Firstly let’s honour the boss and the team for avoiding Spursday for yet another season and allowing Didit and I an opportunity to continue our gastronomic tour of Europe.
I know all the arguments about 4th not being a trophy etc etc, we have done them to death in the blogs. I just ask this – would Everton, Spurs, MU etc like to swap with us? Would Moyes have been sacked had MU finished 4th?
Which brings us onto today and our final home game of the season against a West Brom side who need the points much more than we do. If WBA survive will Pepe Mel keep his job? I hope so. Yesterday’s results must have boosted WBA’s chances.
Who would you like to see relegated?
I am afraid I have never taken to WBA, don’t like their kit, don’t like their ground or their nickname – the Baggies – reminds me of Australians (cricket lovers will understand). In fact since their halcyon days of Big Ron and the 3 Degrees (look it up!) they have become just another Midlands club – sorry WBA fans but that is how it is. That said, I love that the Three Degrees are to honoured with a statue outside the Hawthorns
Then there is Jeff Astle. Let me explain. The year was 1970 and I was football obsessed. England were World Champions having won the Cup in ’66. We had a formidable team but had to travel to Mexico to defend our cup. England were drawn in a group with the favourites and eventual winners Brazil. This is the famous Brazil ’70 side which included Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino and Carlos Alberto and is known as probably the finest football team ever assembled. Anyway ….. had we won that tie we would have avoided West Germany in the next round and probably gone on to win the thing again. Instead despite Gordon Banks worldie to save from Pele’s header and Bobby Moore’s unforgettable tackle on the great man, we were losing to a Jairzinho goal. As the game entered it’s final phase Astle came on as sub for Franny Lee. We were pushing for an equaliser and then Astle got his chance to become a hero; Terry Cooper knocked in a cross, the ball fell to Astle 5 yards out from an empty net and he scuffed it. The nation wept. We went on to lose to West Germany.
Jeff remains a hero at West Brom; there are the Astle gates into the Hawthorns and the fans still sing his name, but to millions of England football fans his miss heralded the end of England as an International force.
Arsenal: Do we finish the season on a high by sending out a first choice team and playing some risky full out attacking football or give some reserves a run out? Given 17 years of watching Mr Wenger, I will hazard a guess – the former :-D
Confidence must be high, Ozil and Ramsey are fit and firing, we are as injury free as an AFC squad can be, and it should be sunny. WBA have reason for concern.
Bacary must start in what could be his final game at The Emirates. It would be very sad to see him leave as I have a long standing man-love for our braided Frenchman, hopefully he will see the light and signdating. To those lucky enough to attend please sing him name loud and proud – he deserves it after a fine season.
The team almost picks itself. Podolski is playing his best football since his arrival – could it be he is playing for a move or showing AW he doesn’t need to sign another left-sided attacker?
It would be a surprise to see anyone replacing the above but perhaps Rosicky will be included – he is such a wonderful player and too good to ride the pine.
Sad that Ox and JW are not fit enough to stake a claim for the WC squad but being Arsenal-centric I am delighted. A long beach holiday followed by an uninterrupted pre-seasonshould set them up nicely for our tilt at the title.
20 years ago today a much younger Big Raddy began his day with a pint of lager in an airport pub. It was the start of one the most memorable days of my life. A pre-match drink up in bars all over central Copenhagen, followed by an unforgettable noisy walk to the Parken which is just 400m from where I sit to write these posts. An astonishing defensive display which could have been the pinnacle of the Famous 5’s achievements, and a rare as hen’s teeth Alan Smith goal from outside the area in front of 25,000 very nervous fans led to the lifting of a Euro Cup. It was a magical evening – my first magical Copenhagen evening of many.
Here’s to the Winners of 1994 ….. could the current Arsenal team emulate their predecessors and win a Cup 20 years later?
Written by Big Raddy