to follow our lead so that seems out of the question. So what has changed that we now suffer so badly,

You would be justified to look at equipment, Football boots, shin guards, cycle shorts and now I see some players wearing under shielding. Football boots have changed over the years from ankle protective boots made out of natural leathers butwe now don the latest man made fibre low cut shoe type footwear, maybe that can account for some injuries.

Maybe even the footballs. They also have changed from lace up leather heavy balls, to lightweight man made  symmetrical shaped balls, that tend not to fly straight. Maybe stretching for a ball you feel should come straight to you, but at the last second it moves could cause a stretch, but then that would be for all teams so that is out of the question too.

Now I seem to be running out of possibilities, but I shouldn’t exclude the medical staff. They massage the players before, during and after the game , they nurse the players back to fitness, and their advice is also used in warm ups and warm downs, could that be a reason as all clubs must have different methods. In my day a hamstring was just a hamstring but today its Hamstring 1 2 or 3 that seems to denote how long it takes to repair. Metatarsal and cruciates and other injuries I have never heard of, also seem to be a modern thing, Maybe the equipment used today has brought some of those ailments to the fore, but others also would suffer the same, so maybe not.

I seem to have run out of options and haven’t cleared up this problem, so perhaps you have some suggestions that may solve this important fault, then maybe we’ll be the team at the top. instead of where we are.

Written by Steve Palmer1

The end is nigh. Nine Premier League games remaining. What are we after?

March 19, 2014

I cast my mind back to the final stretch last season, and we were in a battle for Top Four. For the sake of this discussion, I’d like to put aside the hunt for Trophies, and delve deeper into what there is to look forward to.

Following the loss to Spurs a year ago, momentous events followed. Principally, was the cementing of the partnership between Mertesacker and Koscielny. This was in tandem with a new found restraint from our Full Backs who proceeded to show more discipline.

What was laid in those final nine games, were the foundations of a new defensive stability that continued to serve us so well into this seasons’ campaign.

Apart from the sunny Spring time fixtures, the meeting up with chums and the inevitable excitement that any game of football brings, I wonder what little gems lie in wait.

Injuries present opportunities, and the largest recipient this season has been The Ox. He has benefited from injuries to both Aaron as well as Theo. Might the remaining fixtures see him finding a definitive starting position for next season? Talking of definitive positions, we have the Jack issue.

Looking across the midfield, I still wonder who is the No 10 of choice. I understand there is a fluidity in this area, but with all the injuries to key players, I certainly don’t know how my First XI would line up. I have a feeling we will begin to see the real Mesut emerge as the midfield pivot around which all that is good orbits.

I can also see Gnabry getting more playing time, and have a gut feeling he is one of those players that will rise to the top very quickly. Remember the Aaron of last season, and we see how certain players can suddenly blossom.

Like the pairing of Kos and Mert, it can be an unforeseen partnership that emerges, and this can happen in small couplings anywhere on the pitch, which is why I see a possibility of this between Mesut and Serge.

Now, how about some dark horses. Kellstrom and Diaby, who peaches informs us is at altitude not skiing. With Aaron returning, how will the midfield set up?

With some mouthwatering encounters around the corner, there remains much fun to be had. Who knows where we end up, but I reckon, as with last season, there are surprises in store outside of the results themselves.

Prior to the Spurs game and the wonderful blast of a goal from Mr T. Rosicky, I would have liked to see a couple of long rangers, but another one or two wouldn’t hurt. Oh, and is there any chance a genuinely quality free kick specialist might emerge in the mould of Noddy Talbot? That would be long overdue and a real bonus.

The one thing I’d like to see more than anything over the remaining fixtures would be a new found venom from the true fans towards the early leavers. A mass mocking, naming and shaming, a Faceoff Campaign, anything. Some suggestions on how to deal with this, my biggest beef, and a real solution would leave my season ending on an even higher note.

Written by MickyDidIt


Surgery, Victory, Injury, Jittery

January 17, 2014
 

 Last Friday:

  Walcott turns down a quick fix

The news came that Theo had opted for the most risk free treatment for his ACL injury. It is also the treatment that will keep him on the sidelines for the longest time.

Theo will undergo a patella tendon graft which is thought to offer the best long-term guarantees after a gruelling period of rehabilitation. Using a synthetic tendon could have got him back in time for the World Cup but there is a risk of the body rejecting it. Likewise with using a tendon from a dead body. He could have chosen to use a sliver of his own hamstring but as his game is based on speed his hamstrings are vital.

Arsene Wenger said;

“Theo is handling it as well as you can when you have had such a shock because he is mentally strong, he’s very balanced as a person and he can put it into perspective. We know that he will have the dedication and serious attitude to come back as strong as ever”.

Diaby suffers new set-back

Arsene Wenger says he is unsure if Abou Diaby will play for Arsenal this season after he suffered a new setback in his rehabilitation.

Diaby, who has been dogged by injury trouble during his time in north London, has not played for the club since last March after damaging his cruciate knee ligaments.

The Frenchman was expected to return in the next few weeks, after having extensive rehab in Dubai, but Wenger says he is nowhere near ready to come back; ‘His recovery is going very slowly,’ said Wenger.

‘Will he play again this season? I don’t know. He is still on a long-term recovery programme.’

Diaby has told supporters at a recent charity event that he hopes to be back on the pitch shortly, but Arsenal are no longer giving a predicted return date for the midfielder.

 

 

Saturday:

A predictable win for the Chavs over Hull City saw us toppled from the top, temporarily we hope as a win against Villa on Monday would see us bounce back regardless of City’s result against the Magpies on Sunday.

More Morata speculation, the loan deal could be on again as Real Madrid, after initially ruling out any departures during January, may be willing to let him go “later in the month”.

A bit of late news, and by late I mean two days late, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain played the first half of an U21 match against Fulham on Thursday evening, he came off at half-time in a pre-planned substitution, it was the lad’s first action since getting injured on the opening day of the season against Aston Villa. Now it seems that he could be on the bench against the same opposition on Monday.

Oh! And I forgot to mention, Eisfeld scored the only goal in the win over Fulham.

Sunday:

Arsene Wenger compared Oxlade Chamberlain to Steven Gerard, speaking on www.arsenal.com le professeur said

“At the moment he is still in formation. It is good for his education as he plays left, right and centrally when needed. After [the age of] 23 or 24 you settle in a definite position”.

“He will be deeper as he has a good long ball, penetration from deep and a good quality to distribute and penetrate individually. Certainly he has the same qualities to Steven Gerrard.

Now I may not have Wenger’s insight but to compare the gracefull, pacy, youngster to that lumbering carthorse “Stevie G” is just a bit unkind.

Monday:

All the results are in, the calculations have been done and the outcome has been tabulated, Arsenal drop to third in the table but with the chance to bounce back by beating Villa later in the day.

Kieran Gibbs announced on his instagram page, whatever that is, that Theo had a “successful” operation on his knee and is recovering in hospital.

Team news, Monreal came in for Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ozil and Gnabry mixed it up in mid-field while Giroud mixed it with the Villa centre-backs.

Tuesday:

Wilshere drives Arsenal back to the summit

A goal by Wilshere followed by one for Giroud, from a Wilshere pass, just seventeen seconds after the restart, was enough to take us back to the top of the table despite a second half goal for Villa.

Injuries to Nacho Monreal, possibly a fractured metatarsal, and Tomas Rosicky, a broken nose, were not good news and both players could be out for a while.

Bacary Sagna, whose contract expires in the summer, is set to renew talks over an extension. Sagna’s preference is to stay at Arsenal and finish his career at the club but the best offer so far is two more years at about the same wage £70,000 per week. Sagna has never agitated for more money or for a move away but feels his loyalty and experience deserves some recognition. Come on Arsenal, give him three years and a raise, you know it makes sense!!

Two more players in negotiations are Tomas Rosicky and Per Mertesacker, can we afford to pay them more or can we afford to lose them?

From The Evening Standard:- Mertesacker made his 100th appearance for the club against Villa and has come to epitomise this galvanised Arsenal. He is the organiser-in-chief, the debt collector and, last night at least, every inch the captain of this team.

The Germany international provided composure amid the chaos. He knows the importance of maintaining Arsenal’s advantage at the top of the table and developing that ruthless efficiency required to win major honours.

Contract negotiations? Just get on with it Mr. Laws!!

Wednesday:

More recognition of the vital part Per Mertesacker is playing in Arsenal’s so far successful season came in an article in The Telegraph. Together with Laurent Koscielny the pair have brought a “perfect blend for solidity” Arsene Wenger has often in the past described Arsenal’s defending as naïve, yet no team have conceded fewer goals (19) or registered more clean sheets (nine) than Arsenal this season. The statistics behind the centre-back partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are even more compelling. Monday’s 2-1 win against

Aston Villa was their 28th completed game together and, in those, the club have registered 20 wins, eight draws and 16 clean sheets. Also very much to the point is the fact that we are unbeaten in those 28 games.

Mertesacker and Koscielny have formed a natural partnership. Koscielny’s speed and athleticism have often covered for Mertesacker’s lack of pace, although the German’s organisational skills have been perhaps the biggest single factor.

While they both remain fit and available our title challenge should stay very much on track.

Any chance of signing Schalke’s Julian Draxler were scuppered when it emerged that the 20 year old has damaged his ankle ligaments and will be out of action for up to three months.

Thursday:

Le Professeur revealed the latest fitness situation ahead of Saturday’s three o’clock kick-off against Fulham.

On Theo Walcott’s surgery…
It went very well. The damage was real in the knee so he will have to take the needed time, so let’s not be hopeful that he will go to the World Cup – that is not possible. But overall his long-term future is very positive. It’s about being fit for next season now.

on Monreal and Rosicky…
Monreal looks a doubt for Saturday, a big doubt, because he twisted his foot on the kick. It is not the bruise, he turned and twisted the ligament. Rosicky had surgery with a general anaesthetic for a broken nose in two places. With a mask he may be available, but we have to monitor it closely.

on Arteta (calf), Vermaelen (knee) and Ramsey (thigh)…
Ramsey and Arteta are both out for this game. Vermaelen too. I personally believe the three will miss the Coventry game as well and will be available after that.

on Bendtner (ankle)…

He has a little chance to make Coventry. But in all probability it will be after that.

Thanks to

www.arsenal.com for permission to reproduce the above.

Jack Wilshire is to appear alongside Lionel Messi in the 2014 advertising campaign for Pepsi.

Arsenal will red and white shirts with white shorts and socks, the ‘keeper will be in all green for Saturday’s match. The referee will be Lee Probert who drew this comment from Wenger after officiating in the same fixture in January 2012 when Johanne Djourou was sent of and Arsenal lost 2 – 1. “The referee influenced the game completely the wrong way in my opinion,”

That’s it for another week.

Norfolk Gooner.


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